By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor TV
Taped on December 4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV
Footage aired of Christopher Daniels defeating Mark Briscoe in the first match of the Decade of Excellence tournament… Daniels delivered a promo about being one of the names who started with the company. Footage aired of his early days in ROH. He said there is no expiration date on destiny, and he will be one step closer to becoming ROH Champion by winning the tournament… The opening video aired… Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary…
1. Jay Briscoe vs. BJ Whitmer (w/Kevin Sullivan, Damien Martinez) in a Decade of Excellence tournament match. Briscoe received a televised entrance, while Whitmer was in the ring to start the show. Briscoe’s brief pre-taped promo was also shown. Whitmer threw his new chop while Briscoe got the better of him with punches. Briscoe ended up at ringside and had a staredown with Martinez. Whitmer took advantage of the distraction and ran Briscoe into the barricade a couple times before the break. [C]
Briscoe came back with a suicide dive and then rolled him back inside the ring where he performed a neckbreaker. Whitmer ended up taking punishment and then spitting at Briscoe, who fired back with more punches. Whitmer caught him with a shot and then performed a suplex. Whitmer got the spike from his corner. Mark Briscoe ran out and ducked a spike shot and then took out Martinez on the floor. Jay caught Whitmer with a big boot to the head and followed up with the Jay Driller for the win…
Jay Briscoe defeated BJ Whitmer in a Decade of Excellence tournament match.
After the match, Whitmer took the mic and said it’s written that one must be sacrificed. He said they would finish this next week. Kelly took that to mean that the group is targeting the Briscoes… Kelly hyped Chris Sabin vs. Colt Cabana in a tournament match for later in the show… [C]
Powell’s POV: I can’t say enough how low budget and silly the Sullivan and Whitmer pairing is. I just hope they can avoid doing damage to Martinez, who stands out in a positive way. Briscoe will face the winner of the Jay Lethal vs. Jushin Liger match in the second round.
2. Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser vs. Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver. Bruiser brought a beer to the ring with him and took a swig rather than shake hands. Young and Bruiser attacked Reynolds and Silver as they were waiting for handshakes. Reynolds threw a nice dropkick on Young, then he and Silver double teamed him briefly.
Kelly noted that the Top Prospect Tournament will begin in a couple weeks. Bruiser checked in and took a double dropkick, but he and Young quickly bounced back and performed a nice clothesline into a German suplex on Reynolds. Later, Silver suplexed Bruiser for a nice pop. The babyface duo hit a nice sequence of moves on Young and had him down for a two count. Bruiser and Young caught Silver with boots to the head in the corner. Young double stomped Silver, then Bruiser performed a sitting splash off the second rope before Young pinned him…
Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser beat Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver.
After the match, Young took the mic and said they’ve spent the last couple months looking for a third man to go after the six-man tag titles. Young said there might be one guy who would be the perfect fit. Young told Bruiser he had a surprise. The lights went down and then Bull James made his entrance. Bruiser didn’t seem pleased, but Young sold him on him being a no nonsense guy who can take a punch and hit back harder. Young said Bull also likes to go out and have “10-20-30 beers.” Young said Bruiser knows what he’s thinking. “He’s not the guy,” Young said. Young and Bruiser worked over James. Bruiser performed a top rope splash.
Powell’s POV: James worked as Bull Dempsey in NXT. Young went from appearing to be on the verge of being positioned in the upper mix of singles wrestlers in ROH to suddenly being more concerned with the awful six-man tag titles. And now he and Bruiser started a feud with James, so apparently he’s not going after those titles either. This was a lousy introduction for James, but I suppose he’ll get an undercard feud out of it. The actual match was much more competitive than I expected with Young and Bruiser giving plenty of offense to their younger opponents.
3. ROH Six-Man Tag Champions Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia vs. Will Ferrara, Cheeseburger, and Joey Daddiego. Footage aired of The Kingdom winning the six-man tag titles at Final Battle. The Kingdom attacked their oppoenents to start, but Cheeseburger avoided their finisher. Daddiego performed a nice fallaway slam on Marseglia, then the babyface trio posed to no reaction. [C]
Cheeseburger got a reaction as he got the better of Taven coming out of the break. The Kingdom eventually came back and hit a series of top rope moves on Cheeseburger that concluded with Taven hitting a frogsplash for the win…
Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia beat Will Ferrara, Cheeseburger, and Joey Daddiego.
Kelly set up footage from Final Battle of Broken Matt Hardy’s pre-taped promo that aired on the big screen…
The Young Bucks made their entrance wearing the ROH Tag Titles for a promo. Matt Jackson apologized for losing his voice while screaming for joy after he and Nick Jackson signed the most lucrative deals in ROH history. Nick said that keeping the tag titles at Final Battle made them the best tag team in company history. Nick recalled the Matt Hardy promo. Nick said “these two spot monkeys” can’t be broken or deleted.
The lights went out and a drone flew above the ring. There was a cheer and a Vanguard 1 chant. The Bucks ended up performing a double superkick on the drone, then led chants of “Delete” and “Suck It” with the fans… [C]
Powell’s POV: A cool segment that really should have been hyped. It’s been weeks since Final Battle and this is the first time Hardy’s appearance has come up. The taping format makes it difficult for ROH to maintain buzz coming out of those pay-per-views, but they really should have done something to avoid waiting this long or at least hyped the heck out of this rather than just airing it in the middle of the show. That said, it’s a really cool deal that feels like the Bucks and Hardys are breaking some barriers with the Hardys being perceived as TNA talent.
4. Colt Cabana vs. Chris Sabin (w/Alex Shelley) in a Decade of Excellence tournament match. Cabana worked as a heel. Kelly spoke about how Cabana underestimates his opponents, including McGuinness during their series of British style matches back in the day. Cabana got some heat by using the referee to take a cheap shot at Sabin going into the break. [C]
Cabana was on the offensive coming out of the break. Highlights aired of Cabana mocking Alex Shelley, who sat in on commentary, by punching Sabin right beside him. Cabana also mocked Nigel’s accent while speaking into Shelley’s headset. Nigel couldn’t hide his smile. Kelly plugged Jay Lethal vs. Jushin Thunder Liger for next week’s show.
Sabin bit the thumb of Cabana to start his comeback. Sabin dropkicked Cabana, then threw a weak looking kick at him on the apron. Back in the ring, Sabin performed a tornado DDT for a two count. Sabin caught Cabana with a kick to the head. They fought for position on the ropes. Cabana rolled off and dodged a charging Sabin, then put him down by running his backside into his face. The Boys ran out and distracted Cabana, who was pinned following a tornado small package by Sabin…
Chris Sabin beat Colt Cabana to advance in the Decade of Excellence Tournament.
The bracket showed Daniels vs. Sabin in the semifinals of the tournament. Sabin and Shelley celebrated in the ring and a replay was shown. Kelly hyped Lethal vs. Liger for next week… [C]
Powell’s POV: Cabana found a way to keep things fun even though he’s working as a heel in ROH. I still wish his heel persona was spotlighted more than it has been. He just keeps losing and there doesn’t seem to be a real creative direction, though perhaps The Boys getting involved means his feud with Dalton Castle isn’t finished. Overall, the show was solid, but the presentation is flat and the lack of hype regarding the Bucks promo was a real missed opportunity.