Thursday, March 16, 2017
I gave up on ROH midway through 2016. I was convinced to check out their 15th Anniversary Show and was pleasantly surprised, so I’m choosing to review this event as well. The original Manhattan Mayhem is widely considered one of the best ROH shows of all time. It took a few years before they did Manhattan Mayhem II, which I attended live and loved. I also attended MMIII, but was less impressed. This will be the first Manhattan Mayhem event I watch since then.
I just love the look of the Hammerstein Ballroom. I had to say it.
Before the match, Daniels cut a promo where he name dropped a ton of past ROH stars and hyped his upcoming ROH World Title shot. He got interrupted by the Kingdom and Matt Taven ran his mouth. Daniels started a fight but Taven sent O’Ryan in instead. TK had the advantage thanks to help form the Kingdom. They interrupted a Daniels near fall but Vinny mistakenly hit TK. Daniels knocked Taven off the apron and won with the Best Moonsault Ever. Fine for an impromptu opener. The crowd loved Daniels and it was kept short.
Heel Colt Cabana is always a strange sight. Castle was ridiculously over. They started with decent mat work before going the comedy route. Though Cabana is a heel, he can still elicit a chuckle or two by cashing the Boys around and picking out feathers. Dalton’s comeback was fun and had the crowd going nuts. Colt applied the Billy Goat’s Curse submission but Castle escaped thanks to some fanning from the Boys. Cabana shoved them outside where they took a nasty spill. Dalton hit Bang-a-Rang and secured the win. Fun since both guys tend to bring a good chunk of entertainment to their matches. It also accomplished the goal of getting Castle a win heading into an ROH World Title match at Supercard of Honor.
If I were booking ROH, I’d have Scurll as ROH Champion before the end of 2017. He’s special and stands out as a star in a company lacking in that department. This came about because Scurll wanted new challenges. It’s Dutt’s first ROH match in over four years. As usual with most Scurll matches, he targeted the shoulder to set up the chicken wing. It always looks delightfully vicious. Sonjay figured it out after a bit and turned things around before hitting a moonsault to the outside. Dutt’s offense was good but never quite enough. Scurll survived a German and when he went for the finish, Dutt had it scouted. He hit a superkick and tornado DDT for two. The finished ruled. After getting his fingers snapped, Dutt hit a superkick and tried the tornado DDT again. Scurll found a way to counter that into the chicken wing to retain. This was a damn good match with Dutt showing that he could still go. Scurll’s limb work was well done and I liked how most of Dutt’s offense didn’t involve him having to no sell it.
When the card was announced, I saw people more excited about this than any other match. You had to expect a freakishly athletic back and forth here and they delivered that within the opening exchange. They surprised me with a bit of mat work towards the middle. Lee busted out an impressive trio of Northern lights suplexes before they went back to the high flying stuff. Lee again impressed with sick spot where he jumped over the top and caught Ospreay with a rana. There were too many highlights to list here. Both guys brought out the big guns. In the end, Lee countered the Oscutter into Desnucadora to earn the win. Insane match with great spots. Like the Ricochet/Ospreay series, it felt like they were trying to one up each other throughout. I liked the finish and the match went the right length.
I loathe the Young Bucks, but I’m big on both Rush and White. The Bucks are still stupid popular for reasons I’ll never understand. They started hot, looking like the experienced team against the young singles guys teaming up. Surprisingly, it was some miscues by the champions that opened the door for White and Rush to turn things around. I must point out a particularly cool spot where Rush blocked an X-Factor with a handstand, which I’ve never seen before. The challengers treated the Bucks to a superkick party of their own. In the end, Rush cut off the Meltzer Driver only to get himself into trouble. He fell to the Indytaker and Meltzer Driver as the Bucks retained. Similar to the previous match, it was spot heavy. Rush and White looked great together and were the highlights.
The lights went out and the crowd lost their minds for the arrival of the Broken Hardys. The fans erupted with “DELETE” chants. They challenged the Bucks for the titles and it was accepted.
To a pop, the teams traded “DELETE” and “SUCK IT” taunts. Though the Bucks just wrestled, all four men worked this at a crazy pace. They crammed a lot into the sub-ten minute timeframe. The Bucks came close with stereo 450 splashes at one point. Matt got a hot tag to more loud “DELETE” chants. He was stopped with a buckle bomb/kick combo. The Bucks mocked the Hardys with a Twist of Fate/Swanton combination but Jeff broke up the pin. As the Bucks looked near victory, Jeff shoved Nick off the top and through a table. It left Matt alone to fall to the Twist of Fate/Swanton combo for new champions. Another wild match with a brisk pace. The crowd was hotter for this than anything else on the show and the moment of the Hardys appearing and winning the title was great.
Post-match, Matt cut a promo about leaving the dreadful TNA and how people thought they’d sign with the dastardly MEEKMAN! They hyped being on the ROH PPV and having the titles now before singing the obsolete song to a huge ovation.
The winner earns a future ROH World Title shot. Participants included Cheeseburger, Chris Sabin, Punishment Martinez, Kenny King, Hanson, Ray Rowe, Rhett Titus, Beer City Bruiser, Shaheem Ali, Sho, Silas Young, Vinny Marsegila, Yoehi, Will Ferrara, Leon St. Giovanni and Matt Taven. Silas was a surprise entrant, since he’d been on commentary all night. Like most battle royals, there wasn’t much to this. Cheeseburger had some fun moments as he survived elimination over and over. In the end, Vinny and Taven stood against Sabin. As Sabin and Vinny battled, Taven snuck up and dumped them both out to win. I appreciated that Taven was willing to eliminate his buddy for a title shot but he’s incredibly uninteresting as a talent. At least the Daniels stuff at the start of the show has added value since Daniels goes on to win the title and Taven has a shot. The battle royal was standard fare and kind of just there.
This looked like a strange blend of guys on paper. There were more than a few teases for Lethal/Cody at Supercard of Honor. Cody beat Lethal at Final Battle and turned heel. It only took a few minutes, but the match became a brawl with action spilling all over ringside. Cody only wanted in against Lethal when he was already down. After Lethal took the heat for a while, the match broke down into something wild again. That’s kind of a theme on this card. The Page/Jay Briscoe rivalry reignited down the stretch, which commentary did a good job in mentioning. After their interaction, we finally got Cody and Lethal going at it. Jay kicked out of a Cross Rhodes before Cody got hit a flurry of offense. A superplex, froggy bow and elbow from Lethal nearly ended it but the pin was broken up. From out of nowhere, Kazarian rolled up Mark to steal it. A fun multi-man tag that did well to build a future match and play on past rivalries.
I don’t care for Cole, but I like Fish. Christopher Daniels joined commentary and was great throughout. Cole stalled in the early stages. Though he’s popular with the New York crowd, Cole did a good job trying to draw heat by flipping them off and faking out “too sweets”. Fish’s offensive focus was on the knees. He attacked both, allowing him to try the Fish Hook on either leg. I always like how Fish can work a body part, but if you start defending it, he switches and has no problem going after a different part. He did that when working an armbreaker. Fish DID THE SUPER DEAL but it wasn’t enough. He applied the Fish Hook only for Cole to counter into a rollup that sealed it. A solid main event but it lacked something to take it to the next level. I liked Fish’s approach to the match. I also appreciated how he was protected by the finish.
After the match, the Bullet Club ran in and beat up Bobby Fish. The Briscoes got involved and also got jumped. That led to the debuting Bully Ray making his ROH debut to a positive reaction. He put Cole through a table, evened the odds and cut a promo about choosing ROH over other companies because they most closely resemble ECW. The crowd ate that segment up.
Overall: A good show from top to bottom by ROH. I’ve heard bad things about the weekly TV show and they lost some talented guys, but they’re two for two in entertaining VOD/PPV shows. This was a key show that introduced Bully Ray and had the big moment of the Hardys showing up. Ospreay/Lee, Scurll/Dutt and the two Tag Title matches are all strong. Only the battle royal bored me and everything else was relatively good.