Ring of Honor
Honor United: Night 1
May 24th, 2018
Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Shane Taylor def. Scorpio Sky
The Addiction came out with Scorpio Sky, and before the match began, Christopher Daniels got on the mic and ran down Edinburgh, Scotland. He then turned his attention to Shane Taylor, and offers him a bride to forfeit the match (Daniels noted that Taylor has worked with SCU in the past after being paid off). Taylor mulls it over, but turns down the offer, saying that he doesn’t lie down for anyone. The match ends up happening as scheduled, and it was a pretty decent opener. It only went about six minutes or so, but it featured some decent action throughout. At one point, Sky started to bleed from the mouth a little bit (I’m guessing he either bit his tongue or busted his lip), so if you’re someone who likes to see accidental blood in their wrestling occasionally, this might’ve added to the match a little bit.
The Addiction (who left before the bout began) came back out and tried to interfere, but their attempt was easily thwarted, and Taylor got the win after hitting Sky with his Rikishi Driver style finisher. While the crowd didn’t seem that into it until the very end, this was still a perfectly fine match overall. **3/4
Afterwards, The Addiction took the mic and called out LIJ, saying that they wanted their match to happen right now.
Non-Title – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) def. The Addiction
As expected, the crowd in Edinburgh were firmly behind EVIL & SANADA in this one. This was a perfectly fine tag team encounter, but considering who was involved, it definitely could’ve been better. The match went about ten minutes or so, there was solid action throughout, and the fans seemed to be into it (more than the opener, anyway). However, this just lacked a certain energy. It was the second match on the card, and these four wrestled like it was the second match on the card, if that makes any sense. Again, this was a generally good bout from start to finish, though it was on the low end of what these two teams are capable of. EVIL got the pin on Daniels after hitting his EVIL STO, which made a ton of sense, since the “King Of Darkness” was getting a shot at the ROH World Title on the second night of this tour. ***1/4
Chardonnay & Kelly Klein def. Women Of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai & Tenille Dashwood
This was the ROH debut of Chardonnay, who was getting a title shot against Sumie Sakai on the third night of the tour in Doncaster. The only things I knew about Chardonnay coming in were that she was from the UK, and that she’s worked some Stardom tours in the last year.
It was a fine match, with some decent action, but aside from that, there wasn’t much substance to it. They did an ok job with building up Sakai’s title defense against Chardonnay, but I was surprised that Chardonnay didn’t at least get the pin here to establish herself before that match. Instead, Kelly Klein rolled up Tenille Dashwood for the three count after some shenanigans involving the Women Of Honor Title itself. That was an underwhelming finish that capped off a below average tag team bout. **1/4
Punishment Martinez def. Kenny King
These two are embroiled in their own individual feuds at the moment (King with Silas Young over the ROH World TV Title, and Martinez with Adam Page), but they faced off here in singles action in Edinburgh. This ended up being a pretty solid match. The crowd seemed to be firmly behind King at the start, and while the bout got off to a slow start (mainly the first minute), things picked up from there. There was some good back and forth action between the two, but eventually, Martinez caught King with the South Of Heaven Chokeslam to get the win. Again, this relatively good for the eleven or so minutes that it got, but didn’t appear to be overly interested, aside from the initial reaction for King and one or two big moves during the match itself. ***1/4
The Young Bucks def. Mark Haskins & NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis
It’s been several years since the NWA World Heavyweight Title has appeared in ROH. The story here is that Nick Aldis wanted some “prerequisites” to be met before he defends his title against Cody at All In (if he’s still the champion).
One of those “prerequisites” was that he got a big money match in ROH, and when it comes to the current roster, it doesn’t get more big money than The Young Bucks. Commentary noted that ROH officials tried to get Doug Williams in for this bout (in a reunion of The British Invasion from TNA), but they couldn’t due to a scheduling conflict on this particular day.
Thus, Mark Haskins (who was making his first appearance in ROH since beating Silas Young during the War Of The Worlds UK Tour last August) stepped up to the plate to team with Nick Aldis. To the surprise of nobody, The Young Bucks scored the victory in what was a really good tag team encounter. There was entertaining action from start to finish, and for once, the crowd was invested in the entire match. The early edge went to The Young Bucks, but then the team of Aldis and Haskins isolated Matt Jackson for a few minutes until he was able to make the tag to his brother. From there, the action really picked up, and there were some fun exchanges in the closing stages. In one particular spot, Aldis got Matt Jackson up for a tombstone, and Haskins gives Nick Jackson a hurricanrana off the top rope, which forces Nick to inadvertently hit the Meltzer Driver on this own brother. The Young Bucks were able to recover, however, and got the win after hitting a Meltzer Driver of their own on Haskins. This was on the lower end of Young Bucks matches, but even their lesser stuff is still very solid. As for the other side, Aldis was ok, but it was clear that Haskins (who I hope gets more shots with ROH) was a much better wrestler than him. ***3/4
The Boys def. Delirious & Toru Yano
When looking through the cards for this Honor United Tour, I knew that I had to check out this show, just so I could see this tag team encounter. The Boys vs. Delirious & Tour Yano? What a strange, yet unique, matchup.
Now I fully expected this to be all comedy, and that’s pretty much what we got. This didn’t get as many laughs from me as the Colt Cabana/Toru Yano match from last October (just for comparison’s sake), but as a whole, it was still very entertaining, and that’s all I was looking for. Delirious and Yano were fun together, and The Boys had various moments to shine. In the end, The Boys would pick up the win after pinning Delirious. My only critique would be that twelve minutes was a tad too long (ten minutes is probably the maximum for this kind of match), but other than that, I enjoyed this for what it was. **1/2
As The Boys were celebrating their win, Bully Ray ran out and attacked them both, which continued his ongoing storyline. I’m just happy that he didn’t insist on wasting our time with a ten minute promo.
ROH World TV Title – Silas Young (c) def. Joe Hendry
This isn’t the first time Joe Hendry has wrestled in ROH, as he appeared on the Reach For The Sky Tour back in 2016. On this night, the “Local Hero” got a shot at the ROH World TV Title in his hometown. The match as a whole was relatively good, though it certainly could’ve been a little better. There was some solid action in the opening minutes as well as in the final few minutes, but the middle portion of the bout was pretty dull (while Young was grounding the match to a halt). The crowd was 100% behind Hendry in this one, and their energy definitely added to this one. However, it still felt like this match was missing something. If only the middle wasn’t as flat as it was. Anyway, there was a great moment towards the end where Hendry was able to lock in his Half Crab Ankle Lock in on Young. This brought the crowd in Edinburgh to their feet, and for a moment, it looked like a title change was about to happen. However, Young was able to escape, and he poked Hendry in the eyes shortly thereafter. He then followed up with Misery to retain his title. ***1/4
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles – The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & TK O’Ryan) def. ROH World Champion Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, & Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was originally scheduled to be a non-title affair, but earlier in the day, The Kingdom decided to make it a title match. For the most part, this was incredibly average. They played a lot to the crowd early (with the babyface team getting a ton of positive reactions), but the actual wrestling was very basic and pedestrian. This was basically worked like a long house show match (it went close to nineteen minutes, by the way). Jay Lethal probably worked the hardest out of the guys on the babyface side. Tanahashi did some of his signature stuff, which is what we’ve come to expect from him in these types of matches.
As for Dalton Castle, he really didn’t do much, since he was still visibly injured (he had tape wrapped around one of his legs). Towards the end of the bout, we got some shenanigans. Taven accidentally took out the referee, which led to EVIL coming out. He hit Castle over the head with his half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Of course, EVIL would be challenging for the ROH World Title two nights later on London, so his involvement did make sense. Then, Lethal went for the Lethal Injection on Marseglia, but with the referee still down, Taven hit the former ROH World Champion with his walking stick. This led to The Kingdom retaining their titles after they hit the Rockstar Supernova on Lethal. While this wasn’t the worst match on the show, it was incredibly average. The length hurt it as well, and the stuff at the end didn’t help much either. **1/2
ROH World Tag Team Titles – The Briscoes def. The Bullet Club (Cody & “The Hangman” Adam Page with Brandi Rhodes)
While The Briscoes are on a collision course with The Young Bucks (who they will meet at Best In The World at the end of June), they faced off with another team from The Bullet Club in the main event of this show, as Cody & Adam Page challenged for the titles. This was a really solid tag team encounter, though I wouldn’t call it the best match on this card. From start to finish, the action was pretty good, aside from a dull section the middle. The crowd was a mixed bag during this one. They were into The Bullet Club for sure, but at other points, they didn’t seem to be that into the match. As for the performers themselves, Cody did a fine job (he’s much better in a tag team setting than he is in a singles bout), and Adam Page had some great interactions with The Briscoes. Speaking of which, this was definitely better than the title defense against Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI a few weeks ago.
The Briscoes have certainly had a down year thus far, but they’re far from bad. Underwhelming is probably the more appropriate word to use. Anyway, we did get a few shenanigans here, though they weren’t as egregious as the previous match. At one point, Brandi Rhodes sprayed something into the eyes of Jay Briscoe, which was odd, since The Bullet Club team were the de facto babyfaces here. The match ended after Jay Briscoe hit a low blow on Adam Page behind the referee’s back, and followed up with the Jay Driller. ***1/2
The first stop on the Honor United Tour was a fine show that had its fair share of ups and downs. I wouldn’t call anything on this card “bad”, but there were a couple of very average matches (the women’s tag, the semi-main event). The crowd didn’t help much on this particular event, as they were really a mixed bag the entire night. Sometimes they would react, and at other times, they didn’t. The two bouts involving The Bullet Club are the only things you need to see from this show, with The Young Bucks vs. Nick Aldis & Mark Haskins being the match of the night. Once again, this was a fine show overall, but aside from a couple of tag team encounters, there’s not much else to see.