DOJO PRO TV REPORT – S1E04
RELEASED JULY 9, 2018
TAPED IN NASHVILLE, TN
AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. AND U.K. THROUGH AMAZON PRIME
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Marc Warzecha
DOJO PRO presents the ultimate professional wrestling opportunity. A gauntlet competition in which 13 independent wrestlers fight their way up the ladder. The winner of each match receives the Dojo Pro White Belt and continues on. At the top, the Dojo Pro Black Belt, and a shot at the Ring Of Honor World Television Championship.
-In the studio Matt Lott recapped Wheeler Yuta defeating Gunner Miller and transitioned into discussing Corey Hollis’ transformation over the past few months.
(Pageot’s Perspective: In my report on the first episode I said there was something about the show that reminded me of American Gladiators. If this had been a women’s tournament I probably would have cited GLOW. I think in general it’s just a very 1980’s presentation. These opening studio bits with Lott especially feel like I’m watching ‘80s MTV. It stands out from the aesthetics of most other wrestling promotions these days but I’m undecided whether or not it’s a good thing. If you’re looking for a late ‘80s/early ‘90s Saturday morning throwback (Gladiators, WWF Superstars) then you’re right at home. The opening video talks about new stars climbing the ladder in unconventional ways, though, and this series is very conventional.)
-Video package on Wheeler Yuta. He pointed out the accuracy of the ranking system so far. Everyone’s defeated the person ranked below them but lost to the person ranked above them. He said his resiliency is what makes him different from the others. He talked about how the gauntlet format means you’ll always be beat up going into a fight against a fresh opponent. He said he doesn’t know much about Corey Hollis.
-Video package on Corey Hollis. He said he’s competed in every major American wrestling company. His first year he competed in Ring Of Honor. Footage was shown of Hollis vs. Flip Gordon from ROH television last September. He blamed his career staggering on the fact that people told him to be a good wrestler and a good person, which isn’t how this business works. Hollis said he was trained by AJ Styles. Footage aired of Hollis vs. Styles from a Georgia Premier Wrestling event in February 2016. He said he was Styles’ last independent match. (True. Styles was already competing on WWE television at that point.) He said he has to make a statement and he doesn’t have much time left.
Yuta said he was elated to be the White Belt but he came for the black belt. He’s going to make the best of this opportunity. Hollis said Yuta is standing in his way. He doesn’t know him so if he has to stab him in the heart, why does he care?
(Pageot’s Perspective: Yuta indirectly pointed out a flaw with the presentation of this series. He mentioned how the nature of a gauntlet means you’ll have always have a fresh person competing against someone who’s already competed but we’ve been given no indication what time frame these episodes take place in. Both wrestlers have made their entrances from the back at the start of each match so they’re not taking place consecutively one after another but is there an hour between bouts? A day? How much time has Yuta had to rest between defeating Miller and having to face Hollis now? That seems like important information especially with a gauntlet.
Hollis is easily the most polished performer we’ve seen yet in the gauntlet and comes with the most impressive résumé. He hails from Birmingham, Alabama and wrestles consistently for Anarchy Wrestling and Premiere Wrestling Xperience these days. But, like he said, he was an ROH regular for years and has appeared on seven episodes of NXT television.)
-Yuta made his entrance first. Hollis came out to some southern rock music. He strolled out slowly with his hands in his pockets. He was wearing tattered up blue jeans and a white jean vest over a sleeveless t-shirt. He tore down his illustrated banner that was hanging in the background behind the ring. Commentator Marc Warzecha pointed out that the illustration was based on the old babyface Corey and Hollis doesn’t want to be reminded of that anymore. Ring announcer Dominic Malnar handled the introductions. The referee is Mark Allen.
DOJO PRO WHITE BELT WHEELER YUTA vs. COREY HOLLIS
Hollis lost the jacket but would wrestle in his jeans, belt, and shirt. Warzecha questioned if it was legal. The fan chanted “Tuscaloser” so Hollis bailed and went backstage. The referee began to count him out. When he hit eight, Hollis ran back to the ring, broke the count, and then ran backstage again. He reappeared to break the count at eight again but went right back to ringside. He re-entered the ring but bailed again when Yuta tried to lock up. Yuta got a headlock on Hollis at 2:20 for the first time. He quickly escaped and went back into the crowd. Hollis hit a boot but Yuta came back with a shoulder tackle. Running uppercut in the corner. Steamboat-esque arm drags from Yuta. Stomps to Hollis in the corner. They traded chops. Yuta went around the world, beating Hollis’ head on each turnbuckle. He finished with by running Hollis’ head into the last turnbuckle ten times. Hollis comically wobbled back and forth before taking a flop. Yuta with an arm drag and back body drop. A dropkick gave him a two-count, which seemed to encourage him. Another dropkick on Hollis coming off the ropes. Yuta dragged Hollis to the second rope but Hollis pulled him arm-first down onto the rope.
Hollis threw Yuta arm-first into the post. The fans amused themselves with “Hollis wears mom jeans” and “take a shower” chants. Hollis roughed up Yuta on the floor. He rolled him into the ring but Yuta dropkicked him off the apron. Hollis yanked him back through the ropes to the floor. Hollis stomped on Yuta in the ring until the referee backed him off. Back to working over Yuta’s arm. Yuta fired up with right hands and a crossbody. Suicide dive to Hollis. Yuta tried going up top but struggled to climb due to the injured arm. High crossbody got Yuta a two-count. Hollis with a roll-up for two. Yuta grabbed Hollis’ belt to lift him up into a back slam. Hollis grabbed the injured arm and locked on a submission until Yuta made it to a rope break. Hollis wouldn’t break so the referee pulled him off. Hollis took a swing at the ref but the ref avoided it. He was set to disqualify Hollis but Yuta used the distraction to nail Hollis with a superkick and his top rope elbow drop. Hollis threw his foot under the bottom rope to break the count. Hollis pulled Yuta’s injured arm through the turnbuckle padding, trapping him in the corner. Yuta got free and locked Hollis in a cloverleaf crossface. Hollis tapped out.
WINNER: Wheeler Yuta in 15:16 to retain the Dojo Pro White Belt.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A surprising outcome but this match seemed to be more about putting over Hollis’ recent heel turn than it was Yuta or even the Dojo Pro Black Belt. Hollis did his part to keep things entertaining in the longest match of the series so far. Yuta is fine but the charisma difference between the two is notable. Perhaps that’s just the benefit of having an established character and the surplus of experience in Hollis’ past.)
-Yuta will defend the white belt against “Bad Boy” Joey Janela on the next episode. Interviewer Rob Johnston joined Yuta in the ring. He pointed out that Yuta was the first to successfully defend the white belt. Yuta said he couldn’t be happier. He said Hollis ripped his arm to shreds but it wasn’t enough. Yuta said he’s turning the white belt into the black belt into the ROH World Television Championship.
(Pageot’s Perspective: So Janela exploits the established arm injury to win the next round?)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Livecast “Talking Honor.”