Cody the American Nightmare entered Ring of Honor on their television episode this past week as Steve Corino departed the company. The legendary Jushin Liger and Jay Lethal also collided in a Decade of Excellence tournament match on a show taped at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
Nigel McGuinness joined Kevin Kelly on commentary. That is notable because this episode began airing in syndication last weekend as Nigel was overseas in his native England calling the UK Championship tournament live on the WWE Network.
The entrance of The Rebellion opened the show. Part of their gimmick is vowing to turn ROH upside down. So, they adopted wearing the ROH logo upside down on their gear. Now they have incorporated that into their entrance as well with several ROH banners turned upside down as a backdrop while they march to the ring.
A recap showed Lio Rush pinning Caprice Coleman on a previous episode. The Rebellion subsequently attacked Rush. Jay White and Donovan Dijak made the save, setting up a six-man tag match on this episode.
Lio Rush, Donovan Dijak & Jay White defeated Caprice Coleman, Kenny King & Rhett Titus
Though a quick television match, it got exciting by the end with daredevil acrobatics. Similar to a really good New Japan opener with American tendencies, it was action packed and included two hot tags.
Dijak shined early on displaying power moves at the start. Dijak caught Coleman in mid-air, then heaved him over the top rope to the floor. The Rebellion underhandedly shifted the momentum and began briefly working over Rush. Using his speed and agility to escape the clutches of The Rebellion, Rush tagged out to White. He proceeded to clean house with a flurry of offense. Moments later, his offense was cut off and his outcome looked bleak as the show faded to a commercial.
After the break, Rush ran wild and went into a series of dives. As he dove through the ropes, White and Dijak both simultaneously springboarded into moonsaults out of the ring to the outside. A series of intricate high spots followed with everybody in the mix.
The babyfaces cleared the ring of heels, except for Coleman. White slammed Coleman with a uranage to set up Rush jumping off the shoulders of Dijak for a frog splash on Coleman. Dijak followed that by leaping to the top rope into a moonsault. Rush then covered Coleman for the pinfall.
Afterwards, The Rebellion looked to get their heat back by delivering a beat down. Yet instead of attacking Rush, they let him slide. They apparently wanted to recruit him to join The Rebellion. Chris Sabin ran down and The Rebellion quickly exited the scene.
Showcasing the ROH World TV Champion, a video package highlighted Marty Scurll. With trippy visual effects, the tone fit “The Villain” character very well with Scurll doing a heelish voiceover. The vignette ended by plugging Scurll as appearing in person on the next episode.
A recap aired of the ROH debut of Cody the American Nightmare at Final Battle. A voiceover from Jay Lethal assured their feud was not yet settled after Cody used a low blow in their last match. Brewing tension with Steve Corino and Cody was also notable in the highlights of the video package.
Cody had an elaborate entrance, and once in the ring, started to address the audience. He claimed that the fans were not there to judge him. Rather, he was judging them. Nobody judges him according to Cody.
Cody claimed that ROH smelled of mediocrity. He went on to taunt the fans for being marks for Japan. A fan heckled him about his wife. Cody demanded the fan be thrown out of the building.
Cody basically told the crowd they were not worthy of seeing Brandi. He added they should buy his merch while they can and follow him on social media, because he would not be around this place long. After he got his plugs in, the entrance of Steve Corino interrupted Cody’s speech.
Playing off the angle with Kevin Sullivan and BJ Whitmer, the sinister side of Corino returned one more time to confront Cody. On the last TV episode, Whitmer promised a brother being sacrificed, Cody is supposedly that person. He is a Rhodes, continuing a feud between Sullivan and the Rhodes family that dates back over 30 years to Dusty Rhodes’ legendary run in Florida.
Together with that narrative, they tied in another feud from the past between Corino and Dusty in the original ECW from 1999-2000. The only place Corino ever defeated Dusty was in the ECW Arena, which was the same building as this meeting between Corino and a son of Dusty.
Cody used parts of that history to cut a heel promo on Corino that began with Cody swatting Corino’s ball cap off his head. Cody recalled Corino calling out Dusty for not making eye contact. Reversing the roles now, Cody then told Corino to look him in the eye. Cody said he had no respect for Corino.
Corino said Dusty was his hero. He went on to make a Genghis Khan reference about sacrificing one of two brothers. Corino gave Cody a choice between him and his brother. Cody slapped Corino across the face. Corino retaliated with a bionic elbow, and strutted like the “Dream” as the show went to commercial break.
Cody defeated Steve Corino
Corino started the match by pummeling a backpedaling Cody much like Dusty did to Corino in their feud back in ‘99. Cody cut off Corino with a springboard missile dropkick. Cody mockingly did a cartwheel and taunted the crowd.
Cody began to pepper Corino. To thwart a hope spot, Cody spat water in Corino’s eyes and chop-blocked his knee. An overconfident Cody kept toying with Corino. Cody teased a bionic elbow, but Corino countered with an elbow drop and fired up into a comeback. Corino honored the memory of Dusty by doing the flip, flop, and fly.
Corino folded up Cody with a package piledriver, possibly as an ode to Corino’s former partner-in-crime who is now currently the champion of an entire universe elsewhere. Much like Whitmer on the last episode forgoing a cover during a match to attempt a sacrifice, Corino retrieved a golden spike. Referee Todd Sinclair stepped in to keep Corino from using the spike.
With Corino distracted and the referee’s attention diverted, Cody kicked Corino with a low blow. Cody springboarded off the ropes with a disaster kick. Cody measured Corino before delivering a bionic elbow drop, and Cody covered him for the pinfall.
Jay Lethal ran in during the aftermath to attack Cody. Bailing out of the ring, Cody fled through the crowd and retreated to sanctuary.
Lethal cut a promo saying Cody is the one that entered Lethal's home turf to supposedly prove himself as one of the best. Lethal vowed revenge for the low blow at Final Battle. He also dismissed Cody because of his cheating tactics.
“It proves two things,” Lethal said about Cody. “One, you're just smoke and mirrors. And two, you do not belong here [in ROH].”
Lethal went on to call out Jushin Liger for their bout, which was the last match in the first round of the Decade of Excellence tournament. The rest of the tournament took place at the recent TV taping in Atlanta and is set to air in the coming weeks.
Jay Lethal defeated Jushin Thunder Liger to advance in the Decade of Excellence tournament
Liger seems to still somehow defy his age in the ring. He put Lethal over strong using his carpentry skills to build him up. Coming off a declaration of revenge and a run-in by Lethal earlier in the show, he shined in a victory over a living legend.
After dominating almost from the start, Lethal sent Liger to the floor with a springboard dropkick. Lethal then did a trifecta of dives through the ropes. With Liger reeling, Kevin Kelly tried to cover for him by speculating Liger was jetlagged from the flight over after Wrestle Kingdom. This match was taped in December though, before the Tokyo Dome show.
Liger did mount a comeback leading to a tilt-a-whirl into a backbreaker. When Lethal took a powder, Liger leapt off the apron doing a somersault senton. Liger kept the momentum through a commercial break.
Lethal took over on offense with a Lethal Combination. Lethal showcased a newer signature spot of his where he picked up Liger in a torture rack. Lethal then went into a modified rolling fireman's carry slam. Upon landing, Lethal immediately transitioned into a crossface. Liger got a foot on a rope to break the hold.
Lethal jumped off the top rope for Hail to the King, but Liger countered upon impact with a crucifix for a near fall. Liger with a last ditch flurry of offense began hitting a series of palm strikes. A frankensteiner off the top from Liger led into the finish. Lethal dashed the hope spot and used a superkick to set up the Lethal Injection. Lethal then pinned Liger.
After the bell, the crowd chanted “thank you Liger” as Lethal and Liger shook hands. Liger raised Lethal's hand to signify the winner. They bowed to each other before the show closed.
The next episode of ROH TV airing this weekend in syndication features Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay. The show is available next week for streaming on the FITE TV app before airing Wednesday night at midnight ET on Comet TV, including on their free live stream. The episode is then available on Thursday to the general public via the official ROH website.