ROH Title Defenses: April 2022

Ring of Honor held their Supercard of Honor PPV on April 1st. It was the first ROH show under Tony Khan’s regime, who purchased the company in March of 2022. Since that event, it has been unclear if and when ROH shows will resume, but their championships have continued to be defended. At “Supercard of Honor”, the Television, Pure, and Tag Team titles changed hands, an interim Women’s Champion was crowned, and Jonathan Gresham defeated Bandido to become the undisputed ROH World Champion. This post will cover all of the ROH title defenses that occurred in the month of April 2022.

FTR won the ROH tag team titles at “Supercard of Honor.” The Young Bucks attacked the former champions, The Briscoes, after the bell, and FTR came to their rescue. Right before the semi-main event, Ian Ricabboni, on behalf of Tony Khan, informed us that the scheduled match between FTR and the Bucks for Dynamite the following Wednesday would now be for both the AAA Tag Team titles and the ROH Tag Team titles:

1. FTR vs. Bucks

ROH World Tag Team Championship & AAA World Tag Team Championship
FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
AEW Dynamite #131 – Boston, MA – 4.6.2022

FTR has been ROH World Tag Team Champions since 4.1.2022 and this is their first defense. They have been the AAA World Tag Team Champions since 10.16.2021 and this is their fourth defense. Brandon Cutler is in the Bucks corner and Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer for the bout. FTR raises the ire of the Bucks both by toying and outwrestling them at the start. Eventually a donnybrook breaks down, where the Bucks take down both members of FTR with double hip tosses and double dropkick. FTR put the Bucks in stereo sharpshooters, with Nick saving Matt by going for Wheeler’s eyes. Wheeler succumbs to an enzuigiri/clothesline combo and a cannonball senton/enzuigiri combo after Harwood is knocked off the apron. Matt favors his back as he and Nick beat down Wheeler, even mockingly striking Bret Hart’s pose in the process. The Bucks beatdown continues through the commercial break, and when Wheeler finally gets close to tagging, Nick superkicks Harwood. Wheeler however ducks another enzuigiri, resulting in Nick cracking Matt in the face with a gamengiri. Wheeler uppercuts Nick as he springboards in and Harwood finally gets the tag. He suplexes both Bucks and small packages Matt for two. He stuffs Matt with a piledriver for another two count.FTR go for the Powerplex, but Nick brings down Wheeler with a super Frankensteiner as Harwood superplexes Matt. Wheeler is taken down with a bulldog/dropkick combo. Harwood counters a moonsault from Nick into a suplex to the floor. Matt lands a dropkick through the ropes, but Wheeler drops him with a Gory Special for two. The Bucks block the Big Rig. Matt kicks Wheeler low and the Bucks hit the Big Rig themselves, but Wheeler kicks out at two. More Bang For Your Buck yields the same result. Nick clobbers Wheeler with one of the ROH title belts, but Harwood saves him from Matt’s schoolboy pin. The Bucks double superkick Harwood. Nick pins Wheeler after double BTE Triggers from the Bucks, but Wheeler’s foot made it to the bottom rope before the three count. The Bucks look for the Meltzer Driver on Wheeler. Harwood catches Nick and hits a slingshot powerbomb while Wheeler gives Matt a tombstone piledriver. FTR hit Matt with double BTE Triggers, kiss either side of his face, and then hit the Big Rig for the pin at 20:07. I might be in the minority, but I liked this WAY more than their first match. It was less bloated, had fewer contrived moments, and just provided twenty minutes of kick ass tag team wrestling. FTR using the Bucks own double team combination before using their own to retain the titles, especially after the Bucks used their own finisher against, was a great instance of FTR shoving the Bucks’ own hubris right back in their faces. ****¼

During the April 8th AEW “Rampage” broadcast, a bonafide dream match for the ROH Television title was announced for the next episode of Dynamite:

2. Suzuki vs. Joe

ROH World Television Championship
Minoru Suzuki vs. Samoa Joe

AEW Dynamite #132 – New Orleans, LA – 4.13.2022

Suzuki has been champion since 4.1.2022 and this is his first defense. I was definitely excited when this was announced, but I knew to tamper my expectations. As much as I enjoy watching both of them wrestle today, I knew that based on simply their age and the wear and tear they have endured this wouldn’t meet the lofty expectations many had put on them. Fortunately, both of these guys are also very smart wrestlers. They chopped the shit out of each other for the opening minutes until both men turned red, and the crowd absolutely ate it up. Suzuki did his usual cross armbreaker in the ropes, and even though Joe had him in a crossface after the break, Suzuki was able to yakuza kick and PK Joe after using the ropes to escape. Joe is the first of Suzuki’s opponents during this tour who had a significant size advantage, which helped as Joe muscled Suzuki into a side slam when Suzuki looked for a sleeper hold. Suzuki went for the sleeper again after scoring a dropkick, but Joe backed him to the corner. Joe enzuigiri’d Suzuki after placing him on the top turnbuckle. Suzuki momentarily got him in a triangle choke, but Joe ended up bringing him down with a Muscle Buster for the pin and the title at 11:37. That was exactly the type of match this should’ve been. It’s a shame the aftermath (see below) completely overshadows it. ***¼

Seconds after the match ended, Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal who were watching in the front row presented Joe with the gift of a middle finger. The lights then went out, and when they came back on, a giant basketball player from India named Satnam Singh attacked Joe. He put Joe out with a head Vice Grip and Lethal then further laid out Joe with a Lethal Injection. I don’t care what the AEW pants shitters say, this was horrible.

ROH crowning an interim Women’s champion didn’t stop Deonna Purazzo’s “Champ Champ” challenges in Impact. On April 14th, she would defend the title against the same person who Mercedes Martinez defeated to become the Interim ROH Women’s Champion:

3. Deonna vs. Willow

ROH Women’s World Championship
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Willow Nightingale

Impact Wrestling #923 – Philadelphia, PA – 4.14.2022

Purrazzo has been ROH Women’s World champion since 1.13.2022 and this is her sixth defense. Willow almost had Purrazzo straight up knocked out with a superkick to the temple. Purrazzo during the commercial break, Purrazzo fought out of a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron and instead sent Willow head first into the top turnbuckle. Willow however ducked Purrazzo as she came off of the ropes and dropped her with a bulldog. She took down Purrazzo with her signature Pounce and crushed her with a corner somersault senton for a nearfall. Purrazzo managed to slip out of the Bae Breaker and pump kick Willow into a standing moonsault for her own nearfall. Willow scouted the cross armbreaker and muscled Purrazzo up into the Bae Breaker for a two count. When Willow went up top for a moonsault, Purrazzo brought her down with a powerbomb. Willow escaped the Queen’s Gambit and bounced off of the ropes to get momentum for a clothesline, only for Purrazzo to catch her arm and bring her down into the Venus de Milo submission to win the match and retain her title at 9:32. That was an excellent showing for Willow, who looked like she had the champion down and out a few times, and Purrazzo more or less used Willow’s own momentum against her to earn the victory. Can someone sign Willow already? **¾

4. Gresham vs. Castle

ROH World Championship
Jonathan Gresham vs. Dalton Castle

AEW “Battle of the Belts II” – Garland, TX – 4.16.2022

Gresham has been champion since 12.11.2021 and this is his fifteenth defense. Castle’s original Boys, the Tate Twins, are in his corner. Gresham has the better of Castle on the mat, but after a breather and being fanned down by the boys, Castle is able to disorient Gresham with several gut wrench twists before finally giving him a suplex. Gresham uses his feet to clap Castle’s hands so he can pop back to his feet. Castle however intercepts a clothesline and back elbows Gresham. Gresham picks up the pace so he can pull off a springboard Frankesnteiner, and then baits Castle into both a knee kick and dropkick. Gresham does some more damage to Castle’s arms and even some damage to his ribs. Castle is able to pull off his apron assisted Frankensteiner on the floor. He suplexes Gresham back in the ring, and tosses Gresham overhead out of a deadlift. Gresham counters a Bang-A-Rang into a prawn hold, leading to Castle and Gresham rolling around on the canvas. Castle lariats Gresham after taking an enzuigiri. Gresham stomps on Castle’s foot before applying an Octopus Hold. He pulls Castle down to the mat, applying extra pressure to Castle’s left arm, resulting in Castle verbally submitting at 9:34. That was a great display of what Gresham and Castle can do in the ring, and I think if Castle were able to show off even more of his character, he’d be a big hit in AEW. I also think it’s pretty neat that the ROH World Title was defended on TNT. ***

After the match, Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt lead Satnam Singh to the ring. Singh drops the Boys with a double chokeslam and sends Castle into the ring steps. Singh’s distraction allows for Lethal to surprise Gresham with the Lethal Injection. Singh then goozles Gresham and rams him into the mat repeatedly. Lee Moriarty comes to Gresham’s aid, with Matt Sydal following behind on crutches. Singh slams Moriarty face first onto the mat. Sydal attacks Singh with his crutch, but Singh breaks the crutch and sends it flying. Lethal and Dutt stomp down on Sydal, and just when Singh is about to powerbomb Sydal, Samoa Joe runs out with a lead pipe and chases them off. I don’t love that the ROH World Champ was left lying, but I admit this was better received by the live crowd than I expected.

5. Joe vs. Beretta

ROH World Television Championship
Samoa Joe vs. Trent Beretta

AEW Rampage #39 – Philadelphia, PA – 4.29.2022

Joe has been champion since 4.13.2022 and this is his first defense. Fitting that it is in the city where ROH started. Bobby Cruise is the ring announcer for the bout, and Ian Riccaboni is on commentary. Beretta has never held an ROH championship, unsuccessfully challenging for the World title once, the tag title five times, and the six-man titles three times. Joe’s power gives him control until Beretta catches Joe off guard with a sliding knee from the ring apron and an Asai moonsault. Joe takes down Beretta with a big boot after blocking a tornado DDT on the floor. Joe beats down Beretta during the commercial break, but Beretta dropkicked Joe to the floor after escaping a powerbomb attempt, following Joe to the floor with a high crossbody. Beretta successfully pulls off the tornado DDT back in the ring, but when he looks for Strong Zero, Joe powerbombs him into an STF. Beretta uses the ropes to escape, and is able to escape a Muscle Buster with a sunset flip. After a Chuckie Knee he charges at Joe in the corner. Joe stops him with an STJoe and locks in the Coquina Clutch. Beretta passes out at 9:57. Even with Joe outsizing Beretta, Beretta gave Joe a great fight and got in enough offense and momentum to seem like he could believably best the champion. ***

Tony Schiavone attempts to interview Joe after the match, but they’re interviewed by Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh and Sonjay Dutt. However, they get into a fight with the Best Friends en route to the ring, with Lethal eventually getting into the ring and coming to clows with Joe. Again, this story started rough, but they’ve got things into a solid rhythm now.

FTR vs. Bucks stole the month (not counting FTR vs. Briscoes at Supercard) but just about everything is worth a gander if you were an ROH fan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s