08th Jan2021

‘Ring of Honor’ Wrestling Review (Dec 26th 2020 & Jan 2nd 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this week’s Ring Of Honor double-sized review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we’ve got two weeks’ worth of wrestling to cover, so let’s get right to it.

DECEMBER 26th 2020

Match #1: Dante Caballero and Joe Keys def. Ken Dixon and Eric Martin – ROH Dojo Challenge Tag Match

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

This is an opportunity for the next generation of ROH stars to showcase their talent. All four men have made a name for themselves in Maryland Championship Wrestling (MCW), one of the leading independent promotions and an affiliate of ROH. Dixon, Caballero and Keys all participated in the 2019 Top Prospect Tournament. Martin, who has competed in a couple dark matches in ROH, will be making his debut on ROH television. Caballero and Martin squared off to begin the match, and Caballero used chain wrestling to gain the advantage. Later, Caballero applied a crossface to Dixon, but Martin made the save. Dixon hit a snap powerslam out of nowhere on Caballero for a near fall. Dixon then hit a pumphandle slam on Caballero and made a cover. At that same moment, Martin scooped up Keys, but Keys shifted his weight and they tumbled onto Dixon, which broke up the pin. Keys applied a single leg crab on Dixon, but Dixon made it to the ropes to break the hold. Keys then locked on the Lion Tamer on Dixon. Caballero prevented Martin from making the save and Dixon tapped out.

My Opinion: 2.8 out of 5

Match #2: (Main Event) Jay Briscoe, Flip Gordon, Brawler Milonas, John Walters and PCO def. Mark Briscoe, Beer City Bruiser, Dak Draper, Tracy Williams and Dalton Castle – Christmas Surprise 10-Man Tag Match

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

It’s the holiday season and that can only mean one thing in ROH: It’s time for the annual Christmas Surprise 10-man tag match! In this always-fun, always-festive special attraction, designated team captains select their team members at random by drawing names out of Christmas packages. That means rivals could become partners and allies could become opponents. We already know this year’s bout will pit brother versus brother, as Jay and Mark Briscoe have been appointed rival team captains. It’ll be just like Christmas dinner at the Briscoes’ farm in Sandy Fork when Jay and Mark battle over the last piece of roast beast. While the participants and fans always have a good time with the Christmas Surprise match, there are stakes,as the winning team receives a hefty Christmas bonus. As for the losing team, it’s coal in their stockings! Brian Johnson invited himself to join Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman on commentary for the match. The winners of the bout would receive a sizable Christmas bonus. A few minutes into the match, The Bouncers (Bruiser and Milonas) found themselves as the legal men in the ring. Milonas had no interest in fighting his best friend, so he turned to his corner looking to tag out. Suddenly, Draper came up behind Bruiser and pushed him into Milonas. That angered Milonas, who assumed his partner blindsided him, and he and Bruiser started slugging it out. After both men simultaneously went for a cross body, they tagged out. Later, it was brothers Jay and Mark Briscoe engaging in a slugfest with each other. The other eight competitors entered the ring and started brawling. After the action spilled to the floor, PCO hit a moonsault off the top rope onto a group of wrestlers outside the ring, including members of his own team. Minutes later, there was a rapid series of high impact moves from several competitors. Williams applied a legbar to Walters, and while Walters was trapped in the hold, Bruiser flattened him with a frog splash. PCO made the save, then went on to hit a moonsault on Draper for the victory.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5

JANUARY 2nd 2021

Match #1: Flip Gordon def. Bandido

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

It was a stalemate early, but then the action spilled outside the ring. Gordon rammed Bandido into the barricade and slammed him on the floor. After they got back inside the ring, Bandido connected on a superkick for a near fall. Gordon answered with a Pele kick and spinning heel kick for a near fall. Bandido rallied and hit a GTS for a near fall. Gordon came back with a springboard spear and finished off Bandido with Flip-5.

My Opinion: 3.8 out of 5

Match #2: Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) def. Jay Lethal

The following is courtesy of rohwrestling.com:

Haskins went to work on Lethal’s left arm to gain an early advantage. After the action spilled to the floor, Lethal hit a handstand cutter off the apron. Back inside the ring, Lethal hit Lethal Combination for a near fall. Lethal connected on a pump kick and enziguri and then went to the top rope to attempt Hail to the King. When Lethal landed, Haskins caught him in a crossface and then transitioned into Rings of Saturn. Lethal made it to the ropes to force a break. Haskins hit a knee strike for a two count. Lethal went for Lethal Injection, but Haskins ducked it and locked on the Sharpshooter. Haskins trapped Lethal’s arm while maintaining the hold and Lethal tapped out. Haskins’s submission victory over the two-time former ROH World Champion is one of the biggest wins of his career.

My Opinion: 3.9 out of 5

Final Verdict: 3.5/5 and 4.4/5

The first show was good for a Christmas edition, but not much beyond that. I mean, this was a low-risk venture that was around to just fill some space and folks an option for holiday entertainment. The opener was a fun way for four of MCW’s roster to get a shot on TV and it was personally a joy to see four more fighters with talent. The main event was the typical odd-ball display of folks fighting other folks because it’s Christmas. Hey…falalalalalala…and yippie ki yay mother-f—–! The second show was built around a brief but informative documentary on how Ring Of Honor and its wrestlers dealt with the pandemic and what it did to their schedule back in March of 2020. As for the matches, these two were booked, wrestled and filmed that last weekend of active touring when they were in Las Vegas. The first was Flip Gordon and Bandido, which was more along the lines of power-wrestling, which was a surprise considering who was involved. That being said, this match was well-wrestled despite the change in style from both athletes. Flip has really become quite well-rounded in recent years and it shows here in spades. Bandido gave Flip plenty to work with, from his quick transitions to his bold offense. This was a pairing I thought I would like here and I did. As for the main event, it was an even better match than the first and it gave me the winner I wanted. My misgivings about Lethal still being employed after numerous accusations of sexual misconduct aside, I wanted Lethal to lose because Haskins has needed a major victory for some time and Lethal is perfect to give him that. The match itself was full of nimble feats of athleticism that made my fat ass look like Jonah Hill blowing his own ego. I enjoyed both episodes and it was a good two weeks that ended one year and began another. I hope that we get more shows like this from Ring Of Honor in 2021.

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