ROH Glory By Honor XVIII Night 1

Philadelphia, PA – 8.20.2021

Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.

Rey Horus vs. Silas Young

After Horus takes Young down with a wheelbarrow, Young stops Horus with FYB-FYF. He also shoves Horus to the outside when Horus is about to hit the ropes and catches him with a slingshot double stomp back inside the ring. Horus is able to send Young into the barricades with a headscissors to turn things back in his favor. Horus fakes out Young with a dive attempt before actually landing a tope con hilo over the ring post. Although Young scores a superplex in the ring, Horus manages to counter a powerbomb with a Code Red. Young twists Horus’ mask to blind him and hits Misery for the pin at 7:54. With Horus on a roll and Young out of the picture since “Best in the World”, I don’t understand this outcome. Other than that, these two had better chemistry than I anticipated. Horus is exciting to watch and has a knack for getting the crowd fired up, making him a great choice to open a show. **½

Dak Draper vs. Danhausen vs. Demonic Flamita vs. Eli Isom vs. Mike Bennett vs. PJ Black

The winner of this match will get a spot in the ROH World Title rankings. Dalton Castle shows up before the bell with his boys and scurries to commentary. Expectedly, he is very biased towards Dak Draper. Flamita takes out Isom, but refuses to give the fans a dive. Draper shoves Flamita off the top turnbuckle, allowing Draper and Isom to slug it out. They attack any of the other combatants when they enter the ring so they can continue fighting one another. Draper tosses Isom to block The Promise and turns him inside out with a lariat. Everybody gets involved with a tower of doom suplex, except Danhausen, who curses referee Todd Sinclair for not awarding him the match. He also German suplexes Black and Draper, and gives Isom a Northern Lights suplex. Castle comes back to ringside, which distracts Danhausen who just took out Bennett. Flamita sneaks in and gives Danhausen a Muscle Gut Buster for the pin at 11:47. This focused on the right parties, continuing the issue between Draper and Isom, allowing us to experience the general wonderfulness of Danhausen, and having Castle inadvertently cost Danhausen a chance to be in World Title rankings to add some heat to their singles match tomorrow night. I am also happy with Flamita in the World title rankings; if Bandido retains the title for long enough, Bandido vs. Flamita seems like a logical title bout. **¾

The Allure (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon) vs. Vita Von Starr & Max The Impaler

Chelsea Green joins commentary. Max was a surprise partner for Von Starr, and Mandy Rose is in her corner. Max is also set to face Angelina Love in the women’s title tournament quarterfinals on next week’s TV episode. VonStarr held her own against both members of the Allure for a while, and of course, the Allure were visibly afraid for Max to get involved. Von Starr rolls out of the way from a corner attack from Leon and tags in Max. Max mauls Leon, throwing her across the ring and knocking her down with a body block. Love ambushes her with a forearm from behind and Max doesn’t budge. Love decides to bail, and Max pursues her. Vita schoolgirls Leon for the pin at 6:39. This was a beautiful way to build up Max vs. Love in two weeks. The wrestling itself was nothing special. After the match, Max puts Leon through a table with a uranage. *

EC3 vs. Brian Johnson

I was dreading this match, as there is no less compelling match ROH could book with two active roster members.  Johnson played the role of the babyface, appealing to his hometown crowd by wearing 76ers style tights and fighting from behind to garner sympathy. He had a comeback that was spirited thanks to commentary doing their damndest to make it seem like what he was doing was miraculous or interesting, but in reality it was typical Johnson offense. I see some potential in Johnson, just not in his current iteration, and I still have no idea what EC3’s character is. His offense was slow and plodding and unfortunately it seems like his match against Jay Briscoe was his ceiling. EC3 ended up tapping out Johnson to The Purpose (a modified crossface) at 12:48. *

Mark Briscoe vs. Bateman

This was originally a tag team match with the Briscoes vs. Bateman and Dutch, but Jay was not present due to COVID-19. Dutch is ringside with Bateman. Mark takes the opening strike exchange with a clothesline. He crane kicks Bateman and suplexes him for two. They get into a chop exchange. Mark ends up in Dutch’s grasp outside and is slammed into the barricades. Bateman enjoys a short advantage before Mark retaliates with a super snapmare. After a rolling Death Valley Driver, Mark lands Froggy Bow for the pin at 6:19. Dutch vs. Mark probably would’ve been more interesting singles match. This was fine but tough to get into with no real stakes. The Briscoes are clearly on the path to challenging for the tag titles so a singles wind or Mark is more or less pointless. The Righteous attacks Mark after the bell and Mike Bennett comes to his rescue. *¼

ROH Pure Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Rhett Titus

Gresham has been champion since 10.30.2020 and this is his seventh defense. Fellow Foundation members Jay Lethal and “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams accompany both participants to the ring. Josh Woods joins commentary for the match, as he will challenge the winner of this match for the title at “Death Before Dishonor” on September 12th.
*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.

Titus applies a short-arm scissor to Gresham, daring Gresham to use the ropes to escape when rolling Titus on his shoulders for a pin does not work. Gresham instead twists Titus’ ankle to escape. Gresham puts Titus in an Indian Death Lock. When he turns it over, Titus uses his first rope break to escape. Titus develops a temper, shoving Gresham twice. Gresham controls him in a side headlock. Titus powerslams Gresham when he finally escapes and Gresham comes off the ropes. Gresham takes Titus back down in the headlock after evading a suplex. Titus belly-to-belly Gresham’s, and surprisingly Gresham uses his foot for a first rope break to stop Titus’ pin. Titus briefly backs Gresham’s to the ropes in a lock-up, and that is his second rope break counted against him. It did enable him to switch positions and give Gresham a backbreaker. When he goes for a suplex, Gresham and Titus tumble over the top rope and to the floor. Back in the ring, as the momentum picks up on the mat, Titus gets Gresham in a sunset flip, and Gresham rolls him onto his shoulders to get the pin at 14:43. As is the case with all of Gresham’s matches, the story was very good, with him having answers for just about everything Titus brought to the table. Graham also made sure to avoid as many suplexes and throws as he could, as throws and kicks have been Titus’ most effective offense. After a disappointing card up to this point, The Foundation brings the good. ***½

VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King, Tony Deppen, Chris Dickinson & Homicide) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (RUSH, Dragon Lee, Kenny King & La Bestia del Ring)

Deppen and Kid have a great exchange to start. Deppen blows his nose in Lee’s jacket. LFI attacks Deppen from behind, VLNCE UNLTD attacks Lee from behind in response, and referee Joe Mandek throws the match out at 1:48, ruling it a No Contest. RUSH wants the match to be re-started under No Disqualification rules. The two teams continue brawling. Things settle down long enough for Brody King to officially challenge LFI to a Philadelphia Street Fight. Todd Sinclair delivers to Joe Mandek the word that this match is now official.

Philadelphia Street Fight
VLNCE UNLTD (Brody King, Tony Deppen, Chris Dickinson & Homicide) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (RUSH, Dragon Lee, Kenny King & La Bestia del Ring)

Lee and Deppen trade strikes in the ring while their team members fight around the ring. Homicide and Dickinson end up in the ring with RUSH. Homicide is about to use his fork on RUSH but Kenny stops him with an Eddy Gordo kick. Brody takes out Kenny, and then Ring attacks Brody with a chair. A table is set up outside. Meanwhile Kenny and Ring double suplex Brody onto two chairs. Kenny brings a ladder and trashcan out while Ring stomps on Homicide. Homicide tries using the fork on Kenny. Lee intercepts and RUSH throws the trash can at Homicde’s head twice. Deppen springboard dropkicks the ladder into Kenny and Lee, then tope suicida’s onto Lee. Homicide pays homage to Terry Funk, spinning a ladder around and nailing incoming members of LFI with it. Kenny ducks a lariat from Homicide and shotgun knees Homicide into the ladder in the corner. Dickinson places the traschan onto Kenny and kicks it into his face. Dickinson is pulled out onto the table outside the ring. Lee dropkicks him, and Kenny puts Dickinson through the table with a corkscrew splash. LFI has Dickinson and Deppen’s number until Brody reemerges. He powerbombs Ring through a table and backdrops Lee onto RUSH and his partner. This leaves the path clear for Brody to land a senton onto Ring for the pin at 15:35. Like many of these plunder brawls, it’s a lot more fun for the live crowd than the home audience, like myself. I enjoyed the interactions between Deppen and Lee and Brody picking up the win, but mileage will vary on the rest **½

Shane Taylor was on commentary for this match, and as LFI are heading backstage, they get into a fight with Shane Taylor, O’Shay Edwards, and S.O.S. LFI has a shot at the Six-Man Tag Team championships, which are currently held by Shane Taylor and S.O.S.

ROH World Championship
Bandido vs. Flip Gordon

Bandido has been champion since 7.11.2021 and this is his first defense. Gordon earned this title shot by winning a battle royal all the way back at “Free Enterprise” in February 2020. Gordon then pinned Bandido in March 2020 in a match that finally aired on ROH TV in January 2021. EC3, who is in the Top 5 rankings for the World title, joins commentary for this match. Gordon denies Bandido the Code of Honor.

Bandido and Gordon are able to keep in step with one another, reaching a stalemate in the early going. Gordon gives Bandido a thumb to the eye to get control, following that up with a suplex on the floor. He throws Bandido face first into a ringside table. When he only gets two with a Falcon Arrow, he throws a couple chairs into the ring and also brings out a kendo stick. Bandido cuts him off with a pair of dives. Bandido drops Gordon with a crucifix driver back inside the ring for two. Bandido counters the Flip-5, although Gordon rolls down with him for a nearfall. Gordon also electric chair drops Bandido when it seems like Bandido is going for a reverse Frankensteiner. Gordon staggers Bandido with a kick from the apron, then hits a springboard tornado DDT for a close nearfall. Gordon then hits the Kinder Surprise and a reverse a Samoan Drop slam. He locks on the STF and Bandido makes it to the ropes to escape. Gordon hits a Flip-5 for yet another nearfall, shocking the challenger. Bandido takes Gordon down from the top with a fallaway moonsault slam for two. Bandido spikes Gordon with a Canadian Destroyer. Gordon uses the ropes to crawl back to his feet, putting himself in position for the 21 Plex, which gets Bandido the pin at 17:18. That was a good first defense for Bandido, as Bandido was able to go toe to toe with a more tenured roster member with a similar style who made him fight hard for his victory. A couple botched moments and a slower second act drag down the overall contest, but I found this to be a cromulent way to end the evening. ***¼

EC3 makes his way to the ring to confront Bandido. Brody King comes out with a microphone, telling EC3 he gets the next crack at Bandido and the World Title. EC3 and King get in a fight outside the ring and have to be separated by ROH staff and officials. As this is happening, Demonic Flamita sneaks in from the crowd and attacks Bandido from behind. I like that they keep at the forefront of the fans’ minds who is in the leaderboard for the titles, but this makes two big shows in a row where Bandido is left laying after a successful title win or defense, and that seems weird.

This show was a disappointment. Night 2 has a lot of potential, and I am hoping that doesn’t let me down.

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