Ring of Honor makes its debut in Oklahoma City, as Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal defend their titles for the final time before Best In The World 2015!
ROH Road To “Best In The World ‘15”: Night 2
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 5/30/15
1.) Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. Americos & Gregory James: *
Not much to say about this pre-show match. Keith Lee & Shane Taylor were dominated, and Gregory James lost the match for his team when he refused to tag in Americos. Interesting to note here that Keith Lee & Shane Taylor were announced at around 780 pounds, so I guess they magically lost 40 pounds between the show the previous night in Amarillo, and this show in Oklahoma City.
1.) Caprice Coleman vs. “Dirty” Andy Dalton (with “The Outlaw” Ken Phoenix): **1/4
The show kicks off with Caprice Coleman taking on Andy Dalton. As I’ve mentioned previously, Dalton is a relatively well-known local wrestler from Texas. A decent opening match here. Dalton got some offense in, and got to showcase his disgusting personality a little bit, by Coleman would eventually score the win here. I wouldn’t mind seeing Dalton in ROH more often. I think he can be a fun undercard heel act, and from what I’ve heard of his work elsewhere, he’s pretty good.
2.) Triple Threat Match For A ROH World TV Title Shot – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Taven vs. Raymond Rowe vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/4
So we have two Triple Threat Matches on this show, which will determine the title challenges for later that night. This match would decide who would face Jay Lethal for the ROH World TV Title. This match only went about five or six minutes, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted. They had an interesting dynamic at the start which Taven, the sole heel in this match, getting double teamed by the two faces in Mark Briscoe & Ray Rowe. Things eventually broke down, and we actually saw some pretty good action from all three competitors. In the end, Mark Briscoe would get the win with a fisherman buster on Taven, meaning he’ll challenge Jay Lethal for the ROH World TV Title later on in the show.
3.) Silas Young vs. The Romantic Touch: **3/4
Young actually got toilet paper thrown at him during his entrance, which is something that I don’t think we’ve seen in ROH since the days of Jimmy Rave. As far as this match goes, if there was ever a clash of personalities, this was it. The Romantic Touch tried using his usual antics, but Young was having absolutely none of it. At one point, The Romantic Touch actually used Steve Corino’s old “Thumb In The Bum” move, which got a huge reaction from Corino on commentary. Eventually, Young would pick up the win here.
4.) Triple Threat Match For A ROH World Title Shot – BJ Whitmer vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Michael Bennett (with Maria Kanellis) vs. Hanson: ***1/4
BJ Whitmer gets toilet paper thrown at him as well during his entrance, which gets some hefty chuckles from Steve Corino. This match will determine who challenges Jay Briscoe in the Main Event for the ROH World Title. What I like about this Triple Threat Match compared to the one earlier in the show is that the psychology of the match was different. Here you have two heels in Bennett & Whitmer, and one babyface in the form of Hanson. You also have the dynamic of Bennett & Whitmer, as it was of course Bennett who severely injured Whitmer with a piledriver on the ring apron back in 2013. This was a little longer than the previous triple threat match, but the match quality was about the same. In the end, Hanson would get the win, earning himself a ROH World Title Match against Jay Briscoe in the Main Event.
5.) Roderick Strong vs. Will Ferrara: ***1/2
This is a big match for Ferrara, as he’s taking on the main known as “Mr. ROH”. I thought this was a pretty good match. Strong was his usual awesome self, but Ferrara looked really solid here. This has been a very good weekend for Ferrara in general, who may have looked the best out of the four men in the Four-Corner Survival from the night before, and went on to have one of his best singles performances here against Strong. Eventually, Strong would get the win here, but shook hands with Ferrara after the match in a show of respect.
6.) Dalton Castle vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***1/2
Here we have a very unique match, as the very serious Michael Elgin takes on the always-flamboyant Dalton Castle. This was another really solid match on this show. Elgin looked as good as he always does, but Castle really showed a lot here against a former ROH World Champion. Again, it wasn’t an amazing match by any means, but it was pretty good. Elgin would pick up the win here, and in a continuation of his slow face turn, shook hands with Castle after the match.
7.) Adam Cole vs. ACH: ****
These two have had a singles match against each other in ROH, at least once, ever year since 2013. This is their third match, and I have to say, it might have been their best. I thought this was a great match! I said in my review of the show from the night before in Amarillo, Texas that ACH & Michael Elgin have great chemistry. While ACH & Adam Cole have yet to have that one absolutely amazing match, these two also had really good chemistry, and they proved that once again here with the best match of their series. We saw examples of their great personalities, while also seeing some awesome back & forth action. Even though Cole would eventually get the victory, ACH looked very impressive (as he always does).
8.) ROH World TV Title – Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/2
Here we have the first of two titles matches, the last for both Jay Lethal & Jay Briscoe before their title vs. title match at Best In The World 2015. It’s very appropriate that Lethal’s last defense before the PPV is against Mark Briscoe. This was a very solid ROH World TV Title Match. It wasn’t as cool as the ACH/Adam Cole match that preceded it, but it was still very good, despite some stalling early on. Lethal continues to be an awesome heel champion, while Mark Briscoes proves that he is an underrated singles wrestler, and can deliver when the situation calls for it. One thing that added to this match was the fact that they had built up Mark Briscoe's fisherman buster as a believe finisher (which he used to secure his two victories already this weekend). When he hit it, and Lethal kicked out, it was a bigger than it would have been normally. A small, but positive, addition to this match. Things came to an end when Lethal used the Book of Truth when Truth Martini had the referee distracted (it was actually pretty well executed) to pick up the win. Lethal retains the ROH World TV Title.
9.) ROH World Title – Jay Briscoe vs. Hanson: ****
Interestingly enough, this is basically an extension of The Briscoes/War Machine rivalry. I thought this was a great Main Event! Not sure if this or ACH/Adam Cole takes Match of the Night, but it was pretty close. Even with War Machine back together, it’s still awesome that Hanson can show off that he’s also a great singles competition. I think he worked well here with Jay Briscoe, as it was a pure fight from start to finish. Towards the end of the match, Jay Lethal & Truth Martini came out, seemingly to attack Jay Briscoe, but they were fended off, and corner by, Mark Briscoe & Ray Rowe. While keeping The House of Truth at bay, those two also cheered on their respective man, which I think added to the match a little bit, giving it a big fight feel. The finish was pretty cool, and both men refused to give up, despite being hit with several big moves. In the end, it would take three Jay Drillers (those last two being in a row) for Jay Briscoe to put Hanson away and retain the ROH World Title.
Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal have a stare down in the ring and exchange words to close the show.
Compared to the show from Amarillo the night before, I thought this show in Oklahoma City was significantly better. There weren’t nearly as many screwy finishes, and the card as a whole was much more consistent. The two three ways were solid, and matches like Strong/Ferrara, Castle/Elgin, and Lethal/Mark Briscoe were all pretty good. You then had ACH/Adam Cole and Jay Briscoe/Hanson, which were arguably the best matches of the night. The show also did a very good job at continuing the build towards Best In The World 2015, as Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal had their final title defenses before the PPV. When you have good wrestling throughout the card, and a crowd that’s into mostly everything, you almost guaranteed to have a really solid show, and that’s exactly what we got here in OKC. If you have a choice between this one and the show from Amarillo, it’s a no brainer. Get this one!!