By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 404)
Taped May 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois at The Odeum
Aired in syndication on June 15, 2019, Mondays on the FITE TV app
The show opened with graphics that hyped the four corner survival match main event… The opening montage aired… The broadcast team was Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in while the Bullet Club theme played and entrances for the opening match took place. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
1. Hikuleo vs. Hirooki Goto. Riccaboni noted that Hikuleo is the younger brother of Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. Colt compared the Japanese coming to ROH to Mr. Saito appearing for the AWA and Great Muta appearing for the NWA back in the day. Goto offered a handshake, but Hikuleo slapped his hand away. They took a break early in the match after Hikuleo pulled Goto down by his hair. [C]
Hikuleo performed a superplex on Goto for a two count. Riccaboni said it would have been a major upset if Hikuleo had beaten Goto. Hikuleo turned Goto inside out with a clothesline and got another near fall. Goto came back and hit his GTR finisher and scored the clean pin…
Hirooki Goto defeated Hikuleo.
Powell’s POV: A simple NJPW spotlight match that saw Hikuleo get more offense than I anticipated. I’m fine with a NJPW match happening in the opening match slot on the ROH television show, though I continue to wish that ROH could build to more interesting interpromotional matches involving the NJPW wrestlers who come over for brief tours. Colt mentioned Saito and Muta, and the big difference there is that they actually had extended stays in both companies (Saito was actually a mainstay in the AWA).
Kenny King delivered a backstage promo about holding a 1-0 advantage over Jay Lethal in their best of three series. King asked if Lethal ever thought it was strange that he came out blind to watch his matches. King said he has Lethal’s timing down and even beat Lethal with his own Lethal Injection finisher. King said he’s not playing or crazy, he’s just better than Lethal. The second match of the series will air on next week’s television show…
Kelly Klein and Jenny Rose made their entrance for the women’s tag team match… [C] Footage aired from during the break of The Allure trio of Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Mandy Leon attacking Klein and Rose, which led to their match being called off…
Riccaboni hyped Klein and Rose facing Love and Rose at ROH Best in the World. The Briscoes vs. Nick Aldis and Colt Cabana was also spotlighted for the pay-per-view with footage airing of the Briscoes snapping at Crockett Cup, and working over Aldis and Cabana on last week’s television show. Riccaboni hyped the ROH TV Title match, and footage aired of Bandido beating Shane Taylor before he won the ROH TV Title on a recent ROH television show. Plus, footage aired of Dalton Castle challenging Rush’s brother Dragon Lee for Best in the World…
2. Mark Haskins, Tracy Williams, and PJ Black vs. Eli Isom, Cheeseburger, and Ryan Nova. Isom caught Black with a high knee to the head heading into an early break. [C] Isom performed a nice moonsault from the middle rope onto Haskins at ringside. Black checked in and ducked a double team move from Cheeseburger and Nova, then they stood and waited while he performed a springboard moonsault onto them. Late in the match, Williams performed a Death Valley Driver on Nova, then Black performed a moonsault double stomp on Nova and pinned him. The wrestlers shook hands afterward.
Mark Haskins, Tracy Williams, and PJ Black defeated Eli Isom, Cheeseburger, and Ryan Nova.
Williams took the mic and thanked his opponents for the fight, then said they had business to attend to. Williams challenged Bully Ray and SOS to meet them face to face at any time in any place… [C]
Powell’s POV: I continue to despise the idea of having up and comer Isom being part of the undercard Shinobi Shadow Squad act. I’m also not a fan of booking the trio against fellow babyfaces. Cheeseburger is at his best as the lovable underdog who holds his own with heels who underestimate him. This was the second match of the night that served little or no storyline purpose and felt booked to fill television time and get various wrestlers on the show. I understand that there will be an element of that from time to time, but it happens way too much in ROH.
A Best in the World ad aired… The four corner survival graphics aired again… Matt Taven joined the broadcast team on commentary for the main event and boasted that “mine (belt) is better than Colt’s as usual.” The entrances of all four men took place… [C]
3. Rush vs. PCO vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Jay Lethal in a four corner survival match. The wrestlers met in the ring for the Code of Honor, but Rush kicked the hands of Cobb and Lethal away, then blasted PCO with a forearm to the head to start the match. PCO no-sold a Lethal chop, then yelled “hit me” repeatedly. Lethal sent PCO to ringside. PCO encouraged him to dive at him. Lethal hesitated and and Cobb hit him from behind. PCO called for Cobb to dive at him, but he hesitated and Rush hit him. Rush ran the ropes and then struck his in-ring pose.
Lethal eventually dove at PCO, who caught him and chokeslammed him onto the ring apron. PCO returned to the ring and performed a rolling senton on Rush followed by a Vader Bomb for a two count. Taven questioned what Cobb has done earn a title shot. Taven pointed out that he beat everyone in the ring other than Cobb. “Well, great, let’s see you beat Jeff Cobb,” Riccaboni said.
Rush caught PCO with a running forearm and then played to the crowd, which responded with applause. Cobb pulled Lethal from a lying position in the corner into his arms and performed a nice suplex, which led to a two count. [C]
Cobb set up for a double suplex on Lethal and PCO. Rush snuck underneath Cobb and performed a tower of doom spot. Later, PCO went up and performed his moonsault toward the head of Rush, which was under the bottom rope. Rush moved and PCO did his usual crash and burn on the edge of the ring. Fans chanted “this is awesome.”
Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Rush. Kenny King came to ringside. Lethal performed the Lethal Combination on Cobb. King barked at Lethal and asked if he gave him permission to use his move. Cobb hit a distracted Lethal with his Tour of the Islands finisher and pinned him…
Jeff Cobb defeated Rush, PCO, and Jay Lethal in a four corner survival match.
Powell’s POV: King was louder at ringside than the fans were after that lame ass finish. It came off like ROH creative was more concerned with setting up the second match of the King vs. Lethal series than making Cobb look strong going into the ROH Title match at Best in the World. The four corner survival match had its moments and was the highlight of the otherwise missable show, but that finish was just plain lousy and did absolutely nothing for Cobb. I will have more to say about the show in my members’ exclusive audio review later today.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Pat McNeill of the Wayback Playback podcast, who discusses how the more things change the more they stay the same with the return of the XFL and AEW coming to TNT, plus thoughts on WWE’s struggles, how wrestling from 20 years ago holds up through today’s eyes, and more.
The Best of The Boom features Eric Bischoff joining Jason Powell in this March 20, 2019 discussion on whether there are similarities between Verne Gagne's booking during the AWA's dying days and Vince McMahon's WWE booking today, AEW, a Turner network shakeup, and more...