Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ROH Winter Warriors Tour: Atlanta Review

Ring of Honor comes to Atlanta, and puts on arguably their best show of 2015!!


ROH Winter Warriors Tour: Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia 2/21/15

Pre-Show

1.) The Washington Bullets (Jon & Trey Williams) vs. Punch Drunk Love (Brandon Espinosa & Jack Jameson): **1/4

The DVD comes with a pre-show match, featuring The Washington Bullets (who are starting to become a regular team on ROH Pre-Shows) taking on a team called Punch Drunk Love. I don’t know who is who, but one of them sort-of looks like Jimmy Havoc, while the other guy looks like one of The Bushwhackers, but a lot thicker. The gimmick of the latter is that he’s totally intoxicated. This was a fine little pre-show tag team match. The Washington Bullets looked good here, but Punch Drunk Love would end up getting the win.

Main Show

1.) Caprice Coleman vs. "P-Dog" Mike Posey: **1/4
The show officially kicks off with Caprice Coleman taking on Mike Posey. Now we’ve seen Mike Posey in ROH before, as part of Alabama Attitude with Corey Hollis, but since we’ve seen him last, Posey’s undergone a bit of a transformation. He’s now referring to himself as “P-Dog”, and has become a horrible white rapper. This was a decent match. Nothing really much to say here other than it was a win for Caprice Coleman. The good news is that this was the lowpoint of the show, as it’s only going to get better from here.

2.) Corey Hollis vs. Jonathan Gresham: N/A

I didn’t give a rating for this one because it only went about five minutes (maybe even less), and it was mainly just a setup for what would follow. The Decade’s BJ Whitmer & Adam Page come out right at the start of this match, scouting for their next potential “young boy”. The Decade then decide to jump both guys after Hollis refused to use a chair offered to him by Page, causing the match to be thrown out. Hollis would then take the mic and challenged The Decade to a tag team match, and that’s what we ended up getting!
3.) The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page) vs. Corey Hollis & Jonathan Gresham: ***1/2
Now I really wasn’t sure how this was going to go, since Hollis had only been a semi-regular in ROH for the last few years, and Gresham really hasn’t made any real apparences in ROH for quite some him (I believe he was in the first-ever Top Prospect Tournament back in 2010/11). This actually ended up being a really good match! It was pretty competitive with Hollis & Gresham really taking the fight to The Decade. What helped was that the crowd was super-hot throughout this match. It made it that much more enjoyable. Eventually, The Decade would pick up the win, but this match was definitely a positive surprise.

4.) Matt Sydal vs. Delirious: ***1/2
Up next we have a matchup with two guys who are very familiar with each other. Of course, everyone knows that Delirious & Matt Sydal are close friends. Their first match in ROH was against each other, and Sydal’s final opponent in ROH before signing with WWE in 2007 was Delirious. I thought this was pretty good. You got a little bit of everything in this match, from solid wrestling to comedy (mostly from Delirious), and on the whole it was just an enjoyable match to watch. The fact that these two know each other so well certainly helped the match quality as well. Matt Sydal would get the win in this one.

5.) ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/2
While I think it’s been a long time since these two have a singles match in ROH, these two are coming off of a feud in PWG, where Strong successfully captured the PWG World Title from O’Reilly. From start to finish, this was a fantastic match! It’s honestly not a surprise, considering who was involved. Strong is coming off an incredible performance against Alberto El Patron a few weeks before in Dayton, and O’Reilly was as awesome as always. The action was great, and both guys were incredible here. What really helped as well was that you really didn’t know who was going to win. A recent criticism of ROH has been that matches have been a bit too predictable, but here you have a match whether either guy could have won here. In the end, it would be Strong picked up the win here over O’Reilly. A truly awesome match!!

6.) Moose (with Stokely Hathaway & John Abraham) vs. ACH: ***1/2
This match was actually built up a little bit at a recent live event in Dayton, Ohio, when after the Main Event, Moose attacked The Briscoes & Matt Sydal, but backed down from ACH. Moose is accompanied not only by Stokely Hathaway, but also John Abraham, a former NFL Player who spent a number of years playing for the Atlanta Falcons, and was probably teammates with Moose at some point. While this wasn’t as good as the Strong/O’Reilly match that came before it, this was still a really good match! I’d say it was Moose’s best match in ROH up to this point. Once again, the crowd was really into the action, and these two worked the big guy vs. small guy dynamic very well. Very solid stuff from both guys in this one. Moose would score the victory here in another really entertaining match!

7.) Six-Man Mayhem - Will Ferrara vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Hanson vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. "Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with J. Diesel): ****
Originally, this match was supposed to include Jimmy Jacobs, but he (as well as Truth Martini) had weather-related travel issues, and were forced to miss show. Will Ferrara would end up taking the open spot in this match. This would also be a bit of a preview of the 13th Anniversary Show, as Ciampa, Elgin, & Hanson are challenging Jay Briscoe for the ROH World Title in a Four-Corner Survival Match. I thought this match was great! You had a ton of heavy hitters in this match, and it was action-packed from start to finish! Everyone had a chance to shine, including Will Ferrara, and once again, the crowd being really into the match helped immensely. Another super-fun match. Hanson would emerge from the chaos as the winner.

8.) IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Bobby Fish (with Kyle O'Reilly): ****1/4
Styles recently won back the IWGP Heavyweight Title from Hiroshi Tanahashi a few weeks prior at The New Beginning in Osaka, and this is practically a homecoming for Styles (who is from Georgia). Here he’s taking on Bobby Fish. Now Styles had an awesome match with Fish’s tag team partner, Kyle O’Reilly, back at Death Before Dishonor XII: Night 1, and while this match wasn’t quite as amazing as that match, this was still pretty fantastic. Styles has just transformed into an incredible talent since he left TNA (but we already knew that), and Fish, who is always great, was awesome in here as well. Great action from both guys in this match. Styles would eventually get the win with the Styles Clash, in another great match on this show!

9.) 2/3 Falls Tag Team Armageddon - The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. The Briscoes: ****

This was being built as the final chapter of the rivalry between The Briscoes & The Kingdom. I know some haven’t been high on this particular rivalry, but honestly, I haven’t had any real issues with it. Their previously matches haven’t really stood out, but none of those matches have been that bad either.

Anyway, this is basically a Three Stages of Hell Match. The 1st Fall would be a regular tag team match, the 2nd would be a Tables Match, and the 3rd Fall, if necessary, would be a Falls Count Anywhere Match. The Briscoes won the 1st Fall, while The Kingdom would tie things up by winning the Tables Match. Finally, The Kingdom would end up scoring the win in the Falls Count Anywhere Match, putting The Briscoes away, and winning the rivalry. I thought this Main Event was great!! This was easily the best match in the rivalry, and that’s exactly what you want out of the climactic match of a heated rivalry. Now I know some people probably didn’t like this match as much as I did, but I’ve always enjoyed when ROH has done these multi-man hardcore brawls. All four guys stepped up in this one, and we saw some crazy spots, including The Kingdom giving Jay Briscoe a Spike Piledriver through a table, Mark Briscoe jumping off one of the large camera scaffolds, putting Taven through a table, and The Kingdom hitting an insane Doomsday Device variation. Once again, while some may not have liked it, I really enjoyed this one.

Overall: 9.5/10
Holy Crap!! This was AMAZING!! ROH really knocked it out of the park with this show!!! If not for the opener (which wasn't terrible, but pales in comparison to everything else on the card), I might have rated this show even higher. Not only was the wrestling pretty great, but the crowd REALLY helped to lift this show up even higher. When the crowd is into a show this match, it makes it that much more enjoyable. You have four matches that cracked the **** mark, and three really solid undercard matches (all at ***1/2) that were really entertaining. Don't sleep on this one, it lives up to the hype, and it'll definitely be a Show of the Year Contender for ROH in 2015!!



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