SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH SUMMER SUPERCARD
AUGUST 9, 2019
TORONTO, ON AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
ROH was back in Toronto for the first time since War Of The Worlds in May and back at the Gardens for the first time since last November. Pre-show meet and greet talent were set up by the concession stands upstairs. When we arrived the four members of Villain Enterprises were together with about a dozen people in line. Matt Taven and Angelina Love also had a couple people taking photos while Alex Shelley, Shane Taylor, Lifeblood, and Guerrillas Of Destiny had no one.
In the dark match The Bouncers defeated two enhancement talents with Closing Time.
The arena felt significantly lighter than last time they came to the Gardens. We were fourth row floor on the aisle and there were two empty seats next to me all night. The bleachers were also very sparsely filled.
Before we went live on Honor Club the entire roster, including CMLL and NJPW guests, came out in single file and surrounded the ring. The champions stood on the stage. We thought it was going to be a moment of silence for the victims in El Paso and Dayton but it turned out to be a ten bell salute for the late Harley Race.
-Brody King was the first man out on the main card, followed by his fellow NWA tag team champion PCO. Canadian hero PCO main evented the last ROH show in Toronto, falling to Matt Taven and the shenanigans of The Kingdom, so this opening contest was a bit of a sequel to that, allowing him an opportunity for revenge.
(1) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (PCO & Brody King) vs. THE KINGDOM (Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
In the previous War Of The Worlds match PCO’s eye was injured after Taven drove him onto Marseglia’s ax. Sure enough Marseglia proceeded to gouge the same eye here behind the referee’s back. In the end it was O’Ryan being dumped to the floor and Marseglia taking a Gonzo Bomb from King and a top rope moonsault from PCO for the pin.
WINNERS: Villain Enterprises in ???.
-After the vilains left The Kingdom discovered The Bouncers, who had taken seats in the crowd following the dark match. The teams exchanged words over the guardrail. Marseglia slapped a cigar out of Beer City Bruiser’s mouth so the Bouncers smashed their open cans of beer off the heads of O’Ryan and Marseglia. Bruiser and Brian Milonas jumped the guardrail and the teams brawled around the ringside area until security separated them.
-Our next match was scheduled to be PJ Black vs. Silas Young in a rematch from Mass Hysteria on July 21. Rhett Titus joined commentary. Black was out next in his ring gear only for Young to walk out in a tank top, shorts, and sneakers. He had a bottle of whisky and said he thought their match was later on the card. Full confession: when some dork messaged him and told him they were having a match he texted back, “Why?” He already beat Black three weeks ago. He’s a two-time television champion, winner of Tag Wars, winner of Survival Of The Fittest… When Black’s done any of those things maybe he can get back to him. Young bailed.
But Black came to wrestle. He wondered aloud if there was anyone in the back who wasn’t booked for a match that would like to be his impromptu replacement partner. Some fans started chanting for Marty Scurll only to be drowned out by consistent, louder chanting for Cheeseburger. It was Scurll who answered, though.
(2) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPION “THE VILLAIN” MARTY SCURLL vs. “DAREWOLF” PJ BLACK
Some nice internal consistency here with Scurll’s partners competing in the previous match and Black giving Lifeblood a victory over Villain Enterprises at Manhattan Mayhem on July 20. Regardless, Scurll won with Graduation.
WINNER: Marty Scurll in 8:04.
(Pageot’s Perspective: This was a clever move. Advertising Scurll vs. Black would have likely got a ho-hum reaction from most people. By instead leading us to believe Scurll wouldn’t be competing and having him answer an open challenge they got a big pop. It’s still baffling, though, that the biggest star in their company by far is wrestling meaningless early card matches and six-man tags instead of being used as a main event player. The meet and greet was a big reminder to me of the difference in size between the Being The Elite fan base and the rest of the ROH roster.)
(3) “THE GATEKEEPER” KELLY KLEIN vs. TASHA STEELZ – WOH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Klein won via K-Power.
WINNER: Kelly Klein in 8:18 to retain the women’s title.
-Klein raised Steelz’s arm as a show of respect only for both women to be clotheslined from behind by Angelina Love. She hit a Botox Injection on both women and held up the title belt. No Maria Manic appearance to save us, unfortunately.
(4) LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Bandido) vs. JAY LETHAL & JONATHAN GRESHAM
Gresham has been cheating lately, beating Young with a low blow at Best In The World and hitting Kenny King with a shoe on July 21 TV. Big brother Lethal did not approve of these tactics. Sure enough, Gresham used some more questionable tactics here. First he lowbridged Bandido as he ran the ropes, causing the luchador to fall to the floor. Gresham then ran him into the guardrail and the apron repeatedly. When he grabbed a steel chair Lethal got involved. The partners bickered and Lethal was knocked down in the process.
A short while later Gresham & Lethal looked for the Cornette Cutter on Haskins but Haskins caught Gresham and nailed him with a death valley driver. Lethal with a figure four to Haskins but Bandido broke it up by powerbombing Gresham onto Lethal. Bandido would end up catching Lethal with a 21plex and Haskins flowed it instantly into a sharpshooter. With Gresham out of action on the floor Lethal was forced to tap.
WINNERS: Lifeblood in 19:43.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Depending on your tastes, this and the main event were a toss-up for match of the night. This was a classic ROH match, the kind of wrestling the company should be centering its identity around, and the crowd uniformly loved it. Everyone was engaged and on board throughout.)
-Match #5 was scheduled to be Tracy Williams challenging for the TV title. As he made his entrance he was attacked from behind by Flip Gordon. (Punishment for having the nerve to invite Gordon to join Lifeblood.) Gordon attacked Williams’ arm with multiple shots from a kendo stick before security intervened. Gordon fled. Williams insisted he was still able to compete but referee Todd Sinclair wouldn’t allow it.
-Dalton Castle made his entrance for a No DQ match. He wore a matador hat to mock his opponent, The White Bull. He also had two boys (not The Boys™) with him. They wore cow masks and, using his riding crop as a would-be sword, they enacted a short skit in the ring wherein both cows were slain by Castle. Rush was unimpressed.
(5) “EL TORO BLANCO” RUSH vs. DALTON CASTLE – NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH
They fought to ringside immediately. Castle looked to head backstage at 3:30 but Rush caught him and they spilled into the crowd and onto the stage. Castle choked Rush with a TV cable temporarily but otherwise was on the defensive for the first third of the match. A shot to Rush with his riding crop turned the tide at 6:30. Chairs were thrown and Castle mocked Rush with a sleep version of his tranquilo pose. At ringside Castle picked up Rush and hurled him over the guardrail into a crossbody on a group of fans. (Either they were Future Of Honor plants or some real fans have quite the memorable story to tell later on.) Castle paused for a selfie with a fan before delivering more chair shots to Rush. After exactly the same amount of time on defense Rush mounted his comeback at 13:00.
Rush powerbombed Castle onto the timekeeper’s table but the table didn’t break. (Painful déjà vu of the same thing happening between PCO and Vinny Marseglia in Toronto in May.) Another chair thrown at Castle’s head. Rush began tossing plastic trash bins, chairs, and a toolbox into the ring. Castle hit Rush in the head thrice with the garbage bin but Rush no-sold the shots. A German suplex to Castle sent the bin flying out of the ring and The Bull’s Horns put him away.
WINNER: Rush in 15:22.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I didn’t really expect Rush’s undefeated streak to end here but I was a little surprised to see it come so cleanly and decisively. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for the real Boys™ to return and cost their father the match or the fake Boys to get involved and backfire in some way. It puts Rush over in what is almost definitely the end of their feud but where does Castle go from here?)
-Tracy Williams hobbled out to the ring, nursing his bad arm. Despite Gordon’s best efforts he still wanted to fight and still wanted the TV title.
(6) SHANE TAYLOR vs. “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS – ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Unfortunately the bad arm was too much. Williams fought valiantly but the injured arm, along with the size of Taylor, made getting him up for Williams’ piledriver finisher impossible. Greetings From 216 ended things.
WINNER: Shane Taylor in 8:30 to retain the TV title.
-A vignette aired for newest ROH signee “The Prestigious One” Joe Hendry.
-Silas Young joined commentary for the trios tag.
(7) STUKA JR., CARISTICO, & SOBERANO JR. vs. HECHICERO, TEMPLARIO, & BÁRBARO CAVERNARIO
The crowd went from quiet respect while Hechichero’s team made their entrance to standing in unison and losing their minds, all by the 3:30 mark. Caristico hit a tilt-a-whirl armdrag into an armbar and Cavernario tapped out.
WINNERS: Caristico, Stuka, & Soberano in 11:55.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The match was a blast. Just imagine how much hotter the crowd would have been if ROH told us even one single thing about who any of these men are as characters. This was Cavernario’s debut for ROH so I had him pegged to win and I’m actually stunned he took the loss. He has history with Taven and Rush in Mexico and he’s an entrant in the 2019 PWG Battle Of Los Angeles. This seems shortsighted?)
-I’m sorry to report that our world title match was a disaster from the start. Taven being introduced from Boston brought about a deafening “Boston sucks” chant. (Something to do with sports? I genuinely don’t know.) Shelley was greeted with apathy from the crowd.
(8) MATT TAVEN vs. ALEX SHELLEY – ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
One group of obnoxious men in the audience seemed intent on hijacking the match from the start. Taven and Shelley had barely locked up when they were berated with chants of “We want Cena”, “Corbin”, and counting slowly to ten. They then noticed a large man in a tie-dye shirt and overalls who had passed out drunk in the first row at ringside and he became their focal point from then on. Chants of “wake him up” took over. Soon the majority of the arena were paying more attention to the passed out man than the wrestlers. Taven and Shelley tried in their part to get the attention back on them with Shelley even going so far as to slap the man in overalls to a pop from the crowd. The man woke up briefly then went back out. Around the 17-minute mark the man awoke enough to be helped staggering out of the arena by a friend.
Shelley hit sliced bread but Taven kicked out. Taven hit a Climax but Shelley countered the pin into a backslide for a two-count. A second Climax put away the challenger and mercifully ended the match.
WINNER: Matt Taven in 18:03 to retain the world title.
-Shelley left and Taven boasted about adding another name to the list of people he’s retained the title against. This brought out Rush and the two long-time foes had a staredown.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I will in no way defend the types of morons who attend wrestling shows with the intent of making it all about them. They ruin the show for everyone around them and are never as funny or clever as they think they are. And it’s always the same type of dudes. If you’ve ever been to a live wrestling show yourself you can picture them instantly with no adjectives from me. That said, the presentation of this match definitely played its role. I just can’t see the same scene having played out the way it did during the main event ladder match.
Taven’s title reign was kicked off with a series of flimsy victories filled with shenanigans painting him as a weak paper champion. The last time ROH was in our city, three months ago, the night ended with Taven using an ax, a railroad spike, a manager, two henchmen, a table, and a nearsighted referee to steal the win. It got him over as a heel, sure, but as the type of character the fans genuinely loathe. They take pleasure in trying to rattle him and hijack his matches. Meanwhile Alex Shelley returns from “not retirement” after a year away via a clip show video package on weekly TV, is given a world title match without earning it, and only makes one further appearance between then and here. Even diehard ROH fans were given little reason to invest in him or this match or buy the former tag team midcarder as a credible threat to take the belt here. The “fans” were 70% of the problem here but the other 30% falls squarely on ROH’s booking and their refusal, or inability, to give us compelling stories with characters we are invested in and care about.)
(9) THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) – LADDER WAR FOR THE ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
This was carnage as you would expect. Multiple tables and ladders destroyed. Dozens of chair shots. Mark bled from the forehead by 10:30 with Jay wearing a crimson mask shortly thereafter. Jay also wound up with a bad slice vertically down his back which will almost certainly require stitches. A Jay Driller off the apron through a table. Tonga ran from the ringside floor to the top rope, up a ladder laid diagonally, and jumped off the top into a facebuster to Mark who was perched on a ladder in the ring. Mark hit a splash off a giant ladder in the aisle and through a table at ringside. In the end it was the older brothers, Jay and Tonga, squaring off in center ring. They threw hands. They battled on a ladder. But it was Briscoe who was able to knock Tonga off and pull down the straps for Delaware.
WINNERS: The Briscoes in 21:48 to retain the tag titles.
-All four men exchanged the code of honor, symbolically ending their rivalry for good.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It was a great match, which my report obviously can’t do justice. Now imagine how much huger it would have come across if we hadn’t just had a no DQ match on the same show, and a street fight in their last encounter, and a ladder match at G1 Supercard, and a ladder war in December… Who do the Briscoes defend against now? The tag division has been depleted. Gresham & Lethal seemed like candidates prior to their loss tonight. Rush & Dragon Lee have a victory over the Briscoes on July 28 TV but Rush is apparently poised to challenge Taven at Death Before Dishonor so that would put them out of contention. Lifeblood are busy with Villain Enterprises. There are no apparent challengers left, which means we’re either poised for a big surprise or a nonsensical insertion of a team with no real credibility. Place your bets.)
Find Harley on Twitter @yrechoheart and listen to he and Emily Fear talk all things ROH every Wednesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Talking Honor.”