I’m sorry but the name of this show is stupid. Glory By Honor is one of ROH’s oldest events, and they’re now naming it like a random stop on the Winter Warriors Tour. Either use the numbers or use the year. Don’t do dumb sh*t like this that only mucks with a system that has worked perfectly well since the company’s creation.
15-MAN BATTLE ROYALE FOR A SHOT AT THE ROH WORLD TITLE LATER TONIGHT - 4/10
They started out with everyone outside the ring. Josh Woods was very excited to get Joe Hendry’s autograph. I like this happy-go-lucky character of Woods’, but when you combine this sort of thing with the finish of this match, he winds up looking like someone with the mental capacity of a child.
They started this match off with everyone on the floor and they had to all get into the ring once the bell rang, which was extremely odd. This was done so that Kenny King could hide under the ring, just like he did at G1 Supercard. The positives for this match were that they didn’t waste any time. People did what they needed to for their own stories or characters, then got eliminated. The important notes on that front were Rhett Titus pulling Kenny King out from under the ring and throwing him in to get eliminated by Hendry, Kenny laughing at Henry when he was eliminated himself, and Silas and Woods working together- albeit with Silas stealing some of the eliminations- to be the last two, then Woods falling for Silas’ offer of a hug and getting thrown out like a moron. This was short, never boring, and did its job. That’s the best we can hope for in a battle royale.
ROH WORLD TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Dalton Castle vs. PCO - 4/10
PCO is now wrestling with a long black jacket on and some faint white paint on his face. From his non-shaved side, he looks like what I imagine Sting would look like if ever got his hands on some of Bane’s Venom.
The match started off with PCO no-selling everything Dalton did to him and completely dominating Dalton. Then PCO had one his dumb “malfunctions,” allowing Dalton to take over. In other words, one wrestler is clearly better and then starts to lose because some inexplicable thing goes wrong with him internally. This is not how you tell a compelling story. A compelling story requires the mechanisms to be understandable to the viewer.
Dalton threw PCO around a whole bunch. He almost won several times via count-out. This match used using New Japan-style count-outs, which means that the wrestlers can fight on the outside as long as they want and the referee only starts to count them out when it’s time for the count-out tease spot, just to let you know that it’s all a performance and not real sporting contest.
PCO made his comeback, and once that started, Dalton barely got any offense in from that point on. This match was extremely segmented, and when combined with the fact that the turning points coming from some internal quirk of PCO’s that is completely incomprehensible to the audience it makes this match very hard for me to enjoy. If you like seeing PCO do his dives and no-selling and like seeing Dalton throwing PCO around then you’ll enjoy this, but if you’re looking for an engaging story, you should look elsewhere.
ROH WORLD TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Marty Scurll vs. Jay Lethal - 6.75/10
This felt like twelve minutes’ worth excerpts from a great twenty-five-minute match. Lethal sold his ass off, while Marty was a complete and total cartoon who has not yet learned to not take forever with his stupid chickenwing taunt thing. So of course it was Marty who got the win and not Lethal, because we’ve got to have a cheap “will there be dissent in Villain Enterprises?” plot instead of just giving us the better match where we will have a rooting interest, which would be PCO vs. Lethal.
SHANE TAYLOR PROMOTIONS VIDEO - Now I understand Taylor’s character. He is angry that others have been promoted more than him so he “bought out his own contract, but with a verbal agreement to defend the title” so he can market himself and have more negotiating power.
SHANE TAYLOR PROMO - Now I’m confused again. Instead of the stuff in the video package, he cut a total babyface from about how you don’t have to fit into the stereotypical boxes that the wrestling business supposedly wants to fit into and can be successful just being yourself. Also, apparently J. Spade did some unspecified thing to “disrespect” Shane Taylor so Shane is going to wrestle him tonight. Meanwhile, the commentators are telling me that Taylor only defends the title if his opponent has put up enough money and this J. Spade nobody has apparently done that. So is he a mercenary defending the title against anyone who has the money, or does he only defend the title when he and ROH agree upon a purse for him? And what does J. Spade disrespecting him have to do with anything? It feels like Shane Taylor and Ian Riccaboni are on a different page from Cabana and Caprice, who are on a different page from the production team!
ROH WORLD TV TITLE MATCH:
Shane Taylor(c) vs. J. Spade - 4.25/10
So after cutting a total babyface promo, Taylor starts to act like an arrogant heel to Spade’s undersized babyface during the introductions. The crowd is now reacting to Spade like he’s the babyface and they’re wrestling the match like Spade is the babyface, and while all of this is going on, the commentators are telling me that becoming ROH World TV Champion has made Shane Taylor a better person and he’s now volunteering his time to read to children at the library and things of that nature. It should not be this hard to keep things straight! Either the f*cker is a babyface or he’s a heel! Delirious needs to PICK ONE, STICK WITH IT, AND TELL EVERYONE ELSE TO STICK WITH IT OR ELSE!
ANOTHER SHANE TAYLOR PROMOTIONS VIDEO - Now he’s back to being angry about being underutilized. Ian wonders where Taylor is getting all of this money from to be able to buy this add time. This is the sort of comment that shouldn’t be said if it isn’t going to lead to something... and, unfortunately, I have lost faith in ROH that such a thing will happen, as it often feels like the commentators are trying to help the booker by pointing out potential plot-holes, which the booker then proceeds to ignore.
ROH WOMEN OF HONOR WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Angelina Love(c) (w/Mandy Leon) vs. Kelly Klein - 3.75/10
Kelly Klein’s mystery back-up didn’t come out to ringside with her, which is idiotic because Mandy can interfere in any number of ways that could drastically affect the trajectory of the match before Kelly’s back-up could even make it down the ramp, never mind be able to point something out to the referee or run over and stop Mandy.
This was a match that got completely screwed by the terrible booking, as the build-up to the match meant that everyone knew that the match wasn’t going to end until Kelly’s (rather obvious) back-up was revealed. Of course, Mandy Leon interfered to help cut Kelly off about two minutes in, and the back-up was nowhere to be found. The match continued on for a long heat full of nearfalls that no one believed. Kelly made her own comeback and got some more nearfalls that no one believed. Then we got a terrible ref bump so that Mandy could run in and attack Kelly with a chair, and finally we got the predictable lights out so that Maria Manic could use her magical powers to teleport into the ring and take Mandy out. She’s got the New Jack thing going on now, where her music plays during her entire run-in, because they so desperately want her to come off like an ass-kicker, but don’t want to put in the effort to book her in actual stories with actual opponents so they just have her beat up security guards and Mandy Leon and do as much smoke and mirrors BS like playing her music the whole time and the lights out gimmick in the hopes it will get a pop. Then Kelly hit her finisher and won the title back, marking the second time this year that she has lost the title, only to regain it in a manner of weeks, during which time her opponent feuds with no one but her.
This was SOOOOOO f*cking dumb. It was like when they sat down to book this angle they weren’t trying to book an intelligent story so much as figure out how he could book a bunch of pops, and figured that lights off plus title change would do it, and then booked the dumbest, laziest possible way to set up for both of those things, not caring how much damage it would do to the title or how hard it would make it for anyone to care about this match.
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Brisoces(c) vs. Luke Hawx & Perry Hawx - 7/10
Again… how the hell did these two earn a title shot? Well, you see, there was a video package before this match to explain that. The answer is… they wanted one, and so they are apparently just being given one. In that case I’ll take my ROH World Title shot at Supercard of Honor, please. I have no delusions about the chances of my victory, but a main event payoff can’t be bad.
The announcers hyped this up as our “third of four championship matches” tonight, which doesn’t mean sh*t when three out of the four of them are filler with zero build and where no one thinks the belts have a snowball’s chance of changing hands. Sh*t like this doesn’t make a show feel bigger; it makes the show feel smaller because it makes the belts feel less important.
And it’s not just the belts that this sort of thing hurts, either. Silas Young & Josh Woods are currently undefeated as a pairing and are a regular team in ROH, so why aren’t they getting a title shot? And, as I sit here two weeks later and knowing the cards for the next tour, they’re not getting one there, either. And after that is Survival of the Fittest, which will have a tag team Survival of the Fittest, which Silas and Woods have been entered into, so they have the chance of earning a title shot at everyone else despite being undefeated, which makes all of the undercard matches on a show feel pointless because you’re making it clear that they don’t mean anything.
Ian referenced a response video that the Briscoes had posted on social media yesterday, and like with whatever it was that J. Spade supposedly did to disrespect Shane Taylor, we the viewers of this show never got to see it. WHY?! You clearly have the capability to put these things into the show, so why not show us a promo intended to build this match up? Ian Riccaboni is on commentary coming it to legendary rap diss-tracks. If it’s that f*cking good then why the hell wouldn’t you show it to us?!
They told a good story with Perry being the babyface in peril and the crowd was very hot for it. Perry earning the Briscoes’ respect by the end was nice and made this not feel like a total throwaway waste of time, but at the same time, while there is a clear story that this could be the beginning of, we’ve seen so many people over the past few years come in to ROH for a weekend and have a great match, then never come back that I just can’t get invested in that possibility. Between the thrown-together nature of this match, the way the announcers kept plugging Luke Hawx’s acting/stunt double career, and just knowing the way things work, it’s pretty much impossible for me not to see this match as exactly what it probably was outside of kayfabe. Luke Hawx let ROH use his promoter’s license in exchange for a payday for him and his son and exposure for his son, and ROH now didn’t have to sacrifice anyone internal to the Briscoes. ROH’s not just lack of storylines but total contradiction of the key ideas of pro wrestling (like that you need to earn title shots with victories) are making it nearly impossible for me to lose myself in the matches.
ALEX SHELLEY vs. JONATHAN GRESHAM - 7.5/10
Wonderful, beautiful, pure, technical professional wrestling. They worked limbs and wrestled hard and showed great emotion, all leading up to the…
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Great! Gresham had been in total control but caught by a roll-up, which made him furious. He grabbed a chair, but Jay Lethal came out to calm him down. There was a moment where it looked like Gresham was going to hit Lethal in the back with the chair but he didn’t. This might feel like them reverting to their pre-Death Before Dishonor status quo, but that match was about Gresham and Lethal. Gresham’s temper doesn’t magically go away because he shook Lethal’s hand after a match.
VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Flip Gordon & Brody King) vs. LIFEBLOOD (Tracy Williams & Mark Haskins) - 6.75/10
The babyfaces win in twelve minutes. These two factions have wrestled at least once on almost every single show since Flip turned on LifeBlood three and a half months ago, and this story has not moved forward one bit.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - And speaking of stories that haven’t moved forward in months, Bully Ray comes out and attacks LifeBlood from behind. It’s been even longer since this feud started that since the LifeBlood vs. Villain Enterprises feud started, and while VE and LifeBlood have wrestled on almost every show and had multiple no DQs matches, Bully and Haskins have wrestled exactly once, which was a tag match back in May that ended in 30 seconds when Bully’s team got DQed. The fact that his fat old sack of crap is allowed to get away with basically stealing money from ROH is f*cking disgusting.
Oh yeah. The thing we’re supposed to care about in this segment is that Flip got a Kendo stick but instead of hitting Bully with it, he gave it to him and left so that Bully could hit LifeBlood with it. They’re both heels now and are feuding with the same group. Was ANYONE shocked by this?
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Rush(c) vs. Silas Young - 6.5/10
We’ve traded Caprice Coleman for Lanny Poffo on commentary. A strict downgrade. If we have to use Lanny Poffo why can’t we have him take Colt’s spot instead. His commentary is just plain terrible and he needs to go. He is SOOO bad. He seems completely incapable of not reacting to things like a joke.
This was another underwhelming eleven-minute Rush match and another throwaway title shot for Silas.
VIDEO OF SOMEONE STALKING THE KINGDOM - WHO GIVES A F*CK?! Because this sort of sh*t worked so well with Whitmer and Corino. And look! There is Taven standing and chatting with Dalton Castle, who Ian tells us is his "good friend" despite there being zero on-screen evidence for this and a lot of evidence to the contrary.
Also, they apparently got jumped from behind by someone and are calling them out but no one shows up. Uch. I have no faith that this will go anywhere worthwhile at this point.
ROH WORLD TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP TOURNAMENT FINAL MATCH:
Marty Scurll vs. PCO - 5.5/10
Marty gives a pre-match speech suggesting that they keep it clean. Marty has pulled this trick several times recently, so of course PCO was a moron and believed him and wound up immediately getting waffled with Marty’s umbrella.
PCO intermittently decides to no-sell big spots because “HE’S NOT HUMAN!” That’s not a story. In other matches they have built up to it, but here they totally failed to.
Brody King comes out and turns on PCO… and that still wasn’t the finish, completely wasting the dramatic potential of finding out who he sides with. Ditto with Flip. Too many ref bumps. Unnecessary visual pinfall. PCO wins anyway, so all of those turns didn’t matter.
I have no sympathy for PCO because of his no-selling and the aforementioned incomprehensibility of his “malfunction” spot, so he’s not someone I have any desire see win the world title, which is not how I should feel about a main event babyface.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - MORONIC! They’re all friends because they’re “Villains” and so PCO doesn’t care that instead of staying neutral, all of his friends sided with Marty and actively tried to screw him out of a title shot. Dumb horse sh*t like this is how you make things not mean anything.
This was an extremely disappointing show from ROH. The big draw of the show (the #1 contendership tournament) didn’t deliver at all, the majority of the matches were underwhelming, and the storylines felt like they were at best treading water, if not actively moving backwards. After a great summer, ROH once again felt like the promotion that has caused me so much frustration over the past few years. This was GLORY BY HONOR. The show initially conceived to be ROH’s biggest show of the year, and it was full of throwaway title defenses, lazy booking, and disappointing wrestling matches. This show was everything ROH was created to not be.