Ring of Honor Wrestling
ROAD TO G1 SUPERCARD: HOUSTON
Aired on Honor Club 1/25/19
Ian Riccobani on commentary with Dalton Castle, as we get right into the ring with The Boys.
Tag Wars Round 1
THE BOYS vs THE BOUNCERS
The Bouncers are announced at a combined weight of well over 700lbs. Dang. “Chug” chants for Milonas to finish his beer, which he does. The Boys extend the hands, and The Bouncers accept, so it seems like The Bouncers are officially faces, which I actually dig. Boy 1 and BCB start off, when Boy 1 asks for Milonas instead. BCB tags in Milonas, and they tease the test of strength before Boy 1 uses his speed to evade Milonas.
Quick evade into a tag to Boy 2 who springs in over Milonas, gets another tag to Boy 1 and they use their size and speed to stay ahead of and wear down Milonas. Double kicks and double dropkicks send Milonas outside, BCB in but gets dumped as well, and The Boys stand tall in the ring. Bouncers back in, The Boys sit on their shoulders, The Bouncers turn it into a double powerbomb attempt but the Boys get behind and look for sunset flips, they cant get the Bouncers over and the Bouncers look for seated sentons but the Boys move at the last minute.
Double seated dropkicks from the Boys, cover by Boy 2 on Milonas but barely a 1 count. Tag to Boy 1, more quickness to stun Milonas as Boy 1 comes off the top but gets caught by Milonas. Boy 2 climbs as well and dives, but Milonas catches him too and hits a great double front slam for a decent pop! “Beer Power” yell from Milonas as he tags in BCB. Big chop from BCB floors Boy 1. BCB looks for the gumming, and gets his “I can’t bite, I aint got no teeth” line in, which hasnt stopped being funny to me yet.
BCB gets Boy 1 in the corner and lays in a nice chop. Tag to Milonas who keeps the pressure on, sitting Boy 1 in the corner and crushing him with his behind. Tag to BCB who looks for a cannonball but misses, Milonas tags himself in and cuts off Boy 1. Boy 2 dumps Boy 1 though and looks for the sneak as BCB is back in and eats an elbow and kicks from Boy 2. Boy 2 ducks a lariat and springs but BCB catches him, but Boy 2 is able to reverse into a Sliced Bread to set up a double team stomp from Boy 1, cover by Boy 2 but only a 2 count.
Tag to Milonas but The Boys intercept and get a double Sole Food, but Milonas is stunned but not going down. The Boys hit it a 2nd time, but Milonas still wont drop. The Boys run the ropes, but Milonas takes them out with a double clothesline. BCB whips Boy 1 into a Black Hole Slam from Milonas, Boy 2 climbs but gets cut off by Milonas as BCB climbs an adjacent corner, superplex by Milonas sets Boy 2 up for the Last Call frog splash, cover by BCB and thats the WIN for The Bouncers.
The Bouncers defeat The Boys by pinfall after Last Call to advance
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
This wasnt necessarily anything special, but its also one of the more entertaining outings by The Bouncers who I think are starting to find a nice balance as faces, blending humor with power spots which then helps them keep match momentum going in a way that I sometimes struggled with in their matches as heels. Milonas is never going to be able to move that bulk very fast, so he’s finding other ways to tell his story and at this point, I’m on board. BCB also continues his improvement, and shows that he perhaps shouldnt be underestimated for much longer, even as a more reliable opening- to mid-card act that the crowd can get invested in. And The Boys also continue to improve their game, and have expanded their characters into their movesets well. The chemistry that resulted here ended up making for a decent start to the night, and I feel that The Bouncers advancing is the right move as they enter this new phase of their ROH lives. I will be very curious to see if The Bouncers can continue to build this momentum into something more significant – more work is needed to do so, but there are some great pieces in place here, and I’m interested in seeing more.
After the match, The Bouncers grab beers and get a milk and a chocolate milk for The Boys. Dalton complains about the sugar content of the chocolate milk as it will keep them up all night. Love it. We get a Toast of Honor to button the match.
Ian runs down a change to a TV Title Proving Ground match due to Bandido getting injured by Silas Young last night. We now have it as a Triple Threat coming up, with Jeff Cobb, Dalton Castle and Rocky Romero. But first…
THUNDER ROSA (w/ Holidead) vs SUMIE SAKAI
Rosa is out with a half Mexican, half American flag – YES. I dig the Twisted Sisterz so much. Sumie in the ring and Thunder Rosa shoves her down right away. Sumie comes back with shots to Rosa, runs the ropes but Rosa evades and hits a nice backbreaker on Sumie to take control. Sumie counters with Mongolian chops, but Rosa evades the next shot and hits a nice dropkick, which Sumie returns in kind, they both shoot dropkicks and stand off.
Holidead hops on the apron to distract Sumie, which Rosa takes advantage of and whips Sumie by the hair across the ring. Back elbow from Sumie changes the momentum but Holidead is up again and grabs Sumie as she climbs the corner, which prompts ref Todd Sinclair to call for the bell and the DISQUALIFICATION, which gives Sumie the WIN. The Sisterz double team Sumie with a beatdown until Rayne runs down to chase off the Sisterz, setting up a tag match for the future.
Sumie Sakai defeats Thunder Rosa by DQ after Holidead interferes
JAY’S RATING: Not Rated, especially because…
After the match, Rayne gets a mic and call the Sisterz pack animals who are against what ROH is about. Rayne makes the challenge, and it looks like the tag match is happening RIGHT AWAY! “Fight” chants from the crowd. So now we have…
MADISON RAYNE & SUMIE SAKAI vs THE TWISTED SISTERZ
We get the ball and all 4 start brawling in the ring. Sumie and Madison get whipped to the ropes but come back with dual headscissors that send the Sisterz outside. Rayne and Sumie follow, taking down both Sisterz with dual dives to the floor. Sumie tosses Holidead back inside, we get “Lets Go Sumie” chants as Sumie climbs the corner and hits a high cross body and a cover but only gets 2.
Sumie goes behind but eats an elbow from Holidead, Sumie runs the ropes but Rosa trips her up and Holidead follows with a grounded dropkick, cover but only gets 2. Holidead ties up Holidead in the ropes, allowing Rosa to get a cheap shot in as Rayne tries to help, but Todd is distracted by Rayne allowing the Sisterz a double team and Rosa replaces Holidead (might have been no tag there, which would fit their heel shtick), covers but only gets 2. Rosa mocks Sumie and the crowd, whips her hard to her corner and keeps on her tagging in Holidead.
Holidead keeps the pressure on, crushing Sumie in the corner and hitting a nice vertical suplex and a cover for 2 before shoving Rayne, which distracts Todd again and opens the Sisterz up for more shenanigans as Rosa comes back in faking the tag again. Snapmare by Rosa as she mocks Sumie, and hits a nice running snap senton, cover but only 2. I am REALLY digging seeing more of Thunder Rosa… she’s got something… Headlock by Rosa, the crowd fires up Sumie who throws Rosa down and gets a counter into an armbar which Holidead breaks up.
Slap by Rosa on Sumie, great aggression, and a big knife edge chop follows against the ropes. Sumie is struggling as she eats another chop by Rosa. Another snapmare and a cover by Rosa, but only 2. Rosa sends Sumie into Holidead’s boot and tags her in, slam by Holidead and another quick tag to Rosa followed by a Holidead legdrop and another Rosa senton, covers again but Sumie kicks out again at 2.
Another quick tag to Holidead (GREAT tag team wrestling here), who beats down Sumie until Sumie gets the takedown and looks for the tag but Holidead cuts her off, tags in Rosa, gets Sumie in a Camel Clutch as Rosa runs the ropes just to slap Sumie in the face. LOVE IT. Cover, but still only 2 on Sumie. Tag again to Holidead who drives Sumie into the corner and sits her up top, Sumie fights back and drops Holidead with a middle rope dropkick and both are down as Sumie looks for the tag as Holidead tags Rosa in.
Sumie gets the tag to Rayne who is in hot, dropping Rosa with a clothesline, an elbow and an enziguri, gets the Rayne Check and covers Rosa but Holidead breaks it up at 2. Sumie takes out Holidead and puts her outside, Rayne catches Rosa with an elbow but misses a springboard crossbody. Rosa takes advantage and looks for a big move but Rayne reverses, looks for Off With Her Head but Rosa pushes Rayne off, gets a rollup with the tights and gets the WIN over Rayne and Sumie!
Twisted Sisterz defeat Madison Rayne and Sumie Sakai by pinfall after a rollup with tights
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a SUPER solid showing by all 4 here, and a great statement about the depth of the women’s division and the potential of a women’s tag division in ROH. While I love Rayne and Sumie as the vets of the division, this felt like exactly the move to make, as this was my favorite outing from the Sisterz yet as they continue to build momentum as a team, and a loss would have messed with that a bit. I dig Holidead a lot, but for me this was the Thunder Rosa show, as she showed that she can both use her smaller size and speed AND pull out some power when needed, and is so locked in to her character – she (and this is true of Holidead too, but I feel more tightness from Rosa) looks like she is having a BLAST playing this role, and it feeds a great energy into the match. Rayne and Sumie also played their parts extremely well here, and can weather a loss here without losing status. I’m loving where this division is going. Keep it up.
After the match, Madison Rayne looks PISSED, and leaves Sumie alone in the ring as she storms off.
Tag Wars Round 1
COAST 2 COAST vs SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom) w/ Ryan Nova
Rhett Titus appears and does his new posedown entrance with his “Fittest” trophy in tow, and he joins Ian on commentary. Very excited by C2C, though their entrance package I don’t quite get, because it feels super heel-ish to me whereas theyve been pretty solid faces so far. I think their energy calls for something more high energy and fun than this. Also excited by 3S, as this feels like a great evolution for all involved and Eli Isom is just arguably the most exciting true rookie on the roster right now.
“Cheeseburger” chants, we get the Code of Honor and the bell. LSG and Burger start us off. Lockup, trading waistlocks, Burger gets the wrist, LSG flips out of it and gets Burger’s wrist. Burger with a nice flip counter of his own into a headlock, LSG whips him, they each get quick 1 falls, LSG ducks SHOTEI!, and they go forehead to forehead. LSG tags in Shahim Ali, Isom in on the other side. Lockup goes into the corner, they break and Isom gets a headlock, gets whipped but plows through Ali. They run the ropes, leapfrogs and Isom connects with the HHH-style knee, which might be becoming a signature.
Ali flips over Isom from the apron and gets a big body slam on Isom, twisting standing splash from Ali for a cover but only gets 2. Isom fights back, gets behind Ali who eats a boot, Burger gets tagged, Isom grabs the feet and opens Ali up for a bulldog from Burger. Nicely done. Cover, but only 1 on Ali. Chop from Burger, tries to whip Ali but Ali reverses, LSG gets the tag and C2C hit a nice combo into an LSG dropkick, cover but only a nearfall. Tag to Ali, they hit dual kicks to Burger’s chest, cover but only 2.
Burger tries to fight back but Ali keeps him grounded, Burger with a slap but Ali whips him to the corner, tags LSG who gets a great butterfly suplex and covers but Isom breaks it at 2. Burger fights back, gets a jawbreaker but cant get the tag. Burger takes down Ali but LSG prevents the tag, but Burger finds an opening and tags Isom who comes in hot with a springboard dropkick to take down LSG. Isom dumps Ali outside, LSG goes behind but Isom counters with strikes and an enziguri, pops LSG up and turns it into an Air Raid Crash, covers but LSG kicks out at 2! GREAT.
Isom looks for a suplex but LSG counters, nails a pump kick and tags in Ali. Double team attempt is countered, but LSG gets a swinging faceplant, Ali comes in with a gutwrench and gets a HUGE sitout Dr. Bomb, cover but Burger breaks it at 2. Burger gets dumped, tag to LSG, they get a double team hip toss but Isom reverses it and tags in Burger, who comes off the top and takes C2C with a cross body.
Cartwheel evasion by Burger, dropkick takes down Ali and Burger gets a great superkick on LSG. SHOTEI! in the corner on LSG, Isom gets a springboard frog splash and Burger follows with a senton, cover but Ali breaks it up with a diving headbutt! Burger looks for SHOTEI! on Ali, Ali counters and gets a HUGE swingout slam and then takes out Isom at ringside as LSG hits a 450 off the top! Cover, the 3 count and the WIN!
Coast 2 Coast defeats Shinobi Shadow Squad by pinfall after a 450 splash
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
I enjoyed the HELL out of this match, and it was close to punching through to the next level. C2C is looking AMAZING coming out of Germany, and I think they are well placed to be the next generation of tag team establishment in the company. Their execution is so crisp, so focused and so precise, and they bring such a great high energy vibe to their work. 3S also looked great here – Burger has truly evolved into a company star, and so his mentorship role here with Ryan Nova and Isom feels totally earned, as his confidence in the ring is the best it has ever been. And if you’ve read my past ROH stuff you know how I feel about Isom, and this just confirmed it yet again. Dude is having an OUTSTANDING rookie outing and its impossible to not notice that he’s really bringing the goods and working his tail off. While an argument could be made for 3S here, I think there is some real investment in mind with C2C, so this was all in all a really super match. Nice work all around.
We get a Code of Honor after the match, and “That was Awesome” chants.
CLARK CONNORS, KARL FREDERICKS & ALEX COUGHLIN
The ROH Young Lions looked really good last night, and VE is clearly on the rise and that is a very, VERY good thing. “Marty” chants to start. Fredericks is fired up and showing some aggression, punking out VE a bit, with King stepping up to him to start things off. Lockup to start, neither gets the advantage. They lockup again and Fredericks goes behind, King just tosses him off. They both tackle, no one moves. King with big chops and a wristlock, and Marty tags in.
Tag on the other side to Alex Coughlin. They lock up, Marty goes behind and they go to mat work, hammerlock from Marty, Coughlin counters out of it into a wristlock, but Marty with a gorgeous escape into a headlock. Marty counters a hiptoss into a backslide, but only 1, thrust kick by Marty but Coughlin gets the hip toss and a dropkick to take Marty down. Coughlin goes for Marty but Marty stays in the ropes before tagging in PCO. Tag to Connors on the other side.
Connors slaps the hell out of PCO, who just absorbs each one before getting a HUGE belly to back bomb. Throttle by PCO who tosses Connors into the corner as Marty tags in again. Chop by Marty, Connors looks to reverse but he eats a back elbow from Marty. Marty gets the bottom rope decapitator, Connors is prone with his head and chest on the apron, PCO looks for a cannonball on the apron but Connors moves and PCO hits HARD! King checks on PCO, who SHAKES IT OFF. HE’S NOT HUMAN!
Back in the ring, Fredericks gets the tag and hits a big spinebuster on Marty, he and Coughlin keep King at bay and they triple team Marty in the corner! Coughlin with a Polish Hammer, elbow drop from Fredericks and Marty is reeling. Tag by Connors who keeps Marty in their corner, Coughlin tags in next and takes the arm to ground Marty. Marty fights up, evades Coughlin in the corner and looks to tag out. King gets the tag as does Connors, and King just wipes out EVERYONE. Big cannonball in the corner on SOMEONE, Marty tags in as King takes Connors outside with a boot.
King picks up Connors for a suplex outside, but stalls it so Marty can hit the apron superkick before King drops him! Nice. Connors back in, Marty gets whipped and they get a double team, King sets up the German and Marty comes in from the apron with a sunset flip that adds extra throw to the German suplex! Cover by Marty but the Lions break it up. King takes down Fredericks and Coughlin, calls in PCO who fires up, runs the ropes and gets dumped on the Lions outside by King! WHAT THE HELL MAN. “PCO” chants.
Marty calls for the Chickenwing but Connors counters into the Boston Crab, the Young Lion’s assigned finisher! Marty tries the ropes, Connors pulls him back and turns a Marty counter into a rollup for 2. Powerbomb by Marty to take control, PCO climbs and hits a legdrop off the middle rope, Marty slingshots Connors into an elbow from King, then holds Connors over his knees as King hits a running senton! King hoists Connors, Ganzo Driver, PCO climbs and lands another moonsault, cover and thats the WIN!
Villain Enterprises defeats Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin by pinfall after a moonsault
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a fun 6-man tag match that showcased the Young Lions (perhaps a bit much for a team like VE, who I dont think should have to struggle against Lions), who have a ton of potential (I dont doubt that Shibata is an AMAZING teacher), as well as establishing even more cohesion and teamwork between VE who came off looking fantastic. I just cant wait for King and PCO to really start unloading, I cant wait for title matches, I just feel like everyone here is ready to explode and this was just a taste. This was a great appetite-whetter of a match for everyone in the ring.
MATT TAVEN w/ TK O’Ryan vs JONATHAN GRESHAM
Ian’s great with the Twitter reads, building it into story and his own POV in a way I really enjoy. Taven tries to get Cruise to introduce him as the REAL World Champion but Gresham comes out before he can, so Taven interrupts the entrance on the mic. He asks if this is a joke. He gets flown here just so he can fight a Melvin? He finds that disrespectful. He is building a “Purple Reign.” HA. He defends his belt like the fighting champion he is, against people who deserve it. Taven calls Gresham Jay Lethal’s Young Boy, says he will never be a world champion, HE’s a world champion, because HEEEEEEE’S MATT TAVEN.
TK takes the mic and runs down Gresham and CCK, saying he doesnt care about Lethal’s endorsement either. TK offers to fight him instead, because he knows for a fact that he’s a better wrestler than Gresham. Everyone agrees to it, and we have a new match…
TK O’RYAN vs JONATHAN GRESHAM
Taven interrupts Cruise’s intro again to give a “proper” intro to TK. I love The Kingdom. TK talks shit as they lock up, with Gresham getting the arm. Taven joins Ian on commentary. TK tries to reverse, but Gresham moves with him. TK gets Gresham in the corner and lands a sharp elbow to the face, which pisses off Gresham. TK offers Gresham his wrist mockingly, TK turns it into a hammerlock and says “whos such a good wrestleer now”, but Gresham now pretzels HIMSELF and offers a wrist looking SUPER confident, TK takes it and Gresham just SCHOOLS TK. GRESHAM.
TK with the ankle pick, they run the ropes, Gresham outsmarts TK and lands a great dropkick. Gresham moves to TK who spits in his face, Gresham is getting more and more pissed off by TK, Gresham gets the mat advantage again and snags the ankle and looks to spit on TK who moves out of the way and says WHAT THE HELL! Gresham runs the rops and TK drops down, but Gresham holds on so TK lands in the spit! WHAT. Gresham goes behind but TK turns out and lands a nasty punch to the face, mounts Gresham and just punches and chokes Gresham on the mat.
TK dumps Gresham and sends him into the barricade, then runs him all the way across to the other side. Gresham gets sent face first into the apron, breaks the ref’s count and then slams Gresham into the carricade chest first. TK taunts the crowd – he’s old school heel. TK puts Gresham back inside, says he’s the best around, and stalks Gresham who tries to fight back, gets a break but TK evades Gresham on the corner and puts him down with a Final Cut. Cover, but only 2.
Gresham gets a headlock, TK lifts him but Gresham tries for a cover, TK powers up, they trade counters but TK hits a great back elbow and pele kick to drop Gresham, covers but only gets 2. TK keeps mocking Gresham, Gresham fires one off but TK drops him, covers but only gets 1. Gresham keeps coming, but gets dropped again for a TK 2 count. TK mocks Gresham and the crowd, but Gresham blocks a Euro and hits a nice enziguri to stall TK out. “CCK” chants. Gresham keeps the presure one, gets a chop in the corner, drops TK in the corner and hits a running dropkick to a seated TK, who rolls outside.
Gresham looks to run the ropes but TK moves out of the way, but Gresham comes off anyway with a knee off the apron! TK back inside, Gresham climbs and hits a HUGE crossbody off the top to drop TK. Gresham climbs TK and locks in the Octopus… but we get the red balloons and Vinny has arrived to distract the ref so he doesnt see TK tap out, which he does. Gresham knocks Vinny off the apron, gets in the refs face for a moment which allows TK to trip him up, and gets his feet on the ropes right at the last moment to keep Gresham down for the 3 count and the WIN.
TK O’Ryan defeats Jonathan Gresham by pinfall after a cover with his feet on the ropes
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was really good, but didnt quite move me as much as I wanted, and I found the end a bit deflating even though it makes perfect sense in so many ways, especially as The Kingdom (and especially TK here) moves more and more in a classic heel direction (which I dig because its rare to find one that truly works these days, and it REALLY works with them). I dont know, I just know these two are capable of more, but regardless this was a nice “everything you can do” style match, and both guys walked away looking solid and feeding into the post-match which transitions us into the next match seamlessly. Good work.
After the match, Vinny jumps Gresham brutally, with TK joining in. Jay Lethal now appears belt in tow, as help comes out from backstage. The Kingdom is escorted to the back as Taven talks shit. Jay takes the mic and says everyone is sick of The Kingdom’s shenanigans. Jay calls out Taven’s fake belt, and says Taven’s gonna get whats coming to him real soon, but first he’s going to shut Vinny’s mouth. Jay mentions that Vinny has said that if he beats Lethal he’s going to throw the ROH title in the garbage. Jay says lets not wait, Vinny starts saying “YOU WANT TO?” over and over, the crowd pops for it, Jay makes the offer official and calls for a ref. Todd Sinclair comes down and we have our title match early.
Ring of Honor World Championship
VINNY MARSEGLIA vs JAY LETHAL (c)
This is a big defense for Jay, as it will both tie him for most cumulative defenses (at 38 along with Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson, aka Daniel Bryan) as well as the longest cumulative reign in ROH history. AWESOME. Well deserved. We get an official intro from Cruise. When Todd shows Vinny the belt, he grabs it and shoves Todd off as he mocks and KICKS the title belt into the corner, which brings in Jay HOT with a dropkick and aggressive beatdown. Vinny rolls outside but Jay stays on him and is just KICKING. HIS. ASS. Vinny fights back though and sends Jay into the ringpost.
Jay fights back and throws Vinny into the barricade, follows with a chop and then gets some distance for a running dropkick on Vinny against the barricade. Nice pop. Jay tosses Vinny back in but Vinny fights back, but Jay catches him off the rope with the cartwheel dropkick combo. Chops from Jay in the corner, whips Vinny but Vinny crotches him on the top rope and follows with a dropkick that sends Jay back outside. Gresham is at ringside as Jay’s second. Vinny talks shit on the title and the ROH crowd before beating down Jay at ringside. Vinny’s got CRAZY EYES.
Vinny chases off the timekeeper folks and grabs the belt, then uncovers the table and tells Jay that he’s going to destroy the ROH title. He lays the belt on the table, then looks under the ring and pulls out his hatchet. Vinny approaches the belt but Jay cuts him off with a dropkcik to the face, then heads inside and lands a suicide dive and then dumps Vinny back in. Jay comes off the top, Vinny evades and hits a knee and a belly to back Side Effect, covers but only gets 2. Vinny says Jay isnt the real champ, scattered “Yes He Is” chant.
Jay counters Vinny into a Lethal Combination, feeds off the crowd, and hits a lariat, back elbow and enziguri to stagger Vinny, then gets an elbow in the corner and Death Valley Driver. Jay calls for Hail to the King, climbs the corner, Vinny gets the foot up but Jay catches it and looks for the Figure Four, Vinny counters it into a rollup but just gets 2. Jay hits the ropes and comes back with a Lethal Injection out of nowhere, covers Vinny and gets the WIN to retain and tie/break some records!
Jay Lethal defeats Vinny Marseglia by pinfall after the Lethal Injection to retain the ROH World Title in his 38th defense, tying the record for Most Total Defenses
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This wasnt my favorite title match I’ve seen from Jay, and mostly suffered because it just seemed so outside the realm of storyline possibility for Jay to drop to Vinny with Taven’s own agenda carrying The Kingdom’s world title pursuit. But that doesnt mean both talents didnt still look really good, and they did. Vinny’s character is ridiculous but he lives it SO WELL that I dont doubt it for a moment, he adds a craziness factor to The Kingdom which really gives each of them individuality while still allowing them to make TOTAL sense as a team. And what more needs be said about Lethal? I dont think he is capable of delivering a bad match anymore. Not everyone will be fucking legendary, but he just delivers overal quality again and again and again. I love that ROH has invested in him to the point of these records. If anyone deserves a “You Deserve It” chant, its Lethal.
After the match TK runs down but Gresham takes him out! “Lethal” chants.
SEGMENT: Rush Package for Florida appearances
Yeah, thats about what it was. A small and generic package for Rush appearing in Florida. Whatever. Rush is great.
Women of Honor World Championship
DR. BRITT BAKER vs KELLY KLEIN (c)
Mandy Leon joins commentary. Eh. Maybe its just me, but since Ian says that this was just added night of, it gives me the whiff of this being a goodbye match of sorts given Baker’s contract with AEW… we’ll see if it plays out that way. Klein is out with her training posse, “Camp Klein”, who were not above involving themselves recently on ROH TV. Mandy Leon is TERRIBLE on commentary. We get a Code of Honor, but Klein pulls it into a headbutt to the jaw as we get the bell.
Klein mocks Baker, gets a cravate and lays in stuff knees, and looks for a wraparound guilliotine that also masks her grabbing Baker’s hair. Baker moves Klein to the ropes to break but Klein holds onto her hair for the 4 count, then puts Baker down. Klein is taking her time, getting a snapmare and locking in a chinlock, Baker powers up and gets a snapmare and snags a backslide for 2. Baker evades strikes from Klein and gets another rollup for 2, then mounts Klein and rains down shots. Pop for Baker.
Baker evades Klein in the corner and lands a knee and a running Famouser to drop Klein, who begs off of Baker. Baker snatches the wrist, moves the hand down and then just stomps on the hand, then takes the mouthguard as she looks for revenge on the headbutt, and hits a jawbreaker and superkick! Cover by Baker, but only gets 2 and transitions right into a Rings of Saturn! Klein shifts weight into a rollup for 2, and both are up.
Klein kicks Baker in the leg and hits a nice Fisherwoman Suplex, floats over and looks for the Guillotine, but Baker counters and puts on a mandible claw! Klein gets the ropes for the break. Baker looks to stay on Klein but Klein trips Baker up and slides inside for a knee strike that KO’s Baker, but Klein pushes Todd away to lock on The End of the Match (her Guillotine), and Todd calls for the stoppage giving Klein the WIN!
Kelly Klein defeats Dr. Britt Baker by referee stoppage after a knee strike and The End of the Match to retain the WOH World Championship
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was fine. Baker is great, Klein is good but still needs to refine some things to unlock her full potential, and so overall this was a decently competitive if sluggish at times title match that continues Klein’s established dominance of the division as of late. I wish Baker could stick around, but I’m also super excited about what might happen for her with AEW. I wish they had given this a bit more time, and I wish it could have been a bit sharper at times, but it did the job. Also Mandy Leon needs to stop being put on commentary.
After the match, Klein gets on the headset next to Ian and calls out Sumie Sakai for her title defense against her tomorrow. Klein needs to harness more of that. There was something there. Its still a little raw, but it feels like the right direction for her. Yes. Keep working on that.
Tag Wars Round 1
COLT CABANA & WILLIE MACK vs KENNY KING & a MYSTERY partner
Willie Mack is out wearing his NWA National Championship belt. I love that he has gold, and I see how NWA was going for throwback… but I dont know if its the strongest belt design… but who cares Willie Mack is awesome. Colt in with a jacket with the Chicago city flag on the back which, as a Chicagoan, always makes me smile. King comes out with a mic, looks ready to speak but then heads to the back again… the video package begins… and its MVP! THE BEAT DOWN CLAN IS BACK TOGETHER AND IN ROH!
Decent pop for MVP, and I have to say, I like the potential of him in ROH, short or long term. We get “MVP” chants. This feels like a great entrance vibe for MVP. BDC throws up their sign and refuse the Code of Honor, Mack and King start us off and we get the bell. Lockup, King pushed into the corner and Colt comes over and tells King to just give up. They break and lock up again, King goes behind, Mack out of it, King counters into arm drags and gets Mack grounded. Mack fights back, they run the ropes, Mack with an armdrag and a headlock to take control.
King whips Mack to the ropes and they meet with a tackle, but neither budges. Another tackle, still no movement but King gets a kick, Mack ducks another, we get a double dropkick and double kip up into a stand off. Great. Tag to MVP, tag to Colt. Lockup, they trade wrist control, nice counter from MVP into a headlock takeover to ground Colt. Colt reverses into a head scissors hold, MVP headstands out of it, pats Colt on the chest and goes tranquilo in the corner. Nice connection there. Colt says MVP is, indeed, “ballin’.”
Lockup again, Colt uses speed to stay ahead of MVP and gets an arm wringer to flip MVP over, and then he goes to dance in the corner and shoots the 3 to mock MVP. Mack loves it and goes down. “Air ball” chants, so Colt goes and gets “the ball” (mimed), climbs the corner again, spins it on his finger, shoots again BUT MVP SWATS IT AWAY! “Holy shit” chants. I LOVE IT. Another lockup, MVP gets the advantage with hard elbows and shots in the corner, whips Colt but Colt reverse into a superman pin for 2.
Tag to Mack, who comes off with an axe handle to the shoulder, quick tag to Colt who comes off with a Ballin Elbow to the shoulder. Tag to Mack who hits it again, and King is getting fired up. Arm wrench from Mack but MVP fires back and breaks free, whip to Mack but Mack snaps off a spinning heel kick to take down MVP, who rolls outside. Mack runs the ropes looking to dive, but King cuts him off with a knee at the last minute. MVP in and covers, but gets a series of 2 counts. Tag to King, who gets shots to Mack, a slam and a bottom rope springing legdrop, cover but only 2.
Quick tag to MVP, who stays on Mack with knees to the gut and a knee drop, cover but only 2. Tag to King, and BDC gets some double teaming in before Mack gets a beard-assisted chinlock on Mack. The crowd starts firing Mack up, Mack fights King off and gets a jawbreaker, looks to tag but King cuts him off with a spinning heel kick, cover but still only 2. King brings Mack back to his corner and tags MVP who lays in strikes and whips Mack, but Mack ducks a clothesline and hits a flying Shining Wizard and both are down!
Mack gets the tag to Colt, who first takes out King before turning to MVP, and lands a great standing quebrada to take down the BDC. Colt is still in his prime as far as I’m concerned. Jabs from Colt, and gets the Flip Flop and Fly elbow. MVP reverses a whip but Colt gets a flying head scissor, MVP looks for the tag but King is still out and Colt connects with the Flying Asshole! Mack in to follow and gets the AWESOME inverted cannonball on a corner seated MVP! Samoan drop by Willie, kip up and standing moonsault, Mack covers but MVP is out at 2.
Mack looks for the stunner but MVP fights out, gets elbows, a Euro and a stiff lariat that takes Mack outside. Colt in but MVP dumps him, then gets down so King and hit the ropes and launch off of him into a great corkscrew plancha! King sends Mack back inside, MVP gets Mack down with a jawbreaker and lands the Ballin’ Elbow! MVP looks for the Playmaker, hits it, covers but Mack is out at 2! Mack also gave one of the best sells of that move I’ve seen in a WHILE. Tag to King, BDC looks for a double team suplex but Mack lands on his feet and gets a double stunner!
Tag to Colt who comes in hot with jabs on King, King counters and lands Bend the Knee, covers but only gets 2. King hoists Colt and gets the Chin-Checker and a Trouble In Paradise style kick, covers again but Mack breaks it up at 2. Mack sends BDC outside, runs the ropes and hits a great tope con hilo to take out both BDC members! King back in, Colt hoists him but King gets behind, Colt tries to open him up for Mack but King evades and MVP CRUSHES Mack in the corner with a Players Boot! MVP gets another one on Colt, King follows up with the Royal Flush and covers Colt for the WIN to advance!
The Beat Down Clan defeats Colt Cabana & Willie Mack by pinfall after the Royal Flush to advance in Tag Wars 2019
JAY’S RATING: 3.9 out of 5
This was one click away from being a truly great match, and that takes nothing away from how good it truly was (hey, its Round 1, gotta save some for the build). This was also some of the strongest work I’ve seen from MVP in a while, who just seemed MOTIVATED in a great way in the BDC reunion. I do have questions about what this means for King with the team advancing, as it seemed King was poised for a strong singles run soon and this puts him back in a tag picture, which he’s done a bunch of ways before. But also, BDC moving past Colt and Willie Mack in Round 1 also makes TOTAL sense, and gets the audience invested in MVP’s return for the tour which is a very good thing. Everyone looked great here, and Colt’s comedy was folded into the match seamlessly so it truly added to the experience of the whole, enhancing the strong ring work from all 4, and Mack just oozes charisma and execution. Personally, I was stoked to see MVP here, and further stoked to see how well he delivered here. Maybe ROH could be in his future? Although, AEW could be interesting for him as well. He’s always been close to finding a main event home… maybe his time is coming…
Proving Ground Match (ROH World Television Championship)
ROCKY ROMERO vs DALTON CASTLE vs JEFF COBB (c)
Castle is out with The Boys. Castle pumps up the energy as we get a Code of Honor and the bell. Stand off between Cobb and Castle at the top, Rocky comes up too but his size disadvantage is clear, and Cobb and Castle step away from Rocky condescendingly. Rocky takes offense and puts himself between, but gets shoved off again so Rocky gets a shot in on Castle that shoves him into Cobb, and is able to dump Castle outside. Cobb absorbs shots from Rocky but Rocky uses his speed to get a pop up dropkick, dumps Castle another 2 times and is able to keep Cobb staggered.
Castle tries to come back in but Rocky stays ahead of him still, Castle is able to stay on the apron but Rocky runs Cobb into Castle who falls but is caught and pushed back up by The Boys! Castle dumps Rocky, but Cobb gets behind Castle, Castle reverses, Cobb gets a gutwrench and just tosses Castle. Castle evades Cobb and is able to get him outside, looks to run the ropes but Rocky trips him up and gets a dive of his own to take Cobb into the barricade.
Rocky stays on Cobb and calls for Forever Clotheslines, winds them up but Cobb catches him coming and just THROWS HIM in a belly to belly. Cobb charges at Castle in the corner but Castle evades, tries a running crossbody but gets caught and popped up for the stalling suplex but Rocky intervenes with a kick that allows Castle to get a rollup which Rocky breaks up at 2. Dropkick by Rocky sends Cobb into the buckles, but Castle fights back, kicks Cobb and throws Rocky. Strikes by Rocky to fight back, shots to Cobb as well, chop to Castle in the ropes but Castle fights back and he and Rocky trade.
Castle gets the advantage sending Rocky to the corner and lays in shots, one for Cobb but Rocky fights back and looks for a sunset flip on Cobb, but Cobb deadlifts him into a front slam position. Castle comes off the corner with a dropkick to Rocky’s back that puts down Cobb with Rocky on top for a cover, but Castle breaks it with a gutwrench which Rocky counters into a rana. Rocky looks for a rana on Cobb but Cobb buckle bombs him into Castle in the corner, gets distance and hits a running Euro on Castle but Rocky moves out of the way.
Cobb whips Rocky to the corner but misses the running Euro and eats a knee strike from Castle, Rocky ducks Castle and hits diagonal Forever Clotheslines on both Cobb and Castle! Rocky follows with a double rana that takes both opponents over! Nice pop for Rocky. Rocky looks for Sliced Bread, Cobb counters but eats the rewind kick. Pump kick from Castle on Rocky, goes for Cobb but eats a headbutt, Rocky and Castle try knee strikes but Cobb wipes both of them out with a double lariat. “Cobb” chants.
All three trade shots, Cobb fires up but eats a Castle knee, but Cobb reverses a whip and gets a DOUBLE PUMPHANDLE SAITO SUPLEX ON BOTH CASTLE AND ROCKY. “Holy shit” chants. Cobb with an Oklahoma Stampede on Castle, Sidewinder Suplex on Rocky, Castle tries to fight back and dumps Cobb before hitting a low-pe suicida. Castle and Rocky in the ring, Castle catches a Rocky springboard and looks to turn it into Bangarang but Rocky reverses into a victory roll and GETS THE SURPRISE WIN ON CASTLE! Rocky has now earned a TV Title shot!
Rocky Romero defeats Dalton Castle & Jeff Cobb by pinfall after a Victory Roll to earn an ROH TV Title shot
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a quite entertaining outing, and with Castle not fully out of the ROH World Title conversation going for a “surprise” of sorts with the underdog victory angle (pinning a former ROH World Champion to boot) is a GREAT choice. Rocky does deliver GREAT ring work on a consistent basis, and his shtick is so over with the crowd, so while the underdog story is built here it also feels COMPLETELY earned and is a nice unexpected treat that also leads into what could be a super fun title match. While I dont foresee Rocky being the one to upset Cobb, from a pure performance POV Rocky is one of the most underrated talents working today in ANY weight class, as he knows how to lock in, how to execute, how to be funny and ruthless interchangeably… he’s sort of a full package, and so this made me EXTREMELY happy. Add to it strong showings from Castle and Cobb, and this made for a fun triple threat to energize the crowd. Nice work.
After the match, we get Rocky flipping out, “Rocky” and “Holy shit” chants, and some “Roppongi” chants as well! Rocky goes forehead-to-chest against Cobb, who is holding his belt. Castle inserts himself and offers the hand to Rocky, who accepts, and the same with Cobb. Cobb asks if he wants to go now, but Rocky says he’s tired and begs off as Rocky’s music hits. Cobb offers the pound, and we get respect between Cobb and Rocky to close out. Nice button sequence.
SEGMENT: Lifeblood Debuts
This is the package they aired last night. Its fine enough, and makes sense to replay before the main event, which is…
SILAS YOUNG, SHANE TAYLOR & THE BRISCOES
LIFEBLOOD (Fin-Juice, Tracy Williams & Mark Haskins)
Ian acknowledges that the package references stuff we will see on upcoming ROH TV, which again, GREAT! Now instead of it feeling awkward, it has hype for the TV episodes. Smart. Tenille Dashwood joins Ian on commentary. Both teams face each other down hard mid-ring before the bell, when Bully Ray appears on the stage. Ian calls him a quitter as he makes his way down to the ring. Bully demands a mic from Bobby Cruise.
Bully says normally he would come out and say “do you know who I am?” But he isnt saying that tonight. Instead, he says do you know who we are? The crowd gives the “What” treatment. Bully says we’re the guys that got rid of the Bullet Club. We ruined it for everybody. And we’re the guys who are gonna ruin it for you. Bully turns on Todd Sinclair and says he screwed him at Final Battle and he knows it. Bully says he never said “I Quit”. So Todd’s going to make this a handicap match, and if he doesnt do it… but Juice snatches the mic.
Juice mocks Bully, and says he isnt going to bully an ROH official, he doesnt call the shots here. Juice says these people call the shots. Juice asks the crowd if they want it, nice pop, and Lifeblood accepts the handicap terms, which Todd agrees to and we get the bell to begin! Mark Briscoe (Mark from here on out) and Mark Haskins (Haskins) start us off, but Bully looks at David Finlay and says he used to beat the crap out of his dad. Crowd pop. Finlay gets fired up but Bully begs off. Bully keeps the mindgames on, and calls Fit Finlay “mid-card”.
Mark and Haskins finally lock up, Mark gets Haskins in the corner and rubs it in which fires up Haskins. Haskins with a headlock, tackle attempt off the ropes and no one moves. They run the ropes, fast action and evasions until Haskins takes out the knee and tags in Tracy, and they get a GREAT double team combo in the form of a flipping atomic drop held on into a Haskins PK. YEAH these guys need to be a full on team. Tracy follows with an inverted Sharpshooter on Mark, but Mark gets the ropes for the break.
Shots traded, Mark comes off the corner with an elbow, Tracy fires back, they keep trading and firing up with each chop. Jay gets a blind tag and the Briscoes get the double team with a big boot from Jay, followed by a stiff headbutt. Jay with a snap suplex on Tracy, Tracy fires back but Jay stays on him. Chop from Tracy followed by a great wrist-lock back suplex, cover but only 2 as Tracy gets Jay to his corner and tags David Finlay. Finlay eats an elbow from Jay, who tags in Silas.
Finlay and Silas trade shots and chops, big Euros from Finlay who evades a backslide attempt and lands a dropkick. Finlay takes Silas down off the middle rope with a diving Euro, cover but only 2. Finlay tags Tracy back in, who stays on Silas before tagging Haskins back in, and the work is grounded but fast and shifting as Haskins stomps the arm into the mat, covers and gets 2. Tag to Finlay who comes off with an axe-handle, but Silas fights back and tags in Taylor.
Taylor absorbs a shot from Finlay but Finlay ducks the return shot and uses speed to stay ahead of Taylor, and hits a running Euro off the ropes before Taylor just plows through Finlay. Bully tags himself in as Finlay is down and talks a ton of shit and then chops Juice for good measure and they go nose to nose. Juice asks for the tag, and Finlay complies. Bully and Juice face off as Bully talks more shit. Juice is stoic about it but focused. They lock up, headlock by Bully, Juice tries to whip Bully off but Bully holds on to the hair.
Juice tries to fight out, gets the whip but Bully runs him over, but Juice pops right back up and gets a headlock of his own. Whip by Bully, Bully gets Juice down again with a tackle and Bully talks more shit. Juice piefaces Bully, runs the ropes and takes down Bully with a flying clothesline! Right hand jabs by Juice by Bully blocks the Left Hand of God and sends Juice to Bully’s corner, but Juice fights them off and looks for a shot before Bully’s partners trip Juice and crotch him against the corner post.
Juice gets fed into a boot by Jay and dumped back in the ring for Bully, who has slowed things down. Tag to Silas, who takes control of Juice and whips him hard to the corner, covers but only gets 2. Silas talks shit, Juice fights back and gets Silas on the apron but Silas counters into the over the top stomp as Taylor gets the tag and chokes Juice. Juice rises but Taylor puts him back down with a slam and standing leg drop, cover but only 2. Tag to Jay, who lines up a boot to Juice. Euro by Jay sends Juice back, big headbutt lands and Jay follows up with a crush in the corner, snapmare and seated single leg dropkick with a cover for 2.
Mark tags in and he keeps Juice isolated, and stomps the mudhole. Chop by Mark is followed by a nice vertical suplex, cover again but still 2. Sleeper keeps Juice grounded, Juice fights back but Mark lands a Death Valley Bomb and climbs, but Juice gets the knees up to counter Froggy Bow! Juice looks for the tag and makes it to Finlay, but Bully distracted Todd Sinclair so he wouldnt see the tag and Team Bully beats down Juice before knocking Lifeblood off the apron. Nice heel heat from the crowd.
Jabs from Bully, looks for the Flip Flop and Fly but Juice cuts it off with a Harlem Sidekick! Lifeblood is still down at ringside, but suddenly BANDIDO appears, ribs taped and limping from last night, but he asks for the tag and gets it from Juice! Bandido fires up and takes out the Briscoes with some great lucha offense dumping them outside. Taylor in next and looks for a chokeslam but Bandido ranas him to the outsidee! Silas in, they face off but Bandido gets Silas set up for the 21-Plex which he lands beautifully! Bandido looks to climb and hits a huge moonsault off the top all the way to the floor taking out Team Bully! “Bandido” chants.
Bully is in the ring, Bandido climbs and lands an incredible corkscrew cross body and covers but Bully’s team breaks it up as Lifeblood comes in and a total brawl breaks out. Bandido and Bully face off in the ring, shots by Bandido but Bully catches him in a back drop, mocks Bandido and crushes him in the corner, looks for the Vader Bomb but Bandido moves! Finlay in and gets a big spear to take down Bully, Mark takes out Finlay but eats a Tracy missile dropkick. Mark gets the advantage back, but Tracy is able to snag the top turnbuckle DDT and a big lariat to floor Mark.
Silas in who lands a big knee and Anarchist Suplex to take out Tracy, but eats a pump knee from Haskins. Silas looks for the Plunge but Haskins moves and looks for the Sharpshooter, Silas counters but Haskins gets a Samoan Driver instead! Taylor in but Haskins gets the advantage, but Taylor gets control and gets a hard knee strike. Juice in next but he eats a Taylor headbutt, but evades a corner shot and nails Taylor with a cannonball! Jay in now, they trade jabs, Juice gets the advantage and nails the Left Hand of God!
Juice hits the ropes but Mark cuts the momentum off and looks to climb, but Tracy cuts him off as a brawl breaks out at ringside. Tracy climbs with Mark and looks for a suplex, and he gets a TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX ONTO EVERYONE AT RINGSIDE! “Holy shit” chants as Bully and Juice are inside, Juice lands a spinebuster and Bandido comes off the top with a Frog Splash, covers and gets the WIN for Lifeblood!
Lifeblood defeats Bully Ray, Silas Young, Shane Taylor & The Briscoes by pinfall after a Frog Splash
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was another strong main event for the 2nd night of the tour, with everyone getting a chance to shine, some distinct storytelling from Bully toward Lifeblood, a great odds-evening with Bandido who was still able to have a cool impact in the match, and a good variety and build in terms of pacing. I also like that Lifeblood is getting some main event attention from the perspective of what feels like a continued re-establishment of what made ROH ROH in the beginning, but updated for 2019. Bringing an evolved set of values in, which both feeds storyline potential between them and the heels in the company and takes advantage of the upcoming crop of talent in ROH, who would SHINE in that OG ROH approach. If I have one core criticism of the match its that while the pacing was smartly thought out, I do feel like a beat or two at least could have been cut from it, but as it stands everyone came off looking great as the war for ROH’s soul continues to build. Really great work all around here.
This was in my view another pretty successful stop on the Road to G1 tour, with strong showings in pretty much all of the matches overall, some good story progression along with Tag Wars continuing in intriguing fashion ESPECIALLY with the debut of MVP and the reformation (at least for now) of the Beat Down Clan, and a main event that capped things off very nicely on a high note. I am most intrigued to see what happens with King/MVP as we enter Tag Wars semis and finals, but it was good to see MVP as fired up as he came off to me here. There’s a passion that could be felt in the house across the board tonight, crowd and talent alike, and its really making this a fun tour so far. Plus Romero getting a TV Title shot is some high quality candy, and Villain Enterprises continues to be exciting on top, so color me satisfied.
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