The show began exactly on time, going from 7:30 to 10:45 with a 20-minute intermission. There were zero IPPV issues on my end with a decent 720 stream throughout. That’s got to be the most organized I’ve ever seen Ring of Honor!
1) GEDO & MOOSE vs. SILAS YOUNG & WATANABE
Moose won over Young with a spear. Moose was pretty over, but there’s still a few people chanting “sucks” after everyone else chants his name. Story of the match was Gedo out-wrestling Watanabe at every turn, and Silas Young yelling at him saying “do I need to show you how it’s done?” Gedo sells to Young a bit and Moose comes in to clean house. A bit of high flying from the 6’5, 295-pounder including big air on a dropkick and a step-up twisting crossbody off the ropes. Young lays out Watanabe after the match.
2) CHIS SABIN vs. KYLE O’REILLY vs. KUSHIDA
Kushida makes Sabin tap to the Fujiwara Armbar. Original plans were Sabin vs. Kushida, but Bobby Fish had travel issues and won’t be here so we got a triple threat. Great stuff from all three guys – high flying from Kushida, lots of technical stuff from O’Reilly and Sabin playing the dirty heel. Kyle did the “Dean Ambrose” recovery clotheslines from the ropes which got a good pop. Lots of big moves near the end with the odd man out making the save each time. Finish came with Kushida countering Sabin’s Cradle Shock DDT into the armbar. A really good match, and they’re playing up Sabin’s involvement with The Addiction and the revenge plot of reDragon.
3) MIKE BENNETT & MATT TAVEN (w/ Maria Kanellis) vs. MATT SYDAL & JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER
Kingdom wins it with a spike piledriver on Sydal, after Taven superkicked him out of the Shooting Star Press in a great spot. This was actually pretty cool, albeit it with a lot of comedy stuff that worked for me. Taven and Bennett played Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who started. Maria ended up being the key factor, as she got up on the apron and did a dance for old man Liger. She shoved his face in her boobs and Steve Corino did a motorboat noise, and Liger turned around into superkicks from the tag champs. Good stuff. Taven and Sydal could put on a 4-star high flying spectacle, but it’s nice to see the self-awareness to do something different than the rest of the card, as nobody else is going to be doing comedy spots on this show.
4) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Okada wins with the Rainmaker, as you’d expect. These guys had the best match so far and work very well together. There were some technical issues in the building with the lights going out, but they powered through and at times actually looked pretty cool working under a blue light in a pitch black building. Lots of back and forth here. Okada came off like the star he is, but Alexander went hard and left it all out there, almost winning a couple of times with the Lumbar Check and the Kick to Kill. Okada hit the Tombstone Piledriver after looking for it all match, and ended it with the Rainmaker. He tried to pay some respect to his opponent after, but Cedric blew him off.
5) RPG VICE vs. THE DECADE vs. THE ADDICTION
Trent and Rocky had the match put away with an Omori Driver (credit Dave Meltzer, I had no idea what that was called) but Kaz and Daniels threw them out of the ring and stole the pin. Not quite as chaotic as you might expect, as things didn’t really break down until the closing sequence. RPG controlled most of the mid-match. The Addiction are heels that didn’t come across as heels, as they’re largely doing the same stuff they’ve always been doing, even demanding they be introduced as the “world tag team champions of the world”. Crowd chanted for whoever they wanted to chant for. The match was alright, but nothing really stood out to me.
6) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. ACH
Nakamura wins with the Boma Ye. Pretty similar structure to the Okada/Alexander match, just with a bit more personality and ego from both guys. ACH tries to mock the signature Nakamura gestures and taunts and gets kicked in the face for his trouble. Moral of the story – don’t disrespect the man. Lots of dropkicks from both men, lots of high flying from ACH. Finish comes with a missed 450 splash, ACH counters the Boma Ye with a front flip kick, but Nakamura hits the Boma Ye anyways.
ROH World TV Championship Match
7) JAY LETHAL (c) vs. TETSUYA NAITO
Lethal wins with the Lethal Injection. Donovan Dijak was out for the House of Truth instead of Truth Martini. Dijak did a bit of interference including a spot that put Naito face first into a steel chair with a drop toehold early on. Lethal controlled about 70% of the match with a slow build towards the Naito comeback. Dijak eventually got himself ejected, but it didn’t matter. Lethal missed the Injection, Naito missed the Stardust Press and the champ tried to steal it with multiple dirty pins. Eventually he connects with the Injection to put it away, after a solid match that didn’t really feel as big as it needed to. The crowd was appreciative, but not what I’d call “hot”. More post-match talk from Lethal, calling his title the best in the world because he holds it; they’re building towards a champ vs. champ match with Briscoe at some point.
8) MICHAEL ELGIN vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI
Tanahashi wins with the High Fly Flow after a hard-hitting match. Elgin came out with the Canadian flag but the crowd wasn’t really especially hot for either one, although Tanahashi obviously got the respect he deserves. Story of the match was Hiroshi out-wrestling the whole thing, and Elgin just steamrolling through him regardless, time and time again. Both guys hit a lot of big moves, sold for a few minutes, hit another big move, etc. Slow match, as expected, but I never really got into it. Tanahashi missed the High Fly Flow, running into the knees, but connected on the second attempt to win. He also did one to the floor earlier on, which got a nice reaction.
9) RING OF HONOR ALL-STARS vs. THE BULLET CLUB
AJ Styles, the Young Bucks, Gallows and Anderson represent the Bullet Club. The All-Stars are Mark and Jay Briscoe, Hanson, Rowe and Roderick Strong. Before the bell all ten guys squared off with the faces extending their hands and the Club all doing the “suck it” taunt at the same time. Corino said “we need 32 camera angles for this” and boy was he right. There were too many big highlights to mention, although they did the obligatory “everyone to the outside” spot which saw somebody suplex somebody else into the entire group. Just a crazy, ridiculously fun match to watch. The finish was great – Styles was going for the Clash on Mark, Roddy hit him with the Sick Kick, then one of the Bucks took a Gut Buster, the Jay Driller and a Froggybow for the 1-2-3. The crowd was really into this one, more so than anything else on the card.
Everyone else leaves and ROH Champion Jay Briscoe and IWGP Champion AJ Styles are the only two left, holding their titles. They shake hands, but Jay Lethal comes out of nowhere and attacks both of them. The show ends with Lethal holding up the TV title over Briscoe.
Overall this was a decent show, with a couple of high spots and not very many low spots at all. This was the first time I made it through an entire Ring of Honor IPPV without a single technical issue (on the internet side anyways, and the lights going out twice didn’t take away from anything). The best match of the night was either the ridiculous main event, Okada/Alexander or Lethal/Naito depending on who you ask; in my opinion it was the first. The Sabin/O’Reilly/Kushida match had a lot of neat stuff in it too, well worth watching. The low points were the 3-way tag or Elgin/Tanahashi, although neither was remotely bad, just not great.
I really enjoy what Bennett, Taven and Maria are doing to separate themselves from the rest of the show. You could say it’s a bit more “WWE influenced”, focusing more on the characters and their antics than the wrestling – in the most strict sense of the word – and in a lot of ways that works, so long as the in-ring stuff is there to back it up. I liked this match a bit more than the Tokyo show where they won the titles, personally.