The first in a series of Ring of Honor episodes taped in Nashville was a loaded show as the go-home to 14th Anniversary. Following practically every match was a confrontation or a brawl or both in some cases. All had a common goal of building interest in the PPV even if this show arguably felt a little cluttered by the end. Among the highlights was the impressive new set and lighting rig, which is very much an upgrade. One match displayed the drawback of taping TV weeks ago before deciding to switch a title.
Since the TV taping took place before the Honor Rising shows in Japan, Roderick Strong was still the TV champion on this episode and he actually defended the title as part of the “Roddy vs. the world” theme. Of course, Tomohiro Ishii is the current champion having beaten Strong in Japan. There was no mention of that on this show at it began airing in syndication the weekend of the title change with no time for editing.
While that is a disadvantage to taping TV so far in advance, the opening segment displayed the continuality of storylines in ROH. From main event feuds to talent lower on the card, their storylines continue to develop over an extended period of time from weeks to even months. Some of the stories don’t even play into the upcoming PPV, yet are still evident. Besides the conclusion of the first match continuing the feud between Strong and Bobby Fish over the TV title, another subplot dealt with ongoing issues between Jonathan Gresham and Cedric Alexander.
Representing Alexander, Veda Scott made a monetary offer to Gresham before the opening match. He had scored upset wins over Cedric on television and continues to be the proverbial thorn in his side. Veda offered him a check if he would give up his TV title shot and also leave ROH for good. Gresham declined the offer. Veda’s reaction in text form would read “UGH” with angry looking emoji.
Roderick Strong beat Jonathan Gresham
The match began and ended with great chain wrestling. In between, Strong cut off Gresham and got heat on him including a backbreaker for a nearfall. After a comeback, Gresham started doing a chain of moves on the mat that led into a crucifix for a nearfall. Strong countered with a flying knee and covered him for the pinfall.
Afterwards, Bobby Fish lept over the guardrail and snatched the TV title from Roddy. A scuffle ensued and Strong eventually fled the scene as officials ran in to break things up. This all originally built towards a TV title match between them at 14th Anniversary. Strong and Fish are still scheduled for a TV title match, but they will both now be challengers in a triple threat against the new defending ROH TV champion, Ishii.
In a backstage promo, the Briscoes hyped their match for later on in the show against Alex Shelley and ACH. Mark Briscoe said they were debuting in the Municipal Auditorium, which he noted was a place where great entertainers performed like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie.
War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) beat Tough Guy, Inc. (Brutal Bob Evans & Tim Hughes)
What began as a tag match became a mauling. Brutal Bob and Hughes got in short bursts of offense to no avail. War Machine manhandled them at every turn. Hughes got the worst of it before Rowe did a series of combos ending with a backbreaker into a gutwrench powerbomb. Hanson splashed him off the top rope to finish him off for the pin.
The lights went out and the All Night Express theme song played. Kenny King and Rhett Titus appeared on the new stage. King had a chair and Titus had a metal pole. They cut a promo on War Machine hyping their no DQ tag team title match at 14th Anniversary. King said they were the linear tag champs and he called them “bearded bitches” before saying what they were going to do at the PPV to them would make Rowe’s motorcycle wreck look “like a picnic.” Hopefully, it’s nothing like Dada 5000 and his very unfortunate situation either.
In a backstage promo hyping a match for next week on TV, Silas Young threatened The Boys ahead of their match against him and Beer City Bruiser. Silas said he has been patient long enough in giving them the opportunity to be men.
In a ringside interview, the Young Bucks talked about Kenny Omega, who will team with them at 14th Anniversary in a six man tag match. They put over “The Cleaner” and said pro wrestling was a dirty business. He has the best “cleaning skills” in the industry according to them. They are bringing The Elite from the Bullet Club to Las Vegas and throwing a superkick party.
BJ Whitmer beat Chase Brown
In his first TV match since being injured, Whitmer returned to action winning a squash. Brown looked like he came from an episode of Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1983. In addition, his nickname is “Cauliflower” and he even brought actual cauliflower to the ring with him. Whitmer finished him off with an exploder suplex for the pin.
Whitmer kept assaulting him after the bell and gave him another suplex. BJ then grabbed a microphone. Right on cue, Steve Corino entered the scene to confront him. Whitmer said Corino doesn’t get to talk. Instead, Whitmer called out Adam Page, who turned on Whitmer last week on television. Page jumped Whitmer and even did a springboard somersault clothesline, while wearing cowboy boots no less. Referees ran in to separate them. Page and Whitmer will meet in a match at 14th Anniversary.
During a pretape, Dalton Castle did a promo with The Boys. Unfortunately, in a glitch the audio was muted for some reason. Castle did pet the boys and as he plugged their match next week against Silas and the Bruiser.
In an in-ring promo, it was story time with Adam Cole. He talked about being in the triple threat match for the ROH title as the main event of 14th Anniversary.
“You will see some of the best professional wrestling on the planet, and Kyle O’Reilly and Jay Lethal trying to catch up,” Cole said.
Cole added he would make sure O’Reilly is never the world champion. Cole claimed Lethal was scared of facing him. He vowed there would be a new world champion and his name is Adam Cole, BAY BAY. With that, the House of Truth theme song interrupted the promo.
ROH world champion Jay Lethal, with Truth Martini and Taeler Hendrix, confronted Cole in the ring. Lethal mocked O’Reilly before saying he and Cole shouldn’t wait for the PPV in Vegas. He wanted to fight right there. Before they could fight, O’Reilly interrupted them.
O’Reilly grabbed a microphone and went to speak. Instead, he kicked Lethal in the chest and started a slugfest with Cole. They all three began to brawl. Cole left Lethal laying then O’Reilly left Cole laying. O’Reilly grabbed the world title belt and held it overhead as the last man standing.
Mark & Jay Briscoe (with ODB) beat Alex Shelly & ACH
Christopher Daniels joined Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness on commentary and he would factor into the finish of the match. ACH and Mark started off nip-and-tuck until the Briscoes double teamed ACH and began to work him over. Eventually, Shelley is able to tag in and he runs wild with high flying. Off a blind tag, the Briscoes cut off Shelley and get heat on him through a commercial break.
ACH comes in flying around after a hot tag. Acrobatic doesn’t even begin to describe the wild offense of ACH but it’s a good place to start. The pace picked up even quicker from here to the finish. ACH and Shelley look to finish off the Briscoes. Suddenly, Daniels leaves the announce table to distract Shelley. He grabbed and held Shelley’s leg, allowing the Briscoes to double team ACH. Jay hoisted him up and Mark dove off the top with the Doomsday Device followed by the pinfall.
Following the match, Daniels attacked a prone Shelley. The rest of the Addiction, Sabin and Kazarian, joined in on the beat down. Daniels is set to face Shelley in a match at 14th Anniversary. Thus ends a wild go-home show. Kudos on the new set and improvements in production.