A Great Alternative: ROH TV 7-4-15

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More wrestling fans need to watch and get behind ROH. It’s the kind of wrestling that makes me excited to be a fan again. It’s not perfect, but it’s consistently the best WRESTLING show on television week to week. One of the best things about this show is you can watch it right here. No excuses anymore!

RING OF HONOR TELEVISION 7-4-2015

Last week ROH drove me off the deep end a bit with the lack of new footage so this week I’m expecting to morph casually back into the drooling fanboy that wishes this was considered the number one promotion in the world. I’ve spent the past few days playing hours of “Superheroes” with my three year old son where I am forced to act out both heroes and villains for hour on end for his amusement. Sure, you’re right I could say no, but I’m planning on using his current superhero obsession as the flowerbed for his forced wrestling obsession. Not sure why I felt the need to mention that here, we’ll see how much of it seeps out from my subconscious.

We start with a fantastic package of still shots from Best in the World’s main event. This package, and said main event itself, made me feel things. Not penis stuff, but like my heart is getting hard. (Thanks GOB!) We’re in Terminal 5 in New York City and the fans are rocking. Perhaps they have the mood wrong as the first thing we see as the camera pans is a glorious disco ball hanging from the rafters. It’s like the owners of the building heard there was a wrestling show and hung it in hopes of the Disco Inferno/Funkasaurus dream match we’ve all been yearning for. We’ll have to wait one more night for that though…and yes MS Word, I’m aware that Funkasaurus isn’t a word. I’ve made the choice to spell it three times but by now I’m written enough wrestling based stuff that you should just be used to all the batshit crazy words promoters make up.

Imagine the tie-in if he were still there...
Imagine the tie-in if he were still there…

Match #1 Takaaki Watanabe vs. Dalton Castle!!!

My thoughts start to drift to a meeting with Destination America where they demand at least one Japanese wrestler on every show, but those thoughts quickly erode at the sight of what my wife calls a “Gay Disco Vampire.” Now she may not be an expert on wrestling but she has directed a bunch of musical theater productions so I think we should just take her word for it.

I’m absurdly happy that Castle is here and that his sex slaves were with him. Is he the first guy to bring sex slaves to the ring with him? Bobby Heenan sold Hercules to Ted DiBiase for what I always assumed were sex slave purposes, but I can’t get a confirmation as no one will take my calls any more. The crowd is waaaaaaay into Castle and the sex slaves now have a special pose they make during the code of honor. How cute. Dalton of course shakes with both hands to really hammer home the point that he’s a total predator. Like if Batman were in the vicinity he’d bust him right away, no questions asked.

Gotham will be mine!
Gotham will be mine!

In lieu of the traditional lock up Castle begins with a crab walk in a refreshing change of pace. Imagine poor Watanabe, he’s in a strange land, probably doesn’t speak the language and he’s put in there with this freak the threat of rape perpetually looming over his head. Castle gets knocked down to the ground early and “The Boys” rush to fan him back to health. When Watanabe does the same thing, and the boys react the same way, Dalton screams, and I mean screams, “Those are MY BOYS!!!” Those poor, poor boys…who must be slightly relieved as Watanabe crushes Castle with a clothesline. Castle fights back with some knees before both guys roll around for about thirty seconds trying to small package each other. When the smoke clears Kevin’s voice cracks into a laugh as he calls, ” Only a one count for all of that?”

Kevin and Steve then go off a bit of a tangent discussing whether Rio is located in Uruguay or not. Watanabe does a┬ánifty spot where he mocks Castle before nailing him with a senton. Castle gets up and starts out-wrestling him though, climaxing with his sick dead lift German suplex on the large Japanese gentleman. Steve Corino calls the move by its proper name before remarking, “what a maneuver,” almost in an attempt to teach a young Vince McMahon a thing or two through the time space continuum. Watanabe tries to lift Castle into some type of suplex and Castle fights like hell to keep his feet on the ground. I love spots like that where guys fight to not get INTO holds instead of the tired way of slipping out. Watanabe starts jawing with the fans which draws the ire of Steve Corino. He’s right though as Castle takes advantage to hit his, “Centrifugal Penetration” finisher for the three count. Fun match to start the night.

Castle now wants the mic. He remarks that there seems to be a lot of “boys” in the audience tonight. Imagine what a forward thinking society we’ve become that this guy is the FACE here. I love it. Musical theater practitioners everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as memories of Goldust eliciting riots are getting further and further in the rear view mirror. The Boys then make themselves into a chair for Castle to sprawl himself onto. Dalton states the obvious: that he is, in fact, the only real man in the promotion. This brings out last real man slash homophobe Silas Young to scream at him from the entrance. Pfffft. He’s just mad at everything. What he doesn’t get is that the gay community would gleefully embrace his mustache. It’s lovely!

Young man, there's no need to feel down...
Young man, there’s no need to feel down…

Nigel McGuinness introduces us to the NEW ROH champion: Jay Lethal. Lethal enters with all the dignity of a world champion. The guy at the entrance who is clearly trying to hold a gallon of beer in his mouth should probably take some notes. No douche hat for Lethal this week as he hits the ring and gives a great little look to the floating camera as he poses with both belts. Nigel states that tradition demands that he be the first man to interview the new champion. Again, I love little details like that. Why wouldn’t the credible ex-champion be on hand to essentially coronate the champ. Now if he were to hand him a festive scepter while all the other heels cheered I’d really lose my shit.

Imagine this guy in ROH!!!
Imagine this guy in ROH!!!

The fans are overwhelmingly in favor of Lethal chanting that he deserves to be champion and I can’t say I disagree with them. Truth Martini gets the mic and chastises the fans claiming that’s they’re not Jay Lethal’s people, that the House of Truth are… his people… I really just can’t make this sentence work. House of Truth IS his people? Who knows? Who cares? Grammarticians? Yes Word.. I know…Nigel wants to hear from the champ though and Lethal is happy to oblige. He’s said it from the beginning, he’s the best in the world. “To be the best in the world you have to be the champion of the best company and he is, but ROH is only the best company because he is the champion.” That’s all he has to say as he attempts to leave the ring stating that he has nothing left to prove.

Nigel though wants to know which of the two belts he’s going to vacate. Will it be the ROH World Title or the TV title which Lethal claimed he raised to World Title status. Nice. Making him put his money where his mouth is. This enrages Lethal as he claims he’s earned both titles and he’s not giving up a damn thing. He declares both belts to be the ROH Undisputed title. Nigel’s having none of that though as he informs that champ that if he wants to keep both, he’ll have to defend both, sometimes on the same night. For instance at Death Before Dishonor he defends the ROH Title against Roderick Strong and next week he defends the TV title against Mark Briscoe. Just like that I’m excited for two matches. Please keep both belts on him.

Lethal declares: “If I have both titles on one night in two separate matches to prove I’m the best so be it!” The crowd, of course, cheers this which Lethal has to quell to keep himself heel. He’s going to destroy Mark Briscoe next week to prove his point. This draws out Roderick Strong who hits the ring and shoves Lethal demanding that he “square up” to him. Lethal is pissed, but Strong has no fucks left to give as he promises to take his title from him. We cut with them in the ring. What a great segment. I love how Lethal has won the title and is just on to the next challenger instead of the mandated three (3) rematches as per WWE regulations. Lethal’s gonna make a hell of a champ if he can keep up these fantastic promos to go with his stellar ring work.

Now World Champion approved...
Now World Champion approved…

Mandy Leon is here to tell us all about the… upcoming Roderick Strong versus Jay Lethal match… why? I get that she’s here to recap what happened on the PPV, but why follow that segment with one that basically rehashes the same thing. I wish they would have recapped some of the other excellent matches from the PPV instead of retreading here. I’m nitpicking, I’m doing my best to find something negative to say about this show. I can’t say anything bad about Mandy because, well come one! So damn you production guys for wasting three minutes of time on something we just saw!

It's not your fault Mandy...
It’s not your fault Mandy…

Adam Page interview. Next week he’s wrestling Matt Sydal (should be great) in a warm up for facing ACH at Death Before Dishonor. Good. I’m glad those two are getting a shot on the iPPV as their last match was a titillating tease of what they could do together.

Match #3 – Adam Cole/Mike Bennett/ Matt Taven vs. Michael Elgin/reDRagon

As the Kingdom makes their way to the ring Kevin teases tension within to which Steve replies, “That’s Horsebucky!” Way to stay true to your “friend” and to making up words Mr. Corino. Apparently the others are upset with Cole for taking the pin at Best In The World. Maria grabs the mic and states that it’s not Cole’s fault. They’ve been changing minds all over the world and that’s why they’re internet darlings. WHELP! She’s not lying. SHE’S certainly a darling of internets everywhere. Maria declares herself the leader of The Kingdom and states that she believes in the three of them. She then hugs Cole in a show of solidarity. Corino yells: “I’m jealous!” The great part is we have no clue which person he’s jealous of.

It's her. He's jealous of her.
It’s her. He’s jealous of her.

“Country” Michael Elgin is out followed by the always awesome reDRagon. The announcers make a point to… point out…man these sentences… they point out when Elgin shakes everyone’s hand declaring him to be “more social.” Yay growth! Bennett starts the match by trying to match power with Elgin, but he quickly realizes that’s dumb and just kicks him. Elgin gets Bennett up in a suspended suplex and holds him there for an eternity. Cole comes in and kicks Elgin which cause him to drop Bennett…half way…and then he just causally lifts him back up. Holy shit that was crazy. Taven does the same thing with the exact same result. Elgin is a beast. Both Kingdom guys jump in but get caught in submissions by reDRagon and Elgin finally decides to drop Bennett after an astounding fourteen minutes in the air.

I'm sorry for everything I said sir...
I’m sorry for everything I said sir…

Elgin gets up and destroys everyone. He’s looking fantastic tonight. He gets pulled to the put side though and Bennett takes to the sky. Steve remarks that Bennett has upped his aerial game and Kevin states that Maria likes it. This leads to Steve declaring that she LOVES it because she LOVES him and that’s what wives do! I love these tiny rants that punctuate the action while not taking away from it. The Kingdom pounces on Elgin and obliterate him with kicks and forearms. They’re really beating the shit out of him here. It culminates with a sweet top rope high cross body from Taven for two. We take a break and when we’re back and Elgin is (Vince McMahon 1992 voice) Once Again…reaching for the tag… (regular asshole voice) until The Kingdom pull reDRagon of the apron to continue the punishment on Elgin. No one told Elgin to cooperate though as he proceeds to roll through an O’Connor… roll…sigh… on Bennett in order to stomp on his back. Then he catches Cole coming off the top rope with a code breaker while simultaneously hitting Bennett with a senton. He finally gets the hot tag!

ReDRagon both come in and bulldoze through Cole with all their sick double team moves. They then murder Taven with their DDT/release German suplex spot. ReDRagon must hate the eighties considering the beating they’re laying on Taven. Elgin steps back in and stacks Taven on top of Bennett before kicking Cole in the face and dropping both guys for good measure. Bennett comes back though and hits Bennett with the protobomb and Adam Cole quickly sprints in and crushes Elgin’s face with a stiff shining wizard or a very close two. This is the best I’ve ever seen Elgin. The big guy from Canada gets up and picks up Taven from the mat for a powerbomb. Instead of throwing him to the mat he tosses him to the outside on top of the others. ReDRagon come back in and nail Taven with “Chasing the Dragon” before handing him to a perched Elgin for a top rope superbomb. Corino calls Elgin’s performance “MVP” like.

Ballin'
Ballin’

Cole comes in though and kills Elgin with a destroyer before handing him off to the rest of the Kingdom for the “Hail Mary” piledriver (another one of those wrestling words) for a very, very close two. That two was so close it almost looked like the ref botched it. The crowd chants that the ref sucks but they clearly haven’t listened to the Kevin Kelly Show at Placetobenation.com. If they heard Todd Sinclair speak they would never be so mean to such a kind hearted soul. Everything now boils down to Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole. The announcers celebrate their history and the two guys go into a superb strike sequence. You’d think other wrestlers would know better than to start these things with O’Reilly. O’Reilly misses a sweep and slides into a superkick by Cole. I love superkicks when someone is on their knees, just looks about a thousand times more deadly. Kyle just bounces into the ropes though and nails the “Nigel” clothesline which sets up “Chasing the Dragon” on Cole for the three count. Awesome match. Maybe not quite the level of the Styles/Young Bucks stuff from a couple of weeks ago but still tremendous action bell to bell.

Adam Cole gets up to shake O’Reilly’s hand which seems to be in direct defiance to what The Kingdom wants. So Cole goes one more and raises Kyle’s hand before walking out on his own. Dissention in the Kingdom Maggle! Crowd chants “Leave the Kingdom,” as we close out what has been a wonderful hour of wrestling.

Best Match: The Kingdom Vs. Michael Elgin/reDRagon
Worst Match: I’m not going to sully the good name of Dalton Castle here.
Best Promo/Skit: Jay Lethal rules the roost.
Worst Promo/Skit: None
MVP: Michael Elgin…and not just because Steve Corino said!

What Worked Really Well

– They made Michael Elgin look absolutely unbeatable. This is the first time since I started watching that he has a defined character. He’s unbreakable, that’s enough. I’ve been hard on him throughout these reviews but he won me over tonight.

– Dalton Castle is a star no matter how many “Boys” he goes through.

– As good as Elgin was, everyone is that main event was pretty spectacular.

– The Lethal interview was great, and I’m genuinely excited for his match with Strong and his reign.

What Sort Of Works

– They cut away from things awfully fast tonight. While it made the show feel brisk, it also gave the impression that they were leaving some things (Silas) incomplete.

What Didn’t Work

– The Inside ROH segment I mentioned earlier. Come on, I have to say something!

So Why Should I Watch This Instead Of Raw?

Because every match is better than what you get on Raw or Smackdown every week. The main event is better than almost every match you get on PPV every month. ROH scores a big win here with fantastic in ring action coupled with convincing characters and threesomed up with believable angles. It’s a wrestling show for wrestling fans. Man I thought I was going to talk all about superheroes but I got caught up in all the awesome action… man… I guess… Michael Elgin is like a modern day THING. That’s apropos I think…

Get me my wrinkled vest.
Get me my wrinkled vest.

Thanks for reading! See ya next week!