In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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ROH FINAL BATTLE: FALLOUT
DECEMBER 15, 2019
PHILADELPHIA, PA AT 2300 ARENA
AIRED ON ROH HONOR CLUB
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
No ROH open, just straight into Marty Scurll’s music. Scurll walked out on stage with Brody King and Flip Gordon, each wearing Villain baseball jersies. Scurll and King had their six-man title belts and Scurll had his umbrella. After a delay ROH World Champion PCO lumbered out, also carrying his six-man title. His creator Destro was also in tow.
In the ring Scurll said that it’s an exciting time for Villain Enterprises and stock is going through the roof. He promised to address the elephant in the room… his sick new sneakers. He turned the attention toward PCO winning the world title. “You deserve it” chant from the crowd. He gave the mic to PCO, who said he’s feeling damn, damn good. It took him two lifetimes to become world champion but he finally did thanks to Destro. He thanked the fans.
A pre-taped video from Rush interrupted on the tron. Rush said PCO has an army but he has an army of his own. They’re called Los Ingobernables. Kenny King walked into the shot with Amy Rose and accepted a Los Ingobernables baseball jersey from Rush. Rush’s brother, ROH World Television Champion Dragon Lee, also walked into the shot. All four of them held out their fists.
PCO said he’s worked too long to give the title back to Rush.
(Pageot’s Perspective: The build begins toward a huge eight-person softball game at the 18th Anniversary Show in March. Okay, but actually, way back in March on our podcast Talking Honor (R.I.P.) I proposed a Los Ingobernables de América faction with Rush, Kenny King, Dalton Castle, and PJ Black. It took nine months but we’re halfway there. King obviously benefits the most out of anyone by this move but I like the idea of having an actual heel faction that acts and is treated like heels. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody turns in the near future to become a fourth man for the team too. PCO speaking for the first time in ROH is necessary since he’s now the champ.)
-Riccaboni and Coleman ran down tonight’s card. As reported last night Colt Cabana is officially finished with ROH again.
-Chikara star Hallowicked was out for the first match of the night.
(1) “OVERKILL” MARK HASKINS (w/ Vicky Haskins) vs. HALLOWICKED
Haskins didn’t sell any injuries or after effects from his street fight with Bully Ray two nights earlier. Dueling chants for both men at 10:00. Haskins with the soldier shoulder roll. Top rope double-stomp.
WINNER: Mark Haskins in 10:52.
(Pageot’s Perspective: It definitely feels like Lifeblood is finished. Vicky might just be in town for the weekend but I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes a permanent part of his act going forward as a singles star. Tracy Williams is rumored to be done with ROH after tonight and Bandido will focus on MexaBlood, teaming with Flamita in the tag division. I’m skeptical about Haskins’ long-term future as a singles wrestler in this ROH as he went 6-8 in singles action this year but he’ll probably get to challenge for the TV title at least.)
-A video package played on Flamita doing flippy things.
-Riccaboni framed our next match, the token women’s match of the night, as the longest-reigning Women Of Honor champion vs. the longest-reigning Shimmer champion.
(2) SUMIE SAKAI vs. NICOLE SAVOY
Both women played into their MMA experience early on. Sakai wanted a takedown. Savoy with a heel lock. Side headlock takedown. Takedown from Sakai. She mounted Savoy but Savoy flipped her over and went for the cross armbreaker. Sakai blocked. Both women went for anklelocks. Savoy asked for a test of strength but Sakai stomped on her foot. Sakai looked to switch it back to a wrestling match but Savoy locked in a bodyscissors. Rope break. Sakai with a crossbody off the apron. She sat Savoy in a chair at ringside and dropkicked her into the guardrail. Missile dropkick in the ring for the first two-count at 5:10. Sakai wanted a brainbuster but Savoy suplexed her onto the top rope. Dropkick. Armbar. Ground abdominal stretch. Rope break. Swinging neckbreaker from Sakai but she was too tired to make the cover. They traded strikes. Headbutt from Savoy. Double-stomp from Sakai. Hurricanrana for two. Exploder suplex from Savoy. TKO but Sakai kicked out. They battled on the top rope. Sakai with a front facelock but she had to break since they were in the ropes. Savoy avoided a top rope moonsault. Sakai kicked out and into a stretch from Savoy. Rope break. German suplex from Sakai. German from Savoy. Smash Mouth blocked by Savoy. High knee. Bridging dragon suplex for the win.
WINNER: Nicole Savoy in 11:49.
-The commentators implied that this might not be the last they’ve seen of Savoy in ROH. Code of honor exchanged.
The Allure (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon) ran out and jumped them both to a flat reaction. They tossed the faces from the ring. Love addressed Maria Manic and said she failed to kill her. She dared her to come out right now and do it again, “you ugly bitch.” Manic hit the ring. They both jumped her but she hit a double clothesline. Splashes in the corner on both. A hiptoss disposed of Leon. She asked for a mic. She said ugly is what Love would look like after she put her through a table. She told security to get her a table and they did for some reason. Body slam to Love. Manic set up the table. She set up Love for a powerbomb but Bully Ray ran out and chokeslammed Manic through the table. “E-C-dub” chant from the crowd.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Good match between two experienced stars, both accomplished in a mix of styles. Savoy faced Allysin Kay in a great match at Bloodsport earlier this year and Sakai wrestled in a dark match on that card. This was also in the top three for longest women’s matches in ROH this year. One year ago I would have been ecstatic about the possibility of Savoy signing with ROH. Now I’m praying that she runs in the other direction. The post-match tells you all you need to know about the future of Women Of Honor.
Good wrestling between talented women’s wrestlers? Nahhhh. Bully Ray attacking women? Great stuff! First it was Tenille Dashwood, then Vicky Haskins, now Manic. Apparently Ray wants to be the male ROH version of Tessa Blanchard. I assume this is leading to him and Manic in a street fight at 18th Anniversary but I don’t believe for a second that this is ROH beginning to bring intergender wrestling into the company in a legitimate way. Rather I suspect Manic will be presented in a Chyna-like manner where she’s the sole woman “big and tough enough” to hang with the men while Sakai and Jenny Rose continue to wrestle once every six weeks against random opponents.)
(3) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION “THE OCTOPUS” JONATHAN GRESHAM (w/ Jay Lethal) vs. ALEX SHELLEY
Shelley out-wrestled Gresham to start but Lethal denied it, telling Gresham how great he is. After a bunch of hooks and reversals Gresham caught Shelley with a small package for the clean win.
WINNER: Jonathan Gresham in 11:16.
-Code of honor exchanged.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Solid match, exactly what you’d expect. Gresham wins clean, establishing his skill, but he and Lethal were still cocky and vocal so as to not take away from the fact that they are heels. So often there’s this feeling that the only way a wrestler can get heel heat is if they cheat but doesn’t it make us want to see them get their comeuppance even more if they win clean and continue to act like a prick? Oh, by the way, where’s “Constellation” Chris Sabin these days? Lethal & Gresham vs. Motor City Machine Guns at the anniversary show would make a lot of sense if it’s a possibility.)
-What appeared to be a watch commercial was actually a vignette for an Australian wrestler called Slex. His catchphrase is “business is boomin’.” Riccaboni claimed he’s the biggest star in Australia and one of the biggest stars in the world.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Good on you if you’re familiar with him because I have literally never read that name once in my life.)
-Another new signee, Bateman, was out next. He had a red V written on the bandage on his right hand like he did at Final Battle after helping Vincent lay out Matt Taven.
(4) “HOT SAUCE” TRACY WILLIAMS vs. BATEMAN
As Williams started to get on a roll the red balloons floated into the camera shot. He let go of Bateman to look around for Vincent. Instead a woman with red and black hair in a red pleather coat and boats jumped onto the apron and hung upside down from the ropes. Williams shrugged it off and looked for a piledriver. ROH referees are of course significantly incompetent so the ref chose to turn his back on the active wrestlers to talk to her instead. In the process a juggalo jumped into the ring from the other side and grabbed Williams. Williams dumped him. Bateman with a forearm. Tombstone. Despite the outside interference the ref counted the pin anyway.
WINNER: Bateman in 13:26.
-The Cirque du Soleil duo danced/twitched at ringside before joining Bateman in the ring. Vincent made his entrance. He did his serial killer shtick, claiming he was responsible for Matt Taven’s success. He said “man” a lot, man. Picture this. Do you dig what he’s saying, man? Do you feel it?
(Pageot’s Perspective: Less Fiend and more Charles Manson this time. No clue who the two new people are. They’re somewhere between circus folk and carnival folk. The continued increase of stables in ROH continues. As I said earlier Tracy Williams is rumored to be fired at the end of this month alongside TK O’Ryan, Shane Taylor, Rhett Titus, and The Tate Twins. I know he has a home in Beyond Wrestling and there’s always a chance AEW could pick him up as well so I’m not too worried for him.)
-Riccaboni confirmed Nicole Savoy will be back for their next event on January 11. (Sigh.) PCO will also defend his world title in a rematch against Rush.
(5) THE BRISCOES (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. 2 GUYS, 1 TAG (Silas Young & Josh Woods) – #1 CONTENDERSHIP FOR THE ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Rock paper scissors decided that Woods would start against Mark. In the end The Briscoes set up Woods for a Doomsday Device. Lethal ran out to distract the ref while Gresham shoved Mark off the top rope to the floor. Woods with a roll-through German suplex and a pin on Jay.
WINNERS: 2 Guys, 1 Tag in 15:02.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Woods-Young are now 7-0 as a team. The commentators stressed that Woods couldn’t see Gresham’s interference and didn’t know how he benefited. I like it. It’s fuel on the fire of a title rematch against the Briscoes but means we get to see a different match-up first to keep things interesting. Also Young-Woods losing their first match as a team to the champions, with the titles on the line, doesn’t hurt them at all and is the perfect way to take your first loss as a team.)
-Up next was Mexican star Rey Horus, who wrestled as Dragon Azteca Jr. on Lucha Underground. His opponent was Gordon, who still refuses to do any flips or high-flying offense since turning heel.
(6) “THE MERCENARY” FLIP GORDON vs. REY HORUS
Wheelbarrow German suplex to Horus at ringside two minutes in. Gordon went after Horus’ mask. Horus with a corkscrew springboard into an armdrag. Gordon sent to the floor and Horus ran and leapt over the ring post to take him out. Falcon arrow from Gordon. They traded slaps at 8:00. Knee from Gordon. Suicide dive. Pele kick. Flip-5. STF and Horus tapped.
WINNER: Flip Gordon in 11:54.
(Pageot’s Perspective: I haven’t seen any of Horus’ work since Lucha Underground ended so this was a nice little present for me. If Villain Enterprises are going to feud with Los Ingobernables then Gordon vs. Dragon Lee for the TV title seems like a logical destination.)
(7) ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (ROH World Champion PCO & Marty Scurll w/Destro) vs. JEFF COBB & DAN MAFF
PCO with a cannonball to Cobb. Maff with a pounce to Scurll. Maff looked for a suicide dive but PCO moved and Maff took out Cobb as well. PCO wanted his cannonball onto the apron but Maff moved and PCO crashed off the edge of the apron like usual. Scurll called for a chicken-wing on Maff but Maff punched him out instead. Burning hammer from Maff countered into an inside cradle by Scurll.
WINNERS: Villain Enterprises in 16:26.
-Riccaboni said that he feels Villain Enterprises will continue to be the big story in 2020.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Scurll continues to hold one of the six-man titles. There has been some speculation that he has re-signed, or will re-sign, with ROH. It would have to be the most baffling of moves possible if true. I find it very hard to believe that ROH would offer him more money than AEW or NXT and he has ceilinged out in terms of potential here. Sticking around just to wrestle more throwaway tag matches, even if the long-term plan was for him to take the world title from PCO, would be a terrible career move.
The biggest names missing from tonight’s broadcast were Matt Taven and Dalton Castle. ROH likely taped three or four exclusive-to-TV matches that we didn’t see here but those are usually just enhancement work not furthering any real stories. Taven is taking a powder before returning to confront Vincent, I’m sure. It’s not clear where Castle and Joe Hendry go at this point. There also remains no indication how they intend to get the Women Of Honor title off of Kelly Klein. Sakai was referred to as a former WOH champion multiple times tonight so there’s no sign they intend to just erase the title and hope we forget there ever was one. Alas she has too much class to show up on AEW Dynamite and drop the belt in the trash, as much as so many people would love that.
This concludes my final ROH report for the PWTorch. I started covering weekly TV two years ago on November 26, 2017. Lots of highs and lows for ROH in that period and the second half of 2019 was the lowest of them all, enough to drive me away completely as a viewer. I continue to hope the best for all the talent in the locker room, though. If you read any of my reports and thought they were at all entertaining or helpful or interesting to you, then thank you so much. It truly means a lot. I will be continuing to provide written reports covering World Wonder Ring Stardom for the Torch as well as hosting the Tuesday Dailycast “Grit & Glitter.” With ROH off my docket I also look forward to finding a different promotion to dedicate that free time to. I have a couple in mind. Check back with me in 2020. In the meantime you can always find me on Twitter @yrechoheart)