Last week, ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness announced the main event for ROH’s 14th anniversary show of Jay Lethal versus Adam Cole versus Kyle O’Reilly, for the ROH World Championship. As a prelude to that match, he made this week’s main event of Jay Lethal and Adam Cole versus reDRagon.
This week’s show also saw the continuation of the Top Prospect Tournament, and the Roddy vs. The World Open Challenge.
Mr. Wrestling 3 & Kevin Kelly were once again on commentary.
‘Roddy vs. The World’ Open Challenge for the TV Title
Roderick Strong vs. Masada
This week, Masada answered Roddy’s open challenge. If you’re not familiar with Masada, he’s probably most well-known for his extremely violent matches in Japan and CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling). Interestingly enough, he was trained in part by Shawn Michaels, though you would never know it.
This was a physical, back and forth, nine minute match. Masada’s style and size forced Roddy to slightly change up his typical ring style. Masada tried stabbing Roddy with bamboo sticks at one point, but Roddy was able to escape and land a jumping knee for the pinfall victory.
After the match, Bobby Fish appears in the crowd to once again troll Roddy over having him defeated at Final Battle. Fish says if Roddy versus the world is true, he better move to another planet because Final Battle changed his life. Roddy versus the world means he’ll defend the TV Title each week against anyone and everyone not named Bobby Fish. With Fish now in the ring, Roddy says Fish wants to be him, and couldn’t handle defeat. Fish says it takes a real man to lace up the boots knowing you’re staring defeat in the face. Roddy calls him a sore loser, orders him to leave his ring, throws the microphone at Fish, and then leaves the ring himself. Fish suggest to Roddy that they can do this the honorable way, Strong storms off while being rude to the fans. Winner: Roderick Strong via pinfall
Analysis: This was a decent opening match, but nothing special. Fish’s trolling of Strong has been pretty enjoyable, as the slow burn of Roddy’s heel turn continues.
1st Round Top Prospect Tournament
Colby Corino vs. Punisher Martinez
The audience is already familiar with Colby from his work as Whitmer’s young boy in the Decade. Punisher Martinez is a big wrestler, with a pretty unique look, who was trained at the Monster Factory.
There was a tremendous size difference of about a foot and 100 pounds, give or take. Colby got in a brief bit of babyface fire before being cut off, but this was a quick, four minute squash match. Martinez looked very impressive, and finished Colby off with an impressive chokeslam he calls South of Heaven.
After the match, BJ Witmer enters the ring with a microphone and tells Colby to tell his dad to take off his mask. Whitmer goes on to explain how Colby spent Christmas at his house, not his father’s., and says he’s shown Colby more love than his father ever has. Whitmer says he’s going to give Corino one final chance to take off his mask before he lets fate decide his actions. On commentary Mr. Wrestling 3 says he has no idea what BJ’s talking about, he’s Mr. Wrestling 3. Witmer says he’s given Steve more than enough time, then grabs Colby and proceeds to give him four straight exploder suplexes as Mr. Wrestling 3 stands up to watch with obvious concern. Whitmer saye he can forgive Colby for embarrassing him, but he can’t forgive the sins of his father. Whitmer leaves the ring and squares off nose to nose with Mr. Wrestling 3. Whitmer tells him he has just proven correct everything that he’s ever said about him, and that he’s willing to sacrifice his own for his selfishness.
We go to a commercial, and when we return, they show a clip during the commercial break of Mr. Wrestling 3 comforting Colby, and helping him to the back.
With Mr. Wrestling 3 gone, Nigel McGuinness joins Kevin Kelly on commentary. Winner: Punisher Martinez via pinfall
Analysis: So far the wrestlers from the Monster Factory have really looked impressive, including Punisher Martinez. I like how they put Martinez over while furthering the story between Steve Corino and BJ Whitmer. This was good for a squash match.
Jay Lethal & Adam Cole vs. reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish)
This was a back and forth, 13-minute match, that was mostly a tease for Lethal vs. Cole vs. O’Reilly (which of course it should’ve been).
They did a nice job teasing Cole and O’Reilly squaring off in the beginning of the match, with O’Reilly eventually getting his hands on him. They teased tension between Lethal and Cole, which led to Lethal accidentally hitting the Lethal Injection on Cole, which allowed Kyle O’Reilly to score the pinfall victory. Winner: reDRagon via pinfall
Analysis: The match itself was pretty good, nothing overly special, but it did a nice job of building for the main event at ROH’s 14th anniversary show, so mission accomplished!
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was an enjoyable show, and worth checking out. It’s exciting seeing the talent being featured in the Top Prospect Tournament, and I’m curious to see where the angle with Mr. Wrestling 3/Steve Corino and BJ Whitmer is leading.