Our final #Watchamania2018 show comes from Ring of Honor’s iPPV – the Supercard of Honor – featuring the first clash between Kenny Omega and Cody as the Bullet Club’s Civil War entered a new chapter!
We’re not regular ROH watchers, and to be honest, this was a show we would usually have skipped… had we not had so many folks signing up to Fite.tv with our code. So, I guess this is the “thank you for the credits”. This was a LONG show, at a shade over four and a half hours. Just what you’d have needed the day before a long WrestleMania…
A video package kicks the show off rattling through some ROH history, mostly in the form of a slideshow, before touching on some of the advertised matches. Yeah, I don’t buy Jay Lethal and Hiroshi Tanahashi as ROH tag champs! Still, as easy as it is to criticise ROH for turning into the Bullet Club’s playground, their production values are head and shoulders above anything else that the indy scene put out over the weekend, which is another issue in itself. Crowds of just under 6,000 in the University of New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena is a far cry from where ROH started out sixteen years ago… these days their commentary is handled by Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana, the latter I’ve heard rave reviews on.
Women of Honor Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Kelly Klein vs. Mayu Iwatani
Iwatani’s from STARDOM, a promotion I really ought to dip into. She’s just come back from horrendous dislocated elbow in a match against Toni Storm back in September…
The initial tie-up sees Klein shove town Iwatani, as the “Gatekeeper” of ROH imposed herself on her much smaller opponent, blocking Irish whip attempts at will. A leg sweep takes Klein down for a nasty kick to the chest, before throwing some rights as Klein was on the apron… only for Kelly to reply with a knee in the ropes.
Klein takes Iwatani to the corner, before booting her head right off, somehow only getting a near-fall from that. It’s almost child’s play for Klein, despite Mayu’s palm strike-infused comebacks, as she rocked Iwatani with a series of knees while catching her in a cravat. A sneaky roll-up looked to get Iwatani the win, but Klein kicks out and nails a vicious clothesline for an eventual near-fall, before taking Iwatani into the corner for an elevated choke a la Minoru Suzuki against Hirooki Goto earlier this year.
Somehow Iwatani fights back and tries for a superplex, before eventually landing a top rope ‘rana, then a missile dropkick, before missing a double stomp. A superkick sent Klein down, as Mayu nails that stomp at the second time of asking, before following up with a frog splash for another near-fall.
That’s the cue for Klein to return fire though, as she blocks a ‘rana, only for Mayu to counter it into an awkward reverse ‘rana. A German suplex is blocked awkwardly as Klein escapes, and nails a DDT, then a nasty Samoan driver for a near-fall as the two women traded those pinning attempts. In the end though, Kelly gets the win when she rolled through a suplex into the End of the Match guillotine, forcing the referee to wave off the match. This was a solid, sub-ten minute match, with Iwatani showing a lot of heart before coming up short. **¾
Women of Honor Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Sumie Sakai vs. Tenille Dashwood
Tenille catches Sakai at the start, but the veteran Sakai gets a near-fall with a swinging Fisherman neckbreaker as she tried to overwhelm the former WWE star early on.
Dashwood’s right back with forearms, before she took Sakai into the corner for a Tarantula, then a neckbreaker in the ropes, following up with a crossbody off the top to the floor! Back inside, Dashwood uses an Indian deathlock to try and force a submission, but Sakai escapes and catches Tenille in an armbreaker attempt… Dashwood escaped, but Sakai follows in with a crossface, before giving that up and putting the boots to the Australian. A charge into the corner from Sakai misses, as Dashwood slides in from the apron to get a sunset flip, before following up with the Taste of Tenille sliding splash into the corner for another near-fall.
A superplex attempt’s shoved down by Sakai, who nails another missile dropkick for a near-fall, before she ran into a sit-out powerbomb that somehow only got Tenille a near-fall. Sakai hits right back with the Smash Mouse (Roll The Dice) for a near-fall as she looked to get nearer to a spot in the final, but Sakai’s caught up top with a massive release German as Dashwood came within a hair’s breadth of a final spot! In the end though, Dashwood telegraphed a Spotlight kick, which Sakai avoids and meets with a roll-up for the win… a clear upset, as we end up with two ROH originals in the final, rather than any mixture of an original and an outsider. Still, at least the cynics weren’t in any risk of that Mandy Leon run. Yet! **¾
Onto the main show now…
Chuckie T vs. Jonathan Gresham
Gresham’s back in ROH after tweaking his knee against Jay Lethal on a ROH house show a few weeks ago, but he’s been doing stuff elsewhere while injured, so there shouldn’t be any of the proverbial ring rust on him.
Gresham tries to frustrate Chuckie T with a variety of takedowns, before running into a backbreaker as Chuckie was starting to use his size to his advantage, slamming Gresham ahead of a missed moonsault that the camera cut away from. Chuckie’s gone outside, where he was crashed into with a tope con giro that looked like Gresham had face-planted himself on his dive… that looked nasty!
Still on the floor, Chuckie gets whipped into a hug from Beretta, before giving Gresham another backbreaker for a near-fall. Commentary makes a joke about the banned moves in Louisiana, which theoretically banned Chuckie’s finisher, but he’s able to manage without it, nailing a Falcon arrow for a near-fall, before Gresham fought back in with an enziguiri and a ‘rana, rolling through into a stomp on the knee.
Sensing danger, Chuckie comes in with Sole Food, before he’s spiked with a tornado DDT for a near-fall, only to counter Gresham’s attempt at a figure four with an inside cradle for the win. ***
Punishment Martinez vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Apparently Ishii won the “Revolutionary Pro” title… that’s a good bit of synergy with another promotion that has New Japan ties! At least Ishii had the belt with him, as Colt announced he’d be working for Rev Pro in July – which I’m guessing is a to-be-announced match at the Cockpit.
Ishii started off by throwing forearms, barely rocking Martinez, who comes back with a mini Superman punch to knock the Stone Pitbull down, following up with some more forearms in the corners. A Falcon Arrow gets Martinez a near-fall, as that move’s not winning anything tonight!
The two go back and forth with their big strikes, as Ishii chopped Martinez in the throat ahead of a suplex, before Martinez’s spin kick took Ishii outside for a wild across the top corner dive – which Martinez again landed on his face in doing. What is it with face-plants in topes today?! Punishment followed that up with a step-up flip plancha to the floor as he was catching Ishii out with aerial moves, landing a spinning heel kick off the top rope for a near-fall.
We’re back to strikes as Ishii’s staggered into the corner, before issuing a couple of receipts as he’s caught up top for a top rope ‘rana! That almost gets the upset, as Ishii tried to land more lariats… only to get kicked in the head again and again, before sidestepping one to land a Saito suplex. Ishii takes it up a gear with a brainbuster off the top, but Martinez still gets up, before blocking a sliding lariat by grabbing Ishii’s through, only to get met with another lariat for a near-fall.
Ishii signals for another brainbuster, but Martinez gets out, only to eat an enziguiri and reply with a lariat. More headbutts from Ishii ended up with him taking a knee to the head, before the South of Heaven chokeslam gets the upset for Martinez! This was a fun sprint between two big lads, although I’ve a feeling that the intention when this was booked wasn’t to have another company’s champion lose… but it is what it is. ***½
Hangman Page vs. Kota Ibushi
Our first taste of the Bullet Club civil war here sees “Hangman” Adam Page take on Kota Ibushi. We’re sticking with the Hangman name a la Japan to avoid any confusion.
The last time Kota wrestled in America for ROH was almost ten years ago to the day, in a win over El Generico. Wonder what he’s up to…
With the tensions between Page and Ibushi, they don’t bother with a handshake as Page took Ibushi into the ropes, before getting annoyed that his shoulder tackles weren’t working. They break into a series of reversals and the like, with Ibushi getting an upper hand with a kick to the chest, forcing Page to the outside… where his attempt to knock him off the apron just earned Ibushi a neckbreaker in the ropes.
Ibushi gets slingshot into the bottom rope as Page was living up to his nickname, cutting off Ibushi with a flapjack and a bridging pumphandle fallaway as Hangman started to make a statement of intent. Just like that, Ibushi burst back into like with a flurry of kicks, leading to a standing moonsault for a near-fall, then a jumping ‘rana as Page rolled to the outside for cover. Hah! Really, it just put him even more in harm’s way, but he avoided a Golden Triangle moonsault, as he dragged Ibushi to the floor before missing a shooting star headbutt.
The pair brawl a little around ringside, where Page tried to moonsault off the guard rail… but Ibushi just intercepts with a German suplex, dumping him onto his head on the floor. Can we stop with these head drops?! That Golden Triangle scores moments later, but by the time they got back into the ring, Kota could only pick up a near-fall. More counters led to Page switching a reverse DDT into a package tombstone, almost getting the W with that, before he was sent onto the apron for a backflip kick as Ibushi just continued to defy belief. They tease a piledriver on the apron – because LOL commission – but Page gives a back body drop instead before scaling the turnbuckles for an Orihara moonsault.
Inside again, Page comes close after a clothesline, but a Rite of Passage belly-to-back piledriver descended into some back-and-forth pins as Ibushi rolled through into a deadlift German of his own for a near-fall. The pair trade right hands as they fought back to their feet, with Page having a little extra mustard on his shots, before rocking Ibushi with a rolling forearm…
…but Page doesn’t capitalise quickly enough as Kota hit back, nailing the Golden Star Powerbomb for a near-fall, before swinging and missing with a Kamigoye. A strait-jacket German gets a near-fall, but Kota keeps hold of the wrists and smashes the Kamigoye for the win. Bloody hell, I was not expecting this, but then again my knowledge of Page is largely limited to his Bullet Club underling work in Japan. That’s an eye opening performance, even in defeat – and a match you ought to go back and watch. ****¼
Women of Honor Championship: Kelly Klein vs. Sumie Sakai
This was the finals of a tournament that seemed to fall apart – ROH worked with STARDOM and brought in Tenille Dashwood as a surprise entrant… but she ended up losing to Sumie Sakai on the pre-show, while Kelly Klein beat Mayu Iwatami as the semi-finals didn’t make the PPV cut. Par for the course, sadly.
Daffney was shown at ringside for this… Klein came into this with a record of not being made to pin or submit in singles matches – yeah, there were other losses, but this was as close as you’re getting to an Asuka-like streak here. Sakai has been based in the States for most of her career, and she rushed Klein before the bell as the referee was caught of guard, getting revenge for an attack on the pre-show.
Sakai stomps on Klein in the corner, but Klein quickly uses her power, folding Sumie in half with a release German, before she bullied her much-smaller opponent. Eventually Sakai reversed a whip into the corner, then nails a nice wheelbarrow roll-up for a one-count, only to get hung up in the ropes as she tried to chain together offence.
The pair ended up outside, where Klein suplexed Sakai on the floor… and rolled through before locking in her End of the Match guillotine submission – clearly looking to incapacitate Sakai, before rolling her in for a pin. Surely a count-out win would have been more likely at that point? Klein draped Sakai over the top turnbuckle as she looked for a super fallaway slam, but it’s countered with a powerbomb instead, but Kelly gets the fallaway slam anyway after catching Sakai’s crossbody. Sumie keeps up with a swinging Fisherman’s neckbreaker, but another wheelbarrow is blocked and turned into a German suplex as both women crashed to the mat.
As the match headed towards a conclusion, several of the eliminated tournament competitors came to the ring to provide support, watching on as forearms were traded, with Sakai eventually running into a big boot, before being forced to kick out of a Northern Lights suplex. More forearms gave way to a Sakai brainbuster, which looked to be the prelude to a moonsault… but she overshoots and instead opts for a rather clumsy DDT for the win. Those final few seconds were a bit off, but the match going into there was fine… just a shame that moonsault overshot so badly. Still, at least they had the foresight to not have that be the finish, and actually try for something that looked like it’d end a match. **¼
Now we’re entering the land of long matches, so I’m going to do my best Arnold Furious and try and recap these in a paragraph (or several!)
Ladder Match for ROH World Six Man Championships: Flip Gordon & Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (c)
Not being a ROH viewer, I’m not entirely sure how Gordon and the Bucks fit together, given that Flip isn’t in Bullet Club, and he’s currently spending his free time trying to petition his way onto the All In show later this year. Just as I say that, commentary tells us than ROH GM Bully Ray was to blame. Fair enough.
This was insane right out of the gates, with so many dives in the opening moments that commentary couldn’t do anything but call out the producer for showing random crowd shots. Fortunately, we don’t get the snails-pace ladder climbs early, but we do get some daft spots involving a ladder, and including Flip backflipping away from Kazarian’s ode to Terry Funk, or Scorpio Sky taking an awkward hiptoss onto a ladder… and quite a few spots that don’t, as Matt Jackson seemed to hate the idea of having a healthy back.
We get a wacky Cease and Desist (Sharpshooter x Crossface) on Scorpio Sky, allowing Gordon to climb the ropes… but Daniels was back to break it up with another ladder, before we get more flips, with Gordon hitting a wacky senton off of the ring post. Nick Jackson hops across some ladders like a wacky climbing frame before a dive, and this is the Young Bucks I kinda like – without all of the wacky, hammy shtick.
What I didn’t like was the appearance of balloons as that apparently was the cue for the Kingdom to arrive, wearing purple camouflage to spoof Bully Ray, as they tried to wreck the match because they’d been taken out of it. Eventually everyone else in the match dumped them, with TK O’Ryan’s ladder getting lifted as he was sent to the floor. All six men end up on the ladders, but Flip takes a wacky bump as his legs were taken out from under him, as he landed head first on the top of the ladder before continuing the fall. Yeah, that looked gruesome, yet Gordon was back pretty soon to land a springboard double Blockbuster off the apron. Innovative, definitely, scary? Yep.
Of course, the crowd pipes up big-time when they get to shout stuff like “superkick”, which was most of the noise they made other than the shocked “OOH”s (and Ian Riccaboni’s equivalent), as duelling 450s through tables left us with just Daniels on the top rope… and rather than do another splash, he goes for the ladder. Matt cuts him off, whipping him with his weightlifting belt, only for Daniels to shove the ladder to send Matt through a table before Daniels went back up for the belts. I think I need a breather after that – an insane spotfest which was reminiscent of some of the classic ladder matches from the turn of the millennium. Easily one of the best matches from ‘Mania weekend. ****½
Post-match, Matt Taven instantly laid out Daniels with the belt before the Kingdom ran off with the titles. Ah well, there’s the feud continuing!
Brian Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser vs. Luke Hawx & PJ Hawx vs. Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
During interval we get to see a dark-match, and yes, Beer City Bruiser’s in the dark matches after being highlighted on the Honor Rising tour in Japan. Aah ROH, never change!
Luke and PJ Hawx are from the local Wildkat Pro Wrestling promotion, and we started with Shelley and PJ exchanging holds. PJ ran wild with dropkicks to both halves of the Machine Guns, before tagging in Luke… who had more luck with backbreakers and shoulderbreakers on Chris Sabin.
Beer City Bruiser’s in and squashes PJ with a Samoan drop, before Brian Milonas just leaps back onto PJ for a near-fall. Bruiser keeps up the beating on the rookie PJ, who’s kept isolated from any other tags. Sabin’s next to get squashed by the big guys, with a cannonball from the Bruiser taking him to the outside, before PJ avoided a cannonball aimed at him, as he made the tag out to Luke.
A plancha from Luke takes out Milonas on the outside, before Sabin dove into the pair of them as our wacky dive sequence unfolded, ending with a cannonball off the apron from the Bruiser, before PJ’s rolled back in to take a Milonas superplex and a Bruiser frog splash for the win. Enjoyable stuff, but even reading back my notes, I couldn’t tell if the MCMG were even part of this or if they were just spectators. **¼
Fast-forwarding through the rest of intermission then…
ROH World Tag Team Championship: Jay Lethal & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) (c)
This is the problem with this “spotlight booking” – it’s far too easy to throw your big name imports in a one-off match such as this, even if it telegraphs the end result. Hands up who thought Lethal and Tanahashi would be leaving here with the belts?
Commentary painted this as “dream team” versus “the team”. I like Jay Lethal and all, but what kind of dreams are you having?! It leads to a slow start with the two Jays, before Tanahashi tries to goof around with Mark, who used Tana’s hair against him before spitting at him. Fortunately, he gets an instant receipt by way of a Dragon screw. Good.
Lethal’s back in to work over Mark with chops and dropkicks for a near-fall, before the tables turn as the Briscoes work over Lethal. Tellingly, the crowd don’t seem to react much for the Briscoes, which seems to be a reaction they’re getting a lot if reports are to be believed. Eventually Lethal begins to fight back with chops, which do wake up the crowd, before Tanahashi helped to bring the Briscoes outside for a Lethal tope.
Tanahashi tagged in and flattened Jay with an elbow drop and a standing senton for a near-fall, but as soon as Lethal’s back in the crowd seemed to go dead. So of course, Tanahashi’s quickly back in, only to get kicked by Jay on the apron as the champions had to cheat a little to keep the Ace down. A Slingblade gets Tanahashi back on track as Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal tagged in to slug it out, leading up to Lethal heading up for a top rope elbow… which Mark blocked and turned into an inside cradle for a near-fall.
A cutter from Lethal gets a near-fall as he again goes for a Figure Four, before Jay Briscoe cuts off a High Fly Flow from Tanahashi and instead hits a frog splash elbow to Lethal. Tanahashi keeps the match alive after a brainbuster to Lethal… and Lethal almost gets the win with a Lethal Inject moments later, with Mark narrowly kicking out. The challengers tried to win with a Doomsday Device, but that’s blocked as Mark’s German suplex allowed them to go for the device themselves, knocking Lethal down for the win. Well that was a match, I guess. Save for a brief moment, I didn’t think the titles were going to change, but I guess that speaks more for my disconnect with ROH than anything else. **¾
Before the main event, Austin Aries wanders out with his belts. Apparently he wants the ROH TV title, because I guess their world title is already taken for in storyline? It’s a bit of a weird move for someone to turn up and say “I want a title… just not your main one”. Aries reiterated his challenge to Kenny King and “Stilas Young” for a title shot after tonight.
Last Man Standing for ROH Television Championship: Silas Young vs. Kenny King (c)
These two have been trading the title since last autumn, with interferences and visual pins leading to the challenge from the champion for a last man standing match. O-kay… Young’s come out with plunder, and I’ve a feeling this crowd is going to need a lot of plunder to get anything since neither guy here wears a Bullet Club shirt. Or wrestles in Japan.
It starts out as a brawl, with King eyeing up the table in the opening seconds, but Silas is right back out with a lariat to get our first attempt at a ten count. King’s back with a backbreaker and a Last Chancery, in a direct shot at Aries, which of course doesn’t generate a reaction. Unlike a back suplex from the ring through the table, as King was dumped to the floor.
You know, had I not heard all the talk about this being the biggest ROH crowd in history, I’d never have known from looking at the show. Would it have killed them to light the crowd?
Young keeps King on the outside, whipping him into some seemingly-fragile guard rails, before taking shots at the crowd… but that just opened things up for King back inside, as he dropped Silas back-first over the turnbuckles, before landing a running Blockbuster off the apron. Aside from the odd “ooh” this one struggled with the crowd, who were making a noise befitting how small they looked on tape, rather than how many they really had inside the venue.
King manages to get something out of the crowd when he dropkicked a chair into Young, before landing a Royal Flush into a trash can, but Young rolls out of the ring to land on his feet and technically break the count. Kenny’s back for more plunder, setting up a table so he can splash Silas through it… but out wanders the Beer City Bruiser to interfere. He takes a bin shot to the head, giving Silas enough time to recover and grab a ladder.
The Bruiser disappears under the ring as Young takes a belly-to-belly onto a ladder he’d just propped on the guard rails, before putting Young through a table with a shooting star press. That was impressive, but King can’t back to his feet because the Bruiser had tied his feet together… allowing Young to pull himself up via the guard rails for the win. Ah man, that is a cheap finish if I ever saw one. I’d have preferred them to spoof the Warrior/Rude finish over this, especially as it massively overshadowed what happened before it. ***
Post-match, Austin Aries rushed to the ring and hit a tope on Young and Bruiser as they were laying into King,
Our next match was meant to be the Dawgs – Rhett Titus and Will Ferrera – against Cheeseburger and his surprise partner… Eli Isom. Colt Cabana’s very much aggrieved at how Cheeseburger picked a trainee whe he had the pick of the litter. Isom’s brutalised before the bell by the Dawgs, crotched into the ring post before a chair’s whacked into his knees, right as Bully Ray comes out, sports coat and all. Bully is offered Isom’s spot, since the bell didn’t ring.
Cheeseburger & Bully Ray vs. The Dawgs (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrera)
Bully “came out of retirement” and started with Dusty punches on Titus, before setting him up for a Whassup headbutt… which Cheeseburger gleefully delivered..
However, the ruse was quickly shown as he told Cheeseburger to get the tables, before chokeslamming him. The Dawgs left, and the match was waved off, as Ray took exception to “being put on the spot”, before calling Cheeseburger “what’s wrong with the wrestling business… you and your kind.”
There’s a longer pause than I’d have liked before Bully said “your generation” as folks were thinking “was he racist?”. Yep, he’s going after young flippy guys, including Will Ospreay and Ricochet, who were no longer with ROH, because why not? Joe Koff wanders down only to be blamed some more, before Flip Gordon tries to make the save… but Bully threatens to piledriver Cheeseburger – because LOL commission. It’s almost like Bully’s doing the wXw Absolute Andy deal, except without any hook like him turning on his partner. Bully powerbombs Cheeseburger anyway, and and we’re done with this.
Cody vs. Kenny Omega
Cody’s out with “Bernard the Business Bear” – a spoof of “Bury the Bear” for those who watch Being The Elite. Is Bernard a bit of a shot back at folks, given how much Cody hated being Stardust? Bernard has the cheapiest costume bear head imaginable, which has to be part of the rib.
Oh, there’s police too, in case anyone tried to jump the rails as Cody with a golden eye patch looks kinda like a bad Bond villain. Anyway, this one sailed well over the 30 minute mark (going 36 minutes… which is long for a semi-final, but hey, we do have damn near 90 minutes left on the VOD, which makes me weep a little). The staredown before the match is intense, as the crowd shouted “holy shit”. For what, a ring bell?!
It’s clearly a pro-Omega crowd, who obviously cheer when Bernard gets his head dropkicked off by Omega, as the poor guy in the suit’s forced to cover his face as he was ejected in the opening minutes. I don’t think we were meant to know who he was…
Cody takes the upper hand early as he beats on Omega in the corner, before nicking a near-fall with a scoop slam. They keep it on the mat, which is a sound move, except it made the match more about the selling – not something you sensed this crowd were into. Brandi slapped Kenny, to zero reaction, as Cody kept up the beatdown, taking Kenny to the outside where Brandi again gets herself involved. It’s a good tactic to get the crowd booing the Rhodes clan, but my God the production crew are barely catching the high moments. They do, however, manage to catch a lot of Cody getting into it with the crowd, which gets good heat. Then again, any heel stealing beer would work!
Omega begins fighting back with right hands and chops, before flying in off the top with a crossbody… but Cody rolled through and almost nicked the pin again. The Omega comeback doesn’t get quite the roar I’d have expected at first, as he worked up into a Finlay roll before Cody got the knees up to block the moonsault. A ‘rana takes Cody to the floor, and we know that’s next… *Terminator claps* and a big tope con giro!
Omega’s back with a Aoi Shoudou, but the V-Trigger is merely delayed as Cody avoided a Kotaro Krusher, only to get dumped with a Dragon suplex. Another Dragon suplex gets blocked as Cody gets in a Disaster kick for a near-fall, before Kenny returns with knees in the corner as a tease to a One Winged Angel. Cody escapes and slips down for a Figure Four, which Omega tried every which way he could to roll out of… only for Cody to keep the momentum going to reset it. Eventually Kenny gets to the ropes, but he’s caught with a Dragon screw as Cody tried to stop him from escaping the ring.
Cody grabs a table and teases sending Kenny through it with a Cross Rhodes, but Omega clings onto the ropes, before blocking an attempted piledriver a la Terry Funk… because LOL Commission. What we did get though, as a Dragon suplex onto the apron, before Cody hit back with a front suplex, dumping Kenny chest-first on the over-turned table. Back in the ring, Cody gets an Alabama slam for a near-fall before he heads outside to help Brandi rearrange the table – yay, more down time – before nailing Omega with a Dragon suplex. A V-Trigger is an instant receipt, then a reverse ‘rana, but we end up with more interference as Brandi gets on the ropes, only for Omega to break free… and send her crashing through the table as a V-Trigger meant for Cody took her out in style.
Always the concerned citizen, Omega heads out to check on Brandi, but Cody capitalises by planting him with a Cross Rhodes for a near-fall. Flip Gordon comes out to carry Brandi to the back (apparently something to do with Being The Elite), something Cody barely acknowledges, as he wants to destroy Omega, scoring with a superplex before missing a moonsault as both men’s proverbial fuel tanks were well into the red zone.
Omega’s back up and throws more knees, but Cody seems to invite more, before using the referee as a human shield. Kenny outsmarts him with another knee, before one more V-trigger gets a near-fall. More V-triggers led to a One Winged Angel attempt, but Cody slips down and into a Vertebreaker… the hell?! Kenny blocks a Cross Rhodes, and we get a ref bump to tick off items on our list, before a double crossbody left everyone down. Check!
Who’s interfering next? Our come the Young Bucks, with a cameraman, as they tease picking sides… but a superkick aimed at Cody takes out Kenny by mistake. Yup… and all we have left is a Cross Rhodes as Cody gets the win.
Bell-to-bell, this was good, but it reminded me a lot of the Zack Sabre Jr./Marty Scurll match that Rev Pro had last year – in that it was far too long and in doing so, it struggled to keep my attention. The contrasting styles between Cody and Omega was an obvious red flag going in and as such it dragged in parts. Perhaps it’s because it was a long match on a long show, but when your target audience can’t stay hot for it, there’s problems. ***¼
Post match, the Bucks get chants of “you fucked up” as ring crew carried Omega to the back.
ROH World Championship: Marty Scurll vs. Dalton Castle (c)
Castle’s been ROH World champion since Final Battle, but he’s been very much taken away from the main event scene as the focus is put on the Bullet Club civil war. Even though he’s closing the show here, it very much feels like a token gesture.
A long main event in front of a crowd that had really seen the match they’d wanted to see… so it’s no surprise that the methodical pace of the opening exchanges were met with fairly lukewarm reactions. Scurll tries to use his umbrella from the off, leading to more helpful stalling, before Castle took the match to the mat as the pair traded shots to the chest. Marty’s on top in the early going as he tried to work over Castle’s arm and fingers, and save for the odd person in the crowd, the silence is deafening. Castle mounted a brief comeback, hanging up Scurll in the ropes as he was thrown to the apron, but on the outside Scurll edges ahead with chops that seemed to frustrate Castle amid a walk-and-brawl.
Eventually Dalton starts to throw some jabbing forearms and chops, following with a back elbow as Scurll was taken into the corner, almost out of desperation. Castle manages to throw in a suplex, before he was again sent to the outside as Scurll sidestepped a charge… but somehow Dalton’s able to land a deadlift German on the floor before trying to take things back to the ring. That didn’t quite work, as Marty hits a gamengiri on the apron, before he’s knocked across the top turnbuckle and dropkicked to the floor as Castle seemed to get frustrated at the silence on-hand. I don’t blame him…
Marty replies by shoving Castle into the guard rails before leaping off the apron with a tornado DDT, before he escaped a Bangarang attempt and turned it into a roll-up for a near-fall. The crowd arises from their slumber as Marty hit the Just Kidding superkick, only to run into a leaping knee from Castle, as the crowd finally started to make a little noise. Dalton tried a gutwrench superplex, but Marty escapes and takes the long way around to land a superplex, taking Castle to the outside, and right into the path of a superkick off the apron. More brawling around ringside led to them heading up the aisle, where Dalton takes a back body drop onto the stage steps.
Inside again, Marty goes after the arm some more, throwing Castle into the turnbuckles shoulder-first, before nailing an over-the-knee Fisherman buster for a near-fall. Outside again, Castle manages to nail Scurll with a running boot, before he’s thrown back into those notoriously-weak guard rails, as Marty Scurll was handed something from Nick Aldis – who was watching at ringside, just because. It turns out they’re clippers, which Marty uses to clip away the cable-ties for the turnbuckle padding… but Castle avoids getting thrown into the exposed corner, and lands a clothesline as both men went down.
Castle takes Scurll onto the apron for some stomps, before dragging him back in with a deadlift German suplex for a near-fall. They head to the exposed corner, where Castle teases an avalanche German, but a mule kick took Dalton down, but he’s right back with a right hand, only for Scurll to return fire with a superkick for a near-fall. We need more plunder, stat, so Marty spends ages hunting under the ring for something… he doesn’t find it, and gets thrown into the guard rails as Castle tried to eke out a victory via count-out.
It doesn’t work as Marty finally finds his bag of powder, but Castle kicks it up into his face… prompting a blinded Marty to snap the referee’s fingers. How’s that not a DQ? Castle nails the Bangarang, but the referee’s hands hurt making a count… so wave for the goddamned DQ! Although I will admit, that was a cute and innovative spot.
As the ref’s crying in pain, Marty uses his umbrella on Dalton and his Boys, before nailing the brainbuster, just in time for a back-up referee to appear and count a near-fall. The chicken wing’s set up for next, but Castle’s back up with elbows ahead of a Saito suplex, only to get caught in the chicken wing anyway. Somehow Castle gets up and back bumps to force a break, except Marty puts it back on… breaking only so he can go for Dalton’s fingers.
Stomps to Castle’s head follows, as Marty looked to be forcing a referee stoppage, but he changes tactic back into a chicken wing, which almost backfires, so he goes back to superkicks before Scurll runs into a Bangarang, and that’s enough for Castle to get the win! Somewhere in here there was a good match, much like Kenny/Cody, but this felt overly scripted with a lot of stuff “they had to get in”… regardless of whether the crowd were interested or not. Shame, but this is an advert for keeping your matches tight AND listening to your crowds! **¼
All in, ROH’s Supercard of Honor felt very much like a teaser for WrestleMania the next day… in that it was a fun show that started to derail towards the end. Not being a regular ROH viewer, I’m not all-in on storylines, but when your top storyline can’t keep the crowd hot for the entire match, then maybe there’s issues? It’s an easy shot to make at ROH, that without their tie-in with New Japan they’d be up the creek without a paddle, however the crowd reactions here to anything non-Bullet Club related really underlined that.
It’s worth noting that Supercard of Honor XII was the first big show ROH had since they shifted to their new Honor Club VOD platform… and much like WWN, it crumbled. Not a good start, but as long as lessons are learned, then it shouldn’t be a disaster for a company that will have a lot more eyeballs on it this year because of the Bullet Club civil war storyline.