SCORPIO SKY BACKSTAGE PROMO - Holy sh*t a backstage promo! And from an undercard guy no less!
The promo itself... I wouldn't say it's fair to call it bad, as Scorpio had his point and made it well, but it was just such a generic situation. They finally go to an obvious tool in their toolbox, but rather than use it to help along a storyline they just use it for a completely random undercard title shot where no one thinks there is a snowball's chance of the belt changing hands? Really?
ROH TV TITLE MATCH:
Punishment Martinez(c) vs. Scorpio Sky - 6.25/10
The match built well and worked as an opener, but for a title match in ROH it just rang hollow.
PROVING GROUND MATCH:
ROH Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai vs. Karen Q - 5.25/10
Karen dominated 90% of this match. Sumie, the champion, felt like someone who should be the bottom babyface on the totem pole, not the champion of the division. They gave us eight minutes of a fine match for its spot on the card... and then took a detour into Pointless Shenanigans Stupid Sh*t Delirious Booking Finish Land, where instead of giving us a clean finish we had to have attempted weapons use and a roll-up. Even worse, it was Sumie that won, because G-d forbid we do something to actually build up a challenger, right? Hell... if you don't want to beat your champion then just have this go to a draw? Isn't that the entire point of this stupid gimmick? So someone can earn a title shot off of wrestling the champion without the champion actually having to lose?
But no. It's definitely better to stay the course and just keep giving out title shots like Halloween candy to any woman who happens to stop by, resulting in a string of title defenses where no one thinks there is a snowball's chance in hell of the title changing hands, and even if they did, they haven't been given any reason to care. That will definitely build up the prestige of this new title. Keep up the good work there, Lizard Man.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL:
Jonathan Gresham vs. Chris Sabin vs. Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor- 8.25/10
You see those first few minutes between Gresham and Sabin? Why is Gresham not being put in a position where he can do that for fifteen minutes on every single show?
These guys went out there and basically stole the show with an awesome match built on everything from the usual four-way story to the kind of offense guys were trying to hit on Taylor, and making references to various past alliances and other such things. This was a fun, exciting, four-way with a very hot crowd, and aside from the fact that Taylor bringing Gresham into the ring from the outside when Gresham had him in a sleeper hold made Taylor look like an idiot, this was a match where everyone came out of it looking better than they did going in.
BULLY RAY vs. CHUCK TAYLOR - DUD!
First Bully wastes a bunch of time cutting a promo in which he tells us that everyone is looking forward to this match and tells us that he has no problem whatsoever with Taylor, which made it 100% clear what was about to happen (for the few people who hadn't already figured it out). Bully then started putting over PWG as the new ECW here on this ROH show.
Chuck got the chance to talk, and thankfully was not made to look too dumb to see through Bully's obvious bullsh*t. He cut a promo on Bully that, while a good babyface promo, just adds another layer to the question of why Bully is still employed by ROH. Not only has he threatened management and attempted to ruin shows,, and always ruins his matches by getting DQed on purpose, but now we also learn that all of the wrestlers in the locker room hate his guts... SO WHY THE F*CK DOES ROH KEEP BOOKING HIM?!
The match itself went all of seventy-nine seconds before Bully got himself DQed. And even though Chuck just said he hates Bully's guts, he had to give him a hug in order to get his comedy sh*t in. Bully gets DQed on purpose and keeps the beat-down going, Cabana tries to make the save but gets taken out with the chain, Trent Beretta comes out and makes the save. At no point did Ian Riccaboni say anything about Trent still being injured, which means that Trent was just at the show and ROH didn't book him into any match. The idea of this was to be a big return for Trent, and while the fans were into that, this is the sort of thing you should be doing on TV. Take this segment, cut out the pre-match bullsh*t, and you've got a fine six-minute TV segment. Don't waste twelve minutes of time on an Honor Club show in this sh*t when you could save money on flights and bookings for three guys and give yourself eleven minutes to distribute to matches that could have really benefitted from it by not booking these guys.
CHEESEBURGER, ELI ISOM, FR JOSIE, & RYAN NOVA vs. SILAS YOUNG, BEER CITY BRUISER, & THE DAWGS- 4/10
Or at the very least book Chuck Taylor vs. Silas Young so that we're not wasting twelve minutes and a half minutes on an eight-man tag featuring Silas Young and job squad. Seriously. There is no excuse for this match getting more time than either the TV Title match or the match featuring the Women of Honor Champion. None.
The last few minutes of this were fine, but the rest of this was pointless, semi-goofy crap between two teams of mostly losers that dragged on for WAY too long.
MATT TAVEN PROMO - He's doing a "real world champion" angle because he got a visual pinfall on then-ROH World Champion Dalton Castle in the match where Jay Lethal won the belt. Okay. He's got a point. So much of a point, in fact, that it makes you wonder why the hell ROH had originally booked Silas Young to challenge Lethal for the ROH World Title tonight (Lethal got quietly pulled from tonight's show after the Taeler Hendrix accusations) instead of Taven? In fact, now that I think about it, a much more sensible card for tonight would have had Lethal defend against Taven, Silas get his rematch for the TV Title against Martinez, Marseglia & O'Ryan added to the main event, and some combinations of Cody or Scurll vs. Scorpio Sky/Chuck Taylor, and not brought any of the other people to the show.
But no. We're doing the "real world champion" angle for the second time in under five years. And not only that, but we're going so hardcore on it that Taven, with his COMPLETELY MADE UP, FAKE CHAMPIONSHIP, apparently has the stroke to just decide that he's not going to wrestle tonight and that Vinny Marseglia will face Marty Scurll in his stead, changing an advertised match to one of a clearly lesser quality. And ROH management is okay with this? At this point I think there are four kayfabe possibilities: 1) they don't give a sh*t, 2) they're too stupid to understand why any of this is bad, 3) they're giant pushovers, 4) they're negligent, paying no attention to the shows. None of these is good.
And from a non-kayfabe point of view, WHY ARE YOU F*CKING THE FANS OUT OF AN ADVERTISED MATCH FOR A CLEARLY LESSER ONE? There was ZERO reason to do a bait-and-switch here. If you want to do this angle this way so badly, just have management try to book the match but Taven refuses to wrestle until the situation is rectified, saying he'll show up and appear like his contract obligates him to do, but he'll only cut promos. You get to the same place (Taven gets to cut his "I'm the real world champion" promo) but without doing a bait-and-switch, which does nothing but break trust with the audience.
And not only are we redoing this angle but we've got to add in some total cartoon bullsh*t to boot. Taven didn't actually show us the title. He's just got a bag and claims to have "the most elegant title in history" but he won't reveal it until the time is right and greatest spotlight is on him. WHO COULD POSSIBLY GIVE A SH*T?!
And while I'm ranting... IAN RICCABONI: you need to learn to SHUT THE F*CK UP. If Matt Taven calls the city of Nashville ugly, you don't need to drop in and tell me that Taven is being a heel because you saw him sightseeing earlier and thus he is being a hypocrite. He's ALREADY BEING A HEEL BY CALLING THE CITY UGLY.
MARTY SCURLL vs. VINNY MARSEGLIA - 6.75/10
Taven did commentary for this match. Also doing commentary for this match, for some inexplicable reason, was Caprice Coleman. Marseglia popped a balloon not only in Scurll's ear, but right in front of the referee as well. Somehow, this was not a DQ. No wrestler should allow this to happen to themselves. Wrestlers already risk so much of their bodies via a necessity of the profession. We don't need people pointlessly risking their hearing, too.
Marseglia worked over Scurll's back and then got him in a submission hold that targets the back... so of course someone thought this would be a perfect time to cut away to the announcers for absolutely no reason.
They told the story of Marty's back getting worked over and avoided stupid sh*t (although they did wind up with an attempted Piledriver that wound up more looking like Marty sat down and then dropped Marseglia head-first into his lap). This was better than most Vinny Marseglia singles matches, but still nowhere near acceptable for fifteen minutes in Ring of Honor, especially with a guy like Marty Scurll.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Taven attacked Scurll after the match. T.K. O'Ryan came out as well and The Kingdom was about to hit Marty with the Rockstar Supernova when Cody came out with a steel chair to make the save. They had a brawl that lasted just long enough to really drive home the idea that Taven vs. Cody is still an on-going feud, then transitioned into the next match...
But before I get there, I must once again address Ian Riccaboni. Ian... buddy: We see that the start of this match is impromptu; you don't have to tell us. And for the love of G-d DO NOT point out that "this isn't next on my run-sheet" or some other such sh*t because those phrases have been overused to the point where they come off as inherently fake. And I mean like someone coming out and telling us all that "this is a shoot" in the year 2002 level of overdone and fake.
Also, please think before you speak, because at the moment you chose to say this, the only other two matches left were the NWA World Heavyweight Title match and the action-packed three-way including the tag champs, two thirds of the six-man tag champs (and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and two thirds of the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions), and The Addiction. Are you trying to tell me that a random singles match with nothing on the line that featured T.K. O'RYAN was booked higher on the card than one of those two matches? Really?
CODY RHODES vs. T.K. O'RYAN - 4/10
We killed our hot start by first having O'Ryan stall on the outside so we could show Conrad Thompson in the crowd, then had Cody go to the outside as well so that Brandi and the bear could get their pop for coming out. Meanwhile, referee Paul Turner was not counting anyone out.
Meanwhile, the announcers are putting over Starcast and All In. Maybe there are some ROH shows we could be putting over instead? Maybe some new DVDs or something?
They did gaga on the outside involving Brandi being used by O'Ryan as a human shield, then O'Ryan shoving Cody towards her so that Cody had to put effort into stopping thus leaving his guard down for an attack from behind. Said attack came in the form of pushing Cody head-first into the ringpost. Then he knocked the bear down, which got more heat than running Cody's head into the ringpost or using Cody's wife as a human shield. If you teach the fans to care about stupid bullsh*t, then eventually all they'll care about is stupid bullsh*t and not your matches.
O'Ryan then get in Conrad Thompson's face before getting back into the ring. There was no count-out going on during any of this.
O'Ryan worked Cody over for the heat, Cody made his comeback, blah blah blah. Brandi slapped O'Ryan during the match, even though Cody is a babyface now. They went to the outside and Cody hit O'Ryan with a cup he grabbed from a fan. Despite this happening right in front of the referee, there was still no DQ. You also won't be surprised to learn that the referee was not even counting them out during any of this.
Cody climbed to the top rope but O'Ryan shoved the referee into the ropes. I don't think O'Ryan got in a single bit of offense that wasn't preceded by some sort of heel tactic. This is Ring of Honor in 2018, not Memphis in 1974. All wrestlers need to look credible; like they are someone who the promotion would actually hire just based on their skill alone.
That Super Jackhammer spot was cool. Then Brandi got in the ring for some reason or another so the referee had to deal with her and thus couldn't see O'Ryan hit Cody with Cody's ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship belt. The referee should consider himself lucky, because this belt shot looked pretty bad. This was only good for a nearfall because G-d forbid we do SOMETHING to let the non-Taven members of The Kingdom look like anything other than stooges. O'Ryan got into a shoving match with the referee over this call, resulting in Cody rolling him up for a false finish, then hitting the CrossRhodes for the win.
This was a bad wrestling match that exemplifies so much of what is wrong with ROH. The third match from the top got a mere eleven minutes, they used modern moves but with a mentality that should have been left in the 1980s, the babyface winning is given primacy or making the heel look credible, and the match was wrestled between one guy who has no value over replacement spot monkey and one guy who rarely puts on ROH-level matches unless in the ring with a world-class talent like Omega, Ibushi, or Lethal.
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Nick Aldis(c) vs. Flip Gordon - 6.5/10
They had a perfectly fine match for third on the card, here in the semi-main event. Someone decided it was necessary to have Flip lose but have his foot be in the ropes and the other referees and Cody came rushing out to urge ROH Senior Referee Tod Sinclair to restart the match. They never do this when any of the MANY f*ck finishes that are now a regular bug (I refuse to call them a feature) of ROH happen, but this one time not only do they come out to make the case, but the referee is allowed to believe them instead of only calling what he/she can see.
So the match is restarted and Flip does all of his flippy spots for a false finish... and then all of a sudden his knee starts to hurt again so when he goes for some sort of springboard move he collapses and false down and looks like an idiot. Magnus then hits his stuff but brave Flip kicks out until he passes out in the Cloverleaf. This was a wonderful example of something that might get a pop in the moment because you're restarting the match, but doing it makes the match worse than if they had just been wrestling the entire way through without any overbooked bullsh*t, which felt like it only happened so that Cody could show everyone eh'sa babyface now by being nice to Flip. Speaking of which, there was a...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Cody comes out and shakes Flip's hand to show that he respects him now. Why couldn't they have just done this after a clean wrestling match with no stupid bullsh*t?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT #2 - Once Cody and Aldis left, Bully showed up and attack Flip. Why do we need to do this AGAIN?
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. THE ADDICTION vs. THE BRISCOES - 7.75/10
They did spots. The Bucks won, pinning Mark Briscoe, so they're being set up for another title shot.
Another not terrible but also not particularly good show from I Can't Believe It's Not Ring of Honor. Aside from the women's match, everything got the same 10-15 minutes, with nothing really getting the time or the storyline situation to stand out in a major way. It's pain-by-numbers, which is fine for spot shows but will never get you any real buzz again.