SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
-I will once again spotlight as a very big hit the pre-match video promos that ROH is producing for its wrestlers. On this show, ROH and the wrestlers pulled out all the stops and put forward some great promos that increase the interest and enjoyment of the matches.
MANDY LEON vs. QUINN MCKAY
This was the continuation of Quinn’s search for acceptance and the continuation of this rivalry as ROH continues to highlight the Women’s Championship Tournament on their main show. The underdog story of Quinn in this story has been built up over a good deal of time and due to continued interference, Angelina was barred from ringside. The action was good, and the vast majority of the moves were crisp and looked impactful. With the help of the ring announcers, the story that Quinn was fighting for validation and against the heel big shots, trying to keep her down. This was helped immensely by the size and thickness difference between Quinn and Mandy. While the match may have gone a minute or so too long, Quinn ultimately tied up Mandy and gained the three-count. If there had been an audience, I think the roof would have blown off the joint. The only small negative was the complete “homer” attitude of the announce team – clearly in Quinn’s corner and I also could have done without Quinn jumping the barricade to embrace the announcers, though I will admit, I did have a small smile on my face.
BANDIDO & REY HORUS vs. VLNCE UNLTD (BRODY KING & CHRIS DICKINSON)
A pretty standard big man versus the much smaller luchadores, with King and Dickinson beating on Rey Horus for the entire first several minutes of the match. Of course, the smaller man uses his speed to get the heel to hit his partner and get the hot tag to Bandido who cleans house. After some more back and forth with high spots by the babyfaces and power moves by the heels, Bandido connects with his finisher for the win, only to have a ton of run-ins on both sides ultimately leading to Rush stripping Bandido of his mask and setting up their inevitable rematch. There was nothing really wrong here. The wrestling was good, if a bit by the book, but the whole match seemed setup simply to get to the angle at the end between Bandido and Rush. I will go with a hit here, just based on the moves by Horus and Bandido and what looked like devastating shots given out by King and Dickinson.
MARTI BELLE vs. TRISH ADORA
Billed by the announcers as a fight between the brawler (Belle) vs. the technician (Adora), the match started with very little brawling and was mostly mat and chain wrestling. The match picked up as they started throwing shots at each other, but was slowed down too much by both wrestlers taking too much time selling a sore wrist or arm. Also, Adora was a bit slow in moving into her moves and there was really not much story here to grab onto. Adora ultimately got the fall with her submission move, but I was never able to get into the match and had little to no rooting interest. This is part of a problem for any tournament where the initial round matchups can be a bit arbitrary.