Ring of Honor television from Stage AE in Pittsburgh featured a wild brawl and also a challenge that will assuredly lead to others brawling in the future.
War Machine battled the sinister BJ Whitmer and "Punishment" Martinez in a no disqualification match in the main event. Elsewhere on the show, Cody (Rhodes) issued a challenge to Jay Lethal using a classic prop from Dusty’s past.
In continuing the trend of rotating guest commentators, Alex Shelley joined the current lead voice of ROH, Ian Riccaboni, in calling most of the show.
Taped weeks before the 15th Anniversary pay-per-view and airing in syndication the weekend of the PPV, this episode was a lame duck of sorts with certain storyline advancements. It still looked towards the next major card, Supercard of Honor on April 1st in Lakeland, Florida.
While the show built towards the future card, the taping for this episode took place before recent developments that left this show with one glaring timeline issue related to the tag team titles.
The Young Bucks, in a showcase match on this episode, were still the ROH World Tag Team Champions despite them recently losing the titles to Matt and Jeff Hardy. Nonetheless, Nick and Matt Jackson’s storyline with the Hardys was a constant thread throughout the opening match on this show.
The Young Bucks defeated Coast to Coast
The Coast to Coast tag team is Leon St. Giovanni and Shaheem Ali, and they have previously appeared on ROH TV in other matches against established tag teams in the promotion. Riccaboni on commentary referred to this as a “proving ground match” for Coast to Coast.
In the match, The Young Bucks dispatched Coast to Coast to the outside leading to them teasing doing the Rise of the Terminator spot. However, Ali tripped the Jacksons as they ran the ropes. Giovanni then springboarded off the top rope into a tumbleweed onto the Jacksons at ringside.
Coast to Coast isolated Matt Jackson for a short time as the show went to commercial. After the break, The Young Bucks were making a comeback leading to a parade of moves until Coast to Coast cut them off.
Ali and Giovanni executed their namesake double coast-to-coast finisher on Matt. Nick broke up the pin, and, shortly thereafter, he and Matt were running wild and cleaning house.
Giovanni went for a last ditch springboard off the middle rope and got superkicked to set up him being draped on the rope. Matt held him in place so Nick could jump off the top rope with a 450 splash. Matt then hooked a leg and covered Giovanni for the pinfall.
Afterwards, the then-champions sent a message to the Hardys by mocking them. Matt gave Ali the twist of fate and Nick did a swanton bomb. As he stood on the top rope, Nick encouraged dueling chants of “delete/suck it” before jumping into the swanton.
Though that is very much out of place in the current climate amid the tension and legal wrangling over ownership of the Broken Hardy gimmick (as detailed in the lead story of the newest Observer), this episode was taped before the Hardys left Impact Wrestling and the legal issues began.
At this point in the timeline, the Hardys were only advertised as appearing on the Supercard of Honor card in Florida during WrestleMania weekend. The Hardys subsequently departed the Impact promotion and signed on for a more enhanced run in ROH.
Moving on, a video package chronicled Lio Rush and his issues with The Rebellion, leading to Riccaboni interviewing Rush. He likened The Rebellion to children playing games, so he played games on the last episode. He is “sick” of dealing with The Rebellion.
Kenny King of The Rebellion interrupted the interview, asking if Rush just called him a clown. He actually had not for the record. Nevertheless, King called Rush an “ungrateful piece of garbage” before saying they were no longer playing games with Rush.
King then continued cutting a promo on Rush. He hyped a match between the two for next week’s episode. He concluded with a declaration, “Everybody’s going to know it was Kenny King that put the hush on Lio Rush.”
Curt Stallion defeated Preston Quinn (w/ Andy Vineberg) to advance in the Top Prospect Tournament
The story was the wily veteran facing a young up-and-comer. Brutal Bob Evans joined commentary alongside Shelley and Riccaboni.
On commentary, they noted the tournament was not so much about finding young talent, but also giving other talented, yet possibly overlooked, names an opportunity. Preston Quinn fit the latter as a 43-year-old veteran with many years of experience.
His manager, Andy Vineberg, looked to have transported through time from a territory long ago with his antics and monogrammed powder blue sports coat.
At the outset during the Code of Honor handshake, Vineberg also wanted to shake hands with Stallion. The gesture was a ploy for Quinn to suckerpunch Stallion before the bell.
Later in the match, Vineberg caused another distraction when he tripped Stallion. Quinn thus underhandedly gained the advantage until Stallion made a comeback for a near fall. Quinn cut him off and delivered a piledriver.
With Stallion prone and close to defeat, Quinn jumped off a middle rope only to miss a flying elbow drop. Stallion capitalized by using a flying headbutt before covering Quinn for a three count and the upset victory. Stallion advances to the second round of the tournament.
In the next segment, “The American Nightmare” Cody cut a promo in the ring issuing a challenge to Jay Lethal for a Texas bull rope match.
Cody first asked the crowd in Pittsburgh if they knew the whereabouts of Jay Lethal, insinuating cowardice. He asked someone in the first row of ringside about Lethal, and the fan hurled an insult about Cody’s wife. Cody called him a liar, regrouped, and used the word “extrapolating” in transitioning into him introducing Hangman Page.
With a noose hanging around his neck, Page joined Cody in the ring. Page untied the noose, leaving just a long length of rope he presented to Cody.
As Cody received the rope, he vowed to attach a cowbell to the “gift” given by Page, saying it will be the same cowbell used by his father in a bull rope match against Superstar Billy Graham in the 1970s.
By attaching the cowbell, Cody declared it would be a “Texas bull rope” as he went on to challenge Lethal for a match at Supercard of Honor.
The Texas bull rope match is scheduled for April 1st at Supercard of Honor, though Lethal has not yet accepted the challenge in the storyline narrative on TV.
In a pre-taped segment, Jay Briscoe cut a promo ahead of a return match against Jay White in the main event on the next episode of ROH TV. The two previously met in a match on TV that went to a time limit draw.
Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) defeated Jonathan Gresham
They had a babyface match with them doing chain wrestling sequences that usually ended in stalemates. Neither had the upper hand with it being nip-and-tuck throughout.
Their reversals and counters were really good. Gresham even countered Castle's finisher at one point before sending him to regroup outside the ring.
Gresham followed with a flying knee off the apron, and he appeared to have Castle reeling. Or did he? Gresham jumped off the top rope into the waiting arms of Castle, who delivered a Bang-a-Rang.
Castle then pinned Gresham to end a good match where Gresham shined despite losing. Castle himself also remained strong as the number one contender ahead of his upcoming challenge for the ROH World Championship.
In a pre-taped promo, ROH World TV Champion Marty Scurll plugged Supercard of Honor and encouraged the buying of tickets to see him.
For the TV main event, Mark Briscoe provided guest commentary for a wild brawl. Fittingly, Briscoe himself is very familiar with wild brawls so he was right at home and gleeful at times when calling the melee.
The back story was that the two teams met in a previous bout at the TV tapings in Atlanta, and the match was thrown out after an uncontrollable brawl erupted. This episode featured the return match with a no disqualification stipulation to settle the score.
BJ Whitmer & Damien “Punishment” Martinez defeated War Machine in a no DQ match
In a sneak attack during the spooky entrance of Whitmer and Martinez, War Machine entered the scene like Vikings on a raid. War Machine attacked them unmercifully.
Hanson did a cannonball splash off the theater stage and Rowe threw superman punches. War Machine pummeled Whitmer and Martinez around ringside, throwing them into guardrails as they brawled on the floor.
In the ring, Hanson took an unprotected chair shot to the head thrown by Whitmer. Hanson gave him his back for another shot. Whitmer and Martinez had Rowe isolated before a commercial break.
Upon the show returning from break, War Machine were already making a comeback with Hanson throwing clotheslines. He also did a cartwheel for good measure.
Martinez stopped the flurry of offense when he jumped off the ropes with a flying spin heel kick. A moment later, Rowe superman punched Martinez only to get folded up with a nasty German suplex from Whitmer.
Everybody was down selling when Whitmer and Rowe got to their feet to slug it out. Martinez jumped in to allow Whitmer to execute an exploder suplex for a near fall. Whitmer and Martinez tried to single out Hanson, but Rowe made the save.
War Machine did a double team move on Martinez where Rowe launched Martinez in the air, and Hanson caught him on his shoulder for a running powerslam. Martinez kicked out at two for a near fall.
War Machine set up a table in the ring. Whitmer fought back against Rowe and Hanson before all three spilled to the outside. As the three brawled at ringside, Martinez ran corner-to-corner across the ring and did a flip dive over the ropes to the floor.
For the finish, Hanson and Martinez were perched on the ropes fighting when Martinez chokeslammed Hanson off the ropes through a table. With Hanson laying in the debris of the demolished table, Martinez pinned him.
On the next episode of ROH TV, Jay Briscoe and Jay White collide in a return match after they previously wrestled to a draw in their last encounter.
The newest episode begins airing this weekend in syndication so check local listings. The show is then available Monday evening via the FITE TV app before airing Wednesday at midnight ET on Comet TV, including that channel’s free online live stream. The episode is then available to watch on Thursday via the official ROH website.