JAY LETHAL vs. SCORPIO SKY - 6.5/10
Scorpio Sky attacked Lethal from behind during Lethal's entrance. They went about twelve minutes, but I would have liked to see them go a lot more. Sky needs to prove he can really go at an ROH level, and in this day and age, the way you do that is you get twenty minutes with Jay Lethal, and if you can't put on an awesome match, you shouldn't be in the company.
SHANE TAYLOR vs. JOSH WOODS (w/King Mo) - 5.75/10
Taylor cut a pre-match promo saying he was going to knock Woods and embarrass him in his home town. It wasn't a particularly good promo or anything, but it did make me care about this match a lot more than I otherwise would have, so it was still a successful promo.
The match was hard-hitting and very good for the time it got, but if these guys are ever going to move up the card, they need to be given more time than seven minutes to show what they can do. Woods won but Taylor attacked him after the match, then backed down from King Mo, which was a fine segment to set up a rematch.
KEELY KLEIN PROMO -She kept pretending to forget Deonna's name and calling her by the names of other women in the division. This was painfully lame, and not in the "this heel thinks he/she is cool but really he/she isn't" way. This was lame in the "I can't believe someone thought saying this was a good idea" way.
DEONNA PURRAZZO vs. KELLY KLEIN - 5.5/10
Deonna charged at Kelly right as she stepped through the ropes. These women apparently hate each other. Deonna's hatred apparently stems from the fact that she has had Kelly beaten twice but the referee didn't see it. Ian says that one of those times was earlier this month at Supercard of Honor, except that those two didn't wrestle each other on that show. I did some research, and it turns out this actually happened at Supercard of Honor LAST YEAR. Why is our lead announcer getting this wrong?
The other time this happened was a TV taping last July in North Carolina... which means that this has been an issue between these two women for TEN MONTHS, and the company has ONLY NOW booked a rematch?
You can basically copy and paste my comments from the previous match about this being a good match for the time it got, but these two really need to be given more than seven minutes or else why are they even on the roster? Kelly had her finisher submission locked on by Deonna was in the ropes. Deonna then rolled Kelly up for the pin. Kelly attacked her after the match to set up a rematch. Come to think of it, that's basically the same as the previous match, too. The difference here was that this wound up as a pull-apart rather than laying someone out with one shot.
MARTY SCURLL vs. KENNY KING- 7.25/10
A great athletic babyface vs. heel match. Scurll won, using the ropes for leverage. Kenny King shook his hand after the match, so presumably Kenny didn't realize that Marty cheated, which will hopefully lead somewhere.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - The Kingdom ran out and attacked Scurll (bringing SoCal Uncensored's ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Title belts with them). The Young Bucks & Adam Page ran out to make the save, which makes this seem like a perfect time to start...
THE KINGDOM vs. THE HUNG BUCKS - 6.75/10
Even working hurt, Adam Page did more for this match than Vinny Marseglia. Matt's back got worked over a lot, building up to O'Ryan hitting him in the back with a baseball bat... and then Matt kicked out, and Marty Scurll showed up to help Bullet Club win. Why the f*ck did Bullet Club win here? Taven has a world title shot coming up and The Kingdom have been trying to get themselves a shot at the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles (more on this in a moment), plus Matt's back is kayfabe injured and he got hit in the back with a baseball bat... so of course Bullet Club had to win here. Because in Delirious' mind, Bullet Club winning with help from Scurll is the only way to show us that "Bullet Club is fine." They could have accomplished the exact same thing they did here by having Scurll save the Hung Bucks from a post-match attack, which would also allow The Kingdom to get this win which is what should have happened for all of the reasons listed above, but I guess you don't really think of those sorts of things when you have a lizard brain.
Now for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles. The Kingdom stole SoCal Uncensored's belts earlier this month. They brought them out to ringside with the tonight... and SoCal Uncensored made no effort whatsoever to get them back, which makes the belts look unimportant. The reason SoCal Uncensored stole them is that they feel that they are entitled to a shot at the titles because when they lost the titles, O'Ryan was injured and Silas Young had to sub for him, and they never received their return match, which is something that most of ROH history- including Ian Riccaboni's commentary tonight- seems to indicate that they are entitled to. O'Ryan returned from his injury OVER SIX MONTHS AGO, so why has management not yet booked an obvious match that they are apparently contractually required to book anyway?
The answer to that question is that actually The Kingdom did get a rematch, albeit not against the guys who were really the champions. It was back at Global Wars 2017: Buffalo, against the Bucks & Kenny Omega rather than the Bucks & Adam Page, during that one random week of the year where the titles were defended under Freebird Rules for no other reason than to have a bunch of unannounced title matches on the show in which no one thought the belts had a chance of changing hands anyway. This has resulted in 1) Ian Riccaboni, our lead announcer, getting facts wrong AGAIN, and 2) Delirious' own sh*tty booking impulses back in October have ruined his attempt at telling a story several months down the road.
This is made even more frustrating by the fact that stealing the belts is a tried and true way to set up for a title match so you don't even need the "we never got our return match" part of the angle. In fact, in this case, all adding that in does is making Ian look stupid to those of us who remember The Kingdom vs. Omega & the Bucks (which I would think would be a hard match to forget because The Kingdom tried to cut Kenny's arm off with an axe) and make ROH management look stupid to everyone who doesn't remember that match.
And on a personal note to Mr. Taven... can we please not engage goofball fans who show up to shows splaying as wrestlers with no relevance to tonight's show?
SERPENTICO vs. ? - Serpentico is a Dudleys trainee, so it shouldn't surprise you that rather than actually getting a chance to wrestle, he was here to get attacked by Bully Ray, because in reality, this was yet another...
BULLY RAY & CHEESEBURGER SEGMENT - Bully starts to cut a promo but Cheeseburger sneaks out and snatches the mic away from him. He calls Bully an asshole again. Bully tries to chokeslam him but Burger escaped it and got some good shots on Bully, taking him down. Cheeseburger set up for the Shotei in his goofy manner, but when he went for the move, Bully hit him with a low blow, trying his best to do it like Nakamura because he always tries to attach himself to the most over things he can find, but Burger screwed it up so it didn't look good at all. Bully then walked off. This was better than usual, but mostly because it was short. We still have no explanation for why Bully is still employed.
TAG TEAM FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL:
Coast 2 Coast vs. The Dawgs vs. Silas Young & the Beer City Bruiser vs. The Addiction - 5.75/10
Maybe I just haven't been paying attention, but both members of Coast 2 Coast seem to have put on quite a bit of muscle. I could have done without the stupid comedy from The Dawgs.
PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. CODY RHODES (w/Bernard the Business Bear) - 5.75/10
Cody has been a heel the past few months everywhere except the Taven feud and Martinez has been a babyface for the past few months as well... and yet in this match Cody comes down to the ring all happy and being a total babyface and slapping hands with the fans and letting them kiss his ring of this want, and when he gets into the ring Martinez attacks him from behind. Why is everything backwards all of a sudden?
Then they went to the outside and Cody threw a chair at Martinez, and although Martinez batted it down it still did connect with him so this should have been a DQ but wasn't. Then the bear grabbed Martinez from behind and tried to attack him but this was also not a DQ. Instead the referee was just following them around on the outside doing absolutely nothing. He wasn't even trying to count them out. Then Cody grabbed a wooden chair and hit Martinez in the back with it several times, and still the referee just stood there, not doing a damn thing.
Oh. Apparently the reason for the lack of DQ was that the bell didn't ring. Well why didn't it? The two wrestlers had both been in the ring and they were fighting. That's how this usually works. Hell, that's how it worked EARLIER TONIGHT. This made so little sense that when the referee ordered the bell to be rung for the beginning of the match, Colt Cabana actually thought he was calling for a DQ.
So after starting things off with Martinez heelishly attacking Cody from behind, they then gave Martinez all of the cool babyface spots outside of the ring like under-selling chair shots and chokeslamming the interfering interloper on the outside. Once they got back in the ring they quickly switched to Cody being the babyface again, with Martinez working over his apparently injured neck. They went to the outside again and the f*cking idiot Hogan cosplayer fan is getting in Martinez's face and the fans are all cheering for him now because they're idiots. While this was all happening referee Paul Turner just stood there, doing absolutely nothing to try to get the wrestlers back inside the ring.
Once they finally got back into the ring both guys got to do a bunch of athletic stuff, although Martinez's size and lumbering nature made him come off more like heel. They told a story with Martinez targeting the head while Cory worked over Martinez's knee for a while. Then Cody took his turn to be the heel by ripping off a turnbuckle pad. Cody would eventually be the one sent into the exposed turnbuckle, but it looked so bad that the announcers weren't sure whether or not they were supposed to call it as if he hit it or avoided it. Martinez hit a Psycho Driver but Cody kicked out, then they did a sequence over reversing finishers into the Cross Rhodes for the win because I guess Martinez is just going right back down the card. He is yet another guy who should be getting more than ten minutes for his matches, but even with just the not quite ten minutes these two were given, this match would have been a lot better if they had just stayed on the head vs. knee story instead of having this completely schizophrenic babyface/heel dynamic.
PROVING GROUND MATCH:
ROH World Champion Dalton Castle (w/the Boys) vs. Flip Gordon - 6.75/10
Dalton's fingers are still taped up from Supercard of Honor and yet ROH Senior Referee Tod Sinclair's are fine. The announcers kept pushing that Marty Scurll pinning Dalton Castle in the Defy or Deny match two weeks ago meant that "the blueprint has been laid" for how to defeat Dalton. If memory serves me correctly this "blueprint" consisted of merely rolling Dalton up. Some "blueprint." (And no, they can't be talking about Dalton's injured hand being a key to beating him because in the very match in which Dalton's hand was first injured, Dalton beat Marty to retain the ROH World Title.)
When Flip did his series of kip-ups, Dalton actually tried to grab him each time he popped up so it looked like Flip was actually evading something rather than just doing some kip-ups for the sake of doing them.
Flip did one or two more showy things... and then the match headed downhill into the realm of pointless comedy that the ROH World Champion should not be engaging in, as Dalton called the Boys into the ring and had them "show off" by doing the "counter you scoop slam by slipping loose and picking you up for one of my own" spot a million times in a row.
From this point on the match was mostly just them doing first-gear stuff, and by the time the match ended they barely felt like they were getting out of second. Dalton won, which seems counterproductive to me, given that the angle they seemed to be trying to push is that the roll-up is some sort of chink in Dalton's armor. If that's the case then doesn't it make the most sense to have Flip pin Dalton here with the same roll-up Marty used on the last show? And then to have Marty pin Dalton the same way in tomorrow night's "Champions vs. Bullet Club" main event to set up for Dalton kicking out of it when Marty gets his title shot at some point on the War of the Worlds tour? In addition to helping tell that story and setting up Flip as a future challenger, I think a big win like this would be the sort of thing that could help Flip break out of the midcard pack that ROH's lackluster booking has created. But no. Instead we're staying with the status quo to keep everyone in their place. Isn't this what resulted in guys like Lio Rush and Donovan Dijak and Cedric Alexander quitting?
MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS PROMO - They said that if they lose tonight, they might disband the team. Where the hell did this come from? These guys were the tag champs less than two months ago, and haven't been pinned since losing the belts. Yet another completely abrupt "one or both members of a tag team decide that things aren't working and they need to disband" angle from Delirious (Cedric & Caprice, ACH & Sydal, Dalton & Cabana... and possibly others that I'm forgetting).
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Briscoes(c) vs. the Motor City Machine Guns(c) - 8/10
Another match that went way shorter than it should have. This is an ROH World Tag Team Title match in the main event, with one of the greatest teams of the past decade seemingly putting their career as a team on the line, in a match-up that has the history of some of the greatest and most-anticipated matches in ROH history. It deserves a hell of a lot more than thirteen minutes.
Major props to the wrestlers here, because in those thirteen minutes they were given, they want all out and made this match awesome. MCMG really felt like they were fighting for their existence as a team, and the Briscoes really felt like they were fighting for what they consider to me the most valuable prize in the world. They did some great babyface vs. heel stuff and got the crowd into things. If they had been given ten more minutes (and referee Paul Turner had actually tried to enforce the rules rather than let them just fight on the outside forever) this felt like it could have wound up being an all-time classic.
Another unfortunately characteristically disappointing show from ROH, and once again the culprit is clear. They tried to cram ten matches (well... nine, plus one segment) into a show that went a bit less than three hours, including the intermission. MAYBE the Hung Bucks vs. Kingdom match got over fifteen minutes, but if it did, then only barely so, and certainly nothing else did. The result is a bunch of lackluster matches that all feel disappointing because I know that most of the wrestlers have a lot more talent than they are being allowed to show. ROH has three choices: 1) they can downsize their roster, 2) they can put on longer shows, or 3) they can continue to put on disappointing shows mostly due to the booker booking an overcrowded card and then imposing stifling time restraints on the wrestlers. I had hoped that Supercard of Honor XII was the beginning of a step in the right direction, but apparently not.