Written by: McXal
ROH 402 – Winter Warriors Tour 2016: Collinsville – 16th January 2016
The Winter Warriors Tour event in Indianapolis yesterday had some real highlights and outstanding matches which are well worth your time. I’m hoping for more of the same from the second night of this double header with this show. The Young Bucks continue their gradual takeover with yet another main event appearance, this time against the new duo of ACH and Alex Shelley in a match which could really excite. Beneath that there are plenty more juicy bouts from ROH’s loaded tag division lined up – including ANX vs reDRagon, KRD vs War Machine and the Briscoes vs Silas/Bruiser. Roderick Strong puts his TV Title on the line in another ‘Roddy vs The World’ challenge, Delirious makes a rare in-ring appearance to take on Dalton Castle, and the sleeper hit of the entire night could be Michael Elgin vs Adam Page (if ‘big match’ Elgin turns up). Ian Riccaboni and Mr Wrestling III (and, if last night was anything to go by, a host of additional commentators as the night progresses) are at the announce desk in Collinsville, IL.
War Machine vs Frankie Kazarian/Chris Sabin: With Christopher Daniels suspended, Kaz and Sabin have looked to develop some chemistry as a tag team this weekend. They fell to defeat to reDRagon last night, but perhaps more notably appeared at loggerheads over how they should pursue Sabin’s former tag partner Alex Shelley. Frankie cost Shelley his match against Adam Cole, before Sabin refused his instruction to attack him. Are the KRD-members back on the same page tonight? The stakes are high, as a win over the current Tag Champions would instantly move them to the front of the queue for a title shot.
We get early disagreements between Sabin and Kazarian since neither one of them wants to get into the ring with Hanson. Sabin is the unlucky one that has to, and acts like a rampant jackass just like last night. The beating he gets is so severe he literally has to chase his own partner around ringside looking for a tag! Frankie is more agreeable to facing Rowe apparently…so Ray instantly takes his head off with forearm smashes to torpedo that logic. Finally Sabin pokes Rowe in the eyes, causing him to stumble backwards into a lungblower from Kaz and handing the advantage to the KRD for the first time. They don’t always operate within the rules but they do a decent job of isolating Rowe from the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament winner. The effects of their work is visibly evident when Rowe throws a desperation Shotgun Knee and misses by absolutely miles. Hanson gets a much-needed tag and hits the double Sledgehammer strikes right into the double Bronco Buster…then decks Kaz with the cartwheel lariat. Superman Punch/dead-lift German combo by Rowe gets 2! Sabin is still antagonising his opponents like a jerk – this time tying Hanson’s arm in the ropes before punting him from the apron. ROPE RUN GERMAN SUPERPLEX FROM ROWE TO FRANKIE – rocketing him into Sabin the process. FALLOUT on Sabin! War Machine win at 10:06
Rating – *** – I felt like these two teams had a better match in them, but as the first of four big tag team bouts tonight probably had to rein it in a little. I don’t have a problem with that, and they still delivered a solid (if formulaic) opening encounter. In truth this match ticked all the boxes it probably needed to. Sabin was once again a delight as the asshole provoking his opponents (and the audience) at every turn. The KRD in general looked a slick and effective heel tag team. War Machine busted out lots of high impact, rapidly paced big man power moves that has become their staple, and we ended with a strong win for the champions as they establish themselves as the team to beat in the crowded ROH tag team division.
Up next we’re set to see Page vs Elgin, but as Adam makes his entrance he is attacked by BJ Whitmer. BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER ON THE GUARDRAILS! He tries to give Page the same piledriver on the apron that infamously injured his own neck a couple of years ago and almost ended his career…but the arrival of Michael Elgin thwarts his plan. Big Mike lives with wife MsChif in the locality so calls this his ‘adopted hometown’…and wants a fight with BJ. Obviously he declines that offer, instead standing to watch as Adam gets back to his feet demands to be allowed to compete.
Adam Page vs Michael Elgin: On paper this has the potential to be a really interesting match. Elgin is seeking direction, having reportedly signed a new deal with ROH late in 2015, but then lost his big World Title shot to Jay Lethal in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom. His attempt at being a strongman comedian at the expense of Tim Hughes yesterday weren’t great, but he remains a fearsome competitor when he is motivated to do so. Page would really have benefited from a noteworthy encounter with the former ROH Champion. Thanks to Whitmer, we may now be left to see just how long the injured Page can survive against the Unbreakable One.
Page swings elbows into Elgin’s face; an indication that injured or not he has come for a fight! Elgin returns fire equally brutally, before despatching him with a ONE-HANDED PRESS SLAM! Somehow Page knocks Mike to the apron…only for the former World Champion to clock him with a lariat over the ropes anyway. An elbow duel on the apron leaves them both seeing stars, before Page lands a HANGMAN NECKBREAKER ON THE APRON! SSP OFF THE APRON…COUNTERED TO A BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX ON THE FLOOR! Incredibly, Page still has gas in the tank and tries to engage Elgin in a chop battle on the outside. Unbreakable hits a backbreaker, on the back which Whitmer already injured on the guardrail, for a nearfall. The referee considers stopping it as Page eats a Roaring Elbow, only to be swatted aside for Page to land a flying missile dropkick. All of a sudden we’re back to where we started, with the two men standing in the middle of the ring swinging forearms. Elgin counters Page’s jumping DDT…but when he tries to convert to a brainbuster Page counters back into a dragon sleeper! STALLING, WALKING EXPLODER SUPLEX by Elgin! That is followed by a bridging deadlift German for 2, leaving Page crawling away on his knees groaning in pain. Yet still he finds the energy to trade lariats with Big Mike! ROLLING GERMANS BY ELGIN! NO SOLD! BUCKSHOT LARIAT! But Page’s back is too injured to execute the Rite Of Passage. Elgin clubs at the back some more to escape, only for Page to block his spinning back first with a straight headbutt. BACK DROP DRIVER! LARIATOOOOO! Page kicks out! JUMPING SPIKE DDT OFF THE SECOND ROPE! It’s Big Mike’s turn to kick out at the last. He escapes through the ropes, and when Page gives chase he grabs him for a DVD ON THE APRON! DEAD-LIFT SUPERPLEX! PAGE KICKS OUT! BUCKLE BOMB! ELGIN BOMB…COUNTERED TO A JACK-KNIFE PIN FOR 2! BACK FIST! RIPCORD ELBOW! ELGIN BOMB! Unbreakable wins at 14:11
Rating – **** – As I’ve said a couple of times during this review, when he is motivated to do so, Michael Elgin remains a high quality operator. Here he demonstrated all of the skills he has learned as his reputation in New Japan continues to flourish. This felt very much like an authentic Budokan Hall fight – with apron bumps, no selling, big elbows, hot false finishes and a simple but relatable story. Page, yet again, has been given a chance to shine and absolutely delivered (as he has done for most of his ROH career). He sold the wounds sustained both in battle and at the hands of BJ in a compelling but subtle manner. He never once gave the impression that he wasn’t fighting through extreme pain – which made the quality of both the match and his performance all the more remarkable. These two genuinely might have stolen the show in the second match of the night…and that is EXACTLY the kind of unpredictability that has been missing from ROH/Sinclair/Delirious’ stale, predictable and dated live event formats for a LONG time.
In a touching moment, Elgin celebrates with MsChif and his son in the front row – as the crowd gives both men a well-deserved standing ovation.
SIDENOTE – MW3 (Corino)’s voice has completely gone, making his commentary hugely distracting. I’m not sure whether he’s unwell or if his voice is just shot, but he really doesn’t need to be at ringside. As yesterday’s event demonstrated, there are like thirty people on the roster who now also provide part-time commentary as well.
Roderick Strong vs Cheeseburger – ROH TV Title Match: This was an open challenge as Strong plays up his ‘I can beat anyone in the world’ gimmick, and it seems like the plucky underdog which fans seem to love (for reasons I really don’t understand) has answered. It would without question be the biggest upset in Ring Of Honor history of Cheeseburger left Collinsville with the TV Title belt tonight. After having to face Curry Man last night, Strong interprets his challenge as a ‘joke’, and thinks it is disrespectful to have to wrestle him after facing some of the best from all over the world throughout his illustrious career. Indeed, just like last night he grabs the mic and promises to win in less than five minutes.
Shotei by Burger straight out of the gate…almost winning the title in mere seconds! He turn turns around and runs for his life as Strong tries to get payback! Eventually he is caught though, and utterly manhandled into a spinebuster backbreaker. He then lifts Cheese by his gear to toss him head-first into the railings. RAZOR’S EDGE ON THE APRON! He barely beats the count-out after that, but rolls into the ring straight back into more violence (and more backbreakers) from Roddy. He tears Burger’s gear off his body and chops at the exposed torso…then shoves him so hard that he legitimately falls right out of the ring. We’re past five minutes now (the fans tonight aren’t as diligent at keeping count as the Indianapolis crowd) with Cheeseburger still throwing a few strikes, then astonishing the champ by landing a swinging DDT. The match is then KILLED for me as I’m supposed to buy that Cheeseburger can viably hit a springboard crossbody on Strong, who looks like an idiot for selling it. Springboard knee lands, and Burger loads up the Shotei once more. Countered to Death By Roderick…but countered back to a pop-up rana for 2. That was better! Strong lands Death By Roderick at the second time of asking. Fans are actually on their feet which is crazy, as Burger counters End Of Heartache into a schoolboy for a close nearfall. Jumping Knee into the Stronghold finishes the challenger at 08:30
Rating – ** – In all fairness, this was easily my favourite Cheeseburger match since way back at Night Of Hoopla (when he actually teamed with Roddy). The amount of bullsh*t, completely unbelievable for a guy of his size offence was kept to a minimum (although that crossbody was ridiculously crap), he bumped and threw his body around like a crash test dummy to put Strong over…and whilst I wasn’t necessarily into it, the drama at the end on a couple of false finishes was palpable. Huge portions of the audience were on their feet imploring Todd Sinclair to make the three count. This was not to my taste, but I can see that they had a real effect on people with what they did within this match. Maybe you’ll like it more than I did.
Silas Young/Beer City Bruiser vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe: I’m not the biggest Beer City Bruiser fan, but having said that, he’s been at his most enjoyable when teaming with Silas and loading up for a good old-fashioned brawl. That would be right up the alley of the Briscoes of course – and they come into this hot having won the huge 8-man main event for their team last night, and instantly making themselves genuine contenders for their ninth ROH Tag Title reign in the process. They want War Machine, so therefore they’ll need to win matches like this to prove their credentials.
Mark and Silas surprise those who were expecting an all-out brawl by delivering a crisp and precise technical wrestling sequence to get us started. It doesn’t last long with Young soon slapping Briscoe in the face then depositing him into the clutches of the Bruiser. Jay arrives, relishing in laying in big strikes on the hefty BCB…but Beer refuses to leave his feet. Ace Crusher by Young gets a two-count on the younger Briscoe. Mr Wrestling III makes an interesting point that guys like Silas and BCB need big performances to earn a spot on the touring roster for the NJPW/ROH crossover shows in Japan next month. Beer City shows surprising speed in sprinting across the ring to wipe out Jay as Silas lands a back suplex on his brother…but doesn’t count on Jay getting right back to his feet and levelling him with a Cactus Clothesline to the floor! SOMERSAULT PLANCHA over the turnbuckles by Mark! He then lines up the Cactus Elbow only for Silas to block it with a springboard lariat. Mark rips one of the sheet metal ROH signs from the railings and uses it to hit a SENTON on Bruiser! Young does his best to punch a hole in Mark’s head as the heel team restore order and separate him from Jay once again. He comes desperately close to getting a hot tag to Jay, only for the Bruiser to nab him at the last for a fatty spear into the turnbuckles…which of course leaves him in position for a fatty cannonball as well. He drills Mark with a Saito suplex, only for Young to miss a Lionsault and open the door for a big tag to the former World Champion. Rude Awakening puts Silas on the ground, but BCB emerges before the Jay Driller can come out. Splash Mountain Neckbreaker gets 2! Beer City shoves Mark off the ropes as he sets up for the Doomsday Device…and inside the ring Young hits the Killer Combo to incapacity Jay. We’ve entered the territory where the Bruiser looks an absolute mess and needs big chunks of time slumped in the corner breathing heavily to recover after everything he does. His latest burst of energy sees him climb the ropes for a BIG MAN FROG SPLASH for 2! Bruiser waddles away hunched over from that, but flops to the apron for a CANNONBALL OFF THE APRON! Young blocks the Cactus Elbow for a second time…so Mark hits the BLOCKBUSTER FROM THE APRON TO THE FLOOR which simultaneously causes them both to land on BCB’s prone body! Doomsday Device nailed on Young…but Bruiser breaks the fall! I did not see that coming! Roaring Elbow from Jay to Beer City. JAY DRILLER! Albeit Bruiser is such a husky dude that it looked more like a Pedigree! FROGGY BOW! The Briscoes scoop the win at 17:00
Rating – *** – Once again Silas and Bruiser show that, when BCB’s weaknesses can be hidden in a tag team environment, they’re actually quite a fun team in these brawl-heavy matches. It took a while to get going, with the first half being pretty formulaic and skippable, but that final stretch was well worth the wait. All four guys threw everything they had at it, delivering some legitimately hot nearfalls in the process.
Will Ferrara vs Kevin Lee Davidson: Davidson, imaginatively nicknamed ‘KLD’, is a local talent and a student of Michael Elgin’s. He is taller, but has the same powerful and stocky stature for sure. He has a lot of size on Ferrara, who has been showing more aggression and more frustration of late as he struggles to make any real impact here in Ring Of Honor.
KLD jumps Ferrara during his entrance in an effort to make a real statement. Will’s strikes have no impact, and Davidson almost takes his head off with a spinning heel kick. Mr Wrestling III’s voice is awful now, and I’m at a loss as to why he has returned after intermission. Ferrara hits a completely implausible suplex, then an even more impossible standing Shiranui to win at 02:05
Rating – DUD – It was tough to judge what Davidson brings to the party on that brief showing, but he did look intimidating and fairly mobile for a big guy. The issue here was that he had to sell and get jobbed out to Will Ferrara, who is half his size and a long-time job guy himself. The finish, and somehow having to believe that Will could actually suplex KLD, was embarrassing to watch.
Delirious vs Dalton Castle: A veteran of Ring Of Honor competition, Delirious is something of an infrequent between the ropes these days, but he still crops up from time to time. He came up in the business in this area, so goes back a long way and will have plenty of support (and usually wrestles when ROH run this building). Castle is one of the few who comes close to him when it comes to unorthodox approaches to a wrestling match. He is still riding high after regaining his Boys at Final Battle.
The ring-bell histrionics of Delirious sees him chase The Boys around ringside as Castle perches on the top rope to steer clear. The sheer amount of theatrics both these guys go through just to get to a single, basic lock-up is quite astonishing. Castle is an accomplished grappler, but with the Lizard Man in his head their exchanges on the canvas are far more even than you might expect. Delirious is REALLY enjoying chasing The Boys too, with almost every sequence beginning an ending with a chase sequence. It’s quite incredible cardiovascular conditioning from a part-time athlete to keep running laps of the ring…but it comes back to haunt him as a frustrated Castle eventually picks up one of The Boys and simply throws him at Delirious! There seems to be a pretty sizeable edit, presumably to cut out a miscue, as a huge jump takes us from both guys being on the floor to a completely different crowd chant and both Boys inside the ring again. They try to fan Castle back to his feet…so once again Delirious gives chase and this time pursues one of them all the way under the ring. The Boy emerges with a Delirious mask on…and has apparently been ‘overcome by the power of Delirious’! He screams like a maniac and tries to attack Dalton, then clotheslines the other Boy! He’s gone so insane that he attacks the referee as well! Dalton schoolboy pins for Delirious for almost a minute, before Todd Sinclair runs out to officiate…and obviously Delirious kicks out at 2! This is all extremely strange! On the floor the masked Boy has removed said mask so is now back to cheering on the Party Peacock. Panic Attack by Delirious, but he misses Shadows Over Hell and is dragged into the Everest German for 2. Bang-A-Rang countered with what used to be the Banana Phone pinning combination, kick-starting a prolonged nearfall exchange which threatens to give Todd Sinclair a hernia! Bang-A-Rang is at last executed, giving Castle the win at 12:32
Rating – *** – I don’t have the words to describe this. Delirious has been involved in some of the weirdest and most memorable comedy matches in Ring Of Honor history, and I’d put this up there with some of his exchanges with Kikutaro and Colt Cabana. It wasn’t a match in any conventional sense of the word, but a completely unique, strange and totally enjoyable spectacle. Once again the kind of fun, silly, enjoyable little time-filler that ROH can throw out every once in a while to stop all of their live events feeling exactly the same in terms of both structure and content.
SIDENOTE – Ian Riccaboni is doing a tremendous job on commentary here. He doesn’t get many opportunities to step in for Kevin Kelly, and has the additional hindrance of Steve Corino/MW3’s illness essentially giving him a mute colour commentator. I’ve liked his work on both shows this weekend. It hasn’t been technically perfect or factually faultless, but he provides a young, fresh, punchy and memorable voice to the product (which Kevin Kelly just doesn’t).
All Night Express vs reDRagon: Arguably the best match ANX have ever delivered in ROH came in this building when they took the American Wolves to the limit. reDRagon were a team formed after ANX’s exit from ROH specifically because they didn’t like Davey Richards and the Wolves (although stylistically they are a very similar team). Fish and O’Reilly want the Tag Titles back, but are potentially sidetracked by being in the thick of the picture for both the Television and World Championships as well. The All Nights, meanwhile, are the current #1 contenders, but haven’t won a whole lot since.
King does a decent job working the mat with O’Reilly, but it’s a battle he was always going to lose so he wisely busts out the armdrags and back flips to quicken the pace. Kyle is no slouch of course, which leads to a Mexican stand-off. Fish tags and goes right after Titus’ knees, which is an area which has bothered him for years. The approach very nearly sees him get crippled as Rhett stumbles attempting a gutwrench suplex and nearly drops him on his head. reDRagon continue to work over Titus’ legs with laser precision…and he has to innovate something weird (a tilta-whirl snake-eyes) just to escape. Kenny storms in with knees and kicks to all comers then gets a nearfall on Fish after a capture suplex. Much of ANX’s offence has focused on Bobby’s neck and back, leaving us in a situation where a member of each team is potentially carrying an injury. They actually rock Fish to such an extent that O’Reilly quite literally starts kicking his own partner in the face in an attempt to revive him. He lands the Samoan drop on King, but that exacerbates his own wounds as much as it damages his foe. Tags all round, with Kyle going right back to kicks aimed at Rhett’s legs. Diving knee off the apron takes King out, and when Titus tries another tilta-whirl move this time O’Reilly has a counter; spiking him with a tornado DDT for 2. Two Man Smash Machine nailed, but King saves his partner from Chasing The Dragon with a capo kick. Last Chancery/Dropkick combo by ANX gets 2! Fish Hook on Titus, who starts to tap…only to find that King has distracted the referee! He and Bobby counter back and forth wildly, until Kenny puts in a half crab to target Fish’s injured back. FRONT CHOKE by O’Reilly to save! BOMBS AWAY KNEE DROP BY RHETT, sacrificing his own injury to save his partner! KNEE-FIRST TURNBUCKLE EXPLODER BY FISH! All four men are down! The action picks up on the floor where Bobby spears Titus into the guardrails, as King and O’Reilly slap the sh*t out of each other inside the ropes! Rebound McLariat blocked…Royal Flush blocked…into CHASING THE DRAGON! reDRagon win at 17:11
Rating – **** – Seriously, Ring Of Honor’s tag division is insanely stacked right now. reDRagon are arguably the best team in the company, and they are basically only a part-time force in the division! They have produced two very different, but equally exciting tag matches this weekend. Here I had a few quibbles about the selling (on both sides, this isn’t a dig at Titus) but all in all this was a fine bout. I loved the obvious logic in attacking Rhett’s knees, which have been shot for years. The pay-off, with Titus basically removing himself from the match with that top rope knee drop to save his partner was one of the moments of the night. I don’t think All Night Express are being booked particularly strongly for #1 contenders, but the fact that they are supposedly the #2 team in the company and lose a lot speaks volumes for how competitive the scene is at this point in time. Regardless of the result, this could very well be their best straight tag match since their famous battle with the American Wolves in the same building.
Adam Cole vs Moose: Former NFL star Moose has been on the ROH roster for eighteen months. He has taken a fair amount of criticism in that time, but I think most have been very up front in pointing out that he has started to improve at an impressive rate. His manager, Stokely Hathaway, is openly campaigning for a match with Kazuchika Okada, and quite evidently his camp now feel it’s time he starts getting the opportunity to work high profile singles matches. Former World Champion Adam Cole would fall into the bracket, but he enters with plenty of momentum having rebounded from the collapse of The Decade with a great match (and win) over Alex Shelley in Indianapolis. Both men aren’t shy about coveting the ROH World Title, with Cole slated for a title shot in the near future. A Moose win would certainly give him a platform to muscle into the immediate title picture.
Cole’s unimpressed face as Moose air-guitars, fist-pumps and goofily grins through his entrance is quite the sight. It changes to one of terror soon after as Moose flies into the air and lands the high dropkick. He tries to leave the ring, only for Moose to give chase and administer a savage beating against the guardrails. But the inexperienced big man gets over-confident, lining up the Hitstick against the rails and connecting only with the metal barrier after Cole hops aside. Moose is such a big guy that Cole can’t even lift him for a body slam, so he sensibly abandons that strategy and works to keep the big man grounded. He strays from that sensible approach to attempt a crossbody off the apron, which is easily countered by Moose to an F-5 INTO THE RINGPOST! Back inside for an amusing exchange where neither man lets the other land the punchline on a signature strike sequence, before Adam nails a trilogy of superkicks into the Shining Wizard for 2. Bare Knee Wizard countered…Game Breaker ducked! Only for the Panama Sunrise to be countered back again with a dropkick off the top! Stokely encourages his client to attempt a big dive…which is shocking advice. Cole counters it with a jumping enziguri, but then jumps off the top rope and soars into another dropkick from Moose to leave them both down. Moose blocks the Florida Key and drops Cole ON HIS NECK with the Game Breaker! ROPE RUN FLYING CROSSBODY BY MOOSE…COUNTERED WITH A MID-AIR SUPERKICK! BARE KNEE WIZARD GETS 2! RUNNING KNEE! DVD over the knee gets 2 before Moose emphatically kicks out. Cole tries to make him stay down with repeated kicks to the head, only for Moose to muscle back up! Cole dives behind referee Todd Sinclair to evade the Hitstick, then rolls him up using the trunks! Cole claims a second tainted win of the weekend at 12:37.
Rating – *** – They had the start of something really decent here, and I am struggling to remember a better Moose 1-on-1 match since he debuted. Cole is really on fire again right now, and I thought they had great chemistry with Adam playing the cocky prick heel with all the experience, fighting hard to keep down the big, lumbering, inexperienced jock trying to take his head off. The finish was cheap (and with the benefit of hindsight unnecessary, given that Moose would leave ROH when his contract expired) and very unimaginative in pursuit of protecting Moose. Nevertheless Cole goes 2-0 for the weekend as he prepares for a World Title shot and once again looks positioned for a big singles run.
Alex Shelley/ACH vs Young Bucks: So far tonight we’ve seen an emphatic win for the Tag Champions, a wild brawl with the Briscoes, and reDRagon edging out the #1 contenders in a great wrestling match. We’ll end our evening with two more teams jostling for position and trying to establish their place in line to challenge Hanson and Rowe. Shelley and ACH have been teaming since Alex returned to the company late last year, and Shelley is an experienced tag team wrestler with multiple successful partnerships on his resume. However, they have their work cut out against the red-hot and ultra popular Young Bucks.
ACH is a renowned brash character, and he amuses himself by stealing some of the Bucks’ gear and doing all their signature poses. Shelley starts for his team and is arguably as well-equipped as anyone to fight the Jacksons – since he has enough technical skill to keep them on the ground. Matt apparently hasn’t forgotten ACH’s pre-match antics, since his first act is to 2 Sweet him in the eyes. ACH retaliates with rapid-fire offence which even the Bucks can’t keep up with…until he misses a running crossbody and splatters into the ropes. Shelley thinks about a dive to the floor, only to be dragged out on his face by Nick instead. He and his brother start disrespectfully toying with Shelley; administering the handspring back rake as ACH rows with referee Paul Turner. Their aggression in isolating Shelley makes perfect sense too, given that he is the only dangerous mat technician in the contest. Border Shellshock DDT on both Young Bucks…but Matt is back up and on hand to stop him bringing back ACH quite yet. Shelley desperately tries to escape their clutches…and eventually he does. The hyperactive ACH steamrolls in and hits a ROPE RUN BACK FLIP KICK on Nick! RUNNING MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR NAILED! Avalanche bulldog by Alex, into a springboard double stomp by ACH for 2. DEAD-LIFT BRAINBUSTER ON MATT! SUPERKICK BY NICK! SHELLSHOCK INTO THE BUCKLES BY SHELLEY! More Superkicks by Nick, met with one by Shelley. Sliced Bread #2 blocked…Meltzer Driver COUNTERED TO A TOMBSTONE! MIDNIGHT STAR…but Nick breaks the pin! He then tornado DDT’s Alex from the apron to the floor. ACH blocks More Bang For Your Buck, so gets SUPERKICKED! MELTZER DRIVER! The Bucks win at 15:50
Rating – **** – I mean this in a positive manner, but this was a different match to the one I thought I’d see. I expected them to go full tilt from the opening bell, but actually really preferred this approach. I know most decry the Bucks for the lack of story-telling in their matches, but that simply wasn’t the case here. Alex Shelley was quickly established as such a skilled grappler that he actually posed a threat because he could stop the Jacksons even attempting all their lunatic shenanigans. ACH then came in and demonstrated that he was even quicker than they were, meaning he was a fearsome opponent as well. What followed was the Bucks dipping into their endlessly experienced tag team bag of tricks to establish themselves as the dominant force then lure their opponents into a machine-gun-paced battle of double team high spots, which obviously Matt and Nick were much better at. I really rated this match highly, and it definitely gets marked up for having a wholly different vibe to many Young Bucks matches of late.
Tape Rating – **** – What a great live event (and weekend) Ring Of Honor have just delivered. Indianapolis was solid, but this was even better. Having complained for all of 2015 about how predictable ROH’s live events had become, they blew the format up and dished up a cracking little show with very little to complain about. Michael Elgin and Adam Page stole the show in the second match of the night (how often has that happened since Gabe left?), Dalton Castle and Delirious gave us one of the weirdest matches ROH has seen in years, Adam Cole enhanced his own reputation whilst helping Moose to one of his career-best performances, and there were multiple brilliant tag matches dotted up and down the line-up as well. Outside of a lousy two minute Will Ferrara match this was consistent and high quality throughout. I still had Cole/Shelley edging out best match of the weekend, but this was a better top-to-bottom show. Both of these are ones to check out on DVD/Honor Club/however you consume ROH’s product.
Top 3 Matches
3) reDRagon vs All Night Express (****)
2) Young Bucks vs Alex Shelley/ACH (****)
1) Michael Elgin vs Adam Page (****)
Top 5 Winter Warriors Tour 2016 Indianapolis/Collinsville Weekend Matches
5) reDRagon vs All Night Express (**** – Collinsville)
4) Young Bucks vs Alex Shelley/ACH (**** – Collinsville)
3) War Machine/Briscoes vs Young Bucks/All Night Express (**** – Indianapolis)
2) Michael Elgin vs Adam Page (**** – Collinsville)
1) Adam Cole vs Alex Shelley (**** – Indianapolis)