This show was reviewed live and live updates were provided throughout the night.
Gedo vs. Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrera is your pre-PPV dark match. Note that this did not air on the pre-show feed for the pay-per-view.
We get a good opening video package, albeit not as good as Best in the World’s. You can watch the opening package for 14th Anniversary as it was uploaded to Ring of Honor’s YouTube a few days ago to hype up the event.
Kevin Kelly along with Mr. Wrestling 3 (in an Elvis outfit) are on commentary tonight.
Right before the match begins is the first time ROH mentions that we have a new TV champ to their audience. Unbelievably nothing was said on the pre-show. Lazy but thanks to social media and easy following of New Japan, it’s not as bad of a consequence for not doing so. Ishii got an insane pop.
The triple threat is arguably my least favorite match type. It has to be incredible in order for me to accept the fact that it breaks down the inevitable formula that is one in, one out, one taking damage. This wasn’t a good match at all. It stuck to that formula for the most part, and besides some exciting near falls, a near fall of its own failed to keep momentum going. Paul Turner failed on his part to count to 3 slower after Ishii gave Fish a powerbomb. The count was therefore out of sync and the crowd started to chant “you fucked up”. From then on the match seemed to pretty much go home, with all three guys in the ring, and Fish getting hit with a high knee and placed in a lock until Ishii got back up from the gutsbuster/sick kick combo he kicked out of. Ishii and Roddy had a solid sequence with near falls until Ishii hit the sliding lariat for the kickout and Ishii put Roddy away with the brainbuster. No chemistry at all, no structure, Turner screwed up a big spot. It’s going to be hard for a match to be worse than this tonight as it lacked substance, flow, and proper chemistry. The in-ring was okay and the crowd was there, so there’s that.
It’s a shame the crowd didn’t care, but they were here to see other matches and specifically the New Japan crossover. This is one of the only matches on the card that simply doesn’t have any NJPW talent involved, but it’s been built incredibly well, and I’m a huge fan of babyface Adam Page. It sucks he isn’t as universally over as other guys like ACH, who thrives well with the crowd in both non and inclusive NJPW environments. Jesus Christ. ROH couldn’t have got the finish more wrong. I just do not understand the logic behind this. This wasn’t worked as a grudge match until the past like…4 minutes, where ironically the crowd started to get behind the heel/face dynamic. BJ tired to do the piledriver that broke his own neck on the apron to Page but Page evaded in good psychology. No heat and not much to it besides such, and the horrendous finish. Page brought out a chair and tried to use it but Sinclair took it away and Whitmer low-blowed Page and won via roll-up. Absurd and it was only used to propel Adam Page to another ‘anger’ level, and I’m sure we’re getting a rematch. The feud that seems to never end continues, and I’m not sure I have faith in ROH’s handling of Adam Page.
Dalton Castle has a special entrance on this crossover show too! Many, many boys accompany him to the ring this time.
Solid match, but it didn’t do anything for Dalton Castle, doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things for Goto, nor did much for me. It had its moments like Dalton catching Goto out of mid-air, and some cool false finishes like the Ushigoroshi. The Boys also did nothing during the match which is always a disappointing. After Dalton fought the finish, the finish eventually came as Hirooki Goto put away Dalton Castle with Shouten Kai. For filler, you could say it was good, and that’s what it was — taking up pay-per-view time for the sake of it and putting two guys together that could potentially make magic. It was average and nothing harmful. Post-match the two showed respect.
Brian Kendrick is on commentary for the next match.
Yet another match that didn’t do anything for me. Shelley will always feel weird in this era of ROH. It isn’t a fit, and only Adam Cole brought something special out of him thus far, and nothing else has been of note besides the tag match vs. The Briscoes in August of last year. The handicap element was imposed tons of times with Kazarian getting involved with Shelley being worked over and having to stay in the match. Shelley avoided The Greatest Moonsault Ever and superkicked Daniels, but Kazarian got involved in the match and Daniels got a weapon to get a cheap win. Motor City Machine Guns are offiically back, as Chris Sabin ran-in to save Shelley from The Addiction. The silent but deadly build now makes sense as the two have always wanted to team up and not be opposing each other. The match itself wasn’t good but the finish made up for it, and as much as some may complain, be glad this K.R.D. stuff ends now and we get Motor City back. That lessens the awkwardness of Shelley and gives himself more of a purpose, plus makes the ROH tag division better. Plus, MCMG could be booked on some NJPW shows!
Safe to say that this is match of the night thus far. You have to take into consideration that Tanahashi is not nearly 100% healthy, therefore the dynamic worked better than knowing he was healthy and it was done like this anyways. The match picked up when people thought it wouldn’t, and for that, especially Tanahashi who put on an admirable performance even if not healthy — is acceptable and there’s no reason to talk bad about it. I will continue to put over Mark Briscoe for being an absolute crazy man with all the bumps he takes in everyone of his matches. He even took the finish including the High Fly Flow as Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin pick up the win. This was the last of the undercard for the most part, and it was a nice way to close it out, with a match actually living up to its expectations in which everything went well, and we got a clean finish. Mark Briscoe was easily the best worker overall in the match but everybody else was completely fine. Elgin put in work to make up for non-100% Tanahashi, and for that the match was even better.
Post-match they showed an ad for Jim Ross’s debut on NJPW on AXS coming up in March.
I have faith that this will deliver and then some. The match was solid, but it failed to deliver like I wanted it to. It was still either 2nd best match of the night or best thus far, but nothing incredibly special that you have to watch. There were some awesome sequences that were had with Moose and Okada having some fun taunting each other, as well as good ‘ol Stokely tip toeing trying to get his client over the edge of a victory. The main takeaway from this match was the fact that it started off completely not like a Kazuchika Okada match, but morphed into a New Japan type of build where we slowly picked up, got a massive sequence, and got an eventual victor, although the match still wasn’t long and didn’t come across as something that had me glued to the edge of my seat or anything. I sense a trend, and the fact of the matter is, nothing is delivering on this card, or for that matter overdelivering. It sucks, as I almost feel like I’m the only one with this opinion watching live too, but oh well. Now it’s two pay-per-views in a row where a big Moose match is a letdown, and Okada was just okay for the most part in this circumstance besides starting off out of his comfort zone and doing a fairly instant fast pace brawl sequence.
Kenny Omega putting his broom on a chair and strapping a headset on it for commentary is the greatest thing ever.
This sounds like an absurd gripe, but this didn’t hit the sweet spot that other ELITE matches have thus far, and even other Bucks matches have. I don’t think KUSHIDA was fit for this type of environment, and it seemed as if at times this was being worked too conventional in how six mans worked — but then we got the extremely ridiculous and fun spotfests that should have been alternating in and out with talent all match but mostly saved for when everyone was together. This was fine but nothing more, as also the length affected it, this went way too long. The benefit of that, however, was that the guys got to build up to BONKERS territory for the last few minutes in which everything I wanted happened. Fatality 2.0 was hit for the win which is IndyTaker then a One Winged Angel. Good stuff.
This is No DQ. This is one of those instances where a crowd ruins a match. The fact that Cedric Alexander vs. Moose got over so much is because the crowd was mega-hot for the spots. Also, this was another one of the matches in which New Japan doesn’t have a presence in, plus is the co-main. There was hardly a reaction for hardcore spots, and Fallout was kicked out of, for the first time ever, to the same reaction a janitor gets when he closes the doors for the night and locks the place up. The match was still solid, as the guys tried and they must be given credit for such. The crowd REALLY brought down the match, to the point where it’s average, and if it took place in front of a bonkers crowd, it would have came across as an incredible match. The guys killed themselves some more, and Kenny King was put through a damn ladder via a Rowe Uranagi. Fallout was hit on Rhett Titus as War Machine retained their titles. Shame on this crowd still — for not even giving a reaction in the slightest for these guys destroying themselves except maybe a few little audible flickers. More bizarre things to add to this pay-per-view’s ‘what went wrong’ list.
This was an incredible main event, and one that makes the price of purchase much more comfortable to swallow. The thing that most surprised me about this match was the result, as Jay Lethal retained his ROH World Championship, where you could make a case for Adam Cole or Kyle O’Reilly winning over him. Lethal is continuing his monster run, and is pinning guys left and right CLEAN which matters. Delirious did a great job here. Onto the match itself. There was so much chaos that I cannot recall everything, but there were so many spots that not only fit the three way mold, but actually made sense. Everyone hit their finishers to a dual extent, with Lethal hitting his double finisher last as he gave both men a Lethal Injection for the win, pinning Cole. Kyle at one point had both in a dual submission, Cole in an ankle lock and Lethal in a triangle, and Cole hit his suplex neckbreaker on both men, which was even kicked out of earlier on by Kyle. There were so many “get out of MY RING” that created tension and potential false finishes. The match was built to where you didn’t know who was going to win until the finish, whilst still keeping the big Cole/O’Reilly rivalry in-tact, yet implementing dick Lethal and all three of them beating up each other too. A great way to close out the show, and the only true blow-away match of the night.
As an entire show, this sucked. I still cannot believe I paid $45 for this in the grand spectrum of things, which is enough for at least 4 months of the Network, or any other sub-10 dollar pricepoint services. Even the iPPV was $35, and the iPPV on the Playstation Live Event Network was $27, which is still higher than a pricepoint should be. This was not worth it, but at least I was rewarded with a short, albeit very successful main event where Jay Lethal continues to assert himself as the man to beat in ROH. Wins over AJ Styles, Tomoaki Honma, Kyle O’Reilly (not pinned) & Adam Cole within the last two months show that ROH has faith in the guy, and he isn’t dropping the title for a long while, unless if someone comes out of the abyss to challenge him or someone beats him like O’Reilly or Cole in singles. I’m not going to rant on about the bad quality of the entire card, because I’ve done enough of that. I still look forward to rest of the 9 months that are to come this year for Ring of Honor, and I’ll be reviewing it through its ups and downs. Until tomorrow’s ROH TV review…so long!