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~Disc 1 (2003-2005)~
MATCH #1: Special K vs. The Ring Crew Express & The Outcast Killaz, Revenge on the Prophecy, 1.11.03
Deranged, Hydro, Yeyo, and Angeldust are representing Special K tonight with Lit and Slugger in their corner. Special K throws their opponents to the floor right away and follows them out with a triple dive. Deranged is left in the ring so he joins the party with a springboard senton. Marcos and Angeldust end up in the ring as everyone else fights on the floor. Hydro takes Angeldust’s place and goes to work on Marcos. Calling the action in these kinds of matches is kind of pointless. Everyone shows off their offensive skills, with varying degrees of skill. Some moves hit nicely some are sloppy. Slugger gets in the ring and gives Oman Tortuga a chokeslam. He starts chokeslamming everyone in sight but Marcos refuses to be intimidated. Of course Marcos gets chokeslammed anyway. The commentators try to figure out who’ s legal for Special K, but there aren’t really any specific rules or disqualifications so I guess they’re all legal. Special K starts dropping everyone on their heads. Slugger gets back in the ring and hits Marcos with the Bodybag. The entire group gets the pin at 7:07. This was put on the DVD to be Lethal’s “debut match,” but that actually happened in December against Homicide as part of the “High Impact” TV tapings. That match has never been released in full, and I wish it was on this DVD instead of this lousy scramble.
MATCH #2: Hydro vs. Alex Shelley, Generation Next, 5.22.04
They start with some chain wrestling as the crowd supports both men. Shelley appears to have the upper hand but Hydro works hard to keep up with him. When the pace quickens the advantage goes to Hydro, and when they stay on the mat the advantage is Shelley’s. Jimmy Bower notes that Hydro has all the potential in the world, but that doesn’t leave any potential for anyone else to have. Shelley goes to work on the neck, trying to soften Hydro up for either the Shellshock or the Border City Stretch. They trade reversals back and forth as Mark Nulty irritates me with almost every word out of his mouth. Hydro goes for a pumphandle but Shelley escapes and hits the Shellshock. Shelley locks on the Border City Stretch and Hydro taps out at 7:30. That was a nice little sprint of a match and a good springboard for Hydro to start moving on to better things in ROH.
MATCH #3: Hydro vs. CM Punk, Survival of the Fittest 2004, 6.24.04
CM Punk & Colt Cabana were set to defend the Tag Team Titles against Dunn & Marcos, the Outcast Killaz, and Dixie & Hydro in a Scramble match, but since Cabana was already in another match and had one more to go, Punk said he would do it on his own and he was able to get the win and retain the titles. Punk gets on the microphone and challenges Ricky Steamboat for the next show, and denigrates the teams he just beat. Hydro takes exception and challenges Punk to face him in a singles match. He calls Punk a pussy and that brings Punk back to the ring to retort. Punk says he is Straight Edge and Hydro slaps him in the face. Hydro offers a handshake for the first time ever and away we go.
Nulty immediately irritates me by confusing Special K with the Christopher Street Connection. I guess they’re practically the same stable … not. Punk tries to intimidate Hydro in the early going but it doesn’t work. They take it to the mat and Hydro gets an early advantage. Hydro knocks Punk to the floor and Punk takes his time regrouping. Back in the ring Punk hits a powerslam and starts going to work. Punk hits what Nulty calls a “crotch hold left, backbreaker, European style.” I hate Nulty so much. Anyway, Punk dominates for several minutes, making Hydro look very overmatched. Punk hits Welcome to Chicago and Lethal looks to be in great pain. This continues and Punk appears to be going for the Pepsi Plunge. Hydro fights back and hits a superplex. He follows up with a flurry of offense, including a leg lariat for two. Punk comes back with a Shining Wizard for a two-count. Hydro responds with a combo ending with a suplex for two. They trade more holds back and forth and Hydro clobbers Punk with a clothesline. Punk comes back with the hammerlock DDT and covers but pulls Lethal up at two for the second time in the match. He hits a super hurricanrana but it leads to a brief fish out of water spot, and then Hydro hits the release Dragon Suplex! He doesn’t cover right away though and only gets two. Hydro tries a hiptoss but Punk executes an “Oklahoma Side Roll into a Bridge” for the win at 18:48. That was a little bit long for Hydro at that time, but it did work in helping him become more serious and Punk made him look good.
Samoa Joe Talks to Hydro, ROH Reborn: Completion, 7.17.04
Sugar Shawn Price sighting! Anyway, backstage before the show, Hydro is hanging out when he runs into Samoa Joe. The ROH World Champion at the time, Joe takes a personal interest in Hydro, telling him how talented he is and that he could make something of himself if he starts to take things seriously.
MATCH #4: Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki, Midnight Express Reunion, 10.2.04
Ki requested this match because Lethal is Samoa Joe’s protégé. Of course Ki is confident and cocky in the early going, believing that Lethal is beneath him. Lethal won’t be intimidated though and he takes it to Ki with a series of strikes. A leg lariat sends Ki to the floor and Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Lethal goes back on offense, hitting a back suplex. Julius Smokes distracts Lethal, allowing Ki to hit a dropkick. Ki takes control while Smokes gets into an argument with members of Lethal’s family, who are at ringside. Jimmy Bower points out that the woman in question is Lethal’s mother. Ki continues the abuse and taunts the poor guy’s mother while he does it. Lethal comes back with a couple of pinning combinations but Ki cuts him off by going to the neck. Ki goes up top and hits the double stomp and eventually covers him and only gets two. He throws Lethal to the floor and Smokes interferes right in front of the referee but there’s no disqualification. Ki actually spits at Lethal’s mother! That’s uncalled for. Lethal agrees with me and unloads on Ki, and Mrs. Lethal even gets a slap in! That’s awesome. Back in the ring Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex but instead settles for a gutwrench suplex for a two-count. Lethal keeps up the offensive assault, ending with a neckbreaker for another near-fall. He goes for the Dragon Suplex again but Smokes interferes to break it up. Lethal knocks Smokes off the apron but turns around right into a Koppo Kick. Ki curb stomps Lethal on the bottom rope and then locks on the Dragon Clutch and Lethal has to tap out at 14:24. That was a well booked match, as it did a lot to make Lethal look good without giving him the win, which helped keep Ki the strong heel in the feud that would go on for most of the next year.
After the match Ki gets on the mic and talks some trash to Lethal and to Samoa Joe.
MATCH #5: Jay Lethal & Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness & John Walters, Weekend of Thunder Night 1, 11.5.04
Lethal and McGuinness start the match for their respective teams. They trade holds back and forth and pinning combinations for a series of two-counts. Walters, the current Pure Champion, tags in to go hold for hold with Lethal. After that Joe tags in, and for the first time ever the ROH World Champion is in the ring with the ROH Pure Champion. Joe hates the Pure Title and acts like a jerk about it, but Walters refuses to be intimidated. Walters tries to outwrestle Joe, but Joe fights back with strikes to take control of the match. Lethal goes to work on Walters, who tags out. Joe tags back in as well, and he goes to work on McGuinness. He tries the Face Wash but Walters pulls his partner to safety. McGuinness tries the headstand but Joe won’t stand for it, kicking him squarely in the face. Joe and Lethal isolate McGuinness, keeping him in their half of the ring. McGuinness counters the STJoe with an armdrag and lands a superkick. Walters gets the tag and he puts the boots to Joe. The idiot referee didn’t see the tag though so he won’t allow it. Lethal tags in and McGuinness hits him with the Divorce Court. Now the tag is made for real and Walters is a house afire. Walters clobbers Lethal with a huge clothesline for a two-count. Lethal fires back and they fight to the top rope, where Walters is able to hit a super backpack stunner! Surprisingly that only gets two. Walters tries a back body drop but Lethal kicks him in the face and then hits a leg lariat. Joe gets the hot tag. He hits Walters with a powerslam for two and then locks on a Cross Armbreaker. McGuinness breaks that up. Walters jumps right into a modified STJoe for a two-count. Lethal hits a powerbomb on Walters for two. Walters fights back with the Lungblower and McGuinness gets the tag. McGuinness goes for the Divorce Court but Lethal avoids it and hits a leaping DDT off the second rope for two. Walters breaks up that pin so Joe dumps him to the floor and hits the elbow suicida. Meanwhile McGuinness hits Lethal with the Divorce Court and locks on That Arm Submission but Joe breaks it up. Out on the floor Joe hits Walters with the Ole Kick. McGuinness drills Lethal with the Tower of London for two. He then locks on That Arm Submission and Walters holds Joe back so Lethal has no choice but to tap out at 18:09. That was a really good tag team match with a very clear focus and solid work from everyone. I love angry Joe.
MATCH #6: ROH Pure Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. John Walters, Trios Tournament 2005, 3.5.05
Walters has been the Champion since 8.28.04, and this is his seventh defense. He tries to get a jumpstart on the match but Lethal is ready for him. Lethal hits a series of hiptosses, a leg lariat in the corner, and a bulldog for a two-count. He follows with a big missile dropkick for another two. A big back body drop sends Walters to the floor and Lethal gives chase. Lethal slams Walters off the apron and then throws him back in the ring for more punishment. He puts on a unique submission hold and Walters uses his first rope break. They go up to the top rope and Walters is able to catch Lethal with a backpack stunner to take the advantage. Walters works Lethal over a bit until Lethal fires back and tries a rana, but Walters blocks it and puts on a half crab. Lethal uses his first rope break. They trade a series of pinning combinations for a series of two-counts and Walters ends up using his second rope break. Both men clothesline each other at the same time and are down. Back on their feet Lethal unleashes a flurry of offense. After an awkward exchange Lethal hits a powerbomb for two. Lethal hits a couple of backbreakers and locks on a Camel Clutch. Walters escapes and rolls it right into the straightjacket lungblower. He hits two more and covers but only gets two! Walters goes for a Super Lungblower but Lethal pushes him off and hits the leaping DDT for a two-count. After a series of reversals Lethal hits a big lariat. Lethal hits the Dragon Suplex for the anticlimactic win at 11:19. There was a quite a bit of awkwardness here, very little heat, and a finish from out of nowhere. I didn’t really care for it.
MATCH #7: ROH Pure Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. Spanky, Stalemate, 4.16.05
Lethal has been the Champion since 3.5.05, and this is his second defense. They start with some back-and-forth chain wrestling. Down on the mat they continue to trade holds, both men jockeying for position. The pace quickens and Spanky takes control by working the arm. Spanky hits a closed fist punch and receives a warning, so if he throws one more punch he will lose a rope break. That allows Lethal to take advantage, but it doesn’t last long before Spanky drop toeholds him into the middle rope. Spanky goes back to the arm and Lethal cuts him off with a back suplex that sends him to the floor. Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive, but he lands badly on his arm, further injuring it. He rams Spanky into the barricade. Back in the ring Lethal covers for two. Lethal continues the abuse, even locking on the Parachute Stretch, causing Spanky to use a rope break. Spanky then delivers another closed fist, so he loses another rope break and is down to just one left. Lethal tries a charge in the corner but Spanky avoids him and hits a Divorce Court. Spanky then locks on a Fujiwara Armbar and Lethal reaches the ropes for the first time. Lethal comes back moments later when Spanky charges right into a leg lariat. He goes to work on the back, but when he tries the Dragon Suplex Spanky slips out of it. Spanky hits a superkick and goes for Sliced Bread #2 but Lethal blocks it with a gutwrench suplex. That gets two. Lethal continues to work the back, hitting the running vertical suplex but missing the diving headbutt. Spanky hits an elbow drop off the second rope and a vertical suplex. He covers for two and then re-applies the Fujiwara Armbar. Lethal powers out of it and hits a drops Spanky back-first on the mat. He goes up and hits the diving headbutt this time. Lethal hits the leg lariat off the second rope. He hits a huge lariat and then the Dragon Suplex but Spanky uses his third rope break to avoid getting pinned. Lethal goes for another Dragon Suplex but Spanky slips out. Spanky tries the Sliced Bread #2 but can’t connect so he sends Lethal to the floor and follows him out with a dive. Up on the apron Spanky tries a Sliced Bread #2 but Lethal pushes him off again. Lethal then locks in a Boston Crab in the ropes and Spanky has to tap out at 16:27. That was a good back and forth and a bit of a forgotten match. They worked well together and I really liked the clever finish.
Highlights: Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki, Death Before Dishonor III, 6.18.05
This was a heated back-and-forth match with lots of interference from Julius Smokes. Lethal avoids getting hit with a baseball bat and hits Ki with the Dragon Suplex but Smokes breaks up the cover. Somehow that makes the match a no-contest. Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex on Smokes, but Homicide comes out and saves both Smokes and Ki.
MATCH #8: Jay Lethal & Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki & Homicide, Punk: The Final Chapter, 8.13.05
This one starts off as a wild brawl, with Joe and Homicide quickly spilling to the floor while Lethal and Ki fight in the ring. They trade places but the match gets no less intense. Homicide and Ki are able to isolate Joe and they work him over in their half of the ring. Joe begins to fight back on Ki but gets cut off with what may have been a low kick. Homicide tags in and Joe catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex and makes the tag. Lethal takes it to Homicide initially, but then gets cut off by the nefarious tactics of the Rottweilers. Homicide and Ki hit Lethal with the Super Bulldog a la the Steiners but Joe breaks up the cover. Ki goes for the Warrior’s Way but Lethal avoids it and hits a leg lariat off the second rope. Tags are made and Joe is a house afire, taking it to both Rottweilers. Joe hits Homicide with a Death Valley Driver for two. He follows with a powerbomb for two and turns it into the STF. Ki breaks that up with a double stomp to the back off the top rope! Joe makes the tag and Lethal hits a suplex and an elbow drop on Homicide for two. Homicide responds with an Ace Crusher for a two-count. Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex but Homicide blocks it with a low blow. Joe sneaks in the ring and hits Homicide with a snap powerslam and then kicks Ki off the apron. He follows Ki out to the floor to continue the fight. Meanwhile Lethal hits a diving headbutt on Homicide for two. Ki avoids an Ole Kick from Joe and slams a chair into his back. He tags into the match and takes it to Lethal with chops. Ki hits a big double stomp but Lethal kicks out at two. He hits a big elbow drop off the top rope but again only gets a two-count. Homicide takes Joe to the floor to fight. Ki hits Lethal with a hard double stomp off the top rope while Lethal was draped across the second rope. Lethal avoids getting pinned by barely getting his foot on the bottom rope. All four men are in the ring now as the referee is losing control. Lethal hits Ki with the Dragon Suplex but Homicide elbow drops the referee for the disqualification at 17:33. That was great tag team action with tons of crowd heat and these guys seem to legit dislike each other.
The fight continues after the bell, as all four men make their way through the crowd fighting each other. You can definitely see Brad Garoon and I in the bleachers. Just look for the two most normal guys in the crowd and that’s us. It’s an insane brawl that they crowd is going nuts for, as all four men take it to each other. Things get really crazy and Joe throws a buttload of chairs at Homicide and Ki, finally running them off … or so we thought. A bloody Ki comes back and kicks Joe off the apron before going after Lethal again. Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex but Ki counters and hits the Ki Krusher as Joe and Homicide fight to the back.
MATCH #9: Fight without Honor – Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki, Glory By Honor IV, 9.17.05
The show starts with Lethal in the ring, and he challenges Low Ki to come out and fight him. Julius Smokes comes out instead and challenges Lethal to agree to reinstate Low Ki if Ki beats him tonight. But Lethal doesn’t have hiring and firing power. Lethal agrees to the stipulation and Ki attacks him from behind to start the match.
Obviously Ki has the early advantage but Lethal weathers the storm and makes the comeback. Lethal hits a back body drop, a bodyslam, and an elbow drop for two. He unloads a couple of chops and Ki is in pain. A belly-to-back suplex gets another near-fall for Lethal. They spill to the floor and Lethal has to run Smokes off. Back in the ring Ki comes back with some chops of his own. Ki hits an inverted atomic drop and then dropkicks Lethal to the apron. He joins Lethal there and they trade chops. Ki wins that battle and follows up with a body slam on the floor. He rams Lethal into the barricade and pulls up the mats at ringside for another bodyslam. He sets up a table against the guardrail and goes for the Ki Krusher but Lethal avoids it and tries the Lethal Injection. Ki avoids that and dropkicks Lethal into the table and then slams his head into it. Lethal is busted open now. Ki uses the broken table to further open the cut. Back in the ring Ki is just dismantling Lethal here, actually finger painting on a table with Lethal’s own blood. He tries the Warrior’s Way but misses and Lethal hits a leg lariat off the ropes. Lethal is still hurt but he hits a gut wrench suplex and the running vertical suplex. He hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He goes for the Lethal Injection and Smokes gets on the apron to distract him. Ki tries to hit Lethal with a chair but Lethal takes it away from him, only for Ki to dropkick it right back in his face for a two-count. With Lethal down and out, Ki goes up to the top rope for a double stomp and Lethal kicks out! Ki then blitzes Lethal’s midsection with a steel chair. He sets the chair on Lethal’s midsection and hits another double stomp, and that’s enough for the pin at 16:22. I was never either guy’s biggest fan but they had good chemistry together and this was a good, hate-filled match. I’m not sure why Lethal didn’t go over here to end the feud, but whatever. Ki offers Lethal his hand and then tells him to f*ck off instead.
MATCH #10: Fight without Honor – Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki, Glory By Honor IV, 9.17.05
Prazak calls it “Fight Without Honor Part Two” so I assume this is under FWH rules. The crowd is going crazy as these two take it to each other with ferocity. They fight in and out of the ring and Lethal is in control. He hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. He kicks Ki in the spine and that just makes him angry. Ki gets to his feet and slaps Lethal HARD across the face and then delivers his own kick to the spine. Lethal responds in kind, getting back to his feet and engaging Ki in a chop war. He wins that battle and hits a superkick but Ki kicks out at two. Lethal bodyslams Ki and goes up for the diving headbutt but there’s no water in the pool. Back on their feet Ki hits the shotgun dropkick for a two-count and then locks on a Dragon Sleeper. Lethal fights out and goes for the Lethal Injection but Smokes gets up on the apron to distract him. Joe takes care of Smokes, kicking the crap out of him just for funsies. Meanwhile Ki hits a vicious Warrior’s Way as Homicide and Ricky Reyes come out to fight Joe. Lethal kicks out at two. He ducks a clothesline and tries the Lethal Injection, but Ki escapes. Ki goes for the springboard spin kick but Lethal catches him and finally hits the Lethal Injection! Cabana is back to help Samoa Joe as Ki kicks out at two. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection again but Ki uses momentum to break the hold and send Lethal to the floor. Ki goes to the top rope but Cabana whips Homicide into the ring post and Ki falls down on his groin! Lethal gets back in the ring and delivers a Super Lethal Injection to finally defeat Low Ki at 9:20. I actually liked that match even more than their first one tonight. I love the chaos on the floor, I love the finish, and I actually love that feud.
Before the next match they show an interview/video package with Lethal detailing his history in Ring of Honor to this point, all leading up to him challenging Samoa Joe to a singles match.
MATCH #11: Jay Lethal vs. Samoa Joe, Steel Cage Warfare, 12.3.05
They start off slowly on account of how well they know each other. Joe is the teacher, Lethal the protégé trying to step out of his teacher’s shadow – that’s the dynamic they’re working here. They trade holds on the mat in the early going. Lethal tries working the arm but Joe cuts him off and starts wearing him out with kicks. Surprisingly that doesn’t last long before Lethal is right back on offense, eager to prove himself to everyone. Lethal dropkicks Joe to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Lethal continues to ish out punishment, hitting a DDT for a two-count. Lethal continues to keep Joe on the mat but Joe fights back with the Big Joe Combo for two. Now Joe keeps Lethal down and starts wearing him down with submission holds and strikes. Joe hits a big knee strike and then goes for a Face Wash. Lethal avoids it and sweeps Joe’s legs out and then slams it into the ring post. Then to everyone’s surprise Lethal grabs a chair and slams it into Joe’s leg repeatedly! The crowd is pissed. Back in the ring Lethal continues attacking the now injured leg. Joe’s leg is in really bad shape. Even so, he catches Lethal coming off the ropes with a snap powerslam for two. Joe then gets a sunset flip and rolls Lethal around the ring for a two-count. He levels Lethal with a lariat for two. Joe goes for a Death Valley Driver but Lethal slips out and hits a clothesline for a near-fall. Lethal hits a suplex and goes up top to hit the diving headbutt to the leg! He locks on a half crab. Joe reaches the ropes. Lethal goes for a springboard dropkick but Joe catches him in the STJoe. Joe then hits a release German Suplex. He goes for the Muscle Buster but his injured leg prevents him from hitting it. Lethal takes advantage with a Dragon Suplex to get the upset win at 20:45. That was going along really well and when Lethal made his heel turn it got even better. The crowd reacted well to it and it made the match more heated.
~Disc 2 (2011-2012)
MATCH #12: Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett, Best in the World, 6.26.11
Bennett is of course accompanied by his trainer “Brutal” Bob Evans. This is Lethal’s first match in ROH since Fight of the Century in Edison, New Jersey on August 5, 2006. Lethal shows no signs of ROH rust as he controls Bennett early on, dumps him to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Before he can get back in the ring, Brutal Bob grabs Lethal from behind and hits a backbreaker on the ring apron. Every time Lethal tries to come back, Brutal Bob steps in and interferes. Lethal perseveres though, nailing Bennett with a superkick and then putting him away with the Lethal Injection at 9:43. That was a good return for Lethal and Bennett was less annoying than usual.
MATCH #13: World TV Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. El Generico, ROH TV, 10.1.11
Generico has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his first defense. (12:58)The pace starts off quick, with Generico on fire, delivering an armdrag, a legsweep, and a hurricanrana. Lethal responds with an armdrag and a headscissors of his own to even the score. He snapmares Generico down and lands a dropkick to the back of the head for two. Lethal hits the hiptoss/dropkick combo for another two-count. He starts focusing on the back now. Generico fights back with a series of armdrags that sends Lethal to the floor, and he follows him out with a big suicide dive. They take a commercial break and when we come back they’re in the ring and Generico hits a leg lariat for a two-count. Lethal looks worse for wear but he’s able to get a sunset flip from the apron for a two-count. Generico cuts off Lethal’s momentum and keeps him on the canvas. Lethal is able to hit the handspring elbow and both men are down. Back on their feet they start trading blows. Lethal goes up and hits a missile dropkick for two. Bobby Cruise announces three minutes are left in the time limit. Lethal hits a nice pop-up neckbreaker for a two-count. Generico fights back with the big swinging DDT out of the corner for two. He hits the Blue Thunder Powerbomb for another near-fall. Generico looks for the Yakuza Kick but Lethal blocks it and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. They struggle with each other over a suplex as time expires at 12:53 (shown).
Lethal and Generico argue with the referee so Jim Cornette makes his way out. Cornette says there are about three minutes left of airtime so they can fight for another three minutes if they want. Both of them want it so here we go. The crowd is on fire as Lethal and Generico tear into each other. Generico hits the Yakuza Kick and a half-nelson suplex for a two-count. He goes for the Super Brainbuster but Lethal escapes and hits the running vertical suplex. Lethal goes up top but misses the Elbow. Generico again goes for the Super Brainbuster but Lethal pushes him down and this time hits the Elbow but Generico kicks out at two! Generico grabs Lethal and hits an exploder into the turnbuckles. He goes for the Yakuza Kick but Lethal avoids it and hits a superkick. Lethal then hits the Lethal Injection to get the pin and win the TV Title at 2:52 (15:45 total shown). This one started a little slow but by the time the overtime period came around the crowd was hot and that made it much more exciting. I still think it’s kind of a bummer to take the title off Generico so quickly but Lethal ended up doing good things with the belt so I forgive them in the long run.
MATCH #14: Jay Lethal & Homicide vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Rhino, Death Before Dishonor IX, 9.17.11
Ciampa and Rhino weigh a combined 503 pounds. They are accompanied by Prince Nana, Mia Yim, R.D. Evans, and Ernesto Osiris. Homicide and Lethal weigh in at 433 pounds. Lethal is the current ROH Television Champion. Homicide and Lethal charge the ring and clear out the Embassy. Ciampa and Lethal start the match. They exchange holds a bit and Lethal takes the first advantage. Rhino tags in, and I wonder if he ever crossed paths with Lethal in TNA. They barely cross paths here, as Homicide quickly tags in. The Embassy tries to use their numbers game to put Homicide down but that’s not happening just yet. Lethal tags back in and Ciampa dropkicks him off the apron and into the barricade. The Embassy isolates Lethal in their half of the ring, keeping him away from Homicide. Rhino is in tremendous shape, by the way. He misses his first attempt at a Gore and Lethal lands a superkick so both men are down. Tags are made and Homicide goes right at Ciampa. Homicide knocks Rhino to the floor and takes him out with a Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring Ciampa takes Homicide down in the corner and hits a series of running knees to the face. Homicide responds with an Ace Crusher for two. Rhino comes back in the ring and Lethal takes him out with a hurricanrana. Homicide goes for the Gringo Killer but Ciampa counters to Project Ciampa to get the win at 10:15. That’s a solid opener, and I appreciate how Homicide has been putting Ciampa over so clean every time.
MATCH #15: World TV Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett, ROH TV, 10.22.11
Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.11, and this is his first defense. Bennett is accompanied by his trainer Brutal Bob. They lockup tensely to start, jockeying for position. Lethal hits the hiptoss/dropkick combination for two. He keeps up the pressure, dropkicking Bennett to the floor and following him out for more punishment. Bennett drives a knee to the midsection and rams Lethal’s back into the apron. Back in the ring Lethal locks on a kind of figure-four cloverleaf and turns it into the Parachute Hold. Lethal releases and covers for two. He hits a bodyslam and an elbow drop for two. Lethal follows with a low dropkick and. He goes to the apron for a springboard but Bennett catches him and hotshots him off the top rope. Bennett follows with a big clothesline for a two-count. The challenger is in control as we take a commercial break. When we come back Lethal is trying to fire up but Bennett cuts him off and hits a neckbreaker for two. Bennett keeps Lethal on the mat and wears him down. Lethal powers up and hits an inverted atomic drop and a flurry of strikes. Three minutes are left in the time limit. Lethal hits the Lethal Injection but Bennett kicks out! That’s surprising. Lethal thinks about going up top but thinks better of it. He tries a springboard move but Bennett catches him in a spinebuster for two as we’re down to less than two minutes remaining. Bennett tries a German Suplex but Lethal lands on his feet and hits a DDT for a two-count. Lethal lands a superkick and goes up top but misses the Elbow Drop. Kevin Kelly calls the elbow the Lethal Injection but I don’t think that’s right. Bennett unloads on Lethal with a flurry of right hands as time is running out. Lethal reverses and starts throwing right hands, and time runs out at 13:02 (shown). It took some time for Bennett to grow on me and he wasn’t quite there yet at the time of this match so this all came off pretty dull.
MATCH #16: Jay Lethal vs. Mark Briscoe, Gateway to Honor, 11.6.11
In the Proving Ground, if you last the time limit or beat the champion, you are entitled to a title shot within 60 days. Mark gets a quick schoolboy rollup right off the bat and nearly pins the champion. Lethal comes back and knocks Mark to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Back in the ring Lethal keeps Mark on the mat and wears him down. Mark comes back and crotches Lethal on the top rope to get a reprieve. He knocks Lethal to the floor and whips him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Mark goes to work. Lethal fights back with the handspring elbow and both men are down. Back on their feet they exchange blows and Lethal gets the better of it. Lethal hits a handspring Ace Crusher for a near-fall. I don’t know if I’ve seen that move before. Just like his brother Jay, the crowd supports Mark even though he’s a heel. Mark comes back with a Death Valley Driver, a running knee to the face in the corner and an exploder suplex for two. He sets Lethal up top but gets shoved down. Lethal tries another handspring but Mark catches him and goes for a Cutthroat Driver, but Lethal slips out and hits a superkick and an enziguiri. The champ follows up with the Lethal Combination and then hits the Top Rope Elbow Drop to survive the Proving Ground at 11:17. That was a solid showing for both guys, and they showed good chemistry together. I wouldn’t mind seeing Mark get a shot at the title.
MATCH #17: Jay Lethal vs. Roderick Strong, Glory By Honor X, 11.19.11
Strong is an even 200 pounds and is wrestling out of Tampa, Florida. Lethal, the TV Champion, weighs in at 215 pounds and is also wrestling out of Tampa. If Strong wins or lasts the 15-minute time limit, he earns a guaranteed shot at the TV Title. They start with some fast-paced chain wrestling, which the crowd appreciates. Strong takes the early advantage and hits an early backbreaker. Lethal comes back with a slingshot senton and then kicks Strong to the floor. When Lethal throws Strong back in the ring, Martini takes his opportunity to interfere, giving the advantage back to his charge. Strong resumes targeting the back. He hits the dropkick but only gets two. Lethal looks to be in rough shape at this point. Apparently I’m wrong though because Lethal unleashes a series of chops, but Strong cuts him off and drives him back into the corner. Strong charges right into a boot and Lethal hits the lag lariat. Both men are down. Up on their feet Lethal goes on offense but he can’t put Strong away. Bobby Cruise announces three minutes left. Strong comes back with a modified Chaos Theory for a two-count. He hits the gutbuster for two as Cruise announces two minutes left. Now Strong locks on the Stronghold and Lethal reaches the ropes. Another gutbuster gets another two-count for Strong as one minute is left. Strong wisely decides to start running now, which is smart strategy. Lethal catches up with him though and puts on the Figure-Four Leglock with 30 seconds remaining. Strong is able to withstand the hold and the time limit expires at an even 15:00.
The fans and Lethal ask for five more minutes, which brings Jim Cornette for a ruling. Cornette says that Strong has earned his shot at the TV Title no matter what, and also that Strong is a pussy if he doesn’t take the five more minutes. Strong acquiesces and here we go! They slug away at each other and the crowd is amped up. Strong hits the Sick Kick for a two-count. Lethal counters with the Lethal Combination for a two-count of his own. Strong locks on the Stronghold but Lethal kicks out of it and grabs an inside cradle for two. Lethal shrugs off a gutbuster and hits a superkick and a handspring Ace Crusher and that’s enough to get the win at 2:05 (17:05 total match time). Strong is pretty automatic at this point and Lethal has been a good addition to the roster since coming back.
MATCH #18: World TV Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. El Generico, ROH TV, 11.26.11
Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.11, and this is his second defense. (25:49)Mike Bennett and Brutal Bob are watching from ringside. Generico and Lethal start with some chain wrestling and they battle to a standoff. They continue to trade moves back and forth and appear to be very evenly matched opponents. Generico executes a series of armdrags and a snap mare for a one-count. He keeps up the pressure and maintains the early advantage. Generico hits a backbreaker and a split-legged moonsault for two. Lethal backdrops Generico to the apron and knocks him off with a dropkick. They take one more commercial break at this point but for once they actually continue showing the action just without commentary. That’s a nice bonus. They continue the battle on the floor and Lethal hits a superkick. Back in the ring Lethal covers for two. Lethal follows with a vertical suplex for another two-count. A leg lariat gets another two-count as they return from commercial. Lethal puts on the Parachute Hold and then covers and again gets two. He hits the hiptoss/dropkick combo for another near-fall. Generico fights back with a flurry of offense. He hits the Blue Thunder Powerbomb for two. Lethal tries to fire up but Generico catches him with a Michinoku Driver for a two-count. Generico goes for the Yakuza Kick but Lethal catches it and hits the pop-up neckbreaker for two. Less than three minutes remain in the time limit. Bennett takes possession of the TV Title belt. That’s not fair. Brutal Bob straps it on him as Lethal hits the Lethal Injection for a two-count. Generico pops up and hits the Yakuza Kick and the half-nelson suplex but Lethal shrugs it off and hits a hard superkick. Both men are down as one minute is left. Lethal rolls to the floor where Bennett taunts him with the belt and gets punched in the mouth for his troubles. Back in the ring Lethal gets an O’Connor Roll for two. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination and goes up top for Hail to the King but Bennett distracts the referee and the time limit expires at 15:00. That was very similar to the previous match, which was also good. These two just have good chemistry together.
MATCH #19: Jay Lethal vs. TJ Perkins, Southern Defiance, 12.3.11
They start off cautiously, jockeying for control in the early going. Lethal strikes first with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for just a one-count. The champ keeps up the pressure, hoping to put Perkins away. Perkins is able to fight back with his unique offense, particularly submission moves and kicks. They trade superkicks and Lethal tries a suplex but Perkins reverses it to one of his own. Both men are down. They get up and start slugging at each other. Lethal sends Perkins to the floor with a boot to the face, but Perkins recovers quickly and dropkicks Lethal to the floor. The champ is able to get back in the ring quickly as well, but Perkins catches him in a nice powerbomb for two. Perkins tries a rana and it leads to a series of pinning combination reversals. Lethal catches Perkins with the Lethal Combination for a very close near-fall. He goes up top but jumps right into a boot. Perkins tries to capitalize but Lethal is able to hit the handspring Ace Crusher (the second move called the Lethal Injection, which used to be the dragon suplex) to get the pin at 11:33. Perkins looked great in losing and Lethal continues his good match streak with another solid showing.
MATCH #20: Jay Lethal vs. Adam Cole, Northern Aggression, 12.4.11
Both of these men started their wrestling careers as teenagers. They go back and forth to start, jockeying for position. Cole hits a hurricanrana and Lethal comes right back with a headscissors. They do the Indy Respect Standoff, popular in the early days of ROH. Lethal hits the hiptoss dropkick combination for a two-count. He follows with a leg lariat off the second rope for another near-fall. Lethal tries the handspring but Cole catches him in a release German Suplex for two. Cole presses the advantage, hitting a Northern Lights Suplex for another two-count. He follows with a spinning neckbreaker for two. Lethal fights back and this time nails the handspring elbow. Both men are down. Back on their feet both men start slugging away and Lethal catches Cole in the Lethal Combination for a close near-fall. Cole responds with a lungblower out of the corner for two. Lethal backdrops Cole to the floor and goes for a dive but Cole cuts him off with an enziguiri. The TV Champ comes right back with a springboard dropkick a la Chris Jericho and goes for another dive, but Cole catches him and hits an awesome wheelbarrow suplex onto the apron. That was sick. Cornette isn’t sure that move has a name, but I assure him that it does. Back in the ring Cole hits a cross body block off the top rope and Lethal rolls through for two. That spot is overused. They both try an inside cradle and roll around on the mat. Cole strikes first with a superkick for two. He goes up top and Lethal catches him with a TKO Chinbreaker, I guess you would call it. Lethal follows up with the Lethal Injection to get the pin at 13:12. That’s another excellent Proving Ground match from Lethal and a great showing for Cole. I really think Cole is destined for big things in ROH.
MATCH #21: World TV Title Elimination Match – Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett vs. El Generico, Final Battle 2011, 12.23.11
Maria Kanellis is making her ROH debut in Bennett’s corner. Lethal has been the Champion since 8.13.11, and this is his third defense. All three men are in the ring at the same time. Bennett bails to the floor to let Lethal and Generico do battle. Of course that doesn’t last long before Bennett hops back in and takes a cheap shot. Bennett goes right back to the floor but lethal and Generico decide to team up on him on the floor and throw him back in the ring. Lethal and Generico double-team Bennett back to the floor and then try to decide who’s going to dive on him first. In the end they decide to both dive on him together, which was probably best for everyone, except Bennett of course. Lethal and Generico decide to take each other on now, and they are no strangers. They start going through the same moves that they’ve done in their other matches together. Bennett pulls Lethal to the floor and gets in the ring to battle the Generic Luchador. Generico sends Bennett to the floor and appears to be going for a dive but Lethal cuts him off with a missile dropkick for a two-count. Lethal continues the punishment but Generico fights back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Bennett comes back in and dumps Generico to the floor. Lethal is able to hit Bennett with the springboard back elbow and then a springboard dropkick to send Bennett to the floor. Generico flies in across the ring and flattens Lethal with a cross body block to the back. That gets a two-count. Generico stays on offense until Bennett makes his way back in and things get a little hectic. Lethal comes out on the better end of it and is in control. Generico fights back on Lethal with an exploder into the turnbuckles. He goes for the Yakuza Kick but Bennett grabs his leg from the floor. Generico goes out to fight him and decks Brutal Bob. Bennett then hides behind Maria. He throws her into Generico, who refuses to hit her, and that gives Bennett the advantage. Back in the ring Bennett hits Lethal with a powerslam. Bennett then hits Generico with a TKO. He plays to the crowd too much though and Generico blasts him with the Yakuza Kick. Lethal then hits Generico with a superkick and all three men are down. Lethal hits Generico with the Lethal Combination for a two-count. Bennett grabs Lethal in a spinebuster for a near-fall. Generico hits Bennett with the Michinoku Driver for two. Lethal catches Generico with an enziguiri and goes for Hail to the King. Generico gives him a Yakuza Kick to knock him to the floor and then hits a double springboard dive to the floor to take Lethal out, and then a dive-through tornado DDT on Bennett! Back in the ring Generico hits Bennett with the Yakuza Kick and the half-nelson suplex for a two-count! Lethal rejoins the fray and hits the pop-up neckbreaker on Generico. He goes for Hail to the King again and this time nails it but only gets two! Lethal goes up again and Generico pops up there. Bennett sneaks up from behind and rolls Generico up with a handful of tights to score the first elimination at 17:58! Lethal then immediately catches Bennett with the Lethal Injection to get the pin and win the match at 18:12. That was shockingly good, with almost non-stop action and clever triple threat spots to keep everyone involved in the match and keep the pace going at the rate it did. This is probably Bennett’s best match in ROH to date.
MATCH #22: ROH World Title Match – Jay Lethal vs. Davey Richards, The Homecoming 2012, 1.20.12
Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his sixth defense. They start with some chain wrestling, going back and forth at a fairly rapid pace. Richards should have the advantage on the mat but Lethal appears capable of keeping up with him in the early going. Lethal gets the first control but Richards cuts him off with a dropkick. Richards then tries a version of the Tequila Sunrise with a Texas Cloverleaf but Lethal counters to a cradle for two. Lethal then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a belly-to-back suplex for two. Richards comes back and sends Lethal to the floor. They fight on the apron and Richards yanks Lethal’s arm down right onto the ring apron. Richards does the wolf cry, which sounds really silly. He also has those lines shaved into his head like everybody had when I was in the second grade. I’m not sure what’s up with that. Back in the ring Richards goes to work on the arm. Richards continues the punishment and even throws in a diving headbutt off the top rope for two. Lethal tries to fight up but Richards cuts him down with kicks. Just as I type that Lethal goes to the second rope and lands a leg lariat. Both men are down. Back on their feet they trade strikes and Lethal wins that battle. The TV Champion hits the handspring elbow for a two-count. Lethal throws Richards into a neckbreaker for another near-fall. Richards tries a handspring but Lethal dropkicks him out of it. The champ perseveres and hits a kick to the face and a missile dropkick, but then runs right into a superkick. Richards comes right back with a kick of his own and a bridging German Suplex for two. Lethal hits the Lethal Combination for two. He goes up top but Roderick Strong comes out to distract him. That gives Richards the chance to pop up and hits a superplex into a Falcon Arrow into a cross armbreaker. That’s quite the combination. Lethal escapes and they do they fish out of water spot. They trade kicks with each other and Richards changes to a clothesline and both men are down. They make it back up and Lethal decides to wipe Strong out with a dive, and then he catches a Richards kick attempt and whips him down face-first. Lethal goes up top for the Macho Elbow but it only gets two. He follows up with a Dragon Suplex for another two-count. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection but Richards blocks it and puts on the Ankle Lock, which Lethal is able to escape. Richards hits the Alarm Clock but Lethal comes right back with the Lethal Injection but it only gets two. Lethal puts the Champ up top and Richards comes back with a sunset bomb. Richards hits a running kick and a huge double stomp for a two-count. He lands another couple of knockout kicks and Lethal asks for more. Of course Richards is happy to give it to him, and that’s enough to get the pin at 25:50. That was really good for the most part and the crowd was really buying into Lethal. The only part I didn’t really like was the finish – why would Lethal sit there and ask for more kicks to the face rather than try to counter them and win the match?
The Pulse: Jay Lethal has been an important and consistent performer in ROH during both of his runs, and this DVD set certainly shows that. It’s a good collection of matches with a wide variety of opponents and it shows the best of what Lethal has to offer. There isn’t much I can think of that wasn’t included (or that showed up on some other DVD set), so I think fans of Jay Lethal or Ring of Honor would really enjoy this collection. You can purchase it at the ROH Shop.