Ring of Honor TV
Aired on Fite 3/25/19
Ian Riccobani and Colt Cabana on commentary.
Six-Man Tag Team Match
DALTON CASTLE & THE BOYS
(Bandido, Tracy Williams & Juice Robinson)
Ian brings up the tension between Dalton and The Boys as of late. We get the bell and Dalton and Juice lock up to start. Dalton dumps Juice and fakes the dive for the strut, but Juice dumps Dalton and tries the same shtick. They keep dumping each other back and forth and finally come to a double strut and almost a double pose. Dalton and Juice go to shake hands but Dalton sneaks a rollup for 2. Tag to Tracy, the Boys call for the tag and Boy 2 is in. Chop by Boy 2 has no effect, he evades Tracy and tags Boy 1 who chops to no effect, same sequence but Tracy is able to counter and take out The Boys using each other as we go to BREAK.
We’re back and Dalton and The Boys are in control of Bandido, with Dalton tagging in and hitting a nice suplex as we get a replay window of some of Bandido’s speed during the break. Bandido fights back but Dalton keeps him grounded, tags in Boy 2 who hits a snapmare and tags in Boy 1 who hits a double stomp to the arm, tag to Dalton who continues on the arm. They keep Bandido in their corner and Boy 2 tags in, Dalton elevates both Boys onto Bandido and Boy 1 got a tag and covers for a nearfall. Boy 2 back in but they both eat boots from Bandido who wipes both Boys out with a top rope diving tornillo!
Tag to Juice who crushes both Boys in the corners and hits two cannonballs. Chants for Juice. Jabs to The Boys, chops Boy 2 down and airplane spins Boy 1… for a while… and follows with the Juice Box. Pulp Friction attempt lands, Juice covers but Dalton pulls Juice out at 2. Tenille Dashwood gets in between as Bandido hits a tope to wipe out Dalton, Juice back in but Boy 2 swapped out and gets a rollup for 2! Flurry by Boy 2 but Juice evades, an enziguri by Boy 2 connects and he goes for a spring crossbody but just bounces off of Juice, and Bandido looks for the tag as Boy 2 is all alone.
Bandido hits the ropes and Dalton grabs him, Boy 2 shoots a boot but Bandido moves and Dalton gets all of it, and Bandido follows by going over Boy 2 into a rana on Dalton on the floor! Bandido with a draped Lionsault on Boy 2 back in the ring, cover but Dalton breaks it up at 2. Juice clears the ring but Dalton fights him off and goes to help Boy 2, catching Bandido with an elbow and lariat and taking down Juice at ringside. Bandido just CHUCKS Boy 2 into Dalton and Dalton gets dumped, Bandido follows with the 21-Plex on Boy 2 and bridges it for the cover, getting the 3 count and the WIN!
Lifeblood defeats Dalton Castle & The Boys by pinfall after the 21-Plex
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was a good match with some nice action and a well-paced arc overall, though I’m surprised that they are still playing the Dalton/Boys breakup as slowly as they are. I was expecting more cracks to show here, maybe a post-match angle development, something. But the work was solid and the story got told as Lifeblood continues its climb and Bandido continues to be a breakout star.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Jay Lethal & MSG
Jay Lethal narrates a video about selling out Madison Square Garden and how it gives him goosebumps that its actually happening. The only thing that could make it even sweeter than it already is, would be him walking out with his belt still in hand. This was a really good package, RIGHT up until the very final moment of Jay looking in the camera and saying “ME.” It wasnt TRYING to be serious until that moment, and then suddenly it was trying SO HARD and veered into cheeseball for me. Jay doesnt need to push it, and this felt like a director telling him to push it. Dont. He’s already fucking great at promos.
VIDEO: The Briscoes Still Have Their Belts…
We see the Briscoes outside on their truck and… sigh… still wearing their title belts that they lost at 17th Anniversary… and they are talking about MSG… they say that on that night they will prove that they are the best tag team in the world… I mean, you know what I’m going to say… its just BAD. STORYTELLING. 17th Anniversary was now long enough ago that this just looks ignorant. Blargh.
NWA National Championship
RHETT TITUS vs WILLIE MACK (c)
This is probably my favorite evolution of Rhett Titus so far in his career, and his ring work has been ON POINT lately, so I’m hopeful for his performance here. Titus is out with his “Fittest” trophy in tow. Willie is out and I’m already smiling. We get a Code of Honor, the bell and a lockup to begin. They trade holds and reversals, and Titus is able to snatch a head scissors and holds on to ground Willie. Willie escapes and gets a deathlock and transitions to a headlock, Titus shifts weight into a cover for 2 but Willie is out and holds the headlock, gets whipped off and runs through Titus with a tackle.
Arm drag by Willie is followed by a big leaping shining wizard to take down Titus. Titus in the corner and Willie hits a nice chop but Titus lays in chops of his own, Willie absorbs them but Titus looks for a suplex. Willie counters so Titus puts Willie back into the corner but Willie comes out with a running vertical suplex on Titus! Titus gets hoisted but escapes to the apron, Willie staggers him with strikes, but then takes out Willie’s knee which drops Willie into the middle rope, and Titus follows with a big boot to the face, cover by Titus but only 2 as we go to BREAK.
We’re back and Titus is still in control, Willie fights back and gets a backslide but only 2, Willie hits the ropes and gets a thudding Rough Ryder to break Titus’ momentum. Big lariat from Willie lands followed by a corkscrew back elbow, and Willie hits a spinning body slam, a boot in the corner and the inverted cannonball. Titus rolls outside, Willie scopes him, runs the ropes and hits a great tope con hilo to wipe out Titus. Willie rolls Titus back in and climbs to the top, he’s slow to get his balance so Titus rolls to the apron again and drops Willie’s throat across the top, heads back in but Willie catches him in the Samoan Drop, the kip up and the standing moonsault. I Love Willie Mack. The Stunner connects, Willie climbs to the top and hits a great frog splash and covers for the 3 count and the WIN!
Willie Mack defeats Rhett Titus by pinfall after a frog splash to retain the NWA National Championship
JAY’S RATING: 2.8 out of 5
I wish this was given just a bit more time to push it over the edge. Titus and Willie made a lot of their time together but a couple moments slowed down and I didnt have a chance to really get as invested as I wanted to in a match that really has a lot of potential just in terms of sheer talent and ability. Cest la vie. Titus still looked good and I love Willie getting a healthy run with the National belt, because he is a TREASURE.
BACKSTAGE: Bully Ray Speaks
Bully talks about MSG and runs down everyone in ROH and NJPW. He says he’s the only one here who has ever performed there already. He says he’s main-evented MSG. He’s wrestled at Mania at MSG. He says he’s a god in MSG and at the G1 Supercard, he’s going to steal the show. Its just a question of who he’s going to make famous. Bully makes the open challenge for a NYC Street Fight to anyone in the business. Hey, at the end of the day, dude knows how to promo.
COAST 2 COAST vs JAY LETHAL & JONATHAN GRESHAM
Lethal’s ribs are taped. We get a Code of Honor, and Jay and Ali start us off. Chants for Jay. They lock up and trade holds and counters, and Jay is able to drop Ali with a tackle. And Ian references 17th Anniversary as having already happened, which further makes the Briscoe’s holding the belts earlier a story issue. AGH! Ali leapfrogs Jay and eats another tackle, they hit the ropes again but this time Jay hits the hiptoss but Ali kips up before the cartwheel dropkick. Chops by Jay, LSG tags himself in but Jay catches him with a boot before C2C is able to catch a nice double team. Cover by LSG but only 1.
Snap suplex by LSG connects for another 1 count, and LSG tries to keep control of Jay. Jay blocks the suplex attempt, LSG goes over and behind, Gresham gets the blind tag and hoists LSG from behind, Jay hits a dropkick and Gresham follows it through with the German suplex. Boots by Gresham to LSG, they trade shots and Ali is able to tag in for another good double team, cover by Ali for 2. Ali slams Gresham and hits a twisting jumping splash for another 2. Gresham with a quick stunner, tag to Jay and they hit a combo, Jay covers but only 1 as Jay looks to work the leg. Figure four attempt is countered into a cradle for 2 before Jay takes out the knee.
Tag to Gresham who keeps on the knee of Ali. Gresham ties Ali up in a nice Deathlock as we go to BREAK. We’re back and Ali fights out of Gresham’s control, hitting a nice headbutt and Judgment Slam. Tags to Jay and LSG who come in hot, LSG hits a nice pop up lariat, Gresham in but LSG hits an elbow and springing forearm. Superkick from Jay connects on LSG, he calls for the Lethal Injection while favoring the ribs, LSG counters and hits a facebuster and low flipping neckbreaker, covers Jay but only gets 2. LSG looks for Saints Flowsion but Jay backdrops LSG to get out of it, tag to Ali and they trade shots with Ali asking Jay for more.
Jay hits an enziguri and tags in Gresham who hits a missile dropkick to Ali’s knee, LSG meets Gresham and plants him with a facebuster but turns around into a Lethal Combination from Jay and everyone is down. Ali and Gresham are up and trade strikes, Ali’s size advantage versus Gresham’s resilience, Jay hits a dropkick to take out LSG as Gresham goes to Ali’s knee and hits a combo with a powerbomb by Jay, then Gresham locks in the Figure Four as Jay tries to take out LSG and holds him back, but LSG is able to break away to break up the submission and save the match for C2C. C2C is on the outside and Jay and Gresham hit dual suicide dives, they throw Ali back inside and hit that wheelbarrow into a cutter (the Louisville Lunge? The Cornette Cutter?) tag finisher, cover by Gresham on Ali and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Jonathan Gresham & Jay Lethal defeat Coast 2 Coast by pinfall after the Louisville Lunge (hat tip to Colt Cabana)
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
That was a fun TV main event, with Jay playing anchor to 3 rising stars across a couple of divisions. I think C2C needs to specify their POV as a team and soon, because I can see them wearing thing after a while at their current trajectory. But their ring work is SUPER exciting, and they went point for point with Lethal and Gresham, who is also constantly claiming his space as the future of ROH. The future is bright. Talent-wise at least.
After the match, we get a Code of Honor after the match as well to take us out.
Look, this was a good episode of TV, with a strong main event in particular that is a great example of the potential that this company has within it right now. And that’s why this storytelling timing issue drives me fucking bananas. I keep getting the feeling like ROH wants to compete more fully than ever. Their partnership with NJPW has given them a lot of the resources to do so, as is made abundantly apparent by the fact that they have together SOLD OUT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. You can feel it in how they pushed that event throughout this episode. You can feel it as one of the most genuine aspects of Jay Lethal’s promos about it. This is it. ROH has a moment in its biggest spotlight ever…
And then what? Because you have to be able to then do something with that momentum. Something to help people realize that they can keep coming to you for product that is so often – and has the continued potential to be – BETTER than higher-profile players. When they tune into your TV after MSG, and watch for, lets say, a couple months, what quality of storytelling are you giving them to not let them feel let down coming off of the big event?
And that’s why there is no. room. left. for. this. bullshit. Come on now.
Its fairly straightforward. If you’re gonna tell people on the episode to go back and watch 17th Anniversary that already happened, how the hell does it make sense to see the Briscoes with the belts that they lost AT 17th Anniversary, talking about MSG like it never happened? They are not the champs anymore! Why am I seeing them with the belts?! If I’m the kind of fan I think you want – one who follows all of your product – then it just feels bizarre and disconcerting to see a GREAT match and a title change, and then WEEKS later on TV have it seem like it never happened. As a viewer, its jarring as fuck (and not in a good way, there’s a difference), and thats not a great viewing experience. And this is a job that a single person can be in charge of keeping an eye on – its called “continuity”. But it seems like no one cares. And it sucks. Because its sloppy storytelling. And at the end of the day, no matter whether its WWE, ROH, NJPW, AEW, Chikara, CZW, Progress, SHIMMER, AAW, its all storytelling. Thats all that matters. And its being neglected, egregiously, and has been for some time now.
This is going to be one of the things that determines how far ROH is able to rise as an individual voice in a rapidly diversifying pool of wrestling producers. People are not only more opinionated than ever – we forget that what comes with that is that people are more discerning than ever as well, and there are only so many hours in the day. People will choose, storytelling is going to be a big part of that decision, and what appeal does a never-ending wave of continuity errors and inconsistencies have? And what is lost by actually giving a damn about that aspect of your product? The opportunity to be heard as a company with a voice is like never before. Thank you internet. And I so badly want ROH to rise to the occasion – all of the pieces are there. But if they cant get this in order, I’m not afraid that they will lose any ground… I’m just afraid that they will always be exactly where they are, right here, forever, when they could be so much more without changing a single substantive thing about who they are. Here’s hoping.