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ROH TV REPORT
JANUARY 28, 2018
PHILADELPHIA, PA. AT 2300 ARENA
AIRED ON SINCLAR AFFILIATES & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
[Q1] We opened with a recap of SoCal Uncensored paying off Shane Taylor last week so that he would ensure no Bullet Club members interfered in their in-ring plans. The show of course closed with SoCal attacking The Young Bucks before Hangman Page cleared the ring with a steel chair. There was no sign of Taylor at the time. This time new footage was included of Taylor roughing up Marty Scurll in the locker room, presumably at the same time that SoCal were occupied with The Hung Bucks in the ring.
(1) PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. DOBBS
Dobbs got the “his opponent, already in the ring” treatment. Martinez hit a boot before the bell followed by a few shots in the corner. Dobbs tried fighting back with a big shot that heated up the crowd. He managed a dropkick too before taking Martinez’s spinning jump kick. Ripcord kick. South of Heaven choke slam.
WINNER: Punishment Martinez in 1:48.
-Dalton Castle and The Boys came out in their wrestling gear. Castle handed the ROH World Championship to one of the Boys and entered the ring to stare down Martinez. Martinez smirked and went for a punch but Castle ducked and gave him a Greek throw. Martinez smirked again from ringside and slowly walked away.
(Analysis: Win-loss records actually matter in ROH so enhancement matches like this are just more tallies in the win column. Martinez is one of the many people chasing after Castle and the ROH title but it would appear that he will likely be the first to get that opportunity.)
-Coast 2 Coast were backstage. Tonight they face War Machine and will disband as a tag team if they lose. They were full of energy, hopping around and shouting. It’s do or die. [C]
-Caprice Coleman joined the commentary team for the next match. After last week’s edition of Coleman’s Pulpit he wanted to see this one in person himself.
(2) COAST 2 COAST (Shaheem Ali & LSG) vs. WAR MACHINE (Hanson & Rowe)
As War Machine posed at ringside Ali cannonballed over the top rope onto both of them. Referee Todd Sinclair called for the bell immediately so there would be no tale of the tape or Code of Honor for this one. C2C hit a double dropkick on Hanson. Rowe went after the kids but they tossed him back into Hanson. War Machine took over, dropping C2C in opposite corners. Coleman pointed out that he and Cedric Alexander were in a similar position a few years ago to the one that C2C are in now. He and Cedric broke up. Rowe took a cheap shot at LSG on the apron, which got him hot. He led the crowd in clapping to fire up Ali. Ali responded with a shot at Hanson on the apron. Rowe and Ali were both down in the ring. Hot tag to LSG. Springboard clothesline to Rowe. Kip up clothesline on Hanson. Springboard forearm to Rowe. The commentators discussed the potential success of LSG and Ali as singles competitors. LSG landed a 450 splash on Rowe but Hanson broke up the pin. LSG hit a huge spinning back body drop on Hanson that got the crowd pumped. Rowe dropped LSG. Ali took out Rowe with a swing-out slam. Hanson hit the handspring back elbow to take out Ali. [C]
[Q2] War Machine hit their clothesline/German suplex combo on LSG but he kicked out. Gut-wrench backbreaker from Rowe. Power bomb. Hanson with a top rope splash but LSG kicked out again! Riccaboni blamed Rowe for leaving the shoulder exposed. War Machine tried for a double chokeslam but LSG rolled out and tagged Ali. Back body drop to Rowe. C2C ended up dazed in opposite corners. Hanson called for his charging splashes but Ali blocked with a boot to the face. A side kick sent Hanson to the floor. C2C with a near fall on Rowe but he kicked out at one and looked furious at these lower-carders daring to try to pin him. Ali unloaded with a flurry of chops and blows on Rowe. War Machine with Thor’s Hammer on Ali. Hanson dove through the ropes and took out LSG at ringside. Rowe covered Ali but he kicked out! The commentators and fans were losing it, pointing out how many teams War Machine has beaten with that move. War Machine called for the end and set up for Fallout. With Hanson on the top rope LSG jumped back into the ring and clubbed him off. Rowe was left alone in the ring with C2C. Rowe was dropped in one corner and Ali and LSG hit a double coast to coast from opposite corners. They both covered but Rowe kicked out at two!
Hanson was back. Spinning heel kick to Ali. LSG was cleared from the ring. Rowe set up Ali for Fallout and it would appear the end was in sight. War Machine hit Fallout and Rowe with the cover. 1, 2… no! War Machine was flabbergasted. They could do nothing but look at the crowd in astonishment. “This is awesome” from the fans. Coleman said C2C just won his heart. The crowded chant “Coast 2 Coast!” War Machine regrouped and stalked Ali. Rowe with a knee and they set up for Fallout again. As Hanson poised on the top rope LSG reappeared and grabbed hold of his leg. Meanwhile LSG rolled through on Rowe for the three count!
WINNERS: Coast 2 Coast in 13:55.
-LSG was as shocked as War Machine. The big men stared down the rookies as the music cut out. Hanson and Rowe offered the Code of Honor and raised the winners’ arms. [C]
(Analysis: This was such a hot match! What a way to build an underdog babyface team. You had a team that has never won a televised match going up against a monster duo that are former ROH tag team champions and two-time NJPW tag team champions but Coast 2 Coast just would not stay down. War Machine and the commentary team sold their disbelief beautifully. At first I was disappointed that C2C’s win came off of a roll-up and not them being able to knock out Rowe for three but upon reflection that makes more sense. C2C didn’t suddenly go from unable to win to being a dominant team in one match. They just proved (to the fans and to themselves) that they want to be a team, they want to win, and that, if they don’t give up and keep fighting, anything can happen. This will be a career-defining moment for the duo and I’m very interested to see where they go from here. As for War Machine, this was probably their final ROH appearance as they have officially signed with NXT and even appeared in the crowd at Takeover: Philadelphia the night before this.)
[Q3] Video recap on Kenny and Silas Young’s feud along with Brian Milonas joining up with The Beer City Bruiser. Bruiser and Milonas were backstage. Young’s manly TV title reign inspired Bruiser to go after the tag team titles. Bruiser called Milonas “a diamond in a haystack, a needle in the rough.” Milonas couldn’t think of a better way to make a splash in ROH than by joining with Bruiser.
(Analysis: No word on a tag team name and no tease of when their first match will be but War Machine’s exit opens the door for a new big man team. Bruiser and Milonas could be a fun one.)
-Bully Ray made his entrance for the first time since he and Tommy Dreamer lost to The Briscoes at Final Battle. He was carrying a pair of wrestling boots. (Of course Ray reunited with his brother D-Von last Monday on WWE Raw to deliver a 3D to Heath Slater.) “Final Battle was my final battle,” a hoarse Ray began. After the match, sitting in the ring, with his blood pouring down his face, he smiled. His career flashed before his eyes then. “I think I had a pretty damn good career.” At Final Battle he left his boots in the ring in his hometown of New York City. NYC was where he was born, but as a wrestler… The Philadelphia crowd cheered and chanted E-C-dub. “In October 1995 in this very building, Bubba Ray Dudley was born. This is the ring I should leave my boots in. This is the arena I should leave my boots in.” Ray thanked the fans and thanked the Lord. “Do you know who I am? I’m Bully Ray and it has been my honor.” He placed the boots down and started to leave.
Jay Lethal made his way down in silence. The rest of the locker room followed suit including many of the Women of Honor. They surrounded the ring while Lethal entered with a microphone. “I have known you for a long time,” Lethal began. “If this is the last time I’m going to see you I have to get something off my chest.” When some people heard Ray was coming to ROH they didn’t know what to expect. There were some rumors out there about him, good and bad. The ROH wrestlers had their guards up but then they saw Ray go above and beyond at every show to help every wrestler, from top to bottom, even the guys just starting out at the ROH Dojo. Lethal watched Ray make himself readily available to anyone who had questions or wanted to pick his brain about the wrestling business. Every interview Ray did, he put ROH in front of everything and the coolest part is that nobody forced him to come here. He came because he wanted to and he was inspired by what was going on in ROH. “You represent what Ring Of Honor is all about.” Lethal said he’d never used this term before but Ray is a legend. On behalf of everyone in ROH Lethal said thank you. He hugged Bully as we faded to black. [C]
(Analysis: This wasn’t as teary or emotional as Bully’s other retirement promos that led to the Final Battle match but it was open and rewarding. As Lethal pointed out there are many people in the wrestling industry with less than positive things to say about Bully. That said, everything Lethal said about Ray in ROH regarding how he conducted himself and what he brought to the company felt wholly authentic. In his short tenure in the company (I believe only 9 months) you never felt like Ray was there just for a paycheck or as a nostalgia act or that he felt like ROH was beneath him. The Dudley Boyz were officially announced as going into the WWE Hall Of Fame just moments ago, which is the final conclusion to a memorable career.)
-Video recap of the Women Of Honor championship tournament announcement at Final Battle. Clips aired of various WOH matches from through the year. Deonna Purrazzo, Kelly Klein, Karen Q, Jenny Rose, Mandy Leon, Sumie Sakai, Brandi Rhodes, Jessie Brooks, HZK, Hana Kimura, Kagetsu, and Mayu Iwatani were confirmed for the tournament. The voiceover gave a couple bullet points on each person. The tournament officially begins airing in two weeks here on television.
(Analysis: It took far too long for a Women’s title to be established in ROH and the fact that they came up with a superfluous six-man championship first was bizarre. I am very hopeful about the championship and the tournament and what it means for the future of WOH. I think NXT has the perfect balance right now between their various divisions so we’ll see in two weeks how this all finally unfolds.)
[Q4] Matt Taven joined the commentary team for the main event. Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan stood behind him. Taven jokingly referred to the new blond Cody as Draco Malfoy and Eminem. [C]
(3) SOCAL UNCENSORED (Scorpio Sky, “Almighty” Christopher Daniels, & “The Heavy Metal Rebel” Frankie Kazarian) vs. BULLET CLUB (“The American Nightmare” Cody, Adam Page, & “The Villain” Marty Scurll)
Sky and Scurll started. Scurll dominated until Sky tagged out to Daniels. Daniels requested Cody. The former world champions faced off. Cody went for CrossRhodes early but Cody countered. Cody then countered out of Angel’s Wings. Kaz and Page ended up in the ring, reigniting their fierce rivalry from last year. Page clotheslined them both out of the ring and they brawled at ringside. All six men brawled at ringside near the commentary team. Taven told Marseglia to hit them with his ax. Cody dove over the top rope onto everyone. Bullet Club isolated Daniels in the ring and set up Daniels in the corner for the train. As per usual Cody and Page connected on Daniels with clotheslines but Scurll kept getting hit with a boot. Page and Cody lifted Scurll to hit an assisted dropkick on Daniels. [C]
Cody was stuck in the heel corner. Kaz kept him from getting free but Cody was able to land a power slam. Page cleared house and whipped Daniels into the barricades. Cody was busted open, according to the commentators, but it wasn’t clear when and we didn’t get a shot of it. Page with a power bomb on Sky. Taven drew a comparison between himself and Page as overlooked guys who have been forced to take a back seat to the Cody’s and Young Bucks’ of the company. SoCal triple-teamed Page. Sky got a two count. People went down one after another. Scurll lifted Sky in an electric chair and Cody hit him with a springboard dropkick Doomsday Device. Scurll called for the chicken wing but Daniels saved Sky. Everybody crashed at ringside in sequence. When Page went for a moonsault off the top rope onto Sky his ankle landed across the barricade. He screamed in agony but it wasn’t clear whether or not he was legitimately hurt like when O’Ryan made a similar mishap last year. Page posed on the apron and seemed fine but he quickly took a lungblower from Kazarian, a right hand from Daniels, and a high knee from Sky. Sky covered for the win.
WINNERS: SoCal Uncensored in 10:49.
(Analysis: The match itself was good. SoCal Uncensored obviously needed a win as a new team and Scorpio Sky held his own with the more-established ROH stars. The Kingdom at ringside continues to reinforce just how competitive every division in ROH is, which I love. There should always be multiple people saying that they want the world title and multiple groups targeting the tag team champions. That gold is the reason you’re there. The Shane Taylor story is clunky, though. We should have seen the footage of him attacking Scurll last week when it happened instead of after the fact. Then to have him not be involved in anything this week was odd. Does Scurll just blame SoCal for paying him off and take no issue with Taylor? Or will we get something with The Villain and Shane in the future? Then again, following the events of NJPW The New Beginning In Sapporo this weekend and the implosion of Bullet Club, any current BC storyline has got to be considered up in the air. Time will tell.)
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/21 ROH TV Report: Bucks vs. Best Friends vs. Team CMLL, Machine Guns vs. Dawgs for ROH Tag Titles, Woods vs. Gresham, first appearance of Cody since losing the world title