The Big Takeaway --
Two great matches carried us closer and closer to the highly anticipated Best in the World PPV on July 11.
Host Quinn McKay welcomed viewers to the broadcast. She discussed the Survival of the Fittest bracket and the upcoming qualifying match on today’s edition of ROH TV: Eli Isom vs. Dak Draper.
This is a rematch of Isom and Draper’s first encounter that took place a few weeks ago that went to a time limit draw.
McKay also revealed that Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus will defend their ROH Tag Team titles against Kenny King and the returning Dragon Lee.
Survival of the Fittest first round match: Eli Isom defeated Dak Draper (11:17)
Draper’s pre-match promo was simple but great. He’s very well-spoken and has grown on me a lot.
Right before the bell rang, Dalton Castle appeared on the stage. He danced his way to ringside with four “boys” and said he was just here to watch the match.
Draper booted Isom right before the match began, which gave Draper a clear advantage throughout the first portion of the match. Both guys got distracted at different times due to Castle and his Boys’ clapping profusely and walking around the ring. Draper nailed Isom with a big clothesline that led into a commercial break.
Draper is so athletic. Coming back from the break, he casually ran up the turnbuckle and hit a twisting springboard ax handle like it was nothing. Draper then took another risk and hit a crossbody that saw him and Isom tumbling over the top rope and onto the floor.
The story of this match was that Draper is performing a high-risk style in order to beat Isom, something he couldn’t do in their first encounter.
Draper continued with his big move offense throughout. Eventually, Isom sprung back to life with a stunning sidewinder powerbomb.
In the final moments of the match, Draper had a chance to put away Isom with the Magnum but instead perched him on the top turnbuckle. At this point, Castle and his boys walked out on the match, citing that Castle was “late for a meeting\." Isom took advantage of Draper’s distraction and hit his signature Promise Brainbuster for the win.
ROH Tag Team title match: The Foundation (Rhett Titus & Tracy Williams) defeated La Faccion Ingobernable (Kenny King & Dragon Lee) by disqualification (16:09)
This match was contested under Pure Rules.
Titus and King began the match, but Williams quickly made himself the legal man. Almost immediately after being put in a cloverleaf, King used his team’s first rope break.
Lee and Williams had a chopping exchange later on in the match that was great. Lee went for a top rope suicida but when Williams moved, Lee hand planted on the apron and landed on his feet.
King and Lee exchanged tags over the middle portion of the match, working on the shoulder of Williams. Williams sold the shoulder pain very well. Williams was eventually able to tag Titus in for the hot tag.
Titus came in and went crazy on King, his former tag partner. Titus hit a big powerslam on King and then went for a cover, but King used his team’s second rope break.
Williams eventually got a hot tag and locked King in a crossface, but King used his team’s third and final rope break. King showed visible frustration and looked to tag out to Lee.
All hell broke loose in the final stages of the match. Titus hit King with a hydraulic dropkick that seemed to take him out of the match. Lee was setting up for an incinerator knee strike but Williams caught him. Williams perched Lee on the top rope and was able to hit a super piledriver. Williams seemed to have the match in the bag, but King broke up the pin.
Referee Todd Sinclair rang the bell and called for a DQ. Since pinfall breakups count as rope breaks in Pure Rules tag matches and Lee/King were out of them, Williams and Titus won by DQ.
After the match, Bestia Del Ring rushed the ring and attacked Williams and Titus. Lethal and Gresham came to assist their stablemates while Violence Unlimited stood on the stage and watched.
Final Thoughts --
The reason I enjoy ROH so much is just because it’s simple but sweet. The storytelling both inside and out of the ring is easy to understand. The wrestling is outstanding and they have arguably two of the top 15 wrestlers in the world on their roster in Dragon Lee and Jonathan Gresham. I’m really excited for fans to come back and hopefully, more eyes will be on the product then.
Isom vs. Draper was good, but I'm ready for the payoff with Castle’s new direction. He’s always been one of the better characters in the company.
The Tag Team title match was great as well, and I'm intrigued to see where they go next with the titles. It does seem like King will get booted from the group sooner rather than later, as he has cost LFI a lot of opportunities.