This week, Ring of Honor television featured a world title match with Colt Cabana challenging Jay Lethal to headline the first in a series of episodes taped in Philadelphia. The underlying focus of the episode was building towards the upcoming Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view.
The show opened with a recap of the head shaving perpetrated by Bullet Club when they shaved Lethal bald.
In the first bout of a two match show, Jay White shined in his second televised match in ROH.
Jay White defeated Will Ferrara
Though the match was a showcase for White, it was far from one-sided. Ferrara got a lot of offense, starting early on when White kept trying to escape a wristlock. Later in the match, White grounded Ferrara and applied a wristlock, wrenching and pushing the limits of hyperextending it.
White then eased on the arm, only to hyperextend Ferrara’s fingers. On commentary, Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness put over the skills of White and his knowledge of the fundamentals. White would soon explode with a flurry of offense that led to a brainbuster and missile dropkick.
Ferrara more than held his own and did a tope dive through the ropes at one point. He even got several near falls that included using a la magistral cradle and later a tornado DDT. Playing off the joint lock earlier on, Ferrara found himself unsuccessful in a slugfest with a wounded hand.
White tried to finish Ferrara but Ferrara kicked out at two. White then hoisted him up and executed the Kiwi Crusher to score the pinfall.
In an announcement that accompanied a video hyping Katsuyori Shibata, Silas Young was revealed as the opponent for Shibata at Death Before Dishonor.
Fish Tank or Chicken Shack?
Mark Briscoe and Bobby Fish took part in an odd talking segment. Though it was billed as the Fish Tank, Mark stormed to the ring first, saying that was communist propaganda and other whatnot. So, he was taking over and dubbing it the Chicken Shack.
A dapper Bobby Fish entered the scene wearing a suit and holding his TV title belt. He noted the difference in appearance between himself and Mark. Fish boasted about how he was dressed and said Mark looked like “an unmade bed.”
The conversation was still fairly jovial until Mark mentioned their upcoming title match at Death Before Dishonor. Fish unleashed a scathing promo on Mark, referring to him as “Jay Briscoe’s little brother.”
As Mark appeared ready to fight, security stepped in to hold Mark back. Fish kept cutting a promo on Mark. He concluded by vowing to retain his title and emphasized that he was the WORLD TV champion.
In a backstage promo, The Addiction bragged about themselves and threatened War Machine.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal defeated Colt Cabana to retain his title
Though this was a rematch from Global Wars, the dynamic between the two was much different than their last encounter. With Jay Lethal now the top babyface instead of the lead heel as he was previously, it was a different match. Likewise, their first match had a non-finish while this ended decisively.
Lethal played a role more akin to a touring NWA world champion from a bygone era. Though his moves and style were contemporary and he was a babyface, he displayed a subtle cocky side that allowed the audience to rally around Cabana down the stretch.
Despite being typecast as a comedy act, Cabana proved in this match he is so much more than that.
Cabana displayed his knowledge of the British style early on, doing some reversals and counters. They started off methodical, but quickened the pace from there and gradually upped the intensity leading to a tope dive trifecta by Lethal.
At one point, Cabana went to apply the Billy Goat’s Curse. Lethal countered and Cabana leapt into a splash for a two count. Lethal cut off Cabana and hit the Lethal Combination, which led into Hail to the King (elbow off the top). Cabana kicked out of the subsequent cover for a near fall.
Just as Lethal seemed victorious upon hitting the Lethal Injection, Cabana withstood Lethal’s finisher and kicked out. Moments later, Cabana dropped Lethal across the top rope with the Chicago Skyline Drop for another near fall.
After a slugfest developed, Cabana smacked Lethal with a hip attack for a two count. Soon after, Lethal finished Cabana with a Lethal Injection for the pinfall win.
Following the match, Lethal wanted to speak with matchmaker Nigel McGuinness about possibly granting him a match with Adam Cole, who McGuinness previously banned from receiving a title shot. Nigel refused to lift the ban and said it would look hypocritical.
Cole interrupted them, claiming this was a farce, and speculated it was all a plot to make Lethal look like a fighting champion. Cole ran Lethal down some more before calling him a “little bitch.”
Lethal freaked out, turned to McGuinness, and began pleading for the match. Lethal got down on his knee to beg McGuinness. Finally, McGuinness agreed and the match was made for Death Before Dishonor.
On the next episode of ROH, the contract signing with Adam Cole and Jay Lethal, plus a tag team title match.