Best Match: Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen
Worst Match: R.D Evans vs. Adam Page
It's hard to complain about a free show, but I'm going to. Firstly, the publicity was terrible. Thankfully, the information was on the F4W front page, at a quick glance there wasn't anything on the ROH website. Secondly, the crowd was dead for almost everything. Thirdly, and most importantly, after promising flawless playback, once again they failed, which leaves me judging ROH on technical issues as opposed to the quality of the wrestling, again.
It started well with no problems until the intermission, then the screen would freeze for a period of time before playing a couple of seconds and then freezing again. Ironically, the intermission seemed unaffected as well as the low point of the show, the Evans-Page match. I missed the majority of the second half and when things started to go wrong in the main event I called it a night. If this show is freely available tomorrow, with no glitches, change my vote to a "thumbs in the middle". I don't even care if the matches are great, that's the best they're going to get out of me. If you can't do something right, don't do it at all.
I didn't catch all the Briscoe promo, what I heard was good. Simple, but effective.
Silas Young vs. Jay Lethal: I'm gradually becoming a fan of Silas Young. He has a well defined persona that I'm guessing is quite close to the person he really is. The only thing I didn't like in this match was Lethal's drop kick from the floor to Silas in the ring. It's the third time I've seen that spot on a ROH show and it's dumb. Yes, it's impressive athleticism, but the guy on the floor is taking a bigger bump than the guy taking the kick. It's stupid. Forgetting that, this was a good match. I especially liked the work between the second and third tope, when Lethal bounced to the top rope and kicked Young in the face. I liked Silas not shaking Lethal's hand. I hope this builds to someone earning Young's respect and getting a handshake out of him.
Adam Cole vs. Tomasso Ciampa: An electric, high tempo opening that settled into an exceptional match. Good work with the knee and I enjoyed the finish. It isn't everyday you get to see someone pinned with a figure four.
Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen: Slow, but excellent. It was stiff, athletic and built up nicely to some great power spots. Good story with Steen not being able to deliver the Package Piledriver because of his damaged shoulder.
Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov: This was quite disappointing. Not a patch on their match earlier in the year. I did like Nigel McGuinness saying that singing the Russian national anthem is in Koslov's contract. That, as well as Davey mocking him and the Philly crowd waking up to chant "Rocky IV" were hilarious. The only other notable highlight was Koslov's horizontal surfboard around the ropes. Besides that, this was sloppy and clumsy. As for Davey, it looked like a legit injury to me, as it didn't play into the match at all.
R.D Evans vs. Adam Page: I like R.D and Veda Scott, but they didn't do it for me tonight. However, compared to the bland, generic challenge Page delivered, Evans and Scott were five stars. Thank God the match was short. This was like Fandango and Miz, but a thousand times worse.
After that, all I saw was Roderick Strong landing awkwardly on a monkey flip, a few seconds of Outlaw Inc. (which looked intriguing), and about five minutes of the main event. The match certainly hadn't come to life yet, the only thing I will say is they could of done a better selection on the judges and mentioned the judging criteria. Other than that, it was a nice touch. Too bad the stream ruined it.
I tried to watch ROH Death Before Dishonor and what I was able to see was a good show. Thumbs up for the half I watched. Cannot really pick a best or worst match since I didn't see all the show. In fairness to ROH and gfl.com, much of my problem could have stemmed from a slow internet connection on my end. However, when the show was streaming well the quality of the streaming was good and so was the wrestling.
I watched most of the CMLL stream from Arena Mexico before it abruptly ended and it was good. The trios match with Ishii was the best action in the ring I thought but myself and the friend watching with me enjoyed the athleticism of women in their trios match equally as much. I tried again to stream the ROH show after the CMLL women's match but it didn't work that well. Nevertheless, the CMLL stream worked great for the most part. Getting to match matches live from Arena Mexico with no commercials is quite great, even if the stream ended suddenly.
At the same time CMLL was streaming their show (from another country!) without incident, I, and a dwindling number of diehards, spent our Friday night watching frozen screens, reading 404 errors, and swearing at our computer screens. The last hour or so of the show, including the long-anticipated main event, was basically kaput, with only minor blips of the show (interspersed by long stretches of frozen screens) giving us only the faintest hints of what was going on. It was beyond frustrating, and sadly, not unprecedented for ROH on iPPV.
It would be one thing if this was a first-time error for ROH, but this is the same problem that has plagued every single show that they've attempted to broadcast via the internet. Every. Single. Show. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Worse, those that are watching the iPPVs, or at least attempting to, are those diehards that have stuck with ROH while they have hemorrhaged talent the last few years. You'd think that ROH would want to get their sh*t together and reward those fans, rather than further frustrate those of us willing to put aside an evening to sit in front of a computer screen to watch wrestling. But, sadly, they couldn't figure it out once again. I'm honestly not sure what I expected, and I don't know why I got my hopes up that this may be the time that ROH would broadcast an uninterrupted show across the internet. Charlie Brown, meet football.
I don't know if iPPV can be a sustainable income source, but they probably lost any and all chance of that possibility tonight. Tonight's show was free, but in doing so, ROH was probably trying to test the waters for re-entering the iPPV market. They drowned. And a company thats income derives from 1) midnight broadcasts on old UHF channels, 2) selling 200 tickets in 2,000 seat gyms and 3) home video, a new income source may help keep the company out of further financial ruin. Especially one based on the internet, which is where most of ROH's remaining fans seem to congregate.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, but for ROH to be made a fool of themselves for the umpteenth time on iPPV, well, it's all just a shame.
I've been an ROH fan since 2005. I attended both ROH events held here in Houston in 2009. I even flew to Philly to attend what turned out to be the beginning of the ROH CZW feud in 2006. I was a faithful viewer during the HDNET years and the ippv debacles.
Ive had enough. I dont have the patience or energy to continue watching this product. Here is to hoping Vince gets his hands on that amazing tape library.
Albert Lopez Jr.