That was awesome.
Look, the “This is Awesome” chant is fun, but it’s so overused by pro wrestling fans. Not everything is awesome. When you hear that chant three times during one show, it kills the value of it.
This show was, in fact, awesome. Maybe even beyond that.
This was a wrestling company, putting together a wrestling show, with wrestling on it. How about that?
Ring of Honor ran its Best in the World PPV last Friday, and this episode was actually taped before the PPV aired. So, it made sense that ROH stuck with mostly matches, and no real storyline advancement. Usually these shows lack some flavor and pizazz, but not here.
Ring of Honor still had New Japan talent on exchange when the episode was taped, and they utilized them even better than they could have. The opening match between Roderick Strong and Nakamura was a main-event worthy match. The middle match with Michael Elgin and Gedo was actually bringing the crowd back down, before a thrilling main event closed the show.
Oftentimes, especially with some of the nonsense WWE books, it’s hard to be a wrestling fan. You’re almost embarrassed by some of what the big companies push on television. This is the type of show I’d proudly put on with a room full of people and explain that this is why people like myself love pro wrestling.
These weren’t your run-of-the-mill “sports entertainment” three-minute matches. These were wrestling matches. It was great. It was also incredibly refreshing.
I doubt when these episodes were taped that ROH knew they would surely be airing these shows on national television, but they need to be happy with the way it all worked out. A show like this is so unique for the 2015 wrestling fan, it’s impossible for it to not stand out. ROH is different from WWE, and even TNA. It’s embracing the sport aspect to pro wrestling, and it does it better than anyone on the large platform in the U.S.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Roderick Strong — The commentary on this match was terrific. Nigel McGuinness talking about strategy of Nakamura trying to get out of Strong’s Strong Hold brought real legitimacy to the match and gave it a pure sport-like feel, which I love. Kevin Kelly also talked about the difference in rings sizes from NJPW to ROH, and how that would affect Nakamura. The match itself was also great. I don’t care that Strong became the No. 1 contender and lost here (this was taped before the PPV), this match was excellent.
2. Michael Elgin defeated Gedo — Another solid match. Not as exciting as the first one, or as the main event, but it was still a great match considering it was there to bring the crowd down after the opener. Elgin is very good, and still seems to be finding his way. Once it all gets put together, he’ll be at the next level.
3. The Bullet Club def. Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero, and Trent Barreta — I’m speechless. This was one of the best free-television wrestling matches maybe in history. I’m serious. It had athleticism, it had drama, everything was smooth. It doesn’t get any better than this, and it was a six-man. Just watch it. Go out of your way to watch it. You’ll thank me.
Oh my, what a wrestling show. Go out of your way to see this now. Run to your television and pray it’s somehow magically on your DVR. These shows are why most of us are wrestling fans. Great from start to finish. It was all matches, and it was all great matches. For a one-hour show, on free TV, it doesn’t get any better than this.