Ring of Honor
ROH was hoping to rebound off of a weak show last week, and they seemed to do that this week with a noticeably better effort. This week’s show focused around the feud between Dalton Castle and Silas Young, plus the 2016 Top Prospect Tournament.
Mr. Wrestling 3 and Kevin Kelly were on commentary.
Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser vs. The Boys
Before the match began, Dalton Castle appeared out of nowhere to attack the Beer City Bruiser and Silas Young, before ROH Security intervened, restraining him and escorting him to the back.
Silas Young grabbed a microphone and berated The Boys for failing time and time again at the opportunities he provided to them. Young is so confident that The Boys will lose that he promises to quit professional wrestling if they win.
They did a nice job telling a story in the ring. The Boys played the role of small underdogs with the odds stacked against them, and The Bruiser and Young played the role of dirty bullies who planned to beat and humiliate them.
The crowd’s emotional investment in the match slowly grew as an upset suddenly appeared plausible.
In the end, Young and The Bruiser gained the pinfall after a series of double team moved in the corner.
After the match, Dalton Castle returns and is quickly flattened by Young and the Bruiser.
Winner: Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser via pinfall
Analysis: I’ve mentioned this before, but The Beer City Bruiser and Silas Young are a great fit as a tag team. I really like it, and I hope ROH sticks with this. The Bruiser continues to impress me with his work. The only thing this team is missing now is a name to identify themselves to the audience as something more than just two guys thrown together.
Top Prospect Tournament Semi-Finals
Brian Fury vs. Action Ortiz
I thought this performance by Action Ortiz was much better than his first round match. He did an incredible running, flipping dive over the top rope onto Fury, outside of the ring. It was quite a sight to see.
Throughout the tournament Brian Fury has played the role of the calculated, veteran heel. Fury used a kick to the groin to gain the upper hand on Ortiz, as Mr. Wrestling 3 noted on commentary that Fury inadvertently hit Ortiz “right in the ding-ding.” Fury followed that up with a pop-up powerbomb for the pinfall victory in about five minutes.
After the match, Kevin Kelly interviewed Fury at ringside. It was a pretty generic interview where Fury said he is only scratching the surface of what he can do, and we’ll get to see what he can do in the finals. The most entertaining part of the interview was watching the young millennial gentleman behind them, who was captured on camera making weird faces, and yelling things awkwardly.
Winner: Brian Fury via pinfall
Analysis: Brian Fury is the textbook definition of a “good hand.” That’s not meant to be a negative connotation either, as there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I thought Fury winning was the best move. His heel psychology in matches has been refreshing.
Top Prospect Tournament Semi-Finals
Lio Rush vs. Punisher Martinez
If you haven’t seen this match, go out of your way to watch it. Seriously, do it. This was the best match in the tournament to date. This was a great match, which told a basic, but great story. Frankly, it featured the top two talents in the entire Top Prospect Tournament.
From the beginning, the size difference was incredibly apparent. Over a foot difference in height, and about a hundred pounds in weight. The match started off with Rush and Martinez standing face to chest. Martinez, as the monster heel, played up the size difference nicely, by refusing to take Rush completely serious. No matter how quick Rush was, nothing seemed to effect Martinez, but one thing became evident – Martinez was unable to close the deal. Rush wouldn’t stay down, he wouldn’t stop fighting. The crowd quickly got behind Rush. On top of being the perfect sympathetic babyface, he’s also an incredible worker for someone so new to the industry, which is not difficult to see.
With both men standing on the top rope, Martinez went for his chokeslam finisher, South of Heaven, as the crowd chanted “Please don’t kill him.” Instead, Rush reversed it into his finisher, Rush Hour, from the top rope, for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Kevin Kelly interviewed Rush at ringside. Rush cut a pretty good promo touting how he’s been beaten up, and broken down, but that’s never stopped him. He told Fury to be prepared to feel the rush.
Winner: Lio Rush via pinfall
Analysis: This match told a great story, and both men are great workers. Rush is incredible for his experience in the industry. ROH would be crazy not to sign both of these men to exclusive deals. If they don’t, I have no doubt that eventually another company sooner than later.
Adam Cole vs. Matt Sydal
Before the match Adam Cole cut a brief, backstage promo referring to their last match, and promised to beat Matt Sydal this time.
This was a very solid back and forth match, between two excellent workers. Sydal had a phenomenal 2015 on the independent scene, and Cole, who recently re-signed with ROH, has been a key player in the company. I expect both men to have big years.
In the end, Sydal landed a shooting star press off the top rope for the pinfall victory in about 12 minutes.
Winner: Matt Sydal via pinfall
Analysis: I have two gripes with this match – It didn’t have enough of a story for a main event match, and I’m not a proponent of using reverse hurricanranas. The potential for serious injury is too high, and with what we now know about concussions, I just don’t see the potential upside of the move being worth the risk. It’s up to each individual wrestler to recognize that they make money in the long term with a healthy body. They can do that successfully by working smart.
Final Thoughts: This was a solid show and definitely worth watching. The Top Prospect Tournament is one of my favorite things in ROH, and I liked the overall emphasis on storylines on this show. Unfortunately they’ve lost momentum after having Donovan Dijak turn on The House of Truth because he hasn’t been seen, or barely mentioned in weeks. It’s important to keep the storytelling as consistent and episodic as possible.