Baltimore, MD – 4.30.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman
ROH premeried a weekly ROH show called “Women’s Division Wednesday”, featuring new matches on a weekly basis en route to the Women’s Championship tournament this Summer. Reviews of those matches will be included in these weekly TV reviews. Maria-Kanellis Bennett joins commentary for these matches.
Hyan & Laynie Luck vs. Max The Impaler & Rok-C
This is a debut match for all four competitors, and all four have pre-redorced promos to introduce themselves to the ROH audience. Rok-C controls Luck by her left arm. Luck waistlocks Rok-C on the mat and maneuvers her into a crucifix pin for two. Rok-C spin kicks Luck for a one count. Luck alita’s Rok-C to the corner where Max tags themself into the contest. Hyan also tags in. Hyan shows no fear against the larger Max. Hyan escapes a seated splash and blasts Max in the side of the head with a knee. Max is unhappy when Rok-C tags herself back in. She drives Hyan face first into the mididle turnbuckle before hitting a Meteora for two. Max tags themself in when Rok-C has Hyan in an abdominal stretch and kicks Hyan in the corner. Max bullies Hyan until Hyan rolls away from a corner splash and tags in a reluctant Luck. Luck tries her best, but Max’s size overwhelms her. Max agrees to Rok-C’s request to tag in, but what she didn’t expect was Max to use her as a weapon against Luck and Hyan. Rok-C accidentally collides with Max when Hyan moves out of the way of a corner attack. Luck is over her nerves of Max when she comes back into the ring. She drops Max with a Complete Shot for two. Max thwarts a double suplex attempt from Hyan and Luck by suplexing them both. The 15:00 time limit expires and the match is ruled a draw. First, it should be mentioned the ROH episode that aired the same week as this had a 15:00 Draw and a No Contest, so all three matches that week had no winners. What kind of quality control is that? In terms of this match, even though you had Max coming out the most impressive looking of the four, a draw with four debuts doesn’t give me a sense of the pecking order of the division, and the match was wrestled with about the energy you’d expect from a time limit draw. Not the best way to relaunch the division, but hopefully all four of them return with something more substantial. Next to Max, Rok-C, who I had never seen before, impressed me most. **¼
Now onto this week’s episode!
Bandido vs. Flamita
This match is occurring due to Bandido and Flamita’s partnership exploding at both the 19th Anniversary Show and three weeks ago when they came to blows during a tag team match against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham. Before the match, Flamita tells Quinn McKay he doesn’t care if this match reconciles his relationship with Bandido. Bandido thinks however they will go back to being brothers and friends. Flamita denies Bandido a handshake before the bell.
Given their familiarity, both Bandido and Flamita are able to evade much of each other’s offense. Flamita scores big with a suicide dive, then throws Bandido into the barricades. He works over Bandido’s left shoulder during the commercial break. Bandido is able to escape a tornado DDT attempt. After a corkscrew press, a double déjà vu from Bandido sends Flamita outside. He works over Flamita’s left leg, and in an uncharacteristically harsh move uses the ring post in doing so. Even with the leg damage, Flamita is able to reverse a throw into the barricades. They end up standing on the barricades, with Bandido bringing Flamita down with a Frankensteiner! They both make it into the ring just before the twenty count. Bandido almost has Flamita pinned with a Dragonrana. While Bandido has Flamita up for the X-Knee, Flamita’s legs clip the back of Todd Sinclair’s head. Flamita takes the opening to low blow Bandido and pins him with one foot at 13:00. This was a case where a weak ending nullifies the tremendous effort put in by both competitors. Sure a low blow is debilitating, but given how much offense Bandido had withstood, for the match to end without any offense succeeding the low blow and a one-footed pin getting the job done just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Bandido deserves better. **¾
The OGK (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) vs. The Beer City Bruiser & Ken Dixon
The OGK are looking for revenge on Bruiser for smashing a beer bottle over Taven’s head back in February, and again in late March when Bruiser almost sliced Bennett with a broken beer bottle. Brawler Milonas joins commentary for this match, though he states he wishes he was in the ring tagging with Bruiser. Dixon attacks the OGK before the bell. Taven dropkicks Dixon to the floor and then drops him neck first on the top rope. Bennett capitalizes on that by giving Dixon a uranage on the ring apron. The OGK beat down Dixon further until Bennett’s hurt ankle buckled as he ran towards the ropes. Dixon takes the opportunity to tag out and Bruiser strikes Bennett in the jaw. Dixon and Bruiser beat down Bennett in their half of the ring. Bennett has Dixon down with a Spicolli Driver, but before he can be pinned, Bruiser pulls him over and tags himself in. He admonishes Dixon for making rookie mistakes, allowing Bennett time to tag Taven. Taven takes out Bruiser with a side Russian leg sweep, and gives Dixon both a backbreaker and DDT. Bruiser misses a seated splash, and Taven hits him with Just the Tip for two. Dixon saves Bruiser from being pinned after taking a barrage of offense from the OGK. Bruiser evades Aurora Borealis from Taven. He gives Taven a pump-handle slam and tags in Dixon. Dixon knocks Bennett off the apron and powerslams Taven. He lifts Taven’s leg up before the three count, which does not make Bruiser happy. Bennett blind tags himself in, and the OGK hits a Chin Checker/pump kick combo for the pin at 9:09. This match achieved several goals: it firmly kept OGK at the top of the tag team rankings, showed that although Dixon and Bruiser may have familiar attitudes, they aren’t a cohesive unit in the ring, and it got Taven some potential closure on this rivalry. Good stuff all around. **½
Taven smashes a beer bottle over Bruiser’s head to get his just desserts. Even so, Milonas admonishes Taven as he goes up the aisle, with Bennett trying to keep the peace. Milonas then checks on Bruiser in the ring and tells Bruiser that he’s been right all along. Burier turns his attention to Dixon, kicking him in the head and pummeling him on the mat before throwing him to the floor! Bruiser watches on with a smile and embraces Milonas after the fact. Looks like The Bouncers are back together, with a bit more of an edge to them.
ROH World Television Championship
Tracy Williams vs. Tony Deppen
Williams has been champion since 3.26.2021 and this is his first defense. Williams attacks Deppen’s left shoulder. Deppen uses the ropes to roll into a hammerlock and then a lateral press for a one count. Deppen decides to cleanly break a lock-up against the ropes, reminding Williams he isn’t limited to three in this match-up. A forearm from Deppen brings out the aggressive side of Williams, who open hand strikes Deppen and kicks him in the chest until he crumples in the apron. Williams blocks a slingshot from Deppen and stretches his out his entire body in the Gory Gallows. Deppen wristdrags his way free. Deppen blocks a crossface attempt and double stomps Williams on the back of his neck. During the break, Williams took back over with a superplex onto Deppen’s left shoulder. Deppen pulls Williams into the ropes to break Williams’ grasp on his left arm. The fight on the apron with Deppen ultimately knocking Williams to the floor with a gamengiri. He follows with a tope suicida. Back in the ring Deppen drops a knee across the back of Williams’ neck for two. Deppen places Williams on the top turnbuckle. Williams stops a climbing Deppen with a DDT on the top turnbuckle. Williams then places Deppen in a crossface, and Deppen gets the ropes to escape. Williams halts a leapfrog from Deppen, dropping him with a Death Valley Driver for an incredibly close nearfall. Deppen is dazed as Williams pulls him into a piledriver position. Deppen was playing possum, as he pulled down Williams into a jackknife pin for two. He clobbers Williams with two closed fists and puts him in a one-armed Cattle Mutilation. Williams is close to tapping when he realizes he’s close enough to the ropes to place his foot on the bottom rope. Williams evades a top rope double stomp. He nails Deppen with a rolling clothesline before spiking him with a piledriver. Deppen miraculously gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the pin, frustrating Williams. Deppen smiles from a kneeling position as Williams forearms and kicks him. Deppen’s is pulled to his feet. Williams goes for another rolling clothesline. Deppen catches the arm, pulls down Williams in a leg-capture spladle to get the pin and the title at 10:58! The rest of VLNCE UNLTD come out to celebrate with Deppen. Deppen got to show just how capable he is in the ring by outwrestling Williams to win the title. His neck work paid off in terms of the type of pin he used, and along the way he deliberately rubbed in Williams’ face that the Pure rules were not in play by using closed fists and rope breaks at will. Deppen winning this title also adds some credibility for VLNCE UNLTD in this iteration of faction warfare, with the key groups now all holding gold. Great wrestling with a great story works every time, and I am pumped Deppen looks to be a key player for ROH going forward. ***½
Overall: A strong main event with a title change makes this a must see episode. YMMV on the Bandido/Flamita match, but in general it’s nice to see ROH continuing to build stories up and down the card. Hopefully we have a Best in the World show coming up to anchor these stories.