SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV REPORT (ep.443)
MARCH 13, 2020
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY RYAN SULLIVAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Host: Quinn McKay
-The opening theme aired.
-The show opens with a video package of highlights from the match between The Briscoes and Jonathan Gresham & Jay Lethal from Final Battle. Gresham and Lethal secured the pin and became the new tag-team champions.
-Quinn McKay is again the solo host this week. She mentions the main event for this week, Dan Maff and Jeff Cobb taking on Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal in a Proving Ground match from Free Enterprise. Then, she threw to the ring for our opening contest.
(1) 20-MAN OVER-THE-TOP-ROPE BATTLE ROYAL
Several wrestlers are already at ringside, but the action starts with The Bouncers full ring entrance. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman are on commentary. They were followed with full entrances by The Blue Meanie, who got a solid pop, Maria Manic, and Kenny King, without Amy Rose. Next, Dragon Lee comes out – Ian mentions he thought he was in Japan, and King looks confused that his La Faccion Ingobernable brother is there without his knowledge. Next, Gangrel spits blood into Kenny’s eyes and enters the ring. This causes the bell to sound, the match begins, and we quickly go to commercial. [c]
Back “live”, there is complete chaos inside the ring. Here is how the eliminations went, in order, along with the person who eliminated them: Gangrel by Dak Draper, LSG by Dak Draper, Crowbar and Eli Isom (simultaneously) by Dak Draper, Dak Draper by Cheeseburger, Blue Meanie by Brian Johnson, P.J. Black by Brian Johnson and Brian Johnson by Maria Manic, before going to another commercial. [c]
As we return to the ring, The Bouncers were both simultaneously eliminated by Maria Manic in impressive fashion, to a huge pop from the crowd. Then Maria Manic was eliminated by Silas Young with help from Bully Ray, Delirious by Danhausen, Danhausen by Silas Young and Cheeseburger by Silas Young.
This left us with a final four in the ring of Josh Woods, Silas Young, Dragon Lee and Tracy Williams. Williams was first eliminated by Woods and Young. Silas Young was then eliminated by Josh Woods when an errant kick knocked him off the ring apron. Woods was quickly eliminated from behind by Dragon Lee. Then, Kenny King snuck back into the ring and threw Lee over the top rope. However, Lee held on to the top rope, “skinned the cat” and unmasked to reveal he was truly Flip Gordon in disguise. King charged towards Flip, missed him, and flew over the top rope to the floor, giving Gordon the victory.
WINNER: Flip Gordon (f/k/a “Dragon Lee”) at 20:28.
(Ryan’s Reaction: This was a great battle royal; probably the best I can recall in many years. The booking was good. It should give some much-needed steam to the stale Flip Gordon “Mercenary” persona. In addition, Maria Manic looked strong and has future feuds with both Bully Ray and Silas Young. And finally, they hinted at possible future tension between P.J. Black and Brian Johnson, along with Josh Woods and Silas Young. Bravo ROH!)
-The crowd took a second to process what had happened, before popping huge for Flip’s win to secure a future title opportunity. [c]
-Back from commercial, Quinn McKay is backstage with an interview with Flip Gordon. Flip was celebrating his win and quite impressed with his shenanigans in victory. Flip then talked about winning the world title in Lakeland, before storming off. Quinn said “He sounds confident” as the segment ended.
-We abruptly go to the ring at Free Enterprise.
(2) SESSION MOTH MARTINA vs. SUMIE SAKAI
Martina starts the match by selling her gimmick of being a 24-hour drunken mess. Sumie has control of most of the offense, before Martina reaches her beer to “fuel up”. Her beer imbibing allowed her to go on the offensive.
The finish occurs when Sakai hits Martina with a chair. The company does a drastic and quick cut to Martina hitting Sakai with a head butt (yes, you read that correctly) and her “Jager Bomb” finisher for the win. [c]
WINNER: Session Moth Martina at 4:12
(Ryan’s Reaction: I do not want to do ANYTHING to discourage ROH from showing more Women of Honor matches on television, but the harsh edits really hurt this presentation. The match was pretty good live, and I wish the company had chosen to show the entirety of the contest. At four plus minutes, they showed too much action to be described as highlights, but not enough to suitably tell the story these women were sharing in the ring.)
-Returning to the show, Quinn McKay is shown chasing down Sumie Sakai after her match with Session Moth Martina. Quinn starts to ask a question, before Sakai grabs her by the throat, tells her to “shut up” in her native language, and hastily walked off. Quinn looks rather shaken up as the segment ends.
-They quickly go to the ring for tonight’s main event.
(3) DAN MAFF & JEFF COBB vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM & JAY LETHAL
Maff is introduced first, with Cobb soon joining him as they walked to the ring together. Maff and Cobb received a tremendous pop from the Baltimore crowd. Gresham and Lethal are introduced together, and they take plenty of time getting to, and entering, the ring. For heels, Gresham and Lethal get a surprisingly good crowd pop.
Gresham and Lethal disrespectfully slap the hands of Cobb and Maff for the Code of Honor, the bell rings, and we are underway. Cobb and Gresham begin the match, flashing some masterful mat wrestling. Gresham utilizes his speed, before Cobb finally grabs ahold of him, and tosses him across the ring like a sack of mulch. (c)
Back “live,” Maff and Lethal are now in the ring, exchanging heavy chops and punches. Maff hits a devastating pounce on Lethal about five minutes in, knocking Jay to the outside. Maff looks like an absolute monster. Cobb and Maff are dominating the offense, before Gresham distracts Cobb, and Lethal and Gresham take over on offense. Lethal and Gresham are working well as a team, and are focusing their attack on Cobb’s left knee.
Maff gets the tag from Cobb about six minutes in, but the referee Todd Sinclair did not see it, forcing Maff back to his corner. Cobb hits a nasty overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Gresham, allowing Jeff to tag in Maff. Maff quickly clears the ring. The tide turns and Lethal puts a figure-four leg-lock on Cobb, who is writhing in pain from the earlier damage to his knee. Gresham jumps on Maff’s back outside the ring, yet Maff carries Gresham on his back, into the ring, and Maff hits a Burning Hammer on Gresham, onto Lethal, to break up the submission attempt. Maff is awesome!
The finish happens when Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection, and Maff counters it into a Burner Hammer for the 1-2-3 on Lethal.
WINNERS: Jeff Cobb and Dan Maff at 11:04
(Ryan’s Reaction: This match was terrific, and frankly, better on television than I remember it live in the arena. The action was fast-paced, and all four men worked hard. In addition, the other three combatants went out of their way to make Maff look like an absolute beast. With booking and performances like this, expect Maff to get a major push this year.)
-Cobb and Maff celebrate their victory in the middle of the ring, as the show fades to black.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a strong effort from Ring of Honor. The battle royal was one of the better performed, and booked, matches of its kind I can remember in a long time, with plenty of action and creative spots throughout. The main event was top-notch, and the promos sprinkled in helped further other storylines. I am disappointed in the presentation of the women’s match, but the actual work by both Martina and Sakai was good, and hopefully points to more women’s contests in 2020.
In conclusion, Episode #433 shall forever be known as, The Beginning of the Dan Maff Era!