I doubt that when Ring of Honor recorded this show a few weeks back, it had any idea that it would coincide with the company’s debut on national cable. But it couldn’t have been a better episode to showcase to new fans just what ROH is, and who the go-to stars are for the company.
First, the action started right away. That’s one thing you’ll notice right off the bat with ROH. Almost the entire show is in the ring, and it’s almost exclusively matches. In Ring of Honor, the matches dictate the story, not the other way around. It’s a refreshing approach, actually.
In the company’s first match on Destination America, New Japan star KUSHIDA defeated Will Ferrara, and afterwards fans got a taste of ROH’s code of honor, when KUSHIDA and Ferrara shook hands after the match. In ROH’s universe, that’s a good indicator of who is a babyface and who is a heel.
Silas Young defeated Watanabe in the second match of the show. So about halfway through ROH’s network debut, it showcased two of its younger stars with two of its Japanese stars, which as we explained in our primer, ROH has a partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
But it was the second half of the show that really showcased two of ROH’s main elements. First, B.J. Whitmer chickened out of a match against up-and-coming star, Moose, and had Steve Corino’s son, Colby, take the match instead. Moose decimated Corino and left him in a heap. Moose is a future star for ROH, and it looked that way here.
Also, the commentating was perfect. Play-by-play man Kevin Kelly sold outrage at Whitmer forcing Corino to take the match, while Corino’s father sat mostly silent at the announce table.
In the main event, ROH originals, the Briscoes, defeated Donovan Dijak and J Diesel. The Briscoes epitomize ROH more than any other wrestler it has at the moment, and it was a great coincidence that the brothers were highlighted, as a tag team, in dominating fashion during the main event.
If you had never watched ROH before tonight, you got a very good taste of what it’s all about.
(1) If you’re a longtime viewer of ROH television, you’ll quickly recognize how far it’s come since its days on the old HDNet. There was a time when ROH television just felt like a bunch of random matches thrown together on TV. The focus is still — rightfully — kept in the ring, but every match has a purpose. They’ve done a better job making the product seem episodic, and with the addition of Destination America to the fold, they need to continue focusing on that aspect of television.
(2) They did provide a small hook for next week, with Christopher Daniels and Kazarian announcing that they will defend the ROH World Tag TItles against reDragon next week.
(3) Will Ferrara, who lost via submission in the opening match, was also the cameraman that Dean Ambrose “assaulted” on WWE Raw last Monday.
(1) KUSHIDA def. Will Ferrara via submission
(2) Silas Young def. Watanabe
(3) Moose def. Colby Corino
(4) The Briscoes def. Donovan Dijak & J Diesel
A very good show for ROH’s debut. The format was different than any other wrestling show with a national television audience. The scene is different, it’s smaller, and it’s quite charming. If you were a fan of the original ECW in the mid-90s, you’ll see a lot of similarities in the presentation.