Kenny King def. Eli Isom
On an already loaded lineup, I didn't see any real reason for this match to happen, especially since Isom isn't a huge name whatsoever. Then again, he has picked up a handful of notable victories this year, while King has been on quite the roll lately. It was a perfectly fine match that had its moments and Isom didn't look too out of place (though it was apparent he was wildly inexperienced compared to King). Obviously, King winning was the right call and I can certainly see him becoming a bigger star in 2019 (especially with so many departures reportedly happening).
ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb def. "Hangman" Adam Page
It's unbelievable that Page has contended for the ROH World Television Championship time and time again over the past two years yet has never won it once. Perhaps he would have gotten a real run with the title if he chose to re-sign (which he still could but I believe that won't be the case). Nevertheless, if this was in fact his last marquee match in Ring of Honor, he went out with a bang. This was a hell of a sprint and both guys put forth an exceptional effort. The crowd ate up everything they did and was split on who they wanted to win. Cobb is on the rise in ROH and needed the decisive victory, so I loved the clean finish.
Kelly Klein def. Sumie Sakai, Madison Rayne and Karen Q in a Four Corner Survival Match to Win the WOH World Championship
To completely honest with you, I took this opportunity to visit the concession stand and missed a majority of the match. I have since gone back to rewatched it and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. It took a while for the fans in attendance to get invested in the action, but once they did, it turned into a fun four-way with a logical layout. Klein eliminating all of her opponents was refreshing and really solidified her as a dominant force. Sakai had been champion since April, so it was time for a change and Klein was a smart choice considering she has been one of the pioneers of the women's division.
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Jonathan Gresham
How had Sabre never wrestled for ROH before this show? Well, he has officially arrived, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Gresham was the perfect person for him to debut against as they wrestle very similar styles and tend to hold nothing back. For example, this match hardly had a buildup, but the slaps straight out of the gate were effective in getting fans immediately engaged and set the tone for the rest of the contest. The technical wrestling isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed this immensely and would be all for an eventual rematch.
Matt Taven def. Dalton Castle
When the bell rang, Castle and Taven were trading punches like they legitimately hated each other, so the brawling feeling so real was a nice touch. Unfortunately, the crowd completely died after Taven almost killed himself on that dive to the outside. I know shit happens, but that was totally reckless and was not necessary. It took a while for them to get the crowd back, but at least the final few minutes were pretty good. ROH is pushing Taven hard as a top heel these days, so his victory over Castle here should put him in line for an opportunity at the ROH World Championship sooner rather than later.
Marty Scurll def. Christopher Daniels in an ROH World Championship No. 1 contender's Match
Scurll putting the ROH World Championship shot he earned on line against Daniels was slightly silly, but I appreciated that there were some stakes. It was a very well-wrestled affair and the second half was especially strong, even though it was clear the crowd wanted Scurll to win over Daniels. Despite that, this was a fantastic farewell for Daniels if this was indeed his swan song from ROH. He was showered with chants of "Thank You Daniels!" afterward, only to be ambushed by Bully Ray from behind. Even on what could have been his last night for ROH, Daniels still put people over, both young and old. What a class act.
Flip Gordan def. Bully Ray in an "I Quit" Match
Yes, this was less of a match and more of an extended angle, but tell that to the live crowd that was on their feet for this from start to finish (myself included). Not everyone has been on board with the Bully Ray stuff and all of the television time he's been getting lately, but every minute of it paid off, if only because of this bout and the story that was told throughout. Everyone that Bully has, well, bullied in 2018 resurfaced during this matchup and scored some revenge at one point or another. There way way too much interference, mind you, but the fans didn't seem to mind and everything made sense if you've been following this feud since the summer. This was an absolute blast that exceeded my expectations.
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal def. Cody
First and foremost, props to Cody for being the ultimate heel by turning the crowd against him early on. Otherwise, Lethal likely would have been booed, which ended up happening anyway because of how he technically cheated to win by hitting Cody with the title belt. If he's headed for a heel turn, you won't hear any complaints out of me, because he thrived in that role a few years ago. I was hoping for a straight-up wrestling match here, and although the nearfalls were well done, I wasn't high on all the shenanigans. The outcome was never in doubt, but Cody tapping out was cool.
The Briscoes def. SoCal Uncensored and The Young Bucks in Ladder War VII to Win the ROH World Tag Team Championship
I was actually in attendance for the last Ladder War at All Star Extravaganza 2016, so I was fortunate to see this one in person as well. I'd have to watch that one back to determine which one is better, but in a vacuum, this was incredibly entertaining and one of the most brutal and bloodiest bouts I've seen in some time. There can be no dispute that this deserved to close out the event because nothing was going to come close to topping it and all six stars should be commended for destroying their bodies here. Sure, some of the violence was a little over the top, but they went above and beyond to deliver something special and they succeeded. My only nitpick of this was that the finish felt a bit abrupt, but the spots were spectacular and The Briscoes now find themselves back on top of the tag team mountain.
This marked my fourth live experience at Ring of Honor and it was definitely the best one yet. Every match on the card ranged from good to great to amazing and the overall atmosphere inside the Hammerstein Ballroom was excellent all night long. There were a number of memorable moments to give it the WrestleMania vibe they were going for and the four hours didn't seem to drag in the slightest (it might have been different for those watching at home, though). Above all else, this was the end of an era for ROH, as The Elite and possibly even SCU are leaving at the beginning of next year. That's a massive void that needs to be filled, but I have enough faith in ROH to rebuild and maintain momentum. Either way, they never cease to deliver when it matters most and this was among their strongest pay-per-views in the three and a half years I've been watching the product.
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