Sin City is known for a number of different things, and on Friday February 26th, it was known for Ring of Honor's 14th Anniversary. The event had a number of different moments and matches that stood out. One of the most interesting things to note was that it wasn't simply the stars of ROH competing, but the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling as well. The card was stacked, as it included not only the ROH tag team champions, War Machine, television champion Tomohiro Ishii and ROH World champion Jay Lethal, but several of the IWGP champions as well. In the first major pay per view since AJ Styles left the Bullet Club, Matt and Nick Jackson competed along with their NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champion partner “The Cleaner” Kenny Omega in a show stopper of a match. Fans that weren't familiar with Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida and Kazuchka Okada were familiar with them after this night.
Each moment or match that took place wasn't always a positive, but it certainly left fans talking, and that is part of what made this event as effective as it was. This list won't simply reflect what happened in each of the matches, but particular spots that may have stood out during this evening and garnered a reaction from fans either in attendance watching or on pay per view. They say that everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but Ring of Honor 14th Anniversary had the world watching. As one of their signature pay per views, Ring of Honor didn't disappoint. Each match appeared to be better than the next, but only a couple stood head and shoulders above the rest. What follows are the 15 most significant moments from ROH's 14th Anniversary.
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15 Mr Wrestling 3 On Commentary
The worst kept secret was the man behind the mask on commentary. While sitting alongside Kevin Kelly, Mr. Wrestling 3 did everything that could remind you of a certain former color commentator that would work alongside Kevin Kelly. Mr. Wrestling 3 was even able to give compliments to Steve Corino on occasion during the pay per view. Some would even go as far as to suggest that Mr. Wrestling 3 and Steve Corino are the same person, but we wouldn't do that here at TheSportster. Kelly's chemistry with Mr. Wrestling 3 was also reminiscent of that with Corino, but it's purely coincidental.
14 War Machine Gets VIOLENT Against the All Night Express for the ROH Tag Team Title
Violent. If one word could be used to describe this match, it was violent. Titus and King finally had their ROH tag team title match against War Machine. Hanson and Rowe, however, were prepared for war as they came to the ring sporting face paint, and immediately took the fight to Titus and King. Despite being outweighed, King and Titus did everything they could to get the better of the champs. But the size and strength of Rowe and Hanson proved to be too much for the former champs, as they were beaten down and beaten up by War Machine.
13 Hirooki Goto and The Party Peacock was Thoroughly Enjoyable
It was a very different blend of styles when these two faced each other. Goto was originally booked to face Ishii, but when Ishii won the ROH TV title those plans changed. Goto certainly had the respect of the fans going into this match and had it after the match as well. Castle in Las Vegas seemed perfect for one another. And Castle's collection of “boys” was greater than then ever before, and The Party Peacock is loved by the ROH faithful. However, Castle's unorthodox style wasn't enough to catch Goto off guard as the NJPW star walked away victorious.
12 Ishii Plex on Bobby Fish
One of the more impressive feats of strength was the Ring of Honor TV champion's ability to hit a superplex. A superplex alone really isn't all that common, but on this night Ishii was able to gut-wrench Fish who was sitting on the top rope while Ishii was standing on the second rope. He didn't just superplex him, but he managed to suspend Fish from the second rope in mid air for what seemed like forever. It was reminiscent of something WWE fans would recall seeing Cesaro do to his opponents. It was unquestionably one of the more notable moves on the night.
11 Castle's Deadlift German Suplex
Do not focus solely on the pomp and circumstance of Dalton Castle. The crowd was hot for the incredibly multifaceted ROH talent. With the fans behind him, Castle hit a dead lift German suplex on Goto. When we say dead lift, we are saying Goto was lying flat on his stomach when Castle was able to lift him up and heave him over. It's so impressive, and fans really are caught off guard because when we see Castle physical strength isn't what stands out. Castle clutched Goto's right arm and pulled it behind his back as he delivered the impressive move.
10 10 Alex Shelley and Christopher Daniels Work the Crowd
When you put two experienced pros like Shelley and Daniels in the ring, you are sure to get a hotly contested match. The lead up to the match involved Shelley being attacked after a match by both Frankie Kazarian and Daniels, while Chris Sabin looked on. Kazarian didn't need to be at ringside, but his addition led to blatant outside interference, and helped make that division between heel and face all the more clear for the fans. It was a fun match because they were able to combine signature spots with creative rule breaking. Shelley walked out on top when the dust settled.
9 Motor City Machine Guns Reunite
That victory by Shelley also reunited Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley as a team. For fans that weren't aware, Sabin and Shelley were a very successful tag team in TNA, and were former champions. It will be interesting to see this feud develop between The Addiction and Sabin and Shelley, as all four men were formerly part of TNA and appear to be applying their knowledge of one another to create a fantastic feud. There had been some question about Sabin's ability to compete, but that appears to be now nothing more than a rumor.
8 Micheal Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi HIT STIFF and Often with The Briscoes
The match came about because Elgin wanted to have someone who would watch his back. That someone was Tanahashi. The match had nothing to do with having a grudge against their opposition, but rather about seeing what Elgin and Tanahashi could do as a team against the former multi-time ROH tag team champions. Elgin and Jay Briscoe are no strangers to each other, so seeing them exchange blows with one another was expected. What wasn't expected was Elgin and Tanahashi going over the Briscoes.
7 The Rainmaker and The Moose
This dark horse match of the night featured arguably one of the greatest wrestlers in the world in “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada. Moose is also someone who has grown in both ability and experience in the ring. It would have been easy to presume that he had no chance against Okada, but that wasn't the case. Fans were split in their support during the match. Moose showed his strength early on in the match, whipping Okada head first into the barricade while holding his feet. Okada came out victorious in the end.
6 The Grudge Between B.J Whitmer and Adam Page
This grudge match came about because Page and Whitmer imploded. Page had enough of following Whitmer's lead and decided to stand up for himself. As the story goes, Page says that he was the one that went to Steve Corino and told him he had enough of Whitmer. The match itself was a fight as a new vibe was emanating from Page that fans had never seen before. From the sound of the bell, Page and Whitmer exchanged blow after blow, with the disciple taking the fight to the teacher. Regardless of the Whitmer win, Page looked great throughout.
5 Most Underrated Match of the Night Goes to Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Tomorhiro Ishii for the ROH TV Title
Strong lost the title in Japan, which most couldn't have seen coming. The added dimension of Ishii only made it more enticing to watch. Fish and Strong had issues going into this match, stemming from what took place between the two at Final Battle. The match was filled with tons of stiff kicks and punches, which was as to be expected when you consider the match participants. If you haven't watched New Japan Pro Wrestling you may not have been familiar with Ishii. But he certainly left his mark on North American audiences in amazement coming out victorious.
4 Showstopping Match of the Night Goes to ACH, Matt Sydal and Kushida Against Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks
If fans at ringside had seatbelts they would have been wearing them during this match. The Young Bucks have devoted fans that adore them. They have made a name for themselves by taking hand gestures and mannerisms made popular by the Kliq, and are the most popular team not in the WWE. This match was of course heavy in spots, considering all the parties involved, but it is that excitement that fans have come to enjoy seeing in Bucks matches. When you add ACH, Sydal and Omega , you knew that this was going to be one of the most exciting matches of the night.
3 "New Day Sucks"
One of the standout moments of the evening didn't involve wrestling and didn't involve anything done by those in the six-man match. It was a chant that the fans in attendance were voicing to deafening levels. For those following the NEVER Open Weight Six-man champions of Omega and the Young Bucks there have ben ongoing challenges made by them to the current WWE tag team champions The New Day. They have gone as far as to have t-shirts created that parody those of the New Day, with them riding a different four legged creature.
2 Match of the Night Goes to Jay Lethal, Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly
When you take the combustible elements of Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly, and add arguably the best wrestler in ROH today, you get a match that highlighted everything that a World title match should be. From the opening bell, fans were treated to a special match. It was a match that showcased spots, holds and non-stop action from all involved. All three were able to do moves that fans had come to love. Regardless of whom you were a fan of going into the match, it was the level of competition after the match that stood out.
1 Kyle O'Reilly with an Ankle Lock and Triangle Choke Simultaneously
It didn't influence the night and didn't determine a winner, but it was pretty damn impressive to see happen. O'Reilly is a master of submission type maneuvers, and on this evening he locked Lethal into a variation of a triangle choke with his legs. Cole attempted to break this up, but O'Reilly caught his former tag team partner in an ankle lock submission. Two men have simultaneously applied submissions to one competitor, but it's very rare to see one man apply holds to two different men simultaneously. It was a striking visual and generated a reaction from the fans in attendance.
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