ROH Reloaded Tour: Duluth
By Big Red Machine
From September 24, 2016
WAR MACHINE vs. THE ALL-NIGHT EXPRESS (w/Caprice Coleman)- 4.5/10
Oh my G-d this stupid kneeling gimmick. Okay... in my reviews of the previous show as well as the show after this I discussed why this doesn't work in the greater context of what is going on in ROH (i.e. why is them kneeling down while refusing to follow the Code of Honor any worse than all of the other heels who regularly ignore or mock the Code of Honor over the course of an given show?) so I won't discuss that here. Instead, this time we'll look at the execution of this:
First Caprice cuts this rambling promo in an attempt to explain why they are doing it, but because he is not in Bullet Club or a top singles heel, under Delirious' booking he must come off like a deranged lunatic. In Caprice's case his job is to rant about being "disrespected" by ROH and having their "rights" violated and crap like that which is so abstract that it means nothing without any sort of examples, and is even worse when delivered in the form of a rambling rant from a man doing a one-note parody gimmick and delivering the promo on behalf of his friends, who are calling themselves "the Chairman of Championships" and "the Secretary of Shoulders."
As often happened with the other prime example of a heel who suddenly started to criticize the company in delusional rants against the company under Delirious' booking reign, Christopher Daniels, no one comes out to answer his allegations. Instead of letting Caprice just run his mouth on every show, someone from ROH Management (babyface Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness being the most obvious choice) should come out and say "No. I'm sorry that you feel disrespected, but the reason you didn't get whatever it is that you want is because you cheated in matches X, Y, and Z. This is Ring of Honor, and every time you use a low blow or a chair or use the ropes for leverage YOU are disrespecting this company and its fans. Start winning your matches cleanly and you'll get a title shot."
I don't know if a title shot is really what they're after because I don't think they've ever even mentioned it. Despite this, Kevin Kelly does, in fact, seem to know that they want a title shot because he indignantly said that what they really want is a title shot. If this is supposed to be the angle then Caprice should f*cking mention that! If this isn't supposed to be the angle, then Kevin Kelly shouldn't just be making sh*t up!
So ANX kneel down instead of following the Code of Honor and Kevin Kelly reluctantly agrees that they have the right to do so if they wish... and then War Machine attack them and Kevin Kelly gleefully says that War Machine has the right to start this match if they want to. The problem here is that, although they were facing each other at the time, Rhett and Kenny clearly did not look ready for the match to start and the bell hadn't rung yet, so War Machine looked like heels jumping the bell on two guys who weren't ready.
The match was decently short, and War Machine won without much trouble. I was expecting a lot more from these two teams, especially in the opener where you want to get the crowd hot. Kevin Kelly's commentary made it clear that he had no idea LESS THAN A WEEK FROM TONIGHT, ON PPV there would be a four-way tag team #1 contendership match that both of these teams would participate in. There is no reason not to have your full PPV card booked by now.
SILAS YOUNG PROMO - he buries Stevie Richards, and 99% of his criticisms were 100% true.
SILAS YOUNG vs. STEVIE RICHARDS- 5/10
A bland match brought down by a pointlessly overbooked finish when Stevie all of a sudden got angry after a two-count and threatened the ref, allowing Silas to hit Misery for the win. Yeah. Because not being able to beat Stevie Richards without Stevie distracting himself is a great way to build Silas up for his ROH World Title shot next month.
HE'S THREATENING TO TURN HEEL - because what we really need in 2016 is a heel Stevie Richards working part-time. Even more likely (and even more frustratingly) is that this is likely to be one of those undercard Delirious angles that never actually goes anywhere and just fades away, completely forgotten.
DELIRIOUS vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN (w/the Cabinet)- 0.75/10
Caprice faced a very interesting dilemma in this match: Do you "accidentally" potato the booker who gave you this sh*tty, career-killing gimmick (and yes, Caprice's ROH career is thoroughly dead at this point, having been the lead spokesman for this clown show that is the Cabinet), or do you do everything you can to avoid potato-ing the booker because he might fire you if you he thinks it wasn't accidental?
This was mostly comedy stuff. The problem was in the choice of comedy. For example, if The Cabinet's gimmick is that they are claiming grievances that don't really exist, then why would you do a spot where the babyface gets help from the crowd to an abdominal stretch (i.e. CHEATING)? Doesn't that justify their claims of being discriminated against? Even worse was Kevin Kelly doing the Bobby Heenan gimmick and pretending not to see the cheating. The worst thing you can possibly have is a lead babyface announcer who is a hypocrite, and that's what Kevin voluntarily turned himself into here.
LUCHA RULES TAG TEAM MATCH: The Motor City Machine Guns & Jay White vs. The Addiction & Kamaitachi- 7.5/10
Lots of action.
WILL FERRARA vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ (w/BJ Whitmer)- 4.75/10
Fine for what it was.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Ferrara gets beaten down after the match. Cheeseburger tries to make the save but he gets beaten up, too. Then Steve Corino comes out and he and Whitmer get face to face but neither of them throws any punches. Then Whitmer gets out the golden spike and just gives this dangerous weapon to his worst enemy. Then Whitmer and Martinez walk off and Corino teases stabbing Ferrara and Cheeseburger but then helps them up instead. If this sounds a lot like what happened at the Pittsburgh show, that's because it is almost exactly what happened at the Pittsbugh show last weekend. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it didn't feel like this angle wasn't going anywhere.
LIO RUSH vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM- 6.25/10
These guys should have been given another five minutes. You're not going to bild your stars of the future with eleven-minute matches.
JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/the Boys)- 6.25/10
Colt Cabana vs. Jay Lethal- 8/10
As usual, this came down to the Ironman portion at the end. This time around the story was that Lethal jumped out to a lead and Colt had to fight from behind while Lethal had to do his best to hang on to the lead as Cabana dominated the match.
An extremely skippable show from ROH. Nothing here felt even close to important. Liger's appearance felt like a huge throwaway (which was not helped by the fact that he was facing someone he had already faced in ROH this year), and the main event, while worth watching once, feels an unnecessary second "blow-off" to a feud that we already saw get blown off two months ago. Stay away from this one unless you're a completionist.