By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 477)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland
Aired November 7, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH opening aired and then Quinn McKay checked in from the studio. McKay set up highlights of Jonathan Gresham defeating Tracy Williams to win the ROH Pure Title from last week’s show. Footage aired of a Gresham promo from after the match. He spoke about the responsibility of ROH to be an alternative.
Gresham said ROH World Champion Rush is not the champion that ROH needs. Gresham said the Pure Title makes him the best pure wrestler in the world. The camera pulled back and Williams, Jay Lethal, and someone wearing an octopus match was standing behind Gresham. “This company once represented professional wrestling freedom,” Gresham said. “If I have anything to say about it, this company will be that again.” Gresham welcomed viewers to a new era of honor and said we are all ROH Strong…
McKay hyped the show’s matches heading into the first commercial break… [C]
A Dak Draper sit-down promo aired. He said he likes the attention of doing well. He said he got that from his dad, who was always the center of attention. Draper said he loved competing in tournaments and hearing other wrestlers say they didn’t want to face him. Draper said he was top ten in wins all-time at his college.
Draper said he was approached for a WWE tryout and was told that not everyone makes it. Draper said that getting a WWE should have made him happy, but he didn’t feel like he was becoming good at pro wrestling while he was there. Once he left, he said it was a foreign feeling for him to actually have fun wrestling.
Draper looked back on winning the Top Prospect tournament. He also thought he would be in the Pure Title tournament due to his background, but they made him an alternate. Draper said he had to sit in his hotel room waiting for a call, just like Brian Johnson.
Draper recalled Johnson being the first person he met at the ROH dojo. Draper said his dad taught him to judge people by how others treat them. Draper said people liked Johnson, but they also treated him like he was lucky to be in ROH. Conversely, Draper said people look at him and know that ROH is lucky to have him…
Brian Johnson’s sit-down feature aired. He said people must call him The Mecca. He said he is from Philadelphia, which is known for throwing snowballs at Santa Claus, and he loves it. Johnson spoke about growing up a huge fan of pro wrestling. He said he didn’t play other sports, he became a pro wrestler.
Johnson grew angry while he spoke about how he made the ROH dojo work. He took issue with people at the dojo falling in love with Draper and forgetting about him. Johnson alleged that the Top Prospect tournament was gift wrapped for Draper based on who he was booked to face. Johnson said this is just another match to Draper, but it’s his life… [C]
Powell’s POV: It’s great to see the promos leading into matches are sticking around even though the Pure Title tournament is over. ROH took a similar approach leading into their first-round tournament matches and it really helped establish the personalities and characters of the wrestlers. In this case, both men established their background while also spending a good amount of time talking about their match. Here’s hoping this becomes the norm on ROH television. The only knock against these videos is that both guys are heelish, so I’m not really sure how the company wants the fans to feel about this match.
Ring entrances for the opening match took place. Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in on commentary…
1. Dak Draper vs. Brian Johnson in a Pure Rules match. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor while Draper was all smiles and Johnson was intense. Johnson started the match with a punch to the face, which resulted in a warning for using a closed fist (a second violation results in disqualification). Johnson used an early rope break.
Draper punched Johnson and was issued his warning for using a closed fist. “I get one, just like he got one,” Draper told the referee. Draper dove at Johnson, who was against the ropes. Johnson started going over the top rope before Draper really made contact with him, then both men tumbled to ringside. Johnson remained down and sold being injured, but he beat the referee’s count by returning to the ring.
Draper told Johnson that he should have stayed outside the ring. Draper performed a nice powerslam and covered Johnson for a two count. Draper was in offensive control going into a break. [C] Draper executed a Doctor Bomb for a near fall. Draper covered Johnson again, but Johnson grabbed the ropes for his second rope break.
Johnson came back with an Ace Crusher and got a two count. Draper and Johnson had a series of pin attempts. Johnson avoided Draper’s finisher, then performed a dive through the ropes onto Draper and tried to use the ropes for leverage, but the referee spotted it and ruled it Johnsons third rope break just before the 10:00 mark.
Johnson performed a neckbreaker and went for the pin, but Draper used his second rope break. Riccaboni said the neckbreaker was the move that PJ Black was coaching Johnson to use as a finisher in past training videos that aired on ROH television. Draper ended up hitting his Magnum KO finisher and scoring the clean pin…
Dak Draper beat Brian Johnson in 11:03 in a Pure Rules match.
Riccaboni hyped the main event… [C]
Powell’s POV: I wanted to like this match, but I’m still not sure which wrestler the fans were supposed to root for. I’m fine with the occasional heel vs. heel match when both wrestlers have established personas, but it’s a tad confusing when both men are still establishing their personas. It also felt strange that Draper took as long as he did to put away Johnson, who has been positioned as an angry undercard heel who loses most of his matches.
Brody King was featured in a sit-down promo. King said he grew up in a small town outside Los Angeles. He said the only things to do were do drugs and drink or play music and go to shows. Photos aired of him singing in his band God’s Hate. He said he never got into drugs and alcohol and has been straight edge since age 16. He said he preferred playing in bands as opposed to playing sports in high school.
King spoke about coming to ROH as a singles wrestler, then teaming with PCO. He said he had someone to lean on and people had his back in the past (with Villain Enterprises), but now he’s decided to become a singles wrestler. King said he wanted a match with ROH Champion Rush and said he would go through anyone to get the booking committee’s attention so that he can get that match.
King spoke of facing Dalton Castle and said you never know which Castle you are going to get. He spoke about Castle suffering an injury and questioned whether he returned as the same guy, but then he showed during the Pure Title tournament that he was the same guy. King said he wanted to face the Castle who became world champion, not the guy who came back from the injury…
Dalton Castle was featured in his sit-down interview piece. He said he didn’t accomplish his goal of winning the Pure Title tournament. He said his job now is to figure out where he went wrong and to correct his mistakes. He said he has to plan correctly for his match with King. He said King’s size is a concern.
Castle spoke about avoiding King’s early strikes and shooting at his shins to take him down. Castle said he feels like something has changed inside of him and he feels rage. He said he thinks he and King are both in danger when they meet in the ring… [C]
Powell’s POV: Two good video packages. King really stood out when ROH focused on him during one of their spotlight shows that aired a while back. He’d barely received mic time before then, and he came off really well when he finally got a chance to speak. That carried over to this video, so hopefully ROH will continue to give him more mic time.
2. Dalton Castle vs. Brody King. Both entrances were televised.A graphic noted that Castle and King had never met in a match before. King covered Castle for a two count heading into an early break. [C] Castle performed an exploder suplex and then tagged King with a running knee, which led to a near fall.
Castle performed another impressive suplex, but King came right back with a piledriver that resulted in a two count. Castle fired some forearms at King, who returned fire and dropped Castle with one strike. Both men ended up at ringside. King tossed Castle over the ringside barricade.
Back inside the ring, Castle cut off King on the ropes, leaving King lying over the top rope. Castle got a running start and delivered another knee to the head. Castle performed a bulldog and covered King for a two count. Castle showed frustration over not getting the pin.
A short time later, a time limit graphic appeared on a top corner of the screen to mark that there was less than a minute remaining. King put Castle down with a wicked suplex. King followed up with a lariat and a Gonzo Bomb and scored the clean pin.
Brody King beat Dalton Castle in 14:26.
After the match, King looked into the camera and said, “Just Violence.” Riccaboni hyped Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor, and The Briscoes vs. SOS for next week’s show. King and Castle shook hands to close out the episode…
Powell’s POV: A good, competitive main event. It seems like ROH is serious about pushing King as a singles wrestler, while it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Castle now that he’s lost back to back matches since ROH returned. Even with the losses, I am enjoying Castle more now than I was when he was clowning around with Joe Hendry in tag team matches.
Overall, this was a good episode and it was great to see the company continue to give the talent more mic time. They’ve gone from throwing out three matches without much advance hype to slowing down, letting the wrestlers tell stories on the mic, and then deliver in the ring. This is a much better approach for ROH and I hope it continues.