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ROH Unauthorized results: PCO vs. Dan Maff unsanctioned match

ROH was in Columbus, OH Sunday night for ROH Unauthorized: Hanukah Comes Early, a mostly comedy show hosted by Colt Cabana. He explained that that Unauthorized essentially meant he was going to book the show tonight. He promised the crowd that the wrestling would be great, but weird. One of those statements turned out to be true.

Cabana brought out Joe Hendry to do guest “singing commentary.” He sang everything he said. He and Ian Riccaboni were the first broadcast team of the night.

Ultimo Guerrero defeated Jonathan Gresham

Guerrero is CMLL Heavyweight champion but he didn’t have the belt with him this weekend. Gresham has a crazy new octopus mask and is a heel now but cool things like that get over. It’s hard not to cheer the guy.

The match itself was really good but was absolutely butchered by Hendry’s awful singing commentary which made this hard to watch. It was mostly tight technical wrestling, Guerrero played face, sort of, while Gresham would throw in something sneaky behind the referee’s back. At one point, he landed what I have only known to be called as the “sack tap” behind the ref’s back. Cabana, who was sitting on stage, got on the mic and told on Gresham. Hendry was rhyming all of his singing commentary. Riccaboni started singing midway through, too. Guerrero won after he used the Guerrero Especial, a reverse superplex from the second rope, to pin Gresham in about 12 minutes.

El Villainisto (Marty Scurll) and Jéfe Cobbo (Jeff Cobb) defeated Delirious and Mini-Delirious (Swoggle) in a loser must lose their mask match

Cabana made a facetious claim after the previous match insisting that he booked everything that happened in the ring just now. ROH flashed entrance banners for Delirious and Mini-Delirious on accident while Cabana was talking to the audience. 

Cobb came out in a black El Santo mask and Scurll had one that looked like a Masked Superstar mask. Swoggle came out in a Delirious mask but his pants still read SWOGGLE on the sides. This was supposed to be a comedy match but it wasn’t funny at all. Scurll pretended to be one of the Deliriouses and then snapped their fingers. Delirious and Swoggle then bit Scurll and Cobb’s fingers. Swoggle did German suplexes to both Cobb and Scurll. Cobb pinned Swoggle after a standing moonsault. Swoggle unmasked after the match and Cabana said it was Little John Studd. This was bad.

Kenny King, Flip Gordon & Dalton Castle defeated Cheeseburger & The Bouncers in Colt Cabana’s Punderful six-man tag

This was another messy comedy match. The theme was Cabana wanted to give everyone a burger-related name. Kenny King was Kenny “Burger” King and came out with a Burger King crown. Amy Rose came with him to the ring. Rhett Titus was on commentary with Caprice Coleman and Riccaboni for this one.

Dalton “White” Castle and “Double Cheeseburger” Beer City Bruiser were in first but all they did was shake hands. Castle tagged Gordon in next. Cheeseburger was wearing a cheeseburger hat on the apron. King later arm dragged ‘Burger so hard that the cheeseburger hat flew off. Cheeseburger used a drop-down and it actually worked, the one of very few times I have seen it work as a move and not part of a bigger rope-running sequence. There was a spot where Milonas laid on top of Castle and had to have everyone in the match had to peel him off.

King did a big Arabian Press to the floor at one point like a regular Christopher Daniels. He and Cheeseburger were the highlights of this match, if you can believe that and Gordon to an extent too. Gordon teased a dive off the stage towards the end but flipped the crowd off and walked to the back, which got a good heel reaction. “Double Cheese” Bruiser did a cross body off the stage, and later did a somersault senton onto his own partner, Brawler Milonas. Riccaboni said Bruiser may have had too many brews beforehand. King cradled Cheeseburger to win this. Everyone but King and Gordon drank beers and ate cheeseburgers from a cooler afterwards.  

The Allure defeated Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose in a no disqualification match

Sakai and Rose attacked the Allure before they made it to the ring. Sakai brought out her Daryl, Hiromu Takahashi’s stuffed animal mascot. It was over. Rose used a snap suplex to Leone on the stage that looked good, albeit brutal. Sakai missed a moonsault from the top and landed knees first onto a chair. Angelina Love scored the pin after landing the Botox Injection kick on Sakai. Maria Manic came out afterwards and threatened Love, saying “At Final Battle, you’re dead, b****.” Manic has serious potential to be a megastar. Her in-ring debut will be at Final Battle.

Mark Briscoe (w/ Jay Briscoe) defeated Josh Woods (w/ Silas Young) in a partner must drink after kickout match

Jay Briscoe and Silas Young did live commentary during this match, and every time Woods or Mark Briscoe made a pin attempt, the two out at ringside had to take shots of whisky. Cabana announced every time they had to take a shot on his mic. This was the focal point of the match, unfortunately. Briscoe and Woods had a decent match earlier this year in Portland at what’s now known the infamous Bully Ray “Be a Fan” show. Woods powerslammed Briscoe into the barricades. The crowd made some noise here but they were mostly quiet throughout much of this.

Young started complaining about the ref’s count and then Jay Briscoe and he started jaw-jacking until both got into the ring. Young flew out of the ring after missing Jay Briscoe on a tackle, and then Woods tried throwing Jay Briscoe out but the whole thing was botched. Woods dropped Jay, who was flailing in the ropes before rolling under them to the floor. Mark Briscoe landed a Froggy Bow to win the match. I don’t know what this was supposed to accomplish since the Briscoes are already booked against Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal for Final Battle. Not good.

Rush and Dragon Lee defeated LifeBlood under Lucha Libre rules

This was the best match of the show so far. It was “lucha libre rules” which just meant there weren’t any tags or too many countouts. Haskins and Lee meshed well together. LifeBlood worked Lee over in their corner until he could tag out to Rush, who wrestled like the place was Madison Square Garden. He did a good job at waking the Columbus crowd up. 

The match spilled to the floor early. Back in the ring, Rush and Lee used some impressive tag team combinations on Tracy Williams. They sort of functioned like heels here. Rush shouted “Viva Mexico!” to the crowd midway through. Lifeblood did crisscrossing dives to the floor. Rush pinned Williams after the Bull’s Horns to win this one in a good match.

For some reason, Cabana interviewed ring announcer Bobby Cruise in the ring next.

He asked Cruise what his favorite match to announce was. Cruise said Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi. That was pretty much the whole interview. Cabana said if he ever did a podcast, Cruise would be his first guest. ROH World Television champion Shane Taylor’s music then hit and he walked out with the Soldiers of Savagery and another unnamed male and talked about how upset he was that his match was changed for tonight in his home state. He challenged Cabana to a TV title match. Cabana agreed to a match, but said it’d be a 4-on-4 match, and since it was his show, Colt would prove that he could pick literally anyone in the building to beat Taylor. 

His first choice was Mike Gator, the cameraman. They made an entrance video for him and it just read GATOR with pictures of alligators behind it. 

Cabana’s next choice was senior ROH broadcaster Ian Riccaboni. This isn’t a joke. Riccaboni had a cool bobblehead entrance video and his theme sounded like something from The Price is Right. He looked excited to wrestle, unlike most others on this show who seemed like they couldn’t have been bothered to be there in the first place. 

ROH promoter Gary Juster was the final team member. For those who aren’t aware, Juster was a promoter for WCW and has been with ROH for years. He was also one of the vital names behind All In last year in Chicago. He got pyro here tonight. 

When Cruise went to announce the teams for the match, he stopped early and asked who the one guy was with Taylor who wasn’t one of the Soldiers of Savagery guys. “That’s Ron! Ron Hunt! The CEO of Shane Enterprises!” That’s what Caprice Coleman had to say about it. Riccaboni probably got the biggest pop of the night, and deservedly so. He’s arguably been the best part of ROH this year. 

Brian Johnson, a bald, bearded guy from this year’s ROH Top Prospect tournament, came out and cut a promo, a decent one, basically saying he felt slighted, that he should have headlined tonight. He said that he’s the Mecca and people need to know that “it’s everyone vs. Mecca.” He didn’t care which team he had to wrestle on, so Cabana immediately pointed to the opposite corner and insisted he be with the heels. He picked referee Todd Sinclair instead, who also had his own entrance video, a custom one that sounded like U2 but started with a three-count. 

Colt Cabana, Mike Gator, Todd Sinclair, Ian Riccaboni and Gary Juster defeated ROH TV Champion Shane Taylor, Brian Johnson, Ron Hunt and the Soldiers of Savagery

Coleman was on commentary with Joe Dombrowski for this. Johnson and Cabana were in first. Taylor’s heel team left the apron and refused to tag Johnson. The biggest pop of the night came next from Cabana tagging out to referee Sinclair, who happened to be quite good. I didn’t expect to type that tonight. He did a leapfrog to Johnson and then did the Ricky Steamboat kung fu pose and the crowd was on their feet and lost it. This is where ROH is at these days.

Juster threw one ginger chop tp Johnson, then tagged out to Cabana and was back on the apron.

Next was Riccaboni, who landed a flying elbow drop onto Johnson, which got an even bigger pop. It looked great. He tagged out to Cabana who pinned Johnson. The ROH All-Stars won. This was insane but fun. I think this crew would draw more most of the regular roster at this point. That’s not a joke, either. Riccaboni, Sinclair and Gary Juster were the highlights. Cameraman Gator was in the match but also filmed the match, so we couldn’t see him. 

PCO defeated Dan Maff in an unsanctioned no DQ match

Brian Zane from the Wrestling with Wregret YouTube show joined the Coleman and “Macho Madness” Riccaboni on commentary for this match. 

This was a hoss deathmatch battle from the get-go. Maff, who dresses in Hellraiser bondage gear now, took his trenchcoat off and whipped PCO in the face with it before the match. They traded big punches at the top and Maff used a massive tope early on. He hasn’t wrestled in ROH for 14 years. PCO was back in the ring quickly and used a cannonball suicida to the floor onto Maff. They started pulling cinder blocks out from under the ring. A good chunk of this match was either of the guys walking around the ring looking for or preparing weapons while the other guy sold.  There were about eight inside the ring by the time they were done.

The two chased each other around the ring and ran into each other with shoulderblocks. PCO started slamming his head into the barricade, then Maff did, and then they both started doing it until PCO poked Maff in the eyes. There were a few young kids down in front going crazy for this, but the rest of the crowd sounded quiet at times. Maff spiked PCO onto the floor with a Burning Hammer. PCO responded in the ring and put Maff through a table with a spear. Maff reciprocated a few minutes later and then put PCO through another table with a Death Valley Driver. Maff threw a number of chairs into the ring next. PCO did a French-Canadian Destroyer onto a pile of chairs in the ring onto Maff. PCO missed another cannonball from the top rope onto the apron and a kid down in front screamed “ARE YOU OK?!” 

Maff poured out a bag of thumbtacks but was chokeslammed onto them by PCO. Maff had so many shiny silver tacks in his back after this. Maff returned and back body dropped PCO onto the thumbtacks, then shoved thumbtacks into his mouth, and superkicked him in the head. When Maff set PCO up onto the cinderblocks near the corner of the ring, PCO got back up and blocked whatever flying move Maff was going for. He grabbed him by the groin after Maff started biting his fingers, then press slammed Maff onto the cinderblocks. It was sick. A lady shrieked in the crowd. The crowd started their first “this is awesome” chant of the night.

Maff sat up like the Undertaker and then planted PCO with a Burning Hammer onto the cinderblocks but PCO kicked out. The crowd was loud at this point, and most people were chanting “He’s not human” in support of PCO. After one more chokeslam and a moonsault, PCO won the match. People chanted for PCO after the bout. 

After the match, Marty Scurll came out to shake PCO’s hand. He built PCO’s match with Rush for the ROH World Heavyweight title and put him over like crazy, explaining how he’s 51 and has gave everything up for the wrestling business. The crowd started chanting “next world champ.”

Final thoughts:

ROH Unauthorized can be thought of as either a fun, out-of-canon exhibition show meant to lift company morale or as a bright marker pointing out to fans that ROH has entered its late-‘90s AWA/late ‘00s WCW phase. Guerrero vs. Gresham was great but ruined by Hendry’s singing commentary. Dragon Lee and Rush vs. LifeBlood was higher quality and the best pure match of the show. PCO vs. Maff was a textbook example of a “plunder” match with all big weapon spots and general brutality.

I don’t know what to say about the match with Cabana, Gary Juster, Riccaboni and others. Nonplussed is the feeling I’m left with, considering ROH’s bad string of PR in the post-G1 Supercard world. I’m not sure if this was the best time to do a show like this as it will be used as fuel for the narrative that ROH is unraveling before our eyes, because there’s surely an argument to be made for this being one of the worst shows of the year.