Heading into the company’s “All-Star Extravaganza VIII” pay-per-view and subsequent TV taping, Ring of Honor returned to Georgia for the final leg of its annual “Reloaded Tour” with an impressive showcase of talent including Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Stevie Richards while the rivalry between Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana potentially comes to a head in ROH’s Two Out of Three Falls multi-stipulation match, “The Ringmaster’s Challenge”. It’s time to tell you if ROH’s “Reloaded Tour: Duluth” is Worth Your Money!
“Reloaded Tour: Duluth”; September 24th, 2016; Duluth, GA
War Machine vs. The All Night Express w/ Caprice Coleman Caprice Coleman reprimanded War Machine for attempting to follow the Code of Honor while trying to inform War Machine that they could become the men ROH management has prevented them from being. Not surprisingly, War Machine attacked their kneeling opponents as it was revealed poor Steve Corino was suffering from laryngitis. Even worse was Rhett Titus getting brutalized by simple strikes, backbreakers, and even a flying cross body block from Hanson. Just when it seemed War Machine was going to make quick work of Titus, King illegally kneed the running Rowe from behind. With Ray stunned and Hanson trying to come in, The ANX took over as the chaos allowed for a spin kick from King while the referee tried to force Rowe out of the ring. Some double team action from The Cabinet members set up King’s spine buster to give him the first near fall of the night. The fans were rallying behind Hanson; giving him the will to hit King with the standing broncobuster and Titus with his cartwheel clothesline. Rowe tagged in, unleashing a slew of strikes to Titus and a suplex that dropped King on his head. Titus found himself on the wrong part of town, only being saved by King prior to Kenny diving on the floor Hanson. Frog splash connected for Titus, but didn’t end this one in his favor. Hanson retaliated by stopping the One Night Stand, tossing King into Rowe’s clutches, and executing the springboard Hart Attack into Rowe’s German suplex for the pin fall victory.
Silas Young vs. Stevie Richards “The Last Real Man” decided he had something to say, mocking the fans for cheering his opponent and questioning Richards’ purpose in ROH. Young spoiled this match’s outcome by saying Richards – or “Stevie … because you’re like a seven-year-old boy” – would lose to a real man because the former champion was less than nothing in Young’s opinion. Stern collar & elbow tie up saw Young proving his strength and leverage superiority out the gate. It was a shocking encounter between the irresistible force & the immovable object. Young, being outclassed in the grappling department soon after, tried to turn this one into a brawl. Richards, firing off right hands, ran into the Last Real Combo. It became something of a game for Young as he choked Richards and mouthed off at the same time. Firing himself up and throwing right haymakers, Richards seemed to be on the verge of turning this one around when he succumbed to the dreaded back rake. Once again it was the fans in support of Richards that gave him the will to fight after being assaulted with everything from rear chin locks to elbow drops when he avoided the flying elbow drop. Clothesline after clothesline from Richards set up a neck breaker that was topped by the DDT soon after. Demanding a real fight, Young lured Richards into another fistfight. Young won the battle, but not the war as he was swept into the Koji clutch off a downward spiral a la Christopher Daniels and Jay Lethal. Young found himself near the ropes and able to fire off some strikes before setting up some type of handstand maneuver in the corner. Richards stopped whatever Young had in mind with the Stevie Kick … to gain a near fall! Like “Sunday Night Heat Stevie”, Richards lost his composure and almost decked the referee. This tantrum cost Richards as he turned around and got dropped with Misery that gave Young another victory. Richards grabbed the microphone to admit that he’s been too soft and needs to get vicious again.
Caprice Coleman w/ The Cabinet vs. Delirious Of course Delirious lost his mind when the bell rang – scaring Coleman enough for him to jump into the referee’s arms. Delirious got the fans chanting, “Bahhh, bahhhh!” when he said, “Bahhh, bahhh!” Coleman outclassed him by having the crowd respond with, “Great!” any time he said, “Make wrestling…” But when they tied up it was a whole different story as Delirious was working circles around “The Minister of Information”. Delirious was making a song of “Bahhhs” while executing arm breakers over and over again. Coleman got sick of this, mask yanking and eye poking Delirious to set up a dropkick. Stopping an Irish whip, Delirious pitched Coleman to the floor not for a successful dive, but the abdominal stretch with a little fan assistance to add illegal leverage. Just when it seemed Delirious had this going his way, Coleman spun around the ring post to dropkick the gum out of his opponent’s mouth (before putting it back in Delirious’ mouth. Though Delirious tried to fight back with a soda splash against his opposition, Coleman was only sticky, but not out. But the Ultimate Warrior misdirection clotheslines did turn the tables in the masked man’s favor. When Delirious went to fly, Coleman caught him with the frankensteiner. Yet it was Delirious able to recover and set up a series of failed pinning combinations. So Coleman slammed him with BlessedTO to set up a camel clutch choke to make his popular opponent tap out.
Lucha Rules: ROH World Tag Team champions The Addiction & Kamaitachi vs. Motor City Machine Guns & Jay White When one person leaves the ring whomever is on that team can enter and become the legal wrestler. It was Kamaitachi and Jay White insisting they start this one off for their teams. The grappling exchange saw Kamaitachi resort to a eye rake when he saw things weren’t going in his favor. The pace quickened and White dropkicked him to the floor. White’s attempt at a baseball slide ended with him being dropkicked as well. White recovered, leading to a collision that resulted Christopher Daniels and Alex Shelley taking the positions as legal participants. Frankie Kazarian joined his partners in hopes of triple teaming Shelley, but some misdirection allowed Alex to send Kamaitachi into his own partners. Things were breaking down between The Addiction until Kamaitachi played peacemaker. Sabin waited until they approached him so he could take both champions down. Big clothesline from Sabin to Kazarian allowed Kamaitachi to become legal. Unfortunately for the Japanese star, he was triple kicked and forearmed on the back as if this were “Fire Pro” game. Flooring their opponents courtesy of a trio of back body drops, The Guns & White took the chance to dive on all of their opponents. Recovering quickly, Kazarian stopped a red-hot White by tripping him into the lung blower. An extended triple team culminated in White being stomped after his partners were taken down. Distracting the referee, illegally choking and stomping White were par the course until the fans rallied behind Jay. Reversing an Irish whip didn’t help White much, but causing another miscommunication between Daniels and Kazarian did as he drilled Frankie with the DDT after Kazarian hit his own partner. Tagging in was Sabin; and he was kick crazy while setting up a springboard dive on Daniels and Kamaitachi that was topped by some Superfly action courtesy of Shelley. Kamaitachi super kicked Shelley after the big dive, leaving him and White to clash yet again. White, after executing the suplex, missile dropkicked Kamaitachi … to gain a near fall! Countering the uranage didn’t end well for Kamaitachi as the Guns reentered to almost decapitate him with the double team knee drop. Going low with the rope, Kamaitachi was able to apron power bomb White. The Guns made Kamaitachi pay by stereo super kicking him into a brain buster on the floor courtesy of White. Suddenly, Kazarian knocked Shelley & Sabin to the floor for an Arabian press by Daniels to a big ovation. White found himself alone, feeling Kazarian’s lung blower again followed by Kamaitachi’s Meteora. Shelley made the save, setting off a chain of events that concluded with Kamaitachi being put in position for Skull & Bones. Daniels save his partner, executing Celebrity Rehab on Shelley to pick up the pin fall victory.
Damien Martinez w/ BJ Whitmer vs. Will Ferrara “Punishment” Martinez found the fight coming at him unlike anything before in ROH until he got his boots up, stomping the ROH Dojo graduate into the canvas. BJ Whitmer joined Kevin Kelly (Corino had left) to talk about the “reincarnation of the purple haze”. In the ring, Martinez stopped the tornado DDT to execute a backbreaker. Stinger splashes, flying back elbows and fear-inducing growls from “Punishment” only motivated Ferrara as he tried to fight back. An attempt to hoist Martinez off the mat proved detrimental as Damien not only stopped whatever Ferrara had in mind, but also dropped him with the discus big boot as retaliation. Ferrara couldn’t stop that sit-out chokeslam, leading to a three count in Martinez’s favor. Cheeseburger decided to make his presence known when Whitmer and Martinez decided he wanted add insult to injury. It didn’t end well for Ferrara or Cheeseburger; forcing Steve Corino to come out and make the save. Whitmer didn’t leave; instead offering the golden spike of stabbing. Corino contemplated piercing Cheeseburger & Ferrara’s skulls before throwing the spike down and helping the young men to their feet.
Lio Rush vs. Jonathan Gresham For the first time of the evening the Code of Honor was actually followed before a grappling contest broke out. When they tried to test out who could be the immovable object in this match, Gresham used the momentum of a shoulder block exchange to push Rush into the corner. The pace continued to move rapidly until Gresham felt a dropkick that put him on the apron. Gresham waited for Rush to follow, utilizing a rope-assisted arm breaker. Rather than stick to the grappling, Gresham let Rush get his feet underneath him and land an enzuguri after the Top Prospect Tournament winner was able to avoid a wild clothesline. Being incredibly creative, Gresham not only hopped his way out of a knife-edge chop, but also swept Rush in position for a field goal style kick that landed right on left arm of his opponent. Gresham’s strikes and holds were solidly focused on the arm including a sickening wristlock that turned Rush’s arm in the wrong direction. The fans were really getting into Gresham’s somewhat sadistic onslaught that including an Anderson-like hammerlock belly to back suplex and even some finger dislocation action. Like earlier, Gresham not staying on top of his opponent cost him as self-adulation turned into Jonathan being knocked to the floor and taken down courtesy of the tope-dropkick by the guardrails combination. When the action returned inside, Gresham turned a sunset flip into an arm stomp topped by the jackknife pin. Rush muscled his way out of the pinning combination to execute a Liger bomb to get a two count. When Rush got up he was looking for a springboard maneuver. Instead, Rush was yanked over the top rope, kicked in the hurt arm and locked in the crossface. Lio heard the fans chanting for him to tap, but rallied his way to the ropes instead. Gresham picked up the offense by not only utilizing a stunner, but also the axe bomber. Turning the attack into a roll up failed for Gresham, but gave him enough distance to make a running start toward the rising Rush. Lio countered whatever an incoming Gresham had in mind, hitting not one, but two Rush Hours (the C4) to put Jonathan’s shoulders to the mat for those precious three seconds.
Jushin Liger vs. Dalton Castle w/ The Boys The fans were actually vocally supporting both men as the bell sounded following a Code of Honor. Backing Liger into the ropes quickly, Castle opted to break clean and not pose as usual. When it seemed Castle would tie up again, he decided to showcase his flexibility to “Thunder’s” disbelief. When they neared each other again, Liger tripped Castle into the surfboard. The nearness of the ropes saved Castle. Needing to be cooled off, Castle reasserted himself by taking Liger down and setting up a pose. Liger, stunned, wanted The Boys to fan him off. Liger, upset over Castle not allowing his Boys to fan him, pitched Castle to the floor for a dive feign that allowed Jushin to handstand into his patented pose. To top off the initial pose, Liger showed Castle how to really pose. The action moved to the floor momentarily when Liger went for the baseball slide. Castle avoided and countered, slamming Liger abdomen first against the ring’s edge. “The Peacock’s” plan of attack became obvious and forced Liger to make it to the ropes several times in hopes of not submitting. Eventually Liger was able to get off the canvas and throw a clothesline that Castle had in mind as well. “Thunder” got up with the shotei in mind, as well as the frankensteiner – both successful. Liger, after sending Castle to the floor yet again, connected with the baseball slide to set up his running somersault senton off the apron. Liger wanted something else – The Boys to pose with him. Liger got what he wanted and then some when Castle got up furious. Delayed German suplex from Castle couldn’t keep Liger’s shoulders down. Castle, looking for the suplex again, got caught with a knee buckling back elbow. Taking a moment to collect himself, Liger came off the ropes thinking he could easily down “The Peacock”. Instead, Liger ran into the Bang-a-Rang and the subsequent pin fall victory in Castle’s favor.
Ringmaster’s Challenge: Jay Lethal vs. Colt Cabana 1st Fall (Pin Fall Only): With the crowd split down the middle, this “Global Wars ‘16” main event rematch saw its participants share a few smiles while attempting to gain an early mental advantage courtesy of a flash pin attempts. Cabana took the early lead when it came to converting holds into pinning combinations, but it was Lethal who had his opponent submitting first even though the rules didn’t allow for a submission victory just yet. Cabana got up throwing the first strike of this contest in the form of a knife-edge chop. The smiles were gone as chops and uppercuts became the strategic onslaught of both men. Blocking a suplex, Lethal inadvertently started a suplex attempt exchange that ended with Cabana cradling him. Lethal kicked up, finding himself being positioned for the Billy Goat’s Curse. Lethal quickly countered, rolling him up for a successful pin. 2nd Fall (Submission Only): As a stunned Cabana got off the mat questioning what just happened, Jay came off the ropes to execute Lethal Injection! Cabana slowly rolled to the floor as Lethal took in the success of what just happened and what was to come as he soon connected with not one, but three topes. Rolling Colt back in, Lethal unsuccessfully went for a figure four leg lock, as well as the crossface and a sharpshooter. It was during the latter that Lethal’s hand and fingers got caught in Cabana’s grip for some finger manipulation. Lethal stomped his way out of the bad predicament, pulling “Boom Boom” to his feet. Cornered, Cabana elbowed his incoming opposition to sweep Lethal into his Billy Goat’s Curse. Lethal tried to hold on, but had no choice to tap out. 3rd Fall (30-minute Ironman match): Like Cabana, Lethal took to the floor for a quick break that led to them throwing fists when he reentered. Cabana won the fistfight and started throwing Bionic Elbows aplenty. The action spilled to the floor, resulting in both men’s backs meeting the barricades and even the front row when it came to Lethal. Cabana took advantage of the count, looking for a count-out. Lethal made it in right before the twenty count at the five-minute mark. Getting pushed back out, Lethal rammed Cabana against the barricades in hopes of following Colt’s lead. A wicked clothesline from Lethal stopped Cabana’ return to the ring, leading to another ringside brawl that saw them end up on the apron. Yanking Lethal off his feet, Cabana drove him and himself through the timekeeper’s table. The referee counted both men down for a split score of 1-1 at the ten-minute mark. Cabana was the first to get up, but Lethal wasn’t far behind. Flying Apple connected not once, but two times. Lethal caught him on the third, rolling him up for a pin to put the scored 2-1 in favor of Jay. Cabana tried to kick out and roll Lethal up immediately, but the former World champion kicked out to keep the score in his favor. Big splash from Cabana followed, as did the Bionic Elbow-knee lift combo. Lethal kicked out of a sure pin, only to put himself in the Billy Goat’s Curse. Shockingly, Lethal made it to the ropes. Colt was trying his hardest to hold Lethal down, but Jay refused to stop kicking out as it was announced the halfway point had been reached in this fall. The referee was questioning if Lethal could continue as Cabana was literally holding his opponent up so he could forearm him. But Colt’s pattern had gotten predictable and Lethal countered soon after with a super kick topped by Lethal Injection for another pin in his favor (3-1 Lethal). For the first time in a while, Lethal got up swinging for the fences. Throwing Cabana’s towel down, Lethal came off the top with Hail to the King. Colt countered at the last second, rolling Lethal into a crucifix upon impact. Lethal kicked out, knocking his opponent to ringside yet again. Dey was a clubberin’ in Go-gha, Tony! Avoiding a running start from Lethal, Cabana sent his opponent head first against the barricade. Somehow, Lethal not only got back into the ring before the twenty count, but also was the first to land an attack as it was announced only ten minutes remained. The fans were split down the middle as Lethal started unleashing a series of German suplexes. Lethal even used the waist lock to draw some breath out of Cabana between suplexes. The attacks were enough to put Cabana in position for the figure four leg lock. Somehow, Cabana held on as the fans rallied behind him. Reversing the hold, Cabana almost gained a fall when he and Lethal fell into the ropes. Five minutes were left as the fans chanted for both men. Lethal got up throwing a super kick, but got punched instead. Lethal ducked another Bionic Elbow, putting Colt on the top for a superplex. Instead, Lethal meet the Skyline … and a near fall! Clawing at Colt’s face for freedom, Lethal telegraphed his finisher and was put in the Billy Goat’s Curse. With three minutes remaining, Lethal tapped out to bring the score to 3-2 in his favor. Cabana was getting desperate; going for pins off everything he did. Letting Lethal get up after several failed pin attempts, Cabana landed a super kick at the one-minute warning that put Lethal in position for the moonsault. Rather than go for the pin, Cabana executed two more … to gain a two count! The ring announcer’s voice sounded out, “Ten seconds remaining!” as Cabana sat up distraught. Colt went for one last pin, but it was too late as Lethal kicked out right before the bell sounded to give Lethal the victory three falls to two.
Is It Worth Your Money: ROH’s return to the state of Georgia for another live non-televised event felt more important than most of its kind thanks to special appearances by talent like Jushin Liger & Stevie Richards and specialty matches such as the main event. Bell-to-bell, this is the type of show that feels like it came out of nowhere in the sense that it produced an event that would nearly be “big event” quality - the final matches of the show proved that sentiment as the Ringmaster’s Challenge was, arguably, the best seen in ROH thus far thanks to the natural chemistry of Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana, another fine Castle-Liger match where Dalton got a big win, and one of the best showcases of young talent seen in quite some time as Lio Rush and Jonathan Gresham almost stole the show (though an argument could easily be made they produced the best bout of the night). The Lucha Rules bout was fantastic, as well as the level of comedy that came from Coleman-Delirious. Stevie Richards and Silas Young really clicked and Richards needs more of a showcase on ROH if there’s a chance for that to happen. This is probably one of the most shockingly entertaining events of the year from ROH as it should’ve been a throwaway event with a couple of highlights here & there as most “Road to/Reloaded Tour” are and definitely deserves to be seen. ROH “Reloaded Tour: Duluth” is Worth Your Money.