Ring of Honor Wrestling Television Episode #211 recap and review
Taped at MCU Park Brooklyn, NY
Welcome back wrestling fans to your source for the most in-depth and exciting Ring of Honor review going today. This week we’re going to see some of the best matches from the show that ran opposite the NXT special from the Barclay’s center back in August. I know you are all ready to see the fallout from All Star Extravaganza, but the stars of NJPW and a rabid Brooklyn crowd are going to keep us occupied this week. Let’s get to it!
Immediately, this episode of ROH TV feels very different from what we’re grown accustomed to. This event took place outdoors in a baseball stadium and feels like a much bigger deal than your standard episode. It reminds me of the WCW spring break Nitro episodes with the pool around the ring. Ok, maybe it’s not that cool, but you get the picture.
Opening Contest: The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida) V The Briscoe Brothers
Jay and Kushida start this off and Jay uses his power early on to take control and tag in Mark. Kushida takes a stomping in the Briscoe’s corner as Jay tags back in. The Briscoe’s double team Kushida and get a near fall. Shelley is knocked from the apron but Kushida is able to get the advantage on Mark with a bulldog. Kushida gets the tag to Alex Shelley and Jay tries to make the save but is taken down with a big knee from Kushida as we go to break.
We’re back with an awesome view of the baseball field. Mark is taking a beating but takes control with a boot to the face of Shelley. Kushida gets the tag and locks in a Fujiwara armbar, but mark gets to the ropes. The double team continues in the corner as the Time Splitters work the arm of Mark Briscoe. Jay gets a blind tag and takes down Shelley with a big clothesline and locks in a front face lock before reaching over to tag mark. The Briscoe’s continue to trade tags as they wear down their opponent. Shelley either lost a tooth at this point or is selling really well. The announcers mention how hard hitting the Briscoe’s are. Shelley gets the tag to Kushida who flies from the top rope and uses his quickness to take down both Briscoes with impressive kicks. Shelley dives from the ring apron to take down Jay with a big knee as Kushida hits a moonsault on Mark for a 2 count back in the ring. Mark hits some redneck Fung-Fu but Kushida takes down Mark with a very stiff right hand to the jaw. Kushida locks in the Kimura but Mark breaks it up. The Time splitters then hit an impressive double team combination on Jay and then another combo on Mark for a near fall that fooled everyone. Jay evens the odds and the Briscoes hit a razor’s edge/cutter combo for another near fall. Jay goes for a jay Driller but Shelley rolls out, only to run into a clothesline. Jay goes for the move again but Kushida breaks it up. Mark hits a t bone suplex on Kushida but runs into a superkick from Shelley. Shelley then runs into a Jay Driller for the 3 count.
Winners: The Briscoe Brothers via pinfall
Post-match: there are handshakes all around and a tremendous ovation from the crowd as we cut to commercial.
My take: What a great tag match! The announcers put over how, after Jay’s big singles run with the title, the duo is still getting used to tagging again and have a little ring rust. NJPW is known for strong style pro wrestling but the Briscoe’s showed us a little Sandy Fork, Delaware strong style tonight. This was a stiff, hard hitting, well-paced tag team contest that could’ve easily main evented and I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
Watanabe V Jay lethal for the TV title next week is hyped by Kevin Kelly
We cut into the middle of the gauntlet match to determine the #1 contender for the TV title. It’s down to Cedric Alexander and Watanabe but Moose distracts Cedric and Watanabe hits a German suplex followed by a half nelson suplex followed by an STO for the 3 count to win the gauntlet match.
My take: That was weird. I apologize for not getting much play-by-play on this one but I kept expecting the clip to end quickly. Instead, we got to see the back end of the #1 contender match, but it had an odd, disjointed feel. You never got the sense you were watching anything other than highlights and clips so it was pretty much impossible to get invested in the action. I get that they need to show how Watanabe earned the right to face Jay Lethal next week, but showing part of the match didn’t really get this across in a good way. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the title match next week.
Inside ROH w/ Mandy Leon: Adam Page is the subject of this segment as his feud with Jay Briscoe is highlighted, starting with Page calling out Jay Briscoe at the behest of BJ Whitmer when Jay was not in the building. They then show The Decade appearing on the ramp during Jay’s match where Jay says he doesn’t know who Adam Page is but they can fight right now. The match happened the following week, and started with a hard slap to the face of jay Briscoe but ended quickly due to interference from the Kingdom. Page is able to hit a Rite of Passage onto a pile of chairs on Jay Briscoe before Mark is able to break it up.
My take: I really like this feud. It makes sense for a cocky heel up-and-comer to go after a big dog like Jay Briscoe. Jay has been around a long time and has great potential to elevate some of the younger guys that will carry the company in the future. Everything Jay Briscoe does just feels so real. The man has the eyes of a psychopath and I couldn’t help but feel a little afraid for Adam Page and simultaneously admire his courage when he slapped Jay Briscoe across the face.
Main event: Roderick Strong V Kazuchika Okada
Okada is the IWGP heavyweight champion and the crowd gives him a fantastic reception. In case you were wondering, this is what a world class, international wrestling superstar looks like:
Both men show off their wrestling skills early on as Okada takes the early advantage and locks in an abdominal stretch variation but Strong gets to the ropes. Roderick Strong springboards off of an Irish whip into the corner and takes down Okada with a dropkick. Strong hits a back suplex on Okada and tries for another pin. Okada kicks out as we cut to break.
Strong is in control as we return. He hits a vertical suplex and locks a submission on Okada. Okada fights to his feet and bounces off the ropes, but Strong take him down with a dropkick and covers for a 2 count. We hear dueling chants from the hot crowd as Strong backs Okada into the corner and wears him down with chops before lifting him to the top rope for more chops and a big powerslam which gets Strong another 2 count. Strong locks in another submission but Okada is able to get to the ropes. Strong picks up Okada and throws him to the floor. They brawl around the barricade and Okada takes a brutal back suplex onto the railing and falls into the front row. Todd Sinclair, everyone’s favorite referee, hits the floor to check on Okada to tell Strong to get in the ring. Okada crawls over the barricade; but Strong quickly grabs him and continue to use the barricade’s to his advantage. Strong returns to the ring and Todd Sinclair begins the count but Okada is able to slide in. Strong immediately puts the boots to Okada and locks in a submission hold. Okada fights out but catches and knee to the gut. Strong goes for a fireman’s carry but Okada slides out and hits a neckbreaker. Okada now has some momentum and takes down Strong with a series of lariats before hitting a DDT into a kip up. Strong tries to charge in but Okada hits a flapjack and a body slam before going to the top rope. Strong charges in and Okada has to jump down but Strong is able to take advantage and hits a suplex for a 2 count. Strong charges Okada but gets picked up and set on the top turnbuckle. Okada then jumps up and nails a picture perfect dropkick on Strong to send him to the floor. This leads us into another commercial.
We’re back with Strong taking control on the floor and rolling in Okada for a 2 count. Strong looks shocked and slowly gets to his feet. Strong sets up Okada but Okada reverses into a neckbreaker variant. Both men are down as Todd Sinclair begins the count. Strong and Okada get to their feet and trade forearms and chops until Okada misses and Strong hits an Olympic slam. Strong goes for a Superplex for a near fall. Strong goes for the Stronghold in the middle of the ring, but Okada is able to fight his way to the bottom rope. Strong goes for a suplex but Okada reverses into the rainmaker, which Strong ducks, only to catch a dropkick. Okada tries for another rainmaker, but Strong knees him right in the face and goes on an offensive flurry that gets him a very near fall. “THIS IS AWESOME” chants break out as Okada catches the tombstone piledriver out of nowhere but can’t capitalize fast enough. Strong gets up and charges Okada but he gets caught with another tombstone. Okada hits the rainmaker pose and set up the rainmaker clothesline for the 3 count.
Winner: Okada via pinfall
My take: People in New York just don’t chant “THIS IS AWESOME” for nothing. When they do it, it means, well, exactly what they say it means. Strong and Okada tore the house down with this one. While not quite up to the level of Cole/Nakamura from one week ago, this was still one of the best ROH TV matches all year and shows why the NJPW partnership is so important. My only gripe would be with the announcing. I want to hear how big of a deal it is for Okada to come to the US and win in front of the American audience. I want to hear how much pressure is on Strong from the ROH locker room to pull out a win here. I want the commentators to put over how absolutely devastating the finishers from the NJPW guys are. We have a very finite amount of time to work with each week and this commentary team is light years ahead of what you’ll see from any modern WWE programming, but there is certainly room for improvement.
Honorable Mention: Roderick Strong. If I can’t choose between competitors in the best singles match of the night, the award goes to the winner of the match. I didn’t have a problem with that this week, however, as I thought Roderick Strong set the table nicely for the younger, bigger, stronger, and more charismatic star to pick up the win. Okada is a great wrestler in his own right, but Strong is the one who put all the pieces in motion and, from my comfortable position on the couch, deserves the bulk of the credit for making this main event something to see. Congratulations on your first time winning this prestigious, highly sought after award Mr. Strong; you’re Certificate of Achievement and Home Depot gift card is in the mail. Not really.
Final take: This week’s episode confirmed that we are moving on next week to deal with the fallout from All Star Extravaganza. We have had 3 episodes of ROH TV since that PPV and each one has featured quality wrestling and never-before-seen, marquee matchups. If this can be the norm, then I’m just fine with it. I wish the TV title match could’ve been shown in its entirety, but it is time to move on and there is only so much wrestling you can squeeze into an hour. There was a lot more to this Field of Honor event than what we will get to see on TV. The full event is available VOD on www.rohwrestling.com and I will be checking it out when I have the time.
I want to play a bit with the format of this column so please send me any likes, dislikes, or suggestions in the coming weeks so I can make this a more enjoyable reading experience going forward. Use the comments below, twitter, email, or whatever method of electronic communication tickles your fancy. As always, any input is very much appreciated. Thanks for reading!