(Apologies for another delay here – holidays and medical stuff collided at once. However, be sure to catch my coverage of the biggest event of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s year, WRESTLEKINGDOM, later this week! HAPPY NEW YEAR!)
Ring of Honor TV
Stage AE, Pittsburgh PA
Aired December 17, 2018
VIDEO PACKAGE: Xmas 10-Man Tag with Lethal & Taven
We open Xmas style with ROH World Champion Jay Lethal surrounded by Xmas-ness and talking about the suprise 10-man tag. He and Matt Taven are the team captains. Cut to Taven in a muted color filter, with a bat-holding TK and… hatchet… holding Vinny next to him. Taven says he has the only present he needs, his REAL ROH World Championship. He smashes the presents. That was a bit of silly fun, and Taven continues to grow on me.
Ian Riccobani, Colt Cabana and Caprice Coleman on commentary. They wear Xmas hats, with Colt wearing a poo emoji Xmas hat because of course he is.
TWISTED SISTERZ (Holidead & Thunder Rosa) vs DR. BRITT BAKER & MADISON RAYNE
We see footage of the Twisted Sisterz jumping Britt Baker and Madison Rayne on a previous episode. “Twisted Sisterz” chants from the crowd. I’m into Holidead’s shtick so far. Holidead looks to jump Baker early but Baker sees it coming and hits a superkick as we get the bell. Baker with shots to Thunder Rosa and dumps her, Rayne to the apron and takes both out with a crossbody.
Holidead back in but Rayne with roll ups for 1 counts and a 2 count. Rayne looks for a wheelbarrow rollup but Holidead plants her with a facebuster for 2. Holidead slams Rayne, tag to Rosa and a great double team senton for 2. Rosa beats down Rayne and hits a shot to Baker on the apron, and she hangs Rayne in the Tree of Woe. Another shot to Baker, distracting the ref and allowing the Sisterz a double team in the corner that takes us to BREAK.
We’re back and Rayne is mounting a comeback, hitting a cross body into a cover but gets only 2. Sisterz back in control, tag to Holidead who stomps the mudhole. Neckbreaker and a cover for 2, and pushes Baker before keeping Rayne grounded. Great tag team wrestling here, with Ian putting over their experience in Japan’s Stardom. Rayne with a jawbreaker and she gets the hot tag to Baker who gets a great sequence in, with Sling Blades to both Sisterz.
Rosa fights back but Baker hits a butterfly suplex and Rayne follows with a sliding clothesline, cover by Baker for 2. Baker and Rayne looks to double team but Holidead trips Rayne and pulls her out, hits an Irish Curse into a Rosa Backstabber into a Holidead flatliner for a great sequence. Assisted moonsault by the Sisterz, cover but Rayne breaks it up at 2. Rayne with shots to both Sisterz, but eats double elbows. Rayne follows with a double dropkick, enziguri to Holidead but gets STUFFED with a Pumphandle Driver by Rosa!
Baker with a kick to Rosa’s head, runs at Holidead but gets caught in a huge spinebuster. Holidead looks for an underhook but Baker reverses into a ripcord elbow, into a cutter by Rayne. Rosa blocks a Baker superkick and sends it into Rayne, taking her out. Holidead with a Go Home Driver on Baker and Rosa follows with a top rope double stomp to the back, Rosa covers and gets the 3 count and the WIN!
Twisted Sisterz defeat Dr. Britt Baker & Madison Rayne by pinfall after a Go Home Driver and double stomp to the back
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a GREAT women’s tag match, with all competitors looking strong both individually and as a unit. Twisted Sisterz look SUPER exciting as a team, and their experience as a team, charisma and passion for just god damn good tag team storytelling is readily apparent. Baker and Rayne also had some decent sequences together, and could be a formidable tag team, with the more experienced Rayne further elevating the already rising star of Baker. With the coming women’s tag division in WWE, this match shows some early promise for what such a division could look like in ROH.
VIDEO PACKAGE: More Lethal/Taven Silliness
We get more Xmas cheer and holiday gloom from our respective team captains. Lethal loves his gifts/team members, Taven calls each one of his a melvin. More silliness. Nothing more, nothing less.
2018 RECAP MOMENT: Jeff Cobb squashes Punishment Martinez
We see Cobb demolish Martinez and take the ROH TV Title in seconds. Cobb is the Future.
BACKSTAGE: Aaaaaand more Lethal/Taven Silliness
Lethal looks despondent, and Caprice comes up and asks him whats up. Lethal says every time he’s a team captain he gets Cheeseburger and hated it, and now he likes Burger and wants him but didnt get him. Caprice says there might be a Xmas present under the desk in front of him. Lethal finds a gift, Caprice says Merry Xmas and Lethal opens the gift… and its CHEESEEBURGER’S NAME! Lethal ceelebrates.
Elsewhere, Taven and his Kingdom are out of presents… but notice the stocking. Taven doesnt like surprises so he doesnt want to reach in. He does though, and opens the paper… and its another melvin. Sad Taven walks away sad, kicking a trashcan as he goes. Silliness ensues.
The Annual Christmas Surprise 10-Man Tag Team Match
MATT TAVEN, THE BOUNCERS, JONATHAN GRESHAM & MARTY SCURLL
JAY LETHAL, CHEESEBURGER, RHETT TITUS, VINNY MARSEGLIA & JEFF COBB
(In between the entrances we get flashbacks of Lethal winning the ROH Title again and SCU winning the Tag Titles.)
We get some early dissention on Taven’s side of things, Lethal calls for a time out and asks to trade Gresham for Vinny. They both want it but Todd Sinclair says no and Marty says no too. The sides argue for the trade and BCB says to stop arguing, ITS CHRISTMAS! “Christmas” chants. Marty gives a bunch of his holiday costumey stuff to the crowd at ringside, but Taven ruins the moment by wiping his butt with the Santa hat. Gresham starts for Taven, Lethal for his own side as we get the bell. “Merry Christmas” chants.
Handshake from Lethal and Gresham. Great counter grappling to start, but BCB tags himself in. BCB with a headlock on Lethal, and we get the “I aint got no teeth” line from him. Tackle takes Lethal down but Lethal comes back and hits big chops on BCB. Lethal misses the middle rope dropkick as BCB sidesteps, but is able to get the hiptoss and cartwheel dropkick as we go to BREAK. (At the end of the break we get another flashback, this one of Sumie Sakai becoming the first ever Women of Honor Champion.)
We’re back and Taven is in to face off with Lethal. Taven asks for Burger. We get “Cheeseburger” chants. Lethal tags him in as Taven mocks him. Burger has none of it. Taven then tags in Brian Milonas. Lethal asks to get tagged back in, but Burger says he’s got it. More chants. Burger looks for a headlock but Milonas picks him up and carries him around. Milonas misses Burger in the corner, Burger using his speed to keep Milonas running and losing energy.
Titus suddenly comes in and looks to suplex Milonas, but cant get him up. He asks Burger, a rival of his, to help, but they still cant do it. BCB and Marty in, and they get Titus and Burger over. Vinny gets the tag from Burger and comes in with the hatchet as Marty takes the tag from Milonas. Marty turns around and stops dead when faced with the hatchet. He asks for a weapon, but is thrown a candy cane. Then he gets his umbrella.
Vinny and Marty circle each other, but then Marty tags in Taven. Taven gets in and they touch base in the center. Vinny goes to tag out but everyone drops down and wont tag him! Taven looks to tag out… and HIS TEAM DOES THE SAME THING! The teammates chant for them to fight and the crowd joins in. Taven and Vinny criss cross the ring and then slide out and start brawling with their opposing teams. Nicely executed sequence of story there. Everything is breaking down at ringside. Everyone piles together as BCB climbs and hits a BIG crossbody from the top to the floor, wiping out everyone except Taven who stepped aside as we go to BREAK.
We’re back as Vinny looks to dive, Lethal in and superkicks Vinny but then remembers that Vinny is HIS TEAMMATE! OH NOOOOO! Lethal gives Vinny an Xmas present to make up for it as Taven comes up behind him and clocks him in the mouth. Everyone starts repopulating the ring and Taven whips his teammates into Lethal in the corner. He tries to whip Gresham, Gresham doesnt want to so Taven kicks him to do it, but Gresham reverses and whips Taven instead. Lethal moves, and the teams break down as Vinny and Lethal go at it.
Lethal whips Vinny into Taven in the corner, and then gets the train going with his own team with everyone crushing Taven. Cobb waistlocks Taven on his knees as Lethal and Titus hit low dropkicks to Taven’s head, then deadlifts him up and holds him for a Burger SHOTEI!, before dumping him with a German suplex! They all pile on for the cover, but Gresham jumps on to break it up at 2!
Tag from Taven to BCB who floors Lethal with a lariat. Titus hits BCB with a nice dropkick, but Milonas catches him in a decent looking Black Hole Slam. Cobb picks up Milonas (!!!!!), but Marty pushes Milonas over on top of Cobb! WHAT A VILLAIN! Tilt-a-whirl Russian legsweep by Vinny on Marty, Gresham floors him with an Asai Moonsault before eating a Burger SHOTEI!
Taven DDTs Burger but Lethal in and snags him in a Lethal Injection before getting crushed by a Milonas crossbody. Cobb in and hits a PUMPHANDLE SUPLEX ON MILONAS OH MY GOD! BCB in but gets caught in Tour of the Islands, Cobb covers and gets the 3 and the WIN for Team Lethal!
Team Lethal defeats Team Taven by pinfall after Jeff Cobb hits Beer City Bruiser with Tour of the Islands
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was exactly what it was meant to be, fun showcase of some of ROH’s best talent. And in being that, it delivered. The crowd was into just having a run time with it, everyone got a chance to get either some great action or some great storytelling in, with nods to continuing storylines and a satisfying finish from someone who I think ROH also is viewing as a future top guy in Jeff Cobb. Meanwhile, however, Taven and Lethal is making for some great current top guy stuff, and the future is looking pretty dang exciting. Here’s to 2019.