6/8 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: Jay Lethal vs. Donovan Dijak in a non-title match, Colt Cabana vs. Adam Page, Kazuchika Okada vs. Matt Sydal

Logo_ROH_dn_crop600By Jason Powell

Ring of Honor TV
Taped May 11 in Toronto, Ontario at Ted Reeve Arena
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV

The opening montage kicked off the show… A video package aired on the Jay Lethal vs. Donovan Dijak match with Prince Nana speaking with Dijak, and Taeler Hendrix with Lethal… Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness were on commentary and checked in from ringside…

1. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) vs. Matt Sydal. The wrestlers shook hands prior to the match. Kelly spoke about how Sydal told him that he wishes ACH would have spoken in private with him, but he has no problem with ACH venturing out on his own. Sydal ducked a clothesline and then went for a standing moonsault that Okada rolled away form, and Sydal landed on his feet. [C]

Sydal performed a flying double knee press off the top rope for a two count. Sydal came up selling knee pain. Sydal went for a top rope huracanrana, but Okada slipped out and Sydal came down face first on the top turnbuckle in a cool spot. Okada took offensive control and hit a top rope elbow drop and then struck the Rainmaker’s pose. Sydal ducked the clothesline and then performed a reverse Frankensteiner. Sydal went for his finisher, but Okada put his knees up. Moments later, Okada caught him with a great dropkick and then followed up with the Rainmaker clothesline for the win. The wrestlers shook hands after the match…

Kazuchika Okada defeated Matt Sydal.

Kelly hyped Cabana vs. Page… The Bullet Club graphic appeared on the screen and then Adam Cole and The Young Bucks delivered a promo in front of the brick wall and teased that they “might come say hello to the champion” in the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: A very good match. This may have been Sydal’s best singles outing since he returned to ROH, and it’s the best showing Okada has had on ROH television in some time. Sydal has been a disappointment since he returned to ROH. It felt like he should have been a bigger deal coming off his Evan Bourne run. He wasn’t positioned strongly and hopefully that will change.

Silas Young delivered a promo in front of the same brick wall that Bullet Club spoke in front of. He held up the ROH coloring book and said he caught his son coloring a picture of ACH. Young told his son that ACH doesn’t act like a real man. Young said his son gave him the book back and said he didn’t want it anymore. Young said his seven year-old son is more of a man than ACH. Footage aired of Young attacking ACH as he continued to speak about how ACH’s father didn’t teach him how to be a man…

Powell’s POV: A good promo from Young. I can’t help but wonder how many viewers laughed and assumed that the ROH coloring book isn’t a real thing even though it actually is. I was disappointed to see this promo take place in front of the same set the Bullet Club used. I thought it was a great idea to give the faction their own backdrop to make them seem unique. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like that was the plan.

2. Colt Cabana vs. Adam Page. Cabana jawed at Page to start. They traded shoves a couple minutes into the match. Page caught Cabana with a shooting star press off the ring apron heading into the break. [C] Page performed shit springboard flip clothesline on Cabana for a two count. Cabana caught a charging Page with boots to the face, leapt forward and hooked Page’s feet into a pin to get the win.

Colt Cabana defeated Adam Page.

After the match, the Guerrillas of Destiny attacked Cabana. Page started to wrap his hangman’s noose around the neck of Cabana. Kelly yelled that they can’t show what was about to happen and ordered that they go to break… [C]

Powell’s POV: I wanted to hear from Cabana more than I wanted to see him wrestle on this show. We heard from him on ROH television once before his title shot and that was from WrestleMania weekend. How does he feel about Bullet Club ruining his title shot in Chicago? Is he going after all of them or someone specifically? Is he more focussed on getting a rematch for the ROH Title? Likewise, I want to hear from Page now that he’s a member of Bullet Club. I was entertained by the match, but it felt like ROH skipped a chapter.

Kenny King and Rhett Titus stood in front of the ROH backdrop and behind a podium. They asked viewers if they are tired of little boys with small biceps and really old dudes in masks. A graphic flashed “Make Wrestling Great Again” as the title of the segment. They spoke about how Jushin Liger is a legend who has fought all the greats. They mentioned Cheeseburger and said when they think of Liger now they think of Brett Favre, Allen Iverson, and “old farts what stayed in the game way past their prime”…

Powell’s POV: Favre had his best statistical season in the penultimate season of his career. The last year wasn’t so pretty, but he only overstayed his welcome by one year. Yes, the Minnesota Vikings fan in me had to point that out.

The broadcast team spoke at ringside and acknowledged the All Night Express promo. Kelly said the previous angle was “broken up” before things went too far. Nigel said there will be another match in that feud. BJ Whitmer made his entrance and a graphic touted his match against Steve Corino for Best in the World. Whitmer cut a promo in the ring about his Fight Without Honor. There was an audible “boring” chant. Whitmer said Corino should kiss his wife and young son goodbye because he will break his body and steal his soul. Steve Corino entered through the crowd and was grabbed by security. Whitmer invited him to have their fight on the spot. Corino got in the ring and then Whitmer fled… [C]

ACH delivered a backstage promo in front of the brick wall. He said his father told him “you do you” as long as you’re not taking food off another man’s plate. He said Silas Young is insecure and jealous of all the things he does. ACH took offense at Young saying his father never told him how to be a man. ACH said Young isn’t man enough to hold down his household…

Powell’s POV: ACH shined in the backstage setting. I didn’t even realize he could cut a solid promo. Hopefully this is step one in telling us what his character is all about.

3. ROH Champion Jay Lethal (w/Taeler Hendrix) vs. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) in a non-title match. Kelly spoke about how personal this feud is for Lethal, who entered the ring and immediately fought with Dijak to start the match. DIjak picked up Lethal and tossed him over the top rope. They fought at ringside and Lethal whipped Dijak into the barricade, which led to a Lethal chant.

Lethal chased Nana into the ring and backed him into a corner. The fans actually chanted “this is awesome” as Lethal grabbed Nana, who smiled at him. Lethal teased punching him and stopped. Weird. Dijak attacked Lethal from behind. Later, Lethal went for a suicide dive, but Dijak shoved him into the barricade. Dijak ran the ropes and then did a backflip over the top rope and onto Lethal, which popped the crowd and drew ROH chants. [C]

Lethal sold knee pain before going to the top rope for an elbow drop that Dijak blocked by reaching up and grabbing Lethal by the throat. Dijak went for a chokeslam, but Lethal countered into a roll up and spiked Dijak’s face into the canvas. Ouch. A short time later, Dijack went for a discus clothesline, but Lethal blasted him with a superkick. Lethal went for the Lethal Injection, but Dijak caught him and powerbombed him.

Late in the match, Matt Jackson and Kenny Omega hit the ring and superkicked Dijak. Kelly claimed the move was intended for Lethal, but he got out of the way even though the story in the ring didn’t seem to mesh with what he was saying. Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Dijak for the win…

Jay Lethal defeated Donovan Dijak in a non-title match.

After the match, the Guerrillas of Destiny hit the ring to help their fellow Bullet Club members. The Briscoes ran out and cleared the GOD from the ring. Jay Briscoe picked up the ROH Title. Jay Lethal stood and took offense while the fans chanted “one more match.” Briscoe handed the title to Lethal. Kelly announced Lethal vs. Briscoe for Best in the World and billed it as the biggest rematch in ROH history. Kelly hyped Kyle O’Reilly vs. Kushida for next week…

Powell’s POV: I assume Dijak was late stopping Lethal from punching Nana because otherwise that Lethal and Nana exchange made no sense. Lethal was very good otherwise, and this was Dijak’s best outing to date. However, the dynamic of the Lethal vs. Dijak feud is a complete mess. We were supposed to like Dijak for standing up for himself when this started, but suddenly it seems like we’re supposed to sympathize with Lethal because Dijak hurt Truth Martini. What?!?

We still don’t know how Lethal feels about being attacked by Bullet Club at Best in the World. Is he a babyface now? I honestly have no clue. This felt like they were going back to a feud they started before they made the call to change directions with Lethal. It’s hard to follow, but I’m sure we’ll still end up hearing the genius of the booker because the show had good matches and New Japan Pro Wrestling talent. The booker has his strengths, but running a strong episodic television show is not among them. I’m not even sure why the Lethal vs. Briscoe rematch is happening or what Briscoe has done to earn the rematch. If this is the rematch of the century, then shouldn’t Briscoe have racked up some singles wins leading up to this moment? Do some of my peers ignore these flaws because they are too busy fawning over the match quality and NJPW talent? Do they even watch the weekly television show? I can’t even imagine the outrage that would exist if WWE or TNA’s creative was so flawed.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features former ROH TV Champion Shane Taylor discussing how his background prepared him for the world today, his run with Keith Lee, why Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship win was so meaningful, and much more...


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