ROH 01/14/17 TV Review
The show this week was the third episode taped at the Final Battle Aftermath tapings. The episode started off with a recap of Lio Rush’s match with Caprice Coleman, in which Coleman was embarrassed by Rush. Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary for this episode.
First Match: Lio Rush, Jay White & Donovan Dijak vs. The Rebellion (Kenny King, Caprice Coleman & Rhett Titus)
After the footage, the six men stood face to face and after it became clear that the Rebellion would not adhere to the code of honor, all six men started brawling to open the contest. Dijak cleared the ring of the Rebellion before things settled down and Rush started off against Titus. Rush got the better of the Big Dawg, but fell victim to the numbers game, as King stormed the ring and clotheslined Rush, allowing Titus to lock in a Boston crab. Coleman then followed suit and leg dropped Rush on the back of the head before Titus went to the apron. The Rebellion kept Rush in their half of the ring as they showed off their triple team experience, with Rush eventually using his speed to slide outside and avoid the onslaught, allowing him to tag in White.
White hit King with stiff shots and splashes in the corner before connecting with a high cross body block, but had his brainbuster attempt stymied by King, who hit a spinebuster and scored a near fall before the break. Rush tagged in and cleared the ring of the All- Night Express with a double handspring back elbow before hitting three tope suicidas, with both Dijak and White hitting moonsaults off the top simultaneously. Dijak tagged in and was almost rolled up y Coleman as he went for Feast Your Eyes. The Rebellion set up for their finish but Dijak and white thwarted them. Dijak hit the chokebreaker on Titus then tagged out to Rush who hit Coleman with a frog splash off Dijak’s shoulders. Dijak then followed with a moonsault before Rush scored the pinfall. The Rebellion attacked the winners afterwards, taking the three men out, but just before Coleman powerbombed Rush, Sabin and Shelley came in for the save. The Rebellion’s rebranding has really made them more of a believeable threat and the MCMG’s additions have given a bit of direction to great talent like Dijak, Rush and White, which is always a good thing.
Winner: Lio Rush, Jay White & Donovan Dijak
Marty Scurll video package aired, pushing how villainous he is and how he has come to take ROH by storm.
Second Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Steve Corino
Cody recap video of Final Battle match with Jay Lethal and the aftermath of his actions. Cody hit the ring first and grabbed the mic from Bobby Cruise. He began by saying that he and the fans have gotten off on the wrong foot. He said that he is here to judge the fans and that at Final Battle he realized that the putrid smell that attacked his porbiscus was the smell of mediocrity. He derided Ring of Honor for being less than up to his standards. He became enraged when a fan asked to see Brandi and he wrapped it up by telling the fans that they must be happy to have a star that hasn’t faded in the building.
Steve Corino’s music hit and he made his way to the ring, as Punisher Martinez, BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan watched from the entrance ramp. Kelly explained that Cody was the “brother that had to be sacrificed” that Corino reference at Final Battle. Cody reminded Corino of the time in 1999 that Corino insulted Dusty Rhodes. Cody demanded that Corino look him in the eye as he told him that he had no respect for him. Corino finally responded by saying that Dusty was his hero, paving the way for him to be there. He then told Cody that one of Genghis Khan’s sons had to be sacrificed, either him or his brother. Cody slapped him and the match proper began.
Corinio hit Cody with a baseball slide as the show returned from commercial and beat him about the outside. Back on the inside, Cody gained control and mocked the crowd, posing as Stardust. Corino reversed a backdrop attempt, only for Cody to roll outside and then use Kelly’s water to blind Corino, chopping the knee. Cody continued the attack, connecting with jabs, but as he went for the Dusty elbow, Corino hit him first and seemed to come alive. Corino then did he own Dusty impression, connecting with the jabs and the big wind up elbow. Corino hit a picture perfect package piledriver before grabbing the golden spike from a black box at ringside. Sinclair stopped him,, which allowed Cody to hit a low blow and connected with the beautiful disaster kick before a bionic elbow that earned him the pinfall victory. As Cody went to attacked Corino, Lethal stormed the ring and laced into Cody before the American Nightmare high-tailed it out of the ring. Cody’s work here went a long way to make him a viable heel. He exudes a level of arrogance that highlights the best of the his abilities.
Main Event: Decade of Excellence Tournament
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal grabbed a mic and made it clear that Cody come to ROH and fought Lethal first because ROH is a proving ground for the best in the world. Then a short promo aired during which Lethal explained that although he respects Liger, their match isn’t about respect, it’s about him trying to get a title shot and that is exactly what he plans on doing by beating Liger and moving on in the tournament. The two adhered to the code of honor and then Lethal wasted no time in forcing Liger to the corner and hit him with a bevy of kicks, forcing Liger to the bottom turnbuckle. Lethal whipped him to the turnbuckle and ate a boot to the face before hitting a cartwheel dropkick that earned him a two count. As Lethal continued his assault, McGuiness and Kelly spoke about Liger being jet-lagged after competing at Wrestle Kingdom 11, which actually occurred after the tapings. Although it is common knowledge that the tapings occurred first, I actually felt that this added a little extra layer of storytelling to the match as a whole.
Lethal hit a triangle dropkick that sent Liger to the outside before hitting his patented triple tope suicidas before rolling to the inside to try for the countout victory. Liger beat the count, only to body slammed in the center of the ring. Lethal took his time getting to the top rope, allowing Liger to hit some strikes before he hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that sent Lethal to the outside. Liger then hit a flipping senton on Lethal and then he waited to see if he could earn the countout win. After the commercial break, Lethal hit the Lethal combination, which seemed to sap his energy, as both men slowly rose to their feet. A torture rack by Lethal quickly transitioned into a crossface, but Liger was able to reach the rope to break the hold. Lethal’s Hail to the King was reversed into a crucifix pin that went for a near fall. Liger followed up with two Shoteis, but Lethal was able to counter a brainbuster. After a forearm to the head, Lethal then hit the Lethal Injection, earning him a pinfall victory. Lethal and Liger exchanged handshakes and Liger raised Lethal’s hand in a show of respect. Good match, but nothing particularly special. Liger is a treat to see because of his legacy, but it was clear from the get go that Lethal would win this match and it does detract a bit from the excitement of the match.
Winner: Jay Lethal
Final Reaction: B++
Cody’s promo alone makes the episode worth watching. The explanation for the Whitmer/Corino story is a bit nonsensical, as their issues have been going on long before Cody came to ROH or before he even left WWE. It all fits together, but it begs the question, what was the original plan for these two. As Corino is no longer with the company, we may never find out. The extended issues between the Rebellion and the MCMG’s new additions has been fun to watch and adds more to the story between the two factions.The Decade of Excellence provides a real sense of urgency for matches, except for this week’s, as Lethal was always going to win against Liger.
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