By Jason Powell
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Ring of Honor TV
Taped November 12 in Lakeland, Florida at RP Funding Center
Aired in syndication over the weekend, Mondays on the FITE TV app
The show opened with Cody Rhodes wearing a fur coat standing in front of a Christmas set. Cody wasn’t happy about facing Dalton Castle’s team in a random draw 10-Man Christmas Surprise tag match. He opened a gift box that showed the name of his first teammate. Castle showed up and asked whose name he drew. Cody told him it was none of his business and then stormed away. Castle opened his and was happy with the results…
The ROH opening aired… The broadcast team was Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana. Riccaboni wore a Santa hat that fell off, and they hyped the main event and then went to the ring for the opener…
1. “The Dawgs” Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara vs. Simon Grimm and Flip Gordon. Titus came out wearing a Santa hat, while an angry Ferrara was dressed up like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Grim came out wearing white mask with a mustache on it. He removed it on the stage. Ferrara wanted to remove his reindeer outfit, but Grimm grabbed him from behind and zipped it up. Colt cracked that they might draw a new audience to ROH via Ferrara’s outfit. Titus ended up tripping Gordon on the apron. Ferrara removed his outfit heading into the break. [C]
Grimm was catapulted toward the ropes by Titus, and Ferrara struck him with a gift box from ringside. The Dawgs hit their finisher and got the win…
The Dawgs defeated Simon Grimm and Flip Gordon.
Powell’s POV: Grimm worked as Simon Gotch in The Vaudevillians tag team in WWE. It was odd to see him work as a babyface. Grimm’s throwaway loss to an undercard tag team doesn’t seem to bode well in terms of him becoming a regular with the company. Ferrara dressing up in the reindeer costume was WWE style sports entertainment silliness, but it fit with the lighthearted comedy of The Dawgs tag team. The idea was apparently that Gordon was recruiting outsiders to help in his war with Bullet Club, but it wasn’t worth having him in this match.
On the Christmas set, Cody was happy with one of his gift partners, and asked “does this guy even work here” regarding another… [C] After the break, Cody teased opening the biggest gift, but said he wasn’t falling for the biggest gift being Cheeseburger. He opened a smaller package and sighed when he read the name. “I didn’t get any of my friends,” Cody said. “Christmas sucks.” They cut to Castle opening a gift and saying the name would make things interesting. Castle laughed maniacally…
Powell’s POV: These were fun skits with angry Cody venting about Christmas and the names he was drawing.
The broadcast team set up a feature on the Women of Honor. It noted that Mandy Leon and Kelly Klein worked for the Stardom promotion in Japan in 2017. It also focussed on Klein’s feud with Deonna Purrazzo and Karen Q’s involvement. It also featured a couple of newcomers including Brandi Rhodes. Riccaboni noted at the end that they look forward to crowning the first Women of Honor Champion next year… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s good to see the women spotlighted, but I’ surprised that they didn’t make more of a fuss over the first WOH Champion being crowned. It was mentioned at the last moment by Riccaboni rather than serving as the focus of the video. Here’s hoping they make a bigger fuss over it when they announce the tournament or however they intend to crown their first champion.
Cody was in the ring with a gift box. He said that in the spirit of the holiday, he would give the gift to the loudest fan. The live crowd roared as people always do for free shit. Cody dropped the gift box and said he’d made up his mind, Cody stomped on the gift box and said no one gets it and he hates Christmas. Cody vented about not being able to choose his team. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise introduced the members for both teams… [C]
2. Cody, Scorpio Sky, Josh Woods, Chris Sabin, and Punishment Martinez vs. Dalton Castle, Silas Young, Hanson, Jonathan Gresham, and Marty Scurll in a 10-Man Christmas Surprise tag match. Cody and Scurll were not pleased by being on opposite teams.
Cody was tagged into the match to face Young. However, Castle tagged himself into the match instead. Cody tagged Woods to bow out before he and Castle ever got physical. Castle removed his t-shirt and threw it toward Cody, who went to ringside and picked up a chair, then picked up the shirt and put it on. Castle struck a pose at Woods heading into a break. [C]
Big men Hanson and Martinez tagged in. After some back and forth between them, Cody started barking at Martinez and even threw the Castle shirt at him. Martinez chopped Cody to tag him. Hanson chopped a jawing Scurll across the chest. Scurll didn’t want to face Cody, but Hanson hip-tossed him into the ring. Sabin led the crowd in a “fight” chant.
Cody and Scurll hammed it up while touching finger pokes of doom fingers. Castle snuck in and shoved Scurll into Cody, who was unaware that it was Castle’s doing. Cody and Scurll teased fighting, but they came together and hugged instead. This pissed off their teammates, who entered the ring and tried to run them together. Castle told everyone to stop and remarked that it was Christmas, which led to the teams fighting. Fans chanted, “Merry Christmas.” Cody ended up performing a leap off the top rope and onto a batch of wrestlers on the floor. Martinez took his turn with a springboard flip dive. Hanson went to the top rope and did a flip dive onto all of the wrestlers while the fans roared. “Merry Christmas” the fans chanted again heading into the final break. [C]
Riccaboni noted that the winning team received a Christmas bonus, which should have been explained earlier (unless they did and I missed it). Castle was spotlighted by getting the better of various opponents while everyone else was down at ringside. Castle went for his finisher on Sky, who avoided it. Sky ended up catching Castle with a huracanrana off the ropes. There was also a sequence involving Search and Destroy members Sabin and Gresham going against one another. In the end, Castle caught Sky with a Bangarang and pinned him to win the match for his team.
Dalton Castle, Silas Young, Hanson, Jonathan Gresham, and Marty Scurll beat Cody, Scorpio Sky, Josh Woods, Chris Sabin, and Punishment Martinez in a 10-Man Christmas Surprise tag match.
The babyfaces celebrated in the ring while Riccaboni noted that next week’s show would be a “best of” show. “We’re giving our wrestlers a break on Christmas and the holidays and letting them be with their families,” Cabana said. Riccaboni wished viewers a Merry Christmas to close the show…
Powell’s POV: ROH was clearly in time filling mode this week and last week as they are airing shows that were taped prior to Final Battle and that air during the holiday stretch. Even so, they have come a long way from the multiple weeks of “best of” material that they offered around the holidays in past years. The Christmas Surprise gimmick was fun and I enjoyed the performance of Grinch Cody leading up to the match. They worked the crowd into a frenzy with those big dives before the final commercial break. It was an entertaining show show if you saw it, yet it was also missable from a storyline development standpoint for viewers who missed the show due to the holidays. In other words, it was what it needed to be. Haydn Gleed will share his thoughts on ROH for the final time in 2017 in his All Access audio review later today.