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ROH Wrestling recap: Beer-drinking babyface turns to the dark side

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Episode 489 of ROH Wrestling featured Jonathan Gresham defending the Pure Championship against Joe Keys in teacher versus student, a kooky Danhausen promo, and Matt Taven getting hit in the head with a beer bottle by the Beer City Bruiser.

Check for ROH channel listings in your area. Watch the episode on ROH Honor Club (here) or Fite TV (here) released on Mondays.

Before getting into the recap, let’s start with a rankings update from ROH Week by Week. Quinn McKay debuted the tag team top 5.

World Tag Team Championship
5. The Bouncers
4. S.O.S.
3. Dragon Lee & Kenny King
2. Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus
1. Matt Taven & Mike Bennett
Champs: Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham

In other rankings news, the Eck’s Files column by Kevin Eck revealed that Dak Draper is moving from the TV division to the Pure division.

Time to hit the weekly ROH broadcast.

Joe Keys thanked Jonathan Gresham for giving him a title opportunity. Gresham went to bat for his Dojo of Honor proteges, and that has given Keys confidence. Keys learned the ropes from his first trainer R.J. Meyer, who died from leukemia. Keys will be motivated to make Meyer proud by winning Pure gold.

Jonathan Gresham is fueled by his love for ROH. Wrestling is not a job for him. It is a lifestyle. Gresham doesn’t want Keys to view him as a coach in their match. He wants Keys to bring all he has in this contest.

ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs Joe Keys

Pure rules with a 60-minute time limit. Dak Draper was on commentary.

Gresham trapped Keys in a headscissors early. Since Keys could not escape, he opted to use his first rope break. Keys picked up Gresham to place him in the ropes. The referee ruled that interesting strategy as a rope break for Gresham.

The first excitement arrived on a multiple back and forth exchange of shoulder blocks. Keys came out on top as the larger man. That led to rapid forearm exchanges with Gresham using an arm drag to take control. Gresham focused on the arm and shoulder for a hammerlock slam.

Keys fired back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, a small package rolling through for a suplex, and a deadlift German suplex. Gresham snatched a kimura, so Keys went back to a backbreaker to get free. Keys locked in a single-leg crab. Gresham used his second break. Keys continued his attack for a flying headbutt. On the pinfall, Gresham emptied his breaks by reaching the ropes for the third and final time.

Keys wanted to maintain his momentum, but Gresham kept pushing him away. Keys lost his cool and threw his wrist tape in Gresham’s face. That fired up Gresham as the two exchanged blows. Gresham hit a German suplex. Keys responded with a big clothesline. Keys tried to finish with another flying headbutt, but Gresham rolled out of the way. Gresham worked position into a hip toss then hammerlock submission. Keys could not escape. Gresham retained the Pure Championship at 12:41.

Mike Bennett was on the trainer’s table getting his ankle taped. Matt Taven tried to talk him out of competing in their main event tag bout. Bennett assured Taven that he will be okay. Bennett needs the action.

Danhausen delivered his typical style of promohausen. He only cares about being rich and famous. The ROH contract gave him sacks of money, but he is still missing a blimp. Danhausen explained his jar of teeth gimmick. He pours them down an opponent’s throat, so they almost throw up. Danhausen uses that legal distraction to kick them in the face.

Brian Johnson has sacrificed his whole life to be a professional wrestler. Danhausen is a parody of what Johnson loves. Johnson wants a rematch, since Danhausen cheated to win the first time.

Danhausen versus Brian Johnson will air February 3 at 7 pm ET on ROH’s YouTube channel.

The Bouncers are the most physically dominant tag team in ROH. No more being friendly in the ring. Their focus is now about winning on the road to becoming tag champs.

Taven apologized to Bennett for the ankle injury at the hands of Vincent. Bennett came back to reunite with his friend as the OG Kingdom. It is time to have fun in the ring and not think about the Righteous.

The Bouncers vs OGK

The Bouncers kept reiterating that they aren’t friends with OGK. Their focus was more about winning. The match was power versus tag team tactics.

At one point, Bennett went down in pain due an awkward landing on his gimpy ankle. Beer City Bruiser seized the opportunity to attack the injury. Brian Milonas wasn’t pleased with intentionally trying to hurt Bennett.

Taven had the hot tag moment with a suicide dive and a plancha to the outside. Taven connected on a frog splash to Bruiser, but Milonas made the save on the cover. Taven was on fire with a DDT to Milonas then a Russian leg sweep and a swinging neckbreaker to Bruiser. The big man was able to escape Taven’s clutches for a Samoan drop. Milonas followed with a sitdown swinging side slam. Bennett swooped in to break the pin.

OGK rallied with double team clobbering trying to take Milonas down. Taven jumped on his back for a sleeper, and Bennett delivered a superkick. As the super heavyweight fell backward, all his weight crushed on top of Taven.

The Bouncers took control with their teamwork combo finisher. Milonas executed a superplex to Taven, but Taven rolled out of the way of the incoming frog splash by Bruiser. Taven ducked a clothesline by Bruiser to transition for a Koji Clutch submission to win at 11:56.

After the contest, Milonas handed out beer in good sportsmanship. Vincent came on stage to criticize the Bouncers for toasting a loss. He tried to turn them against OGK by comparing careers. OGK has doors opened for them, while the Bouncers have no direction. Bruiser responded by smashing a beer bottle on Taven’s head and hitting a DDT on Bennett. Milonas stood there in shock and surprise.


Jonathan Gresham is helping to build the future of ROH in more ways than one. He showed why he is the foundation as he helped showcase Joe Keys’ abilities as a true teacher would. The result was never in doubt, but the match was still entertaining and kept my attention. Keys rolling through the small package for a suplex was a pretty sweet move. As was the finishing hammerlock as Gresham showed he was one step ahead on the chess board.

That was quite an interesting turn of events from the Beer City Bruiser. His work with Brian Milonas as a beer-drinking heavyweight duo was always a fun time. Vincent was right though. That attitude hasn’t progressed his career. While smashing a bottle on Matt Taven’s head earned a big pop from me, I’m not sure it will pay dividends in a new mean direction. Bruiser is not world championship level, in my opinion. However, it makes sense for him trying to break out of a complacent slump. The big beefers can always reunite down the line if this experiment doesn’t pan out.

Share your thoughts about episode 489 of ROH Wrestling. Which wrestler had the standout performance? Do you think Beer City Bruiser can build quality momentum with his treacherous actions?