By Jason Powell
Ring of Honor 15th Anniversary
Aired live on pay-per-view
Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Live
The show opened with an anniversary video package that focussed on early ROH and then young Christopher Daniels starting his career in 1993. Daniels spoke and then Adam Cole spoke about how 1993 was the year he learned how to color. Cole said he was merely 12 years old when Daniels headlined the first ROH pay-per-view. He said he is now the greatest ROH Champion. Daniels said Cole has never faced the type of adversity that he has. Daniels said he will fulfill his destiny in what might be his final opportunity. Cole said he would kill the career of Daniels…
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni, Kevin Kelly, and Colt Cabana checked in and spoke briefly about the anniversary and then shifted focus to the pay-per-view lineup. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
1. Kenny King (w/Caprice Coleman) vs. Jay White. The wrestlers shook hands prior to the match. White threw an early dropkick that missed. Coleman took offensive control. White came back with a slam and a headbutt. Riccaboni noted that it was a tribute to Tomoaki Honma, who suffered a spinal injury in NJPW. At 5:45, White performed a suicide dive. Coleman shoved King out of the way and took the dive instead.
At 7:45, White performed a Flatliner and then a German suplex. However, King came right back with his spinebuster. At 10:00, White performed a high cross body block. King rolled through and then hoisted up White onto his shoulders for a move. When he went for the move, White rolled him up for the win…
Jay White pinned Kenny King in 10:15.
Powell’s POV: Riccaboni is doing the play-by-play. He and Cabana were very talkative during the match, while Kelly was quiet for a long stretch before chiming in more as the match went on. Kelly no longer works full-time for ROH, so it’s logical to have the new voice in Riccaboni call the match. The new guy might not be as seasoned as Kelly, but he’s done a nice job of filling in despite not having a regular color commentator. Cabana is off to a nice start on color commentary. The match itself was a good opener. I continue to wish the company would do more with White while they have him on loan from NJPW. His push seemed to peak with his first weekend with the company and he’s just been spinning his wheels since then. Meanwhile, King needs to break away from The Rebellion. His return to the company has been a major disappointment from a creative standpoint.
The broadcast team hyped a six-man mayhem match… A video package focussed on Frankie Kazarian turning on Christopher Daniels in a match that aired recently on ROH TV… Backstage, the Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and Kazarian spoke about the turn. Matt Jackson told Kazarian that he thought he was always more talented than Daniels. Matt welcomed him to the dark side and then they all did the too sweet bit…
2. Hangman Page vs. Frankie Kazarian vs. Chris Sabin vs. Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Damian Martinez in a six-man mayhem match for an ROH TV Title shot. The fans chanted for Cheeseburger prior to the match. Sabin performed an early suicide dive. Page performed a shooting star press off the main page. Cheeseburger performed a leap onto the group of wrestlers who caught him, but then Martinez performed a springboard flip onto the group on the floor. Fans chanted holy shit.
Page and Kazarian teased squaring off only to give one another the too sweet gesture. Cheeseburger ended up fighting both men briefly. Young performed a rolling Death Valley Driver on Kazarian at 5:00. Cheeseburger rolled up a gloating Young for a two count. Fans chanted Cheeseburger, who took a superkick from Page. Cabana said Cheeseburger looked more like a french fry to him. Funny. Martinez slammed Page onto the ring apron. Sabin performing a running kick on the apron on Martinez.
At 7:30, Young performed Misery on Sabin and covered him, but Cheeseburger broke it up. At 8:30, Cheeseburger performed a springboard knee to the head of Young. Kazarian caught Cheeseburger with the Ace of Spades cutter and pinned him. Kelly barked at Kazarian from the broadcast table by asking him how he sleeps at night…
Frankie Kazarian beat Cheeseburger, Hangman Page, Chris Sabin, Silas Young, and Damien Martinez in a six-way in 9:00 to earn an ROH TV Title shot.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was much more vocal in this match than the opener. Cheeseburger was the most over guy in the match, but the fans reacted favorably to the bigger spots. Martinez’s spotlight moments stood out in a big way and he continues to strike me as a future star. I was actually hoping Page would be involved in something that spotlighted him. His involvement in this match felt rather random. Then again, these six-way matches always feel like they are designed to get the participants on the show.
Pre-taped Jay Lethal and Bobby Fish promos aired. Fish said Lethal will simply never measure up to him…
3. Jay Lethal vs. Bobby Fish. Cabana said both men are egomaniacs who think they are the best. The wrestlers shook hands prior to the match. At 8:20, Lethal caught Fish with a super kick that sent Fish to the floor. Lethal followed up with a suicide dive. Back inside the ring, the wrestlers traded forearm shots. Fish got the better of it by throwing forearms and some kicks, then performed a suplex for a good near fall.
Fish applied an ankle lock on a standing Lethal, who reached the ropes. The ref called for the break and Lethal performed a cutter. Lethal went up top. Fish cut him off with a kick. Fish followed Lethal to the ropes and they traded punches. Lethal knocked Fish down and then performed the Hail to the Chief elbow drop, but Fish was ready for it and ended up catching Lethal in a heel hook. Lethal teased tapping, but he reached the ropes.
Lethal came right back and hit the top rope elbow at 13:30. Lethal also hit Fish with a combination of kicks and then performed a cutter off the ropes. Lethal went for Lethal Injection, but Fish pushed him off and reapplied the heel hook. Lethal rolled on top of Fish for a two count. Lethal hit Lethal Injection and scored the clean pin. After the match, Lethal limped to sell Fish’s kicks, then they shook hands…
Jay Lethal defeated Bobby Fish in 15:10.
Powell’s POV: A really good match. I really enjoyed the good back and forth action and the believable near falls. Fish losing is not a surprise if only because he is on a short term deal with the company. I would definitely like to see them do more together if Fish ends up staying.
A video package set up the six-man tag title match with promos from both teams…
4. Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia vs. Dalton Castle and The Boyz for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Early in the match, Marseglia picked up one of the Boys at ringside and slammed him into the ropes from the floor. The Boy landed on the side of his head, but he seemed fine. The Boys worked Twin Magic while the ref was caught up with the Knigdom members and Castle.
Castle took a hot tag at 5:00 and worked over the Kingdom members. Castle performed his German suplex into a bridge on Taven for a two count. At 7:20, O’Ryan performed a an Asai moonsault onto one of the Boys and Marseglia and slammed his own legs off the guardrail. Damn. In the ring, Taven and Marseglia hit their Rockstar Supernova powerbomb on one of the Boys for the win…
Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia beat Dalton Castle and The Boyz in 8:05 to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: O’Ryan wasn’t in on the finishing powerbomb as he normally would be. He was also carried to the back by Marseglia and security afterward, so he clearly did some damage while performing that Asai moonsault.
A video package set up the ROH TV Title match…
5. Marty Scurll vs. Lio Rush for the ROH TV Title. The crowd popped bigger for Scurll than Rush during the entrances. Rush was booed by some fans and cheered by others during the in-ring introductions. Scurll received mostly cheers and a loud “Marty” chant. Scurll blew off the Code of Honor. Rush performed an early huracanrana on the floor. He tried to go for a baseball slide, but Scurll caught him in the skirting. Cabana noted it was a Finaly move.
At 5:00, Rush slapped Scurll and went on the offensive with some nice flashy offense. Scurll showed signs of coming back, but Rush continued to get the better of him. Scurll turned him inside out with a clothesline. Scurll blasted Rush and knocked him to the floor, then caught him with two kicks from the apron. The fans chanted for another, which he gave them.
Rush no-sold it and they returned to hte ring and traded punches. Rush got the better of the exchange, but he performed a handstand into the ropes and then Scrurll caught him in a submission hold. Rush rolled it into a pin for a two count. Rush performed a DDT and then went for a frogsplash, but Scurll put his knees up. Scurll followed up with a piledriver for a two count at 13:15.
Cabana was critical of the piledriver, saying Scurll didn’t get all of it (it didn’t look good). Scurll picked up Rush and set up for a tombstone. They rotated in tombstone position. Neither man actually performed the move. Rush hit the Rush Hour finisher for a good near fall. Fans chanted “this is awesome.”
Rush performed a frogsplash for a good near fall at 16:00. Cabana was critical of Rush for wasting time beforehand and labeled it a rookie mistake. Rush set up some chairs on the floor and then placed Scurll on the top rope. Fnas chanted please don’t die. Scurll avoided whatever Rush had in mind and hit the Tower of London for a two count. Scurll did the finger breaking bit. Scurll removed the tape from Rush’s shoulder, elbowed him in the face a couple times, and then applied the chicken wing finisher for the submission win…
Marty Scurll beat Lio Rush to retain the ROH TV Title in 18:40.
Powell’s POV: A really fun television title match. I assumed Scurll was going over due to Rush taking dates outside ROH, but it didn’t make the near falls any less entertaining. I would like to see Scurll either work harder to turn the fans against him or be positioned as a babyface with an edge. He’s a hell of a talent, though, and a really good TV Champion.
At ringside, the broadcast team showed off a USA Today newspaper that had a feature on ROH… The broadcast team narrated footage of Bully Ray appearing at the Manhattan Mayhem event last week…
6. Bully Ray, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe vs. Hanson, Ray Rowe, and Davey Boy Smith Jr. Kelly said Smith and Vance Archer were supposed to face the Briscoes, but Archer was injured. He said ROH put Smith in the six-man tag match with War Machine as partners, not realizing they don’t see eye to eye. Bully took the mic and asked, “Do you know who we are?” He introduced himself and the Briscoes and said, “We’re gonna kick your ass.” Bully and the Briscoes charged their opponents and the match was on.
Jay held Smith’s legs apart. Bully did the “wassup” and then Mark performed an elbow drop onto Smith’s balls. Bully did the “get the tables” bit, but War Machine broke that up. War Machine and Smith isolated Mark Briscoe. Later, Jay tagged in and worked over Rowe. War Machine performed a Popup Powerslam on him for a two count.
Bully Ray tagged in around 9:30 and clotheslined Hanson and Smith, then hita uranage on Rowe. Smith caught Ray with a big boot. The Briscoes and War Machine fought despite not being the legal men. They set up a big dive by Bully onto War Machine and Smith. Jay hit the Jay Driller and Hanson. Mark performed Froggy Bow. Rowe accidentally kicked Smith, then the Briscoes popped up Rowe for Ray to hit 3D for the win.
War Machine and Smith bickered after the match with War Machine blaming him for the loss. Smith threw three security guards aside and had a clear path to Rowe, but he stopped and jawed at him…
Bully Ray and The Briscoes defeated War Machine and Davey Boy Smith in 12:00.
Powell’s POV: It was cool to see Bully Ray team with the Briscoes, but I must admit that I’m anxious to see Bully move into an actual program. He came off like a feel good veteran star performing all the hits. It was fine for this show, but I hope he’s positioned as more of a meaningful player going forward. We saw enough of the veteran throwback Bubba when The Dudleys were underutilized in WWE. War Machine still haven’t bounced back from dropping the tag titles prematurely to The Addiction. Their bickering with Smith felt out of nowhere if you’re only watching ROH television, but at least the broadcast team explained it going in.
The broadcast team spoke at ringside and set up the tag title match…
The Young Bucks were out first for the Las Vegas Street Fight, then RPG Vice. The lights went out and when they came on the Hardys were in the ring. Fans chanted delete…
7. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy vs. The Young Bucks vs. Rocky Romero and Trent Barreta in a Las Vegas Street Fight for the ROH Tag Titles. The Bucks and Hardys had a staredown. Barreta grabbed a trashcan lid and struck both teams with it to start the match. There was a weird spot where Romero put a lid over the head of one of hte Bucks. Barreta leapt over the top rope and simply kicked the lid aside. “It was a hell of a buildup,’ Cabana said.
The Hardys and Bucks ended up in the ring together. Romero broke it up first, but he was quickly disposed of. Barreta was up next, but Matt Jackson powerbombed him onto the entrance ramp. Back to the Bucks and Hardys staring down. Just as they started to trade punches, someone decided this was the time to show a replay of the powerbomb. Ugh. They got back to the match quickly and the Bucks hit superkicks on the Hardys.
The Hardys came back and ran a ladder into one of the Bucks, but Romero returned and performed a springboard dropkick that drove the ladder into Matt and Jeff Hardy. Later, Nick Jackson placed a ladder over the middle ropes in one of the corners. Barreta went up top only to have his legs swept out from under him, leading to a back first bump onto the ladder, which he bent in the process.
The bent ladder was set up in the middle of the ring. Nick Jackson climbed the ladder. Barreta started to push it over. Jackson performed a big dive off the ladder onto everyone else on the floor. The Bucks worked over Barreta inside the ring. Matt Jackson placed the trashcan over Baretta, then Nick performed a 450 splash. Matt Hardy returned to the ring to break it up.
Matt Hardy bit one of the Bucks in the corner. “This isn’t Florida, we’re in Vegas,” Cabana said. Funny. The Bucks took out Matt Hardy with a superkick. They went for More Bang For Your Buck on Romero, but he put his knees up. At 11:30, Jeff went for a Swanton Bomb, but Matt Jackson put his knees up. The fans chanted “all these guys.”
Romero brought a plastic bag inside the ring and pulled out a sleeve covered in thumbtacks. Romero took turns hitting all four opponents with clotheslines in the corner repeatedly. He ditched the sleeve and then he and Barreta hit Strong Zero on Nick Jackson for a two count. Barreta poured thumbtacks inside the ring. The Bucks ended up slamming him face side first onto the tacks from the ropes, which led to holy shit chants.
The Bucks hit superkicks on their opponents. Matt Jackson put a handful of tacks in the mouth of Barreta, then Nick superkicked Baretta. The Bucks performed the Meltzer Driver on Romero onto the tacks, but Matt Hardy broke it up. The fans chanted “this is awesome.” The Bucks and Hardys squared off and traded punches. The Hardys hit Twists of Fate on the tacks for two counts.
The Hardys set up a table and a big ladder in the ring. The Bucks broke up whatever they had in mind. The Hardys cleared the Bucks from the ring and placed Barreta on the table. Jeff climbed the ladder and performed a Swanton, which led to the three count…
Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy beat The Young Bucks and RPG Vice in 17:10 in a Las Vegas Street Fight to retain the ROH Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: I ordered an ROH anniversary show and an ECW hardcore spot fest broke out. This stole the show. You had to know RPG Vice was going to come out on the losing end since ROH is still building up the Hardys vs. Bucks for WrestleMania weekend, but it it was a lot of fun to see how they got there.
The broadcast team spoke at ringside. Cabana said the footage shown in the beginning of the show showed Daniels facing his trainer, Danny Dominion, in Chicago. The ring crew scrambled to clean up the ring following the craziness of the three-way…
A Daniels promo aired. He cried as he spoke about how long it’s taken for his moment to come, and now his destiny is here. He said he is at the crossroads of immortality and oblivion. Daniels said Adam Cole might be the man, but he’s just a man. Daniels said he is 24 years of pain and sacrifice… Cabana laughed and said there’s no crying in professional wrestling…
Ring entrances for the main event took place. Daniels was out first followed by Cole. Bobby Cruise delivered the in-ring introductions for the championship match…
8. Adam Cole vs. Christopher Daniels for the ROH Title. Cole smirked as he offered his hand. Daniels accepted the handshake while Kelly recalled that Daniels was the first person to ignore the Code of Honor. Daniels performed an early moonsault to ringside. Cole came back with a superkick that knocked Daniels into the ring post. They replayed it and the actual superkick went over the top of Daniels’ head. Daniels bladed and bled heavily.
Back in the ring, Cole took the blood from Daniels’ and the camera showed him rubbing it onto his chest. Cabana said Daniels lost the tag titles the last time he bled like this. He called him a loser. Kelly defended him. Cabana recalled that Daniels is 0-8-1 in title matches.
Cole controlled the offense for a stretch. He got cocky and played to the crowd. Daniels reached up and put him in a submission hold. Daniels showed good intensity while Cole was in the hold, but Cole reached the ropes to break it. Cole regained offensive control.
Cole and Daniels traded punches at 11:00. Daniels got the better of it and worked over Cole and then played to the crowd. A graphic noted “Trending in the U.S.” with a hashtag for the event. Ugh. Daniels went for the Best Moonsault Ever. Cole rolled out of the way and Daniels landed on his feet only to have Cole blast him with a superkick.
At 13:10, Cole performed an enzuigiri and a shining wizard. Cole followed up with a Last Shot for a near fall. Daniels caught Cole on the ropes a short time later and performed a huracanrana for a two count of his own. Daniels went for the Angel’s Wings suplex, but Cole countered into a huracanrana. Cool spot. They ended up clotheslining one another.
Cole and Daniels fought on the ropes at 15:45. Cole knocked Daniels off the ropes. Cole went for a destroyer, but Daniels blocked it. Daniels charged with a splash, but Cole avoided it. Cole performed an Angel’s Wings suplex for a two count while the broadcast team said Daniels was nearly beaten by his own move. Cole stood over a seated Daniels and pointed to his bloody face. Cole went for a shining wizard. Daniels avoided that and hit the Last Shot for a two count.
At 17:50, Daniels performed the Styles Clash for a big pop and near fall that the crowd counted along with. They got up and Cole drove Daniels into the referee. Cole went for a suplex. Daniels moved. Cole superkicked the referee. REF BUMP!!! Cole kicked Daniels low and then rolled him up for a visual pinfall.
Frankie Kazarian ran out wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt. Kazarian picked up Daniels and rolled him inside the ring. With the ref still down, Kazarian held Daniels, who ducked when Cole tried to hit him with the belt. Cole stopped short of hitting Kazarian. Kazarian asked for the belt to hit Daniels with.
Kazarian threw the belt to ringside, ripped off his Bullet Club t-shirt, and revealed that he was wearing a Destiny shirt. Kazarian flipped off Cole. Daniels made a gun sitn at Cole, who tried swung at him. Daniels ducked it and put him down with a uranage. Daniels hit the Best Moonsault Ever three times and the referee woke up to count the pin.
Christopher Daniels defeated Adam Cole to win the ROH Championship.
Fans threw streamers inside the ring while Daniels acted surprised by the win. Several babyfaces headed to the ring and stood at ringside while Daniels celebrated his win and hugged Kazarian. Former ROH owner Cary Silkin shook Daniels hand. Cole was shown upset on the stage. Silkin presented Daniels with the original ROH Title belt while Bobby Cruise named him the winner. Daniels celebrated with both titles as the fans cheered. The babyfaces entered the ring and celebrated with Daniels, who hugged them.
Powell’s POV: The storytelling of Daniels winning the ROH Title after 24 years in the business and 15 years in ROH was very well done. The Kazarian swerve on Bullet Club was a nice touch. It was really nice to see ROH stick with the post match celebration rather than cut away quickly as we’ve seen too many times from various promotions on pay-per-view events. Overall, this was a highly entertaining show. The main event was the culmination of a good story, the Hardys in ROH and the craziness of their match was great, and both the TV Title and Fish vs. Lethal matches were very good. I will have more to say about the event, the broadcast team, where this finish could mean regarding Cole’s future, and more in my member exclusive audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.
We are looking for correspondents for the ROH TV taping in Las Vegas on Saturday. If you are going and want to sent a report or even the basic results, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...