Ring of Honor Wrestling
BEST IN THE WORLD 2019
Ian Riccobani, Colt Cabana & Caprice Coleman on commentary.
Flip offers the Code but Rush kicks the hand away as we get the bell. Rush plays alpha to start. Chop by Flip, Rush just adjusts his hair. Another, Rush smiles so Flip smacks him in the head. Rush fires up and just puts Flip over the top, hits a superman punch to an apron Flip and then just tosses Flip hard into the barricades and over the timekeeper’s table. Chants for Rush. Back inside and Rush keeps the pressure on. Seated dropkick to the back by Rush cracks. Flip uses his speed to come back, hits a pretty spring dropkick and a corner clothesline, but Rush holds on and lands a uranage. Rush sits Flip in the corner and boots him, teases the finish but gets that sharp kick to the face, rolling back into Tranquilo. Flip fights back, shots traded, nice evade and Pele by Flip, reverse roundhouse to the head and a series of elbows, Rush firess up (FIGHTING SPIRIT!) and Flip fires off more and Rush finally goes down. Nice knee strike and Falcon Arrow by Flip, cover but only 2. Spring spear by Flip connects, cover but still 2. Jumping knee by Flip but Rush just punchess THROUGH Flip’s head. Dang. They trade in the corner, Rush gets the stomps but Flip pops up into a folding powerbomb for 2. La Magistral by Flip gets 2, big knee strike by Rush connects and Flip dumps Rush, goes for the suicide dive but Rush catches (sort of) him and drives him into the barricade. Then Rush gets a fan to give him a trashcan and he throws that into Flip. Rush mocks people chanting for Flip, throws Rush back in and covers for 2 a few times. Flip drags himself to the corner but is in position for Bull’s Horns, Rush takes his time to line it up, hits it HARD, pulls Flip back in and thats that.
Rush defeats Flip Gordon by pinfall via the Bulls Horns
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
A nice way to open the show, with an action heavy outing by two of the rising next-gen names on the roster. Rush continues to roll along undefeated, and Flip loses a bit more momentum but still looked very good and so I doubt will be down for long. Rush was the definite star here, however, and I continue to be excited by what ROH might have planned next for him. He’s ready for the next big rivalry, and maybe even ready to look toward some gold. The fans are with him enough, for sure.
After the match the new interviewer Quinn stops Rush at ringside, and Rush says he didnt come to play, he’s here to destroy. Rush is oozing charisma, and Quinn is lovely but I dont know where her energy fits in the current vibe of ROH…
IN-RING SEGMENT: Nick Aldis
We hear about how Colt Cabana suffered an injury and was advised against his scheduled tag match with partner Nick Aldis, who comes down to the ring. Aldis grabs a mic and puts over Colt as someone who wouldnt bow out unless it was serious. So the option was there to cancel the match, but NWA keeeps their promises and so they are presenting Aldis’ new partner, the NWA’s newest acquisition… but before Aldis can finish, James Storm’s music hits. Storm comes out with a mic and a beer and mocks Aldis. He says he was sure NWA would call him when Colt went down, says he has earned his respect in this business. So who is his partner then? Aldis then flubs the intro line (classic)… and its ELI DRAKE. Decent chants for Drake. Drake puts himself over standing on an ROH stage, and the banner says “Best in the World”, and thats what he is. Drake says everyone kept telling him where to go, but he does what he wants. He’s going to join a company that is the past, present and future, just like him. Drake talks about being fairly local, and puts a target on the NWA belt. He says no one is going to stop him, no one can, he cant stop himself, he’s going to turn everything upside down. Ok, that was a pretty dang good promo by Drake. I’ve never quite found his ring work compelling, but lets see what happens inside some new digs. He’s also a bit old-school and conservative for my taste, but that might be why the NWA/ROH combo might fit him well.
New look for Castle for his Boy-less heel turn. The bell rings and Lee strikes fast with a shotgun dropkick and two Shibata dropkicks, pulls Castle into a cover but only gets 2. Lee dumps Castle who evades a dive, Lee lands on his feet but Castle drive his back into the corner post. Lee with a kick to Castle on the apron and looks for the rana off the apron but Castle holds on and hits a nice powerbomb onto the apron. Castle sends Lee HARD into the barricade and Lee dumps into the front row. Lee gets back up and over so Castle sends Lee into and over the barricade again. Some scattered “Over Here” chants. Castle teases putting Lee back in the ring but sends Lee into the front row again and is FIRED. UP. The crowd is digging ruthless heel Castle. So am I. Chants for Castle. Castle tries another whip but Lee reverses and Castle hits hard. Back inside and Lee drops behind Castle but Castle snatches a DDT and a cover for 2. Castle grounds Lee with mat work and tears at the mask. Flurry by Castle who is just beating down Lee. Cocky cover only gets 2 counts. Castle takes it to the ground with a mat submission again, showing aggressiveness, Lee fires up and trades with Castle who dumps Lee with a suplex. Cover but only 2.
Castle rips the mask severely, sharp shot to the face but Lee getss a rana and a nice suicide dive to wipe out Castle on teh outside. Lee works over Castle on the outside. Back inside Lee hits a buttefly backbreaker and PK, cover but only gets 2. Castle fights off Lee and gets another great throw, Lee evades a knee and gets Combinacion Cabron. Lee tries a knee but Castle catches and suplexes again, but Lee comes back with the snap German. Elbow by Castle, knee and poison rana by Lee into a cover but only gets 2! (Nice sell from Castle, especially considering his injuries.) Castle blocks Desnucadora, Lee is able to get a kick to the face and looks for a Destroyer, Castle tries to turn it into Bangarang, eats a knee but hits Lee with a big lariat. Gutwrench is countered by Lee into a rana for 2, and he follows with another NICE knee strike. Boma Ye by Lee, but Castle kicks out at 1, and Lee gets in the ref’s face. Lee tries Desnucadora again but Castle gets a shortarm clothesline and lands Bangarang, but hesitates and doesnt cover. Castle then puts Lee seated into the corner, mocks Rush and hits his own Bull’s Horns, cover and thats 3.
Dalton Castle defeats Dragon Lee by pinfall via Bangarang and Bull’s Horns
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a nice way to give Castle renewed momentum post-injury and post-Boys, as as expected heel Castle is pretty great. His focus was on, his actual in-ring style works well from a heel POV, and his aggressive sequence on the outside played VERY well. Lee was outstanding as a foil for Castle and the family drama given his brother Rush also came off well, but this accomplished its mission of getting people to care about a future-main event Dalton Castle again quite well, and the ending – while a little slow – was a nice bit of story to keep things leaning forward with Castle’s character. Well done.
(Angelina Love & Mandy Leon w/ Velvet Sky)
KELLY KLEIN & JENNY ROSE
Rose and Klein hit the ring and go right at The Allure with the beatdown, then trade mudhole stomps before whipping Leon into Love and staggering The Allure. Rose keeps the pressure on but eats a boot from Love. Love gets in Klein’s face and calls her out, and allows Rose to tag Klein in. Hard lock up, Klein takes it to the mat, nice counter work by Love who drops Klein with a tackle. Chants for Kelly who gets an armdrag and tackle of her own, but Love counters a slam and hits a neckbreaker. Another tackle from Klein but Love cuts her down with a spinning heel kick for 2. Side slam by Klein, cover but only 2. Tag to Rose and they get the double suplex on Love. Love bails and calls for a time out, Rose gives chase but Velvet cuts Rose down with a clothesline. Back and Love covers but gets 2. Tag to Leon who works over Rose (sort of?) and tags Love back in who hits corner double knees and dumps Rose. Velvet approaches again, Klein backs her off but Leon gets a shot from behind as Love climbs and wipes out Rose and Klein with a crossbody off the top to the floor. Back in, cover by Love but only 2. Tag to Leon, Rose with a spear, tag to Love and tag to Klein who comes in hot. Leon in but gets suplexed, front face DDT by Klein to Love, fallaway slam to Leon and one to Love and Klein is fired up. Leon with an ugly DDT and looks to climb but Rose cuts her off and gets a spear on the apron, and slams Leon to the ground. Leon throws Rose into the barricade, Love climbs but Klein catches her and gets an avalanche fallaway slam, cover but only gets 2. Klein is showing the frustration as Velvet gets on the apron to distract the ref, and that allows Leon to hit Klein with the shoe from behind, Klein gets up but turns around into the Botox Injection and the cover for the WIN.
The Allure defeats Kelly Klein & Jenny Rose by pinfall via Botox Injection
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5
This was an okay match, with the exception that Angelina Love did ALL of the heavy lifting, really for both teams. Mandy Leon is just BAD in the ring (I’m sorry, she just is, from a skills perspective, bad), Rose was mediocre and Klein is just ok. But I might be rating this high because I felt strongly like Love can still GO, and that was great to see and I hope is put to its full advantage for this division in the future. The ending was flat, but the Botox Injection still looks great.
After the match, the lights go down and we get a video package… and its creepy as hell in a good way… and its the debut of “Maneater” Maria Manic who is in the ring when the lights come back on. She looks huge and menacing, The Allure begs off as security gets in the ring, and Manic just DEMOLISHES them. NICE Torture Rack, and then she picks up a guard and Border Tosses him over the top rope onto a bunch of security dudes. She tears the top off and she has “Maneater” tattooed on her stomach. The crowd is eating it up. REALLY great debut, and very much the kind of energy the women’s division needs right now. GOOD MOVE.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Kenny King
We see the history of Kenny King winning the Honor Rumble at G1 Supercard, getting blinded by The Great Muta and reigniting long-standing hostilities with Jay Lethal. King talks about knowing all of Lethal’s moves, about being in Lethal’s head, and we see King using the Lethal Injection to snatch a victory over Lethal recently. This is the culmination of a Best of 3 series between King and Lethal, with the series tied at 1-1 after King got himself DQed in the 2nd match. We see King threatening to break Lethal’s arm, saying that when you kill a king, you do it where everyone can watch. Nice package.
Deciding Match of Best of Three Series
King extends the hand and Lethal is wary, so it doesnt happen. King has good support, Lethal might have a hair more. Arm work and feeling out to begin, King legdrops the arm and gets a hold until Lethal gets the ropes. King focuses on the left arm and shoulder. Lethal looks to reverse, King looks to steal the cartwheel dropkick but Lethal evades, King now looks for Lethal’s triangle dropkick but Lethal gets out of the way and is a step ahead of King, hitting his own cartwheel dropkick to perfection. Chants for Lethal, chants for King as Lethal pounds on King, snap suplex follows for 2. King goes back to the arm and gets a Macho-style pull over the top rope and calls himself the Macho Man, but Lethal dropkicks him to the floor and follows outside. Lethal sets up a chair but King fights back and sits Lethal in it, but Lethal gets a drop toe hold that sends King into the chair. Lethal now traps King’s arm in the chair and looks to break it, the ref intervenes and King crawls away, tries a spring attack but Lethal catches him, looks for a suplex on the floor but King reverses into a hard suplex into the apron. Nice spot. King rakes Lethal’s eyes and throws him back inside.
Backbreaker by King gets 2, he follows right up with a Boston Crab and sits down, Lethal fights for the ropes so King transitions into an armbar. They fight to their feet and trade shots, with Lethal getting a nice backdrop. Middle rope dropkick by Lethal connects, the crowd gets behind Lethal and he calls for the end, King counters but Lethal hoists King and hits the Royal Flush! Cover, but only 2. Chants for Lethal, some for King as well. King tries to evade the triangle dropkick but Lethal waits, and hits it anyway, following with the first suicide dive. Back inside and Jay gets caught and King drives Jay down with a spinebuster on the floor. That was ugly, but also GOOD. The ref counts, King rolls in at 14, and Jay makes it right at 19. King goes to Lethal and Lethal gets a cradle for 2, but King follows with a Blue Thunder Bomb and climbs, and hits a GREAT Shooting Star Press! Cover, but Jay gets out at 2! King now calls for his cane but Lethal gets a rollup for 2 and follows into the Figure Four! Amy Rose sends the cane into the ring so the ref chastizes her, Lethal releases but gets the Lethal Injection! Cover by Jay, but King is out at 2! Jay shoots a look at Amy Rose, who runs out of the arena, and Jay then looks for an avalanche cutter but King fights Jay off and hits a blockbuster and a BIG lariat, and a Lethal Injection of his own! Royal Flush follows, cover and King has defeated Lethal!
Kenny King defeats Jay Lethal by pinfall via the Royal Flush to win the Best of 3 Series
JAY’S RATING: 3.8 out of 5
This was a very good match, and even with the (unnecessary) Amy Rose shenanigans feels like a bit of a statement of making some real room in the main event picture for someone like King. Some love King, some hate King, but for me this is EXACTLY the right next step in his career, as he has done everything in this company and has done it really fucking well to boot. It reminds me of when Edge finally started to get the push – just this sense of, yep its goddamned time, this is earned. And so I’m totally here for it, and to have Jay put him over in this series makes it feel like even more of a statement, of Jay saying “I’m not gonna be the Ace here much longer”. I think the match had the potential for more, but it was still a very strong outing and the intensity of King in the final stretch was great, and really buttoned the thing well. Nicely done.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Silas/Gresham
We get a recap of the issues between Silas Young and Jonathan Gresham, including Silas cheating to beat Gresham and mockingly touting his wrestling skills in weird squashes. He get the challenge and acceptance for the Pure Rules match. Good package with a final narration that felt a little “tacked on”.
Pure Rules Match
We get the rundown of the Pure Rules, including the 3 rope breaks (after that, the ropes wont cause a break), and the 2nd use of a closed fist caught results in a DQ. We get a Code, but Gresham holds on and pulls Silas in. Lockup goes into the ropes and the grapple together until Gresham gets a headlock. Silas with a hammerlock counter, they trade counterholds on the mat. Silas with a rollup for 2 and lands a nice chop. Standing switches, Silas lifts Gresham and places him in the ropes to force the break, which uses up one of Gresham’s rope breaks. That is super smart. Silas uses the size advantage, Gresham counters and works the wrist to take down Silas, more counterwrestling, chop by Silas and a tackle drops Gresham. Gresham fights from the ground, baiting Silas in and picking up the foot to force Silas to the ropes for the break. The wrist is offered by Gresham and they lock up again and go to the mat, Silas with the power advantage and he locks in an abdominal stretch. Gresham looks for the hip toss but cant lift, but instead looks for the Octopus and Silas gets the ropes to break, using his 2nd of 3 breaks.
Silas bails to reset the pace, then heads back in and they go to the mat again, Silas with the power advantage again, Gresham from the ground again and trips up Silas, they run the ropes and Gresham pulls a Colt (the “Hey! *points up* What’s that?”), and Silas falls for it and gets chopped! Love it. Gresham mocks Silas, they run the ropes, Silas pulls the stop but then just punches Gresham in the face, but gets a warning for the closed fist. The action spills outside, where Silas whips Gresham into the barricade. Back inside and Silas gets the over the top double stomp. Snap suplex by Silas, cover but only 1 as Silas locks on a surfboard. Gresham fights out but eats a backbreaker, cover by Silas but only 2. Hard whip by Silas into the corner drops Gresham. Abdominal stretch again by Silas in the middle of the ring, Gresham fights out and gets the hip throw but Silas gets a nice roll-through half crab. Gresham makes the ropes, and he now is down to 1 more break. Suplex by Silas is blocked, Gresham gets under Silas and deadlifts him up for the vertical suplex. Running chop by Gresham, boot by Silas and the backbreaker/lariat combo, cover by Silas for 2 and transitions into a nice grounded full nelson. Gresham fights for the ropes and makes it, and is now out of breaks.
Silas stalks Gresham and lands a back suplex, and looks confident as hell. Another suplex puts Gresham down. Gresham flips out of the next suplex but his back gives out, he tries to jump of the middle rope but cant and so Silas pushes Gresham over the top and down to the floor as the ref begins to count. Gresham back in and Silas lays in a knee and hits the Anarchist Suplex, covers for 2 and goes for the full nelson again, Gresham in the ropes but to no avail. Gresham tries different escapes, Silas keeps reapplying, Gresham gets a rollup for 2 and tries for the Octopus! He cant quite get it as Silas reaches for the ropes, and finally gets it but now both are out of breaks. They stand off, shots traded, a big one puts Gresham down but he kips up for an enziguri. Gresham’s back causes issues and they trade suplex attempts until they both go over the top and to the floor hard. They roll back in and referee Todd Sinclair goes to fix the apron covering, and GRESHAM HITS A LOW BLOW! A chorus of boos! Gresham now applies the Octopus, Silas is in the ropes but it doesnt matter and Silas TAPS!
Jonathan Gresham defeats Silas Young by submission via the Octopus
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was an entertaining and focused story of a match, but definitely is going to be a matter of taste giving its pacing. I think it couldve pushed the intensity even further to really get into Great territory, which both of these two are capable of. Gresham going over Silas and perhaps starting to get taken seriously as a TV Title contender feels like exactly the right move, and I’d love to see Silas start becoming a World Title contender more, so this felt like a good transition match built off of a nice series of matches and story moments. However, the book is still open with Gresham using the low blow to get the advantage in the Pure match HE requested, so maybe thats why they didnt push this one further. Time will tell. Good work by both.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Briscoes vs NWA
We get a package of the Briscoes going crazy after being DQed during the Crockett Cup, and just wreaking havoc and running down the NWA. Wee see the Briscoes jumping Colt Cabana to make a statement against the NWA, and Nick Aldis getting beaten down when he tries to help. Decent package.
NICK ALDIS & ELI DRAKE
James Storm joins commentary. The Briscoes are out with a “Sandy Fork vs Everybody” flag. Big support for the Briscoes. Eli Drake tries to get his name chanted, and no one does. He starts with Mark and they lock up and go to the mat. Big chop by Mark, nice speed as Mark dumps Drake to the apron, we get an awkward standoff moment and Jay gets tagged in. Tag to Aldis. Jay with a headlock, we get pushing from both, Jay swipes at Drake and trades with Aldis, getting the tag to Mark for the double team. Quick tag to Jay who keeps on Aldis, chants for Briscoes as Jay stomps the mudhole. Tag to Mark, double tackle takes down Aldis and the crowd pops. Drake connects with a lariat that drops Mark outside, who gets rolled back in. Tag to Drake, Mark flies but Aldis catches him and hoists him into a nice suplex and Drake reminds us of his name and drops the elbow. Cover, but only 2. Blind tag to Jay and he cuts down Drake as Mark drops Aldis off the apron. Headbutt by Jay and another mudhole stomping, tag to Mark who keeps on Drake, tag to Jay but Drake evades a corner splash and gets a jumping neckbreaker.
Tag to Aldis after Drake says his name again and Aldis keeps the pressure on, hitting a nice snap Michinoku Driver for 2, then transitioning to a headlock. Nice dropkick by Jay puts Aldis down and Mark and Drake both get tags. Shots traded, NICE uranage suplex by Mark, Aldis in but eats a Mark Pele, Mark stuns Drake up top and gets an Iconoclasm and covers but only gets 2. Slam by Mark who climbs but Aldis cuts it off, Mark fights but Drake with a nice leap to the top rope to throw Mark off, but Jay gets the tag. Drake counters a Jay neckbreaker into Burning Hammer, cover but only 2. Drake hoists Jay, Jay fights out and gets a nice running rana, Mark back in and they hit Redneck Boogie and Jay follows with a lariat! Cover, but Aldis breaks it at 2 and dumps Mark. Jay looks for Jay Driller on Aldis but Aldis gets the Kingsland Cross, but Mark breaks it up and dropkicks Aldis outside, then hits a Cactus Elbow off the apron. Jay goes after Drake outside and they brawl, and Jay puts Drake into the crowd. Aldis gets Mark with a suplex on the floor, and then we hear the bell for the double countout as Drake and Jay continue to brawl by commentary, but then Storm and Drake start brawling out of the arena.
The Briscoes vs Nick Aldis & Eli Drike ends in double countout
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was pretty good at the end of the day, though the finish was a bit of a deflation. Drake looked pretty good, though I fear he can become one-note quickly if not careful. His ring execution was on point, but I was with Colt in feeling like the name thing wore thin and FAST. The post-match was as much a part of this whole saga as the match, so it was good for what it was and pulled it off quite well, with everyone looking good in their ring work.
After the match, Aldis is left alone at ringside as Jay comes down to smash Aldis with a beer. A table gets thrown in the ring and Mark sets it up as Aldis is beaten down. Colt talks about wanting to go and help, but Ian tries to stop him due to his injury. The Briscoes put Aldis on the table and Kamille hits the ring and takes down Mark with a NICE spear. Jay gets in her face as refs and security break them up. Kamille gets taken out of the ring as The Briscoes jump security, Aldis tries to fight back but gets low blowed, placed on the table and Mark comes off with Froggy Bow, driving Aldis through the table. Scurll now runs down to the ring as Aldis is left alone, and we get chants for Marty. Marty helps Aldis up and assists him out of the ring. Nice post-match for the Briscoes.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Shane Taylor / Bandido
We get a video package recapping Shane Taylor winning the TV title, being dominant, while Taylor says this is all revenge for everyone who has told him he’d never make it. We then see Bandido getting a pinfall victory over Taylor, and that brings us to this match. Decent package.
Ring of Honor World Television Championship
SHANE TAYLOR (c)
I’m super excited for this match, because Bandido is a true superstar and we havent seen half of what he’s capable of yet, and also because I fucking LOVE the run Shane Taylor is on right now. He is a PERFORMER, and has adapted his style and persona to something pretty fucking great and has earned well-deserved gold as a result. This has the potential to be very good. Early crowd love for Bandido. No Code of Honor, and we get the bell. Taylor calls Bandido “Puta Madre” and Bandido slaps him, they trade, they run the ropes and Taylor does a GREAT sequence with Bandido that leads to a standoff. That was AWESOME to see Taylor move like that. Taylor spits at Bandido, Bandido lands a knee and gets a headscissors that dumps Taylor and looks for a rana off the apron, but Taylor holds on and plants him with an apron bomb hard. Taylor talks shit with a fan and rolls Bandido onto the apron to keep pressure on. Chants for Bandido. Back inside Bandido fires back but Taylor collapses him with an open hand chop. Taylor talks shit while stepping on Bandido’s face, then cuts him down off a whip and covers for 2, then grounds Bandido. Nice strike evasions by Taylor and he lands a STIFF headbutt and Bandido just DROPS. The ref begins the KO count, and Bandido barely makes it up at 9, and dropkicks the knee as he goes for Taylor’s base. Lariats by Bandido land, Bandido gets a kick from the apron and climbs, flying off with a tornillo that finally puts Taylor down.
Great facebuster by Bandido plants Taylor who rolls outside, and Bandido follows with a fucking BEAUTIFUL Fosbury Flop. Like, gorgeous. Back in, Bandido gets Taylor over with a West Coast Pop, cover but gets a close 2. Taylor fires back and turns Bandido inside out with a huge clothesline, covers but only gets 2. Bandido gets a spring standing moonsault out of the corner, looks for the Stinger Splash but Taylor catches him and plants him, then climbs to the middle rope and hits a big splash! Cover, but Bandido kicks out at 2. Taylor keeps the pressure on Bandido, toying with him and looking for Greetings, Bandido gets out of it and looks to hoist Taylor but struggles, Taylor fights out but eats a sharp superkick! Bandido follows with the 21-Plex but Taylor holds the rope to block and fights out, then folds Bandido up with a powerbomb, lands a knee strike and a HUGE package piledriver! Cover, but Bandido kicks out at 2.998! Taylor climbs to the mid again and flies for a crossbody but Bandido catches him, holds him and plants him with a slam! Cover, but only 2! That was awesome! Bandido climbs, almost slips but then pulls off a beautiful shooting star press, covers but STILL only 2! Chants for Bandido, he lines up the 21-Plex but Taylor catches him with PERFECTION and drives him down with Greetings from 216, covers and thats the WIN.
Shane Taylor defeats Bandido by pinfall via Greetings from 216 to retain the ROH TV Title
JAY’S RATING: 3.8 out of 5
This was a VERY strong TV Title match, with both of these guys coming out looking fantastic. Bandido is just fucking boundless in terms of his skill and future, and its a joy to watch him work. I still dont believe he’s as young as he is. But this was a GREAT showcase of Taylor as champ, with him showing that he knows how to use his size and his precision to really manipulate the pace of a match, and can keep up at a variety of styles and paces to tell a fucking great story. That’s exactly what I saw here, and the closing stretch in particular just nailed it. Great work all around, and cheers to Shane Taylor once again for being awesome.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship
PJ BLACK & LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams)
VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (c)
PJ Black is announced distinctly separately from Lifeblood at this point. VE comes out to new music (I HOPE MARTY KEEPS THE OLD ONE FOR SINGLES THOUGH) and its pretty fucking good, and they also come out wearing Road Warriors shoulder pads. Damn. Bold. AND, they are sporting custom Villain Enterprises title belts, because Long Live the Villains. To be frank, this was a great entrance. Like, this is what pro wrestling entrances should be. And its not actually that bells-and-whistle-y – its just REALLY well built. Chants for PCO. The Code is offered by Lifeblood and PJ but Marty blows it off, and we have the bell. Marty starts with Haskins, they lockup fast and trade arm control and counterwork, cover by Haskins for 1 and they go to the mat work back and forth to a standoff. Haskins wants PCO. The crowd wants PCO. But Marty wants PJ, so both get tagged. “He’s Not Human” chants. PJ with a headlock, they run the ropes and PJ gets kicks but PCO catches one and gets a dragon screw. They trade shots, running headbutt by PCO, superkick from PJ but PCO hits a pump kick. Standing cannonball misses as PJ evades, and Tracy and Brody tag in. Tracy tries to use speed but eats a HARD chop that just ECHOES.
Tracy catches a chop and gets a hanging armbar, tries a spring off the ropes, Brody catches him but Tracy lands lariats but Brody just absorbs all of Tracy’s strikes. Brody escapes a German attempt and tags in Marty who hits Euros and drives Tracy’s braced shoulder into the mat, Tracy bails and Marty follows with the apron superkick. Haskins drops Marty down and hits a hard knee strike, Brody lariats Haskins and KOs PJ, then hits an apron cannonball to wipe out Haskins and Tracy. PCO on the apron and Brody CATAPULTS PCO OFF THE APRON and onto Lifeblood! That was great. Marty keeps on Tracy and tags in Brody, who cracks off a forearm. Tag to PCO who hits a slam, then tags Marty who keeps the pressure on. Tag to Brody who hits a big splash and gets 2, ass VE shows great tag team wrestling skill. Tracy fires back and hits a snap German, tag to Marty and a tag to Haskins who is in hot, dropping Marty with a jumping heel kick. Sharpshooter is blocked, Tracy tags back in and chops Marty, and he and Haskins get a great double team with Haskins getting a tag and a cover for 2. Tag to PJ, Haskins gets a Romero Special and PJ gets a kick to the face, then locks in the Rocking Horse. Tag to Haskins with Lifeblood in and they hit a double dropkick to Marty, cover but only 2.
Marty fights out of the corner and tags Brody who cuts down Haskins, chops PJ and Tracy and starts building momentum. Double corner avalanche connects, and Brody slams PJ onto Tracy before hitting a senton. Haskins fires back, Marty in and looks for a Crab, he turns it and PCO comes off the middle with a legdrop, then runs the ropes and wipes out Tracy and PJ at ringside with a GREAT suicide dive. He just THROWS himself at people! Brody gets a punch that drops Haskins onto Marty’s knees and Brody hits a senton, covers but only gets 2. Double team on Haskins in the corner and they hit the sunset flip double German, cover by Brody but Haskins is still out at 2. Tag to PCO, Haskins fights back and hits a kick to the head, tag to PJ who hits a top rope Mushroom Stomp, tag to Tracy who hits a big frog splash but its broken up at 2 by Marty. PJ dumps Marty and Brody, Haskins and Tracy hit dives to wipe them out and they triple team PCO into a spike piledriver! Cover, but PCO barely kicks out and everyone questions the call because the ref makes contact with the mat. Marty in to crack the fingers of Tracy, PJ hits an elbow but eats a Brody lariat, Haskins hits knees to Brody and PCO but PCO lands an Air Raid Crash.
Tags to Marty and PJ who trade shots, superkick by PJ connects, superkick to PCO lands as well and another one to PCO but PCO gets a Cactus Clothesline that takes both him and PJ to the floor, and PCO now calls for a moonsault to the floor. Tracy cuts PCO off, Haskins kicks PCO in the head and Tracy bombs him onto the apron! Goddammit. Back inside PJ gets a backslide for 2, spring back kick by PJ and top rope spring moonsault connect well but Brody breaks it at 2. Haskins and Tracy in, Brody fights both off and gets both with an INSANE rope walk wristlock armdrag that dumps Lifeblood, and follows with a tope con hilo where he lands on his feet. That was great. Cradle by Marty for 2 but PJ hits a head kick, climbs but Marty gets the boots up to block Placebo Effect, Brody in with the Ganzo Driver, tag to PCO (WHO IS STILL ALIVE SOMEHOW BECAUSE HE’S NOT HUMAN), he climbs and hits the moonsault and covers for the 3 count.
Villain Enterprises defeats PJ Black & Lifeblood by pinfall via moonsault to retain the ROH 6-Man Tag Team Titles
JAY’S RATING: 3.8 out of 5
I enjoyed the hell out of this match, and while it was JUST shy of being full-on great to me, it still delivered a ton with everyone coming out looking great, Lifeblood and PJ’s story continuing and VE impressing yet again with their individuality and their tag chemistry. Really strong work and pacing by all. Also, digging the new sound for VE as a team.
After the maatch the Soldiers of Savagery hit the ring and take out Lifeblood. Bandido runs down and is able to dump the team, but Bully Ray runs down and cuts Bandido down. One of the SoS members hands Bully a chair but Flip runs down with a kendo stick and Bully bails. Flip helps Bandido up, then helps Haskins and Tracy, and we get story of Lifeblood once again offering Flip a shirt and membership in Lifeblood. Flip takes the shirt and hugs, and Flip joins Lifeblood to a nice pop… until the lights go out… and Marty Scurll is on screen. Marty says congrats to Lifeblood, and that he doesnt want to rain on their parade but how funny is it that on the same day they gain an ally, the Villain reveals the newest employee of VE. Marty teases all of the places he looked, but who knew the person was right under their noses the whole time. The Mercenary… FLIP GORDON. The lights come back on and Flip superkicks Bandido and bails before Haskins and Tracy can do anything. VE runs down to support Flip. The crowd still chants for Flip. VE surrounds the ring and strike, Lifeblood fights but get disarmed and beaten down. Tracy is now set on a table at ringside, PCO looks to do a moonsault but Flip climbs instead and hits a 450 onto Tracy through the table (and may have hurt his shoulder on the landing). “Holy Flip” chants. Looked into it, and yeah apparently Flip messed his elbow up. Weeeeeell shit. Lets see what happens from here. But other than that, an entertaining sequence of event.
Ring of Honor World Championship
MATT TAVEN (c)
We get a Code of Honor and the bell, they lock up fast and Cobb absorbs chops in the corner like they are nothing. Cobb hoists Taven, sits him up in the corner and hits a HARD chop that dumps Taven gto the outside. Taven back in fast and Cobb dumps him again in a show of dominance. Cobb grabs Taven by the mohawk to lift him to the apron, looks for a suplex but Taven drops behind for a German but Cobb out of it, Cobb uses the power and Taven uses the speed, they run the ropes but Cobb catches Taven. Taven escapes the throw into a sleeper on Cobb’s back but gets driven into the corner. Cobb catches Taven springing out of the corner and throws him with a belly to belly. Some love for Taven as Cobb lifts Taven into a vertical suplex and then just drops him, after which Taven bails. Taven spits at Cobb who pursues and comes through the ropes, but Taven grabs him and drives him down into the apron hard, slides in and hits a baseball dropkick, then follows with a great suicide dive that drives Cobb’s head and shoulder HARD into the barricade. Taven looks for something but Cobb fights it off, Taven comes through with a great rolling neckbreaker and transitions into a cross armbreaker. Cobb uses his power to fold up and lift Taven but Taven is able to fall on top of Cobb instead, and Taven climbs but misses the frog splash.
Snake eyes by Cobb, who is favoring the shoulder, and he follows with a pumphandle suplex primarily using one arm. Taven fires back, they trade, Cobb hits a lariat, Taven comes back but Cobb turns Taven inside out with a lariat and follows with a standing moonsault for 2. Cobb reverses Taven into a Northern Lights, bridges but only gets 2 and looks for Tour of the Islands, Taven fights it off but eats a running shot in the corner, then pulls Taven out of the corner into a sidewinder suplex. Bomb by Cobb is reversed into a rana and Taven hits Just The Tip… of the Knee with PRECISION, then hits it again but Cobb is still rising so Taven hits it a third time, covers but Cobb powers out at 1. Taven looks for Climax, Cobb tries to fight but finally drives Cobb down and covers but only gets 2 (to ZERO crowd response). Climax is blocked into a wheelbarrow suplex, Cobb looks for Tour of the Islands but Taven reverses it into a SHARP Climax, covers and thats the WIN.
Matt Taven defeats Jeff Cobb by pinfall via Climax to retain the ROH World Title
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
This was a fine enough match, but fell far short from what I expect from a main event title match on a flagship company show. It felt super rushed for time, and for Cobb to fall in under 10 minutes after the kind of dominance he has shown just felt weird and forced. Its not that anyone looked bad in their work, and I dont also mind a short match, but this wasnt built to be a stellar short match, it was just short. Which is a shame. I want more for Taven’s reign right now.
A bunch was made of this show as one of the premiere shows each year for ROH. And that is not what this felt like. It was fine, and delivered some good action and story along the way. But there was nothing nailbiting, nothing truly electrifying, and the main event didnt stick the landing. Its an enjoyable enough watch, but its nothing that I would say “hey make sure you catch this.” Not a single piece of it. Eli Drake’s presence post-Impact will be interesting to match, but my biggest takeaways are King getting another big nod toward the main event picture, Shane Taylor and Bandido being rockstars and Villain Enterprises gaining more and more power and influence in the ROH world. Lets see where we go next.