Matt Taven (w/The Kingdom), Christopher Daniels, and Frankie Kazarian: This started with a promo from Taven discussing how The Bullet Club is falling apart at the seams. Taven also continued ranting about the conspiracy that is holding down The Kingdom. Taven and The Kingdom are interrupted by what appears to be just Daniels & Kazarian. You cannot see if Scorpio Sky is there but during the promo Daniels references SoCal Uncensored and refers to the three of them. Daniels points out that The Kingdom is right and that The Bullet Club is falling apart due to internal conflict. Daniels also goes on to say that between SoCal Uncensored and The Kingdom that as combined teams they have the numbers over Bullet Club. And, with combined strength they have the advantage. Daniels and Kazarian walk away as they tell The Kingdom to think about the alliance between the two factions. When we come back from commercial, Cabana throws us back to The Kingdom who have something to say. O’Ryan isn’t sold on SoCal Uncensored and their requested alliance. Taven seems to be somewhat fine with it since sometimes alliances are needed to defeat common enemies. But then, Marseglia ends the promo by telling The Bullet Club to bring their umbrellas next week to shield them from the blood that will rain. I am not sure exactly how this plays out, but it leaves you wondering what this means as we move forward. But, it is an effective promo that leaves us wondering what happens next with this story and that is a good thing. We do find out later in the episode that the Kingdom will be involved in a 10 person tag main event next week with the Bullet Club on the opposite side of the ring. But, will this alliance be a long-term prospect or short term? That is what we will have to wait to see how it plays out. Good segment.
Stacy Shadows and Tennille Dashwood: Like the last two weeks, we get a short video package combined with some short promos from both Shadows and Dashwood. These are short but effective and I feel the same after seeing the ones from this week.
Bullet Club (Cody, Matt & Nick Jackson, Adam Page, Marty Scurll) Backstage: Interesting backstage segment with The Bullet Club where Cody walks in to speak to Matt, Nick, Page, & Scurll. Cody asked the guys if they are aware of what we witnessed earlier with a potential alliance between The Kingdom & SoCal Uncensored. Matt & Nick seem less than interested. Without going word for word through the exchange, Matt & Nick’s nonchalant body language tell us everything we need to know as Cody tries to sell the guys that “Bullet Club is for life.” Cody walks out and tries to give the old positive spin on things as he leaves but it is clear that there is trouble in paradise. Cody at one point even mentions the trouble with Kenny Omega but Cody says he has no problem with everyone else and that all is good. This was good. Once again seeds are being planted and a story is being told.
Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas vs. Ryan Nova & Eli Isom: Bruiser & Milonas cut a short promo backstage before the match. Bruiser claims that he and Milonas, as the biggest tag team in ROH history, are coming for the ROH World Tag Team titles. During the Code of Honor, Milonas & Bruiser refuse to shake hands and they both slap Nova & Isom. Riccaboni and Cabana continue to sell Milonas & Bruiser as the biggest tag team in ROH history. Riccaboni mentions some of the biggest they have seen but even teams like Shane Taylor & Keith Lee or The Hit Squad do not compare to the size of Milonas & Bruiser. At one point in the match, Milonas hits a reverse splash or reverse senton type move on Nova that the crowd lets out a loud OHHHH for. When a guy Milonas’ size does that, something so simple as that move looks impressive as he makes impact on his opponent. Riccaboni asked if anyone had a human spatula because one was needed which I thought was a great line. Milonas & Bruiser dominated this match which was not a surprise. Even when Isom did get some offense in on Bruiser, Bruiser quickly shut it down. The massive maulers of Milonas & Bruiser finally end it for Nova & Isom when Milonas hits the superplex and Bruiser hit his frog splash on to Isom. Bruiser makes the cover and gets the victory for his team. I really like this team. They are massive and command attention due to their size and agility. They are a throwback to an era of time when big guys were a thing in wrestling. But they are different in that they both can move well for their size. I am looking forward to seeing them progress in either the tag division or possibly 6-man tag division if they end up teaming with Silas for those titles.
Shane Taylor vs. Flip Gordon: This was an excellent match. Taylor is still a big man even though he’s lost over 100 lbs. Taylor did a good job of grounding Flip early. Flip appeared to be attempting some type of high flying springboard move early when Taylor caught him in mid-air and hit Flip with some sort of combination of a spinebuster and powerbomb type move that was vicious. Flip’s head appeared to bounce off the mat. It was a brutal looking bump that Flip and the announce team sold well. No matter what Flip tried, Taylor countered almost all of it and dominated the match. Flip finally takes over when Taylor misses a splash off the second rope. Soon after, Flip goes to the top and hits the 450 splash on Taylor. Flip makes the cover and wins the match. Flip earns a future ROH World TV Title match with the win. After the match, Scorpio Sky hits the ring and attacks Flip Gordon. The Young Bucks run out to chase Sky off. Riccaboni and Cabana rightfully question why The Young Bucks would come out to help Flip. The Young Bucks offer a handshake, but Flip rolls out of the ring to the displeasure of the crowd but as Cabana said, “the crowd might not like Flip retreating but it’s the safe move.” Overall, this was a good match with an ending and save that definitely makes you wonder what might be next and why The Bucks came out to help Flip.
Cody Promo at the End of the Show: I am not sure this promo was needed at the end of the show, but it worked for what is going on with The Bullet Club. There is obviously a lot of disagreement and problems with The Bullet Club. Cody tries to convince us that Bullet Club is fine but the simple fact that he has to make this statement alone at the end of the show tells you that everything is not fine. Again, I do not think this was needed with the way the earlier promo ended in the show with The Bullet Club, but I am not opposed to having this at the end either.
Battle Royal: The Battle Royal kicked off the episode with Shane Taylor, Flip Gordon, QT Marshall, LSG, Shaheem Ali, Kid USA, Trent Barreta, Chuckie T, Josh Woods, and Caprice Coleman. I am not a fan of traditional style Battle Royals such as these where everyone is in there at once. I prefer the Royal Rumble style Battle Royals where participants are staggered in. With that said, there was nothing wrong with the Battle Royal and the guys in it. But you can tell it was a placeholder for this episode while we got through this weekend’s 16th Anniversary PPV. I did however like the fact that there was a stipulation involved. The last two guys in the match would then have a match later in the episode. The winner of that match would get a future opportunity to wrestle for the ROH World TV title. The last two ended up being Shane Taylor and Flip Gordon who went on to have a heck of a match in today’s main event. Again, the Battle Royal was fine, I’m just not a fan of traditional Battle Royals. This is one of those things that leaves me sometimes wanting a slot to put things that aren’t really a hit or a miss. It was there. It filled up some TV time for the week and that’s that.
Stacy Shadows vs. Tennille Dashwood: This is a first round match WOH tournament match. Now, before anyone questions why this is a miss, let me say that the match is not a miss and I am glad ROH continues to give their women’s division more TV time. Hear me out for a minute. I know ROH tapes their TV weeks ahead of time. And I realize that they do not televise their weekly shows live. However, I think most watching this week probably saw the 16th Anniversary pre-show that saw Dashwood defeat Brandi Rhodes to move on to the semifinals in the WOH tournament. Therefore, I believe most knew Dashwood would defeat Shadows. With all that said, Shadows and Dashwood were a nice contrast in styles and they gave us a good TV match. But, there was no suspense as far as who might win. Keep in mind, this had nothing to do with spoilers getting out. This had to do with the fact that we were able to see the preshow match with Rhodes vs. Dashwood on Facebook live before this match ever aired. For the record, I have nothing against ROH airing the Facebook live matches. I enjoy them doing so. I just feel its fair to point out that we already had seen the next match in the tournament with Dashwood winning that one prior to seeing her match with Shadows on this episode.
Bully Ray On Commentary During The Main: If you need to know how I feel about the continued use of Bully Ray as an “Enforcer,” please see any of my last two or three Hits and Misses columns. It is becoming more tiresome by the week. Furthermore, Bully and Taylor bumped shoulders last week as Taylor was exiting the ring and stage to head backstage. Taylor’s actions were not very “honorable,” if you were to ask me. When Bully was questioned about this by Riccaboni, Bully said it was no big deal and he would have done the same when he was younger. I am being sarcastic here, but let us not forget the fact that Taylor has been a hired gun as of late. And the shoulder bump was no big deal as Bully puts over how great Taylor looks since losing over 100 lbs. Wait, what did I just hear from Bully? So, the hired gun who bumped shoulders with Bully is now being praised by Bully on commentary? Someone please speak up in this company and have the guts to tell Bully that he is not needed in this role and the “Bully go away meter” has hit Defcon Level 100. The final straw with Bully on commentary was when Taylor executed one of Bully’s signature moves. Suddenly, Bully who was praising Taylor a lot, had a change of heart and says, “that’s it, that’s the last straw, come on Flip!” Apparently, Taylor’s excellent dastardly heel actions of being a hitman did not send Bully over the edge but Taylor executing one of Bully’s moves did? There continues to be more holes in Bully’s role and philosophy than a mound of rotten swiss cheese. Please leave the commentary job to Cabana and Riccaboni. It is more nauseating by the week watching Bully as a self-proclaimed “Enforcer” on TV and hearing from him.
I think we got what was expected this week. I know I had a bunch of misses, but I actually felt like ROH did a good job with this week’s episode when you consider it was taped prior to the 16th Anniversary. I know booking the show and writing the TV on week’s like this are a challenge. It is challenging because you’re taping this prior to the PPV. Overall, ROH did a good job with the Bruiser & Milonas match, The Bullet Club promo, Taylor vs. Flip, Shadows and Dashwood video package, and the potential SoCal Uncensored/Kingdom alliance. I am not as down on the episode as it may appear. I am, however, looking forward to what took place at the tapings this past week after the 16th Anniversary. The next three weeks should be fun leading to Supercard of Honor.
Mike Mills is the PWTorch.com ROH TV Hits and Misses Specialist, providing his point of view on ROH TV weekly. You can follow Mike at @BTT_Podcast and @Mike504Saints on Twitter and you can check out his old school wrestling podcasts at tinyurl.com/BTTPod