By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 435)
Taped December 15, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired January 18, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH opening video aired.. Footage aired from Final Battle of Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham defeating Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe to win the ROH Tag Titles…
Show hosts Ian Riccaboni and Quinn McKay checked in while standing in front of the ROH backdrop an hyped this as a tag team edition…
1. “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas vs. Dalton Castle and Joe Hendry. A Bouncers pre-tape aired while they talked about being brothers and starting of 2020 on the right note. Dalton had fake Boys with him. Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, and Brian Zane were on commentary. They cut to break early in the match. [C]
Bruiser bit Castle and did the bit where he told the referee he can’t bite because he doesn’t have teeth. Hendry was isolated by The Bouncers for a stretch. Hendry made a hot tag and then Castle rattled off some offense on both opponents. Castle performed a suplex on Bruiser and covered him for a two count. Hendry tagged in and performed a fallaway slam on Bruiser. Castle had a small cut on his right thigh.
Late in the match, the Bouncers set up for their Closing Time finisher on Hendry, but Castle broke it up. Castle went to the ropes and fought Milonas, who shoved him into Hendry. The Bouncers hit their Last Call finisher on Hendry, then Milonas pinned him to win the match… [C]
The Bouncers defeated Dalton Castle and Joe Hendry.
Powell’s POV: The outcome is surprising in that Hendry and especially Castle seem higher on the ROH totem pole. That said, I continue to wonder if they are working toward a split between Castle and Hendry. If so, then it makes sense for them to lose to one of the mainstay tag teams.
The show hosts plugged ROH merchandise and then spoke about PJ Black’s attempts to take Brian Johnson under his wing similar to the way Silas Young has done the same for Josh Woods. Riccaboni dug deep into his bag of ’80s nerdery by comparing these alliances to Paul Abdul’s song “Opposites Attract”…
2. PJ Black and Brian Johnson vs. “Master & Machine” Marcus Kross and Griff Garrison. Riccaboni and Coleman were on commentary and they did their own version of the dance that Monster & Machine do on their way to the ring. Black cleared the ring heading into an early break. [C]
Johnson had Kross in an abdominal stretch. Johnson reached out to use the ropes for leverage, but Black kicked his hand away from the ropes, allowing Kross to hip-toss his way out of the hold. Johnson wasn’t pleased with Black. Johnson clotheslined Kross over the top rope and then dove onto him and used the ropes for leverage, but Black kicked his feet off the ropes. Johnson got up and barked at Black.
Kross tagged in his partner thanks to the bickering between Johnson and Black. Garrison worked over both opponents and threw Johnson into Black. Garrison speared Johnson, then tagged in Kross, who went up top and performed a Skywalker Elbow from his partner’s shoulders. Black appeared to be out of position when Kross went for a springboard move, but Black followed it up with a nice superkick. Black went t his corner, then Johnson dropped a fist on Kross and pinned him…
PJ Black and Brian Johnson defeated The Master & Machine.
Powell’s POV: I feel late to the party on The Master & Machine gimmick. Riccaboni told viewers that Kross is the master, and Garrison has “machine” on the back of his tights, but I can’t say that I have any idea what they are going for.
Brian Zane hosted his Top 5 segment focusing on the best ROH tag teams.
5. “Generation Next” Austin Aries and Roderick Strong
4. “The Kings of Wrestling” Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero (Cesaro and Kassius Ohno)
3. “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson
2. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly
1. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe [C]
Ring entrances for the main event took place. Woods shook hands and high-fived fans, which didn’t sit well with Young. Eventually, Young gave in and high-fived a guy at ringside. The Briscoes were out next…
3. Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. Silas Young and Josh Woods to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles. The Code Honor Honor was adhered to. There were multiple commercial breaks during the match. To save time, here’s my recap from my review of Final Battle Fallout via the HonorClub stream: The Briscoes were setting up for their Doomsday Device finisher when Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham got involved. Lethal distracted the referee while Gresham shoved Mark off the top rope. Woods pinned Mark shortly thereafter. Riccaboni said it shows which team the champions would rather face.
Silas Young and Josh Woods defeated Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe to become No. 1 contenders to the ROH Tag Titles.
After the match, Lethal and Gresham applauded Young and Woods from the stage…
Powell’s POV: The idea of the finish was that Lethal and Gresham are trying to avoid facing The Briscoes in a rematch, so they helped Young and Woods win the match instead. I’m fine with that approach, as it gives the new champions what I assume will be a television match with Young and Woods while saving the bigger match with The Briscoes for somewhere down the road.
Overall, a decent episode that felt more like the older style of show with three matches all taking place in the same venue rather than the hodgepodge of matches and match highlights from various locations. I’d still like to see ROH attempt to make the show feel like it’s all happening within an hour and include more promos, but this is an improvement over the format they had been going with.