Powell’s ROH TV Review: Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King in the first match of a best of three series, Flip Gordon vs. Karl Fredericks, Jeff Cobb wants to face Matt Taven for the ROH Championship

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor TV (Episode 401)
Taped May 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois at The Odeum
Aired in syndication on May 25, 2019, Mondays on the FITE TV app

The opening video aired and then the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in…

1. Karl Fredericks vs. Flip Gordon. The broadcast team noted that Fredericks is a student at the New Japan dojo in Los Angeles and thus he has to wear black trunks and boots. Cabana said once you graduate the dojo then you can pick your character and your colors, but until then you’re playing by the rules. Gordon had the offensive advantage going into a break. [C]

In the end, Gordon used an STF to get the submission win. After the match, Gordon offered a handshake. Fredericks accepted the handshake, but then shoved Gordon afterward…

Flip Gordon defeated Karl Fredericks.

Powell’s POV: A nice opener. Fredericks has a good look and it will be fun to watch him develop. It’s nice to have Cabana back, but I was very surprised to hear him say the dojo students can pick their characters once they graduate. ROH doesn’t typically include these types of references within the show, as they strive to deliver more of a straight forward wrestling product.

A video package focused on Matt Taven defeating PCO to retain the ROH Title at the War of the Worlds event in Toronto. Plus, footage aired of Shane Taylor pinning Brody King in a four-way match to win the ROH TV Title at the same show… [C]

A video package recapped Great Muta “blinding” Kenny King in the Honor Rumble match at the G1 Supercard, King doing his blinded bit, and eventually attacking Jay Lethal…

Former ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb made his entrance. He noted that the last two weeks haven’t been good for him. He said he lost the ROH TV Title in Toronto, but pointed out that Shane Taylor didn’t pin him or submit him. Cobb added that no one in ROH has pinned or submitted him. Cobb said Taylor could sleep easy because he wasn’t asking for his rematch. Rather, Cobb said he wants to face Matt Taven for the ROH Championship.

The Kingdom music played and then Matt Taven made his entrance. Taven referred to Cobb as a Hawaiian Buddha. He said Cobb wants a title shot even though he couldn’t hold onto the title he had. Taven conceded that Cobb has been impressive and said he doesn’t have a problem defending the title against him, even in Chicago. Taven teased entering the ring to face Cobb and then said not tonight. “Hey, take care of this for me, will you, Melvin?” Taven said before tossing the mic at Cobb. Taven walked away…

Powell’s POV: A good segment. Sure, you had to know that Taven was going to pull the rug out and not deliver the title match, but it was still well done and set the table for an eventual match between the two. In fact, I believe it’s the main event of the ROH Best in the World pay-per-view that will be held on June 28 in Baltimore.

Kenny King delivered a backstage promo and said he was blinded by Great Muta. He said he took advantage of the situation by studying Lethal and claims he now knows him better than he knows himself. He spoke about facing Lethal in a best of three and said it will be a clean sweep. King said he’s more than just a step ahead of Lethal, he’s around the damn block… [C]

Billy Ray Valentine’s POV: I can see! I have legs!

Jay Lethal cut a backstage promo and said he would win the first match of the series and King would simply leave the ring…

The broadcast team spoke at their desk and then Riccaboni hyped the State of the Art shows for June 1-2. He hyped Defy or Deny with Taven facing PCO, Mark Haskins, and Flip Gordon. If Taven wins, the person he eliminates last will not be able to challenge him for the title. If someone else wins, they qualify for a title shot. Riccaboni also hyped Jeff Cobb vs. PJ Black and a tag team gauntlet match…

A video package recapped The Guerrillas of Destiny defeating The Briscoes to retain the ROH Tag Titles in a match held at these Chicago tapings that already aired on HonorClub. GOD used a title belt as a weapon behind the referee’s back…

Silas Young headed to the ring with an enhancement wrestler. Young introduced the man as Baxter Belafonte and said he’s a greenhorn from Milwaukee. Young set up a pro wrestling exhibition and had ring announcer Bobby Cruise enter the ring with them. Young said part of the pro wrestling process for younger wrestlers is to learn what it’s like to have certain holds applied.

Young demonstrated a wristlock and then put pressure on the shoulder and eventually grabbed his hair. Young also demonstrated a fishhook and said it will get you in trouble if you release it before the referee’s five count. Young demonstrated gouging his finger into the eye of Belafonte and counted to six to demonstrate that it will get you disqualified. Young teased a low blow and then said everyone knows what it’s like so he didn’t need to demonstrate. Young went ahead with the low blow on Belafonte anyway. He thanked ROH for allowing him to explain the purer rules of pro wrestling. Riccaboni said it was ridiculous…

An ROH on tour video listed upcoming dates… [C]

2. Jay Lethal vs. Kenny King in the first match of a best of three series. Lethal applied a wristlock. King grabbed the ropes to break it and then went to ringside. [C] King took offensive control and had it going into the final break. [C]

Lethal started coming back, but King poked him in the eye. Referee Todd Sinclair caught it and scolded King. “Knock it off,” Sinclair barked. King sent Lethal to ringside and then told the crowd he was going to do a dive. King ran the ropes, then stopped, and taunted the crowd. King went to ringside and ate a DDT from Lethal.

Lethal fired up and performed a suicide dive on King at ringside. Lethal rolled King back inside the ring and then performed his Hail to the King top rope elbow drop, which led to a near fall. Later, Lethal set up for his Lethal Injection finisher, but King blocked it. Lethal went for the move again, but King once again avoided it. Lethal tried a third time and King ducked it. Lethal swung at King, who ducked, and Lethal stopped short of hitting the referee. King caught Lethal with a low blow and then performed his own version of the Lethal Injection finisher and scored the pin…

Kenny King defeated Jay Lethal to win the first match of a best of three series.

King celebrated his victory while Riccaboni noted that he was just one win away from winning the best of three series. Riccaboni also hyped the State of the Art shows, and hyped Evil and Sanada vs. Yuji Nagata and Satoshi Kojima as next week’s television main event…

Powell’s POV: A well worked match. As someone who got a big kick out of King’s blind gimmick, there doesn’t seem to be much excitement surrounding this best of three series. It will be interesting to see if they can generate more buzz as they move forward.

It was nice to see a decent turnaround time for this show compared to some of the other television tapings they’ve had recently. Overall, this it was a solid show with the developments coming out of the War of the Worlds tour being chronicled well. One issue is that we saw the Soldiers of Savagery debut in a good angle two weeks ago and they been seen since, nor has ROH really played that angle up in a meaningful way. Haydn Gleed will be by with his audio review of this show later today.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Gursinder Singh (a/k/a Tony Gill), who explains why he asked for his release from Impact Wrestling. He also discusses his background, being trained by Lance Storm, being in the Desi Hit Squad, his future, and more.



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