Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Top Ten Matches on ROH TV in 2015

Taking a look back at some of the best matches on Ring of Honor Wrestling Television in 2015!

Much like I did for 2014, I’ll be looking at some of the best matches from Ring of Honor Wrestling Television in 2015! We saw some great matches across the board, and I’m excited to go over my Top Ten, as well as some honorable mentions. Before, I should note that I will not be looking at anything from Global Wars 2015: Night 2 or Aftershock Tour: Philadelphia for this Top Ten List. While those shows were TV Tapings, they were later made available on DVD, so I will be reviewing those shows separately.

Top Ten Matches on ROH TV in 2015

1.) ROH on SBG (2/14/15) - Six-Man Tag - The Bullet Club (“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles & The Young Bucks) vs. ACH, Cedric Alexander, & Matt Sydal: ****1/4

I feel as though we’ve seen a renaissance in trios wrestling in some of the major American wrestling promotions over the last few years. The Shield & The Wyatt Family were heavily pushed in 2013-2014, having some really good/great trios matches (more so from The Shield from The Wyatt Family, but still…). If there was a “Trio of the Year” Award in 2015, then it DEFINITELY would go to The Bullet Club tandem of AJ Styles & The Young Bucks. Their incredible run as a trio arguably started with this match, as they took on ACH, Cedric Alexander, & Matt Sydal in the old ECW Arena (now the 2300 Arena) in Philadelphia. This was an amazing match!!! It was action-packed right from the opening bell, and the crowd was super into it. While the team of ACH, Cedric Alexander, & Matt Sydal definitely looked good here, there’s no question that AJ Styles & The Young Bucks were an amazing trio right from the get-go. Awesome stuff from start to finish. In the end, Styles & The Young Bucks KILLED Matt Sydal, with an incredible sequence of moves that’s next to impossible to describe, for the win. This was, without a doubt, the best match on ROH TV in 2015.

2.) ROH on SBG (11/25/15) - ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Roderick Strong: ****¼

The 2nd Best Match on ROH TV in 2015 came later in the year, and was a big match for the ROH World TV Title. Roderick Strong had been in a feud with Jay Lethal over the ROH World Title during the Summer. They wrestled to a 60-Minute Time Limit Draw at Death Before Dishonor XIII, and Lethal defeated Strong in a 2nd ROH World Title Match at Aftershock Tour: Philadelphia. Strong wanted another match, but since he had used up his ROH World Title opportunities, Nigel McGuinness granted him a ROH World TV Title Match against Lethal instead. This was an awesome match!! I’d say that it was arguably the best of their three matches in 2015. Lethal excels in his role as the heel champion, and Strong is just such a great wrestler. The last portion of this match was insane, and the crowd was on fire!! Strong captured the ROH World TV Title for the 2nd time to a huge reaction! Just an incredible match.

3.) ROH on SBG (3/28/15) - Samoa Joe vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly (with Bobby Fish): ****

Arguably one of the biggest stories of 2015 was Samoa Joe leaving TNA. While he would eventually make his way to NXT, he made a few stops in ROH, the promotion that Samoa Joe was a big part of during its early years and the “golden age”. Joe’s first match back in ROH was against Kyle O’Reilly, who was one-half of the ROH World Tag Team Champion at the time with his reDRagon partner Bobby Fish, who was in his corner for this match. As you would expect, this was pretty great!! Kyle O’Reilly is just so good in the ring, and I think he proved to be a really good matchup for Joe, stylistically. It was awesome to see Samoa Joe in a ROH ring again, as he picked up the win over O’Reilly in this match.

4.) ROH on SBG (5/9/15) - Alberto El Patron, ACH, & Matt Sydal vs. Roderick Strong & The Briscoes: ****

Alberto El Patron’s final appearance in Ring of Honor was in an All-Star Six-Man Tag, as he teamed with ACH & Matt Sydal to take on Roderick Strong & The Briscoes. I thought this was a great match! No real story here, but it was a super fun match to watch. We got a bit of a continuation of the El Patron/Strong match from Dayton, Ohio in January of 2015, as well as the only encounter between El Patron (then the AAA Mega Heavyweight Champion) & Jay Briscoe (then the ROH World Champion). Some really cool action in this match. Eventually, ACH picked up the win for his team with a 450 Splash on Mark Briscoe.

5.) ROH on SBG (8/19/15) - IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice: ****

2015 saw the introduction of a new tag team in both ROH and New Japan in the form of Roppongi Vice. Rocky Romero needed to find a new tag team partner after Alex Kozlov left New Japan, and he found one in the form of Trent Beretta! Here, they’re in tag team action against The Young Bucks. This was a great tag team match! These two teams are just so good and so exciting, that it’s hard for any match they’re involved in to be anything less than very good. Just good action from start to finish. The Young Bucks would get the win in this particular encounter.

Afterwords, The KRD (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Chris Sabin) come out and put a huge beating on The Young Bucks, mocking them the entire time.

6.) ROH on SBG (10/21/15) - No DQ Match - Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Page: ****

One of the more interesting feuds of 2015 saw Jay Briscoe take on The Decade’s Adam Page. This was really feud that existing mainly on the ROH TV Show (from what I can remember). Page kept calling out Jay Briscoe and antagonizing him, to the point where Jay had to respond. Things eventually escalated to the point that a No DQ Match was necessary. This ended up being much better than I think anyone anticipated. Of course somebody like Jay Briscoe usually excels in this type of match, but Page stepped up in a big way as well. This was arguably Page’s best performance to date in ROH, and it came against an ROH Legend. While Page showed a lot of guts, he was unable to defeat Jay Briscoe.

After the match, BJ Whitmer (who was injured at the time) got in the ring and attack Jay Briscoe with his crutch. This caused Steve Corino (who, of course, has had a long feud with Whitmer) to leave the commentary table, get in the ring, and hit Whitmer in the face with a roll of quarters (vintage Corino)!

7.) ROH on SBG (4/18/15) - “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Cedric Alexander: ****

This is a match that I feel like people won’t really remember, but was actually quite good. Michael Elgin & Cedric Alexander have an interesting history when it comes to their previous encounters in ROH. Elgin defeated Alexander in an incredible match at Flyin’ High in March of 2014. Then they had another match in August, when Elgin was ROH World Champion, and they had a relatively disappointing match. This third encounter occurred when Elgin was still a heel, and when Alexander was still on his “losing streak” storyline. I’d say this was in between their two previous encounters. It was better than their ROH World Title Match in Philadelphia, but not nearly as good as their match from Flyin’ High in Dayton, Ohio. Great action throughout this match. Elgin would eventually get the victory.

8.) ROH on SBG (12/19/15) - Ten-Man Tag - Team Lethal (ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe, Adam Page, Cliff Compton & Cheeseburger) vs. Team Strong (ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong, Cedric Alexander, Matt Jackson, Mark Briscoe, & Moose): ****

Here we a special Christmas Treat from ROH. Jay Lethal & Roderick Strong (the ROH World Champion & ROH World TV Champion, respectively) were put in charge of two teams for a Ten Man Tag, expect their partners were selected at random. Lethal’s team had Jay Briscoe (who Lethal beat to win the World Title), Adam Page (who was feuding with Jay Briscoe), and two “unique” partners in Cliff Compton & Cheeseburger. Strong’s team had Cedric Alexander (a former rival of Strong), Matt Jackson, Mark Briscoe, & Moose. It was clear that Strong’s team would be the more cohesive of the two (given that there was only one heel on the team), but the match was surprisingly great!! It was a totally random match, but it was super fun to watch from start to finish. Even Cheeseburger got some cool moments in here, as he successfully hit palm strikes on every member of Team Strong. Easily one of the most enjoyable matches of the year from ROH. In the end, Team Strong would pick up the victory.

9.) ROH on SBG (10/14/15) - Best-of-Five-Series: Match #4 - ACH vs. Matt Sydal: ***3/4

This match comes to us from San Antonio, Texas. It’s the 4th Match in the Best-of-Five-Series between these two. ACH comes into this match with a 2-1 advantage, after beating Matt Sydal in Match #3 at All-Star Extravaganza VII. As one would expect, these two delivered, and gave us a really good match. It started slow, but it definitely picked up by the end, and told a really good story the whole way through. It was just a really fun match from start to finish, and the crowd was very much into it. Sydal would get the win here, tying the series up at 2-2.

10.) ROH on SBG (3/21/15) - ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ***¾

While we didn’t know it when 2015 began, Jimmy Jacobs would soon be leaving the independent scene to take a job with WWE as part of their Creative Team (a position which he totally deserves). One of his last matches in Ring of Honor was a ROH World Title Match against then-champion Jay Briscoe. These two have a LOOOONG history, dating back to 2007, when it Jay who was hung upside down from the rafters during The Age of the Fall’s debut at Man Up. I thought this was a really good match. Jacobs showed a lot of fight in this match, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to overcome Jay Briscoe, as the ROH World Champion gets the win after hitting the Jay Driller on Jacobs.

Honorable Mentions

11.) ROH on SBG (11/11/15) - The All-Night Express vs. The Briscoes: ***¾

One of the most interesting stories of 2015 in ROH was the return of the All-Night Express. Of course, everyone knows the story of how Kenny King left ROH for TNA in 2012, only a few weeks after The All-Night Express had finally won the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the first time. A lot of people (myself included) never imagined that Kenny King would ever wrestle in ROH again after leaving on such bad terms, yet, he reappeared at All-Star Extravaganza VII, and The All-Night Express earned a shocking victory over The Briscoes. Now, they’re having a rematch in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and it was pretty great! Of course, everyone knows about the bloody wars they had back in 2011. What’s interesting is that while those hardcore brawls in 2011 (which included Street Fights & Ladder War III) were great, these teams proved in San Antonio, and again here in Kalamazoo, that they can have really good regular tag team matches as well. The crowd was awesome during this match, and the action was great from start to finish. The Briscoes would avenge their loss from San Antonio, and the two teams shook hands after the match, in a sign of respect.

12.) ROH on SBG (11/4/15) - Triple Threat Match - Adam Cole vs. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly: ***¾

Now this is a match that was happened with really no buildup (in the sense that this match hadn’t been announced until the day of the TV Tapings in San Antonio). This was originally supposed to be Adam Cole vs. AJ Styles, but Kyle O’Reilly desperately wanted to get his hands on Adam Cole after he screwed him out of the ROH World Title against Jay Lethal at All-Star Extravaganza VII, so ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness decided to make a Triple Threat Match! While the match was actually relatively short (I think it only went about ten minutes or so), they pack A LOT of action into it. All three of these guys are so great, that it would be hard for this match to not be good. Eventually, Cole would take advantage and score the victory in this Triple Threat Match.

After the match, we got a big brawl between The Kingdom and The Young Bucks. Then, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal came down, and faced off with AJ Styles (then the #1 Contender) to end the show.

13.) ROH on SBG (12/5/15) - The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks: ***¾

Here we have a match that occurred pretty late in the calendar year of 2015. The Briscoes & The Young Bucks have faced each other on numerous occasions in ROH, and they always produce quality tag team wrestling, and this match was certainly no exception. This was a very fun tag team match, exactly what you would expect from these two teams. The action was fast-paced, and the crowd was into it. Nothing to really complain about here. The Young Bucks would get the win in this particular encounter.

After the match, a big brawl breaks out between The Young Bucks, The Briscoes, and The All-Night Express, building up to their Three-Way #1 Contender’s Match at Final Battle 2015.

14.) ROH on SBG (4/4/15) - IWGP Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. Mark Briscoe: ***¾

This match is coming to us from Baltimore, Maryland. Styles was originally scheduled to face Tommaso Ciampa, but Ciampa was out with (I believe) broken ribs, so Mark Briscoe stepped up to the plate and took his place. These two had a really good match. I’ve always thought of Jay Briscoe as being the better singles wrestler (and the better singles star) of the two Briscoe Brothers, but Mark is a perfectly capable singles wrestler, and he looked really good here against arguably the Best Wrestler in the World. It’s a match that most people probably won’t remember, but it’s well worth watching. Styles would get the victory here over “chicken”.

15.) ROH on SBG (1/10/15) - Alberto El Patron vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels: ***¾

The final match on my Honorable Mentions List features the Ring of Honor debut of Alberto El Patron, the former Alberto Del Rio. He has a big challenge in his debut, as he’s taking on a Ring of Honor original in the form of Christopher Daniels. I have to say that I liked this decision to put El Patron up against Daniels, who is somebody that always delivers quality matches. This was certainly no exception, as these two had a very good match. I was curious to see how El Patron would fit into the ROH setting, but he seemed to fit pretty well. These two seemed to have good chemistry, and it resulted in a very solid TV Main Event. El Patron would get the submission victory with a Cross Armbreaker on Daniels.

After the match, El Patron is confronted and attacked by The House of Truth (Jay Lethal, Truth Martini, & J. Diesel), but The Addiction are able to make the save.

There you have it! The Top Ten ROH TV Matches of 2015! We saw some great action throughout the year, and I look forward to looking at some of the best ROH TV Matches of 2016!

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