By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor TV
Taped June 30 in Fairfax, Virginia at Eaglebank Arena
Aired in syndication on July 21 and Mondays on the FITE TV app
After the opening video, the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in and hyped the WOH Title match and an ROH Six-Man Tag Title match…
Jay Lethal headed to the ring for a promo. He said beating Kushida at the Best in the World pay-per-view wasn’t just a victory for him. He said he wanted to be at the top of his game. He said he wanted to go back and avenge some of his losses and he completed the list at the pay-per-view. Lethal said he was adding his name back to the world title picture. Lethal looked into the camera and said, “Dalton Castle, I want a shot.”
Matt Taven made his entrance and protested by questioning how many title shots the company needs to give Lethal. Taven said he’s had two world title shots in two years and both matches ended with interference. Taven mocked Lethal’s attire and said he’d get dressed up too, but he actually has to work for the company unlike “franchise.” Taven told Lethal to get behind him in line.
Cody made his entrance. Once in the ring, Cody said Taven has a valid point and is in line for a title shot. Cody said Lethal is “obviously” in line for a title shot. “But, guys, I am next in line for a title shot,” Cody said.
Dalton Castle’s music played and he walked onto the stage holding the ROH Championship. Castle said he feels like his body has been run over by a herd of wildebeests, but he’s still the ROH Champion and he still has a diamond heart. Castle said he’s not afraid of any challenge and he’d even face all three of them. A light “fatal four-way” chant broke out. Riccaboni said the crowd wants a four corner survival. Castle said he would take them all on tonight… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good opening. Taven didn’t feel like he had a great case. That’s not based on talent, it’s because they haven’t showcased him well. He’s been featured in more six-man tag matches on television than anything, though he did have the nice singles match with Ultimo Guerrero recently and a recent title match with Castle was cancelled due to injury. I just don’t think of Taven’s character as being a strong threat to the ROH Championship, but perhaps the point of putting him in this match is to make viewers see him in a new light.
The broadcast team said the ROH Six-Man Tag Title match would be moved to next week to make room for the ROH Title match…
1. Sumie Sakai vs. Hazuki (w/Hana Kimura, Kagetsu) for the Women of Honor Championship. Sakai offered a handshake, but Hazuki slapped her had aside. Hazuki was dominant early. With Sakai down at ringside, Hazuki performed a crazy senton from the middle rope onto Sakai. [C]
Hazuki continued to dominate and picked up a two count off a running senton in the ring. Sakai got a two count off a rollup, but Hazuki popped right up and dropped the WOH Champion with a Codebreaker. Sakai avoided a middle rope senton. Sakai followed up a short time later with a missile dropkick. Sakai hit Hazuki with a knee to the face. Kimura and Kagetsu helped Hazuki to her feet. Sakai dove off the top rope onto all three women.
Sakai brought Hazuki back to the ring while the fans endorsed the match with a “this is awesome” chant. Sakai performed a fisherman’s buster suplex for a two count. Sakai went up top. Hazuki cut her off and performed a Codebreaker with Sakai coming off the ropes for a good near fall. Kimura distracted the referee while Kagetsu tried to kick Sakai, who ducked, causing Hazuki to take the kick. Sakai cleared Kagetsu from the ring and hit Smash Mouth on Hazuki and pinned her…
Sumie Sakai defeated Hazuki to retain the WOH Championship.
Powell’s POV: Wow, Hazuki was very impressive. This was the best WOH Title match to date. I hohpe we get to see more of the women from Stardom in ROH.
Riccaboni hyped Mayu Iwatani and Jenny Rose vs. two members of Oedo Tai (presumably Hana Kimura and Kagetsu) for next week…
“Reporter” Gregory Helms approached Marty Scurll backstage and brought up his failed bid for the ROH Title. Scurll told him now is not the time. Helms called him Mr. Bubble Butt and started to walk away. Scurll attacked him from behind and then beat up a couple of people who tried to pull him off. Scurll did the finger snap bit on Helms. Scurll was finally pulled off… [C]
Powell’s POV: I guess I hadn’t thought much about how they would introduce Helms to the ROH television audience, but I never would have come up with the reporter gimmick.
Ring entrances for the ROH Title match took place. Matt Taven was out solo. Jay Lethal made his entrance. Cody came out with Brandi Rhodes and Burnard the Business Bear. Dalton Castle made his entrance with The Boys… [C]
2. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) vs. Cody (w/Brandi, Burnard) vs. Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven in a four corner survival match for the ROH Championship. Castle had his right thigh wrapped and was moving stiffly, presumably due to his back pain. Lethal performed suicide dives on all three opponents. Lethal decided to perform suicide dives on Castle and Taven again, then he took out Burnard for a pop.
Later, Cody applied the American Death Lock on Castle. Lethal went up top, but Taven pushed him down. Taven broke up Cody’s submission hold with a frogsplash and got a two count heading into another break. [C]
Lethal pointed at his nose and referee Todd Sinclair checked on him. Meanwhile, Taven had Castle pinned. It took Sinclair some time to get over to make the count, which resulted in Castle kicking out at two. Cabana played into the Kingdom’s ongoing conspiracy complaints. With Taven down, Castle, Cody, and Lethal all exchanged chops and eventually fell to the mat together.
Cody caught Castle with a Disaster Kick. Taven performed his Climax finisher on Castle and covered him, but Cody broke it up. Lethal performed a Lethal Injection on both Cody and Taven. Lethal performed a cutter on Castle. Lethal followed up with a Lethal Injection and had the pin, but Taven pulled the referee to ringside. Brandi slapped Taven heading into a break. [C]
Taven slid a table inside the ring and set it up. They did a tower of doom spot with Taven superplexing Cody over the table while Castle powerbombed Taven through the table. Lethal returned and covered Taven, who grabbed the rope to break the ref’s count. The referee cleared the table from the ring while the fans chanted “this is awesome” again.
Castle and Lethal exchanged slaps and punches. Lethal ducked a punch and superkicked Castle. Lethal went for his finisher. Castle avoided it and went for his own, which Lethal avoided and countered into a figure four attempt. Castle caught Lethal in an inside cradle for a two count. Lethal got up and hit the Lethal Injection and scored the 1-2-3 to win the title…
Jay Lethal defeated Dalton Castle, Cody, and Matt Taven in a four corner survival match to win the ROH Championship.
Lethal celebrated his title win. Lethal put the belt down in the ring and then offered a handshake, which Castle accepted to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A very good match. It was logical to go with a four-way rather than a singles match given that fans suspected Castle would drop the title that weekend due to his ongoing back injury. And hats of to Castle, who helped the company by working through his injuries. I had a couple of back surgeries in the past and I know how debilitating a back issue can be. I just hope he didn’t do any additional damage by continuing to work.
Overall, a good and newsworthy show. Keep in mind that ROH released the match on the HonorClub stream the night the title change occurred, but it was obviously newsworthy for the more casual fans who simply watch the television show and don’t keep up with the company online.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...