Philadelphia, PA – 9.12.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.
16 Man Honor Rumble
The rules of this match are identical to the Royal Rumble (with 90 second intervals between entrants). The winner of the Honor Rumble will receive a future ROH World Championship match on an episode of ROH TV.
Order of Entry
1. Brian Johnson
2. Brian Milonas
3. The Beer City Bruiser
5. Caprice Coleman
8. PJ Black
9. Dak Draper
10. Silas Young
11. Rey Horus
12. Dante Caballero
13. Flip Gordon
14. Joe Keys
15. The World Famous CB
16. Alex Zayne
Order of Elimination
1. Caprice Coleman eliminated The Beer City Bruiser at 6:29 with a clothesline over the top rope.
2. Caprice Coleman eliminated The Beer City Bruiser at 7:04, with some help from Danhausen and Brian Johnson.
3. Brian Johnson eliminated Caprice Coleman at 7:14.
4. Dak Draper eliminated Sledge at 15:18.
5. Brian Johnson eliminated Danhasuen at 18:02.
6. PCO eliminates himself at 18:37.
7. Flip Gordon eliminates Silas Young at 19:56.
8. Dak Draper eliminates Dante Caballero at 23:32.
9. Dak Draper eliminates Joe Keys at 23:50.
10. Alex Zayne eliminates Dak Draper at 25:21.
11. Rey Horus eliminates The World Famous CB at 26:15.
12. Brian Johnson eliminates Rey Horus at 26:19.
13. Flip Gordon eliminates Brian Johnson at 28:47.
14. Alex Zayne eliminates Flip Gordon at 31:01.
15. PJ Black eliminates himself at 32:07.
They’re running with the story that Gordon got knocked loopy in a tag match with Mark Briscoe at Glory By Honor and now thinks he is in 2018. He is fully shaven, back in trunks and kick pads, and carrying the U.S. flag with him. The amnesia stemming from head trauma is quite tone deaf. I feel like there was probably a better way to ham him revert to his former self. That said, the crowd seems to dig the change, and with Villain Enterprises abrupt end the Mercenary character wasn’t working anymore. There was a funny moment where he confused Keys and Caballero with the Young Bucks and got double superkicked. Of course, Alex Zayne was the big surprise. Like his run in NJPW STRONG, it felt like Zayne was just getting started in ROH when he signed to WWE, so I am happy to see him get a second chance. Credit to the competitors for keeping things interesting for the duration and making sure to feature dynamics between competitors with history or a relationship when it was opportune. **¾
Eli Isom vs. Dalton Castle
Like he did during Castle’s match against Danhausen last match, Dak Draper joins commentary for the bout. Castle has his four chicks in his corner. Despite a sneak attack, Isom is able to take Castle to the floor and lays him out with a tope con hilo. He backdrops Castle onto the ring apron when a failed chick distraction from Castle goes awry, and throws him back first into the barricades. In the ring, Castle steps on Isom’s foot to pull off a German suplex. Castle knees Isom to the floor and gives him a running boot to the side of the head. Another knee to the head inside the ring scores a two count. Isom comes back with the Sidewinder slam. Castle tries another sliding knee, but Isom avoids it and hoists Castle up into a neckbreaker for two. Draper makes his way ringside and drags Castle to the floor to strategize. Isom goes to attack but ends up wiping out the chicks with a Bermuda Triangle. Isom kicks Draper low back inside the ring. Castle scoops up Isom for Bang-A-Rang. Isom rolls Castle into a prawn hold to escape, but Castle hits it on his second attempt for the pin at 9:16. Castle’s three ring circus disrupted what had been quite a bop. Seems like Isom is going to need to vanquish both Castle and Draper to move forward, and the sooner that happens the better. **½
Jake Atlas vs. Taylor Rust
It was two years ago during Death Before Dishonor 2019 weekend when Jake Atlas had his one and only ROH match, losing to Bateman. Taylor Rust is the former Rust Taylor, who made his ROH debut during the Pure Championship tournament last Fall before signing with WWE, losing to Tracy Williams in the opening round. Both men are once again free agents.
As Atlas speeds things up, Rust blocks a superkick and puts on an ankle lock. Atlas scrambles outside to reset. When he comes back in, Rust throws Atlas left shoulder first to the mat and stomps on his upturned elbow. Atlas gets in a couple chops with his right hands, only for Rust to snapmare him into a stomp to his left shoulder. Rust does more damage to the shoulder. Atlas trips Taylor and decks him with a forearm shot to the face. He misses a corner attack and his left shoulder collides with the post. Atlas pump kicks Rust but his arms crumble when he tries to pick Rust up. Rust gives Atlas Sole Food and Atlas gets his shoulder up just before the three count. Rust rolls Atlas into the Gaia Lock, and Atlas submits at 6:55. This was really excellent, with Taylor keeping his focus at Atlas working as smartly as he could around the injury, while also trying to keep the match at a fast pace. They had a small flub with the nearfall before the end, and I think we could have had a few more minutes before this reached it’s high point, but as a reintroduction to ROH this was excellent. Commentary stated they both will be on future episodes of ROH TV, and I am super in favor. ***
VLNCE UNLTD (Chris Dickinson, Homicide & Tony Deppen) vs. John Walters, LSG & Lee Moriarty
Last month at Glory By Honor Night 2, Dickinson challenged Pure wrestlers from the past, present, and future to face VLNCE UNLTD, and three wrestlers representing each of those eras stepped up to the plate. This is Walters first match back since December. This is Moriarty’s ROH debut, and as he just signed an AEW contract two days prior, likely his last ROH match as well.
Walters aggressively keeps Homicide in a side headlock. LSG picks up the pace with Dickinson. LSG reverses an ankle lock, and Dickinson tags in Deppen upon escape. Moriarty comes in. Moriarty frustrates Deppen with his ability to adapt so quickly. Moriarty gets Dickinson in an abdominal stretch, then Homicide when Homicide back rakes Moriarty to free his partner. Walters shuts down Homicide with a knee to the mid-section. He locks Deppen and Homicide’s legs together and puts them in a double chin lock. Dickinson has to kick Walters in the head to free his partners, and clears the apron of Moriarty and LSG so VLNCE UNLTD can beat down Walters in their corner without disruption. Walters is able to escape after giving Homicide a back cracker. LSG and Moriarty utilize some tandem offense to take down Dickinson. Homicide pulls Moriarty to the floor and LSG drops Dickinson with Rocket Bye Baby. Deppen surprises LSG with a jumping knee to the chin. Moriarty leg sweeps Dickinson back in the ring before taking out Homicide with a Heat-Seeking Missile, then a springboard clothesline connects on Dickinson. Walters tags in as Deppen forearm strikes Moriarty to the floor. Walters sends Deppen outside. He takes Dickinson down with a dragonscrew leg whip and Homicide with a DDT, then locks them both in a double Muta Lock. Deppen double stomps Walters to break up the pin. All of the Pure Wrestlers end up on the floor where Homicide wipes them out with a tope suicida. Dickinson drops Moriarty with a running Death Valley Driver for the pin at 10:58. This was probably the most coherent VLNCE UNLTD multi-man so far, as well as the best. Even though the Pure Wrestlers were quicker and wrestled smarter, VLNCE UNLTD’s pack mentality and aggression earned them the win; three good singles wrestlers cannot best a team of three wrestlers. All three of the Pure wrestlers worked their tails off, especially Walters who I would love to see re-enter the Pure division. I may not be totally on board with VLNCE UNLTD as a unit, but more matches like this will help them become more cohesive and palatable. ***¼
The Foundation’s Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, and Rhett Titus make their way to the ring to talk to the Pure wrestling team. Lethal praises all three of them and talks about how the future for Ring of Honor’s Pure division looks bright. As Lethal passionately discusses how those in the division love wrestling, the rest of the Pure division appears on the entrance stage to listen. He sees the world of wrestling is doing well, but it is time for Pure wrestling to prevail. Well that got me fired up.
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The OGK (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett)
These two teams were embroiled in a bitter rivalry in 2014 into early 2015. Bennett also challenged Jay for the World title when he held gold. The Briscoes maul Bennett in their half of the ring. Bennett tags Mark with a rolling forearm strike and Taven follows up with a dropkick off the top turnbuckle for two. Taven keeps his eyes on Jay as he pins Mark following a neckbreaker. Jay blind tags in and nails Taven with a big boot. Taven is able to knock Mark onto Bennett’s shoulders on the outside. Jay halts Taven from a Doomsday Device on the floor. Taven meets Mark on the top turnbuckle as Jay and Bennett trade forearms. Taven lands a bermuda triangle moonsault and Mark follows with a stage dive onto everyone. In the ring, the OGK double team Jay. Mark prevents Bennett from putting him in the London Dungeon. Taven superkicks Mark into a spear from Bennett. Jay backdrops out of a piledriver attempt from Bennett. Mark enzuigiri’s Taven to the floor and hits him with a spicy dropkick. Mark low bridges Bennett to the floor and hits a running Blockbuster onto Taven on the floor. In the ring, Jay lariats Taven into the Froggy Bow from Mark. Bennett intercepts the pin just in time. The Briscoes look for Redneck Boogie on a chair. Bennett spears Jay. The OGK set up for Hail Mary but Mark escapes. Mark uses the chair to dive onto Bennett. Jay goes for the Jay Driller and Taven counters with a small package for the pin at 13:17. They brought the intensity and energy of their former rivalry into this match with a lot of success. The match was action packed and really fun to watch, and the OGK winning was both a feel good moment and a genuine surprise since the Briscoes had been picking up momentum for a couple of months now. I’m cool with the OGK becoming a focal point of the tag division if they continue to put on matches of this caliber. ***¼
ROH Pure Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods
Gresham has been champion since 10.30.2020 and this is his eighth defense.
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.
The two men fight to the ropes as they have each other’s arms wrapped around one another in a backslide type of situation, but neither have a rope break removed. They aggressively lock-up to the ropes where referee Joe Mandek literally has to get in between them to get the lock-up broken. Mandek has to do it again, and because of this, he charges them both a rope break. Gresham uses his legs for a grip around Woods’ neck and head. Woods escapes, and when goes for Gresham’s leg, Gresham uses his other leg to kick Woods in the left shoulder. He kicks Woods’ left wrist when Woods goes to the top turnbuckle. Woods pulls down Gresham with a one-armed throw. Gresham looks to pop Woods’ shoulder again. Woods prevents it and in a front facelock they get into the ropes. Mandek separates them once again when they do not release by the five count. Woods holds onto Gresham’s left arm. They strike to the ropes again. Mandek charges them both their second rope breaks when they don’t break by the five count. They pin one another in a double cradle at 11:46. He counted both men’s shoulders down on the mat, resulting in a draw. Gresham says he refuses a decision like this to tarnish his perfect record. He tells Mandek to start the clock.
After smacking one another, they roll towards the ropes with their legs intertwined. As Mandek makes the count they are striking one another in the ropes. Mandek takes both of their third and final rope breaks away. Gresham fakes out Woods with a leapfrog and sunset flips him for two. He holds onto Woods’ knee and maneuvers him into a cradle. Woods pulls Gresham down into a sleeper hold with a bodyscissors. Gresham is almost passed out, but pulls away at Woods’ injured arm to escape. He armdrags Woods into a headscissors. They trade pins and get back to their feet. Woods catches Gresham in mid-air with a knee strike to the chin. Gresham flips out of a Chaos Theory, stomps on Woods’ arm, and hits repeated elbows to the side of Woods’ head. He then crucifix pins Woods for two and slithers into an ankle lock. Woods counters into his own ankle lock. Gresham kicks at Woods’ leg to get the move broken. Woods hits the Chaos Theory and Gresham’s shoulder barely gets up just before the three count. Woods kicks out of a German suplex. He forearm strikes Woods in the back of the head and applies a kimura lock. Woods muscles Gresham up as Gresham still has the kimura applied. He throws Gresham overhead out of a tombstone position. Gresham is knocked out by the blow, allowing Woods to get the pin at 20:01 to win the title! I liked the story in theory – Gresham and Wood’s hubris lost them all their rope breaks, but because Gresham’s hubris wouldn’t let him accept a draw, it cost him the title. In execution, it felt like a classic case of overbooking. These two could’ve been left to their own devices and had a phenomenal match, but the extracurriculars took away from the proceedings rather than adding to them. If it was Gresham’s time to lose the title, Woods was the perfect choice to take it from him, but I can’t help but feel like they have a better match in them. That tombstone throw rules though. **¾
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship
Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor & S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses)) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (Dragon Lee, Kenny King & La Bestia del Ring)
Shane Taylor Promotions have been champions since 2.19.2021 and this is their fifth defense. King and Lee are coming off of a big tag team championship win over Dickinson and Homicide this past weekend. If Lee wins, he will be the only individual to hold three titles at one time in ROH. King attacks Shane Taylor with a chair before the bell. Because of this attack, O’Shay Edwards is made the replacement for Taylor.
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship
Shane Taylor Promotions (O’Shay Edwards & S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses)) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (Dragon Lee, Kenny King & La Bestia del Ring)
Lee is able to knock down Moses in the corner, but the large Kaun imposes himself with a body block. Kaun and Ring land corner splashes and clotheslines onto one another. Edwards is able to block a spin kick from King and spike him with a spinebuster. Ring spears Edwards to the floor and S.O.S. brawl with King and Lee. Lee holds onto Kaun’s ankle so King can blast him with a tornado gamengiri. Kaun breaks through a double clothesline and tags in Moses, who deadweights Lee up into a powerbomb for two. Edwards slams Lee and his partners make the save. Edwards clotheslines them before giving Lee a sit-out powerbomb. King Eddy Gordo kicks Kaun into a slam from Ring. Lee knee strikes Kaun and Edwards jumps in before a pin is made. S.O.S. drop King with a tandem elevated DDT, and Edwards comes off the middle rope with a splash. Ring pitches Edwards outside and follows with a pescado. This leads to the other four diving to the outside. King takes out Moses with a spinebuster and a flying Blockbuster. Shane Taylor emerges and clobbers King with a steel chair behold the referee’s back. This allows Moses to pin King at 11:27. I was certain when Taylor was replaced STP was losing the titles, but it’s just part of the Taylor/King story which seems to be heating back up for likely Final Battle. The match itself was fine, STP’s weakest defense yet, though I was very happy to see Edwards get PPV time. **½
ROH Women’s Championship Tournament Final Round Match
Rok-C vs. Miranda Alize
The winner of this match will be the first ROH Women’s Champion. Rok-C defeated Sumie Sakai, Quinn McKay, and Angelina Love en route to the finals, while Miranda Alize defeated Alex Gracia, Nicole Savoy, and Trish Adora. Lenny Leonard is on commentary. Alize denies Rok-C the Code of Honor.
Alize plays some mind games with Rok-C early on. Rok-C puts Alize in a bridging hammerlock and then an ankle lock. Alize uses her legs to pull Rok-C into a side headlock. Rok-C fights for a crossface and Alize won’t let her get it, backing to the ropes when she gets to her feet. Rok-C escapes two headscissors attempts. Alize pie faces Rok-C, and an angry Rok-C forearm strikes Alize before taking her down with a Thesz Press. Alize catches Rok-C on the middle rope and throws her down by the back of her head. Alize blasts Rok-C with a knee strike in the corner, dropkicking her before taking her over with a butterfly suplex for two. Alize halts an armdrag from Rok-C and bites her fingers. Rok-C fights out of a headlock but is caught with a throat snap onto the top rope. Alize hits a basement Frankensteiner for two. Rok-C uppercuts Alize after escaping a handlebar stretch. She hits running knees in the corner and lands a Thesz Press off of the second rope for two. She leg sweeps Alize into Kneecolepsy for two. Alize pulls Rok-C into a ripcord knee strike for two. Alize delivers Go 2 Sleep, pinning Rok-C more securely than she had previously, but Rok-C still kicks out. Rok-C slaps a trash talking Alize from the apron, but Alize DDT’s Rok-C off the second turnbuckle for two. She locks on the Miranda Rights. Rok-C looks close to tapping but manages to swing her legs to the bottom rope to escape. Rok-C pulls Alize to the floor and lands a sucide dive. Alize returns the favor, adding a knee strike to it, but she crashes head first into the barricade. They make it back in the ring just before the twenty count. Rok-C unloads with strikes on Alize. Alize spins her into a Cutter. Before Alize can hit the Drive By, Rok-C pops up and hits one of her own out of desperation. Alize gets the Miranda Rights locked in once more. Rok-C rolls back and puts on a crossface of her own! Alize rolls Rok-C onto her shoulders, then blasts her with two superkicks. Rok-C superkicks Alize to block the Drive By. Code Rok hits to get the pin and the title at 18:13! This was a really engaging battle. You had two distinct personalities and experience levels straight up gutting it out to become the inaugural champion of ROH’s renewed women’s division. It’s the type of match that makes me so excited to see more from both of them and the division at large. I am so thrilled both of them have signed with the company, and am really excited to see Rok-C’s championship reign begin. Having her beat two former Women of Honor champions in the tournament too was such a good wrinkle as well. Maria Kanellis-Bennett presents Rok-C with the title. ****
ROH World Championship; Elimination Match
Bandido vs. Brody King vs. EC3 vs. Flamita
Bandido has been champion since 7.11.2021 and this is his second defense. Flamita throws Bandido into the barricades to start. King and EC3 meanwhile duke it out. King Cactus clotheslines them to the floor. Flamita and Bandido go all Lucha on each other in the ring, with Bandido sending Flamita back outside with a déjà vu headsicssors, following with a Fosbury Flop. Bandido suicides dives onto King, with his momentum carrying him into the crowd, and EC3 pulls him out of the crowd and throws him into a ring post. EC3 beats him down in the ring, and handles Flamita when he makes his way back into the ring. King comes back in and gets powerbombed by EC3, with EC3 throwing Bandido on top of him after the fact twice. Flamita hits EC3 in the back with a steel chair and EC3 barely nudges. Referee Todd Sinclair was busy checking on Brody King and missed it. He cracks Flamita with the chair on the back, and unfortunately for him, referee Todd Sinclair did see it. EC3 is eliminated at 8:49 via disqualification. Bandido and Flamita decide to work together on King to try and eliminate him, utilizing some of the old MexiSquad offense. They damn near kill King with a Doomsday Mexican Destroyer. King has the wherewithal to roll outside to avoid being pinned. Bandido aids Flamita with a tope con hilo and Flamita Orihara moonsaults onto them both. King stops Flamita from hitting the Muscle Gut Buster on Bandido. He dusts off the All Seeing Eye on Flamita and pins him at 13:43. After a clothesline, King gives Bandido a piledriver for two. Bandido fights King off the top. He leaps off the top and takes King over with a huracanrana for two. Bandido also gets two with a crucifix driver. A shooting star press only gets him a one count! King turns Bandido inside out with a lariat. Bandido escapes a Ganso Bomb with a Manami Roll. He rolls King up into a Magistral cradle for the pin at 17:09. This was laid out so well. EC3 got some time to dominate before Flamita baited him into eliminating himself. The luchadores wisely put their animosity aside to beat down King, who had to catch them in a moment where they were fighting each other to even the odds. The champion then had to dizzy the larger opponent with pin attempts and rolls to keep him grounded. Fortunately, Bandido actually got to stand strong after winning – no attacks, just a dominant champion ending the show with his head held high. I have to admit, elimination title matches are a bit of a drag to me, and I did not have high hopes, but this delivered. ***¾
All of The Foundation make their way to the ring and congratulate Bandido and shake his hand. All four members of The Righteous come out to the stage dressed in all white, applauding Bandido, and catching the attention of at least Gresham. Righteous leader Vincent still has his ROH Title shot in his back pocket.
Overall: There was nothing bad on this show, and a lot of matches over delivered. With the first new Pure champion in over a year and the women’s division finally having a champion again, I come away from this show feeling like we are starting a new chapter for ROH. I think this show is totally worth your time from top to bottom, but watch the women’s title match if nothing else.