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Csonka’s ROH: Winner Takes All Review 2.27.16

February 27, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s ROH: Winner Takes All Review 2.27.16  

Csonka’s ROH: Winner Takes All Review 2.27.16

ROH TV Title Match: Champion Tomohiro Ishii defeated Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish @ 8:40 via pin [**½]
Grudge Match: BJ Whitmer defeated Adam Page @ 9:20 via pin [*]
– Hirooki Goto defeated Dalton Castle @ 9:49 via pin [**¾]
– Alex Shelley defeated Christopher Daniels @ 9:41 via pin [**]
– Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin defeated Mark & Jay Briscoe @ 14:50 @ via pin [***]
Non-Title Match: IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada defeated Moose @ 10:30 via pin [***]
NEVER Openweight Six Man Title Match: Champions The ELITE defeated ACH, Matt Sydal & KUSHIDA @ 17:00 via pin [****¼]
No DQ ROH Tag Team Title Match: Champions War Machine defeated The All Night Xpress @ 11:20 via pin [**]
ROH World Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal defeated Adam Cole (BAY BAY) and Kyle O’Reilly @ 13:45 via pin [***¾]

– Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III are on commentary.

ROH TV Title Match: Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish: Not a bad ideal to start with this match, as it allows them to get the triple threat matches far away from one another. It will be interesting to see how Ishii does in the match format, because it’s not something he works in Japan. Strong attacked both men before the bell, because he’s a dick. After the brief opening brawl, it broke down into the predictable three-way formula, with Ishii taking the first powder. Ishii returned and Fish took a powder. Strong and Ishii had some good back and forth, including Ishii no selling Strong’s chops. Fish returned at about 4:30, got to run wild for a bit as all three were finally back in. Ishii then started suplexing dudes, and got a good reaction for this. Ishii then stacked Fish up after a powerbomb, and the ref held up because either Fish didn’t kick out or Strong didn’t make the save. It was very obvious and didn’t come off well. Ishii appeared to be pissed off because he was murdering them with clotheslines, even more so than usual. Strong fought back and hit the running knee, the gut buster, the sick kick and then a strong hold, but Ishii survived long enough for Fish to make the save. Strong hit Fish with the jumping knee, Ishii avoided and got a near fall off of the sliding clothesline. He then hit the brainbuster and that was that. I liked Ishii retaining, and post match Fish seemingly challenged him for a match since he was not pinned. I was surprised that Strong took the pin here. Overall this was a solid opener, but it felt too much of a slave to the formula, and the blown near fall came off poorly.

Grudge Match: Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer: Page attacked right away and cleared Whitmer to the floor to almost no reaction. It took a couple of minutes of brawling on the floor to get the crowd into it, Whitmer hit a back breaker on the barricade, and Page was then right back up and fighting back. Like, within seconds he was just back and throwing punches and fighting. Whitmer actually got the heat off of an eye poke. Whitmer worked the heat, which was basically a regular wrestling match, and the crowd was mostly dead for it. Page fired up and started a big babyface comeback to no reaction. Page had good fire, but they aren’t making anyone care about anything they are doing. What they are doing is technically fine, nothing special and doesn’t feel like any sort of good grudge match so far. We got some smatterings of “BJ SUCKS” chants, but they would last a few seconds and die into the black hole of silence. Whitmer teased a piledriver on the apron, they then did an emotionless back and forth striking battle and Page hit his shooting star press off the apron. Page introduced a chair, the ref took it, Whitmer used a low blow and roll up for the win. Post match Page tried to get revenge on Whitmer, but he escaped. Page then beat up some security guys, which also had no heat whatsoever. This match had no life, no real flow and felt like a poor TV match, not quite hot garbage, but not good at all. Not only did the match have no heat, but they failed to get any heat back on Page post match because no one cared. Everyone keeps telling me how much of a great heel Whitmer is, but he did nothing to make this crowd hate him or make them root for Page. On the flip side, Page really did nothing to make you care about him either.

Hirooki Goto vs. Dalton Castle w/The Boys: Castle has some extra Boys with him tonight. They did some basic mat work, Got eventually started to get the advantage with his power and Castle took a powder to get a fanning from the Boys. Castle looks to use his amateur wresting, which did work for a bit, but Goto took control back and hit a top rope elbow and that got a near fall. Castle again tried to fire and mount a comeback, doing so with elbows and a running knee. Goto countered the bang-a-rang, and then hit the Saito suplex for a near fall. They battled to the floor, Castle got a head scissors and then hit a missile dropkick when they got back in the ring for a near fall. Castle scored another near fall with a trapped, delayed, German suplex. The crowd was more into this at this point than anything so far, as they love Castle. It broke down into a big striking battle, and then after some issues getting into it, Goto hit a Shouten Kai for the win. Overall an improvement over the previous matches, with some fun stuff from Castle and the reminder to those who forget that he can wrestle.

– The Brian Kendrick is out to do commentary, and looks like Drew Galloway’s mini-me.

Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels w/Kaz: Kaz and Daniels tried to scheme to get the better of Shelley, but Shelley fought it off early and then hit a high score to the floor. The worst part here is that the ref is watching this, and not doing anything as Kaz gets involved again for the distraction. Shelley and Daniels were working a rock solid match once they got past the bullshit. Just as I say that, Kaz once again gets involved. This time he was smart enough to do it when the ref as not looking. Shelley would fight off Kaz and try to make a comeback on Daniels. The crowd was not really reacting to his comeback and then Kaz got involved to distract him once again. Who could possibly care? Shelley went for sliced bread, Kaz distracted him again, they distracted the ref and Sabin made his way out and stopped Daniels from cheating, allowing Shelley to pick up the win. Sabin and Shelley cleared the ring of Daniels and Kaz as the crowd chanted for Motor City. They hugged and the Motor City Machine Guns are back. Considering the lack of fucks given and the largely poor angle leading into this, I was surprised that the crowd card about the reunion. Don’t get me wrong, they are way better together (if they can stay healthy) than apart, and will be a good addition to the tag division. But I felt it could have been built to better. The match was rough because it felt that every time they got a flow going, we got the bullshit with Kaz. It came off as way too much, especially when the ref was staring right at him. It was a solid match.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe: Tanahashi is working with the shoulder injury, so it will be interesting to see how much he actually does here. No code of honor for Tanahashi, because he doesn’t respect chicken farmers. Elgin worked the opening stretch, hitting the stalling vertical along with Tanahashi hitting a regular suplex. The Briscoes would eventually get control after Mark hit the block buster on the floor onto Elgin. They got the heat on Tanahashi, which was a methodical and more old school feeling heat as they isolated him in their corner. Elgin got the tag, I’d call it hot but id’ be lying, and ran wild and did his usual power stuff. The crowd started to react to the power stuff, more so than anything else in the match to this point. It broke down with all four men involved, Elgin and Tanahashi looked to finish things off but Jay sent Tanahashi to the floor. The Briscoes ran through some fun double teams and got a near fall off of a Jay frog splash. They continued to work over Elgin, but Mark then got sent to the floor and Elgin fought off Jay and got the tag to Tanahashi. Tanahashi did his best to fight them off, but the Briscoes worked him over with double teams and Mark hit froggy bow and that got a good near fall. Elgin then saved Tanahashi from the doomsday device and then Elgin slammed Tanahashi onto Mark for another near fall. Jay got dumped, slingblade on Mark, Elgin bomb and then the high fly flow finished off Mark. Good effort from all four guys, and it was the best match on the card so far. Tanahashi worked hard and didn’t take the night off and while they had an uphill battle with the crowd, I enjoyed this overall.

Non-Title Match: IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada w/Gedo vs. Moose w/Stokley Hathway: This is a huge test for Moose. They both teased the corner dropkicks early, with Moose connecting with two dropkicks early. Moose missed a charge on the floor, leading to Okada hitting a high cross over the barricade. Back in the ring, Okada took control of things, grounding Moose. Moose came back with jabs, did the Road Warrior Hawk no sell of a DDT and leveled Okada with a lariat for a near fall. Moose then hit a powerbomb and a buckle bomb, which got a near fall. Okada avoided the spear, Moose posted himself and after a double down they traded rights. Okada hit a neck breaker for the near fall, and then hit the top rope elbow for a near fall and did the Rainmaker pose. Moose countered the Rainmaker, and hit a run up high cross. Moose mocked Okada’s pose, Okada avoided the spear and then hit a dropkick. Another connected, and then Okada hit the Rainmaker and that was that. This was a good match overall, with Moose working hard and Okada giving him a lot at times. It wasn’t the breakout performance from moose many had hoped for, but it was a good match.

NEVER Openweight Six Man Title Match: Champions The ELITE (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) vs. ACH, Matt Sydal & KUSHIDA: This should be a ton of fun and could really help turn the show around. The Elite got an insane reaction, and the crowd was into everyone, which was a great sign considering the reactions from earlier in the show. This was a fast paced match, with a ton of fun and athletic stuff as you would expect. Omega caught Sydal on the floor at one point and hit a German suplex onto the ramp and then the Bucks hit dives. The Bucks then did the terminator drums for Omega, as he rose and then hit a dive onto all of his opponents. The ELITE then got the heat on Sydal, who I thought was dead, but he’s apparently just mostly dead. Sydal had a lot of fight, and finally got the hot tag to KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA ran wild, there was some miscommunication with the ELITE, and KUSHIDA then hit a dive off the top onto the Bucks. KUSHIDA running wild on Omega, and hit a moonsault for a near fall and then got the hover board lock. Omega then Herc’d him up and buckle bombed him. A gut wrench into a sitout powerbomb got the near fall for Omega. Really good back and forth between KUSHIDA and Omega here. ACH finally got back in and he got some time to run wild, avoided a superkick and got the stunner on Matt for a near fall. It broke down from there, leading to dives and the crowd getting into everything they did. The faces then took control back in the ring, and after a series of team moves, they got a near fall on Matt. We then got superkicks and superkick counters, and that led to the ELITE working over Sydal with a series on constant offense. Sydal survived a triple superkick, fought off the tiger Hatori special, and the faces then made the big comeback. Omega then hit KUSHIDA with the tombstone on the floor, and then they hit the Meltzer Driver and one winged angle on Sydal for the murder death kill finish. That was a great athletic spectacle, and exactly what I wanted it to be and what it needed to be on this show as they got the crowd to come alive. It was a fun and well done exercise in chaos and athleticism. All six-men played their part perfectly (Sydal was REALLY great though), and you really could not ask for anything more. It’s going to be very hard to follow that, so, it sucks to be War Machine and the ANX.

No DQ ROH Tag Team Title Match: Champions War Machine (Hanson and Rowe) vs. The All Knight Xpress (Kenny King & Rhett Titus): They brawled on the floor right away, Hanson dropped Titus on a spot where War Machine was supposed to catch dives by the ANX. They brawled, guys got tossed around and King got put through a table. The champions isolated Titus, brought chairs into the ring and wedged then in the corners. The ANX fought back and tossed War Machine into chair, and even with the weapons there is next to no heat here. Poor match placement overall, as this needed to go on before the six-man. We have four men here, doing stuff and using weapons and no one cares. Add in the fact that the shine was off the ANX return quickly and no one really cares about them; we have an audience that does not care. Titus survived fallout (what a waste), and then Hanson got knocked off the top and through a table on the floor. Rowe then kicked out of the one night stand, and no one cared. ANX got a ladder, but Hanson returned and saved Rowe. Rowe then hit a uranage on King through a ladder bridge. Fallout on Titus and that was thankfully that. It’s disappointing to watch a match were four guys are out there killing each other for no fucks to be given, but that’s what we had here. This falls on the booking, sure the crowd has been rough all night, but when you have a feud that no one has really cared about placed after a match that blows the doors off anything else on the show, this is what happens. I wasn’t a fan of the feud going into the show, I felt it was very flat, and despite the guys killing themselves out there (which is appreciated) they did nothing to get me into this match. They likely should have saved this for a TV main event where it could have been featured and built to better.

ROH World Title Match: Champion Jay Lethal w/Truth Martini & Taeler Hendricks vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole (BAY BAY): By the time the match started, they had roughly 20-minutes of PPV time left due to poor time management. After some arguing, they all brawled, and immediately went into the three-way formula as Lethal took a powder. They did some spots with all three, but would then go right back to the one on one with someone on the floor. Cole and O’Reilly got a good amount of time to work together, which was good stuff. Lethal and O’Reilly had some good back and forth as Cole was sent to the floor. Cole would then return, leading to O’Reilly hitting a dropkick on both from the top. Rock solid action early, good even, just not much heat like a lot of the card. O’Reilly had a cool counter to the lethal injection, getting a choke, but Cole tossed him to the floor and Coe then went after Lethal and got the figure four. O’Reilly would return and get the arm bar on Cole, forcing him to release the hold on Lethal. All three brawled to the floor, Lethal took control and then hit the triple dive spot onto Cole and O’Reilly. Martini then did the Truth-a-rooni in the ring. O’Reilly was down, so Cole and Lethal went back and forth. O’Reilly retuned and got shoved into the Lethal injection, Cole tossed O’Reilly and hit the brainbuster on the knee for a near fall. Cole foolishly brought O’Reilly back in, Lethal tossed Cole and O’Reilly then hit the tornado DDY into the brain buster and then tried for the arm bar. Lethal fought, O’Reilly got the triangle and as Cole came in O’Reilly got the ankle lock on him. The ref checked Lethal’s arm, and Cole has to SAVE him by stopping his arm from dropping the third time, which was an awesome spot. It broke down into the three-way brawl, great fire from all three guys here. Lethal ended up hitting the lethal injection on both Cole and O’Reilly as they fought, and that allowed him to retain the title, pinning Cole. The finish works for the booking, because Cole and O’Reilly have unresolved issues. O’Reilly will likely get the next big match against Cole and win (and O’Reilly did not lose here), leading to the title shot against Lethal. I think that running short on time was actually a benefit here, as some ROH main events can be long in the tooth and this was not the crowd to do that with. Also the match had a great flow and felt action filled the entire time, which was also good.

* End scene.

* Thanks for reading.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Average
The 411
Like many ROH events, this felt like a huge opportunity missed. This was their anniversary show and it did not come off as an important event, it felt like just a show. The crowd was bad, but that is not just “the crowd’s fault.” The booking leading to some of these matches was poor. Changing PPV matches the week of the show was a poor move. The placement of the matches was questionable. If you have questionable build and match placement, and change things the week of (and not for the better) and you will have a crowd that either rebels or worse in this case, doesn’t care. Some say that guys like Okada and Tanahashi never losing in ROH is an issue, and while it can be, it’s not the problem, Laying out matches that build properly and make you buy near falls with these guys is what has to be done, they did that in the Tanahashi tag, but the Okada vs. Moose match lacked that. It can be done, it was the trick of the great Taker matches for years (vs. Batista, Edge, HBK and HHH) as they made you believe in some of the near falls, they took you on an emotional journey. You have to tell the right stories and make the people care about the journey, and they will react.

The second half of the show was an improvement, but overall this was a decidedly average show, and considering the $35 price tag, I cannot give he show a recommendation.