• Bullet Point Reviews: ROH Champions vs. All Stars 2014

    We watch wrestling shows. We will talk about wrestling shows.

    New feature! We will start talking about some of the random wrestling shows we watch with quick thoughts in the form of bullet points.

    @JoeySplashwater is starting off the feature that will be a revolving door of usual WOE members. I’m going to give my review of ROH Champions vs. All Stars. Going forward, I look to provide more reviews for ROH, PWG, the occasional Evolve show and other random independent wrestling shows I happen to watch. Maybe old wrestling too.

    Enjoy the quick recap and some of my instant reaction when watching the show.

    Nigel McGuinness, Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa promos

    • Match-maker Nigel McGuinness is out to start the show. Nigel looks happier and healthier in spirit and energy than he’s been since returning to ROH in a non-wrestling role.

     

    • Nigel announces that Mark Briscoe has poison ivy and will sit out the main event match leaving Team All Stars in need of a replacement.

     

    • Adam Cole is out to gloat about Briscoe being afraid of him. Cole used the term “story time” before his promo which elicited “story time” chants by the fans for the 2nd show in a row. That seems like a new catch phrase. Mark Briscoe comes out with his poison ivy to chase Cole to the back.

     

    • Tommaso Ciampa comes out and asks Nigel to replace Mark Briscoe in the Champions vs. All Star main event. There’s some tension teased between Nigel and Ciampa but Nigel agrees claiming Ciampa was on his short list of replacements anyway.

     

    • Decent segment to set up the change for the main event and everyone played up their current storylines. This was one of the better uses of Nigel McGuinness. Despite watching just about every ROH show and being a huge Nigel fan, I sometimes forget what his role actually is.

    BJ Whitmer vs. Will Ferrera

    • Short little match with the story of BJ Whitmer being the bully veteran and Will Ferrera being a young dojo trainee looking to make a name for himself by earning Whitmer’s respect.

     

    • Ferrera kicked out of BJ’s finisher which the announcers sold very well as did BJ with a look of shock. After hitting a 2nd Exploder Suplex, BJ picks up the win.

     

    • Whitmer offers a rare handshake before punching Ferrera, being the dastardly heel that he is.

     

    • The match went as well as it could have, further declaring Whitmer’s role since The Decade’s purpose has been inconsistent lately. Will Ferrara had a solid showing and the false finish kick out shows some faith in him.

     

    • Both wrestlers strengths were showcased and flaws were hidden with simple and effective storytelling in a short match. Can’t ask for more from them.

     

    • Until I think of a better rating system, I’ll just give star ratings since all the uncool kids do it too.

     

    • Rating: **1/2

    TaDarius Thomas vs. Owen Travers

    • Fresh off leaving The Decade, TaDarius Thomas faces a local guy.

     

    • Owen Travers attended one of the ROH tryouts and impressed enough to get a spot on a main show. I was very impressed with him in this match. I’m a sucker for seeing an unknown wrestler go out there on a show that’s likely very significant to him and put out a good performance.

     

    • This was another short match with back and forth action. Both guys gelled well together and I liked this match quite a bit. TaDarius picked up the win and seems to be getting somewhat pushed as a face going forward. Thomas has improved a lot from his first few ROH matches.

     

    • Rating: ***

    Daniels vs. Cedric Alexander

    • Before the match, Daniels made sure to remind Cedric Alexander that he was the star and Cedric was the one with something to prove. A very little detail but a nice way to get the match started with something.

     

    • I’m not good at transcribing moves by the name but this was a great match. They went back and forth, both hitting high risk maneuvers and having a good exchange a the end. Daniels picked up the win with the Best Moonsault Ever at second attempt.

     

    • After the match, Daniels cut a promo talking about how much he loves wrestling guys like Cedric and proclaimed Alexander is the future of Ring of Honor. Daniels was very emotional and speaking with complete passion. It wasn’t “another one” of those promos we see many times on the indies. His words felt authentic and special. A really great moment.

     

    • Not the typical “MOTYC” but a stellar match everyone should look out for. Reminded me of Daniels last run in ROH before he left for TNA. The dude gets older but continues to be one of the best and smartest wrestlers.

     

    • This was also one of Cedric Alexander’s best matches and he continues to show his potential. Something I love about Alexander is how he steps up in matches against well regarded talent like Daniels, AJ Styles and Jay Lethal. It shows an ability to perform in a higher pressure situation and I’m very excited to see 2015 become the year of Cedric.

     

    • Rating: ****

    Kazarian vs. Jimmy Jacobs

    • Jimmy Jacobs came out to his hometown for what seemed to be a big moment for him.

     

    • The match was fine but nothing really stood out aside from Jacobs attachment to the hometown fans and desire to give them a victory. Jacobs did get the win but other than that, there is not much to discuss from the in ring perspective.

     

    • Kazarian looked like “just a guy” in this match and seems to be having a little more difficult of a time acclimating himself to the ROH environment than his well experienced partner.

     

    • Jacobs cut a post match promo thanking the fans in another very emotional moment. He refused to shake Kazarian’s hand and they had a little awkward moment.

     

    • Rating: **1/4

    The Romantic Touch vs. Matt Taven

    • This was a match. There was nothing particularly bad about it. There was nothing particularly good about it. It just happened. The finish (Taven’s very high Frog Splash) was cool but nothing else stood out.

     

    • Matt Taven came out with what I assumed to be a new Kingdom entrance song. It’s a mix of Adam Cole‘s theme slowed down and Michael Bennett’s theme sped up. I enjoy the sound of it but it may be ineffective as it doesn’t sound like something a heel would come out to.

     

    • Rating: **

    Champions (Jay Briscoe, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish and Jay Lethal) vs. All Stars (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, ACH and Tommaso Ciampa)

    • This was one of my favorite Ring of Honor matches of 2014. I loathed this concept last year because it just heels vs. faces and a typical ROH (*winks*) match that just happened to last an hour. This time it was one of my favorite storyline gimmick formats of unlikely tag partners having to team together.

     

    • Adam Cole, ACH, Roderick Strong and Tommaso Ciampa all worked together despite having a strong disdain for each other. Cole had some fantastic gestures in this match manipulating his partners to help get closer to his goal of winning a title shot. Ciampa tried to play nice to get the title shot by relying on his talent and resting on his laurels. Roderick Strong put his ego aside. ACH refused to cheat with Cole and Strong in an attempt to win the match with honor.

     

    • Jay Lethal was eliminated by ACH in less than a minute via surprise roll-up. Normally I’d dislike seeing that little of Lethal but he wasn’t needed in this match and put the focus on ACH still wanting revenge in the form of his TV title shot.

     

    • Tommaso Ciampa was eliminated next via DQ. reDRagon did a Eddie Guerrero rip off of tossing a belt to Ciampa and Kyle O’Reilly hilariously bumping when the ref turned around to DQ Ciampa. This was a hilarious moment that the crowd ate up. O’Reilly’s facial expression afterwards was amazing.

     

    • Adam Cole chewed out Ciampa for being eliminated and Ciampa then attacked everyone in anger until Nigel McGuinness came back out. McGuinness warned him he’s not allowed to hit anyone outside of the context of a ROH match. There was a stare down between the two that has me wondering if Nigel is considering a comeback to the ring. Where else could this be going? This show reminded how tremendous of a performer Nigel was/is. The point of this was to show Ciampa’s side of being screwed again when not taking matter into his hands of attacking announcers and talent to get ROH’s attention.

     

    • Kyle O’Reilly was eliminated and Roderick Strong was eliminated right after making it Adam Cole and ACH vs. Jay Briscoe and Bobby Fish. Cole hit some opportunistic superkicks that set up ACH to hit a 450 Splash (I think?) on Fish making it 2 vs. 1 on Briscoe.

     

    • The match started to focus on Adam Cole trying to force ACH to break Jay Briscoe down. Cole tried to avoid Jay for the entire match and now that the champ was in a weakened position, Cole wanted to pounce. ACH refused to follow Cole’s plans.

     

    • The next elimination came when Adam Cole “accidentally” hit ACH on the ropes causing ACH to fall through a table. While the referees checked on ACH, Mark Briscoe ran out and hit the Doomsday with Jay to eliminate Cole.

     

    • They did the angle where they wanted ACH to go to the back after taking a table bump but he demanded to continue the match vs. Jay until there was a winner. A couple of false finishes until Briscoe was just too much for ACH. Jay Briscoe was the sole survivor and has still yet to be pinned in two years.

     

    • ROH trying to elevate someone in a match like this tends to be hit or miss. I thought it was perfectly done here. ACH got the better of his rival, stood up to Adam Cole and held his own against Jay Briscoe. Whatever past miscommunications between the two, ROH has to follow through with his push after a night like this.

     

    • Jay Lethal ran back out to attack ACH after the match. Jay Briscoe made the save and did the classic ROH “respect” promo where they shake hands and Jay puts over ACH on the mic.

     

    • I missed the concept of Lethal Lottery and Survivor Series matches with unlikely partners after watching this. Such a fun and easy tool for the wrestlers to do something different than the usual same old match they have 12 months a year. I’m likely overrating this match more than the average person will look at it due to the personal preference of the match format but either way, it’s worth checking out.

     

    • Rating: ****1/4

    Overall Thoughts

    • A very good “B show” with two matches worth going out of your way to see.

     

    • Show rating: 7.5/10 (I promise to think of more fun rating systems going forward.)

    Potentially on deck for future editions: PWG BOLA 2014 and ROH TV episodes.