SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
EIGHT MAN TAG: CB, JOE KEYS, TAYLOR RUST, and ELI ISOM vs. FOUNDATION (Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, Tracey Williams, and Rick Titus)
This match was billed as the epitome of pure wrestling. Seemed very babyface vs. babyface in nature, which is fine, but made it hard to have a real rooting interest going into the match.
As expected, the match started with a lot of mat wrestling and quick exchanges of moves, with each wrestler getting some moves in before they tapped out. I have a general complaint with the pure style, and this match in particular, everything seemed too staged, too performative, more a dance than an athletic competition.
Early on Titus was “opening up” from a head butt, a blade job or the hard way, I could not tell, but no one seemed very concerned, and the match just continued. Isom and Lethal had a solid interaction as did Gresham and Joe Keys (teacher and student), but still seemed way too “scripted”.
As the match moved towards its conclusion the action and violence (read strikes and slams) picked up and so did my interest in the match as it started to look more like a fight than a dance. After several near falls with a variety of the wrestlers, Gresham submitted Joe Keys for the win.
The stylistic wrestling in this match was very good and spotlighted all of these wrestlers who are in line to be the present and future of the ROH babyfaces. In general, there were just too many wrestlers to get fully involved in a pure style match. That said, I will give it a qualified HIT based on the talent of these wrestlers and the pure (pun intended) enjoyment of watching some really talented athletes.
S.O.S. (MOSES & KAHN) vs. DRAGON LEE & KENNY KING – ROH Tag Team Championship
A great deal of tag team talent here as S.O.S. are part of the six-man tag champions and Lee and King are the current tag team champions. I had high expectations for this match. After some early jaw-jacking, the match got off to a fast start, but then slowed down a bit as both teams showboated. A benefit of this “no audience” era of ROH is that the in-ring talking can be heard. In this match, this was well taken advantage of as there was a good deal of trash talking in the ring.
Coming back from the first break, the match was a bit choppy and moved in fits and starts, which took me out of the action a bit. When the action flowed and moved, it worked, unfortunately, there was a lot of starting and stopping and interruptions for commercial breaks (two breaks in this match, not good).
The end of the match was way to contrived. Kenny King was out cold and covered by Kahn, but a ref distraction meant there was no count (count got up to seven), and Lee & King came back and hit both their finishes on Kahn and got the win. After the match there was lots of talking and angle building, but it really didn’t help. I was hoping for a great tag team match, but this one was slow, plodding, poorly executed, and had no crispness to it at all. A real MISS here. It just was not very good.