10 Thoughts on … Ring of Honor July 23, 2016 (Jay Lethal versus Kyle O’Reilly, War Machine, Bullet Club)

10 Thoughts, Columns, Top Story

Thought Zero – Here I am watching Ring of Honor television instead of WWE Battleground. And I am completely okay with that. The main reason it is okay by me is that we get the full hour dedicated to a ROH Heavyweight title match between Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly. Let’s get to it.

1) Off the bat we get a bait and switch. Not cool, ROH, not cool at all. Kyle O’Reilly gets jumped by the Young Bucks and Adam Cole during introductions, including Pillmanizing (with a dash of conchairto as well) O’Reilly’s left arm with a couple chairs. Bobby Fish must have been in the bathroom because he didn’t make it out to help his partner until after the beatdown. So I guess the world title match is being pushed back.

2) I tired of the NWO early on and the Bullet Club has already jumped the shark for me. But as long as people still chant for the Young Bucks and for story time with Adam Cole, I guess ROH will continue to showcase them. Ugh.

3) Back from commercial we see a long replay of what we just saw. Am I sure this is ROH I am watching and not WWE Raw?

4) We see O’Reilly in the back getting taped up even though the doctor says he thinks his shoulder is separated. O’Reilly is of course saying he is going to tough it out and go through with the match.Bobby Fish tries to talk him out of it and go get an MRI. Nigel McGuinness is out now and he promises repercussions to the Bullet Club. Sorry, but I don’t really believe that, Nigel.

5) So instead of a full hour of Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly, we now get a tag team match involving Brutal Bob and Tim Hughes. Oh joy. But they are fighting War Machine, so we get to see them murder Tim Hughes for a while. Yep, that was quick and pretty awesome. Now Shane Taylor and Keith Lee charge the ring, but War Machine are able to turn the tables and get some revenge from the beat down the week before. If they aren’t going to have the ROH tag team titles on War Machine, they might as well push a hard hitting feud like this.

6) Brief little promo with the Briscoes talking about the Young Bucks airs. And I realize that ROH does something I really like. Given their relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor doesn’t mind when their wrestlers appear on TV holding belts they won elsewhere. It really makes these wrestlers look like bona fide and worldwide stars. I can’t imagine the WWE doing something like that. Of course, the WWE has gotten better about acknowledging there is other wrestling out there, but working with someone closely enough to let their belts be seen on TV, I can’t see that happening.

7) Another “standby match” as Kevin Kelly keeps calling them is next. I know this whole event was taped and they are just pretending they are live, but still. They can do a little better than this – Cheeseburger versus Will Ferrara. Before they can really bore me, The Cabinet interrupts and Caprice Coleman comes down with the All Night Express to help them bore me. Apparently The Cabinet has cancelled their match and threatened a 3-on-2 match. But, before he jumps to TNA, here comes Moose to team with Ferrara and Cheeseburger. Sigh.

8) Nigel just left the announcer’s desk to check on Kyle O’Reilly. Man, the ROH matchmaker sure has a lot of jobs to do. Maybe he should hire an assistant. And while I don’t care one lick about this match, Kevin Kelly spends the majority of it talking about what Nigel is saying to him in his headset from the back. Not the most exciting television, guys. Oh yeah, The Cabinet won because Cheeseburger sucks and got pinned.

9) Big surprise that Kyle O’Reilly is ignoring doctor’s orders and will fight Jay Lethal tonight anyway. Here comes Jay Lethal, wearing the belt around his waist like a champ, and shows O’Reilly respect and offers to postpone their match until he is healed. But O’Reilly wants to go, so we’re off. I’m always happy to see Jay Lethal wrestling, but with the “injury” to O’Reilly’s shoulder, this match is obviously going to be more storyline progression than awesomeness. That is precisely what we get as O’Reilly is only using kicks in his offense for the most part. He does remember to sell like hot death every time his left arm gets touched, which is nice.

10) Lethal plays his part well in the match, showing some compassion to O’Reilly, and only attacking the left arm and shoulder to try to end things quickly or when absolutely necessary. This also includes a sick crossface which wrenched O’Reilly’s shoulder way back. Lethal’s facial expressions are pretty awesome here, showing concern for his opponent while not being willing to just walk away from a title defense. Awesome sequence near the end where Lethal hits O’Reilly with four straight shoulder breakers and then asks for a stoppage because he doesn’t want to do any more damage. In fact, everyone is asking for a stoppage. O’Reilly pleads with the referee to continue and the two competitors do a hard dueling forearm sequence which ends with Lethal hitting the Lethal Injection and the win. Lethal’s facial expressions during the match were almost Shawn Michaels retiring Ric Flair level.

10) A) Lethal leaves the ring upset because the referee wouldn’t stop the match and forcing him to put O’Reilly down. He didn’t want to win that way and he didn’t want to have to hurt O’Reilly, but he had to defend his title because he is the champion. I definitely like this evolution of Lethal’s character.

10) B) And then, because they haven’t screwed enough of tonight over, here come the Young Bucks and Adam Cole again to pick the bones of Kyle O’Reilly. Nigel made it clear he threw them out and told security to not let them back in, but here they are. Maybe you might want to invest in some better security, Nigel.

10) C) The Young Bucks hit a spike Tombstone piledriver on O’Reilly onto a chair. And then Bobby Fish and Jay Lethal come out to defend O’Reilly. Lethal being a bit late I understand. He just finished a match and was probably heading to the showers. But Fish, dude, again you are late to the party. Were you in the bathroom again? You may want to see a doctor.

10) D) Nigel hits the ring and he’s had enough. He announces that Adam Cole will never get another world title shot as long as he is the ROH matchmaker. Cole is pissed and we’re out.

Well, I didn’t like the bait and switch at the beginning of the show. I was looking forward to an hour of Lethal versus O’Reilly. But what we got was pretty good. And I have to admit I was wrong. Lethal and O’Reilly are pros and did a great job selling a story as well as a hard-hitting match. They have me intrigued by where they will take this, but if they take the belt off Lethal just to push the Bullet Club ridiculous more, I will be pissed. Until next week…

Human. I think.