The latest episode of ROH Wrestling had plenty of thrills on offer, including three special matches all full to the brim with action.
Kicking off Episode 351 was Jonathan Gresham taking on Flip Gordon. Both men had one hell of a fight, starting off with back and forth reversals, and a cheeky John Cena reference from Flip. Gresham managed to gain momentum, trying to get Gordon locked in The Octopus. After a struggle, Flip managed to break out and gain the advantage, dropkicking Gresham out of the ring followed by an ascension of the turnbuckle and a huge leap directly onto a fatigued Gresham below. Flip Gordon managed to show some fantastic athletic ability in the ring, using a back heel kick to the head and a Falcon Arrow, but Gresham kicked out of a pin, leading Flip Gordon to pull out the best move in his arsenal for the win: The Star-Spangled Banner.
After the match, Bully Ray came to the ring seemingly ready to apologise to Flip Gordon after their recent falling out. He began to tell a story of how his mother died of cancer whilst he was planning to buy a ranch for his parents in Montana – Flip Gordon’s hometown.
Bully Ray proceeded to talk about his father who died of a heart attack just as the paperwork was being finalised as well. It seemed as though he genuinely wanted to have “zero heat” with Flip, even bringing up the fact Flip was in the army before becoming a wrestler and how much he respected him for that. He approached Flip for the handshake, but after a short apology Bully kicked Flip straight in the groin, causing him to fall to the ground in agony. He grabbed the mic again, looked down at Flip Gordon and said, “Do you know who I am? I’m Bully Ray. And Flip, you’re nothing but a stupid young boy.” It showed just how deranged Bully Ray is, both cementing an interesting rivalry for the future as well as solidifying himself as one of ROH’s greatest villains.
Following a short recap of Austin Aries’ actions following his match-up with Silas Young last week, the second match of the night kicked off. It was a street fight of sorts, shying away from the submission-based rigmarole of recent encounters between the two.
“The Gatekeeper” Kelly Klein took a pummeling from Deonna Purrazzo before the match had gotten underway, using big strikes against Kelly by the steel barricades. Back in the ring, Kelly started to focus on Deonna’s right arm, but it wasn’t long before they were back outside the ring, with Kelly hitting a thumping fall away slam. The two continued to get physical, with Deonna hitting German suplexes, doing serious damage to Kelly Klein.
Klein came back, hitting another fall away slam, this time from the second rope and almost getting a three count. Deonna hit the cutter, but had already knocked the referee out gaining nothing but frustration. With the referee back on his feet Deonna trapped Klein with her signature Fujiwara Armbar, but Kelly countered with the End of the Match and got the win. It was a great back and forth match with some great counters, once again showing that the Women of Honor can compete easily with the men.
Last week we never got to see Jay Lethal’s announcement due to Austin Aries’ attack, so up next was that very moment. Jay Lethal announced that at Best in the World he would face Kushida to determine who was the best. The two had met at War of the Worlds in 2014 and 2017, both picking up victories.
This match adds to the already stacked card, making Best in the World one to watch. Another backstage segment featured the ROH World Champion Dalton Castle, contemplating how the two friends of Cody and Marty Scurll would do in the triple threat match. He ended by saying, “Cody and Marty, well they should fear me,” adding even more excitement to the BitW main event.
In the final match of the night, the ROH World Tag Team Championships were on the line as The Briscoes took on Roppongi 3K. This was by far the best match of the night. Sho and Yoh put on one hell of a performance, showing off just why they dominated NJPW and won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The code of honor mattered very little to The Briscoes, refusing the handshake and going straight after the Japanese all stars.
After a fierce Irish whip by Jay straight into a savage clothesline by his brother, The Briscoes took the upper hand early. They landed some hard punches and kicks to Roppongi 3K, but they fought back time after time, with cutting neckbreakers, a spear from Sho, and a series of German suplexes aided by a superkick by Yoh.
The Briscoes soon came back looking to end the match with a superplex and a flying elbow drop, but Sho kicked out and got the crowd on their side once again. Roppongi 3K launched themselves over the ropes with spinning dives, followed by their 3K signature move, but this time Mark kicked out. It wasn’t until The Briscoes landed a low blow on Yoh, followed by a Jay Driller for the win. The nine-time Tag Team Champions retained once again, but Roppongi 3K showed a lot of spirit, proving they deserved a more honorable end to the match.
Once again ROH Wrestling had a wide variety of matches and a great selection of moments, from Bully Ray’s outburst and The Briscoes’ unfair victory. It’s not long until Best in the World and Ring of Honor are pushing the boundaries once again. With State of the Art around the corner, it’s a wonderful time to follow ROH.
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