What’s the Show About: It’s ROH biggest show of the summer, held over Summer Slam weekend. It’s their second year of having a show at the MCU Baseball stadium in Brooklyn, after taking over from TNA. In addition to the usual ROH roster they are joined by a number of New Japan stars.
Adam Cole vs. Christopher Daniels
It just seems wrong to see Adam Cole wrestling in the opening contest, he’s still billed as a member of The Kingdom but the commentators are pushing the storyline of a Futureshock reunion. He gets off to a quick start as Daniels goes back to his old habits of ignoring the code of honor.
Daniels finally gets the opportunity to send Cole to the outside and starts to work on Cole’s left arm which was the arm he had surgery on. Corino mentions how smart Daniels is throughout this, Cole starts his comeback but this brings out the first of many interference spots of the evening. It’s Chris Sabin getting involved but it counts for nothing as Adam Cole gets the win much to the fans delight. ***
War Machine vs. Killer Elite Squad
Hanson & Rowe are looking for revenge after losing to KES earlier in the year, the KES are currently GHC tag champions in NOAH as a part of the Suzuki-Gun storyline. This is basically four big men just getting into a fight with Davey Boy Smith Jr throwing in a MMA inspired move for good measure. All you need is Jim Ross there to call it a slobber knocker.
The match was fairly steady at the beginning but picked up in the closing stretch with all four men getting a chance to show their talent. It was War Machine who get the win after hitting The Fallout, afterwards they said they would come to NOAH and take the titles. A decent effort by all concerned. ***
Gauntlet Match for a TV Title Match
The first two out were Dalton Castle and Adam Page (representing The Decade) so we had BJ Whitmer, Colby Corino and Castle’s Boys all hanging round ringside. It was a steady start and they got to go several minutes but it was decidedly average finally Whitmer tried to interfere and one of his crutches were thrown into the ring but one of Castle’s boys managed to intercept it. With the confusion it led to Castle getting the pin, Page didn’t take this well and laid out Castle before departing.
Next man out was Frankie Kazarian who had Dalton at his mercy, he got far too confident and within minutes he had become Castle’s 2nd victim of the night. He also turned out to be a bad loser as both Kazarian and Sabin attacked him. This left Dalton Castle completely helpless as he was immediately pinned by the next man and his current rival Silas Young.
This match then fell even further of a cliff when Bushwhacker Luke appeared to relive his Royal Rumble spot from 25 years ago. Young threw him over the top rope at which point Luke power walked his way round the baseball diamond for the count out loss.
Getting the match back in the ring was Moose who made short work of Young, next man Donovan Dijak only lasted slightly longer. This brought out Cedric Alexander who actually sneaked into the ring as Moose was distracted by Veda Scott and was knocked silly by a wrench and eliminated. This left the final man Watanabe who we had already been told by Kevin Kelly would shortly be returning to NJPW, the last couple of minutes were actually pretty good before Moose made his return to distract and cost Alexander the match, leaving Watanabe as the last man standing. *3/4
The Young Bucks, Matt Sydal & ACH vs. RPG Vice & The Kingdom
This had the potential to be really quite special but it ended up more as comedy than anything serious. As expected it was very quick and more moves then you could actually call. In fact at one point where all eight guys are hitting moves, the only moves that Kelly and Corino were calling was ‘SUPERKICK’. The highlight or lowlight depending on your point of view was an imaginary baseball game between RPG Vice and The Kingdom. For those interested, Baretta and Romero scored an home run but Bennett and Taven were superkicked approaching fourth base.
This would be best described in football times as a showcase friendly but nothing close to something to be taken seriously, I know some people really disliked this. I didn’t hate but was disappointed as it could have been really great. ***1/4
Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto
Elgin had no momentum with ROH and then he was announced as a part of NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament and while the initial thoughts from a lot of fans was WTF. NJPW turned out to on the money as Elgin not only held his own but had some of the best matches of the entire tournament so it’s given him a much needed shot in the arm.
Goto is a great opponent for him as he also wrestles a very physical style and that’s what we got here and the fans responded to what they were seeing with lots of impressive power moves coming from Elgin especially his suplex spot from the outside via the middle rope. It’s great that he delays it because it ensures that it gets maximum impact. He doesn’t get the win though after a number of close 2 counts it’s Goto that wins with the Shoten Kai. ***1/2
Briscoe Brothers vs. The TimeSplitters
It appears since Jay lost the World title at Best in the World that the new focus is to bring the Briscoes back together and have them chase for the tag team titles. No complaints from me on that point,The TimeSplitters haven’t really teamed that much lately as KUSHIDA has had a major singles push this year and was the IWGP Jr Champion at this point.
Lots of really nice stuff early on with KUSHIDA the stand out, somewhere there Alex Shelley broke one of his teeth and that threw him off his game understandably for a little while. That did effect the quality of the match a little bit but it was still pretty fun. Eventually the Briscoes emerged victorious thanks to a Jay Driller. ***1/4
Roderick Strong vs. Kazuchika Okada
This was a fantastic match considering that they could have done with a few more minutes that would have made this an absolute classic. Everything they did looked great and Roddy even managed to challenge Okada for ‘Drpokick of the Night’ honours. The match was fought in a very physical style and there were lots of reversals, for example it took Okada at least four attempts to hit the Rainmaker. A sick kick brought Strong a 2 count that had the fans convinced that he should have had three. Jumping knees strikes kept blocking the Rainmaker but he couldn’t with stand the attack of two tombstones followed by the long awaited finisher. Great match. ****1/4
Jay Lethal & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. reDRagon
What is with ROH booking Lethal in main event tag matches with people he can’t get on with? Lethal starts out by dis-respecting Nakamura but is taught a lesson when he’s on defence and Nakamura refuses the tag. Eventually some sort of order is arranged and the main event is back with us. Nakamura is clearly the biggest star and does enough to keep the fans happy after his injury and efforts after the G1.
But the focus should be on Lethal and his interaction with both O’Reilly and Fish who are challenging him for his titles at ASE the following month, the champion actually surprisingly gets the win when he pins Fish with Lethal Injection, as Nakamura traps Kyle in a beautiful flying armbar so he can’t make the save. This was actually very short as a main event and with the bickering of Lethal/Nakamura stops this getting above acceptable standards. ***1/4
Final Thoughts: This could have been a really great show and on paper that’s what it looked like, however for me it stayed at the good level. The final three minutes went 12, 15, 13 minutes respectively which I felt was too short. While the Gauntlet match which I felt was the worst thing on the show went a staggering 33 minutes although it did push the Castle/Young and Moose/Alexander feuds a little bit. And there lays the criticism of this event, if ROH wanted the show to a be a great event on it’s own merit then the timing failed it, on the other hand if ROH wanted an entertaining show that was a stopping point to All Star Extravaganza then it achieved.