Ring of Honor TV
Aired on Fite TV 1/14/19
2300 Arena, Philadelphia PA
We go right to the action with Ian Riccobani, Colt Cabana and Caprice Coleman on commentary, who also run down the night’s card.
TRACY WILLIAMS vs ZACK SABRE, JR.
Part of me cant believe they are opening an episode of TV with a pair up that could also easily already by closer to the main event – these are two of my absolute favorites technically speaking and have once again raised the ROH roster bar, specifically in the direction of classic ROH style. ZSJ provokes Tracy right away. ZSJ chants, though there were also some “Hot Sauce” ones before for Tracy. No Code of Honor and we get the bell.
Grappling to start off, lots of counter wrestling with neither one able to get a solid grip. Tracy grounds ZSJ with the arm, but ZSJ kips up and we get another standoff. They keep toying with each other, Tracy looks for a cravate, snapmares ZSJ and then just steps back and forth on the ankles before wrenching it. ZSJ tries to escape but Tracy with a GREAT counter into an Indian Death Lock. ZSJ finally escapes and gets a rollup but only 2 on Tracy.
Tracy with a rollup of his own for 2, and looks for his crossface but ZSJ escapes into a headlock. They run the ropes but ZSJ catches Tracy’s leg and works the ankle, then picks Tracy up across the knees into a bow and arrow. Tracy reverses into an armbar attempt, each reverse with Tracy trying a cover but ZSJ as out and we get a standoff again as we go to BREAK.
We’re back and its still even. ZSJ gets arm control and grounds Tracy, but Tracy fires back with a LOUD chop to the chest that drops ZSJ. ZSJ comes back and keeps working the arm, and lays in kicks before returning to the arm. Tracy hoists ZSJ but cant keep him up, but instead dumps him with a Saito suplex! Tracy gets some distance and hits a running line in the corner followed by a nice Death Valley Driver! Cover, but only 2.
HUGE forearm from Tracy on ZSJ. ZSJ looks for the arm again but eats another forearm, Tracy keeps on ZSJ but ZSJ gets an abdominal stretch. Roll through by ZSJ into a Calf Crusher, twisting the ankle and working the hand! ZSJ rolls into another leglock, but Tracy snatches the arm and gets the cross armber! ZSJ looks to reverse to a triangle but Tracy gets a Cloverleaf and sits it down! ZSJ reaches for the ropes but Tracy keeps him away until ZSJ gets a cradle for a close 2!
Euro by ZSJ, forearm from Tracy and both are down. Chop from Tracy when they get back up, ZSJ pie faces him and eats another, Euro combo from ZSJ but Tracy with a backslide attempt into a piledriver, ZSJ kicks the arm to reverse, eats another Tracy chop but goes to the arm once again. ZSJ blocks Tracy’s strikes but Tracy lands a discus lariat hard for 2! “Hot Sauce” and “Sabre” chants. Tracy looks for the piledriver again, but ZSJ gets the octopus! Tracy looks for the ropes, but ZSJ grabs the other arm back into Hurrah Another Year Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All To Happiness and Tracy taps!
Zack Sabre, Jr defeats Tracy Williams by submission with Hurrah Another Year Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All To Happiness
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
I was curious about how they were going to approach this match as an episode opener between two people who the crowd knew in spite of their relative newness to ROH, and who could deliver an epic 20+ minute match any day of the week. So in a way, I was expecting this to be an “appetizer” of sorts of an exhibition match, and that feels like exactly what we got here, which I think was ultimately a smart move. They banked on the crowd knowing both of them, and they are both fresh to ROH, so the decision to let them go toe to toe was the right call. ZSJ is one of the most electric performers today full stop, and Tracy showed why he is going to be one to watch here in 2019, with incredible technical ability along with the right kind of aggression for this stage in his journey (LOVE the ankle stomps, that should be a signature here). This is one of those matches that shows me just what ROH is capable of if they can get their overall storytelling/scheduling act together more.
BACKSTAGE: Bruiser Confronts Silas
We are backstage and BCB catches Silas Young backstage and gets in his face about their history together, and says Silas won’t talk to him anymore. Silas says to calm down, but BCB says they have to fight each other next week and he doesnt want to fight his friend. Silas says they were never friends, and that BCB cant hang with Silas in the ring. Short, sweet, to the point and exactly what it needed to be.
PROMO: The Briscoes
Jay Briscoe is on the mic and talks about winning Ladder War and being 10x ROH Tag Team champs, and talks about SCU invoking the rematch clause. Mark takes the mic and says its going to be SCU’s Cause of Death. Nice little promo from two of ROH’s all time greats.
TWISTED SISTERZ vs DR. BRITT BAKER & MADISON RAYNE
This has the potential to be pretty good, as Baker and Rayne have been looking great and I really enjoyed the Sisterz work last time they were on TV. (I also just love their shtick and how they are playing it.) Holidead holds the smaller Thunder Rosa back, as she starts off with Rayne and we get the bell. Holidead plays mindgames with the lockup, Rayne takes a shot and tries the test of strength but Holidead has the advantage. Rayne works back up, looks for a monkey flip but Holidead plants but Rayne gets a rollup for 2, another one for 2, victory roll for 2 and a headlock.
Tag to Baker who grounds Holidead with a clothesline as Rayne drops Rosa, cover by Baker but only 2. Nice tag wrestling there. Baker runs the ropes around Holidead and gets a Sling Blade, cover but only 2. Baker stays on Holidead but Rosa grabs the hair, allowing Holidead to get advantage with a boot and a cover for 2. Nice leg drop from Holidead, cover again but still 2. Tag to Rosa, slam from Holidead and an assisted moonsault from Rosa on Baker, cover but Baker out at 2. Rosa with a chinlock as we go to BREAK.
We’re back and Holidead is back in with Baker, hits shots against the ropes and looks to whip but Baker holds on and fires back with forearms before eating a clothesline from Holidead. Baker gets hoisted but fights back and glances her with a superkick and both are down. Tags on both sides, Rayne in hot with chops and shots to take down Rosa. Looks for a Northern Lights but Rosa puts her in the corner and gets a nice shot herself, but Rayne hits the Cutter and tags in Baker. Rosa slides out of the ring and Holidead drops both Baker and Rayne, Chokebreaker by Holidead followed by a Backstabber by Rosa on Baker, cover but Baker is able to get out at 2!
Rosa and Holidead lick Baker and look for a double team, but Rosa dropkicks Holidead by mistake, Rosa tries to stay on Baker but Baker hits a ripcord elbow, enziguri from Rayne and a pumphandle flapjack suplex from Baker, cover on Rosa and thats the 3 count and the WIN!
Dr. Britt Baker & Madison Rayne defeat Twisted Sisterz by pinfall after a Pumphandle Flapjack Suplex by Baker
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
This was a decent little outing that showcased both Twisted Sisterz (whose shtick I continue to love although their ring work just needs a touch more precision and rigor), along with further establishing a tag team repore between Baker and Rayne which I think was fairly successful. They looked good and meshed their styles well together as a team, which allowed for some nice storytelling along the way with the fascinating pair of Holidead and Rosa. I really hope they continue to invest in this direction, because just with these two teams right here, I’m already more interested overall in a Womens Tag division here than anywhere else really right now. (I want the WWE ones to be successful, I just dont trust their storytelling to pull it off right…) And Twisted Sisterz didnt lose much in defeat here – lets keep this momentum going in the ROH Women’s division please.
VIDEO PACKAGE: The Elite’s Final Match
We get an ad for the Honor Club broadcast of The Elite’s final match and the jump by Bully Ray’s team of misfits. Its an ad.
Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship
SO-CAL UNCENSORED vs THE BRISCOES (c)
Kaz brings in a chair before the bell, taking a page from the Briscoes, and things have broken down right off the bat as both teams are just throwing chairs at each other. The Briscoes stalk ringside as Sky is in for SCU, and Jay comes in to start but immediately tags in Mark. Mark then tags in Jay, as the Briscoes try to play mind games. Jay goes for it but Sky fires right back, but Jay puts him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Jay brings Sky into his corner and tags Mark, who stays on Sky.
Big chop from Mark takes Sky down, tag to Jay but Sky fights back and gets a stomp to Jay’s back before eating a shot from Mark, who covers for a 2 count. Sky remains in the Briscoe corner, as Jay is in and takes control, landing a big headbutt. Tag to Mark who comes over the top with a stomp to the gut, cover but still 2. Mark hits a nice vertical suplex as “Man Up” chants begin. Tag to Jay, tag back to Mark, and they hit a double team boot to Sky’s head, cover but only 2.
Tag to Jay as Sky fights back, they trade shots but Sky hits a GREAT knee to the face and a neckbreaker to drop Jay! SKY. IS. TALENT. Tag on both sides and Kaz is on fire with shots, a great neckbreaker on Mark, springboard Codebreaker to Jay and a headstand dropkick in the corner to Mark. Jay cuts Kaz off, but Kaz catches both Briscoes with a stunner/DDT combo, covers Mark but gets only 2. Kaz stays on Mark, gets both Briscoes at ringside and Sky comes flying over the top with a BEAUTIFUL top con hilo as we go to BREAK.
We are back and Sky gets taken out at ringside as Mark catches Kaz off the top with a huge uranage suplex, and the Briscoes take back control hard. Tag to Jay, Rude Awakening on Kaz, cover but only 2. Kaz hits Jay with a great backstabber, bouncing him into a cutter by Sky but only gets 2 off of it. Tag to Sky, but Jay and Mark fight back. Sky with a knee to Mark, Kaz gets a cutter on Mark and they hit a double team tornado DDT on Jay but still only gets 2. “SCU” chants.
Jay goes for Kaz’s eyes while Todd Sinclair’s back is turned, Mark gives Jay a chair but Sky intercepts, SCU takes control and they hit the Rock Bottom/Backstabber combo, they cover but Mark pulls Todd out at 2! Kaz gets Mark with the over the top rana on the floor, but Todd gets wiped out. “Yes” chants from the Philly crowd as Jay brings in the chair and cracks it across Sky’s back. Kaz blocks a chair shot but Mark gets one of his own, the Briscoes bring Kaz back in and line him up for the Doomsday Device but SCU counters and Kaz rolls up Jay but theres no ref! Another comes in but Jay is out at 2.
Sky takes it to Jay but Jay snatches him into the Jay Driller, but Sky rolls to the side. Jay charges Kaz but Kaz evades, Jay fights back and looks for a superplex, hitting it off the top rope, and Mark comes off the top with Froggy Bow, covers but only gets 2 for a decent crowd pop as they were DEFINITELY expecting the finish there. “SCU” chants. Kaz spits at them and fights back, but Sky is still out. Kaz keeps fighting, landing big shots until Mark gets him in the corner, hoists him up and the Briscoe’s hit Redneck Boogie, cover on Kaz and thats the 3 count and the WIN.
The Briscoes defeat SCU by pinfall after Redneck Boogie to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championships
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a fun title match to close out the show, not nearly on the level of their battles in the past but the purpose of this was to give a final button to the feud as SCU leaves for AEW, and while a more epic sendoff would have been enjoyable, they also sort of had it at Final Battle… though then I do question this match as it made it feel unnecessarily anti-climactic by comparison. Its like, a “the story ended… and then it kept going”, sort of thing. But these are 4 reliable talents who delivered a fun match that got the crowd invested, built on some nice story elements and nearfalls, and further established the Briscoes as GOAT in the tag division which I’m fine with as SCU moves elsewhere. Nice work all around to cap off the episode.
IN-RING SEGMENT: The Villian Is Here
We get Marty’s opening package, which is still one of the greatest entrance packages today. Marty takes the mic, as the crowd chants for him. Marty needs the ROH title soon. Marty says he wants to discuss the elephant in the room. Whats next for Marty Scurll? Marty says he feels like he’s been beating around the bush here. For the longest time, he’s been the top guy here in ROH. (Pop from the crowd.) So its time that he takes the top prize. When he won Survival of the Fittest he won the right to call himself #1 contender. He made his intention clear by confronting Jay Lethal.
And with that, we get The Kingdom’s music and they all come out, with Taven sporting his REAL ROH World Championship. Taven runs down Marty and calls him foolish. Jay Lethal is NOT the champ, HE is the ROH World Champ, because HEEEEE’S Matt Taven. Taven says he’s been waiting for this moment a long time, because Marty doesnt have a friend in the world. He has no backup and is surrounded by a Kingdom. The Kingdom gets the ring and backs up Marty. Marty says he can make new friends, and the lights go out… AND BRODY KING IS IN THE RING! The lights go out again… we get some electricity on the screen… AND PCO IS IN THE RING!
A brawl breaks out between the two teams, as PCO takes out TK, and Brody hits a SICK Ganzo Piledriver on Vinny! PCO climbs, and takes out The Kingdom with a moonsault off the top to the floor! HE’S NOT HUMAN! “PCO” chants as Marty and his new friends take the ring. Marty grabs the mic and says “Welcome to Villain Enterprises!” The commentary team runs down next week’s card as VE stands tall and the episode ends. This was a really nice debut for Villain Enterprises, and GOD these three are such an exciting unit (PCO IS HERE!!!)… but I also have further thoughts below…
As an episode in and of itself, this was a great first episode back from Honor Reigns Supreme. In a way, it felt like an episode that set some of the tone for ROH in 2019 – a fresh feel with new talent that hearkens back to classic ROH days, some established stars showing why they are current main eventers while a new crop of challengers begins to level up, a burgeoning and exciting Women’s Division and more. I feel like my appetite is thoroughly whetted, which carried through all the way to the end with Villain Enterprises. So all in all, I really enjoyed this episode of Ring of Honor on TV. PCO has my full attention lately, and I especially cannot wait for more from Tracy Williams and ZSJ, and I wonder if Tracy might be the right fit for a second-coming-of-Bryan-Danielson sort of vibe… he and Gresham will have to compete for that, and thats not a bad thing at ALL!
I’d be remiss if I didnt mention that this episode sort of illustrated a point I alluded to in some of my other recent reporting, specifically the issue of spoiling Villain Enterprises. They were already on Honor Reigns Supreme. So this debut – which taken on its own was pretty strong – is robbed of impact and meaning because they are no longer “new” within the larger ROH storytelling (which, tapings or not, is still ultimately linear storytelling – I should be able to watch episodes and PPV’s in order and get a single stream of story, and thats not what is happening.) ROH spoiled PCO and Brody King debuting from an audience perspective. And this is where ROH needs to calibrate their stuff, or at least decide how they want to treat their audience. Because this kind of planning only makes ANY kind of sense if they basically say “well, our TV audience isnt watching Honor Reigns Supreme, so it doesnt matter.” Which a) I dont think anyone there is consciously thinking (enough other, better decisions get made), b) means that you are guaranteeing that your audience who IS following ALL of ROH’s programming is getting jerked around by the story, and c) doesnt necessarily encourage audience members who are only partially following the product to invest further, because the storytelling becomes confusing to follow. Its bad storytelling, and given that tapings are done in advance, something that can be planned for alongside the PPV events. HIRE A DRAMATURG. THIS IS THEIR JOB. I’M STILL AVAILABLE. ROH has the sheer potential to be so much better than this on their story front.