Since I live in the area I decided to purchase and attend Honor United: Edinburgh last night at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, and what a fun show this was to be a part of as the live audience.
This was ROH’s 2nd show in Edinburgh following last year’s major success with their War of the Worlds Tour which was personally my favourite show to be a part of live outside of WWE events. While the line-up this year wasn’t as stacked as the card given to us almost a year ago I had a tonne of excitement going into this as ROH usually delivers a great experience live, at least from the shows I’ve attended.
I normally don’t keep track of the ROH product as much as I do the WWE product, but I still knew who each talent was, what they entail & what to expect from most the card as it went along. Because this was a UK show the crowd itself was as fun & savage as you could imagine, some wrestlers got less slack than others but at times they really tore into some of the stars present which had mixed results throughout the evening.
I’m not going to waste much time here and shall jump straight into the show itself, hope you guys enjoy!
Match #1: Shane Taylor vs Scorpio Sky
I knew very little about Shane Taylor heading into this one, at most I’ve heard of the mans name as well as his inspiring journey of weight loss over the last number of years but besides that he was a completely new face to me. Scorpion Sky on the other hand I’ve always liked both from an in-ring perspective and his person under SoCal Uncensored and was a face I’m fairly familiar with.
SoCal Uncensored are fantastic, like most things involving Daniels & Kazarian who are one of my personal favourite comedy acts in wrestling and went on to cut a quick pre-match promo running down Taylor and positioning themselves above the competition. Taylor denied their request to not compete tonight and instead wanted a piece of Scorpion Sky.
The match started off pretty standard, with both men engaging in traditional lock-ups and establishing Shane Taylor as the powerhouse of this contest before Sky jumped at the opportunity of an advantageous situation. Most of the middle section of this match was by the numbers and pretty standard but did its job before Taylor regained some momentum.
Taylor ended up regaining that momentum and despite a distraction from Daniels & Kazarian, ended up coming out victorious with a great Samoan Driver. This was a perfectly solid start to the show, but from the perspective of being in the live crowd it was clear that neither of these two were that big of a draw for the audience.
Winner: Shane Taylor via Samoan Driver
Match #2: The Addiction (Daniels & Kazarian) vs IWGP Tag Team Champions EVIL & SANADA
Right off the back of the opener both Daniels & Kazarian stuck around and hyped themselves up as the best tag team in professional wrestling, which some could genuinely make a case for at least if you’re arguing for them being the most underrated. To prove their worth, they called out their scheduled opponents for the evening, the IWGP Tag Team Champions of EVIL & SANADA.
EVIL & SANADA have been on an absolute role lately, especially to those familiar with the Japanese wrestling product and have produced constant great matches in the last number of months so this definitely had the crowd engage far more. It started off with EVIL & SANADA dominating their opponents, with the rabid fanbase only adding to the aura that the IWGP Champions brought to the ring with them clearly wanting blood.
The one thing The Addiction does so well is blend comedy in with their wrestling, a feat few in the business can achieve at this level (Personally only the New Day do it just as well from my experience). Despite their opponents being serious threats their brilliant blend of comedy with serious in-ring ability makes everything they do so entertaining, especially when you’re a part of the live audience. Throughout the match Kazarian was constantly interacting with the crowd, in particular a fan next to us who had some less than kind words for his current gimmick but it all felt organic and never diminished the threat of the IWGP Champions.
SANADA eventually made the hot tag and cleaned house, his use of the Tumbleweed Cradle got an awesome reaction from the live crowd and an even bigger response for Daniels topple to the mat off that move. The closing 3 to 4 minutes were filled with the break of pin attempts and great saves on both team’s parts to keep the match going but eventually the Champions got the better of their confident challengers and secured yet another impressive victory.
This was a major step up from the opener, the crowd seemed far more invested in not just the talent but the flow of the match itself. It wasn’t the best match of the night by any means, but I really loved the blend of styles both teams brought here, and it made everything so much fun to sit through.
Winners: IWGP Tag Team Champions EVIL & SANADA via Evil is Everything
Match #3: Kelly Klein & Chardonnay vs Tenille Dashwood & Sumi Sakai
Aside from seeing Sakai won the Women of Honor Championship at Supercard of Honor XII in January, this was my first match featuring the Women of Honor in any form, so I was anxious to see what they brought out.
Tenille Dashwood, the former Emma in WWE was who my eyes were on, as she boasts an insane amount of talent that for the most part has been untapped throughout her professional wrestling career. Sumi Sakai was fairly impressive when I saw her win the title, but I wasn’t really familiar with either Kleni or Chardonnay, the latter who’ll be challenging Sakai for the gold later on in this tour.
The 4 ladies produced a fairly basic match, one that did its job of establishing the challenger as a formidable threat and the heart of the Champion herself. Sakai did a good job of selling the damage inflicted on her during the middle portion of the match but the crowd for the most part was fairly flat here. Dashwood eventually got the hot tag and shifted the tide in their favour, but I can’t help but think a talent such as her is better suited in the role of a heel as opposed to babyface which is her current gimmick.
Klein & Chardonnay picked up the victory following a role-up on Dashwood, sending a message to the champion ahead of their upcoming match on this very tour. I might not sound too excited about this match, and that’s because there was little to get excited over looking back at it. The pacing and structure of it was fairly one-note, it was by no means a bad match just one that gave us little to no excitement at the time and no reason to care about the upcoming championship match. It was fine for what it was, just bare average at best.
Winners: Kelly Klein & Chardonnay
Match #4: Kenny King vs Punishment Martinez
I was deeply worried about this one, deeply worried. Kenny King has always been a really great talent that as of late seems to be struggling to find his footing in ROH. Punishment Martinez on the other hand has always come across fairly bland to me and never really gave me a reason to care if I’m being honest. Both men in my eyes needed a win here but more importantly needed to standout.
Thankfully, this match was a lot of fun to sit through. Martinez for someone I haven’t seen that much of prior to this really took me by surprise here and offered a lot more than you would think judging by his immediate persona and mixing it up with Kenny King gave us some really exciting moments. The first half of the match was fairly standard but really picked itself up in the 2nd half when King found his groove.
Most reviews for this match claimed that the crowd lost interest for the two talents as the match went on, but I never really felt that at all. The crowd live was engaged for most of it but started jumping on Martinez when one fan called him out for being a ‘Cheap Roman Reigns’ or ‘Cheap Baron Corbin’ and constantly using both the mentioned WWE superstars to diminish his credibility, which it almost did but this in no way translated to the crowd not being engaged.
The closing minutes of this match were great though, featuring several great near falls and some fantastic combinations from both men. Martinez finally claimed the victory after a lengthy series of trading pins with a chokeslam variation and seemed to actually silence a section of the crowd on their early criticisms. Up to this point, I felt this was the best match on the card and really took me by surprise with some genuinely great moments.
Whether or not the crowd interactions took away or added to the experience of those watching at home, is something I need to revisit at a later date.
Winner: Punishment Martinez via South of Heaven Chokeslam
Match #5: Matt & Nick Jackson (The Young Bucks) vs NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis & Mark Haskins
Am I jumping on a bandwagon when I say the Young Bucks are one of the most entertaining things in professional wrestling?
Because The Young Bucks are one of the most entertaining things in professional wrestling.
This match was announced not too long before I attended this show, so hearing I got to see the debut of Nick Aldis (the former Magnus in TNA) in ROH was something I personally held excitement for being a big fan of the man and his past work. Having Mark Haskins just added to this, as Haskins has to be one of the most underrated performers in the business today and I see no argument against this.
As for the match itself, it was fantastic from bell to bell. Not only was the crowd red hot throughout the entire length of this match but the action never slowed down for a second. The Bucks put on their trademark taunts and toyed with both Haskins & Aldis for a little while before the British duo gained control and held down the Bullet Club members.
The hot tag made to Nick Jackson is a firm reminder that The Young Bucks hold the title of ‘Best Hot Tag in Wrestling’ because he lit a fire under this Edinburgh crowd after he ran wild on both Aldis & Haskins. What ensued was some fantastic wrestling action, from high spots to some vicious in-ring signature moves which combined with some tension-filled near falls which added to the match in a very big way. My personal favourite spot of the night came in the form of a Meltzer Driver from Aldis & Haskins to the Bucks, which Haskins delivered following a Hurricanrana off the top rope to Nick onto brother Matt and was just as beautiful as it sounds.
Matt & Nick managed to secure an extremely impressive victory after a Meltzer Driver to Haskins in the middle of the ring to an explosion of cheers from the live audience. Being live for this was a wonderful experience and reminded me of why I love The Young Bucks as much as I do and just how fantastic of a duo they are in a wrestling ring. Without question my personal match of the night this time round and definitely worth checking out to anyone who loves any of these 4 men, or even tag team wrestling.
Winners: The Young Bucks via Meltzer Driver
Match #6: The Boys vs Yano & Delirious
I’m not going to say much about this, just because it really isn’t worth noting.
In no way do I mean to sound overly harsh, especially considering what this match followed and that the crowd must have been a little exhausted. But nothing here really worked in anyway, it was clearly placed as filler before the evenings 3 big matches went underway and for the most part just seemed to overstay its welcome.
Comedic matched in wrestling don’t really need over 10 minutes to do their job, and this match would have been perfect clocking in somewhere around the 5 to 7-minute mark, but instead we got a really dragged out match which never did anything for anyone. Delirious attempted to use comedy to engage the crowd further, as did Yano but it never really worked and instead dragged the match on.
From a personal perspective, I’ve never really liked The Boys or their gimmick and can’t ever seem to take them seriously. Definitely the bathroom break match for those who were watching live, if they had cut down the length and made this something quick and to the point, it would have been a lot more bearable.
Winners: The Boys via Lung Blower/Codebreaker Combo
Match #7: ROH Television Champion Silas Young vs Joe Hendry – ROH Television Championship Match
Edinburgh locals loved this match and who could blame them? Having their hometown hero Joe Hendry debut in ROH was a wonderful sight to see and garnered one hell of a reaction from the live audience, playing the role of the traditional underdog. Anyone who saw last years War of the Worlds tour saw Silas Young headline the event in a near 30-minute war against Jay Lethal and he walked into this years show with some gold around his waist, so personally my anticipation for this was quite high.
This was my 5th time seeing Joe Hendry live in person and I’d be lying if I said his previous efforts were anything spectacular, they were certainly decent but never really ‘clicked’, this was thankfully the best performance I’ve seen from the man to date. While it was your standard heel veteran vs local babyface match, everything they were going for here worked.
The contest started with your traditional mat wrestling, takedowns and all but slowly moved into a straight up fight between the two athletes. Silas Young’s style certainly matches that of Joe Hendry, both men have more ground and pound styles as opposed to some of the faster paced offense we saw from many of the other athletes throughout the evening and this produced some very hard-hitting moments.
Without question the highlight of the match was an incredible sequence towards the match’s conclusion which saw Hendry lock in an Ankle Lock on the reigning champion, which sparked arguably the biggest pop of the entire evening. This effort never transpired the way the challenger imagined unfortunately, as he shortly fell Young’s misery finisher for the fatal 3-count.
Silas Young might have walked out victorious from Edinburgh for the 2nd consecutive year, but nobody is going to take away anything from Joe Hendry’s performance on this evening which resulted in a fantastic ROH debut for the local up and comer. If the middle points of this match had featured something a little more rambunctious this might have turned out to be the match of the night, but this was a fantastic effort to see live regardless.
Winner: Silas Young via Misery
Match #8: ROH 6-Man Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Taven, Vinny & O’Ryan) vs ROH World Heavyweight Champion Dalton Castle, Jay Lethal & Hiroshi Tanahashi – ROH 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
Almost one year ago, it was the ROH 6-Man Tag Title match that stole the show during the War of the Worlds tour and gave the fans in attendance a title change that shook the Corn Exchange, so I don’t think there was anyone that wasn’t anticipating something fantastic from this semi-main event. The talent was certainly there in the form of the challengers too, one of my personal favourites Jay Lethal, ROH World Champion Dalton Castle & one of the finest wrestlers on the planet in Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Sadly, this match was a let-down which is something I hate to admit to myself.
I’m not sure if it was that lack of drama or believability regarding a title change since most people knew Dalton Castle was set to defend his gold against EVIL later on this week or just some of the matches clunky pacing throughout, but something felt off. The match started off showcasing each individual talent in the ring as most multi-man matches lightly do, but we never really got out of 2nd gear after that.
The match itself plateaued, never really getting to that next level and always seemed as if nothing was happening in a match that spanned almost 20 minutes. There were a few nice spots here and there, showing glimpses of what could have been a fantastic match, but it just never got the crowd nearly as invested as they should have and could have been. While comparing it to the WWE formula may not be entirely necessary, this is exactly how it felt to me, like your traditional house show match that did the bare minimum to extract even the slightest bit of interest from the audience.
Even the matches ending was as uncreative as you could imagine, with EVIL taking out the ROH World Champion in an effort to hype up their scheduled match later on in the tour which received little to no reaction from the live crowd. The matches ending came in the form of the Rockstar Supernova to Jay Lethal to the absolute dud of a reaction from the live crowd.
I don’t mean to be too harsh here but this was a massive disappointment for a match boasting so much talent and potential. Almost nothing felt exciting, the pacing was all over the place and never really tried but worst of all one of the tours special guests in Hiroshi Tanahashi was completely wasted from the get-go. What a shame.
Winners: The Kingdom via Rockstar Supernova
Main Event: ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes vs Cody & Adam Page w/Brandi Rhodes
The evenings main event on paper seemed like one primed on cramming the maximum number of stars into one match in order to live up to the advertised card. Cody & Adam Page while both respective members of Bullet Club do not have a storied history as a tandem, which obviously wasn’t the case for the Briscoes.
A concern I definitely understand is the issue of believability which certainly wasn’t the first time this evenings this issue had come about. While many had issues believing Cody & Page could pull of the upset, this didn’t stop the main event from being incredibly entertaining. Cody might not be one of the modern-day Bret Hart’s in terms of his in-ring ability but certainly has the charisma to grant him the biggest reaction of the evening. Adam Page on the other hand was one fire throughout this match and definitely added to the action in the ring with some incredible moments.
Despite a familiar setup to most of the prior tag team matches on the card the one thing that made this work was the aggression of both teams, primarily the Briscoes who oozed their blend of heel charisma into the match. As opposed to the previous matches, this side of the Briscoes persona definitely aided the middle section of the matches as their offense during beat downs in handled with aggressive tendencies and not the traditional headlocks like so many tag team matches.
Everything after Adam Pages hot tag was also fantastic in bringing the crowd to life, including an insane dropkick into a moonsault which I personally loved. One thing however that didn’t work as the match reached its conclusion was the recognition amongst the crowd regarding a title change, which we all basically never saw as a reality. Some moments that occurred could have provided far more impact if we had a long-standing tandem in the place of Cody & Page, potentially even the Young Bucks in retrospect.
Nonetheless, this was a really well worked and hard-hitting main event that did its job. Everyone involved seemed incredibly motivated to put on the best match possible under the circumstances, which primarily began to show as the match progressed into its closing moments.
Winners: The Briscoes via Jay Driller on Hangman
Honor United: Edinburgh was a really fun show to be a part of as a member of the live audience and I can’t wait to go back and watch it again in a few days. The majority of the card did exactly what it set out to do, we were never expecting anything 5-star or revolutionary to occur, just a good 3-hours of wrestling for us to sit through and we got just that. Young Bucks vs Aldis & Haskins and Young vs Hendry were my personal standout matches but we also got a really solid main event and a surprisingly good match out of King & Martinez which I actually think is worth checking out. The rest of the card was entertaining albeit, forgettable. I still think the 6-Man Tag Team Match was a colossal let down and the filler tag team match got way too much time, but other than that this show gets an easy thumbs up from me!