Sunday, July 5, 2015

ROH TV Review - July 8th, 2015

I was super busy this past week and thus was unable to review the most recent episode of ROH TV that featured a phenomenal match between Adam Cole & AJ Styles. However, to make up for that, I'm here with an early review of the episode of ROH TV that will air on Destination America this Thursday.

Since I wasn't able to cover it last week, I'll start this review with a bit of a discussion about last week's show. Namely, the epic Cole/Styles match. It was the second meeting between the two and it was somehow even better than their first encounter from last year's All Star Extravaganza event. Highlights include Styles hitting a bloody sunday on Cole on the ring apron, an amazing strike exchange where Cole ducked the paylay kick, and the finish where Styles hit Cole with TWO piledrivers. It was a sure fire MOTY candidate and a must see encounter from the first night of ROH & NJPW's War of the Worlds event.

That leads us to this week. The first episode of ROH TV filmed after the much talked about Best in the World PPV event where Jay Lethal solidified himself as the best in the world by being the first man to defeat Jay Briscoe in two years and becoming the ROH World Champion in the process. On this show, we will hear from him plus there's a huge six man tag main event with ReDragon & Michael Elgin going up against Adam Cole, Matt Taven, & Michael Bennett of the Kingdom. The night starts off on a less serious note as Dalton Castle makes his way to the ring!

1) Dalton Castle vs. Watanabe
The Peacock is the best thing to happen to ROH recently. I'm so glad they kept him despite the fact that he lost out in the Top Prospect tournament. He brings something totally different to Ring of Honor and the fans have really caught on to him. This was another fun showcase for Castle and Watanabe even gave us highlight by dancing when the duo that accompanies Castle to the ring began fanning him. The crowd booed when Watanabe mocked Castle which just goes to show how over he has become.

Match rating - **1/2

Jay Lethal speaks for the first time since becoming World Champion

This was so awesome. Lethal and company come out to a huge reaction. Nigel McGuinness is in the ring to interview him. Truth Martini says a few words then Lethal lays it on thick, to take a line out Booker T's commentary playbook. He quickly addresses the fans cheering him and proclaims himself as the best in the world. It was just a great promo. Things get even better when he's asked what title he wants to vacate and Lethal responds that he earned both belts and he's "not gonna give up a damn thing!" Roderick Strong is the next topic and that brings him out which was hype. It's so cool seeing segments like these with Independent guys involved. Roddy tells Jay to square up and look at him like he's a man. The crowd ooo's as Lethal shoves Roddy. Strong says he's walking out of Death Before Dishonor as ROH World Champion. I loved this segment. Lethal defends the TV Title against Mark Briscoe next week.

2) Michael Elgin & ReDragon vs. The Kingdom
Elgin is now a babyface it seems and he actually got a decent reaction in this match for the first time in forever. ReDragon got the hugest pop by far, though. Before the match, Maria apologizes to call for their loss on PPV despite calling herself the leader of the Kingdom in the process. It's clear the groundwork is being laid for a Cole face turn. They all hug Cole even though he's not very into it. The match gets going and it's pretty high quality. They isolate Elgin, of all people. He gets some power stuff in before The Kingdom takes control of him. This builds towards the hot tag to ReDragon and they come in cleaning house for an insane closing sequence. Cole & Kyle had a fantastic exchange here, ReDragon hit some killer combos, it was just a ton of fun to close out the match. Kyle had Bennett in a cross armbreaker on the ropes at one point and Cole superkicked him. There were a number of great spots here like that. Overall, this was one hell of a six man tag.

Match rating - ****
Overall thoughts: What a show! Definitely my favorite since the switch to Destination America. I don't count the War of the Worlds replay shows because while they were awesome, they aren't like a regular TV episode with storyline work as well. This show featured the charismatic Dalton Castle to start things off, a quality promo from the new World Champ and a heated confrontation with Roderick Strong, and a barnburner of a six man tag in the main event. The best way to put it is that this show put on display all the things that are great about ROH right now. This is easily worth an hour of time.

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