I have a love/hate relationship with the Ring of Honor television product. However, as I start to regain my writing form I’m going to return to a weekly recap of their television product. There are plenty of better places to read about WWE television, and heck even TNA gets solid coverage on the interwebs. I’m going to dedicate a little time and effort every week into ROH, a company that I simply can’t quit, no matter how much I try.
The first match in the hour is an ROH World Tag Team Title match between The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs/Roderick Strong) and reDRagon. I need to take a minute to talk about how much I can’t stand The Decade. In theory the group is a good idea. A trio of guys who have been around Ring of Honor for 10 years (or more) who are upset about the opportunities being given to the newer talent on the roster. My biggest problem is that Jimmy Jacobs is the leader — Jacobs who has screwed up more times than anyone else in ROH history and who continues to be brought back, continues to be given chance after chance and he’s going to talk to me about how it’s not right that he’s being passed over? At least Jacobs has some personality. BJ Whitmer and Roderick Strong are the measuring stick by which all other boring wrestlers are measured. At least when Jacobs was leading the Age of the Fall he had some personality behind him and he was stabbing people in the head with railroad spikes. Now everyone involved in this group just seems to be ho-humming their way to another paycheck.
Tough to not enjoy something involving reDRagon though
The reason I always wind up coming back to Ring of Honor is because no matter how tired everything they’re doing seems, their are always bright spots like reDRagon. I’m not sure I’ve seen a Roderick Strong match where he’s been engaged and seemed powerful since Austin Aries left the company but there was a moment during this match, where Strong pulls O’Reilly off the top rope by his leg into a backbreaker where I immediately perked up a little bit. It wasn’t great, but it was solid and for a moment I actually thought there might be a chance the belts changed hands, which means the match accomplished it’s goal and that’s a testament to everyone involved.
Be better ref!
Did you know that the referee knows the outcome of a match before hand? The key to being a referee (I assume) is not showing the wires to the puppet show. The end of this match involved Adam Page handing a chair to Roderick Strong while BJ Whitmer distracted the ref on the other side of the ring. The problem is that for some inexplicable reason the ref walked to his spot, turning away from the action in the ring and ignoring the match completely to engage in BJ Whitmer who at that time wasn’t even on the apron and hadn’t really even moved into position for the distraction. It made no sense and ultimately looked like BJ Whitmer was arguing with the ref because the ref was trying to leave the ring during the match for no reason.
It’s Maven Ferrara
If you don’t know during the recent Honor Rumble Will Ferrera came out of nowhere (read: The ROH Dojo) to eliminate Jay Lethal. Of course Lethal didn’t appreciate this, pulled Ferrera out of the ring and beat him to a pulp. The fluke elimination turns into an ROH TV Title match because who knows, apparently eliminating a guy who isn’t paying attention to you and then being brutally beaten on the outside qualifies you as the top contender in Ring of Honor. Jay Lethal tries to explain the match by saying that nobody knows Ferrera yet and he’s going to make sure it stays that way – umm by giving him a title shot on your nationally televised wrestling show? If you haven’t seen Ferrera yet he looks like he might be Eddie Edwards little brother. As for the match itself, it may shock you to find out that the plucky underdog doesn’t become TV Champion in his first attempt. There was a ton of stuff that I hated about this match, the Lethal Injection is my least favorite move in professional wrestling. BUT there was some stuff to like too — Lethal did a good job of making it seem like Ferrera belonged in the ring with him and Truth didn’t interfere to get the win for Lethal (a trope of the House of Truth that I loathe). Overall it was absolutely a match, but the outcome was never really in doubt and because of that it lacked any real impact.
A word on Jay Briscoe
I love the Briscoe Brothers. During the early years of Ring of Honor, during that period of time right up through Morishima’s title reign when I was just obsessed with devouring every piece of ROH that I could get my hands on the Briscoes were always a highlight for me. That being said as much as I love the Briscoes I’m just not sure how comfortable I am with ROH embracing Jay Briscoe as the “face of ROH” as Kevin Kelly put it during the main event. I respect and understand the concept that people have different views on things – but some issues don’t require a shade of grey and some of the things that Briscoe has said in the past lead me to think that as great of an in-ring performer as he is, maybe we don’t want to hold him out as the face of the franchise so to speak.
Briscoe retains, but that’s only part of the story.
I want to go on record as saying that Michael Bennett would be my choice for next ROH World Champion. I don’t think there is anyone in the company that elicits the type of emotional response from fans that Bennett does. I don’t care why people hate him, on a roster full of guys who generate little to no reaction from the crowd, Bennett has people eating out of his hand. Cole had a run with the title, if I were booking the future and picking a guy to hold the belt it’d be Bennett. The real story at the end of the show though was the return of Matt Taven as the third member of The Kingdom. I’m fine with that. Taven to me was always a guy held back by his positioning and his association with Truth Martini. He’s young, handsome and looks good in a dress shirt – if you’re going to put a group together of Adam Cole, Michael Bennett, Maria Kanellis and another person Taven isn’t a bad choice.
Seriously though can we unbutton our shirt a little faster Matt?
The last seemingly 2 hours of ROH TV was Matt Taven unbuttoning his shirt to show off his Kingdom t-shirt. I appreciate building suspense as much as the next guy but after Maria handed him the belt and he KO’d Mark Briscoe who had been attacking Adam Cole I don’t think we needed a full minute of Taven looking smug and undressing. Maybe unbutton a couple of those slots before hitting the ramp next time is all I’m saying.
Overall: So on a episode that featured all three titles on the line, no belt changed hands and really nobody was ever in jeopardy of losing. The big take away from this episode is that Matt Taven is back with ROH and now aligned with the Kingdom. If ever an episode that featured every title being on the line could be considered skipable I feel like this is one. I’ll be back next week when Matt Taven finishes taking off his shirt.