Full Disclosure: This is a review/report of the ROH broadcast that airs on a local Sinclair broadcast channel over the weekend. It is the same show that airs Wednesday night on the new Comet TV Network. Check your listings to see where Comet and/or your local Sinclair Network Affiliate is on your dial.
Ring of Honor Weekly Television, Taped in Concord, NC at Cabarrus Arena on June 25, 2016
Aired July 28, 2016 on Comet TV, and previously in ROH syndication
We got the opening video then Kevin Kelly welcomed us in for the call of the match. He hyped Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly and said “it may very well go the distance” so it was being given the full hour.
O’Reilly got his entrance, and Kelly said he doesn’t think he has seen anyone more focused than O’Reilly has been in preparing for this match. Adam Cole came to the stage and said that O’Reilly would never be the ROH Champion, and isn’t next in line anyway – he should get the match. Cole said O’Reilly doesn’t have a chance and won’t even be wrestling.
The Young Bucks jumped O’Reilly from behind, which drew a chant from the fans as they beat him down. Cole came to the ring and hit O’Reilly a few times with a chair, then the Bucks wrapped O’Reilly’s arm in the chair. Cole slammed another chair on it repeatedly until Bobby Fish ran out with a chair for the save. The Young Bucks and Cole fled and Fish jawed at them before checking on his tag partner.
Bill Says: There’s definitely some good here. They “dedicated the entire show” to the title match, which I think added a sense of weight and importance by noting that the match could go long. It adds a sense of realism that WWE, TNA, and others can’t capture because they’re more concerned about ratings and viewership. ROH lacks that same pressure because of syndication. It definitely would define them differently from the other organizations, in a good way.
Kelly narrated a replay of the previous segment, then they went backstage where a doctor checked on O’Reilly. The doc told O’Reilly to not continue with the match and thinks his shoulder is separated. Fish told O’Reilly that his chance would come again, but O’Reilly said he would continue. Fish told him he should get an MRI.
Nigel McGuinness joined Kelly at ringside and said there would be repercussions for Bullet Club.
Bill says: This coming from the guy who said that he wouldn’t suspend Bullet Club after interrupting the War of the Worlds pay per view because they sell a lot of merchandise and makes the company money.
Match #1 – War Machine vs. Bob Evans and Tim Hughes;
War Machine won a quick squash with Fall of Man. Afterward, Taylor and Lee attacked. Rowe cleared them and teased a dive. Taylor and Lee worked him over, then Hanson took them out with a somersault.
The Briscoes cut a promo about their match against Young Bucks next week.
Match #2 – Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrara;
Kelly called it a “standby match” that the company had ready if the title match didn’t go the whole hour. The Cabinet came to the ring just as the match got started, so things came to a halt.
Caprice Coleman introduced Kenny King and Rhett Titus. There were also “a group of zealots” (Kelly’s words) and security that came out. Coleman said the match was canceled and King said they were instituting a “buy a ticket” program, saying Cheeseburger and Ferrara are not real pro wrestlers because they don’t look the part.
King told them to sit with the fans or be removed. Ferrara told them they didn’t have an elephant, bear or an ox, but he knows what they do have. He fist-pumped and out came Moose and Stokely Hathaway.
We got a brief Young Bucks/Adam Cole promo. They hyped Bucks vs. Briscoes for next week’s show.
Match #3 – Moose, Will Ferrara and Cheeseburger vs. Kenny King, Rhett Titus and Caprice Coleman;
Kelly updated us on Kyle O’Reilly during the match, saying he refused to take no for an answer on his title match. He said they would sort that out and update after this match. Titus pinned Cheeseburger for the win.
Bill Says: The Cabinet thing is really minor-leagues. It’s not clicking with me at all. They’re doing a good job though of working through the O’Reilly saga and giving it a real feel.
Kelly told us that O’Reilly was blowing off doctor’s orders and he was going to take the title match. We got the entrances, with O’Reilly coming out with his shoulder heavily taped. In-ring introductions by Bobby Cruise.
Lethal grabbed a mic and said that he respects O’Reilly. He said he proved how much heart he has and how he cares about the ROH Championship just by coming to the ring. Lethal offered to do this another time, but O’Reilly refused, saying he appreciated the concern but as long as he has breath in his body he will keep fighting for the title. “So let’s fight like men,” he said before asking for the bell.
Bill Says: I liked this. It showed O’Reilly has heart, and it also showed some character development for Lethal. It makes you wonder if the company is looking to move him to a babyface role, especially with the heel Adam Cole on the horizon.
Match #4 – Jay Lethal (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly; ROH Championship;
After an early break, Lethal hit a suicide dive but then looked like he felt some compassion for O’Reilly. O’Reilly came back with the same move and sold the shoulder injury by yelling out in pain. He locked in a cross arm breaker.
O’Reilly got in a run of offense, selling the arm along the way. He hit a brainbuster and covered for two. Lethal asked the official to call the match out of concern, but O’Reilly demanded it continue. They traded strikes, then Lethal hit Lethal Injection and covered for the win. Lethal slammed his hands on the mat and told Nigel it wasn’t right then headed backstage.
After Lethal left, Bullet Club hit the ring for another attack on O’Reilly until security ran out. Nick Jackson held security back as Cole and Matt Jackson hit a spike piledriver. Bobby Fish ran out for the save, and Bullet Club fled.
Nigel McGuinness got a mic and said he has had enough of Bullet Club. He said Adam Cole will never get a match for the ROH Championship as long as he is in control. Cole and the Bucks got upset, and Kelly applauded that there were consequences to their actions.
Bill Says: Good storytelling with the main event with O’Reilly showing heart by fighting with the bad shoulder, Lethal showing compassion which sows some seeds for a face turn, and The Bullet Club (specifically the Young Bucks, a fan favorite regardless of gimmick) getting some heat on them. I thought Nigel laid out a stipulation that isn’t going to stand, but they can easily get out of it by having Jay Lethal demand that he gets to face Cole for what went down on this show. We’ll see how they plan this out going forward.
The rest of the show was what it was, but those matches weren’t billed to replace the main event – just to fill time. I thought they did a good job overall with the Lethal/O’Reilly/Bullet Club angle throughout, which made for an entertaining hour of television. I’ll have more to add tonight on Around the Ring in audio form.