Check out my review of all eight preliminary round matches in the ongoing ROH World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Each match is available for free on ROH TV – watch them now at ROHWrestling.com!
QUARTER FINAL MATCHES
These are the matches you're going to need to spend some money on if you want to see. The first match, featuring Adam Cole and Jay Lethal, was recorded at All-Star Extravaganza in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The card is pretty solid, even without the first round matches you can catch for free.
(1) Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal
I think I would have rather ROH wait for their second live event to do all the quarter final matches at once, rather than cram this into the end of All-Star Extravaganza. It didn't feel too rushed, per say, but I was edging on burnt out on all the tournament matches, and there wasn't any time to differentiate between the first and second rounds. Also, and I brought this up in his preliminary match against Sonjay Dutt, every time Jay Lethal undersells a superkick, I cry on the inside a little bit. I do not understand how a guy can utilize a move in 99.8% of his matches to set up the finish – especially one used by a Hall of Famer like Shawn Michaels – but then act like it's not effective when somebody hits him with it. Wouldn't you want the audience to think one of your primary attacks actually hurts? This isn't just a Lethal problem; like I said in the first column, it's the single biggest indie sin, in my book.
The match was fine. Cole worked well. I'm just glad I won't have to rant about Lethal's no-sells again in this tournament.
The next three matches all took place at Manhattan Mayhem last month. Again, the event has some great non-tournament matches, including a few must-see tag team contests.
(2) Michael Bennett vs. Tomasso Ciampa
I can't speak for Ciampa, but one thing I know Mike Bennett is passionate about is going out to the ring and being different. He thrives off those "you can't wrestle" chants and the fans who hate him because he doesn't do suicide dives; he wants to work different, talk different, be different. The one thing I will say about this match is that it was totally different than any of the nine other tournament matches. They started with some comedy spots, worked an injury for the long haul, and fought a lot more on the outside. It was unique, in perspective of what we've see thus far. Unfortunately, try as they might, Ciampa and Bennett could not get the crowd into what they were doing. Bennett even mocked CM Punk's signature taunt and GTS; Ciampa even hit the move – still nothing. The only thing that got a decent pop was a tease of another ring apron piledriver. ROH would have had a field day with the press if they let him actually do it… I thought they were moving along at a pretty decent pace, working some fun spots while taking their time to the end. I guess Manhattan didn't agree.