Ring of Honor came through the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee for a highly-anticipated night of wrestling, mostly on account of the hype surrounding Nick Aldis’ defense of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Flip Gordon. Not only was Gordon looking for the glory of holding the “Ten Pounds of Gold,” but he was also close to achieving his goal of being booked at Cody’s All In extravaganza in September. Was he able to pull it off? Let’s take a look at all the major (and some minor) happenings at Ring of Honor’s Honor For All pay-per-view event.
ROH World Television Championship: Punishment Martinez ( c ) defeated Scorpio Sky
In a solid opening contest, Scorpio Sky’s speed was pitted against Punishment’s strength. At first the match was a little one-sided, with Punishment living up to his first name. Eventually the momentum shifted and Sky took off. He inspired some hearty SCU chants from Nashville fans after a gorgeous dive over the top rope to Martinez on the outside. He then rolled the champ back in the ring and launched himself over the top rope from the apron for an impressive cutter. At one point it almost looked like Scorpio had it, nailing his opponent with a sweet Brainbuster and covering for a close two-count. That must have woke Martinez up, as he started regaining control and ultimately pulled out the victory following a South of Heaven Chokeslam.
Women of Honor Championship Proving Ground Match: Sumie Sakai defeated Karen Q
Karen Q came out with something to prove (quite literally) in this non-title bout against Women of Honor champion Sumie Sakai! Q was aggressive throughout the match, often screaming at and taunting Sakai. The champion wanted to fight up high, landing a good-looking flying sitout Dropkick and high Crossbody. Karen preferred a ground game, harassing Sumie in corners and against the ropes and pulling off a great Boston Crab. Sumie’s resilience pissed Q off, driving her to bring a chair into the ring. While the referee was getting rid of said chair, Q tossed the Women of Honor title to Sumie in an attempt to make her look like a cheater. Despite this, Sumie still managed to win by rollup. This wasn’t spectacular, but worth watching if you’re invested in the Women of Honor. Sumie still holds her own in the 21st year of her pro wrestling career.
Four Corner Survival Match: Jonathan Gresham defeated Shane Taylor, Kenny King & Chris Sabin
Four of ROH’s best met in the ring, ready to show their worth and solidify their ROH World Championship trajectories. It began with Gresham and Sabin, who participated in some entertaining chain wrestling. King and Taylor entered the ring, at first teasing the crowd by teaming up to knock Gresham and Sabin off the apron and then holding up the hand sign of their old team, The Rebellion. This was no alliance, however, as shortly after Taylor nailed King with a stiff forearm.
From this moment on, the match became a talent show. Taylor flexed by getting Gresham in a Fireman’s Carry and then catching Chris Sabin mid-Crossbody and slamming both men simultaneously. Gresham made multiple attempts at putting Shane Taylor down with a sleeper hold, failing each time. The crowd ate it up.Taylor found himself in the position of holding both Gresham and Sabin a second time, which inspired Kenny King to nail his ex-teammate with a super Blockbuster, hurting all three of his opponents. Near the end of the bout, Taylor nailed King and Sabin with a cannonball off the apron outside the ring.
The big finish came when when Jonathan Gresham dived through the ropes and landed on Shane Taylor, putting him once again in a sleeper hold. Taylor worked his way back into the ring while the hold was still applied on him. He put up a hell of a fight, but went down. “The Octopus” won by referee stoppage in what was my personal match of the night!
Chuckie T defeated Bully Ray (via DQ)
Bully Ray came out to jeers from the Nashville crowd, as expected. He’s such a great heel. I feel like at any time he could just start shooting on audience members. Before this short match got underway, he took to the mic and expressed his appreciation of and respect for Chuckie T. He believes Chuck has paid his dues in wrestling and isn’t one of the millennial punks he’s always ragging on. Chuck responded by calling Bully out for his treatment of the ROH roster and telling him to shove the compliments up his “fat ass.”
The bell rang, but it didn’t take long for Ray to piss off referee Tod Sinclair by pushing him into the ropes while Chuck was up top. Sinclair’s threats of disqualification seemed to mean little to the WWE Hall of Famer as he hit his opponent with a low blow and lost by DQ. He got out his chain and started whipping Chuck’s back with it, which provoked Colt Cabana to abandon his commentary post and attempt a save. Cabana got a little offense, but fell victim to Bully’s chain as well. This led to Trent Baretta making his return and running Bully off! Baretta and Chuck embraced and the audience popped hard!
Ian Riccaboni was wonderful during this entire segment. His boiling hatred for Bully Ray came through in a series of hilarious and quotable commentary moments, and I encourage everyone to watch this part of the show just to hear it!
Beer City Bruiser, Silas Young & The Dawgs defeated Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, Ryan Nova & FR Josie
After the sheer mayhem of the previous segment, Ring of Honor dialed it back to showcase some greener talent in a slow, but watchable match. Eli Isom and Ryan Nova both looked great the entire time. There was a funny moment where Beer City Bruiser was in a corner and Cheeseburger attempted to whip him into the opposite corner. After failing to move the 320-pounder, Burger asks Josie for help. When the two men together can’t move BCB, they call on Isom. This repeats again with Isom recruiting Nova. All four men are able to send Bruiser to the other corner and then take him for a ride on a forearm train.
In the end, Beer City Bruiser came through for his team, pinning Josie after a frog splash from the top turnbuckle. At around 12 minutes long, this match overstayed its welcome a little. The pace picked up near the end, but I would’ve enjoyed something a little more compact and digestible between these eight individuals. Nonetheless, it was fun to take a peek into the future of Ring of Honor, and I’ll be keeping my eyes on Eli Isom.
Marty Scurll defeated Vinny Marseglia
This contest was supposed to be between Scurll and Kingdom leader Matt Taven. Taven came out in casual clothes (including flip-flops) holding a mysterious red bag. He proceeded to tell the audience that the bag contained “the real” ROH World Championship. The contents of the bag were never revealed. For whatever reason, Vinny Marseglia replaced Matt Taven as Marty’s opponent. This was surprising, considering how rarely Marseglia appears in singles competition.
It was hard for me to stay invested in this match because of the commentary. Taven joined Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman (who replaced Cabana after the Bully Ray incident) at the table, and there was more bickering between Taven and Coleman than there was action-calling. Despite this, it was cool to see Vinny wrestle solo, and he gave The Villain a run for his money.
Marseglia kept going to Marty’s back, making that spot the focus of his offense. He popped a balloon in Marty’s ear, which the commentary team tried to sell as being “extremely painful.” I wasn’t buying it. Marty landed a Brainbuster for a near-fall. When Marty went to do his crowd-pleasing gimmick where he snaps his opponents fingers, he was jarred by Marseglia insisting that he do it with a sadistic, longing look in his eyes. Scurll wasn’t quick enough, and almost got himself pinned after Vinny treated him to a double leg takedown and flipped over him into a bridge. For the finish, Marty made Vinny tap with his notorious Chicken Wing.
The sluggish rate of this match made it the longest one of the night at over fifteen minutes. With that being said, even having taken a loss I still believe this gave Vinny Marseglia a lot of singles credibility. After the bell rang, Taven and TK O’Ryan ran out to gang up on Marty. Cody came through with a chair, ready to make the save. Eventually “security” had to come out to separate the rivals. This flowed right into Cody’s battle with TK.
Cody defeated TK O’Ryan
Conrad Thompson, the legendary pro wrestling podcast host and proprietor of Starrcast weekend was sitting ringside for this one, which becomes important later. After a short exchange between Cody and O’Ryan, Cody pauses the action to rip his shirt off. The crowd big pops as Brandi and Bernard the Business Bear make their way out to support The American Nightmare.
Here we have another situation where an individual not known for doing singles matches has one and earns some serious credibility for it. TK was evenly matched with Cody and came off as cool and calculated throughout this. There wasn’t much of a tempo increase from the previous bout to this one, but these two made it work. TK tried to use Brandi as a shield when Cody went to do a top-rope maneuver to the outside of the ring. When he let her go, Cody attempted a Cross Rhodes to the floor mats, but TK broke free, threw Cody into a nearby ringpost and then went after Bernard. This earned him some serious heat from the fans.
After some more in-ring action, TK went to the outside again. This time, Brandi slapped him across the face, then Cody hit him with a slick-looking dive between the top and middle rope. To top it off, Cody then borrowed Conrad Thompson’s styrofoam drink cup and smashed it over O’Ryan’s head. Once back in the ring we get our second helping of the referee being pushed into the ropes, causing the person on the top turnbuckle to fall and hurt his nuts. This time the victim was Cody. TK capitalized with a terrific Power Slam, which fired up Caprice Coleman.
TK blew Brandi some kisses, which pissed her off enough to take out her earrings and get in the ring. While the ref tried to calm Brandi down, TK grabbed his ROH Six Man Tag Team Championship belt and hit Cody in the face with it for a near-fall. Cody landed the Cross Rhodes and scored the three-count. Cody celebrated and even gave Bernard a kiss on his snout and introduced him to Conrad.
NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship: Nick Aldis ( c ) defeated Flip Gordon
There was so much buzz around this match. Cody has been hard on Flip Gordon, refusing to book him for All In. This has spawned the “Book Flip” movement, which has served as a great vehicle to get Flip over in the hearts of wrestling fans globally. It was announced earlier this year that Cody would challenge for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at All In, and the assumption was that he would face Nick Aldis. Word got out a few weeks ago that Flip would challenge for the “Ten Pounds of Gold” at Honor For All, and the All In implications were clear. This was likely Flip’s last big chance. Cody joined the commentary team for this one.
Aldis wasn’t interested in playing Gordon’s flippy game. He wrestled a technical match and wore Flip down with Camel Clutches and Clover Leafs. There are a few moments where Flip seemed to have the upperhand, but was repeatedly betrayed by his hurt knee. He did manage to apply a Crossface for a small amount of time, prompting Cody to comment on his heart. It seemed as if the fight was finished when Aldis scored a three-count following a big elbow drop from the top rope. However, the ref didn’t notice that Gordon had his foot on the bottom rope.
Cody ran down and had Flip’s back, which was a special moment. He insisted to the officials that Flip had his foot on the rope and that the win wasn’t legitimate. Aldis was all the way up the ramp and almost out of sight when it was announced that the match would restart. This was when I got an overwhelming feeling like it might be Flip’s night. This wouldn’t be the case. Just a few minutes after the restart, Flip passed out during a Cloverleaf.
In perhaps one of my favorite pro wrestling moments of the year, Cody and Nick Aldis demonstrated incredible sportsmanship by helping Flip up. Aldis gave Gordon a handshake and left the ring. Cody comforted Flip as the crowd chanted “ALL IN! ALL IN!” Cody left, leaving a lingering question mark, but that became an exclamation mark when Bully Ray appeared and hit Flip with a low blow. Bully screamed at Flip for a while and then chased Riccaboni and Caprice away from their posts. Maybe we’ll see Flip vs Bully ray at All In?
The Young Bucks defeated The Briscoes & The Addiction
We’re reaching a point where “reviewing” a contest that takes place between any combination of these six men seems a little silly. Here’s what we don’t know: the specific order in which Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian will wow us with unbelievable feats of acrobatic prowess. Here’s what we do know: 100% of the time, these three tag teams will blow our minds. Guess what they did? They blew our minds. This main event ran almost the exact same amount of time as the match before it, but it felt like five minutes. I would have named this my match of the night, however the technicality and focused storytelling in the Four Corner match was more my taste. The Young Bucks came out victorious in this fun, chaotic non-title extravaganza to close out a solid night of wrestling in Nashville
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