Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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ROH BEST IN THE WORLD
JUNE 28, 2019
BALTIMORE, MD AT UMBC EVENT CENTER
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, Caprice Coleman
We opened in the arena and Flip Gordon immediately made his entrance.
(1) RUSH vs. FLIP GORDON
Rush pie-faced Gordon instead of following the code of honor. Gordon chopped Rush to no effect. Rush dumped him to the floor and ran him around the ring and into three different guardrails. (I felt the effect of that at War Of The Worlds: Toronto when PJ Black hit the barricade so hard that my knees were hurting for days after.) Gordon mounted a bit of a comeback. Rush teased The Bull’s Horns but instead just kicked him in the face and hit the tranquilo pose. Gordon hit some strikes that left Rush down. A high knee and falcon arrow gave Gordon his first two-count. Springboard spear. They jockeyed back and forth. Gordon tried for a suicide dive but Rush sort of caught him and tossed him into the guardrail and a security guard’s chair. A fan(?) handed Rush a garbage can and he chucked it at Gordon. Rush connected with The Bull’s Horns.
WINNER: Rush in 10:19.
-Quinn McKay tried to interview Rush at ringside but her mic could barely be heard. Rush said he didn’t come to play. He’ll kill and destroy.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Rush is now 10-0 in ROH this year, a record second only to Jeff Cobb. This was a decent pay-per-view match. They could have likely taken it to another level with some more time but this was good for what it was. The clean finish is at least a little encouraging for the night as a whole so far. Place your bets now for how many outside distractions and low blows there will be. I’m going to go with 3 low blows total.)
-NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis made his entrance in a suit. He addressed Cabana and acknowledged that he never cancels dates so the fact that he had to bow out of tonight’s tag match means it must be serious. Aldis said they considered postponing the scheduled match altogether but Baltimore is NWA country so they opted to look for a suitable replacement. Aldis introduced the newest NWA signee and his new tag partner…
James Storm’s music hit. Storm strolled down the aisle and mocked Aldis for being pampered, accusing him of being protected by NWA president Billy Corgan. Storm said Aldis didn’t choose him as his partner. He knew he’d get the call when Cabana went down because of who he is and the fact that he (almost) beat Cabana and (almost) beat Aldis in the past. Storm got face to face with Aldis and demanded to know who his partner actually was. Aldis said he’d let him tell Storm himself.
Former Impact World Champion Eli Drake made his entrance. “Eli Drake” chant from the crowd. He stood on stage and declared himself the best in the world. He said every offer from every company came in. Each one had people claiming their company was the company of the future. If he was going to join one, though, it would be a company that represented the past, present, and future. He grew up just down the road and used to watch men walk around with the ten pounds of gold. He is the newest acquisition of the NWA and nobody can stop him.
(Pageot’s Perspective: More solid , solid work from the NWA. Eli Drake is a big acquisition and was received as a star, the Aldis-Storm feud is furthered, and everybody is playing such shades of gray that there’s no telling where things will go from here. Conflict between Aldis and Drake? Storm going after Drake due to him trying to step over him to the NWA title? Drake going after Cabana’s national title? I love that it’s not obvious.)
-A video package highlighted many of the top feuds going into tonight with a voice-over narrating the back stories.
-The commentators checked in (Cabana holding a cane) and ran down tonight’s card.
-Rush’s brother, CMLL and NJPW star Dragon Lee, was out first. Dalton Castle wore a sparkly zip-up jacket and carried his new riding crop. No peacock apparel. He also had new high-waisted trunks to help hide his consistent back wrapping.
(2) DALTON CASTLE vs. DRAGON LEE
Lee dropkicked Castle into the corner and hit The Bull’s Horns. And again. Cover! Castle kicked out. Lee kicked him to the floor. Castle dodged and was able to run Lee back-first into the ring post. Castle tossed him into the ring and tried to regain his composure. Lee leaped over the top rope and onto Castle’s shoulders for a hurricanrana attempt to the floor. Unfortunately Castle caught him and powerbombed him onto the apron. Castle threw Lee so hard into the guardrail that the luchador flipped over and landed in the laps of the men in the front row. Ditto into the laps of the Honor Club Girls™. A running hip-toss along the length of the ring threw Lee into the second or third row. An ecstatic Castle returned to the ring to loud “Dalton Castle” chants. Lee tried to crawl back but Castle went after him again. This time Lee was able to reverse an Irish whip and sent Castle into the guardrail. Castle caught Lee with a DDT in the ring for a two-count. Castle locked in the Julie Newmar and pounded Lee with elbows while tearing at his mask. He continued to pummel Lee and rip at the mask when able. Lee managed a hurricanrana and caught Castle with a suicide dive. Lee tossed Castle into the guardrail. Double underhook backbreaker in the ring. Saito suplex from Castle. Another. Snap German suplex from Lee. High knee and a poisonrana. Lee nearly rolled into a Bang-a-rang but escaped. Castle put him back down with a clothesline. Lee with a knee to the head and a one-count. Lee showed signs of his brother by grabbing the ref and demanding “One?!” Castle with a Bang-a-rang moments later. Cabana declared it was over but Castle paused before making a pin. Instead he dragged Lee into the corner. Castle hit The Bull’s Horns.
WINNER: Dalton Castle in 14:22.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Just a hell of a match. And another clean win?? It’s almost like they realized you can get someone over as a heel through other means than simply cheating. This PPV is off to a very promising start. Castle wrestled significantly different than we’re used to seeing. He is fully embracing this heel turn while still staying completely true to his character. The fans will continue to support him in the same way that guys like Adam Cole are never able to turn a crowd fully against them but maybe that’s okay. If you position him against strong enough babyfaces I do believe the fans will root for the traditional hero and rally against Castle, while also being very engaged in the match due to their love of both individuals. I was admittedly skeptical of the initial turn but he made me into a believer here.)
-A video package recapped The Allure debuting at G1 Supercard and attacking various women over the past few months while refusing to wrestle. (Yes, they included the footage of our champion being laid out after being hit with a shoe.)
(3) WOH WORLD CHAMPION KELLY KLEIN & JENNY ROSE vs. THE ALLURE (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon w/Velvet Sky)
Rose and Klein didn’t wait for introductions or to slap the hands of fans. They hit the ring and tackled the heels, stomping them to the mat. The Allure whipped into one another. Klein took a corner while Rose splashed both opponents in opposing corners. Love got a shot in and Leon headed t the apron. Love trash-talked Klein, who asked for the tag. Love with a shoulder tackle. Neckbreaker. Spinning heel kick. Klein with a sidewalk slam. Tag to Rose. They hit a double-team suplex on Love. She bailed to the floor and asked for a time out. Rose was suckered into a clothesline from Sky. Leon tagged in to hit two moves and tagged back out. Love worked over Rose. Sky teased getting involved again so Klein backed her down. Leon clotheslined her from behind. Love stole Sumie Sakai’s patented high crossbody onto the crowd on the floor. Rose with a spear to Leon in the ring. Tags to Klein and Love. Klein took out both opponents with two fallaway slams. Leon hit a weak DDT. She tried to climb the ropes in her high heels so Rose pulled her onto the apron and speared her again. Rose with a hair-toss to Leon off the apron to the floor. Love went up top but Klein cut her off. Fallaway slam from the second rope. Love kicked out. Sky climbed onto the apron to distract the ref. Leon with a shoe! High heel to the spine! Love with the Botox Injection on Klein for the pin.
WINNERS: The Allure in 9:28.
-The lights went out and toy box music played. The “maneater” Barbie doll vignette played on the big screen. When the lights came up Maria Manic was in the ring, staring down The Allure. Two male security guards got in the ring for some reason. She licked her lips and roughed them up as The Allure bailed. Torture rack to the one guard. Jackknife powerbomb sent the second over the ropes and onto a crowd of guards on the floor. She tore off her shirt to reveal a maneater tattoo across her stomach. Manic fired up to a big reaction from the crowd.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The post-match felt like it happened too quickly, taking away from the finish, but with a finish as lousy as that one it’s probably for the best. It’s a goddamn shoe and she’s the WOH champion. Why do the weapons even have to be gendered? That aside, this wasn’t the train wreck it could have been. The opening was well done, telling the story of the faces being fed up and not wanting to wait any longer while also ensuring that the match would actually happen this time and the heels couldn’t back off or run away again. Leon is still bad and her gear doesn’t help. She always looks like she’s going to trip or burst a seam. Love held her own, though, and this did appear to set up two feuds going forward as the commentators focused a lot on the history between Rose and Leon. How Manic fits in will be interesting to see. She’s obviously opposed to the Heathers but it can’t be long until she looks in Klein’s direction too. If ROH can make regulars out of people like Tasha Steelz, Kris Stadtlander, and Stella Grey we might actually have a women’s division again.)
-Video package recapped the Lethal-King feud and King’s blind charade.
(4) KENNY KING vs. JAY LETHAL – BEST OF 3 SERIES: MATCH 3
King offered the code of honor. Lethal was in disbelief and pointed at the wrapped elbow that King destroyed with a chair on TV last weekend. Dueling chants to start. King went after Lethal’s elbow as expected. He grabbed Lethal’s arm and jumped over the ropes, yanking Lethal’s arm down. “I’m the real Macho Man!” King proclaimed. Lethal set up a chair at ringside but wound up sat in it by King. King charged and took a drop toehold into the seat. Lethal wrapped the chair around King’s right arm. The referee warned him. Lethal paused and King crawled away. Lethal beat him up the aisle. King sprung off the apron into a kick to the gut but reversed a suplex that sent Lethal back-first into the edge of the apron. King gouged the eyes. Boston crab to Lethal in the ring. Back body drop to King. Dropkick. Royal Flush to King! Kick kicked out of his own finishing move. More dueling chants but the Lethal fans were louder.
King sent to the floor at 10:00. Suicide dive from Lethal. King caught him on dive #2 and spun Lethal into a spinebuster on the floor. A huge shooting star press from King in the ring! Lethal kicked out. King called for timekeeper Amy Rose to bring him his blind man’s cane. Lethal used the distraction to lock on the figure four. When he saw the cane he let go of the submission, though. Lethal and King both looked to the cane. King lunged. Lethal Injection! King kicked out to the astonishment of Lethal and the commentators. Lethal glared at Rose for putting the cane in the ring. She apologized for being easily persuaded by King. King to the second rope. Lethal looked for a cutter. King fought him off and dove over Lethal into a blockbuster. Lethal Injection to Lethal! Royal Flush!!
WINNER: Kenny King in 14:38.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hot damn! This was not the match I expected. I thought it was going to be more of both men reversing and countering each other’s moves but instead it quickly turned into a heated brawl with Lethal almost betraying his code of honor out of exasperation with King’s antics. The action was fast-paced and hard-hitting and the crowd was riveted for the whole ride. This honestly might be my favorite ROH match this year. Lethal’s always terrific but King rose to the occasion here. You could tell that he was working hard and pushing himself to new heights. I’m very excited to see where both men go from here.)
-Video package on the Young-Gresham feud.
(5) “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. “THE TECHNICIAN OF HONOR” SILAS YOUNG – PURE RULES MATCH
Each wrestler had three rope breaks to prevent submissions and pinfalls. After those three were used up, any submissions or pinfalls in the ropes would be considered legal. Closed fists to the body were also allowed, save for the face and the groin. Riccaboni said this was the first pure rules match in nearly ten years. (The Pure title existed from 2004 to 2006 and was held by Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Nigel McGuinness, and others before Bryan merged it with the ROH world title while holding both.)
Lock-up. Into the ropes. Headlock from Gresham. Hammerlock from Young. Mat wrestling. A standing switch ran Gresham into the ropes and forced him to give up his first rope break. (My Chromecast crashed and I lost a minute or two.) Young clocked Gresham in the face with a closed right hand. He received a formal warning. If he did it again he’d be disqualified. Young worked over Gresham. Boston crab forced Gresham to use his second rope break. Young apparently used up two of his own while my feed was down. More submissions and reversals. Gresham was forced to use his last rope break. Young shoved him off the top rope and Gresham bounced off the apron and to the floor.
Anarchist suplex from Young. Full nelson. A rope break was useless for Gresham but he managed to slide out. He almost got the octopus in but Gresham was too banged up to complete it. Instead he guided Young’s hand into grabbing the rope, using up his final rope break. They went face to face at 14:00. Gresham dared him to punch him and get disqualified. They traded forearms and elbows instead. Suplex attempted, reversed, and both men tumbled over the top rope while still holding on. Young into the ring first. Gresham followed, pulling the apron with him. As referee Todd Sinclair fixed the apron Gresham hit a low blow to loud boos. Octopus locked in. Young grabbed the ropes but it didn’t matter. He was forced to tap.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 15:55.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Unfortunately tech issues broke up the flow of this one early for me but I was pulled back in by the end. There was definitely some good psychology throughout, though, with both men trying out-wrestle and outsmart each other as Gresham also utilized his speed and Young his strength. The fans loudly booing Gresham giving Young a low blow was fascinating. They were so into the pure rules stipulation and the characterization of a traditional babyface that they didn’t even view it as the heel getting a taste of his own medicine. They were just disappointed that Gresham would cheat to win. Lethal & Gresham as a new, honor-no-more tag team going forward?)
-Video recap of The Briscoes-NWA feud.
-Cabana spoke about his health issues and why he had to pull out of the next match. James Storm replaced Coleman on commentary.
(6) NWA WORLD’S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION NICK ALDIS & ELI DRAKE vs. THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe)
Drake and Mark started. Jay and Aldis tagged in after a couple minutes. The Briscoes ended up isolating Drake and tagged in and out on him. Burning hammer to Jay at 8:30. Redneck boogie to Drake but Aldis broke up the pin. Aldis avoided a Jay Driller and locked in the King’s Lynn Cross. Mark saved his brother and hit the Cactus Jack elbow off the apron to Aldis. Drake and Jay fought among the fans. Aldis suplexed Mark on the ringside mats. The bell rang for some reason.
DECISION: Double count-out(?) in 10:52.
-Drake and Storm got into a scuffle near the commentator’s booth. Jay clubbed Aldis with a full can of beer. They slid a table into the ring. Cabana insisted on going to the ring for the save. Riccaboni pleaded with him not to risk his health. The Briscoes lay Aldis across a table in the ring. Aldis’ valet Kamille hit the ring and speared Mark. Security and referees swarmed and got between her and Jay. She backed off and let them walk her out. The Briscoes beat up every guard in the ring and Jay low blowed Aldis (that’s 2 on the night). A froggy-bow from Mark put Aldis through the table. The Briscoes left. Aldis eventually staggered to his feet, bleeding from the forehead. Marty Scurll ran down to the ring. He helped Aldis to his feet and to the back as Cabana questioned where he was five minutes ago.
(Pageot’s Perspective: We are nearly at the two and a half hour mark and, full confession, after two hours is when my attention starts to wander a little. This match was about as good as expected so it’s no shade at them, just a downfall of the length of the average wrestling pay-per-view these days. The non-finish was disappointing but the Briscoes are #1 contenders to both the ROH and NWA tag titles so you couldn’t really have them lose and you don’t want the NWA champ or new NWA signee to lose either. The post-match with Kamille was intriguing. It was her first appearance since being scolded by Aldis at Crockett Cup and told he didn’t need her help. I’d love to believe ROH is finally embracing intergender wrestling and we’ll get Kamille vs. Mark at tomorrow’s TV tapings but I doubt it. At the very least maybe it marks her starting to wrestle more regularly and entering the NWA women’s division.)
-Video package on the Taylor-Bandido feud.
-Coleman rejoined commentary, replacing Storm again.
(7) SHANE TAYLOR vs. BANDIDO – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Taylor side-stepped and dodged as Bandido bounced around the ring. Hurricanrana countered into an apronbomb to Bandido. Open-handed slaps to Bandido’s chest. Taylor roughed up the luchador and knocked him around. Headbutt. Bandido avoided a knee lift. Corkscrew crossbody off the top rope took down Taylor. He followed with a running Fosbury flop and landed on Taylor at ringside. Springboard hurricanrana for two. Clothesline from Taylor turned Bandido inside-out. Side slam. Second rope splash but Bandido kicked out. Superkick to Taylor. 21plex blocked by Taylor holding onto the middle rope. Powerbomb. Knee lift. Package piledriver. Bandido kicked out at 2.9. Taylor with a crossbody from the second rope but Bandido caught him and powered the big man into a powerslam for two. Shooting star press but Taylor kicked out to the gasp of the crowd. Greetings From 216 for the win.
WINNER: Shane Taylor in 12:41 to retain the TV title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another clean finish? Very surprising, especially putting Taylor over a star of the magnitude of Bandido. The match was pretty good but a little disjointed. The clash of styles is usually fun but there didn’t feel like a ton of rhythm, more like connect the dots. Taylor’s improved greatly but he can still benefit from being in the ring with veterans to call the action.)
-The challengers entered first for the trios match. Black was expressly introduced as not being a member of Lifeblood (yet?). Villain Enterprises came out in silver Road Warriors gear. They’ve redesigned the six-man titles to their own tastes. The belts are huge gold circles now with Scurll’s plague doctor silhouette on the frontispiece. Riccaboni said that the old version of the titles are in storage to be awarded to the challengers, should they win here.
(8) VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll & NWA World Tag Team Champions PCO & Brody King) vs. PJ BLACK & LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) – ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Brits started with Scurll facing off against his friend Haskins. The veterans were next with PCO and Black locking up. Last was the pair of Williams and King. Things broke down. King and PCO took turns flipping onto Haskins and Williams while Scurll held them in place. Williams found himself isolated by the champs. Tag to Haskins at 7:17. Scurll got worked over for two minutes before King tagged in and cleared house. He body slammed Black onto Williams and hit a senton onto both of them. Boston crab + legdrop combo to Haskins. Cannonball from PCO bowled over Williams and Black. More double-teams to Haskins. Haskins had a window to tag but there was no one left in his corner. The faces returned and triple-teamed PCO. Scurll broke up the pin. Scurll and King disposed of on the floor. Triple-team piledriver to PCO. The referee said he got his shoulder up before three, which Lifeblood disputed. Kryptonite Crunch from PCO to Haskins.
Tags to Black and Scurll at 13:40. Superkicks to Scurll and PCO. A second to PCO. PCO clotheslined both himself and Black over the top rope. He went up top for the moonsault but Williams cut him off. Williams powerbombed PCO off the top rope and onto the apron with an assist via a kick from Haskins. Black with a springboard moonsault to Scurll but King broke up the pin. King with the Mayu Iwatani double-springboard armdrag to Haskins and Williams. Scurll countered Black’s Placebo Effect with two boots to the face. Gonzo Bomb from King to Black. Top rope moonsault from PCO for the win.
WINNERS: Villain Enterprises in 17:07 to retain the six-man titles.
-VE left and Soldiers Of Savagery showed up to attack Haskins and Williams. Bandido ran out for the save. He dumped both men to the floor but took a clothesline from Bully Ray. Ray grabbed a chair. Gordon ran out with a kendo stick and Ray left. Gordon helped Bandido to his feet. He and the three official Lifeblood members talked. They offered him a Lifeblood t-shirt. Gordon hugged Bandido, put it on, and the lights went out.
Scurll appeared on the big screen in a pre-tape. He said he was going to reveal the newest employee of Villain Enterprises. He searched the whole world and found their newest member was under their noses the entire time. The new member is the intern, the understudy, the mercenary… The camera panned to Gordon making a mean face.
Back live in the ring Gordon superkicked Bandido and ducked under Haskins and Williams. VE returned to back him up at ringside. “Flip” chant from the crowd. VE took out the three Lifeblood members with chairs. PJ Black was nowhere to be found. Gordon hit a top rope 450 through Williams laying on a table on the floor.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hahahahah. I pitched Evil Flip Gordon joining VE on last week’s episode of the PWTorch Dailycast Talking Honor as a joke, saying that’s how Vince McMahon would book things. This entire segment was a car crash. The match was fine. A classic ROH multi-man match in that bodies went everywhere, the idea of “legal men” got abandoned the majority of the time, and there were tons of high spots. Not much of a story to it and Black disappeared right after the end so I guess he’s not joining Lifeblood? Or will the Lifers apologize and offer him a handshake on TV for putting all their faith in Gordon instead of him? If this entire segment had been about Gordon joining VE and the villains turning full-heel to feud with Lifeblood it would have fit together better but inserting Ray and S.O.S. into the middle of the post-match and inserting this title match into the middle of the Ray-Lifeblood feud convoluted a lot of the pieces. Mean-mugging Flip should be a meme, though. Seriously.)
(9) MATT TAVEN vs. “THE HAWAIIAN JUGGERNAUT” JEFF COBB – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Taven chopped Cobb to no effect. Taven hit a suicide dive early that drove Cobb head-first into the guardrail. Rolling neckbreaker. Armbar. Taven missed a frog-splash. Cobb with snake eyes and a pumphandle release suplex. Standing moonsault. Northern lights suplex for two. Spinning side suplex. Taven with a hurricanrana and Just The Tip (of the knee). Two more knees but just a one-count as Cobb hulked up. Taven sort of hit a Climax. Cobb kicked out. Wheelbarrow German. Taven avoided a Tour Of The Islands and hit a second Climax for the clean pin.
WINNER: Matt Taven in 9:57 to retain the world title.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Okay, who ran long? This was very disappointing. It was way too short for Taven’s first main event defense and the end of Cobb’s 10-month undefeated streak. They had to squeeze in what little they could but it didn’t give us any real story beyond Taven trying to hurt Cobb’s arm, which didn’t factor into the finish anyway. I’m actually relieved at all of the clean finishes on the show tonight but it’s quite surreal that Taven had to cheat to beat Haskins and Gordon in singles matches but Cobb he put away with no help and no shenanigans. For a show that started out very strong it really went off the rails at the end there. I guess it’s to be expected, though. Nine matches is far too many for a pay-per-view.)
Find Harley on Twitter @talkinghonor and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Wednesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Talking Honor.”