Baltimore, MD – 7.2.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.
The June 29th edition of “Week By Week” featured a triple threat tag team match which would have implications for the championship leaderboard:
VLNCE UNLTD (Chris Dickinson & Homicide) vs. PCO & Danhausen vs. S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses)
PCO fights off both of VLNCE UNLTD. S.O.S. throw PCO outside and maul Danhausen in their corner. Danhausen gets a Northern Lights suplex on Kaun. Homicide breaks the pin and hen shoves Danhausen off the top turnbuckle and to the floor. Homicide and Dickinson string together an atomic drop and big boot, then Dickinson puts Kaun in an STF. Moses saves his partner from submitting. PCO muscles S.O.S. to the floor and pops Dickinson up into a powerbomb. Dickinson rolls to the floor and PCO lands a cannonball senton onto him and S.O.S. Danhausen tags in when PCO malfunctions, throwing cannonball sentons at random corners. Danhausen avoids Homicide’s Cop Killa and hits GTS-Hausen. Dickinson breaks up the pin. Moses spears Dickinson and Danhausen pump kicks him to the floor. Kaun uppercuts Danhausen before he can utilize the teeth. Homicide surprises Kaun with an Ace Crusher, then follows up with a lariat for the pin at 7:48. This was a pretty fun match, and achieved its goal of getting Dickinson and Homicide in the Top 3 of the leaderboard which will make them eligible to challenge Williams and Titus at Best in the World. The PCO malfunctioning stuff sucks, though. **½
On June 2nd, Alex Gracia lost to Willow in a singles match, and Willow was offered a spot in the upcoming Women’s Title tournament. Gracia then posted a video on Twitter pleading her case to be in the Women’s title tournament to Maria Kanellis-Bennett. Maria would see Alex in person a couple weeks later, inviting her back to Women’s Division Wednesday for another match, telling Gracia she would consider putting her in the tournament based on her performance in that match. Gracia felt that was fair, and on the June 30th edition of Women’s Division Wednesday, Gracia would get the chance to make another impression against a debuting competitor.
Alex Gracia vs. Gia Scott
Scott is an ROH Dojo graduate, and while she has competed on three Future of Honor events, this is her tried and true ROH debut. Gracisa manages to take down the powerful Scott with a leg trip. She even baits Scott into a leg submission by patting her on the back of the head in a disrespectful manner. Gracia hits a springboard crossbody onto Scott outside. Scott begs off in the ring, using that moment to throw Gracia face first into the middle turnbuckle and take her down with a neckbreaker for two. Scott continues to attack Gracia’s neck, but Gracia persistently kicks out of Scott’s pin attempts. Gracia takes Scott down with a Thesz Press. Scott kicks out of the Pink Hypnosis (Molly-Go-Round). Scott tries her STO, Code Diamond, for a second time, but Gracia counters into a tornado clutch for two. She then drops Scott with the Beautiful Nightmare (a reverse snapmare driver) for the pin at 8:55. I liked the intensity and resilience Gracia brought to the table, as it showed she knew how important this second showing was for her in terms of possibly earning a spot in the title tournament. Even in serving as the supporting character in that story, Scott put up a heck of an effort too. I’d like to see more from her soon. **¾
This win earned Alex Gracia an official Ticket to Gold into the Women’s Title tournament this Summer.
Now onto this week’s episode! We are shown a recap of Bandido winning the Survival of the Fittest tournament. He expresses his excitement tow Quinn McKay and tells RUSH he is taking his title at Best in the World.
ROH Pure Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Fred Yehi
Gresham has been champion since 10.30.2020 and this is his fourth defense. This is the fifth singles match between these two, with Lethal taking 3 of the 4, but Gresham winning the most recent. Mike Bennett joins commentary, as he will challenge the winner of this match at Best in the World for the Pure Championship.
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 60 minute time limit. If the match goes past the time limit, three judges will determine the outcome.
*Any wrestler who interferes will be automatically terminated from the roster.
Tempers flare between the two men as they are so evenly matched, to the point where they both grab the ropes to block one another’s hip toss attempts. They also go to the ropes to break a collar-and-blow tie-up. They each grind their forearms into each other’s faces, which referee Todd Sinclair breaks up out of the corner and gets them to reset. Gresham almost has Yehi pinned when he rolls back on a rear-choke from Yehi. Yehi tries pinning Gresham in a double knuckle lock. Gresham rolls backwards and to his feet ro reverse the pressure. Gresham breaks in the corner but tries to Whip Yehi out. Yehi avoids it but Gresham takes him down with a headscissors and cradles his leg for a two count. Gresham avoids several stomps from Yehi. Gresham armdrags Yehi into a crucifix pin to get the win at 12:16. I liked the dynamic of Yehi being Gresham’s equal in so many ways and that led to many stalemates or mirrored movements. It made sense of the ending, as Gresham would have to grab something a bit out of nowhere to stifle Yehi and retain his title. The action probably could have escalated a little more, but I enjoyed this defense for what it was. It’s also noted that Gresham is now 10-0 in Pure Rules matches in ROH. I am not sure if they aren’t counting his Silas Young match at the 2019 Best in the World, or the tag team match against LFI, but it’s actually 11-0. ***
“Fight on the Farm” Match
Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
The singles match between the Briscoes on the 500th Episode did not alleviate the issues between them. Their father, Papa Briscoe, believes in order to settle the animosity, they needed to return to their home in Sandy Fork, Delaware and “fight on the farm”, just like they did growing up. Papa believes it’s the only way to get everything out of their system and get back to being the “baddest tag team on the planet.”
This match does indeed take place on the Briscoe family compound, starting in their own wrestling ring inside a unit. Papa serves as the referee. Jay clobbers Mark with a shovel as Mark tries a suicide dive. Mark fights back, but when he goes to the top turnbuckle, Jay shoves him off and through a table. On the lawn, Jay hits Mark in the head with a trashcan and throws a metal tub at him. Mark low blows Jay and suplexes him through a piece of plywood propped up between a truck and the metal tub. They use a ladder to climb on top of an RV, and Jay throws Mark off the top onto something covered by a tarp. Jay throws Mark into the back of the truck and drives him to another part of the year. Mark ambushes Jay when he gets out of the truck and chokes him with a rope. After knocking Jay down with a sign, he places him on a table and climbs on top of a tall shed. He dives off, putting Jay through the table with an elbow drop! Papa Briscoe wraps both arms around the Briscoes and brings them back to the ring. They pummel each other to the point of both being knocked out around 15:18. Papa confirms they both got everything out of their system as they’re laying down, and tells him to clean everything up before leaving. Long time fans will remember this entire ordeal as similar to 2007 when they beat each other to a double knock out. The atmosphere of the farm added a unique feel to the match, and resulted in Mark taking some pretty gnarly bumps. As a whole though, it felt like it was missing something to make it feel more special. As somebody who prefers the Briscoes as a team, I am glad we are going back in that direction, and this was just as good a way to get them to reconcile as any. ***
Overall: A title defense and maybe the last “cinematic” match of the pandemic era make this a consequential episode, but truthfully I would say I was expecting more from both matches. What I was hoping to be a great episode “just” turned out to be good, maybe even very good.