Ring of Honor Wrestling
STATE OF THE ART 2019: PORTLAND
Anything Goes Match: Tracy Williams defeated Bully Ray @ 8:15
Mazzerati defeated Danika Della Rouge @ 5:10
Mark Briscoe defeated Josh Woods @ 11:15
Jeff Cobb defeated PJ Black @ 12:05
#1 Contender’s Tag Team Gauntlet Match:The Bouncers won (defeating The Kingdom, Coast 2 Coast, Shane Taylor & Silas Young, Rush & Dalton Castle, and The Voros Twins) @ 34:20
Jay Lethal defeated Jay Briscoe @ 25:10
DEFY or DENY: Champion Matt Taven defeated PCO, Flip Gordon, & Mark Haskins @ 26:30
This was a solid if a bit unspectacular at times, though there were some intriguing choices along the way. Tracy Williams picking up a win against Bully to continue the feud between him and Lifeblood is a good call. And to have him go over with a cradle is even better, and further legitimizes Tracy which I LOVE (he is made for ROH). The women’s division continues to need WORK, which is sad. Between NXT and AEW alone, women’s wrestling is continuing to skyrocket. So for ROH to continue putting forward mediocre-at-best showings ends up reflecting more on ROH as a company than on the talent, making them seem behind-the-times in a way that they honestly could fix. They just need to put more attention to that division, but I’m not getting any signs that they want to, which is unfortunate. (Tenille leaving after launching Lifeblood probably says something there.)
Josh Woods is finally starting to show some breakout potential, though I would have liked to see him notch a non-squash win on TV before having him fall to Mark, which you knew was where that match was going to go. Black has found his fire again and is showing it more and more, though Cobb taking the W is the right call as he continues his ascent toward his title match with Taven. The tag match was fine, with the Rush/Castle stuff continuing (I am still very here for Castle’s heel turn). And while I’m digging The Bouncers lately, I think making them #1 Contenders at this stage feels premature. Honestly I would have given it to The Kingdom there, especially given the potential matches against Guerrillas of Destiny or whoever ends up taking the straps before The Bouncers get their shot. I want The Bouncers to build more momentum against hotter teams to feel like they’ve earned it, which I’m not sure I’m buying here yet. And so my fear is that it becomes more of a filler defense, because right now I have no expectation of The Bouncers taking the titles from this shot. I will be very interested to see where this goes…
Lethal/Briscoe was strong, surprising no one, with the most interesting choice to me being Briscoe’s refusal to use the chair provided by Kenny King. (My feed cut out for King’s entrance, but came back just as King slid him the chair.) It’s not like the Briscoes have shied away from any dirty tactics in their most recent stretch, so seeing Jay struggle with the choice and then choose instead to throw the chair back at King might be teasing a face return? Which could be interesting in a potential ROH Tag Title rematch against GoD. Then again, this choice ended up costing Briscoe the match… but then we also got the show of respect between Briscoe and Lethal to finish. This is probably the most interesting story development to come out of the event, as King/Lethal also continue their story. Good stuff here.
Lastly we got Defy or Deny, where if Taven wins the person he goes over cannot receive another title shot as long as he is champ. And honestly, Flip taking the fall was the right call. Haskins has been FIRE lately and PCO has some real momentum behind him (though it gets complicated given his relationship with Marty Scurll… keeping an eye on that one…). So protecting them here is smart. And while Flip is without question and incredible performer with growth still ahead of him, I just dont know if he’s ready for the ROH Title picture yet. So this taking Flip out of contention for a bit I think is in the long term a really good thing – put him into the TV Title picture, have him continue to rack up some big wins (which he can) and then put him back into the main event in a year or two, and I think he’s going to be ready to blow the roof off.
A solid card overall with good performances throughout, if nothing that really grabbed me as MUST SEE. The main event clarified the upcoming ROH Title picture a bit, but the real story here to me is with the Briscoes (specifically Jay’s choice at the end), and with that the continued feud between Lethal and King.