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ROH Free Enterprise results: PCO/Scurll vs. Rush/Aldis

Free Enterprise, Ring of Honor’s experimental free show took place this past Sunday afternoon at the UMBC Arena in Baltimore, MD. The lower level of the venue appeared to be more or less full even though there were still pockets of empty seats in the upper bowl of the arena.

Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were our announcers for this Honor Club show

Mark Haskins submitted Alex Shelley

The two first traded wristlocks and side headlocks with Haskins looking to be in control of the offense early on. A couple ironic fans shouted “WRESTLING!” -- the new flavor of the month chant when fans see “serious” pro wrestling. (Imagine if someone went to a play or movie and screamed “ACTING!” during dialogue between characters.)

Shelley used a few llave-style submissions, stretching Haskins into a pretzel. Haskins laid in a number of hard kicks and elbows, which Shelley continued to eat. “Come on Haskins, you stupid son of a b**ch!” he screamed at Haskins midway through. From watching it, the crowd bought into the match as they seemed to realize how hard these two in the ring were working. There were lots of chants for Shelley around this point in the match, too.

The two knocked each other out at one point, the first real peak in the match, but both were up at referee Todd Sinclair’s nine count. Haskins landed the Shoulder Soldier Roll for a close two, leaving Haskins stunned. He then went to the top and missed a diving double foot stomp which allowed Shelley to nail Sliced Bread and then a Blade Runner for another close two.

Haskins countered Shelley’s Sliced Bread #2 attempt and eventually locked him in a sharpshooter and armlock for the win. Shelley immediately rolled to the floor and sold his the submission as he stumbled backstage.

This was a solid match. Haskins needs more guys like Shelley to work with. Riccaboni mentioned afterward that Haskins had a counter for everything Shelley threw at him, the essential takeaway from this match going forward, I’d guess. Haskins called out PCO into the camera as he exited the ring.

Righteous (Vincent and Bateman w/ Vida Von Star & Chuckles) defeated Dalton Castle and Joe Hendry

Castle was cheered upon his entrance, so I guess he’s not a heel anymore. He also has a new pair of Boys that accompany him to the ring now. Hendry received the loudest reaction he has had in ROH since signing. I think fans are finally catching on to his theme song. Riccaboni and Coleman said they couldn’t control their hands while it was playing and they had to clap.

We first saw Vincent’s new stable of spooksters last month at Honor Reigns Supreme. Chuckles was a clown last month, but here, he just looked like a shabby older fellow without any facepaint on. Vincent used put on a late-'60s hippie accent and kept asking if Castle could “dig” what he was saying. It’s the Diet Wyatt Family, which was itself a Diet Manson Family.

Vincent and Bateman didn’t shake hands beforehand. Castle and Hendry are kayfabe buddies now whereas a couple months back, their gimmick was just them arguing over egos in the ring. Hendry has gained some noticeable muscle mass recently. Even Ricaboni later described Hendry as being built “as thick as a soda machine.”

Vincent used a cool schoolboy-into-second turnbuckle move at one point. Castle returned offense with a big delay German suplex and the crowd chanted for him after that. Hendry used a double fallaway slam on both Vincent and Bateman followed by a kip-up, all of which elicited the loudest response of the night so far. The finish saw Vincent hit an Acid Drop on Hendry for the pin after Castle was dragged from the ring.

Quinn McKay came out and announced they’ll be back UMBC Arena on June 19 for Best in the World.

Flip Gordon defeated Slex

They showed a quick vignette before his entrance. Riccaboni mentioned his critically-acclaimed match against Kazuchika Okada for Melbourne City Wrestling in 2017.

Referee Todd Sinclair would not allow Slex to wear his sunglasses in the ring during the match and the crowd sounded bummed out when he took them off

Slex is about the same height as Gordon but is more muscular. His offense isn’t flashy, but his execution of it is. He used a spinning sitout torture rack bomb for a close two. Gordon rallied back and landed a moonsault to the floor and then a springboard spear into the ring for a two count. He picked up the win after a Curb Stomp.

This was really good and after all the hype, I can say with confidence that Slex is the real deal.

Shane Taylor and the Sons of Savagery came out afterward and attacked Slex. Taylor laid him out with a butterfly package piledriver and then got on the mic and said that everybody should be talking about Taylor’s demands and his return to ROH, not all of the recent debuts people have paid attention to instead.

Alex Zayne defeated Andrew Everett

These two are very creative. There were lots of innovative aerial moves in this one -- moves that don’t have official names yet. Everett played light heel here, but with he and Zayne going tit-for-tat on each spot, it seemed hard for the crowd to boo him for too long. He planted Zayne face first into the second turnbuckle with a running bulldog and then landed a GIF-worthy springboard tornillo into the ring for two. 

As the match slowed, the volume level in the audience softened, often between its big spots. Everett went for a top rope poisonrana, but Zayne landed on his feet. Everrett then spiked him with standing version of the same move, but missed a shooting star press which gave Zayne the opportunity to land a shooting star double knee strike onto a bent over Everett.

He then put Everett away with a sit out pumphandle slam that resembled Shingo Takagi’s Last of the Dragon. This match would be great on the weekly ROH TV show.

The Briscoes Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated Mexablood (Bandido and Flamita)

This was an awesome match.

Jay and Bandido kicked off the match for their teams. Both Bandido and the Briscoes had the crowd hot from the start. Flamita and Jay almost botched a headscissors spot, but recovered within seconds. When action spilled to the floor, Flamita hit a perfect Asai moonsault from the top, followed by Bandido landing a picture-perfect springboard shooting star press from the top rope to the floor. The crowd started chanting “R-O-H!”

Bandido showcased his freaky strength in the ring with with a one-armed delayed suplex. The crowd started heating up for the Briscoes here and they then took Flamita out with a dragon suplex/single-leg dropkick combo. Mark unfolded a chair in the ring and did a triple jump tope con giro to the floor, which the Baltimore crowd loved. They chanted for Mark to do it again, which he then did on both Mexabloods. He then landed the Cactus Jack elbow off the apron onto floor on Flamita.

The crowd chanted “Let’s go Briscoes!” as the bout returned to the ring, but it didn’t stay inside for too long. Bandido launched Flamita over his head with a back body drop which Flamita turned into a tope con giro to the floor.

Flamita kicked out of the Briscoes’ Redneck Boogie finisher only a few minutes after he stuck a 450 splash. He took both Briscoes out with a frog splash dropkick, literally hanging in the air like gravity stopped being a thing in his life for a split second. Mark used a Froggy ‘bow but again, Flamita kicked out, leading to more chants of “this is awesome!”.

Crowd volume began fading after the Mexabloods landed stereo Spanish Flys. Jay finally took Bandido out of the match with a brutal looking suplex on the apron, and the Briscoes scored the victory after decimating Flamita with a Doomsday Device. All four in this looked excellent.

-- There was an intermission next. For those watching along at home, production aired an old match between Mark and Jay Briscoe from 8/24/02 when they were 17 and 18 years old. This was introduced as a way of promoting the March 14th Past vs. Present nostalgia show in Las Vegas. I hope they continue airing these matches on Honor Club broadcasts as it’s a great way of making use of the ROH library while giving their live crowds a break.

Flip Gordon won a 20-person battle royal to earn an ROH world title shot

Participants included Delirious, Danhausen, Dak Draper, Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, Tracy Williams, Crowbar, Rhett Titus, The Bouncers, the Blue Meanie, Maria Manic, Gangrel, Kenny King, Dragon Lee, PJ Black, Silas Young, Josh Woods, and Brian Johnson

Gangrel spit something in Kenny King’s eyes before the match started, and King sold it on the outside. He stayed on the floor once the match got started. Dragon Lee came out separately and King acted like he was miffed at him because of that.

Gangrel was first in and hit a double overhook suplex to Danhausen and then an Impaler on Draper. Draper got back up and eliminated Gangrel when he went for another Impaler. Draper then eliminated LSG and then Crowbar/Eli Isom at the same time. (It’s the same Crowbar/Devon Storm from WCW, for the record.) Cheeseburger eliminated Draper when he pulled the top rope down as Draper ran toward him. 

When the Blue Meanie got the Bouncers to start dancing with him in the ring, Brian Johnson threw Meanie out. Johnson then eliminated his recent storyline mentor, PJ Black. As Johnson screamed about how he’s “the mecca,” Maria Manic walked over to him and used what I believe would be termed a scrotal claw in wrestling parlance, then press slamming him to the floor which got a nice reaction.

Rhett Titus and Manic then had a short posedown and Manic used a hip toss to eliminate Titus. She then saved Danhausen from the Bouncers and eliminated both at the same time, so she got the full-on Brock Lesnar Royal Rumble treatment here. Danhausen then thanked Manic for the save and hugged her, but then she shoved him to the mat. Maria’s not a hugger. Silas Young then got in Manic’s face and asked if she wanted to be a “real man.” Manic called him a b*tch which riled the crowd up.

They exchanged chops until Young took her out with a backbreaker and short lariat. When Young went to eliminate her, Bully Ray ran down to help eliminate Manic. Ray then hit her with a chair and powerbombed her through a table. The crowd chanted “a**hole” at Ray until he walked to the back.

Delirious and Danhausen did zany comedy together next. Danhausen gave Delirious some loose teeth in a jar (part of his gimmick) and Delirious swallowed them. Danhausen then did a jump kick so the teeth went flying and Delirious was eliminated. Young later eliminated Cheeseburger and the final four were now Young, his tag partner Josh Woods, Tracy Williams, and Dragon Lee. Kenny King still hadn’t entered the match yet exactly like he did last year during the Honor Rumble last year at MSG.

Woods and Young eliminated Williams, who I forgot was even in the match even though I saw him on camera earlier. Dragon Lee took out Young and Woods, so King tried running in and eliminating Lee from behind. King thought he had the match won when Lee skinned the cat, rolling himself over the top rope and back into the ring. Shocked, King ran at Lee, but Lee pulled the top rope down and eliminated King.

Lee then ripped his mask off to reveal it was Flip Gordon the whole time. He even shaved his beard between this and his earlier bout with Slex, so it took a second for everyone to pick up on who it was. It was a nice twist to wrap up a pretty bad battle royal. Gordon will now receive a shot at the ROH World title, held by Villain Enterprises partner, PCO.

Angelina Love and Mandy Leone of the Allure joined Riccaboni and Coleman on commentary for the next match.

Session Moth Martina defeated Sumie Sakai

This was Martina’s ROH debut. Her gimmick is that of a party girl who likes to booze it up and dance during her matches. She danced with referee Steven Dumeng and offered Sakai a beer before the bell. She used a Bronco Buster on Sakai in the corner and even threw in a few extra Bronco thrusts. She ran the ropes like she was going for a dive but got out of breath. Sakai, now on the floor, offered Martina a beer, but it was a ruse. Sakai turned heel recently, for those who aren’t aware.

Sakai worked Martina over in the ring with submissions and stomps, but Martina got her second wind when she took a swig of mystery liquid and put Sakai down with a few short lariats. The crowd was into mildly into Martina but it was around this point that they started losing steam. Martina drank some beer and used an accidental stinkface on Dumeng, taking him out of the match temporarily.

Sakai then tossed a chair in the ring and hit Martina followed by a DDT on it before helping Dumeng back into the match. Martina recovered quickly and headbutted Sakai before pinning her with her finish, the Jaeger Bomb. It sounded like the Allure might have an angle coming up with Martina in the near future.

Jeff Cobb and Dan Maff defeated ROH Tag Team Champions Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal for a future ROH tag team title shot

Gresham and Cobb were in together first. Gresham’s new heel nickname is “The Foundation” and both he and Lethal are wearing what look like matching black tights. Maff and Lethal were next and exchanged hard chops. Maff ploughed Lethal with a pounce. Maff was fired up for the whole match, his gravely voice booming across the arena like he was mic’d up throughout most of this.

Things heated up midway through with a lot of double team action. Cobb knelt down at one point and Maff used Cobb as a launchpad, crashing onto Lethal with a senton in the ring. On the floor, Lethal and Gresham tried taking Maff out with tope suicidas but he wouldn’t go down. Later, when they went for the Cornette Cutter, Cobb caught Gresham in mid-air and planted him with an Oklahoma Stampede.

The last couple minutes of this were good as the finish saw Maff putting Lethal away clean with a Burning Hammer. Maff and Cobb have now earned a title shot at the ROH tag champions, Gresham and Lethal.

Brody King defeated Rey Horus

This was good for a squash match. King, who re-signed with ROH last week, worked Horus over early on. It was deliberately paced as he used a few throws, chops, slams, and splashes. Horus countered with a big dive over the corner ringpost to the floor, but King returned the attacks and slowed the pace. Horus landed a wild looking tornado DDT out of the corner, but not long after that, King spiked Horus with the Gonzo Bomb in this souped-up squash.

Villain Enterprises (ROH World Champion PCO and Marty Scurll) defeated NWA World Champion Nick Aldis and Rush

This was good.

Aldis and the new NWA are doing another crossover angle with Scurll and this played more into their NWA storyline. Rush and PCO are still feuding over the ROH World title even though, at this time last year, they weren’t with the company.

Aldis and Scurll looked great together. They had an unsung singles match last year at the ROH/NWA Crockett Cup special and looked equally impressive together in this tonight.

PCO missed a somersault onto the apron early and it looked nuts like it always does. There were scattered “holy sh*t” chants for that, and later a louder chorus of “P-C-O” chants. Rush basically stayed on PCO while Aldis stayed with Scurll throughout which made the story psychology easy to interpret in the ring. The “heels” double teamed PCO in the corner for a few minutes until he burst through their attacks with a double lariat to tag out to Scurll, who cleaned house.

Scurll then chopped his partner, a spot that “wakes him up" which allowed PCO to power up so Scurll could back body drop him onto Rush and Aldis who stood prone on the floor. Scurll flexed on the top rope and then hit a superplex on Aldis. He did his best Jacques Rougeau impression and assisted PCO doing the old Quebecers somersault senton off the top.

Later, when Aldis landed a diving elbow drop on PCO, he accidentally hit Rush as well who then yelled at Aldis. Rush and Aldis got into an argument which led to Rush walking up the entrance and watching the rest of the match from there. Aldis grabbed his NWA title and went for a belt shot, but Scurll spun him around and snapped his fingers, causing him to drop the belt. PCO then chokeslammed Aldis to put him away clean with the PCOsault for the win. Rush then walked to the back.

Scurll got on the mic and expanded on their upcoming NWA title match. Scurll said he would put his money where his mouth is as long as that if he beats Aldis, he wins the NWA World title and offered to write a check for $500,000 if he were to beat him in that match. Scurll announced that Aldis’ opponent for ROH Supercard of Honor would be PCO.

Riccaboni insinuated this could possibly turn into a champion vs. champion match.

Final thoughts

This was a good but very long show that lost steam after the intermission. The crowd in Baltimore was enthusiastic, but it’s hard for fans to keep their energy up on a four-hour matinee show with ten matches.

The Briscoes vs. Mexabloods was the show stealer. The battle royal was not good but was meant to do a lot of storyline work without having to book more matches, so I get it. Slex looked very good in his debut, and Session Moth Martina’s character got over during hers.

The rest of the show was just there. It wasn’t bad, often good actually, but with such a glut of top-tier wrestling available now, this can’t be considered a must-watch show. If anything, ROH here did more of a service for NWA’s upcoming PPV than for their own with no significant angles introduced for Bound by Honor at the end of this month (PCO vs. Dragon Lee is the main event), nor for their Past vs. Present show in March.