Ring of Honor
Date: January 11, 2017
Location: 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness
We’re back to the regular schedule this week and that means the Decade of Excellence tournament continues. The winner gets a World Title shot at the 15th Anniversary Show against new World Champion Adam Cole, who won the title for an unprecedented third time at Wrestle Kingdom 11. Let’s get to it.
We open with clips of Christopher Daniels defeating Mark Briscoe in the first tournament match.
Daniels talks about being around for the start of Ring of Honor. He’s been around for fifteen years because there is no expiration date on destiny. I’ve never been a big Daniels fan but I could really go for him winning the tournament and the title. He’s earned it with some excellent promos recently and it would be cool to see.
Decade of Excellence Tournament First Round: Jay Briscoe vs. BJ Whitmer
Unfortunately this means we get to hear about Kevin Sullivan, who is still at ringside. Whitmer pokes Jay in the eyes to start and chops him in the back of the head a few times. Jay’s running clothesline in the corner rocks Whitmer but they head outside where Punishment Martinez offers a distraction so BJ can take over.
Back from a break as I continue to loathe all things associated with this Sullivan story, save for Martinez of course. Whitmer runs into an elbow and it’s time for some snap punches. A suicide dive takes Whitmer into the barricade but Jay might have banged up his elbow. Whitmer seems to be enjoying the pain so Jay punches him a few more times, only to get caught in an exploder suplex for two. It’s time for the spike but Mark Briscoe comes out for the save, allowing the Jay Driller to score the pin at 9:57.
Rating: C-. Not bad here and the lack of Sullivan doing anything of note helped a lot. Briscoe advancing is a big deal as he’s still one of the top stars in the company and can be turned into a big dragon (albeit a friendly one) for someone to vanquish. It’s not bad and the right winner helped a lot.
Whitmer says everything ends with a sacrifice next week.
Silas Young/Beer City Bruiser vs. Alex Reynolds/Jon Silver
Silver actually suplexes Young for two to start until the massive Bruiser comes in with a clothesline to knock Reynolds into a German suplex for two. Bruiser adds a cannonball for two more on Alex but he avoids a charge and rolls over for the tag off to Silver. The much smaller Jon manages a suplex on the Bruiser in an impressive display of strength. A Codebreaker into a German suplex gets two on Young but he kicks Silver in the head. Bruiser adds a Banzai Drop and Young gets the pin at 4:50.
Rating: C. This was better than it had any right to be and that’s always a nice surprise. Silver and Reynolds are on a long list of names of smaller guys who don’t have much of a look but can put on an energetic enough match to get by. They need some more polishing (ok a LOT more polishing) but at least it was a good first performance.
Post match Young says he and Bruiser want another partner to go after the Six Man Tag Team Titles (oh yeah those exist). They call out Bull James and then beat him up for not being the guy. Ok then.
Kingdom vs. Cheeseburger/Will Ferrara/Joey Daddiego
Non-title. The Kingdom jumps them to start with Marseglia beating up all three at once until Daddiego gets in a fall away slam to put the champs on the floor. Back from a break with Ferrara getting stomped in the corner as the Kingdom continues to be difficult to tell apart because no one bothered to tell us anything about them.
O’Ryan spears Taven by mistake and the hot tag brings in Cheeseburger. Everything breaks down and the Kingdom starts firing off kicks, only to be taken down by the palm strikes. There are a bit too many members of the Kingdom though and a kick drops Cheeseburger so Taven can frog splash him for the pin at 7:53.
Rating: D+. Here’s the problem: Kelly said the Kingdom rules the six man division and I guess that’s true, assuming you can name more than three or four six man teams. There’s just NO need for these titles and it’s becoming more and more clear every single time they’re brought up. The Kingdom is fine enough but that doesn’t mean they’re in need of titles.
We look at Matt Hardy promising to come after the Young Bucks. I still love the fact that, at least so far, TNA doesn’t seem to be gaining anything at all from this match.
Here are the Young Bucks with something to say. Matt can barely talk because he’s been screaming for joy over their new contracts. They’re not spot monkeys and they won’t be deleted. The lights go out and a drone (not Vanguard I) flies in, earning itself a superkick.
Decade of Excellence Tournament First Round: Colt Cabana vs. Chris Sabin
Alex Shelley is on commentary. They fight over a wristlock to start until Chris kicks him in the chest and gets two off a high crossbody. What looked like a thumb to the eye allows Colt to send him outside and we go to a break. Back with Colt putting on a one armed camel clutch but missing a middle rope splash. Instead Chris gets in a missile dropkick to send him outside, setting up a running kick to the chest. Back in and Cabana scores off a hip attack but here are the Boys to fan Cabana a bit. The distraction lets Chris get a small package for the pin at 8:14.
Rating: C-. This was fine again though I’m not wild on Sabin, who was hardly beaten down, using a very heel style rollup to win a match. Neither guy seems to have even the slightest chance of winning the thing, which hopefully is being loaded up for a Daniels win, though Jay Lethal is also a possibility.
Overall Rating: C. This wasn’t the worst show in the world but it’s much more about setting up things for the future instead of being a major show this week. There weren’t a lot of big names involved this week and, save for a longer squash, most of it didn’t do anything for me. It’s still fine but that’s not really noteworthy.
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