By Luke Dorsch @Luke_Dorsch
Once again the standard bearers for American Professional Wrestling, Ring of Honor returned to the North Star State in Hopkins, Minnesota for ROH “Masters of the Craft”.
The first match of the evening was a dark match featuring The Kingdom’s Vinny Marseglia w/ Matt Taven facing Shaheem Ali. Vinny is/was a staple of the American north east independent scene, and it seems as if he is finally growing more comfortable with his place in Ring of Honor, he is also being featured more often since his stable mate TK O’Ryan is still on the injured list after the match at the 15th Anniversary Show. Vinny picks up the win after landing a top rope swanton bomb. Post-Match, Matt Taven cuts a promo on his one-time Kingdom stablemate, and opponent later that evening Adam Cole. Taven is still bitter about Cole and how things turned out between them, and essentially he wants his long over-due revenge on the “Panama City Playboy” before he leaves the company. Long time ROH fans will remember that long before Adam Cole joined the Bullet Club, his original faction was The Kingdom, Cole even took their theme music, “I’ve Got Something for You”
Ian Riccaboni welcomes the crowd to the largest ROH event ever in Minnesota and his broadcast partner is Colt Cabana, who received a nice ovation.
Jay Lethal vs The Beer City Bruiser- The Bruiser is billed as being from Wisconsin and receives a tremendous amount of heat pre-match, and believe it or not, this match wasn’t bad at all. Perhaps some of Silas Young is wearing off on The Bruiser, as he is improving more and more. This was a very decent match, and Lethal is looking more reinvigorated as of late, and the finish comes after Jay hits the “Lethal Injection” for the pin.
IWGP Tag Team Champions Hanson and Rowe “War Machine” vs The Rebellion’s Shane Taylor and Rhett Titus – In an obvious non-title match it came off as being fair performance, but War Machine are so talented they carried the bulk of this match which made it acceptable. A bit of history for this match-up is that Raymond Rowe actually trained the still inexperienced Shane Taylor. War Machine picks up the victory after they hit “The Fallout” for the pin.
Adam Cole vs Matt Taven- This was a really good match-up between two old rivals, and I for one am glad that ROH booked this on what could very well be Adam Cole’s “farewell” tour with the promotion. If you follow ROH you know that the reason the original Kingdom was decommissioned if you will, was in large part due to Matt Taven’s knee injury, which is what Adam Cole was working the entire match. These two worked really well together, and Taven is a seriously underestimated performer, it was good back and forth match with Taven selling the knee throughout. Taven picks up the victory when he sinks in the small package, but Adam Cole reverses, and Taven reverses again and cinches down on it for the 1 2 3. After the match Adam Cole slowly rises to his feet, looking very down, which prompts the crowd to start a loud “Thank You Cole” chant, it’s no secret he has not resigned with Ring of Honor, and most are under the impression he will be heading to New Japan full time, or he will sign with NXT. Regardless, Cole has few dates left with the company and we should enjoy him while he’s still there.
Ring of Honor Television Championship
“The Villain” Marty Scurll (c) vs Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy)- I personally enjoyed this immensely and before the match even begins its great!! Anderson asks Bobby Cruise (ROH Ring Announcer) to stand on a chair and lower the microphone into his hands, reminiscent of his WWE/TNA intro, Marty introduces himself which prompts Anderson to respond with “That’s my gimmick”, Marty answers with, “I know all about gimmick infringement” (see Jack Gallagher) and Marty being the villainous guy that he is says, “Welcome to ROH bitch” and smashes Anderson in the face w/ the microphone. All in all Mr. Anderson kept up with Party Marty (who by the way is “over” as hell) and they both played a comedic heel role, which made the match so much more entertaining. I think everyone in the crowd yelled, “CHICKEN WING” when Marty did his little twirl, both guys were trying to get the other disqualified by insisting that the other used a chair, and eventually Marty picks up the win and retains his ROH TV title.
Cheeseburger and Will Ferrera vs The Carnies-not a bad match, not a great or memorable match, everyone still loves Cheeseburger, I think the Carnies are local indie guys and the finish comes when Will Ferrera pins one of The Carnies.
Jay White vs Punishment Martinez- This was another good match, and Jay White can go. He’s a solid worker who is a bit overshadowed by Lio Rush in Ring of Honor but he was well received this night. Essentially Martinez is using big move offense and lands some of his signature spots, he’s had the advantage for a few minutes and looks somewhat distracted when Jay White hits a surprise roll up for the pin. Angered by this loss, Martinez starts to lay the smack down on White, and Punishment hits his choke slam finisher, and a curb stomp which lights the crowd up, and just as he is being cheered for beating down the baby face, he exits the ring.
Mark & Jay The Briscoe Brothers vs Chris Sabin & Alex Shelly The Motor City Machine Guns- All four competitors were heavily cheered, and this was hands down the best match of the evening. This match had it all, from the high impact brawling of the Briscoe’s to the High Flying and technical wrestling of the Guns. Everyone loved this match, and it captivated the audience. Jay hits the “Jay Driller” on Chris Sabin and gets the victory. Post-Match, Alex Shelly addresses the crowd thanking ROH, and letting the audience know of the history between the two teams. They’re initial encounter was way back in 2006 in which the Briscoe’s were victorious, the second match was in 2008 which the MCMG won, and this would be the third encounter.
“The Last Real Man” Silas Young vs Bully Ray- Bully grabbed the mic early on and lets us all know that this is now a no DQ match. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the most improved wrestler of 2017 hands down is Silas Young, essentially this was a “Bully Beat down” forgive the horrible pun, and they brawled around the ringside area. The highlight of this was when, Bully Ray actually got the referee Paul Turner do hold Silas for the patented “What’s Up” head butt to the groin area from the top rope. After that spot, Silas’ partner The Beer City Bruiser comes to the ring to lend his partner a hand ( No DQ now)
but Young’s longtime nemesis Jay Lethal evens things up and takes The Bruiser out of the equation which leads Bully the opportunity to hit the “Bubba Bomb” or “Bully Bomb” for the win.
Match 9 Main Event
Dalton Castle & The Addiction vs The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks & “Hangman” Page- The Bucks received a huge ovation, and we were treated to an out of control 6 man spot fest. The Bucks got all of their trademark offense in, and Page is looking more and more solid. If you follow Ring of Honor regularly you know the history between the Bucks and The Addiction as well as the current feud between Frankie Kazarian and “Hangman” Page, and it was all a factor in this match. Dalton was over as well, and he looked strong, hitting his trademark offense. The finish comes when The Addiction hits the faux Meltzer Driver as Frankie held the “Hangman” in the tombstone position as The Ring of Honor World Champion Christopher Daniels hit his “best moonsalt ever” into the tombstone piledriver for the finish.