It’s their first – and last – pay-per-view of the year, as we swing in for ROH’s Final Battle!
Tony Deppen pinned LSG, Josh Woods & Dak Draper in 11:41 (**¾)
Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus submitted Wheeler Yuta & Fred Yehi in 13:50 (***½)
Jonathan Gresham & Jay Lethal pinned PCO & Mark Briscoe in 12:50 to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championships (***)
Rey Horus pinned Dalton Castle in 9:10 (***)
Mike Bennett & Matt Taven pinned Bateman & Vincent in 16:19 (**)
Danhausen defeated Brian Johnson via disqualification in 8:44 (*)
Dragon Lee pinned Tony Deppen in 11:50 to retain the ROH World Television Championship (***½)
Shane Taylor pinned Jay Briscoe in 13:49 (***)
Jonathan Gresham defeated Flip Gordon via referee stoppage in 24:37 to retain the ROH Pure Championship (***¾)
Rush pinned Brody King in 16:34 to retain the ROH World Championship (**½)
We’re coming from the UBMC Event Center in Baltimore in front of no fans, for what’ll be ROH’s first and last pay-per-view of the year. Commentary comes from Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman and Dalton Castle. Riccaboni addresses the card changes at the top of the show before running down what we will be seeing tonight.
Dak Draper vs. Tony Deppen vs. LSG vs. Josh Woods
Winner gets a shot at Dragon Lee’s TV title later on in the night…
Deppen and LSG get turfed outside before the bell as we’re told if there’s a 20-minute time limit draw, we get no TV title match tonight. Woods and Draper roll on the mat, but they break in the ropes… we wash, rinse and repeat as grappling didn’t seem to create much headway, but there’s a blind tag in from LSG… something that Deppen repeats seconds later as those two went at it. LSG grabs the ropes to block an O’Connor roll, as Deppen then goes all lucha on us with roll throughs and backflips before a monkey flip was blocked. A neat floatover from Deppen gets him into place for a dropkick before LSG tosses him outside for a dropkick through the ropes. We’re under lucha rules, so Draper and Woods are now legal, with the pair going for flash pins as Deppen and LSG could only watch.
Woods falls outside, so Deppen takes over with a slap to Draper. He’s slapped back, but they pause for long enough for Deppen to come back… only to get booted away as he went for a springboard something or other. Draper measures up Deppen for a suplex, eventually landing it for a two-count, before he looked for a Magnum-KO… but LSG tags himself in, and promptly gets hot shotted to the outside. I guess Deppen’s legal again, as he’s ragdolled with a side Salto suplex attempt… Deppen grabs Draper’s leg to avoid being suplexed, but he’s just tossed aside.
Draper trash talks as Woods tried to get at him… and that distraction buys Deppen enough time to hit back, only to get dropkicked onto the apron as he was scaling the ropes. Draper superplexes Deppen back into the ring for a two-count, with Woods breaking it up, but he’s tossed outside just as quickly. A missed knee drop from Draper gets Deppen some breathing space, but Deppen has to slip out of a slam, taking himself to the floor as LSG came back in, somersaulting over Draper to hit some jabs to start a series of strikes. LSG’s a house afire as he almost put away Draper… but Woods is in with a butterfly spinning suplex to start a brief Parade of Moves, ending with a spinning back suplex from Draper to Deppen.
That leaves LSG and Draper in the ring… LSG’s caught on the top rope as Draper looks for another superplex, but Woods is in to turn it into a Tower of Doom, triggering it with a German superplex. Woods is apparently legal now as he slugs it out with Draper, eventually catching Dak with a knee strike before a clothesline offered a response, with a Doctor bomb almost getting Draper the win. From the kick-out, Woods goes for a submission, but the triangle choke came to nought as Woods pushed Draper outside… LSG takes advantage with a big splash, but Woods rolls outside, as Tony Deppen was in the right place at the right time to snatch the win with a roll-up. This was fine, but the lucha rules were a little clunky in places – but I’m all in on a Deppen/Dragon title match later! **¾
We’ve promo videos for tonight’s ROH title match, with Amy Rose narrating for her La Faccion Ingobernables cohort here. There’s going to be a lot of “I was locked away” promos throughout and after this pandemic, but they’re not passe yet!
Quinn McKay’s backstage in that mid-90s WWF set with the illuminated logo backdrop. She congratulates Deppen on fatherhood and his title shot… he tells us he’s here to show that he’s not a family, as we get those wild eyes.
More promos, this time with the Foundation as the Pure and tag titles are being defended tonight. Jonathan Gresham sorta dismisses Mark Briscoe and PCO as “not a team”, unlike he and Jay Lethal, with Jay vowing that they’ll have to wrestle for them. I mean, that’s the match, right?
We’re back with Quinn backstage. She’s with Shane Taylor, Moses and Kaun, and tells Shane Taylor’s crew that ROH have “bequeathed” the trios titles to Shane Taylor Promotions because of the missed defence. Shane doesn’t want to win them like that… so, no title change?
Commentary notes that Rey Horus is here, but doesn’t have a match. Much like Dalton Castle… so he leaves to warm up, as I guess we have a bonus match later?
Quinn’s back with Brian Johnson. He’s got Danhausen tonight, and Brian’s amped up with all the memories of Final Battles of old. He plans to end Danhausen tonight, and seems to be rather salty at the Internet fans for being fan-hausens.
We see Jay Briscoe arriving at the arena – having been told his match with EC3 is off… and then we get a promo video for the Righteous vs. the “original Kingdom” tag match later on.
Quinn’s back! She’s in a different part of the building looking for Jay Briscoe. She finds him in the corridors, with Jay accusing EC3 of “licking door handles as Jay goes walkies. He finds his brother Mark, and tries to get himself added to that match. Except Mark’s tagging with PCO, which leaves Jay out in the cold. Until he turned around and bumped into Shane Taylor, so I guess that’s another match too?
They run down the rules for the pure tag match, then give us a promo package… because that match is next!
Pure Rules: Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta vs. The Foundation (Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus)
This is the first ever Pure rules tag team match, and this is one for all of you sticklers. You can only tag hand-to-hand, while holding the ropes, and breaking up pins/submissions costs you one of your team’s three rope breaks. Do that with no rope breaks… and it’s a DQ.
To tell you how long it’s been since I last saw Rhett “regularly,” he was doing the “thrust is a must” gimmick. It’s been that long. Williams and Yehi start as we throw back to the old Catch Point team from EVOLVE… Yehi looks to work Williams’ wrist early on, but Williams tags out to Titus, who leaps onto Yehi’s arm before taking him down to the mat. Yehi yanks the arm, then starts a brief chop exchange before he dropped down and locked in a Koji clutch, which forces Titus to burn a rope break some 90-seconds in.
Yehi stays on the arm and tags in Yuta, who hammerlocks Rhett’s arm, playing in for some World of Sport-inspired stuff before a single leg dropkick got a one-count. Williams is back in as some double-teaming led to a clothesline that took Yuta into a Cloverleaf, with Wheeler burning a rope break at the 3 minute mark. Yuta tries to chop back in, but Williams instead hits back with a back suplex as Titus returned to hit a forearm to the back. A gutwrench suplex gets a one-count on Yuta, so Williams returned… except it wasn’t a hand-to-hand tag, so the referee enforces the rules, buying Yuta time to tag in Yehi… who went for a German suplex, but Williams goes to the ropes as we keep the break-per-90-seconds cadence here.
Yehi gets that German suplex in anyway, before a Koji clutch trapped Titus in the middle of the ring. A knee drop from Williams breaks up the hold, and costs them their final rope break as we cross the five minute mark. Yuta breaks up a pin seconds later, leaving his team with one break… but it’s the Ys who looked to push ahead, with Yuta’s springboard crossbody getting a one-count out of Rhett. Titus dropkicks Yuta off the middle turnbuckle, sending him outside as the ref starts a count-out… giving us time to replay the dropkick. Yehi’s fed up of waiting and rolls Yuta back inside so he could tag in… Williams is back as Catch Point went back at it again with elbows… Yehi’s stomps looked to stun Williams, but “Hot Sauce” is back before his piledriver attempt ended with him getting charged into the corner.
Williams elbows out of the corner as he knocks Yuta off the apron… but Yehi pulls him into a Koji clutch, with no rope breaks available to save him… Rhett Titus runs in instinctively to break it up, but he stops as that would have been a DQ. Williams got to the ropes, but it means nothing as Titus was in a Dragon sleeper on the outside, before he got free and lawn-darted Yuta into the move to break it up. A technicality. Yehi’s annoyed, but he just plants Williams with a brainbuster for a near-fall, before Williams forearms his way free. Titus and Yuta are back, with the pair trading crucifixes for two-counts, before a backbreaker from Rhett was turned into a spinning back suplex for another near-fall. Yuta’s atomic drop and enziguiri builds momentum before a German suplex gets another near-fall.
Another tag brings in Yehi, Titus doesn’t notice it as he’s subject to some double-teaming, before Yuta tagged back in to hit a big splash for another two-count. Titus escapes a back suplex though, before tagging out… Yuta’s cornered and booted before a lariat from Williams drew a near-fall for the Foundation tandem. A death valley driver follows, again for a near-fall with Yehi not wasting his team’s final rope break, before a piledriver from Williams forces Yehi to break the pin. From there, Williams goes for a crossface, but Yuta tries to roll into a pin… Williams kicks out, then reapplies it. The ropes can’t save Yuta, as Williams pushes on the ropes for more leverage to force the submission. This was a real good tag match to tempt you into buying the full show, but they really need to avoid the temptation to overdo the pure rules in tag matches – a novelty that could wear off quick. ***½
ROH World Tag Team Championship: Mark Briscoe & PCO vs. The Foundation (Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham) (c)
We’re opening the PPV portion with a tag title match! PCO’s bringing the experience to his makeshift team, as Jay Lethal mouthed off about forcing their opponents to wrestle.
Briscoe and Lethal start us off, with Mark elbowing out of a hammerlock attempt… he doesn’t tag out, but instead gathers himself to hit a drop toe hold, only for Briscoe to get up and hit a series of chops. An elbow drops Lethal, who’s then stomped out of the ring, returning with a hiptoss and a dropkick as he looked to make Mark do a wrestle. Instead, PCO tags in as commentary notes how PCO broke Lethal’s arm in the past. He threatens to do it again as Lethal wanted to tag out to Gresham… but instead PCO turned his back and offered a free shot. It suckered him in as PCO went for a cross armbreaker, forcing Lethal into the ropes for a break.
Gresham tags in, as PCO just laughs at him… he goozles Gresham to avoid a takedown, before chopping down the Pure champion. A right hand staggers Gresham, who claimed he was punched, before another one broke an arm wringer. Gresham’s complaints were in vain as PCO just picked him up and slammed him from the ring to the floor. Christ! Mark Briscoe’s in to hit a dropkick through the ropes to Lethal, who then also ate a cannonball as they tried to protect Gresham for later. Briscoe found a way through as all four men brawled on the floor, before a suplex from Briscoe dumped Gresham on the apron. The champions get run into each other as Briscoe set up a chair in the ring for a step-up cannonball from the ring to the floor. If it works, it works…
Things stay distinctly un-technical on the outside, as PCO set up for his big wacky bump… the senton bomb off the top onto the apron, which Lethal of course avoids. Back inside, Briscoe suplexes Gresham for a two-count, before he hit a dropkick-assisted German with the help of Lethal. The champions wear down Briscoe in the corner with some stomps, as some double-teaming led to Lethal going for a superplex. Briscoe headbutts Lethal away though, before diving across to tag in PCO, who hits chops to the neck as he knocked down Lethal. Some of those are waiting for Gresham too, but Gresham tries to go for the knee… it’s caught as a low-ish blow stopped him as things broke down into something of a Parade of Moves as the ring filled up.
Slams leave Lethal and Gresham down as the challengers head up top for a froggy elbow and a moonsault… PCO’s hits, but Lethal got the knees up to block the elbow, and the champions are right back in control with some double-teaming, leading to the wheelbarrow-propelled cutter for Gresham for a near-fall. A double-team powerbomb sees Briscoe dumped onto PCO next, before PCO’s sandwiched with rolling elbows. They look for a Doomsday device, eventually hauling up PCO as Gresham pulls off the flying clothesline… then went back up for a shooting star press that lands for another near-fall. PCO monsters up after that, goozling both Lethal and Gresham… but it’s broken up as Gresham ends up nicking the win with a roll-up as PCO accidentally charged into Briscoe on the apron. This was fine, with the clash of styles making for some weird sequences – but of course, it took a LOT out of Gresham for later tonight. ***
Ian Riccaboni repeats the news of the Covid-withdrawals… then replays Dalton Castle abandoning commentary as he has a match next.
Rey Horus vs. Dalton Castle
Horus is still announced as part of the trios champions, so I guess Shane Taylor Promotions rebuffing the titles is official. I popped for one of The Boys giving Dalton some hand sanitizer as part of his entrance…
Dalton shoots for a takedown early, before a tie-up ended in the ropes. They try for roll-ups, but to no avail as we reset, with a rear spin kick from Horus catching Dalton unawares. Another exchange sees Dalton send himself to the outside after missing a clothesline, before he’s pushed some way into the guard rails. Horus lands a dropkick as Castle returned, before a springboard double-jump armdrag took Dalton down. A belly-to-belly sees Castle end that momentum, moving in for a front chancery and a Beele throw of sorts, following up with a pin for a one-count as my feed buffered. It’s back with Castle meeting Horus on the outside… but Rey takes over with a dropkick before he baseball slid back to the outside.
A slingshot dropkick keeps Castle on the floor as Horus hits a tope con giro, before he continued to go after Dalton with some chops. Castle tries to throw Horus into the guard rails, but Horus fakes him out as Dalton ran at him… sending Castle into the rails and into the non-crowd with a thud. That’s aggravated the knee some more, as the pair return to the ring. Horus’ discus clothesline keeps Castle in the corner, with a single-leg dropkick getting a two-count. A tornado DDT from Horus gets a two-count, with Castle grabbing the rope… and Dalton finds a way back in, crotching Horus up top before a running knee knocked him onto the apron. Dalton pushes ahead with a slam for a two-count, as it was anything but smooth sailin’ for him as he looked to deadlift Horus for a German suplex.
That lands for a two-count by the ropes, before a second slam was escaped. Castle tries to cut off Horus, but ends up caught up top with a tornado driver for the win, with Dalton kicking out on three – just too late. This was fine, but the “bonus match” just felt like a match for the sake of it at times. ***
The Righteous (Vincent & Bateman) vs. The OGK (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett)
So the Righteous – Vincent & Bateman – are apparently a death cult? Vincent’s no longer all about the balloon life, as the old Kingdom clash again.
We’ve a hot start as the OGK jumped Vincent and Bateman at the bell, but a turnaround’s thwarted as Bennett saves Taven from a supplex as the OGK looked to take the upper hand. Some ground and pound from Bennett has the Kingdom ahead, but there’s a turnaround as Bateman comes in to wear him down. A tag brings in Bennett, who goes wild with Machine Gun chops on the Righteous, trapping Vincent and Bateman in the corner before Bateman took a Fisherman buster. Vincent takes a spinebuster seconds later, before Vita von Starr did the splits on the apron to distract Bennett. It works as a Side Effect from Vincent nearly gets the win, as the momentum slowed down somewhat.
A cross-chop from Bateman knocks Bennett into the corner while Vincent came in to kick at Bennett. Bennett fights out of another Side Effect, then ripcorded his way in with a back elbow before Vincent tiltawhirled into a side Russian legsweep for a near-fall. Bateman’s back to drop a knee or two on Bennett, then stopped to rake the eyes, before Vincent returned to hit a slam. Vincent takes too long going up top, so he leaps over Bennett… before leaping in with a guillotine choke dubbed the Grim Sleeper. Bennett slips out and suplexes Bennett, before both men tag out… Taven pushes ahead with some floatovers and a dropkick, before a side Russian legsweep and a rolling neckbreaker kept him ahead.
Taven’s springboard dropkick knocks Vincent down ahead of a tope to the outside… but Bateman’s the legal man, so of course he breaks it up. Back inside, a springboard enziguiri from Taven hits Bateman, before a running knee looked to set up for a snapmare driver… but a Grim Sleeper from Vincent stops that. He lets go in the corner, before he was lifted onto the apron… and leapt into a backbreaker as Taven tried to forge a path. A Twist and Shout from Bateman almost puts Taven away, before Vincent tagged in to hit the Red Rum senton bomb for a near-fall. Bennett’s back to spear Vincent, but he’s quickly tossed aside as we have a Parade of Moves, including a tight DDT as bodies were left laying. Taven and Vincent are legal as they wheel away on punches, before duelling boots led to them both tagging out, with Bateman and Bennett trying to up the intensity with right hands.
They upgrade to forearms and elbows, before a spear from Bennett looked to turn it around. Taven’s back with a spike piledriver, apparently tweaking his knee while giving it out… and it’s only good for a near-fall anyway. A backpack stunner out of the corner from Bennett’s blocked, but he knocks Bateman onto the apron for a death valley driver instead, before Vincent snuck in with a Saito suplex on the floor. Vincent and Taven hobble into the ring, with another knee strike from Taven laying out Vincent ahead of a frog splash… but Vincent gets the knees up. Apparently Taven’s not legal, but the ref’s not paid that much attention… and when Taven lands a Flatliner, then a modified Koji clutch, it almost gets the win, but Vincent got to the ropes.
Bennett’s back as he drapes Vincent off the apron, with Taven heading up top to hit a big splash to the floor… that THUD man… back inside, Bennett spikes Bateman with a piledriver (so why on earth was the referee not barking at Vincent/Taven?!), before a diving knee/backpack stunner combo gets Bennett the win on Bateman. For a grudge match, this felt so… not urgent? This badly needed a crowd or some bells and whistles, and it just felt like a 10 minute match that went 16. **
Post-match, Vita von Starr comes in to low blow the OGK. Vincent’s got some zip ties, which he uses to tie Taven to the ropes, with von Starr choking Taven out with a modified Tarantula. The OGK won the battle, but the war’s far from over. I hope they get fans back for a pay-off, because this didn’t land well at all. Apart from when Vincent grabbed a big chunk of wood and spread Bennett’s legs with it… before “shattering Bennett’s ankles” with a chair shot.
Brian Johnson vs. Danhausen
If Danhausen wins, he gets a contract-hausen… and a higher res match-graphic-hausen.
Johnson’s not well liked in ROH according to the trivia graphic, and we almost get a flash win for Danhausen as he kicked Johnson at the bell for a two-count. A cross-chop from Johnson stops Danhausen briefly before a flying headscissors off the top took Johnson outside… with Danhausen did his “Tequila” spot, except with his ring music briefly. Because licensing. Back inside, Johnson knocks into the ropes to crotch Danhausen, before a Tower of London out of the corner gets him a two-count. Johnson rolls outside to grab the mic for some trash talking, talking about the “fat, sausage-fingered fans” at home. This isn’t cross-dressing, by the way, Brian. He stops to hurl Danhausen into the corner as we then resume the promo-in-a-match, before a slam and a fist drop got a two-count.
Danhausen asks for the mic, and Johnson politely gives it to him as Danhausen gets mad at Johnson doing a swear. Clotheslines get Johnson back on top, as he then moaned about how his Final Battle “moment” was this… he’s going to kill the Internet with another lariat, dropping Danhausen, but it doesn’t get the win. Because of course it doesn’t. Another lariat’s ducked and turned into a Northern Lights suplex as Danhausen began a comeback, trapping Johnson with a German suplex out of the corner, before a slingshot German suplex back in gets another two-count. Danhausen goes for the jar of teeth, but Johnson kicks him away as the teeth spill out… Danhausen recovers with a Go 2 Sleep – Goodnight-hausen – but Johnson gets to the rope in the nick of time.
Rolling outside, Johnson eats a tope, but distracts the referee as he gets back inside to mask him kicking the rope into Danhausen’s, erm, Danhausens, before he fed Danhausen the teeth. A superkick misses as Danhausen goes for a roll-up, then gets knocked into the referee as a spin-out neckbreaker from Johnson would have gotten the win… but the ref’s still down. Johnson’s annoyed, even more so when Danhausen hits the mic and pulls an Eddie Guerrero, tricking the referee into thinking Johnson’s hit him with it. After some um-ing and ah-ing, the ref falls for it, and disqualifies Johnson… this was a good few minutes longer than it needed to be, and with Danhausen “being signed”, I’m curious as to how they can play out the meme act on TV. I mean, it worked for Orange Cassidy, but it’s going to be infinitely harder in an empty arena setting. *
ROH World Television Championship: Tony Deppen vs. Dragon Lee (c)
Deppen earned the title shot by winning the four-way in Hour One… this was Dragon Lee’s first match since late February, so yeah, there’ll be some ring rust here.
Dragon Lee flips off Deppen before the bell, as they start by going to ground, with Depping grabbing a wristlock early on. Armdrags and legs weeps keep the pace up as both men looked for a quick pin ahead of a stand-off. More flash pins from Deppen get two-counts, but he’s caught in the ropes with a dropkick, knocking him outside as Lee hits a big tope into the aisle… and stopped to do some sit-ups for the fun of it. Deppen’s thrown into the ring post as Lee rolled him back in for a big double stomp that gets a near-fall. An overhand chop keeps Deppen in the corner, but Deppen fought back with a dropkick to knock the champion to the outside ahead of a monstrous tope con giro that took down Lee and almost sent Deppen over the railings.
Back inside, a springboard dropkick knocks Dragon Lee for a near-fall, but Dragon Lee hits back with a corner dropkick, then threw some elbows to wear down Deppen ahead of the hesitation dropkick for a two-count. Deppen offers some retaliation with a discus forearm, but Lee knocks him back down… which just winds up Deppen some more. A series of palm strikes from Deppen gets him back in, but Lee knocks him down with a strike to the back of the head. Back-and-forth leaping knees keep both men rocked ahead of a rebound German suplex from Lee… then a Destroyer DDT that left both men down. They fight back to their feet, trading elbow strikes, but it’s Deppen who begins to fall back it seemed.
Deppen trips Dragon Lee into the corner though, faking it out as he built up to a springboard Codebreaker for a near-fall. A gamengiri traps Lee on the top rope as Deppen looks for a superplex… but he slips and gets knocked down for the hanging double stomp that almost wins it. From there, Deppen escapes Desnucadora, but couldn’t avoid getting taken to the top rope as Dragon Lee looked for a kill shot… only to get caught with a somersault neckbreaker off the top instead. A running knee from Deppen almost causes the upset, before a bicycle knee, a reverse ‘rana and a knee strike laid out Deppen for another near-fall. From there, Desnucadora followed, but it still doesn’t put Deppen away, before the Incineration running knee got Dragon Lee over the line. This was a fun, enjoyable title defence for Dragon Lee – Deppen got a few moments of hope in, but ended up being eclipsed by the more established Dragon Lee. ***½
They recap how the “Board of Directors” tried to award Shane Taylor Promotions the trios titles because their match was called off… Shane said no, and later in the night he talked his way into a match with Jay Briscoe. That’s next!
Shane Taylor vs. Jay Briscoe
Commentary dovetailed the Briscoes vs. the Pretty Boy Killers for those of you who like history…
We open with a lock-up as Taylor shoves away Briscoe, before he countered out of a waistlock. Briscoe caught Taylor with an elbow, only to get hit with an uppercut as Taylor began to overwhelm Briscoe with some body blows in the corner. A side headlock from Briscoe subdues Taylor, before Jay got shoved into the ropes for an eventual shoulder tackle. Briscoe elbows back as Taylor’s covering up in the corner… and now Shane tries to come out swinging. His right hand’s ducked, but not at the second time as he laid out Briscoe. They head outside to trade more strikes before Taylor just bounced Briscoe into the security walls.
Briscoe struck back with some uppercuts, only for another haymaker from Taylor to knock him down… but he’s right back up to boot Taylor before he broke the referee’s count. A headbutt keeps Taylor staggered, as they returned back inside with Briscoe putting the boots to him some more. More strikes from Taylor keep it even, but he’s knocked down with a dropkick from Briscoe… more strikes from Taylor leave Briscoe laying, but Jay gets back up… and gets choked in the ropes. Taylor keeps on swinging, with more body blows wearing down Briscoe in the ropes… but some Dusty punches from Briscoe offered him hope, before Taylor tried to go for a knee strike. Instead, Briscoe picks him up for a death valley driver as Mark Briscoe came down to ringside to cheerlead.
Taylor crotches Briscoe as he went up top… and looked to bring him down with a Tower of London… but Jay slips out for a rear naked choke, clinging on as Taylor tried to break it apart. Briscoe reapplies it as Taylor was tantalisingly close to the ropes, but ended up getting dragged to the mat as the referee did the arm drop gimmick… but Taylor stays alive and gets to the ropes. A Jay Driller looks to be up next, but Taylor blocks it before he’s taken down with a clothesline and a neckbreaker for a near-fall… but Taylor’s quickly back with a package pildedriver and a spinning Fire Thunder driver for the win. This was fine, but way too long for what was effectively a bonus match with minimal stakes for this spot on the card. ***
Post-match, the Briscoes fist-bumped – but they looked to be teasing some dissension there for Mark having wanted to try his own thing earlier in the night…
ROH Pure Championship: Flip Gordon vs. Jonathan Gresham (c)
This was Gresham’s second match of the night, having wrestled for nearly 13 minutes in the opener… of course, we’ve got the three rope-break rules here, and the hour-long time limit.
We open with a lock-up into the ropes, before Flip’s hammerlock was countered out of, with Gresham working in with one of his own. That hammerlock forces Flip into the ropes to burn a rope break at the 90 second mark, and the direction of traffic didn’t change much either as Gresham took Gordon down to the mat for a take on a deathlock. Gresham nudges Flip towards the rope to force him to burn as second rope break, this time at the three-minute mark. A knuckle lock from Gordon has Gresham on the mat, but the champion escapes with a headlock takedown, before a leg sweep and a kick to the arm saw Gresham give his first indicator of what he was going for.
A side headlock on the mat offers an opening as Gresham torqued on Gordon’s right arm, taking him down for a two-count ahead of a crucifix for another two-count. Gresham stays on that arm, hammerlocking it on the mat as he looked to tie up the second arm for some more damage. Gordon’s only able to swing with one arm, such is the damage Gresham’s done… but a hammerlock ends with Gordon pushing Gresham into the ropes… and that counts as a final rope break for Flip as we crossed the seven minute mark. Flip gets thrown into the ropes, but avoids an armdrag as he proceeded to kick Gresham down ahead of a roll-up for a two-count.
Flip keeps pushing with an enziguiri, before the pair exchanged chops. An O’Connor roll from Flip gets a two-count, before Gresham’s springboard ‘rana was rolled out of as a superkick gets Flip a two-count, with Gresham grabbing the rope to use his first save. Some more kicks keep Flip ahead, before he took Gresham up top… but a springboard ‘rana came to nought, as did a clothesline off the top from Gresham. Gresham’s knee looked to be in trouble there, and Flip goes straight for that as he worked his way into a Figure Four. Flip keeps aiming for the knee, kicking it out as Gresham was suddenly on the defensive, before his attempt at a suplex ended with Flip just kicking the knee once more. A low dropkick targets that knee as Flip was on track for the “come from behind” upset, rolling Gresham into a half crab… but Gresham pushes away from the hold.
A leapfrog looked to damage Gresham’s knee some more, but he avoids another shot to it as he bought himself some more time… but a Dragon screw to the leg has Flip back in as a STF forces Gresham to find the ropes to burn another rope break. Gresham tries to force his way back in, going back to the arm, but the bad wheel was proving to be too big of an opening for Gordon, who took Gresham back down… but then took too long to go up top. Gresham stops Gordon on the top rope… but a superplex is countered with a sunset bomb attempt, before a thrust kick takes the knee out again. A Falcon arrow’s next from Gordon for a two-count, before he went back to the STF… but this time Gresham elbows free before using his final rope break. We’re nearly 20 minutes deep with everyone having used their rope breaks here.
Gresham “snaps” Gordon’s arm as he went back to that body part, which sparks some back-and-forth strikes. Another uppercut to the arm takes us past the 20 minute mark, as they go back to striking. A right hand from Gordon earns him a public warning, and perhaps a big opening as they go back to elbows. A kip-up, an enziguiri and a German suplex has Gresham land a near-fall, before a superkick from Flip allowed him to go back to Gresham’s knee. Gordon’s back to the half crab, then into the STF, forcing Gresham to pull himself to the ropes as he dragged both he and Flip to the outside with a thud. Flip’s back to his feet first, but both men make it back inside… with Gresham going back to the arm with another kick… then a gamengiri-like kick as Gordon was sat on the top rope. Joining him up there, Gresham almost hammerlocks the arm as he went for a hammerlock’d back suplex for a near-fall, before a diving elbow drew another two-count. Gresham keeps pushing on with sliding elbows… which eventually forces the stoppage. This was an intriguing clash of styles, with Flip’s not-exactly-technical stylings seeing him fall behind early on… and while he almost pulled off the upset, Gresham dug deep to force the stoppage. It did feel long, but it told a worthwhile story. ***¾
Post-match, Flip didn’t shake hands as they tried to make that mean something.
ROH World Championship: Brody King vs. Rush (c)
This was Rush’s first match since March, while Brody King’s appeared on some NJPW Strong shows in addition to ROH since the restart.
We start with a big shoulder tackle at the bell, since there were questions over Rush’s taped-up shoulder… and it’s a first test that the champion passed as he knocked down King, before he got decked with a swivelling lariat. King knocked him outside with that, but a forearm from Rush sees them swap places… before Brody restored order, knocking Rush outside for a tope. Rush gets thrown into the guard rails, before Brody went under the ring looking for some plunder. He didn’t find any, so he just elbows and chops Rush again by the barricades, before whipping him into the post. The search for plunder continues to be fruitless, so King grabs some chairs from the timekeeper’s table, piling them on the floor before he slammed Rush onto them.
They eventually head back inside, with King overwhelming Rush in the corners ahead of a uranage for a two-count. A cannonball’s next, trapping Rush in the corner before he grabbed the rope to stop the pin. Rush rebounds with a rebound German suplex, then a knee to take King outside as the champion followed him outside for a tope con giro. Rush takes over, throwing King into the barricades, before he opened a door in the barricades and slammed it into King’s head repeatedly. Another throw into the barricades moves them, before Rush choked out King with some unused camera cabling. Whipping King with the cable didn’t yield a DQ, as the referee was giving him a lot of slack. Pun somewhat intended.
Eventually they head back towards the ring, with Rush trapping Brody in the ropes with a hanging armbar, before the pair traded chops in the corner. Rush edges out again, tripping King into the corner for some face-washing boots on the way to a disrespectful punt in the corner.
King powers back up, but just runs into an overhead belly-to-belly as Rush gets back on top. He lifts King onto the apron, but Brody takes him up top for something… Rush crotches him and managed to follow back with a superplex for a two-count, but King’s back with a Black Hole Slam as both men were left laying. They get back to their feet, with King chopping Rush… who responds in kind as he ends up taking Brody back to the corner for a hesitation dropkick… but King spears him before he could get going for a near-fall. A short-lariat drops a bloodied Rush next, before a Ganso Bomb was stopped as Dragon Lee ran out for a distraction.
From there, La Bestia del Ring – Rush’s father – came in to whack Brody with a chair. A running dropkick in the corner follows, and that’s it. Somewhat flat, to be honest, with this match never really threatening to get going before La Bestia del Ring’s debut seemed to be the whole point of this match, offering an extra layer to “complete La Faccion Ingobernables.” **½
Post-match, the Foundation appear on the stage and stare down the Ingobernables as the show heads off the air…
As someone who doesn’t keep too close an eye on ROH, this was a fun show – but one that threatened to run out of steam in the middle. Losing a portion of the card wasn’t in anyone’s plans, but given that this wasn’t live, perhaps one of the “bonus” matches could have been shuffled onto the pre-show instead of padding out the main show with matches that felt dangerously close to “wrestling for the sake of wrestling.”. Four hours in an empty arena is a big ask, but there’s some stuff worth your while here.