Ring of Honor 15th Anniversary Show Review
I’ve been a fan of Ring of Honor for thirteen years, Valentine’s Day 2004 is the day that I fell in love with the promotion one of the few good things about Valentine’s Day. Anyway, as a fan of the promotion I’ve seen them have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve been a defender of the faith that is Ring of Honor and the fact that they have made it to fifteen years is a testament to everybody who has ever worked for the promotion. Last nights show is a great example of sticking with any promotion through the good times and bad times. Four title matches, a debut and return to the company headlined what ended up being one of the best wrestling shows I have seen in quite some time.
Kenny King vs. Jay White: One of the two unadvertised matches this was a very good opening match which really showed the strength of two members of the roster in a different position right now. Kenny King, a veteran who has evolved from being a high flyer all the time to a mixture of high flying and good match wrestling and Jay White, on his excursion from New Japan who is improving each and every week and can go with anybody right now. Something I noticed that is a good thing is that Jay White has put on some weight recently and it presents him more as a little bigger but not too big which is good. A good solid opening match which ended when King went for a bodyslam but White reversed it into an inside cradle to get the victory. A good opening match to get the fans into the show. Match Grade: B-
Adam Page vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Sabin vs. Cheeseburger vs. Punishment Martinez vs. Silas Young (Six Man Mayhem): Anytime you have a multi-man match like this the mix can be very interesting and go two ways. It can go smoothly where everybody looks good coming out of it or it can be a demolition derby and everybody can crap on it. This match comes off as a good match where everybody looked good. Two people who to me came out of this match really good was Cheeseburger and Punishment Martinez. Cheeseburger is one of those wrestlers who if you have seen him from the beginning of his career to where he has come to now you have to be very proud of him. He’s been involved in the pre-show match of the New Japan Tokyo Dome show two years in a row now each time looking good and here looked like he had his best match yet. While they played off the whole he’s very small and easy to catch when he does high flying moves his offense is fun to watch almost like Mikey Whipwreck when he was in ECW. Punishment Martinez is in that current generation of very athletic big men who shouldn’t be able to do the moves he does but can. It amazes me that a guy like Martinez, with his size and his looks didn’t get picked up right away by either WWE or Impact Wrestling and it has been Ring of Honor’s gain and so far it is working off very well. Frankie Kazarian had a good match and won with his version of the Ace Crusher and earns a future TV Championship match. Match Grade: C+
Jay Lethal vs. Bobby Fish: No doubt two of the top wrestlers that Ring of Honor has they put on a match that had a bit of a slow start but once they got rolling, they had a very good match. You knew watching this match that they wanted to be the number one contender and the next man in line for a shot at the Ring of Honor championship. Good action all around with near falls and a very good story telling. In the end it was Jay Lethal who got the win with Lethal Injection but could tell that the match took a lot out of both men, I would like to see both men face each other again in the future. Match Grade: B
The Kingdom vs. Dalton Castle & the Boys: The first of four title matches in which we saw the Boys in the ring and did an alright job in the match. They have a lot to work on but they are young which is a big plus for them. I enjoyed Colt Cabana on commentary during the match with his hate of Dalton Castle he was a good addition to the match. The end of the match was a little rushed it looked like, TK O’Ryan did a moonsault from the outside of the ring and hit his leg on the top of the guard rail which took him out of the match. Matt Taven and Vinny Marseglia would finish off one of the boys to get the win and retain the six man tag team titles. According to Mike Johnson from PWInsider.com O’Ryan suffered a broken leg and is expected to undergo surgery today. I want to wish TK O’Ryan the best and hope he gets back to 100% health. Match Grade: C
Lio Rush vs. Marty Scurll: The second title match for the TV Title and this was by far the best match of the entire show. These two guys were putting it all out on the line and it was a true battle of good against evil, the hero vs. the villain. A lot of chain wrestling, fast paced action, fighting on the floor and telling a fantastic story of each man doing whatever they could to win this match. Lio Rush going to the outside twice towards the end of the match to do something drastic was great, the first time grabbing the TV Title and wanting to hit Scurll but not bringing himself to do it was great. Then he goes out a second time and grabs two chairs to set them up near a corner at the ring. Marty Scurll would attempt to get the crossed face chicken wing on Rush a couple of times but couldn’t do it before he was able to get it on a third time and it was too much for Rush as he tapped out with Scurll winning. If you weren’t a fan of either of these guys before the match or didn’t know who they were before the match, I hope you became a fan of both men after this match. First time I saw Rush live was at the Shamrock Cup 2015 in his rookie year and he won me over that night with his performance. Scurll has won me over lately with his performances on television and if these two were to meet again in the future, I would buy a ticket to see that match. Match Grade: A-
Briscoe Brothers & Bully Ray vs. War Machine & Davey Boy Smith Jr.: This was a weird match but it did some good as far as letting talent be shown. Davey Boy Smith Jr. to me came out the best out of everybody in this match, despite the story of he couldn’t really get along with his partners this was by far the best I have seen him in the ring in a very long time. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Bully Ray in action but I understand with it being a six man tag team match you can’t really get everything you want in a match but I know we will see a lot more of him in action and he will put on some very good matches down the line. I did like the trio of Bully Ray with the Briscoe’s, that could be a good team going forward and possibly a team that goes for the six man tag team titles. Briscoe Brothers and Bully Ray got the win with a 3D or as Colt Cabana called it a 9D which was pretty good. After the match, Smith and War Machine got into a shoving match and at some point down the line they will meet in a tag team match once Lance Archer is back healthy. Match Grade: C
Young Bucks vs. RPG Vice vs. The Hardys: A Triple Threat match for the tag team titles with it being a street fight saw a lot of interesting things happen. The match began with the Bucks and the Hardys staring at each other before they each took out a member of RPG Vice. We really didn’t get to crazy into the weapons until the middle of the match which I really liked because this type of a match doesn’t need weapons every single second in a match like this. One of the coolest moments of the match and of the entire show was Rocky Romero pulling out an arm cover with tacks all over it when he hit his forever clothesline on the other teams which was sick looking, even making Matt Hardy bleed from his shoulder. Trent Baretta then brought out a bag of thumbtacks and they were used on him later, a big moment was when the Young Bucks hit a superkick on Trent while he had thumbtacks in his mouth. Kids don’t try that move at home. End of the match saw Baretta laid out on the ladder and Jeff Hardy hitting a swanton from the ladder to get the three count and the victory. After the match, Matt and Jeff grabbed the Superkick Tag Team titles that the Young Bucks created which adds another story to the big match coming up on April 1st. A fun match with everybody doing a great job to make it entertaining. Match Grade: B+
Christopher Daniels vs. Adam Cole: Now the main event for the Ring of Honor world championship. Christopher Daniels over the last six months has been one of the unsung heroes of the company doing very good promos and having some of his best matches in recent memory. I think it is safe to say that while all of us wanted Christopher Daniels to win the title, most of us were thinking that he would come up short. A good match that saw at one point Colt kicking Daniels into the post causing him to bleed which was a very interesting moment since they don’t do a lot of bleeding. After the match, it was more of Adam Cole dominating Daniels and after every time he thought he had the match won Daniels would find a way to kick out. Cole at one point made a remark saying how he would do Christopher’s wife after the match which got Daniels upset and changed the momentum of the match. Towards the end the referee got knocked out and Frankie Kazarian would come out to the ring. He recently joined the Bullet Club and a lot of people I would imagine thought he was going to cost Daniels the title, however in a surprise twist he tore off the Bullet Club shirt and was wearing a destiny shirt that Daniels wore to the ring which shocked everybody hitting Cole with the title. Daniels then hit two moonsaults and pins Cole to become the new Ring of Honor world champion. This was truly a great moment to see, being in the main event of the very first show and coming so close to winning the title he finally wins. What made the moment great was when Cary Silkin came into the ring to congratulate Daniels, he gave him the original Ring of Honor championship for him to pose with the current title. Daniels will go down as perhaps one of the most underrated wrestlers in the history of wrestling, one of the best wrestlers who never got a shot to be in WWE. Him winning the championship reminded me of when Terry Funk won the ECW Heavyweight title at Barely Legal where the whole arena went crazy in celebration, one of the great moments in wrestling for 2017. Match Grade: B-
From top to bottom this was a fantastic show, it blew WWE Fastlane out of the water by so much it’s not even funny. If you missed this show I recommend you go and get the replay right now. If you are interested in seeing what Ring of Honor is all about then this show would be a very good introduction to the company, a fantastic show all the way around the best show I have seen since Wrestle Kingdom from January. Go out of your way now and watch the 15th Anniversary Show!!!