Preview: Ring of Honor – Glory By Honor XVI (10/12/18)

Glory By Honor

Ring of Honor returns to Honor Club LIVE this week for night one of Glory By Honor XVI. A two night, two city event, Glory By Honor kicks off with a live event in Baltimore on Friday, October 12 before heading to Philadelphia for a TV taping on Sunday, October 14.

So far, the match card is still coming together for the Philadelphia show. As of Tuesday, ROH had announced four bouts: ROH World Champion Jay Lethal with Jonathan Gresham and a mystery partner against the Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia), Jeff Cobb against Shane Taylor for the first time ever, Cody vs Kenny King and a six-woman tag for Woman of Honor pitting the team of Madison Rayne, WOH Champion Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose against Karen QKelly Klein and the returning Britt Baker.

As for Friday night’s show, however, ROH has released the full card which includes two title matches, proving ground matches, grudge matches and the third in a series of classics between the Villain and the Hurricane.

Jeff Cobb vs Eli Isom

This match has certainly been a long time in the making.

The top free agent and perhaps the most dangerous one in professional wrestling, Jeff Cobb showed up at Ring of Honor unannounced and immediately began wrecking havoc on the annual Top Prospect Tournament. Taped in July at Center Stage in Atlanta, Cobb debuted for ROH by attacking both Eli Isom and his opponent FR Josie. The following week, Cobb was at it again, attacking both Charles Zanders and Marcus Kross in another early round match of the tournament.

Not wanting to see what happened to him happen to any further prospects, Isom ran out to make the save for Zanders and Kross only to see his offense not even phase Cobb. It was a valiant effort but one that Isom alone paid for as he was laid out by this year’s Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles winner.

After single-handedly decimating the entire Top Prospect Tournament, Cobb turned his attention toward Punishment Martinez and the ROH Television title. It was Cobb’s debut match and it took just under three minutes for the former Olympian to manhandle Martinez and win the belt. Now, he turns his attention back toward Isom, who stepped up to challenge Cobb in a non-title match.

Pride is on the line and perhaps a future title match. Isom was one of the favorites to win the TPT, something that comes with a shot at the ROH World Television Championship, which Cobb currently holds. It’s quite possible this is not going to be the last time we see these two new sworn rivals face each other in the ring.

Kenny King and Flip Gordon vs The Kingdom

While Kenny King and Flip Gordon don’t really have much history with the Kingdom’s Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan, all four men do have one thing in common: they want to show ROH their worth.

For the company’s newest signee in Gordon, that worth is showing ROH that they made the right decision to offer him an exclusive contract. Since signing the deal over the summer, Gordon hasn’t really had a chance to flex his muscles yet as he’s been embroiled in a feud with Bully Ray that saw him sent through a table at Death Before Dishonor. Gordon is ready for a new challenge however and he’ll team up with a guy he’s been friendly with, in King, to do so.

A former two-time television champion, King was riding high up until a few months ago when he lost the title, which was followed up by a loss to Austin Aries, who was making a guest appearance. Aries initially showed up in ROH to challenge for the TV title, the one belt in the company he had never won. By the time Aries made his return at Best in the World, his match with King was merely a grudge match as King had lost the title. King lost to Aries as well but following that match, his fortunes seemed to turn. Thanks to advice he took from Aries about taking advantage of opportunities to win, King has defeated Jushin Thunder Liger and three members of Bullet Club in Marty Scurll, Hangman Page and Chase Owens. Embracing Aries’ influence a little more each day, King heads into this one looking to continue his winning ways.

When Adam Cole left for NXT and Mike Bennett headed to IMPACT Wrestling, Matt Taven was left all alone but not without a plan. Following a return from injury, Taven joined forces with Northeast Wrestling standouts, Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan in rebuilding the Kingdom in his own image. Taven’s efforts were wildly successful as together, the trio became inaugural ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions. Their second reign with the titles came just a few months ago. The Kingdom have established themselves as one of the top trios in ROH but at Glory By Honor it will be just Marseglia and O’Ryan competing as a tag team. A win could go a long way if the two look to enter the ROH tag team scene, which is currently looking for some fresh blood.

Shane Taylor vs Hangman Page

For the first time ever, Hangman Page is set to take on Shane Taylor in a match of two guys who are getting closer and closer to gunning for an ROH world title opportunity.

On the one side is Page, who has been enjoying a breakout year in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, ever since joining the Bullet Club in 2016, Page has experienced an upward trajectory. In 2017, Page won his first title with ROH as alongside the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), he became one/third of the longest reigning trios champions (201 days) in company history. Since then, Page has competed in his first G1 Climax, of which he reached the semi-finals. A former Top Prospect Tournament entry himself, Page has come a long way since his early days in Ring of Honor and will look to continue showing that as he takes on the powerhouse, Shane Taylor.

The 300-pound “Notorious” Shane Taylor first appeared in ROH in 2014. In the time since Taylor has increased the number of matches he has worked for the company each year, leading up to 25 so far in 2018. Taylor hasn’t gotten many singles wins in 2018 but is coming off a recent stretch of dominance alongside Bully Ray and Punishment Martinez. While his record may not show it, Taylor is one of the most dominant big men in pro wrestling and Page will certainly have to be at his best in order to bring home the victory on Friday.

The Briscoes vs The Bouncers

1,023 days and counting. That’s how many days The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) have been tag team champions across their record nine reigns in Ring of Honor. Their current reign is at 214 days and counting, which is their second longest and only 62 days shy of breaking their personal best longest reign of 275 days, which they accomplished in 2007.

On Friday night, the titles won’t be on the line though that doesn’t make the challenge any less daunting. The Bouncers (Brian Milonas and Beer City Bruiser) are the biggest team by weight in ROH history and they are not afraid to throw that weight around to squash their opponents.

There isn’t much history between these two teams, though that being said they have faced off once before back in June. The Briscoes won that match in a little over eight minutes, and much like this incarnation, that wasn’t for the tag titles either.

While a win won’t guarantee the Bouncers a future shot at the tag titles, it certainly won’t hurt their case to jump to the front of the line for an opportunity the next time the Briscoes put the belts on the line.

Jonathan Gresham vs Bully Ray

A word of the wise to Ring of Honor management and the rest of the locker room: If you don’t want Bully Ray to beat up somebody, avoid heaping praise on him as a great young talent.

Ray’s problems with Jonathan Gresham only recently started after Gresham had one hell of a showcase against Lethal in a 30-minute iron man match which the champ has said is perhaps his favorite ever bout in his ROH history. This high praise was accepted by Gresham, who came out during a TV taping in Philadelphia to throw his hat in the ring for one of Lethal’s “Lethal Challenges.” But before he could officially do so, Bully Ray threatened Ian Riccaboni away from the ring and interrupted Gresham’s interview. Ray mocked his opponent as well as the moniker he has received as the best pure technical wrestler in the world. Gresham fired back with his own words, getting the crowd to pop for his comment when he said that D-Von was the one carrying Ray all those years in ECW and WWE. It was clear Ray didn’t take too kindly to these words, accepting Gresham’s challenge for a match right then and there.

But, it was all a ruse. As soon as the match started, Ray low blowed Gresham and attacked him with the chain he wears around his neck. The attack would have continued if not for Lethal and Flip Gordon running momentary interference. This led to Young making his entrance to attack Lethal, leaving Gresham and Ray as the only two wrestlers in the ring.

On Friday, Gresham will get his chance to even the score against Ray, in front of a crowd and locker room which will surely be cheering him on as someone to finally stop ROH’s resident bully.

Marty Scurll vs Shane Helms III

Every good superhero story needs a good villain and that’s exactly what the saga between Marty Scurll and Shane “Hurricane” Helms has offered ever since the two first met at an ROH TV taping in June.

Scurll defeated Helms in their first encounter, using a low blow behind the referee’s back to do so. Out to avenge his loss, Helms demanded a rematch at Philadelphia Excellence. At first, Scurll had the advantage and in the closing moments of the match, things seemed like they were going to end the same way they had a few months prior. Scurll hit a low blow behind the referee’s back yet again and then proceeded to try to defeat Helms with his own finishing maneuver. It wasn’t to be however as Helms managed to managed to reverse his fortunes and get Scurll’s shoulders down on the mat for the 1-2-3.

With the score even, 1-1, Helms and Scurll meet perhaps for the final time in the rubber match, looking to once and for all determine if it will be the masked hero or the villain that reigns supreme. Scurll is looking to return to the world title picture and while Helms is not a regular fixture in ROH, perhaps he is looking for that chance as well to add to his already impressive title resume.

Will the light prevail over the darkness? Stay tuned Friday to find out!

ROH World Six-Man Championship: SoCal Uncensored vs Bullet Club

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, some people will be celebrating the ushering in of a new year, but for Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, if they’re not careful, they won’t be celebrating at all. Rather, they’ll be handed their pink slips courtesy of COO Joe Koff.

As we mentioned in the Death Before Dishonor preview, the clock is very much ticking for SCU (Daniels, Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) to win gold or risk termination. Ever since before informed their contracts would not be extended through 2019, Daniels and Kazarian hatched a plan to win a title, any title, in order to gain leverage in their war with Koff. The trio was successful in this effort initially, winning the titles against Page and the Young Bucks, but lost the titles to the Kingdom. At Death Before Dishonor, Kazarian and Daniels failed in their attempt to regain the tag team championship so now they’ve set their sights back on the 6-man titles.

They’ll face a different Bullet Club trio than last time as replacing Page is Cody, who enters this match with a good deal of his own gold. The current NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion and NJPW United States Championship, not to mention one/third of the ROH Six-Man Champions, Cody is once again at the top of the pro wrestling mountain. The Young Bucks, on the other hand, are at a down point in their careers, at least as far as holding titles go. After losing the NEVER Openweight Six-Man titles and then IWGP tag team titles in successive months, both to Firing Squad, if Bullet Club loses to SCU, the Bucks will be titleless for one of just a handful of times in recent memory.

There is definitely history between these trios, going all the way back to 2013 when Daniels and Kazarian went by Bad Influence and faced the Bucks, going by Generation Me, at a One Night Only special in Total Nonstop Action. Since then, the Addiction (Daniels and Kazarian) have had many memorable battles with the Bucks over the years and recently, these battles have extended to all of SCU and various incarnations of Bullet Club. Friday night will just be the latest chapter, but certainly not the last.

ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal vs Silas Young

The feud between Jay Lethal and Silas Young never went away. It was just dormant for a while but now, with Lethal’s open challenges, known as “Lethal Challenges” in effect, Young takes aims at winning the gold against a man who he was almost unbeatable against just a year ago.

Wrestling with ROH since 2007, Young first met Lethal in a ring in 2013 at Death Before Dishonor XI, a match he lost. The two developed a rivalry in 2016 at ROH Reloaded Tour, where Lethal again defeated Young only for Young to turn the tables on him by going the distance and last eliminating Lethal to win that year’s Honor Rumble. The rivalry carried through into 2017 where, following his first ever singles win against Lethal at ROH Unauthorized, Young proceeded to find his opponent backstage and attack his knee. The following week, Young used his alliance with the Beer City Bruiser to inflict even more damage on the injured body part.

This led to the two facing off at Best in the World, the match won by Lethal. But Young wasn’t finished. Tired of the accolades and praise heaped onto Lethal and the similar disrespect he felt levied unto himself as a result, Young and the Beer City Bruiser once attacked led a post-match attack, this time breaking Lethal’s ribs prior to his participation in the IWGP US Title Tournament. For Young, the goal was simple. If he couldn’t beat Lethal, he’d make sure the man at least couldn’t win another title. Young and Bruiser continued their verbal attacks on Lethal leading up to his return where Lethal and Young battled in a street fight, this time won by Young. From there, Lethal and Young looked to settle their rivalry once and for all, doing so in a last man standing match, which again was won by Young.

The two wouldn’t meet again, singles or otherwise, for the better part of a year, when Young teamed with Bully Ray to again defeat Lethal and partner Jonathan Gresham. Going back to his victory at Unauthorized, Young has defeated Lethal in five of their eight meetings, Lethal only picking up one win in that span. Perhaps Young still has his number almost a year later, or perhaps Lethal, the two-time ROH champion, who isn’t referred to as the “Greatest First Generation Wrestler” and the “Franchise” of ROH for no reason, will be able to retain his title and in the process, avenge the last loss on his list from 2017.