ROH TV REPORT
SEPTEMBER 16, 2018
PHILADELPHIA, PA AT 2300 ARENA
AIRED ON SINCLAIR AFFILIATES & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
-In the arena we opened with our ROH World Champion, Jay Lethal. He walked out in his civilian clothes with the title over his shoulder. The commentators discussed the fact that Lethal still doesn’t have an opponent for next week’s pay-per-view. In the ring Lethal took a mic. People often ask him which ROH match he’s had has been his favorite. He mentioned bouts against Roderick Strong, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles but said his new favorite is his iron man match against Jonathan Gresham from last week. It reminded him that you don’t need storylines or angles, you just need two wrestlers in a ring to prove who the best is. He issued a “Lethal challenge” to any wrestler from any locker room around the world. “Boys, come and get it.”
Will Ospreay suddenly appeared on the videotron. He asked if Lethal remembered him and accepted the challenge to face Lethal at Death Before Dishonor in Las Vegas. Lethal pondered this before signing off on the match.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Did word of Lethal’s open challenge leak to the wrestling community ahead of time? How else did Ospreay know to record a video and send it in to production in advance? Was this a first-come, first-served situation? Were guys like Gresham, Matt Taven, and Jeff Cobb backstage running to the entrance ramp following Lethal’s proclamation only for Ospreay’s video to play before they could get there? Are Lethal’s open challenges going to be an ongoing thing after he (obviously) defeats Ospreay next week? If so, is this with the intent of putting over Lethal as a workhorse champion or just so ROH doesn’t have to bother writing stories and booking angles? Probably both. Lethal’s partially right. You don’t need multifaceted, emotional stories in order to produce great wrestling. But, boy, it sure is a lot more enjoyable when you have both rather than just throwing out a random match-up a week and a half before a pay-per-view.)
-SoCal Uncensored were backstage. Scorpio Sky spoke about Punishment Martinez interjecting himself into the feud between The Briscoes and SCU. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian chuckled and they yelled “SCU!” [C]
-Tag champions The Briscoes and television champion Martinez were standing outside somewhere. Jay said they’re going to show them how east coast boys get down. Martinez told them to prepare to be punished.
-Brandi Rhodes joined the commentary team for a Women Of Honor match.
-Video recap of Sumie Sakai retaining the women’s championship against Madison Rayne two weeks ago on TV.
(1) WOH WORLD CHAMPION SUMIE SAKAI vs. “THE BAD ASS BORICUA” TASHA STEELZ – PROVING GROUND MATCH
Boricua followed the code of honor but looked for a cheap kick in the process. Sakai blocked and dropkicked her to ringside moments later. Steelz threw her into the guardrail. Coleman played a WWE-style heel commentator cutting down Sakai as barely surviving every title match she’s had. Rhodes defended her. Flying knee from Sakai. TJ neckbreaker. Missile dropkick. The champ dominated the first two minutes but Steelz came back with a springboard bulldog. Steelz called for her Boricua Butterfly but Sakai countered into Smash Mouth.
WINNER: Sumie Sakai in 3:10.
-Riccaboni said he’d interview Sakai in the ring after a commercial break. [C]
(Pageot’s Perspective: Just an enhancement match, which seems a little unnecessary at this point considering Sakai already has the best record of anyone in ROH in 2018 at 11-0 now. It’s hard to say how familiar casual fans are with her, though, as the women’s division hasn’t had any real stories or feuds since Purrazzo-Klein concluded.)
-Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Cody, Adam Page, and The Young Bucks) were backstage on the promo set. Scurll ranked the most popular groups in New Japan Pro-Wrestling: #1 – Bullet Club, #2 – L.I.J., #3 Suzuki-gun, #4 – the Firing Squad. At the very bottom, least popular, is… Cody whispered “Chaos.”
-Riccaboni was in the ring with Sakai. He spoke about her defending her title against wrestlers from various nations, in the United States and in the U.K. The ROH board of directors has made it official – the WOH Championship is now known as the WOH World Championship. She said she can speak English, but broke English. The fans applauded. She said this is her home and nobody can know how happy she is to be the first WOH Champion. She started to tear up. She wants to be the best WOH champion but there’s one person she wants to face – Tenille Dashwood.
Dashwood’s music played and she strolled out wearing one of her “all about me” t-shirts and her signature sunglasses. Dashwood said if Sakai is challenging her, they should do it in Vegas at Death Before Dishonor. Dashwood said she respects Sakai but that doesn’t mean she won’t take the title from her. The women shook hands as Riccaboni made it official.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Sakai just always comes across as so endearing and so personable in her appearances. Rather than try to hide the fact that she’s not terribly fluent in English like some promotions might I love that she was allowed to just own it and try her best. The fans were understanding and applauded her for the effort. After Sakai Dashwood has the best women’s record in ROH this year at 5-1 so this match isn’t as random as the men’s title bout announced earlier. It is, however, the third match on the DBD card to have no storyline support behind it. If it leads to Dashwood turning heel and chasing Sakai for the title, though, I’m all for it. Her face run in ROH has been a bit lackluster and she showed in NXT how much she can bring to a division as a top villainess.)
-Kenny King was backstage on the promo set. Don’t worry, he’s on this show too. He’s facing Adam Page next week and he’s on a Bullet Club bagging spree. Page can ask his buddy Scurll. [C]
-Riccaboni was still in the ring, joined by Jonathan Gresham this time. Riccaboni asked what’s next for him after last week’s iron man match. Gresham started to address Lethal when Bully Ray walked out in silence. The fans chanted “E-C-dub” for one of the top heels in the promotion. Ray got in Riccaboni’s face and pointed out that Colt Cabana wasn’t there to protect him. Ray dared him to say to his face what he says about him on commentary. Ray bullied Riccaboni out of the ring. Gresham approached him and said Ray interrupted his interview. Ray asked if he knows who he is. Ray took credit for single-handedly selling out Madison Square Garden. Gresham rolled his eyes. Ray used an obscure Piper’s Pit reference to make fun of Gresham’s height and called him a jobber. Ray said the fact that the fans didn’t give Gresham a standing ovation when he walked out is proof that they don’t care about him. They of course stood up at that prompt and cheered. One person threw a streamer.
Gresham asked for the mic and called him Bubba. Gresham acknowledged that he can’t beat Ray in a fight so he challenged him to a wrestling match. He knows he can beat Ray in a wrestling match because he watched D-Von carry his ass for twenty years. If Ray beats him Gresham will shake his hand like an honorable man but if Gresham beats him he wants Ray to shake his hand. Ray called for a referee and Todd Sinclair ran out.
(2) BULLY RAY vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM
Ray immediately kicked him between the legs.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 0:15 by disqualification.
-Ray shoved Sinclair down and grabbed his steel chain. He shook Gresham’s hand and acknowledged he’s the better wrestler. Ray whipped Gresham with the chain. Flip Gordon hit the ring and unloaded with right hands but Ray dropped him with a big boot. Lethal hit the ring and ripped off his shirt in a rage. He unloaded on Ray with fists in the corner. Silas Young hit the ring next and pulled Lethal off Ray. Young hit Misery on Lethal. Ray cackled. A “—- you, Silas” chant was bleeped. Ray looked for a hug but Young shoved him back and stormed off. [C]
(Pageot’s Perspective: A lot going on there. Gresham’s being positioned as a huge underdog fan favorite, which makes total sense. Ray is getting nuclear heat at this point so his act is working. He now has feuds going with Cabana, Gordon, Gresham, and Young. Gordon takes one boot and is dead on the floor, while we’re on the topic of jobbers. Lethal is a top-tier, purely heroic babyface, which is so refreshing. And Young is set to embark on his own skewed version of Lethal’s recent “road to redemption” story, determined to show everyone that he’s not an afterthought. How this all coalesces into a match at Death Before Dishonor is unclear. Maybe a four corner survival match minus Lethal and Cabana?)
-Lethal came through the curtain backstage and he was in a huff. He paced back and forth. Gresham followed and Lethal called him over. Lethal called Gresham the greatest technical wrestler in the world. He said Gresham doesn’t need his protection or help but he’s sick of Bully Ray. Gresham said this is not what ROH is built on. Lethal suggested a tag match next week with them against Ray & Young.
-Video package on Chris Sabin defeating Young to become #1 contender to the TV title, Alex Shelley retiring, and Punishment Martinez attacking both of them including smashing Shelley’s surgically-repaired jaw (off-camera) backstage.
Sabin was on the promo set. He knows Martinez is trying to blame mind games but Martinez doesn’t know who he’s playing mind games with. Sabin called Martinez insecure and said he’s walking out champion. He yelled “Chris Sabin rules!” to close.
-Sabin joined commentary for the main event. [C]
(3) ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ & ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. SOCAL UNCENSORED (Frankie Kazarian, Scorpio Sky, & Christopher Daniels)
SCU attacked before the bell. Teams paired off. Sky hit a high knee to Mark on the floor. Kaz and Sky took out Martinez and double-teamed Jay. Daniels tagged in. Mark hit a knee to the back as Daniels ran the ropes, which allowed the heels to take advantage. Martinez chokeslammed Daniels onto the apron. The champions isolated Daniels and took turns tagging in and out. The commentators acknowledged how well Martinez and the Briscoes were working together. [C]
Daniels avoided a chokeslam and hit a blue thunder bomb to Martinez. Tag to Sky. He was a house of fire on all three opponents with his usual signature moves. Jay hit a death valley driver out of nowhere and Martinez followed with the Silencer for a two-count. Everyone entered the ring and bodies went left and right. Sky elevated Kaz into a DDT on Mark. Daniels with a suicide dive to Jay. Kaz with a slingshot cutter to Mark but Martinez broke up the pin. Referee Paul Turner tried to get Martinez out of the ring as he was the illegal man.
Jay swung at Kaz with a steel chair but cracked Turner across the back by mistake. The heels attacked SCU with chairs. Sabin headed to the ring. He threw hands with Martinez, took off his shoe, and chased him up the ramp and to the back. Kaz and Daniels hit Best Meltzer Ever on Mark and Kaz covered. Todd Sinclair ran out and counted three.
WINNERS: SoCal Uncensored in 10:35.
(Pageot’s Perspective: If Sinclair was watching from the back and has the authority as ROH senior official to take over when Turner went down, shouldn’t he have ran out and disqualified the Briscoes for using a steel chair? Was Sabin chasing Martinez with his shoe meant to be comedic? It sure didn’t make the fearsome big man look all that great. What a weird episode this was.)
-Next week: it’s the Death Before Dishonor go-home show featuring Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. Bully Ray & Silas Young, Kenny King vs. Adam Page, and another 2018 Top Prospect Tournament match (lol).