Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

Ring of Honor always knows how to put on a great in-ring product that pleases the most hardcore of wrestling fans.

The company knocked it out of the park last Saturday night. The stars from ROH invaded New York City’s famous Hammerstein Ballroom, and put on a spectacular show despite a flight cancellation which kept Scorpio Sky, Frankie Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels off of the card. The Kingdom stepped up and took their place, resulting in a phenomenal match with the hottest act in the company, Bullet Club.

The show opened up with soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray. He addressed all of the fans in attendance. In an exciting highlight, he shouted, “We’re not talking sports entertainment. We are talking professional wrestling.” The fans chanted “ROH” in response to his passionate rally cry that set the tone for the rest of the evening.

The first match of the night saw The Briscoes pick up an impressive victory over The Dawgs and Coast 2 Coast. There were a lot of “Man Up” chants throughout the contest. Despite their popularity with the tough New York crowd, the brothers told the fans that they “can go to hell.” They called out the reigning tag team champions, the Motor City Machine Guns, in a match that will take place later this week at ROH’s 16th Anniversary Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Up next, Tenille Dashwood, better known to fans as the former Emma of WWE, teamed with Deonna Purrazzo to take on Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose. There were handshakes before the match got started. Tenille got a great reaction from the crowd. Most of the people in attendance pulled out their phones to capture her entrance. You can tell she will be a star in the Women of Honor division. Once Tenille was tagged in, the fans were heavily invested in the contest. She showed an aggressive streak when she was in the ring. There was a great double team from Sakai and Rose on Purrazzo. Sakai tried hitting a moonsault at one point, but missed. Tenille picked up the victory, and all of the women shared hugs after a competitive contest. It was a nice, lighthearted moment.

Punishment Martinez took on Soberano Jr. in a bout that proved you can win a crowd back despite a rough start. Soberano did a lot of flying around the ring. Martinez would hit a deadly chokeslam to get a good crowd reaction. The crowd wanted more, and Martinez was more than happy to give that to them after the bell rang. Welcome to Ring of Honor, Soberano Jr.

In a Q&A segment with the fans, “The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham talked to the host, Ian Riccaboni. Before the show, Still Real To Us got the chance to speak with Gresham in an exclusive interview. Gresham believes that the lineage of the company is why fans love the product.

“They know Ring of Honor is the place that creates stars,” says Gresham. “The fans can always expect the best wrestling on the planet.”

It is a surreal experience for Gresham, as he currently grapples with some of the names he grew up watching. He listed off some of his favorite competitors in ROH.

“Alex Shelly, Chris Sabin, and Colt Cabana, just to name a few,” Gresham told Still Real To Us. “Jay Lethal, of course.”

Speaking of Lethal, Gresham wanted fans to know that he is ready to step back inside of the ring with one of his fiercest rivals.

“I want to have my rematch with Jay Lethal. I want to prove to the world that I am the best technical wrestler in the world by beating Jay Lethal. I believe after that, I’ll be gunning for the Ring of Honor world championship,” he grinned.

Before the intermission, Cody took on Flip Gordon. The stipulation was that if Flip won, he would be booked for “All In.” Cody carries himself like a star. There is no denying why the fans are drawn to him. He presents himself as a big deal, so the crowd treats him like one. Brandi and Bury the Bear accompanied Cody to the ring. Gordon also got a good response from the Manhattan Crowd. Cody was not happy that the crowd was chanting for his rival, Kenny Omega. He responded by taking a fan’s beer and throwing it away. Well, that’s one way to show the world that you’re upset. Flip blew a kiss to Brandi, and that got Cody wild. A “Too Sweet” chant started, followed by “All In.” At one point, Cody pushed Flip to the outside, and there was a big tumble. Another highlight saw Flip hit Cody with a superkick in the corner. There was a hot sequence, and Cody kicked out of a near pinfall attempt from Flip. Flip hit an insane splash, but Cody managed to kick out yet again. Cody kicked his wife by accident, and the crowd was in disbelief. Cody finally picked up the win, but Flip made him work for it.

During the intermission, Prince Nana hosted a Q&A segment with Kelly Klein. It established Klein as a major contender for the newly introduced ROH Women’s Championship.

Back to the action, Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, and Brian Milonas defeated Kenny King, Cheeseburger, and Chuck Taylor. Cheeseburger was splashed into a loss by the gigantic Beer City Bruiser, despite having the crowd behind him.

Photo: Kevin Jackson Jr.

In a more pleasant moment, Taylor spoke to Still Real To Us before the match, and he broke down his current character, and tag team psychology for all of our loyal readers.

“The fan support means everything to me,” says Taylor. “If the fans don’t get behind you, one way or the other, there’s no reason for you to get booked. The fact is that Best Friends only had a handful of matches in Ring of Honor, but the fans have gotten behind us. It means the world, because it means we get to come back.”

Taylor has been a professional wrestler for 17 years. When he first started, he told Still Real To Us he tried to act “the way pro wrestlers are supposed to act.” He explained he took a page out of the “fake it ’till you make it” playbook.

“I was pretending to be a wrestler,” Taylor admits. “At a certain point, I just wanted to make my friends laugh. I knew if I did something stupid in the ring, and we watched it back — if it made them laugh, then that’s all that really mattered. It’s mostly me trying to entertain my dumb friends from Kentucky.”

Taylor learned to develop funny facial expressions to get a reaction from the crowd. When it comes to tag team matches, the wrestler takes a certain approach to his work. It’s what the 31-year-old wrestler needs to do, when he laces up the boots to take on the Young Bucks, Motor City Machine Guns, and Briscoes.

“In a tag match, you know you can tag out, so you can go a little faster, and a little bit harder. You don’t have to conserve yourself as much, which I like, because I get tired, real easy,” Taylor laughs. “I know if I have a tag partner in there, I can run around for a bit because I can always take a break and rest.”

In a more serious moment, fans were treated to a great wrestling contest featuring ROH World Champion Dalton Castle and Volador Jr. taking on Jay Lethal and Ultimo Guerrero. The world champion got a great response from the crowd. Castle is a rockstar for Ring of Honor. The champion got to showcase a variety of moves, including an impressive pinfall bridge attempt. A loud chop exchange followed between Castle and Lethal. The two men were leaving it all out there in the ring. Castle and Volador Jr. picked up the victory after Volador hit a rana on Guerrero off of the top rope. It was truly a crazy sight to witness in a live atmosphere.

Finally, in an epic main event, Bullet Club’s Young Bucks, Adam Page, and Marty Scurll defeated The Kingdom and Shane Taylor in an Ultimate Mayhem Match. This match surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations. For being booked at the last possible minute because of the flight cancellations, all of the men involved in the match delivered, and played their part perfectly. The fans were glued to Bullet Club’s absolute insanity. Marty Scurll got a massive reaction. He is going to be one of the biggest names in the industry over the next few years. In a moment that will live on forever, Page took a huge risk, and dived off of the balcony. Eat your heart out, ECW. The crowd went bonkers for that visual. Hangman proved he was the real deal after that spot. The Kingdom’s Matt Taven shouldn’t be overlooked. He delivered great character work, as usual. The ending sequence saw Scurll breaking the fingers of O’Ryan, before locking in the chicken wing. The Bucks did their trademark superkick party and easily tossed him to the floor, and through the table. Nick Jackson would hit the 450 splash on Taylor before Page hit the buckshot lariat, and last rites on O’Ryan, picking up the victory.

Bullet Club celebrated as the show came to an eventful close. New York City is already counting down the days for ROH to come back. Before that, make sure to check out ROH’s gigantic 16th Anniversary Show, live on pay-per-view this Friday night.

You can follow Ring of Honor on Facebook and Twitter. Pictures were provided by Kevin Jackson Jr. More of Kevin’s work can be found by clicking HERE. To read more exclusive Still Real To Us interviews featuring your favorite Superstars, click HERE.