Friday, April 22, 2016
As part of the big WrestleMania weekend of shows, Ring of Honor held their tenth Supercard of Honor over two nights. I may not be able to get to night two right now, but I can at least review night one. The card looks pretty damn good on paper, so I hope it delivers. These ROH shows usually turn out to be much better than their PPV offerings.
I’m pretty sure these are the two oldest guys on the ROH roster. Christopher Daniels used to be a favorite of mine, though his age (he just turned 46) has started to show recently. I don’t always commend ROH commentary, but they came across as very good here. They gave good insight into Fish’s rivalry with Roderick Strong and quest for the TV Title as well as Daniels’ standings in the tag team division. Fish did a great job of attacking the leg. He even slightly changed some offense to focus purely on it, looking for the submission. Daniels went after the arm, with an emphasis on the wrist. You don’t see that often. They built to some really good submission finish teases. Daniels missed the Best Moonsault Ever, but tried to land on his feet. He barely could due to the leg work, which opened the door for Fish to win via submission. The pacing of this was good, the crowd was into it, both guys sold really well and commentary did a great job in hyping Daniels tapping out as a big deal. Great way to start.
Bobby Fish stayed out for commentary since he faces Strong the next night. Roddy attacked during Moose’s entrance. Despite being the heel, he got the crowd to do the Moose chants but with his name. He also was good at antagonizing Fish at ringside. Fish was odd on commentary. He mostly said the same thing over and over and seemed to be shouting a bit. This was Strong using his veteran knowhow to subdue the usually dominating Moose. Moose would show flashes but Strong was just too smart for him. They continued to build Fish/Strong as Moose was thrown into Fish, angering him. Strong pulled the referee in front of a charging Moose, who put on the brakes. Strong went into a flurry but Moose somehow kicked out at one! Strong never faltered though, removing the knee pad and delivering a huge knee strike to win. Really solid match that told a fine story while furthering an existing angle. I’m not sure what ROH is doing with Moose. He was poised for a big push but that has kind of stalled.
After the match, a pissed off Bobby Fish ran in and attacked Roderick Strong. Strong managed to escape after a few shots though.
There was a fun ad for Cheeseburger merchandise.
Six Man Mayhem matches tend to be pretty fun. BJ Whitmer was originally scheduled to be in this but came out in street clothes alongside Hendrix and Daddiego. He felt like he could gain nothing in this match so he worked out a deal with the House of Truth and gave the spot with Daddiego since the HOT has an issue with former member Dijak. Whitmer had the most heat of anyone all night. Adam Page went after BJ but didn’t get his hands on him. I’m still not sold on babyface Page. Castle got the loudest pop, followed by Cheeseburger. This was a ton of fun. Cheeseburger and Castle had a fun exchange, some feuds were progressed and Whitmer and “Mr. Wrestling III” argued on commentary. There was a fun moment where everyone got hit low except Kazarian, who mocked them only to get kicked there by everyone else. The Boys even fanned his junk for him. Lots of fun spots in this one, too many to name here in fact. Castle got the win by nailing Bang-A-Rang on Cheeseburger, who was just going on a hot run. This defined the mayhem name and was a nice change of pace.
Joey Daddiego got a steel chair and attacked Donovan Dijak with it. He focused on Dijak’s fibs. Nana and Taeler almost got into it, which was pretty funny.
While Kyle O’Reilly has a war with Adam Cole on his mind, this was much calmer. It followed the formula of two guys just out to try and prove who the better man was. I can appreciate that. When he realized that O’Reilly had the upper hand on the mat, Sydal chose to use his athleticism and quickness to get in the control. He targeted Kyle’s leg for a while and Kyle returned the favor by going after Sydal’s arm. They worked their way into a really strong finishing sequence with a lot of well executed counters. Like the opener, this featured some good selling from the guys involved. The finish was pretty cool as O’Reilly caught the Shooting Sydal Press into an armbreaker that got him the win. I would have liked the finish more had they not done some similar stuff earlier in the match. Still, this was another really strong match. On par with the opening contest. One of the better Sydal performances I can recall.
ACH had a great match against KUSHIDA a few weeks earlier so I came in hoping he could replicate some of that magic. They had some fun early on with taunt stealing and Cole calling a timeout outside. Outside of that, Cole seemed much more serious than he did in the past year. ACH showed off some of his incredible athleticism when he was on offense, including an excellent dive outside. ACH got his mouth busted open, adding something to the fight. In a fantastic moment, ACH stopped the Panama Sunrise and nailed the Spirit Bomb only for Cole to grab Todd Sinclair’s hand to stop the three count. It was something small but isn’t seen often and I loved it. Cole used a low blow that Sinclair missed followed by a suplex neckbreaker to win. Another solid match as this show has been really consistent so far. ACH is grown on me and I like a more calculated Cole.
This was certainly interesting considering the teams. War Machine and the Briscoes were headed towards an upcoming Tag Team Title match, while the All Night Express don’t exactly mesh well with their partners. The match turned out to be similar to the Six Man Mayhem outing earlier in that it was chaos. They started by brawling before slowing down a bit into a normal eight man tag and then ended with more of a war. It was great seeing the big fellas, War Machine and the Bruiser, all get in some impressively athletic spots. A barrage of offense on the Bruiser, capped with Mark’s Froggy Bow, ended things. A pretty enjoyable sprint. After the match, the Briscoes got in War Machine’s faces, building tension for the eventual title match.
Lio Rush won ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament. He’d normally be in line for a TV Title shot but Tomohiro Ishii was off in Japan with the title. Instead, he was given a World Title shot. Mind you, this was Lio’s first official match under ROH contract. Will Ferrara joined commentary for the match and did really well. Lethal didn’t take Rush seriously, but right from the start, Rush started to give him some problems. Each time Rush did something, Lethal was a bit stunned but would get in some of his own stuff and go back to being cocky. Lethal’s facial expressions were absolutely on point here. As Rush gained confidence, Lethal got more vicious. For example, Hendrix distracted Rush so he slapped her ass and Lethal just leveled him with a suicide dive. Lethal’s arrogance continued as he pulled Rush up on a pin attempt after the Lethal Combination. Commentary sold it as if it could be a monumental mistake. The kid came close after that on a few occasions and showed no intimidation of the champion but fell to a top rope cutter and Lethal Injection. This reminded me of a young Tyler Black coming close to dethroning Nigel McGuinness back in 2008. A great performance by both men. Rush was a really good resilient, plucky underdog and Lethal was nearly perfect in his role as the arrogant heel that got nervous as things went on. My favorite ROH match this year.
Jay Lethal shook Lio Rush’s hand after the match and got on the microphone. He said that Lio is really good and might even be better than him one day. Lethal claimed that he beat everyone and nobody was left. BOOM! BOOM! Colt Cabana’s music hit for the first time in years as he came to the ring. Cabana cut a promo about how he liked his spot on the card throughout his career but he started thinking about his legacy. He doesn’t just want to be known as “somebody’s friend” and basically laid down a challenge for the ROH World Title. Lethal said that Cabana has been gone from ROH for five years, ducking him. Cabana said that there is at least one person left to beat. The segment came across as passionate and very well done though the match doesn’t excite me.
I get how over both teams are, but considering the quality of the last match and the Cabana segment, that should have closed the show. This played out like a greatest hits compilation for the two teams. They have pretty good chemistry and did a lot of the stuff they are famous for. Basically, if you’ve seen Guns vs. Bucks before, this was exactly what you’d expect. Tons of spots like multiple superkicks, a fire thunder driver, sliced bread and the often used tower of doom. After a frantic final few minutes that saw some fast paced back and forth, the Bucks finished off Sabin with the Meltzer Driver. As I said, if you like these teams, you’ll really enjoy this. If not, you might hate it. I love one team and dislike the other but I rather enjoyed it.
A battle of tag teams followed as the Addiction ran down. The Briscoes showed up too and everyone got involved. They have a number one contender’s four corners match on night two. The Addiction ended up getting their asses kicked by everyone else.
Overall: Well that was quite the enjoyable show. Nothing on the card ranked lower than three stars for me, which is impressive. Everything ranged from good to great, with the clear standout being the World Title match. Go out of your way to watch it. The reDRagon singles matches proved to be very good, while the main event, Cole/ACH and Strong/Moose matches were all good. Add in the really fun Six Man Mayhem and chaotic eight man tag as well as the Cabana return and you’ve got yourself a great show.