ICYMI I reviewed ROH Winter Warriors: Indianapolis that made tape fairly quickly. That show saw the top matches kill it, with Adam Cole and Alex Shelley having above-average chemistry for their first meeting; hence them tearing it up and getting praise from yours truly. Not only that was reviewed, but of course last week’s ROH TV that saw storyline enhancement with Gresham coming to Cheeseburger’s rescue vs. evil Cedric, a good start to the Top Prospect Tournament, and lastly a mediocre triple threat. We know this week sees reDRagon face Jay Lethal & Adam Cole in the main event, as well as the continuation of the TPT, but let’s see what else is in store as it’s time for Episode 228 of Ring of Honor Wrestling Television.
An awkward start to the show from Charlotte, NC as MASADA walks out to answer Roddy vs. The World to a lukewarm reaction.
This was so much more than you thought it could have been on paper. Their styles meshed because even if non-deathmatch wrestling, MASADA hits hard and takes bumps in return. Well, guess what? Roddy does the same thing. The two grappled around, hit sick impact moves with bumps that followed (i.e. MASADA falling hip-first onto the apron). What was interesting was the introduction of the deathmatch elements to the match, that didn’t exactly work to perfection. Case #1 was the fact that when MASADA originally brought out the pack of bamboo sticks, they fell onto the ground and Roddy whiffed on a spot that was supposed to be part of such. None the less, the sticks played part in the finish, where MASADA got obsessed with sticking them in Roddy’s head, and in turn was hit with the KO knee as he was going to re-enter the ring. Good match for the opener, and one that provided more depth than I thought was possible. Pops for the powerbombs, slams, and hard-hits from each guy.
As Roddy thought all was said and done for now, out comes rival Bobby Fish. Fish, from the audience, mocks Roddy. Fish says Roddy needs to hope that he takes residence on another planet (AWESOME line), and is continuing his “get into the champs head” strategy.
Fish’s interpretation of Roddy vs. The World is the fact that he comes out and defends every week…against everyone not named Bobby Fish. Strong gets on a mic and says he’s learned a lot about Bobby. Bobby can’t “handle” defeat (ironic line placed there surely), and he states that Bobby wants to be Strong. Fish continues to out Strong for his actions at Final Battle. Roderick calls Fish a sore loser and belittles him whilst Bobby continues to state true facts. Bobby Fish stands tall as Roddy continue to shows that he is, well, gotten to!
Punisher Martinez from the Monster Factory is made for Vince McMahon and WWE. He’s a mixture of the strongman build and the ‘cool’ heavyweight you made in Create-A-Wrestler in a wrestling game. Colby was freaking amazing here. He has the makings of a Seth Rollins babyface type. The match was unreal for a short stint in the TPT. Colby got tons of offense in on the big man, but the big man looks like an early favorite to win it all; ROH is smart in doing so — the booking of the tournament has been tremendous. In the end, however, even with babyface chants from the crowd in Columbus, Colby’s TPT run came to an end before it even began. Martinez hit Colby with a chokeslam after throwing him around and executing what originally put the nail in the coffin — an APRON LAST RIDE.
Of course Whitmer has to get on the mic. Things once again revert to the “outing” of Steve Corino in the mask. Whitmer digs into Steve, talking about his new family compared to Christmas with BJ & Colby. He says Steve has never loved Colby. This is the last shot for Corino to takeoff his mask. The treat is that Whitmer is going to have fate decide his actions. BJ then goes ham on Colby as a consequence. It turns out that he was a disappointment tonight, and Colby snuck off at Christmas to call his father. BJ can forgive Colby, but he can’t forgive Steve’s actions. Four exploders are hit on Colby before the refs had to intervene. He leaves him hanging for his father to look at. The two face off as BJ talks trash.
Nigel now replaces Mr. Wrestling on commentary and explains he caught a glimpse of what happened in the back, for what it’s worth. It’s announced that next week War Machine defend the World Tag Team Championship in the main event vs. All Night Express.
This was an epic tag where everything went right. This was a hoot to watch, and knowing all of the dynamics in effect and the booking around 14th Anniversary; it reminded you that it’s a good time to be alive. Through all its phases, this was excellent. The isolation of Lethal, which meant Cole had to come in; but Cole wasn’t an active partner because the chance of crossing paths with O’Reilly. The motivation of O’Reilly to get his hands on Lethal. Cole and Lethal trying to show each other up. It was all awesome to see unfold. The build paid off in the end, where we got a ridiculous, but still more meaningful and purposeful than usual barrage of offense. In the chaotic frenzy of a finish, Cole and O’Reilly finally got to fight one another with their awesome chemistry and fighting spirit in effect. O’Reilly lariating Lethal trying to target Cole but getting hit with one of the strongest superkicks possible, Lethal hitting the Lethal Injection on Cole after making sure O’Reilly was faint enough, and lastly reDRagon getting the momentum sweep they need headed into the still ways away pay-per-view. The tag came full circle and it’s definitely a recommended watch.
Going off of that previous point, this whole episode is a recommended watch. It felt shorter than usual but every match and segment had a meaning. There was no filler, and things are advanced for the pay-per-view; plus we already know what the main event is on TV next week. The tag title defense will be something you can’t miss either. Gotta love ROH when they hit the nail right on the head. Here’s hoping for more of that as we move along in 2016.