Written by: McXal
ROH on Sinclair – Episode 225 – 9th January 2016
After putting off picking up 2016 ROH reviews for more than a year, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the first episode of January 2016. No match went long and (whilst they were probably a little overly ambitious with how much they could fit into the sub-45 minute run-time) everything was high energy, everything maximised the amount of time it had and everything made me interested in seeing more of the product. I don’t need spectacular lunacy on free TV each week – just a reason to keep tuning in and see what happens next. Let’s head back to Philadelphia, PA to join Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness on commentary
RPG Vice vs All Night ExpressThis is a huge match to kick the show off, as it features our new #1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles. ANX were the surprise victors over the Young Bucks and the Briscoes at Final Battle, so now have the next shot at new champions War Machine. Therefore this represents a significant opportunity for Beretta and Romero too. If they win here they’ll know that puts them ahead of a lot of significant names in the tag division for a championship opportunity as well.
Trent and Kenny get us started, with King’s mix of power and athleticism proving too much for his adversary to handle. The crowd are still jeering ANX for beating two more popular teams at Final Battle – but working heel isn’t something they are unfamiliar with. King violently catapults Beretta to the floor, but then gets dumped over the top rope himself by a wild Cactus clothesline. DIVING KNEE OFF THE APRON by Romero! The veteran thinks about a Shiranui off the ringpost but Titus saves his partner and joins him to plough Rocky into the guardrails. CORKSCREW SENTON OFF THE GUARDRAILS BY TRENT! Rhett sweeps Beretta’s legs causing his neck to crunch into the top turnbuckle, at last presenting the #1 contenders with an opportunity to press home a prolonged advantage. They target Trent’s head and neck, with Kenny landing a cradle suplex with such force that the victim is almost thrown out of the ring. Beretta lands a double stomp though, opening the door to a hot tag to Romero…who charges in with the Forever Clotheslines to both opponents. Lungblower/double stomp combo by RPG Vice gets 2 on Titus. Stereo knee strikes drive Rhett back into his corner…before Rocky sprints into a tope suicida to King on the floor! STRONG ZERO ON TITUS! But he’s not the legal man. King sneaks in and rolls up Trent to steal a win at 08:17 (shown).
Rating – *** – The finish seems a little shady to me, i.e. shouldn’t Kenny have had hold of the tag rope before making the ‘blind tag’ which led to him being considered the legal man? That aside, I thought this continued the trend from last week of short, energetic and action-packed matches. There was a lot to like here, from ANX calmly adapting to getting heavily jeered by the crowd to some of the exciting work Trent and Rocky did in the opening and closing stretches.
The Kingdom enter the building for some promo time to react to Final Battle. Matt Taven is on crutches as a result of his knee injury suffered in the Tag Title loss at the PPV. They also have security surrounding the ring to protect Cole from ‘that coward’ Kyle O’Reilly. Cole berates his allies for ‘dropping the ball’…before reDRagon come to ringside looking for a fight. Fish challenges them, and Nigel agrees to make it the main event next week. The Young Bucks crash the party, to announce that they want to be the guys to fight The Kingdom. Nigel books them too, and makes the main event next week a Triple Threat Street Fight!
War Machine vs Donovan Dijak/Joey Daddiego: It’s a busy taping for Dijak as he bounces back from losing the main event last week against Michael Elgin to team with J. Diesel, testing themselves against the newly minted Ring Of Honor Tag Champions. Hanson and Rowe will have watched on the monitors as All Night Express, RPG Vice, The Kingdom, reDRagon and the Young Bucks all establish their credentials and jostle for position in the tag division. Now the pressure is on them to deliver a statement as to why they stand at the top of it.
Diesel tries to cheap shot Rowe…but it’s completely no sold and Ray floors him with a single punch. It does create enough of a distraction for Dijak to hit the release suplex on him then clotheslines Hanson over the top rope. SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW PLANCHA BY DIJAK! Truth Martini wants Donovan to use the Book Of Truth as a weapon, but he declines then has to watch as Hanson tears into both he and his partner. Double Bronco Buster flattens both HOT members, right into the cartwheel lariat on Donovan. Superman Punch into a SPINNING GERMAN SUPLEX by Rowe! Double chokeslam destroys Joey, allowing the champs to set up Fallout on Dijak. They win at 03:32
Rating – ** – As far as squash matches go this was really exciting. There were three big and talented dudes in there and watching them sprint through spots like juniors wasn’t without it’s charm. Watching this in 2018, it really isn’t a surprise that Dijak, Rowe and Hanson would all go on to earn WWE deals. This had the usual issue with the Diesal/Dijak team in that the quality of the match improves when Donovan wrestles more – but Dijak is the star of the team and needs protecting. He certainly shouldn’t have been taking the fall on this. If Daddiego isn’t even capable of being an adequate fall-guy for Lethal and Dijak he surely has to be cut from the roster?
Back from commercials with Truth Martini grabbing a microphone to call Dijak the weak link of the House Of Truth before slapping him in the face. Diesel attacks Dijak from behind…so Dijak gives him FEAST YOUR EYES! Martini wisely retreats, firing Donovan from the House Of Truth as he goes. Prince Nana skulks to ringside and applauds Donovan for his actions…
Dalton Castle vs Moose vs Matt Sydal vs Jay Briscoe: Three of these four men were on the losing side of decisions at Final Battle. Jay Briscoe lost a tag match with his brother, Moose lost his #1 contendership match to Michael Elgin whilst Castle fell to defeat against his arch rival Silas Young. Therefore it’s ironic that Dalton, as one of those losers, probably enters with more momentum than anyone else. For reasons still unexplained, he lost his match to Silas but still regained control of The Boys – so they are back in his corner to restore his entrance to full glory tonight. Nigel announces that this is under lucha rules, so exiting the ring for someone else to re-enter will constitute a change in legal man.
Moose and Sydal start in an intriguing battle of size versus experience. Having spent time in WWE Matt is no stranger to fighting people of this size and, despite some near-misses, avoids taking any major hits from the former NFL player. He is eventually thrown out by the big man, and tags all round leave Castle and Briscoe to take the floor. They counter back and forth at great speed; each man failing to land an attempt at their finishing move in the process. Jay jumps Castle as he tries to pose with The Boys, temporarily incapacitating the Party Peacock. He and Moose trade punches…EVEREST GERMAN from Castle to Moose! Sydal tricks all of his opponents to the floor, then lines them all up for a TOP ROPE MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE! Stokely Hathaway tries to steal The Boys’ fans to give Moose some air, but it doesn’t work as Sydal counters an attempt at the pop-up lariat into a hurricanrana. Rude Awakening by Jay! HIT STICK from Moose to Briscoe! Missile dropkick from Castle to Moose! Bang-A-Rang COUNTERED TO A REVERSE RANA by Matt! Sydal Press COUNTERED TO THE BANG-A-RANG! Dalton wins at 08:24 (shown)
Rating – *** – I think some may suggest I’ve over-rated this, but I like this match in its entirety. It didn’t feel like the stakes were particularly high, but with each segment they did something unique and entertaining to maintain my interest. From pairing Sydal and Moose together at the start, to Jay and Dalton attempting finishers right out of the gate, to Jay’s aggression trumping Castle’s showmanship, right through the high spot/counter sequence flurry at the end. It won’t live long in the memory, but as with everything else from this taping so far they kept it light, worked fast, worked quick and got out before it became boring.
Tape Rating – *** – Hey, I really thought this episode was decent too! ANX/Vice and the main event four-way were fun free TV matches. The spotlight on the tag division, with a couple of matches and a hot segment to set up next week’s main event, was very welcome and we even got the significant storyline development of Dijak being fired from the House Of Truth. He hasn’t been overly relevant to the HOT for sometime, and freeing him of the dead-weight that is Joey Daddiego can only be a good thing. All in this was another commendable hour of television. I’m not sure it’s worth going back into your Honor Club membership to check out, but they combined functionality with entertainment value very competently.