STORY TIME WITH ADAM COLE VIDEO PACKAGE - not that this wasn't fantastic, but I don't know if I would have spent four and a half minutes of PPV time on this.
What happened to Bobby Fish? Why is he not in the TV Title match?
THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley & Donovan Dijak) vs. THE REBELLION (Kenny King, Rhett Titus, & Caprice Coleman) - 6.75/10
Apparently at some point off screen the Rebellion has said that their goal is "to destroy everything that ROH stands for." First of all, this seems like the sort of thing that should be said ON-SCREEN. Secondly, we've seen this angle within the last few years already with SCUM (which included Rhett Titus) and that wasn't particularly well-received, so why are we going back to it? And especially in ROH where every stable with this goal will always wind up being compared to The Prophecy and will never measure up.
Caprice's knock-off Black Panther outfit needs to go. It makes the whole thing scream "Nation of Domination rip-off." He also needs to stop acting like a cartoon character. Rhett and Kenny have the sense to be dressed smarter and not act like doofuses.
Dijak is now an official Motor City Machine Gun, despite not being from the Motor City. The Steve Corino tells us that now that Dijak is under the tutelage of veterans like MCMG, he has his best chance to fulfill his potential and make it to the top of ROH. Of course, we were also told that exact same thing when he paired up with Nana, and when he paired up with Truth Martini before that, so saying this means less than nothing at this point.
The match itself was a perfect opener and the right team went over and went over shockingly cleanly as well. The problem is that I'm having terrible flashbacks to Best in the World where the undercard matches went WAY too long.
JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER vs. SILAS YOUNG (w/the Beer City Bruiser) - 5.75/10
Liger is getting older. He's still got the psychology down, and what he can do at his age is incredible, but he's still Jushin Liger, so seeing him got to the top rope and then come off of it with a simple diving splash instead of the Shooting Star Press that he made famous is always going to be disappointing.
COLT CABANA vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys) - 5.25/10
Dalton got a big fancy entrance, which I would normally support, but this is a grudge match so it felt very much out of tone. I'd prefer for newly-heel Colt's new music to be more heelish as well.
Kevin Kelly seems to have forgotten which episode of ROH TV aired the most recently, which I would be able to forgive except that he thought that the last episode ROH TV we got was the one where Colt locked the Boys in the closet... and that was the show the week before the big turn that set up this match. Even worse, we JUST saw a video package with highlights from that turn, including the Boys looking on in horror as Colt assaulted Dalton.
This is our third straight match where the Code of Honor wasn't followed. At least in this match it not only made sense, it worked perfectly with what had come before in the feud and allowed them to have a unique start to their match (as opposed to Silas just not shaking Liger's hand because he's a heel). They did some stuff, then Dalton won clean with the Bangarang, which is the exact opposite of the finish they should have done. Colt cheating to win not only extends the feud, but adds more heat to it. This just kills it dead.
JAY LETHAL PROMO - too over the top, IMO. Also, completely unnecessary at this point.
JAY LETHAL vs. CODY RHODES - 6.75/10
**NOTE** These first two paragraphs are my thoughts at the time while I was watching the pre-match segment. I'll get to my current thoughts in a moment.
Before this match could get started, the Addiction showed up and wasted time cutting a promo about how much they respect both guys and how ROH is the best they respect Dusty etc. etc. before finally announcing that they will be doing guest commentary for this match. I spent this entire time shouting at them to shut up, and so did the live crowd; not because The Addiction are heels (and even that is debatable at this point) but because they understand that THIS IS A PPV. Everyone who can hear this promo has already bought the PPV or bought a ticket so building it up with a promo serves no purpose. Even worse, the fact that this is a PPV means that you only have three hours to get in all eight matches and give them the time they need to deliver, so this was A COMPLETE AND TOTAL WASTE OF FOUR MINUTES, which sounds like a small amount of time, but it can often be enough to boost a match to the next level.
They have similarly wasted time on two of the last three PPVs (promos by the Cabinet and by Silas Young) and the PPV between those two had a completely pointless waste of time comedy match between six guys undercard guys from New Japan. One of the reasons my excitement for this show rose greatly in the past week was ROH's Reach for the Sky Tour of the UK two weekends ago. It was three straight nights of fantastic wrestling and also all clean finishes, and none of the matches ever felt like they didn't get enough time... and the longest that one of those shows went was two hours and forty-five minutes (in fact, two of them were down to two and a half). ROH seemed to be back on the right track and they seemed to have worked out their timing issues and everything seemed like it was heading back to how ROH should be... and now we're getting stuff like this. If you want The Addiction to be on commentary for this match, then just have them be on commentary. You don't need a four minute promo to set that up.
I left these two paragraphs in because they are an accurate representation of the way I felt at the time. In hindsight, this segment was actually very effective in what they were intended to do (although I still contend that they could have cut out a solid minute or two of this and just put over Cody and Lethal as athletes and left it at that). I'll get into what they were intended to do at the end of this match, the importance of the sentiment I was feeling at the time to understanding the importance of this show in the grand scheme of things at the end of the review.
FINALLY someone follows the Code of Honor. Well... the shaking hands part anyway. Then this ended with an unexpected but well-executed heel turn on the part of Cody Rhodes. The match was exactly what it needed to be based on the finish. The Addiction complete their face turn by making the save at the end in a great post-match segment.
BRILLIANT booking here by Delirious. Cody's heel turn was the most surprising turn in wrestling in a very long time. Probably at least since Rollins turned on The Shield. I'd definitely put this up there with that turn, Steen turning on Generico at Final Battle 2009 and Claudio turning on Quackenbush at the start of the BDK angle as the most shocking turns of the past decade. The brilliance of it is that Cody has been such a 100% babyface everywhere else he has been (notably TNA and Evolve) that it never even cross my mind that he might turn heel.
The Addiction promo helped this because it was exactly the sort of thing we see constantly in wrestling where it has almost become a rule that the more someone puts something over, the more likely that a turn is coming. When the ref went down I figured we were going to get The Addiction interfering to cost one of these guys the match. Then after Cody turned, I figured that they were going to tease fighting him and then join him in attacking Lethal, but instead we got the sadly refreshing "the swerve is that there is no swerve" swerve, and Kaz and Daniels seem to have finally completed the babyface turn that they had been slowly moving towards since Ladder War (and which you would have be insane not to follow through based on their performances in that match).
ROH SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE TOURNAMENT FINALS:
Lio Rush, KUSHIDA, & Jay White vs. The New Kingdom - 7.75/10
Corino said that this team was originally supposed to be Lio Rush, Jay White, & KUSHIDA but then Rush had to go to the UK so ACH stepped in with the idea that if they made it to the finals, Rush would take his spot back. That is quite false. The original team was announced as Rush, White, & ACH, with KUSHIDA being the guy who came in to take Rush's spot, and in the article where the replacement was announced, no mention was made of Rush reclaiming his spot if they made it to finals. Any sensible booker would have just booked the Kingdom to attack ACH and injure him and then had Nigel rule that Rush could reclaim his spot on the team, but in Delirious' ROH we've descended to the point where they don't even try to come up with an explanation before the day of the show, and their explanation is just to have the announcers tell easily disprovable lies to the fans.
The match itself was awesome. There was a lot on the line here for all of these guys other than KUSHIDA (especially the new guys in the Kingdom), and they definitely delivered a match that shows that they can go when given the appropriate time. A match like this definitely showcase what these titles can be in a way that the rest of the tournament completely failed to do, but I still would have preferred that our inaugural champions win cleanly.
ROH TV TITLE MATCH:
Marty Scurll(c) vs. Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee - 8/10
After the introductions we finally received an answer as to why Bobby Fish isn't in this match as advertised, and it's a perfectly legitimate reason. I just wish that, like with the ACH/Lio Rush thing, that they had given us an explanation right away instead of showing us a graphic for the match with one of the advertised participants missing for no reason while the announcers go about talking as if Fish was never even scheduled to be in this match in the first place while sitting at home wondering why Bobby Fish is missing. You should never do things that will leave your audience sitting there asking questions that it's not part of your plan for them to be asking.
Once every few matches they would cut to some camera that would pan around the large crowd before zooming back in on the ring while Kevin Kelly would say basically the same line about us at home taking in "the view here in the Hammerstein Ballroom at Final Battle." Cutting away from the action in the middle of ANY match is annoying and should never happen, but to do it in THIS match, RIGHT AFTER that amazingly fast-paced first sequence... how f*cking stupid can you possibly be!?
The match itself was pretty awesome. Was it mostly just MOVEZZZZZ? Yes... but they were jaw-dropping moves, and there were three guys so they each got to take their turns selling. Also, it's not like they were doing crazy head-drops and stuff that it would make you wonder how they could possibly keep kicking out of.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Young Bucks(c) vs. The Briscoes - 8.5/10
So I've actually a lot of very big Young Bucks main event matches recently, including two involving the Briscoes in the past four days, so at this point I wasn't really surprised by any of the spots they did because it felt like I'd seen them already... but even then they still managed to put them together in a way that had me biting on all of the nearfalls. This match was CRAZY!
And speaking of crazy...
Then the lights went out in the arena and then everyone in the building went crazy because then the CaryTron turned on and BROKEN MATT HARDY CUT A PROMO SAYING HE AND JEFF WERE COMING TO ROH TO FACE THE YOUNG BUCKS!
I will admit to popping huge when I saw Matt, but more out of surprise and intrigue than anything else. I don't like the character the way it has been presented in basically every segment it has been in other than the Final Deletion match itself, but I realize (I don't understand it, but I acknowledge the fact) that I am in the minority on this, and I know that this is something absolutely HUGE ROH right now. Also, the fact they have actually been building to this on Impact means that either there are some interesting backstage machinations going on between TNA and ROH, or that TNA just got REALLY screwed and that will lead to some exciting upcoming newsdays as well.
I'm sure I'm the only person in the world thinking this right now, but the Young Bucks are aligned with Adam Cole, who has a significant history with Matt Hardy in ROH. Hardy leaving ROH while allied with Cole in 2014 led to Matt Taven being brought into The Kingdom, which has since dissolved, only for Taven to replace it with his New Kingdom... so who is the right third guy to team with the Hardys?
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH FOR THE ROH WORLD TITLE:
Adam Cole(c) vs. Kyle O'Reilly - 8.5/10
This match was made a No DQs match because Cole tried to get disqualified in order to retain the title in his last defense against Jay Lethal at Reach for the Sky Tour: London.
Kyle finally wins the title from Cole in an awesome, bloody, violent match to end their feud. Then again, this is the second time this year that I've typed that Kyle beat Cole in a brutal violent match to end their feud, so who knows. This match wasn't quite as good as that match (Supercard of Honor X: Night 2), and not quite as good as Bucks vs. Briscoes, but it was still everything it needed to be, and Kyle finally winning the title here will make this the match that everyone will remember in the long run.
ROH delivers another AWESOME show to continue this hot streak they have closed the year out on. This was BY FAR ROH's best PPV of the year, and the first one this year where I felt like the show was worth my money up and down the entire card. There are still a lot of things that I don't like about the product right now (their time management skills still aren't the best, as the first three matches on this show could have lost two or three minutes each that should have gone to the top two matches), and I am fully convinced that, creatively, the period from August 2015 through October 2016 is the worst in ROH history, but this show, combined with the three Reach for the Sky Tour shows last month have gone a very long way towards restoring my faith in my all-time favorite promotion.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Kevin Kelly- "they are putting together some innovative offense on sort of the masters of that innovative style." "Innovative" is not a style of wrestling! You can't be an "innovative style" wrestler like you can be a "high-flying style" or "technical style" wrestler. Innovative means "new." It is a word you can used to describe a style, but it is not a style itself that you can be a master of.
2. Steve Corino talked about how Kyle O'Reilly has been "creating this hybrid style over the past few months, attacking multiple body parts.
A) Has anyone noticed any change in Kyle's style at all over the past two years, never mind the past few months?
B) If there is one, it's certainly not a newfound strategy of "attacking multiple body parts" because Kyle has been doing that for years.
I can't wait until Steve Corino heads to the WWE Performance Center where he will be safely far, far away from any ROH television cameras.