Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 381
ROH begins 2019 with the beginning of a new era! The Bullet Club Elite have left, who will fill the power vacuum left in the roster?
- Proving Ground match: Luchasaurus VS Jeff Cobb; Cobb wins.
- Kelly Klein VS Nikki Addams; changed to…
- WOH World Championship: Kelly Klein VS Nikki Addams; Klein wins and retains the WOH World Championship.
- ROH World Championship Contenders Four Corner Survival: Chris Sabin VS Flip Gordon VS Marty Scurll VS Dalton Castle w/ The Boys; Castle wins and faces Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship at Honor Reigns Surpreme.
PLAY BY PLAY
The American Nightmare, Cody, challenged the Franchise Player, Jay Lethal, for THE ROH World Championship in an epic rematch from their first encounter at Final Battle 2016. Cody put it on himself that this would be his final ROH event and that he would win, but it would not be, as Lethal made him tap out! Lethal retains his title and enters 2019 on top! Meanwhile, SoCal Uncensored defended the World Tag Team Championships in a Triple Threat Ladder War! Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky would battle The Young Bucks and The Briscoes, but the champions would not retain. The team to bring the titles down from high above would be #DemBoyz, Jay & Mark Briscoe! The Briscoes now reign as historic 10 Time ROH World Tag Team Champions!
But perhaps the biggest news of all is that with contracts running out and no titles keeping them here, The Bullet Club’s Elite have made the decision to leave ROH! There is a change coming now that Cody, Hangman Page and The Young Bucks will be absent, who will take advantage of this opportunity?
Ian Riccaboni and various ROH stars are in the ring!
Riccaboni wishes everyone a Happy New Year and speaks on Jay Lethal retaining his title at Final Battle. He points out that the four men in the ring with him–The Peacock, Dalton Castle; The Villain, Marty Scurll; the now solo Chris Sabin; and the #FutureLegend, Flip Gordon–have all earned a shot at the world title at one point over the last year. Sabin brought Lethal to his limits in a #ProvingGrounds time limit draw. Flip won the #SeaOfHonor tournament on the Cruise of Jericho. Castle is the former champion who still has his contractual rematch to be granted. And Scurll won the 2018 #SurvivaloftheFittest tournament, and kept that title opportunity after defeating Fallen Angel, Christopher Daniels. These four men will compete in a Four Corners Survival to determine which man gets their shot first, at Honor Reigns Supreme! Riccaboni now gives an introduction to THE ROH World Champion– Matt Taven?
Matt Taven heads to the ring, surprisingly without The Kingdom, holding on to his purple title belt that he claims is the “Real ROH World Championship”. And as such, Taven thanks “the biggest Melvin” Riccaboni for speaking so highly of him. Taven did defend and retain his title at Final Battle against Castle. But no one in the ring deserves a shot at Taven. Flip won a tournament while everyone was on vacation. But it’s good to see Flip’s face again, because his nose was buried so far up the Bullet Club’s collective ass for so long. And did Taven go through time? Taven respects Sabin’s career, but did we all go back to 2012 when Sabin was relevant?
And Taven’s personal favorite, Marty Scurll. Where are all his friends? Guess you have to meet height requirements to catch the train to Jacksonville. Scurll is actually the least deserving, because at both Supercard and Best in the World, Scurll came up short. As for Castle, didn’t he just hear Riccaboni? Taven defended his title, that counts as The Peacock’s rematch, so he should “fake another injury” for a bit. Taven doesn’t see any of them worthy of a title shot, and the person that does is going to earn that shot. Just like him, “Because IIII’M Matt Taven.” But then Jay Lethal finally appears, and gets in Taven’s face! Lethal and Taven argue over the legitimacy of Taven’s clearly illegitimate title belt. Taven lifts his belt, but Lethal slaps it out of his hand. Lethal raises his belt, and Taven SPITS on it! The fight is on!!
Security and referees hurry to pull the real world champion and the “real” world champion apart. Castle and the other contenders don’t mind if they fight, but we go to break as ROH officials look to calm things down.
Proving Ground match: Luchasaurus VS Jeff Cobb!
This 15-minute time limit match pits two monsters of the ring! The kaiju of the Temple looks to make a huge impact, but can he conquer the Hawaiian Hulk?
The Code of Honor is upheld between the ROH World Television Champion and newcomer. The bell rings and Luchasaurus hits Cobb with a heel kick! Cobb goes down, Luchasaurus covers, TWO! Luchasaurus drags Cobb up, but Cobb breaks free of the choke grip. Luchasaurus boots the clothesline to cartwheel and headscissors Cobb to the mat, aka Snake Bite! Fans fire up as Luchasaurus runs for the spinning buzzsaw! Cover, TWO!! Cobb survives but Luchasaurus runs in for a huge meteora, then again for another knee. But Cobb catches him, for the swinging suplex! Cobb drags Luchasaurus up to CHOP and forearm and uppercut Luchasaurus. He fires off palm strikes, but Luchasaurus knees back. Luchasaurus hops up but Cobb DROPKICKS him!
Cobb chops Luchasaurus then climbs up to join him. SUPERPLEX! Cobb crawls to a cover, ONE!? So Cobb standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Luchasaurus lives but Cobb keeps his cool. Fans rally up as Cobb brings Luchasaurus up. Cobb reels Luchasaurus in for a lariat, but Luchasaurus stays standing. Cobb tries again but Luchasaurus only staggers. Luchasaurus handsprings to dodge Cobb’s third try, then feints a superkick to hit a roundhouse! Luchasaurus choke slams and standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO!! Cobb continues to survive while we go to break.
ROH returns from break as Luchasaurus brings Cobb up for chops. Luchasaurus calls for a finish as he scoops Cobb, but Cobb slips out and shoves him to a corner. Cobb hits a LEAPING uppercut! Cobb runs back in but Luchasaurus goes up and over for a SUPERKICK and then a calf kick! Luchasaurus drags Cobb to the drop zone before climbing up top. Cobb springs up and rocks Luchasaurus with another uppercut. Cobb and Luchasaurus brawl as Cobb climbs again. Luchasaurus resists but Cobb still gets the SUPER Belly2Belly! Cobb drags Luchasaurus back up, for a piledriver! But he’s not done there, he gives Luchasaurus a Tour of the Islands! Cover, Cobb wins!
Winner: Jeff Cobb, by pinfall
Luchasaurus gave Cobb quite the fight, but in the end, the Polynesian Powerman denies him a shot at the title. What will it take for someone to stop Juggernaut Jeff Cobb?
ROH looks back at Final Battle’s WOH Championship Fatal 4 Way!
Sumie Sakai had already put together an impressive reign as the inaugural WOH World Champion, but she wanted to challenge herself. She took on Madison Rayne, Karen Q and Kelly Klein, but not even the Ray of Sunshine could survive such talented challengers. In the end, the Gatekeeper finally gets the gold she waited so long for, and is now the second-ever WOH World Champion! And speaking of Kelly…
Kelly Klein VS Nikki Addams!
The Pretty Badass dominated the women of ROH long before the division was official. Now she feels vindicated by finally having that belt around her waist. Can the new champion make this New Year her year?
Addams shows Klein the proper respect while Klein picks up a mic to speak. “Some of you may know we have a new WOH World Champion.” Klein defeated three women in one match. So then, starting right now, “every single one on one match with me will be for the WOH World Championship.” The Gatekeeper is a fighting champion! Will she regret her boldness? Or is this her building her legacy so that it outshines the Ray of Sunshine?
WOH World Championship: Kelly Klein VS Nikki Addams!
The belt is raised and Klein offers the Code of Honor handshake. Addams respects Klein but she knows that’s just a trick. So Klein rocks Addams with a forearm! The bell rings and Addams hits back! Addams fires off European Uppercuts then runs corner to corner for a forearm smash. She whips Klein corner to corner but misses the boot. Klein throws Addams down then stomps her out at the ropes. Klein drags Addams around for cravat and brings her to the mat. The Pretty Badass grins as she grinds Addams while we go to break.
ROH returns and Addams is free of the cravat. Klein drags her up to lift but Addams fights out. Addams fires up and backhands Klein to a corner! Addams runs in corner to corner for a chop, then whips corner to corner. She hits Klein with a boot this time, then covers, TWO! Klein is tough but Addams fires up. The fans rally as Addams climbs. Klein stops her and yanks her off the top! Cover, TWO! Klein is furious but she keeps on Addams with the fireman’s carry. Addams fights out and sunset flips, ONE! Klein rocks Addams with a knee! Cover, Klein wins!
Winner: Kelly Klein, by pinfall; still WOH World Champion
The Gatekeeper keeps her title, and has her first defense in the record books. But Klein doesn’t need to look too far for her next challenger, because Jenny Rose heads to the ring! The American Joshi is no stranger to Kelly Klein. After all, she did chip Klein’s tooth. Jenny congratulates the champion, but says there’s still unfinished business between them. And so, Honor Reigns Supreme will see their 1v1 match upgraded to a title match with Klein’s declaration. How about Jenny raise the ante and make it a Street Fight?! Fans like the sound of that but what is Kelly’s answer? “I will see you in the streets of Concord!” Challenge accepted, but will Klein already regret her fighting champion challenge?
Brian Milonas finds Beer City Bruiser at, well, the bar.
Is Bruiser still sulking of Silas Young and Bully Ray? Bruiser and Brian may have been the Bouncers for the better part of a year now, but Silas and Bruiser go back 18 years! Silas has cut off Bruiser, even when they’re in the same room! Milonas tells Bruiser they know where Silas goes, it’s the locker room! Go and get in Silas’ face, so that good or bad, you can get past it! Bruiser admits Milonas has a point. What will happen when BCB confronts the Last Real Man face to face?
ROH shares highlights from an Honor Club exclusive.
It was a star-studded 8 Man Tag where Jay Lethal, Flip Gordon and The Best Friends took on Cody, Hangman Page and The Young Bucks. With The Elite departing, this was meant to be a heartfelt good-bye from ROH’s best, but it was ruined by ROH’s worst! Bully Ray led Silas Young, Shane Taylor and The Briscoes in an assault on all eight men in that match! See the entirety of this dream match turned nightmare scenario on Honor Club’s On Demand.
The pulse quickens.
2018 is over but 2019 is just beginning. Do you feel your heart racing? Take a deep breath, because it’s coming. But when and where will we see it?
ROH looks back at Scurll VS Daniels at Final Battle.
The Fallen Angel knew time was running out for him in ROH. He dared The Villain to put his Survival of the Fittest tournament shot on the line, and Scurll accepted the challenge. Scurll would target Daniels’ vulnerable neck, and then put on the Chickenwing Crossface. Daniels couldn’t endure and had to submit. Daniels lost his last chance, but fans told him “Thank You, Daniels!” for the years he devoted to this company.
Christopher Daniels heads to the ring!
The Fallen Angel has no title shot, but he has the respect and admiration of the fans. Daniels picks up a mic as fans again chant “Thank You, Daniels!” Final Battle 2018 is history, but not a good night for SCU. Kaz and Scorpio are recovering from “one of the most brutal matches they’ve ever had in their careers”, while Daniels had everything to lose and everything to gain, yet lost. There’s only one thing left, and that is to say good-bye. Fans chant “No! No!” but Daniels vows to take his memories from here, from the first main event with Low-Ki and Bryan Danielson, to that first ROH Championship 60-minute Ironman match in 100 degree weather, Daniels wants to remember each and every opponent he’s ever had. Those opponents became his comrades, his friends, and his family. Daniels will remember the satisfaction of finally holding the ROH World Championship.
“There comes a time when the memory of a man becomes more important than the man himself”, so Daniels asks and begs the ROH fans to remember Daniels as a man who “gave every bit of his heart and his soul” to be the best he could be every time he stepped into this ROH ring. Daniels gets a bit emotional, but tells everyone here and watching around the world, “I thank you, I love you, good-bye.” The fans give Daniels a standing ovation because that is what he deserves. But then Joe Koff appears on stage. Koff thanks Daniels. This all started last year, and now it comes to closure. They’ve had their differences over the year of 2018, but Koff tells Daniels that he did something at Final Battle that made Koff rethink this situation.
When Daniels defended Cary Silkin, the real reason ROH exists, Koff saw that Daniels wasn’t trying to save his job, but that he loves the company and what it stands for. Therefore, Koff offers Daniels a 2019 contract! Daniels is as thankful as anyone, and hugs Silkin and Koff for this. Koff and Daniels shake hands, but Shane Taylor attacks from out of nowhere! Taylor shouts at Koff, “That’s the piece of trash you give a contract to?!” Taylor says he’s the man around here! He should get a contract! Taylor puts Daniels in the ring but Daniels slingshots right back out! Daniels throws hands and chops! But Taylor throws Daniels into a post!
Taylor drags Daniels and throws him into barriers head first! The Notorious Hitman puts Daniels in the ring, then brings a chair with him. Taylor rocks Daniels with a knee, then picks up the chair. Taylor SMACKS Daniels on the back! Daniels writhes as Taylor sets the chair down. Taylor drags Daniels up and says Daniels will only be remembered as the guy Taylor took out. Greetings from the 216, on the chair!! Fans boo and jeer, but Taylor ignores them as he tears up the contract, to stuff it down Daniels’ mouth. Insult to injury to say the least, but will there be consequences for Taylor’s actions?
Zack Sabre Jr. is coming to ROH TV!
It will be episode 382 when the Submission Wizard makes his television debut! Who will step to him and #JustTapOut?
ROH World Championship Contenders Four Corner Survival: Chris Sabin VS Flip Gordon VS Marty Scurll VS Dalton Castle w/ The Boys!
The REAL World Champion joins commentary to watch this match, but he also watches his own back because of the fight he had with Matt Taven earlier tonight. Taven was escorted from the building, but The Kingdom could still be lurking. Will Lethal make it through the night?
As for this match, the solo Motor City Machine Gun, the Captain of Flip Army, the Villain and The Peacock all fight to be first in line against Lethal! Who wins this star studded main event to move on to Honor Reigns Supreme?
The four men circle but Scurll decides to back out and let the others fight it out. Fans applaud and then rally behind Scurll as he watches with them. Castle doesn’t mind, he’ll take Sabin and Flip on. The three circle and Castle pushes Sabin to waistlock Flip. Flip standing switches and Sabin runs in, but Castle boots him away. Castle elbows Flip and then CHOPS him. Castle runs but Scurll trips him up! Scurll drags Castle out and they start shoving, but Flip wrecks them both with a dropkick! Flip skins the cat but Sabin clubs him from behind. Sabin lifts but Flip slips out of the suplex. Flip waistlocks but Sabin standing switches, but Flip switches back. Sabin switches, Flip switches, repeat, but then they both decide to DIVE onto Castle and Scurll!
Fans fire up with Sabin and Flip, but Flip gets the fans chanting for him. Sabin shrugs it off and grabs Scurll. He puts Scurll in the ring and leaps for a missile dropkick! Scurll rolls back out as Flip puts Castle in. Sabin gives Flip his space to springboard missile dropkick Castle! Flip and Sabin shake hands, and then they work together on Castle. They double whip but Castle ducks and double clotheslines them back! Scurll returns but Castle clotheslines him down! Scurll rolls back out, so Castle builds speed. The Peacock fakes the others out to STRUT, and we go to one last break!
ROH returns once more, and Flip switches with Castle. Castle buck him off to knee him down. Castle deadlift gut wrenches to powerbomb Flip down! Flip gets to ropes but Castle is on him with haymakers. Castle whips Flip but Flip holds ropes, only for Castle to clothesline him out. Sabin returns to knee Castle against the ropes, then wrings out the arm. Castle rolls through but gets an enziguri and Penalty Kick! Scurll returns and ducks the enziguri, saying he’s too smart for that. Scurll enjoys the applause but Sabin fights back. Sabin runs but into an uppercut. Scurll runs to hop over and SUPERKICK Sabin! Fans fire up for Scurll as he skins the cat. Flip is there waiting because he’s smarter than Scurll.
Scurll turns around into Flip’s CHOP! But Scurll gives a CHOP back! Scurll eggs Flip on and Flip CHOPS back. Scurll CHOPS, Flip CHOPS, and repeat! Flip goes overhand, Scurll fakes Flip out to dropkick the legs out! Because Scurll is smartest of all. Scurll grabs the legs for the deathlock, but then Castle comes back. Castle grabs Flip for a crossface! But Sabin gets Scurll with an abdominal stretch! Then a dropkick sends Scurll down onto Castle, breaking all the holds! Fans rally up as Sabin has his pick. Sabin goes after Castle but Castle rocks him with a right. Flip SUPERKICKS Castle, then runs. Scurll hits a roaring elbow on Flip! But Sabin enziguris Scurll! All four men are down but the fans fire up. The fans chant “Fan Up!” as The Boys give power to Castle.
Sabin and Scurll stand, and Sabin boots Scurll away. Scurll leaps up to join Sabin on the top rope, but Sabin shoves him away. Castle and Flip go after Scurll, but Sabin leaps for a TRIPLE crossbody! Scurll stands but Sabin grabs him. Sabin uses Flip and Castle for the tornado DDT! Scurll rolls out while Flip and Castle get to corners. Sabin boots Castle, then he elbows Flip. Then he leaps at Castle, only to be caught in a saido suplex! Castle runs at Flip but Flip dodges to CHOP Castle back! Flip puts Castle up top, Kinder Surprise and Samoan Pop! Standing shooting star, cover, but Scurll breaks it just in time! Scurll bails out but Sabin wrecks him with a dropkick. Sabin runs but Flip intercepts with a 619!
Flip climbs but Sabin climbs up. Flip shoves Sabin away but Sabin comes back for a SUPER STEINER! But Flip’s to his feet, and runs at Sabin. Sabin puts Flip on the apron then runs side to side, but Flip uses Matrix kip-ups to dodge! Flip swing kicks back, but Scurll grabs him in the Electric Chair. Sabin gets on the apron, Penalty Kick Doomsday for Flip! But then a Penalty Kick to Scurll! Fans fire up as Castle runs at Sabin. Sabin shoulders then slingshots, but into BANGARANG!! Cover, Castle wins!!
Winner: Dalton Castle, by pinfall; challenges Jay Lethal for the title at Honor Reigns Supreme
And there is our world title match! Lethal leaves commentary to join Castle in the ring. Lethal offers Castle a handshake, and Castle accepts it. The Peacock may not have won against Matt Taven, but can he defeat the real ROH World Champion for the real title soon enough?
A pretty great episode to start ROH’s 2019 that also acts as a partial go-home to Honor Reigns Supreme. I’m surprised to hear Kelly Klein, the Heel, is choosing to be a fighting champion to the point that every singles match with her will be for the title by default! Klein is a uniquely prideful Heel, and I could see this being her outdoing Sumie just on her ratio of defenses within days as champion. Klein VS Rose in a Street Fight sounds great, and having No Disqualifications can help ease some of the sloppiness I recall from their previous televised match. I don’t think Klein will lose, because she only just got the title and only just started on her self-imposed fighting champion challenge. She might not even lose until Tenille Dashwood returns, as part of the mystery attacker story.
I really appreciate that they’re touching more on the two ROH World Championship belts with that fight between Taven and Lethal. Obviously it isn’t happening at an event as close as Honor Reigns Supreme, but that “Undisputed” ROH World Championship match has to happen at one of the bigger events on ROH’s calendar. I predict that Taven will get irritated with everyone saying Lethal is the world champion (even though he is), and after Lethal gets through maybe three of his four contenders, Taven will demand a match with Lethal to decide who is THE world champion. I can even see The Kingdom trying to help Taven win, but Lethal overcomes the odds to win/retain the title. That Fatal 4 of Castle, Flip, Scurll and Sabin was great, and Lethal VS Castle will also be great, but Lethal likely retains.
Cobb VS Luchasaurus was great, and for those who also follow Lucha Underground, this was like an unofficial match between Matanza Cueto and Vibora, as those two never met 1v1 there. Daniels’ good-bye promo was great, and I did not expect Koff to suddenly change his mind and keep Daniels on. With the recent news of All Elite Wrestling and the fact SoCal Uncensored are headed there, I am surprised to see this story between Daniels and Taylor is happening, as well as Kaz & Scorpio VS Briscoes one more time. Perhaps SCU aren’t as done with ROH as everyone thought, but I can’t see any of them getting titles, either. Could this be their respective good-byes the same as that 8 Man of Elite VS Lethal-Flip-BestFriends? If so, I hope SCU goes out with a bang before jumping completely to AEW.
My Score: 8.3/10
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!
The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!
NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!
Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!
The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!
Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!
Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!
The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.
Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.
ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!
ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!
Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!
Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!
Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round
The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!
This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?
Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.
Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.
Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.
Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.
Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.
Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!
Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!
Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round
It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?
Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.
Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)
Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!
Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391
It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?
- Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
- The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
- Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!
Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?
The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!
Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.
ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!
Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!
The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!
Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning
The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?
Rhett Titus speaks.
“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?
The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!
The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?
The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.
Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!
Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!
Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?
Madison Rayne speaks.
“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?
Willie Mack speaks.
The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!
Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!
As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?
Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!
Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.
The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!
Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!
Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall
The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?
Team Coast2Coast speaks.
“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!
The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?
ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.
ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.
Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.
ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!
Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!
Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission
The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?
Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.
In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.
Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.
My Score: 8/10