Sunday, June 5, 2016

ROH Aftershock Tour: Las Vegas Review

Austin Aries returns to ROH!

ROH Aftershock Tour: Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada 7/17/15

Bonus Match

1.) Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mandy Leon: **

This match is from the TV Tapings in Baltimore, Maryland on July 25th, which was the day after Death Before Dishonor XIII. While it’s on the DVD, I believe it’s also available on ROH’s YouTube page. This was a decent women’s match. I’ve heard good things about Deonna Purrazzo, and I think she looked good here. Mandy Leon is someone who’s still a relative rookie, but she was ok here as well (on a side note, I’d be shocked if Leon isn’t signed by WWE at some point). Leon would pick up the win here.

After the match, Taeler Hendrix comes out on the stage and stares at Mandy Leon before leaving. I think this may have been her first ROH appearance.


1.) Will Ferrara vs. The Romantic Touch: **1/4

A decent pre-show match between these two. These two have had a much better match earlier that year in Dayton, Ohio. Not much else to say, other than Will Ferrara got the win.

Main Show

We kick things off in Las Vegas with the returning Austin Aries, who’s recently left TNA to become a free agent! He was (I guess) going to make just an appearance, but he was later added to the Main Event, after Roderick Strong had to pull out of the show due to another booking he had that day in Europe. Aries is accompanied to the ring by his (I guess) girlfriend Thea Trinidad, who was formerly Rosita in TNA. He says it’s good to be back, and that the first place he reached out to, as a free agent, was ROH. Aries says that ROH made him into the star that he would become, and in return, he helped build this company alongside some of the greats, like Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, and so on. He says that his reputation precedes him, adding that the beliefs that he left ROH on bad terms and that he had “burned his bridge” (so to speak) were both untrue. He had issues with specific people in the company who were trying to strip ROH of what made it great (I’m sure Jim Cornette was one of those people). Aries says that the business is changing, and that many places that have emerged in recent years are trying to emulate the same formula that ROH perfected (mentioning NXT and House of Hardcore by name). He then says that in the Main Event, he’s going to prove that he’s still the best wrestler in the universe. He also takes a moment to thank and put over Hunter Johnston (Delirious) for all of his hard work, and for allowing him to return.

1.) ROH World TV Title #1 Contender’s Tournament – First Round – Bobby Fish vs. Matt Taven: ***1/4

So on this show, ROH decided to put together a “mini-tournament” of sorts, to determine the #1 Contender for the ROH World TV Title. There would be three singles matches, and the winners of those matches would move on to a three-way elimination match earlier in the night. This is the first of those three singles matches. Taven is, of course, a former ROH World TV Champion, while Fish is still searching for singles gold. Honestly, I’d say this was the best of the three first-round singles matches. These two just seemed to work well together, and they produced an entertaining opening match. Both men attempted to pick apart a body part of their opponent, but in the end, Bobby Fish would get the win after hitting the Falcon Arrow.

2.) ODB vs. Nanae Takahashi: ***1/4

We have a number of one-off appearances tonight. This is the first of those. Nanae Takahashi is a well-known Joshi from Japan, and she’s come to ROH to take on ODB. I really wasn’t sure why Takahashi was brought in for this appearance, but any questions I had going into it didn’t matter by the end, as these two produced what was easily the best ROH women’s match in quite some time. Now I’m sure a lot of that can be contributed to Takahashi, but ODB did well here also. This match just had an intense feel to it, and it was just a very solid match all-around. Takahashi would pick up the victory here.

3.) ROH World TV Title #1 Contender’s Tournament – First Round – ROH World Tag Team Champion Christopher Daniels vs. Mark Briscoe: ***

Our second match in the #1 Contender’s Mini-Tournament is a battle of two ROH originals. While this wasn’t quite as good as Bobby Fish vs. Matt Taven, this was still a solid match. You really can’t go wrong with these two guys, and they produced an entertaining match, for the most part. The only blemish was that interference from Kazarian led to Daniels getting the win to advance to the three-way elimination match.

After the match, The Addiction attack Mark Briscoe, until ACH makes the save! This leads right into the next match…

4.) ROH World TV Title #1 Contender’s Tournament – First Round – ACH vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian: **3/4

Unfortunately, I think the quality of the singles matches in this mini-tournament had slowly decreased as the show has progressed. Not that any of them have been bad necessarily, but I think this match was easily the worst of the three. ACH was good, but for some reason, I just can’t get into Frankie Kazarian singles matches. Christopher Daniels attempts to interfere, but he is thwarted, and ACH is able to overcome the odds to get the win and to advance to the three-way elimination match.

The Addiction attacks ACH after the match, but Mark Briscoe makes the save, returning the favor from earlier.

5.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice: ***3/4

These two teams, at the time, had been playing hot potato with the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles ever since Roppongi Vice made their debuts. The Young Bucks are the current champions, but the titles aren’t on the line here. I thought this match was really good, and was just shy of being great. I would say it’s up there with the Main Event for being the best match on the show. Of course, it should be no surprise that these two teams would produce a match this good. The Young Bucks are always awesome, and Roppongi Vice are really starting to come into their own as a team at this point. There was a lot of very cool action between the teams. In the end, Roppongi Vice would emerge victorious. It was a ton of fun from start to finish.

6.) Silas Young vs. Willie Mack: ***

Here we have our 2nd one-off appearance of the night in the form of Willie Mack, who initially gained notoriety for his work in PWG. He’s taking on Silas Young here, and these two had a pretty solid match. Willie Mack got to showcase some of his signature spots, but Silas Young would eventually pick up the win here. A fine showcase for Mack, and a good victory for Silas Young.

7.) The Kingdom (Adam Cole & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. War Machine: ***1/4

Maria Kanellis takes the mic before the match. On commentary, they were teasing throughout the night that she had a big announcement to make. She says her contract with ROH ends in December, and that she has a lot to accomplish. Maria first says that Bennett & Taven will focus on winning the ROH World Tag Team Titles. She then adds that, as the leader of The Kingdom, she’ll be looking for a new member to capture the ROH World Title. Cole looks very surprised by those statements, as is commentary and the crowd.

I actually like the fact that Cole & Bennett are teaming up here. I think it’s cool when factions mix and match various tag team combinations. For the most part, I think this was a good tag team match here. The Kingdom played their roles as heels well here, and War Machine looked very strong when they made their eventual comeback. Some fine action in this match. The big story here is that Maria Kanellis tried to interfere, but “accidentally” took out Adam Cole, which led to War Machine hitting Bennett with Fallout for the win.

After the match, Maria blames the loss on Adam Cole.

8.) ROH World TV Title #1 Contender’s Tournament – Finals – Triple Threat Elimination Match – Bobby Fish vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Christopher Daniels vs. ACH: ***1/2

This is the Finals of the mini-tournament taking place on this show. It’s an Elimination Match, and the winner will become the #1 Contender for the ROH World TV Title. I thought this was a really good three-way match. It could have been a lot better, given who was involved, but for the most part, I enjoyed this match. Daniels eliminated ACH first, and then Fish was able to submit Daniels for the victory. I would have preferred if ACH had a eliminated Daniels, and now the other way around (because Daniels really doesn’t need that win), but that’s my only major complaint. Fish winning was the right move, in my view.

9.) Vegas Wild Card Six-Man Tag – ROH World Champion & ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal, Moose, & Austin Aries (with Stokely Hathaway & Thea Trinidad) vs. Jay Briscoe, Dalton Castle, & Kyle O’Reilly: ***3/4

The “gimmick” behind this match is that it’s a Six-Man Tag composed of two totally random teams. I really enjoyed this Main Event. Firstly, the mix of all the different personalities was just entertaining to watch. As far as the match itself was concerned, the action was pretty good, especially in the second half. It was cool to not only see Austin Aries in a ROH ring again, but to see him interact with guys he’s really never interacted with before, such as Kyle O’Reilly & Dalton Castle. All six guys have an opportunity to shine, and the match as a whole was just fun to watch from beginning to end. Throughout the match, there seemed to be tension between Aries & Jay Lethal, and towards the end of the match, Lethal hit a dive on Aries! In the end, O’Reilly would get the win for his team by making Jay Lethal tap out!! This continues the story of O’Reilly having Lethal’s number.

After the match, as the team of Kyle O’Reilly, Jay Briscoe, & Dalton Castle celebrate, Maria Kanellis makes her way down to ringside. Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino interview her, and she says that she’s scouting for a new member of The Kingdom, and specifically, she’s looking at Austin Aries. Then, Aries would do a brief interview with Kelly & Corino to close the show. It’s kind of disappointing that this would be the only appearance for Austin Aries before he got signed to NXT at the beginning of 2016. I would have liked to see what would have happened in this whole storyline involving The Kingdom if Aries had stuck around.

Overall: 7.5/10

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with this show. The card, on paper, looked really promising. However, when it was all said and done, I don’t think you could really call anything on this show “great”. That being said, however, this was still a very fun & entertaining show from start to finish. Only one match on the Main Card dipped below a *** mark, and there are a number of attractive elements to this show, such as the one-off appearances of Austin Aries, Willie Mack, & Nanae Takahashi, the wackiness of the pairings in the Main Event, the #1 Contender’s Mini-Tournament, and a really good match between Roppongi Vice & The Young Bucks. It’s far from ROH’s best show of 2015, but as a whole, it was an enjoyable show to take in.

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