1/18 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: Cody (Rhodes) vs. Steve Corino, Jay Lethal vs. Jushin Thunder Liger in a Decade of Excellence Tournament match


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

The ROH opening aired and then the broadcast team of Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness checked in… Ring introductions for the opening match took place and then highlights aired of Lio Rush beating Caprice Coleman followed by The Rebellion attacking him and then Jay White and Donovan Dijak making the save… The broadcast team hyped the main event…

1. Lio Rush, Jay White, and Donovan Dijak vs. Caprice Coleman, Kenny King, and Rhett Titus. The Rebellion offered handshakes, but the babyfaces declined. King avoided a brainbuster attempt from White and performed a great spinebuster for a two count heading into the break. [C] They came back with the babyfaces performing a cool simultaneous leap to ringside spot to take out all three opponents. Late in the match, White chokeslammed Coleman, then Rush stood on Dijack’s shoulders and performed a splash. Dijak went up top and hit a moonsault, then Rush scored the pin…

Lio Rush, Jay White, and Donovan Dijak beat Caprice Coleman, Kenny King, and Rhett Titus.

After the match, the Rebellion members attacked White and Dijak. Coleman picked up Rush in powerbomb position, but then set him down. Chris Sabin ran out and the three heels fled (because three men would be deathly afraid of one man)…

Kelly set up a video package on new ROH TV Champion Marty Scurll. He spoke about how ROH is a place for handshakes and respect. He questioned what happens to men devoted to wickedness. He said this may be the place that heroes are made and they make room for the one true villain. Footage then aired of Scurll beating Will Ospreay to win the ROH Title and other highlights. It closed with a tease for his appearance on next week’s show… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s nice to see that the previous post Rush vs. Coleman angle was followed up here, but I can’t say the Rebellion trying to recruit Rush does anything for me. I don’t know if ROH expects to have Rush or Dijak much longer, but I wish they would get more out of White while they have him on loan from New Japan, as well as the talented King, whose return to the company has been creative disaster. Meanwhile, a cool video package on Scurll and I love that they actually hyped his appearance for next week.

Footage aired of the finish of the Cody Rhodes vs. Jay Lethal match at Final Battle from over a month ago…

Cody Rhodes made his entrance and received the streamer treatment. Rhodes took the mic and soaked up the boos from the crowd before speaking. “I think we got off on the wrong foot, Honor fans,” Rhodes started. He said they were misguided at Final Battle. He said they were under the impression that they were going to judge him, but nobody judges him, he is there to judge all of them. Rhodes said there was a putrid smell at Final Battle that he figured out was mediocrity. “Ring of Honor my ass, more like Ring of Mediocrity,” he said.

Rhodes told Kevin Kelly to tell the crowd that he wrestled in Japan because he bets they will cheer. Rhodes said he is contractually obligated to appear. “Where’s your sexy ass wife?” one fan yelled out and popped the rest of the crowd. Rhodes acted offended and called for the fan. He asked the fans if they want to see his wife Brandi, then said they don’t deserve to see her. Rhodes told them to buy his shirts and follow him online. He said he’d only be there a few more seconds so they should take it all in. Rhodes told the fans that it must be nice to finally have a star who hasn’t faded in the building.

Steve Corino made his entrance. Kevin Sullivan, BJ Whitmer, and Damien Martinez came out behind him. Kelly said Martinez placed a black box on their broadcast table. He also said this is what Sullivan meant by a brother must fall, and said he was referring to Cody and it’s all becoming clear now. Huh? Once Corino was in the ring, Cody told him he was taller than he thought he would be. He asked the King of Old School where his crown was. Cody recalled Corino telling his father in 1999 that he had no respect for him, and he never did, and to look him in the eye. Rhodes returned the favor by telling Corino the same thing.

Corino said he loved Dusty Rhodes and that he was his hero. Corino said Dusty paved the way for him to be in the ring. Corino said his father once said that Ghengis Khan has two sons and one has to be sacrificed. Corino said it was either Cody or his brother. Cody slapped Corino, who responded with an elbow to the head. Corino took his jacket off and Kelly said it would be Cody vs. Corino after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: An excellent television show debut for Rhodes, who did a great job of heeling on Ring of Honor and even the old ECW Arena. I loved the line about how the fans would cheer if Kelly mentioned that he worked in Japan. It’s so true in some cases. How in the world did ROH not make a big fuss over Cody’s first television appearance on last week’s show?!? It’s amazing how frequently they drop the ball on things like that. They failed to hype the Young Bucks responding to Broken Matt Hardy before it happened last week, and now they failed to promote Cody. These are a couple of the cooler things that have happened in ROH in some time, yet ROH failed to generate any buzz.

2. Cody (Rhodes) vs. Steve Corino. Corino wore a t-shirt along with his boot and trunks. Kelly said Corino beat Dusty Rhodes in the same building and it was the only time he ever beat him. Kelly also said the father that Corino was referring to was Sullivan, and Corino had finally joined the dark army. Corino roughed up Cody at ringside, then Cody took offensive control and mocked the crowd in the ring, including what appeared to be a jerkoff gesture (his back was to the hard camera). Corino came back and Rhodes ended up at ringside where he took a swig of Kelly’s water (gross) and then spat it into the face of Corino.

Later, Corino performed a package piledriver. Corino went to ringside and opened the box, which contained Sullivan’s golden spike. Corino brought it into the ring, but the referee stood in front of him. Once the ref moved, Rhodes kicked him in the nuts and then hit the Beautiful Disaster kick. Cody dropped an elbow on Corino and pinned him. After the match Jay Lethal ran out and went after Cody, who escaped and fled through the crowd… [C]

Cody beat Steve Corino.

Powell’s POV: They tried to tie up the Corino and Sullivan madness and retell the story of Corino and Dusty Rhodes all in one shot because this was the last appearance for Corino before started as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center. So as rushed as all that was, there’s obviously a valid excuse. I’m happy they gave Corino a sendoff, but I hope there’s more to come because they guy has meant a lot to ROH over the years as a color commentator along with what he’s done behind the scenes.

After a recap of the previous angle aired, Jay Lethal delivered a promo in the ring. Lethal said Cody came to his home because he knew that they have the greatest wrestlers in the world. Lethal said he will get his revenge for what Cody did at Final Battle, but first he is focussed on winning the Decade of Excellence tournament. Lethal called for Jushin Thunder Liger to come out so they could have their match. Liger made his entrance to a receptive crowd…

Ian Riccaboni hosted a recap segment that ran through the Decade of Excellence tournament matches. A Lethal promo aired from “earlier today” of him saying he has respect for Liger, but it’s all about him becoming ROH Champion. Riccaboni reminded viewers that the tournament winner would get an ROH Title shot at the anniversary show… Ring announcer Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s always a nice touch to recap what’s happened in a tournament that plays out over multiple shows, so this was a nice touch.

3. Jay Lethal vs. Jushin Liger in a Decade of Excellence Tournament match. Lethal jumped out to the early advantage and performed three suicide dives. Liger came back and performed a tumbleweed senton onto Lethal at ringside. Lethal barely returned to the ring in time to beat the referee’s count. [C] Lethal applied a crossface on Liger and regained control of the match. A short time later, Lethal went up top and went for his elbow drop, but Liger countered into a pin for a two count. Liger performed a huracanrana off the top rope for another two count. Lethal came back with a superkick and the Lethal Injection and scored the pin.

Kelly noted that Lethal will face Jay Briscoe in the semifinals of the tournament the brackets were shown. Lethal helped Liger to his feet. The fans chanted “Thank you, Liger” and then Lethal and Liger shook hands and hugged. Liger endorsed Lethal by applauding for him and bowing to him before leaving the ring…

Kelly hyped Marty Scurll for next week, plus Dragon Lee vs. Kushida vs. Will Ospreay in a Triple Threat, and Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin in a Decade of Excellence semifinal match…

Jay Lethal pinned Jushin Liger to advance in the Decade of Excellence tournament.

Powell’s POV: It’s always a treat to see Liger, but the Cody debut and that promo completely overshadowed it. There are good things happening on ROH television these days. Here’s hoping the company learns how to get the most out of those things. One more example? I’m happy they mentioned the Lee, Kushida, and Ospreay match for next week, but how do you not dedicate some time to promoting how awesome that match should be? Perhaps I should be happy with baby steps because it wasn’t all that long ago that ROH wouldn’t promote anything for the next show, but it’s just frustrating to see the company failing to live up to its full potential.

The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...

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