LIO RUSH vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana)- 7.5/10
This was a match between the two most recent Top Prospect Tournament winners, and when Kevin Kelly said this, it made me realize that this should have felt like a bigger match. While the match didn’t feel big or important (more on that in a moment), these two guys went out there and reminded me why they won the Top Prospect Tournament. Not that Lio Rush isn’t great all of the time, but he is at his absolute best when he is an underdog facing a man much bigger than him and has to use his speed and agility to counter the opponent’s power moves. This is made even more exciting when the large opponent is athletic enough to take stuff like hurricanranas well, and Dijak is one hell of an athletic dude.
Rush picked up the clean win via crucifix, so Dijak attacked him after the match. Jay White came out to make the save, but then Kamaitachi came out and attacked White. Security then came out and broke everything up. Then they showed us a graphic announcing a Four Corner Survival for #1 contendership to the ROH TV Title at this weekend’s PPV… which kind of makes Rush’s victory here and White’s victory of Kamaitachi feel worthless if the guys they beat are getting the same opportunity that they are (especially when Kamaitachi, whose only win in ROH so far was in a dark match three months ago is involved. At least Dijak just beat Moose. And speaking of that…)
Kevin Kelly’s commentary could be so vastly improved if he stopped overselling things. If he had just said “what a jerk. That was wrong of Nana to have Dijak assault poor innocent Stokely Hathaway” it would have been fine. Instead, he shouts at Nana “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO FAMILY?!” despite almost no on-screen evidence that Stokely and Nana had even been acquaintances, never mind as close as family. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Kevin Kelly should take a page out of Michael Cole’s playbook and only react based on things we’ve seen on the screen instead of trying to sell every little thing as if it was a cold-blooded murder.
THE CABINET INTERRUPT A BACKSTAGE DALTON CASTLE PROMO- well… that was a boring and stupid way to start a feud.
FOOTAGE OF LEE & TAYLOR JUMPING WAR MACHINE DURING A BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW- no War Machine can’t compete in the originally scheduled tag title match. Also, apparently MCMG are injured, too, so the match I was most looking forward from these tapings won’t be happening.
ADAM PAGE INTERVIEW- next we got some footage of Adam Page assaulting Jay Briscoe backstage and TRYING TO CHOKE HIM TO DEATH WITH A NOOSE. Hey Nigel… maybe you want to punish him or something?
Also, Page conducted this assault alone. No Young Bucks or Adam Cole or any other member of the Bullet Club in sight. This is really bugging me. Page is never seen in promos or backstage segments with them, so it feels like he is disconnected from the group. As a result, his association with them doesn’t elevate him close to Cole and the Bucks’ level, but rather calls emphasis to the fact he isn’t.
Page plugs his IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title shot in Japan against the Briscoes and then his match with Jay at the PPV. Then Jay comes out so they can brawl. It gets broken up by security. This whole feud feels so hastily thrown together, with Briscoe’s world title shot at the previous PPV feeling like a ridiculous detour. They should have gotten that shot out of the way last year and done Cabana’s rematch at BITW.
RECAP OF STUFF THAT HAPPENED DURING THE COMMERCIAL- Apparently during this commercial there was a whole segment where The Addiction said they had the night off because all of their opponents were injured. Then Roppongi Vice came out and said they were undefeated in Japan for a whole month so they deserve a tag title shot. When we get back to TV, the Bucks came out and said they wanted in, too.
Nigel said that The Addiction only signed a contract to face War Machine and MCMG, so he couldn’t put them in another match tonight. OH COME ON! Has it even been a month since he forced them to wrestle a six-man tag after Kamaitachi had already wrestled? So what is this? Some weeks Nigel can book whatever the hell he wants, but other weeks he has to get the wrestlers’ approval?
So Nigel says that Roppongi Vice definitely deserve a title shot because of all of their victories in Japan, but he doesn’t think the Young Bucks deserve a title shot due to their “activities outside of the ring” (you know… like trying to cripple Kyle O’Reilly)… so he’s going to book them against each other in a #1 contendrship match.
WHAT THE F*CK?!
Nigel JUST SAID that Roppongi Vice deserve a title shot at the Young Bucks don’t… so why doesn’t he just name Roppongi Vice the #1 contenders and tell the Bucks to f*ck off?
#1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice- 7.5/10
In terms of the action, this was a really great match and in a vacuum I might have enjoyed it enough to give it a 7.75, but I had a few problems with what went on here. First of all, everything they did seemed designed to make the Bucks into babyfaces, from spots that made Roppongi Vice look like idiots to the Bucks doing general babyface things, to the Bucks getting jumped by the Addiction after the match. In fact, every bit of the Bucks-Addiction interaction here was terrible. First of all, the Addiction were on commentary and the Bucks superkicked them. As we’ve established in the Whitmer-Corino feud, this counts as attacking an announcer and should earn them a suspension. Secondly, doing the post-match attack made it clear that the next tag title feud will be Bucks vs. Addiction, killing any suspense for this weekend’s PPV tag team title defense. This whole thing would have been so much better if it had just been booked to be Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice in a regular old tag team match, but instead we got a complicated segment with a bunch of interactions to either contradict previous storylines, damage current ones, or make Nigel look like an idiot.
Apparently Briscoe vs. Page is No Holds Barred.
COLE-LETHAL CONTRACT SIGNING- this was very good, and I liked the way it built to a future match with Cole’s hair on the line, but I’m not quite sure how they can get there once Cole wins the belt on Friday. What does Lethal have to give that he can put up against Cole’s hair that Lethal can lose?
This was a very good episode of TV from ROH, but as a PPV go-home show I thought it was pretty much a failure. That is, in many ways a result of having WAY too many New Japan guys on the card and going after titles, but then again you shouldn’t be doing that on PPV in the first place so the fault still lies with Delirious.
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