Last week I rejoiced over the lack of the mysterious envelopes angle on TV. Just when you thought it was safe to watch, it appears out of thin air this week like a pimple on prom night.
As the build towards the ROH 14th Anniversary Show continues, this was another solid effort. You’ll certainly enjoy watching this show more than the third hour of Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon made a major medical breakthrough when he found the cure for insomnia by having those people affected watch The Big Show versus Braun Strowman on a loop. I suppose this also helps me put Prince Nana’s envelopes story into perspective. Although I don’t like it, it could always be much worse.
Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness are on commentary this week.
Top Prospect Tournament – 1st Round Match
Jason Kincaid vs. Lio Rush
This match was a joy to watch. It was the best match of the Top Prospect Tournament to date, and incredibly entertaining for the five minutes it was given.
If you’ve never seen Lio Rush wrestle, stop what you’re doing (after reading my review, of course) and watch this match. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lio in the summer of 2015 for PWInsider. I wanted to interview him specifically after hearing of his work in Maryland Championship Wrestling. What I found during my interview was a person who loved the business, and was incredibly driven to succeed. His overall presentation, work rate, selling, and timing, are all well advanced for someone who debuted last year. I predicted he would be a superstar then, and now I’m once again going on record to predict that.
These two had great chemistry in the ring, and it’s something I’d like to see again. Kincaid was very solid here as well, and certainly has a unique look that stands out. It would behoove ROH to sign these two talented gentlemen to exclusive full-time contracts.
Lio won via pinfall after hitting his Rush Hour finisher in impressive fashion. Winner: Lio Rush via pinfall
Analysis: Two opposable thumbs up!
Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser vs. Will Ferrera & Caprice Coleman
Prince Nana joined Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness on commentary. Kevin Kelly mentions the no-disqualification match that Ferrera and Coleman had on ROH TV the last time we saw them. Nana says both men have to reach a pinnacle in the sport and he feels that’s what they’ll do as a team. When Kelly asks Nana if there is a future with Donovan Dijak, Nana would only say that all of the pieces to the puzzle are in the letter he has given him. When Nigel says he doesn’t understand the intention of the envelopes, Nana tells him he doesn’t have to, as long as “they do.”
This storyline has been going on for quite some time, and yet we are no closer today to making any sense of it. I’m not a fan of the premise or the execution. How many months does it take to reinforce that Nana gave specific wrestlers envelopes with advice? How much longer will he continue making nonsensical, generic statements? This has been my least favorite part of ROH TV. For me, this story has flopped worse than that time Gretchen tried to make “fetch” a thing. Regina was right, it’s not going to happen, and neither is this.
The match itself was pretty good. I really think Young and The Bruiser are a natural fit as a tag team. Now if only they could come out to the ring to a variation of Garth Brooks and George Jones singing “Beer Run” and call themselves the Hellbillies (not a typo), or something similar.
The Boys came out for a distraction, and Coleman hit The Sky Splitta on Young for the pinfall victory, as Nana looked on, smiling and clapping in approval. Winner: Will Ferrera & Caprice Coleman
Analysis: The match accomplished its purpose of furthering each story (Dalton Castle/Silas Young & Will Ferrera & Caprice Coleman/Prince Nana). Bruiser and Young have natural chemistry in the ring together as tag team partners, and Bruiser moves very well for a big guy.
BJ Whitmer In-Ring Promo
BJ Whitmer and Adam Page (of The Decade) come out. BJ has a microphone and says the word is that someone came to Steve Corino and wants to take him out. Steve Corino comes out, and BJ invites him into the ring so he can break his neck for good. Corino says he learned in his 22-year career to always have eyes in the back of his head. Unexpectedly, Adam Page turns BJ around and says he’s going to beat the holy hell out of him. They fight as the crowd chants Adam Page’s name. Eventually, ROH officials come in to separate both men, as Corino looks on with a smile.
Analysis: I like the idea of breaking up The Decade. It was time for something fresh, and BJ did need an opponent to carry the momentum of the feud with Steve Corino.
Mark Briscoe vs. Tim Hughes
Tim Hughes does a nice job as Brutal Bob’s obnoxious protégé. Briscoe won handily via pinfall in four minutes, after a Froggy Bo. P.S. – I really like Mark Briscoe’s theme music. Winner: Mark Briscoe via pinfall
ACH & Matt Sydal vs. The Young Bucks (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
On commentary Kevin Kelly asks if there is a hotter act in the entire industry than The Young Bucks (spoiler: yes).
My Superkick Countdown Clock stopped at 21 seconds for this match, meaning that’s how long it took before The Young Bucks threw a superkick party on their opponent’s faces.
Overall, this was a pretty good, athletic match, and Young Bucks fans are sure to enjoy it. At one point Sydal landed an impressive double hurricanrana on both of the Young Bucks, which unfortunately they no sold, and then proceeded to double superkick Sydal.
There were a couple of comedy bits where the Young Bucks superkicked an invisible basketball out of the ring, and humped ACH’s arm while he was in an armbar.
In the end, Sydal landed a shooting star press on Matt Jackson for the upset victory.
Winner: ACH & Matt Sydal via pinfall Analysis: Silliness aside, this was a pretty good match that showcased each man’s athletic ability. This was a big win for ACH and Sydal, and was something I didn’t necessarily expect.
Final Thoughts: Another very solid showing for ROH. The first round of the Top Prospect Tournament is over, and now we move onto the semi-finals. I hope they capitalize on the momentum that ACH and Matt Sydal have from beating The Young Bucks. I also hope Ferrera, Coleman, and Dijak return those envelopes to sender, so we can wash our hands of that story as quickly as possible.