By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Mark Briscoe def. Donovan Dijak
There wasn't much riding on this match other than it was Dijak who attacked Briscoe after their tag team match a few weeks ago, but I liked how they incorporated the plug for Destination America and I'm hoping they make their next set of shows on the network feel special. It was a decent match for what it was worth and although didn't light the world on fire, it was perfect in the opener because it was easily the least important match of the night.
The Decade def. Matt Sydal and ACH
I was really impressed with the duo of Sydal and ACH when they teamed up on this past week's edition of Ring of Honor, so I enjoyed seeing them back in action on this show. They didn't have any established issues going into the match (or at least any that were made clear on the Destination America shows), so similar to the previous bout, it was difficult to care about who would win. That said, Colby Corino playing into the finish was interesting and we'll see where it leads, but you'd think they would've given the victory to the babyfaces to set them up as the next No. 1 contenders to the ROH tag titles.
Dalton Castle def. Silas Young
Castle entertained the hell out of me when I was initially exposed to his character several weeks ago on the show, while Young impressed me when I saw him work against Kevin Steen last summer. It was designed to be more of a "fun" match than it was a hard-hitting battle, so for that reason, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Granted, I wish we didn't have to see so much of Young's ass, but the "Pull your pants up!" and the subsequent "Thank you Silas!" chants made it worthwhile. Furthermore, Castle cheating to win also kept the feud alive.
War Machine def. Cedric Alexander and Caprice Coleman
Of all the matches on this show, this one was easily the most forgettable. It had some sort of a story with Alexander being the one to end Moose's undefeated streak (more on that later) and showing heel tendencies, bu that was about it. The match didn't last long and the crowd was pretty flat for it, and I didn't expect any different to be honest. Alexander not attacking Coleman after the bout might lead to something down the line, but it was an odd way of closing out this contest.
Roderick Strong def. Moose and Michael Elgin in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat Match for the ROH World Championship
Elgin seems to be in his element as a heel much more than he was as a babyface, but he is still struggling to connect with the crowd and I hope that's something that changes eventually because he's a hell of a talent. The crowd was split for Moose, but he wowed me more than anyone else in this match if only because I didn't think he was capable of high-flying stunts and other maneuvers. The Triple Threat stipulation kept him limited, sure, but he still brought quite a bit to the table throughout. Strong was the fan favorite and I was glad he was the one to emerge victorious. The post-match bit with Alexander attacking Moose and walking off with Veda Scott was well done and made up for Moose's random loss on TV this week. If it splits Moose away from Scott and positions him as a breakout babyface in a feud with Alexander, it could work out for everyone involved.
AJ Styles and The Young Bucks def. Adam Cole, Michael Bennett and Matt Taven
This was every bit as excellent as I assumed it would be and it was a ton of fun, but I did have some minor gripes with it. I'm a huge fan of The Young Bucks' in-ring abilities, and maybe it's a part of their appeal, but the superkick stuff isn't for me, and that's coming from someone who considers the superkick to be one of their favorite finishing maneuvers of all-time. The key word there is "finisher," and I'm fine with them using it every once in a while during a match like a Dolph Ziggler or an Uso, but using it every 30 seconds is excessive to me. And I don't mind the "Suck it!" or Kliq stuff all that much, but I wish they'd move away from that because it feels like them taking shots at WWE more than it does honoring the legends that once used those gestures. Other than that, this match was a blast with there never being a dull moment.
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction def. reDRAGON in a No Disqualification Match
A standard tag team match between these two teams would have been preferable, but the No Disqualification match was understandable considering they've been feuding on-and-off for the last year. They certainly made the most of the stipulation and utilized the extreme environment to their full advantage by incorporating chairs, tables and everything else they could find. It wasn't as exciting as the six-man tag team match and they were given the tough task of following it up, but it told a solid story with the babyfaces battling back and coming close to recapturing the gold before an interfering Chris Sabin cost them the match. It gave reDRAGON an out for losing, but you had to know he was getting involved at some point when they showed him in the pre-match video package.
ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal def. Jay Briscoe to Win the ROH World Championship
I can't vouch for whether this was truly the biggest title match in Ring of Honor history because I obviously haven't been watching the product for very long, but being the wrestling historian I am, the fun factoids the commentary team discussed including the various title reigns of both men over the years, becoming Triple Crown Champions and everything else gave this match a big fight feel, along with the engagement of the audience. They worked a straightforward matchup early on and I liked how The House of Truth was barred from ringside for a majority of the match to allow them to do their thing. They picked up the pace down the stretch, making for a fantastic final few minutes with plenty of suspenseful near-falls. I was pleasantly surprised to see Lethal score the clean win and it was a well-deserved championship victory as well as a monumental moment. I've been a fan of his dating back to his "Black Machismo" days years ago and it's awesome to finally see him getting his due as the ROH World Champion.
The first few matches had me worried that this show wouldn't meet the lofty expectations I originally set for it but they were mediocre at best and nothing out of the ordinary, but the second half of this show was truly tremendous. The Triple Threat match was enjoyable, the tag team title match was very good, the six-man tag team match was extremely entertaining and the main event was exceptional as well. More importantly, it left me looking forward to what's next and I hope ROH capitalizes off the hot momentum of this show in a big way going forward.
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