By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor Wrestling TV (Episode 494)
Taped in Baltimore, Maryland at UMBC Arena
Aired March 6, 2021 in syndication and on SBG regional sports networks, available Mondays on FITE.TV
The ROH opening video aired and then Quinn McKay checked in from the studio and hyped the two matches. Highlights aired of last week’s Rush vs. Shane Taylor match for the ROH Championship with Kenny King’s interference…
Kenny King delivered a backstage promo. He said he taught Taylor one more lesson, which is that he needs to keep his head on a swivel. King introduced Rush and his father Bestia del Ring. Rush said he will be the champion for a long time. He added that La Faccion Ingobernable is the past, present, and the future. Bestia spoke briefly, then Rush closed by saying nothing happens unless he says so…
McKay listed the Pure Championship top five rankings:
1. Josh Woods
2. Dak Draper
3. Rhett Titus
4. Wheeler Yuta
5. Fred Yehi
McKay hyped the Josh Woods vs. Dalton Castle match and said it was requested by Castle. She said the match as coming up after a commercial break… [C]
Footage aired of Woods beating Castle via submission in their last match. Woods was featured in a sit-down promo. He spoke about pinning Lethal and submitting Castle. He said there was no reason for him to reject Castle’s request for a rematch. Woods said his win over Castle was not a fluke and pointed to winning the match via submission.
Woods said Castle has a lingering back issue. He said he was honorable in not attacking it right away. He said no one ever feels 100 percent in pro wrestling, and the injury didn’t help him beat Castle. Woods pointed to his wins over Jay Briscoe, Lethal, and Castle. He said he earned the right to challenge Jonathan Gresham for the ROH Pure Championship…
Dalton Castle’s sit-down feature aired. He told the producer that he wanted it to be a quick piece. He said Woods found a hole in his offense and a mistake led to a very big consequence. Castle said it’s another blemish on his record and there’s kind of been a pattern over the last couple years.
Castle questioned where he fits in ROH. He said it’s a problem that he’s not in the top five rankings. He said he’s better than Woods and everyone else listed in the rankings. He said he wanted to correct what happened when he last faced Woods. He said has tape on Woods now. Castle said he has other things going on in his life, but it’s not like he doesn’t care about ROH.
Castle said he’s so sick of failing all the time. Castle said he could beat Woods because he’s the better pro wrestler. Castle said that if he can’t beat Woods, then maybe he doesn’t belong in ROH. He said that if he couldn’t beat Woods with the plan he had in his head, then he’s out…
Powell’s POV: Woods and Castle did a nice job of setting up their rematch. I like the way that Castle acknowledges his recent struggles and even acts neurotic about it. I wish we had more of that in pro wrestling. Most characters lose and just move on to their next match. There are good stories to tell with wrestlers who are down on their luck, which ROH is doing with Castle. They are also leaning into the fact that a lot of fans know that Castle’s contract with the company expired, so his tease of leaving the company if he loses feels like more of a possibility than it would if someone who is known as being under contract made that same claim.
The broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in on commentary while the ring entrances for the opening match took place…
1. Josh Woods vs. Dalton Castle in a Pure Rules match. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. The match spilled to ringside where Castle used a hip-toss to send Woods over the barricade. [C] Castle used a second rope break to escape a submission hold. Woods had his lip split open.
Woods went for a TKO, but Castle slipped away and ended up going for a pin that resulted in a two count. Castle ducked a clothesline and then acted like he suffered a back injury. Suddenly, Castle grabbed Woods and put him in an inside cradle and pinned him.
Dalton Castle defeated Josh Woods in 9:44 in a Pure Rules match.
After the match, Silas Young walked onto the stage and shook his head in a negative manner. Young headed to the ring while Castle went to the back. Once Young was in the ring, Woods asked him where the hell he’d been. Young told him to remember who he was talking to.
Young recalled Woods losing to Jonathan Gresham in the Pure Title tournament. Young also pointed out that Woods had a chance to earn an ROH TV Title shot, but he failed to win that match. Young said he knows that Woods could beat Castle every day of the week, but Woods let Castle make him look like a fool.
Young said Woods had a lot to learn about pro wrestling. Young said they needed to get back to tag team wrestling and kicking ass. Young left the ring and then asked, “Do you want to be good or do you want to be great?”… [C]
Powell’s POV: I really liked the finish, as Castle came off as desperate in his sit-down feature and the finish played into that. It also didn’t hurt Woods to lose in this manner. I’m going to let the Young and Woods story play out. I can’t say that I’m excited about the idea of them reforming their tag team because Woods has clicked as a singles wrestler, but it’s possible they are not really heading in that direction.
Ring entrances took place for the main event. Bobby Cruise emphasized that the winner would challenge for the ROH World Championship at the 19th Anniversary pay-per-view. EC3 was out first and they cut to a pre-taped promo with him stating that there are four conflicting narratives with one purpose of winning the ROH Championship. He said those who eat, sleep, and breathe the ROH Championship have an addiction.
Jay Lethal was out next. He was escorted onto the stage Tracy Williams, who then headed to the back. A Lethal pre-tape aired. Lethal spoke about the opportunity to challenge for the championship. He also spoke about how The Foundation is trying to restore honor to the company, but they can’t do that unless they hold all the championships. Lethal said the opportunity is about change. He said wrestlers must prevail.
Matt Taven made his entrance. In his pre-tape, Taven said it had been 16 months since he held the ROH Championship in his hands. He said he’s been distracted since he lost the championship by the person who was the very first person (Vincent) to congratulate him when he won the title at Madison Square Garden and then stabbed him in the back. Taven said he had a golden opportunity because he doesn’t have to use the championship rematch he still has in his back pocket.
Jay Briscoe was the final entrant. Briscoe said you don’t have to get beat to lose in a four corner survival match. He said you have to be in the right place at the right time and he knows that. Briscoe said he wanted to give the people what he wants to see, and that’s him challenging Rush… [C]
2. EC3 vs. Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal vs. Matt Taven in a four corner survival match for a shot at the ROH World Championship. Maria Kanellis sat in on commentary. The wrestlers met for the Code of Honor, but Briscoe refused to shake EC3’s hand. Briscoe went right after EC3 and they fought to ringside with Briscoe dominating to start while Taven and Lethal wrestled inside the ring.
The wrestlers ended up swapping spots with EC3 and Briscoe fighting inside the ring for a moment. Lethal returned to dropkick Briscoe, but EC3 took out Lethal’s knee with a kick. Taven performed a missile dropkick that knocked EC3, which cleared him from the ring. Lethal hit a Lethal Combination on Taven, who rolled to the floor.
A short time later, Taven performed a big dive over the top rope and onto Lethal and EC3 at ringside. Taven returned to the ring and was worked over by Briscoe heading into a brief break. [C] Taven performed a neckbreaker on Briscoe, but EC3 tossed Taven to ringside.
EC3 performed a Thesz Press on Briscoe and threw several punches at him, then stopped Lethal and Taven from returning to the ring by knocking them off the apron. All four men ended up back in the ring and they did a spot where they were all knocked down and selling on the mat.
A short time later, Lethal and Briscoe set up for a double suplex on Taven, and EC3 slipped under them to turn it into a tower of doom spot. EC3 got to his knees and smiled sadistically while the other three wrestlers were down. EC3 grabbed Briscoe and held him while telling Lethal to kick him in the face. Lethal punched EC3 instead, and then Briscoe went after Lethal, who ended up putting Briscoe in a figure four. EC3 got up and powerbombed Taven onto Lethal to break the hold. [C]
EC3 set up for a move on Lethal, but Briscoe returned to the ring and roughed up EC3. Briscoe and EC3 fought to ringside. EC3 headed to the back and was followed by Briscoe. Vita VonStarr came out and sat on the ringside barricade. Taven hit his Just The Tip knee on Lethal for a near fall.
Taven performed a DDT on Lethal and then went to the ropes and was distracted by VonStarr’s presence. Taven leapt over Lethal and hit him with a kick coming off the ropes. Taven hit another Just The Tip and then covered Lethal for a near fall.
Taven set up for his finisher, but let it go when VonStarr climbed onto the apron and distracted him. Riccaboni emphasized that Vincent was not allowed in the building while Taven wrestled. Lethal performed a cutter on Taven. Lethal followed up with a Lethal Injection and scored the pin.
Jay Lethal defeated in a four corner survival match to earn a shot at the ROH World Championship at the 19th Anniversary pay-per-view.
After the match, Lethal and Taven shook hands. Taven jawed at Lethal and left the ring. Lethal celebrated in the ring. As he was leaving the ring, Lethal said this was exactly what they needed. He said The Foundation has a chance…
A graphic listed Fred Yehi vs. Dak Draper in a Pure Rules match, Tony Deppen vs. Kenny King, and Flamita vs. Flip Gordon for the next show…
Powell’s POV: This was the most likely outcome given that EC3 and Briscoe are feuding, and Taven is in the middle of a blood feud with Vincent. Lethal has put over several wrestlers since the company returned from the pandemic and this win obviously puts him right back in the title picture. Overall, this was a good episode with a loaded main event and good storytelling in the opener. My weekly ROH Wrestling audio review will be available exclusively for Dot Net Members later today.