They say time flies by when you’re having fun, and it’s hard to believe that it’s over seven years since Ring of Honor held their first ever show. But seven years it is, and this past March they held their anniversary show at the famed Hammerstein Ballroom on New York, and it’s quite possibly the best ROH show I’ve seen this year.
Beginning with the usual quick opener, this time pitting Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens against Kenny King and Rhett Titus, it continues into a great grudge match between Brent Albright and Claudio Castagnoli, a match with loads of twists of turns, and actually sees the heel answering the face’s request for an extra five minutes. It continued with former NWA World Champion Adam Pearce taking up Sweet ‘N’ Sour Inc’s open challenge against Bobby Dempsey. Dempsey is really coming on as a wrestler, developing a cult following along the way.
But a slight disappointment followed, with Mike Quackenbush facing Jerry Lynn. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome match, but these guys were give just over ten minutes. How can you give two masters of their art so little time? Mind you, it made up for the appearance of a certain wrestler in the next match, with Delirious, Necro Butcher and Tyler Black facing The Age of the Fall team of Jimmy Jacobs and Brodie Lee, and their ally Austin Aries. It’s a match with so many stipulations it could easily slot into a TNA pay-per-view. Once again the Butcher puts in a terrible performance, and Lee isn’t far behind him. Thankfully the four other men in this match were able to make up for their shortcomings.
Then came the two big returns, as Bison Smith and Bryan Danielson chose mystery partners. The roof was literally blown off when Smith revealed the returning Jimmy Rave, now thankfully devoid of the rock star gimmick, as his partner. It got blown off even further when the returning Colt Cabana came out as Danielson’s partner to save him from a two-on-one beating. It’s quite literally an awesome encounter, made even more special by the crowd reaction.
From there we had another former WWE star, D-Lo Brown, going up against tag team specialist Jay Briscoe. Brown cuts an impressive promo shooting on his former employers, before showing great psychology mid-match.
As for the semi-main event, with Kevin Steen and El Generico defending their ROH World Tag Team titles against the American Wolves team of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, well, there’s not enough words in the dictionary to say how great this was. With the way their feud has been built up in previous shows this one had to be something special, and it was.
But perhaps performance of the night should go to ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness, defending his title against Pro Wrestling NOAH’s KENTA. Our Nigel went into this one pretty banged up, tearing his left bicep in a tag team match the night before. That, added to the right bicep tear he’d been rehabbing meant that he was essentially going into this match without any arms, unable to throw any chops or punches. Despite being clearly hampered by his injuries McGuinness put in a great performance, and was more than able to hold his own against one of the greatest Japanese stars of modern times.
With the usual ROH Newswire rounding this collection off, this is quite simply a fantastic show, and a great way for the company to celebrate their seventh birthday. It’s just a shame that the Necro Butcher still puts in such poor performances though.
Rating: 4 stars.
Extras: 2 stars.