Monday, June 20, 2016

ROH Reloaded Tour '15: Dearborn Review

reDRagon & The Young Bucks clash in an unadvertised Main Event, while Defy or Deny makes its return!

ROH Reloaded Tour ’15: Dearborn
Dearborn, Michigan 9/11/15

1.) Owen Travers vs. Father Time: *

Father Time is a very old wrestler, who is apparently the only “legally blind” wrestler in the world today. He cuts a promo talking about how he’s fought through three stokes, and battled cancer. This was basically a showcase match for Father Time. At one point, he actually hit Old School, which was very impressive for his age, and Travers sold it with a Rock Flop/Fish Out of Water Bump. Father Time wins with a Full Nelson that, apparently, put Travers to sleep. Seriously. Travers stood there for a good minute after the match, seemingly sleeping while standing up. Anyway, I’m sure this was a fun match live.

Main Show

1.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Bobby Fish vs. Will Ferrara: **3/4

We properly kick things off with Bobby Fish taking on Will Ferrara. This was a fine little opener. It wasn’t the best opener in the world, but it was still a fun match for what it was. There some nice action between these two, and in the end, Bobby Fish would use his heel hook to score the submission victory.

2.) Moose (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Samson Walker: ***

Walker has made a number of sporadic appearances in ROH this year. To be honest, I thought that Moose was just going to squash Walker here on his way to All-Star Extravaganza VII, but Walker put up a fight, and this actually turned out to be a solid match. I don’t think Walker is someone who will become a full-time member of the roster, but in some of his appearances, he’s certainly impressed. In hindsight, I’m actually not surprised that he had a good match with another large competitor in Moose. It was definitely better than I was expecting. Eventually, Moose would score the win here.

3.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly vs. Silas Young: ***3/4

I think this is the first time that these two have faced off in ROH. I really enjoyed this match. This was probably the best match Young has had in ROH since his return from injury. There was some comedy (mainly surrounding, of all things, headlocks), but there was also some pretty good action throughout. The one criticism I have concerning this match is that it felt like it went a little too long, in my opinion. It was about eighteen minutes, and I just think that it didn’t need to go that long, especially when the match that came after this one went around the same amount of time. If this was twelve or thirteen minutes, I think it might have cracked the **** mark for me. In the end, I just think the time did have a bit of negative impact on this match. O’Reilly would get the win here in a match that was very good, but was just shy of being great.

After the match, O’Reilly offered a handshake, but Young fakes him out and leaves.

4.) Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong: ****1/4

These two have a LOOONG history with each other in ROH. They’ve had several singles matches against each other over the last few years, including Cole defeating Strong to win the ROH World TV Title in 2012, and a several match series in 2013. I’m not sure if this was the best match these two had had in ROH (I’d have to check), but it’s certainly up there. This was an awesome match!! These two have some really good chemistry, and they showed it once again in this match. There was some great action from start to finish. The latter stages of the match were especially exciting, and they really got the crowd into it by the end. Eventually, Strong would score the victory over Cole.

After the match, Cole & Strong hugged, and once again, we continue to see Cole’s progression towards the babyface side of the roster (at this point, he’s pretty much there).

5.) Hakeem Zane vs. Jake Something: **3/4

I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve seen Jake Something before. I just can’t put my finger on it. By the way, what an uncreative name that is. He’s taking on Hakeem Zane, who’s actually made some ROH appearances in the past (mainly on shows in Dearborn). This actually wasn’t that bad for a match between two local guys that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Hakeem Zane would pick up the win here.

After the match, Adam Page comes out and attacks both men with a crutch. BJ Whitmer tosses the mic to Page, who says that even though they have a No Holds Barred Match scheduled for the following week in San Antonio, he wants to fight Jay Briscoe right now!! Briscoe comes out, and the two go at it for a bit before Page bails. Briscoe calls Page a bitch, before calling out his opponent for tonight, Takaaki Watanabe, saying that Watanabe, unlike Page, isn’t a bitch.

6.) Jay Briscoe vs. Takaaki Watanabe: ***1/2

Going into this, I thought this had the potential to be good, but it was definitely better than I was expecting! This was a really good match. For Watanabe, I would say that this was his best outing in ROH up to this point (though that would change in a big way the following night in Chicago Ridge). This match didn’t go very long (it was just under ten minutes), but they managed to pack a fair amount of action in the time they were given. Jay Briscoe would, of course, pick up the win here in a match that was definitely a pleasant surprise.

After the match, Adam Page attacks Jay Briscoe, hitting him with the Right of Passage. Watanabe would end up chasing Page off.

As Jay Briscoe was making his way to his feet, The Romantic Touch comes out and attempts to give Briscoe a box with rose pedals in it. Jay Briscoe smacks the box away and tosses his rose into the crowd. So, this segment really doesn’t make sense in a vacuum, but in hindsight, it is “sort of” a teaser (but more on that in a future review).

7.) Best-of-Five Series: Match #1 – ACH vs. Matt Sydal: ****1/4

So one of the bigger events that occurred in ROH during the Fall of 2015 was a battle between two tag team partners in a Best-of-Five Series. I think the story is that ACH went to ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness, and wanted a match against his tag team partner in order to prove himself. McGuinness decided to make things more interesting by making this a Best-of-Five Series. This is the first match in the series. These two actually had a singles match in 2014 during the Survival of the Fittest Tournament, which Sydal won. I thought this first match in the series was pretty awesome!! For comparison, I’d say this was right on par with that first encounter in 2014 (though, if I had to choose, I’d pick this match over that one). There was some pretty great action throughout this match, and they managed to tell a really good story as well. This match did a really good job setting the tone for the rest of this series, and it got me really excited for the remainder of the matches in the series. Sydal would eventually pick up the win with his Shooting Star Press to take a 1-0 lead in the series. An excellent encounter between these two.

After the match, ACH shook ands with Sydal.

8.) Defy or Deny – ROH World Champion & ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini & Taeler Hendrix) vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Dalton Castle vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/2

This is the fourth Defy or Deny Match. I feel like ROH always mixes up what the exact rules for this match are. In the past, I believe they’ve said that, if the champion wins, then the last person who is eliminated from the match is the one who is eliminated from title contention. In this match, however, Kevin Kelly explained that if Lethal won, then all three of his opponents in this match would be eliminated from title contention. To be clear, a shot at the ROH World TV Title is on the line here. This was a pretty solid match. It was far from the best Defy or Deny Match, but I don’t think it was the worst either. There was a bit of comedy, mainly between Mark Briscoe & Dalton Castle, but there was also some pretty good action throughout this match. Cedric Alexander would get eliminated first by Dalton Castle. Mark Briscoe soon followed suit, as Jay Lethal eliminated him after a Lethal Injection. It finally came down to Jay Lethal & Dalton Castle. There would end up being some shenanigans between Truth Martini and The Boys, and through the chaos, Lethal would hit Castle with a low blow, following by a Lethal Injection, to win the match. Based on what Kevin Kelly said earlier, this means that Dalton Castle, Mark Briscoe, & Cedric Alexander, are locked out of contention for the ROH World TV Title.

The Young Bucks come out for their match against The Kingdom, which was the originally scheduled Main Event, but Matt Jackson announces that The Kingdom aren’t in the building (I think they may have had some travel issues). He said that The Young Bucks had promised a Superkick Party, but The Kingdom not being there has ruined those plans. reDRagon then comes out! Kyle O’Reilly suggests that reDRagon & The Young Bucks do battle one more time! Bobby Fish says they’ve done battle all over the world, but since ROH can’t sanction this match, they could fight in a match with no rules at all. The Young Bucks immediately hit a dive and the match is on!!

9.) No Rules Match - IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. The Young Bucks: ***3/4

For an impromptu match, this was actually really good!! I guess it just goes to show just how good these two teams are, especially on this night, as Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly had matches earlier in the night. This match only went about nine minutes or so, but they packed A TON of action into this one, and the crowd was into it the whole time. Now I do have something to say about the stipulation, as it’s a little misleading. Truth be told, this was more of a Tornado Tag Team Match than a No Rules/Anything Goes Match. There really were no weapons used in this one, but honestly, it doesn’t matter, because this was still an awesome match. The Young Bucks went all out in this match, giving O’Reilly an IndyTaker on the floor at one point, and using Chasing The Dragon on Bobby Fish (which Fish kicked out of) before finishing him off with a Meltzer Driver to win the match.

After the match, Nick Jackson takes the mic, and says that they’ve wrestled all over the world, and that there’s no other tag team that competes at the caliber of reDRagon. The two teams shake hands and embrace, but then The Kingdom run out and attack both teams! At one point, they hit O’Reilly with the Hail Mary, which is their tag team finisher. Bennett sarcastically apologizes for crashing the party, and Taven says that not only is The Kingdom the best tag team in ROH, but they will be the next ROH World Tag Team Champions. Adam Cole then comes out. The Kingdom asks him to come into the ring, but Cole waves them off and says “I’m done”, which seemingly signaled that he was done with The Kingdom.

Overall: 8.5/10

I thought this was a really good show from ROH. You had two awesome matches in Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong & ACH vs. Matt Sydal in the first match in their Best-of-Five Series, which I would say are definitely worth checking out. You also have some other really good matches scattered throughout the card like Kyle O’Reilly vs. Silas Young, Jay Briscoe vs. Takaaki Watanabe, Defy or Deny, and the impromptu Main Event (which was A TON of fun). For me, what puts this show slightly above a show like Field of Honor 2015 is that this show actually had some significant development/progression of some bigger storylines, mainly the stuff surrounding Adam Cole’s allegiances. Plus, I feel like the first match in the Best-of-Five Series really adds a lot to this DVD as well, if you’re someone looking to watch the whole series between ACH & Matt Sydal. Finally, I just have a quick note about the commentary on this show. Even though the bickering between BJ Whitmer & Kevin Kelly got tad annoying, Whitmer did do a good job on commentary when he was out there. As a whole, this show continued the trend of ROH having some very good shows in the late summer/early fall of 2015.

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