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ROH HONOR UNITED
MAY 26, 2018
LONDON, ENGLAND AT CRYSTAL PALACE SPORTS CENTRE
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, BJ Whitmer
(1) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION MARK BRISCOE vs. JAY LETHAL
Brisoce shoved Lethal off the apron before the bell and followed with a blockbuster on the floor. Lethal came back with a duo of suicide dives, though. At 6:00 Briscoe rolled to ringside and grabbed a chair, tossing it into the ring. As referee Todd Sinclair discarded the chair, Briscoe kicked the middle rope into Lethal’s crotch. The men traded chops mid-ring as Whitmer genuinely cringed for them both on commentary. They traded forearms off the ropes until Lethal caught Briscoe with a cutter. “This is awesome” chant. Lethal Combination for the first two-count of the match at 8:45. Mark countered a figure four attempt into an inside cradle for two. He then countered another figure four attempt into a rear naked choke but Lethal made it to the ropes. Mark put a boot up to block Hail To The King so Lethal locked in the figure four successfully. Mark grabbed the bottom rope. Mark countered Lethal Injection into the rear naked choke again as Lethal struggled but managed to grab the rope with his boot. Briscoe’s knee that Lethal had been targeting all match buckled on a fisherman’s buster attempt so Lethal took advantage with a Lethal Injection.
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 12:49.
-Lethal approached the commentary table to tell Riccaboni and Whitmer that he’s the next ROH World Champion.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was Briscoe’s first singles match since October, his first since turning heel, and just a really nice match between two veterans. The commentators framed this as another step on Lethal’s road to redemption as Mark pinned Lethal at Supercard Of Honor in a tag match between The Briscoes and Lethal & Hiroshi Tanahashi. The venue is really worth commenting on as well. There’s lots of room on the floor between the ring and the guardrails, which isn’t usually the case with ROH events. The arena as a whole is very open with high ceilings and seems to be lit largely with natural light.)
(2) SHANE TAYLOR vs. TORU YANO
Yano tried to shoulder-block and body slam Taylor early on to no avail. He then hid in the ropes, which Taylor was having none of. Taylor with a leg drop on the apron. Taylor was visibly dripping with sweat as Riccaboni mentioned that it was one of the hottest days in England all year. “Sexual chocolate” chant for Taylor. The fans got more vocal with their chants as Taylor worked over Yano with a very slow pace. Yano cut off the top turnbuckle and smacked Taylor across the face with the pad. He hit a big right hand, which infuriated Taylor. Taylor charged and ended up running chest-first into the exposed turnbuckle. Yano tried for two low blows but Taylor blocked and hit a lift-up knee. Standing frog-splash got Taylor two but Yano kicked out to a round of applause. “Yano” chant. Taylor looked for the knockout punch but Yano threw the ref in the way. As the three of them jostled around, Yano caught Taylor with a low blow and a roll-up.
WINNER: Toru Yano in 7:30.
-Taylor beat up two security guards in the ring after the match and dropped one with his new sit-out tombstone piledriver. “You still lost” chant from the crowd. The other guard took a second rope splash.
(Pageot’s Perspective: So much for Taylor’s babyface outing in Scotland two nights ago. He’s firmly back to the rampaging heel from last week’s television. Is this leading to Joe Koff introducing a new ROH enforcer? How long can Taylor attack security and referees before somebody does something? Riccaboni spoke on commentary last week about fines and suspensions but Taylor’s wrestled two matches since so there have been no consequences as yet.)
-Brandi Rhodes joined commentary for the women’s match.
(3) “THE GATEKEEPER” KELLY KLEIN vs. TENILLE DASHWOOD
Riccaboni spoke for the fans as saying that a lot of people thought this would be the finals of the Women Of Honor Championship tournament before Sumie Sakai got surprise victories over both. Klein powered down Dashwood. Dashwood hit a headscissors into a side Russian leg sweep. Dashwood hit the Taste Of Tenille at 3:33 but Klein rolled to the floor to avoid a pin. Klein targeted Dashwood’s right leg in an effort to avoid the Spotlight kick. “Let’s go Dashwood” chant. Klein wrapped Dashwood’s knee around the ropes and set her up top for a superplex. Dashwood fought her off and hit a top rope crossbody but her bad knee hit the mat on the way down. They threw hands mid-ring. Dashwood bounced Klein’s head off the top turnbuckle and locked in the Tarantula. Butterfly suplex as Dashwood fired up and tried to shake out her hurt knee. Her knee buckled on the Spotlight attempt and Klein lifted her up in a firewoman’s carry to finish her – only for Dashwood to roll through.
WINNER: Tenille Dashwood in 9:29.
(Pageot’s Perspective: My hopes were high for this one as they’re two of the top WOH stars but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that this is essentially a house show, though. Nobody’s really been going above 70% on this tour. The story told was near identical to our opening contest tonight but with the finish from the second match swapped in instead.)
(4) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION JAY BRISCOE vs. MARK HASKINS (w/Vicky Haskins)
Haskins’ wife offered a distraction before the bell that let him hit Briscoe hard early on but Briscoe came back swiftly with a death valley driver. Briscoe was expectantly aggressive, choking Haskins on the ropes in front of his wife. He stomped away at Haskins’ face as Haskins fired up and let loose with chest kicks. Running uppercut in the corner. “Kill him” chant for Haskins. Haskins looked for the crossface but Briscoe escaped to the ropes. Haskins stopped a suicide dive with a kick and dropped Briscoe with a death valley driver of his own on the apron, then a falcon arrow in the ring and an armbar. Briscoe with a neckbreaker at 8:44. Vicky climbed on the apron and slapped Briscoe. Haskins used the distraction to hit a top rope double stomp and Painkiller for two. “This is Haskins” chant. Surprisingly, a dual chant then broke out with people actually cheering the heel over the local babyface. Briscoe hit the Jay Driller for the win.
WINNER: Jay Briscoe in 11:06.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Match of the night so far. It had an immediacy and intensity that the others were lacking. Both men came across like they were fighting to win and it flew by in a way the other matches haven’t. Haskins would be quite welcome as a regular to ROH television.)
(5) SILAS YOUNG vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPION SANADA vs. PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
This was originally advertised as being non-title but it was later changed at Young’s insistence. Martinez powered out of a lock-up from Young so Young, Tanahashi, and Sanada triple-locked-up with Martinez. He still won and followed by splashing all three of them in the same corner at the same time. Sanada clotheslined Martinez to the floor and Tanahashi followed with a splash over the ropes. Young discussed an alignment with Tanahashi and Sanada but they quickly betrayed him. The four paired off on the floor as Young tried to start a sarcastic “New Japan” chant. Young threw Tanahashi into the guardrail. He worked over Sanada until Martinez returned. Young suggested they take out the other two first, then go one-on-one. Martinez reluctantly went along with it and they double-teamed Sanada with a suplex. Neither men was willing to make the first move on a pin attempt, though. More double-teaming from the ROH guys before Young suddenly tried for a roll-up on Martinez. Sanada with a jumping hurricanrana on Martinez. Tanahashi returned as a house of fire. Slingblade to Young. Rolling neckbreaker to Martinez. Sanada put Martinez in the Paradise Lock, then Young. Tanahashi tried to put Sanada in the Paradise Lock but couldn’t figure out how to do it so Sanada locked Tanahashi around the bottom rope instead. Sanada dropkicked all three men to break the holds. Sanada looked for Skull End on Young but Tanahashi blocked it. Sanada with a springboard dropkick on Martinez. Young avoided a Martinez chokeslam but Tanahashi took South Of Heaven. Martinez blocked Misery from Young and hit the step-up splash onto Young on the floor. Martinez grabbed a chair but Tanahashi stopped him. Sanada kicked them both off the apron and Young rolled him up with his feet on the ropes to steal it.
WINNER: Silas Young in 11:51 to retain the TV title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fun match with the NJPW stars working harder than they have on the other recent ROH tour shows. Young and Martinez didn’t look out of place among them but three out of five matches tonight ending on a roll-up feels a little cheap. It’s the go-to for finish when trying to protect someone in defeat but takes away any sense of flow or building to a culmination. At least nobody was low blowed here.)
-Intermission. Our intermission match was Colt Cabana vs. Delirious from The Fifth Year Festival: Finale on March 4, 2007 in Liverpool.
-Ring announcer Bobby Cruise announced that ROH will return to Edinburgh, Doncaster, and London in August for the Honor Reunited tour. This is the first time they’ve ever done two UK tours in one year.
(Pageot’s Perspective: And congratulations to Bobby Cruise. Cody announced after the conclusion of the Honor United show on Thursday that Cruise will be the ring announcer for All In on September 1.)
-As Bully Ray made his entrance for an unadvertised handicap match the crowd started a “We want D-Von” chant. Ray approached Riccaboni and threatened him for running his mouth about him. He then lectured Cruise and referee Todd Sinclair in the ring, making Cruise introduce him twice.
(6) THE BOYS (Brandon & Brent) vs. BULLY RAY
Ray pushed Brent into the corner and trash-talked him. Brent fired up but Ray shoved him down. Tag to Brandon. Ray worked Brandon into the corner. Brandon fired up with punches and avoided a splash. Boy tag. A knee and a punch to Brent. Ray slapped Brandon off the apron. As Ray went for his chain the Boys pulled twin magic. Brandon took a slap. The Boys hit a double-team suplex on Ray. They went to separate corners for diving splashes and a double-team cover but Ray kicked out. Power bomb to Brent. Power bomb to Brandon. Ray pinned them both.
WINNER: Bully Ray in 7:16.
-Ray took a mic and encouraged the fans to yell “Get the tables!” When they did, he told them to go to hell and left.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Well, Ray’s won his first match since September. Kind of weird to see Ray picking on The Boys with Dalton Castle nowhere to be seen to stand up for them. Also still very weird that Bully Ray of all people is the person getting arguably the most consistent screen-time and push in 2018 ROH while Shane Taylor loses almost all his matches and people like Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas, Josh Woods, and Jonathan Gresham are sitting at home. Could they not be doing this exact same story with Ray instead mentoring someone like Taylor? It feels like that would give a longer return on investment.)
-Before the next match King said he always enjoys beating guys up in front of their wives and suggested a new stipulation – if he wins, he’s All In. Cody claimed he doesn’t make the rules, it’s up to the fans, and polled the crowd. Yes chants all around. Cody accepted but said that it would be King who is All In and he can’t give his spot to Flip Gordon. The fans responded negatively so Cody reluctantly paused and said fine, if King wins they’re both All In.
(7) “THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE” CODY (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. KENNY KING – if King wins, he and Flip Gordon are both #ALLIN
At 3:20 King was on the floor with Brandi eyeing him so he pulled out a rose from under the ring to give to her. She backed off while Cody caught the distracted King with a suicide dive. Cody picked up the rose, gave it to his wife, and they kissed. Notably, Brandi was wearing her gold ring gear rather than the purple street clothes she was wearing while on commentary earlier. Her arm was still in a sling following surgery. At 6:20 Cody stole a fan’s water bottle, took a drink, and spit it King’s face. Dragon screw leg whip from Cody at 7:55. Power slam for two. King avoided a Beautiful Disaster kick and hit a spinebuster. High crossbody but Cody rolled through. Cody turned a sunset flip into a pin for two. Beautiful Disaster kick connected but King kicked out. King kicked Cody off the second rope to the floor. Brandi was still carrying her rose but threw it down and stomped on it to distract King. CrossRhodes from Cody ended it.
WINNER: Cody in 11:35.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Poor Flip. It’s never happening for him.)
-Cody asked for a mic. He started to talk about All In when Nick Aldis’ music hit. The NWA World Heavyweight Champion made his entrance in a suit and entered the ring. He spoke about how Cody represents the American dream but he’s smashed the glass ceiling for British wrestlers around the world. Since December 9 he’s defended “this ten pounds of gold” across continents against any and all worthy challengers. He mentioned Dory Funk, Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Cody’s father as some past men who have held his belt. He said Cody is a deserving challenger and called him a game changer. He’s admired him until now. Because at the All In press conference he was named the challenger without Cody ever asking Aldis first. He said Cody’s gone all in but Aldis is the champ and that makes him the dealer.
Cody took the mic and said nice to meet you. Cody said Aldis certainly looks and acts like a champion. Cody said he’s not interested in the NWA title because of who held it or because it used to sit on his dad’s desk. He’s interested in it for himself. Cody admitted he never spoke to Aldis, he interacted solely with Billy [Corgan]. So Cody is now formally asking Aldis if he’s #ALLIN. Aldis said yes but on one condition. Aldis pointed out that Cody is challenging for the ROH World Championship at Best In The World on June 29. So, if Cody is ROH champion going into All In, Aldis wants title vs. title. Cody happily accepted and they shook hands. Riccaboni said that the Von Erichs and Dusty & Cody are the only two father-son combinations to ever see both men hold world championships in pro wrestling.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This segment was the highlight of these two Honor United shows so far. Cody possibly winning the same belt his father held was already a tremendous first match for All In but the possibility of it being title vs. title is even more captivating. I’d been wondering for a while if there would be proper stories and feuds going into All In or if it would just be a showcase of great wrestling. It was hard to gauge without any matches announced but this is a great start. We know The Young Bucks are main eventing that show but their opponents haven’t been named yet. The next three months are going to be very interesting.)
(8) DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) vs. IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPION EVIL – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Very surprising that the world title isn’t the main event but ROH has shown a serious commitment to tag team wrestling being main event wrestling lately. The boys had rib tape on due to Ray’s actions earlier. Castle’s right hand was taped up due to Marty Scurll breaking it at Supercard Of Honor and he also had tape on his left thigh. Evil threw Castle into the guardrail at 3:15. Evil worked over Castle’s injured back and leg. At 9:14 Castle looked for bang-a-rang but his back hurt too much to get Evil up. Evil mercilessly continued to target and attack Castle’s injured body parts as the crowd chanted for the heel. Evil clotheslined Castle on the apron and Castle fell to the floor, writhing in agony.
At 11:00 Evil grabbed a folding chair. The Boys tried to stop him so he beat them both up before wrapping the chair around Castle’s head and running him throat-first into the ring post. Referee Todd Sinclair didn’t see it as he was busy getting one of the Boys out of the ring. Castle blocked Everything Is Evil and hit a lariat. Evil ran Castle back-first into Sinclair in the corner. Ref bump. Evil grabbed the world title belt and entered the ring. The Boys returned but he kicked their injured ribs. Castle capitalized with bang-a-rang and covered. The crowd counted three as Sinclair was still down and loopy at ringside. Evil grabbed the title belt again and clocked Castle with it. Sinclair returned to count two and a half before Castle kicked out. Castle blocked Everything Is Evil again and hit… you guessed it… a roll-up.
WINNER: Dalton Castle in 15:28 to retain the world title.
-Evil gouged Castle in the eye and walked off in a huff.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Castle is battling with legitimate injuries so using those as the focal point of his opponent’s attacks makes perfect sense, especially when he has the tape on to tell the story visually. Ideally your babyface champion being picked apart and beat up with a chair by the despicable heel challenger would put a lot of sympathy on the champ and get the crowd rallying behind him but every NJPW star is so popular and so beloved for paying a visit to ROH that it’s damn near impossible to get them booed. Not to mention that Evil was positioned as a babyface two nights ago when he and Sanada faced The Addiction.)
(9) THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, & Vinny Marseglia) vs. SOCAL UNCENSORED (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & Scorpio Sky) vs. THE HUNG BUCKS (Hangman Page, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) – ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Taven and Daniels started. They can tag out to either of their partners or anyone from Bullet Club. Loud “fuck The Kingdom” chant as Sky and O’Ryan wrestled. Page hit a blind tag and he and Kaz resumed their heated blood feud. Kaz and Page spit on each other and everything broke down. Six guys stood together in the middle of the ring and waited for Nick to crossbody them. Nick and Matt cleaned house. Kaz with a lungblower and unprettier on Nick. SCU gave Nick his own “three boots” treatment in the corner. Taven tagged Sky so it was now the Kingdom’s turn to isolate and work over Nick. Nick looked for the hot tag but SCU pulled Matt and Page off the apron to prevent the tag. The heels turned on each other with O’Ryan and Daniels throwing down. Hot tag from Nick to Page and he’s a house of fire.
Next it was Matt’s turn to take everyone out. Dueling sharpshooters from the Bucks on the Addiction. The Kingdom broke it up. Taven with a splash over the ropes onto everyone. Then Sky. Then Page with a top rope moonsault, landing on his feet. The Kingdom took over on Page and triple-teamed him. Sky stole the tag and SCU took over on O’Ryan but Taven frog-splashed Sky to break up the pin. Nick tagged O’Ryan and unloaded on him and Sky. Everyone took out everyone ending with Nick superkicking Daniels. “This is awesome” chant. Six guys crowded together at the foot of the ramp again waiting for Nick to splash them.
BC isolated Sky and hit the double assisted Rite Of Passage but Daniels pulled the ref from the ring. Nick ran the apron to kick Daniels but he moved and the ref went down. Best Moonsault Ever from Daniels to Page as a second referee ran to the ring. Taven pulled him out at two and Taven and this ref took an Arabian moonsault from Daniels. The fans chanted for “one more ref.” Kaz went under the ring after Marseglia. He reappeared on the opposite side and the Kingdom hit Rockstar Supernova on Daniels. Referee #3 ran out with a bandana on his head and counted one.. two… before pulling off the bandana to reveal that it was Cody! He beat up the Kingdom and hit a CrossRhodes on Marseglia. The Bucks hit a Meltzer Driver on Daniels and referee #2 counted one… two… before referee #1 pulled him from the ring, insisting he was the one in charge. As they bickered Taven clocked Matt with his walking stick. The original referee counted the pin.
WINNERS: The Kingdom in 22:21 to retain the six-man titles.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Wow. It started out as a fun, if somewhat formulaic, multi-man Bullet Club match but that ending was a blast. Two referees going down and Cody posing as referee #3 got a massive pop from the crowd. There were moments where you could definitely buy into a title change, especially with how The Kingdom won the titles totally unexpectedly in Lowell two weeks ago. There’s a good chance this could be the last of The Hung Bucks as a regular team and of the Kingdom-SCU feud. If so, it was a high note to go out on and I’m intrigued to see who the next challengers to the Kingdom’s titles end up being.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Livecast “Talking Honor.”