Unless you were living under a rock, you can’t have missed that on 22 and 23 Augustues, WWE held it’s Summerslam Weekend Madness thing with NXT’s Takeover and Summerslam itself. However, the wrestling world didn’t stop turning just because WWE said so. The same night as TakeOver, ROH held its third joint PPV with NJPW: Field of Honor. They did so at the MCU Park in Brooklyn, a venue that had been used by TNA for some years before disappointing attendances made them abandon it. While the show was slightly forgotten amongst the countless reviews and comments about the WWE shows, this was partly ROH’s fault. Not making their show available on their website before Wednesday (something they also do with other shows) is a questionable decision. I get that they like to take their time and such, but 4 days is a long time nowadays and the wrestling fans attention span can be notoriously short. Still, better late than never, and I finally got to watch the show I anticipated the most out of the three… This weekend. But, spoiler alert, it WAS well worth the wait.
Adam Cole vs Christopher Daniels:
Speaking of short attention span, one would almost forget Cole was one of ROH’s top guys before his injury in December last year. While it is understandable that the ROH officials would allow Cole some time to get back into the rhythm of things, his booking has been somewhat disappointing since his return. One the other hand, putting him into the opening match against Christopher Daniels, guaranteed that the crowd would go wild from the start. Unsurprisingly both worked a very good match with a rather interesting story as Daniels continuously targeted Cole’s previously injured shoulder. I could have done without the Chris Sabin interference toward the end (especially since it backfired anyway), fortunately nothing could derail this one as Cole overcame the odds and pinned Daniels. I always enjoy watching Daniels and am glad to see Cole edging closer to his previous from but Cole needs to get the booking behind him again because he’s just too good to an opening match attraction. Very enjoyable opener.
Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr and Lance Archer) vs War Machine (Hanson and Rowe):
Very physical, as you would expect of those teams, and quite fun to watch. I’ve said so before, I rather like War Machine, they’re one of those not paid by the minute, straight to the point teams that still manages to be quite entertaining to watch. KES was the perfect opponent here, as both teams assembled a hard-hitting, strong-style contest that clearly screams for more. And more we will get, as, since War Machine won, a shot at the Killer Elite Squad’s GHC Tag Team Championships is now inevitable. Will likely happen during War Machine’s visit to Pro Wrestling NOAH (Smith and Archer’s current stomping ground). Should be interesting.
ROH World Television Champion Gauntlet Match (Adam Page, Dalton Castle, Frankie Kazarian, Silas Young, Moose, Donovan Dijak, Cedric Alexander and Takaaki Watanabe)
I generally enjoy watching those gauntlet matches but I don’t like commenting them because it’s always a chore describing all that happens. In quick results: Castle pinned Page despite interference from the Decade, Castle pinned Kazarian, Young pinned Castle, Bushwacker Luke made a surprise appearance, got thrown over the third rope and continued his trademark walk over three bases (before being cut short by an official, much to the chagrin of the crowd) and was counted out. Moose then destroyed Silas before entering a “let’s kick the hell out of each-other” contest with Dijak. Moose eventually won before being wrenched by Alexander. Alexander then tried to put away Watanabe but Moose returned to help Watanabe win. Again a very enjoyable outing that did suffer from to usual failing of such contest, meaning some segments were too long and some wrestlers got too little time. Kazarian come to mind as he was quickly eliminated and, while the Bushwacker thing was fun, it was also overly long, although, judging from the crowd reaction, I guess it was one of those “you had to be there” things. Castle continues to impress and is getting insanely over with the crowd. Moose and, especially, Dijak still need to improve but continue to show tremendous potential and Alexander expertly riled up the Brooklyn crowd. Watanabe’s win is somewhat surprising, as it seems others were better placed than him for the title shot. But we’ll see what happens there. Good Stuff.
The Kingdom (Taven and Bennett with Maria) and Roppongi Vice (Trent Baretta and Rocky Romero) vs The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), Matt Sydal and ACH:
I’m not even sure how to describe this one… A comedy spot-fest? The baseball field venue was used to its fullest here as several wrestlers attempted home-runs (sometimes to hilarious results). But while I did laugh on occasion, at the end, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed by this one, especially since this was (or could have been) a Bullet Club vs CHAOS war. Not bad if you like comedy and stunts.
IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs Michael Elgin:
This was good but not nearly as good as their G1 war. I think it’s safe to say neither really went all out here, but that’s understandable given the circumstances. The lukewarm response to Elgin seems to confirm the rumors about Elgin prolonging his stay in NJPW. If that indeed happens a feud between Goto and Elgin is more than likely. So it, perhaps, stands to reason they wanted to keep their best efforts for when it really matters. The booking was surprising here, an Elgin win would have made sense, certainly if what is said above comes to pass, but NJPW probably wanted to protect their IC champion for what was his first visit to ROH. Not bad, but more was expected here.
Time Splitters (KUSHIDA and Alex Shelley) vs The Briscoes (Jay and Mark):
Shelley’s well documented injury (teeth knocked out) during this one, probably hampered it, indeed, especially in the second part (after Shelley’s injury) it seemed sloppy at times but that’s understandable given the circumstances. ROH clearly has plans for the Briscoes as a tag team again, as they’ve been winning several matches in recent weeks. Another run at the ROH tag team belts seems likely. Enjoyable despite the accident.
Roderick Strong vs. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada:
When the result of a match is a forgone conclusion (Okada wins) and they STILL manage to make you jump for a Strong near-fall, you know you’re watching something special. Awesome match between those two, with special kudos to Roderick Strong for really working his ass off here. Best prove of that was that he managed to switch the crowd’s sentiment in his favor towards the end. Okada always brings the goods wherever he goes of course and this match was no different. Ending stretch was at a frantic pace with Okada needing two tombstones and one Rainmaker to finally put away Strong. One of those matches were everybody comes out as a winner. Speaking of Strong, he now has been in matches against Okada, Nakamura and Tanahashi. Something tells me another visit to NJPW is close. One of those matches where everybody comes out as a winner, go out of your way to watch this one.
ROH World/TV Champion Jay Lethal (with Truth Martini) and Shinsuke Nakamura vs IWGP Tag Team Champions reDragon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly)
First of all, it’s amazing how over Nakamura is, wherever he goes. Secondly, this was all kinds of fun. Great match that not only continued the story between both members of reDragon (both will separately challenge Lethal for one of his titles) but the interaction between Lethal and Nakamura was awesome, with first lethal refusing to tag in Nakamura and Nakamura then refusing the tag. A Nakamura hug solved that particular problem. As the match progressed, Nakamura did manage to get on the same page. More or less. Meanwhile Fish and O’Reilly demonstrated (if needed) why they are the next challengers for ROH’s main singles straps. Nakamura hilariously trowing away the Book of Truth almost caused a Lethal to turn on him, but in the end, Nakamura kept o’Reilly busy while lethal pinned Fish. It does seemed strange lethal would pin one of his challengers here, but I guess someone had to take the pin, and, come on, this was lots of fun regardless, wasn’t it? Post match, Lethal refused a Nakamura handshake. Future troubles between those two? Oh yes please!!!
Some have compared TakeOver with Field of Honor (nobody in his right mind bothered to compare Summerslam with anything wrestling related) and while such comparisons are always a bit subjective, I can find myself in the general consensus. FoH was better wrestling wise, while TakeOver seemed more complete. This stands to reason as, for example, one of the reasons Sasha banks and Bayley had such a great match was the emotional history between those two. That is of course what is lacking in shows like Global Wars, War of the Worlds or this Field of Honor. But even that doesn’t spoil the enjoyment I have in watching NJPW’s top stars facing ROH’s top stars. Besides, if the Lethal/Nakamura story indeed does continue, that one flaw might not be relevant anymore in the future.
Conclusion: Great show. Better than TakeOver? I’m gonna say yes, because of the overall match quality, but by a very thin margin.
That’s all from me this week, see you all later and have fun!
Tags: ach, Adam Cole, adam page, cedric alexander, Christopher Daniels, Dalton Castle, Donovan Dijak, Field of Honor 2015, Frankie Kazarian, Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, kazuchika okada, Killer Elite Squad, Marck briscoe, Matt Sydal, Moose, njpw, redragon, Roderick Strong, ROH, RPG Vice, silas young, Takaaki Watanabe, The Kingdom, The Time Splitters, The Young Bucks, War Machine