Monday, May 8, 2017

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 2 Review

Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly go to war!!

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 2
Dallas, Texas 4/2/16


1.) The Pretty Boy Killers (Keith Lee & Shane Taylor) vs. “The Outlaw” Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali: **1/4

Keith Lee & Shane Taylor have been featured in ROH pre-shows and smaller ROH live events before, but this was a particularly big opportunity for them, since all of the big ‘Mania Weekend festivities are on their home turf. Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali got some offense it, but this was basically an extended squash match. At one point during the match, Shane Taylor attacked some security guys, which was a setup for Keith Lee’s insane dive over the top rope. In the end, The Pretty Boy Killers won with ease.

Main Card

The show kicked off with a promo from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal. He wanted to address what happened the night before with Colt Cabana. Lethal claims that it wasn’t a return, because people like Cabana can’t come & go as they please, and get instant title shots. That’s not how it works here, Lethal said, and added that he’ll be damned if he lets someone like Cabana leapfrog everyone on the roster who’s actually deserving of a title shot. Lethal called out the fans for cheering for Colt Cabana, pointing out that he’s probably recording a podcast somewhere, while he’s busting his ass here in ROH. He said a ton of guys in the locker room deserve a shot at his ROH World Title. Someone in the crowd shouts Cheeseburger’s name, and Lethal agrees. He seems amused by this idea, and said he’ll defend the ROH World Title against Cheeseburger right now.

1.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Cheeseburger: **

This was a relatively short match. Cheeseburger got some offense in, but Lethal pretty much dominated most of the match, and won with the Lethal Injection in short order. It was ok for what it way, but Cheeseburger’s matches against Lethal for the ROH World TV Title were much better than this.

After the match ended, Colt Cabana came out. He called out Lethal for claiming he’s the greatest ROH World Champion, only to call out someone like Cheeseburger for a title defense. Cabana said that the night before wasn’t a publicity stunt, and that he’s returned home to ROH. He wants a match with Lethal right now, and asked him if he has the balls to accept his challenge. Lethal goes to leave, but Cabana says he’s here because he wants the ROH World Title, and if Lethal wants to prove he’s the greatest, he’ll face him right now. Lethal backs down again, and Cabana responded by saying that without Truth Martini, Lethal’s lost his balls. He claims that Lethal is scared to call his own shots, and adds that Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix would say no to this challenge. Lethal gets incensed, the bell rings, and it looks like we have a match!

2.) Non-Title Match – ROH World Champion Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Colt Cabana: **1/4

This only went about three minutes or so, but for what it was….it actually worked pretty well. It was essentially worked like the final minutes of a much longer match. They managed to pack in a nice little mini-match in such a sort time frame. It ended when Cabana caught Lethal in a rollup for the three count!! Cabana stared down Lethal intently as the crowd went wild after his victory over the ROH World Champion. After the match, Cabana took the mic and said that’s how you come back to ROH! These weren’t exactly good matches, but as whole package, this opening segment did a great job to build up a proper match between Jay Lethal & Colt Cabana.

3.) ACH & Matt Sydal vs. The All-Night Express: ***1/4

Everyone involved in this match lost the night before (ANX was on the losing side of an Eight-Man Tag, while ACH & Matt Sydal both lost singles matches), so a win would go a long way for both sides. This was a fun tag team encounter. It wasn’t as exciting as some of the other tag team matches that ROH presented across these two shows, but still, it was entertaining. The last few minutes were particularly good, and in the end, ACH & Matt Sydal would score the victory.

4.) Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Will Ferrara: ***1/4

Joey “Diesel” Daddiego is on commentary for this match. Dijak came out with his ribs taped up after being attacked by Daddiego the night before. Before the match began, Ferrara took the mic, and brought up how he and Dijak met in the Finals of the 2015 Top Prospect Tournament. Ferrara brings up Prince Nana’s letters, mentioning that they said that those who seize opportunity will be rewarded greatly. Dijak’s been rewarded recently, but Ferrara said that won’t stop him from kicking Dijak’s ass.

As for the match itself, it was pretty solid, though it definitely had some rough patches. There was some good action throughout, and both guys were definitely working hard. There were some insane moves towards the end of the match. Dijak hit Ferrara with a super chokeslam from the top rope, followed by a moonsault to the outside that didn’t connect 100%. He then tried to hit a springboard dive from the top rope to the inside, but he tripped on the ropes. Ferrara was supposed to counter with a dropkick, but with Dijak tripping, it looked pretty rough, to the point where it garnered “Botchamania” chants. Despite those issues Dijak eventually picked up the victory after hitting Ferrara with Feast Your Eyes.

After the match, Dijak and Ferrara shook hands, but as the former when to leave, he was attacked by Joey Daddiego, who used a chair to go after the ribs of Dijak, just like he did the night before.

5.) 2/3 Falls Match – Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong: ***3/4

This was the culmination of the feud between these two that dates back to late 2015. As a whole, this was a very good 2/3 Falls Match that told a fascinating story. Fish dominated the 1st Fall, but Strong used the referee as a distraction, and took out Fish with a jumping knee followed by The End Of Heartache to win the 1st Fall. Then, Strong really dominated the 2nd Fall, but Fish caught him with a flash rollup to even things up 1-1. They fought hard in the 3rd and final fall, but ultimately, Fish was able to make Strong tap out to the heel hook to win the match. Again, this was really good, but it just fell shy of being a great match. Both guys worked hard, but they haven’t had a truly great match since the feud fully got into gear.

Up next, “P Dog” Mike Posey comes out with his posse. He tries to start a rap concert, but is quickly interrupted by Moose. Posey calls out Moose, calling him slow, overrated, outdated, and said he can’t wrestle. His posse teams up on Moose, but Moose easily fights back. He dropkicks Posey and the male members of his entourage to the floor, and then hits a massive dive on the outside onto all of them. He beats them all up some more on the floor, and eventually spears Posey in the ring. Stokely Hathaway then tells Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling 3 that a special surprise is coming in May.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – War Machine vs. Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser: ***1/2

Before the match, Young took the mic and called out the fans, saying that they’re the worst group of fans he’s ever seen. He then said that he wants this match with War Machine to be for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, which was a challenge that the champions gladly accepted. When the dust settled, this ended up being a really strong match. It was actually similar to the Eight-Man Tag from the night before, in that it was a sprint/brawl (relatively speaking), going about ten minutes or so, and they packed in a lot of fun action. War Machine are always fun to watch in these types of matches, and I think they worked well with Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser, who really took it to the champions at a number of points. In the end, War Machine would end up scoring the victory to retain their ROH World Tag Team Titles.

7.) Dalton Castle vs. BJ Whitmer: **3/4

Adam Page was on commentary for this one. I don’t necessarily have an issue with the match itself taking place, but the big issue was that it was WAAAY too long. There was fine wrestling here, particularly in the second half, but this didn’t need to go nearly fifteen minutes. That wasn’t necessary at all. Towards the end of the match, BJ Whitmer took a mask from one of The Boys and stomped on it. That detour led to his downfall, as Castle would capitalize and scored the victory.

After the match, Adam Page brought a chair into the ring, but instead of going after Whitmer, he sits down. Page said that The Decade once had a purpose, but over the last year, they lost focus. He said the obsession that BJ Whitmer has with Corino cost him a big match against Jay Briscoe. Page said that Whitmer was worried about Corino, when he should’ve been worried about him. He said that he waited patiently, until the moment was right to cut out the cancer, and that cancer was BJ Whitmer. He then announces that later that month, when ROH returns to San Antonio, they’ll be facing off in a San Antonio Street Fight!

8.) #1 Contender’s Four-Corner Survival – The Addiction vs. The Briscoes vs. The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4

The winner of this match will receive a future title match against War Machine. This was about as crazy as you would’ve guessed. There was crazy action from start to finish, bodies were flying all over the place, and all four teams involved had moments to shine. I wouldn’t really call this a MOTYC, but it fits right in with the quality of tag team wrestling that we were seeing from ROH around this time. It’s matches like this that really show the quality of ROH’s tag team division. I would call the main event (which I’ll get to in a minute) the best match on the show, but this four-way tag team battle wasn’t that far behind. The Briscoes would pick up the win after hitting Daniels with the Doomsday Device, setting up a future clash with War Machine with the ROH World Tag Team Titles on the line.

Before the main event, Stokely Hathaway came out to cut a quick promo. He said that people think they failed when Moose lost to Okada, but that wasn’t true. He got a call from Gedo, who said that Moose earned the respect of Okada. Hathaway then announces that, in May, Moose would be teaming up with Okada for a special tag team match.

9.) No Holds Barred Match – Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****1/2

Well, we all knew that it would come to this. After what happened at Final Battle, it was obvious that these two were going to meet again, and when they did, it was going to be violent. That’s exactly what we saw here, and it was a fantastic hardcore brawl. It was violent right from the beginning, as Cole attacked O’Reilly with a chain during his entrance. There was a ton of great action throughout, and the match got a lot of time (going nearly a half-hour), so all of the big hardcore spots they did got the chance to breathe, which definitely helped. There really wasn’t any blood in this one, but it was still pretty violent. Chairs, Tables, The Barricades (more specifically, a barricade bridge), a chain, and other weapons were used throughout. The fact that these two have shown a true distain for each other over the course of their rivalry added a great deal to this. As a final match in a long, heated rivalry between two former tag team partners, this was tremendous. In the end, O’Reilly would get the win with a Triangle Arm Bar with an assist from the same chain that Cole brought out earlier. O’Reilly stood tall as the show came to a close.

Overall: 8.25/10

While this wasn’t as good as Night 1, I still thought that Night 2 of Supercard of Honor X was still a very solid show. The first two matches weren’t exactly great from an in-ring perspective, but from a storyline perspective, they did a fantastic job in advancing the issues between Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal. Aside from Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong, the middle of the card was good, but by no means spectacular. However, this show was really lifted up by the final two matches. The Four-Way Tag Team Match was exactly what you excited, while the main event proved to be an epic conclusion to the Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly rivalry (even though they would renew that rivalry later in the year). Again, it wasn’t the best ROH show of this big weekend in Dallas, but it served as a good continuation from Night 1, and it capped off a strong weekend in general for ROH.

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 1 Review

The Young Bucks face The Motor City Machine Guns, Lio Rush challenges Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title, and Colt Cabana returns home!!!

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 1
Dallas, Texas 4/1/16

1.) Christopher Daniels vs. Bobby Fish: ***3/4

A match between two veteran performers, who almost never disappoint, was a perfect choice to start off the show. I thought this was a very strong opener. There was a great deal of storytelling and psychology in this one, as Fish initially went after one of Daniels’ legs, but later (once the tide turned), Daniels targeted one of Fish’s arms. Most of the match seemed to be a battle of which person’s limb would give out first, though the action picked up a ton in the closing stages of the match. Ultimately, Fish would score the submission victory. Again, this was a really good match, and both guys did a superb job here.

After his victory, Bobby Fish remained at ringside so he could join the commentary team for the next match.

2.) Moose (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Roderick Strong: ****

During his entrance, Moose tossed a streamer at Strong, seemingly in a joking manner. Strong didn’t take too kindly to this, and he jumped Moose before the bell rang. From there, what we got was actually a pretty great match! There was plenty of exciting action in this one from start to finish, and it seemed like both guys worked very well together. While the opener was more of a technical battle, this match went in the complete opposite direction, as it was more of a slugfest that saw Moose & Strong throwing bombs at each other. I actually think it’s pretty cool that the show opened up with two different kinds of matches. The closing stretch of this one was particularly cool. Towards the end, Moose went to kick Strong on the outside, but he moved, and accidentally took out Fish! He would recover, but he was not happy. Eventually, Strong would pick up the win over Moose after a series of jumping knee strikes.

As soon as the match ended, Bobby Fish got in the ring and went right after Roderick Strong, who quickly retreated through the crowd. Fish would shake hands with Moose before leaving.

3.) Six-Man Mayhem – Adam Page vs. Dalton Castle vs. Cheeseburger vs. Donovan Dijak vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. BJ Whitmer Joey “Diesel” Daddiego (with Taeler Hendrix): ***1/2

So BJ Whitmer was supposed to be in this match, but before it began, he cut a promo (that dragged FOREVER because the fans wouldn’t let Whitmer speak) explaining that he took a payoff from The House of Truth so Joey Daddiego could be in this match. They did this so that Daddiego could get his hands on Donovan Dijak, who took out Truth Martini on a recent episode of ROH TV. I thought this was pretty entertaining match. These Six-Man Mayhems are always fun to watch, and this one was no exception. While the match was a little slow initially, there were a number cool spots throughout, and everyone had a chance to shine. The person who shined brightest was probably Donovan Dijak, who at one point, hit an insane dive to the outside onto everyone else! In the end, Castle would score the victory after hitting Cheeseburger with the Bang-A-Rang.

After the match ended, Donovan Djiak & Joey Daddiego brawled on the outside. Daddiego would eventually get the advantage, as he used a steel chair to attack the ribs of Dijak, while Prince Nana & Taeler Hendrix yelled at each other.

4.) Kyle O’Reilly vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Sydal: ****

It’s hard to believe that this was (at the time) a first-time ever matchup, yet that was indeed the case. I’m sure a lot of people were expecting these two to put on a wrestling clinic, and for the most part, I think they fulfilled those hopes. This was a pretty great match. There was a lot of really cool back & forth technical action in this one, and it went just about the right length. What I noticed here was that this match was actually very similar to the match Sydal had with Jay Lethal a few weeks earlier in Philadelphia. There was a lot of very solid wrestling right out of the gate, but the match never really picked up until the final few minutes. Fortunately, the closing stretch here was a little better than that aforementioned ROH World Title bout in Philadelphia. The finish was actually pretty cool, as O’Reilly countered a Shooting Star Press attempt by Sydal into an armbreaker/armbar, and picked up the submission victory.

5.) “The Bullet Babe” Amber Gallows & Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mandy Leon & Solo Darling: **1/4

This match was included on the bonus section of the DVD, but in real time, it took place right after intermission. I thought this was an ok tag team bout that featured some decent wrestling throughout. There’s really not much else to say, other than that. Mandy Leon & Solo Darling would end up getting the win here. Again, this was fine for what it was.

6.) ACH vs. Adam Cole: ****

These two have had a number of singles encounters against each other in ROH, all of which have been won by Adam Cole. I think it’s a little odd that ACH has never been able to best Cole. You would’ve figured that he would’ve gotten at least one victory over the former ROH World Champion, but that wasn’t the case. Fortunately, the one thing that the various matches between these two have in common is that they’re always very good to great. In this particular case, I thought this was their best singles encounter. Their was plenty of exciting action throughout this one, particularly in the second half (the crowd was really into the match as well, which helped out a lot). I don’t know what it is, but these two have amazing chemistry in the ring. Both guys played their roles well, and in particular, ACH busted out some (relatively) new moves from his arsenal, which made the match even more entertaining. The only negative thing I have to say about this match has to do with the finish, as Cole distracted the referee long enough to hit ACH with a low blow, and that led to him picking up the victory.

7.) Eight-Man Tag – The Briscoes & ROH World Tag Team Champions War Machine vs. The All-Night Express, Silas Young, & The Beer City Bruiser: ***3/4

I felt like this had the potential to be pretty good, but it ended up exceeding my exceptions. This was an incredibly entertaining Eight-Man Tag! I think what really helped make it so much fun was the fact that it was a relatively short match, going around eight or nine minutes. The two sides brawled right at the opening bell, and the action from start to finish was fast and furious. It was essentially a mutli-man brawl/sprint (which was a perfect contrast at this point of the show, since we saw at least four matches already that all roughly clocked in around the fifteen minute range), and it created a ton of fun moments. Additionally, everyone involved got a moment to shine, which helped the match a fair deal as well. In the end, Mark Briscoe would get the win for his team after hitting The Beer City Bruiser with a Froggy Bow.

After the match, The Briscoes and War Machine had an intense stare down, which once again teased that these two teams would go to war with each other at some point in the near future.

8.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Lio Rush: ****1/2

Normally, the winner of the Top Prospect Tournament gets awarded a shot at the ROH World TV Title. However, since (then) champion Tomohiro Ishii was busy with New Japan commitments on this particular weekend, Nigel McGuinness granted Lio Rush (the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament Winner) a shot at the ROH World Title against Jay Lethal. Obviously, I don’t think Lio Rush had a realistic chance of winning, but I was still intrigued to see how this match would turn out. What we got would end up being the Match of the Night, and one of the best matches of the entire weekend in Dallas. I thought this was an awesome match!! Of course, there was a ton of great wrestling from start to finish, but what really lifted this match up (in my eyes) was the story told. Lethal came into this match not taking Lio Rush seriously at all. After showing some early fight, Lethal got a little more serious, but still showed disrespect towards Rush, who played an incredible underdog throughout. The latter stages of the match were particularly fantastic, as Rush took the fight to Lethal, and nearly beat him at a few points. Despite his best efforts, Lethal did enough to retain his title, but there’s no question that this was a star-making performance from Lio Rush.

While that match was nothing short of incredible, the biggest thing to come out of this show took place after the match. Lethal showed Rush respect by shaking his hand. He then took the mic and claimed that there was nobody left to challenge him. This brought out….of all people….COLT CABANA!! This was certainly a shock at the time. Cabana hadn’t been in the company since 2011, and it seemed like he would never return, but as everyone knows, you never say never in wrestling. Colt Cabana then cut a passionate, serious promo that was probably one of the highlights of his career (I’m not kidding. It was seriously THAT GOOD of a promo). I won’t go over it word-for-word, because my recap won’t do it justice. You need to see it, in full, for yourself to truly appreciate it. To provide a brief summary, Cabana essentially said that he was willing to step up to the plate to take on Lethal and attempt to capture the title that had alluded him for his entire career.

I should note that watching this promo a year after a fact really put on a spotlight on a MASSIVE opportunity that ROH missed about a month or so after this show, but more on that in a later review.

9.) The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4

Even though Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin aren’t as amazing as they were during their time in TNA (that’s mainly due to multiple injuries that both have suffered over the last several years), I would still consider this to be a dream match. When the dust settled, it definitely met my expectations. While it wasn’t the best match on the show, I still thought it was pretty fantastic!! The Young Bucks were incredible (as they always are), while The Motor City Machine Guns proved that, even though they might be a slight step slower, they can still produce in big matches like this. This match featured some awesome back & forth tag team action from start to finish, and the fans were very much into it. Ultimately, The Young Bucks would score the victory after hitting The Meltzer Driver on Chris Sabin.

After the match, The Young Bucks were celebrating their win when The Addiction ran out and attacked them. The heels had the upper hand for a bit, but The Briscoes came out to make the save. Kazarian got taken out, and Daniels tried to retreat, but he was forced back into the ring. Daniels then ate a four person superkick from the The Motor City Machine Guns & The Young Bucks, followed by a six person superkick from the same two teams plus The Briscoes. The babyfaces celebrated as the show came to a close. I thought this was a nice way to build to the Four-Way #1 Contender’s Match that would take place on Night 2.

Overall: 9.5/10

In my view, this was easily the best ROH event of 2016, and if it wasn’t, it’s certainly in the Top 5 without question. You know a card is fantastic when the worst match is only ***1/2 (that’s discounting the Women of Honor Match, of course, which technically wasn’t presented as part of the main card). Jay Lethal vs. Lio Rush for the ROH World Title stole the show, and it certainly elevated Rush in a huge way. There was fantastic wrestling up and down the card, with four matches cracking (or surpassing) the **** mark, and a few matches falling just below that mark. Shows of this quality from ROH seem to be few and far between in this current era of the company, but when they occur, they’re definitely memorable, and that was the case with this show. Not only was Supercard of Honor X: Night 1 one of the best (if not the best) ROH shows of 2016, but it’s also one of the best ROH events in the last five years. I wouldn’t call anything on this card a Match of the Year Contender, but quality of the show itself was just so fantastic. If you haven’t seen this show already, you need to.

Monday, May 1, 2017

ROH Conquest Tour '16: Philadelphia Review

ROH returns to the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and puts on one of their best shows of 2016!!

ROH Conquest Tour ’16: Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3/12/16


1.) Six-Woman Tag – Kyoko Kimura, Taeler Hendrix, & Veda Scott vs. Jenny Rose, Mandy Leon, & Sumie Sakai: **3/4

So Kyoko Kimura is a very notable women’s wrestler from Japan. It seems a little odd that they would bring her in for a match that wasn’t even on the main card, but it seems like ROH (to this day) is committed to putting out their Women of Honor matches on YouTube and as bonus matches on DVD releases. Now the match itself was actually pretty solid. It was by no means spectacular, but as a whole, I found it to be entertaining for what it was. All six women got a chance to shine at some point during the match, but in the end, Sumie Sakai scored the win for her team after reversing a tombstone piledriver attempt by Taeler Hendrix into a pinning combination.

2.) Gifted Punishment (“God’s Gift” QT Marshall & Punisher Martinez) vs. Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali: ***

It just seems like QT Marshall always finds away to get booked on ROH shows. You may recall that he was used in ROH around 2012-2013, but after that initial run, he’s been making sporadic appearances since. Here, he’s teaming up with Punisher Martinez, who participated in the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament, and they’re taking on Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali, who also participated in the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament. I had no expectations for this match at all, but when the dust settled, it ended up being shockingly good. I mean, it didn’t set the world on fire or anything, but for a pre-show match, this really exceeded my expectations. It clocked in at around five minutes, but it was packed with action from start to finish, and featured a ton of cool spots. All four guys really busted their ass here, and it resulted in an entertaining tag team match. Ultimately, QT Marshall & Punisher Martinez would emerge victorious.

Main Show

The show kicked off with an in-ring promo from Dalton Castle (with The Boys, of course). He mentions that he was supposed to face Kenny Omega, but he wasn’t at the show (I think Omega had visa issues). Castle claims that Omega is ducking him, but adds that if he saw someone like himself (who has the best suplex in wrestling), he would be scared as well. He doesn’t want to leave the fans empty handed, so he announces that right now, he’s going to debut his own talk show featuring live animals, and adds that everyone in the audience is getting a puppy!! That would be awesome, but unfortunately, The All-Night Express interrupted these festivities. Rhett Titus said that Castle got him about excited about puppies (he must’ve thought he was talking about the other kind), but then he realized that he’s in Philly, and the only puppies in Philly are fat thirty year old virgins wearing Bullet Club T-Shirts. A “we want puppies” chant then broke out.

Kenny King then took the mic, and said that ANX has long memories, and they didn’t forget how Philly booed them out of the building at Final Battle when they beat The Briscoes & The Young Bucks in a #1 Contender’s Match. Castle then said that ANX bores him, and used The Boys as a lounge chair, and continued, adding that he promised the fans puppies.....not a couple of pussies! He wants to fight ANX right now! King challenges him to a tag team match, but Castle said The Boys don’t get separated, noting that they’re on a buddy system so they don’t get lost. They then agree to fight in a handicap match, and we’re off to the races!

1.) Three-On-Two Handicap Match – Dalton Castle & The Boys vs. The All-Night Express: **3/4

While the odds are technically against ANX, The Boys aren’t exactly the largest wrestlers in ROH, so it kind of/sort of works out? Anyway, this was a fine opener. There was some solid action throughout, and both sides played their roles very well. It was nice to see The Boys get an opportunity here, as it’s easy to forget that they’re trained wrestlers (who are pretty good, might I add). Dalton Castle & The Boys put up a good fight, but in the end, ANX got the win after hitting brutal simultaneous finishers on The Boys.

ANX continued to attack The Boys after the match until Castle made the save. He managed to hit the Bang-A-Rang on Kenny King, and send ANX packing.

2.) Adam Page & Jonathan Gresham vs. BJ Whitmer & Cedric Alexander: ***1/4

BJ Whitmer gets “Please Retire” chants after he made his entrance. Adam Page & Jonathan Gresham jumped Cedric Alexander during his entrance with Veda Scott. It was odd seeing the babyfaces jump the heels before the start of the match, but there are issues on both sides, so I can forgive it in this instance. These two teams brawled for several minutes on the outside before the bell even rang. As a whole, this was a very fun tag team match featuring two singles feuds that were going on at the time. There was a lot of really good action from start to finish. I actually thought it was very cool that commentary (at one point) brought up how odd it was that Alexander & Whitmer were teaming here, given their past history. They were enemies, but things had changed in two years, and common foes brought them together. Towards the end of the match, BJ Whitmer got a steel chair, and it looked like he was going to use it. In response, Mr. Wrestling 3 handed Adam Page a chair, and this led to Page & Whitmer swinging chairs at each other. Some might complain that a DQ wasn’t called there, but I could give it a pass, since they technically never hit one another with the chairs. Page sent Whitmer to the outside, and he later hit Right of Passage on Cedric for the win. An entertaining undercard tag team match for sure.

3.) Six-Man Tag – The Briscoes & Cheeseburger vs. Moose & ROH World Tag Team Champions War Machine (with Stokely Hathaway): ***3/4

The injured Matt Taven joined Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling 3 on commentary for this one. It was only a couple of shows ago that Cheeseburger was teaming with Moose. Now, they’re on opposite sides in a very fascinating six-man tag. I had a feeling this was going to be good, but it ended up being a little better than I was expecting. This was incredibly entertaining match. It featured a lot of very good action, mixed in with some more lighthearted moments, mainly involving Cheeseburger. He was going to be in unique predicaments no matter what, given the size of his opponents. To be fair to him, he fought with a ton of heart, and The Briscoes were excellent partners for him to have in this situation. Of course, as I’ve already mentioned, we saw some fun action here, but we also continued the slow build to the eventual clash between The Briscoes and War Machine, which would be coming down the road. In the end, Moose would hit the spear on Cheeseburger to score the victory. Everyone shook hands after the match, but it was clear that The Briscoes & War Machine were on a collision course.

4.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title – KUSHIDA vs. ACH: ****1/4

KUSHIDA was brought in for this show as a make-good for Kenny Omega not being able to make it. While it was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see Omega, it was a blessing in disguise, and we ended getting a fantastic singles encounter for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title. I thought this match was awesome!! KUSHIDA was great (as he always is) while ACH had one of his best singles outings in recent memory (at that point). There were some solid exchanges out of the gate, and the match slowly built and built, and it resulted in an incredible second half of the match. There were a number of amazing moments (including some sweet counters) throughout, and the crowd was definitely into it. This really felt like an IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Match that one might see on a major New Japan show, which was pretty cool. KUSHIDA worked on ACH’s arm for the most of the match, and that ended up working out for him in the end, as he got KUSHIDA to submit to the Hoverboard Lock.

5.) Joey “Diesel” Daddiego (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Will Ferrara: *3/4

Before this match began, we got a promo from Taeler Hendrix promo. She mentions that Truth Martini was taken out recently on ROH TV by Donovan Dijak, who used to be part of The House of Truth, before he left in favor of being managed by Prince Nana. Hendrix blamed Dijak for depriving ROH of a genius mind, and tells Dijak to watch what Joey Daddiego does to Will Ferrara. There really wasn’t much to this one. They were having an ok little match until Hendrix ordered Daddiego to attack Ferrara with a steel chair. Daddiego follows orders, and Ferrara ends up winning via DQ. This brings out Donovan Dijak & Prince Nana, and a brawl ensues between Dijak and Daddiego. Security ends up coming out to break things up. Joey Daddiego & Taeler Hendrix bail as Dijak sends them a message by taking out a bunch of security guys.

6.) Adam Cole & Roderick Strong vs. reDRagon: ***3/4

The fans in Philly chanted “2.0” at Cole & Strong for most of this match, which was obviously referencing the fact that those two were (at the time) part of Mount Rushmore 2.0 in PWG. What’s interesting about this match is that, although we have one of the most decorated tag teams in ROH history on one side, this match came about because of two individual rivalries (Cole vs. O’Reilly & Fish vs. Strong), and it was brought up on commentary how rare it is to have members of an established tag team have they own singles rivals. I noticed that some people were a little disappointed by this match, but I really enjoyed. Sure, it wasn’t a great match (and you think it would be, given who was involved), but still, it was very good. reDRagon were, of course, fantastic as they always are, but Cole & Strong worked very well together in this match (though there was one funny moment where there was some miscommunication between the two). After some entertaining back and forth action, Strong got the win for his team out of nowhere after hitting O’Reilly with a jumping knee. I say “out of nowhere”, and while it did feel that way, Strong has actually been using that jumping knee as a finishing move for a number of months, and this was another instance of it being something in Strong’s arsenal that could end a match at any point.

7.) Three-Way Tag Team Match – The Addiction vs. The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4.

So Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin reunited at the 14th Anniversary Show, and would go on to have a tag team encounter with The Addiction in Las Vegas on an episode of ROH TV. They’re facing off once again, but this time, The Young Bucks are involved. Speaking of which, The Young Bucks came out with a broom dressed like Kenny Omega, which they called “broom-ega”. They would end up incorporating the broom into the match. Aside from a few funny moments, this was about as crazy as you would’ve expected. There was nonstop action from start to finish, and bodies were flying all over the place. All three of these teams are great, so it was no surprise that this delivered. While there were certainly a lot of cool things in this match, the coolest by far was the finish. The Addiction won the match after hitting their new finisher, which they call “Best Meltzer Ever”, on Matt Jackson. It’s essentially a spike tombstone piledriver, but with Daniels his B.M.E. into the piledriver, if that makes sense. It’s a pretty crazy move, but it was certainly effective.

8.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Sydal: ***3/4

Sydal earned this title shot after defeating Adam Cole on an episode of ROH TV from Nashville. I thought this was a really good main event, though it certainly wasn’t the best match on the show. There was some very nice wrestling throughout, and I can never fault a match for being technically sound, but it just felt like this main event was missing something. It felt like they were essentially having a pretty good exhibition, and things didn’t get really serious until Lethal shoved Sydal off the top rope, sending through a table, in the closing stages of the match. From there, the final two minutes or so were actually pretty great, but in the end, Lethal would retain after hitting a Lethal Injection. Again, this was really good, but again, there were a number of matches on this show that were better.

Overall: 8.5/10

I think it’s fair to say that this was easily one of the best ROH live events of 2016. Aside from Joey Daddiego vs. Will Ferrara (which was mainly used to establish a feud between The House of Truth and Donovan Dijak), all of the matches on the main card ranged from entertaining, to good, to really good, to pretty freaking great! Match of the Night, for me at least, was honestly a tossup between ACH vs. KUSHIDA and the Three-Way Tag Team Match. The Six-Man Tag, Cole & Strong vs. reDRagon, and the main event were also very good (it’s speaks volumes when the main event was probably the fifth best match on the show). Even the matches on the undercard were fun to watch, and that included the two bouts on the pre-show. The crowd in Philadelphia was great (as they always are) and they were treated to a great night of wrestling. I would definitely recommend checking this show out. It was awesome!!