By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 489)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland at UMBC Arena
Aired January 30, 2021 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH Wrestling opening aired and then Quinn McKay checked in from the studio. She spoke of Joe Keys winning a four-way match that was set up by Jonathan Gresham. Clips were shown of the match, which can be seen in full on YouTube…
A Joe Keys sit-down feature aired. He said he joined the ROH Dojo in June 2018. He said it hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows, but now he and others are getting opportunities, in part because Jonathan Gresham went to bat for him and others. Keys said Gresham wasn’t his first trainer and therefore didn’t teach him everything he knows.
Keys spoke about getting the crap beat out of him for months when he started training. He got emotional while saying that his first real trainer trainer RJ Meyer dying of leukemia a few months ago. He said Meyer was his biggest fan and he was disappointed that he wouldn’t be there to see his hard work pay off.
Keys thanked Gresham for giving him and the other dojo trainees the opportunity to earn the title shot. Keys spoke of the drive, passion, and edge that Gresham used to get to where he is. Keys spoke of having the same qualities and said they may actually lead to him taking the title from Gresham…
A Jonathan Gresham sit-down feature aired. Gresham said Flip Gordon doesn’t possess the qualities to be a pure wrestler. Gresham said that Keys has those qualities. Gresham spoke about giving his all and said he hopes that Keys would do the same. He told Keys not to look at him as his trainer, but rather know that he is The Foundation… [C]
Powell’s POV: Gresham’s feature was fairly basic, which is fine since he’s well established in ROH. Keys made the most of his time and set up the match nicely, while also showing legitimate emotion while discussing the death of Meyer.
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in during the ring entrances. Dak Draper sat in on commentary with them for the opening match. A graphic noted that Keys is 2-1 in his last three matches. Draper boasted that he’s undefeated in Pure Rules matches. Riccaboni pointed out that Draper is just 1-0. Riccaboni noted that Gresham was 5-0 since the Pure Division was reformed…
1. Jonathan Gresham vs. Joe Keys for the ROH Pure Championship. Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Gresham forced Keys to use the first of his three rope breaks just 80 seconds into the match. Gresham offered his hand and helped Keys to his feet. A short time later, Keys picked up Gresham and placed him over the middle rope, which was ruled Gresham’s first rope break. Riccaboni praised the move as great strategy by Keys. [C]
Riccaboni noted that Keys had the advantage during most of the commercial break. Keys was in offensive control going into the 10:00 mark. Keys suplexed Gresham and got a two count, but Gresham applied a Kimura lock, which Keys broke with a backbreaker. Keys applied a single leg crab, forcing Gresham to grab the bottom rope to use his second rope break.
Keys followed up with a headbutt and went for the pin. Gresham grabbed the ropes to break the pin for his third rope break. Coleman noted that Gresham went through the entire Pure Championship tournament without using a single rope break. He said that Gresham using three in this match showed just how well Keys was doing. Gresham rallied briefly, but Keys blasted him with a clothesline for a near fall. Keys went for a top rope headbutt, but Gresham rolled out of the way. Moments later, Gresham applied a hammerlock and got the submission win.
Jonathan Gresham defeated Joe Keys in 12:41 to retain the ROH Pure Championship.
Gresham and Keys hugged. Gresham went to raise the arm of Keys, who winced to sell the finish. Gresham moved around him and raised his left arm instead… [C]
Powell’s POV: A really nice match. Gresham did right by his student by giving him plenty of offense and making him look good in defeat. I love the added touch of Keys selling his bad arm afterward. Coleman did a great job of telling the story that Keys forced Gresham to use three rope breaks, which is three more than Gresham used throughout the tournament. Keys seems more than ready for a spot on ROH’s active roster.
Mike Bennett was getting his ankle taped backstage when Matt Taven approached him. Taven told Bennett that he didn’t have to work their match. Bennett assured him that he was okay, then winced as his ankle was being taped after Taven walked away…
A Danhausen feature aired. He spoke about coming from far away and wanting to become a wrestler to take over the world. Danhausen looked into the camera and told viewers that he could see them through their television (uh oh). He said he won an ROH contract. He said he can’t swear or he would be taken off the air. He said people ask him why he carries around a jar of teeth. “Who doesn’t?” he asked. He noted that a referee can’t disqualify a wrestler for pouring teeth into someone’s mouth. He mocked Brian Johnson and said that he’s been a menace to him. Danhausen said there is no stopping him because he’s unstoppable…
A Brian Johnson sit-down feature aired. He spoke about growing up a fan of pro wrestling. He said he even loved the wrestlers who painted their faces. He said he grew up and learned about the sport of pro wrestling. He said no one is talking about him. He said there’s a vocal minority who thinks they know what it takes to be a good pro wrestler after listening to one podcast and reading one book while sitting on their parents’ couch.
Johnson blew a gasket over Danhausen getting a contract due to a hashtag whereas he’s had to work his entire life for his spot. Johnson said Danhausen makes a parody out of what he loves. Johnson claimed he beat Danhausen and would have had his hand raised if it wasn’t for the referee. Johnson said he would put his boot in Danhausen’s ass. A graphic listed the match for HonorClub and YouTube on February 3… [C]
Powell’s POV: One of my few criticisms of the ROH Wrestling television show since the company changed formats is that they don’t do as much as they could to promote the next episode. Yet for some reason, they find time to promote matches that stream on YouTube. I’d be fine with them doing both, but it feels like finding time to push future television matches should be the bigger priority of the two. By the way, I worry about Johnson’s blood pressure.
“The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas spoke backstage. They spoke about beating “OGK” en route to becoming tag champions…
Matt Taven and Mike Bennett checked in. Taven once again apologized to Bennett for getting him involved in his feud with Vincent, who is banned from the building. Bennett said he’s focussed on The Kingdom. He said they were wrestling friends and they didn’t need to worry about all the other crap… Ring entrances for the tag team main event took place… [C]
2. “OGK” Mike Bennett and Matt Taven vs. “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas. The Bouncers isolated Bennett, who sold his ankle injury. The Bouncers were in offensive control heading into a break. [C]
Taven took offensive control and performed a top rope splash on Bruiser and went for the pin, but Milonas broke it up. Taven put Milonas down with a DDT, then went back to work on Bruiser. Bennett was lying on the apron in his corner selling his injury. Bruiser rallied with a Samoan Drop. Milonas performed a Brawler Slam on Taven and went for the pin, but Bennett returned to break it up.
Bruiser was dumped to ringside. Bennett and Taven worked over Milonas, who eventually shoved them both away. Taven applied a sleeper hold, then Bennett superkicked Milonas, causing him to fall back onto Bennett, which led to a two count. Milonas set up Taven for the Closing Time finisher. Milonas performed a superplex on Taven, who then avoided Bruiser’s top rope splash. Bennett speared Bruiser, then rolled to ringside to sell his injury. Taven applied The Trendsetter submission hold and got the submission win…
“OGK” Mike Bennett and Matt Taven defeated “The Bouncers” Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas in 11:56.
Riccaboni hyped Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Brody King, and PCO vs. Rush, Dragon Lee, Kenny King, and Flip Gordon for next week’s show. After the match, Bennett continued to limp while Taven raised their arms. The Bouncers pulled out beers for a Toast of Honor. Vincent came out with Bateman and Vita Von Starr, and asked what he was watching. Security came out, as Vincent and Taven are not supposed to be in the same building together. Vincent assured security that he wasn’t going to do anything.
Vincent asked Bruiser if everyone toasts if a bride is left at the alter. He asked if a family throws a party if a kid fails to graduate high school. Vincent told Bruiser that he lacks direction. He told Milonas that he’s been chained away for 18 years. Vincent said they all came up together. He said Bennett and Taven could have helped him, but instead they dangled the keys in front of his face.
Vincent said Taven’s stock is at its highest peak. He said Taven just bough a house and then questioned where The Bouncers live. “This is out of line,” Riccaboni said on commentary. Vincent told Bruiser to take the opportunities. He told him to use it or lose it. Bruiser, who had a bottle in his hand the entire time, slammed it over the head of Taven. Bruiser followed up with a DDT on Bennett. Milonas acted shocked and then checked on Taven while Riccaboni closed the show…
Powell’s POV: A decent match that felt a little random until the post match angle. It’s interesting that Bruiser took the nudge from Vincent, while Milonas acted shocked by his tag team partner’s actions. Will Milonas eventually join his partner or is this the end of The Bouncers? Either way, I like that Vincent was able to plant the seed, as it plays into the puppet master or even cult leader gimmick that he seems to be going for.
I was actually surprised to see that they were going for the Toast of Honor, as I could have sworn that the Bouncers delivered a recent promo indicating that they weren’t going to do that following losses. While it remains to be seen whether Bruiser and Milonas will still team together, I like the change in direction. The Bouncers gimmick didn’t seem to mesh well with ROH’s change in direction, so this gives them a chance to do something new.
Overall, it was a good episode with the entertaining Pure Title match and the big angle at the end. I’m still baffled by the call to dedicate so much time to setting up a match for HonorClub and YouTube while only finding a few seconds for Riccaboni to mention next week’s main event. That said, ROH Wrestling continues to be a good hour of weekly television. My weekly audio review of the ROH Wrestling television show is now available for Dot Net Members.