ROH’s UK Tour stopped by Leicester for its second of three scheduled tour dates, this is the first time in 10 years, ROH has returned to the UK; following a successful first night in Liverpool, which saw Will Ospreay become the NEW ROH TV Champion. Leicester was headlined by the ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs newly signed British wrestlers Marty Scurll and the Brand New ROH TV Champion Will Ospreay.
A nice meet and greet before the show saw opportunities to met most of the ROH roster, while slightly pricy it was an opportunity that anyone avid ROH fan couldnt pass up on, I personally sat front row on the ring entrance and found the view to be excellent throughout, after having a scan of the arena I honestly couldn’t say that sitting anywhere in the Leicester Community Sports Arena would of had a poor view.
The event started with the voice of ROH Bobby Cruse confirming that the event will be taped for DVD and the companies on demand service, all three nights of the UK tour will be available, hopefully this will be in some special box set but I would expect them to sell separately.
It was nice to see all the regular ROH staff on the event with the outstanding commentary duo of Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino to ROH senior official Todd Sinclair, the company have made a lot of effort recently to improve the overall look of the show with new set and lighting, while the set looked great, a nice simple black screen with the ROH logo in proud position, it was the lighting that let them down, now I’m not 100% if this was ROH fault or the arena itself but the ring lights kept failing during Lio Rush and Donovan Dijak match, while neither man was put off by this it did interrupt an excellent match, the focus with some in the crowd was on the lighting rather than these two tearing it up. In the end the arena main lighting was left off, this isn’t a knock on the product in anyway but it was a shame they had to deal with these issues.
The night started with “Local Hero” Joe Hendry facing off with the undefeated Jay White, in a nice opening match, at times the crowd was silent but Hendry tried to get the crowd on his side, Jay White for me is a man on the rise and his future in ROH is huge, I honestly believe the company would do well with a Junior Heavyweight Division for guys like White, the New Zealand native though came out on top. Both men gave a good account of themselves .
Once the event was announced, I honestly couldn’t wait untill the matches were confirmed, once they were, apart from the main event itself a match that really stood out was that of Lio Rush vs Donovan Dijak, both former ROH Top Prospect winners.
This match certainly didn’t disappoint in anyway, both men for their size are exceptional, Dijak at 6 ft 7 simply shouldn’t be able to do things he does, and when working at a guy well under 6 foot, it really proves what a star in the making Dijak is. They went back and forth but both men were able to hit some big high risk moves, Lio Rush hitting “Rush Hour” from the apron to the outside; Dijak with a moonsalt from the top rope onto Rush whom was on the arena floor.
It was the 2015 Top Prospect winner Dijak who came out on top though, “This Is Awesome” chants echoed around the arena, post match Dijak lifted the arm of the 2016 Top Prospect winning while leaving him in the ring to receive some much deserved admiration.
Former Long time ROH World Champion Jay Lethal successfully defeated MCMG’s Alex Shelley in an excellent match, Lethal whom is set to face Current ROH World Champion Adam Cole as Sundays London event, really proved to everyone in attendance that he is still at the very top of ROH and in fact the world, Lethal for me is one of the best wrestlers in the world right now and his feud with Adam Cole is excellent, the Leicester crowd though really got into Jay’s entrance music with the front rows smashing the steel barriers in tune to his theme, Lethal defeated the former TNA Tag Team Champion with his Lethal Injection finisher, post match Lethal proclaimed that he will leave the UK and London as a Two Time ROH World Champion.
Two of the world’s best tag teams were up next as reDRagon defeated The Briscoes, a nice match which saw Kyle O’Reilly in this for large parts, it look like either Bobby Fish was injured or infact sick, he didn’t do alot for large parts of this match (later he withdrew from London )
Kyle looked like a man ready for the main event as he prepares for a World Title match in December with the winning of Sundays title match between Jay Lethal and Adam Cole.
The Young Bucks did show their faces during this match and distract their Final Battle opposition The Briscoes, all three team are excellent and they always come up with the goods when there in the ring together, this one wasn’t a classic but a solid match.
ROH is known for its outstanding wrestling but we regularly see alot of comedy aspects within the shows; The Addiction vs Dalton Castle & Delirious certainly lived up to the latter, the match which actually saw ROH Senior Official Todd Sinclair not only get involved in but hip toss and belly to back suplex Kazarian much to the amazement of those watching. The former ROH Tag Team Champions were just too much for this unusual tag team, it’s safe to say though that Leicester fell in love with Dalton Castle, a “Hey Dalton, oo ah, I wanna know, If you’re be my boy” chant started and lasted for a large parts of the match.
ROH World Champion Adam Cole defeated Chris Sabin, the Leicester crowd were really behind the Champion, but being an excellent villain that Cole is, he tried several times to upset the locals, having the pleasure of seeing Cole live is something I personally won’t forget, meeting him before hand, he’s the complete opposite to what you see in the ring, both men are outstanding in ring wrestlers and really complimented each other, Cole once again proving that he can have great matches with anyone from Sabin, Lethal to a big man like Michael Elgin, The Current World Champion has it all, the future is certain bright for Adam Cole.
The match saw a young fan got involved by slapping the chest of the champion with help from Sabin.
Post match Adam Cole called out his challenger and long term foe Jay Lethal, adding that he will successfully defend the title in London., Lethal replied back with “Beating you Adam, will be too SWEET”
Main event time and honestly can’t put into words how good this match was, the cost of the entire day was worth it having had the privilege of witnessing this in person.
The Young Bucks issued a challenge to the Brits, they would successfully go on to defend the Titles in one of the greatest tag team matches I’ve ever seen.
Will Ospreay’s ring ability was simply stunning throughout this match, with some excellent highflying moves that dazzled the Champions, while The Young Bucks once again fully cemented themselves as the greatest Tag Team in the business, The finish was unbelievable, as The Bucks set up for the Meltzer driver, Ospreay sprung boards up and hits a hurricanrana onto Nick Jackson, as Nick flipped off the top rope, he ended up flipping into Scurll who was held in the tombstone position by his older brother Matt to complete the greatest Meltzer driver of all time.
This was the greatest match I’ve ever seen live, I would give it 5 stars, in fact the crowd in places chanted “5 star match” the traditional “This Is Awesome” and “Fight forever” were fully in place throughout.
Overall an excellent show, that didn’t drag in any places, the matches were well placed together and really peeked after the intermission, the Main Event was worth the price of admission alone, as a massive ROH fan this was a dream come true having the opportunity to watch live.
I hope this isn’t the last time we’ve seen ROH in the UK.
Until next time