ROH TV Report Aired February 21, 2016 in syndication Aired February 24, 2016 on Comet TV Taped 2/6 in Nashville, Tenn. Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor
The ROH TV opening aired.
A voice-over from Kevin Kelly welcomed viewers to the show and hyped this Friday’s 14th Anniversary PPV.
“Mr. ROH” Roderick Strong was out first for another installment of his “Roddy versus the world” challenge series. No mention was made of Strong’s title loss to Tomohiro Ishii at Honor Rising this past weekend in Japan. Instead, Kelly claimed that a win by Jonathan Gresham could completely change the dynamic of this Friday’s PPV.
Veda Scott appeared with a microphone. She reminded viewers that she and Cedric Alexander were recently awarded “a ridiculous amount of money” from ROH after winning a lawsuit over unsafe working conditions. Veda turned to Gresham and offered a huge sum of money for Gresham to not only surrender his ROH TV Title shot to Cedric Alexander, but to also leave ROH for good. Veda extended her hand, but Gresham refused by pointing to the locker room and motioning Veda to leave.
1 – then-ROH TV champion RODERICK STRONG vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM – ROH TV Title match
Strong arrogantly slapped Gresham’s hand before the bell. They locked up and Roddy got the early advantage. Gresham fought back with a wristlock that took Strong down to the mat. The did some more chain wrestling until there was a stalemate at the 0:45 mark. They tied up again. Roddy broke somewhat clean in the corner, before immediately chopping Gresham hard. Gresham fought back with a big chop, and then both men traded chops. Strong maintained the upper-hand with a running knee and another chop.
Gresham created some separation and attempted a springboard maneuver, but Strong somehow reversed into a backbreaker! Strong scored a nearfall and then hit another backbreaker, as the show cut to its first break at the 2:20 mark.
Back at 4:50, Strong was still in control as he nailed Gresham with another chop. Strong positioned Gresham on the top turnbuckle and chopped him again. He climbed up top, but Gresham broke it up with a finger lock. He came off the top rope for a missile dropkick, but Roddy countered with a dropkick of his own! Strong covered, but Gresham kicked out at two. Strong tossed Gresham across the ring. He missed a charge in the corner, which allowed Gresham to hit an elbow. Roddy tried to pick him up for a backbreaker, but Gresham again grabbed Roddy’s fingers and bent them in a painful-looking direction.
Both men traded blows in the center. Gresham came out on top with a kick to the mid-section and then a kick to the arm. Gresham went for an Octopus Stretch, but Roddy broke free. He tried to take advantage, until Gresham reversed into an Ankle Lock. Strong quickly broke free, but Gresham went back to kicking the Strong in the arm. Gresham rolled up Strong for a very close nearfall. Roddy then chopped Gresham a few times before nailing him with a stiff knee to the head. He went for the cover and scored the victory.
WINNER: Roderick Strong via pinfall in 8:39 to retain the ROH TV Title.
After the match, a graphic appeared for Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish at the 14th Anniversary PPV. The show cut back to Strong celebrating at ringside when, all of a sudden, Fish appeared and yanked the TV Title belt out of Strong’s hands. Fish casually started posing with it, but Strong nailed him from behind. Both men brawled in the ring, but Strong heelishly rolled out of the ring to safety. Several officials ran out to hold back Fish, as Strong celebrated in the aisleway.
ANALYSIS: Good opener. I wasn’t totally enamored with Gresham’s finger offense, but at least it was something different. Roddy did his usual thing here, which was fine. I’m not sure why ROH though a Strong-Fish re-match was a good idea after their stinker at Final Battle. Maybe they didn’t, and that’s why Ishii was added to the equation. (**1/4)
Backstage: The Briscoes talked up the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. All the greats had been there: Johnny Cash, Elvis, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie. Jay cut off his brother and turned his attention to their opponents tonight, A.C.H. and Alex Shelley. Jay wished A.C.H. and Shelley luck because they were going up against “the baddest tag team on the planet.”
2 – ROH Tag Team champions WAR MACHINE (HANSON & RAYMOND ROWE) vs. “BRUTAL” BOB EVANS & TIM HUGHES – non-title match
Big “War Machine” chant before the bell. Evans and Hughes reluctantly slapped hands with their opponents and then the bell rang. Hughes and Rowe started the match. Highes talked some trash, but was easily tossed across the ring by Rowe. Hughes tagged Evans, who took his time getting in. Rowe tossed him right back to this corner, so Hughes was tagged back in. Hughes tried to psyche himself up. Rowe was distracted by the hilarity, which allowed “Brutal” Bob to nail him from behind. The heels tried to double-team, but Rowe fought back. Eventually Hughes was able to pick up Rowe for a side slam, but got winded and couldn’t finish the move.
Hanson tagged in and then the champs hit their Shotgun Knees/Bronco Buster combo in the corner. Hughes elbowed Hanson in the face and went for a sunset flip, to no avail. Hanson grabbed Hughes and hit him with a sidewalk slam. Evans ran in, but Hanson cartwheeled around him and then hit a huge clothesline! Hughes threw some futile blows at Hanson, but the big man just picked him up, and then he and Rowe hit their powerbomb/second-rope splash combo for the victory!
WINNERS: War Machine via pinfall in 3:06.
ANALYSIS: Total squash for War Machine, which was fine ahead of their title match on Friday. I’m starting to like Hughes, but I there’s only so far a “Brutal” Bob protege can go. (n/a)
The lights in the arena went out for a moment. Then, spotlights flashed and out came The All Night Express. Kenny King and Rhett Titus taunted the champs, claiming that the clock was ticking on their title reign. King said that he and Titus were the unbeaten and rightful ROH World Tag Team Champions. King went on to say that the rest of the locker room were scared of War Machine because they were a force of nature. But, King said he saw them as merely “bearded b*tches.”
ANX circled the ring, as King continued to taunt the champs on the mic. King referenced their match on ROH TV a few weeks ago and accused War Machine of getting intentionally disqualified because they knew they couldn’t beat ANX. King said they weren’t there to “wreck things,” they were just there to play mind games. Rhett, who was carrying a big stick, grabbed the mic and said that The All Night Express “was coming for that ass in Las Vegas.” Kenny closed the segment by promising to make Rowe’s motorcycle accident look like a picnic on Friday.
ANALYSIS: Solid heel promo work from King. He’s obviously the talker of the team, as Titus’s lines were kept to a minimum. ANX should be glad that the Philadelphia crowd turned them heel at Final Battle, as this is a much better fit for them. Their match at the 14th Anniversary PPV should be good, and this promo got me more excited to see it.
Backstage: Silas Young said that patience was a virtue. He told “the boys” that he had been very patient with them, yet they preferred to be with a “man” like Dalton Castle. Silas said that he had been patient long enough, and now “the clock was ticking.”
Ringside: The Young Bucks were interviewed by Kevin Kelly. Kelly asked them about their partner at the 14th Anniversary PPV, Kenny Omega. Nick Jackson said that pro wrestling was a very dirty business, and that Kenny Omega had the very best cleaning skills. Matt took over and reminded viewers that they and Omega were members of The Bullet Club, and then promised to bring the world’s biggest superkick party to Las Vegas.
Clips then aired from last week on ROH TV when Adam Page turned babyface and attacked former mentor/partner B.J. Whitmer.
3 — B.J. WHITMER vs. CHASE BROWN
Whitmer came out by himself. Brown was portrayed as an off-the-wall journeyman who carries a cauliflower to the ring. Whitmer got the early advantage, as he punched Brown on the mat. Brown tried to fight back, but Whitmer nailed him with a forearm and then an exploder suplex for the victory.
WINNER: B.J. Whitmer via pinfall in 0:57.
After the match, Whitmer grabbed Brown and gave him another exploder. He grabbed the mic, but before he could speak, Steve Corino’s music blared throughout the arena! Corino appeared in the entranceway, but Whitmer immediately cut him off. Whitmer told him he didn’t get to speak because his neck injury had ended his career and he was tired of carrying him. Instead, Whitmer damnded Adam Page show his face. All of a sudden, Page came through the crowd and attacked Whitmer from behind! Both men traded blows, and then Page hit his flip lariat to take B.J. to the ground. Page pounded on him, as officials ran in to break things up.
ANALYSIS: Squash victory for Whitmer that set up Whitmer-Page at the PPV. (n/a)
Backstage: Dalton Castle was being fanned by “the boys.” Castle called them out for their fanning being a little off. Castle realized they might be hesitant to face Silas Young and The Beer City Bruiser next week on ROH TV. Castle offered words of encouragement: “Have you forgotten who you are? You are my boys!”
14th Anniversary PPV main event hype
Adam Cole was out next. He entered the ring and asked if everyone was ready for “Story Time with Adam Cole, bay bay.” He referenced his upcoming ROH World Title match against Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly at the 14th Anniversary PPV. Cole immediately claimed that O’Reilly did not deserve another title match after losing to him at Final Battle in December. Cole turned his attention to Lethal, however, and started talking up the ROH World Champion. Cole said that Lethal had beaten “great after great,” but had never beaten him. He finished up by announcing that there would be a new champion and his name was “Adam Cole, bay bay!”
Lethal’s music played and out came The House of Truth. Lethal said he came out because his name had been invoked. He talked up O’Reilly as a “good kid,” but said he was just a kid since he hadn’t won the ROH World Title before. Lethal said he would talk man-to-man with Cole, and “leave the kids out of it.” Lethal hyped the PPV match, but quickly changed his tune and said he didn’t want to wait for the 14th Anniversary, despite being “dressed to impress.” Cole was ready to accept the challenge, but reDRagon’s music played and Kyle O’Reilly walked down to the ring!
O’Reily grabbed a mic. He stared down his opponents and started to speak, but then he dropped the mic and kicked Lethal in the chest! Cole went after him, and then the former Future Shock partners traded blows in the center. Lethal re-entered and went after O’Reilly. This opened the champ up for a superkick from Cole, though. Cole hit Lethal with his over-the-knee neckkbreaker, but O’Reilly reappeared and nailed Cole with a brainbuster. O’Reilly held up the title belt, as officials came out to break things up.
ANALYSIS: Your typical go-home angle with some decent promos and a fun brawl. Their PPV match should be really good, but there is a real lack of buzz for this main event and the ROH product in general right now.
4 – A.C.H. & ALEX SHELLEY vs. THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK BRISCOE w/ODB)
Christopher Daniels was on commentary for this match. Apparently, Daniels will be facing Shelley at the PPV instead of the obvious Shelley-Sabin match. Kelly and McGuinness quickly brushed over Daniels’s suspension, with McGuinness claiming that Daniels had served his time. Daniels claimed self defense against the referee he had struck. Both teams shook hands and the bell rang. Mark and A.C.H. started the match with some chain wrestling. They ran the ropes, where A.C.H. dazzled the crowd with some acrobatics before nailing both Briscoes with some dropkicks.
The Briscoes came back and double-teamed A.C.H. Mark hit him with some chops in the corner and then tagged his brother. Jay came in and punched A.C.H. several times, while the announcers questioned Christopher Daniels about the KRD storyline from last year. Daniels referenced how Shelley copied Chris Sabin and called him an imposter, right as Shelley was tagged in. He nailed Jay with a flying cross-body. Shelly held Jay at bay and then hit a springboard plancha onto Mark on the outside! Shelley went up top and hit Jay with a double axehandle, before he punched Jay in the gut a few times. The Briscoes made a blind tag, which allowed Mark to hit a clothesline on Shelley. The show then cut to its final break at the 3:12 point in the match.
Back at 4:12, Jay was still in control of Shelley. He tagged Mark back in. They missed a double clothesline, which allowed Shelly to roll over and tag A.C.H. A.C.H. clotheslined Jay out of the ring and then hit him with a running punt from the apron. He transitioned right into his Get Over Here jumping reverse STO on Mark. A.C.H. charged at Mark in the corner, but ran right into his boot. Mark tried to go up top, but A.C.H. somehow hit him with a kick while in mid-moonsault! A.C.H. then turned his attention to Jay and with a big flip dive to the outside! In the ring, Shelley rammed Jay’s head into the mat and then A.C.H. hit a springboard rolling cutter on Jay, which was good for a two count.
Jay and Shelley traded blows in the center. Jay won the battle and knocked Shelley to the mat with a stiff forearm. A.C.H. reappeared and nailed Jay with a brainbuster. Mark then showed up and performed some Redneck Kung Fu on A.C.H. Shelley re-entered, but Mark quickly kicked him out of the ring. Mark then hit A.C.H. with an exploder suplex. He charged at Shelley, but Alex got the boots up and then hit a reverse STO on Mark in the corner. Jay tried to run in, but Shelly superkicked him. Shelley and A.C.H. hit a clothesline/enziguri combo in the corner. Daniels got on the ring apron and distracted Shelley. Meanwhile, A.C.H. went for his Midnight Star, but Mark rolled out of the way and Jay nailed him with a stiff lariat. The Briscoes then hit the Doomsday Device for the victory.
WINNERS: The Briscoes via pinfall in 7:59.
ANALYSIS: Fine for what it was. The efficiency of hyping two different PPV matches simultaneously bordered on overkill at times. The finishing sequence was really intense, though. (**3/4)
After the match, Frankie Kazarian ran in and the The Addiction attacked Shelley. They stomped him several times and then Kaz held Shelley so Daniels could hit him repeatedly. Sabin showed up and The Addiction held up Shelley for him. Sabin hesitated. A.C.H. yanked Shelley out of the ring before Sabin could strike. The Addiction had words with Sabin, as the show cut to a 14th Anniversary card rundown to end the show.
FINAL REAX: Storyline-heavy episode. This made sense considering it was the final show before the 14th Anniversary PPV on Friday. While ROH has come a long way in pacing these shows to match the PPV hype, tonight’s episode seemed dated after the Honor Rising shows in Japan over the weekend. Some type of update or cut-in would have been nice, yet it was impossible due to the timing of the show and the syndicated nature of the ROH TV product.
I’ve been a critic of the ROH product recently, but they are taking some steps in the right direction. They seem to be integrating the NJPW stars more than ever before following Ishii’s ROH TV Title victory over the weekend. Combine this with the upcoming ROH/NJPW tour in May and ROH’s rumored move to Sinclair Broadcasting’s soon-to-be rebranded Tennis Channel, and ROH could find its way back to newsworthiness sooner rather than later.