By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped February 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Live
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
After the opening video aired, a shot outside the venue was shown. Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III (a/k/a Steve Corino) were on commentary… Ring introductions for the opening match took place…
1. Roderick Strong vs. Adam Page vs. Matt Sydal vs. Moose in a four corner survival match. Moose threw a great dropkick at Page early in the match. Moose continued to shine as he caught Sydal going for a huracanrana over the top rope, then powerbombed him onto the edge of the ring. Strong kicked Moose through the ropes, then Page performed a shooting star press off the apron onto Strong heading into the commercial break. [C]
After the break, Strong slammed Moose onto the apron. In the ring, Sydal performed a simultaneous jawjacker on Strong and a DDT on Page. It looked a bit contrived, but Sydal pulled it off. Strong took the obligatory Moose punches, then avoided the big one by chopping him first. Moose came right back with a big clothesline.
Moose stacked Page and Sydal on the top rope and then dropkicked them. Moose kicked Strong away while sitting on the top rope, but Sydal recovered and performed a huracanrana off the top rope. Strong delivered a gutbuster on Moose and then Page flipped over the rope and clotheslined Moose.
Page also performed a nice suplex on Sydal. Page went to the ring apron for a springboard move only to have BJ Whitmer run out and grabbed Page’s leg while the ref was tending to Sydal. Page kicked Whitmer away and then did a silly flip over the top rope for no reason. Sydal recovered and got the better of Page, then performed the Shooting Star Press for a two count. Strong picked up Sydal and hit a move, then performed his finisher on Page and pinned him… [C]
Roderick Strong defeated Adam Page, Matt Sydal, and Moose in a four corner survival match.
Powell’s POV: A random four-way match as the four corner survival matches typically are. There was the usual good action from the ROH wrestlers, but I wish booker Hunter Johnston would create reasons why these four-ways exist other than to fill time or to get wrestlers on pay-per-view cards. By the way, I like Page, but his flips over the top rope into clotheslines look a little silly.
Adam Cole came to the ring for a promo and asked who was ready for story time. Cole acknowledged his recent losses to Matt Sydal and in the Triple Threat for the ROH Title. Cole said he confidently stands before the fans as the best damn pro wrestler on the planet. He said there’s not a man in the locker room or watching on TV who can deny that he is the uncrowned world champion.
Cole said he beat Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle and will continue to beat him. The fans chanted for O’Reilly. Cole promised that O’Reilly will never be ROH Champion. Cole said he will be the man who beats Jay Lethal for the ROH Title. He said Lethal doesn’t stand a chance against him in a one-on-one match. He said Lethal has the House of Truth, and O’Reilly has Bobby Fish, whereas he is without his Kingdom. Nevertheless, he vowed to be the next ROH Champion.
Matt Taven made his entrance wearing a knee brace and using a crutch to get to the ring. Taven entered the ring and hugged Cole. Taven said the Kingdom is back on ROH television for the first time in 2016. Taven said they will pick up right where they left off in 2016. Taven boasted about winning gold in ROH and in Japan. “Everyone except for you,” Taven said to Cole.
Taven said Cole had two chances to win the ROH Title and he blew it both times. Taven said Cole got hurt and he had to keep him relevant. Taven said Cole isn’t better than him, and Taven claimed that he was the real star of the Kingdom. Cole said Taven had a lot of nerve. Taven recalled Cole telling him that he dropped the ball even though he blew his knee out in his match.
Taven told Cole that “this is the end.” Taven said that when Cole thinks things are finished, they have just begun. Taven said the Kingdom will be rebuilt in his image and the only thing finished about the faction was Cole. Taven left the ring as Cole looked thrown off by his words… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’m happy that Taven was flown in for the show and presumably got paid, but I have no idea why this promo occurred now rather than when he’s closer to returning. And if Cole is a heel, then I have no idea why he was left to stand there with his dick in his hand after the injured Taven tore into him. I guess we’ll see if Cole is turning or where this goes, but this was a strange call.
Dalton Castle delivered a promo in front of the ROH logo backstage. Castle said he’s never been a fan of the rules and said he’s a clothing optional man. Dalton hyped his Fight Without Honor match against Silas Young for next week…
Powell’s POV: It’s always nice to see some level of hype for a future television main event. In a perfect world, they would have done something in front of the live crowd, but it’s certainly better than nothing. I get a huge kick out of Castle, but this felt like a time for his character to get worked up while talking about the match given that it seems like a feud ender. Instead, he opted to keep it lighthearted.
The broadcast team recapped the Cole and Taven angle…
2. Cheeseburger vs. Foxx Vinyer. Kelly noted that Vinyer was a Top Prospect Tournament entrant. Just as Cheeseburger was about to perform his finisher, Rhett Titus and Kenny King ran out and pulled Vinyer from the ring and attacked him. The broadcast team indicated that Cheeseburger was disqualified, but no announcement was made by the ring announcer…
Foxx Vinyer beat Cheeseburger by DQ.
After the match, Titus and King said they like Cheeseburger and he’s one of them and not one of the people. They spoke about sacrifices that fans don’t understand and said the fans don’t care about Cheeseburger. King said Cheeseburger had more heart in his “little, tiny… bicep” than the fans have in their entire bodies.
The All Night Express members read negative fan tweets about them and then lashed out at the fans. King snuck in a plug for their ANX t-shirts. King said the fans would rather cheer for spot monkeys like the Young Bucks. King and Titus took shots at the Briscoes and War Machine, then said the fans even like Cheeseburger more than them. The fans chanted for him.
King said Cheeseburger actually is kinda like the fans. They made Cheeseburger read the slogan on the back of their t-shirt and then attacked him. Kelly went off on commentary about how King ran away from ROH once he became a tag champion and said it’s not the fans’ fault that they couldn’t beat War Machine. War Machine and The Briscoes ran out, and ANX ran off. The Briscoes picked up the ROH Tag Titles, which led to a little jawing from War Machine…
Powell’s POV: The ANX rant overstayed its welcome a bit, but I like it overall because they were clearly heels for a change and established issues with three different teams in one promo. Kelly was very good here in terms of sounding off on the heels in a way that said he was offended by their comments.
Ring entrances for the ROH Title match took place. Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match… [C] Kelly and Corino ran through the tale of the tape…
3. Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini, Taeler Hendrix) vs. Hirooki Goto for the ROH Title. Lethal and Goto went right at one another. Goto grabbed the first prolonged stretch of offense. The crowd was quiet early on. Kelly hyped Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Kazuchika Okada and Gedo. He also hyped upcoming television matches with Kenny Omega vs. ACH, and War Machine vs. Roppungi Vice for the ROH Tag Titles.
Goto ran into a Lethal boot in the corner and no-sold it. Goto immediately clotheslined Lethal in the corner and then they fought on the ropes. Goto got the better of it, but he was distracted by Hendrix, who climbed onto the apron. Lethal snuck out from underneath Goto, tripped him up, and dumped him to ringside. Lethal followed up with a suicide dive. Martini entered the ring and did his Trutharooni to a babyface reaction. Lethal remained in control heading into the break. [C]
Goto turned Lethal inside out with a clothesline. He followed up with a headbutt that Lethal sold by acting loopy. Goto followed with a slam onto his knee and covered Lethal for two. Hendrix reached in and grabbed Goto, who responded by stomping her fingers. Goto caught Truth trying to use the stupid Book of Truth, but Lethal used the distraction to hit a superkick and then Lethal Injection for the win…
Jay Lethal defeated Hirooki Goto to retain the ROH Title.
After the match, Lethal was celebrating with Truth and Hendrix when Donovan Dijak and Prince Nana walked out together and entered the ring behind Lethal, who was surprised to see the smiling Dijak. Lethal punched Dijak, who fired back and clotheslined him to ringside. Truth hit Dijak with the stupid book. Dijak no-sold it and smiled. Truth backed into Nana and bickered with him for a moment, then walked into a big boot from Dijak, who then played to the crowd to close the show…
Powell’s POV: An ROH wrestler beat someone from New Japan Pro Wrestling! It’s not the first time, but it’s the first time in a long time following NJPW’s domination on pay-per-view and last week’s television. The main event was entertaining. The fans were not as hot for Goto as one might expect, but they seemed to gain interest in the match as it went on. I really wish ROH would produce some video packages on the NJPW talent that we don’t see regularly. It’s another case of the company expecting their fanbase to follow other promotions to know who these wrestlers are. I didn’t see the closing angle coming. It will be interesting to see whether they are setting up a television match or a real program between Lethal and Dijak. I’m curious to see how Dijak will perform in a match against Lethal. I must say that it doesn’t help Dijak to have Nana with him. Nana feels like the manager of undercard wrestlers. Perhaps they can shed their undercard image together, but I’ve never quite figured out what Nana really adds to the acts he’s been involved with.