Quite the smorgasbord of PPV wrestling shows this week. Sandwiched between the WWE show on Thursday and AEW Revolution on Saturday from Chicago is the Ring of Honor gala Gateway to Honor to be held this Friday evening at 8:30 pm E.S.T.
The show will take place in St Charles Missouri at the 10, 000 seat capacity Family Arena. Expect first-class execution and storytelling featuring talent from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, and Mexico.
Angelina Love vs. Session Moth Martina
The first of the 6 matches at Gateway to Honor, will feature Toronto native Angelina Love and Session Moth Martina. The latter is a high flyer who throws caution to the wind. This should not phase veteran Angelina Love. The 6-time Impact Knockouts champion will most likely be accompanied by her acolytes of The Allure, Velvet Sky and Mandy Leon.
While Martina has to be wary of Angelina s huge experience edge and the likelihood of falling victim to the numbers game, Love cannot take her competition too lightly nor be off-guard and fall prey to a high-risk maneuver.
One can look forward to the winner of this contest being in line for a title shot vs Maria Manic.
Dan Maff vs. Alex Shelley
Next up, a clash of two true veterans, Alex Shelley and Dan Maff. Alex Shelley first appeared in R.O.H. in 2004. Best known as a tag team wrestler, Shelley puts on an excellent singles match as well. His in-ring technical skills are among the best in the craft. He can fly high while mastering the mat game.
He will confront Dan Maff who has returned to the federation after a 15-year hiatus. In contrast to Shelley who is svelte, Maff is built like a bulldozer and can brawl like a pit bull craving a Snickers bar. The heavy hitter weighs 285 pounds yet stands at 5ft. 7.
With two very contrasting styles expect a little bit of everything. The longer the match goes the more the advantage will go to Shelley, one cannot overlook the cardio factor. But, with Maff s striking force and brute strength, this tilt can go either way.
2 Guys 1 Tag vs. Vincent & Bateman
Next up is a tag team match featuring Silas Young and Josh the Goods Woods taking on the intimidating duo of Vincent and Bateman. The duo square off at Gateway to Honor.
Silas Young is a 12 year veteran of R.O.H. who bills himself as wrestling s last real man. Josh Woods for his part is an M.M.A. fighter and college wrestling standout who won the 2017 Top Prospect tournament.
While Woods was mentored by Young to break the rules as a portal to victory, Young has in turn been influenced by his talented protogé. He fist pumps the crowd and enters the ring in good spirits as opposed to being in the crowd s face challenging people and insulting them as well.
The Kingdom as led by Matt Taven is dead. One of its members, Vinnie Marseglia, now known as Vincent is billed as the Horror King and has a stable of his own. They are the Righteous. Marseglia portrays a dark mysterious very well-spoken psychopath, almost like the pre-Fiend Bray Wyatt. Sidebar. Vincent is the only wrestler I recall from Rhode Island except for Mario Mancini.
Vincent will team with Bateman, a veteran of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and a multi-time TV and Hollywood Heritage champion. Bateman is lanky, hits hard and has cat-like quickness. He has been compared to a young Jake Roberts.
This will not be a match for the weak of heart. Expect though top-level action from a pair of teams looking to rise in the tag team rankings and challenge current belt holders Jay Lethal and Jonathon Grisham.
Slex and The Briscoes vs Villian Enterprises
Six-man action in the on-deck circle at Gateway to Honor. Slex and the Briscoes are set to take on Villain Enterprises, most likely Marty Scurl, Flip Gordon as well as Brody King. Who doesn’t know the Briscoes? R.O.H. originals and multi-time strap holders. Dem Boys have to be ranked as one of the top tag teams on the planet. Five-star ring generals with a look so intimidating they make it easy to suspend reality and enjoy their matches. They look like the people you would run into and be afraid of if you got lost on the wrong side of town.
The third member of the team, Slex is a new signée from Melbourne Australia.He has been wrestling since the age of 16. His nickname is The Business. He is well-groomed, well dressed and very muscular. In reference to points one and two, he is the polar opposite of our pals from Sandy Hook.
Villain Enterprises will have a huge advantage for having a wealth of experience and success in three on three battles. I do not foresee them coming up short here, yet anything is possible. The Briscoes FIND the path to victory where most everyone else falls short.
Bandito and Rey Horus vs. Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham
In tag team action, we will continue with championship implications. The Luchador team of Bandito and Rey Horus will see action against Jay Lethal & Jonathan Grisham. This is another exciting affair at Gateway to Honor.
Bandido, with all due respect to MJF, is billed as one of the fastest rising stars in the sport. Rey Horus completes the squad known as Mexiblood. He has 13 years in the squared circle and has enjoyed tremendous success in Lucha Underground and MLW.
This formidable trio is in tough versus the champions. Jay Lethal, known in many circles as The Franchise has held multiple belts in R.O.H. Jonathon Grisham for his part is the most improved R.O.H. performer over the past year or so. While as technically gifted as possible, he has finally learned to parlay his talent into championships and consistent victory. After a tremendous rivalry with Jay Lethal, the two put their heads together to conclude that if you have to bend the rules to be successful then so be it. A winning formula to date.
Complimentary style to that of his teammates and very welcome addition.
While the Luchadors will bring us out of our seats with their acrobatic feats I see them either taking a tour of the islands, falling prey to the lethal injection or getting wrapped up in the grip of an octopus.
The Television Championship is set to be defended by the exciting Dragon Lee. Despite being only 24, the luchador is one of a handful of wrestlers to have held titles in R.O.H., C.M.L.L. as well as New Japan. The second-generation masked man is the younger brother of Rush. In the grand lucha libre tradition, Dragon Lee s move set is a treat to behold.
His opponent is Dak Draper, the Mile High Magnum and winner of the 2019 top prospect tournament . Draper is a multi-sport athlete with an ego and self-perception to match his talent level.
While Draper will continue to see his star rise above the mile-high level, it seems a bit early in his tenure to capture the Television championship. That being said, on every wrestling card, there is the specter of the tainted victory which gives rise to a paper champion and a martyred saint.
Ring of Honor World Championship
PCO vs. Mark Haskins vs. RUSH
The final match of the night is another three-way affair for the R.O.H. title. At Gateway to Honor, PCO will defend his belt against Overkill Mark Haskins and Mexican star Rush from whom PCO won the title from.
The French Canadian Frankenstein is a huge draw and a great comeback story. After a lengthy hiatus, Ouellette yearned for the rush of pêrforming and reinvented his character while simultaneously mastering a new set of high-risk maneuvers. The results were astounding and PCO is not only the current champion but has also held the 3 man tag team strap as a member of Villain Enterprises.
Rush has a distinguished pedigree, a second-generation star with a solid power game and quick-moving like a ball in a pinball machine.
He won the federation s top prize by defeating Matt Taven and defeated Dalton Castle in under twenty seconds at MSG last April.
Not to be discounted by any means is the British cruiserweight Mark Haskins. The Oxford native burst on the R.O.H. scene 2 years ago by winning a tournament overseas in which he successively defeated Jonathon Grisham, Flip Gordon and a then sober Hangman Adam Page.
Look for cardio to be a big factor in this affair. Will PCO be able to run with opponents less than half his age and considerably lighter .Will PCO be sufficiently worn out so as to open the door for an upset.
While that scenario does loom, we expect a high-risk move lead to high dividends. We anticipate PCO to leave St.Charles’ with the title in his hands. No matter what the outcome is this match will be suspenseful and highly entertaining.
Ring of Honor has put together a top-flight slate of matches. A nice blend of piquanté international flavor and its trademark technical strength and crisp execution. Highly entertaining action in perspective from the Show-Me State.