ROH “Masters of the Craft” Review
Beer City Bruiser vs. Jay Lethal
Early Eddy Grant Electric avenue reference by Riccaboni and Cabana right at the start- this portends to be a fun show. The crowd was really into this one and BCB seemed to feed off the crowd, working his role to perfection in this one. He might not be the most athletic wrestler on the roster, but BCB is a classic big man who can pull out some surprising moves from time to time. On a roster that doesn’t have a great deal of traditional heels, BCB fills a much needed spot as mid-card worker who convincingly embodies the gimmick and can make anyone look good. Lethal won a hot opening contest and compared to the match they had on ROH TV recently, this was definitely the better of the two matches. In the end, Lethal won via pinfall after the Lethal Injection. Lethal’s work here in the opener is a shift for him from being in the main event but just goes to show how over he is and how important he is to the company.
Winner: Jay Lethal
The Rebellion (Shane Taylor & Rhett Titus) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe)
This was a really good tag match between the two teams, even if War Machine was always going to walk away as the winner. War Machine holds the IWGP heavyweight tag teams titles and it would be a huge surprise for them to lose to the Rebellion here, but not for a lack of effort from Titus and Taylor. Some of Ray Rowe’s best work in ROH has come against Shane Taylor. The history the two have shines through in their work and seems to energize both men. By no means should the Rebellion have won this match, but War Machine’s position in the company is curious. As representatives of NJPW carrying the IWGP titles their role in ROH is uncertain. With all the steam they are building and the crowd response to their matches, one would think that they would be challenging for the titles soon, as they seem to be the most credible threat to the Young Bucks on the roster. In the end, War Machine won via pinfall after hitting Fall Out in a solid tag team match.
Winners: War Machine
Matt Taven vs. Adam Cole
Taven came off as very focused from the very onset, determined to win and throwing out some of his over the top braggadocio. The action spilled to the outside and Taven really drew the ire of the crowd, which seems like a reoccurring theme on the night. The crowd can be as important as the action in the ring and their reactions, for the second night in a row, really elevated some of the matches that may have fallen flat otherwise. Taven’s attitude shift played out in his moveset as well and here paired up nicely with Cole. As Cole went for the Last Shot, Taven reversed it into a small package that see-saw back and forth until Taven picked up the win. It would not have hurt to have Taven hit his finisher and win clean here, but the execution of the finisher came off as Taven out wrestling Cole, not winning by fluke, so it still worked to make him look stronger heading into the match with Daniels in Dearborn for the title.
Winner: Matt Taven
ROH Television Championship Match
Marty Scrull(c) vs Ken Anderson
Anderson made Riccaboni stand on a chair so that the mic could be lowered into his hand before going through his schtick, which the fans summarily booed. Scurll then did his take on the same bit, ending it by welcoming Anderson to ROH by cracking across the head with the mic to a chorus of cheers. Scurll took the early advantage and set Anderson to the outside, beating him about the outside as the crowd cheered him wildly.
Scurll “broke” Anderson’s fingers after an extended sunset flip spot which saw him flapping his arms to keep his balance. Referee Paul Turner was knocked out after Scurll countered a Mic Check attempt by Anderson, only for Scurll to fall victim to the move anyway. Anderson had Scurll covered, but Turner was unable to make the three count, allowing Scurll to grab a chair. The two both faked being hit with the chair, confusing Turner who awoke to both men incapacitated. Turner tossed the chair aside, but then Anderson and Scurll played tug of war with an umbrella, accidentally hitting Turner for just enough time to see Scurll kick Anderson before rolling him up with a small package to retain. The match worked as a comedy match, but there’s no need for that to take place for the TV title. Also, having Anderson pin the champion as part of a one-off, even if the referee was knocked out, was unnecessary. After the match both men shook hands and Anderson announced Scurll as the winner and champion.
Winner: Marty Scurll
The Carnies (Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful) vs. Cheeseburger and Will Ferrara
The tag division in ROH needs more teams like the Carnies and it is great to see them moving from Future of Honors matches to spots on the VODs. The Carnies are new, fresh and unlike anything else on the roster right now. The forced destroyer move is memorable, tying into the idea that they are there to entertain-makes them akin to Castle in terms of a tag team with an out there gimmick. In the end,Burger took a big boot that was intended for Will Ferrara. The sacrifice allowed Ferrara to catch Iggy with his finisher for the win. Despite the recent issues with Burger and Ferrara the victory had them both in a celebratory mood.
Winners: Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara
Jay White vs. Punishment Martinez
At War of the Worlds NYC, Martinez attacked both White and Ospreay after their match, so White had a score to settle with Martinez here. Both men were able to showcase their talents here. Martinez has the slow-moving brooding monster role down pat and White was much better about getting the crowd involved before his big spots. The end saw White reverse the South of Heaven chokeslam into a rolling cradle for the pinfall victory. Martinez attacked him after the match, finally hitting his finisher before he left the ring, only to come back and curb stomp White for good measure. The match and the use of both of these guys in a program is excellent.
Winner: Jay White
The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) vs. The Briscoes
This was a rubber match between these two long time ROH tag teams and the build beforehand was effective in making this feel important. The guys did the same in the ring, starting off hot with MCMG starting off the match in dominating fashion, wrestling with a bit of an edge. MCMG seemed poised to win after they hit the Skull and Crossbones neckbreaker/top rope splash combo, but as Cabana expertly pointed out, Sabin pinned Mark, but Shelley to didn’t make sure that Jay was tied up. Jay was able to break up the pin and eventually hit a Death valley driver followed by a Jay Driller before Mark capped it all off with a Froggy-bow before picking up the pinfall victory. Good match between two great tag teams that worked very well against each other.
Winners: The Briscoes
No DQ Match
Bully Ray vs Silas Young
Bully Ray grabbed a mic before this one started, but Silas Young snatched the mic and asked Bully Ray if he knew who Silas was. He went on to deride Ray for having the fan support and claiming to be tough and hardcore. Young ended by promising to show Ray why Silas is called the Last Real Man. Bully Ray retorted by saying that the fans recognize that he has been trying his best for the fans for the last 20 years. Because of Young’s earlier comments, Ray suggested that the match be a NO DQ match and Young accepted by attacking RAY from behind.There was a point where Turner helped Ray deliver the Wassup Headbutt spot and the Get the Tables schtick as well. Before Ray could grab a table the Beer City Bruiser came out, soon followed by Jay Lethal. Lethal took BCB out and Young turned around only to be on the receiving end of a Bully Bomb.
Winner: Bully Ray
Adam Page and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Johnson) vs.
Dalton Castle and The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
The match started with a bit of comedy, as Daniels started a “Three Sweet” chant after poking most of the Bullet Club in the eye with three sweet hand signs. This was a good, but not great six man tag-I’m simply tiring of seeing six man tag matches when the overall impact is unimportant. They are surely fun to watch once in a blue, but when the company has a trios division a match like this feels unimportant in the larger scheme. The end came after Kazarian and Daniels hit the Best Meltzer Ever on Page to pick up the pinfall victory for their side.
Winner: Dalton Castle and The Addiction
Final Reaction: C
As was the case with Unauthorized, I found myself enjoying this show and the crowd really fed into the overall feeling of excitement here. Nothing particularly specially occurred here, which is not meant as a slight at all, but this was for all intents and purposes, a house show. As I said in my Unauthorized review, I think packaging weekends of house shows together for a discounted rate would make these more attractive to buy. The Reach for the Sky shows were all exceptional and sold for the same price-there needs to be a difference when the shows aren’t as impactful overall.