By Drew Ortman
We are back for another week of ROH wrestling action, but this time with a little less excitement than we have become accustomed to. While it still feels weird to say, ROH television has been decent to good over the past few months with only a small handful of duds blended in. Tonight just happened to be one of those dud shows. Don’t get me wrong; it was not awful by any means, but every critique of a wrestling show is about comparing it to the recent past. The hour-long show was laid out with a classic style of a series of “squash” matches leading up to an average main event. I think we can all agree that at least it is not a total three-hour sleeper like a certain “undercooked” show. From Lowell, Massachusetts, let’s get to the action. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are on commentary.
Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle def. The Tempura Boyz **1/4
Kyle O’Reilly def Jonathan Gresham **3/4
Damian Martinez & B.J. Whitmer def. Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara *1/2
Tetsuya Naito & EVIL def. The Motor City Machine Guns **3/4
This was a good chance to get the number one contenders for the ROH Tag Team Championship in action and over as much as possible. I am still not quite sure about this pairing of Cabana and Castle, but with the ROH tag team ranks currently in a somewhat transitional period, more power to them trying it out. When you have a couple of mid card favorites hanging around, why not, right? *cough* Sheamus and Cesaro *cough*. Tanaka and Komatsu were able to get some offense in early and peppered throughout the match, but this was clearly a chance for Cabana and Castle to work a few comedy spots and quickly put away their opponents. In the end, it was all Castle hitting big suplexes on both men and then a Bangarang on Komatsu for the victory. These guys haven’t even had their title shot yet, and I am already looking forward to the Castle vs. Cabana break up match.
Kevin Kelly interviewed The Briscoes on the ramp. There was some subtle tension as Cabana and Castle past them on their way out followed by The Briscoes challenging the winners at Final Battle of The Young Bucks vs. Castle & Cabana title match. We also had comments from Adam Cole, Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly hyping the tension all around for the ROH Championship.
Next up was ROH Championship contender, Kyle O’Reilly taking on Jonathan Gresham. Even though I would have to call this match overall another squash, Gresham showed some real skill here being able to hang with O’Reilly, in particular with the mat wrestling. With that being said, this was still mostly for O’Reilly to get over ahead of Final Battle. O’Reilly hit a brainbuster, in the end, to pick up the victory. Hangman Page came out after the match and attacked O’Reilly. Bobby Fish once again makes the save followed by Adam Cole coming out and attacking him. They battled until security broke things up.
Next up is our third squash of the evening, Kevin Sullivan’s boys, Damian Martinez and B.J. Whitmer taking on the mega team of Cheeseburger and Will Ferrara. Cheeseburger and Ferrara call out Martinez before the match because they are tired of getting beaten on by him. Hmm…I wonder what they think has changed since last time? Much of this match was focused on Sullivan and Corino going back and forth on commentary. Martinez to no surprise made quick work of he and Whitmer’s opponent’s punching Cheeseburgers face in the end to pick up the win. I know there is a storyline here somewhere, but it all seems like a jumbled mess with a lack of direction to me. Even after the match, this went on longer than it should have.
Tonight’s main event looks fantastic on paper…but ended up being average in reality. The segment started off with Corino still going on about the garbage from the last segment that won’t end! The Machine Guns then come out and call out Los Ingobernables. Don’t you love it when guys come out and call out their scheduled opponents? This week’s episode is making me slightly more cynical than usual. This wasn’t a bad match, but there was nothing special about it either. It is one of those times when you expect a certain level of entertainment from the talent you see in front of you, and they phone it home. Standard tag match that went by really quickly. Some brief excitement was there at the end with some crowd popping near falls, but Naito hit a Destino on Sabin to pick up the victory.
I can’t harp on this show too much as I may have done in the beginning. Dud may be a little harsh. ROH are putting out consistent, hour-long, weekly television that slowly strings together storylines and action leading up to a climax, which happens to be Final Battle. Could it be better? Of course, it could be way better, but when you compare this promotion to its more successful counterpart, it maybe one of the better things going in the world of more mainstream wrestling. Now that they have that consistency built, it is time for them to dig in deep and start thinking outside the box a bit to hit the next rung of success.