SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH HONOR REIGNS SUPREME
JANUARY 13, 2019
CONCORD, NC AT CABARRUS ARENA
AIRED ON HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, Caprice Coleman
A hoarse Ian Riccaboni welcomed us to the show as the CC’s stood by. They ran down some of tonight’s matches. In the ring stood three men who were kind of dressed like a more piratey verson of Forgotten Sons, one wearing an eyepatch and one a tri-corner hat over their jeans and t-shirts. The leader of the three told the commentators to shut up and called the fans inbred hicks. He introduced them as Josey Quinn, Corey Hollis, and John Skyler and said they’re the newest, toughest three-man team in ROH. He called out any other trio and Cheeseburger’s music hit.
(1) SHINOBI SHADOW SQUAD (Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, & Ryan Nova) vs. “THE PALE HORSE” JOSEY QUINN, COREY HOLLIS, & JOHN SKYLER
The heels jumped 3S before the bell. Isom hit a jumping flip over the top rope onto all three men early on. Nova fell to the numbers game behind the referee’s back. Nova made the hot tag to Burger. Things broke down and Quinn looked to steal a pin on Isom with a handful of tights but instead Isom and Nova caught him with a pop-up into a knee. Burger joined them and they hit their triple-team finisher, Oyasumi, on one of their opponents for the win.
WINNERS: Shinobi Shadow Squad in 5:39.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I didn’t recognize Hollis & Skyler at first but they’ve both made numerous appearances on NXT as enhancement talent as well as in many other promotions. Apparently they’ve been part of the Future Of Honor division lately and are definitely more experienced than the average ROH Dojo rookie so don’t be surprised if we see more of them on these Honor Club events in the future. This was a standard dark match so it was a little surprising that it made it to air but it was also beneficial in helping to establish Burger’s new stable.)
-Beer City Bruiser made his entrance through the crowd straight from the bar with his keg over his shoulder. His opponent was new signee and the winner of the first International Cup, Mark Haskins.
(2) MARK HASKINS vs. BEER CITY BRUISER
Haskins looked for a waistlock, which annoyed Bruiser. He didn’t want to wrestle; he wanted to fight. Bruiser allowed Haskins to hit some strikes, which he instantly regretted as Haskins was stiffer than he expected. Haskins got an armbar in at 2:45 but Bruiser Samoan dropped him out of it. Cabana implied that Haskins has a chip on his shoulder about being left out of the NXT UK explosion over in his home country. Haskins avoided a Vader Bomb and tried for a sharpshooter but Bruiser fought out. He unloaded with punches but Haskins hit an elbow. Bruiser with a release suplex for two. Bruiser hit a big power slam and went up top for his frog-splash. Haskins avoided it and hit a kick to the jaw. From Haskins With Love (a top rope double stomp) ended it.
WINNER: Mark Haskins in 6:51.
-Bruiser got two beers from ringside and cracked them open. He offered one to Haskins. They clinked and drank.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A fine match. Bruiser was given more credibility than usual, which makes sense since he’s now signed with ROH officially, and Haskins picked up a nice first win as part of his new ROH career.)
-Best Friends entered first for the next match. Juice Robinson found a child in the crowd with a juicebox sign so he bestowed his hat and sunglasses onto the boy. This was David Finlay’s ROH debut. Yes, if you’re not a New Japan follower, he is the son of that Finlay.
(3) FINJUICE (IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson & David Finlay) vs. BEST FRIENDS (Chuckie T & Beretta)
Robinson and Beretta started. Beretta appeared to be playing the heel as he patronizingly patted Robinson on the chest in the corner. Chuck Taylor caught Finlay with sole food at 3:30. Taylor hit a low blow on Finlay at ringside and Best Friends hugged. They isolated Finlay in the ring and continued to heel it up with Beretta making a one-foot cover on Finlay. The fans seemed uncertain how to react. Northern lights suplex from Beretta for two. Beretta hit a barrage of aggressive knees in the corner. The commentators put over Robinson’s respect for the code of honor as to the reason he didn’t get into the ring to break things up. Robinson finally made the tag as Finlay ran the ropes. All four men entered and all four men went down. Beretta and Robinson wound up as the legal men in a throwback to their match at Global Wars: Toronto in November. Robinson hit a front facelock DDT and a shotgun dropkick. Cannonball in the corner. Beretta with a tornado DDT. Robinson blocked a Dudebuster; Beretta avoided Pulp Friction. Robinson hit a fireman’s carry into a gutbuster. Tags to Finlay and Taylor. Taylor with a piledriver but Robinson broke up the pin. Finlay hit Trash Panda on Taylor for the win.
WINNERS: Finjuice in 14:49.
-Rather than follow the code of honor Beretta grabbed the US title from Robinson and held it up before shoving it back into Robinson’s chest.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was a NJPW match on an ROH card, which made for a change of pace in terms of style and execution, but didn’t help Best Friends’ already fuzzy personalities and direction in ROH.)
-Riccaboni and Cabana headed to the stage to discuss ROH’s partnership with VetTix.org and lead a round of applause for the military veterans in attendance.
-Back at the commentary booth Kenny King showed up in street clothes and took over Coleman’s headset, brushing him away to the back.
(4) FLIP GORDON vs. “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS
Gordon appeared to tweak his knee within the first couple minutes. He ended up collapsing to ringside. Williams said he didn’t want to continue to fight an injured man. Referee Todd Sinclair made the decision to call for the bell because Gordon couldn’t continue.
WINNER: Tracy Williams in 2:56.
-Security helped Gordon to the back as Williams walked beside them. King ranted about the situation and stormed off. Coleman returned to replace him on commentary.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The commentators didn’t seem to be all that worried about Gordon’s “injury” and King went on and on about it, giving the impression that this was just a storyline. If so, an odd story. Other than a King-Gordon feud I’m not sure what this will lead to.)
(5) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE KINGDOM (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, & TK O’Ryan) vs. SHANE “HURRICANE” HELMS, DELIRIOUS, & LUCHASAURUS – PROVING GROUND MATCH
If Team Green can defeat the champions or survive to a 15-minute time limit draw they will earn a future title match. Delirious and Taven started. He ended up tagging Hurricane and going to sit on the floor. Taven tagged O’Ryan in. Hurricane hit a jumping flatliner. Marseglia tagged in and requested the dinosaur. At 6:00 Delirious hit a flurry of offense on Marseglia but The Kingdom ended up taking control. Delirious’ ribs were taped up following a recent excursion to the Congo and the champions targeted the injury. Just the tip (of the knee) from Taven to Delirious. Taven went after the mask at 10:40 and Delirious bit him. Tag to Hurricane. High crossbody to Marseglia. Eye Of The Hurricane to O’Ryan. O’Ryan with an eye rake. Luchasaurus broke up a House Of A Thousand Horses attempt and took out O’Ryan and Marseglia. Taven clubbed him from behind. The misfits hit a trio of chokeslams on the heels. Helms covered Marsegia for two. Luchasaurus took out Taven on the floor. Delirious tagged in and fell to House Of A Thousand Horses just one minute shy of earning a title shot.
WINNERS: The Kingdom in 13:52.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The sooner The Kingdom drop the titles the better it is for Taven. Continuing to wrestle in matches like this pigeonholes him as a midcard player when he’s been trying so hard to establish himself as the top main event heel in the promotion the past few months. There was surprisingly less comedy here than you’d expect and Luchasaurus didn’t do much at all but the crowd responded positively to Helms.)
(6) BANDIDO vs. “THE DAREWOLF” PJ BLACK
Bandido shot around the ring and off the ropes early, even leaving Black a little flustered. He attempted to slam Bandido head-first to the mat but Bandido did a headstand instead. He cleared Black to the floor and hit a trio of dives and flips. “Bandido” chant from the crowd. Black with a double stomp off the top rope to a standing Bandido. Black wrestled Bandido to the mat and locked in some stretches. Black with a trio of dives and flips of his own. In the ring Bandido hit a springboard corkscrew crossbody. He followed with a sort of tilt-a-whirl DDT to a kneeling Black. Black with a brainbuster for two. Both men springboarded to the top rope at the same time and Black turned it into a body scissors flip over into a slam. Black with an inverted Boston crab, penduluming Bandido’s head into the bottom turnbuckle. Crucifix bomb from Bandido. Fireman’s carry into a twisting knee to Black’s face for two. Bandido got a headscissors armbar on Black but he reached the bottom rope with his foot for the break. Black went up top and Bandido met him but he appeared to slip, crotching Black and tumbling to the floor. Bandido went back up and they tried again. With both men standing on the top turnbuckle Bandido hit a “top rope fallaway slam moonsault”, according to Cabana, for the win.
WINNER: Bandido in 13:46.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Match of the night so far. There were at least half a dozen moves that neither the commentators nor myself knew how to call. Black looked as good as Bandido did and I would be very okay with him joining ROH full-time as well. Bandido’s already set to main event the next Honor Club event in a week and a half so expect big things from him very quickly.)
(7) ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION JEFF COBB vs. SHANE TAYLOR vs. “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. RHETT TITUS – PROVING GROUND MATCH WITH INSTANT REWARD
If anyone other than the champion wins this one that man will immediately get a one-on-one match against Cobb for the title following this bout. Taylor took a mic and called being in a proving ground match disrespectful. He said he has nothing to prove, insulted all three men, and headed backstage. Cobb got sent to the floor and outwrestled Titus before falling prey to Cobb. He tried for a crossbody and bounced off Cobb’s chest. Gresham shook his head and bailed to the floor to let Titus take some punishment instead. Cobb hit a delayed vertical suplex to Titus from the second rope but Gresham broke up the pin. Gresham went after Cobb’s ankle. Titus hit a helicopter slam on Gresham. Cobb broke up the pin by giving Titus a German suplex onto Gresham’s ankle. Gresham went Sonic on Titus and Cobb but Titus got his knees up on a shooting star press from Gresham. Titus took out Cobb on the floor with a cannonball and hit an impaler DDT to Gresham but Cobb just broke it up in time. Titus with a series of running big boots on Cobb in the corner. Gutwrench piledriver from Cobb. Tour Of the Islands!
WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 8:25.
-Silas Young headed down the ramp. As Cobb locked eyes with him Taylor returned to jump Cobb from behind. Taylor held up the TV title as the commentators wondered about a possible alliance between Young, Taylor, Ray, and the Briscoes as seen on “Farewell To The Elite” on Honor Club.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Wow. I think they saw the gauntlet thrown down from the preceding match and took it as a challenge. This was just as good and the best Titus has looked in-ring in years. Despite the dominance of Cobb since arriving in ROH the outcome was actually somewhat in question due to the nature of a four-way match. Gresham could have pinned Titus or Taylor could have returned and stolen the victory.)
-Jenny Rose entered first for the Women Of Honor street fight. She wore a jersey over shorts and fishnets. Kelly Klein wore a sleeveless t-shirt over shorts and was accompanied by Camp Klein, two men and two women in matching track suits. Her protégés?
(8) “THE GATEKEEPER” KELLY KLEIN vs. JENNY ROSE – STREET FIGHT FOR THE WOH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Camp Klein jumped onto the apron immediately, distracting Rose. Klein found a number of steel chairs under the ring and slid them in. Rose used the time spent to spear Klein and dropkick her out of the ring. Klein looked under the ring and one of Vinny Marseglia’s red balloons floated up to the rafters. That’s actually very funny. Rose threw Klein into the guardrail. She sat Klein in a chair at ringside and hit a running clothesline. Rose found a bungee cord under the ring and went up top. A camper distracted Rose again and Klein hit a hiptoss off the top rope. Klein choked Rose with the bungee cord and hit some knees to the chin. Klein went to ringside and store the ring announcer’s tie. She choked Rose again. Camp Klein went under the ring and found a table. They set it up on the floor as Klein continued to rough up Rose. Klein looked to suplex Rose through the table but Rose reversed into a suplex on the floor. Rose fired up in the ring and hit a German suplex. She lay Klein on the table and looked for a running splash but Rose simply bounced off Klein and flipped over the intact table. Klein recovered first and they fought on the apron. Rose looked for a sleeperhold so Klein hit a backpack stunner through the table. That time the table exploded under their combined weight. “Holy shit” chant from the crowd. Rose with a chair to Klein’s ribs. The other chairs were piled up in the ring. Rose sat Klein on the top rope and hit a superplex onto the pile of chairs! The crowd and commentators put it over huge. Klein kicked out at two. Rose stole the timekeeper’s bell but Camp Klein distracted again. Rose clubbed out two of the men. Klein hit K-Power onto the chairs.
WINNER: Kelly Klein in 12:33 to retain the WOH world title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: First things first, Klein is definitely still a heel. The squad of goons at ringside is big heat, though I wish the commentators would have given a reason as to why no one like Sumie Sakai or Madison Rayne came out to help Rose even the odds. I’m always a fan of street fights that don’t just rely on chairs, tables, and ladders so this one checked that box and they both worked hard. It was nice to see them improvise a new way to break the table rather than simply try to redo the move like Bandido and Black did. That always adds an authenticity that makes it seem like a real fight. It was also very reassuring to see them go on so late in the card. With all the talent in the men’s divisions it can sometimes be difficult for the women to find TV time so this is one step forward. Next would be finding the space to have two women’s matches on a 10-match show like this.)
-Silas Young entered alone for the penultimate match of the night. The tag team champions were out second, then Marty Scurll to his music, Brody King to music of his own, and PCO last, backed by a video wall of electricity and Frankenstein music.
(9) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE BRISCOES & “THE LAST REAL MAN” SILAS YOUNG (Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, & Silas Young) vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll, PCO, & Brody King)
King and Jay Briscoe started. They traded blows. Mark tagged in and asked for PCO. They traded chops, which both no-sold. This continued non-stop for literally minutes. Scurll finally tagged in and also started chopping Mark. Young tagged in and chopped Scurll instead. Young knocked Jay off the apron by accident and things broke down with everyone brawling at ringside. PCO went up top and Mark hurled him off and into a back bump on the apron. Yikes. The heels took turns working over Scurll. Scurll avoided a Milwaukee Plunge from Young and tagged King. He took out both Briscoes with arm drags and flipped onto them on the floor. King then back body dropped a running PCO into a cannonball over the top rope onto all three opponents! After some back and forth between everyone Young hit a Canadian Destroyer to PCO onto the ring apron. Good lord. The Briscoes stole the timekeeper’s table and dragged it over. Young lay Scurll on the table but King returned and tossed Mark off the top rope and through the table on the floor. Scurll avoided a Jay Driller in the ring and locked in a Boston crab. PCO hit a leaping legdrop to the back of Jay’s head. PCO with a suicide dive to Young. King with a Gonzo Bomb to Jay and PCO with a ridiculous moonsault for the pin.
WINNERS: Villain Enterprises in 17:08.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Confession – that was the first PCO match I’ve ever seen and that was insane. King looked great for his first televised ROH match as well due in no small part to the reliable ring generals across from them. All this new blood is so invigorating and has created such an electric atmosphere. If the stories and character building moving forward can maintain the buzz generated by all the new arrivals we’re in for a truly great year in the history of ROH.)
-Caprice Coleman headed backstage and NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis made his entrance with his valet Kamille. He introduced himself and Kamille, “his insurance policy.” He spoke about the legacy of the NWA title and put himself and his title above Lethal and his world title. He put over the joint NWA-ROH return of the Crockett Cup happening this spring and implied he might have his eyes on Lethal’s ROH world title before heading to the commentary booth.
(10) JAY LETHAL vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/The Boys) – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Castle went right after Lethal with suplex and judo throws. Lethal looked for a figure four but Castle countered into a roll-up. Lethal hit Lethal Injection out of nowhere at 2:25 but he was already too hurt to even attempt a pin after the first two minute flurry from Castle. Lethal regained his composure and went after Castle’s taped-up lower back. They threw hands at 6:00 but Lethal hit a pump-kick that sent Castle back-first through the ropes to the floor. Castle powered out of a chinlock into an electric chair drop. They fought on the floor and Castle’s injured back was driven into the guardrail. Lethal with a pair of suicide dives and a cutter on the floor. Castle was almost counted out but rolled in at 19. Lethal Combination. Hail To The King. Castle kicked out at two. Castle with a roll-up for two. A running knee sent Lethal to the floor. Suicide dive. Running bulldog. Dueling chants for both men. Lethal countered Bang-A-Rang into a roll-up. Castle countered a Lethal Injection into a German suplex. Lethal popped right back up. Buckle bomb. Lethal Injection! Castle tried to kick out but didn’t have enough strength to lift the shoulders.
WINNER: Jay Lethal in 16:09 to retain the ROH world title.
-Lethal is one more successful defense away from tying the record of 38 currently held by Daniel Bryan and Nigel McGuinness. He is also less than three weeks away from passing Samoa Joe for most days as ROH World Champion.
(Pageot’s Perspective: And another terrific match to close out the night. They cut out any slow “feeling each other out” opening by having Castle start with a bang in order to try to catch Lethal off guard. Where Castle goes from here is a question mark but Lethal has Gordon, Scurll, and Chris Sabin already owed title shots and Aldis and Kenny King very vocal about their interests as well. It’s an intriguing situation.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch podcast “Talking Honor.”