Ring of Honor Review – All Night Express Chases Tag-Team Gold

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2/10/16 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Kenny King and Rhett Titus def. Raymond Rowe and Hanson by disqualification; War Machine retains ROH Tag Team Championships

The early portion of the match revolved around Titus and King trying to wear down their larger opponents. King hit Rowe with an enziguiri, but Rowe answered with a gorilla press slam, then slammed Hanson down on top of Rowe as well. Hanson then powerbombed Rowe onto Titus, as War Machine continued their unique tag-team offense.

Rowe hit a backbreaker, bridging into a gutbuster on Rowe, but Titus made the save. Titus tried a dive onto Rowe outside the ring, but Rowe caught him and countered into a T-bone suplex on the floor. Hanson drove King into the barricade, and Rowe did the same to Titus.

Hanson followed up with a back bodydrop to King on the floor, and both Hanson and Titus re-entered the ring just before the 20-count. Titus quickly rolled back outside, and Hanson hit him with a dive between the ropes, which was a bit of a scary spot because Titus didn’t catch Hanson, with Hanson basically taking a face bump straight onto the floor.

Back in the ring, King hit an enziguiri on Hanson, then accidentally dropkicked the referee instead of Rowe. King added a dropkick to Rowe, and with the referee down, Titus retrieved a table from underneath the ring. King set it up in the corner and tried to piledrive Rowe through it, but Rowe countered with a side slam through the table, causing the disqualification. The show ended with both teams brawling in and around the ring.

Scott’s Thoughts: I’ve enjoyed the All Night Express recently, and I’m cool with their program against War Machine extending a few more weeks. The match was a physical, brawling affair, which is the match type that best suits Hanson’s skillset. Solid booking, and a fun — if ultimately unimportant — main event.

Alex Shelley def. Frankie Kazarian (w/ Chris Sabin) by pinfall

With Christopher Daniels serving a suspension for striking a referee two weeks ago, Kazarian entered into singles action with Shelley. Shelley countered an early Kazarian suicide dive with an enziguiri, then hit a top-rope single-leg dropkick back in the ring. Shelley followed up with a dragon screw in the ropes, but Kazarian poked Shelley in the eye and hit a springboard DDT.

During the match, Steve Corino called in to the show over Nigel McGuinness and Kevin Kelly’s headsets, promising to confront BJ Whitmer next week, and saying that “the time for talk is over.” Once attention returned to the action in the ring, Shelley hit a leaping knee strike off the apron, following with a top-rope crossbody. Kazarian rolled through the crossbody for a near-fall, then hit a spinning neckbreaker.

Shelley tried to go up top, but Kazarian caught him with a cutter and a DDT for a very close two-count. Shelley finally fought back with a drop toehold into the turnbuckles, and tried for a frog splash, only for Kazarian to get his knees up. Kazarian grabbed the ring bell from Sabin, but came up empty and took a German suplex from Shelley.

Shelley picked up the hammer and threatened Sabin, but instead turned around and planted Kazarian with a superkick and a sliced bread for the pinfall victory.

Scott’s Thoughts: I didn’t like the way they worked in the Corino phone call in the middle of a match. It completely disrupted the flow of the midsection, and just felt terribly out of place. It was very clearly added in post-production, and was extra-awkwardly executed because once the phone call was over, McGuinness and Kelly went right back to calling the action, never mentioning Corino again.

As for the actual match, it was a well-paced affair with plenty of back-and-forth offense. I enjoyed the finish, which was classic “bad guy fails to cheat, good guy wins clean” booking. Shelley has been a fun addition to the ROH roster since his return.

Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) def. Joey Daddiego (w/ Truth Martini) by pinfall

Daddiego (FKA J. Diesel) took a belly-to-back suplex from Castle to start the match, but Martini distracted the referee and did a spinarooni, allowing Daddiego to take a cheap shot at Castle. The boys chased Martini from the ring as Dalton hit Bang-A-Rang for the squash victory. After the match, Silas Young entered. The Beer City Bruiser held down the boys as Silas hit Misery on Castle, then Silas and Bruiser beat down on all three men/boys.

Scott’s Thoughts: This was an odd segment that just didn’t really work. I have zero interest in the Bruiser being shoehorned into the Silas/Dalton feud, and even though I am a big fan of both Silas and Dalton, this feud feels like it already ran its course.

Action Ortiz def. Leo St. Giovanni by pinfall in the first round of the Top Prospect Tournament

Giovanni hit a dropkick and a running splash, but Ortiz hit a clothesline and climbed up top, coming up empty on a frog splash. Ortiz rolled out of the ring and Giovanni nailed him with a plancha, tossing him back into the ring. Ortiz hit an inverted overhead neckbreaker to polish off Giovanni.

Scott’s Thoughts: Meh. Giovanni didn’t get a chance to do much other than be a generic undersized babyface (something ROH already has plenty of on the roster), and Ortiz just looked like a fat slow guy, despite Nigel/Kevin’s best attempts to convince fans that he’s more athletic than he looks. There’s no way Ortiz wins the Top Prospect Tournament, because he was clearly winded at the end of this three-minute match.

  • Stokely Hathaway asked to address the fans, challenging Kazuchika Okada to a match at 14th Anniversary on Moose’s behalf. If I’m going to bring in Okada, I’d probably book him to wrestle against a better worker than the still-green Moose, but this appears to be the direction.