KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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RADICAN’S ROH “WAR OF THE WORLDS – LIVERPOOL” REPORT
AUGUST 19, 2017
AVAILABLE LIVE/VOD ON FITE.TV
A video package aired to open the show, but the volume was extremely low.
Ian Riccaboni and B.J. Whitmer are your announcers. They previewed the matches on the card. The crowd was very quiet until ROH announcer Bobby Cruise asked for some enthusiasm.
(1) Adam Page vs. Kenny King. Page came out and twirled his noose around his crotch like he was doing the helicopter. I’ll try to shake that image out of my head. Page had the upper hand early. He walked the ropes Taker style and then hopped down and poked King in the eyes. The crowd chanted too sweet at Page. King fired back and hit a spinning heel kick. Page fired back on the apron and hit a neck breaker over the second rope on King. The fans chanted you killed Kenny at Page. King sent Page to the floor and nailed him with a corkscrew press. He followed up with a springboard blockbuster inside the ring for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Page hit his slingshot outside in clothesline for a 2 count. King fired back and hit the royal flush for the win.
Winner: Kenny King
Star rating: (**) – This was fine as an opener, but they didn’t do a lot to engage the crowd.
(2) Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Buccanero vs. Mistico & Titan in a Lucha Rules Tag Team match. Buccanero and Mistico had a fast exchange to kick things off. Titan and Guerrero tagged in and went at it. Titan went for a flip dive to the floor, but Guerrero caught him and hit a HUGE powerbomb on the floor. Buccanero went after Mistico’s mask inside the ring. Titan was propped up by Guerrero and Buccanero came off the top with a dive, but Titan kicked out. Titan got worked over for several minutes. He fired up with a handspring elbow to wipe out Guerrero and Buccanero. He finally made the tag to Mistico, who ran wild. Mistico went off the top to the floor and hit a hurricanrana on Guerrero and the fans went nuts. WOW! Guerrero countered Mistico up top and hit a super bomb for a near fall. Titan hit a springboard moonsault to the floor to wipe out Guerrero. Mistico sent Buccanero to the floor and nailed him with a moonsault off the turnbuckles. Guerrero hit the Guerrero special off the top and it was good for the win.
Winners: Ultimate Guerrero & Rey Buccanero
Star rating: (**¾) – This was good with some fun high-flying spots. It lost some steam late, but finished well.
All four men posed for the fans after the match.
(3) British Cruiserweight Champion Josh Bodom vs. Jay Lethal in a Non-Title match. The British Cruiserweight Championship is from RevPro. Bodom countered a Lethal dive attempt by sliding back into the ring. Lethal sent him back to the outside. Bodom dragged Lethal to the floor. They went back and forth trading counters. Bodom hit a jumping enzuguri and Lethal went down. Lethal took a standing moonsault for a 2 count. He turned the tide a short time later and went on the attack. Lethal came off the top and landed on his feet when Bodom got out of the way. They went back and forth and Lethal hit an enzuguri. He set up for the Lethal injection, but Bodom nailed him with a poison hurricanrana. Bodom hit an Asai moonsault off the turnbuckle to the floor and the fans fired up. He hit a double stomp to the head off the top and a running SSP for a 2 count. They battled up top and Lethal fought Bodom off, but got hung upside down. Bodom charged at Lethal a short time later, but took the Lethal combination. Lethal went up top and hit hail to the king. He made the cover, but Bodom kicked out at 2. Lethal went right into the figure 4. Silas Young came down to ringside as Bodom got to the ropes. He began jawing with Lethal. Bodom tried to roll up Lethal from behind, but he countered it into a rollup of his own. Bodom kicked out and Lethal went right into the Lethal injection for the win.
Winner: Jay Lethal
Star rating: (**½) – This was solid, but it didn’t build to much of anything in the end.
After the match, Young jumped Lethal and put a beating on him until they were separated. Bodom and Lethal shook hands after the match.
(4) The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) & Bully Ray vs. L.I.J. (G1 Climax 27 winner Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI & EVIL) in a Six Man Tag match. The sound issues seemed to be mostly resolved by now. BUSHI taunted Bully during the early stages of the match. Bully tagged in and BUSHI went after him, but Bully no-sold his offense and nailed him with a hard chop after tearing his t shirt. The announcers put Bully on the same level of star power as Naito. Bully wanted a lockup, but Naito dodged it. Bully returned the favor a short time later. Naito pumped up the fans and set up for another lockup, but he dodged Bully again. The fans chanted for tables. Naito turned the tables and went to work on Jay’s eye. L.I.J. stood tall in the ring before continuing to work over Jay. Jay finally tagged out and Mark ran wild. He wiped out Naito with a flying clothesline. Mark countered EVIL and hit a fisherman buster for a 2 count. EVIL tossed Mark’s leg to the ref and hit a big kick to his mid-section. BUSHI and Bully tagged in. Bully went to town on BUSHI. EVIL went for the flip, flop, and fly, but Naito blocked it with his signature pose. Bully hit the elbow a short time later. Naito broke up the what’s up spot on BUSHI by hitting his rolling pose. L.I.J. cleared the ring. EVIL and Naito hit a double suplex on Bully. They then hit their own version of what’s up on Bully. The action broke down and BUSHI was left inside the ring with Jay. He accidentally blew mist into EVIL’s eyes. Mark wiped out Naito with a dive. BUSHI then took a triple team 3D for the win.
Winners: Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe & Bully Ray
Star rating: (**¾) – This was a fun tag match, although the finish seemed predictable from the start.
After the match, Bully hit Naito’s pose. Naito smiled and hit his pose next to Bully. It seemed like a show of respect.
Riccaboni said there would be a 15 minute intermission.
(5) SIlas Young vs. Mark Haskins. Whitmer blew off Haskins when he offered to follow the Code of Honor. They had a fast exchange and came to a stalemate. They went back and forth and Haskins caught Young with a big running kick. Haskins too the attack to the floor and nailed Young with a bicycle kick to the head against the guardrail. Haskins went for another bicycle kick, but Young caught him and powerbombed him onto the apron. Young went on the attack and hit a back rake off the second turnbuckle. Haskins showed some anger on his face, but Young hit a big lariat for a 2 count. Young methodically worked over Haskins for a long period of time. He taunted Haskins, who fired up and wiped out Young with a kick to the head. Young went for a springboard splash, but Young rolled over him right into a Fujiwara armbar. Young struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Haskins slickly applied a sharpshooter a short time later. Young teased tapping out, but Young got to the ropes. Young rolled to the floor and Haskins nailed him with a hard kick to the chest. He hit another kick to the chest and sent Young back into the ring. Haskins measured Young and hit a HUGE kick to the chest. Young ducked a kick and lifted Haskins onto his shoulders and slammed him face-first into the mat. He followed up with a short DDT for a 2 count. Lethal came out and Young began yelling hat him. Haskins got a rollup for a near fall. Haskins blocked misery. He rolled through on Young right into a falcon arrow for the win.
Winner: Mark Haskins
Star rating: (***) – This was the best match on the show so far. They had good energy from start to finish. Lethal cost Young the match in the end to continue their feud.
The announcers began talking, but they pitched to Lethal and Young brawling on the ramp. Several officials separated them.
(6) ROH World TV Champion and IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi (w/Daryl) vs. Marty Scurll vs. ROH World SIx Man Tag Team Champion Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) in a ROH World TV Title Four-way match. Takahashi held up Daryl to stop Castle from hitting him. He asked Castle to pet the cat. Castle started playing with Daryl. Takahashi then petted Castle and Daryl, but ended up ambushing Castle. The action went at a fast pace with men going at it in and outside of the ring. Takahashi took care of KUSHIDA with a dragon screw. He then acted like a cat that was cleaning itself. Castle didn’t fall for it and he sent Takahashi to the floor. Castle faked a dive, but Takahashi tripped him to the floor. Castle hit his signature 619 style hurricanrana on Takahashi. KUSHIDA set up for a dive a short time later, but Takahashi surprised him and wiped him out. KUSHIDA ended up getting a cross-armbar on the floor, but he let go of it and tossed Takahashi back into the ring. Takahashi went for a sunset bomb to the floor on Castle, but he blocked it. Scurll chopped his fingers off of the ropes, but The Boys ended up catching Castle so he didn’t hit the ground. KUSHIDA wiped out Castle and The Boys with a big flip dive. Scurll hit a big hellavator on KUSHIDA and a running kick to the head for a near fall. Daryl came into the commentary booth.
Scurll set up for the chickenwing, but Castle nailed him with a German. KUSHIDA and Scurll exchanged pinning combinations, but neither man could get the job done. Castle ran wild with some leg-capture suplexes on Scurll and KUSHIDA. He then caught Takahashi up top and hit him with a big overhead throw. The action continued at a rapid pace. The fans fired up behind Scurll as he went at it with KUSHIDA. Scurll finally wiped him out with a clothesline. KUSHIDA went for a handspring, but ended up in the chicken wing! KUSHIDA struggled and managed to float over Scurll into the hoverboard lock. Scurll blocked back to the future. Castle and Takahashi separated them with a pair of Germans. Castle hit the bang-a-rang on KUSHIDA, but Adam Page dragged the ref to the floor. Scurll went to town on everyone with his umbrella, but KUSHIDA got rid of him and hit back to the future on Castle for the win.
Winner: KUSHIDA to retain the ROH World TV Championship
Star rating: (***¼) – This was a good match, but this is the third match on the card that has ended due to outside interference. It seems tone-deaf to book so much interference on a single card.
(7) ROH World Tag Team Champions THe Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian). The Addiction jumped The YB during the intros. The YB fired back and went to town on Daniels and then Kazarian. The fans fired up for Rise of the Terminator, but The Addiction got out of the way. Daniels eventually tripped Nick face-first into the apron and slammed him into the barricade. Kazarian and Daniels began working over Nick. NIck mounted a comeback and tagged in Matt. Matt went at it with Daniels and wiped him out with a flurry of offense. He went to bounce off the ropes, but Kazarian pulled the top rope on him and he spilled to the floor. Daniels whipped Matt chest-first into the turnbuckles and began working him over inside the ring. Matt took a beating for a long period of time from Daniels and Kazarian. Matt mounted a comeback and the fans fired up. He dodged Kazarian and Daniels and made the hot tag to Nick, who hit a bulldog/clothesline combo to cap a big sequence of moves on The Addiction. Matt joined the party as The YB hit a combination of moves on The Addiction. The fans fired up and Matt grabbed a sharpshooter on Daniels. Matt dragged Daniels away from the ropes and applied the hold again while making the too sweet hand gesture. Nick hit him with a x-factor while he was in the hold and wiped out Daniels with a dive off the apron all in one motion. Daniels struggled, but finally managed to get to the ropes!
The fans fired up with The YB in control. Nick accidentally Matt when Daniels countered Matt. The Addiction took control and hit a big flurry of offense on Nick. Matt countered angels wings into a rana. Matt applied a sharpshooter on Kazarian and Nick got Kazarian in a sharpshooter at the same time. They hit the too sweet signal, but The Addiction eventually fought them both off. Matt came up bleeding from the cheek. All four men then went at it trading blows in the middle of the ring. The YB eventually hit a pair fo stereo superkicks to wipe out The Addiction. Kazarian broke up more bang for your buck by pushing nick to the floor. The Addiction hit their own version of more bang for your buck on Matt with the BME, but Nick came off the top with a swonton to break up the pin. WOW! The Addiction hit celebrity rehab on Matt, but he kicked out at the last second! The Addiction set up for the alternative best Meltzer ever, but The YB countered it and hit the Meltzer driver on Kazarian for the win. WOW!
Winners: Matt & Nick Jackson to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship
Star rating: (****¼) – This was great from start to finish. The Addiciton and The YB have great chemistry in the ring. The YB countering the best Meltzer ever and hitting the Metlzer driver for the win was fantastic.
(8) ROH World Champion Cody vs. SANADA. Cody teased the Code of Honor and then pulled his hand back. The crowd seemed split between both men. The crowd fired up with a chant for SANADA and Cody went to the announce table and asked why the fans were cheering for him. He told Riccaboni he wanted the fans at home to chant for him. Cody stalled on the floor and blew off a too sweet bump from a fan. Another SANADA chant began and they finally went at it. They had a great fast-paced exchange. Both men went for dropkicks at the same time and came to a stalemate. SANADA offered a handshake and blew Cody off. Cody went for the disaster kick, but SANADA nailed him with a dropkick. SANADA teased a dive, but flipped over the ropes and then back into the ring. He tore his shirt off and the fans applauded. Cody teased walking out of the match, but Naito blocked his path. SANADA hit the drive by on Cody and made the cover for a 2 count. Cody rolled back to the floor and SANADA went after him. Cody dragged Riccaboni in his way and then took a cheap shot at SANADA to get the upper hand. Cody told Riccaboni he was sorry. Whitmer laughed at Ian on commentary. Riccaboni called Cody a coward on commentary. Cody flipped off the fans after working over SANADA. SANADA fired back, but Cody climbed up the ropes and hit an arm drag. He made the cover, but only got a 2 count. The fans counted as Cody did pushups, but stopped at 10 and then chanted 10 over and over, which seemed to upset him. Cody went up to the turnbuckles and played to the fans with SANADA down on the mat.
Cody locked in a half crab and the fans tried to rally behind SANADA. SANADA fought Cody off. Cody eventually countered him and got an Indian death lock variation. SANADA struggled, but got to the ropes. SANADA fired up and knocked Cody off the apron and he went flying right into Riccaboni. Whitmer laughed and said they needed some help for Riccaboni. This feels like a comedy show now. SANADA hit a dropkick on Cody and followed up with a slingshot splash to the floor. SANADA got Cody in the paradise lock and put his foot on top of him. He then nailed Cody with a big dropkick for a 2 count. Riccaboni came back on commentary. Cody hit the disaster kick, but SANADA kicked out at 2. Cody went for a moonsault, but SANADA got out of the way and rolled him up with a cradle for a near fall. They went back and forth trading blows. SANADA caught Cody and hit a TKO. SANADA went up top for a moonsault. He paused and went for it, but landed on his feet when Cody got out of the way. They went back and forth and Cody spit in his face. SANADA hit several punches on Cody and shoved the ref away. He apologized to the ref and Cody went after him, but hit the ref. SANADA hit cross-Rhodes on Cody for a visual pin. Rhodes almost hit the ref again, but SANADA rolled him up. Rhodes got crossface variation. SANADA struggled, but got to the ropes. Cody taunted Bryan Danielson before going back after SANADA.
They battled up top and SANADA slid under Cody and hit a big powerbomb. Cody poked SANADA in the eyes using the ref as a distraction. SANADA got the skull end, but Cody slipped over him and hit cross-Rhodes for the pin.
Winner: Cody Rhodes to retain the ROH World Title
Star rating: (***¼) – There was no build to SANADA getting the skull end or hitting the moonsault and a lot of this match was Cody stalling and working the crowd. He used a lot of cheap tactics before finally getting the win in the end over SANADA. The finishing sequence fell flat with me since there was no struggle for Cody to get out of the skull end and hit his finish. Some drama would have added to the match.
Cody got on the mic and asked the fans if they had a good time. They applauded. He said he didn’t have a good time. He said had this been Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Dublin, it would have been better. He called Liverpool the sweathog capital of the motherland. He said the fans are nothing. He said they are not too sweet. He said the fans are dirty and poor. He said he didn’t come out to insult the fans, but instead he said he was out there to ask who the hell is left. Cody asked who was hiding. Dalton Castle’s music played and he came down to the ring.
Castle went face-to-face with Rhodes. The announcers said Cody destroyed his only championship opportunity. The fans chanted for Castle. He got on the mic and said he wanted to say hello in an unfriendly way. He then said hello sarcastically. Castle said he loved the people. He said it seemed like the fans loved Cody until his promo. Castle said he doesn’t love Cody. He said Cody should apologize to him. He said he’s not a fool. He knows he’s not holding a TV Title because Cody sent Hangman down to the ring during his match. Cody shook his hand. Cody acted nervous. Castle said he loves winning championships and kicking ass. Castle tossed his six man title to the mat and said, “I’m left bitch!”
Cody teased going at it with Castle, but ended up running out of the ring to the back. The fans chanted for Castle. He got on the mic and said he feels unfulfilled. The fans sang at Castle and chanted, “Hey Dalton, I want to know if you’ll be my boy.” Castle smiled and soaked in the song. Castle thanked the fans. He said ROH would be coming back to the U.K.
Overall quick thoughts: (5.5) – This felt like a house show most of the way. Nothing on the card was bad, but the matches lacked drama and didn’t build with a couple of exceptions. The best match on the show was The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction, which was a quality PPV caliber match. Everything else was forgettable for the most part.
The crowd was hot at times, especially for The YB vs. The Addiction and parts of the main event, but if you were tuning in to see a UK crowd for the first time, the fans in Liverpool weren’t the rowdy bunch you might have been expecting given the reputation U.K. fans have for providing a lively atmosphere.
ROH booking continues to feel tone-deaf. Three of the first six matches all featured interference. Between that and the shenanigans with the ref and the announcer in the main event, it was just too much for a PPV offering.
The main event felt in many ways like a standard title defense on a house show. Cody worked the crowd and played to chants instead of focusing on the match for long periods of time. The match got good during the second half, but Riccaboni taking several bumps distracted from the match. When fans are paying $20 to watch a show on iPPV, they deserve a quality main event bout, but Cody-SANADA was more about shenanigans than action. The show did end on a high note, as the fans were happy to see Castle step up to challenge Cody. This show gets a mild thumbs up, but the only match that really stood out was The Young Bucks vs. The Addiction match, which was excellent.