Just last week it was announced that Ring of Honor would hold the first Six Man Tag Team Championship in the better part of a century and I was super stoked to finally see how this would play out. Does it live up to the hype? (yes!)
Match 1: Keith Lee and Shane Taylor vs. War Machine
Lee and Taylor have twice now stumped War Machine twice backstage before matches that could have propelled them to the Tag Team Championship they thought was so close. A short recap of the feud is shown and the Kelly Cruise and Matt Taven argue over why, but honestly it doesn’t matter because 2 minutes after this match you won’t care anymore if you ever did.
Right after the bell the two teams collide. Hanson, the bigger of the two had some excellent aerobatics in the match and hit Taylor with a suicide dive the first chance he had. The match became orderly if only for a moment with Rowe hammering Lee. After Lee is able to escape and tag out, War Machine begins to double up on Taylor. A minute later it’s Hanson on the receiving end of both Taylor and Lee.
The match continues this way with both teams impressing in their own ways. Hanson’s athleticism and apparent disregard for his own safety was nicely complimented by Rowe’s more traditional in-ring ability. Keith Lee and Shane Taylor showed both showed some excellent brawling skills and I was especially impressed by their stiff style and coordination. The match ended when Taylor broke up War Machine as they set up for their signature ‘Fallout’ and Lee led a huge assisted powerbomb on Rowe who was pinned.
This was a decent match but far too chaotic to follow in my opinion. ROH’s camera setup means we miss a lot of the action when all four men are brawling 30 feet apart. I give it a solid 6/10 with an extra point for hopefully wrapping up this confusing feud.
Match 2: Cheeseburger vs. Tim Hughes vs. Joey ‘Diesel’ Daddiego vs. David Starr
We rejoin ROH after the break to find Cheeseburger walking to the ring to a loud ovation. As soon as the bell sounded it was 3 on 1 with Cheeseburger taking the brunt. Exactly as this is occurring none other than B.J. Whitmer comes out and has a seat with the announcers still sporting the ‘X’ on his forehead which means… something.
We get some slapstick action in with Cheeseburger cornering the stacked trio and slapping both Hughes and Starr silly before the big man Daddiego no-sells it and begins to wrestle. Eventually Starr suplexes Daddiego from behind, breaking their loose truce against the burger man whose name is still being chanted by the crowd.
Whitmer is talking about the 13 step program Kevin Sullivan introduced him to recently. I don’t know if this means he’s off drugs now, or if he was ever cool enough to do them in the first place. In the ring, Starr ejects Hughes from the ring and spears Bob Evans (who’s accompanying Tim Hughes and been running his mouth the whole match) through the ropes. Starr is still delivering the big hits with a very well executed superkick and knee to the chin but all of this is interrupted by B.J. “It’s time! It’s time!” he says cryptically and the arena goes dark.
I know what’s about to happen and I let out a deep sigh.
This time it’s a promo with Dungeon Master Sullivan and B.J. and Punisher Martinez. Sullivan says something about reforming an all new Purple Haze and the lights come back on. On the apron is Whitmer sporting an evil grin and flowy white shirt. He looks like the angst ridden teen love child of Gangrel and Billy Corgan. To his left is who would have guessed, Punisher Martinez who lays an all-out smackdown on the 4 sanctioned wrestler as the bell rings. The highlight of the rampage was certainly the gargantuan chokeslam on Cheeseburger who had been nervously inching away.
The match ended in a no-contest due to the interference. I like that ROH is working a weird storyline and Punisher’s performance was extraordinary but, the rest was pretty meh. Cheeseburger of course has a natural talent for selling moves and Starr impressed as well, but like the last match it was all too hard to follow.
I give the overall segment a 5/10.
A commercial break for NJPW featuring good ol’ JR follows and we are greeted by The Young Bucks for a quick promo for the main event. B-B-B-B-ullet Club 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4 Lyyyyfe; callout; camera kick once again and it’s time for the first Six Man Tag Team Championship match.
Match 3: The Cabinet vs. Dalton Castle and the Boys
The trio of The Cabinet (Caprice Coleman, Kenny King and Rhett Titus) let me down last week with their boring promo for this match but have completely redeemed themselves with their extravagant entrance complete with secret service agents and an entourage of girls holding t-shirts(?) and flags. It worked really well and actually sold me on the trio. The crowd however was not on the same side and went nuts for Dalton Castle and his two minions who proceeded to strip Dalton down ring center. With the crowd marking out this hard over DC and the Boys you’d think we were watching this from West Hollywood instead of West Philadelphia (born and raised).
After a quick handshake and a huddle by The Cabinet the match begins. It’s off to a speedy start with Boy 1 and Boy 2 quickly tagging each other in and working over the bigger and slower Titus. Eventually they’re all tagged out and we get to witness a pose off between Caprice Coleman and Dalton Castle which elicited rapid firing cheering and jeering from the crowd, Dalton clearly the favorite and Coleman relishing in his fresh heel turn.
After the fighting begins again Dalton delivers a big suplex and starts to launch his tiny man friends at The Cabinet members one by one before they manage to squeeze a 3-way pose in before the commercial break. When the show returns somehow The Cabinet has regained the high ground and is triple teaming Boy 1 led by Coleman. With the ref and Coleman distracted, the Boys pull a Parent Trap and swap out with Boy 2 coming fresh into the ring. He is all energy and works solo well enough to stay alive before backup arrives on the apron and he is able to tag Dalton.
Titus is in the ring with him now and takes a big german suplex with a bridge that almost ends it. Titus looks for the tag but The Cabinet has already been scattered by Dalton. After Castle throws the Boy’s down at Titus a few times he goes for the top rope and is blindsided by Kenny King. Boy 1 is dropkicked out of the ring to join Castle and it’s only Boy 2 left with 3 Cabinet members in the ring. King hits him with a (nearly missed) enziguri leaving him stunned sitting on the top rope. All three heels climb up a post and King delivers a superplex which is followed by a combo leg-drop and frogsplash by Caprice Coleman and the Secretary of Shoulders, Rhett Titus; who pins him for an easy 3.
Both teams have clearly been practicing working together and it really showed during this match. Even with 6 men duking it out at the same time it was an easier match to follow and watch than the two 4-man contests earlier tonight. I really enjoyed seeing what ROH did with this format tonight. They kept the action tight and focused despite the number of participants. If the other teams can put on this good of a show I’m sure other promotions will follow suit and maybe Six Man Tag will become something we see more often. I give this match a 7/10. It is not a classic by any stretch but a great introduction to ROH’s newest title.
When we return from commercial break we’re greeted by Adam Cole sporting his new Heavyweight Championship belt over his shoulder. He whines about Kyle O’Reilley ruining his fun. Cole defeated former long running champ and one of the 643 ‘Jays’ in ROH, Jay Lethal a few weeks ago at Death Before Dishonor. Whaaaatver. Onto the next match.
Main Event: The Addiction vs. The Young Bucks
The Addiction comes out first and Christopher Daniels and Kazarian wait patiently at the bottom of the ramp when the Bullet Club’s theme begins to play trying to get the jump on the Young Bucks.
They are prepared however and entered through the crowd delivering superkicks in unison and starting the match. We’re greeted by the semi-grating sound of Veda Scott joining the announcer’s booth. She begins to chide Kelly Cruise, bringing me satisfaction.
At this point the fight has barely made it to the ring and Matt and Nick Jackson begin searching for tables beneath the ring. One is propped against a guardrail but before they get a chance to use it, both Bucks are treated to a stiff clothesline by Kazarian dropping them to the ground. Kazarian then makes the classic mistake of merely walking towards his opponents with a ladder he pulls from under the ring and is met with a few kicks eating some fiberglass in the process.
The battle back and forth continues and while TYBs are setting something big up for Kazarian, Daniels cold clocks Nick from the top rope through the table below cutting his back. The now isolated Matt is left helpless and the Addiction pummels him for minutes on end. Nick eventually regains composure and is tagged back in unleashing a burst of youthful energy. He hits the gas and before you know it is dominating the Daniels and Kazarian, even stopping for a moment to bow to the crows after a particularly pleasing 450 splash.
Matt tags back in and attempts to keep the momentum going with a powerbomb on Daniels but is countered with a DDT’d. A pin results in a 2 count but the Addiction has firmly gained control now, and Kazarian is working on Matt inside the ring. Nick, who was reeling from a hard hit outside the ring steps back onto the apron and onto the mat. The Young Bucks are invigorated once again and superkicks begin to fly in every direction. The Addiction don’t stop to slouch however, and Daniels lands a massive Angels Wings on Nick before a superkick drops him as well.
With all four men splayed out on the squared circle, Kazaitachi appears on the apron, followed immediately by the Motor City Machine Guns who begin to brawl. Kazerian grabs a steel chair from ringside and slides it in with the ref distracted by the newcomers. Chris Sabin nobly grabs the chair from Kazarian before he can wreck Matt with it but ended up slamming it into Matts’ head himself ending the Young Bucks night far too early. Daniels got rid of Sabin and Kazarian was able to pin him effortlessly.
This was a good one. I can’t say I’m not bitter about the ending but I still thoroughly enjoyed the match. With 3 strong personalities in the announcer’s booth it did get a little hectic on that end but it really didn’t bother me. The wrestling was good. With these guys it’s always good however and sometimes great. This one won’t be the highlight of anyone’s career but served its purpose and gave the fans what they want.
I give it 8/10.
That’s all for this week’s Ring of Honor. Check back next week when we’ll see the Briscoe’s back in Tag Team action against White & Rush!