Reviews

Ring of Honor 14th Anniversary Show Review

Air Date: 26/2/16

Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish (ROH World Television Championship)

This match was initially billed as a singles match between Fish and Strong, however Strong lost the title to Ishii at Honor Rising in Japan and so this became a triple threat match. This was a totally fine, but somewhat underwhelming triple threat match, that relied heavily on the old “one in, one out” triple threat trope. You have to imagine this would have been far better if it was a singles of some description, but who knows. Ishii pins Strong with a vertical suplex to retain *** ¼

We get a video package recapping Adam Page turning on BJ Whitmer to set up the next match.

Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer

This storyline has taken up way too much time on TV and this match wasn’t at all worth it. These guys tried a little bit, but by god BJ Whitmer is not a good professional wrestler and because of that this match died a horrible death. What’s worst is that with the finish and with Corino possibly coming back this will have to continue. What did we all do to deserve this garbage? BJ Whitmer pins Adam Page with an inside cradle after a low blow ** ½

After the match Page tries to go after Whitmer, who sneaks out, causing Page to attack security to absolutely no heat.

We get a promo from Dalton Castle to set up his next match, this was just as much fun as you’d expect.

Hirooki Goto vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys)

Castle had a Wrestlemania calibre entrance with an entire legion of Boys. Commentary continued the story of Goto being a complete loser and this match again showed how subpar he is in the ring for the most part. This was a totally fine but totally forgettable match, they wrestled back and forth for a little bit and then Goto hit Castle with his finisher and it just ended. Goto pins Castle with a GTR ** ¾

We get a reminder of Alex Shelley’s return to Ring of Honor and Chris Sabin’s constant refusal to attack him.

Christopher Daniels (w/Frankie Kazarian) vs. Alex Shelley

This was another in a series of matches that have been totally fine but lacking any real spark. Shelley and Daniels have shown in recent years that they are far better in tag teams than as singles guys, and putting two people like that in a singles match together is not a recipe for success. This felt like a match from the third hour of RAW, even down to the crowd struggling to really care. The main takeaway from this match was of course Chris Sabin coming down to help Shelley, which is obviously leading to the reunion of the Motor City Machine Guns which I am incredibly excited for. Alex Shelley pins Christopher Daniels ** ½

After the match Shelley and Sabin clear house and hug in the ring, officially reuniting their tag team.

Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe)

Other than the opener, this is the first match on the card that really feels like a big deal. It’s a sad state of affairs for ROH that matches not featuring top NJPW stars don’t feel like big deals. That said, this was probably the best match on the show so far so it’s somewhat deserved. Most of the match was worked between Elgin and the Briscoes, who had a lot of cool spots against each other, but Tanahashi did seem like he was completely taking the night off. This wasn’t a spectacular tag team match but was spotty fun. Tanahashi pins Mark Briscoe with the High Fly Flow *** ½

Moose (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo)

There’s no doubt this is the biggest match of Moose’s fairly short career. He worked pretty hard, although Okada was seemingly taking the night off, and these two had a solid little match. Nothing spectacular by any means, and a little bit disappointing as I thought this was a match that could have been great, but not bad at all. Okada pins Moose with the Rainmaker ***

Okada and Moose embrace after the match.

The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson))(c) vs. Matt Sydal, KUSHIDA, and ACH (NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship)

Kenny and the Bucks were probably the most over act on this show so far. There was a lot of schtick early on in this match, but the last half of this match was a really fun spotfest. Even though I am not the biggest fan of all of their schtick, it’s difficult to argue that The Elite aren’t a really awesome trio. Matt Jackson pins Matt Sydal after a Metlzer Driver and One Winged Angel *** ¾

We get a video package setting up the tag title match.

War Machine (Hanson and Rowe)(c) vs. The All-Night Express (Kenny King and Rhett Titus)(NoDQ, ROH World Tag Team Championship)

This was a total lame duck match, with the crowd not giving even the slightest shit about anything that was going on which was especially bad when no-one even realised that Kenny King was the first person to kick out of Fallout. War Machine are decent enough wrestlers but their title run has been pretty damn bad so far and I honestly think it needs to end soon. Rowe pins Rhett Titus with Fallout ** ½

We get a very good video package next to set up the main event.

Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix)(c) vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly (ROH World Championship)

This was a very good match that, contrary to the opening triple threat, did not at all rely on the “one in, one out” triple threat trope. We got a lot of really cool, inventive spots involving all three men. The emotion perhaps wasn’t as high as one would expect for a match featuring Cole and O’Reilly, but that is due in most part to the involvement of Jay Lethal. The finish was very interesting as well, with Kyle’s hatred for Cole ultimately causing him to overlook Lethal which ultimately led to the finish. Jay Lethal pins Adam Cole with the Lethal Injection *** ¾

Overall: 6.0

This was a very up and down show, the highs were pretty good but the lows were down right awful. I wouldn’t go out of your way to watch anything on this show really, which is a shame because the card looked decent enough on paper.

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