By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 487)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland at UMBC Arena
Aired January 16, 2021 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
ROH opened with a recap of Jonathan Gresham beating Flip Gordon via knockout, and Dragon Lee beating Tony Deppen to retain the ROH TV Title from Final Battle…
Quinn McKay checked in from the studio and noted that it’s a new year and ROH is back with new matches. She noted that Bandido and Flamita were not allowed to travel to Final Battle due to COVID-19 restrictions. A graphic listed the top five rankings for the ROH TV Title: Rey Horus, Tony Deppen, Dak Draper, Kenny King, and LSG.
McKay noted that the wrestlers have been placed in specific divisions. She said a wrestler who wants to move to a different singles division must gain approval from a board of directors. The top five of the Pure division were as follows: Tracy Williams, Flip Gordon, Josh Woods, Rhett Titus, and Fred Yehi.
McKay also announced that the board of directors have banned Vincent and Matt Taven from appearing on the same events for the time being due to their vicious feud. She hyped the opening match for after a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: ROH ran some “best of” style shows over the holiday weeks that I opted against covering. Now that the show is back to normal, I will resume weekly coverage of the television show.
Maria Kanellis was featured in a video for The ROH Experience. She said she wants ROH to belong to the fans. She said ROH was bringing back The Experience this month. She said she wanted her voice to be heard. “And I’m in Ring of Honor to speak it,” Kanellis closed…
A Rhett Titus sit-down feature aired. He spoke about The Foundation’s success at Final Battle. Titus took issue with Flip Gordon losing to Jonathan Gresham and then refusing to shake his hand afterward. Titus mentioned the Code of Honor. Titus said Gordon walks around thinking the world is flat.
Titus said he’s done some dishonorable things in ROH, but he’s learned from those mistakes and the people who came before him. Titus said he’s a new man and now abides by the rules and intends to restore honor.
Titus recalled Gordon beating him in a previous match, but he said the Pure Rules format is his playground. Titus said that disrespecting the Code of Honor is disrespecting everyone who laid the foundation in ROH, including him. Titus said he would beat some honor into Gordon, and then Gordon will shake his hand afterward…
Flip Gordon’s sit-down feature aired. Gordon said he didn’t shake Gresham’s hand at Final Battle because he didn’t see any honor in the way he won the match. Gordon said he proved that he’s more than a high flyer. Gordon said Titus was the most offended by his refusal to shake hands. Gordon said Titus needed The Foundation to find himself, but now he’s found a problem with The Mercenary.
Gordon said he “grinded” to get on the show, just as Titus did. Gordon said he’s beaten Titus every time they wrestled and now they meet in a Pure Rules match. Gordon mockingly clapped while talking about how everyone is proud of Titus. Gordon said he’s The Mercenary and he doesn’t give a damn about Titus’s feelings… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good promos that established the storyline to set the stage for this match. It’s easy to follow and yet so much better than just throwing these guys out there and asking the broadcast team to give some context to the match while it’s taking place.
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in during the entrances…
1. Flip Gordon vs. Rhett Titus in a Pure Rules match. Titus offered a handshake. Gordon told him to earn it. Riccaboni hyped Josh Woods vs. Dalton Castle in a Pure Rules match for next week’s show. Titus caught Gordon in a submission hold a few minutes in, causing Gordon to use the first of his three rope breaks. Riccaboni also hyped Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, and Tracy Williams vs. Shane Taylor and SOS for next week.
Titus applied a single-leg crab, causing Gordon to use his second rope break at 5:00. Titus told Gordon to shake his hand. Gordon shoved Titus away. Titus ended up lighting up Gordon in the corner with chops and strikes. At 7:30, Titus used his first rope break to escape a figure four leg lock. [C]
Titus applied another single leg crab coming out of the break. Titus ended up releasing the hold around 10:00. A short time later, Gordon caught Titus seated on the top rope and knocked him to ringside with a kick. Gordon followed to the floor and suplexed Titus. Back inside the ring, Titus went for another half crab, causing Gordon to use his final rope break with just over two minutes remaining in the 15-minute time limit.
Riccaboni and Coleman agreed that Titus was ahead on their scorecard for the match. Gordon came back with a clothesline from the ropes and got a two count. Coleman said Gordon needed to put Titus away in order to win the match. Titus caught Gordon in a backslide for a two count. Titus went for a couple more pins, but Gordon escaped. Gordon blasted Titus with a punch, which resulted in his one warning. Gordon followed up with a Stomp and and a TKO and then scored the pin.
Flip Gordon defeated Rhett Titus in 14:46 in a Pure Rules match.
After the match, Gordon stood over the fallen Titus, then grabbed his hand and shook it… [C]
Powell’s POV: A really well worked match with a good, simple story of Titus demanding respect from Gordon. They made great use of the Pure Rules format and the time limit. Riccaboni continues to do a really nice job of explaining the rules of the pure matches for fans in an easy to follow manner. Likewise, he and Coleman really added to the match by telling the story of Gordon needing to finish Titus in order to have any chance at winning. A punch is considered a cheap shot in the Pure Rules format, so it’s an intentionally booked tainted win for Gordon, and they could definitely circle back to a rematch at some point.
Backstage, McKay interviewed Gordon and said he may have punched Titus in the face on purpose. Gordon said it’s in the rules that you’re allowed one punch. McKay said that’s true, but she was just informed by ROH officials that Gordon was suspended from the Pure division. Gordon said it’s in the rules that he gets one punch. McKay said it was more about him not adhering to the Code of Honor. Gordon said he didn’t care because he wanted to be in the ROH World Championship division. He said he might even find a tag partner and enter the tag division just to stick it to ROH officials…
A Rey Horus sit-down feature aired. Horus said he’s happy to be in ROH representing his people and his country. He said he was trained by Rey Misterio Sr. and said he grew up in the wrestling business. He spoke in Spanish about seeing the lucha legends who inspired him to train.
Horus went back to English and said his name comes from Egyptian mythology. He said his master saw he had the ability to fly in the ring, so he looked for a name that goes with that style, so he started with the name Horus. He spoke in Spanish about lucha masks. He reverted to English while saying he’s proud to be a masked wrestler and to work his style. He spoke about his favorite moves being a popup DDT and a powerbomb from from the top rope.
Horus said he has a lot of respect for Dragon Lee, but he will be the winner on this day. Horus told viewers that they were looking at the next ROH TV Champion…
Dragon Lee was shown having a mic clipped to his jacket. The production crew member asked if he would mind taking a seat in the chair next to him. Lee got upset and kicked the chair, then delivered a promo. Lee said he would destroy Horus, who would feel pain like he’s never felt before. Lee said that his crew is La Faccion Ingobernable… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good features that established Horus as the babyface while the brief Lee segment cemented him as the arrogant heel.
Ring announcer Bobby Cruise introduced the champion and the challenger while they made their entrances…
2. Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus for the ROH TV Title. Horus performed a flip dive onto Lee at ringside, then the match started once both men were in the ring. Lee came back with a leap over the top rope into a huracanrana that pulled Horus to ringside. Horus came up with a nasty welt on his back. The wrestlers traded punches at ringside and then darted back inside the ring when referee Todd Sinclair’s count reached nineteen. [C]
Horus performed a standing Spanish Fly and covered Lee for a two count. Horus called for a brainbuster, but Lee blocked it. Horus tagged Lee with a forearm to the jaw. Horus jawed in Spanish at Lee in the corner. Lee came back with a pendulum kick in the opposite corner. Lee worked over Horus with forearm shots to the head, then stomped him. Lee performed a running dropkick in the corner and then covered Horus for a two count.
Horus came back with a kick and then performed an overhead suplex that sent Lee crashing into a corner of the ring. Lee caught Horus with a kick and went to the ropes, but Horus responded with a kick and then performed a Spanish Fly from the top rope for a really good near fall. Lee came back with a big suplex and a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall of his own.
Lee hoisted up Horus for a powerbomb, but Horus countered into a Destroyer for another good near fall. A short time later, Horus went for a body scissors driver from the ropes, but Lee fought him off and performed a double stomp to his back that led to a two count. Lee followed up with a running knee to the head. Lee lowered his kneepad and delivered another running knee to the head and scored the pin.
Dragon Lee defeated Rey Horus to retain the ROH TV Title.
Lee celebrated afterward and struck his brother Rush’s pose in the ring to end the show…
Powell’s POV: Great match. We definitely need a rematch on pay-per-view so the match can go longer and won’t have any commercial interruptions. Overall, this was an excellent hour of television. The main event was terrific, and the Pure Rules match was really well done. The weekly ROH television series continues to shine during the pandemic thanks to the way the show has been overhauled. I continue to recommend that you check out the show if you are a new viewer or haven’t seen it since the format change. My audio review of this episode will be available for Dot Net Members later today.