Baltimore, MD – 5.7.2021
Commentary is provided by Ian Riccaboni & Caprice Coleman
On the May 4th episode of Week by Week, Ryan Nova returned to action, now going by his real name of Ryan Mooney, to take on Brian Johnson:
Ryan Mooney vs. Brian Johnson
The World Famous CB joins commentary for this match. Johnson kicks Mooney in the stomach at the start of the match. Mooney picks up the pace, taking over Johnson with two headlock takedowns and going for a Cloverleaf early. Johnson kicks Mooney in the knee, causing Mooney to fall face first into Johnson’s knee. Johnson wastes no time after recovering, dropping Mooney with the Spike Eskin for two, with Johnson’s neck visibly bothering him. Mooney fights from under with shots to Johnson’s stomach. Johnson ducks a corner strike, claps Mooney’s ears, and takes him down with a flying shoulder tackle for two. He also gets two after a brainbuster. Rooney tries multiple pinning combos until Johnson shuts him down with a right hand. They collide in mid-air with a double crossbody. Mooney lights up Johnson with chest kicks and knocks him down with a running knee. Johnson avoids an arm kick, but Mooney gets it the second time and then nails a Lightning Spiral. Mooney locks on the Cloverleaf and Johnson gets the ropes. Johnson trips Mooney on the ring apron, then hits The Process back in the ring for the pin at 9:00. This served as a good reintroduction for Mooney. You can tell his offense has more intention, focusing on making his Cloverleaf finish as effective as possible. It is also focused on either attempting to get the opponent off their game by either picking up the pace or wearing them out with repeated kickouts of pins. Johnson deserves credit for playing his role well too, even if his character is not for me. **½
The May 5th Women’s Division Wednesday features Vita VonStarr of the Righteous making her in-ring debut:
Sumie Sakai vs. VitaVonStarr
Maria Kanellis-Bennett joins commentary for this match. Fellow Righteous members Dutch and Bateman shadow VonStarr during her entrance. VonStarr attacks Sakai before the bell and shoulder blocks her to the floor. Sakai traps VonStarr in the ring apron and smacks her thigh. VonStarr gets her revenge by biting Sakai on her thigh to escape an armbar. VonStarr slams Sakai face first into the apron. She twists up Sakai’s neck on the mat and then bites Sakai’s forehead as she traps her in the ropes. Sakai gets in a couple shots to the face before taking her down with a flying forearm. She hits Smash Mouse for two, and then gets another two with a leg-capture brainbuster. VonStarr drops Sakai out of a front facelock and then applies a Muta Lock. VonStarr releases and pummels Sakai in the hopes of keeping her down for a pin. When that doesn’t work she tries a Michinoku Driver, and Sakai kicks out of that as well. Sakai counters VonStarr’s powerbomb attempt with a cradle, pinning her at 8:22. An angry VonStarr puts Sakai in a version of the Anaconda Vise in the ropes. Dutch and Bateman return in the aisle way and follow her to the backstage area. VonStarr outshining Sakai and then losing to a cradle feels ill conceived. Curious decision notwithstanding, I look forward to seeing more on VonStarr in the ring. **
Maria Kanellis-Bennett then informs Rok-C, who debuted on last week’s installment of Women’s Division Wednesday, that she has been chosen to compete in the upcoming Women of Honor title tournament. Based on her performance last week, that’s a great get for ROH.
Now onto this week’s episode! With Quinn McKay making her in-ring debut tonight, Ian Riccaboni serves as our host for this broadcast.
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. EC3 & Flip Gordon
This is an amalgam of the Briscoes singles matches from the 19th Anniversary Show, although Jay and EC3 reconciled at that event so it’s curious that this is occurring after the fact. It’s also announced as the television main event – the joys of taping ahead and shuffling things around! EC3 looks in the eyes of both Briscoes and shakes their hands; Gordon does not. EC3 hangs with Jay in the opening moments of the match, but once the Briscoes tandem offense allows them to take over. Gordon knees Mark in the lower back from the apron, which EC3 does not seem to agree with, but Gordon tags himself in without giving it a second thought. He quickly falls victim to the Briscoes tandem offense as well. Gordon manages to give Jay a wheelbarrow suplex on the floor and superkicks him after the fact. Gordon then tags in EC3, who decides to capitalize with a dropkick off the apron. Jay turns the tide by catching Gordon coming off the second rope and delivering a spinebuster. Mark wipes out EC3 with a spicy dropkick and gives Gordon a flying Baba Chop. EC3 saves Gordon from being pinned after Mark gives him an Iconoclasm. EC3 also saves Gordon from Redneck Boogie and takes down the Briscoes with a double clothesline. The Briscoes are able to take down EC3 with Redneck Boogie. Gordon saves EC3 from being pinned, then pescado’s onto Jay on the floor. Mark looks for the Cutthroat Driver on EC3, but gets distracted by a chair Gordon slid into the ring. As the referee is disposing of the chair, and while EC3 isn’t looking, Gordon cracks Mark in the head with a chain. EC3 then gives Mark a TKO knee strike and the Slop Drop for the pin at 12:25. The Briscoes are furious with the outcome, and rightfully so. In terms of tag team wrestling, the Briscoes are unmatched in ROH, and when compared to the ridged and forced teamwork of EC3 and Gordon it is even more obvious. It took Gordon cheating for the makeshift team to win, and it will be interesting to see what happens once EC3, who respects the Briscoes, finds out. The match was actually better than I expected it to be. **¾
PCO vs. Brian Johnson
Danhasuen, Johnson’s rival, answered an Open Challenge issued by Johnson, presenting PCO as a “gifthausen.” Danhausen joins commentary for the bout. As you would imagine, PCO demolishes Danhausen, giving him a Death Valley Driver into the corner and back dropping him high over the barricades and to the concrete floor. PCO “malfunctions”, which results in him throwing Bobby Cruise into the barricades and then throwing himself through the barricade door. This allows Johnson to get in some offense, including a couple lariats and a suicide dive. PCO fires up after taking a splash, and commentary loses its mind when Johnson kicks out of a PCOsault (I believe making Johnson the first individual to do so.) Johnson surreptitiously removes a turnbuckle pad, resulting in PCO running chest first into the steel buckle. Johnson schoolboys PCO and puts his feet on the ropes, but PCO still is able to kick out. PCO puts on the Destro Death Grip (a modified Mandible Claw), and Johnson taps out at 7:02. Generally speaking I liked the layout of the match, but how PCO attacking a ring announcer and chasing a referee wouldn’t result in a disqualification is baffling. I wonder if we will see a PCO and Danhausen alliance maintained in the future. I have mixed feelings about that. *¼
Quinn McKay vs. Angelina Love
This is the first women’s match on ROH Television since their relaunch. It is also McKay’s first ROH match. If she wins, she is entered in the Women of Honor title tournament, and if Love wins, she is not only entered into the tournament, but will receive a Bye into the second round. Mandy Leon is in Love’s corner. Maria Kanellis-Bennett joins commentary for this match. Love denies McKay the Code of Honor, saying she does not deserve it. She continues the disrespect by literally walking on McKay after taking her down. During the commercial break, McKay threw Love to the floor and began to control her on the mat in a headscissors and then a side headlock. Love escapes the headlock and throws McKay down by her hair. She then drives the back of McKay’s head repeatedly into the canvas and chokes her on the bottom rope. Leon chokes McKay on the bottom rope behind the referee’s back too. Love calls McKay “nothing but trash” before throwing her down in the corner. After an elevated Complete Shot, Love locks McKay in a Koji Clutch, pulling her back to the middle of the ring when it looks like McKay has a chance to grab the ropes. McKay is almost unconscious and her arm almost drops for a third time when Love releases. She doesn’t want the match to end this way. McKay gives Love a chinbreaker as she is being picked up. Leon grabs McKay’s foot as McKay hits the foot. McKay is wise enough to duck upon turning around. Love misses the Botox Injection and McKay powerslams her for a very close nearfall. McKay locks in the Tangerine Dream (a Cobra Clutch). As Love is about to get the ropes, McKay drags Love to the middle of the ring and adds a bodyscissors. Leon trash talks McKay, saying she will never be a wrestler. McKay decides to release the hold and go after Leon. This time, McKay is blindsided by the Botox Injection and pinned at 8:04. I really like how the wrestling reflected the characters of the competitors – McKay wanted to best Love by proving herself as the better wrestler, while Love wanted to bully and embarrass McKay. Love choosing to continue to beat down McKay when she had her dead to rights works for the story, but McKay doing the same thing later on did not. It is possible that choice of McKay’s will come back around to bolster the story of a future match, perhaps with the title or a title opportunity in play, but on its own seems questionable. It is worth mentioning McKay was remarkable in this match, and I think she would be an excellent choice to lead the Women’s division. ROH also deserves some kudos for telling this story over several months across TV, YouTube, and PPV, and providing Love and McKay a well deserved main event spot. ***
Overall: The main event makes the episode this week and is worth checking out. Hopefully Best in the World is announced soon so we can anchor some stories, as without something on the horizon it’s hard to know what the undercard matches mean for the future.