ROH 11/18/16 Reach for the Sky Tour Leicester Review
Jay White vs. Joe Hendry
Hendry’s entrance really works in the UK, the question is, with this Local Hero schtick work once he’s in the states? If he was just being used by the company for the shows in England, then he was used effectively yet again in this opener. White has the ability to work so many different styles and although Corino put Hendry over for being able to make others work to his pace, the credit should really go to White in this one. Perhaps this would have been a little bit more effective as an opener between a pure face and heel, as it just felt as both men were over and with Jay White’s undefeated streak, there was nary a person who thought Hendry would really win, which I think influenced some of the false finishes. White won this one with his Kiwi Crusher, continuing to look strong and Hendry definitely established himself as someone who could do well in ROH.
Winner: Jay White
Alex Shelley vs. Jay Lethal
Both men adhered to the code of honor to start and exchanged quick wrist locks, with Shelley deftly avoiding Lethal’s kicks. The crowd was really behind Lethal in this one and the opening pace to the match was a nice contrast to the slower style of the first match. Lethal and Shelley interacted with the crowd and made a series of suplex reversals seem that much more important, with Lethal eventually get the better of Shelley. Lethal deposited Shelley on the outside, though Shelley telegraphed the tope suicida attempts and caught Lethal in the skull with a knee. Back inside Shelley applied a leg scissor and playfull made Lethal tap, moving Lethal’s arm himself, but not fooling the referee. Kelly and Corino spoke about Colby Corino’s work in the NJPW Dojo and how Haku’s son will be there as well. While this went oun, Shelley fell victim to the Lethal combination and a springboard dropkick that sent him to the outside, allowing Lethal to connect with the suicide dive he was earlier denied, but only hit one before rolling Shelley inside. A Hail to the King elbow attempt by Lethal was countered by Shelley, who also countered Lethal’s figure four attempt before connecting with a series of strong strikes. Shelley went for slice bread but was rebuffed, allowing Lethal to hit the Lethal Injection before picking up the pinfall victory. Solid match between the two here, once again an odd choice to start the show with essentially two face on face matches, but Lethal and Shelley’s work in the ring kept this match interesting, even if again, the outcome seemed to be easy to telegraph before the bout, as Lethal would be challenging Cole the next night. Lethal grabbed a mic afterwards and put ROH over before cutting a short promo on Cole, swearing to his maker that he will be a two time ROH champion by the end of the tour.
Winner: Jay Lethal
Donovan Dijak vs. Lio Rush
Both the 2015 and the 2016 Top prospect winners squared off in this one and started off amicably , as they both adhered to the code of honor. The lights seemed to go out for the start of the match here, but Corino sold it as being a more intimate setting. Dijak went at Rush with right hands early, trying to catch him in the choke breaker, but Rush quickly flipped his way out of harm before connecting with a combination of kicks. Rush was able to avoid a charging Dijak, but he tope suicida attempt was derailed as Dijak caught him and went to chokeslam him on the apron. Rush deftly avoided harm by hopping up onto the apron and scoring with a kick to Dijak’s unsuspecting countenance. Dijak once again charged Rush, but a quick leapfrog from Rush led to Dijak crashing into the barricade. With the big man groggy, Rush flew through the ropes and floored Dijak.
Dijak used his brute strength to gain control here and as he did Corino and Kelly both started to discuss how much brighter Dijak’s future is without Prince Nana involved, which continues the narrative that Nana is a detriment to people he is associated with. Rush ran right into Dijak’s booth and seemed to be primed for defeat as Dijak let him up for Feast Your Eyes, but Rush was able to counter with an absolutely absurd vertebrate crunching reverse rana. Dijak weathered that storm and stooped Rush from superplexing him off the top by grabbing him by the throat and tossing him like a rag doll to the outside following up with a moonsault off the second rope to the outside that brought the entire arena to their feet. Not to be outdone, Rush then caught Dijak with Rush hour from the apron to the arena floor. Back inside just into time to avoid a countout, Dijak absorbed a frog splash and caught Rush in the choke breaker before hitting Feast Your Eyes for the win.How any other match can top this match on the card is beyond me. Dijak works well with big men and just as well with quick smaller foes like Rush and Jason Kincaid earlier this year not only because of the size difference, but because Dijak executes maneuvers that match his opponents’ agility.
The Briscoes vs. reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish)
The fourth match on the card seemed to follow the same booking strategy for the night, pitting two foes against each other that have little incentive to be squaring off, with both teams being faces and reDragon not currently in the title hunt, as they have had success as singles competitors. The wrestling, as per usual between the four men was solid, if not overly engaging. It was a bit head-scratching to run a fourth match in a row with a face vs. face dynamic, but it all came together when the Young Bucks sauntered down to ringside. In the ensuing action, Nick jumping on the apron distracted Mark just long enough for reDragon to capitalize, hitting Chasing the Dragon for the pinfall victory. The interference and ending helped to add to the issues between the Young Bucks and the Briscoes heading into Final Battle, while allowing O’Reilly and Fish to come off as strong heading into the same event.
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. Delirious & Dalton Castle
Before the match, Daniels and Kaz offered Delirious a chance to join the Addiction and even offered a pair of shoes to sweeten the deal. Castle became
Delirious and Daniels started this one off, with Delirious running amuck after the bell sounded, displaying some of that signature frenetic energy that he is know for. Once the two locked up, Delirious took control with a side headlock, really getting the crowd to be vocal at the start of this one. Delirious attempted to bound off the ropes, with Daniels ready to leapfrog him, but Delirious wouldn’t bite. Daniels became frustrated and called Kazarian in to show Delirious how a leap frog exchange is supposed to work. Delirious begged for one more demonstration and as Kaz bounced off the ropes, Delirious kicked him in the mid-section and then used him as a battering ram to double Daniels over before tagging out to Castle. A couple of irish whips to the corner and some quick double team moves by Castle and Delirious led to Kaz to collapse on top of Daniels in a compromising position, to their dismay, but the delight of the crowd. The shenanigans continued afterwards, with referee Todd Sinclair accidentally hip tossing Daniels and then Kazarian, even getting so worked up that he squared off with Kaz and took him down with a waistlock. In the end, the four did get down to wrestling, but Delirious lack of shoes hurt his team, as his foot was stomped on, allowing Kaz to hoist him up for a Best Meltzer Ever.
Winners: The Addiction
Adam Cole vs. Chris Sabin
Before the match Cole riled the crowd up by offering to throw his shirt to the crowd.After a little boy caught the shirt he demanded it back, telling the kid that Santa wasn’t bringing any gifts. The crowd chanted for Santa which prompted Corino to talk about he was happy to tell Colby that he is Santa. The two finally locked up, with Sabin locked in a wrist lock until Cole grabbed his hair and backed Sabin into the corner, breaking cleanly only to hit his patented Adam Cole Bay-bay pose. Sabin was able to chase Cole to the outside and then held him so that the aforementioned kid came down and chopped Cole. Great work here between the two and after the silliness was over, the two got down to the business of wrestling a back and forth contest that saw Cole zero in on Sabin’s knee, even trying to win by submission with the figure four. However, Cole opted to rely on his deviousness and not his skill set, as he grabbed the title and threatened to crack Sabin in the head. With referee Todd Sinclair attention, he tossed the title across the ring, giving him the chance to punt one between the uprights and striking Sabin with a low blow before hitting the Last Call for the win. After the match, Cole called out Lethal who came to the ring, only for Cole to scamper to the back, never intending on engaging in any physicality. This was match was simultaneously engaging and efficient on the part of all involved.
The Young Bucks vs. Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll
Feeling brash after their previous interference and looking to make a statement, the brothers Jackson, with Matt on the mic, offered Ospreay and Scurll the opportunity at a title shot, which prompted Nigel McGuiness to come to ringside. The ROH matchmaker made it clear that he didn’t appreciate wrestlers making matches, but in this case he obliged, as he felt it would appropriate to reward the fans in attendance with the added stakes of the tag team titles being on the line. Ospreay and Scurll accepted, with the Villain riling the crowd up by proclaiming that he and Ospreay would be the very first British ROH World Tag Team champions. Scurll and Matt started the match off, while the commentary team of McGuinness, Kelly and Corino painted a picture of the Young Bucks as fighting champions, simultaneously acknowledging that the two could be taking advantage of Ospreay and Scurll’s contentious relationship. Both men went for their finishers early, stymying each other and after they both Matt went to congratulate Scurll with a Too Sweet, which he used as an opportunity to score an eye poke. Scurll returned the favor and the two blinded competitors went to the wrong corners, leaping to tag out to their partners.
The Young Bucks took control for a bit and really gave everything to the fans there. They hit Rise of Terminators successfully as the entire crowd rose to its feet and stomped along in unison. Nick hit many of his patented flips and moonsaults and then Matt backflipped and did handstands about six times before finally just back scratching Scurll. Just a great job of executing fun spots that really drew the crowd into the match. Ospreay finally was able to tag in and then hit a number of absurd spots himself, including a shooting star press off of Scurll who was on his hands and knees. After Scurll seemingly broke the Bucks fingers in half, two misplaced superkicks caught Todd Sinclair flush in the face, allowing Scurll to score with a low blow. The Villain went right for his umbrella but Ospreay stopped him from using it, which prompted Scurll to hand Ospreay the umbrella. After a bit of hemming and hawing, Ospreay swung the umbrella, but caught Scurll upside the head instead. The Bucks set up for a 5 star Meltzer Driver but Ospreay did his best to stop Nick mid-air, catching him with a hurricanrana. Unfortunately for him, the move propelled Nick forward anyway, completing the move and earning the Bucks the pinfall victory. The Briscoes came down to the ring and got in the Bucks faces, presumably jawing about their Final Battle showdown. Jay got on the mic and put Scurll and Ospreay over, saying that they tore the house down before handing the mic to Scurll. The Villain blamed Ospreay for costing them the tag team titles and challenged Ospreay to put the ROH TV title on the line for their encounter in London. Ospreay accepted, waiting for Nigel to give his approval, which he did.
If you like the style that the Bucks and Ospreay bring to the ring, you’ll enjoy this spotfest. It really is a must watch match.
Winners: The Young Bucks
Final Reaction: B+/A-
The second night of the Reach for the Sky tour was an excellent showcase of ROH’s talent and vision. The event may have be the second of three consecutive shows, but that did not in any way limit how enjoyable the show was. The Dijak/Rush match and the tag team main event are worth the price of the VOD alone, but every match brought something different to the show that contributed to make this a solid three hours of wrestling. The Cole/Sabin and the Lethal/Shelley matches were nice reminders that as good as the MCMG are together, they tell stories in the ring just as effectively as singles competitors. A title defense would have this a bit more special, but with the next show having that match, it’s understandable why it was defended. Either way, this is definitely worth a watch.
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