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ROH MASTERS OF THE CRAFT
APRIL 15, 2018
COLUMBUS, OH AT EXPRESS LIVE!
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, BJ Whitmer, Caprice Coleman
The event was advertised as starting at 7 PM EST but the Honor Club channel was off air until approximately 7:20. The feed finally clicked on with the show already in progress.
(1) COAST 2 COAST (LSG & Shaheem Ali) vs. THE DAWGS (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara)
C2C picked up the win.
WINNERS: Coast 2 Coast in ???.
(2) SILAS YOUNG vs. CHEESEBURGER – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Young got the win with a crucifix pin.
WINNER: Silas Young in ??? to retain the TV title.
-Young left. Cheeseburger was recovering in the ring when he was interrupted by Bully Ray with a mic. He asked Cheeseburger if he knew why he lost. “It’s because you suck. It’s because you’re a young boy who doesn’t know how to wrestle. It’s because you’re a spoiled piece of crap.” Ray said the biggest problem with Cheeseburger is that he never paid his dues in the wrestling business. From now on, he’ll be paying his dues directly to Ray. Ray threw his mic at Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger went face to face with Ray and called him an asshole. Ray chokeslammed him. Flip Gordon ran down to the ring and hit Ray with a barrage of right hands. Ray shoved him off but Gordon caught him with a superkick. Cheeseburger lined up a shotay but Ray hit them with a double clothesline. Gordon sold it as if the one clothesline left him knocked out cold. Ray took his WWE Hall Of Fame ring out of his pocket and put it on. The fans chanted “hall of famer.” Ray took the mic and said, “Something you peons will never be.” He picked a fight with some fans on the way out.
(Pageot’s Perspective: No idea what happened with the Honor Club channel. Word is people with the Fite.TV app had no issues watching from the beginning. Ray’s character is already tired and out of place. I can’t believe fans were actually chanting for and supporting him.)
-Mandy Leon replaced Coleman on commentary for the women’s match.
(3) WOMEN OF HONOR CHAMPION SUMIE SAKAI, TENILLE DASHWOOD, & DEONNA PURRAZZO vs. BRANDI RHODES, MADISON RAYNE, & JENNY ROSE (w/Burnard The Business Bear)
Riccaboni mentioned the inconsistency of Brandi being full heel when appearing with Cody but playing the plucky underdog when in Women Of Honor competition. He seemed to try to spin it as her character being two-faced. Dashwood and Rayne started for their teams. They exchanged standing switches before Dashwood hit a shoulder block. They both got two-counts off of schoolgirl pins. Rose hit a blind tag and called out the WOH Champion. Sakai tagged in and Rose took her down aggressively with right hands. Sakai countered a fisherwoman’s suplex into a roll-up. More quick roll-up attempts from both women. Rhodes and Purrazzo tagged in. Burnard tripped Purrazzo as she ran the ropes. Rhodes capitalized with a dropkick. Rhodes got two off of a slingblade. Rose and Rhodes took turns working over Purrazzo. As she hit the ropes Sakai tagged herself in. Dashwood ran along the apron and kicked Burnard in the face that sent him to the floor. The fans booed. Rhodes and Rose attacked Dashwood on the floor. This was followed by the obligatory ROH spot where four wrestlers in a row take turns jumping off the turnbuckle onto everyone else at ringside. As Sakai celebrated in the ring, Rhodes jumped her from behind and tried for CrossRhodes but Sakai countered into Smash Mouth.
WINNERS: Sakai, Dashwood, & Purrazzo in 8:38.
-Purrazzo was left alone in the ring and asked for a mic. She said she was fine with not winning the WOH Championship tournament because at least Kelly Klein didn’t win. Klein’s phony undefeated streak was officially over one way or another now. Purrazzo reminded us that she previously vowed to break Klein’s arm. Klein walked out onto stage with a mic. She claimed Purrazzo will only go face to face with her when she has back-up or the fans around. Purrazzo invited her into the ring. Klein challenged her to a match at Bound By Honor in West Palm Beach.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Half the match was roll-up attempts. Not a great showcase for the women but at least Sakai went over and looks strong as champion. I’m also glad that we’re getting actual stories in the women’s division. Even a story outside of the championship! That’s often a rarity.)
(4) SHANE TAYLOR & ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS SOCAL UNCENSORED (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky) vs. FLIP GORDON & THE HUNG BUCKS (Hangman Page, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson)
SoCal Uncensored didn’t have their titles with them due to The Kingdom stealing the belts at Supercard Of Honor. Flip Gordon had finally recuperated from the clothesline that Bully Ray gave him. Gordon and Daniels started. Gordon avoided Daniels’ offense with kip-ups and a handstand. Page and Kaz tagged in and renewed their blood feud with a hockey fight. The Young Bucks cleared the ring. Taylor entered and locked up with Matt. Taylor powered out of all of Matt’s offense. Nick came in. They tried a double-team but he threw Nick into Matt. Taylor with a fallaway slam on Gordon. Page tried taking out the big man but Taylor fought out of a sleeperhold. We wound up with seven men in a row of leg headlocks while Page looked on in confusion. He went for a Boston crab on Taylor that flipped over the whole chain of men. Rope break!
Taylor swept out Gordon’s legs and hit a leg drop on him on the apron. The heels tagged in and out, working over Gordon. Taylor hit a standing splash but Nick broke up the pin. Taylor threw Gordon into the crowd. Gordon springboarded out of the crowd and onto the apron, clotheslining Daniels over the top rope and into the ring in the process. He followed by flipping onto Taylor on the floor but Kaz cut off his tag attempt. Kaz too-sweeted the crowd with Gordon in a one-legged crab. Gordon finally made the hot tag to Page.
Page with a suicide dive on Taylor and Sky. Dropsault on The Addiction and a two count on Kaz. Shooting star press off the apron onto Sky. Slingshot cutter from Kaz on Page. The Bucks hit the ring and took out Sky and Daniels. Taylor came in and stared them down. Taylor no-sold four dropkicks but fell to a fifth. Superkicks to his head on the floor. Sharpshooters on Daniels and Sky. Kaz broke it up. Buckshot lariat from Page to Kaz. Slingshot cutter from Sky to Page. Matt takes out Sky. Angel’s Wings from Daniels to Nick. Matt with a dropkick to Daniels and all eight men were down. Daniels avoided a moonsault from Page. Page avoided a top rope elbow from Sky. Gordon also missed a top rope move as did Kaz and both Bucks. Taylor was going up top when Gordon caught him with Kinder Surprise and Page hit a power bomb. Daniels missed a Best Moonsault Ever and SoCal took superkicks from the Bucks. Gordon and Page joined in for a four-man superkick on Taylor. Page lifted Daniels for Rite Of Passage. Gordon grabbed Daniels as well in piledriver position and the Bucks hit the Super IndyTaker.
WINNERS: Gordon, Page, & The Young Bucks in 19:56.
-Gordon offered a handshake to Page after the match. He hesitated before finally hugging him and raising his arm.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Crowd-pleasing, big spot match. Page siding with Gordon after the match was a pleasant bit of storyline development. It’s not clear if Being The Elite is finished or not. If so, ROH is going to have to do a better effort of picking up the slack of carrying Bullet Club stories on their TV and events. I’m really missing Colt Cabana at this point. His chemistry with Riccaboni always raises up the product whereas I’ve barely noticed Whitmer and Coleman tonight.)
(5) THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. THE BESTIES IN THE WORLD (Mat Fitchett & Davey Vega) – ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Fitchet & Vega defeated One Mean Team (Brian Johnson & Justin Pusser) in a dark match earlier tonight to earn this opportunity. The Briscoes were fast and aggressive in destroying both men before isolating Fitchett. Vega got the hot tag and managed some offense on Mark before Jay hit the blind tag and dropped him with a lariat. It was Vega’s turn to be squashed by both Briscoes. Fitchett tried to save him but immediately fell again. Mark choked out Vega.
WINNERS: The Briscoes in 4:47 to retain the tag team titles.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Completely one-sided as you’d expect. The Briscoes have been overwhelmingly dominant this year. The Young Bucks are the only team in all of ROH that seem like credible challengers at this point.)
-Jay Lethal cut a backstage promo on Jonathan Gresham ahead of their rematch tonight. Lethal took credit for Gresham being out on injury recently. He said he didn’t want to hurt him but he couldn’t help it because he’s just that good.
(6) JAY LETHAL vs. “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM
Dueling chants for both men. Classic mat wrestling exchanges and reversals for the first few minutes. The commentators put this over as the type of match that wrestlers love to watch and study. By the 9-minute mark Gresham’s left leg was giving him problems while Lethal was nursing his left wrist. Both men tried to target his opponent’s injury while shielding his own hurt limb. Lethal avoided the octopus stretch. Neither man could lift for a suplex due to their injuries. Lethal finally managed to lift Gresham up but he struggled and both men toppled backward over the top rope to the floor. Referee Todd Sinclair began to count them both out on the floor. They rolled back in and stared each other down to another round of dueling chants.
They traded chops. Lethal kicked out Gresham’s leg but he immediately kipped up and hit an enziguiri and a German suplex. Lethal went for the figure four and Grehsam rolled him up for two. Lethal Combination for two. Gresham countered a Lethal Injection attempt into a back slide for two. He tried for the octopus but Lethal fought out, elbowing Gresham’s injured leg. Figure four on Gresham. Gresham slipped out and into an armbar. Lethal with a rope break. Back and forth shots in the center of the ring. Gresham went down first but caught a charging Lethal with a rolling German. Lethal tried for Lethal Injection but collapsed under his injured arm. Gresham jumped on him to capitalize but Lethal countered into a pin.
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 18:30.
-Lethal took a mic. They’re just two guys out to prove they’re the best. That’s what this company is all about. Angles and storylines didn’t make this match, just their talent. Lethal thanked him for bringing out the best in him and called Gresham one of the best. Gresham called Lethal the best professional wrestler in the world. Gresham called himself the best technical wrestler in the world and said they’re not finished by a long shot. He knows he can beat Lethal and he wants another match. Lethal shook his hand and agreed.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fight forever. I’d need a wrestling encyclopedia and an hour with a pause button in order to call all the moves in that match accurately. I believe that’s what the kids call a clinic. It was slower paced, for sure, but never in a way that was boring. Coleman called it “methodical” on commentary, which is the perfect word. Lethal is firmly established as one of the top names in ROH so Gresham holding his own with Lethal twice now elevates him in defeat. The loud cheers for Gresham against a popular babyface like Lethal are evidence of that. I love the idea of them facing off once a month and upping each other’s game each time. When Gresham finally picks up the first win in the series, it will mean the world to his career.)
(7) CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. NWA WORLD HISTORIC WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION MATT TAVEN (w/TK O’Ryan) – NON-TITLE FIRST BLOOD MATCH
Despite everything that happened with Kenny Omega at Supercard Of Honor Cody’s apparently positioned as the babyface here and the fans chanted loudly for him. Cody asked Brandi to go to the back as he didn’t want her to see him bleed. O’Ryan put vaseline on Taven’s face like a boxer. The referee immediately wiped it off with a towel. (Apparently vaseline on your face is illegal in wrestling?) Cody told Taven to kiss the ring of honor. O’Ryan jumped in the mix and Cody punched him with the ring. O’Ryan resurfaced at ringside, bleeding from the forehead. Taven sent him to the back.
Taven took down Cody and stole the ring of honor again. Cody with a release suplex and clothesline to the floor. They brawled around the ringside area. Cody dragged Taven’s head across the guardrail. He went for a Beautiful Disaster kick back in the ring but Taven caught him with a ring-punch on the way down. Running knee from Taven. Taven removed a turnbuckle pad. Both men almost hit it but Cody caught him with a snap powerslam. Cody fetched a steel chair. Taven surprised him with a roll of quarters to the head. Cody threw the chair at Taven’s head. Cody springboarded off the top rope to the floor and Taven threw a chair at him while he was in the air on the way down. Taven threw a metal ROH sign at Cody. The commentators did a good job of explaining how dangerous all of this is and how many different ways you could get hurt. Taven brought in a sturdy wood folding table. He threw another chair at Cody and set up the table. Cody sat on the top rope. Taven tried for a superplex but Cody blocked. Cody tried for a kind of senton but Taven moved and Cody landed ass-first through the table that cracked in half. Taven tore off a jagged piece of wood and tried to stab Cody. Cody blocked with a jawbreaker.
Vinny Marseglia suddenly appeared from under the ring with his bouquet of red balloons and ax. He slid the ax into the ring. Cody almost grabbed it but Marseglia pulled him away and Taven took the ax. As Taven tried to cut Cody’s forehead with the ax, Brandi ran back down to the ring and low-blowed Taven from behind. Taven grabbed his CMLL belt. Brandi grabbed the ax and chased Marseglia to the back. Cody blocked Taven and hit CrossRhodes on the belt. Cody unwrapped the tape from his hands. He tried for a fist but Taven blocked and Cody punched the title belt’s metal front plate. Cody mounted Taven and unloaded with bare-knuckle punches to Taven. It looked like Taven was bleeding from the forehead so the referee called for the bell. Upon closer inspection the blood on Taven was from Cody’s knuckles.
WINNER: Matt Taven in 13:45.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another fun match featuring Cody, which is very much the norm these days. This was the complete opposite of Lethal-Gresham and a throwback to the days of Cody’s father. A lot of the little weapons in here were things that we don’t usually see in your standard hardcore matches, which also made it stand out in a good way.)
-Dalton Castle & The Boys cut a backstage promo explaining the rules of the main event.
(8) ROH WORLD CHAMPION DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) vs. “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. BEER CITY BRUISER (w/Brian Milonas) – DEFY OR DENY
This is an elimination match. If Scurll, Martinez, or Bruiser are the last man standing they earn a future world title match. If Castle wins, the man he pins to end the match will never get another title shot so long as Castle is champion. Castle was selling a broken right hand courtesy of Scurll at Supercard Of Honor.
The three challengers jumped Castle to start before turning on each other. Castle clotheslined Martinez to the floor, Scurll kicked him, and Bruiser hit Martinez with a cannonball. Castle and Scurll were left alone in the ring. Bruiser returned to clothesline both men. Martinez returned and the big men traded right hands and clothesline attempts. Bruiser with a crossbody. Martinez with a jumping heel kick. Castle and Scurll double-teamed Martinez. Bruiser joined in. Scurll suggested to Castle that they team up on Bruiser. Scurll with an inside cradle to Castle for two. Martinez threw Scurll and went up top. Castle met him. Bruiser hit Castle’s injured hand. Scurll with chops to Bruiser and three running clotheslines that toppled the big man. He followed with a thumb to the eye. Tornado DDT to Bruiser and Scurll called for the chicken-wing. Martinez pulled him out of the ring. Castle with a German suplex to Bruiser. Martinez with a top rope spinning heel kick to Castle. Scurll and Martinez battled on the apron. Bruiser went up top and hit his frog-splash on Castle for two. Bruiser looked for a superplex on Castle. Martinez turned it into the tower of doom.
Scurll with a brainbuster on Martinez. He ran for his umbrella. Milonas entered the ring and took it away. Scurll threw The Boys into the ring. They cowered at Milonas’ feet. Castle entered to defend them. Scurll cracked his umbrella across Milonas’ back. Milonas looked enraged. Scurll threw the umbrella to Boy 1 and blamed him. Castle knocked Milonas to ringside and tossed both Boys over the top rope onto him. Bruiser returned and took down Castle. Martinez hit his step-up senton onto Milonas and The Boys. Bruiser hit a huge top rope splash onto Martinez and The Boys. Scurll chopped Bruiser in the ring but ate a boot. Martinez and Bruiser battled. South of Heaven chokeslam to Bruiser.
Beer City Bruiser was eliminated by Punishment Martinez at 12:51.
Scurll went after Martinez but took a curb stomp. Castle fought out of a Psycho Driver attempt and rolled up Martinez in the same fashion he beat him when they faced in a singles match earlier this year. Martinez kicked out. Psycho Driver to Castle but the champion kicked out at two. Power bomb attempt from Martinez but Castle countered into bang-a-rang.
Punishment Martinez was eliminated by Dalton Castle at 14:53.
Scurll returned and cracked Castle’s broken hand. Three superkicks to Castle’s head. Scurll ran the ropes, Castle lifted him into bang-a-rang position, and Scurll slipped out into a roll-up.
WINNER: Marty Scurll in 15:46 to earn another world title shot.
-Riccaboni thanked us for watching and, for the first time in Honor Club history, he was allowed to say goodbye and close out the show rather than having the feed abruptly cut to black in mid-sentence.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another fun match that let everyone show off their strengths. Bruiser proved that he’s more than just Silas Young’s henchman, Martinez reminded us how impressive he can look, Castle fought hard despite an injury, and Scurll lurked in the wings for the right moment to strike after letting everyone else handle the bulk of the hard work. I always appreciate how much wins and losses matter in ROH and that almost everybody has to earn their way into a championship match. The Scurll-Castle feud will evidently continue and hopefully will continue to heat up before their next encounter.
Overall another night of solid wrestling that suffered from ROH’s AV team. The wrestlers, commentators, and other personnel in the building continue to do their best work to provide a compelling product but the Honor Club kinks should have been worked out well before launch date. We’re too far in now for these issues to be continuing. The only thing worse than Honor Club’s reliability at the moment is ROH’s customer service.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and PWTorch VIP members can listen to Harley and his crew on the round-table Ring Of Honor podcast “Talking Honor” every Tuesday.