Ring of Honor
Pride comes before the fall is more than a saying; it’s the theme for Shane Taylor’s match against Josh Goods. Taylor endured Goods hot start. Taylor would overpower his opponent to get the upper hand. Goods aimed to prove Taylor was up to something nefarious. He would remove Taylor’s gloves to discover they were weighted, and instead of going with a no contest, Goods was determined to get his retribution. His mistake was giving the hitman time to recover. Taylor would drop the MMA specialist with a message from the 216 and roll away with a sound victory.
What is true love if it isn’t taking a bump for your husband? Well, that is the language of Brandi Rhodes. She was the recipient of an elbow drop from Nick Aldis in her attempt to save Cody. It was her contribution to Cody’s big night but not anything that would heavily influence the outcome of the match.
Brandi would make her return to the stage later in the evening when she accompanied Flip Gordon in his quest to become the ROH World Champion. Backstage, Jay Lethal would be doing his own bit of flipping. He was given a very familiar pair of shades and a pat on the back that let me know that we were in for a Black Machismo siting. The Macho Man-esque entrance sealed that for me. Before the bell and action, we’d get two Macho shakes and Brandi Rhodes being ushered into Lethal’s corner as if she was the melanin Elizabeth. Lethal would switch back and forth between himself and the Machismo gimmick a couple of times through the match. Machismo landed three big elbows from the top, but it would be a top rope cutter and Lethal Injection that would seal the deal for the champ.
Without Paul Ellering, the Authors of Pain have been running recklessly through the Raw underbelly. They made an appearance with the newly hired Drake Maverick as their manager this week. Yes, that Drake Maverick; he even dons the same attire as the monstrous duo. Their match was a clear squash that saw the AOP perform a move that I haven’t seen since NXT in the Super Collider.
Alicia Fox accompanied her new friend, Alexa Bliss, to ringside to face off with Natalya and Rhonda Rousey. Fox stayed from the action for the most part; there was an attack on Natalya the moment the ref turned his back. Alexa would not release her armbar submission, which prompted Rousey to intervene. Fox return the favor and received three hip tosses for payment. Alicia has spent many hours receiving these tosses to sell the way she did.
This was the week for Naomi’s revenge. Her opponent, Peyton Royce, tried to make it the third week of IIconic victories, but the Sista of the Glow made sure to neutralize the sideline competitor in Billie Kay while handling her lightweight in the ring. She made brief work of Royce without landing many of her signature moves. Naomi would catch a quick kick to the back of the head from Kay before having time to celebrate. Thinking Naomi was without friends, the IIconics took to beating her down sore loser style until Asuka emerged to save the day. Stay tuned for more from this short rivalry.
The payoff of weeks of backstage foolishness from R-Truth and his pursuits of Carmella finally came. The second edition of the Mixed Match Challenge will feature them as a team, but first, Truth gets booked to face the Miz in the main event after he and Maryse insulted both Truth and Carmella. Truth now has someone to accompany him in the match. To my surprise, the match went over clean without Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella running interference. Truth would counter each of Miz’s attempts to execute Byran’s move-set. Then my surprise was ruined, Bryan’s music would hit and take the Miz away from the match. Truth scored a quick roll-up sans the scissor kick.
Still picking his spots, Lio Rush sat in on Noam Dar’s rather short match. I’m a bit excited at the possibilities featuring Dar and Rush. It only sucks that this show is not getting the love it should have as I am sure it could get over with the right size crowd. Either way, these two can shoot to the moon given the opportunity.
Maverick gave Cedric Alexander the stage to address Drew Gulak even after announcing the champ would defend his title at the Supershow in Australia. Cedric took to the calling out of Gulak only to be answered by TJP, who alerted us to the fact that he is not waiting to get his shot at the Cruiserweight title. In the ring, TJP attacked Alexander’s shoulder to fulfill the promise of making him tap. Cedric would endure and break several submission attempts before sneaking a Lumbar Check to close out his challenger and send him to the back of the line. He took quite a beating so he was ripe for Drew Gulak. Cedric would find himself in a Gulock once again before refs could remove Drew and Jack Gallagher from the ring.
The tag team division not named War Raiders or the Undisputed Era must do something. When that something includes the Street Profits, it’s a good day. The Profits have yet to change up their match work with Ford almost always taking the opening of the match. They worked in some quick exchanges early, and Dawkins wear-down load of the match. The Forgotten Sons caught a break when The Mighty ran in to snatch the Black Solo Cup of the Profits. Montez, now the legal man, catches a second mean ass clothesline and was tossed in the ring like a sack of trash. Blake and Cutler would finish him off with reverse DDT and stomp combination.
In her debut to the NXT crowd, Trish Adora was booked to face Kairi Sane. This was Sane’s first match since claiming the Women’s title so this was simply an exhibition match. Adora’s attempts at offense highlighted the fact that she has a very physical approach to matches, and I am excited at the possibility of her getting a push or facing the likes of Lacey Evans. She never got in anything worth discussing in this match. Just look out to see if she gets more airtime.
The main event provided a small payoff pitting Velveteen Dream against Johnny Gargano. The master of trolling his opponents, Dream came to the scene with a Johnny “Failure” shirt and hurled insults at the man throughout the match. Gargano was the consummate underdog again and fought with fury time after time. He would counter each of Dreams attempts to land signature moves especially the ones that mirrored Dream’s TakeOver match. The good-hearted Gargano lacked the desire to put his opponent away, and it cost him. The patent Dream insult baited Gargano into a Dream Valley Driver; that was all she wrote for this one. Good night NXT faithful.
Killshot is looking a little lighter now that he’s dropped off the Mack and Son of Havoc. Big Bad Steve found out firsthand how light he is. Killshot took to targeting Steve’s recently injured ankle. It wouldn’t be long before SoH would take a seat at ringside and causing the havoc, for the lack of a better term. Steve overstepped and got caught with a pair of double stomps to close the match out. Killshot couldn’t just leave, though he made it his business to have words for Son of Havoc. SoH would rip off Killshot’s mask for all that noise he was talking; KS ran off hiding his face and all while the commentary team said he must be a wanted man.
Rich Swann had a moderately decent match with Petey Williams tainted by Matt Sydal. Sydal claimed to be the enlightening force Swann needed to become an X Division champion. Sydal’s involvement came just as Swann set up to land a Phoenix Splash. For an opening match, it was worth sitting down to see.
Kiera Hogan was worth seeing even if it was for a moment. My thirst watchers would agree that she’s as valuable as the Smoke Show. Also, Moose explained his new alignment with Austin Aries and Killer Kross.