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ROH TV Episode 344: Making History

By James Bullock Apr 25, 2018 - 1:42 PM print


Last week: The Young Bucks won a Tag Team Gauntlet match to become the number one contenders to the ROH World Tag Team Championship.

ROH TV Episode 344
4/21/18
New Orleans, LA

Women of Honor Championship Tournament Semi-final: Kelly Klein vs. Mayu Iwatani
Before the bout there were both video recaps of how both women made it this far in the tournament as well as promos from both. Kelly Klein put over Mayu Iwatani’s skills while declaring victory over her. The Stardom star promised victory in her semi-final match with Klein with the intent of defending the title throughout Japan. Mayu closed her promo in English by stating, “Kelly, I’m gonna kick your ass.”
Stern collar & elbow to open this one saw Kelly Klein easily shove her opposition across the ring. Mayu Iwatani paid her back by sidestepping the second tie up before pushing her aside. Klein quickly took her opponent down, leading to a grappling exchange that ended when they tumbled into the ropes. Iwatani picked up the pace, sweeping Klein into a pair of kicks including a single-leg dropkick to the back of Kelly’s head. “The Gatekeeper” ended up on the apron; kneeing the incoming Mayu on her jaw. Cornering Mayu, Klein unleashed a series of forearms before utilizing a running big boot to gain a two count. The fans were surprisingly split in support of both women as Klein playfully kicked Iwatani around the ring. Iwatani got up swinging double chops a la Ricky Steamboat. Though Klein was able to withstand the strikes, Iwatani seemingly had the advantage as she lured Kelly into a cradle. Kicking out, Klein unleashed a sick lariat that dropped Mayu on her head. Klein was enjoying choking Mayu even while perched on the top rope. Iwatani used Klein’s time of self-adulation to recover and catch her with some simple punches to execute the frankensteiner. Missile dropkick connected for Mayu, but she didn’t go for the pin. Instead, Iwatani wanted to double stomp Klein from the top. Kelly moved, only to be super kicked in position for the super double stomp. Once again it was Iwatani looking for another big maneuver rather than going for the pin. The frog splash worked … but only gave Iwatani a near fall!
Hooking Klein for the Dragon Suplex didn’t work for Mayu, nor did the hurricarana. Mayu lost the reverse hurricarana in mid-motion, but put Klein into a pinning combination with the botch. Klein kicked out, hooking and hitting a kneeling Michinoku driver to gain a two count of her own. Blocking that fall away slam, Iwatani was able to hit a northern lights suplex. Klein retaliated with a suplex of her own, rolling through the maneuver to cinch in the End of the Match guillotine choke. Iwatani refused to tap, passing out to give Klein the victory & the advancement.

Women of Honor Championship Tournament Semi-final: Tenille Dashwood vs. Sumie Sakai
Like the previous bout, both women’s journeys to this moment were recapped before both had the chance to tell the world why they want to become the Women of Honor champion. The other half of the bracket in Tenille Dashwood stated how hard she’s worked to get to this moment while Sumie Sakai saw this as the culmination of a two decade-long journey after Ring of Honor changed her life for the better and allowed her to become a star both in her homeland & on the west.
Code of Honor followed, only for Sumie Sakai to come out of the gate with an attack. Instead, Sumie ran into a takedown. Sakai got out of the pinning predicament throwing running strikes and a swinging fisherman’s buster. Tenille Dashwood was right there with Sumie as she had strikes to keep Sakai reeling before executing something big like a rope-assisted neck breaker that put Sakai on the floor. Dashwood asked the crowd if they wanted to see her fly. When she got a positive response, Dashwood utilized a cross body block off the top rope to wipe out Sakai at ringside! The crowd was cheering following the move before rallying behind Sakai as Dashwood put her in an Indian deathlock in the ring. Sakai actually slapped her way out of the hold, pulling out some Mongolian chops before sweeping Tenille into the cross arm bar. Dashwood kept her hands grasped, using the maneuver to cradle Sakai. When the arm bar almost ended with her being pinned, Sakai switched holds by floating over and putting Dashwood in the crossface. Dashwood refused to give up, forcing Sumie to surrender the hold and try something else. Whipping Dashwood into the corner, Sumie ran into a forearm topped by the sunset flip. A charging Sumie ran face-first into the middle turnbuckle and put herself in position for Taste of Tenille … to give Dashwood a two count!
Placing Sumie on the top rope, Dashwood couldn’t pull off whatever she intended. Instead, Sakai kicked her opponent in position for the missile dropkick. When that maneuver didn’t end this one, Sakai executed the bridging belly to back to earn another two count. Sumie was fired up and ready to pull off a hurricarana when she ran into the Liger bomb … for another near fall in Dashwood’s favor!
Like Sumie, Tenille coming off the ropes cost her as she ran into Smash Mouth … but it didn’t end this one!
Sakai scaled the ropes, looking for a moonsault when Dashwood caught her with the German superplex … for another two count!
Frustrated, Dashwood called for the Spotlight Kick when Sakai countered with a crucifix to pin & eliminate Tenille from the tournament in something of an upset.
Both Kelly Klein and Sumie Sakai were brought to the ring for a photo-op featuring the Women of Honor Championship belt between them. Klein attacked her future opponent; potentially put Sakai in a great disadvantage heading into the finale.

Women of Honor Championship Tournament Final: Kelly Klein vs. Sumie Sakai
Former WCW star, SHIMMER title challenger, & ROH manager of stars like CM Punk & Colt Cabana Daffney was at ringside for this historic match. Sumie Sakai wasn’t waiting around, attacking Kelly Klein before the initial introductions. Sakai was stomping a mudhole into Kelly before hitting the ropes. Instead of knocking Klein down, Sumie ran into a German suplex. Klein didn’t have a chance to put her mouth guard in until she downed Sakai. Sumie used this time to recover, sending Kelly into the middle turnbuckle after taking a bash. Rushing the stunned Klein ended in her feeling the stun gun. Klein took the fight to the floor, whipping Sumie against the barricades before utilizing a suplex on the floor. Like her previous match, Klein used the suplex to lock in the End of the Match. The referee broke up the hold, demanding both women to reenter the ring. Klein obliged, looking for that super fall away slam. Sumie blocked the maneuver, sunset bombing Klein.
Rather than go for a pin, Sakai came off the ropes for something that ended with her taking that fall away slam. Fighting spirit powered Sumie and allowed her to retaliate almost immediately with the swinging fisherman’s buster. Rallying the fans behind her, Sakai went for a roll up. Instead, Sumie ran into a wheelbarrow suplex. The Women of Honor locker room suddenly emptied with all the ladies cheering on Sakai. Frustrated, Klein took out her aggression on Sumie courtesy of some forearms. The crowd was solidly behind Sakai as she started winning the striking battle, but Sakai lost the war when she ran into a big boot. Northern lights suplex worked for Klein, but she lost the bridge and allowed Sakai the room to kick out. Blocking the second northern lights, Sakai was able to execute a fisherman’s buster. Quickly climbing the ropes, Sakai pulled off a moonsault that she overshot. Kelly got up stumbling, falling into a kick. They were struggling over something when Klein was yanked into a sick DDT that had her awkwardly land on the top of her head & twisted her neck. Sumie made the cover, picking up the three count to become the first Women of Honor champion.

Overall: Instead of just either showing the finale or just highlights of the overall action that occurred during “Supercard of Honor”, ROH wisely dedicated and episode to the conclusion of the Women of Honor Championship tournament. Both semi-final matches were good, but definitely had their moments of sloppiness; not to mention the outcomes being a little questionable. But the narrative ROH was trying to present paid off as the fans were into Sumie during the finale where the veteran overcame the odds and defeated Kelly Klein to become the first WOH champion. The final match’s ending definitely came across as one gigantic botch that not only deflated the crowd, but also couldn’t be edited. The biggest problem with this episode is it’s essentially something that has already aired if someone watched “SCOH”. If not, this is a fine episode based around ROH’s continued effort to showcase its female talent with the division’s definitive moment thus far. The matches won’t blow anyone away, but it’s great to see the company finally giving the Women of Honor something to fight for instead of just random matches airing on both ROH TV and Youtube.



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ROH TV Episode 347: Never Saw It Coming
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ROH TV Episode 346: Twisted & Broken
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ROH TV Episode 345: No Honor Among Thieves
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ROH TV Episode 344: Making History
Apr 25, 2018
ROH TV Episode 343: Beers, Cats & Gauntlets
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ROH TV Episode 342: Three Ways Till Sunday
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ROH TV Episode 341: Champions Challenge
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ROH TV Episode 340: Primed & Patched
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ROH TV Episode 339: Animal Kingdom
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ROH TV Episode 338: Enemy of My Enemy
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ROH TV Episode 337: Breaking the Law
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ROH TV Episode 336: The Last Real King
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ROH TV Episode 335: Restoring Order
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ROH TV Episode 334: Pageantry & Punishment
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