For just the second time ever, the ROH World Champion and NWA World Champion will be on opposite sides of the ring.
The main event at Free Enterprise in Baltimore on Feb. 9 pits ROH World Champion PCO and “The Villain” Marty Scurll against NWA World Champion Nick Aldis and RUSH in a huge tag match.
The only other time the world champions of the respective companies squared off was in 2008, when Adam Pearce (NWA) won by disqualification over Nigel McGuinness (ROH) at Battle For Supremacy in Dayton, Ohio.
The tag match at Free Enterprise was put together by ROH matchmakers without consulting the participants, and the word is that RUSH isn’t pleased about having to team with anyone other than his teammates in La Faccion Ingobernable -- his brother Dragon Lee and Kenny King.
RUSH and PCO clearly have unfinished business. After PCO won the ROH World Title from RUSH at Final Battle on Dec. 13, their championship rematch at Saturday Night at Center Stage in Atlanta on Jan. 11 ended in chaos.
PCO won the match by disqualification due to RUSH attacking two referees, but he didn’t look like a winner at the end of the night. RUSH, Lee and Kenny King destroyed PCO with tables and chairs, and they also overpowered PCO’s Villain Enterprises teammates Scurll, Brody King and Flip Gordon.
During the melee, Aldis entered the ring masquerading as a police officer and got in a cheap shot on Gordon. Aldis crashed ROH’s Honor Reigns Supreme broadcast the next night in Concord, N.C., and explained that he got involved in Atlanta as retribution for Scurll showing up on the NWA’s pay-per-view last month.
. @nwa @RealNickAldis Nick Aldis runs in during the main event of @rushtoroblanco vs @PCOisNotHuman at #ROHCenterStage in Atlanta and attacks @TheFlipGordon #LaFaccionIngobernable makes a huge statement... and more!
Watch #ROHCenterStage anytime on #HonorClub! pic.twitter.com/Q9SZjq3wdU
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 13, 2020
Scurll unsuccessfully challenged Aldis for the NWA World Title on the Crockett Cup show last April.
Meanwhile, Aldis will face Gordon on the NWA’s Hard Times pay-per-view on Jan. 24.
— NWA (@nwa) January 15, 2020
There’s no update on free agent Shane Taylor’s contract situation with ROH.
At Saturday Night at Center Stage, Taylor -- the CEO of Shane Taylor Promotions -- publicly delivered his contract demands to ROH COO Joe Koff and gave him 24 hours to respond. When Koff failed to meet Taylor’s deadline, Taylor said the next night at Honor Reigns Supreme that until ROH gets back to him, fans will not see him in an ROH ring.
What in the world has happened to Sumie Sakai?
Women of Honor’s “Ray of Sunshine” has unleashed a dark side that none of her peers or fans saw coming.
Sakai snapped after she and Nicole Savoy lost to The Allure (Angelina Love and Mandy Leon) in a tag match at Saturday Night at Center Stage. Savoy, who inadvertently kicked Sakai, which led to Sakai getting pinned, tried to apologize after the match but Sakai attacked her and spit on her.
The Allüre’s @MandyLeonxo @ActualALove score a huge victory over @SumieSakai @NikiMSavo at #ROHCenterStage in Atlanta!
Nicole apologizes for costing them the match but Sumie has zero interests in accepting.
We are shocked to see this side of Sumie Sakai... pic.twitter.com/CRw3Dwjjo7
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 15, 2020
The next night at Honor Reigns Supreme, Sakai used a chain to defeat Savoy in a singles bout.
Sakai said later that she’s tried to mentor some of the younger Women of Honor competitors such as Savoy, but all she’s received for her efforts is a kick in the head. Sakai, the inaugural WOH World Champion, said she hasn’t gotten the respect she deserves.
From what I’ve observed backstage, everyone respected Sakai. Perhaps her uncharacteristic actions are the result of her frustration over failing to regain the title and losing more matches over the past year than she had in previous years.
In last week’s Eck’s Files I wrote that Mark Haskins was determined to become a champion in 2020. He told backstage correspondent Quinn McKay that he’s specifically setting his sights on the ROH World Title.
I wouldn’t bet against Haskins winning the championship if he does indeed earn a shot. He came within an eyelash of beating then-champion Matt Taven for the title last May. During his 13-year career, he’s defeated some of the biggest names in the sport, including Scurll, Dalton Castle, Will Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr., Drew Galloway, Prince Devitt, Ricochet, Pac, Gordon, Adam Page and, most recently, Bully Ray.
Speaking of Bully Ray, I know I’m supposed to be an objective journalist, but I couldn’t help but smile when Maria Manic gave him a taste of his own medicine by throwing him through a table at Honor Reigns Supreme. It was payback for Bully splashing her through a table the night before.
As much as I enjoyed seeing Bully Ray get his comeuppance, however, I am concerned for Manic. After being thoroughly humiliated by Manic, I can only imagine what Bully Ray will do to get even with “The Maneater.”
It appears that Brian Johnson has agreed to let PJ Black mentor him and the two of them will be a tag team going forward.
Johnson, who was voted Favorite Future of Honor Star as part of ROHWrestling.com’s year end awards, obviously has talent. If he keeps his mouth shut and ears open, he will learn a lot from Black and could be a champion one day.
I just have serious doubts as to whether the brash Johnson is coachable.
I’m torn over the decision Coast 2 Coast made recently to go their separate ways.
Even though the losses were piling up for them in tag team competition, I still believed LSG and Shaheem Ali had the talent to turn things around and challenge for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
At least they parted as friends rather than becoming enemies, which we’ve seen happen to so many other teams in the sport over the years. Perhaps now one or both of them will be able to find success in singles competition.
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 7, 2020
Don’t forget to cast your votes for ROH’s Best of the Decade awards. Voting ends on Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. The winners will be announced next week.
Kevin Eck is a veteran pro wrestling journalist who has worked for The Baltimore Sun, WWE and WCW before joining ROHWrestling.com.