17th May2018

‘Ring of Honor’ Wrestling Review (May 13th 2018)

by Nathan Favel

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Commentators: Analyst – Ian Riccaboni | Color – BJ Whitmer

Welcome to the debut of the weekly Ring of Honor TV review here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and I’m thrilled to give you the run-down on Ring of Honor’s one-hour fight cards that appear on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s numerous television affiliates. We begin these reviews in the midst of great change for not just Ring of Honor, but wrestling in general. With the rise of female wrestling and the advent of Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling/Impact Wrestling’s X-Division style as the premier method for competition in modern wrestling, Ring of Honor’s identity has been forced to change, as what made it original in the past has been claimed by nearly every wrestling league around. In response to the sign of the times, Ring of Honor has looked to the past and duplicated much of the presentation of 1970s wrestling, from the camera angles to the vignette promos and even the announcing itself reflect the more modest approach of Big Time Wrestling rather than the sanitized version of Extreme Championship Wrestling’s attitude that Ring of Honor was once known for. However, various working agreements with different leagues, including the likes of New Japan Pro Wrestling, have given Ring of Honor an extra edge and a commodity that most leagues don’t have access to. These are exciting times for wrestling and for Ring of Honor. Let’s get to the action!

Match #1: Kelly Klein vs Madison Rayne – Women of Honor Match

We start the card off with a match from the Women of Honor division, featuring hard-hitting mat worker Kelly Klein and former TNA World Women’s Champion (and notable indy wrestler before that) Madison Rayne. Rayne has returned to Ring of Honor as a successful grappler who made her name as the third member of TNA/Impact Wrestling’s faction/tag team, The Beautiful People. Klein has been a solid name and a consistent fighter since entering the ROH women’s division, bringing the look of a genuine shooter with her, which is often missing from both male and female wrestling, sadly. The match starts slow, with holds being traded and held for several seconds at a time. Madison sells for Kelly, giving each strike from Klein a moment of her time, so to speak. After a few minutes of steady back and forth, I noticed that the crowd wasn’t reacting that much, although I don’t think they were necessarily bored either. Klein is not a great personality, yet, and has trouble engaging the crowd outside of her move-set, which includes several submission hold, a few chokes and quite a few suplex variations. Madison is carrying the entertainment portion of the match, although she has no choice but to do so by taking a beating from the ruthless Klein. There were several instances where the match would up the ante and have big slams on the floor or leaps from great heights, but the crowd was reserved for most of these spots. At this point, I thought of who Kelly Klein reminded me of, and the name Tomohiro Ishii came to mind. Like Ishii, Klein has a very rigid way of moving that may make a fighter look hesitant and unrefined but, since Ishii is considered one of the best wrestlers in the world, perhaps there is a way of making that work to her advantage. However, for this match, Klein’s style makes her look more cumbersome than she deserves to appear to be, especially when you consider that she does seem to know what she’s doing. Madison Rayne’s work was, however, crisp and fluid, like the seasoned professional that she certainly is. Rayne seems to be in the best shape of her career and is the right kind of person to work with a great prospect in Kelly Klein. The match seemed to end suddenly, with Klein getting the fall in a lackluster bout that may have never felt like it went beyond first gear, but still managed to make Klein look formidable (and even got an excellent reaction for the finish itself).

Winner: Kelly Klein

Match #2: The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) vs The Dawgs (Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara) – Tag Team Match

This was a short sprint between a flailing tandem in Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara and one of wrestling’s best duos in its long history, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. The match was more like a demo reel of what the MCMG can do, from its kinetic double-team maneuvers to its buoyant leaps from any surface they can ascend. Sabin has gotten slower since his numerous injuries over the years, but he is still every bit as talented as he has ever been, with the patented MCMG formula becoming a more careful, methodical version of itself because of it. The Dawgs have struggled to make something of their pairing, but they have managed to become a very intense team that, under better circumstances, could become a great tag team. I would suggest putting them with Kenny King to reform the All Night Express, but perhaps King only wants to work singles matches. Eventually, with swift kicks, hard chops and daring dives, the MCMG were able accelerate the velocity of this match into a quick, fierce fight that served as a nice show-case for one of wrestling’s best acts.

Winners: The Motor City Machine Guns

Match #3: “The Neon Ninja” Façade vs. Eli Isom

Eli Isom, ROH Dojo student with lots of natural ability, locked up with one of the wrestling’s most exciting fighters in Façade, who is fast but intricate at the same time. We had lots of roll-ups to start, with each wrestler countering each other’s pin attempts as suddenly as a pin-ball does when you tilt the machine like a maniac on crack. Fierce strikes from both men lead to even more vicious blows from one another in a bout that is more in line with ROH’s house style, but slower, which seems to be the theme tonight. Isom’s offense is explosive and gives him a lot to work with, but he doesn’t seem to connect quite yet as a character. Façade, who is a complete package at this point, displayed better technique and was better prepared for television. I would love to see Façade as a regular on ROH TV. Bully Ray attacked both men and caused a disqualification, bringing an excellent bout to a premature close.

Winner: Nobody

Match #4: Main Event – The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson) [challengers] vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) [champions] – Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions

Two of wrestling’s best teams clashed in the main event as the Young Bucks sought to reclaim the straps from Jay and Mark Briscoe, who have become vengeful heels over the past few months. The match started off with a wild brawl that spilled all over the ring’s side. It was spot after spot at this point, with the Briscoes fending off the infinite aerial assault of the Bucks as if an array of missiles were striking the fortress walls from all sides. The Bucks switched to their infamous set of kicks that were a bit more aggressive than usual. Conversely, the Briscoes don’t have as much of their normal luster tonight, for whatever reason, I don’t know. Then, the Briscoes hit a double submission spot on the Bucks that returned that luster in triple force, with Jay locking in a sharpshooter on a Buck like only Bret Hart can. At this point, the crowd loved this match as the Briscoes took control of the fight, making a mark on the challengers like so few have in recent years. The Briscoes were then booked to go over the line with an assault by way of chair barrage that left the Bucks broken and the match as a disqualification for the latter team.

Winners: The Young Bucks (by DQ)

News of the Night:

  1. Bully Ray fired both Façade and Eli Isom from Ring of Honor after he cost them both victory.
  2. Cheeseburger confronted Bully Ray and called him a “piece of shit”.
  3. Ring of Honor President Joe Koff fires Bully Ray from his position as ROH Enforcer.
  4. Bully Ray comes out of retirement.
  5. Cody Rhodes and Marty Scurll are fighting over which of them will challenge Ring of Honor World Champion Dalton Castle for the title in the near future.
  6. The Briscoes destroyed the entire Bullet Club, including Adam Page and Cody Rhodes with brutal strikes from the same chairs that they bashed on the backs of Nick and Matt Jackson. Jay and Mark came across as unstoppable here.

Final Verdict: This was a solid night of fights that was dominated by DQ finishes that actually might have done more than just a standard finish may have (and I don’t say that very often).

Next Week: Jay Lethal vs Punishment Martinez; SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) vs. The Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll and Adam Page).

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!

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