Ring of Honor Las Vegas Aftershock Tour Review 07/17/15
While we are already past Death Before Dishonor, there were some shows leading up to it which are still effecting the current landscape in Ring of Honor. The Las Vegas Aftershock tour show is an event that should not be passed up on. The show featured some great wrestling and demonstrated that Delirious’s booking, whether you like it or not, is done with a long term view rather than week after week.
Some of the best stuff on the show included the mini tournament to create a number one contender for the TV Title that is currently held by the ROH World Champion, Jay Lethal. Matches like Matt Taven versus Bobby Fish, Christopher Daniels versus Mark Briscoe, and Frankie Kazarian versus ACH were fun and quickly paced and given the respect they deserved for the position the winner would hold by the end of the show. The little stories told in the ring such as Bobby Fish being a strike expert or Christopher Daniels continuing to be one of the craftiest veterans on the roster were told well and ultimately fit into the final triple threat where Bobby Fish attained a big victory and became the #1 contender. All of the matches were good. Of the three if I was to say to skip any it would have been the Mark Briscoe versus Daniels match. It wasn’t bad but nothing really worthwhile happened in it. Mark continues to be used in a mediocre way, which is fine because he is immensely popular with the fanbase and doesn’t really have anything to prove. Having Daniels conversely in the final three gave the match a bit more gravitas since ACH defeated Kazarian to provide the sizzle and Fish cemented himself as not only a tag team expert but a strong singles competitor.
The rest of the card had some fun matches as well. A historic debut as Nanae Takahashi took on ODB in what felt like a long match but was only about ten minutes. The match itself was good and some have said it was better than some of the SHIMMER showcase matches from years ago though the tie in of ODB with the Briscoes probably helped that. Roppongi Vice and the Young Bucks had an incredibly fun match which was a semi typical spot fest. If you’re into what both teams bring to the table you will love this. If you’re not into it, then I would advise you to skip it because even though this was a helluva lot of fun, nothing storyline wise came out of it other than a team got a big win over the then IWGP Jr Tag Team Champions and there could be ramifications in NJPW and ROH going down the line. Silas Young got a good win over a strong opponent in WIllie Mack who got over with a crowd who did not seem to know who he was initially despite Mack being a PWG and Lucha Underground stand out. It was a good match and made Young look like a strong secondary title contender. There was also a Kingdom match with Cole and Bennett teaming up against War Machine and the further dissention between Cole and The Kingdom shined through. A good match but it’s the implications that have played out on the last few weeks of TV that make this match a bit more important.
The main event of the show featured Jay Briscoe, Kyle O’Reilly, and the flamboyant Dalton Castle going up against a hodge podge team of the ROH World and TV Champion Jay Lethal, Moose, and the returning former two time ROH World Champion Austin Aries. There was a lot of storyline progression packed into this match and it doesn’t hurt that it was also pretty entertaining. Moose was given the chance to look stellar by going toe to toe with O’reilly and getting in some flashy spots which were crowd pleasers. Jay Lethal continued to further his heel persona by picking spots to be involved in the match and going so far as to attack Aries. Jay Briscoe and Dalton Castle were minor players who got to shine and keep the match glued together. But the real reason to watch this match is because Kyle O’Reilly got a huge victory over Jay Lethal by forcing him to submit. While the match certainly isn’t above maybe 3.5 stars on a subjective scale, the storyline implications are strong and made this event feel a lot more important than a basic taped-for-DVD/VOD event.
reDRagon had a big night as both men are now set up as contenders to both singles Titles in ROH and if you’re a fan of them as I am, you’ll probably want to get this event either on VOD or when their next sale comes up. The amount of storyline progression mixed with some very good wrestling make this an easy recommendation. It’s events like this which will make house shows seem more important and possibly help boost attendance.