The ROHbot Report: A Broken Ring of Honor, Honor Rising, and More
By James Bullock Mar 5, 2017 - 9:19 AM
Welcome to another edition of The ROHbot Report – the only article you need for all the Ring of Honor news you have to know. ROH is celebrated the company’s fifteen years of existence by returning to Japan for a pair of shows alongside New Japan. Lets find out what happened in the famous city of Tokyo when worlds collided yet again before one of the most shocking nights in ROH history occurred in New York.
Honor Rising Night 1 Results; February 26th, 2017; Tokyo, Japan: - David Finlay, Juice Robinson & KUSHIDA def. Jado, Gedo & Silas Young - NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA def. Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger & Delirious to retain - Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada def. Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale - War Machine def. The Young Bucks - Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Damien Martinez def. Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Dalton Castle - Katsuyori Shibata & Jay Lethal def. Hangman Page & Cody - ROH World champion Adam Cole & Kenny Omega def. The Briscoes Honor Rising Night 2 Results; February 27th, 2017; Tokyo, Japan: - Jado & Silas Young def. David Finlay & KUSHIDA - Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito def. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger, Dalton Castle & Delirious - War Machine def. Guerrillas of Destiny - Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Jay Lethal - IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto def. Punisher Martinez to retain - ROH World Championship: Adam Cole def. YOSHI-HASHI to retain - The Young Bucks, Cody & Kenny Omega def. Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada, & The Briscoes
With a mostly different roster and completely different champions, this year’s “Honor Rising” events proved to be incredibly similar to what the stars of ROH & New Japan offered last year without one key difference: a title change. “Night 1” was sadly mediocre with a slew of solid, yet forgettable matches outside of the main event where The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & Kenny Omega defeated Dem Boys in Omega’s return to the ring in Japan (to a very supportive crowd as well). But just as interesting as the match was the post-match antics between Cole & Omega as the two seem to be continuously jockeying for the spotlight as the faction’s elite singles superstar. With the ROH World Championship in his possession, Cole can easily claim to hold that title as well. “Night 2”, just like last year, wasn’t as consistent across the board, but proved to be the better event thanks to a slew of memorable bouts to close the show. Damien Martinez – who made his New Japan debut during these events – dominated the first night for his team before going toe-to-toe with one of the toughest men in New Japan today. Though Martinez fell short against Goto, the impressive outing was Martinez’s best since coming onto the ROH scene. Adam Cole avenged his tag team loss to YOSHI-HASHI by successfully defending his ROH World title against the fan favorite who had the crowd roaring in approval during his near victory. Not to be outdone was the main event of “Night 2” that proved to be the best match of the entire weekend. War Machine arguably had the best weekend of anyone, going two for two against two of the best teams New Japan has to offer including the current ROH World Tag Team champions. One has to believe the New Japan Heavyweight Tag Team title is in Ray Rowe & Hanson’s future, if not another ROH World Tag Team title reign. These were definitely a pair of entertaining shows, but not classics unfortunately.
“Manhattan Mayhem VI” Results; March 4th, 2017; New York, NY - Sumie Sakai def. Jenny Rose and Mandy Leon in a Triple Threat match - Top Prospect Tournament Semifinal: Josh Woods def. Brian Milonas - Top Prospect Tournament Semifinal: John Skyler def. Curt Stallion - Christopher Daniels def. TK O’Ryan - Dalton Castle def. Colt Cabana - ROH Television Championship: Marty Scurll def. Sonjay Dutt to retain - Dragon Lee def. Will Ospreay - ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks def. Lio Rush and Jay White to retain - ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Hardys def. The Young Bucks to become the new ROH World Tag Team champions - 15-Man World Championship Contender Honor Battle Royal: Matt Taven won the match featuring himself, Ray Rowe, Hanson, Cheeseburger, Punishment Martinez, Leon St. Giovanni, Shaheem Ali, Will Ferrara, Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, Vinny Marseglia, Chris Sabin, Rhett Titus, Kenny King, Sho, and Yo - Frankie Kazarian, Hangman Page & Cody def. Jay Lethal & The Briscoes - ROH World Championship: Adam Cole def. Bobby Fish to retain
“Manhattan Mayhem has always had the aura of being one of the bigger ROH events without ever being on pay-per-view (or iPPV) due to shocking moments both planned and unexpected. From the inaugural event that saw Austin Aries clash with former Generation Next stablemate Alex Shelley for the ROH World Championship to the fourth iteration where Eddie Edwards shocked the wrestling world by defeating Roderick Strong for ROH’s richest prize, it’s hard to say right now where the sixth edition will rank in the annals of history; but it’s hard to believe people won’t be talking about this show for quite some time thanks to appearances unexpected and a title change no one saw coming - the latter stemming from The Young Bucks successfully defending the ROH World Tag Team Championship against Lio Rush & Jay White. As The Bucks celebrated, the lights went out just like they did the last time they won in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Instead of another video appearance by Matt Hardy to send the crowd into a frenzy, the Broken Hardys actually showed up to challenge their “Supercard of Honor XI” opponents to a title match right then & now. Weary, The Bucks couldn’t overcome their fellow blood-bond opposition and Matt & Jeff Hardy’s Expedition for Gold successfully continued as they added the ROH World Tag Team Championship to their collection. It’s amazing to think almost fourteen years ago, Jeff Hardy got booed out of the building during what appeared to be his only ROH event – now he and his brother (who had a better time in ROH during his two tenures in the company) are the ROH champs. Not to be outdone was the second surprise of the night. Bobby Fish failed to overcome Adam Cole to win the ROH World Championship. Instead of Cole being satisfied with the victory, the champ looked to add insult to injury (and eventually added injury). Though ROH stalwarts tried to help, they were no match for the Bullet Club onslaught that followed. Suddenly, Bubba Ray Dudley entered a ROH ring for the first time to choke slam Cole through a table. Who would’ve thought a Dudley, let alone Bubba Ray would ever step foot inside a ROH ring while potentially setting the stage for a ROH tenure of his own. The decision to bring in Bubba Ray could divide long-time ROH supporters, but, as seen in TNA, a motivated Bubba (or Bully) Ray is one of the most interesting grapplers in the entire world. The rest of the card was said to be highly entertaining including the reported Match of the Night when Dragon Lee defeated Will Ospreay. Marty Scurll retained his ROH World Television title in entertaining fashion, while Matt Taven became a future World title contender by winning the first-ever Honor Battle Royal. Interestingly enough, Christopher Daniels defeated Taven’s fellow Kingdom member TK O’Ryan to potentially set the stage for a title bout between Daniels and Taven if “The General” can win the gold at the “15th Anniversary”. Hopefully ROH can get this show up before the week’s end because this seems like ROH’s best show since “Final Battle ‘16”.
“15th Anniversary” Preview; March 10th, 2017; Las Vegas, NV
ROH World Championship: Adam Cole defends against Christopher Daniels Over fifteen years ago, Christopher Daniels stepped into the Murphy Rec Center heralded as one of independent wrestling’s biggest stars just poised to rule any promotion he would associate himself with including an upstart wrestling company named Ring of Honor. On that night Daniels stood across the ring from two of wrestling’s best of their generation (and arguably of all time) in Low Ki and Bryan Danielson. Though the night wasn’t Daniels’ to win, his ROH legacy was off to a great start as he was involved in one of 2002’s best matches. But destiny wasn’t in line with expectations as Daniels, though a main event star in ROH and the first ROH Tag Team champion, found himself unable to achieve what everyone thought was a given: the ROH World Championship. Throughout Daniels’ time in ROH across four memorable tenures, men he fought and even aligned himself with – Xavier, Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, CM Punk, James Gibson, Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen, Roderick Strong, Tyler Black, Michael Elgin, Kyle O’Reilly, Jay Lethal – did what he couldn’t by gaining wrestling immortality. The man who once went by the moniker of “The Fallen Angel” continued to impress as one-half of The Addiction including one of the best Ladder Matches of the past decade with Ladder War VI. But that barbaric encounter brought something unexpected to the forefront of Daniels’ mind he never expressed onscreen: his career is closer to its end now more than ever. How in the world someone so destined for greatness be able to look at himself as someone who reached his potential without winning the ROH World Championship? For the first time in his ROH career, obsession has finally gotten a hold of Daniels in his hope of finally accomplishing what has been an impossibility his entire career. Ironically enough, the man who will stand across the ring from him allowed obsession to overtake him years ago. Adam Cole became fueled with the idea of being the man in ROH to the point he abandoned honor for the sake of winning his first of three ROH World titles. Cole hasn’t just ruled as a champion in ROH, he’s also shown Daniels that “The Smartest Man in the Room” possibly isn’t as smart as the champ; let alone as ruthless as seen on ROH TV recently. To make matters worse for Daniels, the allure of those black & white colors & Cole’s recent shows of mental & physical superiority over “The General” saw Frankie Kazarian turn on Daniels. With no one to back him, Daniels will enter Las Vegas with the knowledge that his final chance at changing status quo is here and it’s up to him and him alone to do what great ROH competitors of the past and present have already accomplished where many others including Christopher Daniels could not. It would only be fitting that some fifteen-plus years after Daniels left a ROH ring for the first time declaring he’d run a promotion very few ever saw lasting beyond a couple of events. But even more fitting would be the current ROH World champion proving yet again that destiny will never be in Daniels’ favor as a man who hasn’t even hit his prime proves yet again why he is one of the best wrestlers in the world today.
ROH World Television Championship: Marty Scurll defends against Lio Rush “The Experience” event in Columbus couldn’t have had a better name when it came to the night’s main event as the fans voted on making Lio Rush’s Proving Ground opportunity against Television champion Marty Scurll a Two Out of Three Falls match. Rush, who’s become a master of endurance & tournaments during his career, found himself in a rut in Ring of Honor. After winning last year’s Top Prospect Tournament and taking then-ROH World champion Jay Lethal to the limit, Rush kind of suffered a drop off. Yes, Rush had impressive outings, but winning was where he came up short on too many occasions. With his back against the wall, Lio Rush challenged himself on camera to do better; to reach his potential. Thanks to the actions of Scurll in their first ROH encounter (using his umbrella to drop the first fall simply to earn an easy second fall), Rush was able to overcome the odds and end “The Villain’s” undefeated streak in singles competition. Now, after a year-plus of struggling in ROH, Rush has positioned himself through talent alone into his biggest ROH match to date. Knowing he’s been able to overcome Scurll in the past this could be not only the biggest match of Rush’s career thus far, but also his most prosperous as he has a chance to finally fight for the title his TPT win was meant to give him an opportunity last year. But “The Villain” isn’t some one-trick pony unable to learn from his past mistakes. Scurll is one of the best in the world (as seen by his ROH win-loss record thus far) and also one Chicken Wing submission away from victory – arguably the most dangerous submission currently in ROH. While their first encounter was good, the belief is the rematch will be not only a great match, but also one of the best, if not the best of the show that could end in a major title change or the continuation of “The Villain’s” reign.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Kingdom defends against Dalton Castle & The Boys “The Purple Reign Tour”, thus far, has run through challengers left & right as The Kingdom of Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia have bested each trio and potential title challenger alike until this moment where they enter ROH’s “15th Anniversary” as the first and thus far only World Six-Man Tag Team champions. Standing across the ring from them will be a group of men who have been together since they debuted in ROH. Not only have Dalton Castle & The Boys stood with each other (or in the case of The Boys – kneeled beneath “The Peacock”) since day one, Castle has fought for his allies against those looking to change them into their own image – something incredibly ironic considering The Kingdom was reformed in Taven’s image. While the act of teaming in-ring hasn’t proven to be the most beneficial for Castle & The Boys, their ability to come together is obvious from bell-to-bell and The Kingdom looking past them could result in new champions if the challengers aren’t taken seriously in another nice match to compliment a card that gets better looking with each match announced including this one.
ROH World Championship #1 Contendership: Jay Lethal vs. Bobby Fish When it comes to Jay Lethal, for the past three years he’s either been in the title hunt or holding a ROH championship – so it only makes sense that with him being presented a chance to become the top contender to the World Championship; especially considering this will happen at the “15th Anniversary”. With Bobby Fish being Lethal’s opponent (something we didn’t know was a lock until Cole bested Fish at “Manhattan Mayhem” to retain the gold) it will mark a big rematch from 2015 where then-TV champion bested “The Infamous”. Since Lethal turned a new leaf and left The House of Truth behind he actually found an ally in Fish against The Bullet Club – though they’ve had some miscommunications during the process including a recent brawl on ROH TV. When it comes to match quality, Lethal-Fish still feels like greatness has yet to come, but has the potential of delivering something memorable. No matter what, the winner will join the growing list of potential future World champions who are fighting as best they can to achieve what they believe is destiny.
Las Vegas Street Fight: The Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice The build is simple – for the past two years The Young Bucks and Roppongi Vice have been going back & forth while doing battle over junior heavyweight tag team supremacy in New Japan. Most recently, Beretta and Rocky Romero (the latter being a former ROH World Tag Team champion) ended The Buck’s Jr. Heavyweight title reign during New Japan’s biggest event of the year, “WrestleKingdom 11”. Now Vice want to make it two for two in 2017 against The Bucks in Las Vegas. Their ROH encounters have put the record at 2-2, with the most recent encounter ending in The Bucks’ favor that was parlayed into them winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship. But the last time these two teams fought in Vegas it proved to be Vice’s lucky night. The success Beretta & Romero have obtained over the last year could prove to be the somewhat surprising undoing of The Bucks in Las Vegas. But it seems like on any given night, no matter the strategy, The Bucks can overcome the best teams in the world even if it means taking on a team who apparently have their number. This could easily steal the show as an argument can be made that their ROH encounters match, if not surpass the quality of their bouts in New Japan – which usually have fans going wild from bell-to-bell.
At the monumental Supercard of Honor XI in Lakeland, FL, on Saturday, April 1st, former allies will fight when Christopher Daniels battles Frankie Kazarian!
Frankie Kazarian was something of an anomaly during the early 2000s as he continuously made waves on the independent wrestling scene, yet never got a chance to shine on the then-minor league’s biggest platform in Ring of Honor. Unlike men such as Low Ki, Samoa Joe, CM Punk, and, ironically enough, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian was never associated with ROH during the last great indy boom thus far that gave birth to some of wrestling’s key players today. Yet, Kazarian pressed on and found success elsewhere before that avenue changed directions and “The Heavy Metal Rebel” found himself and his tag team partner searching for greener pastures. Shockingly enough, the company that Kazarian never found himself being a part of was the place where his career would take its next phase. Alongside “The General”, Kazarian eventually became a two-time ROH World Tag Team champion and had several memorable matches against the likes of The Briscoes, The Motor City Machine Guns, and The Young Bucks. But no match in their time as a unit in ROH meant as much to their careers up to that point and unknowingly beyond than Ladder War VI where their most recent reign as Tag Team champions ended in grand fashion. The loss proved to be a wake-up call for Daniels as he realized his career was coming to an end – thus giving him focus on a goal long not attained by becoming the ROH World champion. But before Daniels could get his potential final shot at the gold, Kazarian grew tired of Christopher’s weakening mindset that saw a once master of the mind games fall prey to simplistic sneak attacks by Adam Cole & The Bullet Club and take the pin in tag team competition. Instead of encouraging his friend and rallying behind him, Kazarian opted to join those who want to ensure Daniels never attains the greatness destiny has stated time & time again he isn’t worthy of: being the ROH World champion. A lot could & will happen before this match including Daniels’ ROH World Championship opportunity. If everything finally goes well for Daniels, this obvious grudge match could be for the gold – thus giving Kazarian his first ROH World title shot in history. Wouldn’t it be ironic that a man many believed should’ve been in ROH during its formative years but never got the chance like the former “Fallen Angel” defeated his former partner to win the ROH World title in his first shot? These two men have had great matches with each other and it shouldn’t be any different against each other
Ferrara & Cheeseburger vs. The Gorillas
Brian Johnson vs. Plunkett the Ogre
Kelly Klein vs. Scarlett Bordeaux
And there you have it. Show that love, or like, for The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page. Also, if haven’t already, make sure you listen to the latest FREE “Honor Nation” as I talk about The Hardys leaving TNA, what it could mean for ROH and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/29_Mins_Honor_Nation_Broken_Impact.shtml). And don’t forget to send those questions in for the next “Honor Nation either through the comments section below, on Facebook (The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page), on Twitter (@fasjab), or by e-mailing me at Bullock@wewantinsanity.com. Here’s to a great week for you and yours; and as always, thanks for reading.