By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Summer Supercard
Aired live on FITE.TV and HonorClub
Toronto, Ontario at Mattamy Athletic Centre
The show apparently opened with a ten-bell salute for the late Harley Race, but the stream was slow to take on FITE TV (I’m watching via HonorClub for the time being)… The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in and discussed the lineup…
1. PCO and Brody King vs. TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia. The Kingdom duo came out to a more country sounding entrance theme. PCO and King wore their Villain Enterprises themed ROH Six-Man Tag Title belts, but they did not bring the NWA Tag Titles to the ring. “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas watched from ringside. The FITE TV feed kicked in early in the match.
The Kingdom duo worked over PCO and his eye was targeted. PCO fought back and King catapulted him from the apron onto O’Ryan and Marseglia at ringside in a crowd pleasing spot. The Kingdom rallied with a double suicide dives. In the end, PCO performed a moonsault onto O’Ryan and pinned him.
PCO and Brody King beat TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia.
After the match, O’Ryan and Marseglia went to ringside and jawed at The Bouncers, who were standing behind the barricade. The Bouncers eventually threw beer at them and a brawl broke out at ringside. Security jumped it to pull the teams apart…
Powell’s POV: The usual PCO fun. The live crowd had fun with it. Speaking of which, it’s either a late arriving crowd or it’s a sparsely attended event. The main floor looks full, but there are a lot of open seats off the main floor of the venue, which has a listed capacity of 3,850.
Rhett Titus joined the broadcast team and Riccaboni noted that he and his wife recently had a child. Coleman noted that it was nice to see Titus wearing a shirt for a change. Titus was down to earth, so it appears the bodybuilder gimmick is history…
PJ Black made his entrance for his match with Silas Young, who then came out in street clothes. The house mic sounded rough over television initially. Young had a bottle with him. He told Black to earn a match against him and then left. Black took the mic and said he was excited about the match and he loves wrestling and wants to wrestle. Black called for someone in the back who wasn’t booked for a match to face him instead.
Black threw out Cheeseburger’s name and then said, “Oh what about…” Marty Scurll’s entrance music played. Scurll made his entrance. One of the broadcast team members noted that they don’t always see him in Toronto. Scurll took the mic and said the fans had waited a long time to see The Villain, then called for the bell to ring…
2. PJ Black vs. Marty Scurll. Black performed an early springboard cross body block for a two count. On commentary, Titus said he felt Kenny King disrespected him greatly in front of his wife in Philadelphia. Titus said King should stay in his lane. Black was in offensive control early, then Scurll came back with a German suplex. Black rallied and picked up a few of near falls, including one off a springboard moonsault.
Scurll went for another springboard moonsault, but Scurll put his knees up. Scurll faked out Black with some moves before kicking him, then stomped his hand and did the finger break spot. Black came right back with a backslide for a two count. They traded pin attempts for two counts. Scurll ducked a kick and threw a couple of uppercuts and then hit Black Plague for the win…
Marty Scurll defeated PJ Black in 8:05.
Powell’s POV: A well worked match. Scurl’s appearance was a nice surprise since he wasn’t advertised. ROH didn’t advertise him because he’s had trouble getting into Canada in the past, so hopefully that’s behind him now that he was able to appear at this event.
A video package set up the Women of Honor Championship match…
3. Kelly Klein vs. Tasha Steelz for the WOH Championship. The referee called the women together for the Code of Honor, which they adhered to. When Steelz went to walk away, Klein held her hand and pulled her in tight for an intense moment, then she let go and the referee called for the bell to start the match.
At 7:00, Steelz avoided a move that Klein was going for and dropped her with a cutter. Klein rolled to the ropes and held onto the bottom rope to avoid further damage. Steelz applied a sleeper hold in the middle of the ring. Klein backed into the corner to break the hold. Moments later, Klein hit her K Power finisher for the win.
Kelly Klein defeated Tasha Steelz in 8:05 to retain the WOH Championship.
After the match, Klein helped Steelz to her feet and raised her arm. Angelina Love attacked both women from behind and hit them both with Botox Injections. Love picked up the WOH Championship and then posed with it while standing over Klein. The broadcast team complained that Love didn’t have to do what she did when she’s already the number one contender…
Powell’s POV: A decent match between the champion and the long shot challenger. It was hard to buy into Steelz winning given that they’ve been building toward Klein vs. Love. That said, it was nice to see a fresh face in a title match.
4. Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham vs. Bandido and Mark Haskins. The teams shook hands prior to the match. The first five minutes were slow paced. Lethal and Bandido checked in. Lethal backed Bandido against the ropes and then woooed at him. Haskins checked in and traded forearms with Lethal, then chopped him in the corner and tagged Bandido back into the match at 8:05.
At 10:30, Gresham got the better of Haskins and worked him over with a wrist lock, then tagged in Lethal who pressed him into the air and let him fall to the mat. Lethal covered Haskins for a two count. Lethal chopped Haskins and the ROH Tag Title belts could be seen hanging over the ring already for the ladder war. Haskins caught Lethal with a backbreaker and then tagged in Bandido.
Bandido ran the ropes and Gresham held them open. Bandido fell to the floor. Lethal expressed displeasure to Gresham, who tagged himself in and then attacked Bandido at ringside. Gresham grabbed a chair and wound up to use it, but Lethal took the chair away from him. They fought over the chair at ringside. Lethal pulled the chair away and then Gresham shoved Lethal to the ringside mat.
Bandido tagged in Haskins, who performed a suicide dive on Lethal and then got the better of Gresham briefly. Lethal tagged in unbeknownst to Haskins and caught him by surprise. Haskins rallied and got a few near falls on Lethal. Haskins tagged in Bandido and hit Lethal with a falcon arrow, then Bandido performed a frogsplash. Bandido had the pin, but Gresham broke it up at 15:35.
Lethal and Gresham performed a double team high low style kick on Haskins, who then caught Lethal in an inside cradle for a two count. A short time later, Lethal put Haskins in a figure four while Gresham held Bandido at ringside and as they climbed into the ring. Haskins teased tapping. Bandido picked up Gresham and powerbombed him onto Lethal to break up the figure four, which drew an ROH chant.
Gresham looked angry as he directed Bandido’s gun sign at him. Bandido returned the favor. Gresham and Gandido traded forearms. Bandido knocked Gresham down, but he kipped right up and caught him with a kick. Bandido took out Gresham with a move, then ended up hitting the 21 Plex on Lethal. Haskins immediately applied his Sharpshooter. Bandido leapt over the top rope and flipped onto Gresham at ringside. Lethal tapped out to the Sharpshooter…
Bandido and Mark Haskins defeated Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham in 19:50.
Powell’s POV: The first half of the match was slow and yet it built nicely to the second half of the match. Riccaboni correctly made a big fuss over Haskins forcing the former ROH Champion to submit and played this up as the biggest win of Haskins’ ROH run. I’m curious to see what the win leads to for Haskins, what the relationship is like between Lethal and Gresham coming out of this match, and whether the loss is intended to drive Lethal closer to snapping as Gresham has.
Tracy Williams made his entrance for the ROH TV Title match. Flip Gordon showed up and hit him from behind with a kendo stick that had black tape over it. Gordon wore all black and still had his arm in a sling. Security got involved and Gordon left the ring with a scowl on his face…
A video package hyped upcoming ROH events… Riccaboni and Coleman spoke at their perch on the side of the stage about the actions of Gordon. Riccaboni said the TV Tile match had been postponed due to the attack…
Powell’s POV: The Lifeblood members should have more anger with Gordon than he has with them at this point given that he embarrassed them after they offered him a spot in their group. In other words, I’m not sure why the Gordon character is so angry, but he is the only member of the apparently heel Villain Enterprises faction being booed right now so there is that.
5. Rush vs. Dalton Castle in a No DQ match. Castle came to the ring with a couple of “boys” who wore black masks with cow masks over them. Castle acted like he was a matador by slaying the charing, well, cows. Castle went to ringside when the bell rang. Rush followed, worked him over, and sent him back inside the ring where he eventually dropkicked his back. Rush did pushups and then bowed to the crowd.
Rush continued to dominate and took Castle into the crowd and then worked him over on the stage. Rush wrapped a cable around Castle’s neck and headbutted him. Referee Todd Sinclair followed along, but he couldn’t do anything because of the No DQ stipulation. Rush rolled Castle back inside the ring and stomped on Castle in the corner. Rush teased his finisher, but stopped, kicked Castle, and then struck his pose in the middle of the ring. The broadcast team members agreed that Rush should have put Castle away when he had the chance.
Castle had and object and hit Rush with it a couple of times and then dumped him to ringside. Castle swung a chair at the head of Rush (who wisely put his hands up) and then choked him with the chair. Castle set up the chair and put Rush on it before kicking him over. Castle went to the ring and struck taunted Rush by striking his pose. Castle went back to ringside and suplexed Rush on the ringside mat. Rush swung at Castle, who picked him up and threw him onto a few “fans” in the front row. Castle went to the apron and posed.
Castle returned to the floor and Sinclair barked at him. Castle walked away from him and could be heard telling Rush that he should stay in the front row seats and pay admission. Castle stopped and posed for a selfie with a fan in the front row. Castle brought Rush back to ringside and continued his attack. Castle threw a chair at the face of Rush, then set it up and stood on top of it before falling off it to splash Rush. Castle put Rush’s hand on his cheer and posed for the camera.
Castle rolled Rush back inside the ring and covered him for just a one count. Rush rallied with a suplex in the ring then took Castle to ringside and ran him into the barricade twice. Rush powerbombed Castle onto a table, then stood on him and posed. Rush threw a chair at Castle’s face, then rolled him into the ring. Rush grabbed a plastic trashcan and threw it into the ring while Riccaboni noted that it was a “hallmark of Rush’s offense.” Rush also threw a cooler and all sorts of objects into the ring. Castle came back and hit Rush with the plastic trashcan, which Rush wisely no-sold. Rush fired up and ended up hitting his Bullhorns finisher in the corner and then scored the pin…
Rush defeated Dalton Castle in a No DQ match in 15:35.
Powell’s POV: They worked hard and the crowd had fun with the brawling, but this feud feels flat. The obvious reason is that Castle has looked so weak against Rush aside from one beatdown angle. Rush hasn’t fully connected with the fans yet, and heel Castle is off to a rough start by coming off as being so inferior to Rush.
An ad aired for a two disc Matt Taven DVD (yes, this is really a thing), and then other ROH DVDs were hyped…
Tracy Williams came to the ring holding his arm at his side and yelled through a promo that concluded with him telling Shane Taylor to get his big ass to the ring…
6. Shane Taylor vs. Tracy Williams for the ROH TV Title. Taylor targeted the chronically injured shoulder of Williams, which he sold as being aggravated in the attack by Flip Gordon. Taylor was dominant early and did a good job of attacking the shoulder, so it didn’t seem out of place when Coleman said he would call for the bell if he was the referee. Williams came back briefly, but Taylor nailed him with a headbutt. Coleman continued to question why the referee was allowing the match to continue.
Taylor went for a splash from the middle rope, but Williams moved and then applied an STF, which Taylor eventually broke by reaching the ropes. A short time later, Taylor caught Williams with a knee to the head and followed up with his finisher before scoring the clean pin…
Shane Taylor beat Tracy Williams in 8:30 to retain the ROH TV Title.
Powell’s POV: I was looking forward to this match and came away feeling underwhelmed. The wrestlers did a good job with the time they had, but the Gordon angle made this match briefer and more lopsided than I hoped it would be. Hopefully we’ll get a full length rematch in the near future, but it feels like they’re more concerned with setting up Williams vs. Gordon.
A video package aired on new ROH signee Joe Hendry. He said he will bring prestige back to the sport of pro wrestling and will help ROH change the world. He spoke about being a wrestler, entertainer, and one hell of a funny guy. He also said he’ll become a world champion…
Powell’s POV: I haven’t seen much of Hendry, but I’ve enjoyed what I saw of him in Impact Wrestling along with a little from UK matches. He does comedic entrance videos that tend to get over big with the crowd.
7. Caristico, Stuka Jr., and Soberano Jr. vs. Barbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, and Templario. The trio of Barbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, and Templario entered to comedic sounding music, while Caristico, Stuka Jr., and Soberano Jr. came out together to more serious sounding music. Silas Young sat in on commentary. In the end, Caristico forced Cavernario to submit to arm armbar…
Caristico, Stuka Jr., and Soberano Jr. defeated Barbaro Cavernario, Hechicero, and Templario in 12:00.
Powell’s POV: Forgive me for just sitting back and watching this match. I’m familiar with Caristico and his team, but I haven’t seen much of their opponents and it would have been a bitch to keep up with. It was a crowd pleasing lucha trios match with some big dives and even a worm from Barbaro Cavernario. Oh, and I have no clue what Young said on commentary. For some reason, I’ve had a hard time hearing him tonight.
8. Matt Taven vs. Alex Shelley for the ROH World Championship. Taven entered to the usual Kingdom entrance theme. The wrestlers shook hands in the middle of the ring and spoke to one another. The wrestlers spat on one another early on. Shelley poked Taven in the eyes and did a Flair strut at one point. The crowd got caught up in counting to ten for some reason. Shelley applied a chinlock and they did it again (something happened in the crowd or I just missed something else).
Taven and Shelley went to ringside. Shelley ran Taven toward the barricade, but he stopped short and jawed at a fan. Shelley came flying from out of camera view with a knee to Taven’s back. Taven walked up to a fan and touched the New Japan Pro Wrestling logo on his shirt, then chopped Taven. Shelley grabbed a shoe from a fan and threw it at Taven, who threw it back. Shelley went into the crowd to touch the fan’s hand and then hopped back over and chopped Taven again. Riccaboni called him a miracle worker and noted that he’s now a personal therapist. Shelley went for Sliced Bread off the ring post, but Taven put and end to the fun by slamming him through a table, which led to “holy shit” chants.
Shelley picked up a mic as he crawled to the apron. Shelley fell off the apron and dropped the mic, then barely beat referee Todd Sinclair’s 20-count. Taven performed a nice backbreaker for a two count. Riccaboni said Shelley has battled lower back problems for years, then Taven put him in a bow and arrow style hold. Shelley rolled him into a pin for a two count. Taven came right back with a butterfly backbreaker for another two count. Taven put Shelley in a Boston Crab. Shelley reached the ropes.
Shelley got up and fired away with chops and then hit Taven with an inverted atomic drop. Taven came right back with a Russian leg sweep and a neckbreaker for another two count. Shelley rallied with a wild move that flung Taven from the apron to the floor. Shelley tripped Taven face first into the barricade, then performed a standing Sliced Bread that drove Taven onto the barricade. Shelley stood up and grabbed Taven, who kicked him over the barricade. Taven got a running start and dove over the barricade onto Shelley. Taven threw Shelley over the barricade and then rolled him back into the ring.
Taven went for a frogsplash. Shelley put his knees up and covered him for two. Shelley performed a Switchblade for a near fall. Shelley fired a couple of superkicks at Taven, then performed Sliced Bread off the ropes for a good near fall. Shelley immediately went for a submission hold, but Taven broke it by rolling him into a pin for a two count. Taven got up and hit a running knee, but Shelley hooked him into a pin. Both men got up and Taven hit Climax, but Shelley countered into a pin for a two count. Taven hit a running knee and Climax and scored the pin.
Matt Taven defeated Alex Shelley in roughly 17:30 to retain the ROH Championship.
After the match, Taven and Shelley were on their backs talking to one another. Taven got up and celebrated his win, then put his foot on Shelley while posing. Shelley left the ring. Taven said Toronto is nothing but Melvins, especially “this neckbeard” in the front row. The crowd started chanting. Taven said more importantly they just saw another name added to the list of men forced to bow to the king. Taven boasted that he beat PCO and Jeff Cobb, then said he’s on pace to be the greatest ROH World Champion of all time. Taven was about to close his promo when he was interrupted.
Rush made his entrance. The broadcast team noted that Rush had not been pinned or submitted and had been dominant in ROH. Rush entered the ring and glared at Taven, who told him that he’ll never be the ROH World Champion. Taven waved at Rush and then left the ring. Riccaboni said Rush had already taken the hair of Taven and wondered if he would take the ROH World Title next. The fans chanted for Rush, who stood on the middle rope and raised his first, then made the throat slash gesture…
Powell’s POV: A very well worked match between Taven and Shelley. There was no reason for anyone to believe Shelley was going to win the championship, but they got the live crowd into this and built to a really good back and forth sequence down stretch. Shelley returned in great shape and put in a strong performance. He told me in a Pro Wrestling Boom interview this week that he’d put in a lot of ring time at a training facility and it showed. I hope we see more of Shelley in ROH. The post match angle sets the table for an interesting title match between Taven and Rush. Don’t rule out a title change given that Taven’s contract expires soon.
Update: Dot Net reader Kyle Van Sickle attended the show and wrote the following via email: “The reason the crowd was doing the 10 count during the ROH Championship match is that the guy that Shelley took the shoe from was passed out drunk. The crowd was having fun at his expense. He actually had to be escorted out because he kept passing out.”
A video package recapped The Briscoes and Guerrillas of Destiny feud…
9. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. “The Guerrillas of Destiny” Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa in a Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles. The tag belts were hanging above the ring. The Briscoes came out second and brought chairs to the ring with them. The teams swung chairs at one another to start. Riccaboni noted that this was the eighth Ladder War in ROH history. A large ladder was set up on the floor and there were chairs all over. There was an early insane spot with Jay putting a ladder on top of Loa, who was on a table. Mark performed a senton dive over the ropes and onto the ladder to drive Loa through the table. Damn.
Jay picked up Tonga and drove him through a table on the floor. Tonga reappeared and dropkicked Mark over the barricade. Mark crawled back over the barricade and ran at Loa, who backdropped him onto a chair. Ouch. In the ring, Tonga ran Jay face first into a chair that was wedged in between turnbuckles. Loa ran Mark’s head into the giant ladder on the floor. Both Briscoes presumably bladed came up bleeding heavily. Tonga slammed Jay onto a ladder that was leaning against the ropes in the ring. Jay was pouring blood while lying in the middle of the ring.
A short time later, Mark performed a Blockbuster from the ring that drove Loa through a table on the floor. Jay stood and and went bloody face to face with Tonga they jawed at one another, then traded forearms, then picked up chairs. Eventually, Jay performed a Jay Driller off the apron and through a table below. Loa followed up by tossing Jay into a ladder in the corner of the ring. Mark came off the ropes and hit Loa with a chair. Mark set up a table on the floor and then DDT’d Loa on the ringside mat. Mark positioned the giant ladder, then placed Loa on the table. Mark climbed to the top of the ladder and performed a splash that drove Loa through the table.
Mark stood up and pointed at the tag belts that were hanging above the ring. Mark went to the ring and tossed a mangled ladder out, then set up another ladder in the ring. Tonga leapt off the giant ladder that was leaning on the ropes and hit Gun Stun on Mark in a cool spot. A “GOD” chant broke out. Tonga climbed the ladder, then Jay followed on the opposite side. They traded forearms and battled at the top of the ladder. Eventually, Jay headbutted Tonga off the ladder, then reached up and pulled down the title belts to win the match.
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa in a Ladder War to retain the ROH Tag Titles.
Riccaboni said the Briscoes are now 3-1 in Ladder Wars. He said the long term damage of the Ladder Wars adds up, but tonight they wave the ROH banner. Riccaboni closed the show and said they would see people in Nashville….
Powell’s POV: This was the absolute insanity that one would expect from these teams in a ladder match. There wasn’t really a reason to expect a title change since the Briscoes just took the titles from GOD last month. Maybe that’s why the wrestlers didn’t make plays for the title belts until the very end. All four men did a hell of a job for this style of match and closed the show with a memorable war. Overall, the last two matches delivered in different ways. But we know the ROH wrestlers can deliver strong performances. The question is whether this company can do something to spark interest from a storyline standpoint. It’s going to take more than just hard work from the wrestlers to make that happen. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review coming up later tonight.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...