By Graham "GSM" Matthews
ROH World Champion and ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal def. Bobby Fish (ROH World Championship Wasn't Defended)
I love the idea of opening and closing the shows with Jay Lethal's title defenses and it makes me wonder if WWE will do something similar with Seth Rollins at Night of Champions. Lethal and Fish contested an excellent opener and although Fish and Kyle O'Reilly have yet to fully establish themselves as singles competitors, there were several points where I thought Fish had the match won. The final few minutes were especially enjoyable and the dirty finish protected Fish in defeat, so it was a well-booked matchup all around.
Silas Young def. Dalton Castle to Win Castle's Boys
I was surprised to see this match take place so early in the show considering it was one of the more anticipated bouts coming into the event. Young and Castle are polar opposites as characters and that's what has made their feud so great. The match wasn't amazing by any means, but the stipulation certainly made things more suspenseful. While I would have loved to see what Castle would have done with Young as one of his "Boys," having Young win was the more logical route to take since it prolongs the feud and keeps Castle in chase mode as he wants to get his "Boys" back.
The All Night Express def. The Briscoes
King's back in Ring of Honor? Color me surprised because I, along with pretty much everyone else, didn't see that one coming. I guess that means his run with TNA has come to an end which is probably for the best seeing as how they've misused him for the past several years. It's also great for Rhett Titus who has been relegated to the role of a comedy character (The Romantic Touch) in recent years as a result of King's abrupt departure. The crowd popped huge for the All Night Express reunion and it was the right move to have them go over with this being their first bout back. The Bricoes lose nothing from the loss because it was an entertaining match and they still have their apparent feud with The Decade ahead of them when Adam Page is cleared to compete.
Moose def. Cedric Alexander in a No Disqualification Match
Since these two have been feuding for the past three months, it was nice to see their match given a fitting stipulation. They made the most of it, too, by utilizing the extreme environment and incorporating interference from Stokely Hathaway and Veda Scott. The wrench spot fell in line with the story they've been telling during the course of this rivalry while also allowing Alexander to get his comeuppance. It was more of a brawl than a match, but that's what this feud has been about, so I didn't mind it. ROH obviously has big plans for Moose going forward, but I hope having Alexander ending Moose's undefeated streak wasn't a flash in the pan and he won't be lost in the shuffle now that this program is seemingly over.
ACH def. Matt Sydal in Match #3 in the Best of Five Series
I like ACH and Sydal, but I didn't have any incentive to cheer for one over the other and I don't think the crowd did, either, hence why they were so quiet for the most part. Hell, I didn't even know they were having a Best of Five series! It must be a live event thing because I don't recall it being referred to once on ROH TV. Nevertheless, it was a very well-wrestled match and the finishing sequence was fun, but is there anything at stake in this series or am I missing something?
The Kingdom def. The Young Bucks and The Addiction in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match to Win the ROH World Tag Team Championship
This was everything I expected this match to be and more: absolute chaos! But in the best way possible, not in the way that it was a total train wreck. The near-falls (and superkicks) were relentless from bell to bell and everyone put forth an incredible effort. I assumed the man in the mask was Adam Cole costing The Addiction the win, but after seeing him twice later in the night, I doubt that's the case. That said, I don't have the slightest clue who it might be, which makes me excited for the eventual reveal and hopefully we get more on that on an upcoming episode of ROH TV. The Kingdom winning the belts was the best possible choice with what would happen after the main event and it should lead to an exciting program between them and The Young Bucks over the belts.
AJ Styles def. Adam Cole, Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong in a No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4-Way Match for the ROH World Championship
Although this match had very little if any storyline support, they more than made up for it with the in-ring action. All four competitors had great chemistry with each other and while the line from the commentators before the match about AJ being the only one involved that had never won the ROH World Championship foreshadowed the finish, it was a excellent contest, regardless. It wasn't without its flaws, though, with Styles botching a reverse DDT, but at least he recovered nicely. Styles vs. Lethal has the potential to be phenomenal (no pun intended). Did we ever get that match in TNA? I'd be shocked if we didn't see it at least once.
ROH World Champion and ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal def. Kyle O'Reilly (ROH World Television Championship Wasn't Defended)
As previously noted, O'Reilly wasn't much of a threat to the world title with this being his first shot at the prestigious prize, but he was made to look like Lethal's equal by holding his own and having a stellar performance. Lethal competing twice in one night didn't seem to hinder what he was capable of in this match, thus producing a quality main event with O'Reilly. I'd like to think that ROH is above doing ref bumps, but if done sparingly, they're effective and I liked the swerve with Cole turning on O'Reilly and costing him the win. While I was interested in seeing where they'd go with him as a babyface, there's no doubt he works better as a heel and now he has a ready-made feud with O'Reilly going forward.
Other than Best in the World back in June, I don't usually have the time to watch ROH pay-per-views, but I made an exception for this event with the stacked lineup it had. It not only lived up to my lofty expectations but rather exceeded them in featuring fantastic matches up and down the card. Even the matches with not as much storyline support were a blast, making this a very strong show on the whole. It also succeeded in setting up future feuds and making me want to watch ROH TV in the weeks to come, so I'd definitely recommend checking out this show as soon as possible.