Baltimore, MD – 2.22.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman.
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. La Facción Ingobernable (Dragon Lee & Kenny King)
The winning team will challenge Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham for the tag team titles on next week’s episode. Amy Rose is in LFI’s corner. The contest is even to start, but Lee overhand chops Jay in the corner instead of breaking a lock-up cleanly. He also spits in his direction as Jay creates some space. Lee pulls Mark over to the LFI corner in a front facelock. They stomp down Mark in their corner. Jay is able to blind tag in as Mark is sent to the ropes. The Briscoes return the favor and stomp him down. Jay slams King on the floor and Mark comes off the apron with an elbow drop. Mark follows that up with a suplex onto the apron. Back from commercial, Mark and King wipe each other out with stereo clotheslines. Jay and Lee come at each other with intensity when they’re tagged in. Lee catches Jay with Desnucadora. When he comes off the ropes, however, Jay pops him into a Death Valley Driver. Mark brings Lee down off the top turnbuckle with an Iconoclasm. Moments later, Lee is able to double stomp Jay in a tree of woe after King helps him escape a superplex. Lee wipes outs Mark with a tope con hilo, then hits a double stomp on Jay for two. King gets two with a t-bone suplex, then locks Jay in a modified Haas of Pain. Mark breaks it up with the Froggy Bow.Things break down with all four competitors. Mark blocks an apron Frankensteiner from Lee with a powerbomb. Jay gives King a neckbreaker. A distraction from Amy Rose allows Flip Gordon to interfere, who knocks down Mark from the top turnbuckle with the Kinder Surprise. King escapes Jay’s Jay Driller hook and schoolboys him for the pin at 12:10. I was pretty surprised with this result, as the Briscoes are the more established team and a rematch from Final Battle 2019 seemed to be in the cards, but the Foundation vs. LFI feud steering into championship territory adds some depth to that rivalry so I am all for it. The match itself was action packed and fun to watch until Gordon’s interference. I am interested to see where Gordon stands in the overall landscape of ROH. **¾
After the match, EC3 makes his way out onto the entrance stage. He was supposed to face Jay Briscoe at Final Battle 2020. He claims Jay Briscoe is one of the people he truly respects in the pro wrestling industry, as he works hard and fights harder without compromising his morals. EC3 wonders where Jay’s honor will take him next. He tells Jay he is free and that Jay controls his own narrative.
Mike Bennett vs. Bateman
Vita VonStarr is in Bateman’s corner. Bennett spears Bateman as soon as the bell rings. He stomps down Bateman, still frustrated that he caused a hairline fracture to his ankle back at Final Battle. Bennett beats down Bateman outside. He misses a spear, crashing into the guardrails. Bateman drops Bennett face first onto the floor. VonStarr makes a snide comment about Bennett’s wife as Bateman continues his onslaught. He slingshot Bennett throat first into the frame of the ring! After the commercial, we see back inside the ring Bateman back suplex Bennett. Bennett superkicks Bateman and takes him down with a rolling clothesline. A trading of strikes leads to simultaneous rolling forearms leaving both men laying. VonStarr tells Bateman “just end him.” Bennett misses a spear and a superkick. Bateman tags Bennett with a rolling elbow and drops him with a cradle brainbuster for two. Bennett comes back with a spear and piledriver for the pin at 7:32. Having the supporting characters in a feud square off with one another isn’t a bad idea in theory, but something about the match never captured me. Part of it is that the feud itself hasn’t captured me in general. This was a solid if not unnecessary chapter in this rivalry, and just a solid match too. **
As soon as the match is over, Matt Taven runs out and pummels Bateman. They threaten to hobble Bateman just like they did to Bennett at Final Battle. Taven on the microphone yells that this needs to end, and that he will release Bateman if Vincent gives him a match. VonStarr runs backstage. She appears on the tron alongside Vincent, who declines Taven’s offer. Taven and Bennett stick to their word and thrash Bateman’s ankle with a steel chair and wood block. Taven tells Bateman to send a message to Vincent: he will continue to do this until Vincent agrees to a match.
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championship
MexiSquad (Bandido, Flamita & Rey Horus) vs. Shane Taylor Promotions (Shane Taylor & S.O.S. (Kaun & Moses))
MexiSquad have been champions since 1.11.2020 and this is their first defense (thanks, COVID). This match was originally scheduled for “Final Battle 2020” but Bandido and Flamita were unable to make the event. Shane Taylor Promotions were presented the titles due to forfeit, but refused to accept the titles in that manner. Maria Kanellis joins commentary for this match.
Things break down right away with all six men fighting on the floor. Flamita avoids a running boot from Kaun inside the ring. He hits Kaun with a tiger feint kick and enzuigiri. After taking a Frankensteiner and dropkick, Kaun tags out to Moses. Moses remains on his feet after taking a dropkick from Bandido. He surprises Bandido with a leapfrog and knocks him down with a body block. Bandido controls Moses by his arm, turning him into a stunner. Taylor and Horus tag in. Horus uses his speed to deliver some kicks and avoid being attacked by Taylor. Taylor is able to halt a flying Frankensteiner. He pops up Horus into a chest and face slam and spins out Horus with a shoulder tackle. After the commercial break, we see Horus escaping Kaun and Moses’ grasp with a double London Bridge and a tornado DDT to Moses. Bandido and Taylor tag in. Bandido stifles Taylor with various strikes. Taylor catches a dive and looks for Welcome to the Land. Bandido slips out and tags Flamita, who sends Taylor outside with a flying Frankensteiner. Bandido and Flamita dropkick S.O.S. to the floor. All three members of MexiSquad land suicide dives. Bandido then Asai moonsaults onto Taylor while Horus and Flamita wipe out S.O.S. with tope con hilo’s. In the ring, Flamita lands a 450 splash on Taylor but Moses breaks up his pin. Kaun falls victim to a triple powerbomb. Flamita assists Bandido with a leg sweep on Kaun, and Bandido pops Flamita into a helicopter splash on Kaun. Bandido and Horus double superkick Moses to the floor when he enters the ring to stop the pin. Taylor moves out of the way so that Horus accidentally wipes out Flamita with a DDT. He cracks Bandido in the face with a knee strike. Kaun clotheslines Horus and Bandido to the floor and wipes them out with a somersault senton off the apron. Taylor gives Flamita a big running splash for two. Welcome to the Land gives Taylor the pin at 9:00 to win the Six Man Tag Team titles! As a huge fan of MexiSquad I was disappointed to see them lose, but there’s no doubt Shane Taylor Promotions have been on a roll and are worthy champions. The win also gives Taylor even more momentum heading into his World title match with RUSH next week. Even in a loss, MexiSquad were as amazing to watch as ever. Hopefully with them healthy we can see them competing regularly once again. Major kudos to STP for hanging with them – their size and style difference worked with the MexiSquad perfectly. ***¼
Overall: A gripe I’ve had lately is the lack of direction for the company. Even with great matches, some weeks you wondered what they achieved or what was to come next. This week pushed forward a ton of stuff – the LFI and Foundation rivalry, the Taven and Bateman rivalry, a possible issue between Mark Briscoe and Flip Gordon starting, and the first title change since early November. With two title matches next week and an Anniversary Show on the horizon, this week is a great time to get on board and see what ROH has in store for the next month or so.