If you’re looking for some nifty fights on Saturday night, then Ring of Honor is your hookup. Let’s catch up with ROH Wrestling. They went big for episode 500, and that deserves focus. The special show featured Jonathan Gresham defending the Pure Championship against Jay Lethal and brother versus brother in Mark Briscoe versus Jay Briscoe.
Before we get to the action, there are two cool promos to cover. First, the Violence Unlimited faction of Brody King, Homicide, Chris Dickinson, and Tony Deppen cut their first promo together. They are in ROH to hurt somebody and establish dominance. Violence Unlimited is coming for Rush’s head.
Second, Shane Taylor was crate digging while cutting a promo. Innocent bystanders appeared nervous and confused by his shouting. The message was for Kenny King and his betrayal. Taylor is choosing to forego immediate revenge, because he wants to set a better example for his daughter. For now, King gets a pass. As long as they don’t cross paths again, King will be safe.
Episode 500 of ROH Wrestling is available for free on Fite TV (here).
A fan poll chose Jay Lethal versus Jonathan Gresham as the most desired singles bout between tag partners. Lethal is conflicted about this contest. He loves being tested by Gresham, however, he also knows Gresham can broke his bones. Lethal’s apprehension disappeared upon learning that the Pure Championship would be on the line. They will show what pure wrestling is all about.
Gresham put over Lethal as transcending the ROH World Championship. He believes Lethal is the best wrestler in the world. Gresham is proud to call Lethal his friend. They will give the fans what they want and wrestle one more time.
Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal
60-minute time limit with Pure rules. Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus were ringside to support their Foundation friends. The first 10 minutes was mat work. Both men focused on the shoulder and arm. Lethal scored the first big move on a cutter. Gresham used his first rope break by putting his foot on the ropes to escape the pinfall.
Gresham was forced to use his second rope break when his hurricanrana attempt was countered into a Boston crab. Lethal tried to close it out with the Lethal Injection handspring cutter, but his arm was too weak and he collapsed on the handspring. Gresham was not able to capitalize though. Lethal reversed position to lock in a crossface submission. Gresham grunted with intestinal fortitude to grab the ropes for his third and final break. Per the Pure rules, the ropes can no longer save Gresham in this bout.
The two engaged again with Gresham transitioning from a wrist lock to a headscissors pin to win at 16:38. Gresham retained the Pure Championship.
Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Briscoe
Back and forth with familiarity to begin. Mark gained the advantage with a running elbow drop off the apron onto the floor. He followed with a suplex on the floor. Jay fired back with chops and a big boot to knock Mark over the guardrail.
Back in the ring, Mark slammed Jay off the turnbuckles. Mark also countered a neckbreaker into a uranage. The action spilled out to the floor again. Mark pulled out a chair to set up in the ring for a step-up flying attack, but Jay intercepted the motion for a Spicolli driver onto the chair then a neckbreaker. 1, 2, kick out by Mark.
Mark hit his own Spicolli driver and followed with a froggy elbow drop. 1, 2, kick out by Jay. The Briscoes worked counters on double underhooks as Jay came out on top with a Jay Driller piledriver. 1, 2, Mark kicked out. On a second Jay Driller, Mark instinctually rolled out of the ring.
Jay cleared off the timekeeper’s table, but Mark surprised him with a Snake Eyes into the guardrail. Mark place Jay upon the table for a froggy elbow drop through the wood. The referee began his 20-count. At 19, Mark was able to get in. Jay was not. This round of Briscoe battle went to Mark via count-out.
Thumbs up for both matches. Each provided a unique style very different from one another. Gresham and Lethal was a technical war, while the Briscoes was a war of attrition. Each delivered excitement in their own way. The finishes felt a little abrupt, which makes me think these clashes may be revisited a year or two down the line. Lethal was in full control then was trapped in a pinning predicament all of a sudden. I can see that defeat eating at Lethal’s ego over time. For the Briscoes, a win is a win, but a count-out is only a small step above a draw. I would be shocked if that is the last time the Briscoes wrestle each other in singles action.
Let’s do a quick catch-up for the past few weeks of ROH post-19th Anniversary.
Episode 497 of ROH Wrestling (here) featured Beer City Bruiser versus Mike Bennett and a Pure gauntlet match. Bruiser grabbed a beer bottle stashed under the ring. He smashed it against the ring post to do some stabbing. Matt Taven had been on commentary then ran in to intervene. The contest was thrown out. I like Bruiser’s mean direction, but it directly contradicts the reason of his anger about losing matches. Using a beer bottle in plain sight should be instant disqualification and doesn’t jive with the desire to win. Bruiser is lucky he hasn’t been suspended or fired yet.
The Pure gauntlet had six participants. Will Ferrara eliminated Dante Caballero via counter into jackknife pin, World Famous CB eliminated Ferrara via straitjacket lift into a stack pin, CB eliminated Eric Martin via judo toss into Nuno de la Muerte submission, Wheeler Yuta eliminated CB via flying DDT, and Fred Yehi eliminated Yuta via Koji Clutch to win the gauntlet. Nice showcase for undercard talent with nifty counters and submissions. Yehi has great potential, so I’m hoping this could be a springboard toward a Pure title shot for him.
Episode 498 of ROH Wrestling (here) featured Brian Johnson versushausen Danhausen and Eli Isom versus LSG. Johnson won the rubber match. The ref took a bump from being hit by Johnson’s feet during Danhausen’s GTShausen. Johnson used a mule kick to set up a neckbreaker driver for victory. Isom defeated LSG by escaping the Star Jammer to finish with a brainbuster. Isom is moving up the charts with mid-card wins.
Episode 499 of ROH Wrestling (here) featured Delirious versus Rocky Romero and Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham versus Bandido & Flamita. In Pure wrestling, Romero defeated Delirious via suplex into armbar transition. The Foundation defeated MexiSquad via figure-four from Lethal to Bandido. The story was the luchador team combusting due to miscommunication on maneuvers. In the end, Bandido was trapped in the submission looking for the tag. Flamita reached out then bailed last second to leave Bandido stranded.
In ROH Week by Week bonus matches, the new trio Primal Fear debuted against MexiSquad (here), O’Shay Edwards battled Sledge in a hoss fight (here), and Beer City Bruiser duked it out with Joe Keys (here).
Bandido, Flamita, & Rey Horus defeated Adrien Soriano, Gabriel Hodder, & Matthew Omen via 21-plex by Bandido. Edwards and Sledge previously battled to a 10-minute draw. This time, they went the distance to 15 minutes as both men were outside the ring at the count of 17. After the post-match Code of Honor handshake, they began fighting again. Bruiser defeated Keys by countering a clothesline for a DDT variation. After the match, Bruiser grabbed a beer bottle with bad intentions. The Dojo of Honor students ran to the ring to stop any evil shenanigans. Ken Dixon grabbed the bottle and shocked everyone by smashing his training allies. Bruiser sat with a big grin as Dixon beat up jabrones. Bruiser and Dixon exited as a new team.
On the news front, Dalton Castle officially re-signed with ROH while Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis upgraded to sign full-time. Tracy Williams was Wrestler of the Month for March by winning both the TV and tag titles at the 19th Anniversary. Jonathan Gresham took the Wrestler of the Month honors for April due to his title defense over Jay Lethal.
We’ll close with the Briscoes’ humorous reaction to their match.
A Message From The Briscoes... pic.twitter.com/MYZ4tuA8cp— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 26, 2021
Share your thoughts about episode 500 of ROH Wrestling. Which wrestler had the standout performance? Did the primo bouts live up to expectation?