10/7/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Kazhuchika Okada def. Roderick Strong
On paper, an episode of ROH TV centered on the top moments from their annual Field of Honor show seemed like a great idea. In reality, the wrestling and the unique environment (held on a baseball field in Coney Island) came through brilliantly, but the show’s audio was so bad that it mostly ruined the show. ROH routine redubs at least parts of its commentary, so it’s mysterious that they would not replace the extremely low quality commentary from this episode.
In spite of the audio problems, the matches were very worthwhile. The main event pitted IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada against Strong, who gets so many high-end inter-promotional matches that he must have a sterling reputation around the world. Okada took his time with a slow attack early until Strong suplexed him over the barricade and into the front row. They continued to skirmish on the infield grass outside the ring and Okada showed no signs of fatigue despite the consistent beating given to him by Strong.
Strong used an Olympic Slam and a big superplex to set up the Strong Hold. Okada grasped for the ropes and made it just before he would have submitted. Okada suddenly hit a dropkick to show signs of life, only for Strong to counter with knees, a gut buster, and a Sick Kick for a very near fall. Okada gathered himself and hit a Tombstone. He countered Strong’s flying knee attempt into a second Tombstone and then hit a German Suplex to set up the Rainmaker lariat to get the win.
It was surprising to see Strong dominate so much of the match, but the lasting impression is Okada’s stamina. He hardly looked tired at the end of the 20 minute affair. He is one of the most skilled and natural workers in the world and still only 27. If he can learn English or find an effective mouthpiece, he could be one of the biggest wrestling stars in the US eventually.
Briscoe Brothers def. Time Splitters
The show’s opening match had almost as much star power and action as the excellent main event. Alex Shelley returned to ROH alongside Kushida in something of a reunion for the team. They worked on Mark Briscoe’s arms early in the match to set up for Kushida’s Hoverboard Lock. Mark tried to fight his way back into the match with a knee to Shelley’s face that legitimately smashed his teeth onto the mat. A game Shelley continued to fight back and reached Kushida for the tag. Kushida used a variety of kicks to get back into the match and wound-up for a baseball-style right hand. He rolled through Mark’s attempt at a powerslam to apply the Hoverboard Lock, but Jay reached his brother in time to break it up.
The Time Splitters continued to work on Jay with a combination splash and standing moonsault. It looked like a potential finisher, but Mark kicked out at two. The Briscoes put together some double-team offense of their own. Mark lifted Shelley into a Razor’s Edge position and Jay delivered a leaping neckbreaker for another near fall. After some back and forth between the teams, Jay hit the Jay Driller on Shelley to get a solid win. Perhaps the most interesting part of the match was Kevin Kelly’s insistence on commentary that the Briscoes are serious about a run at the ROH Tag Team Titles. It’s a good sign for the division that they belts have been promoted so well that a recent singles champion could legitimately pursue them.
Takaaki Watanabe def. Cedric Alexander
The meat in the ROH sandwich was a TV Title #1 Contender’s match that might have felt like a throwaway without the stipulation. Alexander teased the fans early when he refused to finish a series of rolling vertical suplexes. Watanabe answered with a nice running senton. Alexander earned a near fall with a falcon arrow. He was quickly distracted, though, by Moose who came onto the field to yell at him. Watanabe hit a German suplex, a 50/50 suplex, and a powerful STO to get a pin and a shot at Jay Lethal’s TV Title.