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ROH TV REPORT (ep.449)
APRIL 24, 2020
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY RYAN SULLIVAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Host: No Host This Week
-The opening theme aired.
-The show starts with footage of Flip Gordon’s hometown, and we quickly see a sign that says no dogs allowed off-leash. Flip notes the sign, but says his dog Mante is special.
-Gordon is now inside his home, and talks about his childhood in Montana. He is the son of a single mother, who had four children with four different fathers. Flip discussed his difficult childhood, including spending time in mental hospitals and attending an alternative school. A few years later, he was introduced to professional wrestling, and it completely changed his life. He now wanted to avoid trouble, so he could achieve his future goal.
-Next, Flip talked about being an amateur wrestler in high school, and eventually, graduating to doing some MMA fights. He went to college and soon became the mascot. Flip said he spent a lot of time with the cheerleaders, who taught him how to tumble and control his body. He said he would not be a professional wrestler today without learning these lessons in college.
-Then, Flip is in his living room and talking about having two separate planners, one for the day and one for the month. He likes having a schedule due to his time in the military. Eventually, his life in the military grew stale, so he uprooted his life to Boston, Massachusetts, and began training to be a wrestler. Flip talked about getting goosebumps the first time he stepped into a ring, and how he felt at home right from the start. [c]
(Ryan’s Reaction: This was terrific, and it could have been several minutes longer than it was. Also, with his difficult upbringing and impressive story, how can ROH push him as a heel? Flip is the most natural babyface on the roster, and should be working as one.)
(1) MATT SYDAL vs. FLIP GORDON
This was Flip’s first Ring of Honor match on television. We begin in the ring, and both men adhering to the Code of Honor. The match began rather slowly, with Sydal using his experience advantage to go on the offensive, but Flip consistently used his incredible athleticism to escape Sydal. Gordon’s flips (pun intended) quickly gained favor with the crowd, and fans begin chanting for Flip.
Sydal hit a devastating standing back kick to Gordon’s head, and followed it with a standing moonsault for a near fall. Not a minute later, Flip delivered a springboard top-rope sidekick on Sydal, leading to a long two-count. Soon thereafter, the finish occurred when Sydal delivered a crescent kick, into a top-rope shooting star press for the 1-2-3.
WINNER: Matt Sydal at 5:47 [c]
(Ryan’s Reaction: This match was about as good as two men can have in less than six minutes. It told a quality story of the wily veteran against the talented rookie, and experience trumping raw ability.)
-Back from commercial, Bully Ray is in the ring with a microphone in his hand, taunting Flip Gordon before their “I Quit” match at Final Battle.
(2) BULLY RAY vs. FLIP GORDON – “I QUIT” MATCH
Flip makes his ring gear walking through the balcony at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Gordon is carrying a “Kendo stick” American flag (not as tacky as described) and wearing full tactical gear. Flip starts off on fire, punishing Bully with punches and kicks. The men soon go outside, and Flip hits Bully with the old “RVD chair throw into a spinning back kick” move. The crowd cheers “RVD, RVD”! Flip gets distracted by the crowd and his adrenaline, allowing Bully Ray to go on offense, punishing Flip with a trash can. [c]
Conveniently, Flip Gordon’s girlfriend is sitting ringside, and the commentators draw attention to her. Seconds later, Bully lifts Flip’s girlfriend from her seat and brings her over the barricade. Bully teases to powerbomb her through a table. But, while Flip begs Bully for mercy, company ambassador Cary Silkin hits Bully Ray with a “Kendo stick” from behind. Bully no-sells the shot from Cary, and turns his attention toward Cary. This allows Flip’s girlfriend to deliver a nasty “low blow” on Bully, and both her and Cary scurried to safety.
The match moved back inside the ring, and soon, Silas Young runs to ringside to interfere. Silas delivers “Misery” to Flip. This gives Silas time to get lighter fluid and drench a table in the ring with it. Cheeseburger runs to the ring to even the odds, but Silas overwhelms him, delivers “Misery” to Cheeseburger, knocking ‘Burger unconscious outside the ring.
This is too much for Colt Cabana, who is on commentary with Ian Riccaboni. Colt leaves the commentary table and runs to the ring with a steel chair. Cabana hits Silas with a stiff chair shot, then repeatedly hits Bully with the chair. Silas recovers and delivers a “low blow” to Colt, and swiftly throws him out of the ring. Silas then teases lighting the table, covered in lighter fluid, on fire with his Bic lighter. The lights go black, and when they come back on, The Sandman is in the ring, holding his trusty “Kendo stick”. Silas is cracked by a Sandman “Kendo stick” shot, and then a “Kendo stick” standoff occurs mid-ring between Bully and The Sandman.
The finish occurs when The Sandman and Flip gang up on Bully, and Flip begins to punish Bully with shots from the “Kendo stick”. Sandman hands Flip his “Kendo stick”, and Flip began savagely beating Bully with two “Kendo sticks”, forcing him to finally say “I Quit”!
WINNER: Flip Gordon at 11:14. [c]
(Ryan’s Reaction: Even for an “I Quit” match, this had far too many shenanigans for my taste. However, the match firmly got the crowd behind Gordon as a babyface with an edge to him. Again, why did the company turned him heel? Flip should have had a massive babyface run following this match.)
-Back “live”, Flip is talking into a camera, saying that he felt like at that point in his career, post Bully match, he felt like he was not taken seriously because of his age. He felt like he needed to change his image, and the Mercenary character made sense due to his military experience. He said he was ready to fight.
This match occurred night one of the 2019 War of the Worlds tour, in Buffalo, New York. The Code of Honor was adhered to and the crowd was rather evenly split for both competitors. The match started rather methodically, with neither man appearing to want to make the first mistake. Soon, the pace quickened, with each man countering the other with their incredible speed and agility. Also, both did a bit of showboating for the crowd, which was eating up their impressive athletic abilities. [c]
Back from commercial, Flip delivers a middle-rope Star Spangled Cutter, but only earned a two-count. Flip then delivered a top-rope springboard sidekick to Bandido, forcing him to the floor. Flip throws Bandido back into the ring, and the pace slows dramatically, with Gordon delivering mat-based punishment. Bandido soon changes the momentum, dishing out a shining wizard, then a diving plancha onto Gordon outside the ring. [c]
Returning to action, Bandido is flashing his impressive raw power, military pressing Flip. Bandido dropkicked Gordon outside the ring, and went for another plancha onto Flip. This time, however, Flip sidestepped Bandido and threw him into the barricade. This was a nasty bump by Bandido. Both were able to return to the ring before referee Todd Sinclair’s 20-count.
Back in the ring, both men were delivering chops to the other. Next, Bandido hit a top-rope moonsault slam for a long, believable, two-count. The finish occurred soon afterward, when Flip delivered a devastating superkick, into another Star Spangled Cutter for the win.
WINNER: Flip Gordon at 19:46
(Ryan’s Reaction: This match was outstanding, and I must admit, I overlooked it when compiling my “Best of ROH in 2019” awards, as this should have earned consideration for match of the year. I hope ROH gives the fans a rematch sometime in the future.)
-Flip is shown back at his home, packing for (seemingly) yet another road trip for wrestling. Flip talked about living his dream, and how hard he worked to get a spot in Ring of Honor. He said he proves hard work pays off. A video highlight package is then shown of Flip Gordon’s top moves and moments in ROH. Flip says he loves performing in front of the fans and putting a smile on their faces. He says everything has happened so quickly, and he has loved every minute of it.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Besides the Briscoes, this was my favorite feature episode Ring of Honor has produced since this pandemic. Flip has a unique background, and I enjoyed learning more about the struggles he overcame as an adolescent. Both the first and last segments left me wanting to learn more about Flip, and his journey to ROH. I hope the company uses this episode to pivot his persona back to being a babyface, as he has a great future as a modern version of the 1980s G.I. Joe character.