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ROH Honor Reigns Supreme report
February 9, 2018
Concord, N.C. at Cabarrus Arena
Aired live on ROHWrestling.com
Report By Harley R. Pageot, PWTorch Contributor
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
We opened in the arena with ring announcer Bobby Cruise introducing “the new ROH enforcer” Bully Ray. Bully made his way to the ring wearing a flannel jacket, jeans, and a baseball cap. Bully took a mic and put over this show being a big potential first-time entry point for new ROH viewers. He led the fans in an ROH chant.
-Riccaboni and Cabana appeared on camera to run down some of the matches on tonight’s card.
(1) PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. FLIP GORDON
Wristlocks to start and Martinez drove Gordon into the corner. Martinez no-sold an enziguiri but fell over the top rope to ringside and took a dropkick through the ropes. Martinez blocked a 619 attempt and shoved Gordon off the ropes to a hard fall at ringside. The barricades looked further back than usual, giving the wrestlers significantly more room at ringside than usual. Martinez threw Gordon into the barricades twice. Jumping back elbow onto Gordon in the corner. Gordon moved out of the way of a senton attempt. Gordon unloaded with chops and got a boot up when Martinez charged in the corner. 619 around the turnbuckle. A springboard slingblade put Martinez down. Gordon with a Samoan drop and running shooting star for the first pinfall attempt of the night. Martinez tossed Gordon with a falcon arrow for a two-count of his own. Gordon flipped out of a torture rack but ate a big kick. Martinez went to the top but Gordon cut him off. Gordon with a springboard kick and hurricanrana. Martinez was down and Gordon nailed a 450 for a close two-count. Martinez immediately sprang back up and tried for a choke slam but Gordon escaped. Martinez with a curb stomp and the South of Heaven choke slam.
WINNER: Punishment Martinez in 9:34.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A strong win for the #1 contender to the world title and a nice mix of styles for new viewers. Riccaboni acknowledged that Martinez challenges Castle for the title on this weekend’s television.
Bully, Riccaboni, and Cabana have all been consistent with the goal of selling this show to first-time ROH viewers, which is very smart and clearly a large part of the reason for this event being streamed for free tonight. On the technical side of things the show loaded immediately on the website for me with no issues whatsoever and the stream’s been clear and high quality with no buffering or lagging. Very impressive and a great sign of optimism for people considering joining Honor Club.)
-Caprice Coleman joined commentary for our second match, a showdown between his former stablemates in The Rebellion.
(2) SHANE TAYLOR vs. KENNY KING
King got some shots in early but Taylor nearly hit a huge right hand that scared King. King with a roll-up for two. The men fought at ringside with King hitting a twisting senton off the apron. King posed for a selfie with a fan in the front row. “Wins and losses matter,” Riccaboni reminded us, with King striving to get the TV Championship back from Silas Young on television in a few weeks. Taylor hit a big splash for a two count.
King with a tornado senton over the top rope onto Taylor at ringside. King made sure Taylor rolled back into the ring first before he re-entered. King with a blockbuster for another two. He tried to get Taylor up in a fireman’s carry position but couldn’t manage it. Taylor dodged a series of jabs and hit a knee to the face and a sit-out slam for a two count of his own. Taylor went to the second rope but King cut him off with a European uppercut. Taylor headbutted out but King pulled him off the ropes into a Royal Flush for the win.
WINNER: Kenny King in 10:22.
-Taylor sat on the apron post-match and looked frustrated. King hugged him and gave him a pep talk.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another solid showing for the #1 contender to the television title. Does the post-match suggest a Taylor face turn or was it just a small moment between two former teammates? Taylor’s “I’ll do whatever I have to in order to support my daughter” puts him in a gray area between face and heel.)
-On stage Riccaboni acknowledged the Women Of Honor Championship tournament. 15 of the 16 participants had already been announced and he was happy to introduce the final entrant. Tenille Dashwood (formerly known as Emma in WWE) made her entrance to a huge ovation. Dashwood thanked them for the reaction and was happy to be in ROH. Riccaboni asked Dashwood about her thoughts on Deonna Purrazzo, Mandy Leon, and the other women in the tournament. Before she could reply Bully Ray came out and suggested that what people really want to see is for Dashwood to wrestle here tonight.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Yes! I jumped out of my seat when “It’s still all about me” appeared on the videotron. For weeks I’ve been thinking that I would love for Dashwood to join Women Of Honor. She was fantastic in NXT and as good as she could hope for on Raw. I never actually thought it would happen, though, as WOH has been such an afterthought for so long. This, more than anything, is a very good indicator that they’re finally getting serious about the women’s division. Dashwood one hundred percent has the opportunity to do for WOH what Cody did for ROH upon his arrival. I don’t see her winning the tournament, as Purrazzo and Kelly Klein have got to be the heavy favorites, but I can see her losing in the finals and being a major presence in the division afterwards.)
(3) JOSH “THE GOODS” WOODS vs. ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION SILAS YOUNG (w/Beer City Bruiser)
This was originally supposed to be Young vs. Cheeseburger but the latter is out with an illness so the 2017 Top Prospect winner was given the opportunity instead. Woods worked over Young with amateur wrestling holds but Young was able to give as good as he got. Ovehead belly to belly suplex from Woods. Jumping knee strike. Bruiser pulled Woods off the apron and hit a cheap shot behind the ref’s back. Young mouthed off with some fans. Young with his backbreaker/clothesline combo for a one-count. Young locked in a headlock while the crowd tried to rally behind Woods. Woods got a roll-up for two. As Young kicked out Woods was shoved forward through the ropes and Bruiser clocked him with a beer bottle. Woods survived, though. Young charged Woods off the apron but Woods ducked and Young took out Bruiser. Woods threw Young across the mats at ringside with a suplex.
Woods staggered Young with punches and no-sold the same beer bottle attack that cost Kenny King the TV title at Final Battle. Woods with a series of strikes on Young and a cover for two. The crowd was rallying behind the crowd at this point and the commentators were impressed with his showing. Woods locked in a heel lock but Bruiser pulled Young to the ropes for the break. The commentators questioned why the ref hasn’t thrown out Bruiser yet and why “the enforcer” Bully Ray hasn’t done anything. Woods rolled through for a German suplex for two. Woods tried for an armbar before transitioning into the heel lock again but Young escaped and hit Misery.
WINNER: Silas Young in 11:02.
-Kenny King came out and applauded from the stage while jawing at Young.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was one of Woods’ best showings in a while and a reminder of why he won last year’s Top Prospect tournament. Bully’s role as enforcer is unclear, though. Bruiser’s involvement here was a time when some enforcement would have been useful and Bully was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile he apparently booked a match in his last appearance, something which you wouldn’t think would be part of an enforcer’s job description. Is he essentially just playing a general manager minus that baggage-heavy title?)
(4) SOCAL UNCENSORED (Scorpio Sky, “The Heavy Metal Rebel” Frankie Kazarian, & “Almighty” Christopher Daniels) vs. ROH WORLD CHAMPION DALTON CASTLE & THE BOYS (Brandon & Brent)
Castle and Daniels started the match. The Dawgs (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara) ambushed the commentary table. Titus couldn’t believe they were being left off the first Honor Club pay-per-view. Riccaboni pointed out that this isn’t a pay-per-view. Cabana told them to call the action or leave. Castle tried tagging out to the boys but they both walked off down the apron and refused the tag. They teased dissension before jumping into the ring and going to town on SoCal. The heels were cleared from the ring and Castle peacocked to big applause before posing on a Boys throne. Kaz tagged in and hugged Daniels and Sky. One of the boys took a tag. The boys double-teamed Kaz before the other Boy tagged in. Kaz knocked Castle and the other Boy off the apron. Daniels and Sky worked over Boy 1 at ringside.
SoCal Uncensored tagged in and out, working over the Boy. The Boy took four boots in the corner. Riccaboni reminded us that SoCal’s contracts expire at the end of December and ROH COO Joe Koff has vowed that they’re finished with ROH after that. Daniels hit a moonsault for two. Castle mouthed off with Daniels and The Boys used twin magic. The fresh Boy unloaded on SoCal and hit the hot tag to Castle. Castle took out all three men and was left alone with Daniels. Kaz broke up the pin attempt. Sky and Daniels tried for twin magic but the referee was certain they weren’t the same person. Castle took turns throwing the Boys over the top ropes on the SoCal members at ringside. They managed to hit their targets six times in a row, twice on each SoCal member. Celebrity Rehab on a Boy in the ring. Castle broke the count. Sky got a pinfall on one of the Boys shortly thereafter.
WINNERS: SoCal Uncensored in 14:10.
-SoCal beat down Castle and the other Boy after the match but the World Champion fired back, clearing Sky and Kaz and hitting Bangarang on Daniels.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The only criticism I have of the presentation tonight is that there have been no replays during or after the matches. As a result I missed the finish here and only looked up from my report in time to see Sky get the cover. Again, the presentation of the wrestlers was logical. SoCal are going after the Six-Man Tag Team Championship so their win was necessary but the World Champion was the last man left standing tall at the end.)
-We went to intermission 76 minutes into the show with the commentators saying we’d be back in roughly 15 minutes. A graphic with the show logo appeared on the screen.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This seems like a missed opportunity. They could be playing video packages, promos, or a replay of an old match here to give viewers something to engage in. A countdown clock would be beneficial too.)
-We returned at 8:43 after a 27-minute intermission.
-The Briscoes made their entrance. Riccaboni said they weren’t scheduled to be out here. Jay said there was about to be a lot of bloodshed in ROH and it was going to be the fans’ fault. Mark repeatedly told a fan to shut his ass up. Mark said they want their property (the ROH World Tag Team titles) back. They bragged about Chris Sabin not being here tonight due to them giving him a Jay Driller on a steel chair last week on TV. They called out Alex Shelley and suggested he hand over the tag titles to them.
Alex Shelley’s music hit. As the lights dimmed and his video played he hit the ring and attacked The Briscoes from behind. The numbers got to him, though. Jay choked him with a chain. Security tried to intervene but The Briscoes took them out. Jay hit a Jay Driller on Shelley. He gave a fan the finger. The Briscoes posed with a “Sandy Fork vs. Everybody” flag. They tore up a fan’s “Why, dem boys, why?” sign.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Despite being with ROH since day one The Briscoes have managed to reinvent themselves so thoroughly that they feel like one of the freshest, most exciting acts in the company at the moment.)
-WOH competitor Brandi Rhodes joined the commentary team for the next match.
(5) STACY SHADOWS & “THE GATEKEEPER” KELLY KLEIN vs. “THE EXOTIC GODDESS” MANDY LEON & TENILLE DASHWOOD
All five of these women are competing in the tournament to crown the first Women Of Honor Champion. Shadows obeyed the Code of Honor but Klein declined. Leon and Shadows started. Shadows requested Dashwood. Dashwood hit a neckbreaker across a middle rope. Klein tagged in and held Dashwood in a chinlock. Dashwood with a headscisoors into a Russian leg sweep. Leon tagged in but quickly fell to Klein. Shadows hit a blind tag, which annoyed Klein. Brandi talked about how nobody likes Klein. Shadows stomped away on Leon and mocked Dashwood. Leon finally made the hot tag to Dashwood. She knocked Klein off the apron and unloaded with forearms on Shadows. She hit the f/k/a “Emma sandwich” in the corner. Klein broke up a pin attempt but Dashwood tossed her from the ring. Leon took out Klein on the floor. Dashwood pinned Shadows.
WINNERS: Dashwood & Leon in 7:31.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I missed the finish again. Really wish they would have some replays here. Dashwood being on the babyface team was logical, knowing how excited people would be to see her, as was Shadows taking the pin. Dashwood and Shadows will meet again in the first round of the tournament while Leon takes on Madison Rayne and the unpinned and unsubmitted Klein faces Bonesaw Brooks.)
-Short video promo on Honor Club. Cabana pointed out that every live event being streamed through Honor Club means there will no longer be any such thing as a house show in ROH.
(6) “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. JAY LETHAL
Lethal’s tights and boots were an homage to Randy Savage at Wrestlemania 3. Lethal with a hip-toss. Gresham countered Lethal’s usual follow-up cartwheel, catching him by the wrist. They exchanged chops with Lethal getting the advantage. Big back suplex for a one count. More chops, which fired up Gresham. Lethal with a suplex for two. Lethal hit his hip-toss, cartwheel, dropkick successfully. Gresham wrenched in a knuckle-lock. After three or four minutes spent in the hold Lethal finally fought out. Gresham began to win over the crowd at this point, despite the immense popularity of Lethal. Lethal with a cutter out of nowhere on the floor. Gresham rolled back in at 19.
Lethal unrolled his wrist tape and worked over Gresham’s left knee with kicks. Gresham went after Lethal’s injured elbow. Back and forth shots culminated in the men throwing punches mid-ring. Gresham with a snap German suplex. Bicycle kick from Lethal. Lethal tried for Lethal Injection but his arm gave out on the handspring. Gresham with a series of roll-ups for two and he rolled through into a crossface. Lethal reached the bottom rope with his leg to break the hold. The crowd applauded.
Lethal worked over the knee again and tried for a figure four but Gresham rolled him up. Dragon-screw leg whip on Gresham for a two count. Lethal climbed the ropes for an elbow drop but Gresham met him in the corner. Lethal tried for a sunset flip power bomb but Gresham fought back and hit a jumping tornado DDT. Gut-wrench German suplex from Gresham for two and the first “this is awesome” chant of the night from an otherwise somewhat subdued crowd. More exchanging of chops. Superkick from Lethal. Gresham cut off a Lethal Injection attempt. Gresham went for the Octopus but Lethal dropped out. Hail To The King top rope elbow drop. Gresham kicked out but Lethal transitioned right into a figure four and Gresham’s hurt knee forced him to tap.
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 17:59.
-Standing ovation for both men. “Both these guys” chant. Code of Honor between Lethal and a discouraged Gresham.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Match of the night so far and a great showcase for Gresham. Lethal is ROH’s John Cena where he’s always near the top of the card, even if he isn’t directly in the championship picture. As the face of the company his losses are also somewhat rare so Gresham holding his own for 18 minutes makes him look like a star.)
(7) THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & TK O’Ryan) vs. BULLET CLUB (“The American Nightmare” Cody, “The Villain” Marty Scurll, & Hangman Page w/Brandi Rhodes)
This was Cody’s first ROH appearance since the Bullet Club implosion in Sapporo, Japan. The commentators discussed the fallout on Being The Elite including Page seeming to side with Cody over Kenny Omega and Scurll finding everything to be far too complicated. Taven was wearing the official ring of honor after stealing it from Cody on television last week. When Marseglia and O’Ryan stared down Brandi at ringside Cody got hot and grabbed a steel chair.
Scurll and Marseglia started for their teams. Scurll took a dropkick. He ran for his umbrella and Marseglia went for his ax. Scurll tagged out to Page. The referee threw the ax out. A second ref ran down and took it backstage. O’Ryan tagged in to face Page. Page shoved him to the mat and unloaded with chops. Page is one-third of the Six-Man champions with The Young Bucks and was voted Most Improved in the 2017 ROH awards. Taven and Cody tagged in.
Taven put on his new “kiss the ring” t-shirt. He held out the ring of honor for Cody to kiss. Cody hit a Beautiful Disaster kick instead. Scurll with a suicide dive onto The Kingdom, Cody with a springboard splash, and Page followed with a top rope moonsault, landing on his feet. In the ring Page hit a dropkick on Marseglia into a moonsault on Taven. The Kingdom took control and worked over Page. Tags to Scurll and Marseglia. Scurll twisted Marseglia’s dreads and stomped on his hands. Scurll fought out of the heel corner but Taven hit a blind tag. Superplex on Marseglia. Taven threw Scurll to ringside where O’Ryan and Marseglia double-teamed him. Spinebuster from O’Ryan for two. The Kingdom continued to work over Scurll with frequent tags. They cleared Cody and Page from the apron and tried for Rockstar Supernova but Scurll fought back. Scurll got his knees up on a senton attempt from Marseglia. Hot tag to Cody.
Cody was a house of fire on Taven. Power slam. Dragon suplex. Taven kicked out at two. Drop toehold, dropkick from Scurll, and running shooting star from Page. Everyone was in and out with bodies flying everywhere. Cody wound up with Taven in an Indian deathlock. Taven to the ropes for the break. Taven tried for a low blow again but Cody blocked and set him up in the corner for his brother’s Shattered Dreams. O’Ryan was a distraction so Brandi yanked him off the apron. The referee ejected her. Cody ran in for Shattered Dreams but Taven met him with a punch while wearing the ring of honor that Marseglia slipped to him in the confusion.
WINNERS: The Kingdom in 16:48.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The Kingdom continue to be pushed as one of the top heel acts in the company. Cody was in babyface mode here tonight and even posed with Scurll and Page to cheers after the match. Post-match the commentators discussed how everything seemed to be fine between Bullet Club here despite Cody vs. Omega being announced for Supercard Of Honor XII on April 7. This wasn’t a case of that storyline being ignored, rather that things being fine between Cody, Page, and Scurll tonight is a piece of the puzzle.)
(8) BEST FRIENDS (Beretta & Chuckie T) vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
The bell rang at 10:00 on the dot. Beretta and Matt began. The Bucks got dueling sharpshooters early but Best Friends got to the ropes. The BFs talked strategy at ringside. “Run right in, punch him in the face,” Chuckie suggested. It didn’t work. Best Friends mocked the classic Young Bucks pose but Nick took them down with a crossbody. Beretta hit a cannonball over the ropes onto the Bucks at ringside. Beretta and Chuckie hugged in the ring. The Bucks cleared the ring and hit suicide dives onto the friends. The Jackson brothers hugged. Best Friends with a lawndart cutter on Matt on the floor. Chuckie whipped Nick into the barricade. Best Friends worked over the back that Matt injured at Wrestle Kingdom in a match against Roppongi 3k. Beretta put on some sunglasses and locked Matt in an abdominal stretch. (Beretta and Chuckie are notoriously known to be dicks in real life.) Chuckie cleared Nick from the apron and Beretta got some sunglasses for Chuckie too. Abdominal stretch from Chuck Taylor on Matt. The BFs arrogantly tagged in and out and slowly worked over Matt. Another abdominal stretch from Beretta while Chuckie lit a cigarette. Beretta took a drag while keeping the hold locked in on Matt. Beretta worked over the Jacksons while still wearing sunglasses and dangling the cigarette in his lips. Matt with a big kick that took down Beretta and knocked the cigarette free. Nick stomped it out. Cabana reminded us that Being The Elite are drug-free and that’s the way to be. Nick with the hot tag.
Nick unloaded on both friends, knocking the sunglasses off of their heads. Dropkick knocked Taylor to ringside, facebuster on Beretta, moonsault on Taylor. Matt attempted More Bang For Your Buck but his back gave out. Best Friends took over on Nick. Matt tagged in but was slow and clearly hurt. Matt slipped out of a lawndart cutter and ran the BFs into each other. He wanted a tag but Nick was nowhere to be found. German suplex from Nick to Beretta on the apron.
Eventually we wound up with Beretta putting Matt into a sharpshooter. Nick with a superkick. Nick put Beretta in a sharpshooter while Taylor put Matt in a sharpshooter. The referee broke them up and tried to clear the illegal men. Beretta hit another shot to Matt’s back. Beretta with a piledriver to Matt on the apron. Nick with a 450 on Taylor for two. Beretta with a running piledriver on Nick. Matt broke up the pinfall. Matt was wrecked but dragged Nick to the corner and tagged himself in. Taylor hit a series of backbreakers on Matt. Taylor yelled “Why won’t you die?” at Matt. Matt hit a big spear and superkick to fire up the crowd. Beretta tagged in and tried to get the pin with a roll-up, holding the tights. Superkicks to Beretta. Nick helped Matt get Beretta up for the Meltzer Driver and they managed to land it.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks in 25:19.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Matt selling his back for as long and consistently as he did, coupled with the small number of superkicks, really seemed to be the Bucks sending a message to their critics. Not a surprise that they won but Best Friends have never been this heelish in their time in ROH. Maybe it was just having some fun by incorporating a bit of their character work from Being The Elite or maybe it’s a sign of a permanent shift going forward. They haven’t been winning a lot of matches lately, which is often a lead-in to a frustrated heel turn in wrestling.)
-As Best Friends limped away up the ramp it appeared that the Bucks were asking for a microphone from Bobby Cruise. Riccaboni thanked us for tuning in and the show abruptly cut to black in the middle of his sentence.
(Pageot’s Perspective: As an intro to ROH for first-time viewers (which seemed to be the intention) this was a success. All the top stars were showcased, the champions and challengers got strong victories, and an array of different styles were on display. The quality of the live stream was terrific on my end and super easy to access. The only criticisms I have would be the lack of video packages and replays (especially of the match finishes). Also an intermission is perfectly fine for the live crowd but there has to be a better way to fill the 25 minutes of dead air for viewers at home.
Notable developments from tonight are the new on-air position for Bully Ray and the big debut for Tenille Dashwood. Outside that there wasn’t much, which is particularly disappointing where Bullet Club are confirmed. I wasn’t expecting a huge angle here but any kind of furthering of the relationships between the various members would have been something to get people talking. For new viewers this show was a fine entry point but regular ROH visitors weren’t left with much to buzz about. I also fear what Honor Club streaming every live event will do in terms of overexposing match-ups. This show ran three and a half hours, which is a lot considering how much wrestling already exists in the world.)
-This weekend on television: it’s Dalton Castle vs. Punishment Martinez for the ROH World Championship, Coast To Coast vs. Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas, and Mandy Leon vs. Madison Rayne in the first Women Of Honor Championship tournament match.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS RECENT REPORT: 2/4 ROH TV Report: Cody vs. Matt Taven, Best Friends vs. Motor City Machine Guns for the tag team titles, Marty Scurll vs. Shane Taylor