ROH 2/9/18 Honor Reigns Supreme Review
Concord, North Carolina
This event was the first part of Ring of Honor’s rebranding of their online video content. The new service, HonorClub debuts with a free stream of what normally has been video on demand content, Honor Reigns Supreme.
The show started with Bobby Cruise introducing ROH’s new enforcer, Bully Ray. Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana clued us into the fact that we would see Bully become the enforcer on ROH television this weekend. Bully went on to put the crowd over, as well as the company, saying that Honor Reigns Supreme will show the world what ROH is all about.
Punishment Martinez vs. Flip Gordon
Martinez was in control early until Flip created separation with his agility. Unfortunately for him he was quickly dumped to the outside and Martinez whipped him about outside, taking firm control of the match. After rolling him back inside, Martinez slammed Godron onto the mat, but not long enough to hit a senton. Gordon tried his best to fight back, but his offense was brushed off by the strong Martinez. Flip was able to connected with a hurricanrana that sent Martinez into the corner before attempting a Samoan Pop. Gordon couldn’t follow through, but did score with slingblade before scaling the turnbuckle. Gordon jumped over Martinez and hit the Samoan Pop/Shooting Star combo that went for a two count. The two traded kicks to the head before Martinez won out and climbed the turnbuckles but took too long, allowing Gordon an opening to crotch him on the top. Gordon then connected with a Kinder Surprise and a hurricanrana before hitting a 450 halfway across the ring. Martinez kicked out and reversed a Star-Spangled Stunner attempt before finishing Gordon with a South of Heaven Chokeslam for the pinfall victory. Good opening match here with a good deal of offense here for both. Gordon’s selling continues to improve and Martinez also displayed ability to cede control during a match and still look very strong throughout. (***1/2 )
Winner: Punishment Martinez
Kenny King vs. Shane Taylor
Caprice Coleman joined commentary for this match before it began, filling the viewers in on Taylor’s driving motivation of helping his daughter avoid the rough childhood he had growing up in Cleveland. Coleman also mentioned that Taylor has not been winning as of late and that he really needs this match to get back on the winning track. The two squared up, with King locking on a side headlock early, using his speed to then get a quick two count with a sunset flip. Both men went to the outside, with King using his ability to take control by using the apron to springboard and floor Taylor. King took time to pose for a selfie as Taylor rolled back in, only to have King floor him with a high cross body block. Taylor kicked out quickly and slowed the match down after catching King mid-air and dropping him on the mat. Taylor locked on a half-hearted camel clutch, allowing King to escape and floor the big man with a spinning heel kick. Both men went to the apron, with King winning the exchange with an Eddie Gordo kick, following up with a tornillio over the top rope to the outside. King hit a blockbuster, but couldn’t keep Taylor down for the count and went for the Royal Flush, but was unable to hoist the big man up. Taylor then had his chance to put King away with a Baldo Bomb, but only scored a two count. Taylor scaled the turnbuckle but was stymied by King who then was able to hit the Royal Flush with Taylor already elevated. Post-match they shared a sign of respect. This was a fun contest between the two, Taylor’s new direction seems to be some frustration over losing, but this is just the beginning. The two have chemistry, if not any real heat between the two, but commentary did well to work that in. (***)
Winner: Kenny King
Ian Riccaboni was on the ramp and then introduced Tenille Dashwood as the 16th competitor in the Women of Honor Championship tournament. SHe said she was happy to be in the company and that she will be the first WOH champion. Bully Ray came out and announced that she will compete in a WOH tag match later in the night.
Josh “The Goods” Woods vs. ROH World Television Champion Silas Young w/ The Beer City Bruiser
Commentary clued us in that Cheeseburger was under the weather and that Young would be replacing Cheeseburger in this contest tonight.Young gave Woods a chance to go punch for punch, but once Young was at the disadvantage, he went for Woods’s face, only to have Goods turn it around and start connecting with strikes and MMA locks. As the action spilled to the outside, BCB interjected himself and floored Woods, allowing Young to take control and slow thing down. Young hit his backbreaker clothesline combination, applying a chinlock after he couldn’t secure a two count. Woods escaped and went for a quick schoolboy, but Young sent him to the ropes and BCB cracked a beer over Woods’s head. However, this did not seem to slow him down at all, as he actual took control and sent Young back into the ring. The two stood toe to toe and traded strikes before Young reversed a go behind with a victory roll that went for two. Woods locked on an ankle lock, but BCB pulled Young towards the bottom rope to get a rope break. Woods then tried an armbar but Young was able to turn the move into a pin attempt. Once Woods kicked out Young staggered him with a forearm and then hoisted him up for Misery and the pinfall victory. Kenny King walked out on the ramp and mockingly clapped as he taunted Young, all while commentary drove him the point the BCB played a huge role in the match. BCB’s interference was essentially useless, as Woods oddly powered out of being cracked in the head with what commentary called a bottle, but may have been a beer can. Either way, the TV champ shouldn’t need that much help. This match felt a bit short, but was well done on short notice. (**3/4 )
Winner: Silas Young
ROH World Champion Dalton Castle & The Boys vs. So-Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)
Castle and Daniels started off for their respective teams. Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara joined commentary saying that they wouldn’t miss this huge show. As Castle and Daniels wrestled to a stalemate, Castle went to tag out, but both Boys refused, seemingly unwilling to enter. They two both leapt in and took down Kaz and Sky, as Riccaboni gleefully quoted Admiral Akbar’s “It’s a Trap!” After clearing the ring Dalton took a seat on a Boy couch. Daniels went to do the same, but his partner didn’t create a couch and he fell to the mat, infuriated by the embarrassment. Despite that, SoCal took control, working over one of the boys while making quick tags and cutting the ring off. Castle eventually distracted Daniels and allowed the Boys to pull twin magic, making the hot tag to Castle, who tossed everyone all over the ring, pinning Daniels in the corner and laying him across as he connected with a knee to the head from the apron. Castle applied a deadlift German for a two count before Sky tried twin magic with Daniels, to obviously hilarious results. Although Castle and the Boys seemed poised to win, Sky was able to quickly roll up one of the Boys, winning a match over the ROH champion. They decided to continue to add insult to injury, only for Castle to take all three members of the team out before posing with the belt. Smart finish to this match, allowing SoCal to look strong and gain the win, adding to their legitimacy as 6-Man title challengers. Castle clearing house at the end allowed him to look strong in what was a pretty predictable match. Nothing particularly stands out to write home about, but the match was solid and was a perfect transition to intermission. ( **3/4)
Winners: SoCal Uncensored
The Briscoes came out, despite not being scheduled to wrestle. Jay started off by blaming the fans for the bloodshed that is to come. Mark then began to berate the fans, telling them to shut up while he called a few toothless. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. He then said that he and his brother want their ROH World Tag Team titles back. Jay then reminded the crowd that he dropped Sabin on a steel chair last week and then demanded that Alex Shelley come to ringside and hand over the tag titles. Shelley came out in the pitch black of his entrance and attacked the Briscoes with his title. The Briscoes quickly recovered and then started to choke Shelley out with a chain. Security made a valiant effort but were quickly rendered ineffective. The Briscoes then dropped Shelley to the mat before unfurling a banner and shouting that they are the best before leaving.
Stacy Shadows & Kelly Klein vs. Mandy Leon & Tenille Dashwood
Brandi Rhodes joined commentary before the match. Cabana informed the audience that Riccaboni called Rhodes hot before they were live. Riccaboni turned red before the trio moved on to commenting on the competitors in the match, as Rhodes worked heel. Brandi asked if Tenille would sport the glasses during the match, to which Cabana wondered if she would wrestle as a female Mr. Hughes-amazing stuff. Shadows and Leon started off, with Leon connecting with kicks before Shadows overpowered her. Leon tagged out to Tenille who tricked Shadows from the apron before connecting with knees to the head from the apron. Shadows was able to take control and tagged Klein in, but Dashwood quickly used a Russian leg sweep to floor Klein and drag her opponent to the corner before tagging out. Klein locked in a cravat, lacing Leon with knees to the head before Shadows tagged herself in, much to Klein’s dismay. Shadows beat Leon down, scoring a two count and throwing Leon to the floor before posturing. Leo began to connect with strikes and tried jumping over Shadows for a tag before Leon hit a DDT and made the hot tag, Dashwood knocked Klein off the apron first and hit a shotgun dropkick on Shadows before hitting Emmamite. She tried to pick her up but couldn’t lift Shadows up. Klein ran in but was tossed out, with Leon taking her out on the outside. Back inside, Dashwood hit a kick to the head, winning the match via pinfall. The crowd was into this one and Tenille really felt like a big presence here in the division. A short crisp match, with Klein and Shadows clearly working as heels and Dashwood/Leon working well together here. A Good debut and a solid match (***)
Winners: Mandy Leon & Tenille Dashwood
Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal
Lethal came out in ring gear reminiscent of Randy Savage from Wrestlemania 3 here, with white/pink briefs and yellow knee pads and boots- a great homage to the legend. The two quickly hit the ropes early and Gresham smartly grabbed Lethal’s arm as the former champion went for a cartwheel. Gresham and Lethal sprung to their feet and trade hammerlocks, with Gresham reversing Lethal’s reversal of the hammerlock in ways I really have never seen before. Lethal laced Gresham with knife edged-chops, with Lethal eventually dropping the Octopus. Lethal went for a cover after a back suplex, tossing Gresh to the corner quickly before the two traded knife edged chops again. Lethal won out and stuck to forearm strikes, only to have Gresham speed out to the ropes. Lethal still kept control bt hitting the cartwheel dropkick, hanging Gresham up on the ropes and charging with a forearm strike. As Lethal went for a second Gresham connected with an elbow and ran around him, kicking the arm out from under Lethal. Gresham then went to work on Lethal’s arm with knuckle locks, with Lethal struggling to escape, only for Gresham to ensnare the former ROH champion yet again. Gresham hit Lethal with a dropkick the sent him out awkwardly between the bottom and second ropes. Gresham went to launch himself to the outside and missed Lethal, landing on the knee, seemingly tweaking it. Lethal capitalized by hitting a cutter and both men struggled to beat the 20 count. Gresham barley made the count, only to have Lethal to pepper he newly injured knee with kicks before the two traded straight rights. Lethal went for a Lethal Injection but couldn’t support his weight with the injured arm and Gresham rolled a few pin attempts before locking an armbar that forced Lethal to reach the ropes for a break. A Lethal Combination earned Lethal a two count, both men were really suffering here. Lethal went for a figure four, but found himself in an inside cradle that he escaped. Lethal then focused on the knee, hitting two dragon screws before attempting a Hail to the King. Gresham stopped the ascent to the top, hitting a tornado DDT and a bridging German suplex that went for a very near fall. Lethal hit a superkick after faking a Lethal Injection, actually going for it, but getting his armed kicked out again. Gresham tried to lock in the Octopus stretch but Lethal escaped and hit a Hail to the King. Lethal quickly transitioned from the pin attempt to a figure four and won the match via submission. That was a really great match, even better than expected, which is saying a great deal. The match had a story, logic and real drama at the end. Fantastic, must see match.(****1/4 )
Winner: Jay Lethal
Bullet Club (Cody, Marty Scurll & Adam page) vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan)
Cabana made an issue of each member coming out to their own entrance, playing up a bit of dissension between the members of the Bullet Club. Before the action could get underway, Taven kissed the ring very sexually outside of the ring, as is apparently his wont. Cody was infuriated and grabbed a chair, but cooler heads prevailed and the match got underway. Scurll and Marseglia started for their sides, proving each other equal early on, leading to Taven and Cody tagging in, but Taven playing mind games- donning a Kiss the King shirt before getting back inside. Taven urged Cody to Kiss the Ring, but Cody instead feigned going for the kiss and connecting with a disaster kicking before Scurll came in and helped him clear house. Scurll hit a tope suicida, Cody hit flying plancha to the outside and Page hit his moonsault off the top to the crowd in a great succession of moves. Page then essentially fought the Kingdom off alone before falling victim to being in the wrong corner. The Kingdom then really flowed with beautiful teamwork. Scurll fought out of Rockstar SUpernova and then reversed the Red Rum senton from Marseglia, making the tag to Cody who quickly took Taven down with a powerslam and then a snap full nelson suplex. Commentary pondered if he was sending a message across the Pacific before things completely broke down. Cody and Taven found themselves alone again and Cody locked in the American Nightmarelock, forcing Taven to reach the ropes for the break. Cody set Taven up for a shattered dreams as O’Ryan and Marseglia distracted him. Taven ran and put the Ring of Honor on before going back into the corner. As Paul Turner kicked Brandi Rhodes out for arguing, Taven caught a running Cody with a ringed right hand, covering Cody for the pinfall victory. This was an action-packed main event that had a lot of moving parts at the end of the match here that all worked well. O’Ryan and Marseglia are great at swarming and work very well with Taven as a team. Definitely a very specifically booked ending, but this worked here and continues the issues between to two. (***1/2 )
Winners: The Kingdom
Best Friends (Chuckie T & Trent Baretta) vs. The Young Bucks
Baretta started off against Matt quickly out maneuvering him-even almost locking on simultaneous Cease and Desists alongside Nick. Matt started to sell lower back pain as Chuckie T tagged in, combining with Baretta for a double hip toss. Nick came in, only to be thrown to the corner and clotheslined before being clotheslined with Matt to the outside. Chuck started a rhythmic chant before Trent flipped to the outside. The two hugged before the Bucks came in and kicked them to the outside, promoting Riccaboni to make not one, but two Wild and Crazy kids reference. The Brothers Jackson then hit the Rise of the Terminators as Riccaboni and Cabana spoke about how California knows how to party and my head is going to explode. A Matt sliced bread attempt was reversed into a lawn dart cutter as Chuck flung Nick into the barricade. Back in the ring, Taylor and Baretta honed in on Matt’s back, with Baretta even donning sunglasses before applying an abdominal stretch, using a little help from Taylor for leverage. Taylor tagged in and secured a two count before tossing Matt to the turnbuckle. Baretta then got Taylor sunglasses and the two essentially turned heel because of the sunglasses, with commentary hinting these two are not nice people in real life. Baretta then went so far as to smoke while applying an abdominal stretch, only for the referee Sinclair to break illegal leverage with a kick. Matt kicked the cigarette out of Trent’s mouth before tagging out. Nick cleared house but couldn’t keep the momentum up, as the Best Friends simply outnumbered him as Matt was injured. Nick did eventually escape and tag out, but Matt came in gingerly and was essentially immobilized. Taylor seemed poised to win the match after an Awful Waffle, but Matt broke the count up and then with the help of his brother, hoisted the heavyweight Trent up just long enough for a 5 Star Meltzer Driver to pick up the win, but doing so with clear consequences. This was very different from what we see from the Bucks in ROH and the Best Friends turned due to their gimmick from Being the Elite was a great move. Excellent story told here and a quality main event that must been seen.(****1/2 )
Winners: The Young Bucks
Final Reaction: B+/A-
This was an excellent first foray for ROH into their new streaming service. The actual stream was excellent, with no hiccups along the way during this viewing. The show was structured well, had the surprising debut of Tenille Dashwood and gave a full nod to the Being the Elite show during the main event, understanding that many fans are tuned into that as well. The Lethal Gresham match and the main event are must-see matches, with the Bullet Club Kingdom match being another to watch. This is definitely a great advertisement to anyone of the fence about signing up for Honor Club.
You can watch the event for free at ROHwrestling.com