Baltimore, MD – 4.5.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman.
We start the episode with an interview with Fred Yehi who won the first ever Pure Rules Gauntlet match last week. He says he’s in the business of breaking people, and is here to stay in the Pure Division.
Danhausen vs. Brian Johnson
This is the threematch between these two, with Danhausen defeating Johnson at “Final Battle 2020”, and Johnson defeating Danhausen in a rematch on YouTube. Johnson also pinned Danhausen in a Four Corner Survival at the 19th Anniversary Show. Mark Briscoe joins commentary for this bout.
Danhausen escapes a grounded headscissors from Johnson and floats over into a front facelock. Johnson drops his knee across Danhausen’s hammerlocked arm twice. After trading running shoulder blocks, Danhausen attempts his slingshot German suplex. Johnson escapes and gives Danhausen a Hot Shot. Johnson drops Danhausen with Spike Eskin for two. Johnson also gets two with the Mecca Locomotive (lariat). Danhausen attempted a few fast pinning combinations before successfully German suplexing Johnson. Danhausen ends a strike exchange with a Northern Lights suplex. Johnson escapes Goodnight Hausen, but Danhausen’s slingshot German suplex connects for two. Danhausen sends Johnson outside and gives him a Frankensteiner on the floor. Johnson pokes Danhausen in the eyes. Danhausen hits Goodnight Hausen, but in setting up Johnson knocks down referee Todd Sinclair accidentally. Danhausen gets a visual pin but once he lets go, Johnson snaps Danhausen’s neck on the top rope. Todd Sinclair has the wherewithal to catch Johnson trying to use the ropes for leverage in a pin. Johnson low blows Danhausen as Sinclair covers up to avoid being splashed in the corner during a waistlock exchange. Johnson drops Danhausen with the Process to get the pin at 9:23. This was a solid match for both guys, but I am glad they’re issue is over. It feels like both guys are ready to move forward into something more substantial. Johnson cuts a promo after the match and gets in a verbal spat with Mark Briscoe as he heads up the ramp, and I think that is a perfectly cromulent use of both of those guys. I hope Danhausen doesn’t get lost in the shuffle – he’s just too fun. **¼
The 500th Episode of ROH on SBG is coming in two weeks. Jonathan Gresham will defend the Pure Title against his fellow Foundation member Jay Lethal, with whom he held the ROH tag titles. This was a match voted on by ROH fans through The Experience. Although they’re friends, they’re looking forward to seeing who the better man is.
Eli Isom vs. LSG
This is technically the second singles match between these two, but their first match went to a No Contest when Bully Ray interjected. God I hope he doesn’t come back. The opening encounter has Isom showing he won’t be pushed around by LSG. He keeps in step with LSG’s quick pace, taking him down twice with armdrags. LSG kicks Isom to the floor when Isom looks for a springboard maneuver. He wears down Isom back in the ring by making him kick out of pinfalls and then locking on a cravate. LSG drops an elbow across Isom’s neck before giving him a rolling neckbreaker for two. Isom powers out of a second cravate and drops LSG with a running neckbreaker. Isom Northern Lights suplexes LSG to the corner. He nails a forearm in the corner and Sidewinder slam. LSG rolls outside to prevent being pinned, but Isom simply follows with a triangle moonsault and throws LSG back in the ring. Isom gives LSG and arm trap German suplex for two. LSG comes back with the Rocket-Bye Baby and a springboard forearm smash. The Saintsplosion follows and gets LSG a two count. LSG pummels Isom out of frustration before going to the top turnbuckle. Isom catches a crossbody attempt, rolling LSG up and into a Kryptonite Krunch for two. Isom spears LSG off the apron and to the floor! However, LSG smashes Isom back first into the barricades a few times and looks to settle for a count out victory. Isom wills himself back in the ring just before the twenty count. Isom’s adrenaline allows him to throw forearm shots vigorously with LSG. LSG blocks The Promise and hits a pump kick. He goes for the Star Jammer. Isom counters and pulls LSG into The Promise for the pin at 15:15. It’s been really interesting to see the differences in the stories being told with these two; Isom gets an instant hot streak in his return, defeating Rey Horus and now LSG, with LSG slowly rising with a checkered win-loss record amongst impressive showings, and developing an attitude in the process. This was another impressive showing for both LSG and Isom, with an intriguing story amongst a really competitive wrestling contest. I thought it was a great idea to give these two the main event spotlight and they both delivered. ***¼
The show concludes with Mark Briscoe and Jay Briscoe talking about how they are excited to main event the 500th Episode of ROH on SBG in a singles match against each other. Given that they were supposed to face each other at the canceled “Past vs. Present” event, the tension between the two, and of course the fact that they have literally been in ROH since the first show, this is both a logical and intriguing match for the occasion.
That ends the episode proper, but on the April 6th episode of “Week by Week”, a rematch between O’Shay Edwards and Sledge was presented. Their first match went to a 10 minute draw, so the time limit has been extended to 15 minutes in this follow-up encounter:
O’Shay Edwards vs. Sledge
Edwards and Sledge get in a GD bodyslam battle, some real hoss ish. They follow that up with splashes in the corner. Sledge knocks down Edwards in a corner and catches him with a running punt. Edwards stops Sledge’s momentum with a belly-to-belly suplex, following that up with a release vertical suplex and grounded abdominal stretch with a claw to the ribs. Edwards pulls back Sledge’s leg to add pressure, and Sledge uses his other leg to knee his way free and toss Edwards to the floor. Sledge busts out a moonsault off the apron. He pulls Edwards by his arms and slams Edwards’ face into the ring post. As Sledge tries to meet Edwards as Edwards re-enters the ring, Edwards snaps Sledge’s neck on the top rope and sends him into the ring post face first. Even so, back in the ring Sledge scoops Edwards into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Edwards reverses a whip, pulling Sledge into a Rydeen Bomb for two. Sledge escapes a Baltimore Stampede attempt. He places Edwards on the middle rope, tags him with a rolling elbow in the back of the head, and brings him down with a jump-up neckbreaker. Edwards German suplexes Sledge before pulling off the Baltimore Stampede successfully for a two count. Sledge stops Edwards on the top turnbuckle and brings him down with a superplex. A clothesline from Edwards sends both men spilling to the floor. As they get to their feet and get in some exhausted shots on their way up, the time limit expires, resulting in another Draw at 15:00. I really like the style and presentation of these two – it stands out from the mostly Pure and high-flying wrestling we see on ROH’s TV product. Having a feud exclusively during Week By Week also adds importance to the show and gives more of a reason for me to want to see those matches. The two brawl after a handshake, including a dive off the stage from Sledge, and as if it wasn’t clear already, this feud isn’t over. ***¼
Overall: This week was a showcase for some of the newer and less featured talent in ROH, which is genuinely appreciated. I think it’s acceptable to do these types of episodes once in a while, especially when the next two weeks of TV are loaded. The main event especially delivered and makes it clear that Isom’s star is on the rise. It’s great to also see Week By Week become a home for some of the lesser featured talent too, as one hour a week of TV time is quite limiting. I wouldn’t go as far to say this episode is a must watch, but I also think it’s one to give a look if you’re not as familiar with the performers featured.