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The ROHbot Report: Liverpool iPPV Review, Atlanta TV Taping Preview, And More

By James Bullock Aug 27, 2017 - 8:40 AM print

Welcome to another edition of The ROHbot Report – the only article you need for all the Ring of Honor news you have to know. Some of the biggest companies in wrestling came together for several nights of action including an iPPV when the stars of ROH, RevPro, CMLL & New Japan collided in the UK. Let's see what has happened.

“War of the Worlds UK: Liverpool” Results; August 19th, 2017; Liverpool, England
– Kenny King def. Hangman Page
– Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero def. Mistico & Titan
– Jay Lethal def. Josh Bodom
– Bully Ray & The Briscoes def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & EVIL)
– Mark Haskins def. Silas Young
- ROH World TV Championship: Kushida def. Marty Scurll, Hiromu Takahashi & Dalton Castle in a Four Corner Survival match to retain
- ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks def. The Addiction to retain
- ROH World Championship: Cody def. SANADA to retain

ROH’s return to Liverpool – a city that has hosted some major moments in ROH’s history including Samoa Joe’s final appearance in the company as a fulltime competitor – was available for the world to see live via the various platforms Ring of Honor has aligned itself with to present iPPVs. The first hour was as solid as one could get with a good opener that saw Kenny King withstand everything in Adam Page’s onslaught except the Rite of Passage that “Hangman” couldn’t execute before The Bullet Club member succumbed to a three count off King’s Royal Flush. The last month has been wonderful for King as he’s never succeeded this well as a singles competitor in ROH better than he is right now – something that could turn into a title run in the very near future. The CMLL showcase between teams Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero and Mistico & Titan. This was the definitive lucha showcase unlike almost anything seen in ROH history thus far. The amazing moments were plentiful including the incredibly popular Guerrero catching Titan off the somersault plancha to power bomb him on the floor, and Mistico pulling off springboard hurricarana from the top rope to ringside. Guerrero picked up the win for his team off a super Guerrero Special to Titan that ended the bout on a high note. While many have stated the CMLL tag should’ve opened the show, there was a nice elevation of quality happening as the second bout was better than the first.
The upward momentum didn’t last as the quality dipped, but not by much as a Jay Lethal and Josh Bodom had something of a sprint where Bodom proved to have done his homework on Lethal to counter a majority of what the former ROH World champion had to offering including his patented dive and even the dreaded double axe handle. What would become an unfortunate running theme of the evening, Silas Young arrived looking for the distraction to help Bodom, but it was Jay who executed Lethal Injection to pick up the victory. The problems between Young and Lethal would continue through the night, but not before the former ROH World Six-Man Tag Team champions took on three-fourths of Los Ingobernables de Japon. The tag encounter was very similar to their last in Philadelphia minus Dalton Castle and SANADA on the respective teams featuring comedy spots like the smaller BUSHI getting chopped around by Bully Ray and Mark trying to scare Naito with Redneck Kung Fu. Unfortunately for EVIL, BUSHI’s penchant for using that blinding green mist was known by the man who was blinded by him in the past as EVIL was pulled into the crossfire and put down with a super 3D.
The match quality started to rise yet again as Silas Young and Mark Haskins as the two put on a hard-hitting match where Young tried to ground the pesky highflier who just kept coming even when taking some of Silas’ biggest maneuvers including the Last Real Combo. Before Young could finish Haskins off with Misery, “The Last Real Man’s” attention was taken by an arriving Jay Lethal who simply stood at the end of the aisle to watch the festivities play out. The temporary distraction was all Haskins needed to recover, counter Misery and roll up Young into the Michinoku driver for a surprising three count. Following a short brawl between rivals Lethal and Young, the first of three title matches as Kushida defended the Television Championship against Marty Scurll, Dalton Castle and Himoru Takahashi in a Four Corner Survival match that played out more like a Fatal Four Way encounter as all four men fought at the same time instead of utilizing tags in the early going before everything broke loose. The match proved to be more comical than expected featuring Takahashi bring Daryl in to commune with cat-lover Castle. When things got serious it was usually two men in the ring hitting big maneuvers with two men on the floor taking a rest after feeling said moves. By the match’s conclusion it seemed Takahashi’s antics were going to cost him as he felt Castle’s Bang-a-Rang. Unfortunately for Castle, Adam Page ran out to remove the referee while stopping a sure pin. While the referee argued with Page, Scurll cracked a confused Dalton with his infamous umbrella before being disposed by eventual winner Kushida prior to the champ using Back to the Future to pin “The Peacock”. Considering the talent, this felt like it could’ve been something special that stole the show, but just turned out to be very good while having a questionable finish where a ROH champ took the pin due to interference.
The only truly heated match of the evening was also for the ROH World Tag Team Championship as The Addiction looked to become three-time champions at the expense of the team that ended their last reign in The Young Bucks. Attacking the champions before the bell, the challengers dictated the pace a majority of the time with the titleholders pulling off comeback double teams that would get the fans on their feet before the momentum was cut short by something dastardly. Nick proved to be the saving grace for his team as he began the #SuperKickParty that culminated in The Addiction catching him with Celebrity Rehab. Nick taking great abuse inadvertently allowed Matt to recover, halt the Best Meltzer Ever as Nick took advantage of the situation by tripping Christopher Daniels into the tree of woe before he and his brother finished off Frankie Kazarian with the Meltzer Driver. This turned out to be a more tamed, shockingly old school style of tag match usually not seen in Young Bucks matches as the dives were minimum as were the super kicks (for a Young Bucks match). There was definitive good/bad dynamic that was never crossed. Non-Bucks fans will probably enjoy this one more than those looking for stereotypical Matt & Nick Jackson action; and even a majority of those fans will enjoy what was, arguably, the best bout of the evening.
Closing out the show was an inter-promotional clash for the ROH World Championship featuring Cody defending against Los Ingobernables’ SANADA. In front of a pro-SANADA crowd, Cody spent a good amount of time verbally antagonizing the crowd while assaulting his challenger with a variety of simplistic maneuvers and tosses into various objects including commentator Ian Riccaboni. SANADA eventually fired up, bringing the fight that forced the champ to get off his figurative bicycle that included him cart wheeling around the ring, motioning for the crowd to boo him further, and even calling out Bryan Danielson. During the ruckus caused by SANADA’s comeback, the referee caught with a clothesline from SANADA when Cody avoided what his challenger had in mind. This ref bump proved to be the beginning of SANADA’s end as the referee couldn’t count down a sure pin off Cross Rhodes being executed on its primary user in Cody. The champ recovered, countering SANADA’s patented dragon sleeper with Cross Rhodes to retain the title in a match that lost the crowd and felt incredibly lethargic – something that couldn’t be said about Cody’s recent matches with Daniels and Kazuchika Okada. Cody cut a promo post-match, claiming there were no challengers left even though he’s only been a champion for less than two months and has only defended the title against two people on a ROH presentation. Cody’s proclamation brought out Dalton Castle to remind him of their previous battle that Castle almost won before stating he’d love a rematch with the gold on the line to set the stage for a match down the road (“Death Before Dishonor” or maybe even “Final Battle”).
This was in no way a bad show (though it did feature a very underwhelming main event). The problem with the second night of this tour was it being made for iPPV. Like any major event aired live from ROH, the expectations of something grand or monumental happening were there as well. Unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be that type of event, but rather another fun house show featuring once-in-a-lifetime pairings and match-ups in a different, mostly carefree environment. This feeling greatly translated throughout the show as most everything felt disconnected from what’s been seen recently on ROH TV and pay-per-view. BJ Whitmer – who was a part of the commentary team alongside Ian Riccaboni – continuously talked about Jay Briscoe being unhinged due to his team’s losing streak, yet he seemed pretty normal and happy to see Bully Ray perform his antics with BUSHI and Naito during their match (Ray, who was visibly dissatisfied with losing as well during his previous appearance on ROH TV, was his usual joyous, jerk-ish self). Cody, who had embraced the fan’s adulation in Lowell, antagonized to the best of his abilities as if it was 1984 in a southern territory. And the amount of interference was very insulting to a fan base groomed to expect clean finishes on a majority of any card. This was the type of show perfectly made for VOD and DVD consumers (like the other non-PPV American “War of the Worlds” shows) and not those expecting a spectacular night of pay-per-view quality action.

“War of the Worlds UK: Edinburgh” Results; August 20th, 2017; Edinburgh, Scotland
- Kenny King def. Josh Bodom and Colt Cabana in a Triple Threat match
- Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero def. The Briscoes
- Bully Ray def. EVIL by disqualification.- Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) def. Kushida, Mistico & Titan
- Hiromu Takahashi def. Mark Haskins
- ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks & Adam Page) def. Dalton Castle & The Boys to win the championship
- The Bullet Club (Marty Scurll & Cody) def. The Addiction
- Edinburgh Street Fight: Silas Young def. Jay Lethal

In a very interesting turn of events, one night after ROH aired a part of the tour on iPPV with relatively predictable results the surprises occurred in Ring of Honor’s debut in Edinburgh as new Six-Man Tag Team champions were crowned when The Bullet Club’s Page & The Young Bucks defeated Dalton Castle & The Boys – making them the fourth champions in less than a year, giving Page his first ROH title win, and Nick & Matt Jackson becoming dual tag team champions in ROH. This loss for Castle could play a big role in his World Championship intentions with Cody as the titleholder and The Bullet Club’s numbers potentially proving to be too much. The Bullet Club had a great night in Edinburgh as did Silas Young. In what was reportedly a fantastic encounter, Young pulled out the victory in his second main event of the year against Jay Lethal. Unless they air this match on ROH TV in the near future there’s no way this could be the end of their feud. There were some other surprising results seen during the show including Team CMLL besting The Briscoes and TV champion KUSHIDA being on the losing side of an inter-promotional six-man tag team bout. With the TV taping occurring six days later it’ll be incredibly interesting to see where things go from here when it comes to both tag divisions and who’ll be next in line to challenge KUSHIDA and Cody respectively.

“Saturday Night at Center Stage” Preview; August 26th, 2017; Atlanta, GA

Honor Rumble
While the Honor Rumble (ROH’s twenty-man version of the Royal Rumble match) isn’t a well-remembered concept in Ring of Honor history it has provided some highly entertaining unexpected title encounters usually in the beginning of the ROH World champion’s reign or a time when the titleholder is between major defenses. The first Honor Rumble featured Ruckus of Vulture Squad fame earning a shot at Nigel McGuinness for the next event – becoming not only the first winner of the match, but also the most shocking victor to come out of the concept. Mark Briscoe followed Ruckus’ lead in 2013, falling short of golden glory while becoming the first of several successful title defenses during Adam Cole’s reign. Mark’s brother Jay Briscoe had to battle the 2014 winner in former ROH World Tag Team champion Michael Bennett for the world to see on ROH TV. Last year was, arguably, the best one yet featuring impressive performances by the final two competitors – eventual winner Silas Young and runner-up Jay Lethal – who just so happened to start the battle. Unlike the last Honor Rumble (the aforementioned 2016 version), the title opportunity will happen on the same night – potentially setting the stage for a major title change on ROH TV. This could be the beginning of a new tradition if, for the first time, the winner can turn his victory into an unexpected championship reign.

Marty Scurll vs. Rocky Romero
“Mr. Azucar” himself returns to not only ROH, but also ROH TV for the first time by himself since 2014. With three different tag team partners, Rocky Romero has racked up three World Tag Team title reigns in ROH, but never has he accomplished a singles championship. That could change if Romero can put together a strategy that overcomes a man not foreign to both ROH championship glory and the faction Romero represents in Japan, Marty Scurll. Since joining The Bullet Club, “The Villain” has put together a mixed bag of successes. Scurll has lost & failed to regain the ROH World Television title, but had an impressive showing during his first New Japan tour. For Scurll, this is his chance to get back in the winning ways worthy of a man many believe will become the ROH World champion in the next year. For Romero, this could produce an unexpected rising of a title challenger to both TV champion Kushida and ROH World champion (and Bullet Club member) Cody. On paper this looks like a classic waiting to happen featuring two men who can not only deliver from bell to bell in a serious manner, but could also provide some laughs.

Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrara
Cheeseburger, one of ROH’s most popular characters, isn’t a great judge of character. For the last few years, the ROH Dojo graduate has formed partnerships with similarly undersized individuals who eventually get tired of losing big matches and take out their aggressions on Cheeseburger – Will Ferrara is the latest person to turn on Cheeseburger after teaming with him for a bit of time. Ferrara, a fellow ROH Dojo grad, grew more & more frustrated with matches alongside Cheeseburger that, ironically enough, Will would usually take the fall when losing while Cheeseburger would gain pin fall victories during their few & far between wins. Ferrara made sure his backstabbing of Cheeseburger was televised as they failed to best The Young Bucks to become the new ROH World Tag Team champions. Attacking Cheeseburger from behind that night, Ferrara set a precedence in regards to his career over the state of their tag team. For the next few months it’s been Ferrara doing everything in his power to antagonize Cheeseburger including dressing up like a member of the ring crew to attack Cheeseburger on ROH TV. This is Cheeseburger’s moment for not only revenge, but also a chance to get a televised victory that could settle this feud. One of the most interesting, unspoken aspects about this match is the relationship between Ferrara and Rhett Titus – something seen recently on ROH TV where Will helped Titus defeat Cheeseburger. The potential numbers game could end in a bad night for Cheeseburger.

The Briscoes vs. The All Night Express

Stella Gray vs. Karen Q vs. Deonna Purrazzo

Nick Cammarato vs. Howie Timberche

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 review “SummerSlam” & NXT “Takeover Brooklyn 3” (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/41_Mins_Honor_Nation_Honorable_Takeover_Summer_Bust.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.

Till Then.

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