Thought Zero – Good day. More Field of Honor action this week from Ring of Honor wrestling. Hopefully the action in the ring will be good enough to distract me from the horrible lighting. Let’s go.
1) Hey, Bobby Fish is at the announce table along with Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino. That could be fun. But, um, Bobby, you could have worn a shirt.
2) First match is sure to be a physical one as Katsuyori Shibata takes on Fish’s reDRagon tag team partner, Kyle O’Reilly. Is there a reason that Shibata looks at the ground all the way to the ring? I am not quite sure what that body language is supposed to be suggesting.
3) Bobby Fish talks about how he and O’Reilly have discussed how Fish defeated Shibata a few weeks ago. And he brings up a decent point that you can’t be afraid of Shibata, you just have to go straight through the pain. Plus, Bobby Fish is speaking in technical detail about how submissions Shibata tried on him and how he was able to reverse them, etc. I like this -speaking about the match as serious athletic competition. It adds so much to the product.
4) Random thought, but hey, it counts. Something else about both members of reDRagon that I enjoy and appreciate – they both make a point of wearing a mouthguard in the ring. I know Kurt Angle has done it, but that is sort of the point. Angle is a bona fide Olympic champion wrestler. His wearing a mouthguard added even that much more “realism” effect to his performances. That is the same with Fish and O’Reilly.
5) Okay, Shibata is a bad ass. We all know it. But watching him dust off his chest and asking for more after O’Reilly basically caved his chest in with multiple hard kicks was pretty impressive. And I liked how Bobby Fish talked about how O’Reilly’s kicks were hurting Shibata no matter the intimidation attempt, hearkening back to his initial commentary at the beginning of the match.
6) Great match, as you would expect. Lots of great submission attempts, great reversals, and hard hitting kicks and strikes. The crowd, who I worried might be a little passive for this type of match, actually launched a valid “This is Awesome” chant after both men traded a series of vicious-looking suplexes. In the end, O’Reilly wins as the referee stops the match.
7) Main event time as there is a four way match for the ROH World title. Adam Cole defends against Tetsuya Naito, Jay Lethal, and Hiroshi Tanahashi. You know what, that is a pretty damn good main event. Thanks, ROH.
8) How about we mention the entrances. Naito’s suit is pretty awesome. And when he comes out in the mask as well, it is a very cool look. Jay Lethal should probably start coming out with a fancy again. I like that he is ready for action, but he deserves a little more dazzle. Tanahashi is out with his typical air guitar entrance, but he takes a little more time glad-handing with the audience this time than I have seen. And finally, here come Adam Cole. I don’t really buy the tough guy with a leather jacket look though. And during all this, Steve Corino does the old Bobby Heenan schtick of picking each wrestler as his guy as they come to the ring. I’ll admit, it still sorta works. And all of that took one full segment, but these are some big time guys, so that’s cool.
9) The crowd starts the match with a fun little “All these guys!” chant. Lethal wants to start things off, but Naito nor Cole want anything to do with him, so Tanahashi comes in. Then Cole and Naito blindly tag themselves in for a funny little bit. Naito is already in Cole’s head from the start. Then Lethal and Tanahashi go for a little bit. But you know what stinks, there is no way this match will have enough time to be as awesome as it can be.
9) A) Sub-thought – Case in point, Lethal has a neat little sequence where he uses Tanahashi Irish-whipping him into the ropes to knock Cole and then Naito off the ring apron. Then he dumps Tanahashi with a springboard dropkick. And then he dives outside onto each competitor on different sides of the ring. It was a fun, if predictable, little sequence. But I know that given time constraints, each of the four guys are going to get some little thing like that to shine. And then we will have to go into the finishing move trade-ups until there’s a winner. It doesn’t necessarily take away from the match, but it just makes me wish for more. And I would rather not wonder what could be in the midst of watching a match.
10) Adam Cole’s Last Shot is a pretty sick looking move. Especially the version which he hits out of the Death Valley Driver setup. People really shouldn’t be kicking out of it. But it is what it is. The end of the match comes when Naito hits Lethal with the title belt allowing Cole to hit a Last Shot (suplex setup version) and get the victory. Honestly, it was a great match and worth seeing. And for a TV main event, it was one of the best I’ve seen this year.
Overall, another great hour of ROH television. In fact, I forgot about how the stadium lights basically made the hard camera angle unwatchable. ROH production made a wise decision to edit the handheld camera footage for most of the matches at night. And while this was only a 2 match episode, I found myself wishing it would be a 2 hour episode to give those matches even more time.
Until next week…
Tags: Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Hirohi Tanahashi, Jay Lethal, Katsuyori Shibata, Kyle O'Reilly, Tetsuya Naito