ROH 361 – All Star Extravaganza 6 – 6th September 2014
I can’t remember how long before this event ROH finally confirmed that this was going to be an iPPV, but much like Death Before Dishonor 11 and Boiling Point 2012 this one has a real lastminute.com vibe to it. The event has barely been mentioned or promoted on television at all, meaning Sinclair are really relying on the die hard fans to carry the buyrate. Clearly this was always planned to be a major show since they’ve chosen to run the historic Maple Leaf Gardens venue again – so it just seems weird to have a big show getting almost zero play on the weekly television show. Thankfully the card is pretty decent as far as Ring Of Honor events go. The main event is a 2/3 Falls rubber match for the Tag Titles with reDRagon once again locking horns with the precocious Young Bucks. The undercard packs a real punch too – with AJ Styles facing Adam Cole in a ‘first time ever’ dream match, The Addiction looking to settle their issues with The Decade, Jay Lethal defending the TV Title against someone (after his original opponent, ACH, no-showed) and the keenly-awaited World Championship showdown between Michael Elgin and Jay Briscoe. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are stationed at ringside in Toronto, ONT.
Fake James Earl Jones voiceover guy gives us dictionary definitions of the terms ‘All Star’ and ‘Extravaganza’ over the opening video package. It’s almost as cringeworthy as Kevin Kelly’s horrible opening narrative – calling Corino ‘King’ like it’s Monday Night Raw, and inviting everyone to the ‘Superkick Party’ like he’s hosting a kids TV show. Apologies to start on a downer, but as I’ve said multiple times I’m not a big fan of the guy!
The House Of Truth crash the show looking extremely happy since ACH hasn’t showed up at the arena today. Cedric Alexander interrupts them and points out that he too doesn’t have a match tonight because Silas Young is out injured. Since he has a pinfall victory over Lethal in the Golden Gauntlet he thinks that qualifies him for a TV Title shot. After some awkward verbal exchanges (neither guy is great with a live microphone) Jay accepts…then accidentally superkicks Seleziya Sparx.
Mark Briscoe vs Hanson
War Machine and the Briscoes have engaged in some pretty ferocious battles recently. They fought to consecutive non-finishes at live events and television…before Raymond Rowe was unfortunately put on the injured list after a road traffic accident. It means Hanson is now going it alone for the time being, and now fights a Briscoe in singles competition still looking to prove he is tougher than the Ring Of Honor veteran.
Realizing the size of the task in front of him, Mark starts the match trying to hit hard and stay out of the clutches of the big man. It’s an approach which is successful for less than a minute for Hanson flies into him with a tope suicida. In truth most of the opening period in this match is so dull that even Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino can barely concentrate on it. They make it pretty clear that Mark can’t out-strike or over-power Hanson…yet all his offence consists of failed suplex attempts and no sold strikes. Hanson does his best to dial things up a notch with the cartwheel lariat then a SUPLEX KNEE STRIKE for 2 though it barely raises the crowd from their slumber. Redneck Kung Fu gradually knocks Hanson down to a knee – sufficiently injuring him so Briscoe can finally hit a suplex. Suicide dive from the top rope to the floor nailed! That’s more like it…and Mark swiftly follows up on it with a Dude Love Elbow from the apron. He tries one high-flying move too many though and is caught and dumped into the Bronco Buster. HANSON MISSES A MOONSAULT! Froggy Bow to the back gives Briscoe the victory at 08:45
Rating – * – It picked up down the back straight, but this was a pretty horrible match to start the show with on the whole. Mark wrestled this like he didn’t give a sh*t. It doesn’t give me great pleasure typing that, but he was so lazy in this match it defied belief. ROH are trying really hard to establish Hanson as this powerful, dangerous competitor…and they are struggling with it. Despite being a prominent part of ROH television all year, he continues to get minimal crowd reaction at every stop on the ROH circuit and Mark’s performance here did him no favours. For 90% of this match Briscoe basically did nothing except punches and ill-advised suplex attempts to the point where it looked retarded. Nobody was buying that he was as lethal or powerful a striker as Hanson, and it got to the point where it was murdering Hanson’s credibility. And for the life of me I don’t know why Hanson didn’t go over here. He went over Roderick Strong two shows previously, and in my mind Roddy is a far more established Ring Of Honor main event level talent than Mark Briscoe will ever be. Mark basically squashing someone who ROH have spent most of 2014 trying to build is retarded. It all boiled down to a pretty terrible start to the show.
As Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly discuss the World Title Match coming later, Tommaso Ciampa hops the rail and enters the ring despite being suspended from the company after his assault on Bobby Cruise at Death Before Dishonor. Ciampa tries to apologise to Bobby before Nigel McGuinness comes out and cuts his microphone.
Monster Mafia vs BJ Whitmer/Adam Page vs Caprice Coleman/Takaaki Watanabe vs RD Evans/Moose
Although this is the very definition of a filler match, at least there are plenty of simmering angles under the surface to keep things interesting. Page teams with BJ Whitmer tonight, whilst Tadarius Thomas sits out the show. That’s because BJ has been impressed by Adam’s recent growth as a performer so picked him to be his partner tonight. The Decade have beef with both Monster Mafia and Caprice Coleman too. They defeated Alexander and Owens at Death Before Dishonor, and supposedly dislike the Monsters trying to force their way into ROH with flashy moves and a crowd-pleasing style. They also have an extensive disagreement with Caprice as to how to mentor young wrestling talents. Coleman has taken Watanabe under his wing like he did to Cedric Alexander in the past – which annoyed Decade as they had their eyes on making the New Japan visitor their latest young boy. And obviously any time RD Evans is wrestling it means the ‘New Streak’ is on the line. Will his new team with Moose be enough to keep the streak alive here? This will be competed under Scramble rules.
Moose is painfully not over, and sucking the life out of RD’s gimmick by association too. Page is still looking to snatch opportunities and does so again by holding nothing back as he lays it in with Watanabe. Whitmer amusingly orders him out of the ring as soon as he’s done his job and cleared the ring of both Taka and Caprice. Alexander looks to use his superior wrestling skills on Moose…who swats him away with a single headbutt. Coleman launches himself into a springboard moonsault to the floor taking the majority of the field out. Then Evans stands on Moose’s shoulders to hit a FLYING WOLVERINE TO THE FLOOR! Not satisfied with that Moose then tosses Watanabe over the top rope onto everyone as they’re still recovering. Page tries to convince BJ to hit a dive spot…so Whitmer grabs his young boy and heaves him over the ropes at them instead! Moose completes things with a less-than-elegant somersault plancha, though at least he finally gets a reaction from the fans. Somersault lariat from Page to Coleman, only for Watanabe to save with a spinning back drop for 2. Moose accidentally takes out his own partner with the flipping Spear…and only just kicks out of Whitmer’s Exploder ’98. LOCH NESS LOWDOWN on Page! Monster Mafia look like they have it won, only for Moose and RD to sneak in and pin them for a streak-prolonging win at 09:30
Rating – ** – There were some negatives in this match, but plenty of positives as well. Any time BJ Whitmer and Adam Page interacted it was lots of fun, whilst Caprice Coleman looked pretty crisp whenever he was in there. Most of the dive sequence looked great, and Monster Mafia made the most of their stuff despite barely getting any chance to shine. I have so little interest in seeing Moose he actually makes me miss Cheeseburger, but if you can get past him (as well as Watanabe’s rather anonymous presence) this was half decent.
Ramon and Moose look far less pleased about the Streak stretching to 150-0 than RD Evans does.
SIDENOTE – I think this was Monster Mafia’s last ROH booking for the time-being. The infamous border crossing/visa issues suffered by Michael Elgin and Seleziya Sparx in the aftermath of this show has made ROH think twice about booking talent who simply don’t have the right visas to work in the United States. #AllEGO posted an ominous ‘RIP Ethan Gabriel Owens’ tweet and they’ve not been seen since this match. Having said that, it could have been much worse for them. Elgin was very public about getting stranded in Canada, away from his wife and home after this and needed plenty of assistance from the Ring Of Honor office to finally get back into the US. Seleziya Sparx was even more unlucky and has reportedly been given a five year ban from even entering USA – which obviously means we won’t be seeing much of her in ROH, or any other American company for a while. Hopefully she can work that out because not being able to enter America really limits her ability to get work…
Roderick Strong/Jimmy Jacobs vs The Addiction
At Field Of Honor The Decade interfered in Daniels and Kazarian’s Tag Title rematch against reDRagon. Their presence wound up costing Addiction the match so they come looking to vent their frustration on them. Jacobs and Strong, however, remain thoroughly pissed off that their opponents this evening are even a part of Ring Of Honor. They take offence to Daniels repeatedly leaving the ROH for TNA, then coming back whenever he has a falling out with that company (they have a point), and are equally unhappy that Kazarian has accomplished very little in this company yet immediately finds himself in a high profile slot.
Kazarian jumps Jacobs and sends him straight out of the ring to get the match started. Daniels dives out after him with a tope suicida, making it clear that Addiction are all business tonight. Kaz lands a slingshot DDT on Jacobs…but then tries the same thing on Strong and finds it countered into a cradle backbreaker. In one single, devastating moment of offence The Decade have turned the tide of the match in their favour. Olympic Slam scores…then Roddy picks Jacobs up and sentons him off his own shoulders for a nearfall. On commentary Steve Corino likens Decade’s approach to young boys to Taz and Bubba Ray Dudley in ECW which I find interesting. I like the contrast in styles from Strong and Jacobs here, as Roderick seems intent on picking apart Frankie’s back whilst Jimmy tosses his body around and wildly looks to hurt him in any manner possible. The hot tag inevitably comes though, bringing in a rejuvenated Fallen Angel. His momentum is cut down with a rebound cutter/urinage backbreaker sequence. Death By Roderick/Spear combo gets 2 before Frankie saves! Addiction hit the pancake bomb on Jacobs, then Total Elimination on Strong. Back suplex lungblower wins it for them at 10:59 – which apparently puts them back at the front of the queue for another title shot.
Rating – *** – It never felt particularly exciting, but at least this one featured solid, logical wrestling which told a sensible story and didn’t make anyone in the ring look like a fool. The Addiction keep getting stuck working these limited, midcard tag matches which is a real shame because they are capable of much better. Any time they’ve been given a chance (the Bucks match on TV, the 8-man at Death Before Dishonor or their debut at Best In The World) they’ve really impressed. I think they are still waiting for a big, breakthrough, GREAT match to really get them over with the Ring Of Honor fans. Daniels is permanently very popular but much like Moose with RD Evans, he is being dragged down by Kazarian. I continue to enjoy the work of The Decade though. Whitmer and Page were my favourite parts of the Scramble Match, and my favourite aspect of this one was the way Jacobs and Strong utilised totally different but equally effective strategies during their isolation of Kaz.
Roderick Strong wants to show respect and shake Daniels’ hand after the match…only to be shoved back and admonished for doing so by Adam Page. Strong wants to beat him up for that, but Whitmer saves Page. Roddy and BJ then get into a heated argument before Jimmy Jacobs cools them off.
Adam Cole vs AJ Styles
This one should be a hell of a contest. Adam Cole has had an exceptional year in ROH. As World Champion, and even after losing the belt he has served as a focal point for the main event scene and stepped up as one of the biggest stars the company has. But the man across the ring from him has had an even better 2014. Styles departed TNA, rejoined ROH and has gone on to become perhaps the best wrestler in the world this year. He is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, he has only lost once in ROH all year and is now petitioning Ring Of Honor officials to give him a shot at the ROH Title. Despite neither man holding that belt, the ROH Championship is on the minds of both competitors here. After losing the fall to Michael Elgin at Field Of Honor, Cole is now at the back of the contendership line whilst Elgin holds the belt. He badly needs to rectify recent losses and defeat top contenders like AJ if he is to earn another rematch. And likewise, Styles will know his case for a title shot becomes even harder to ignore if he can defeat the former champion tonight.
Cole looks pumped for this and demonstrates how fired up he is by spitting in AJ’s face in the first minute. They botch a basic leapfrog early, and I gain a lot of respect for the Toronto fans as barely anyone criticises them for it, and instead loudly start cheering for Styles when he repeats the sequence and lands his dropkick. In an instant he tries to trap Cole in the Calf Killer – which has him scrambling for the bottom rope. Corino makes a great point about AJ needing longer to recover between matches thanks to his age…and almost instantly has it proven as Styles takes too long climbing the ropes and gets shoved to the floor. Sensibly he doesn’t want to trade spots or work a quick pace with Styles, and he pulls him back into the ring to work a basic chinlock. It’s too early for the Figure 4…so he shuts AJ down again with the Shining Wizard instead. Just when it seems like Adam is starting to control proceedings, he experiences exactly why Styles has been considered the best in the world this year as AJ rips into him with a barrage of strikes. It’s to his credit that he survives that and has enough left to fire back on the IWGP Champ with a Death Valley neckbreaker. He then SUPERKICKS THE LEG from under him as he looks for the Phenom DDT and finally starts going to work on the leg. He uses a REALLY sloppy Figure 4 around the ringpost, and since that’s the third pretty obvious miscue of the match fans do start to call him on it. Styles tries a nip-up rana…but again Cole grabs his bad leg – and he uses it to apply the Figure 4 Leglock! Somehow AJ makes the ropes, before crawling under them to deliver a BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON! 450 SPLASH NAILED! But he further injures his leg executing the move and is barely in position to capitalise. Cole superkicks him in the stomach…then charges looking for another Shining Wizard and EATS a lariat! AJ’s brainbuster is countered into Cole’s cradlebreaker for 2 though. Panama Sunrise countered…INTO THE STYLES CLASH! And again his leg hurts so much he can barely cover! Styles thinks about the Spiral Tap – which again isn’t the smartest move when you think about his knee. Cole catches him with a ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX! FLORIDA KEY! FOR 2! Neither man has a lot left and both look fatigued as they desperately swing elbows. GAMENGIRI BY AJ! NO SOLD! SUPERKICK BY COLE! NO SOLD! PELE KICK GETS 2! In an attempt to get away from Styles, Adam crawls all the way up the ropes – and into an AVALANCHE BLOODY SUNDAY! STYLES WINS! It’s over at 23:16
Rating – **** – These two are such world class performers, and they will probably feel as disappointed as anyone about the minor sloppiness in the first half as well as spending WAY too long on the top rope setting up that finish. Despite those minor flaws, this was still a cracking match and leaps ahead of anything else on the show so far. As has so often been the case in 2014, an AJ Styles match told an awesome story. Cole was dominated early, but fuelled by a frantic desire to beat AJ and force his way back into the title picture, he came agonisingly close to becoming only the second man since Elgin to do it. He injured the leg, he got to apply the Figure 4, and even landed the Florida Key but in the end simply couldn’t do enough damage to put away the tenacious IWGP Heavyweight Champion. I felt that Styles really put Cole over as much as he could here, in that he sold for him pretty well and utilised a ‘special occasion’ finisher rather than the Styles Clash to beat him.
Adam Cole looks devastated at the loss, and leaves the ring as he entered it – by spitting at AJ.
INTERMISSION – The main event gets some serious hype with two separate music video packages showing highlights of the first two reDRagon/Bucks matches. Nigel McGuinness then joins commentary for the second half of the show.
Maria Kanellis and Michael Bennett are the first acts out after the interval. On the pre-show she wore a red PVC trench-coat and implied that she would strip during the pay-per-view. She announces that ‘Matt’ is coming back to ROH…then removes the coat to reveal the ICONIC Title. It’s been pimped up with pink fur and is now called the ‘Title Of Love’. Bennett wants to nail her in the middle of the ring, but Mark Briscoe ruins the moment by running them off.
Jay Lethal vs Cedric Alexander – ROH TV Title Match
Originally we were going to see ACH get his big TV Title rematch after pushing Lethal to the limit in a 30-minute draw on Episode 153 on the SBG show. But he missed his flight (or, if you believe some sources – several flights, whilst going AWOL and ignoring his phone) meaning he isn’t here tonight. And we were also supposed to be seeing Cedric Alexander meet Silas Young in a battle of two of the biggest rising ROH stars of the year…until Silas picked up an injury and now looks set to miss the rest of the year. Opportunity knocks for Cedric though, as he crashed the House Of Truth’s party at the start of the night and demanded the title shot he felt he was owed after pinning Lethal in the Golden Gauntlet on TV last month. Match Maker Nigel McGuinness agreed to his demands, as did Lethal, so this one is officially booked. Can Cedric make the most of this opportunity?
540 Kick from Alexander right out of the gate…before he nearly kills himself attempting a tope suicida through the turnbuckles to the floor. Aside from that there is a real snap in everything he does though. He dominates for minutes at a time, with the idea being that he is firing off offence with ease as Lethal struggles to adopt his game to a different opponent. Finally Jay resorts to raking the eyes…and behind the ref’s back Martini WIPES CEDRIC OUT as he attempts a springboard move from the apron. Alexander took an insane bump on that. Instantly the snap in his offence vanishes, and even after hitting a swinging DDT out of the corner he stays down on the canvas struggling to recover. Lethal has taken some serious punishment as well though, and it’s finally Alexander who is up first. He reels off Three Amigos…only to see his springboard lariat blocked. Lethal Combination COUNTERED with a rebound enziguri! Overtime COUNTERED TO THE KOJI CLUTCH! Lethal Injection blocked, so Jay lands the Lethal Combo instead for 2. Smirking since we’re in Canada, Jay stalks his opponent and sets up a tribute to Bret Hart Sharpshooter. When the crowd start to boo that, he then generates more heat by lining up SWEET CHIN MUSIC instead! Alexander blocks and converts to a Michinoku Driver though. SPRINGBOARD SUPER RANA! Cedric has it won but finds himself distracted by Seleziya. IMPACT EXPLOSION DROPKICK ON SELEZIYA! LUMBAR CHECK! LETHAL KICKS OUT! Kick 2 Kill blocked into the CLIMAX by Lethal! LETHAL INJECTION wins it at 15:39
Rating – *** – Watching the ppv live I wasn’t into this match. However, I have to say that on second viewing I found it really enjoyable. As ever with the House Of Truth it was totally overbooked, and if I’m honest I felt the story they were telling got thrown out of the window for high spots in the last few minutes but on the whole this was all good stuff. I loved the psychology of Cedric Alexander bossing the match, even against an experienced athlete like Lethal, simply because Jay had prepared for ACH rather than him. It made the opening part of the match engaging, and in turn made it totally logical that Martini interfered since Lethal was getting his ass handed to him. Jay himself produced a really strong heel performance too. The Bret/Shawn references in Canada were comical, I loved the idea of him lifting the Climax as a move now he’s run Matt Taven out of ROH (or it seemed like it anyway) and as usual his mannerisms and general demeanour were perfect for drawing heat. He continues to excel in the House Of Truth role in a way Taven never did. Had they held the match together, and not turned it into a bit of a spot-fest in the last few minutes my rating may have been higher.
Weirdly Truth Martini doesn’t seem too concerned about the unconscious Seleziya, and instead encourages Jay Lethal to concentrate on (and celebrate) his TV Title victory.
Michael Elgin vs Jay Briscoe – ROH World Title Match
In a pre-match promo Elgin proclaims that he’ll be the babyface in Toronto, and the fans will love him. I’m sceptical about whether this will be the case. He is still on his quest to become the most dominant ROH Champion ever. He wants to rack up more defences than anyone else, and wants to hold it longer than anyone else. Tonight he continues with his mission to defeat as many former champs as possible – which means giving the only man never to LOSE the World Title a shot. Jay’s hype coming into this is based around the fact that he hasn’t been pinned in ROH in over two years. That’s another record Elgin would love to break – just as much as Briscoe would love to regain the belt he feels should never have been taken from him in the first place in 2013.
Elgin wears the Canadian flag to the ring and even then only gets a lukewarm response. He sets his stall out early and clobbers the challenger into the corner repeatedly. When it comes to brawling and trading punches Jay can hang with the best of them though…so Elgin realises he has to change his game and does so by hitting a somersault leg drop across the neck. The high risk move does more than enough to break down Jay’s defences, allowing Unbreakable to hoist him up for the 60 second suplex. He dropkicks Briscoe out of the ring as if to emphasise his control in the first five minutes. Jay tries to strike back with elbows and strikes, only for them to be dusted off so Elgin can steamroll him into the guardrails. Back suplex on the apron next, executed as the desperate Briscoe started looking under the ring for weapons just to stave the monstrous champion off. ST-JOE THROUGH AN OPEN CHAIR! DEAD-LIFT GERMAN! Elgin is destroying Briscoe now and starts to sense that the end is nigh. Buckle Bomb blocked by a frantic Jay, who rattles off an elbow and the Rude Awakening just to keep himself alive in the match. Nigel and Corino speculate as to whether age and injuries mean that Jay simply isn’t the same worker he was last year when he last won the title. Elgin smashes into his torso and face again with the diving Codebreaker…and cuts his head off with a lariat for 2. Dead-lift superplex blocked into a running DVD…but it leaves Jay down on the ground in as much pain as the guy who just took the move. Jay Driller countered to a leg stunner, and as Briscoe writhes in pain from that Michael steps through into the Sharpshooter. Somehow Briscoe doesn’t tap out and crawls to the apron – ominously in front of the timekeeping table. JAY DRILLER THROUGH THE TABLE! FOR 2! Was that Briscoe’s last chance? Both men need the ropes to stand, with a defiant Elgin refusing to be put down. BACK FIST! BUCKLE BOMB! ELGIN BOMB COUNTERED TO THE JAY DRILLER! JAY WINS! He is the second ever 2-time ROH World Champion at 20:53
Rating – **** – Like Lethal/Cedric, I enjoyed this one far more on second viewing. First time around I found it a tad ponderous, but that may have been the effects of watching it on a slightly choppy ppv feed in the early hours of the morning in the UK. Giving it my full concentration, I thought this was great. I loved how they played the title change out, and felt it protected Elgin as much as possible whilst getting the belt off him. Jay’s win was portrayed more as a ‘puncher’s chance’, as he got his ass kicked for most of the match, and ultimately benefited from a fortunate table bump. I have to say, I really felt the emotion on a repeat viewing. The last minute or so, with the super-determined Elgin succumbing to his injuries but absolutely refusing to stop fighting, taking on the battle-weary, broken down and seriously fatigued Jay Briscoe was a genuinely memorable moment. Neither of these two are my favourite singles workers in Ring Of Honor right now, and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this as a title match. Happily they really proved me wrong
SIDENOTE – I know there were a number of contributing factors, but does ROH’s decision to hastily get the belt off Michael Elgin here not add weight to the claims many of us were making back in June that they should never have taken the belt away from Cole in the first place? Cole was seriously hitting his stride as World Champion back then…and since then the World Title picture has really taken a backwards step. It’s not all Elgin’s fault and to defend him, he’s produced a number of really strong title defences. However, he simply doesn’t have the ability to connect with a crowd like Cole does, and behind the scenes he struggled to be the kind of corporate personality Ring Of Honor needs from their top guy either. From getting into arguments with fans on Twitter, to bizarre Facebook rants, to putting Trevor Lee over on a PWG show without permission, behind the scenes his title reign seemed full of issues that they just weren’t having with Adam Cole. I’m happy for Jay Briscoe, to get another crack, and I really like the long-term booking paying off with him not having been pinned in so long. But I can’t shake the feeling that Ring Of Honor would be in a much better place right now if they’d not given Elgin the belt in the first place. Elgin’s credibility at the top of the card is shot, Cole’s career is at a crossroads, and we now have a World Champion we’ve seen hold the belt before and who doesn’t really have any fresh opponents because he’s spent most of the last couple of years beating everyone. Creatively Delirious will have to earn his money to book his way out of this. I’m not sure he’ll find many that disagree with the decision to get the belt off Elgin though.
SEPTEMBER 27TH – Matt Sydal returns to ROH at the Wheeling, WV television tapings…
reDRagon vs Young Bucks – ROH Tag Title 2/3 Falls Match
This has been amongst Ring Of Honor’s top rivalries in 2014. At Raising The Bar weekend we saw the Bucks defeat reDRagon to end their second Tag Title reign. Fish and O’Reilly were furious as it was the second time ROH officials had brought a part-time team from New Japan in to take their belts away. They petitioned for a rematch, and received one at War Of The Worlds. With a little help from UFC fighter Tom Lawlor, they regained the belts in a match many people consider to be ROH’s MOTY (although I preferred the first one). Having traded the belts and wins back and forth, we now come to the rubber match. There is so little between the teams we have a 2/3 Falls stipulation in place. Can reDRagon once again prevail, or will they once again lose the belts to one of the most entertaining, explosive and successful tag teams in independent wrestling history.
Nigel encouraging these guys to start slowly and think about their strategies in the first fall seems like hopelessly misplaced advice. The two teams brawl straight to the floor, with the Bucks giving Kyle a double biel on the floor then hitting the handspring back rake on Fish against the railings. O’Reilly grabs a hockey stick from somewhere and swings it wildly in the direction of the Jacksons…who flee into the ring for tandem tope suicidas. Both teams look to work as many double teams as possible, whilst keeping their opponents apart therefore preventing them from hitting combo moves back the other way. Nick hits a LAUNCHPAD SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Fish then spears Matt into the guardrails…before Nick rolls into the tornado DDT from the apron to the floor on Kyle. Steen-ton Bomb gets 2…before O’Reilly makes the save by breaking the hockey stick over Nick’s back. CHASING THE DRAGON! reDRagon win the first fall at 06:38. Not only do they win the fall, but they also start the second fall with Nick Jackson in the ring and isolated from his brother. O’Reilly in particular is savage in his attack on the midsection…until Nick hits a frantic superkick on the apron! Hot tag to Matt…and not content with that Nick absolutely KILLS Fish with a running kick. More Bang For Your F*ck blocked into a DOUBLE ALARM CLOCK by reDRagon! KNEE STRIKE REGALPLEX COMBO! Chasing The Dragon evaded this time, into a superkick on Fish! EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S! MORE BANG FOR YOUR F*CK ON THE F*CKING FLOOR! EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S ON O’REILLY! SUPERKICK PACKAGE PILEDRIVER COMBO! The Bucks pin Fish and level the match at 13:34. Kyle has to rescue the unconscious Fish from More Bang For Your Buck – dropping both challengers with the double dragon screw. ARM-AGEDDON on Matt! SOMERSAULT PESCADO BY FISH! In the ring O’Reilly has transitioned to a guillotine choke – but that hangs him in the air in prime position for a 450 SPLASH by Nick! MELTZER DRIVAAAAAA! FISH SAVES! Nick tries to take him out with a tope but inadvertently wipes out referee Paul Turner instead. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK COUNTERED TO A TRIANGLE CHOKE! AS FISH FALCON ARROWS MATT THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPING TABLE! ARM-AGEDDON! MATT TAPS! reDRagon win 2-1 and retain the Tag Titles at 18:21
Rating – **** – I’m not sure I’m the best person to comment on the reDRagon/Bucks series in ROH. My favourite is the Raising The Bar match that everyone seems to have forgotten. Everyone else seems to think the War Of The Worlds rematch is one of ROH’s matches of the year, whereas I really didn’t like the Tom Lawlor stuff and actually found it to be the worst of the trilogy. Meanwhile this is the one a lot of critics haven’t rated as highly…and I thought it was fantastic. They got plenty of time (though the 2/3 Falls stipulations contributed very little), hit an absolute barrage of nifty spots almost from the opening minute, referenced their previous encounters well and it ended with a definitive victory for reDRagon that seriously puts them over as one of the top teams anywhere in wrestling. This one also had the added benefit of the Young Bucks lifting Kevin Steen spots as well. If I’m being critical this perhaps lacked the drama of the closing stretch at Raising The Bar (and the obvious excitement of a title change), but I still enjoyed the hell out of this. Definitely my second favourite of the trilogy
The Young Bucks get a standing ovation…but as they prepare to leave Tommaso Ciampa comes back through the crowd and destroys them. PROJECT CIAMPA on Matt! He then starts tearing up the ring apron to expose the bare wooden boards that form the base of the ring. NECKBREAKER ON THE EXPOSED WOOD FOR NICK! The show fades out there…
Tape Rating – *** – I find myself being negative at points during many ROH reviews at the moment, and/or bemoaning the corporate ROH era and harping back to the ‘golden days’. But somewhere during this show it struck me that watching ROH in 2014 is actually really similar to watching it in the first year and a half. The main event scene and occasional guest stars absolutely carry the show (just as Low Ki, Danielson, Daniels and AJ did in 2002), whilst much of the undercard ranges from forgettable, to skippable to downright bad. That description perfectly fits this show as well. When you looked at the line-up you could pick out three obvious main events – and they all delivered. AJ/Cole, Elgin/Briscoe and reDRagon/Bucks were all outstanding matches. They were all very different from each other, but nonetheless reaching a seriously high quality threshold and more than enough to carry this show to a solid 3* recommendation. But (as with many 2002 shows), the undercard can pretty much be skipped in its entirety. Lethal/Cedric was pretty decent, but nothing else will really trouble you. The Addiction and The Decade are under-utilised, the Hanson/Mark Briscoe match was more retarded than a Special K vs SAT Scramble Match…speaking of which, this show even has a pointless, forgettable undercard Scramble as well. As I said, this one is a comfortable recommend for the World Title change and the three awesome main event matches. If you’re in a rush you won’t miss anything if you don’t watch the rest of the show though…
Top 3 Matches
3) Michael Elgin vs Jay Briscoe (****)
2) AJ Styles vs Adam Cole (****)
1) reDRagon vs Young Bucks (****)