Ring of Honor returned to Dearborn, MI, on July 13 with the third helping of a triple-shot weekend. Following shows in Chicago and Milwaukee, this had a lot to live up to. The card on paper looks relatively strong with some interesting singles matches between reDRagon and Adrenaline Rush and a really good looking main event. So, how did ‘Reclamation: Night Two’ pan out? Let’s take a look.
Home state guy Tadarius Thomas kicks off the show, taking on Kyle O’Reilly. Kyle has really improved as a heel since he started teaming with Bobby Fish. I’ve seen a lot of people on our forum say this match was disappointing and I have to agree. I don’t think it was a bad match, far from it, but I expected more from these two. When it seemed to be getting going, the action would slow down again and it didn’t really work well as an opener. I’m still not sure about TD as a singles guy; there are too many strikes for me but his team with ACH helps limit what he does. A decent start but was maybe expecting a bit more.
Women of Honor action next as Leah von Dutch goes up against Jenny Rose, MsChif and Athena in a four corner survival match. At one point they did a pretty cool four-way submission spot but that was pretty much the only highlight. Pretty sluggish match once again that seemed to drag. Athena looked good as always but the others not so much. MsChif picked up the win with the Desecrator on the debuting Von Dutch.
Silas Young, the last real man in pro wrestling, then comes down to the ring and says women don’t belong in it. That then leads to our next contest as he takes on Tommaso Ciampa. Nice couple of spots in this one which included Ciampa hitting a belly-to-belly superplex and Young delivering a German suplex on the outside after the padding had been removed. Young actually wins the match after taking the hammer used to ring the bell and hitting Ciampa with it. However, Nigel is on commentary, sees it and orders the match to be restarted. Shortly after, Ciampa hits the Project Ciampa for the win. Wasn’t a fan of the finish at all. It made Young look completely stupid. Are we going to have a match restarted every time a heel uses a heelish move? It overshadowed a good match between these two. I’m a big fan of both guys but when you want to build somebody up like Silas Young, that finish is not the way to do it.
We continue the show with what should be a great contest as BJ Whitmer goes up against Adam Cole. Whitmer appeared to get injured around the neck area early on in the match and it seemed to hurt it a bit which is unfortunate. To be fair to BJ, he fought on and they managed to put a pretty good match together but they seemed to be on different pages at certain times. Cole feigned a knee injury after coming off the top rope and then rolled up BJ into a small package for the victory. A decent enough match and I liked the finish playing into Cole’s new character of winning any way he can.
Another debutant on this show as Andy Muscat faces Michael Bennett. Yes, Mike Bennett is now Michael. Maria, as always, accompanies him to the ring. The only difference with Bennett’s gimmick appears to be that Maria is now calling the shots. This is pretty much a squash match that Bennett wins with the piledriver. She orders him to give him another piledriver after the match but hometown man Rhino makes the save. He then challenges Bennett to a match which Maria eventually agrees to. Bennett wins after a number of superkicks followed by the Box Office Smash. The crowd were into it and it was a decent enough contest. Rhino gores him after the match which left the crowd happy.
Another great match on paper up next with Bobby Fish taking on ACH. ACH was looking to make it a double for Adrenaline Rush over reDRagon this evening after Tadarius Thomas beat Kyle O’Reilly in the opener. I really like both guys and was expecting a lot and while it may not have reached what I was hoping, it was still a good match. It was a bit sloppy at times but I think you can forgive that. Something didn’t really click between these two and I’m not sure what but it was still an enjoyable match. I’d definitely be interested in a rematch to see if they could better it.
A really interesting contest next as Matt Taven faces Kevin Steen. On paper, it’s a bit of a mismatch but it’ll be interesting to see how it actually pans out. This is not for Taven’s ROH World TV title and he is of course accompanied to the ring by Truth Martini and the hoopla hotties. I did not like the booking of this match one bit. It was essential a squash match with Steen completely dominating Taven. This is our TV champion, not some random guy they’ve brought in. Taven wins the match after Martini interference leads to him rolling Steen up and putting his feet on the ropes. Another match that did nothing to help Taven’s credibility. After the match, Steen asks Truth Martini to get in the ring and Nigel McGuinness then makes it an official match. Truth hits Steen with the book of truth after Taven had thrown powder in his eyes but he kicks out. Steen eventually hits the Package Piledriver for the win in a fun little segment.
We then go to our main event of the evening which sees the American Wolves facing Jay Lethal & Michael Elgin. The biggest compliment I can give this match is that it was exactly what you would expect from all four of these guys. It was full of hard-hitting action and was a fun watch. reDRagon come out to the entrance way for the end and see Lethal tap out to the Achilles lock after Davey had hit Elgin with a suicide dive on the outside. This was a really good match but just seemed to be missing something to take it to the next level. I liked the crazy ending to the match but I think it was missing that big match “feel”. Maybe it was the crowd or the fact that there was no real reason for the match to be happening. Regardless, it was a great match that would probably be around the four star mark if I were to do star ratings.
Overall Thoughts: Overall, the show was a bit disappointing. There were a few matches that didn’t really click and the show as a whole had the same feel. There were a couple of bright spots including the main event and Young v Ciampa but there was a lot of stuff that was pretty average. I must almost add that the Dearborn crowd were awful. They were very quiet and probably took away from the show; especially the main event. The commentary team of Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness also drag the show down with some pretty poor coverage. If you’re short of cash or just don’t buy every show, I’d put this towards the bottom of your list. It’s probably the worst show of 2013 so far but if you do buy it, it’s definitely watchable. Just don’t set your expectations too high and maybe you’ll enjoy it a bit more than I did.