After 8 days I am able to watch the video on demand of this very show. Not bad at all, although I still wish I was in the same WrestleMania weekend groove as when other VODs released. None the less, it’s time for the biggest ROH show of the year, Supercard of Honor, which obviously as aforementioned took place during ‘Mania weekend. Huge matchups are set, and with buzz about of it being a Show of the Year, or at least, show of ‘Mania weekend contender, I have massive expectations. Lio Rush challenges Jay Lethal for the Ring of Honor Championship in a test of a lifetime, especially for a rookie, and the main event sees The Young Bucks take on Motor City Machine Gunes. Also, insane matches on paper like Adam Cole vs. ACH, as well as Kyle O’Reilly vs. Matt Sydal, plus multi-man mayhem’s round-out this stacked card. Without further ado, let’s get into the massive show.
This was Daniels’ best singles match in lord knows how long. This was a human game of chess, intertwining through dueling limbwork. One of my favorite types of matches. Daniels constantly attacked Fish’s shoulder and arm, while Fish dismantled Daniels’ leg. We got all that limbwork, but in exciting ways, with athletic moves added in-between such. One of my favorite spots of the match saw Fish moonsault onto Daniels, only to be placed in a well-timed kimura lock. There were submission struggles that added up alongside the limbwork, like a massive ankle lock spot with Fish, and Daniels managing to use the non-worked over leg to reach the rope. This way overdelivered, was a brilliant opener, and set the pace for the rest of tonight’s work. Fish made Daniels tap to an epic heel hook. Props to both guys for selling like gods, even post-match.
Bobby Fish was solid on commentary as per usual, as he was on for this match. Although not on the level of the opener, still a really good match. This had a lot to do with the Strong and Fish rivalry, as when we got to the finish, it was brilliantly worked. Up until then, this told the story of unbreakable Roddy vs. a surprisingly weak at times Moose. Moose would work around Roderick, being bigger, but when the time came to hit all of his spots, Roderick would somehow counter with something deadly. Moose took a drop onto the apron which is scary for a big man; lots of brawling and methodical back and forth which elevated the work of the match, including Cesaro swings into the barricades by Moose! The finish was awesome and basically … well, perfect. Roderick had to flea to get away from Moose, which led to him luring Moose to kick Fish in the face by accident. Roderick brought Moose back into the ring, hit everything but the Sick Kick, and Moose kicked out of the superplex at 1. Moose then charged up into the corner but Roderick got the ref in-between them, and hit THREE kip-up knees for the victory. Finish of the year, and truly how you book a finish, props to everyone involved for that.
Post-match Bobby jumped Roddy right away, clubbing on him till Roderick sold well in his escapist route. Bobby touted that tomorrow was his day (the first two matches are previews for their 2/3 Falls match on the next day essentially) and Moose and him shook hands. Fantastic stuff.
BJ Whitmer cutting a promo in hostile territory (nearly every show, but hardcore fan gatherings like this cause for an absolute spectacle) was hilarious beyond belief. Whitmer has always been a very good promo, and this showing was no exception. He was supposed to be in 6 Man Mayhem but Truth Martini bought Daddiego a spot in the match, giving Whitmer a little extra money to not participate. He called out Corino as usual and explained he’s too talented to take the night off. Color commentary it is.
This had a perfect placing on the card, was a nice switch up, combined so many feuds at once, wasn’t even long, and was a helluva ride. You’re damn right this was a glorious hoot. You had Daddiego/Dijak, Page/Whitmer, Whitmer/Corino, Kazarian/Castle, managers bantering each other and so much more. The actual in-ring was spectacular fun, with too many spots to count. A hilarious part of the match saw Kazarian low-blow everybody, only for people to be influenced to do the same, as all five other guys kicked him in the dick at once. After that, Cheeseburger tried to dive on everyone after countless highspots, and was caught, but DIJAK DID A SPRINGBOARD FRONT FLIP ONTO EVERYONE. Dijak and Cheeseburger were the stars of the match, including their dynamic with each other, that saw at once time Dijak saving Burger, putting him back on the apron, and kissing him on the head. Incredible. The finish saw Cheeseburger run wild with his shotei palm strikes only to get hit with the nastiest Bang-a-rang I’ve ever seen. The momentum on it was incredible, as Dalton Castle sneaks out with the win. Dijak was built like an absolute monster in the match, rightfully so, and was involved in a crucial post-match angle. Dijak laid Daddiego to waste, but Hendrix gave Joey a chair, as Dijak got smacked to hell with it for revenge. All this happened whilst Corino and Whitmer argued. Mayhem in all cases of the word.
This followed the same formula as the opener for the most part, but with more spots. The opener was a better match, although this was still yet another good match on the show. It had high highs, aka very enjoyable sequences, but low lows and slightly confused me at times. O’Reilly dismantled Sydal’s arm but Sydal would go for the leg at times, but tend to counter O’Reilly’s momentum with athletic spots of his own. The “flipping into *insert submission here*” was done too much, which was the finish, yet the spot was done earlier in the match for Sydal’s standing shooting star press into the kimura lock. So many parallels to the opener, and this wasn’t even as good. It’s always intriguing to see Sydal’s matches now, because most of them are him coming back at a fast pace to what’s been done to him, so it builds to a finish in which you think he might actually win everytime. That was, until, he was countered out of the BIG shooting star into a cross arm breaker as Kyle O’Reilly picks up the victory. Ain’t nothing wrong with the match, but all I could think of in-between the enjoyable unique parts of the match was the opener and how they’re more or less the same.
This was alright. Weakest match on the show so far. ACH vs. KUSHIDA gave us a new side of ACH. This felt like ACH goofing off with Cole doing his heel shtick perfectly, resulting in a completely fine match. It never blew me away whatsoever; aside from providing a crazy image of ACH bleeding from the mouth. These two have had way better matches this year, but this was still a fun ride for the short time it lasted. It took a while to get going and really wasn’t intense or serious enough. Cole kept giving ACH a landmine of superkicks to step on and somethings he avoided them; where other times it blew up in his face (hence the blood). Another gripe I had was the fact that ACH finally built up to Midnight Star, missed it, got superkicked, and Adam Cole chose to deliver the Ushigoroshi instead of the suplex neckbreaker. Just kind of felt like they were going through the motions. The finish was awesome, which saw Cole go up on the top rope only to be superkicked in the leg (which was what happened to ACH at the start of the match), and hit with the Spirit Bomb (brainbuster) for not a kickout, but a Cole grabbing the refs arm near fall which is always a sight to see. ACH went for a stunner which ended up with ACH in a victory roll anyways, Cole kicked out, ACH ducked another superkick, and Cole held the ref by the shirt, gave a reverse low-blow, and delivered the suplex neckbreaker for the win. The build to the finish was wavy, but the finish was fantastic. Wish it got more time.
More multi-man mayhem, with this time being an 8 man tag. This was very short, hectic, and produced a good time for all. The Briscoes and War Machine managed to get along just fine this time, and probably only because the match was extremely short. It was a hoot while it lasted, including Beer City doing a GOD DAMN FROG SPLASH! Everybody got their spots in and this was just tremendous. Bruiser being picked up and slammed was so surreal, and seeing everybody cause chaos is something you just have to see. It all led up to everyone getting on the outside for Hanson to do the top rope dive he does every multi-man. It never gets old. Beer City Bruiser was hit with a lot of offense which culminated in Mark Briscoe getting the win with the Froggy Bow. Post-match we had yet another standoff between the two teams. ROH is doing a good job building to the ultimatum tag title match.
ROH were extremely ballsy to book this match as Lio Rush’s first official match as a member of the roster. It’s going big or going home. I love how this came about, as since Tomohiro Ishii was booked for New Japan dates, instead of a TV title shot, Rush gets Lethal for the world title. Will Ferrara was on commentary. Boy did this risk ever pay off. From the commentary, which included Will Ferrara, who may have one of the calls of the year locked up (keep in mind this is a wrestler), to Jay Lethal looking the most well rounded self ever, to Lio Rush being the picture perfect underdog, to the pacing and the stakes; this all culminated picture-perfectly. I will always love this match, and this was by far Lethal’s best match of his career in terms of personal performance. Of course this was Rush’s as well. Lethal was magical as a heel, trash talking like no tomorrow, Case #1 sees Lethal say “maybe they ran out of ideas for opponents,” whilst completely controlling the match. He always reminded Lio he was the best wrestler in the world, and he physically bullied Lio when the hope spots didn’t occur. Pushing, shoving, taking Lio up out of his own potential pinfalls, just unreal. Rush’s hope spots were tremendous, with his blitz fire offense always connecting with Lethal to keep him down at times. Taeler interfered once early on, and it was a great spot. Lio backflipped off the apron to avoid the disaster dropkick, and Taeler got in his way, only for Lio to smack Taeler’s behind but still be compromised by Lethal. Commentary continued to be incredible, with no much insight from Ferrara and Corino comparing this to Shinsuke Nakamura winning the IWGP title in his rookie year. We had a BRILLIANT Lethal Injection close-call which saw Lethal degrade Rush only for Rush to get up when Lethal thought he had him down. This culminated in Rush getting Lethal on the top turnbuckle for a huge Rush Hour, but Lethal hit him WITH A CUTTER OFF THE TOP! A Lethal Injection was then hit for the win. Holy shit.
Lethal shook Lio’s hand, and got on the mic, reiterating, with more proof, that he’s the best wrestler in the world. Lethal explained that Lio may even be better than him someday, but there are no challengers left for him in the back. Out came Colt Cabana, making his ROH return after 5 years.
“I won’t be able to live with myself until that belt is around my waist.”
“I know you’ve been fired before Jay Lethal…”
Every once in a while, you get a promo that people will look back on and call it one of the best. “Hard Times,” “The Pipebomb,” among others showcase the best in believably as it relates to talent and their destiny. Colt Cabana made his ROH return to leap into this same vicinity of all-time great promos. A man, upon hearing word he’s back, that made me angry, all of a sudden, within a minute of his promo, launched me into the possibility of this feud and him winning the ROH Championship. He covered a wide array of subjects, with Jay Briscoe conviction, as fired up as Dusty Rhodes, and as believable as a Katsuyori Shibata corner dropkick; all within a few minutes. He explained WHY he shouldn’t be looked back at as a man who didn’t fulfill a destiny, he explained why he took ROH’s phone call this time, he explained how there’s someone left. Yet, with Colt going off in so many different ways, branching into so many different subjects, Lethal’s retaliation was just as important. Lethal explained Colt’s been ducking him for the past 5 years, and that’s the reason for no return until now. He’s the best wrestler alive because of the belt, and Colt could travel the world all he wants, but he doesn’t have Lethal’s gold. Lethal and Hendrix’s selling of the words were just as important actions as anything Colt did. Lethal knew he was screwed, and there is one last challenger to beat, before he could truly claim the facts. Colt has made his return to be that final boss. With the combination of ultra-dick Lethal that’s risen from the ashes, Colt’s words, the meaning behind them, and the sheer emotion; this is something I will look back on for years to come, recalling myself watching this on a Saturday afternoon, and how it turned me so quick from my original thoughts. There are many quotes that can be pulled from this all-time great microphone work, but all I can do is let you watch the story play out, let you see the magic unfold, and end the critique of the segment with two quotes from “The Return…”
“I don’t want to be known as somebody’s friend.”
Combine that segment along with the coming out party for Lethal and Rush in their own ways, and you got the best match to promo combination this year, as well as the last few years. Unbelievable work all around, and something I will always remember. There is no doubt this has pumped a realistic lifeblood into all things Ring of Honor.
There is no chance in hell you could follow that block of ROH World Championship stuff, but a helluva combination capped off Night 1. Before we get to any of the match, I’m going to provide more quotes yet again as it was my favorite part of the match…
Corino: “You can’t use those words, it’s a $100 fine!”
Kelly: “That may be more money than they’ve made this year!”
That, of course, was in reply to one of the Bucks making fun of Sabin, saying this isn’t TNA anymore. I did not expect those burials at all. None the less, this match was fun, a la a greatest hits collection. Even though it still underdelivered, the last few minutes were spectacular, as I couldn’t ask for anything to follow the last match and segment. Some spots included cross-connecting superkicks, all blitzed in a row, Fire Thunder Driver and a tombstone on the Bucks after Shelly’s sliced bread was countered into an IndyTaker that didn’t happen, and a TOWER OF DOOM DROPKICK! So many cancelled out spots and new ones happening in their place, and tons of banter including the aforementioned tidbits as well as Matt screaming “I love you Kev” before doing a big boy senton. Matt flipped out of that Tower of Doom dropkick and Motor City got lit up with more superkicks. This chaos ended in Shelley taking a punt and Sabin eating a Meltzer Driver, that I don’t even think Dave was there for (he was there for the first few matches, where this match should have been placed) as The Young Bucks get a big win.
Post-match saw a four way extravaganza break down as this was a preview for Night 2’s survival four way tag bout. Daniels, on separate spots ate four superkicks at once and six. The Addiction was the odd team out and injured as the babyfaces stood tall to end Supercard of Honor Night 1.
This show was wild and wacky, and so much fun. This is the best Delirious/rumored panel and what not have ever booked the company. All the finishes were perfectly fine … with some even being pefect. I’ll always remember this as the “Lethal coming out party, Lio Rush becoming a bonafide star, and Colt Cabana” return show, but there was a lot of good alongside such. All singles matches delivered, yes, even Adam Cole and ACH even if I wasn’t the biggest fan; and both multi-man mayhem matches were ridiculous amounts of fun. That, alongside a legendary block of wrestling made for a plausible Show of the Year contender and Show of WrestleMania Weekend contender. For all your ROH coverage, you’re already in the right place, Wrestling With Words.