By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor TV
Taped February 9, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida at RP Funding Center
Aired in syndication on March 23, 2019, Mondays on the FITE TV app
The ROH opening aired… Ring entrances for the opening match took place while the broadcast team was Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
1. Dalton Castle and The Boys vs. Juice Robinson, Bandido, and Tracy Williams (w/Tenille Dashwood). Williams chopped both of the Boys, then he acted like he wasn’t sure which one was the legal man as they went to a commercial break. [C]
Robinson checked in and had one of the Boys covered when Castle pulled him to ringside. Castle jawed at Robinson while Dashwood stood between them, then Bandido performed flip dive onto Castle. One of the Boys went for a springboard dive at Robinson, who no-sold the contact, causing the Boy to bounce off his chest and fall to the mat.
Castle grabbed Bandido and held him for one of the Boys. Bandido moved and the Boy hit Castle. Bandido performed a contrived looking dive over the Boy and into a huracanrana on Castle at ringside. Back inside the ring, Castle turned Bandido inside out with a clothesline. Bandido threw one of the Boys into Castle, then performed his finisher on one of the Boys and pinned him…
Juice Robinson, Bandido, and Tracy Williams defeated Dalton Castle and The Boys.
Powell’s POV: A solid match. I’m surprised Castle didn’t take the pin since that’s what they have been doing even in six-man tags lately to put over his losing streak. Nevertheless, I am curious to see where the Castle storyline goes and when they pay it off. Castle is working against Rush at MSG, which doesn’t jump out as a launch point for a heel turn, but perhaps I’m missing something.
Jay Lethal sat in a chair in the stands of an empty arena and spoke about ROH selling out Madison Square Garden. Lethal said the little kid inside of him is smiling because he gets to wrestle at MSG. “The only thing that can make this even more sweeter is if when we arrive at Madison Square Garden, I am still the Ring of Honor World Champion,” Lethal said. He said you better believe that come April the ROH Title will still be on his shoulder… [C]
Powell’s POV: Was this supposed to air before the 17th Anniversary show? There’s only one show remaining before the G1 Supercard and Lethal isn’t scheduled to defend the title at that event. Still, a good promo and I’m happy they are focusing on the MSG event even though this show was taped before the 17th Anniversary show. It’s worth nothing that Lethal told Brian Fritz in a Sporting News interview that he cares more about entering MSG as champion than he does about leaving as champion. He seemed to echo that sentiment in his television promo, so it seems like he’s foreshadowing a title change.
The Briscoes delivered a promo at an outdoor location. They said they will prove that they are the best tag team in the world and of this century at MSG…
Powell’s POV: A dated promo in that the Briscoes dropped the ROH Tag Titles to PCO and Brody King at the 17th Anniversary show. So did booking plans change or did they really think it was a good idea to run a dated promo? Strange.
2. Willie Mack vs. Rhett Titus for the NWA National Championship. Riccaboni plugged the NWA Crockett Cup event. Cabana said he hopes to compete at that event. Titus did his posing gimmick during the in-ring introductions for the title match. Cabana recalled having Mack on his podcast and Mack telling stories about taking three or four busses to get to pro wrestling events and growing up in a tough area in Los Angeles. Titus caught Mack with a kick and got a two count going into a break. [C]
Mack came back with a leg lariat style of move. Mack performed a nice flip dive onto Titus at ringside. Back inside the ring, Mack performed a standing moonsault that got a rise out of the tired crowd. Mack followed up with a stunner and a top rope frogsplash that led to him getting the pin…
Willie Mack defeated Rhett Titus to retain the NWA National Championship.
Riccaboni hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: Cabana did a really good job of putting over Mack’s background in short order. As much as I enjoy the NWA videos, I don’t think they’ve done a great job of consistently showcasing who Mack is and what makes him special. As for the match, it was well worked, though there was zero suspense regarding the outcome. Titus is booked to be one of the low men on the ROH totem pole, so there was no reason to think he might walk away with the title.
Bully Ray delivered a promo from the backstage area. He asked what everyone in ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling have in common with him and Madison Square Garden. “Absolutely nothing,” he said. Bully said he’s the only one in either company who has wrestled there. He said he main evented at the Garden and wrestled at WrestleMania at the Garden. Ray said he will steal the show at MSG. He said it’s just a question of who he is going to make famous. Ray said consider this an open challenge against anyone in ROH, NJPW, and the entire business to meet him in a street fight at MSG…
Powell’s POV: A good promo. For those keeping score, there was no “punk” line in this promo like there was when he issued the challenge during the 17th Anniversary pay-per-view.
Ring entrances for the main event took place. The wrestlers shook hands going into a break… [C]
3. Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham vs. “Coast 2 Coast” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni. Lethal had his ribs taped. Gresham and Lethal performed a suplex and dropkick combo on LSG. A short time later, Gresham put Ali in a leg lock going into the final break. [C] Late in the match, Lethal and Gresham performed stereo suicide dives. They tried to pump up the tired crowd. Lethal launched Gresham into the air and he performed a cutter on Ali and pinned him…
Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham defeated Coast 2 Coast.
Ricccaboni closed out the show and then a brief G1 Supercard video package aired…
Powell’s POV: This was the second to last match of the marathon tapings and the crowd was spent. I like Coast 2 Coast and I hope ROH does more with them going forward (I feel like a broken record), but I question the logic of putting a match between two babyface teams with no storyline build on this late in the taping.
From a television standpoint, it came off flat and served no real purpose aside from filling time. It’s a shame that the company didn’t come up with a storyline for a mid or undercard G1 Supercard match that could have played out on these shows that are airing after the 17th Anniversary show. The last two shows have done little to make the G1 Supercard feel like the must see event that it is.
Sadly, we will get only one show from the latest taping and that will be next week’s go-home show, and then we’ll be right back to dated material for a couple of weeks coming out of the G1 Supercard. It’s normally just annoying as a viewer when it takes ROH so long to get new material out there after most pay-per-views. This time around it feels harmful from a business standpoint to deliver these flat gap shows that fail to build in a meaningful way to the biggest show in company history. So while there was some good in-ring action this week, the show felt totally missable from a storyline standpoint. Let’s hope for a hell of a go-home show next week. Haydn Gleed’s weekly audio review of ROH television will be available later today for Dot Net Members.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Eric Bischoff discussing whether there are similarities in Vince McMahon’s WWE booking and Verne Gagne’s booking of the AWA during its dying days, a network shakeup that could potentially be an issue for All Elite Wrestling, Eric’s upcoming shows with Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson in Chicago and New York, and much more.