ROH State of the Art 2018: San Antonio (6/15/2018)- San Antonio, TX
THE BOYS vs. THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia)- 4.5/10
The Boys jumped the bell on The Kingdom. Ian Riccaboni claims that it’s a matter of turnabout being fair play because The Kingdom do it often, but I honestly don’t remember this to be the case. That being said, at least Ian is making an effort to explain why this isn’t just the babyfaces cheating for no reason (which would, by definition, make them not babyfaces anymore).
Marseglia did his stupid “pull you under the ring” sh*t, which tonight resulted in whichever Boy he pulled under emerging wearing a yellow raincoat. I will give five million US dollars to anyone who can successfully convince me exactly how such a thing is supposed to be funny or scary or whatever this was supposed to be (the fans laughed at it so I guess it was supposed to be comedy, but Marseglia’s nickname is “The Horror King” so him doing comedy makes no sense). Marseglia then pulled said Boy into this odd crevice that separated the ringside area from the crowd (which all of the ringside attendants were standing in, which looked very weird). Ian Riccaboni then brought shame onto himself, his entire family, and Ring of Honor by describing this as being similar to “the Pit of Sorrow outside Jabba The Hutt’s lair.” As any respectable individual knows, Jabba has a palace, not a lair, and it’s the Great Pit of Carkoon, not the “Pit of Sorrow.”
The Kingdom beat up the remaining Boy until his partner came back to get the hot tag and make a comeback but The Kingdom eventually got the win. Matt Taven hit one of the Boys with Bangarang after the match and cut a promo on Dalton Castle- who he told the crowd wasn’t going to be here tonight because he is injured- claiming that he is the real ROH World Champion, not Dalton. He also told the crowd that The Briscoes’ flight was cancelled and thus The Kingdom is filling their spot in the main event. That’s a downgrade, especially if it’s Taven and Marseglia as opposed to Taven and O’Ryan.
FLIP GORDON vs. RHETT TITUS- 6.25/10
Before the match they had RHETT TITUS of all people cut a promo telling everyone that everyone in the ROH locker room is wondering whether or not Flip Gordon will get booked for All In. Really? Because I honestly can’t imagine that 99% of the locker room cares, but if Rhett didn’t say this we couldn’t get the storyline over for All In… which isn’t an ROH production. Everyone is saying that they sold the show out without a TV outlet, but they actually do have a TV outlet in ROH, who can’t shut up about the show and are seemingly letting Cody and The Bucks do whatever they want on ROH shows to build up All In.
This storyline in particular is irksome because it feels very counterproductive. At the same time that ROH is trying to get Flip Gordon over with this whole Bully Ray feud and New Japan is booking the guy relatively strongly in Best of the Super Juniors, we now have this parallel storyline going on where Flip is a goof who can’t get booked on All In because he keeps losing all of these “winner gets booked at All In matches in ROH and even some other promotions as well.
This match was a fine example of why I’m disappointed that undercard guys don’t get time in ROH anymore. These guys were given just ten minutes, but in that ten minutes they told a competent story about Rhett working over Flip’s midsection. It actually started after Flip slipped on a dive attempt and landed on his stomach on the turnbuckle, so I don’t know if Flip “botched” the dive on purpose to set this up or if it was a legit botch and they just went with it, but either way, good for them. Flip won, of course, because Rhett Titus is a total jobber now. I’m not saying Rhett should be in the main event or anything, but when you consider who else is getting some sort of push in this company (The Kingdom) Rhett should at least be in the midcard. I’d rather see fifteen minutes of a Rhett Titus singles match than fifteen minutes of Cody.
SUMIE SAKAI & TENILLE DASHWOOD vs. KELLY KLEIN & THUNDER ROSA- 6.75/10
Kelly Klein refused to wrestle Sumie at the beginning, saying she would only wrestle her if the title was on the line. When Sumie refused to tag out, Kelly then tagged out instead. The match was better than the usual Women of Honor fare, possibly because they were given a bit more time than usual. Funny how that works. Still, to make this division into something worthwhile, they need to be given a lot more than eleven minutes. The real driving forces of action in the division still feels like it’s Kelly and Tenille rather than anything having to do with the champion, and the division as a whole feels less like a division and more like Kelly, Tenille, Third Banana Champion Sumie, and whoever the interchangeable, only there to get pinned fourth woman happens to be on any given weekend.
JAY LETHAL vs. T.K. O’RYAN- 6.5/10
Not a good sign for O’Ryan if this is the best he can do in thireen minutes with Jay Lethal. Still better than Marseglia, though.
Apparently another wrinkle in the “Joe Koff told The Addiction their contracts won’t be renewed at the end of this year” storyline is that Koff said that because The Addiction threatened to “reveal where the bodies are buried.” If they have this terrible secret about ROH or Joe Koff or whoever then shouldn’t that be all of the leverage they need to keep from getting fired, making the whole “they need to win titles to have leverage” thing pointless? And if it’s not enough leverage then why is it even part of the storyline in the first place?
Anyway, these guys cut the usual cheap-heat “we hate it here in Town X” promo. Ian Riccaboni has to kill things by pointing out to us that Scorpio Sky says “this is the worst town I’ve ever been to” in every city ROH comes to.
SOCAL UNCENSORED vs. GUERRERO MAYA JR., STUKA JR., & ATLANTIS- 5.5/10
Christopher Daniels and Atlantis started tings off for their respective teams. They have a combined age of well over a hundred, and I now SOOOOOO BADLY want to see them face each other in a singles match. The match went about nine minutes and was okay for a match of that length featuring both meh wrestler Scorpio Sky and the very old Atlantis. Atlantis hit his big crossbody off the top, which actually looks more devastating now that he is heavier than he used to be. Then he got up and Daniels got up and Atlantis hit Daniels with a bodyslam… and got the pin. After a bodyslam. That was odd.
CURT STALLION vs. SILAS YOUNG- 6.75/10
These guys had a fantastic match for the time they were given. Silas gave Stallion a lot of offense here and he looked really good, both in kayfabe and out of it. If ROH doesn’t bring him back (and soon!) then I will lose all faith that these random matches against regional talent are anything other than filler (as opposed to the “what a great chance for this local wrestler to impress ROH management” that they are portrayed as).
BULLY RAY, PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ, & SHANE TAYLOR vs. CHEESEBURGER, DELIRIOUS, & SHANE HELMS- 3.75/10
Cabana and Riccaboni were joined on commentary by someone named “J-Rock” who was described as “someone from Shane Taylor’s past.” You would think that this person would be able to provide with some sort of insight about Shane Taylor, but he said absolutely nothing new. He was more of a hype-man for Taylor, which is fine if you want Taylor to have a manager… but if you want this guy to be Taylor’s manager then just make him Taylor’s manager!
The match itself was extremely boring unless Martinez was in. Taylor and Delirious did some meh comedy in the very beginning, then the heels cut off Cheeseburger and just threw him around for a while at a very slow pace while Bully yelled things at him. I’m sorry, but there are only so many times I can watch Cheeseburger (or the Boys, or whoever) get tossed around at a slow pace before it comes boring, and that’s what I’ve been getting on every single one of the past six shows. I just want this sh*t to end already.
Helms looked… fine. He was BY FAR the most over man we’d seen on the show so far, and a mid-forties WWE undercard comedy act from over a decade ago coming into the company and immediately being one of the most over guys on the show on his first night is a very bad look for ROH.
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. CODY RHODES (w/Brandi Rhodes & Bernard the Business Bear)- 7/10
Lots of stalling from Cody and his entourage early on. When Cody and Gresham finally started wrestling, some f*cking moron in charge of production decided that instead of the wrestling match, it was much more important to show us a close-up of Ian Riccaboni showing off Cody’s stupid ring (so, yeah, I’m going to blame Ian for this, too. He should have told the cameraman to f*ck off and go record the match instead of the stupid ring).
The match went about fifteen minutes and they told a decent story with Gresham working over Cody’s arm. Like in Silas vs. Stallion, Cody gave Gresham most of the match, but I couldn’t help but feel that in order for Gresham to feel like he’s really breaking out, the match needed to go longer. The finish looked great, but it still felt like Gresham was dispatched too easily for someone who is supposed to be this young star about to break out.
BULLET CLUB (Adam Page, the Young Bucks, & Marty Scurll) vs. THE KILLER ELITE SQUAD & THE KINGDOM (w/T.K. O’Ryan)- 7.25/10
Kind of exactly what you’d expect.
This was another mostly dull show from ROH. Many of the matches disappointed, and the ones that overachieved did not do so to a level that made up for the disappointment. Not having The Briscoes was definitely a blow to the show, and took a lot of energy out of the main event, and that was beyond ROH’s control, but such things can be overlooked if a show does something to move storylines along, and this one did diddly-squat.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Ian Riccaboni- “This is the first time we’re seeing K.E.S., members of Suzuki-Gun in New Japan.”
It’s actually the seventh time we’re seeing them. We saw them four times just last year… and Ian called every single one of those matches.
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