ROH 19th Anniversary 3/26/2021


Four Corner Survival: Brian Johnson defeated Eli Isom, LSG, & Danhausen to become the #1 contender to the ROH Television Title

***1/2

This was a really solid opening match for the preshow. Johnson looked good, and came across as a real threat to whomever holds the TV title at the end of the night.

Brian Johnson kept loudly trash talking until the bell rang with him and Isom starting the match. The match follows lucha rules, where as soon as one competitor leaves the ring, one of the others can enter. LSG and Johnson spilled to the outside so Isom hit a triangle moonsault onto them on the floor.

Isom and LSG had a really good exchange next. Johnson tried to cheat at every opportunity, but got foiled by the referee several times. Danhausen opened a jar of teeth and poured them into Johnson’s mouth. All three men superkicked Johnson in the mouth, sending teeth flying everywhere.

As the other three tried to win, Johnson sneaked into the ring and hit the Process on Danhausen, scoring the win and becoming the #1 contender for the TV title.


Jay Lethal Promo

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Jay Lethal cut a promo about how The Foundation was going to capture all the titles from Los Faccion Ingobernables, saving the company from them. He said that this is the most important thing in his life, and he was going to set the company right.

Mike Bennett was asked about where Matt Taven was, and Bennett hadn’t heard anything. Brian Milonas came up to him and asked as well, as he hadn’t heard anything either. The Beer City Bruiser came up and said that Milonas should be more worried about them, rather than Bennett or Taven.The announcers talked about a tape being sent to them of the match, and they don't know what is on it. They haven't heard anything from either Taven or Vincent since getting the tape. That should be interesing


ROH World Six-Man Championship: Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor, Jasper Kaun, & Moses Maddox) defeated Mexisquad (Rey Horus, Flamita, & Bandido)

**3/4

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This was fine. Not a great match, as something just didn’t click, but that could be because of the story ROH was trying to tell with Flamita not getting along with his partners, and Taylor being off his game.

The luchadores started the match hitting a series of dives on everyone. Kaun and Maddox pulled Bandido and Flamita from the ring as Taylor dropped Horus. Flamita tried to hit a crossbody on Maddox and Taylor, but they caught him and Maddox sent Flamita into a flatliner by Taylor. Throughout this, Flamita seemed to not be on the same page as the rest of the Mexisquad.

The luchadores stacked onto each other’s backs and jumped off the middle rope in a triple splash for a 2 count. Taylor seemed off his game throughout the match, constantly taking offence from the luchadores. The Mexisquad kept having communication troubles and despite Shane Taylor taking most of the offence, Flamita ended up eating the pin from Kaun and Maddox.

Flamita, after the match, asked for a triple threat with Horus and Bandido to settle their differences, and it was confirmed. As the preshow went off the air, Rocky Romero joined the commentary team, saying that there was no ROH birthday without NJPW.


ROH World Television Championship: Tracy Williams defeated. Kenny King w/ Amy Rose

***

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This match was fine given the last-minute change with Dragon Lee not being available. Putting the title on Williams starts the Foundation off right tonight, as they aim to take back all the gold except for the Six-Man Championships.

Los Facción Ingobernables put Kenny King in this match to defend the TV title in Dragon Lee’s absence. Kenny King hit a big spinebuster on Williams after Williams tried to keep it on the mat for the first few minutes. Williams hit some hard chops, but they only seemed to wake up King, until Williams was able to lock on a submission. Rose put King’s foot on the ropes to break it.

Rose threw the TV title into the ring, and Williams faked going for it to cause King to dive at it, which led to Williams grabbing him and hitting a piledriver for the pinfall victory. We have a new ROH World TV champion!


Flip Gordon defeated Mark Briscoe

***1/4

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This was another quick match, with Briscoe trying to sell and make Gordon look good. The goal was to get him over as the “next thing” in ROH, and I would say it succeeded.


They started the match fast, but Gordon eventually sent Briscoe crashing to the floor with the Kinder Surprise, where he trashed talked Briscoe, asking about his 19 years experience with the company. Mark Briscoe hit a blockbuster on Gordon onto the floor, which I can’t believe he somehow keeps doing this long into his career.

Briscoe setup a chair in the ring to hit a dive on Gordon, but Gordon cut him off and hit the Flip Dive for a pinfall victory over Mark Briscoe. Gordon did hit a low blow earlier, showing his heel leaning quite strongly.


Dalton Castle defeated Josh Woods w/ Silas Young

***1/2

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This was a fine technical match, with Woods and Castle really relying on their wrestling background. I really enjoyed this one.

This was a very technical match with both men doing a lot of grappling, using their past in amateur wrestling, blending it really well with professional wrestling. Castle eventually rolled to the floor and managed to sneak around the ring and get a front facelock takeover on Woods.

Eventually, Castle managed to send Woods crashing into the barrier around ringside, then hit a Russian Leg Sweep on Woods for a 2 count. Woods got really frustrated as the match went on, hitting a giant right hand on Castle and then hitting a series of forearms. Woods bat Castle around the ringside area, sending him crashing into the barrier multiple times, to Silas Young’s approval.

Young went for a chair, but Woods stopped it, and Castle hit a German suplex, but Woods hit butterfly suplex on Castle. As Woods got sent towards the ropes, Young hit Woods with a chairshot, saying “You should have stuck to the gameplan,” and Castle rolled Woods up to score the pinfall, and he gets to keep wrestling for ROH.


Young grabbed a mic and said he wasted the last year trying to teach Woods what it meant to be a real man, and now he was going to find out first hand. The biggest story coming out of this match, outside of the breakup of Woods and Young, is that Castle is clearly staying with ROH, which is great news for them.


Jay Briscoe defeated EC3

***1/2

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This was a fine match, but it went way too long. If they shaved 5-7 minutes of it, it would have been far better. Maybe even 10 minutes. Still a good match, but it didn’t feel like the blood feud that ROH was promoting it as.

EC3 still refused to look Jay Briscoe in the eyes, and Briscoe took this very personally, refusing to shake his hand. EC3 wanted Briscoe to shake his hand, but Briscoe has consistently refused to, saying that EC3 doesn’t deserve to the honor of having his hand shaken by the same hand that shook hands with the likes of Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Misawa, and more.

EC3 used a lot of power throughout the match, hitting a big powerbomb, for example. Briscoe was never fully out of it, but EC3 seemed to take most of the opening parts of the match until Briscoe hit a flatliner in the corner and then a huge dropkick to send EC3 crash to the mat. Briscoe hit a forearm off the apron onto EC3, but hurt his knee on the landing.

EC3 sent Briscoe into the ring post. As they got back into the ring, EC3 cut Briscoe off on the top rope, and he managed to hit a big superplex. EC3 yelled “Honor me!” as he hit a big clothesline on Briscoe and the followed with an Olympic slam. It was at this point that my cat jumped into my face, quite literally, looking for attention, but EC3 hit a brainbuster. I’m a professional, after all.

Briscoe hit a Death Valley Driver on the apron, but he couldn’t take advantage of it. Briscoe hit three neckbreakers, finally starting to get an advantage in the match. Every time Briscoe would hit EC3 at this point in the match, EC3 started laughing and yelling Briscoe’s name. Briscoe finally hit the Jay Driller and pinned EC3. Briscoe shook EC3’s hand, closing their feud.


Bandido defeated Rey Horus & Flamita

***3/4

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This was an awesome match. Mexisquad seems to be done, which is unfortunate, but holy cow this was a great match.

Flamita refused the code of honor, showing he is still upset about earlier. Horus and Bandido exchanged a ton of lucha spots, with neither really getting the advantage. Flamita hit a dropkick on both men, and hit a few Forever clotheslines in the corner and then hit Bandido with a tornado DDT.

Flamita trash talked Bandido throughout the match, showing considerable distdain towards him in general. Flamita hit a top con giro on Horus. After an exchange, Flamita hit a huge superkick on Bandido. Horus really didn’t want to fight either guy, as this really seemed to become personal between Bandido and Flamita. Flamita hit a huge DDT and then hit a muscle buster on into a gut buster on Horus while hitting a senton on Bandido.

Flamita said “No more Mexisquad,” and Horus and Bandido teamed up and hit a hurricanrana off the apron on Flamita. Now, they could focus on a clean match, and Bandido hit a popup cutter on Horus. All three men hit kicks at the same time, dropping all 3.

Horus and Flamita tried to hit a doomsday crossbody on Bandido, but Bandido caught Horus, and flipped backwards into a posion rana on Flamita and a backflip fallaway slam on Horus, and I have no idea how they pulled that off. That was insane. Bandido then hit a 21-plex on Flamita for the pinfall victory.


Fight Without Honor: Matt Taven vs. Vincent

DUD

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This was quite entertaining, but calling it a match is a bit of a stretch as there was no pinfalls or submissions. The brawling was good and I liked the story they were telling, as it was quite personal and easy to understand. The venue they fought in was really great. It suited this match quite well. I wonder what is going to happen going forward with this one?

This was a cinematic match that took place in the old school where they used to train together. Taven said that the camera man was to record it, and it’s up to them if they call an ambulance or not. Taven went upstairs to find Vincent, and they brawled all around the ring. Taven missed a suicide dive and crashed into some ladders against the wall.

Taven threw Vincent down the stairs and then hit a flying elbow from the stairs onto the landing before dragging Vincent down the stairs. Vincent managed to send Taven into the wall several times, before asking “Do you remember this place, Taven?” before brawling into the area where shows would be held.

Taven blocked a cutter and dropped Vincent onto a pile of chairs, before he said “I do remember!” Vincent rolled back the mat and slammed Taven face first into the exposed wood. Vincent then talked about how everyone knew he was world title material since Final Battle 2019, but Taven kept getting in the way.

He setup tables on the floor and dragged Taven upstair and went to hit a cutter off the balcony before a large man ran in and shoved both men off the balcony through the tables. He then picked Vincent up and carried him out of the building, ending the cinematic match.


Quinn MacKay was in the ring and invited Maria Kanellis Bennett out, who announced that there was going to be an ROH Women’s Championship Tournament this summer to crown a new women’s champion. Angelina Love and Mandy Leon came out said that they deserved to be in the tournament, and that they deserved to be handed the title.


Maria said that she was going to give Angelina a chance to earn a bye in the first round of the tournament by facing off against someone that has wanted a match with her for a long time – Quinn MacKay. MacKay looked excited, and Angelina laughed, but agreed. The match will happen on ROH TV soon.


ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham defeated Dak Draper to retain

****1/4

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This match was so awesome. Gresham and Draper’s selling was so great, and the way the worked the match as a pseudo shoot, with lots of MMA influence really worked well for me. Absolutely fantastic technical display.

Gresham did a lot of countering from the bigger man in the match, trying to work over the legs to chop him down. Gresham did a really clever spot as Draper was doing a handstand to into a knee drop on Gresham, but Gresham rolled into his hands, forcing him back to the mat quickly and driving Draper’s knees into the mat.

However, Draper was no slouch, forcing Gresham to make the first rope break, and using his size to stay on top of Gresham, forcing him to carry Draper’s weight. Draper forced Gresham to the ropes again, with Gresham having used 2 of his 3 rope breaks in less than 8 minutes. Draper continued the attack over the midsection of Gresham, forcing a third rope break only 10 minutes in.

Gresham kept kicking the leg, which is showing more and more effect against Draper, finally bringing him down to one knee and hitting hard forearms, which led to Draper having to use 2 rope breaks to get away from pinfalls. Suddenly, Gresham is right back in it. Gresham rolled through and locked on an ankle lock, which forced Draper to grab the ropes for a 3rd time, and in less than 2 minutes, it was suddenly even.

Draper threw a closed fist and dropped Gresham, which the referee gave an official warning, but counted the potential knock out. Gresham rolled under the ropes to break the count, but Draper dragged Gresham back to the center of the ring and got a 2-count.


Draper hit a deadlift superplex and a huge doctor bomb on Gresham for a 2-count. Gresham hyper-extended the knee of Draper, but Draper hit a big boot that dropped Gresham. Draper hit a powerbomb from the middle rope, but Gresham barely kicked out.

Draper locked on a Mile High Muffler, but his knee buckled. Gresham hit a lionsault and Draper rolled to the floor. Gresham hit a suicide dive, landing on the back of Draper, locking on a sleeper hold. Draper fought and got back into the ring with Gresham on his back, and held the ropes, but he had no rope breaks left, and Gresham was able to make him pass out with the Rear Naked Choke.

As the commentators were talking, Delirous came out and whispered something in Rocky Romero's ear.


ROH World Tag Team Championship: The Foundation (Tracey Williams & Rhett Titus) defeated La Facción Igobernables (Bestia del Ring & Kenny King) w/ Amy Rose

***

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This match was fine. The ending was really weird. Bestia del Ring getting distracted by sexism is not something I expected would factor into the match. It made no sense for him to give up the pinfall attempt to ask for a chair, and even less sense for him to be upset that Rose gave him the chair. Weird. Ah well, at least The Foundation won.

Bestia del Ring worked way too much of the early parts of this match, doing lucha spots with Tracy Williams. King hit a tope on Williams, which left him vulnerable in the ring. King and Titus have a history, given they used to be a tag team, so this was quite personal for them.

Rhett hit a belly-to-belly on King and then a monkey flip on Bestia. Titus hit a clothesline on King which Williams then locked on a cloverleaf on King. Titus locked a single leg crab on Bestia to stop him from breaking up the submission.


Williams managed to hit another piledriver on King, and Titus locked on a full nelson clutch, but Bestia broke it up. Bestia randomly gave up a pinfall attempt on Titus and asked for a chair from Amy Rose. This made no sense. When she gave the chair to him, he kicked the ropes and asked her to give the chair to him properly.

Titus dropkicked him. So, Bestia got distracted by sexism. Titus locked on the full nelson clutch, and Bestia tapped out, and the Foundation are the new tag team champions! The Foundation is holding almost all the gold now.

Bestia del Ring then speared Amy Rose after the match. Okay. This made zero sense.


ROH World Championship: Rush defeated Jay Lethal to retain

***1/2

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The finish of this match was a bit overbooked, but Rush and Lethal still had a very good match. I hope we get less of the outside interference shennaigans in future shows, but the new faction that debuted after the match might help keep LIF in check.

Rush came out wearing a mask that was inspired by his entire family. The hype video for the match was excellent, with Lethal saying he needed to win and take back Ring of Honor for pure wrestling, to bring the heart back to the company.

Rush actually adhered to the code of honor here, for the very first time of his ROH career. Rush wasn’t respectful for long though, leading to Lethal attacking viscously. Lethal hit a suicide dive and then started working over the knee of Rush back in the ring.


Rush wasn’t down for long, however, taking it to ringside and slamming a door from the barrier into Lethal’s head twice. Rush grabbed camera cables from under the ring and started choking Lethal. Rush then said to the camera that he was going to be the longest reigning champion in ROH history, and no one will stop him. Rush had a chance to hit his corner dropkick finisher, but stopped short and just booted Lethal in the face before going tranquillo and saying “Appreciate me!” Rush is a great heel. Rush’s arrogance, however, did not help him as Lethal recovered and hit the Lethal Combination. Both men exchanged chops and Lethal managed to hit Hail to the King, but Rush kicked out. Lethal locked on the figure four leglock. Rush managed to escape and hit a series of knees and dropkicks on Lethal before countering into a Calf Killer. Bestia del Ring and Kenny King came out, and as Lethal went for the Lethal Injection, Bestia hit Lethal with a chair right in front of the referee. The referee looked conflicted, but he decided not to DQ them. The Foundation ran out and dragged them backstage and Lethal managed to hit a Lethal Injection for a 2-count! Rush hit a Superman Forearm on Lethal and then hit the corner dropkick on Lethal, but Lethal rolled to the floor, escaping the finish. Rush looked frustrated, and tried to get Lethal back in the ring. Rush went for it again, and hit a second dropkick and managed to pin Lethal. Los Facción Ingobernables then attacked Lethal, and as they were doing so, Brody King came out and talked about how Rush almost won the match without help from his family, but now he has some numbers of his own. Tony Deppen came out, but he wasn’t alone, as Chris Dickenson and Homcide also ran out and chased LIF away. King then took Lethal’s head off with a clothesline, and Homicide hit the Cop Killa on Lethal as the show went off the air.

Final Thoughts: This was a very good show from ROH, but it was way too long. While nothing in the show was bad (other than Bestia del Ring being distracted by sexism), it was a really good show. Gresham stole the show again. The triple threat with Rey Horus, Flamita, and Bandido was excellent. The formation of a new faction, adding a fourth to ROH’s loaded roster is showing that ROH is finally emerging from the shadow that the Elite left behind, which is excellent news for them, as they have finally found their identity apart from them. Match of the Night: Jonathan Gresham vs. Dak Draper


Major Takeaway:

Looks like we’re getting faction warfare in ROH, with 4 major factions, from Shane Taylor Promotions, to the Foundation, to Los Facción Ingobernables, and now Brody King’s faction. I like how ROH is having sides being drawn up, and the booking benefits from having all these people, as it makes it easy to setup storylines as well. It seems ROH is learning from NJPW’s overall approach in that regard, and I think that is a good thing.

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