Baltimore, MD – 1.15.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
Remember two weeks ago when I said I hoped the eight man tag we saw clips from would be shown in full? My wish came true! The full match was featured on the 1.12 edition of “Week By Week.”
Beer City Bruiser, Joe Hendry, Rhett Titus & Session Moth Martina vs. Delirious, Grizzly Redwood & The Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom))
Hendry and Cheeseburger chain wrestle to a stalemate. Hendry then does his own commentary over Titus and Isom’s mat wrestling. Martina and Bruiser meanwhile are enjoying beers as they play makeshift audience members. Isom powers Titus into a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Titus has no partners on the apron when he goes to make a tag. Isom takes him over with a headscissors, then tags in Delirious who drops an elbow across Titus’ back after Isom’s drop toe hold. Redwood blind tags in after Titus gives Delirious a chinbreaker. Redwood asks for Bruiser who is happy to oblige. Redwood’s eyes were bigger than the proverbial plate, as Bruiser easily slams him, with Titus, Hendry, and Martinez adding their own slams for fun (Martina needed some beer muscles to pull it off.) Unfortunately, the drinking causes her to miss a clothesline on Redwood. Redwood also avoids splashes from Bruiser and Titus, allowing for Delirious to tag in. He peppers Hendry with several shots before picking up momentum for a diving clothesline. Titus’ big dropkick takes down Delirious, but Isom sneaks in from behind with a facebuster and swinging side suplex. Martina spikes Isom with a DDT, but then is wiped out with a top rope dropkick from Redwood. Hendry impressively fallaway slams Redwood and Cheeseburger at the same time. Isom disposes of Hendry with an Air Raid Crash. Bruiser drops Isom with a spinebuster. Cheeseburger in a Delirious mask enters the ring. He mimics Delirious’ movements and is able to scoop slam Bruiser! The real Delirious comes into the ring. The two Delirious’ try to plan a double team attack, but Martina pulls Cheeseburger to the floor. Bruiser drops Delirious with a DDT for the pin at 14:52. That was light and fun, which given the circumstances of that weekend was probably welcome by the wrestlers and crew alike. **¼
Now onto this week’s show, which begins with some footage from “Final Battle 2020.”
We are introduced to the new rankings system to determine contenders for all ROH Championships. The three singles divisions are World, Pure, and Television. The rankings and which division a competitor is in is determined by wins and losses, the caliber of those wins and losses, strength of their opponents, style, résumé, and fan influence. Wrestlers can only be ranked in one singles division at a time, but can also be cross-listed in the Tag Team and Six Man Tag Team championship divisions rankings. Wrestlers may submit requests to the Board of Directors to be moved to another singles division. Anyone in the Top 3 of the rankings is eligible to challenge for the respective title of their division at the Board of Directors discretion.
The Board of Directors has also banned Matt Taven and Vincent from having any interactions with one another due to the property damage and chaos caused by the two of them.
Flip Gordon vs. Rhett Titus
Titus requested this match after Gordon willingly declined Gresham’s post-match handshake at “Final Battle 2020.” In the Pure Championship rankings, Gordon is #2 and Titus is #4. Gordon won both of the two other singles matches they have had in ROH.
The Pure Rules are as follows:
*The competitors are to obey the “Code of Honor”, shaking one another’s hand before and after the match.
*Each wrestler has 3 rope breaks to stop submission holds and pinfalls. After a wrestler has used all 3 of their rope breaks, submission and pin attempts on or under the ropes by the opponent are considered legal.
*Closed-fist punches to the face are not permitted. Punches to other parts of the body are permitted, excluding low blows. The first use of a closed fist results in a warning, a second will be a disqualification.
*This match has a 15 minute time limit. If the match goes the time limit, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.
Titus does damage to Gordon’s mid-section by applying an abdominal stretch and digging his elbow into Gordon’s ribs. Gordon finds a way out, only for Titus to re-apply the hold whilst kneeling. Gordon uses his first rope break to escape. Gordon tries picking up the pace, but it backfires when Titus catches him in a bearhug. Titus drops an elbow for two, then rolls Gordon into a parachute stretch. He converts into a half crab, and Gordon spends his second rope break to escape. Titus asks for a handshake and instead is lit up by several chops from Gordon. Titus retaliates with his own chops and forearm strikes. He stomps on Gordon’s left shoulder. Gordon snaps Titus’ throat across the top rope and drops him with a reverse DDT for two. He locks Titus in a figure four until Titus uses his first rope break. During the commercial break, Titus was able to counter a springboard attempt from Gordon with a dropkick that sent Gordon crashing to the floor. Titus cracks Gordon with two yakuza kicks in the corner when Gordon re-enters the ring. After a shin breaker, Titus re-applies the half crab to Gordon. When Gordon kicks his way free, Titus German suplexes him for two. Gordon halts Titus on the top turnbuckle with the Kinder Surprise. On the floor Gordon gives Titus a vertical suplex. Too much trash talking from Gordon back inside the ring gives Titus the opportunity to surprise Gordon from the mat and roll him back into a half crab. Gordon’s third and final rope break is spent on escaping the hold. Gordon clutches his knee as he superkicks Titus’ knee out, then gives him a superkick to the face. He manages a springboard twisting neckbreaker for two. Titus backslides Gordon for two. Titus tries a fireman’s carry. Gordon escapes that. He tags Titus with a closed-fist and is issued a warning. Gordon then curbstomps Titus and muscles him up into the Flip-5 for the pin at 14:47. Gordon bending the rules to get the win is a nice story, and certainly will not sit well with The Foundation. The wrestling up until then was rock solid and I am really enjoying this new phase of Titus’ ROH tenure. **¾
Quinn McKay talks to Flip Gordon backstage. She informs Gordon that he’s been suspended from the Pure division for both his unwillingness to comply with the Code of Honor at “Final Battle 2020“, and for purposefully implementing a closed fist in the previous encounter. Gordon is annoyed by this, as the closed fist was technically legal, but he reminds us that he still has his World Title opportunity, and that there are other divisions for him to consider as well.
ROH World Television Championship
Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus
Dragon Lee has been champion since 12.13.2019 and this is his fourth defense. Horus received this match after defeating former ROH World Champion Dalton Castle at “Final Battle 2020.” Horus cuts off Lee during his entrance with a tope con hilo! In the ring he spikes Lee with a tornado DDT for two. Back outside, Horus sends Lee back first into the barricades. Commentary reminds us that Deppen targeted Lee’s back at Final Battle. However, when Horus throws Lee back into the ring and then comes onto the apron, Lee is able to hit his springboard no-hands Frankensteiner to the floor on Horus! They got so caught up in a forearm exchange that we almost have a double countout, but they get back in the ring just before the twenty count and resume their striking contest. Lee cartwheels through a Frankensteiner attempt. He cracks Horus with a pump knee. Horus comes back with a standing Spanish Fly for two. Horus bad mouths Lee after kneeing him in the head. Lee reverses a whip to the corner. He sweeps out Horus’ legs and hits a slingshot dropkick as Horus is down in the corner. Lee follows that up with a running seated dropkick for two. He chokes Horus in the corner before sending him into the opposite corner. Horus slides in, stops Lee with a kick from the apron. Lee charges again, only for Horus to send him crashing into the buckles with a belly-to-belly suplex. Horus stops Lee on the top turnbuckle and brings him down with a super Spanish Fly. Lee gets his shoulder up just before the three count. Lee stops a tornado DDT from Horus. Horus connects with a pump kick. Lee mi paso’s a running Horus into a German suplex. A sit-out powerbomb then gets Lee a two count. Lee picks up Horus for another powerbomb, and Horus counters with a Mexican Destroyer! Horus is in shock when Lee is able to kick out from his pin attempt. Horus looks for his cazadora driver. Lee instead double stomps Horus back down to the canvas. Lee hits the Incinerator knee, then hits it a second time with his knee pad down to get the pin and retain his title at 11:12. As expected, this was exciting, brisk, and gave us what is likely Horus’ best singles showing to date. It’s a shame Bandido and Flamita were not able to make it to Final Battle, but Horus really turned lemons into lemonade with this match. Lee of course is an exceptional wrestler in his own right, and on this night he had an opponent whose style assisted in showcasing just how good he can be. ***¾
Overall: After a month, it was nice to finally have an episode of consequence. The Pure Rules match provided some intrigue on top of quality in ring wrestling, and the TV title match is must see stuff. Throw in the amusing bonus eight person tag from YouTube and you’ve got something for everyone this week. Next week’s show looks awesome too, with The Foundation of Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams facing Shane Taylor & S.O.S. in a six man tag team match, and Josh Woods facing Dalton Castle in a Pure Rules match.