Honestly, I’m not sure how to react.
Rightly or wrongly, Ring of Honor (ROH) has a reputation for not crowning the hot act at the right time. A frequent criticism of recent booking has been how slow they’ve been to elevate the man who was challenging for their World title at Final Battle on Dec. 15. The man who entered Hammerstein Ballroom as champ, Cody Rhodes, is one of the hottest acts on the indies and has a match on New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom card in two and a half weeks.
But, as of this moment, that bout with Kota Ibushi will not involve the ROH World championship, because Dalton Castle has shocked the world and pinned Cody clean in New York.
The match featured a lot of what I did expect - a spot where Brandi Rhodes hit a crossbody onto Dalton’s valets, The Boys. Rhodes himself busted open. A referee bump, complete with Castle making Cody tap while Todd Sinclair was out of it.
Suprisingly, The Young Bucks, who retained their six-man titles with Adam Page in the previous match, didn’t get involved. No one showed up as a shocking new member of Bullet Club to aid Rhodes.
In the end, The Party Peacock kicked out of a Disaster Kick and nailed The American Nightmare with his own finisher, Bangarang, to win clean.
Castle’s celebration was everything his supporters could have hoped for... amidst a sea of confetti, he sat cross-legged across the backs of His Boys and held the title up high...
If, like me, you were waiting for the other shoe to drop, there’s still time before Jan. 4 and the Tokyo Dome. ROH tapes television tomorrow, so Castle’s reign could be a short one.
But with Cody set to face Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 12, and with it having been made clear they could still face one another in non-title action should Rhodes lose at Final Battle... maybe they wanted him to go in without the belt so he could lose?
Who cares (sorry, I still can’t believe they did it)!
Dalton Castle is a World champion! Long may he flamboyently reign!