Live Perspective from 12/16/17 ROH TV Tapings *SPOILERS*

Courtesy of Brian Streleckis (@pwchronicle)

Results from the ROH TV taping at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA. Last TV taping and live event of the year for ROH.

Among the talent meeting fans prior to the show, Dalton Castle had his signing on an elevated platform with two large peacock plumage art installations on either side. New World Champion after all.

Future of Honor Match: Tough Guy Inc. (Brutal Bob Evans & Tim Hughes) beat Ryan Nova and a partner of his with an assisted senton off the top. The most notable thing from this was right before the finish, Bob did a flip tope to the floor and somehow got a deep gash in the back of his head, leading to a lot of blood. They went right to the finish and Bob was immediately given a towel to clutch his wound. Joe Dombrowski was on commentary for this.

Women of Honor: “Bonesaw” Jessie Brooks beat Gabby Ortiz with a Tiger Suplex. Brooks qualified for the Women of Honor Championship Tournament with this win. Solid effort.

Ian Riccaboni called this match on his own, then was joined by Colt Cabana for most of the taping.

Dalton Castle and The Boys came out to kick off the first episode. Castle received “You Deserve It” chants as he entered the ring. Castle cut a victory promo about winning the ROH World Title, remarking that coming to ROH was never a mistake, and while people said he would never be the World Champion, there’s a long time between now and never. He said he’s not a big fish in a small pond, but a megalodon swimming through the entire ocean. Jay Lethal then came out the ring, looking to challenge him. There was some funny banter mixed in here between the two, and Castle invited Lethal to sit down and discuss it with him, using the Boys as seats. Lethal tried to sit on a Boy but thought otherwise. Lethal said before this gets any weirder, he told Castle that a lot of people are going to be gunning for him, and that he’s only requesting that be be at the top of Castle’s list of contenders. Castle said, “Deal,” Lethal said, “Thank you,” and he promptly left. As Castle looked to close the segment by holding up the World Title, Punishment Martinez showed up out of nowhere and hit Castle with the South of Heaven chokeslam. A fun, friendly segment to set up on challenger, immediately followed by a sneak attack to set up another challenger.

Silas Young (w/ Beer City Bruiser) beat Simon Grimm with Misery to retain the ROH World Television Title. Solid match between these two, with Grimm catching Young in some submission moves and showing some power. Kenny King came out after the match and cut an angry promo from the entrance, calling out Young for using a beer bottle on him at Final Battle to eliminate him from the 4-way title match. Young explained this is how the business works, and that it was a means to a result. Kenny said he knows he has a rematch due to him, but that he’s had at least eight beers already (and had one with him) and that he was out here now to fight. He came down to the ring and spit beer in Young’s face before ring crew separated them.

The Briscoes beat Ryan Nova and his partner after a Froggy Bow from Mark. Squash match with the Briscoes (w/ their scary new entrance) dissecting the two smaller opponents. Jay cut a promo afterward about how they ended Bully Ray’s career at Final Battle, and that now they’re coming after The Motor City Machine Guns to win back the ROH World Tag Team Titles. I noticed that the Briscoes’ father was sitting front row for most of this show.

Marty Scurll beat Flip Gordon with the Last Shot. A main event for TV that was one of my favorite matches of the night. Gordon used his agility to psyche out Scurll and hit his regular offense, able to escape the chickenwing and getting a nearfall off of a 450. Scurll got a nearfall with the Last Shot (Adam Cole’s move, a brainbuster onto a knee) earlier before hitting it again for the win.

Women of Honor: Brandi Rhodes beat Stella Grey with a Final Cut. Another qualifying match for the Women of Honor Championship Tournament. Fine effort by two wrestlers with less experience. Brandi was very over. Karen Q sat in on commentary for this, and after the match got up on the apron and mockingly congratulated Brandi on her win.

Jay Lethal beat Will Ospreay with the Lethal Injection. Another one of my favorite matches on the night, yet this was not announced as a television main event. Ospreay once again looked very sharp and worked well with Lethal. Marty Scurll came out midmatch to sit in on commentary. Lethal countered the attempted Oscutter with an ace crusher to lead to the finish.

Kenny King beat Brian Milonas with a Blockbuster neckbreaker. Milonas received an off-camera enhancement talent entrance, introduced in the ring while King made his entrance. They had a fairly competitive match though, thanks to the big size difference. King called out Silas Young, who came out to the ring and fought with King briefly before bailing to the floor. Then Milonas came up and attacked King from behind. I could be wrong by the time this makes the air, but body language seemed to imply that Beer City Bruiser recruited Milonas. Young, Bruiser, and Milonas put the boots to King and left together to close this segment.

Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky came out. Daniels and Kazarian introduced Sky as the hottest new talent in ROH. This new trio is now calling themselves So-Cal Uncensored (which I recognized as the name of a still-active site about the Southern California wrestling scene). Before they continued, they were interrupted by Joe Koff at the entrance. Koff said he knows fans don’t want to see him, but the best wrestlers. Not the most disruptive wrestlers, referring to Daniels, Kazarian, and Sky, who Koff has thought about firing. Kazarian threatened to kick Koff’s ass. Daniels told Kazarian to calm down and reminded Koff that when he was ROH World Champion, he would stop by the office where they discussed grand plans for Ring of Honor in the future. Daniels then said that if they were to be fired, he might discuss those grand plans with the likes of his good friend Don Callis, or one of his best friends “named AJ,” who would have the ears of some top executives somewhere else. Koff responded by saying that he’s a businessman, and instead of firing them, he spoke with his attorney, revealing that their ROH contracts expire in a year. Koff closed the segment by saying that by the time Final Battle 2018 comes around, they’re done.

Dalton Castle and The Boys beat The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan, and Vinny Marseglia) when Castle made Marseglia tap to the Julie Newmar submission. The second TV main event. Leading up to the finish, Castle and Taven kept reversing each other on attempted Tombstones before Castle finally hit it, and then he hit O’Ryan with the Bangarang. The Boys dived onto Taven and O’Ryan on the floor as Castle scored the submission win. As Castle and the Boys celebrated their victory, the Kingdom jumped them from behind. Taven laid out Castle with the Climax and held up the ROH World Title, pegging him as yet another potential challenger for the title. This led into intermission for the taping.

Women of Honor: Mandy Leon & Deonna Purrazzo beat Jenny Rose & Sumie Sakai when Mandy pinned Jenny with a victory roll. Kelly Klein sat in on commentary for this. Solid match that seemed to be well-received by the crowd. A lot of post-match stuff following this though. Kelly Klein got up to leave, but then Deonna got on the mic and acknowledged that Klein just recently returned from Stardom in Japan, but nobody really missed her. Deonna remarked that this was now her Women of Honor and that she’s on a 30-day undefeated streak, which made the other women in the ring laugh. Klein had some brief words for Deonna, who then brought up the title tournament and threatened to break Klein’s arm, putting an apparent period on this segment by calling her a bitch. Then the segment went on a little longer as the four women from the match stayed in the ring making belt motions for the camera. Mayu Iwatani from Stardom came out to make belt motions as well and mingle.

The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) beat The Dawgs (Rhett Titus & Will Ferrara) with a two-man tuck slam on Ferrara to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Cheeseburger sat in on commentary for this match. Titus made a joke at Carson Wentz’s expense as The Dawgs made their entrance. This match was just okay and fairly competitive. Afterward, The Briscoes came out on the entrance and Jay reiterated their title intentions to Shelley & Sabin.

Jonathan Gresham beat Josh Woods with quick reverse rolling prawn hold pin. The crowd didn’t seem as into this match as other matches because it was a lot more grounded action, but I think Gresham is very sharp (Independent Champion still going strong in other territories). He worked over Woods with a number of submission holds before Woods caught him with a big knee as Gresham came off the top. Woods also got some suplexes and another knee in before getting caught in the pin.

The now-blonde Cody came out for a promo. He admitted that Dalton Castle was the better man at Final Battle, but while humbled, he said that he’s still guaranteed a rematch, and he still has possession of the official Ring of Honor. He was boasting about the amount of set stones in it when The Kingdom’s music interrupted him. O’Ryan and Marseglia stayed by the entrance while Taven came down the ring, dressing down Cody. He said the title loss exposed him, said he relied on his father’s name that he can’t even use, couldn’t do things on his own and thus joined the Bullet Club, and is now nothing but a blond-haired bitch. Taven dropped his mic for emphasis, but Cody denied him the final word by saying his blond hair received a bigger reaction than Taven ever has. He then requested that Taven kiss the Ring. Taven indeed kissed it, but then kicked Cody in the groin. Fans chanted “You still kissed it,” at Taven as he left, and Cody remarked that Brandi won’t be happy about that kick to the groin (in a line that may just be for the live crowd). A good exchange that I feel continues to make Bullet Club full babyfaces.

Punishment Martinez won a squash match with the South of Heaven Chokeslam. I did not catch his opponent’s name, whom the crowd dubbed “Fat Jesus.” Martinez called out Castle during this short match. Castle came out to the ring after the match. He offered Martinez the first shot, but then he ducked it and hit Martinez with a T-Bone suplex to send him to the floor. Martinez leaped back onto the apron for a brief staredown before just smirking and leaving.

Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & LSG) beat War Machine (Rowe & Hanson) when Ali pinned Rowe with a schoolboy rollup. Caprice Coleman joined commentary for this. They announced on the web site before this show that Coast 2 Coast would disband if they couldn’t win this match. This stipulation was not mentioned to the live crowd, who got more and more into it and incredulous about it. War Machine were mostly dominant, but Coast 2 Coast kept surviving their offense. They cut Hanson’s corner charges short. They hit their Coast to Coast dropkick, but had to do it a second time for TV after messing it up the first time. The biggest shocker was Ali kicking out of Fallout! It was during the second attempt where LSG held onto Hanson’s foot while he was up top, leading to Ali escaping Rowe’s grasp and winning with the rollup. War Machine looked dumbfounded, but still congratulated Coast 2 Coast, showing them respect. Then War Machine stuck around in the ring and basically said farewell to ROH, bowing to each section of the audience to a great reception. Crazy match, surprising conclusion and aftermath.

The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) won a Triple Threat tag team match over Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T.) and Dragon Lee & Titan after they hit the Meltzer Driver on Titan. A big, wild main event for TV. Beretta and Chuck provided some more lighthearted moments amidst the chaos, but everyone looked great. Afterward, So-Cal Uncensored ran out to attack the Young Bucks, but Adam Page ran out with a chair and chased them off. I feel a number of fans ended up leaving right after this, thinking it was the end of the taping, but it turns out there was still more show to go. I blame the random breaks that were happening between matches, and a match like this typically being a show-closer.

The taping still continued, with Bully Ray coming out to the ring. He was holding his wrestling boots. He said Final Battle was indeed his final battle. He said he was born in New York, but was born as a professional wrestler in Philadelphia, and mentioned how Bubba Ray Dudley was born here in October of 1995. He then laid down his boots in the ring and thanked the crowd, saying it has been his honor. The babyface locker room came out afterward to surround the ring, with Jay Lethal stepping in to say some words. Lethal said he’s known Bully for a long time. He said a lot of people heard rumors about him and had their guard up when he came to ROH, but then he saw how Bully would help out and listen to everyone in the locker room, helping them get better. Lethal feels that makes Bully a legend and thanked him for everything. A very nice segment.

So-Cal Uncensored beat Cody, Adam Page, and Marty Scurll when Scorpio Sky pinned Page with a high knee after a quick barrage of offense. Matt Taven sat in on commentary, with O’Ryan and Marseglia standing by him, for this final TV main event. Good action throughout, though Page may have injured his ankle after doing his top rope moonsault to the floor. This led into the heel finish.

The show itself closed with post-taping antics to send the crowd home happy and I guess provide content for Being the Elite (as Page was filming some of it with a phone). Cody grabbed the mic and challenged Frankie Kazarian to a posedown. They agreed, even though they knew the crowd was very biased in favor of Bullet Club. Then fans chanted for Riccaboni to get involved, which he did as an honorary participant. Kazarian posed to boos, Cody posed to cheers, and then Riccaboni took his shirt off to even more cheers and was declared the winner. Cody and Kazarian then opted for a pushup contest, which Cody won by swiping at Kazarian’s arm to cause him to fall. Then the Bullet Club and So-Cal Uncensored brawled briefly, before the Young Bucks joined their colleagues to outnumber So-Cal Uncensored and hit superkicks. Then Kazarian and Daniels were locked in submission holds as Marty Scurll sang a Backstreet Boys song, and then Brandi was invited out to hit Kazarian with a stunner to close the show.

16 matches over at least five hours, if not more. There was a lot to enjoy here, but it was a long night.

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