Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ROH 13th Anniversary Show Review

Ring of Honor celebrates its 13th Anniversary in Sin City!

ROH 13th Anniversary Show
Las Vegas, Nevada 3/1/15
I should note that a few days prior (or at least, I believe it was a few days prior) to the PPV, it was announced that SAMOA JOE, who had just recently been released from TNA, would be making his return to ROH!!! It was then announced that Samoe Joe would be making his return at the 13th Anniversary Show!!


1.) The Decade (Jimmy Jacobs & Adam Page) vs. Reno SCUM (Adam Thornstowe & Luster The Legend): ***¼

The DVD comes with this pre-match, as The Decade, represented here by Jimmy Jacobs & Adam Page, taking on Adam Thornstowe & Luster The Legend, who are known as Reno SCUM. Now I’m familiar with Adam Thornstowe, through his involvement with Quintessential Pro-Wrestling, but I’ve never seen his tag team partner before. Honestly, for a pre-show match, I thought this was pretty solid. It was a competitive match, and it had some cool spots that really got the crowd into the action. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this match was better than some of the matches that were on this PPV (and I’ll get into that during my review). Jacobs & Page get the win, but Reno SCUM had an impressive outing. I hope we get to see a little more of them in ROH.


1.) Cedric Alexander vs. Matt Sydal: ***3/4

The PPV kicks off with Cedric Alexander taking on Matt Sydal! The only real story going into this match is that Alexander has been on a losing streak as of late, and is looking to change his fortunes. I thought this was a really good opener, that was just shy of being great. These two worked hard, and we got some nice back & forth action throughout. I might have enjoyed this a bit more than most, but I liked this match a lot. Sydal would pick the win here, while Cedric fails to break his losing streak.
2.) Moose (with Veda Scott & Stokely Hathaway) vs. Mark Briscoe: **1/2
This could be Moose’s biggest test to date, as he takes on a Ring of Honor original in Mark Briscoe. I thought this was a pretty decent match. Coming in, I thought this would be a bit better, but it was relatively average. Honestly, I thought the match that Moose had with ACH in Atlanta a week or two prior to this PPV was significantly better than this match. Regardless, Moose would score the win here, earning by far the biggest victory in his ROH career thus far.

3.) Three-Way Tag Team Match - The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) vs. The Addiction ("The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson: ***1/4
Karl Anderson comes out to the ring by himself. His tag team partner, Doc Gallows, was unable to make it to Las Vegas, as bad weather had grounded his flight, and left him stranded in Detroit. Anderson says that he drank a ton of beer the night before, and was ready for this match. He proclaimed that he is The Bullet Club, and that he’ll go into this match without a partner. That means we’re getting a 2-on-2-on-1 match, which may be a first. Despite the fact that they were down one man, this was still a pretty solid match. It definitely picked up down the stretch, and the crowd was into it by the end. The Kingdom would pick up the win after hitting a Spike Piledriver on Karl Anderson, which makes a ton of sense since Anderson was alone and without Doc Gallows. This also sets up The Kingdom for a future shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles in the future.

4.) BJ Whitmer (with Adam Page & Jimmy Jacobs) vs. Roderick Strong: **3/4
This is a feud that’s been building for a few months, as tensions between Strong & Whitmer finally came to a boiling point, causing Strong to split off from The Decade. I thought this was a fine match, but it could have been better, especially considering the fact that it was billed as a “grudge match”. Strong was coming off a series of fantastic singles matches against Alberto El Patron & Kyle O’Reilly, but this was a huge step down for Strong. It honestly might be his most disappointing singles match he had in 2015. At the same time, however, he was facing BJ Whitmer here, who hasn’t exactly been a stellar singles competitor as of late. Strong would end up scoring the victory here over his former stablemate in The Decade.

5.) Maria Kanellis (with Michael Bennett) vs. ODB (with Mark Briscoe): **
Up next we have a rare women’s match in ROH. This is the first time we’ve seen a “Women of Honor” match during this new era of ROH PPV’s. Maria Kanellis still has possession of the Jay Briscoe’s custom World Title belt (since renamed the “Title of Love”), so The Briscoes brought in ODB, One Dirty Briscoe, to deal with Maria Kanellis. Before the match, Maria tried to get out of the match by saying she just found out she was pregnant, but this was a ruse, as Michael Bennett attacked Mark Briscoe, and Maria jumped ODB to start things off. As for the match itself… was ok. I mean, it was about as good as could have been. ODB won (as Bennett & Briscoe brawled on the outside throughout the match), and she took back possession of the “Title of Love”, and ripped off all the pink fuzz & stuff. The Briscoe World Title is back where it belongs!

6.) IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. ACH: ****
This is ACH’s biggest match to date, as he’s taking on one of the best wrestlers in the world in AJ Styles. While this may not have been as spectacular as some were predicting, I thought this was still a fantastic match! Both guys are just awesome, and I think they worked pretty well together here. Lots of really good action from start to finish. Even though ACH eventually lost to AJ Styles here, he still looked very strong in defeat. This was easily the best match on the show, up to this point.

Before this match, Rocky Romero joints Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary for the next match, and announces that he’s forming a new tag team with Trent Barretta called Roppongi Vice. The new team will be making their debut at the show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 13th.

7.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - reDRagon (with Shayna Baszler) vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks: ****1/4

Shayna Baszler, a MMA Fighter who is part of Ronda Rousey’s “Four Horsewomen”, and an avid wrestling fan (she’s attended a number of PWG shows), is in reDRagon’s corner for this match, which is the fourth between these two teams. As you would expect, this ended up being an amazing match!! These two teams just work so well together, and whenever they’ve met in ROH, it’s been magic. Awesome stuff from both teams throughout this match, and the crowd was really into it. Now I don’t think this was the best in their series, it was still a fantastic match, and easily the best match on the show, up to this point (overtaking Styles vs. ACH). Towards the end of the match, Baszler pulled the referee on the ring when it looked like The Young Bucks had the match won, but the match returned the favor a minute or two later, which did make sense. In the end, reDRagon would score the victory to retain their ROH World Tag Team Titles.
8.) ROH World TV Title - Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini & Jay Diesel) vs. Alberto El Patron: ***½

These two have been having issues ever since El Patron made his debut in ROH. Lethal took offense when El Patron said he wanted to go after the ROH World Title, saying that his ROH World TV Title was the most important title in ROH. El Patron’s had some pretty great matches in his short ROH tenue, with the match he had in Roderick Strong in Dayton, Ohio being spectacular. As far as this match goes, I thought it was pretty good, though I won’t say it was a great match. This was definitely El Patron’s weakest outing in ROH so far, but again, that’s not saying the match was bad. Lethal continues to be awesome as a heel champion, and El Patron really took the fight to him. Unfortunately, The Book of Truth came into play (as it seemingly always does), and Lethal picked up the win to retain his ROH World TV Title.
I should also note that members of The Knights of the Rising Dawn, or The KRD, in their signature red masks, were watching this match from the crowd. More on them in just a little bit…

Before the Main Event begins, Samoa Joe comes out to a HUGE reaction, making his first ROH appearance since 2008. He says that it’s great to be home, and goes over a little bit of the history of ROH, mentioning the Murphey Rec Center in Philadelphia, which was the home of ROH in it’s very early years. Of course, we got a loud “F*CK TNA!!!” Chant from the crowd. He talks about the four men in the Main Event, and says that no matter who wins, their ass belongs to him. He vows that he will be the next ROH World Champion, and says that he is pro-wrestling. It was so cool seeing Samoa Joe back in ROH. A truly awesome moment.

9.) ROH World Title - High Stakes Four Corner Survival - Jay Briscoe vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. Hanson: **3/4
Ciampa comes out wearing this awesome Dr. Doom-esque mask that looks really cool. This is a big match for Jay Briscoe, as he’s defending the title against three heavy hitters, and he doesn’t have to be pinned to lose his ROH World Title. Now, before this match went off the rails, I thought it was actually pretty good. It wasn’t on track to be the best match on the show, but everything was going along just fine initially. Then everything just goes completely bonkers. The referee gets (inadvertently) taken out, and The Knights of the Rising Dawn jump in the ring and attack Jay Briscoe & Hanson. They were using a lot of The Kingdom’s signature moves here, which continued the storyline speculation of these guys actually being The Kingdom. However, Ray Rowe makes his big return, and runs them off! Then, while the referee was still down, Elgin tried to attack Jay Briscoe with a chair, before being stopped by Nigel McGuinness, who ended up being saved by Ciampa when Elgin tried to attack him. The finish itself came when all four were hitting a flurry of moves, and Jay Briscoe got the win when he got taken out by Hanson (who was then pulled out by the ring by Elgin), and fell on top of Ciampa for the cover.

After the good parts in the beginning, everything just fell of the rails, and the match turned into an Attitude Era-style car crash. While I think the KRD idea might be an interesting idea on paper, the crowds really haven’t cared that much about them at all (and I don’t blame them). If there are any reactions, it’s collective groans. Then there was the whole spot with Ciampa & McGuinness. I feel like they thought that was going to get a big reaction when Ciampa saved McGuinness from Elgin (based on what they’ve done in the storylines), but that got CRICKETS. No reaction at all. I didn’t mind the return of Ray Rowe here, but I feel that it got lost in all of the interference. Plus, Four-Way Matches usually are No DQ, so why would the referee need to be knocked out anyway? Finally, there was the finish, which came off really flat, and if anything, may Jay Briscoe look like a weak champion. Again, the first part of this match was good, but then it turned into a big mess.

After the match, Samoa Joe comes out and has a stare down with Jay Briscoe to close the show.

Overall: 7.75/10

I thought this was the weakest PPV outing from ROH thus far in this new era. A lot of the discontent had to do with the ROH World Title Match, which was an absolute car crash, and possibly one of the most disappointing Main Events in recent memory, as far as major ROH shows are concerned. There was also some stuff on here that was relatively average (Moose vs. Mark Briscoe, Strong vs. Whitmer, Maria Kanellis vs. ODB), which did drag the show down a little bit, but not as much as the stuff that happened in the Main Event. Despite all of those complaints, there are still a number of matches that were either really good (Lethal vs. El Patron, Sydal vs. Alexander) or great (Styles vs. ACH, reDRagon vs. The Young Bucks). Plus, the return of Samoa Joe was a really special moment. On the whole, I think that’s the moment people will remember from this show. From a match-quality perspective, I feel that it was a really a mixed-bag, and that people will be more inclined to remember the negatives over the positives.

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