By Justin Knipper for F4WOnline.com
The Big Takeaway —
Flip Gordon won the Sea of Honor tournament and will face Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship in the coming weeks.
The Alpha Club vs. Bullet Club angle was left somewhat open ended, with both sides jaw-jacking with each other as the show went off the air.
Show Recap —
Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal were on commentary to begin the show. The event kicked off with a short highlight package of the Sea of Honor tournament first round matches:
Christopher Daniels defeated Delirious
Dalton Castle defeated Matt Taven by DQ after a belt shot
Marty Scurll defeated Rhett Titus
Mark Briscoe defeated Will Ferrara
Flip Gordon defeated Silas Young
Adam Page defeated Frankie Kazarian
Cheeseburger defeated Beer City Bruiser
Jay Briscoe defeated Kenny King
Sea of Honor tournament quarterfinals —
Dalton Castle (as Ashley Remington) defeated Christopher Daniels
The ring announcer claimed Castle was out of the match with a concussion, and that “Smooth Sailing” Ashley Remington would replace him. This was Castle’s sailor comedy character in CHIKARA. Cabana’s explanation was that Castle is concussed and he implied that Castle had a Cactus Jack-like amnesia, hence the Remington character.
Daniels jaw-jacked while the crowd chanted “That’s not Dalton.” Daniels asked Remington if he’s really not Castle. He said he’d believe the crowd’s chants because they had kind eyes.
There was a slower pace at the beginning of the match, followed by a number of counter-reversal-counter exchanges mixed in with comedy poses and gestures.
Cabana and Lethal tried to put the match over as serious even though both wrestlers seemed a bit relaxed throughout it. They assured the viewers that this was the World Championship tournament and was a serious matter.
Daniels landed an Arabian Press for a two count. Remington reversed the pace with a big lariat, a flying knee into the corner, and a bulldog for two. The crowd was 60-40 in favor of Remington.
Remington/Castle rolled Daniels into a small package for the win in this decent comedy match. Remington gave Daniels a basket of fruit afterwards, then they hugged.
Flip Gordon defeated Marty Scurll
There were big chants for Scurll before the match. They dragged a handshake spot out for a few minutes ahead of the bell, playing up the friendship angle they did in the Being the Elite show. The crowd chanted for them to hug and they finally did, but Scurll crossed Gordon with a surprise Rock Bottom/uranage. The referee rang the bell and counted a close two. The crowd was awake for this one.
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Scurll crotched Gordon on the rope and teased the old Gran Naniwa crab-walk spot, but then did an “up yours” gesture to the crowd instead for cheap heat. They teased a superplex for a minute until Scurll finally landed it on the third attempt for a two.
Scurll stomped on Gordon’s fingers and put him into a modified abdominal stretch, then into a modified Rings of Saturn, slowing the pace of the match down until Gordon turned the volume up after a few dropkick variations.
Gordon used a springboard slingblade and 450 splash, both for two. Scurll kicked out of the 450 at 2.75 for a very close near fall.
The crowd eventually turned on Scurll and rooted for Gordon instead. The two had a few chop and elbow battles, and Cabana compared them to Sasaki and Kobashi at the Tokyo Dome in 2005. It wasn’t quite that, but Gordon’s chest was horrible and looked very purple.
Gordon reversed Scurll’s Sugarback Powerbomb into a sunset flip pin for the win. He offered to shake Scurll’s hand after the match, but Scurll denied him and rolled out of the ring. Very good — albeit short — match.
Jay Briscoe defeated Cheeseburger
As Briscoe came down to the ring you could hear the announce team chatting away from the mic. It sounded like everyone in the crowd was having a good time, but it made the broadcast feel amateurish.
Cheeseburger’s new ring gear is a tribute to Jushin Thunder Liger, with the red and white color scheme and a Cheeseburger icon on his chest.
Briscoe offered Cheeseburger to take a countout loss because he claimed no one wanted to see Cheeseburger get hurt. Cheeseburger responded with the finger and they started brawling. Briscoe got the better of the initial fisticuffs, then pounded on him for a while. They told a bully story where Briscoe kept screaming at Cheeseburger to quit — but Cheeseburger refused to.
Briscoe used a Death Valley Driver for two, then put Cheeseburger in a Camel Clutch and swore at the crowd. They bleeped this out on the HonorClub broadcast.
Cheeseburger mounted a few comebacks. He landed a Shotei that looked really phony for two. Briscoe landed a Rude Awakening-style hanging neckbreaker after this and it looked brutal.
Briscoe’s jumping Jay Driller got a huge pop from the crowd, and a win for himself. This was a decent match with a simple but clear David vs. Goliath narrative.
Mark Briscoe defeated Hangman Page
The announcers pushed the story that whoever won this got to face Jay Briscoe. It was pretty obvious that they were building for a brother vs. brother match.
Both Page and Briscoe got in each other’s faces early and had a chop battle. Both were great at no-selling each other’s chops and the crowd was getting into it, albeit slowly. They had a body slam battle. The crowd started chanting “scoop slam.” Next was a vertical suplex battle. Page “won” the suplex duel with a delayed vertical suplex.
The two exchanged a few more moves after this, but in a less gimmicky way. The crowd kept chanting “That was weak” and Page seemed not to know how else to please them.
Page landed a gutwrench suplex with a bridging pin for two. This was followed by a “That was strong” chant. Briscoe then gave Page a lariat that flipped him inside out.
Apparently a bird flew into the crowd and Cabana seemed really freaked out by it. People started chanting “holy sh*t,” but the cameras didn’t catch any of it. Cabana stood up and lost it, which was caught on camera. People were chanting for the bird. Lethal was speechless for a while until he lost it over the bird, too. I didn’t understand any of it without the visual references.
A spinning lariat and powerbomb from Page to Briscoe got two. The crowd was really distracted here and it didn’t pop like it normally would. The wrestlers weren’t rattled by this at all, though, which was impressive.
Briscoe missed a Froggy Bow and Page reversed it into a jackknife for another close two count. Briscoe eventually reversed Page’s Buckshot Lariat into a schoolboy for the abrupt win.
This match was better than it came off as on TV, but the bird situation really ruined the latter part of it with regard to crowd reaction.
Sea of Honor tournament semifinals —
Flip Gordon defeated Dalton Castle
It was dark at this point. The night shots looked much better on TV than the matches that took place in the day. Matt Taven and Mandy Leon joined Cabana for this part of the show.
This was a short match and was mostly comedy. Castle wrestled as himself this time. He claimed he had a really bad sunburn and they used this as the story thread throughout the match. Castle sold his sunburn hard, and when Gordon would chop him the crowd booed. Castle poured water onto his chest to cool off.
They brawled more in the ring. Gordon back-raked Castle to more boos. A tope suicida to the outside came next, then a springboard splash for two. Castle used some of his Ashley Remington moves and got a few chants for them.
Gordon won out of nowhere with a small package. It was strange and the crowd booed the finish. This was the third surprise cradle finish of the night.
Taven wasn’t bad as the color guy here and added a nice heel flavor to this.
Jay Briscoe defeated Mark Briscoe
The brother vs. brother match that virtually anyone could see coming, though it didn’t matter because it didn’t deter the crowd nor bum them out — there was a “holy sh*t” chant before the bell.
The brothers shook hands, but Mark ran out at Jay with a dropkick after the bell. He landed an early Froggy Bow for two. The crowd was very into this.
Jay brought a chair into the ring and hit brother Mark with it. Jay played crazy-eyed heel here. Jay bullied Mark to the outside of the ring and threw a can of beer at his head.
Jay pounded on Mark more back in the ring. He then set a chair in between the top two turnbuckles and tried to Irish whip Mark into the chair. Mark reversed it and threw Jay head-first into it, which was insane. The crowd went wild. Mark then sat Jay down onto the chair and landed a flying crossbody press onto him, breaking the chair.
Later, Jay threw a chair at Mark as he was on the top rope, then landed another Jay Driller for the win. Both hugged, which got a big reaction from the crowd.
This was the best match of the event so far, both in terms of in-ring action and crowd response.
Sea of Honor tournament finals —
Flip Gordon defeated Jay Briscoe
Lethal was back on commentary for this match. It looked like it took place in the afternoon a day or two after the previous match.
Briscoe jumped Gordon before the bell. Gordon missed a 450 splash, then Briscoe started choking him with a shirt. The pace slowed to a heel-led brawl. Briscoe punched and stomped until Gordon came back with some flying offense, including a springboard missile dropkick.
Briscoe eventually slowed things down a bit with more methodical heel brawler offense. At this point in the match, something was either bleeped or the feed cut out for a second.
Gordon landed a crossbody press, and later a springboard spear for two. He hulked up after dropkicking Briscoe’s back, but Briscoe reversed Gordon’s suplex after this.
Briscoe hit a massive lariat and Jay Driller on Gordon for a 2.5 count. The crowd chanted “that was three” and people started losing it. Gordon quickly reversed the momentum, landing a jump-up enzuigiri and a Flip 50 (a TKO) to win the tournament.
This was shorter than I imagined it would be. It was good, but not as good as Briscoe vs. Briscoe. Jay didn’t shake Gordon’s hand after the match.
Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes & Marty Scurll) defeated Alpha Club (Chris Jericho & The Young Bucks)
Scott D’Amore and Don Callis called this match with Cabana. Callis wore an admiral’s outfit. He looked like the lead singer of the Village People.
The crowd chanted a lot before things got started. Bullet Club all took their shirts off at the same time and did poses for some happy people in the crowd.
Nick Jackson and Cody had a few quick exchanges, then Cody flipped the crowd off. There were loud “Y2J” chants when Jericho first entered the ring.
The Alpha Club group made so much more sense than one may have thought initially. As a trio they gelled naturally, all working the same tempo.
As soon as Omega entered the ring, he pointed at Jericho and the crowd really united on their “holy sh*t” chant for this one. They circled each other until Cody tagged himself into the match, all to a chorus of crowd boos.
Jericho lit Cody up with chops, but he countered with a missile dropkick from the second ropes. Callis and D’Amore put over Jericho’s credentials hard — and it did lend more credibility to the match. The Sea of Honor tournament was relaxed in comparison.
Nick Jackson made his way back into the ring, but Scurll and Cody worked him over in the Elite corner for a few minutes, slowly.
Whenever Omega was in the ring, he got noticeably louder chants than most people on this card. He and Scurll worked over Nick some more, and Scurll did the Jericho “Come on, baby!” pin-flex thing in Alpha Club’s direction for two.
Nick was playing Ricky Morton for the middle part of this match. He was dominated and abused by Bullet Club until he finally countered their momentum and tagged Jericho for a house of fire sequence. Jericho looked smooth here, not rusty at all.
Scurll teased the chicken wing, but Alpha Club did a double Sharpshooter and Walls of Jericho spot until it was broken via rope break.
Matt Jackson was in for a number of high spots, followed by a running, jumping Codebreaker from Jericho onto Cody. The crowd was loud again. The Bucks used a handful of their double-team flying spots for near falls, including a moonsault/splash combination.
A few exchanges between Omega and The Young Bucks resulted in Omega using a snap dragon suplex on both of them. Jericho interrupted Omega’s flow with a running elbow — and then they faced off and did the Frye-Takayama punching spot.
Omega went for a dive to the floor, but the Bucks blocked him. All three Alpha Club members did a triple superkick spot for two and got a big reaction from the crowd. Jericho helped the Bucks with an assisted Meltzer Driver into a Walls of Jericho. Cody landed a Cross Rhodes.
There was chaos and bedlam in the ring among all members until Jericho put Omega into the Lion Tamer. Nick Jackson used a slingshot facebuster on Omega to prevent him from grabbing the ropes. Scurll snuck an umbrella into the ring behind referee Todd Sinclair’s back and hit him in the back. Omega got a two count from that.
More brawling between the teams. Omega attempted a One Winged Angel — but his back went out. Matt landed another superkick to no avail. Omega finally put Matt down with a One Winged Angel for the win.
This was a fun match with a number of storylines threading through each other. Considering how well Alpha Club/Bucks of Jericho (or is it Y2Jackson?) gelled together, I’d be interested to see them in other trios matches.
The two teams were jaw-jacking at the end, but it was cut off by a cut to Jericho on the ship thanking everyone for watching. It was cut off a few seconds before he finished.
The Sea of Honor tournament was a mildly entertaining but arguably skippable event. This was purely “fan service.” If you’re already a huge fan, you’ll love it, though if you’re not, this might not be the best place to start watching ROH or the Elite guys.
The matches were average to very good, but the stakes were seemingly low. Many of the early round matches felt like house show bouts or exhibitions. There was no filler or fluff between matches, either, and the matches that weren’t so great were usually short, which made the show easy to watch.
There were a handful of streaming issues, but nothing like what happened recently at the NWA 70th Anniversary Show. There were a few confusing blips and errors, but none that took away from the show on my end.
A decent show overall, and most definitely the best wrestling show on a cruise ship of all time—until next year.