Current Watch List:
- Ultimo Dragon, Daichi Sasaki & Ayumi Gunji vs. The Great Sasuke, Shu & Kei Brahman (M-Pro)
- Dinastia, Drastik Boy & Octagoncito vs. Arez, Mini Abismo Negro & Mini Psycho Clown (AAA)
- Psycho Clown vs. Cuervo and Electroshock and El Zorro (AAA)
- Robert Dreissker vs. Julian Nero (wXw)
- John Klinger (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov for the wXw Shotgun championship (wXw)
- Big Daddy Walter vs. Axel Tischer (wXw)
- Matt Sydal vs. Delirious (ROH)
- Roderick Strong vs. Kyle O’Reilly (ROH)
- Moose vs. ACH (ROH)
- Matt Taven & Michael Bennett vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe in a Best 2 out of 3 falls match (ROH)
- Golden Storm Riders (Daisuke Sasaki & Kota Ibushi) defeat Happy Motel (Antonio Honda & Konosuke Takeshita) (DDT)
Ultimo Dragon, Daichi Sasaki & Ayumi Gunji vs. The Great Sasuke, Shu & Kei Brahman
A massive waste of time. Sasuke wore a neck brace and whether or not it was real, he certainly did not do much in the match. First five minutes was comedy without any action at all. Literally, the opening minutes consisted of Sasuke attempting mind control on Ultimo Dragon and then sitting in the center of the ring for a while. The rest was not much better. Not that I expected much, but there just wasn’t anything here at all.
Dinastia, Drastik Boy & Octagoncito vs. Arez, Mini Abismo Negro & Mini Psycho Clown
Okay. Not as good as last week’s mini’s match. Arez is way to tall to pass off as a mini and hasn’t really been wrestling has a mini, so no idea why he was in with these guys. Crowd cheered the rudos, but maybe they are just confused like the rest of us as to why Mini Psycho Clown is a rudo while Psycho Clown is a tecnico and didn’t know who to cheer. Not much in the way of a notable performance from any of these six. Just a standard, watchable mini’s match.
Psycho Clown vs. Cuervo and Electroshock and El Zorro
The third of four Rey de Reyes qualifiers, the idea was to put Psycho Clown versus three expendable rudos (well, Electroshock has something going on now with his new stable) so he could overcome them all and advance. The crowd was HOT for Psycho Clown, almost ridiculously so. That alone made the match a success. There was not much to see wrestling wise, but the crowd loved cheering on Psycho as the underdog and were thrilled with his victory. That was the entire point of this match to begin with so all good in my book.
Robert Dreissker vs. Julian Nero
I like Dreissker and wish he’d get an expanded role over his current role of low carder and tag partner of Big Daddy Walter. In terms of stubby looking European wrestlers, I much prefer him to Dave Mastiff, even though Mastiff as the much higher profile currently. Basic agile fat man offense from Dreissker including a nice rope running splash. Nero was a perfectly competent bumping and stooging for for Dreissker. They went about seven minutes which was a near perfect time. Nothing great or even above average, but as a second match on a house, about as good as should be realistically expected.
John Klinger (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov for the wXw Shotgun championship
If Klinger were a US wrestler, he’d be firmly plated in the mid card and even upper cards of a half-dozen indie promotions. He has that look and his style his very much US indie friendly in that it is very much go-go-go. He’s solid at what he does, but what he does really isn’t my think. There was plenty of solid offense this title defense and some good ideas. There was also a lot of overkill at the end without much substance in the beginning/middle portions. Again, very much like a standard contemporary US indie match. In theory the double knockout finish is fine and something different, but the execution was not that great.
Big Daddy Walter vs. Axel Tischer
The best of the three matches I watched from this wXw card but it was not more than average. They did a little bit of everything, starting with a decent hold/counter hold portion, than out of the ring brawling. I am not a big outside-the-ring brawling fan, but I thought they did good here and used the features of the venue to create a unique looking brawl. Back in the ring, it was usual big move leading into the finish stuff which was also largely just okay. Walter is one of the wrestlers I feel I should like more than I do (so I keep giving him a chance). He has the tools, but struggles to string together a solid, cohesive match more times than not.
Matt Sydal vs. Delirious
Matt Sydal and Delirious were two of many wrestlers in the early to mid-2000’s indie scene who developed a rivalry on a local level before taking it on the road to more local indies and finally one of the bigger indies like ROH. To some extent, Cabana & Punk, Shelley & Jacobs, and Steen & Generico (to name a few) also took that same path. I was never much of a fan of the Sydal/Delirious series. Delirious’ comedy was always a little too broad while Sydal did not provide much in the way of substance back in those days. Using those matches from a decade ago as my benchmark, I was not expecting much from this match. It wasn’t anything that I would call great, but it was a fine under card match. Delirious’ comedy was integrated into the match better than I remembered it. Sydal has looked good over the past couple of months as he has shaken off all the ring rust. There is still not a ton of substance there, but his flying and agility spots are as polished as you will see in ROH or on the indies. I thought this was somewhere around average which is all it needed to be.
Roderick Strong vs. Kyle O’Reilly
The Atlanta show was well received by the live audience. O’Reilly versus Strong was one of the more consistently and heavily praised matches from the card and I thought it more than held up to that. Easily the best match I have seen from ROH this year and well above average. The opening mat work wasn’t blow away, but it was clear that these two have a better idea on how to fill up those opening minutes than many of their peers. They did not just sit in holds or role around the mat for 45 seconds in an obligatory manner. This was actual well thought out ground wrestling with both wrestlers feeding off of each other in an always moving and entertaining manner. That shifted immediately into O’Reilly targeting the arm. O’Reilly has his good days and his okay days. This was a good day. The arm work felt inspired and not just run-of-the-mill stuff. The arm work and early tries at cross arm breakers paved the way for a strong reaction later in the match when O’Reilly simply wrenched back on Strong’s arm. It wasn’t even a submission per say but because of what led to it, the fans treated it like a near fall. They got a tad carried away at the end but nothing even close to the norm for ROH guys in that regard. They did a strike exchange where it was Strong’s chops versus O’Reilly’s kicks. Chops and kicks are good strikes to begin with, but whenever you have guys do two different strikes in a back-and-forth, I think it always looks better. Both wrestlers had good showings and both are off to a good start to the year, Strong in particular. Worth watching.
Moose vs. ACH
Moose’s best performance so far in his young career. He looked comfortable in a way that was hard to imagine when he debut with ROH last June on PPV and stumbled through his introductory promo. Some tremendous athletic moves including the crossbody after running up the turnbuckles and the dropkick he did on ACH while he was perched on the top rope. All of his power stuff was spot on too. It is too bad that most every ROH match has to include extended offense for both wrestlers because they would have been better served in this one if ACH got a few hope spots, maybe one big comeback spot, but was otherwise handled from start to finish. The first 5 or so minutes where Moose controlled were very good. ACH’s comeback felt unnecessarily long. I get they weren’t going to squash ACH, but I think they could have handled it in a way other than having an ACH going on a long offensive run at the end. Good match nonetheless and Moose has a bright future.
Matt Taven & Michael Bennett vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
Best 2 out of 3 falls
The main event had its moments and it was above average, but I don’t think it was a particularly strong match. Some of it wasn’t their fault (ie. the announcers did a terrible job explaining the stipulations to the point that I thought I just imagined the “different stips each fall” thing until the table bump ended the second fall). Some of it was their fault. Taven did a poor job wrestling as a heel. Far too many flashy face spots (springboard moves, comeback spots when he is supposed to be a heel, ect.). The third fall didn’t take full advantage of the stips. There were some badly mistimed spots too. The effort was there, it went the appropriate length, and there were some good general ideas but I thought they missed out on some low hanging fruit. There was a lot of stuff they should have gotten right that they missed. The biggest example was going a falls count anywhere stip where they did not once do a fall outside the ring. When the finish is a doomsday device from the ring to the outside (which looked awesome by the way) and the wrestler gets rolled back into the ring to get pinned when it is falls count anywhere, that is an avoidable problem. It seems like a small thing and maybe it is, but it bothered me. The Kingdom doesn’t have good offense and/or they didn’t adjust another to this style of match (Bennett shouldn’t throw punches) which also hurt. Above average match and a decent blow off, but nothing spectacular for me.
Golden Storm Riders (Daisuke Sasaki & Kota Ibushi) defeat Happy Motel (Antonio Honda & Konosuke Takeshita)
I enjoyed Honda’s performance. I want Honda to be more than he is because I think the potential is there. He has some fun lucha spots (both bumps and offense) and the punches are awesome. I think he would have been a ton of fun on the babyface side of the Kaientai feud. Honda teaming with Naniwa, Sasuke, Delphin and company in ten-man tags then having US pro style inspired brawls versus Mens Teioh would have been awesome. I don’t think he’s ever settled into the right role in DDT. We only sometimes get to see the fullness of Honda’s potential (like the 2011 Dick Togo match). Honda didn’t go full out in this match, but it was still one of his better recent performances. A couple of nice arm drags, great comeback, good bumps, and well-timed comedy. The others were more or less bit players to Honda’s fine performance. Everyone held their own. Pretty solid over all although nothing to go out of your way for.