10 Thoughts On … Ring of Honor February 27, 2016 (Top Prospect Tournament, Adam Cole versus Matt Sydal)

Thought Zero – So the Ring of Honor 14th Anniversary Show happened this past Friday. I did not watch it, but it was very well reviewed by Inside Pulse’s own Pay Metalhead (go check it out. But come back after, please). Apparently not much happened at the PPV (aside from the apparent Motor City Machine Guns reunion), but it sounds like it was a pretty good show overall. So now, on with the show…

1. First match is Silas Young and the Beer City Bruiser versus Dalton Castle’s Boys. A few things happen before the bell rings, allowing an immediate detour into sub-thought territory.

1.A. First, the Beer City Bruiser is a pretty good character to be partners with Silas Young. The characters of both men just seem to jive well. Although I would love to see the keg he brings to the ring come into play once in a while. I mean, it is a pretty unique foreign object to use.

1.B. Pre-match, the drunk side of the writers’ table apparently burped and the Silas Young/Dalton Castle feud came back up. Because here is Castle, attacking both Young and Bruiser before the Boys can even make it to the ring. So apparently that feud isn’t over.

1.C. But then the sober side of the writers’ table gets the pen and has Silas Young announce that he will retire if the Boys beat him and Bruiser. That seems like a pretty solid feud-ending stipulation that was just thrown out there. Seriously, if that was going to be a stip for this match, why wouldn’t you try to promote it even a little, not just dump it in a boring promo pre-match?

2. The match wasn’t too bad as it went a long way towards making the Boys look like a decent team with some high flying moves. They still don’t appear to be a threat to me, but if ROH keeps them as a working team, they could get some good mileage as a face jobber team, getting in some hopes spots and selling like crazy for the other teams on the roster. And in time, who knows what they will become.

3. The match ends predictably with Young and Bruiser winning after a series of corner splashes and a Bruiser cannonball. But the big news is post-match when the drunk side of the writers’ table stabs the sober writers with several unsanitized quills and sends Dalton back out there to brawl a little more and have the Young/Castle feud continue forever.

4. I don’t know if the outside commercials featuring ROH talent show elsewhere, but it is always amusing to see stars like Jay Lethal doing some seriously hyped-up promo work about Health Alert Hotline.


5. The Top Prospect tournament is continuing with the semifinals. Semifinal one sees Brian Fury versus Action Ortiz. The crowd is pretty dead until the 330lb Ortiz goes flying with a plancha over the top to the floor onto Fury. And after a little chanting, the crowd goes back to sitting on their hands. The lull also allows Kevin Kelly and Mr. Wrestling III to talk a little about the other semifinal upcoming, allowing me to go into sub-thought mode:

5.A. As Kevin Kelly starts to hype up Lio Rush’s victory last week over Jason Kincaid, Mr. Wrestling III pipes up with “what a competitor that Kincaid is,” which just reinforces what I said at the time that the wrong guy went over.

And then after an “inadvertent” low blow, Fury wins with a pop-up powerbomb and the crowd doesn’t care. After-match interview with Fury shows that his promo work is pretty bland.

6. Mr. Wrestling III makes a couple of references about Ortiz’ “crazy eyes.” Is that some sort of reference to “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix? I don’t have Netflix, so I am not sure why Ortiz would be in a women’s prison, but maybe there is some obscure cross-promotion going on there. A women’s prison might be an untapped market for wrestling though.

7. The next semifinal is next with Punisher Martinez versus Lio Rush. Martinez is a foot taller and about 100 pounds heavier than Rush, so of course I expect Rush to win somehow. Because wrestling loves their giant-killer stories. And it begins. Rush throws everything at Martinez and Martinez sells nothing for about 5 minutes. Finally, a top rope flippy move gets a little control to Rush. Then Martinez takes over easily and starts killing Rush with some interesting power moves and even a plancha to the outside. The ends comes when Rush counters a top rope chokeslam and Rush moves on to face Fury. And for the second straight match Rush gets his ass kicked but wins. Doesn’t ROH already have Cheeseburger on their roster? Rush seems to be more athletic than Cheeseburger, but they are still small, skinny dudes who just get beat up a lot. Why would I want to root for that?

8. Random thought here – I don’t love the Top Prospect Tournament, but I am a sucker for tournaments. Especially in wrestling. And, honestly, the Top Prospect Tournament has done a pretty good job of pushing newer stars the past few years. We will see what happens this year, as either Fury will “feel the rush” or Rush will “feel the fury.” Or maybe the sober writers will recover from their quill injuries in time to steal the drunk writers’ thesaurus. I guess we will find out.

9. Adam Cole versus Matt Sydal is the main event. Both Sydal and Cole are solid and sometimes spectacular workers, so a 15 minute main event, even though there is no storyline reason for them to be wrestling, is a welcome thing. And, come to think about it, this match is probably ROH in a nutshell. If you like this match, you like wrestling more than “entertainment.” You like the sport of it, the athleticism of it, and even the drama of telling a story through a match. No long promos or endless angles or backstage skits, just good wrestling for the sake of wrestling. And it also showcases why people (myself included) sometimes get frustrated with ROH. You don’t need all the craziness of an entertainment company like WWE, you just need some logical booking and the occasional transcendent storyline. Or maybe just keep the booze out of the writers’ room.

9.A. Quick, random sub-thought – Cole hit a wicked wheelbarrow suplex on Sydal onto the edge of the ring apron which just looked sick. You have to be impressed and/or frightened by how these guys honestly risk their health on some of these moves. And with that, you have to respect what these guys do. And that is something else I think promotions like ROH and NJPW have that the WWE doesn’t. The audience respects these wrestlers as athletes as well as performers. With WWE, they are respected as performers. Which is why when someone like CM Punk or Daniel Bryan come along, the WWE crowd goes nuts for them because they are normally force-fed actors pretending to wrestle instead of wrestlers putting some acting on top of their physicality.If that makes any sense.

10. Sydal actually gets a surprising victory with a reverse rana and then a Shooting Star Press. Cole is obviously on the top level in ROH, so the loss doesn’t hurt him, and the win helps people’s perceptions of Sydal as a serious threat. Well done decision making regarding the outcome of this match, I must say. Something like this could be a nice springboard for future storylines/booking traditions. Will it? Probably not, but one can dream.


Sorry about missing Thursday last week. I am sure maybe 0.3 of you realized that The Fantasy Book wasn’t on there, and I apologize. It will be back this week, come hell or lofty H2O. Until then…


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