ROH Honor Reigns Supreme
by Samoa Rowe
January 13, 2019
From the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, North Carolina. Our hosts are Colt Cabana, Ian Riccaboni, and Caprice Coleman. Before the commentators can run down the card, they're interrupted by an in-ring promo by John Skyler, Corey Hollis, and Josey Quinn. Skylar is the mouthpiece and runs the fans down for being hillbillies before issuing an open six man challenge.
Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, and Ryan Nova vs. John Skyler, Corey Hollis, and Josey Quinn
The heels cheap shot before the bell, but the good guys reverse Irish whips at ringside to get right back into it. Isom pops the crowd with a dive to the floor. Hollis distracts the referee long enough for his team to cheap shot Nova to isolate him. Cheeseburger gets a hot tag but quickly gets Isom for a straight jacket German suplex on Quinn. Hollis makes a save, but Cheeseburger knocks him down before walking into Skyler's shotgun spear. Isom saves with a release Northern Lights, and he and Nova lift up Quinn for a top rope double stomp by Cheeseburger and it's over at 5:40. Subpar spotfest by the job squad, *½.
Winners: Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, and Ryan Nova
The Beer City Bruiser vs. Mark Haskins
Haskins is one of the new signings meant to fill the void left by the departing Elite crew. Haskins charges in but shakes hands with the kindly Bruiser. Haskins looks for a waistlock, but Bruiser shakes him off and demands a fight. Haskins obliges with some hard shots that Bruiser absorbs, and takes control with a drop-kick. The ref admonishes the Bruiser for biting, to which Bruiser reminds him that he has no teeth. Man, Bruiser is having a blast out there. Haskins comes back with a wild armbar, but Bruiser breaks free via a Samoan Drop. Bruiser misses a Vader Bomb elbow drop, but is able to block all of Haskin's tricks. Haskins finally connects with a closed fist, but Bruiser slams him for a 2 count. Bruiser counters with a jackhammer but misses a frog splash. Haskins delivers a flying double stomp for the win at 6:49. Really disappointing showing from Haskins, who failed to make any statement or portray himself as a rising star, *¼.
Winner: Mark Haskins
Bruiser toasts Haskins afterwards, and they head off to the bar.
Best Friends (Chucky T and Beretta) vs. IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson and David Finlay
ROH's relationship with New Japan continues to pay off, as Juice provides a needed boost of starpower to this undercard. Juice and Beretta antagonize each other while making clean breaks. They sprint to a stalemate, where Beretta goes out of his way to intimidate Robinson. Tags are made and the young Finlay is making his debut as an official member of the ROH roster. Chucky T is hapless and eats a double bulldog. Chucky defiantly kicks out and hits Soul Food early. Best Friends take control of the match by draping Finlay on the barricade for a double stomp to the back. Finlay takes a good beating before making a hot tag to Robinson, who cleans house until eating Beretta's SUPERKICK! That just made me miss the Young Bucks. Robinson and Beretta exchange chops until Juice goes wild with his patented jabs and DDT. Juice continues to roll with a cannonball, but Beretta counters with a tornado DDT. Half-Dragon suplex by Beretta sets up a knee to the head for 2. A extended series of counters results in Robinson's gut-buster leaving them both down. Tags are made, and Finlay and Chucky duke it out. Chucky hits a vicious piledriver, but Juice saves the match. Beretta wipes Juice out with a dive, while Chucky hits Finlay with a superkick. Finlay counters by dropping him head-first on his knee and wins at 14:48. Good stuff here with Finlay putting in a strong babyface performance, ***.
Winners: David Finlay and Juice Robinson
The commentators try to put over the VetTix organization but Kenny King interrupts them in the booth. He replaces Caprice Coleman for the next match.
Tracy Williams vs. Flip Gordon
This has the potential to be very good. Williams made a name for himself in EVOLVE but has signed a new contract with ROH. Gordon recently had an inexplicable ****+ match with Bully Ray of all people. Bell rings and they keep a good pace while exchanging holds. Williams scores a springboard dropkick. Flip seems to have injured his knee and is hobbling. Gordon rolls to the floor and referee Todd Sinclair waves off the match at 3:12. Williams is declared the victor and is none too happy about it. No rating due to the injury.
Winner: Tracy Williams
Kenny King buries Gordon on commentary for getting hurt and not being able to continue. King is making a strong case for why he should be the #1 contender to Jay Lethal's ROH title, it's just a shame that he isn't all that over. King tells Riccaboni that he's terrible at his job and wishes him a terrible birthday.
Proving Ground Match:
ROH Six-man Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, and TK O'Ryan) vs. Luchasaurus, Delirious, and Hurricane Helms
Luchasaurus is introduced as half-Lucha, half-dinosaur, and I'm instantly a fan. Delirious does his stoic pose until going nuts at the opening bell, and I'm struck by how much I missed this act. Taven offends the lizard man, so he tags Helms in and perches himself on the floor. TK steps up against Helms, who gets the best of him. Vinny tags and demands the dinosaur, who obliges. Luchasaurus proves himself to be an agile big man. Delirious gets a chance to run wild, but Marseglia uses his voodoo vice lock to shift the momentum to the Kingdom's favor. Helms gets a hot tag and unleashes his greatest hits while running wild through the Kingdom. Marseglia blocks the Hurri-chokeslam and nails a reverse DDT for 2. Luchasaurus saves Helms from a double team and flips around to catch Taven, and the masked guys hit 3 chokeslams at once! The match has broken down, and Delirious gets caught in the House of 1,000 Horses and the Kingdom wins at 13:51! It ended right as it started to get really interesting, but I suppose it's good to give the Kingdom a dominant win, **¾.
Winners: The Kingdom
PJ Black vs. Bandido
In case you forgot, PJ Black was once known as Justin Gabriel and had a memorable run in WWE as a member of the Nexus. He's now sporting some gray in his beard. Bandido is one of ROH's big free agent signings, as his buddy, Andrade Almas, allegedly talked him out of signing with WWE. Bell rings and they keep a brisk pace while feeling each other out. Black gets carried away posing and eats a superkick and pair of suicide dives. Bandido hits a third back handspring dive for the exclamation mark. Black recovers with a flying double stomp to Bandido's shoulders. Snap suplex by Black leads to an armlock. Black continues to pile it on with a back suplex into another arm submission. Black sends Bandido to the floor with a head scissors and connects with a series of dives. Black springboards into Bandido's arms, and ends up eating a hurricanrana. Bandido nails a springboard spinning senton and delivers an interesting tilt-a-whirl bulldog of sorts while Black was on his knees. Black counters with a twisting brainbuster for 2. They simultaneously go for springboards and Black grabs a mid-air rana for a great nearfall! Black applies a pendulum submission and swings him around insultingly. Bandido recovers with a crucifix slam into a cover. Bandido hits a West Knee (modified Go To Sleep) for a good nearfall. Black answers with a somewhat clunky neckbreaker for a flat 2 count, but the fans are now chanting for Bandido, who answers with a headscissors armbar. They have a collision on the top rope, but Bandido recovers to hit a super fallaway slam for the win at 14:05! Very good exhibition match for Bandido, who did a lot here to justify his status as a hot free agent signing, ***¼.
Proving Ground Instant Reward:
ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb vs. Rhett Titus vs. Jonathan Gresham vs. Shane Taylor
If anyone besides Jeff Cobb wins, that winner gets an instant ROH TV title match right here and now. Taylor cuts a promo beforehand trashing-talking his opponents and walking out of the match, as he seems to feel that he shouldn't be in this position. Taylor storms out, so it appears we have a triple threat on our hands. Gresham puts on an athletic show against Titus, but Cobb holds his ground and deflects a flying crossbody. Titus puts Gresham down with a drop-kick and trades blows with Cobb. Cobb hits Titus with a delayed vertical superplex, but Gresham saves the match. Gresham targets Cobb's knee with kicks, Cobb blocks a drop toe hold, so Gresham hyper-extends the knee instead! Great psychology! Titus sneaks in for a helicopter slam, but Cobb takes them both down, hitting a standing moonsault on Gresham. Gresham recovers with a standing moonsault on Titus, suicide dive on Cobb, but Titus blocks a shooting star press! Buckle bomb y Titus, who follows with a diving cannonball on Cobb! Titus hits a front face DDT on Gresham but Cobb saves the match! Titus monkey flips Cobb and hits rapid running boots. Cobb answers with a piledriver and Black Hole Slam for the win at 8:22. I fully expected Taylor to sneak in and steal a pinfall to get the title match, so I'm a tad deflated. Everyone looked good here, this left me wanting more, **¾.
Winner: Jeff Cobb
Silas Young storms in to provide a distraction and Shane Taylor ambushes Jeff Cobb with the TV title!
Women of Honor Championship (Street Fight):
Kelly Klein © (with Camp Klein) vs. Jenny Rose
Camp Klein consists of two men and two women, and they provide a distraction at the opening bell, allowing Klein an early advantage. Rose avoids a chair shot by hitting a spear. Klein looks for a weapon but only finds a Marseglia balloon, to which Rose capitalizes with another spear. Rose uses a bungie cord as a weapon, but Klein wrenches her off the top rope and uses the bungie to administer a cravat. Rose steals a tie and chokes Rose out in a “Justin Roberts” moment. Klein orders her minions to set up a table but Rose reverses a suplex on the floor. Rose builds some momentum, folding Klein up with a suplex in the ring. Rose places Klein on the ringside table and delivers a splash that fails to break the table! Cue the Botchamania “I AM THE TABLE” meme! Rose goes for a sleeper, but Klein puts her through the table in a backpack power bomb! The previously dead crowd pops big for that. Rose is up first and piles chairs in the ring for a rough superplex landing! Rose is slow making the cover for 2. Rose gets the ring bell, but Camp Klein keep her from using it. Klein slams Rose onto the chairs for the win at 12:37. Admirable effort from these competitors, but I'm afraid that neither of them are particularly good. This title and division has their work cut out for them, **½.
Winner and still Women of Honor Champion: Kelly Klein
Villain Enterprises (Marty Scurll, PCO, and Brody King) vs. ROH Tag Team Champions The Briscoes (Jay and Mark) and Silas Young
PCO is Pierre Carl Oullet, previously of the Quebecers, and is making a hugely unexpected comeback as an indie darling in the 2010's. PCO and King are considered big free agent signings by ROH. King steps up first against Jay Briscoe and looks right at home against the ROH legend. Mark tags himself in and the fans demand PCO, who is playing a madman and exchanges nasty chops. PCO wins the exchange and Mark collapses hard to the mat. Scurll and Young tag and keep the chops coming. Scurll uses a wristlock to set up a driving heel to the elbow. The match breaks down as Villain Enterprises swarm the opposition. PCO goes to the top rope and Mark whips him off onto the apron! Young stomps a mudhole on Scurll, who gets isolated for the heat sequence. King gets a hot tag and simply plows through the Briscoes, hitting a ridiculous springboard somersault armdrag on both of them. King follows with a seated senton to the floor and then throws PCO over the ropes onto the Briscoes. Scurll returns for a Dragon Suplex on Mark, and King hits a TKO for a 2 count. Mark bulldogs Scurll and Jay tags for a slugfest. King clotheslines Jay but Mark takes him down with a flying boot. PCO brings Mark to the apron but Silas saves with a decapitation clothesline. Silas delivers a NASTY Canadian Destroyer to PCO on the apron! Silas tries to put Scurll on a table but King ends up throwing Mark through it off the top rope! Meanwhile, Scurll powerbombs Jay into place for PCO's guillotine leg drop! PCO wipes Young out with a torpedo dive, and Jay is alone for King's Gonzo Bomb. PCO finishes Jay with a moonsault at 17:06! Wild, hard-hitting spot-fest by a strange cast of characters, ***¾.
Winners: Villain Enterprises
NWA World Champion Nick Aldis, with Kamille, graces us with his presence. Before joining commentary, he cuts a cheesy promo about how effective and hot Kamille is, and is embracing the role of an old school NWA Champion. Aldis declares himself to be the real world champion but puts over the working relationship between the current incarnation of the NWA and ROH, and they'll be bringing back the Crockett Cup to this very arena in April. Aldis plants the seeds for an upcoming match against Lethal before taking off.
ROH World Championship:
Jay Lethal © vs. Dalton Castle (with The Boys)
Lethal is on the verge of breaking the records of most time spent as ROH champion and most successful title defenses. This is Castle's “contractually obligated” title shot since losing the belt last summer. Bell rings and they each miss running boots and Castle throws a pair of suplexes and slams Lethal for a 1 count. Lethal retreats to the floor, where Castle hits a back suplex. Lethal desperately drives Castle into the barricade (taking out a production crew member) but Castle retains control with a DDT in the ring. Lethal surprises with an early Lethal Injection for a 1 count! After the quick start, Lethal slows things down with submission holds. Castle takes a rough bump through the ropes and The Boys have to revive him with fans. Castle desperately counters a chinlock via electric chair slam. Lethal shakes Castle off against the barricade and delivers a pair of dives. Castle blocks a third dive, but Lethal improvises with a cutter on the padding. Castle counters the flying elbow with a roll-up, but Lethal kicks out and hits Hail to the King. Castle rallies, hitting a running knee to send Lethal crashing to ringside. Castle's dive connects and a switching bulldog gets a decent nearfall. Castle softens the back and nails a snap German suplex. Lethal reverses and hits the Lethal Injection for the win at 16:25. They couldn't maintain the intensity of the first few minutes, but worked hard to send the fans home happy, ***½.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Jay Lethal
Final Thoughts: At over 3 hours, there just isn't enough here for me to recommend the time commitment this show requires. I was curious about the influx of new talent and this did answer many questions I had (particularly the otherworldly showing by PCO). Unless you're a die hard, you should probably skip this and get caught up during video packages at the next ROH PPV. Thumb in the Middle.
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