By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor TV
Taped January 20 in Nashville, Tennessee at Municipal Auditorium
Aired in syndication over the weekend, Mondays on the FITE TV app
The show opened with Christopher Daniels cutting a promo about SoCal Uncensored challenging for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles while Scorpio Sky stood by. This was followed by Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, and Adam Page delivering a promo about the match and showing off the new (and tacky) ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Page said he was going to break legs and necks because of SoCal Uncensored attacking his brothers…
The opening montage aired… The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in and hyped the three matches that would take place on the show…
1. Flip Gordon vs. Jay Lethal. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor with a pre-match handshake. Lethal went for an early Cutter, but Gordon blocked it by doing a handstand heading into a commercial break. [C] After some back and forth action, Gordon connected with a corkscrew dive off the middle rope and onto Lethal on the floor. [C]
Lethal showed some frustration by removing his elbow pads and jawing at Gordon coming out of the break. They traded forearms and chops. Gordon avoided a Lethal Injection, then performed a springboard sling blade. Later, Gordon slipped on the middle rope while going for a springboard move. Lethal suplexed Gordon and then put him down with a Lethal Injection…
Jay Lethal defeated Flip Gordon.
Powell’s POV: Another good outing for Gordon with the story being that a youthful mistake cost him the match. I wonder if the company would have been better off having Gordon work his way up the ladder by beating locals and undercard wrestlers for a prolonged period of time on television before putting him in there with the top names. He’s gaining something in defeat in most cases, but they are also running through a lot of his first-time matchups that would be more attractive had they been saved for once he’s more established. There’s a lot of good things happening in ROH these days, but they don’t have as much young talent as they have in the past. They can’t afford to miss with Gordon, who has far and away the most upside of their younger talent.
Colt Cabana stood up and approached Lethal as he was heading up the entrance steps. Cabana informed Lethal that he will face Dalton Castle for the ROH Title at the 16th Anniversary pay-per-view on Friday, March 9. Lethal started to talk about regaining the championship when he was interrupted by Marty Scurll, who was upset about not being in the title match. Lethal pointed to his own success and beating Scurll at Final Battle. Scurll said he would like to have the first title shot once Lethal defeats Castle. Lethal looked to the crowd and said he would have no problem beating him again. “Perfect,” Scurll said before walking away… [C]
A video set up the Women of Honor Title tournament match. Brandi Rhodes spoke about being the underdog of the tournament due to her limited experience. Karen Q was condescending and clapped in response to Brandi “finally” getting her first win. Brandi said Karen has everything to lose while she has everything to gain. “I love a good Cinderella story, don’t you?” Rhodes asked…
2. Karen Q vs. Brandi Rhodes in a Women of Honor Title tournament first-round match. Q didn’t get much of a reaction during her entrance, while Rhodes received a better reaction and some streamers. The brackets graphic showed that the winner of the match will face the winner of the Tenille Dashwood vs. Stacy Shadows match. Q attacked Rhodes from behind to start the match. Karen performed a bit of a clunky handspring elbow and was in offensive control heading into a break. [C]
Rhodes avoided a frogsplash from Q coming out of the break. Brandi threw a few soft chops and an elbow to the head before executing a sling blade clothesline for a two count. Q dodged a missile dropkick and then applied a Boston crab. Rhodes reached the ropes to break the hold. Brandi sold an ankle injury after leaping over a charging Q in the corner. The ref checked on Rhodes, but Q walked into an inside cradle and was pinned. Rhodes was fine after the match and showed that she was playing possum…
Brandi Rhodes defeated Karen Q to advance to the quarterfinals of the Women of Honor Title tournament.
Powell’s POV: I like that Karen Q was established as the heel both in her promo and by attacking Rhodes to start the match. Live crowds and viewers are likely unfamiliar with many of the women in the tournament so it’s wise to go with traditional babyface vs. heel matches in most cases to get the crowd engaged. That said, I’m not big on Brandi winning by tricking her opponent. I really liked what she and Cody appeared to be doing in TNA when she was ultra sweet and he came off as controlling in what seemed to be a modern day Randy Savage and Elizabeth story. Brandi is all over the map these days in that she provides heelish distractions for Cody in New Japan Pro Wrestling and now she won this match in a way that doesn’t play into the nice girl persona she seemed to be striving for in her pre-match interview.
Backstage, Dalton Castle delivered a promo as The Boys stood behind him. Marty Scurll interrupted the promo and was still upset about not getting the title shot. Scurll brought up beating Castle when he Scurll made his ROH debut. Scurll said that when Castle gets by Lethal, he would like to be considered for the next title shot. Castle said he doesn’t think Scurll knows exactly what he’s asking for. Scurll told him to think about it and then walked away…
Powell’s POV: It’s interesting that Scurll is being manipulative and respectful all at the same time. He’s told both Lethal and Castle that he expects them to win the ROH Title match at the 16th Anniversary event and wants the next title shot. Still, his actions have yet to be as villainous as his nickname would suggest. I assume this is still to come. Either way, I like that Scurll is clearly being built up for an ROH Title shot.
Ring entrances for the main event took place. The broadcast team hyped Silas Young vs. Kenny King for the ROH TV Title for next week… [C]
3. Adam Page and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. “SoCal Uncensored” Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. The Bucks and Page jumped out to a quick start. They did the Terminator bit and then performed triple suicide dives onto the challengers. SoCal Uncensored isolated Page and worked him over heading into a break. [C]
Page fought his way out of the corner and made a tag. The Bucks performed some of their signature offense on the challengers. There was a cool spot with Nick performing a top rope splash while Matt performed a simultaneous standing moonsault on Daniels that led to a two count. A short time later, Sky performed a big dive over the top onto the Bucks at ringside, then Page performed a top rope moonsault onto a pile of wrestlers on the floor.
Late in the match, Matt had Daniels in a Sharpshooter. Daniels tapped out, but referee Todd Sinclair was pulled from the ring by Kazarian, who then bickered with him at ringside. Nick dove onto Kazarian. However, Sky hit Matt with a title belt while the ref was still distracted and then Daniels pinned him. Riccaboni noted that Daniels was the first ROH grand slam champion in that he held the ROH Title, ROH TV Title, ROH Tag Titles, and now the six-man tag titles.
As SoCal Uncensored was celebrating their win, Bully Ray came out and called for their music to be cut off. Ray said he has been to every ROH show since Final Battle and has watched every match on the monitor. He said it seems like the Wild West in ROH in that the wrestlers are putting their hands on referees, not following the rules, and hitting people with belts. “We lack a little bit of honor,” Ray said.
Ray said he just got off the phone with ROH COO Joe Koff, who told him to do whatever he needs to do to get some order back in the company. Ray said he doesn’t want to be a boss, a general manager, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be an authority figure, but he will be an enforcer. Ray said he will enforce the Code of Honor that guys like Nigel McGuinness started a long time ago.
Ray said SoCal Uncensored wasn’t getting away with their crap anymore. Ray asked the fans if they wanted to restart the match. They cheered. Ray said he and the fans would make decisions together. He worked up the crowd into cheering loudly for the match to restart. Ray told the referee to restart the match. Second later, the Bucks hit the Meltzer Driver on Daniels and pinned him to win the match and retain the titles…
The Young Bucks and Adam Page defeated SoCal Uncensored to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Riccaboni hyped the ROH TV Title match and another WOH Title Tournament match for next week to close the show…
Powell’s POV: The usual good Bucks and Page style match. The real story was that Ray is playing the enforcer role going forward. The false finish was effective in that it deflated the crowd to see the Hung Bucks lose, which made Ray the hero for restarting the match in his first official act. Ray is a good choice for the authority figure role (even if he doesn’t like the title) because he’s a great talker and the fans love him.
That said, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of when he intervenes in matches and when he does not. It’s hard to imagine ROH going back to all clean finishes again like they had in the very early days, so they will need to work hard to make Ray intervening feel consistent and not simply when it involves certain people. Overall, this was another good hour of television and the company is becoming more consistent in hyping matches and segments for the following week.
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