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ROH Best in the World
by Samoa Rowe
June 28, 2019
From the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, and Colt Cabana.
This was advertised to start at 8:00, but as of 8:15, I'm still sitting here like a doofus waiting for the stream to begin. Can always count on ROH to botch live streaming events, and we're way into the "shame on me" phase of this ongoing tenuous relationship.
The stream started at 8:33. Fingers crossed that it holds up.
Flip Gordon vs. Rush
Rush kicks away a handshake and he continues to disrespect Flip during the feeling out process. Rush no-sells some chops so Flip slaps him in the face. Rush aggressively tosses Flip to the floor and repeatedly thrashes him in the guard rail and over the timekeeper's table. Flip, um, flips his way into a comeback with 4 minutes gone, hitting a missile drop-kick, but Rush counters with a uranage out of the turnbuckles. Rush teases the Bulls Horns, but hits a mocking kick and rests in a pose. Flip unleashes a flurry of strikes to put Rush in a daze for a Falcon Arrow for 2. Rush survives a cutter and they trade stiff shots. Flip gets some nearfalls out of a powerbomb counter and Rush slips up catching him in a dive but still slams him into the rail. Rush dumps a trash can full of streamers on Flip, is not disqualified, but can't get a pinfall out of it. Rush finally hits a proper Bulls Horns and picks up the victory at 10:17. This was a fine opener that succeeded at establishing Rush as a clear heel, **½.
Rush is immediately interviewed and states that he did not come to play, but to destroy. He demands that the fans remember Rush and that nothing happens unless he says so.
NWA World Champion Nick Aldis comes to the ring to address the fact that he needs a partner to face the Briscoes (Colt Cabana is hurt). Nick considered postponing the match, but Maryland is NWA territory, so the match will go on with... Cowboy James Storm! Cool! Storm is not too pleased to be teaming with Aldis (the "suited up superman" protected by Billy Corgan). Aldis sets Storm straight, as his partner will actually be Eli Drake, who comes out to a good ovation from the fans. Drake puts himself over as the hottest free agent in wrestling (don't flatter yourself) and claims he had offers from many companies but is choosing to be a part of the NWA. Nothing like a Raw-like talking segment to fill PPV time.
Apparently, this was all a preshow as the "do not steal this show or the FBI will get you" warning and ROH Signature video play.
Dragon Lee vs. Dalton Castle
Shotgun drop-kick by Lee and the Bulls Horns gets a scary nearfall at the 15 second mark. Castle avoids a dive and drives Lee into the ring post. Castle then counters a rana with a powerbomb onto the ring frame! Castle looks downright vicious as he throws Lee deep into the crowd. The pace slows down as Castle wears down the back, periodically hitting elbow strikes and messing with Lee's mask. Lee is furious over his ripped mask and wipes Castle out with a dive. Double underhook backbreaker by Lee and a kick to the head gets 2. Castle stays in the match with suplex counters, but Lee answers with a snap German. Reverse rana by Lee gets a good nearfall. Lee's combination of attacks leads to Castle kicking out at 1. Lee yells at the ref, allowing Castle to recover for Bangarang, but he hesitates to make a cover. Castle places Lee in the corner to hit his own version of the Bulls Horns to send a message to Rush as he wins at 14:19. Despite a dead middle portion, this started and ended strong, and provided a good chapter in Castle's ongoing story, ***.
Winner: Dalton Castle
The Allure (Mandy Leon and Angelina Love, with Velvet Sky) vs. WOH Champion Kelly Klein and Jenny Rose
Rose and Klein rush the ring for a hot brawling start. Love counters Rose with a big boot and talks some smack at Klein before allowing Rose to make a tag. Klein and Love engage in some good chain wrestling before shifting to power moves for 2 counts. Rose and Klein hit a double suplex on Love, who needs a breather, and lures Rose into a clothesline from Sky. The sneak attack allows the Allure to isolate Rose for a while. Klein tries to help at ringside, but she and Rose take a flying crossbody from Love. Rose's spear on Leon allows a hot tag to Klein, who runs wild through the Allure. Rose takes out Leon with a spear on the apron and a slam to the floor. Meanwhile, Klein hits Love with a super fallaway slam for 2. Sky's distraction allows Leon to hit Klein with her shoe, and Love's Botox Shot finishes it at 9:26. This was simply alright, **¼.
Winners: The Allure
The lights instantly go out after the Allure win and a spooky video airs featuring doll parts. The word "maneater" flashes on the screen and the lights come back to reveal Maria Manic. She is ready to beat up the Allure when security intervenes, so she beats them up instead. Maria finishes a guard off with a torture rack and rips her shirt off to reveal a "maneater" tattoo on her stomach. Good to see some fresh blood in this division.
Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King
This is the third match in a Best of 3 series, and I guess I either missed or forgot about the previous two matches. Lethal refuses a handshake, which offends Cabana on commentary. King gains an early advantage working the arm. Lethal manages a cartwheel dropkick despite his hurt arm. King sits Lethal in a chair for a lariat, but Lethal counters with a drop toe hold into the chair! The referee talks Lethal out of using the chair further. King reverses a suplex onto the ring frame! King follows with a Boston Crab and armbar. Lethal punches his way back into the match with his good arm and scores a missile dropkick. Lethal steals King's Royal Flush finisher for a 2 count. Lethal looks for a series of dives, but King counters the second dive with a spinebuster! Back to the ring, King uses a Blue Thunder Bomb to set up a shooting star press! King calls Amy Rose for his cane, but Lethal catches him in a figure four. Lethal Injection is good but King kicks out! Lethal stares a hole through Amy Rose before resuming the fight, allowing King to hit a blockbuster and stolen Lethal Injection! King finishes with the Royal Flush at 14:34! This was a strong outing with good crowd heat and intense action. This was possibly a star-making performance for King, ***½.
Winner: Kenny King
Pure Rules Match:
Silas Young vs. Jonathan Gresham
Pure Rules basically mean that each guy gets only 3 rope breaks and there are no closed fists to the face. Young has two dirty wins over Gresham, so it's key that Gresham go over big in this one. They engage in some chain wrestling until Young hits a nasty chop and reminds Gresham that he's only following the rules. They lock up again and Young carries Gresham into the ropes, forcing him to use one of his precious rope breaks. Young seems to enjoy himself as he controls the match, but Gresham counters with a hold on the foot, forcing a rope break. Gresham escapes an abdominal stretch and applies an Octopus for force another rope break. They run the ropes and Gresham makes a fool out of Young by pointing to the ceiling as a distraction. Young has enough of the antics and uses his one allowed closed fist to the face and retakes control. Young softens the back before reapplying the abdominal stretch. Gresham breaks the hold, but Young uses a half crab to force him to use his second rope break. Dead lift suplex by Gresham, but Young answers with a backbreaker/clothesline combo. Young's full nelson crossface forces Gresham to use his last rope break. Young hits some suplexes and Gresham is too hurt to leap off the turnbuckles, allowing Young to reapply the full nelson. Gresham escapes and is too hurt to fully lock on the Octopus, but forces Young's hand into the ropes to force his last rope break. They trade forearm shots and block suplexes until they both take a spill over the ropes. Gresham hits a blind low blow (to crowd booing!) and locks on the Octopus for the win at 18:06! I am completely baffled by the finish, as this does not put Gresham over strong at all, and muddies the water for what type of character he is supposed to be. The crowd was dead throughout most of this, which also hurt, **¾.
Winner: Jonathan Gresham
Eli Drake and NWA World Champion Nick Aldis vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe
The "hated heel" Briscoes get a hero's welcome from the crowd and embrace several fans in the front row The Briscoes are in the mood for a fight and Drake and Aldis are game to throw down with them in the early going. Aldis survives a double shoulder block and tags Drake, who gets overwhelmed by the Briscoes and becomes the alleged babyface in peril. Drake quickly saves himself, tagging in Aldis for a Falcon Arrow for 2 on Jay. Drake and Mark get fresh tags and slug it out. Mark wins the exchange with a throw and fights off Aldis before catching Drake with the Iconoclast off the top rope. Drake pops up to superplex Mark, but Jay returns, only to take Drake's Burning Hammer! The Briscoes continue to roll with Redneck Boogie on Drake. Aldis makes the save and puts Jay in the Texas Cloverleaf. Mark saves his brother and drops an elbow off the apron onto Aldis. Jay and Drake brawl into the stands and the match ends via count-out at 10:53. Good match once they realized the heels were not going to get booed, but that non-finish hurts, **¾.
The Briscoes aren't finished by any stretch of the imagination and set up a table for Aldis in the ring. Camille runs in to spear Mark, and officials prevent Jay from attacking her. The Briscoes beat up the referees and put Aldis through the table with Mark's froggy elbow. Crowd loves this, of course. I don't know why ROH bothers ever turning the Briscoes heel, they always turn themselves babyface again. Every. Single. Time. Marty Scurll arrives late to help Aldis up.
ROH Television Championship:
Shane Taylor © vs. Bandido
Bandido needs to go over strong here, so based on the tonight's booking I expect he'll remove his mask and strangle Taylor with it. Bandido is the latest babyface to refuse the Code of Honor and they start with a slugfest. Taylor keeps up with Bandido as they run the ropes and trade leap frogs. Bandido scores a headscissors but Taylor blocks a second attempt with a powerbomb on the ring frame. Taylor attempts to knock Bandido out rather than pin him. Bandido comes back with a corkscrew senton, facebuster, and dive to ringside. Bandido's springboard hurricanrana into a cover gets a close 2 count. Decapitation lariat by Taylor also gets 2. Taylor survives a moonsault and uses a uranage to set up a flying splash for a good nearfall. They block finishers and Taylor hits a reverse headbutt and powerbomb. Taylor's package piledriver is good, but Bandido kicks out! Bandido catches Taylor in midair (HOLY SH!T) and powerslams him for a great nearfall. Bandido nearly slips but manages to hit a beautiful shooting star press, but TAYLOR KICKS OUT! Taylor pops up for another package piledriver for the win at 12:27. I disagree wholeheartedly with that decision, but this was a great showing from both guys, ***½.
Winner and still ROH Television Champion: Shane Taylor
ROH Six Man Championship:
Villain Enterprises © (Marty Scurll, PCO, and Brodie King) vs. Life Blood (Mark Haskins and Tracey Williams) and PJ Black
Villain Enterprise enter with custom title belts and matching Road Warriors-esque shoulder pads and it's bad-ass as all hell. PCO in particular is really enjoying himself and it's infectious. Scurll and Haskins engage in aggressive chain wrestling. PCO and Black square off, and they trade power moves and hard shots. Williams and King tag in and Williams uses his speed advantage to hang with King's size and strength. King clubs Williams into position for isolation, but the match quickly breaks down until King hits a cannonball off the apron. PCO follows with a cannonball off of King's monkey flip onto the field. Williams saves himself with a German on King and Haskins gets the hot tag. Haskins places Scurll in a surfboard stretch for a Black kick. Scurll survives more tandem offense and King gets a hot tag of sorts. Scurll locks Haskins in place for a series of abusive attacks from PCO and King (and then PCO kills himself with a dive onto Williams and Black). Scurll sunset flips King into a German on Haskins. PCO gets caught by Black's double stom and William's Hot Sauce, but Scurll saves the match. Life Blood clear the ring and assist Williams with a piledriver on PCO for a botched nearfall. The match completely breaks down, highlighted by Williams powerbombing PCO off the top turnbuckle onto the apron. The chaos continues with King springboarding off the top rope ot arm drag two men and then connect with a big time dive! King's Gonzo Bomb and PCO's moonsault finish off Black at 16:54! This show needed a glorious spotfest and this provided it in spades, ***¾.
Winners: Villain Enterprises.
Life Blood gets beaten up by some Samoan prospects. Bandido runs in for the save, but he's ambushed by Bully Ray. Flip Gordon arrives just in time with a kendo stick, and Ray decides to fight again some other day. Life Blood invite Gordon into the fold once again and this time he accepts. The lights go out and Marty Scurll appears on the screen, and reveals that Gordon has actually joined Villain Enterprises. Gordon sneaks out of the ring and joins his new stablemates (to crowd approval), and they beat down the Life Blood losers. Gordon puts Williams through a table with a 450 splash to the floor. These heels are the coolest guys in the building.
ROH World Championship:
Matt Taven © vs. Jeff Cobb
In a night full of disappointing and baffling booking, Cobb has just got to win this, right? Taven is aggressive early on but Cobb casually places him on the top turnbuckle for a knife edge chop. Cobb lifts Taven by the mohawk but Taven maneuvers into a sleeper. Cobb breaks loose with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Taven takes a breather and spits at Cobb, luring him into a trap, wrenching his arm into the ropes and sending him head-first into the barricade with a dive. Cobb powers out of an armbreaker and Taven crashes and burns on a frog splash. Cobb delivers snake eyes and a pump handle overhead suplex! They slug it out until Cobb nails a lariat and standing moonsault for 2. The crowd is so dead. Cobb counters with a Northern Lights suplex and pulls Taven out of the corner for a back drop. Taven no-sells and kicks the face, then hits The Climax for an ice cold nearfall. Cobb pops up for a wheelbarrow German suplex but Taven counters with another Climax for the win at 9:42. I'm speechless. These guys had zero chemistry, the crowd wasn't buying anything Taven was selling, and Cobb NEEDED TO GO OVER! Really bad main event, *.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Matt Taven
Final Thoughts: ROH is in big trouble. We're six months into the roster rebuild and they are pushing the wrong people at the expense of a core of talent that could be helping them. Big thumbs down for the dire creative effort.
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