Thought Zero – It has been a crazy busy weekend of professional wrestling, therefore no one will be reading this, but Ring of Honor ran their regular hour of television this week as well. And I think my tears have all dried since they took the belt off Jay Lethal at Death Before Dishonor, so let’s get to it.
1) Match number one features Jonathan Gresham versus “Hangman” Adam Page. We haven’t seen Gresham in a while, despite Nigel McGuinness trying to put him over before. I was never too enamored with Gresham in the past and apparently neither was this crowd, despite being a hometown talent. How do I know this? Gresham got 1, that’s right, ONE lousy streamer thrown in the ring during his entrance. That is just awesome.
2) Gresham gets some offense in and sends Page outside the ring, but Page displays his new aggression by throwing Gresham back first into the ringpost. That was pretty cool, so we head to a commercial.
3) This is basically a squash match to feature Page, but they feel compelled to have Gresham do as much flippy offense as possible. I really would have liked to have Page in control of more of the match. I mean, they gave Page an impressive and clean victory in a very good match against Jay Briscoe at Death Before Dishonor, why would they make him look so vulnerable against Gresham?
4) The Cabinet does a promo where they announce a six-man match between them and Dalton Castle and the Boys next week. I guess it makes sense with The Cabinet’s gimmick, but I just don’t care for the gimmick.
5) Kevin Kelly also announces a big tag team match for next week – War Machine versus Keith Lee and Shawn Taylor. Okay, I can dig that. Also, The Addiction takes on The Young Bucks for the ROH tag team titles. I like that as well. Sounds like next week might be pretty fun. Side note – In The Addiction’s title defense at Death Before Dishonor, Christopher Daniels had the funniest blind tag on Tanahashi to lead to the pin. Basically, Tanahashi scaled the ropes to hit EVIL with the Hi Fly Flow. Daniels crept up behind him and touched his boot so softly that Tanahashi wouldn’t notice. Tanahashi hit the move and then Daniels pulled a jackknife pin on EVIL with Tanahashi sandwiched in between. It was a creative and fun finish to an otherwise underwhelming match.
6) Next up we have Stuka Jr. who I guess is a big deal in CMLL. He is taking on Kamaitachi (with Christopher Daniels). According to Kevin Kelly, Stuka Jr. is the first CMLL wrestler to appear in Ring of Honor. If ROH is trying to establish a relationship with CMLL now in addition to their partnership with NJPW and NJPW’s new partnership with Pro Wrestling NOAH, there is a nice little collection of interwoven wrestling companies happening. Perhaps in a few years we will see some true “world” tournament or something.
7) Kamaitachi is really displaying some good heel work. For example, he tried to unmask Stuka Jr. a couple times, mocked and humiliated his opponent, and used a chair to his advantage outside the ring while the ref was distracted. The only problem with that is that it slowed the match down a great deal. In a match like this where there is no personal investment in either wrestler from the crowd, they start to lose their attention. How to fix that? Do a moonsault from the top rope to the floor like Stuka Jr. just did. That was insane.
8) I really like the way Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness try to explain why someone might be able to kick out. For example, there wasn’t enough weight on the shoulders or the man being pinned used the momentum of his opponent trying to trap his arm to roll through and kick out. Little things like that really make the experience of watching pro wrestling more fun.
9) The end of this match was awesome. Kamaitachi pulled the ref into the way of Stuka Jr., knocking him out. Then Stuka Jr. went up top and did a twisting moonsault onto Christopher Daniels on the floor. Then back up top and a big dive onto Kamaitachi. However, the visual pin wasn’t enough as the ref was still out. Kamaitachi recovered enough to pull the mask off Stuka Jr. and then immediately roll him up in a small package which Stuka Jr. couldn’t kick out of because he was busy trying to cover his face. They sure packed a lot into the last 30-45 seconds there. Not sure it made up for the drag in the middle, but I turn away from the match feeling that it was good, so there’s that.
9.5) Oddly edited video package trying to make the BJ Whitmer/Steve Corino/Kevin Sullivan stuff seem spooky. But… yeah… I still don’t care.
10) Main event time has Jay Briscoe versus Jay White. This is a pretty quick opportunity to main event a TV event for Jay White. I still suggest a rubber band or a scrunchy for White as that hair keeps getting in his eyes. Just in case something happens later, I should probably mention Mark Briscoe and the Motor City Machineguns are all at ringside. Nigel tries to justify this match by saying he wanted to put White into a match with a star who would really test him. Personally, I think it is just because his name is Jay and everyone named Jay in ROH must be main eventers. (side note – Kevin Kelly loves to say New Zealand native for some reason.) Jay Briscoe is getting some grey in that beard. Might be time for an image change, Mr. Briscoe. (side note – Alex Shelley has been sadly underutilized almost everywhere he has wrestled, in my opinion.) Jay White got in a ton of offense during this match and it ended in a time limit draw. Interesting… Jay Briscoe gives young Jay White a bunch of offense and makes him look like a real threat during a time limit draw on television. Jay Briscoe also takes a ton of sickening bumps (including tearing up his back) in his match against Adam Page at Death Before Dishonor. Briscoe also lost that match, I should say. Is Jay Briscoe maturing and becoming a team player, helping new talent get over? Jay Briscoe, company man. I don’t think I would ever really think that, but it is looking that way. Good on him, honestly.
This was another hour of pretty good television put on by Ring of Honor. Nothing amazing happened, but the in-ring work was good, the finishes were good to great, and I can turn off the television not feeling like I wasted my time. However, Jay Lethal is still not champion and I will just have to live with that, I guess.
Until next time…
Tags: adam page, Alex Shelley, cmll, Death Before Dishonor, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, Jay White, Jonathan Grisham, Kamaitachi, kevin kelly, Mark Briscoe, Nigel McGuinness, Stuka Jr.