“BOAR! BOAR! BOAR!”
After an opening video package highlighting the stuff that went down last week as well as hyping two huge matches for tonight (Styles vs. Owens and Cena vs. Nakamura) we head to Cleveland, Ohio for action. Tom Phillips, JBL, and Byron Saxton are calling the action.
Some more Future of Honor. This week we got a smiling, white meat babyface in the form of Eli Isom going up against Foxx Vinyer, a dude that appears to be the lovechild of The Ultimate Warrior and Big Japan Pro Wrestling’s Jaki Numazawa.
This is apparently Isom’s first match ever so don’t expect a five star mat classic here, but he’s okay on the mic and isn’t awful in the ring. There are a couple spots where he kind of pauses between moves but he doesn’t botch anything so I think with a few more matches under his belt he’ll probably be alright.
We start things off tonight with a video package of cool cruiserweight flips and dives and shit before transitioning into Drew Gulak’s campaign to make 205 Live a no fly zone. We get a rundown of the feud between Gulak and Mustafa Ali. They’ve had four matches against each other and are tied at two wins each. Tonight they’ll settle things once and for all with a Two Out of Three Falls match.
Another Future of Honor match. This is a pretty solid concept: putting dark matches and tryout matches up on YouTube for people to watch. Today we got Buddy Hanlon going up against Jay Savage.
Hanlon looks pretty good in the ring and has a pretty good grasp of his character. Savage looks like he might have actually done legitimate wrestling in high school or college. He’s got some decent suplexes and grappling skills but doesn’t really look that great when he’s running the ropes or striking.
Overall this match reminded me a lot of the sort of matches you used to see on NXT before they became a super indie dream match federation: a couple of relatively unknown dudes still honing their craft, having a match before a live audience. If you’re looking for five star mat classics, this isn’t the match for you.
We start things off with highlights of Ciampa turning on Gargano at TakeOver Chicago as well as Ciampa’s promo afterwards. I had forgotten how angry I was at Ciampa, but this video package did the trick and my hatred came rushing back. Johnny Gargano will be here tonight!
We also see footage from last week of sad Roderick Strong hugging his mom and his fiancee after his loss to Bobby Roode in his championship match.
No opening theme song video this week since we go right to Full Sail for action!
This is a pretty bizarre match. Like pretty much all of Ring of Honor’s “Future of Honor” matches it was a dark match, but this match was so dark that the arena was more or less completely empty aside from some ring crew guys, and it didn’t seem to be a gimmick since the fact that the arena was empty was never mentioned and the two teams involved just wrestled a standard issue tag match unlike every other “empty arena match” I’ve ever seen.
“Cauliflower” Chase Brown’s gimmick seems to be that he eats raw cauliflower on his way to the ring. It’s a gimmick I could honestly see myself getting behind. He and Comoroto were the faces here. In the early going there was some good back and forth before Sells and Johnson got the heat on Cauliflower. Comoroto gets the hot tag and wrecks house. When all was said and done it was a pretty solid little tag team match, though it was weird to see these dudes work spots that were clearly designed to pop the nonexistent crowd.
Titus O’Neil is backstage walking down a hallway and talking to Akira Tozawa (who is apparently in Japan training for his upcoming match with Neville) on the phone. He stops to talk to Ariya Daivari and asks him if his shirt is swelvet (a combination of silk and velvet), before continuing down the hall.
He stops to tell Mustafa Ali that he could be Muhammad Ali with a few more wins and then screams, “FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY STING LIKE A BEE!” at Mustafa Ali and scares him which causes Titus to declare, “Don’t worry son, I’m not gonna hit you.”
He tells Tozawa that he’s got to go since he’s heading out to kick off 205 Live in Phoenix right. He does Tozawa’s “HA!” chant and then heads out all fired up and doing his “HOOAH! HOOAH!” thing before the theme song plays.
After a hype package for tonight’s main event battle between Roderick Strong and Bobby Roode and the opening credits we see footage of Roderick Strong and his family arriving at Full Sail University earlier today. We then head down to the ring for tag team action.
We begin the show tonight with a video package of Titus O’Neil recruiting Tozawa and Tozawa and Neville going toe to toe in the ring this past Monday on Raw. Titus comes out and calls them dumb for wanting to fight now for free especially since he’s just gotten a match signed for Great Balls of Fire.
We get the opening video and then Corey Graves and Vic Joseph run down tonight’s card before throwing it backstage to Dasha who is standing by with Jack Gallagher.