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31 Days of Wrestling (12/28/15): Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal

2015 is slowly wrapping up, and if there's one lesson we've learned this year (and all years) it's that all good things must come to an end. Just like Jay Lethal's legendary reign as double champion in Ring of Honor.


#29: Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH World Television Championship, Glory By Honor XIV Night 1

You've probably heard it a thousand times by now: #WalangForever. Even the best of things, like Ring of Honor's wonderful handling of Jay Lethal's double championship reign, have to come to an end sometime.

The lucky successor is none other than a revitalized Roderick Strong, who comes off a monumental 60-minute draw with Lethal from this year's Death Before Dishonor event. (Trivia: both men were involved with the House of Truth stable at different points in their career, with Lethal still being a part of it.) Strong won it in an insane 15-or-so-minute sprint, a match that was almost as indy as indy can be, at Glory By Honor XIV last October:




It only made sense that the Television title—the championship Lethal first ran with and helped elevate to a level close to what Shinsuke Nakamura did with the IWGP Intercontinental Championship—would be the first to go. Lethal has had that belt around his waist since last year, and it's a championship he's done all he could with.

And it only made sense that it went to a guy like Roderick Strong, a veteran who can more than help elevate some of ROH's younger names. At the end of the day, the championship didn't end up truly transcending like the Intercontinental title did (there's a lot more work that needs to be done to bring perception up to that level) but that's all right. The TV title is a workhorse's championship, and even if everyone in Ring of Honor is expected to work like a stallion, its true purpose is to shine the spotlight on young lions who haven't gotten the recognition they've earned.

This move opens up a whole new space in ROH booking, both in the Television and World Championship scenes, as well as relieving Lethal of responsibilities that may end up damaging his health and security in the long run. ROH stars are getting a new level of international exposure thanks to the company's strong ties with NJPW (like Michael Elgin getting over in Japan and NJPW stars working numerous ROH events) and other indy promotions, so it makes more sense to have each title scene be as star-studded as possible.

With TNA regrouping, ROH has an opportunity to take over as the #2 promotion in America next year. They're going to need all hands on deck for this mission.

*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2015.

Read our previous entries:

#1: Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania
#2: Kazuchika Okada faces Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9
#3: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect
#4: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences
#5: The Rise of Kevin Owens
#6: Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma, All Night Long
#7: Jake de Leon vs. Bombay Suarez for the PWR Championship, Wrevolution X
#8: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Impact Wrestling
#9: Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal in the Battle of the Belts, Best in the World
#10: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 9
#11 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title at Royal Rumble
#12: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, NXT TakeOver: Rival
#13: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, The New Beginning in Sendai
#14: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena, Champion vs. Champion, SummerSlam
#15: Vampiro vs. Pentagon, Jr., Cero Miedo
#16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, G1 Climax 25 Finals
#17: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, Beast in the East
#18: Peter Versoza vs. Ralph Imabayashi Quarterfinal Match for the PHX Championship, PWR Live
#19: John Cena vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship, RAW July 6, 2015
#20: The Grado vs. Drew Galloway Saga, ICW
#21: The Lucha Underground Trios Championship Finals
#22: The All-Champion Tag Match, SmackDown April 16, 2015
#23: Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III for the TNA World Heavyweight Champioship, Impact Wrestling, July 1, 2015
#24: Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, Dominion
#25: Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Roderick Strong, EVOLVE 45
#26: Rey Mysterio vs. Myzteziz: The Lucha Libre Dream Match, Triple Mania XXIII
#27: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Ladder Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Money in the Bank

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