ROH on SBG #550


Jonathan Gresham retained the ROH World Championship against Dean Allmark at PROGRESS 129. At the conclusion of the show, after PROGRESS World Champion Cara Noir retained his title against Shane Strickland, Gresham challenged Noir to a match at the next PROGRESS show with both of them putting their titles on the line. Noir accepted, and that event recently was added to Demand PROGRESS:

Progress Wrestling Releases Statement On Jonathan Gresham's Title Win

ROH World Championship & PROGRESS World Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Cara Noir

PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 130: Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive, Dodge – London, England – 3.20.2022

Gresham has been champion since 12.11.2021 and this is his thirteenth defense. Noir has been champion since 1.19.2020 and this is his nineteenth defense. A mat exchange focused on wristlocks and hammerlocks concludes with Gresham taking down Noir with an armdrag. Noir manipulates Gresham’s wrist and fingers, only for Gresham to armdrag him away and then bring him down in a wristlock. Gresham wraps both of Cara’s arms underneath his leg and falls back to apply pressure. He then twists on Cara’s ankle. Cara enzuigiri’s Gresham to the corner. He and Gresham tag each other with running chops into opposite corners. Gresham rolls through a German suplex, but Noir superkicks him for a two count. Noir ends a waistlock exchange with a Rude Awakening for another two count. A second waistlock exchange sees Gresham pull Noir to the mat, stomp on his shoulder, and attempt a couple of pin attempts. Noir forearm strikes Gresham. Gresham comes back with a lionsault press and an O’Connor roll. Noir escapes the pin and tries a Capoeira kick from the apron. Gresham kicks his arm and locks on an Octopus Stretch. Noir falls into the ropes to escape. He and Gresham trade forearm strikes, with Noir kicking out Gresham’s leg and powerbombing him across his knee for two. Noir pounds Gresham in the side of the head before applying a leg cross body stretch. Spike Trivet jumps up onto the apron to distract Noir. Gresham takes out Noir with a lionsault press, but then wipes out Trivet with a suicide dive. Noir dives onto Gresham, but in the ring he springboards himself into an armdrag and into a pin attempt for two. Noir Swan Woo dropkicks Gresham thrice and drops him with a Package Piledriver. Trivet pulls the referee out of the ring before a three count is made. Gresham huracanrana’s Noir, which Noir reverses. He then pulls Gresham down into a sleeper hold with a bodyscissors. Gresham grabs the ropes before he fades. Noir pulls Gresham to the middle of the ring with Gresham holding onto the ring apron to try and avoid being pulled. As the referee is fixing the apron, Noir O’Connor rolls Gresham. Gresham pushes to the ropes where Trivet cracks Noir with a steel chair! Gresham then kicks Noir in the groin and small packages him for the pin and the PROGRESS Championship at 19:02! I was pleasantly surprised we had a title change here, as most of these double title matches end in a draw or double pin. The wrestling was excellent, no doubt, and I liked the swerve of Gresham seemingly taking out Trivet to win the match cleanly, only for Trivet assisting Gresham in taking the title away from Noir and Gresham using a cheap shot in the process. If I was more in tune with the goings on of PROGRESS I’d probably have enjoyed that wrinkle even more, but even without that context, this match was a treat. It’s not often you see a 2+ year title reign come to an end. ***¾

For this week’s television episode, which would begin airing the same night of “Supercard of Honor”, ROH decided to air a couple of matches from their first show, and a match from 2003, highlighting some of the big names that had come through the promotion (and some who are still their or in their sister company AEW today):

IWA Puerto Rico Intercontinental Championship
Super Crazy vs. Eddie Guerrero

The Era of Honor Begins” – Philadelphia, PA – 2.23.2002

This match will determine the inaugural champion. Guerrero declines Crazy’s handshake, instead slapping the insane luchadore in the face. Crazy strikes back. Guerrero snapmares Crazy and digs his foot into his face. Guerrero knocks Crazy down with a back elbow and gives him a vertical suplex for two. Guerrero executes three consecutive headlock takedowns. Crazy uses a belly-to-back suplex to escape the third headlock. Guerrero delivers his own belly-to-back suplex for two. Crazy dizzies Guerrero with several armdrag variations, then pummels Guerrero ten times in the corner. Guerrero trips Crazy off the ring apron, resulting in Crazy falling face first onto the ring apron. He drops Crazy on the floor with a brainbuster! In the ring Guerrero hits a slingshot senton for two. Crazy rolls through a sunset flip. He rolls over Guerrero and dropkicks him in the back of his head. Crazy’s slingshot moonsault gets a two count, as does a top rope dropkick. Guerrero takes down Crazy from the top turnbuckle with a Frankensteiner. Guerrero ducks a boot, but eats a spinwheel kick. Guerrero powerbombs Crazy for two. He does more damage to Crazy’s back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. The fans chant for Super Crazy. Guerrero acknowledges the crowd with two brainbusters before going to the top turnbuckle. He notices Crazy escaping the trajectory of the frog splash, so Guerrero rolls as he comes off the top turnbuckle. Crazy grabs a charging Guerrero and small packages him for the pin at 10:42. With the fans way into both of them, Crazy and Guerrero had an easy crowd, yet both still busted their humps. Guerrero was a true pro sticking to his Rudo guns, which made it all the more satisfying when Crazy caught him off guard and robbed him of the chance to be the inaugural champion. Honestly I would not have minded if they went a few more minutes, but as this was not the main event I understand why they kept it tight. ***¼

Bryan Danielson vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki
The Era of Honor Begins” – Philadelphia, PA – 2.23.2002

Ki and Danielson take out Daniels so they can fight amongst themselves. Daniels dropkicks the both of them while they’re engaged in a lock-up. Each man lands a strike, resetting the bout. Daniels breaks another Danielson/Ki lock-up. Ki dropkicks Danielson as Daniels drops down. Daniels puts Danielson in a tree of woe and Ki dropkicks him. Ki gives Daniels a Koppu Kick and a few kicks to the chest. Danielson goes for Cattle Mutilation on Ki but Daniels breaks it up. After several slams, Daniels Ki and Danielson up in a Boston Crab/Camel Clutch combo momentarily. Danielson traps and kicks Daniels’ arm from the apron. Ki Kawada kicks Danielson around the ring. Daniels palm strikes Ki from behind and hits him with a leg lariat. Daniels gut wrench suplexes Danielson for two. Ki wins a chop battle with Daniels in the corner. Danielson chops both guys and puts Daniels in a modified Muta Lock. Ki kicks Danielson’s leg to stop him. Ki kicks Danielson while Daniels’ legs are still locked. Danielson Northern Lights suplexes Ki for two. He then turns Daniels onto his shoulders for another two count. Danielson back elbows Ki for two. Danielson arm whips Daniels to the mat. He twists Daniels’ fingers until Ki kicks him in the back. Danielson and Ki then take turns kicking each other in the back. When Daniels approaches, they try showing each other up by each kicking Daniels in the back as hard as they can. In the process, Ki and Danielson accidentally kick each others’ shins. Daniels gives both of them neckbreakers and puts Ki in a Liontamer. Danielson forearms Daniels to break the hold. He tries a double suplex with Ki onto Daniels, but instead Daniels DDT’s Danielson and gives Ki a neckbreaker at the same time. Both men kick out of his pin attempts. Ki and Danielson throw Daniels off the top rope. Danielson Kawada kicks Ki. Ki kicks Danielson in the head from the apron. Daniels belly-to-belly suplexes Ki for two. Ki tilt-a-whirls from Daniels into a tornado DDT on Danielson. Ki hits Daniels with the Tidal Wave for two. Daniels puts Danielson in an abdominal stretch on the top rope. Ki shoves Danielson down and puts Daniels in the hanging Dragon! When he releases, he gets a two count on Daniels. Daniels goes for Last Rites after a tilt-a-whirl from Ki. Ki fights out of that and kicks Danielson into a Blue Thunder Bomb from Daniels. Danielson kicks out. Daniels avoids a Tidal Wave from Ki and gives him two palm strikes. Danielson looks to take over from Daniels and superplex Ki, but Daniels swoops in and belly-to-back superplexes Danielson as Danielson superplexes Ki. Danielson Dragon suplexes Daniels and Ki breaks the cover. Ki puts Danielson in a Dragon Sleeper. Daniels breaks that up and drops Ki with an STO and calls for the BME. Danielson follows up with the BME, only for Danielson to break his pin. Daniels turns Danielson inside out with a lariat. Ki cartwheel roundhouse kicks Daniels in the corner. Danielson elbows Ki to the floor. He puts Daniels in the Cattle Mutilation. Ki breaks it with a Phoenix Splash on Danielson! Ki gives Daniels the Ki Krusher for the pin at 20:04. It was a gutsy move to main event ROH’s first show with this match instead of Eddie Guerrero and Super Crazy, but it turned out to absolutely be the right move. Not only was this match incredible, but it defined the “ROH style” and gave wrestling fans a must wee match to seek out. Who is to say if ROH would have been successful if this match wasn’t as fantastic as it was? If you’ve never seen this match, I recommend giving it a watch. ****¼

ROH Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. AJ Styles & Samoa Joe

“The Conclusion” – Fairfield, CT – 11.28.2003

The Briscoes have been champions since 11.1.2003 and this is their first defense. Mark controls Styles in a side headlock. Styles catches a boot and jams Mark’s left leg across his shoulder three times. Mark kicks the now legal Joe away after ducking an enzuigiri and tags in Jay. Joe rolls Jay into a heel hook, which Jay breaks using the ropes. Jay avoids a big boot and delivers one of his own, but Joe smashes him with a forearm strike and tags Styles who muscles Jay up into a modified Ace Crusher. Styles then gets two with a dropkick. Mark tags in when Joe whips Jay to the ropes, and Mark blindsides him with a springboard kick. However, Joe spikes Mark with an STJoe moments later. Styles DDT’s Jay when he attempts to interfere, and Joe drops Mark with a uranage. The Briscoes roll to the floor to recover, with Joe and Styles following with an elbow suicida and tope con hilo. Joe and Styles both Ole kick Mark into the barricades. In the ring, Mark manages to forearm Styles to the ropes where Jay gives him a neckbreaker. Mark kicks Styles in the back of the head, and from there, the champions beat down Styles in their half of the ring. Styles does manage to take down Jay with a brainbuster, but Mark switches places with Jay when referee Mike Kehner is distracted by Joe. Styles is able to take down the Briscoes with a Phenomenon/DDT combo and tag in Joe. Joe gets Mark in an STF and then a cross armbreaker, with Jay having to come to his aid. Styles scores a nearfall on Mark with a twisting neckbreaker. Mark then backdrops a charging Styles into a sit-out powerbomb from Jay for two. Styles back suplexes Jay in a hammerlock for two. Jay escapes Joe’s Island Driver, and Mark springboard dropkicks Joe into a German suplex from Jay. Jay lands a super leg drop on Joe as Styles pulls Mark off the top turnbuckle. Styles looks for a Styles Clash on Mark as Joe has Jay in a choke. Jay boots Styles while he is still in the choke. Mark saves Jay and drops Joe with a uranage suplex. Joe takes down Mark with a dragon suplex. As he holds onto Mark, Styles goes for a discus forearm. He ends up delivering it to Joe by accident. Styles is sent to the floor, and Mark lands a shooting star press on Joe for the pin at 15:50. That was a fun match, but not the all time banger one may expect with these four names. Even though Joe and Styles were an all star team, it was tough to believe they’d be walking away with the gold. I think all four of them worked really well together, and Mark earning a World title shot at Final Battle through this victory ultimately made it a worthwhile match. ***½

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