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ROH Manhattan Mayhem
by Samoa Rowe
July 20, 2019
From the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, New York. Our hosts are Ian Riccaboni, Colt Cabana, and Caprice Coleman. It looks like they have a packed house.
Dragon Lee vs. Jonathan Gresham
Gresham tries to pull Lee into the Octopus during the handshake, sparking a quick exchange leading to the typical stalemate and round of applause. They slug it out and Lee shows off after hitting a drop-kick. Tempers flare as they trade chops. Gresham notices the ref looking away and slaps the groin, so perhaps his strategy at Best in the World against Silas Young wasn't so random. The low blow allows Gresham to take control with his collection of painful looking, clever submission holds. Lee rallies, hitting a backbreaker onto his knee. They exchange open hand slaps and Gresham kips up into an enziguri and swinging DDT. Gresham's German suplex gets 2! Gresham attempts a top rope move but keeps slipping, so they trade blows instead, until Lee places him in a Tree of Woe for a double stomp! Lee's running knee to the head gets 2! A second running knee by Lee ends it at 10:09! Great opener and a nice example of not letting a botch ruin the mood, ***¼.
Winner: Dragon Lee
ROH World Champion Matt Taven graces us in the ring wearing a Boston Red Sox #69 jersey, which is just sooo edgy. Taven mocks the melvins in attendance and reminds us that the last time he was in NYC, he became champion. Taven also recently threw the first pitch at a Red Sox game wearing the gold, which is something you'd think I would have heard about. Taven declares his superiority over Jay Lethal but is interrupted by Kenny King, who heels it up on the crowd while trashing Taven, the Yankees, and the Red Sox. King wants a match with Taven, who agrees, which means that we may have a shake-up in the scheduled main event. King leaves and Jay Lethal arrives, and he's not happy at all with the developments and attacks Taven, which requires security to break it up.
Coast to Coast (Shaheem Ali and LSG) vs. Soldiers of Savagery (Moses and Khan) vs. The Bouncers (Brian Milonas and Beer City Bruiser)
Bruiser gets the better of LSG early on with some jabs. Khan tags himself in and locks up with Ali, hitting a side slam. Milonas and Moses tag in for a big man brawl. LSG kicks Milonas in the head from the apron and tags himself in, only to find himself double teamed by the S.O.S. Ali gets a timely tag but quickly gets dropped by a double team DDT by S.O.S. The match breaks down with all six guys brawling at ringside. S.O.S. powerbomb Bruiser through the timekeeper's table. The ref ejects S.O.S. without calling a DQ, and C2C send them off with dives. C2C carry the momentum onto Milonas, nearly finishing him with a blockbuster and frog splash. Bruiser removes LSG, and the Bouncers finish Ali with Closing Time at 7:35. This was okay, giving the Bouncers a win heading into their title match and allowing S.O.S. to look dangerous, **.
Winners: The Bouncers
Vinny Marseglia and TK O'Ryan ambush the Bouncers and put them down with chair attacks. They cut a promo about their unhappiness that the Bouncers are ahead of them in the pecking order for a shot at the tag titles. Vinny adds insult to injury by putting his cigar out on Bruiser's bare skin! O'Ryan is feeling a tad too confident and enjoys some whiskey before calling out his scheduled opponent, the undefeated Rush.
TK O'Ryan vs. Rush
They hold nothing back in the early going with an aggressive feeling out exchange. Rush scores a spinning back elbow but O'Ryan catches him getting into the ring for some token head punches. Rush throws a headbutt, but O'Ryan retreats again, only to lure him into a knockout punch. O'Ryan delivers the Three Amigos and mocks the late Eddie Guerrero. O'Ryan cuts off Rush's comeback and hits a weird looking DDT for 2. Rush spits at TK and dares him to keep chopping his chest. Rush nails the snap German suplex and viciously thrashes O'Ryan into the guard rails. Rush misses a double stomp but settles for an insulting kick to the head. Rush delivers the Bull's Horns for the win at 7:45. This was a great showcase for Rush, who comes out of this looking deadly and mean, **½.
Rush celebrates by fist bumping fans until he's ambushed by a masked fan, who turns out to be Dalton Castle. Probably not the best time to do this angle as it's basically what Chris Jericho has been doing to Kenny Omega on a much bigger stage, but it ends up being okay.
Jay Lethal reminisces about G1 Supercard. He compares the great feeling of riding the train to MSG with the ROH title to the horrible feeling of riding the train home afterwards without it. Lethal doesn't want to have to leave NYC without the ROH title again.
ROH World Championship:
Matt Taven © vs. Kenny King vs. Jay Lethal
Alex Shelley joins commentary to scout his competition, as he will face the winner for the title at Summer Supercard. The fans actually give this match a big fight feel before the opening bell, with a loud Lethal/Taven dueling chant. Taven shakes hands, but King refuses Lethal's handshake. Bell rings and Taven immediately takes a seat to let King and Lethal duke it out. Taven picks his spot attacking Lethal at ringside, and they both suffer a dive from King. Taven takes a spin heel kick before ducking out to let King dismantle Lethal. Taven continues to pick his spots, sneaking back to nearly decapitate King with a clothesline for 2. There's a surprising "Let's go, Taven" chant as he dominates the match. Lethal stacks King and Taven in the corner for running drop-kicks to both of their faces. The action continues with Lethal lighting up Taven with rapid fire shots. Lethal tries to get rid of King, who bounces back for a three way punchfest. King desperately clotheslines both opponents and they all go down. Taven manages to hit both challengers with a dive, tries again and only hits King, which allows Lethal to sprint into three dives of his own. Lethal puts King in the figure four, but Taven breaks it up with a frog splash! Taven puts King in a figure four of his own, which King reverses just in time to cause Lethal to miss an elbow drop! Lethal recovers with a crossface on Taven, but King breaks it up. King scores a chinbreaker on Lethal and soon hits a double blockbuster on both opponents! Lethal Injection on Taven for a hot nearfall! King steals the Lethal Injection and and is ready to beat Lethal with a Royal Flush, but Taven ambushes him with the Climax and retains at 16:15! Tremendous triple threat here, with great crowd reactions and action that built on the personal history between the competitors, ****.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Matt Taven
Kenny King angrily storms off with his girlfriend, Amy Rose. Lethal and Taven shake hands, but Taven cheap shots with a kick to the groin (which the NYC fans love, of course).
Life Blood (Tracey Williams, Mark Haskins, and Bandido) and PJ Black vs. Villain Enterprises (Marty Scurll, Flip Gordon, PCO, and Brody King)
Williams and Scurll engage in some friendly technical wrestling, until Williams disrespects Scurll with a grab, leading to shoves and a near eight man brawl. They cool down and Bandido gets to shine on Scurll, leading a tag to EVIL Flip Gordon, who flips off the masked man. Gordon quickly tags Brody, who embarrasses Bandido with his own version of Undertaker's old school. Bandido returns the favor with a springboard rana. Scurll and Haskins tag and rekindle their long standing rivalry. Life Blood manage to isolate Scurll, making him the cool heel in peril. Brody saves with a dive onto Life Blood and Scurll chops PCO to charge him up for another dive. Williams finds himself trapped by Villain Enterprises, taking punishment in the form of PCO's moonsault and double chokeslam. Scurll flips off Life Blood, which allows Williams' desperation suplex and hot tag to Bandido. Brody slips in catching Bandido, who escapes and pops the crowd by catching PCO in mid-air for a slam! Bandido wipes out the field with a dive, prompting Flip Gordon to attempt a chair shot, but Williams chases him out. Brody and PCO try to double team Haskins, who sets them up for a fakeout dive before hitting a combination of dives anyway. Scurll and Black have their own superkick party, leaving Williams to light Brody up with stiff shots and missile drop-kick. Everyone brawls at ringside in the right position for PCO's top rope moonsault! Crowd is eating this up. Bandido surprises PCO with a sunset flip bomb on the apron! Brody catches Haskins with a sit out powerbomb for 2. Black saves with a double stomp onto the shoulders of King! Bandido uses the ropes to snap King into a German Suplex and Black finishes him off with a springboard 450 at 17:40! This was a ton of fun, great spotfest that tore the house down, ****.
Winners: Life Blood and PJ Black
ROH Tag Team Championship (NYC Street Fight):
The Guerillas of Destiny © (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe
Due to the NWA and ROH abruptly ending their working relationship, the Briscoes are mercifully no longer feuding with the NWA, and appear to be ass-kicking babyfaces again. The fans throw tons of streamers in for New Japan's G.o.D. and the Briscoes arm themselves with chairs before the bell. They switch to kendo sticks, and G.o.D. are ready for them, hitting a neckbreaker and cracking the sticks over their bodies. It's all G.o.D. until Jay sets Loa on a table for Mark to leap off a chair for a springboard elbow drop! The Briscoes take full control, despite Loa kind of luckily putting Mark through a table at one point. The table spot is completely no-sold as the Briscoes just completely unleash hell on G.o.D. The Briscoes' momentum comes to a halt when Loa backdrops Mark onto a pile of chairs on the floor. Jay swings a chair to save Mark from the Magic Killer and the Briscoes DDT Tonga onto a chair. G.o.D. absorb a ton of weapon shots to come back and powerbomb Mark through Jay and a table! Mark takes the Magic Killer on a pile of chairs but kicks out! Mark desperately hits a top rope reverse rana that sends Loa crashing onto the chairs. Jay gets blooded brawling with Loa on the floor while Mark sets up a table and massive ladder in the ring. Loa meets Mark at the top of the ladder and... the video cuts out and the ROH logo is flashing on the screen. ARE YOU SERIOUS? We're back and Jay catches Tonga on his shoulders and Mark leaps off the top of the ladder for a DOOMSDAY LEG DROP THROUGH THE TABLE! WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT!!! The Briscoes win their 11th ROH tag titles at about 17:00! Man, everytime I start to count out the Briscoes, they come back and deliver a wild stunt show that exceeds all expectations. This was a great throwback to the wars they had with Steenerico and Age of the Fall. Great main event and moment, ****.
Winners and new ROH Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes
Final Thoughts: What a welcome surprise this show was to watch. Clocking in at just about two hours and fifteen minutes, this was a breeze to sit through and had great action up and down the card. The Hammerstein Ballroom setting and hot crowd did them a lot of favors, as you would never have guessed this was the same ROH product that felt so ice-cold just a month ago at Best in the World. Big Thumbs Up for an encouraging show.
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