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.
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.
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!!