10 Thoughts on … Ring of Honor January 7, 2017 (Two Decade of Excellence Tournament matches, The Kingdom versus Cheeseburger and His Friends, Colt Cabana)

Thought Zero – Here we go with the first Ring of Honor television hour of 2017. Sort of an odd way to start the year as the next couple episodes are sort of lame duck episodes given that we know that Kyle O’Reilly lost the ROH World Title at Wrestle Kingdom back to Adam Cole. (Oh yeah, spoiler alert. But why didn’t you read Pat’s rundown of Wrestle Kingdom yet? Or better yet, watch that show yourself?) Well, there are plenty of other things going on, so let’s see what they have for us.

1) We start with a recap of the Decade of Excellence match between Christopher Daniels and Mark Briscoe. Following that, Christopher Daniels cuts a backstage promo about how he was there when Ring of Honor started and he always wanted to be Ring of Honor World champion (and honestly, it is sort of weird that he never was). Hopefully the Decade of Excellence tournament and Daniels’ recent introspective promos are setting up a run with the belt for the Fallen Angel. I would like to see that.

2) After the opening theme, we have BJ Whitmer in the ring with Punishment Martinez and Kevin Sullivan outside the ring. No entrance for Whitmer? I’m not complaining. Apparently Whitmer will be facing Jay Briscoe in the first round of this Decade of Excellence tournament. Briscoe offers a handshake which Whitmer declines and we’re off. I like Punishment Martinez, but honestly, the new all-white gear that Whitmer is wearing now is the best thing that has come from this whole Kevin Sullivan weirdness.

3) Jay Briscoe seems to be growing his hair out a little, but it is all up top. Sort of a mix between a bowl cut and a mohawk. Just saying. A distraction from Kevin Sullivan gives Whitmer the advantage on the outside as we go to commercial. Back from break and we see Sullivan and Martinez pull Briscoe crotch first into the ring post. Whoa, Jay Briscoe just hit a dive to the outside on Whitmer which had the least regard for self-preservation that I have ever seen. That’s some serious trust in your opponent there, but it still looked like Briscoe hurt himself as well as Whitmer.

4) I know they are still pushing this whole Kevin Sullivan storyline, but I hated the end of this match. Well, most of this match, to be honest. The end came when Sullivan gave Whitmer the golden spike and told him to not worry about the pin, to just go disqualify himself by clocking Jay Briscoe in the head. So Mark Briscoe came charging out, Whitmer swung wildly at him and missed, and Mark then dove out onto Martinez. All of a sudden, Jay feels great and hits the Jay Driller for the three count. Why did I hate this contrived finish and match? Because Jay Briscoe has been made out to be a top level, main-event, world champion caliber guy. Hell, they had him undefeated for 2 years not that long ago. And Whitmer, well, he has barely wrestled in the last few years, had a completely boring and never-ending feud with an announcer, and is basically here to serve as a mentor for the younger Martinez. Briscoe should have won this match easily. I could see Whitmer getting a little offense in because of outside interference orthrough his veteran heelish ways, but to have this match be this long and the ending be the way it was, it just makes Briscoe look weak. And that is the last thing you want one of your top guys to be. Anyway, Jay Briscoe moves on and will face the winner of Jay Lethal and Jushin “Thunder” Liger.

5) Post match, Whitmer says that someone must be sacrificed and next week he will finish this. Kevin Kelly speculates that they have their sights set on the Briscoes, but it very clearly is the farewell to Steve Corino. Before I get any angrier at this stupidity, they announce Colt Cabana versus Chris Sabin in another first round match in this tournament tonight. And then Kevin Kelly says something that makes my jaw drop. As a teaser for what is coming up next, he says that The Kingdom (the new 6-man champions, I might add) will take on Cheeseburger “and his friends.” OH MY GOD! That is worse than the original Gilligan’s Island theme song “and the rest” diss, and that was probably the greatest diss of all time. I really feel bad for whomever those guys are, since I don’t even know their names yet. They are just Cheeseburger’s friends. Probably Pickle Slice and Ketchup.

6) But before we get that barn burner, we are treated to Silas Young and the Beer City Bruiser taking on two fellows names Alex Reynolds and Jon Silver. I have no idea who these jabronis are, and I am sure this will not end well for them. Jon Silver looks like a smaller version of Will Ferrara, if that is even possible. Silver and Reynolds hit a few team offensive moves on Young, but Bruiser comes in and starts crushing people. Young hits a nice German suplex bridged into a pinfall attempt off a vicious clothesline by Bruiser. I will say this, it is nice to see Bruiser just smile in the ring. He plays his role well, but it is just so obvious he is having a blast being in there.

7) Silver comes into the ring and hits some impressive moves on Young and Bruiser, including a standing suplex on Bruiser which gets a huge pop from the crowd. Silver and Reynolds continue to hit some nice moves, but Silver gets caught with a double boot from Young and Brusier and that spells the end. After the match, Young announces that Bull James is going to be their six man tag team partner as they go after the the new six man tag titles. But it’s a swerve and Bruiser and Young attack Bull James and lay him out, including a frog splash off the top from Bruiser. Ouch.

8) Next is the six-man tag title match. And it is what I feared. The Kingdom is taking on Cheeseburger and his friends, Will Ferrara and Joey Daddiego. The Kingdom has a ridiculously pompous entrance, especially since I still do not know the difference between TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia. I’ll say it again, let them have different tights and boots or something. You can keep the horrible pleather jackets if you want, but give us something. Apparently this is not a title match (why the hell not) and Cheeseburger and friends are able to gain the advantage early. Way to make your champs look dominant, ROH. It’s fucking Cheeseburger and friends. If anyone could be sacrificed for a squash match, it is these guys. Oh, for fuck’s sake, are they going to have Cheeseburger win. Everyone charges into the ring and we get the wacky “everyone hits a big move” spot and then Cheeseburger hits the Palm Strike on Matt Taven. However, instead of going for the pin like a smart person, he goes after TK O’Ryan. O’Ryan plants him with a pumphandle Greetings from Asbury Park-looking move, Marseglia hits a senton bomb, and Taven hits a frog splash for the pin. If you were going to have the champs go over, why again was this not a title match? They brought the damn belts to the ring.

9) Next we see a bit of Final Battle where Broken Matt Hardy sent a little video message to the Bucks of Youth. I still don’t like the Hardy Boyz, but Matt Hardy has a way of creating some damn interesting characters. Matt Hardy Version 2.0 and Broken Matt Hardy are both pretty good characters and he throws himself into them very well. The Young Bucks are now in the ring cutting a promo when a drone flies in so the Young Bucks can double superkick it. Okay, that was fun, but again, the Bucks are playing the babyfaces here and they should be the big-time heels.

10) Yes, I am only leaving one thought for the Chris Sabin versus Colt Cabana match. I know, I know, I should give it more room, but Cabana is just… I don’t know. Cabana is good, but the silliness doesn’t work for me. Even as a heel, he still has too much silliness. It is almost Toru Yano levels now. Anyway, the match… Since Chris Sabin is in the match, both men are moving well beyond the speed limit, which makes the match seem more interesting than it is. During the commercial break, they show us Cabana getting in Alex Shelley’s face, but Shelley just ignored him, so it was sort of pointless to show us that. The winner of this match goes up against Christopher Daniels next in the tournament, hopefully to lose. I don’t mind Sabin, in fact, I think he is pretty decent, but he never has struck me as a main event guy. Regardless, Sabin gets the pin with a tornado small package while Cabana was distracted by Dalton Castle’s boys, so I guess that storyline isn’t over yet.

 

Okay, a mixed bag this week. I appreciate the focus on the Decade of Excellence tournament, but The Kingdom’s match was pretty wasteful, and the Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser match was pointless. It was also a little weird listening to Nigel McGuinness on commentary, since I just saw him featured in some WWE promotional work for their new WWE UK title. Thus is the beast that is the lame duck. Oh well, until next week…

 

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