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ROH Road to G1 Supercard Houston results: Night two of Tag Wars

ROH was in Houston, Texas on Friday for the second night of Tag Wars on the Road to G1 Supercard tour.

This was the second of three straight nights of Road to G1 Supercard shows in Texas. 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 --

Aside from the ringside seats, the NRG Arena was mostly empty for Friday's show in Houston.

Dalton Castle joined Ian Riccaboni on commentary for the first match. 

The Bouncers (Brian Milonas & Beer City Bruiser) defeated The Boys in a first round Tag Wars tournament match

There was a lot of comedy in this one. Brian Milonas chugged a beer in the ring before the match. The Bouncers made a lot of alcohol-centric jokes. Milonas slammed both Boys at the same time at one point. 

Bruiser later yelled his “I can’t bite, I ain’t got no teeth!” catchphrase which, as per usual, died a silent, awkward death. 

Milonas did superplex and Bruiser followed up with a frog splash to win the match. Dalton Castle saved the match with his commentary and relatively obscure Nickelodeon references. 

Sumie Sakai defeated Thunder Rosa (w/ Holidead) via SQ

The two had a quick but solid exchange of moves until Holidead interfered and Todd Sinclair called the match only a few minutes in. 

Madison Rayne came out, cleaned house, and cut a great promo on the Twisted Sisterz, explaining that the Sisterz stood against what ROH stands for. She said the fans wanted to see a fight and they turned the match into a tag match.

Twisted Sisterz (Thunder Rosa & Holidead) defeated Sumie Sakai & Madison Rayne

The crowd popped loud for this and started chanting for the teams to fight. Sakai hit a nice plancha from the top rope to the floor. Sakai received her own set of chants after this. 

The Sisterz slowed things down and double-teamed Sakai for a bit. Rosa is extremely charismatic. Both come off as organic heel wrestlers, not people playing wrestler for the night. Their conviction is impressive.

Sakai later made a hot tag to Rayne and again got another big pop. Rayne’s work was solid but brief. Thunder Rosa stole a pin by using an O’Connor roll and using Rayne’s tights for illegal leverage.

This was the first match on the card to get a loud reaction. It was a good length but could have went a tad longer. I look forward to seeing how the Women of Honor division develops this year. 

Coast 2 Coast (LSG & Shaheem Ali) defeated Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger & Eli Isom) w/ Ryan Nova in a first round Tag Wars tournament match

Rhett Titus joined Riccaboni on commentary for this match. 

Eli Isom shined tonight. He’s improved rather a lot in the past two months or so and continues to get better. He used a pop-up Air Raid Crash for two on LSG. 

This was a decent match with some innovative in-ring work but sometimes suffered of Coast 2 Coast’s sloppiness or off-timed moves, particularly at the beginning. Their high spots towards the end did help increase the overall match quality, and their charisma -- Shaheem Ali’s, mainly -- was what made them interesting.

LSG used a 450 on Cheeseburger to advance to the next round of Tag Wars. All wrestlers shook hands after the match. 

Villain Enterprises (Marty Scurll, Brody King & PCO) defeated Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks & Alex Coughlin

The crowd went crazy for Scurll. He did some great chain wrestling with former New York rugby player Alex Coughlin early on. 

PCO demanded Clark Connors chop him a number of times when they were in the ring together. He then missed a senton atomico from the top turnbuckle onto the apron, a spot he’s been doing recently, which looked terrifying but PCO seemed like he was fine. 

The Young Lions looked better tonight, though I noticed they have little body control when they take bumps or are whipped into the ropes, and their arms and legs flail around asymmetrically. That said, each of them has their own brand of charisma, they are all highly athletic and will definitely be worth watching throughout the rest of this year.

Brody King hoisted PCO up over the ropes for an assisted tope con giro. Villain Enterprises won the match after King used his Gonzo Bomb and PCO landed his monstrous moonsault. The crowd chanted “P-C-O” over and over as the Villains exited to the back. 

TK O’Ryan defeated Jonathan Gresham

Matt Taven was originally supposed to wrestle Gresham but got on the mic before the match and insisted Gresham wasn’t worth wrestling. He called Gresham Jay Lethal’s lackey. O’Ryan offered to wrestle Gresham in Taven’s place and the match was changed from here.

Gresham and O’Ryan did some clever chain wrestling spots at the start of this. O’Ryan did a really good job as heel throughout the match. Gresham reminds me more and more of a modernized Dean Malenko with a different kind of charisma. 

These two had surprisingly natural chemistry with each other. Even though the crowd died out in the middle of the match during O’Ryan’s heel beatdown sequences, it picked back up towards the end. The crowd just wanted to cheer on Gresham, really. 

Red balloons flew up from under the ring and Vinny Marseglia jumped up from under the ring and onto the apron. While Gresham had O’Ryan in an Octopus Hold, Marseglia distracted the referee. O’Ryan tapped out but the ref didn’t see it, and O’Ryan was then able to roll Gresham up to win the match with his feet on the ropes. 

As the Kingdom trash-talked and beat on Gresham some more, Jay Lethal came out to save Gresham from the goons. He challenged Marseglia to a match right there and the next match was ready to go.

ROH World Champion Jay Lethal defeated Vinny Marseglia to retain his title

Lethal wrestled with a lot of intensity tonight. Marseglia threw the World title out of the ring and Lethal dashed at him and went to work. 

Marseglia kept cutting promos on the crowd and calling them puppets. He always has a forced “scary” look on his face that comes off as more a parody character of Bray Wyatt than someone who is supposed to come off as scary. He later pulled a small axe out from under the ring, but Lethal dropkicked him across the face and used a tope suicida.

Lethal did his best to get reactions out of the crowd for pretty much every spot he did and it paid off. He really worked his ass off here, like he had something new to prove. He hit Lethal Injection on Marseglia for the win a few moments later. 

Gresham dove through the ropes onto the other Kingdom members after the match. The crowd was on their feet after this chanting for Lethal as the action died down. 

Women of Honor World Champion Kelly Klein defeated Britt Baker to retain her title

Mandy Leon, wearing a comically large ranchero hat tonight, joined Riccaboni on commentary for this match. 

Klein is getting more comfortable as a mean heel champion who alternates between dominant and chickensh*t. Baker has excellent poise and is good in the no-nonsense babyface role. 

Baker used a few impressive submissions on Klein, and later a Mandible Claw. The tides turned abruptly, though, as Klein used a knee strike and a guillotine choke in guard position for somewhat quick win. 

Both looked good tonight, but this match was really made to put Klein over big as champion. It served its purpose.

Kenny King & MVP defeated Willie Mack & Colt Cabana in a first round Tag Wars tournament match

King and Mack worked well together at the top of this one. MVP and Cabana had a fresh and funny set of exchanges. They first used nice World of Sport-style chain work and followed up with an extended spot that saw Cabana shooting an invisible basketball; MVP “blocked” his last shot. It was your typical Colt Cabana fare. 

King worked really hard in this match and is another ROH wrestler coming into his own as a heel and with his ring persona in general. 

Cabana used a quebrada inside the ring and received a huge reaction; King later used a sloppy assisted tornillo that got a smaller one. He made up for it with a tight chin checker and a few flashy kicks.

MVP used two harsh Yakuza kicks in the corner on both Cabana and Mack, and King used a Royal Flush to win the match. 

Rocky Romero defeated Dalton Castle (w/ The Boys) and ROH World Television Champion Jeff Cobb in a three-way Proving Ground match

On commentary, Riccaboni continued to put Jeff Cobb over as still undefeated in ROH. Castle and Romero got into Cobb’s face before the match. Cobb essentially tossed both wrestlers around for the first minutes, as this match mostly functioned as a showcase for him.

Romero did a tope suicida through the ropes moments later. Riccaboni did a good job of putting over Romero’s offense.

There wasn’t much of a story arc in this, aside from the idea that Jeff Cobb is really strong. He did an impressive double back suplex to both Romero and Castle, then a swinging back suplex to Romero. 

One crowd member tried starting a “Fight forever” chant. It didn’t last long. 

Castle looked more spry than usual tonight. After hitting a tope through the bottom ropes, he went for a Bang-a-Rang on Romero, who reversed Castle’s finisher into a victory roll pin for the shock win. The crowd was into that.

Romero got into Cobb’s face after the match. Castle then shook both wrestlers’ hands afterwards. Romero and Cobb will have a match for the TV title sometime in the future. This match was fine but short and was mostly made up of high spots. 

They aired the same LifeBlood promo package from Thursday, the one with Juice Robinson talking about “resetting” the ROH universe. Life Blood consists of Robinson, David Finlay, Tracy Williams, Mark Haskins, Bandido, and Tenille Dashwood.

Juice Robinson, Dave Finlay, Tracy Williams, Mark Haskins & Bandido defeated Silas Young, Shane Taylor, The Briscoes & Bully Ray

Dashwood joined the announce team to call this match with Riccaboni.

All eight wrestlers huddled in the ring and talked trash at each other. This made for a cool visual. 

Bully Ray walked out before the match started and got tons of heat. He screamed at Bobby Cruise. He aligned himself with the heels and claimed that they were the ones who rid ROH of the Bullet Club. 

Ray started giving referee Todd Sinclair a hard time after this. He said Sinclair screwed him at Final Battle in his I Quit match with Flip Gordon and demanded the match be turned into a handicap match, with he and the four original heels vs. LifeBlood. 

Juice Robinson stole the mic from Ray and explained that the Houston fans are the ones who “call the shots” in ROH and that they wouldn’t stand for Bully being a -- well, a bully. Robinson was really good on the mic and got one of the louder reactions of the night after that quick promo.

Bully Ray then started yelling at Finlay and told him he used to beat the crap out of his father. This entire segment lasted at least ten minutes or so until the match got underway.

This felt like a souped-up NJPW World show house show match. Each of the wrestlers were in and out of the ring quickly at the beginning, but things slowed down when Bully Ray started giving Finlay a hard time again. 

Robinson, on the apron, and Ray then got into it after Ray told him to shut up. They went at it for a long while after this. Robinson is more over than I’ve ever seen him in ROH, and here he played the sympathetic babyface role well and for a long time. The company seems like they’re going full-force behind Robinson this year and tonight it felt like it was working. Juice is really coming into his own as an natural, likable babyface. 

Ray beat down Robinson for a very long time, and later the other heels popped in and out and did a few high spots. This lasted for a good five to seven minutes. 

Robinson was eventually able to take Ray’s head off with a Booker T jump kick and shift the match’s momentum. As both lay flat in the ring selling, Bandido, wrapped in tape, limped down the ramp like he was Willis Reed in the 1973 NBA Finals or something. He got a big pop for this and lots of kids were jumping up and down in the front row for him.

Bandido did an Orihara moonsault to the floor, then a tornillo press onto Bully Ray for two. Everyone jumped in the ring after this and the match spilled out of the ring, all wrestlers brawling. 

The final sequences here featured wrestlers shuffling in and out of the match, one after another, all of them showing off their best spots, and the small crowd was enthusiastic at this point. 

Williams later superplexed Briscoe onto the rest of the wrestlers outside the ring. Bandido was able to land a frog splash onto Bully Ray to somewhat abruptly win the match.

This was one of the first test matches for the LifeBlood babyface group and really for ROH’s 2019 direction. They’re putting a lot of stock in this new babyface stable, and the good vs. evil “plot” was portrayed clearly on commentary, all of it a clear difference in direction than something you’d see on Monday night.