The Cabarrus Arena brings us ROH’s first big event of the year. Now free of The Elite, how does ROH start to rebuild their brand?
North Carolina used to be a hot bed for wrestling, so with ROH trying to rebuild their title pictures, will the heart of some of the beloved 80s wrestling help to breathe life into Ring of Honor?
We all know I’m not the biggest fan of ROH, but I’m always willing to be impressed and swayed into a different head space.
Let’s see if this show does that.
- Shinobi Shadow Squad vs Corey Hollis, Josey Quinn & John Skyler – Shinobi Shadow Squad wins via Oyasuminasai – * 1/2
- Beer City Bruiser vs Mark Haskins – Haskins wins via Double Footstomp – **
- Best Friends vs FinJuice – Finlay wins via Trust Panda – ** 3/4
- Tracy Williams vs Flip Gordon – Williams wins via referee calling the match due to Flip injury – N/A
- Proving Grounds Match: Hurricane Helms, Luchasaurus & Delirious vs The Kingdom – Kingdom wins via House of 1000 Horses – * 1/2
- Bandido vs PJ Black – Bandido wins via Revolution Fly – *
- 4 Corners Survival Instant Rewards Proving Ground Match: Rhett Titus vs Shane Taylor vs Jonathan Gresham vs Jeff Cobb – Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands – *** 1/4
- Women of Honor Championship Street Fight: Jenny Rose vs Kelly Klein (c) – Klein retains via K Power on a pile of chairs – * 1/2
- Marty Scurll, Brody King & PCO vs Silas Young & The Briscoes – PCO wins via PCO Moonsault – *** 3/4
- ROH World Championship Match: Jay Lethal (c) vs Dalton Castle – Lethal retains via Lethal Injection – ***
- Soo…Skyler, Hollis and Quinn kick things off with an open challenge to anyone since they’re the best trio in ROH apparently. Cheeseburger brings out his newer trio of the Shinobi Shadow Squad….and I guess we’re supposed to care. Some sporadic moves, Skyler and that team try to control the match but, after Cheeseburger, Eli Isom and Ryan Nova tag in and out a little more fluidly. They hit their triple move called Oyasuminasai (Goodnight in Japanese), and that’s that.
- Mark Haskins is still a new name to ROH and Bruiser seems to play the Gatekeeper role with a few of the newer guys. Bruiser tells Haskins this is America, we fight, not that fancy British shit. And we see a little more of a slugfest than Haskins is most likely accustomed to. Every time Bruiser went to the top rope, it cost him the momentum he had. So a big missed Vader Bomb and Frog Splash gave Haskins enough time and opportunity to hit his Double Footstomp.
- Best Friends still have a few tentative moments with Chuckie’s instability as of late, and FinJuice is on the rise. Juice recently put together a new stable called Lifeblood with Bandido, Tracy Williams, Haskins, Finlay and Tenille Dashwood. So all of the Lifeblood members are prolly in for a good night. The match was fun, solid and Chuckie kept it together even though Finlay got the win on Chuck. Decent match.
- What can I say, he threw a drop kick, came up gimpy and the announcers brought up something about him nursing the knee for a while. So I guess we’ll see where this goes, but that’s another win for Lifeblood, technically.
- Every time the Kingdom is on, I feel an overwhelming urge to take a nap or walk away for 15 minutes. Vinny even holds back Luchasaurus and Hurricane with the Jurassic World “keeping the raptors back” kind of motion. Lots of dumb gimmicks, not a lot of wrestling or fluidity to the match. It’s stuff like this that is mostly why I have an issue tolerating Ring of Honor.
- Uuughh….spotty at first which I expected, but also very botchy and sloppy. This match could’ve been great, but just didn’t work. Another win for Lifeblood though. But this was awful. Also didn’t help that they finally pulled back on the camera to show the floor seems full but the rest of the building is pretty empty.
- Shane Taylor says the 4 Way match is an insult so he walks out, and the match becomes a Triple Threat. Gresham and Titus take turns trying to take out Cobb, eventually Cobb gets knocked out of the ring and Titus dominates Gresham. Rhett is in the best shape he’s been probably ever. But Cobb breaks up the pin attempt and finishes Titus. Silas Young distracts Cobb after the match and Shane returns to jump Cobb and hold up the belt as the age old symbol of “I got next”.
- Kelly comes out with her “Camp Klein”, and they play a small role in the match, but it’s kinda awkward. Kelly is great, don’t get me wrong here. But Rose really isn’t and that makes the whole match awkward. The table didn’t break so Kelly calls an audible and Rose was visibly nervous and Kelly had to communicate too many times too obviously. Hopefully Kelly’s matches get better.
- Okay now this was the first match to really catch my attention. Mark Briscoe tried out his Redneck Kung Fu on PCO, and that was a fun battle. A lot of car crash style moments, and Young tried to Canadian Destroyer PCO on the apron and that didn’t work correctly, but no one got hurt, so it was just a hold your breath moment. Villain Enterprises established themselves nicely and PCO pinning Jay Briscoe most likely lines up a tag team title shot in the future. So between Brody King pulling off an Arabian Moonsault Arm Wringer Toss…thing…it was quite cool since Brody is like 6’5″. Damn good match though.
- Nick Aldis and Camille show up to cut a promo. Typical Aldis 10 Pounds of Gold…integrity, tradition…stuff. Also made mention of the Crockett Cup and that it will be in this same place April 27.
- Dalton tried to start off quickly with some tosses and suplexes, but he still has his waist bandaged so Lethal had a big bullseye for early offense. The match was hard hitting, but once we got to the Suicide Dive spot, the match seemed to really drag. A bad Elbow Drop from Jay got turned into a crucifix pin, and that’s never good when you telegraph the counter by half assing the move. A few counters on moves were supposed to be exciting but really just felt like it was extending a match that no one really cared about. Lethal ducks under a lariat and hits the Lethal Injection for the pinfall.
Overall Score: 4.5/10
So the crowd was dead through most of the show, when they finally panned out we saw that there were many empty seats at the show…and that was obvious. Aside from the Villain Enterprises match, the crowd was really kind of dead. The first few matches should get people charged up, but Cheeseburger does nothing for me and Bruiser’s match wasn’t awful, just not a lot of time and the story being told was a little odd. Even Cobb’s match, though decent, didn’t really wake the crowd up much.
This whole show was a boring grind, where nothing really happened and it was just hard to sit through. After this event I’m looking forward to WWE Raw tomorrow since on average it’ll be at least as good, if not better than this. So thank you ROH, you made me excited for WWE.
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling YouTube Ratings & Analysis (3/22/2019)
Andrew tales a look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT! How did it match up after disappointing Twitch views?
A look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT!
As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for wrestling. Most people will point to television ratings like they did during the Monday Night Wars in the late 1990’s, however that can be skewed with so many various means of watching today that do not include cable television.
As you’ve become accustomed to this with WWE product, let’s continue the Impact YouTube! Here is this week’s IMPACT YouTube Report, compiled approximately 48 hours after IMPACT went off the air:
- The VIOLENT Debut of a New Member of oVe! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 353k
- Top 5 Must-See Moments from IMPACT Wrestling for Mar 22, 2019 | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 99k
- Johnny & Taya Explain Their Despicable Betrayal of Brian Cage | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 93k
- Scarlett Bordeaux vs Glenn Gilbertti NEXT WEEK on IMPACT Wrestling: Against All Odds! – 50k
- Gail Kim Interrupted by a VICIOUS Brawl Between LAX & Lucha Bros! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 47k
Well…last week and this week have surprised me. Not only for what ranked first, but by how much. I didn’t realize Sawyer Fulton had that much of a following, or again, the tag line is enticing with Debut and Violent. But either way, Sami and oVe have been a solid proven commodity for generating buzz and attention, so I suppose after the initial shock of how many people clicked it, it makes some sense. But damn, 3 times as many views as second place. Wow.
The Top 5 truncated highlight reel comes in second. These always seem to do fairly well, and good for them? Not much to extrapolate from people enjoying abridged versions of things. Ask Team Four Star or Little Kuriboh, abridged things are great.
For as monotone as he is, and how much the IWC reaction is basically what he was complaining about in his promo, he still keeps pulling good numbers. Johnny does cut a better promo as a heel, but he’s still hard to sit through. But hey, it’s bringing eyeballs, so that’s something.
Scarlett and Glenn promo video gets a little love. Scarlett is one of the hottest things in wrestling currently and Glenn does have a degree of celebrity, as well as being great in his role. Even though the only thing that makes sense is Scarlett winning next week, Glenn has been a great addition to the show this past month.
Gail Gail Gail, well now. Gail is one of the best female wrestlers ever, and LAX/Lucha Bros decided to brawl all in the same video. There’s so much to peak a little interest that it makes complete sense why it made the Top 5. Lucha Bros are on fire currently, LAX is always a draw and Gail is Gail, so I’m a little surprised this wasn’t higher.
- 2.1.2019 – 311,000
- 2.8.2019 – 293,000
- 2.15.2019 – 396,000
- 2.22.2019 – 368,000
- 3.1.2019 – 354,000
- 3.8.2019 – 439,000
- 3.15.2019 – 616,000
- 3.22.2019 – 642,000
Again we see a jump in numbers. Since the show did it’s lowest Twitch views of the year, I guess it makes sense that more people would be going to YouTube to try and catch up since there is no legal VOD service unless you DVR/On Demand the show from Pursuit…but you’d need Pursuit in the first place.
So with all that, the number could’ve been higher since the NCAA tournament was in full swing, thus distracting some potential viewers. All in all, this is nice to see interest in Impact, though it waned, didn’t go away completely…and seems to be bouncing back a little. With such a limited TV reach and hit or miss Twitch numbers, any amount of increased interest is a positive step.
As is tradition, the number 1 video:
Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.
That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.
- Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
- Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
- Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
- Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
- Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
- Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – ***
- IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
- NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****
We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.
Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.
Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.
Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.
Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.
This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.
We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches. Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.
Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.