Ring of Honor – 16th Anniversary Show preview!

Howdy!

This Friday, Ring of Honor celebrates 16 years of being, well, Ring of Honor with their annual Anniversary show. Let’s break this thing down and see if it’s worth spending some hard-earned cash on, shall we?

– First off, I’m switching up my ROH review schedule. The weekly show just isn’t going to work for me right now, what with work putting a whuppin’ on my ass, and I’m sick of making promises that I just can’t keep. However, I don’t want to give up recapping, so I’ll be previewing and recapping all the ROH PPVs from here on in, and probably hit some of the special events thanks to their crazy streaming schedule we’ve got from Honor Club these days. That should be manageable and give you more than your fair share of myself.

– Speaking of Honor Club…..it’s a bust, depending on your point of view. I signed up for the VIP because it made financial sense when it came to saving money on the ROH PPVs, and for that, Honor Club delivers. In fact, regarding the current product, it completely delivers, as pretty much everything is up there from the last two or so years. The key is, ‘from the last two or so years’; now, I don’t think any of us expected the WWE Network here. But when your vault content essentially consists of a Bryan Danielson comp and some shoot interviews while you hold the archives to most of the top stars from the last several years, well, that’s a bust. I’m sorry, but one of the reasons that many people wanted an ROH streaming service was to see early CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Kevin Steen, AJ Styles…..and this isn’t that. I get that they don’t want to kill their DVD business out of the jump, I really do, but DVD is a dead format and streaming is both the present and probably the future. They need to start getting some archives up as soon as possible to really make this service sing, because they have a goldmine amongst the smarks with all that old footage; but until that happens, unless you’re really into the current product, I can’t recommend you subscribe.

All right, we’ve got 7 matches on the card, so let’s get started!

Flip Gordon vs Hiromu Takahashi

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Hiromu Takahashi is one of the finest light heavyweights in the entire world. A former IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion, he’s a member of the Los Ingobernables de Japon faction in NJPW, where he’s known as the ‘Ticking Time Bomb’, and carries around a stuffed cat named Daryl Takahashi to up his weirdness quotient to 11. Flip Gordon is a high-flyer who wishes he was one of the finest light heavyweights in the entire world. Okay, that last sentence was a bit harsh. Gordon debuted less than 3 years ago and has just been starting out in ROH over the last year. He has made cameos on ‘Being the Elite’ in a mostly comedy-based role, but it’s a good showcase for him. He’s active duty with the National Guard and frequently references his military service.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – At the Honor Rising shows last month, there was a 3-way match between Gordon, Takahashi, and KUSHIDA on night 1, and the match was surprisingly won by Flip, who pinned Takahashi. One would think that Hiromu is seeking revenge for said pinfall here.

WHO WINS? – I’m not all that enamored of Flip, but he’s still really green and I’m trying not to hold that against him too much. Regardless, this match is going to depend on whether or not Hiromu can hold it together; Will Ospreay and Flip had a good match at Global Wars Chicago with Ospreay doing the heavy lifting, so it can be done. With this being an ROH PPV, I would put Flip over, but I don’t think that Takahashi is losing here after losing at Honor Rising. Hiromu wins this one.

YOUR WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi

Punishment Martinez vs Marty Scurll – winner receives an ROH World title shot

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Punishment Martinez is a giant in ROH, literally. He towers over most competitors at six-seven, and is incredibly agile for a big man. he can do topes over the corner posts and fly all over. His basic gimmick is supernatural in nature, and he no-sells a lot. I mean, a LOT. It annoys me. On the other hand, you’ve got “The Villain” Marty Scurll! One of the best meldings of wrestler and worker, Scurll is a member of the Bullet Club and a former ROH World TV champion & IWGP Jr Heavyweight champion. He specializes in using cheating as an art form while still being an outstanding technical worker.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – A shot at the World title is the issue. Martinez received a shot against champion Dalton Castle recently on ROH TV, losing a very decent match that was one of Punishment’s best. Scurll has recently begun campaigning for a World title shot, pointing out that he hasn’t gotten a shot at Castle despite all of his international success, plus his history as a champion in ROH. He and Martinez teamed up in the last episode of ROH TV against Lethal and Castle, and things didn’t exactly go smoothly. Now, it’s 1 on 1 for a shot at the belt.

WHO WINS? – It’s Scurll all day, baby. Punishment just got a shot, and Marty is 100% due for the next chance at the strap. Be a shocker to me if Scurll loses.

YOUR WINNER: Marty Scurll

Cody Rhodes vs Matt Taven

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?– I think we all know who Cody Rhodes is, and I won’t waste your time with that. Matt Taven has been in ROH since 2012, is the current leader of The Kingdom, and a former ROH TV champion and ROH World tag team champion with Michael Bennett.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Taven has been outspoken that Ring of Honor is ignoring many of the wrestlers in the company in favor of pushing the Bullet Club to the top, due to the faction’s popularity. As such, he’s been attacking Cody, going so far as to steal the ring of honor that Cody had made for himself after winning the World title, and has been taunting him ever since. After a recent match on ROH TV ended with Cody winning after a low blow, nothing was settled. This is the blowoff.

WHO WINS? – I’m on the fence here. One school of thought says that it makes more sense to put Taven over here. ROH could use him as a top heel in the company, possibly for Dalton as an opponent down the line. On the other hand, Cody is the bigger star and really shouldn’t be doing a job, especially after dropping the World title to Castle. I think that Cody probably wins, because the danger in him falling too far down the card while he has a main event match coming up against Kenny Omega at Supercard of Honor in a month. He needs the momentum for that match.

YOUR WINNER: Cody Rhodes

The Hung Bucks (Adam Page & The Young Bucks) (C) vs SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky) – Ring of Honor World 6-Man tag team title match

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – The Hung Bucks (sigh) are all members of the Bullet Club. The Young Bucks, real-life brothers, are one of the most decorated tag teams in the world. Former ROH tag champs, PWG tag champs, IWGP Jr Heavyweight tag champs, the Jackson brothers are known for their high-flying and crowd-pleasing double teams. Their partner, the “Hangman” Adam Page, is currently the #1 contender for the IWGP US championship in NJPW, currently held by Jay White. SoCal Uncensored consists of long-time partners Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, formerly known as The Addiction, and Scorpio Sky. Daniels is a former ROH World champion and tag team champion (with Kazarian), and Sky is their newest partner.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Daniels turned heel months ago after losing the ROH World title, blaming the fans for his loss and vowing to destroy everything that they loved about Ring of Honor. He brought Kaz along for the ride and recruited Sky, and decided to go after the 6-man titles to gain a foothold in ROH after being told that while they wouldn’t be fired, they would be let go when their contract expired.

WHO WINS?– I smell a title change here. The Bucks and Page are occupied all over the world right now, and the SoCal story works better if they have the titles and ROH is forced to deal with them causing havoc on the show every week as ROH tries to figure out a way to get rid of them.

YOUR WINNER: (and NEW 6-man tag champs!) SoCal Uncensored

Kenny King (C) vs Silas Young – Ring of Honor World TV title match

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Kenny King is on his second reign as the ROH TV champ, having regained the title from Young on ROH TV recently. King is a former ROH tag team champion with Rhett Titus, and achieved some fame as a contestant on the reality show “The Bachelorette”. Silas Young is a mustachioed brawler who bills himself as the ‘Last Real Man’, and is a former ROH TV champ himself.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Silas won the title in a 4-way elimination match at Final Battle against King, Shane Taylor, and Punishment Martinez. He held the title until King exercised his rematch clause and won the title back on ROH TV, and now Young has exercised his rematch for this PPV. That’s pretty much it.

WHO WINS? – I’m not a big fan of hot potato with the titles, and I think that King retains here. Young had a run with the belt, but his character doesn’t need it and I really think that King does. It makes more sense to keep the belt where it is for the time being.

YOUR WINNER: (and STILL TV champ) Kenny King

The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) (C) vs The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) – Ring of Honor World Tag Team title match

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – The Machine Guns are the current Ring of Honor tag champs, having beaten the Young Bucks to take the titles at Death Before Dishonor last year. Alex and Chris have won too many titles to mention here, but as a tag team they are both current ROH tag champs and former TNA tag champs. The Briscoes are ROH royalty, having won the tag titles a record 8 times in ROH. Jay is also a 2-time ROH World champion to go along with their record title reigns.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Jay and Mark turned heel late last year, destroying both Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer in brutal fashion to establish themselves as such. Since then, they’ve been sadistically beating everyone in their way, and now they’ve reached the Guns. A recent ROH TV beatdown on the Guns was followed by an interview in which they claimed that it wasn’t personal, that they just wanted back the titles and were willing to kill anyone in the way to get them. For their part, the Guns have been trying to put up a good fight, but have been ravage with injuries and basically have been the ones taking the beatings, not dishing them out.

WHO WINS? – Yeah, this should be a straight-up slaughter. Outside of Bully Ray running some type of interference, the Guns’ chances are pretty much nil. The Briscoes have been energized by this turn and have become the top team in ROH again as a result, and my guess is that they’ll win the belts here and hold them until the Young Bucks come for them again.

YOUR WINNER: (and NEW tag team champs) The Briscoes

Dalton Castle (C) vs Jay Lethal – Ring of Honor World title match

WHO ARE THESE GUYS? – Dalton Castle is the most flamboyant wrestler in all of ROH, coming to the ring with his ‘Boys’, two scantily-clad young men who act as his seconds, fanning him off and letting him use them for furniture when requested. He can wrestle, as he is deceptively strong, and is well-known for his deadlift throws and suplexes. He is the current ROH World champion, having won the title from Cody Rhodes at Final Battle 2017. Jay Lethal is arguably the most decorated wrestler still with ROH outside of maybe Jay Briscoe. Lethal is the longest reigning ROH TV champion of all time, holding that record at 567 days; for a time, he was a double champion, holding both the ROH TV title and World title simultaneously. He would hold the World title for 427 days for what, to date, has been his only reign as the world champion in ROH.

WHAT’S THE ISSUE HERE? – Castle named Lethal as his challenger, citing the idea that Lethal was the best competition in ROH. Lethal accepted, and did commentary for Castle’s successful defense at Honor Rising, then teamed with him on ROH TV against Punishment Martinez and Marty Scurll. This feud is less personal and is more about the title itself.

WHO WINS? – Castle is red-hot right now and shows no signs of slowing down. It’d be insane to take the title off him here. With the potential feuds of Marty Scurll, Matt Taven, and an eventual rematch with Cody looming, it benefits both Castle and the belt to have a decent reign with it; as such, I expect he will retain.

YOUR WINNER: (and STILL world champion) Dalton Castle

That should just about do it! 7 matches on the show and the card looks good, if not a blow-away. I’ll be back with a review of the show probably either Sunday or Monday, assuming all goes well on my end. Check it out and enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter