Busy week. Why don’t we start off with something I rarely get to talk about, Ring of Honor. I used to watch RoH off-and-on a long time ago, and was keeping up with it pretty closely when they were on HD Net and had Nigel McGuinness as their champion. I saw some good things about their thirteenth anniversary show though, and decided to take a peek. The opening video package was lacking in the production quality I am used to, but had some charm to it. RoH always feels different in a few ways, but the handshake before and after each match is still one of my favorite things. It is an additional element which has become its own built-in mechanic. No promos, right into the first match. Something I love. I also realized this was going to be like a homecoming for me, seeing so many wrestlers I had not been keeping up with, and some more recent names as well.
Cedric Alexander is not someone I know of, but he had some solid combination moves and seemed to want nothing more than to show off what he could do and entertain the fans. Though he lost, dude has serious heart. He went under to Matt Sydal. I was glad to see that the former Evan Bourne managed to make a match; since he was usually injured. Okay. I’m kidding, but I have to rib a guy that seems to rub so many other wrestlers the wrong way. I have followed Sydal since Wrestling Society X. The guy is talented, and it shows in this match. I hope he finds success there, because he was unfortunately wasted in WWE; with the jury still being out on whose fault that was. It was not a good fit for him.
I forgot how much the Briscoes look like hillbilly terminators. This Moose guy though, he really interests me. Most wrestlers who come from an American football background get a bad stigma, but this dude is pure athleticism. That standing dropkick he did with Mark on the turnbuckle was impressive, and his spear that he flips with just feels brutal and jaw-dropping. I am not sure yet what I think of his two handlers, but I want to see what else he can do. This was a good opponent for him, because Briscoe can sell and the two had some cool exchanges outside of the ring. Mark may have lost, but he got more show time in a later match.
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian are one of my favorite tag teams in wrestling, and they go by the name The Addiction here in RoH. They were involved in a match against a new group I think I am going to like a lot, The Kingdom, and one part of another tag team, Bullet Club member Machine Gun Carl Anderson. His partner, Doc Gallows, was apparently the victim of bad weather, but this dude ended up being the lynchpin for the match. Everyone did well and showed off a bit with some great work and performed their spots well, but it was that team spike pile driver at the end that had me popping out of my chair. I am a Roderick Strong fan, or at least I was. I have not seen the man wrestle in a while, but thought his match with B. J. Whitmer would be awesome. Strong has some sick moves, especially with those double knees, but I may have over-hyped myself for the match. I was honestly distracted by Jimmy Jacobs, who was out doing a good job on commentary. He is another great wrestler I want to see perform again.
Maria Kanellis is a bit forgettable from her WWE run, sadly, but I have heard great things about her in the Indies, and have seen some decent stuff. She started off with a great promo against ODB, who has aligned herself with the Briscoes, and it seems like a perfect fit. I love ODB, and she did her thing, with some absolutely brutal attacks on the heel, who classically tried to claim a new pregnancy to get out of the match. I was glad to see that the male wrestlers were used well in this match, not taking away from, but accenting the action, and that doomsday device move at the end was excellent. A.J. Styles was up next—pro as ever. I was more impressed by his opponent though, a man called ACH. This guy tore it up, and fully won me over by mocking Styles and doing that outside corkscrew. This was a hard hitting bout with stellar counters and had the most characterization of the night, and kept me questioning who I wanted to win.
The next match was my favorite of the night and was just damn exciting. I do not want to gush too much, but The Young Bucks rarely disappoint, and even though I did not know anything about reDRagon—other than knowing I do not like how they do their name—the video package got me pumped. This match was one of the most action packed, well-paced, and super kick filled contests of the evening. The majority of this consisted of all four men being in the ring at the same time, or doing something crazy on the outside. What did that ref say about tags or something? Nothing, okay. The Young Bucks have some impressive double team moves, but it was that dive into a triangle choke I will remember—looked so smooth.
I hate that Alberto and Jay Lethal had to follow that. I loved Lethal in TNA and think he may be one of the best all around workers active in the business. I have also mentioned how much of a fan of El Patron I am multiple times, so the setup seemed perfect. I loved the lethal injection and the use of some classic heel maneuvers to win. Althought this was a decent match, I think it should have been swapped with Samoa Joe’s return promo, which made for a much better cool down segment.
The title match was good, but one of my favorite parts was seeing Nigel McGuinnes again. I hate this man no longer wrestles, but it was cool seeing him involved. The title match was a four way featuring Jay Briscoe as the champ, Michael Elgin, Hanson, and Ciampa. Admittedly, I know absolutely nothing about those last two guys, but I think it worked. Matches like this can often be chaotic and cause wrestlers to be lost in the mix, as well as confusing fans. This bout started out with a good helping of organized chaos, but towards the end I did honestly get confused about who was who. This match was a bit over-booked with interferences and a lackluster ending, but I was impressed how well these guys flew around the ring—and out of it—for big guys. Also, that table spot! If I have not gotten this point across yet, give RoH a chance.
I spent a lot of time talking about that, but let me wrap up everything else quickly.
I know I have said something was over-booked once already in this article, but TNA’s main event this week was the epitome of just that. NXT was a good overall episode that moved the stories along a bit, with a “selfie stick” chant and a reminder of my love for The Brian Kendrick. Becky Lynch beat Bayley and I was glad to see Alex Riley getting some action. Smackdown had TWO title changes in one night and Axel’s Royal Rumble clock made me laugh. Also, I honestly thought Stardust should have interfered earlier in Golddust’s match, to give Adam Rose the win, but that is just me.
Raw was actually decent overall, and did not risk putting me to sleep at any point. I cannot lie; I laughed at the Miz’s commercial more than I should have, and Bray Wyatt’s promo did its intended job. You cannot fire Booker T, dammit, but at least AJ Lee is back. I loved Seth’s version of The Daily Show, and his interaction with John Stewart. I usually despise these celebrity appearances—except when they break people’s jaws—but this one really worked, with Stewart being funny as hell. Also: we all agree pissed Paul Heyman is the best Heyman, right?
“I know I left out Andre; because he’s dead, stupid!”
The segment I thought might send me to slumber land was when John Cena came out, but he and Stephanie McMahon killed it. She is a master on the mic, and I absolutely loved that she called Cena out for defaulting to a ‘bitch’ comment. It is cheap and uncreative for the Doctor of Thuganomics. If anyone’s first insult to a woman is just to call her a bitch, there is not much else to stand on in that argument. I loved The Axe Man coming out and interrupting, Cena building the battle royal, and his look right before the match started; like extreme irritation after someone just kicked his dog (or do rich people have llamas now?). I wish Curtis Axel had gotten a bit more offense in, but am pleased this whole thing seems to be building Rusev like they planned.
Wow, that was a long wrestling week. I probably missed something, but I have a couple of podcasts coming out that should cover the rest.
BLANKMANinc. - https://www.blankmaninc.com/author/serenitysbane/
Culture Mass - https://culturemass.com/author/stephen/
Gaming Rebellion - https://www.gamingrebellion.com/author/stephenwilds/