Thought Zero – For anyone who missed last week’s Fantasy Book, I’m sorry. Because it was huge. And great. It was the best Fantasy Book column to ever column. #alternativefacts
Actually, I didn’t get a Fantasy Book up last week. I was working on it, but it just never came together. So I will make sure I have my Royal Rumble Fantasy Book column up this week so we can all see how much better this weekend’s WWE PPV would be if I were booking it. 🙂 But now, it is Ring of Honor time!
1) Before the credits, we get a good little promo about Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll. This was well done, I must say. It gave a little bit of an introduction to both men, announced their presence in ROH, and made them out to be very big deals. This ws a little promo that could have, and should have, been airing in markets where ROH TV is on the air. Like all week. Ospreay and, especially, Scurll, are the future of Ring of Honor and it would be best to acknowledge and promote that from the jump.
2) The first match showcases the ROH TV champion, the aforementioned Marty “The Villain” Scurll. Scurll goes up against Jonathon Gresham. Gresham is very good, but he is so small (5’4″) it makes it very hard to take him seriously. But listening to Nigel McGuinness talk about Gresham, you would think he is the second coming, or at least Nigel’s son. Scurll comes out to a pretty impressive pop, but I don’t really understand all the bird stuff.
3) Gresham and Scurll put on a good technical display to start the match. In fact, this is one of the best I have seen Gresham in the ring. He looks very smooth and effective with his technical prowess. In fact, if he keeps this up, I would be very interested in seeing what Gresham does in ROH this year.
4) Hey, Jay White. You know why Marty Scurll is better than you? Not just because he is better but because he knows to find a rubber band and tie his hair back into a ponytail. Learn, young boy, learn. Anyway, Gresham and Scurll continue to do some great technical work in the ring. Scurll also adds in some stiff looking forearms and kicks. In the end, Scurll dislocates Grasham’s fingers and locks on the crossface chicken wing for the victory.
5) One final Scurll note here. The dislocation of his opponent’s fingers (joint manipulation as Nigel McGuinness calls it) is just sickening to hear. The best part of it is how Scurll sells it himself. After he does that to his opponent, he wretches for a while, looking like he is dry heaving because it was so sick. That is really a nice touch.
6) We’re back with a Decade of Excellence Tournament match between Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin. We see a little bit of backstage promo work from Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe pimping up their semi-final match in this tournament. This is the other semi-final. No offense to Sabin, but I wouldn’t worry too much if I were Daniels. Listening to Frankie Kazarian on guest commentary, it sounds more and more like this tournament is a way to give Daniels a long-awaited ROH World championship. Before we go to break, Sabin makes the mistake of going over to argue with Kazarian (without prompting, I might add) allowing Daniels to catch Sabin with an STO directly into the railing. That looked vicious.
7) After the commercial, Daniels’ has control of the match. But after a couple minutes, Sabin retakes control on the outside with a penalty kick and a front flip onto Daniels. A reversal by Daniels results in a springboard moonsault transitioning into a pin attempt, in turn transitioning into a Koji Clutch in a nice sequence. Finally, Daniels is able to hit the Best Moonsault Ever and picks up the victory. And for the second straight week, Daniels offers a handshake of respect to his fallen opponent. I will also point out that for the second straight week, Kazarian didn’t interfere at all. I do hope they are setting this up for a Daniels’ title run and not just an excuse to have these two partners feud.
8) Back from break and we see clips of Cody defeating Steve Corino last week. Then we get a weird promo involving Kevin Sullivan welcoming Steve Corino back into the family while they (including BJ Whitmer and Punishment Martinez) stand around a fire in a garbage can. Maybe they are going to start a boy band and are out practicing in the streets. Or maybe they are living on the streets since Kevin Sullivan hasn’t drawn a dime since 1980. Afterwards, Kevin Kelly says he doesn’t know what is going on with the whole Steve Corino/Kevin Sullivan crap either.
9) We move on Dragon Lee versus Will Ospreay versus Kushida. Forgive me ahead of time for not detailing this match much. I anticipate it moving so fast it will hard to keep up for my eyes, much less my typing fingers. Dueling chants from the crowd start off with an Ospreay chant followed by a Kushida chant and finally an “All These Guys” chant. They start off with an impressive display of flippy floppy moves and counters involving more flippy floppy moves. Imagine Ospreay versus Ricochet from a few months ago and then add in a third dude. That is what this opening was like. And all three men did not slow down one bit. With a little less flippy from Kushida, which I am eternally grateful for. Kushida’s ground work is what makes him so different and impressive.
10) As Dragon Lee takes a nap outside the ring, Ospreay takes control of Kushida. Ospreay then hits a sweet backwards flip over the top rope onto Kushida on the outside. But Dragon Lee tries to one-up him by hitting a very big tope onto Ospreay. More awesomeness continues as Lee leaps from the ring to Kushida on the ring apron and hurricanranas him onto Ospreay outside the ring. So often lots of high flying and flippy floppy moves tend to look too choreograghed and contrived, but this match seems a bit different. Maybe because I have never seen these three men face each other, but this was a just awesome. Kushida hit a fisherman’s DDT (which looked incredible) on Ospreay to win. The match was somewhat spotty, but worked really well and every one came out of this looking absolutely fantastic.
Bonus Thought) Throughout the show, they were showing clips of the Kyle O’Reilly versus Adam Cole ROH title match from Wrestle Kingdom. The clips were very short and you couldn’t tell about the quality of the match because of that. I get that they needed to explain the title switch because they haven’t mentioned it, but if O’Reilly is truly gone from Ring of Honor (and it looks like he is), this was a weak way to send him off.
Overall, a GREAT opening match for the ROH TV title, an impressive Decade of Excellence semi-final match, and an AWESOME main event, this episode of Ring of Honor was off the charts good. Like I said, Scurll and Ospreay are the future of the company. And if they keep working with New Japan and CMLL, having Kushida and Dragon Lee around is great news. Jonathon Gresham showed me a lot today, I love the work Christopher Dniels is doing, and even Chris Sabin looked super-motivated out there. One of the best episodes of this show I have seen, honestly.
Until next week…
Tags: Adam Cole, chris sabin, Christopher Daniels, Dragon Lee, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, Jonathon Gresham, Kushida, Kyle O'Reilly, Marty Scurll, Will Ospreay