2019 is in full swing! Ring of Honor will be kicking off the year in Atlanta next Saturday and the card is taking shape nicely.
In addition to the Tag Team Championship bout pitting Best Friends against The Briscoes, three new matches have been signed. These matches include David Finlay vs. Tracy Williams, Eli Ipsom vs. Silas Young in a TV Championship #1 Contender match, Bandido vs. Mark Haskins.
The latter match is intriguing because it forces new ROH signees to establish dominance over one another instantaneously. The following previews are from ROHWrestling.com:
BANDIDO vs. MARK HASKINS
Big things are expected of Bandido and Haskins in ROH, but rather taking the more traditional approach of debuting them in individual “showcase matches,” ROH matchmakers wasted no time in having the two buzzworthy competitors clash.
Bandido was one of 2018’s breakout stars, as the 23-year-old sensation wowed audiences all around the globe. The fourth-generation luchador competed in the prestigious Battle of Los Angeles in September and made it all the way to the finals. Also that month, he participated in the six-man tag match that headlined the All In pay-per-view before more than 11,000 fans at the sold-out Sears Centre near Chicago.
Haskins, one of the top stars in the UK, made strong showings when he competed on ROH shows in the UK this year and last. The hard-hitting native of Oxford, England won the inaugural ROH International Cup this past August on the Honor Re-United UK Tour, and he went on to push ROH World Champion Jay Lethal to the limit in a match hailed as one of the best in ROH in 2018. Despite being just 30, Haskins has 12 years of experience and holds victories over some of the biggest names in the sport.
Both Bandido and Haskins are determined to begin their ROH careers on a winning note, but only one can do so. Will it be the high-flying Bandido or the tough-as-nails Haskins?
WINNER RECEIVES FUTURE SHOT AT ROH WORLD TELEVISION TITLE
SILAS YOUNG vs. ELI ISOM
This first-time-ever match was set up during ROH’s recent international television taping in Philadelphia, where Young and Isom won first-round matches in a four-man tournament to determine who gets a shot at the ROH World Television Title currently held by Jeff Cobb.
There couldn’t be more of a contrast between Young, a gritty two-time former ROH World Television Champion and self-proclaimed “Last Real Man in Professional Wrestling,” and Isom, a fresh-faced, 23-year-old rookie.
Young made headlines recently for being one of the perpetrators — along with Bully Ray, the Briscoes and Shane Taylor — in the brutal beatdown of The Elite, ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, Flip Gordon, Best Friends and Colt Cabana during The Elite’s farewell. Ever since forming an alliance with Bully, the always dangerous Young has become even more sadistic.
Isom, a graduate of the ROH Dojo, was one of the bigger surprises in ROH in 2018. He shocked the wrestling world by pinning Christopher Daniels in a six-man tag team gauntlet match in June, and he also held his own in singles matches against the likes of Cobb, Taylor and Kenny King.
Will Young make an example of Isom and move one step closer to becoming the first three-time ROH World Television Champion? Or will Isom pull off the upset and get his first opportunity to win singles gold?
DAVID FINLAY vs. TRACY WILLIAMS
Finlay, a fourth-generation wrestler and the son of former WWE and WCW star Fit Finlay, began training at New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s dojo in 2015 and has been an active member of the NJPW roster for several years. Like his father, he is a no-nonsense competitor.
Finlay is a former NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion, as he, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima defeated Adam Cole and The Young Bucks to win the titles in 2016. He has wrestled on the annual Honor Rising shows — which are co-promoted by NJPW and ROH — in Tokyo since 2016, but this will be his first appearance in an ROH ring in the U.S.
Williams, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who has earned a reputation for being one of the best pound-for-pound grapplers and strikers in pro wrestling, made his ROH debut in November at Survival of the Fittest. At ROH’s recent international television taping in Philadelphia, Williams faced Zack Sabre Jr. in a highly physical, crowd-pleasing match that will air on a future episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”
Which of these ROH newcomers will prevail in what undoubtedly will be a hard-hitting contest?
ROH International TV Taping
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019
Center Stage in Atlanta
Meet & Greets: 4 p.m.
Bell time: 6 p.m.