What’s the Show About: The main focus of the show was to develop new challengers for Jay Lethal who holds both the World and TV titles. The show features a tournament to find a new number challenger for the TV title and also sees the return of a ROH legend.
It’s the legend that opens up the show, as Austin Aries makes his first appearance in ROH since 2010. It’s a very generic babyface promo which he says that he first connected ROH when he became a free agent and he’s glad to be back and that he thinks Hunter (ROH booker) has done a great job. I’ve always liked Aries as a performer but I was frankly hoping he would just leave here as this was frankly tedious. He announced he would be a part of the main event.
Bobby Fish vs. Matt Taven
This is the first of the TV title contenders matches, Maria is not with Taven. This is a very standard opening match there isn’t anything wrong with it but it’s just not that exciting. It does pick up towards the end as the fans rally behind the reDRagon member, a kneebar looks like it might secure Fish the win but Taven frantically manages to escape. Taven goes for the Climax but again that fails to hit. Fish does hit his Falcon Arrow and that gets the job done. **1/2
Nanae Takahashi vs. ODB
This was a pretty basic wrestling match with lots of chops and trading forearms. ODB also spent an alarming amount of time slapping her own breasts for some bizarre reason. The fans were prepared to get behind both women but honestly there wasn’t too much to get excited about. Takahashi scored the win following a top rope splash and then a new finisher called the One Second. This would have been better had they gone 2-3 minutes shorter. **
Christopher Daniels vs. Mark Briscoe
This is the second of three first round matches for the TV title contendership. Both commentators (Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino) talked about how Mark had developed into a major singles star. This amused me greatly because Mark in reality hasn’t been booked as singles star at all. Daniels controlled the majority of this until Mark hits an enzugiri followed by fisherman’s buster for a near fall. Much to Kevin Kelly’s delight Daniels’s returns fire with an STO into the Koji Clutch but Mark escapes. A flipping death valley driver sets up Mark’s finisher but Kazarian is on hand to interfere which allows ‘The Almighty’ Christopher Daniels to win with Angels Wings for the win. **3/4
Frankie Kazarian vs. ACH
The final first round match in the tournament follows straight away, as both members of the Addiction continue to attack Mark Briscoe. Fortunately though ACH is on hand to make the save and send both members packing. Finally though Kazarian gets the heat while they use ACH’s spectacular offence for some entertaining sporadic offence. A running dive by ACH onto both Daniels and Kazarian finally removes the threat of outside interference long enough to catch Kaz with a roll up for the win. He then gets double teamed after the bell but Mark’s there to return the favour and send the tag champs scattering. A good vehicle to show off ACH’s acrobatic style. ***
The Young Bucks vs. RPG Vice
This was every match you may have seen between these two teams in New Japan over the last several months. Lots of comedy early with mis-cues a plenty from the Jackson boys. Finally they decide they’ve had enough and try to leave but’s it’s an elaborate ruse and it’s Romero and Barreta that get left laying.
Back in the ring the Bucks continue to dominate Barreta until Rocky gets the hot tag and it’s clothesline city accompanied by a springboard crossbody and an huracanrana on both Bucks. This though is where the match breaks down and the moves come thick and fast as they start to build to the finish. It wouldn’t be a Young Bucks match without the obligatory superkick party and RPG Vice don’t avoid their fate. A second attempt by the Bucks to hit the Indytaker on Romero looks to get the win but Barreta manages to break it up.
Romero manages to hit an huracanrana Matt who somehow also gets hit by an enzugiri by Nick. Matt gets taken out by a dive from Romero. This leaves Nick all alone and it’s not long since he gets puts away with the double team Dudebuster move. This was lots of fun and very, very fast. Not much psychology but certainly crowd pleasing. ***3/4
Silas Young vs. Willie Mack
Corino does his best to put over Mack on commentary as this is being built as a try out match for him. Mack can certainly do some pretty cool things for such a big man, but he’s not helped here that as soon as he hits a couple of moves, Young is back on offence without much thought to selling. They’re not helped that they only had a few minutes to work with so it came across that although Mack has some cool spots it doesn’t help when he gets pinned cleanly so quickly. This was a typical five minute TV match that was instantly forgettable. *3/4
War Machine vs. The Kingdom (Michael Bennett & Adam Cole)
Maria is suggesting that The Kingdom need to find someone new to bring the world title to their group. Adam Cole lost the title match at Final Battle 2014 and then went off to get surgery. Since he came back they have been teasing issues with him and potentially turning him into a babyface.
War Machine completely dominate the early stages as nothing goes right for The Kingdom, with Maria fully putting the blame on Cole. As the match progresses Maria has to interfere even more when she grabs a leg to stop the Fallout which gives her charges the advantage. Cole has things going his way and they manage to get a couple of close 2 counts as Maria’s frustration builds. Attempting to interfere again only leads to Adam Cole getting low-bridged to the outside. This leaves Bennett vulnerable and he gets pinned as War Machine hits the Fallout for the win. ***
Bobby Fish vs. Christopher Daniels vs. ACH
This is an elimination match and the early minutes are all set up to showcase ACH so we all know who’s getting pinned first. It’s pretty much the standard 3 way with two guys in the ring while the third waits outside for their moment to enter the fray. ACH should have scored the first pinfall when he hits Fish with a 450 splash but Daniels for some unknown reason decides to break it up. With Fish down, Daniels misses the Angels Wings on ACH but moments later breaks out the Best Moonsault Ever for the first pinfall.
With ACH out of the way, Daniels has the look of a very confident man as he eyes up Bobby Fish. A second BME finds nothing but Fish’s boot and soon the comeback is on as he hits an exploder into the corner. Submissions are traded until Fish puts Daniels into a leg bar and forces the tap. We have our new number one contender, his name is Bobby Fish. ***
Jay Lethal, Austin Aries & Moose vs. Jay Briscoe, Kyle O’Reilly & Dalton Castle
It’s main event time and is described as a ‘Wildcard’ match, well we are in Las Vegas after all. Lethal is not happy as he’s the only heel in this match and he’s suspicious of the returning Austin Aries. Starting out are Castle (if you can imagine Keith Lemon as a wrestler, then you’ve got Dalton Castle) and Moose but there’s a lot of stalling early on.
The main focus is on both Lethal and Aries trying to out do one another and there is also a spot where Moose does a running dive on all other 5 wrestlers who conveniently find their way in the same area. Lethal is doing a great job making all his opponents look like genuine title threats, especially as Castle hits him with an ultra slow motion German suplex.
As the match starts to break down we get all the big moves which includes Moose hitting a spear, Briscoe with a Jay Driller and then gets hit with the Lethal Injection. Lethal hits three consecutive running dives to the outside including one to Aries which was fully intentional. This leads to the finish with O’Reilly who manages to put Lethal in the cross armbreaker and he’s forced to tap out. ***1/2
Final Thoughts: This was an easy to watch show which was very much about setting up future programmes and developing storylines. Both members of reDRagon came into title contention for the World and TV titles, after pinning the champion and winning the tournament respectively. The show also continued the Adam Cole dissention story although it turned out to be a waste of several months, at this point we didn’t know what the pay off was going to be.