SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH ROAD TO G1 SUPERCARD
JANUARY 24, 2019
DALLAS, TX AT GILLEY’S
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana
We opened on Rhett Titus posing in the ring next to his Mr. Survival Of The Fittest trophy that he had designed for himself. The commentators said he’d been posing for the better part of five minutes. He was finally interrupted by Marty Scurll’s music, the actual winner of the 2018 Survival Of The Fittest tournament.
(1) “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL vs. RHETT TITUS
Scurll took him to ringside and tossed him into the guardrail. Lungblower on Titus in the corner. Titus took Scurll to the floor and whipped him into the guardrails. Titus got a two-count off a leg lariat to dead silence. Scurll with a backslide into a superkick. Power bomb. Boston crab. Scurll with a superplex but Titus kicked out. Titus with a cannonball onto Scurll on the floor. Buckle bomb. Pop-up powerbomb. Scurll kicked out. Top rope frogsplash but Scurll got the knees up. Canadian destroyer. Graduation.
WINNER: Marty Scurll in 9:21.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I have the same criticism here that I did of the Rush-O’Ryan match on TV last weekend. Titus was booked for months, if not years, as enhancement talent. Two months ago he and Will Ferrara couldn’t pick up a win over Cheeseburger with a two-on-one advantage. Now he’s suddenly going nine minutes and getting near-falls on one of the top three names in the promotion. There was no work done to get us there. We’re just suddenly expected to buy him as a credible threat.)
-Riccaboni and Cabana ran down tonight’s card. They threw to a highlight video of the formation of Juice Robinson’s new faction Lifeblood. It hasn’t aired on TV yet but ROH posted the footage on YouTube to generate some buzz. The group is Robinson, David Finlay, Bandido, Tenille Dashwood, Mark Haskins, & Tracy Williams.
-The first team to enter for tag wars were two young lions from the LA New Japan dojo. Their opponents were NJPW’s own Finjuice. Tenille Dashwood accompanied them onto the stage before joining commentary.
(2) LIFEBLOOD (IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson & David Finlay) vs. KARL FREDERICKS & ALEX COUGHLIN – TAG WARS, ROUND ONE
Robinson and Coughlin started. Cabana spoke about the rules of being a young lion, which include not being allowed to wrestle or dress in a flashy style. Dashwood said that she and Robinson have been friends since meeting in FCW and Lifeblood’s been a long time in the making. Riccaboni said David Finlay and his father Fit are the only father-son combination to both wrestle in ROH. Double bulldog from Finjuice to Coughlin. Cannonball in the corner from Robinson. Spear from Coughlin. Tag to Fredericks. Hiptoss to Robinson. Dropkick to Finlay. Spinebuster. Liontamer to Finlay and Coughlin with one to Robinson too. Rope break. Robinson with a crossbody to Fredericks on the floor. Trash Panda from Finlay to Coughlin for the win.
WINNERS: Lifeblood in 8:39 to advance to the semifinals.
-Lifeblood offered the code of honor and the young lions shook.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Surprisingly great match with the rookies looking terrific and the fans getting firmly behind both teams by the end. Tons of potential in Coughlin and Fredericks who showed definite shades of a young American Wolves at times. Dashwood’s role was focused entirely on the match with no mention of when she’ll be back in action or the mystery assailant who put her on the shelf.)
-NJPW legend Katsuyori Shibata made a surprise entrance to loud applause. He’s the head trainer of the LA New Japan dojo and was at ringside to oversee one of his students, Clark Connors.
(3) ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION JEFF COBB vs. CLARK CONNORS – PROVING GROUND MATCH
If Connors can defeat Cobb or take him to a time limit draw he’ll earn a future title match. Cobb dominated the first three and a half minutes. Connors looked for a Boston crab but took a spinning back slam instead. Tour Of The Islands.
WINNER: Jeff Cobb in 4:09.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Bold choice to do the two young lions matches back to back. It’s a sign of confidence in Cobb and Robinson being able to hold the fans attention. Connors had a ten-second window of showing life but otherwise this was just Cobb continuing to steamroll everyone who gets in his way.)
-Beer City Bruiser joined the commentary booth. Shane Taylor was out first for a trios match. His partners were the tag champions and their opponents were Dalton Castle and his boys.
(4) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE BRISCOES & SHANE TAYLOR (Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, & Shane Taylor) vs. DALTON CASTLE & THE BOYS (Dalton Castle, Brandon, & Brent)
Castle and Jay Briscoe started things off. Before they hooked up Jay asked when the Boys were going to fight like men and stop being Castle’s bitch. This was enough to goad Brandon into tagging in. The heels worked over the boy. Castle got the hot tag at 7:30 and cleaned house. Castle ducked a shot from Mark, which led to Mark knocking Taylor off the apron. Bang-A-Rang to Castle. Taylor pulled referee Paul Turner out of the ring to prevent the three-count. He wasn’t having it and disqualified him for it.
WINNERS: Castle & The Boys in 9:15 via disqualification.
-Taylor punched out Turner. Castle attacked. The heels beat down Castle and the Boys. Finjuice hit the ring and punched the Briscoes out of the ring. Robinson took a mic and asked where the honor was. The heels scurried off as Robinson hyped the main event. They invited Castle into the ring and the three men exchanged the code of honor.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The match wasn’t very memorable but it put more heat on the new Briscoes-Taylor-Silas-Bully heel faction and set them firmly against Lifeblood. The post-match also seems to set up Finjuice as the favorites to win Tag Wars. We’ll see if they go that obvious route now or if they surprise us.)
(5) MADISON RAYNE vs. HOLIDEAD (w/Thunder Rosa)
Rayne dropkicked Holidead to the floor. Rosa got between them and the distraction allowed Holidead to get a shot in. Rosa got a cheap shot in herself while Holidead pulled the ref aside. Rayne hit a ripcord cutter at 6:35 but Holidead kicked out. Crossbody but Rosa jumped on the apron and yanked her by the hair. Rayne elbowed her off but Holidead hit a spinebuster. Rayne rolled her up for the pin.
WINNER: Madison Rayne in 8:01.
-Twisted Sisterz attacked Rayne after the match until Sumie Sakai ran down to ringside. She grabbed a steel chair and chased off the heels. She and Rosa yelled back and forth at each other in Japanese and Spanish.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Twisted Sisterz came into Women Of Honor looking strong and dominant but they lost to the slapped-together team of Rayne & Britt Baker two weeks ago on TV and now losing here with the numbers on their side really undercuts their threat. If they can’t win what was almost a handicap match, why should we view them as any competition in an actual tag match against Rayne & Sakai?)
-Rocky Romero entered for his first ROH match since September. Matt Taven took a mic and acknowledged that they’ve both held championships in ROH, NJPW, and CMLL but unlike Romero he’s been a world champion. He held up his fake world title belt. He then offered defend his purple belt for the first time.
(6) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPION MATT TAVEN vs. ROCKY ROMERO – MATT TAVEN’S REAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Taven looked to club Romero with the belt but Romero ducked. Romero with an eyepoke. They fought up the aisle. Romero dove off the stage with a suicide dive onto Taven in the aisle. As he threw Taven back into the ring the red balloons appeared from under the ring. Romero looked under for Vinny Marseglia but Taven caught him with a dropkick through the ropes instead. Taven worked over Romero at ringside. Taven with a Boston crab. Romero escaped. After some back and forth Taven got another Boston crab locked in between the second and third turnbuckles in the corner. The referee called for the rope break. Hurricanrana from Romero. Springboard DDT. They traded slaps. Romero got a trio of running clotheslines in the corner but took a boot on the fourth. Springboard double stomp to Taven hanging on the top rope. Taven countered sliced bread into a backbreaker. A series of jabs from Romero an a high knee. Taven with the Climax.
WINNER: Matt Taven in 15:52.
-TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia walked out onto the stage to applaud their leader. The Kingdom surrounded the fallen Romero. They started to lift him to his feet but Brody King’s music interrupted.
(Pageot’s Perspective: That’s the main event Taven I’ve been wanting to see more of and less of trios Taven competing in midcard matches against people like The Hurricane and Delerious. Presumably The Kingdom will drop the titles to Villain Enterprises at the 17th Anniversary Show in March and Taven can then focus solely on defending his fake title and annoying Jay Lethal by continuing to claim he’s the real champ.)
-PCO entered next, then Marty Scurll. Scurll chased Taven off with his umbrella, leaving just the other four men for our next Tag Wars match.
(7) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE KINGDOM (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan) vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (PCO & Brody King) – TAG WARS, ROUND ONE
PCO and TKO started. PCO with a headbutt and a powerslam. He tagged King, insisted King chop him a couple times to power him up, then dropkicked O’Ryan in the corner. Marseglia tagged in to lock up with King. Marseglia avoided a cannonball in the corner and The Kingdom took control. They double-teamed King. Tag to PCO at 5:30. Marseglia dropkicked him off the top rope to the floor. PCO got right back up only to be thrown headfirst into the guardrail. Marseglia gouged him in his one good eye. PCO fought blindly for a few minutes before catching O’Ryan with a powerbomb and stumbling into a tag to King. Cannonball to O’Ryan in the corner. PCO went up top for his moonsault but Marseglia tripped him. House Of A Thousand Horses on PCO but King broke up the pin. Marseglia set up a table at ringside and lay King across it. He went up top for a swanton bomb but King moved and Marseglia crashed through the table. King nailed O’Ryan with a Gonzo Bomb and PCO followed with the top rope moonsault.
WINNERS: Villain Enterprises in 14:53 to advance to the semifinals.
(Pageot’s Perspective: A fun one thanks to the charisma of PCO and rough and tumble style of King though fair is fair and The Kingdom more than held up their end of things. I suspect there’s a chance they screw Villain Enterprises tomorrow in the second round in order to put more fuel on their trios feud and get VE out of the tournament without a clean loss.)
-Riccaboni acknowledged that the original main event for tonight was due to be Bandido vs. Flip Gordon but that was changed following Gordon’s knee injury. Instead it was Silas Young stepping up.
(Pageot’s Perspective: …though the match was also bumped from main event to penultimate match. Sick burn to Young that Gordon is worthy of main eventing a show like this but you, former two-time TV champion, are not.)
(8) BANDIDO vs. “THE LAST REAL MAN” SILAS YOUNG
Young controlled the majority of the first eleven minutes with slow and steady offense. Bandido came back with some high-flying moves. Young avoided a Go To Sleep and hit an anarchist suplex for two. Bandido with a roll-up for two. Two tilt-a-whirl backbreakers put Young down. Shining wizard. Bandido looked for a splash in the corner but Young met him with two boots. They traded kicks. Milwaukee Plunge from Young for another two-count. The fans rallied behind the luchador. Superplex from Young but Bandido held on and followed with a suplex of his own. First “this is awesome” chant of the night. They traded strikes and Bandido hit the 21plex for the pin.
WINNER: Bandido in 20:05.
-Bandido offered the code of honor. Young resisted, then shook, then kicked out Bandido’s knee. Young left and the medical team ran out to check on Bandido.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another great one but this is definitely the point in these shows when my attention begins to wane, no matter how good the wrestlers and the matches are. Nine matches is too many for one show, especially a show like this where there are no promos, interviews, or video packages to break things up and allow a breather or a bathroom break. If this had gone on half an hour earlier I would have been riveted and my report likely would have been peppered with exclamation marks.)
-Kenny King joined commentary for the main event.
(9) ROH WORLD CHAMPION JAY LETHAL & JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) – TAG WARS, ROUND ONE
Gresham and Williams kicked things off. Lethal targeted Williams’ knee at 11:15. He and Gresham worked over Williams. Williams caught Gresham with a cradle brainbuster and tagged Haskins. Haskins was a house of fire on Lethal. He locked in a sharpshooter but Lethal edged his way to the ropes. Tag to Williams. Lethal combination. Tag to Gresham. Springboard moonsault into an anklelock. Bridging German suplex for two. Tag to Lethal. Powerbomb into a figure four. Haskins shoved Gresham into them to break the hold. Haskins stayed in the ring to double-team Lethal for a good couple minutes despite not being legal. So much for all the big “restoring honor” talk from Lifeblood… Williams DDTed Lethal onto the top turnbuckle. Gresham broke up the pin. Everyone was in the ring at the same time while Sinclair just watched and did nothing. Haskins got knocked to the floor. Lethal caught Williams with a cutter. Gresham covered.
WINNERS: Lethal & Gresham in 23:31 to advance to the semifinals.
-The four men exchanged the code of honor. Silas Young and Shane Taylor walked down the ramp, sarcastically applauding. The Briscoes jumped the teams from behind and the four heels beat them down. Bully Ray was still notably missing in action. Finjuice hit the ring again but they fell to the numbers this time.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Great match that should have just been booked as a tornado tag if they were going to have three men in the ring for half the match anyway. It made senior ROH official Todd Sinclair look like a dope in stark contrast to Paul Turner taking control earlier in the evening and enforcing the rules. Still the right men won and hopefully Lethal & Gresham take the whole tournament. A tag title reign for the duo would be a fun echo to Lethal being TV champ and world champ at the same time during his first reign and Gresham has earned the honor of holding ROH gold.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Tuesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Talking Honor.”