The SmarK Rant for ROH Supercard of Honor 2022 – 04.01.22

The SmarK Rant for ROH Supercard of Honor – 04.01.22

Oh what the hell.  It’s Wrestlemania weekend and I’ve got the weekend off anyway, and the show’s only 3 hours long.  Let’s live a little.  Rampage can wait.

Live from Garland TX, and it’s a got a big league look to the arena and production value way improved over Sinclair, despite the small crowd.

Your hosts are Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman

Swerve Strickland v. Alex Zayne

They trade wacky reversals to start as the crowd establishes that it’s Swerve’s house.  Does he have to pay property taxes on all these various houses?  Zayne slingshots into a senton on the back and then follows with a flipping senton before walking away.  Swerve tries to go up and Zayne pops up with a rana attempt, which Swerve turns into a TKO that drops Zayne on the top rope and to the floor.  He follows with a boot to the face and NOW the crowd can chant for him.  Well that’s nice of him!  Back in for a diving elbow to the neck, and that gets two.  Swerve with a chinlock, but Zayne fights up and comes back with some Will Smith slaps before he SWEEPS THE LEG and takes Swerve to the corner for some chops.  Swerve goes to the top and Zayne brings him down with a rana and a flipping kick to the back of the neck for two.  That whole sequence looked hella awkward.  Zayne fights off the JML driver, but Swerve dropkicks the knee and wraps him up in a kneebar, until Zayne makes the ropes.  They head to the apron and Zayne takes him to the floor with an insane reverse rana to the floor.  I don’t know why you’d even agree to take that bump.  Back in, Zayne goes up with a shooting star double stomp to the back, which is apparently called “The Crunchwrap Supreme”.  Sure, why not.  That gets two.  They trade chops and Zayne puts him down with a enzuigiri, but Swerve fights back with a snap german suplex and the rolling flatliner.  To the top for a flying double stomp, which gets two.  Shining Wizard misses, however, and Zayne tries a rolling side slam, but Swerve rolls out of it and stomps the knee, setting up the JML driver to finish at 11:41.  They had some big crazy moves but it was pretty rough at points.  Obviously they worked really hard, though.  ***

Ninja Mack v. Brian Cage

Cage is now managed by Tully Blanchard as we mix and match from AEW.  That seems like a good match, actually.  Ninja tries to dive onto Cage and gets caught and dropped on the apron before the bell.  Into the ring, Cage throws him around like a child and faceplants him.  Ninja tries a handspring and Cage is like “Ninja, Please” and hurls him across the ring with a suplex, landing on his head.  Cage adds another one and the crowd wants more one more, but Cage doesn’t oblige.  Ninja fights back with spinkicks, but Cage shakes him off and hits a spinning slam before finishing with the Drillclaw at 2:45.  I don’t get the joke with Ninja Mack but this was an impressive squash for Cage.

Jay Lethal v. Lee Moriarty

Moriarty is obviously a great fit for ROH if that’s where they want to slot him, and Matt Sydal would fit in great as well if he sticks around.  Hot take I know.  They trade wristlocks to start and Moriarty takes him down with a cradle for two.  Moriarty takes him down again with a crucifix for two, further annoying Lethal.  Jay grabs a headlock and tries a quick Lethal Injection, but Moriarty rolls him up for two and now Lethal is getting pissed.  They slug it out and trade elbows, and Lethal hits him with a seated dropkick and then chops him down for two.  Moriarty boots him down for two and beats on him with knees and a back kick for two.  Lethal with a backbreaker and he takes Lee down with a dragon screw and goes to work on the leg, as Moriarty bails to the floor to take a breather. Lethal dropkicks him off the apron and follows with a tope suicida, but he goes for three of them and misses, allowing Moriarty to hit his own.  Back in the ring, they slug it out and Lethal puts him down with leg kicks, but Moriarty hits him with a TIGASTYLE chop to the neck and a short clothesline for two.  They fight to the top and Moriarty fights him off with SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, but Lethal dodges him on the way down.  Lethal with the backbreaker for two.  He tries the figure-four and Moriarty kicks out of it, so Lethal batters him with kicks and hits a cutter.  Lethal to the top with the flying elbow, but Moriarty catches him in a crucifix for two.  Cradle gets two.  Rollup gets two, but Lethal reverses for two.  Lethal Injection, but Moriarty reverses to a backslide for two.  Lethal tries the figure-four and Moriarty cradles for two.  And then Lethal goes TO THE GARBANZOS in sheer desperation as the crowd is gasping in shock, and he follows with the Lethal Injection to finish at 14:54.  That’s a pretty great story being told, with Lethal needing to resort to a low blow.  And then Lethal goes for the gusto by kicking the crutches out of Matt Sydal’s arms and beating on him as well.  Now that’s a heel turn!  The last few minutes of this were incredible action and I really enjoyed this whole deal.  ****

Interim ROH Women’s title:  Mercedes Martinez v. Willow Nightingale

This is a kind of a weird deal, since Deonna is already the ROH Women’s champion and she’s actually wrestling on the Impact PPV on the other PPV channel.  Not to mention ROH doesn’t even have a TV show at the moment, so why do they need an interim champion?  They trade hammerlocks on the mat to start.  Willow cartwheels away from a chop, but Mercedes rolls her up for two.  Willow with a senton for two.  Mercedes hits her with rolling butterfly suplexes, but Willow blocks a third one and they end up in the ropes.  Mercedes with a dragon sleeper, but Willow powers up and hits a pair of clotheslines, before Mercedes boots her down for two.  They slug it out and Willow hits a superkick for a double down.  They trade kicks from the mat and Willow puts her down with a lariat for another double down.  They slug it out with forearms and Mercedes comes back with a Saito suplex and Air Raid Crash for two.  Mercedes beats on her with elbows, but Willow hits an Angle Slam for two and comes back with a Pounce.  Cannonball gets two but Mercedes is in the ropes.  Willow goes up and Mercedes brings her down with a Dominator for two.  Mercedes beats on her with clotheslines in the corner and they head to the top again, but Mercedes gets hung in the Tree of Woe for a running splash.  Willow goes up again with a moonsault, smashing her knees into Mercedes on the way down and hopefully not crushing her ribs.  That gets two.  Mercedes takes her down with the dragon sleeper, however, and that finishes at 12:41.  That ending was ROUGH and the match was a mostly clunky clash of styles.  **

ROH World tag team title:  The Briscoes v. FTR

The heat for this is off the charts, of course.  The crowd does the “Holy s---” chant before the bell even rings.  And no handshake, of course.  Mark starts with Cash as the crowd is losing their minds and even Dax has to stop and celebrate with the front row.  Mark takes Cash down and works the headlock, but Cash takes him down with an armbar.  Mark uses the REDNECK KUNG FU to take over and it’s over to Jay, so brings Uncle Dax in.  Dax takes him down with a headlock as they’re just letting the crowd simmer even more, and Dax spits on Jay and runs away.  That seems ill-advised.  Back in, Jay beats on Dax with shoulders, but Dax fires back with forearms until Jay hits a rana out of nowhere and clotheslines him to the floor.  Dax tosses a chair into the ring, but the ref catches it in a slick move.  Back in the ring, FTR double-teams Jay in their corner, but he fights back on Cash and Mark comes in for some chops and a brainbuster for two.  Cash drags Mark to the FTR again, however, and Dax comes in with a snap suplex and legdrop for two.  They trade chops and neither guy wants to back down, so Dax finally just punches him in the face and it’s back to Cash.  Jay with the blind tag and he boots Wheeler down and puts the boots to him in the corner, before they toss FTR to the floor and Jay takes them both out with a dive.  Mark follows with a Cactus elbow off the apron and it turns into a brawl on the floor for another massive double chant.  And then FTR catapults Jay under a table, busting him open.  Back in, Dax goes to work on the cut and engages in some fish-hooking on the ropes before going to a chinlock.

They head to the top and Dax beats on him, but Jay fights him off, so Dax takes out the knee and brings him down with a superplex.  Cash comes in and cuts off the tag with a dropkick, forcing Jay into the FTR corner for more abuse.  Backdrop suplex and Dax comes in and puts the beats on Jay, but he fights back and it’s hot tag Mark.  He hits FTR with chops and kicks Wheeler down, then hits Dax with a uranage and Iconoclasm for two.  FTR tries a double-team, but Mark sends Dax into the post and the Briscoes double-powerbomb Cash for two.  Jay gets caught with a slingshot powerbomb from Dax, however, and Cash hits a flying splash for two.  And now Dax is bleeding as well.  Jay escapes the Big Rig and cradles Dax for two, and the Briscoes hit their own for two.  Cash hauls Jay to the floor, but Mark follows him out, and Wheeler DDTs him on the floor, only for Jay to hit a death valley driver on the floor on Cash.  Back in the ring, Dax and Jay fight for a suplex on the apron, and Jay wins that one as everyone crashes and burns on the floor.  The doctors try to stop the match but you can’t stop tag team wrestling that way!  So everyone crawls back into the ring and we get the SHOWDOWN as they throw down, and Cash gets tossed by Mark.  Mark goes up and hits Wheeler with a corkscrew senton on the floor, leaving Dax with Jay again in the ring.  So they slug it out until Jay hits a neckbreaker, setting up the Froggy Elbow from Mark for two.  Jay wants the Doomsday Device, but Cash breaks it up and gets rid of Jay, setting up the Big Rig on Mark as FTR gets the pin and the ROH World tag team titles at 27:30!  This was worth your $30 and then some and totally justified my purchase of the show.  *****  Tag team wrestling is indeed awesome!

And then after they do the show of respect and people are paying tribute to the Briscoes, the Young Bucks hit the ring and lay them out like complete douchebags.  FTR wants the Young Bucks RIGHT NOW, but Matt of course makes the fans wait until Wednesday on Dynamite.  Big heat for the Bucks but that kind of took me out of the moment and reminded us that we’re essentially watching an AEW feeder system now.

ROH World TV title:  Rhett Titus v. Minoru Suzuki

Suzuki disdains the code of honor and kicks Titus down, so Titus goes for the leg and Suzuki makes the ropes.  He traps Titus with the hanging armbar on the apron and hauls him out for a beating.  Back in, Titus goes for the knee again, but Suzuki stuffs the takedown and takes him down to stretch him for a bit.  Titus makes the ropes to escape that and Suzuki is amused at Rhett’s attempt at striking him.  Titus with a belly to belly and backdrop suplex for two.  Rhett tries for the knee, but Suzuki casually reverses him down into a kneebar and Titus has to desperately grab the ropes.  Titus escapes the piledriver and hits the dropkick for two.  Suzuki just gets annoyed, however, and finishes with the choke and Gotch piledriver at 6:00 to win the TV title.  I’d call this weird but fun and it definitely didn’t overstay its welcome.  **

ROH Pure title:  Josh Woods v. Wheeler Yuta

Yuta rolls him up for two, and Woods gets his own for two, but Woods wraps him up in a leglock and Yuta has to burn his first rope break.  They both work for the submission hold and Yuta escapes from it.  Yuta with a Majastral cradle for one, but Woods reverses it for two.  Yuta takes him down with a headlock on the mat, but Woods uses pressure on the legs to escape and then goes to a short arm scissors and forces Yuta to use his second rope break.  Yuta with a dropkick and they trade forearms on the mat while Yuta holds a leglock, and he bridges to force Woods to use his first rope break.  Yuta comes out of the corner and Woods wrenches the arm on the way by, and then goes to work on it with SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION.  They exchange forearms until Woods puts him down with a strong pimp hand for two.  Yuta fights back out of the ropes and hits a DDT, and they trade forearms to set up an enzuigiri from Yuta.  To the top for a flying forearm and Woods bails to the floor, so Yuta follows with a dive.  Back in, Yuta comes off the top and lands on Wood’s knee, and that gets two.  Yuta with a german suplex, but Woods reverses him into a turnbuckle suplex that gets two, although Yuta uses the ropes for his last break.  Woods tries a tombstone, but Yuta rolls him into a series of elbow strikes and rolls him up for the pin and the title at 12:58.  Man the pattern of putting the titles on guys under TK control is pretty obvious at this point.  The Pure rules are pretty cool, though, and this was a fun match.  ***

And then we get our AEW Dynamite rundown before the main event as the weirdness continues.

Undisputed ROH World title:  Jonathan Gresham v. Bandido

They trade takedowns to start and fight over the knucklelock, but Gresham turns it into a test of strength and overpowers him.  Gresham basically goes dead weight to stop a whip into the corner and puts Bandido down with a dropkick, but he fires back with a knee and rana and offers a little bit of showboating.  Bandido heads to the apron and Gresham SWEEPS THE LEG and dropkicks him to the floor, where Chavo offers his managerial advice.  Back in the ring, Gresham takes him down and works the headlock and then bends the arm for two.  Gresham with a crossface, but Bandido makes the ropes.  They trade submission attempts and Gresham goes for the anklelock, but Bandido makes the ropes.  Gresham hooks him in the Octopus, but Bandido makes the ropes again.  They trade hammerlocks and Bandido escapes that and pops up to the top for a spinning bodypress before rolling into a deadlift delayed suplex for an incredible SIXTY SECONDS.  That gets two.  Gresham comes back with his own suplexes, and a bridging straitjacket german suplex for two.  Snap german suplex gets two.  Crucifix gets two.  Gresham hooks a crossface and Bandido escapes that, but Gresham gets the Octopus and beats on Bandido’s neck until they fall into the ropes.  Bandido bails to the floor and Gresham follows with a dive, but Chavo moves Bandido out of the way and Gresham hits the floor.  Back in, Bandido slugs away and gets a snap suplex for two.  Shining Wizard gets two.  Gresham with a sunset flip for two and they trade rollups, then Gresham gets a crucifix for two.  They slug it out and Bandido superkicks him, bumping the ref, and that allows Chavo a chance to hit Gresham with the belt.  But Bandido tattles on his own manager and the ref throws him out.  But that allows Gresham time to recover and fight off Bandido, and a crossbody gets two.  Gresham with a cradle for two, but Bandido gets a cutter for two.  He flips into a german suplex, but Gresham lands on his feet and rolls him up for two.  Gresham ends up on the floor and Bandido hits the Fosbury flop, and back in for the 21-Plex for two.  Bandido hits him with superkicks, but Gresham springboards into a moonsault to put Bandido on the floor and follows with a dive.  Back in, Gresham rolls him into a double arm cradle and pins him to unify the titles at 25:00.  Given his recent signing to AEW, we shouldn’t be surprised.  Which is too bad because Bandido looks like a SUPERSTAR.  Hell of a main event here with a slow build and huge finish.  ****1/4

Afterwards, Gresham does his victory promo, but Jay Lethal interrupts and issues the first challenge to the champion.  Sonjay Dutt comes out to prevent Lethal from doing anything evil, but then decides to join in and beat down Gresham too.  Moriarty tries to save and he gets beaten down as well, but then Samoa Joe returns from exile to confront Lethal and chokes out Dutt to end the show.  Well that kind of marginalized poor Gresham, as Lethal and Joe ended up looking like the big stars and Ian was shilling Joe’s upcoming Dynamite debut as the last point on the show.

So yeah, this was kind of a weird show to say the least, with a HARD transition from the former ROH guys to people under All Elite control, which makes this one very much a “Your Mileage May Vary” situation.  For what it was, I thought it was a tremendous three hours and I enjoyed it start to finish and wouldn’t hesitate to give it a strong thumbs up.  BUT…it was weird, for sure, and there was a definite storyline of who went over here, so I can see where people might not be so kind.