BITW 2016

Cabarrus Arena – Concord, NC – Friday, June 24, 2016

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary.

~MATCH #1~
Kyle O’Reilly defeats Kamaitachi at 13:50. They chain wrestle and mat wrestle to start, but things get more aggressive quickly. O’Reilly focuses on the arm, wearing it down for the Cross Armbreaker. His knee buckles on a float-over and Kamaitachi zeroes in. O’Reilly comes back with some strikes. Both men do a good job engaging the crowd, which is so important in a match like this. In the end, O’Reilly locks on the Cross Armbreaker to get the win. Fun opening match here, with Kamaitachi getting enough in to make O’Reilly’s win meaningful.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #2~
ACH defeats Silas Young at 11:10. These two are fighting over whether or not ACH is a “real man” because he plays video games or something. If that’s the best they can do for him no wonder he bailed. This follows the formula, with ACH getting the early shine and then Young taking control and working ACH over for a while. In the end ACH makes the big comeback and flattens Young with the Midnight Star to get the pin. These two just didn’t seem to have good chemistry together. It just felt like one of those matches where they did some stuff and then it ended.
Rating: **½

~MATCH #3~
Mark Briscoe defeats Roderick Strong at 15:40. This match came about when Strong was disrespecting Mark a little too much. They’ve been friends in the past but now they are rivals. Mark is one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions. He shows early fire as they take it to the floor, but Strong weathers that storm and goes to work. These two know each other quite well from years of teaming and fighting each other, so there are plenty of counters and reversals throughout the match. Strong uses the Sick Kick but Strong kicks out of it! Mark fights back with his own Sick Kick and then hits a Fisherman’s Buster for a near-fall. One more Fisherman’s Buster is enough for Mark to get the pin. Strong was working hard, but Mark is so meh, and since when is that his finisher?
Rating: **¾

~MATCH #4~
BULLET CLUB (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeat Moose (w/ Stokely Hathaway) 1& War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) in a Six Man Tag Team Match at 12:53. Matt Taven joins the commentary team, thus subtracting one star from the final review of the match. This one starts off hot, with first the BC hitting dives, and then Moose showing them how it’s done. This is just wall to wall action, some of it in the ring, some of it on the outside. It’s a lot of fun too, with the three big guys versus three smaller guys dynamic working like a charm. Late in the match, Cole takes Rowe out with the Panama Sunrise. Hanson goes up for a moonsault on Cole and gets superkicked by both Bucks in mid-air. Hathaway jumps on the apron but he takes a triple superkick. The Bucks then hit the Five-Star Meltzer Driver on Moose, and Cole gets the pin. This delivered exactly what it was supposed to.
Rating: ***½

~MATCH #5~
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) defeat The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) at 12:20 to retain the titles. Daniels and Kazarian have been the Champions since 5.9.16, and this is their third defense. It’s all Machine Guns in the early going, as they are desperate to win the titles they’ve never held before. The Champions come back and isolate Shelly for a while. Shelley eventually makes the hot tag and the referee loses all semblance of order. When all four men end up down, Kamaitachi appears from out of nowhere and attacks Jay White at ringside and they brawl into the ring. Referees are trying to split them up. Meanwhile, Daniels kicks Shelley right in the nuts to take him out. The Addiction hit Sabin with the Best Meltzer Ever to get the win and retain. Well that finish was hot garbage. The bit between Kamaitachi and White could’ve happened at any point during the show. Bad finish to an oddly disappointing match. After the match, it’s revealed that Kamaitachi and the Champions were in cahoots.
Rating: **¼

~MATCH #6~
BJ Whitmer defeats Steve Corino in an Unsanctioned Fight Without Honor at 15:00. I never really understood how this feud got started. I just remember it being like “these two hate each other a lot” all of a sudden. Ian Riccaboni is on commentary now in place of McGuinness. The fight starts during Whitmer’s entrance, and it doesn’t take long for Corino to get a tooth knocked out. Whitmer busts Corino open hard way with a couple of solid right hands. The doctor checks on Corino while Whitmer readies a table. Whitmer hits the Wrist-Clutch Exploder on Corino through the table, but that’s not enough to get a pin. Corino fights back and smashes a beer bottle on Whitmer’s head. He then jabs a shard of glass into Whitmer’s forehead. Corino finds a bottle of rubbing alcohol and dumps it on Whitmer’s head. Whitmer responds with a fistful of quarters. Corino hits a Package Piledriver for two and the lights go out. When they come back on Kevin Sullivan of all people is in the ring. Sullivan hits Corino with the Golden Spike and Whitmer hits the Wrist-Clutch Exploder to get the pin. Okay, let’s be real here, NO ONE CARES about Kevin Sullivan in 2017. While I can’t fault the effort of the sacrifices these two made for this match, it just wasn’t for me. It felt violent for the sake of being violent (which, to be fair, ROH almost never does anymore), plus the buildup and the characters just did nothing for me. So your mileage may vary greatly on this one.
Rating: **

~MATCH #7~
ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish defeats Dalton Castle at 16:59 to retain the title. Fish has been the Champion since 5.8.16, and this is his first defense. Both men are babyfaces but both are capable of turning up the aggression to get wins. Fish focuses on Castle’s leg, and Castle continuously tries to pick up the pace to avoid getting trapped. Castle goes so far as to suplex Fish over the guardrail and into the crowd. They fight back toward the ring and Castle is looking good. When Castle goes for the Bang-A-Rang but Fish counters to a victory roll to get the pin. This was proficient and the crowd loves Castle so they stayed pretty into it. But for whatever reason it just didn’t have that big title match feel to it.
Rating: ***¼

~MATCH #8~
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal (w/ Taeler Hendrix) defeats Jay Briscoe at 12:47 to retain the title. Lethal has been the Champion since 6.19.15, and this is his twenty-fourth defense. These two know each other very well so it actually starts off somewhat slowly as they feel each other out. Both men hit dives to the floor, and after the challengers hits two in a row, Hendrix tries to interfere and referee Paul Turner ejects her from ringside. Mandy Leon comes out to help run her off. That’s a curious spot for a big-time main event match. Back in the ring Briscoe tries multiple times to put Lethal away but cannot do it. Lethal recovers and hits an apron-assisted cutter to the floor. Back in the ring Briscoe goes for a Super J-Driller but Lethal counters with a rana. Lethal then locks on a Figure-Four Leglock. A series of reversals ends with Briscoe hitting a Lethal Injection and a J-Driller but Lethal kicks out! Briscoe takes Lethal back up top but Lethal is able to bring his challenger down with a super cutter! One Lethal Injection later and Lethal retains the title. Silliness with Hendrix and Leon aside, this was a super fun sprint and a great showing for Lethal. After the match, the rivals shake each other’s hands.
Rating: ***½

A2Z Analysiz
Everything fell right between ** and ***¾, so that’s about par for the course with Ring of Honor. It’s just under three hours and with no real bad matches it’s relatively easy to get through. Most of the matches are solid or very good, and while I wasn’t enamored with the Fight Without Honor, some may enjoy it much more than I did. Even with the solid wrestling, the booking felt off. The Tag Team Title match had such a weird ending, and Mandy Leon getting involved with the main event felt very out of place. Also, let’s not forget ROH expected people to care about Kevin Sullivan in 2016. That really tells you all you need to know right there.