ROH 14th Anniversary Show Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Despite the adage, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas, since Ring Of Honor held its 14th Anniversary Show live on Pay-Per-View and stars from New Japan Pro-Wrestling were also here for the party at Sam’s Town.
An underwhelming undercard was made up for by a better second half, fronted by the triple-threat for the ROH World Championship between Champion Jay Lethal, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole and an insane six-man tag.
– The opening video stayed true to the Vegas theme, mixing Martini’s open promo on Lethal having a winning addiction, never wanting to go back to losing with the rampant O’Reilly-Cole feud and mixing in their separate desires to be the ROH World Champion, an honor Lethal just didn’t want to ever give up. We even like the little things, like how Lethal refers to the Title as “she.”
– Of course, it’s a PPV, so that means “Mr. Wrestling 3” is Kevin Kelly’s commentary partner, indirectly giving us what we want. Also, big props to the stage setup and screens, looked slick. Now to the first match, the opening ROH World Television Championship bout between Champion Tomohiro Ishii, Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish. To casuals watching the PPV, they had to be shocked to hear about Ishii winning the belt in Japan, since much of the build focused on Fish-Strong, even in the pre-show feud montage. Granted, the Fish-Strong feud was weak, since we only heard Fish talk and talk about… something. What helps Ishii is that he brings a Shinsuke Nakamura-like intensity to him that makes him look like a Champion, but something was missing here from this match. We like Strong’s new attitude change, but he needed to keep the belt for it to keep going over. He’s a cocky heel Champion “taking on the world.” What happens when the world suddenly defeats him? He loses that heat. That aside, the action wasn’t bad with some highlights (Ishii’s top rope brainbuster) and buyable near-falls to the end, it’s the misguided storyline that tainted any potential this had. Given the turn of events, Ishii going over made sense, but hopefully, the American viewing audience will get a video package or promo that tells us more of what Ishii’s all about.
– The lukewarm train rolled on with the Adam Page-BJ Whitmer match, a makeshift storyline direction since Steve Corino can’t compete in the ring due to neck surgery. They decided to turn Page face against his old mentor and while that move could be smart down the road, as Page bleeds loads of potential, the short-term move doesn’t give this feud much life. Page was always “that angry guy” who could turn out a few flips, but was nothing more than that. Now, as a face, he’s essentially the same person, but the fury’s aimed at Whitmer. He hasn’t had any time to develop a motive or reasonings for his actions, which hurts. Page’s new entrance and theme were badass, but the only thing that kept this going was Whitmer’s ability to draw heat without doing much, but even that could only go so far, as the crowd was tame throughout and how could you blame them? The ring work showed decent back-and-forth physicality, as Page’s shooting star press off the apron was one early highlight, but they didn’t keep the momentum going and resorted to a cheap finish where Whitmer low-blowed Page with Todd Sinclair’s back turned to win. The post-match interaction of Page stopping Whitmer from further attacking him and attacking many security guards didn’t do any favors.
– The “ROH vs. NJPW” aspect of the card began with the Dalton Castle-Hirooki Goto match. Castle’s pre-taped promo colored him an excited man, one that expressed appreciation to fight Goto, but warned him not to underestimate him. His quip at the Boys to “look fierce” was funny. Needless to say, Castle was in his element in Vegas, bringing even more “Boys” with him and the crowd ate it all up. Commentary covered Goto’s story well, mentioning how he had numerous Title matches in Japan and fell short every time, wondering if it’d play a factor, while putting Castle over for his brute strength, amateur-style skills and unorthodox moveset. The crowd finally woke up with some of Castle’s maneuvers, but Goto went over here, defeating Castle on the second attempt of his finisher. Castle should’ve won this, since they didn’t even bring in Silas Young/Beer City Bruiser to play a role in the loss. Wasted storyline opportunity there.
– We liked the idea of “Spanky” Brian Kendrick, who appeared on ROH’s first-ever “The Era Of Honor Begins” show being on commentary during the Christopher Daniels-Alex Shelley and some of the input he put in helped get both guys over, but most of the contest was so-so, besides the noteworthy finish that confirmed our suspicions of a Motor City Machine Guns reunion, which played out. After all, since Shelley returned, Chris Sabin never physically harmed Shelley, even when the chance presented itself numerously.
– The show started going upwards with the Special Tag Team Attraction match between The Briscoes and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi. This was the best match on the show to this point and it wasn’t close. Great, logical tag spots worked in all throughout and it was back-and-forth right to the end. The crowd was with Elgin/Tanahashi all the way and it was smart for them to go over here, since Briscoes can easily bounce back. Also liked the sportsmanship displayed after the match.
– The most intriguing “ROH vs. NJPW” match was undoubtedly the Moose-“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada Special Challenge match. This definitely looked good on paper and the dueling crowd chants definitely helped the battle atmosphere. Moose did well here, as he pulled some new stuff out of his growing repertoire, but it made sense for the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada to go over here. More classy sportsmanship afterwards.
– Now, match of the night – the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championships between Kushida/ACH/Matt Sydal and Champions, The Elite. What a never-ending spot-fest, but everything came together for an unforgettable bout that’s definitely worth checking out if you have the time. “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega fit into the match and there were crazy spots all over the place, like the dropkick/German Suplex by Omega onto the steel ramp, for one. The crowd was super into it as well, enthusiastically chanting for each competitor individually before resorting to an “All these guys!” chant that made us snicker. Even Sydal and ACH got their times to shine and unfortunately, the lightning-quick paced, chock-full of those flips and kicks had to end and it made sense for The Elite to go over, with their belts on the line. Give that ROH Titles can change hands in Japan, it would’ve been nice to see something different on the show, but this was the right move.
– We questioned the placing of the ROH World Tag Team Championship Street Fight match between Champions War Machine and The All Night Express on the card, since they had an unenviable task of following that awesome match, but they covered well enough to keep it going. Perhaps it was designed to be the “come down” match between the Six-Man and the main event. There were some weapon use, with tables, chairs and ladders thrown in, but it didn’t seem to make a difference besides for the spot where Kenny King went through the ladder in the ring. Also liked how commentary put over ANX kicking out of Fallout as a big accomplishment, but once it was hit again, we knew there was no going back, even after some okay teases of ANX going over. Good, but not great.
– The main event three-way for the ROH World Championship between Lethal, O’Reilly and Cole did a stellar job of keeping things intense while making it look like each man had a good chance. Smart move to have Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness on commentary too, since it made it feel like a bigger happening. The match started slow, but definitely picked up towards the middle once Lethal hit his consecutive suicide dives and reared into the finish like a speeding subway train. Also loved the double submission spot where Cole literally stopped Lethal’s arm from going down for three, consistent with his mission to never allow O’Reilly to be ROH World Champion. After some more teases, there was no more appropriate finish than the ‘ol double Lethal Injection. So now that Lethal has seemingly plowed through everybody, the question is who’s next for him? We sure wonder.
- ROH World Television Championship – Three-Way – Tomohiro Ishii (Champion) def. Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish via pinfall to retain
- BJ Whitmer def. Adam Page via pinfall
- Hirooki Goto def. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) via pinfall
- Grudge Match – Alex Shelley def. Christopher Daniels (w/Frankie Kazarian) via pinfall
- Special Tag Team Attraction Match – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi def. The Briscoes via pinfall
- “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada def. Moose (w/Stokely Hathaway) via pinfall
- NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship – The Elite (Champions) def. ACH/Matt Sydal/Kushida via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Tag Team Championships – Street Fight – War Machine (Champions) def. The All Night Express via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Championship – Three-Way – Jay Lethal (Champion) (w/Truth Martini, Taeler Hendrix) def. Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly via pinfall to retain
Posted on March 6, 2016, in ROH and tagged ACH, Adam Cole, Adam Page, Alex Shelley, BJ Whitmer, Bobby Fish, Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels, Dalton Castle, Frankie Kazarian, Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay Lethal, Kazuchika Okada, Kevin Kelly, Kushida, Kyle O'Reilly, Matt Sydal, Michael Elgin, Moose, Mr. Wrestling #3, Nigel McGuinness, Roderick Strong, ROH 14th Anniversary, Taeler Hendrix, The All Night Express, The Boys, The Brian Kendrick, The Briscoes, The Elite, The Motor City Machine Guns, Tomohiro Ishii, Truth Martini, War Machine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.