Coming off of the best ROH TV effort this year, capped off with a fantastic Adam Cole vs. Matt Sydal main event; we switch gears to a crazy looking show this week on paper. The finals of the Top Prospect Tournament pits Lio Rush and Brian Fury against each other, MOOSE and KONGO in a hoss fight, and in the main event, Christopher Daniels takes on Dalton Castle. Without further ado, let’s get into the show.
Dalton pre-tape promo opens the show. He goes on about being in a bath and coming to the realization that he’s hungry; and that he’s going to have to break Christopher Daniels’ heart. The seemingly perfect accompaniment cheesy background ‘dreamy’ music really added a lot to this.
Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling 3 are on commentary as per usual.
Top Prospect Finals are now. The guys getting the big stage entrances along with mini-recap packages put over them well. This has been a sleeper tournament, with every match containing meaning and desperation to advance; along with every worker being unique in what they do — and it’s booked well. I sure as hell have high expectations for the conclusion.
Of course the in-ring was up to par for the match, but the thing that blew me away was the story told as it progressed through the finishes used in the tournament to culminate in exhilarating nearfalls and Lio Rush becoming your 2016 Top Prospect Tournament winner. Lio is one of the best wrestlers as well as babyfaces in the world. He has exciting offense but backs that up with all of the elements of telling a story within a match. Fury has played the role of quite simply a dick this whole tournament, with the continuous story being told that Fury can never make it to the full contract (with the Fatal 4 Way back in 2012 being used as the hump he couldn’t get over previously). He tried all the tricks he’s used to advance vs. Shaheem Ali and Action Ortiz, but Lio Rush had him scouted and managed to overcome the giant, complex obstacle that was Fury’s moveset. The Pop Up Powerbomb that was used to beat Ortiz was kicked out of, the grabbing the ropes whilst in a roll-up trick was spotted this time by Sinclair, and Lio managed to use leverage out of an O’Connor Roll to transition the momentum into a Rush Hour to become the champion of hte tournament. Well done in-ring, but an elite story told; with both guys playing fabulous roles. Lio Rush is one of the best in the world and I will continue to preach this.
reDRagon promo. This is used to hype up the Tag Team Gauntlet happening next week. There will be 7 teams in it, and Bobby touts that 7 is his lucky number. Nobody can touch reDRagon in 2 vs. 2 action apparently!
This is the textbook definition of a hoot of a televised professional wrestling match. These two got their hoss offense in for the short few minutes they battled, including tons of athletic endevours which reminded me of the equally awesome Moose vs. Dijak TV match in 2015. Kongo kept Moose down with a flurry of ridiculous looking offense coming from a Umaga-built specimen that in contrast to Moose is frightening. Kongo did sentons to barricades, flips, headbutts, and more, but only a Moose spear could end the match. For a short few minutes, this was a fun as wrestling could get with everything considered. Moose hit his diving crossbody which although didn’t fully connect, simply brought Kongo down which was the goal the entire match. Then, of course, the spear won Moose the match. No harm done whatsoever; and another excellent use of time and selection of opponent in regards to Moose’s current run. When two big men continue to transcend the boundaries of their offense, making things even more exciting, it’s going to get an automatic win.
Bucks promo now. The reason why the Bucks signed with ROH was to be apart of this tag division; since apparently it is the best. Bucks will knock every team down, as the superkick party invitational is going to be a thing.
We get a recap of earlier in the night before the show started, with P Dog and the Get Along Gang! They went in on Cheeseburger but Cheeseburger came out to save the day. Shotei Palm Strikes for all, except for the two chicks, oh wait, Yano shrug and he does it! And a final palm strike for P Dog. Give me this singles match.
It’s announced that in two weeks ROH will begin airing Honor Rising matches. It will make my job incredibly easy, although it sucks we won’t get any new content.
Cedric Alexander vs. Adam Page
Before the match could even start, BJ intervened in the pre-match standoff to attack Page, but eventually Gresham came down for the save equalizing the field.
Cedric taunts Gresham, but Page gets on the mic and explains that he may be able to run, but he can’t hide forever. “This is not over,” says Page. Gresham says nothing which is good. Refer to image above.
This is your ROH TV main event. Weird, ain’t it? Silas Young is on commentary. I cannot believe this was a main event. The match advanced nothing, didn’t serve a purpose of being booked in the first place, they cut out The Boys firing Dalton up for his comeback in place of a commercial, there was nothing memorable, no limb work nor highspots; it was brutal to take in, especially with Silas’ forced commentary of made-up excuses for not being out here for Dalton. It just finished and I remember nothing but the overbooked stanky finish that once again was used to end a match that built to nothing. After Daniels kicked out of a deadlift German, Dalton hit his 619 apron hurricanrana on Daniels and suckerpunched Kazarian. However Daniels had the wrench Kazarian gave to him, but one of The Boys grabbed the wrench and poked him in the eye with his fan. Dalton took out Kazarian who took said boy out, and Dalton went for Bang-a-rang, but Kazarian flipped the leg as Daniels hit Angel’s Wings for the win. What a terrible finishing sequence and match. My lord, avoid this at all costs unless if you want to waste time.
Dalton gets on the mic post-match. Normally he believes everything that comes out of Silas’ mouth is trash, but he’s right, as Dalton lost tonight. Silas with no mic screams that it’s normal because he loses every night, Dalton retorts with the fact it’s weird because he’s fantastic. Everyone on Planet Peacock knows it, and Silas rages as Dalton explains he’s going to win every championship this world has to offer — Silas is in the way as he’s trying to do so. Dalton tried to convince himself they’re done, but Dalton feels on the inside how Silas looks on the outside. Dalton wants to end this, by closing the book he sees fit. Dalton wants to fight. Fight Without Honor will be happening between the two on future television. Thank goodness this is coming to an end.
This episode had good ups and bad downs. The Top Prospect Tournament final was a piece of art you don’t want to miss out on, culminating the most under the radar yet still consistent tournament in 2016, with Lio Rush proving why he’s one of the best in the business, even at the age of 21. Moose and Kong tore it up in a hoss hoot, and we got more crossover build between Page/Whitmer and Alexander/Gresham. Then came the horrific main event which made no sense in so many ways, but eventually, Silas flat out lied, proving so in the end promo; admitting he needs to finish things with Dalton in a Fight Without Honor in the future. With the lone one new episode next week (for a while) including the 7-team Tag Gauntlet main event, and then Honor Rising matches being shown, ROH TV looks like it’s going steep downhill in terms of new content; but will be good for those who haven’t seen Honor Rising. Congratulations to Lio and all those involved in the tournament for a successful outing.