12/20 RING OF HONOR TV REPORT: Josh Woods vs. Dak Draper, Dante Caballero vs. Matt Makowski, more

BY CHRISTOPHER MAITLAND, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

RING OF HONOR TV (EPISODE #535)
DECEMBER 20, 2021
AIRED ON SINCLAIR SYNDICATED TV & ROHWRESTLING.COM
REPORT BY CHRISTOPHER MAITLAND

Host: Quinn McKay

Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman

Ring Announcer: Bobby Cruise

– The opening theme aired. Quinn McKay welcomes everyone to this week’s show which will focus the future of wrestling as a Top Prospect episode. Stating in 2011, ROH has conducted a Top Prospect tournament to showcase who will be the future stars of wrestling. In the first Top Prospect tournament Mike Bennett win defeating Kyle O’Reily in the finals. Other Top Prospect winners include Matt Taven, Hansen, Donovan Dijak, Lio Rush, Josh Woods and Dak Draper. Woods and Draper will square off in the main event of today’s show. Also on the show Dante Caballero will wrestle Matt Makowski and the opening match will be a Four Corner Survival match between Joe Keys, Eric Martin, Adrian Soriano, and Rayo.

(Maitland’s Thoughts: This episode has a larger introduction than usual, highlighting ROH’s ability to spot talent early in their career. As ROH goes towards an uncertain future, it is important to show that whenever they come bah, ROH will be a vehicle for the future stars of wrestling.)

(1) ERIC MARTIN vs ADRIAN SORIANO vs RAYO vs JOE KEYS

Ian welcomes everyone to the show. Adrian Soriano comes out first accompanied by the other members of Primal Fear. Rayo comes out second followed by Eric Martin accompanied by Will Ferrara and Joe Keys.

Code of honor not adhered to. Martin kicks Keys out of the ring. Soriano punches Martin but gets hit with a shotgun dropkick. Rayo hits Martin with a hurricanrana. Soriano attacks Rayo but gets hit with a head scissors. Soriano recovers and kicks Martin out of the ring. Rayo goes up and over on a suplex attempt on Soriano but Soriano responds with a chop and a suplex. Keys breaks up the pin by lifting Soriano for a German suplex. Martin attempts to stop Keys but gets sent to the outside. Keys hits another German suplex on Soriano. Soriano fights out but gets caught by Rayo. Keys German suplexes Soriano and Rayo. Martin breaks up the pin attempt. Martin slams Soriano. Martin and Keys trade strikes Martin misses a dropkick. Keys tries to roll it up but gets hit with a powerbomb. Martin blocks a hurricanrana from Rayo and hits a powerbomb. Keys sends Martin to the outside but Soriano rolls up Keys for a two count. Soriano hits a swinging DDT for a two count. (c)

Rayo hits a DDT followed by a back breaker on Soriano for a two count. Rayo climbs the rope and is distracted by one of the Primal Fear members allowing Soriano to hit a superplex. Martin throws Rayo into Soriano and hits Rayo with a clothesline. Martin suplexes Soriano for a pinning attempt. Keys breaks up the pin with a headbutt. Rayo takes down Keys for a two count. Keys bridges out and DDTs Martin while slamming Rayo. Soriano sends Keys to the outside. Soriano pins Martin and Rayo, each for two counts. Soriano climbs the top rope and misses a splash on Rayo. Rayo kicks Soriano and pins him. The other members of Primal Fear pull Soriano out of the ring. Rayo takes them out. Martin dives onto them all and sends Rayo back in the ring. Martin goes for a powerbomb but Rayo escapes and hits a springboard DDT followed by an elbow for the victory.

WINNER: Rayo at 7:57

Rayo celebrates his victory. Code of honor adhered to between Rayo, Martin, and Keys.

(Maitland’s Thoughts: This match tried to pack as much in it as possible. Usually I am critical of that but due to the hiatus upcoming and the opportunity to show your talent on television, the fast pace made sense. Rayo was the wrestler I was least familiar with and he had not appeared on ROH TV often. That is possibly why he was given the win. Soriano, alongside the rest of Primal Fear, and Keys have appeared on AEW Dark. Keys will appear in Terminus.)

Highlights are shown of Mike Bennett wining the Top Prospect tournament in 2011 and Matt Taven winning in 2013. (c)

Highlights are shown of Hansen wining the Top Prospect tournament in 2014 and Donovan Dijak winning in 2015.

(2) DANTE CABALLERO vs MATT MAKOWSKI

Eli Isom is on commentary. Dante Caballero comes out. Rocco comes out and says that due to the uncertainty surrounding ROH, the Top Prospect tournament might not be on the cards. Rocco says he has found the first draft pick and introduces his new client, former MMA fighter Matt Makowski. Makowski comes to the ring accompanied by Rocco.

(Maitland’s Thoughts: Rocco has made several appearances, primarily on Week by Week, attempting to gain clients. He has been unsuccessful so acquiring the services of Makowski seems like quite the coup. Of course, it is not certain what this will lead to since ROH’s future plans are unknown.)

Code of honor adhered to. They lock up and neither opponent can gain control. Makowski takes down Caballero with a single leg and grabs a front face lock. Caballero gets out and they stand up. Makowski keeps control of the arm and hits a key lock suplex. Makowski tries to get control of the arm but Caballero fights out. Makowski gets a rear naked choke but Caballero fights out. (c)

Caballero grabs a headlock and Makowski elbows his way out. Caballero takes Makowski down with a series of shoulder tackles. Caballero runs the ropes but gets taken down by a kick. Makowski hits a snap mare and rips at Caballero’s arm. A suplex is shown. Caballero hits Makowski but Makowsi follows with several strikes. Makowski goes for a double underhook suplex but Caballero bridges out for a two count. Makowski kicks Caballero but Caballero grabs the arm. Makowski goes for the arm bar but Caballero rolls over for a two count. Makowski grabs Caballero in a submission but Caballero reaches the ropes. Caballero slaps Makowski and Makowski responds with several forearm. Caballero escapes a suplex attempt and hits an elbow. Caballero follows up with a clothesline and a Falcon Arrow for a two count. Makowski escapes a suplex attempt by Caballero catches his leg and hits a spinebuster for a two count. Caballero Irish whips Makowski over the ropes. Caballero hits Makowski with several forearms. Makowski grabs Caballero’s arm and jams it on the ropes. Makowski goes inside the ring. Caballero fights off a submission and cradles for a two count. Makowski strikes Caballero and hits a running kick for a two count. Caballero hits a butterfly suplex for a two count. Rocco yells at Caballero. Makowski and Caballero trade strikes until Caballero hits a back suplex and a running kick. Caballero picks up Makowski but drops him when Rocco gets onto the ring. Makowski hits a kick into a cross arm bar for a submission victory.

WINNER: Matt Makowski at 12:06

(Maitland’s Thoughts: This match made Caballero more of a star than Makowski. He was able to fight back and hold his own and Rocco needed to distract him for Makowski to win. It was a good match. I could see Makowski being made into a heel challenger for the Pure Title if, ROH comes back in April.)

Highlights are shown of Lio Rush wining the Top Prospect tournament in 2016. (c)

Highlights are shown of Josh Woods wining the Top Prospect tournament in 2017 and Dak Draper winning the Top Prospect tournament in 2019.

(3) DAK DRAPER vs JOSH WOODS

Mike Bennett is on commentary. Dak Draper comes out first followed by Josh Woods who is applauded by Foundation members Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus. Dalton Castle comes out with the Baby Chocks carrying hot dogs. Castle says there is a lot of excitement for this match. This is a great match between two athletes but it is basically an exhibition. Castle says it is missing excitement and recommends that Woods put the ROH Pure Title on the line. Woods says you have to earn a title shot and there are rankings. Castle and Draper leave the ring and Castle calls Woods boring. Castle says Silas Young is right about Woods running Ring of Honor. Woods agrees to a title match. The Baby Chicks applaud. (c)

(Maitland’s Thoughts: Woods threw out the importance of rankings simply to try to prove Silas Young wrong. Doesn’t make any sense but we have a title match now.)

Code of honor not adhered to. The match starts with both wrestlers trying to get controlled. Draper sends Woods to the ropes and attempts to jump on Woods. Woods catches him and Draper uses his first rope break. They grapple and trade waist locks and standing switches. Draper gets a front face lock. Woods goes for a double wrist lock but Draper gets out and goes for an ankle lock. They stand up and grapple again trading waist locks. Woods slaps Draper and hits several strikes Draper sends Woods over the apron but Woods hits a double wrist lock in the ropes. Draper punches Woods and received his first warning. Draper hits a deadlift superplex for a two count. (c)

During the break, Woods was able to face another rope break but Draper remained in control. Draper goes to suplex Woods but Woods reverses and hits a gut wrench suplex. Woods grabs Draper but Draper elbows out and hits a gut wrench suplex. Woods ducks a punch and hits a springboard kick. Both men are down. Woods hits a series of running strikes. Draper escapes a suplex attempt and hits a powerslam for a two count. Draper hits an elbow, jumps off the ropes, but Woods catches him with a knee. Woods hits several knees to the stomach followed by a running knee. Woods pins Draper but Draper uses his final rope break. Woods grabs Draper’s arm as Draper tries to fight out. Draper rolls Woods over for a two count and hits a powerbomb for another two count. Woods gets out of a suplex attempt and hits Draper with the Gorilla Slam for the win. (c)

WINNER: Josh Woods at 13:45

Woods celebrates and shakes hands with Draper. The matches next week will be Rok-C defending the ROH Women’s World Championship against Holidead and the Annual Tag Team Surprise.

(Maitland’s Thoughts: Even though the match was started in odd circumstances, it was pretty good. It further solidified Woods as the Pure champion, something that was not done after he initially won the title. This show was mainly a way to highlight several wrestlers who spent some time in the ROH Dojo. Next week’s show will be the last one in this era of Ring of Honor.)


CATCH-UP: 12/13 RING OF HONOR TV REPORT: EC3 vs. Eli Isom, Sledge vs. PCO, Alize vs. Green, more

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