By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped July 16 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
ROH TV opening with a recap of the announcement of the Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole match for the ROH Title that will headline Death Before Dishonor on Friday… The opening video aired… Kevin Kelly and matchmaker Nigel McGuinness were on commentary…
1. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) vs. Lio Rush. The broadcast team noted that the match featured the 2015 and 2016 winners of the Top Prospect Tournament. Dijak used his size and power to get the better of Rush early. Rush came back and the Nana shoved him at ringside. Rush shoved Nana to the floor. Back inside the ring, Dijak caught Rush with a boot for a two count. Rush was back in control following a twisting moonsault off the bottom rope and onto Dijak on the floor heading into the break. [C]
Dijak performed a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. He went for Feast Your Eyes, but Rush slipped out and caught him with a kick and additional strikes before DDTing him and then connecting with a springboard kick for two. Dijak came back with a chokeslam onto his knee. Nana called for one more. Dijak went for Feast Your Eyes again, but Rush slipped out and performed a reverse huracanrana. Rush performed a frogsplash for another two count.
Rush acted shocked that he didn’t get the win. The fans chanted “that was three.” Nigel said Rush doesn’t have enough body weight to keep Dijak down. Dijak went for his finisher again, but this time Rush caught him in a crucifix pin for the win. After the match, Nana and Dijak put the boots to Rush. Jay White ran out for the save. Kamaitachi ran out and attacked White from behind… [C]
Donovan Dijak beat Lio Rush.
Powell’s POV: First off, the match was entertaining with good near falls that the live crowd bought into. I wasn’t crazy about Rush going over. I like him and I think he has upside, but Dijak just scored the biggest win of his career by beating Moose, yet he lost in his very next match. Yes, that helped make the match an upset, but it also derails any momentum that Dijak gained. I want to like Kamaitachi, but they already showed us that White can defeat him in a recent singles match.
Dalton Castle stood with The Boys and was delivering a promo in front of the big screen when they were interrupted by The Cabinet of Kenny King, Rhett Titus, and Caprice Coleman. The Cabinet accused Castle of being smoke and mirrors. Castle said he doesn’t have to protect the Boys because they will kick anybody’s ass. King said they had to check the polls, but they are going to remove them from wrestling…
Powell’s POV: I smell a six-man tag. Unfortunately, it’s a rotten smell in that I’d rather see Castle involved in something more high profile, and The Cabinet act is terrible.
At ringside, Kelly and McGuinness spoke about how they were going to make the ROH Title match official later in the show. Kelly set up footage of War Machine being attacked and left lying backstage by Keith Lee and Shane Taylor…
Kelly interviewed Hangman Page (formerly known as Adam Page) at ringside. He said every move he makes is for the Bullet Club. He said the Briscoes have something he wants in that IWGP title belts. He said the issue between him and Jay is personal because everyone thinks he’s the most violent and vicious. Page said the ring is his gallows and he will put Jay down.
Jay Briscoe made his entrance and fought with Page at ringside. Security ran out and pulled them apart. A graphic hyped The Addiction for after the break… [C]
Kelly recapped the pull apart brawl and said the tag team main event was up in the air due to the Motor City Machine Guns being injured. In the ring, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian boasted that they have the night off. They cut to RPG Vice coming out and saying they are completely healthy and wanted an ROH Title shot. The Addiction weren’t crazy about their tag title match challenge.
They cut to the Young Bucks coming out. They said they could make it a five-star classic if Nigel would make it a three-way dance. The crowd cheered. Nigel took the mic and said that Daniels said they were signed to face War Machine and The MCMG, so he couldn’t make the match. Nigel said RPG Vice deserve the tag title match. He said the Bucks don’t deserve it because of what they’ve done outside the ring. Nigel announced RPG Vice vs. The Bucks with the winner earning a tag title shot in two weeks…
Powell’s POV: My lord, is Nigel a secret member of The Bullet Club? Sure, he says things like Adam Cole will never get a title shot, but he gave in just a week later. Then he acknowledged the misdeeds of the Bucks, who helped Cole, yet he still gave them a spot in the No. 1 contenders match. Keep in mind that he’s the same guy who once said he would suspend the group if they didn’t make the company so much merch money. I don’t really think they are going with a heel matchmaker. Rather, I find some the booking to be contradictory.
2. The Young Bucks vs. Rocky Romero and Barreta to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian sat in on commentary. RPG were apparently the babyfaces, but the Bucks did the crowd pleasing moves and played to the adoring crowd. RPG came back and also played to the crowd going into the break. [C]
With RPG down, the Bucks went over and superkicked Daniels and Kazarian. The superkicks continued on RPG Vice. Barreta performed a Dudebuster on Matt Jackson for a two count. Lte in the match, Romero took out Nick Jackson with a suicide dive. Baretta performed a running knee on Matt Jackson and covered him, but Matt hooked his arms and countered into a pin for the win…
The Young Bucks beat RPG Vice to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles.
After the match, The Addition attacked the Young Bucks. Daniels and Kazarian hit Celebrity Rehab on Matt Jackson and left both Bucks lying… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, so much for the Bullet Club going for heat as it seemed like they might when they shaved the head of Jay Lethal. The match was entertaining and the crowd was receptive. I just didn’t really care which team went over. In fact, I’m really down on the tag division in ROH. There are plenty of good teams, but the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired and the champions’ act feels tired.
Kelly hyped the Death Before Dishonor and ran through the lineup at a frenzied pace…
Adam Cole made his entrance wearing street clothes for the contract signing. Jay Lethal also made his entrance wearing street clothes. Nigel McGuinness presided over the proceedings. Cole sat on one side of the table and delivered his storytime line. He said he shaved the head of Lethal to prove the point that he can take whatever he wants from Lethal. Cole said everyone knows he runs the show. Cole said Lethal is one of the best in the world, but so is he. Cole said he has no intention of stealing the show with Lethal, he simply intends to steal the title.
Lethal, who removed his dress shirt, and said that most matches for him in ROH have been about the championship. Lethal said the title is the most prestigious title in the wrestling business and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone says. He said this time the match isn’t about the title, it’s personal. Lethal said he needs revenge. He said whenever he walks past a mirror he is reminded of Cole’s stupid face. Lethal said he didn’t have any cool catchphrases or one liners, he’s coming to ROH to fight. Lethal signed the contract.
“Ladies first, right champ?” Cole responded. Cole said Lethal just signed away the ROH Title. Cole signed the contract. Lethal dropped a pair of scissors on the table. Cole picked them up and looked at them awkwardly. Lethal slammed Cole’s head into the table and then they fought. Cole caught Lethal with a superkick and then picked up the ROH Title and said it will be his. Lethal low blowed Cole. Lethal picked up the scissors and tried to cut Cole’s hair. The Young Bucks came out and pulled Cole out of the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: I like the message that both champion and challenger sent. This isn’t about stealing the show, it’s about the championship for Cole. Meanwhile, Lethal is consumed with revenge. Overall, though, the story of ROH remains the same. The Lethal and Cole saga is very good, while the rest of the booking is chaotic and even nonsensical at times.
Cole is the top heel in the company, yet his Bullet Club allies The Young Bucks are apparently babyfaces and ROH isn’t even fighting it since they are booking them against the heel Addiction. The final segment was the only thing that left me looking forward to the pay-per-view, so this was a failure of a go-home show for all but one match. How have we not heard from Dalton Castle about his match with Kazuchika Okada at the pay-per-view? There were just too many segments that didn’t need to be on the go-home show because they had nothing to do with the pay-per-view, and they didn’t focus nearly enough on the actual pay-per-view matches. Fortunately, the contract signing was very good and the build to Lethal vs. Cole has been arguably the best booking we’ve seen in ROH.
Join me for live coverage of ROH Death Before Dishonor on Friday night.