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ROH The Experience results: Fans vote for matches and stipulations

With matchups and stipulations decided by fan voting, ROH's The Experience took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

- The lights were out when the show started. When they went back on, Maria Manic was in the ring. She destroyed two officials and an interviewer, then got on the microphone and declared that she's with ROH and this is her house now.

Dragon Lee defeated Jeff Cobb

This was part of the Experience thing they had going on tonight. Cobb was chosen as Lee's opponent, getting 41 percent of the vote and beating out PJ Black, Kenny King, and Eli Isom. Black, King, and Isom will be in a four-way match with Ultimo Guerrero later.

The crowd was small but really enthusiastic. This was the first match and was really good. Cobb didn’t bust out many of his power moves early on and kept the pace with Lee for much of the match, which I think is one of Cobb’s strong suits that isn’t highlighted enough, that he can keep up with top-tier junior heavyweights at his size and believably. 

The match really heated up towards the end, and Lee scored the upset win after reversing Cobb’s Tour of the Islands swinging powerslam. They put over on commentary that no one had ever done that before. They shook hands and hugged afterwards. Good stuff.

ROH Tag Team title match: The Briscoes defeated Master & Machine to retain

ROH claimed that Master & Machine received 57 percent of the fan vote. Caprice Coleman said that people could vote as many times as they wanted. 

Master & Machine (Marcus Kross & Griff Garrison) are these young dudes from Georgia who have been on ROH television in the past. Kross had a big Bart Simpson hair-do. If Master & Machine legitimately got 57 percent of the vote, no one in this building knew who they were or cheered for them, but the crowd went pretty nuts for the entire match in favor of The Briscoes.

Garrison was impressive. He’s a smaller Matt Riddle-esque guy, a little smaller but wildly athletic. Ian Riccaboni mentioned he was a college football quarterback and he had that vibe to him. This surprised me, I hadn’t seen M&M before and they did well here. Briscoes were great as always. 

PJ Black defeated Eli Isom, Kenny King (w/ Amy Rose), and Ultimo Guerrero in a four-way match

They structured the match so that only two guys were in the ring at a time. It wasn’t a car crash. Each looked good here, especially Guerrero in the ring -- it doesn’t even look like he’s thinking while he’s in there. But the star of the match with this crowd was actually King. At one point in this, King did a running dive from the stage onto everyone on the floor.

Isom deserves a special mention because he looked excellent in this. He’s ready to break out, so hopefully 2020 is when he can catch a break. Black pinned him to get the win after landing a crazy looking moonsault double stomp that looked more like a low-angle dropkick. 

ROH World Champion Rush & ROH TV Champion Shane Taylor defeated Matt Taven & Dalton Castle

Fans voted for this as the match over Rush & Castle vs. Taven & Taylor.

Taven and Castle argued a lot before Rush dropkicked Castle out of the ring. The match quickly turned into a messy fight around ringside until Taylor threw Taven back into the ring. Later, Taven and Castle dropkicked Rush out of the ring and he crashed into the cameraman, then rained down on Taylor and Rush with a few dives. 

The rest of this was all action. I kept forgetting that it was a tag team match and not a four-way. Taylor pinned Castle after hitting Greetings from 216.

Two-out-of-three falls match: Jonathan Gresham defeated Mark Haskins

Riccaboni announced that 44 percent of fans voted for this match to be two-out-of-three falls. Haskins spoke to Gresham in the ring -- Gresham’s a heel now, by the way -- and insisted with a fiery attitude that they put on a great match tonight before the two shook hands. 

Good modern mat wrestling during the first few minutes of this -- lots of wrist work. Gresham popped Haskins in the face but claimed it was on accident and offered his hand again. You could tell early that they were going long. The crowd was quiet, but it was appropriate to the feel of the match, and the scant crowd hung around for all of this.

The story was that Gresham was getting frustrated that Haskins was out-wrestling him, so he’d roll to the floor to collect himself. At one point when Gresham came back into the ring, he locked a claw onto Haskins' erogenous zone but did it discretely so that the referee couldn’t see. Haskins paid him back later with a low blow of his own, again behind the ref’s back. 

The first fall was a double pin, so it was actually two falls at once. The crowd booed this.

The last fall came when Gresham locked in a figure four leg lock and rolled both himself and Haskins to the floor. Gresham had been working over Haskins’ leg all match, so Haskins sold the leg hard. Gresham left Haskins outside the ring for a countout win.

The booking here was so flat that it ruined the match. Haskins sold his leg and hopped his way to the back. Everything up to the first fall was excellent. 

Last man standing match: Flip Gordon defeated Tracy Williams

Another 44 percent of fans voted for a last man standing match between these two. Gordon tried attacking Williams before the bell with a flying dropkick to the floor, but Williams moved out of the way and they started brawling around the ring.

Williams did a flying knee to Gordon onto empty folding chairs in the second row. He later used a Northern Lights suplex onto an unfolded steel chair, which looked brutal. The spot mangled the chair. 

When the cameras went into the crowd, you could see how empty the venue was tonight. The first row was mostly full, but the back rows on most sides were empty.

Gordon used a wheelbarrow hold to slam Williams head-first into the barricade, then threw him over his head with a German onto the mats on the floor. They didn’t tell much story in the match -- it was just a lot of cool looking spots that sometimes looked more painful than they probably had to be. This got over, but so did The Briscoes in their regular tag team match. 

Williams found the random kendo stick that was hiding under the ring, which must have been left over from this year’s Pittsburgh Kendo Spectacular.

New signee Tyler Bateman appeared later in the match and helped powerbomb Williams from the top through a table. Williams stayed down for the 10 count, so Gordon was the winner. Gordon spit at Williams and left the ring, and Bateman stared at Williams for a while before heading to the back. The announcers played it like they didn’t understand why Bateman was there. 

- Riccaboni and Coleman alerted us that something was going on in the back, and we were shown that The Kingdom's Vinny Marseglia and TK O'Ryan had been attacked. Matt Taven asked officials what happened and told them to get help.

Taven then came out to the ring. He said this ends right now and said that whoever attacked Marseglia and O'Ryan has his attention. The lights went out and a spotlight went on -- revealing that Marseglia was standing behind Taven. Marseglia attacked his Kingdom stablemate and bloodied him with an axe.

Marseglia's balloons flew in the air and music played. He licked Taven's blood, then wrote a V on his own forehead with more blood. Taven tried to get up, but Marseglia hit him with the axe again.

After an advertisement played, ROH staff was helping Taven up in the ring. He wiped blood off of his head and went to the back.

ROH Six-Man Tag Team title match: Marty Scurll, PCO & Dan Maff defeated Colt Cabana, Cheeseburger & Jeff Cobb to retain

Maff was the surprise partner for the injured Brody King. Maff hasn’t wrestled for ROH in 14 years. He came out in a giant leather jacket and his gas mask and looked huge. Maff and PCO will have a singles match tomorrow at ROH Unauthorized.

Fans voted for Cabana, Cheeseburger & Cobb as the challengers, while it was said that the "ROH board of directors" chose Maff to replace King for this match.

Cabana and Scurll started and got even more heat than the last man standing match at the top, just without the tables.

PCO and Cheeseburger had a good and kind of funny exchange. The visual was surreal: PCO looking more like Quasimodo than ever, and Cheeseburger in his custom Liger tribute outfit (which was awesome) and his new mustache that Coleman compared to Eddie Murphy in "Boomerang," which is so accurate.

Next in were Maff and Cobb. The crowd started chanting “holy sh*t” before they even started wrestling. 

Maff was the highlight in this. He felt fresh like a much-needed new face. He was more intense than anyone in the match, and just seeing him and PCO together on screen makes their match tomorrow a pretty easy sell -- a monster battle. 

PCO later did a flip dive onto everyone with some help from Scurll. He does a crazy dive on every single show he’s on, it’s amazing. Maff did his own tope suicida to the floor. He got over like gangbusters with this crowd. When Cobb superplexed him into the ring, the audience was louder than they’d been all night.

PCO did his flip off the top rope onto the apron and almost fell before flipping over. He then went for the pin, but Maff yelled that he was the legal man. “Tag me, stupid,” was what he said before folding Cheeseburger with a Burning Hammer for the finish. This was really good and everyone in the match was super over with the crowd.

Final thoughts --

This wasn’t bad, but with everything else going on in the world of pro wrestling these days, I can’t say this was a must-watch show. Maff fit right into the mix. Maybe its the recency bias, but he looked like a big deal in the six-man match. He and PCO will have a crazy match tomorrow based on what they previewed tonight.

It was somewhat of a slog at times, especially towards the end. Haskins vs. Gresham had potential to be one of the better North American matches of the week, but, as per usual, the booking killed any momentum it had, and it did nothing for either’s long-term story. Oh, and finally, props to Jeff Cobb for wrestling in both the opener and the main event tonight. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with coverage of ROH’s Unauthorized in Columbus, Ohio.