Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Evolve 79 Review

Zack Sabre Jr. finally captures the Evolve Title!!!

My star ratings for Evolve 79 are listed below, but please be sure to read my full review of the show on Voices of Wrestling:

Evolve 79
Woodside, Queens, New York 2/25/17

1.) ACH vs. Jason Kincaid: ***1/4

2.) Four-Way Freestyle - Anthony Henry vs. Austin Theory vs. Chris Dickinson vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Fred Yehi: ***1/2

3.) Jaka vs. Jeff Cobb: ***3/4

4.) Keith Lee vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Tracy Williams: ***3/4

5.) "All Ego" Ethan Page (with The Gatekeepers) vs. Darby Allin: ***1/4

6.) Drew Galloway vs. Matt Riddle: ****

7.) Evolve Title - Timothy Thatcher (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ****1/2

Overall: 8.5/10

Evolve 78 Review

Timothy Thatcher defends the Evolve Title against Fred Yehi!

Evolve 78
Joppa, Maryland 2/24/17

1.) Anthony Henry vs. Matt Riddle: ***1/2

Henry earned this opportunity after a strong showings at the first two Style Battle events. I thought this was a really good opening contest. There was enjoyable, hard-hitting action from start to finish, and it featured a fare amount of intensity. The amount of time they were given (about ten or eleven minutes) was perfect for this shot. Henry was actually a great opponent for Riddle, since he also has an MMA background. Riddle would ultimately get the win with the Bromission. I enjoyed this a lot, and it's certainly in the conversation for best match on the card.

After the match, Matt Riddle took the mic, proclaiming that he wants to win all of the titles in the WWN Family. However, before he can do that, he needed to deal with Drew Galloway. Riddle wants to kick Galloway's ass right now, but the rest of Catch Point come out instead. Tracy Williams took the mic, and offered Riddle congratulations on his win, but reminded him that tonight was Fred Yehi's night. Yehi then took the mic. He said that the last time he was in Joppa, Maryland, he won the Evolve Tag Team Titles with Tracy Williams, and declared that tonight will be magic all over again. Dickinson then grabs the mic and calls out for The Gatekeepers for their match, but Larry Dallas comes out instead. Dallas (once again) pushed the issue of Dickinson & Jaka challenging for the Evolve Tag Team Titles in the future before Williams said that Catch Point is about competition, and reiterated that tonight is about Fred Yehi walking away with the Evolve Title.

2.) Austin Theory vs. Darby Allin: ***

Despite the fact that Chris Dickinson called out The Gatekeepers, we didn't get that match following the end of the segment. Instead, Austin Theory (who had recently signed a contract with Evolve/WWN at only nineteen years old) took on Darby Allin in what ended up being an entertaining sprint. It only went about five minutes or so, but they packed a good amount of action in the time they were given. What was particularly notable about this one is that Priscilla Kelly, who had just started making appearances in FIP, came down the ring and observed the action. It was pretty clear that she had her eyes on one of them, but at the time, we really didn't know who. As for the result, Austin Theory would emerge victorious. This was short, and a lot of fun to watch.

3.) "All Ego" Ethan Page (with The Gatekeepers) vs. Jason Kincaid: ***1/4

I was actually looking forward to this one, as you had a smaller guy with an incredibly unique high-flying move set in Kincaid taking on a (relatively) larger guy in the form of Ethan Page. I thought this was a very enjoyable match. Much like the opener, it went about ten minutes, and they managed to fit in some fun back & forth action. At this point, it's almost impossible for me to not enjoy a match involving Jason Kincaid, because you just can't take your eyes off of him. His offense is so cool, and it really helps him stand out (if his look didn't accomplish that already). Ethan Page was good here as well, as a whole, this was a solid outing for both men. It wasn't necessarily a memorable match, but it was perfectly fine for it's spot on the card. Page would eventually get the win after hitting Kincaid with the RK-EGO.

Chris Dickinson & Jaka hit the ring almost immediately after Page won, and started brawling with The Gatekeepers, which signaled the start of our next contest....

4.) Catch Point (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. The Gatekeepers: ***1/4

This was another match that I was really looking forward to, even though it didn't get much attention compared to some of the other bouts on this card. This was a very enjoyable tag team affair. You had four large dudes beating the crap out of each other for nine or ten minutes. Similar to Ethan Page vs. Jason Kincaid, this wasn't a match that you're to remember a week or two after the fact, but it was fun for what it was. Aside from Dickinson & Jaka getting the win, there's not much else to say about this one.

5.) ACH vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Tracy Williams: ***1/2

Since his return to Evolve, ACH has been unofficially running the "Catch Point Gauntlet". He lost to Matt Riddle at Evolve 76, but defeated Evolve Tag Team Champion Fred Yehi at Evolve 77. Now he's going up against Tracy Williams, who was the other half of the Evolve Tag Team Champions. This was a really good match. There was solid, technical wrestling throughout, but it just went a little too long for my liking. As I've said in some of my past reviews on this blog, I can never fault a match that has clean, proficient wrestling. These two did a very good job here, in that regard, but it never felt they got into that next gear. It certainly had the potential to be great, but they failed to reach that level. ACH would ultimately get the win after hitting Williams with a brainbuster. 

After the match, Larry Dallas came out, and asked Williams (who was clearly annoyed) if Fred Yehi was going to be ready for his title match. Williams said that he doesn't want to see Dallas again, but proclaims that Yehi will get the job done tonight.

6.) Jeff Cobb vs. Drew Galloway: ***1/2

This was an interesting matchup on paper. Cobb is known as the power guy who tosses people around, but then you have Galloway, who easily towers over Cobb. I should mention that it had been a few months since we had seen Galloway in action in Evolve, as he had been out of action due to real life injuries and storyline suspensions since October/November. When the dust settled, this ended up being a really good match (I've said that a lot in this review, haven't I?). There was strong action throughout, and both guys looked very solid. Cobb got to showcase his power, and even tossed around Galloway on a few occasions. The latter half of this match featured some particularly good action, and in the end, Galloway connected with his Future Shock DDT to secure the victory.

After the match, Galloway took the mic, and said that it's hard to be in a feud with someone when you're expressing yourself and speaking truths while the other person just says "Bro". Galloway calls Riddle out for a fight right now. The "King of Bros" comes out, and the two start brawling. During this, Riddle bumps into Cobb, and this leads to Cobb hitting Riddle with Tour of the Islands. The rest of Catch Point come out to make the save, and Jaka gets into a shoving match with Cobb. I know this was building matches for Evolve 79 the next night, but it was still a little odd to see Riddle get attacked by Cobb for almost no reason. It seemed like it might've been a heel turn, but that wasn't the case. It was just a way to build up matches for the next night.

7.) Keith Lee vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ***1/2

Despite losing to Chris Hero in his debut at Evolve 76, Keith Lee still came away from that match looking like a future threat, and in just his second appearance in Evolve, he went up against the guy who had arguably become the ace of the promotion. I thought this was a very strong match. It's certainly in contention for the best match on the card, though in my view, it's a tossup. This was a nice clash of styles, as you had a technical wrestler going up against a massive powerhouse. For Zack Sabre Jr., it was certainly a challenge that he really hadn't faced before in Evolve. The action was really solid throughout, though I don't think they did enough here to make this match stand out on this card. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it a lot, but it just didn't manage to break away from the pack. In what was probably the most shocking result of the night, Keith Lee pinned Zack Sabre Jr. clean in the middle of the ring. It might seem odd in the moment, but given what happened the next night, it planted the seeds for a future rematch. Plus, a win like this gives Lee immediate credibility.

After the match, Stokely Hathaway cut a promo saying that he doesn't care about all of the new faces that have been coming into Evolve recently. He told Zack Sabre Jr. (who would be challenging for the Evolve Title the next night) that the ring is his street, and right now, he was standing in his spot. Hathaway said that when you come at the king, you best not miss, and introduced Timothy Thatcher. Zack Sabre Jr. then vowed that he would win the Evolve Title before heading to the back.

8.) Evolve Title - Timothy Thatcher (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Fred Yehi (with Catch Point): ***1/2

Fred Yehi had a lot of momentum as 2016 came to a close, and that carried into 2017, as he scored a submission victory over Timothy Thatcher during an Evolve Tag Team Title defense at Evolve 76. I was very curious to see how this one would turn out, and it ended up being.....wait for it.....a really good match. I actually saw a lot of varying opinions of this one in real time. Some thought it was at MOTYC level, while others didn't like it at all. I'm firmly in the middle, as it was very entertaining to watch, at least from my perspective. There was some cool grappling exchanges, and at points it felt like a UFC fight (mainly because it was relatively quiet initially while Catch Point & Hathaway were giving instructions to their respective side). Yehi is an incredibly versatile performance, and he did a great job here. Thatcher was good here also, and as a whole, this was very solid. There were points where Yehi was clearly dominating, and had Thatcher on the defense, but in the end, Thatcher was able to just get the win after catching Yehi in the Saka Otoshi submission.

Tracy Williams consoled Fred Yehi following the match. Chris Dickinson & Jaka handed the Evolve Tag Team Titles back to them, but it was very obvious that there was tension building towards an eventual showdown over the titles.

Overall: 7.0/10

This was a really fascinating show from Evolve. It was probably one of their weakest shows in recent memory, yet there wasn't a single match that was bad. Everything on the card was good to very good, but nothing got close to be great. Just to give you an idea, I had one match at ***, two matches at ***1/4, and five matches at ***1/2. Any of those matches that I had at ***1/2 could be the Match of the Night (aside from ACH vs. Tracy Williams), but I honestly couldn't pick one out. They were all very good in their own unique way, and they all deserve to be seen. This was an incredibly consistent show from Evolve, but it wasn't exactly a memorable one.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Evolve 77: A Hero's Exit Review

Chris Hero battes Zack Sabre Jr. one last time!!

My star ratings for Evolve 77: A Hero's Exit are listed below, but please be sure to read my full review on Voices of Wrestling:

Evolve 77: A Hero's Exit
San Antonio, Texas 1/28/17

1.) Six-Man Tag - Darby Allin, Barrett Brown, & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page & The Gatekeepers: ***1/2

2.) Laredo Kid vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Tracy Williams: ***1/4

3.) Catch Point (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) vs. Jason Kincaid & Sammy Guevara: ***1/2

4.) ACH vs. Evolve Tag Team Champion Fred Yehi: ***3/4

5.) No DQ Match - DUSTIN vs. Matt Riddle: ****

6.) Evolve Title - Timothy Thatcher (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Jeff Cobb: **1/2

7.) Chris Hero vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ****1/2

Overall: 8.25/10

Evolve 76 Review

ACH & Keith Lee come to Evolve!!

My star ratings for Evolve 76 are listed below, but please be sure to read my full review on Voices of Wrestling:

Evolve 76
San Antonio, Texas 1/27/17

1.) Jaka (with Catch Point) vs. Peter Kaasa: ***

2.) Chris Dickinson vs. Darby Allin: ***

3.) DUSTIN vs. Jason Kincaid: ***1/2

4.) "All Ego" Ethan Page (with The Gatekeepers) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ***1/2

5.) ACH vs. Matt Riddle: ****

6.) Evolve Tag Team Titles - Catch Point (Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi) vs. Jeff Cobb & Evolve Champion Timothy Thatcher (with Stokely Hathaway): ***1/2

7.) Chris Hero vs. Keith Lee: ***1/2

Overall: 7.5/10

FIP Everything Burns 2017 Review

FIP goes through a reboot, and let's just say that everything did indeed burn....

My star ratings for FIP Everything Burns 2017 are listed below, but I strongly encourage you to read my full review of this show (particular in this case, because you need to see my thoughts on this show to truly understand how bad it was) on Voices of Wrestling:

FIP Everything Burns 2017
Tampa, Florida 1/8/17

1.) Winner Gets The Contract Fight For All: DUD

2.) Billy Barboza (with Weevil Whitaker) vs. Alex Rudolph: *

3.) Aria Blake vs. Priscilla Kelly: 1/2*

4.) Anthony Henry (with Amber Young) vs. Austin Theory: ***1/4

5.) FIP Florida Heritage Title - Martin Stone vs. Jon Davis: ***1/4

6.) FIP World Tag Team Titles - The Hooligans vs. Drennan & Parrow: ***1/4

7.) FIP World Heavyweight Title - Fred Yehi vs. Teddy Stigma: ***1/4

8.) Eight-Man Tag - Jason Cade, Sammy Guevara, Jason Kincaid, & Dezmond Xavier (with Aria Blake) vs. Uncle John's Friends (AR Fox, Darby Allin, Sami Callihan, & Dave Crist with Priscilla Kelly): ***1/2

Overall: 4.0/10

Saturday, May 27, 2017

WrestleCon SuperShow 2016 Review

WrestleCon puts on an eclectic card in Dallas, Texas for their annual SuperShow!

WrestleCon SuperShow 2016
Dallas, Texas 4/2/16

The show kicked off with Sami Callihan coming out. He issued a challenge to a certain someone in the back for a "dream match", and the person who answered the call was Pentagon Jr.!

1.) Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr.: ***1/2

This was a really fun opening contest. It wasn't a very long match (going about six minutes or so), but they packed a lot of action in the time they were given. Pentagon Jr. is always entertaining to watch, and Sami Callihan always excels in sprints. Pentagon Jr. ultimately got the win after his infamous armbreaker followed by a package piledriver.

Before the next match began, we got a special in-ring segment with Glen Joseph, who is one of the owners of PROGRESS Wrestling. He talks briefly about the promotion, saying that he's grateful for all the success they've had. Joseph then said that the winner of this next match would be declared the first PROGRESS World Champion (as this was the first time the PROGRESS Title had been defended outside of the UK).

2.) PROGRESS Title - “The Villain” Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay: ****1/4

These two had a couple of critically acclaimed matches in the first few months of 2016 (those matches taking place in PROGRESS & RevPro), and now they were bringing their rivalry to North America. While this was far from the best match in their rivalry, it was still the Match Of The Night by a pretty wide margin. There was incredible action from start to finish, and it was a ton of fun to watch. Scurry & Ospreay have such amazing chemistry together. Watching them work together in a wrestling ring is simply magical. There's no other way to describe it. Marty Scurll would eventually score the victory when he counter an OsCutter attempt from Ospreay into the Crossface Chicken Wing. Again, this is far from their best match in their storied rivalry, but it's still worth checking out.

3.) Colt Cabana & Chuck Taylor vs. “The Manscout” Jake Manning & Zane Riley: **3/4

After seeing two bouts that were pretty serious in nature, we've now getting a comedy match. This was pretty decent for what it is. Colt Cabana & Chuck Taylor are two of the best when it comes to comedy wrestling, and they were great here. Meanwhile, I thought Jake Manning & Zane Riley were solid foils for them. They could've shaved a couple of minutes off this, but that's my only complaint. As a whole, this was an entertaining tag team contest, which was exactly what I was expect. Colt Cabana & Chuck Taylor would end up getting the win here.

4.) Tessa Blanchard (with Tully Blanchard) vs. “Crazy” Mary Dobson: **1/4

Tully Blanchard accompanied her daughter to ringside for this contest. In the end, this was probably one of the weakest matches on the show. It was by no means terrible, but it wasn't good either. At best, this was average. There really isn't much else to say about this one. Tessa Blanchard would end up picking up the victory.

5.) Six-Man Tag - Aero Star, Drago, & Octagon Jr. vs. Bestia 666, Jack Evans, & Tigre Uno: ****

So this is an interesting matchup. It consists of a bunch of guys from AAA, though only some of them had made their way onto Lucha Underground. It was kind of/sort of a Lucha Underground showcase (we even had Melissa Santos as the special guest ring announcer), but it wasn't at the same time. Also, for those who might not know, Octagon Jr. is better known as Flamita, of Dragon Gate fame. Anyway, this match was pretty great. From what I recall, it was initially slow to get going, but once it did, there was so much exciting action. Everyone was doing crazy spot after crazy spot (I think Aero Star did a dive to the outside that propelled him into the crowd), while Jack Evans was....well....being Jack Evans. This was so much fun to watch. Aero Star, Drago, and Octagon Jr. got the win here, and the fans responded by throwing money into the ring (apparently a Lucha tradition). All six guys were awesome here, and the fans were the real winners.

6.) Ten-Man Tag - Team Jarrett (Jeff Jarrett, Brian Myers, Jessicka Havok, Luke Hawx, & GFW NEX*GEN Champion Sonjay Dutt with Karen Jarrett) vs. (Joey Ryan, Candice LeRae, Shane Strickland, Tommy Dreamer, & Matt Striker): *1/2

This multi-person tag consisted of two teams that saw the team captains on each side pick their partners. I mentioned earlier that Tessa Blanchard vs. "Crazy" Mary Dobson was one of the weakest matches on the show. Well, what we saw here made that bout look like a legitimate Match Of The Year Contender. Before the match even began, Jeff Jarrett took the mic and cut a promo on Joey Ryan. He called the fans degenerates and said they were all disgusting. Karen Jarrett spared verbally with a female fan at ringside, and later spat on her, causing a big ruckus at ringside. A luchador named Sinesto was originally the fifth member of the team, but he later revealed himself to be Matt Striker after an early exchange with Brian Myers. We did get to see some action in the ring, but when Jarret got in there, he took the mic and cut another promo. Tommy Dreamer then called Jeff Jarrett out on his shitty promos, while Karen Jarrett spit on another fan. Then Team Jarrett won, for some reason. There were one or two redeeming qualities here, but as a whole, this was one of the worst matches I've even seen. The pre-match bullshit was nearly twenty minutes, and the match itself was over twenty minutes, meaning that this took up forty-five minutes to almost an hour of the show. This could've been decent if The Jarrett's weren't in there, but alas, they were, and they were BAAAAD. They completely overshadowed what could've been a fine mid-card bout, turning it into an abomination in the process. Avoid this match like the plague. It's fucking dreadful.

7.) OMEGA Heavyweight Title - Matt Hardy (with Reby Sky) vs. Lance Storm (with Missy Hyatt): ***

It's so weird going back in time to see this version of Matt Hardy, just before he would become "Broken". Hardy's OMEGA Title is on the line here, as he's defending against Lance Storm, who is technically retired, but comes out for the occasional match here and there. Storm is actually accompanied to the ring by Missy Hyatt, who was a valet in the late 1980's and in the first half of the 1990's. This was a relatively solid match. It was far from the best match on the card, but it was by no means the worst. It was perfectly acceptable. Hardy played his role as a heel well, while Storm showed that he can still put on a good match whenever he makes these rare appearances. We did get interference from Reby Sky, Matt Hardy's wife, but realistically, I don't think it affected things that much, as the match (realistically) wasn't going to be better than it ended up being. The finish came when Hardy took off one of his boots and used it as a weapon against Storm to retain his title.

After the match, Matt Hardy shoved down Missy Hyatt. Hardy and Reby Sky go to inflict more damage on Hyatt, and Storm tries to make the save, but he superkicks Hyatt by accident. After she recovers, they then did an amnesia angle where Hyatt forgot where she was.

8.) Six-Man Tag - Rey Mysterio & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Ricochet & Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage, Chris Hero, & Zack Sabre Jr.: ****

Now this was truly the definition of all-star teams. On one side, you had a fun pairing of high-flyers, as Rey Mysterio teamed up with Ricochet & Matt Sydal, who were the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions at the time. On the other end, you had Zack Sabre Jr. teaming up with two larger dudes who are known for beating people up (Brian Cage & Chris Hero). When I saw the card, this was the match that I was looking forward to the most. It didn't end up being quite as fantastic as Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay from earlier in the night, but this was still an incredible contest. There was great action from start to finish, and everyone involved got a chance to shine. What's so cool about this match was that we got to see people who rarely interact face off with one another. Seeing Rey Mysterio lock up with the likes of Chris Hero & Zack Sabre Jr. was super cool. You're not going to see a six-man tag like this anywhere else, and that made it special. After a hard-fought battle, the team of Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, and Matt Sydal eventually emerged victorious. This match was simply awesome.

9.) Monster’s Ball Match - Abyss vs. Andrew Everett vs. AR Fox vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. TNA X-Division Champion Trevor Lee (with Shane Helms): ***3/4

I believe "Speedball" Mike Bailey was originally scheduled to be in this match, but he had issues with getting into the United States from Canada (we've heard that story before surrounding other Canadian competitors) that prevented him from being here. This was a pretty crazy hardcore brawl, which should come as no surprise, considering who was involved. There were a number of insane moments throughout, and all sorts of weapons were utilized, such as Tables, Ladders, Chairs, Kendo Sticks, and Trash Cans. I should point out that this was Pentagon Jr.'s second match on this card, as he had wrestled in the opener. It wasn't the best match on the show, but it was incredibly entertaining from start to finish. Putting this as the final contest on the show might be a little questionable, but it was still fun to watch regardless. Everyone involved in this one worked out, and they ended up producing a very enjoyable main event. Jeff Hardy would score the win after hitting a Swanton Bomb off a Ladder onto Pentagon Jr. to close out the show.

Overall: 8.0/10

This was a very interesting show. There was certainly a massive disparity in the match quality up and down the card. You had a number of truly awesome matches (Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay, the two Six-Man Tags, and the Monster's Ball) scattered throughout the show, and they're all matches that are worth checking out. However, there were also a number of matches that were either average/decent or, in the case of the Ten-Man Tag, downright awful. They really dragged down this card in my eyes, especially that aforementioned Ten-Man Tag with Team Jeff Jarrett vs. Team Joey Ryan. That was pure garbage, mainly because of The Jarrett's, who were simply awful. Aside from that, the majority of this show was actually very good. Nothing really set the world on fire, but it was mostly entertaining. WrestleCon's SuperShow has become known for producing some incredibly cool and unique matches, and aside from one or two dark spots, this show definitely delivered on that promise.

Monday, May 8, 2017

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 2 Review

Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly go to war!!

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 2
Dallas, Texas 4/2/16


1.) The Pretty Boy Killers (Keith Lee & Shane Taylor) vs. “The Outlaw” Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali: **1/4

Keith Lee & Shane Taylor have been featured in ROH pre-shows and smaller ROH live events before, but this was a particularly big opportunity for them, since all of the big ‘Mania Weekend festivities are on their home turf. Ken Phoenix & Shaheem Ali got some offense it, but this was basically an extended squash match. At one point during the match, Shane Taylor attacked some security guys, which was a setup for Keith Lee’s insane dive over the top rope. In the end, The Pretty Boy Killers won with ease.

Main Card

The show kicked off with a promo from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal. He wanted to address what happened the night before with Colt Cabana. Lethal claims that it wasn’t a return, because people like Cabana can’t come & go as they please, and get instant title shots. That’s not how it works here, Lethal said, and added that he’ll be damned if he lets someone like Cabana leapfrog everyone on the roster who’s actually deserving of a title shot. Lethal called out the fans for cheering for Colt Cabana, pointing out that he’s probably recording a podcast somewhere, while he’s busting his ass here in ROH. He said a ton of guys in the locker room deserve a shot at his ROH World Title. Someone in the crowd shouts Cheeseburger’s name, and Lethal agrees. He seems amused by this idea, and said he’ll defend the ROH World Title against Cheeseburger right now.

1.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Cheeseburger: **

This was a relatively short match. Cheeseburger got some offense in, but Lethal pretty much dominated most of the match, and won with the Lethal Injection in short order. It was ok for what it way, but Cheeseburger’s matches against Lethal for the ROH World TV Title were much better than this.

After the match ended, Colt Cabana came out. He called out Lethal for claiming he’s the greatest ROH World Champion, only to call out someone like Cheeseburger for a title defense. Cabana said that the night before wasn’t a publicity stunt, and that he’s returned home to ROH. He wants a match with Lethal right now, and asked him if he has the balls to accept his challenge. Lethal goes to leave, but Cabana says he’s here because he wants the ROH World Title, and if Lethal wants to prove he’s the greatest, he’ll face him right now. Lethal backs down again, and Cabana responded by saying that without Truth Martini, Lethal’s lost his balls. He claims that Lethal is scared to call his own shots, and adds that Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix would say no to this challenge. Lethal gets incensed, the bell rings, and it looks like we have a match!

2.) Non-Title Match – ROH World Champion Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Colt Cabana: **1/4

This only went about three minutes or so, but for what it was….it actually worked pretty well. It was essentially worked like the final minutes of a much longer match. They managed to pack in a nice little mini-match in such a sort time frame. It ended when Cabana caught Lethal in a rollup for the three count!! Cabana stared down Lethal intently as the crowd went wild after his victory over the ROH World Champion. After the match, Cabana took the mic and said that’s how you come back to ROH! These weren’t exactly good matches, but as whole package, this opening segment did a great job to build up a proper match between Jay Lethal & Colt Cabana.

3.) ACH & Matt Sydal vs. The All-Night Express: ***1/4

Everyone involved in this match lost the night before (ANX was on the losing side of an Eight-Man Tag, while ACH & Matt Sydal both lost singles matches), so a win would go a long way for both sides. This was a fun tag team encounter. It wasn’t as exciting as some of the other tag team matches that ROH presented across these two shows, but still, it was entertaining. The last few minutes were particularly good, and in the end, ACH & Matt Sydal would score the victory.

4.) Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Will Ferrara: ***1/4

Joey “Diesel” Daddiego is on commentary for this match. Dijak came out with his ribs taped up after being attacked by Daddiego the night before. Before the match began, Ferrara took the mic, and brought up how he and Dijak met in the Finals of the 2015 Top Prospect Tournament. Ferrara brings up Prince Nana’s letters, mentioning that they said that those who seize opportunity will be rewarded greatly. Dijak’s been rewarded recently, but Ferrara said that won’t stop him from kicking Dijak’s ass.

As for the match itself, it was pretty solid, though it definitely had some rough patches. There was some good action throughout, and both guys were definitely working hard. There were some insane moves towards the end of the match. Dijak hit Ferrara with a super chokeslam from the top rope, followed by a moonsault to the outside that didn’t connect 100%. He then tried to hit a springboard dive from the top rope to the inside, but he tripped on the ropes. Ferrara was supposed to counter with a dropkick, but with Dijak tripping, it looked pretty rough, to the point where it garnered “Botchamania” chants. Despite those issues Dijak eventually picked up the victory after hitting Ferrara with Feast Your Eyes.

After the match, Dijak and Ferrara shook hands, but as the former when to leave, he was attacked by Joey Daddiego, who used a chair to go after the ribs of Dijak, just like he did the night before.

5.) 2/3 Falls Match – Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong: ***3/4

This was the culmination of the feud between these two that dates back to late 2015. As a whole, this was a very good 2/3 Falls Match that told a fascinating story. Fish dominated the 1st Fall, but Strong used the referee as a distraction, and took out Fish with a jumping knee followed by The End Of Heartache to win the 1st Fall. Then, Strong really dominated the 2nd Fall, but Fish caught him with a flash rollup to even things up 1-1. They fought hard in the 3rd and final fall, but ultimately, Fish was able to make Strong tap out to the heel hook to win the match. Again, this was really good, but it just fell shy of being a great match. Both guys worked hard, but they haven’t had a truly great match since the feud fully got into gear.

Up next, “P Dog” Mike Posey comes out with his posse. He tries to start a rap concert, but is quickly interrupted by Moose. Posey calls out Moose, calling him slow, overrated, outdated, and said he can’t wrestle. His posse teams up on Moose, but Moose easily fights back. He dropkicks Posey and the male members of his entourage to the floor, and then hits a massive dive on the outside onto all of them. He beats them all up some more on the floor, and eventually spears Posey in the ring. Stokely Hathaway then tells Kevin Kelly & Mr. Wrestling 3 that a special surprise is coming in May.

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – War Machine vs. Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser: ***1/2

Before the match, Young took the mic and called out the fans, saying that they’re the worst group of fans he’s ever seen. He then said that he wants this match with War Machine to be for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, which was a challenge that the champions gladly accepted. When the dust settled, this ended up being a really strong match. It was actually similar to the Eight-Man Tag from the night before, in that it was a sprint/brawl (relatively speaking), going about ten minutes or so, and they packed in a lot of fun action. War Machine are always fun to watch in these types of matches, and I think they worked well with Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser, who really took it to the champions at a number of points. In the end, War Machine would end up scoring the victory to retain their ROH World Tag Team Titles.

7.) Dalton Castle vs. BJ Whitmer: **3/4

Adam Page was on commentary for this one. I don’t necessarily have an issue with the match itself taking place, but the big issue was that it was WAAAY too long. There was fine wrestling here, particularly in the second half, but this didn’t need to go nearly fifteen minutes. That wasn’t necessary at all. Towards the end of the match, BJ Whitmer took a mask from one of The Boys and stomped on it. That detour led to his downfall, as Castle would capitalize and scored the victory.

After the match, Adam Page brought a chair into the ring, but instead of going after Whitmer, he sits down. Page said that The Decade once had a purpose, but over the last year, they lost focus. He said the obsession that BJ Whitmer has with Corino cost him a big match against Jay Briscoe. Page said that Whitmer was worried about Corino, when he should’ve been worried about him. He said that he waited patiently, until the moment was right to cut out the cancer, and that cancer was BJ Whitmer. He then announces that later that month, when ROH returns to San Antonio, they’ll be facing off in a San Antonio Street Fight!

8.) #1 Contender’s Four-Corner Survival – The Addiction vs. The Briscoes vs. The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4

The winner of this match will receive a future title match against War Machine. This was about as crazy as you would’ve guessed. There was crazy action from start to finish, bodies were flying all over the place, and all four teams involved had moments to shine. I wouldn’t really call this a MOTYC, but it fits right in with the quality of tag team wrestling that we were seeing from ROH around this time. It’s matches like this that really show the quality of ROH’s tag team division. I would call the main event (which I’ll get to in a minute) the best match on the show, but this four-way tag team battle wasn’t that far behind. The Briscoes would pick up the win after hitting Daniels with the Doomsday Device, setting up a future clash with War Machine with the ROH World Tag Team Titles on the line.

Before the main event, Stokely Hathaway came out to cut a quick promo. He said that people think they failed when Moose lost to Okada, but that wasn’t true. He got a call from Gedo, who said that Moose earned the respect of Okada. Hathaway then announces that, in May, Moose would be teaming up with Okada for a special tag team match.

9.) No Holds Barred Match – Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly: ****1/2

Well, we all knew that it would come to this. After what happened at Final Battle, it was obvious that these two were going to meet again, and when they did, it was going to be violent. That’s exactly what we saw here, and it was a fantastic hardcore brawl. It was violent right from the beginning, as Cole attacked O’Reilly with a chain during his entrance. There was a ton of great action throughout, and the match got a lot of time (going nearly a half-hour), so all of the big hardcore spots they did got the chance to breathe, which definitely helped. There really wasn’t any blood in this one, but it was still pretty violent. Chairs, Tables, The Barricades (more specifically, a barricade bridge), a chain, and other weapons were used throughout. The fact that these two have shown a true distain for each other over the course of their rivalry added a great deal to this. As a final match in a long, heated rivalry between two former tag team partners, this was tremendous. In the end, O’Reilly would get the win with a Triangle Arm Bar with an assist from the same chain that Cole brought out earlier. O’Reilly stood tall as the show came to a close.

Overall: 8.25/10

While this wasn’t as good as Night 1, I still thought that Night 2 of Supercard of Honor X was still a very solid show. The first two matches weren’t exactly great from an in-ring perspective, but from a storyline perspective, they did a fantastic job in advancing the issues between Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal. Aside from Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong, the middle of the card was good, but by no means spectacular. However, this show was really lifted up by the final two matches. The Four-Way Tag Team Match was exactly what you excited, while the main event proved to be an epic conclusion to the Adam Cole/Kyle O’Reilly rivalry (even though they would renew that rivalry later in the year). Again, it wasn’t the best ROH show of this big weekend in Dallas, but it served as a good continuation from Night 1, and it capped off a strong weekend in general for ROH.

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 1 Review

The Young Bucks face The Motor City Machine Guns, Lio Rush challenges Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title, and Colt Cabana returns home!!!

ROH Supercard of Honor X: Night 1
Dallas, Texas 4/1/16

1.) Christopher Daniels vs. Bobby Fish: ***3/4

A match between two veteran performers, who almost never disappoint, was a perfect choice to start off the show. I thought this was a very strong opener. There was a great deal of storytelling and psychology in this one, as Fish initially went after one of Daniels’ legs, but later (once the tide turned), Daniels targeted one of Fish’s arms. Most of the match seemed to be a battle of which person’s limb would give out first, though the action picked up a ton in the closing stages of the match. Ultimately, Fish would score the submission victory. Again, this was a really good match, and both guys did a superb job here.

After his victory, Bobby Fish remained at ringside so he could join the commentary team for the next match.

2.) Moose (with Stokely Hathaway) vs. Roderick Strong: ****

During his entrance, Moose tossed a streamer at Strong, seemingly in a joking manner. Strong didn’t take too kindly to this, and he jumped Moose before the bell rang. From there, what we got was actually a pretty great match! There was plenty of exciting action in this one from start to finish, and it seemed like both guys worked very well together. While the opener was more of a technical battle, this match went in the complete opposite direction, as it was more of a slugfest that saw Moose & Strong throwing bombs at each other. I actually think it’s pretty cool that the show opened up with two different kinds of matches. The closing stretch of this one was particularly cool. Towards the end, Moose went to kick Strong on the outside, but he moved, and accidentally took out Fish! He would recover, but he was not happy. Eventually, Strong would pick up the win over Moose after a series of jumping knee strikes.

As soon as the match ended, Bobby Fish got in the ring and went right after Roderick Strong, who quickly retreated through the crowd. Fish would shake hands with Moose before leaving.

3.) Six-Man Mayhem – Adam Page vs. Dalton Castle vs. Cheeseburger vs. Donovan Dijak vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. BJ Whitmer Joey “Diesel” Daddiego (with Taeler Hendrix): ***1/2

So BJ Whitmer was supposed to be in this match, but before it began, he cut a promo (that dragged FOREVER because the fans wouldn’t let Whitmer speak) explaining that he took a payoff from The House of Truth so Joey Daddiego could be in this match. They did this so that Daddiego could get his hands on Donovan Dijak, who took out Truth Martini on a recent episode of ROH TV. I thought this was pretty entertaining match. These Six-Man Mayhems are always fun to watch, and this one was no exception. While the match was a little slow initially, there were a number cool spots throughout, and everyone had a chance to shine. The person who shined brightest was probably Donovan Dijak, who at one point, hit an insane dive to the outside onto everyone else! In the end, Castle would score the victory after hitting Cheeseburger with the Bang-A-Rang.

After the match ended, Donovan Djiak & Joey Daddiego brawled on the outside. Daddiego would eventually get the advantage, as he used a steel chair to attack the ribs of Dijak, while Prince Nana & Taeler Hendrix yelled at each other.

4.) Kyle O’Reilly vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Sydal: ****

It’s hard to believe that this was (at the time) a first-time ever matchup, yet that was indeed the case. I’m sure a lot of people were expecting these two to put on a wrestling clinic, and for the most part, I think they fulfilled those hopes. This was a pretty great match. There was a lot of really cool back & forth technical action in this one, and it went just about the right length. What I noticed here was that this match was actually very similar to the match Sydal had with Jay Lethal a few weeks earlier in Philadelphia. There was a lot of very solid wrestling right out of the gate, but the match never really picked up until the final few minutes. Fortunately, the closing stretch here was a little better than that aforementioned ROH World Title bout in Philadelphia. The finish was actually pretty cool, as O’Reilly countered a Shooting Star Press attempt by Sydal into an armbreaker/armbar, and picked up the submission victory.

5.) “The Bullet Babe” Amber Gallows & Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mandy Leon & Solo Darling: **1/4

This match was included on the bonus section of the DVD, but in real time, it took place right after intermission. I thought this was an ok tag team bout that featured some decent wrestling throughout. There’s really not much else to say, other than that. Mandy Leon & Solo Darling would end up getting the win here. Again, this was fine for what it was.

6.) ACH vs. Adam Cole: ****

These two have had a number of singles encounters against each other in ROH, all of which have been won by Adam Cole. I think it’s a little odd that ACH has never been able to best Cole. You would’ve figured that he would’ve gotten at least one victory over the former ROH World Champion, but that wasn’t the case. Fortunately, the one thing that the various matches between these two have in common is that they’re always very good to great. In this particular case, I thought this was their best singles encounter. Their was plenty of exciting action throughout this one, particularly in the second half (the crowd was really into the match as well, which helped out a lot). I don’t know what it is, but these two have amazing chemistry in the ring. Both guys played their roles well, and in particular, ACH busted out some (relatively) new moves from his arsenal, which made the match even more entertaining. The only negative thing I have to say about this match has to do with the finish, as Cole distracted the referee long enough to hit ACH with a low blow, and that led to him picking up the victory.

7.) Eight-Man Tag – The Briscoes & ROH World Tag Team Champions War Machine vs. The All-Night Express, Silas Young, & The Beer City Bruiser: ***3/4

I felt like this had the potential to be pretty good, but it ended up exceeding my exceptions. This was an incredibly entertaining Eight-Man Tag! I think what really helped make it so much fun was the fact that it was a relatively short match, going around eight or nine minutes. The two sides brawled right at the opening bell, and the action from start to finish was fast and furious. It was essentially a mutli-man brawl/sprint (which was a perfect contrast at this point of the show, since we saw at least four matches already that all roughly clocked in around the fifteen minute range), and it created a ton of fun moments. Additionally, everyone involved got a moment to shine, which helped the match a fair deal as well. In the end, Mark Briscoe would get the win for his team after hitting The Beer City Bruiser with a Froggy Bow.

After the match, The Briscoes and War Machine had an intense stare down, which once again teased that these two teams would go to war with each other at some point in the near future.

8.) ROH World Title – Jay Lethal (with Taeler Hendrix) vs. Lio Rush: ****1/2

Normally, the winner of the Top Prospect Tournament gets awarded a shot at the ROH World TV Title. However, since (then) champion Tomohiro Ishii was busy with New Japan commitments on this particular weekend, Nigel McGuinness granted Lio Rush (the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament Winner) a shot at the ROH World Title against Jay Lethal. Obviously, I don’t think Lio Rush had a realistic chance of winning, but I was still intrigued to see how this match would turn out. What we got would end up being the Match of the Night, and one of the best matches of the entire weekend in Dallas. I thought this was an awesome match!! Of course, there was a ton of great wrestling from start to finish, but what really lifted this match up (in my eyes) was the story told. Lethal came into this match not taking Lio Rush seriously at all. After showing some early fight, Lethal got a little more serious, but still showed disrespect towards Rush, who played an incredible underdog throughout. The latter stages of the match were particularly fantastic, as Rush took the fight to Lethal, and nearly beat him at a few points. Despite his best efforts, Lethal did enough to retain his title, but there’s no question that this was a star-making performance from Lio Rush.

While that match was nothing short of incredible, the biggest thing to come out of this show took place after the match. Lethal showed Rush respect by shaking his hand. He then took the mic and claimed that there was nobody left to challenge him. This brought out….of all people….COLT CABANA!! This was certainly a shock at the time. Cabana hadn’t been in the company since 2011, and it seemed like he would never return, but as everyone knows, you never say never in wrestling. Colt Cabana then cut a passionate, serious promo that was probably one of the highlights of his career (I’m not kidding. It was seriously THAT GOOD of a promo). I won’t go over it word-for-word, because my recap won’t do it justice. You need to see it, in full, for yourself to truly appreciate it. To provide a brief summary, Cabana essentially said that he was willing to step up to the plate to take on Lethal and attempt to capture the title that had alluded him for his entire career.

I should note that watching this promo a year after a fact really put on a spotlight on a MASSIVE opportunity that ROH missed about a month or so after this show, but more on that in a later review.

9.) The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Young Bucks: ****1/4

Even though Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin aren’t as amazing as they were during their time in TNA (that’s mainly due to multiple injuries that both have suffered over the last several years), I would still consider this to be a dream match. When the dust settled, it definitely met my expectations. While it wasn’t the best match on the show, I still thought it was pretty fantastic!! The Young Bucks were incredible (as they always are), while The Motor City Machine Guns proved that, even though they might be a slight step slower, they can still produce in big matches like this. This match featured some awesome back & forth tag team action from start to finish, and the fans were very much into it. Ultimately, The Young Bucks would score the victory after hitting The Meltzer Driver on Chris Sabin.

After the match, The Young Bucks were celebrating their win when The Addiction ran out and attacked them. The heels had the upper hand for a bit, but The Briscoes came out to make the save. Kazarian got taken out, and Daniels tried to retreat, but he was forced back into the ring. Daniels then ate a four person superkick from the The Motor City Machine Guns & The Young Bucks, followed by a six person superkick from the same two teams plus The Briscoes. The babyfaces celebrated as the show came to a close. I thought this was a nice way to build to the Four-Way #1 Contender’s Match that would take place on Night 2.

Overall: 9.5/10

In my view, this was easily the best ROH event of 2016, and if it wasn’t, it’s certainly in the Top 5 without question. You know a card is fantastic when the worst match is only ***1/2 (that’s discounting the Women of Honor Match, of course, which technically wasn’t presented as part of the main card). Jay Lethal vs. Lio Rush for the ROH World Title stole the show, and it certainly elevated Rush in a huge way. There was fantastic wrestling up and down the card, with four matches cracking (or surpassing) the **** mark, and a few matches falling just below that mark. Shows of this quality from ROH seem to be few and far between in this current era of the company, but when they occur, they’re definitely memorable, and that was the case with this show. Not only was Supercard of Honor X: Night 1 one of the best (if not the best) ROH shows of 2016, but it’s also one of the best ROH events in the last five years. I wouldn’t call anything on this card a Match of the Year Contender, but quality of the show itself was just so fantastic. If you haven’t seen this show already, you need to.