After a six month hiatus, Ring Of Honor (ROH) returns, under new ownership but the same high quality of wrestling action as it presents the Supercard of Honor. Live from Dallas, Texas on Wrestlemania Weekend, the main event will see the match originally scheduled for Final Battle back in October 2021, when Jonathan Gresham and Bandido face off for the ROH World Championship. After defeating Jay Lethal at Final Battle, Gresham claims the current ROH Title, but Bandido claims the lineal title, as he was never defeated for the title when he held the gold; and now with Chavo Guerrero Jr. in his corner, Bandido will be looking to put to rest any doubts about who the real champion is. The ROH Pure Championship will also be on the line when John Woods faces Wheeler Yuta, and Rhett Titus must contend with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) legend Minoru Suzuki for the ROH Television Championship. In a match month in the making, the ROH World Tag Team Titles will be on the line as the reigning and defending 12-time champions Mark and Jay Briscoe battle Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood of FTR, and long time ring veteran Mercedes Martinez faces the relative newcomer, Willow Nightingale, for the Interim ROH Women’s Championshhip. Jay Lethal will face the man once destined to be his protege, Lee Moriarty, who will have ROH legend Matt Sydal in his corner and Ninja Mack, making his ROH debut, will face a mystery opponent, the newest member of Tully Blanchard Enterprises. Finally, kicking off the show, a first ever meeting between Shane “Swerve” Strickland in his ROH debut and Alex Zayne.
+ Jonathan Gresham (c) vs Bandido (w/ Chavo Guerrero Jr.) (ROH World Championship): the live crowd seemed to lose interest in the middle portion of this match, but the ending and especially the aftermath were something really, really exciting. I’m a big fan of Bandido, and I personally considered him the true ROH champion going into this match. Gresham’s technical speed and Bandido’s power and high flying made for some exciting reversals and overall a good main event. As good as the aftermath was, in some ways it almost overshadowed the match itself
+ Josh Woods (c) vs Wheeler Yuta (ROH Pure Championship): I really liked Woods here, but it felt like Yuta was being portrayed above his level – though I am watching this after the fact of Yuta’s run ins with the Blackpool Combat Club on AEW, so maybe that was intentional as part of that story. Woods really can do the technical stuff or go beast mode, hence his nickname, and I hope to see him more on AEW or any ROH future TV stories
+ The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) (ROH Tag Team Championships): this was absolutely one of the best tag team matches I have ever seen in my life. The crowd never stopped, every move was good, the chops and forearms both looked and sounded great, and both teams are on the same page at every opportunity. There’s not much else to say
+ Mercedes Martinez vs Willow Nightingale (Interim ROH Women’s World Title Match): I’ve talked about how much I enjoy Martinez, and this was a really good match for both women. One wonky move right near the end possibly resulted in a (near?) injury which seemed to lead to an early finish, but the rest of the match was more than solid. And that Nightingale, oh baby what a woman
+ Jay Lethal vs Lee Moriarty (w/ Matt Sydal): fantastic teacher versus student match. It’s almost unbelievable just how good Lethal still is, and Moriarty is one of those young talents that it is almost a certainty will be a huge star. The ending here is one of my favourite wrestling tropes, and it was just done to perfection
+ Swerve Strickland vs Alex Zayne: this was really good, and while I am a big fan of Zayne, it only highlighted just how fantastic Swerve really is. Imagine having this guy on your roster and not knowing what to do with him; that would be crazy. The crowd was surprisingly split (and more on that below) but it just made every moment more exciting
– Rhett Titus (c) vs Minoru Suzuki (ROH World Television Championship): I struggled to get into this one, as the two guys were seemingly working very different styles. Titus was seemingly stuck between wanting to be the monster and the ‘clean wrestling underdog’, and Suzuki was somewhere between the monster and the fan favourite (and therefore underdog). I was confused more than anything, and a very sudden ending just left me feeling not much of anything
– Ninja Mack faces Tully Blanchard’s new client: this was fun as a story but it felt out of place on the rest of the card. This was Ninja Mack’s debut in ROH, after his showings across other independent shows in Texas, but I wouldn’t have done it
> The crowd was interestingly split throughout the show between ROH mainstays, and the ‘newcomers’ from AEW. Swerve/Zayne, Woods/Yuta and the Tag Title match in particular had some raucous crowds that added to the matches
Should you watch this event: That tag team match will go down in history as an all time great, but he show overall was a big success. I could even give a pass to Titus/Suzuki, but I do think that Ninja Mack’s surprise match probably could have been skipped over. Otherwise you can’t go wrong with this one.