The biggest news to come out of ROH in the last week surrounded the upcoming All-Star Extravaganza VIII PPV on September 30th, with two huge match announcements being made.
Ladder War VI
The main event of the PPV will see The Addiction defending the ROH World Tag Team Titles against The Motor City Machine Guns & The Young Bucks in Ladder War VI. Of course, anyone who has followed ROH for any length of time knows that the Ladder War is one of ROH’s most famous (and usually, one of its most brutal) matches. This will be the third time that the ROH World Tag Team Titles have been on the line in Ladder War (the first time since Ladder War II in 2009), and it’ll also be the first time that we’ve seen a Triangle Ladder War in ROH.
I think it’s very interesting that this match is getting the main event slot for this PPV. Personally, I don’t have an issues with that, because there’s no way that any match on the card will be able to follow it (especially since The Young Bucks are involved). Obviously we won’t know where this match will fit in with the other Ladder Wars until it happens, but with the teams involved, I can’t see how this won’t be a fantastic match. The fact that this match will be in the main event spot really makes me think that we’ll see a title change here. This just seems like it’s finally time for The Addiction to lose these title. If they somehow managed to retain, that would be one of the worst decisions in recent memory. Having a PPV close with The Addiction standing tall & victorious would be the stuff of nightmares.
Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi
The other major match announcement regarding All-Star Extravaganza VIII is that Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi will be taking place. Of course, as most people already know, the matches between these two in CMLL & New Japan (specifically their encounter during this year’s FantasticaMania Tour in January) in the last year or two have lit the wrestling world on fire. It’s certainly exciting to see them bringing their feud to the United States. I’m sure this match will also be fantastic, but I will say that I hope the match does get the appropriate amount of time. They just need to let those two go out there and do their thing. It would be such a shame if their match gets shortchanged on time, but hopefully that doesn’t happen.
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Tourament
A third match announcement for the PPV that kind of got lost in the shuffle (compared to the other two), was the opening round of the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament, as The Briscoes team up with Toru Yano (the team that were the first ever NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions) to take on ACH, Lio Rush, & Jay White. Now I know this match has Yano in it, but with the other five guys involved, this match should be a ton of fun.
With the addition of this match, as well as Ladder War VI and Dragon Lee vs. Kamaitachi, All-Star Extravaganza VIII is really looking like a great show on paper. I firmly believe, at this point, that it has the chance to be the best ROH PPV this year. Whether it lives up to the hype remains to be seen, but hopefully, it’ll end up being as great as I’m hoping it will be.
Ring of Honor vs. Preston City Wrestling
Another big news item that came out this week involving ROH was the apparent split between ROH & Preston City Wrestling (PCW), an independent promotion in the UK. ROH has been doing joint shows in the UK with PCW, called “SuperShow of Honor”, the last two years. However, with the announcement a few months ago that ROH would running their own tour of the UK in November, against other PCW events and around the same time that the “SuperShow of Honor” usually takes place, the relationship has evidently come to an end. PCW recently put out their side of the story as to what happened (which I’ll provide a link to at the end of this paragraph), while there has also been speculation (some of which was discussed on the VOW forums) surrounding potential accusations towards PCW.
Honestly, I’m not really sure how I feel about the whole situation.
It was pretty awesome that ROH got back into the UK through this partnership with PCW, but at the same time, I always viewed it as a weird partnership, really, right from the beginning. For starters, while it’s definitely a notable promotion in the UK, PCW doesn’t appear to be that high on the totem pole when it comes to wrestling promotions in the UK (or in Europe in general), compared to companies like RevPro, PROGRESS, ICW, and wXw. The fact that the BritWres Roundtable (a podcast on the VOW Podcasting Network that specifically covers the UK scene) rarely covers PCW does speak to that fact. Additionally, the relationship is even stranger when you consider that RevPro also has a relationship with New Japan.
Now, I don’t want those comments to come off as me bashing PCW, because that’s far from the case. I enjoyed the first “SuperShow of Honor” in 2014, and I give them a ton of credit for the event they came up with to replace the joint shows with ROH (a tournament series featuring stars from PCW, wXw, Beyond Wrestling, & CZW). They have a really solid lineup of talent for those shows, called the Wrestling World Championships, and I’m genuinely interested in seeing those shows, when they become available. Again, all the credit in the world to PCW for putting that together. As far as ROH is concerned, whether the end of this relationship will have an impact on the upcoming UK Tour, or any future events in UK, remains to be seen. I would hope that things go smoothly for ROH, and they are able to do well for the UK, but again, only time will tell if they can succeed in the UK on their own.
Reloaded Tour Marches On
ROH’s first live events of the month are coming up this weekend in Pittsburgh, PA on September 16th and Lockport, NY on December 17th as part of the “Reloaded Tour”. What I’ll do is present the lineup for each show (with all matches announced thus far, plus other talents signed to appear), and then just give my thoughts on the show as a whole.
ROH Reloaded Tour ’16: Pittsburgh
September 16th, 2016
7:30 PM Bell Time
- Six-Man Tag – The Bullet Club (ROH World Champion Adam Cole & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks) vs. Jay Lethal, Colt Cabana, & Dalton Castle
- Alex Shelley vs. Kamaitachi
- ROH World Tag Team Champion Christopher Daniels vs. Jay White
- ROH World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Sabin
- ACH vs. Will Ferrara
Other talents signed to appear include IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Briscoes, Lio Rush, War Machine, Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser, Jonathan Gresham, The Cabinet (The All-Night Express & Caprice Coleman), Kelly Klein, Mandy Leon, Taeler Hendrix, & Veda Scott.
The first show of the weekend in Pittsburgh is headlined by a Bullet Club vs. ROH Six-Man Tag which, when you look at the card, stands out as the match that could be the best on the show. However, there are some intriguing matches on the undercard as well. In particular, Alex Shelley vs. Kamaitachi & Christopher Daniels vs. Jay White stand out to me as very unique singles matches that could also really deliver. This card still has a number of matches yet to be announced, but as it looks right now, I’d say Pittsburgh has some very intriguing matches (though the card is a little top heavy).
ROH Reloaded Tour ’16: Lockport
Lockport, New York
September 17th, 2016
7:00 PM Bell Time
The Kenan Center
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Briscoes vs. Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle
- Honor Rumble for a shot at the ROH World Title in Lakeland, Florida on 10/22/16
- Triple Threat Match – ROH World Tag Team Champion Christopher Daniels vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Matt Jackson vs. Chris Sabin
- Triple Threat Match – ROH World Tag Team Champion Frankie Kazarian vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Nick Jackson vs. Alex Shelley
- Jay Lethal vs. Silas Young
- Kamaitachi vs. Jonathan Gresham
- Six-Man Tag – ACH, Jay White, & Lio Rush vs. The Cabinet (The All-Night Express & Caprice Coleman)
- Deonna Purrazzo & Mandy Leon vs. Taeler Hendrix & Jessicka Havok
Other talents signed to appear include ROH World Champion Adam Cole, War Machine, The Beer City Bruiser, Will Ferrara, Kelly Klein, & Veda Scott.
While the lineup for the show in Pittsburgh, PA is a little top heavy, I would say this show has the better overall card. The Briscoes vs. Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle is definitely an interesting main event. If Colt Cabana sticks around more regularly, I would like to see a Colt Cabana/Dalton Castle tag team become a regular thing. There are also a number of matches that are sort of previewing the next PPV, All-Star Extravaganza VIII, with two triple threat matches involving the three teams in Ladder War VI, and a Six-Man Tag with two teams in the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament. The card also features a very intriguing singles match between Kamaitachi & Jonathan Gresham (the latter being a really unutilized talent on the independent scene), which has the potential to be great. The other match of note on this card is an Honor Rumble (basically a Royal Rumble style of match) with the winner getting a title shot in Lakeland, Florida. I’m honestly not sure who’s winning this, but I like that they are building up a title shot for another live event.
The last two weeks of ROH TV were the first episodes from the TV Tapings in Las Vegas, Nevada that were held the night after the Death Before Dishonor XIV PPV. The episode from 9/3 began with an in-ring promo from new ROH World Champion Adam Cole and the rest of The Bullet Club’s B-Team. Jay Lethal would soon interrupt Cole, and brought out backup of his own in the form of Tetsuya Naito & EVIL from Los Ingobernables de Japon, setting up a Six-Man Tag for the episode that just occurred this past weekend. There was a video package surrounding the BJ Whitmer/Steve Corino saga, which featured both Kevin Sullivan and Whitmer’s new tag team partner, Punisher Martinez. Dalton Castle defeated Caprice Coleman in a solid mid-card TV match that saw both The All-Night Express and The Boys getting involved on a number of occasions. Then, Donovan Dijak squashed a guy called Manny Lemons (I’m not joking, that’s actually what his name was). There was a promo on the entrance stage with The Addiction and a Ladder that played a part in Ladder War VI being announced. Finally, in the main event of the episode, The Briscoes defeated Lio Rush & Jay White in a really good tag team match. White certainly redeemed himself after whatever that singles match with Jay Briscoe was supposed to be, and I think he & Lio Rush worked very well together. This is definitely a match that’s worth checking out. As a whole, I’d say the only noteworthy things on this particular episode were the opening promo and the main event. Everything else can be skipped if you’re short on time.
- 1.) Dalton Castle (with The Boys) vs. Caprice Coleman (with ANX): **¾
- 2.) Donovan Dijak (with Prince Nana) vs. Manny Lemons: N/R
- 3.) The Briscoes vs. Lio Rush & Jay White: ***3/4
The episode that took place this past weekend was a much bigger episode, relatively speaking, as we not only had a battle between The Bullet Club & Los Ingobernables de Japon, but a first-time ever singles encounter, as Bobby Fish defended his ROH World TV Title against NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata. The show started off with that aforementioned Six-Man Tag, and the story of the first part of the match was that Lethal was so obsessed with getting his hands on Adam Cole, that he was being a dick to his partners, Naito & EVIL, constantly tagging himself in. This led to Naito & EVIL leaving Lethal high & dry. Commentary seemed to depict this as bit of a heel move by Los Ingobernables de Japon, but if anything, Lethal was the one on his team that was acting like a heel. He was being a total dick to his tag team partners, so it’s not a surprise that Naito & EVIL left him. Lethal was by himself for a bit, but eventually, Michael Elgin, and then Kyle O’Reilly came out to even the odds, and the match continued. Lethal would, in the end, win the match for his team after pinning Takahashi. This was a very strange match, but I guess the idea was to get Lethal out of Los Ingobernables de Japon, and to all of Adam Cole’s top challengers involved in the same match.
The only other match on this show was Bobby Fish vs. Katsuyori Shibata for the ROH World TV Title, but before that started, Jay Lethal cut a promo at ringside about Tetsuya Naito, and Nigel McGuinness announces that Jay Lethal vs. Tetsuya Naito will take place at All-Star Extravaganza VIII, which just ads another great match to an already stacked PPV lineup. As for Bobby Fish vs. Katsuyori Shibata, I thought that it was a really good match. It was slow to get going at first, but once it did, the action was very solid. I don’t think it was as good as the tag team main event from the week prior, but it was close. Fish ended up retaining his title after countering a triangle choke from Shibata into a pin, which would go on to set up the NEVER Openweight Title match between the two on the first of New Japan’s three Destruction PPV’s. Personally, I believe this is a really big moment when it comes to the ROH/New Japan relationship, because I think it shows that if you’re a New Japan guy not named Okada or Tanahashi, you can lose (we’ll see if Naito falls into this category when he faces Jay Lethal). The episode ended with Donovan Dijak, the next title challenger, looking on from the stage, while Nigel McGuinness announces that Steve Corino will be back on commentary next week.
- 1.) Six-Man Tag – The Bullet Club (ROH World Champion Adam Cole, “The Hangman” Adam Page, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Jay Lethal & Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito/Evil)/Kyle O’Reilly & Michael Elgin: **3/4
- 2.) ROH World TV Title – Bobby Fish vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ***1/2
Matt Taven Returns
To wrap things up this week, I just want to touch on some other minor announcements and happenings that occurred in the last week. Matt Taven recently made his return to the ring in Mexico for CMLL after being out since December of last year with a serious knee injury. With this news, I would suspect that his return to the ring in ROH is imminent. Matt Sydal will be making his return to ROH this October (after spending the last several months with New Japan), and his first match back will be against Kamaitachi at Glory By Honor XV in Chicago Ridge, Illinois on October 14th. It’s a month or so away, but I’m already excited for that one. Finally, CMLL will be sending in a team for the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament, as Ultimo Guerrero, Shigeo Okumura, & Hechicero will be representing one of the oldest wrestling promotions in the world. Once again, it’s awesome to see that ROH & CMLL are forming a relationship. They will be appearing at the TV Tapings in Baltimore, Maryland on October 29th as part of the Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament.