September 6, 2014

Hanson . . . shows that he’s actually the world’s biggest, and most bearded, cruiserweight.

Cedric Alexander . . . lucks himself into a title shot, and, another chance to elevate himself up the ladder.

Kyle O’Reilly . . . learns his lesson from the tag title loss to the Young Bucks, and makes sure lighting doesn’t strike twice.


It’s interesting to see Mark working the opener, while Jay works the semi main event. Of course, Jay was the one who ended Kevin Steen’s nearly year-long title reign, and, Mark was one of his few title defenses, so it’s already been established that Jay is higher up in the pecking order. Of course, if you look at what Mark does during this match versus Hanson, maybe it shows why Jay is higher up. Mark takes a huge bump in the first minute, getting launched over the top turnbuckle and going to the floor, but, he doesn’t do anything to put over the bump itself, or the effects from it. He’s on his feet a minute later throwing punches. The only spots that Mark adds are a plancha of his own, a Cactus Jack-style elbow, and the flying elbow that gets him the win, the rest of his offense is punches, kicks, perfunctory holds, and his redneck Kung-Fu. Hanson manages to throw in some good spots to show off how agile he is for such a big guy, including a cartwheel into a lariat, a plancha of his own after Mark takes the big bump to the floor, a 275 lb. bronco buster, and the missed moonsault that gives Mark the opening for his flying elbow. If they had showed the intensity that the clips from their match on TV had shown, then this would have been a fine opener, but, instead it winds up being the Hanson show.


This is fun for what it is, which is just a spotfest. All eight get a chance to show off what they can do, even Ethan and Josh, and nobody does anything goofy or stupid. Evans establishes himself as the funny guy, and Whitmer as the jerk, even though Whitmer has the funniest moment, when Page wants him to dive onto the pile on the floor and Whitmer responds by throwing Page over the top and onto the pile. The hometown guys, Ethan and Josh, look like they’re going to pull off the upset of their lives when they hit a double team on Page, but Moose spears Josh, and Evans rolls up Page to steal the win and keep Evans’ win streak gimmick alive. Matches like this are only around to eat up time and get more people on the card, so, it accomplished its goal, but, it’s nice to see that the wrestlers didn’t treat it like a throwaway.


Kevin and Steve’s summary of “great match” would have been spot on, if anything great had happened during the match. The heels are as dull as can be with their heat segment on Kazarian, and there wasn’t much build or anticipation for Daniels’ hot tag, although the sequence of Kazarian being able to avoid both Jacobs and Strong before making the tag was nice. The final stretch is fun, with Daniels and Jacobs doing some nice spots, but, the finish with Strong getting pinned after Celebrity Rehab comes pretty much out of nowhere, and doesn’t get much of a crowd reaction as a result. The aftermath, with Strong shaking hands, and the rest of the Decade getting upset is more interesting than the match itself, although it was disappointing to not see Roddy light up Page with a chop for daring to get in his face.


If you enjoy Cole’s crowd playing, then this is something you’ll enjoy. Cole controls for most of the first half of the match, and does almost as much wrestling as he does crowd playing. It’s fun watching Cole work over AJ’s leg, especially when he goofs up the figure four around the post and the crowd lets him hear about it, so, he does it again just to stick it to them. But, that’s about as good as things get. AJ sells the leg just fine for a bit afterwards, but, eventually forgets, and so does Cole for that matter. The near fall with the Styles Clash was a nice play off of Cole’s loss to Elgin, when AJ rolls through the Destroyer, the same way that Elgin did. But, then they go off the deep end, with goofiness and no-selling, including a sequence that looks right out of NOAH with them pasting each other with shots and no-selling them. The finish is a bit of a surprise, only because the giant superplex is typically just a near fall to pop the crowd, so, it’s nice to see them give it some respect, especially since they’d both already used their finishers once already. So, it’s not like this is completely devoid of anything good, but, it’s still below par for a pairing of two generally respected workers.


After an underwhelming undercard, the first title match continues the disappointing trend. There are some good moments, but, the match never quite comes together all the way. Cedric’s bump on the apron should have been a turning point, and led to a good offensive run by Lethal, but nothing comes from it. The only real story to the match is the idea that Cedric’s inexperience costs him by not having him go for the pin at an opportune time, so he can hit one more big shot, and having it backfire. The missed splash that allows Lethal to get the Koji clutch is probably the best spot of the whole match. The finish is smart, with Lethal only able to hit his finisher after stunning Cedric with Taven’s headlock driver, but, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lethal do his finisher on the first try. It seems like they decided that, since the match would be decided by ref bumps and manager/valet interferences, then, their primary goal should be to just kill time, and not get too lofty. A better performance here, from either of them, could have gone a long way to moving Cedric up the ladder, and made him more than just the young guy trying to prove himself.

MICHAEL ELGIN © vs. JAY BRISCOE (ROH World Heavyweight Title)

I thought that the match where Elgin won the title from Cole was a disappointing affair, but, it’s the second coming of Nigel vs. Danielson compared to this. They have a few good moments, like Elgin smearing Jay with the left-arm lariat after he’d done a good job avoiding the right-arm one, and Jay’s block of Elgin’s German suplex, but, they never come close to putting this together. Jay countering the Elgin bomb into the Jay driller is a fine finish, but, doing so right after taking the Buckle bomb wasn’t the time to do it. Then again, Jay got a near fall after giving Elgin the Jay driller off the apron and through a table, and Elgin decided that right afterwards was a good time to start making a superhuman comeback, so, Elgin disrespected Jay’s finisher first. At nearly twenty-five minutes, this is the longest match on the card, and it’s also a shining example of why it doesn’t necessarily matter how much, or how little, time a match gets, as long as the time is used wisely.


The first fall is a total spotfest, but, at least it’s an exciting one, which is more than welcome after the prior match. All four have something to add to the mix, and it’s nice to see the miscue that leads to Nick hitting Matt with the roundhouse, causing Matt to be out of the match for a bit. The final stretch, with Nick taking it to both Kyle and Bobby was a thing of beauty, his movements were completely fluid and looked virtually effortless. Kyle sneaking in the hockey stick was a great way to give them the opening they needed to hit Chasing the Dragon to get the win.

The second fall slows things down, with them working in a more traditional tag match style, with Nick in peril, and Matt being the hot tag and coming in all fired up, with some fun stooging by Kyle. They stretch things out a little bit longer though, to put the outcome in a little bit of doubt. After Matt’s tag, it looks like the Young Bucks have everything wrapped up nicely, but Bobby thwarts Nick from doing the springboard Tombstone, to give the champions control, but, the ‘Bucks aren’t going to be denied this time, and after avenging Bobby’s prior interference by giving him a spike Tombstone on the floor, they’re able to lay out Kyle with superkicks, and then roll Bobby in and finish him off.

It looks like the third fall is going to be a role reversal, with Kyle having to fight from underneath, after he stops the ‘Bucks from giving Bobby MBFYB, and then rolling him to the floor. But, Bobby recovers (a little too quickly, considering how long Matt put over a simple kick) and it becomes more of a back and forth affair, with both teams looking like they’re going to pull off the win. The ref bump was a bit of a downer, but, it was a necessary evil to get to where they needed to go, and it doesn’t directly cause the finish, so it’s not that big a deal. They play off their match from March, with Matt once again getting caught in the choke, but, this time Kyle quickly transitions to the armbar before Matt and counter, and Bobby takes out Nick, and forces Matt to tap out. This is easily the best of the three falls, with plenty of smart touches, and still being almost all action. As whole, the match isn’t much better than just good, but, it still blows away the rest of the card. ***1/4

Conclusion: If not for the tag titles match, this would be a complete wash, and even then, the same teams did just as well in March, and Young Bucks/Future Shock from PWG was just as good, and those were both much better overall shows than this.