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ROH Free Enterprise
by Samoa Rowe
February 9, 2020
Joe Koff thanks the ROH fans and announces upcoming changes to Honor Club, including the entire back catalog.
From the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Our hosts are Caprice Coleman and Ian Riccaboni. There's a healthy crowd in the building, which is to be expected since tickets were free.
Mark Haskins vs. Alex Shelley
A friendly Code of Honor sets the tone and they exchange holds to applause. Shelley traps the leg and pulls Haskins onto his back for a hangman stretch, but Haskins counters with a roll-up for 2. Haskins blasts Shelley's chest with a kick. Haskins scores a tope suicida and hunts Shelley down for a second dive. Haskins dishes out a targeted assault on Shelley's wrist. Shelley desperately uses rope breaks to survive. Shelley defiantly calls Haskins a "stupid S.O.B." and dares him to kick his chest, which Haskins obliges. Shelley strikes his way back into the fight, but they both go down on stereo clothesline attempts (cue the applause). Haskins traps the arm again, but Shelley improvises with knife edge chops. Haskins delivers a closed fist to the head but Shelley answers with a snap suplex. Shelley drops Haskins onto the second turnbuckle. Shelley's wrist is too injured to deliver a suplex, giving Haskins an opening to nails the Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Haskins misses a flying double stomp and eats Shelley's standing Sliced Bread. Haskins survives the Border City Stretch and locks on a Sharpshooter! Haskins traps the injured wrist to prevent a rope break and Shelley submits at 11:54! Strong, mat-based opener, with the injured body part angle actually making a big difference in the finish, ***¼.
Winner: Mark Haskins
The Righteous (Vincent and Bateman, with Chuckles the Clown and Vita) vs. Joe Hendry and Dalton Castle (with The Boys)
Castle declares that Vincent and Bateman would be so lucky to shake Hendry's hand, but the Code of Honor is rejected. Good start by Hendry and Castle, as they keep Bateman on defense. Vincent distracts by waving around Matt Taven's crutch, Hendry clotheslines Bateman out of the ring and challenges Vincent to a fight, but Bateman sneaks back to snap his neck, and give The Righteous the advantage. The crowd is pretty quiet as The Righteous work Hendry over by making quick tags. Crowd comes alive for Hendry's suplex counter. Castle gets the hot tag and is a HOUSE EN FUEGO! Castle hits Vincent with a German Suplex for a great pop. Castle drapes Bateman on the turnbuckles but runs into a Vincent lariat. Hendry assists with a double fallaway slam on both Bateman and Vincent! Castle throws Vincent into Hendry's facebuster, but Chuckle's interference allows Vincent to finish Hendry with Sliced Bread at 12:23. Decent match that was getting over just as it ended, **¾.
Winners: Vincent and Bateman
Quinn McKay plugs her merchandise before putting over today's event as a "thank you" to the fans. She announces that ROH will return to this building for Best in the World.
Slex video package. He looks good in a suit and hangs out in urban centers.
Slex vs. Flip Gordon
Code of Honor is adhered, but Slex hesitates to take off his shades. They exchange holds and Slex hits a shoulder tackle. Gordon pops up for a shove and his own shoulder tackle. Slex misses a springboard crossbody and an enziguri, and we have a stalemate. Slex counters with a slingshot backbreaker and shoulder tackles Gordon at ringside. Gordon sells a bad back as Slex works him over, hitting a delayed vertical suplex. Gordon throws chops, but Slex cuts him off with a powerbomb for 2. Slex hits a wheelbarrow suplex, but Gordon, running on fumes, pops up and collides in a double down spot. Gordon lives up to his "Flip" name as he hits a sunset flip bomb, hook kick, and twisting Falcon Arrow, but Slex kicks out! Slex comes back with a torture rack into a powerbomb for a great nearfall. Desperation super kick by Gordon and a top rope kick to the face. Gordon dropkicks Slex into the rail and follows with a top rope moonsault to ringside! Springboard spear by Gordon only gets 2! The Flip-5 and Curb Stomp finishes Slex at 10:30! Impressive showing by Gordon and a nice debut by Slex, even if he lost, ***.
Winner: Flip Gordon
Shane Taylor leads the Soldiers of Savagery into the ring to beat up Slex. Taylor grabs a mic and announces that he's signed a new ROH contract after having all his demands met. Business is booming!
Alex Zayne vs. Andrew Everett
Bell rings and they keep a quick pace, bouncing off the ropes and blocking rana's with cartwheels. Zayne hits a pair of enziguri's. Everett answers with a springboard missile dropkick. Everett hits a corkscrew plancha to ringside. Zayne answers with a rapid dive and running SSP in the ring. Everett comes back with a pair of springboard moonsaults for 2. Zayne blocks a chokeslam and hits a leaping kick and pendulum facebuster. Somersault guillotine leg drop by Zayne gets 2. Zayne misses a SSP double stomp and Everett nails a Pele kick. Springboard tornado plancha by Everett gets a good 2 count. Everett hits a top rope reverse rana, but Zayne lands on his feet, but Everett recovers with another reverse rana on the mat for 2. Everett misses a SSP, and Zayne hits a SSP knees to the back! The Pump Handle Cobra Driver finishes Everett at 9:09. If you're going to do a shameless indie-riffic festival of MOVES, do it like this, ***½.
Winner: Alex Zayne
Mexisquad (Flamita and Bandido) vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe
"MEXISQUAD?" That stable name is DEATH, CHANGE IT NOW! That's 2 steps away from being "The Mexicools." Crowd is jazzed for this at the opening bell. Mark starts with a headlock on Flamita. They sprint to a stalemate. Bandido squares off against Jay and hits a hard hook kick. The Briscoes try to double team Bandido, but Flamita helps with a back handspring elbow. Bandido hits quick superkicks, and Flamita overwhelms Jay with quick attacks. Flamita hits a HIGH Asai moonsault, and Bandido follows with a SLICK SSP to ringside. Mexisquad place the BRiscoes in place for a tandem wheelbarrow moonsault for 2! The Briscoes come back with a Full Nelson suplex/running boot combo on Flamita. Mark suplexes Bandido on the floor for good measure. Jay throws a chair into the ring to distract the ref and helps Mark beat up Bandido. Mark hits a dive off the standing chair onto the field! Mark hits a second dive off the chair and the fans are loving this. Mark hits a Cactus elbow drop off, and somewhere Mick Foley is flinching. Bandido counters a 2 on 1 attack and leaps off Jay to springboard Mark out of the ring. Flamita and Bandido swarm and Flamita scores a high plancha on Mark at ringside. Bandido kills Jay with a modified G2S for 2! Flamita hits Jay with a 450 splash, but Mark saves the match. Mark pulls Bandido off the top with the Iconoclast. Mark and Flamita exchange stiff shots until Mark hits an overhead belly to belly suplex, and Jay assists for REDNECK BOOGIE, but Flamita kicks out! Flamita hits a superkick and corner 619 before hitting both Briscoes with a double missile dropkick! Flamita leaps off Bandido's shoulders for a 2 count on Mark, as Jay saves it all. Mark blocks Flamita's moonsault! Mark hits a flying blockbuster off the apron and serves Flamita up to Jay for a neckbreaker and FROGGY ELBOW, but Bandido makes the last second save! Cue the "This is awesome" chants. Flamita and Bandido hit stereo Spanish Flies, but the BRISCOES KICK OUT! Mark kills Bandido with a Brainbuster on the apron! The Briscoes finish Flamita with the DOOMSDAY DEVICE at 17:53! This was completely awesome, albeit perhaps with the wrong winners. The Briscoes can still hang, ****½.
Winners: The Briscoes
Over the Top Battle Royal
Featuring: Danhausen, Tracey Williams, Crowbar, Cheeseburger, Draper, Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas, Silas Young, Rhett Titus, LSG, Shaheem Ali, Eli Osom, Delirious, The Blue Meanie, Josh Woods, Brian Johnson, Maria Manic, PJ Black, Kenny King, Gangrel, and "Dragon Lee."
The winner receives a future ROH World title shot. Gangrel sprays blood in King's eyes before the bell and everyone swarms into the ring, aside from the cowardly Brian Johnson, and Delirious running laps. Danhausen pats Gangrel on the chest and eats a double underhook suplex. Johnson talks some smack and Gangrel plants him with his impaler DDT. Draper dumps Gangrel to massive crowd heat. A bunch of guys are tossed rapid fire style. Blue Meanie gets the Bouncers to dance with him before Johnson ambushes for the elimination. The Bouncers still wanted to party, so they double team Johnson with jabs, but he holds on to the ropes when tossed. Johnson dumps Black. Manic press slams Johnson over the ropes. Titus challenges Manic to a posedown, she reminds him that she's a Maneater and attacks. Titus reminds her that he's married, so she shoves him out. The Bouncers double team Danhausen, but Manic sneaks up to dump both big guys! A grateful Danhausen hugs Manic, but she shoves him down. Young dares Manic to man up and hit him, so she quiets the crowd and they trade knife edge chops! Young hits a backbreaker into a lariat. Young lifts Manic over the ropes and Bully Ray runs in to assist in pulling her out. Ray hits a chair shot and puts Manic through a table! Meanwhile, Danhausen and Delirious have a kooky showdown and share tea. Danhausen sneakily hits a bicycle kick and throws out the Lizard Man. Danhausen catches Young with a German suplex, but Young bounces up (no-sells) to eliminate him. Young rolls through Cheeseburger's crossbody and Wood assists so he can eliminate him via clothesline. The final four are Young, Woods, fake Dragon Lee, and Williams. Woods and Young double team Williams with a backbreaker/leg drop combo and toss him. Fake Lee manages to eliminate both Young and Woods, and King charges in for an ambush elimination, but "Lee" skins the cat and tosses King. Fake Lee is revealed to be Flip Gordon, and he wins it all! Fun battle royal with a cool swerve at the end, **¾.
Winner: Flip Gordon
Angelina Love and Mandy Leon join commentary to scout their competition.
Sumie Sakai vs. Session Moth Martina
Martina dances her way to the ring fisting two beers. Sakai tries to cheap shot during the Code of Honor, but Martina had her scouted. Martina gets carried away dancing with the ref, and let's Sakai get a free shot. They trade shoulder blocks, and Martina uses her size advantage to build some steam, hitting a graphic bronco buster along the way. Northern Lights suplex by Martina gets 2. Sakai retreats while Martina tires herself out running the ropes (Love: "She's wasted!"). Sakai lures Martina in with a beer, and traps her in the apron for… a spanking. Sakai takes over with methodical offense. Martina seems to sober up and (barely) hits an enziguri. Martina downs another beer, which seems to hulk her up and she rallies with a twisting suplex for 2. Sakai answers with a German for 2. Martina can't win with a knee strike so she hits running double knees to the face. Martina enjoys some more beer but misses a running hip check and the ref takes the bump… and a stinkface. Martina realizes she's made a mistake when Sakai charges at her with a chair, and she takes shots to the hand and shoulders. Sakai hits a DDT onto the chair and revives the ref. Martina surprises with a headbutt and crucifix bomb for the win at 10:55. This was pretty rough and I'm not sure if I love or hate Martina's shtick, *½.
Winner: Session Moth Martina
Proving Ground Match:
Dan Maff and Jeff Cobb vs. ROH Tag Team Champions Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham
Gresham is not intimidated by Cobb's substantial size advantage and uses his speed to evade. Maff and Lethal tag in and trade chops. Maff fakes Lethal out and slaps the face, prompting Lethal to hit a dropkick, but then run into Maff's nasty shoulder block. Lethal and Gresham regroup while Maff stands tall. Gresham and Lethal attempt a tandem suplex, but Maff reverses! Cobb returns with a dropkick on Lethal, followed by a standing moonsault. Lethal and Gresham get back into the match by targeting Cobb's knee. Cobb kicks off both champions to avoid Figure Fours, but the ref misses his tag. Cobb saves himself with a belly to belly suplex and Maff gets the hot tag. Lethal get swarmed and suffers Cobb's Tour of the Islands, but Gresham makes the save. Lethal's cutter gets 2. Gresham and Lethal try and fail to knock Maff off his feet with multiple dives. Lethal settles for a Figure Four on Cobb. Meanwhile, Maff crawls back in with Gresham clinging to a chokehold and slams him onto Lethal to break the hold. Cobb blocks Lethal's combination cutter and hits a power slam. Maff blocks the Lethal Injection, but Gresham catches him with a standing moonsault, followed by a dive onto Cobb. Maff catches Gresham with a BURNING HAMMER for the win at 12:45! I really enjoyed the dynamics between these teams and look forward to seeing more, ***½.
Winners: Dan Maff and Jeff Cobb
Rey Horus vs. Brody King
King gains a shove, but Horus pops up and waves his finger in the big man's face. Rana by Horus, but King explodes into a lariat. Power slam by King and a big splash gets 2. Horus kicks King off the apron, hits a glancing dropkick, but then scores the head scissors takedown to the floor. Horus wipes King out with a dive over the ring post! King answers with a shoulder block and piledriver for 2. Horus hits a springboard tornado DDT. King hits a wild lariat and the Gonzo Bomb for the win at 6:31. Brisk match that made good use of the time as they just threw hammers from beginning to end, ***.
Winner: Brody King
NWA World Champion Nick Aldis and Rush vs. Villain Enterprises (ROH World Champion PCO and Marty Scurll)
Rush cheap shots PCO before the bell and it's on. Rush takes a bow after hitting a dropkick, but Villain Enterprises swarm him in the buckles. Rush hits a nasty headbutt on Scurll and tags in Aldis, for some good old fashioned chain wrestling. Aldis gets double teamed from the ring, but Scurll pursues with a superkick. PCO misses the somersault senton onto the apron! PCO sits right up and dukes it out with Aldis until Rush ambushes and sends him into the rail. Rush fakes PCO out with a running corner dropkick and poses. Aldis and Rush isolate PCO and the crowd gets behind the champ. PCO saves himself with a double clothesline and Scurll gets the lukewarm tag. Scurll teases the Chicken Wing, but Aldis cuts him off and hits a Brainbuster. Scurll takes a turn getting isolated, but he manages a tornado DDT on Rush. PCO gets the (cold) hot tag and cleans house. PCO spears Rush. Scurll chops PCO to power him up and backdrops him onto Rush and Aldis at ringside! Crowd liked that. Aldis catches Scurll with a Tombstone piledriver, but PCO trips him on the top rope and Scurll hits a superplex. PCO follows with the Quebec Cannonball, but Rush saves the match. Aldis grapevines PCO's leg while Rush hits a back senton for 2. Aldis misses an elbow drop and hits Rush by accident (somewhat botched, as it wasn't clear that PCO had pulled Rush in). Rush abandons Aldis. Scurll stops Aldis from using the NWA title as a weapon and snaps his fingers. Chokeslam by PCO and moonsault finishes at 14:54! Solid main event, even if it was a bity "house showy." ***
Winners: PCO and Marty Scurll
Scurll grabs a mic and addresses Aldis' demand that he refund the fans at NWA's Crockett Cup if he loses. Scurll makes a counteroffer, promising to write a $500,000 check if he can't win the NWA title. Scurll also reveals that Aldis will face PCO at Supercard of Honor. Aldis doesn't like that idea one bit.
Final Thoughts: I'm not sure this was noticeably better or worse than most 2019 ROH shows I covered, but there was certainly a renewed sense of purpose and care displayed by the roster up and down the card. It's nice thinking that ROH has a future after all. Check this out for the Briscoes vs…. Mexisquad (ugh), and the continuation of Scurll vs. Aldis from Powerrr.
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