ROH Wrestling Saturday Night at Center Stage
January 11, 2020
We’re in Atlanta, Georgia and yes, I am tuning in to ROH again after swearing them off. New year, new opportunities. Basically the promotion entered last new year with all this hope and shine about them and promptly self destructed a few months in. They’ve finally made a change in creative, as a reason to retain Marty Scurll, and this week was his first as part of the companies creative.
ROH TV Championship
Dragon Lee (c) vs. Andrew Everett
Good to see Everett back in action after missing six months last year. Lee won this belt from Shane Taylor at the end of last year. It’s a definite change of direction in the division after a bunch of hosses and scrappers. The last time a flier held the belt it was Will Ospreay in 2016. The result is an aerial opener that maintains a solid pace. They have the odd misunderstanding and a few spots that don’t make sense. At one point Everett flips up and out of the ring so Lee just kicks him off the apron. Why did Everett flip onto the apron? But the spot after this is Lee’s ridiculous flying rana off the apron and Everett counters that by cartwheeling off the apron and landing on his feet. That’s very cool. The match is very athletic but there are one too many near miss/thigh slap moments to go with the poison ranas/lariats. The good generally outweighs the bad, even if the bad is sometimes in your face. Lee wins with his Incinerator Knee after Everett had gleefully kicked out of it once at one.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Bully Ray catches word of Caprice Coleman rubbishing him on commentary and comes out to yell at him. One more match Caprice? I hope not. Bully Ray stinks.
He rambles on doing his usual and calls out Maria Manic. If this is leading to Bully vs. Teddy Hart, I swear to fucking god I’m done with this promotion. Again. Maria beats Bully down but the Allure make the save. Jesus wept. Maria gets tabled and Bully calls commentary “cowards” after he just put a woman through a table in a three on one assault.
The Allure (Angelina Love & Mandy Leon) vs. Nicole Savoy & Sumie Sakai
ROH’s women’s division is an embarrassment. The women’s champion is still Kelly Klein, who got fired by the company for speaking out against management. Nicole Savoy is too good to be stuck in this trash. At least she’s there to save the segment from being a total disaster.
They let her control the match and take both of the Allure to mat wrestling school. Savoy accidentally roundhouses Sumie and she gets pinned. This could have been worse and Savoy struggled to carry proceedings. Sakai turns on Savoy after the match.
Final Rating: *1/2
Dak Draper vs. Jason Cade
Draper won the top prospect tournament. He’s a WWE system guy, going by “Travis Tyler” in NXT. He did a few TV jobs. It’s taken him five years since WWE released him for him to return to a position of strength but here he is. He’s tall, basic and has a background in football. He looks like he’s wrestling on NXT in 2014. Cade, an indie journeyman, is the better-rounded guy. He’s effectively here as the jobber but he’s clearly a notch higher on the talent scale. Comms are quick to point out how good Draper’s basics are. Little things like punches and pinfall covers look great. If ROH hadn’t snapped him up I’m sure he’d be on NWA Powerrr. As the match progresses Draper gets a little confidence flowing and tries harder stuff and it comes off. Lots of potential on Draper as a powerhouse.
Final Rating: **3/4
Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods
Gresham is the best guy ROH have. If you love a mat grapple then this is your shit. Woods is highly capable and Gresham is magic when he’s on his game. They have some interesting ideas on the mat. Usually Woods attempting something and getting countered. There’s a secondary theme of both seconds (Lethal and Silas) cheating and Woods getting upset with Young for cheating on his behalf. He’s trying to make him into an honest man. I’d rather the focus was on their mat work because it’s a really solid match but clearly there’s not enough meat on that bone for some fans in attendance. There’s legitimately a “this is boring” chant at one point. Woods does a great job of hitting power stuff in between trying to prove he can go on the mat.
As does Gresham with the aerial skills. Gresham does so many little things so well. There’s a bit where Gresham gets hit with a flying knee and tries to edge towards the ropes but can’t get there and has to kick out. No one does that unless it’s an actual rope break! There’s logic in there. Gresh puts Woods in the Figure Four on the floor and then beats him on count out. Beautiful! I really enjoyed this.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Jeff Cobb & Dan Maff vs. Mark Haskins & Tracey Williams vs. The Briscoe Brothers
Cobb and Maff is a pretty hench team. It’s so great to see Haskins as a success in ROH. He’s been a great wrestler for years and years and deserves this opportunity. Haskins does make some ring positioning errors here, but it’s within the work. So he keeps getting tagged out because he backs into the Briscoes corner. This leads into them ‘tagging’ each other. The Maff & Cobb team is almost secondary to all this and it allows them to overcome their opponents with power moves. Maff is just behind Haskins to be MVP of the match. His tope requires everyone else in the match to catch him though!
The frantic last few minutes here are wonderful with individuals flying in and out of the ring. Jay Driller finishes Hot Sauce. All three of these teams were really fun to watch. It looks like ROH have a tag division worth talking about.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Promo Time: Shane Taylor
Shane is here to call out Joe Koff. Is he going to ask him to reinstate Kelly Klein? Nah, he wants a guaranteed trios shot for his boys, a world title shot for himself, his face on every poster and the most money of anyone on the roster.
ROH Six Man Championship
Villain Enterprises (c) vs. Flamita, Bandido & Rey Horus
Flip is in VE tonight because PCO is world champ and therefore main eventing. Marty gets a bit wound up because of the vuvuzelas and lucha support. Scurll has a history of good matches with luchadores. Brody has a bit of lucha in his repertoire and Flip is a flier himself. So it ends up being a good match up. With Scurll having reupped in ROH it makes you wonder what kind of work he’ll be involved in. He’s clearly wanting to go out there and have more fun. He knows AEW will take him at the drop of a hat. He’s essentially free. The match has a lot of fun lucha stuff in it including a ridiculous triple corner dive with a Bandido moonsault off the ring post. The match does feel heavily choreographed but in a good way. I’m thrilled at the result too. Marty doing his stupid chickenwing pirouette, even with Bandido completely out of place for it, and getting rolled up for the pin. This didn’t go smoothly enough to be an outright winner but it was a load of fun.
Final Rating: ***3/4
ROH World Championship
PCO (c) vs. Rush
PCO as world champion is a bit of a head scratcher to me but I guess he’s only got so much left in the tank. Might as well go all in for a bit. He upset Rush for the belt in December. Rush is so charismatic but his in ring is completely unpredictable. There’s a spot here where he pins PCO and PCO is on his side. His shoulders aren’t even close to being down! PCO is typically insane here. Hitting dives like they’re going out of fashion and hitting his apron senton, with Rush moving, and not since Mankind have I seen a gentleman who cares less about the state of his own spine. But also has that big flat back that can absorb that punishment. He’s 52.
Rush gets by on histrionics and dickery. Like dragging the ref in the way of PCO’s moonsault. It’s a shame that poor Todd Sinclair has to die because the match was doing pretty good to that point. With the ref bumped it’s run ins and bullshit. Another ref comes in and Rush forearms him to death and that’s the end of this. No contest. Until the booking kicked in this was decent. Shame about the finish.
Final Rating: ***
Post Match: Flip runs in for the save and Nick Aldis is here! The NWA connection has been reconnected it seems.
Ring of Honor died a death last year. Between their very public booking failures and the online accusations of incompetence within the promotion they looked bad. They’ve attempted to right the ship by putting Marty Scurll on the creative. This is the first look at what a new ROH might look like. The women’s division has been handed to Gresham apparently so give them a few months and this might be a good product again. As for this show? It was pretty consistently good but nothing was great. Watch this space.