Ring of Honor Wrestling Television episode #203 Review
After a weeklong hiatus I am back to provide you with a review of last weeks’ Ring of Honor broadcast. I was on vacation climbing mountains in Colorado last week and had an amazing time. All that mountain air and time away from technology really helped recharge my batteries and got me ready to jump back into the swing of things. I expect to have this week’s show reviewed before the weekend and to be back on my regular schedule the following week. We’re finally past the New York tapings and on to some fresh(er) action, so let’s dive right in!
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino welcome us to the Meyer’s Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland. The main event of reDRagon v the Kingdom is announced and Jay Lethal is in the building. Per the usual ROH style we don’t waste any time in getting to the first match.
Opening contest: Watanabe v ACH
Based on what I’ve seen from these two in the past this could be a really good match. We get a tale of the tape and an adherence to the code of honor as the two men quickly charge into each other. Both go for clotheslines that don’t do much damage, then chops are exchanged. Watanabe drops to one knee and dares ACH to land a chop and ACH really lays in to him with a chop that would make the Nature Boy himself proud. ACH won’t be outdone and allows Watanabe to do the same. They continue to trade these chops until Watanabe grabs a side headlock. He takes control as ACH misses a big boot and gets hit with a shoulder tackle. We see a great display of athleticism from ACH as he hits a big drop kick. Both men retreat to their corners as the announcers plug the Field of Honor card. It’s stacked in case you didn’t know. A knuckle lock tie up leads to a Watanabe kick to the midsection of ACH. Watanabe tries and Irish whip but ACH hits several kicks that send Watanabe to the floor. Ach hits a huge kick from the apron on Watanabe as we go to commercial. What an impact on that kick!
After the commercial break ACH is in control as the two men jockey for position. Watanabe hits a suplex and stretches the arms of ACH back before he drives him into the mat and hits a senton slash. Watanabe gets a 2 count and applies a chin lock to ACH. ACH fights out of the hold and uses his athleticism to hit an ensiguri on Watanabe. ACH hits a beautiful dive over the top rope to take down Watanabe. ACH follows this up with a big running elbow in the corner but Watanabe hits a big lariat out of nowhere for a 2 count. Watanabe goes for a fisherman buster but it is reversed into a small package. Watanabe kicks out but ACH hits a big kick to the head and Watanabe retreats to the outside. ACH tries a baseball slide but continues out to the floor when Watanabe gets out of the way. Watanabe tries to ram ACH’s head into the ring post but ACH runs up the post and does a backflip. I’ve never seen that before it was a very creative spot. He gloats a little too much though and gets hit with a German that flips him inside out on the floor. Watanabe gets him back in the ring and hits a big fisherman buster but only gets a near fall. ACH recovers and hits a big superkick, followed by a brain buster, and the Midnight Star for the win.
Winner by pinfall: ACH
My take: This was a really solid match. As far as high flyers go ACH is among the best today. He’s not the crispest worker you are going to see but it gives his offense a wild and chaotic feel. Watanabe was good here as well and while he hasn’t done anything particularly impressive in ROH to date I want to see more of him. Some of the big impact moves should’ve been sold more because they looked absolutely devastating but I never really had time to feel it before everyone was back up and bouncing around again. Slowing down a tad and letting the big moves feel like big moves would have really served them well in this match, even with the short amount of time these two had to work with.
Backstage promo: Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly of reDRagon speak about their upcoming main event match. According to Fish the Kingdom is saying reDRagon is great if you’re into devastating submissions, elite level striking, and drinking our own pee, Kyle says yeah reDRagon is great if you like 5 star matches but then realizes what fish says about drinking pee and gives him a look. Fish says the choice is simple for the kingdom; run away now, or stay and get ran over.
My take: reDRagon has this vibe that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they want to let you know they will tie you up in knots and kick your head off. These guys are the class of a loaded tag division in ROH and deserve to be featured prominently.
In ring announcement: The graphic says “earlier today” and Nigel McGuinness is in the ring. He talks about how great Death before Dishonor was. He says he knows the fans want to see a clear winner and loser and that Roderick Strong has demanded a rematch. Nigel agrees and books a rematch at the August 21 Philadelphia tapings where the winner will take the ROH World Title to All-Star Extravaganza in San Antonio to defend against Kyle O’Reilly. He then announces Bobby Fish will challenge whoever is the reigning Television Champion at that time on the same show.
My take: The crowd wasn’t too crazy about it because all the matches announced are going to take place elsewhere. I like reDRagon in singles action and the matches should be good but I don’t expect them to carry any singles titles in the near future. I saw enough of Strong/Lethal in the draw at the last iPPV to tide me over on these two. Lethal needs to beat Strong decisively to stand out from the pack and make his reign memorable before moving on and I expect we will see that in Philadelphia. I am a little less certain about the TV title picture but an iPPV of Lethal/Fish for the TV title followed by Lethal/O’Reilly for the World title sounds like a good night to me.
Tag team match: Donovan Dijak and J. Diesel w/ Jay Lethal and Truth Martini v. War Machine
Jay Lethal will be on commentary for this one. J Diesel looks so small compared to the rest of these guys and looks really out of place here. The house of Truth feigns the code of honor and takes an early advantage in the match. Diesel starts the match and works over Rowe in the corner. Rowe manages to fight out and get the forearm tag to Hanson who hits J. Diesel with a big side slam. Dijak hits an Irish whip but Hanson hits a cartwheel and clotheslines Dijak. He stacks up both members of the House of Truth on the turnbuckle and hammers on them. He then charges from the opposite corner and hits a bronco buster like maneuver to both men. Hanson is distracted by Lethal on commentary and Dijak hits a big boot to take advantage. Double team work from the House of Truth as Dijak goes for a quick pin. Hanson kicks out but Dijak hammers him in the corner. Hanson shows his power and fights off both men before tagging in Rowe. Rowe hits an exploder suplex on Diesel and a belly to belly suplex on Dijak. Rowe hits Diesel with a superman punch and clears the ring before tagging in Hanson. War Machine double teams Dijak in the corner before diesel pulls Rowe out of the ring. Dijak hits a big suplex on Hanson and diesel hits a spear for a 2 count. We then see the double team offense from War Machine ending in a big top rope splash from Hanson. They then call for their Fallout finisher as Hanson dives from the top rope and gets a pin on J Diesel.
Winner:War Machine via pinfall
Post-match: Lethal angrily berates Hanson as he tells him to get ready for their match in 3 weeks. He tells Rowe to stay out of it and that Hanson is going to choke when they meet for their upcoming television title match
My take: Three weeks from this airing would put us at the show to air on 9/2 on Destination America, provided the damn Bigfoot doesn’t completely devour Wednesday nights by then. It seemed like the announcers wanted to get the point across that Lethal is cracking under the pressure of being a dual champion. I don’t think Hanson will win the TV title but it is an interesting wrinkle in the storylines that are pretty unpredictable because of Jay Lethal holding both singles titles.
As far as the match was concerned I thought it was really good. I’m a big fan of tag team wrestling and ROH is doing it way better than any other US promotion right now in my humble opinion. J. Diesel did a good job of getting his ass kicked and taking the pin but rather than resembling thunder and lightning the Diesel/Dijak team looks more like thunder and a bit of static electricity. The right team won here and War Machine should be in the tag team title picture sooner rather than later.
Singles match: Adam Page w/ BJ Whitmer & Colby Corino v Tim Hughes
BJ is on crutches at ringside for this one after his ACL surgery. Tim Hughes gets a let’s go jobber chant and tries to adhere to the code of honor but is bulldozed into the corner by Adam Page. Page is relentless on offense and hits the Rite of Passage very quickly for the win.
Winner: Adam Page via pinfall
Post-match: Whitmer praises the aggressiveness of Adam Page as Steve Corino angrily looks on. He asked Page if he is ready to make a statement. Page grabs the mike and calls out Jay Briscoe, but Kelly tells us Briscoe is not here this week and Whitmer knows it. Page calls Briscoe a scared little tool for not coming out. Whitmer grabs the mike and comes to the commentary booth. He says Corino shouldn’t have a job for assaulting him and demands that Nigel McGuinness come out. McGuinness shows up with security and the two are separated as we cut to commercial.
My take: Is anyone enjoying the Corino/Whitmer feud? Out of all the midcard feuds that could be built up long term with this much screen time, we get stuck with this nonsense. I’m glad to see Adam Page looking strong here though. He should be a big part of ROH’s future going forward and a high intensity feud with Jay Briscoe could really help springboard Page to the next level.
After the break: Corino has been removed from the desk as Nigel attempts to diffuse the situation. We get a replay of the Corino/Whitmer conflict from a week ago. I could’ve done without that. With only an hour there is no time to recap a feud no one cares about.
Main event:The Kingdom (Mike Bennett and Matt Taven w/ Maria) V. reDRagon
Surprisingly the Kingdom adheres to the code of honor to start this one off. Taven wins rock/paper/ scissors so he starts the match off a la the Outsiders. Adam Cole makes his way to ringside to do commentary and Maria is not happy out it. O’Reilly and Taven tie up and O’Reilly quickly takes control and gets a headlock. Taven gets a sunset flip but Kyle turns it into a cross armbreaker. Bobby gets the tag as the crowd chants his name. Taven obnoxiously tries to start a Bennett chant but it doesn’t really catch on. Bennett and Fish tie up and Bennett transitions into a side headlock and then a shoulder tackle. Bennett misses a clothesline and Fish hits a couple of big kicks to take control before tagging in Kyle. The Kingdom hits a double vertical suplex on Bennett and Kyle gets a 2 count. Fish gets tagged in, hits a snapmare, and floats out of the ring and back in for a senton which gets him a 2 count. Kyle gets the tag but takes a knee to the midsection as Bennett is able to get the tag to Taven. Cue commercial.
We return to see Kyle locking in an armbar over the ropes on Taven. He breaks it but Fish kicks the legs out of Taven. Kyle dives into Bennett with a big knee. They show some highlights we missed due to time allotted but it all happened in the blink of an eye and was very disjointed. Maria provides a distraction as Kyle is taken down. Bennett is the legal man along with Kyle. The kingdom works over Kyle on the floor before throwing him back in. Bennett gets the tag and hits a snapmare into a rear chinlock on Kyle. O’Reilly fights out and does the rock punches where he looks at his palm. Bennett hits a Lou Thesz press and does the Austin elbow drop, and the Austin taunt afterwards. Nice homage to two of the best ever. Taven gets the tag but Kyle gets a leg lock out of nowhere. It’s not enough to take advantage though as Bennett gets the tag and Kyle continues to get worked over. Kyle hits an athletic move and causes Taven to hit Bennett before taking down Taven with strikes. We see the hot tag to Fish who comes in and cleans house with kicks and knee strikes. Fish hits an exploder suplex on Taven and a Samoan drop on Bennett. Kyle gets back involves as the two hit Taven with their signature tag team offense. Kyle gets a submission on Bennett but gets hit with a double team move from the Kingdom. Taven hits the Swanton off the top rope including the Jeff Hardy pose before he jumps but only gets a 2 count on Fish. They go for the spike Piledriver but Fish turns it around. ReDRagon capitalizes but fish only gets a 2 count. O’Reilly and Bennett trade blows in the center of the ring with Bennett getting the advantage with a superkick. Taven hits an ensiguri on Kyle but Kyle keeps fighting out and hits the axe and smash. He tries a vertical suplex but Taven reverses into a kick, followed up by a Bennett super kick. The Kingdom then hits the Hail Mary spike Piledriver on Kyle on the floor. The announcers really sell this and it looked devastating. Fish tries to fight off both men and does a good job at first, charging both of his opponents one after another in opposite corners. Bennett finally hits a spear on Fish and The Kingdom sets up a Hail Mary for the 1-2-3.
Winner: The Kingdom via pinfall
Post-match: Cole is not happy about the spike piledriver on the floor as the Kingdom stomps away on Fish. Cole runs in the ring to put a stop to it. He is able to reason with his stable mates and they back off, but they sure don’t look happy about it.
My take: They chopped a lot out of the match it seemed but what we saw was really impressive. I Loved the Rock, Austin, and Jeff Hardy spots and the chemistry between the two teams.
Honorable Mention: It was a really tough call as no one really went head-and-shoulders above the rest but that is a good thing when everyone on the show steps up their game. However, the team of Matt Taven and Michael Bennett get the nod from me this week. They looked like stars walking out, especially with Maria leading the way. They beat a beloved ROH tag team cleanly because they were simply more ruthless than their opponents.
This was a really good wrestling show all around this week. Every match was solid and every match advanced a storyline. Even the opener stressed how much both men needed to get a win. I didn’t care for the editing during the main event though. They cut too much out of it yet we had time to recap the Corino/Whitmer Snoozefest. In all my years of watching wrestling I have never cared about a feud involving an announcer and I would imagine most people feel the same way. Surely ROH has gotten poor feedback over this yet they continue to stay the course. I’m all for letting angles play out but this can only lead to a match between two guys that I don’t want to see wrestle. All in all I like where we’re heading with ROH and I can’t wait to see the stars of NJPW return to the show.
What did you think of the show? Can you help catch Bigfoot so we can stop seeing stupid reality shows about it? Follow me on twitter @webbanderson2 or send me an email at email@example.com. You can also reply in the comment section below, we really enjoy the feedback. Thanks for reading!