ROH Field of Honor 2015
Brooklyn, New York 8/22/15
1.) Shaheem Ali vs. Will Ferrara: **
A fun little pre-show match here. Ferrara gets the win here, which is no surprise, since he’s the hometown guy.
Another item in the bonus section is a race around the bases (which, I guess, took place in the middle of the show) between Cheeseburger and the “Honor Cow”. To quickly summarize, the race starts and “Honor Cow” shoves Cheeseburger, who then runs after and tackles the “Honor Cow”. He removes the top of the costume to reveal that it’s Steve Corino in the costume. Cheeseburger would go on to win the race.
Before our first match, we have Taeler Hendrix coming out, for some reason. She throws a baseball at the “Honor Cow”. Not sure what the point was…
1.) Adam Cole vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Christopher Daniels: ***1/4
This is actually the second singles meeting between these two in ROH. Cole won their first encounter at Glory By Honor XIII in San Antonio, Texas in November of 2014. I thought this was a fine opening match, but honestly, I was expecting a little more. Their first match was significantly better than this one. Now don’t get me wrong, this was a still a solid opening match (exactly the kind of match you want as an opener), but again, given what these two had done together previously, it had the potential to be so much more. Chris Sabin tried to interfere towards the end of the match to help Daniels, but it would end up backfiring, and Adam Cole would score the victory.
2.) GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Killer Elite Squad vs. War Machine: ***1/2
These two teams had a match back in April in San Antonio, Texas that went to a no contest because (if I recall correctly), both teams were more focused on beating each other up than winning the match. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. are still holding the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles from Pro Wrestling NOAH, and are still members of Minoru Suzuki’s stable, called Suzuki-gun. I thought this was a very good tag team match. I’ve seen some reviews that didn’t like the match as much, but personally, I had a ton of fun watching this match. Seeing these four big dudes beating the crap out of each other was just entertaining to watch. The Killer Elite Squad are such an underrated and underappreciated tag team, and I would love to see Hanson & Ray Rowe get some opportunities in Japan. I feel as though they’d be a great fit. In the end, War Machine would score a huge non-title victory here over the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
After the match, Hanson & Ray Rowe say that they’re coming to NOAH to take the titles from The Killer Elite Squad. They would, in fact, journey to Japan about a few weeks later to challenge Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. for those titles in NOAH.
3.) ROH World TV Title #1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match – Adam Page (with BJ Whitmer & Colby Corino) vs. Dalton Castle vs. ROH World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian (with Chris Sabin) vs. Silas Young vs. “Bushwhacker” Luke Williams vs. Moose (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Donovan Dijak (with The House of Truth) vs. Cedric Alexander (with Veda Scott) vs. Takaaki Watanabe: **3/4
So here we have a match that was basically designed to get the rest of the mid-card guys on the show. The winner of this match will receive a shot a the ROH World TV Title at the TV Tapings in San Antonio, Texas on September 19th, which is the day after the All-Star Extravaganza VII PPV in the same city. The order I have the competitors listed above is where they entered the match. I’ll try to give a brief rundown of the eliminations.
Before the first match (Adam Page vs. Dalton Castle) begins, Adam Page calls out Jay Briscoe for “dodging him” over the past few weeks, and vows to break the neck of Jay Briscoe when he gets his hands on him. The highlight of this first match was Page hitting a nasty looking powerslam on Castle. Towards the end of this first match, Colby Corino tries to use one of BJ Whitmer’s crutches, but The Boys steal the crutch, and attack Whitmer, who fights them off. Page gets the other crutch, but Castle rolls him up and eliminates him. Page then attacks Castle with crutch after the match and hits the Right of Passage on Castle. Kazarian, the next entrant, comes out with Chris Sabin. Castle fights them off, but is eventually overwhelmed. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Castle manages to beat Kazarian, but is beaten down by both Kazarian & Sabin after the match. This left Castle to be easy pickings for the next entrant, Silas Young, who beats him very quickly. “Bushwhacker” Luke Williams is out next, and they basically repeat the infamous spot from the 1991 Royal Rumble Match, where Luke gets tossed out immediately. He then does his walking taunt…thing…around the bases, and gets counted out.
The next entrant in the match is Moose. He soon dispatches of Young. Donovan Dijak then enters the match, and Moose beats him as well. Cedric Alexander is the next entrant, but Veda Scott comes out and distracts Moose, which allows Cedric to sneak up on Moose from behind and hit him with a wrench. Alexander scores the quick elimination, and Takaaki Watanabe, the final entrant, makes his way out. They have a fun little back & forth match, before Watanabe puts away Alexander, scoring the victory and a future shot at the ROH World TV Title.
Sorry, that wasn’t as “short” as I would have hoped. Now ROH has done Gauntlet Matches in the past, and the ones I’ve seen have all usually been fine. This was decent for what it was, but the issue was that it just went WAAAAY too long. It was around a half-hour or so, which is just too long for a match like this. Maybe it could have been better if the field had been, say, only six guys, but the match was just too long. Still, there were some good moments in here. One thing that I liked in particular was how they weaved a number of different stories (Castle/Young, Alexander/Moose) into the match in a way that actually worked out well in advancing those stories.
4.) Eight-Man Tag Team Match – ACH, Matt Sydal, & The Young Bucks vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) & Roppongi Vice: ***1/2
So The Kingdom had formed a bit of an “alliance” with CHAOS during the summer. This basically consisted of teaming with CHAOS in multi-man tags, like this one. It’s a little weird that they would acknowledge this in ROH, because in North America, The Kingdom are clear heels, while CHAOS (or really anyone from New Japan in general) are pretty definitive babyfaces. As far as this match is concerned, I thought this was pretty entertaining. There was some good action, as you would expect in a match like this. There were also some funny moments. At one point, Roppongi Vie & The Kingdom start a little baseball game of their own. Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta run the bases successfully. The Kingdom run the bases, and as they’re about to reach home, they get superkicked by The Young Bucks. In the end, an amazing combo of More Bang For Your Buck from The Young Bucks, ACH’s Midnight Star, and Matt Sydal’s Shooting Star Press would score the victory for the babyface team.
After the match, the babyface team takes the head of Steve Corino’s “Honor Cow” costume, puts it on Rocky Romero, and they hit a Quadruple Superkick on him.
5.) IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs. “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin: ***3/4
These two had a great match in Korakuen Hall a few weeks prior during the closing stages of the G1 Climax. Goto won that encounter, and they’re having a rematch here. While I don’t think this was as good as their first match, this was still really good. Elgin’s experience in the G1 Climax has really changed him for the better, and he’s already started to show off those positive changes here. Great back & forth action between these two, as you would expect. Eventually, Goto is able to score the victory over Elgin. Again, their match in G1 Climax was better, but this was still really good.
After the match, Elgin debates not shaking Goto’s hand, but raises his hand instead. A good show of sportsmanship from Elgin there.
6.) The Briscoes vs. The Time Splitters: ***3/4
This was billed as a dream tag team match. I would certainly agree with that statement. Interestingly enough, this was around the time when KUSHIDA was really starting to migrate more towards being a singles guy. I thought this was a very good tag team match, bordering on being a great match. There was some great action from both teams to start to finish. However, there was an unfortunate moment about midway through the match, as Alex Shelley either got a few of his front teeth severely chipped, or knocked out entirely, after a knee to the face from (ironically enough) Mark Briscoe. It’s amazing that happened, when you consider Shelley was wearing a mouth piece. Major kudos to Shelley for continuing the match despite the obvious injury. The Briscoes would eventually get the win after Jay Briscoe hit the Jay Driller on Shelley.
After the match, Shelley was tended to, and once he came to his feet, all four men shook hands.
7.) IWGP Heavyweight Champion “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/2
Here we have arguably the second big dream singles match of the weekend. Strong had fantastic matches with Tanahashi & Nakamura back in May during the ROH/New Japan North American Tour, and now, he’s facing the “Rainmaker” and the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion. I thought this was an amazing match!!! Strong continues to have an incredible 2015, and is now 3-for-3 when it comes to awesome matches against top New Japan talent. It was a little slow to start, but once it got going, it was incredible. I feel these two just mesh really well together. Okada was his usual awesome self, and Strong stepped up once again. Amazing back & forth action between these two. The last few minutes in particular, which included some really cool counters, were just incredible. In the end, Okada would score the victory, but Strong put forth an amazing effort. One of the best matches in ROH in 2015!!
After the match, Strong raises Okada’s hand in a show of respect.
8.) ROH World Champion & ROH Word TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions reDRagon: ***3/4
Here we have an interesting Main Event. While Jay Lethal is taking on his two challengers at All-Star Extravaganza VII, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish, he’s also got to deal with his partner in this match: Shinsuke Nakamura. While I wouldn’t call this a fantastic match by any means (it would be hard for this match to be really great since it had to follow Okada/Strong), this was still a very good tag team match. The action was pretty solid throughout, and the crowd was into it. I got especially excited whenever Nakamura had interactions with reDRagon. Lethal & Nakamura weren’t exactly getting along, and there were points of miscommunication. Towards the end of the match, Truth Martini actually wanted Nakamura to use the Book of Truth, but Nakamura simply threw it out of the ring. This wasn’t the best match on the show, but this was still a very good tag team match. The only real issue I have with this is that Lethal pinned Fish clean (after a Lethal Injection while Nakamura had O’Reilly in a cross armbreaker). I feel like that was a bad move to have Lethal pin one of his challengers clean with only a few weeks to go before All-Star Extravaganza VII. I would have preferred if Fish just counted Lethal there and rolled him up for the win. At least that would add more to their upcoming title match.
After the match, Nakamura shakes hands with reDRagon. He then wants to shake hands with Lethal, but the ROH Undisputed Champions blows him off. It feels like they may have been building towards a future Lethal vs. Nakamura match, but of course, Nakamura later going to WWE definitely changed any plans they may have had.
This is the second year in a row that ROH has run outdoors at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York, and I would say this was definitely an improvement compared to the first Field of Honor event. The quality of the show, as a whole, was just better than the year prior. Aside from the #1 Contender’s Gauntlet Match, which was simply too long, every match on the show was, at minimum, good. We had a number of matches that were really good, but just missed out on being great matches (The Main Event, Briscoes/Time Splitters, Goto/Elgin). There was also a legit MOTYC in Kazuchika Okada vs. Roderick Strong. That match needs to be seen!! Finally, the fans at MCU Park were much better (aka more well behaved) than they were at the first Field of Honor event in 2014. A very good outing from ROH, and a show that I would say is worth checking out.