By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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ROH Masters of the Craft
Columbus, Ohio at Express Live
Streamed live on HonorClub
Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, and NWA Champion Nick Aldis were on commentary, and Nick Lendl was the ring announcer…
1. ROH TV Champion and Never Openweight Champion Jeff Cobb vs. Rhett Titus in a non-title match. Aldis wished Cabana a happy anniversary. Riccaboni noted that it was the one year ago that Aldis defeated Cabana in China in an NWA Title match. Titus got some offense and performed a super facebuster for a near fall. Aldis noted that striking seems to be a weakness for Cobb and his future challengers should be taking note with the hope of exploiting it. Cobb came back with two gut-wrench suplexes and a piledriver. Cobb followed up with a Tour of the Islands for the win.
Jeff Cobb defeated Rhett Titus in a non-title match.
The broadcast team ran through the lineup
2. Jenny Rose vs. Holidead. The Allure faction of Mandy Rose, Angelina Love, and Velvet Sky walked to ringside during the break with a selfie stick and another camera phone and sat down at the timekeepers area. Riccaboni was appalled, while Aldis was pleased to see the trio. Riccaboni reminded Aldis that he’s a married man. “Yeah, sure,” Aldis said. He later quipped that they were in Ohio and the men don’t usually see women like The Allure. Holidead performed an Unprettier and then went up top. Holidead went for a top rope legdrop, but Rose avoided it and ended up winning with a uranage.
Jenny Rose defeated Holidead.
After the match, Rose confronted Rose while Riccaboni noted that they trained together previously. Sky sprayed hairspray into the eyes of Rose, who sold it as if her eyes were burning.
Powell’s POV: The live crowd was very quiet during the match. There were times when The Allure made more noise than the fans. The crowd did give a nice round of applause for the finish. I assume Rose is being built up to team with Klein to face The Allure.
3. Shane Taylor, Silas Young, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe vs. Shaheem Ali, Leon St. Giovanni, Beer City Bruiser, and Brian Milonas in an eight-man tag match. Taylor received a nice reaction when he was introduced as being from Cleveland. The teams ended up trading punches and brawling in and around the ring, which brought the crowd to life. In the end, Taylor hit his finisher on Ali and pinned him clean. After the match, Coast 2 Coast declined to take part in the Bouncers’ Toast of Honor after the match. Once Coast 2 Coast left the ring, Bruiser and Milonas did the Toast of Honor without their partners…
Shane Taylor, Silas Young, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe defeated Shaheem Ali, Leon St. Giovanni, Beer City Bruiser, and Brian Milonas.
Aldis and Cabana bickered on commentary after Aldis repeatedly boasted about beating Cabana in China last year. Cabana challenged Aldis to an NWA Title match. Aldis agreed to face him whenever. Cabana took the mic and told the crowd that Aldis had been harassing him on commentary and had agreed to face him in a match. Cabana said Aldis beat him in China, but he’s never beaten him in Columbus. Cabana said the match would take place tonight. Aldis stormed away, and Cabana assured the crowd that the match would take place later in the show…
Powell’s POV: I always hoped that ROH would tell the feel good story of Coast 2 Coast climbing the ladder of success as babyfaces. Instead, it looks like they are going heel. I hope it works out for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity for ROH not to showcase Ali and LSG as a tag team. Meanwhile, the impromptu NWA Title match is a fun addition to the show.
4. Rush vs. Soberano Jr. Riccaboni flew solo on commentary for the match. Soberano offered a handshake, but Rush kicked his hand away to blow off the Code of Honor. Rush teased his Bull’s Horns finisher and could have hit it, but he stomped instead and played to the crowd. Rush also made a play for Soberano’s mask, which led to Soberano firing up briefly. Rush ended up hitting his Bull’s Horns finisher (running dropkick on a seated Soberano) and pinned him clean…
Rush defeated Soberano Jr.
Powell’s POV: This was a lopsided win for Rush. I was hoping for a hot match, but the creative team is clearly giving Rush a big push. This dominant win made sense given the way that Rush defeated Dalton Castle in 20 seconds at the G1 Supercard event, and because Soberano Jr. isn’t an ROH regular.
Caprice Coleman joined Riccaboni on commentary and they spoke about how dominant Rush has been…
5. Caristico vs. PJ Black vs. Bandido vs. Flip Gordon in a four corner survival. Riccaboni and Coleman pondered whether it was a coincidence that Gordon teamed with a couple of Lifeblood members at the G1 Supercard. The wrestlers all adhered to the Code of Honor prior to the match. Caristico sent Black to ringside and set up for a dive early on, but Bandido stood in his way. They had a nice exchange and Bandido got the better of it with a head scissors.
Later, Bandido and Gordon squared off and exchanged chops and took turns ducking the other’s moves. Riccaboni ruled it a stalemate. Bandido offered Gordon a handshake. Gordon accepted, then Bandido kicked him. Riccaboni said that’s not something we typically see from a Lifeblood member. Bandido and Caristico squared off, then opted to work together to perform a double superplex on Gordon, and Black waited underneath and powerbombed Gordon on the way down.
Black nearly stole another pin after some big high spots. He performed a springboard moonsault onto Gordon and Caristico and covered them both for two. Black performed a top rope double stomp on Bandido for a near fall. Black put Caristico on his back and put Bandido in a Boston Crab, but he lost his balance and couldn’t pull off whatever he was going for.
A short time later, Caristico climbed onto the barricade at ringside, and Black shoved him onto a couple fans. The fans cleared out and then Black, Caristico, and Bandido all fought briefly, then stood and waited for Gordon, who performed a springboard flip dive onto all of them for the pop of the night. Back inside the ring, Caristico performed a Canadian Destroyer on Black and had him pinned, but Gordon broke it up. Caristico powerbombed Gordon onto Black and covered them both for a near fall. Caristico went up top and Bandido cut him off with a kick and then performed his top rope fallaway slam into a moonsault for a near fall. Moments later, Black was trying to pull Gordon from the ropes when Bandido performed his 21 Guns finisher on both men and pinned Black.
Bandido defeated PJ Black, Flip Gordon, and Caristico in a four corner survival.
The wrestlers all shook hands after the match and were applauded by the fans. Bandido was left alone in the ring, but he rushed to ringside and grabbed Caristico. Bandido motioned for Caristico to return to the ring. Caristico entered the ring and the ring announcer introduced him as a CMLL legend and he received a nice ovation…
Powell’s POV: This was the big spot match that one would expect from these guys and they overdelivered for a glorified house show. Wow. This was easily the highlight of the show thus far. Bandido continues to scream breakout babyface star for ROH. Black had a good outing despite the flubbed spot and taking the loss. The question for Black continues to be whether he can connect as a personality. He’s very talented in the ring and I hope he finds whatever it is that has been missing.
Kenny King came out wearing blinders and using a walking cane and was escorted to the broadcast area by an unnamed woman. King said he should be on top of the world after starting first in the Honor Rumble and winning the match. “I’m not crazy when I want people to call me Kenny ‘Shawn Michaels’ King,” he said. He explained that he offered Great Muta a handshake for finally making it to MSG when Muta sprayed mist in his face. King had a long name for the type of surgery he claimed he needs. He sat in on commentary for the tag match…
Powell’s POV: King was very comical here as he faced the wrong direction while talking to Riccaboni and Coleman more than once, and they corrected him and politely turned him in the right direction.
6. Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham vs. Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams in a 30-minute Iron Man match to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles. Riccaboni said this was made a No. 1 contenders match prior to the show and the winning team will get a title match against Guerrillas of Destiny at the May 8 War of the Worlds event in Buffalo. King continued to lay it on thick about the eye surgery he needs and how it can only be done at certain times.
Lethal applied a figure four on Williams at one point and referee Todd Sinclair made a two count while Williams’ shoulders were down. Hilariously, King wondered if someone had tapped out because he heard a hand hit the mat twice. In the ring, Haskins applied his deep Sharpshooter on Gresham and got the submission win to go up 1-0.
With just a few minutes remaining, King questioned if they would go to overtime if tied. Riccaboni said there must be a winner. Lethal and Gresham performed their Cornette Cutter move on Williams and evened things up at 1-1 with just a few minutes remaining.
Lethal and Gresham went for the move again, but Williams and Haskins stuffed it. Haskins applied the Sharpshooter on Gresham again. Lethal and Williams fought near the ropes, and Lethal suplexed Williams and they both tumbled to ringside. Gresham somehow countered into pin and got a three count to go up 2-1 with less than two minutes remaining. Haskins applied a figure four on Gresham, who tagged in Lethal while locked into the hold. Lethal dropped an elbow on Haskins and covered him for a two count, then the time expired to end the match. Lifeblood blew off the post match handshake and instead pulled in their opponents for hugs, then shook their hands…
Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham defeated Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams two falls to one in an Iron Man match to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: King being blinded probably won’t be a long term thing, so enjoy the comedy while it lasts. Normally I would grumble about the broadcast team looking silly for not questioning his claims, but the gag was funny enough that I just didn’t care. Oh, and there was a match. And it was a very well worked match between two good teams. It did feel a bit dry in that they are both babyface teams with no issues between one another. It’s the type of match that will really appeal to some fans and leave others feeling numb due to the absence of a babyface vs. heel dynamic. The last five minutes were really good, but it was weak that ROH had a graphic for the falls, but they did not have a timer graphic. Everyone involved worked hard and King kept things fun on commentary.
7. Nick Aldis (w/Kamille) vs. Colt Cabana for the NWA Championship. Riccaboni and Coleman made it clear they were cheering for their broadcast partner Cabana rather than being unbiased. Riccaboni and Coleman played up what the fallout would be if Cabana won the title as it relates to the Crocket Cup tournament matches. Cabana took the house mic and asked Aldis to confirm that he was putting the title on the line. Ring announcer Nick Lendl announced that the title was on the line.
Cabana avoided Aldis’s finisher, and then rolled him into the Billy Goat’s Curse. Aldis reached the ropes in front of Kamille to break the hold. Riccaboni said he respects that Kamille could have interfered and did not. Aldis came back with a tombstone piledriver and followed up with a top rope elbow for a good near fall. Marty Scurll walked to ringside, picked up the NWA Title, and tried to take a victory lap around the ring until Kamille cut him off. Aldis hit Scurll from behind, but Cabana kicked Scurll through the ropes. Scurll got up and shoved Cabana, which led to the two of them trading punches. Referee Paul Turner called for the bell to end the match.
Colt Cabana defeated Nick Aldis by DQ in an NWA Championship match.
Cabana stormed to the back afterward. Scurll hit Aldis with his umbrella afterward, then picked up the NWA Title belt for a moment, and dropped it on Aldis before leaving. Aldis got up quickly and walked out with Kamille…
Powell’s POV: A weak finish, though the match was not advertised, which makes it more acceptable. I guess you had to know that both men would be protected since Aldis is defending the NWA Title against Scurll, and Cabana is challenging Willie Mack for the NWA National Title at the Crockett Cup event. It remains to be seen whether there’s a good storyline reason for Scurll and Cabana fighting briefly or if this was all done to give the NWA some match footage heading into the Crockett Cup show.
Dalton Castle made his entrance in street clothes while the broadcast team played up his attack on The Boys at the G1 Supercard event. They said Castle hasn’t been active on social media and was not seen in the building prior to this show. Castle entered the ring with a mic and rolled to the floor. Castle walked to the stage with the mic and teased talking, then simply walked backstage without saying a word. Riccaboni questioned what the purpose was. There was a “Dalton Castle” chant from some in the crowd…
8. “Villain Enterprises” Marty Scurll, PCO, and Brody King vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia in a street fight for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles. Before the match, Scurll took the mic and said he wasn’t in the best of moods and they’d faced one another a hundred times. He said they should make it a Columbus street fight, which led to the teams brawling to start the match. Scurll backdropped PCO onto The Kingdom at ringside early on.
Later, PCO set up four chairs in the ring and placed Taven on top of them. O’Ryan and Marseglia cut off PCO. Taven rolled off the chairs and then O’Ryan and Marseglia superplexed PCO onto the chairs, which led to a “holy shit” chant. At ringside, O’Ryan and Marseglia bickered over whether they should use a table. Marseglia was all for it, while O’Ryan was against it. Riccaboni explained that whenever they pull out tables they always seem to be used against them. A table was eventually set up in the corner.
The Kingdom set up for their triple powerbomb, but it was broken up. King put Taven onto his shoulders and performed a Death Valley Driver through the table in the corner, leading to Scurll covering Taven for a near fall. O’Ryan and Marseglia hit their opponents with chairs over the back. Marseglia said he wanted more tables, which O’Ryan wasn’t pleased by. Later, Marseglia put King on a table and then performed a swanton off the stage to pt him through it.
In the ring, Taven caught PCO with a low blow and then performed his Climax finisher. Taven had the pin, but it was broken up by Scurll. Taven performed a popup powerbomb and hit his just the tip running knee for a two count. Taven brought the ROH Title belt into the ring and waited for Scurll to stand up. Suddenly, PCO sat up and yelled. Scurll hit Taven with an umbrella, then PCO performed a moonsault and pinned Taven to score the win. The broadcast team made a fuss over PCO pinning the ROH Champion, and Coleman questioned if that makes him number one contender. PCO celebrated with the ROH Title belt and a six-man tag title belt while standing over Taven while the broadcast team closed the show…
Villain Enterprises defeated The Kingdom in a street fight to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: It’s a bit odd seeing the new champion pinned just eight days into his title reign. But given the way the broadcast team put over PCO pinning Taven, I assume this is leading to a title match between the two. There’s a good story to tell there with PCO getting the shot so late in his career. The live crowd liked the main event and everyone involved worked hard. It will be interesting to see if there continue to be issues between O’Ryan and Marseglia or if this was just a one night bit.
Overall, an entertaining live event with a nice mix of in-ring styles with the four-way spot-fest, the more technical style tag match, and the big street fight brawl at the end of the night. It feels like ROH has a shortage of strong heels at the moment, as they’ve cast most of their newcomers as babyfaces. Rush is getting a big push and I believe he’s a heel based on the way he blows off the Code of Honor, but the fans seem to like him. The Castle turn should help the heel side too, so hopefully the creative team is working quickly to address it.
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