By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 491)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland at UMBC Arena
Aired February 13, 2021 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The show opened with Jay Lethal talking with Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, Wheeler Yuta, and Fred Yehi about the six-man tag main event. He spoke about Pure Wrestling and suggested they even shake it up, then listed the teams. The other wrestlers agreed and started to leave, but Lethal asked Williams to stay. Lethal suggested that they start the match. Williams agreed and then told Lethal to remember what happened last time. They shook hands. “God, I love professional wrestling,” Lethal said… The ROH opening aired…
Quinn McKay checked in from the studio and hyped the main event. She said last week’s eight-man tag main event was the exact opposite of what The Foundation wants ROH to be. McKay also spoke about Maria Kanellis being back in ROH and being at the forefront of “ROH The Experience.” McKay said the fans have a platform to make their voices heard, and said the fans asked for Tony Deppen to return and are getting it in the opening match against LSG…
A Tony Deppen sit-down feature aired. He said some wrestlers didn’t think he belonged in the ROH Pure Championship tournament. He spoke about the drive of fighting for his newborn child. Deppen recalled pinning LSG in a four corner survival match at Final Battle, which led to him getting an ROH TV Title match against Dragon Lee on the same show.
Deppen said he wasn’t 100 percent in that match and he was still able to stand toe to toe with Lee. Deppen said he earned the respect of people in the back and proved that he belongs in ROH. Deppen said LSG has had opportunities in ROH. Deppen said he’s getting his opportunities now and he’s not sorry about it. Deppen said he has the momentum and his focus is on cementing his spot on the ROH roster…
The LSG sit-down feature aired. He said his journey to Final Battle started 15 years earlier when he attended a show in his hometown of Edison, New Jersey. LSG said he finally had his first chance to wrestle at Final Battle in December, and Deppen walked in and took what was his. LSG said he was not impressed by Deppen’s match with Dragon Lee.
LSG said he and Deppen have not wrestled in a singles match. LSG said he’s put on size and strength, and recalled Lethal saying that he’s earned it. LSG said he respects what Deppen did on the independent scene and at Final Battle. LSG said he’s been grinding it out with the best in the world in ROH. LSG asked if Deppen can hang with the best wrestlers in the world. LSG told him to show him. “I am Ring of Honor, are you?” LSG asked… [C]
Powell’s POV: Good storytelling for the opening match. Deppen beat LSG in the four corner survival match, so this is the singles rematch. The story is easy to follow and both men did a nice job of verbalizing it.
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in during the entrances for the opening match…
1. LSG vs. Tony Deppen. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Deppen looked at the referee and said LSG was still bothered by what happened at Final Battle. The wrestlers took the match to ringside where they traded forearm shots. LSG threw a knee to Deppen’s gut, then threw him back inside the ring.
A short time later, the wrestlers ended up back at ringside. LSG performed a swinging neckbreaker on the floor. LSG asked Deppen if he was trying to make a name at his expense. “Do you know how long I’ve been here?” LSG asked before running Deppen into the barricade. LSG threw Deppen back inside the ring and was in offensive control going into a break. [C]
Deppen rallied and performed a top rope cross body block. Deppen followed up with some strikes that put LSG on his knees, then Deppen dropkicked him. Deppen caught LSG with double knees in the corner and then covered him for a two count. “Show me,” LSG said while struggling to get back to his feet.
Deppen and LSG traded slaps to the face. LSG took offensive control again and performed a springboard forearm that led to a near fall. LSG sent Deppen to the floor, then dropkicked him through the ropes. Back on the apron, Deppen blocked a suplex attempt and sent LSG back inside the ring. Deppen tripped LSG and then rolled into a submission attempt that LSG avoided.
Deppen performed a brainbuster and followed up with a nice running knee to the head and covered LSG for a two count. Deppen went for a top rope double stomp, but LSG moved. LSG performed a pair of pump kicks and went for a third, but Deppen avoided the last kick and performed a suplex. Deppen rolled LSG into a pin for a near fall, then caught him in a small package for another two count.
Deppen used a backslide to get another near fall. After some jockeying for position, LSG performed a cool finisher from a hangman neckbreaker position into a powerbomb and scored the pin. Riccaboni said that if the move doesn’t have a name, he’s calling it the Event Horizon. The wrestlers shook hands afterward… [C]
LSG defeated Tony Deppen in 11:57.
Powell’s POV: A strong match to open the show. I liked the Coast 2 Coast tag team and never felt like they got a fair shake creatively, but LSG strikes me as a guy who could emerge as a player in the singles division with the right creative push. Meanwhile, Deppen is very impressive in the ring and strike me as a guy who can be counted on to have good matches with a wide variety of opponents. The story was easy to follow even for viewers who didn’t see Final Battle.
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe were sitting backstage staring at one another when Quinn McKay sat down and asked if they could talk about “this.” Jay said there’s nothing to talk about. He said he missed the boat. Mark said it’s not so much that he missed the boat, it’s that he jumped off the boat and swam after EC3.
McKay asked if Mark has considered driving the boat back to include his brother. Mark spoke of going after the ROH Tag Titles and told Jay that he needs to get back on the boat. Mark stood up and barked that if Jay is getting on the boat then he needs to get on. Jay stood up and said, “Well, in that case, let’s do it.” Mark held up his arm, and Jay did the same before giving him an arm bump…
A video package spotlighted the Rush vs. Shane Taylor match for the ROH Championship that will air on the show in two weeks…
Powell’s POV: So the Briscoes appear to be back on the same page. Meanwhile, I like that ROH is making a fuss over the ROH Championship match two weeks out. One of the only flaws of their weekly television show coming out of the pandemic break is that they haven’t been doing enough to push future episodes. By the way, that same show will also feature Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham defending the ROH Tag Titles, according to Kevin Eck’s weekly ROH website blog.
Ring entrances for the main event took place… [C]
2. Jay Lethal, Rhett Titus, and Wheeler Yuta vs. Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, and Fred Yehi. The teams adhered to the Code of Honor. Lethal and Williams started the match, as they set up earlier. Williams tied up Lethal, who rolled onto him for a quick two count to break the hold. The exchange didn’t last long, as Titus tagged in and faced Williams. A short time later, Lethal and Gresham ended up in the ring together. [C]
The match seemed to pick up where they left off with a Lethal and Gresham back and forth exchange. There was a good spot with Lethal inadvertently rolling Gresham into a cutter on Titus, which is a move they typically use when teaming together. Moments later, Yehi caught Yuta in a Koji Clutch that was broken when Yuta reached the ropes with his foot. Williams tagged in and got a near fall on Yuta. [C]
Late in the match, Yuta leapt from the ropes and DDT’d Yehi on the way down for a near fall. Yehi came back with a suplex. Lethal tagged in and was suplexed by Yehi. Titus tagged in and stopped Yehi from tagging out. Yehi performed a Flatliner and then applied the Koji Clutch. Gresham tried to stop Lethal from breaking up the pin, but Lethal eventually got by him to break it up.
Lethal went for a Lethal Injection on Yehi, but Gresham shoved Yehi out of the way and took the move from Lethal. Legal man Titus dropkicked Yehi and then pinned him to win the match.
Jay Lethal, Rhett Titus, and Wheeler Yuta defeated Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, and Fred Yehi in 17:47.
After the match, Lethal, Titus, and Yuta waited for Gresham, Williams, and Yehi to recover, and the teams shook hands. Meanwhile, a graphic listed Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe vs. Dragon Lee and Kenny King, and “MexiSquad” Bandido, Rey Horus, and Flamita vs. Shane Taylor, Moses, and Kaun for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles for next week…
Powell’s POV: A well worked match. I get the idea of going with this six-man tag match so that The Foundation could offer a counter to last week’s big brawl in the eight-man tag main event. But while this week’s main event was well worked, I could see it being a bit polarizing for viewers. The match quality will be enough for some, but I suspect that others will have a tough time being drawn into a match without much in the way of conflict and not having any real incentive to cheer for one team over the other.
It was nice to see the graphics promoting next week’s show at the end. I still wish that ROH could go a step further in promoting the next episode, but that was a good start and the next two weeks of television look fun on paper. Overall, a solid hour of television with good wrestling in both matches. My weekly audio review of ROH Wrestling will be available for Dot Net Members later today.