Corey Hollis joins the fray as the march to Jeff Cobb – and that ROH TV title shot – continues.

“New stars are climbing the ladder in unconventional ways. That’s what Dojo Pro is” – I now want to see a montage of wrestlers climbing ladders in funny ways. Kofi Kingston may have a few shots already… They have at least updated the ladder between episodes, although I ponder why James Storm at number 6 doesn’t have a seeding listed. That seems weird…

Matt Lott’s still in the studio, staring at one fixed camera, before pitching to the next video package. Wheeler YUTA notes how champions are losing, but he feels he’ll buck the trend and eventually cash in the white belt to become a black belt. Corey Hollis notes he’s been in every major promotion in the US, including ROH and “bigger and better”. SHADE!

Hollis refuses to be what others want him to be because being better doesn’t always mean you get ahead… he notes that he’s been trained by AJ Styles, and was his last independent match before going to WWE. Or as he said it, he was given promises by “them”. Hollis feels he needs to win because his time is running out.

Wheeler YUTA vs. Corey Hollis
Commentary labelled Hollis as “bitter” over how his career hasn’t progressed… and we start with Hollis ripping down his banner on the stage as it portrayed how he “used” to look. Something tells me that’s him going out in one match…

The crowd chant “Tusk-a-loser” at Hollis, who walks out, prompting Referee Seth Rogen to start the count-out. Hollis runs back to break the count and repeats the trick, and again, as he seems to be trying to get under everybody’s skins. Eventually we get some action as YUTA grabs a headlock… but Hollis grabs some hair before powdering to the outside yet again. He returns and gets charged down by YUTA, who keeps up the pressure and the pace, before scoring with an armdrag and an armbar, with Hollis quickly finding his way to the ropes. Just how small IS this ring?!

YUTA keeps up with chops and forearms in the corner, forcing Hollis to the mat, then into the corners as he took Hollis’ head into the buckles, eventually forcing Hollis to wobble to the mat. Hollis actually rebounds from there with some punches, after having tricked YUTA with his earlier jelly legs routine, but it’s turned right back around as YUTA is back with punches and chops, before sending Hollis flying with a back body drop.

There’s another comeback from Hollis, who throws YUTA into the ringpost… and it’s that post that’s used again and again on the current champion, which almost leads to a count-out as it seemed that it was literally winner stays on, rather than the usual title rules here. Nevermind, YUTA beats the count and gets stomped on, as Hollis goes back to that arm, before eventually being met with a crossbody.

Hollis again goes outside, but this time he’s met with a tope by YUTA before another crossbody back inside nearly puts him away. A cheeky roll-up nearly gets Hollis the W, but he goes back to the arm before a Blue Thunder bomb from YUTA turns it around. A trapped keylock from Hollis forces YUTA to drag himself into the ropes for the break… and out of anger Hollis swings at the referee… he misses, but Hollis is forced to beg to not get DQ’d.

Not to matter, he’s quickly met with a superkick from YUTA, who goes up top for an elbow, only for Hollis to have a foot under the rope as he saves himself. From there, Hollis takes YUTA into the corner as he pulled the arm into the turnbuckle pad, giving YUTA an impromptu and unwanted near armpad, stomping on it, before he ended up getting trapped in a STF as YUTA had to improvise… but it works as Wheeler becomes the first man to successfully defend!

This one started off rough with all the stalling, but you have to think that given how Hollis was, he may play a part at some point down the line. ***

Next up, Wheeler YUTA’s got Joey Janela as he continues his search for the black belt! After a general rough start to the series, this show’s improving – although that may well just be my subjectivity as we’re dealing with folks I’m more aware of. Mind you, these episodes are getting longer, so who knows?