By Haydn Gleed
ROH TV Hits
Dragon Lee vs Bobby Fish: A nice match that gave Lee another opportunity to introduce himself to a non-CMLL audience. He delivered. The story of the match was dominated by Fish struggling with his ribs which were injured at the hands of his opponent next week Hangman Page, and as a result it felt this match never reached the heights that it could have but it was a story that needed to be told. By Lee winning this Proving Ground match and by impressing the audience with his moveset, fans will be looking forward to his championship opportunity match in the future. Also, Fish’s injured ribs put a massive question over whether he is even fit enough to defend his title against someone as aggressive as Hangman Page next week let alone face him, so it gave a nice hook for next week’s TV title match. Nice smart booking all round by ROH here.
The Kingdom Return and beat Bullet Club: Only a minor hit. The two new members of the Kingdom are relatively unknown so I felt that we needed more than just the “lets walk out with the leader” moment. A quick promo from Matt Taven explaining who these guys were and why they fit into his vision of The Kingdom would have gone a long way here. Also, the win over their opponents was shocking, but I felt it did damage to their opponents (more on this later). However, the return and win gets a minor hit for a couple of reason. First, ROH don’t always get behind new acts and push them as hard as they should, and with a win over three of the biggest acts in ROH it is a massive show of faith in them. Second, although Taven is not someone that will ever be in my top 50 wrestler list, it’s always a good moment from a sporting perspective to see someone come back from such a serious injury and feel confident enough to test the injured body part to the limit. In this instance Taven walking the ringside barrier would have put a lot of pressure on the knee, and he didn’t shy away from it.
ROH TV Misses
Michael Elgin vs. Toru Yano: As I explained in my audio review (available exclusively to the members this week), I’m not someone who says the laws of a sport must be followed to the letter. For me it’s more compelling if there’s some wiggle room for the referee to say come on you are going too far reign it back otherwise you will be disqualified. With that being said, taking a turnbuckle pad off with pliers and beating the holly hell out of your opponent right in front of the referee takes the fans out of the moment, especially when the referee just stands there and watches and doesn’t admonish the culprit for his actions. Added to that, he also didn’t seem to mind when both Elgin and Yano used the exposed turnbuckle as a weapon. This seems to be a regular occurrence in Ring of Honor recently with no explanation as to why blatant rule breaking that would usually result in an instant disqualification is acceptable. Not only that, Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino had the nerve to talk for a good two minutes about how Todd Sinclair, who was the ref in this match, is one of the best in the world. When you also add in the “comedic” Yano moments, which brought a lot more groans and frustrated sighs than chuckles, it adds up to a mess that started this show.
Bullet Club Look Like Chumps: As noted in the Hits section, I can understand why Adam Cole and The Young Bucks lost if ROH wants to get behind The Kingdom. However, it took too much away from the ROH Champion and the ROH Tag Champions too close to Final Battle to justify it. I would be more forgiving if this had been the final and it was a shock win for The Kingdom for a new secondary championship, but this close to ROH’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, the champions should be going in strong and they lost far too much steam here. You could have had almost the same boost to The Kingdom by having them beat The Briscoe’s and Yano, who lost in the first round anyway, or against the Bullet Club B Team while keeping the champions strong.
As always, feel free to get in touch with me either through email firstname.lastname@example.org or through twitter @haydngleed if you want to discuss anything ROH or wrestling related, always happy to chat about either subject.