By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 440)
Aired April 25, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The standard ROH opening aired (please tell me the company will finally scrap the tired theme music and graphics look once things get back to normal)… Footage was shown of a Flip Gordon’s hometown and a sign that read dogs were not allowed to be off-leash. Gordon acknowledged the sign, but said that his dog Mante is special. Gordon said his dog never does his business on the trail, he does it in the woods, so he never has to pick it up.
Powell’s POV: Pick up your dog’s shit, people! I’m a proud owner of two dogs and there’s nothing worse than when the Minnesota snow melts and the grassy area on both sides of the walking trail in my neighborhood is littered with shit because lazy ass dog owners like Flip Gordon won’t pick up after their dogs. Your dog might be special, but his or her shit is not. Okay, fine, the wooded area that Gordon referred to is actually okay, but the rest of you should consider this a public service announcement. On a side note, I am convinced that the closest you can come to touching shit without actually touching it is by using those extremely thing dollar store dog bags. Now back to the show.
Gordon spoke about growing up in Montana. He said he’s the son of a single mother who had four kids with four different dads. Gordon said he was sent off to mental hospitals early in his life because of behavioral problems. He said he was given ADHD and bipolar medications. He said he got in fights in school and went to an alternative school. He said he didn’t understand why he was away from home and that’s when he found professional wrestling and it changed his life. Gordon said he didn’t get in any trouble after that because he wanted to become a pro wrestler.
Gordon said he was an amateur wrestler in school and then did a little MMA coming out of high school. He went to college and became a mascot and worked out with a lot of cheerleaders, who helped him with tumbling exercises. He said that if he had not learned that technique then he couldn’t do the things he does in the ring today.
Gordon spoke of having two different planners – one for the month and one for the day. He said he likes having schedules because it was drilled into him while he was in the military. Gordon said he enlisted in the army a couple of years into his college days in Idaho. Gordon said he eventually drove to Boston and started training at a pro wrestling facility. Gordon said he got goosebumps the first time he was inside a wrestling ring and he felt at home from the start… [C]
Flip Gordon vs. Matt Sydal in Baltimore, Maryland on April 8, 2017. This was billed as Gordon’s first ROH television match. Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana were on the call. Gordon put up a good fight, but Sydal hit his Shooting Star Press finisher and scored the clean pin… [C]
Footage aired of Bully Ray standing in a ring and calling out Gordon…
Flip Gordon vs. Bully Ray in an I Quit match in New York at Final Battle on December 14, 2018. Gordon appeared in the upper deck and was wearing camouflage while carrying an American flag. Coming out of a break, footage aired of Bully Ray setting up to powerbomb Gordon’s girlfriend through a table while Gordon begged him not to. Bully was about to perform the move when Cary Silkin hit him from behind with a kendo stick.
As Bully was intimidating Silkin, Gordon’s girlfriend low-blowed Bully. Back inside the ring, Gordon leapt off the top rope and hit Bully with the flagpole of his American flag. Gordon, whose bloody face was digitized, used the flag to perform a crossface. Silas Young interfered on Bully’s behalf. Cheeseburger tried to make the save, but Young hit him with his Misery finisher. Young poured lighter fluid on a table. Cabana left the broadcast table and worked over Bully and Young with a chair. Young low blowed Cabana and tossed him to ringside.
The lights went out when Young was about to light the table on fire. When the lights turned on, Sandman was standing in the ring with a kendo stick. Sandman disposed of Young. Sandman avoided a charing Bully, then Gordon superkicked Bully and gave him a cutter. Sandman presented Gordon with his kendo stick, which Gordon struck Ray with repeatedly until he quit…
Powell’s POV: This was fun to see again. Bully had a formula in ROH that worked really well in that he got a ton of heat in the buildup to a match (while fans bitched that he was being over pushed), then he put the babyface over in the end (and the fans all went nuts for the babyface getting his revenge). It’s so simple and yet so effective.
Coming out of a commercial break, Gordon said he felt like he was too young to be taken seriously. He said he needed to do something to change that and the Mercenary role made sense to him because it played on his military background. He said he’s ready to go and ready to fight…
Flip Gordon vs. Bandido from War of the Worlds in Buffalo, New York on May 8, 2019. Gordon performed his Star Spangled Cutter from the ropes and only got a two count. The broadcast team of Riccaboni and Cabana questioned whether anyone had kicked out of the move before. Bandido came back with a GTS, but Gordon caught him with a superkick and then performed another Star Spangled Cutter and scored the pin…
Gordon was shown packing his bags and then telling his dog that he would miss him and loves him. Gordon spoke about living his dream and working so hard to get to ROH. He said it shows that hard work can pay off. A brief video of Gordon’s in-ring exploits aired. Gordon spoke about traveling the world and making friends and then bumping into them in different cities and airports. He spoke about performing in front of different audiences and seeing smiles on the faces of the fans. He said it all happens so fast and he loves every minute of it…
Powell’s POV: I have never agreed with the decision to turn Gordon into the heel Mercenary character. I did not sense that fans were having a problem taking Gordon seriously due to his age. The Bully Ray feud toughened up his image and that was more than enough. Gordon is a natural babyface given his in-ring style, his military history, and I didn’t even know about his childhood and being placed on bipolar and ADHD medications. So instead of leaning into all of these things that fans can respect, perhaps identify with, and rally behind, Gordon became a mostly silent and one dimensional heel who came off like the fourth man in Villain Enterprises. Ugh. On the bright side, it seemed like he was on the verge of getting a big babyface push before the pandemic, so hopefully booker Marty Scurll sees the same thing I do – the man behind the Flip Gordon persona, who we saw throughout this episode, is a babyface star. As frustrated as I am by that heel turn, this was a very good edition and one of my favorites of the spotlight approach that ROH has adopted since the pandemic started.