Posted By James Walsh on 03/13/17
JEW REVIEW: ROH 15th Anniversary Show PPV Review
First, I am Catholic. But, I am James Edward Walsh. So, it is JEW Review... Why? Because, hey, it made me laugh. So, deal with it.
And now, to business, Or, as Daniels says, biz-in-ness. I first want to say that I can't believe it has been 15 years since Ring of Honor started. I remember, quite well, calling RF Video about a tape, yes a video tape, that I purchased not working and being invited by Rob to attend ROH's debut show for free if I flew from Arizona on my own dime. I did not do so. I should have. Who knew the company would last this long and turn into what it has become?
My view of ROH has changed often over the years. As a rock fan, there are a lot of bands that people tell you that you should like but you don't. In other words, I have no interest in hearing 35 minute songs about fictional wars leading to the end of mankind by a band that so desperately wishes they were Iron Maiden. Pretentious. That is how I felt about ROH through 2007 or so. It was also not helped by the arrogance of the ROH faithful telling everyone they are stupid if they enjoy WWE or, especially, if they enjoy TNA. Funny, TNA fans seemed more accepting of ROH and WWE fans did not know what ROH was. So, why the reverse hate? I am a bit of a contrarian so the more you tell me I have to do something, the less urge I have to do it. So, I rejected ROH for the longest time. I stand by that viewpoint.
But, times have changed.
ROH has become a product I enjoy. But, it is not flawless. I think the great parts of ROH and its flaws were all evident on the 15th Anniversary PPV.
First, the great points.
Colt Cabana on commentary is so necessary. While I do not like that he mocked Vince McMahon's love of Jackie Gleason in a recent interview saying that is what Vince McMahon thinks is funny because, frankly, Jackie Gleason WAS funny.... Colt Cabana is funny also. And, a show like ROH that has a history of occasionally taking itself far too seriously needs a comedian on commentary to prevent that feeling. His puns with Cheeseburger were highlights of the show for sure.
Is Jay Lethal the best wrestler on the planet? If not, you tell me who is better. Because, I am not sure I can name one. His match with Bobby Fish was, in a word, awesome. Kudos to both men. But, that is not surprising. Great ring work is what ROH is known for. And, this was probably the best singular match on the show.
The stars are starting to find their way to ROH. The Hardy Boyz, Bully Ray, the Addiction... The former TNA stars and the stars people know are starting to work there and that will only help the awareness of the product.
The story-telling has improved. For example, the Frankie Kazarian turn on Christopher Daniels had the makings of a feud between the two either for the World Title or if Kazarian had screwed Daniels out of said "Destiny". I did not expect the swerving of the Bullet Club and having Kazarian cost Adam Cole. That was masterful. Truthfully masterful. And, Daniels winning the World Title. Hell, that gets a paragraph of its own.
Christopher Daniels winning the World Title was great. Few guys are respected like Daniels is. He's up there with the Jerry Lynn's as guys nobody has a bad word for. Deserved? Hell, this is one time I'll tolerate a "You Deserve It" chant. Because, he does. But, that chant is so overused it has lost all meaning.
First, where were the girls? ROH falls prey to this very old school philosophy of segregating the women from the men. In other words, I am willing to bet women's matches WERE taped that night to air online as free matches on YouTube... I don't know about anyone else but I could have exchanged Kenny King and Jay Young, who had a solid match, for two women to have a strong match on the card. The days of women's matches being piss breaks are over. And, the sausage fest that an ROH show is grows tiresome sometimes. You have these women... You've got a 95% male audience. How about we look at a chick wrestle in underwear for a change instead of dudes?
Speaking of underwear, was there a sale on black trunks in ROH? Or, a hike in the price of razors? My wife, who loves wrestling but has not been subjected to much ROH, pointed out that so many of the guys look the same. I think this was made most clear by having War Machine in there with the Briscoes.
The card suffered from the same thing many WrestleMania cards suffer from. "Hey, how can we get as many guys on the card as humanly possible?" There were 6-man-tag title matches, a tag-title-match featuring 3 tag teams at once, a 6-man-tag with Bully and the Briscoes versus War Machine and Davey Boy Smith Jr, and a several person match to crown a contender for the TV Title with some incredible talent who all struggled to shine above the others. That is a whole lot of cluster, my friends. And, it came off as such at points. Don't get me wrong, each match had its high points. But, it felt a bit clustered.
The WWE video games now make you play through their sequence of shows to unlock characters. I don't know about you guys but when I play, I turn off DQ's and grab me a chair and knock the shit out of the other guy's to win easily. If I were watching the matches I put on the WWE video games, I'd say a lot feel the same because I see a lot of the same moves. Are you getting where I'm going with this? When everything is a high spot, there are no high spots. If everything is high risk and dangerous, it doesn't matter. TK O'Ryan is going to need surgery because of a moonsault that went array. Let me ask you, if that move went smooth, would it have even made this review? No. Why? Because, it meant nothing. It is such a shame a talented guy is laid up for months on end because of a move that really did not matter. To some extent, the card has to have some slower, less high flying matches so when the key high spots happen, they feel even more important.
Overall, the ROH PPV was enjoyable. I liked it. in fact, I think it was the best wrestling show of the week and certainly the best PPV I've seen this year. But, there are flaws that need addressing. And, I don't think I'm wrong in any of my criticisms.