By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 479)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland
Aired November 21, 2020 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH opening aired… Quinn McKay checked in and hyped the matches… A video feature aired on Jay Briscoe vs. EC3 with comments from both men. Jay took issue with EC3 showing up in ROH and questioning whether honor is real. EC3 said they have both been faces of franchises. EC3 said he respects Briscoe for staying in ROH and fighting. He said honor and respect are synonymous. “Will you show me that honor is real?” EC3 asked. Briscoe said EC3 has never been in the ring with someone like him…
EC3 made his entrance for the opening match. The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in. Riccaboni said EC3 is a former Impact Wrestling world champion… [C]
Jay Briscoe made his entrance. EC3 offered him a handshake, but Briscoe blew it off…
Powell’s POV: As much as I have praised ROH’s shows since they returned following the pandemic break, I have to criticize them for failing to make a big fuss over this match. We saw EC3 and Briscoe have a moment on last week’s show, but they didn’t even advertise this match a week out. ROH has to get better at promoting key matches for their television show.
1. EC3 vs. Jay Briscoe. EC3 backed Briscoe into the corner and extended his hand again. Briscoe shoved EC3, who returned the favor. After another exchange, EC3 looked at his hand and extended it again while the broadcast team wondered what was going through his head. Jay threw repeated punches at EC3 and then stomped him in the corner. Briscoe pressed his foot over the throat of EC3 and didn’t remove it. Referee Todd Sinclair called for the DQ.
EC3 defeated Jay Briscoe by DQ in 1:57.
After the match, EC3 took Briscoe down and threw punches at him. Briscoe rolled over EC3 and worked him over with punches. Security ran out and pulled the wrestlers apart. EC3 struck a crucifix pose while on his knees. Briscoe went after him, but he was quickly pulled off by security. The broadcast team agreed that they wanted to see a rematch. EC3 told Briscoe that there’s no honor in what he does. Briscoe questioned what EC3 does… [C]
Powell’s POV: The match was brief and that’s probably why ROH didn’t make a big fuss over it. I disagree with that approach. This was still the first meeting between EC3 and Briscoe, and ROH should want to draw in as many viewers as they can for their television show and to see what was more of an angle to sell them on the rematch. For what it was, I enjoyed the segment. EC3 continues to be mysterious, and Briscoe is doing a good job of making the feud feel heated.
Quinn McKay approached Jay Briscoe and asked him why he wouldn’t adhere to the Code of Honor. “Cuz f— him, that’s why,” Briscoe replied while being censored. McKay looked into the camera and said, “Succinct”…
Powell’s POV: Awesome response from Briscoe. I love it. Are they building to a Fight Without Honor?
A video feature aired with a LSG sit-down promo. He noted that his name is Leon St. Giovanni, but said viewers can call him LSG. He spoke about going to an ROH show as a kid and being blown away. He was inspired by Jay Lethal, who was the only local guy on the show. LSG spoke about his baseball background and how it helped him in pro wrestling. He said he worked the independent scene and then joined the ROH Dojo after a couple years. LSG spoke about being paired with Shaheem Ali. He said they didn’t have a great 2019 and even labeled it a “complete failure.” LSG said he’s taken time to reevaluate. He said he’s no longer a kid or a young boy. He said anyone who comes to ROH needs to prove themselves against him. LSG said Lethal is no stranger. He said he’s bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter now. LSG said he’s seen everything that Lethal does and he will use it against him. He said he’s never been in a Pure Rules match, but the match means everything to him…
Powell’s POV: Who knew ROH had so many good talkers? The new format that gives the talent a chance to talk is going to create new stars. LSG was really good here. He was down to earth, likable, and believable. I can’t even remember anything he said on shows that used the old format, whereas this is helped establish who he is and what he’s about. He came off like an old school babyface. Well done. I always felt like ROH should have done more with the Coast to Coast tag team. Whether it’s as a team or as a singles wrestler, hopefully LSG is going to get more opportunities.
Jay Lethal’s sit-down feature aired. He said the Pure Title tournament was bittersweet for him. He said the goal of the tournament was accomplished in that they found out that Jonathan Gresham is the best pure wrestler. Lethal said he lost to Tracy Williams and he’s not afraid to admit it. Lethal said he doesn’t mind standing next to likeminded individuals like Gresham and Williams because they want to bring back structure and order to ROH. Lethal said those who have put in the time and work should be rewarded, and that’s why he requested the match with LSG. Lethal spoke about Samoa Joe giving him a chance back in the day and now he’s giving the same gift to LSG. Lethal told LSG told get ready for pay for the free gift…
Entrances for the match took place. A graphic noted that Lethal is 1-0 in his only match with LSG… [C]
2. Jay Lethal vs. LSG in a Pure Rules match. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Riccaboni noted that there was a 15-minute time limit and then listed the rules of Pure Wrestling matches. Lethal took LSG down and went for a figure four, but LSG blocked it and grabbed the ropes to use one of his three rope breaks (he can be pinned or submitted in the ropes if he uses all three rope breaks). The wrestlers traded uppercut forearms just after the 5:00 mark.
Lethal went up top. LSG cut him off and tossed him off the ropes to the floor. LSG dropkicked Lethal through the ropes and then returned to the ring and told the referee to count. Lethal beat the referee’s 20-count. LSG cut him off with kicks and then performed a flying forearm or a running cross body block and covered Lethal for just a one count. [C]
Footage aired from during the break of LSG performing a neckbreaker and remaining on the offensive. Lethal started to make his comeback just after the 10:00 mark with a side Russian leg sweep. Lethal threw a dropkick at a seated LSG, who rolled to the apron. Lethal springboard off the ropes and dropkicked LSG off the apron. Lethal performed a suicide dive and then rolled LSG back inside the ring. Lethal went up top and was cut off by LSG, but Lethal hit him with a few punches to the gut and knocked him down. Lethal set up for Hail to the King, but LSG got to his knees and Lethal gave up going for the move.
Lethal dropped down from the ropes and performed an inverted DDT for a two count. The broadcast team agreed that they thought Lethal would have won the match by now. LSG clotheslined Lethal and covered him for a two count. LSG hoisted Lethal onto his shoulders, but Lethal elbowed his way free. Lethal ended up throwing an enzuigiri kick, then went for the Letha Injection, but LSG caught him and slammed Lethal, then rolled him into a crucifix pin for a two count.
LSG immediately applied a crossface. Lethal got to his feet and powered out of the hold with just over a minute remaining. LSG applied a Sharpshooter, which we gave up and countered into a Muta Lock. Lethal reached out to grab the ropes, but LSG grabbed his arm. Lethal eventually reached the rope to use his first rope break. The time limit expired. The ring announcer noted that the outcome would be decided via judge’s decision. Riccaboni noted that the judges are Gary Juster, Sumie Sakai, and Will Ferrara. Lethal was named the winner.
Jay Lethal beat LSG via split decision in a Pure Rules match.
Coleman guessed that the judges gave it to Lethal because LSG used the first rope break. Lethal and LSG shook hands. LSG told Lethal that he would have won if he had more time… [C]
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. I wasn’t sure if the judges were still in play now that the tournament was over, so I expected this to simply be left as a draw once they reached the time limit. I like that Lethal is working hard to elevate others. Lethal put over Tracy Williams in the Pure Title tournament, and now he made LSG look strong simply by going to the time limit with him. By the way, if this were a shoot, that would have been a controversial decision because LSG dominated the later portion of the match. I assume this will lead to a rematch.
A video package aired on the main event and included comments from both men. Bateman said hat happened at Final Battle was Taven’s out and he should have taken it and gone off and died like a gut torn rabbit. Taven spoke about Vincent and how he’ll never get out of his shadow. Bateman said Vincent is at the top of the mountain and speaking thunder. Bateman said Taven shouldn’t want Vincent because “I’m a much, much nicer guy”…
Powell’s POV: This was the same video package they used to promote the match on last week’s show. I haven’t heard much from Bateman in the past. He did a nice job of sounding menacing while also establishing that Vincent is the leader of their faction.
Ring announcer Bobby Cruise delivered introductions while the wrestlers made their entrances for the main event…
3. Matt Taven vs. Bateman. Taven was the early aggressor. Bateman came back with a swinging neckbreaker heading into the final break. [C] Taven performed a leaping dive over the top rope onto Bateman on the floor. Taven sold a knee injury, but he was the first man to his feet and rolled Bateman back inside the ring. Taven went for a frogsplash, but Bateman avoided it. Bateman grabbed Taven from behind, but Taven rolled him into a pin for the three count.
Matt Taven beat Bateman in 9:33.
After the match, the referee raised the arm of the kneeling Taven. Bateman attacked Taven from behind. Vincent walked out with a mic in hand. Bateman held Taven in place while Vincent said that Taven looked a little too comfortable and needed more cruelty for his ego. Bateman performed a tombstone piledriver on Taven. Vincent said he had a question that had been burning in his mind for some time. “I wanna know how could one person be so embarrassing,” Vincent said. “I mean, look around you, man, there’s not a single soul in this place and yet you’re still that desperate for all the attention.” Vincent entered the ring while Bateman held Taven.
Vincent told Taven that no matter how hard he tries, he will never get the approval that he’s looking for. Vincent slapped Taven, then grabbed him by the face and said that Taven’s legacy will be nothing more than one of failure. Bateman picked up Taven and held him. Vincent said they should go back to what opened the door of freedom to him in the first place. “How about pure violence?” Vincent asked. Vincent pulled out a dart and poked his finger with it. The lights went out.
Mike Bennett’s entrance music played. The lights went out again. When the lights turned on, Bennett was in the ring wearing a horrific suit. Bennett hit both heels. Vincent fled to ringside. Bennett dropped Bateman with a superkick, then barked at him repeatedly to get up. Vincent pulled Bateman to ringside. Taven got to his feet. “You don’t know what you’ve done, man,” Vincent said from ringside. Taven said he knew exactly what he did. Vincent glared at Bennett. Taven got to his feet and hugged his longtime ally Bennett to close the show…
Powell’s POV: Despite my hatred of plaid suits, it was cool to see Bennett make an unadvertised return to help Taven. That also means that Bateman should be more than just a henchman for Vincent, as I assume they will be having tag matches. I’m all for it, as Bateman has something going for him. The main event match was fine, but the post match angle was better and pumps some life into the program between Taven and Vincent.
If you haven’t been watching ROH since they returned from the long pandemic layoff, then you are really missing out. The new format is great and has made ROH Wrestling the most improved pro wrestling television show of 2020. Perhaps the new format won’t be for everyone, but I definitely recommend giving it a chance to see if it works for you. I was disappointed that they didn’t do anything to promote next week’s matches. Give viewers a hook to keep him them coming back for more. Otherwise, this was another strong hour of television from ROH. I will be by later today with my weekly ROH Wrestling audio review, which will be available exclusively for Dot Net Members. Join us via PWMembership.net.