ROH Aftershock Tour: Baltimore (7/8/2016)- Baltimore, MD
WAR MACHINE vs. SHAHEEM ALI & LEON ST. GIOVANNI- 4.5/10
War Machine have a new finish. Kevin Kelly was talking up Ali and St. Giovanni as if they would be a regular team going forward.
JAY WHITE vs. LIO RUSH- 7.25/10
A great showing by two up-and-coming stars. They got to show off their fancy foot-work and athleticism, as well the technical prowess of White and the babyface resilience of Rush. I’m already dreaming of these two facing off next year at Best in the World 2017 for the TV Title in one of those “look how far we’ve come” matches. They’re both that good.
The commentary, on the other hand, was very frustrating. Alex Shelley joined Kevin Kelly and Matt Taven on commentary for this match, and he and Taven bickered way too much. After a few minutes of talking about how great both of these young prospects are and how they’re the future and all that, Kevin Kelly just randomly shifts to asking Alex Shelley about the finish of the tag title match at Best in the World. Know your audience! There is no one who is buying his VOD from the ROH website that needs a recap of or commentary on the finish of a tag title match from your most recent PPV. If you want to have Shelley talk about it, then let him and Sabin cut a backstage promo where it can get the full attention it deserves and also not rob this match of the full attention that it deserves. This is one of the most common criticisms of WWE’s much-reviled announcing style, so why would you copy it, especially on a show where you know that pretty much the entire audience for will be fans who are already well-invested in the product and thus don’t need you to be hyping other things up during the matches?
Kelly and Taven were also quite frustrating outside of their interactions with Shelley as well. When Jay White came out, Taven asked “do you know what I think of him?” Then made a farting sound and added “and a wet one, too.” Kevin Kelly was very upset by this, telling Taven. “Come on! You can’t say that!” as if there were some sort of broadcasting standards that he was violating by making this slightly lewd noise. Never mind the fact that this show isn’t being broadcast… even if it was, the FCC doesn’t fine people for talking about or imitating fart sounds. Kevin comes across like a giant dork who still thinks it’s the 1970’s and that he should talk about people getting fined for saying “dirty” words that are no worse than what most people hear on TV every day and get upset at any level of trash talk about a wrestler, even the most simple, childish bullsh*t. When he scolded Taven “don’t wish injury on another athlete! You know better!” he came off like the volunteer coach of a town rec. department soccer league for third graders. He is by far the most uncool announcer in wrestling, and that includes both Byron Saxton and Matt Striker.
Taven, for his part, is usually pretty funny, but he needs to learn when to turn it off. He can make fun of guys like War Machine or the Briscoes or Bullet Club (especially if his jabs at Cole lead to an angle between the two, which does seem like what they’re planning) because they’re already well established. What he shouldn’t be doing is dragging the announcers into a discussion about his role in Ghostbusters when Lio Rush and Jay White are trying to have a match specifically designed to showcase both guys.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- lots of respectful handshaking, and then White put Rush over big time on the mic. I hope this leads to a rematch.
THE CABINET PROMOS- not good.
ANX and Caprice came out with guys with bullhorns chanting “make wresting great!” It was horribly annoying. Caprice cut a fine promo. Then Kenny King grabbed the mic and cut a rare bad one. He said what Caprice said, except he said it worse, and talked about Ray Lewis stabbing someone to get cheap heat (I mean Kenny talked about the stabbing to get cheap heat, not that Ray actually did the stabbing to get himself cheap heat). Then Caprice took the mic back and cut an unnecessary promo. At least they did have the stupid podium set-up like they did at the PPV.
THE ALL-NIGHT EXPRESS (w/Caprice Coleman) vs. WILL FERRARA & CHEESEBURGER- 4.75/10
The team of Will Ferrara and f*cking CHEESEBURGER got WAY too much offense in here. If you’re trying to push ANX, they shouldn’t be having this much trouble beating a team that consists of the most undercard guy on the roster teaming with a comedy jobber. At least the guys War Machine faced were in the Top Prospect Tournament and haven’t otherwise been jobbed out too much so I could pretend that they would stand a chance.
BOBBY FISH vs. KAMAITACHI (w/Christopher Daniels)- 6.75/10
Fish sold his leg well, Kamaitachi was a good heel in the ring while Daniels was an excellent heel on the outside. They were such great heels it was almost a shame to see Fish win. On commentary, Matt Taven needs to learn when it’s time to stop harping on the same joke. To help him in this endeavor, Kevin Kelly needs to learn to just ignore some things. You don’t have to correct Taven every time he mistakes Kamaitachi’s hair for a helmet. We’re not stupid. We don’t need you to tell us that it isn’t.
JOEY DIESEL DADDIEGO vs. “CAULIFLOWER” CHASE BROWN- 4.25/10
Brown is that stupid guy who eats Cauliflower on his way to the ring that made me rant on ROH TV earlier this year. His presence still makes me want to scream. As for Daddiego… if he is still a member of the House of Truth (as his music indicates), then shouldn’t someone be out here with him? I can understand not wanting to have Lethal out here because he’s the champ and seconding someone could be seen as below his station, but you could have at least had him out here to do commentary instead of Whitmer. But even if you don’t want Lethal out here at all, there is no reason why Taeler Hendrix shouldn’t be out here with him. Everything we have seen since Truth’s injury a few months ago seems to indicate that she is the person who has taken over the “ringside strategy” aspect of Truth’s managerial duties… so why isn’t she out here doing her job for a fellow member of the House of Truth?
The match was short. As far as I can tell, the point of this match was to get over that Diesel has a new finisher. Kevin Kelly kept calling it a “Package Piledriver” but it clearly wasn’t anything close to that. Also, if the sole purpose of this match was to get over Daddiego’s new finisher, did we really need to book the Cauliflower Cocksucker or whatever his name is? Was every other wrestler within driving distance with a non-idiotic gimmick busy that night? Is the ROH Dojo so bad that one of Delirious’ students couldn’t have just gotten squashed? I mean come on. It’s like they try to book these embarrassing goofballs on purpose.
Whitmer decides to criticize the quality of the clothing of the ring announcer. This was Kevin Kelly’s cue to tell us that Bobby Cruise is off this weekend so Scarlett Bordeuax was supposed to be the ring announcer but this guy had to be called in at the last minute because Kelly Klein did something to Scarlett at this afternoon’s Women of Honor show. “You have to see it for yourself, fans,” he says. Imagine that. Something happens at a VOD show and they encourage me to buy the show to see what happened. Can you imagine if they put this much effort into promoting the VODs of the live ROH shows with events that are supposed to matter instead of the going-nowhere Women of Honor division? I shudder to think how much time and money ROH could be spending on other things if they weren’t trying to push this “Women of Honor” crap with ODB, Sumie Sakai, Candice LeRae and a bunch of women who aren’t good enough to be used in the well-respected women’s promotions.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH: Frankie Kazarian vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Donovan Dijak (w/Prince Nana) vs. Chris Sabin (w/Alex Shelley)- 7/10
When Kaz was making his entrance, Kevin Kelly said the following: “Kazarian looking to gain victory here tonight in a competitive atmosphere.” If this is the best you have to say, you should probably just not open your mouth at all. Shelley sat down to do commentary and once gain was mostly a nuisance. The match was pretty great, although I could have done without the comedy giant sleeper-hold spot and babyface Sabin biting someone for no reason. Mark Briscoe is headed for a TV Title shot so him getting the win was the right call here, but if you’re not building to Addiction vs. Briscoes there was no reason for him to pin Kaz. To be fair, there was no one here who was a good choice to pin (Dijak is still theoretically in the world title picture as he lost a title shot on TV due to Young Bucks interference while Sabin is going into a tag title shot next week in Philly), so it’s not impossible that this was the right call. It’s more that being forced to do this should result in the Briscoes getting a shot at the Addiction (which would make perfect sense to do at one of the Reloaded Tour shows in September because I don’t see Addiction losing the belts before then and Mark will be out of the TV Title picture and able to take the pin), but based on Delirious’ track record, I’m not confident that it will happen even though it is the right thing to do (a good title defense for the Addiction, and important match for a show that probably won’t have many important matches on it, and it makes a champion getting pinned actually mean something).
During this match, Kevin Kelly went on and on about how he’d love to see someone get a title shot against the Addiction that didn’t involve cheating or outside shenanigans or the like… which really makes Nigel McGuinness look like an idiot for not booking them to defend their belts in a cage match (and we had the exact same problem with their title reign last year, too. I’m pretty sure reDRagon STILL haven’t been pinned/submitted cleanly in a tag title match, and they lost the belts last April).
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS PROMO- he comes out and cuts a goofy, crazy heel promo talking about a “conspiracy” against the Addiction and makes a demonstrably false claim about Mark Briscoe cheating and claims he had the finishes of both the Four Corner Survival and the Kamaitachi match overturned with Kamaitachi and Kaz now officially being the winners. Just stupid, goofball stuff that makes it really hard to take him seriously (and that military jacket doesn’t help. When he is doing nothing else goofy, the “ring general” jacket with all of the military medals is fine, when he is saying crap like this, it makes him come off like a total loon). Of course, being a total moron, Kevin Kelly seems to 100% believe the man ranting about conspiracy theories when he claims that he got match results overturned due to demonstrably false evidence. It’s like Kevin Kelly has just decided that he doesn’t want to have any credibility.
The whole point of this whole thing was so Daniels could say that no one can stop them which set up for Moose to come out for their already-scheduled match.
MOOSE vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (w/Frankie Kazarian)- 6.5/10
While putting over Stokely Hathaway’s injury and what this means for Moose to not have Stokely at ringside with him, Kevin Kelly talked about all of the “hard lessons” that Moose learned while gaining experience in ROH with Stokely at his side. This was news to me as a grand total of ZERO of these lessons were learned ON-SCREEN. You know… where the fans can see them?
Now Kevin is claiming that Moose and Okada have “bonded” and that Okada has taught Moose a lot and been “influential.” Give me a f*cking break. They’ve been in the same place like TWICE. They had a match and Moose earned Okada’s respect so Okada asked Moose to team with him one time. That’s all it is because that’s all it has to be. Don’t say sh*t that no one is going to take seriously like “Moose and Okada have bonded” or nebulous crap like “Okada has influenced Moose” if THERE IS NO F*CKING EVIDENCE FOR IT. At least when WWE commentators are sucking they are doing so via outrageous hyperbole and you know they’re only doing it to try to sell a match. With Kevin Kelly, he just says random sh*t that has no bearing whatsoever on anything that is happening or anything we have previously seen.
The match itself was…fine. But not better than fine, which has often been the problem with Moose. I’m not sad to see him go. And speaking of the fact that this was his last ROH match, why the hell couldn’t they just let Daniels wins clean? Do we really need to protect the guy who is on his way out the door?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- not good
Moose spears Daniels after the match because, again, the guy seems to be on his way out, so why not have him lay out one of the tag champs on his way out the door. Kamaitachi comes out and the Addiction beat Moose down, but not even close to enough to seem like it should be an injury angle. I was wondering why MCMG didn’t come out to help, and it appears that someone in ROH actually learned a lesson from the Global Wars fiasco as Kevin Kelly specifically told us that Sabin and Shelley had gone to a “local medical facility” (why can this man never just say “hospital” like a normal person?) to get Sabin’s eye stitched up (he had been bleeding from the eyebrow pretty badly during the last match)… but then fate decided to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when who should come out and make the save but Jay White and ALEX SHELLEY. It’s like there is absolutely no coordination between the booker and the announcers.
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: ACH vs. Silas Young- 8/10
Silas jumps ACH on his way to the ring to start us off hot. They had a pretty violent match using chairs throughout, and they did a good job of building things around one table spot without teasing it so many times that it got annoying. Major props to the security guy who took a chairshot and was still heavily selling it minutes later.
The only thing I didn’t like was one spot where Silas teased that he would throw ACH into the guardrail but instead tossed him back into the ring just to annoy the fans and then wasted time jabbering with them. This is a Last Man Standing match. That shouldn’t be happening. I found this even more frustrating when it became clear that the only reason this was done was to set up for ACH to dive onto Silas and a bunch of security guys who had gotten between Silas and the fans.
Something that I did like but I can see others not liking was the finish. ACH hit a superplex through the aforementioned table and both men went down, with Silas just managing to beat the count by rolling out of the ring and landing on his feet while ACH just barely missed being able to pull himself up with the ropes. I thought Silas winning like this was a clever way to prolong the feud that both gives Silas a not-illegitimate win while still making you feel a bit like ACH got screwed. Silas winning here also gives him something to brag about while ACH heads to Japan for NOAH’s NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League. You can even do an offshoot of this feud after ACH returns where Silas starts to bury NOAH for not living up to the reputation of the Japanese dojos due to their failure to “make a man out of ACH.” That should at least set up a match between Silas and whoever the head trainer at NOAH is. Possibly a match between Silas and ACH’s tag partner Taiji Ishimori as well.
Also, Kevin Kelly said the following:
“In the state of Maryland, the athletic commission gave Paul Turner special instructions for this one in particular, and he will have to be very mindful of what transpires into perhaps the outcome of this match.”
Well… for those of you who were wondering how long Kevin Kelly could stretch out a sentence without actually saying anything, now you know.
JAY LETHAL, COLT CABANA, & JAY BRISCOE vs. BULLET CLUB (Adam Cole, Adam Page, & Nick Jackson)- 7.5/10
Wow. Kevin Kelly actually calls out ROH management for letting Bullet Club get away with so much crap. Of course, this would have made a lot more sense if he hadn’t waited to say until AFTER ROH finally did punish Bullet Club for some of their heinous actions. Then again, he also claimed that Bullet Club sell more merch “than anyone in professional wrestling.” Does anyone really believe that Bullet Club outsells John Cena? Of course not. So why the hell would you say it?
They actually did a great job of milking the reveal of Lethal’s baldness, first by having Lethal come out (last, as the champion should) with a towel over his head, and then by having Bullet Club laugh at him when he took it off.
The match itself was perfectly acceptable for a heated six-man tag team main event (though it would have been better if Bullet Club had actually tried to be heels). The person who impressed me the most here was Cabana. He has done a fantastic job of finding a way of blending some of the “old” Cabana’s more comedy-oriented moves into a more serious attitude to that it feels like we’re watching the same guy do the same moves, but they don’t come off as comedy stuff. His facials are a large part of this. Also, he hit an awesome moonsault.
I was pleasantly surprised that Adam Page didn’t do the job here, considering that he has done the job pretty much every single time in this feud. Instead we had Cabana pin Nick Jackson to give him a win before his world title match against Lethal next weekend. Speaking of which, these two had a short, respectful stare-down after the match. That was great, but it would have been even better if we had seen the whole thing. When they started to turn towards each other, whichever idiot does the production for these shows decided that this would be the right time to cut to Bullet Club selling on the outside. How f*cking stupid to you have to be in order to not just stick with the shot of the world champion about to have a stare-down with his next challenger?
This show was the current ROH product in a nutshell: An undercard with talented wrestlers who are great in the ring but completely directionless storyline-wise, an excellent grudge-match blow-off, a main event that while still being great doesn’t really live up to expectations, pointless dirty finishes, and a few matches that are nothing but boring, pointless wastes of time. Oh. And awful, horrible, terrible announcing.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Alex Shelley all but breaks kayfabe during an argument with Taven (in which Taven was being a FANTASTIC heel) pretty much outright saying that the only reason The Kingdom won the IWGP Tag Team Titles was because they had Maria with them. I don’t remember if this was true in kayfabe or not, but from the way Shelley phrased, it was clear what he meant.
It’d be nice if we could both not break kayfabe and also not bury the current talent as only having been successful because of someone else who left.
2. BJ Whitmer- “That shows the ring presence of the veteran Christopher Daniels.”
BJ said this after Daniels avoided a spear by Moose WHILE THEY WERE OUTSIDE OF THE RING.
3. Kevin Kelly- “I thought Adam Cole and the Young Bucks had gone too fat when they cost Colt Cabana the world title at Global Wars. Then I thought they had gone too far when they cost Kyle O’Reilly the world title… but then, when they did what they did to Jay Lethal- and you see it right there- when they shaved the head of the world champion…”
I love how Kevin has decided that costing some people the world title is bad, and shaving someone’s head is even worse… but in this conversation about “going too far,” he doesn’t think that assaulting innocent people or TRYING TO CRIPPLE KYLE O’REILLY is even worthy of a mention? COME ON!
And to make matters worse, this is only about a minute after mentioning that their buddy Adam Page TRIED TO MURDER JAY BRISCOE, and Kevin didn’t show anywhere the level of condemnation for that. And to make matters even worse, Jay Briscoe isn’t the only guy in the company they tried to murder. He’s not even the only person IN THIS MATCH who they tried to murder… but Kevin seems to have completely forgotten that they tried to hang Colt Cabana in Toronto just two days later. He remembers them screwing Cabana out of the world title but not an ATTEMPTED MURDER?
For the good of the ROH product, Kevin Kelly needs to be replaced with an announcer who has a better memory and better kayfabe morals.