Preview: ROH 16th Anniversary
Las Vegas, Nevada
This Friday, Ring of Honor presents it’s 16th Anniversary show, headlined by Dalton Castle defending the ROH World title against former champion Jay Lethal.
Pre Show: Women of Honor Championship Tournament Match
Brandi Rhodes vs. Tenille Dashwood
The last match added to this card, Dashwood and Brandi will be squaring off in a match to determine who will end up in the semi-finals of the tournament. These two are two of the biggest and most recognizable names in the company right now, so the star power is here. Dashwood defeated Stacey Shadows convincingly to get here, while Rhodes used a bit of trickery to get past Karen Q. With Rhodes being featured on the E! Network on WAGS, a victory for her here would not be shocking. Dashwood has connected with the ROH crowd since here surprise appearance at Honor Reigns Supreme and is not currently exclusively signed with the company, but has garnered such a genuine reaction from the fans that it would be counterintuitive to keep her from advancing here, unless she will not be appearing with the company going forward, which would be a mistake. Look for Dashwood to win here and eventually advance to the finals.
Sumie Sakai vs. Hana Kimura
Sakai was one of the first Women of Honor to ever compete in the company and holds a role as an elder stateswoman of sorts within the company now. Her inclusion in the tournament was a no brainer and working with Stardom talent is smart here, as the language barrier can be dealt with, while also featuring a match with an exciting talent in the form of Hana Kimura. Kimura has only be wrestling for two years and has already been pegged a rising star in Stardom, as she has quickly taken to performing well in the ring at a very young age. In a clash of experience and exuberance though, Sakai moving on and setting up a Sakai/Jenny Rose match, one that was teased during their tag match at Manhattan Mayhem, is the smart money here. Nonetheless, Kimura should make an immediate impact here and could see more appearances in the future if her performances in Stardom are any indication.
Flip Gordon vs. Hiromu Takahashi
During the Honor Rising events, Gordon defeated Takahashi and KUSHIDA with a 450 splash, making waves in NJPW and ROH alike. Ever since his appearances on Being the Elite, Gordon’s persona has begun to equal his in-ring ability and this has been helping him connect with crowds, crowds like the Manhattan Mayhem crowd, which was wholly behind him, despite his heinous attack of the beloved Bury the Bullet Club Bear. A one on one match with these two will be a real treat for ROH audience and seeing how it is an ROH show, look for Gordon to pick up an exciting victory here. Takahashi is no stranger to ROH audiences, and accompanied by crowd favorite, Daryl “The Cat” Takahashi, he can easily put on one of the best performances of the night. Takahashi has so much cache with the fans here that a win for Gordon over the crowd favorite would propel him further up the card, while Takahashi does not need the win at all. Look for Gordon to win a spectacular battle here.
Punishment Martinez vs. Marty Scurll
Punishment Martinez slowly built to a title shot off the heels of a strong 2017 for ROH. Although the title shot was not a PPV match, his character development during the period leading to the match displayed a different side to him, one of a menacing monster that had a mission and could speak for himself. Marty Scurll, on the other hand, has blossomed through the use of comedy, but as of late has acknowledged his claim to the title and has desperately tried to garner his first ROH World title shot since being a part of ROH. Before Martinez clashed with Castle, Scurll wormed his way into a future title shot, ultimately not getting one, as Castle prevailed. Since then, he has extended his challenge to Castle and Lethal this time around, hedging his bets, but along the way, he has also drawn the ire of Martinez. On television this past week, some miscommunication during a tag match intensified the issues between the two. Martinez seems to view Scurll as a nuisance, but one he needs to be wary of. With Scurll seemingly next in line for a title shot, look for him to walk away the winner here.
Cody vs. Matt Taven
Taven and Cody have been clashing in a heel on heel feud since after Cody dropped the World title and this has been a perfect program for Cody, who awaits Kenny Omega at Supercard of Honor. Taven has long been ant-Bullet Club, before the Kingdom was reformed in his image and he put a punctuation mark on that when he and his cronies low blowed Cody and stole the ring of honor. Since then Taven has been mocking Cody on ROH television, sporting the ring everywhere he goes and using his Youtube channel to further rub in the ownership of the ring, as well as the perils of having it, as it might be cursed. This program will likely end with this match, as Cody moves on to face Omega and Taven is going to be in Mexico next week, competing at CMLL’s big Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show. Look for Cody to win the match, looking strong as he heads to Supercard, but Taven should hold on to the ring here. Although Cody was slighted in having the ring taken from him, Taven has run with the concept and it will get more mileage with him as the Kingdom currently have not been competing for titles.
6-Man Tag Team Championship Match Street Fight
Socal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) & Shane Taylor vs Bullet Club (Adam Page and the Young Bucks)
The Addiction and the Bullet Club have been at odds for what has been over a year, ever since Christopher Daniels defeated Adam Cole for the ROH World Championship. Frankie Kazarian even joined the ranks for the Bullet Club as part of a ruse to help his friend win the title. Cody then wrested the title away Daniels and the Addiction essentially turned heel, disgusted by the fan base’s support of a nefarious group of thugs. Playing the role of spoilers, both Kazarian and Daniels began a campaign to upset the fans by interfering in matches and refusing to wrestle. COO Joe Koff had enough and announced the Addiction’s contracts would not be renewed at the end of the year, creating an interesting countdown to this year’s Final battle for the duo. Nevertheless, they aligned themselves with Scorpio Sky, another west coast native and formed SoCal Uncensored, hell-bent on winning the 6-man titles. Just as the group seemed to use their guile to win the titles, newly appointed enforcer Bully Ray reversed the decision, allowing the Hung Bucks to retain. As the Addiction’s countdown to apparently leaving the company winds down, a title here would make matter interesting and put Koff in an odd position. The rules also allow the Addiction to get around Bully Ray sticking his nose in this match, so a title switch here seems to be imminent.
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Motor City Machine Guns (C) vs. The Briscoes
The Briscoes have really reinvented themselves yet again in the aftermath of their 6-man title reign alongside Bully Ray. Jay and Mark have both shown a mean streak as they marched to reclaiming the titles they claim belong to them. The Motor City Machine Guns had a feel-good moment in winning the titles that had eluded them their entire careers and have done well in the role as champions, but the Briscoes build from being fan favorites riding along with a legend to mean-spirited and unpredictable heels feels like an organic story here, one that will eventually put over any team that defeats them down the line. Although this side of the Briscoes may not be new to some ROH fans, much of the current fan base, myself included, has not seen a Briscoes title reign of terror. As such, look for the Briscoes to win the titles and assert themselves at the top of the tag division as ruthless veterans.
ROH World Championship Match
Dalton Castle (c) w/The Boys vs. Jay Lethal
In his second title defense since winning the title from Cody, Dalton Castle faces what is easily the biggest threat to his title thus far in the form of former ROH champion, Jay Lethal. The issues between the two have squarely been centered around the title, in a nice nod to what ROH really stands for-two of the best wrestlers in the world vying to be in the top spot. This match could very well be the best on the card and the issues between the two are believable, as the desire to be champion has been something Lethal has been clear about since dropping the title to Cole. This is a match that Castle needs to win to solidify his title reign in a pure wrestling match-he should be the champion walking out of this match as this reign is in its infancy. Although Lethal is a formidable opponent and a legitimate threat to the title, a win for him here seems unlikely as Castle has really just gotten the ball rolling as the champion. Castle will walk out as champion here in a match that will earn him the respect of more fans by overcoming such an accomplished former champion.
The event can be view at ROH’s website, for HonorClub members.