“The fans won this match.” —Caprice Coleman
The first Ring of Honor pay-per-view under the Tony Khan regime, Supercard of Honor XV, was a night of world-class wrestling between the ropes. Before 2,000 raucous fans in Garland, Texas, at the familiar Curtis Caldwell Center. Three titles found homes on new waists, an interim women’s champ, all dispute was removed for the top men’s prize, and other moves were made as this was a night of transition for the storied promotion.
One of the titles that changed hands was the ROH World Tag Team Championship. All Elite Wrestling’s FTR won them from ROH royalty the Briscoe Brothers in 27:25 in the people’s main event, with the match taking place fifth on the main card, ninth overall.
FTR are running out of room in the trophy cabinet as they become ultra-grand slam champions with the ROH tag straps joining the RAW, SmackDown, NXT, AEW, and AAA tag belts on their mantles. The Briscoes, who are considered by many to be the greatest team in ROH history, with twelve reigns at a combined 1,375 days, lost the belts in the best match on this card, one that I have trouble believing anyone will be able to top over the entire WrestleMania weekend.
It was at ROH’s Final Battle in December when the angle was shot to set up this match, with FTR emerging from a blackout to confront the Sandy Fork tandem. The two teams brawled until security, referees, and other officials were able to separate them.
As the weeks passed since what was thought to be ROH’s finale, before Khan purchased the promotion, fans wondered when they were going to see the match. The two duos exchanged great promos over Twitter, but not a lot of follow-up occurred on AEW programming. The reason for this became clear as it was reported by Fightful Select that a person of influence at WarnerMedia didn’t want the Briscoes in AEW because of Jay’s past homophobic tweets.
After months of consternation among fans of true blue tag team wrestling, it was announced in mid-March that it’d be taking place in Garland. Dem Boys vs. Top Guys, two teams that are as different as they are similar would finally meet in the squared circle.
Fast forward to Supercard, after four main card bouts on this ROH restart, a succinct VTR played before both teams made their way to the ring. As they faced off, the fans went banana as they were realizing what they were about to see. The match had molten heat before they even touched as fans chanted over each other for the team they wanted to come out on top.
There weren’t many happenings on this show that got a bigger pop than the initial lockup between Cash Wheeler and Jay Briscoe. It was a combination of “this is finally happening” as well as “it’s only getting better from here”, and the ensuing 27 minutes proved the latter to be true.
FTR worked heel and both teams worked stiff. This was one of the biggest matches of all four mens’ careers and they wrestled accordingly. Both teams were throwing bombs and exchanging flawless holds as the deafening crowd expressed their elation. If your eyes were closed you wouldn’t have trouble believing it was a packed NBA-sized arena.
Both teams made praiseworthy efforts to honor traditional tag team rules but also weren’t afraid to bend them as one should in a bout of this magnitude. Long-time ROH and now-AEW referee Paul Turner put the whistle away for a lot of the match, which is something that should only be done in a spot this big. However, reminding the Briscoes to use the tag ropes was a refreshing moment in the match as an AEW viewer.
The Briscoes’ Redneck Boogie got a great pop and the near fall was excellent. FTR spliced together two moves of theirs that I love, with Dax hitting the slingshot powerbomb on Jay before Cash came off the top rope with a splash (Jay managed to get in position a millisecond before Cash’s landing).
The crowd lost it for the Briscoes hitting FTR with their own Big Rig for a great near-fall not long before a sequence of each guy taking a brutal bump on the floor. The last of which was the gnarliest with Jay taking Dax down to the padding off the apron with a super-plex. The crowd’s reaction was incredible as they realized it was actually happening. The doctors checked on both which enunciated the severity of what took place.
Another great spot saw Mark climb the turnbuckles, seemingly setting up to hit a move on Dax who was getting up in the ring, but he instead went back to hit a massive corkscrew on Cash who was outside which got a huge pop. The way this was shot was excellent.
The finish saw FTR hit their tried and true Big Rig, thus ending the Briscoes’ reign. I’m not sure there’ll be a better tag team match in 2022. The teams showed the utmost respect to each other with displays of sportsmanship in the form of hugs, daps, and handshakes. These four men, who are as passionate about tag team wrestling as any active tandem in the sport, were emotional in the wake of the masterpiece they had just painted on the ROH canvas with their blood and sweat. This match was absolutely incredible and it reminded me why I’ll forever be in love with this sport.
The post-match angle saw ROH alumni the Young Bucks make a surprise appearance and attack the Briscoes before accepting the challenge of FTR for the April 6 episode of Dynamite in Boston. When the bell rings for that it’ll have been 516 days since the Bucks beat FTR for the AEW World Tag Team Championship at Full Gear 2020 and proceeded to stay away from them.
There have been a lot of whispers as to why it’s taken so long for a rematch to take place, as it was one of the best tag matches of all time, but Tony Khan has been interestingly hesitant to run back big matches. Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega, Riho vs Hikaru Shida, and Darby Allin vs PAC are some other big ones that have only happened once in an All Elite ring.
These two teams, who are truly polar opposites, exchanged some barbs as Dax asked the crowd, “haven’t they buried us enough?”, playing into the rumors before telling the Bucks their match won’t be a gymnastics routine. Matt Jackson’s response? “See you in Boston, pricks.”