THE TEMPURA BOYZ vs. WILL FERRARA & CHEESEBURGER- 4/10
F*cking CHEESEBURGER got the pin here. And not even with a roll-up. Meanwhile, Steve Corino's commentary is borderline racist. I am so glad he's on his way out.
PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ (w/BJ Whitmer) vs. BEER CITY BRUISER (w/Silas Young) vs. DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Prince Nana)- 7/10
A crash of the big, frighteningly athletic titans, which will sadly be forgotten in the annals of history because War Machine and Lee & Taylor are about to blow it out of the water when they get their hands on each other in three weeks. Another factor that made this match so great is how different this big-man fight felt from everything else we've been getting in ROH for most of the year. That being said, the match would have been more enjoyable if we didn't have to hear about this moronic Whitmer/Corino/Sullivan/Purple Haze bullsh*t during it.
TORNADO RULES FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL:
Nick Jackson vs. Angel de Oro vs. Kamaitachi vs. ACH- 7.25/10
They billed this as a "Sky High" Tornado Rules Four Corner Survival and they didn't disappoint. Great performances by everyone, but most of all I'm thankful that ACH didn't wind up paralyzed after the finish, which was one of the scariest head-drops I've ever seen.
JAY BRISCOE vs. DALTON CASTLE- 6.75/10
Very good, but it felt like it was missing something that stopped it from living up to its potential.
THE CABINET vs. JAY WHITE & THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS- 6.75/10
Kenny King cut a promo to explain their stupid "kneeling for the Code of Honor" gimmick. Then Caprice Coleman did his best to make it not serious with one line. Why is he being allowed to talk at all?
The actions was decent, but the match was bland. It felt like it was just missing something before it got to that next level. The babyfaces won but the heels attacked them after the match.
MARK BRISCOE vs. COLT CABANA- 6.75/10
Same as the last two. It just feels like it was missing something that would have otherwise taken it to the next level.
SILAS YOUNG & THE BEER CITY BRUISER TRY TO SELL T-SHIRTS - sorry. I'm just not buying that "The Last Real Man" would view acting like a clothes salesman as acceptably manly behavior.
JAY LETHAL vs. MATT JACKSON - no rating, meh segment.
They did the best they could with the five minutes they were given. What happened was as follows: After a surprise superkick to the back of the head to jump Lethal (which Kevin Kelly was not outraged by at all), these guys did stuff for a few minutes until we got a ref bump. In their defense, they did a great job of doing exciting spots without actually doing too much to where it would hurt any other matches. After the ref bump, Matt kicked Lethal in the nuts. Then Nick came out and they set up for the Meltzer Driver but the Addiction broke it up. Lethal hit Matt with the Lethal Injection and the ref woke up and slowly counted the pin. I was not happy with one of the ROH World Tag Team Champions getting pinned in five minutes, and especially with a slow count.
The whole purpose of this, of course, was to set up the next match. The problem is that the booking of this next match (and, by consequence, of this one) is everything that is wrong with the booking in ROH under Delirious.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Young Bucks(c) vs. The Addiction- DUD!
Kazarian cut a promo saying that he and Daniels were pissed because they weren't booked on this show and hadn't been given their rematch for the tag titles they lost two weeks ago at All-Star Extravaganza VIII. He revealed that the reason for this is because they weren't yet medically cleared to wrestle. He demanded that they get their rematch right now. The Bucks came up behind them and superkicked them and said they were fine with it... so the referee ordered the bell to be rung EVEN THOUGH THE ADDICTION ARE NOT CLEARED TO WRESTLE.
As for the match itself, it was a couple of good spots killed by a combination of terrible psychology and terrible booking. Yes, this match was heel vs. heel, but that doesn't mean that both teams should be doing things to make me not want to see them win, because all that does is make me not care about the finish. Both of the "pull the referee out of the ring to stop him from counting the three" spots were terrible, as they pretty much ensured that both teams got beaten here, which makes even less sense than usual when you consider the finish of this match, which was the rest of Bullet Club running in for a pointless DQ (and even the execution on that sucked, as the referee waited until they put Daniels through a table to call for it as opposed to calling for the bell when he saw them clearly interfering in the match by pulling on Daniels' legs.
Just taking this show in isolation, we had an unadvertised tag title match between two heel teams, one of whom shouldn't have been wrestling because they weren't cleared, that ended in a DQ. That would be bad enough on its own, and especially in Ring of Honor (you know... that promotion was founded with the mission statement that we were going to get away from f*ck finishes?). In context, though, it's even worse. From here The Addiction would go on a giant losing streak, with their only victory in the next two months coming over part-timer comedy guy Delirious. During this time, they started to turn babyface. If that's what you're going to do, then there is absolutely no reason to not beat them cleanly here! And before anyone tries to say "well they don't want the Bucks to win cleanly here because they don't want to blow this off yet, let me remind you the lack of a clean title loss for both War Machine and reDRagon have been followed up on, and reDRagon lost the belts OVER TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO. In fact, the last time those two teams were scheduled to have a title match was on a TV taping over the summer but the match never took place because both teams got attacked before it... and as I sit here now, six months later, neither team has gotten the title shot they clearly earned, and War Machine were even forced to attempt to earn another title shot at All-Star Extravaganza VIII, so that's clearly not how Delirious does things (because he's a bad booker). And if the plan was to not blow this off yet, then The Addiction shouldn't be going on this giant losing streak before they get their eventual rematch.
The thing that makes this even more frustrating to me is that if they weren't doing this stupid, pointless, DQ finish, then this match would not only make a lot more sense, but it would fit perfectly into Delirious' modus operandi. How many times this year have I complained about Delirious booking the Young Bucks as the main event simply for the purpose of having a spotty Young Bucks main event even though another match would be a much better choice and the Bucks match has no consequences at all? I can think of at least four or five, plus two more where it was Matt Jackson & Adam Cole, plus one match that made sense as the main event but was only booked to be a pointless spotfest involving the Bucks (Winter Warriors Tour: Indianapolis). If we're being honest with ourselves, even the Bucks vs. Ospreay & Scurll match from Leicester falls into this category. Well here is a show where we could have had our spotty Young Bucks main event AND had it be a tag title match (which would have boosted attendance, which this show needed as it was ROH's worst-attended show in Chicago in a very long time, and also would have helped make this show feel more like it was worthy of the Glory By Honor name)... and a clean finish to boot, and IT ALL WOULD HAVE MADE PERFECT SENSE... but no. Instead we had an unannounced tag title match that went out its way to create a plot hole and gave us a completely pointless DQ, just so the tag titles could play second fiddle to another tag team match. WHY HAS DELIRIOUS NOT BEEN FIRED?!
(Lethal can easily be fitted into Jackson's spot in the four-way, which he could win, which would also avoid the other Jackson having to lose in five minutes, despite the fact that he cheated and his opponent didn't.)
Bullet Club tried to beat down Kazarian but reDRagon came out make the save. They brawled around ringside, with all three referees just standing there and watching as the heels used a chair on the babyfaces. Then, Fish and Page were in the ring and Fish tried to use a chair, Senior Official Todd Sinclair felt it was imperative to stop him from doing so. Only AFTER he had taken the chair away did Sinclair signal to the timekeeper to ring the bell to start the match... and of course, while Sinclair did this, Page hit Fish in the nuts. It would have been a good spot if the arbitrary enforcement of the ban on weapon-use didn't make it feel so forced.
reDRagon vs. BULLET CLUB (Adam Cole & Adam Page)- 7.5/10
While the wrestlers tried their best in the ring. Silas Young came out on to do commentary. Then Jay Lethal came out to do commentary, too, and Steve Corino, who has constantly portrayed himself as completely paranoid about someone taking his spot on commentary, just let Lethal have his headset and walked to the back. Silas and Lethal on commentary were TERRIBLE. They were constantly picking fights with each and distracting from the match and it came off like the most obnoxious WWE-esque thing you've ever heard.
The match itself was fine for an ROH main event, but the finish was absolutely moronic. The purpose of this match was to build up the two upcoming title matches: Bobby Fish defending the TV Title against Adam Page at the TV tapings two weeks from now, and Adam Cole defending the ROH World Title against Kyle O'Reilly at Final Battle. Logic obvious dictates that the right thing to do would be to have one of the challengers score the fall on their respective champion, or perhaps, if you really wanted to do a screwy finish, you could have Cole cheat to beat O'Reilly, and this lead to the announcement of some sort of stipulation that would prevent Cole from cheating thusly at Final Battle (for example, if Cole wins by interference from the Young Bucks and you then announce that the match at Final Battle will take place in a steel cage).
Instead, Delirious had Fish make Page tap out clean in the middle of the ring. Again... how has he not been fired? If you REALLY want your babyface to go over in this main event then just don't have O'Reilly announced as Cole's Final Battle challenger until after this show (you should still build in that direction, just don't officially announce the match yet) and have Kyle make Cole tap here, and then use this result as the reason for why Kyle is getting the title shot. Instead, that announcement was made much earlier than necessary, with Kyle being given the title shot just because, and this show being stuck with a main event whose result was completely irrelevant.
POST-MATCH SEGMENTS - bad
First we had Page attack Fish, but by the time they made it to the entranceway, Fish was on top of Page and pounding on him, so that just made Page look worse. While this was happening, we got Adam Cole, Jay Lethal, Silas Young, and Kyle O'Reilly all taking turns snatching the ROH World Title out of each other's hands like a bunch of kindergarteners with the cool new toy that someone brought from home. It made them all look like sh*t.
This show was a microcosm of everything wrong with ROH right now. Although the wrestling is often great, the results of the matches AT BEST mean nothing, and will often range from hurting the build to an upcoming match (like the main event) or will outright contradict the direction a character is about to go in for absolutely no reason (if Donovan Dijak's next angle is going to be that he is better off without Prince Nana, then why was he given the victory here when it would have benefited Punishment Martinez or BCB much more than Dijak), and they are often pointlessly screwy (like the tag title match), with finishes that seem designed to be followed up on getting no follow-up at all. Oh. And the announcing was utterly dreadful.
The fact that they drew one of the smallest crowds they've ever drawn in what has been their #2 or #3 market for pretty much as long as they've been running it (their debut show in Chicago, back in 2004, when they had no TV or PPV exposure and were just coming off of a scandal that could have killed the company, drew 650. Tonight they drew 700) should be seen as a MAJOR warning sign. The wrestling might be great, but fans want to know that 1) they will get clean finishes, and 2) the events they will see will matter. That hasn't been happening in ROH recently, and it needs to change soon, or else the company will be in big trouble.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. After Dijak hit Martinez with a chokebreaker, Kevin Kelly said it was "the first time he's ever been off his feet."
To be fair, I haven't watched the match since it first aired back in the spring, but I'm pretty sure that Martinez was off his feet when HE GOT PINNED IN THE FINALS OF THE TOP PROSPECT TOURNAMENT.
2. Kevin Kelly refers to the two-note joke that is The Cabinet as "enigmatic."
Yeah. There's nothing even close to enigmatic about them.
3. Steve Corino buries the VODs by pointing out that Michael Elgin- a member of the ROH roster who spends half of his time in Japan, doesn't watch the shows he misses.
4. The babyfaces were in the ring doing a double team past the five-count. Babyface announcer Kevin Kelly then said that these were the kinds of things The Cabinet was complaining about. Now that Kevin has pointed this out, Steve Corino asks him the logical follow-up question of whether or not he will join The Cabinet in their protest, Kevin Kelly says that he won't, and gives no explanation whatsoever. He doesn't say that he won't join them because this sort of thing happens to everyone, or because The Cabinet are guilty of this crime just as often as their opponents are. He just says he won't join them, coming across as stubborn, dismissive, and hypocritical. You know... exactly what you don't want your babyface announcer to be.
5. Jay Lethal said he had come out to the announcers' table to get "a bird's eye view" of his competition. Seeing as how Jay is not twenty feet tall and peering down into the ring while seated at the table, I'm going to guess he's just an idiot who doesn't know what the common phrase "bird's eye view" means.
6. Kevin Kelly said that of the former ROH World Champions, Jay Lethal was "the first in memory" who had not gone insane after losing the belt.
If we want to be REALLY generous to Kevin Kelly, (which we have no reason to be, but I'm a nice guy so I'll play along) and count each two-time world champion as one, then the only people to go nuts after losing the belt were Michael Elgin and Jay Briscoe. That would be TWO out of the TWENTY men to lose the belt who have gone insane. The most recent man to lose the belt and not go insane is Adam Cole, who lost the belt just over two years ago. This is apparently too far back for Kevin Kelly to remember.
7. Steve Corino- "I love Cliff Compton."
That speaks for itself.