Welcome to the newest edition of the reflection of honor. We begin this week’s review jumping straight into the action as Kenny King took on Brooklyn native and Life Blood member Tracy Williams. King refused a handshake from Williams, and matters got underway as they proceeded in trading an array of different lock-ups, which transcended into more devastating submission holds as the match got further underway.
Kenny King vs. Tracy Williams
The action moved to the outside of the ring as Williams went to the top rope, only to be pushed off. King hit Williams with an impressive corkscrew off the ring apron into Williams, gaining the advantage in the early match.
Though the early match started with mostly grappling, some quick chain wrestling broke out by the mid-match point, as Williams was able to break free from King’s headlock. The chain combinations quickly ended as King resumed his dominant position scoring a powerful spine buster.
Williams again went to the top rope, this time scoring a drop kick on King, and moments later went to the top rope once again, where he pushed his luck further. King attempted to capitalize by climbing the ropes to meet Williams but got his head caught between Williams’ arm and suffered a stiff DDT that pulverized him face first into the corner turnbuckle pad at the top.
This allowed Williams to set King on his shoulder for a spic-coli driver that almost scored a pinfull. Williams responded by locking King into a cross-face which King was able to maneuver his way out from. Williams whipped King into the ropes, but King twisted Williams into a sunset flip. Williams rolled out onto his feet, but not quick enough to avoid the chancery that King locked him into.
Williams escaped, got back to his feet and both wrestlers began to exchange punches, but King pummeled him to his back with a quick leg sweep, resuming his advantage. Out of nowhere, King tried to gain a quick pinfall using the ropes as leverage knowing the referee’s eyes were elsewhere.
Williams still kicked out, and the match continued with both wrestlers going into an angry rage, trading chops across the chest. King went for a kick, Williams caught it and attempted to pick him up again for the fireman’s carry. But King escaped, ducked a clothesline and propped Williams up on his shoulder for a fireman’s carry. As King attempted to pummel Williams from the shoulder position, Williams instead over-rotated his body while holding on to King’s head in order to roll him up for a surprise pin attempt.
Following a string of offensive maneuvers by both wrestlers, Williams was able to spike King with a fisherman buster. Taking advantage of the momentum, Williams again went to the top rope and wasted no time to sail towards King with a flying crossbody. But King caught him in his arms, and despite still being knocked backward, he was able to roll completely backward over his own head and shoulders, and onto his feet, all while keeping Williams body held horizontally in both arms the entire time, which demonstrated some impressive strength and physics. Standing on both feet, with Williams still clutched in his arms, he hoisted him backward over his head and onto his shoulders, nailing him with the Royal Flush for the pinfall and a particularly unique finish.
Winner: Kenny King
PJ Black’s interview: The show turned to a replay of PJ Black’s recent interview in which he expressed much humiliation as a veteran in losing to Bandido, a young 23-year old that has quickly cemented himself as a very popular up and coming star. It was clear that PJ Black viewed this episode’s rematch with Bandido as an opportunity to redeem this previous humiliation, but he also emphasized that he felt obligated to do it fairly, without any cheap shots as per his usual strategem.
Reno Scum vs The Bouncers
Next, Reno Scum made their return to Ring of Honor taking on The Bouncers. All competitors shook hands to start the match off. Adam Thornstowe started with a side-headlock on Brian Milonas but was quickly overpowered. At a clear disadvantage in size at the start of the match, Adam quickly tagged in the larger Luster. However, even Luster appeared to be at a size disadvantage, as he was quickly man handled into a body slam moments later. Beer City Bruiser was tagged in and went to work on Luster as he sprung off the ropes and hit him with a flying crossbody that was particularly impressive for a man of his size.
As Bruiser attempted to spring himself off the ropes again, Thornstowe unleashed a high kick from the other side of the ring ropes which connected, allowing Luster to take control of the match. Following an offensive string of maneuvers on Bruiser that left him dazed, Luster tagged Thornstowe back in, by which he continued the offensive advantage. Both men unleashed some double team maneuvers on Bruiser, further wearing him down and ensuring that Milonas would remain on the sidelines without a viable tag.
Bruiser’s game changing moment took place when he dodged a spear from Luster, using this as an open opportunity to crawl towards his partner for a tag. While Thornstowe attempted to stop his attempt by grabbing his foot to pull him backward, Bruiser used his overall gross weight to leap forward, his foot slipping out of Thornstowe’s grasp. He was finally able to make the tag to Milonas.
Milonas came into the ring in a full frenzy, resembling a juggernaut, taking out both men and sending Luster to the outside, making Thornstowe completely vulnerable. Bruiser entered the ring, lifted Thornstowe up and squeezed the life out of him with a bear hug. As Thornstowe went limp, his upper torso arched backward, allowing Milonas to jump off the turnbuckle and nail his chest with a heavy legdrop, giving the victory and pinfall to The Bouncers.
Winners: The Bouncers
ROH RECAP: DID PJ BLACK REMAIN HONORABLE IN QUEST TO BEAT BANDIDO?
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) April 23, 2019
PJ Black vs Bandido – Rematch
As both Bandido and PJ Black respected the code of honor, there was no pause nor delay in proceeding with engagement, unleashing various lockups upon each other, as the match got underway at a lightning speed. Clearly, neither competitor wanted to give the other a moment of time to gauge their opponent and brainstorm any plan.
The match maintained a particularly fast pace, despite both wrestlers finding time to fit in quick boasting gestures in attempts to humiliate each other and get under each others’ skin.
Black took the early advantage as the momentum slowed down for a few moments when he kicked Bandido through the ropes to the outside. This allowed Black to take to the sky and unleash a corkscrew maneuver to the outside onto Bandido.
Moments later, Bandido baited Black into another high flying maneuver in which he attempted to dive between the ropes to the outside. But Black’s skull was met with a stiff kick that from Bandido which stopped him mid-flight.
Bandido took advantage, following through with a stiff suplex on the floor on the outside. As Black slowly stood to up on his feet, Bandido wasted no time to climb the turnbuckle and launched himself into a sky-high moonsault to the outside, which completely pummeled Black. The crowd went ballistic, chanting Bandido’s name.
However, he quickly lost his acquired edge when Black jumped out of the way as Bandido ran towards him cannonballing himself into the metal guard rail. Both men were equally dazed at this point in the mid-match after they climbed back into the ring to trade blows and kicks.
Black miscalculated the moment, believing it to be a ripe opportunity to go to the top rope, only for Bandido catch him with a springboard hurricarana off the top. However, despite enduring the brunt of the fall, Black held onto Bandidos legs, rolled forward onto his own feet, setting things up for the Styles Clash on Bandido.
Following some impressive sets of chain wrestling maneuvers, Black later grabbed Bandido’s mask as if he was thinking about trying to tear it off but changed his mind. It was clear that his desire to win this matchup in an honorable manner was in conflict with his impulsive frustrations and his usual inclination for solidifying wins.
As chain wrestling ensued once again, Bandido unleashed a cradle brainbuster that nearly scored him the win. If Black was contemplating his strategy previously, he was certainly feeling even more desperation now. Running on fumes, Black was able to nail Bandido with a moonsault off the top rope, which clearly frustrated him, even more, when Bandido kicked out.
Black stood on his knees, looking up at the ceiling as if begging for a victory to whatever god or gods he may worship. The drama and emotional weight of this match was on full display in this moment, though it was hard to read precisely into whether he was more fixated on ensuring his redemption via a victory, or was absolutely dreading the possibility of facing a second loss to Bandido, or the culmination of both possibilities on the horizon.
As Black ran towards the ropes to obtain momentum for an offense, Bandido quickly got up and followed, clobbering Black, stopping him against the ropes immediately. Bandido ran to the other end of the ring, and in springing off the ropes, Black scored his own hard knock to Bandido’s noggin which rattled him.
Standing in the middle of the ring also dazed, Black returned to the ropes once again and sprung off it in full force, but ran straight into a Spanish fly out of nowhere. At this point, Bandido probably executed it instinctively or using motor memory, given the mental state of both competitors nearing the end of the matchup presumably. Black barely kicked out.
Black stood in the corner, struggling to catch his breath. Bandido ran towards him in the corner, only to be knocked backward when Black raised both feet ramming his chest. Black immediately sprung himself to the top turnbuckle and jumped. His feet successfully connected with Bandido’s shoulders pulverizing him with a double stomp.
Bandido rolled into the corner to catch his breath as Black watched as this golden moment unraveled. Black ran at Bandido full force attempting to drive his knees into Bandido’s chest. But Bandido instinctively wrapped his arms around Black’s legs midair, turned him around and set him down onto the top turnbuckle to set him up for his own maneuver. Sitting on the top rope, Black quickly resisted and shoved Bandido away with his foot. But Bandido fiercely struck back with a high kick to Black’s face.
Bandido climbed to the top rope to meet Black and nailed him with a Spanish fly off the very top which sounded like thunder when Black’s body made an impact with the mat. The crowd roared when Black managed to kick out. Additionally, Black had won many spectators over at this point -including the announcers- with his performance, willpower, and overall fair effort thus far, avoiding the pitfalls of cheating or taking cheap shots.
Bandido jumped back to the top rope and executed a moonsault, but Black stuck his legs up vertically, impaling Bandido in the torso. Black went for his own springboard moonsault, but when Bandido rolled out of the way, Black made sure to land on his feet, allowing him to make a quick run at Bandido.
But Bandido was a step ahead as he lifted Black onto his shoulders and slammed him downwards face first into his knee. As Black attempted to grab the second rope to provide the necessary leverage to pull himself back to his feet, he merely set himself up for Bandido’s signature 21 Plex which successfully connected. Black was tossed backward in full force, and Bandido finally picked up the pinfall and victory.
As the crowd cheered, the main question at this point was whether “the new” PJ Black would respect the win and shake Bandido’s hand. Much to his credit, PJ Black shook his hand and raised his arm welcoming Bandido’s victory in true sportsmanship fashion, which some observers probably did not expect.
Concluding Scene: The show ended with Bully Ray sitting in a chair backstage, next to the unconscious body of Tenille Dashwood, who had clearly been slammed through a table moments earlier.
“Why is it that bad things always seem to happen to good people. For six months, you been trying to figure out who did it. Do you know who I am?” Bully Ray asked.
“Don’t worry Tanille, I will tell Life Blood you said goodbye”, he concluded, obviously the culprit in this attack, as the show went off the air.