This is the continuation of a series I've done in the past, where I highlight the best matches from ROH TV in a given year. I previously did posts on 2014 & 2015, and now I've going over the Top Ten Matches (plus some Honorable Mentions) from 2016! With ROH's streaming service (Honor Club) recently going online, I felt like this would be a great time to continue the series!
Now I should note that, much like my 2015 list, I will not be including any matches from a TV Taping that was later released on DVD, as I've reviewed (or will be reviewing) those separately on this blog. In 2016, the TV Tapings from Las Vegas (post 14th Anniversary Show) and the TV Tapings from Toronto (part of the War Of The Worlds Tour) were later released on DVD. Thus, matches from those events will not be included as part of this list.
Also, I apologize if the dates that I use in this list don't line up with how ROH lists the episodes on their website and streaming service. I go by the date the show aired on my local CW affiliate (which, until very recently, was Saturday Nights at 11:00 PM).
Top Ten Matches on ROH TV in 2016
1.) ROH on SBG (1/16/16) - Triple Threat Philly Street Fight - The Kingdom (Adam Cole & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. reDRagon vs. The Young Bucks: ****¼
Now this might be a controversial choice as the best match on ROH TV in 2016, because technically, it didn't actually take place in 2016. It was part of the TV Tapings that took place the day after Final Battle 2015. However, since it didn't actually become available for the public to view until January, I decided to include it in this 2016 list. This was an incredibly entertaining match to watch from start to finish, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering the talents involved. These three sides were a big part of ROH's tag team division in 2015 (Cole was filling in for fellow Kingdom member Matt Taven, who suffered a serious knee injury at Final Battle 2015), but there were also a number of individual issues mixed in as well (the Adam Cole/Kyle O'Reilly feud in particular). There were plenty of awesome spots throughout, involving all six men and an assortment of weapons, including Chairs, Ladders and Tables. This also served as the write off for Michael Bennett & Maria Kanellis, who would end up going to TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, where they would spent the next year or so before showing up in WWE during the middle of 2017. AJ Styles (who had just had his last match with ROH the night prior) came out to assist The Young Bucks in absolutely destroying the couple (this included Maria getting hit with The Meltzer Driver), and they ended up scoring the win. This was an absolutely wild match that was filled with insane moments throughout. I absolutely loved it the first time I saw it, and since it did technically air in 2016, I feel it's worthy of the top spot!
2.) ROH on SBG (2/27/16) - Adam Cole vs. Matt Sydal: ****
I believe this was a first-time ever singles meeting (at least in ROH). This was easily the best match from the February TV Tapings in Nashville. There was some great back and forth action throughout, and these two seemed to work well together. This absolutely delivered as a TV main event, and I wouldn't have expected anything less from these two. At the time, I was surprised by Sydal's victory, but I guess it played into a losing streak that Adam Cole was on before he joined The Bullet Club. If you haven't seen this one, definitely give it a look
3.) ROH on SBG (12/3/16) - Jonathan Gresham vs. Lio Rush: ****
4.) ROH on SBG (7/9/16) - Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Jason Kincaid: ***¾
Speaking of hidden gems, this seemingly random matchup took place at the post-Best In The World 2016 TV Tapings in Concord, North Carolina. I had no idea what to expect going in, but these two knocked it out of the park with an incredibly fun bout. While it clocked in at just under ten minutes, it featured some great back and forth action throughout. This was far from my first time seeing Dijak, as he had been on the roster for well over a year at this point, but this was really my first exposure to Jason Kincaid. He impressed me a lot, as he showed off some of his unique offense at a number of different points in this one. Dijak would score the victory, but Kincaid definitely won me over here, and I wanted to see more of him. It sucks that ROH let him slip through their fingers, but it's cool that Kincaid went on to get better opportunities in EVOLVE. While he's become more associated with that promotion, I consider this to be his breakout match.
5.) ROH on SBG (9/3/16) - The Briscoes vs. Lio Rush & Jay White: ***¾
This took place at the TV Tapings following Death Before Dishonor XIV, and the fact that it was really freaking good shouldn't be a shock to anyone. The Briscoes looked great as always, but this proved to be a great showcase for Lio Rush & Jay White. The crowd was into it throughout, and the action was paced very well. Despite coming up short, the team of Lio Rush & Jay White looked strong in defeat, as they earned the respect of the former Eight-Time ROH World Tag Team Champions. This was another match that could be classified as a "hidden gem" from ROH in 2016.
6.) ROH on SBG (8/13/16) - Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Lio Rush: ***¾
I've mentioned Lio Rush a lot in this list, but it's impossible to ignore the fact that he had a number of really good matches on ROH TV in 2016. This one took place at the TV Tapings in Philadelphia from July 2016, and it featured the two men who (at the time) had won the preview two Top Prospect Tournaments. This was another match that featured some extremely entertaining action from start to finish. It only went about eleven minutes, but they packed a lot of stuff into that time frame, and the crowd in the 2300 Arena were loving it by the end. I know people remember Dijak for his matches with Keith Lee (a battle of two athletic big men) outside of ROH, but I think he can be just as good in situations where he's up against a smaller opponent. He proved that against Jason Kincaid, and he proved it here again against Lio Rush, who scored a huge upset victory here. Another match that's worth checking out, if you have the time.
7.) ROH on SBG (10/15/16) - Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. War Machine: ***¾
Keith Lee was arguably the breakout star of 2017 (in all of wrestling in general) after his departure from ROH, who let him slip through their fingers. While he went on to be a bigger star elsewhere, he did some really good things in ROH with his tag team partner Shane Taylor. They sent much of the year feuding with War Machine, and one of the best matches between the two teams occurred at the TV Tapings in Lowell, Massachusetts following All-Star Extravaganza VIII. If you enjoy two hoss tag teams just going after each other, then you'll love this match. This was definitely one of the best bouts in the feud between these two monstrous teams, and if you want to look back at some of Keith Lee's ROH work, this is a must-watch, in my view. War Machine would pick up the win here, but the feud was far from over.
8.) ROH on SBG (1/30/16) - ROH World Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) & Adam Cole vs. reDRagon: ***¾
This took place at the first TV Tapings of 2016 in Concord, North Carolina. It was essentially serving as a preview of sorts for the main event of the 14th Anniversary Show, where Lethal would defend his ROH World Title against Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly in a Triple Threat Match. I'm sure most don't remember this match, since it occurred so early in the year, but I thought it was really good at the time. You can never go wrong when reDRagon are involved, while Cole & Lethal were very solid in their respective roles. It was a little slow to get going, but it slowly got better, and the second half ended up being really strong. reDRagon would pick up the win after taking advantage of miscommunication between the two heels.
9.) ROH on SBG (12/17/16) - Six-Man Tag - The Bullet Club (Adam Cole & ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks) vs. Dalton Castle & reDRagon: ***3/4
While the match from the #8 spot on my list was from really early in the year, this match at #9 was from very late in the year. At the post-Final Battle 2016 TV Tapings, the newly crowned ROH World Champion Kyle O'Reilly teamed up with his regular tag team partner Bobby Fish and the eccentric Dalton Castle to take on The Bullet Club. As you would've guessed, this was a very strong six-man tag team affair. There was plenty of entertaining action throughout, and everyone involved had a chance to shine. The final few minutes were particularly good, and in the end, the team of Dalton Castle & reDRagon would emerge victories. I enjoyed this match a lot, but unfortunately, it does serve as a bit of a reminder about how criminally short Kyle O'Reilly reign as ROH World Champion was.
10.) ROH on SBG (12/3/16) - The Addiction vs. The Briscoes: ***¾
Whenever you put these two teams in a match together, they almost never disappoint, and this was certainly no exception. While the outcome of this one wasn't really in question (since The Briscoes were challenging for the ROH World Tag Team Titles at Final Battle 2016, it made a lot of sense for them to win here), the action from start to finish was still incredibly solid. You could've shaved a few minutes off, but that's really the only complaint I have. You know exactly what you're going to get with these two teams, and they delivered another really good tag team encounter.
11.) ROH on SBG (12/10/16) - The Briscoes, Jay Lethal, & Silas Young vs. The Motor City Machine Guns, Lio Rush, & Jay White: ***¾
This was a very interesting match from the Baltimore TV Tapings that took place towards the end of 2016. What we essentially have here is a team of ROH veterans going up against the group which would soon become known as Search & Destroy (a stable where Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley teamed with a number of ROH's rising stars). Considering the talents involved, it should come as no surprise that this was a very solid match. There was plenty of entertaining action throughout, it was given a good amount of time (about thirteen minutes or so) and all eight men involved got opportunities to shine. The second half of this one was especially wild (as things always tend to break down in these big multi-man tags), but eventually, Search & Destroy would score the victory.
12.) ROH on SBG (8/6/16) - ROH World Title - Jay Lethal vs. Colt Cabana: ***¾
The final match on this list occurred under very unique circumstances. These two met at Global Wars 2016, but that bout was interrupted by The Bullet Club. Since then, Lethal had gotten his head shaved by Adam Cole & The Young Bucks. To ensure no interference in this rematch, Nigel McGuinness had a bunch of security guys around the ring. It was very....strange visual, but it great to see that these two were able to have a proper World Title encounter without any shenanigans. The Cabana/Lethal program got off to an incredibly hot start after Cabana's return to ROH, but any magic it had was completely ruined by The Bullet Club. The match they had here was very good, and the crowd in Philadelphia was into it, so that's all you can ask for in this situation. Lethal would end up retaining after hitting the Lethal Injection.
There you have it! The Top Ten ROH TV Matches of 2016! We saw some great action, and unique matches, throughout the year, and I look forward to going over some of the best ROH TV Matches from 2017!