6/15 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Kushida vs. Kyle O’Reilly, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito vs. Moose, Jushin Liger and Cheeseburger vs. All Night Express

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 video aired and they went right to introductions for the opening match. Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness, and Mark Briscoe were on commentary. Kelly played up that it would be ROH vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling matches all hour. Nigel noted that Mark has one of the highest IQs in ROH. Mark responded by saying he can also eat the most hardboiled eggs in one sitting…

Powell’s POV: The video wall for Naito looked phenomenal and stood out as arguably ROH’s finest stage presentation yet. I don’t recall them pushing that it would be ROH vs. NJPW matches last week, but I may have missed it.

1. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito vs. Moose (a/Stokely Hathaway) in a non-title match. Naito wore a mask and a suit during his entrance. Naito spat in the face of Moose early in the match. Moose charged him and Naito moved and then threw several punches. Moose caem back with a great dropkick.

Naito went to the ropes moments later and Moose connected with his dropkick that knocked Naito to ringside. Moose teased a dive at Naito, who slid back inside the ring and then knocked Moose to the floor. Naito teased a dive of his own, but stopped and laid down on the mat and mimicked Moose’s first pump. Moments later, Naito dove onto Moose at ringside. Moose caught him and performed a fallaway slam into the barricade. Naito regained control going into the break. [C]

Moose turned Naito inside out with a clothesline and got a two count. Naito caught Moose with a DDT and went for a cover. Moments later, though, Naito ducked a clothesline and performed his finisher for the win…

Tetsuya Naito defeated Moose in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: This was a really fun match. It’s the best performance of Naito that I recall seeing on ROH television. Moose had a good outing and didn’t lose anything despite being pinned, not that ROH officials will be worried about that going forward since he has told people that he is NXT or WWE developmental bound, as discussed in last week’s Dot Net Weekly audio show.

The latest All Night Express video aired with the duo wearing suits while standing in front of the ROH backdrop. Rhett Titus asked viewers if they are tired of seeing superkick after superkick after superkick. They voted to “Make Wrestling Great Again” and also had a graphic with the same slogan pop up multiple times…

2. Rhett Titus and Kenny King vs. Jushin Liger and Cheeseburger. The teams shook hands before the match only to have ANX (Titus and King) attack. ANX worked over Cheeseburger heading into the break. [C] Liger took a hot tag and worked over Titus. ANX came back once Cheeseburger returned to the match. King performed a spinning slam and then Titus pinned him. The fans applauded the babyface team afterward and chanted “Thank you, Liger” as he bowed to all four sides…

Rhett Titus and Kenny King beat Jushin Liger and Cheeseburger.

After speaking about the match during the tag match, a graphic was shown for Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe at Best in the World. Nigel raved about the Best in the World card and said he’s never seen a card like it… Kelly hyped The Briscoes, Jay Lethal, and Roderick Strong vs. The Young Bucks and The Guerrillas of Destiny as next weeks’ main event. They pointed out that the ROH team wrestlers who will be facing off against one another at the pay-per-view. Roderick Strong came out and taunted Briscoe, who stood up and jawed back at him. Several referees ran out and separated them. Briscoe picked up the headset and said, “Mr. ROH, my ass”…

Powell’s POV: I like the Code of Honor more often than not, but it felt out of place here given the history. The babyfaces look like saps for shaking hands and allowing themselves to be attacked. The crowd loved the legendary Liger and the lovable mascot Cheeseburger.

A Bullet Club promo aired with Adam Cole and The Young Bucks. Cole complained that he’s not in the main event of the Best in the World pay-per-view. The Bucks ran off production people, and Cole said Bullet Club said they will show why they are best in the world…

Powell’s POV: I hope we get some assurance that we won’t get a repeat of the last pay-per-view main event that had Bullet Club interference leading to a non-finish.

Kelly and Nigel remained on commentary and hyped Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH Title as the BITW main event. Silas Young walked out and we saw a graphic promoting his BITW match against ACH. Young took the house mic and cut a promo about ACH playing video games and thinking he’s some type of superhero from a Japanese cartoon. Young said ACH is a child living in a make believe world. Young jawed with fans at ringside, then exchanged words with a fan who was wearing an ACH t-shirt. ACH ran out and performed a dive from the ring onto Young and the security guards who were around him…

Backstage, Kyle O’Reilly spoke about vowing to avenge his loss to Kushida in the Best of the Super Juniors. He said he vowed to tap him out. “It’s only been 337 days and I’m right on schedule and you’re out of time”… Ring entrances for the main event took place… [C]

Powell’s POV: O’Reilly’s promo was well delivered and works if you know what he was talking about. I just wonder how many fans were left wondering what the Best of the Super Juniors tournament is all about. It’s a shame they couldn’t at least show highlights of the match to help set the stage for this match.

3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kushida vs. Adam Cole in a non-title match. O’Reilly targeted the left knee of Kushida early on. Nigel noted that Kushida had targeted the left arm of O’Reilly as well. O’Reilly applied a knee bar, but Kushida reached the ropes to break the hold. Kushida came back with a springboard dropkick and then came up holding his knee. O’Reilly got up and held his left arm at his side. They traded strikes and O’Reilly got the better of it with a knee strike heading into the break. [C]

The pace picked up with Kushida performing a Pele, but O’Reilly coming right back with a lariat. Kushida performed a brainbuster. They ended up at ringside where O’Reilly dropped Kushida’s bad knee onto a chair. O’Reilly threw some kicks at Kushida, who was sitting on the chair. O’Reilly told him that he should have beat him in the finals. O’Reilly went for a dropkick off the apron, but Kushida caught him in a cross arm breaker on the way down, which popped the crowd and led to Kushida chants.

Back inside the ring, Kushida blasted O’Reilly with a punch that knocked the mouthguard out of O’Reilly’s mouth. Kushida played to the crowd and they responded with “this is awesome” cahnts. O’Reilly applied a guillotine choke, but Kushida countered into his hoverboard lock. O’Reilly countered out of that and into a pin for the win…

Kyle O’Reilly defeated Kushida.

Kelly hyped next week’s eight-man tag main event for what will be the go-home show for the Best in the World pay-per-view…

Powell’s POV: An excellent main event. There was only about 12 minutes of TV time when the match started and there was a commercial break. I’d love to see a longer rematch on ROH television. This was a very good show overall. The opening match and the main event were the highlights, but it was good to see the consistent hype for Best in the World and next week’s television main event. This was one of ROH’s best TV shows in 2016.

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