SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH HONOR UNITED
MAY 24, 2018
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND AT EDINBURGH CORN EXCHANGE
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, BJ Whitmer
The main Honor Club feed still had an image saying “The show will begin shortly” at seven minutes past the hour so I clicked over to the back-up feed to find that the event was already in progress. Sigh.
SoCal Uncensored tried to pay off Shane Taylor so that this match wouldn’t happen but it didn’t work. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian headed backstage.
(1) SHANE TAYLOR vs. SCORPIO SKY
Taylor dominated early until Sky caught him with a flip over the top rope to the floor. Riccaboni noted that the crowd was firmly behind Taylor in this heel vs. heel match despite his rampage on last week’s TV where he attacked a referee and security. Sky ended up with his lip busted open and was spitting up blood. Taylor looked for a second rope splash but Daniels and Kaz ran back out with a bigger cash offer. Taylor threw Sky into Daniels on the apron and followed up with a seated piledriver on Sky.
WINNER: Shane Taylor in 6:56.
-Taylor slapped hands with fans at ringside as Riccaboni wondered if the new fan support for him will carry over through the rest of this tour and when they head back to the States.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The crowd support for Taylor was definitely the story as he wasn’t purposefully playing to them or even acting the babyface in terms of the match itself. It just seemed like the crowd made the decision to cheer for the big man going it on his own rather than the wormy trio who were trying to buy their way out of competing. No follow-up to Taylor attacking security and a referee last weekend, despite Riccaboni saying at the time that it was almost guaranteeing a fine and a suspension.)
-Sky headed backstage as Daniels grabbed a microphone. He proclaimed that SCU are still the best trio in the game and The Addiction are the best tag team. He claimed they specifically requested this next match.
(2) IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPÓN (Evil & Sanada) vs. THE ADDICTION (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) – NON-TITLE MATCH
“Fuck ’em up, Evil” singing chant from the crowd before the bell. Kaz gouged Sanada in the eyes behind the referee’s back, which gave Daniels the advantage. Sanada and Daniels took turns biting each other in order to try to get the other to release their hold. Evil tagged in and also bit Daniels’ hand and head. The Addiction took over and tagged in and out on Evil while mouthing off at the fans. Daniels with a Koji clutch on Evil. Sanada broke it up with some boots. More double-teaming as Evil tried to fight back. He finally made the tag. Sanada with dropkicks on Daniels. Daniels tried to put Sanada in the Paradise Lock but couldn’t figure out how to lock his limbs. Sanada put Daniels in the Paradise Lock moments later before breaking it with another dropkick. Kaz cleared Evil from the ring. Sanada avoided Celebrity Rehab. Magic Killer on Daniels for a believable near-fall but Kaz broke it up at the last second. Sanada took Kaz to the floor and Evil hit Everything Is Evil on Daniels.
WINNERS: L.I.J. in 10:24.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Evil’s challenging Dalton Castle for the ROH World Championship on Saturday night in London and Riccaboni was quick to point out that he pinned a former world champion here. This felt like one of those matches where the fans are meant to be content with simply getting to see the NJPW stars in person and the actual match is secondary to that.)
(3) WOMEN OF HONOR CHAMPION SUMIE SAKAI & TENILLE DASHWOOD vs. KELLY KLEIN & CHARDONNAY
It’s Japan & Australia vs. America & England in this international tag match. Chardonnay is a British Laura Dern lookalike who towered over her two opponents. She and Sakai started things off in a preview of their title match Sunday night in Doncaster. Klein tagged in and gestured for Dashwood, who she’ll be facing in singles action on Saturday. The heels picked on Sakai. The crowd was so silent that when Klein yelled “Come on, Scotland!” it all but echoed in the arena. Riccaboni wondered if Chardonnay had an advantage here as the other three could be jet-lagged. Klein and Chardonnay continued to tag in and out, drilling Sakai with knees, uppercuts, and boots. Sakai finally got the hot tag to Dashwood. Tarantula on Klein. Chardonnay kicked off the apron. Taste Of Tenille on Klein in the corner but she kicked out at two as Sakai blocked Chardonnay. Smash Mouth from Sakai on Klein followed by a Spotlight kick from Dashwood but Chardonnay pulled Dashwood from the ring to prevent the three count. Chardonnay hit a flying knee on Dashwood and Klein covered but Dashwood kicked out of another believable near-fall. Chardonnay threw the Women Of Honor belt into the ring. Sakai took out Chardonnay with a top rope splash to the floor. Klein swung the belt at Dashwood, Dashwood ducked and grabbed the belt, referee Todd Sinclair took the belt away, and Klein rolled up Dashwood while holding the tights.
WINNERS: Klein & Chardonnay in 9:45.
(Pageot’s Perspective: With Chardonnay challenging for the title on Sunday nobody here was really in a position to take a clean pin so the heel shenanigans made sense. Depending on how Klein’s feud with Deonna Purrazzo wraps up she would be a logical next challenger for Sakai’s championship. Dashwood, meanwhile, continues to be presented as a big name and a true star but her lack of storylines may catch up to her soon if they don’t find something for her to really sink her teeth into.)
(4) PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. KENNY KING
Martinez powered King into the corner. The crowd sang and clapped for King who danced along while Martinez glowered at him. Leapfrog and dropkick from King. King with a somersault off the apron that took down Martinez on the floor. Martinez threw King back-first into the guardrail. Martinez methodically worked over King in the ring. King began a comeback and Martinez looked like his left leg might be bothering him as a result of his match with Jay Lethal last weekend on TV. King caught him with a corkscrew splash over the rope to the floor and posed for a selfie with a fan. Martinez dropped King with a falcon arrow on the apron and hit his step-up springboard splash. Psycho Driver. Curb stomp. King kicked out at two. King looked for a top rope blockbuster but Martinez avoided it. King rolled-up Martinez but Martinez blocked the referee’s hand from hitting the mat for three. He followed with a South Of Heaven chokeslam.
WINNER: Punishment Martinez in 12:09.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It’s worth reminding ourselves that events like these are still just house shows, even if they are available to be streamed live now. My point being that this was a house show match. The crowd liked King. Martinez got the win to help make up for his clean loss on television last weekend.)
(5) NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION NICK ALDIS & MARK HASKINS vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
When it was announced that Cody would challenge for the NWA title at All In in September Aldis said he would only agree if he could have a match with the Bucks here tonight. Riccaboni said the original plan was for Aldis to team with his long-time partner Doug Williams but scheduling issues prevented that so they went with multi-time champion Mark Haskins instead. Matt got the better of Aldis so he tagged out. Haskins and Nick exchanged some fast-paced back and forth. Double crossbodies from the Bucks to the floor. Aldis caught Matt with a clothesline on the floor and the Brits took over. Matt looked for a tag but Aldis prevented it. Matt hit a spear off the ropes. Tags to Nick and Haskins. Nick flew around the ring, putting both opponents down. A top rope swanton on Haskins got a two count. Haskins took out both Bucks with suicide dives. Nick avoided a top rope double stomp. Haskins with an armbar on both Bucks at the same time. Matt caught Aldis in a sharpshooter while Haskins locked one on Nick. They broke it up to fight each other. Haskins prevented a Meltzer Driver. Haskins then hurricanraned Nick off the top rope into a Meltzer Driver from Aldis on Matt. Nick just barely broke up the pin, though. Aldis with a power bomb on Matt for two, then into the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf. Haskins hit a blind tag and immediately ate a Meltzer Driver.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks in 17:08.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Nick was probably the star of this match, at least the first half for sure, though Haskins had some standout moments as well. I’m a little surprised at how unimpressive the NWA Champion came across. I hadn’t seen Aldis wrestle since many years ago in TNA and was intrigued to see where he was now, especially heading into All In. In some ways he felt very much like an NWA Champion of old in that his offense was the same as any champion from the ’70s – lots of clotheslines, body slams, etc. In theory that’s fine. He just didn’t come across as having the same energy or immediacy as the other three here.)
-Intermission. Our intermission match was Mark Haskins vs. Hiromu Takahashi from the same building back on August 20 of last year at War Of The Worlds UK.
(6) THE BOYS (Brandon & Brent) vs. TORU YANO & DELIRIOUS
Delirious seemed confused by the fact that the Boys are identical. Yano and Delirious locked in abdominal stretches on the Boys on the floor, holding hands with fans for assistance. Riccaboni didn’t know the Boys’ names, which seemed a rare misstep for him considering they’ve had names on ROH television in the past and on their Twitter. That said, it wasn’t clear which Boy has the blond hair now. Delirious chirped in gibberish as the Boys double-teamed Yano. Delirious put on a fan’s baseball cap. One of the Boys bit Delirious’s bare foot. The commentators were impressed with how well Delirious and Yano were communicating despite not speaking the same language. The Boys pulled Twin Magic behind their backs. Springboard back elbow to Delirious. Standing sliced bread but Delirious kicked out. Back rake from Delirious. Yano pulled out surgical scissors and cut of the top turnbuckle. He clocked both Boys with the turnbuckle pad. Clotheslines from Delirious. The other Boy emerged with a Delirious mask on. He hit his own series of running clotheslines on Delirious while muttering in gibberish himself. Delirious unmasked him but ended up ran into the exposed turnbuckle. The Boys followed with a lungblower on Delirious.
WINNERS: The Boys.
-Bully Ray hit the ring and low blowed one Boy while he celebrated on the second rope. The other Boy took a boot to the face. Power bomb to one Boy. Some fans yelled for tables. Ray told a “punk ass coward” in the crowd to sit down.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Forgot to hit my stopwatch at the start of that one but it was much longer than you’d have expected for a comedy match. Some of it worked and some not so much. I can’t tell if this was just filler because top stars like Marty Scurll and Flip Gordon are occupied in Japan at the moment with Best Of The Super Juniors. Everything with Ray already feels really old and tired at this point.)
(7) “THE LAST REAL MAN” SILAS YOUNG vs. “THE PRESTIGIOUS ONE” JOE HENDRY – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Hendry is from Edinburgh and got the expected hometown reaction. Their was a loud singing chant to start but neither myself nor Young could figure out what they were saying. Riccaboni knew but said he definitely can’t repeat it. Young roughed up Hendry at ringside at 4:00. Young with a guillotine choke and body scissors at 6:45 but Hendry powered out with a suplex. Neckbreaker from Hendry. DDT got him a two-count. Riccaboni spoke about a match Hendry had with Kurt Angle two years ago in What Culture Pro Wrestling. Hendry hit Freak Of Nature for another two. As Hendry re-entered the ring, Young kicked the second rope into his crotch. Young rolled him up but only got two. Young hit the Milwaukee Plunge. They traded chops and right hands. Hendry with the Double Hendry Lock in the middle of the ring. The fans were on the edges of their seats willing Young to tap but he escaped with a hair pull, eye rake, and Misery.
WINNER: Silas Young in 14:10 to retain the TV title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The crowd’s investment and adoration of Hendry helped elevate this one a lot. Probably the match of the night so far or second only to the Young Bucks. I still wish ROH would do more on their end to introduce guest talent like Hendry and Chardonnay to ROH viewers rather than expecting Riccaboni to carry that entire burden on commentary. Wrestling is so much more powerful as an art form when you know and care about the characters involved.)
(8) THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, & Vinny Marseglia) vs. ROH WORLD CHAMPION DALTON CASTLE, HIROSHI TANAHASHI, & JAY LETHAL – ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
This wasn’t slated to be for the titles but the change was made before we went on the air at The Kingdom’s request. Both Castle and Lethal were returning from injury here. Castle still had his right hand taped up from when Scurll broke it at Supercard Of Honor. His left thigh was also taped up and Lethal had a sleeve on his left elbow. Lethal and Taven started but Taven quickly tagged out to O’Ryan. He quickly tagged out to Marseglia himself. Lethal easily outwrestled Marseglia and sent him scrambling to his corner. O’Ryan tagged in and called for The Ace. Tanahashi was happy to oblige. They both grabbed a fistful of each other’s hair. Tanahashi with a shoulder tackle. Tag to Taven. He called out the champion. After some back and forth Taven ran into a triple peacock from Castle, Lethal, and Tanahashi. Hip toss from Castle to Taven. Lethal tagged in and hit a double axhandle. Lethal with a series of uppercuts. The Kingdom pulled him to the floor. The ref caught O’Ryan trying to choke Lethal. Marseglia popped one of his red balloons in Lethal’s ear. Lethal fought off the three Kingdom members and planted O’Ryan with a cutter on the floor. Castle rolled Lethal into the ring and Tanahashi made the tag. Crossbody over the ropes onto O’Ryan and Taven on the floor. Slingblade to Marseglia. Double flapjack from O’Ryan and Marseglia. Tag to Lethal. Lethal Combination on Marseglia. Hail To The King. Marseglia kicked out so Lethal locked in the figure four. Tanahashi headscissored O’Ryan to the floor. Taven broke the figure four with a frog-splash. Castle ducked a kick from Taven and the ref went down. Evil ran down to ringside, grabbed the ROH world title, and clocked Castle in the head with it on the floor. It was three on two back in the ring as they threw hands. Lethal hit a suicide dive on Taven on the floor leaving Tanahashi alone against O’Ryan and Marseglia. Lethal went for Lethal Injection on Marseglia but Taven cracked his walking stick across his back. Rockstar Supernova on Lethal and Taven got the pin.
WINNERS: The Kingdom in 19:20.
(Pageot’s Perspective: When this non-title it seemed like O’Ryan or Marseglia would eat the pin. With the titles on the line no obvious outcome came into play. My best guess was a disqualification but I suppose this works. It puts a hiccup in Lethal’s road to redemption but Taven was already on his list following a singles loss to him back in November. The two face off this Sunday in Doncaster so Lethal can erase both those losses then and get back on track toward the world title. The Evil-Castle encounter was fine but I doubt anyone buys into a possible title change in their match on Saturday.)
(9) THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. BULLET CLUB (Cody & Hangman Page w/Brandi Rhodes) – ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Brand was also returning from injury here and had her right arm in a sling. This is follow-up to the Briscoes’ chair attacks on the Bucks, Cody, Page, and Flip Gordon two weeks ago on TV. Cody and Mark started. Stereo dives from Cody and Page at the 3:10 mark. Cody hugged some fans. Jay pulled Cody to the floor at 6:20. Cactus Jack elbow from Mark off the apron. Cody clocked Jay across the head with a fan’s beer. Mark grabbed his chain and choked Cody behind the referee’s back. CrossRhodes on Jay at 10:17 but Cody was too worn out to make the cover. Tags to Page and Mark. Dropsault got a two count on Mark. Top rope moonsault onto the Briscoes on the floor.
Jay hit a low blow on Page at 15:18 behind the ref’s back. Brandi sprayed hairspray in Jay’s face and Cody looked to capitalize but Mark shoved Page into the pin to break it up. Mark hit a blockbuster on Cody on the floor. Page and Jay threw fists in the ring. Page blocked a Jay Driller. Jay squirmed out of a Rite Of Passage attempt. A tombstone from Page got him a two-count. Mark met Page on the second rope. Cody saved Page from a Doomsday Device but Jay hit another low blow on Page and followed with a Jay Driller.
WINNERS: The Briscoes in 19:06 to retain the tag titles.
-The Briscoes beat up Cody and Page some more before the show went off the air at 3 hours and 33 minutes.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I’d love to read something into Cody being positioned as a babyface again here tonight, especially as a follow-up to him trying to come to the Bucks’ rescue on TV while Scurll was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately I think this is just more of the wishy-washy booking ROH has been doing with Cody all year where he’s a heel against Kenny Omega at the same time that he’s a face against Matt Taven and his terrific heel work one week is undercut the following week by the fans being encouraged to cheer for him. It’s the kind of thing that annoyed me about Bullet Club for so long before the Bucks officially turned face. Maybe this is just a soft face turn for Cody so that we’ll be all the more upset when he betrays Scurll at Best In The World.
The match itself was solid. The tag titles are steadily gaining prestige in ROH and it’s cool to see the tag division headlining as many events lately as they have considering WWE generally treats their tag division as a throwaway place for singles wrestlers they don’t know what to do with. In fact all of the ROH titles have been treated respectfully and with a measure of gravitas lately that really makes each defense feel important and helps elevate all the talent on the roster.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Livecast “Talking Honor.”