LIO RUSH vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys) - 5.5/10
Could have been a lot more if they didn't waste time stalling with Dalton's stupid bullsh*t in the beginning.
THE ADDICTION vs. MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS - 7.25/10
DONOVAN DIJAK vs. JAY WHITE - 6.75/10
Kevin Kelly went WAY overboard putting Dijak over as being "in consideration for the MVP of this tour," which is utterly ridiculous when you consider what Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, Adam Cole, the Briscoes, Marty Scurll, and especially Will Ospreay and the Young Bucks have done... and that's just the ones that I remember having performances that have been multiple levels above Dijak's without even checking my notes. Because Kevin Kelly has now pissed me off, I am, in fact, going back to check my notes, and not counting tonight's matches, I think we can firmly say that Chris Sabin and Jay White have also had better tours than Dijak, and depending on your feelings about last night's comedy match, Christopher Daniels as well. By the end of tonight's show I'm sure we'll be adding Jay Lethal to that list, too, and possibly Kazarian.
I just don't understand why anyone would even say this! The guy had two pretty good matches, yes, but you can't possibly have watched these last two shows and thought he had a better tour than guys like Cole, Ospreay, and the Bucks, who have been wrestling heavily-hyped main event matches. It's like Kevin always feels the need to put someone over so he comes up with these completely bullsh*t grandiose ways to do it when all he needed to say was that Dijak has had a good tour so far, picking up two wins in very strong matches.
Anyway, Kevin attributes this newfound success to the fact that he isn't with Prince Nana anymore, stating that "Dijak and Nana never really got on the same page." Really? I don't remember one single instance of this even being hinted at. And if I'm wrong and such a thing happened on one of the (very few) shows I haven't seen yet, then Kevin should be TELLING ME WHAT HAPPENED because otherwise it just seems like he's making sh*t up!
The match itself was great while it was going on, but it ended about ten minutes too early with an abrupt crucifix roll-up from White when Dijak tried to escape from a submission. Here's an idea: if you're trying to show that Dijak is doing better now that he isn't with Nana anymore, how about not having him lose to a guy he also lost to last month when he was still with Nana?
THE BRISCOES vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS - 8/10
This was supposed to be separate singles matches but Jay wanted to just do a tag team match and the Young Bucks agree. If you want to do a tag match just announce it as a tag match! These two teams facing off in a tag match is going to draw a lot more interest (and tickets, and VOD sales) than advertising it as two singles matches.
Anyway, the match was awesome, like we all knew it would be. Now I'm super-hyped for Final Battle. Unfortunately, it had to end in the...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - utterly moronic.
The Briscoes grabs the title belts and start celebrating, and despite the fact that it was never announced as such, The Briscoes, the crowd, and the announcers all started acting like this was a title change. Then Nigel had to come out and wave it off and explain that this was a non-title match, so of course the crowd booed. Why would you do this? It made the announcers (who are both babyfaces) as well as our top babyface tag team look like complete and total morons, and resulted in the crowd booing a lack of title change that no one (them included) ever should have thought was a title change in the first place.
KYLE O'REILLY vs. TRAVIS BANKS- 6.5/10
I was pretty much expecting a squash, but they actually had a competitive match. Banks looked quite good. I'd much rather see him come to the US than Joe Hendry.
KYLE O'REILLY PROMO - very good.
ROH TV TITLE MATCH:
Will Ospreay(c) vs. Marty Scurll - 9/10
It's these two. They're like Tanahashi and Okada or Dragon and Nigel. You put them in the ring together and you're guaranteed to get something amazing.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Adam Cole(c) vs. Jay Lethal - A PERFECT 10/10!
There were a lot of beautiful little intricacies going on here in addition to the obvious story of Cole working over Lethal's knee and head. Chief among them (and the announcers actually did a fantastic job of pointing this out for once) was the fact that in their last ROH World Title match when Cole won the belt from Lethal, the story was that whenever Lethal was calm and collected he was winning, but then Cole would do something to enrage him and he would make a mistake and Cole would take over. In this match that same dynamic was at play again, but they made an effort to show that it took A LOT more for Cole to piss Lethal off by having Lethal brush off Cole's taunts throughout most of the match.
The telling of that particular story, as well as some of the others in this match was helped tremendously by the amazing facials of Jay Lethal. Another example of Jay's facials coming into play was after they did a double-down on the outside and Lethal got into the ring first... but then realized that Cole probably wasn't going to make it back into the ring in time and the match would end in a count-out and Jay tried to get back out of the ring to break up the count but his leg was too injured for him to move fast... and as the realization of what was about to happen dawned on him, Jay was almost crying.
Jay didn't make it to the outside of the ring, but he did make it close enough to referee Tod Sinclair to grab him and prevent him from counting twenty. Sinclair, of course, demanded to know what Jay was doing and Jay pled to Tod not to DQ him for grabbing him but also not to count Cole out... and all the while he was using Sinclair to pull himself closer to the ropes and eventually he slipped through them so that Sinclair would have to start the count over again.
This idea of how much this match meant to Lethal and wanting to have the match won and lost inside the ring would play into a later spot where Lethal was about to dare to try the Lethal Injection on his bad knee but Cole just kicked him in the nuts from behind right in front of Sinclair then quickly hit the Last Shot and went for the pin but Sinclair refused to count and basically told Cole that he wouldn't let him get away with that sort of bullsh*t.
Because of this one spot, this was the match I have struggled the most with in trying to decide whether it deserves the full 10 or the 9.75 that I reserve for matches would have been the perfect 10 if not for some flaw that prevents them from being the prerequisite "perfect." After a lot of contemplating, I finally decided to give it the full 10/10, with two major reasons supporting that. First of all, ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness was on commentary and kept saying that DQs in matches like this are at the referee's discretion. Even so I would normally think letting someone get away with a low blow is too much discretion but in this case they managed to make this feel like a rather organic part of the story of the match. They did so by first establishing the idea that perhaps Sinclair would be lenient on something like this with Lethal's pleading before, and then by actually using this new wrinkle to tell a new story to set up their next spot. That spot saw Cole grab the ROH World Title belt to use as a weapon, figuring he will either get DQed to keep his title or that he won't get DQed and will still be doing damage to Lethal, even if Sinclair won't count the pin right away. This led to Sinclair taking the belt away, and of course while he was putting it back Lethal rolled Cole up and got a visual pinfall, setting Lethal up as a challenger for either Cole or O'Reilly after Final Battle (the idea in the O'Reilly match would be that they are finally getting to have the pure, fair title match they were robbed of back in June by Bullet Club's assault on O'Reilly).
Anyway, YOU MUST GO WATCH THIS MATCH. It was an amazing rollercoaster ride of emotion, with Jay Lethal giving the performance of a lifetime with his brilliant facials and beautiful selling, and fantastic babyface fire.
ROH closes out their tour of the UK with a third straight night of outstanding wrestling. BUY THIS SHOW!
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. The announcers refer to Jay Lethal as "the first ROH World Champion to not totally unravel after losing the title."
Dude... Jay Briscoe, the guy Lethal himself won the belt from, didn't go nuts after his loss. Even just in the Sinclair Era, FIVE OUT OF SEVEN ROH World Champions didn't "unravel" after losing the belt. And then, of course, there are the FIFTEEN champions before that who also didn't go insane after losing the belt... but that won't stop Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino from trying to make up these moronic, untrue, non-existent narratives to talk about instead of doing their jobs and calling the match.