Why is this show called "Bound By Honor: Champions vs. Bullet Club" instead of just letting last night's show be "Bound By Honor" and tonight's show be "Champions vs. Bullet Club? This would have the benefit of reducing confusion, while having no downside whatsoever.
MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS vs. COAST 2 COAST - 6/10
A big upset win for Coast 2 Coast and the loss plays into MCMG's sudden self-doubt angle, but it's hard for me to take Coast 2 Coast seriously an act on the rise if they're not being given any promo time.
CHEESEBURGER vs. SERPENTICO - 4.5/10
These two had a really great little five minute match that ended when Bully Ray came out and gave Cheeseburger a low blow from behind, exactly like Nakamura has been doing them on WWE TV. This makes ROH look totally third-rate, and is even worse when one of your top acts spent years using popular nineties catchphrases to the point where WWE felt the need to send them a cease & desist order. And Bully Ray has been around long enough to know this, but he just doesn't give a sh*t because he's only here for the paycheck and to get himself over. That's why he has spent his entire ROH run stapling himself to the most over acts in the company and helping no one.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Meh. Bully attacks both men. He got cheered and got streamers because these sh*tty Florida fans (the building appears to be incredibly empty, by the way), who spent most of the previous match doing nothing but shouting "SWEET!" after every two-count, were just happy to see WWE Superstar Bubba Ray Dudley. He grabbed a mic, but thankfully Flip Gordon came out to run him off before he could get the same stupid, clichéd promo he has cut every show since his heel turn about how the kids these days have it too easy and don't pay their dues and have no respect. He spent a good minute or so teasing that he would get into the ring and try fighting Flip again at least twice even though everyone knew he wasn't going to do it.
After this happened, Colt Cabana asked Ian Riccaboni if Bully was still the official "ROH Enforcer." Ian replied that he didn't know was "still trying to figure this whole thing out." Cabana said that Bully is not acting like someone he wants to see as ROH Enforcer. In other words, Cabana asks an obvious question that seems like it should be an important fact in the storyline. Delirious has not yet addressed it despite this storyline being several weeks old now and thus there is no answer Ian can give. Cabana then gently and in a completely kayfabe manner points out the obvious problem that needs to be addressed. Why is Colt Cabana not the booker instead of Delirious?
The Dawgs showed up on commentary to plug some "exclusive interviews" they're doing that have been posted on ROH's social media. The angle hear appears to be that they are drunk during the shows.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH:
Josh Woods vs. Kenny King vs. Beer City Bruiser vs. Matt Taven (w/the Kingdom) - 6.5/10
The Kingdom have brought the stolen ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles to the ring with them. Colt Cabana says that "if I'm SoCal Uncensored, I'm coming down and trying to grab those." So what do we think the case is with these sort of comments? Is Delirious watching the commentary and too dumb to understand that Cabana is pointing out holes he needs to fix, is he watching and understanding what Cabana is doing but he's just negligent and thus doesn't give a sh*t if the stories make sense or not, or is he just totally negligent and doesn't watch the commentary at all? Personally, my guess is the third, but any of them are possible.
Kenny King starts things off by going right after the Beer City Bruiser because Bruiser cost him the TV Title at Supercard of Honor XII earlier this month. The match was a big spotfest, with these guys cramming as much as they could into a measly 7:42. Matt Taven, the #1 contender to the ROH World Title, needed a distraction from his teammate as well as illegal leverage in order to get the pin on undercard nobody Josh Woods.
T.K. O'RYAN PROMO - Decent. This was standard Kingdom fare, claiming there is a conspiracy against them, but leaving everything totally nebulous because they give no details or examples other than claiming that they never should have lost the titles. Which is the exact same thing that The Addiction would say the TWO TIMES they have done THIS EXACT SAME ANGLE in the past few years. He called out The Addiction, saying that if they had any balls, they would come out and take their title belts back. He's got a point, there. This is the second heel vs. heel angle going on involving the Kingdom right now where everyone is coming across poorly (Taven vs. Cody is the other one, where Taven is the traditional heel but Cody doesn't give a sh*t about his own wife, and in this one we've got the Kingdom being goofs and stealing things while The Addiction have been total cowards not trying to take the belts back, which also buries the belts as being unimportant).
THE ADDICTION vs. THE KINGDOM (Vinny Marseglia & T.K. O'Ryan) - 0.5/10
So the bell ring, and The Addiction immediately run out of the ring to go grab their stolen titles. Why the hell didn't they do this at any point over the past two shows when the Kingdom was wrestling SOMEONE ELSE and thus their attention wouldn't be on the belts? A tug of war ensued and they brawled, with Matt Taven coming back out to grab the titles and then run off with them.
They brawled a bit more. Marseglia got his axe from under the ring and chased Kazarian with it... but they were both walking slowly so Marseglia wouldn't trip and hurt anyone. If you have a weapon that dangerous, how about you just don't use it in a wrestling match because no one believes you're ever going to hit anyone with it, anyway? Daniels hit him from behind before he could MURDER Kazarian.
This is not the first time Marseglia has pulled an axe out in the middle of a regular wrestling match and tried to maim or murder an opponent. I can think of at least four times this has happened in the past six months. Now let's throw in the fact that at Supercard of Honor XII they showed up and interfered in a match even though they were banned from the building. Then they stole SoCal Uncensored's championship belts. At no point in the past six months has ROH management attempted to punish Marseglia or anyone else in the Kingdom for ANY of this! They didn't even send security out to stop them from interfering in a championship match even though they were barred from the building! Hell, they don't even appear to have ordered them to return the stolen title belts to the rightful champions!
Then there is the whole Bully Ray thing. He completely neglects his job as "ROH Enforcer." Then he assaults Cheeseburger for no good reason, then THREATENS TO MURDER HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING via piledriver in an attempt to get the Louisiana State Athletic Commission to shut down the biggest show in ROH history, all while he curses out the COO. Was he fired? Of course not! Instead they just let him show up to shows even though he's not booked and even though they know all he's going to do is ruin matches and assault people!
There's no f*cking "Honor" in this company! "ROH management" seems to just be a bunch of spineless old milquetoast, suit-wearing wimps whose immediate reaction to any sort of challenge is to ball up and say "please don't hit me!" Which, now that I think about it, is pretty much an exact description of Joe Koff. Say what you will about the use of authority figures in WWE, TNA, WCPW, CHIKARA and other places that have used them pretty poorly at times, but with the exception of Dixie Carter for her first five or so years on-screen in TNA, every authority figure in these companies at least came across as someone who was at least trying to find a way to get things done the way they wanted.
Oh. Right. The match.
More stuff happened. ROH Senior Referee Tod Sinclair wound up taking a spill to the outside but wound up on his feet. Daniels and Marseglia started to fight right in front of him, and rather than count them out, he just stood there and watched them. This was done to set up a comedy spot where Kazarian and O'Ryan both tried to get the win at the same time via the Eddie Guerrero fake weapon shot trick. Sinclair alternated checking on each guy, going back and for between because I guess he thought there was a chance that just lying there for the fifteen seconds he was checking on the other guy might have caused them to lapse into unconsciousness. This was done so we could have a comedy spot where each guy would get up and make rude gestures to the other while Sinclair's back was turned to check on him.
Sinclair finally grabs the weapons to get them out of the ring and starts yelling at everyone to "knock this crap off!" I'm not sure what magically caused him to grow a spine, but if anyone ever figures it out, please let ROH, PWG, and New Japan management know so that the rest of their referees can undergo this same much-needed treatment.
The Kingdom isolate Daniels in their corner and do a bunch of biting spots. This is one of the stupidest, most obnoxious trends in wrestling over the past few years. Iizuka, Pete Dunne, Yujiro... all of these stupid f*ckers who are doing these stupid spots where you bite someone right in front of the referee just to bite them need to just f*cking stop. Did you notice how Ciampa used to do that dumb crap all the time but stopped when he went to WWE? If I had to go out on a limb, I'd say that's because Triple H or Robbie Brookside or Sara Del Rey or William Regal or any of the other smart people they have at the Performance Center saw him do it once and told him to KNOCK THAT SH*T OFF BECAUSE IT'S F*CKING MORONIC!"
Daniels got worked over a bit more and things were actually decent for a while. We got a nice hot tag, then a comeback, then the heels cheated with a low blow on Daniels while the ref was distracted... and then someone decided that attempted outside interference was called for, so Matt Taven came out to try to hit Daniels with his stupid staff thing but Scorpio Sky came out to stop him. This distraction gave Daniels the time to recover and he and Kaz hit O'Ryan with Celebrity Rehab and got the pin, even though the whole point of this stolen belts angle (not to mention everything the Kingdom have been saying) seems to be to build to these two teams facing off for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles, and having the champions beat the challengers is counterproductive to that goal.
Look... I'm trying to be nice here. I even found a reason to not give them a dud. But this match was everything ROH shouldn't be. You had Christopher Daniels in there with three guys who cannot put on ROH-quality matches (Kaz is fine as a fourth man, but he's not going to carry anyone to something great the way Daniels can), and they had a match that was dull, full of stupid comedy, had people breaking the rules left and right, and had an interference finish. It felt like a house show match, and ROH isn't supposed to have those. It's supposed to be delivering quality wrestling in every match.
On commentary, Colt Cabana teased that Jay Lethal told him that "something cool is going to happen" later. Speaking of commentators...
Ian Riccaboni needs to go. Maybe it's not his fault because he is given no direction by the booker, but he will often say something like "the dynamics of these six-man tag team titles" have "been a point of contention" and have "been interesting to watch," but in no way explaining what he means by that. Which dynamics? A point of contention between who? What have I seen that I'm supposed to have found interesting? Ian comes across as a guy who is just filling airtime by taking as many words as possible to say absolutely nothing.
SCORPIO SKY PROMO - Fine. He heels on the crowd to establish himself as the heel going into his match with Flip Gordon, who he calls out so they can have their match right now.
SCORPIO SKY vs. FLIP GORDON - 6/10
Sky tried to attack Flip during his pre-match flipping but Flip was able to avoid it. The match was short, but did a good job of telling its story, which was simply that Sky tried to ground Flip to prevent him from doing his high-flying stuff, but Flip was able to find a way out, hit his flippy moves, and go the win. This wags yet another loss for Sky, who is now 0-7 in singles matches in ROH, and 4-17 overall. The guy needs to get SOME wins in order to look like a credible part of the roster, especially if he is going to be a champion.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Decent. Bully Ray attacks Flip Gordon via Nakamura low blow, then cuts what was actually a good promo on him, except for the fact that I have no desire to see him at all.
AVA STORIE vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO - 4.25/10
Kelly Klein joined Ian and Colt on commentary during this match. She wasn't very good. Storie established herself as the heel with a sneak-attack coming out of the Code of Honor-mandated pre-match handshake. These two did the best they could with the five and a half minutes this were given. Deonna got the submission victory by Kelly Klein attacked her after the match.
ADAM PAGE vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ - No rating, meh segment. Martinez came out in street clothes and attacked Page from behind during his entrance, chokeslamming him through a table, then left. Ian Riccaboni tried to sell to me that Martinez did this because he was "frustrated" about his loss to Cody last night (a ten minute affair that Ian laughably referred to as a "war") but he didn't look frustrated at all to me. He looked happy.
The reason they did this was because Page has a groin injury and can't work and/or can work but doesn't want to take the risk of aggravating it before he has the biggest match of his New Japan career with Kenny Omega later this week. I completely understand that, but if the dude is okay enough to take a chokeslam through a table, why not have Martinez come out in his gear for the attack so that it looks like he just wanted to get an advantage in their match rather than that he had no intention of wrestling tonight, have Page still insist on wrestling tonight's match, and immediately just get chokeslammed and pinned. You get to the same place (Martinez attacked Page from behind and put him through a table, Page doesn't have to wrestle tonight) but Page looks braver and Martinez gets to walk away with a win instead of nothing?
JAY LETHAL SEGMENT - Touching. Lethal comes out and the fans all cheer. Lethal tells them that today is a very special day for him... and the fans all start chanting "RUSEV DAY!" These Florida crowds ALWAYS SUCK, and just going from the eyeball test the building looks horrifically empty tonight (so once again, it's not ROH that drew those big houses last November, it was Kenny Omega), so can ROH please stop running there?
It turns out that tomorrow is Lethal's birthday, and someone had called him and asked him if he could come to the show tonight as Jay's special guest tonight: It's Lanny Poffo. This means that Lanny Poffo has now made more appearances for ROH than he did for WCW during the entire four years he was under contract to them. He put Jay over for doing a better job than anyone else of keeping his brother's memory alive. He then presented Jay with a pair of Macho Man's glasses. Jay started doing his Macho Man act and asked Lanny to recite the poem he did when he crowned Randy Savage as the "Macho King." Lanny did it off the top of his head. This was a very nice moment.
Unfortunately Shane Taylor decided to try to ruin it. When he came out Lethal said "nobody invited Kamala," which made me laugh my ass off. Taylor cut a promo on them, telling Lanny that his poems sucked and asking Lethal "why are you celebrating this old dude, anyway?" and noting that Lanny was, in fact, "a jabroni." He then accused Lanny of riding on Randy's coattails his whole life... and I've got to admit that Taylor is making some pretty salient points here.
Lethal told Taylor that he has had enough of him running his mouth and wanted to fight him right now, so we got...
SHANE TAYLOR vs. JAY LETHAL (w/Lanny Poffo) - 6.75/10
The match was a little disappointing. Taylor started off quite viciously but totally lost that by the end. At one point it looked like he had Lethal beat but he pulled him up just so he could yell at Lanny more, which made him look like an idiot. Lethal made his comeback and won with the Lethal Injection followed by Hail to the King.
EIGHT-MAN ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH:
Team ROH Champions (The Briscoes, Silas Young, & Dalton Castle) (w/the Boys) vs. Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, the Young Bucks, & Cody Rhodes) (w/Bernard the Business Bear) - 8/10
We immediately establish that Cody isn't getting along with the rest of Bullet Club, and Marty in particular. This is contrasted with Dalton and Silas, who are able to work together fine. Cody tried to make amends over the course of the match, with only Nick Jackson and eventually (for a time) Marty seeming to accept them.
After the tag teams were eliminated (more on that later) we were left with Dalton & Silas vs. Cody & Marty. I thought they missed an opportunity here to emphasize the conflict within Bullet Club by actually having former hated enemies Silas Young and Dalton Castle work together to at least hit some double-team moves on Bullet Club, but it didn't happen. Instead we got Marty making Silas tap relatively quickly. I really would have preferred that this be Cody, both for the sake of some change in the TV Title picture and because I would have reversed what they did for the finish, which was as follows:
Scurll was going to break Dalton's already broken fingers (or whatever) but Cody swooped in and hit Cross Rhodes. This caused an argument between them, but I thought this made Marty look stupid. Just pin the guy! It's not Cody is stealing your pin. There's nothing to get upset about. If you want to break Dalton's fingers so badly just go do it now while he is even weaker than before because he just got hit with the Cross Rhodes.
When Marty did eventually make the cover Dalton had already been given too much time to recover and so he kicked out. He then fought back a bit, and an errant Disaster Kick by Cody hit Scurll instead of its intended target, Dalton Castle, who had ducked. Dalton then tossed Cody out of the ring and hit Marty with the Bang-a-rang for the pin. Cody then slipped into the ring and rolled Dalton up with a Crucifix for the win.
This finish certainly does pour more fuel on the fire burning down the Bullet Club clubhouse (and they made sure to give us a few minutes of Marty and Cody yelling at each other at the end of the match), but I think it would have been better to do this the other way around. Let Cody be the one to be upset over what was clearly an accident and assume it was on purpose (which is a heelish thing to do and he is the heel between the two of them), let Dalton pin Cody, and then have Marty pin Dalton again.
I understand that you can use the finish they did to claim that Marty would have beaten Dalton if not for Cody's interloping and thus he is still a threat to Dalton when they have a one-on-one match for the title (perhaps in a cage so no one can interfere), but I don't really think that it's clear that Marty had Dalton beaten tonight. It's not like Marty had Dalton in the Crossface Chickenwing but Cody broke it up by moonsaulting onto them in an attempt to hurt Dalton more.
I also think that Marty pinning Dalton is a much better option here because it plays into the story the announcers were trying to tell last night that Marty has figured out the "blueprint" to beating Dalton. This makes Marty pinning Dalton (particularly with the same roll-up he used at Defy or Deny) reinforce that story, as he has now beaten Dalton twice in a row in one-on-one situations, whereas having Dalton pin Marty here totally erases all of that, as it is now Dalton who is 2-1 against Marty this month, and Marty's roll-up pin on Dalton at Defy or Deny almost looks like a fluke in that context. While the finish they did does build Cody up more for his eventual rematch with Dalton (the announcers told us he was entitled to one and just needs to tell ROH management when he wants it), I think Cody is in the unique position right now where he really doesn't need to be built up for a title shot. His job right now is to cause issues within Bullet Club due to his desire to lead them, and that is an instinct that often feels like it is fueled by his frustrations at his own failures. Him being built up well for a title shot against Dalton doesn't matter because the point of that title shot isn't to convince people that Cody might win, but for Cody to be frustrated when he loses (and especially if he asks for help from Bullet Club but gets none). Having him once again lose to Dalton here is the sort of thing that would cause a frustrated Cody to want to show that he can beat Dalton and invoke his rematch clause, setting up more frustration with his inevitable defeat (and it's not like he'd be going in with no build, as we would be giving him the pin of Silas here, too, which could then set up a TV Title match which Cody would also lose and become even more frustrated).
The other little story they told here was a bit of built to Bucks vs. Briscoes. Jay Briscoe internationally gets himself DQed via chairshot to save Mark from Bullet club's "n boots" spot. On his way to the back he hit the bear with the chair but the idiots in charge of production missed it because they decided to cut away from the angry Briscoe with a chair. Have they never seen ROH before? Matt Jackson nailed Jay with a dropkick through the ropes as retaliation, but this lapse in attention to his opponent allowed Mark Briscoe to roll him up and eliminate him, so that was your simple but effective build for that.
Terrible tag match, bad announcing, and disappointingly short undercard matches aside, I thought this show was fine for what it was. Due to the Page injury this was basically going to be a one-match show and that one match delivered, plus we got what feels like some storyline advancement in not just the intra-Bullet Club fight but also in the tag team division and the Bully Ray angle, a reminder that Kenny King vs. Silas & BCB is still a thing, a nice moment for Lethal. For something that is basically designed to be a one-match show, that's perfectly fine.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES
1. Ian Riccaboni referred to Serpentico as a "great young athlete."
2. Ian Riccaboni read a Tweet from a fan who said he was watching "to see Matt Taven beat up three Melvins."
How about we don't read Tweets that support the heels?
3. Ian Riccaboni said that Will Ospreay had been a TV Champion within the past 365 days. He hasn't been. He held the belt for two days, a year and a half ago. Him winning it in his first match (and on ROH's first show in the UK in almost a decade) was supposed to be a huge moment, as was his shocking loss just two days later. There is no excuse for the lead announcer to be screwing this up.
4. Ian Riccaboni- "that Cactus Jack-style elbow drop does not land on Cody. Instead it lands on the knees of the American Nightmare."
So then it did land on Cody. His knees are part of his body, aren't they? If Cody countered the move by getting his knees up then JUST SAY THAT.