By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 407)
Taped June 1, 2019 in Kent, Washington at the ShoWare Center
Aired in syndication on July 6, 2019, Mondays on the FITE TV app
The ROH opening aired and then the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana checked in. Ring announcer Bobby Cruise delivered the introductions for the opening match…
1. TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia vs. “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas. The Bouncers made their entrance from the bar area and carried beer cans and a small keg to the ring. Cabana emphasized that O’Ryan and Marseglia would not be allowed at ringside during the ROH Title match later in the show. Riccaboni hyped the Guerrillas of Destiny vs. The Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles streaming live on HonorClub from the Manhattan Mayhem show on July 20.
There was a comical spot where O’Ryan had Milonas weary in the corner. O’Ryan turned and celebrated his success only for Milonas to fall on top of him. Later, Marseglia fish-hooked Bruiser, who responded by biting his hand. When the referee scolded Bruiser, he told the ref that he can’t bite because he doesn’t have teeth. A short time later, Bruiser performed a cannonball off the apron and onto both opponents at ringside. Marseglia recovered and ran Bruiser into the ring post and barricade going into the first commercial break. [C]
The heels isolated Bruiser. Marseglia had Bruiser bite the bottom rope and then kicked it. Milonas eventually took a hot tag and shoulder blocked both opponents. Milonas set up for a superplex on O’Ryan, but Marseglia tripped Milonas from ringside, causing O’Ryan to fall onto Milonas for the pin.
TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia defeated Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas.
After the match, The Bouncers offered beers to the Kingdom duo for the post match toast. O’Ryan took the beer and the mic and said that ROH is prided on elite tag team wrestling. O’Ryan said there’s no doubt in his mind that the Bouncers are an elite tag team. O’Ryan said the Bouncers proved to them that they are exactly like everyone in the crowd – big, fat losers. O’Ryan and Marseglia poured their beers onto the floor. The Bouncers roughed them up quickly…
Powell’s POV: A solid tag team opening match with the heels getting the win and the babyface duo getting a measure of post match revenge.
Matt Taven delivered a backstage promo and said to be aware of the quiet man. He brought up “soft bark with a big bite” in reference to Tracy Williams. Taven said he has work to be done and he’ll be aware of the quiet man as long as he realizes that he’s the world champion and his bark is as big as his bite… [C]
Tracy Williams spoke backstage and said he’s heading into the biggest match of his career. He said he earned a shot against a title that has been held by some of the biggest names of the world. He said he doesn’t take the opportunity lightly and he’s coming to take the title. Williams said he hopes Taven is holding onto the title belt tightly because it will be his at the end of the night…
Powell’s POV: A good, confident promo from Williams. He isn’t flashy on the mic, but he came off as a strong, confident babyface. I’d like to hear more from him.
2. Josh Woods vs. “Number One” Brian Johnson. A Johnson promo aired as he was shown making his entrance. He called Woods the biggest bust in Top Prospect Tournament history. A Woods promo aired and he said he based his career on the idea that less is more. He said Johnson is running his mouth, but he will let his actions do the talking. Woods was dominant until Johnson avoided him charging at him. Woods went through the ropes and hit the post shoulder first before tumbling to ringside. [C]
Johnson targeted the left shoulder of Woods (even though it was actually the right shoulder that hit the post). They showed footage of Johnson running Woods into the barricade during the break. Woods eventually came back and dropped Johnson with a running knee that led to a two count. Johnson came back briefly and tried to use the ropes for leverage, but was immediately caught by the referee. Woods came right back with another high knee and followed up with his finisher and scored the pin.
Josh Woods defeated Brian Johnson.
Powell’s POV: The match was more competitive than I anticipated and that’s not really a good thing. Time stood still as Johnson worked over Woods’s shoulder. There was never any question in my mind regarding the outcome, and whatever Johnson did offensively felt like it was prolonging the inevitable.
Footage aired of Tracy Williams beating Eli Isom to earn the ROH Title match… [C]
Jay Lethal joined the broadcast team and said he’s looking to become a three time ROH Champion when he challenges for the championship at Manhattan Mayhem on July 20…
Entrances for the main event took place. Williams was out first to a flat reaction. There was more of a response for Taven, but it was also pretty flat. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Lethal said it stings whenever he hears Taven introduced as the world champion…
3. Matt Taven vs. Tracy Williams for the ROH Championship. Taven and Williams adhered to the Code of Honor. Lethal was laughing and Cabana asked if he was okay. Lethal said it’s funny that he has allowed Taven to rent a spot in his brain. They cut to a break early in the match. [C]
The champion and challenger fought to ringside. Williams slammed the head of Taven into the ring steps. Williams went to the stage and then performed a running leap and punched Taven. While it felt a little underwhelming compared to some of the insanity we’ve seen from stage dives in ROH, the crowd did respond with an “ROH” chant. The wrestlers returned to the ring and ended up fighting for position on the ropes. Taven performed a Russian leg sweep that sent Williams crashing onto the apron. Williams came up selling his chronically bad shoulder, which he was wearing a brace to support. Taven performed a dropkick through the ropes onto the bad shoulder. [C]
Taven seated Williams on the top rope and then told a fan that he sucks. Taven chopped Williams, then told the fan, “Suck on that, fatty.” Williams came right back with a DDT that drove Taven’s face into the top turnbuckle, then leapt from the middle rope and performed a DDT on the way down, which led to a near fall. Williams picked up another near fall a short time later, then immediately applied an STF. When Taven neared the ropes, Williams released the hold and applied an ankle lock, then reapplied an STF only for Taven to reach the ropes to break it.
Taven came back with a knee to the head and set up for his finisher. Williams avoided the move once, but Taven came right back and hit his Climax finisher for a good near fall. Taven expressed shock over his finisher not getting the pin. A light “this is awesome” chant broke out briefly. Taven went up top and performed a frogsplash, but Williams put his knees up and hooked him into a pin for a good two count. Williams performed a piledriver for another near fall. Williams grabbed the arm of Taven, who pulled referee Todd Sinclair into Williams. With Sinclair weary for a moment, Taven slammed Williams’s head into a turnbuckle that Taven exposed early in the match. Taven performed his Climax finisher and scored the pin…
Matt Taven defeated Tracy Williams to retain the ROH Championship.
Powell’s POV: A strong television main event, though I wish this had been the finish of Taven’s pay-per-view match with Jeff Cobb instead of the clean finish they went with. It seemed like ROH creative was trying to make Taven a strong and credible heel champion. He is a heel and so I expect there to be moments like this where he cheats to win, but it felt more damaging to Cobb to take a clean pin at Best in the World than it would have for Williams to take one here.
That said, I don’t know what Cobb’s long term contract status is, and perhaps the BITW main event would have worked out better for him had their match not been cut short due to timing issues. Nevertheless, Williams did gain something in defeat so they can come back to this and hopefully the creative team will do more to develop his character coming out of that brief, yet well delivered backstage promo from earlier in the show. I’m curious to see where they go with Lethal. Are they giving him more of an edge by having him snap out of frustration? Is he turning heel along with his buddy Jonathan Gresham, who low blowed his way to a win in a pure wrestling match over Silas Young at BITW?
Overall, this episode was a notch below last week’s show even with the ROH Title match in the main event slot. The live crowd was likely drained late in the tapings and no one came off like a star even though the fans did get into the main event. I believe this puts a wrap on this set of tapings so we should get the first of the shows taped after BITW next week. I will have more to say about this show in my weekly members’ exclusive audio review coming up later today.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell featuring a Dot Net Weekly combo show co-hosted by Jake Barnett with a discussion of WWE’s first week of television following the creative shakeup, MLW announcing its first pay-per-view event, and much more.