A Great Alternative: ROH TV 3-14-2015

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Ring of Honor has been around for damn near thirteen years and I am horribly ashamed I’ve only gotten into it recently. I’m going to keep watching their show and recapping it as it’s something that every fan of professional wrestling should get behind. One of the best things about this show is you can watch it right here. I’m probably going to gush… be warned…

RING OF HONOR TELEVISION 3-14-2015

We are in Baltimore, Maryland this week which I am convinced is a horrible terrifying place because I just finished watching The Wire. I’m also convinced that The Place to Be Nation voting audience hasn’t seen the HBO classic as Jimmy McNulty surely deserved better in the PTBN TV character tournament. But I digress…

What? I like Wrestling...
What? I like Wrestling…

I’m a simple guy with simple tastes. All it takes to get me excited about a wrestling show is to announce that the Young Bucks are in the main event. I will pay to see them every time. They’re fighting The Kingdom later and Steve and Kevin promise us a great hour of tag team wrestling. I’m down for that.

Match # 1 Matt Sydal & ACH Vs. The Addiction

I love The Addiction’s music. Any other team would look like huge cornballs (or Cornballers if you’re an Arrested Development fan) dancing and jiving to the ring, but the Addiction make it work (without burning their hands. Seriously watch Arrested Development. The damn tournament here was a farce). Here’s a major difference between ROH and WWE: Kevin Kelly says that next week Donovan Dijack is getting his TV title shot at Jay Lethal. It’s a quick mention and we’re back to the action. If Michael Cole were doing it we’d be talking about it for the entirety of four matches, JBL would be talking about how he tried to reach Dijack for comment and Lawler would be talking about Jay Lethal’s tits. Matt Sydal and ACH are both so good. It’s amazing to me that Sydal was in the WWE for what, four years and they did nothing with him. When I watch these guys in ROH, and it’s not just these particular guys, all my favorites, I hope they don’t go to the WWE. They won’t be able to wrestle to the zenith of their ability and will probably be punished for getting over (that being said I want them all to earn as much money as they can and surely wouldn’t begrudge them moving up).

If it's WWE or this, I'm going WWE.
If it’s WWE or this, I’m going WWE.

Both these teams give us lots of one of my favorite things, that being tandem tag team moves. You can see that ACH and Sydal are working out the kinks in their double teaming, but the effort is definitely there. Daniels and Kazarian pull of these moves with the greatest of ease. It’s the little things that set them apart. Daniels dropping an elbow and keeping his body weight on ACH just long enough for Kazarian to hit an elbow of his own. Kevin Kelly describes tag team wrestling as a swarm and that’s exactly what we get from these four in the match. Sydal hits his stiff-ass jumping knees before screaming “Peace!” and dropkicking Daniels in the face. I’m not even sure how ACH pulls off his flipping jump to the outside of the ring. It actually looks like time slows down for him as he’s moving through the air.

It sure as hell ain't lifts...
It sure as hell ain’t lifts…

The pace gets a lot quicker as we sprint to the end of the match. Daniels takes a wicked stomp to the back as he’s hunched over and we’re treated to near fall after near fall as guys jump in from off frame to save their partners. It’s actually a testament to the great camera work that they seem to be coming out of nowhere. In the end, Sydal is about to finish things off for his team when EYES WIDE SHUT interferes and allows Sydal to be hit with an Addiction double team move that should put him in the morgue.

Great little tag match which is only enhanced in the simplest of ways by Kevin mentioning that the winner would probably be getting a title shot. There. That’s all you need to up the stakes. Stakes plus great tag team action will always win me over. I hope I’m not giving them too much credit, but I like the way they worked a slightly more mat based style than these teams usually do. If they did it in anticipation of the main event we’re getting later tonight, it’s just smart planning meeting excellent execution.

Jay Briscoe is up next!

We’re back and we get a video package of the four way title match from the PPV all set to Samoa Joe’s promo from the same night. It’s smart and effective. Whoever thought of it should get a raise and not go to WWE.

THE CHAMP IS HERE! Ugh you could NEVER imagine Jay Briscoe pandering to that level. He walks to the ring almost smiling. Almost. Maybe that is his smile.

The Happiest he's ever been.
The Happiest he’s ever been.

Again I wish him all the money and success he can handle but I hope the rumors of him leaving are exaggerated. I want to believe the WWE would push him with the dignity and fear he deserves, but I just don’t see it happening. He starts on his promo which is solid and believable, he pauses in between a couple of lines and I love that the audience doesn’t dare “WHAT” him. Perhaps they are as terrified as I am. You can say he got lucky, you can say he was vulnerable but you’d better damn sure remember to call him champ. Just like that he takes what could have been an ending to the match at the PPV that made him look weak and spun it into him being the survivor that he is. He stresses that he’s unbeaten in two years, which is such a cool feat in today’s wrestling world and says he’s the baddest man in pro wrestling.

That, of course, brings out Samoa Joe. Hasn’t Jay Briscoe watched enough wrestling to know you can’t just make blanket statements like that without some asshole coming out? Joe hits the ring with his awesome “I am Pro Wrestling,” T-shirt and Jay certainly isn’t smiling now. Joe puts over Jay’s performance in Las Vegas and says he sees a bit of himself in Jay. Imagine that? Putting over the guy you’re going to be facing, so then, if you beat him, you look all the stronger for having overcome a huge challenge. What a crazy idea right? It’s certainly better to say your opponent (who’s the new face of the company) can’t wrestle, or to say (after a legit UFC guy breaks your arm) “I’ve been hurt worse.” That’s how you make your opponents look strong.

Subtle?
Subtle?

Joe takes exception to Jay calling himself the baddest man in pro wrestling since last he checked he hadn’t whooped Joe’s ass. Joe lays down the challenge for Supercard of Honor and states “Last time we were in the ring I bled you. The next time I’m going to break you.” Awesome. Just two bad asses who are going to kill each other fighting over a prize they both want. They did more to sell me on that match in one ten minute segment than WWE has done to sell us on Lesnar/Reigns in two months. Fantastic work from both guys which totally makes you want the match to happen right now.

We’re back from break and Jimmy Jacobs is ranting in the ring. He’s pissed off that Joe just waltzes in and gets a title shot. He says that before Joe is given a shot, he’s going to take one. It’s clear in his expression and demeanor that he needs to win the title. Jacobs played the “you left the company, and I stayed all these years” card which is weird because he’s leaving to go write for WWE. I’m guessing this is probably his last program before he goes.

The Kingdom is here! I’m really amazed how far Maria has come as a second. She moves with a confidence that no one in her role has really had since maybe Sherri. The Kingdom sure do a lot of hand signals. Speaking of hand signals here come the Bucks, who are quite possibly my favorite act in wrestling.

Elizabeth 2?
Elizabeth 2?

Match #2 The Kingdom Vs. The Young Bucks

Here’s the deal. I didn’t take any notes on the match. One: I can’t type fast enough to keep up. Two: when the Bucks are out there I can’t help but want to sit back and watch. Here comes the gushing: I don’t think there’s a more complete team out there today that even comes close to the Young Bucks. The way they move in and out of the ring, their tandem offence, the crispness of their kicks, the pace that they force everyone to keep up with, fuck even the way they hide their knaps is exemplary. I can’t do justice to their matches, (that’s not to say that they’re all masterpieces) I’m just not that good a writer. Just take the time to check out the Young Bucks. Follow the link above and enjoy. They have completely reinvigorated my love for tag team wrestling and I’m always legitimately excited to see them perform. This match here doesn’t quite hit the same level as their six-man with AJ Styles from earlier in the year but it’s damn good. Bennett and Taven keep up with them, and the match is a thirteen minute race that’s filled with great action, near falls you buy into and a lot of superkicks.

I'm so glad you didn't shake Booker T's hand.
I’m so glad you didn’t shake Booker T’s hand.

The Kingdom takes it after EYES WIDE SHUT INTERFERANCE sets the Bucks up for a giant spike piledriver. It’s going to be The Kingdom vs. ReDRagon (another fantastic team) at Supercard of Honor which should also be pretty sweet. (But not too sweet or they might get sued.) A great main event to close out the show.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ROH code line hyping that if you called, toll-free, you’d find out which Ring of Honor wrestler’s father is an Elvis impersonator. I won’t spoil it here, but I found out. I also found out it’s all just an ad for auto insurance. Whelp! Gotta pay the bills I guess.

Best Match: The Young Bucks Vs. The Kingdom
Worst Match: None.
Best Promo/Skit: The Joe/Briscoe confrontation
Worst Promo/Skit: None
MVP: Young Bucks

What Worked Really Well

The whole show was tag matches and they both felt important to the promotion going forward.

The Briscoe/Joe stuff was beautifully effective in its simplicity. I want to see the match.

Steve Corino continuing to go on about Maria’s pregnancy was a nice inside callback to those of us who saw the PPV.

It was just a focused show that got to the point and did exactly what it was supposed to do: get us interested and invested in their product.

What Sort Of Works

The Knights of The Rising Dawn were really present on this one. The reveal had better be worth it as they’re becoming a very big part of ROH’s programming lately. Also damn them for getting that EYES WIDE SHUT piano song stuck in my head every week.

What Didn’t Work

Oz was a trailblazing show and got no love in the TV character tournament. Seriously there was nothing openly bad about the show.

So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?

Because it’s a great wrestling show that put the focus on tag teams this week. Coming off a show like this you can totally see how tag teams could easily main event PPVs if they were given the time and respect that ROH gives them. The show made me excited to see Supercard of Honor as Joe/Briscoe and Kingdom/ReDRagon should be great matches. Shit they made me excited to see Briscoe defend against Jimmy Jacobs. Every performer has nothing but conviction for what they’re saying and doing. That goes a long way in giving us a product that is compelling and believable. Last week I chastised ROH for putting on a taped show following their PPV. THIS was the show they should have gone with. It was a great way to spend an hour.

Thanks for Reading! See You Next Week! Keep supporting Place to Be Nation. If you dug my stuff check out “The Seinfeld Re-Watch” and “The Great WrestleMania Re-Book“. If you hated my stuff and or me check out all the other great writers. They’re a great bunch!

SUPERKICK PARTY!!!!
SUPERKICK PARTY!!!!

Author: Aaron George

Aaron is a classically trained Shakespearean actor by day who fulfils his culture quotient by watching wrestling by night. He has two sons a great wife and once explored the sewers in his hometown.