Last week: The Hardys successfully defended ROH World Tag Team Championship against The Briscoes before The Addiction & Dalton Castle bested The Bullet Club’s Adam Cole & The Young Bucks in the main event.
ROH TV Episode 289 4/1/17 Las Vegas, NV
Something big went down following the main event last week as Adam Cole, disappointed in the outcome of not only the match, but also leaving Cole high & dry at the “15th Anniversary” event, decided to fire The Young Bucks from The Bullet Club. Matt Jackson took the microphone to remind Cole that it was The Bucks who got Cole into the faction. To top it off, Matt noted that there was only one leader of The Bullet Club, Kenny Omega. As The Bucks left the ring, the scene moved to Cole in the promo section where he lamented over the fact he lost the title due to circumstances beyond his control – just like the last two times he lost the World title. Cole promised to win the ROH World Championship again.
Ray Rowe vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. A Pearl Harbor job by Smith as Ray posed on the top rope. The left knee of Rowe was the focus of Smith as he took the fight to the floor. Though Rowe tried to fight back, Smith was in complete control as he not only utilized a shin breaker across the timekeeper’s table, but also unleashed the figure four leg lock around the steel ring post before the commercial break. The show returned and dey was a clubberin’ until Smith went for a flying knee bar he converted into the STF. The former ROH Tag Team champion was close enough to the ropes to save himself from the STF, but was stuck in the ring’s middle for a modified Indian deathlock. Rolling as hard as he could, Ray found the bottom rope yet again. Hobbling to the corner, Rowe avoided the flying knee to utilize shotgun knees. Performing one of his patented maneuvers cost Rowe as he got up first, but got knocked down almost immediately with the lariat. Ray found the fortitude to kick out before the two count, leading to a slugfest. Ducking a haymaker, Rowe utilized the German suplex to gain a two count. Death Rowe was on Ray’s mind, but Smith was able to stop the maneuver. Rowe’s second attempt as those shotgun knees failed as Smith moved and hit that Saito suplex. Kicking Rowe in position for the sit-out power bomb ended in a two count for Smith, much to his surprise. Smith thought this was the perfect opportunity for the sharpshooter when Rowe countered by sweeping Smith into the knee strike that was topped by Death Rowe for a pin fall in his favor.
Marty Scurll was in the promo section to commend Kenny King for being a talented individual, but warned his future challenger that talent won’t be enough to wrest the TV title from “The Villain”.
Following the commercial, Kenny King declared tonight would be the night he would finally get the gold around his waist to match the gold on his wrist while sending Scurll back to England the way of Mary Poppins.
Kevin Kelly & Ian Riccaboni send us back to “Manhattan Mayhem VI” and New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom to witness the semi-finals of this year’s Top Prospect Tournament.
Top Prospect Tournament First Round: Josh Woods vs. Brian Milonas Showing his strength advantage, Milonas turned the collar & elbow into a face plant. It proved to be a not-so-smart maneuver as Woods went for the takedown early. Milonas fired back by clotheslining and kicking Woods onto the apron. When “The Kingpin” came after him, Woods cinched in the omoplata with the ropes to help him gain some leverage. Rushing Milonas in the ring, “The Goods” met nothing but the top rope stomach first before taking a sidewalk slam as the show headed into a commercial break. It was Milonas still in control when the show returned, much to the chagrin of the fans. Slipping behind Milonas, Woods swung the big man into the flying knee. Getting too close to the still vertical “Kingpin”, Woods got tossed overhead. When Woods kicked out of Milonas’ follow up pin, the big man insultingly slapped him. Going for another slap, Milonas accidentally put himself in prime position for the triangle choke. Unfortunately for Woods, Milonas still had a great base and was able to turn his submission predicament into a spine buster. Milonas wanted to squash Woods against the turnbuckles, but took a knee to the head for his trouble. Milonas was too close to the ropes for a successful pin, so Woods sprung off the ropes for something bigger. “Kingpin” clotheslined Woods out of the sky before unleashing that spinning senton back bump that won him his first TPT match … to gain a near fall! Shocked, Milonas went back to his original strategy of trying to squash Woods in the corner, but “The Goods” was ready by moving and slipping behind the big man. In a shocking show of strength, Woods executed a German suplex to set up the roundhouse kick to Milonas’ head for the three count.
Also at “Manhattan Mayhem VI”, Bully Ray interrupted The Bullet Club’s beat down of The Briscoes & Bobby Fish. With the fans chanting, “E-C-W!” the scene shifted to The Briscoes were they went wild over Bully Ray not only coming to ROH, but also coming to team with Dem Boys next week when they battle for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship alongside “Hardcore 5150”.
At the “15th Anniversary” pay-per-view, Frankie Kazarian became a top contender for the Television title by winning a Six Man Mayhem match. Later in the night, Kazarian helped his tag team partner and friend Christopher Daniels win the ROH World Championship.
ROH World Television Championship: Marty Scurll (c) vs. Kenny King Kazarian was at the announcers’ table for this one as hometown boy and number one contender King actually had the fans against him while “The Villain” refused to follow the Code of Honor. The early grappling exchange saw both men coming up short in gaining an early advantage. Scurll was having fun countering what King had in mind as the show headed into a commercial break. Scurll was in control as the show returned, but King refused to let the champ walk all over him as he backed into the corner a series of knife edge chops – which he responded with some strikes of his own topped by the macho hotshot. King’s springboard attack resulted in him being tripped and sent to the floor for that thrust kick off the apron. The fans were all over “The Villain” on that side of ringside; giving him every reason to cuss them out after kicking King in the face again. In the ring, Scurll stomped the knees of his latest challenger off the surfboard. Whipping King into the corner, Scurll almost got pinned with the sunset flip Jerry Lynn style. When the champion kicked out he caught King coming in with an arm wrench that allowed “The Villain” to work over King’s shoulder and almost force a submission with the straightjacket. Scurll got too relaxed in his offense and almost got choked out when King turned the submission against him. Scurll freed himself, running into not only a spin kick, but also the spine buster … to gain a near fall before the final commercial!
The pace had quickened and Scurll won that battle by dropkicking the legs from underneath his challenger before dropping him on his head courtesy of the brain buster and a pile driver … that gave “The Villain” a near fall! Jumping to his feet, Scurll thrust kicked him in the face before going for the super kick. King tried to counter with the capoeira kick, but had to change his plan into pinning combinations. When Scurll kicked out, King put the champ on the top rope. After landing an enzuguri, King was thinking Royal Flush. Scurll stopped what the challenger had in mind by going for the Chicken Wing. Thankfully for King, he was close enough to the ropes to not only stop the submission, but also send Scurll to the floor for that corkscrew plancha. King was on fire, whipping Scurll against the barricades on the floor and hitting the blockbuster in the ring … to gain a two count! King had the Royal Flush in mind, but Scurll was able to get a hold of King’s wrist on the way to up stop what The Rebellion member by unleashing finger dislocation. King was understandably stunned and prone to Chicken Wing for a submission victory in favor of “The Villain”.
Overall: There was little to no way this week’s episode could’ve lived up to last week’s monumental showing, but it did deliver a surprisingly strong episode. An argument can be made the opener stole the show with a big man match rooted in technique and strategy. Josh Woods definitely clicked with Milonas a lot better than Raphael King and has been a part of the two best bouts of the Tournament thus far. The main event started off slow, but really picked up during the closing moments in both action and crowd reception. While Scurll gets praised all the time (and for good reason), King is one of the most underrated talents going today; and the main event showed why. While not the must-see, classic episode to rival last week’s exceptional offering, this episode proved greatly consistent both from a narrative perspective (the War Machine-K.E.S. feud, The Bullet Club’s problems and Adam Cole’s title loss, Bully Ray’s arrival and how it could play into the Six-Man division, the TV title rankings both short-term & long-term) and in-ring (the surprising technical hoss battle to open the show and two back-to-back matches that really picked up steam during the final minutes), and highly enjoyable.