It’s been the busiest week so far as an ROH reviewer over these past few months, over the last few days I’ve tackled last week’s ROH TV, Honor Rising Night 1, and Honor Rising Night 2. Now it’s time for the go-home edition of ROH TV for the 14th Anniversary pay-per-view coming up in 6 days — that I will obviously be reviewing as well. It’s a great time to be an ROH fan, but it sucks that TV was taped and won’t reflect what happened at the Honor Rising shows. Ah well; still going to be a fun time as always. It’s time for Episode 231.
I’M MARKING OUT BRO!!! The new ROH set has debuted, and by god it looks incredible. I’ve been waiting for this moment since the tapings. We’re from Nashville, TN in the Municipal Auditorium. Consider this the next generation of ROH production. Roderick Strong even got smoke pyro. Holy shit. I know I’m splurging out words right now, but it’s so cool to see this upgrade as a fan of the promotion. Imagine Jonathan Gresham coming out to this bumping theme, with a longer entrance way, elevated stage. Smoke pyro for one, smoke pyro for all.
Before Bobby Cruise could finish the ring introductions for the match, Veda Scott snuck up behind him and snatched the mic. Veda recaps that her and Cedric won their lawsuit vs. Ring of Honor. Veda is prepared to give Gresham a check that contains more zeros than he’s ever seen in his life. However, this transaction also requires Gresham to surrender his ROH World Television Championship opportunity to Cedric Alexander, as well as to go away from Ring of Honor forever. Gresham gets a great reaction for shoeing Veda away.
Well, this was exactly what I meant when I said delayed TV. However, I’m so happy to see this matchup become a thing in Ring of Honor, as it’s the best looking match from ‘Roddy vs. The World’ on paper thus far. This was extremely fun, slick, and provided a clash of styles in which was ideal. However, the only downfall was the fact that the guys only got about 8-9 minutes. Roderick and Jon made use of it. The twos movesets provided seamless counters around the mat. Gresham is automatically the best technician in ROH because he’s on the roster, and him and Roddy are arguably the two best at the ‘pure’ wrestling style on the roster. We got exchanging of holds, we got exciting feats of strength with Roddy tugging Gresham around, we got little man agility combined with deadly holds and finger work — this was great as I said. My favorite part of the match evoked struggle, which was evident the whole way through. Gresham had Roddy in the Octopus Stretch, but Roddy got Gresham up on his shoulders for Death by Roderick, but that eventually turned into an Ankle Lock! The finish came when Roddy hit his kip-up knee out of nowhere, as the finish was put over a little extra as Roddy didn’t immediately pin but held off for a few seconds. That would be used in a pay-per-view match as a kickout spot.
As Roderick celebrated his win post-match, Bobby Fish hopped the guardrail and casually took the title, slowly walking away, but this turned into a slippery encounter in which the two touched for about three seconds. Roderick stands tall with his title, proclaiming he’s best in the world as officials hold off Bobby.
Briscoes promo hyping up their match vs. Alex Shelley & ACH. Fairly simple promo but it’s the Briscoes so it’s automatically more fun. More ROH guys, well, hopefully all of them include the arena names in their promos more as it puts it over as more linear-correct; instead of a pre-taped lazy promo not including all the details because it needs to be played during the show. ACH & Shelley should be scared, cause they’re going to be taking on the baddest tag team on the planet.
YES. More job squad action. My favorite jobbers in the world, Tim Hughes and his dad. This is a hoss fight on paper, no matter how long it goes. War Machine’s graphics look so great on the new trons; but then again so does everyone’s. This was for comedy effect and was used to further War Machine’s push. The father/son comedy dynamic was awesome to see, and it allowed the family to almost gain momentum at time, but because of how stupid Tim was, they stood no chance. War Machine nearly phoned in the finish, with an incredibly awkward looking drop-on-the-knee double team neckbreaker, in which Tim’s leg smashed into Rowe’s face. A powerbomb from Rowe and a splash from Hanson put the father/son combo away for good.
As soon as War Machine were announced as the winners, the arena went black, and out come their challengers for Friday night, ANX. These are my favorite new production graphics thus far! They’re out with a few weapons and do the good ‘ol tick tock promo. It’s their titles, since they never lost them. Everybody with eyes, ears, and a damn brain know that the linear, legitimate, and the ‘gah dawn’ undefeated champs are the All Night Express! War Machine apparently have hardcore athletes freaked out. ANX see ‘bearded bitches’ when they see them. They get into War Machine’s head, explaining they didn’t win vs. them and the fact they put Kenny though the table damn well knowing that was the strategy. ANX are going to do what them suckas do, and play the mind game. They’re out here to play show and tell. The ANX are coming “FOR THAT ASS” in Las Vegas. ANX with the line of the year in a promo so far (as seen in the pull quote).
Silas Young promo. “They say, patience is a virtue, and boys, I’ve been nothing but patient with you.” Another one of those rambles about the boys never living up to their potential with Silas, and the time is ticking again. This was to hype up Silas Young & Beer City vs. The Boys next week on TV. Not bad. I’ll take it.
Kevin Kelly is ringside with The Young Bucks. Kevin asks what they can tell us about the man they’re bringing to 14th Anniversary, Kenny Omega. Omega chants for a short bit. Pro wrestling is a dirty business, and The Bucks know someone who has the best cleaning skills in the entire business. Matt really carries to promo and picks it up, explaining that The ELITE of the Bullet Club are going to bring a superkick party to Las Vegas. I’m stoked, especially since the three have been killing it and are the new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champions.
It’s finally time for the in-ring return of BJ Whitmer. A video package featuring him and Adam Page leads us into such.
I didn’t realize at first, excuse my fake fandom; but it’s Cauliflower Brown! I love the guy a lot, and if you watch FIP or other indies, you may know of him. None the less, we all know that this is a squash, but will he bring out cauliflower?! It was ringside, but we never got the bomb. This was extremely quick, and after some lollygagging from Whitmer, he finally put away brown with an exploder suplex. Post-match, Brown got another one and Whitmer took the mic.
Corino is out before Whitmer could say anything. Steve doesn’t get to talk tonight, and Whitmer is sick and tired of keeping Steve relevant. He instead skips over the Corino put over part and calls out Adam Page from the back. But, Adam Page and Corino had a plan. Page snuck up from behind, gave Whitmer a slingshot lariat, beat on him, then was separated by officials. More solid build.
Dalton promo with his side of the Silas & Beer City angle. He talks to the boys as the boys fan on. He reassures the boys that they are Dalton’s boys. Oh. That was it.
Time for storytime with Adam Cole BAYBAY! Him doing the baybay pose on the elevated stage with big font glistening over the audience is absolutely amazing. Cole has been very patient, and finally he gets his world title rematch at the 14th Anniversary event. In the match we will see some of the best pro wrestling on the planet; and Kyle O’Reilly & Jay Lethal trying to catch up. Cole goes on about Kyle, explaining that he doesn’t belong in the main event, or deserves to be near the title in the first place, and the fact that he will never be world champ. Cole switches gears to Lethal, saying he sees through his confidence. Lethal is shaking in his boots because he’s never defended the ROH World Championship vs. Cole. He will not like the outcome, and there will be a new champ at the pay-per-view, and his name…is Adam Cole BAYBAY!
House of Truth out however. Jay Lethal notes that Kyle O’Reilly has never held top gold in ROH, but Adam Cole has. O’Reilly is the kid in this situation, and he’s going to be staying home whilst the two elite tier champs do work in the main event. This may even be foreshadowing for the typical knock you out of the match spot. Lethal is out to prove that he’s the greatest wrestler in the world, and at the 14th Anniversary show, he’s going to also prove to both men that the house always wins. Lethal may be dressed to impress, but he doesn’t feel like waiting for the anniversary. At least Nigel is ringside here. Fade to black and Kyle’s out. Kyle has no time to talk. We get a preview of the triple threat. Cole gives Lethal a superkick and his neckbreaker suplex. O’Reilly gives Cole a brainbuster and stands tall with the ROH title. Good stuff. Also I’d like to note that ROH have their own branded mics now, which is another excellent addition to their production values.
ACH got a theme upgrade for what it’s worth. It’s the ‘Super Street Fighter’ version of his old ‘Street Fighter’ theme. Christopher Daniels is back from his suspension and is on commentary, building up his match vs. Shelley on the pay-per-view this Friday.
I don’t understand why the previous segment wasn’t in the main event slot. The reason I say this is because this isn’t the go-home, last few minutes of TV you want for a pay-per-view. Whilst the match was going on, it was fun for what it was — a spotty, high paced extravaganza with Mark Briscoe taking a flying bulldog off the top rope as well as a flipping kick to the face from ACH, etc. The rest I already don’t remember much of, but the finish was consistent in the sense that it solidified the build to multiple things at once. As ACH & Shelley thought they one-upped The Briscoes and were ready to win, ACH was about to put the cap on it all with his Midnight Star, but Daniels interfered and dragged him out of the ring — eventually holding his legs down as The Briscoes hit the Doomsday Device after the hope that was once there for the junior team faded away.
After the match, The Addiction & Sabin jumped Shelley as he was recovering from the loss. ROH continued the narrative of Motor City Machine Guns not touching, as Sabin was too shy to beat on Shelley as The Addiction held him up, but ACH pulled him out to save him. That was the last image of TV before the pay-per-view. Let me reiterate that.
This was another good episode of Ring of Honor television. Even though they made a massive mistake in that last two segment order, the brand new production made the show larger than life from that standpoint, and that’s exactly the type of life ROH needed headed into the rest of this year and beyond. We got many top notch promos, segments, and build furthering all the way to Friday. Every match we got was short and to the point, with Roderick Strong vs. Jonathan Gresham being the best from an in-ring standpoint, and that was still short coming in at under 10 minutes. I’m excited for ROH’s 14th Anniversary. Expect my thoughts out as the pay-per-view comes to a close on Friday night. It’s a wonderful time to be a fan of Ring of Honor. Many good things are to come this year, and even this month.