ROH 15th Anniversary Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, Pa. to Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, NV., Ring Of Honor has undergone plenty in its 15-year history.
It was only appropriate that the face of the “old times” that hadn’t gone to World Wrestling Entertainment, Christopher Daniels, would get his last chance at the ROH World Championship, a belt that alluded him his whole career.
It was also right that the current Champion was Adam Cole, Bullet Club leader, which represented the “new school” ways of ROH.
Of course this show will be regarded as “the one where TK O’Ryan got hurt,” but there was plenty of happiness to go around the card as well.
– As anniversary shows should, the opening video panned through various moments in ROH history, whether it was the Murphy Rec Center, AJ Style’s Styles Clash off the top tope, Nigel McGuiness’ badass elbows when he was a ruthless World Champion or the infamous Steenalizer onto the turnbuckle. They focused on the Champions in particular, which was smart, because it transitioned into Daniels’ perspective from when he began his career in 1993. They then showed Cole’s response to that as in 1993, he “learned how to color and had a taste for cereal.” This was a nice collision with ideological differences between Champ and challenger present. It actually is insane that Daniels hadn’t been a World Champion in all these 15 years, but there’s the chance on this show. This should be a fun encounter. We also liked how they didn’t include Frankie Kazarian’s recruitment into the Bullet Club, which surely throws a wrench in Daniels’ plans.
– The Kenny King-Jay White match was what we’d consider to be “open filler.” Given the two’s in-ring abilities, this could be a sleeper. We liked that commentary mentioned both guys “threw themselves in the lion’s den” with the subject of their first career opponents. That was a meh spinning heel kick by King. White paid homage to the injured New Japan Pro-Wrestling star Tomoaki Honma, which the crowd popped for. King pulled off a decent corkscrew plancha. Caprice Coleman was a hit with his facial expressions at ringside and even took a suicide dive for his Rebellion comrade. The crowd was noticeably firmly split. These guys were both supposedly in the line of contention for the ROH World Television Championship. White scored the win with an inside cradle immediately after he countered out of King’s finisher. “Youthful exuberance” was mentioned by commentary and it fit the moment. It probably also helped that White has a match with Jay Briscoe soon to come, so there’s that to look forward to.
– The Young Bucks and Hangman Page embraced Kazarian into their oh-so-special “Club.” Well, ironically, he doesn’t seem like the right fit but with his past heel history in goofball Bad Influence (TNA, anybody?), it could work.
– The ROH World Television Championship #1 Contender’s match between Kazarian, Punishment Martinez, Chris Sabin, Cheeseburger, Silas Young and Page was a nice mix of talent which could take advantage of BC’s recent momentum. Kazarian and Sabin exchanged a series of “one counts.” CB back body dropped Young out of the ring onto their opponents below. He tried to hit a plancha but was caught, which set up an awesome springboard plancha by Martinez that we think was the first time we were amazed by something he did. Kazarian/Page teased a fight, but trolled the fans instead. Martinez appeared to stop Page from a maneuver that would’ve decimated CB on the apron and swiftly chokeslammed Page on the apron instead. Martinez impressed us this match. Kazarian hit Ace Of Spades on CB to get the win. Good idea to take advantage of BC’s momentum. That probably means Marty Scurll drops the TV Title later.
– Jay Lethal cut a pre-taped promo about how he needed to get through Bobby Fish to get back to where he had been once before – World Titles, something that Fish had never known yet. Fish’s own promo response basically said that he couldn’t measure up to his success. Um, 2015 much? We like Fish and his promos are always well-spoken, but as wordy as they are, they’re almost delusional. How can we take it seriously?
– The Lethal-Fish match was best described by Commentator Colt Cabana – “two guys with big egos who think they’re both the best.” Cabana also recalled a Fish-Lethal match at All-Star Extravaganza while Lethal held both TV/World Titles. What a run that was. Lethal hit a suicide dive, but Fish sidestepped him to cause him to crash chest-first into the barricade. So far, this was what it should be – hard-hits and smart, technical wrestling. Almost Chris Jericho/Benoit-esque. Fish had the kneebar semi-locked in as he caught Lethal, who tried to hit the Hail To The King. Lethal hit HTTK on the second attempt and landed a cutter from the top rope. We almost that itself was a Lethal Injection. Just in case that wasn’t enough, Lethal added a Lethal Injection traditional-style to secure the victory. That stole the show so far for us. The two followed the code of honor afterwards. As a note to Cabana’s commentary, nothing was heelish at all. Sometimes we wondered if he dropped the heel act.
– ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions The Kingdom spoke about Dalton Castle’s occupancy of Matt Taven’s attention because “they spoke the spotlight” and he urged him to prove he wasn’t “just another Melvin.” On the Castle side of things, he referred to Taven’s partners as “dingleberries” and questioned their dominance because they hadn’t truly been challenged yet. He predicted that his Boys would rip the Champs to shreds. Right.
– The ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championship match between Champions The Kingdom and Castle/Boys had a super “Boys” entrance for the challengers, as Castle was literally carried to the stage while Cabana was disgusted. That was his first heel moment, makes sense since it continues the feud. Yay. Cabana called Castle “fake Colt Cabana 2006.” Ha. Kingdom came to the ring with their own purple crowns, almost like a tribute to Jerry Lawler. The Boys did stereo planchas. In a hilarious moment, Cabana screamed to Referee Todd Sinclair that The Boys “switched” when they never did. Apparently, The Boys had numbered buns in their hair to tell the difference between them, which was all for naught when one of them came loose. As everyone knows, O’Ryan crashed both shins on the barricade on a Asai moonsault. Rockstar Supernova led right to the end, which we assume was an audible as officials raced to ringside to check on O’Ryan, who was soon carried away. That sucks.
– The ROH World Television Championship match between Champion Scurll and Lio Rush already sounded like a steal. Some light buildup before a harsh slap by Rush got a nice reaction. Still, it was hard not to think of the last match while this went on. That was one gruesome injury. That in mind, the first half of this bout didn’t light the world on fire like we thought it would. Rush took three kicks to the head and “geared up” to score a pop. Scurll countered Rush Hour into the Crossface Chicken Wing, before Rush flipped it over into a pin. Nice. Scurll did a piledriver for two. Excellent counter exchange before a Rush Hour for two. This all picked up rather quickly. Rush went outside and grabbed the belt, which he seemed to be conflicted on whether or not to use. He won a previous match against Scurll with the same tactic. Then again, it could all be signs of a heel turn and maybe he’d join The Rebellion after all. He hit Dragon’s Claw for two. Rush then went and set up two chairs outside as he hoped to land a Rush Hour to the chairs from the ring. That never happened though. Scurll did the finger snap and eventually worked his way around to apply the Chicken Wing to get the submission. Gosh, that was good.
– The Six-Man Tag between Bully Ray/The Briscoes and War Machine/Davey Boy Smith Jr. had backstory between Ray’s debut at Manhattan Mayhem VI where he slammed Cole through a table and what the original match was. Commentary explained it well on how Smith Jr. was on the same team as WM since his Killer Elite Squad partner Lance Archer was injured. It was originally KES-Briscoes, but with Archer injured, they added WM and Ray to the mix. We do watch New Japan after all and so should you, so it all fit within the realm of their storyline. Before the match began, Ray did his signature “Do you know who we are” promo schtick. It drew an okay reaction. Jay Briscoe and Hanson had a great exchange, though nothing here was flashy. Laser-like suicide dive by Jay. Ray did a top rope crossbody onto the three opponents in the ring, probably a first. Cool way for Ray to introduce and endear himself to the ROH fanbase. Post-match, Smith Jr. and WM fought at ringside. That makes sense based on their history in New Japan.
– The Three-Way Las Vegas Street Fight for the ROH World Tag Team Championship between YB, Champions The Hardys and Roppongi Vice had a huge appeal to it already since it featured the Hardys, who literally finished with Impact Wrestling and appeared on their TV show the night before, albeit for the last time. They were in “Broken” mode, but refrained from too many references. They covered the Hardys entrance nicely as they shut the lights out and had them appear in the ring. They also worked in the “Delete” gestures in the way of chops for RPG. Clever. Rocky Romero leaped off the top rope and kicked a trash can lid into Jeff Hardy’s face. They created this dynamic where YB-Hardys continuously faced off and worked together to eliminate RPG from interruptions. Beretta even took a sunset flip powerbomb onto the ramp. YB did their own leg drop/swanton bomb combo, but came up empty. Things elevated when the ladder was brought in as a weapon. Nick Jackson superkicked Jeff off the top rope and onto everyone outside the ring. Nick was dropped from a ladder and landed on the ropes to hit a springboard plancha. This is one thriller of a match so far. An “all these guys” chant began. Romero rolled on a sleeve with thumbtacks attached and did his running forearms in the corner. Ouch. Strong Zero broken up at 2. Beretta unrolled a bag of thumbtacks himself. YB did a double bulldog that sent Beretta onto the tacks. As if that wasn’t enough, they stuck tacks in Beretta’s mouth and superkicked him there. Cringe-worthy but so good. Meltzer Driver with Romero’s head onto the tacks. Wow. That pinfall was broken by the Hardys, pun half-intended as always. Wink, wink. Jeff did a Swanton off the ladder and through Beretta and a table to get the win to retain. They stole the Superkick Party belts on their way out. Ha.
– They showed a taped promo from earlier in the week from Daniels, who spoke about what he always wanted and how this chance meant more than others because in the past, tomorrow was promised. He actually drew tears when he brought up his fear that he’d never hold World Title gold in ROH. Okay, the emotion here alone might put this on his best career promo. He touted his own experience and dropped one hell of a kicker – “I can’t let you win because I cannot lose.” Hot damn.
– The ROH World Championship match between Champion Cole and Daniels started with the usual pomp and circumstance. We figured they’d want to update Daniels’ entrance screen to remove Kazarian since he turned on him? It was silly to try to buy into Daniels as a solo act here because he made his usual Addiction entrance, albeit he had a bold “Destiny 3/10/17” tank top on. That was a nice touch at least. Cole was knocked down before he could get his “Bay Bay” out. Cole superkicked Daniels into the ring post, which busted him open. We laughed at the idea that commentary brought up of a referee stoppage in the main event of a Pay-Per-View. Cole rubbed Daniels’ blood on his own chest, we guess he liked the previous match. Cole did Angel’s Wings for two. Daniels hit a Last Shot for two. He followed with a Styles Clash for a big pop. Two. Sinclair then took a superkick, which left him out cold. Cole struck a low blow and pulled a school boy that would’ve won him the match. Kazarian came down and teased to help Cole until he ripped off the BC shirt to reveal the same “Destiny” shirt Daniels wore. Nice. Daniels then hit three swift Best Moonsault Evers to become new Champion. That was well-done. In essence, it was like The Addiction fooled BC all on their own. Cole’s dejected face here was classic. That was a grand way to end your 15th Anniversary Show, as the roster held Daniels up on their shoulders.
- Jay White def. Kenny King (w/Caprice Coleman) via pinfall
- ROH World Television Championship #1 Contender’s Match – Frankie Kazarian def. Punishment Martinez, Chris Sabin, Hangman Page, Silas Young and Cheeseburger via pinfall
- Jay Lethal def. Bobby Fish via pinfall
- ROH Six-Man Tag Team Championships – The Kingdom (Champions) def. Dalton Castle/The Boys via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Television Championship – Marty Scurll (Champion) def. Lio Rush via submission to retain
- Six-Man Tag – Bully Ray/The Briscoes def. War Machine/Davey Boy Smith Jr. via pinfall
- ROH World Tag Team Championship – Three-Way Las Vegas Street Fight – The Hardys (Champions) def. The Young Bucks and Roppongi Vice via pinfall to retain
- ROH World Championship – Christopher Daniels def. Adam Cole (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
Posted on March 10, 2018, in ROH and tagged Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Bullet Club, Bully Ray, Caprice Coleman, Cheeseburger, Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Dalton Castle, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Frankie Kazarian, Ian Riccaboni, Jay Lethal, Jay White, Kenny King, Kevin Kelly, Lio Rush, Marty Scurll, Punishment Martinez, ROH, ROH 15th Anniversary, Roppongi Vice, Silas Young, The Boys, The Briscoes, The Hardys, The Kingdom, The Young Bucks, Todd Sinclair, War Machine. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.