ROH: Elite Review

November 11th, 2017

Opening Match:  Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser vs. Coast 2 Coast (Leon St. Giovanni and Shaheem Ali)
Young and Bruiser attack before the opening bell.  Giovanni fights them off with dropkicks.  Bruiser muscles Ali into the corner and hits a corner cannonball.  Ali is isolated until he avoids a seated senton from Bruiser and makes the tag.  Ali hits a spinning uranagi on Young and a flatliner on Bruiser.  He follows with a dive to the floor onto Young.  Bruiser wipes out Ali with a cannonball from the apron.  Giovanni lands a swantan from the top rope to the floor.  In the ring, Coast 2 Coast hit a russian leg sweep-facebuster combination on Young for a nearfall.  Bruiser catches Ali with a spike reverse piledriver.  Young hits Misery on Giovanni for the win at 7:24.  The hard camera revealed that many fans were still filing into their seats throughout the course of this match.  Still, these two teams worked well together and Coast 2 Coast looked quite solid when they were on offense.  Young and Bruiser picked up quite a bit of cohesion since the last time I saw them as a team.  **½

Match #2:  Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods vs. Simon Grimm
Gresham watches on as Woods and Grimm trade counters.  Grimm hits a gutwrench suplex on Woods and a double underhook suplex on Gresham.  Grimm sunset flips Gresham, causing him to german suplex Woods.  Woods kind of connects with a tiger feint kick on Gresham and the crowd seems disinterested so far.  Gresham lands a springboard moonsault onto Woods and takes out Grimm with a dive to the floor.  Back in, Gresham lands a flying crossbody onto Woods.  Gresham catches Woods with a quick pinning combination for the victory at 5:27.  The action just never clicked here and they weren’t able to get the crowd invested in the action.  In theory, a three-way between Gresham, Woods, and Grimm could be interesting given their unique styles.  However, I’d imagine a singles match with any combination of these three would have turned out better.  *½

Match #3:  Shane Taylor vs. Punishment Martinez
They test out each other’s power game and reach a stalemate.  Martinez connects with a forearm and Taylor responds with a straight right hand.  Taylor clotheslines Martinez to the floor and hits a back suplex onto the apron.  In the ring, Martinez connects with a knockout kick followed by a spin kick.  He lands a springboard senton and takes control.  Taylor fights back with a chokeslam and a lariat.  Martinez lands a dive over the ringpost and to the floor.  Back in, Martinez comes off the top with a spin kick and hits a sit-out chokeslam for the win at 6:53.  They seemed to have solid chemistry together and I wouldn’t have minded this one receiving a few more minutes to play out.  Martinez’s convincing victory here was nice foreshadowing to his success at Survival of the Fittest.  **¼

The Briscoes make their way to the ring.  Mark throws out some unique insults at the crowd.  Jay talks about their attack on Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer.  Jay calls out Bully Ray but he doesn’t appear.  The Briscoes settle for attacking a ringside crew member.  They lay him out with the 3D.

Match #4:  Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta) vs. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) vs. Bullet Club (Marty Scurll and Hangman Page)
Beretta connects with a double clothesline on the Addiction and flexes.  Scurll outsmarts Taylor during an exchange and connects with a basement dropkick.  Taylor responds with a missile dropkick from the middle rope.  Page and Kazarian furiously trade punches and fall to the canvas.  Daniels and Scurll interrupt a Best Friends’ hug.  Scurll drapes Beretta across the top turnbuckle and Bullet Club work him over.  Scurll inadvertently low blows Page, so he chases him to the back.  The Addiction now isolate Beretta.  He hits a tornado DDT on Daniels and makes the tag to a returning Page.  The action breaks down.  Page lands a nice dropsault on Kazarian.  He follows with a shooting star off the apron onto Daniels.  Kazarian catches Page with a lungblower.  Taylor cleans house with clotheslines and body slams.  The Best Friends land stereo dives to the floor and finally hug.  Scurll cracks Daniels’ fingers but Kazarian saves his partner from the chickenwing.  Scurll instead traps Kazarian in the hold.  Everyone trades strikes.  Taylor piledrives Kazarian into the Dudebuster from Beretta for the victory at 15:16.  This was fantastic.  Bullet Club had the crowd in a frenzy and their antics never got in the way of the action.  It’s also pretty incredible how much of a reaction Best Friends receive just by hugging.  The action flowed quite well and they planted the seeds for sequences that they paid off down the finishing stretch.  You couldn’t ask for much more here.  ***½

Match #5:  Hanson and Cheeseburger vs. The Dawgs (Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara)
This match came about after the Dawgs interrupted Cheeseburger’s match against a local talent, rendering a no contest.  Hanson does not like bullies.  He lands a splash onto Ferrara and then powerslams Cheeseburger onto him.  Hanson stacks up the Dawgs in the corner and clubs away.  Hanson misses a bronco buster and the Dawgs isolate him.  He hits a seated senton on Titus and makes the tag.  Cheeseburger lands a springboard crossbody onto Ferrara and connects with a series of chops.  He snaps off a satellite headscissors on Titus.  Ferrara spits at Cheeseburger and they exchange forearms.  Titus interjects to save his partner.  Ferrara DDTs Hanson on the floor and then connects with a short-arm lariat on Cheeseburger.  Hanson reenters the ring with a double handspring back elbow.  The crowd goes crazy for that one.  Hanson puts Cheeseburger on his back and lands consecutive corner charges.  Cheeseburger slams Hanson onto Ferrara for a nearfall.  Titus pulls Hanson to the floor.  The Dawgs punt Cheeseburger and hit Who Let the Dogs Out for the win at 10:11.  On paper, I would have thought ROH was crazy for giving this ten minutes, but they made it work.  The crowd was really receptive to the “War Burger” team and they generated some fun exchanges.  The makeshift team would not have benefitted much from winning, so I think giving the Dawgs the nod here was the right result.  **½

Match #6:  ROH World Tag Team Titles: The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) © vs. The Kingdom (TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia)
The Kingdom attack before the opening bell.  The champions fight back with stereo planchas and some of their signature offense.  They stack up the Kingdom and hit a double flatliner.  The MCMG lock in stereo figure fours but the Kingdom are able to reach the bottom ropes.  O’Ryan feigns a leg injury and hits a spinebuster on Sabin.  Marseglia takes out Shelley with a dive and the Kingdom isolate him in their corner.  Shelley causes some miscommunication and finds an opening to make the tag.  Sabin connects with a double flying crossbody and hits a tornado DDT on Marseglia.  He punts O’Ryan from the apron and connects with a missile dropkick on Marseglia.  Sabin lands a dive to the floor onto the challengers.  Back in, Marseglia breaks up Made in Detroit and lands a swantan onto Sabin for a nearfall.  Marseglia gets frustrated and grabs his axe.  Todd Sinclair is freaked out.  O’Ryan accidentally hits Marseglia with a baseball bat while Sinclair removes the axe.  The MCMG hit an electric chair driver on Marseglia to retain their titles at 12:30.  This match would have benefitted greatly from a more vocal crowd.  I think the crowd was perhaps a bit burnt out on tag team wrestling at this point in the show.  As a result, they may have wanted to eschew the heat segment and deviate from the formula to mix things up.  Still, they delivered solid action and were even able to construct a few believable nearfalls despite the likelihood of a title change being very low.  ***

Match #7:  Matt Taven vs. Flip Gordon
Gordon kicks Taven to the floor and follows out with a corkscrew plancha from the top rope.  In the ring, Taven keeps charging at Gordon, but Gordon constantly dodges him.  Gordon lands a springboard moonsault.  Taven responds with a nasty TKO across the top rope.  He almost gets into it with a fan that is suspiciously dressed like Hulk Hogan.  Of course, Taven connects with a boot and hits a leg drop.  He takes over until Gordon hits a springboard sling blade.  Gordon hits a slingshot tornado DDT and lands a standing shooting star press.  Taven connects with a springboard gamengiri but finds knees on a springboard moonsault attempt.  He recovers with a rolling neckbreaker.  Gordon dazes him up top with a pele kick and Taven falls to the floor.  Gordon follows out with a somersault plancha.  Marseglia and O’Ryan come to ringside.  Taven lands a low blow behind the referee’s back for the victory at 14:07.  The action was moving along nicely with some unique and fun crowd interactions.  However, that finish was the dirt worst.  Fourteen minutes is a lot to ask for when you know that’s how the match is going to end.  I could see a rematch between these two being successful.  **¼

Match #8:  ROH World Title: Cody © vs. Rocky Romero
Romero’s last ROH World Title shot was against Samoa Joe.  Cody does A LOT of stalling before the opening bell.  Romero hits a german suplex and lands a dive to the floor.  He comes off the apron with a knee strike.  Romero sets up a table at ringside and Cody runs away.  In the ring, Cody hits a flatliner and a delayed vertical suplex.  They brawl into the crowd where Romero is able to utilize a garbage can.  Back in the ring, Cody takes control until Romero comes back with sliced bread.  Romero connects with his forever clotheslines in the corner.  He follows with a springboard clotheslines with Cody draped over the top rope.  Romero applies a cross armbreaker but Cody reaches the bottom rope.  They battle on the apron and Cody suplexes Romero through the table at ringside.  Cody gets a nearfall back in the ring.  He traps Romero in a figure four but Romero turns the hold over.  Cody spits water at Romero and connects with the Beautiful Disaster for a two count.  Cody dumps thumbtacks in the ring now.  Romero slams Cody into the tacks and hits a standing sliced bread for a nearfall.  Cody counters another sliced bread and hits Cross Rhodes to retain his title at 19:29.

Yikes.  This was not good.  I understand that their backs were against the wall going in.  This wasn’t the main event, Cody/Castle has already been booked for Final Battle, and there was almost no build for this match aside from Romero wanting to make an impact in a singles capacity.  However, while I understand the thought process behind busting out a table and thumbtacks, the weapons felt completely out of place.  It was the definition of needlessly reaching into the bag of tricks.  I have heard very mixed feedback on Cody’s title reign.  While there’s no denying his popularity with the fans, the fact that this was easily my least favorite match on the show is alarming.  *

Match #9:  The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) vs. Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal, and Kenny King
King and Matt avoid each other’s strikes and find themselves at a stalemate.  Nick and Lethal have a great little exchange.  The crowd almost comes unglued for a Omega/Castle confrontation.  However, the fact that Omega is infinitely more popular than Castle is troubling.  Nick hits a slingshot facebuster on Castle and follows with a moonsault to the floor onto King.  Lethal fires off consecutive dives but gets superkicked.  Omega hits a facebuster on Castle and the Elite isolate him.  There’s a point where Marty Scurll and Adam Page come out to blatantly help the Elite and the referee doesn’t care.  The crowd is actively booing Castle, the person trying to make the hot tag.  The action just kind of breaks down.  Castle, Lethal, and King work over Matt until he hits a facebuster on Lethal and makes the tag.  Omega cleans house and hits a dragon suplex on Lethal.  Everyone battles on the stage and trades strikes.  Matt lands a dive off of the stage and over the commentary table.  Castle slams Omega onto a garbage can.  In the ring, Lethal connects with a top-rope elbow drop on Omega for a nearfall.  Castle adds a german suplex but Nick breaks up a pin attempt with a top-rope splash.  Omega fights back with a reverse hurricanrana on King.  Nick lands a swantan onto Lethal and Castle.  The Elite connect with stereo superkicks on Castle and hit the Indy Taker for a two count.  King catches Nick with the Royal Flush.  Castle hits the Bang-a-rang on Matt for the win at 26:49.

In one sense, this match contained a lot of quality action with an invested crowd.  Twenty-seven minutes was certainly too long, but there were enough memorable exchanges to make the match as a whole worthwhile.  In another sense, it is incredible how much more popular Omega, Cody, and the Bucks are than the rest of the roster.  You could tell that the crowd was deflated when Castle pinned Matt, and Castle is the person ROH is building to challenge Cody at Final Battle.  Having not watched any ROH this year aside from the PPVs, it’s still pretty clear to me that this is the Bullet Club’s promotion.  ***

-Show Grade: C+
You Need to See:
You’d Enjoy Watching: three-way tag, MCMG/Kingdom, main event
You Should Avoid: Cody/Romero

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