"LOCAL HERO" JOE HENDRY vs. JAY WHITE - 6.25/10
Solid, but not much more than that. Hendry comes off as kind of douchy to me.
JAY LETHAL vs. ALEX SHELLEY - 6/10
Steve Corino says that "Jay Lethal started off as a member of Special K and Alex Shelley started off with Prince Nana." OH COME ON! How the hell does someone remember that Lethal was a member of Special K- where he wrestled under a different name and wasn't even a prominent member of the group- but not remember that Alex Shelley was the leader of Generation Next? Corino even wrestled Shelley while Shelley was part of Gen. Next (Punk & Corino vs. Shelley & Strong at Final Battle 2004), and I'm certain he never wrestled Lethal was while Lethal was in Special K.
The match was shorter than I expected. It was fine. The placement on the card was a little curious. Between this being early on the card and decently short for a match between ROH main eventers (about ten minutes), and Shelley not being on the card at all last night I'm wondering if that injury that caused him to miss the first night of SOTF and not wrestle on the second night might have been real instead of the work it was assumed to be. Lethal picks up the win to build momentum for his ROH World Title shot tomorrow night and then cuts a promo to build it up.
DONOVAN DIJAK vs. LIO RUSH - 6.75/10
I don't think I could ever get tired of seeing these two wrestle. Rush's style works best when he is facing a much larger opponent and Dijak is athletic enough that they can do more than Rush can do with most other guys.
THE BRISCOES vs. reDRagon - 7.75/10
Would have been an 8/10 if not for the finish, which saw the Young Bucks come out to distract the Briscoes, resulting in reDRagon getting a win. It's Bucks vs. Briscoes. You're not going to sell any more PPV buys for Final Battle by having them do a distraction finish! This is Ring of Honor! Do a f*cking clean finish with the team that is challenging for the tag titles at the PPV getting the pin on the guy who we all know has no chance of winning the title he is challenging for at the PPV because he just lost the belt last night.
NIGEL MCGUINNESS SPEECH - nowhere near as cool as last night.
THE ADDICTION vs. DELIRIOUS & DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys) - no rating, very funny comedy match.
During this match the announcers wondered if Dalton Castle was in line for an ROH World Title shot soon and talked about his many big victories recently. As a singles wrestler he actually hasn't had any big victories recently. What he has done, however, is pin the world champion during Champions vs. All-Stars, which should automatically earn him a world title shot, but none of the announcers even mentioned the fact that he pinned the champion.
CHRIS SABIN vs. ADAM COLE - 7.5/10
They started off roughly, not only taking WAY too much time on the outside, but also doing a spot where a child in the audience was allowed to chop Adam Cole, which should have been a DQ but wasn't. Fortunately, Nigel McGuinness was smart enough to immediately say that ROH does not endorse or advise fans to attack the wrestlers.
I can see some people thinking they kicked out of too much stuff in here (or really more that Sabin kicked out of too much stuff) and on one level I don't disagree, while watching the match it didn't feel like he was kicking out of too much. Unfortunately, the reason it didn't feel like he was kicking out of too much stuff was that none of the announcers were reacting to certain moves (particularly Cole's Shining Wizard and Sabin's CSV2) as if they were finishers whereas a well-informed announcer would have been doing so. Hell... even Kevin Kelly' call of Sabin kicking out of a Canadian Destroyer was underwhelming. Kevin Kelly always does a terrible job at selling emotion because he comes across as so dispassionate. He's like a father watching the show with his child (us at home) and trying to tell us how we should be reacting rather than reacting himself, so he never feels like he is really into it and every time he does show emotion it is measured to the point of feeling fake.
I also really disliked the heel finish here. Chris Sabin is a tag team wrestler who is not really even being pushed right now. Adam Cole is the ROH World Champion about to end his year with the two biggest title defenses of his reign. There is no reason he should need to rely on a low blow to get the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Cole teases wanting to defend the title against Jay lethal tonight instead of tomorrow night. No one buys it except for Jay Lethal, which made Lethal look dumb. Lethal cut another saying the same thing he said earlier. This was a waste of time.
THE BUCKS OFFER TO PUT THE TAG TITLES ON THE LINE - This wasn't originally supposed to be a tag title match, but completely out of character the Young Bucks offered to put their belts on the line. Nigel okayed it, so now we've got a tag title match. I don't see the point of this. Firstly, it just takes suspense away from the match because we all know they're not going to take the belts off of the Bucks with such a well-built title defense against the Briscoes coming up at Final Battle (and especially if Ospreay also has to defend the TV Title at Final Battle), while if you keep this match non-title it is completely believable that Ospreay & Scurll will win to set up them getting a title shot against whoever comes out of Final Battle with the belts.
Secondly, as I said above, it's completely out of character for the Young Bucks to do this. They themselves have clearly given up on trying to be heels in the ring, but now we've got the booker booking them to do dastardly things sometimes but then having them do total babyface things like this, which doesn't help when the crowd is already cheering them for doing heel things.
Thirdly, if, for whatever reason, you really want this to be a tag title match, then just announce it as one in advance and maybe you'll sell a few extra tickets. Doing it this way serves only one purpose: to get one extra random pop on the show... and as I've said other places, that is something that Delirious' booking seems to show him being overly concerned with, to the point where in most matches on non-televised shows he puts over the most over babyface in the match instead of putting over the person or team who should go over for the benefit of the product as a whole, or wasting potentially big main events by booking them on the fly that night like he did by turning the Champions vs. All-Stars match into Cabana and Castle's title shot when a more sensible booker would have put Cabana and Castle over in Champions vs. All-Stars to build up their title match main eventing a different show.
But onto the match itself...
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Young Bucks(c) vs. Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll- 9.5/10
This is going to be one of those really frustrating scores where I tell you that I just can't quite put my finger on why I didn't rate it higher. Like with my rating TLC I the full 10 but TLC II 9.5 even though if you told me I could only watch one of them I would choose TLC II every time, the only answer I can give you is that this "just felt like it was missing something" to me, even though I can't possibly tell you what that something is.
There was tons of crazy, athletic stuff in here, and they told their story of Scurll and Ospreay managing to work together despite hating each other only for them to fail due some unfortunate coincidences. One of those was the finish, which was a stroke of utter genius.
In the interests of fairness, I probably would have given this a 9.75 at most, which is a rating I reserve for matches that would have been 10/10 if not for some flaw that prevents them from being perfect, like someone fumbling with the belts at the top of a ladder for so long that they're obviously stalling for someone else to get into position for the next spot. In this match the thing I didn't like was Ospreay eventually giving in to the temptation of trying to use umbrella. I think it achieves the same purpose for the story for him to stop Marty from using the umbrella and thus the Bucks take over than it does to have him swing at the Bucks but accidentally hit Marty, and I didn't like the bit of comedy on the superkick that followed. But other than that this was TOTALLY F*CKING INSANE and you should definitely do everything in your power to see it.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT #1 - The Briscoes came out to have a stare-down with the Bucks, then put over Scurll and Ospreay on the mic. The real reason this was good was that it gave Ospreay time to recover so that he could believably be involved in...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT #2 - Scurll blames the loss on Ospreay and challenges him to put the TV Title on the line tomorrow night. Ospreay accepts and Nigel makes it official. This was good, but I thought it would have justified this randomly becoming a tag title match if Scurll had included some sort of line about how Ospreay cost him a title tonight so Ospreay should make it right to him by putting the TV Title on the line tomorrow.
Another night of solid wrestling from ROH in the UK, with a main event that would probably have been an MOTYC most other years (it is my runner up for best tag team match of the year this year, down only to the Ladder War). If Gabe or Pearce were still in charge, this show would be "Tag Title Classic III," and if you know your ROH history, you know that a name like that is one of the highest compliments a match can receive.