Posts Tagged ‘Ring of Honor’

Chris Jericho is your new Ring of Honor World Champion, defeating Claudio Castagnoli for the title at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam Wednesday night.

Jericho captured the title with the help of a low blow, followed by a Judas Effect, ending Castagnoli’s two-month reign. The announcers rightly sold it as a dark cloud being cast on the ROH title, considering a self-avowed sports entertainer cheated to win a championship that symbolizes honorable competition.

Castagnoli seemed to be getting the upper hand when Jericho resorted to grabbing Floyd, his bat, and then capitalized when the referee’s view was obstructed.

Afterward, the Wizard celebrated with the rest of the Jericho Appreciation Society, although ROH Pure Champion Daniel Garcia looked less than thrilled to congratulate Jericho after taking a shortcut. That could be the next wrinkle in the tenuous relationship between the two stablemates.

Claudio won the ROH title, his first world championship, in July at Death Before Dishonor, defeating Jonathan Gresham. For Jericho, this is his eighth world championship, including six WWE world titles and the AEW World Championship.

While current ROH Champion and Blackpool Combat Club member Claudio Castagnoli is more than content under the AEW umbrella, his time in WWE as Cesaro wasn’t exactly fruitless. During his decade-long run, the Swiss superstar was a multi-time tag-team champion, United States Champion, and held his own in a main-event-level feud with Roman Reigns in 2021. He’ll also forever be associated with his former partner Sheamus for their lengthy alliance as The Bar. The duo was born out of begrudging respect following their epic 2016 rivalry, and they would subsequently capture the “Raw” and “SmackDown” tag belts a collective five times. And as Castagnoli recently reflected on AEW’s “Unrestricted” podcast, that stretch alongside the Irish backbreaker was the most fun he’d had in WWE — bar none.

“We became best friends over those years,” said Castagnoli. “We had a great time, especially internationally and going to football stadiums and stuff like that.”  

He acknowledged that he and Sheamus would bicker lovingly like brothers, which he feels only added to the connection they forged with each other and audiences. “If something is authentic, it will connect with the fans,” he explained. “That’s the stuff you cannot fabricate. That’s the magic.” Summing it up in a lament familiar to any dedicated wrestling fan, Castagnoli continued, “How do you explain that to someone who doesn’t like or watch wrestling? You can’t.” 

Worry not for Claudio, however. He has fit in just fine with AEW. As he told Bleacher Report back in August of the Blackpool Combat Club, “I’ve only known Wheeler Yuta for about a month, but it feels way longer. Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley and William Regal, His Lordship, I’ve known for such a long time, and it fits like a glove. It’s really awesome. It’s really fun. It just worked.” Having that a world title around his waist probably doesn’t hurt.

A title change took place on Wednesday’s edition of AEW Dynamite from Buffalo, New York.

Wheeler Yuta put his ROH Pure Championship on the line during the show against the hometown hero Daniel Garcia. Both men fought back and forth for 16 minutes but Garcia managed to lock in the Dragon Tamer. Yuta tried to escape but Garcia continued to wrench in the move which forced the champion to tap out. 

Both men then shook hands after the contest before Bryan Danielson put the belt around Garcia’s waist. This prompted an angry Chris Jericho to appear on the ramp while Garcia and The American Dragon also shook hands. Red Death has been at the centre of the feud between Bryan Danielson and Chris Jericho in recent weeks as Garcia must decide whether he wants to continue as a sports entertainer or become a professional wrestler again. 

Wednesday’s match between Yuta and Garcia was a rematch from July’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view. Yuta came out on top on that occasion but the rematch caused his reign as ROH Pure Champion to end after 159 days. 

Claudio Castagnoli thought for sure he was “on that verge a couple of times”.

The former Cesaro was, of course, referring to the idea that WWE might pull the trigger, get behind him and make him WWE World Champion at some point. Claudio could feel fan support swelling more than once, and he figured he was about to receive a mega-push akin to Becky Lynch’s when she found fame as ‘The Man’.

It didn’t happen, so Castagnoli eventually let his company deal tick down and hauled ass to AEW. Since joining Tony Khan’s league, Claudio has become a key member of the ROH rebuild and even won Ring Of Honor’s own World Championship by beating Jonathan Gresham at Death Before Dishonor.

That elusive WWE Title run wasn’t destined to be, but Castagnoli told Chris Van Vliet’s ‘Insight’ show he figured it’d surely happen eventually. Whilst he’s not bitter about things and looks back on the bulk of his WWE career fondly, Claudio does think that he became “red hot and undeniable” several times during his run.

Vince McMahon disagreed – there’s a case to be made that the ex-WWE boss was never going to give Cesaro that belt.

Jonathan Gresham has been in the news recently, not only for his 224 ROH Championship reign coming to an end but also for requesting his release from Ring of Honor on the day of their last pay-per-view.

“Gresham — I don’t know, man, he just rubs me the wrong way,” AEW star Eddie Kingston said while on “Highspots Superstore.” “I don’t know. I just have a bad feeling.”

Gresham most recently wrestled when he took on Claudio Castagnoli in Castagnoli’s first Ring of Honor match in almost 11 years at Death Before Dishonor, defending his ROH Championship against the Swiss Superman. In what would wind up being the second shortest match of the night, Castagnoli defeated Gresham after hitting a Ricola Bomb for the win, marking his first major World Championship win in professional wrestling.

Before this loss, Gresham had defended the ROH Championship in multiple companies after the ROH went on a hiatus following Final Battle 2021 in December, including Progress, Impact Wrestling, and AEW on two separate occasions.

According to a report from Fightful, Gresham, who has been signed to ROH/AEW, had a meeting before Death Before Dishonor with ROH and AEW owner Tony Khan where he yelled at Khan and was visibly frustrated. Gresham had also made it known beforehand that he had not had much communication with the owner, and coming out of the meeting, Gresham requested his release from the company. In the same report, it was stated that following the end of the month, Gresham would not be wrestling soon and would be taking time off.

Gresham and Eddie Kingston have gone one-on-one three times, with their most recent match taking place at Progress Chapter 92: Entertaining Friends, with Gresham walking away with the victory by count-out. Kingston most recently wrestled on TV when he took on long-time rival Chris Jericho in a Barbed Wire Death Match on the July 20th edition of “AEW: Dynamite,” losing to Jericho after the Painmaker received help from fellow Jericho Appreciation Society member Sammy Guevara. Kingston also wrestled at the NJPW Strong tapings on July 24th, taking on Jake Something. However, the match has not aired yet.

AEW announced on the latest edition of Rampage that Claudio Castagnoli will defend his newly-won ROH World Title against Konosuke Takeshita at Battle Of The Belts III on 6 August.

The event, which is also billed as “Saturday Fight Night”, will mark Claudio’s first title defence since winning the strap from Jonathan Gresham at ROH’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view – this is also Takeshita’s first ever crack at the prestigious belt.

On paper, this certainly feels like a higher-profile bout than anything Tony Khan booked for the first two Battle Of The Belts specials. They’ve felt a little…lacking to date, and the idea could definitely use some inspiration.

Castagnoli vs. Takeshita could be just the tonic BOTB needs.

AEW will tape the card at the Van Del Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday 5 August. That same night, Khan’s group will also shoot a live episode of Rampage. Then, 24 hours later, Battle Of The Belts III will air for viewers back home.

Both previous BOTB shows have featured three title matches, so it makes sense to believe that AEW will add another couple to bolster Claudio vs. Konosuke.

Samoa Joe is refusing to rule out a return to WWE someday.

The current ROH Television Champion, who defends the title against Jay Lethal at this weekend’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view, told Sports Illustrated: “Never say never”. Joe has become a semi-regular on AEW’s product since joining the company in April.

After departing WWE in January, Joe had to wait for his standard WWE non-compete clause to expire before he could properly show up elsewhere. The big Samoan is keeping an open mind regardless of how things were handled with his old employer though.

The 43-year old doesn’t want to definitively say, ‘I’ll never go back to WWE’.

During the same interview, Joe revealed that he originally wanted to drop the NXT Title to Bron Breakker before being struck down by injuries that curtailed his third run with the belt. WWE then rebranded the show as NXT 2.0 and went in a completely new direction before the future AEW man was released.

Is there another WWE run in Joe’s future? Who knows, but he’s totally unwilling to say it’ll never happen for sure. NXT 3.0, perhaps?

Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view kicked off with a new ROH World Champion.

AEW star and Blackpool Combat Club member Claudio Castagnoli defeated Jonathan Gresham to become the new ROH World Champion.

This win marks Claudio Castagnoli’s first ROH World Title reign. During his first run with ROH, Castagnoli held the ROH World Tag Team Championship twice with Chris Hero.

Before losing the title tonight, Gresham had been the champion since defeating Jay Lethal at Final Battle in December 2021.

The Briscoes are signed to full-time Ring Of Honor contracts.

Yesterday’s pre-Death Before Dishonor 2022 media call saw Fightful ask AEW founder and CEO Tony Khan, whose purchase of ROH was confirmed in March, if any wrestlers had been signed to ROH that the public wasn’t yet aware of. Khan confirmed that this was the case, adding that the most notable names were Jay and Mark Briscoe.

Khan stated, too, that a number of other wrestlers had signed developmental deals for the brand, which returns on pay-per-view this Saturday (23 July).

The Briscoes will challenge for FTR’s ROH World Tag Team Titles in a two-out-of-three falls match at DBD 2022. This will be their second bout with Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood this year, having lost to the duo at April’s Supercard Of Honor show.

A March report stating that a “person of influence” within AEW’s television network, WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery), had blocked the company from signing The Briscoes, putting their futures in question. Jay’s regrettable history of homophobic comments was cited as the reason.

The elder Briscoe issued his latest apology for his behaviour soon after the report emerged, telling the Battleground podcast:-

“I want to say, thank you to the people who really know…we get labeled as homophobes. I put out a stupid tweet nine years ago, the most dumbest, immature, obnoxious s**t I’ve ever done. I don’t want anybody, from any walk of life, to feel like they can’t care for the Briscoes because I promise we love everybody. We love everybody and we just want to go out there and be pro wrestlers and give the best match that we can. I said some dumb s**t a long time ago, I apologized for it and I’ll apologize for it again. It was stupid. I feel like now there are people who look at us like, ‘we can’t cheer for them because they hate a certain group of people.’ We don’t hate nobody. We love everybody. We’re just some country boys. I thought I was taking a stand for the Lord back in the day.”

Neither Briscoe brother has appeared on AEW television during the build to Death Before Dishonor.

Michael Elgin is currently in jail in Japan after being arrested last weekend for theft.

As per Bodyslam.net, the former ROH World Champion was arrested for stealing protein powder. He was previously set to compete for Pro Wrestling NOAH on 10 July, but said arrest obviously led to Elgin being pulled from that show.

The belief is that the Canadian could face up to five years in jail, although there is speculation that Elgin could strike a similar deal to Matt Sydal back in 2016. There, Sydal was arrested for possession of liquid cannabis, and his guilty plea led to a three-year probation sentence which effectively means he’s no longer likely to work in Japan again.

For Michael Elgin, this isn’t his first trouble with the law, for he was arrested in July 2021 afterr violating a protection order filed by his ex-fiancé. Prior to that, Elgin was fired by IMPACT Wrestling in June 2020 after sexual assault allegations were made against him as part of the #SpeakingOut movement. The wrestler subsequently filed a lawsuit against IMPACT this past February.

Expect more on this story as it continues to develop.