Do you know what’s lovely? Live wrestling. ROH appear to have made Edinburgh a regular stop for them and while I can’t pretend I think their roster is that great at the moment, as long as they bring over NJPW guys I’ll be there. They were in Edinburgh on the 24th of May to open their Honor United tour and I went along to check it out.
Shane Taylor defeated Scorpio Sky
Before the match, Christopher Daniels got on the microphone and went for the cheap heat by running down Edinburgh. He then proceeded to pull out an envelope and offer Taylor money to forfeit so they could all get out of there ASAP. The crowd apparently thought that was a good idea as they chanted for Taylor to ‘take the money.’ Sadly, Shane wasn’t willing to improvise that bit, so he rejected the proposal.
What followed was exactly what you’d expect from Shane Taylor and Scorpio Sky. Scorpio was doing everything in his power to stay out of Taylor’s grasp and ultimately failing. We got a Daniels and Kazarian run-in at one point which still wasn’t enough to put down the big man.
And it’s worth saying that said big man impressed me. Taylor is someone who I gave exactly zero fucks about pre-match, but for a guy his size, he can move. He never looked like he was chasing Scorpio Sky and if you can accept his limitations, he’s a fun watch. He picked up the victory with a Samoan Driver in a fun opening contest.
Verdict: Three Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada) defeated The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian)
Daniels and Kazarian hung around as Sky made his way to the back and said that despite that not going to plan, they were still the best team on the planet. Apparently, that’s why they were challenging LIJ who came out to a good reaction from the crowd.
Again, this was the exact match you’d expect it to be. After an initial flurry from the Ingobernables, Kaz and Daniels took control by breaking every rule in the book. They were able to isolate Evil and work him over. It all built to a Sanada hot tag who – while he didn’t go full vindaloo on the Scoville scale – still gave us a bit of heat.
That built to an impressive final stretch with the teams going back and forth. It’s easy to forget how good Daniels and Kazarian are and in there with two young studs that shone through. There’s no denying that they’re getting on in years, but the experience they have more than makes up for any half step of pace they’ve lost.
LIJ hit the Magic Killer on Daniels only for Kazarian to make the last gasp save. It was to be a delay rather than a reprieve, however, as Sanada took Kaz out leaving Evil open to hit Evil for the win. Good stuff.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Kelly Klein and Chardonnay defeated Tenille Dashwood and Sumie Sakai
Ring of Honor’s attempts to establish a women’s division can be summed up by the fact Chardonnay made her debut and wandered down to the ring to the generic Women Of Honor logo. There was very little done to get her over here as ROH seemed to assume the Edinburgh crowd would be familiar with her work.
It’s also increasingly clear that Sumie Sakai was the wrong person to be their inaugural champion. She was popular here, with her enthusiasm getting her over with the fans. However, she wasn’t the star on her own team. Even Klein came in and demanded to wrestle Dashwood instead. One of those two holding the belt with the other chasing would make so much more sense.
The match itself was a bit clunky. It felt undercooked and like they hadn’t had quite enough time to put it together. Klein would attempt to get the win with a belt shot, but Dashwood dodged it only to get rolled-up for the three when the ref removed the belt from the ring. It’s definitely not something that you need to seek out.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Punishment Martinez defeated Kenny King
Punishment Martinez is a big old fucker. A big old fucker who moves around the ring like someone half his size. He flew to the outside (bouncing off the inside of the middle rope), and it was genuinely breathtaking. Sadly, he didn’t pull out his leap over the turnbuckle, but we can’t have everything, can we?
Kenny King would win the reward for the wrestler who was surprisingly over with the crowd. He’s a fantastic mid-card talent who perhaps lacks the charisma to be more yet Edinburgh apparently loves him. It led to some fun moments as he danced around to the crowd’s chanting while Punishment stood in the background looking menacing.
What’s cool about Martinez is that someone like King is the perfect opponent for him. It allows him to show off both his power game and his pace. While he was always going to win the match, they had a lot of fun on the road to getting there, and both men came out of it looking good. ROH really need to start doing something with Martinez, by the way. He’s got something, and they risk losing him if they don’t utilise that sooner rather than later.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defeated Nick Aldis and Mark Haskins
I’ve seen the Young Bucks three or four times now, and they’ve never come close to disappointing me. Yes, on these tours they tend to rely on their shtick, but damn that shtick is entertaining. They know what the crowds want, so they deliver it. Cool spot after cool spot means that everyone goes home happy.
And, to their credit, Haskins and Aldis did a good job setting them up for it. That should be no surprise for Mark, who is Mr Reliable when it comes to the British scene. He was even given a stretch to shine himself, hitting those wild Tope Suicidas. The real surprise was Aldis who is at best a mediocre wrestler. This was easily the best performance I’ve seen from him as he seemed to relish his heel role, ruining the fun of everyone involved. He even hit a Meltzer Driver of his own with Haskins helping Nick provide his part with a Super Hurricanrana.
Of course, the Bucks don’t go down easily, and they’d fight back by starting up a big old Superkick Party on the heels’ asses. They’d eventually show Haskins how to do it with a Meltzer Driver of their own for the three. This was a fun match that ended the first half of the show on a high.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
The Boys defeated Toru Yano and Delirious
I’m going to shock you here. This was not wrestled in a serious manner. In fact, I would say that everyone involved was being very silly. Can you believe that?
Like anyone that watches New Japan on a regular basis, I have, in the past, complained about Yano’s act. He pops up, and I can’t be arsed with him. However, watching him live is a different experience. The timing of his comedy is perfect, and you will laugh out loud.
He was aided by The Boys being fantastic. They’re just as funny as Yano and have the athleticism to throw some great wrestling in there too. At one point, they even managed to make Delirious bearable as they kicked things off with a running gag about him being scared of them because they look the same.
I suspect this was one for those in the building. It was your typical comedy match with everyone having a lovely time, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping past it.
Verdict: Three Stars
Silas Young defeated Joe Hendry to retain the ROH TV Title
Joe Hendry made his ROH debut in his hometown and received a hero’s reception. The crowd stayed hot for him all match and Silas Young was treated to the joys of having a few hundred people call you a fanny.
It’s just a shame that neither of these men is that exciting in the ring. Joe’s an excellent technician and Young is a good brawler, a dynamic that didn’t exactly lead to an enthralling match between the two of them. It was carried along by the crowd’s enthusiasm rather than the action in the ring.
They did manage to save it a bit with an exciting closing sequence. Hendry got the Ankle Lock on repeatedly as they teased the incredibly unlikely title change. However, as expected, Young would battle out to get the win. It wasn’t a bad match (in fact, it was a lot of fun in person), but I doubt anyone will remember it in a month.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Dalton Castle and Jay Lethal to retain the ROH Six Man Titles
Let’s be honest, I didn’t really watch this. I watched Tanahashi. So, I’m going to write an essay on his hair if that’s okay?
I’m not even really joking. Most of what I remember about this involved Tana. Evil turned up at some point, as despite being booked as a babyface earlier in the night he attacked Dalton Castle to set up his title match later in the tour. I guess he is evil. Before that, there had been a gag about Castle protecting Tanahashi’s nipples. I’m honestly not even sure how that started.
The problem is that The Kingdom aren’t any good and I (along with a lot of people in the crowd) struggle to care about them. It led to a situation where they were making up the numbers as people marked out for the babyface team. From what I remember of the action, it was decent enough, but then how could you possibly have a bad match with Lethal, Castle and the perfect specimen that is Hiroshi Tanahashi?
I guess I’m trying to say that my review of this match is pretty pointless. Unless you do want that essay on Tanahashi’s hair?
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) defeated The Bullet Club (Cody and Hangman Page) to retain the ROH Tag Team Titles
The ROH crowd is apparently not as knowledgeable as the Fight Club one or just doesn’t care as much because The Briscoes got a favourable reaction when they came out and continued to receive one from some people despite being the heels. It’s worth pointing out again that they are pieces of homophobic shit and you should not like them.
So, I’m going to focus on Hangman, because no-one needs me to point out once again that Cody – despite his numerous upsides – is not a fantastic wrestler. If you want to read that opinion go find one of the countless other shows that I’ve reviewed him on. On the flipside, I don’t think I’ve entirely worn out my ‘how great is Hangman?’ rhetoric yet. 2018 is the year of Page as he blossomed from the other guy in the Bullet Club into a great act on his own merit. He hit that beautiful moonsault to the outside here, and it’s a joy to watch. In fact, a lot of what he does is. He’s never going to be a silky smooth worker, but he moves like a man half his size and everything he does looks like it hurts.
Sadly, this wasn’t to be Hangman’s night, and the pricks got the win. Despite that, Cody and Page closed the show and even got Brandi to announce them as the new champions. I guess you can get away with that in ROH when you’re the Bullet Club.
Verdict: Fuck The Briscoes
An enjoyable if not outstanding wrestling show. No-one was going all out, and while very little on the card was bad, none of it was great either. If I’d watched it at home, I’d probably be down on it, but sitting in the building with a crowd who were having a lovely time it was hard to feel too negative towards anything. Live wrestling, it’s great, isn’t it?