Review: ROH World Championship Tournament – First Round Matches

Mike Killam

(2) "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson vs. ACH

This match kind of flew under the radar because it didn't have any major ROH names, but I was looking forward to it, mostly because I'm a huge ACH fan. He's just so damn fun to watch! I know very little about Karl Anderson, but I really enjoyed what I saw in this match. His kicks are absolutely devastating; I felt bad for ACH's jaw on multiple occasions. Karl is definitely a slow-and-steady kind of guy, which is great because it helped break things up following the first tournament match. A small piece of unwanted advice for the up-and-comer: it's never a bad idea to slow things down, especially if you just got hit with a big move like a running sit-down powerbomb. You didn't really no-sell it, but maybe crawl to the ropes rather than sprint there for the 450. Just my thoughts… "Machine Gun" picks up the win with a beautiful Ace Crusher. I was kind of disappointed, but only because ACH making it to the semis was my pipe dream of this tournament. 

Winner: Karl Anderson

Rating: ***

(3) Adam Cole vs. Mark Briscoe

The finish to this match was really, in my mind, the turning point for Adam Cole's Ring of Honor character. He'd been teasing a heel turn for a while, going all the way back to matches with Jay Briscoe before the summer, but superkicking a concussed man, and then finishing him off with his brother's signature move – that's Grade A heel work right there. I'm happy, because it means ROH is finally taking notice of the great work Heel Cole has been doing in other promotions, and realized that he can go so much further and exhibit a lot more personality this way. Also…there was a wrestling match. Mark is a consistently solid worker, and they put on a decent match. It felt quicker than it was because the pace almost never slowed down. Commentary did a fine job steadily increasing the emphasis on Cole's kicks to the face, so by the time they got to that part of the story, the finish made sense. I guess I don't really recall a ton of what happened during the match, partly because of the pace, and mostly because the storytelling overshadowed it. That's not always a bad thing though. 

Winner: Adam Cole

Rating: ***1/2

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