Ring of Honor Wrestling
HONOR REIGNS SUPREME
January 13th, 2019
We open with Ian Riccobani, Colt Cabana and Caprice Coleman on commentary as they run down the card. A couple observations off the bat: 1) the arena is pretty sad in terms of how filled it is, which is unfortunate, and 2) there’s a 6-man tag scheduled with Villain Enterprises… which hasnt made their TV debut yet… see thoughts at the end.
As they are running down the card, we’ve got some folks in the ring telling the commentary team to shut their mouths. They are Josie Quinn (sp?), Corey Hollis (oh!) and John Skyler (oh yeah!), a new 3-man group in ROH. Skyler does a pretty generic promo ultimately challenging any trio from the back. And they are answered by CHEESEBURGER and his partners, Ryan Nova and Eli Isom, officially known as Shinobi Shadow Squad. This is a SUPER exciting development for the 6-man division. Good call team.
SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD vs JOHN SKYLER, JOSEY QUINN & COREY HOLLIS
We get the heels jumping the faces before the bell as the action breaks down early. Then we get the bell as Hollis and Isom duke it out in the ring while the rest brawl at ringside. Hollis is sent over the top onto his partners, Isom and Ryan Nova slide in and set Isom up for a SEAMLESS tope con hilo. Double team on Hollis back in the ring by Burger and Nova, springboard frog splash by Isom and a cover, but only gets 2.
Nova tags in and takes over on Hollis, but Hollis breaks free and gets the tag to Skyler, who changes momentum with a hair pull and a triple team behind the ref’s back. Tag to Quinn, slam to Nova and a boot, a knee drop and a cover for 2. Tag to Skyler who stays on Nova, quick tag to Hollis and a nice double team suplex dropped into a double knee gutbuster, cover but only 2 on Nova. Hollis keeps it grounded with a headlock, crowd gets into it as Nova fights back, quick rollup by Nova for 2 but Hollis blocks the tag and cuts Nova down with a big lariat.
Tag to Skyler who tags Quinn to go for a triple team, but Nova uses speed to tag in Burger! Burger fires up quick and lands chops on Quinn and Skyler. Burger with a nice cartwheel, double dropkick and kip up, tag to Isom who hits Quinn with a springboard dropkick, lands a great strike sequence but eats an elbow from Quinn. Straight jacket German Suplex from Isom though, bridges but only gets 2 as Hollis breaks it up. Hollis dumps Nova but eats SHOTEI! from Burger, who eats a slingshot spear from Skyler.
Isom with a throwing belly to belly, Quinn rolls him up but only gets 2. Double team by Isom and Nova clocks Quinn hard, they hit a nice triple team finish called Sumi (an opponent bridged face down by Isom and Nova, double stomp off the top by Burger dropping the opponent into a spike DDT) and get the 3 count and the nice WIN to start off the show!
Shinobi Shadow Squad defeats John Skyler, Josey Quinn & Corey Hollis by pinfall after Sumi
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a really great “big screen” debut for Shinobi Shadow Squad against a team of at least 2 bonafide indy vets in Hollis and Skyler (I’m not aware of Quinn but am looking), and a nice way to kick off the show with non-stop action, a good sense of urgency and an invested crowd. Burger at the top of the card is always a good thing, and I mean no insult by that and hope he continues to advance. However, this team also feels like a really good place for him, mentoring two fresh faces I have my eye on (ESPECIALLY Eli Isom. Watch that dude.). This feels like a nice investment into the 6-man title picture particularly with the departure of the Elite’s various permutations of challengers. Nice work all around.
BEER CITY BRUISER vs MARK HASKINS
We get a Code of Honor to start, and BCB starts talking which I actually find pretty entertaining much of the time. He asks “who wants to see a fight?”, gets a quick pop. We get the bell, chants of “Fight” from the crowd. BCB uses his size at the start to shrug off Haskins. BCB starts with the finger poking which fires up Haskins with kicks, but BCB catches one and takes Haskins down. Haskins uses his quickness to get shots on BCB in the corner and in the ropes, looks for a Thesz Press but BCB shrugs him off and hits a single leg dropkick.
BCB gnaws at Haskins but does the “I aint got no teeth” line. I sort of love it. Suplex attempt by BCB but Haskins goes behind and hits a pump kick, a second, then a dropkick to the knee, kick to the arm and the bridging Fujiwara armbar! Haskins wrenches at the arm, but BCB picks Haskins up and drops him with the Samoan drop, cover but only 2. BCB stays on Haskins, a sloppy hoist and go behind spot leads to BCB crushing Haskins in the corner.
BCB climbs and looks for the Vader Bomb Elbow, Haskins moves and looks for the Sharpshooter but BCB pushes him off. Haskins with shots to the legs, BCB fires back with jabs but Haskins comes back and hits a KO shot before eating a BCB lariat. Emerald Flowsion by BCB, cover but Haskins is out at 2. BCB tells Haskins to stay down, puts Haskins in the corner and says he doesnt belong here and is able to hit a powerslam out of the corner, covers but Haskins is out at 2.
BCB looks to climb for the Last Call Frog Splash, Haskins moves and gets a kick to BCB’s face, climbs and hits a double stomp off the top, covers and gets the WIN!
Mark Haskins defeats Beer City Bruiser by pinfall after a top rope double stomp
JAY’S RATING: 2.8 out of 5
This was a quick and scrappy little match, and its great to see Haskins in ROH. I had no inkling that BCB was ever going to walk away with the win here, which sapped some of the drama from it, but you gotta hand it to BCB who continues to grow his move set and ring presence, demonstrating himself to be someone who takes his work here seriously. So while not the most exciting match you will ever see, what you end up getting is two guys who know how to be themselves in the ring, and that in and of itself made for an entertaining match, excusing a couple of miscommunication moments. Decent work here.
After the match, BCB grabs a couple of brews and brings them into the ring. They share a Toast of Honor as BCB and Milonas seem to be edging into face territory.
BEST FRIENDS vs FIN-JUICE (Juice Robinson & David Finlay)
We get a Code of Honor to start us off. The announcers talk about Chuckie’s erratic behavior in Japan as of late. Trent and Juice start us off and lock up, with Juice putting Trent in the corner and semi-condescendingly inviting Trent out of it. Lock up again, Trent puts Juice in the corner this time and is equally semi-condescending, as they go for mind-games. Headlock by Trent, Trent gets a hiptoss but is pushed away by Juice, they trade quick counters and get to the stand off.
Both sides tag. Lockup by Chuckie and Finlay, tackle takes down Chuckie, they run the ropes and Finlay takes down Chuckie with a dropkick. Tag to Juice, who comes off the top onto Chuckie’s arm. Quick tag to Finlay, Fin-Juice with a double team facebuster, cover by Finlay but Chuckie out at 2. Chuckie catches Finlay in an out-of-nowhere Sole Food, takes Juice off the apron and tags Trent. Finlay fires at Trent but Trent takes Finlay to the outside with an over the top rope clothesline.
Best Friends go for the double team on Finlay, draping him over the barricade and nailing a Trent double stomp, before doing the Best Friends hug. A bit of face/heel limbo emerging lately. Trent with a knee drop back in the ring on Finlay, covers but only gets 2. Tag to Chuckie, who hits a nice snap suplex and covers slowly for 2. Best Friends have cut off Finlay and have slowed things down, Trent tags back in and they land the hugging double team elbow drop. Trent with a very heelish cocky cover for 1.
Trent floors Finlay with an elbow, then steps on his face. Trent tries to suplex Finlay in from the apron, Finlay reverses and looks for a DDT but Trent catches him mid-jump, and lands a great snap bridging northern lights for 2. Aggressive shots from Trent to Finlay in the corner, and the Best Friends are now wrestling pretty full heel. Finlay reverses a suplex and lands a back suplex of his own, and reaches to Juice for the tag before being cut off by Chuckie.
Finlay gets a quick sneaky tag in to Juice, they looks to double team but Trent tags in as well and spears Finlay, gets spinebustered by Juice who eats a superkick from Chuckie and everyone is down. Juice and Trent trade chops until Juice gets the jabs and a falling DDT. Clothesline on Trent in the corner but Trent dodges and looks for the tornado DDT, but Juice pushes Trent off and hits a John Woo dropkick sending Trent into the corner, and follows up with the cannonball!
Juice is fired up and looks for Juice Box, but Trent reverses and lands the corner walk tornado DDT. Trent looks for the Sexy Chuckie Knee, Juice reverses and looks for a German but Trent gets behind and hits a half nelson suplex, Trent follows up with the knee to the back of the head and covers but only gets 2 on Juice. Chops in the corner by Trent, Juice sends Trent into the corner to reverse and hits the Harlem-style sidekick to take down trent.
Juice climbs, Trent moves and looks for Dudebuster, Juice fights out of it and looks for a powerbomb, Trent out and it and throws an enziguri but Juice ducks and sets up Pulp Friction, but Trent throws Juice off. Trent with a Gedo Clutch but only gets 2! Trent looks for the knee again but Juice counters it into a Juice Box and both competitors are down. Tags on both sides and Chuckie and Finlay trade shots. Finlay hits a huge running Euro but Chuckie catches him in the short piledriver! Cover, but Juice breaks it at 2 before being taken out at ringside by Trent.
Chuckie looks for a moonsault but Finlay moves and hits a rollup for 2. Superkick by Chuckie, puts Finlay in the corner and looks for Awful Waffle, but Finlay hits Trash Panda (a version of Adam Cole’s old Last Shot brainbuster on the knee) on Chuckie and covers for the WIN and a nice victory over the Best Friends!
Fin-Juice defeats Best Friends by pinfall after Trash Panda
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
I found this to be an immensely fun tag match, though I was definitely surprised by the result. However, the post match brought it together, as ultimately this was a match about both introducing Juice to ROH more fully as I’ve heard he’s set to appear more this year, nudging the Best Friends further toward full blown heels (which a loss here helps story-wise), and further building the tension around Juice’s US title defense against Trent soon. Add those compelling story points, well executed, to a nicely competitive outing by 4 passionate performers – including some nice aggressive energy from the BFs – and you have the recipe to a nicely anchored match that left everyone looking great and looking forward. Well done here.
After the match, Fin-Juice extend hands, but Trent takes Juice’s IWGP US Title belt instead, and shoves it into Juice and then shakes the hand, but not without some tension. Then the Best Friends leave Finlay hanging. Yeah, we’re seeing Best Friends evolving to their next form. Lets see where this goes.
STAGE SEGMENT: VetTix.org
We get Colt and Ian on the mics on the stage, and Colt acknowledges Ian’s birthday. Ian puts over VetTix.org, providing tickets to American armed forces veterans. Ian recognizes our vets and Colt puts over the organization again.
We go back to commentary but Kenny King comes by, and replaces Kenny King who says he’s looking for a platform to talk. And with that we go to…
“HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS vs FLIP GORDON
Kenny King runs down Flip Gordon for having a title shot, calling it a joke. We get the Code of Honor at the top. Flip and Tracy lock up, they trade counters and Tracy gets a quick crucifix cover for 2. They lock up and Tracy gets leg control as Colt announces himself for Tag Wars alongside Flip Gordon. Tracy gets a nice quick rollup on Flip and looks to ground him with an armbar, but Flip catches him with a headlock. Flip gets put on the apron and Tracy clocks him, looks for a suplex but Flip takes him down with a springboard dropkick, then lines up Tracy in the corner and hits a running dropkick.
And at this point, Flip goes down awkwardly, in a way that doesnt look like selling. Flip fights through it and hoists Tracy, Tracy fights out but Flip hits the springboard spear on Tracy, before collapsing again. Flip covers, but only gets 2. This starts feeling a lot like Tegan Nox all over again. Flip rolls outside, Todd Sinclair follows him out. This looks bad and Todd calls off the match and Tracy gets the WIN by forfeit.
Tracy Williams defeats Flip Gordon by forfeit after Flip injures his leg
JAY’S RATING: NR
This is super unfortunate. Plain and simple. Sending good vibes to Flip, respect to Tracy Williams.
Colt goes to help Flip as Ian gives what feels like a cue line that he needed to give based on the outcome of the match, in order to have Kenny King blow up in his face. Standing ovation for Flip as Kenny puts himself over. Kenny then drops the heel-ness to wish Flip well and hoping he’s not seriously injured, before snapping back in order to run down Ian and wish him a terrible birthday. This was a decent recovery by Ian and Kenny in response to a sad situation. Staying tuned in to more developments there.
Proving Ground Match
HURRICANE HELMS, DELIRIOUS & LUCHASAURUS vs THE KINGDOM
First off, what is this Helms team? But, ok, I guess. You can almost hear it in the way Ian describes them as an “assortment of oddities”. Excited to see more from the “Half-Dinosaur, Half Luchador” Luchasaurus though. Delirious is taped up due to a gig he worked in the Congo. Hurricane is out with the Hurri-Championship. Kingdom out next with Taven wearing his REAL ROH World Championship.
Ian is straight up laughing about “Team Green” here. We get the bell and Delirious does his usual thing. He slides back in the ring as Taven wipes his butt with some of Delirious’ stuff. Taven talks shit, and Delirious is still wearing his jacket and walks around and tags in Helms and then sits outside the ring. Um…. Is this still interesting? Taven tags in TK, who lays in shots to Helms. Helms turns it around and catches TK off guard with a Hurri-pose. Helms with shots of his own, then hits a nice Colby Shot to put TK down.
Tag to Vinny, who says he wants the dinosaur. Helms warms the crowd and tags in Saurus. Vinny right on him with a headlock, Saurus uses his size to get out of it and tackle Vinny. Vinny says stand back and stops both Saurus and Helms… weirdly hypnotic, I guess? Cuz they just… stand there, staring at Vinny… then all of a sudden Vinny just slides out of the ring and Saurus follows. Ummmmmmm kay. Taven looks to surprise Saurus around the corner but Saurus floors him with a boot, gets back inside and evades a TK elbow drop, and lands some great leg strikes!
TK fires back and puts Saurus in the corner, laying in chops. Saurus absorbs them and floors TK with a chop of his own. Vinny in again who tries for headbutts, but Saurus hits a HUGE spinning back heel kick, covers Vinny but only gets 2. Taven tries to intervene, as does TK, but Saurus backdrops both. Double team with Helms on Vinny into a sort of G9. They think about covering but Delirious wants in. Saurus makes the tag and sends Vinny into the corners, gets a rolling elbow and strikes, and does the misdirection ropes before hitting the flying clothesline.
Delirious takes the Kingdom off the apron but then eats a Vinny knee before turning around into TK and Taven hitting a Shatter Machine. Taven keeps Delirious isolated and Vinny gets on him, working over the taped midsection and going for a cover for a short count. Abdominal claw by Vinny, then tags in TK. Double headbuts, double shots and a double flapjack, a legdrop/senton combo and a cover by TK for 2. Tag to Taven, who works over Delirious. Delirious looks to fight back, but eats Just The Tip from Taven.
Taven works the ribs and midsection of Delirious, covers but only gets 2. Tag to Vinny, who looks for a suplex but Delirious drops his weight to counter and lands a suplex of his own. Delirious looks for the tag but TK is tagged in first and Delirious gets cut off. Delirious hits an ugly looking suplex that was almost a DDT, then hits Taven with one too before looking to tag again. Taven tries to tear at the mask and face but Delirious bites him and hits a spike DDT. Vinny tries to interrupt too but gets reversed and Helms gets the tag!
Helms comes in hot and hits a nice crossbody on Vinny. TK back in but Helms hits Eye of the Hurricane on him! Helms calls for the chokeslam on Vinny but Vinny counters, TK goes for the eyes allowing Vinny to land a big reverse DDT, covers but only gets 2. Kingdom looks for House of a Thousand Horses but Saurus superkicks Vinny, then hits the X-Blade knee strike on TK. Taven in but Saurus flips away and throttles him, then Helms grabs Vinny and Delirious grabs TK, and we get a TRIPLE CHOKESLAM! Helms covers Vinny for 2 as Saurus gets an apron moonsault on Taven outside.
Delirious tags himself in and goes for Vinny, TK back in but Delirious with strikes on both, but TK lands a big shot to the face, Vinny hoists him and they hit one of my favorite new tag finishers period, House of a Thousand Horses, for a 3 count and the WIN.
The Kingdom defeats Hurricane Helms, Luchasaurus & Delirious by pinfall after House of a Thousand Horses
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was another fun outing of a match by a bunch of entertaining performers who just went out and did their damn things. Luchasaurus is super intriguing to me because he’s trying something (and, for me, pulling it off) that I really believe in regarding our current era: the gimmick-based and big-character stuff Eli Drake laments losing, isnt actually lost. You cant say that it is with Luchasaurus gaining steam. Rather, its just that current audiences want the in-ring action and storytelling to have equal weight and priority, and when it comes to championships in particular, they in particular want good combat work, driven with urgency and competitiveness. Call it a response to the MMA upswing, but regardless, this is a storytelling form based in simulated combat, so the request also feels, well, reasonable? This is what boggles me about some of the complaints ABOUT audience responses and criticisms… you are performing for an audience, and they are telling you what they want and in so doing (and as they always do) how tastes are changing. And what they are saying is, give us a Luchasaurus, just give us one who is a master striker and can fly with the best of them while really working the match with urgency. Thats what we got here – Luchasaurus delivered another performance that shows immense in-ring promise, with strong performances around although with Delirious the one element that definitely felt like a 6th wheel (I mean, you KNEW who was gonna take the fall here if Kingdom went over). Kingdom continues to look great.
PJ BLACK vs BANDIDO
Well thats a different look for Black… VERY much looking forward to learning more about Bandido here. We get a Code of Honor and the bell. The action starts fast with go behinds and counters and a quick standoff. Headlock by Bandido, a tackle moves no one. Bandido with another tackle, PJ returns one and takes down Bandido but Bandido kips up. Cartwheels by both and lots of quick evasions and counter moves. Headstand by Bandido into a kip up for a nice pop.
PJ sweeps the legs and looks to faceplant Bandido but Bandido counters and surprises PJ with a superkick, PJ outside and hits a pescado and a suicide dive, and follows that with a Fosbury Flop. Chants for Bandido. Back in the ring and PJ lands a thrust kick and puts Bandido down hard with double boots, then hits a mushroom stomp off the top, covers but only gets 2. Suplex from PJ rolls through for a nice butterfly armbar submission, but Bandido gets the rope for the break.
PJ hits a back suplex, rolls it through and gets a ZSJ-esque Fujiwara armbar, then stomps the back. An interesting style evolution for PJ. Headscissors by PJ sends Bandido out, and PJ follows with a suicide dive, then a wrecking ball dropkick, then skins the cat and hits a corkscrew plancha, answering Bandido’s 3 dives. PJ tosses Bandido back in and looks for a springboard crossbody, but Bandido catches him impressively! PJ gets out of it and gets caught in a running tilt a whirl rana by Bandido.
Bandido stuns PJ from the corner and hits a great springboard corkscrow crossbody off the corner. Strike combo by Bandido with a great knee to the jaw, then hits a fascinating kneeling tilt a whirl move that I dont think quite landed and has the potential to be cool, covers but only gets 2. Bandido looks for a tilt a whirl tornado DDT, but PJ holds onto him and hoists him back up for a twisting brainbuster, covers but only 2.
Bandido goes to the apron and they trade shots, PJ gets the advantage and looks for a superplex to the outside, but Bandido fights it off. They go for dual springboards but PJ gets the better of it into a throw/rana/thing, finally covers but only gets 2! “This is Awesome” chants. PJ rolls Bandido over into a pendulum with the head bumps on the bottom turnbuckle, and puts boots to the back. PJ mocks the fans and chops Bandido, Bandido looks for the crucifix and finally gets him over with the crucifix bomb for 2. Bandido hits the West Knee, covers but only gets 2!
Strikes from Bandido, rolls up PJ but PJ holds on again and hits… what looks like Stormbreaker? Really? Covers, but only gets 2. PJ looks for a German Suplex, Bandido flips out of it and goes for… something… that almost ends up as a piledriver and somehow turns into a headscissors armbar. PJ gets the ropes to break. This could be a great match, but there are some SERIOUS communication issues. But nonetheless, “This Is Awesome” chants.
Bandido sits PJ up top, PJ fights him off, but Bandido crotches PJ and looks for the quick climb and falls to the outside. Jesus… Bandido looks to recover the spot, Bandido fully hoists PJ and hits the moonsault slam off the top, covers PJ and gets the 3 count and the WIN.
Bandido defeats PJ Black by pinfall after the top rope moonsault slam
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
I wanted to give this a higher rating. Much of the action was deserving of a higher rating. But there were so many ugly and potentially dangerous missed spots. It was hard to tell if the botching was particular on one or the other, but regardless, they just were not connected and it really messed with the momentum. This was a dream crowd in a way, as they remained fully invested and supportive of the performers and that was amazing to see – my home crowd of Chicago could potentially have been a bit harsher. But I need to call it like I saw it, and what I saw was messy and disconnected at times, which pulled down what was otherwise a HUGELY exciting contest.
After the match, PJ and Bandido hug and PJ leaves the ring to Bandido.
Proving Ground 4-Corners For An Immediate ROH Television Title Shot
RHETT TITUS vs JONATHAN GRESHAM vs SHANE TAYLOR vs JEFF COBB (c)
This match could be super entertaining, as all of the performers can deliver on any given day. Taylor grabs a mic and says that he feels disrespected by having to be in a Proving Ground match as he has nothing to prove. He runs down everyone, and tells Cobb he’s Taylor’s next bitch and walks out of the match. Cobb laughs, and it looks like we have a 3-way instead. The other 3 shake on it, and we get the bell.
They start trading moves, Cobb gets dumped outside and Gresham rolls up Titus for a short nearfall, then hits a rana and strong strikes on Titus, who rolls out as Cobb comes back in. Cobb just tosses Gresham into the corner, Gresham looks for the crossbody to counter but just BOUNCES off of Cobb. THAT WAS GREAT. Titus back in with shots to Cobb but Cobb just absorbs all of it, catches Titus attempting a springboard dive but Titus gets out of it and pushes Cobb off, Gresham with the same thing and also gets caught and gets out of it as Titus stuns Cobb with a dropkick.
Titus and Gresham pick up the pace with each other, with Titus glancing Gresham in the face with a dropkick. Cobb comes up behind him, eats forearms from Titus but asks for more before laying hit HARD strikes of his own. Titus looks for a monkey flip in the corner but Cobb sits Titus in the corner and stuns him with a shot. Cobb climbs, Titus knocks him off but Cobb answers with a high jump dropkick, then climbs again and lands an incredible, one-handed stalling superplex. COBB IS THE FUTURE. Cover by Cobb, but Gresham breaks it up.
Cobb and Gresham face off. THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN ASKING FOR! Gresham with shots to Cobb but Cobb shows nothing until Gresham goes for the knee. Gresham looks to whip but Cobb holds the rope and pushes Gresham off, runs and Gresham looks for the toe hold but Cobb doesnt go down. Gresham tweaks Cobb’s knee, though. Titus back in with corner shots to Cobb and Gresham, and then a great new chicken wing helicopter bomb, covers but Cobb breaks it up with a deadlift German suplex!
Standing moonsault from Cobb on Gresham, great pop from the crowd for that spot. Cobb hoists Gresham but Gresham dumps him, gets a standing springboard moonsault on Titus, a suicide dive on Cobb and then Gresham climbs and looks for the shooting star press, but Titus gets the knees up and catches him in the jaw. Titus with a buckle bomb on Gresham, a tope con hilo on Cobb outside and underhook front face DDT on Gresham into a cover but Cobb breaks it up at 2!
Euro and chops from Cobb on Titus, but Titus answers back with the monkey flip. Titus with boots in the corner on Cobb, poses down but then Cobb catches the next one, Titus rolls it through into a rollup for 2, but Cobb powers that over into a SICK looking Ganzo Piledriver, then sends Titus to the ropes and catches him coming back with Tour of the Islands, cover by Cobb and thats 3 and the WIN.
Jeff Cobb defeats Rhett Titus & Jonathan Gresham by pinfall after Tour of the Islands
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a good showcase match, with Cobb continuing his momentum into the early part of the new year. Everyone had a chance to shine, and I anticipate future showdowns among those involved, Rhett Titus included has he really showed that he can still GO, continuing to experiment with his move set and ring presence. This was the most fun I’ve had watching Titus in a while, and if he’s finding something fresh, I’d be interested in seeing more.
After the match, Silas Young comes down to the ring, but Shane Taylor jumps Cobb from behind and grabs the belt. He raises it high and stands over Cobb.
Concord Street Fight
Women of Honor World Championship
JENNY ROSE vs KELLY KLEIN (c)
Klein out with her “fight team,” Camp Klein. I can get down with that idea for a character like Klein. We get the bell, and Klein’s team provides an early distraction so Klein can jump her from behind. I guess in spite of how she took the title, she’s keeping on the heel end of things. Klein takes control early, then goes under the ring and starts throwing chairs into the ring. Klein looks for the chair shot, but Rose hits a spear and follows with a dropkick that sends Klein outside.
Rose sends Klein into the post, but Klein fights back and sends Rose into the apron, then pulls out one of Vinny’s balloons before eating another spear from Rose at ringside. Rose sends Klein hard into the barricade, and again, and a third time a little less hard. Rose slaps Klein on the head, grabs a chair and sits Klein in it, this its a running shot on Klein that dumps her over. Rose throws Klein back in the ring, goes underneath and gets a bungee tie, climbs the corner but a team member distracts again and Klein tosses Rose down and chokes Rose with the cord.
Klein turns the choke into a cravate, lays in knee strikes and a kick, covers but only gets 2. Klein takes the ring announcer’s tie and goes back to choking Rose again. Camp Klein pulls out a table and sets it up as Klein keeps on Rose. Klein looks to suplex Rose through the table but Rose reverses into a snap suplex of her own. Both back inside trade shots on their knees. Rose gets the advantage and hits a clothesline and back elbow, ducks a clothesline and hits a nice German suplex.
Rose kicks Klein outside again and slams her face into the table, then lays Klein on top of it. Rose climbs the apron and hits a splash on Klein, but THE TABLE DOESNT BREAK! “One more time” chants from the crowd, but Klein slides off and is… first to her feet? The commentators note how its weird as Klein and Rose are back on the apron. Rose mounts Klein’s back for a sleeper, but Klein backpacks her and jumps backfirst through the table, crushing Rose! “Women’s wrestling” chants.
Rose is now… back to her feet first? They are back in the ring, and Rose starts stacking the chairs up. Rose grabs one and drives it into Klein’s midsection, then weirdly slams it into the ground for no reason, which allows Klein to come back and try a choke in the corner. Rose fights Klein off and hits a nice superplex off the top onto the pile of chairs! Rose gets the arm over Klein, but Klein kicks out at 2.
Rose rolls to the outside and unhooks the ring bell as Ian screams at Jenny to stop pandering to the crowd and hit Klein with something. She brings the bell in but a Camp Klein member is up again, Klein tries to take advantage but Rose snatches a rollup for 1, Klein comes back and hits K-Power on the pile of chairs, covers and get the 3 count and the WIN to retain her title.
Kelly Klein defeats Jenny Rose by pinfall after K-Power on the chairs
JAY’S RATING: 2.25 out of 5
These are two extremely promising members of the ROH Women’s division. They have the in-ring tools, and I feel like they both give a HUGE damn about this craft and career. And I give them credit for delivering a genuine street fight, where that stipulation mattered but also didnt feel beaten to death. Especially toward the end, the in-ring action really started to get a nice urgency behind it that it was lacking in the earlier part of the match. However, my bigger gripe is that I feel like Klein and Rose were hurt by layout and a few key choices that didnt add up in the context of a street fight, and only build upon my established issues with the nurturing of the mic work in the division. Ultimately this is about storytelling – so both Klein popping up fast (essentially no-selling) after getting crushed on the table, and Rose popping up fast after being put THROUGH the table, its just not good storytelling if we as an audience are meant to buy into the realities of a street fight. And then I can get behind Camp Klein, but it was the same moment 3 times, plus a table spot. That’s just not creative or interesting, its redundent and dull. I just sometimes feel like there is still a MAJOR issue at ROH of how much time and attention is being given to really BUILDING the women’s division, not from a talent perspective – the division is full of talent – but just from the producing side, from the dramaturgy, storytelling and character side. Its a division that deserves better. Nonetheless, kudos to both for pulling out some really great moments and finding some fire at the end.
SILAS YOUNG & THE BRISCOES
VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll, PCO & Brody King)
Scurll comes out alone to begin with, and we get separate entrances for Brody King and PCO. PCO’s entrance is too literal with the Frankenstein thing. There’s a more 2019 way to approach this where PCO wouldnt have to change a thing about his own performance. I just dont buy the music and video package. But the crowd doesnt care and I really dont either, I’m a huge fan of his current resurgence.
Scurll pumps up the crowd, we get the bell and Brody and Jay start us off. They lock up and push each other off, and a second time. Lock up again and Jay goes behind, they evade each other and land some quick strikes, and they start trading. Brody gets a LOUD chop on Jay, and Mark tags himself in. Chants for PCO, who gets the tag. They go forehead to forehead and PCO asks for chops, and they have no effect because HE’S NOT HUMAN! Mark absorbs some from PCO, and PCO gets the advantage in the corner.
PCO sends Mark to the corner and crushes him, but Mark fires back and they go back to trading chops. Mark absorbs them impressively himself, but PCO again gets the upper hand. Mark then gets thge advantage for a moment, before they go back to trading again. More chops from PCO in the corner on Mark, then the machine gun chops and another crushing blow, and Mark goes down. PCO with a knee facebreaker on Mark, and tags in Marty.
Marty with quick shots on Mark, but Mark was able to get out and get the tag to Silas who talks shit. Marty fires back but Silas returns with chops. Marty evades a shot in the corner and gets wrist control to work over the arm. Stomp to the elbow from Marty, and lots of chants for Marty. Jay gets Marty with a shot from the apron but Marty sends Silas into Jay, Mark comes in as do Brody and PCO and everything breaks down and everyone goes to ringside and breaks into an all out brawl. Brody lifts Silas up for a suplex, Marty gets on the apron and they hit a combo superkick gourdbuster on the floor.
Brody and Marty set up Silas for a PCO cannonball onto Silas on the apron but the Briscoes break it up, and Mark hits a SICK iconoclasm on PCO onto the apron! And he’s still ok because HE’S NOT HUMAN! Marty is sent back into the ring and Silas beats him down in the corner. Tag to Mark, who chops Marty and hits a nice brainbuster. Tag to Jay who lands an elbow drop and a corner avalanche, tags Silas who hits an over the top rope double stomp before distracting the ref as the Briscoes choke out Marty.
Silas with a suplex, covers but Marty out at 1. Tag to Mark, more shots, quick tag to Jay and they take Marty over with a double team tackle. Tag to Silas, who keeps things slow with a headlock. Marty fights back but Silas catches him in the backbreaker, looks for the lariat combo but Marty gets a rollup for 2 and looks for the tag but Silas gets the rolling Samoan, goes for the Plunge but Marty moves and Silas wipes out! Marty crawls, Mark gets the tag from Silas and Marty tags in King, who runs over everybody and chops Mark hard in the corner.
Jay tries to come up behind but King hits an INSANE springboard double arm drag and tope con hilo to ringside on everyone. Then PCO gets lined up with Brody, who backdrops PCO into a cannonball onto everybody! Marty with a half nelson suplex on Mark who he sends into a Black Hole Slam from Brody, cover on Mark but only 2. Tag to Marty, but Mark catches him with a diving bulldog and tags in Jay. Jay looks for Rude Awakening but eats a kneeling superkick from Marty, comes back with a forearm but Marty hits the rolling elbow, boot from Jay who then trades with Brody before eating a lariat.
Mark back in and takes Brody down with a running single leg dropkick, and PCO and Mark stand off again. PCO absorbs shots from Mark and then runs him down, takes Mark to the apron and looks for something bad before Silas breaks it up. Silas to the apron and sets up PCO, and hits a SICK DESTROYER ONTO PCO ON THE APRON! HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED? HOW IS PCO STILL ALIVE?! Oh right, its because HE’S NOT HUMAN! “That was awesome” chants.
Mark sets up a table at ringside, and Silas sends Marty into the barricade. Mark climbs the corner, Marty gets set on the table but Brody cuts it off, climbs and tosses Mark off the top through the table! Jay and Marty back in the ring, Jay looks for Jay Driller but Marty reverses into a powerbomb, then turns Jay over into a Boston Crab allowing PCO to get a middle rope guillotine legdrop to the back of Jay’s head, followed by a suicide dive on Silas at ringside!
Marty slingshots Jay up into a forearm from Brody, Jay drops across Marty’s knees and Brody hits a running senton! Brody grabs Jay and hoists him up into an insane Crucifix Ganzo Piledriver, PCO climbs and hits a gorgeous moonsault and covers Jay for the 3 count and the WIN!
Villain Enterprises defeats Silas Young & The Briscoes by pinfall after a PCO moonsault
JAY’S RATING: 4.25 out of 5
This is the first truly great match of the card, and I loved the hell out of it. It was non-stop but also paced well, and just kept crescendo-ing as a match up to the very last moment. I have some thoughts I’ll get to later about this being essentially the TV debut of Villain Enterprises, but in terms of a debut match, Villain Enterprises just established themselves as a force of nature in ROH and I’m all about it. The Briscoes and Silas are reliable in the roles they filled here, and still came off looking ferocious and driven. But at the end of the day, this was about PCO and Brody King, and they delivered and then some. With Marty moving toward the main event more consistently and now flanked by a team of boundless excitement and potential, and we have a massively successful first showing. Great work all around, with a particular nod to PCO. I dont know if, as he’s reached the later stages of his career, he just doesnt give a fuck anymore and is just going for it like a motorcycle stunt performer with a death wish, and to be frank it worries me for his actual safety. But holy shit is he dropped into it, and he is RIVETING to watch perform. Honestly, he mightve just grabbed the spotlight, and within 2-3 years I’d like to see some singles gold on him here. He’s fucking earned it, and honestly I think he earned it again right here.
Before the main event, Caprice Coleman leaves his broadcast position to make room for the 2x and current reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. Before he takes his spot, he takes a mic and introduces himself and his “insurance policy”, Camille. He talks about the belt, and calls out Matt Taven as he runs down past historic NWA Champions, and as such that belt makes Aldis the REAL world champion. He says ROH must agree, since NWA and ROH are now working together. He talks about legacy and tradition bringing everyone together, and they talk about coming back to this arena in April as they bring back the Crockett Cup tag tournament (this was previously announced on the ROH website). He puts over the tournament and other promotions sending the best teams from all over, and then teases a challenge for the ROH title as he joins the announce team. A solid promo in spite of a near flub toward the end, nothing really special about it but Aldis was given tasks to do and he accomplished them just fine at the end of the day.
Ring of Honor World Championship
DALTON CASTLE (w/ The Boys) vs JAY LETHAL (c)
This is Castle’s contractual rematch after he lost the title and had to take time off to recover from injury. I also still think Lethal’s old music felt far more distinctive, whereas this sounds basically the same as Jeff Cobb’s to me. Why that change was made I couldnt even guess. We get the Code of Honor and the bell and Castle looks to start fast, and dumps Jay UGLY with a release German, follows with a uranage and an exploder and covers Jay for a quick 1 count!
Jay heads to ringside, Dalton follows, Jay looks for a pump kick but Dalton catches him with another suplex on the floor. Jay drives Castle into the barricade and catches a crew member on the way. They head back inside, Castle hits a thudding lariat, a knee and a low DDT, covers but Jay out at 1 again. Castle keeps Jay grounded with a waistlock and amateur manuevering, looks for Bang A Rang but it wasnt stable, Jay escapes and looks for the Figure Four, Castle gets a small package for 2 but Jay follows with the Lethal Injection, but Jay cant cover until very late and only gets a 1 count.
The Boys fan down Castle as Jay gets to his feet and hits a big chop in the corner. More shots and chops from Jay, nice neckbreaker and a cover on Castle but only 2. Jay focuses on the wrapped midsection of Castle, showing that killer instinct that he can call upon. Jay covers but Castle is in the ropes. Back suplex from Jay, cover again but still only 2, but Jay stays right on the back and midsection, planting a knee in the back and wrenching back with a camel clutch. Castle gets out of it but Jay follows and keeps on.
Castle tries to fight back but Jay has the advantage, laying in another huge set of chops and shots in the corner. Castle starts firing up and throwing shots, they trade back and forth until a pump kick from Jay sends Castle through the ropes to the floor! The Boys get a fan to help fan as Castle slowly recovers and rolls back inside where Jay goes right back to the back. Cover by Jay, another 2 count, and to a camel clutch style chinlock. Castle fights back and is able to lift Jay up into the electric chair and drop him down to change the momentum.
Castle gets reversed by Jay who misses a springboard dropkick, Castle brings Jay outside for a suplex but Jay fights it off and sends Castle back first into the barricade. Jay back inside and looks for the multiple suicide dives, and hits the first one. Jay lines up number two and nails that one as well. “One more time” chants. Jay heads back in but Castle catches him, but Jay reverses into a cutter on the floor! The ref begins the count, Jay gets back in the ring as the count gets late on Castle, who makes it back in right at 19.
Jay goes straight for the corner and looks for Hail to the King, Castle catches it into a rollup for 2 but Jay answers with the Lethal Combination, then climbs again and hits Hail to the King, covers but only gets 2. Jay looks for the Figure Four again, Castle fights back but eats another pump kick, Jay calls for the Lethal Injection but Castle gets a waist lock. Elbow and shots from Jay, calls for the finish again but Castle with a rollup for 2. Castle puts Jay on the apron, then catches him on the top of the corner leaving him open for the running knee from the apron. Suicide dive from Castle, inverted Sling Blade and a cover on Jay but only a 2 count.
Castle works over Jay and looks for another suplex, Jay blocks, we get dueling chants from a hot crowd, elbows from Jay but Castle looks for Bang A Rang, Jay turns it into a rollup for 2, looks for Lethal Injection but Castle catches him coming into a German suplex. But Jay pops right up (FIGHTING SPIRIT!) before eating a lariat from Castle. Castle looks for Bang A Rang again but Jay reverses into a buckle bomb, ducks a Castle clothesline and snatches another Lethal Injection! Cover, the 3 count and the WIN as Jay retains.
Jay Lethal defeats Dalton Castle by pinfall after a Lethal Injection to retain the ROH World Championship
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a strong main event to cap off the event, with Dalton delivering a strong post-recovery showing in a main event to remind everyone that he is still very much a threat to the title moving forward. The match was built right to showcase this as well, with the suplex spots early and constantly being ahead of Lethal’s biggest and baddest moves for much of the much. Dalton is back baby! That being said, Jay retaining makes sense right now as ROH continues the roster building, as he provides a constant and an anchor as a fighting and deserving champion, and I dont know that Castle feels like the right person, at least at this point, for him to drop the belt to, especially with a nice list of contenders lying in wait. All in all, an exciting main event outing by two of ROH face players, showing why they are that. Well done.
After the match, we get a handshake between Jay and Castle.
This was a fine show with some good action throughout. And while there werent any full-on clunkers I could point to, this also didnt feel like a very high profile event for an Honor Club PPV special. It just didnt have aa natural pop to it. It felt more like an extended TV episode with a couple of marquee-quality matches right at the very end, rather than a card full of matches with investment in them. It wasnt bad, it just didnt have the punch of a PPV event to me. In a way, the crowd saved some of this event for me, because they were just SO IN IT and that fed energy and electricity into what was otherwise a just plain decent event. The two matches to definitely catch are the final two, as Villain Enterprises makes an incredible debut and Lethal/Castle provide a main event that feels like one. But beyond that, it was all solid. Just that. Solid. And I’m all for solid TV. But then what makes an event like this special? The last two matches felt special, and we had some great debuts in a couple senses, but it just felt like there was a lot of matches that happened “just because” rather than having any real story to hold onto. I wasnt sure why I was expected to care, on a PPV level, about Haskins/BCB, Bandido/Black, the 6-man Proving Ground, and Williams/Gordon (though that one got cut short), and thats a big chunk of a PPV to not really have a reason to care about. So even when the matches were solid or better, its hard to not be invested in so much of a PPV. Another thing that held the event back for me…
… was how the Villain Enterprises debut was handled. Now at the end of the day, I get that they technically debuted already in Australia, and that ROH had already announced them on their website. However, unless you are assuming that your whole viewing audience is also diligently checking announcements and spoilers rather than keeping up with the weekly show, the broadcast event is your direct outward-facing product – your primary storytelling medium that your audience is following. And so while Villain Enterprises had a GREAT in-ring debut and made a huge impact right out of the gate, I feel like the presentation method for this – their first ROH TV appearance – felt robbed of so much potential impact. Now, some of that impact could be contained in, say, a storyline run-in… such as the one that happened when the stable ACTUALLY debuted back at previous TV tapings. A run-in has impact. As a TV debut a run-in tells a specific story that is centered around introducing a new team (and in this case new, highly anticipated roster members). The taping is done. They knew that spot would be airing after Honor Reigns Supreme. So the question I am left with is, why spoil the handling of their debut by featuring them as part of this card, non-chalantly referring to their presence in ROH as if they had already debuted, and rather just wait for the TV episode to air and build a rivalry into the 6-man tag that could be followed through with at the NEXT PPV event with a match like this? That way, the narrative is clean to follow for the audience watching your TV product. Just because the news was dropped online or that we now live in a spoiler culture doesnt mean poor storytelling isnt poor storytelling. I get spoilers for every NXT taping, but I still watch every week because the fun is in how they then present the story and guide the audience through it. At the end of the day, this is all about the audience, and these choices keep making it feel like they dont have their audience in mind consistently enough with regard to setting up and knocking down the dominos of a story. This is a very personal artistic critique, and some may not care as much. But in an internet age where there are so many options out there, why not push to be the absolute best of your style in all areas? ROH will still be ROH with more thought out storytelling.