Ring Of Honor
Honor United: Night 3
May 27th, 2018
Kenny King & Toru Yano def. The Addiction
Before the match began, Daniels & Kazarian cut a promo running down Doncaster (basically the same stuff they’ve been doing on “Being The Elite” recently). Then, in a totally random move, Bobby Cruise introduced Tenille Dashwood as a the Special Guest Referee. I get wanting to put her on the card, but if you really wanted to use her in this role, then wouldn’t it have made more sense to make her the Special Guest Referee for the Women Of Honor Title bout later on in the show? Such a strange decision. Anyway, this was a very lighthearted opener. It was clearly a night off for all four guys (and Tenille), but they still managed to have a fun comedy match that entertained the crowd in Doncaster. We did get a spot involving Tenille where she hip tossed both Daniels & Kazarian, and she did play along with the babyface team at various points. Yano eventually got the pin on Daniels after a low blow, while King hit a simultaneous low blow on Kazarian. This was perfectly fine for what it was. **1/2
ROH World TV Title
Silas Young (c) def. Doug Williams
While Doug Williams did appear on a couple of crossover events ROH had with Preston City Wrestling back in 2015, this was the first time we’ve seen him on a proper ROH show since 2007. Interestingly enough, he actually defeated Silas Young on one of those aforementioned crossover events with PCW, so him getting this title shot is justified. This was a relatively good match, though it was by no means outstanding. Williams used his technical wrestling skill to dominate Young in the early going. Once Young managed to find an opening, we got some solid back and forth action between the two. It looked like Williams was on his way to victory, but Young blocked the Chaos Theory with a low blow (while he had the referee distracted), and retained his title after hitting Misery. I like the fact that they’ve put Young over pretty strong on this tour with three successful title defenses against a variety of opponents. However, I wish the matches were all a little bit better. All of them have been good, but none of them were very memorable. Williams looked good, but it seems obvious that he’s not exactly what he was during his runs with ROH (well over a decade ago) and TNA (around the turn of this current decade). A fine match, for sure, but it didn’t stand out that much. ***1/4
Bully Ray, Punishment Martinez, & Shane Taylor def. ROH World Champion Dalton Castle & The Boys
I’d love to know who exactly makes up the ROH “Board Of Directors” (or whoever is putting the cards together, in kayfabe), because this six-man tag was heavily tilted in favor of the heel side, on paper. Those in charge must really hate Dalton Castle & The Boys. Anyway, Bully Ray starts cut a promo before the match even began (of course he did), but this was just a distraction that allowed Martinez & Taylor to jump Castle. Bully Ray then repeatedly whipped the ROH World Champion with his chain. A number of referees come down and take Castle to the back, which effectively turned this into a handicap match. The bout didn’t start yet, however, as Bully Ray cut another promo where he egged on the crowd to chants for The Boys. Once we finally got the match, there wasn’t much to it. The heels beat up The Boys until Castle made the save. We did get one cool spot where The Boys kept getting thrown to the outside by Castle, onto their opponents, but that was the only highlight. Castle brawled to the back with Bully Ray, which left The Boys alone in the ring to get destroyed by Martinez and Taylor. Even though he did come back later on, Castle certainly wasn’t portrayed like your World Champion should be (having Bully Ray decimate him, injured or not, doesn’t look good at all). Also, the fact that Martinez and Taylor were even involved in this takes them down a peg, in my eyes. They don’t need to be associated with Bully Ray. This was pretty much a nothing match that was a night off for everyone involved. *
Jay Lethal def. Matt Taven
This continued Jay Lethal’s “Redemption Tour” of sorts, as he looks to avenge past losses. In an interesting bit of trivia, these two wrestled on the first-ever ROH PPV back in June 2014 (when Matt Taven was a babyface feuding with new House Of Truth member Jay Lethal over the ROH World TV Title). As a whole, this ended up being a pretty good match. It was certainly the best bout on the show, up to this point. This did get off to a slow start, with Lethal doing a Ric Flair impression. Once the action really got going, however, the match turned out to be very solid, which wasn’t a surprise, since these guys have faced one another plenty of times in the past. I wasn’t expecting this to be stellar, but for it’s spot on the card, it worked perfectly. Lethal would ultimately scored the victory after a Lethal Injection followed by his Hail To The King elbow drop. There’s not much else to add, beyond that. The action throughout was good, and the fans in Doncaster seemed to be into it. ***1/2
During the aforementioned Lethal/Taven match, Ian Riccaboni & BJ Whitmer mentioned that the only name Lethal still needed to face on his “Redemption Tour” was KUSHIDA. Of course, Lethal defeated KUSHIDA on the first War Of The Worlds show in 2014, but KUSHIDA managed to even things up when he defeated Lethal during the 2017 War Of The Worlds Tour. It looks like, based on what was teased on commentary, that these two will be having a match at the Best In The World PPV.
Women Of Honor Title
Sumie Sakai (c) def. Chardonnay
These two were on opposite sides of a tag team match on the first stop of the tour in Edinburgh, Scotland. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but it proved to be a surprisingly solid title bout. It went about eight minutes or so (about what I expected), and they went at a relatively quick pace, which meant that there wasn’t any downtime. The action was good, and both women played their roles well. The final few minutes featured some nice nearfalls, but in the end, Sakai managed to retain her title after hitting Smash Mouse. While this didn’t set the world on fire, it was definitely the best Women Of Honor bout on this tour. Sakai racked up another title defense, and Chardonnay looked good, despite coming up short. I wouldn’t mind seeing her make more appearances in ROH. ***
Cody (with Brandi Rhodes) def. Scorpio Sky
Scorpio Sky doesn’t exactly have a stellar record in ROH when it comes to singles competition, but nonetheless, he had a big opportunity here against a former ROH World Champion. This was a generally good one-on-one encounter, though it didn’t leave a lasting impression (isn’t that the case with most Cody singles matches?). There was fine back and forth action in this one, and even though this seemed like a Cody showcase early on, Scorpio Sky took the fight to him later on. We did get some interference towards the end, which did hurt the match a bit. Kazarian ran out and raked the eyes of Brandi Rhodes. He then took her hair spray and gave it to Sky so he could use it on Cody. Of course, this wasn’t enough to keep the “American Nightmare” down, and he won with the Cross Rhodes shortly thereafter. Even with the hair spray stuff towards the end, this was still a solid singles bout overall. ***1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. “The Hangman” Adam Page
When the lineups got announced for these UK events, this was definitely one of the most noteworthy matches. Getting a singles bout with Hiroshi Tanahashi is significant, no matter what promotion it’s in, and obviously this was another massive opportunity for Adam Page (only a few weeks after he main evented a major New Japan event against Kenny Omega). Now even though this wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting, this was still a pretty good match from start to finish. These two had some entertaining exchanges, and despite the fact that Tanahashi clearly wasn’t in “big match mode”, the wrestling as a whole was really solid. As for Page, this was far from his best singles outing, but there’s no denying that he worked hard here. The finish seemed to be a little flat, as Tanahashi pinned Page after catching him in a bridging pin, but that didn’t hurt the match too much. This definitely could’ve been better, but for a ROH show in the UK, it was fine. Adam Page has now had two singles matches with two of the top stars in New Japan during the month of May. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets more opportunities like this in the future. ***1/4
Tanahashi offered a handshake afterwards, which Page reluctantly accepted.
Non-Title Tag Team Four-Corner Survival Match – The Young Bucks def. ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) & The Kingdom (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
Even though we have two sets of tag team titles involved in this match, neither of them were on the line. Going in, I thought this main event would end up being very similar to the three-way trios affair that headlined the second show of the tour in London. Instead, it was more like the Adam Page/Hiroshi Tanahashi bout that came before it, in that it was really good, but ultimately came up just short of expectations. Aside from a dull period in the middle (when Matt Jackson was being isolated by The Briscoes), this featured entertaining action from start to finish. All four teams got the chance to shine, and we got to see more build up for the upcoming title matches involved The Young Bucks (vs. LIJ for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles at Dominion and vs. The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team Titles at Best In The World). The Kingdom were the weakest team of the bunch, and you’ve easily removed them to make this a three-way that probably would’ve been better. However, it was obviously that they were in here to take the fall (it certainly wasn’t going to be one of the other three teams). Marseglia & O’Ryan tried some shenanigans with balloons and one of their ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Title belts, but The Young Bucks were able to overcome those tricks, and got the win after hitting O’Ryan with The Meltzer Driver. Even if this didn’t end up being as great as I was hoping, it was still a fun way to close the show. ***1/2
The final stop of ROH’s Honor United Tour was a fine show. The only thing on the show that was actively bad was the six-man tag involving Bully Ray. If you take that out of the equation, then the worst thing on this event was (at the very least) entertaining. There was a lot of good wrestling up and down this card, but nothing really stood out in a big way. The crowd seemed to be invested at points, though much like the first night of the tour in Edinburgh, there were times where they seemed quiet (and that definitely hurt some of the bouts). If you’re short on time, then the main event and Lethal vs. Taven are the only two matches that are worth checking out. The rest of the undercard was solid, but again, this event just lacked that one great bout that would’ve helped it stand out more.