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Thursday, March 5, 2015

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ROH 13th Anniversary Review

Ring Of Honor 13th Anniversary show review
By Nathan Neumann, Twitter: @Headliner5

Hello ringers, it is I, Nathan your Ring Of Honor guy for Eyes On The Ring, here to provide you with my latest and greatest review.  I was live in attendance for this show at the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas Nevada, so it’s only appropriate that I write the review for this show.  I would like to thank Jon for handling the predictions for this show this past week. I would have liked to jump in, but I was super busy. Because of that, this is another reason why I feel this review was made for me to write other than the fact that I WAS THERE!

The show started with a brief video intro. The video had a Las Vegas theme and featured a voice over by Steve Corino as it cuts to shots of various ROH performers throughout the package  We see a birds eye view shot of the Las Vegas strip as we head into the arena and are greeted at ringside by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino. Kelly and Corino proceed to run through the matches and cleanse our pallet for what we were about to witness.

From here we go to the opening match.

Match 1
Cedric Alexander vs. Matt Sydal

The match starts with the Code of Honor as Cedric grabbed Sydal and pulled him towards as the two talked trash. Sydal hit a beautiful flying knee press from the ring apron to Alexander on the floor.  From there, Alexander took control as we went back into the ring where he slowed the pace of the match down. Alexander put in a few kicks to Sydal and then looked out to the crowd as they booed in response.  Sydal came back with a flurry of kicks and put the exclamation point on that sequence with a dropkick. Sydal set up for a standing moonsault, however Alexander rolled him up prior to Sydal hitting the move. From there, Sydal was able to properly execute the move to get a two count. Sydal delivers a pump handle slam to get another two count at about 7:00.  The fans began chanting “This is awesome.”  Alexander came back with a kick from the second rope and followed it up with a powerbomb for a near fall at the 7:30 mark. From there the two recovered and traded chops in the middle of the ring.  Alexander dodged a kick from Sydal and dropped Sydal onto his knee and covered him for a close two count, which seemed to irritate Alexander. Sydal comes back with a knee press for a two count.  A kick from Alexander doesn’t connect which causes him to crash and burn in the corner. Sydal hit a shooting star press to pick up the win. After the match, Alexander reluctantly shook Sydal’s hand and appeared to not be happy with the loss.  It will be interesting to see where Alexander goes from here.

Winner: Matt Sydal via pinfall with a shooting star press.


A perfect way to start off the night and set the tone for what the show would become. The two men told a perfect story and it would appear that Matt Sydal is once again 100%, which is good to see because it’s been a while since he has been able to say that.

From here we go into a Moose video package followed by a promo from Mark Briscoe. He talked about how long he has been wrestling and that while he was here, Moose was in the NFL. He said Moose Hunting season has begun.

Match 2
Mark Briscoe vs. Moose

Briscoe starts off by connecting with a forearm off of the second rope, but Moose was able to maintain his balance. About a minute later, Moose sets Briscoe up in a seated position on the top rope and throws a nice dropkick that knocked Briscoe out to the ringside area. Moose follows Briscoe to the floor, grabbing him by the legs, and throws him into the guardrail three times with a giant swing.

Back in the ring and Moose hits an awkward looking running head butt  for a meaningless two count from the referee. Moose ran at Briscoe, who held the ropes down, which caused Moose to fall to the outside of the ring and land on the floor. Briscoe jumped towards Moose from the ring apron, but was caught and thrown into the barricade with a fall away slam.

Briscoe comes back and kicks Moose to the outside of the ring through the ropes. Briscoe followed it up with a running flipping neckbreaker from the ring apron that took Moose out to the floor.  Briscoe recovered and followed it up with a Cactus Jack elbow drop off of the ring apron to Moose. Back in the ring, Moose recovers long enough to hit his flipping spear on Mark Briscoe to cover him for the win.

After the match Mark Briscoe went to shake the hand of Moose, and while it looked like the Big Man was about to respond, Veda Scott stopped him from doing so.

Winner: Moose via pinfall after a Flipping Spear

Rating: **

From here we see a graphic of the next match which is the Triple Threat tag match. The Kingdom made their way out to the ring followed by the Addiction.  Karl Anderson comes to the ring without Doc Gallows and grabs a microphone to inform the crowd that his partner couldn’t be there due to travel issues. Ring Of Honor formally announced this a few hours before showtime, but this announcement from Anderson confirmed what we pretty much already knew.  Anderson said he was a man short, but that he got super drunk last night and feels great.  He said that people have been asking him who his replacement partner is going to be, but that he’s Bullet Club for life and because of that doesn’t need a partner and will go at this match solo.

Match 3
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian vs. Mike Bennett and Matt Taven vs. Karl Anderson in a Triple Threat tag team match

According to the rules of this match and all triple threat tag team matches, there are only to be two legal men inside of the ring at a time which places one full team on the apron at any given time during the match.  I’ve always hated triple threat tag team matches for this reason because the formula is a bit off to me. This created a new problem in this match with Doc Gallows not being there. Because Karl Anderson didn’t have a partner, he was pretty much stuck outside of the ring for most of it. For this reason, this match didn’t work well with me, but it’s not ROH’s fault, as this is probably not what was originally booked.

Daniels went to tag Kazarian, but he was knocked from the apron, so Daniels tagged in Anderson to a great reaction from the live crowd.  Kazarian eventually ended up being tagged in and came in with a flurry of offense on multiple wrestlers. Kazarian slingshotted Anderson into the ring and hit him with an Ace Crusher on the way down for a near fall. Taven came in and hit Anderson with a kick and then Bennett hit a spear on Anderson.  The finish of the match came when The Kingdom hit a spike piledriver on Karl Anderson for the win.

After the match the Kingdom posed with Anderson’s half of the NJPW Heavyweight Tag Team Titles over Anderson, who was still down on the mat.

Winner: Mike Bennett and Matt Taven via pinfall after a Spike Piledriver on Karl Anderson

Rating: **1/4

From here a video package aired to hype up the next match, which was BJ Whitmer taking on Roderick Strong.

Match 4
Roderick Strong vs. BJ Whitmer (w/Adam Page and Jimmy Jacobs)

The match starts and Strong wastes no time going after Whitmer with punches. The two brawl initially and Strong gets the best of the exchange. After this, Whitmer hits a beautiful spinebuster on Strong.  From here, Whitmer took control on offense and taunted Strong by slapping him in the face twice. Strong came back with a kick to Whitmer’s head when Whitmer was on the second rope. Strong then followed up with a superplex. Strong executes a nice running closeline and follows it up with a drop kick.

Whitmer comes back with a fisherman’s suplex and receives a two count for his efforts. Strong came back by taking out Page, who was at ringside, with a kick and then caught Whitmer with a side kick for a near fall.  The two men make their way over to the ropes and Whitmer hits a facebuster for a two count. Strong recovers and comes back with a jumping knee, a forearm smash, another jumping knee and puts the exclamation point on with a Strong Breaker for a clean victory.

Winner: Roderick Strong via pinfall after a Strong Breaker

Match Rating: *1/2

This match to me was the weakest of the show and in the end really seemed pointless. The Decade members were at ringside, but didn’t do anything and stood by looking like morons while Roderick got the clean win. I honestly thought the booking of the whole thing was weird and it could have been executed a lot better.

From here we go to video package hyping the next match, which was the women’s match. It focused on Maria, who called ODB a man and that she was going to be the MANipulator.  She said that ODB can underestimate her all she wants, but that she is the queen and ROH is her castle.

Maria makes her way out to the ring carrying the “Title Of Love”. ODB and Mark Briscoe make their way out next.  Maria grabbed the mic and said that it’s bittersweet for her because she really wanted to wrestle this match.  She goes on to say that she met with a doctor and found out that SHE’S PREGNANT. Suddenly Bennett appeared and superkicked Mark Briscoe and Maria attacked ODB.

Match 5
Maria Kanellis (w/ Michael Bennett) vs. ODB (w/Mark Briscoe)

The match starts and Maria catches ODB with a super kick for an almost immediate two count. Bennett enters the ring and tries to superkick ODB but ODB ducked it and Bennett inadvertently hit Maria with the kick.  ODB threw Maria onto Bennett and Briscoe who were both at ringside, then dove off of the top rope onto Maria and Bennett and all three crashed to the floor. About a minute later, Bennett had another miscommunication with Maria and speared her off of the ring apron.  Outside of the ring,  Briscoe perched Bennett up on his shoulders and ODB came off of the ring apron for a closeline/Doomsday Device on the floor, which drew “holy shit” chants from the audience.  Back in the ring ODB puts Maria on her shoulders and delivers a Death Valley Driver which gets ODB the win via pinfall.

Winner: ODB via Pinfall after a Death Valley Driver

Match Rating: *1/2

Note On The Match Rating: A *1/2 star rating isn’t a good rating by any means, but I’ll give these women their due. They did what they could to put on the best match that they were capable of putting on, so I commend them for that. This being a one and a half star match still makes it better than anything that the Divas can produce out of WWE.

Match 6
A.J. Styles vs. ACH

Styles made his way out to the ring without the IWGP Heavyweight Title, but he got a great reaction from the crowd. Both wrestlers were greeted with streamers flying into the ring during their respective entrances. The fans began dueling chants for both men as the two shook hands and the bell rang for the match to start.

They started off by trading arm drags and takedowns, then Styles goes for the Styles Clash but ACH manages to slip away. ACH hits a flurry of offense and a short time later, as ACH is coming off of the ropes, he gets hit with a dropkick from A.J. ACH recovers and goes for a running springboard move, but Styles grabbed the ropes which caused ACH to CRASH AND BURN!

ACH hits a corkscrew senton over the top rope onto Styles on the Floor.  Later in the match, Styles performed his springboard forearm onto ACH.  About a half a minute later, ACH came back with a kick to the face, but Styles was able to maintain control with a snap suplex in the corner.

Styles picked ACH up and slammed him down. ACH grabbed the leg of Styles, but Styles fought him off and went to the top rope, then ACH recovered and knocked Styles down with a kick. ACH made his way to the ropes but Styles recovered and chopped him.  Styles goes for the Pele kick, but ACH manages to move out of the way and follow it up with a double stomp.

ACH makes his way to the top rope and goes for a 450 Splash, but Styles avoided it and applied the Calf Killer.  ACH rolls up Styles for a pin attempt to break the hold, which gets a two from the referee. ACH and AJ fight for position until Styles hits a nasty DDT. From there, Styles follows it up with the Styles Clash to score the pinfall and pick up the victory.

Winner: A.J. Styles via Pinfall after the Styles Clash

Match Rating: ****1/2

This is the first time since 2006 that I was able to see AJ Styles wrestle live and it more than lived up to my expectations.

From there we see a video package to set up the next match for the Tag Team Titles. The entrances for the match took place and Rocky Romero made his way down to the commentary booth.  ReDRagon were accompanied to the ring by MMA fighter Shayna Baszler, fresh off of Ronda Rousey’s 14 second victory against Cat Zingano the night before at UFC 184.

Match 7
The Young Bucks vs. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly (w/Shayna Baszler) {C}
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match

Matt Jackson and Kyle O’Reilly both took knees from their opponents partners while coming off of the ropes, which caused both to turn and knock their respective opponents off of the ring apron.

The Bucks got the upper hand on reDRagon early in the match while on the floor.  They went back into the ring and celebrated, while Baszler stood on the apron and crotch chopped the Bucks. Fish made his way back into the ring and took out both Bucks  thanks to the distraction.

The Knights Of The Rising Dawn made their presence known in the crowd and were right by me.  Meanwhile back in the ring, Nick makes the tag to Matt. Matt begins working over O’Reilly and hits Fish with a dropkick to send him through the ropes to the outside.  Matt gets O’Reilly down in the ring and goes to the floor and superkicks Fish.  Back in the ring Matt sets up for a top rope move but O’Reilly avoids it by making his way out to the floor.

O’Reilly catches Matt with an armbar over the top rope, but Nick breaks it up with a kick. From there, Nick does a flip off of the top rope and onto Fish, who was positioned on Matt’s knees.  The Bucks line up for superkicks but Fish gets out of the ring by rolling to the floor, so that him and O’Reilly can both catch their breath. The Bucks hit a superkick/powerbomb combination that sends Fish into O’Reilly who was already against the barricade.

One of the Bucks dives onto O’Reilly, but O’Reilly catches him in a triangle on the way down. The Bucks team up and break the hold, then Fish hits a moonsault off of the top rope and broke up a pinfall attempt from the Bucks. Fish brought O’Reilly to their corner for a tag, but the Bucks take out Fish, as O’Reilly hits a double leg whip on both Bucks.  O’Reilly gets superkicked through the ropes and into the waiting arms of Matt Jackson.

From here, the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on the floor. Back in the ring, the Bucks got the upperhand on Fish and delivered reDRagon’s signature move “Chasing The Dragon” for a near fall.

About a minute later, the Bucks had the match won, but Shayna Baszler pulled the referee to the outside of the ring. The Bucks followed out to the floor and she told them to bring it on.  O’Reilly hit the Bucks with knees from the ring. Meanwhile back inside, Fish executes a superplex, then he and O’Reilly hit Chasing The Dragon before Nick kicks out at two.

Matt made it to his feet and did the “suck it” motion, but reDRagon came back and threw Matt out to ringside.  Fish told the fans to suck it before he and O’Reilly hit Chasing The Dragon again on Nick for the win.

Winner and Still ROH World Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly via pinfall after Chasing The Dragon

Match Rating: ****3/4

This match, although very good didn’t top their match at War Of The Worlds from May of last year.  That match set the bar really high, and while I think they wanted to top it, there was no way they could. This was a great match, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a fan of the Young Bucks at all.

Next, we get a video package which sets up the ROH World Television Championship Match.

Match 8
Alberto El Patron vs. Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini and Jay Diesel)
ROH World Television Championship Match

Bobby Cruise mentioned that Jay Lethal is the “greatest first generation wrestler," during the ring introductions. El Patron and Jay Lethal went to shake hands to signify the start of the match, but Lethal pulled back his hand after the handshake was complete. J Diesel shoved El Patron who then superkicked J out of the ring.  El Patron and Lethal fought each other to ringside where Lethal crashed into the barricade three times.

Lethal took control once the two returned to the ring and caught El Patron with a few kicks.  Lethal landed some punches to the head of El Patron, but moments later, El Patron caught Lethal with a Cross Arm Breaker over the top rope.  Diesel distracted Patron briefly to allow Lethal to superplex El Patron off of the rope for a two count.

From here, the red masked men made their presence known once again and distracted El Patron. Moments later, Lethal locked in an Armbar on El Patron and sent him to the floor before hitting him with a few dives. Lethal started bleeding from the mouth. A dive from Lethal knocked Patron into the front row. The referee began his count, but before El Patron could get back in the ring completely, Lethal started putting the boots to his  opponent.

At 9 and a quarter, Patron caught Lethal in the tree of woe and followed it up by jumping off the top rope with a double foot stomp. Alberto attempted a super kick but Lethal blocked it. From there, the two traded punches.  Lethal hit the Lethal combination for a two count and went up to the top, but was caught with a kick from El Patron on the way down.

Martini tried to interfere by hitting Patron with the Book Of Truth, but Patron was able to duck and put Truth in a cross arm breaker. Lethal dove onto Patron, but was caught in another cross arm breaker. From here, Truth distracted the referee and Lethal hit Patron with the Book of Truth to get a near fall. A minute later, Truth hit Patron with the book once again and Lethal was able to capitalize on it with the Lethal Injection for the win.

Winner and Still ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal via pinfall after the Lethal Injection

Match Rating: ***

This match fell victim to poor placement, although if I were putting the show together, I wouldn’t know where to put this match because the card was so stacked. While I like having all three title matches back to back to back in order of importance, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily end up being a good idea due to crowd burn out. I’m really happy that I was not only able to see El Patron wrestle live in ROH, but that I was also able to meet the guy because he is a class act in every sense of the phrase.

Now, Nigel McGuinness joins the broadcast team.

Samoa Joe’s entrance music played and the crowd went bonkers with the pop of the night. I’m surprised my head didn’t explode. Joe made his way to the ring wearing street clothes and slapped hands with fans at ringside.    The fans chanted “Welcome Back” and Joe responded by asking “Who says you can’t come home?”.

Joe went on to say that 13 years ago, ROH started in a crappy rec center in the worst part of Philadelphia. A group of wrestlers came together and started a movement to revitalize the business and bring true pro wrestling back. Joe says that they are now in Las Vegas for the 13th anniversary and that the revolution is both alive and well, which brought out a loud “Fuck TNA” chant.

Joe couldn’t help but smirk as he then turned his focus on the main event.  Joe went on to say that the four men in the match will go through hell because they believe in pro wrestling. He went on to say, “Just remember, whoever walks out of the ring with the belt, your ass belongs to me.” Joe starts to close out by yelling that he is back and he will be the ROH World Champion. He finishes his promo with “And I am Pro Wrestling.”  The fans chanted for Joe as he made his way to the back.

From here, we went into the ring entrances for the main event. Hanson made his way out to the ring followed by Ciampa, who entered with a metal mask and a black hood that looked awesome. Elgin made his entrance to crickets along to his terrible entrance music. ROH Champion Jay Briscoe made his way out last to a sizable reaction, as the broadcast team put over the fact that Jay Briscoe hasn’t been pinned in two years.

Main Event – Match 9
Hanson vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Briscoe {C}
Four Corner Survival Match for the ROH World Championship

The three challengers wasted no time going right after Briscoe at the start of the match. Elgin quickly turned his attention towards the other two and it got down to the point where it was finally every man for himself. Ciampa and Briscoe went at it with a nice back and forth exchange, which ended with Briscoe clotheslining Ciampa.  Briscoe then clotheslined Hanson over the top rope and followed him out as the fans chanted “Man Up”.

Briscoe went under the ring to look for something and finally pulled out a table. Elgin hit a somersault off of the second rope onto the back of Ciampa’s head, where he was hanging over the ropes.  From there Elgin hits a double Death Valley Driver on both Ciampa and Briscoe, which was really cool to see and impressed the hell out of me.

There was a weird spot where Hanson was on all fours in the corner and Elgin slowly climbed his back awkwardly onto the second rope before hitting a double stomp. Briscoe got back into things with a sunset flip powerbomb attempt on Elgin, who held the ropes to go for a splash. However, Briscoe moved out of the way, which caused  Elgin to sit down on the apron.  Ciampa got back into it with a near fall on Briscoe and Elgin broke it up by blasting Ciampa with a kick, followed by Hanson kicking Elgin.

Over in the corner, Hanson stacked Ciampa and Briscoe on top of one another and then slammed his fist down ten times as the fans counted in unison. Briscoe came back by hitting a Death Valley Driver to Hanson onto Ciampa in the corner.  Briscoe threw some uppercuts at Elgin and then tried going for a kick but Elgin caught his leg and hit a spinning closeline.  Briscoe regained control briefly and it was there that we noticed that he was bleeding a bit from the right side of his face.

Briscoe attempted to go up to the top,  but Ciampa made sure it didn’t happen.  Hanson pulled Ciampa down, but Ciampa hit him with a clothesline and performed a move on Briscoe off of the second rope for a two count.  Ciampa attempted to dive onto Elgin, who caught him and performed a High Cross bomb into the guardrail, which got a loud “Holy Shit” chant. Briscoe flipped over the top rope onto Elgin.  Hanson then came off the top with a flip onto both Briscoe and Elgin on the floor.

Hanson rolled Briscoe to the inside of the ring, and Briscoe accidentally bumped the referee off of the ring apron after a brief back and forth. I honestly hope Todd Sinclair is okay after that because it looked rough.  With the referee being down, Hanson hit a move but there was nobody there to count the pinfall. Then the three red masked men known as The Knights Of The Rising Dawn hit the ring and took turns executing moves on Briscoe, Ciampa and finally Hanson. They were doing all of the Kingdom’s moves and if they are the Kingdom, then that’s really dumb and pointless.

Ray Rowe hit the ring and two of the masked man immediately took the high road. Rowe tossed the third to ringside and the masked man ran through the crowd and Rowe followed through the crowd after him.

From here Elgin grabbed Briscoe and performed a Jay Driller from the ring apron through a table on the floor which looked extremely unsafe, so again, I hope Briscoe is okay. Elgin threw Briscoe inside of the ring and covered him, but the referee was still down at ringside.

Elgin went under the ring and grabbed a chair from a pile of streamers. Elgin set Briscoe’s head on the chair and picked up another for a Conchairto, but Nigel McGuinness left the broadcast booth to make sure that it didn’t happen.  Elgin listened to McGuinness, but tried it again when Nigel wasn’t looking. However, Nigel somehow managed to see it and stopped him again. It looked like Elgin was going to hit Nigel with a chair but Ciampa intervened. This whole thing didn’t make sense to me, given the history that Nigel and Ciampa have had recently. It made zero sense from a storyline perspective.

Meanwhile Ciampa had another pinfall but there was still no ref. Referee Paul Turner came out and took over the match for the fallen Todd Sinclair.  Ciampa hit a powerbomb on Elgin and had him pinned, but Briscoe broke it up. Ciampa hit Project Ciampa on Briscoe who kicked out at two and 9/10ths. Elgin recovered and hit an Elgin Bomb on Ciampa but it was broken up by Briscoe.  Elgin rolled up Briscoe and held his tights, but Briscoe still managed to kick out. Hanson ran in to hit the spin kick of doom on Briscoe (I hate that move. Not so much the move itself, but a guy as big as Hanson should have a different finisher) who fell on Ciampa.  Elgin pulled Hanson from the ring and Briscoe got the pinfall victory after pinning Ciampa to retain the ROH World Championship.

Winner and Still ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe by pinfall after falling on top of Ciampa.

Match Rating: **3/4

After the match Elgin was pissed, and as Samoa Joe walked out, he stopped to have a brief moment with a smirking Elgin. Joe entered the ring and picked up the ROH World Title to get a good look at it.  Joe shoved the belt into Briscoe’s chest and then shook his hand. Joe pulled Briscoe towards him for a stare down. As the two locked eyes, Briscoe held up the ROH World Title as the show came to a close.

This match was very weird to me as far as the booking was concerned. It was the match that I was most looking forward to, and it didn’t live up to the hype in my opinion. It was passable, but for the most part it didn’t work from a booking and psychological stand point.

Finally, to close the show, a video hypes that ROH returns to Pay Per View for Best In The World, where every title will be on the line Friday June 19th from New York City.

Overall I enjoyed this show a lot. It may be the best live wrestling show I have ever been to, and that’s on a resume that includes a live ECW pay per view and a Wrestlemania, which says a lot for how good this show really was. Was it a perfect show?  Absolutely not, but it did what it needed to do. I’m glad I was able to go to Vegas to see the show live and I’m happy to be able to bring you this review.

I apologize for the chore of the read as this ended up being over ten pages long, which doubled my NXT Rival Review.

However, until next time ringers, make sure to keep your eyes on EyesOnTheRing.com for all the latest and greatest news, views and results within the world of professional wrestling from myself and the rest of the team.

Also make sure to follow @EyesOnTheRing on Twitter, where you can also follow me @Headliner5.  I would like to know what you thought of the show if you got to see it, so be sure and let me know.  Don’t forget to tune into our weekly radio show each and every Sunday night over at Blogtalkradio.com/ElitePodcastNetwork at 11:00pm Eastern Time. Finally make sure to like us on facebook over at Facebook.com/EyesOnTheRing and support our merchandise over at www.dartees.spreadshirt.com as well.


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