ROH Wrestling TV report: Powell’s review of the Dragon Lee spotlight episode with matches against Kamaitachi (a/k/a Hiromu Takahashi), Shane Taylor, and a Triple Threat against Bandido and Taiji Ishimori

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 444)
Aired May 23, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV

Powell’s POV: I’ve fallen behind on ROH coverage over the last couple weeks, so I’m playing catchup with the shows over the next few days.

The ROH Wrestling opening aired… A highlight package spotlighted Dragon Lee…

Dragon Lee stood in his backyard and thanked viewers for watching. He recalled facing Hiromu Takahashi in his first ROH match at the All Star Extravaganza 8 event…

1. Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi (a/k/a Hiromu Takahashi) from September 30, 2016 in Lowell, Massachusetts at All Star Extravaganza 8. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino were on commentary. The following is from my live review of this match: Kelly noted that Lee is just 21 years old. “I might be his father,” Corino said. Kamaitachi blew off the Code of Honor. Lee had his right shoulder heavily taped. Kamaitachi performed a sunset flip powerbomb off the ring apron a couple minutes into the match. Kamaitachi also performed a running leap over the barricade and connected with a kick to Lee.

Back in the ring, Lee came back with a couple of dropkicks and then performed a big dive of his own onto Kamaitachi on the floor. Lee performed a double stomp onto Kamaitachi, whose legs were caught up in the bottom rope. Lee went for another double stop with Kamaitachi caught in the tree of woe, but Kamaitachi laid flat to avoid it.

Kamaitachi threw Lee into the corner with a suplex. Moments later, Kamatachi performed a cool senton off the top rope and onto Lee on the floor. Both men returned to the ring as the ref’s count reached 19 (ROH uses a 20 count). Lee performed a cool suplex into a bridge for a two count. Kamaitachi performed a great move off the second rope where he spun himself around before hook the arms of Lee and flipping him into a pin for a nice near fall.

Kamaitachi performed a big suplex into a bridge for a two count. With Kamaitachi standing on the apron, Lee leapt over the top rope and performed a huracanrana onto the floor. There was a brief “fight forever” chant. Kamaitachi caught Lee with a wild Frankensteiner type move for another two count.

Kamaitachi got frustrated over not being able to put Lee away. He picked him up on his shoulder and ran him into the corner. Lee came back with a kick. Lee picked up Kamatachi and locked his fingers behind his head, then performed a wicked suplex and pinned him…

Dragon Lee defeated Kamaitachi in 16:00.

Powell’s POV: This is my review of the match from my live review: This was like a Raw cruiserweight match (only much better) in that the live crowd didn’t really have any incentive to cheer for one guy over the other, so they mostly applauded the spots. I can’t even imagine how insane this crowd would have been if there had been a good storyline between these two coming into the match, as this was really good. ROH uses Kamaitachi regularly, and they need to have him be more than just the third guy in The Addiction act. If he’s on loan from New Japan, then there’s no reason they can’t build him up big and have him do a key loss or two before he goes. Lee is terrific and they work very well together, as I recall watching a great match they had in Mexico at the prompting of Court Bauer prior to a past appearance on the MLW radio show. By the way, props to the ROH production tonight. The building looks good and the production staff was right there with plenty of replays for the wild high spots in this match.

Lee sat in his backyard with the ROH TV Title belt over his shoulder and recalled working the G1 Supercard in a match against Bandido and Taiji Ishimori…

Taiji Ishimori vs. Dragon Lee vs. Bandido in a Triple Threat for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship from the G1 Supercard in New York, New York at Madison Square Garden. Ian Riccaboni, Kevin Kelly, and Colt Cabana were on commentary. The following is my report from my live review of the match: The broadcast team said Lee was wearing a mask or gear in tribute to Hiromu Takahashi, who suffered a neck injury when they met for this title. Lee performed a crazy move early, the Ishimori performed a moonsault from the ropes onto Lee at ringside. Rather than show the big Lee move, they replayed the fairly ordinary moonsault. Ugh. Bandido performed an insane double fallaway slam into a moonsault combo from the top rope onto both men (they replayed that one!). Wow. A few moments later, Lee performed a sit-out powerbomb style move on Bandido and pinned him clean…

Dragon Lee defeated Bandido and Taiji Ishimori in a Triple Threat in 9:00 to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: The following his my original take on the match from my live review: Nine minutes?!? It was really good while it lasted, but those guys should have been given at least twice as much time. Hopefully the idea is to get the title onto Lee to set up the return of Takahashi from his neck injury.

Lee stood in his backyard and spoke about facing Shane Taylor for the ROH TV Title…

Shane Taylor (w/Ron Hunt, Moses, Kaun) vs. Dragon Lee for the ROH TV Title from ROH Final Battle in Baltimore, Maryland on December 13, 2019. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary. The following his my live report: Lee offered a handshake, but Taylor spat on his hand instead. Taylor was in offensive control early. Lee came back and performed a top rope double stomp onto Taylor, who was lying on the apron. Lee performed another double stomp onto Taylor in the ring and got a two count.

Lee performed a running knee, but Taylor came right back with a clothesline. Taylor performed his finisher and went for the pin, but Lee kicked out. Lee performed a suplex. Taylor avoided the poison rana and then suplexed Lee. Taylor went to the ropes. Lee kicked Taylor’s legs out from under him and Taylor ended up hanging from the ropes. Lee went up top and double stomped Taylor. Lee performed a running kick and covered Taylor for a two count.

Taylor rebounded and hit his finisher, but Lee kicked out again. Taylor acted shocked. Hunt slid a chain to Taylor, who wrapped it around his fist. Referee Todd Sinclair barked at Taylor not to use it. Lee hit Taylor with a knee to the head and then performed a rough Canadian Destroyer.

Hunt bickered with the referee. Lee wrapped the chain around his leg and hit Taylor with a running knee that only led to a one count. Lee followed up with another move that resulted in a two count. Lee dropkicked Hunt off the apron. Lee lowered his kneepad an then blasted Taylor with a running knee and pinned him…

Dragon Lee beat Shane Taylor in 14:40 to win the ROH TV Title.

Powell’s POV: The following is my take on the match from my live review: A decent match, but not nearly as good as the Taylor vs. Bandido matches. I don’t like the title change. Taylor has really shined on the mic and might be the only person in the company who has actually benefitted from their new television format. And while I like Lee, ROH creative did nothing to set this up to make viewers anxious to see Lee beat Taylor. I guess the company is all in on brothers Rush and Lee since they currently hold the two men’s singles titles.

Lee stood in his home and thanked the fans who follow his faction and ROH. He asked the fans to wait and said they would be back soon. He said to remember that they are the past, present, and future of pro wrestling…

Powell’s POV: There were a few good matches on the show, but it was underwhelming in terms of coming away with a better feel for Lee either as a person or a character. The clips of him at his home were brief and basically just featured him talking about each match for a moment.


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