(Updated) ROH 16th Anniversary PPV live review: Austin Aries makes a surprise appearance, Dalton Castle vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH Title, The Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles, Marty Scurll vs. Punishment Martinez, Hiromu Takahashi vs. Flip Gordon

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor 16th Anniversary
Aired live on pay-per-view, FITE TV, and HonorClub
Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam’s Town Live

The broadcast team was Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana…

Pre-Show Match: Sumie Sakai defeated Hana Kimura to advance to the quarterfinals of the Women of Honor Title tournament match. Deonna Purrazzo sat in on commentary.

Pre-Show Match: Tanille Dashwood defeated Brandi Rhodes in a Women of Honor Title tournament quarterfinal match. Mandy Leon sat in on commentary.

Powell’s POV: Take two. I had some issues with the HonorClub live feed on Friday night, so I am going back and writing more details about the first three matches of the show. The updated material starts now and continues through the ROH TV Title match, plus I updated my final thoughts on the show at the very end of the report.

The show opened with a video package with various ROH wrestlers and personalities chronicling some of their favorite moments in the company’s history. It moved into showcasing the bigger matches on anniversary show card…

ROH enforcer Bully Ray hyped up the crowd by leading them in an ROH chant. Bully looked into the camera and said, “I love this.” Bully welcomed the crowd to the anniversary event. He said the fans and the wrestlers would show the world why ROH is the best pro wrestling on the planet today. Bully said it would be all thriller and now filler. He said the company would give them everything they want to see. He led another ROH chant by saying it’s not sports entertainment, it’s ROH. Bully left the ring…

Powell’s POV: The usual good mic work from Bully Ray, who always does a good job of getting whatever emotion he wants to elicit from a crowd.

The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in from ringside and ran through the card…

1. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Flip Gordon. The story going into the match was that Gordon scored an upset pin over Takahashi in a three-way with Kushida at the first Honor Rising event in Tokyo. Takahashi pinned Gordon to win a tag match on the second Honor Rising show. Gordon did the early bit of bouncing back and forth from his hands to his feet. Takahashi comically danced as this was happening. Gordon performed an early standing moonsault and Takahashi kicked out at one.

Gordon chased Takahashi around the ring and then ate a dropkick once he tried getting back in the ring. Takahashi performed a running missile dropkick off the ring apron. Takahashi grabbed a stuffed cat from a fan at ringside. Riccaboni noted that Takahashi’s own stuffed cat Daryl was “unable to make the trip.” Takahashi hit Gordon with the stuffed animal. Gordon fought back and performed a running shooting star press for a two count. Gordon picked up another two count off a falcon arrow.

There was a good sequence where Takahashi hit a Canadian Destroyer. Gordon was dazed, yet he was able to throw a kick to the head of Takahashi as he was falling to the mat. Later, Gordon hit a springboard stunner for a good near fall. Gordon followed up with a 450, but Takahashi put his knees up. Takahashi performed a German suplex into a bridge for a two count. Takahashi called for his Time Bomb finisher. Gordon blocked it. Takahashi turned Gordon inside out with a clothesline for another two count. Takahashi followed up with the Time Bomb for the win…

Hiromu Takahashi beat Flip Gordon.

Powell’s POV: A strong opener. I really hope this turns out to be a long term rivalry in both ROH and NJPW. Gordon is amazing considering that he’s only three years into his career, but just imagine how good future matches between them can be as Gordon gets more ring time and they develop even more chemistry together.

A video package set up the Marty Scurll vs. Punishment Martinez match…

2. Marty Scurll vs. Punishment Martinez. Scurll showed off his gray hair for the first time in ROH after debuting the look at the Honor Rising shows. A tale of the tape was being shown when Scurll apparently attacked Martinez before the bell. Martinez battled back and performed his springboard flip onto Scurll on the floor. As Martinez returned to the ring, Scurll kicked his knee and targeted it. Martinez came back with a stomp for a two count.

Riccaboni claimed Scurll’s hair turned grey due to all of the Bullet Club trouble. Cabana noted that Scurll’s eye was busted open following a punch from Martinez. Later, Scurll teased punching referee Paul Turner at ringside. Security surrounded Scurll, then Martinez performed a big dive over the top rope onto Scurll and security. Martinez also worked over a couple of security guards at ringside before going back to the apron and eventually stomping Scurll on the apron.

Martinez set Scurll on a table and then went for a springboard flip dive. Scurll moved out of the way and Martinez crashed and burned through the table. Scurll took Martinez back to the ring and piledrove him for a two count. Scurll did the finger break tease, but Scurll grabbed him by the throat only to have Scurll roll him up for two and then deliver a couple of kicks and then several stomps to the back of Martinez’s head and neck. Martinez popped back to his feet and missed a spinning kick. The referee ducked out of the way. With the ref’s back turned, Scurll teased throwing powder, but he ended up kicking Martinez below the belt and pinning him…

Marty Scurll defeated Punishment Martinez.

Powell’s POV: I wasn’t sure how this match would work given that both guys are essentially popular heels. It turned out to be a good match and the crowd didn’t really seem to choose sides, yet they were into the action and reacted to all of the big spots. Martinez bounced back strongly after a rough outing at one of the Honor Rising shows.

A video package set up the ROH TV Title match…

3. Kenny King vs. Silas Young for the ROH TV Title. Beer City Bruiser came out with Young, but then headed backstage and was not at ringside for the match. Young jawed at fans at ringside before entering the ring and then King made his entrance to a mild reaction considering he’s a Vegas native. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the tag title match. King hugged his daughter at ringside prior to the match.

King went for a springboard move early on, but Young pushed the ropes to knock him down. Young threw King to ringside. King crashed into a cameraman, who then hit someone else at ringside. Back in the ring, Young went for a suplex, but King reversed it, leading to both men tumbling over the top rope. Cool spot. Referee Todd Sinclair counted, but they both returned to the ring once his count reached 19.

King performed a nice corkscrew dive onto King a short time later. King played to the crowd and was hit from behind by Young, but he came right back with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. King rolled Young back inside the ring and then performed a cross body block from the top rope for a two count. King also performed a spinebuster for a near fall. Young came back with a knee to the face and a twisting suplex for a two count. Young performed a rolling senton and his handstand into a springboard moonsault for a near fall of his own.

Young caught King and hoisted him onto his shoulders. King held the ropes. When Young pulled him free he flung King’s legs into the referee. Young hit Misery, but Sinclair was slow to recover to make the count, which led to Young jawing at him. A short time later, King caught Young with the Royal Flush and scored the pin…

Kenny King defeated Silas Young to retain the ROH TV Title.

After the match, Austin Aries walked onto the stage holding several title belts (including the Impact World Championship) while the crowd chanted his name and “holy shit” back to back. Aries congratulated King on a hard fought win. Aries said he’s been traveling the globe and collecting belts. One of the broadcast team members said they can call them belts in ROH without a problem. Nice. Aries said there’s one belt he hasn’t won and the belt collector is never done collecting belts.

Aries placed his title belts down on the stage. King jawed at him off-mic from the ring while referee Todd Sinclair went to the stage and spoke to Aries. They cut to the broadcast team, which acted shocked by Aries showing up…

Powell’s POV: Aries showing up was a nice surprise. The fact that he said he hasn’t won the ROH TV Title before was a nice way to explain him going after the ROH TV Title rather than the actual ROH Title. At the same time, Aries vs. King doesn’t jump out as being as hot of a match as Aries vs. Dalton Castle. Aries vs. King could be a very good match and perhaps even better in quality than Aries vs. Castle, but King still doesn’t feel like a hot act despite being ROH TV Champion. It’s hard to predict whether a program with Aries will help or hurt King in terms of his popularity. The actual match between King and Young was solid yet forgettable. They protected Young by having him score the visual pinfall after the ref bump, so I assume we haven’t seen the last of their feud.

4. Adam Page and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “SoCal Uncensored” Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky in a Vegas Street Fight for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Kazarian bladed early. Kazarian and Page struck one another with trashcan lids repeatedly. Later, Matt performed an elbow drop off the top of a ladder at ringside that drove Kazarian through a table on the floor. Shane Taylor came out and powerbombed Nick on the ring apron. Matt scooped up Taylor for a bodyslam, but his ongoing back issues flared up again. Page and Jackson teamed up for a big double team spot on Taylor. The Bucks hit simultaneous superkicks on all three opponents. In the end, Kazarian put Matt in a Boston crab while Scorpio choked Matt with a cane. Matt passed out and SoCal Uncensored got the win…

SoCal Uncensored defeated The Hung Bucks to win the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.

After the match, Kingdom members Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan attacked the Hung Bucks. Bully Ray ran out and hit Marseglia from behind and scared off the two Kingdom members.

A very brief ad aired for HonorClub. Um, yeah…

Riccaboni noted that it was the ROH anniversary show and also his first anniversary with Cabana on commentary. Riccaboni said he knew Cabana was a Chicago Cubs fan and gave him a Ryne Sandberg rookie card. Ryno!!! Nice…

5. Cody vs. Matt Taven. Cody brought out Brandi and Bury the Bear, who wore an “All In” t-shirt during his entrance. Late in the match, Taven struck Cody from behind with the walking stick while the referee was distracted. Taven followed up with CrossRhodes for a near fall. A short time later, both men went for the Beautiful Disaster kick and Taven ended up connecting with it. Cody avoided a top rope splash and connected with a Beautiful Disaster of his own. Taven came right back with his Climax finisher for a near fall.

Taven avoided a move from Cody, who accidentally struck the referee. REF BUMP!!! Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan hit the ring while Cabana noted that Bully Ray kicked them both out. Marseglia and O’Ryan picked up Cody and held him while Taven kicked him below the belt. Cody no-sold it, then revealed that he was wearing a nut cup (sorry, that’s what we called it back in my hockey days). Bully Ray ran out and chased Marseglia. Cody hit CrossRhodes and then got the pin. Cody took his ring back from Taven…

Cody defeated Matt Taven.

After the match, Bury the Bear shoved Cody to the mat. Bury unmasked to reveal Kenny Omega, which drew a huge pop. Omega struck Cody and played to the crowd. Omega jawed at Cody. Brandi spun around Omega and slapped his chest several times before slapping his face. Brandi grabbed Omega by the collar and kissed him. Omega looked shocked. Brandi jawed at him and then blew him kisses before leaving the ring…

Powell’s POV: Come on, Brandi, everyone knows that Kenny only has eyes for Kota Ibushi! Anyway, the actual match was odd match because both wrestlers are heels. There was a brief point when the feud was starting and it seemed like Cody was a true babyface, but then he ended up attacking Omega in Japan and became a huge heel. The wrestlers worked hard and the match was entertaining despite the heel vs. heel dynamic. Omega showing up as Bury the Bear was a very nice surprise. I think everyone has been waiting for Bury to unmask and reveal a surprise wrestler at some point, but I suspected it was Flip Gordon even when he shoved Cody, so Omega making the unadvertised appearance was a very pleasant surprise.

6. “Motor City Machine Guns” Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley vs. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe for the ROH Tag Titles. Riccaboni noted that he’d been with ROH for four years and the Briscoes had not held the tag titles during that time. Mark Briscoe was busted open early. Later, Jay hit the Jay Driller on Sabin for a good near fall. The Briscoes set up for the Doomsday Device. Shelley fought with Mark in an attempt to stop him from performing the clothesline, but Mark fought him off and hit the move and the Briscoes got the win. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise announced that the Briscoes were nine time champions…

Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated The Motor City Machine Guns to win the ROH Tag Titles. 

Powell’s POV: Good work from the wrestlers. The live crowd was clearly into the match, yet they didn’t really seem to choose sides since the Briscoes are heels and the Guns have bland personalities in ROH. I like the title change because the Guns have been so bland for so long in ROH. Hopefully the title change will put them in chase position and perhaps lead to the Guns showing a bit more fire and charisma. Either way, I love the Briscoes as heels. The problem is that the fans also like the Briscoes and the Young Bucks strike me as the only team in ROH that fans might cheer over the Briscoes.

The broadcast team set up pre-taped promos from the champion and the challenger heading into the ROH Title match…

7. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH Title. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Later, Lethal went for a suicide dive and took out ring announcer Cruise. Cabana seemed legitimately shocked that Cruise was taken out. Lethal avoided Castle’s finisher and ended up getting a two count of his own. The broadcast team was still expressing their disbelief of Cruise taking the suicide dive a few minutes later.

Lethal hoisted up Castle in a Torture Rack and performed a nice senton roll for a two count. Castle came back with a nice suplex into a bridge for a two count. Lethal fought back and went for the Lethal Injection, but Castle punched him. Castle went for his own finisher, but Lethal countered into a figure four. The broadcast team played up the knee injury that Castle had been selling during the match. Castle reached the ropes to break the hold.

Lethal and Castle traded strikes. Lethal went for the figure four again, cut Castle countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Lethal hit the Lethal Injection for a good near fall. Later, there was a crazy moment when Castle performed a German suplex off the apron and onto the floor at ringside. Cabana said it was shades of the company’s VHS days and labeled it dangerous.

Back inside the ring, the wrestlers traded punches. Castle connected with a high knee and then sold knee pain. Lethal hit him with a series of strikes including a superkick. Lethal went for the Lethal Injection, but Castle side stepped it. Moments later, Castle hit the Lethal Injection and scored the clean pin…

Dalton Castle defeated Jay Lethal to retain the ROH Title.

After the match, Castle and Lethal shook hands. Riccaboni thanked fans for watching. Cabana thanked everyone who has supported the “mom and pop” company in the early days. Marty Scurll came out and confronted Castle, who held up his title belt. Scurll jawed at Castle to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. The live crowd didn’t really choose sides in the babyface vs. babyface match, but they were definitely engaged. The suspense was lacking for this viewer simply because it was hard to imagine Castle losing the title here. The post match angle sets up the ROH Title match for the Supercard of Honor show on April 7. With Castle vs. Scurll and Omega vs. Cody, that’s a must see show on.

It seemed like a rough night for the first pay-per-view broadcast on HonorClub. There appeared to be server issues early in the show and it was even a chore to figure out where viewers were supposed to click in order to actually watch the show since it wasn’t listed within the actual HonorClub section. Hopefully it was a learning experience for the company and they will have the issues resolved in time for the Supercard of Honor show.

Updated: Overall, a strong show from start to finish. There wasn’t a bad match on the card and it’s definitely worth going out of your way to catch a replay. I will be by later today (Saturday) or on Sunday with my audio review, which was delayed due to the technical issues with the stream. Long story short, I have plans today and I’m not sure if I will have time for the audio review, so there’s a chance I will hold off until Sunday. Obviously, my plan was to record on Friday night and the technical issues prevented that from happening. My apologies to the members for the rare delay.


The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Brian Pillman Jr., who discusses his training, following his father's footsteps, his own career aspirations, being part of the Hart Foundation faction, his big match at the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view, working with Jushin Liger, touring the WWE Performance Center, and much more...


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