By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped October 29 in Baltimore, Maryland at the William J Myers Pavilion
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
The opening video kicked off the show… Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and special guest Alex Shelley were on commentary at ringside. Ring entrances for the opening match took place. Shelley made a gesture with his finger when he was first shown on camera. Corino responded by pretending to pick his nose…
1. Lio Rush vs. Jonathan Gresham. Rush had his left shoulder taped. The wrestlers shook hands per the Code of Honor. They tied up and went to the corner. Referee Paul Turner called for a break. Gresham flailed his arms up and hit Rush’s head in the process. He acted like it was unintentional. Rush shook the hand of Gresham, who put his other hand on the shoulder of Rush, who shoved it away. Gresham put the hand back on the shoulder and Rush once again shoved it away. Gresham targeted Rush’s bad shoulder going into the break. [C]
The wrestlers traded blows with Gresham hitting the shoulder rather than the head. Later, Gresham went to the ropes and was caught by a kick from Rush. They traded rapid fire pin attempts. Rush caught Gresham with a kick. Gresham responded with a big clothesline. Rush came back with back-to-back Rush Hour moves, then performed a top rope elbow for the clean pin…
Lio Rush beat Jonathan Gresham.
Chris Sabin was at ringside afterward. Shelley told Kelly and Corino that he wanted to take care of some business. The Motor City Machine Guns entered the ring. Shelley took a mic said he thought the match was awesome. Shelley said neither man holds anything back and they give the fans everything they have. He said the best part about being in ROH is observing things like that and think the same way the fans do. Shelley said that match made him a fan of pro wrestling. Sabin said they’ve been watching Rush and Gresham for a few months and feels they are the future of ROH. Sabin said they display honor and respect. The Guns raised the hands of Gresham and Rush… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match. As much as I was entertained by it, it didn’t go long enough to live up to the post match gushing. Rush and Gresham did a nice job of setting up tension early in the match rather than making this a respectful match between two babyfaces. Am I the only one who was hoping the Guns were going to turn on Rush and Gresham? I’d take the Guns as heels over the elder statesmen or whatever role they are currently playing. One has to wonder whether this was a tryout for Shelley on commentary even if it wasn’t intended to be at the time it was filmed. With Corino leaving the company in January, someone will have to fill that void. Shelley was knowledgeable and brought a sports-like feel to his call.
An video package aired on the Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly feud to promote the Final Battle main event. O’Reilly spoke about how they were thrown together as a team and they became fast friends. It included early footage of the duo teaming together. O’Reilly said Cole screams confidence, but you can see insecurity deep into his eyes. O’Reilly said he put Cole on the shelf and then he returned with the Bullet Club in an attempt to stay relevant. O’Reilly said Cole ruins his attempts to win the ROH Championship out of spite. O’Reilly said Cole doesn’t realize that he is the one who created the Violent Artist. O’Reilly recalled facing Cole at the Hammerstein Ballroom before and how Cole left a bloody mess and his mother cried in the crowd. O’Reilly said he may have lost the match, but it bothers Cole to look in the mirror and see the scar on his lip because it reminds Cole of O’Reilly. “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you,” O’Reilly said. “I made you famous.” O’Reilly said he will be the worst thing that ever happened to Cole at Final Battle… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good piece of production that told the story of Cole vs. O’Reilly nicely for new viewers. O’Reilly was good in the sit-down setting in that he came off intense and believable.
A segment aired that hyped the various Final Battle pay-per-view matches. It was noted that Lio Rush will be replacing ACH in the six-man tag title tournament finals… The broadcast team spoke about Final Battle and the television main event… Ring entrances for the main event took place…
2. Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. Daniels and Mark shoved and bickered. Kazarian shoved Mark from behind from the apron, then Daniels used the distraction to attack Mark. Jay got involved and the Briscoes got the better of Daniels and Kazarian at ringside heading into the break. [C]
The Briscoes were still in control coming out of the break. The Addiction came back with Daniels whipping Mark into the barricade and then rolling him back inside for legal man Kazarian. The Addiction isolated Mark in the corner. Kelly noted that Kamaitachi hasn’t been seen nor heard from since he walked out on The Addiction after their six-man tag title tournament loss. The Addiction continued to get the better of Mark heading into a break. [C]
Jay finally took the hot tag. “Ricky to Robert and here we go,” Kelly said in a Rock-n-Roll Express reference. The Briscoes took control of the offense for a good stretch. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device, but Kazarian countered into a Flux Capacitor on Mark for a good near fall that drew loud “this is awesome” chants. The Addiction set up for Celebrity Rehab on Mark, but Jay broke it up with a superkick. Jay hit the Jay Driller on Daniels, then Mark hit Froggy Bow on Daniels and pinned him. After the match, the Briscoes offered their hands. Daniels and Kazarian returned and shook their hands… [C]
The Briscoes defeated The Addiction.
Powell’s POV: A good, long tag match. You had to know the Briscoes were going over heading into the tag title match at Final Battle. It’s the right type of predictability in that it was the right move in that it sets up the champions having defeated The Addiction to win the titles, and now the challengers also beat the former tag team champions. It should be a hell of a match on Friday. Plus, we also had Daniels and Kazarian taking part in the Code of Honor, which continues what appears to be a move toward one or both of them becoming babyfaces.
Adam Cole delivered a sit-down interview from a backstage location. Cole said he is tired of the same song and dance of his feud with O’Reilly. He said he wasn’t going to recap their history. Instead, he was going to focus on the past year. He said he made good on his promise to regain the ROH Title. He also recalled saying O’Reilly would never win the championship. Cole said O’Reilly is content and satisfied in life because he’s making a living as a pro wrestler.
Cole said being the best can be miserable and exhausting, but it’s the price you pay to be the best there is at what you do. Cole said O’Reilly’s talent has taken him all over the globe, but he is not and never will be Cole. Cole said the fact that he has to have this conversation again makes him sick. Cole said he has carried ROH on his back and he still has to prove to everyone that he is better than O’Reilly. “Why?” he asked. “Are we out of challengers? Are we out of ideas?” Cole said if you put heroin in someone’s arm long enough they become a junkie. He said if he beats O’Reilly enough, then O’Reilly and the fans will have to admit he’s a loser. Cole said it will be one last time that he and O’Reilly face off and O’Reilly will either choke or win the big one…
Powell’s POV: Excellent mic work from Cole. As much as I enjoyed the similar O’Reilly promo, this actually blew it away. Cole showed a good range of emotions and came off like a confident champion. In fact, the confidence both men showed was great, and these companion pieces sold me on Final Battle. The build felt crammed into just a couple shows, but I love that they didn’t try to cram in another week of hype for everything on the show and instead sold viewers primarily on the main event via the interviews. Join me for live coverage of ROH Final Battle as the show airs on Friday night at 8CT/9ET.