ROH Manhattan Mayhem on March 4, 2017
Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, New York
Ian Riccaboni and Silas Young are on commentary for the evening.
Christopher Daniels was out for a promo to kickoff the show. He’s been on the list of wrestlers that have made ROH great, and now he has intentions to join the list of champions. The crowd pops as he runs down some of the most iconic names to pass through Ring of Honor. The Kingdom interrupt in short order, calling everyone Melvins, and Taven talking about how Daniels should hang up his boots now. This bickering led to Daniels roasting Taven for his “small penis” which led to TK O’Ryan and co. attacking. We’ve got a match.
Christopher Daniels vs. TK O'Ryan (w/The Kingdom)
The match starts without any bell. TK took control for the majority of the time thanks to help of Taven and Vinny, who continued to beat down Daniels and help their stablemate cheat. The control segments were nothing amazing, but effective. That explanation can be applied to The Kingdom as a whole. Vinny hit a bicycle kick on TK by accident as Daniels hits Taven off the apron. An uranagi and best moonsault ever combo was hit as Daniels earns the victory. This was a solid opener that primes Daniels for his main event match the next Friday while making fun of The Kingdom who are supposed to be goofs anyways. It all checks out.
Colt Cabana vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys)
I couldn’t say that I was excited for this coming in, as the ongoing feud between these two has been as meh as can be. Cabana’s presentation as a heel is good though, like his theme being slowed down in Neville-esque fashion, and his constant feud with The Boys. Early on we got glimpses of technical mat exchanges, which if based upon just that, the match would be a lot better. It stuck to comedy and Colt getting funny heat, like throwing Dalton around, plucking feathers off costumes, and hitting tons of elbows. Dalton’s comeback has everyone fired up as usual with Cabana kicking out of the German suplex. Cabana hit his diving jackknife cover which is always awesome. The best parts of the match saw Colt lock in Billy Goats Curse only for Dalton to escape thanks to The Boys fanning. They were on the top rope, and Cabana shoved The Boys onto the apron as they were in doomsday device position. Crazy spill. Dalton capitilized on such by hitting Bang-a-rang to earn the victory. Neat midcard match that gets the feud more over while maintaining the fact that Dalton is awesome/is on a wave of momentum headed into his Supercard of Honor ROH Title match.
ROH World Television Championship: Marty Scurll (c) vs. Sonjay Dutt
The two matches I wanted to see the most from this show were in succession, with this being the first one. From the jump that this match was announced, I’ve really wanted to see it as it’s 1) a unique combination that confirms a good match, at least and 2) it’s Sonjay Dutt’s return to ROH for the first time in over 4+ years. Right away Scurll focused on Sonjay’s arm, as that would be the ongoing theme of the match. Scurll pounced on it, made sure to jam it, and tried to submit Sonjay multiple times. The limbwork stories add a lot to Scurll’s matches. Highlights from Dutt included his beautiful baseball slide and rana combo, a golden triangle moonsault, a German, a Hindusault for a near fall, tornado DDT and corkscrew that still wasn’t enough, and even more. Sonjay brought out all the stops in order to try and win the TV title, but Scurll would keep kicking out laser focused. Scurll got caught up with the ref and was caught with one of many superkicks that happened during the match, but a last ditch effort tornado DDT was reversed, the chickenwing was locked in, and it was all over. Scurll retains in what was a match that exactly delivered to my expectations. The flow was natural, Dutt got a huge showcase, and Scurll was able to keep a bit in the tank as he’d have an epic defense vs. Lio Rush on the coming Friday PPV.
Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay
Even more so than the TV Title match, I’ve been clamoring to see this every since it was announced a few months ago. It’s one of the last ultimate dream matches left for Ospreay, who’s been facing a who’s who of wrestlers and matches made in the mind combos for the last few years. It’s also weird to think that Ospreay is two years older than Dragon Lee. In the opening stretch they mirrored movements and did a trendy pose together that’s done a lot in Ospreay dream matches. There was too much to recall and track because it was that nutty. Ospreay lead Lee through the match, as Ospreay was either in control or also basing for Lee for some ridiculous spots such as the clean over the apron to floor hurricanrana. Highlights also included a standing apron shooting star press from Ospreay, Will applying an octopus stretch straight out of Arena Mexico, Lee hitting his pop German and ridiculous tope, Lee stretching Ospreay out, springboard kick making Lee bump on his neck, and a stiff strike exchange that came out of desperation for both guys. The match kept an up and down pace that worked as it was either counters happening, high spots, or grounded submissions. Ospreay and Lee took turns suplexing each other into the corner turnbuckles, and Ospreay then kicked out of the double stomp. Ospreay countered the Desnucadora with a stunner, yet Lee countered the Os-Cutter. Lee hit Desnucadora to earn the victory. The match was great, with ideal pacing, dream spots, interactions, and even some lucha grappling. It was bat-shit in more ways than just flying. Everyone should watch it.
ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs. Lio Rush & Jay White
Yet another match that sounds at the very least good on paper. Having it be back to back with Ospreay vs. Lee automatically makes it more nutty. You knew the Bucks weren’t going to be trounced out by the previous match. Neither were two incredibly great young wrestlers in Rush and White. The story of the match saw The Bucks have unusual miscommunication issues which led to Rush and White being able to get the upperhand. Yet they got too cocky at times, taunting The Bucks, even with their own shtick, and that ended up costing them. Bucks hit a doomsday superkick on Rush, as the camera angle could convince you Lio broke his neck. Highlights saw the Terminator dives, White vs. The Bucks in a 2-on-1 building to Lio getting back in, CHOP FRENZY, a rolling backpack stunner where all four collided in the corner, Rush going a billion feet in the air for a frog splash kickout, and as aforementioned, with middle fingers included, stunting on the Bucks with their own superkicks. However Matt came back into the match at that point hot. White prevented the Meltzer Driver from happening on Rush, Lio went for a hurricanrana but ate an Indytaker. A Meltzer Driver was then hit on Lio as The Bucks retain. Another super good match that told the unique miscommunication story, which was a great way to elevate Rush and White against the champs. They held all the way up against The Bucks as a team. However, this is likely to be completely overshadowed by what was to happen next…
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, this is the part where The Hardys return. Right when the Hammerstein went black, the fans knew exactly what was coming. It was like an Attitude Era Rock/Austin pop atmosphere and the pop was just so out of this world. One of the biggest on the indies in the last few years. The Hardys popped up and the crowd ERUPTED in “DELETE” chants. You’d think god was gracing the ring with how over everything got. They are here for the Honorable Belts. The Bucks can take or leave the challenge. They took it.
ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. The Hardys (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)
These two teams blatantly had the crowd in the palm of their hands. The atmosphere was once again out of this world. As soon as they broke into “DELETE” vs. “SUCK IT” motions, the crowd went berserk following along. Poetry in Motion was hit for kickout. Ian and Silas did a great job putting over how important this moment and match were, as Ian revealed in his recent Reddit AMA that he had no idea The Hardys were going to be there. The call was full of natural emotion. Nick and Jeff tagged in only for a superkick to be hit on Jeff and the other pairing to come back. Whisper in the Wind, Delete chips, superkick roundabout and double 450 spots happened in sequence. Jeff went for a kip up but was superkicked in the face in a wicked spot. The Bucks ape The Hardys signature spot on Matt but Jeff broke up the pin. Jeff pushed Nick off the top rope through a table and a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo was hit as The Hardys win the ROH World Tag Titles. The match overdelivered in times of an on spot match. The atmosphere put it way over the top to boot. A huge success for ROH and the performers. This only makes Supercard of Honor that more must watch. They’re going to have an out of this world match if they’ve been holding back in this match and the PPV three way. Another match everyone should match.
The Hardys cut a promo post match that you can watch here. Don’t sue me ROH. Not everyone can pay $15 for this promo. They talked about the contract offers they have and how they destroyed DREADFUL TNA. The Hammerstein erupted in “FUCK TNA!” chants. They talked about signing options and how they chose ROH, with their contracts being larger than The Bucks. The dates on it were the PPV and TV tapings, and now Lakeland on April 1. Their titles and vessels now are where “the best wrestling in the world…” is, ROH. They forgot to sing the obsolete song to celebrate, which they did. The crowd ate it up as expected. Tremendous segment and what will end up being one of the better ones this year.
ROH World Championship #1 Contender Manhattan Mayhem Battle Royal
Cheeseburger vs. Chris Sabin vs. Damian Martinez vs. Kenny King vs. Leon St. Giovanni vs. Matt Taven vs. Ray Rowe vs. Rhett Titus vs. Shaheem Ali vs. Sho vs. Silas Young vs. The Beer City Bruiser vs. Vinny Marseglia vs. Will Ferrara vs. Yohei
Silas walked off commentary to join the match as a susprise. It was amazing. The best part about this match was Cheeseburger surviving elimination, being played catch with, then sadly being eliminated. Imagine not having Cheeseburger in the final two. I drifted off from a good bit of the match because it wasn’t all too interesting. It had its moments. It’s impossible to review a battle royal well. It came down to Vinny and Taven vs. Chris Sabin. Sabin and Vinny went at each other, then leader Taven swooped in to eliminate them both to win the #1 Contendership. I loved that finish as it showed off how much of a dick Taven can be to his own stable, because he wants to shoot for the top. The rest of the Royal was fine-good, with Tempura Boyz and War Machine being fun additions. Everyone got some sort of shine.
Jay Lethal & The Briscoes (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) vs. Bullet Club (Cody, Frankie Kazarian & Hangman Page)
I can’t believe this whole predicament. Team Bullet Club seems so terrible in your head but then you see the match, realize it was one of the better matches of the entire night, and have to eat your own words. Hell, Lethal being added in with The Briscoes isn’t too exciting. But this all works. Tags are easy to thrive in. Also: This is one of the better Cody matches since his release. Lots of build towards Cody and Lethal at Supercard of Honor. They brawled everywhere around the Hammerstein, and Cody was exceptional as a dick that would trip up Lethal and finger the fans in the process. A wonderful heel spot saw The Briscoes about to hit a doomsday device off the stage/set on Kazarian but Page prevented it at the last second. Other highlights included dives, Briscoe/Page interactions including Briscoe shouting at Page “hang me motherfucker!” having based their sequences off their past feud (that’s still ongoing I guess). Also Rite of Passage and Jay Driller being teased but not hit on each other, Lethal Injection countered into Cross Rhodes but LETHAL KICKING OUT, a blitz of moves, and the Froggy Bow/Hail to the King hit but Bullet Club saving Cody. All tremendously done. Page, Jay and Cody all had highspots and then Kazarian tagged in, rolling-up Mark for the Bullet Club victory. Very well booked and an insanely fun match that *takes deep breath* you should…all…watch.
ROH World Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs. Bobby Fish
Christopher Daniels popped back up to join commentary. It’s the best guest commentary for a match ROH has had in nearly a year, dating back to Will Ferrara calling Jay Lethal vs. Lio Rush at last year’s Supercard of Honor. He added a lot to the match, whether it was giving insight into situations, explaining why something would be happening, all the attention to detail pops me like it would, say, someone selling a limb! In terms of the match, although it becomes arguably really good, it’s hard for me to get into Fish as a singles guy. I’m so used to him being fantastic in a tag that something lacks when he’s by himself. But he’s still technically proficient and at times a killer in the ring. Cole sold his arm right away after being attacked, making up for his pain by trolling fans with middle fingers and fake-out two sweets. Fish continued to work on the knee of Cole, bringing out variations of the heel hook and at times showcasing some MMA inspired offense. I wish he did it more though. Other highlights included a saito suplex from Cole, Cole kicking out of a SUPER FALCON ARROW, double spin kicks, three superkicks, Fish middle fingers, Cole selling the knee super well, and Fish kicking out at one like a real shooter. Cole sold the final knee bar incredibly well, really making me bite even though I already knew the result. A small package counter to it led to a kickout. Fish was protected huge as he locked in a knee bar but Cole sat down in it to roll-up Fish with the tights for the victory to retain the title.
Post-match saw yet another re-introduction of a WWE character from a company that prides themselves in being the anti-WWE alternative. Bullet Club beatdown Fish and The Briscoes, who tried to come down for the save. It was a 4 on 3 situation until Bully Ray showed up out of nowhere to a pretty big pop. Even bigger ECW chants would follow. He put Cole through a promo and would go on to cut a promo about how he had multiple offers on the table, how ROH has the finger on the pulse of ECW more than any other promotion (lol) and how he’s here to stay in Ring of Honor. Best parts of the segment saw HUGE “FUCK TNA!” chants as well as Daniels subtly agreeing that TNA is awful on commentary. It was a strong way to close the show, especially in the environment of Hammerstein.
ROH MANHATTAN MAYHEM ON MARCH 4, 2017
Good - 7.5/10
Manhattan Mayhem was a good, strong outing from ROH; as they continue to have a good start to 2017 barring ROH TV always being questionable. This will go down as one of the most important shows of the year for the promotion, as The Hardys and Bully Ray were introduced, we got five bordering great matches (Scurll and Ospreay singles, the tags), and all the rest/angles were passable and/or enjoyable. I'll continue to review ROH with a positive outlook for the year. But always remember that these folk willingly use Bull James. A Catch 22 I tell ya.