ROH TV Title: Tomohiro Ishii vs Roderick Strong vs Bobby Fish
This is the first title defense by Ishii and as far as I know his first appearance in North America. Strong attacks both Ishii and Fish early hitting kicks and knee-strikes. It is primarily one-on-one action early on with each taking a turn outside. Strong and Ishii start exchanging strikes and Strong hits a nice dropkick. Ishii powerslams Strong and Fish comes in and hits strong with knees and a back elbow. Fish gives Strong an exploder suplex onto Ishii. Strong tries to superplex Fish but receives a back suplex from Ishii who then gives Fish a delayed superplex. Ishii hits a clothesline and a folding powerbomb on Fish for a near-fall. All three men trade strikes. Ishii give Fish a headbutt and a lariat. Strong gives Ishii a jumping knee, a double-knee gutbuster, a sick-kick and a stronghold Boston Crab. Fish breaks up a pin and gets Strong in an ankle lock but Strong kicks his way out. Ishii takes jumping knees from both opponents and then hits Strong with a headbutt and a sliding lariat. Ishii then gives Strong a brainbuster and pines him to retain the title. The finish was a surprise but I am quite happy with it. The match was a lot better than I expected as I assumed the three-way dynamic would be difficult but this told a simple story and was just the right length. Fish and Ishii face off after the match.
Adam Page vs BJ Whitmer
They attack each other with punches right away. Page clotheslines Whitmer over the top rope and dumps him throat-fist on the guardrail. They brawl on the floor and Page dropkicks Whitmer. Page gets dropped back-first on the guardrail and they trade chops and return to the ring. Whitmer gives Page a vertical suplex and chops him on the ropes. Whitmer gives Page a back suplex. Page comes back with punches, a clothesline, a back elbow and another clothesline. Page dropkicks Whitmer but shortly after gets powerslammed. Page hits a knee-strike and a lariat. Whitmer guillotines Page on the top rope and teases a piledriver on the apron but they trade punches instead. Page knocks Whitmer to the floor and hits him with a shooting star press off the apron. Page brings a chair into the ring. Whitmer gets it and swings it but Page grabs it and referee Todd Sinclair takes it away from him. With the referee distracted, Whitmer gives Page a low kick and rolls him up for the pin. This was another good match although I would much prefer to have seen Page win.
Hirooki Goto vs Dalton Castle
The fans give Goto a good reaction. Castle comes out with six “Boys” who all make a human staircase for him to climb into the ring. They exchange holds early on and Castle rests on the top rope while the Boys fan him. Castle attempts a gutwrench suplex but takes elbows from Goto before successfully suplexing him. Goto hits strikes, a clothesline and a top-rope elbow. Castle fights back with strikes and a clothesline. Goto comes off the top rope but Castle catches him and gives him an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Goto hits him with kicks and a Saito suplex. Goto beats Castle around ringside but Castle hits a hurracanrana on the floor. Castle hits a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Castle hits a deadlift delayed German suplex. They trade elbows and clotheslines. Goto gives Castle a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker. Goto attempts a shouten kai and doesn’t get it at first but his second attempt for the pinfall victory. Castle was easily the best of the two wrestlers in this match and it is really feeling like he should be ROH Champion in the next couple years.
Alex Shelley vs Christopher Daniels
\We see footage of an angle with Chris Sabin stopping a beatdown of Shelly by his partners Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. For this match, Brian Kendrick joins the commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III. Shelley takes control early and hangs Daniels in the tree of woe then gas-pedals him and hits a dropkick. Shelley throws Daniels outside and goes for a dive but Kazarian trips him. Kazarian holds Shelley for a charging Shelly who escapes and then hits a planch on Daniels and Kazarian. Shelly is climbing into the ring but gets crotched on the ropes and Daniels takes over. Daniels hits elbows, a chinbreaker and an STO. Daniels slingshots in for an elbow but Shelley escapes. Daniels hits a gourdbuster and a moonsault and applies crossface with Shelley getting a rope break. The referee is distracted by Daniels allowing Kazarian to give Shelly a legdrop on the apron. Shelly hits a baseball slide dropkick on Kazarian and gives Daniels an enzuiguri. Shelley hits a back elbow, a clothesline and a dropkick. Shelley gives Daniels a flatliner into the turnbuckle and hits a crossbody off the top rope. Daniels hits Shelley with a clothesline to the back of the head. Daniels hits another STO and Shelley avoids the Best Moonsault Ever. Kazarian enters the ring and Daniels grabs a bullet-belt. Sabin runs in and stops him and Shelley rolls up Daniels for the win. Sabin and Shelley then fight off Kazarian and Daniels and re-unite as The Motor City Machine Guns. This was a good and sensible angle to finish what was a good match with Shelley looking strong.
Jay and Mark Briscoe vs Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi
The Briscoes do a strong promo to build up the match. Jay and Elgin tie up to start the match before trading strikes. Jay hits strikes and a headbutt but Elgin press-slams him and hits a clothesline. Elgin gives Jay a delayed vertical suplex. Mark tries to cut it off but takes a vertical suplex from Tanahashi. Mark and Tanahashi then face off with Tanahashi doing air guitar and Mark doing red neck kung fu. Jay and Tanahashi tag in and Mark gives Elgin a blockbuster off the apron to the floor. Jay hits Tanahashi with a rolling elbow. Mark tags in and gives Tanahashi a Russian legsweep and the Briscoes take over. Tanahashi tries for a tag but Mark puts him in a sleeper. Mark gives Tanahashi a death valley driver and then Jay hits one as well. Tanahashi comes back with a back elbow and a crossbody on Mark and tags in Elgin who hits a shoulder block off the top rope. Elgin hits Jay off the apron and hits Mark with an enzuiguri and two German suplexes. Jay stops a third but Elgin hits him with a German. Mark comes off the top rope with a cross body but Elgin catches Mark and gives him a shouten kai. Jay hits a superkick and Mark unloads on both Elgin and Tanahashi but they hit him a German Suplex/superkick combination. Mark takes Elgin to the top rope and hits him with iconoclasm followed by a top rope splash from Hay for a near-fall. The Briscoes start headbutting Elgin. Mark clotheslines him but gets backdropped to the floor. Elgin fights back against Jay and this an elbow. Tanahashi tags in and hits strikes on the Briscoes. Tanahashi hits Mark with a basement dropkick and gives Jay a dragon-screw legwhip. Jay forearms Tanahashi to the mat and Mark dropkicks Elgin to the floor. Mark gives Tanahashi a uranage and Jay gives him a neckbreaker. Mark hits Froggy ‘Bow on Tanahashi who kicks out. Elgin breaks up the Briscoes’ doomsday device and gives Jay a death valley driver into Mark. Jay slams Tanahashi onto one of the Briscoes for a two-count. Tanahashi hits the High Fly Flow on Mark for the win. This was a good match although I don’t know that Tanahashi had to kick out of the Froggy ‘Bow if he was going on to win. This does do well in putting over Elgin and Tanahashi for a shot at the ROH Tag Titles or IWGP Tag Titles.
Moose vs Kazuchika Okada
This is the big opportunity for Moose against the IWGP Champion. Moose puts Okada on the top rope right away and teases a dropkick and then Okada does the same. Moose hits Okada with a dropkick and then takes two boots to the face. Moose places Okada on the top rope and dropkicks him to the floor. Moose goes for a dive but Okada escapes. Moose goes outside and swings Okada into the ring barricade and the ringpost. Okada avoids a charging Moose who flies into the front row where Okada hits him with a crossbody. Okada takes Moose inside and hits him with a seated dropkick. Moose fights out of a chinlock with elbows. Okada hits a DDT but Moose pops up it and hits a clothesline. Moose hits a powerbomb, a buckle bomb and a boot to the face for a pin attempt. Okada avoids a spear by Moose and throws him into the ringpost and then pancakes him. Okada hits Moose with forearms and Moose counters with strikes. Okada gives Moose a kryptonite crunch and hits a top rope elbow-drop. Moose avoids a Rainmaker and hits a crossbody off the second rope. Moose misses a spear attempt and Okada misses a Rainmaker. Okada misses a dropkick but hits on a second attempt. Okada then hits the Rainmaker for the pinfall. I thought this match was well-done without getting more complicated than it needed to be. Moose looked strong in losing to a top star like Okada.
Never Openweight Six-Man Titles: Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs ACH, Matt Sydal and Kushida
ACH is the only man entering the match without a championship. Omega comes to the ring sweeping a broom and singing into it like a microphone and he gets a big reaction. We see lots of quick tags in and out early on. ACH hits dropkicks on both Bucks and a Thesz press and other Steve Austin offence on Omega. Sydal and Omega face off and Sydal hits kicks and a hurracanrana. The Bucks come in and Sydal hits a double-rana on them. The Bucks superkick Sydal off the apron right onto the shoulders of Omega who gives him an electric chair on the ramp. The Bucks hit double tope suicidas. Omega hits a tope con giro. Omega hits Sydal with elbows and a backbreaker and the Bucks hit him with a double-team backbreaker. Sydal fights back with kicks on Nick and Kushida gets the hot tag and hits Omega. Kushida gets a handspring elbow on Nick and an enzuiguri on Omega. Kushida gives Omega a backbreaker and hits a plancha to the Bucks on the floor. Kushida gives Omega an inverted atomic drop, a cartwheel dropkick and a moonsault. Omega fights back and throws Kushida into kicks from the Bucks. Omega hits Kushida with a sit-out powerbomb. Kushida hits a rolling elbow and a back-kick. ACH tags in and dropkicks Omega and then kicks him from the apron. ACH jumps in and faceplants Matt who avoids a dive. ACH hits a stone cold stunner for a nearfall. Nick slingshots in for a facebuster on ACH and everyone is trading kicks on the outside where ACH hits a step-up tope con giro. Kushida, Sydal and ACH team up on Matt and Sydal double-stomps him for a pin attempt. Matt and Kushida face off and Kushida hurts his hand off a punch and takes a superkick. The Bucks start throwing superkicks everywhere. Matt whips Omega into Sydal and the Bucks team up on him. Matt holds Sydal on the ropes for a swanton from Nick. Omega hits a snap German suplex. Omega and the Bucks hit a triple-superkick for a pin attempt broken up by ACH. Omega hits Sydal with a Finlay roll but Sydal gets his knees up for Omega’s senton. Sydal hits a Spanish Fly. ACH and Kushida hit a midnight star combination. Kushida does a pescado but gets caught by Omega. Sydal climbs to the top rope and sees Omega tombstone Kushida on the floor. The Bucks superkick Sydal and then do a Meltzer Driver on Sydal. Omega gives Sydal the one-winged angel and then he and the Bucks do a triple-pin to win the match and keep the titles. This was a great match and Omega and the Bucks are a great act.
ROH Tag Team Titles: War Machine of Raymond Rowe and Hanson vs The All-Night Express of Kenny King and Rhett Titus
This match is no-disqualification. All four men start brawling outside right away. King and Titus both do pescados but get caught by Hanson and Rowe who throw them into each other. Hanson and Rowe beat their opponents on the ring barricades. Titus hits Rowe with an enzuigirui and then jumps at Rowe who catches him and delivers an enzuiguri. King hits shotgun knees on Rowe and Hanson backdrops King through a table. Hanson and Rowe team up on Titus in the ring. Rowe hits him with shotgun knees and Hanson hits a bronco buster. They continue to beat on Titus in the corner and bring chairs into the ring. Titus manages tow knock Hanson’s head into a chair in the corner and then teams up with King to do so again. The Express double-team Rowe with dropkicks and throw him head-first into a chair. King throws garbage can in the ring and they put it over Hanson’s head and King hits him with a spin-kick. Hanson hits King with a sitdown splash and Rowe bodyslams Hanson onto Titus. War Machine hits a double back suplex on Titus. Hanson does his cartwheel but King cuts him off. Titus gives Rowe a famouser on a chair. Hanson does his cartwheel and clotheslines both opponents. Hanson and Rowe hit Fall-Out for a near-fall. Titus pulls Rowe to the outside and Hanson goes up top. Titus fights off Rowe and King throws Hanson through a table on the floor. Titus and King hit their powerbomb-blockbuster combination on Rowe who kicks out after the finisher. Titus grabs a ladder from under the ring and drapes it between the apron and ring barricade. Hanson hits Titus with a dive. Rowe gives King a Rowe-anage through the ladder. War Machine then hits Titus with Fall-Out (backsuplex/top rope legdrop combination) to win the match. This match was a little wild at times but I really liked the finish.
ROH World Title: Jay Lethal vs Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole
Nigel McGuinness joins the commentary table. O’Reilly and Cole trade strikes early and then team up on Lethal. Cole and O’Reilly trade forearms and Lethal brings Cole outside where O’Reilly misses a pescado. Cole grabs Lethal for a fisherman buster inside and O’Reilly German suplexes both of them. O’Reilly misses an enzuiguri on Cole who hits a German suplex. Lethal grabs Cole but takes an enzuiguri. O’Reilly attempts a kimura on Cole who gives him a neckbreaker. Lethal hits Cole with a dropkick. O’Reilly kicks Cole off the apron and Lethal hits O’Reilly with an enzuiguri. Lethal and Cole start trading strikes in the ring and O’Reilly hits them both with a missile dropkick. O’Reilly hits Cole with kicks, knees and a spinning forearm. O’Reilly suplexes Cole and Lethal breaks up a pin. Lethal does a handspring but O’Reilly jumps on his back with a sleeper. Cole hits Lethal with a shining wizard. Cole puts Lethal in the figure four and O’Reilly grabs Cole in a cross armbreaker with Cole grabbing the ropes to escape. All three men brawl on the floor and Lethal and Cole end up sitting on a chair together. Lethal gets out of the way of O’Reilly who hits Cole with a missile dropkick off the apron. O’Reilly goes for a dropkick on Lethal who hits him with a superkick. Lethal then hits Cole and O’Reilly with his three tope suicidas in a role. Truth Martini enters the ring and does a spinarooni. Cole goes for a Canadian Destroyer on Lethal in the ring but Lethal stops him and hits the Lethal Combination. O’Reilly makes his way back in the ring and takes the Lethal Injection from Lethal. Cole throws O’Reilly outside and hits a neckbreaker on Lethal. Lethal guillotines Cole on the top rope. O’Reilly guillotine chokes Lethal and hits a tornado DDT. O’Reilly puts lethal in a triangle choke and gets Cole in an ankle lock. Lethal’s hand almost drops for a third time but catches his hand to stop the finish. O’Reilly hits Kawada kicks on Lethal and gets kicked by Cole. Lethal hits O’Reilly with a superkick and O’Reilly hits the Nigel Clothesline on both opponents. O’Reilly grabs Cole and Lethal his a double Lethal Injection on both of them for the pinfall win to keep the title. This match started out a little messy but got pretty good and I liked the finishing stretch.
Overall thoughts: I liked this show, especially with the fact that the matches were straightforward and not overbooked. I do think the world title scene could do with some freshening up but that doesn’t happen overnight and shows like this provide positive momentum. I continue to be really impressed with Dalton Castle. The great changes in Kenny Omega’s act cannot be praised enough and I really, really hope he is on the May 11 Toronto show I am attending which I fully expect he will be.