A MESSAGE FROM COO JOE KOFF - He makes a lot of non-descript promises about “improving fan experience.” The only thing close to a concrete thing he said was that ROH would work on adding their entire back-catalogue to Honor Club, which I thought they had promised to do from day one. Then he talked about how ROH stars visit sick children in hospital as part of their “ROH Cares” initiative. Then he compared the charity of visiting sick children in hospitals to the “charity” of giving all of us a fans this show, free of charge. Really.
Then we got Marty Scurll sitting behind a desk welcoming us to Free Enterprise. That’s all he said. Apparently this needed to be a multi-camera shoot for some reason. We then got an opening video to hype up the main event that had a very Marty Scurll aesthetic to it. I don’t like that aesthetic very much so I didn’t enjoy this, but I will at least say that I appreciated the effort to make this less generic than just having the announcers excitedly talk up a match while the usual graphic is on the screen.
ALEX SHELLEY vs. MARK HASKINS - 7/10
A great way to open the show with a nice, clean, babyface vs. babyface wrestling match. The story of the match was Haskins working the arm and wrist, and I thought the finish they came up with a beautiful little twist on the usual.
DALTON CASTLE & JOE HENDRY vs. RIGHTEOUS (Bateman & Vincent) (w/Vita Von Star & Chuckles) - 6.5/10
I’m sorry, but Chuckles the clown has to go. I realize that evil clowns are a staple of horror and Vincent is the “Horror King,” but their clown has done nothing so far to make himself scary, and between that and the name “Chuckles” he makes everything feel like a joke.
A didn’t like Vincent & Bateman not shaking hands. Yes, they’re heels and I’m sure they’re going to cheat, but their characters don’t preclude shaking hands and thus I’d rather they do it. If every single heel doesn’t shake hands just because they’re heels then the handshake loses all meaning (and, in the case of undercard heels, it makes you wonder why ROH is booking these guys when surely there are equally talented wrestlers out there who are willing to follow the Code of Honor). If you want the handshake to mean something then you have to make it important, and part of doing that is limiting the occasions where that tradition is not adhered to.
Righteous worked Hendry over until he was able to make a hot tag to Dalton. Righteous eventually got the win when Chuckles tripping Dalton up distracted Hendry, allowing Vincent to hit Sliced Bread #2 for the win. I like the booking here, as Vinny & Friends needed the win to help build them up, while losing here plays perfectly into the “will they?/won’t they?” story that has been the story of Hendry and Castle’s team. First it was whether or not they would team up, and now the question seems to be shifting to whether or not it’s worth it to stay together, because as entertaining as this pair is, they’re also both very talented singles wrestlers and despite their best efforts they haven’t really had much success as a team (yes, they’re 4-4, but those wins include a win over a makeshift team of Silas Young & Rampage Brown, getting a pin on total goofball Brian Johnston, and taking over ten minutes to beat The Master & The Machine, who aren’t even really part of the roster yet, and their losses include both a loss to The Bouncers, who are pretty much as undercard as you can get, and a loss to Silas and his real tag partner Josh Woods, which in addition to being a loss almost feels like it exposes their win over Silas & Rampage as meaningless).
One more thing to talk about:
During this match, Ian Riccaboni referred to Dalton Castle as “one of the most fighting and courageous champions we’ve ever had.” Courageousness is subjective so I’m not going to argue with Ian there, but saying that Dalton was one of the most fighting champions in the title’s history is just plain false. There have been 32 ROH World Title reigns so far. Dalton’s title reign is tied with those of Jerry Lynn and Michael Elgin for 17th-19th on the list of most defenses, which means he’s not even in the top half, never mind being close to top of the list. Dalton also has the fewest defenses of anyone who has held the title as long as he has. Both men who he is tied with had reigns that were MUCH shorter than his was (and Lynn’s came when ROH was running a lot fewer shows), and four people on the list who had shorter reigns than Dalton defended the title more times than he did.
I’m not trying to slight Dalton Castle here. I understand that the man was injured. But I also understand that the fact that he was injured doesn’t change the reality of the numbers. An announcer needs to put a guy over without saying things that are blatantly false.
And yes, while I do have the ability to pause the show and go look these numbers up while Ian has to call the match and thus is likely pulling things off the top of this head, I wouldn’t have gone and looked it up if it didn’t sound horribly incorrect to me the moment I heard it. Just on length alone I knew off the top of my head about ten title reigns that definitely had more defenses, and, quite frankly, as an ROH announcer, Ian should have immediately known that Dalton at the very least wasn’t in the top six, under both Lethal reigns, Joe, Dragon, Nigel, and Aries’ first, and that right there should be enough for someone to not get a superlative.
Would I normally comment on this sort of thing? Yes. But I think it’s even more important on this show because this show is, in some ways, a relaunch. There has been a big and well-publicized shift in the creative direction of the company, coming off of a year where they faced A LOT of criticism for the choices they made (some justified, some not so much). The reason this show is free is to get people who haven’t been watching ROH to check it out, and if you’re a wrestling product doing that right now, the last thing you want to do is have your announcers come off like WWE announcers, and saying bullsh*t like this is no different from Michael Cole trying to tell me that Sarah Logan will be a “tough challenge” for someone when Sarah Logan might well have not won a single match on Raw or Smackdown in all 2019. Yes, not everyone is going to know the ROH World Title history as well as someone like me, but many lapsed ROH fans are likely to at least know that Dalton isn’t in the top five.
FLIP GORDON vs. SLEX - 6.5/10
At the risk of being very premature, this worried me a bit. Not the match itself. That was fine for ten minutes, but everything around it has me worried.
First we’ve got Ian Riccaboni on commentary, telling me multiple times that this match could be “a main event anywhere in the world.” I’ll venture to guess that a good 90% of the fanbase has never seen Slex before. I review promotions from all over the world for a pro wrestling website, and I myself have only seen him a handful of times. The little highlight package we got of him made him feel totally generic. He’s got charisma, yes, but he doesn’t come off like anywhere near a main eventer.
Ditto for Flip Gordon. He’s got a lot of talent, but he comes off like a midcarder. He is the fourth wheel in a three-man unit who was shoved into an interminable feud with another completely mishandled group that everyone came out of worse off. You can stick him in the ring with a main eventer and tell me it’s a main event anywhere in the world and I’ll do you the courtesy of playing along, but not with a generic guy who the vast majority of the fanbase haven’t seen before.
I know what you’re thinking, and you’re not wrong that Ian’s comment wasn’t that big a deal, but I mentioned it for two reasons. The first is that this is the second time in two matches that our lead babyface announcer has come off as a full of sh*t Michael Cole-esque hype-man rather than what the babyface announcer should be for us, which is a guide who knows his stuff. The second reason I brought it up is that it allowed me to get those descriptions of Flip and Slex out there in the beginning, because those are important for my other points of concern.
Point of concern number two is also regarding the commentary, but I’m pretty sure this one is actually on the booker. The commentators told us several times that Slex has been calling out Marty Scurll and Villain Enterprises. This is clearly the story the booker wants to tell because in addition to making his ROH debut against Flip Gordon here, Slex has been booked against Villain Enterprises in his second ROH match as well (a six-man tag on the next show, teaming with the Briscoes). So Slex clearly wants to face Villain Enterprises.
I realize that this is his just his debut and just chapter one of this story, but Villain Enterprises are already feuding with La Faccion Ingobernable, and the NWA, and MexiBlood. And also maybe still feuding with LifeBlood? They’re still feuding with Bandido and he’s in both MexiBlood and LifeBlood. Or at least I’m pretty sure he’s still in LifeBlood. It’d be nice if that was cleared up. Anyway, the point is that Villain Enterprises are already feuding with three or four other factions, so if you want me to care about them feuding with this Slex guy as well, you need to give me a reason. You spent a bunch of time showing me video packages of him on the last few shows and telling me he was signed so it’s not like you didn’t know he was coming in. You couldn’t have had him cut a f*cking promo? You need to tell us who this man is and why he wants Villain Enterprises so badly. Otherwise he’s just a generic guy with generic “I’m a star” look and a generic catchphrase.
And now, to make matters worse, he just lost to Flip Gordon in a measly ten minutes. I’m not going to say that he absolutely shouldn’t have lost because for all I know that handshake with Flip is leading to something that required Slex to lose and Flip to show him respect after defeating him. But what I will say is that no matter who was going to win this match (or even if you were going to go to a draw), it needed to go at least fifteen and probably closer to twenty, just to ensure that it had the time to be good enough to leave a lasting impression. That way he could at least be someone whose name I am excited to see when it is announced for future shows, and if he had a good enough match here it would make me think that maybe he could at least cause Villain Enterprises some trouble due to being a resilient and talented competitor. It doesn’t make up for not explaining anything about him or his beef with VE to us, but at least it would make me excited to see him again.
And it’s not just Slex that would have benefited from this match getting more time, either. When was the last time Flip Gordon actually blew us away and made us think “Yeah, ROH was right to peg this guy as a big star of the future?” The match with Bandido in May that kicked off the angle that led to this stupid heel turn? Flip needs to be given the chance to show what he can do, or else he'll feel squandered, just like so many others have.
These things concern me because for all of the talk of a booking change, it feels like the same mistakes are being repeated. I’m trying to go into this show with an open mind, but I’ve been abused by WWE and TNA and ROH themselves with these promises of change too many times over the years to not have alarm bells go off in my head when I see the promised change not happening.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Bad. Flip shows Slex the respect of a post-match handshake, then leaves. Then the Soldiers of Savagery and Shane Taylor showed up, and Taylor beat up Slex, making this new signee that they’ve tried to make a big deal out of look like even more of an afterthought. Ian Riccaboni claimed that Slex had just wrestled for “nearly twenty minutes,” which was not even close to true. Taylor then told us that instead of talking about ROH’s new signees, they should be talking about the fact that he is now back in ROH because ROH has agreed to meet all of his demands. As a refresher for those who don’t know (because neither Taylor nor the announcers gave us one), those demands were:
1. He is put on all of the posters.
2. His buddies in Shane Taylor Promotions are given a six-man tag title shot where Taylor gets to pick their third partner.
3. Taylor himself is given an ROH World Title match at the time and place of his choosing.
4. He gets the biggest money deal in ROH history.
As I said in my review of Saturday Night at Center Stage 2020 when these demands were laid out, they are utterly ridiculous. Shane Taylor is very good. In kayfabe I would go so far was to justify calling him great. But he is NOWHERE NEAR good enough to justify meeting such ridiculous demands. If he really wants to be on all of the posters then fine, but Shane Taylor is not worth more than guys like Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe, Marty Scurll, Dragon Lee, Rush, Jeff Cobb, and Bandido make, and he's certainly not worth degrading the world title by giving him an MITB-style title shot that he has done thing to earn (he’s MAYBE worth giving his buddies a six-man tag title shot that they haven’t earned, but that’s not because Taylor is so great as much as because those belts have been degraded to the point where they don’t mean very much).
Here’s an idea: Instead of using the time between matches to plug t-shirts (especially for people like Dak Draper and Quinn McKay, which no one outside of their extended families will buy), how about we use this time to air promos to give us reasons to care about the wrestlers?
ANDREW EVERETT vs. ALEX ZAYNE - 6.5/10
Another solid match (this was flippier than the others). Zayne worked over the head and got the win. He’s certainly someone I’m happy to have around, but he doesn’t strike me as being any better than any other flippy guy off of the indies.
THE BRISCOES vs. FLAMITA & BANDIDO - 8/10
Eighteen minutes of awesome tag team action. It would have been nicer if everyone had kept better track of who the legal man was, though. I know that I certainly lost track, and I’m assuming the referee must have as well if he was counting two pins as once.
During intermission they showed the Briscoe vs. Briscoe match from Honor Invades Boston as a way to build up their scheduled match at Past vs. Present. While this certainly plays into the theme of the past very well, I think a better choice might have been the Briscoe vs. Briscoe match from Fifth Year Festival: Finale. Not only does this match avoid showing people the armory gym setting that early ROH was frequently stuck with as well as the bad commentary, but it also perfectly reflects what seems to be the kayfabe idea behind this match, which is the Briscoes wanting to fight each other to toughen each other up on their way to earning another title shot and hopefully winning the belts again.
ROH WORLD TITLE #1 CONTENDESHIP BATTLE ROYALE - 4.25/10
Maria Manic is in this battle royale, so I guess we’re really going with the intergender thing. Okay… in that case, why does Maria Mania get to be in this match and not any of the other women?
The announcers seemed surprised that Kenny King and Dragon Lee didn’t enter together because they’re both in the same stable, and Kenny seemed surprised as well. I, on the other hand, was surprised that Dragon Lee was back in the US this quickly, as I just watched him wrestle a highly-publicized match in Japan this morning. There is no excuse for the announcers not being suspicious of this.
This match was everyone else on the usual roster you don’t see listed as being in a match, plus Delirious, who you expect in a spot like this… plus that Danhausen freak from the previous weekend (the one who crashed commentary and made both announcers uncomfortable enough to ask for security) plus GANGREL, BLUE MEANIE, AND CROWBAR. Why are we doing things to make this company seem like a pathetic indy who has to book undercard acts from the Monday Night Wars Era and pretend that they’re big deals?
Gangrel spat blood in Kenny King’s face before the match. On the one hand this is a nice callback to the previous Honor Rumble from G1 Supercard, but on the other hand, it means we are once again repeating the story of Kenny King hiding on the outside… although at least this time it’s involuntary).
People hiding on the outside is one of those things that is such a flagrant violation of the spirit of the rules that it is continually baffling that no promotion has taken any steps to prevent it. Why can’t the referee just walk up to Silas Young and say “Silas, if you’re not in the ring by the count of five, I’m going to declare you eliminated by forfeit because you’re trying to avoid competing in this match?”
While the fact that Kenny is outside of the ring involuntarily at this point makes his presence there a little more palatable, that is pretty much entirely undone by the fact that there are FOUR OTHER PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE AS WELL. In addition to Delirious, who is doing his usual run around the ring wackiness, we’ve got Silas Young, Josh Woods, and Brian Johnson all refusing to get in the ring. That’s THREE HEELS doing the same heel gimmick- i.e. the ONLY heel gimmick- in the same battle royale.
In the limited stuff he did, Gangrel actually didn’t look terrible, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make young Brian Johnson look really pathetic for getting beaten up by a man who is a week shy of his fiftieth birthday.
Speaking of Johnson, it turns out this guy is thirty years old and has been wrestling since 2007. In the NORTHEAST. And he was so meh (or worse) that pretty much everyone I have encountered, as well as myself (and, once again, I am a writer for a pro wrestling website) had never heard of the guy and assumed he was some new ROH Dojo trainee. And ROH decides to bring this guy in and bring him around the country to be an abrasive comedy geek heel. WHY? If that’s what you’re going to do with him, why even use the guy? Is paying money for and giving TV time to an undercard comedy geek heel really going to help the promotion? The past three years of Rhett Titus certainly haven’t, and Rhett is a much better wrestler, a much better promo, and has more ROH cache than this dork.
Anyway, at least this made Dak Draper look a little more impressive when he eliminated Gangrel. This was the first of about four eliminations in a row by Draper, which made him look pretty darn good as Ian Riccaboni was getting me excited for his TV Title shot at the end of this month at Gateway to Honor 2020. Then he got eliminated by Cheeseburger via low bridge, completely undoing all of that.
The Bouncers got to run wild for a bit until Blue Meanie asked them to do his stupid dance with them because they’re all fat guys. They danced together. At that point, in a spot seemingly designed solely to inflict mental anguish upon me personally, Brian Johnson snuck up behind Meanie and eliminated him. My natural instinct is to cheer for the old goofball comedy loser being ejected from a #1 contendership match that he has no place in, but on the other hand, the guy doing the elimination was Brian Johnson, who then did his stupid, spastic over the top goofball celebration of this non-accomplishment, leading to him being summarily beaten up by the Bouncers (after crossing himself while standing with his back to them, because comedy), and he would have been eliminated if not for his self-appointed mentor P.J. Black running over to save him. Johnson repaid this kindness by giving up on eliminating Beer City Bruiser to instead run over and eliminate the much lighter P.J. Black. Hopefully this will lead to P.J. just giving up on trying to help this loser, challenging him to a wrestling match where he utterly obliterates him and puts him out of ROH so that no more of our time will ever be wasted with Generic Goofball #7.
Johnson was then eliminated by Maria Manic, but they made the mistake of having the first offensive move she hit be a testicular claw. If you fans to take this competitor as equal to or greater in ability to the larger competitors surrounding her, DON’T HAVE HER NEED TO CHEAT. Because that’s what this was. Sure, it’s technically not illegal in a battle royale, but in the same way that Dak Draper getting eliminated here is supposed to protect him going into his TV Title shot because we’re supposed to think “well, he only went over the top rope. If this was a real match, we don’t know who would have pinned who,” how are we not supposed to think “if this was a real match, she wouldn’t be allowed to do that?” What would have been wrong with just having her punch Johnson in the face before picking him up for the press slam down to the floor? That it wouldn’t get a laugh? If you’re basing your decisions on “would this get a laugh?” booking professional wrestling isn’t the job for you.
And this isn’t a gender issue, either. The point is that she did something to get an advantage that wouldn’t be allowed to under normal circumstances. The fact that she is a she is not relevant. There is a reason that babyfaces don’t go around kicking people in the nuts and raking eyes in battle royale even though it’s not technically illegal.
The stuff Maria did with Rhett Titus moments later resulting in her eliminating Rhett was much better. That being said, the thing about it that entertained me the most was that the ring was clear for them because everyone else in the match was all in one corner trying to eliminate the Bouncers. And then we missed the ROAR! spot because we were focused on Maria celebrating, so we just saw her posing and then a bunch of random geeks came flying into the background. It was pretty funny.
Maria then got to eliminate the Bouncers. Unfortunately, in the process of doing this, she interrupted their attempt to eliminate Dorkhausen from the match, which is an unforgivable crime. She then had a little segment with Silas that ended when Bully Ray came out and helped Silas pull her over the top rope from the outside. Bully hit her with a chair, then powerbombed her through a table. Well… I guess that protects Maria in that she didn’t have to lose fairly (and thus protects the entire women’s division by not having the top woman’s attempt to compete with a bunch of sub-main event male talent end in a clean loss), and it also hopefully means we’ll get just this minimal amount of Bully Ray on this show, so I guess I liked this well enough.
That said, if guys like Brian Johnson and Dorkhausen can get into this match, why wasn’t Bully Ray in this match? Surely he would want to be in a battle royale for a title shot, right?
Delirious and Dorkhausen did some comedy together, leading to Dorkhausen eliminating Delirious. Dorkhausen then went toe to toe with Silas until Silas mercifully removed Dorkhausen from my presence. “THANK YOU, SILAS!” *clap* *clap* *clap*clap*clap*.
In the end things came down to Silas, Woods, Tracy Williams, and “Dragon Lee.” Woods and Silas worked together and eliminated Tracy, leaving the two heels alone with “Dragon Lee.” Woods accidentally knocked Silas off the apron and then was quickly eliminated by “Dragon Lee…” and then Kenny King swooped in from behind and dumped “Dragon Lee,” but “Dragon Lee” skinned the cat and eliminated Kenny. Props to them because despite writing an entire paragraph about him hiding on the outside and meaning to find a natural place in this review to insert the fact that he had been “taken to the back for medical attention,” I did actually completely forget about Kenny King and was thus surprised when he came back.
Any credit they get for that, though, was washed by away by this whole “Dragon Lee” thing. HOW THE F*CK WAS NO ONE SUSPICIOUS? It’s not like Dragon Lee is some no-name guy who we barely know. He’s the current ROH TV Champion and went to wrestle across the globe for ROH’s chief partner promotion. How was no one in the building suspicious?
“Dragon Lee” eventually unmasked himself to reveal Flip Gordon. Okay… I can buy that Flip needed to sneak his way into this match because he already wrestled and isn’t allowed to wrestle twice on the same show, but you can’t do it using f*cking Dragon Lee! You have to use some no-name indy guy and his mask who won’t make anyone suspicious!
In summary, if they had done the Flip Gordon thing better and also not included Brian Johnson, I think I would have liked this more. Truth be told, when I looked at the names in the match, it really didn’t feel like a bunch of geeks having a battle royale. Kenny King, Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas, Tracy Williams, P.J. Black, Rhett Titus, Delirious, Maria Manic, Dak Draper, Eli Isom, and Cheeseburger have all either done enough in their ROH careers or are currently being portrayed at a high enough level that I have no problem with them being given a spot in a battle royale like this. Even Crowbar I probably wouldn’t have had much of a problem with if they had let him use the Devon Storm name. This was not a match full of geeks, and Flip feels like he really did win something here.
Also, two more thoughts I’d like to share:
1. When Flip was revealed as “Dragon Lee” I was little baffled because I have no interest in the idea of dissension within Villain Enterprises. So either we’re going to get an odd intra-stable match, or this is a sign that PCO is not long for the world title.
2. If #1 winds up as the latter option, I will be very happy. Towards the end of this match when I saw the final few left, I was struck by the following thought: I have absolutely no interest in seeing PCO face any of these guys. Not because I don’t care about the wrestlers, but rather because I have no faith that any match they have with PCO would be any good. MAYBE we could get something out of Silas vs. PCO, but it would have to be another PCO plunder-fest, and the returns on those have already begun diminishing greatly.
Not only is that bad because it means that the world champion isn’t someone who can put on good matches on a regular basis, but it also cuts off an avenue to elevation for a lot of guys who might well have the ability to bust out of the midcard. For the majority of ROH’s past champions, when I think about that person as they were as ROH World Champion and think of the possibility of that person wrestling a Josh Woods or a Tracy Williams or a Flip Gordon, I find myself thinking “yeah, I’d like to see what this guy could do with Woods/Tracy/Flip.” The only champions of the thirty-one previous titles reigns I don’t find myself thinking that about are Jay Briscoe 1 and Cody, and maybe also Rush and Morishima. ALL of those other champions (and maybe even Rush and Morishima as well) are guys who you could stick a guy like Woods, Tracy, or Flip in the ring with and reasonably expect a great enough match that Woods/Tracy/Flip would come out looking stronger than they did going in, even with a clean loss. PCO just can’t do that, and being able to do that is large part of what a world champion needs to do, and that is especially true in a promotion that wants people to think of it as a work-rate promotion like ROH.
SUMIE SAKAI vs. “SESSION MOTH” MARTINA - 0.25/10
The Allure were on commentary for this match. They were rightfully appalled by the Session Moth, as the very first thing she did in ROH was sexually harass a referee by grinding on him.
Sumie brought an open can of… something… to the ring. We don’t know what it was because the majority of the can was taped over with yellow tape. Martina happily accepted this gift. Has no one told her to never accept an open drink at a party? Then again, I’m willing to bet that Martina is dumb enough to drink bleach straight from the bottle if you told her it was a new brand of liquor.
Sumie offered a handshake but used it as a basis to try to catch Martina with a cheap-shot. Martina blocked it… and then immediately turned her back to her opponent so she could attempt to grind on her. Then Sumie kicked Martina in the back of the head and knocked her out cold. Or at least that’s what would have happened if I were booking. Actually, if I were booking, the Session Goof wouldn’t be allowed within fifty feet of any building ROH was running.
Instead of trying to win the wrestling match, Sumie pulled the referee in the way so that Martina would grind on him some more. Martina kept grinding on the referee until Sumie walked up RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER and kicked her in the stomach, with Martina doing nothing to block this oncoming attack because she’s a moron.
On commentary, Ian teased a big announcement for the Women of Honor coming in the next week. Mandy Leon, sounding as bored as I was watching this match, asked if the announcement was that ROH was getting rid of Martina. Riccaboni said it was not. Drat.
More stuff happened. Every time Martina would get an advantage, instead of pressing her advantage in the hopes of winning a wrestling match, she would sexually harass her opponent instead. She did her dumb spot where she hits the ropes a bunch of times like she’s going to do a dive but then slows down because she is so drugged up that she has already run out of breath, and somehow being given beer revives her. Or maybe she’s a robot from Futurama and beer is her fuel. Either way, I don’t want to see her in or around a professional wrestling ring.
Martina’s perversion rubbed off on Sumie, who trapped her in the apron and started to spank her. Sumie beat Martina up for a while, which was the only part of this match that even vaguely resembled being enjoyable. The Session Goof made a comeback that was almost entirely punch-kick stuff. She tried to give Sumie a stinkface but got the referee by accident. Angelina Love expressed exactly my thoughts when she disgustedly asked “is this what we have to look forward to in Women of Honor?”
The ref took a bump from this stinkface. Actually, more likely is that he suffocated from inhaling whatever weapons-grade biological agent has grown on the Petri dish that is the ass of Martina’s pants, as she appears to rub it on just about everything she can find, so who knows what deadly concoction is growing there.
Sumie beat Martina up with a chair and went to get the referee, but this gave Martina time to recover and she was able to hit her finisher- the only good thing about her- and get the win. This was boring and frustrating at the same time, with limited good moments and my own generosity saving it from being a dud.
PROVING GROUND MATCH:
ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham vs. Jeff Cobb & Dan Maff - 7.25/10
Cobb was the babyface in peril here, which sounds hard to believe but they made it work. Maff looked a step slower than the others at times, but he also had some absolutely great moments, such as his physical and verbal expression of frustration with Todd Sinclair when we got the classic spot where the babyface in peril finally makes the tag but the refer is distracted by the heels thus didn’t see it. Cobb & Maff got the win when Maff pinned Lethal, setting up a tag title match.
REY HORUS vs. BRODY KING - 5/10
This was much shorter than I expected and felt shockingly one-sided.
NICK ALDIS & RUSH vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll & PCO) - 6.5/10
This had some decent stuff, but for an ROH main event, it was disappointing. At this point PCO appears totally useless if it’s not a garbage match, and neither Rush nor Aldis have been setting the world on fire over the past few months, either, so the choice of this group of main eventers feels like a rather poor one. The finish here- Rush walking out on Aldis because PCO pulled him into the way of Aldis’ elbow drop- only made it worse, as it’s such an un-ROH finish. The idea of a resulting Aldis vs. PCO match for the NWA World Heavyweight Title is something I absolutely dread seeing, so that doesn’t help matters, either.
MARTY SCURLL PROMO - Good delivery, but dull content. Scurll offers Aldis a deal: If Scurll wins their upcoming match (I’m not sure if this is in ROH or the NWA), he wins the NWA World Heavyweight Title, but if Aldis win, Scurll will pay him $500,000. This apparently ties into something Aldis said in a promo so it makes sense, but it’s a match I have little desire to see, and stipulations I don’t care one bit about. Scurll also announced that Aldis will face PCO at Supercard of Honor XIII, which is a match that, as I said above, I really, truly, don’t want to see.
This was a disappointing show from ROH. In the ring it was pretty good, but if this is a new booking direction, it sure didn’t feel like it. It felt like any other show from the past few years. A lack of promos and angles that feel abstract led to matches that, while very good, never really felt consequential, and were pretty much all given the same 10-15 minutes instead of giving certain matches a chance to really stand out and become memorable.