Easily the biggest news regarding ROH this week (besides the Death Before Dishonor XIV PPV) was that UK sensation Marty Scurll would be coming to ROH.
While Scurll has wrestled for PWG relatively frequently since his debut at last year’s Battle of Los Angeles, he seemed to make Gabe Sapolsky’s EVOLVE his home promotion in the US since WrestleMania Weekend in Dallas earlier this year. Scurll is the 2nd major UK star to be announced as appearing on ROH shows, as Will Ospreay will be making his ROH debut during the aforementioned UK Tour in November.
I think it’s really cool to see that Marty Scurll will be in ROH beyond just the UK Tour. He was part of the group of UK/European talents that came over for, and made a huge statement at, last year’s Battle of Los Angeles Tournament for PWG. While it appears that Scurll has fallen out of favor a little bit for some (mainly in the last few months), I still really enjoy his work.
There’s no question that Scurll’s presence will freshen things up a bit, in terms of potential matchups. Personally, I’m already salivating at the thought of Scurll going up against the likes of Kyle O’Reilly, Jay Briscoe, Adam Cole, Jay Lethal, ACH, Dalton Castle, and countless others. He’ll certainly bring a little more attention to a ROH product that, as a whole, really hasn’t had the buzz this year, compared to other promotions around the world. I’ll be very intrigued to see how Scurll does in ROH, and I’ll also be interested to see if we see more UK talents making their way to ROH in the near future.
When it’s not on a bad stretch of episodes, and when they aren’t showing stuff from shows that we already saw that were taped months prior (as was the case in April when the showed Night 1 of Honor Rising over the course of several weeks), I generally consider ROH TV to be a very easy show to watch. It’s only an hour long (less than that if you’re watching the episode on rohwrestling.com), and the match quality is generally good.
ROH TV seemed to hit a solid stride a few weeks ago with the angle involving The Bullet Club, Kyle O’Reilly, and Jay Lethal. That stride seemed to continue over the last few weeks. On the episode that featured the Contract Signing for the Death Before Dishonor XIV main event between Adam Cole & Jay Lethal, we saw a really good opening match between Donovan Dijak & Lio Rush. While Lio Rush scored (probably) his biggest win in ROH to date in this match, Dijak also looked very impressive, continuing the streak of really good matches that he has had over the last several weeks of ROH TV (his matches with Jason Kincaid & Moose are both worth checking out). That episode also featured a very good tag team match between Roppongi Vice & The Young Bucks. While we’ve definitely seen better encounters between these two teams (both in ROH & New Japan), they can still put on a good tag team match, even on their worst day.
The episode of ROH TV from this past weekend, while still relatively solid as a whole (with really nothing bad to speak of), was a little weaker compared to the week prior. We had a nice little opening match between Adam Page & Jonathan Gresham. It was by no means spectacular, but it was a fun TV match that went around six or seven minutes, and had a few cool moments in it. Kamaitachi vs. the debuting Stuka Jr. (from CMLL) was actually pretty solid (maybe the best match on this particular episode), but was hampered by constant interference from Christopher Daniels throughout the match. If you take away all of that interference (and there was a lot), I think this match is significantly better. Stuka Jr. didn’t get that much of a reaction when he came out, which isn’t totally surprising, since I don’t think many ROH fans know about CMLL, but the crowd really reacted to some of Stuka Jr.’s bigger moves, including an insane moonsault from the top rope to the outside. Kamaitachi would eventually win (by pulling off Stuka Jr.’s mask), but I do think Stuka Jr. won the crowd over by the end.
The main event of this episode of ROH TV, Jay Briscoe vs. Jay White, was an interesting match, to say the least. The match went for about 10-15 minutes, before it ended in a draw because the “TV Time Limit” expired. I think this match brought up the same issues that I’ve had with other time limit draws that ROH has had in the last few years. The match itself was technically fine, but it just didn’t feel like there was any sense of urgency. It never really went into that next gear, as it felt like they were just wrestling to the time limit draw. Plus, when has something like this ever happened before on ROH TV? There have been numerous episodes in the past that had matches go for much longer than this, and had no issues with a “TV Time Limit”. I get the idea here was to get Jay White over here by having him draw with Jay Briscoe, and while it was good in theory, I don’t think it worked in this particular case. Maybe if they did it on a live event, and had them go 30 minutes before then doing the draw, I think it might have worked a little better. In the end, I just think the issues were that a time limit was never stressed at any point (which didn’t set up the live audience for that possibility), and that the match itself, which was actually a relatively good match from a technical standpoint, didn’t have any sense of urgency. It also seemed like that piped-in chants might have made a return, as the show went off the air with “That Was Wrestling” chants, while the reactions from the live crowd weren’t exactly that kind.
Jay White and Jay Briscoe go to a time limit draw, prompting "bullshit" chants from the Arena crowd.
— Voices of Wrestling (@voiceswrestling) July 17, 2016
The only other noteworthy thing on this week’s ROH TV was a video package involving the Steve Corino/BJ Whitmer/Kevin Sullivan storyline, specifically the tease of a new player entering the picture. Of course, if you read the TV Spoilers, you’ll know who this persons turns out to be. This Corino/Whitmer story has definitely overstayed its welcome (I don’t think that could be argued), but I am a little intrigued to see how this new person becomes incorporated into this story.
Here are my match ratings for the last two weeks of ROH TV:
- Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Lio Rush: ***3/4
- #1 Contender’s Match – Roppongi Vice vs. The Young Bucks: ***1/2
- “The Hangman” Adam Page vs. Jonathan Gresham: ***
- Kamaitachi (with Christopher Daniels) vs. Stuka Jr.: ***1/4
- Jay Briscoe vs. Jay White: ***
Again, a lot of good matches, but the episode from two weeks ago was definitely better, compared to last week.
Aside from ROH TV, we got some several match announcements this week for shows coming up in September:
Pittsburgh, PA on 9/16 will see a Six-Man Tag with The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. Jay Lethal, Colt Cabana, & Dalton Castle, Christopher Daniels vs. Jay White, and Chris Sabin vs. Frankie Kazarian (which is a match that would excite me in 2008, but in 2016, is an absolute snoozefest, in my opinion).
Lockport, NY on 9/17 will see The Briscoes vs. Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle (I wouldn’t mind those two becoming a regular team), and the return of the Honor Rumble (basically ROH’s version of WWE’s Royal Rumble Match, but usually with 20 wrestlers instead of 30), with the winner getting a future shot at the ROH World Title.
For Duluth, GA on 9/24, in addition to Dalton Castle vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, there will also be a Lucha Rules Match with Jay White & The Motor City Machine Guns taking on Kamaitachi & The Addiction. Finally, current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin made it known that he wants a shot at the ROH World Title, and it looks like he’ll be getting that title shot at the next PPV, All-Star Extravaganza VIII, on 9/30.
Finally, be sure to check out both my review of last week’s Death Before Dishonor XIV PPV and the great preview for Field of Honor (which took place this weekend but has not dropped on VOD yet) by John Carroll here on Voices of Wrestling!