Ring of Honor had a PPV this past Friday. Time to see how they did. Coming along for the ride is our own Brian Bayless, who was at the show live and sent me his thoughts on each match; I’ll be inserting his comments after the matches and mine in kind of a ‘Bayless says’ thing since I have exactly zero original bones in my body and find it easier to just rip off Scott.
Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?
Ring of Honor All-Star Extravaganza VIII
Video package airs, talking about the meaning of being an All-Star, with various platitudes from the ROH roster. That segues into the package about Ladder War.
We are LIVE from the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts! Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino, who are seated away from the ringside area; we later learn that it’s a precaution for Ladder War 6 later on, to keep them safe.
And we’re going to start off with the World Television title match! The music of Donovan Dijak hits and the crowd ROARS, as he comes out with not only Prince Nana but Brian Fury and his trainers. Crowd chants for Dijak; this is like some sort of nightmare come to life for me. Nah, I’m kind of warming up to the big lug. Let’s see what he does with another shot on the big stage. There’s the music of Bobby Fish! He comes out and the announcers call it straight, not even pretending for a second that Fish is the face in this match.
Now then, God? I know that I only sort of believe in you, but it would just be peachy keen to see both members of reDRagon holding up the two top singles titles in Ring of Honor at Final Battle, so don’t be getting any silly idea here, okay?
Bobby Fish (C) vs Donovan Dijak (w/ Prince Nana, Brian Fury, and a few members of the Spirit Squad by the looks of it) – Ring of Honor World TV title match
Code of Honor is followed, with Fish actually going to the top buckle to look Dijak in the eye to shake his hand. You know, ’cause he’s really, really tall. Yeah. Bobby checks Dijak with a few kicks to the leg and hides in the ropes, playing heel the whole way. A few more kicks and now Dijak is selling the leg like we’re in the 45th minute of a Flair/Steamboat broadway, 2 minutes into the match. Come on, man. Fish bails again for some more stalling to really piss the crowd off. Hey, sometimes it works. Dijak gets the advantage and goes for the toss off the slam, but Bobby lands on the apron and hooks the choke. Fish sweeps the leg out and now Dijak can’t even walk. We’re 3 minutes into the match, by the way. Fish gets wiped out from a discus boot, but Dijak is slow to cover and only gets one. Double knees in the corner from Dijak gets two. Release suplex gets two for Donovan. Bobby fights out of a cravat, but Dijak nails him in the mouth with a nice punch, something that he needed to improve and has. They trade the advantage, and Fish gets an Exploder to the buckles for two. Dragon-screw and Fish looks for the kneebar, but Dijak escapes and hits Feast Your Eyes! He used the bad knee, though, and collapses in pain. 1,2, Fish gets his foot on the ropes! Dijak goes up, selling the knee nicely now; it would have more meaning if he hadn’t been doing the same thing after three kicks, but still. Corkscrew Moonsault by Dijak misses! Very nice. They both get to their feet and slug it out, and Fish rolls Dijak into the kneebar! Nana gets up on the apron as Dijak makes the ropes, and Fish goes over to tell him off. Donovan comes from behind Bobby now and goes for Feast Your Eyes again, but Fish hooks on a rear naked choke while in the Torture Rack position! Dijak goes down to his knees, Bobby drops off and kicks him in the leg a few times, then reapplies the choke and Dijak passes out to allow Fish to retain. (Bobby Fish over Donovan Dijak, pass out, 11:49)
MATCH RATING: **3/4. So, the ending sequence was fine, but the match took forever to get going and the body of it wasn’t all that spectacular. And Dijak’s selling was so over the top it was almost comical; he took three kicks to the leg and he couldn’t walk on it? So later in the match, when Fish had started to work the leg over and it actually made SENSE to sell it that way, it fell flat because it was the same thing he had been doing since 3 minutes in. Dijak is going to be a star someday, if only because he’s a really big, tall dude who has enough agility to do moonsaults. I think he’ll work the indies for the next 1-2 years and then head off to Vinceland, and that’s fine; he’s certainly gotten better over the time I’ve spent watching him, and I’m sure a guy with his innate athletic talent can keep improving. But if this match was an indication, he’s got a ways to go.
BAYLESS SAYS: “The crowd was super into Dijak, who grew up about a half-hour west from Lowell. Crowd stayed jacked throughout the match and did not crap on the ending much as they cheered for him afterwards. There were “please don’t tap” chants whenever he was in a submission. Thought the match was average.”
Post-match, Fish pulls a Flair and challenges the entire front row to a fight; he’s a better heel than I suspect either Cole or the Bucks will be tonight.
Okay, the Cabinet gimmick is stupid, but these guys are milking it for all that it’s worth. ANX is out, followed by Keith Lee and Shane Taylor, then War Machine. Colt Cabana is out next, and then Dalton Castle to a MONSTER pop. I mean, he’s the one guy that everyone seems to like no matter what. I have no earthly idea why Fish’s TV title isn’t welded around this man’s waist; when he gets poached in a year or two, they’re going to be left wondering what might have been with him.
The All-Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) vs Shane Taylor & Keith Lee vs War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) – #1 Contenders match for the ROH World tag team titles
Ref calls for the Code of Honor, and Coleman gets on the mic and tells us that from here on in, the Cabinet is protesting the Code of Honor as King and Titus take a knee. You can probably hear my eyes rolling from all the way in Nebraska. War Machine doesn’t give a s---, though, and attacks Lee and Taylor straightaway and the match is on. Everyone gets dumped to the floor except for Castle and Cabana, who pose for the crowd as Coleman joins us on commentary. Rowe wants Taylor to start us off, but King sucker punches him instead. Rowe knees him in the face quickly and War Machine attacks Lee and Taylor on the apron, allowing Kenny to schoolboy Rowe for two. Kenny tags in Titus and Castle tags in, and Dalton and Colt ping-pong Titus with a flip, flop and fly as Cabana gets two. Tag to Taylor from Titus, and he knocks Cabana down and goes after Rowe in the other corner. They’re really structuring this well, as War Machine just wants Lee and Taylor, and vice versa. Titus tags in now, but gets arm-dragged and tags in Castle, and now it’s Castle and Cabana. Crowd wants them to hug it out, but Castle does his lean back to the mat and Colt covers him for two until Kenny makes the save. Hee! I’m always a sucker for that spot in these matches. Rhett tags himself back in off Cabana as War Machine decides ‘F--- this s---’ and goes around the ring to brawl on the floor with Taylor and Lee. ANX in the ring with Cabana and Castle, and an Irish whip on Colt results in him hitting a double dropkick through the ropes to knock all 4 guys on the outside down. ANX with the double team on Castle now, frog splash from Titus! 1,2, no! One-Night Stand attempt by ANX is stopped as King gets pulled to the floor and Taylor comes in to level Titus with a clothesline. Rowe is right behind him and hits an exploder on Taylor! Lee back in, and he hits a HUGE powerbomb on Rowe! Cabana tries to stop Lee, but runs into a whoopie cushion from Hanson. Hanson ducks a shot from Lee, but Lee catches him the second time and hits a Death Valley Driver on Hanson! DAMN. Castle back in, delayed German suplex on Lee! Kenny King comes flying back in with a Blockbuster on Castle, as we’re just in trainwreck territory at this point. King runs across the ring and does a corkscrew over the top onto the guys on the floor! Keith Lee runs the ropes, tope con hilo to everyone on the floor! Man, that impresses me to this day to watch a man his size do that. While we’re replaying that, Hanson goes up and dives onto everyone just to complete the human carnage on the outside. We’re down to Castle and Titus in the ring now, and Castle catches a charging Titus with the Bangarang! 1,2,3! (Dalton Castle & Colt Cabana over War Machine, Taylor & Lee, and the All-Night Express, pinfall, 8:47)
MATCH RATING: **3/4. Well, it certainly wasn’t boring. I liked a bunch of this, but it wasn’t a great match, it was just tremendous fun. Keeping the War Machine/Taylor & Lee stuff as a separate entity to the match was smart, but it also begged the question of why not just blow that off in a gimmick match if that’s what they wanted to do? Regardless, this was a crazy match near the end with everyone hitting big moves (but not a lot of kickouts on those moves, which is important to me), and it didn’t overstay its welcome. Castle and Cabana could be surprisingly fun if they decide to do something in the future, but I suspect this whole thing is a way to keep the guy on TV. Good stuff.
BAYLESS SAYS: “The crowd was hot for Castle. Cabana too. The crowd really got into this match as it went along and popped big for the finish. This match exceeded my expectations and really want to see more of what Lee & Taylor can do and the crowd was really into their interactions with War Machine.”
Castle’s over the top celebration is a thing of beauty. Nigel joins us on commentary as they talk about Ladder War later tonight.
That’s the music of Kamaitachi! The announcers put over the history of Kama and Dragon Lee in CMLL, noting that Lee took Kama’s mask there. And here comes Dragon Lee! I’ve been wanting to see this for awhile.
Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi
Code of Honor is declined by Kamaitachi, who charges Lee and they go into a nice wrestling sequence too fast to call. ‘Rana attempt by Kama, but Lee does a handstand onto his feet. ‘Rana by Lee sends Kama to the floor, and Lee follows that with a lightning quick tope suicida. Lee runs the ropes again and tries a baseball slide, but Kama moves and gets back in the ring, then runs the ropes and hits a Sunset bomb to the floor as Lee tries to get back in the ring! Holy s---. We’re not wasting any time here. Kama powerbombs him on the floor again, just to be a dick. Outstanding. He comes off the apron with a dropkick and tosses Lee into the front row. He goes after him in the stands, tosses him back to the floor and gets a running start, dropkick over the barricade to Lee! Back in and that gets two for Kama, but Lee gets a pair of dropkicks to send him to the floor. Tope Con Hilo by Lee! He ties Kama to the Tree of Woe on the outside, then goes up to the top and hits a double stomp. Suplex into a powerbomb by Lee gets two. He hangs Kama up on the top rope and tries another double stomp, but Kama avoids it and gets a snap belly to belly and Lee rolls out. Kama goes up to the top rope…..Super Senton to Lee on the floor! Jesus CHRIST. Kama smacked the back of his head on the mat when he landed. Both guys just manage to dive in at a count of 19. They chop each other back to a standing position, then Lee gets a wheelbarrow rollup for two, followed by a pinfall reversal sequence off a ‘rana that gets two for Kama. Deadlift belly-to-back suplex with a bridge from Lee gets two. Both guys end up on top and Kama brings Lee down with a wheelbarrow for two. Dueling snap German suplexes now as each guy makes me wince, and they have some miscommunication on a standing Spanish Fly attempt that gives Lee two. Bridging high German suplex from Kama gets two. Fujiwara armbar from Lee that he turns into the Rings of Saturn, but Kama makes the ropes. Kama on the apron now, and Lee runs across the ring, jumps over the top rope, and ‘ranas him from the apron to the floor! These two are f------ nuts. Back in now, and Lee gets a pair of rolling Northern Lights suplexes into a delayed vertical. 1,2, NO! Lee sends Kama off the ropes, pop-up…and Kama HITS A CANADIAN DESTROYER! 1,2, NO! That was so smooth, I can’t even put it into words. They fight on the top rope now, and Kama falls backwards, so Lee hits the double stomp this time. He signals for the Phoenixplex to finish, but Kama hits the same counter from the power bomb position and hits a SECOND Destroyer! 1,2, NO!! Oh, COME THE F--- ON. Kama is pissed off too, and hits a running Death Valley Driver into the corner buckles. He tries another one, but Lee escapes and hits a vicious jumping knee to the face of Kama, and he follows that up with a sloppy Phoenixplex (Suplex while holding the opponent in a power bomb position), and that is FINALLY enough to end this. Whew. (Dragon Lee over Kamaitachi, pinfall, 16:08)
MATCH RATING: ****1/4. Sweet merciful crap. This was insane, edge of your seat action from the opening bell, as they went from 0-60 and never stopped. The dueling Germans alone in the middle of the match were nuts, and those were transition moves! They let everything hang out here, and it gave me serious vibes of watching Mysterio/Psicosis in the ECW arena way back in the day. Yeah, it was spotty, but they held it together well enough. Kudos to both guys, excellent job. Bayless told me they were going to steal the show, and he was right.
BAYLESS SAYS: “These two made a great initial impression with the crowd. However, I think it went a few minutes too long as the crowd seemed a little burnt out. They did pop for the finish though. These two guys are nuts and it was a really good match but I’d say the third best on this show.”
Both guys get some ice packs after the match, and lemme tell you something, they earned them. I pity the poor guys that have to follow them.
“Hangman” Adam Page vs Kyle O’Reilly
Oh. Okay. Corino and Kelly are already playing up the idea that Page is out there to take out Kyle on behalf of the Bullet Club, specifically Adam Cole. Early striking and wrestling sequence and Kyle goes for a quick armbar, but Page makes the ropes. Kyle works the arm with shots, hammerlock into forearms from Kyle, then a snapmare into a kick. I love to watch this man work. More punishment of the arm and Page gets sent to the floor, with Kyle adding a big boot off the apron to keep him there. Page turns the tide with a reverse neckbreaker on the apron through the ropes, sending Kyle to the floor. Back in now, Page with a ‘rana and some ground and pound on Kyle. Page with a few cross-corner whips now, Kyle goes over the top on a blind charge but gets caught with a powerslam for two. He fights up and gets a kneelift on Page to take over. This match isn’t great. It’s okay, but I’m not feeling Page. Kyle goes back to the arm and keeps working, then goes down to the leg and hits the strikes into a legsweep. Back to the arm, and when Page moves to protect it, Kyle gets a kneebar, forcing Page to roll for the ropes. They end up on the apron and Kyle fires kicks to the knee of Page, but Adam catches one and hits forearms. Kyle no-sells the first two, so Page rips out Kyle’s mouthguard and hits another one, and this time O’Reilly hits the floor. Page off the apron, shooting star press! The commentators are on the ball, pointing out that the move didn’t get a ton of contact with Kyle, yet Page hit his knee hard on the mat. Kyle catches Page coming back in and hits a dragon-screw on the middle rope, then follows that up by snapping the arm of Page across the shoulder; O’Reilly runs the ropes but gets caught when Page hits him with the slingshot lariat for two. Suplex attempt by Page, but Kyle floats over and hits him with kicks and a knee right to the face. They trade shots and Kyle goes for Ax and Smash, but Page counters with a big boot and looks for the Rite of Passage. Kyle backdrops him over and goes for the armbar, and finally hooks it after fighting for the hold; Page taps! (Kyle O’Reilly over Adam Page, submission, 9:54)
MATCH RATING: ***. Only because that’s pretty much the bare minimum that I give an O’Reilly match most of the time. Page was alright here, but he didn’t seem to get the memo about the match; there were too many dead spots in the middle and the whole thing felt disjointed to me. Especially after what I thought was a star-making performance last time out against Jay Briscoe, Page didn’t do anything for me here. The crowd was clearly still coming down after the previous match, so I don’t mind that they went for a mat-based followup, but they’re gonna need to really work on getting Kyle over as the big-time face they want him to be. Because I’m pretty sure that he’s getting the Final Battle title shot at this point assuming that Cole has the belt, and Cole is insanely popular; he’ll get cheered against Kyle at this point. Not saying that it should happen that way, but it’s going to, unless they can really make the heel/face dynamic work.
BAYLESS SAYS: “This crowd hated Page. Not in the sense they were booing him but they just did not even want to see him on the show and a few in my section were telling him to hurry up and tap whenever he was placed in a submission. The crowd in general just thought the guy sucked. Personally, I thought the match served its purpose.”
Post-match, Page attacks Kyle with a chair, wrapping it around the previously injured shoulder and tossing him to the post before Fish makes the save. Fish yells at Page as the latter retreats, and that probably sets up Fish/Page for the TV belt in the near future.
Kevin Kelly interviews Silas Young, who earned a title shot by winning the Honor Rumble recently. Young cuts a babyface promo about going out and earning the title shot; sorry, but “I earned it” is a babyface mentality. He says that he and the Bruiser couldn’t find another guy to work in the six-man, but when he gets his title shot he’s going to be the guy walking into Final Battle the world champ!
Yeah, not thinking that’s gonna happen.
Time to kick off the 6-Man tournament!
The Briscoes & Toru Yano vs ACH, KUSHIDA, & Jay White – ROH 6-man tag title tournament, 1st round
ACH is apparently now known as Super ACH, and that’s a big old NOPE from this recapper. Because that’s just dumb. Code of Honor is followed. KUSHIDA and ACH play paper, rock, scissors to see who starts, and ACH comes out on top. Because he’s super, right? Anyway, he’ll start with Mark Briscoe. Briscoe gets a pair of armdrags and ACH repays him in kind. Dropkick and here’s a tag to KUSHIDA. He works the arm of Mark, but Mark catches him with a forearm and tags in Yano, who just always looks like he’s having the time of his life out there. KUSHIDA gets the advantage, so Yano runs away and tags in Jay Briscoe. You know, I would actually LOVE to see KUSHIDA/Jay one on one. I don’t know why. I just do. Tag to Jay White now since the Jays still have an issue, thanks to that boring draw on ROH TV. White with the advantage, but Briscoe gets a headbutt and tags in Mark for the double team. KUSHIDA and ACH try to save, but White gets tossed and the Briscoes give ’em a beatin’. Get Over Here is blocked by Mark while Jay pounds away on KUSHIDA in the corner. Everyone gets dumped to the floor and Jay Briscoe wipes out ACH and White with a crazy tope. Yano cuts off the turnbuckle pad in the meantime. Well, of course he does. White gets clobbered by the Briscoes, and Jay hits a dropkick and covers White for one. Yano in now, and he draws in KUSHIDA, then nails White with the turnbuckle pad while the ref is distracted. So help me, but I love this dude. White gets sent to the exposed turnbuckle, but the forces of karma are strong and a second attempt is reversed so Yano gets it instead. White hits an enzuigiri and makes the tag to KUSHIDA, who comes in and whups Yano. Toru tries to go to the eyes, but that doesn’t work. Crowd chants for KUSHIDA, which means they are truly an educated group of wrestling fans. Must be because Bayless is there. KUSHIDA gets a hip toss into the armbar but Yano makes the ropes. Toru yanks KUSHIDA down by the hair and tags in Mark, who hits a Side Russian legsweep for two. Jay gets the tag, snap suplex for two. KUSHIDA fights out and gets a double springboard elbow on the Briscoes, then tags in ACH. ACH runs wild and hits Air Jordan onto all three opponents on the floor. Back in the ring with Jay Briscoe, and ACH holds his own, fighting off Mark as well. Crazy Matrix dodge by ACH in the middle of the sequence. Jay gets tossed and they go to work on Mark with a triple team, culminating in a missile dropkick from White. 1,2, Yano makes the save. The Briscoes take over on White now, with Jay getting the Time Bomb neckbreaker on White for two. ACH tries to help, but gets leveled by a Jay Briscoe clothesline. KUSHIDA suffers pretty much the same fate, and Briscoe hits White with a Death Valley Driver while Mark goes up. Froggy-bow! 1,2, NO! Yano back in now, and he hits White with an inverted atomic drop, then a catapult into a double superkick from the Briscoes. ACH and KUSHIDA make the save on that one. They both get tossed again and we’re back to the triple-team, but now White gets a back drop on a charging Mark to send him to the floor, then a DDT on Jay to take him out. That leaves Yano, who goes for the low blow but KUSHIDA is back in to block that. White hits Toru with a spinning uranage, KUSHIDA dives off the top onto the Briscoes on the floor to keep them occupied, and ACH finishes things with the Midnight Star for the pin. (ACH, KUSHIDA, & Jay White over the Briscoes & Toru Yano, pinfall, 14:12)
MATCH RATING: ***1/4. Energetic from start of finish, but there wasn’t much of a through line for the story of the match; it was just a bunch of guys hitting moves. It was alright, slightly above average, a bit disappointing considering who was in the ring. All in all, it was okay. I would have liked to have seen a longer face-in-peril segment than we got, but I freely confess that I’m not a huge fan of the 6-man title idea in the first place; yeah, I know that other companies do it, but why is that all of a sudden an incentive for Ring of Honor to do it?
BAYLESS SAYS: “The crowd was into KUSHIDA and Yano the most. Jay Briscoe got a few chants too and they seemed to have no idea as to who White was. They were into all of Yano’s antics. Once White kicked out of the froggy bow, things picked up and the crowd really got into this. Another really good match.”
Post-match, Code of Honor is followed.
Video package for Lethal/Naito airs; once again, Lethal is just killing it with this character right now.
Tetsuya Naito (w/ EVIL) vs Jay Lethal
Naito threatens to hit the ref with the IWGP IC belt after getting in the ring, then attacks the ring announcer during Lethal’s introduction. Corino’s “is it CHRISTMAS?” is the first funny thing he’s said all night. Lethal hits the ring and they get started, Lethal with a hiptoss into a seated dropkick. He dropkicks Naito off the apron to the floor, but gets caught with a neck snap when he goes out after him. Naito tosses him and goes to work on the floor for awhlie, but Lethal reverses a whip and sends Naito to the barricade. Tope suicida by Lethal, and that gets two when Lethal tosses Naito back in. Strikes by Lethal now, but a tornado DDT from Naito turns the tide, and he chokes away with his shirt on Jay. In and out dropkick in the corner from Naito gets two. Enzuigiri by Naito, but he comes off the ropes and gets caught with the Lethal Combination from Jay. 3 Belly to Back suplexes from Lethal and he goes up, Hail to the King elbow! 1,2, NO! He goes for the Injection, but gets hit with a dropkick from Naito. Naito puts Lethal on the top and ‘ranas him off for two. Naito goes for Destino, but Lethal counters that into a cutter. Lethal Injection is blocked, so Jay just kicks Naito in the face. Pinfall attempts by Naito don’t do much as Jay hits a Belly to Back suplex into a crossface. EVIL yanks the ref out before Naito can tap and comes in, stomping away at Jay. F--- you, EVIL. I was enjoying this match, asshole. They double-team Jay, but he manages to come back with a superkick to EVIL and a back elbow to Naito. Lethal springboards off the second rope with a cutter! Ref crawls back in, 1,2, NO! Lethal puts Naito on top and goes up, Naito reverses and tries for a sunset flip bomb, but Jay reverses that to a ‘rana! Lethal off the ropes, Lethal Injection! 1,2,3! (Jay Lethal over Tetsuya Naito, pinfall, 13:04)
MATCH RATING: ***1/2. I may be wrong, but I really dug this. I like Naito a lot, so I’m probably biased, but they seemed to have good chemistry in there, the match was worked well, they kept it about the time frame it needed to be. It never felt boring and Lethal going over clean as a sheet is surprising but welcomed. It’s nice to see one of the top NJPW guys laying down clean at an ROH PPV. All in all, I liked the match more on the replay than I did live. Good stuff.
BAYLESS SAYS: “I thought this was an excellent match. The crowd was into Jay but they did have some dueling chants going on. They went nuts for the finish though and really got into it in the last few minutes.”
Time for the ROH World title match! They replay Cole’s promo from ROH TV, in which he promises to get revenge on Elgin years later for being the one to end his first World title reign. Good enough for me.
Adam Cole (C) vs “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin – Ring of Honor World title match
Cole is out on his own. Elgin gets respectful applause, while Cole gets the ‘Bay-bay!’ pop after his introduction. Crowd chants for Cole, who is clearly the babyface here. A few lockups go nowhere, and Elgin mocks the ‘bay-bay’ after they collide on a shoulderblock. Crowd boos. See what I mean? It’s just going to be so hard to get Cole booed at this point against anyone. Cole dropkicks the knee of Elgin and poses, so Elgin clobbers him with a lariat and a sitout spinning uranage for a quick two. Cole fires back with a kick and the Last Shot. They trade moves and Cole ends up on the apron, where Elgin hits him with a kick and goes for a deadlift superplex back into the ring, but Cole escapes and superkicks Elgin in the knee. Cole wraps Mike’s knee around the post 3 times, then comes back in with stomps to the knee. Adam goes to the mat to try to hyperextend the knee, but Elgin kicks him away. Bicycle kick attempt by Cole is blocked and Elgin gets 2 rolling Germans in to a release German. Crowd is silent for this babyface comeback. I’m not trying to harp on it, honestly; it’s just very noticeable. Clotheslines in the corner by Mike, Cole blocks the delayed German so Elgin hits a jumping enzuigiri. Falcon Arrow by Elgin gets two. Discus attempt is blocked by Cole, who fakes Elgin out with a superkick and kicks the knee instead. Leg lariat by Cole gets two. He kicks the knee again and charges Elgin in the corner, but eats a boot and Elgin hits a delayed German into the buckles! Elgin decides to go up and gets punished, as Cole pushes him into the Tree of Woe, then superkicks the knee from there and slaps on a figure-four. Elgin makes the ropes. Cole goes up for the Panama Sunrise, but Elgin backdrops out of it. Elgin goes up now….Panama Sunrise from Elgin to Cole!! 1,2, NO! More of a powerbomb finish than a piledriver, but still, DAMN. That looked all kinds of neat. Bucklebomb by Elgin and he looks to finish Cole with the Elgin Bomb, but Cole manages to hook Elgin and hit a reverse ‘rana! Cole goes for it again, Panama Sunrise hits! 1,2, NO! Good lord, how many Destroyers are we gonna kick out of tonight, guys? Cole hits two superkicks, but Elgin turns him inside-out with a lariat on the next attempt. Elgin Bomb attempt is countered with the Last Shot, 1,2, NO! Cole slaps the figure-four back on now, but Elgin powers out of it and hits palm strikes. Spinning backfist knocks Cole into next week and Elgin looks to finish, but Adam pulls the ref in front of himself to stop Elgin, then kicks Mike in the knee, then a superkick, then a Shining Wizard! Another Shining Wizard hits Cole in the back of the head, and a Last Shot attempt that turns into a brainbuster is enough to keep Big Mike on the mat for the 1,2,3. (Adam Cole over Michael Elgin, pinfall, 14:09)
MATCH RATING: ***1/2. I liked the ringwork a lot here, but the match was ridiculously anti-climactic. Once you saw that Ladder War was going on last, there was absolutely zero doubt that Cole was retaining, because if there was going to be a shocker, it’d be in the main event. The match didn’t have a lot of heat, as you could feel that the crowd never really gave Elgin a chance in this one; they popped for the big spots and the near-falls at the end were crazy impressive (Although I’m really getting sick of people kicking out of Destroyers. I don’t love the move all that much, but it shouldn’t be getting kicked out of with regularity), so I’m assigning my match rating based on the good ringwork we got.
BAYLESS SAYS: “The crowd loved Cole but overall, the crowd was getting a bit tired here and did not seem much into the actual match. They were more into’s Cole’s spots and really wanted to see the Panama Sunrise.”
Promo video for the main event occurs, with video of past Ladder Wars; see, since this is only the 6th time there’s been a ladder match in ROH history, it still feels special.
The crowd is clearly jacked for this. The Machine Guns are out first to a nice reaction, then the Bucks to a MONSTER pop from the crowd. The Addiction are out last, and even they get a decent reaction.
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) (C) vs The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) vs The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) – Ring of Honor World Tag Team title match – Ladder War 6
No Code of Honor. The Addiction get tossed quickly and we end up with a 3-way superkick between the Bucks and the Guns, with each leg getting caught. As they’re backing off each other, the Addiction is back in with chairs. For the record, I expect little to no wrestling in this match. Addiction takes out both other teams with chairs, but Matt Jackson ducks a double chairshot and they hit each other, allowing the Bucks to hit a double superkick to send them to the floor. The Bucks rule the ring now, taking out the Guns, with Nick hitting a dropkick through the ropes to the Addiction holding a ladder, followed by a faceplant on Shelley. Everyone ends up on the floor again, and Nick does a somersault dive over the top of Matt to take everyone out. Back in now, and Shelley manages to cut off the Bucks by slamming a ladder in their fingers, and the Guns and the Bucks hook it up, with the Guns getting the advantage before superkicks from Matt put a stop to that. Matt holds Daniels in a headscissors on the apron now, and Nick smashes him in the face with a ladder. Kazarian and Nick end up on top of the ladder, but now the Guns are back and they put a stop to that. Daniels back in now, and we’ve switched to the Addiction against the Guns, and Daniels is busted open. And I mean he’s busted open, as he did a hell of a blade job. The Guns hit him with a drop toehold on the ladder, then a spinning suplex on the ladder. Ow. Sabin on the ladder now, but the Bucks are back and they toss Shelley, followed by Nick going from the top rope to the ladder as Matt pushes it over to the ropes, then pulls it back. Nick and Sabin fight it out up there, and Sabin sends him crashing to the mat, so Matt does the same to Sabin with a powerbomb in the corner.
Kazarian springs back in with a DDT on Matt. He and Daniels get the ladder, but a superkick to their knees traps them in the rungs and the Bucks superkick the ladder from that position. Matt sets the ladder against the ropes and powerbombs Daniels onto it, then holds it in place as Nick hits a swanton on Daniels through the ladder. The Bucks set up the barricades like a table using the plates from the outside of said barricade as Kaz climbs, so Matt goes back in to cut him off. Kazarian fights him off, so Nick springs in off the top rope to the ladder, but Kaz gets hold of him on top, TKO off the top of the ladder by Frankie! The Guns are back in now, and they send Matt to a ladder in the corner, but miscommunication ensues and Sabin hits Shelley with an accidental enzuigiri. Shelley ends up on the apron after avoiding a Matt Jackson charge, and he grabs Kaz and hits a uranage through a table on the floor! Matt decides to charge at Sabin, but Matt gets backdropped through a table on the floor! Jesus. Sabin charges at Daniels on the apron, but Daniels ducks the clothesline and hits a uranage through another table on the floor to Sabin! Shelley puts Kaz on the last table remaining on his side of the ring, but Nick is back and hits a running kick from the apron, then goes up, 450 splash off the top through Kaz on the table!! They show Daniels trying to get to his feet, and he’s got a NICE crimson mask going. Kaz is bleeding from the back of the head as well. Daniels, Matt, and Sabin all bring ladders into the ring and set them up next to each other. They start to climb as the other guys make their way back in, and now we’ve got all 6 guys brawling on top of the ladders. Everyone goes down until Nick Jackson is the last guy on the remaining ladder, he reaches for the belts but can’t get them; the Guns and the Addiction pick the ladder up with Nick at the top of it (!) and carry it over to the edge of the ring, then dump Nick off through another table on the outside! That looked terrifying.
The Guns and the Addiction battle it out as Daniels is covered in blood now. Shelley hits Kaz with a flatliner into a ladder in the corner, then they trap Daniels in between the ladder and stand him up in the corner. Kaz charges back in with a chair, but the Guns move and he nails Daniels. Kaz takes a belly-to-belly from Shelley in the corner and rolls to the floor, and the Guns slam Daniels to the mat while he’s inside the ladder. The Guns look to climb, but the Bucks are back in and they hit superkicks to send the Guns to the floor. They want to climb now, but Daniels pulls Matt off and tosses the ladder over their heads to the floor, and now everyone whose last name isn’t Jackson is gonna eat a superkick. Two for you, Daniels. One for you, Sabin. Two for you, Shelley. Daniels manages to drag himself back to his feet on the apron, and the Bucks hit him with two more, and he crashes back through the makeshift barricade table the Bucks set up, bouncing off it and hitting the floor. Kaz is busted open on the front as well now. The Bucks set up another ladder now, but Shelley pulls Matt to the floor. Alex goes for Sliced Bread #2 off the post, but Jackson manages to catch him in tombstone position, and the crowd KNOWS what’s coming. Nick is climbing, but Kaz pushes the ladder over and Nick manages to catch himself on the top rope, then jump to the outside, INDYTAKER on Alex Shelley on the floor! The Bucks set the ladder up and they’re touching the belts, but Kamaitachi is out! He pushes the ladder over and the Bucks crotch themselves! Daniels back in now, and he hits Angel’s Wings on the ladder to Chris Sabin, while Kama goes up to splash Shelley through a table; but Jay White runs down and throws Kamaitachi through the table when Shelley moves! White gets lowblowed on the apron by Daniels, then put through a table by Kaz with a slingshot cutter. Bucks get back in, but Daniels isn’t taking their s--- anymore as he runs Matt into Nick to send Nick back outside, then hits the Best Moonsault Ever on Matt.
Kaz slides a table into the ring as the crowd chants “Fallen Angel” at Daniels while he sets up the ladder. Nick gets back in and sets a ladder against the other ladder and the buckle, while Daniels and Kaz put Matt on the table that Kaz brought in. Daniels and Nick are at the top of the ladder now, and the look in Daniels’ eyes is just fantastic, as he gouges at the eyes of Nick Jackson. Daniels sets up for Angel’s Wings off the top of the ladder, but Nick blocks it and backdrops him through the ladder that was bridged!! What a crazy, crazy bump for Daniels to take. Kaz fights off both Bucks with superkicks and looks to hit a cutter through the table on Matt, but Matt catches him in tombstone position, and Nick Jackson is at the top of the ladder now; do you even need to ask whether he just grabs the belts or whether he does something stupid? Well, if you decided on something stupid, you are a winner, as he jumps off the top of the ladder for an Indytaker THROUGH THE TABLE on Kazarian! What an idiot. Doesn’t matter, though, as the Guns are both dead on the outside and Daniels has his leg trapped in the ladder, and the Bucks climb back up and we have NEW ROH World Tag Team champs! (The Young Bucks over The Addiction & The Motor City Machine Guns, belt retrieval, 23:44)
MATCH RATING: I’m probably about to open a can of worms here; ****1/2. The match delivered spectacularly on every promise that it made, in that it was a crazy, blood-filled spotfest with tons of tables breaking and big moves being hit off the ladders. Judged in context of that, this ranked favorably with any of the triple threat ladder matches that the Hardyz & Edge/Christian & the Dudleyz put on, and in fact I think it was probably better than most of them. I’m not the biggest fan of these types of matches, but if you do them well enough that I’M jumping out of my chair, which I did for this match, you sucked me in and did it right. Daniels was the hero of the match, as he did a big gory bladejob to garner a ton of heat after his promo from last week’s ROH TV, making it seem all the more unlikely that the Addiction would win, making their near-misses the most dramatic. The Guns were fine but pretty much a non-factor. And for all the crap that I give the Bucks, which I will continue to do in straight wrestling matches, this is the type of match where they can excel and hit big double-team moves and a million superkicks and have it flow naturally into the match itself. All in all, a big-time home run from these teams who put their bodies on the line, and if you’re into trainwreck ladder spotfests, this is a must-see match.
BAYLESS SAYS: “This was incredible. Once one of the Young Bucks did a 450 to the floor, they crowd went absoulutely mental and stayed red hot throughout the match. In fact, most people stood up the entire time. The run-ins by Kamaitachi and White did not get any reaction though. After the match, a loud “Thank You Daniels” chant broke out and fans stayed to their feet until Daniels & Kazarian finally made it to the ramp, where Daniels was yelling at the announcers.”
Post-match, the crowd chants “Thank You Daniels!” as the wrestlers recover and the highlights play. Promo for Final Battle takes us out.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was ROH’s best PPV of the year so far, hands-down. With 6 of the 8 matches at *** or better, and two of them ****+, it stacks up strongly against any other North American PPV as well, regardless of the company. The main event was a brutal, brutal war, with Kamaitachi & Dragon Lee stealing the show on the undercard. We’re set up well enough for the Road to Final Battle now, as it looks like we’re going to get reDRagon against the Bullet Club for the two singles titles, while I would assume that the Bucks get the Briscoes for the biggest event of the year. Either way, it’s going to be a fun ride.
BAYLESS SAYS: “Overall, I had a blast and an easy thumbs up show. The crowd was really buzzing afterwards in the street, with everyone talking about the ladder war.”
This was long, so I mean it for sure this time; Thanks for reading this thing I wrote,
@MrSoze on Twitter