4/11/15 ROH Review – Samoa Joe and Jay Briscoe Wrestle Stiffest Match of 2015

Although the tickets sold out so quickly that I was not able to attend Supercard of Honor X live, ROH aired the top two matches from the card on TV this week. Steve Corino also missed the show, as Adam Cole sat in for him on commentary. As great as Cole is, Corino is irreplaceable on commentary in ROH. Even without Corino and in a dingy warehouse, Supercard was an entertaining show.

 

Jay Briscoe def. Samoa Joe to Remain World Champion

The seeds were planted for this dream match when Joe and Briscoe stared one another down at the end of the 13th Anniversary Show. With the sparsely populated top of the ROH card, the fact that Joe’s short-time status gave him virtually no chance of winning was irrelevant- the fans were clearly thrilled to see the matchup from before the opening bell. While the wrestlers showed each other enough respect to shake hands, their intensity and competitiveness showed in their faces.

 

While the action was not fast, Joe’s hard-hitting styled Briscoe from the start and Briscoe matched him, strike for strike. Briscoe repeatedly found ways to damage Joe’s knee, but when he went for a suicide dive, Joe still sprung up for an enzuigiri to meet him on his way out. With Joe in control, he threw Briscoe to the outside and hit a suicide dive of his own. He went for the Muscle Buster, only for Briscoe to counter into a neckbreaker.

 

Briscoe stayed in control and even got a near fall after a superkick and a side suplex. Joe nearly locked in a rear naked choke out of desperation, but Briscoe escaped and stayed in control. He lifted the big man and hit a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Joe used a back body drop to block the Jay Driller and went on a rampage of strikes that led to a senton. Briscoe came off of the ropes and Joe hit an Orton-esque snap powerslam. Joe followed it with a powerbomb, which he turned directly into a Boston Crab and then a crossface and a variation of an armbar. Briscoe only barely escaped with a toe on the rope.

 

The two punchy stars traded forearms and knees in the middle of the ring. Briscoe ran straight into a side slam by Joe. It seemingly gave Joe a chance at a Muscle Buster, but Briscoe slipped down onto the apron for a sunset flip. He quickly made it to his feet for a Jay Driller and a win in a brutal match.

 

Joe’s style is so punishing that it’s a disservice to him to only allow him to work shorter matches. What makes him unique and special is that he can work such lengthy, athletic matches at his size. Briscoe is a glutton for punishment in his own right, so they made a great pair, even if only for a night.

 

 

Jay Lethal def. Jushin Thunder Liger to Remain TV Champion

As Scott and I discussed on the first non-WWE Going Over Podcast last week, one of the best things going at the top of the ROH card is the competition between the TV Title and the World Title. Lethal has done such a good job of talking up the prestige of the TV Title and backing it up that he seems very believable when he states that he is the “real” champion of ROH. It seems inevitable that there will be an eventual title vs. title match between the two, but Lethal continues to deliver in his own place on the card in the interim.

 

At 50 years old and 31 years into his wrestling career, it’s amazing that Liger can wrestle at all, let alone at a persistently high level. He lives up to the idiom of having forgotten more wrestling psychology than most wrestlers will ever know. He repeatedly out-quicked the younger Lethal and frustrated him into leaving the ring to regroup. Liger went from one creative submission hold to another and forced Lethal to stay on the mat. Lethal finally responded with a crucifix version of a surfboard to give Liger a taste of his own medicine.

 

Once Lethal got going offensively, the pace accelerated. He almost hit the Lethal Injection, only for Liger to dodge it and deliver a stiff palm strike. The action spilled outside, where Liger downed Lethal with a brain buster on the floor. A desperate Lethal retrieved his belt and seemingly wanted to use it as a weapon. When Liger got the belt away from him, he tried to use the ropes on a rollup. He got the belt back and swung it at Liger, but missed. The distraction over the belt gave Lethal a chance to hit a superkick and a Lethal Injection to win a solid match. Even at his age, he made Lethal work in an entertaining fight.