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ROH 12/3/16 TV Review

ROH 12/3/16 TV Review
Baltimore, Maryland
William J Meyers Pavilion

The show this week was the fourth taped episode from television tapings that took place on October 29th and is the final episode from the tapings,first airing right after the Final Battle PPV.

First Match: Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara w/ Joey Daddiego vs. The Tempura Boyz (Sho & Yo)
Joey Daddiego escorted Cheeseburger and Ferrara to the ring and joined commentary, as is apparently is their new trainer and nutritionist. The Tempura Boyz doubled teamed Burger early, only for Cheeseburger and Ferrara to use their quickness and speed to deposit Sho and Yo on the outside before hitting stereo planchas onto the NJPW Young Lions on the arena floor. Back on the inside Sho and Yo were able to gain control, with Yo pulling Cheeseburger to the outside and then preventing Ferrera from tagging out by pulling an unsuspecting Cheeseburger off the apron. Sho and Yo really showed a lot of excellent heel work during this match and ended up winning decisively, hitting Ferrara with the facebuster/codebreaker combo and then a package piledriver/superkick combo on Cheeseburger for the win.

Winner: The Tempura Boyz

Second Match: Donovan Dijak w/ Prince Nana vs. Joey Daddiego
Immediately after the first match, Prince Nana and Donovan Dijak came down to the ring, with Nana cawing about Dijak needing to establish himself.Once in the ring, he ordered aDijak to chokeslam Ferrara twice, which didn’t sit well with Daddiego, who went into the ring to confront Dijak. He grabbed the mic from Nana and told Dijak that Cheeseburger and Ferrara are more than his trainees, they are his friends. An impromptu match began, with Dijak missing a clothesline and Daddiego lacing him with punches. Dijak prevented a bodyslam and then hit his unique fallaway slam, but Daddiego continued to fight valiantly despite being physically overmatched, hitting a brainbuster before Nana pulled him down the top rope. The distraction allowed Dijak to hit Feast Your Eyes and win the match. Nana immediately told Dijak “that is the way you win a match” before heading to the back without Dijak. This match did what it was supposed to do, but was by no means an exciting affair. It’s difficult to watch this after Final Battle with knowledge that Nana and Dijak are no longer together. For those of us that watch the VODs when ROH puts them up, this episode already seems as if it will be inconsequential.

Winner: Donovan Dijak

A video package aired to catch us up on the change in the Cabinet, who have shed the political tilt to their characters, blaming ROH for giving them the schtick. The group now has a more militant tone, renaming themselves The Rebellion. Again, had you watched Final Battle the night before, this news is nothing new and does little to motivate continued viewing of an episode that feels like a stop gap.

Third Match: Punishment Martinez & BJ Whitmer vs. War Machine (Hanson & Rowe)
Before the match a creepy video aired, showing the progression of the Sullivan/Whitmer/Corino story, with Sullivan and Whitmer insisting that Corino is playing the role of family, a role they feel is not his true self. Sullivan escorted his evil metaphorical progeny to the ring, posing with the two before War Machine marched down to ringside. No code of honor here, as Whitmer and Martinez attacked Rowe and Hanson off the bat. Hanson was deposited on the outside as Rowe fought his opponents off. All four men ended up outside and a table was pulled out as all four brawled outside, Whitmer pairing up with hanson while Martinez laid the punishment on Rowe. Rowe connected with two consecutive Superman punches before setting up a table, which is of course odd as this match is not a no disqualification match. Nevertheless, Rowe ignored the rules and set up a second table before the commercial break. After the return from the break all four men were back in the ring, with Corino and Rowe giving each other the bussiness, trading right hands and chops. Hanson and Martinez stormed the ring, taking each other over the top rope. Whitmer and Rowe both shoved referee Paul Tuner down, prompting him to throw the match out and recevined a blatant right hand from Corino as a result. Martinez whipped Hanson into the barricade before then chokeslammed Rowe through the aforementioned tables. Whitmer and Punishment then took Hanson out in the middle of the ring before Sullivan grabbed a mic and addressed Hanson as Todd, asking him if he remembered the shared history. Sullivan then brought up Corino, speaking about two people can not exist in the same body and he urged Boozer Bokan to come to ringside. Corino obliged and Sullivan whispered into his ear. Corino then stood face to face with Hanson and the two circled each other before leaving the ring. This was just a vehicle to continued the Corino/Whitmer/Sullivan storyline, which does not seem to have any new wrinkles thus far, just more of the same unexplained power Sullivan seems to have over Corino. The match was brief and never really seemed to get going as a true contest, but it was not intended to do so. The one interesting part was Sullivan’s interaction with Sullivan, which leaves the door open for War Machine to possibly tango with the evil faction down the road.

Winners: No Contest

Main Event: Lio Rush, Jay White & Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Briscoes, Jay Lethal & Silas Young
Nigel McGuinness informed us that Alex Shelley asked for this match, one that would epitomize what Ring of Honor wrestling is all about, as the eight men are all stalwarts in the company. All adhered to the code of honor, save for Silas Young, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Rush started off against Lethal and the two both tried going for early suicide dives, but they were able to telegraph each other as Rush hit a triangle dropkick to knock Lethal outside. Not to be outsmarted, Lethal snuck back in and caught Rush flush in the face with a superkick as the diminutive youngster bounded off the ropes. A flurry of strikes from Rush knocked Lethal to the outside and as he tried for the suicide dive yet again, Jay Briscoe stood on the apron and dared him to run the ropes. Rush opted to eschew the added momentum of the ropes and simply dove over the top rope, finally taking Lethal out, only for Jay Briscoe to follow with tope suicida of his own. Everyone else involved opted to join the fracas, with Young the last one to join the fun with a clothesline off of the apron onto Shelley. Back inside, the Shelley and Sabin worked Lethal over, showing off how good they are as a unit, with Rush and White complementing their style well. Lethal drove Rush into the corner and Young tagged in, as his squad finally took over, with the Briscoes tagging in and out.

The Rebellion suddenly appeared in the entrance aisle, content to simply observe as Lethal worked Rush over. White finally tagged in and completely dominated the match for a spell until Mark broke up a pin attempt on Lethal. Lethal then was the recipient of some triple team maneuvers, including a double superkick from the MCMG followed by a uranage from White, who tagged out to Rush immediately. Rush frog splash was reversed by Lethal who lifted up his knees just in time and almost won the match with a small package. The pace really quickened at this point and everything happened in the blink of an eye. As Lethal scaled the ropes White knocked him off, but White couldn’t take advantage before Mark tagged in and floored him. Sabin then caught an unaware Mark with a clothesline, only to have Jay boot him in the face. Rush delivered tornado DDT to Jay only to have Silas connect with a backbreaker/clothesline combination. Sabin and Shelley then took Young out with impressive double team moves before the whole squad took Mark out, allowing White to hit the Kiwi Crusher for the victory. Feeling rather ornery going into the main event, I honestly was not excited about this match, but it really won me over. Sabin and Shelley’s work as a team is as crisp as ever and whenever they are teamed with White of Rush, the result is an exciting match. ROH’s eight man tag matches can be or hit or miss, but this one felt like different.

Winner: Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay White & Lio Rush

Final Reaction: C-/D+
By and large, Ring of Honor television has been timely and seemed to have a purpose. The purpose of this episode seemed to simply be to be a placeholder. For fans who had watched Final Battle and then saw this either on Saturday on a Sinclair channel or on the Fite App/ROHwrestling.com Monday, this felt out of place. The majority of the show seemed to still be building towards Final Battle, or contained elements, like the Nana/Dijak split or the Rebellion’s rebranding that we’re old news. The main event was the saving grace of this episode, but even that seemed to be a vehicle to make the Rush, White and the MCMG look strong heading into Final Battle. This is an episode that can be skipped and not impact one’s understanding of where the product is going forward. It will also be interesting to watch how the Corino story plays out, especially now that he is leaving the company. Nigel McGuinness cannot continue to be matchmaker and color commentary. Kelly and Corino are magic on the mic together and they have the skill to make an episode like this one feel more important, the absence of that will certainly impact shows down the line adversely.
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