The Reloaded Tour began in earnest this week in ROH with two stops in Pittsburgh and Lockport, unfortunately most noteworthy for a questionable debut and a controversial parody of current events. We also received a handful of announcements for their upcoming UK Reach for the Sky tour.
Reach for the Sky Approaches
ROH recently announced the first set of matches for their upcoming tour of the UK in November. A Six-Man Tag featuring The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. Kyle O’Reilly & The Briscoes will be the main event for November 18th in Liverpool. The show in Leicester on November 19th will feature Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley. Finally, Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay will be taking place at their show in London on November 20th. In an additional note, The Addiction, Bobby Fish, Dalton Castle, ACH and Lio Rush have all been confirmed for this tour as well.
As far as match announcements go I think it’s a nice start, with the Six-Man Tag in Liverpool really having the potential to be a great match. Lethal vs. Shelley should also be good but I can see some people not being particularly into that match. Of course, out of these three matches, Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay has been getting the most attention. These two have had several fantastic singles matches this year across multiple promotions and now they’re facing off in a ROH ring. I think these two will have another great match, and I can see why ROH would book it as they want to cash in on the rivalry these two have been having. However, there have been some valid complaints about this match. If you’re someone in the UK, this might not appeal as much to you, just because you’ve seen this match before in other UK/European promotions this year (RevPro, PROGRESS, etc.). Additionally, I think people would be more interested in seeing Scurll and Ospreay wrestling ROH guys who they might not have wrestled before. There’s still a possibility of seeing that occur on the other two shows of this tour, but again, even though I expect the match between Ospreay & Scurll to be great, I can see, and totally understand, why some might not be as enthused about it.
Reloaded Tour Kicks Off
Last weekend, ROH held live events in Pittsburgh, PA & Lockport, NY as part of the “Reloaded Tour”. I’ve picked out some of the more noteworthy occurrences that took place over these two shows:
Dalton Castle & Jay White both picked up big wins at the show in Pittsburgh on 9/16. Castle scored the winning fall in the main event (a ROH vs. Bullet Club Six-Man Tag), while Jay White got his second pinfall victory over Christopher Daniels in as many months. It’s very nice to see guys like Castle & White getting wins like this, even if it’s just on live events and hopefully both continue to get more marquee victories in the future. Additionally, lower down the card, Jonathan Gresham & Lio Rush scored wins in singles competition against Delirious and Caprice Coleman, respectively. Hopefully Gresham’s victory leads to him getting more regular bookings in ROH.
On that same show in Pittsburgh there was a controversy during a Four-Way Tag Team Match, where The All-Night Express did their own version of Colin Kaepernick’s recent protest, with them protesting against oppression they’ve experienced in ROH. This did cause some anger on Twitter as the results from the show were coming in. While noteworthy, I don’t really want to make a comment one way or the other before having a chance to see the angle.
The biggest news to come out of the show in Lockport, NY on 9/17 was that Silas Young won the Honor Rumble, earning himself a shot at the ROH World Title at the “Road To Final Battle” event in Lakeland, Florida on 10/22. Again, much like I mentioned previously when talking about the event in Pittsburgh, it’s nice to see a guy like Silas Young get a win like this. If you follow his career in ROH since becoming a regular he’s had a very interesting path. I think people forget that Silas Young was actually getting a serious push as a heel in 2013-2014, where he won a feud with Mark Briscoe, scored a major victory over Kevin Steen (right before he departed to WWE), and even got himself a shot at the ROH World Title against Michael Elgin in his hometown of Milwaukee. After suffering a knee injury in that very match which kept him out for several months he had the long feud with Dalton Castle, but really hasn’t done much since. His recent match with Katsuyori Shibata, and this upcoming shot at the ROH World Title, gives me hope that ROH will be doing more with Silas Young. He’s obviously an incredibly talented performer, and I think he could a lot more as an upper-card heel.
Another news item to come out of the Honor Rumble was that Bull James, the former Bull Dempsey of NXT fame, made an appearance in the match. I don’t know whether we’ll be seeing him more, or if this was a one-night-only type thing. Honestly, I hope the latter is the case. Bull James just isn’t the type of guy that would fit into ROH, and he’s not exactly someone that gets me excited. Aside from that very initial push that he got as a monster, he really did nothing to grab my attention in NXT. Plus, if his performances in a variety of independent promotions in the months since his release have been any indication, he’s someone who really shouldn’t be anywhere near ROH. As I said, I hope that this was just a one-off appearance; there’s a lot of people I’d rather see in ROH than Bull James.
Before ROH heads to New England for their big PPV/TV Taping weekend at the end of this month, they’re making a stop in Duluth, Georgia as part of the aforementioned “Reloaded Tour”. Here’s the lineup for that event:
ROH Reloaded Tour ’16: Duluth
September 24th, 2016
Infinite Energy Forum
7:00 PM Bell Time
- Ringmaster’s Challenge – Jay Lethal vs. Colt Cabana
- Dalton Castle vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- Lucha Rules Six-Man Tag – ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction & Kamaitachi vs. The Motor City Machine Guns & Jay White
- The All-Night Express (with Caprice Coleman) vs. War Machine
- Silas Young vs. Stevie Richards
- Lio Rush vs. Jonathan Gresham
- Caprice Coleman vs. Delirious
- Punisher Martinez & Will Ferrara will also signed to appear
This is a very interesting card to look at on paper because a lot of big names are not on this show due to them currently being on tour with New Japan. The Briscoes, reDRagon, Adam Cole, & The Young Bucks are all missing. While this is just a live event, I was curious to see how the card was going to shape up with all of that talent not being available. What we got was sort of a mixed bag. There are three particular undercard matches (ANX/War Machine, Silas Young/Stevie Richards, Caprice Coleman/Delirious) that just don’t sound too appealing, even though they’ll probably end up being solid matches. However, the rest of the card actually looks really good. Lio Rush vs. Jonathan Gresham has the potential to be one of the better matches of the night if they get time and I think the Lucha Rules Six-Man Tag could be pretty entertaining. Of course, the big attraction is the return of Jushin “Thunder” Liger as he takes on Dalton Castle in a rematch of a singles encounter they had in ROH back in May 2015 (which Liger won). I’m sure those two will be looking to put on a really good match. Finally, the main event sees the return of The Ringmaster’s Challenge (only the 4th in ROH’s history), as Jay Lethal takes on Colt Cabana. For those who may be unfamiliar, The Ringmaster’s Challenge is basically a two-out-of-three falls match, with the first fall being pinfalls only, the second fall being submissions only, and the third fall (if necessary) being a 30 Minute Iron-Man Match (usually it’s 15 Minutes, but for this match, it’s been changed to 30 Minutes). I’m not sure why we’re seeing this match again, since Lethal beat Cabana pretty soundly on an episode of ROH TV a few months ago, but still, I still think this has the potential to be a great match. As a whole, I’d say ROH, in this instance, has done a good job to create a interesting, but somewhat top-heavy, card with the talent they had available to them.
Ring of Honor TV
This week’s episode of ROH TV featured several tag team matches. The show opened up with what could possibly be one of ROH worst matches of the year, as Kenny King & Rhett Titus took on Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa. It’s not like there were any major botches or screwups that brought this match down. To put it simply, The Guerrillas of Destiny are just not a good tag team (we all know this), and right now, I have no reason to care about The All-Night Express. When you get that kind of combination of teams in a match together, how could you possibly get anyone to care? Booking this match was just a bad idea, and a complete waste of everyone’s time.
Fortunately, things really picked up a big way (no pun intended) during the middle part of this episode with the Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. War Machine feud. There was a very good video package featuring Shane Taylor, where he explained his history with Ray Rowe, and his motivations for targeting War Machine. I thought this was just awesome. Anytime we get a backstory, or reasons behind why wrestlers are doing what they’re doing, that can add so much to the storylines, and I think it really added a lot to this particular feud, making things a lot more personal between Ray Rowe & Shane Taylor. I don’t want to go over it word for word, because I actually want people to see it for themselves. It was short, but I honestly believe it’s one of the better video package promos they’ve featured on ROH TV this year. This led into a match featuring Keith Lee & Shane Taylor in a quick squash, and after the fact they called out War Machine. When the former ROH World Tag Team Champions did come out, Ray Rowe cut a short, but personal promo, and that led to another match between the two teams. The match was good while it lasted, but it eventually ended in a DQ, with Keith Lee & Shane Taylor getting the last laugh. I really wasn’t what to expect from Keith Lee & Shane Taylor when they started appearing more regularly in ROH, but their feud with War Machine has been an entertaining one for sure. If this week’s episode was any indication, I would say these two teams are heading towards some kind of violent conclusion.
The main event was a Six-Man Tag that saw The Addiction & Kamaitachi taking on the CHAOS trio of Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi Vice. I would say that this was a pretty solid Six-Man Tag. It was by no means outstanding, but it was easily the best match on the show. Highlights included some short, but interesting, interactions between Okada & Kamaitachi (would love to see those two in a singles match when Kamaitachi eventually goes back to New Japan), and The Addiction getting the win for their side with the Best Meltzer Ever on Rocky Romero. Other notable events from the episode included Steve Corino’s return to commentary (after being “suspended” for a year) and Matt Taven announcing that his version of The Kingdom will be in the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Title Tournament which (I believe) brings the total teams announced for the tournament to seven.
- The All-Night Express (with Caprice Coleman) vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny: *3/4
- Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. Ken Phoenix & Ricardo Rojas: N/R
- Keith Lee & Shane Taylor vs. War Machine: ***
- Six-Man Tag – The Addiction & Kamaitachi vs. Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi Vice: ***1/2