This October, ROH hosted the second in its line of unauthorized events, in what looks like it’ll become a yearly tradition. A Night of Hoopla was one of, if not the, most fun shows of 2013, so my expectations for Michael Bennett’s Bachelor Party were set high. For those not aware, Michael Bennett was getting shoot married to Maria Kanellis on this weekend, so this was his Bachelor Party hosted by his fellow Kingdom mates.
Ring of Honor
Unauthorized “Michael Bennett’s Bachelor Party”
Thursday, October 9, 2014
115 Bourbon Street
Merrionette Park, IL
The ring is set up directly next to a stage, with crowd level with the canvas on that side and close to the ring without barricades at floor level on the other three. It’s an intimate set-up that really suits this style of event.
The show kicks off with Adam Cole, who is hosting proceedings, coming down to the ring with flask and mic in hand. After a couple of chugs he welcomes everybody to the show, and manages to get the responsible drinking and driving line out but stay in character by turning it into a dig on the crowd by saying “not that that’ll be a problem, as by the looks of you none of you will own cars.” After running down proceedings, he brought out Steve Corino who was the commentator for the night, followed by the bouncer for the evening BJ Whitmer. Next to come out was his new stablemate and co-host for the evening, Matt Taven, which was interesting as he’d yet to make his return on TV (damn you ROH continuity!), followed by the man of the hour, Michael Bennett, wearing the Title of Love.
Cole and Taven then presented their presents to Bennett, namely a crown and some Jerichojacketesque (totally a word) flashy gloves. This lead to Bennett making the comparison between himself a Jerry Lawler due to the crown and them both using the piledriver as a finish. Apart from Bennett said he doesn’t like 15 year old girls — zing. After doing some shots, the show began in earnest.
reDRagon vs. House of Truth (Lethal & Martini): J. Diesel was on commentary for this one with Corino. Martini is actually a retired wrestler, who moved into management due to injuries. reDRagon were announced by Cole as “not as good as Future Shock”, and Taven and Lethal kept having goes at each other. It’s nice to know that just because guys are on the same side of the face-heel spectrum they don’t forget old beefs.
This was surprisingly good considering Truth can’t bump. It was a fun match, where Martini was the real star, showing off some impressive World of Sport style chain wrestling. The tag champions eventually picked up the win out of nowhere by reversing a sunset flip attempt into a cross-armbreaker which Truth immediately tapped to. Fun stuff, but Diesel is AWFUL on commentary. **1/2
Veda Scott, Heather Patera & Leah Von Dutch vs. Taeler Hendrix, Scarlett Bordeaux & Mary Dobson: Romantic Touch was on commentary for this one. This was a pretty loose match, and while the action was fine the focus was more on the Kingdom, Romantic Touch and Cheeseburger on the outside. Veda won the match for her team with an impressive bridging Saito suplex. **½
After the match, the Kingdom made Cheeseburger, who can’t be much over 100lbs, do several shots. He looked dead after two, but struggled through four.
Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe: This match had the stipulation that the loser couldn’t drink for the rest of the night, which for these two would be quite the disaster. Bobby Fish was on commentary for this one, a role he’s really good in. Really quick witted and clever. This was a fun hard hitting contest, with some signature brutal chops and knees from Strong going against Mark Briscoe’s Redneck Kung Fu. It was going along quite nicely until it ended abruptly with a small package from Roddy for the win. Mark sold this loss like the death of his child, which was most amusing to see as the Kingdom mocked him. **3/4
After having BJ check on some IDs in the crowd, Adam Cole brought out Bennett’s second favourite wrestler, Mad Man Pondo. Pondo came out with a stop sign, and proceeded to buddy up to Cheeseburger, much to the Kingdom’s chagrin. This lead to him being put in a match with the psychopath Tommaso Ciampa.
Cheeseburger vs. Tommaso Ciampa: Liquid courage led to Cheeseburger getting a quick flurry of offense after a beer spray, but Ciampa quickly killed him with a brutal knee to the head. He then picked up Burger’s limp body, and went to give him a Project Ciampa, but Pondo had a problem with this and got into the ring to stop him. Ciampa ducked a swing of the stop sign, and Cheeseburger took it right to the head. Then Ciampa brawled with Pondo, getting the advantage with a DDT onto the sign. Ciampa then celebrated, but out came Delirious.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Delirious: This match had a lot of mirroring, with Ciampa at one point going under the ring after Delirious and emerging wearing a Delirious match. They then both proceeded to roll through the Delirious shtick simultaneously, and later in the match Delirious hit Ciampa’s signature knees in the corner. Ciampa later achieved his second victory of the night by folding Delirious in half with a second knockout knee of the night.
I’m not really a fan of Delirious’ shtick, especially over the last few years, so this match didn’t really do anything for me. I mean it was fine I guess, but can’t say I enjoyed it really. **1/4
Cedric Alexander vs. ACH: Jimmy Jacobs was on commentary, slagging off the two in-ring competitors. This was the first match of the night that really felt like it was being wrestled with the aim of being a great match. The story here was of two great and evenly matched athletes cancelling each other out. For much of the match, ACH worked over Cedric’s knee and it nearly lead to his victory. When Cedric was going for a superplex, ACH kicked out Cedric’s knee which sent him crashing down to the mat. He then went to follow up with a 450, but Cedric got the knees up at the last second. However, he failed to capitalize due to it injuring his knee further, and ACH rolled out of the ring to the stage. Both men got back to their feet at the same time, and then ACH ran along the stage and hit his Air Jordan dive into the ring, rather than out of it as he usually does it, taking out Alexander. This allowed him to again scale to the top and go for the 450 yet again, but by going to the well yet again the predictability allowed Alexander to roll out of the way. ACH landed on his feet and rolled through into the corner, but Cedric followed through right behind him to hit a running corner dropkick, then followed hit the Lumbar Check backbreaker for the win, showing the exact killer instinct and capitalising on opportunities that Jacobs had spent the whole match on commentary saying he didn’t have.
This was easily the best match of the night so far, but after seeing this match three or four times now between ROH and PWG, these two just don’t mesh quite as well as you’d expect. Maybe it’s that both of these guys work best coming from beneath in a big babyface comeback, and neither is too good at working a control segment. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very enjoyable match, but in general I’ve been a bigger fan of these guys individually than any of their encounters. ***1/2
Next up Adam Cole had organised a lap dance for Bennett. First up was a random girl who was clearly presented as not a looker, but the second participant was J. Diesel, who got Bennett around the neck with his belt so he couldn’t escape while he stripped down to his briefs. The third participant was a girl who was actually pretty hot, and Michael really got into it. This then brought Maria out, who screeched at all three Kingdom members, much to their terror. Maria then pushed the girl down into the chair, and gave her a lap dance which surely gave Nigel McGuinness a heart attack. Bennett soon got BJ Whitmer to break this up due to jealousy, and then sat in the chair expectantly, but much to his disappointment Maria told him he was going to “have to wait to the honeymoon to get orgasmic.” A lowest common denominator segment if ever there was one, but still kind of fun none the less.
Jay Briscoe vs. Rhino: Jay Lethal was on commentary for this one, ahead of reluctantly teaming with him later in the weekend for Champions vs. All-Stars. There was a bit of history going into this one. Back in early 2013 during the S.C.U.M. angle, Rhino hit a gore on Jay which separated his shoulder, and that injury later lead to his vacating of the title during his first title reign.
After Rhino hit an early belly-to-belly to gain the advantage, Adam Cole got up on the apron holding a chair. He passed the chair to the Man Beast, and told him to hit Briscoe with it, but Rhino just threw it back out of the ring. Adam then got into the ring and shouted at Rhino that he was the host, and “You do what I say, I’m the host”. Rhino then replied “I do whatever the fuck I want” and decked him. This lead to Taven and Bennett hitting the ring too and a three of two beatdown ensued, leading to the DQ. This then brought a sober Mark Briscoe out to even up the odds and clear out the ring. Jay then got on the mic, and low and behold we have ourselves a six man tag main event.
The Kingdom vs. The Briscoes & Rhino: After all six men brawl all around the arena, in the sort of thing which is often called wild but really isn’t, it evolved into a comedy match. The Kingdom, who were acting hammered, somehow managed to isolate Rhino. After a punch to the gut, Cole had to exit the ring to be sick, and soon after Taven had to go piss. This allowed Rhino to make the tag to Jay Briscoe who came in and destroyed all three of them, punctuated by blowing the three of them over after a series of jabs. He then hit a BRUTAL looking Jay Driller onto the title of love, which was sold fantastically by Bennett, which earned him the victory. **
In the aftermath, Maria snuck back out to ringside and stole back the title of Love from the Briscoes. Jay then got on the mic to close out the show while Mark took about two minutes to set off a confetti cannon.
Overall this is a hard show to give a thumbs up or down. By no means at all is it a “good wrestling show.” ACH vs. Alexander is a good match, well worth your time, but it wasn’t good enough to go out of your way to check out, and it’s literally the only real wrestling offering this show has to offer.
However, that’s not what this show was about. This show, much like its predecessor, was meant to be fun. And it was. It was a really easy two hours twenty five minutes to get though. Nothing, apart from the Ciampa-Delirious match (and some like Delirious’ shtick way more than me), dragged whatsoever. I enjoyed all The Kingdom’s antics at ringside, and couldn’t 100% get a read on how much of their drunkenness was acting and how much was real. I mean they wrestled in the main event, so surely most of it was acting right? Right?
I didn’t think it was as good as Night of Hoopla. Night of Hoopla was basically this show done a bit better in my opinion, so if you haven’t seen that then I recommend picking that show up ahead of checking this one out. If you didn’t or don’t enjoy that show, then give this one a skip. For me though, it was simply a fun way to turn your brain off for two and a half hours and have a bit of fun. If that’s sounds good to you, then there are many worse ideas than picking this show up from ROHwrestling.com.