Sunday, May 29, 2016

ROH Best In The World 2015: Battle Of The Belts Review

It's a Battle of the Belts as Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal duke it out with both the ROH World Title & ROH World TV Title on the line!!

The DVD includes the opening from this PPV, which was freaking awesome!! It really gets you hyped up for the Main Event!!

ROH Best In The World 2015: Battle of the Belts
New York City, New York 6/19/15

1.) Mark Briscoe (with ODB) vs. Donovan Dijak (with Truth Martini): **3/4

Our first match of the night came about when Dijak attacked Mark Briscoes after “Dem Boys” picked up the win over The House of Truth on ROH TV. This match also serves as a good contrast to the Main Event, with a Briscoe taking on a member of The House of Truth, which is pretty cool, if you ask me. I thought this was a solid opener. It wasn’t anything special, but it served its purpose. The highlight of the match was easily Dijak scoop slamming Mark Briscoe over the top rope, sending “chicken” crashing to the floor!! That was easily one of the craziest spots of the night. Towards the end of the match, ODB would get into it with Truth Martini, snatching The Book of Truth and tearing the cover to shreds (that will come into play later). In the end, Mark Briscoe would come back from that nasty spot earlier to win the match.

2.) ACH & Matt Sydal vs. The Decade (BJ Whitmer & Adam Page with Colby Corino): ***

Given the promo they showed before the match, you would think this was going to be an ACH vs. Adam Page singles match, but instead, we have a tag team match with their respective partners. I would have preferred a singles match, but the tag team match is fine, as it does get Sydal on the card. This was a fine tag team match. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, but it good for its spot. We actually got some interesting chants towards BJ Whitmer by the fans in Terminal 5, including “BJ Weiner” & “Blow Job Whitmer”. I’m sure Steve Corino really enjoyed that. Anyway, ACH & Sydal looking to have the win sealed up, but a distraction from Whitmer allowed Adam Page to take advantage, pinning Matt Sydal for the win.

3.) Silas Young vs. Dalton Castle: ***1/4

There really hasn’t been that much build to this match. It’s just a way to get these two on the show, but more importantly, it’s a battle of two REAL MEN. The match was pretty solid, in my opinion. There was some good wrestling, as well as some comedy, as Young kept getting his trunks pulled down. We also saw, for the first time, the “Fan Up” chants, as the crowd in Terminal 5 reacted to The Boys trying to get them behind Castle. Towards the end of the match, Young got scolded by the referee for using underhanded tactics on Castle, and seconds later, while the referee was distracted, Castle returned the favor, hitting Young with a low blow before rolling him up for the win.

After the match, Silas Young attacked one of The Boys, and quickly retreated before Castle could retaliate.

4.) War Machine vs. C & C Wrestle Factory: **

So on the episode of ROH TV right before the PPV, Cedric Alexander seemingly turned heel when he used a wrench to end Moose’s undefeated streak. In response, Alexander’s former tag team partner, Caprice Coleman, reached out to him, and suggested teaming up with him to help him stay on the right path. C & C Wrestle Factory have a truly big challenge in front of them in the form of War Machine. This match was pretty much a sprint right from the opening bell, as Alexander skipped the pre-match handshake and went right after War Machine. The match was actually pretty short, but the did a lot in the time they were given. Towards the end of the match, Alexander wanted to use a wrench, but Coleman wouldn’t allow it. In response, Alexander didn’t tag in Coleman, which resulted in him getting pinned by War Machine. I think it was a bit of a waste of War Machine on this show, but I’m sure where else you could have put them.

After the match, Alexander teased using the wrench on Coleman, but he didn’t. Instead, he simply told Coleman that their team is done. I actually liked that. Alexander is turning heel, but he still had enough respect for his longtime tag team partner that he didn’t attack him.

5.) #1 Contender's Triple Threat Match - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. Moose (with Stokely Hathaway & Veda Scott) vs. Roderick Strong: ***3/4

It was announced shortly after the match got underway that the winner would receive their ROH World Title Match at Death Before Dishonor XIII on July 24th in Baltimore, Maryland. I really enjoyed this match! These thee guys went right at it from the opening bell and seemingly never let up. Some good action from all three competitors throughout this match. Elgin & Strong were their usual great selves, but Moose showed a lot here in this match. I’d say it was easily his best performance in ROH, up to this point. There was a rough spot or two here & there, but this still a really good match. Strong would pick up the win after pinning Moose, earning himself a shot at the ROH World Title.

After the match, Veda Scott verbally berated Moose for the loss, slapping him multiple times. It looks Moose is going to hit her with a spear, but Cedric Alexander comes out, and attacks both Moose & Stokely Hathaway with a wrench! Alexander stands tall with Veda Scott, as a new partnership has seemingly been formed.

6.) Six-Man Tag - The Kingdom (Adam Cole & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks): ****1/4

These two trios had an awesome Main Event at War Of The Worlds 2015: Night 2 in Philadelphia (a match which I saw live). In that match, The Kingdom used nefarious tactics to pick up the win over The Bullet Club, which has led to this rematch being signed. While I don’t think this was quite as good as their first encounter, this was still a pretty awesome match, with lots of insane action, as you would expect. Bodies were flying all over the place, and they did enough here to make this match feel different from the match in Philadelphia. Maria, once again, got taken out by a double superkick/pele kick combo from Styles & The Young Bucks. The finish was very interesting, as Bennett & Taven were taken out, and Cole had to fight off The Bullet Club all by himself. He actually held his own for a minute or two, but it wouldn’t be enough, as The Bullet Club would score the victory.

After the match, there seemed to be dissension amongst The Kingdom, as Bennett & Taven appeared to be upset with Adam Cole.

7.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - No DQ Match - The Addiction vs. reDRagon: ***1/2

Of course, this match came about after The Addiction, along with Chris Sabin, stole the ROH World Tag Team Titles from reDRagon, and revealed themselves to be behind the red-masked KRD. Daniels debuts his awesome new entrance gear, which is mainly made up of a cool looking general’s jacket. He’s also changed up his ring gear, and is now wearing a singlet. I thought this was a pretty good match, but I was expecting a little bit more. Maybe that’s because a No DQ Match really doesn’t suit the style of either team. Still, this was a fun hardcore brawl. We got some cool spots, and we saw a variety of weapons get involved, including a Ladder, chairs, and one of the steel guardrails. At one point, it looked like reDragon were about to win the titles back, but Chris Sabin ran out and pulled out the referee. This would prove to be The Addiction’s saving grace, as they would, soon thereafter, score the victory to retain their ROH World Tag Team Titles.

8.) ROH World Title vs. ROH World TV Title - Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini): ****1/2

I’ve really liked the build towards this match. Even though I don’t think it’s the biggest match in the history of ROH (as the announcers would claim), there’s no doubt that this match has a big fight feel to it. Jay Lethal & Truth Martini come out in new white & red gear, and Martini has a new Book of Truth, with a white cover. Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel also come out with Lethal & Martini. Thankfully, they were sent to the back by referee Todd Sinclair almost immediately after the match started, which was a good move. As far as the match goes, I thought it was awesome!! It was just a combination of a few different things coming together. The crowd made this feel like a special match, chanting for both Briscoe & Lethal at the beginning. You also had the parents of both Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal at ringside, which again, helped add to the big fight feel. Of course, the match itself was pretty fantastic. It started slow, but as the match progressed, things continued to build and build until things really kicked into high gear. Briscoe hitting Lethal with a Jay Driller through a table a ringside was the turning point, as from the there, the match just got insane. Lots of near-falls at the end, but finally, Lethal was able to put Briscoe away with The Jay Driller (Briscoe’s own finisher) and a 2nd Lethal Injection to win the match and the ROH World Title!!!

Lethal celebrates with Truth Martini (who returned after being ejected by Nigel McGuinness late in the match) as the fans give Lethal a massive ovation. Jay Briscoe eventually recovers, and in a really cool moment, the two competitors shake hands. Briscoe leaves the ring as Lethal continues to celebrate with his two titles, as “You Deserve It” chants rained down from the crowd to close the show.

Overall: 8.25/10

For the most part, this was really good show from ROH. The way it played out was very interesting, as the first four matches all took place within (or around) the first hour of the show. They really blew through those matches quickly, and the quality of that first half was fine, but had me a little concerned. However, things really picked up in the second half. The Triple Threat Match #1 Contender’s Match was really good. The Six-Man Tag between The Bullet Club & The Kingdom was pretty awesome, despite not being quite as good as their first match in Philadelphia. The No DQ Match was a fun match for what it was, and the Main Event was fantastic. It was built up really well, and definitely had a big fight feel. Lethal winning the ROH World Title was an amazing moment, and it’ll certainly be one of the highlights of ROH in 2015.

ROH Road To "Best In The World 2015": Night 4 Review

A Four-Way Tag Team Match headlines the final event before Best In The World 2015!

ROH Road To “Best In The World ‘15”: Night 4
Nashville, Tennessee 6/6/15

The show kicks off with an in-ring promo from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Truth Martini. Very weird to see ROH start off a live event with a promo in the ring. Anyway, Martini introduces Lethal as the ROH World TV Champion, but says that’ll change at Best In The World, when Lethal will win the ROH World Title from Jay Briscoe. Lethal teases talking, but Martini says that the fans don’t deserve to hear the champ speak. Martini then says that he’s given three men the opportunity to fight for the right to face Jay Lethal in a “warm-up match” later that night, and introduces those men for our opening contest.

1.) #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match – “P-Dog” Mike Posey vs. Corey Hollis vs. Samson Walker: *1/2

The story here is that Truth Martini basically sent out an open invitation for anyone to sign, and it turns out, these are the three guys who signed for the match. Jay Lethal & Truth Martini are doing commentary by themselves for this match. Lethal feels confident about taking on either Hollis or Posey, but it seems like he actually expresses concern about potentially facing Samson Walker. It was pretty odd that Lethal & Martini acted like they didn’t know these guys, when Hollis & Posey have appeared in ROH many times before in the recent past, and Walker actually faced Lethal in a tag team match a few months prior. Anyway, the match itself was……ok, I guess? The action was fine, but I just didn’t care about this match. Maybe it’s the fact that the recent live event in Oklahoma City was built as having the final title defenses of Jay Lethal & Jay Briscoe, but Lethal defending the title against a (relative) unknown is so odd. Walker gets the win here, and will challenge Lethal later in the night.

I have a feeling this was the pre-show match, as we then got the DVD opening and shots of the crowd slamming the barricades and being fired up. Weird that it wasn’t listed as such on the DVD, as it usually is.

2.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. Danny Adams & Paco Gonzalez: DUD

I guess we properly kick things off with The Kingdom in tag team action. This was pretty much a squash. Adams & Gonzalez got a few shots in, but The Kingdom was in control for the majority of this match, and would go on the score the easy victory.

After the match, Taven takes the mic, and says that The Kingdom want to continue their global domination. He says that The Kingdom will prove at Best In The World why they are the best faction in all of wrestling. Bennett then takes the mic and demands that The Kingdom be added to the Main Event (which would turn it into a Four-Way Tag Team Match), and calls for Nigel McGuinness to make it happen.

3.) Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer) vs. Will Ferrara: ***1/4

Page is coming into this match with a groin injury, and has his right thigh taped. I thought this was a pretty solid match here. Ferrara looked good, as did Page. There’s not much else to say about this one. It was a fine match for its spot on the card. Page would get the win here.

After the match, Whitmer beats up Ferrara a little bit. He then argues with Cornio a little bit, but stays in the ring, as his match is next…

4.) Four-Corner Survival – BJ Whitmer (with Adam Page) vs. Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Moose (with Stokely Hathaway): ***1/4

Believe it or not, there is actually a story behind this match. About two months prior, Whitmer stole a victory from Moose in a Four-Corner Survival Match in San Antonio, and Moose has been having a “mini-feud” with Whitmer since. As far as the match goes, it ended up being better than I thought it would be. It was slow to get going, but it was pretty entertaining by the end. Whitmer & Young played their heel roles well, Cheeseburger was entertaining when he was in the match, and Moose got to show off his power. In the end, Moose would actually steal the victory from Whitmer, which was a nice little conclusion to that storyline.

5.) Dalton Castle vs. Roderick Strong: ****

Castle’s regular “boys” are back with him tonight, as he’s taking on “Mr. ROH”. I thought this match was awesome!! This was easily the best match of the night so far, and it was definitely Dalton Castle’s best match in ROH up to this point. There was some great action throughout this match. Strong looked as good as he always does, but Castle look particularly great, as he got to show off some of his unique offense. Really cool stuff in this match from start to finish. The latter half this match was particularly awesome. Even though Strong got the win here, Dalton Castle looked very good in defeat.

After the match, Strong & Castle shook hands.

6.) ROH World TV Title – Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Samson Walker: **1/4

As I mentioned earlier, Samson Walker earned this opportunity when he defeated Corey Hollis & Mike Posey in a Triple Threat Match earlier in the night. This was decent for what it was, but of course Walker had less than a zero percent chance of winning. Honestly, I would have preferred if Lethal just came out, issued an open challenge, and then Corey Hollis came out and gave Lethal a run for his money before losing. I think Corey Hollis would have been better in this spot over Samson Walker, but whatever. Walker actually got to kick out of Lethal’s Hail To The King Elbow Drop at 1, which I didn’t like that much. I don’t think this is the proper situation for doing that. Lethal gets the win with the Lethal Injection to retain his title.

ODB comes out next, and says that it’s her birthday today. She says that, after having a lot of beers earlier, she’s decided to issue an Open Challenge, and it’s answered by, of all people, The Romantic Touch….

7.) ODB vs. The Romantic Touch: DUD

Ugh….why was this match on here?! This just felt so out of place on a ROH live event. We got the comedy that you would expect, but this was just bad, plain & simple. After about seven or eight minutes, Jay Lethal runs out and superkicks ODB, causing the match to end in a DQ (similar to what happened with ODB vs. Truth Martini at the show in Hopkins, Minnesota a little over a month prior, expect Truth Martin actually pinned ODB in that match). This brings out Jay Briscoe, who has a stand off with Lethal, who eventually backs down. If they wanted Lethal to come out and attack ODB, they should have just done it. We didn’t need a nearly eight minute match between ODB & The Romantic Touch. This was totally unnecessary.

8.) “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Matt Sydal: ****

Elgin comes into this match with a noticeable black eye, courtesy of Roderick Strong from their tag team match the night before in Collinsville. This particular match was actually scheduled to take place a few months prior in Milwaukee, but Sydal suffered an injury, which changed those plans. I thought this match was pretty great!! Sydal continues to have an incredible post-WWE run. He’s just so good right now. Whenever I see a singles match of his, I get excited. He meshed pretty well with Elgin here. The power vs. speed matches are always a ton of fun in ROH, and this is no exception. Interesting enough, commentary did bring up the fact the Sydal was familiar with wrestling competitors much bigger than him, specifically mentioning The Big Show & Mark Henry (never thought those two names would pop up in a ROH review). Anyway, the closing minutes of this match were pretty awesome, with some great back & forth action. Eventually, Elgin would pick up the win, and would continue his face-turn by shaking hands with Sydal after the match. 

9.) Four-Way Tag Team Match – ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction vs. The Briscoes vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. War Machine: ****

Neither the ROH World Tag Team Titles nor the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles are on the line here. As you would expect, this match was pretty crazy, and a lot of fun. Bodies were flying all over the place, and the action was very solid from start to finish. We even got a sequence towards the end of the match where it seemed like everyone was hitting some kind of dive to the outside.  The crowd in Nashville seemed to enjoy the match, and I’d have to agree with their sentiments. This was a great Main Event, in my opinion. It was kind of weird to see The Addiction get the win here, especially in a Four-Way Non-Title Match where they didn’t really need to win, but that’s my only real complaint about this match.

After the match, The Addiction & The Kingdom have a stare down in the ring, but they would soon be interrupted by The Briscoes & War Machine. As the teams are brawling, Jay Lethal & Truth Martini hit the ring and jump Jay Briscoe! Eventually, Jay Lethal & Jay Briscoe are left in the ring alone, while everyone else was brawling on the outside. They tease hitting their finishers, but every attempt is countered. Lethal then bails with the rest of the heels, leaving The Briscoes & War Machine standing tall in the ring. Jay Briscoe takes the mic, and promises to take Lethal’s ROH World TV Title at Best In The World as the show comes to a close

Overall: 7.75/10

This show is really a tale of two different parts. One the one hand, you had three great matches which, for me, all cracked the **** mark and are definitely worth seeing (out of those, I liked Castle vs. Strong the most, followed by Elgin/Sydal, then the Main Event). You also had two relatively solid undercard matches in Page vs. Ferrara and the Four-Corner Survival. However, this card suffers from some of the pointless stuff on the undercard. Did we really need a five-minute Kingdom squash? They could have easily just been part of the Main Event from the beginning. The whole situation surrounding Jay Lethal’s match could have been handled much better than it actually was. Then, there was the ODB/Romantic Touch match, which didn’t need to be on this show AT ALL! Those things really took the show down for me, personally, but I would still say you should at least check out those three matches I have at ****.

ROH Road To "Best In The World 2015": Night 3 Review

The ROH World Champion and three top contenders go at it in a big tag team Main Event!

ROH Road To “Best In The World ‘15”: Night 3
Collinsville, Illinois 6/5/15

1.) Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer) vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/4

Nothing much to say about this match, other than that it was a pretty solid opener. Mark Briscoe was entertaining, as he always is, and Page looked good here as well. In the end, Briscoe was able to overcome Page, and some interference from Whitmer, to win the match.

2.) Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger: **1/4

There really isn’t much to say about this match, either. Cheeseburger always gets a good reaction, and always plays a great underdog. Young is a very good heel, and both guys in general just played their roles really well. This was fine for what it was. Young would pick up the win here.

3.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Michael Bennett (with The Kingdom) vs. Dalton Castle: ***1/4

For some reason, Castle has a different set of “boys” (not his usual “boys”) with him at ringside. This was actually a really solid match. There was some very solid back & forth action from both of these guys. Castle looked good here against one half of the (then) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Unfortunately, there was a ton of interference here from Matt Taven & Maria Kanellis, which took the match down a notch for me. I mean, Taven did have some fun banter with Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary, but other than that, the presence of The Kingdom at ringside only hurt this match. Still, this was a fine match, despite the interference. Bennett would score the victory over Castle.

4.) ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction vs. Delirious & Matt Sydal: ***1/2

We get an awesome pre-match promo from Daniels & Kazarian hyping themselves up, with the latter using a pretty funny Star Wars reference. “Hotter than Tatooine and Cooler than Hoth, Jedi in the Streets, but Sith between the Sheets”. That was a great line. Anyway, I think they did note beforehand that their ROH World Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line here. They’re taking on Delirious & Matt Sydal, who’ve had a long history with each in ROH. Honestly, this was a lot better than I would have thought. Delirious & Sydal were a really enjoyable team, and while the match was a little bit long, it was a pretty solid match. To my surprise, Delirious & Sydal actually got the win here. I get that Sydal is the “hometown guy” (being from nearby St. Louis), but it’s not like these team is getting a title shot any time soon, plus Delirious is far from being a regular roster member, so why have them win? It’s a little weird. Delirious & Sydal played it up like they won the titles, but Daniels reminded everyone that the titles weren’t on the line here. Despite the weirdness with the winner and the aftermath, this was still a very good match.

5.) BJ Whitmer (with Adam Page) vs. The Romantic Touch: **

I really wasn’t looking to this match. Nobody likes Whitmer (naturally), and singles matches on these live events involving The Romantic Touch tend to go a little longer than they really need to. Thankfully, it didn’t go that long (I think it was under eight minutes), but this was still a pretty pointless match. Whitmer wins, and I think it’s best that we move on….

6.) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Taven vs. Hanson: ***3/4

So there are a number of backstories going into this match. The Kingdom & War Machine have really been attached to one another throughout this entire tour, and this show continues that trend. There’s also the story of both guys being from the New England area, meaning that these two are very familiar with each other. In the end, these two would go on to have a really good match. There was some great back & forth action between these two, especially towards the end of the match. Even though Michael Bennett did try to interfere, he was quickly subdued by Ray Rowe, who came out to support his tag team partner. Hanson would eventually get the victory with the Spin Kick of Doom. This was the best match on the show, up to this point.

After the match, Hanson chases The Kingdom to the back. Rowe then calls out Jay Lethal for their match, and the ROH World TV Champion makes his way down to the ring…

7.) Non-Title Match – ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) vs. Ray Rowe: ***1/2

Lethal’s ROH World TV Title isn’t on the line in this match. I thought this was very solid, but I don’t think it was quite as good as the Hanson/Taven match that preceded it (Hanson vs. Taven). There were some good spots in this match, and the action was start to finish was pretty solid. However, this match definitely had the potential to be a little bit better, and I was expecting a little more here. Towards the end of the match, the referee got knocked down, and Rowe actually had Lethal pinned for several seconds. Lethal would end up using The Book of Truth to take out Rowe and score the win. Even with my minor gripes, this was still a very solid match.

8.) ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe & Roderick Strong vs. “Unbreakable” Michal Elgin & Moose (with Stokely Hathaway): ****

So the story behind this match is that in involves the ROH World Champion and the three men who be competing in a #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match at Best In The World. Some very interesting teams here, as Jay Briscoe & Roderick Strong have a long history with each other, while Elgin & Moose is really just a team of two really big dudes. As a whole, I thought this match was actually pretty awesome. Definitely the best match on this show. Even though the match was rather long (it was closing in on thirty minutes), there was a lot of action in this one from start to finish. All four guys got a change to shine, and it was just really entertaining as a whole. It was so cool to see Jay Briscoe & Roderick Strong working together on the same team here (in a two-on-two environment), while on the other side, we saw Elgin & Moose trying to one-up each other. The latter stages of the match were particularly very good. This was just a fun Main Event all around. I didn’t anticipate Moose getting the win here, but him getting a pinfall victory over Strong is a big moment for him in his career. It definitely makes him more of a threat before the upcoming #1 Contender’s Match at Best In The World.

After the match, Moose celebrates and shake hands with the other competitors in the Main Event as the show came to a close.

Overall: 7.75/10

I thought this was a pretty solid live event from ROH. The Main Event was definitely the Match of the Night, while Hanson vs. Taven was actually really good as well. The rest of the undercard was fine, for the most part. There were some matches that were good, and other matches that were just ok. It’s not a show that you need to go out of your way to see, but it was fine from start to finish.