By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped January 9 in Concord, North Carolina
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
The opening video played and then they went right to introductions for the opening match… Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary…
1. Frankie Kazarian (w/Chris Sabin) vs. Alex Shelley. They recapped Christopher Daniels being suspended for punching a referee. Sabin joined the broadcast team and said he didn’t want to talk about his former partner Shelley. Kazarian slapped the hand of Shelley rather than shaking it. Kazarian stalled and worked the referee with a hair pull before taking Shelley down with a DDT heading into the break. [C]
As the match continued, Steve Corino spoke via telephone with the broadcast team and said the time for talk is over. He said his war with BJ Whitmer has gone on long enough. He said it’s on next week. Shelley came back and clotheslined Kazarian to the floor. Shelley caught him with a high knee off the apron. Kazarian came back with a cutter for a two count.
Late in the match, Kazarian went to the ropes, but Shelley headbutted him off and then went for a splash, but Kazarian put his knees up. Kazarian grabbed the hammer used for the ring bell and swung at Shelley, who ducked and then suplexed him. Sabin stood on the apron. Shelley threw the hammer to him, then blasted Kazarian with a superkick and followed up with Sliced Bread No. 2 for the win… [C]
Alex Shelley beat Frankie Kazarian.
Powell’s POV: I expected a faster paced match, but Kazarian actually kept things pretty slow early on while he was on the offensive. I’m not complaining, as it made Shelley’s flashier offense stand out. Still, the match never seemed to reach a level you would expect from these two even down the stretch. It wasn’t bad, but nothing really stood out either. I want to be into the Shelley and Sabin dynamic, but nothing about it has been very compelling. While I always welcome ROH taking the time to set up a match or a segment for next week, the Corino call felt awkwardly timed coming in the middle of the match that had nothing to do with his feud with Whitmer.
Footage aired of Donovan Dijak being fired from the House of Truth. Nigel said the move didn’t surprise him because Truth is an idiot…
2. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys vs. Joey Daddiego (w/Truth Martini). Nigel said Daddiego has been training harder than ever and is thick with muscles. He added that some would say he is thick between the ears as well. Funny. Truth cut a promo and said The Boys need a daddy. He asked who’s your daddy and said the answer is Joey Daddiego.
During the match, Truth entered the ring and did a Spinarooni. He moonwalked and The Boys held the ropes open, causing Truth to tumble to the floor. There was a cool spot where Castle put Daddiego on the top of one corner, then leapt over the top rope before running over and kneeing his head. Castle followed up with his finisher for the win…
Dalton Castle pinned Joey Daddiego.
After the match, Silas Young came out and said The Boys were named Brent and Brandon. He spoke about trying to teach them to be men. Suddenly, the Beer City Bruiser grabbed The Boys from behind, and then Young attacked Castle and performed his Misery finisher on him. Silas picked up the mic and continued his promo.
Young said The Boys disappointed him, but today they can choose between being men or remain boys. The Boys attacked Young. Bruiser pulled one off and slammed him down, then Young recovered and they cleared The Boys from the ring. Castle recovered and went after the heels, but Silas and The Bruiser outnumbered him and left him lying…
Powell’s POV: The best feud in ROH has been going for months and it’s not losing any momentum with this viewer. Castle is a star and I’m thrilled that the unique dynamic between these characters has led to bigger and better things for the underutilized Silas. I’m also happy to see the Bruiser get more ROH work, as he and Silas definitely click together.
3. Leon St. Giovanni vs. Action Ortiz in a Top Prospect Tournament match. Footage aired of Brian Fury and Punisher Martinez winning the other opening round matches. Kelly said Tommy Dreamer trained Ortiz and thinks he has the brightest future out of everyone he’s trained. Giovanni went for a suicide dive early, but Ortiz caught him with a shot as he came through the ropes.
Later, Giovanni performed a nice corkscrew dive over the top rope and onto Ortiz on the floor. Ortiz came back with a move he calls the Tilt Screen and got the clean win…
Action Ortiz beat Leon St. Giovanni.
A brief video hyped the 14th Anniversary pay-per-view event…
Powell’s POV: A solid prospect match. Ortiz seems to be going for a Bam Bam Bigelow look with the full body suit, but he’s just not as physically or imposing. He has a bit of a baby face that works against him and his physique is a bit indy-riffic, but he can change that with some gym work. I’m not trying to rip the guy, as I felt that both guys showed potential.
Stokely Hathaway was interviewed by Kevin Kelly at ringside. Hathaway said that 2016 will be the year of Moose. He said they had highs and lows last year, but the formula they were using wasn’t working. He said they are starting at the top this year and are doing so by challenging “the so-called best wrestler on the planet” Kazuchika Okada. Hathaway said he was calling Okada out for a match at the pay-per-view…
Footage aired from Final Battle 2015 of the All Night Express beating The Briscoes and The Young Bucks to becoming No. 1 contenders… Ring entrances and introductions for the ROH Tag Title match took place… [C]
Powell’s POV: Kelly usually does good work, but he could have put that challenge over more than he did. He acted surprised and simply said, “Well, it won’t get any bigger for Moose” before quickly setting up the recap video. There’s plenty of time to talk about the match, but it just felt like Kelly underplayed it when he should have been raving about how great the match could be.
4. War Machine vs. Rhett Titus and Kenny King for the ROH Tag Titles. Hanson picked up tag partner Ray Rowe and dropped him back first onto Titus heading into the break. [C] The teams brawled at ringside with War Machine getting the better of it. Titus whipped Rowe into the barricade, then he and Hanson both returned to the ring as the ref’s count reached 19. Rowe tossed Titus to the floor and then performed a suicide dive.
Later, War Machine was setting up for their finisher on King, who avoided it and kicked Hanson off the ropes with a kick. Rowe went for a double knee lift in the corner, but King pulled the referee in his path. Nigel said it appeared King pulled the referee, but he also said he may have been simply trying to get out of the way.
With the referee down, King and Titus brought a table inside the ring and set it up in the corner. They set up for a move on Rowe, who escaped and performed a uranage on King that drove him through the table. The referee recovered in time to see it and called for the DQ. The teams fought and security ran out, leading to a pull apart brawl. Kelly hyped The Young Bucks vs. ACH and Matt Sydal for next week…
Rhett Titus and Kenny King beat War Machine by DQ.
Powell’s POV: A decent match with a rushed brawl at the end. Security hit the ring before it even started to feel like it was getting out of hand, so it felt a little contrived. Still, I liked the finish in that ANX gets a cheap DQ win and came off heelish in the process. I haven’t really been sure what to make of them in terms of being heels or babyfaces since they returned, so it’s nice to see them pick a direction.
I really wish we would have heard from both teams. It should feel special to have an ROH Tag Title match on television, and ROH could easily accomplish that by giving the teams mic time and even by showing backstage shots of them getting ready for the match throughout the course of the show. Instead, it just came off like an ordinary ROH television main event. ROH could really improve their television show by making main events feel more important and it would require minimal effort on their part.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...