Ring of Honor Wrestling
ROAD TO G1 SUPERCARD: SAN ANTONIO
Aired on Honor Club 1/26/19
Ian Riccobani & Colt Cabana on commentary. They run down Tag Wars and the rest of the card.
ALEX COUGHLIN, KARL FREDERICKS & CLARK CONNORS
SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD
The Lions have been allowed to show some ferocity this tour, so this could be an entertaining outing. Feredericks and Burger start us off, we have a Code of Honor and the bell rings. Lockup, Fredericks uses his size to power Burger into the corner and lands a chop before breaking. Lockup again, Burger gets a headlock, Frederick whips him off and takes Burger down with a tackle. Burger uses his speed and experience to take the advantage, Fredericks almost gets the Crab but Burger escapes and tags in Nova.
Tag to Connors on the Lions side, and Connors takes Nova down hard with mat work. Nova gets the wrist to counter, Connors out of it but eats a Nova dropkick. Burger back in, strong double team sequence is capped by a tag to Eli Isom and a springing twisting splash, covers but only gets 2. Burger tagged in again who hits offense in the corner, but Connors EXPLODES OUT OF THERE with a spear! GODDAMN. Tag to Coughlin and they hit a double tackle off the ropes, cover but Burger is out at 2.
Chop and strikes from Coughlin, and a hard stomp to the back into another cover but still only 2. Coughlin grounds Burger, “Burger” chants, Fredericks tagged in and they put on a double knee bar. Fredericks keeps working the leg, locking in a nice Deathlock which he turns to a sitting position. Fredericks is the one I have my eye on the most right now. Chop from Burger breaks Frederick’s hold but he eats a HUGE dropkick, cover by Fredericks but Burger up at 2 again.
Tag to Coughlin but the whole Lions team is in, taking out 3S and then triple teaming Burger in the corner. Connors with a NUTS spear in the corner, more triple teaming and another cover for 2. Coughlin grounds the action again with a chinlock, great methodical strategy from the Lions. Burger uses speed to get the tag to Nova, who is in hot with elbows to Coughlin who gets fired up, but Nova gets a jumping knee. Nova misses a buzzsaw kick and Coughling gets a dropkick, cover but only 2.
Tag to Fredericks, who just THROWS Nova, big slam and a jumping stomp, cover but only 2. Jawbreaker by Nova allows him to tag in Isom, Isom looks to spring in but Fredericks catches him in a snap spinebuster and locks in the Crab! Isom reaches for the ropes but Fredericks pulls back, 3S tries to intervene but the Lions catch them in Crabs as well! Finally Isom gets the ropes for the break, and the Lions let go and turn attention to Isom. Isom and Fredericks are left in the ring, Isom tries to fight back, Fredericks overpowers him but Isom evades a splash in the corner and lands an Air Raid Crash! Cover, but only 2! Isom with a GREAT brainbuster on Fredericks, covers and thats the WIN for 3S!
Shinobi Shadow Squad defeats Karl Fredericks, Alex Coughlin & Clark Connors by pinfall after a brainbuster
JAY’S RATING: 2.9 out of 5
While this one made the most sense to me of the weekend, I still question the level of dominance the Lions are showing against some REALLY established or otherwise strong ROH talent, and the story issue I feel from that is the only thing holding me back from putting the full 3 here. This was otherwise a really fun and well paced outing to start the show, getting the crowd invested with some smart and well executed wrestling. 3S is looking great, Isom is gonna be a star and if the work of these Lions is any representation of the kind of training and preparation Shibata is nurturing in LA, we have a LOT to be excited about in terms of the next generation. Everyone showed distinct specificity in their in-ring POV, with Fredericks catching my eye in terms of aggressiveness, Coughlin in technical prowess and Connors in explosiveness. A strong opening match.
After the match, we get a Code of Honor, but suddenly The Kingdom’s music hits.
IN-RING SEGMENT: Taven Speaks
Taven is out with a mic, flanked by TK and Vinny. We have “Real World Champ” chants, and Taven asks is Lethal can hear it. Taven runs down 3S. 3S comes back down to the ring, and Taven says one day they will defend their titles against 3S. They tease doing it right now. Taven says they and Villain Enterprises both need to respect the fact that they are in charge, and they didnt come to San Antonio to wrestle dorks like them. Taven calls The Kingdom the greatest Trio in wrestling history because HEEEEE’S MATT TAVEN and this is his Kingdom.
3S steps into the ring and everyone goes face to face… nothings happening… they are just facing off… until Kingdom finally tosses 3S out of the ring unceremoniously… and then (finally) Dalton Castle’s music hits! Castle is here with The Boys! Castle is on the mic and says that wasnt very nice. Castle says it sounds like everyone here in San Antonio would like to see a 6-Man Title Match. “Castle” chants. Castle teases the titles being put on the line against them. Castle says they have earned that shot, but he also says Taven is probably thinking “why would I do that?” (while doing a pretty great mocking Taven impression). Castle calls The Kingdom b****es, Taven takes exception that that bigtime and gets fired up, calls a ref down and we have a title match.
Ring of Honor World 6-Man Tag Team Championship
DALTON CASTLE & THE BOYS vs THE KINGDOM (c)
Crowd is split, maybe a tad more pro-Castle. Vinny and Castle start off, we get some early shoving but Castle uses his mat wrestling experience to get a gutwrench, Vinny escapes and we get a peacock/crazy eye stand off. Vinny lands an elbow and a Euro to drop Castle, and keeps the pressure on, but Castle reverses and gets the mat advantage again tying up the legs. Transition to the arm by Castle but Vinny puts him into the corner and lands an elbow, but Castle escapes and tosses Vinny with a suplex.
Tag to TK, Castle poses, TK poses back and they go face to face. TK takes a shot at the Boys, Castle takes advantage though and catches a headlock. Hiptoss by Castle, The Boys back in to drop The Kingdom aand Castle springs off their backs for a knee strike, double team from the Boys, Vader Bomb by Castle and a double one from The Boys, cover but only 2. Castle tags Boy 2, a spring spot gets botched a bit as Boy 2 tries to land a Sliced Bread, gets dumped but gets an enziguri instead.
Tag to Boy 1, they run the ropes, Taven gets a blind tag, looks for a suplex but Boy 1 evades, looks for a rana, Taven catches him, Boy 1 tries for a sunset flip but Taven counters and drives Just The Tip into Boy 1’s face! Mounted shots by Taven on Boy 1, and Vinny gets offense in while the ref is distracted. Tag to TK, who gets a jumping elbow, cover but Boy 1 out at 2. Slam, tag to Vinny who stays on Boy 1. Back suplex by Vinny, cover but still only a 2 count. Vinny slows things down with a headlock while also teaaring at the nose and eyes when the ref isnt looking, and then drops Boy 1 hard.
Tag to TK, he and Vinny hit HARD chops against the ropes and Boy 1 tumbles to ringside where The Kingdom continue the beating. Boy 1 rolled back in, TK tries another cover but still only 2, then 2 more times but Boy 1 keeps kicking out. Tag to Vinny who lays in a body shot and another headlock, Boy 1 breaks out of it with a jawbreaker, the ref is distracted and we get a switcheroo from The Boys, with Boy 2 now in the ring! Vinny comes in but gets kicked in the head which allows Boy 2 to get the hot tag to Castle who fires off shots on TK, and catches a great combo into a DDT.
Suplex by Castle on Vinny, another for TK, German on Vinny, ducks a shot from TK and then dumps him outside. Taven looks for a shot from behind but Castle reverses it into the Sam Patch (the sling blade bulldog facebuster), and Taven rolls outside. The Boys are back in the ring, and Castle tosses them onto the The Kingdom over and over again! TK back in and Castle gets a pumphandle bomb and a cover, but Vinny breaks it up at 2. Vinny and Castle trade shots, but Castle dumps Vinny and goes back to TK, planting him with a DDT.
Castle calls on Boy 2 to climb, but Vinny and Taven interfere, Castle tries to help but Boy 2 thinks its a Kingdom member and nails Castle before getting pushed off the corner onto Boy 1 at ringside. Vinny hoists Castle and The Kingdom lands House of a Thousand Horses, covers and picks up the WIN to retain the titles.
The Kingdom defeats Dalton Castle & The Boys by pinfall after House of a Thousand Horses to retain the ROH 6-Man Championship
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a nice little title match that never really kicked into the next gear, but provided some fun action all around. The Kingdom continues to rise which is great (and the crowd is starting to get more and more invested), and Castle and The Boys looked good here though I’m a little concerned about Castle taking the falls here and last night, after losing his official ROH Title rematch as well… I guess it begs the question, what’s next for Dalton Castle?
After the match The Boys try to help Castle, but Castle looks pissed and shoves them off and walks away, but then calms down, helps them up and they all leave… I wonder if we could get a Dalton Castle heel turn? Hmmm….
RHETT TITUS vs TRACY WILLIAMS w/ Tenille Dashwood
Titus comes out with trophy in hand and does his posedown shtick, but he had a really strong showing already this tour and I’m a HUGE Williams fan as well, so this has the potential to be really fun. We get a Code of Honor to start, and Ian mentions this is Titus’ 13th year in ROH (which is awesome). They lock up aand jockey into the corner, and Titus shoves Tracy. Tracy shoves Titus back. Titus flexes the pecs. Lockup again, headlock by Tracy, whip to the ropes and Tracy takes down Titus with a tackle and picks the ankle to ground the action.
Titus pushes Tracy off and looks to leapfrog off the ropes but Tracy catches a rollup for 2, ties up Titus in another one for 2, and we get a standoff. They trade switches, Tracy traps the arms from behind but Titus flexes to break it. Tracy transitions into a full nelson… and Titus flexes to break it. Headlock by Tracy, Titus reverses and they trade takeovers with Titus getting the advantage. Tracy bridges out of a headscissors and deathlocks the legs while landing an elbow drop. Titus looks for the ropes but Tracy cuts it off.
Titus starts firing back and drops Tracy with a back elbow, takes time to pose and drops the elbow, covers Tracy but only gets 1. Chop from Titus and a back rake, followed by a forearm shot but Tracy reverses with a knee to the gut, a nice chop and a great Judgment style suplex and a cover for 2. Stiff knee drop from Tracy to Titus’ head, then returns to the leg work to ground Titus. Titus fights Tracy off but eats a chop, Titus comes back again with a nice combo and a gutwrench throw, running double knees off the ropes and a cover gets Titus a 2 count.
Titus poses some more and gets flirty with Tenille, but this allows Tracy to land some strikes, Titus fights back and catches the arm before putting Tracy in the corner and driving the shoulder in. Sparks start flying as both pie face, Titus rushes the corner but Tracy gets a great 619-style knee strike to the gut and gets fired up! Tracy climbs and lands the missile dropkick off the top, then crushes Titus in the corner, sits him up in the corner and gets a head and arm superplex, covers but only gets 2. Nice.
“Lets go Tracy” chants as Titus tries to fight back, they trade shots, Tracy gets forearms in but eats a Titus boot, Titus gets a nice knee, hoists Tracy up and lands a great helicopter slam and covers Tracy but only gets 2! Titus sits Tracy in the corner, looks for a superplex but Tracy counters and pushes Titus off, Titus jumps back up but Tracy counters and gets the Top Turnbuckle DDT, then comes off the middle rope with a diving DDT, covers but Titus is out at 2!Tracy picks Titus up, but Titus puts him in the corner, Tracy with a back elbow, climbs the middle turnbuckle again but Titus gets an AWESOME dropkick that drops Tracy outside.
Tenille checks on Tracy at ringside as Titus rolls him back in before turning his attention to Tenille and showing off his body, which she does not receive much at all. Titus touches Tenille and gets shoved down hard. Nice. This opens Titus up for Tracy who comes off the apron with a diving knee, tosses Titus back in and looks to dive off the top but Titus moves, Tracy rolls through and catches Titus off the ropes with a huge lariat! Tracy locks in the Crossface and Titus taps, giving Tracy the WIN!
Tracy Williams defeats Rhett Titus by submission after the Crossface
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
Yep, this ended up being super fun as expected. Titus is pulling out some REALLY great stuff lately, and I wonder if this could be parlayed into a decent revived run in the near future. He’s definitely making his opponents look as good as he is, which is wonderful. Tracy going over is the right call given how new he still is, and he is another perfect fit for ROH which was only further demonstrated here. Honestly, the thought that crossed my mind a couple times was that Tracy needs to take advantage of ROH’s relationship with New Japan and soon, maybe go Junior Heavy there for a bit, because I think he has a “White Katsuyori Shibata” thing going for him right now that I think could translate INCREDIBLY there, and which would only build on his current skills. I think what he could then bring back could be extremely exciting. In the meantime, this was a great early-card match to keep the energy going, the crowd felt into it, and everyone looked good. Nice work.
After the match, Titus is pissed.
Tag Wars Semi-Finals
THE BOUNCERS vs THE BEAT DOWN CLAN vs VILLAIN ENTERPRISES
BCB gets the crowd chanting for beer. No Code of Honor, we get the bell and Kenny King and BCB start off. BCB plays games which earns a King shove. Lockup, BCB gets King to the ropes for the break. Another lockup, headlock by BCB, King fights back but BCB won’t let go until he gets whipped to the ropes, but BCB runs over King with a tackle. They run the ropes, King gets a drop toe hold and snatches a headlock of his own. BCB counters with a gumming but King lands a shot to the face, and they start trading shots with King getting the advantage and nailing a low superkick.
King puts BCB in VE’s corner and Brody tags himself in with a shot to King. Brody comes in but BCB snaps off a single leg dropkick and a running senton before taking a shot at MVP, which counts for a tag. Brody and MVP in now. Brody with a big chop, MVP absorbs it. They start trading bombs, Brody gets the best and whips MVP and crushes him with an elbow but MVP returns it, buts Brody in the corner and gets a series in. Brody counters with a headbutt and a double jump top rope springboard clothesline! Cover on MVP but only gets 2.
Milonas in off of MVP, Brody steps to him but Milonas asks for PCO. Brody tags PCO with a chop to PCO because of course he does. Milonas and PCO start trading heavy shots. PCO tries to tackle Milonas down, Milonas staggers a moment and PCO lays in headbutts, whips Milonas and is able to take him down with a tackle! PCO climbs but misses the cannonball before Milonas crushes him with a running crossbody, covers but its broken up as a total brawl breaks out.
BCB and PCO are left in the ring, they trade chops with PCO getting BCB in the corner and laying in the machine gun chops to take down BCB, PCO looks to rush the corner but King cuts him off before Milonas drops King and hits a back senton. Brody in with a shotgun dropkick and cannonball on Milonas in the corner but MVP comes in and suplexes him before PCO puts MVP down with a belly to back bomb and then hits a suicide dive on The Bouncers at ringside! HE’S NOT HUMAN!
VE double teams BCB with a double chokeslam, BDC in and dumps PCO and get the double team on Brody in the corner, MVP gets the Players Boot and King follows with shotgun knees. The Bouncers back in on BDC with Milonas getting the Black Hole Slam on MVP, King fights back and springs but gets…sort of caught… which sets up a DEATH SENTENCE FROM THE BOUNCERS! Brody sends MVP to the post, BDC are outside with Brody as BCB climbs and just fall on top of everyone!
And of course now PCO starts to climb but Milonas cuts him off, sits him on top and looks for a superplex, but BDC intervene and take Milonas down hard. King hits a dive on Milonas at ringside, BCB takes on MVP but MVP is able to land the Ballin’ Elbow and a suplex. Brody lariats MVP over the top rope as PCO climbs and hits that insane moonsault on BCB, covers and gets Villain Enterprises the 3 count and the WIN!
Villain Enterprises defeats The Bouncers & The Beat Down Clan by pinfall after a moonsault to advance to the finals of Tag Wars 2019
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was an entertaining and fast paced affair that truly gave everyone a chance to shine, including The Bouncers who feel more and more like they are finding a good voice for their team. MVP is looking great, and while I’m glad that VE took the win I wouldnt mind seeing more of MVP in ROH in the future. King should continue his singles trajectory though, as he is becoming more and more a star with each time out. Villain Enterprises going over here is smart, as PCO is so over its crazy and Brody is looking amazing, which means all of that energy getting fed into the finals from both them and the crowd. I am so into their shtick and I look forward to their, and Marty’s, continued rise.
Tag Wars Semi-Finals
COAST 2 COAST vs FIN-JUICE vs JAY LETHAL & JONATHAN GRESHAM
We get the Code of Honor all around. Gresham and Ali start us off, Gresham grounds Ali to start and they grapple to a standoff. Ali looks for a snapmare but Gresham counters out of it and hits a rana, fakes out Ali and then lands a dropkick. Tag to LSG who surprises Gresham with a kip up clotheslines, cover but only 1. Tag to Ali, double team kick from C2C but Gresham is out at 2. Tag to LSG, they hit Tu Lo Sabes on Gresham, covers but only a 1. Blind tag from Jay, Gresham gets a deadlift waistlock on LSG who eats a dropkick into the German Suplex! Cover, but only 2.
Jay hits the cartwheel dropkick, another cover and another 2 count. LSG looks to tag, Jay tries to block but LSG pushes Jay off and into Ali, allowing Jay to take control and tag in Gresham. Whip, Juice gets a blind tag and comes off the top with a huge top rope crossbody to Jay, corner clothesline to Gresham and cannonball to LSG! Cannonball for Gresham as well, and Juice gets the crowd fired up. Hard whip on LSG to Juice, tag to Finlay who hits Euros, tag to Juice who hits an axe handle off the top to the shoulder, and follows with a nice backbreaker.
Senton by Juice, tag to Finlay who hits a senton as well. Finlay with a nice vertical suplex, covers but only 2. Tag to Juice, nice suplex and a cover but LSG is out at 2 and reaches for the tag before Juice stops him. Big headbutt to LSG, shot to the head and Finlay gets tagged in again. Finlay with a back suplex, cover but still 2. Ali fires up the crowd behind LSG, quick tag to Juice who hits a back suplex of his own and a standing frog splash, cover but LSG out again at 2. Fin-Juice is just picking apart LSG.
LSG fights up, but Juice catches him in a nice spinebuster, stacks him up for a cover but LSG out again at 2. Tag to Finlay, LSG tries to fight back and gets a back elbow and some counter offense, rolls through and finally gets the tag to Ali who is in hot. Ali with a lariat on Juice, side kick on Finlay, headbutt to Juice, a flurry on Finlay and a jumping flatliner on Juice into a kip up. Finlay tries to fight back but LSG catches him in a spinning faceplant, Ali comes over with a gutwrench and hits that spinning Dr. Bomb into a cover but Juice is there to break it up at 2! Nice sequence. Ali looks to suplex Juice, but Juice fights back and hits the sidekick.
Jay in on Juice and he looks for the Lethal Injection but Juice catches him and looks for Pulp Friction! Jay pushes him off and catches Juice with a cutter, LSG in and lands a facebuster on Jay, Gresham in with a jawbreaker and enziguri before EATING a spear from Finlay, and Ali follows with the Judgment Suplex and a cover for 2 as Jay breaks it up. Ali and Jay trade shots back and forth, pump kick by Ali sends Jay outside, and Ali takes out both other teams with a great dive to the outside! Finlay back inside and C2C is in control, Ali lifts Finlay as LSG climbs but Juice pushes him off as Finlay gets behind Ali. Double flapjack by Fin-Juice on Ali, Juice with the Left Hand of God, Trash Panda by Finlay, covers and thats the WIN for Lifeblood!
Fin-Juice defeats Coast 2 Coast and Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham by pinfall after the Left Hand of God and Trash Panda to advance in Tag Wars 2019
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a really strong semi-final match overall, but just couldnt step into that final gear for me. It was technically executed just fine, I just think there could have been more of a crescendo throughout. But this also suffered from following a fast paced chaotic semi-final whereas this was MUCH more restrained, and you could feel it. Nonetheless, everyone came of looking good, C2C continues to impress on a variety of levels and the investment in Lifeblood and the team of Fin-Juice makes a ton of sense here. I dont know that I find Villain Enterprises vs Fin-Juice to be the MOST exciting finals, but they are two teams who are capable of pulling out some GREAT action, so who knows what might happen? At the end of the day, good work all around from a group of true pros.
Women of Honor World Championship
SUMIE SAKAI vs KELLY KLEIN (c)
Klein is out again with Camp Klein, which in and of itself is a gimmick I dig especially for a Women’s Champ. Her badass-ness has always been a big part of her shtick, but this definitely elevates that image character-wise. She definitely feels like a champ when she raises the title. If she can get crisper in the ring, she could be pretty unstoppable. We get the bell and a lockup to begin, with Kelly shoving Sumie into the corner. Lockup again, another shove as Kelly establishes her size and strength advantage. Sumie goes behind and gets Kelly in the corner, lays in shots and Kelly escape to the outside.
Camp Klein pumps up and cools down Kelly at ringside. Kelly back in, Sumie ducks an elbow and gets Kelly back into the corner with more elbow shots and the repeating stomps to a seated Kelly! Camp Klein pulls her outside for a breather, Sumie on the apron but the Camp Klein member blocks any offense allowing Kelly to sweep the legs so Sumie hits the apron. Kelly back in with stomps, slams Sumie’s head into the mat and covers but only gets 2. Shot to the back by Kelly, stalling backbreaker and Kelly is in firm control as she chokes Sumie against the bottom rope.
Sumie whipped hard corner to corner, non-chalant cover but Sumie is under the ropes, Kelly hooks the legs but Sumie is out at 2. Cravate knee strikes from Kelly, Sumie crumples and Kelly covers for another 2 count. Kelly keeps Sumie grounded with a chinlock, but Sumie gets a Jujitsu throw into an armbar which Kelly reverses into a lift and short powerbomb to break the hold, but cant follow up as Kelly favors the arm. Kelly looks for K-Power but Sumie goes behind and FOLDS KELLY UP with a release German Suplex. Nice sell from Kelly.
The crowd starts to fire up, Sumie ducks a shot from Kelly and gets a hammerlock elbow and drops Kelly with a running strike! Fisherman neckbreaker, cover by Sumie but Kelly is out at 2. Sumie picks up Kelly, Kelly reverses Sumie into the corner but misses the corner rush, lands an elbow and looks to climb but Sumie cuts her off and hits an Avalanche Rana! Cover by Sumie but only 2 on Kelly. Knee from Sumie who then climbs and flies off with a moonsault but Kelly moves out of the way and Sumie eats canvas! Kelly misses the knee, Sumie goes behind but gets put in the corner and Kelly hits a trapped elbow barrage, tries for a suplex but Sumie plants Kelly with a DDT but Kelly rolls to the ropes.
Kelly on the apron gets a shoulder block on Sumie and looks to suplex Sumie outside, Sumie blocks and fakes out Kelly with a shot that brings Camp Klein over to help, Sumie runs the ropes and knocks Kelly into Camp Klein who catches her. Sumie looks to climb, hits a crossbody and takes out everyone EXCEPT Kelly Klein, who snuck away in time! LOVE that. Kelly back in the ring, Sumie looks to climb again and hits a shotgun missile dropkick! Taunt by Sumie, GREAT Fisherwoman Buster, cover but Kelly is out at 2!
Sumie runs the ropes but gets her foot caught by Camp Klein, which allows Kelly to hit a pump kick to the chest that puts down Sumie, cover but only 2 as Kelly is desperate to end it. Kelly hoists Sumie, drops her with K-Power and covers, but Sumie kicks out again! Kelly looks to finish her but Sumie gets behind and hits Smash Mouth! Cover on Kelly, but Kelly kicks out at 2! The crowd is fired up for Sumie, who climbs the corner, Kelly cuts her off, hoists her on the middle rope, and hits Sumie with a perfect Avalanche K-Power… but Kelly smiles and doesnt go for the cover. Kelly picks up Sumie and locks in The End of the Match, Sumie is out and the ref stops the match for the Kelly Klein WIN.
Kelly Klein defeats Sumie Sakai by referee stoppage after The End of the Match
JAY’S RATING: 3.9 out of 5
So I’m splitting hairs here in a super nit-picky way, which I COMPLETELY own. But its because of how good this match actually was, and how it couldve reached that next level fully and completely had Klein found just a SMIDGE more offensive crispness in the ring. She’s SO CLOSE, and this more than any other outing in my view showed her to be a CHAMPION for Ring of Honor in a couple ways. First, while Camp Klein was a factor, I love that they really werent fully a DECIDING factor. The match ended on a strong exchange between Sumie and Klein, with both of them persevering through each other’s best shots to the last moment. That’s a championship match, and while Camp Klein interfering establishes Klein firmly as a heel who will take shortcuts, this match ending showed that she doesnt NEED shortcuts, which is exactly the story to tell for someone like Klein. Its a very Jay White approach, which I love for Klein – she will do what she needs to do, but she’s also that damn good. And Klein is showing a deeper moveset, and her defensive work and selling was on point here. There is just this bit of offensive tentativeness that she showed improvement on here but just hasn’t quite shaken yet (I could see it a bit when she swept Sumie’s legs on the apron), and it betrays her otherwise firm badassery by making it look a little… careful? As I said, I’m splitting hairs here because I believe the details matter, but nonetheless this was a GREAT title match for Women of Honor. Sumie showed that she is still a threat anytime, had the crowd in her hand and was firing on all cylinders, and Klein played her role to a T and looks ruthless at times, especially in the choice to choke out and already KOed Sumie to end the match. Great work, and Kelly Klein I’m rooting for you so hard because I feel like youre an inch away from truly exploding and I cant wait to see when that happens.
After the match, Klein mockingly shakes Sumie’s hand. Camp Klein leaves and the Twisted Sisterz hit the ring and hit Sumie with a Double Powerbomb. Ian mentions that Madison Rayne is not here, as the Sisterz taunt and torment Sumie. Thunder Rosa takes the mic and says they dont give a crap about anyone’s well-being. Rosa talks shit in Spanish. Holidead takes the mic and says Sumie stuck her nose in their business. Women of Honor is put on notice. They lick her and say in Florida its gonna get twisted. I LOVE THEM. I dont see anyone really like them in wrestling right now (its not the same as, say, Su Yung or characters like that), and they are having a BLAST living these roles. #PushTwisted
SHANE TAYLOR & SILAS YOUNG vs WILLIE MACK & JEFF COBB
Ian is joined on commentary by Joe Galli, who does commentary for the NWA (given Willie Mack being the NWA National Heavyweight Champion. Taylor and Cobb start us off as we get the bell. Shit talking from Taylor, they dance around each other but Silas blind tags himself in which gets some heat from Taylor. Silas in with Cobb now, they tease again and Taylor returns the favor and tags himself in. Tensions flaring between Silas and Taylor, Cobb tries to get things going but eats a STIFF punch to the face from Taylor! WAS IT ALL A RUSE?
Taylor keeps on Cobb in the corner and tags Silas in, who snatches a headlock. Cobb tries to whip Silas but Silas maintains the grip on Cobb, and counters a second whip attempt by holding Cobb’s hair. Cobb fights back and drops Silas with a tackle, then hoists him with ease for the stalling vertical suplex, Silas counters behind but Cobb leapfrogs him and lands a nice dropkick to take Silas down. Tag to Mack, tag to Taylor. “Willie Mack” chants.
Lockup, Mack gets a headlock, Taylor whips him off and a tackle doesnt move anyone. Mack tries again but no one moves. “One more time” chants. Mack ducks a Taylor clothesline, runs the ropes and gets Taylor over with a beautiful running rana! Taylor sends Mack to the corner but Mack does a headstand in the corner to evade and keeps Taylor at bay with some upside down shaking and dancing which the crowd eats up. Mack pops himself out, runs the ropes and hits a running knee shot that staggers Taylor.
Tag to Silas but Mack catches him in a Samoan Drop and a GORGEOUS standing moonsault, calls Cobb in who hits a standing moonsault of his own! Cover on Silas by Mack but only 2. Mack is a STAR. Shot by Mack to Silas, whips him but Silas holds on and puts Mack on the apron, Taylor provides a distraction which allowss Silas to hit a springing lariat. Taylor throws Mack into the outside barricade and then tosses him back in, and gets tagged in by Silas. Big chop on Mack from Taylor, Mack fires back but Taylor just cracks one off on the jaw,
Tag to Silas who crushes Mack in the corner. Cover by Silas but Mack is out at 2. Silas whips Mack BRUTALLY into the corner (that’s who you tell that move story), drags Mack to his corner and tags in Taylor who maintains control. Mack fires back, but EATS a headbutt from Taylor! AH! Quick tag to Silas again, who comes over the top with the stomp and stand. Silas talks shit, Mack fires back, they trade shots until Mack pops up and drives Silas down with double knees, and both are down.
Mack gets the tag to Cobb as Taylor gets the tag, they collide, Cobb lands a lariat but only staggers Taylor. Cobb goes to lift Taylor and is able to hold him but Silas cuts it off before getting pulled into a Sidewinder Suplex, allowing Cobb to hit running corner Euros on both and then a HUGE PUMPHANDLE SUPLEX ON SHANE TAYLOR! JEFF COBB *CLAP CLAP*. Cobb tags Mack back in, Mack runs the ropes and takes out Silas and Taylor at ringside with a cannonball tope, landing on his feet.
Mack rolls Taylor back in, tag to Cobb who lines up Taylor, Silas intervenes with a knee and looks for Misery but Cobb fights it off before eating a shot from Taylor, a backstabber from Silas and a spinebuster from Taylor, cover but Cobb is out at 2. Silas and Taylor miss the double team as Cobb gets a tag to Mack who comes in hot with strikes to Taylor, and wipes him out with a spinning reverse roundhouse kick! Cover, but Taylor is out at 2. “This is Awesome” chants.
Mack hits the inverted cannonball on Taylor, dumps Silas and looks for the Stunner but Taylor reverses and catches Mack HARD under the jaw with a knee strike! YES SHANE TAYLOR. Cobb behind though who dumps Taylor with a release German, Silas hits Cobb with a knee strike and Anarchist Suplex but Mack takes him out with a stunner and everyone is down! Nice pop. Mack up first to climb the corner, Taylor cuts him off and looks for a superplex, Mack fights it off so Silas tries to help, but Cobb cuts that off… AND WE HAVE A TOWER OF DOOM! Great pop.
All of a sudden Bully Ray runs down to the ring and gets right in Todd Sinclair’s face and says Todd needs to admit that Bully never quit, when Cobb gets in Bully’s face. Cobb is not intimidated as Bully rants and raves. Cobb slowly lowers the straps, but Silas comes behind with a low blow in front of the ref causing the DQ WIN for Cobb and Mack, before Taylor LEVELS Mack with a right hand.
Jeff Cobb & Willie Mack defeat Silas Young & Shane Taylor by DQ after Silas low blows Cobb
JAY’S RATING: 3.9 out of 5
Ok, this one I’m not quite splitting hairs with, I had to mark it down because while I get the story here, the actual end of the match felt like SUCH a deflation after everyone was pulling out some GREAT work on all fronts. Willie Mack is a superstar in the ring. Cobb is, well, JEFF F’N COBB. Silas Young is just so freaking solid on every level and Shane Taylor makes me look closer every time he is out, because in terms of how he has crafted his in ring style to match his a) look and b) attitude strikes me as smart as fuck (his strike game is my favorite in the current crop of ROH, hands down). And I get it, its part of some larger stuff in terms of Bully’s band of misfits, but this was probably a 4+ match that couldve stayed that way even WITH Bully’s interference – its the low-blow DQ finish specifically that cheapened it for me, because as a choice it takes a lot to set it up in such a way where it doesnt feel like a stalling of momentum, which is what it felt like to me here. Too bad, because holy crap this was on track to be pretty freaking great. I’m also calling it – I want the TV strap on Shane Taylor and soon. He’s working his tail off and showing unbelievable improvement over and over and over again. #HeDeservesIt
After the match, Bully goes ahead and talks shit. “Asshole” chants.
I guess that is the one story plus side here – they have some legit heel heat which, again, is hard to do today.
ROCKY ROMERO vs BANDIDO
Colt is back on commentary with Ian. They discuss Rocky winning a Proving Ground match for a shot at Jeff Cobb’s TV title, which will happen in Miami coming up. Dueling “Rocky” and “Bandido” chants. Lockup starts us off, Rocky gets behind, Bandido reverses, Rocky gets a shoulder posting snapmare and we get a standoff. “Lucha libre” chants. Rocky gets the wrist, Bandido flips out and taunts Rocky, which Rocky returns with an Eddie Guerrero taunt, “Eddie” chants and Bandido and Rocky share the taunt to a great pop.
Test of strength from Rocky and Bandido, nice weight sharing lucha work, both look for covers and both get out while keeping hands locked, nice pop. The pace picks up, Bandido looks for a head scissors, Rocky shoves it off but Bandido gets an armdrag, Rocky goes for a rana but Bandido flips out and lands a rana of his own, and both try for dropkicks at the same time. Bandido misses a kick, Rocky hits a gut kick and Bandido grabs the ribs which are still taped from Nigh 1 of the tour. Rocky helps Bandido up and we get a pop for sportsmanship and a standoff. Nice jokey spot of Rocky kissing Bandido’s boo boo to make it better. AWESOME.
Headlock by Bandido, Bandido hits the ropes and springs, transitioning into a tilt-a-whirl rana. Rocky cuts off a dive attempt with a dropkick that sends Bandido out and Rocky hits a suicide dive of his own. “Si se puede” chants. The action slows down but everyone (crowd included) is invested. Quick strikes from Bandido gets things started again, follows with an elbow to Rocky in the corner that sits Rocky down and opens him up for a Bandido face wash, cover but only 2. Big standing senton from Bandido, but cant follow up quickly due to the ribs, finally gets a cover but only gets 1.
Bandido grounds things with a sleeper, snapmares Rocky over and looks for another senton but Rocky gets the knees up for the counter. Stiff kick from Rocky to Bandido, showing more aggression than thus far. Rocky starts focusing on the ribs and back, and says “I gotta do it”. Bandido rolls outside after a Rocky shot, looks to crawl back in but Rocky stays right on him, keeping Bandido grounded and the pace slow. Shoulder blocks in the corner by Rocky, then drapes Bandido over the top and hits a Nakamura-style running corner knee to the ribs, which sends Bandido outside and Rocky tells referee Paul Turner to count. Bandido in at 9.
Rocky sets Bandido up and locks in a great Gory Special, with Rocky grasping his hands to fully stretch Bandido’s torso! Bandido gets a wrist lock to escape, lands a big right hand and they start trading, with Rocky going back to the ribs. Spinning back elbow from Bandido followed by a great around the world DDT changes the momentum of the match for Bandido, who fires up the crowd. Bandido with strikes to Rocky and a running rana, Rocky rolls out and Bandido follows with a no touch top con giro wiping out Rocky! “Bandido” chants.
“Uno mas” chants but Rocky gets to the apron, Bandido looks for a suplex but Rocky gets behind and kicks the back again which crumples Bandido. Rocky catches Bandido coming with a Euro, springboard DDT plants Bandido and Rocky covers for 2. Bandido tries to fire up but Rocky keeps Bandido down, dumps Bandido on the apron and tries to mount a comeback but Rocky drapes him on the top rope and hits his springing stomp-kick to the back, covers Bandido but only gets 2.
Rocky fires up the crowd and gets Forever Clotheslines, but Bandido tries to counter, Rocky looks for Sliced Bread but Bandido is able to catch an Argentine Stretch, but turns that into the West Knee and Rocky goes down! Both are down and the ref starts the count. The crowd counts in Spanish and we get to 9 before both Rocky and Bandido sit up. They rise together and start trading shots and chops with style before just laying into each other. THIS IS GREAT. Both are staggered but they Bandido catches a nice right but misses another as Rocky gets a flurry but Bandido pops him up into a cutter! Bandido covers, but Rocky is out at 2.
“This is Awesome” chants. Bandido rushes Rocky in the corner and eats a boot but comes back with a gamengiri, Rocky is sitting on top and Bandido climbs and is able to get a spring rana off the top, follows with a sunset flip (tried for the sunset bomb), gets the cover but only gets 2. Bandido lines up Rocky for the 21-Plex but Rocky gets a rollup to reverse for 2. The collide with lariats, and again, and Bandido takes down Rocky with a discus lariat as he rips off the rib tape. Bandido attempts a superkick but Rocky gets the rewind kick, Bandido returns with a hard knee, spinning kick to the back and the 21-Plex! He gets the bridge and thats a 3 count and the WIN!
Bandido defeats Rocky Romero by pinfall after the 21-Plex
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
Well this was just fantastic. Bandido is another future star, and if the cards are played right is a force to be reckoned with in the very near future. He blends speed, power and precision brilliantly, sells with the best of them and his moveset is amazing. He also knows how to hold the crowd in his hand, which is priceless. Rocky also looked INCREDIBLE here, and they told a truly outstanding in-ring story together that kept the crowd invested in both and on their toes. I’m really happy that Rocky gets a TV title spot, even though I dont see him winning it, as this match proves how much he does deserve to be in that (and many) title conversation(s). He’s got veteran instinct and experience but is still in his prime, and is just a top tier storyteller on all fronts. I’ve always liked Rocky – this weekend in particular has me a full-blown Rocky Romero fan. Great work, great match, check this one out for sure.
MARK HASKINS vs MARTY SCURLL
Haskins and Scurll tease some tension but then they hug as the fellow Brits catch up. They clear the streamers, we have a Code of Honor but as soon as the bell rings THEY EXPLODE AT EACH OTHER! They just get into a total slugfest, Haskins gets a knee to Marty but Marty catches a Euro before Haskins gets a pump kick that sends Marty outside, Haskins teases a dive but Marty moves and Haskins feints back inside and hits a suicide dive on the other side to wipe out Marty! GREAT start.
Haskins sits Marty in a chair at ringside and lays in a chop, gets some distance and hits a running kick to the face! Haskins puts Marty in a different chair and looks for another running shot with even more distance to build momentum, but Marty moves, sneaks in the ring and catches Haskins blind with the apron superkick! Skin-the-cat by Marty to a fun pop but Haskins trips him up, pops up and hits an apron PK before putting Marty back in the chair and hitting the pump kick again.
Back in the ring, Haskins puts Marty in the corner and gets chops in, gut shot off the ropes and Marty is down. Haskins covers but only gets 1. Choke by Haskins to wear down Marty, wrenching it in as we get chants for Marty. Haskins takes the choke to the ground and locks in a side body scissors to drive Marty’s air out. Marty looks to come back, fights out, Haskins fires back but Marty catches him with a Euro and is able to get Haskins caught on the middle rope and Marty landing a backstabber that sends Haskins outside.
Marty looks for another apron superkick, Haskins tries to cover but Marty changes course and stomps on the hands and then runs the ropes and takes out Haskins with a suicide dive. Marty now has Haskins in the chair and returns the pump kick favor. Haskins sent back in by Marty, they trade shots, Marty gets a backslide but it rolls through for a Marty low superkick. Haskins in the corner, Marty hits a gamengiri and a tornado DDT, covers but Haskins out at 2. Marty calls for Chickenwing but Haskins picks the leg.
We get holds traded until Marty connects with a sick half nelson suplex, but eats a pump kick from Haskins but Marty lands a lariat off the ropes and covers Haskins for 2. Crowd is behind Marty, who lays in a hard chop to a kneeling Haskins, and another, but Haskins asks for more, Marty looks for the next one and Haskins covers up but Marty grabs the fingers and SNAPS THEM! WHAT A VILLAIN! But then Haskins pops them back into place! Marty looks for Graduation but Haskins reverses it and tries for a Sharpshooter, Marty out of it but Haskins gets it on the 2nd attempt until Marty gets the ropes.
Haskins gets a big kick on Marty on the apron, then climbs the corner and gets a deep diving double stomp and locks in the bridging Fujiwara! Marty fights for the ropes but Haskins changes positions, looks for the armbar but Marty looks for a reversal into the Chickenwing, Haskins reverse into a Hart/Piper pin but only gets 2. Haskins rolls Marty through into a Samoan Driver, covers but only gets 2! Haskins up and looks for another apron kick, Marty moves but Haskins catches him back inside but Marty CRUSHES him with an elbow, Marty gets a rollup for 2, Haskins gets a rollup for 2, they trade rollups until Marty is able to sink Haskins deep and get the 3 count and the WIN!
Marty Scurll defeats Mark Haskins by pinfall with a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a very entertaining outing by two people who know each other very well, telling a cool little story together and putting together a competitive and aggressive outing that the audience ate up. I think it was a better and hotter closing stretch away from breaking through into Great, but nonetheless these two just know how to deliver toughness, comedy, entertainment and brutality in sequence in some pretty amazing ways. Strong work all around, just craved something more from the final beats.
After the match, Haskins and Marty share a Hug of Honor.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Rush debuts
The same one we’ve seen, fairly generic. Eh.
After the segment, Kelly Klein shows up at commentary and calls out Mayu Iwatani in Florida. That could be fun.
Tag Wars FINALS
FIN-JUICE vs VILLAIN ENTERPRISES
Tenille Dashwood joins commentary. “PCO” chants because dude is so over its insane. Code of Honor offered by Fin-Juice, but VE refuses. Brody and Finlay start us off as we get the bell, lockup and Brody shows the power advantage early. Headlock by Brody, Finlay looks to whip but Brody holds on. Finlay gets the whip but Brody DESTROYS Finlay with a shoulder tackle, then hits the ropes but Finlay leap frogs and lands a dropkick. Finlay tries to use the speed, ducks a lariat and gets a flying Euro that allows him to tag Juice and get a double suplex, covers but only 1 on Brody.
Brody hoists Juice and puts him in the VE corner and PCO gets the tag as Juice gets away for a standoff. “PCO” chants. Headlock by Juice, whip and they collide but no one budges and PCO wants more. Series of tackles follows and it just makes PCO stronger! Juice with the right handed jabs, a chop but PCO gets a gut kick and a series of nice kicks to put Juice down, then a running senton followed by a running dropkick to the back of a seated Juice. Miscommunication it seems regarding a tag to Brody, so PCO stays on Juice and looks for a back suplex but Juice flips out of it, Finlay gets the tag and they take PCO down with dual dropkicks.
Fin-Juice knocks Brody off the apron as they double team PCO, hitting a nice double flapjack. Juice looks for the Left Hand of God but PCO ducks and sends Juice into Finlay hard, then tags in Brody, PCO asks for chops so Brody does, then whips PCO into a dropkick into Finlay! Brody with a SICK chop to Finlay, big slam follows and a running senton of his own. Headbutt staggers Finlay into the corner where he eats another Brody chop, Brody follows with clubbing blows to the chest and a brutal neck wrench, just twisting Finlay. Finlay looks to fight out but Brody puts him right back down.
Tag to PCO who keeps the pressure on, hits a side belly to belly and a cover but Juice is in at 2. PCO with a big backbreaker, tag to Brody who whips Finlay and decapitates him off the ropes with a lariat. Tag to PCO, Finlay tries to mount a comeback but PCO hotshots him and tags Brody, who knocks down Juice and follows with a cannonball into Finlay’s back as he was draped on the middle rope. Brody looks for the Ganzo Driver but Finlay sneaks out of it and tags Juice who comes in hot! Shot to the knee and a falling front face DDT drops Brody and Juice knocks down PCO as he hits a running clothesline on Brody in the corner, then another and calls for the cannonball but Brody tosses him in a belly to belly into the corner HARD.
Tag to PCO who hits Emerald Flowson, covers but only 2. Corner clothesline and a DDT by PCO on Juice, PCO looks to climb and goes for a splash but Juice gets the knees up and both are down. Tag to Finlay and they look for Last Chapter but PCO fights out with chops and headbutts. Fin-Juice looks for the double bulldog but PCO JUST. DOESNT. BUDGE and Fin-Juice wipes out as PCO then dumps them over the top with clotheslines. Tag to Brody, PCO runs the ropes and Brody launches PCO over the top onto Fin-Juice! HE’S NOT HUMAN!
And right around here the Honor Club feed cut out. Great. We get the ROH “hold please” screen… for over a minute… Jesus… AND THEN WE ARE BACK AND FINLAY IS COVERING BRODY FOR SOME REASON BUT ONLY GETS A 2 COUNT! Soooo I guess stuff happened? “This is Awesome” chants. If only I could have seen it… Trash Panda countered by Brody, Finlay looks to come off the corner instead but Brody pulls the leg and the back of Finlay’s head connects with the top turnbuckle. GANZO DRIVER FROM BRODY KING. Cover, the 3 count and the WIN.
Villain Enterprises defeats Fin-Juice by pinfall after a Ganzo Driver to win Tag Wars 2019
JAY’S RATING: 3.9 out of 5
I cant give this a full 4+, even though from the “That Was Awesome” chants that followed the match it seemed like it was awesome, and seeing Finlay’s near comeback right where the feed came back, I have a feeling some stuff happened in that minute+ (which is enough time for a LOT to happen) that wouldve kicked it over the line there for me. But cest la vie, I can only comment on what I saw, and even with the missed sequences this was on its way to being a pretty great final before the streaming issues. Everyone here looked good, with Finlay holding his own well as the smallest in the ring. Brody King and PCO, in spite of one miscommuncation, are looking amazing as a team, and VE taking Tag Wars is a great choice as part of their early rise (especially because they come with so much clout already in tow). I’m digging Juice Robinson a lot lately, but he didnt need this win, and he’s the IWGP US Champ – this was the right call. All in all, this was shaping up to be a great match, and it seems like it ended up being so in the end. Nice way to cap off the tour – well done.
After the match, Fin-Juice offers the hand again, and Brody pushes PCO away from them as they pose in triumph… but The Briscoes hit the ring and stand off with VE as they raise their belts high. VE and The Briscoes start brawling, the action spills to ringside, the ref calls for the bell as chairs start flying, chair shot to PCO and an elbow off the apron on Brody, and the Briscoes are just wreaking havoc. Jay puts a chair around PCO’s head, AND IT JUST MAKES HIM MORE FIRED UP! Mark gets a table and sets it at ringside, PCO gets laid on it, Mark climbs the corner and hits Froggy Bow on PCO through the table… but PCO IS STILL ALIVE! HE’S NOT HUMAN! VE starts brawling again and security starts running down as all hell breaks loose. Ian says the match will happen for the belts at 17th Anniversary as Brody is sent hard into the barrivade while PCO grabs a chair and asks for a shot from Mark which he absorbs before hitting Mark with his own. Mark and PCO just start TRADING CHAIR SHOTS, but PCO IS UNPHASED! JESUS CHRIST! The chairs keep throwing and the fight keeps happening as we get played out.
This was a GREAT end of the tour, with every match pulling out great spots, a strong Tag Wars final, lots of storylines advanced in different ways… it feels like ROH really buckled down and thought this tour through, ESPECIALLY since it is branded as the lead up to the G1 Supercard. It feels like they knew what the job needed to be here, and that they needed to fire on all cylinders, and thats exactly what they did pretty much over the whole tour, with San Antonio well-placed card and execution-wise as the cap off of the tour. The crowds were also amazing all weekend, which always helps, as the talent just fed off the positive energy. Plus an amazing array of talent from all over got to get featured here, and I am feeling more excited by ROH than I have in a while (and I am generally excited by ROH, but this definitely felt like not only a statement show, but a statement tour). I have to also consider the context of AEW, NXT’s continued rise and the overall story and character frustrations plaguing the WWE main product, that ROH seems to see that a) the time to strike is now and b) theres so much great product out there so lets raise our own bar. If I’m reading that right, its actually good timing on ROH’s part, as it almost feels like we are in a transitional phase with AEW on the horizon, Impact rebuilding and so much new stuff coming out of the woodwork, and ROH has the history and longevity that they can lean on as credibility as the build their new stuff. Please let this be a sign of ROH’s future. This could be a fun 2019.