Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
19th Anniversary Show
Date: March 26, 2021
Location: UMBC Event Center, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, Rocky Romero
This is the Ring of Honor Wrestlemania season show and I get to continue my tradition of taking forever to get to the company’s pay per views. Things are still getting back to normal after the pandemic, though Rush is still the World Champion and defending the title against Jay Lethal. Let’s get to it.
Commentary kicks us off with some bad news: Dragon Lee is off the show so Kenny King will defend the TV Title as a replacement.
Pre-Show: Brian Johnson vs. Eli Isom vs. Danhausen vs. LSG
Only two in the ring at a time but this is Lucha Rules. Johnson yells at everyone else to start because he can’t shut up. Isom backdrops Johnson a few times to start so it’s out to the floor, meaning Isom gets to take LSG down. They pop up to a standoff but Johnson tags himself in and shouts a lot. LSG scores with a rolling clothesline and backdrops Johnson outside again but goes out with them, setting up Isom’s moonsault to take them both down.
Danhausen isn’t sure what to do but eventually superkicks Johnson from the apron (while being happy that Isom and LSG are holding Johnson in place). That means a double handshake…until Isom and LSG pull Danhausen off the apron and send him into the barricade. Back in and Isom sends LSG flying with a suplex but Johnson is back in to clean house. A slingshot splash gives Johnson two on Isom but he gets caught with his feet on the ropes.
Isom goes up and gets crotched, allowing Johnson to hit a hanging cutter. That’s enough to send Isom outside so LSG comes back in with a springboard crossbody. Rock A Bye Baby gets two on Johnson but Isom is back in with a high crossbody for two on LSG. Ism starts cleaning house, including a face buster which sends Johnson’s knee at least ten inches away from Isom’s knee. A triple clothesline puts everyone but Danhausen down so here he comes to low bridge Johnson to the floor.
Suplexes abound, including a northern lights suplex for two on Johnson. Good Nighthausen is broken up but Danhausen busts out the jar of teeth, which go into Johnson’s mouth. Johnson freaks out and a triple superkick makes it even worse. Isom plants Danhausen with a spinning DDT and exchanges rollups with LSG. Danhausen is back in with Good Nighthausen for two on LSG with Johnson making the save. Johnson hits the Process to finish Danhausen at 10:52.
Rating: C+. The action was fun and there is something about Danhausen that is just fun to watch. They keep him on these lower level matches so he doesn’t make anything seem ridiculous and that is all he needs to do. There is a place for someone like him and it makes for some fun moments like this one here. Good choice for an opener with the right person winning.
Pre-Show: Six Man Tag Team Titles: Mexisquad vs. Shane Taylor Promotions
Mexisquad is challenging and this is also under Lucha Rules. The champs pose on the apron so Mexisquad dropkicks them all to the floor at the bell. The triple dive takes the champs down again and it’s time to triple team Shane inside. Some rapid fire strikes set up a double dropkick into a frog splash for two but Moses and Khan make the save. Shane brings in Khan, who gets triple teamed down as well.
Moses has had it with this and cleans house, including a spear for two on Flamita. A swinging Downward Spiral gives Shane two but the Squad gets together to take him down again. All three of them get onto the middle rope for a triple splash to crush Shane but Khan is back in for the Victory Lap (3D into a Downward Spiral) to knock Bandido silly.
Flamita is back up with a 619 to Shane, who sends Flamita into Bandido for a double knockdown. That doesn’t last long as Flamita goes up, only to have Bandido thrown into him for a crotching. Horus comes back in for a tornado DDT on Shane but Moses takes him down. Khan’s super Jackhammer plants Flamita and an elevated DDT (MNM’s old Snapshot) retains the titles at 7:51.
Rating: C. There was an idea here with the champs not being familiar with the Lucha Rules to put them in trouble. The Squad continues to have issues though and that seems to be building towards a split. I’m curious to see where it goes and who turns heel as a result, but for now it is nice to see the champs retain.
Post match, the Mexisquad gets in each others’ faces and a triple threat is set for later.
The opening video starts with a collection of VHS and DVD’s of Ring of Honor events (that’s a cool visual), including a look at the first event. Those shows inspired a new generation, and those wrestlers will be in action tonight. We don’t get much of a look at the specifics of the show, but I really liked that old show motif.
TV Title: Tracy Williams vs. Kenny King
King, with Amy Rose, is defending on behalf of Dragon Lee, who can’t travel following surgery. Williams takes him down into something like a seated abdominal stretch in a hurry. With that broken up, Williams starts in on the leg and cranks away on the foot before switching over to a front facelock. Back up and King unloads with right hands in the corner, setting up his own seated abdominal stretch. You don’t do that to Williams, who is right back with more leg cranking.
That’s broken up as well and King grabs a spinebuster into a tiger bomb for two. Williams puts him on top, gets shoved down, and comes back with a running enziguri anyway. That doesn’t get King very far as Williams grabs a Death Valley Driver for two of his own. The Crossface is broken up with a boot on the rope and King gets in a cheap shot for another near fall. Rose throws in Williams’ Tag Team Title to set up a tug of war, with Williams pulling him into a piledriver for the pin and the title at 7:14.
Rating: C. They kept this short as King wasn’t scheduled to be there and both guys had to wrestle again later in the night anyway. I can go for Williams getting a singles title though as he was rather good in the Pure Rules tournament and should have gotten something of his own. Pushing a traditional wrestler makes sense and it is nice to see him having some success.
Flip Gordon vs. Mark Briscoe
Grudge match and commentary tells us to expect a brawl. Briscoe slugs away to start and chops him up against the rope, setting up a brainbuster. A belly to back slam sets up a flipping backsplash for two on Flip, who is right back with the Kinder Surprise to send Briscoe outside. Back in and Gordon hammers away, setting up a fisherman’s suplex for two. The Eye of the Hurricane gets two more but another springboard is broken up with a shove out to the floor.
Briscoe hits the running Blockbuster off the apron (with Ian making a pair of Blockbuster jokes) but Gordon catches him on top back inside, setting up a top rope superplex for the double knockdown. They get up and slug it out until Gordon nails a jumping knee to the face. Briscoe kicks him to the floor though and pulls out a chair, which the referee gets rid of because, you know, it’s a chair. The distraction lets Gordon get in a low blow and Flip Five (I think? It’s a TKO.) finishes Briscoe at 7:49.
Rating: C+. I liked this one a bit more as it felt like they were trying to beat each other up because they want to hurt the other, which is the idea behind a grudge match. The ending was a bit lame as it was just a quick low blow into a finisher, but it could have been worse. Gordon continues to not do much for me though, even if he is one of the more prominent names around here.
Flip Gordon vs. Josh Woods
They’re moving quick here and Silas Young is in Woods’ corner. Woods wrestles him down to the corner without much effort but Castle is back with his own takedown. More grappling ensues until Woods puts him in the ropes for a German suplex. Gordon bails out to the floor for a breather but Castle runs back in for an elbow to the jaw. A running knee in the corner staggers Woods, who misses a springboard knee.
Castle takes him outside for a whip into the barricade, followed by a Russian legsweep back inside for two. The waistlock keeps Woods down for a bit before they fight over a suplex. One heck of a right hand (a rarity from Woods) sends Castle into the corner and Woods takes him outside for a ram into the barricade (call it a receipt). Two more whips into the barricade keeps Castle in trouble and a big right hand stagger him again.
A powerbomb onto the apron has Castle in even more pain and Young loads up a chair. Woods isn’t having that and the distraction lets Castle get in a few suplexes for two. The referee has to get out of the way of a charge into the corner, where Young (intentionally) holds up the chair to knock Woods silly. Castle didn’t seem to see what happens and gets the pin at 10:19.
Rating: C. They had the two wrestlers doing most of a wrestling match here until the storyline ending. The match wasn’t too bad, but this felt like a TV match instead of something pay per view worthy. Young turning on Woods will give them both something to do for awhile, but knowing Ring of Honor, it will take at least two months to get anywhere.
Post match Young says he has been a patient man with Woods for over a year but now Woods has defied him. This is the last time Woods will ever defy him, because Young will hurt him in ways to make Woods question his career. Young was a big rambly here but he got the point across.
Jay Briscoe vs. EC3
This is to decide if honor is real, as EC3 continues his babbling which doesn’t seem to actually mean anything other than saying words in an attempt to sound smart. EC3 is now the Essential Character, which seems to just confirm what I thought about the controlling your narrative deal. They talk trash to start with EC3’s running shoulder just giving us a standoff. EC3 takes Jay down with a headlock and it’s back up for more staring.
Some shoulders put EC3 down this time but he’s back up with a Thesz press for some rights and lefts (EC3: “WHERE’S YOUR HONOR???”) into a chinlock. Back up and EC3 knees him in the ribs as commentary talks about how the wrestling is confusing the brawling Briscoe. A powerbomb plants Briscoe again and we hit the chinlock again (EC3: “Wrestling.”). Back up and EC3 grabs a TKO but charges into a Downward Spiral into the middle buckle.
Briscoe’s running big boot puts EC3 on the floor, with Briscoe hurting his knee by following him out. Back in and EC3 grabs a superplex, followed by an Angle Slam. That means more shouting instead of a cover, setting up a brainbuster. EC3 misses a charge though and it’s a Death Valley Driver onto the apron to knock him silly. Another running big boot rocks EC3 but Briscoe’s knee is too banged up to cover.
The neckbreaker is broken up so Briscoe kicks him in the face again. EC3 is right back with his layout DDT to put them both down again. More yelling about honor earns EC3 a Death Valley Driver and he starts laughing. Briscoe can’t figure out how to finish him off and EC3 is back with another Thesz press. Back up and a discus forearm rocks EC3 for two, so now he offers a handshake. The Jay Driller finishes EC3 instead at 20:58.
Rating: B-. I don’t know if I’m not smart enough to get what EC3 is doing or if it’s just a bunch of nonsense, but it is one of the more worthless gimmicks going in wrestling today. Maybe he’s trying to be all out there or he’s trying to mess with people’s heads, but it isn’t working for me. The in-ring stuff was was good enough and it felt like a bit match. Just find something that draws me in a bit more, because EC3 shouting about honor isn’t doing it.
We get the post match handshake.
Quick recap of Mexisquad’s issues on the pre-show, setting up this.
Flamita vs. Rey Horus vs. Bandido
This is going to be fast. Bandido and Horus seem cool but Flamita isn’t interested in a handshake. Flamita takes them both down to start but Bandido drops him to the floor. That gives us the Bandido vs. Horus showdown, which might not have the impact that they were looking for twenty seconds in. They shake hands until Horus starts kicking away, only to get kneed in the face.
A spinning headscissors puts Bandido down and respect is shown. Flamita is back in to send them both into the corner for some running clotheslines. The tornado DDT plants Bandido to send him outside, with Horus hitting a dive. Flamita hits a bigger dive and throws Bandido back inside. Bandido reverses a headscissors into a faceplant as Horus comes back in and gets kicked straight into the corner.
Flamita gets Bandido in an electric chair….where Bandido manages to suplex Horus anyway (that’s a new one). That’s enough for Bandido to send Horus outside and now we get a bit more impactful showdown with Flamita. They slap it out until Flamita hits a heck of a superkick into a spiral bomb for two, with Horus diving in for the save. Flamita’s slingshot DDT plants Bandido and it’s a Muscle Buster into a gutbuster to Horus, with the two of them landing on Bandido to give Flamita two.
That leaves Flamita to talk trash to the two of them, saying there is no more Mexisquad. Flamita is sent to the apron so Bandido can hurricanrana him to the floor. Back in and Horus wins the slugout, only to charge into a pop up cutter. Flamita is back in though and a three way boot to the face puts everyone down. Horus is up first with a satellite DDT to Bandido and the super victory roll gets two on Flamita.
Horus is sat on top as Flamita electric chairs Bandido….who reverses Horus’ high crossbody into a belly to bell, sending Flamita flying with a poisonrana at the same time (at least I think, as that was nuts). Bandido sends Horus outside for the big running flip dive, followed by a springboard hurricanrana for two on Horus. The 21 Plex gives Bandido the pin on Flamita at 10:48.
Rating: B+. This was exactly what you would have expected from these three and that is where they shine. These guys know how to do some completely insane stuff that worked amazingly well, as I was trying to figure out what the heck they were doing. You could run these guys in any combination for a LONG time and it was very fun here, as it should have been.
Post match respect is offered but Flamita walks away again.
We go to a Police Athletic League gym for Vincent vs. Matt Taven as it’s time to go cinematic, or at least pre-taped.
Matt Taven vs. Vincent
Taven comes into the gym where it all started between these two, where Vincent is waiting with a big WELCOME BACK MATT TAVEN banner. Vincent talks about how Taven just wants the attention and then runs away as Taven says come down here and fight. Taven runs up some stairs to find Vincent, who jumps out near another ring to start the fight. After Vincent dances with a mannequin, Taven sends him into the post and shouts about how his world is a sad, sad world.
Vincent rolls outside so Taven’s suicide dive only hits some ladders (freaking ow man). Apparently Taven’s photo is on the wall, with Vincent pointing it out and then sending him into a filing cabinet. They go into a hall way with Taven being thrown over a desk and landing on his wrist. Back up and Taven throws him down some steps, setting up a big elbow over said steps.
Vincent runs away and slams a door onto Taven’s head. They slug it out and head into the room with the original ring, as Vincent asks if Taven remembers this. Taven slams him onto a rack of chairs before taking him into the ring. Vincent gets choked with a belt but manages a low blow to get a breather. The ring mat is pulled back and a Dudley Dog onto the exposed wood knocks Taven silly.
That means it’s time for Vincent to talk about how Taven loves the pain. Vincent drags….something towards the ring before throwing Taven onto a platform. We pause for some dancing until Taven is thrown into a door. They go up some more stairs and into some bleachers looking down at the ring, where they wind up sitting on the balcony. Cue a large man in overalls to shove both of them down through a table for a huge crash. The large man carries Vincent out, meaning it’s a no contest at we’ll say 13:00. He would eventually be named Dutch, as the newest member of the Righteous.
Rating: B-. I’m not sure what to think of this as it was more of a big segment than a match. These two do feel like the eternal rivals so it makes sense to do something like this. What we got was good, but as usual with Ring of Honor, they don’t quite know how to wrap things up and it can become quite the problem. Good for awhile and it didn’t overstay its welcome, but it was a way to keep things going and that happens too often.
Jay Lethal asks the referee to not stop the main event early. Deal.
Here is Queen McKay to bring out Maria Kanellis-Bennett, who is now on the Ring of Honor Board of Directors. Maria gets straight to the point: this summer there will be a tournament to crown a new Women’s Champion. Anyone around the world is invited to come and compete but here is the Allure to interrupt. Angelina Love doesn’t like the idea of Mara showing up and taking over, wondering which position got Maria this position.
Maria laughs it off and says that Angelina’s career accomplishments mean nothing since she hasn’t had a match in a year. She’ll offer Love a deal though: win a match and she can have a first round bye in the tournament. Love can face….Quinn McKay on Ring of Honor TV. McKay gives us an adorable celebration and the staredown is on.
Dak Draper thinks he is the favorite in every match, including against Jonathan Gresham for the Pure Title.
Jonathan Gresham is ready to shut Draper up and plant the Foundation flag over him.
Pure Rules Title: Jonathan Gresham vs. Dak Draper
Gresham is defending and is giving up over a foot to Draper for a heck of a visual. They stare at each other a bit (Draper down, Gresham up) until Gresham’s takedown attempt goes nowhere. Draper takes him down instead and drives a forearm into the face. Back up and Gresham has to jump to grab a headlock, setting up a forearm to Draper’s face to even things up. Another knockdown has Gresham in trouble but he avoids a handstand knee drop.
Draper grabs him again and this time Gresham has to use a rope break. A rolling waistlock has Gresham in more trouble and he can’t do much with the much bigger Draper. Gresham gets planted again and Draper and twists it over into a rollup for two, which allows Gresham to get back up. Something like a reverse bearhug stays on Gresham’s ribs but he finally grabs the wrist to get a breather, allowing him to dive to the ropes for a second break.
This time Gresham gets to unload in the corner to put Draper down for a change. Draper comes back with a knee into a Stretch Muffler, making Gresham use his last rope break. An armdrag lets Gresham come back with a springboard moonsault press into an ankle lock to put Draper in his most trouble so far. That’s broken up in a hurry though and Draper hits a running crossbody. Another Stretch Muffler is blocked with some kicks to the head and Gresham kicks away at the leg.
A hard forearm to the side of the head gives Gresham two, with Draper having to use the rope. Gresham stays on him and the second rope break is gone too. There’s the ankle lock and Draper is out of rope breaks too. Back up and a hard right hand puts Gresham down, with the referee getting to a nine count until Gresham rolls to the apron, which breaks the count because he moved. Ok then.
Draper hits a great looking apron superplex, setting up a Doctor Bomb for two. Frustration is setting in but the Magnum Drop is countered into an armdrag. Another attempt is countered into a hurricanrana which is countered into a sunset flip to give Draper two. A big boot sets up a super sitout powerbomb (dang) for two more and Draper can’t believe it. Draper kicks at the ribs some more and he tries another Stretch Muffler but the knee gives out. That sends Draper outside so Gresham dives onto him to grab a choke in a cool spot. Draper climbs back in with the hold still on…but he’s out to retain Gresham’s title at 20:29.
Rating: B. This was a heck of a David vs. Goliath match with the ending being a great way to go. Draper tried to use his power to fight through Gresham but the octopus deal caught him. Gresham is fun to watch every time and Draper got to show a bunch of potential here. Now just let him win something, even if it is just a big match.
Commentary talks about what we just saw but Delirious comes in to whisper something to Rocky Romero. It seems like we have a challenge.
Tag Team Titles: Foundation vs. La Faccion Ingobernable
Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus of the Foundation are challenging La Bestia de la Ring (replacing Dragon Lee, his son) and Kenny King, with Amy Rose. It’s a big brawl to start (perhaps before the bell) with everyone heading outside. Williams gets whipped hard into the post, leaving Titus to get dropped with a double dropkick. Bestia hits a backsplash but Williams comes back in for the chop off.
Williams tells Bestia to bring it and gets dropped with a clothesline. Another backsplash misses but King gets in a kick from the apron. King comes in for an enziguri to the floor, setting up a slingshot corkscrew dive. Back in and Williams manages a knockdown of his own, allowing the tag back to Titus for the big slugout with King. Everything breaks down and Titus clotheslines King into a Texas Cloverleaf.
Titus adds a half crab on Bestia but King grabs the rope, meaning both holds are broken. King grabs something like Eddie Guerrero’s Lasso From El Paso but Williams is out in a hurry. It’s already back to Titus, with Williams hitting a quick piledriver on King. Titus grabs a swinging full nelson with Bestia having to make a save.
Bestia plants Williams with a Tombstone and chops it out with Titus. A Codebreaker out of the corner gives Bestia one on Titus so Rose tries to slide in a chair. Bestia doesn’t want it and turns back to Titus, who nails some running boots in the corner. The full nelson knocks Bestia out to give us new champions at 10:29.
Rating: C+. This one didn’t quite make it to the next level but it wasn’t quite fair when you had champions teaming together for the first time. Titus and Williams work well together with Williams being great at the technical stuff and Titus having the size and heart to make it work. The title change makes the show feel more important, though the match itself was only pretty good.
Post match the big argument is on, with Rose slapping King in the face. Bestia cuts Rose in half with a spear and the guys leave.
We recap Jay Lethal challenging Rush for the World Title. Remember the last match which was a culture clash between two stables? Same thing here, but the singles version.
Ring of Honor World Title: Rush vs. Jay Lethal
Rush is defending and has the horned mask with the white fur coat because….I’m not sure actually. For the first time in Ring of Honor, Rush actually shakes hands before we’re ready to go. A headlock sends Lethal straight to the ropes so they go to the mat for some grappling. That gives us a clean break and things reset a bit. They go right back to the mat and it’s the same result as the feeling out continues.
Rush hits him in the face to make Lethal a bit more serious and they strike it out in the corner. Lethal hiptosses him down for the basement dropkick but Rush pops up, earning himself another dropkick. This one sends Rush outside and it’s a springboard dropkick to knock him off the apron. Back to back suicide dives send Rush into the barricade and he comes up holding his knee before Lethal can try the third. Lethal is smart enough to go after the knee back inside but Rush hits him in the face.
It’s back to the floor with Rush sending him into the barricade a few times, meaning we need a camera cord. Rush chokes a bit and hits a backdrop on the floor and it’s time to talk to the camera. They head back inside with Rush kicking away and standing on Lethal’s head for a laugh. Rush loads up the Bull’s Horns but stops to roll into Tranquilo instead. Lethal uses the delay to send him into the corner and they’re both down for a breather.
Some shots to the face just annoy Rush so they strike it out for another double knockdown. Rush puts Lethal up top but gets shoved down, setting up Hail To The King for two. The Figure Four goes on to put Rush in more trouble as the knee gets banged up even more. The rope grab breaks that one up in most of a hurry but Rush snaps off a rebound German suplex. A knee to the face gets two on Lethal and a middle rope double stomp connects for the same.
Something like the Calf Crusher has Lethal in trouble for a change but Rush misses a top rope backsplash. The Figure Four goes on again and here is La Faccion Ingobernable to offer a distraction. Cue the Foundation to clear them out as Rush loads up the Bull’s Horns. That’s countered into a spinebuster, setting up a cutter and the Lethal Injection for two in what was Lethal’s best shot. Rush forearms him into the corner and the Bull’s Horns sends Lethal outside. Back in and another Bull’s Horns retains the title at 18:30.
Rating: B. It felt like a main event match but all of the clutter didn’t help things. There was too much going on near the end and that brought the rest of the match down. Lethal was a good challenge for the title and he wore Rush down, but Rush still feels like a piece of the main event scene rather than the big star. Given that he is approaching the longest reign in the World Title’s history, they might need to find a way around that. Still though, solid main event between two of the bigger stars the company has had.
Post match the stables are back for another brawl (because that’s what they do) with the Foundation getting beaten down. Cue Brody King to say Rush finally did something without his family for a change. Rush has always had the numbers advantage but now King has his own numbers. Cue Tony Deppen, Chris Dickinson and Homicide to beat down La Faccion Ingobernable but they spare the Foundation….for all of a few seconds before laying them out as well. The new team poses to end the show, because just two big stables wasn’t enough.
Overall Rating: B. It’s a good show, though it didn’t have anything that really jumped off the page. As usual, Ring of Honor is rather strong with the wrestling but not so much with the storytelling. The stable wars, now with three instead of two, is more than played out and I didn’t need to see another team added. There is nothing bad on here and it is an easy three hour watch, but this wasn’t exactly the big spark that they needed.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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