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Ring of Honor 14th Anniversary PPV Preview

14thanniversary

Howdy!

Name’s Rick, and I am YOUR ROH recapper. Friday, Ring of Honor will have their 14th Anniversary PPV in Las Vegas, and the big hook is that as part of their talent agreement with NJPW, some of the matches will feature ROH talent going up against NJPW guys. As usual, this is your PPV preview with the hope that you will consider trying out ROH, so let’s check it out, huh?

Now then, I’m going to do the best I can with the NJPW guys, as I don’t know their history as much as I do the ROH ones, but Google will surely be my friend on this one. This show marks obviously marks 14 years of ROH, and I hope that we get at least 14 more. We just had two shows in Japan this past week called Honor Rising, which I reviewed for the blog; I was in the ‘they were good, not great’ camp on those, but I’m sure they’re all going to turn it up for the PPV. As usual, I’ll try to make this as accessible as possible for everyone, not just the hardcore ROHbots. If you’re betting men, be aware that I have gone .500 in both of my last two PPV prediction articles, so it’s 50/50 that I’m right. Let’s do this!

DALTON CASTLE vs HIROOKI GOTO

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Dalton Castle is the most flamboyant of the ROH roster, calling himself a peacock; he comes to the ring with two young men he calls ‘The Boys’, who turned on Silas Young at the last PPV and re-aligned themselves with Castle. Goto is a face in Japan who has a reputation for not winning the ‘big one’ near as I can tell, having had 8! IWGP heavyweight title shots and not having won one. He is a former IWGP Intercontinental Champion, his latest reign having been ended back in September of 2015 by Shinsuke Nakamura. After his latest defeat for the heavyweight title against Okada, he was offered a spot in Okada’s CHAOS stable.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – There is basically no personal issue here. This is a special challenge match to showcase the NJPW/ROH dynamic, and these two are the ones picked to do it.

WHO WINS? – Well, while the NJPW guys win quite a bit while in the US at ROH, I’m thinking that one of two things happens here. Either Castle goes over, or Silas Young, who is still smarting from being turned on by the Boys, will interfere and hand the match to Goto. I’m betting on the former, but the latter is a possibility.

YOUR WINNER – Dalton Castle

B.J. WHITMER vs ADAM PAGE

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – BJ Whitmer has been around ROH for 13 years, debuting in 2003. He is the leader of the heel stable The Decade, which has boasted several wrestlers in the past but is pretty much dead at this point. He has been sidelined for several months after surgery, and this will be one of his first matches back. Adam Page debuted with ROH in 2011, and turned heel in 2014 to join Whitmer in the Decade as his ‘young boy’; one of the stipulations of membership in the Decade was at least ten years of work in ROH, which Page bypassed. Page recently turned on Whitmer, leaving the Decade and becoming a face.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – This is an outgrowth of the feud between BJ Whitmer and Steve Corino. The Decade took in Corino’s estranged young son Colby as a new ‘young boy’ and abused him with the notion that they were making him ‘pay his dues.’ Steve finally snapped and punched Whitmer with a roll of quarters, knocking him out and losing his commentator’s job as a result. While the natural match would be Whitmer vs Corino, Steve recently had neck surgery and is unlikely to wrestle again soon, possibly never again. In the meantime, Page began to lose matches due to botched interference and instruction from Whitmer, partially due to his obsession with Corino. Whitmer’s actions resulted in both BJ and Page being banned from Final Battle, the largest ROH PPV of the year, making Page even angrier. When Corino returned, he warned Whitmer that someone was going to take him out, and that person was Adam Page, who officially turned on BJ and now they’re going to settle things.

WHO WINS – There’s a few possible outcomes here, and they hinge on Colby Corino. He was last seen being helped from the ring by his father (with Steve in his Mr. Wrestling 3 garb), and he could go a few different ways in the match. He might not be a factor at all, he might turn on Whitmer, he might botch some interference, he might take out Page and reaffirm his commitment to the Decade. My thought is that they’ve been working Page as a babyface for awhile, and he’s the one who needs the momentum going forward. Therefore….

YOUR WINNER – Adam Page

WAR MACHINE vs THE ALL-NIGHT EXPRESS – WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH, NO-DQ

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – War Machine are the current ROH World tag champs, defeating The Kingdom for the belts at Final Battle. They are, by ROH standards, giants with huge beards who look like Vikings. They wrestle a power-based style and hit stiffly. The All-Night Express is Kenny King and Rhett Titus, former ROH World tag champs who won the #1 contender’s match at Final Battle. King you may remember as a former X-Division champ in TNA, while Rhett Titus you may remember as The Romantic Touch in ROH. Actually, Rhett would probably prefer you forget that.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – At Final Battle, the ANX defeated the Young Bucks and the Briscoes to become the #1 Contenders to the tag belts. They received their title shot on an episode of ROH TV, which ended in a DQ after King was put through a table by War Machine, even though ANX had brought the table into the ring in the first place. Therefore, we’re going to have a No-DQ match to settle this thing. ANX will be playing the heels here.

WHO WINS? – ANX has been proclaiming that they were never beaten for those tag belts years ago, and while that may be true (Kenny King fled for TNA and Titus was forced to vacate the tag belts), I don’t see them winning here. Now, there could be something to putting the belts on the heels, since War Machine is…..nah. Not happening. I’d like to see ANX take the belts, they’ve been entertaining as hell since King came back, but I’m not seeing it. I’m pretty sure that the Bucks are getting those belts at some point, and taking them from War Machine would be ideal to do it to put them over strong.

YOUR WINNER – (and STILL champs) War Machine

ALEX SHELLEY vs CHRISTOPHER DANIELS

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Two veterans of the Indy scene. Alex Shelley is probably best known as one half of either the Motor City Machine Guns (with Chris Sabin) or the Timesplitters (with Kushida). He wrestled for TNA for several years, and just returned to Ring of Honor. Christopher Daniels, the Fallen Angel, is one of the founding fathers of ROH, debuting with the company in 2002. He spent several years in TNA as well, with tons of experience around the world. He is currently working with Frankie Kazarian and Chris Sabin in The Addiction, and is a former ROH tag team champion.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Chris Sabin started working with The Addiction as one of the Knights of the Rising Dawn, aka the KRD. Sabin’s interference helped The Addiction win the tag team titles; but later in the reign, the KRD seemed to turn on Daniels and Kazarian, costing them matches and eventually costing them the tag belts at All-Star Extravaganza. On an episode of ROH TV not long after, Sabin called out whoever was beneath the mask to come out and face him; when that person did, he unmasked as Alex Shelley, Sabin’s former tag partner. Since then, Daniels and Kazarian are hellbent on getting revenge on the man they say cost them the tag team titles, while Sabin has not touched his former tag partner despite still seemingly being aligned with The Addiction. For his part, Shelley has refused to say why he is back or why he put on the mask and cost The Addiction the tag belts. Finally, Daniels will get his hands on Shelley.

WHO WINS? – This whole match hinges on the loyalties of Chris Sabin. I would suspect that his reluctance to harm Shelley is going to lead us to a Motor City reunion, but that’s probably down the road a bit. I’m picking Daniels here, but it could be a result of Sabin interference backfiring, I’m not sure. I think that Daniels could use the win more and he just signed onto ROH in a new deal, so it makes the most sense to give him the duke.

YOUR WINNER – Christopher Daniels

KENNY OMEGA/THE YOUNG BUCKS (THE ELITE) vs ACH, MATT SYDAL, & KUSHIDA

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – The Elite is made up of the top guys in The Bullet Club, a Japanese heel faction that was founded by Prince Devitt and also led by AJ Styles. Omega is currently the leader of the faction, and he, along with the Young Bucks, have nicknamed themselves as The Elite of the Bullet Club. Omega is the current IWGP Intercontinental champion, and he and the Bucks are the NEVER 6-man tag team champs. Omega had a cup of coffee in ROH from 2008 through 2010, but has been working Japan most of his career. The Young Bucks are arguably the most polarizing tag team in the world, working a high-flying style built around spots and double-teams. People either love them or hate them, it seems. ACH is a high-flying cruiserweight who has worked for ROH since 2012. Matt Sydal is probably best known as the former Evan Bourne from the WWE, and returned to ROH in 2014. Kushida is the current IWGP Junior champion, and is one of NJPW’s brightest stars; he’s a hell of a worker who won the Best of the Super Juniors last year against Kyle O’Reilly in the Match of the Year.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – See Castle/Goto. There isn’t much. ACH and Sydal have been tagging recently, but there’s not really an issue between them and the Bucks that I can think of. This match is to showcase the NJPW guys more than anything else, specifically Kenny Omega, who is expected to take on the role of AJ Styles as the leader of the Bullet Club and in appearances in ROH.

WHO WINS? – This one seems straightforward to me. Like I said above, I’m pretty sure that this match is going to show off Omega and reintroduce him to North America, and they’re going to win. There’s very little chance that I see for the faces to win this match.

YOUR WINNER – Omega/The Young Bucks

TOMOHIRO ISHII vs RODERICK STRONG vs BOBBY FISH

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Tomohiro Ishii is from NJPW and is the current ROH World Television champion, having won the title in a relatively shocking upset on Night 1 of Honor Rising last week. He works one of the stiffest styles in the world, complete with headbutts that go ‘thunk!’ and chops that actually take off skin. See his match with Strong for details on that. Roderick Strong has been in ROH since 2003. He is a former ROH World Champion, a former 2-time World Television Champion, and a former Tag Team Champion. He works a stiff style as well, though not on the level of Ishii, with a lot of backbreakers and knees. Bobby Fish is part of the tag team reDRagon with Kyle O’Reilly, and they are 3-time former ROH World Tag Team champs. He’s been in ROH since 2013, been wrestling since 2002.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – There are several, with Roderick Strong as the fulcrum. Strong and Fish battled it out at Final Battle for the World TV title, with Strong tapping out to Fish’s kneebar; the ref didn’t see it and Fish released the hold, thinking he’d won, which allowed Strong to take advantage and retain his title. Since then, Bobby has been taunting Strong about tapping out to him, while Roddy has been claiming that Fish is just a sore loser. They were booked to finally have a rematch for the belt at this PPV; but during the Honor Rising show in Japan the week before, Strong dropped the title to Ishii in an upset that pretty much no one saw coming. So, to ensure that Strong gets his rematch and Fish gets his, this match became a triple threat for the belt.

WHO WINS? – I don’t know. I really don’t. I would guess that Ishii PROBABLY drops the belt here, to keep the title in ROH for further television, but I never expected him to win it in the first place. Fish winning depends somewhat on what they do with Kyle in the main, but they don’t have a problem with tag team guys holding individual titles, so they might go with him. Finally, there’s Strong, who has already won the title twice but could win it a third time if the original title switch was designed as good faith gesture to NJPW. I’ll roll a 20-sided die, I guess.

YOUR WINNER – (and NEW World TV champion) Roderick Strong

KAZUCHIKA OKADA (W/ GEDO) vs MOOSE (W/ STOKELY HATHAWAY)

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Okada is the current IWGP World Champion, and the leader of the stable CHAOS in NJPW. Nicknamed ‘The Rainmaker’, he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. Moose is a former NFL player who has been in ROH since 2014. He is a big man who can move around the ring more fluidly than his size indicates. He is managed by Stokely Hathaway.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Hathaway challenged Okada on ROH TV; that’s pretty much it. ROH clearly has very big plans for Moose, as they had him face off against Michael Elgin at Final Battle and took him to Japan for Honor Rising, putting him in tags with the NJPW guys. These matches have been all about getting Moose to the next level by putting him the ring with better workers and having him learn from them.

WHO WINS? – I do not see Okada losing to Moose. Period. I think he’ll carry Moose to arguably his best match ever (the match against Elgin at Final Battle was really fun), but I don’t think Okada is doing a job here. He’s there to make Moose look good, but not to put him over.

YOUR WINNER – Kazuchika Okada

THE BRISCOES vs HIROSHI TANAHASHI & MICHAEL ELGIN

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Michael Elgin has been an ROH mainstay for years. He began in ROH in 2007, most recently working from 2010 forward. He is a former ROH World Champion and had a legitimate 5-star match with Davey Richards at Showdown in the Sun in 2012. His career got a nice shot in the arm during last year’s G-1 Climax, where he got over strongly with the NJPW fans. He teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi in the 2015 World Tag League, and that’s why he chose Tanahashi as his partner. Tanahashi is a former IWGP World Champion 7 times over, a former IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and a 2-time winner of the G-1 Climax tournament. He is one of the best in the history of New Japan and one of their biggest stars. The Briscoes have been around ROH since the first show. Real-life brothers, they portray rednecks who kick ass. Jay Briscoe is two-time former ROH World Champion, and the brothers are 8 time former tag team champs.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – On an episode of ROH TV recently, Jay was triumphant over Moose and Elgin in a triple threat match. After the match was over, Elgin felt as though it took both Moose and Jay to beat him, so he told Jay that he should get Mark and be ready, because he was challenging the brothers to a match at the 14th against himself and Tanahashi. The Briscoes shook on it, and we have a match.

WHO WINS? – Could go either way, but I’m leaning towards the Briscoes. I think it’s them because the Briscoes could use a high-profile win if they continue to look towards the tag belts (something that Jay has said they want to do), and Elgin and Tanahashi don’t need a win here.

YOUR WINNER – The Briscoes

JAY LETHAL vs ADAM COLE vs KYLE O’REILLY

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Jay Lethal is the current ROH World Champion, having won the belt from Jay Briscoe at Best in the World 2015 last June. He is the leader of The House of Truth, a heel stable managed by Truth Martini. He began with Ring of Honor in 2003, left for TNA in 2005, and returned to ROH in 2011. Adam Cole (Bay-Bay!) is a former ROH World Champion and former ROH World TV champion. He’s been around ROH since 2009, when he first allied himself with one Kyle O’Reilly, forming the tag team Future Shock. After they broke up, Adam won both of his singles titles over the next few years; he was out with a shoulder injury from December 2014 through May of 2015. Kyle O’Reilly is the partner of Bobby Fish in reDRagon, and is a 3-time former ROH World Tag Team Champion. He was the runner-up in last year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament; he is also, in my opinion, the best worker in the world right now.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Here we go. Jay Lethal, after winning the World Title at Best in the World, defended the belt against Kyle O’Reilly at All-Star Extravaganza 7 successfully, due in part to the machinations of Adam Cole. Cole, for his part, had recently returned to action after his shoulder injury and seemingly wanted to team with his former partner O’Reilly; after regaining his trust through a series of tags, he turned on Kyle, costing him the match against Lethal and the World Title. After that, Adam Cole went on a rampage, revealing that he was angry that Kyle O’Reilly as getting a shot at the World Title despite being undeserving, while he, Adam Cole, did not even though he was a former World Champion and deserved another shot after returning from his injury. So he was going to make it his mission in life to drive Kyle O’Reilly out of ROH and ensure that he NEVER won the ROH World title, thereby proving that he was the best of Future Shock. They faced off at Final Battle, where Cole pinned Kyle with his feet on the ropes, causing Kyle to go off on a rampage afterwards and try to snap Cole’s arm. Meanwhile, Jay Lethal escaped Kyle at ASE and AJ Styles at Final Battle, with Cole continuing to lobby for a title match. That match was granted by Nigel McGuinness, with the caveat that due to the disputed endings involving Cole and O’Reilly that Kyle would also be in the match. On ROH TV recently, Cole and Lethal faced off against reDRagon, with Lethal accidentally hitting Cole with a Lethal Injection, allowing O’Reilly to pin Cole. That leads us to now, with the three of them in what I hope will be a potential Match of the Year.

WHO WINS? – Well, here are the 3 scenarios. Lethal retains because ROH likes to give its champions long reigns and Jay has done a great job with that belt. Cole wins because he’s probably the most complete wrestler in ROH; he cuts great promos, he has a great look, he’s a great worker, and he’s a natural champ to carry the belt; plus he has readymade feuds with guys like O’Reilly and possibly Moose down the line. O’Reilly wins because there is a God, plus he’s been behind at almost every point in his feud with Cole and he’s eaten pinfalls to both Jay and Adam through shenanigans and they surely can’t deny him the title AGAIN, can they? Quite honestly, there are upsides to any of these guys walking out with the strap, but for once, I’m going with my heart on this one, even though my head says that Adam Cole is walking out with this thing….

YOUR WINNER – (and NEW ROH World Champion) Kyle O’Reilly

That should do it! The show is Friday night, and I’m sure that discussion will be had here on the BOD. I, for one, am looking forward to it and I hope that you all feel the same way. I love ROH and I really think that a lot of you all would too if you give it a shot.

Thanks for reading this thing that I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter