SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD vs. ALEX CAUGHLIN, CLARK CONNORS, & KARL FREDERICKS - 4/10
Everyone looked fine. Shinobi Shadow Squad puck up yet another win.
TRIOS TITLES SEGMENT - Meh. The Kingdom showed up and teased defending the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles against Shinobi Shadow Squad but in the end they refused to because they don't like San Antonio. I think just about everyone in the world saw this coming, and so having to wait while Taven drones on saying predictable, generic crap until he gets to a point that we all know he's going to wind up at is really boring.
Shinobi Shadow Squad stepped up to The Kingdom and didn't back down when O'Ryan started poking with his bat. The Kingdom them attacked Shinobi Shadow Squad and dumped them to the floor. Shinobi Shadow Squad looked brave here and they have an excellent record, so it would have been really nice if The Kingdom hadn't dispatched them so pathetically easily.
Dalton Castle & the Boys then showed up. Dalton noted that they got a DQ win over Shane Taylor & The Briscoes two nights ago... which he claims is enough get them to "the front of the line." That seems like a stretch. Dalton reversed psychology-ed The Kingdom into putting the belts on the line, so we got an impromptu...
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Kingdom(c) vs. Dalton Castle & The Boys - 5.75/10
Dalton Castle and his taped-up ribs ate the pin after one of the Boys accidentally shoved Dalton while thinking he was a member of The Kingdom grabbing him from behind. T.K. O'Ryan was the one who go the pin, and Ian pushed that O'Ryan had also pinned Gresham last night. This is the sort of thing that maybe would feel like an impressive streak to me if they hadn't gone to such absurd lengths to protect Gresham last night tha tit felt like O'Ryan was still buried even in victory.
Dalton shoved one of the Boys in frustration, but quickly apologized and they all left together.
RHETT TITUS vs. TRACY WILLIAMS (w/Tenille Dashwood) - 7/10
These two had a pretty singles match with Rhett working the midsection and Tracy working the neck. It's nice to see Rhett actually given time for once. That being said, I really could have done without the stuff between him and Tenille. Her pushing him in particular was a misstep to me (especially with it being right in front of the referee and thus theoretically should have resulted in a DQ) due to it technically violating LifeBlood's rule-following policy.
TAG WARS 2019 SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Kenny King & MVP vs. The Bouncers vs. Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) - 7.5/10
This was a fun action-packed three-way tag that did a great job of keeping things moving fast, but not too fast that you couldn't keep track.
TAG WARS 2019 SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Coast 2 Coast vs. Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. LifeBlood (David Finlay Jr. & Juice Robinson) - 7/10
Lots of action. I know LifeBlood winning is probably the right move, but I was REALLY hoping C2C could get a major win to establish them as a force in the division now that they have returned from Europe. Handshakes all around after the match.
ROH WOMEN OF HONOR WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Kelly Klein(c) (w/Camp Klein) vs. Sumie Sakai - 6.25/10
This whole Camp Klein dog and pony show isn't working for me. It's just not something I can't see the woman who went undefeated for two years and also won the title by pinning all three of her opponents cleanly would feel the need to rely on. The heel "Gatekeeper" is an inherently arrogant character. It is, almost by definition, someone with an overinflated opinion of his/her own abilities and importance, and thus not someone who rely on dog and pony show tactics.
Anyway, they had a fine match which Kelly won mostly cleanly (there was one distraction with Camp Klein early on, but mostly they were just there to catch the women on dives). I'm sorry, but I just cannot possibly care about Sumie Sakai in 2019, and doubly so when she is anywhere near the title. Kelly choked Sumie out for the win, and mockingly shook hands with her unconscious form afterwards.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. After Kelly and her team left, Twisted Sisters ran out and attacked Sumie Sakai. Ian Riccaboni let us know that Madison Rayne was not here tonight to save Sumie. One of them cut a promo on Sumie in both English and Spanish warning her and everyone else to stay out of their way. After the heels left, Colt Cabana went to go help Sumie to the back.
SILAS YOUNG & SHANE TAYLOR vs. JEFF COBB & WILLIE MACK - 6.75/10
Joe Galli from the NWA replaced Colt Cabana on commentary for this match. And while we're talking about such things, let me offer some helpful advice to the producer: if you hear the bell ring, and you're not showing us the ring, GET THE F*CKING CAMERA ON THE RING! Don't leave it on the announcers.
Silas and Taylor immediately had problems working together. And when I say "immediately," I mean while Taylor and Cobb were circling, before there was even any sort of physical contact between the competitors. Then nothing really came of that afterwards.
The match was going along at a nice pace and taking it's time and building... and then we got a double-down and Bully Ray ran in to yell at Tod Sinclair. Bully and Cobb had a stare-down and Bully shoved Cobb for a f*cking DQ. Silas then hit Cobb in the nuts, Taylor took out Willie Mack, and Bully yelled a lot and then held up both Cobb's ROH TV Title and Willie Mack's NWA National Title. You'd think LifeBlood would have come out to chase the heels away and chastise Bully for causing a DQ but they were nowhere to be found.
I find this sort of thing to be EXTREMELY frustrating. When he moves storylines along, Bully Ray is fine. I even took one of his obnoxious post-match low-blow run-ins last year and sketched out in my review (Honor United: Edinburgh) how that segment was actually a perfect set-up for Bully Ray to challenge Dalton Castle a month later, and pointed out how well it lined up with all of the various pieces revolving around Bully Ray at the time being the position they would need to be in to make such a scenario work perfectly. I bring this up to point out that even though I think ROH would be MUCH better off without his presence as an on-screen character, I think I've been pretty fair to the man. I don't think anyone but his biggest supporters would ever want to see him put in an angle where he challenges for the ROH World Title, but I, who don't want to see him at all, was willing to advocate for it purely on the basis of the pieces being there to tell a decent story.
I think a fair assessment of Bully Ray's effect on the cards since his heel turn is that when he is involved in a segment that moves a storyline along in a definitive manner he is fine, but on any show where he doesn't do so, he drags the card down. He wastes times with long, redundant promos, his matches have bad finishes and both these bad finishes and any post-match run-ins he does feel repetitive and serve no purpose to any plot and thus waste time that could be given to other matches to help main events reach the legendary ROH main event level of old or to give some midcarders time to have matches that really stand out. Even when he's not involved in some sort of run-in or bad finish like last night, booking him in the way Delirious wanted to book him resulted in/necessitated 1) taking Bandido out of the Proving Ground Match, which was definitely hurt by his absence, 2) Bully wasting a whole bunch of time talking, 3) the structure of the main event being built around Bully Ray rather than about letting the new guys and guys new to the main event scene show what they can do, and 4) Bandido just being allowed to join a match in the middle, even though the challenge was made and accepted and the match officially announced as a 5-on-4 Handicap Match.
So could this segment turn out to be one that has a concrete effect on a storyline? Sure. Bully lift up both belts could certainly lead to him challenging for one of them. But based on the fact that the TV Title already has two contenders lined up (Rocky Romero earned a shot last night and there is currently a #1 contendership tournament going on on TV) and the fact that Willie Mack is not an ROH regular and the fact that situations like this in the past with Bully haven't led to anything, I don't think this actually will lead to anything.
I also have to question the decision to have this match go fifteen minutes (the first match of the night to do so) if it was just going to end in a run-in for a DQ. Surely the same could have been accomplished in nine or ten minutes and the other five given to the main event or the Women of Honor World Championship match (did you know that no WOH Title match has ever gone even fourteen minutes?).
COLT CABANA GIVES US AN UPDATE ON SUMIE SAKAI - She suffered a concussion and has been taken to a "local medical facility." Also, Colt is now back on commentary, replacing Mr. Galli.
While we're on the subject of announcers giving news, Ian Riccaboni informed us all that Rocky Romero will get his TV Title shot next month at Bound By Honor 2019: Night 2 in Coral Gables, Florida, which is right outside of Miami, which is an excellent place to give Rocky Romero a title shot.
ROCKY ROMERO vs. BANDIDO - 7.5/10
Bandido's ribs are still taped up. While this does give him an out to lose to Rocky, if I was booking this, I think would have just had these two go to a time limit draw. Draws are an excellent tool to not beat anyone without doing a f*ck finish and while inherently setting up for a rematch (which you can book when one of the wrestlers is in a position where he/she can afford the loss).
Rocky did work over Rocky's injured midsection and these two had a pretty great match... but Bandido still got the win one-two-three in the middle of the ring with his finisher. This seems like a REALLY odd choice when you consider both Rocky's upcoming TV Title shot and Bandido having the out of the injured ribs. If you didn't want to beat Bandido, why not go to a draw?
MARK HASKINS vs. MARTY SCURLL - 7.5/10
Tod Sinclair gave them WAY too much time on the outside without counting them out. Other than that, this was a great brawl and big-moves slugfest. I think they did an excellent job setting the tone with the pre-match hug, then charging at each other and trading haymakers the moment the bell rang, and then hugging again after the match. This would have been another good place to spent some of those five or six minutes that could have been shaved off of the Cobb/Willie vs. Silas/Taylor match.
KELLY KLEIN PROMO - She wants Mayu Iwatani in Florida. Her intensity was awesome, but she kind of messed up her metaphor. This weekend's shows are Road to G1 Supercard. The Florida shows are Bound By Honor weekend 2019. Also, "I AM the road, and I will smear you on the pavement" doesn't really work. The match should be excellent if given time, though.
TAG WARS 2019 FINALS:
Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) vs. LifeBlood (David Finlay Jr. & Juice Robinson) - 6.75/10
Tenille Dashwood was back on commentary for this match. Villain Enterprises did not shake hands either before or after the match, which should lead to some issues between them and LifeBlood.
They basically had a standard tag match that got interrupted by two minutes of streaming issues just when things were kicking into that big next gear. We got back just in time to see the last thirty seconds.
The wrestlers worked hard but the crowd was not as into the hot tag as I would have thought, and only going thirteen and a half minutes here was extremely disappointing. This show went THREE AND A HALF HOURS, and you can't give the big match the whole weekend has been building towards more than ONE FIFTEENTH of that time?! Really?!
BRISCOES BRAWL WITH THE WINNERS - A good wild and crazy weapons brawl.
In the ring this show was pretty solid, but it was yet another of those shows where I can't help but question the judgement on display in the backstage decision-making. I had hoped we were past the days of the time being distributed horribly, but apparently not. While I was happy with so many clean finishes, some of the booking (Bandido beating Rocky, the DQ) really stuck in my craw. Admittedly, some of this would be something I would be more willing to overlook if not for the timing issues, but Rocky losing to Bandido while going into a title match, especially when Bandido has a built-in out to protect him, completely baffles me. This weekend started out well, but at the end of it I am once again left questioning whether this product will ever overcome some of its longstanding problems without Delirious being removed from his booking position.