The ROHbot Report: Reach For the Sky Review, Vegas Tapings, and More
By James Bullock Mar 19, 2017 - 9:54 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. Following the company’s heralded “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view, ROH followed up with a TV taping. Lets find out what happened.
15th Anniversary TV Taping Results; March 11th, 2017; Las Vegas, NV - Dark match: Kikutaro and Dirty Ronovano def. The Gorillas Episode One - Ray Rowe def. Davey Boy Smith Jr. - ROH World Television champion Marty Scurll def. Kenny King via submission Episode Two - Punishment Martinez def. Hanson - ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes & Bully Ray def. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) & Silas Young to become the new champions Episode Three - Chris Sabin def Caprice Coleman - Roppongi Vice def. Will Ferrara & Cheeseburger - Wildcard Tag: Jay White, Jay Lethal, Adam Page & Silas Young def. Bobby Fish, Lio Rush, Colt Cabana & Hanson Episode Four - ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Hardys def. The Briscoes to retain - The Addiction & Dalton Castle def. The Bullet Club (Adam Cole & The Young Bucks)
You know the routine – I’m not going to judge too harshly about what happened during the TV taping without actually seeing the product these tapings were done for. With that being stated, Ring of Honor’s second night of its fifteenth anniversary celebration saw history be made as new World Six-Man Tag Team champions were crowned as the trio of Bully Ray & The Briscoes came together for a second night to best the makeshift team featuring The Kingdom’s Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia and Silas Young to become the second titleholders in history. As noted in the previous ROHbot Report, the showing of Dem Boys and the man from Hell’s Kitchen during the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view would warrant them a future title opportunity; and that belief became truth quicker than expected. With The Kingdom in disarray thanks the injury suffered by TK O’Ryan, it might be a while before The Kingdom comes after the title they believed they’d never lose – though there is a good chance Taven & Marseglia will be going after the two-on-two Tag Team Championship in the near future. The Briscoes couldn’t make it two for two when it came to title matches during the course of this taping as The Hardys – who have been confirmed will not be on the ROH roster for the long term – overcame The Briscoes in a dream match come true. Following the match, the former champions in The Young Bucks arrived to offer The Hardys a chance to truly prove their superiority over “The Bucks of Youth” at “Supercard of Honor XI” by turning their originally scheduled first ROH encounter into Ladder War. While The Hardys are synonymous with Ladder matches, The Bucks showed just how well they can perform in one of wrestling’s most dangerous matches while winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship last year.
But it wasn’t all potential greatness for The Bucks during this taping as Adam Cole got pinned by future World title challenger Dalton Castle yet again in the taping’s finale when his partners accidentally super kicked him. Cole reportedly “fired” The Bucks from Bullet Club before Matt & Nick Jackson reminded Cole that they were the responsible parties for getting the former World champion in the group in the first place and name-dropped the faction’s true leader Kenny Omega prior to leaving Cole behind. There were a few minor storyline advancements seen during the taping including something with a little international flair as the problems between War Machine and Killer Elite Squad representative Davey Boy Smith Jr. continued, as did Lio Rush being a thorn in The Rebellion’s side. By all reports this was a more condensed taping that prevented crowd fatigue – which is a definite plus and could be ROH’s taping pattern going forward. It’ll be very interesting to see when some of the more important segments of this taping airs to build up ROH’s key event during wrestling’s biggest weekend.
The much-anticipated showdown for the ROH World Tag Team Title between newly crowned champions Matt and Jeff Hardy and former champs The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) at “Supercard of Honor XI” on April 1 will now be a Ladder Match!
“Final Battle 2016” was an absolutely grand moment in the careers of Nick & Matt Jackson as they achieved a goal long thought impossible by successfully defending the ROH World Tag Team Championship against The Briscoes on pay-per-view. But the aftermath is what really had people talking as Matt Hardy in all of his broken glory appeared on screen to put out the challenge to “The Bucks of Youth”. According to Hardy, he and his brother are on a quest that has taken them throughout time & space to prove themselves the best tag team in wrestling history, and one of the ways to accomplish that feat is by besting one of, if not the best tag teams in all the world on their home turf. For the first time in years (in the case of Jeff, over a decade) The Hardys were to make their returns to ROH with the intent of proving that even in an era that should’ve passed them by they are still one of the best tandems wrestling has to offer. But then the unexpected happened and Matt & Jeff were not only able to arrive a month earlier, they came to ROH and immediately challenged for the championship. And in an even more surprising twist, The Hardys defeated The Bucks to become the new ROH World Tag Team champions. Keeping the momentum strong, Matt & Jeff successfully defended the championship in a crazy Triple Threat Las Vegas Street Fight during the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view. During The Hardys’ post-match celebration they decided to take The Bucks’ vanity title belts in the Superkick title. During ROH’s most recent TV taping, Matt & Nick Jackson confronted The Hardys with the challenge – at “Supercard of Honor XI” make their match a Ladder Match and put all four championship belts above the ring. Of course The Hardys agreed to the challenge as Ladder Matches have been their forte since 1999. That’s not to mean The Bucks can’t hang in the chaotic environment as their most recent ROH title victory came courtesy of Ladder War VI. While their first ROH encounter was memorable for both the surprise factor and the title change, it was hard to figure out what could’ve made the rematch something special in comparison. Then the match itself changed from its very foundation and there’s no way one can’t be excited by the possibility of these top teams from two different generations fight in a match that has been the basis of not only sheer innovation, but has also changed the trajectory of careers including The Hardys.
Due to the lack of ROH news this week, it seemed perfect to throw in a long-awaited review of ROH’s return to the UK. Let’s find out if “Reach For the Sky Tour: Liverpool” is Worth Your Money!
Reach For the Sky Tour: Liverpool; November 18th, 2016; Liverpool, England
Frankie Kazarian vs. Lio Rush No Code of Honor from Frankie Kazarian angered the fans. Lio Rush kept a tremendous grip on the side headlock, but the pace eventually quickened and Frankie found himself at a disadvantage as he was kicked to the floor. The ropes seemed unusually loose as Rush prepared to dive. Kazarian moved, but it didn’t save him from getting attacked as Rush caught himself and unleashed some more strikes both out of the ring and inside. The size and apparent strength advantage of Kazarian was only matched by his ability to catch Rush before he could fly by tripping him in the ropes for an assisted lung blower. The first two count of this one saw Kazarian execute a hip toss he converted into the neck breaker. A second neck breaker off the face buster gave the former Tag Team champion a close two count, as did the electric chair drop. Pulling his opponent to his feet, Kazarian whipped Rush so hard into the turnbuckles it sent him through the ropes and garnered a rightful, “Holy s***!” chant. Rather than see if he could get an early count-out victory, the mouthy Kazarian rolled Rush back in for some strikes. Rush took advantage of the vertical predicament, knocking Kazarian in position for the first tope of the night. Rush was firing off strikes left & right, but “The Heavy Metal Rebel” refused to stay down. Motioning for the end was Rush, but Kazarian met him on the ropes and yanked him into the slingshot ace crusher … to earn a near fall! The fans were digging this one as Kazarian went for a third neck breaker. Rush avoided the maneuver, but not the clothesline that left him glassy eyed. Hitting the ropes after a failed pin, Kazarian ran into the Rush Hour. Quickly scaling the ropes, Rush came off with his frog splash to put Kazarian’s shoulders to the mat for those precious three seconds.
ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness got a hero’s welcome before reminiscing about the various times he competed in this building including his near death at the hands of Samoa Joe one night after McGuinness almost caved in Jimmy Rave’s jaw. McGuinness gave credit were credit was due to the current roster now featuring men like Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll. In regards to the prior, Ospreay’s Proving Ground match against World Television champion Bobby Fish would now be for the gold as both men agreed to the match.
Donovan Dijak vs. Joe Hendry Resounding chant for “The Local Hero” Joe Hendry as the two followed the Code of Honor. Dijak easily overpowered his opponent while motioning that he’d feel Feast Your Eyes soon. Hendry decided to get a hold of the wrists of his opponent to take the big man to the canvas before the pace picked up and allowed Hendry to get a little moment of self-adulation. For his trouble, Hendry got popped in the mouth and senton splashed. The backbreaker-release slam combo set the stage for a modified springboard splash from Dijak. The follow up elbow drop didn’t end well for Dijak as Hendry moved and started unleashing a slew of right hands and uppercuts. But Hendry’s attempt at a suplex cost him as he was pitched across the ring. Double knee drop from Dijak set up another release suplex toss. But the third attempt at the suplex ended with Hendry reversing it and putting Dijak on the defense until he came out of the corner with that discus big boot. Dijak was looking for Feast Your Eyes, but Hendry reversed the finisher and spiked Donovan on his head courtesy of a DDT. Recovering after the kick out, Dijak tried to fight back when he was tossed across and eventually out of the ring with the fall away slam. Rolling Dijak back in, Hendry started unleashing clotheslines. Dijak countered with one of his own; executing a moonsault soon after, but it didn’t end a three count. Countering a running attack, Hendry utilized a palm strike meant to set up the neck breaker. Dijak muscled his opponent into the air as a reversal to hit Feast Your Eyes for the pin fall.
Christopher Daniels vs. Jay White Shockingly enough, the pro-Christopher Daniels fans weren’t pleased with him stereotypically not following the Code of Honor. The relative wrestling rookie in Jay White tried to keep it clean as they tied up and eventually traded holds. The fans voiced their approval of White’s grappling skills. Letting things get a little faster actually helped Daniels as he avoided an arm drag. White got to his feet, coming off the ropes with a forearm before setting up another. Daniels avoided the strike and eventually shoved White as his opponent tried to climb the ropes. With White on the floor, Daniels simply slung Jay’s body against the barricades and his left shoulder against the steel ring post. The focus of “The General” became the torso of his opposition. Daniels was giving the fans what they wanted as he simply stood on White as the crowd cheered in approval. Short shots and slams set up the Arabian press. While the fans wanted the Best Moonsault Ever, Daniels was cautious about the ropes and accidentally let White recover and catch him with the downward spiral. Rallying to his feet was White to a mixed reaction as he began an offensive strike that included the running vertical suplex and an uranage. Setting up something in the corner, White elbowed Daniels in position for a cross body block that Jay couldn’t follow up with thanks to the abdomen abuse from earlier. Daniels took advantage of the situation, shoulder ramming and slamming White in position for the BME. White refused to let that happen as technical difficulties caused the ring lights to go out. Thankfully the spotlight was still slinging as White kicked his opposition to the floor for a tope. The follow up missile dropkick in the ring didn’t end in a three count for White. Daniels was valiant, but getting dropped on his head constantly until White went for the Kiwi Crusher. Countering with a small package didn’t end this one in Daniels’ favor as White countered the pinning combination to hold “The General” down to pick up the pin. Daniels grabbed the microphone to express his disgust over the fact he lost to the better man before declaring White the future of wrestling. But the future had to go through Daniels at a latter date in an unbroken ring. White took Daniels’ words to heart before thanking the fans for always being hyped.
Jay Lethal vs. Chris Sabin Daniels wasn’t joking when he said the ring was in bad shape as the bottom rope was drooping something strong as Chris Sabin and Jay Lethal locked up for the first time of the night. Sabin got a “Macho Man”-like, “Ooooh yeah!” After hearing a, “Whoo!” from the crowd, Lethal had to show off a Fargo strut before hip tossing Sabin in position for the dropkick on his seated opponent. A slugfest broke out when Sabin was backed into the corner, resulting in Chris taking a suplex. Sabin was sent to the floor, giving Lethal the chance to fly. Sabin avoided the dive, kicking Lethal in the chest not once, but twice to set up a somersault senton off the apron when Jay rolled to the floor. Sabin slowed things by tying up Lethal in the octopus stretch when the action returned inside. Fighting his way to a vertical base, Lethal dumped Sabin over the top rope for not only the springboard dropkick, but also a tope. Signaling for the Lethal Injection, Jay put himself in position for a cradle. They got up throwing clotheslines until both men collapsed. Sabin got up throwing the big boot to put Lethal in position for a nice missile dropkick-lariat combination … to gain a two count! Elbowing his way out of the downward spiral, Jay pulled out the Lethal Combination to set up Lethal Injection. Lethal was in a handstand position when Sabin dropkicked him in the face. Lethal somehow recovered and landed a pair of super kicks between Sabin doing his best not to fall after the first. Recovering in time to counter Hail to the King, Sabin executed a tornado DDT. Lethal kicked out of the follow up pin, somehow making it to his feet to stop Sabin from flying off the ropes. Lethal propelled off the second rope to land an ace crusher topped by Lethal Injection for the elementary three count.
Dalton Castle w/ The Boys vs. Marty Scurll The fans were split down the middle in support of both men until Scurll opted not to follow the Code of Honor. Apparently Castle is ROH’s Bayley as he got sung to before the initial tie up. Upset, Scurll turned the initial lock up into a hair pull so he could pose a little bit. Slowing things down, Castle swept his opponent into a quick pin attempt. Forcing Castle into the corner, Scurll didn’t want to break clean. When Castle ducked the haymaker, he got poked in the eyes for his trouble. Castle rallied back, feigning a dive after sending “The Villain” to the floor. Upset was Scurll reentering the ring, but his anger got the better of him as he was grabbed and tossed with ease. Blocking a slam, Scurll hammerlock swept Castle until Dalton went rolling to the floor. “The Peacock” couldn’t stop a short thrust kick to the jaw of Castle from the apron. The Boys weren’t fanning to the best of their abilities; leaving Castle prone to a surfboard stomp topped by some wrist manipulation. Castle moved to ringside yet again, this time getting fanned off by the fans. The strategy didn’t work as Scurll caught Dalton as “The Peacock” returned. Castle’s aggressiveness came to play when Scurll decided to slap his opponent around. Catching Scurll in midair, Castle overhead tossed “The Villain”. The Bang-a-Rang was on Castle’s mind, but Scurll had other plans by countering with the Chicken Wing attempt. Castle slipped free, kneeing his opponent on the ropes and on the apron. The third knee resulted in Dalton getting kicked on the jaw. An Irish whip is what Scurll had in mind, but Castle reversed the maneuver to execute the 619 hurricarana-flying knee on the floor. Once again, Scurll stopped Castle’s finisher in the ring, kneeing Dalton in position for that feigning super kick. Castle grabbed his opponent from behind, dumping Marty over the top rope. On the apron, Scurll couldn’t stop Dalton from dead-lifting him into the bridging German suplex that gave “The Peacock” a two count. Looking for a follow up attack, Castle’s hand got caught in Scurll’s grip for that dreaded finger dislocation. As if that wasn’t enough, Scurll slammed Castle into the ropes after a thrust kick to the face, but couldn’t end this one right here. Grabbing his umbrella, Scurll used the item as a distraction to maneuver the referee. Castle shoved the referee out of the way, walking right into a haymaker with the umbrella for the knockout blow. But Scurll wasn’t done as he whipped Castle shoulder first against the steel ring post to soften him up for Chicken Wing. The referee had no choice but to stop the match as Castle was unconscious.
ROH World Television Championship: Bobby Fish vs. Will Ospreay Taking the British flag from his latest challenger, Bobby Fish stood on it to disrespect both Will Ospreay and the people watching this one live. Ospreay showed some impressive avoidance of Fish’s devastating submission abilities early by nearing himself to the ropes. Fish quickly aimed the left arm of his opponent while mocking the pro-challenger fans. Nipping his way off the mat, Ospreay quickened the pace to set up a dive. Fish moved, but Will was ready by back flipping into the ring’s center for a quick pose. Making fun of the fans, Fish initiated a dance-off that “The Aerial Assassin” obviously won. When things got serious again, Ospreay looked to Ali Shuffle his way to a solid advantage. Ospreay’s plan to use that hangman’s super kick on his opponent ended with Fish avoiding the attacking and kicking the planted leg from underneath his challenger. Ospreay was in a bad way early as his knee was being constantly hit and twisted. The challenger tried to block out the pain when things moved outside, but his attempt at a shooting star press missed and caused him to land on that bad leg. Fish immediately rushed his stumbling opponent against the barricades. “The Infamous” hoped for the count-out victory, but didn’t get it as Ospreay not only broke the count, but started throwing strikes that staggered Fish, but made it hard for Ospreay to follow up quick enough. Ducking a clothesline, Ospreay was able to head scissor Fish to the floor for a Sasuke special to a huge ovation. Limping was Ospreay, but hurt was Fish as he was being hit with big maneuvers again and again until “The Aerial Assassin” scaled the ropes. The challenger got caught on his perch with a kick that sent him careening to the mat headfirst. As if that wasn’t enough, Fish hit that northern lights suplex against the turnbuckles. Fish called for the brain buster, but Ospreay countered with Stundog Millionaire. Rolling shooting star press-moonsault combo was meant to be the follow up for Ospreay, but the champ got his knees up during the second maneuver. “The Infamous” was potentially looking for a super falcon arrow when Ospreay countered with that hanging super kick in the corner … to gain a near fall! With one leg, Ospreay hit not only that twister kick to his downed opponent, but also set up his handspring back kick. Fish was ready for the latter, catching “The Aerial Assassin” in the knee bar. Rolling to his feet to apparently gain some leverage and free himself, Ospreay bridged backwards to put Fish in a pinning predicament … and pick up the three count! New champion!
The Bullet Club (Adam Cole & The Young Bucks) vs. The Briscoes & Kyle O’Reilly It was Matt Jackson and Kyle O’Reilly starting this one off, with Matt backing O’Reilly into his own corner so he could slap Mark Briscoe in the face. Mark responded with a big boot after tagging in to set up a series of double team strikes. O’Reilly joined Jay in performing an old school Briscoe shoulder tackle. Getting to his feet, Matt eye poked his way to a tag to Adam Cole. Cole got the game plan, turning O’Reilly around so The Bucks could attack him from behind. The Briscoes ran in and things started to break down as the fight spilled to the floor. Mark was the first to fly by performing a moonsault that wiped out everyone. When things finally settled down it was O’Reilly beating Adam Cole up and down the ring alongside his partners. Jay Briscoe got a little overwhelmed by attempting to fight off the illegal offense of The Bucks, but he and his brother were sent to the floor. O’Reilly was left alone, taking a triple team dropkick that allowed The Bullet Club to super kick all three opponents and set up Nick Jackson’s Rise of the Terminator dive on their opponents. Jay Briscoe was on the receiving end of the punishment and some crotch chops. Stopping a neck breaker by Matt, Jay tagged out to his brother so Mark could showcase his redneck kung fu. And just like earlier, the fight moving to the floor ended badly for team Briscoe Dragon as Mark was not only super kicked, O’Reilly & Jay were apron power bombed. “Crazy” Mark found himself on the wrong part of town until a miscommunication between The Bucks saw Nick accidentally kick Matt. Tagging out to O’Reilly as Cole became the legal man caused a clubberin’ to break out. Killer Kick Combo from O’Reilly prepared Cole for the knee bar. The World champion kicked his way out of the hold, almost insulting his way into the Armageddon arm bar. Cole stopped the submission, powered through a German suplex and executed the shining wizard. Cole made it to Matt, but the attempted illegal double team didn’t help The Bucks as Dem Boys joined the fray. With the fans going wild, Jay hit the double Yelping neck breaker on both Bucks before bringing O’Reilly back in for some triple team action. The Bullet Club had to save Matt from completing Armageddon and bodies started flying across the ring and out of it until O’Reilly was the last man standing on his team and positioned for that rope-assisted 450 splash from Nick … that gave him a near fall! More Bang For Your Buck was on the mind of Matt & Nick, but O’Reilly had other plans. Stopping the maneuver, O’Reilly got super kicked into Cole’s Last Shot … for a near fall thanks to The Briscoes! Jay was whipping off those Delaware jabs, but the final one ended with him taking the triple team super kick. Nick wanted a double Meltzer Driver, only for Jay & O’Reilly to counter by helping Mark double Doomsday Device Matt & Cole. Nick ran in super kicking when he landed a glancing blow to propel O’Reilly off the ropes with the jawbreaker lariat. Nick couldn’t stop the strike or Kyle’s Brain Buster that led to O’Reilly picking up the three count.
Is It Worth Your Money: The first of three shows (a first in ROH history) in ROH’s return to the UK was not only historic due to that, but also due to the fact the fans witnessed a major title change as Will Ospreay became the new TV champion in one of the biggest surprises of the year in ROH. The match itself was absolutely incredible and, arguably, the best match of the show with the main event being the only thing that can legitimately test it as the show’s Match of the Night. That’s not to state it’s a two-match show because from top to bottom it consistently got better starting with a very good opener that saw each match almost outdo the previous one (Daniels-White held the Match of the Night honors until the TV title match, but the match quality didn’t drop off noticeably between). If this is what the next two events can produce then ROH’s return to the UK is nothing short of a critical success. ROH “Reach For the Sky Tour: Liverpool” is Worth Your Money.
Cheeseburger, Joey Daddiego & Will Ferrara vs. Matt Sells, Brian Johnson & Plunkett the Ogre
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 Christopher Daniels becoming the new ROH World champion and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/24_Mins_Honor_Nation_Destiny_Beckons.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.