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 UNAUTHORIZED: HANUKKAH COMES EARLY
NOVEMBER 3, 2019
COLUMBUS, OH AT EXPRESS LIVE!
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We opened in the arena with Colt Cabana’s music. Our host strolled out in a blazer over an ROH shirt and slacks. He promised eight crazy matches with him booking the show. The wrestling will be great, but weird. He had a podium on the stage and introduced “The Prestigious One” Joe Hendry as a guest commentator for the opening contest. Cabana said each match needed to be a little zany. Hendry said he would be providing singing commentary.
(1) CMLL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION ÚLTIMO GUERRERO vs. “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM – NON-TITLE MATCH
Hendry sang rhyming verses throughout as a sort of Greek chorus. Riccaboni provided his usual reliable commentary. Guerrero took Gresham around the world with a series of surfboards. They traded chops. Gresham took his wrist tape off and tossed it aside. As the referee threw it out Gresham chopped Guerrero below the belt. The fans booed. Cabana got on the house mic and told the referee Gresham low blowed him. Gresham yelled at Cabana as the referee was befuddled. Guerrero dropkicked Gresham off the apron. “Lucha libre” chant from the crowd. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. They traded pin attempts at 11:00. Guerrero Special for the win.
WINNER: Último Guerrero in 12:04.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Hendry’s ability to continuously come up with rhyming couplets about the action on the fly was pretty impressive, though it was the same melody each time and you could tell even he was starting to get tired of the gimmick as the length of the match went on. The match was good and the live crowd is very into the action so far.)
-Up next it was Delirious and a mini version of Delirious taking on the mysterious masked newcomers Jéfe Cobbo & El Villainisto in a lucha de apuesta. The individual who was pinned or submitted would be forced to unmask.
(2) EL VILLAINISTO & JÉFE COBBO vs. DELIRIOUS & MINI DELIRIOUS – MASK VS. MASK
Mini Delirious had a similar size and physique to Hornswoggle, but I don’t want to profile. Cobbo wore similar gear to Jeff Cobb with a mask not a far cry from Lucha Underground‘s Matanza Cueto. El Villainisto carried an umbrella for some reason. Riccaboni pointed out that he was wearing Matt Classic’s mask.
The bell rang, waking Delirious. He ran laps around the ring in a frenzy until Mini Delirious rang the bell again to calm him down. Cobbo and Mini Delirious had a hoss showdown. Villainisto took a cheap shot from behind. The Deliriouses went under the ring at 7:30. Their opponents went looking for them and were nearly counted out. When they returned they were both wearing Delirious masks too and all four argued in gibberish. Delirious polled the crowd on who was his partner because he couldn’t tell them apart. The crowd said it was Villainisto, who cracked his fingers. He did the same to Mini. Cobbo consoled them. Villainisto pulled off his Delirious mask to reveal his original mask. The Deliriouses bit their opponents. Mini tried to unmask Villainisto. He escaped and called for a chicken-wing but Mini hit him with a German suplex. A second to Cobbo. Superkick from Villainisto to Mini but he kicked out at two. Villainisto held Mini for a clothesline from Cobbo but Cobbo’s arm went right over him and took out his partner by mistake. Hot tag to Delirious. Cobbo prevented a Doomsday Device on el villainisto. Standing moonsault from Cobbo to Mini for the pin.
WINNERS: Cobbo & Villainisto in 13:29.
-Mini Delirious was forced to unmask. Coleman joked it was AJ Styles. No, it was… Swoggle!
(Pageot’s Perspective: The identities of Cobbo and El Villainisto will remain a mystery. Lots of fun in this one. A bit longer than you would have expected but when the promotion’s head booker is one of the wrestlers it’s bound to happen. Marty Scurll’s ROH contract supposedly runs out at the end of this month and ROH has no more events scheduled for November. If this ends up being his final ROH appearance that is hilarious on so many levels. I can’t imagine it can end like this, though. Maybe they ponied up a small fortune to get him to stick around for one more at Final Battle?)
-Rhett Titus joined commentary for a hamburger-themed six-man tag.
(3) CHEESEBURGER & THE BOUNCERS (Beer City Bruiser & Brawler Milonas) vs. DALTON CASTLE, FLIP GORDON, & KENNY KING (w/Amy Rose)
Bruiser was dubbed as Double Cheeseburger and Milonas as Triple Cheeseburger. Their opponents were chosen because Dalton Castle = White Castle, Kenny King = Burger King, and Flip Gordon = you flip a burger.
Castle and Bruiser started. Bruiser gummed everyone early. Milonas collapsed onto Castle at one point, flattening him. Everyone else tried to lift him off but failed until Bruiser hulked up like Popeye with the aid of a can of beer. Gordon got squashed between The Bouncers. The heels triple-teamed Burger behind the referee’s back. Hot tag to Milonas. Burger set up Gordon in piledriver position and The Bouncers flipped the burger… into a Canadian Destroyer! Gordon grabbed the bottom rope to break the three count. The teams fought onto the stage at 15:30. Gordon teased a flip off the stage (the same way he injured himself last year) but gave the fans double fingers instead and left. Bruiser hit a crossbody off the stage onto everyone else. Shotei from Burger to Castle in the ring. King rolled up Burger from behind.
WINNERS: King, Castle, & Gordon in 16:55.
-King stole The Bouncers’ cool and looked to take off with the booze. Titus cut him off and grabbed the cooler. King and Rose ran away and Titus joined Castle and the babyface trio for the toast of honor. There were burgers in the cooler as well! They shared a burger toast and a drink.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Another one far longer than it probably should have been but mostly fun with lots of colorful personalities. I’ve said it all year long but the talent in ROH is 0% of the problems facing ROH right now. Great wrestlers, strong personalities (when given the platform to show them), and lots of diversity. It’s entirely the booking and structuring of weekly TV/Honor Club events that undercuts everything and makes it all feel so ephemeral.)
(4) THE ALLURE (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon) vs. SUMIE SAKAI & JENNY ROSE – NO DISQUALIFICATION
The babyfaces met The Allure in the aisle and went to work. Leon choked Rose with a chain early on. Sakai brought out a Daryl plush cat in support of the return of Hiromu Takahashi to NJPW last night! Daryl took out Leon and Love. Sakai bowed to him. Rose suplexed Leon on the stage. Sakai went for a top rope moonsault onto Love on a steel chair but Love moved and Sakai crashed onto the chair. Rose speared Leon on the stage. Sakai and Love fought over the chair. Sakai let go and the chair hit Love in the gut. Botox Injection to Daryl and Sakai.
WINNERS: The Allure in 5:42.
-Love took a mic. Maria Manic’s music hit. She entered the ring and stared down Love. “At Final Battle you’re dead, bitch.”
(Pageot’s Perspective: Watch ROH strip Kelly Klein of the Women Of Honor World Championship for siding with Joey Mercury and calling out their lack of proper medical support and make that match for the vacant WOH title. This one was starting to get good and then it was over. Hey, for how little these women get paid ($24,000 per year each apparently) who can blame them for not wanting to be out there longer than six minutes?)
(5) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION MARK BRISCOE vs. JOSH “THE GOODS” WOODS – SHOTS FIRED
Jay Briscoe and Silas Young were on commentary over the house mics in place of Riccaboni and Coleman. They had shots of alcohol ready for them. Every time Woods kicked out of a pin attempt Young would have to take a shot and the same went for the Briscoe brothers.
Woods slammed Mark into the guardrail at 4:30. Their partners took shots periodically throughout the match off pin attempts but they were barely talking as is so it’s not like it affected their speech in any notable way. Young got in the ref’s face at 7:30 for a two-count. Jay got in Young’s face. Mark and Woods held them back. Young and Jay pretended to be drunk, stumbling and falling out of the ring. Froggy-bow from Mark for the win.
WINNER: Mark Briscoe in 8:22.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Fun idea, terrible execution. Young and Briscoe had to pour their own drinks and keep track of the near-falls themselves. They should have had a table full of shots in front of them with the time-keeper pointing to the respective man every time he was supposed to drink. The way this played out made the action in the ring very stilted. Also Young and Jay weren’t even really doing commentary. It was more just the two of them shouting the same things they normally would if they were at ringside, only over the mic instead. Then the two men pretending to be falling down drunk when they were clearly sober was.. embarrassing.)
-Our next match would apparently be the tag match that Riccaboni said last night would be our main event tonight. (Does this mean PCO vs. Dan Maff is headlining? No indication yet on what the new match #8 is either after Brody King and Jay Lethal’s injuries resulted in a shake-up and Shane Taylor’s tag match being pulled from the card.)
(6) ROH WORLD CHAMPION RUSH & DRAGON LEE vs. LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) – LUCHA RULES
The Bull’s Horns from Rush to Williams for the win.
WINNERS: Rush & Lee in 15:53.
-Cabana joined ring announcer Bobby Cruise in the ring. He led a mini interview with Cruise before being interrupted by Shane Taylor’s music. Soldiers Of Savagery were part of his entourage. Taylor complained about the card being changed in his home state. Taylor said Cabana’s kind of a fighter and suggested they have a match. Cabana pointed out that Taylor had his crew and suggested they make it four on four. Cabana was so cocky about beating Taylor that he felt he could team with anyone and still win.
Cabana’s first partner was ROH senior cameraman Gator. He called down Riccaboni to team with them. The fourth man was producer Gary Juster. Gator and Juster had their own tron videos and Juster even got pyro. Taylor’s fourth man was the CEO of Shane Taylor Promotions, Ron Hunt.
Bobby Cruise did full introductions for the match, then “Number One” Brian Johnson’s music hit. He complained about no one doing anything for him. He insulted the local crowd and said he didn’t care which team he was on. Cabana said Johnson could team with Taylor and he’d take referee Todd Sinclair to make it a ten-man tag.
Joe Dibraskie (sp?) came out to join Coleman on commentary. A second referee replaced Sinclair as the official.
(7) ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION SHANE TAYLOR, “NUMBER ONE” BRIAN JOHNSON, RON HUNT, & SOLDIERS OF SAVAGERY (Moses & Kaun) vs. COLT “BOOM BOOM” CABANA, TODD SINCLAIR, GARY JUSTER, IAN RICCABONI, & GATOR
Johnson insisted on starting against Cabana. Taylor and crew took off. With Johnson left all alone Sinclair asked for the tag. Collar and elbow tie-up. Johnson with a side headlock. Sinclair backed him into the ropes. Cabana took a cheap shot to free him. Johnson came off the ropes and Sinclair leapfrogged him to a huge pop. Cabana tagged back in and took hold of Johnson. Juster delivered a chop. Riccaboni made the tag and hit a top rope elbow drop. He tagged right back out. Cabana covered for the win.
WINNERS: Team Cabana in 4:26.
(Pageot’s Perspective: They took a long time getting there and I thought this was dead in the water as we slowly assembled the teams. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the crowd loved the actual match, though. Sinclair’s leapfrog and Riccaboni’s elbow got huge reactions and it was hard not to smile at the nonsense.)
-Brian Zane joined Riccaboni and Coleman on commentary for the main event.
(8) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPION PCO vs. DAN MAFF – UNSANCTIONED MATCH
Suicide dive from Maff 47 seconds into the match. PCO no-sold it. The commentators played up the men being mirror images of each other. They went under the ring and found some cinder blocks. Burning hammer from Maff at ringside. PCO speared Maff through a table. PCO took a while bringing another table into the ring. Maff played possum and speared PCO through a table. Death valley driver through a second table. PCO kicked out. Standing Canadian Destroyer to Maff onto a pile of chairs. PCO looked for his cannonball off the top rope to Maff on the apron but Maff moved like usual and PCO crashed like usual. Maff stacked the cinder blocks in the ring. PCO returned. Maff got a bag of thumbtacks and dumped them. PCO took off his jacket in preparation. Maff chokeslammed onto the tacks. PCO backdropped onto them. Maff filled PCO’s mouth with thumbtacks and superkicked him. Maff tried to bite out of a chokeslam. PCO grabbed him by the crotch and threw him off the top rope and onto the cinder blocks. Maff kicked out. PCOsault attempted but Maff crotched him on the top rope. Running burning hammer to PCO onto the cinder blocks. PCO kicked out. Yes, of a burning hammer onto a pile of cinder blocks. Steel chair shot to the back of PCO. Two more. Two cinder block shots from PCO to Maff. Chokeslam. PCOsault.
WINNER: PCO in 17:52.
-Marty Scurll hit the ring. He put over PCO’s career and the story that PCO could finally become a world champion at Final Battle for the first time in his 30 year-career. Scurll said nobody deserves it more because he’s not human.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I don’t care if it’s PCO, Rush, or Bray Wyatt in a mask. The gimmick of “dude who no-sells everything” does nothing for me. It just erases all internal logic from the matches and always comes across as completely arbitrary as to which moves actually hurt them. A burning hammer onto cinder blocks doesn’t affect him but a spear through a table does? There’s zero consistency.
There are no more events between now and Final Battle on December 13, what is usually ROH’s biggest show of the year. Yes, there are five weeks of television but nothing significant ever happens on TV anymore. So far the only official matches are Rush vs. PCO for the world title, The Briscoes vs. Lethal & Gresham for the tag titles, and Manic vs. Love. Let’s also go with Matt Taven vs. Vincent Marseglia in some variation of a street fight, Shane Taylor vs. Dragon Lee for the TV title, Villain Enterprises vs. Lifeblood, Dalton Castle vs. Joe Hendry, Kenny King vs. Rhett Titus, and The Bouncers vs. Young Woods. What about Jeff Cobb? That’s a question I’ve been asking all year.)
Find Harley on Twitter @yrechoheart and listen to he and Emily Fear talk the week in women’s wrestling every Tuesday on the PWTorch Dailycast “Grit & Glitter.”