Baltimore, MD – 7.16.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.
A trios match was featured on the July 13th episode of “Week By Week”:
The Bouncers (Brawler Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser) & Ken Dixon vs. Primal Fear (Adrien Soriano, Gabriel Hodder & Matthew Omen)
Milonas and Bruiser are so confident that they can handle this match on their own that they bench Dixon, who steals the timekeeper’s chair and enjoys himself some beers. Primal Fear attacks Bruiser from behind and takes him out with triple team offense. Dixon however assists Bruiser in pulling Omen by his arm from outside of the ring, which results in Omen crashing into the ropes. The Bouncers annihilate Omen in their corner as Dixon resumes his beer drinking. Omen finds respite by hitting Bruiser with a Koppu Kick. Hodder uses a stick and move approach against Bruiser. He comes off the top rope with a blockbuster, and Soriano follows that with a frog splash for two. Milonas takes down Hodder and Omen at the same time with a fallaway slam/Samoan Drop combo. The Bouncers take down Soriano with a Veg-O-Matic for the pin at 6:50. I’m all for the Bouncers getting what was more or less a handicap victory to get some momentum. Primal Fear had a good showing but need something more substantial if they’re ever going to be taken seriously. **
A gentleman named Rocco who has had paid advertisements air on several episodes of “Week By Week” in the hopes of finding clients makes his way to the ring with a duffel bag. Rocco offers his management services to The Bouncers and Dixon. In an attempt to appeal to them, he offers regular size beers, tall boys, and 40 oz bottles from his duffel bag. They shove Rocco down and take his bag of beers, declining his offer in so few words. Primal Fear also ignores Rocco who tries to speak with them as they leave the ringside area.
The July 14th episode of “Women’s Division Wednesday” featured a replay of Quinn McKay’s ROH in-ring debut match against Angelina Love from Episode 503 to build anticipation for her match against Mandy Leon. You can read my review of that match here.
Now onto this week’s episode! We start the episode backstage where Jonathan Gresham is getting his knee wrapped up by Joe Keys. Apparently Gresham hurt himself in training, and while Gresham thinks he’d be OK to wrestle in tonight’s main event, Tracy Williams reminds Gresham that he’s the Pure Champion and he shouldn’t overextend himself, as it could cost him the title in the future. Instead, Williams thinks The Foundation should give Joe Keys, another Pure Wrestler, a chance and suggest he replace Gresham in the match. All parties agree and the swap is made official.
Brian Johnson is hosting today’s episode as Quinn McKay is wrestling on this episode.
Rey Horus vs. Fred Yehi
This is Yehi’s first non-Pure Rules singles match in ROH. Horus is coming off a big win against Demonic Flamita at “Best in the World.” Yehi goes for the Koji Clutch early but Horus is able to slither away. During the commercial, Yehi attacked Horus’ knee and ankle. Horus is able to avoid a corner attack and send Yehi outside with an alita, following him out with a tope con hilo. Horus lands a High Fly Flow for two. When he goes for a pin after a side kick to the face, Yehi small packages Horus for two. Horus gets another two with a twisting splash. Yehi twists Horus’ neck when Horus stops a kick. After a spinning chop and throw, Yehi locks on the Koji Clutch, which Horus escapes thanks to the ropes. Yehi places himself on the top turnbuckle. Horus follows him up and brings him down with his high-speed prawn hold for the pin at 9:53. The commercial break made this feel a bit short, but I liked the story and the intensity Yehi brought to the match. Him getting caught by Horus on the top turnbuckle, which is far from Yehi’s comfort zone, was a logical conclusion. I wanted something more substantial, but that happens sometimes to match one on a three-match episode. **½
Quinn McKay vs. Mandy Leon
Leon partially cost McKay her chance to enter the tournament during her match with Angelina Love as she distracted McKay during the bout. Because of this, Board of Directors member Maria Kanellis-Bennett, who is on commentary for this match, granted McKay one more chance to earn a tournament spot. McKay will earn the final tournament spot if she defeats Leon. This is Leon’s first ROH match since January 2020. Angelina Love is in Leon’s corner, and I smell problems.
Leon cheapshots McKay with a forearm strike during the Code of Honor. McKay gives her no quarter, mauling Leon until Leon catches McKay with a neck snap on the top rope. Leon uses the top rope to attack McKay further. McKay tries a neckbreaker after a failed Magistral cradle, but Leon kicks her leg out and repeatedly throws McKay down by the back of her head. After the commercial break, we see Love pull McKay off the ring apron behind the referee’s back. Leon meets McKay on the floor with a dropkick off the apron and a suplex onto the floor. Back in the ring, McKay buys some recovery time with a desperation slam. She connects with four different neckbreakers, but it only earns a two count. McKay looks for the Tangerine Dream submission. Love jumps on the apron to distract the referee, causing referee Joe Mandak to miss the tap out. While McKay is dealing with the referee, Leon is passed a pair of brass knuckles from Love, and unbeknownst to Mandek clobbers McKay in the head with them during a back suplex, pinning McKay at 7:44. With Love ringside, this went exactly how I expected it to. Both due to the nature of the story and the truncated time, I did not think McKay was given the same opportunity to look as strongly as she did in her debut, but she still did a rock solid job. Later, Maria would state she has made two decisions after witnessing how this match went down, and I predict it will be Love vs. McKay in Round 1, entering McKay into the tournament, and Love losing her Bye into the tournament. *½
The Foundation (Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus) & Joe Keys vs. Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor, O’Shay Edwards & S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses))
The Foundation finds success in the feeling out process going after Moses’ left arm. That plan is shut down when Moses body blocks Lethal as Lethal re-enters the ring from the floor. Shane Taylor Promotions maul him in their corner until he halts Kaun with a Lethal Combination. Titus gets tagged in, laying out Moses with the Thrust Buster and mowing down Kaun with clotheslines. He gives both Kaun and Edwards belly-to-belly suplex before cracking Moses with a pair of yakuza kicks. Titus comes off the top with a knee drop, then hydraulic dropkicks Moses into a German suplex from Keys. Edwards stops the pin which leads to all out brawl for all members. All of the Foundation is taken out, leaving Keys to fight all of STP on his own. Williams and Titus save him from being pinned after a headbutt from Edwards and also clothesline Taylor to the floor. Taylor comes back with a double clothesline to them. Lethal escapes Welcome to the Land and sucidie dives to the floor. Edwards spikes Keys with a spinebuster for the pin at 16:54, with Lethal fingertips away from breaking it up. This match was all about how Shane Taylor Promotions was the more formidable tandem than The Foundation and Keys. It would be easy to say that Keys’ inclusion was the reason why, but I think it’s a bit more nuanced. Williams and Titus’ double team attempt was not sharp, possibly due to Williams still in recovery, and Lethal’s been fumbling for months now and was almost pinned again. This story may be subtle, or may never end up being told, but the cracks in the Foundation are beginning to present themselves, especially with Jay Lethal. STP on the other hand has been a continual rise and with Edwards now officially part of their team, that momentum does not seem to be slowing. This was a really excellent main event, and just on the surface level was very fun to watch. ***¾
Overall: The main event makes this a thumbs up episode without question. YMMV on the women’s angle, and the opening was totally fine if not short, so I recommend checking it out.