By Darren Gutteridge
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH Title – The Match: ROH should be thankful for this match, as it saved the show from being written off as a Miss across the board. The early attack on O’Reilly changed the makeup of this match, turning it from the promised epic clash between two of the best wrestlers in the world to a tale of heart and guts. O’Reilly showed amazing fire whilst selling the hell out of his bad shoulder. Lethal, on the other hand, used this match to turn from heel to babyface, showing compassion and genuine sympathy in bemoaning the fact that the match was being allowed to continue despite the fact he had offered O’Reilly an open rematch.
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O’Reilly for the ROH Title – The Set Up and Pay Off: I’m almost annoyed that the main event was so good, because it means I can’t viciously attack the surrounding material as much as I wanted to. In fairness, they did deliver the O’Reilly vs. Lethal match, but not in the way that had been promised for weeks. Instead, they tried to put heat on the Bullet Club, but in a way that I was more pissed at ROH for taking away an epic match than at the Club for their actions. The post match attack was more violent, and finally seemed to get some fans to boo the mega popular Bucks, but not everyone seemed sold on the stipulation from McGuinness about Cole never getting another ROH Title shot. Plus, anyone who goes on the ROH website will know this is BS because the first thing you see is a Death Before Dishonor match announcement of Lethal vs. Cole for the ROH Title! It’s official – the ROH website is the worst thing about the company.
War Machine vs. War Machine: So, ROH decided to do a bait and switch out of the gate with the attack on O’Reilly. This is dangerous territory, as throwing away a well hype full broadcast match is almost certain to raise the ire of all the fans excited for it. But if ROH could have thrown out something interesting, the situation was potentially salvageable. Instead viewers were greeted by Bob freakin Evans and Tim Hughes. And a clumsy brawl between War Machine and Taylor and Lee. Outside of a BJ Whitmer sit-in promo, I can’t think of a bigger nose dive between expectations and reality at the start of the show.
Moose, Will Ferrara and Cheeseburger vs. The Cabinet: There was a lot to loathe around this otherwise mediocre tag match with some awkward spots. First of all, it looks like that whole “Prince Nana’s handing out letters” storyline went exactly nowhere, as Coleman is now aligned with the ANX, and Ferrara is babyface again. Then there was the fact that anyone who didn’t watch Best in the World was probably deeply confused as to what was happening when “Hail to the Chief” played, as Kelly blurted out “We know who this is.” Do we? The only saving grace is the kayfabe belief that McGuinness thought Cheeseburger vs. Will Ferrara was a fine alternative for fans promised Lethal vs. O’Reilly.