1 Claudio Castangoli v. Alex Shelly- 5
This was one of those fun Euro-based style technical matches that ROH has really adapted into their fold as something they present to American fans. I applaud that general notion, but it can be tricky. Claudio, who seems to have a wealth of knowledge in this style, can be a pretty blase worker. In comes Shelly,whose charisma carries this match past some really slow points. The work is really solid, albeit a few counters look pretty fumbled and/or "fake", as Shelly pushes his head into Claudio's legs at one point. This went to a 20 minute draw, which is rare enough, but to open the show is more elusive than JFK's brain. I thought this was a bold choice to start the show and I enjoyed the effort put forth.
2 Azrieal/ Davey Andrews v. Jason Blade/ Kid Mikaze- 3
Azrieal has the body of a young Silver King and the face of Ray Romano. Blade & Mikaze were two guys given a try out match for ROH, and I liked that they had matching tights and some really crisp double team moves. Az-bats and Andrews had really no chemistry at all and looked like they were matched together to have something to do that night. Andrews was really intense though, and as far as ROH students go, he's the only one who has stood out to me. This, of course, had a dive section that was pretty lackluster and the tryouts got finished off quickly. I'd love to see more of Andrews work though.
3 Ricky Reyes v. Mitch Franklin- 1
As far as squashes go, this was effective. Complete Annihilation. but, what more can you score a match that only lasts 12 seconds.
4 Nosawa v. Kikataro v. BJ Whitmer v. Nigel McGuiness- 4
Okay, Kikataro is a fat dude wearing a strange Halloween mask, very indicative of goofy Japanese gimmicks. He worked some comedy early on with every participant which seemed to give the match a light hearted mood. Nosawa had some great snaps on his kicks but that was about it. Nigel and BJ strangely worked some good strike sequences but they really went nowhere. Nigel was Pure champ at this point, but was treated as an afterthought here with BJ going over. His exploders on Kikataro's engorged body were a real eyesore and quite devastating.
5 AJ Styles v. Austin Aries- 7
AJ's forearms are legit, they are mighty, mighty stiff. You could see Aries getting frustrated with some of the shots he was receiving versus the ones he was giving. AJ's mat work is in dire need of retooling, which is where Aries comes in because he directs the match away from that, probably thinking "American Dragon is on later and will probably put our piddly stuff to shame." Aries has some really nice offense (ex. dropkick in the corner, brainbuster) and some really unecessary offense (ex. bouncing over the ropes twice just to deliver an elbow smash in the corner, his twisting elbow drop) The finish became really slow and plodding but the content was excellent enough to give the 7 to; Aries made the Styles Clash from the 2nd rope look as painful as it should be even though it's one of the least impactful finishers in the game.
6 Colt Cabana v. B-Boy- 3
Colt is a one-note act here as his violent stuff with Homicide just fades into obscurity, in my opinion. Here, he faces one of Homicide's lackeys, B-Boy, another non-descript dude in "thuggish gear." The problem I have with ROH is everyone's offense feels the same; I mean I come to expect Colt to have some really cool pin attempts due to his feud with Nigel and him learning some different styles, but why is B-Boy doing rolling cradles and hammerlocks with his feet? I've already seen that in 3 other matches tonight by different guys so why is this shmuck doing it?
7 Jay Lethal v. Curry Man- 4
I actually think Curry Man fits in better in TNA than in ROH, mainly because it's a really fun, goofy gimmick, but he should not be doing 25 minute matches that break into dance routines spontaneously then work finisher trading sequences later on. Vince would have given this 5 minutes on TV, enough to do the dancing then go into their high spots and finish quickly. Quite Frankly, i think that would have been better placed because Lethal doesn't have the skills to pull this thing into later rounds; Daniels got him through it, but the pace and the excitement the fans felt really waned in the end. This is the only match on the show whose finish I forgot so that tells you something right there.
8 Bryan Danielson v. Roderick Strong- 7
Dragon executes a full blown heel turn in this match, which is just amazing psych and still works a very competent bout. He starts by doing everything in his power to avoid Strong's chops, while still retaliating with his own. The pace works wonders for them, as it allows Danielson to do all his new heel schtick and get in his really grinding mat offense while still allowing Strong to hit big power moves in quick spurts. Danielson controls the majority of the match until Strong gets fired up in the end. The finish was really creative as well, with Strong actually KO'ing Dragon with a forearm and not being able to roll him over. Danielson comes to while being pinned and lets losse some devastating slaps and slaps Strong in a quick arm lock that looked deadly legit and he taps immediately. Really great stuff here. Danielson does truly deserve to be called "Best in the World."