Steve Wille attended the Ring of Honor show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 13th, 2015. Here are his spoiler-free thoughts on the event and recent ROH news:
- In my eyes, match of the night went to the one-on-one battle between Roderick Strong and Cedrick Alexander. Alexander looks to be gaining momentum that was surprisingly slowed early last year, and Roderick Strong has been a candidate for Wrestler of the Year in 2015. The contest was a hard-hitting affair, and, unlike some of the other bouts, there ended up being a doubt whether Roddy would win due to Cedric’s performance. Sadly, it was reported in Minnesota that Strong suffered a concussion during the bout; hopefully, this won’t lead to a long-term absence for him.
- The best-of-five series between ACH and Matt Sydal came to its climax in Milwaukee, with an exciting match that played off of the previous four battles. One would think that in a match between these two high-flyers, aerial maneuvers would be on display, but I more enjoyed Sydal’s unique yoga-inspired submission moves. Throughout the series, ACH ramped up his cockiness, to the point where our group wondered if he was going to turn heel. But, alas, both men shook hands after the match, showing each other mutual respect.
- The Kingdom of Michael Bennett and Matt Taven had a really fun brawl with ReDRagon. Matt Taven endeared himself to the Milwaukee faithful at the Raising the Bar event in March 2014, offering to buy the crowd shots if he defeated then-champion Adam Cole for the world title. Alas, he came up short in that effort, but not before the crowd started chanting “Shots” during every one of Taven’s offensive moves, reminiscent of the Balls Mahoney chants of ECW-fame. This chant has followed Taven to every subsequent Milwaukee event, and here, both ReDRagon and the Kingdom played to the crowd’s chants, enhancing the entertainment factor of the match.
- There has been some gossip, including on some of Place to be Nation’s podcasts, that Ring of Honor’s relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling has forced the booking team to capitulate to NJPW’s demands. Some point to the main event of Final Battle, AJ Styles challenging Jay Lethal for the ROH World Title, as proof of this. However, Styles challenging for the belt at the final PPV of the year looked to be in the plans since 2014 when Styles started working more for ROH. Then, there was speculation amongst staffers at our website that Jay Briscoe might hold the title until Final Battle 2015, eventually ending his streak to the aforementioned Styles. How much influence NJPW holds over ROH’s plans remains largely unknown, but the main event at Final Battle looks to be an intriguing match-up.
- At the risk of sounding negative about one of my favorite wrestlers of the moment, Dalton Castle is definitely missing something without the boys and massive peacock regalia.
- After the weekend’s events, Ring of Honor announced a new television deal with Sinclair-owned startup channel Comet. Though finding an in-house television provider with a greater reach than the syndicated channels might seem to be a good deal, this is definitely a step down from the Destination America contract. At this point, most stations will be carrying Comet as a digital over-the-air channel, making it extremely complex to get in our instant streaming generation. The hope is that, with some success, Sinclair can get clearance on additional cable and satellite companies, further expanding its reach.