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The ROHbot Report: Nashville TV Taping Preview, New ROH Title Belts, And More

By James Bullock Jan 14, 2018 - 7:49 AM print


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 gearing up for the company’s first event of 2018 that’ll be taped for the world to witness. Lets find out what will go down in Nashville!

Music City Excellence TV Taping Preview; January 20th, 2018; Nashville, TN

ROH Championship: Dalton Castle defends against Punishment Martinez
“Final Battle 2017” was a monumental night not only for Ring of Honor, but also the new World champion Dalton Castle. Almost three years prior Castle was considered nothing more than a Top Prospect; entering the 2015 version of the tournament with the do or die intent of either making it through the tournament and establishing himself as a true future star of Honor, or returning to relative indie obscurity. Unfortunately for Castle, his time in the TPT that year lasted all of one match. But things have a way of working itself out for people of true talent and contain that certain “it” factor. Castle’s character got him noticed by ROH fans immediately, but his in-ring talent is what kept him around and helped him grow into a World champion. Punishment Martinez unintentionally followed Castle’s lead a year later – entering the TPT and falling short overall before being signed by ROH. Martinez’s career has been mostly parallel to Castle’s. While Castle was fighting wars with The Bullet Club and winning Six-Man gold with The Boys, Martinez was proving himself as a potential top-tier talent against the likes of New Japan stars Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto, former ROH World champion Jay Lethal, having a Match of the Year candidate victory over Jay White, and, most importantly in regards to his dream of becoming a World champion, winning the 2017 Survival of the Fittest tournament. Confronting Castle shortly after his title victory, Martinez threw down the figurative gauntlet by cashing in his title shot for this event. This is a major test for Castle as he’ll be in the ring with not only a man who is bigger and potentially stronger than him, but also eliminated him from last year’s SotF tournament finale. Coming off of last year’s “Final Battle” where Kyle O’Reilly’s first & only ROH World title reign ended after his first intended defense, the belief that a new World champion could be crowned without a single night of having the ring announcer proclaim, “…and still,” isn’t out of the realm of belief anymore.

ROH World Tag Team Championship: Motor City Machine Guns defend against Best Friends
The Best Friends of Beretta & Chuckie T. burst onto the ROH scene shortly before “Best in the World” resulting in them picking up a big win over The Bullet Club prior to the pay-per-view. But like so many teams going toe-to-toe with The Young Bucks, Beretta & Chuckie failed to make it two for two. But there was one team to find the winning formula against Matt & Nick Jackson during the summer as The Motor City Machine Guns ended a decade-long drought in regards to winning the ROH World Tag Team Championship by dethroning, arguably, the best tag team in the world today at “Death Before Dishonor XV”. Shortly after the title change, Best Friends became the number one contenders to set the stage for a match at “Final Battle”. New York turned into bizarro world as the crowd didn’t just embrace the challengers, but also denouncing the titleholders. Unfortunately for both the fans & Best Friends, Chris Sabin caught Chuckie with a cradle that ended the match on a rather anticlimactic note. It’ll be interesting to see what each team learned about the other coming off their previous contest with the hope of this one living up to the hype it has on paper unlike its PPV counterpart.

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship: The Hung Bucks defend against SoCal Uncensored
In the early 2000s the state of California was a hotbed for producing talent that would change the very face of professional wrestling in the near future. John Cena, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, all these names and more gained noteworthy prominence in California before becoming worldwide successes. But there were others who were just as good, if not better than the aforementioned names heralded as kings of the underground before attaining varying levels of notoriety for their antics in & out of the ring. Associated with the latter are three men who have spent a great amount of time traveling up & down the west coast while growing more & more tired with the fact the level of respect they believe they deserve hasn’t been bestowed upon them by the fans or the promotions housing their talents: Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky.
Ironically enough another pair of west coast stalwarts and bonafide California boys The Young Bucks have found themselves as the faces of wrestling’s latest revolution – a change in the business where the fans understand just how important they are in helping the wrestlers live a life of freedom without sacrificing financial security. Thanks to The Young Bucks’ growing popularity in the mainstream eye alongside The Bullet Club brand, men like Adam Page have benefited both financially and in the ring as Page attained his first ROH title teaming with Nick & Matt Jackson. It was The Hung Bucks’ successful defense at “Final Battle 2017” that Daniels, Kazarian & Sky – eventually known as “SoCal Uncensored” – made their presence known by attacking the trio and setting the stage for an inevitable clash for the ROH Six-Man gold SoCal Uncensored rightfully established themselves as top title contenders by defeating one-third of the champs while Page teamed with Marty Scurll & former ROH World champ Cody. As per the norm with Six-Man title defenses during The Hung Bucks era, this one should be wild as wild can get. Even wilder would be this fresh trio of men who have known each other almost as long as ROH has existed dethroning three men with chemistry and popularity to spare.

Women of Honor Championship Tournament 1st Round: Madison Rayne vs. Mandy Leon
So incredibly similar to her opponent, former TNA/Impact Wrestling Knockout champion Madison Rayne spent the early part of her career learning on the job thanks to her being forced into the ring with the likes of Sara Del Ray, Daizee Haze and Lacey. While the then “Ashley Lane” didn’t make a splash in the original Women of Honor division, her connections with SHIMMER allowed her star to rise in quick fashion as she became one-half of the first SHIMMER Tag Team champions. The title win changed Lane’s career as she was figuratively thrown onto the radar and picked up by TNA Wrestling and eventually became one of the Knockout division’s biggest vocal points. Rayne returned to the place to a place she once called home during “Survival of the Fittest 2017” weekend to discover a new generation of talent has taken over the once inconsistent and failing to defeat one-half of the women who spearheaded the in-ring revival of Women of Honor, Deonna Purrazzo. This time Rayne will not only be entering the ring with more than pride on the line, she’ll be taking on the other half of that match that revitalized the division in Mandy Leon. Though Mandy doesn’t have the same level of experience of a Madison Rayne, Leon has impressed around the globe including in Japan during a tour of STARDOM. No matter the winner this one will give a glimpse of the potential favorite to win the entire tournament.

Women of Honor Championship Tournament 1st Round: Brandi Rhodes vs. Karen Q
Having done exceptionally well in a ROH Dojo tryout, Karen Q was put to the test immediately in her ROH tenure by stepping into the ring with Kelly Klein. But little did Karen know that she had something of a guardian angel watching over her that night. A week prior to Klein vs. Q, Deonna Purrazzo made her ROH return after an extensive tour around the world. Purrazzo’s first match back proved to be rough for her as Klein not only used her End of the Match guillotine choke, she held onto the hold well after the submission victory. Taking exception to Klein’s actions, Purrazzo distracted Kelly in her match with Q that allowed Karen to add a wrinkle to Klein’s undefeated streak as she lost to Karen by count-out. On the hunt for revenge while hoping to avenge her loss to Q, Kelly took on both Karen and Purrazzo in a bout that aired on the latest Women of Honor ROH TV special. It seemed Q & Purrazzo were on the same page; planning to put Klein out of the match to determine the better between two people who had shown nothing but respect for each other. But that respect factor was thrown out of the window when Q took advantage of a knocked out Deonna to pin her after disposing Klein from the ring. Since then Q has turned it up a notch in terms of violence, bashing veteran Sumie Sakai after a successful match and even costing Purrazzo her rematch against Klein prior to a No Disqualification match between Deonna and Q saw the prior gain a big measure of vengeance. On the opposite end of the spectrum has been Brandi Rhodes – an in-ring rookie who made her ROH debut as a competitor only this past summer in a losing effort. After failing to overcome the likes of Kelly Klein and Rain, Rhodes broke her losing streak heading into this historic tournament. It’ll be incredibly interesting to see if Brandi can handle the new aggressive nature of her opposition or will it overwhelm the lady of a wrestling dynasty.

Cody vs. Matt Taven
2017 proved to be a rough year for Matt Taven’s version of The Kingdom. After ending 2016 as Six-Man Tag Team champions, The Kingdom suffered an unexpected turn of events that led to them losing the title, TK O’Ryan being forced out of action due to a nasty leg injury, and Taven & Vinny Marseglia failing to get any traction as a duo. Claiming conspiracy by ROH management to hold him & his crew down, Taven has declared no more in 2018 as he has started an impressive winning streak that will prevent ROH from supposedly ignoring his & The Kingdom’s talents. Cody, on the other hand, found great success in 2017 to the point he’s taking credit for ROH’s record-breaking attendance records and PPV buy rates in the year. So what better way for Taven to definitively establish himself as one of the best ROH has to offer than by taking down the ROH Wrestler of the Year in 2017? Taven put Cody on notice in Philadelphia right after the latter failed to retain his ROH World Championship. Cody is an obvious springboard in the eyes of Taven while The Kingdom’s leader is a way for Cody to pull himself back up to the mountaintop where he reigned a majority of 2017. This will be a very interesting encounter featuring two men on the more villainous side of things that could be indicative of what type of year both men could have going forward.

Jay Lethal vs. Flip Gordon
Flip Gordon was a rare breed in 2017 for ROH – a top prospect who made an appearance outside of the Top Prospect Tournament and immediately made a splash to the point he was signed to ROH as a full-time competitor. Similar to Jay Lethal in 2016, a majority of last year saw Gordon doing battle with The Bullet Club; being involved in must-see bouts that usually didn’t end in his favor. But 2017 wasn’t just about shortcomings for Gordon as he did pick up his share of victories including over international talent like Ultimo Guerrero and current Six-Man Tag Team champ Adam Page. This will be Gordon’s greatest test to date as he’ll step into the ring one-on-one with the “Franchise of ROH”. Jay Lethal’s intended journey back to regaining the ROH World Championship was derailed in 2017 thanks to feuds with the likes of Silas Young and Marty Scurll. Refocused, Lethal has the chance to restart a winning streak that began at “Final Battle”. This will be a great test of Gordon’s abilities as a majority of the talent he’s faced off with in ROH are either similar to him in style or don’t have the ROH big match experience that can only come from being a main event star for a consistent period of time. There’s a good chance Lethal will win this one, but it’ll be the best learning experience possible for Gordon in ROH thus far; win, lose or draw.

Marty Scurll vs. Shane Taylor
Shane Taylor’s goal not only in ROH, but also in his overall existence is a simple, yet noble one: make the best life possible for his family. Since The Rebellion faction disbanded, Taylor has become a gun-for-hire; a man who will do any violent job for the right price including protecting members of The Bullet Club. But not keeping up with ones protection payments can be a costly one. According to ROH’s website, when SoCal Uncensored aimed to attack The Hung Bucks, Marty Scurll was left unconscious backstage. Taylor has since taken credit for the attack; setting the stage for a first-time singles clash between one of the heaviest hitters in ROH today and a man who has shown the depths of his abilities to win by any means necessary be it with his Chicken Wing submission or his infamous umbrella. Scurll will have to use everything & the kitchen sink if he wants to overcome such a monstrous force in ROH. This will be one of the most interesting takes on a David vs. Goliath style match seen in ROH history.

Women Of Honor Championship Tournament Qualifier: “Bonesaw” Jessie Brooks vs. Gabby Ortiz


No Disqualification: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Karen Q


Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods


Stella Grey & Riley Shepard vs Jessie Brooks and Tasha Steelz


Bryan Danielson vs. AJ Styles


New ROH Title Belts


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 Chris Jericho GOAT status and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/30_Mins_Honor_Nation_Y2Goat.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.

Till Then.



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