SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
ROH TV REPORT
AUGUST 2, 2021
AIRED ON ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY HARLEY R. PAGEOT, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Ian Riccaboni, Lenny Leonard, Chelsea Green, Caprice Coleman
-Recap from Best In The World of Maria Kanellis-Bennet announcing Lenny Leonard as special commentator for the ROH Women’s Championship tournament and that the new champion will be crowned on September 12 at Death Before Dishonor. Chelsea Green then made her surprise debut with her arm in a cast, claiming that she’ll be in action in the women’s division in one month’s time when her cast comes off.
-Backstage to Quinn McKay. She showed the brackets for the 15-woman tournament and acknowledged that a fan vote gave her a spot in the tournament despite her losing two previous qualifying matches to The Allure. She named some of the women who have competed in ROH over the past 19 years including Daizee Haze, MsChif, and Awesome Kong.
(Pageot’s Perspective: First things first, allow me to reintroduce myself. I started watching ROH full-time in 2011 and started covering ROH for the PWTorch in November 2017. From that time through to the end of December 2019 I provided written reports for this website covering every single pay-per-view, Honor Club event, and episode of weekly TV. I also hosted 85 episodes of Talking Honor, a weekly podcast covering ROH. ROH in 2019 was so abysmal, though, that they drove me away completely as a viewer. Entering 2020 I not only stopped writing and podcasting about ROH for the Torch, I stopped watching the product altogether.
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is the biggest reason I’m back. The weekly women’s division shows that ROH has been doing on YouTube since April 28 have been strong and the new talent they’ve brought in is very promising. When Maria appeared as a guest on my podcast, Grit & Glitter, a month ago, she spoke very enthusiastically about her plans for the division and really sold my co-host and I on the belief that this is truly a new chapter and a total rebirth for women in ROH. So here I am, back after over a year and a half away, to see for myself whether the hype is real.)
-A video package introduced Miranda Alize and Alex Gracia to the TV audience for the first time. Highlights from the Wednesday YouTube show aired. Alize said they’re friends but heelishly put herself over Gracia. [C]
Gracia was over first and the commentators put over how pink and how cute she is. Alize wore a red sombrero and red mask. The commentators noted that she’s not Mexican but she is Latina and has trained extensively in Mexico. Alize unmasked before the bell.
(1) “THE LUCHA BADDIE” MIRANDA ALIZE vs. “THE PINK DREAM” ALEX GRACIA – ROH WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: OPENING ROUND
Take down from Alize. Wristlocks exchanged. Slaps to the chest from Gracia and they traded springboards. They shook hands again and went back to a side headlock. Gracia with a shoulder tackle and a dropkick. Gracia wanted a springboard crossbody off the second rope but Alize walked out of the way and Gracia crashed to the floor. Alize tossed Gracia into the barricade a couple times. [C]
Lungblower from Gracia. Gracia fired up, including yelling “Pink dream!” before hitting Alize with a kick to the head. Gracia went up top for a cannonball to a standing Alize but it only got a two count. Alize hit a kick but Gracia rolled a shoulder at the referee’s two. Cutter from Alize and a running knee strike she calls a Drive-By for the pin.
WINNER: Miranda Alize in 7:41.
-Code of honor and hug post-match to wash away any heat Alize had built up. [C]
(Pageot’s Perspective: Gracia is the bigger star outside of ROH but it was clear from the presentation that Alize was going over here as she got the final word in the video package and the second entrance. That’s fine. She’s one of the few established heels in the tournament so putting her through to the second round against the winner of our next match helps give that winner (almost definitely Savoy) a stronger opponent to work against in terms of character work. The match itself was okay. I’ve seen better from Gracia and the dead silence in the arena doesn’t help. I’m not sure how old this footage is but there is nobody in the building outside of the commentators and ring crew. At least they were given a good amount of time.
Per the official roster on ROH’s website, the notable women missing from this tournament are Jenny Rose, Session Moth Martina, Kellyanne, and Maria Manic. Martina and Kellyanne were presumably unable to be here due to COVID-19 travel bans. Neither Rose nor Manic, both American, have wrestled since the start of 2020 so it’s not clear what their situations are.)
-Video package on Mazzerati and Nicole Savoy. The former is all about attitude while the latter is the queen of suplexes. Mazzerati claimed to be quicker and would win by any means necessary. Savoy was determined to show she can stand alone as champion.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Savoy possesses the longest-reign and most defenses of any Shimmer Champion, holding the title for 721 days straight and 17 defenses. In Shimmer she was aligned with Shayna Baszler and Mercedes Martinez for a significant period, and later Big Swole, which would seem to be what her “standing on her own” comments were about here.)
-Caprice Coleman replaced Chelsea Green on commentary.
(2) NICOLE SAVOY vs. MAZZERATI – ROH WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: OPENING ROUND
Mazzerati dirtied up Savoy’s shoe. Savoy took her down with a double wristlock. Savoy bridged out of a pin attempt. [C]
Savoy grounded Mazzerati with some joint manipulation. Mazzerati slapped her but Savoy hit an uppercut in the ropes. Inverted stomp facebreaker from Mazzerati. Overhead throw from Savoy. Butterfly suplex. Northern lights suplex from Mazzerati for a two-count. DDT. TKO from Savoy for a two-count. Half-dragon suplex for the pin.
WINNER: Nicole Savoy in 9:50. [C]
(Pageot’s Perspective: Savoy faces Alize in the quarter-finals. Another okay match. Savoy was visibly holding back and slowing herself down at times so that Mazzerati could keep up. She is definitely going to the semi-finals, likely to the finals itself, so we can look forward to that. The bottom right bracket featuring Allysin Kay, Willow Nightingale, Marti Belle, and Trish Adora is the strongest in the tournament and any of those four could put on a stellar showing against Savoy.)
-Video package on Rok-C and Sumie Sakai. Texas wrestler Rok-C is only 19 years old and said the fans gave her the nickname “Prodigy.” They’ve always believed in her more than she has herself. Sakai acknowledged winning the Women Of Honor Championship tournament three years ago as footage of some of her wins there aired.
(3) SUMIE SAKAI vs. “THE PRODIGY” ROK-C – ROH WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: OPENING ROUND
The veteran rolled Rok-C to the mat early on but Rok-C made a rope break. Backflip knees to Sakai’s midsection. Springboard armdrag from Rok-C and a running uppercut. Double knees in the corner. [C]
Half-crab from Sakai. Roll-up from Rok-C for two. Forearms exchanged. Crossbody from Sakai. Texas cloverleaf from Sakai to the Texas native. Lion-tamer to Rok-C in the center of the ring. Rope break. Thesz press to Sakai from the second rope. Tilt-a-whirl side Russian leg sweep for a two-count for Rok-C. Neckbreaker. Back body drop from Sakai. Two spinning heel kicks dazed Sakai on the top turnbuckle. Hurricanrana for two but Sakai rolled through into a two of her own. Sakai with a fisherwoman’s buster for another two. Rok-C with a wheelbarrow roll through to pin the former champion.
WINNER: Rok-C in 9:38.
(Pageot’s Perspective: Rok-C faces either Mandy Leon or Quinn McKay in the quarter-finals in three weeks. This was the most babiest of babyface matches as you could have expected. Both women are clearly huge sweethearts and it was fun seeing Rok-C not being physically outmatched like she so often is. It looks like we may get a repeat of this scenario in the second round with Rok-C facing another petite ultra babyface in McKay.
Overall, this was a strong start to the tournament. The commentators acknowledge frequently that wrestling exists outside of ROH, mentioning win-loss records against opponents outside of ROH and noting how many matches Rok-C has wrestled this year total. ROH has been left outside looking in while wrestlers from AEW, NJPW, Impact, and various indies have popped up on each other’s shows. Should pandemic regulations remain open it will be interesting to see if anyone from ROH is invited to the dance. Chelsea Green has already wrestled multiple times for Impact since making her ROH debut.)
-Next week: it’s Marti Belle vs. Trish Adora and Mandy Leon vs. Quinn McKay in tournament action plus ROH World Champion Bandido & Rey Horus vs. Vlnce Unltd (Brody King & Chris Dickinson).