(03/22) Chris Hero vs. AJ Styles

Ring of Honor
Montgomery County Fairgrounds (Dayton, Ohio)

I have said it before about each guy individually, but there is a polish and noticeable experience edge to Styles and Hero that make them stand out amongst the current crop of US indie guys. Neither one is really a world-beater but they know what they to do and can largely execute it. So matched up against one another they have the exact kind of solid, easy to watch match you would expect.

I liked this match significantly more than their January match in Toronto. It felt like it was paced better and it held together a bit more solidly. The match becomes a bit too much of a seesaw battle towards the end but you are going to get that in Styles matches. Right before the finish they run through a 1 ½ minute or saw back-and-forth, pop right up sprint that appeared to be the start of the stretch run since they hadn’t really gone near fall heavy yet (at least relatively speaking). Then Styles does a cool little reversal into his leg submission hold and Hero gives up almost immediately.

I’ve seen the finish described as “out of nowhere” as a strike against the match, but I thought it worked in the match’s favor. The body of the match had enough back-and-forth that a stretch run of big near falls would have felt like overkill. I liked that they went all-out for a minute or two and then avoided going kick out crazy by going right to the quick submission. It was a bit different for what you usually see in ROH in that regard. I can’t remember the last time before this match where I was watching ROH and the finish came at a point where it sort of left me wanting more.

This is the best ROH match of the year so far, I think, and given the guys involved that is not super surprising.

US Indies | Worthwhile | Quality

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