ROH Gateway to Honor 2020 (2/29/2020)- St. Charles, MO
THE BRISCOES & SLEX vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll, Flip Gordon, & Brody King)- 7/10
A great, all-action opener. Slex actually got to look impressive tonight, but he was pinned yet again, which makes me wonder why ROH would want to sign this consistent loser in the first place.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Shane Taylor and his buddies attacked Slex again but Slex was able to fight Taylor off this time. While that is at least something new happening in this feud, this is the second time this weekend that Taylor and his pals have attacked Slex. Doing it at Free Enterprise to announce his signing was one thing, but why is Taylor attacking Slex on every show now as opposed to, you know, wrestling a wrestling match? Isn’t the storyline that ROH just signed him? You’d think that if they’re paying him all of this money, they’d want to have him actually do the thing they’re paying him to do, right?
ALEX SHELLEY vs. DAN MAFF- 5.75/10
Maff is large. That’s pretty much all there was to this. Shelley tried his best but couldn’t do much with him in the time allowed.
FOOTAGE OF P.J. BLACK AND BRIAN JOHNSON TRAINING- excellent!
Not only did we actually get to see Black being a mentor to Johnson, but the choice to work on developing “a finishing move” was genius because now we know what Johnson’s finisher is before we see him use it in a match. I also loved the fact that they focused on Johnson getting into the hold and not having the other kid they had training with them slip free, as this was a way to show us him working on the finisher without someone having to take this kayfabe devastating hold over and over again (which would basically be abusing this poor trainee). They also showed us Gabriel training Johnson to take deep breaths and stay calm, and Johnson actually going along with it. By the end of this video package, Johnson actually came off as likable, with his excitement being endearing instead of being the unlikable abrasive heel goof he had previously been. THIS is exactly what I have been asking for every time ROH tells us that one person is mentoring someone else.
SILAS YOUNG & JOSH WOODS vs. THE RIGHTEOUS (Vincent & Bateman) (w/Vita Von Star & Chuckles)- 6/10
Just like last night, the heels jumped Silas & Woods from behind, once again going after Silas’ injured knee. As you’d expect, the story was once again Silas’ injured knee, and once again was told well.
The finish saw Brian Johnson come out and cut a promo on Woods and Silas, making fun of the for losing last night. Unlike previously, though, Johnson is now proud of being P.J. Black’s protégé and partner. This distracted Woods, allowing Vincent to hit his finisher on Silas and Woods not being able to get back to break the pin up in time. So Johnson’s journey to babyface-hood is going to be longer than I thought. That’s fine. But what we need to see now is Black telling Johnson off. But, for the first time in quite a while with ROH, I’m actually confident that they will follow up on this sort of thing properly.
“SESSION MOTH” MARTINA vs. ANGELINA LOVE (w/Mandy Leon)- 2.75/10
The Bouncers came out to do commentary for this match. In addition to not respecting other people’s personal space, Martina also doesn’t respect other people’s stuff, because Brian Milonas told us that she stole beer from him. If that right there isn’t evidence that Martina has a drinking problem, I don’t know what is. Milonas also seems to have a thing for Martina. It will be a dark day for the human race if those two are allowed to breed.
Martina tried to offer Angelina a drink of her peer. Angelina declined, and the fans booed her. Don’t listen to them, Angelina! Resist the peer pressure and just be yourself! Martina then offered the beer to the referee, then began dancing with him and grinding on him. Angelina jumped her, finally starting off this professional wrestling match.
Mandy was caught interfering red handed by wasn’t even ejected from ringside, never mind having her change DQed. Mandy was eventually ejected for distracting the referee, but in doing so she caused him to miss a pin that Martina had on Angelina. Despite having the advantage, Martina tried to cheat by spitting her alcohol in Angelina’s eye. Angelina ducked it and hit the Botox Injection for the win. At least there weren’t anywhere near as many of Martina’s antics in this match.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good at what it meant to do, but I still hated it
The Bouncers went to tend to Martina. She apparently likes Beer City Bruiser and not Milonas, as he was the one she jumped on. Bruiser repeated screamed “GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME!” at the top of his lungs, but even when Martina did eventually get off of him she didn’t seem to get the message, as she began to jump around excitedly and yell “He likes me! He really likes me!”
Martina gave Milonas a mere handshake and went to keep hanging off of BCB. Well… on the bright side, I don’t think even BCB can get drunk enough to sleep with Martina, and Martina clearly doesn’t want to sleep with Milonas, so humanity will be saved because those two won’t be polluting our gene pool with their stupidity anymore.
Look… I can’t dispute that this effectively put the pieces of a love triangle in place, but I so despise Martina and find Milonas to be mostly worthless and honestly don’t see too much utility in BCB either, so getting a sign that we’ll be seeing all of them more often is just not something I want to see.
TRACY WILLIAMS vs. JEFF COBB vs. DALTON CASTLE (w/Joe Hendry & the Boys) vs. KENNY KING (w/Amy Rose)- 6.5/10
Dalton has his Boys back. This was fine choreographed multi-man stuff.
BULLY RAY PROMO- snore
He comes out and does his usual cheap heat crap for a while. He makes an open challenge for a match tonight in which fi he loses he’ll leave ROH forever. Once again, no one comes out, and Bully once again claims it’s because he “has dirt on” all of them. Who approved this storyline? Who thought it was a good idea to say that every single wrestler in the company has done something bad enough at some point in their lives that Bully Ray can use it to blackmail them?
Eventually Caprice Coleman steps up from the commentary table and we get…
IF BULLY RAY LOSES HE MUST LEAVE ROH FOREVER: Bully Ray vs. Caprice Coleman- DUD!
Bully takes on spear and some punches at the beginning, then dominates Caprice and wins in a few minutes.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Cheeseburger came out but Bully beat him up. Eli Isom came out and beat Bully up with a chair, then went for a table but Bully recovered, hit a low blow, and powerbombed him through it. Bully demanded that the referee raise his hand. The referee did so, but then Bully insulted him and pushed him. There. He attacked a referee. Can we use that as a kayfabe excuse to fire him and never have to deal with him again? PLEASE?! This did nothing but waste fifteen minutes that should have gone to the three big matches on this show, but because we did this instead, those three matches (including entrances), have to be squeezed into less than an hour.
ROH TV TITLE MATCH: Dragon Lee(c) vs. Dak Draper- 6.75/10
Brian Zane replaced Caprice Coleman on commentary. The match was very good and showed that Draper has potential, but it sure would have been nice if they had been given more than ten minutes so that Draper didn’t look like he had won a paper tournament and couldn’t even last ten minutes the moment he got some real competition. Yeah. Bully Ray squashing Caprice Coleman, beating up Shinobi Shadow Squad, and cutting cheap heat promos was definitely a better use of time than that.
PROVING GROUND MATCH: ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. MexiSquad (Rey Horus & Bandido)- 6.5/10
Rhett Titus joined Ian and Zane on commentary for this match. Lethal & Gresham jumped the bell on their opponents. Bandido’s knee got worked over a lot on the outside, but when he got tagged in, he mostly didn’t sell it (and especially not when he needed to run around and do his moves). That shortcoming pulled down an otherwise very good match.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: PCO(c) vs. Rush vs. Mark Haskins- 6.75/10
They did some very good three-way stuff, but this was a main event world title match that went ten minutes and resulted in a world title change due to interference by Nick Aldis. Am I frustrated? Yes. But in this case I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve clearly noticed that PCO as champion was turning people off, so they’ve corrected course by going back to Rush, and they did so in a way that builds up for PCO vs. Aldis at Supercard of Honor XIII, and getting the belt off of PCO allows you to pay off PCO beating TV Champion Dragon Lee last night by giving Dragon Lee his win back in a TV Title defense. That doesn’t excuse the criminally short time that this match got, but at least it’s something to give me some optimism.
This match also had a stipulation that whoever didn’t take the pin would challenge the winner for the title at the 18th Anniversary Show. This stipulation had me thinking we’d wind up with a rematch from Final Battle (the Anniversary Show, like Final Battle, is scheduled for a Friday the 13th, and I figured that they’d have Rush win this time as the beginning of phasing PCO down a bit), but now we’re getting Rush vs. Haskins, which should hopefully be an awesome match at the very least.
This was not a good show from ROH in terms of in-ring action. Even bad, by ROH standards. I've definitely called shows with a similar level of in-ring action "bottom of the barrel." There wasn’t much bad on this show, but there wasn’t much to write home about, either. It’s one of those shows that you’d watch once and never feel the need to watch again. That being said, in terms of the ideas that were on display in this show, I found myself liking a lot of what I saw. This show wasn’t very good, but it does have me hopeful that the new booker is taking things in the right direction.
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Hold #712: ARM BAR!
FIP in 2005
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FIP in 2005
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