4/20 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: Roderick Strong vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the ROH TV Title, Battle of the Bookers, Dalton Castle and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Liger and Matt Sydal

Logo_ROH_dn_crop600By Jason Powell

Ring of Honor TV
Taped February 19 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV

After the opening montage, Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III (a/k/a Steve Corino) checked in on commentary, acknowledged the setting, and said that the next few weeks of television would come from the “Honor Rising experience.” They hyped the main event…

Powell’s POV: There are pros and cons to airing the Honor Rising show. The biggest con is that they are apparently airing these shows leading up to a pay-per-view, so we get no new hype for pay-per-view matches. Korakuen Hall is sacred ground and I know it was a big deal for ROH to play there. Still, I also can’t help but feel disappointed that the storylines have been put on hold or put even in reverse given that this show was taped prior to the last set of tapings that wrapped up last week. Some viewers will love the fact that they are in Japan and will be featuring New Japan talent. If nothing else, I like that ROH isn’t hiding it, as they acknowledged the taping date in the top corner of the screen, and the broadcast team also acknowledged that the matches were taped in February.

1. Ryusuke Taguchi and Dalton Castle (w/Impostor Boys) vs. Matt Sydal and Jushin Liger. Castle had replacement Boys. The broadcast team had some fun by questioning whether they looked different. Castle set up for a suicide dive, but he stopped when Liger was moving out of the way. The fake Boys entered the ring for the fan spot. A short time later, Liger dumped Castle to the floor, teased a dive, and then had the impostor Boys come in and repeat what they did for Castle for him. Clearly, the real Boys would never do such a thing! [C]

Taguchi performed Butt Butt (long live Iceman King Parsons) on both opponents, then Castle performed the move and the tag partners bumped butts. They continued with their butt offense when Castle picked up Taguchi ran ran him butt first into Liger. Corino explained why some of the fans were wearing surgical masks by saying it’s out of respect for the other citizens to avoid spreading germs.

Later, Castle ran into a knee from Sydal, but he came right back with a nice suplex. Corino noted that it’s Castle’s debut in Japan. Castle followed by lifting Sydal from the apron and over the ropes and into a bridging German suplex. Later, Sydal caught Castle with a kick and a reverse huracanrana. Sydal went up top and performed the Shooting Star Press for the win…

Matt Sydal and Jushin Liger beat Ryusuke Taguchi and Dalton Castle.

Powell’s POV: Taguchi goes by The Funky Dragon and Dragon gear that opens the same way that Castle’s entrance gear opens, so it was a fun entrance. I wonder how the real Boys feel about Dalton’s Japanese Boys?!? Hopefully they realize it’s a long trip and the man has needs. The broadcast teams is doing a really nice job thus far of discussing the little things like the surgical masks worn by fans and putting this over as a special event. They also pointed out that Sydal performed the move that Liger put on the map to win the match for their team.

A video package showed the ROH talent in Japan. They focussed on Dalton Castle, who was dressed way too normal, though at least he had some colorful shades. They showed them getting on their bus and then footage of the ring and production being set up…

Ring entrances for the battle of the bookers took place. Corino put over Gedo as the powerbroker of New Japan because he controls IWGP Champion Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. Kelly said Delirious has competed all over the world and has been with ROH since nearly the beginning, but he said this was his ROH television debut. Corino said he likes the Japanese ring announcer “way better than Bobby Cruise”…

2. Gedo vs. Delirious. Delirious knelt in his corner with his arm out. Gedo walked over and jawed at him, then took the exposed hand and shook it. The bell rang and Delirious went into a frenzy without actually making contact with a confused Gedo. Kelly said this is the 239th episode of ROH TV, yet this is the first time that we’ve seen him. [C]

Footage aired of Moose in Japan with him posing for photos with a number of fans. Shelton Benjamin walked through the camera shot at one point and Corino asked, “Who is that?” Funny…

Back to the match, Delirious was in control, but Gedo came back. In the end, Delirious caught Gedo with a crucifix style rollup for the win. “What a debut,” Kelly exclaimed…

Delirious defeated Gedo.

Powell’s POV: Gedo is one of the NJPW bookers, while Hunter “Delirious” Johnston is the booker for ROH. Delirious was a regular on the old ROH television show, so I guess they are referring to the Sinclair Broadcast Group era of the show. I always got a kick out of the character and it was definitely popular with fans when he was a regular in the ring. I am definitely critical of the ROH booking because, well, that’s my job, but I do respect that he’s a part-time player in ROH rather than a booker who showcases himself.

Backstage, Roderick Strong said he will prove to everybody that he’s the best wrestler in the world. Bobby Fish entered the picture and said nobody envies what Strong has on the horizon. Fish was talking about their match in Vegas, which had not taken place when this show was taped… [C]

Powell’s POV: I have no idea why this aired. Again, I give ROH credit for acknowledging the taping date, but why have Fish hype a match that has already taken place nearly two months before this show aired? I get that they wanted to tell the story that Fish was playing mind games with Strong, but surely he could have done it without bringing up their match.

More footage of the Dalton Castle in Japan was shown…

3. Roderick Strong vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the ROH TV Title. Todd Sinclair was the referee for the match, which is a nice touch considering he’s a longtime employee and an ROH title is on the line. Corino and Kelly spoke about how Fish played mind games with Strong at the airport and all throughout the day. They cut to a break early in the match. [C]

Strong pulled Ishii off the apron and slammed his back onto the edge of the ring. Corino said the lower back is the only weakness that Ishii has. Strong continued to target the lower back by slamming it onto the guardrail. Strong controlled the offense once they were back inside the ring and Ishii continued to sell the lower back pain. Ishii came back and got a two count heading into the final break. [C]

Strong and Ishii fought on the ring apron. Strong powered up Ishii, leapt off the apron, and slammed Ishii’s back onto the floor. The broadcast team sold it by saying that the referee was thinking about stopping the match. Strong rolled Ishii back inside the ring and covered him for two. Corino got into strategy by saying he would have taken the count-out victory rather than rolling Ishii back inside the ring.

Ishii battled back and powered up Strong for a powerbomb that led to a two count. Ishii ran the ropes and Strong caught him with a Roaring Elbow. Ishii no-sold it, but then Strong caught him with a high knee to the head that knocked him down. Later, Ishii took another knee, but then came right back with a clothesline. Ishii followed up with a lariat clothesline for two. Strong came back with a pair of high knees, but Ishii knocked him down with a headbutt. Ishii clotheslined a seated Strong for a good near fall. Ishii performed a brainbuster and scored the clean pin…

Kelly questioned how much influence Fish had on Strong losing. The show ended with Ishii still on the mat following his win…

Tomohiro Ishii defeated Roderick Strong for the ROH TV Title.

Powell’s POV: A good main event. I wish they would have taken the time to produce a video package on Ishii to make him feel like a bigger deal to casual viewers going into the match. I also wish they would have stuck with the aftermath so we could have at least watched the new champion’s celebration. I enjoyed the show for what it was, but I just can’t get over the idea of airing a show this dated and out of sequence heading into a pay-per-view. The pay-per-view features New Japan Pro Wrestling talent, so maybe they will do something over the next couple of weeks to make me feel differently, but it’s still a very strange call, especially since it puts the ROH feuds on hold.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Mister Saint Laurent, who offers passionate words about what MLW delivers that pro wrestling has been missing, addresses criticism of MLW's contracts, straying from the path that his family paved for him, discusses the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view event that will be held on November 2 in Chicago, and more (62:44)...


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