ROH was in Miami, Florida on Sunday for Bound By Honor, the final night of their short Sunshine State loop this weekend.
Caprice Coleman and Nick Aldis (w/ Kamille) were on commentary for tonight’s show. Aldis filled in for Ian Riccaboni tonight, as Riccaboni was home with his family awaiting the birth of their second child.
The venue was smaller but the front area looked packed in. The seats towards the back were peppered with fans but looked to be empty, mostly.
Jay Briscoe defeated Rhett Titus
Titus flexed his baby oil-laden muscles and cut a basic promo on Briscoe in the ring before the match. He at one point flexed until his face turned red. Moments later, the crowd began chanting “Jay is gonna kill you.”
Titus worked Briscoe over with stomps, chops, and a back-rake early on. He then used a tope con giro to the floor and received applause from a confused crowd who didn’t seem to know how to react after all of Titus’ heel work.
Briscoe quickly came back with a Rude Awakening-style neckbreaker. He followed up by hitting the Jay Driller for a quick win. Not a great match -- but it felt like it did its job in keeping Jay strong in singles action.
Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger, Eli Isom & Ryan Nova) defeated Dalton Castle & The Boys
Castle and the Boys shook hands with 3S before the bout. Castle’s trash talk was funny and his mat wrestling looked great, which allowed Nick Aldis to start to shine on commentary. He did a good job at detail-oriented play-by-play.
Cheeseburger got a few chants when he tagged in. 3S used some double-team work on both Boys, and Isom hit a decent springboard splash to one of them.
The crowd died halfway through until Isom hit the ring. Nice springboard missile dropkick and a few wild suplex from Isom here. Castle started yelling at the Boys after this, which led to some miscommunication on an Irish whip a few moments later, with Castle and a Boy getting knocked off the ring. Isom used a brainbuster on the other Boy for the upset win.
This could have been about five minutes shorter. It’s looking as though Castle and the Boys will split soon. That was the only real story within the match, and it didn’t become apparent until the last few minutes.
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Colt Cabana
This was nonstop World of Sport-style mat wrestling -- both looked excellent throughout. They had natural chemistry together; Sabre, the arrogant, vicious heel, Cabana, the fun-loving wrestling craftsmen who isn’t afraid to throw a few closed-fist punches every now and then.
There were almost no strikes in this match, actually, or at least for the first five minutes or so. It was all catching, all hold-for-hold, all pin combos and reversals.
The crowd heated up once the two started chopping and kicking each other. Sabre used a harsh penalty kick on Cabana, and later finished him with a triangle choke/straight reverse armbar.
If old WOS is your thing, you should probably go out of your way to check this out. ZSJ was really “on” tonight.
Kenny King defeated Marty Scurll, Willie Mack, and Silas Young in a four corner survival match
This was all action. Young shoved all the competitors in the ring before the bell and left the ring. He continued to jaw-jack from the floor after the match kicked off.
Willie Mack gave Kenny King a nipple-twister. There was a point early on when only Mack and Scurll were in the ring together and it looked like they have the capacity to pull off something special in a singles match.
Mack did a crossbody block to all three wrestlers, then hit a huge tope con giro to the floor and received an entirely different response to the spot than Rhett Titus did earlier on.
Mack and Scurll were who people were most excited for in this match, which in a way is a shame because King and Young both looked pretty good tonight, too, tighter than usual, especially regarding Young.
Mack and Scurll did some nice double-team work on King and the crowd lit up. The two then had a chop-off.
Scurll used a half-nelson suplex on Young, then put him in the chicken wing. Young tapped, but King distracted the referee after he brought a chair into the ring. After referee Todd Sinclair grabbed the chair from King, King gave Scurll a low blow and pinned him for the victory.
This match was good but would have been better if it were either a tag match or a singles match between Scurll and Mack. The crowd hadn’t reacted to anything so vociferously up until those two were in the ring.
ROH Television Champion Jeff Cobb defeated Rocky Romero to retain his title
This was fine. A bit of a David vs. Goliath story at the start. Cobb stood like a stone and wouldn’t sell any strikes -- he wouldn’t leave his feet for any wrestling-related holds.
After a couple of minutes, Romero decided to use an eye poke to shift the match’s momentum briefly. Cobb came back with ease and dominated the bout some more. He used a cool modified Oklahoma Stampede on Romero for two.
The crowd died in the middle of this until Cobb hit a standing moonsault. Romero rallied back and used an unassisted Sliced Bread on Cobb for two. Romero fluffed a few springboard spots. When he went for another Sliced Bread, Cobb reversed it into a backbreaker.
At the end of the match, Cobb went on a suplex tear and finished Romero off with Tour of the Islands.
This looked better on paper then it ended up being. I’m not sure if it was the awkwardness between the wrestlers, like with their chemistry together, or because the crowd sort of gave up halfway through the match.
Mayu Iwatani defeated Kelly Klein to win the Women of Honor World Championship
This might have been the best match of the show so far next to the ZSJ vs. Cabana WOS showcase.
Klein looks more confident with every show she’s been on since she’s won the WOH title. A few fans threw streamers in the ring for Iwatani.
The two started off with rough chops, headlocks, knees, and kicks. Up to this point in the show, no one was as good at selling as Iwatani was during this match. It helped Klein look like a monster, plus it induced the crowd to get behind Iwatani whenever she made a comeback. I mean, she was getting pops off of shoulder blocks at one point.
Iwatani hit a stunning plancha from the top turnbuckle to the floor. Klein returned with a release German suplex onto the floor.
Iwatani used two release Dragon suplexes and a few brutal kicks for two. She later used two moonsaults onto Klein for the shock win. The crowd was stunned and very into it.
LifeBlood (Juice Robinson, Mark Haskins, Bandido & Tracy Williams) w/ Tenille Dashwood defeated The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas) & Coast to Coast (LSG & Shaheem Ali)
Too many cooks in the kitchen here. The match didn’t feel like it really began until Bandido was tagged in. He springboard around the ring a bit until the heels and babyfaces all squared off for a small skirmish. This made for a nice visual that’d fit well into a promo package.
Haskins worked very hard in this match. Great selling and intense offense. He took much of the heel defense in the middle of this one.
Beer City Bruiser did his “I ain’t got no teeth!” catchphrase. The crowd responded with a confused groan.
Robinson was quite over but didn’t do a whole lot in this one. He used a nice spinebuster at one point. He looked to be the tallest guy in the match, too, which I found strange for some reason.
Bandido used a slingshot frankensteiner to the floor onto Bruiser, then a tornillo in the ring on LSG for two.
On the apron, Bruiser used a Death Valley Driver onto Haskins and it got a “holy sh*t” chant. This looked nuts.
The biggest pop of the night came when Bandido caught Bruiser off the ropes and cleanly powerslammed him. Wow. How he doesn’t have a hernia, I don’t know. He used 21+, the rolling slingshot German suplex, on LSG for the win. Lots of action at the end of this one.
The Bouncers busted out a small cooler and all of the wrestlers -- Dashwood included -- chugged a few.
PCO defeated Mark Briscoe
A great modern brawl with an unfortunately tired crowd. At the start, the two exchanged heavy strikes before running to the outside of the ring to grab steel chairs. They wanted to have a chair duel, but referee Todd Sinclair broke it up.
Mark Briscoe later hit a running blockbuster to the floor on PCO. They exchanged chops after this -- and every one of them sounded painful. Briscoe’s chest was purplish-red.
PCO later returned the attacks with a big chokeslam and even more chops in the corner.
The crowd woke back up when PCO used a tope con giro through the middle ropes, like the one Fenix does, it’s just here it’s, well, it’s PCO. It should be noted that PCO was bleeding from the left eye at this point in the match.
The two really started going at it after the floor spots. PCO took another insane bump onto the edge of the apron tonight, the missed somersault senton. Mark Briscoe took advantage of this and did a corkscrew senton from the top turnbuckle to the outside.
The match spilled out into the aisle, then onto the stage. Briscoe powerbombed PCO onto the stage floor and it looked really dangerous. PCO no-sold this, then Briscoe dropkicked him down the entrance stairs.
Briscoe hit PCO with two hard chair shots, then hit a Froggy Bow for two. Somehow PCO came back and landed his monstrous moonsault for the win.
If you like late-90s ECW, this was pretty much that. It’s truly unreal to see PCO take so much punishment so regularly, which is worrisome, but a spectacle, still.
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia & TK O'Ryan) defeated ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham & Rush in a non-title match
This weekend in Florida was Rush’s official debut as an ROH talent. He and TK O’Ryan were terrific together early in this match. The audience loved all the Los Ingobernables taunts and poses he did.
Lethal and Taven bolted at each other outside the ring after this, apropos of nothing, really, and started blasting each other with punches. It was so heated and well done that the crowd went all in on it. The rest of the competitors followed suit, and the next few minutes of the match consisted of mostly brawling.
It was hard to figure out who the legal man was at points. The referees tonight allowed for tons of leeway with the wrestlers on the outside and basically didn’t use any counts.
This bothers a lot of fans. Realistically, it’s been a part of the American scene since the ECW days, so I and others have grown used to it and often don’t mind, but it’s something worth discussing. The same idea could be applied to the PCO vs. Mark Briscoe match, where the ref felt more like a piece of furniture with wheels, always there but not really adding much else to the aesthetic of the match.
Marseglia and O’Ryan used House of a Thousand Corpses on both Rush and Gresham, then Taven pinned Lethal after the Climax.
Kenny King came out and cut a promo on Lethal and Marty Scurll. Scurll followed King and attacked him, and then -- pretty much the entire locker room emptied out and it looked like a very tired battle royale.
Bully Ray came out last and started screaming at Todd Sinclair for some reason. PCO confronted Bully and they exchanged chops until the Briscoes attacked PCO, who eventually came back and did a moonsault from the top onto about 20 wrestlers.
The match was chaotic and kind of a mess, but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t really understand the underlying function of the last segment, unless it was just to come up with an excuse for PCO to moonsault onto everyone so that the company can use it for their sizzle reel.
Final thoughts --
This was a decent show that was a bit of a slog at times. ZSJ vs. Cabana, Iwatani vs. Klein and PCO vs. Mark Briscoe were probably the best matches of the night, or at least the most fun to watch.