Monday, June 20, 2016

ROH Aftershock Tour: Philadelphia Review

Championships are on the line, while the stars of New Japan return to Philadelphia!!

So this was a TV Taping that was released on DVD. The only real note I’d like to make is that the first five matches (the first two episodes of this TV Taping) were taped out of order. The two title matches were actually taped after reDRagon/House of Truth, Alexander/Castle, and The Kingdom/War Machine.

ROH Aftershock Tour ‘15: Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 8/21/15

1.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Addiction vs. The Young Bucks: ***1/2

This match came about after The Young Bucks were attacked by The Addiction on an episode of ROH TV that was taped a month prior in Baltimore. Of course, in typical Young Bucks fashion, we get superkicks right out of the gate. Chris Sabin tried to interfere early on, and ends up gets ejected immediately. He tries to come back, but gets a double superkick from The Young Bucks. For the most part, I thought this was a pretty good match. The Addiction played their role as heels well (as they always do), and I think they really meshed well here with The Young Bucks. Unfortunately, the finish of this match did hurt it a little bit for me. The Kingdom came out, and attacked Daniels. Then Nick Jackson hit a dive onto The Kingdom. The Young Bucks hit the IndyTaker, but Daniels pulls the referee, and blames it on The Kingdom. Through all of this chaos, one of the title belts becomes involved. Maria Kanellis would distract Matt Jackson, which led to Kazarian rolling him up, grabbing the tights, to get the win, and to retain their titles. Again, the action was solid, but there was a ton of shenanigans towards the end.

After the match, ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness comes out. He’s not happy with all of the shenanigans that just went down, and says it’s not going to go like this, adding that ROH is about clear winners & clear losers. McGuinness then announced a three-way match between The Addiction, The Kingdom, & The Young Bucks at All-Star Extravaganza VII for the ROH World Tag Team Titles.

2.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with The House of Truth) vs. Roderick Strong: ****

Back at Death Before Dishonor XIII, these two fought to a Sixty Minute Time-Limit Draw, so now we’re getting a rematch. I thought this was a great match! I enjoyed it a lot more than their Time-Limit Draw from the month prior. Both of these guys worked very hard, and the crowd was very much into it. The only real issue I had is that, once again, Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel were allowed at ringside, and weren’t thrown out, despite a number of attempts at interference. It’s pretty annoying, if you ask me (especially since they were immediately thrown out of the Jay Briscoe/Jay Lethal ROH World Title Match at Best In The World 2015). The ROH World Title would become involved at one point as well. Towards the end of the match, Strong kicks out of a first Lethal Injection, which the crowd ERUPTS for. However, he soon falls to a second Lethal Injection, and Lethal retains the ROH World Title. Once again, a great match. The latter stages were especially good.

After the match, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish come out and observe from the entranceway. The two members of reDRagon will be challenging Lethal for the ROH World Title & ROH World TV Title, respectively, in separate singles matches at All-Star Extravaganza VII.

3.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. The House of Truth (Donovan Dijak & J. Diesel with Truth Martini): **3/4

We kick off Episode II (with was technically taped first) with reDRagon in action against The House of Truth. Jay Lethal joins Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino on commentary for this one, and you can tell this was taped before the ROH World Title Match, as Lethal is in dress clothes. I thought this was a decent tag team affair. It works in the sense that reDRagon have to get through The House of Truth before they face Jay Lethal, while Diesel & Dijak are tasks with softening up the challengers before the PPV. Diesel & Dijak aren’t the best tag team in the world, but if anyone can get a solid match out of them, it’s reDRagon. Dijak was actually fine here. Diesel didn’t look too good here, and at one point, hits one of the worst sunset flips I’ve ever seen. Screwing up a simple move like that should tell you a lot about Diesel’s wrestling ability. Anyway, reDRagon eventually had both guys in separate submission holds simultaneously, and Fish would tap out Diesel for the win.

After the match, reDRagon exchange words with Jay Lethal, and the two sides need to be separated.

4.) Cedric Alexander (with Veda Scott) vs. Dalton Castle: ***

Silas Young is out on commentary with Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino for this next match. He has a very interesting match with Dalton Castle coming up at All-Star Extravaganza VII, where Young gets possession of Castle’s Boys if he wins, but must become one of Castle’s Boys if Castle wins. As far as this particular match goes, I thought it was a fine undercard bout. Some solid action from both guys here. Towards the end of the match, Young leaves commentary and pulls The Boys off the apron, distracting Castle. This allows Alexander to roll up Castle for the win.

After the match, Stokely Hathaway comes down the aisle with a wrench. This distracts Cedric Alexander & Veda Scott long enough for Moose to slip into the ring, and spear Alexander! Those two will be meeting in a No DQ Match at All-Star Extravaganza VII.

5.) The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. War Machine: ***

Here we have the Main Event of Episode II. I thought it was a solid tag team match. War Machine pretty much dominated the first part of the match, but The Kingdom would eventually fight back against Hanson & Ray Rowe. Maria Kanellis would try to interfere late in the match, but The Young Bucks stopped her. This leads to War Machine hitting Fallout for the win. Again, a fine tag team match, but nothing spectacular.

After the match, The Young Bucks get in the ring, and hit Bennett with a double superkick. Then, The Addiction & Chris Sabin hit the ring and attack The Young Bucks. The ROH World Tag Team Champions would stand tall to close the episode.

Up next we have a segment that took place right after intermission, as Cheeseburger is giving away free merchandise. He’s quickly interrupted by “Brutal” Bob Evans, and his new protégé, Tim Hughes, who run out and attack him. Evans calls Cheeseburger a piece of trash and a glorified mascot. Then “Bushwhacker” Luke Williams, of all people, comes out!!! He’s actually made a few ROH appearances in the past (from what I heard, he’s friends with Cary Silkin). Evans calls him out, saying he’ll take care of him after they’re done with Cheeseburger. However, Cheeseburger fights back, and Bushwhacker Luke gets involved. They take out Hughes together, and then Cheeseburger does the Bushwhacker taunt with “Bushwhacker” Luke Williams. There’s nothing really much to say here. It was a fun little segment.

6.) “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young: ***1/4

This is Elgin’s first match back in ROH after participating in New Japan’s G1 Climax, where he had very impressive performances throughout the tournament. #BIGMIKE is taking on an old rival of his in Silas Young. These two have faced off several times in ROH, as well as on the independent scene. This was a good match, but I have to be honest, it was a little disappointing. These two have had much better matches, and you known they could have done better. Still, this was a good match. Elgin would eventually pick up the win.

After the match, Elgin offered his hand for the post-match handshake, but Young blows him off.

7.) ACH vs. Caprice Coleman: ***

Here we have another match where there’s honestly not that much to say. It was a perfectly fine middle-of-an-episode match, with some solid action from both guys. As one would expect, ACH got the win here over Caprice Coleman.

After the match, Steve Corino interviews Caprice Coleman, and ask him about the envelope Prince Nana gave him. Coleman said the envelope had money and a letter in it. He took the money, and read the letter. He didn’t understand the letter at first, but after reading it over and over again, and after this match, he now understands what Prince Nana was trying to say.

8.) Six-Man Tag – CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Champion “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi Vice) vs. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto & The Briscoes: ****

Goto is making his ROH debut here, and he’s teaming up with The Briscoes to take on the CHAOS contingent of Okada, Rocky Romero, & Trent Beretta. I thought this was a great Six-Man Tag Team Match! I wouldn’t say it was as good as some of the trios matches we’ve seen in ROH this year (many of those involving The Bullet Club trio of AJ Styles & The Young Bucks), but it was still a pretty awesome from start to finish. We saw some cool interactions (including the continuation of the budding storyline between Goto & Okada, where Goto wanted to unify the IWGP Intercontinental Title with the IWGP Heavyweight Title), and some very good action. Eventually, the team of Hirooki Goto & The Briscoes would pick the win here over CHAOS.

9.) Non-Title Match – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA vs. Matt Sydal: ****

Our first match of Episode IV of this TV Taping sees Matt Sydal going up against KUSHIDA. I was really excited about this match going into it, and in my opinion, it definitely delivered. This was an awesome match!! These two are just so good in the ring, that it was nearly impossible for it to be anything less than great. We saw some awesome back & forth action from both guys throughout this match. In the end, Sydal would pick up a huge victory over the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion after hitting his Shooting Star Press.

After the match, Sydal offers a handshake, but KUSHIDA raises his title instead. Obviously, with a huge victory like that, Sydal definitely has an IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title shot in his future.

10.) Four-Corner Survival – Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer & Colby Corino) vs. Will Ferrara vs. Takaaki Watanabe vs. Moose (with Stokely Hathaway): **1/2

Before the match, we get a promo from BJ Whitmer. He says that Adam Page should be in the Main Event, but ROH Management, as well as ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness aren’t listening. Whitmer says that ROH World Champion Jay Lethal is ducking Adam Page. He wants Main Event matches for Adam Page, before he’s finally interrupted by Will Ferrara. This was a decent Four-Corner Survival Match, but honestly, given who was involved, I thought it was going be a little better. It basically served as a buffer between the two big matches on the show. Watanabe would pick up the win here after hitting Ferrara with a STO. I think this might have been the first victory Watanabe has ever had in ROH.

11.) Adam Cole vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: ****1/4

The Main Event of Episode IV, and these TV Tapings in general, is a true dream match. Ever since this ROH/New Japan partnership started, one thing that I’ve seen people clamoring for are dream matches with Adam Cole. We’re finally getting one, as Cole takes on Shinsuke Nakamura. I thought this was a fantastic match!! It was easily the best match on this show, for sure. It was a little long, but it slowly built and built to the point where the latter half of the match was really good. Both guys are just so awesome, and it’s no surprise that they had a great match. The crowd was into it, and the action was just cool from start to finish. Nakamura would get the win, as you would expect, but still, this was the best match of the show for sure.

Overall: 8.5/10

Even though this was a set of TV Tapings, I thought this was a great show as a whole. You had four awesome matches (Cole vs. Nakamura, KUSHIDA vs. Sydal, CHAOS vs. Goto & The Briscoes, and Lethal vs. Strong) which are definitely worth checking out. I think the big draw of this DVD, similar to the Global Wars 2015: Night 2 DVD, is that all of these matches are shown without the commercial interruptions, meaning you can see all of these matches in full. I think that allows people to get a better appreciation for the four great matches I just went over earlier. The rest of the card, for the most part, is actually pretty solid. The ROH World Tag Team Title Match was good, despite a lot of shenanigans, and all of the other matches (save for one) ranged from **3/4 to ***1/4. A really solid outing from ROH that’s definitely worth checking out.

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