This week’s Random Reviews takes a look at ROH’s penultimate TV show of 2016 – which was almost a Will Ospreay special!
The show opened with a video package with highlights from the UK tour of Leicester, Liverpool and London. We’ve got Kevin Kelly on a green screen hosting this show, which is an interesting move (the show itself, that is), given that they’re about to give away the reason they were selling the UK tours as VOD.
ROH Television Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Bobby Fish (c)
Apparently this was from “Livepool”, according to the ROH captioner. Nigel McGuinness and Steve Corino are joining Kevin Kelly on commentary for this match. Originally this was meant to be “just another match” which was turned into a TV title match days beforehand.
Fish stands on the Union Jack as he tries to cement himself as a heel against Ospreay, and they start with some ground-based action, before Fish dumped Will with an arm whip. Ospreay used his see-saw kip ups to escape a wristlock, before bouncing off the ropes to start a reversal sequence that sent Fish to the outside… just in time for a badly-dubbed commercial break!
Back from the break, we see Ospreay flying into Fish with a Sasuke special – again with some badly dubbed commentary. A roll-up into a neckbreaker gets Will a near-fall, but he takes too long going to the top rope and gets caught as Fish tries for a superplex… only for Ospreay to headbutt him down, but Fish again recovers and kicks Will down to the mat.
Fish gets a two count with an Exploder, but Ospreay recovers with a Stunner out of a suplex from Fish, then a running shooting star press… before Fish gets the knees up to a moonsault. More kicks from Fish lead to a Dragon screw, but Ospreay recovers with a Cheeky Nando’s kick for a near-fall as Fish grabbed the ropes. Will keeps up with a diving corkscrew kick, but his handspring overhead kick into a knee-strike goes awry as Fish catches him in a knee bar.
Ospreay stands up out of the knee bar, and bends backwards… and that ends up being enough to score a shock pin. Will Ospreay wins the ROH TV title in his debut! A good debut for Will here, and I’ll put a caveat next to my rating in that this felt clipped for a semi-main event. ***½
Kevin Kelly more or less tells us that Ospreay’s going to lose the title… but first, we’ve got a tag match.
ROH Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) (c) vs. Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll
We join this match from Leicester in progress as Scurll and Nick Jackson stand off… before they traded eye poke and went to tag the wrong partner. They finally figured it out as Matt and Will come in, leading to a wrist lock and a mocking “please don’t tap” chant from Matt. Ospreay escapes the wristlock with the see-saw kip ups, but they again trade moves and end with Ospreay rebounding off the ropes with a double hiptoss.
Scurll and Ospreay did the same poses together, before Matt pratfalled on the way to the ring. Nick comes in and gets taken down, before Scurll tagged in and kept up the same pressure. Ospreay hits a low dropkick to Nick as he was pinned down by his knees by Scurll, but Nick recovers and lands a dropkick to knock Ospreay off the apron.
Nick recovers with a slingshot facebuster into the ring on Scurll, then an Asai moonsault to Ospreay outside, before Matt comes in and holds Marty on the apron with some headscissors for another dropkick to the floor. A pair of topes follow as we crash to another commercial break for New Japan’s AXS-TV show, and a not-entirely-cringeworthy ad for the ROH merch store.
After break we’ve got Ospreay caught in an electric chair on the floor as the Bucks go all out on superkicks, before Scurll takes a 450 Splash for a near-fall. The Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver on Scurll, but Ospreay leaps in to make the save with an Ace Crusher, as Scurll dumped Nick with a tombstone. Ospreay followed with way too many flips to count as he and Scurll piled on for the pin… which was broken up by way of a senton bomb off the top from Matt.
The Bucks target Scurll with forearms… but their repeated “suck it” taunts just earn them a pair of finger snaps. Scurll then pulls the referee into a pair of superkicks, and with the ref down, Scurll hits the Bucks low. Marty goes to the outside for his umbrella, but Ospreay stops him… only for Scurll to demand that Will uses the brolly instead.
Of course, Scurll gets hit as Ospreay swung and missed, and that left him open to take a pair of superkicks, before Scurll ate More Bang For Your Buck for a near-fall. A buckle-bomb/superkick combo rocked Scurll, as the Bucks again go for the Meltzer Driver, but another attempted block from Ospreay ends up going awry as he goes for a springboard ‘rana… but it isn’t enough as Matt is still able to rotate through into his part of the driver as the champions retained. I’m not a fan of the Bucks, but this was really good until they started spamming the superkicks. A cool-looking, but contrived finale. ****
The final night of the ROH UK tour would go to London, as Scurll and Ospreay would face off for the TV title. But first, another advert for knee braces!
ROH Television Championship: Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay (c)
Christ, how old are the photos of Scurll and Ospreay? The Scurll photo used by ROH for the match graphic is easily a year old, from when he started to turn heel in PROGRESS. This is the sixth single match the pair would have had in 2016, with Scurll going 4-1 in their outings (only WCPW booked Ospreay to win…).
Both men get streamers, whilst Ospreay doesn’t get a home-town, just a home county for some reason.
There’s barely 10 minutes of TV time left here, so I’m expecting a LOT to be clipped here… and yes, we go to commercial before the opening bell rings. No adverts are on the online version, and we return to see Ospreay and Scurll working back and forth with wristlocks, with Will using see-saw kip-ups for the third time in this TV show.
A series of dropdowns and leapfrogs see Scurll eventually fall to some headscissors and an armdrag, before both men neutralise the other in a classic sequence that ends with a stand-off – and appreciative cheers that gave way to duelling chants. Scurll leads into Ospreay with chops and uppercuts, before taking a dropkick as Ospreay actually got some boos from the London crowd.
An octopus hold restrains Scurll, who then gets rolled forward into a cradle for a two-count, before Scurll went to the outside and was met with a shooting star press off the apron. Scurll rolls away from Ospreay as he went under the ring, then returned behind Ospreay to deck him with a lariat before we went to a final commercial break.
Back from break, they’re in the ring as the picture freezes with Ospreay and Scurll butting heads on the mat. The TV show becomes a radio show, with a grey letterbox on-screen instead of anything resembling a wrestling ring. From the commentary, I guess we had Ospreay take a finger snap, before countering a suplex into a stunner. An OsCutter’s caught and turned into a chicken wing in the middle of the ring, but Ospreay rolls back and gets a near-fall out of it.
Scurll keeps the pressure up with a pop-up powerbomb and a lariat for just a one count, before getting another one count after he blasted Ospreay with his own Rainham Maker.
Marty goes to the outside to grab his umbrella… but Ospreay just flips off Scurll, so he gets his finger stamped. That makes Marty snap, as he stomps away on Ospreay’s head repeatedly, before finally getting the chicken wing – and we have another new TV champion! Save for that moment where the ROH web player had a hissy fit, this was a fantastic main event – and would have been better in longer form! ****
Kevin Kelly closes the show with a plug for the Reach for the Sky VODs and DVDs, before plugging a “best of 2016” show next week which was actually just clips from random shows. Fair enough.
As a trio of matches, this was a fantastic look back at ROH’s UK tour. Unfortunately, those were probably the three matches that everyone wanted to see… so by giving it away for free on TV, they’ve kinda killed any resale value. None of these matches were really damaged by the editing for TV, so why would anyone bar the ardent ROH fanbase – who’ve likely already bought the VODs – want to drop $15 a pop for some undercards that really didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things?
(If you do, you’ll need to go to the PPV section of the ROH website, since the VOD tab helpfully doesn’t list any of those shows!)