10/14/15 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Matt Sydal def. ACH to Tie Best-of-Five Series at 2-2
After a few weeks of shows that were taped prior to ROH’s All-Star Extravaganza PPV, the company’s TV schedule returned to the present with a show taped the night after the PPV. While ROH did a very good job of bridging the gap with special attractions from New Japan and clever ways to preserve continuity, the show remains more coherent on its regular timeline. As such, ROH started the show with Sydal and ACH, who had wrestled their third match at the PPV.
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino did an outstanding job of selling the importance of the series as a turning point in the careers of the upcoming ACH and the established Sydal. Art is imitating life for Sydal, too, since his recent run in ROH has the same good-not-great flavor as his WWE run. With his Raw athleticism and charisma, it’s fair to expect more out of him, and this series has elevated him to that higher level.
Sydal and ACH started the match with simple grappling despite their reputations as high-flyers. They started to get chippy with one another over taunts that hinted at bad blood beneath the guise of friendly competition. Sydal got the first near fall off of a leg drop inverted DDT. ACH struggled after a kick to the head, but regrouped and bridged a German suplex for a two count.
ACH landed on his feet when Sydal attempted a Frankensteiner and hit a version of the Cross-Rhodes for a two count. When he went for the Midnight Star 450, Sydal rolled to the outside. ACH maintained his focus and hit Sydal with a topez con giro. Back in the ring, ACH put together a step-up version of the Pele kick and a brain buster. He went for the Midnight Star and hit Sydal’s knees. Sydal quickly answered with a reverse hurricanrana and a Shooting Star Press for the win.
It was an outstanding match to kick off the show. They worked on a steady, gradual build to an intense finish. The match had its share of big spots, but the wrestlers earned them by selling the offense and timing them for maximum psychological impact. The post-match handshake had real emotion and the fifth match in the series will likely be the high-water mark for either wrestler in ROH to date.
Jay Lethal def. Takaaki Watanabe to Remain TV Champion
Watanabe (recently rechristened as “EVIL” in NJPW) earned his spot in this main event with a four-way victory over Wil Ferrera, Moose, and Adam Page. He carried that momentum into the start of the match, where he hit a nice side slam and vicious chops to make the champion look vulnerable. Truth Martini short-circuited the rally by yanking Watanabe off of the apron and Lethal connected with a series of suicide dives.
Watanabe did not surrender and managed a rough German suplex after several whips from corner to corner. A big lariat earned him another near fall. Martini continued to pay dividends by distracting the referee. Lethal used a mule kick low blow to set up the Lethal Injection and get the pin. Lethal has been so entertaining and resilient of late that he has to win in heelish ways. Even so, it’s clear that many fans want to embrace him.
-After the stand-out opening match, The Addiction jumped ACH and Sydal and proclaimed that they never truly lost the Tag Team Titles at ASE. The reunited All Night Express responded that they have as much of a claim to the Titles and challenged The Addiction to a match next week. After his unimpressive TNA run, it was great to hear such a solid promo from Kenny King.
-Silas Young debuted the Boys he won from Dalton Castle by putting them in a tag team match against him and the Beer City Bruiser. He ditched their masks and fans in spite of a clever “Boys Lives Matter” sign in the front row. Young easily ran through the Boys and pinned them with his Misery finisher.
-Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole exchanged promos reacting to Cole’s interference in O’Reilly’s World Title match at ASE. While O’Reilly has the more sympathetic case, Cole’s delivery was so much better that it wouldn’t surprise me to see many fans embrace him.