ROH Supercard of Honor
April 1, 2022
We’re in Garland, Texas at the Curtis Culwell Center. This is 19 miles away from the central Dallas venues that have been used so far. It’s nice to get some different scenery. Hosts are Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman. This is the first ‘big’ show of the weekend. It’s also the first really long show of the weekend. I am not thrilled at sitting through a four hour show I have to level with you. It’s a big deal for ROH though, basically returning after seemingly finishing forever in December of last year.
The last time I watched ROH, PCO was champion and Marty Scurll was booking. I looked at my 2020 wrestling spreadsheet to prepare for this and honestly, it’s just so sad. In the ‘forthcoming shows’ tab EVERYTHING is cancelled, and my spreadsheet ends at Wrestlemania. That was the end. The production values on this show are immediately a huge step up over everything else.
Zero Hour is technically not part of the PPV and was aired for free. However, it’s wrestling that aired during Mania weekend so here I am.
Blake Christian vs. Colt Cabana
Colt is now 41 and goofy but still mobile. He’s learned a lot over the years but the main thing is to not take himself too seriously, which is something most young wrestlers should learn from. Blake is exciting and does a lot of flippy stuff. Colt counters by doing gags with the referee. Blake goes to the top rope well one too many times and gets caught and dropped onto the ropes for the pin. ***
Miranda Alize vs. AQA
AQA was on WWE’s radar and did some jobs there under a different name. When they’re grappling this is decent. It’s clearly AQA’s strength. Whenever there is distance between the two the match deteriorates. Miranda is happier hitting strikes. She has some great forearms. She also has some ambition in her moveset but the execution of the big spots isn’t there. The step through low rana is a mess. AQA isn’t accurate in her high spots either and her strikes are not good enough to make me not notice. At least the SSP at the finish looks mint. *½
Shinobi Shadow Squad vs. Gates of Agony
The Gates of Agony are Tully Blanchard’s new team. Toa Liona in particular is explosive. He reminds me a bit of Umaga. Every spot involving Cheeseburger is blown. Isom gets in there for the finish and Liona hits him with the Spike! I told you he reminded me of Umaga! This was a total squash.
Joe Hendry vs. Dalton Castle
Dalton has had injury problems. Hopefully the pandemic has helped him to heal up. He still has his flamboyant style and his Boys (now dubbed “baby chickens”). Hendry, stripped of his babyface antics, is a very boring wrestler. He targets the back of Castle, and it is solid work. However, it doesn’t go anywhere as Dalton starts popping off suplexes as his comeback. If your back is targeted all match, then don’t do lifts for your comeback. I don’t think that’s hard to understand. Dalton hits the Bangarang and that’s it. This was horrible. Nonsensical body part work, which was boring, and a finish that made Hendry look like a complete waste of time. *
ZERO HOUR ENDS/PPV STARTS
Swerve Strickland vs. Alex Zayne
During my wrestling hiatus I have missed Shane Strickland’s WWE career. I can’t tell if the WWE run has helped his stock or not because before he went there, he was a great undercard wrestler with potential to be something more. He’s come back in the opening match.
Strickland looks very happy using the ropes but while both men are talented there doesn’t appear to be much chemistry. The match is better when one guy is doing something cool that requires no cooperation. Their most ridiculous spot is Zayne hitting a poison rana to the floor. That’s not as dangerous as it sounds, and they land it safely. It looks cool though. That’s part of the match’s overall problem. Lots of it looks cool but there’s not much substance. Strickland does work the knee to try and slow Zayne down but it literally does nothing because Zayne doesn’t sell it at all. Strickland finishes with the JML Driver. This was fine with pretty high spots. Coleman feels the need to defend them by saying it’s not just a bunch of high spots. Whatever helps you sleep at night mate. ***
Ninja Mack vs. Brian Cage
Cage is Tully Blanchard’s newest charge. As with the pre-show tag team debut it’s just a squash. Shifting Cage over from AEW to ROH makes sense (if that’s what’s happening here). He can stand out here. In AEW he’s lost in the mix. Anyway, Cage wins easily. Ninja Mack gets nothing here. He clearly doesn’t have a yummy enough penis.
Lee Moriarty vs. Jay Lethal
Moriarty broke out during the pandemic and it’s another guy I’m not familiar with. The Alex Shelley match he had in AIW in early 2020 was on my watchlist when I tapped out. Oh shit, I just remembered I saw him on the Acid Cup show last year and loved him! He’s certainly been on an upward trajectory over the past 12 months. Lethal is a guy I’ve always liked but never thought of as elite. Moriarty does a better job of selling the knee in this than anything else I’ve seen this weekend. His shortened run on the tope is great. I love how he stops moving around too, opting instead to hit strikes and slip around and under Jay’s stuff. All I ask with selling is you think about how an injury effects your body.
He even gives out a little ‘ow’ when attempting a roll up. His roll ups from Jay’s attempted big shot finishes are nothing short of brilliant. Jay gets frustrated, hits Lee in the nuts and finishes with Lethal Injection. They told a great story here of Jay Lethal’s inability to beat Moriarty clean and Lee was both brilliant at selling and breathtaking at his flash pins. Superb stuff. Moriarty has the chance to become an elite wrestler. I love his logical approach but also his speedy technicals. You’d better believe this makes the recommendations list. ****
ROH Women’s Interim Championship
Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Martinez
Mercedes was a victim of WWE talent cuts, which is bizarre because I figured they hired her to teach their women’s talent how to work. That requirement remains and yet she’s back on the Indies (see Thatcher, Timothy also). I’ve seen Willow before, in ROH as well. She has a cute character and as a bubbly babyface she does work for me. Her in-ring is a level below Mercedes though and Martinez finds it easy to work circles around her. The match doesn’t work as Willow’s offence isn’t strong enough. The story they go for is Willow being all plucky and resilient. They shoot for epic though, with near falls, but the pacing is too slow for that to work. Willow lands her whole weight across Martinez’s chest with her leg on a moonsault and that feels sloppy. They also go from that basically straight into Mercedez winning with the dragon sleeper and she has to lie down in clear discomfort from that moonsault spot. This was fine but sloppy and it felt very long. **
ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (c) vs. FTR
The Revival have changed their names since I last saw them. I cannot believe WWE couldn’t use them properly. Literally the finest throwback tag team I’ve ever seen. Crowd are mega fired up before we even start, which is a great sign. They are MOLTEN. FTR know two things that everyone else doesn’t seem to know. 1. They make their basics look incredible, so they don’t have to do anything showy to get over. 2. They sell and bump like crazy for anything that looks cool, thus amplifying the importance of the opposition offence.
The Briscoes up the ante by taking it to the floor and FTR use their tag team skills to put Jay into the underside of a table drawing blood.
Dax smelling blood is so good. Both teams effectively cut the ring off and they try to stick to the rules and not come piling in constantly, which I appreciate. Dax getting picked off by FTR’s own finish while bleeding feels like it should be the finish but instead it leads to the match breaking down.
I don’t like them abandoning tags, which is the whole point of tag team wrestling but thankfully these sequences don’t dominate the match. The finishing sequence feels a bit awkward too with a counter to the Doomsday Device not quite coming off and the Big Rig finishes for FTR. This was pretty fantastic. Not quite full boat but some sensational tag team wrestling. Match of the weekend? Very probably. ****¾
Post-Match: There’s a great show of respect between the two teams. They had beef, they solved it in the ring. The Young Bucks run in and superkick the Briscoes. FTR come back down and challenge the Bucks to a match right now. Matt tells us that it’s happening on AEW’s show on Wednesday instead.
ROH World TV Championship
Rhett Titus (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki
There aren’t many wrestlers who could follow that last match and you’d think this would be a death spot on the card but it’s Minoru Suzuki. MiSu has treated better wrestlers than Titus as complete jokes this weekend. Suzuki laughs off most of Rhett’s offence.
Titus grows into the match a little bit but as soon as he’s in it he’s out of it. Gotch Piledriver and Suzuki wins the title. Nothing fundamentally wrong with this but it was 6 minutes. **
ROH Pure Championship
Josh Woods (c) vs. Wheeler Yuta
Yuta feels like someone who’s come on a long way since the pandemic started. I’ve seen him work before and thought he was fine, but he was also very young.
Because it’s the Pure title we have judges. Cabana, BJ Whitmer and Christopher Daniels. This feels like it’s been dumped into a spot between Suzuki and the main event, and they don’t have a big hook to get people invested in it. Technically, it’s a very solid match, but without that hook it’s been sent out there to die. There are some nice takedowns, and the mat work is exemplary. The Pure title is an interesting gimmick but it’s notable that ROH got rid of it after two years the first time, having run out of ideas for it. They have some issues with escalation as they seem to head into normal match territory instead of using the stipulations. Instead Yuta wins it out of nowhere with a roll up. Huh. The wrestling was perfectly acceptable but honestly, this didn’t do much for me. **½
ROH World Championship
Jonathan Gresham (c) vs. Bandido
Bandido was champion back in 2021 but had to vacate the belt. Having never lost the title ROH have a deal where he’s, sort of, still champion. Gresham meanwhile is the actual champion having beaten Jay Lethal. Despite ROH having not run since then he’s defended the title 13 times. Including in Denmark, Ireland and at Progress in the Electric Ballroom.
The winner of this match will be the undisputed ROH champion. Bandido’s title is the “linear title”. I used to keep track of linear champions. The ROH linear champion, in 2019, was Sonoko Kato from Oz Academy. For anyone that wants to see the full list, DM me on Twitter (@ArnoldFurious).
After some of the undercard matches it’s a tough ask for these two to main event. They take a patient approach and build nicely with solid technical work. Gresham does a lot of little things that I really like. He maintains contact and controls his transitions so they make sense. Chavo Guerrero Jr is Bandido’s corner man, and he helps Bandido out. Bandido did literally come out here in a black hat. A bit on the nose. They work in a stupid ref bump, just to infuriate me, and Chavo hits Gresh with the belt so Bandido gets him kicked out. Haha, what? They have some killer near falls down the stretch and they catch me out on La Majestral. Gresham ends up winning with another variation that theme and it felt like Gresham would eventually outwit Bandido on the mat. This was great. I have an issue with the ref bump. It just looked weird, even if the Chavo timing was perfect. I was going higher, but this is still one of the highest ratings of the weekend. ****¼
Post-Match: Gresham is talking when he’s interrupted by Jay Lethal. He wants a shot. Sonjay Dutt breaks it up but then lays Gresh out. Lee Moriarty makes the save but gets beat down. That’s not ideal from a character standpoint. Makes Moriarty look a bit of a chump. Jay is celebrating when out comes SAMOA JOE. Holy shit, that rules.
This is easily the best show of the weekend to this point. It felt big. It felt special. It had some of the best top end wrestling. Briscoes-FTR is match of the weekend and a certified match of the year contender. The main event was fantastic, and the Joe surprise was well received. ROH is back, baby.