Another weekend and another successful Ring of Honor show in the books this time from New York City. The show opened with “The Bullet Club” hitting the ring in mass. The New York City crowd shared their thoughts on TNA wrestling before A.J Styles would address them. Let’s just say these folks won’t be coming back for TNA taping(s) in New York City. Styles was interrupted again by Okada who had still no opponent for the card. Elgin would come out as well and as we speculated along with many other the main event would be changed to a triple-threat for the IWGP Title. This is something common place in North America, but according to Kevin Kelly on the broadcast the first time this title would be defended in a triple threat situation since 2005. It also involved a North American as Brock Lesnar was the champion for that match.
That would be our main event to close the show. Once again a very loud and excited crowd was on hand in New York City. Like in Toronto, the event was sold out with a larger capacity here of somewhere around three thousand. Show opened with the six-man tag-team match with “Forever Hooligans” and Takaaki Wantanabe vs. Matt Taven, Tomassio Ciampa and ACH. Was a solid opener and did what is expected for being on that position of the card. There were lots of high spots and fun as part of it, with the team of ROH stars coming out on top with the victory.
The “Decade” was out next against Gedo and Jado against Strong and Whitmer from the “Decade” camp. In the end this match was just here to advance a ROH story-line as Cedric Alexander who was to injured from Toronto to fight Okada tonight was not too injured to run off Strong, Whitmer along with fellow “Decade” member Jimmy Jacobs and Adam Page the groups lackey. Strong and Whitmer did get the victory as the run-in happened after the match.
Jay Lethal would have a solid match with Kushida who is one half of the “Time Splitters” tag team with Alex Shelly, they were part of that huge triple threat with Young Bucks and Forever Hooligans in Toronto. Truth Martini would pull out the ref causing Kushida to fail to get a victory and getting Martini sent to the back for the remainder of the match. Lethal would retain clean with a Lethal Injection not long after to retain his ROH Television Title.
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After that we got arguably the match the crowd was most into as “Mr Wrestling” Kevin Steen took on Shinsuke Nakamura the IWGP Intercontinental Champion. This would be a non-title match but no one cared about belts. Steen and Nakamura for me had one of the most entertaining matches on the show. Crowd was into it from start to finish. In the end like in Toronto Steen would fall just short of victory.
After the match an emotional Steen addressed the crowd. He talked about falling short to Cole and than in the match he just competed in. He mentioned that he has not always been happy in ROH and had his ups and downs. He has loved his time in the company but it could be time to go. He mentions the recent addition to his family. Silas Young came out as the people were imploring Steen not to leave. He said he agreed with them and considered Steen the only other man in that locker room. The love and kind words would end; as Young would say that it’s too bad Kevin’s son would think of his Dad as a quitter. This enraged Steen and security would come out and Young would escape unharmed. Safe to say Steen is sticking around for “Best in The World” to get his hands on Young.
After that is legitimately up in the air with Steen. There was talk he had a very successful try-out with WWE and his ROH contract is coming to an end in reality. So what this will mean for his long term future with ROH is anyone’s guess.
This was the point the show had an intermission. The first match out of the gate was the much talked about Bennett vs. Tanahashi. I wanted Mike Bennett to have a great match here I honestly did. I like Mike and think he is very talented. This match I was not a fan of though. I just thought Maria was over involved in it and it took away from the match for me. Obviously every Mike Bennett match has some Maria involvement. She was used brilliantly I thought in his match with ACH a week ago. This time around in my opinion we saw too much Maria and not enough Mike in this match for me. Not saying the match was horrible or anything but I just felt it could have been better. I will be interested to hear Bennett’s own thoughts on the match in the future. In the end Tanahashi won the match despite the best efforts of Maria and Mike.
I can’t remember if the Briscoes and Anderson and Gallows were in first or second half this card. I will throw it in here and if I am wrong give me a break it is a holiday weekend up here in Canada. Anyway, it was what everyone expected, a brawl in which the crowd was split about as close to 50/50 as you can get. This was not scientific classic and it didn’t need to be. In the end Gallows and Anderson got the win retaining their titles.
The other Tag-Team Title match for the ROH belts was a great match with Tom Lawlor UFC fighter and as Steve Corino pointed out no relation to Jerry Lawler was in corner of Red Dragon. Right away Lawlor was a factor as the Bucks squared him with the ring ropes when he went to exit the ring. I mentioned in Canada how I felt alone as Young Bucks fan. New York City the Bucks were massively over with the crowd. They would not enjoy some interference from Lawlor later on in this match. In the end though he did not factor into the ultimate decision as the Young Bucks despite a very game effort lost to Red Dragon who become three time ROH Tag-Team Champions.
Adam Cole would defend the Ring of Honor World Championship against Jushin Liger. It was a match that Cole dominated for the majority of it. He worked on the legs of Liger through most of the match. I find it hard to be critical of a guy closing in on 50 being able to do as much as Liger is still able to do. If not for his massive legacy not sure this match was anything spectacular. Cole would lock on the figure four leg-lock for a second of third time and got a very quick tap out leading to a rather quick and sudden finish. Liger offer his hand after the match as is customary in Ring of Honor. Cole looked like he was going to do the same but in the end decided to rudely decline.
The main event triple threat for IWGP Heavyweight title closed the show. This was a solid match with all three participants doing their part. A bit of a surprise as there was no interference from the outside from “The Bullet Club” it was just a straight 3-way contest. The end would come when Okada would hit his finisher on Elgin only to have Styles shove him to the outside and pick up the three count. Styles and Okada already had a re-match booked for later this month in Japan and this leads nicely into that match.
As for Elgin who in a strange logic asked for this to be a three-way he falls short as he did in his triple threat for the ROH Title at “Final Battle” where Adam Cole retained.
Speaking of Cole he would come out after this match and lay out Styles, Okada and Elgin and declare himself “The Best In the World” which just happens to be the name of ROH’s first ever traditional PPV. Thanks to the win over A.J Styles on ROH-TV this week from a match (taped in Baltimore) Elgin was victorious and will get that shot now at this upcoming PPV.
The next month in promoting this PPV is going to be the biggest in the history of Ring or Honor Wrestling. What we know to this point is Adam Cole will face Elgin for the World Title. Likely we see Kevin Steen vs. Silas Young in perhaps Steen’s last match in Ring of Honor? We also see the return of the “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels as he and a mystery man that is said to be soon to be released tag-team partner from TNA Frankie Kazarian. I would guess a match with New Champs “Red Dragon” might make sense but will see.
Ring of Honor has done a nice job with these two shows setting up from the most important show in the history of this company. The fans yelling obscenities about TNA, is a sign that ROH fans are fired up and looking to see their brand of wrestling become the second biggest in North America and main alternative to WWE. This is a big moment for Ring of Honor and something they have earned through years of blood, sweat and tears. They deserve this moment and let’s hope they shine in it. Based on the shows they put on the last two weeks it is far superior to anything we have seen TNA do in quite some time.
The real test comes on June 22nd, ironically enough in the backyard of TNA Wrestling in Nashville, Tennessee.