Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The second of Ring of Honor’s two shows done over WrestleMania weekend. The first one was a really good show and this card looks just about as strong, headlined by the expected culmination of the Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly rivalry.
Jay Lethal, the ROH World Champion, came out with Taeler Hendrix to start things off. According to Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III on commentary, Jay wasn’t supposed to be opening things. He ran down Colt Cabana and the fans for cheering his return. Lethal said there were guys in the back more deserving of a title shot than Colt. A fan said Cheeseburger and Lethal agreed. To prove he is the best, he liked the idea of Cheeseburger and offered to defend his title against him.
Lethal attacked right after the Code of Honor. He clearly did not take Cheeseburger seriously. He dominated this with relative ease, though Cheeseburger managed to get in some of those classic underdog hope spots. It was enough to make the fans pop but not too much that it made Jay look weak. Cheeseburger got in a tornado DDT but jumped right into a superkick. This was followed by the Lethal Injection. The fans chanted “one more time” but Lethal said “up yours” and pinned Cheeseburger. This was a fine little squash match that worked because the crowd loves Cheeseburger.
Colt Cabana interrupted Jay Lethal’s celebration and was in ring gear. Cabana questioned Lethal giving Cheeseburger a title shot and said last night wasn’t just a stunt. He wanted a title shot right then and there, which Jay sold well and went to leave. Cabana goaded him into it by saying that Jay doesn’t call his own shots and only listens to Taeler and Truth.
Lethal hit Colt with a right hand and things got started from there. This was a quick match to establish Cabana as a viable threat to Jay Lethal. Lethal got to hit his trademark suicide dive and they did some close call spots. As Lethal called for the Lethal Injection, Cabana rolled him up and stole it. He then instantly stared down at Lethal as if to let him know that he can beat him. Not much to rate but it did the job it set out to.
I haven’t really loved much of Sydal since his return to the indies (though his night one match was good) but ACH has really impressed me lately. His matches with Adam Cole on night one and KUSHIDA on the Conquest Tour were both strong. This wasn’t anything special outside of another good performance from ACH. He was the MVP of the match, including a gorgeous Jordan dive. ANX picked on Sydal for a while until the hot tag came to ACH. That hot tag offense was fun. After weathering another storm from ANX, ACH pinned Titus after a Spirit Bomb, Shooting Sydal Press and Midnight Star. Pretty good tag here that seemed to be done to establish Sydal and ACH as future title contenders.
Joey Daddiego joined commentary. Dijak was sporting taped ribs due to the Daddiego attack from 24 hours earlier. This was a rematch of the 2015 Top Prospect Tournament Finals. Ferrara showed no intimidation despite being at a massive size disadvantage. I’m not sure what this was meant to accomplish. It worked as a decent David vs. Goliath match but I don’t think this was the time for it. Dijak seemed poised for a big push considering the House of Truth angle, but this was a very even match, which didn’t seem like the right move to me. There was a great top rope Chokeslam spot, but it was instantly followed by Dijak mostly whiffing on a moonsault to the outside. He then slipped on a springboard attempt on his next move. Dijak won shortly after with Feast Your Eyes. I found this to be alright at best.
Joey Daddiego taped his fists while on commentary and abused the ribcage of Dijak after the bell. He brought a chair into play to really do more damage.
Both guys are among my favorites in ROH but their matches haven’t managed to reach great status so far. Always good though. I’m a sucker for this stipulation by the way. The first fall saw them brawl outside for a bit and try to settle the personal aspect of the feud. Like he did against Moose on night one, Strong took advantage of a referee distraction and took the first fall with End of Heartache. Roddy was such a dick in the second fall. He attacked instantly after the pin and was happy to try and take a countout win. Fish was just dominated until he got a flash pin for three and evened the score. The final fall proved to be more even. Strong attacked the back as he usually does and they built to a good finish. Fish survived the Stronghold before winning with the Fish Hook. A good end to the feud but it never reached that next level for me. Still, the best thing on the show so far.
Someone named P-Dog came out, with a group of people and seemed set to face Moose. He rapped beforehand and dissed Moose several times. Moose entered the ring and destroyed them all. Yes, even one of the girls. He went for a spear on her but they pulled her to safety. Or so they thought as Moose dove out onto all of them. I mean, this showed that Moose could be a badass but it didn’t do much for me.
Before the bell, Silas Young ripped the fans a new one. He then dared War Machine to put the belts on the line, as this was originally non-title. War Machine happily accepted. This was pretty much what you’d expect from these two teams. No frills, just four men hitting each other hard. If you like watching tough guys duke it out, this would be right up your alley. Near the end, they started to show that they’re pretty athletic as well, especially the Bruiser. War Machine retained with Fallout. This was solid and went the right amount of time given what they did together.
Adam Page, currently in a heated feud with BJ Whitmer, was on commentary for this. Castle and Whitmer is an odd pairing. Their styles are very different and sometimes, styles clash. They mostly did here. Castle did his signature antics, while Whitmer was the dick that we’ve all come to expect. The stuff they did wasn’t bad it just went on for far too long. Whitmer started to get really physical, including hitting a huge lariat, but he couldn’t keep Castle down for the count. It was Whitmer being too much of an asshole that hurt him because he took one of the Boys’ masks and stomped on it. That opened the door for Castle to win after nailing Bang-a-Rang. Like I said, decent but it dragged on.
Adam Page got in the ring and sat on a steel chair. He cut a promo and told BJ that if he tried to leave, he would destroy him with the chair. He understood the purpose of the Decade and believed in it but BJ lost focus when he got too obsessed with Steve Corino. Page announced that he gets Whitmer in a San Antonio Street Fight on 4/23.
For whatever issues ROH may have, the one thing they excel at is focusing on their tag team division. I don’t know of any other company that can trot out four teams like this after they already had a solid Tag Team Title match. While this started as your standard tag, it quickly escalated into something more chaotic. You knew you were going to see a ton of spots but it felt more organic here than it did in the night one main event. I loved Kazarian countering a Briscoes Doomsday Device into a modified Flux Capacitor. The Bucks and Guns did their four way superkick stuff, Mark was a wild man, the Addiction heeled it up and most things clicked throughout this contest. Dem Boyz earned the shot with a successful Doomsday Device on Daniels. A chaotic frenzy that was very good. I’m sure others will rank this higher but I still really enjoyed this.
Stokely Hathaway and Moose were back out. Stokely said that people felt that Moose came up short at the 14th Anniversary Show against Kazuchika Okada. However, Stokely disagreed and said that they earned something better than a win on that night. Gedo called and said they Moose earned their respect, so in May during the joint ROH/NJPW shows, Moose will team with Okada.
The former partners had a great match at Final Battle, though it left the door open for a rematch. Adam Cole came from out of nowhere to get the jump on O’Reilly during his entrance. Things were heated from the get go because of that. They fought outside where Kyle dodged a superkick and poor Mandy Leon got hit instead. Cole hilariously sold it with a shrug of his shoulders. They made sure to bring chairs, tables and even the guardrail into play. You got the sense that they truly wanted to hurt each other. Cole targeted the leg, destroying it with chairs, which played into their past as Cole won their match back in 2012 with a figure four. They teased a chair shot to the head a few times, so when it finally happened, it felt like a big deal. O’Reilly took a beating, especially when a chain was introduced. O’Reilly finally got to have his big offensive spot with a superplex through a table near the end. The finish itself was brutal as O’Reilly wrapped the chain around Cole’s arm and neck and applied a triangle arm bar. Cole struggled but passed out. It was a fitting end to a great match. There was almost no slow down and the intensity level was perfect throughout. They incorporated the weapons well, never went overboard and had the kind of grudge match that you want to see. Kyle finally beating Cole was a great moment too.
Overall: Outside of a relatively slow start, this show proved to be pretty good. The Jay Lethal stuff was alright and built to his title match with Colt. The Dijak/Ferrara and Castle/Whitmer matches were very mediocre and the latter dragged on. The tag matches were fun and the 2 Out of 3 Falls match was pretty good. What stole the show was the main event, which was everything it needed to be. It is neck and neck with Lethal/Rush for ROH MOTY at this point. An easy watch for the most part.