Eck’s Files: Date Set For MexiSquad-Shane Taylor Promotions World Six-Man Tag Title Match; Is Dalton Castle At A Crossroads?

By Kevin Eck

Shane Taylor, who was named the ROH Wrestler of the Month for January, has an opportunity to end February with not one, but two championships.

As first announced on “ROH Week By Week” a few days ago, Taylor’s title match against ROH World Champion RUSH will take place on a special championship edition of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of Feb. 27.

Now comes word that Shane Taylor Promotions (Taylor and The Soldiers of Savagery) will get their title shot against ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions MexiSquad (Bandido, Rey Horus and Flamita) on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” the weekend of Feb. 20.

Taylor and SOS were originally scheduled to face MexiSquad at Final Battle in December, but Bandido and Flamita were unable to appear due to pre-travel COVID-19 testing.

The ROH Board of Directors was going to strip MexiSquad of the title and award it to Taylor and SOS, but the challengers refused the offer. Taylor said when they make history they will do it the right way.

Taylor now has a chance to become the first man in history to hold the ROH World Title and World Six-Man Tag Title simultaneously.

In addition to the RUSH-Taylor match, ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham will defend their title on the Feb. 27 episode.

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A grudge match between The OGK’s Mike Bennett and The Righteous’ Bateman has been signed for the Feb. 20 episode.

Bennett is seeking revenge for Bateman and Righteous leader Vincent injuring his ankle at Final Battle. 

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It’s no secret that Dalton Castle has been mired in a slump. The former ROH World Champion has lost four of his past five singles matches, the most recent of which being to Josh Woods in a Pure Rules Match three weeks ago.

Looking to get back on track, Castle has issued a challenge to Woods for a Pure Rules rematch. Woods is currently ranked No. 2 in the Pure division; Castle is unranked.

“If Dalton doesn’t win this one, I’m not sure what the future holds for him,” a source close to Castle said.

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I’d hate to be a referee for any match involving members of La Faccion Ingobernable. With their complete disregard for the rules, RUSH, ROH World Television Champion Dragon Lee, Bestia del Ring and Kenny King are putting referees Todd Sinclair and Joe Mandak in a no-win situation.

Case in point: On last week’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” the eight-man tag match pitting LFI and Flip Gordon against Brody King, PCO and the Briscoes degenerated into total chaos, giving Sinclair no choice but to disqualify both teams.

Sinclair actually could’ve disqualified LFI much earlier in the bout for RUSH attacking Brody King with a chair and cable outside the ring, but he told me that he allows a lot more latitude in main event matches because he realizes fans don’t want to see a non-finish. However, there comes a point when enough is enough, Sinclair said.

The Foundation (Gresham, Lethal, Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus) had certainly seen enough. They watched the mayhem on a backstage monitor and were disgusted by what they saw.

That’s why they approached the ROH Board of Directors and proposed a six-man tag match that defines what they believe ROH is all about. The bout, which airs on this weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” pits Gresham, Williams and Fred Yehi against Lethal, Titus and Wheeler Yuta.

 

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This weekend’s episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling” also features a match between LSG and Tony Deppen. The bout will have a major impact on the ROH World Television Title division, as Deppen is No. 1 in the rankings and LSG is No. 3.

 

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Fresh off his first official ROH match, “The Metalhead Maniac” Sledge was my guest on the latest episode of “The ROHStrong Podcast,” which drops this Monday morning on ROHWrestling.com and most podcast platforms.

Sledge opened up about overcoming his drug and alcohol addiction; being homeless at one point; the phone call that saved his life; how he ended up on Steve Austin’s podcast a few years ago; putting himself on ROH’s radar; and, of course, his love of metal music.

Sledge also will be doing a live Q&A on the ROH The Experience Facebook page on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.

On a side note, since the match between Sledge and O’Shay Edwards -- who also was wrestling in his first official ROH bout -- ended in a 10-minute draw, expect there to be a rematch at some point.

If you missed it, the Sledge-Edwards match took place on “ROH Week By Week” and is available on YouTube.

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A Pure Rules Match between Dak Draper and Joe Keys will be shown exclusively on a future episode of “ROH Week By Week.” 

Draper, who sat in on commentary during Keys’ title match against Pure Champion Gresham on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” two weeks ago, doesn’t think Key -- who trains at the ROH Dojo -- should’ve gotten a shot at the title before him.

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MCW (Melbourne City Wrestling) World Champion Adam Brooks retained his title against longtime rival and former champion Slex in an epic Three Stages of Hell Match last weekend in Thornbury, Victoria, Australia.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see the two Australian stars in an ROH ring in the near future. ROH signed Slex in December 2019 and Brooks two months later. Due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, Slex has had just three matches in ROH (all in February 2020), while Brooks has yet to make his ROH debut.

 

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It’s been an exceptional week for Kenny King. Not only did he sign a lucrative contract to remain with ROH, but his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.

Before anyone accuses him of jumping on the bandwagon after the Bucs signed Tom Brady, it’s a fact that King is indeed a longtime fan of the team. He told me on “The ROHStrong Podcast” last summer that he adopted the Bucs as his favorite team during his football playing days at the University of South Florida.

USF played their home games at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs’ home field and the site of the Super Bowl last Sunday. King said some of the Bucs’ players and coaches would occasionally attend USF’s practices and work with the college players.

 

 

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I asked New England Patriots fanatic Matt Taven how it felt to see Brady win a Super Bowl with another team, and the former ROH World Champion said he was rooting for Brady to get his seventh ring. 

“I’m happy and proud that Tom has done it again, and that’s the sentiment of most of New England. See, we’re loyal people, and if you’re good to us we don’t forget it,” Taven said. “So we will give Paul Pierce an open three when he comes back to the [Boston] Garden in a Clippers jersey just so we can cheer and say thank you when he hits it. We threw a parade for Ray Bourque when he finally won a Cup, even though it was in Colorado. So we proudly wore our Brady jerseys again, as the GOAT did it for the seventh time.

“On the flip side, we never forget the ones who were disloyal to us. From Roger Clemens to Kyrie Irving, I’ve been raised to never forgive the ones who weren’t loyal. In New England we are taught the importance of loyalty, but it’s a concept that Vinnie was too stupid to grasp. I will never forget the ones who weren’t loyal!”

It always comes back to Vincent for Taven. Even though the ROH Board of Directors has banned them from touching each other at ROH-sanctioned events, it’s obvious Taven still has unfinished business with his former friend.

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Until next time, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong!

Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com. Eck’s Files appears every Friday.