Ring of Honor Wrestling Television Episode #210 recap and review
Taped at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA
Welcome loyal TJR readers to another edition of the most in-depth and exciting Ring of Honor review going today. The main event for tonight has received a ton of hype from the wrestling community and given the talent of those involved you shouldn’t be surprised. If you have been keeping up you know that ROH put on a fantastic show one week ago and given the 2 awesome matches that have already been announced, this week just might top it!
Opening Contest: Matt Sydal V Kushida
Kushida is the IWGP junior heavyweight champion and has a deadly Kimura submission. The fans give Kushida a tremendous ovation. The match kicks off with the Code of Honor and a “THIS IS AWESOME” chant.
We start off with a tie up and neither man can get the advantage initially. Kushida takes control with a drop toe hold and shows off his mat prowess before Sydal escapes. Sydal takes over after a quick exchange with an arm drag. Kushida cartwheel escapes out of a head scissor takeover and takes advantage with a drop kick. Kushida then nails Sydal with punches but Sydal does the Matrix back bend to throw Kushida off, taking advantage with a bridging submission. Kushida powers out as we go to the break.
We’re back with Kushida finally taking control, hitting an arm breaker on the ropes. Kushida flies from the turnbuckle but Sydal catches him with a drop kick. Kushida flips into Sydal and sends him to the floor. Kushida goes to the top rope and hits a Swanton-like dive onto Sydal on the floor. The 20 count begins and Sydal barely makes it back in the ring. Kushida charges him with a kick and a moonsault from the top rope that only gets a near fall. Sydal tries a standing moonsault but Kushida gets the knees up and locks in his Kimura. Sydal gets to the ropes but Kushida remains in control, hitting strikes and an ensiguri. The count begins as both men slowly get to their feet, trading blows on the way up. Sydal hits a reverse hurricanrana out of nowhere but only gets a 2 count. Sydal goes for the shooting star press but Kushida gets out of the way and locks in the Kimura. Sydal tries to fight out as the two trade kicks and strikes with Sydal coming out on top. Sydal goes for the Shooting Star Press again and nails it for the 3 count.
Winner: Matt Sydal via pinfall
My take: Now that is how you open a show! Too often the ROH stars try to get in as many moves as possible in their allotted time but when the NJPW boys come to town they are forced to slow down and incorporate more psychology. Sydal came across as a superior striker and Kushida’s focus on locking in his submission hold would be his undoing. Great storytelling all around in this fun opener!
We return from break with BJ Whitmer on the mike and the Decade in the ring. He demands to know where Adam Page’s main event match is. Will Ferrara comes out and it is announced that he is in the upcoming match.
Four corners survival: Adam Page w/BJ Whitmer V Will Ferrara V Watanabe V Moose w/ Stokely
Well we’ve got quite the cast of characters for this one and it should be an intriguing matchup. Watanabe and to a lesser extent, Moose, get all the cheers as this one kicks off.
Adam Page charges Watanabe with a big boot to take control. Watanabe hits a spinning slam and tags in Ferrara. Ferrara uses his speed to take advantage, sending Page into Moose’s corner for the tag. Moose quickly takes down Ferrara and sets up his spear before Page tags himself in, arguing with Moose as he gets in the ring. Ferrara takes advantage momentarily but Page hits a side slam for a 2 count. Page shows his power and hits a suplex on Ferrara as Page continues to dominate. Watanabe gets the hot tag and takes down Page with a neckbreaker and a Senton. Watanabe hits a fisherman buster for a 2 but Moose breaks it up. Will Ferrara and Moose are legal and Moose clears the ring. Colby Corino hops up on the apron to run his mouth to Moose and catches a big boot. Moose spears Page to stand tall once again. Ferrara tries to take down Moose and gets a tornado DDT but Watanabe catches him with a German suplex. Watanabe tries to hit another on Moose and nails it but is rolled up by the opportunistic Ferrara. Watanabe counters and hits an STO on Ferrara for the win.
Winner: Watanabe via pinfall
My take: This crowd is absolutely crazy for the NJPW guys. Every time I see Moose I get just a bit more impressed by his overall presentation. He looks like a force to be reckoned with and absolutely dwarfed everyone in this match. I’ve changed my tune somewhat on Watanabe; I’ve grown to know him as the plucky, suplex happy NJPW star who is just now finding his niche in pro wrestling and getting comfortable travelling the great distances and overcoming the language and cultural barriers that come with international travel. He has a lovable babyface appeal that only Sami Zayn and Bayley are doing better right now. I found myself rooting shamelessly for Watanabe here and his win was a pleasant surprise.
Main Event: Adam Cole V Shinsuke Nakamura
This is the one we’ve been waiting all week for! The crowd loses it and streamers flood the ring as Nakamura makes his grand entrance. Nakamura smiles confidently as he shakes the hand of Adam Cole. Cole goes straight to an arm ringer from the tie up. Nakamura flips out of it, cartwheels, and reverses into a side headlock. Cole catches a quick head scissor and both men return to their feet to play upon the hot crowd. They tie up again and Cole is backed into the ropes, getting a clean break from Nakamura. Cole charges him and takes a kick to the gut. Nakamura goes for his signature face wash but Cole takes control and mocks Nakamura who slides to the floor. We go to commercial.
We return with Nakamura in control on the outside. He tries to charge Cole on the guardrail but Adam Cole turns it into a superkick. The action returns to the ring and Cole puts the boots to Nakamura in the corner. Cole hits a snapmare, teases a big move off the ropes but slides into a simple side headlock. Nakamura gets the ropes but Cole maintains the advantage and gets cocky. Nakamura gets a kick to the head out of nowhere to take control and rams his knees into the head of Cole before hitting a gordbuster for a 2 count. Nakamura pulls up Cole and tries a suplex but Cole is able to fight out and takes down Nakamura with kicks for a 2 count. Cole tries a figure four but Nakamura gets to the ropes. Cole continues to stomp Nakamura as we cut to the break.
Back to the action, Cole is still in control. He hits a backbreaker and then locks on the figure four in the middle of the ring. Nakamura sells the move to perfection and the crowd rallies behind him as he crawls to the bottom rope to force the break. Cole continues to work the leg with dragon screw leg whips. Cole calls for the figure four again but Nakamura reverses it into a cross armbreaker pin. Cole kicks out but is caught with an ensiguri as both men are down and slowly working to their feet.
Nakamura takes advantage and hits double running knees and a backstabber on Cole, followed by an inverted suplex. Nakamura sells the knee and is taken down by a flying kick from Adam Cole. Cole is up first and pulls down his right knee pad, nailing a shining wizard on Nakamura for a near fall. Cole grabs a rear waist lock but Nakamura reverses it. Cole turns that into a bridging suplex with a pin but only gets a two count. Cole goes after Todd Sinclair at this point out of frustration but comes to his senses before hitting the official. Cole swaggers up to Nakamura and goes for the vertical suplex. Nakamura knees him and is able to take control and hit a Boma Ye. Both men fight to their feet and trade blows with Nakamura coming out on top with an axe kick and a boma ye for a 2 count. Nakamura warms up and tries a 3rd but Cole reverses into a fireman’s carry neckbreaker. Cole tries for another suplex but Nakamura reverses into a landslide and another Boma Ye for a 3 count!
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall
My take: If you didn’t like that one I don’t know what to tell you. Are you sure you really like this wrestling thing? This is what happens when two of the best in the world get a reasonable amount of time in the ring and the freedom to create as artists, and it is absolutely beautiful, in a violent sort of way. Notice how they played the crowd like a fiddle, giving them time to react and take in the epic moment happening before their eyes. Nakamura usually outshines his opponent but Cole wouldn’t have it, injecting his own charisma into the match and matching the King of Strong Style in every way imaginable. If I had one gripe, it would be the lack of selling from the announcers. Maybe I’m spoiled by the excellent NJPW show on AXS-TV, but hearing Mauro Ranallo scream out “Boma Ye” with a level of enthusiasm you would expect from Jim Ross during his “Bah Gawd” heyday helps get over the finisher and the wrestler performing it. Not that Nakamura needs any help getting over with the live crowd, but if you are a part of the cable audience that doesn’t follow NJPW you wouldn’t even know what the move is called and the finish may have felt a little flat because the commentary completely no sold it. That is all I have for a complaint; if you only ready this review and typically skip the show I try to let you know what to seek out as objectively as possible. This is one of those times where you owe it to yourself to watch this match, it was that good.
Honorable mention: Wow, how do I pick between Adam Cole and Shinsuke Nakamura? I would love to give this award to both men as they both deserve it but I’m going to stick to my rule of one wrestler or tag team winning. No sense in devaluing my own made up award. I saw how WCW died and I’m not going out like that, no sir. I like it when wins and losses matter and when two performers go out there and come together to put on a masterpiece like Cole and Nakamura did, the award goes to the winner. Congratulations, Shinsuke Nakamura, you have joined the very exclusive Honorable Mention club.
Final take: ROH has finally figured out the formula to their taping schedule woes. Great wrestling is timeless and wrestling fans were very excited for this one despite it having been taped over a month prior. Other than BJ Whitmer blathering on for a minute we didn’t really get any promo work; all the stories were told between the ropes and that works just fine for me. I believe we should be on to a fresh set of tapings for next week with follow up to the last pay-per-view. I don’t have a great deal of faith in the TV execs over at Destination America, what with their supernatural fetish and all, but surely somebody is paying attention to how much this show has improved in regards to production quality and storyline continuity sine debuting in June, even after losing their prime time slot. Regardless, ROH will be just fine with or without them; it’s a great time to be a wrestling fan!
What did you think of the show? Follow me on twitter @webbanderson2 and reply in the comments below. Thanks again for reading!