Apologies for the delays on the next couple of reviews – as mentioned in a previous report, my life outside of this has been particularly busy in unexpected ways, and I’m working to catch up. Appreciate your patience! -Jay
ROH GLORY BY HONOR 2018
UMBC Event Center
2nd largest crowd for a Baltimore Sad to see so many empty seats in the raised seating levels… I fear that this is in part a result of some real build problems post-DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, given the TV show not really syncing up AT ALL. A shame.
Ian Riccobani and Colt Cabana on commentary, they start by running down the card, which takes us to…
SHANE TAYLOR vs HANGMAN PAGE
HUGE chants for Page at the start, as Taylor gets right in Page’s face to talk shit. Page trys to offer the handshake but Taylor laughs and spits in his hand. The bell rings and Page comes at Taylor hot. Taylor throws him off but Page hits a sharp boot, another is caught by Taylor who sends Page to the corner. Page counters and stomps the mudhole, and the crowd is loving it. Taylor misses a clothesline and Page hits a chop, looks to run the ropes but Taylor grabs the trunks and hits a big lariat to the back of Page’s head, slowing Page down.
Taylor puts Page in the corner as the crowd chants for Page, who eats a big forearm and chop from Taylor. Taylor teases a chop but takes a cheap mocking shot to Page who fires back before eating another shot from Taylor. Page reverses into a dump of Taylor to the outside, Taylor misses a dive though and eats another forearm on the apron. Taylor hits a Tower of London stunner while Page is hung on the top rope, but only gets 2. Taylor keeps looking more and more focused.
They trade shots but Taylor gets the upper hand in the brawl again, with another hard shot to the jaw in the corner. Taylor chokes Page in the corner, saying “where the Bucks at now? Where’s Cody at now?” Page fights again, ducks one clothesline but eats a HUGE one on the other side from Taylor, cover but only 2. Taylor lines Page up and hits a 300 pound cannonball, and Page is out. Taylor goes for a legdrop on the apron but Page moves, Taylor is outside and Page hits him with a big suicide dive, then another, and then climbs up top and hits the moonsault onto Taylor from the top to the floor. The crowd pops, “ROH” chants.
Page tosses Taylor back in, climbs again and hits a cross body for 2. Go behind by Page but Taylor gets out, Page reverses a suplex but his superkick gets caught and he eats a headbutt and uranage from Taylor, big splash into a cover but Page is out at 2. Paintbrushes from Taylor and another forearm, but Page is getting fired back up with each one. The crowd is feeling it. Page asks for more and gets ROCKED. Taylor’s forearm is becoming a great weapon for him. Page to the apron and Taylor tells the front row to move and runs the ropes, but Page in with the Buckshot Lariat for 2!
Taylor back up but Page hits a forearm, slap from Taylor in reply. Slap, rolling elbow and superkick on Taylor, looks for Rite of Passage but Taylor is too big, and Taylor hits 2 big knees. He then hits Page with a pop-up into a powerbomb, and looks to climb the corner. Page gets up and lands a powerbomb on his own out of the corner, and then gets Taylor up and lands Rite of Passage for the 3 count and the WIN!
Hangman Page defeats Shane Taylor by pinfall after Rite of Passage
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
Really solid opener for the show, with great urgency and focus show by both. Page is coming into his own as a total star, and I also cant help but be paying more and more attention to Shane Taylor and the work he is doing on both his ring work and his persona and attitude in the ring. He’s found a great deal of honesty in his hard brawler, fight anyone point of view that keeps getting more and more anchored with each time he goes out there, and he’s found a great striking game that allows him to really manipulate pace effectively and keep a sense of aggression and forward momentum even in the slower moments. I just respect the work Taylor is doing to up his game with every opportunity, and the connection both he and Page were able to create elevated this match, also feeding off a hot crowd out of the gate. Good work by all.
THE KINGDOM (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan) vs KENNY KING & FLIP GORDON
Kingdom out first. Flip then comes out, and Kenny King’s video and music hits… but no one enters… Ian and Colt start asking about where he is, where they might have seen him… but the THE KINGDOM STRIKES and takes out Flip from behind with a double team. Vinny does his crazy thing with Flip on the ground, then picks up Flip and order Todd Sinclair to ring the bell, which he does. We now have a handicap match.
Flip is put in the corner and TK in with a chop, tags in Vinny who stomps the head. Vinny slides up to Flip to talk trash, but Flip starts firing back with shots. Whips Vinny to the ropes but Vinny counters into a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Flip back into the Kingdom’s corner for a tag to TK and a double team suplex, as TK plays to the crowd. European uppercut puts Flip down again, followed by a second, and a third against the ropes before Vinny gets the tag. Flip fights both opponents off, but Vinny lands a kick. Flip keeps the fight on though and is able to outsmart the Kingdom and land a big pele on Vinny. Runs the ropes, but TK hits a powerslam and Vinny comes off the top with a headbutt for a 2 count. I LOVE VINNY’S SHTICK.
All of the sudden, Cheeseburger runs down and joins Flip as his partner, which Todd allows! Flip looks for the tag but Kingdom cuts Flip off, looks for the new double team but Flip… flips… out of it and hits a bit superkick on TK and another on Vinny, fires up and gets the tag! Burger in and takes out both with a springboard crossbody and chops to the chests of the Kingdom, and takes them both down with a double dropkick! Burger is fired up! Corner to corner forearms and a tornado DDT to Vinny off of TK’s chest! He loads up SHOTEI!, but TK blocks it and The Kingdom hits House of a Thousand Horses (the new finisher) on Burger for the 3 count and the WIN!
The Kingdom defeats Flip Gordon & Cheeseburger by pinfall after House of a Thousand Horses
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This really didnt have much behind it as a match, which ended up being fine since the main stories ended up being about Kenny King’s further descent into self-centered heeldom and continuing the build for The Kingdom, and they pulled off both along with a nice sequence by Cheeseburger. Is it just me, or could they be building a bit of a team based on the people Bully Ray has bullied? Cheeseburger, Flip… and maybe Gresham next? That would be one way to tie some of the disparate threads around Bully together… Kingdom continued to look strong and connected with their characters, Flip got some of his stuff in and Cheeseburger really looked good with the run-down attempted save. Nothing revelatory, but a solid match that accomplished what it needed to.
After the match, Caprice Coleman joins the commentary booth.
ELI ISOM vs JEFF COBB
Eli Isom comes out with Ryan Nova, another new face around ROH. Cobb out next with his newly won ROH TV title belt. Cobb looks GREAT in this setting and with that gold around his waist. He feels like an evolution of what Samoa Joe was able to create here back in the day, but also with a presence, skillset and moveset that is all his own. Chants for Jeff Cobb.
Code of Honor is adhered to, which is interested given Cobb’s history of DESTROYING FOLKS. But then again, I sort of love that – his path of destruction wasnt personal, he just did what he needed to do to “win” the Top Prospect Tournament. Bell rings and Eli doesnt back down from Cobb. Isom takes it right him and tries for a whip, but Cobb plants himself. Isom keeps the fight on and hits a nice dropkick to back up Cobb. Cobb elevates Isom to the apron, and Isom lands a springboard dropkick that does not take down Cobb, who gets a reversal into an INCREDIBLE belly to belly suplex. Isom in the corner but Cobb biels him out BIG TIME.
Cobb stays on Isom with a forearm and chop in the corner that crumples Isom. The crowd is with him as he just THROWS Isom out of the corner again. Cobb sits Isom on top and looks for a superplex from the middle, stalls with him and plays to the crowd before landing him hard. Cover but only 2, followed up by a beautiful standing moonsault for another 2. More Cobb chants. Isom fights up but eats a headbutt from Cobb. Cobb lifts him up but Isom out of it, looks to come off the middle but Cobb stops him with a high dropkick! Cobb climbs and looks for the stalling superplex again, Isom goes behind and looks for a powerbomb, cant get him down but evades a shot from Cobb and hits a kick to the back of Cobb’s knee, putting him off the ropes and dumping him to the mat. Isom is super promising as a babyface.
Isom runs the ropes in interesting fashion before hitting a flip over neckbreaker, stays on Cobb and looks for a suplex. Cobb drops weight though and looks for a clothesline, but Isom hits an enziguri before eating a BIG Cobb lariat that stops the momentum. Cobb follows up with Tour of the Islands and the cover for 3 and the WIN.
Jeff Cobb defeats Eli Isom by pinfall after Tour of the Islands
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
A solid showing for 2 next generation ROH talents, one of whom who has enough street cred to wear the TV title out of the gate and the other who is a promising longer-term prospect. The crowd was invested in this one because of Cobb and the ring work of both, which was needed given that the match didnt have much story behind it beyond Cobb’s crashing of Top Prospect. They used it as an opportunity to simply create more buzz for the upcoming crop of talent, and it worked out pretty well. Cobb is insanely good, and has the crowd in the palm of his hand just from his sheer focus and athleticism – he sort of doesnt need anything else. And Isom is absolutely one to watch, I have a really great feeling about his future. A solid outing that did its job well.
After the match, Cobb pulls him up and extends his hand, shakes with both Isom and Nova.
THE BOUNCERS vs ROH World Tag Team Champions THE BRISCOES
The commentary discuss The Bouncers getting abandoned by Silas Young and the possibility of that changing the mentality of the team. The Briscoes are out second – I still dont know how I feel about the new music and entrance. I see what they are going for, and the Briscoes make it work and are great heel champs, but they are almost going for a Punishment Martinez effect which isnt quite their characters to me. Briscoes say “we aint shaking shit”, as the crowd chants for Briscoes – heels or not, The Bouncers dont have much going for them right now so it makes sense.
Bell rings and Mark and Milonas start us off. The lock up, with Milonas using his power and size to put Mark into the corner. Mark takes the fight right to Milonas though before getting backed into the corner again, but Mark is able to use his speed to stagger Milonas and tag Jay. They double team Milonas to the outside, with Jay holding Milonas for a Mark dropkick through the ropes. Jay lures BCB over which allows Mark to hit a rolling senton off the apron. The Briscoes keep The Bouncers on their heels outside, getting the brawling and double team advantage.
Milonas is back in the ring with Jay, who hits a headbutt that sends Milonas back into the corner. Tag to Mark who hits a series of chops and shots in the corner, and then bites the forehead before landing a corner dropkick. Jay in and they go for a double suplex but Milonas is too big. They keep the fight on, but BCB trips up Mark and Milonas hits a clothesline on Jay in the ring, getting the momentum back.
Tag to BCB who hits an assisted dropkick for 2 on Jay. BCB returns the biting favor, but Colt notes that BCB has no teeth, which BCB then confirms! Tag to Milonas and they keep Jay in the corner for some rear-end squashes. Quick tag to BCB who keeps the pressure on, telling Jay to “man up” and hitting a shot to the jaw. BCB hits a Vader Bomb Elbow and covers, but Mark breaks it up at 2. “Lets go Briscoes” chants from the crowd as BCB slows it down and Colt makes a Fast And The Furious joke.
Jay starts fighting back, slugging it out with BCB, hits some big shots and takes BCB off his feet before tagging Mark. Mark lights up BCB, uses speed to avoid some BCB offense and hits a Russian legsweep, but only 2. Twisting elbow from Mark keeps BCB down. Tag to Jay who lays in headbutts and then stomps the mudhole in his own corner. Tag to Mark who tries to suplex BCB, BCB tries to reverse but Mark gets a choke on him. BCB is able to turn it into a backpack stunner, and both look for tags which they both get.
Milonas in off the “warm” tag (thank you Colt for a term for a “hot tag” coupled with some slow movement), who slugs it out with Jay. Jay gets strikes in but Milonas squashes him with a running crossbody. Mark takes him down with a shot from behind but BCB catches him with a Velveteen Dream-style DDT, and not a bad one, crumpling up Mark with it. Milonas is up and tags BCB back in, BCB up top but Mark and Jay throw Milonas into the corner and crotch BCB. The Briscoes look for a double superplex, but Milonas gets both of them on his shoulders and we get a Tower of Doom that takes everyone out. “Briscoes” chants.
Jay is the first one up and he keeps the fight on, tag to Mark but Milonas breaks up the double team. Mark fights off Milonas and BCB, but The Bouncers are able to hit that middle rope Death Sentence, covers but Jay breaks it up at 2. Jay gets momentum back, and he and Mark HIT THE DOUBLE SUPLEX ON BRIAN MILONAS! Jay hits his hard neckbreaker on BCB and Mark comes off the top with Froggy Bow, cover and a 3 count and the WIN.
The Briscoes defeat The Bouncers by pinfall after Froggy Bow
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5
I mean, this was fine. The Briscoes are relaible as hell, bringing great fire, execution and focus and just being SO over. BCB continues to improve his game, and his POV is very clear as a character. Milonas… I just dont know what he’s bringing to the table yet other than sheer size. Which is fine, but… its 2018, so we’ve seen it before and its not enough. He needs to find something super specific as an angle, or a frame for his ring-work (see Shane Taylor developing his striking game), or he just sort of fades away. I dont care that he’s a bigger wrestler and a slow mover, its about how you use what you have, and I dont see him or creative really using what he has more than just “he’s BCB’s partner and they are a giant-sized tag team”. I just dont get anything interesting from him, and for me that was a big issue, as well as this match feeling like it lasted way longer than it needed to for me. Like I said, fine. But nothing special.
After the match, The Bouncers offer the Briscoes beers, and they accept. “Beer!” chants, and everyone departs respectfully. Which, an interesting moment of bonding between heels, I guess?
VIDEO PACKAGE: Hero versus Villain III
We get a video package before the match with words from Scurll. He says he’s been stuck in this story of superhero vs supervillain. He calls Helms’ victory a fluke, and while he was here to rejuvinate his career, Scurll is ending it tonight. Long live The Villain. LONG LIVE THE VILLAIN. Nothing special as a package, I just adore Scurll.
“HURRICANE” SHANE HELMS vs “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL
This is the rubber match after splitting two previous ones. Helms is out first. Scurll’s video and music hit (GOD I LOVE THIS ENTRANCE), crowd with “woot woot”s, and out comes Marty in full regalia and mask. His jacket reads “Villain Enterprises” on the back. Bobby Cruise is about to make the announcement… when suddenly someone jumps Helms in the ring. The lights come on full.. AND ITS MARTY SCURLL! THE GUY ON STAGE WAS HANGMAN PAGE IN DISGUISE! WHAT A VILLAIN!!!
Marty beats down Helms and takes him outside, whipping him to the barricade. Marty keeps the offense on hard, and the crowd is totally for Scurll. The ref tries to get the action into the ring and Marty finally tosses Helms back in. The bell sounds and Marty covers but only gets 2 on Helms. “Woot woot” chants and Helms starts to fight back, taking down Marty before eating a European uppercut and heading outside, where Marty lands the apron superkick. He takes too much time though and Helms gets Marty under the bottom rope and hits Eye of the Hurricane on the floor while hung on the apron! (Nice.) Helms with chops on the outside and rolls Marty back in.
Helms with a nice arm-trap knee facebreaker, covers but only 2. Helms then looks for a submission, working over Marty’s legs. Helms is showing that his moveset is still evolving after all this time. Marty struggles but reaches the ropes to break it. Marty to the apron, Helms grabs him but Marty reverses and hits a neckbreaker over the middle rope. Marty back in with a neckbreaker and a bottom rope decapitator, working over the neck of Helms.
Marty slows things down but keeps the pressure on, locking in a cravate. Helms fights out, but Marty lays in knees to the face and follows with a headscissors. Looks for another neckbreaker, but Helms takes Marty down with a lariat. Helms fires back up and lays in shots to Marty, whip to the corner bounces Marty out who then eats a Helms clothesline. He picks Marty up and hits an invertes Unprettier, covers but only 2. Helms looks for a suplex but cant get it, but gets Eye of the Hurricane again in the ring, covers but Marty kicks out at 2.
Helms climbs but Marty cuts him off and looks for a top rope superplex and HITS IT, but both try for small packages and both get only 2. Marty up and hits a superkick to a seated Helms. European uppercuts to Helms, Helms looks to fight back but Marty reverses into the chickenwing, Helms fights back but almost gets whipped into referee Paul Turner, who gets taken out by Marty instead! Marty doesnt miss a beat and looks for a lariat, but Helms gets the chokeslam! Covers but the ref is out!
Helms looks for Vertebreaker, but Marty hits a low blow and the Ghostbuster, and then calls to the back where a new ref comes down, counts but only gets 2. Marty picks up Helms’ title belt, which the ref takes as Helms looks for another chokeslam. Marty tries to reverse and both men just throttle each other. The ref tries to intervene but gets a double chokeslam for his trouble as Helms and Marty start brawling. Paul Turner is back up and calls the match, ending it in a No Contest.
Marty Scurll and Shane Helms ends in a No Contest after ref bumps and brawling.
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5
Ok, I know theres some issues with this story, a lot of people arent feeling it and I share the question of using Scurll in this way right now. But the crowd ate this up, and as someone who remembers vividly Shane Helms taking the spotlight toward the end of WCW, I share their enthusiasm. And Helms still has it, still locked in and innovative and charismatic as hell. And Scurll is just one of the best, period. I dont know that it needed this result, I dont think we need a 4th match, and the ref bump cheapened the thing after a really cool opening. But it did what it needed to do and had the crowd fired up at the end.
Afterward, “Let them fight” chants from the crowd as security separates the two, though each are able to break away and jump at the other before being separated. Hangman Page is down to help Marty, and they clear the security from the ring. Helms looks at both Marty and Page, and decides to tackle Page down. They fight back however, laying big shots into Helms and taunting with the crowd. Page holds Helms as Marty unmasks Helms and they leave with the mask as Helms looks despondent. “Hurricane” chants from the crowd.
Madison Rayne joins the commentary team for the upcoming Women of Honor tag team match.
JENNY ROSE & STELLA GREY vs SUMIE SAKAI & DR. BRITT BAKER
Handshakes as the Code of Honor is adhered to. Bell rings and Baker and Rose start off and lock up. Baker gets control and locks in a headlock, though Jenny slips out and they trade wrestling holds with some nice counter work. Rose is looking improved here, getting the best of an exchange and tagging Grey in. Knockdown to Baker, but only a 1 count. Grey hits a running crossbody for 2. Baker gets a headlock and then takes Grey down with a tackle but only gets 1, another and still only 1. Baker hits a big forearm and covers again, but still only 1, and she tags Sumie in.
Sumie hits a big running dropkick to take down Grey, goes for a whip but Grey reverses into a backslide for 2. Sumie with the Tenzan chops but misses a dropkick, Grey gets the advantage with a kick and an elbow drop but the work is somewhat sloppy, covers and only 2. Sumie takes back control and goes for the armbar, though Grey tries to block it and Rose intervenes. However, Baker takes her down and gets a Rings of Saturn to neutralize Rose as Grey breaks Sumie’s submission with the ropes. Tag to Baker, who hits running clotheslines on Grey.
Baker with a knee in the corner and Sling Blade, covers but only gets 2. Tag back to Sumie and they look for the double suplex, but Grey reverses into a double DDT. Grey looks to tag Rose and does, and Rose runs wild on Sumie and Baker, and hits a double spear and covers Sumie but only gets 2. Jenny with a nice Fisherman Suplex into a bridge, but gets 2. Rose climbs but Baker interrupts allowing Sumie to hit a hurricanrana off the top, and takes down Rose with a running knee for a 2 count.
Tag to Baker who hits a Famouser, but only 2 and she looks for Rings of Saturn on Rose again. Rose rolls over into a pin, but Baker is out at 2. Rose hits another spear, covers but only 2 again. Tag to Grey but she eats a superkick, Rose breaks up the cover at 2 and gets a German on Baker before eating a top rope dropkick from Sumie. Grey rolls up Baker, but Baker hits a ripcord rolling elbow, picks up Grey and hits a TKO for the 3 count and the WIN.
Sumie Sakai & Dr. Britt Baker defeat Jenny Rose & Stella Grey by pinfall after a TKO
JAY’S RATING: 1.9 out of 5
Ok, so I didnt hate this match, it wasnt anything special but Sumie is great and Baker is great and Rose continues to improve immensely. But Grey was REALLY behind here. Timing was off, focus was off, no urgency, wrestling through molasses a bit… she was just so out of sync and stood out like a sore thumb, and thats why I have to knock it down a hair. Beyond that, a solid tag match where the winners looked good and Jenny Rose got to show her stuff off well. I have hopes for her in the future. Grey looked really rough, and needs some more time spent getting comfortable in front of a crowd and locking in her move execution. She needed to step up her game against 3 good to great performers, and she didnt, which was sad.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Caprice Coleman’s Pulpit with Bully Ray
Caprice Coleman preaches about Silas Young saying he wants to ask him some questions, until Bully Ray comes in and gets in Coleman’s face, daring him to say something about Silas to him instead. Bully bullies Coleman down and takes over the Pulpit set, and sits down for an interview. Coleman asks “How’s Spike?” Awesome. Gresham enters and talks down Bully’s actions and disrespect, and asks for a fight. A No DQ match at Glory By Honor. Coleman’s eyes go huge and Bully silently storms off. Coleman closes the show hyped for the match. A better than usual video segment at least as of late, Coleman is great and it did the job well.
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs BULLY RAY
Bully out first to no music and crowd boos. Bobby Cruise starts to announce him, but Bully shouts at him to stop, and starts yelling at Colt. “You suck” chants from the crowd. He makes his way to the ring and bullies Cruise some more, backing him into the corner. He tells Cruise to “do it the right way”. Cruise starts the intro but Bully takes the mic and tells him to get out, and boxes Todd Sinclair out as well. He says he doesnt need any bottom feeders in his ring, and introduces himself instead. He gets interrupted by a streamer, and threatens the crowd saying if someone throws one more thing he’s gonna come down there… and then he gets pegged in the face with another one. The timing was PERFECT. Crowd pop, and the ring fulls with more streamers. Honestly, this is the theatre of wrestling as it is evolving – audience participation within the parameters of the story, allowing the crowd’s presence to have meaning and impact. And Bully is masterful at it, whatever your opinion of his matches and booking.
Bully runs down the crowd with some fantastic mic work, making fun of people who miss him with the streamers. He says “only I could get you morons to do this” (i.e. the streamers), which is a great way to acknowledge the performer/audience chemistry here. Gresham’s music finally hits and he makes his way down. He and Bully stand nose to nose, showing the massive height and size difference. Bully gets the mic back, and puts himself over some more over Gresham, stoking the crowd to cheer for Gresham. What a puppeteer, and that’s not a bad thing – its what this art form thrives on at times. Bully goes for the wife and gets clocked by Gresham.
Gresham is fired up and kicks Bully into the corner, lays in shots and stomps on Bully’s NYC hat. More shots in the corner from Gresham, but Bully reverses him off the ropes into a big back body drop. Bully on the middle rope and goes for the senton, BUT GUESS WHAT? HE MISSES. Classic Bully Ray. Bully to the outside and Gresham runs the ropes and hits a great rolling suicide dive to take down Bully. Gresham is in control of Bully, who gets streamers dumped on him by an audience member! YES!!!
Gresham works over Bully outside and against the barricade. Bully gets up covered in streamers (which he is taking full advantage of), but Gresham puts one of his legs over the barricade and kicks it, prompting Bully to scream “MY BALLS!” Gresham with a dragon screw on the outside, works over the leg and hits a running low dropkick. Bully fights back but Gresham mounts Bully and beats him down. LOVE them showing how Gresham can handle a crawl with Bully.
Bully mounts a comeback with a tackle out of the corner that stops Gresham’s momentum. Bully outside and takes the timekeepers table, throwing it over the top rope and into the ring. He throws a couple of chairs in there too, and lays one into the back of Gresham. Bully provokes the crowd and slows the match down, grabbing the chair again for another shot to the back. “Let’s Go Gresham” chants.
Bully chops Gresham hard against the ropes, but Gresham asks for more. Bully with another one, but Gresham wont go down and spits at Bully. Bully with another one but gets slapped in the face! Gresham asks for Bully’s best shot, Bully lands a hard one but Gresham handsprings right back up and lands shots, lays in quick offense until Bully gets the full nelson. He looks for the Bubba Bomb but Gresham slips out and down and hits an up kick to Bully’s face! Gresham jumps on Bully’s back and locks in a sleeper, but Bully rakes Sinclair’s eyes! Gresham gets Bully in the Octopus and Bully taps but Sinclair is still hurting, allowing Bully to hit a huge boot to the face. “You tapped out!” chants.
Bully sets the table up, and beats Gresham onto it. Bully looks to climb and hit a splash off the middle rope, but Gresham moves and Bully goes through it himself! Gresham with a cover, but Bully kicks out at 2. “Lets Go Gresham” chants. Gresham grabs a chair but Bully takes advantage with a sho to the gut. Bully looks for the chair as well, but Gresham takes out the leg and climbs to the top with a chair. He throws it to Bully who catches it, and Gresham dropkicks it into Bully’s face! Gresham immediately back up top and hits a shooting star press, covers but only gets 2!
Gresham goes outside and looks under the ring and pulls out a kendo stick. He looks for the shot, but Bully gets the lowblow and covers for the pin and the WIN.
Bully Ray defeats Jonathan Gresham by pinfall after a low blow
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5
I’m being a bit generous here specifically because 1) I think Bully as a performer pure and simple is a genius. He’s masterful on the mic and at telling a compelling story, full stop. And 2) because Jonathan Gresham continues to convince me that he is the next banner-carrier for this company. He’s perfect here. In every way. He can be the next Bryan Danielson. Yeah, I really feel that. But this was also very anti-climactic and I still have NO IDEA where Bully’s shtick is going outside of Silas Young. I dont have any sense that there is a plan – I dont need to know what it is, its just good storytelling when there is the sense that someone somewhere has a plan and its all gonna unfold. And I just dont sense it. Bully’s juggling, and thats not great booking from a storytelling perspective. So in a way, this whole thing felt salvaged by the sheer genuine talent of these two performers. They deserve better, even if this was an ok outing in itself.
ROH 6-Man Tag Team Championships
SO-CAL UNCENSORED vs BULLET CLUB (Cody & The Young Bucks) (c)
SCU is out first, and Colt asks the question I’ve been asking for a bit now – WHAT IS THIS SHTICK THEY ARE DOING? I believe I’ve said it before, somehow it sort of works, but sometimes it just feels weird in a DX-rip off sort of way, trying to get the crowd to sing along, but not having anything particularly unique to bring to that table. But they’re SO GOOD that I tend to not care. The champs are out next, including Brandi and Burnard the Business Bear.
They clear the ring of streamers (which takes a minute), “Business Bear” chants and we get the bell. Kaz and Cody start us off. They notice that they are both wearing American Rebel Cigars t-shirts. Cody takes the mic and says, “that’s a great t-shift, whats your name?” Kaz responds and they all do some product placement for the joint business venture as Brandi and Cody film on their phones. This is hysterical. Matt takes the mic, and calls them out for doing a bit. Cody admits that they rehearsed that. Applause from the crowd, which Cody puts over. They close up the cheap plug, we get the Code of Honor but then Kaz pulls Cody in and knocks him down with a forearm! Kaz hits a heel kick to follow (the crowd is chanting “Free Samples”), goes outside and gets a shot in to Burnard, kicking the head of the suit off.
Back in and Sky and Nick get tags. They pick up the pace with some nice cruiserweight-style counter wrestling, and they end up reaching a standoff. Nick tries to take the energy back but misses the superkick and Sky gets a headlock, whip to the ropes but Daniels gets the blind tag and a rollup for a nearfall. Quick tag now to Matt and they hit a double team dropkick on Daniels and some classic Bucks offense on Kaz, and then a pop-up into a spear on Sky to take control. Daniels into the corner and Matt wears him down, rings the arm and tags in Cody.
Cody stays on Daniels’ arm, quick tag back to Matt who comes off the top with a stomp to the arm. They keep Daniels in their corner and have quick tag to Nick who tags Cody and all three triple team with a wheelbarrow uppercut/cutter combination. Cody tags in Matt, who grounds the action with a headlock. Matt whips Daniels to the ropes, Daniels looks for Angels Wings, Matt counters but Daniels is able to land a Blue Thunder Bomb and both are down.
Daniels gets the tag to Sky who comes in hot and takes down all three BC members with some signature (GREAT) offense. The action spills outside but Sky evades a Bucks double team, allowing Kaz to come over the top with a hurricanrana on the floor, leaving the Bucks open to a nice tope con hilo from Sky. SCORPIO SKY IS TALENT. Sky and Matt back in, tag to Kaz who covers for 2. Matt fires back, but Kaz gets a rollup for 2 (Turner says the shoulder is up but I’m not sure there), Nick comes in but Kaz catches him with a Northern Lights Suplex and bridge while still having Matt rolled up (KAZARIAN IS TALENT) but only 2, with Kaz standing tall after.
Kaz sends Matt into his partners boots and tags in Daniels, who gets a big vertical suplex on Matt and a cover for 2. SCU keeps Matt in their corner and they hit a great triple team ending with the Kaz pendulum dropkick to a seated Matt, covers but only 2. Sky pushes Matt back into the corner, Matt tries to fight off SCU and gets some momentum, but Sky and Kaz hit an assisted tornado DDT, cover but Nick breaks it up at 2. Nick tries to take some offense to Kaz but Kaz hits a leg drop while Nick is draped over the middle rope, and Daniels follows up with an Arabian Moonsault to the floor wiping Nick out.
Sky stops Matt from tagging Cody, and keeps the focus on Matt’s back issues. Matt however is able to wheelbarrow himself into an rolling facebuster, and gets the tag to Cody who is the house of fire. Cody fights of Sky, hits Disaster on Kaz on the apron and a snap powerslam on Sky. Daniels in but Cody ducks him and floors Kaz with a suicide dive, following up with a double springboard dropkick to take out Sky and Daniels. Sky goes behind but Cody counters into a Figure Four, SCU tries to intervene but the Bucks get Daniels and Sky into Sharpshooters! Crowd chants “Tap!”, as Sky gets the ropes.
BC triple teams Daniels in the corner and Nick gets a rope hung rolling lungblower on Kaz. “The Elite” chants. Matt hits a buckle bomb into Nick’s kick, Cody then slingshots Sky into a superkick and lets him fall back over the knees, prone for a double stomp from Nick. Cody covers, but SCU breaks it up. Daniels drags Sky to his corner and tags himself in, Cody looks for Cross Rhodes on him but Daniels gets an STO before eating a superkick from Nick. Nick gets caught in a slingshot cutter from Kaz, but Kaz and Sky both eat superkicks from Matt. Daniels blocks another Matt superkick and hits Angel’s Wings, but Cody gets behind him and lands Cross Rhodes, covers but SCU breaks it up at 2.
Kaz and Sky brawl with the Bucks but eat double, then triple on Kaz, superkicks. They get Daniels in their crosshairs as Nick hits the twisting dive off the top onto the floor to take out Sky and Kaz. Daniels gets a rollup on Cody for 2, looks for another but Cody gets the All In rollup, Daniels powers out for a nearfall of his own, Daniels goes behind but gets a double superkick from the Bucks. Cody lands another Cross Rhodes and covers for the 3 count and the WIN.
Bullet Club defeats SCU to retain the ROH 6-Man Tag Team Championship by pinfall after Cross Rhodes
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a very good match, but – and I’m not fully sure why – but I felt like I wanted more. Or rather, I felt like the match itself was capable of more given the people involved. It was great work, with some great spots, but there were a couple moments that lagged while not feeling earned as slow spots. With SCU and Bucks, the standard is fast – they can do more than just fast, but fast is the expectation to begin with in my opinion. It started out more quick than fast, if that makes sense, but the variance of pacing just felt more off than usual for teams that I consistently like against each other because of sheer in-ring talent. I don’t know. It was really good, dont get me wrong. But something just didnt get it to where I had hoped it would be, and that’s just me. Nonetheless, nice work from all involved – I mean, this is the upper tier of the ROH roster, and you can feel why.
After the match we get handshakes from both teams.
SEGMENT: The Kingdom
The Kingdom come down to the ring “unscheduled”, with Taven sporting the new hair after losing it in a match in Mexico, and holding a purple ROH title belt over his shoulder. He takes the mic and demands respect for “the REAL Ring of Honor World Champion.” He says he’s beaten all of the crowd’s favorites, even dropping Cole and Steen, and takes a shot at Lethal as a “snake oil salesman”. Vinny’s face looks ridiculous and I love it. He says he’s earned this, and on his own merits. We get a Melvin insult, saying he doesnt pander to the crowd.
He says this belt shouldve been handed to him when Dalton got injured, and then says he beat Dalton for an 8-count and still lost, but that the Conspiracy is now dead. And now that he is “YOUR” world champion, he promises to defend the belt with pride, that he will be a fighting champion, but tonight there is not a single person in the back who has earned a shot. He says he will give the people a photo op because he is obviously the reason they are all here, because “IIIIIIIIIIIIII’M MATT TAVEN!” A nice little promo – I like how Taven is taking the main event picture, the purple belt is a fun little prop for him that feels organic to his story following his loss in his last world title match. The Kingdom has dropped in more and more as of late, and Taven feels ready for a bigger main event push. Plus, I want to see TK and Vinny in the tag title picture and SOON. Taven’s style is very good but isn’t as classic Ring of Honor as newer arrivals such as Gresham and Cobb, and I think that’s a very good thing as those clashes can get fun. I’m on Team Taven lately – lets see how this booking pans out.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Silas Young
Silas says the days of Lethal ducking him are done. Lethal says he keeps talking about beating everyone who has beaten him, but he forgets just how many ways Silas has beaten him in the past. He was the Last Man Standing in that match. So he feels confident saying that tomorrow you will be looking at your new World Champion. Pretty good promo from Silas. He breathes this persona, and while his whole thing with Bully is promising yet unclear, he can be reliable in bringing strong character and ring-focus to his work.
We get Silas’ entrance, and then…
VIDEO PACKAGE: Jay Lethal
Lethal says he has to prove something to himself. He says he’s at the top of his game, I mean look, he’s the ROH champion and he’s beaten everyone who has stepped in front of him, except for Silas Young. He says that he admits it, he’s worried. Silas is one hell of a wrestler. But Jay isnt going to let Silas walk away champion. He’s waited for this one until now, until he is truly at the top of his game. He says bring everything youve brought before. Also a reliable promo guy in Lethal. Nice work here, and they have quickly built some good story stakes into this match by leaning on their history together – its simple and smart, though I still wish the timing of all of this allowed for more build. This one is reliant on history and talent, and with these two, thats ok.
And Lethal enters, and we get introductions from Bobby Cruise.
ROH World Championship
SILAS YOUNG vs JAY LETHAL (c)
Silas talks trash in Jay’s face to start off, and then says “Shake my hand, champ. Shake the hand of the man who’s had your number.” Lethal does, the bell rings and we start with circling each other to split chants from the crowd.
They lock up and jockey for position, with Silas getting Lethal into the corner for a break. Silas says “I’m better than you!”, looking to get in Lethals head. They lock up again, and Silas gets wrist control. They trade holds, and Silas gets Lethal down with a tackle. Silas runs the ropes and Lethal looks for the hip toss but Silas sees it coming and evades, saying “I’m smarter than that!” Lock up, Lethal gets a hammerlock. Silas fights out and reverses a Lethal combo, the hiptoss into a cartwheel dropick, into one of his own! NICE. He mocks Lethal and smacks him as he gets back up. Silas hits a fighting pose, and Jay looks a bit shook. THIS is storytelling. God Lethal really is one of the true best in the world.
Lock up, Lethal sent to the ropes and gets a tackle of his own on Silas, arm drag and dropkick follows, and Lethal gets the hip toss but Silas moves to avoid the dropkick, and lands a BIG slap across Lethal’s face! Silas is FIRED. UP. Chants for Lethal. They start brawling, Silas gets space and clotheslines Lethal over the top but theyre both right back up and trading blows. Lethal gets control and lays into Silas in the corner of the barricade. Lethal picks up Silas and hits a hiptoss cartwheel dropkick on the floor. Silas gets the advantage back and sends Lethal to the barricade, and a snap suplex on the floor.
Silas sends Lethal back in but Lethal gets him into the corner for a big chop. Silas catches Lethal into a sleeper, shot to the gut and looks for one of his own, Silas suplexes him but Lethal lands on his feet, but Silas gets another sleeper and grounds Lethal. Lethal fights back up, hits shots to the gut, Silas fires back, they trade shots and Silas talks but gets hit with a big slap and a rollup but only gets 2. Lethal looks for the Lethal Combination, Silas counters and looks for the full nelson knee strike, Lethal catches the leg and goes for the Figure Four, cradle by Silas for 2, Silas looks for the backbreaker lariat, Lethal counters behind but Silas hits a cutter and covers for 2 on Lethal. They are telling a solid “we know each other so well” story.
Silas hits the plunge but Lethal catches the kip up into a rollup for another 2. Silas hits a knee and a great rope hung snap swinging neckbreaker and covers, but still 2. They both get on the apron and Silas looks for the firemans, Lethal fights him off and they trade, Silas gets him up but Lethal drops into the ring and looks for the triangle dropkick but Silas ducks. Silas over the top for a sunset flip but Lethal counters for 2, Silas powers over for the full flip for another 2, Lethal runs the ropes and HITS LETHAL INJECTION. Cover on Silas, but Silas kicks out at 2. Good, I was worried they mightve ended it there which would have been too abrupt.
Lethal is selling the doubt in his ability to keep Silas down. Silas sits up slow and talks more at Jay, saying he cant beat him on his worst day. Lethal lays shots in on Silas, and calls for Injection again. Silas interrupts so Lethal mounts him with shots again. Calls for it again, Silas catches him though and hits the Plunge, covers, but only 2! Silas is exhausted but stays on Lethal, getting a full nelson, looks for the knee but Lethal counters again, looks for Injection but Silas catches the knee this time, looks for Misery but Lethal drops behind and gets a full nelson knee of his own! Lethal hits Misery, clotheslines Silas over the top and we get 1, 2 and 3 suicide dives.
Lethal tosses Silas back in and looks to climb and hits a missle dropkick to the back of the head followed by the Lethal Injection. He climbs again, hits the pose and hits Hail to the King, but doesnt make the cover. Lethal calls on the crowd for energy, looks for the Injection but Silas rolls him up for a CLOSE 2 count, Lethal ducks a clothesline and bounces back with Lethal Injection one more time and covers him for the 3 count and the WIN.
Jay Lethal defeats Silas Young to retain the ROH World Title by pinfall after the Lethal Injection.
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a solid match that had very little build to it other than existing history and Lethal’s Path to the Belt story of avenging losses. It was dependent on the in-ring storytelling and action of the moment, and thankfully you had two true workhorses with chemistry and experience to carry it through. I mainly wish I was built to care more. This match was random in some ways, considering that Silas is also in a program of sorts with Bully. And the split focus impacted the stakes of this match in some ways. But at the end of the day, they worked a nice arc, with Lethal finally getting the definitive win over a big rival. Well done by all especially considering the uphill battle story-wise, with Silas’ trash talk adding a ton as it was used to elevate the action, and Jay selling the doubt like a true master.
After the match, Cody’s music hits and after a bit Cody comes out wearing his IWGP US belt. Cody says we interrupt each other either to save someone or to surprise someone, but this shouldnt be a surprise. Cody says the first person he faced in ROH was Lethal. The franchise. The current champ. He says, why dont we make the match? He never got a one on one rematch for the title after he lost it, and he wants one. Lets make the match Lethal, Cody… EXCEPT THEN KENNY KING’S MUSIC HITS!
The commentators talk about his earlier no-show, as King enters in high end street clothes. Kenny says look at all the politicking and chicanery here. He says Cody is on a roll. But he says Cody’s been doing quite well for himself, but channels Janet Jackson and asks what have you done for me lately? Only one of his championships has ROH on it, and that one has the Bucks carrying him across the line. He says Cody isnt focused. King says he’s had a great summer too, getting in touch with his inner Ric Flair. Oh, and being undefeated, beating legends like Liger, and not only that, he’s beaten everybody in the BC locker room who arent the Young Bucks. He says he’s the Bullet Club Silencer.
BUT, he’s here because of Lethal. He says hes of Lethal’s same caliber. He’s been at it the same amount of time. He’s a former tag team champ and 2 time TV champ. He says Lethal has never beaten King. Lets forget the politics and circus, and give the shot to someone he knows he cant beat. Crowd chants “boring”, but King makes the correct choice and acknowledges it, running them down and says sorry, he’s talking to the champ, and hands Lethal the mic.
Lethal starts with Cody and says he understands why he’s out there but says that if Kenny wants a shot, disrespecting him is not the way to do it. A lot of people here only know your name because your name is on the tron. Lethal says he’s sure a lot of people want a shot. The answer is simple: anytime, anywhere. He drops the mic and leaves both King and Cody in the ring. A decent little set of promos, simply because everyone here is great with their mic work. But this also feels like too much stuff at a time when ROH is already having issues really investing in clear storytelling and booking. Build a Cody feud. Build a King feud. Or really invest in a Cody/King program – hell there could be a great NWA title match in there. Lethal/Cody title for title also could be great. But all would benefit from having focused attention, and now we’ve got 2 simultaneous challenges with no one clear in place at the end of it all. This was a missed opportunity for me.
This was pretty much set up to fail, and while I dont know that it did fully, it definitely left more to be desired than not as a show. I wonder if the locker room is feeling it at all, since they all worked hard tonight with only one negative performance standout, but she’s green and growing and that’s part of developing one’s craft. Everyone worked hard. Say what you will about Hero/Villain III, but they brought focus and drive to it, and Helms showed that he can still be an innovater. Its almost like they knew this was on the shoulders of the in-ring work, and they carried the show across the finish. But that’s not how it should be. The dramaturgy (there’s that word again) needs to be built in such a way that the storytelling takes some of the load in terms of crowd investment. Thats part of the specific art form that exists in pro wrestling. And with this timetable, the lack of TV build resulting and some just weird booking of criss-crossing stories, its just not meeting the standard right now. I believe that the threads they need are all there – they just need some major help unraveling them, slowing things down for a moment and focusing the lens for the audience.