ROH 08/12/17 TV Review: KUSHIDA vs Kenny King
This week was the first episode from the set of tapings from Cabarrus Arena in Concord, North Carolina. The show opened with a video package that brilliantly spliced both Cody and Christopher Daniels’ promos from last week before their best two of of three falls match.
Frankie Kazarian came down to the ring and asked the crowd if they respect the contributions that Kazarian and Daniels have made to ROH. Once he had his answer, he went on to say that Daniels received no respect during his title match the week before. Kazarian continued by accusing the crowd of lying and said that the crowd doesn’t deserve to see Daniels again and that all they want to do is throw streamers, which they hilariously did on cue. His new mission is to destroy everything that the crowd wants because they deserve it.
First Match: Punishment Martinez vs. Flip Gordon
A brief recap of Jay White’s issues with Punishment Martinez aired, as he got the upperhand on the bigger man after Martinez’s match with Jonathan Gresham. As the match began, Gordon predictably tried to avoid Martinez’s attacks by using his speed and agility, however Cabana did point out that Gordon’s name is Flip, not speed and agility. The action quickly slipped to the outside and Gordon tried to connect with a suicide dive, but Martinez caught him by the throat. Gordon was able to flip out of the attempted chokeslam, but was caught with a right hand. Martinez sent him inside and Gordon quickly dropkicked Martinez through the ropes. Martinez gained control and tossed Gordon across the ring, to which Cabana commented that Martinez had control over Diagonalness and the hashtag showed up on the top left of the screen-kudos for that fun moment. Gordon escaped a reversed Death Valley driver, called the Shadow’s fall, and was able to hit a springboard slingblade followed by a frog splash, but only got a one count.
Gordon was able to connect with some truly amazing moves, like a Samoan drop that he flipped out of on to his feet. Both Martinez and Gordon made references to appearances on Being the Elite, with Martinez screaming “Welcome to Ring of Honor” and Gordon himself screaming “where do you think you’re going” as he charged Martinez in the corner. Eventually, Gordon tried to hit a springboard kick to martinez, who was perched on the turnbuckle. Instead, Martinez caught him and drove him into the mat with a South of Heaven chokeslam for the win. Jay White attacked Martinez on the ramp and they brawled down the aisle way until security broke them up. Martinez continues to have excellent matches, no matter what size his opponent is. Gordon has really started to settle into ROH very well and the little nods to Being the Elite were fun and a great use of that content.
Winner: Punishment Martinez
Colt Cabana then interviewed The Tempura Boyz, during which they spoke in Japanese, with Tempura Boyz being the only discernible phrase. Cabana acknowledged that he disliked Dalton Castle’s Boys and suggested that the Tempura Boyz call themselves the Tempura Men, but they disagreed and Cabana kicked it back to Cabana on commentary. Riccaboni and Cabana then spoke about Cabana teaming with the Tempura Boyz to take on the current 6 man tag team champions.
Second Match: Rhett Titus vs. Cheeseburger
Cheeseburger made his way to the ring, where Rhett Titus was already standing in and Cabana immediately questioned why Titus was an “already in the ring” guy. Titus attacked Cheeseburger before the bell rang. Burger was able to avoid Titus’ attacks and got a quick roll up, but Titis answered back with the World’s Doggest Slam, that only got a two count. Burger countered a Razor’s Edge attempt into a hurricanrana and then hit a Shotei, but Will Ferrara ran down to ringside and distracted his former partner. Titus was able to then hit the Doggy Splash for the victory. This was a short match, but it did continue to the issues between Ferrara and Cheeseburger, while planting the seeds of a possible Titus/Ferrara tandem in the future. Titus was sporting new gear, with a Big Dawg logo on the back, which was a nice touch.
Winner: Rhett Titus
Dalton Castle and the Boys came out to the ramp, interrupting Cabana and Riccaboni. He said that he and the Boys were cooling down in the back after a game of squash and they heard everything that Cabana had said on commentary earlier. Castle then threw a challenged down for a shot at the six man titles next week on ROH television.
A brief video package for Shane Taylor aired, hyping him up and questioning what he will be doing next. Like the Martinez’s videos earlier this year, this was brief but effective and certainly brings more eyes to the powerhouse.
Main Event: ROH World Television Championship Match
KUSHIDA (c) vs. Kenny King
King was sporting some new gear, featuring a rose across the front of his tights. The two started off with chain wrestling, matching each other move for move until King hit a picture perfect spinebuster for a two count. King continued his offense with a chin checker before locking up a bridging A Double lock, before KUSHIDA broke the hold with the ropes. King attempted to go for the Royal Flush, but KUSHIDA transitioned out of the move into an armbar, but was forced to break as he was over the ropes. The two went to the outside, with KUSHIDA delivering a hurricanrana into the ring post and following that with a senton from the top rope to the outside. Back inside KUSHIDA focused on King’s arm, locking on the hoverboard lock until Page and Scurll hit the ring and caused a no contest. King got on the mic and aired his frustration, saying that he didn’t want the match to be ruined by Bullet Club’s B team and asked KUSHIDA to continue their one on one another day, but they needed to beat the Bullet Club bitches on the spot. This was a solid match between these two that seemed to be building to a good finish, until the BC came out. Hopefully KUSHIDA is able to hold on to the title so that this matchup can happen again, but Scurll could easily win this one and have King target him moving forward.
Winner: No contest
Impromptu Match: KUSHIDA & Kenny King vs. Adam Page & Marty Scurll
The four began brawling immediately in the center of the ring, with Page and King heading to the outside as Scurll and KUSHIDA scuffled in the ring until Scurll sent him to the corner and tagged Page in. Page and Scurll took turns working on KUSHIDA until the TV champion was able to shove them into each other and tag King in, who cleared Scurll out of the ring before hitting a spinebuster on Page for a two count. Scurll grabbed King bounding off the ropes and pulled him to the outside, ultimately throwing him into the guardrail. Both sides got an opportunity to hit their signature maneuvers, with King looking the strongest, hitting the Royal Flush on Page to pick up the win for his side. This was a good match, but I would have much rathered seen a clean ending in the Television title shot.
Winners: KUSHIDA & Kenny King
Final Reaction: B
This week ROH returned to more of a traditional episode after the Women of Honor special and last week’s ROH World title special. As they did before the specials, ROH has focused on younger talent, as well as mid-card feuds, continuing to use Martinez, Gordon consistently, while pitting Cheeseburger against Ferrara. Both King and Titus have been used and pushed into new programs coming off the split of the Rebellion. After the split of the Rebellion, I was skeptical that things would work out well for the members of the faction alone, but ROH has really put effort into a rebranding of King, Titus and Shane Taylor, so ultimately, this feels like a good move thus far. One thing ROH has been known for in the past is generally having clean finishes, especially to title matches, so the abrupt ending of the TV title match left a bit to be desired, even if the tag match was solid. One thing that becomes very noticeable is that every minute of television is used meaningfully, even if one doesn’t like a storyline, everything shows purpose.
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