6/11 ROH in Hopkins, Minn. – Dehnel’s In-Person Report on Tag Wars 2016 Night 1 (w/Photo Gallery


ROH Arena - Hopkins, Minn. (credit Joel Dehnel, PWTorch.com)

Ring of Honor Live Results
“Road to Best in the World” Tour
June 11, 2016
Hopkins, Minn. at Eisenhower Community Center
Est. Crowd: 250-300
Report by Joel Dehnel, PWTorch contributor

View Joel’s in-person tweets & photos @DehnelTorch.

I arrived 45 minutes before the scheduled bell time of 7:00. When I went to buy general admission they gave me an actual seat valued at $5 more than what I paid. Either they wanted to fill more seats around the ring or my minuscule affiliation with the Torch has earned me street cred.

Kazarian and Christopher Daniels signed their comic book by the merchandise stand, which garnered the biggest line. At another table were RPG Vice, War Machine, and the Young Bucks. Each earned some customers, but nothing compared to the lines A.J. Styles and Kevin Steen drew in past events.

Not a ton of wrestling shirts like there usually are. Most of them are one way or another related to the Bullet Club. Either Bullet Club, Bálor Club, or even Bushwood Country Club. I spotted one Lucha Underground t-shirt (I’ll be back this Wednesday!).

At 6:45, the lights dimmed and everyone rushed to their seats. It was a much sparser crowd than past ROH shows in the area.

The pre-show match began with “Hotshot” Danny Duggan, who I’m familiar with on the local indy scene, and he’s from the CWE promotion.

(a) Danny Duggan beat a local guy in 8:00.

A woman in a star outfit from the CW came out to welcome the crowd while one guy booed her. The ring announcer introduced Kevin Kelly to a big applause while his broadcast partner B.J. Whitmer got booed because people wanted Steve Corino.

Kelly announced that Adam Cole is not here tonight, as he is in the hospital with pneumonia. Instead Steve Corino would be here tonight.

(1) Dalton Castle beat Juice Robinson (formerly C.J. Parker in NXT). The crowd really liked Castle’s gimmick. He’s the only rising young star, but his gimmick feels opening contest/mid-card type.

Following the match, ROH TV champion Bobby Fish came to the ring for a talking segment, The Fish Tank, with #1 contender Castle. It was a less heelish Fish, with a ton of comedy. Fish played the ‘friend’ bit saying him and Dalton are pals. Then, he turned more heel at the end. Fans played around with the comedy; no one took this segment seriously.

(2) Chris Sabin beat Will Ferrara (replacing Adam Cole as Sabin’s scheduled opponent). The show finally stepped into a more serious tone here. Good work from Sabin, while Ferrara felt very anonymous.

Daniels walked out after the match to join commentary.

(3) Tag Wars Opening Round match: Beer City Bruiser & Silas Young beat Lio Rush & Moose and War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson) in a three-team match. As you would expect, there was a lot of chaos. The crowd really liked Lio Rush, who showed good fire. I’m surprised how the crowd still loves Moose even though he doesn’t do a lot.

(4) A.C.H. beat Alex Shelley Exciting match. The crowd was into both guys pretty heavily. Shelley cut a promo afterward. Shelley said the best wrestling is in ROH and he told A.C.H. that he will be a superstar in the future.

[Intermission]

Steve Corino was introduced out of the intermission. Corino cut a promo on Whitmer about their match at BITW.

(5) Donovan Dijak beat Cheeseburger. The crowd was into Cheeseburger’s act, like they always are. I’m always impressed with what Cheeseburger is capable of.

Kaz walked out for commentary…

(6) Tag Wars Opening Round match: ANX (Rhett Titus & Kenny King) beat The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) and RPG Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta) in a three-team match. The crowd was very much into the Young Bucks and wanted to see all the superkicks. Most exciting match on the show by leaps and bounds.

(7) Michael Elgin beat Kamaitachi. This match got the first and only ‘this is awesome’ chant of the night. This was a good match and not the come-down you would expect after a really exciting match. The crowd booed Elgin heavily until the end when Elgin endorsed Kamaitachi, solidifying ROH’s issues with strong heels.

Daniels came out and said he and Kaz won’t wrestle tonight because Minnesota is a toilet.

(8) Tag Wars Opening Round match: The Briscoes beat ReDragon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) and ROH World champion Jay Lethal & Roderick Strong in a three-team match. The triple threat tag had worn out after seeing it twice. The match still had some juice, though, because of the star power. The crowd was into it but not as much as the previous match with the Bucks.

The Bucks interfered towards the end, superkicking Lethal, which allowed the Briscoes to get the win.

Jay Briscoe cut a promo on how he’ll win the ROH Tag Titles, IWGP Tag Titles, and ROH World Title all in one month. He got in Daniels’s face at ringside to have a verbal exchange to close the show.

Set for Sunday in Milwaukee is the Tag Wars finale of The Briscoes vs. Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser vs. All Night Express to determine which team faces The Addiction for the Tag Titles at Best in the World.

Final Thoughts

My biggest take-away tonight was the seriously lack of solid heels. I don’t follow ROH week-to-week, but I’ve always had a good idea of who is a heel. This show really confused me because just about everyone got cheered and really no one got heavily booed except Elgin who was then cheered after committing a babyface act. By not having clear heels I felt way less invested in who won each match.

The match quality was what you would expect with a mixed bag but nothing dreadful by any means. It seems like ROH has been bringing the same crew of guys every time they come to town. There isn’t anyone enticing to draw you into the show if you’ve gone before. They didn’t have that A.J. Styles, Kevin Steen, Matt Hardy, or American Wolves type act like they’ve had in the past. I know Minnesota is low on their list of markets, but if they brought in a big name from New Japan that could really give the boost they need in this market. For a while they were steadily building a fanbase, but that has been decreasing every show in my experience. If Okada or Tanahashi or Naito came to town with strong advertising, that would help attendance.

I was very disappointed Cole wasn’t there because the biggest draw for me was to see Sabin vs. Cole for the first time ever. Also, Matt Sydal was advertised for the show. Not sure he was injured or what but he was on all the posters for the event.

Overall, some exciting matches but really nothing new. I’m not a fan of triple threats and to see three triple tags was exhausting. I want to see a show that is just one-on-one, tag, and singles matches. This show didn’t make me want to watch the ROH TV show, but I do want to know more about the heel dilemma.

Biggest Pops

– The Young Bucks
– The Briscoes
– Dalton Castle

Most Heat

– Michael Elgin
– ANX
– Silas Young

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