By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped June 25 in Concord, North Carolina at Cabarrus Arena
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
The opening video aired… Kevin Kelly sat at ringside and welcomes viewers to the show and hyped the Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH Title. Kelly said the match has been given the entire broadcast hour “because it may very well go the distance”…
Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance. Kelly said he doesn’t know if he’s ever seen an athlete more focussed than O’Reilly has been in his preparation for the match. Adam Cole walked onto the stage and restated that O’Reilly will never be the ROH Champion. Cole said O’Reilly isn’t next in line for a title shot, he is actually the person who should get the match. Cole said O’Reilly doesn’t have a chance and he won’t even be wrestling.
The Young Bucks attacked O’Reilly from behind. The fans chanted “Young Bucks” as they put the boots to the challenger. Cole walked to the ring and struck O’Reilly with a chair several times. The Bucks wrapped O’Reilly’s left arm inside a chair and then Cole slammed the other chair down on it repeatedly. Bobby Fish ran out with a chair and then the Bullet Club members fled to ringside and jawed at Fish, who then checked on his regular tag partner… [C]
Powell’s POV: A very good opening. I like that the idea of dedicating the entire show to a title match and I wish they would take that approach with all title matches that air on ROH television. Granted, they’re not actually dedicating the entire show to one match, but I like the idea of opening with a title match because it creates the feeling that the match could go long regardless of whether it does or not rather. The other promotions don’t take that approach because they have to worry about ratings/viewership, whereas ROH doesn’t have the same pressure on syndicated television. It would help add realism and make them stand out in a positive way.
Kelly stood at ringside and then narrated highlights of the previous segment… Backstage, a doctor checked on O’Reilly while Fish sat by. The doctor advised O’Reilly against wrestling and said he believes his shoulder is separated. Fish told O’Reilly that his chance will come again. O’Reilly said he was going to do it as Fish continued to encourage him to get an MRI…
Nigel McGuinness joined Kelly at ringside. McGuinness said he’s had enough of Adam Cole and Bullet Club. He said there will be repercussions…
Powell’s POV: This is the same Nigel McGuinness who declined to suspend Bullet Club after they interrupted a pay-per-view main event because their merchandise makes the company too much money.
1. War Machine vs. Bob Evans and Tim Hughes. A squash match with War Machine pinning Hughes with the Fall of Man…
War Machine beat Bob Evans and Tim Hughes.
After the match, Jay Taylor and Keith Lee attacked War Machine. Raymond Rowe cleared them from the ring and set up for a dive, but they caught him and worked him over. Hanson went to the top rope and took them out with a summersault dive… [C] The Briscoes cut a promo in front of the ROH logo screen about their match against The Young Bucks that will air on TV next week…
2. Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrara. Kelly called it “another standby match” that they had ready just in case the title match didn’t fill the full hour. Seconds into the match, “The Cabinet” headed to the ring and the match stopped.
Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrara was cancelled.
Caprice Coleman spoke and introduced Kenny King and Rhett Titus. They also had security and “a group of zealots,” as Kelly called them, accompany them to ringside. Coleman cancelled the match. King said they were instituting a “buy a ticket program” and said Cheeseburger and Ferrara are not real pro wrestlers because they don’t look like they do.
King told them to sit at ringside with the rest of the fans or be violently removed. Ferrara took the mic and said they didn’t have an elephant, a bear, or an ox, but he knows what they do have. Ferrara pumped his fist and then Moose and Stokely Hathaway made their entrance….
A Young Bucks and Cole promo aired. They clowned around and hyped the Bucks vs. Briscoes for next week… [C]
3. Moose, Will Ferrara, and Cheeseburger vs. Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman. During the match, Kelly said O’Reilly was refusing to take no for an answer regarding his title shot. He said they were still trying to sort that out and there would be an official update at the end of this match. In the end, Titus pinned Cheeseburger to win the match for his team…
Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman beat Moose, Will Ferrara, and Cheeseburger.
Powell’s POV: ROH is doing a really nice job of taking a realistic approach with the O’Reilly saga, but then they had a logic gap by apparently having Moose just ready to come out whenever Will Ferrara called him even though there was no reason to think The Cabinet would have interrupted the singles match. The Cabinet gimmick is really bush league, yet it might actually be more over than the disappointing reunion of the All Night Express.
After the match, Kelly sat at ringside and announced that O’Reilly was blowing off his doctor’s orders and would be taking the title match after the break… [C] Entrances for the main event took place. O’Reilly had his shoulder heavily taped. Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match.
Lethal took the mic and said that contrary to popular belief, he has a lot of respect for O’Reilly. He said he proved how much heart he has and how much he cares about the ROH Title just by coming to the ring. Lethal said they could do this at another time. O’Reilly said he appreciates the concern, but as long as there is a breath in his body then he will keep fighting for the belt. “So let’s fight like men,” O’Reilly said before telling the timekeeper to ring the bell…
Powell’s POV: A good verbal exchange that served multiple purposes. Obviously, it put over the heart of O’Reilly, but it also showed that Lethal has a heart. This was a key step in the move to Lethal becoming a babyface.
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH Title. There was an early break during the match. [C] Lethal hit a suicide dive and looked like he felt compassion for O’Reilly. O’Reilly came back and performed a suicide dive and then immediately cried out in agony while selling the bad shoulder. O’Reilly was able to apply a cross arm breaker. [C]
O’Reilly had a nice flurry and continued to sell the arm. He hit a brainbuster and sold the arm, then covered Lethal, who kicked out at two. Lethal came back and asked the referee to call the match out of concern for O’Reilly, who demanded it continue. They traded punches. Lethal hit Lethal Injection and then shook his head in a negative manner and covered O’Reilly for the win. Lethal slammed his hands on the mat and then told Nigel that it wasn’t right before heading backstage.
Jay Lethal defeated Kyle O’Reilly to retain the ROH Title.
After Lethal left, the Young Bucks and Cole hit the ring and attacked O’Reilly again. They worked over O’Reilly and then security ran out to ringside. Nick Jackson held them off with a chair while Cole and Matt Jackson performed a spike piledriver on O’Reilly. Fish ran in and then the Bullet Club members fled.
Nigel took the mic and said that’s it, he’s had enough of Bullet Club. McGuinness said Cole will never have another shot at the ROH Title as long as he is matchmaker. Cole and the Bucks threw a fit. Kelly said there were finally consequences for their actions…
Powell’s POV: A very good main event and everything involving Lethal, O’Reilly, Cole, and the Bucks was extremely well done. The Bucks finally drew some heat, Lethal is well on his way to becoming a babyface thanks to his actions on this show, and O’Reilly was positioned in a way that makes him look like he has tremendous heart. Nigel’s reaction was over the top and that’s not going to stand, but let’s see where it goes. I assume Lethal wants to defend the title against Cole and that’s how they get out of this. The rest of the show was pretty weak, but the obvious excuse is that those were standby matches. They were not billed as suitable replacements for the main event, but rather time fillers just in case the main event didn’t go the full hour. Overall, this was one of the best weeks of ROH TV thanks to the main event and the angle. Dot Net staffer Darren Gutteridge did not enjoy the show as much as I did. You can find out why in his audio review and in his ROH Hit List, which will be available later today.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Richard Holliday discussing The Dynasty faction in MLW, MJF's departure, the addition of Gino Medina, training under Paul Roma, and much more. Check out MLW Fusion Saturdays on beIN Sports and on the MLW YouTube Page...