Ted Reeve Arena – Toronto, ONT – Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Brutal Bob & Tim Hughes defeat Kenny Lush & Rip Impact at 7:25. No one is on commentary, so I’m glad Lush had his name on his shirt, so I would know how to identify the team members. Lush and Impact aren’t bad, but they’re a little generic. They work well together and control Hughes for the first few minutes, but Bob interferes from the floor to give his team the advantage. They work the tag team formula here, and the crowd gets with it. The finish is super weak, as Impact hits Hughes with a cross body block and Hughes rolls it over, and Bob holds the feet down on the ropes (double cheat!) to get the win. Decent, formulaic preshow stuff. Nothing wrong with that.
Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.
ROH TV Episode 245 – May 28, 2016
ACH defeats Lio Rush at 4:12. These two have similar styles and both are awesome, so this should be fun. After a terrific, back and forth display, ACH catches Rush with a Brainbuster. ACH goes up top and comes down with Midnight Star to get the pin. That was criminally short, but they sure packed a lot of action into it.
The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) defeat The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) and Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero & Beretta) at 9:30 in a Number One Contender’s Match. Daniels and Kazarian are the Champions, and they said that if either of the other teams wins this match, they will get a title shot at Best in the World. The action is fast and furious from the get-go here, with all three teams getting a chance to shine. Referee Todd Sinclair pretty much just lets things go here, as far as the five-second rule and such. After a wild display from all six men, the Guns catch Daniels in the Skull and Bones to earn the title shot. Fun stuff from three very good teams here.
BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson)) defeat Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshi Tatsu at 9:40. Omega and the Bucks are “The Elite” of BULLET CLUB, and also the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, having just won them from their opponents tonight. However, the titles are not on the line here. Elgin, Tanahashi, and Tatsu control the early going, with Elgin particularly standing out with his absurd power. Much like the Three-Way tag team match earlier in the show, the referee just lets the action happen, and the result is a fast-paced contest with plenty of offense. Tatsu gets left alone in the ring with The Elite and he gets blasted with a triple superkick. Omega follows with the One-Winged Angel to get the pin. Fun action here but nothing memorable or meaningful.
ROH TV Episode 246 – June 4, 2016
Kazuchika Okada (w/ Gedo) defeats Matt Sydal at 8:40. Sydal is one-half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions along with Ricochet. Okada has a more straightforward style, and Sydal relies more on speed and high-flying, so this is a clash of styles to be sure. Okada is so smooth in all his attacks and counters. Sydal is certainly no slouch himself, and he gets Okada in position for the Shooting Star Press. Okada gets his knees up and then hits The Dropkick. One Rainmaker later and Sydal is done. Fun match there and a good pairing of opponents.
Colt Cabana defeats Adam Page at 7:16. Cabana controls the early parts of the match as the crowd vociferously cheers him on. This is a nice exhibition for both guys, as Cabana re-establishes his move set in front of the live crowd and Page gets to show off his new “Hangman” persona. The veteran Cabana uses a leg cradle to hold Page down for the near-fall. This match certainly served a purpose, but it’s nothing I’d watch outside of this show.
Jay Lethal (w/ Taeler Hendrix) defeats Donovan Dijak (w/ Prince Nana) at 12:23. Both men throw hands right from the start, as they’re very angry at each other for reasons I don’t remember. The match spills to the floor and the brawling continues. Nana gets involved, but surprisingly it doesn’t lead to a heat segment for Dijak. After the commercial break, it’s still all back and forth. Lethal injures his knee and Dijak spends some time going after it. Late in the match, the BULLET CLUB comes out to interfere, but Omega and Matt Jackson accidentally hit Dijak with superkicks. Lethal hits the Lethal Injection to pick up the win. After the bell, the BULLET CLUB returns to beat up Lethal but the Briscoes make the save. As for the match, it started out good, but got bogged down with multiple run-ins for the finish. Overall good stuff though.
ROH TV Episode 247 – June 11, 2016
Tetsuya Naito defeats Moose (w/ Stokely Hathaway) at 9:28. Naito is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but this is a non-title match. Moose does well enough for himself, effectively leveraging his size advantage against Naito’s experience advantage. After a hard-fought battle, Naito lands Destino to pick up the win. Solid showing for Moose there, and Naito played off him just right. It’s too bad Moose went to TNA, he might end up getting good.
The All-Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) defeat Cheeseburger & Jushin Thunder Liger at 6:42. King and Titus go right on the attack and take it to their opponents out on the floor. The babyfaces make a brief comeback but the ANX regains control heading into the commercial. Cheeseburger gets worked over a bit before making the hot tag to the veteran Liger. The referee loses control and Liger gets bumped to the floor. King flattens Cheeseburger with the Coronation and Titus gets the pin. Passable tag action, but not much else.
Kyle O’Reilly defeats KUSHIDA at 11:00. KUSHIDA is the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but this is a non-title contest. These two have faced off numerous times and thus know each other very well. O’Reilly attacks the leg and KUSHIDA goes after the arm. Both men also throw in various strikes, dishing out quite a bit of punishment to each other. When KUSHIDA puts on the Hoverboard Lock he blocks several reversal attempts, but O’Reilly won’t stop, and he counters into a victory roll to get the pin. Good TV main event there, with a nice clear focus from both guys and a hot crowd rooting them on.
ROH TV Episode 248 – June 18, 2016
Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) defeats Gedo at 7:54. Castle engages in his usual shenanigans, but Gedo is seemingly prepared for him. When Gedo gets knocked to the floor, he decides to attack The Boys, and the distraction allows him to take control. Turnabout is fair play, as the Boys interfere behind the referee’s back, allowing Castle to hit Bangarang for the pin. Good win for Castle going into his TV Title shot at the pay-per-view.
Tomohiro Ishii defeats Will Ferrara at 9:28. Ishii is a former World Television Champion. Ferrara fights hard from the bell, taking Ishii off his feet with a dropkick. He continues with a bevy of offensive maneuvers, really testing the toughness of “The Stone Pitbull.” Finally, Ishii grows tired of Ferrara and blasts him with a Lariat. Ishii follows with the Vertical drop Brainbuster to get the pin. Ferrara got quite a bit of offense in here and looked pretty good.
Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong & The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) (w/ Taeler Hendrix) defeat BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) at 13:16 in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match. Omega is replacing Nick Jackson here, for reasons I’m unaware of. He and Lethal get a big pop just for facing off. That’s always fun. The action is fast-paced, as all eight men can go top-speed for long periods of time. When Lethal and Omega finally do square off, the crowd is all about it. In the end, Lethal steps in front of Jay Briscoe to take a double superkick, and one Jay Driller later the ROH team has a victory. Really fun TV main event there, showcasing top guys and feuds with non-stop action. Plus, it’s rare to see ROH go over NJPW.
I like these TV taping DVDs, they’re so easy to consume and they generally feature some pretty good matches. Also, if you’re like me and don’t have much time to invest into the NJPW product, it’s the best chance to see the NJPW guys and see what they’re all about.