Wrestler of the Day – April 20: Jay Lethal

Today we’ve got someone that I’ve never gotten the mass appeal of but maybe I’m missing something. It’s Jay Lethal.

 

We’ll start things off with a show I think we’ve looked at before: Super Indy 2004, a tournament with Lethal in the first round.

Super Indy 2004 First Round: Jay Lethal vs. Jerelle Clark

Clark is a flippy guy that was around in the earlier days of TNA and is the NWA Wildside Junior Heavyweight Champion coming into this non-title match. Feeling out process to start as they trade armdrags with Lethal being sent to the floor. Back in and Lethal gets caught in a headscissors followed by some armdrags and a dropkick, sending him right back to the floor. Lethal comes back with a sunset flip and running dropkick for two of his own. A Swan Dive gets two more for Jay, followed by a release dragon suplex for the pin on Clark.

Rating: D+. This was a short match and neither guy really showed me much. I’m not sure about having a champion get pinned clean in about five minutes but indy wrestling is strange sometimes. Clark didn’t show me much here but he was more known for a very big flipping splash than anything else.

Lethal would spend a good deal of time in ROH around this point, including this match from Joe vs. Punk II on October 16, 2004.

Delirious vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal is 19 here and is VERY young looking, probably because he is young. Delirious starts off with his usual insane stuff. Wait. DELIRIOUS WAS THE LIZARD MAN??? I heard about this for years about how ROH had a lizard man and it was Delirious? I’ve wondered who that was for years. Delirious hasn’t won a singles match yet so this is a big deal for him. Lethal takes him to the corner but is knocked off and takes a rana for two.

They exchange forearms which is a required sequence in ROH. There are the chops and the WOOs. Out to the floor and it’s kind of cool to see them using handheld cameras. Delirious hits a front flip dive to the floor to take Lethal down again. Lethal reverses a rollup for two. Delirious shouts a lot but gets caught in a neckbreaker but catches Lethal coming off the top in a Cutter. That’s not worthy of a pin though. Well to be fair Delirious is supposed to be insane. Shadows Over Hell (splash to the back and not called that yet) gets two. Delirious yells some more and gets caught in a dragon (full nelson) suplex for the pin.

Rating: C-. There wasn’t much of a point to it but for the opener this was fine. Lethal would get a lot better and Delirious would get a lot funnier so this is one of those matches that would be much better about 3 years later. Nothing great here but they were trying and for guys who didn’t have much experience, this worked well enough. Just not that interesting though.

We’ll jump ahead to TNA, where Lethal is probably best known. Here’s a random multiman match from Against All Odds 2006.

Alex Shelley vs. Matt Bentley vs. Jay Lethal vs. Petey Williams

One fall to a finish here. Bentley has Traci with him and we get the eternally stupid Bentley Bounce. Can we just watch Traci bounce instead? Bentley and Williams start things off as the fans chant for Lethal. It’s a feeling out process to start with Williams taking over. He goes to do the O Canada deal but Traci offers a curvy distraction. Lethal and Shelley come in and the fans get loud for the first time tonight.

We get a gymnastics routine resulting in them both trying dropkicks at the same time. They chop it out and Lethal hits a dropkick to the back of the head for two. A modified northern lights suplex gets the same for Jay as Shelley tags out with his foot. I guess that doesn’t count so Alex hooks a modified Koji Clutch on jay to take over. Shelley hits a slingshot hilo for two on Jay but Williams tags himself in to face Lethal.

Petey hits a dropkick to the back and slams Jay down. Off to a camel clutch but Shelley comes in to argue about Williams getting the win. That allows Jay to tag in Bentley as this is coming off more like a tag match than a fourway. Bentley cleans house but gets crotched by Petey. A Tower of Doom is broken up and Lethal grabs a bridging German for two on Shelley, but Bentley drops a top rope elbow to break it up. Williams counters a suplex and hits a rolling neckbreaker for two on Bentley.

Lethal comes back in and goes off on Shelley but Alex gets a drop toehold to break it up. Bentley comes back in and things speed WAY up as he and Shelley do a too fast to call sequence. Jackie Gayda comes out and goes after Shelley (Shelley filmed the tape that has been brought up multiple times tonight). She beats him up in the aisle as Bentley backdrops out of the Canadian Destroyer. Lethal dives on Bentley and steals the pin while he’s still down.

Rating: C+. This was fine but after we already saw one match similar to this, there wasn’t as much interest in seeing another one. Still though it was fine and a good use of about ten minutes. Also the fans were into Lethal which is more than can be said for anyone in the opener, save for Aries when he did the suicide dive. Decent match here but nothing that I’ll remember in about ten minutes.

Lethal would get involved in the bizarre Paparazzi Championship Series as Black Machismo Jay Lethal, a character based on Macho Man Randy Savage. This somehow resulted in an X-Division Title shot at Slammiversary 2007.

X-Division Title: Chris Sabin vs. Jay Lethal

Sabin has been champion for like five months at this point. Nash comes out for commentary because he’s molded Lethal into Black Machismo recently. Nash’s headset goes out almost immediately after the bell rings and the fans are split. Lethal gets a pretty sweet headscissors to send him to the floor, followed by an ok suicide dive. Sabin spits in Lethal’s face and hits a jumping knee to the face to take over.

Sabin fires off something like a Garvin Stomp but does it fast enough that I don’t have to think of Garvin. The announcers are talking about Nash beating Backlund in MSG. How exactly can you analyze a match that lasted 8 seconds? We go into a standard match formula with Sabin beating Lethal down until we get to the Lethal comeback and then go to the finish.

I’m not sure what it means when you can more or less call the formula for a match about halfway through it, but I don’t think it’s anything good. Lethal makes that comeback with a few hip tosses and a spinning cross body for two. Nash: “This place used to be called Jonesville. Then I got here.” Lethal hits a unique move which can only be described as a reverse fisherman’s suplex into a reverse powerbomb. Looked good but too complicated at the same time.

Sabin takes over with some rapid fire kicks which is what he would get more famous as soon enough in the Motor City Machine Guns. Lethal grabs a full nelson but can’t hit the Lethal Combination. The second time works a bit better and the big elbow gives Lethal his first of I believe six X-Titles.

Rating: C. Just ok here and nothing all that great. Lethal wasn’t exactly over yet and he wouldn’t be for a long time. At this point he was just a goofy 22 year old who did nothing but imitated a much better guy. Nothing to see here but for a big show they needed a title change so that’s all fine and good.

Eventually Kurt Angle would win all of the titles in TNA at one time, meaning he had to defend them all in one night. Lethal got the X-Division Title shot at No Surrender 2007.

X-Division Title: Kurt Angle vs. Jay Lethal

Fans are totally behind Lethal who has about zero chance, which means he’s likely to win. They try some speed stuff to start until Angle wakes up and uses his power and wrestling advantages. Double axe off the top by Lethal gets two. Angle is like boy I’m Kurt Angle and hits a buckle bomb to take over. Dang Angle vs. Savage would have been completely epic.

Down to the mat now and it’s almost all Angle. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. Off to a chinlock but Lethal fights up and takes Angle down. Lethal speeds things up and gets an enziguri for two. This is all about Angle with Lethal just being there to fill in a place. HUGE release German changes the control with ease. I love those suplexes Angle throws. They’re things of beauty.

Lethal counters a slam into a DDT for two. He looks like an idiot with his hair going all over the place. He’s far better now and has filled out a bit too. Lethal goes up for the elbow but Angle climbs the ropes to get the suplex for two. Ankle lock goes on for a second but Lethal counters and gets a small package for two. Rolling Germans go on but Lethal kicks out. These near falls are getting very close.

Angle goes for the Slam but Lethal counters with an arm drag. Lethal Combination (sets for a downward spiral but drops the guy forward into his knee and then the downward spiral) gets….nothing as instead he drops the elbow for two. Dude you hit a move with your name in it. It was over!

Angle tries a powerbomb but Lethal reverses and gets a rollup for two. Angle drills him with another German for his trouble. There go the straps but the Slam is reversed. Ankle Lock is reversed into a rollup, and in what is probably the biggest upset in TNA history up to that point (and still one of the biggest ever), Lethal gets the pin and the title. The X-Division guys come out to celebrate as Lethal is shocked that he did that.

Rating: B+. Surprisingly enough this was very good. Something to keep in mind here: Lethal was an X-Division comedy guy and he just got a clean pin on the world champion. This was an excellent example of how you put someone over. Lethal won with a rollup, but he wasn’t dominated at all.

This was back and forth and they looked like equals. That’s how you put someone over: you make them look like they belong in the same ring as you. Just a pin out of nowhere after getting destroyed for ten minutes doesn’t prove anything. This was very good and a rather fun match. Check it out if you’re really bored as it might be Lethal’s best match ever.

After losing the title, Lethal would get a semi-rocket push up the card, landing in a feud where he teamed with the Motor City Machine Guns against Team 3D and Johnny Devine. Here’s one of their shotdowns at Against All Odds 2008.

Jay Lethal/Motor City Machineguns vs. Team 3D/Johnny Devine

This is a hardcore street fight and Lethal had been rapidly rising through the ranks recently. I’d expect a showcase match for him here. It seems that any X guy can pin any evildoer to win the title because that’s how wrestling titles are supposed to be right? As expected it starts in the aisle. It’s Lethal vs. Ray on the table. Now those two are in the ring. The other four are off fighting…somewhere.

Lethal in control as the Guns are in the ring now. There’s a sign that says USE MY SIGN. Lethal takes it and it’s a Dead End street sign underneath the paper. Triple plancha by the X guys to take out the heels on the floor in a cool spot. Everyone in the ring now as the X guys have controlled the whole time. Triple Tornado DDT get 2’s all around. Someone brings in the weapons including an inflatable woman. Oh dear.

The kitchen sink is brought in of course because that’s been funny the last 19 times it’s been done right? Another triple cover gets two. The Dudleys get a double suplex on Lethal. The heels take over and the fans want tables. The X Guys take over again for a bit. This is one of those messes of a match which has no flow at all and is just a big fight that goes back and forth.

3D to Sabin and one for Shelley as well. Lethal takes D-Von down but Ray kills him with a clothesline. The fans still want tables. So Cal Val is crying over Lethal. This is before she turned on him I guess. Lethal flips off Ray as Val tries to intervene. Ray grabs her by the hair and whips out a cheese grater. He licks her face for no apparent reason until Lethal can make the save.

Big chair shot to the head of Ray by Lethal but D-Von pulls the referee out just in time. Remember what I said about Lethal doing this on his own? It’s literally 3-1 at this point and Lethal is getting near falls out there. Lethal Combination gets two on Devine and then he gets two on D-Von. He walks into a Bubba Bomb though which somehow only gets two. Dude the Guns have been down what, five minutes now on those 3Ds?

D-Von sets up the tables and the Dudleys are suddenly faces. Lethal fights off the Dudleys again but here’s Devine with that street sign. Jay gets it and pops Devine over the head with it, sending him to the table. Top rope elbow through the table and through Devine saves the X-Division. This match ran twelve and a half minutes and I kid you not it was 3-1 for at least four of those.

Rating: C+. Lethal dominance aside this was ok. The ending is completely absurd and Lethal looks way too good here, but the main issue is that this went on too long. The match was too wild and the first half is very hard to follow. Still though, not bad although I wasn’t bored at all with it. Exciting but not good for the most part, but I think that was the point so I’ll let it slide.

Next up was a feud with Sonjay Dutt over Lethal’s girlfriend So Cal Val. Since Russo used to book TNA, it was time for a gimmick match with a stupid name: a Black Tie Ball and Chain match at Hard Justice 2008. It means they’re in tuxedos and it’s a strap match.

Sonjay Dutt vs. Jay Lethal

Val has her wedding ring here which she didn’t have recently. They’re tied by a chain. Like any good heel, Dutt doesn’t want to put the chain on. While Dutt has his put on him, Lethal slips his off and chains his part to the rope. Lethal gets in some free shots and the tuxedos are making this look stupid. Lethal is in a white tux and Dutt is in black. Nice symbolism no?

Dutt manages to get the chain and slams it into the balls of Lethal. West: “You talk about a chain burn in the wrong place.” Dutt starts ripping off clothes but can’t hit a fist drop with chain wrapped around his fist. Lethal pounds away and rips off a sleeve. That must not be a well made jacket. Lethal throws him over the top and his arm shoots out which looked funny.

Lethal is in total control and Val isn’t happy with him. Dutt has been chained around the post and there goes his jacket and shirt. Scratch that as Dutt manages to get them back on. This is like a board game instead of a wrestling match. Dutt gets a cool move in as Lethal is standing on the floor and has his face on the apron. Dutt slides in and swings his feet around to kick Lethal in the face like a 619.

Jay keeps choking away and Val is freaking. She’s up on the apron begging him to stop and now is throwing her hands up and leaving. Dutt uses the distraction to pull Lethal shoulder first into the post. Lethal is in the Tree of Woe and is down to his pants and cummerbund. Lethal’s family is freaking out (it’s his home state remember). There’s a very light fire Russo chant. Now there’s a loud boring chant.

Dutt tries a springboard move but Lethal whips the chain down to send Dutt flying. That looked pretty cool. Lethal whips him from corner to corner and Dutt is in trouble. Lethal Combination is blocked so Jay hits an inverted powerbomb for two. Dutt gets him in a Stunner position and then jumps backwards, flipping over Lethal’s shoulders and slams his head into the mat. LOUD fire Russo chant now. Dutt tries something off the top but Lethal moves and hits a suplex for two. Lethal Combination hits and the top rope elbow (he’s the Macho Man character) gets the pin. Yes after all that, the clothes meant NOTHING.

Rating: C. The match was ok but the clothes thing got really old really fast. The problem is you already have a gimmick in place with the chain. Having two gimmicks in a single match is too much and it overly complicates things which it did here. Not a bad match but the gimmick got in the way of the match, which is Russo 101 when he’s not on his game.

Lethal would become part of a tag team with Consequences Creed called Lethal Consequences. They would cash in Feast or Fired (TNA’s Money in the Bank) to win the belts three days before Genesis 2009. Here’s a title defense from that PPV.

Tag Titles: Lethal Consequences vs. Beer Money vs. Matt Morgan/Abyss

Abyss has some wicked cool blue fire for his entrance. Morgan and Abyss are arguing apparently lately. This was supposed to be a regular tag match but we threw in another team just for the heck of it. The Boozer Cruiser debuts here. Roode might have a slight knee injury. Very slow to start us off here with Storm and Creed starting us off. That sounds like the opening lineup for a concert.

This is really boring with nothing of note going on about two minutes in. I still don’t get the point in making this a threeway. It just doesn’t help at all as far as I can tell. Everyone beats up Beer Money, which tells me they’ll win. Stereo dive/flip by the champions to take out Beer Money. Morgan and Abyss haven’t done much at all here.

Morgan goes up top and takes out all four of them with a BIG dive off the top. Sweet one. The best team in this misses a double bulldog on Abyss and then do their shot which they haven’t perfected yet. West talks about how great the tag division is and he’s more or less right. The division is indeed better than WWE’s, which isn’t saying much really. Creed takes out Beer Money again which has been a running theme so far.

This is just kind of dragging along here. It’s not particularly bad and the high spots are helping it out, but this just isn’t getting going. Then again it might be that there’s no real drama here. I really would have preferred a standard match as the third team is just cluttering things up out there. Storm has a cowboy hat on now for no apparent reason.

What is the obsession in wrestling with cowboys? There are cowboy characters everywhere and there almost always have been. What is the deal with that? Cowboys are cool I guess but why do we have to have at least one in every promotion? Lethal comes in and cleans some house as Morgan and Abyss stay on the apron for about 80% of the match so far. Morgan saves a pin though.

Lethal can’t hurt Abyss with punches so Abyss grabs him and gives him a chokebreaker which looked sick. It’s a big mess now as everyone goes for their finishers. Roode hits a Blockbuster on Morgan for two again. Belt is tossed in and Abyss misses a shot with it so that Roode can cover him. Since it’s TNA though that’s too simple so we do like three more things and THEN Roode gets the pin on Morgan.

Rating: D. This was ok but sweet goodness it was just boring at times. I still don’t get why they had to have three teams in there. The match was ok but it just never clicked at all. This was more about Morgan and Abyss splitting up which they more or less do after the match, but why did we need Lethal Consequences in there to do that? They were thrown in less than a week before, so what’s the point? Match was just too crowded.

Lethal would start falling down the card soon after this, only being able to get a random six man tag at Sacrifice 2009.

Eric Young/Lethal Consequences vs. Sheik Abdul Bashir/Motor City Machine Guns

Hey look it’s a totally pointless cruiserweight match! The Guns are heels here and have the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles. You know, because two small guys like them could never hold the REAL tag titles right? Bashir is in World Elite at this point and is of course the EVIL Muslim. Young is just Eric Young here and isn’t a coward or crazy etc. His partners are a parody of Savage and Apollo Creed’s idiotic nephew. Sure why not.

We’re 20 seconds into this match and West is already on my nerves. Sabin and Lethal start us off. Rollup by Sabin gets two on Young as the Canadian is in trouble. We talk about the main event because no one cares about these twerps in the ring right? It’s just a bunch of random moves at a slightly faster than average pace. Shelley starts his series of kicks and tags in the Sheik.

I know I’m not saying a lot here but there’s just nothing of note. It’s a six man match with no real rhyme or reason to anything. The match isn’t bad or anything but it’s just a meaningless 15 minute match that goes nowhere and proves nothing. Big old double dive by Creed and Young to pop the crowd pretty well. Diamond Cutter by Sabin takes out Young. There’s a lot of high spots and double team moves going on with tagging being completely forgotten but it’s nothing spectacular. It’s good though.

Creed hits a DDT and Lethal gets two off of it, making one of the funniest faces appear on Lethal’s face. Sabin takes down with a hard spank. I wish I was making that up but it’s TNA so did you expect something else? Bashir hits a move similar to what Kaz was using recently with that Piledriver move on Lethal for two. In our unhyped move of the match, Young gets a Death Valley Driver on both Guns at once. Naturally this is treated like a basic chop because TNA’s announcers have to shout later on about basic moves. A sunset flip from Lethal to Bashir ends it seconds later.

Rating: B-. Fun match but again it’s just random cruiserweight stuff. Definitely good, but at the same time it kind of makes me say so what? Them dropping the whole tagging aspect a few minutes in was definitely the right idea as since this was supposed to be totally insane having them tag would have been dumb. This was a great choice for an opener as the crowd was into it and the faces won.

We’ll jump ahead a little over a year. Lethal would win and lose the X Title a few more times, eventually challenging Robbie E. for the belt on Impact from December 16, 2010.

X-Division Title: Jay Lethal vs. Robbie E

At least Cookie looks good. Lethal jumps him for a fast start. Cookie trips Lethal seconds into it and his nose slams into the mat. Here comes Christy bouncing down the ramp with a pair of handcuffs to hook herself to Cookie. It’s a new zany comedy coming this Fall! We take a break with Robbie hammering on Lethal in the corner.

Back with Lethal getting a small package for two. Robbie gets a nice Russian leg sweep for two. The girls start fighting at ringside which means Christy beats on her. ReAction starts at 11:30 tonight only. Hopefully that’s a permanent thing. Lethal gets a suplex to take over again. We cut to Christy jumping in excitement. I regain consciousness as Lethal gets a nice top rope elbow for two.

Robbie gets a rollup with the ropes for two but gets caught as he goes up top. Superplex by Lethal has Robbie and the title in big trouble. Cookie tries to slip the spray in to Robbie get it winds up in her own eyes. Lethal Injection gives Jay his 6th title reign at 7:00 shown out of 10:30 total. Jay kisses Christy post match.

Rating: C+. Pretty good match here but all the interference and focus on the girls hurt a bit. This wasn’t terrible and Lethal should have the title again. At least we don’t have to see Robbie on TV as much anymore. Pretty good match and the longest Impact match I can remember in awhile.

Lethal would leave TNA soon after this and hit the indies, including a promotion called FWE. Here’s a match from their Meltdown show on May 14, 2011.

Eric Young vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal is doing a Jeff Jarrett imitation tonight, though he’s in regular attire. Eric has the original TNA World Title belt with him here as part of a stupid gimmick he was doing in TNA. Before the match, Lethal thanks the fans that have stayed through the long show and promises that he and Young will put on a great show. They start fast by running the ropes and trading leg trips into two counts each for a stalemate.

Back up and they run the ropes a bit more until Lethal hits a Tajiri handspring elbow for two. They hit the ropes even more until a back elbow puts Lethal on the floor. Jay stops again and asks a fan for a coin. Everyone knows he can do a pretty good Macho Man and Ric Flair impression so here’s his plan: if it’s heads he’ll wrestle as Ric Flair but if it’s tails he’ll wrestle as Randy Savage. Young looks at the coin and gets chopped down, setting up the strut from Lethal.

Some right hands put Young down for two and a knee drop gets the same. Young comes back with chops of his own followed by a big clothesline to put Jay on the floor. Eric puts the coin in his pocket in a funny bit. Lethal grabs the mic again and says he’s going to snap into Young and comes back in with a knee to the ribs followed by a top rope ax handle for two. A clothesline puts Young on the apron and he does a Flair strut of his own.

Back in and Jay walks into a running forearm for two but gets his boot up to stop a diving Young. They hold the poses for about 30 seconds with Young standing there as Lethal gets to his feet. Jay puts on some local sports jersey as Young literally lays down for the Macho Elbow and a two count. Eric steals the jersey and this time it’s Lethal laying down for the elbow and two. A superplex puts Jay down but Lethal kicks his legs into the air to tie up Eric’s legs for a pin on Young.

Rating: C-. Eh it’s an indy show so I can give this a break. FWE stands for Family Wrestling Entertainment and a lot of younger fans probably got a kick out of this match. It wasn’t meant to be anything epic andit didn’t come off as such. Lethal was amusing for the most part and Young kept it serious out there save for that standing still bit so it was much more lighthearted than anything else.  THe Jarrett impression didn’t go anywhere.

Lethal would head to ROH soon after this and get into the TV Title hunt. Here he is challenging champion El Generico on ROH TV from October 1, 2011.

TV Title: Jay Lethal vs. El Generico

Well they have a lot of time for this one at least with over 20 minutes to go. And never mind as Kelly tells us there’s a 15 minute time limit. McGuinness wants to know why he’s more tanned than Generico who is from Mexico. Generico speeds things up to take over early. Lethal is like “I can do moves that are flashy but don’t really hurt that much either!” Backbreaker gets two for Lethal but Lethal hooks on some weird surfboard variation with a Texas Cloverleaf leg grip.

Dropkick gets two for Lethal. Generico speeds things up with arm drags and hits a huge swan dive over the top to take Lethal out as we go to a break. Back with Lethal in control after Generico hit a moonsault off the guardrail. Ok scratch that as Generico gets two off something we missed while watching a replay. Lethal gets a sunset flip for two. This isn’t much of a match but indy fans would love it.

They slug it out and Lethal is sent to the top for a missile dropkick. With three minutes remaining in a 15 minute time limit we’re heading for a time limit draw (at the 12 minute mark that is). Lethal Injection gets two. Generico walks the corner and hits most of a tornado DDT for two. There’s a minute left. Blue Thunder Bomb (go play No Mercy for a description) gets two and we have thirty seconds left. Time expires at 12:40 which is including the commercial time.

Rating: C+. I couldn’t get into this one as well as I was supposed to I don’t think. There wasn’t much of a story to it other than two not very high fliers doing their thing. It wasn’t bad or anything but it wasn’t this epic confrontation that they were shooting for. Still though, pretty good although the ending is kind of stupid. Oh of course that isn’t the finish.

At 2:54 Jim Cornette comes out and says we have three minutes left in the show so put three minutes on the clock and get to it.

They slug it out like crazy after being all respectful. Generico hits the Yakuza kick and a half nelson suplex for two. Generico loads up the Brainbuster but Lethal escapes and goes up for a top rope elbow but Generico moves and the Brainbuster is blocked again. There’s the elbow for two. A snap suplex sets up a second Yakuza kick but Lethal counters with a superkick and the Lethal Combination (called the Injection here) for the pin and the title at 2:24 of overtime. The overtime was better than the regular match.

Lethal would start a feud with the undefeated Tomomaso Ciampa and face him at Border Wars 2012.

Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Ciampa is part of the Embassy, a heel stable. He jumps Lethal to start but gets pulled out to the floor for a brawl before the bell. Lethal pounds away on Ciampa but Tommaso comes back with a hard chop to send him against the railing. Ciampa lowers his knee pad and charges at Jay, only to slam his own knee into the barricade. He shakes the pain off though and sends Lethal into the barricade a few times but the fans chant for Kevin Steen for no apparent reason. This is all still before the bell.

Lethal comes back with a catapult to launch Ciampa face first into the entrance to shift control again. Jay finally heads inside with Ciampa down on the floor but one of the Embassy guys breaks up a suicide dive bid. The distraction lets Ciampa get in a quick to Lethal’s head for a two, a few seconds after the bell finally rings. Tommaso chokes away on the apron before putting on a very modified dragon sleeper.

Ciampa pounds away in the corner including going after Lethal’s eye for a bit. This is slowing way down and it’s not exactly entertaining stuff at this point. Apparently Ciampa is undefeated for like two years coming into this. Jay gets in a shot to the head and they slug it out very slowly. You really shouldn’t be at a last man standing slugout just four minutes into a match.

Lethal takes over and Ciampa is in trouble. Again just four minutes into the match, which is too little for being so tired. Yeah they brawled, so maybe it was ten minutes in total to make them that exhausted. As usual, I don’t care for the psychology in Ring of Honor. Lethal has to beat up the other Embassy guys, allowing for Ciampa to hit a lariat for two. Jay counters a sunset flip into a rollup for two of his own before being caught by a HARD knee to the head for a near fall.

Another knee to the head in the corner puts Lethal down and there goes the knee pad for several more knees to the head. Lethal counters a powerbomb into an Alabama Slam into the corner but again has to deal with the Embassy leader. A small package gets two for Ciampa (I think) and now Lethal is getting fired up. He goes off on Ciampa and hits a handspring into the ropes into a cutter, apparently called Lethal Injection, for two.

Yet another Embassy guy (these are just guys in suits and not important enough to identify properly) interferes but Lethal slugs him down and gets two off a top rope elbow. Ciampa tells Lethal to come at him, so Jay hooks him in a Rock Bottom position and drives him down onto Lethal’s knee in ten straight backbreakers followed by a downward spiral for Ciampa’s first loss.

Rating: C-. Well that happened. Seriously that’s the entirety of my thoughts on the match. Lethal has never been a guy I’ve cared about at all and Ciampa didn’t show me anything of note here. The ending was just stupid with Ciampa telling him to come for him and Lethal just doing the same move over and over again before getting the win. Also the guys being spent just a few minutes into it still doesn’t work for me at all.

We’ll wrap it up with one of Lethal’s most recent (as of May 2014) big moments. From Supercard of Honor VIII in the culmination of an on again off again two year feud.

TV Title: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal

Ciampa is defending and this is 2/3 falls. This is where the fans were getting restless as you could see a lot of them looking at their phones and the chants started to die a bit. Ciampa takes off his knee brace for the first time since his injury in a symbolic move. Feeling out process to start as they trade headlocks and rollups for two each. A hiptoss puts the champion down and Lethal cartwheels over to a standoff.

They chop it out in the corner but Lethal misses a springboard dropkick. Jay kicks him into the barricade and nails a suicide dive followed by a second one for good measure. A third puts Ciampa into the crowd and the fans chant for ROH. Why they don’t chant for Lethal is beyond me, but it’s happened since the ECW days. Lethal is whipped into the barricade and Ciampa hits a running knee so fast that he falls right back into the crowd. The referee restarts the count for no apparent reason before Ciampa throws Jay back inside.

Jay comes back with some kicks to the head and a dropkick in the corner for two until Ciampa bites Jay’s hand to escape. Lethal tries a Tajiri handspring elbow but gets caught in what was supposed to be a Backstabber. They fight over a suplex until they both go over the top in a big crash. Neither guy gets the better of a slugout and they both slide back inside at the 19 count, which didn’t please the fans in my section. Another Tajiri handspring is countered but Lethal grabs a German suplex for the pin and the first fall.

There’s no rest period so gets in a quick shot to the head and they trade near falls. Lethal Combination (backbreaker into a Downward Spiral) sets up a Koji Clutch on the champion but he counters into a Rings of Saturn Crossface. Jay gets his feet into the ropes though and it’s time for another slugout. Again neither guy can get the better of it so Jay tries another Tajiri handspring but gets caught in a Diamond Cutter, which apparently is the finish to the handspring.

Lethal busts out Ciampa’s finisher (powerbomb into double knees to the back) for two but ANOTHER Tajiri handspring hits the referee. Ciampa rolls some Germans and hits a discus lariat to put both guys down. This brings out Truth Martini who throws Jay the knee brace. He nails Ciampa in the face for two before nailing the top rope elbow, only to have Ciampa Hulk Up. Some superkicks have no effect but Lethal FINALLY hits the handspring into the cutter for the pin and the title.

Rating: C-. This was longer than it needed to be as the second fall could have been cut out to the same result. The ending really didn’t work for me either as Lethal knocked Ciampa out but they did another minute or so, making the entire knee brace thing seem completely worthless. Just too long here, but I’ve never been a Jay Lethal fan in the first place.

Lethal is a case where I just don’t get it. He’s not horrible but I really don’t see why so many people like the guy. Part of it is I see the guy who used to imitate Macho Man and that’s a really hard gimmick to get away from. He just comes across as a guy who shouldn’t be as big a deal as he is, though he’s certainly not bad in the ring.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of Clash of the Champions at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J58H5CY

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

3 comments

  1. Thriller says:

    I actually think a big part of his problem is that he’s had a bunch of shitty finishers. The suplex, Lethal Combination, and handspring anything all either look too weak or way too contrived. He’s shown that he has personality (even though he doesn’t always use it) but I really think not having a good finish makes him more underwhelming.

  2. Mouldylocks says:

    Suprised there was no mention of his Flair feud, I know it gets alot of stick, but there “woo” off is one of the best things TNA has produced

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Man I had finally forgotten that existed. Why did you do that to me?