Eck's Files: FTR-Briscoes Was Best Match Of The Weekend, Potentially The Year; Anticipation Builds For Deonna Purrazzo-Mercedes Martinez Showdown; It Was My Honor

By Kevin Eck

After watching the epic encounter between FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) and the Briscoes at Supercard of Honor last Friday, I had no doubt it would be the best match of the weekend.

To be honest, I didn’t watch any of the other pro wrestling shows that took place in Dallas, but judging by what I’ve read from pundits and fans online who did, I’m not alone in my assessment.

“Having just watched ROH and NXT this morning and having covered more live events than anyone in the world did in person this past week, the best match of WrestleMania weekend was, without a shadow of a doubt, FTR vs. the Briscoes,” PWInsider’s Mike Johnson wrote on Facebook.

The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and The Ringer’s Phil Schneider agreed that it was the top match of the weekend and also a Match of the Year Contender.

“While there were many qualifiers and arguments over which match belongs in second place, FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) winning the ROH tag team titles from Jay and Mark Briscoe was a step above everything else,” Meltzer wrote on SI.com. “It was a first-time-ever meeting of two of the best tag teams in the last 20 years. They had a match that will be talked about heavily when people debate their match of the year ballots.”

Schneider wrote: “Successfully pulling off a dream match has to be one of the trickier things to do in professional wrestling. … Both teams have been firing at each other on social media. When it was finally announced for ROH’s first show under the ownership of Tony Khan, the fans’ anticipation was through the roof. Well, they did it. They put on a match that even exceeded those expectations.”

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Speaking of highly anticipated matches, I can’t wait to see the ROH Women’s World Title bout between champion Deonna Purrazzo and interim champion Mercedes Martinez.

They’ve faced each other in one-on-one matches six times in various promotions, with Martinez winning the first three and Purrazzo taking the past three.

Martinez became the interim champion by defeating Willow Nightingale at Supercard of Honor. That same night, Purrazzo, who is also the AAA Reina de Reinas Champion, successfully defended that title at Impact Wrestling’s Multiverse of Matches.

Keep it locked onto ROH’s social media channels for an announcement regarding when and where the Purrazzo-Martinez showdown will go down.

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It was surreal seeing Samoa Joe back in an ROH ring when he made a surprise appearance at the end of Supercard of Honor.

The first ballot ROH Hall of Famer confronted Jay Lethal, who along with Sonjay Dutt shockingly attacked ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham after his victory over Bandido in the main event. 

 

As longtime ROH fans know, Joe and Lethal have a lot of history. Joe took Lethal under his tutelage in 2004 when Lethal was 19 and trying to find his footing in ROH. Lethal went on to win the ROH Pure Championship in 2005 but lost it to his mentor two months later.

With his actions at Supercard of Honor, Lethal – who earlier in the night used a low blow to defeat Lee Moriarty and then attacked Matt Sydal, who was on crutches – showed that he’s no longer a man of honor. It’s also apparent that he and Joe are on a collision course.

At AEW Dynamite this past Wednesday, Lethal told Joe that “the student is going to give his teacher a present that he’ll never forget” on next week’s AEW Dynamite.

 

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Tully Blanchard made a huge statement at Supercard of Honor when he revealed “The Machine” Brian Cage and The Gates of Agony (Kaun and Toa Liona) as members of TBE (Tully Blanchard Enterprises).

This is a huge get for Blanchard, perhaps even bigger than when he introduced Baby Doll as his “Perfect 10” back in the glory days of Jim Crockett Promotions.

In their ROH debuts, Cage destroyed Ninja Mack, and GOA made quick work of Cheeseburger and Eli Isom.

Cage, a former FTW Champion and Impact World Champion, is an established star and a threat to any title he sets his sights on, while Kaun and Loa are young studs with unlimited potential.

 

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This weekend’s episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling features three classic title matches from the era when ROH Hall of Famer Cary Silkin owned the company:

– AJ Styles vs. CM Punk in the ROH Pure Title Tournament Final (Second Anniversary Show; Feb. 14, 2004)

– ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious (Ring of Homicide; May 13, 2006)

– ROH World Champion Austin Aries vs. Tyler Black (8th Anniversary Show; Feb. 13, 2010)

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The episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling that airs the weekend of April 16 features three outstanding title matches from the Sinclair era of ROH:

– ROH World Champion Roderick Strong vs. Eddie Edwards (Manhattan Mayhem; March 19, 2011)

–  Winner Take All Match: ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe vs. ROH World Television Champion Jay Lethal (Best in the World; June 19, 2015)

– ROH Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham vs. Dak Draper (19th Anniversary; March 26, 2021)

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On a final note, this is my last column for ROHWrestling.com, as I am finishing up with the company this week.

I joined ROH six years ago as a content writer for the website. Later, I took part in booking meetings and created and hosted The ROHStrong Podcast.

As I’ve said publicly on several occasions, I’ve worked for bigger wrestling companies than ROH, but none better.

The ROH locker room was filled with great people who have extraordinary talent, tremendous passion and a tireless work ethic. It was truly my honor to work with all of them.

I believe ROH is in good hands with Tony Khan and I’m excited to see what he does with the brand going forward. 

As always, keep safe and stay #ROHStrong! 

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Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.