Episode #208 recap and review
Taped at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA
Welcome back TJR wrestling faithful to another edition of the most in-depth and exciting Ring of Honor review going today. This episode is the go home show for ROH prior to their upcoming pay-per-view All Star Extravaganza VII on Friday, September 17. If you want to see a preview and predictions of the big upcoming event look no further than here.
Opening Contest: J. Diesel and Donovan Dijak V reDRagon
The show opens with the House of Truth making their way to the ring. Jay Lethal leads the pack in street clothes and makes his way to the commentary booth. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag champions in case you forgot; I did. They also get a shower of streamers from the wrestling rabid Philly crowd. Things start off slowly as Jay Lethal boasts on commentary.
Kyle O’Reilly and J. Diesel start the match. J. Diesel throws Kyle O’Reilly down after a tie up. They go to a knuckle lock tie up that quickly devolves into a striking match in the middle of the ring. Kevin Kelly mentions J. Diesel has a golden gloves background. Kyle O’Reilly slaps J. Diesel off of an Irish whip and locks in an armbar. J. Diesel gets to the ropes and Kyle O’Reilly gets an arm ringer and tags in Bf. Fish picks up the arm wringer but catches a shoulder tackle from J. Diesel. J. Diesel runs the ropes and catches a kick to the gut. Fish takes him down with a standing side kick for a 2 count. Fish tags in Kyle O’Reilly as they double team J. Diesel. Kyle O’Reilly delivers vicious knee strikes to J. Diesel before J. Diesel reverses an Irish whip. This allows Dijak to get in a cheap shot and get the tag. Dijak chases Kyle O’Reilly on the outside but gets outsmarted by reDRagon on the floor. Dijak gets in the ring and Kyle O’Reilly takes to the top rope. J. Diesel distracts him and Dijak catches Kyle O’Reilly off of a cross body and flings him to the floor. Dijak poses in the ring as we cut the first commercial break.
We return with Dijak still in control. He throws Kyle O’Reilly across the rig with a vertical suplex and gets a near fall. Dijak tags in Diesel who hits a big fallaway slam on Kyle O’Reilly. He tags in Dijak who hits a springboard elbow drop for a 2 count. Kyle O’Reilly gets a boot to the face of Dijak but Dijak maintains control and goes for a back body drop. Kyle O’Reilly reverses and takes down Dijak with a series of kicks. Kyle O’Reilly gets the hot tag to Bobby Fish while Dijak tags in Diesel. Fish takes control and delivers a running knee and an exploder suplex to J. Diesel. Dijak breaks up the pin attempt and pounds Fish until Kyle O’Reilly jumps in. reDRagon proceeds to deliver kick after kick to Dijak as he slowly collapses. They then turn their high impact offense to J. Diesel. Kyle O’Reilly dives after Dijak but he gets out of the way. Fish grabs an ankle lock on J. Diesel but Dijak tries to break it up. Fish won’t let go as Kyle O’Reilly jumps on the back of Dijak and gets a sleeper. reDRagon locks in simultaneous submissions as J. Diesel taps out to a knee bar from Bobby Fish.
Winners: reDRagon via submission
Post-Match: A shouting match starts between Jay Lethal and reDRagon but they are separated by ROH personnel.
My take: This match helped show how great of a tag team O’Reilly and Fish are but also raised questions about their chances in their upcoming singles matches against Jay Lethal. Dijak looked really good in limited action as he combines his raw power with surprising agility for such a big guy. I still haven’t found anything to like about J. Diesel but he plays the role of henchman #2 as well as anyone I suppose. This match did a good job of building excitement for the upcoming PPV matches but can also stand on the quality wrestling displayed. Well done by everyone involved!
Backstage promo: Jay and Mark Briscoe cut a promo about their upcoming match against a mystery team. Jay says he has a pimple on his ass named Adam Page but he will deal with him in due time. Mark interrupts and says it doesn’t matter who they face, they are ready and they are going to whip their ass. Jay says the mystery team gets to game plan for the Briscoe’s but the Briscoe’s can’t game plan for them. Jay offers up his game plan and says Dem Boys are going to show up in San Antonio and punch you right in the mouth.
My take: Who doesn’t love a Briscoe promo? It can’t be easy to cut a promo when you can’t acknowledge your opponents but the Briscoe’s pull it off no problem. They deliver some of the most realistic promos in wrestling today show how good a promo can be if it isn’t scripted to death.
2nd Match: Dalton Castle w/ the boys V Cedric Alexander w/ Veda Scott
Silas Young is on commentary and tells Kevin Kelly it must be a pleasure to have him there. The crowd gives Dalton Castle a great ovation as he struts to the ring. That cape he wears is really something.
Alexander backs out of the ring to delay the match as the crowd cheers Castle further. They finally tie up and have a quick exchange with Alexander getting a quick arm drag. Castle backs up to his corner before the two tie up once again. Castle comes out ahead this time and hits his own peacock taunt. Castle backs Alexander into the corner and delivers a big elbow. Castle attempts a suplex over the rope to the floor but Veda grabs his leg. Cedric takes advantage and nails a big kick to take down Castle. We cut to break with Cedric Alexander standing tall and the boys fanning Dalton Castle.
We’re back with Castle in control until Alexander drops him with a beautiful dropkick. Cedric tries a pin but Castle kicks out. Cedric mocks Castle before dropping a knee on his face. Castle recovers and throws s a couple of punches but Cedric fires back. They trade blows and Irish whips ending with an elbow to the face of Cedric and a clothesline over the top by Dalton Castle. Castle poses as the crowd chants his name. Castle goes after Cedric who attempts to hide behind Veda Scott. Castle takes him down with a very nice unique hurricanrana variation on the floor. Cedric gets in the ring and backpedals into the corner but Castle comes charging with a big knee. Cedric fights off Castle and springboards into him but Castle catches him with a release suplex that took a lot of strength. Cedric takes down Castle with a spin kick to the head but only gets a 2 count. Cedric tries it again but misses. Castle hits a deadlift German suplex into a pin for a near fall. Silas leaves the booth and takes down the boys as they fan Castle. Alexander takes advantage of the distraction and rolls up Castle for the win.
Winner: Cedric Alexander via pinfall
Post-match: Stokely Hathaway distracts Cedric as Moose sneaks into the ring to deliver his vicious flipping spear.
My take: Dalton Castle is really, really good. He has picked up technical nuances so quickly and seems more confident every time he walks out. Philly is a historically tough crowd and they absolutely loved the guy. I like how ROH used their time wisely this week and helped promote two PPV matches with this one encounter.
Main Event: Matt Taven and Michael Bennett w/ Maria V War Machine
Kevin Kelly mentions that War Machine will be competing in Japan next week which makes me think that they most likely will not be the Briscoe’s mystery opponents at the PPV.
The Kingdom starts off with double super kicks but War Machine no sells and divides the team to focus on matt Taven. Rowe starts off and proceeds to slam the hell out of Taven before tagging in Hanson. The beat down continues for Taven as Rowe tags back in. War Machine then uses their unique double team offense to further beat down Taven. Rowe hits a nasty overhead belly to belly before making another tag. Taven finally flips out a double team maneuver and tags in Bennett but he is immediately taken down and pounded with Hanson’s sledgehammer fist in the corner. Maria runs in to break it up and grabs Hanson’s hair. It should have been a DQ right there but the referee allows the match to continue. Maria tries to slap Hanson and he grabs her and puts her on top of Bennett in the corner to attempt double sledgehammer fists. Taven breaks it up as we go to break.
We return with Taven and Bennett double teaming Hanson in their corner. Hanson begins to fight his way out but can’t get past the dropkick from the legal man Bennett. Hanson nails a spinning slam before tagging in Rowe who catches Taven off the top rope and slams him. Rowe then takes down the Kingdom by himself, no selling and dominating to a big reaction. Hanson gets the tag as War Machine sets up a double team move that is broken up by Bennett. War machine wind up on the floor and catch Taven and Bennett as they dive over the top rope. Taven catches Hanson with a back elbow and a sunset flip but Hanson immediately gets back in control. We get a cartwheel exchange before Rowe is taken down and the kingdom is able to double team Hanson. Taven hits a moonsault but can’t get the pin. Bennett hits a superkick and Taven dives but Hanson catches him and Rowe gets in the ring for a double team maneuver. They demolish Bennett and Hanson heads to the top rope for a high risk maneuver but Maria grabs his leg. At this point the Young Bucks come from out of nowhere to pull Maria off the apron. Hanson hits a leg drop off the tope rope following a back body drop from Rowe for the pin!
Winner: War Machine via pinfall
Post-Match: The Bucks nail Bennett with a super kick. The Addiction with Chris Sabin then hit the ring to give us a preview of the three teams that will compete for the ROH tag titles at the PPV.
My take: The building absolutely erupted when the Young Bucks came out. The Kingdom basically got squashed here but I don’t think that rules out a tag title win at the PPV like I predicted. War Machine was also really over with the crowd and should get a tag title run in the near future if they continue to be booked so dominantly.
Honorable Mention: Dalton Castle. This could very well be the future of wrestling, folks. No wrestler has captured my attention quite like Dalton Castle since I began covering ROH weekly and this week was his best television performance that I have covered to date. Castle improves every single episode and has a ring savvy that you wouldn’t expect of someone so new to the business. Unlike a Moose or a Dijak, the WWE could very well overlook this guy and he could be a big player in ROH for years to come.
Final take: This episode as a whole did a great job of making one last final sales pitch for All Star Extravaganza VII. From top to bottom, this card is full of compelling storylines and exciting possibilities. I couldn’t be more excited to cover the pay-per-view and I will get my review uploaded at some point over the weekend. Thanks for reading everyone and be sure to leave some feedback in the comments below!