Reviews ROH

ROH Winter Warriors Indianapolis (1/15/16) Review

Yay! Something that’s not ROH TV that’s still ROH, that has come out on VOD almost immediately. It’s time for the first leg of the 2016 Winter Warriors tour on tape, the Indianapolis show highlighted with a Roderick Strong vs. Curry Man TV title match as well as a wacky Eight Man Tag with four teams involved. House shows from Ring of Honor are considered the best part of the product by some, and I either disagree or agree depending if shows are hit or miss. With that being said, let’s get to the matches.

Ian Riccaboni joins Mr. Wrestling #3 on commentary for the show.

Will Ferrara vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys)

Not too bad for an opener, a decent way to start the show. Will Ferrara continues to get “meaner” because of the envelopes, and he’s letting that show in his offense as well. Although he still has major improvements to make, Will is becoming a consistent undercard worker that can put together a nice match. The match had its peaks with the two using their shoot-wrestling backgrounds to roll around the mat and counter each other. The bout peaked above 10 minutes and the reoccurring theme of the match, like most Will matches, was experience vs. well…you tried. That even showed through in a non-kayfabe way when Will lost his balance on a dive, but still powered through to smash Dalton into a barricade. I dug that veteran save. After competitive back and forth including Will’s wondrous DDT, Will got over-the-top angry, hit The Boys, and paid for it as Dalton hit Bang-a-rang for the win.

ACH vs. Silas Young vs. Moose (w/Stokely Hathaway)

This match sucked. I’m starting to develop the ignorance to triple threats much like our own Bill Thompson. This match didn’t help. By no means was this good. No story was told, there was no heat, Moose continues to be devalued in these matches, and ACH went right back to being shitty ACH. I ain’t holding no critique back. ACH literally did a rotation for every lariat hit on him, which was at least three if not more; even for Silas’ KNEELED lariat of all things. There were times where you knew they were waiting for each other to come to break up a spot, there were times that were awkward, there was way too much…well…fun and games~! implemented with nothing to counteract. Silas was a better heel and got the best reaction of the match from staring down a rental truck sign. Moose was more a plushy than a monster like he can be. ACH was nowhere near a good performer in the match. Skip this with all your might. ROH fans may still enjoy it though — somehow. If you’re reading this Stokely, I’m sorry brother.

Tim Hughes vs. Michael Elgin

On this edition of Big Mike squashes geeks: this turned into so much more than a simple squash. I enjoyed the heck out of this match because it extended off of what originally looked to be a quick tuner for Elgin. Hughes played the arrogant “I can probably beat you, with key word being probably — I’m still scared” heel; screaming at all measures in the ring to overdo it too. Another fun dynamic was the fact that it went in and out of the ring, and although Elgin playing with Hughes for the majority of the match was a hoot — when the time came for Hughes to get in offense, he delivered. Roll-ups, trying to roll with the strong style punches, and the signature SCREAMING SLAM! All not enough to put away Elgin. After a much longer than expected match time, Elgin put away Hughes with two Kawada bombs and lastly an Elgin bomb. MOTN so far for the sake of being a spectacle and a simple dynamic turned complex and extravagant. Not sure if commentary is ever going to be good this show.

Chris Sabin & Frankie Kazarian vs. reDRagon

I dug this match when it launched into its last three quarters. Prior to such, it was getting ugly; but lucky enough these teams delivered an ideal match with honorable performances from all involved. The first 1/4 is what still sours me on the entire build. reDRagon comedy is amongst the worst things in wrestling, and although you enjoy to have fun here and then wrestling — it doesn’t fit when you all of a sudden turn into MMA-driven killers. It’s obvious that Christopher Daniels is the weak link in the K.R.D., and I don’t mean that as a completely wrestling driven act. The point is, although Daniels is always great in-ring, the aura given off by a Kazarian/Sabin team is much more heelish and straight to the point than Nazi Daniels. The match was fun when it launched into its highest gears, with classic tag wrestling in effect. Kyle worked over until Fish got the hot tag, tons of false finishes with awesome double teams from both parties. One of my favorite things to note is the fact that Kazarian got Fish in a Codebreaker and kept him there, which built to Sabin powerbombing O’Reilly on Fish. K.R.D. couldn’t get it done however, as Kazarian was finally taken out by Fish on the outside, and after a unique blend of strong style offense, Sabin was put away with Chasing The Dragon. MOTN thus far.

Ken Phoenix vs. Adam Page

Adam Page with new music. Phoenix is another guy that’s been brought in before, and is utilized on house shows for matches like this. Work was OK. Page was excellent as always, but Phoenix was a slightly awkward opposition for the type of match here. It had some brawly elements as it was nitty and gritty. I’m not exactly sure how long it went, but I’d say in and around sub 5 minutes. This was used to continue building up Page, as well as the Whitmer/Page storyline that’s essentially taken the place of the big Corino/Whitmer feud that was going to have its culmination at Final Battle had Corino not needed surgery on his neck. Phoenix got some spots in, but when the time came for Page to finish it, he almost did, throwing his elbow pad on the commentary desk Whitmer was in. Phoenix reversed and nearly finished it, but Page rooted back with an apron Shooting Star Press and the Slingshot Lariat (which is the best babyface signature ever). Page then hit Rite of Passage for the win. “Charlotte was a fluke,” says BJ Whitmer. He’s off to the ring.

Whitmer says he didn’t come here to fight tonight. Huge boos drown out the potential words coming out of his mouth~! “No one cares” chants break out as Whitmer keeps stalling to accommodate the heel heat. In only what I can describe as a stupid moment, Whitmer asks Page to come close — aka eye to eye, then says back up. This was effective for breaking the ties that have almost snapped in the two’s relationship. Whitmer wanted to come to mends about the ‘punch in the face’ incident that happened in Charlotte where he got hit. Page refused to change things and go back to the O.G. routes, hence the slap at the end of the promo.

“The most important thing you taught me, is that The Decade doesn’t shake hands.”

This shall be known as the official start of the rivalry between the two. They brawled as refs separated, and out came Steve Corino. Corino was in the middle of the two, and after BJ exited; he shook hands with Adam for the second time this year — the first being in Charlotte. Wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a Corino/Page vs. Whitmer/Colby Corino match in the future.

(ROH World Television Championship) Roderick Strong (c) vs. Curry Man

Roddy vs. The World continues on, as Curry Man is the next entrant into the gauntlet. Bobby Fish is on commentary for this one, arguing from the start that they’re co-holding the title cause of the Final Battle tap-out that didn’t get Bobby the title. I understand the entire Roddy frustration fiasco going on, but this was poorly executed to a boring degree. The entire match was based on the premise that Roddy promised Bobby he would beat Curry Man in 5 minutes. For almost that entire timespan it was all goofy: dancing, taunts, Roddy leaving, etc; so it boils down to either Roddy being a coward on purpose or that being useless in the first place. The cherry on top was the fact that Ian & Fish on commentary in response to the crowd counting down to 5 minutes — 10, 9, 8, etc — DID NOTHING. Absolutely zilch. Bobby looks like an idiot for not taking his win vs. the promise. All that was said was that the crowd are enjoying themselves. On top of that was a mostly boring match with no substance except for the finishing stretch, which look long to get to, and in reality should have happened sooner. What was even more ridiculous is that Curry Man kicked out of a superplex and a Sick Kick. Shaking my head at this point. Roddy finally put Curry Man away with his kip-up knee. Even for the fact that the entire dynamic was forgotten, plus the longevity and awkwardness. I’ll rate a match. DUD (second of the night)

Adam Cole vs. Alex Shelley

Great match between these two, especially for a first time meeting. At first I was skeptical, but they turned it into a recommended viewing. Cole is getting back on my good list, as someone who pulls a lot of tricks out of Flair’s playbook; but has the charisma and dick-flow (yes, I said that) to pull them off with a unique twist. This is the best I’ve seen Shelley in a long while. It was a long, drawn out battle where they gave everything they had. Cole worked the hell out of Shelley’s left leg via various means and it was incredible to watch. Shelley’s selling was much better than anticipated, so he gets a thumbs up for this performance. The man sold the two brainbusters on the knee like death; a la being electrocuted. The match built well to the point where guys’ signatures were being kicked out of, and submission spots were never blown out as things that felt unnatural. Everything was part of the match, and the match formed into a compelling experience. Superkicks, locks, charisma, good Shelley, a great crowd; this match had all the makings of something that can mood swing me after sitting through a Worst Show of the Year rest of the card. The match culminated with Kazarian running-in, which let Cole low-blow Shelley and hit the second brainbuster on the knee of the match. Great work from all involved, and Sabin on commentary helped the match even if he wasn’t my favorite to listen to.

Post-match Kazarian attacked, but just as he was about to hold him for Sabin to attack, Sabin was awkwardly standing there deciding what to do — ACH then came to the rescue for Shelley. It was put over that these teams will lock-up in the future.

The Young Bucks & The All Night Express vs. The Briscoes & War Machine

Very interesting tag here. The Bucks were the last team to pin ANX before they became #1 Contenders and The Briscoes were the last team to beat War Machine before they became tag champs. Bucks & Briscoes were the two teams that lost at Final Battle to ANX. Lastly, ANX vs. War Machine is the next ROH World Tag title match. My GOD. What a hoot of a tag. It was exactly what it was meant to be. Chaotic. There’s way way I tell you this wasn’t what it was supposed to be; because it was supposed to be a spotfest. It’s most of the tag division going at each others’ throats in more ways than one, because of hostile partner situations that came into effect with The Briscoes & War Machine. This is also one of those matches where I can’t describe everything that went on — I must just say…watch it. It’s one of the better spotfests I’ve seen in a while, because there was so much ridiculousness combined with mini-stories going on with each team. Everyone was entertaining and everyone played a role. The Bucks put on their classic show with even more dives, ANX was epic, especially Kenny King who looked more fired up than ever, The Briscoes fought War Machine in arguments and vice versa, but both were booked strong. The Bucks & ANX managed to put their differences aside and help each other out, to the point where false finishes were minimized because of them saving each other. It got to the point where The Doomsday Device on Rhett wasn’t hit till the second time around, and what better than seeing The Bucks superkick Jay to keep the match alive with Titus on his shoulders. So much more occurred that you’re going to have to see to believe. In the end after everybody crashed out on each other, Rhett was the last one standing posing on the top rope, but Jay slid back in the ring to pick him up and Mark went up top to cap off the match with the Doomsday Device. 1-2-3. Awesome stuff from the tag division. There’s tons more I didn’t even cover, like Hanson saying suck it, scouting of moves because of past matches, etc. A fantastic way to end the show.

The show went from Worst of the Year to eh-decent because of the final two matches as well as the boost from K.R.D. vs. reDRagon. More angles were built and elongated, performances were great on some fronts and others were bland; but that’s what happens sometimes at a show. You can’t win ’em all, and I bet what I call DUDS you may call great. There was a lack of execution on the triple threat/TV title fronts, but there were good to great matches in K.R.D./reDRagon as well as the two co-main events. Elgin & Page got squashes but are ready for the future as ROH is putting lots of trust in them. I always enjoy something on the product no matter what, and in this case, much like usual, I enjoyed a lot of the things on the card none the less. It’s a so-so for me, and it’s up to you whether or not you think it’s worth it to get the show. Here’s to ROH uploading to VOD fast like they did with this show.

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