ROH Winter Warriors Tour: Collinsville (1/16/2016)- Collinsville, IL
WAR MACHINE vs. KNIGHTS OF THE RISING DAWN (Chris Sabin & Frankie Kazarian)- 6.25/10
Big pop for both teams. This started out with Sabin and Kaz showing some dissension comedy, as neither guy wanted to be in there against their larger opponents. They got on the same page and cheated to get some heat on Rowe. Standard babyface in peril stuff, hot tag, comeback, finish. This is one of the matches that ROH needs to be giving more time to. If you want to establish War Machine, you need to let them show that they can deliver at the level expected of a top ROH act. They really haven’t been given the chance to do that against anyone other than the Briscoes, which makes it seem more like the Briscoes are carrying War Machine and War Machine is just mediocre without them. There is no reason that they shouldn’t have been given at least fifteen or twenty minutes here to start the show off hot and show us what they can do (and if you’re afraid of burning the crowd out too early, then just switch this match with Briscoes vs. Silas & BCB. War Machine are the tag champs, after all, and BCB and Silas are in many ways a comedy act).
BJ WHITMER JUMPS ADAM PAGE ON HIS WAY DOWN TO THE RING- Whitmer drops Page back-first across the barricade, then cut a great promo on him. Whitmer then said he would cripple Page and was going to give him a piledriver on the apron, but Michael Elgin came out to make the save. Elgin was supposed to face Page but Page is now hurt so Elgin challenges Whitmer to a match. Whitmer teases accepting it and then backs off. Page cut a promo telling Whitmer that if he wasn’t going to fight anyone, he should get out. Whitmer eventually did, leaving us with our originally scheduled match of…
ADAM PAGE vs. MICHAEL ELGIN- 8/10
Page cut the tough guy promo saying he still wanted to fight. Then he proved it to us with this match. Whitmer’s attack meant Page was at a disadvantage going in, so they used that to set the tone for the match, which Elgin dominating 90%. Page was an excellent babyface here, getting in some really great hope spots and refusing to stay down.
ROH TV TITLE MATCH: Roderick Strong(c) vs. Cheeseburger- 3.5/10
Big pop for Roddy, too. Just like last night, Roddy vows to beat his opponent in under five minutes. He notes that he failed last night, and he failed at this tonight, too. If he’s going to constantly fail, why even have him cut the promo? They’re intentionally creating something for the specific purpose of having Roddy fail at it, which does nothing but bury Roddy.
Roddy wins, but Cheeseburger got in his roll-ups, one of which looked like it might have actually been a legitimate three count. Other than that, this was mostly Roddy throwing Cheeseburger around.
Ian Riccaboni puts over Cheeseburger as a hard worker at the ROH Dojo, saying he is the “first one in, last one out.” I’m certain this is the stock line they use for Will Ferrara, too, and it can’t possibly be true for both of them, so maybe we could actually do something with one of them so the announcers had some other way to put them over aside from saying they work hard at the dojo? Or at least come up with a second stock line to use to praise one of them?
THE BRISCOES vs. SILAS YOUNG & THE BEER CITY BRUISER- 7.25/10
Biggest pop of the night so far belongs to the Briscoes.
The Briscoes threw one of the metal “ROH” signs that they hang on the barricades at the Beer City Bruiser. The announcers tried to sell it like it would hurt, but when it hit the Bruiser it looked flimsy as hell. Either way, it was still a foreign object, so they should have been DQed but weren’t.
At just over seventeen minutes, this went quite a few minutes longer than I expected it to. It was a pretty great brawl, aside from one or two spots. They never quite managed to make you forget that the Briscoes’ victory was a foregone conclusion, but Silas and the Bruiser did come out of it looking better than they went in by lasting so long.
Jay couldn’t fully get the Bruiser up for the Jay Driller so it wound up being more of a facebuster (think the Angel’s Wings but without the turning). Then, for some reason, Ian Riccaboni thought it would be a good idea to complement Jay on being able to hit the Jay Driller, even though he clearly didn’t hit a double-underhook piledriver. I guess Ian has no interest in having any sort of credibility.
WILL FERRARA vs. KEVIN LEE DAVIDSON- 2/10
Davidson is a student of Michael Elgin’s. He jumped Ferrara from behind to start things off. The much smaller Ferrara won in a manner that made you wonder why the hell they booked him against such a big guy if they wanted him to go over via finisher and do so that quickly.
Mr. Wrestling 3 was very hoarse tonight. This led Ian Riccaboni to speculate that the man under the mask was really Johnny Ace. That made me laugh.
DELIRIOUS vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys)- no rating. Disappointing comedy match.
Shouldn’t Dalton throwing one of the boys onto Delirious be a DQ? Also, why were the Boys allowed to constantly run in and out of the ring? This referee was horrible (and that’s before we go into the fact that he had crazy hair, a headband and was called “the Santa Cruz Kid,” all things designed to make you stand out… which is the exact opposite of what a referee is supposed to do).
Their attempts at “comedy” here were pretty much all based around Delirious chasing the Boys around the ring, which got old very quickly. They did a new variation on the old “Delirious chases someone under the ring and they come out with a Delirious mask on” spot by having the Boy in question not only act like Delirious, but seemingly now be on Delirious’ side. This was pretty entertaining while it lasted, and I think it would have actually been a lot better if they had done this early on and stuck with it as the story of the match (maybe even turn this into a tag team match?). At one point while he wasn’t on camera the Delirious-ified Boy just took his mask off and stopped acting like Delirious. That was a waste. All of their other comedy fell completely flat to me.
ALL-NIGHT EXPRESS vs. reDRagon- 7.75/10
This match was a much-needed reminder of how great Kenny King can be. Not that Rhett was bad here (well… aside from his selling), but Kenny was on a different level tonight. After some great wrestling by King and O’Reilly, reDRagon worked over Titus’ knee for a while. Rhett eventually made the hot tag (and stopped selling his knee for the rest of the match) and ANX worked over Bobby Fish for a while until he made the hot tag as well. They had one dumb spot where Kyle kicked Fish a few times in order to “revive” him and lost track of who the legal man was a few times, but aside from that, this was one damn great tag team match.
Props to these four for their performance, but a wag of the finger to Delirious for booking this match the way he did. You have the #1 contenders to your two singles titles teaming up to face the #1 contenders to the tag titles… and you go to a completely clean finish? With the #1 contenders to the tag titles losing in a tag team match? This should have gone to twenty minute draw.
ADAM COLE vs. MOOSE (w/Stokely Hathaway)- 7.5/10
They had a few different little stories going on throughout, like Cole trying to lift Moose up and Cole needing to use his speed and cunning to defeat Moose. The finish was one of those frustrating Delirious finishes where he decides to do a heel finish to “protect” Moose even though Moose has absolutely nothing going on right now and Cole is heading into a world title match. And of course they never followed up on the dirty finish, either.
YOUNG BUCKS vs. ALEX SHELLEY & ACH- 7.25/10
Shelley and ACH were total douchebags, going after the hair, mocking the Bucks, and grabbing their testicles (which wasn’t a DQ for some reason). The Bucks just engaged in general Young-Buckery, without actually doing much illegal… and certainly nothing to warrant what the so-called babyfaces were doing. Well, to be fair, it was mostly Shelley. The crowd was really into ACH. After the babyfaces’ douchebaggery, moves happened while Shelley was the babyface in peril. Then Shelley made a hot tag to ACH so more moves could happen.
ALPHA CLASS vs. KEITH LEE & SHANE TAYLOR- a very long squash, but the crowd was into it. Whichever one is the less fat one almost landed on his head on a dive.
WAR MACHINE BUMP INTO LEE & TAYLOR BACKSTAGE- bad.
War Machine started cutting an Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk promo on ANX until they bumped into Lee and Taylor. These two teams exchanged awful dialogue. The worst of it was either Lee or Taylor responding to a challenge to come after the tag titles by saying they would so “when it fits our agenda.” What other agenda could they possibly have other than wanting to win the ROH World Tag Team Titles? Not only was this bad, but War Machine’s promo seemed like it would have made a lot more sense at the TV tapings in North Carolina where the incident in question happened instead of here a week later.
BOBBY FISH & RODERICK STRONG BACKSTAGE- okay.
Roddy has just finished his match and runs into Fish, who says “Cheeseburger takes you to the limit but I can’t get my rematch?” Roddy brushes Fish off. This is the sort of thing that would work SOOOOOOO much better if they just put it on the main track of the DVD like they used to when Gabe and Pearce were booking. It would make the DVD flow a bit better, but more importantly: I shouldn’t have to go digging in the f*cking bonus content to find something that makes it feel like there is an actual storyline going on here.
Speaking of which, that was one of the biggest problems I had with this show. Aside from Whitmer attacking Page, nothing on this show felt like it had any connection to anything you’d see on ROH TV… or even anything I saw on last night’s show. The matches mostly felt devoid of consequence. Now, with hindsight being 20/20, that fact is even more clear. The wrestling on this show was mostly pretty great, but I really can’t recommend this show very highly because nothing that happened felt like it mattered in any way.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Ian Ricabboni said that War Machine have “issued an open challenge to whoever the #1 contenders may be.”
Well if it’s only for the #1 contenders, then it’s not a very open challenge now is it?
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