Ring Of Honor
Glory By Honor XVIII: Night 2
August 21st, 2021
2300 Arena
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: Honor Club

Dalton Castle def. Danhausen

Normally I would advocate for a hot, action-packed, fast-paced opener to kick off a card, but I didn’t mind the match placement here. You start off with one of the weakest matches on the card, and then sort of work up from there, in terms of quality. To be fair to Danhausen and Dalton Castle though, both guys appeared to be over with this crowd, which is good to see. Danhausen is perfectly slotted in this promotion, and even though he hasn’t appeared on a ton of ROH shows in front of live crowds, the guy is over, without question (saw a couple of people in the crowd who were either holding big cutouts of his face, or wearing his face paint). As for Dalton Castle, I still don’t know how to accurately describe his new gimmick, or what the deal is with his new boys (who are apparently his “Baby Chicks” now), but Castle got reactions on both shows, so the crowd is still into him to a degree as well. The new theme song he’s got (which features a rhythm that encourages you to clap along) probably helps him a lot in that regard as well.

In terms of the actual match, there wasn’t much to it, to be honest. Danhausen frustrated Castle early, leading to some spots on the outside involving the Baby Chicks and Dak Draper (who ran down to ringside from commentary, helped Castle gain the advantage, and then ran back to the commentary table). There was a very silly spot (silly in a bad way) that saw the Baby Chicks get into the ring, and peck at Danhausen’s teeth (which had spilled everywhere after he tried to use them on Castle) like it was bird food. Yeah…..that was a thing that actually happened. Anyway, Danhausen got a few moves in before Castle ultimately won with the Bang-A-Rang. A skippable match for sure. *3/4

Pure Rules Match
LSG def. World Famous CB

I like the fact that we still got a Pure Rules Match on the undercard, despite the fact that Jonathan Gresham wasn’t even defending the Pure Title. It just helps to put more attention on the division as a whole. On this particular occasion, LSG managed to pick up a victory over World Famous CB (the former Cheeseburger) in what was a perfectly solid undercard bout. Both men were forced to use rope breaks within the first few minutes, but World Famous CB was able to go on a flurry late that forced LSG to use his remaining rope breaks in quick succession. LSG eventually got the win with a crucifix pin, and we got a quick tease of a heel turn for World Famous CB after he slapped LSG’s hand when they went for the Code Of Honor after the match. The one major downside to this bout was that the focus got taken away from it midway through, as Ken Dixon (who’s aligned with The Bouncers) came out to confront Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman before Josh Woods (who was also on commentary) sent him away. Aside from that, this was a fine match for its spot on the card. ***

Before we got to the women’s match, we got a backstage segment with Quinn McKay (who does such a great job in this role), as she went to go interview Mark Briscoce. She told him that with Jay Briscoe out due to COVID Protocols, his previously scheduled tag team match for tonight (against Demonic Flamita and Flip Gordon) would be off. As this was going on, Brian Johnson was having a fit a few feet away, over not being booked on the show. When Mark found out about this, he went out to see Johnson, told him that he needed a partner, chopped him, and that was that. Given how over Johnson was with his hometown crowd the night before, this was a good way to get him on the show, while also solving an issue that was caused by Jay Briscoe not being able to be on the show.

Miranda Alize & Rok-C def. Chelsea Green & Willow

Maria Kanellis-Bennett joined the commentary team for this women’s tag team encounter which, on paper, had a very strong chance to surpass the women’s tag team match from Night 1 with The Allure (though admittedly, the bar was set so low after the previous night that it wouldn’t take much for these four to clear it). When the dust settled, these four ended up having a fine tag team contest. Chelsea Green did some spots here and there, but the bulk of this match was left to the other three, which was nice to see. It was more about these three new faces (all of whom are part of the ROH Women’s Title Tournament) getting chances to shine. There was a rough spot or two, but as a whole, this was a much better showcase for the women’s division in ROH. Chelsea Green’s team losing was actually a mild surprise. Granted, she didn’t get pinned (Rok-C pinned Willow after hitting her version of the Code Red, called the Code Rok), but still, this was her first official match since coming to ROH, and they made a big deal about her when she appeared at Best In The World. Interesting result to say the least, and if ROH really plans on making their women’s division work this time, I think Miranda Alize, Rok-C, and Willow would be three solid choices if you want to start building something. **3/4

ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles
Shane Taylor Promotions (with O’Shay Edwards & Ron Hunt) (c) def. Incoherence (Delirious, Hallowicked, & Frightmare with UltraMantis Black)

In a very pleasant surprise, we got an appearance from UltraMantis Black, who led Incoherence to the ring for their match before going to join the commentary team. It was really cool to hear UltraMantis mention the history he had with the members of Incoherence (mentioning the Order Of The Neo Solar Temple, The Spectral Envoy, and yes….the infamous Eye Of Tyr), so if you were a huge fan of CHIKARA during their peak, this was a pretty cool moment.

Now the result of this match was never really in question, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted. Good action right from the opening bell, with Incoherence looking like very credible challengers, as they got some very close nearfalls on the champions (particularly in the closing stretch). It eventually came down to Frightmare vs. Shane Taylor, and Taylor managed to put him away with a Package Piledriver, which he calls the Marcus Garvey Driver. This was a very odd clash of styles, with a former CHIKARA going up against a very serious team in Shane Taylor Promotions. However, they managed to put on a very enjoyable title match. I know Hallowicked and Frightmare don’t wrestle very often these days, but in an age where talent is in more demand than ever, I’d love to see them get more bookings in ROH. ***1/2

Following the match, EC3 had a staredown with Shane Taylor before joining the commentary team for the next match.

Brian Johnson & Mark Briscoe def. Demonic Flamia & Flip Gordon

As was explained earlier in the backstage segment, Mark Briscoe needed to find a partner for this match (with Jay Briscoe out of commission due to COVID protocols), and Brian Johnson was available. It’s been really interesting to see Johnson, who’s typically a heel, getting such a hero’s welcome in Philadelphia. During his pre-match promo in the ring, he called Flamita “a demonic bozo” and Flip Gordon “a moron from Montana”, which was pretty funny. The actual wrestling was perfectly fine, but the match itself was overshadowed by the fact that they were doing the “partners who don’t get along” story on both sides. That being said, they weren’t doing it every few seconds, or anything like that. Each team had brief dissension early, then they were both fine, but then came the finish. Just as Briscoe and Johnson were seemingly getting on the same page, Briscoe got shoved into Johnson, which led to Johnson just…..walking out on the bout. A minute or so later, Flip Gordon wanted Flamita to use a chair on Briscoe, but Flamita refused (I guess he doesn’t like being told what to do). This led to an absolutely disgusting spot where Briscoe legit dropped Gordon head first onto the chair with the Jay Driller, and somehow got the pin despite the chair just laying there in the center of the ring, in full view of the referee. There was fine action in this one, but the dissension was the story. ***

Afterward, PJ Black and several officials/security guys came out to tend to Flip Gordon, who sat on the ground stiff as a board. They eventually got Gordon to his feet and helped carry him to the back. There hasn’t really been any news since last night (as I type this), but it looked like Gordon got seriously screwed up from that final spot.

Eight-Man Tag – The Foundation (ROH Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, & Rhett Titus) def. Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Tony Deppen, & ROH World Tag Team Champions Chris Dickinson and Homicide)

While the Eight-Man Tag from Night 1 between LFI and Violence Unlimited got so wild and out-of-control that they had to turn it into a Philly Street Fight, this Eight-Man Tag between The Foundation and Violence Unlimited promised to be a more straightforward affair. I was hoping this would be a great match, and it certainly met those expectations by the end of it. This was a very strong Eight-Man Tag that featured plenty of action from start to finish. Everyone involved got moments to shine, but we also got some small story elements mixed in as well. You had the leaders of the two factions (Brody King and Jonathan Gresham) going at it, with Gresham in particular being a little more arrogant than usual. Then you had Tony Deppen (who’s had a lot of support at these shows with a number of “Please sign Tony Deppen” signs), who showed a ton of fight the night before, but was on the receiving end of an assault by The Foundation in this bout, as they went after his leg. The action picked up down the stretch, and it looked like Violence Unlimited was on a roll, with Dickison putting Gresham through a table, Homicide taking out Titus, and Brody squashing Williams against the barricade. However, they left their injured man Deppen alone in the ring, and he soon fell victim to the Lethal Injection. Again, this was a very strong Eight-Man Tag. ****

Even though The Foundation managed to get the win here, Violence Unlimited would have the last word. The rest of Violence Unlimited returned to the ring, and continued the assault on The Foundation. Jay Lethal was on the receiving end of a Ganzo Bomb from Brody King, followed by Da Cop Killa from Homicide. Then, Rhett Titus ate a Pazuzu Bomb from Chris Dickinson, followed by a kick from Tony Deppen. Chris Dickinson takes the mic, and he proclaimed that there wasn’t a pure wrestler in the world that could stand up to them. They didn’t care about a fluke loss like this, because they ended up standing tall in the end. He runs down LFI and The Foundation before issuing a challenge to any pure wrestlers….past, present, or future….to try and stand up to them. Dickinson closed by saying that there is honor in violence, and as a whole, it was a good promo from him. Should be fascinating to see if that challenge goes anywhere.

Lucha Rules
LFI (RUSH & ROH World TV Champion Dragon Lee) def. ROH World Champion Bandido & Rey Horus

This was easily my most anticipated matchup across both Glory By Honor cards, and when the dust settled, it absolutely delivered. We did get some pre-match shenanigans when RUSH went after Bandido before the match. Dragon Lee didn’t seem to approve of this, and nearly got into an altercation with his brother, but when Rey Horus jumped RUSH, Dragon Lee came to his brother’s aid, and they quickly made up. Once this match got going, it was all action from start to finish. Bandido, Dragon Lee, and Rey Horus dished out some incredible offense throughout, while RUSH was….well….RUSH. Bandido and Dragon Lee in particular had some awesome exchanges. It probably won’t happen anytime soon, since both are holding singles titles right now, but I would LOVE to see a singles match between those two at some point. RUSH did seem to hurt his knee late (though it could’ve just been great selling on his part), though he powered through it and hit the Bull’s Horns on Horus for the win. Pretty much the finish I was expecting to see. I don’t know what else to say about the match itself. If you like these four guys, then you’re going to really enjoy it. ****1/4

I should also note that Silas Young was running down Rey Horus on commentary, talking about how he doesn’t belong in ROH, and how he hasn’t been doing a good job compared to the other luchadores in the company. So it looks like the Silas Young/Rey Horus match from the night before might’ve been the start of a longer feud between the two.

As they were setting up the Steel Cage for the main event, Quinn McKay comes out onto the stage and gives us the rundown on some of the stuff that’s coming up in a few weeks at the Death Before Dishonor PPV (which, if you missed the news, has been moved to Philadelphia with the ongoing COVID situation in Florida). We already knew that Jonathan Gresham vs. Josh Woods for the ROH Pure Title is taking place on the PPV (that was confirmed after Gresham retained over Rhett Titus the night before), as well as the Finals of the ROH Women’s Title Tournament, but Quinn would go on to confirm a number of other matches as well.

She announced that the PPV on September 12th in Philadelphia would feature Shane Taylor Promotions defending the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles against the trio of RUSH, Dragon Lee, and Kenny King from LFI, a mystery singles match featuring two recently released WWE wrestlers (that’s not what she said exactly, but based on how she said it, it’s heavily implied that they’re former WWE wrestlers who were recently cut), and a Four-Way Elimination Match for the ROH World Title, with Bandido defending against Brody King, Demonic Flamita, and EC3. The Six-Man has the potential to be pretty good. The main event would be much better without EC3 (who sticks out like a sore thumb), but it’s certainly a unique mix of wrestlers for sure. As for the mystery match, I have some ideas of who it could be, but I’d rather not throw out reckless speculation. Quinn made it sound like we might find out who these two guys are before the PPV (i.e. we’re waiting for their WWE non-competes to run out), but we’ll see if ROH drops any hints over the next few weeks.

Steel Cage Match for Matt Taven’s World Title Shot
Vincent def. Matt Taven

Mike Bennett joined Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman for this main event. Vincent came out first, and jumped Matt Taven before he could enter the Steel Cage. This led to a brawl around ringside and through the crowd, which was all before the bell even rang. The match officially started once both men entered the cage, and they really didn’t waste any time. We got a couple of moves off the top rope within the first few minutes, but things took a violent turn when Bateman came down to ringside with some barbed wire. While he eventually got taken out of the equation after a brawl with Mike Bennet, Bateman was able to not only slide some barbed wire into the cage, but he also helped Vincent string up some barbed wire on the wall of the cage. This was used by Vincent to bust Taven wide open, though Taven managed to get some payback after he wrapped some of the other barbed wire around Vincent’s head, causing him to bleed.

The violence escalated even further when Taven introduced a purple axe (yes….it was purple) to carve up Vincent’s forehead, which was a callback to the original turn when Vincent used an axe on Taven. This brings out Vita VonStarr, who throws a bag of thumbtacks into the cage. Taven gets his hands on it, however, and this just leads to a comedy of errors involving Vita VonStarr, as her attempts to get involved backfired spectacularly. She went for a big dive off the top of the cage, but Taven easily dodged her. She tried to charge at Taven, and she was back body dropped into the thumbtacks for her troubles. Finally, Taven avoided a charging Vincent, who accidentally took her out with a spear. This led to a big sequence where both guys hit each other with big moves, only for the other to kick out. Taven hit The Climax on the thumbtacks, Vincent avoided a Taven splash off the top of the cage and hit Orange Sunshine. Both men continued to fight. At this point, Dutch appeared, and tried to climb the cage, but got sent through a pair of tables on the floor by Taven (who set those tables up earlier during the opening brawl). This distraction allowed Vincet to take advantage, and he hit Orange Sunshine off the top rope to secure the win, as well as Taven’s future shot at the ROH World Title.

So the one negative about this match was the interference from the rest of The Righteous. It just goes back to the same complaint that a lot of people have about Steel Cage Matches, particularly in North America promotions (and ESPECIALLY in a place like WWE). Interference defeats the entire purpose of having a Steel Cage Match in the first place. That being said, I thought this came off great as the end of this year’s long feud. It was a bout between two guys who hated each other, and they conveyed that hatred very well. Not only that, but everyone involved (not just Taven and Vincent, but Vita VonStarr with her various bumps and Dutch with his big bump off the cage through the tables on the floor) really put forth the effort here. It was such a hard match to rate. Again, I didn’t like the interference, though at the same time, I thought it worked for what they were going for. Vincent winning surprised me, mainly because that means he’s getting Taven’s shot at the ROH World Title. Then again, it would’ve made The Righteous look totally incompetent if they did all that interference, only for Taven to win anyway, so at least it came off as Taven not being able to fight them all off. I’ll cautiously go notebook on it. The effort was too much to ignore. ****

Final Thoughts

Night 2 of Glory By Honor XVIII took a while to get going, but it definitely reached its peak with the final three matches. Most of the undercard ranged from decent to downright skippable, aside from Shane Taylor Promotions vs. Incoherence, which itself was just a cool thing to see if you’re into CHIKARA nostalgia. The final three matches were very strong (to varying degrees), but they were also completely different from each other. The Eight-Man Tag saw technical guys vs. brawlers, the semi-main event featured lucha libre insanity, and the main event saw the bloody and violent to a personal rivalry that’s lasted a few years now. A very solid show, for the most part, and definitely a step up from Night 1.