Ring Of Honor Supercard of Honor XI
April 1st, 2017
6:00 PM EST
The Lakeland Center – Jenkins Arena
Lakeland, Florida

Watch: iPPV (rohwrestling.com, www.FITE.tv/the FITE app)

Voices of Wrestling 2017 WrestleMania Weekend

Ring of Honor started the trend of other independent wrestling companies running in the same city, and on the same weekend, as WrestleMania just over a decade ago. While they won’t be in Orlando proper, ROH will be putting on the 11th edition of Supercard of Honor on live iPPV in front of (what could possibly be) the largest live crowd in company history.

The recent revelation that WWE has been in talks with Sinclair Broadcast Group (the company that owns ROH) about potentially buying the company has created this aura of uncertainty surrounding the future of ROH heading into this big event. Currently, there’s been no deal reached between WWE & SBG with regards to ROH, but all of the talk surrounding a possible deal means that the company’s immediate future is truly unknown. Could the next big ROH event be the last? Even if this deal doesn’t come to pass, the future of ROH is still very much in a state of flux, given the fact that so many talents have left the company in the last six months (and more departures are still to come). With all of that being said, it doesn’t change the fact that, on April 1st, ROH has put together a fascinating card for their offering on the biggest wrestling weekend of the year.

ROH World Tag Team Titles Ladder Match
The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks (c)

The Hardys shocked the world at Manhattan Mayhem VI, when they won the ROH World Tag Team Titles from The Young Bucks in an impromptu match. After successfully retaining against The Young Bucks & Roppongi Vice in a wild Triple Threat Las Vegas Street Fight at the 15th Anniversary Show, The Hardys would steal the Superkick Party Tag Team Titles.

Now, the rivalry between these two teams is culminating in a Ladder Match with both sets of titles hanging high above the ring. As with some of the other matches on the card, the result isn’t in question, as I expect The Young Bucks will be winning back both sets of titles, since it appears that The Hardys will be making a return to WWE in the immediate future. However, in a fascinating revelation, (per Dave Meltzer in the most recent Wrestling Observer), it was revealed that this feud was going to be much larger than it ended up being. Apparently, ROH & TNA (or, I guess, Impact Wrestling) had agreed to showcase this feud on both of their respective shows. This would’ve included The Young Bucks appearing on TNA TV, and (as was the case with every feud involving The Hardys in the last year) the requisite match at The Hardy Compound. Of course, that all died when The Hardys left TNA, and when the ensuing fiasco involving the rights to their characters (as well as TNA sending legal letters the day of ROH’s PPV) occurred. In hindsight, it’s honestly a little disappointing that this fell apart so dramatically. It would’ve been incredible to see how this all would’ve unfolded if these plans came to pass.

As for the match itself, I expect that this will be a wild and entertaining spectacle filled with insane stunts. This won’t be anywhere near as good as Ladder War VI from last fall, but I still think that all four guys will bust their asses here. I know opinions on The Hardys vary, especially since their “Broken Universe” became a thing, but I believe that they’ll be working as hard as they possibly can to make this as good as it can possibly be. They’re going to be in front of one of the largest crowds in the history of ROH, in a Ladder Match (which we all know as their specialty), against arguably the best tag team on the planet. They aren’t as young as they used to be, but they will definitely be motivated. I would expect The Young Bucks to pull of some crazy stuff, and it wouldn’t be a Ladder Match without Jeff Hardy trying to kill himself, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he does some scary jump of a very tall ladder. Again, the result isn’t in doubt, but I feel like this has the potential to be the craziest match of the entire weekend which, when you consider the sheer amount of wrestling shows that are taking place in the greater Orlando area, is saying something. Prediction: The Young Bucks

ROH World Title
Christopher Daniels (c) vs. Dalton Castle

For Daniels, this is second title defense, as he successfully retained the ROH World Title in a Triple Threat Match against Adam Cole & Zack Sabre Jr. at WCPW Bulletproof. I doubt that he’ll be losing the title so soon after winning it (though nothing’s really been a guarantee with this title over the last several months), but I still think this has the potential to be a really good contest. These two did wrestle each other on an episode of ROH TV in early 2016, but it wasn’t a memorable encounter. This time around, I feel like we’re in for a much better match, especially on a big stage like this. Despite his age, Christopher Daniels has proven time and time again that he could still go, and I’m sure that Dalton Castle will be looking to put in a great performance here. Again, the result is never in doubt (as is the case with a few matches on this show), but I still expect it to be pretty good. Prediction: Christopher Daniels

ROH World TV Title
“The Villain” Marty Scurll (c) vs. Adam Cole

I believe that YOSHI-HASHI was originally pegged to challenge Marty Scurll, though that was never officially announced by ROH. With Jushin “Thunder” Liger & YOSHI-HASHI being removed from the card, that left a spot open that was quickly filled by Adam Cole, who is a former ROH World TV Champion in his own right. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is a first-time ever singles. They’ve faced off in tag team competition and, most recently, in a Triple Threat Match in wXw last December, but I think this is their first one-on-one encounter. Some might call this a legitimate dream match, though I’m certain that some would disagree. I say that because both guys have their fare share of detractors. This match has the potential to be great, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like either guy, then I could easily see a number of people really disliking this. Scurll continues to have a fantastic run as the ROH World TV Champion, and I’m sure he’ll have another strong performance here. Cole is someone that’s fallen out of favor in the eyes of many. While I would agree that he has definitely lost some of his luster (especially in the last eighteen months or so), I still enjoy watching Adam Cole, and I’m sure that he’ll be working his ass off to have a really good to great match with one of the best British talents in the world today. We’ll have to wait and see if they deliver, but as far as the result goes, that is something that isn’t in question one bit. Prediction: “The Villain” Marty Scurll

Will Ospreay & Volador Jr. vs. Dragon Lee & Jay White

So this is a completely random tag team bout, but given the competitors involved, this has the potential to steal the show.

Will Ospreay & Dragon Lee have had a number of spectacular encounters over the last few months (first in a Triple Threat Match with Marty Scurll for the ROH World TV Title at Final Battle 2016, and then in a singles match at Manhattan Mayhem VI), and they’ve proven to have strong chemistry with each other. I’ve seen Volador Jr. a couple of times in New Japan, and I’m always hearing about how awesome he is, so it should be exciting to see him made an appearance in ROH. His interactions with Dragon Lee in this match will be incredible. As far as Jay White is concerned, he seems to be the odd man out here, as he’s the only one that doesn’t have some kind of lucha background. It’ll be fascinating to see how he fairs. The result really doesn’t matter here, but since this is Volador Jr.’s debut in ROH, I would imagine that his side gets the win. Regardless of the result, this should be a great tag team contest. Prediction: Will Ospreay & Volador Jr.

Texas Bullrope Match
Cody vs. Jay Lethal

The feud between these two kicked off a Final Battle, when Cody used underhanded tactics to defeat the former ROH World Champion.

Since that first encounter, Cody joined The Bullet Club, and the issues between these two escalated, to the point that we’re getting a Texas Bullrope Match. Of course, that particular stipulation is synonymous with Cody’s father, the legendary Dusty Rhodes. It really hasn’t been specified whether this version of the Texas Bullrope Match will be pinfalls/submissions with no disqualifications, or the kind where you have to win by touching all four corners. In their announcement of this match, ROH alluded to a Texas Bullrope Match between Dusty Rhodes & “Superstar” Billy Graham in MSG from the late 1970s, and that match was pinfalls/submissions with no disqualifications. I would hope that’s the version we get, because the “touch all four corners” gimmick is almost always inferior.

As for the match itself, I believe that it has the potential to surprise people. The match these two had a Final Battle was good, and I’m sure they would turn things up in this environment. Lethal always works hard on a big show, and I would image that Cody doesn’t want to disappoint in a stipulation match that his father helped make famous. I’m not exactly sure what the ceiling of this is, in terms of match quality, but I just have a feeling that both guys are going to work really hard to put out the best Texas Bullrope Match possible. We’ll just have to wait and see whether it’ll actually be good or not. With that being said, picking a winner here is difficult. Of course, Cody has garnered a reputation of almost never losing in singles matches (unless shenanigans are involved), but I feel like Lethal has to win here. He just won a big match on the 15th Anniversary Show that (essentially) secured himself a future shot at the ROH World Title. Plus, I can’t imagine Lethal losing to Cody on another big show. The result could realistically go either way, but again, I feel like it would be a mistake if Jay Lethal didn’t win this. Prediction: Jay Lethal

The Bullet Club (“The Hangman” Adam Page & The Guerrillas of Destiny) vs. The Briscoes & Bully Ray

As far as I’m aware, the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line in this match, but that could always change. The Guerrillas of Destiny were added to the show after Jushin “Thunder” Liger and YOSHI-HASHI were pulled from the card due to “visa issues” (or something else). This isn’t the most appealing match on paper, but I’m sure it’ll end up being fine. You can always count on The Briscoes to deliver (regardless of the situation). With regards to Bully Ray, if ROH insists on using him, this is probably the best spot for him. He’s much more tolerable in multi-man tags than he would be in a singles environment. Moving on to their opponents, I’m sure this version of The Bullet Club B-Team will hold up their end of the bargain. Adam Page is usually solid, and The Guerrillas of Destiny have definitely improved in the last few months. There’s actually an interesting little backstory here, as Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa both trained at the Team 3D Academy when they first started out, so we’re getting some teacher vs. students action in this one. I’m going with The Briscoes & Bully Ray to win this match, and whether this ends up being a title defense or not likely won’t impact the result. Prediction: The Briscoes & Bully Ray

Frankie Kazarian vs. Punishment Martinez

This is probably the weakest match on the entire card, and I’m not interested in it at all. Punishment Martinez has been on a bit of a roll as of late, with strong outings against Hirooki Goto in Korakuen Hall and in the Six-Man Mayhem Match at the 15th Anniversary Show. Unfortunately, that positive momentum will probably grind to a halt with this match. I’ve said this many times before, but Frankie Kazarian (at least in this current run) does nothing for me as a singles competitor. He’s not a bad wrestler by any means, but I just find him to be incredibly boring, especially in one-on-one situations. Despite the lack of interest I have for this contest, I honestly have no idea who’s going to win. Punishment Martinez getting the victory makes sense, since he’s a fresh talent that ROH seems to be pushing, but at the same time, Kazarian just became the #1 Contender to the ROH World TV Title, and does it make sense to have your top contender lose before he gets his title match? I’m hoping that Punishment Martinez pulls out the victory here, but it could easily go the other way, which is pretty unfortunate. Prediction: Punishment Martinez

The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) vs. Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser

On the surface, this might seem like a random tag team match thrown on the undercard, but there is some story behind it. Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser have spent the last few months searching for a partner to go after the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles, and originally, this show was supposed to feature The Kingdom defending those titles against Silas Young, The Beer City Bruiser, and a mystery partner. Of course, that all changed when TK O’Ryan suffered a nasty injury at the 15th Anniversary Show, and since then, The Kingdom lost the ROH Six-Man Tag Team Titles (though in an interesting side note, Silas Young actually substituted for TK O’Ryan in the match where The Kingdom lost the titles), and now we just have a regular tag team match. I’m sure this will be a solid undercard tag team match, but it’s actually a little perplexing that The Motor City Machine Guns weren’t a part of this. They certainly would’ve made this tag team encounter a lot more interesting, but then again, Alex Shelley has been MIA recently so maybe Sabin & Shelley being added wasn’t possible. In the grand scheme of things, this result doesn’t matter that much, but if I had to pick a winner, I’d go with The Kingdom. With TK O’Ryan out indefinitely, the next best step for The Kingdom is to move them into the ROH World Tag Team Title picture, and a win here would solidify them in that particular division. Prediction: The Kingdom

In addition to the main card, there will also be three Women of Honor matches taking place after the Festival of Honor (which takes place during the afternoon) concludes. According to ROH, this mini-card will start at around 5:15 PM EST. The lineup includes:

– CMLL Luchadora Showcase – La Amapola vs. Marcela
– Kelly Klein vs. Deonna Purrazzo
– Mandy Leon & Jenny Rose vs. Sumie Sakai & Faye Jackson

I’m guessing these matches will eventually make their way onto ROH’s YouTube channel as part of “WOH Wednesdays”. There’s really isn’t much I can say about these matches. Kelly Klein vs. Deonna Purrazzo has the potential to be good, while I’m sure the tag team match will be fine. I’ve never seen either of the luchadoras from CMLL before, so I can’t give any serious predictions about that particular bout. It’ll be a fun lucha showcase, and I’m sure La Amapola & Marcela will put on the best match possible.

Voices of Wrestling 2017 WrestleMania Weekend