Hirooki Goto vs. Dalton Castle was a very good match. Castle is being built well, but not rushed, which I appreciate because his fan boys are out of hand. For me to sit and watch Goto inside a ROH ring while the majority of the crowd chants for Dalton Party peacock Castle, makes me feel like I’m in the freaking Twilight Zone. The match ended as it should have, with Goto taking Castle apart and nailing him with his finisher for the one, two, three.
Grudge Match: Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer was an okay match, but the dead crowd made it seem worse than it was. ROH fans despise Whitmer, but they seem neutral about Page, meaning they don’t seem to care about him at all. That’s odd, because you would think that anyone beating up the man that they hate so damn much would lead to that man getting a ton of support, but it didn’t happen. Of course it’s not going to help Page when he loses the match, even though only doing so after Whitmer nails him in the balls when the ref isn’t looking. I suppose this feud continues.
Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels was a solid wrestling match that saw Kazarian intervene far too often, but many of us knew that was happening to lead to the obvious conclusion of Chris Sabin coming to the rescue of Shelly, and reforming the Motor City Machineguns. I’ll admit I popper for that, and I hope they can bring their magic back.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe was an excellent match up that I really enjoyed. All four men “got their shit in,” but they did it in a very smooth, good, way. Several false finishes along the way made it exciting, and you really had no idea who would pull of the win, but keeping to the clear theme of the night, the New Japan stars got the victory here. Kelly and Mr Wrestling III mentioned Big Mike and Tanahashi challenging for the ROH tag titles. Now that would be interesting!
Kazuchika Okada vs. Moose was what I expected. A very solid performance from both men. I could tell that Okada was driving the match, as it should be, but it was so obvious that it was a slight distraction for me. However, I am not saying that Moose isn’t the real deal, because he is. This guy is going to be a big deal before too long. After a lot of back and forth, Okada finally took control and won with the Rain Maker. Who does Moose face next? I certainly hope it’s someone near the top of the card, and that Moose can go over.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Title Match: Champions Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs. ACH, Matt Sydal & Kushida was match of the night, by far. The “Elite” deserve every bit of that name, as they are always amazing to watch. Inserting Omega in AJ Styles spot doesn’t miss a beat, and even as a big time Styles fan, I must say that the Bucks and Omega may be a touch better than the Bucks and Styles, simply because they mesh better. Omega just seems like a third Young Buck. As great as ACH, Sydal, and KUSHIDA are, they just didn’t compare to Omega and the Bucks who are out of this world. The Elite could make these Never Open Weight Six man titles mean a lot, and I hope they do just that.
ROH TV Title Match: Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish actually opened the show, and while it was good, it wasn’t nearly as good as I expected. You could tell this was a last minute match up decision, as none of the men seemed to really click all that well together, and Fish, as is too often the case, was an afterthought, as he never seemed a legit threat to win the title. Thankfully Strong wasn’t dominated by Ishii, as he was over in Japan, but he was soundly defeated by him once again. Where does leave Roddy? Aimlessly wondering in the midcard again it seems. I suspect Fish will challenge for the TV title in a one on one match against Ishii, which should be great if that is what happens.
No DQ ROH Tag Team Title Match: Champions War Machine vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titus was the match few really wanted to see, but was pretty good. At this point in the card having a “fight without honor” was what was needed for a little bit of a change in style, and pace. It was a brutal match, with chairs, tables, and ladders frequently being put to use. Kenny King kicked out of the Fall Out, and no one in this odd crowd cared one bit. ANX has been pushed pretty strongly by ROH, but they lost rather handily tonight, as they should have. I’m anxious to see who the next challenge is for War Machine and as stated earlier, I hope it’s Elgin and Tanahashi.
ROH World Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole was as great as I had hoped it would be, but still not as great as the Elite’s match. Kyle, Adam, and Jay gave it everything they had, and this was another match where you had no clue who would walk away as the winner. The suspense made the match even better than it was, and it was refreshing to see Martini stay out of it completely. Cole and O’Reilly could face each other for the next six months and I wouldn’t complain once, but they couldn’t overcome Lethal as he finished them both off with a double Lethal Injection, further cementing himself as the best wrestler in the world today. I really don’t see any serious challenger for Lethal outside of Okada. Can that match be made? It’s a dream one for sure, but the only way I see Lethal losing any time soon. My second choice is to bring Kenny Omega home to Ring of Honor with a shot against Lethal.
Over all this show was solid. I’d give it an 8/10, with the Eltie match, Moose/Okada match, Elgin and Tanahashi vs The Briscoe’s match, and the main event all being solid reasons to buy the replay if you didn’t catch the live event. Shockingly NJPW simply dominates ROH every time they get together, another reason I see challengers for most ROH title’s coming from New Japan. I’m not complaining though, because NJPW is amazing, and I love them working side by side with ROH, and would love to see it become a full time thing.
ROH Winner Takes All!
Tonight Ring of Honor celebrates their 14th year with a major PPV event, “Winner takes all!” It’s a very good card, especially with New Japan Pro Wrestling working so closely with ROH, as they have been doing over these last few years. Let’s take a look at the match ups that will air tonight, starting at 9pm E.S.T. only on PPV.
* Hirooki Goto vs. Dalton Castle
I’ll admit that Castle’s shtick has grown on me a little, but just a little. He plays the role well, and is a very solid performer in the ring as well, but it still doesn’t “fit” in ROH to me. “The Party Peacock” is just out of place inside the red and black ring. He will absolutely be put to the test tonight by one of New Japan’s greatest, in Goto. I expect Castle to impress, but I more fully expect Goto to beat the living hell out of the Peacock. As such, I am anxious for this match up.
* Grudge Match: Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer
Whitmer is an amazing heel, and extremely hated by the ROH faithful. Page has been “promising” for a long, long, time now. Here’s the chance to make Page start down the road to future greatness, and if anyone can help him to do that, it’s Whitmer. I have to wonder if Page’s feud with Steve Corino is going to play into this. I am nearly certain it will, and my fear with that is Page getting saddled with Colby Corino. While I mean no offense to the rookie Colby, I don’t think teaming them up will help Page, so I hope that doesn’t happen.
* Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels
I am a big fan of Daniels, and would love to see him get a serious run in ROH. I am glad he and Kazarian got the tag titles for a bit, but I’d love to see Daniels with the TV, or even World title before he hangs it up. I suspect though that he’s going to be used to get others over, and here I suspect this begins the build of getting The Motor City Machine Guns back together.
* Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe
Getting into NJPW has lit a fire under Michael Elgin’s butt, and also has the ROH fans back on his side. Teaming with NJPW’s greatest star is absolutely helping him as he transitions into NJPW to fulfil a two year contract he recently signed with them. The Briscoe’s, one of the greatest tag teams in the world, can always be counted on to have terrific matches with anyone. This match will be great, you can count on that.
* Kazuchika Okada vs. Moose
Wow…I mean really…wow. Moose is on such a high level trajectory that he seems headed toward an eventual run as ROH World champion without doubt. For Moose to get a match with Okada, the IWGP champion, shows just how highly he’s thought of by the ROH front office. Don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing against Moose’s worth, but this still shocks me. Okada, one of the top 5 wrestlers in the world, will take Moose to the match of his career. If Moose keeps up, and makes this the match of his career, he will win everyone else over, and become a main event player in both ROH and New Japan.
* NEVER Openweight Six Man Title Match: Champions Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs. ACH, Matt Sydal & Kushida
The Bucks, and Omega, calling themselves “The Elite” are exactly that. Having kicked AJ Styles out of Bullet Club, these three have gone on to show that they are three of the best wrestlers on Earth. Watching them in a six man team is amazing. It’s as if the Young Bucks have always been a trios team. While ACH and Sydal have been a solid team in ROH, and KUSHIDA is incredible, and one of my favorites, I just don’t see that mix holding a candle to the well-oiled machine that is The Elite. Now understand, I am not saying this won’t be one of the best matches on the card, because I am sure it will, I simply don’t see “The Elite” going down. I do dream of seeing Sydal and Ricochet taking on The Bucks in a series of matches, but I’ll have to watch that in NJPW.
* ROH TV Title Match: Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish
I love all three of these guys, but this match still feels weird to me. Ishii winning the ROH TV title felt off. Not because he’s not worthy of it, as he certainly is, but he pretty much dominated Strong, a man that was on fire, and doing very well with his “Roddy vs The World” challenge. Fish, one of the best technical wrestlers anywhere, never seems fully pushed by ROH. I mean he gets big matches, but he never wins any of them, so I don’t see him getting the title here either. What I am concerned about it Ishii keeping the title, while Strong and Fish remain in a feud over nothing. This match will be great though, no doubt. I just hope I like the result.
* No DQ ROH Tag Team Title Match: Champions War Machine vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titus
The fans have fallen out of love with The All Night Express, so they aren’t really behind their big push, making this match awkward. War Machine have been dominate champions, and I expect them to be seriously challenged here, but since Kenny and Rhett aren’t super over, I don’t see them winning the titles here.
* ROH World Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole
I don’t enjoy three ways nearly as much as one on one competition, and we have a three way here for the World title….ugh. No matter how skilled and talented wrestlers are, three ways can never avoid that same old formula of someone laying somewhere for minutes at a time, so two guys can go at it, one on one. Setting that annoyance aside, this should be remarkable. I suspect Lethal retains simply because Cole and O’Reilly will not allow either one to win this. They will give the match away because both would rather see Lethal retain, than for each other to win the title. That doesn’t upset me terribly, because Cole vs. O’Reilly is amazing, and something ROH can actually build their company around for years to come, as long as neither man signs with NXT anytime soon. Lethal is also doing a great job as champion, and having recently joined Los Ingobernables de Japón, bringing a brand new element to the wrestling world.
This card is absolutely “Wrestling Done Right,” and I highly recommend it. I have been vocal as of late about wanting ROH to give us more “story” driven angles, and I stand firm on that, but their in ring product is so good, I’ll remain a big fan even if that never happens. I do wish they’d bring their Anniversary show back to Philadelphia though!