Baltimore, MD – 2.5.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
Before we get into this week’s episode, let’s take a look at Danhausen and Brian Johnson’s rematch from “Final Battle 2020”, released exclusively on YouTube February 3rd.
Danhausen vs. Brian Johnson
Danhausen frustrates Johnson by dropkicking him to the floor. Johnson pulls Danhausen out, trapping him in the ring apron, and pummels him until Danhausen crumbles to the ground. Johnson does some trash talking on the microphone. He misses an apron kick, so Danhausen sings a variation of “Tequila” on the microphone before giving Johnson some chest kicks from the apron. Johnson evades a slingshot German suplex. He pokes Danhausen in the eyes and follows him to the floor with a suicide dive. In the ring, Johnson nails a lariat for two. Danhausen hip tosses his way out of an abdominal stretch but misses an elbow drop. Johnson drives his knee into Danhausen’s mid-section twice, and his elbow into the top of Danhausen’s head. Johnson re-applies the abdominal stretch, using the ropes to apply extra pressure. The referee catches Johnson, and upon release, Danhausen hip tosses free and headbutts Johnson in the chest. The slingshot German suplex works this time around, and he pump kicks Johnson for two. Danhausen looks for the Cattle Mutilation, but Johnson gets to the ropes almost instantly. Johnson kicks out Danhausen’s leg, sending Danhausen crashing face first into his knee pad. Danhausen ducks a strike and backslides Johnson for two. The referee catches Johnson trying to use his feet while he has Danhausen in a jackknife pin. Danhausen plants Johnson with a cradle DDT for two. Johnson drives Danhausen to the corner when Danhausen goes for his jar of teeth. Johnson hits the Spike Eskin for two. Johnson dumps the teeth and pulls off a top turnbuckle as the referee cleans it up. Johnson is set into the exposed buckle, and after Danhausen gives him a Go 2 Sleep, Johnson rolls to the floor. Johnson turns off the microphone they used earlier, blasts Danhausen with it, then slingshots in with a splash and puts his feet on the ropes to pin Danhausen at 11:39. This was a step up from their Final Battle encounter, but only slightly. I really love Danhausen and am not interested in Johnson having long matches, so those conflicting emotions are tough to reconcile. This isn’t anything going out of your way to see, but I will take any opportunity to see Danhausen showcased. **
Now onto this week’s episode!
We’re reminded of last week where The Beer City Bruiser attacked Matt Taven with a beer bottle after their tag match. Brian Milonas confronts him backstage. Bruiser tells him he’s done being second. There are no friends in wrestling, and Milonas either has his back or he doesn’t.
Tracy Williams vs. The World Famous CB
The World Famous CB is the new moniker for the former Cheeseburger, who is looking for a fresh start in ROH. I very much appreciate the Boondocks reference CB used when stating that you have to call him by his whole name, however, for the sake of my wrists and fingers I will use “CB” here, respectfully. Williams says he’s happy to be in the ring with CB while he is looking to reinvent himself, but he assures CB that he does not take him lightly.
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.
CB aggressively holds onto a wristlock. Williams powers him down to the canvas in a side headlock, which CB slinks out of. Back on their feet, Williams mares CV overhead out of a double knuckle lock. Back from commercial, SB springboard armdrags Williams. Williams avoids a couple pinning combinations, so CB climbs up Williams’ back. He puts on a double palanka. With Williams’ arms trapped, Williams bites the middle rope to use his first rope break to get CB to release. Williams weaves under a whip and chops CB to the canvas. He drops a knee across CB’s for a two count. CB works over Williams’ shoulder. When he tries a schoolboy, Williams traps his wrist and looks for a crossface. CB uses his first rope break to stop it from being locked in. CB is able to strike Williams in his back when on the mat, but Williams keeps on top of him. CB sends Williams to the floor twice to buy some recovery time. He pulls Williams down into a cross armbreaker attempt, but then tries for a short-arm scissors. Williams uses his foot to get the ropes, utilizing his second rope break. CB grabs Williams’ shoulder, and surprisingly Williams uses his third and final rope break almost instantly. Williams grabs CB by his knee, giving him a kneebreaker and a suplex. Williams then muscles CB up into a Doctor Bomb for two. CB is able to land a superkick. Williams blocks a shotei and hits a rolling clothesline. Williams follows up with a piledriver for the pin at 13:05. I really liked what I saw out of World Famous CB – lots of interesting, creative wrestling, and a new look to truly try to set him apart from his previous persona. He and Williams had strong chemistry, but my one complaint is Williams’ comeback felt rushed. That said, with the way the match was laid out, CB looked plenty formidable against one of the top competitors in the Pure division, and I look forward to seeing more from him in future episodes. ***
Brody King, PCO & The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (RUSH, Dragon Lee & La Bestia del Ring) & Flip Gordon
This is Bestia’s ROH in-ring debut, only seen previously assisting in RUSH retaining his title against Brody King at “Final Battle 2020.” Amy Rose is on commentary. Interesting note is Gordon still has his World title opportunity, and RUSH of course is the champion. All of LFI leave Gordon hanging initially, refusing to tag out and leaving him to be beaten down by their opposition. At one point, all of LFI put their hands out for a tag, but jump off the apron when Gordon tried to tag out. The Briscoes drop Gordon with Redneck Boogie. LFI rush the ring and attack all of their opposition after breaking up the pin attempt. RUSH blasts King’s left leg with a chair. He whips a production cord across King’s knee, and when we come back from the commercial break, LFI are picking apart King inside the ring with Gordon finally getting a chance to recuperate. Jay comes in with a superkick to Lee, apparently now legal, after King gets taken out on the floor. PCO is tagged in. He absorbs chops by the entire LFI family and wipes out RUSH and Bestia with a double clothesline. He gives all three several chops to the neck and a rolling back chop. PCO looks to follow up with a cannonball senton outside, but they move and Gordon ends up wiped out by PCO. Bestia literally kicks Gordon outside when PCO drops him with a Quebec Sidewinder. PCO and Bestia trade shots. Bestia sends PCO outside with a shotgun dropkick. Jay knocks Bestia to the floor with a rolling forearm. RUSH Superman punches Jay. Mark dropkicks Rush from the second turnbuckle, and Gordon wipes out Mark with a springboard dropkick. King turns Gordon inside out with a lariat. He overhand chops Lee before crushing him with two different corners with a clothesline and dropping him with a uranage. RUSH and Bestia stop King, pulling him down after he ascends the ropes. Jay and PCO suicide dive after RUSH and Bestia, and Mark uses a chair to hit a tope con hilo. PCO tries to deliver a top rope senton through a table, but RUSH moved and PCO crashed through the table himself. Todd Sinclair finally rules the match a No Contest at 13:18 as everyone brawls ringside. The story of LFI feeding Gordon to the wolves, presumably to wear him down so he isn’t at his best whenever he decides to cash in his title opportunity, was told very well. It does bring into question why Gordon didn’t abandon LFI at some point, but then again, there’s a lot of things Gordon says or thinks I don’t understand. Until the referee’s decision, this was a pretty fun brawl, but nobody really stood out from the pack. It was a fine chapter to continue the issue between LFI and the ROH contingent. **¾
We see all of The Foundation watching the brawl on a monitor backstage disapprovingly. Gresham says “this is not Ring of Honor.” On the monitor, we see RUSH and Lee hitting the “Tranquilo” pose in the ring as the show concludes.
Overall: The return of World Famous CB was a success, and the chaotic main event provided one of the more intriguing endings to the ROH TV show in awhile. With that rivalry, along with the Taven/Vincent issue that now has the Bouncers roped in, I’m glad ROH is providing more stories for us to sink our teeth into.