Ring of Honor Wrestling
Supercard of Honor X Night One
April 1, 2016
Hyatt Regency Dallas Landmark Ballroom
There was a part of me that wanted to skip this show and act like it never happened out of spite for Ring of Honor taking so long to put up the show. All I heard was rave reviews from those in attendance, yet no footage surfaced until Thursday afternoon. It’s an issue that plagues ROH. Their releases aren’t timely and they’re often too expensive for the modern market. That being said, I’m extremely happy I put my bitterness aside and purchased this show because it’s a bonafide Show of the Year Contender. Jay Lethal and Lio Rush battle in an ROH World Title classic, Matt Sydal and Kyle O’Reilly deliver a technical masterpiece, and the Young Bucks and Murder City Machine Guns close things out with a bang.
Bobby Fish def. Christopher Daniels
Two ring generals open things up in front of this really hot Texas crowd. Daniels’ age is beginning to catch up with him. It’s been all too apparent since he returned to ROH in the summer of 2014. That being said, this might have been his best performance in his golden years run. Fish has been making strides with O’Reilly for some time now, but ROH has been letting him spread his wings more and Fish, as expected, has completely delivered in singles opportunities. He never seems lost in the ring and this was no different. This is a hot, well-paced opener with two total pros doing what they do best. A surprisingly fun Daniels performance and another great outing for Fish. ***3/4
Roderick Strong def. Moose
Roddy jumps Moose before the bell, continuing his trend of being anything but trendy. For years, Roddy fell into a pattern of doing the same things. Even at his best, he was a little stagnant. Over the past year in both ROH and EVOLVE, he’s changed up his system and has become rather unpredictable. Here, he leads Moose to a killer match. Not to say Moose was carried, because he wasn’t, but Roddy was the whole package here.
His offense looked great, his crowd work was outstanding, and he bumped around for Moose while never looking too vulnerable. Moose kicks out at one towards the end of the match, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Roddy, sick of battling the big man, finally put him away with three jumping knees. This match felt so different from the opener. The opener was clean, crisp pro wrestling, while this was two guys throwing bombs at each other. ****1/4
Dalton Castle def. Cheeseburger, Adam Page, Frankie Kazarian, Donovan Dijak, & Joey Daddiego
It’s the prototypical ROH six-man showcase. There was comedic relief with Cheeseburger and Castle, movez from Page, Kazarian, and Daddiego, and an outstanding performance from Dijak. ROH has something with Dijak. He’s progressed rapidly since winning the Top Prospect Tournament last year and I really think this was a blown opportunity to give him a huge win. Castle is a hot commodity still, despite the fact that I think he’s been handled horribly, so him picking up the victory was the safe option and one that I can’t complain about. This was mindless fun with something for everyone. ***
Kyle O’Reilly def. Matt Sydal
Similar to the opener in the sense that both Sydal and O’Reilly are total pros, but different because both men are some of the best wrestlers in the world and thus, they produced a better match. Matt Sydal has honed his craft. He’s blending state of the art high-flying with technical ability in a way that few, if any, have done before him. He reminds me of Tatsumi Fujinami. He’s never going to give you a less than average performance, he does a little bit of everything, and he’s one of the best babyfaces in the game. Example A – this match. O’Reilly put on a grappling clinic and Sydal held his own. Super hot finish with Sydal being trapped in a few submissions before finally tapping to O’Reilly’s deadly Cross Arm Breaker. ****1/4
Adam Cole def. ACH
Both of these men are two of the best live performers going today. ACH, especially, has a charisma that live crowds really connect with. In person, I’m sure this would be match of the night. Both guys connected with this crowd and on top of that, put on an amazing athletic display. This is the best Cole performance I’ve seen in ages. His goofiness has been toned down. He was back to the calculated Cole of old, which I really appreciate. He does little things that I love. Here, it was grabbing Todd Sinclair’s wrist to prevent the three count rather than kicking out. Stuff that I think would even comes across better live. This match is a victim of going a few minutes too long and having a lame finish. Before that, this was one of the best ROH matches of the year with ACH proving once again that he is a marketable star with potential to be a top guy in the company. Brainbuster on the Knee puts ACH, bloody mouth and all, away. ***3/4
War Machine & The Briscoe Brothers def. All Night Express, Beer City Bruiser, & Silas Young
A match full of manly men.
And Rhett Titus.
This was a ton of fun, actually. War Machine has cooled off since Rowe returned from injury, but here, they were back to their old form. Rowe looks great, also. It looks like he’s dropped a little bit of weight. The Briscoes have an amazing ability to move up and down the card and always fit in and keep their dangerous aura to them. Beer City Bruiser, of all people, really impressed me. I loathed him when he first came into the company. He was fun, but he wasn’t what I was looking for in my ROH. Since he joined up with Silas Young, however, he’s fit in well. This is a fun brawl with a lot of stiff shots and a few crazy dives. Really enjoyable. ****
ROH World Heavyweight Championship
Jay Lethal (c) def. Lio Rush
This was marvelous. Lethal was marvelous here and has been marvelous since dethroning Jay Briscoe for ROH’s top prize last June. He feels like an ace. His actions portray that of an ace. Not a prideful, stoic ace like Mitsuharu Misawa, but a cocky, ‘who’s gonna beat me?’ ace. He took Rush for granted. Rush, to his credit, was outstanding and he’s getting to a point where “prodigy” isn’t a hyperbole. At age 21, he’s racking up star-making performances left and right. Here, it was no different. Lethal had him beat. Rush was dead and gone. Lethal picked up his shoulder after the two count, however, at thus, Rush had a second life.
Both guys showed such tremendous fire and passion in this match. Rush wanted this more than anything. This was his moment to shock the world and upset Lethal. Lethal, at first, saw this as just another challenger, but after taking Rush lightly for far too long, Lethal reached down and put Rush away with everything he had. Few matches this year have gotten a story across better. Rush is a prodigy, Lethal is one of the best main eventers in the world. If it wasn’t for Shingo Takagi, I’d call him the best ace in wrestling. I knew the result coming in and yet I was completely sucked into the emotion of Rush putting on the performance of his young life. Outstanding match. ****1/2
To the surprise of many, after a post-match promo in which Jay Lethal declared he had no challengers left, Colt Cabana returned to ROH for the first time since 2011. What followed is one of the best promo segments in ROH history and one of the best promo segments in all of wrestling this year. Cabana and Lethal bantered back and forth about ROH’s past champions – Punk, Bryan, Joe, Black, Nigel, etc. and how Cabana has been spit up and chewed out from every major wrestling company in the world. He’s back for one thing and one thing only – the ROH World Title.
I kid you not, this show is worth $14.95 for this segment alone. I am totally in on this motivated, serious Cabana. Lethal held his own in this segment, but my God, Cabana just hypothetically talked me into the building. I want to be hanging from the rafters when Cabana battles Lethal. This was something else. Outstanding work by both men.
Young Bucks def. Murder City Machine Guns
A greatest hits of what these two teams are capable of. There’s nothing wrong with that because these two teams are great, but they’ve put on more compelling matches before. The thing to note here is that Alex Shelley is still really, really great. That’s not to take away from the Bucks or Sabin, because they were good, but I marveled in the greatness that was Alex Shelley. If you’ve seen the Bucks wrestle the Guns before, you know what to expect here. A very fun way to close the show. ***3/4
Four matches at 4 stars or above, nothing below three stars (the Women of Honor match did not make the VOD), and a surprise return with an utterly money segment between Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal. This is one of the best shows of 2016 and arguably the best show of WrestleMania weekend. ROH is annoying with the way their shows are put out, but put that aside for a few hours and appreciate the excellence of Supercard of Honor X Night One.