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SuperCard of Honor XII Recap

This week is WrestleMania weekend, the biggest weekend in all of professional wrestling. I know a lot of people watch WrestleMania out of tradition, but not me. Unless the card looks good, I skip it. This year is a skip for me, and in my mind there was only one must see event this weekend: Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor XII.

This year’s SuperCard of Honor had over 5,000 fans in attendance and set a record as the most attended Ring of Honor event ever. This was clearly a huge show for Ring of Honor and they booked some great matches to bring in the fans.

Ring of Honor also ran a great deal and allowed anyone who signed up for Honor Club to stream the event for free. Usually you have to a VIP member who prepaid $120 a year, but for this event the Honor Club worked like the WWE Network and $9.99 got you everything. I signed up, but an hour before the event began both the ROH app and website crashed. No one was able to view any of the show until well over an hour in. I was forced to buy the show on FITE, which was a bummer and doesn’t bode well for the HonorClub.

Jonathan Gresham vs. Chuckie T 

Match Background:
This match has no real background, it’s just two popular wrestlers who are having a great year facing off against each other.

How the Match Played Out:
This was an interesting match to begin with. To be honest, I expected it to be on the pre-show. Nonetheless, it was a very entertaining match with Gresham landing on his head after a very scary suicide dive. Chuckie T brought out a very mat based offense to match the sophistication of Gresham’s abilities and they told a decent story. Chuckie T got the win after countering a tornado DDT.

Punishment Martinez vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Match Background:
I think everyone loves to watch two big men beat the shit out of each other and putting the rapidly improving Punishment Martinez in the ring against one of NJPW’s finest is a great way to give the fans something worth watching.

How the Match Played Out:
Right before this match began, a strange man appeared behind Colt Cabana and Ian Riccaboni and dusted them with something voodoo looking. Punishment then came out and seemed like he might be connected to the man, but they never went into it.

I didn’t expect much other than some hard hits, but Punishment Martinez came out with something to prove. He performed an amazing over the turnbuckle dive (where he also landed on his head), then followed that up with an awesome flip to the outside, and even managed to get his 6 foot 7 frame to perform a super-hurricarana. Ishii nailed some beautiful suplexes, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to undo the damage that Punishment had inflicted. Punishment Martinez got the surprise win and impressed the hell out of me.

Adam Page vs. Kota Ibushi

Match Background:
So, obviously The Bullet Club has its issues with The Golden Lovers, and here we get to see one half of The Golden Lovers face off against a Cody-aligned Bullet Club member. What’s most exciting is that both Page and Ibushi are on fire this year. Page is really garnering respect in the ring and working his way up the ladder and Ibushi is coming off a wonderful match with Cody at WK12 and then going on to team with Kenny Omega for a series of fantastic tag team matches.

How it Played Out:
I was a little worried once this match began, beacause I felt like it got a bit of a slow start. There was some great back-and-forth stuff, but nothing of note happened until Page attempted to backflip off the outside railing and Ibushi grabbed him and snap suplexed him onto the ground. It was a vicious suplex and after that the match picked up big time.

These two guys wrestled a main event on the third match of the night. They tore the building down and the crowd got into it with lots of “Fight Forever” and “This is awesome” chants.  It took a straight jacket german into the Golden Knee to finally finish Page off. Ibushi’s amazing 2018 continues and Adam Page continues to show he’s continually improving.

Sumie Sakai vs. Kelly Klein

Match Background:
Earlier in the day, Kelly Klein defeated Mayu Iwantani and Sumie Sakai surprisingly defeated Tenille Dashwood to set up this Women of Honor final match to declare the first champion. I honestly have no idea why Sakai was booked to win over Dashwood. I understand she’s given a lot to the business, but when declaring your first champion you need someone young, vibrant, and well… relevant. I feel like the fans were robbed of the true title match they deserved. Obviously, Kelly Klein is a great athlete and while she may not get the most attention as the first WOH champion, her dedication and hard work is worth rewarding. I just expected to see her win the title over Tenille.

How the Match Played Out:
How do I put this nicely… the match stunk. The crowd was not into it and it almost felt like the crowd was asking the same question I was, “Why is this not Tenille Dashwood vs. Kelly Klein?” At one point they brought out several women from the back to surround the ring (along with Daffney who was seated at ringside) and they beat on the mat and cheered on the ladies in an attempt to make this something memorable and special, but it didn’t work. There weren’t enough women and the match was a real stinker. In yet another surprise, Sakai managed to snag the win from Kelly Klein and while she was given a few minutes to celebrate and the announcers tried their damnest to sell this as some epic moment in ROH, it honestly felt like something that deserved to be uploaded to free on WOH on YouTube.

ROH Six-Man Championship Ladder Match
Socal Uncensored vs. The Young Bucks & Flip Gordon

Match Background:
Flip Gordon defeated Scorpio Sky on TV a few weeks back and after receiving a beat down by SoCal Uncensored The Young Bucks came to his rescue setting up a probable show stealing gimmick match. Honestly, I didn’t need the a storyline for this, just putting all six of these men in the ring with a ladder is enough to make me tune in.

How it Played Out:
Like Punishment Martinez, Flip Gordon decided to take this extra big spotlight and show off everything that he has to offer. He put on one hellova show and of course, The Young Bucks and SoCal Uncensored really brought it. Lots of fun high spots including a great spot with Nick hopping across four ladders and then flipping to the outside.

Then The Kingdom came out (Bully Ray had banned them from the card, but he never came out to enforce his ban) and attacked both teams and ruined the flow of the match. It didn’t derail it, but it definitely hurt the match. The Kingdom were fought off and took quite a bit of damage including going through some tables, but it was SoCal and The Bucks that shined. Once they got things back on track, the match was everything you’d expect it to be. Flip looked like he died at one point catching his face on top of the ladder on his way to the floor. Eventually, Christopher Daniels grabbed the belt and retained the titles for SoCal Uncensored. Following the match, The Kingdom grabbed the belts and took off out the arena with them.

ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Briscoes vs. Jay Lethal and Tanahashi

Match Background:
Well, this match doesn’t really have any background. It seems like something that was thrown together when ROH was looking at who they still had left over but haven’t booked. I’m not the biggest fan of the Briscoes, but the team of Lethal/Tanahashi excites me.

How it Played Out:
Well, not much happened in this match that wouldn’t have happened on a regular weekly ROH TV show. Lethal and The Briscoes spent most of the time in the ring, despite the crowd being hugely behind Tanahashi. They teased Tanahasi getting some great offense in, but outside of a couple of slingblades, he really didn’t get to do much. The Briscoes unsurprisingly got the win in a very paint-by-numbers match. Tanahashi and Lethal both deserved better on this big show.

ROH TV Championship Match – Last Man Standing Match
Kenny King vs Silas Young

Match Background:
A few weeks back at a TV taping, Kenny King surprised everyone (well, at least me) by defeating Silas Young for the TV title. Then at the 16th Anniversary show, he defeated him again to solidify his control of the title. Unfortunately, neither man has really used the title to elevate themselves since trading it back and forth dating all the way back to Death Before Dishonor XV when Kenny King defeated Kushida for the title.

How it Played Out:
Austin Aries made an appearance and announced that he was going to join the announce team for this match and he’s challenging whoever comes out of this Last Man Standing match. Silas Young came out with a couple of trash cans and following the wonderful video package that proceeded this match, this match really felt big.

Silas Young had a strategy and that was to use anything and everything to beat Kenny King down. It started when he picked up Kenny and dumped him to the outside through a table. Then he proceeded to take him all around the ring, slamming him into the outside railing with a ton of aggression. Kenny was able to use it’s agility to get back into it, until Silas Young hit Misery on the apron, thus turning the flow of the match back into his favor. The trash cans made their way into the ring and it turned into standard trash wrestling affair with lots of trash can lid shots. The Bruiser got involved, Silas got suplexed onto a ladder, and then Kenny hit a beautiful shooting star press from the turnbuckle onto Silas who was on a table outside the ring. But despite this amazing piece offense, Kenny King lost because Bruiser was under the ring and he zip tied King’s feet so he couldn’t’ stand up.

Afterwards, Bruise and Silas beat down Kenny King and Austin Aries came to Kenny’s defense hitting an awesome double arm clothesline suicide dive on Bruiser and Silas. Aries then got up and threw the belt at Silas.

This was a BS finish that made sense, but was poorly placed on this card. This match occurred three hours into the PPV.

To make matters worse, they announced that Cheeseburger had found a tag team partner and they would face The Dawgs. The match never began since The Dawgs beat the crap out of Cheeseburger and his partner. Bully Ray came out for the save. Bully said that Cheeseburger was unfortunately not going to have a match since he didn’t have a partner, and Cheeseburger choose Bully to tag with him. They don’t address where the hell Bully has been all night, and even worse, the whole promo skit goes on way too damn long. Bully gets some big punches in and the fans are excited to see Bully in the ring, but this is something that should have been saved for the pre-show or the intermission. Bully helps Cheeseburger get the upperhand on The Dawgs, but then chokeslams Cheeseburger and turns heel. Bully then takes ten minutes to turn heel. This had no reason to happen 3+ hours into a show and his whole reason for turning heel was backyard wrestling weak: he’s mad at ROH for hiring young, exciting wrestlers. Flip Gordon comes out to stop Bully and this whole charade just runs way too long.

Cody vs. Kenny Omega

Match Background:
Do I really need to preface this match any? Control of the Bullet Club is up for grabs as current self-appointed leader Cody takes on Kenny Omega. We’ve been watching The Bullet Club drama unfold for the last several months and finally it’s all on the line when these two face off.

How it Played Out:
I assumed this match would go on last, but I was wrong. We needed something to excite the crowd after that horrible Bully Ray segment and this was just what we needed. Everyone was on their feet as the competitors made their way to the ring. Deep down inside, I had a feeling this was going to be a four or five star match, but once things got started I could tell that wasn’t meant to be.

Early on, Kenny kicked Bernard the Business Bear’s head off, but we never get to see who was actually under the mask. Cody dominated the first portion of the match, slowly rotating between countering Kenny’s signature moves and pissing off the crowd. Cody’s heel work truly is a joy to watch. Once Kenny managed to fight his way back into the match I feel like the crowd was already a bit behind (or exhausted).  There was a great spot with the edge of a table, a suplex on the apron, and a great drop kick by Cody. Brandy got kneed into a table from the apron which was well done and you gotta give Brandy credit for big bump. The announcers played up the secret relationship between Brandy and Kenny, especially after he accidentally kicked her into the table.

Flip Gordon came out to help Brandy to the back, which was a very strange sight to see, and I believe they are building Brandy up to be a mega slut.

Once Brandy was gone, the match finally seemed to get on track and the flow and momentum that I expected this match to have from the start began. After a ref bump, The Young Bucks made their way to the ring while both Cody and Kenny were down after hitting each other with a cross bodies. The Bucks teased their alliance and decided to finally pick Kenny or Cody. They went for a superkick on Cody, but he ducked and Kenny got the double superkick which gave Cody the opening to hit Cross Rhrodes and win the match and leadership of The Bullet Club.

I couldn’t help but think this match would have been better in New Japan. The ending made sense, but it took fifteen minutes for the match to hit it’s stride and then it was a ref bump and the accidental superkick. After a slow year buildup, this did not live up to what I think most of us were expecting. It wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t as good as it should have been. Cody and Kenny just didn’t seem to have much chemistry in a singles match against one another.

ROH World Championship Match
Dalton Castle vs. Marty Scurll

Match Background:
This is my dream World Championship Match. I love both competitors and while I wish they were headlining their own show, I’m happy they’ll get to wrestle for the title on such a big stage.

How it Played Out:
Both competitors have amazing entrances and I’m so thankful they saved this for last. We get a shot of NWA Champ Nick Aldis in the crowd, which was just a little less shocking than seeing Daffney earlier in the show.

Dalton and Marty begin the match with some great chain wrestling and then Marty gave Dalton the finger. Dalton then proceeded to dig around inside his tights for a few seconds before pulling out a middle finger of his own. This has already been more entertaining than the last hour and a half of this show.

Dalton got a bloody nose pretty early on and the match is performed at a slower pace which is not what the exhausted crowd needs. To give the crowd credit, they are still into it, but you can feel the energy has been drained from the room.

Lots of mat wrestling and suplexes. Dalton Castle only seems to get stronger and stronger every time I see him. The crowd seems to be split almost 50/50 for Dalton and Marty. Castle took a nasty bump onto the steps. Nick Aldis handed Marty bolt cutters and he cut the turnbuckle cover off before. There isn’t much of a payoff for the turnbuckle and then to make matters worse, Marty tires to find his bag of powder, but its not where he think it’s is. He has to go to all four corners of the ring to find it, but once he finds it Dalton kicks it into his face and then Marty grabs Todd Sinclair (which he thinks is Dalton) and breaks his fingers so he cannot make the pin. Marty then tees off on Dalton with the umbrella. There is no referee out while Marty just destroys Dalton with the umbrella.

Marty then hits a brain buster on Dalton and as a new ref arrives to make a count, Dalton manages to kick out. There is an umbrella in the ring, a turnbuckle cover hanging from the ropes, and dust everywhere. Dalton gets a second wind but Marty manages to lock in the chicken wing and it looks like the match is over, but Dalton manages to lift up Marty and drop him on his back. Marty is in full villain mode and just stomps Dalton’s head. Again it looks like Marty has the win in the bag, but Dalton counters and manages to hit Bangarang. It was a wonderful finish and I can’t wait to see these two face off again, with a much livelier crowd on a much shorter card.

Matches to Watch:

1. Adam Page vs. Kota Ibushi
2. The Young Bucks/Flip Gordon vs. SoCal Uncensored
3. Marty Scurll vs. Dalton Castle

Matches to Skip:

1. Kelly Klein vs. Sumie Sakai
2. The Briscoes vs. Lethal/Tanahashi
3. Kenny King vs. Silas Young

Final Thoughts:
This was not the amazing showing that Ring of Honor needed it to be. It started off bad with all the streaming issues, then the show experienced tons of production issues (missed shots, bad camera angles, horribly timed crowd shots), a bad match order, and then the amazing card just didn’t deliver like it needed to. You can pretty much watch the first three matches and then just skip to the last two and see all that you need to see, and to be honest, you can arguably skip the last two. 
As a Ring of Honor fan, I expected more. Watching this “super show” only makes me appreciate what NJPW is doing so much more. I don’t mind watching a 4.5-5 hour show every once in a while, but it needs to deliver and keep my attention from beginning to end. ROH didn’t come with 2 hours worth of quality matches and shoved them in a 4.5 hour show. They also poorly decided to tell some stories that were best left for weekly TV in the middle of a show that should have been the best of the year.
I’m bummed that ROH didn’t deliver like they needed to tonight. Again, this wasn’t a bad show, it just wasn’t all that great. I like to judge wrestling events by whether not I feel like I wasted my time and would have been more entertained watching Netflix, and to be honest, after the Page/Ibushi match, I would have preferred to spend my evening watching Netflix. 

Published inWrestling

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