Jay Lethal (c) vs Matt Sydal
ROH World Championship
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
(reviewed 05/30/2016) This is one of those matches were I really like both guys but wonder how well they’ll work together, as they both excel in very different situations, the likes of which I won’t see here probably. They start off with some basic chaining and universal spots, and Lethal’s character really shines here. Sydal’s character ain’t bad either, but it’s much less developed than Lethal’s, and he’s just less charismatic than Lethal in general. This match is quite slow, even more old school than these two usually work, and while it sort of dances the line between methodical and boring, I like it. Sydal’s short little hope spots are great and not fully appreciated by this Philly crowd. His extended shine isn’t quite as good, sadly, but it’s still fun and Lethal bumps and sells for it well. This is 100% a house show main event, for better or for worse, and while I appreciate its finer points and simplicity, this is definitely the kind of match that I imagine most fans would sneer at, and this crowd definitely is far from loving this. There are some bad moments (Sydal’s weird bump off the Lethal Combination, and Lethal’s equally weird/super safe bump off Sydal’s spinning heel kick reversal to Lethal’s top rope nothing), but this match delivers everything you want without being over the top or nonsensical. There’s even a fucking table bump out of nowhere that feels HUGE!, like a table bump should. The finishing stretch is appropriate and satisfying, with just enough room for one last cool reversal at the end. Like, this is a great match. It does exactly what it needs to do and entertains thoroughly in doing so. I’m sure a lot of people were disappointed by it, but I feel like they’re not looking past the surface level of “there weren’t enough cool moves for my taste”.