1/25 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay vs. Kushida, Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin in a Decade of Excellence semifinal match, Marty Scrull vs. Jonathan Gresham


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

ROH TV opened with a video that focussed on Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll making their U.S. debuts… The standard ROH opening aired… Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary. Kelly noted they would focus on the ROH Title match that took place at Wrestle Kingdom 11…

1. ROH TV Champion Marty Scurll vs. Jonathan Gresham. Fans gave Scurll the streamer treatment when he arrived in the ring. Gresham got some early offense. Scurll came back and caught him with a superkick from the apron while Gresham was on the floor. [C]

Scurll had control coming out of the break. Gresham rebounded and got a near fall off a rollup. Scurll kicked Gresham’s knee, but Gresham came right back with a huracanrana and got another two count. Scurll slammed him near the ropes and then got a two count of his own off a slam. McGuinness said Scurll was clearly irritated. Scurll signaled for his finisher, then went for the cross face chicken wing, but Gresham avoided it. Scurll targeted the fingers of Gresham, then applied the cross face chicken wing for the submission win…

Marty Scurll defeated Jonathan Gresham.

Powell’s POV: Scurll already has the coolest entrance in ROH thanks to the great video wall and lighting. The match was far too competitive for Scurll’s advertised ROH television debut. This should have been a showcase match. If they wanted to protect Gresham, then give Scurll a different opponent and eventually go to this match after once Scurll is properly established and viewers a chance to know his character and his basic move set.

Footage aired from the Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole match for the ROH Title that took place at Final Battle… [C]

Jay Lethal said his quest to become a two-time ROH Champion is in full swing. He said he just needed to win the Decade of Excellence tournament. He said he beat Jushin Liger in round one, and he would beat Jay Briscoe in the second round. They cut to Briscoe, who delivered his own promo about the match. Briscoe said he was blowing the roof off the place in ROH while Lethal was pretending to be Macho Man. They cut back to Lethal, who said they bring out the best in one another, but he has Briscoe’s number. Briscoe said Lethal beat him twice and he can’t lose again…

Powell’s POV: A good video package to set up a future television match. ROH doesn’t do a great job of properly hyping matches a week ahead of time (see the mere mention on this week’s three-way main event on last week’s show), but this was a step in the right direction, so I won’t make a fuss over the placement even though it really should have aired after the upcoming match. The only negative as far as what was said is that Briscoe and everyone else should avoid reminding viewers of Lethal’s run as Black Machismo. It took a long time for Lethal to make the ROH fans take him seriously again, so why remind them?

2. Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Sabin in a Decade of Excellence tournament semifinal match. Kazarian sat in on commentary and said he told Daniels that this could be his last shot at the ROH Title. He said he’s never seen Daniels so focussed. Sabin suffered an early abrasion on his right shoulder. They went to ringside and Sabin confronted Kazarian, who hadn’t done anything and told him that he was the “silent majority” (whatever that means). Daniels took advantage of Sabin being distracted by slamming him into the barricade. “What a Jo-Jo move by Chris Sabin,” Kazarian said heading into the break. [C]

Daniels had offensive control inside the ring coming out of the break. Sabin fought back, but Daniels caught him in a Koji Clutch. Sabin reached the bottom rope with his foot to break it. Sabin caught Daniels with a kick in the corner and followed up with a springboard DDT for a two count. Kazarian said that made him nervous. The wrestlers traded chops and then broke into an exchange of punches. Daniels performed a Samoan drop. In the end, Daniels performed a uranage and followed up with the Best Moonsault Ever for the win. Afterward, Daniels offered Sabin a handshake and helped him to his feet… [C]

Powell’s POV: It’s hard to take Sabin seriously as a threat to the ROH Title. They really needed to prop him up going into the tournament by talking about how he captured the TNA Championship and other his singles success. It seemed obvious that the tournament was set up for Daniels from the start, and nothing we’ve seen on television has contradicted that. As Daniels was showing good sportsmanship with Sabin, it looked like Kazarian looked a little thrown off as he entered the ring, but they didn’t focus on it and cut away quickly, so I’m not sure whether to read anything into it.

Footage aired of Cody (Rhodes) beat Steve Corino. New footage aired of Steve Corino, Kevin Sullivan, BJ Whitmer, and Damien Martinez standing around a fire. Corino said he failed. It was hard to make out what Sullivan said in response. All four men laughed maniacally while Sullivan said “the Golden One” repeatedly…

Powell’s POV: Make it stop! Seriously, I thought last week’s match was Corino’s farewell. I really enjoy Corino’s work as a color commentator and he will definitely be missed on ROH television now that he’s taken a trainer’s job at the WWE Performance Center, but the good thing about him leaving is that this nonsense will finally end.

Ring entrances for the main event took place. Kelly said he couldn’t make sense of what the previous segment meant and only Corino knows what the future holds for him…

3. Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay vs. Kushida in a Triple Threat. Before the match, all three men shook hands. Ospreay seemed a little over the top by flashing a big cheesy grin. Fans chanted “all these guys” before the bell. There was a cool exchange early with the wrestlers avoiding moves from their opponents, which drew a big pop from the crowd heading into the break. [C]

After the break, footage aired from the O’Reilly vs. Cole match at Wrestle Kingdom…

Back to the three-way, Lee applied a crossface on Kushida, who slipped out and then worked over the left arm of Lee. Ospreay returned to the ring and broke it up before dumping Lee to the floor. Later, Ospreay performed a neck back handspring into a kick on Kushida. Ospreay knocked Kushida to the floor and then performed a handspring flip onto him on the floor. Lee returned to the ring and performed a big dive onto Ospreay. A short time later, Lee performed a huracanrana on Kushida, who took out Ospreay on the floor on his way down. [C]

Dragon Lee suplexed Kushida and bridged, but Ospreay broke it up with a standing shooting star press. In the end, Kushida performed a wicked DDT and followed up with a second on Ospreay for the clean win. The broadcast team spoke about how it was another win for Kushida over Ospreay…

Kushida defeated Will Ospreay and Dragon Lee in a Triple Threat.

Footage aired of Adam Cole defeating Kyle O’Reilly at Wrestle Kingdom 11 to regain the ROH Title… Kelly hyped that Bullet Club would appear on the show and questioned what the first three-time ROH Champion would have to say…

Powell’s POV: A very good main event with terrific work from all three men. It was disappointing that ROH just threw the match out there without doing more to promote it or the personalities. We saw a show basically dedicated to Ospreay around Christmas, but this was his first ROH TV match held in the United States and viewers still haven’t heard from him, so they have no clue what he’s like from a personality standpoint. He also lost again, which may be great for whatever they are doing in New Japan, but it was very odd for ROH television. I wish the ROH booker and production crew would put themselves in the position of the fans who don’t watch NJPW. Perhaps then they would do a better job of showcasing the personalities rather than acting as if everyone already knows the international talent. On the plus side, Scurll’s video package introduction last week was a rare exception. Plus, this was another good edition with a loaded three-way main event, the tournament match, and the debut of Scurll. There are some really cool things happening on ROH television, but the presentation and lackluster promotion are still major issues.

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