Note from John Canton: We are going to try out a new reviewer of Ring of Honor named Webb Anderson, who sent in this review of last week’s show that aired on Destination America. There are some people (like myself) that get the show on the weekend before the Wednesday airing on DA, but we’ll save these posts for after the DA airing. This is a tryout for Webb, who impressed me with what he wrote as well as his knowledge for the ROH product.
The show that Webb reviewed here aired last Wednesday two days prior before their PPV last Friday, so keep that in mind when reading it out. Check out the review and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Ring of Honor Review: June 17/2015 on Destination America
By Webb Anderson
Greetings wrestling fans and welcome to the latest and greatest column breaking down and dissecting the Ring of Honor weekly TV show. I’m Webb Anderson and if you haven’t been a regular follower of ROH then this column will be a great place to start. ROH has a new home on Destination America as well as their weekend syndication and can now reach more households than ever before. More wrestling on TV is always a plus for me and I hope that the slow and steady business model used by ROH will finally pay off for them in a big way.
Live from Toronto, Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary. No 20 minute promos to open the show here – we’re going to get right to the action!
The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page) w/ young boy Colby Corino vs. War Machine (Hanson & Rowe)
War Machine reminds me a little of a Road Warriors/Demolition team that you just want to see mow down everyone in their path. They get a nice plug for their T shirt which isn’t half bad. The Decade does a great job of looking like assholes as they humiliate their young boy, much to the dismay of his dad on commentary at ringside. Whitmer pulls a heel move and subs himself out for Colby Corino, who is immediately tagged in by Adam Page. Colby shows all heart as he gets right in the face of Rowe but Rowe can be heard yelling “you’re not ready!” as he tries to back off the kid. Colby is eager to prove himself to his stable mates however, and slaps Rowe right across the face. Rowe tags in Hanson with their unique forearm tag and Colby throws elbows and charges into a vicious slam.
Another quick tag brings Rowe back in who is attempting to get another member of the Decade in the ring but Colby continues to bring his ineffective offense. Rowe finally has enough and hits Colby with a combination of moves ending with a vicious power bomb. Colby Finally gets the message and tries to tag Page who casually hops off the apron and joins Whitmer, stranding the young boy and allowing him to receive a combination finisher from War Machine.
Winners: War Machine
Post match: Steve Corino is fired up as Whitmer and Page taunt him at ringside.
Analysis: This match was more about the story than the wrestling. Whitmer and Page look like jerks, Colby looks like a skinny little misguided punk, and Steve looks like a fired up dad whose cub is on the receiving end of a little unnecessary brutality. The storyline progressed and we will have to tune in next week to see if the senior members of the Decade get what’s coming to them.
We return from break to see Cedric Alexander in the ring ready for a promo. He talks about how he was the breakout star of 2014 but now he needs wins to prove to his family that he isn’t wasting his time chasing his pro wrestling dream. He decides to go big with this and calls out the undefeated Moose, much to the shock of the announce team.
Cedric Alexander v Moose
Moose wastes no time getting in the ring and he’s fired up as always. I’m really impressed by the athleticism of this former NFL’er who has all the tools to make it on the biggest stages of pro wrestling.
Moose takes charge quickly, misses a splash and the speed of Cedric Alexander shines through as his quickness allows him to avoid the power offense of Moose. Nice dive to the outside as Cedric Alexander shows how important this match is to him. He rolls Moose into the ring but is caught in midair as he attempts a springboard maneuver. They transition into a spot where Moose charges Alexander full speed in the corner but Alexander gets a boot up. He springs to the top rope but Moose is deceptively quick and explosive as he jumps up and delivers a drop kick right to the face of Alexander, dropping him to the floor below. Wow what a move! Cesaro pulled off the same spot on Smackdown recently and it’s great to see Moose be able to us such an impressive, athletic maneuver as well. A commercial follows the spot.
We return to anther high impact springboard and a flipping dive to the outside from Alexander. His high risk offense continues to show how big a match this is for him. Alexander tries to match power with Moose and fails but is able to capitalize with a tornado DDT from the ropes. He gets a 2 count for his troubles and shows a look of frustration as the camera focuses on his face. Alexander attempts a fireman’s carry but doesn’t have the strength and winds up eating a JBL style clothesline from Moose. We get a near fall here but Alexander still has fight left. The crowd is split here as both men get to their feet. They trade blows back and forth with Moose eventually attempting to run up the turnbuckle. It looks like we get a bit of a botch here as Moose loses his balance and Alexander takes over delivering a series of dropkicks to a dazed Moose in the corner. Alexander goes to the well one too many times with the dropkick and Moose catches him with a rib cracking spear.
Veda Scott slides Moose a wrench from under the ring, but he wants no part in using it. He seems conflicted, but Alexander seizes opportunity as the ref’s back is turned by grabbing the wrench and nailing the undefeated Moose with it. 1-2-3 and the streak is broken!
Winner: Cedric Alexander
Analysis: Alexander wrestled like a desperate man the entire match and did whatever it took to win in the end. Moose still has a way to go in the ring but he is improving rapidly and is an excellent long term project. Moose sells the wrench hit really well and is just getting helped to his feet as we cut to commercial.
We come back to a video recap of the ReDragon v Addiction feud. The tag scene in ROH is really great right now and I’ve never been more interested in Kazarian or Christopher Daniels. Looking forward to their match at Best in the World.
Adam Cole cuts a backstage promo hyping his match at BitW against Bullet Club. In my humble opinion Adam Cole is the brightest star in ROH right now and anything he touches will get immediate interest from me.
ACH & Matt Sydal vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito
I don’t know a whole lot about ACH right now but I’m a big Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal fan. Listen to his podcast interview on the Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana if you get a chance the dude is out there but it’s safe to say you probably won’t hear another wresting podcast quite like his. I’m on the edge of my seat for the other team though. My first experience with New Japan was the epic Wrestle Kingdom 9 show from back in January and I’ve caught up as much as I can with the product on the English show that is produced for AXS TV. I’m expecting great things from Tanahashi and Naito in this match I hope it doesn’t disappoint. One complaint about Naito though is the weird thing he does where he takes his thumb and index finger and lifts one of his eyelids. I know guys try to get gestures and hand motions to catch on but for every “too sweet” and “self high five” we get ten stupid things like this.
Tanahashi and Sydal lock up to start off and pull of some of that great chain ground based wrestling us internet types love so much. Commentary puts over how big Tanahashi is and if I understand correctly he’s basically the Japanese John Cena. Big arm drags from Sydal and a standing shooting star press forces Tanahashi to make a tag. ACH comes in and the two fresh men face off. Wrist locks and flips are exchanged as the two legal competitors jockey for position, trading those stiff Japanese elbows I’ve gotten to be such a fan of. You have to wonder how these matches are laid out and called when the two competitors speak a different language.
ACH shows his athleticism and gets the edge on Naito and even mocks his weird eye taunt as he lays in to the Japanese star. Tanahashi hits an uncharacteristic knee to the back as ACH springs off the ropes and the New Japan team takes an underhanded advantage. Cue commercial.
We return to find Tanahashi and ACH as the legal men with Tanahashi firmly in control. He even takes a dig at ACH by mocking his free throw taunt as he continues to beat him down. Tanahashi misses a middle rope Senton as ACH reaches for the tag. Tanahashi grabs the leg and pulls ACH back as Naito gets the tag and enters the match.
Naito continues to work ACH and applies a rear chin lock in the center of the ring. The crowd gets behind ACH as he powers up and brawls with Naito. It’s not enough however as Naito takes charge and hits this unique maneuver I’ve never seen before that leaves ACH crumpled up in the corner. Naito goes for a superplex but ACH throws him off and hits a double foot stomp on the back of Naito. Sydal gets the hot tag and flies off the top rope, taking down both members of the New Japan team. Sydal hits a unique top rope frankensteiner and sets up for a standing moonsault, only to be caught in midair by Tanahashi as the moonsault is turned into a German suplex.
Tanahashi is tagged in but Sydal takes charge and hits a modified reverse DDT. ACH is tagged in and delivers kick after kick to Tanahashi. He gets a near fall after two high impact clotheslines and appears to be in a position to get one over on the famed Japanese wrestler. ACH bridges for the pin after a German suplex and gets another 2 count. Tanahashi gets control again and locks in the cloverleaf submission which is broken up by a knee from Sydal. After Sydal misses a high risk maneuver ACH hits an impressive dive over the top rope, laying out both of his opponents.
The action quickly gets back in the ring as Tanahashi is laid out on the mat while Sydal attemps a shooting star press. ACH is the legal man and goes for the cover but it’s broken up by Naito. ACH comes out on top of the next exchange and hits a 450 splash on Tanahashi but can’t get the pin. Slingblade by Tanahashi and a High Fly Flow gets the 1-2-3 and we have our winners!
Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito
Analysis: Wow what a fast paced match! Nice to see Tanahashi work a little heel for the American audience and get the pin. Anytime you get NJPW and ROH together it’s going to be a good thing. I hope this partnership continues and we get to see more great action like that!
Next up is the contract signing between Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe. The first match I ever saw of Jay Briscoe was a bloody, brutal cage match against Samoa Joe from 2004 or 2005 I believe and boy has he ever come a long way. He looks like a true champion and has an undeniable Austin-like vibe to him. Jay Lethal first crossed my radar as Black Machismo in TNA and I’ve been a fan ever since. I have high hopes for their clash at BitW and can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Jay Lethal comes out looking very dapper with Truth Martini by his side. Jay Briscoe comes out with his brother and like usual they both look like psychotic rednecks. I love it. Both men sign on the dotted line as Nigel McGuiness tells them how big the match will be. Lethal decides to speak and tells Briscoe he won’t put him through the table now because he wants Briscoe at his best when he beats him at BitW and proves he’s the top guy in ROH.
Jay Briscoe gets the mike and tells Lethal he’s going to have to go back to being Black Machismo when it’s all over. The table is flipped and the shirts come off. Nothing but words are exchanged as both men hold up their titles and exchange a little trash talk as the second episode of Ring of Honor on Destination America draws to a close.
Analysis: Basic contract signing. The match has been built well and has the potential to be great. (Note: It aired last Friday and was awesome!)
This week’s show was lighter on the in ring work and mostly set the table for the PPV that aired last Friday. I like how important this angle makes the ROH TV title look and how both belts are going to be up for grabs. We only get an hour a week, but I thought they did a good job of getting their message across and the tag match between ACH, Sydal, Tanahashi, and Naito was definitely something to remember.
I hope this column is well received and we can do more of these in the future!