THE BRISCOES vs. JODY STORM & JOHNNY FLEISCH - 6.5/10
I love that this would have been a dream match in 2003, and still feels like a dream match in 2018, but for mirroring but opposite reasons. In 2003 this would have been the UK's two top stars facing the young upstart Briscoes in a high-flying showdown. In 2018, it's the two old veterans Storm & Fleisch having found a last wind for one last big run, and big, mean, top-of-their-game Briscoes trying to shut that crap down.
Fleisch & Storm jumped the Briscoes from behind to start things off even though the Briscoes are heels and Fleisch & Storm and the hometown babyfaces. This was a fine opener, but really lacked the specialness I was hoping for, both in terms of action and atmosphere. Everyone did there stuff, and aside from one botch on a complicated double-team attempt by Storm & Fleisch, everything was done well. This was a perfectly acceptable opener.
That being said, I have to criticize the decision to only give these guys thirteen minutes. You've got a match-up that feels special on paper, and with the two tournament matches coming up right after it- which will almost certainly be toned down from what they could be because the winners will have to wrestle again in the main event, I would have given this, like twenty-two minutes to start the show off with a real bang that people will remember for a long time.
ROH INTERNATIONAL CUP SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Flip Gordon vs. Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) - 8/10
Or maybe forget what I just said about these matches being a bit toned down. These two started off with a cool sequence, then started their story of Haskins working over Flip's arm, and managed to keep telling that story at a very fast and exciting pace for the next twelve minutes. An awesome match.
When Haskins gave Flip an arm wringer, Ian Riccaboni thought it was a good idea to reference Chubby Checker. That is, like, how to sound the opposite of cool as a wrestling commentator in 2018 101.
ROH INTERNATIONAL CUP SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Jimmy Havoc vs. Adam Page - 3.5/10
They're on the outside forever and referee Chris Roberts is just following them around and telling them to get back into the ring, and of course they're ignoring him, but he just keeps doing it. Hey, moron! Maybe if you actually did your job and started counting them out then they would have some actual incentive to listen to you!
Jimmy Havoc then starts pulling out weapons right in front of the referee, because he apparently doesn't give a sh*t if he gets DQed and is thus out of this prestigious tournament and loses a chance to challenge for the prestigious ROH World Title. If this were real, why would ROH ever bring this guy back?
We then got a spot where the referee got beer in his eyes so Havoc could pull out his sheet of metal from under the ring and start slicing Adam Page with it. I'm sorry to keep harping on this, but Jimmy Havoc is exactly the type of guy Gabe wouldn't have brought in specifically because Gabe understood the importance of making your promotion feel different. You might say "well what about Necro Butcher?" but I will answer that Necro Butcher knew how to still me Necro Butcher without resorting to deathmatch crap. Necro Butcher understood how to still be Necro Butcher within an ROH environment. If this stuff is the only way for Jimmy Havoc to get his sh*t in and be Jimmy Havoc, then he doesn't belong in Ring of Honor.
And this f*cking idiot didn't even try to hide his weapon afterwards, either. He just left it in the corner... which is even dumber than sounds because Havoc himself was the one who went over and wiped the beer out of the referee's eyes. Then again, the idiot referee made no effort to get this dangerous weapon out of the ring, either, so maybe they're in cahoots. Yeah. That's the storyline I hope they go with, because it would be a perfect kayfabe excuse for neither guy to ever show up in ROH again after this weekend.
They repeated the "Havoc drinks a drink in order to spit it into Page's eyes but Page forearms him in the face, causing him to spit it in the referee's face, blinding him" spot. Page, having had enough of Havoc's sh*t, tried to kick him in the nuts, but of course, Havoc had to block it by closing his legs and trapping Page's, as all of the spots where someone gets to look cool in Jimmy Havoc matches always seem to go to Jimmy Havoc. Havoc then pulled out a staple gun and stapled Page first on the hand, then on the buttocks. BJ Whitmer responded to this by laughing, while Ian Riccaboni responded to it by saying "#StapleButt." You know... because it's funny that this guy is cheating and using a dangerous weapon on our valiant hero.
Hey... Adam Page? Maybe doing a spot in your match where you kick out of a Rainmaker isn't the smartest move for your New Japan career. More stuff happened. We then got our THIRD REF BUMP IN A TWELVE MINUTE MATCH just so Page could staple Havoc once, then Page hit his stuff and got the win. This was bad. That seems to be a running theme in Jimmy Havoc matches, doesn't it? My favorite part of this match actually happened after it when Page faked Jimmy Havoc out on a handshake and flipped him off instead.
CHARLI EVANS vs. KAY LEE RAY - 6/10
The same old eight-to-eleven-minute Women of Honor match. The matches aren't bad or anything, but the clear lack of direction in the division hurts the company.
DELIRIOUS vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ - 3/10
I've been rather unrelenting in my criticism of Delirious for being a bad booker, but I don't think anyone can ever accuse him of being a selfish one. This went less than five minutes, and Delirious found a way to allow himself to do a bunch of stuff that made him look competent and thus made Martinez look even tougher for never once leaving his feet except under his own power.
FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH:
Kip Sabian vs. Marty Scurll vs. Joe Hendry vs. Christopher Daniels - 6.25/10
A fun four-way match.
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM & JAY LETHAL - 8.25/10
Best match of the weekend so far. The Bucks were their usual dick selves, especially to Gresham. This came back to bite them as their dickishness gave Gresham an opening to take Nick down and work over his leg, which became a big issue for him throughout the match, leading to him falling down when he tried to hit the Meltzer Driver, which then led to Lethal slipping free and hitting Matt with Lethal injection for the upset victory. This should logically lead to the Bucks defending their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles against Lethal and Gresham, which would make for a solid Honor Club show main event.
ROH INTERNATIONAL CUP FINALS:
Adam Page vs. Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) - 8.75/10
Haskins spit a big loogie in his hand before going to accept Page's offered handshake to let us know he's the heel. Can we please stay away from this pointlessly gross sh*t? Why not just have Haskins flip Page off like Page did to Haskins' PROGRESS tag team partner Jimmy Havoc earlier in the night (though Havoc did totally deserve it)?
These guys went on to have a fantastic match (ROH's best singles match of the year so far, as far as I can remember), full of exciting nearfalls, good selling, and hard-nosed determination from both men. It was very nice to see this get time (it clocked in at over twenty-four minutes), as that has been something that has been sorely missing from many of ROH's big singles matches over the past few years. This was an excellent cap to a very good tournament.
This was an awesome show from ROH. The top of the card really delivered, and everything else (aside from the Jimmy Havoc match) was also pretty solid. This has been quite the good little tour so far, and night three looks like it has the potential to be the best show of all of them.