ROH Masters of the Craft 2019 (4/14/2019)- Columbus, OH
RHETT TITUS vs. JEFF COBB- 5.75/10
The story here was the size difference, and they told it well. They gave Rhett enough offense to keep him looking credible, but also made it clear that Cobb was way out of his league.
There was a rather scary moment early in the match where Rhett appeared to fall right on his head on the concrete on his dive but seemed unhurt afterwards, which is amazing considering that, at least in terms of angle, this reminded me a lot of both BJ Whitmer at Final Battle 2012 and Mark Briscoe at All-Star Extravaganza III.
JENNY ROSE vs. HOLIDEAD- 5.5/10
The story here was that Jenny Rose would take too long show-boating and lose the advantage, while Holidead would eventually get frustrated with her inability to put Jenny away and the time she took to express her frustration would wind up costing her the advantage.
The real story, unfortunately, was Allure coming down to ringside with their selfie sticks and taking selfies. They chased the usual ringside attendants away and sat down and their table. Jenny Rose went to yell at them after the match, and Velvet sprayed hairspray in her eyes. I hate angles like this because it ignores the question of what Allure were planning on doing if Jenny Rose didn’t try to get in their faces after the match? If their plan was to beat both women up then why didn’t they attack Holidead after taking care of Jenny? If they had some other plan… well… I honestly can’t figure out what that plan could be. It seems like they just came out to ringside so they could take pictures of themselves while sitting at the timekeeper’s table, which makes feel like caricatures and not real people.
From the moment they came out, the commentary took quite the turn for the worse, and Aldis and Cabana both turned into Jerry Lawler. Well… that’s a little harsh. They turned into a less cartoony version of Jerry Lawler, but the issue was that they kept going back to the “I want to look at Allure instead of this match” idea, while Ian kept trying to steer them back on course, and the whole lot of them turned into clichés rather than real people.
COAST 2 COAST & THE BOUNCERS vs. THE BRISCOES, SILAS YOUNG, & SHANE TAYLOR- 6.25/10
This was one of those matches that felt like they took all of the ingredients you’d expect to see from a match like this and put them together, but in a way that was very forced and mechanical. It was very clear while you were watching that “this is part of the match where everyone has their face-off and one-on-one strike exchange with someone on the other team, then we brawl to the outside, then everyone gets to hit a big move on someone else, then everyone gets to do a dive, etc.”
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- The Briscoes got the pin on Shaheem Ali. After the heels left, the Bouncers tried to offer Coast 2 Coast some beers but Coast 2 Coast turned them down. The way this was booked made it seem like Coast 2 Coast are supposed to be heels for this, but to me they’re the ones taking the result of the match seriously and are unhappy that they lost, whereas the Bouncers are just shrugging their shoulders and saying “oh well.”
NICK ALDIS & COLT CABANA SEGMENT- good, but…
Throughout the night Aldis had been needling Colt about having successfully retained the NWA World Heavyweight Title against him in China last year, so Colt… I don’t want to say he “goaded” Aldis into giving him another title shot because that implies that it was premeditated, but when Aldis said “I’d beat you again” Colt seized on the opportunity and called him out on it in public, and Magnus finally agreed to defend the title against him tonight. I like the idea of this angle, but to have the match be that night just seems like a waste as you don’t get at advertise a theoretically big match like an NWA World Heavyweight Title defense is supposed to be in order to try to draw with it. I think it would have been better to have them needle each other on a previous show and use that to set up the match on this show.
EL SOBERANO JR. vs. RUSH- 1/10
The aforementioned angle necessitated both Colt and Aldis going to the back to prepare for their match, so Ian was left alone on commentary for this match. Fortunately for Ian’s vocal cords, the match was both short and pretty slow-paced. It was pretty close to squash, really. Ian reminded us that Rush beat Dalton Castle in sixteen seconds at G1 Supercard, and while this was closer to five minutes, I guess they could be trying to build Rush up as a “win quick” guy, but even if that’s the case it doesn’t change the fact that it’s pretty disappointing to have this major international superstar sign with the company and then instead of getting to see him have killer matches every night, they’ve got him winning short ones that don’t give him any sort of chance to display his talents.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH: Bandido vs. Flip Gordon vs. P.J. Black vs. Caristico- 9/10
Caprice Coleman showed up to give Ian some help on commentary, and thank G-d he did because Caprice did one of the most amazing jobs of covering for a guy slipping on the rope you will ever see/hear. I realize it’s only mid-April, but I think I can already confidently say I am going to vote for Caprice for best announcer at the end of the year.
Bandido using a handshake to lure Flip Gordon in for a kick to the gut seems like something that should be completely sacrilege to a member of LifeBlood, but based on the way they’ve been booked, I’m not holding my breath for anything to happen on that front.
Other than that, this match was AMAZING! It wasn’t just the expected off the charts athleticism but the smoothness of the timing of everything was INSANE. I know in my head that this match was completely choreographed, but there were no forced “this will be cool!” spots and no awkward situations where someone was clearly waiting for something else to happen or purposely getting into position or anything like that. Their timing was unbelievably natural-feeling that it was amazing to behold.
30 MINUTE IRONMAN #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH: Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. LifeBlood (Tracy Williams & Mark Haskins)- 8.5/10
Kenny King was on commentary for this match. The story is that he isn’t wrestling tonight because he’s having eye trouble due to Muta’s mist. They went over the top with this, and, unfortunately, Caprice did, too, hurting his credibility.
I like the scoreboard, but can we please get a timer on that thing?
They had an excellent wrestling match with LifeBlood working over Gresham’s arm while Gresham & Lethal worked over Tracy’s knee… and then they forgot about all of that and had some other match, with Gresham tapping to a Sharpshooter for the first fall. Then Lethal decided to initiate the “take turns letting the other guy hit you” spot right after his team went down 1-0. You don’t have time to waste, Jay! The last two minutes of this match existing this new continuity were fantastic and it’s not like the shift away from the limbs that had previously been worked over resulted in horrible no-selling, but it was still awkward how abruptly things seemed to change. On the whole I thought the match was awesome, although I really didn’t care for Lethal & Gresham winning. LifeBlood feel like a bunch of midcarders at the moment and really needed a win to establish themselves.
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Nick Aldis(c) (w/Kamille) vs. Colt Cabana- 5.5/10
What we have here is a failure to communicate. Specifically between either the booker and the commentators or between the booker and the wrestlers. Despite Ian having told us this match was approved by NWA officials, Cabana grabbed a mic and noted that Aldis had never agreed to put the title on the line and said he wanted a “verbal agreement” from Aldis that such was the case, which seems to contradict what Ian was saying. Then, to make things worse, Aldis never actually gave Colt the verbal agreement he asked for, but the announcer introduced this as a title match anyway.
They went for about eight minutes of mostly just stuff for Marty Scurll ran out to ringside to make a nuisance of himself. He grabbed the NWA World Heavyweight Title and paraded around with it. This caused Aldis to attack him from behind. Cabana took advantage of this but then got into a shoving match with Marty and threw a punch at Marty, who retaliated with one of his own, causing a DQ. Colt headed to the back with his head in his hands, annoyed at himself for getting Scurll to punch him (even though he technically won by DQ so he should be owed another title match). Marty tried to spin things to Aldis as if he did this all to help Aldis, then hit him in the back with his umbrella.
This builds to the title match at the Crockett Cup between Scurll and Aldis while setting Cabana up for a future title shot (and probably a match with Marty either way). The problem is that this was not a good thing to do in the semi-main event, and doing it on the last show before the Crockett Cup and with Cabana, who was already scheduled to challenge for the NWA National Title on that same show so no one believed he would win the title, as the challenger was a bad idea.
DALTON CASTLE PROMO- or not. He showed up with a mic, dressed in a maroon suit, didn’t say anything, then left.
STREET FIGHT FOR THE ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLES: Villain Enterprises(c) vs. the Kingdom- 4.75/10
This wasn’t supposed to be a gimmick match, but Scurll suggested they make it one right before the match. So, for the record, this show had an NWA World Heavyweight Title match and no DQs stip added to the main event during the show, and had a #1 contendership stip added to the Ironman Match on the day of the show. Maybe if we announced these things in advance we’d sell some more tickets? Because tonight’s gate was well down from their last time in Columbus. Just a thought.
O’Ryan and Marseglia had an argument over whether or not they should use a table. Are you kidding me? These guys who worked together fine in every match suddenly have a f*cking moronic argument in the middle of a championship match?! WHY?! Then, two minutes later, they’re working together to get the table with no problems. F*ck this sh*t. The Kingdom (and Marseglia in particular) just keep finding new ways to make hate their presence in this company, don’t they?
Taven and Scurll had one very clever big spot and PCO pinning Taven did feel like a big deal (major props to the announcers for the way they sold it), but for the most part this match was just guys hitting each other with stuff. I really feel bad that PCO and O’Ryan took the scary bumps that they did just because the booker booked a main event where at least half of the guys in the match don’t have a snowball’s chance of having a good match without tons of plunder.
This was a very meh show for ROH. It was a bunch of blah matches and questionable booking, with two excellent matches in the middle. If the two great matches had been the final two matches on the show maybe my feeling would be different, but the way this show worked out, it ended with a series of major let-downs after reaching such a great high, which is never the way you want things to go.
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