ROH was in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday for the final night of Tag Wars on the Road to G1 Supercard tour.
The winners of the 12-team Tag Wars tournament will receive a Tag Team title shot at ROH's 17th Anniversary pay-per-view and a spot in the Crockett Cup tournament.
Show Recap --
The San Antonio crowd looked relatively small tonight but were much louder and more enthusiastic than Tag Wars in Houston last night.
Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana were on commentary for tonight’s show.
Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger, Eli Isom & Ryan Nova) defeated Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors & Alex Coughlin
The energy from tonight’s crowd immediately fed into the spirit of this first match. Spots were coming from both teams with fury and with more intensity than the past few nights.
The NJPW Dojo trainees handled much of the offense early on. Each of the young wrestlers were noticeably more expressive in all of their movements and with their facial expressions. It’s amazing what an excited crowd does to the wrestlers inside the ring.
The crowd was very hot for Cheeseburger throughout the match. He was beat on for a few minutes by each of the Young Lions until Ryan Nova tagged in and showed some nice fire in his exchanges with Fredericks.
Isom looked to have botched a diving DDT, but Fredericks seamlessly transitioned the spot into a drawn out (probably planned) triple Boston Crab spot. Isom eventually returned the attack and later finished off Fredericks with a jumping brainbuster that the crowd sounded like they loved.
This was a surprisingly excellent match. The aforementioned hot crowd allowed all six wrestlers to shine, and pretty much every spot looked crisp and explosive. This is a great introductory match to all involved, and particular the Young Lions. Start to believe the hype.
The Kingdom came out after this. Matt Taven was wildly over with this crowd and they chanted “Real World’s Champ.” He congratulated 3S on their win and referred to them as the Powder Puff Boys. He said the Kingdom are fighting champs and that they’d wrestle 3S tonight for the ROH Six-Man titles, then reneged, and later jumped 3S.
Dalton Castle and the Boys then came out and challenged the Kingdom to a match for the Six-Man titles. Castle was also very popular with this crowd. It’s a complete 180 from last night’s audience. Castle called the Kingdom “bitches,” which induced Taven to call for a ref and begin the next match.
ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan) defeated Dalton Castle & The Boys to retain their titles
Each Kingdom member looked great in this, and Castle looked to be on fire particularly. He wrestled most of this match for his team. He had nice exchanges with Marseglia and O’Ryan before the Boys joined in in for some double and triple-team action.
Once Taven tagged in he pounded on one of the Boys. Taven really is one of the top heels in the business right now, and his promo before the match and his performance in the ring backs up the claim.
The Kingdom spent a long while beating on that same Boy, frequently rotating members in and out of the match, sometimes sneaking in a few double-team cheap shots.
Castle later used a reverse slingblade to spike Taven onto the top of his head, and after that did a sequence with the Boys were he kept tossing the Boys over the top ropes onto the Kingdom outside the ring. He threw them out of the ring roughly six or seven times each.
When one of the Boys crashed into Castle on accident, O’Ryan and Marseglia used House of a Thousand Corpses on the other Boy to retain the titles.
Castle showed some kayfabe frustration at the Boys after the match, but they patched things up and walked to the locker room together. A split between the Boys and Castle may be coming soon, it seems like.
Tracy Williams (w/ Tenille Dashwood) defeated Rhett Titus
Tracy Williams is a really good wrestler, but I am still having trouble understanding why he’s nicknamed “Hot Sauce” and why he walks out to bad dubstep music.
Superfluous complaints aside, this match was good. Williams has a unique move set and build, and his styled meshed well with Titus’ functional muscle guy aesthetic.
Williams used a cool looking hammerlock back suplex on Titus for a close two. It’s notable how much the crowd quieted down, the first real down-moment of the night, and not as much out of boredom as much as curiosity.
Williams used a huge missile dropkick and a one-armed butterfly superplex for two. Titus came back with a spinning helicopter slam for his own near fall.
There was a sub-story throughout this match where Titus kept hitting on Dashwood at ringside. He flexed and posed for her at one point, then put his hand on her and she shoved him to the ground. Williams was able to capitalize on Titus and Dashwood’s tiff with a running flying knee strike off the apron. He then rolled Titus back into the ring and tapped him with a LeBell Lock.
Another good showing from both wrestlers. The crowd was quite into the match by the end of it, so the match can serve as a nice future reel for both of them in the future.
Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) defeated Kenny King & MVP and The Bouncers (Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas) in a semifinal Tag Wars tournament match
This was a messy match that was really fun to watch. The crowd chanted “P-C-O” over and over before the match started. MVP was the second most over wrestler in this three-way.
Kenny King and Beer City Bruiser were in the ring first. Thankfully King punched Bruiser in the face before he could finish his “I can’t bite, I ain’t got no teeth” bit.
Brody King and MVP had the next exchange. They had a pretty brutal chop-off and King did an impressive double-jump crossbody block. PCO was tagged in, or really chopped in, by King.
PCO was superstar-over in San Antonio. He and Milonas had a ridiculous big man exchange. PCO has added at least one or two new moves to his move set each night of this Texas loop. It’s amazing to see.
Villain Enterprises used some double-team power moves before King and MVP took them out of the match with a set of kicks. King and Bruiser botched a springboard something-or-other at one point. The match dissolved into chaos towards the end and a few of the guys did sloppy dives to the floor. Bruiser looked to land belly-first onto the mats outside after his plancha.
PCO pinned Bruiser after his monstrous moonsault that he stuck perfectly. It’s a spectacle, this moonsault, not only because it’s PCO doing it but because of how people react to it before it even happens. Everyone was on their feet, most people had their cell phones out to snap a photo.
Villain Enterprises moves on to the Tag Wars finals later tonight.
Fin-Juice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay) defeated ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham and Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & LSG) in a semifinal Tag Wars tournament match
Robinson gave his hat and shades to a young fan near the entrance as he walked to the ring. Riccaboni noted it was the fan’s birthday. It’s a cheap babyface move and it always works. Good on Juice.
The crowd was vociferous for Jay Lethal before the bell. Jonathan Gresham and Shaheem Ali kicked the match off. It’s easy to forget how smooth Gresham’s lucha offense is; he did a step-up springboard frankensteiner early on.
It’s very difficult to fathom that we’re at a point of acceptance on the name “Fin-Juice.” Robinson was popular with tonight’s crowd but Lethal somewhat outshined him overall. He had some crisp exchanges with LSG early on.
Coast 2 Coast did some cool double-team work that included a few dives to the floor. Finlay pinned Ali at the end with Trash Panda, a suplex into a shoulder breaker. Fin-Juice will go to the Tag Wars finals.
Women of Honor World Champion Kelly Klein defeated Sumie Sakai by referee stoppage to retain her title
This was actually one of the best matches of the night so far as far as crowd he went. Kelly Klein is working really hard at developing her heel persona. There’s more conviction in her cowardice and it makes her more convincing, more believable.
One of Klein’s tracksuit lackeys distracted Sakai early on in the match, which allowed for Klein to trip Sakai as she stood on the apron. From here, Klein dominated for a few minutes until Sakai locked on an armbar from out of nowhere. She later used a big release German suplex and both were down selling for a few minutes.
Sakai was able to get the crowd more behind her as the match went on. They were stiffer with each other than usual and the crowd could tell.
Sakai did a big plancha onto the lackeys. She landed a brutal fisherman’s buster on Klein for two. The crowd was highly into it at this point.
There was an exciting near fall exchange at the end which saw both wrestlers kick out of each other’s finishers. Finally, Klein used K-Power off the top rope, then put Sakai into a guillotine choke. Sakai passed out and referee Todd Sinclair called for the bell.
The Twisted Sisterz attacked Sakai after the match. They said they were putting the Women of Honor division on notice and then licked Sakai’s face. Colt Cabana carried Sakai to the back.
Willie Mack & ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb defeated Shane Taylor & Silas Young via DQ
Joe Galli, the new NWA announcer, joined Ian Riccaboni on commentary for the next match. He and Riccaboni talked of the NWA National Champion, Willie Mack, and the upcoming Crocket Cup tournament.
Shane Taylor is one of the better trash-talkers on the scene today. He never sounds awkward or scripted and his character is very unlikable. He sucker-punched Jeff Cobb at the beginning of the match after Taylor and Young had a heel-to-heel spat. It’s the same dynamic Young had with Bully Ray.
Cobb is another wrestler that does something that makes your jaw hang down for a few seconds in pretty much every match he’s in.
People were crazy for Willie Mack. The guy moves like he's 175 lbs. He and Cobb did consecutive standing moonsaults to Silas Young.
Of all the impressive things I saw in this match, the most impressive but also most novel was when Cobb deadlift pumphandle suplexed Shane Taylor. With ease.
Galli and Riccaboni gelled together on commentary during this match. They made it feel valuable, like it meant something. It definitely was a positive aspect of the match.
Cobb used a deadlift German suplex on Taylor, then double powerbombed Taylor and Young off the top turnbuckle as the heels superplexed Willie Mack.
Bully Ray ran in after this and started yelling at the ref until Cobb got into Bully Ray’s face. Young low blowed Cobb after this and he and Taylor were officially disqualified.
This was all above average work but the finish left a sour but necessary aftertaste. Bully Ray is a great heel. Hopefully this angle leads to something more specific down the road.
Colt Cabana reported that Sumie Sakai suffered a concussion during her match and that she was being tended to at a local hospital in town.
Bandido defeated Rocky Romero
Who would have thought this match would be the showstealer tonight?
So, Bandido’s booking over the past few weeks has been so focused on getting him over as a superstar that it’s beginning to become apparent with the crowd. He has the look and feel of a breakout star already.
The crowd was split between both wrestlers before the match, and the crowd made it feel a bit more special than it looked to be on paper.
Romero and Bandido shook hands before the bell. Romero made it clear he wouldn’t go after Bandido’s taped-up ribs and back. This scene served as the match’s through-line.
Before things really got started, they did an Eddy tribute spot and had a dance off. This received the loudest pop of the night up until now.
As the match went on, Rocky “accidentally” kicked Bandido in the ribs but apologized for it. I interpreted this as NJPW-style storytelling and nuance, using realistic or logical ideas and appropriating them for an in-ring story.
The match had a unique feel to it, pretty much a big time feel even though there weren’t any real stakes and it was essentially an exhibition match made to get Bandido even more over. For some magical wrestling reason, this one felt special.
The crowd jumped out of their seats after Bandido did a tope con giro, and later a rough looking springboard dropkick to Romero’s neck in the ring neck.
Bandido used a torture rack into a knee strike on Romero and were both down for a nine-count after this. The crowd chanted “This is awesome” after Bandido hit a pop-up cutter. He finished the bout by finally hitting his 21-and-Up finisher, a rolling slingshot German suplex. An excellent match and special in a way I can’t articulate right now.
Marty Scurll defeated Mark Haskins
They did the Frye-Takayama punching spot when the bell rang. Scurll was getting his usual large responses from the crowd tonight, but as soon as the match started the crowd got more behind the match itself than only Marty.
Haskins had a Dynamite Kid kind of explosiveness in his offense. For some reason these guys had a built-in chemistry and rhythm together. It never felt like there were any out of place moves or transitions, every sequence slotting seamlessly into the next.
Scurll did his usual crowd-pleaser spots but also busted out a tope suicida tonight, and after that one the crowd really began to lose it. They were really in love with this guy after this point.
Haskins has a great Daniel Bryan wolverine scrapper feel to his style, someone who is sound technically but prefers to kick and punch and slap as hard as he possibly can.
Scurll won the match after they traded a number of cradle pins; Scurll used a victory roll cradle to score the win. The two shook hands after the match.
They showed the short Rush vignette they’ve been showing during the Tag Wars show this week. He’ll be at next month's Florida shows.
After the vignette, they cut back to commentary with Riccaboni and Cabana. Kelly Klein appeared out of nowhere and snagged a headset and called out Mayu Iwatani for a match in the next few weeks.
Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) defeated Fin-Juice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay) to win the Tag Wars tournament
Tenille Dashwood was on commentary for this match. Villain Enterprises didn’t shake hands with Fin-Juice before it started.
The crowd didn’t make much noise until PCO was in the ring. He tried out some savat kicks and used a basement dropkick to the back of Robinson’s head. He forced King to chop him to get him all juiced up. The Villains chopped Finlay a lot, like to the point where I could see his chest bleeding. They dominated most of the match.
Fin-Juice tried taking PCO down with a double bulldog but he no sold it, just standing there unmoved with his arms raised over his head like a super villain.
The live feed went out as Brody King back body dropped PCO onto the floor onto Fin-Juice. It picked back up just before King spiked Finlay with a Gonzo Bomb to win the Tag Wars tournament. The crowd chanted “That was awesome” at the ring afterwards.
Villain Enterprises refused to shake hands with Fin-Juice. The Briscoes came out and attacked the Villains and it turned into a messy brawl. Mark Briscoe dove off the apron and elbow dropped Brody King, and Jay Briscoe bounced a chair off of PCO’s head.
Mark Briscoe then put PCO through a table with a Froggy Bow from the top turnbuckle to the outside. PCO no-sold it like the Undertaker and the crowd started chanting his name. He no sold around five chair shots from Mark Briscoe. They weren’t protected ones and looked more like something you’d see in late ECW.
The show ended on a fiery note and Villain Enterprises have proven that they can get over as quickly as anyone else in the company. The match was really good but hampered by a tired crowd and a poor quality stream for a few minutes during the climax of the match.