Reviews

Ring of Honor Wrestling TV 07/08/15

Ring of Honor TV episode #198 Recap

Greetings TJR wrestling faithful and welcome to another review of the best wrestling on the planet, Ring of Honor. The weekly TV show has caught up with the latest iPPV Best in the World ’15 and after a couple of weeks we are now ready to deal with the fallout from that monumental show and hear from the new undisputed ROH world and world Television Champion Jay Lethal. Ideally this would’ve happened on the episode following the iPPV but their taping schedule makes this a necessity. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen any storyline progression on the ROH weekly show and while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the showcase matches from the last two episodes we have a new top dog in ROH and I want to see what he can do. Let the Jay Lethal era begin!

The show kicks off with slideshow of the Lethal/Briscoe championship match with some nice dramatic music concluding with Lethal in the center of the ring proudly holding both belts. I’m a big fan of Jay Lethal at this point in his career and his lengthy run with the ROH TV title has really elevated the belt. It will be interesting to see how the Lethal responds to being a dual champion and there should be some compelling television to come out of that.

Tonight’s show was filmed in Terminal 5 in front of a hot New York wrestling crowd. Kevin Kelly wishes us a happy Fourth of July about four days too late for my broadcast. The announcers also hype the return of top New Japan stars for Field of Honor on August 22nd in Brooklyn. NXT will also be running a show in Brooklyn that day as a part of Summerslam weekend. This will be interesting but as it stands the ROH show could have more star power and is poised to put on the better show unless the NXT show relies heavily on main roster talent.

Watanabe v Dalton Castle

Watanabe is up first and gets some crowd support during his entrance. Big Dalton Castle chants as he makes his epic Peacock entrance. Of all the guys doing the overly flamboyant entrance and gimmick in the last few years I like Dalton Castle’s rendition the best. This guy is polished and smooth and has mastered the little mannerisms that make his character appeal to me.

We get an awkward handshake to start us off as they start off slowly. Castle taunts but ends up in a side headlock. Watanabe gets a shoulder block and sends Castle into the corner to get fanned by his…valets as he regroups.

This rejuvenates Castle who takes control of the match. Watanabe quickly regains control however with a big running neckbreaker and a big submission. Castle really sells the beating as we ease into a commercial break.

Castle is back in control after the break and the two exchange small package after small package after small package. If anything it’s an interesting spot but I can’t help but wonder if, around Catalina Island, Dalton Castle is known as “Mr. Small Package”? Sorry I couldn’t help myself. Double clothesline takes both men to the ground as the crowd is firmly behind Castle. He charges Watanabe but catches a big boot for his troubles. Watanabe takes control of the match and struts around a little before hitting a big senton on Castle. Nice to see some charisma on display from Watanabe after the editing team did him no favors a week ago.

Castle takes control again with a big suplex and stalks the down Watanabe. Dalton Castle lifts him into a deadlift German for a long 2 count. Nice show of strength a la Cesaro that you don’t necessarily expect from a guy like Dalton Castle. Watanabe takes control with a big head butt and goes for a move I’ve never seen before it was similar to a Texas cloverleaf setup but he turned it into a backbreaker. Whatever it was it looked nasty. Watanabe goes to put this away with a suplex variant but Castle fights it. Watanabe wins out however but only gets the 2. Watanabe plays to the crowd a little too long as Castle hits the Fair Winds spinning facebuster to put this one away. Both men shake hands to adhere to the Code of Honor after the pin fall.

*Post-match* Castle gets the microphone and cuts a promo. His valets form a human chair as Castle says he’s the only real man in Ring of Honor. Silas Young, Castles recently signed opponent, takes exception to this and angrily makes his way to the ramp.

Winner: Dalton Castle via pinfall

My take: It was a good TV match, but nothing special. The right guy won and Castle looks good heading into his match with Young. I’ll be looking forward to it. It was also nice to see some more of Watanabe even in a losing effort. The fact that he’s even on the NJPW roster tells me a lot about this guy and I’ll look forward to watching him develop.

Up next is the ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness to introduce the champ, Jay Lethal with the House of Truth. Big “YOU DESERVE IT” chant once Nigel introduces Jay Lethal. Truth Martini speaks first and draws some heat for the very popular but still heel world champion. The champ finally speaks and says he’s the best in the world. He hypes Ring of Honor and says it’s great because he is the champion. He then blows off Nigel but is then asked which one of the belts he will be vacating. Lethal gets intense here and says he isn’t giving up a damn thing. Nigel spells out for him how this will go and mentions the upcoming ROH world title match against Roderick Strong July 24th at Death before Dishonor. He also announces a ROH TV title match against Mark Briscoe for next week’s show. Lethal isn’t happy about this but makes it known he will be a fighting champion. Roderick Strong comes out in street clothes to make sure Lethal knows he’s ready and will be walking out with the belt at the iPPV.

My take: There is that continuity I’ve been looking for! Jay Lethal looked like a badass here and I’ll be damned if he didn’t do his best to get some boos from a crowd that loved him. ROH managed to hype an upcoming event and we have a Lethal match to look forward to for the TV title next week against a skilled opponent. It looks like Jay Lethal is going to get the chance to put ROH on his back and I hope he takes the ball and runs with it. This guy is one of the best in the business today and his heavy match load will really be something to look forward to in the coming months. Great job here ROH and the main event is up next!

The Kingdom (Adam Cole, Matt Taven & Michael Bennett w/Maria Kanellis) VS reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) & “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

We start off with a promo from the Kingdom addressing the dissent between the group and Adam Cole since his return. Maria lets it be known that she’s the leader of the Kingdom and implies that the group has moved on a bit with Cole on the shelf, capturing the IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles. Hopefully this is leading us towards a much anticipated Adam Cole face turn.

Michael Elgin is up first for his team wearing that sweet hooded robe. His partners are up next to a huge ovation. We’ve got an excellent tag team scene in ROH and reDragon is a big part of that. We go to commercial with all six men in the ring and big “reDragon” chants.

These multi man matches in ROH get a little hairy to call play by play on so I’ll stick to the big spots and focus on conveying the story they tell. We start off with Michael Elgin and Michael Bennett and the two big men show off their strength but Elgin quickly comes out on top and hits an impressive stalling suplex that the kingdom attempts to break up twice to no avail. ReDragon hits submissions on The Kingdom while Eglin hold Taven in mid suplex the entire time! What power!

Elgin gets a two count and continues to beat on Bennett. Elgin gets in a 3 on 1 situation and handles it for a while before a dive over the top rope to the floor from Michael Bennett puts The Kingdom in charge. Ac gets the tag in and a triple team takes down Elgin. Cole works him into the corner and gets a quick tag to Taven. More teamwork in the corner as reDragon can only look on. More hype for the NJPW guys from commentary which I enjoy hearing even during a match. These guys are a big deal and you can’t hype them enough during a one hour show. Taven gets the tag as the beat down on Michael Elgin continues into a commercial.

We come back with Elgin crawling to the corner only to see reDragon pulled off the apron by the kingdom. Elgin gets an explosion of offense in as he again tries to take on all 3 men, showing off his impressive athleticism all the while. He’s got the support of the crowd as Bobby Fish gets the hot tag. Kyle O’Reilly joins him as they hit their crisp, high energy offense on The Kingdom. These guys are really innovative and work at a breakneck speed. If you have never seen a reDragon match you check out some of their work with the Young Bucks if you want to see the potential of tag teams in 2015.

We get that multi man ROH brawl everywhere situation as bodies are all over ringside. Eglin has recovered and gets a tag in where he again takes on multiple Kingdom members. Elgin stacks both men up in a fireman’s carry, no sells a kick from Adam Cole, and hits a double Samoan drop on Taven and Bennett. Taven misses a kick and Elgin continues to run through the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Shining wizard from Adam Cole and Elgin looks to be done but he kicks out at 2. ReDragon recovers only to hit simultaneous dives to the outside. Taven takes a powerbomb into the body pile on the floor by Elgin as reDragon joins Elgin in the ring to do some damage to Matt Taven. Taven gets suplexed into a kick into a top rope powerbomb from Elgin but Adam Cole breaks it up. Cole hits a destroyer of the middle rope on Elgin and another out of control brawl ensues. Ac tries another destroyer but Elgin reversed it. Kyle gets the tag as he trades elbows with his former partner Adam. The chemistry between these two is amazing from their Future Shock days. ReDragon then hits their finisher called Chasing the Dragon (Vertical suplex lift by Kyle, a roundhouse kick to the opponent’s back by Bobby, and a brainbuster by Kyle) for the 1-2-3!

Winners: reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) & “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

Post match, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly shake hands to the disgust of The Kingdom. Cole then slides out of the ring to leave without his partners.

My take: Elgin looked really dominant here and was the star of the match. There were some fun spots, a lot of star power showcasing innovative maneuvers, and a storyline progressed in a good way. You can’t ask much more from a TV match.

My Final Take

The show looked better this week as they benefited from filming in Terminal 5. They also had solid storyline progression and a hook for next week with the ROH TV title match as well as the tease of the Adam Cole/Kingdom break up. ROH and Destination America are doing everything right here and this show is poised to be the Wednesday night stand out in the very near future. This is a good product right now and if you haven’t followed Ring of Honor regularly or even at all the company is transitioning to a new era at it is a great time to hop on board. As a wrestling fan these days I find Monday nights incredibly frustrating but Wednesday nights remind me of why I’ve followed this crazy industry since childhood and ROH is a big part of that.

If you want to watch but don’t have Destination America there are other options. I can only speak for what’s available in the US but your local TV stations may air this on the weekends and if you don’t have cable a digital TV antennae may pick these up even if you live in a rural area. ROH also streams their weekly show on their website www.rohwrestling.com if that option works best for you.

What did you think of the show? Feel free to email me webbanderson2@gmail.com or follow me on twitter @webbanderson2 or reply in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!