JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. JOE HENDRY - 6.25/10
A nice, clean, fun, British wrestling match.
ADAM PAGE vs. KIP SABIAN vs. FLIP GORDON - 7/10
Page recruited Flip to team up with him against Sabian but we all knew their alliance couldn't last. These guys had quite the action-packed match in the thirteen minutes or so they got, and Page in particular did a great job with the story of himself and Flip, getting quite pissed off at Flip turning on him before he could turn on Flip and carrying that anger throughout the match.
AYESHA RAYMOND vs. KAY LEE RAY - 6.25/10
This went the same ten minutes that I've been complaining about the women being limited to, but these two did a very good job for the time they were given. Raymond was a good heel, which is something this division mostly lacks. Kay Lee Ray is a great babyface and I like Viper a lot, but if there is anyone we have seen over these tours that I think ROH should bring back to the US with them, it's Ayesha Raymond.
MARK BRISCOE vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS - 6/10
They had a decent match with a bit of a story about Mark's back getting worked over and thus Mark having to use heel tactics to overcome that, but I was unhappy with the very loose refereeing, as Tod Sinclair not only let them fight on the outside forever without getting counted out, but also didn't call for a DQ when Jay Briscoe came out and shoved Daniels. The finish saw Mark Briscoe choke Daniels out with a chain, but he was too dumb to get it out of the ring afterwards to Tod Sinclair found it and reversed the decision, giving Daniels the win via DQ. I have absolutely no idea what the purpose of booking the finish this way was, as Daniels getting the win didn't affect anything, and it just make Mark look like an idiot.
The Briscoes beat Daniels up with the chain after the match and beat up the security guys who tried to help him, but were then run off by Hendry and another babyface whose name I should know but don't, and the announcers gave me no help by never naming either guy. You'd think all of this would have led to some sort of gimmick match between the Briscoes and SCU/The Addiction, but as I sit here and type this in the middle of the fall, there is no such match scheduled through at least the middle of November.
On commentary, BJ Whitmer made all of this worse by being a total cartoon character heel, claiming to have not seen the Briscoes do anything wrong and saying it was okay for them to cheat because they've been here since day one, while also yelling for the referee to get Hendy and his buddy's chairs out of the ring because they were "illegal foreign objects" even though there was no match going on. The kind of sh*t that someone does when they are in no way taking their job seriously and just trying to be as over the top as possible.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Punishment Martinez - 4.5/10
This wasn't supposed to be a gimmick match but Havoc just cut a promo challenging Martinez to one and Martinez accepted. Again... Mark Briscoe tries to choke Christopher Daniels to death with a steel chain and no gimmick match results from that, but Martinez and Havoc can have a gimmick match just because. Delirious... makes matches in ROH, and probably occasionally gives guys or announcers ideas to throw out there for promos, but to call what he does "booking" is quite the stretch.
As I noted above, the previous match was not a gimmick match, and ROH Senior Referee Tod Sinclair let the wrestlers fight on the outside forever. Now that we have a Street Fight and the wrestlers are hitting each other with weapons, the referee is getting in Martinez's face and ordering him to bring the action back in the ring. How f*cking stupid are these people?
There weren't any gimmick matches booked for tonight... but of course there are these random metal trays underneath the ring. Actually, all of Jimmy Havoc's bullsh*t is under the ring. He's got his special metal sheet to slice Martinez's finger webbing and tongue, then pours lemon juice into the wounds. Why is this slice-and-dice freak in ROH?
Martinez sliced Jimmy Havoc's arm open with a pizza wheel, revealing that Jimmy Havoc has learned nothing from almost slicing an artery with a pizza wheel against Tom Lawlor at MLW a mere month ago. Martinez squirted lemon juice into those wounds. Havoc later tried to close them by stapling it closed. Just get crazy glue like Sabu, you idiot. That has a chance of actually working, and won't result in you causing yourself additional pain, either.
Martinez gave Havoc a Tombstone Piledriver onto one of the aforementioned metal trays (which were more like tubs with how deep they were), and basically smashed the thing in using Havoc's head. These guys proceeded to ruin their bodies and do a lot scary stuff. I have no problem with hardcore wrestling, but it needs to happen FOR A REASON. This is not a deathmatch promotion. It's RING OF HONOR: the promotion that was built specifically to not be a deathmatch promotion because that's what everyone else was doing at that point.
MARTY SCURLL vs. JAY BRISCOE - 6/10
They brawled on the outside for several minutes without getting counted out. They then brawled in the ring some until they spilled to the outside again so that Jay could choke Scurll with a camera cable right in front to the referee without getting disqualified. They were on the outside for a good minute, during which time the referee's count made it all the way up to two.
Yes, there was a story of each guy working on the other's head, but the first ten minutes of this match were at least 85% punch/forearm the other guy in the head. From there things started to get a little better until Mark Briscoe came out to pull the referee out of the ring when Scurll hit Graduation. The referee did not only not disqualify Jay for this, but he didn't even order Mark to leave the ringside area. Mark proceeded to hop up on the apron and distract Marty so Jay could roll him up for a nearfall. Christopher Daniels then came out to brawl with Mark, distracting the referee. Jay went to grab his tag title belt and Scurll grabbed his umbrella and it was Scurll who managed to land his weapon shot. He then hit Graduation and got the pin, because G-d forbid we have a f*cking clean finish.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Stupid. Daniels and Marty make nice and then shake hands... and Marty pulls Daniels back and teases breaking his finger but then doesn't do it. FOR NO REASON. What a f*cking dick. Even worse, Daniels, who has spent the majority of the past few years as a raving paranoid, reacted to this like it was a silly joke all done in good humor.
THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. JOHNNY STORM & JODY FLEISCH - 8.75/10
Ian tells us that "here in 2018 [Storm & Fleisch] have not lost a step," which shows you how little attention Ian has been paying to the matches he has been calling this weekend. Either that or Ian lied when he said he went back and watched their previous appearances in ROH. Whichever one you think reflects better on your babyface lead announcer. Dumbf*ck Ian is getting muted.
Okay, so Fleisch and Storm did look awesome tonight, but that doesn't make Ian's statement any better. All you really need to know about this match is that it really did live up to the dream-match billing.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Jay Lethal(c) vs. Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) - 8.75/10
These guys went out there and had the kind of ROH World Title match we haven't had in WAY too long. This was an epic, wrestling encounter, with no bullsh*t of any sort. No one on the outside taking bumps, no comedy, games, no cheating, no brawling on the outside for a million years while the referee forgets to count, no interference, none of that crap. Just a champion and his worthy challenger meeting to determine who is better and thus deserves to be the ROH World Champion. They went out there for over twenty-five minutes, told their story, and wrestled. This would have fit right into Bryan Danielson's reign. This is what an ROH World Title defense should be. Maybe there is one I'm for getting, but as far as I can remember (and my memory is pretty damn good), this was the best ROH World Title match since Jay Lethal challenged Adam Cole in this very building almost two years ago at Reach for the Sky Tour: London.
Despite some frustrating booking in the middle, this was a great show from ROH. Granted, it is very much buoyed up by the top two matches, but those top two matches were AWESOME, and well worth the price of the show. For the first time in a long time, I sat through the frustrating crap in the middle of an ROH show, after the main events were over, it felt worth it. Booking aside, the undercard was solid as well, so there really is no reason not to watch this whole thing. It's probably one of the best non-PPV ROH shows in a long time.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES
1. After Marty Scurll kicked out of a J-Driller, the announcers had the following exchange:
Ian Riccaboni: How many people have kicked out of the J-Driller?
BJ Whitmer: It's a short list.
Ian: Riccaboni: I can't even count. I can't even remember.
Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that this list is actually extremely long? I'm certain basically every time Jay has lost an ROH World Title match, someone kicked out of the J-Driller, plus it probably got kicked out of in a whole bunch of tag title matches or just plain big matches over the years. I have memories of Roddy, Nigel, Matt Jackson, Jay Lethal, and Mark Briscoe doing it (Mark at one), and I would be absolutely stunned if it wasn't kicked out of several times during the Briscoes' feuds with Steen & Generico, Generation Next, the Age of the Fall, Samoa Joe, and many, many others. I mean really. It was an indy wrestlers' finisher during the 2000s and 2010s. I'd be shocked if it wasn't kicked out of more often than it got the pin.
Another general tip for being an announcer: A move has only been protected enough to make mention of such a thing if you can specifically remember the few times that someone kicked out of it. Also, if a move is one that someone has been doing regularly for over fifteen years... assume a lot of people have kicked out of it.
It's okay to not know something for sure, but if you don't know something for certain, then you should always err on the side of caution, not the side of "I'm going to risk shooting my own credibility to make this one moment that is irrelevant in the long term seem as important as possible."