By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
ROH “Manhattan Mayhem”
New York, New York at Hammerstein Ballroom
Aired live on March 3, 2018 the ROH HonorClub streaming service
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana welcomed viewers to the maiden voyage on HonorClub. They noted that some of their talent was unable to appear as advertised due to the weather.
ROH enforcer Bully Ray headed to the ring. Bully fired up the crowd and said it was all thriller and no filler… The opening video aired…
Riccaboni and Cabana were joined by Chris Sabin on commentary. They announced the main event was among the changes due to the weather and injuries. They announced the new main event would be The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page vs. The Kingdom and Shane Taylor. They also noted that Sabin’s partner Alex Shelley was unable to appear…
Powell’s POV: For those who haven’t followed the weather, there was a major storm on the East Coast. In other words, ROH is shooting straight about the wrestlers who were unable to appear as advertised.
1. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. “The Dawgs” Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara vs. “Coast 2 Coast” Leon St. Giovanni and Shaheem Ali in a Triple Threat tag match. The three teams brawled to start as the fans threw streamers, which made for a fun visual. Sabin spoke about how badly he wanted to be in the match to get his hands on the Briscoes. Late in the match, the Briscoes performed lariats on the Dawgs. Jay hit the Jay Driller on Ferrara and pinned him.
The Briscoes defeated The Dawgs and Coast 2 Coast in a Triple Threat tag match.
After the match, Jay took a mic and told the fans they can go to hell. He said there’s nothing that can stop them from beating the Motor City Machine Guns at the anniversary show. Chris Sabin stood on the stage and held up his ROH Tag Title belt…
Powell’s POV: A solid three-way opening match with the right outcome in that the Briscoes will challenge for the ROH Tag Titles at Friday’s 16th Anniversary show.
2. Tenille Dashwood and Deonna Purrazzo vs. Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose. Mandy Rose sat in on commentary for the match. Sakai and Rose isolated Purrazzo for a stretch. They worked to a hot tag and then Purrazzo stood up and just made the tag. Later, Emma avoided a moonsault by Sakai and then followed up with The Spotlight and pinned her…
Tenille Dashwood and Deonna Purrazzo defeated Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose.
Powell’s POV: The hot tag spot was comical in that Purrazzo just stood up after taking a beating, played to the crowd, and made the tag. Even Cabana laughed at how “easily” she made the hot tag. That aside, this was a good match and the live crowd was receptive and still hot for Dashwood.
3. Punishment Martinez vs. Soberano Jr. The broadcast team noted that this was supposed to be the opening match, but Soberano Jr. was just arriving at the building due to airport customs issues. Soberano went for an early moonsault onto Martinez on the floor. It looked like Martinez was supposed to catch him, so the crowd serenaded him with “you f—ed up” chants. It got worse from there when Sobrano went for a kick in the ring that Martinez didn’t know was coming. Martinez also took a huracanrana awkwardly. They settled down for the last couple of minutes and Martinez won clean with a chokeslam. The crowd chanted “one more time.” Martinez teased leaving, then turned and powerbombed Soberano on the edge of the ring…
Punishment Martinez defeated Soberano Jr.
Powell’s POV: A sloppy match that was likely due to communication issues between the two. The crowd was tough on them and let them know they were well aware of each rough spot. Riccaboni tried to help out by noting that Soberano had no prep time due to the travel issues.
An HonorClub video package aired even though this show was available exclusively on HonorClub…
Cabana spoke briefly and then turned it over to Riccaboni on the stage. Riccaboni noted that it was the most interactive show of the year. He introduced Jonathan Gresham while noting that he suffered a knee injury during a recent match. It was a Q&A session with one of the ring announcers Nick Lendel taking questions from fans. They started with young fans who asked what it was like to be in ROH and how long Gresham had been wrestling. Riccaboni asked him how long he will be sidelined. Gresham said he’s been medically cleared to wrestle. The final question came from an adult, who asked what he was hoping to accomplish in 2018. There were some boos. Gresham spoke about getting a rematch with Jay Lethal and proving he’s the best technical wrestler in the world…
Powell’s POV: Ouch. This was painful. Worse yet, Riccaboni said they would be doing more Q&As throughout the show.
4. Cody (w/Brandi Rhodes, Bury the Bear) vs. Flip Gordon. The fans were able to choose the stipulation, which turned out to be Gordon being able to work the “All In” event if he won. “So if he wins he gets to work a show?” Cabana asked. Cody worked the mic and told security to throw out fans. “I get it, you’re Team Kenny, right?” Riccaboni said there were rumors that the man in the bear outfit was actually Gordon, but he said that’s obviously not the case. Cody also scolded the crowd for wanting to cheer a Flat Earther over him. Cody paused to kiss his wife, then Bury asked for a kiss and got one from Cody. The crowd cheered. Cody later spat water at fans in the front row. He also acted offended when Gordon blew kisses to Bury.
There was a cool spot with Gordon attempting to springboard his way from the apron into the ring, but Cody pushed him off the apron and Gordon crashed back first into the barricade. Cody performed Kenny Omega’s Terminator spot. A shot time later, Gordon got major heat for superkicking the bear. He won over the crowd seconds later with a flip dive onto Cody. A short time later, Cody applied the American Death Lock, but Gordon reached the ropes. Gordon came right back with a nice sequence for a two count. Cody caught Gordon with CrossRhodes and had Gordon down, but he opted to go to the ropes instead. Gordon avoided his moonsault (Cabana said it was a spoof on Kota Ibushi), then hit a 450 splash for a good near fall.
Gordon set up for a springboard move. Brandi climbed onto the apron (perhaps a little late) and it distracted him. Cody went for a Beautiful Disaster kick, but Gordon moved and Cody caught his wife with the kick instead. Fans chanted “holy shit.” Gordon showed concern for Brandi, which Cody exploited by hitting him with CrossRhodes and pinned him. The broadcast team acted shocked that Cody celebrated his win rather than check on his own wife’s wellbeing. Cody eventually went to ringside and picked up Brandi before passing her off to Bury, who carried her to the stage…
Cody defeated Flip Gordon.
Powell’s POV: Cody’s pre-match antics were a blast and he did a great job of working up the live crowd. It’s gotten to the point where I actually look forward to Cody’s mic work and crowd taunting as much as his actual wrestling. He’s working an old school style and it’s fun to watch him prove that it still works so effectively today even in the modern era. The man accidentally kicked his wife and was more concerned with celebrating his win than checking on her. If that’s not a great heel move then I don’t know what is.
The broadcast team set up intermission. Cabana said they’ve had feedback on intermission and listened. They set up a Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson match from the first anniversary show in 2003…
Powell’s POV: Finally! I’ve been among the countless critics who despised ROH going with a simple graphic for 15 minutes during their intermissions. The classic match was a nice touch and it give me some hope that they will end up adding classic content to the HonorClub archives. I hope they will be creative with this time. For instance, it would be nice to hear some promos or even see video packages for pay-per-views.
Caprice Coleman hosted the Coleman’s Pulpit talkshow segment on the stage. Coleman noted that fan vote determined his guest. Riccaboni was hoping that Gary Juster won the vote. Instead, it was Cabana. The Kingdom came out instead. Matt Taven said there was a conspiracy in that they weren’t among the voting options and weren’t even supposed to be on the card. Coleman walked off. Taven noted that “SoCal Uncensored” Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky were not at the show because their flights were cancelled. Taven said the Bullet Club members would kiss the ring…
Powell’s POV: This was a disappointment as someone who enjoys the Pulpit segments on ROH television, but it was logical in terms of setting up the new main event. Unfortunately, Taven didn’t manage to muster up much heat from the crowd.
The broadcast team spoke. Cabana said maybe he can do a Pulpit segment with Coleman at another time. They noted that the next match was supposed to feature a fan vote deciding which team would join Kenny King for a six-man tag match. They said Best Friend won the vote and acted like they didn’t know who would replace the injured Barreta even tough a graphic showed Cheeseburger. Ouch. Cabana noted that they saw one of the Best Friends in the graphic. Riccaboni said King was looking for a third man. Riccaboni said he did’t see the graphic. Cabana said it looked a little cheesy…
5. Kenny King, Chuckie T, and Cheeseburger vs. Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, and Brian Milonas. Before the match, T actually spoke! He said Barreta was hurt and would be out a while. He said he scoured the locker room for the right partner and he found just the guy. Cheeseburger made his entrance. They were billed as “Chuckie Cheese”. Funny. The heels isolated Cheeseburger for a good stretch. Later, King and Young fought to the back. In the end, Milonas superplexed Cheesebuger and then Bruiser hit him with a top rope splash for the win…
Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser, and Brian Milonas beat Kenny King, Chuckie T, and Cheeseburger.
Powell’s POV: The match accomplished what it needed to by having Young and King brawl to the back to keep things heated between them heading into their pay-per-view match, and then the big man tag team got the win over the makeshift team.
The broadcast team spoke and noted that there will be more classic content added to HonorClub (good!). They set up a brief video package on Friday’s 16th Anniversary event…
6. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys) and Volador Jr. vs. Jay Lethal and Ultimo Guerrero. Volador checked in and requested a fanning from The Boys. Guerrero would have none of it and prevented them from fanning him. Volador wore a protective face shield during the match. Volador performed a big flip dive onto Guerrero at ringside, but Guerrero caught him and performed a nice powerbomb on the floor. Lethal performed a suicide dive that took out Castle and The Boys. The crowd came to life for that fun sequence.
Later, Volador tagged into the match, but Lethal pulled him to the floor and ran him into the barricade. Castle and Lethal squared off in the ring and exchanged slaps, chops, and then punches. Volador returned and cut off Lethal’s Lethal Injection attempt only to have Guerrero clothesline him. Castle went for a huracanrana from the ropes on Guerrero, who ended up powerbombing him instead. Guerrero ended up taking Volador’s huracanrana from the ropes and was pinned by him…
Dalton Castle and Volador Jr. defeated Jay Lethal and Ultimo Guerrero.
After the match, Lethal and Castle went face to face. Castle held up his title belt. Guerrero tried unsuccessfully to steal the title belt from Castle. Lethal ended up taking it away from Castle and looking at it before allowing Castle to take it back…
Powell’s POV: A fun tag match. There wasn’t any sense of fan excitement over Castle and Lethal being in the ring together the first time, but they created good intensity as the match went on and left me looking forward to their pay-per-view title match.
The broadcast team spoke prior to the main event. Cody showed up and showed off a photo on his phone of Flip Gordon with the “All In” graphic crossed out. Cody was apparently voted to sit in on commentary for the main event. He was also asked how his wife was doing and he talked about how she’s beautiful and smart.
Ring announcer Bobby Cruise explained the rules of Ultimate Mayhem. Two men start for five minutes, then every two minutes a new team member joins. In War Games style, the team with the advantage was decided by a coin toss. Taven tried to get a fan to kiss the ring, but the fan was having none of it and put his fist up. Scurll made his entrance and was big time over with the crowd.
7. Marty Scurll, Adam “Hangman” Page, and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Shane Taylor and “The Kingdom” Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia in an Ultimate Mayhem match. Taven and Scurll started the match. Scurll performed a nice superplex. He stomped on the fingers of Taven, who did a nice job of selling pain by cussing. Scurll wrapped a chair around the arm of Taven and stomped on it. Scurll continued to get the better of Taven heading into the next entrant.
Marseglia showed up at ringside and let some helium balloons go. Marseglia attacked Scurll from behind while the broadcast team noted that The Kingdom and Taylor won the pre-match coin toss. They also wondered if Marseglia was under the ring the entire night. Scurll ended up throwing a pile of streamers at both heels. The next entrant was Matt Jackson, who performed a flip dive off the stage onto Taven, then went to the ring and performed another big flip dive onto Marseglia.
O’Ryan was the next entrant tossed a trash can over the barricade. He had his face covered and wore Bullet Club gear. Security grabbed him and teased escorting him out until his mask came down. This may have worked better if it didn’t happen right after the Kingdom entrance music played to signify their next entrant. Taven threw a chair at the face of Matt Jackson. Scurll pulled out a table and it was set up at ringside. Nick Jackson was the next man out for his team. Matt performed a top rope elbow that drove Marseglia through the table on the floor.
Taylor was the final entrant for his team. He worked over Scurll while Cody said Taylor is all about business and he doesn’t believe he is actually friends with The Kingdom. Taylor performed a uranage on Matt, who sold his lower back injury. Cody said Bullet Club needed to tread water until their heavy hitter arrived. Taylor set up another table on the floor. Page was the final entrant and brought out a chair with him. Page and Taylor squared off. Taylor punched the chair into the face of Page. A short time later, Page performed a silly looking moonsault onto his opponents. It looked silly because the heels just gathered and took the move without any set up. The Bucks took their turns performing moonsaults onto the heels. They pointed at Scurll, who acted opposed to the idea. Scurll went up top while the Bucks held Taylor in place. Scurll performed a moonsault onto Taylor and then took a victory lap around the ring.
The teams brawled into the crowd. Page went to the balcony and performed a moonsault onto a group of wrestlers. Page stood up and got a big pop and a “holy shit” chant. Back in the ring, Page went for his Rite of Passage finisher on Taylor. He tried and failed to get the big man up twice. The Bucks delivered double superkicks to Taylor and then the superkick party was on with the Kingdom members taking various superkicks and the live crowd popping big. Taylor ran into a four-way superkick. Scurll performed a brainbuster on Taylor. Taven shoved someone into the pin to break it up. Taven fought all four Bullet Club members and avoided their four-man superkick. O’Ryan hit the Bullet Club members from behind with a chair. Marseglia performed a Swanton that put Page through a table on the floor. Taylor performed a big splash on Matt Jackson, who kicked out at two.
A short time later, Page and Matt teamed up for the Shooting Star Meltzer Driver, then Nick and Scurll teamed up for a springboard Indy Taker. O’Ryan was rolled into the ring with Scurll and begged off. Scurll did the finger break move. Scurll went for the chicken wing, but O’Ryan avoided it. O’Ryan took a series of superkicks from the Bucks and was then backdropped from the ring and through a table on the floor. Tayloer was placed on a table that broke before Nick could perform a move. Nick still performed a flip onto Taylor on the floor. Back in the ring, Page performed his springboard lariat on O’Ryan and followed up with a Rite of Passage for the win. Cody noted that Page has been going to the pay window more than anyone in Bullet Club and is on a roll.
Marty Scurll, Adam Page, and The Young Bucks defeated Shane Taylor and The Kingdom in an Ultimate Mayhem match.
After the match, the Bullet Club members celebrated in the ring while streamers fell. Riccaboni closed out the show with a plug for the 16th Anniversary event that was cut off prematurely…
Powell’s POV: Wow. That was quite the spot-fest main event. It was mostly a Bullet Club showcase. Taylor looked strong at times while the Kingdom members came off like fall guys way more often than not. That said, they performed well and likely earned the respect of good fans in the process.
Overall, this was a solid show that peaked at the end. ROH did a nice job of adjusting on the fly when SoCal Uncensored were unable to appear. They were also wise to hold off on doing more of the awful Q&A sessions after that first one went so poorly. The fan voting element didn’t really add anything to the show and felt like a cheap impersonation of the old WWE Cyber Sunday gimmick. ROH didn’t appear to break out their best lighting as the ring was darker and had more shadows than we’ve seen for pay-per-view events from the same venue.
Of course, the most important thing is that the HonorClub stream held up well. I watched the show on delay, but I only heard from one reader who had issues, which is likely an indication that the issue was on his end. Here’s hoping ROH will add a 30-second rewind option to the feed. The live crowd was lively throughout the night and created a good atmosphere. The main event is worth going out of your way to see if you enjoy the Young Bucks style of insanity and just to see how over the Bullet Club members were with the NYC crowd. It was an entertaining live event and a decent setup at times for the 16th Anniversary event, yet also missable if you are short on time in that there were no major storyline developments heading into the pay-per-view.
Join me for live coverage of the ROH 16th Anniversary event as the show airs on pay-per-view television, FITE TV, and HonorClub on Friday night at 8CT/9ET. Dot Net Members will also hear my exclusive audio review after the show.