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ROH 19th Anniversary Show
by Samoa Rowe
March 26, 2021
From the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore, Maryland, behind closed doors. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, and Rocky Romero.
An excellent opening video package shows piles of ROH DVD's laying around in a collection, and then shows a VHS copy of The Era of Honor Begins being placed into a VCR, and highlights of numerous ROH legends. I've lived long enough to feel nostalgic for the early 2000's.
ROH Television Championship:
Kenny King © (with Amy Rose) vs. Tracy Williams
Williams is perpetually sporting shoulder tape, so expect that to come into play later. They start with some creative chain wrestling. King fires back with clubbing blows and a strong dropkick, and later a spinebuster. Tiger Bomb by King gets an early nearfall. King rakes the eyes and then totally misses an uppercut (that Williams sells anyway). Backflip dropkick by King, but Williams DDT's him into the buckles. DVD by Williams gets a good nearfall. They trade slaps and Williams works a crossface variation, but Rose breaks it up. Low blow by King earns an inside cradle for 2. Rose tosses in the TV title, but Williams hits a piledriver and wins at 7:19! Great action in a tight package, **½.
Winner and new ROH Television Champion: Tracy Williams
Flip Gordon vs. Mark Briscoe
They stand forehead to forehead and brawl at the opening bell. Flip kips up to block a chop, but Mark catches him with a boot. Vertical suplex by Mark gets an early 2 count. Power slam by Mark and flipping senton gets another 2. Gordon rallies with quick kicks. Fisherman suplex by Gordon gets 2, as does an inverted DDT. Mark interrupts a springboard attempt, tossing Flip to ringside and hitting a blockbuster off the apron. Gordon kips up for an enziguri. Mark scratches and claws to hit a superplex. They slug it out until Mark boots Flip through the ropes. Baseball slide dropkick by Mark, and he brings in a chair. Flip hits a blind low blow and the Flip Five to win at 7:49. Good little match, **½.
Winner: Flip Gordon
Josh Woods (with Silas Young) vs. Dalton Castle
They jockey for position and Castle retreats into the ropes. Woods gets a waistlock takedown, but Castle reverses into a body press. Castle blocks a gut wrench slam, and grabs the ropes to prevent a suplex. Woods seats Castle into the ropes for a German suplex. Castle sneaks in a back elbow and overhead suplex. Woods misses a springboard kick and Castle throws him into the barricade. Castle goes to work on the lower back. Woods lands a closed fist to the head but Castle pulls the ropes to send him to ringside. Woods repeatedly throws Castle into the barricades. Powerbomb onto the apron by Woods, and he opts not to use the open chair that Young set up for him. Castle capitalizes with a throw, but Woods answers with a German suplex. Castle pops up for a German suplex of his own. Woods delivers a butterfly suplex for 2. Castle rolls Woods into a seemingly accidental chair shot from Young, except Young shouts “That's what you get!” Castle pins Woods at 10:21. They kept a great pace and put on a convincing fight, ***¼.
Winner: Dalton Castle
Young tells Woods off for defying him, and vows to hurt him in ways that will make him question his choices. He still needs to learn how to be a real man.
Jay Briscoe vs. EC3
Briscoe rejects the Code of Honor and shoves EC3 away. EC3 makes a statement with a hard shoulder tackle. EC3 goes for a headlock. They get a clean break and restart with a tentative lock up. Jay builds some steam with a rana. Thesz Press by EC3 and he lands many punches. EC3 controls the pace until Jay hits a desperation suplex. EC3 answers with a dead lift powerbomb. Jay breaks a headlock with a chinbreaker, but EC3 answers with a TKO. Jay hits a flatliner into the buckles to buy some time. Jay rallies and hits a clothesline off the apron, injuring his own knee in the process. EC3 trips Jay on the top rope and nails superplex. EC3 tackles Jay's bad knee and snaps it to the canvas. “Honor me!” shouts EC3 before a clothesline. Olympic Slam by EC3, and then a brainbuster. Jay blocks another superplex and hits a DVD onto the apron. Jay hits a desperate running boot and then a neckbreaker. Jay hits a second and third neckbreaker. EC3 hits some kind of DDT that seems to hurt them both. Jay answers with a DVD. EC3 laughs as he absorbs Jay's offense. EC3 surprises with a Thesz press and punches the eyes. Desperation clothesline by Jay, and a boot to the head for 2. I fear they missed the crescendo and now the match is going too long. EC3 asks for a handshake, Jay accepts, but pulls him into a J-Driller for the win at 20:57! Really strong match in terms of physicality and psychology, but went a bit too long, ***½.
Winner: Jay Briscoe
Flamita vs. Rey Horus vs. Bandido
I predict a spotfest. Hot start by Bandido, as Flamita gets tossed while Horus and Bandido sprint into a stalemate. Flamita returns with double dropkicks. Flamita hits a DDT/Dropkick combo that would have impressed most live crowds. Horus blocks Flamita's suplex and hits a flying rana to Bandido on the floor, followed by Flamita's amazing high elevation dive. Flamita and Bandido slug it out until Bandido hits a facebuster. Horus catches Bandido with an electric chair, while Bandido suplexes Flamita! That's seriously the coolest spot I've seen in months. Flamita and Bandido slap it out until Flamita hits a decapitation superkick. Spiral Bomb by Flamiita only gets 2 thanks to Horus. Flamita catches Bandido with a pendulum DDT, but Horus hitsa Muscle Buster onto both guys for a great nearfall. Horus declares “No more Mexisquad” as he toys with both opponents, but he gets rana-ed to ringside. Bandido and Horus slug it out until Bandido hits a pop-up cutter. Frog splash interrupts, and a three way dropkick leaves everyone down. Match continues with Horus countering Bandido with a DDT, but Flamita breaks it. Horus hits Bandido with an electric chair rana, but Bandido pops up for a slick dive. Springboard West Coast Pop by Bandido only gets 2! Axe Knee by Bandido and Dragon suplex finishes at 10:51! Elite spotfest on display, every high level stunt looked awesome, ****½.
Matt Taven vs. VINCENT
This match was sent in "via videotape." Matt Taven storms into his old wrestling school (pretty sure it's the PAL Hall from Fall River, Massachusetts) and finds VINCENT lurking in the balcony, above a bloody “WELCOME BACK” banner. Taven rushes upstairs. VINCENT ambushes out of his hiding spot and dances with a training dummy. Taven throws VINCENT into a wrestling ring and through some propped kendo sticks. VINCENT swats away a tope suicida and Taven crashes into some ladders. VINCENT declares himself a god, so Taven throws a chair and rolls him down the stairs. Taven hits an elbow drop down the stairs! VINCENT retreats but manages to swing a metal door into Taven's face. They brawl into a ring in the main showroom and Taven vents his frustration with belt shots. VINCENT hits a low blow and pulls the mat up to expose the wooden underbelly. VINCENT hits a Dudley Dog onto the exposed planks. VINCENT directs the brawl up to the balcony. They brawl on the fence, when suddenly a big guy runs in and shoves them both down and through a table. The big guy carries VINCENT away and leaves Taven down and out for a no contest at about 14:00. This was an extremely well done cinematic effort, and felt properly personal and ugly, ****.
Quinn McKay hosts Maria Kanellis Bennett in the ring for a big announcement. Maria reveals that ROH will host a summer tournament to crown a new Women's Champion. She's interrupted by The Allure (Mandy Leon and Angelina Love). Love chews Maria for waltzing back into ROH and wants to know what position got her into this position. Maria reveals that Love will be facing McKay on ROH TV soon.
ROH Pure Championship:
Jonathan Gresham © vs. Dak Draper
Draper stands a full foot taller than Gresham and he knows it. Gresham lunges for the legs, but Draper digs his hand into the face to separate. Gresham goes for quick headlocks, and Draper clutches his nose. Draper hits a series of shoulder tackles, but misses a handstand knee drop. Draper escapes Gresham's headlock and applies a waistlock to force a rope break. Gresham kicks the leg and misses a dropkick, allowing Draper to roll him around in a waistlock. Gresham escapes and hits more kicks to the leg, but Draper answers with a reverse bear hug. Draper slams Gresham down and holds on for a waistlock, forcing a second rope break. Gresham unleashes a flurry of strikes and hits a running dropkick to the knee. Draper hits an uppercut to the gut and applies a swinging stretch muffler, forcing a third and final rope break. Gresham hits a nifty low 619 to the legs and then a wristlock takeover and springboard moonsault. Ankle lock by Gresham and then a dropkick to the knee. Draper hits a crossbody to earn a breather. Gresham resumes kicking the leg, but an exhausted Draper knocks him down with hard strikes. Gresham hits a tight forearm to the head, forcing Draping to use his rope breaks to avoid pinfalls. Draper uses his last rope break to escape an ankle lock. Draper uses a closed fist and gets an official warning, but hangs back to see if he can win by KO. Draper's late cover gets 2. Draper hits a superplex and Doctor Bomb for a great nearfall. Gresham desperately counters to hyperextend the leg, but Draper boots the face. Draper's finisher is blocked again, but he boots the head and throws Gresham into the ropes for a bumpy landing. Draper hits a dead lift without powerbomb off the buckles but GRESHAM KICKS OUT! Draper goes back to his mile high muffler but Gresham scores a springboard moonsault, and then dives into a sleeper through the ropes. Draper climbs into the ring with Gresham on his back but has no more rope breaks. Draper passes out and the match is called for Gresham at 20:29! Terrific David vs. Goliath match that made the most out of the Pure rules, ****.
Winner and still Pure Champion: Jonathan Gresham
Delirious sneaks up to the commentary booth and whispers some gibberish to Rocky Romero. Is there a translate in the building?
ROH Tag Team Championship:
La Faccion Ingobernable © (La Bestia del Ring and Kenny King, with Amy Rose) vs. The Foundation (Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus)
La Bestia is subbing for injured stablemate, Dragon Lee. The Foundation cheap shot before the bell, and King puts the boots to former partner, Titus. They brawl to ringside. LFI direct the fight back to the ring and catch Titus with double dropkicks. Bestia hits a somersault senton on Titus. Williams tags and trades open hand chops with Bestia. Clothesline by Bestia but he misses a back senton. King interferes with an enziguri to the back of Williams, and Bestia puts him on the ropes for King's roundhouse kick. Bestia dropkicks WIlliams to ringside for King's corkscrew dive. Williams and Bestia go down after double clotheslines. Titus gets a hot tag and brawls with King. Titus hits King with a belly to belly, but Bestia returns with a dropkick. Titus monkey flips Bestia and Stinger splashes King. Williams puts King into a sharpshooter while Titus puts Bestia in a half crab. King answers with an Exploder on Williams and grapevines the legs, but Titus breaks with a flying knee. Foundation swarm King, and Titus spins him around in a Full Nelson until Bestia breaks it up. Bestia piledrives Williams. Titus and Bestia light each other up with chops, but Bestia props him up for a Codebreaker into the buckles. Titus hits Bestia with running boots and puts him into a Full Nelson. Bestia submits at 10:37! HELL of a sprint, this was all killer, no filler, ****.
Winner and new ROH Tag Team Champions: Rhett Titus and Tracy Williams
In a shocking turn of events, King and Bestia take out their frustrations on Amy Rose! She gives King the finger, so he sets her up for Bestia's spear. This is sickening on multiple levels.
ROH World Championship:
Rush © vs. Jay Lethal
They lock up and engage in some aggressive chain wrestling. Rush gets down on all fours and dares Lethal to do something about it. Lethal cradles for 2. Lethal gets down on all fours too, but Rush only spits on him. They brawl at a blistering pace until Lethal cartwheels into a dropkick. Springboard dropkick by Lethal sends Rush bouncing off the apron. Lethal goes to work on Rush's knee. Rush answers by smashing Lethal's skull into the unnecessary barricades. Rush fetches some production cables to choke Lethal against the rails. Lethal escapes, only to run into Rush's backdrop onto the floor. Rush drags Lethal back into the ring and stomps his head. Rush fakes a running dropkick and poses while yelling “Enjoy me!” Lethal makes him pay with the Lethal Combination. They take a breather and then viciously duke it out until they both go down. They resume their slugfest on the top rope and Lethal knocks Rush down for Hail to the King for 2. Lethal immediately follows with a Figure Four! Rush survives and hits a German suplex and knee lift for 2. Rush sits Lethal in the ropes for a flying dropkick to the head. Rush maneuvers into a Calf Killer. Rush misses a flying back senton, and Lethal reapplies the Figure Four, but Bestia and Kenny King run in to break it up. Bestia breaks the Lethal Injection with a chair shot, and the Foundation run in to neutralize LFI. Lethal blocks the Bull Horns with a sick spinebuster, but Rush blocks Lethal Injection. Lethal improvises with a cutter and then properly hits Lethal Injection, but RUSH KICKS OUT! Rush hits a running forearm to set up Bulls Horns, but Lethal smartly rolls to ringside. Rush sets Lethal up for another Bulls Horns for the win at 18:32. Ah man, I really wanted Lethal to win. Great main event that did so many little things right, ****.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Rush
Rush and his LFI buddies stand tall at Lethal's expense. The Foundation run in for a brawl, but get their asses kicked. Brody King arrives with a mic and mocks Rush for almost winning without help. Brody reveals he has numbers of his own, and brings in Tony Deppen. Chris Dickinson and Homicide sneak in from behind to attack LFI! The new faction lays waste to Rush and LFI!
Final Thoughts: This was a wonderful PPV and ROH seems to be in a really good place. If you haven't checked ROH recently, you owe it to yourself to give them a shot. Big time Thumbs Up. maintenance show rather than the biggest, blow-off show of the year. Nothing amazing, but worth checking out if you're curious to see what ROH in 2020 looks like.
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