Ring of Honor’s 1-hour program comes at us from Terminal 5 in New York City, the day after Best in the World. It’s a hot, sold out crowd, and the wrestlers are on fire tonight as well.
The energy came across in this show too. We had a very good opening match between Dalton Castle and Watanabe, who has been impressing me more as of late. In the past, Watanabe’s offense, while crisp, never felt exciting. He’s amped up his persona lately and it’s working.
This was my first TV exposure to Dalton Castle. While I’ve seen clips and videos of his antics previously, I’ve never seen it in the context of a match. Simply put, I loved it. He’s fantastic. “The Boys” are fantastic. And, even better, the audience responds positively.
The two had a hard fought match, and in the end, Castle picked up the win with a spinning facebuster of sorts. His after-match promo on Silas Young was also effective, and it’s clear that feud will continue, which is something I’m perfectly ok with.
Next up, Nigel McGuinness brought out the new Ring of Honor World Champion, Jay Lethal. Lethal, accompanied by Truth Martini, Jay Diesel, and Donovan Dijack, came out. Martini cut a great promo on the audience before Lethal spoke, declaring himself Best in the World. When questioned by McGuinness which belt he would relinquish (World or TV Title), Lethal became offended and said he wasn’t giving up either of them, and agreed to McGuinness’s stipulation that he could possibly end up both titles in separate matches in the same night. This should make for some interesting television, for sure.
Lethal seemed comfortable in the spotlight, and I really believe he’s going to be a great champion for the company. His TV Title reign brought prestige to the belt, and I know he can bring the same to an already prestigious ROH World Championship.
Our main event was a fun one – The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett & Adam Cole, w/ Maria Kanellis) vs. Michael Elgin & reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly). In typical Ring of Honor fashion, this six-man tag match essentially threw out any tag team rules and turned into a tornado-style match full of high impact moves and wonderful tandem sequences. I really enjoyed this one. These guys tore the house down and busted out some impressive spots.
The running story throughout was Adam Cole’s dissension with The Kingdom. Maria took the blame for their loss at Best in the World, but at the end of the match, when Cole was pinned by O’Reilly thanks to Chasing the Dragon, he not only shook O’Reilly’s hand, but raised it, and left the ring without The Kingdom at his side. Maria looked flabbergasted.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Adam Cole run as a face, and I think it could be fun. I love him as a heel – he’s so good – but in ROH you sort of get to a point as a heel that no matter what, the fans will cheer you, because you’re just that good. I think Cole is at that level and a face turn may do him some good.
Thumbs up for this episode. Not the best episode of ROH, but it lays the groundwork for the weeks to come and we had some solid action worth your time.