Monday, June 20, 2016

ROH Reloaded Tour '15: Chicago Ridge Review

Future Shock reunites to take on The Young Bucks in the Main Event!!

ROH Reloaded Tour ’15: Chicago Ridge
Chicago Ridge, Illinois 9/12/15


1.) Alpha Class (Danny Adams & Paco Gonzalez) vs. “The Outlaw” Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali: **3/4

All four of these guys having been doing a lot of pre-show/preliminary stuff over the past few months. The team of Danny Adams & Paco Gonzalez now have a team name, as they are now calling themselves Alpha Class. Ken Phoenix has going through a plethora of different tag team partners, and on this show, he’s teaming with Shaheem Ali. I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this (and why would you, it’s the pre-show/dark match), but this really surprised me. This was actually a pretty decent match. Alpha Class showed a lot here, with some new double team moves, and actually looked competitive. Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali (the latter in particular) looked good as well. Honestly, this was better than a few of the matches on the actual main card. The team of Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali pick up the win in this better-than-expected pre-show match.

Main Show

1.) The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. Curt Stallion & Brad Kevins: DUD

Our opening contest is a squash match. The Kingdom basically destroy two jobbers in a very quick match. I guess it was mean to put over the fact that The Kingdom mean business heading towards All-Star Extravaganza VII. They even hit one of these guys with their tag team finisher, Hail Mary, on the floor!

After the match, The Kingdom have something to say. Matt Taven says they came here to talk to Adam Cole. He adds that Michael Bennett, Maria Kanellis, and himself kept Cole relevant while Cole was on the shelf. The Kingdom doesn’t like the fact that Cole has been hanging around with reDRagon, and they want an answer from Adam Cole on where he stands. Adam Cole comes out. Michael Bennett wants to talk to Cole as a friend, and reminds him that The Kingdom has had his back for a long time. He says their appearance in Japan at the Seibu Dome was one of the best moments of his life, but adds that it wasn’t his fault that Cole got hurt and lost the ROH World Title. Bennett says that the only reason he kept title was because of The Kingdom (thought technically Matt Taven didn’t join The Kingdom until after Cole lost the ROH World Title). Maria Kanellis takes the mic and demands an answer from Cole. This leads to reDRagon coming out. They face off with The Kingdom, but then The Young Bucks come out and hit Bennett & Taven with a pair of superkicks. Cole did nothing to help Bennett & Taven, while Kevin Kelly implies that Cole doing nothing in that moment was his answer. The Young Bucks then have a stare down with Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish.

2.) Dalton Castle vs. The Beer City Bruiser (with Silas Young): **1/2

Here’s the thing with this match. I don’t mind the fact that it’s happening, since it works in the storyline that Castle has to go through The Beer City Bruiser before he gets to Silas Young, while The Beer City Bruiser is trying to soften up Castle before All-Star Extravaganza VII. My issue is that I just don’t like The Beer City Bruiser as a singles guy. He’s fine in his role as Silas Young’s partner-in-crime (so to speak), but I just can’t get into him that much as a singles wrestler. Granted, this match wasn’t too bad (it was actually an ok match), but it says a lot when the pre-show match is better than this (and I don’t pin any of that on Castle). Towards the end of the match, Silas Young would distract Castle by going after The Boys, but they fight back. Castle, in the end, was able to get the win over The Beer City Bruiser.

Silas Young attacks The Boys on the outside after the match, but runs off before Dalton Castle could get to him.

3.) “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Takaaki Watanabe: ****1/4

Maybe this is just me noticing this now, but Watanabe has really bulked up, especially when you compared him to how he looked when he made his ROH debut against, ironically enough, Michael Elgin. This was added just a few days before the show, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in. Their first encounter at Global Wars 2014 was fine, but nothing special. By comparison, this match definitely blew their first encounter out of the water. This match was awesome!! These two went at each other right at the opening bell, and never let up. There was great, hard-hitting action from start to finish, and by the end of the match, the crowd was really into it. You could have easily put this match in the G1 Climax, and it wouldn’t have felt out of place at all. This really did feel like a G1 Climax match. The closing stretch was especially awesome. Eventually, Elgin was able to finally put away Watanabe for the victory. Again, this was an incredible match!

After the match, Michael Elgin takes the mic. He says that he’s had his ups & downs, but spending time in New Japan has helped him realize how important ROH is to him. It reminded him that, in between the ropes, nobody does it better than ROH. He then puts over Watanabe, saying he’d gladly fight him all night long. Elgin adds that Watanabe will be going back to Japan soon, and that he has no doubt that he’ll be a big success.

So next, we were scheduled to get Mark Briscoe vs. Adam Page. After Mark Briscoe makes his way out, BJ Whitmer (who was on commentary) takes the mic and tries to speak, but is drowned out by loud “Shut Up BJ!” chants for several minutes. It kept going for so long that Mark Briscoe actually tried to get the crowd to quiet down so Whitmer could speak, but to no avail. At one point, Kevin Kelly even pretends falling asleep at the commentary table. Chicago really hates BJ Whitmer, that’s for sure. After what felt like forever, he finally says that Adam Page is hurt, after “throwing out his shoulder” beating up Jay Briscoe the night before. He makes disparaging comments towards Mark Briscoe, and then Adam Page comes out in a sling and hits Mark with a low blow. He beats him up until Jay Briscoe comes out to make the save. Jay throws a table into the ring, and it looks like they’re going to put Page through it, but Whitmer pulls Page out of the ring.

The Romantic Touch then comes out, for some unknown reason (again, like I’ve mentioned in another review, this does have a little bit of sense with the benefit of hindsight). He gets “this is awkward” chants, and lays down on the table in a sexy manner. The Briscoes then decide to beat him up. Jay goes to put him through the table with a top rope splash, but the table doesn’t break. They then set the table up in the corner, and throw The Romantic Touch through the table. Jay then takes a mic and says what they just did to The Romantic Touch is a sample of what’s in store for Page in San Antonio.

4.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong: ****

I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this match, other than it was pretty great! These two worked really well together here. It was a little slow to get going, but it built and built until the point where it became really good. Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish are two of the best in-ring wrestlers in the company. It’s hard for them to have anything less than a good match, and they had a great match here. Bobby Fish would eventually get the win after hitting a second Falcon Arrow.

Both men shake hands after the match.

5.) Four-Corner Survival – Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Samson Walker vs. Will Ferrara: **1/2

I have very little to say about this match. It was a decent Four-Corner Survival. All four competitors had the chance to shine here, but in the end, Silas Young would pick up the victory.

6.) Jay Briscoe vs. Cedric Alexander: ***1/2

Cedric refuses a pre-match handshake offer from Jay Briscoe. I thought this was a pretty good match. It wasn’t as good as some of the other matches we’ve gotten so far, but it was still very solid. I’ve always enjoyed watching both Jay Briscoe & Cedric Alexander, so it was easy for me to get into it. Towards the end of the match, Alexander goes to use his wrench, but Stokely Hathaway (who was on commentary) takes wrench away from him. This distraction allows Jay Briscoe to hit Alexander with a spinning forearm for the win. The finish was a little flat, but I still liked the match up to that point.

After the match, Cedric Alexander attacks Stokely Hathaway (this included several corner dropkicks in a row). Referees and security have to pull him off. Why Moose didn’t come out to stop this attack as it was happening, I have no idea. Alexander leaves through the crowd. THEN Moose finally comes out to help Hathaway to the back. Alexander then runs down the entrance way and blasts Moose with a wrench! Kevin Kelly immediate questions whether Moose will even be able to compete in his scheduled match with Jay Lethal later on.

7.) Best-of-Five Series: Match #2 – ACH vs. Matt Sydal: ****

Matt Sydal won the first match the night before in Dearborn, meaning that he’s off to a 1-0 lead in the series. While this was just a notch of their match in Dearborn, this was still a pretty awesome match. What I thought was really interesting here is that it was a totally different match from the night before. Sydal, for the most part, dominated this match, with ACH fighting back at certain points here & there. It looked like this match was going to end the same way as the night before, but ACH got his foot up during Sydal’s Shooting Star Press attempt. This stunned Sydal, and ACH followed up with a quick brainbuster, followed by the Midnight Star for the victory. ACH ties the series up 1-1. I really liked that finish. ACH basically learned from his mistakes the night before, and was able to come away with the win. Again, not quite as good as their match from Dearborn, but it was still an awesome match that told a really good story.

ACH & Matt Sydal shake hands after the match. Match #3 in the Best-of-Five Series takes place at All-Star Extravaganza VII.

8.) Proving Ground Match – ROH World Champion & ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini & Taeler Hendrix) vs. Moose: ***1/4

If Moose wins this match, then he will receive a future shot at the ROH World Title. Truth Martini gives Lethal a special introduction before Lethal takes the mic and talks about how Moose “can’t keep his nose out of other people’s business” and can’t compete tonight (as he was attacked by Cedric Alexander with a wrench a short time earlier). He talks about his double title defenses at All-Star Extravaganza VII, and decides to issue an open challenge for tonight. However, Moose still answers the call. Referees try to convince him not to (as he’s still feeling the effects of the earlier attack), but Lethal jumpstarts things by diving right onto Moose!

Now as far as the match itself is concerned, it was good, but I feel like it could have been better. I think Moose’s “head injury” did hurt the match to a degree, but still, the action in this one was still pretty solid. Despite the earlier attack by Cedric Alexander, Moose was still able to take it to Jay Lethal at a number of different points. The finish was actually very cool, as Lethal counted a jumping cross-body off the top rope by Moose into a cutter, and then hit the Lethal Injection for the victory.

After the match, Lethal gets into a verbal confrontation with Bobby Fish, who was doing commentary with Kevin Kelly. Fish challenges Lethal for the ROH World TV Title at All-Star Extravaganza VII.

Before the Main Event, Kevin Kelly announces to the crowd that Chicago Ridge will be one of the stops on the annual ROH/New Japan North American Tour in May 2016. The crowd explodes with excitement when this got announced!

9.) Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/2

This is far from the first time these two teams have clashed. They’ve had a number of encounters in ROH and PWG, but it’s been a few years, and all four guys have gotten much better during that time. That was one of the main reasons I was looking forward to this match. The competitors involved have changed and evolved so much in just a few years. In the end, they didn’t disappoint. I thought this was an amazing match!!! The Young Bucks were their usual awesome selves, and to seemed like Future Shock never lost a step. There was incredible action from start to finish, and the crowd in Chicago Ridge was definitely into it. I loved this match!! It was easily one of my favorite ROH matches of 2015. Eventually, after an awesome back & forth match, The Young Bucks were able to score the victory.

After the match, The Kingdom came down to the ring. Matt Taven says it looks like Adam Cole made his choice. He ran Cole down verbally, before saying that The Kingdom will win the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Michael Bennett takes the mic and runs down Chicago (calling it a “city of losers”) and says The Kingdom are the “Tom Brady of Pro-Wrestling”. The Young Bucks challenge The Kingdom to a fight right now. Maria Kanellis says no, and they seemingly go to the back, but then The Kingdom charge the ring, only to be met with superkicks from The Young Bucks to close the show.

Overall: 9.0/10

Honestly, this was one of my favorite ROH Live Events of 2015. For the most part, it was an enjoyable show from start to finish. You really can’t go wrong with a show that has four matches that are **** or better. Future Shock vs. The Young Bucks was everything I would have hoped for. Elgin vs. Watanabe was an extremely pleasant surprise, as we basically got a hard-hitting G1 Climax match in a ROH ring. You also had a really great encounter between Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish, and another awesome chapter in the ACH/Matt Sydal Best-of-Five Series. Now there were a few matches that didn’t exactly deliver, but there was a lot of stuff on the undercard that helped build towards All-Star Extravaganza VII. I think when you have a show that has a number of awesome matches, and combine that with storyline developments and more build for the upcoming PPV, you have the makings of a great show, and that’s exactly what this was.

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