Pre-Show: Brian Johnson def. Danhausen, Eli Isom and LSG in a Four Corner Survival Match
This was a great mix of talent and it made for a fun four-way. Johnson and Danhausen have been feuding since Final Battle in December, Isom recently returned to ROH TV with a win, and LSG has been getting more of a singles push since the Ring of Honor relaunch. Everyone had their chance to shine and Johnson winning was a pleasant surprise. He's been impressing me lately, but he loses way more than he wins, so this was huge for him. More importantly, it keeps his feud with Danhausen alive. They have a hilarious dynamic.
Pre-Show: ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor and Soldiers of Savagery) def. MexiSquad (Bandido, Rey Horus and Flamita)
The commentators mentioned how Taylor was off his game a bit and said it was because of Kenny King attacking him a few weeks ago. That reminded me of how there has been zero follow-up on that since. I know King has been busy with La Faccion Ingobernable lately, but you'd think Taylor would want revenge and wouldn't want to wait to get it. Nonetheless, this was a great sprint between two talented trios. MexiSquad have shown some signs of dissension lately and it finally came to a head afterward with the three agreeing to face off later in the night.
Tracy Williams def. ROH World Tag Team Champion Kenny King to Win the ROH World Television Championship
ROH announced this week that Dragon Lee had to undergo immediate surgery and couldn't defend his ROH World Television Championship, so instead of cancelling the bout, they instead had King defend the title on Lee's behalf. I thought that was a really good idea because Lee and the rest of La Faccion Ingobernable can now blame King for his loss of the title. This was an enjoyable opener. I just wish it got more time, but maybe we'll see a rematch one of these days on ROH TV. Williams vs. Lee (when he's cleared to compete) should be a blast as well.
Flip Gordon def. Mark Briscoe
Gordon cost The Briscoes a shot at the ROH World Tag Team Championship last month, so I liked that this had a story behind it. Mark has done well on his own in the past, but Gordon is the one with an ROH World Championship in his back pocket (he earned it well over a year ago), so it made more sense for Gordon to win. There wasn't anything about it that stood out as special, but this was a good undercard match.
Dalton Castle def. Josh "The Goods" Woods
These two have split wins this year and this was the rubber match. It was reported at the beginning of 2021 that Castle's contract with the company had expired, so I'm not sure what his status is currently. I'm sure he'll re-sign if he hasn't already considering he won at the 19th Anniversary Show. They had another quality contest here, even though you could see Silas Young turning on Woods coming from a mile away. They worked well together as partners, but Woods has so much potential as a singles star that it's actually smarter to split them up. Woods can benefit from a win over someone as established and as experienced as Young.
Jay Briscoe def. EC3 in a Grudge Match
The video package promoting this match was wonderful and really nailed the story they were trying to tell. EC3 hasn't worked many matches at all since being released by WWE, but he's excelled at the storytelling side of things and that was evident here. It was hurt a bit by the quiet atmosphere, but otherwise, the effort was excellent and it was a hard-hitting matchup. I was surprised to see EC3 lose in his first sanctioned singles match in ROH, but it was all about getting that handshake from Briscoe afterward and he did.
Bandido def. Flamita and Rey Horus in a Three-Way Match
Despite being a last-minute addition to the card, this was a thrilling three-way. I don't think viewers cared who won because it didn't really matter, but the action itself was outstanding and it would have been hotter with a crowd in attendance. Flamita acted heel by refusing to shake his partners' hands afterward, so I assume this isn't the end of their beef. Bandido is the biggest star of the star, but I'm interested to see how Flamita and Horus do on their own.
Taven vs. Vincent in an Unsanctioned Match Ended in a No Contest
I expected this to take a cinematic approach and I'm glad that it did. I'm sure they would have had a hell of a fight inside the arena as well, but it was better in that bingo hall atmosphere because not having a crowd to feed off of would have hurt it. They beat the holy hell out of each other and, other than a few dull points, mostly held my attention. I just wish this had a proper finish. The feud has gone on long enough and this really should have been the blow-off.
Maria Kanellis-Bennett Announced an ROH Women's Championship Tournament Coming This Summer
I've been wondering for a while when we were getting the return of the ROH Women's Championship and it looks like we've found our answer. It's been inactive since the last champ Kelly Klein left ROH in late 2019 and there's been no word until now about how they were going to reactivate the title. A tournament makes the most sense and I'm interested to see who they'll bring in to work it. Maria also announced here that Angelina Love will get a first-round bye if she can beat interview Quinn McKay, who I believe used to work as a wrestler before joining ROH.
ROH Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham def. Dak Draper in a Pure Rules Match
Gresham is just fantastic in the role of ROH Pure Champion and I hope he holds the belt for a long time. He can work well with just about anybody and Draper was no exception. Draper came off as generic to me for the longest time, but I'm glad we've gotten to know more about him since the relaunch. Despite being still relatively inexperienced, he's pretty polished in the ring and is progressing nicely. The Pure Rules matches have far exceeded my expectations and I liked that this was given a good chunk of time with Draper looking credible in defeat.
The Foundation (ROH World Television Champion Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus) def. La Faccion Ingobernable (La Bestia del Ring and Kenny King) to Win the ROH World Tag Team Championship
La Bestia del Ring filled in for Lee because of how he couldn't compete, and considering King already wrestled earlier in the evening, I guess I should have known we were getting new champions here. Even though Ring was the one pinned, King might be blamed for the loss and that could led to him being kicked out of La Faccion Ingobernable or replaced. The match itself was solid but never really got out of first gear. I could have done without Amy Rose getting attacked afterward by Ring. She was never the problem, so it felt random. Unless Thea Trinidad is replacing her, that was an odd call.
ROH World Champion Rush def. Jay Lethal
With The Foundation winning all of their matches up to this point in the show, it made for a compelling story here with them potentially taking all the titles from La Faccion Ingobernable. It didn't happen, but I'd by lying if I said I didn't think there was a chance Lethal could win. They had an entertaining outing with both guys putting in terrific performances. Following Rush's win, we got the debut of Brody King's new faction consisting of himself, Tony Deppen, Homicide and Chris Dickinson. Homicide being back in ROH is cool, but I have no idea what the connection between those four men are. I've heard of Dickinson, but I'm not overly familiar with his work, and Deppen sticks out like a sore thumb among them. I'm curious if it will be a three-way faction war going forward if it'll just be King's faction against La Faccion Ingobernable.
Final Battle was fun, but this was a much stronger show in my opinion. Obviously, the build had a lot to do with that and it lived up to the hype. Every match delivered and that's impressive given that it was a pretty packed card. There were multiple title changes, a notable announcement for the women's division, and an interesting hook at the end. ROH has done a hell of a job of rehabbing the product over the last six months. The only thing they're missing now is buzz and above-average events like this one will only help their cause.