The show opens with Nick Aldis and members of his Strictly Business faction taking over commentary so that Aldis could cut a promo Marty Scurll. Aldis is angry that Scurll showed up on NWA Power recently. He is tired of people showing up to the company that he has rebuilt and trying to get famous off of his work because he’s the “real world champion.” So yeah. We’re stilling doing this in 2020. Was there ANYONE who showed up in ROH from the NWA last year who put on a great match? I can’t remember a single one, other than that Aldis vs. Scurll match at the Crockett Cup, but I think that was technically an NWA show, not an ROH show.
Brody King and Flip Gordon eventually showed up and chased Strictly Business away, as security tried to separate them.
REY HORUS vs. ANDREW EVERETT - 6.75/10
A solid athletic opener.
THE BRISCOES vs. JOE HENDRY & DALTON CASTLE vs. P.J. BLACK & BRIAN JOHNSON - 2/10
Brian Zane joined Ian and Caprice on commentary for this match. Said match was originally scheduled as just Briscoes vs. Dalton & Hendry, but Brian Johnson came out and complained about not getting booked for the second show this year. He cut angry promos on everyone telling them to get out of his ring. He also calls himself “the Mecca,” which really doesn’t make sense, as that is metaphor we apply to places, not people. Between this, being yet another person using the “X vs. Everyone” catchphrase in pro wrestling, and him being so full of bluster despite having never won a televised match in ROH (his only wins have come in dark matches, and even if you include dark matches, his record is 6-20-1… 5-18-1 if you don’t count Future of Honor shows… and aside from a Future of Honor win back in November, he hasn’t won a singles match in almost a year), he came off like a total clown.
P.J. Black- who has appointed himself Johnson’s mentor whether Johnson likes it or not- came out to take the microphone away and tell Johnson “that’s not how you do this.” I like the idea of P.J. finding a young arrogant Punk and trying to teach him how to go about things “the right way,” but I wish ROH had actually given Johnson some credibility first that I think P.J. actually sees potential in this kid rather than him just wanting Johnson to stop being so loud, which is how I feel about this pairing at the moment.
Jay Briscoes demanded that Johnson get his ass in the ring so it could get beaten, so this turned into a three-way tag. The first 45% or so of the match was spent with Johnson first talking trash that we all knew he couldn’t back up, then getting his ass kicked by the Briscoes until he decided to just give up and walk off, and when P.J. Black stopped him from doing so, Johnson was immediately kicked in the head by a flying Briscoe.
He would also later go for a diving crossbody, only for Joe Hendry to just casually walk out of the way like Samoa, making Johnson look like a goofball. In fact, I believe that Johnson got only one offensive move in all match, which he hit on Jay Briscoe, and then proceeded to talk trash to his own tag team partner, resulting in Hendry and Castle hitting him with their finishers and him being pinned. And I’m supposed to believe that this guy who has lost three quarters of his matches even though he has mostly been facing other dark match guys or the very bottom of the undercard is a “great athlete who deserves to be here” like Ian and Caprice claim? F*ck off.
Ian Riccaboni shouting “COCKADOODLE-DOO!” when Mark Briscoe hit a dive has earned the commentary team five minutes on mute.
On a related note, while researching Johnson’s record on CageMatch.net, I noticed that his most recent match happened last night, when he and P.J Black lost to the Bouncers in a dark match. This match surely would have presented the Johnson/Black dynamic to the audience as well as given the Bouncers a victory (and also justified their presence in the building last night), wo I have to wonder why the hell this wasn’t presented as part of last night’s show?
SUMIE SAKAI vs. NICOLE SAVOY - 2/10
Sumie jumped the bell on Savoy. The story of the match was Sumie abusing the five-count for illegal holds like she was Bryan Danielson. Unforuntately this included Todd Sinclair turning into an incompetent New Japan referee and letting Sumie go on well past four on an armbar in the ropes, then when Sumie locked a theoretically legal armbar in on the outside, Sinclair followed them out, ordered Sumie to break the hold, and started counting.
Getting back in the ring after this incident, Sumie kicked the ropes into Todd Sinclair’s nuts. Distracting herself with this pointless and risky action allowed Savoy to hit a kick to the head and a suplex for what was only a visual pinfall because the ref was down. Sumie then got a chain and beat Savoy up with it and got the pin. This match WAY too repetitive during the heat.
DAK DRAPER vs. DANHAUSEN - 4/10
It took the big, powerful Dak Draper FAR too long to beat this goofasaurus. At one point Danhausen pried Draper’s mouth open and the referee stood there and watched as Danhausen took something out of a jar and dumped it in Draper’s mouth. How is that not a DQ?
BANDIDO vs. ALEX ZAYNE - 6.5/10
Maybe I was expecting too much after everything I had heard about Alex Zayne, but I was expecting to be blown away by him and wasn’t. He’s certainly good, but he didn’t strike be as being any sort of game-changing talent. He’s a good guy to have on the roster, but if we never see him again, I’m not going to think “boy, I bet ROH are really kicking themselves for letting this guy go.” But that part is probably a moot point, as I highly doubt they would have let him beat Bandido here if they didn’t have plans to bring him back.
SHANE TAYLOR PROMO - Fine. He comes out and says that he won’t show up in ROH again until Joe Koff gives him an answer about the terms of the contract he proposed last night. Well… Taylor isn’t currently under ROH contract, so that’s a completely fair thing for him say. He went on to plug his match later this month against Nick Gage in VIP wrestling, because I guess someone thinks that plugging a match in another promotion against a guy who isn’t in ROH will make us think this is all a shoot.
LIFEBLOOD (Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams) vs. BATEMAN & VINCENT (Vita VonStarr & Chuckles) - 5.75/10
The heels jumped the bell on LifeBlood. They went for about ten minutes, with Vinny’s goons interfering. The babyfaces were about to win when Chuckles ran in and hit Haskins with a wooden block for the DQ. They tried to injure him worse after the match but Williams made the save with a chair.
DAN MAFF, JEFF COBB, JONATHAN GRESHAM, & JAY LETHAL vs. SILAS YOUNG, JOSH WOODS, & THE BOUNCERS - 7.5/10
They went about twenty minutes, which was nice… but I also expect more than just 7.5/10 out of an eight-man tag that goes twenty minutes. Maff & Cobb did the work for the win but Gresham and Lethal were jerks and jumped in the way of the camera to take the attention away from their celebration. Silas & Woods tried to go after Lethal & Gresham but got punked out, but Maff used this distraction to snatch one of the tag title belts. Todd Sinclair eventually came out and ordered him to give it back, but the groundwork for a feud was successfully laid, even with Maff giving the belt back (which he should have done anyway because he’s a babyface).
RHETT TITUS PROMO FROM AFTER FINAL BATTLE - Didn’t like it. Rhett apologized to his wife and infant son for letting them down. His wife did the usual “you didn’t let us down. You did your best” shtick. Rhett talked to the baby the way that you would talk to a baby, promising him that this wasn’t over, then tried to switch to angry Rhett to deliver the same message to Kenny King through the camera, but it just came off as WAY too weird to here him try to be intimidating by saying the same thing we had just heard him say in the calming tone one uses to talk to a baby.
(Author’s note: I instinctively typed “babyface” instead of just “baby” at least three times in the above paragraph. This is what happens when you spend a decade of your life typing up reviews of wrestling shows).
BULLY RAY COMES OUT TO WASTE MORE TIME - Better than last night, but still bad. He starts off by saying he is going to apologize to Bobby Cruise for pushing him last night. Everyone in the world sees through this, so it doesn’t get any “how dare Bully Ray do this heat” so much as it gets “stop wasting everyone’s time, you fat sack of lard” heat, which is not what a good heel should be getting.
He then brags about putting Maria Manic through a table and tells us she’s in the hospital and thus won’t be here. To the shock of no one, Maria Manic came out and attacked Bully. The Allure ran in and they went to once again put Maria through a table but she made a comeback and hit Bully with a low blow before… um… turning the tables on Bully and putting him through it. At least things feel like they’re moving forward, but I’m still not happy with the idea that our up-and-coming babyface had to go below the belt to beat the washed up old chickensh*t heel.
FLIP GORDON vs. FLAMITA - 6.5/10
Because we spent ten minutes on Bully Ray, there one thirty-five minutes left in the show when the bell rang for the beginning of our semi-main event. As a result, this match between two very talented up-and-comers got a criminally short SEVEN AND A HALF MINUTES. Flip won clean, then ripped Flamita’s mask off. Usually when someone rips a luchador’s mask off, that person parades around with the mask. Flip just ripped it off, then just tossed it away on his way to back. I thought that was great, as it came off as an additional level of disrespect.
VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll, Brody King, & PCO) vs. LA FACCION INGOBERNABLE (Rush, Dragon Lee, & Kenny King) (w/Amy Rose) - 7/10
LFI win a match with lots of action, but no real story other than “two teams trying to win.” Basically, it was a bunch of moves strung together in an entertaining order.
This was a disappointing show from ROH. Yes, some minor storyline things happened, but this was a show whose main selling point was the potential strength of matches, and it greatly disappointed in that regard. After the first weekend of the Marty Scurll Era (maybe), the only real way to tell there has been a booking change is the fact that Marty’s best friend the NWA World Heavyweight Champion is back to feud with him. Yes, the recap packages are better now, but my guess is that that was something that was already in place.