We’re in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Lakefront Arena. Mania weekend is over so I’m picking up the pieces, staring with this breezy and hopefully short show from ROH.
Fuck’s sake. Come on, lads, that Kaiju Big Battel show won’t review itself and I still have CZW to watch*
*I’m not doing that.
Hangman Page vs. Kota Ibushi
There was a load of dark matches too but time is limited so I’m heading right into the meat of the card so I’m not stuck in NOLA forever.
This is Ibushi’s first match in ROH in America since 2008 when he bested El Generico. Hangman Page is someone that’s not held in any regard outside of America but in ROH his reputation has been rapidly improving over the past year. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in this slot. However he’s definitely a side-kick and feeding him to Kota is saying that he’s not important in the big scheme of things. This is the kind of match that would get pretty much ignored in NJPW but seeing as it’s Kota in the USA, in front of 6000 fans, it gets enormous reactions. Although it’s not short of craziness and Ibushi actually hits a German suplex off the guardrail!
I give the Bullet Club fans a lot of shit (because they deserve it) but at least they make a load of noise. That almost makes this preferable to EVOLVE and the dry atmosphere at their shows. It’s helped by these two hitting a bunch of crazy shit. I’m especially impressed by Page who totally hangs with Ibushi and doesn’t look outclassed. It’s a great little match. When they start trading on strikes the crowd gets massively into it. Kamigoye finishes and this was fantastic. Holy shit. If the whole show is this good it’ll be a blinder.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Kelly Klein vs. Sumie Sakai
Wait, this is the final? Klein beat Mayu Iwatani earlier.
Sumie has been in ROH since the start. She was on show 2 (I think). She beat Tenille Dashwood earlier. It’s bizarre to me that they had Iwatani vs. Dashwood *right there* and neither of them made the final. I remember telling someone last week how fired up I was to see Iwatani/Dashwood and figured Dashwood was an easy pick for the tournament win. Instead, and no offence, we ended up with this? Klein is ok and is improving. Sakai is well into her 40s and they’re doing a ‘one last run’ thing with her. Which is fine, as long as she wins here and does a Jerry Lynn. Otherwise you’re just trying to force heat onto Klein, which isn’t going to work. The implication is that Klein is making a name at the expense of others and ROH are trying to create a star in her but Kelly has been wrestling for a decade. They botch the finish with Sakai narrowly missing a moonsault and then Sakai having to recover to hit the DDT and get the belt. Oh shit, Sakai won! I take back some of the booking criticisms. If one of these two had to win it’s Sumie. She brings a tonne of history with her. Klein was in a bad spot. I feel for her.
Final Rating: **
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship
SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (c) vs. The Young Bucks & Flip Gordon
You can tell this is Bullet Club Country from the reactions here. Jesus Christ. Young Bucks ladder match = crazy old spotfest. That’s exactly what happens. Last year they had an insane ladder match against the Hardyz that I had pegged as the best match anywhere Mania weekend. Flip Gordon flies around here like he’s got something to prove. Hopefully it’s not that the earth is flat. My favourite thing about this match is that they don’t do stupid slow climbing. They’re racing up that damn ladder! They do a load of insane jumps onto the ladder and they all hit! It’s such an exhilarating match up. At one point the Bucks backdrop Flip and he turns it into a 450 Splash onto a ladder in mid-air. It’s nuts.
Flip kills it at every step. His kip up dodges of Daniels doing the Terry Funk helicopter is next level! I love it. Matt Jackson has a perfect out for fucking up at the moment. Every time he doesn’t connect on something he just sells his back. I don’t even know if the miscues are intention! It’s brilliant.
Between Matt’s selling and Flip’s flips the match is a total winner for me. Nick doing a quadruple springboard dive off three ladders is madness. The Kingdom run in unfortunately and ruin everything. Both teams join together to get rid of them but that run in was so needless. This is your showcase! Nobody gives a fuck about the Kingdom. The match continues and Flip DIES, taking a bump neck first onto the top of the ladder. Not a controlled bump, mind you, he fell onto it from standing on top of the ladder. The bumps in this match are completely nuts. Flip must be legitimately out of his mind to even consider them. I like how they do all these crazy fucking spots to the floor and then Chris Daniels decides not to do a table spot and just climb the ladder instead! I mean, why would you table someone when you can win the match instead? This saves the table for Daniels to push Matt off the ladder through the table to the floor and Daniels pulls the belts down to retain. Holy shit that was crazy. This match would have been even better without the dumb run in from the Kingdom. One of the best matches of the weekend.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Sidenote: it’s weird to me they did a match in the Intermission and the Motor City Machine Guns were in it! What? And do they understand what an intermission is?
ROH Tag Team Championship
The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jay Lethal
Tana and Jay is a bit of a weird combination. It’s odd to me that Andy Q gets NJPW guys and usually puts them in interesting matches and ROH get the same guys and just throw them in these weird fucking matches that no one wants. Tana tries to be playful with Mark, doing Karate Kid poses but Mark spits in his face. This gets him a dragon screw and he fucking deserves it. You don’t spit on the Ace! What are you the Ace of Mark? It ain’t dentistry, sensitivity and personal grooming. The Briscoes were ahead of their time in tag wrestling but the scene caught up with them and has, in many ways, passed them by. It helps that many modern teams are decent human beings to boot. Ian Riccaboni goes rambling off about music and super groups and my god, is it ever just a flow of consciousness. I’m also upset he doesn’t mention the Travelling Wilbury’s for fuck’s sake.
The Briscoes run heat on Tanahashi and I don’t get it. He’s your guy that people want to see. Instead you’ve got Jay pacing on the apron and me wondering why I should give a shit if he does tag in. Tanahashi is aware that although this is a big show with a 6k crowd this match doesn’t matter at all so he takes it pretty easy. I don’t blame him. He’s at that point in his career where he needs to save his body for the big matches. The match picks up as Tanahashi basically sets Jay up to win and Mark just kicks out of the Lethal Injection. The match is still beset by timing issues where one guy is always late or is out of place. There’s a lack of real chemistry. Jay Lethal gets isolated and the Doomsday Device finishes.
The Briscoes have ever record in ROH tag history. 9 title reigns. 40 successful defences over those reigns. Over 800 days holding the belts. No one else is even close to any of those. It’s hard to argue with their credentials and they’ve been a cornerstone of ROH since day one. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Final Rating: **3/4
Last Man Standing Match
ROH TV Championship
Kenny King (c) vs. Silas Young
Before the match starts noted belt mark Austin Aries shows up.
Apparently he wants the TV title because he’s never won that one. This match feels completely out of place. Everything else is mega heavyweight stuff and then here’s Silas Young. Both these guys are good but they’re not good enough to hold down this big spot. It needs to be a great match to deserve the third top spot or it just comes across as a cool down ahead of Cody/Omega. The Texas Death stip doesn’t help them either as they have to go long. The crowd do not give a rat’s ass because neither guy is in the Bullet Club and they don’t appear on Being the Elite. Silas works really, really hard and Kenny takes a bunch of horrific bumps. On any other show I’d probably enjoy it but it just feels so out of place. They should have put it out earlier on the card where the crowd might have gotten into the action rather than just waiting for Omega. The match is going ok until the Beer City Bruiser runs in to help Silas and Kenny gets held under the ring by the Bruiser allowing Silas to win the match and the belt. What a dumb finish. They busted their asses out there but ROH put this in wrong spot and Beer City Bruiser? Pffft.
Final Rating: ***
Cheeseburger & Ely Isom vs. The Dawgs
The Dawgs kill Isom so the match is called off, unless Cheeseburger can find a new partner.
Miserable fat fuck Bully Ray comes down to disparage the Dawgs. The trouble with this is that nobody cares about any of this, apart from Cheeseburger. Burger asks Bully to tag with him. Bully agrees and they clear the Dawgs out, who are basically only here to take bumps for an old fat retired man. Bully looks like he’s actually enjoying himself, laughing at Cheeseburger’s barely passable antics. Then he chokeslams Cheese to death because he’s an a-hole. Bully proceeds to run down Cheeseburger’s entire generation as entitled. Apparently he doesn’t like Ospreay, Flip or “that nobody” Ricochet. “You have destroyed the wrestling industry” he says in front of a 6000 crowd on a weekend with dozens of shows and 78000 at WrestleMania.
Final Rating: No match
Cody Rhodes vs. Kenny Omega
Cody has “Bernard the Business Bear” and cops with him.
What the fuck is this?
This match is very heated before anything happens as people hate Cody. Which is weird because everyone in this fucking building is wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt.
Cody’s bear dies and they settle into a routine where Cody tries to avoid doing anything entertaining. On the floor Brandi takes over from Bernard as the chief interference area. She’s learning and her walking over Omega’s back is a nice touch. Cody’s interaction with the fans is quite wonderful. He loves drawing heat, which differentiates him from most of the Indie stars because he doesn’t care if the match is good. He wants that heat and lives in it. I don’t remember the last time I saw a wrestler on the Indies who loved being hated this much. Probably Jimmy Havoc at the peak of his Progress powers. The actual wrestling in the match is fine but I’m more about Cody arguing with fans. If the whole match was him just yelling abuse at the rubes I’d be happy.
Sadly they wrestle a mat game, which isn’t really either guys strength and it’s way too long and frankly, a little dull. They seem to spend longer teasing stuff than actually doing stuff, which is fine but it’s a match they’ve spent months building towards. They end up doing a few table spots and I’m always irrationally irritated when a table is blatantly set up for a later spot. Which is exactly what the Rhodes’ do. Brandi dies taking a V Trigger through it. It was accidental mind you. He didn’t intentionally fuck up Cody’s wife. Flip Gordon (?!?) comes to help Brandi and Cody doesn’t seem bothered because he wants the pin. Omega recovers though and executes Cody with knees to the face. It looks over but then there’s a ref bump. My eyes hurt from rolling. Why would you do that. Well, basically because the finish is the Bucks coming down and superkicking Omega (accidentally) and the Cross Rhodes finishes. I’m torn because the crowd clearly loved it but I thought it was sluggish and suffered from everything that people complain about in NJPW main events. Overblown, indulgent and at 36 minutes very excessive. If they’d trimmed the fat it could have been killer.
Final Rating: ***1/2
ROH World Championship
Dalton Castle (c) vs. Marty Scurll
This is not something I particularly want to see because both these guys are technically gifted but heavily reliant on shtick.
The problem they immediately face is the crowd are tired. It’s very late and they just sat through a 36 minute match. Mania weekend is a tough time for main events because they often take place in front of drained audiences. This is no exception and Scurll does way too much stalling. They do get into some hard work, bumping hard on the floor and I appreciate the effort but I’m not into this. The two characters are too similar. Too shtick heavy. They have some nice counters and Scurll getting out of Bangarang into a roll up is impressive. Dalton takes a sickening backdrop on the entrance steps, which is a big dumb spot to take.
However the match switches gears when Nick Aldis, NWA champion, tries to help Scurll. Huh. Doesn’t anyone in Bullet Club fancy helping Marty? And who gives a rat’s ass about Aldis? NWA themselves aside. Marty goes looking for plunder and can’t find what he’s looking for. It’s ridiculous. It’s a massive bag of cocaine, which leads to Marty being blinded and killing Todd Sinclair’s fingers, which in turn leads to Todd not being able to count the pin after the Bangarang. Best spot of the match. Huge pop. Marty keeps going after the Chickenwing and the crowd clearly want to see him win but Dalton gets out and hits Bangarang to retain. This was too long, especially after the last match. They had a good 15 minute match spread out over twice that time. Probably worth seeing for some of their more creative spots but I’m not really into either set of shtick.
Final Rating: **1/2
After the ladder match I was starting to think this show had a bad rap! It was fantastic up to that point. The Ibushi-Page match rocked and the ladder match is nuts. The show dipped after that though and never really came back. The show ran too long and having the two big main events run very long did not help matters. Each of the main events would probably work better in a vacuum with fans who were less tired. And that’s with the specific crowd this show attracted. I don’t think most of this audience went to any other non-WWE shows. You could tell from the atmosphere. Maybe one of the Sugar Mill shows. Anyway, I don’t see much ROH and Supercard of Honor is one of the few shows that remains on my schedule. I loved it last year but this year the pacing was a little off. The highs were very high though and I’m glad I saw the two matches that went north of four stars.
Written by: Arnold Furious
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.