The ROHbot Report: Supercard of Honor XI Preview and More
By James Bullock Apr 2, 2017 - 10:46 PM
Welcome to another edition of The ROHbot Report – the only article you need for all the Ring of Honor news you have to know. It’s the biggest weekend of the year in all of wrestling and the men & women of ROH is looking to make it about “The Best Wrestling on the Planet” with an iPPV for the ages.
“Supercard of Honor XI” Preview; April 1st, 2017; Lakeland, FL
ROH World Championship: Christopher Daniels defends against Dalton Castle The end of 2016 proved to be fantastic for Dalton Castle. “The Peacock of Pro Wrestling” was on the verge of becoming a tag team champion alongside Colt Cabana when the wrestling veteran turned on him and initiated a feud that would apparently culminate at “Final Battle” where Castle solidly won. But between those moments, Castle did something he never accomplished thus far in his ROH career: pin the ROH World champion. It was during the closing moments of ROH’s Champions vs. All-Stars match when Castle, in a three-on-two scenario, turned the elimination match in his team’s favor by executing the Bang-a-Rang to pin Adam Cole. Since that night, Castle has been making verbal waves and reminding everyone what happened that night in Dearborn. But when Castle was initially letting the world know his intentions of becoming the next World champion it was Kyle O’Reilly, then Adam Cole (again) holding the gold. Now the same man he pinned to gain such confidence in his abilities has lost the championship – Adam Cole – to someone who Castle too has encountered in the past in Christopher Daniels. Before this night in Florida, the champ and his future challenger fought against and, as seen most recently on ROH TV, successfully together. The sole singles Daniels and Castle match had in ROH was won by Daniels, but only because of interference. A majority of their encounters have been in tag team affairs that actually have Castle in the lead with victories. In “Supercard of Honor’s” illustrious history, the World title has only changed hands twice – once in 2009 and once in 2013. ROH is promoting this as the biggest “SCOH” in the company’s history. If Castle wins it could also become one of the most historic.
ROH World Tag Team Championship (Ladder Match): The Hardys defends against The Young Bucks “Final Battle 2016” was an absolutely grand moment in the careers of Nick & Matt Jackson as they achieved a goal long thought impossible by successfully defending the ROH World Tag Team Championship against The Briscoes on pay-per-view. But the aftermath is what really had people talking as Matt Hardy in all of his broken glory appeared on screen to put out the challenge to “The Bucks of Youth”. According to Hardy, he and his brother are on a quest that has taken them throughout time & space to prove themselves the best tag team in wrestling history, and one of the ways to accomplish that feat is by besting one of, if not the best tag teams in all the world on their home turf. For the first time in years (in the case of Jeff, over a decade) The Hardys were to make their returns to ROH with the intent of proving that even in an era that should’ve passed them by they are still one of the best tandems wrestling has to offer. But then the unexpected happened and Matt & Jeff were not only able to arrive a month earlier, they came to ROH and immediately challenged for the championship. And in an even more surprising twist, The Hardys defeated The Bucks to become the new ROH World Tag Team champions. Keeping the momentum strong, Matt & Jeff successfully defended the championship in a crazy Triple Threat Las Vegas Street Fight during the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view. During The Hardys’ post-match celebration they decided to take The Bucks’ vanity title belts in the Superkick title. During ROH’s most recent TV taping, Matt & Nick Jackson confronted The Hardys with the challenge – at “Supercard of Honor XI” make their match a Ladder Match and put all four championship belts above the ring. Of course The Hardys agreed to the challenge as Ladder Matches have been their forte since 1999. That’s not to mean The Bucks can’t hang in the chaotic environment as their most recent ROH title victory came courtesy of Ladder War VI. While their first ROH encounter was memorable for both the surprise factor and the title change, it was hard to figure out what could’ve made the rematch something special in comparison. Then the match itself changed from its very foundation and there’s no way one can’t be excited by the possibility of these top teams from two different generations fight in a match that has been the basis of not only sheer innovation, but has also changed the trajectory of careers including The Hardys.
ROH World Television Championship: Marty Scurll defends against Adam Cole ROH’s “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view event proved to be a tale of two different title match outcomes, yet both delivering excellent outings. Midway through the event, Marty Scurll retained his ROH World Television title against Lio Rush in a thriller of a contest. A little over an hour later, Adam Cole found himself 0-2 in back-to-back PPV title defenses as he was dethroned as the ROH World champion. With Castle already locked in for the World title match at “Supercard of Honor XI”, Cole was left matchless until now where he’d have the opportunity to wrestle for a championship that helped him break away from the stigma of being a tag team wrestler in 2012 when he shocked the ROH world by besting “Mr. ROH” Roderick Strong to win his first ROH championship. While it took a little while for Cole to find his place as a singles star in ROH, Marty Scurll found his stride almost immediately that brought forth this “Reign of Wickedness” and a slew of entertaining title defenses. Though Scurll has been on nothing short of a role as of late, the potential of a title change is always strong considering the status of Cole and The Bullet Club (even if the rumor is true Cole isn’t going to be around for much longer). If Scurll does best Cole it will be a huge boon for him unlike anything seen in his ROH tenure thus far. On a loaded card, this could actually steal the show while being one of the most memorable villain versus villain matches in ROH history.
Texas Bullrope Match: Cody vs. Jay Lethal “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.
Will Ospreay & Volador Jr. vs. Dragon Lee & Jay White The stars or New Japan and CMLL will be a part of ROH’s offering during wrestling biggest weekend of the year including first-time appearances. On one of the ring will be Jay White – a New Japan “young lion” whose undefeated streak just recently ended thanks to Jay Briscoe on ROH TV. By White’s side will be CMLL star and former Lightweight champion Dragon Lee. Lee, though he hasn’t been making appearances in ROH as long as his partner, the CMLL star made a big splash fairly quickly with matches against the likes of Kamaitachi, Bobby Fish and, most recently, Will Ospreay. Ironically enough, “The Aerial Assassin” Ospreay will go toe-to-toe with Lee for the second time in less than a month after Lee bested him in New York. Ospreay, who had a star-making year in 2016, will look to make 2017 even better in comparison by succeeding in both ROH and New Japan. Then there’s the debuting Volador Jr. Volador Jr. is renown since debuting in CMLL in 2001 where the second-generation grappler eventually won championships in his home promotion and abroad including NWA titles. Volador Jr. also has experience working in New Japan; almost winning last year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Volador Jr., the master of the Ataque Depredador (a double knee backbreaker), could begin a reign of greatness in ROH that starts in the “Sunshine State” while being one-fourth of a show-stealing encounter unlike anything else offered during the weekend.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team champions The Briscoes & Bully Ray vs. The Bullet Club (Hangman Page & The Guerrillas of Destiny Before the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view, Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser was scheduled to wrestle for the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship alongside a mystery partner. Then a series of unexpected results saw The Briscoes & Bully Ray become the new World Six-Man Tag Team champions after, ironically enough, Silas Young failed to successfully replace TK O’Ryan after a freak accident put the former champion on the injured list. To top it off, the work visas for Jushin Liger and YOSHI-HASHI couldn’t be processed fast enough to bring them in for the weekend as originally scheduled. To make up for the losses & changes, ROH has created a first-time encounter featuring the returning Guerrillas of Destiny teaming with Bullet Club member Hangman Page taking on the new Six-Man Tag Team titleholders. For those who don’t remember, The Briscoes had a trio of matches against The G.O.D. in various tag team encounters including a Six-Man Tag Team bout that saw The Briscoes & Jushin Liger best them and Adam Page shortly after “The Hangman” joined the faction. Bully Ray is essentially the biggest variable in who comes out on top as Ray’s teaming with The Briscoes has produced nothing but success thus far and could definitely continue during “Supercard of Honor XI”. Interestingly enough, Ray also played a major role in training both Guerillas and could prove that the teacher teaches everything their students know, but not everything they know.
Frankie Kazarian vs. Damien Martinez Before Frankie Kazarian showed his true colors and helped his best friend overcome The Bullet Club and win the ROH World Championship, “The Heavy Metal Rebel” found himself in the ring with five other grapplers including Damien Martinez in hopes of becoming a top contender to the TV Championship. On that night, Kazarian overcame the onslaught of the big man and ended the match in his favor. Kazarian – who was originally scheduled to fight Daniels on this card and will battle for the TV title in Baltimore on the 8th of April – now will battle a demon of his recent past. Martinez has started to make 2017 his own by not only impressing on the PPV, but also showcasing his talents in Japan during the “Honor Rising” events including a must-see NEVER Openweight title match where he took Hirooki Goto to the limit. Kazarian, just like Daniels, loves to use his smarts to overcome; and he will have to be the smartest man in the ring on this night if he wants to conquer “Punishment” without the help of four other wrestlers beating him down alongside Kazarian. It’ll be interesting to see how these two mesh as it looks like this isn’t the type of bout you’d expect to see, let alone on such a big event.
The Kingdom vs. Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser As noted earlier in the preview, before the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view, Silas Young & Beer City Bruiser was scheduled to wrestle for the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship alongside a mystery partner. Then a series of unexpected results saw The Briscoes & Bully Ray become the new World Six-Man Tag Team champions after, ironically enough, Silas Young failed to successfully replace TK O’Ryan after a freak accident put the former champion on the injured list. Naturally upset over their losing the Six-Man Tag Team title without their usually partner & friend, The Kingdom challenged “Milwaukee’s Worst” to a match at ROH’s next event. While one could count out Young & Bruiser before this match happens, don’t forget that a year ago “Pro Wrestling’s Last Real Men” survived onslaught of several long-term tandems to win Tag Wars 2016. This could prove to be a huge boost for Young & BCB if they can’t not only win, but also overcome former champions on a big stage. For The Kingdom, this could be their moment to stake their claim at becoming the next ROH World Tag Team champions – something Taven accomplished as a part of the old iteration of The Kingdom. While it probably won’t be the best match on the card, don’t be surprised if it’s one of those bouts that shocks many for its high quality.
La Amapola vs. Marcela It was a pleasant surprise when it was announced two long-time luchadoras would make their ROH debuts on behalf of their home promotion during wrestling’s biggest weekend of the year. La Amapola, a near twenty year pro and the master of double knee backbreaker, has the great claim to fame of not only being one of CMLL’s elite, but also the longest reigning CMLL World Women’s champion in history by retaining the title for four years. Ironically enough, it was Marcela ended the historic reign to begin her second try at being the best women’s wrestler the company had to offer. Over the course of four Women’s title reigns, Marcela – who began her career over a decade before La Amapola – has made it a habit of keeping challengers at bay for nearly a year (with only one reign coming under 100 days). It’ll be interesting to see if these two rivals can live up legacy they’ve made doing battle over & over again in CMLL.
Kelly Klein vs. Deonna Purrazzo The globetrotter herself Deonna Purrazzo will make her return to ROH and the Women of Honor division during one of the biggest shows of the year on the ROH calendar to take on someone who hasn’t been bested since debuting in Kelly Klein. “The Gatekepper” nickname has been given to Klein for good reason as the master of the guillotine choke – “The End of the Match” – has been plowing through opponent after opponent in the division except for Purrazzo. Though they’ve meet up in tag team competition elsewhere, this is the first time in WOH history where these two stalwarts of the division since its restart will do battle. It’ll be interesting to see how Purrazzo, who has shown her proficiency in grappling, will be able to counter the power and technique of someone no Woman of Honor has been able to figure out for the past year & a half in what should be a very David vs. Goliath-esque affair.
Mandy Leon & Jenny Rose vs. Sumie Sakai & Faye Jackson When it comes to the latest iteration of the Women of Honor division, the early version of Mount Rushmore would consist of Kelly Klein, Deonna Purrazzo, Taeler Hendrix and, of course, Mandy Leon. Probably the most known ROH graduate since Rhett Titus and Cheeseburger, Leon has impressed against a variety of opponents in the division including a No Disqualification match where she fell short to Hendrix. But before Leon was one of the faces of a division she was being taught how to survive in the ring courtesy of Jenny Rose. Rose, someone who too has learned in the ROH Dojo, took Leon under her wing and even was a part of Mandy’s first professional match. On the other side of ring will be a veteran-rookie pairing – a duo that came close, but fell short in victory the last time they were. Sumie Sakai has shown that age and years of abuse in the ring haven’t slowed her down in leading the charge toward victory for herself and her team – something seen when ROH returned to last March. The ROH Dojo graduate in Faye Jackson showed just how much potential she has when she took the fight to ODB in her debut match seen on ROH TV, and the tag team bout where Sakai & Jackson came together in the past. This should be another highly entertaining WOH tag team outing that, hopefully, pops some big numbers on ROH’s Youtube channel.
The Briscoes & Bully Ray Ready for The Bullet Club
Coast to Coast vs. The Carnies
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 why WWE would want to buy ROH and more (http://www.wewantinsanity.com/am2/publish/free_audio/24_Mins_Honor_Nation_Ring_of_McMahon.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.