As a huge fan of indie wrestling, I saw it as a must that I attend my first Ring of Honor show last night at the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh.
A quick mention before the review of the show itself starts; I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Hiroshi Tanahashi and he complimented me on my hair. The man with the best hair in pro wrestling…complimented mine. This was a success regardless.
Scorpio Sky vs Shane Taylor
Result: Shane Taylor wins via pinfall
Thoughts: A decent opener got the crowd going. Prior to the bell- Kaz and Daniels; the other members of SCU, attempted to bribe Taylor to forfeit the match as men from Southern Cali had no desire to spend any more time in Edinburgh. Cue a barrage of boos. The match itself was good, especially for me having never seen Shane Taylor wrestle- live or otherwise. Kaz and Daniels tried to interfere at the end of the match but to no avail and Taylor picked up the win.
Evil and Sanada vs Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels
Result: Evil and Sanada win via pinfall
Thoughts: Sanada is my favourite Japanese wrestler currently wrestling today so the grade is perhaps unfairly high but I’m allowed to be biased!! Seeing the current IWGP Tag Champs was pretty surreal but the match was really solid. SoCal dominated for much of the bout, using heel tactics to cut off Evil from his partner. Eventually, the match broke down and Evil hit his finish, Everything is EVIL, for the victory.
Kelly Klein and Chardonnay vs Sumie Sakai and Tenille Dashwood
Result: Klein and Chardonnay win via pinfall
Thoughts: By far the weakest match on the card purely because the action inside the ring wasn’t anything special with more than a few moves looking particularly sloppy paired with the crowd really not caring what happened. The biggest talking point is that Tenille ate the pin which was surprising as many would have expected the face team to pick up the win.
Punishment Martinez vs Kenny King
Result: Punishment wins via pinfall
Thoughts: Almost surprisingly, this was the best match so far. The crowd were absolutely hottest for it and the action was fantastic. I myself didn’t know much about Kenny King apart from the most basic knowledge of his work in Impact but wow- am I a fan now. The man oozes charisma and is extremely talented. Punishment, for all his critics, put on an excellent performance as the heel bent on systematically taking apart King, so much so that the crowd gave numerous bouts of cheers and applause for some impressive spots he himself created. Martinez eventually hit the South of Heaven Chokeslam for the win. Great stuff.
The Young Bucks vs Mark Haskins and Nick Aldis
Result: The Bucks win via pinfall
Thoughts: However good the Young Bucks are when you’re watching at home- they’re somehow even better when you’re there live. If Kenny King oozes charisma, the Young Bucks are made of it. The match itself was great, look at the talent involved, but the crowd work was honestly the best I’ve ever seen at a wrestling event I’ve been at. The pop they got initially never really let up throughout the match and, whilst they mixed in comedy, they’re incredibly hard-hitting and just…breath-taking to watch. Mark Haskins is an absolute joy to watch as well; brutal whilst majestic with his suicide dives. The weakest aspect of the match was Nick Aldis but was still really good. The best match so far and a perfect way to go into an intermission.
The Boys vs Yano and Delirious
Result: The Boys win via pinfall
Thoughts: This was silly, comedy fun. It was placed as the first match back from the intermission and had so much comedy, as expected, but was also a really fun spectacle to watch. In an almost surprising result, The Boys picked up the win. After the match, the Boys were attacked by the surprise appearance of Bully Ray- a surprise that popped the crowd but then was greeted by a chorus of boos. He beat down the faces before cutting a scathing promo on the crowd.
Silas Young vs Joe Hendry- ROH Television Title Match
Result: Silas Young retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Purely from crowd interaction, this was the best match on the show. Hendry was treated like he was a god amongst mere mortals, which was of course to be expected in his hometown but it was truly insane to be a part of. I myself appeared to be within the heart of the Joe Hendry tribute band as we never shut up throughout the entire match. And whilst it was obvious that Silas was going to retain, there was an ankle lock spot that the entire crowd was up on their feet for, completely buying it. The boos that serenaded Young when he hit his finish and retained would make Roman Reigns blush. After the match, we gave Joe a standing ovation and applause that was fully deserved. Absolutely incredible.
Dalton Castle, Hiroshi Tanahasi and Jay Lethal vs The Kingdom- ROH Six-Man Tag Title Match
Result: The Kingdom retain via pinfall
Thoughts: Prior to the show going on the air, The Kingdom came out and stated that they were so confident ahead of their match, they would put their titles on the line. When all six men made their entrances, Tanahashi received a pop similar to that of Joe Hendry- he was the man everyone wanted to see, with good reason. The match itself was, again, really enjoyable- EVIL ran interference and took out Castle which was…strange but understandable as, of course, LIJ hate Tanahashi so would want to see his team lose. Matt Tavin smacked Lethal on the back with a foreign object without the ref seeing which led to Lethal eating the pin.
Adam ‘Hangman’ Page and Cody vs The Briscoes- ROH Tag Title Match
Result: The Briscoes retain via pinfall
Thoughts: Due to pacing, the crowd were quite quiet through a lot of the match as we had big match after big match after big match but the action was great. Hangman was, perhaps to a shock of some, the MVP of the bout- fighting like his life depended on it. With both teams being heels in storyline, it perhaps would have been hard for the crowd to make any noise but Cody and Page worked as the faces which everyone was glad for. The Briscoes picked up the win when Jay hit a low blow on Page behind the refs back, hit the Jay Driller and got the three count as Mark held Cody’s legs on the outside. A really, really good main event.
Overall Thoughts: If you watched the show live on HonorClub or have watched it back and feel that this review is more positive than it deserves to be- please understand that when you’re there live, everything is a million times more enjoyable and fun. I have not watched the show back yet but, when I do, I may massively disagree with this review. But at the end of the time, for my first experience of Ring of Honor live- it was an absolute joy to be at and I am delighted I chose to attend. If the rest of the Honor United tour is as good as this first night- the other cities are in for a treat. And let’s never forget…The Ace of New Japan and the man with the best hair in wrestling…complimented mine. What a night.