Current Watch List:
- Matt Sydal vs. Cedric Alexander (ROH)
- Mark Briscoe vs. Moose (ROH)
- Roderick Strong vs. B.J. Whitmer (ROH)
- Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. Michael Bennett & Matt Taven (ROH)
- A.J. Styles vs. ACH (ROH)
- Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Young Bucks for ROH tag team championship (ROH)
- Jay Lethal vs Alberto El Patron for the ROH TV championship (ROH)
- Jay Briscoe vs. Michael Elgin vs. Hanson vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the ROH World championship (ROH)
Matt Sydal vs. Cedric Alexander
Fine opener. Liked the kicks from both guys. Sydal’s offense was strong which it generally has been recently. Liked his strikes (kicks, jumping knee, ect.) and he made some goofy moves from Alexander look better than they otherwise would have by taking overly exaggerated bumps. Didn’t go too long and was paced in a way a good opener should be.
Mark Briscoe vs. Moose
Another good match. I said the same thing in his Atlanta show match versus ACH but how quickly Moose has improved in 8 months or so is ridiculous. His athleticism is unreal. The drop kick he threw was insane and the best of that type of drop kick I have probably ever seen. Mark’s throat chops looked excellent. This was a good match for Moose because Mark bumped big for him and a win over Mark meant something. Moose is not ready for a title run under ideal circumstances. However, if you expect that he will improve as much in the next nine months as he has in the first 9 months in ROH, then I think you give him the title and hope he grows into it. Joe wasn’t exactly Joe when he got the title initially, but he grew into it.
Karl Anderson vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. Michael Bennett & Matt Taven
Gallows had travel issues and was a no show so Anderson went it alone. I don’t have a huge problem with that, but unless they have a great angle lined up for Joe, this seemed like it would have been a good way to debut him. He could have tagged with Anderson and they could have played up the angle of not knowing what Joe is doing/where his alliances lie. They also could have done a straight up tag, had Anderson make an open challenge, and have Joe answer that with a quick brawl. Gabe was always good at reacting on his feet. Something like that feels like something he would do and have it work out well. ROH currently operates a bit more conservatively or unimaginatively when it comes to last minute changes.
Okay match. Addiction looked good but this had the usual 3-way problems. Kingdom wins which I am guessing is going to set up a tag title match during the New Japan/ROH tour.
Roderick Strong vs. B.J. Whitmer
Replacement level. Nothing wrong but nothing exciting at all. I was oping this would be more of a brawl because I think that would have played more to Whitmer’s strengths. Instead there was a lot of Whitmer control offense. Whitmer has always had very bland and boring offense so you can guess how that went. I liked the lay out in general but Whitmer does not have the interesting offense to make it work. It was basically Whitmer taking the entire match until a big flurry from Strong at the end got him the victory. Strong is being positioned for a title shot which I could see happening WrestleMania weekend.
A.J. Styles vs. ACH
Good. I thought the Ospreay/Styles match was a notch above, but there was some nice stuff here. ACH got a ridiculous amount of height on his dive. The opening part was pretty fun fast paced/standoff stuff. Sort of middling for much of the body. ACH is a solid single and would fit well in a tag team with the right partner, but at least right now he doesn’t have a good grasp on how to put a complete match together. From a crowd connection standpoint he still has a ways to go. I don’t think Will Ospreay is a world beater but he looked far more like a potential future star in his match versus Styles than ACH did tonight.
The first part of the finish with ACH hitting his ankle on the post and Styles going right for the Calf Killer came off well. The roll up spot off of the calf killer was a great idea, but I don’t think the crowd could fully see it so it didn’t get the big near fall reaction it might have otherwise received. Above average, but not a top line Styles indie match.
Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Young Bucks
ROH tag team championship
What you would expect (and overall entertaining), but not the best match these two teams have had. Shayna Blazer accompanied reDRagon to the ring which I can only assume made Dave Meltzer’s day. Rocky Romero did commentary and officially announced his new tag partner as Trent Barretta. They made it sound like Trent will be in ROH teaming with Rocky going forward, in addition to obviously teaming with him in New Japan. Blazer being ringside and Rocky making “big announcements” gave the entire segment a big time feeling. ROH could use as much of that as they can get.
Some really cool spots including a super kick assisted sunset flip power bomb and indytaker on the floor. They also did a lot of their usual spots like O’Reilly catching a Young Buck in an arm bar after coming off the top rope. Todd Sinclair slightly blew a near fall. They then really blew a near fall when one of the Jacksons pulled Sinclair out of the ring late in a payback spot from Blazer doing it earlier but Sinclair basically counted to three before that. Because of that and because the crowd seemed to pick up at some point that reDRagon was retaining, the ending came off a big flat. Above average, but these teams have had more entertaining matches.
Jay Lethal vs Alberto El Patron for the ROH TV championship
Okay match. They overbooked the finish to protect Alberto which was going to happen. Lethal came off like a star and on the same level as Alberto. I thought Lethal’s pre-taped promo before the match was also very strong. Big spots were Alberto doing the double stomp off of the top onto Lethal while in the tree of woe and three great bullet topes by Lethal. Lethal also hit an awesome tope early. Truth interfered and was taken out. Diesel interfered and got the same treatment, but Lethal walloped Alberto twice with the Book of Truth, getting the pin the second time. Above average.
Jay Briscoe vs. Michael Elgin vs. Hanson vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the ROH World championship
A lot of booking going on here. Before they got to all of the extracurricular activities, the match was a normal 4-way in that there wasn’t much momentum, just a lot of moves. To their credit, most of the moves looked good. Elgin, Ciampa and Hanson were not particularly over which did not help. Sinclair was bumped and took a very hard fall to the outside. The masked guys did a run-in and did a Taven move and a twist of fate (which the Kingdom uses in tribute to Matt Hardy) so the tease is that they are the Kingdom under masks. I get the impression that is a misdirection, however. Ray Rowe made his return from injury to run them off. Elgin put Jay through a table with the J-Driller, playing off of their title match from last September. Elgin tried to use a chair on Jay but Nigel stopped him. Elgin went to beat up Nigel but Ciampa (who has had his issues with Nigel) saved him. Paul Turner eventually took over as the official. They did an ending where Hanson kicked Jay who fell on Ciampa. Elgin pulled Hanson out of the ring and an unconscious Jay pinned an unconscious Ciampa to pick up the win. Joe came out post-match to tease a match with Elgin and seemingly set himself up as the next challenger.
I liked the idea behind the ending. The match and show were built on a high stakes/luck of the draw theme, so the idea that Jay would somewhat luck into retaining his title worked in that sense. In a traditional wrestling sense, I am not sure it is ever a good idea to make the champion look lucky to retain, unless of course he is a cowardly heel who is going to lose the title soon. All of the ideas in the match made sense but they were far too many for one match. The overbooking probably kept it from a boring or uneventful main event but that does not necessarily excuse it.