The ROHbot Report: Pittsburgh Tapings, ROH Unauthorized, and More
By James Bullock Feb 19, 2017 - 8:02 AM
Welcome to another edition of The ROHbot Report – the only article you need for all the Ring of Honor news you have to know. ROH is still doing everything to get fans ready for its “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view and even “Supercard of Honor XI”! Lets find out what happened during ROH’s return to Pittsburgh and Columbus.
“Steel City Excellence” TV Taping Results; February 11th, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA Episode One - Adam Cole & Hangman Page def. The Addiction - Top Prospect Tournament First Round: John Skyler def. Sean Carr - World Television Championship: Marty Scurll def. Donovan Dijak Episode Two -Six Man Tag Team Championship: Kingdom def. Rebellion to retain - Top Prospect Tournament First Round: Brian Milonas def. Raphael King - Jay Briscoe def. Jay White Episode Three - Young Bucks def. Coast to Coast. - Dalton Castle def. Jon Gresham - Top Prospect Tournament First Round: Curt Stallion def. Preston Quinn - No Disqualifications: Punishment Martinez and BJ Whitmer def. War Machine Episode Four - Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser def. Cheeseburger & Will Ferrara - Top Prospect Tournament First Round: Josh Woods def. Chris LaRusso - Kenny King def. Lio Rush - The Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Young Bucks & Cody) def. The Briscoes & Jay Lethal and Bobby Fish
You know the routine – I’m not going to judge too harshly about what happened during the TV taping without actually seeing the product these tapings were done for. With that being stated, Ring of Honor’s return to Pittsburgh delivered some very surprising moments including something totally unexpected as Frankie Kazarian turned on his longtime tag team partner and friend Christopher Daniels to join The Bullet Club. Depending on when this moment airs, it could become a huge variable in Daniels’ ROH title match at the “15th Anniversary” PPV. While this almost feels like the latter days of the New World Order with people just jumping on board with The Club, the fact is Kazarian and Daniels have spent a majority of their time together proclaiming themselves as the smartest men in the room. What better way for Kazarian to help his partner finally attain the gold than by hurting the faction and its World champion from the inside? This could be an even more shocking twist to this surprising story than Frankie simply abandoning one of the main reasons he’s finally had a ROH tenure. It seems like ROH have finally put the last nail in the coffin of the long running, yet painfully exhausting storyline involving BJ Whitmer, Kevin Sullivan and Damien Martinez. With Steve Corino leaving ROH, War Machine touring Japan periodically, and the short video featuring Sullivan’s faction aligning with Taeler Hendrix going absolutely nowhere, something drastic needed to happen to make things somewhat right; and that occurred during this taping as Martinez attacked Whitmer after their match and now is apparently a monster on his own – something that is greatly needed now that Donovan Dijak failed to attain the TV title and keep his job during the taping in what was reported to be the best match of the evening. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Shane Taylor aligning himself with The Rebellion – a group had a night’s worth of problems with Lio Rush when their recruitment effort failed yet again – after The Briscoes put Keith Lee out of ROH. It’ll be interesting to see if Taylor is presented as more than backup muscle for what was once a trio and Taylor plays the third man in various six-man tag team bouts to come. From an in-ring perspective there were also some interesting turn of events including Jay Briscoe ending the undefeated streak of Jay White. It was last summer those two wrestled to a TV time limit draw, but ROH’s return to Pennsylvania allowed Briscoe to prove his superiority over the young lion before White could earn a ROH singles title opportunity. The Top Prospect Tournament kicked off during this taping with the most likely to advance doing just that and impressing in the process including John Skyler, Curt Stallion, and Josh Woods. Last but certainly not least was the build toward another bout between Jay Lethal and Cody. Their interactions on ROH TV and live events have produced some memorable moments that would have any fan excited to see when the two bring a Texas tradition to Florida, a Bull Rope match. From all accounts this seems like a highly entertaining series of episodes that kept things simple and surprising at the same time.
“The Experience” Results; February 12th, 2017; Columbus, OH - Coast to Coast def. The Carnies - The Briscoes def. The Tempura Boyz - The Rebellion def. The Motor City Machine Guns - World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks def. War Machine to retain - Cody def. Dalton Castle - Falls Count Anywhere: Bobby Fish & Jay Lethal def. Adam Cole & Hangman Page - Kelly Klein def. Scarlett Bordeaux - Six Man Mayhem: Punishment Martinez def. Will Ferrara, Beer City Bruiser, David Starr, Jonathan Gresham, and Shane Taylor - Six Man Tag Team Championship: The Kingdom def. Chris Sabin, Jay Briscoe & Cheeseburger to retain - Proving Ground match (Two Out of Three Falls): Lio Rush def. World Television champion Marty Scurll
It was being called “the most interactive ROH event in history” as the fans were given the chance to vote on a variety of matches, be it the match stipulations or even the match itself as seen during the Six-Man Tag Team Championship match. The unlikely trio of Jay Briscoe, Chris Sabin & Cheeseburger were granted a title opportunity thanks to the cheers of the fans, yet couldn’t put it together to pull off a shocking title change against a trio that hasn’t witnessed a member be pinned or submitted since forming. Unlike The Kingdom who kept their unbeaten ways in tact, Marty Scurll cost himself his undefeated streak in singles competition while allowing Lio Rush to secure a future title opportunity. In a fan-voted Two Out of Three Falls match, Scurll got himself disqualified during the first fall by using that infamous umbrella. Though he attained the second fall moments later thanks to his nefarious actions, Scurll couldn’t make it two for two in back-to-back falls as Rush fought through the pain of having his fingers dislocated and caught the champ in a roll up. With so much controversy over Rush’s future in ROH, this could be the beginning of his time as ROH TV champion if he can overcome whoever is the titleholder when he gets his earned championship match. A majority of the show featured the usual suspects doing what they do best in delivering an exciting show including the first-time encounter between Cody and Castle that saw Cody actually dress up as one of The Boys to set up a sneak attack. The Young Bucks successfully defended the ROH World Tag Team Championship against War Machine. And the fan-decided Falls Count Anywhere match saw Lethal & Fish came together once again to form a successful pairing against The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & Hangman Page. Between all the action were Q & A sessions that are hopefully a part of the eventual VOD/DVD release as it’s a rarity in ROH and has to be highly entertaining considering the wrestlers involved (The Briscoes, Dalton Castle, The Kingdom & Christopher Daniels).
New Japan Pro Wrestling has confirmed cards for this year's “Honor Rising” events. Both events will take place in Korakuen Hall. Night 1 (February 26th): Kushida, Juice Robinson & Dave Finlay vs. Silas Young, Gedo & Jado; NEVER Six-Man Tag Team Championship - Los Ingobernables (c) vs. Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Delirious; Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, Guerrillas of Destiny; War Machine vs. The Young Bucks; Hiroshi Tanahashi, Dalton Castle & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Damien Martinez; Katsuyori Shibata & Jay Lethal vs. Cody & Hangman Page; Adam Cole & Kenny Omega vs. The Briscoes Night 2 (February 27th): Kushida, Dave Finlay & Henare vs. Silas Young, Gedo & Jado; Delirious, Dalton Castle, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI; War Machine vs. Guerrillas of Destiny; Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Jay Lethal vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page; NEVER Openweight Championship - Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Damien Martinez; ROH World Championship Adam Cole (c) vs. YOSHI-HASHI; Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay & The Briscoes vs. Cody, Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks
With these being more of a showcase of events for Japanese fans simply interested in ROH instead of it being a sole ROH event occurring on Japanese soil similar to some of the events seen from Japan a decade ago, the matches themselves have very little in the way of story. There are some encounters that do have some international build, though. Look no further than the ROH World Championship match on night two. For those who don’t know, HASHI actually has a big win over Cole that occurred one night after his historic third title reign began. If HASHI can make it two for two he’ll be the new ROH World champion. There are also the obvious ROH stars taking on Bullet Club members including Kenny Omega returning to ROH action battling the likes of The Briscoes and even New Japan standouts including the man he fought in New Japan’s Match of the Year thus far in Kazuchika Okada. In an interesting twist, Hirooki Goto – who didn’t have the most stellar of ROH appearances last year by taking big losses (though in impressive fashion) – will defend the NEVER Openweight Championship against Damien Martinez. Martinez has barely gotten his feet wet in ROH, let alone in New Japan to warrant a title shot. There’s a chance we could see a shocking title change in the same vein as last year’s ROH Television title match where Tomohiro Ishii defeated Roderick Strong to win the belt. War Machine – who have been impressing in Japan as of late – will have a taxing, yet potentially beneficial weekend as they battle The Young Bucks so close to almost dethroning them for the ROH World Tag Team title on night one before re-igniting a rivalry that seemed to be on the verge of really breaking out after last year’s ROH-New Japan “Global Wars”/“War of the Worlds” tour. Between it all are a slew of tag team bouts that is similar to the “Road to…” shows New Japan usually holds that don’t necessarily push forward important storylines, but keeps the main narratives in the minds of fans both attending and those following the results on the internet or subscribing to New Japan World. If ROH follows the formula used last year, there’s a good chance ROH TV-only viewers will get a taste of the action during one of the “Road Rage” style episodes that could air after the “15th Anniversary” or “Supercard of Honor XI”.
One of the most popular classic events makes it triumphant return in ROH’s most popular venue: on Saturday, March 4th, Manhattan Mayhem returns to the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom and will feature a Grudge match between Dalton Castle and Colt Cabana!
It seemed like a match made in wrestling heaven as Colt Cabana decided that winning a singles championship was no longer in the cards and started scouting for tag team partners. It didn’t take long before Cabana found a man who too loved to mix humorous antics with his wrestling while being a very impressive performer at both, Dalton Castle. “The Party Peacock” and “Boom Boom” tested themselves as a unit quickly – going against the likes of The Briscoes, The All Night Express, and, of course the ROH World Tag Team champions The Young Bucks. But it was against the latter where things started falling apart for the duo as Castle took it upon himself to demand their title opportunity he & Cabana earned at “All-Star Extravaganza VIII” to happen during the tail-end of this year’s Champions vs. All-Stars match. Though Cabana wasn’t aware of Castle’s plan, he went along with his teammate’s wishes. Sadly it wasn’t their night and Colt started to grow upset with the realization that maybe he’d never win a ROH title in the near future; especially as one-half of a tag team with “The Peacock”. After their most recent win, Cabana decided to end the partnership on a high note. Castle, though disappointed, wanted to accept his former ally’s wishes with an honorable hug. Then Cabana’s anger took hold. Leaning into the embrace, Colt kneed Dalton low prior to beating up The Boys and stabbing Castle’s face with the end of those peacock feathered fans to bloody a man who had shown him nothing but respect and admiration since Cabana’s return in April. While Castle is obviously an eccentric character who loves to enjoy himself and his Boys, he’s proven that he can fight in various scenarios including a successful Fight Without Honor that saw him best Silas Young and, most importantly, against “Boom Boom” at “Final Battle ‘16”. Since that night The Boys have tried to get a measure of revenge on their attacker, only to have Colt lay them out during an episode of ROH TV. “The Peacock” will try to make it two for two against Colt on his road to his first ROH World title opportunity, but Cabana has all the tools to make sure all of Dalton’s momentum toward, potentially, his first ROH Championship is halted in the same arena where it began.
On Friday, March 10th, Ring of Honor celebrates a decade and a half of the Best Professional Wrestling on the Planet when the stars of ROH do battle live on Pay Per View at 15th Anniversary!
The build is simple – for the past two years The Young Bucks and Roppongi Vice have been going back & forth while doing battle over junior heavyweight tag team supremacy in New Japan. Most recently, Beretta and Rocky Romero (the latter being a former ROH World Tag Team champion) ended The Buck’s Jr. Heavyweight title reign during New Japan’s biggest event of the year, “WrestleKingdom 11”. Now Vice want to make it two for two in 2017 against The Bucks in Las Vegas. Their ROH encounters have put the record at 2-2, with the most recent encounter ending in The Bucks’ favor that was parlayed into them winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship. But the last time these two teams fought in Vegas it proved to be Vice’s lucky night. The success Beretta & Romero have obtained over the last year could prove to be the somewhat surprising undoing of The Bucks in Las Vegas. But it seems like on any given night, no matter the strategy, The Bucks can overcome the best teams in the world even if it means taking on a team who apparently have their number. This could easily steal the show as an argument can be made that their ROH encounters match, if not surpass the quality of their bouts in New Japan – which usually have fans going wild from bell-to-bell.
Just signed for the pay-per-view is an ROH World Television Title Match between Lio Rush and current champion “The Villain” Marty Scurll.
“The Experience” event in Columbus couldn’t have had a better name when it came to the night’s main event as the fans voted on making Lio Rush’s Proving Ground opportunity against Television champion Marty Scurll a Two Out of Three Falls match. Rush, who’s become a master of endurance & tournaments during his career, found himself in a rut in Ring of Honor. After winning last year’s Top Prospect Tournament and taking then-ROH World champion Jay Lethal to the limit, Rush kind of suffered a drop off. Yes, Rush had impressive outings, but winning was where he came up short on too many occasions. With his back against the wall, Lio Rush challenged himself on camera to do better; to reach his potential. Thanks to the actions of Scurll in their first ROH encounter (using his umbrella to drop the first fall simply to earn an easy second fall), Rush was able to overcome the odds and end “The Villain’s” undefeated streak in singles competition. Now, after a year-plus of struggling in ROH, Rush has positioned himself through talent alone into his biggest ROH match to date. Knowing he’s been able to overcome Scurll in the past this could be not only the biggest match of Rush’s career thus far, but also his most prosperous as he has a chance to finally fight for the title his TPT win was meant to give him an opportunity last year. But “The Villain” isn’t some one-trick pony unable to learn from his past mistakes. Scurll is one of the best in the world (as seen by his ROH win-loss record thus far) and also one Chicken Wing submission away from victory – arguably the most dangerous submission currently in ROH. While their first encounter was good, the belief is the rematch will be not only a great match, but also one of the best, if not the best of the show that could end in a major title change or the continuation of “The Villain’s” reign.
In Las Vegas, Dalton Castle and the Boys have earned a ROH World Six Man tag team title opportunity in Sin City!
“The Purple Reign Tour”, thus far, has run through challengers left & right as The Kingdom of Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia have bested each trio and potential title challenger alike until this moment where they enter ROH’s “15th Anniversary” as the first and thus far only World Six-Man Tag Team champions. Standing across the ring from them will be a group of men who have been together since they debuted in ROH. Not only have Dalton Castle & The Boys stood with each other (or in the case of The Boys – kneeled beneath “The Peacock”) since day one, Castle has fought for his allies against those looking to change them into their own image – something incredibly ironic considering The Kingdom was reformed in Taven’s image. While the act of teaming in-ring hasn’t proven to be the most beneficial for Castle & The Boys, their ability to come together is obvious from bell-to-bell and The Kingdom looking past them could result in new champions if the challengers aren’t taken seriously in another nice match to compliment a card that gets better looking with each match announced including this one.
The Board of Directors has announced that Jay Lethal has signed a contract to fight the defeated man from the Manhattan Mayhem main event to pit two top ROH World Championship contenders against one another at the “15th Anniversary”!
A very interesting decision by ROH to potentially put the loser of ROH’s “Manhattan Mayhem VI” event in a number one contender’s position only a week after coming up short in either retaining or gaining the title. When it comes to Jay Lethal, for the past three years he’s either been in the title hunt or holding a ROH championship – so it only makes sense that with him being presented a chance to become the top contender to the World Championship; especially considering this will happen at the “15th Anniversary”. If Bobby Fish is Lethal’s opponent it will mark a big rematch from 2015 where then-TV champion bested “The Infamous”. Since Lethal turned a new leaf and left The House of Truth behind he actually found an ally in Fish against The Bullet Club – though they’ve had some miscommunications during the process. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Adam Cole fighting Lethal on pay-per-view again. The last two times these two men have faced each other in a ROH ring, Cole walked away with the victory. If Cole loses the title in New York this could be the moment Lethal needs to redeem himself against the man who ended his only World title reign thus far. When it comes to match quality, Lethal-Cole is a proven great while Lethal-Fish still feels like greatness has yet to come, but has the potential of delivering something memorable. No matter the match, this could be a jewel of a show that is looking better & better with each match announced.
At the monumental Supercard of Honor XI in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday, April 1, the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team champions The Kingdom will defend their title against Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser and a mystery partner!
Since their uniting during the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship tournament to crown the division’s first champions, The Kingdom have been nothing short of dominant. The Bullet Club, Search & Destroy, War Machine & Jax Dane have all fallen to Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia’s Resolution. While The Kingdom has reigned supreme in the division, Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser have been searching for that perfect third partner to join their manly ranks. Men like Bull James found out through violence they weren’t man enough to be partners with “Milwaukee’s Worst”, so one has to wonder who does Young & BCB see is worthy of not only being on their sides, but also could be Tag Team champions alongside them. Just like their opponents, mystery could prove to be their greatest asset as the champs won’t be able to prepare for what could be one formable trio in Florida. It’ll be incredibly interesting to see what Young & Bruiser bring down to “The Sunshine State” with the goal of ending “The Purple Reign Tour”.
The ROH Executive Committee has already announced several big matches and first-time appearances from New Japan and CMLL stars, and now is excited to announce that bitter rivals “The American Nightmare” Cody and Jay Lethal will square off in a Texas Bullrope Match at Supercard of Honor XI!
“Final Battle 2016” was a turning point in the careers of Jay Lethal and Cody. The latter’s came at the expense of the former ROH World champion in Lethal as Cody disregarded honor by hitting his opponent in the groin to set up Cross Rhodes to win his ROH debut match – further proving to Lethal that wolves exist in sheep’s clothing even in a company like Ring of Honor. Since “FB”, “The Son of a Son” in Cody made his decision to join the ranks of The Bullet Club – a group of men who made Lethal’s life miserable in 2016 including shaving Jay’s head before Adam Cole bested Lethal to become the ROH World champion. Lethal refused to take Cody’s actions lightly, bringing the fight to “The American Nightmare” during ROH TV and ROH live events by himself and alongside men like Bobby Fish. But none of their previous encounters can compare to the challenge Cody threw out in Pittsburgh: a chance for them to settle it all in a Texas Bull Rope match. In the same vein of his father’s classic Bull Rope match with Billy Graham for the WWWF Heavyweight title almost four decades ago, Lethal & Cody will be connect by the wrist by a bull rope sporting a cowbell in the middle just waiting to be used as a weapon that could and probably will draw blood during this heated encounter. As interesting as some of the matches already announced for the show are, this might be at the top of the card for most anticipated bout of the evening thanks to the hatred and vitriol that will be displayed unlike anything else not only seen in a ROH that weekend, but every wrestling show held during wrestling’s biggest weekend of the year.
A full night of unsanctioned action is on tap in the Beer City when Ring of Honor presents ROH UNAUTHORIZED on Friday April 28th in Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom!
In the same vein of previous “unsanctioned/unauthorized” events, the first event following “Supercard of Honor XI” will be unlike anything usually seen during a ROH event where an “anything goes” environment. One of the most interesting aspects about this show is the information provided during the show’s announcement is that throughout the night there will be a rotating group of Matchmakers coming up with matches and stipulations that could produce first-time matches and another memorable different type of ROH event.
Matt Sells vs. Foxx Vinyer
Castle & The Boys Have Trouble w/ The Kingdom & Cabana
Taeler Hendrix vs. Jenny Rose
And there you have it. Show that love, or like, for The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page. Also, if haven’t already, make sure you listen to the latest FREE “Honor Nation” as I talk about friendships both reinforced & broken this past week in the world of wrestling and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/24_Mins_Honor_Nation_Festivals_of_Friendship.shtml). And don’t forget to send those questions in for the next “Honor Nation either through the comments section below, on Facebook (The ROHbot Report and Honor Nation on its Facebook page), on Twitter (@fasjab), or by e-mailing me at Bullock@wewantinsanity.com. Here’s to a great week for you and yours; and as always, thanks for reading.