Ring Of Honor
Date: March 23, 2023
Location: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We continue the rapid fire build towards Supercard Of Honor with week four of this show, which hopefully continues to have solid action. At the same time, things need to loosen up a bit as the show is so packed that it is hard to remember much of what happens week to week. Odds are they won’t slow down but you have to have hope. Let’s get to it.
We open with Samoa Joe telling anyone to come get a TV Title shot because it’s an open challenge.
Tony Nese vs. Mark Briscoe
Mark Sterling and Josh Woods are here with Nese. Briscoe gets jumped to start but fights back as they head outside. The Bang Bang Elbow connects from the apron but Nese knocks him up against the apron. Woods tries to get in a cheap shot but Briscoe knocks him away, only to have Nese snap off a suplex.
Back in and Nese kicks him in the face for two and the bodyscissors goes on. A springboard moonsault misses for Nese though and Briscoe strikes away. The Iconoclasm gets two on Nese and the hangman’s neckbreaker is good for the same. Nese is fine enough to strike away and he flips out of a German suplex for a bonus. Briscoe clotheslines the heck out of him though and the Froggy Bow finishes Nese at 8:52.
Rating: C. This is exactly what it needed to be: Briscoe fighting through some adversity and finishing Nese clean as he continues to build up wins before what should be the title win at Supercard Of Honor. Briscoe is going to get a big reaction from the fans and you know he is going to bring the energy so starting the show with him is a good idea. Nese being relegated to losing here is good as well, as he is talented in the ring but rather horribly dull, so this is about as high as he needs to be going for the time being.
Trustbusters vs. Metalik/AR Fox/Blake Christian
Mark Sterling is with the Trustbusters. Ian: “In what has become something of a grudge match.” WELL WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU CALL IT??? Ian on Metalik and company: “What a combination this team has made!” You mean the team that hasn’t wrestled together yet? Kay headlocks Fox to start and then snaps off a dropkick for a bonus. Fox is right back with a neckbreaker though and it’s off to Christian, who is quickly taken into the wrong corner.
Christian is fine enough to slap on a seated abdominal stretch but Daivari sends him into the corner. Slim J comes in to stomp away as the villains start taking turns on Christian. A quick comeback finally allows Christian to bring Metalik in for the rope walk into a top rope splash. Metalik gets taken into the wrong corner as well though and it’s Slim J taking over. Kay grabs the chinlock and a splash gets two.
An enziguri gets Metalik out of trouble and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker allows the hot tag to Fox. Everything breaks down and Fox hits a bunch of cutters to take the villains down. The springboard flip dive takes out Kay and Slim J on the floor, followed by Christian’s big dive onto all three. Back in and Sterling gets kicked off the apron, allowing Kay to superkick Fox for two. The Tower of Doom, with a double Spanish Fly, knocks out just about everyone, leaving Fox to cutter Daivari. A 450 gives Fox the pin at 13:20.
Rating: C+. I’m sure that’s going to be enough to get Metalik and company a Six Man Tag Team Title shot as the titles continue to be among the most worthless in all of wrestling. Somehow a team winning their first match together over a team beating a team who is teaming together for the first time on this show is supposed to mean something. While the match was fast paced and gave us the right result, the only thing the next step shows me is that there is absolutely zero need for Six Man Tag Team Titles.
Post match the Embassy runs in to beat down Metalik/Christian/Fox.
Lady Frost vs. Skye Blue
Blue works on a wristlock to start but can’t get very far. Frost sends her into the corner and we pause for a breather. A hard kick to the face in the corner rocks Blue and a handspring Cannonball connects, allowing Ian to make Frozen references. Some knees to the back keep Blue down and Frost kicks her hard to the floor.
Back in and Blue kicks her down for a change but can’t follow up. A middle rope hurricanrana drops Frost again and a kick to the head gets two. Frost is right back with an Air Raid Crash for two, only to get slammed off the top. Blue hits a quick high crossbody into Skyfall for the pin at 7:19.
Rating: C+. They were both working hard here and Frost looked rather good in defeat. She was hitting some nice spots but Blue is the one who seems ready to move up a little bit on the AEW/ROH ladder. That isn’t going to change until Blue wins a bigger match but for now, at least she got a tough win.
Rush/Dralistico vs. Tracy Williams/Rhett Titus
Rush and Dralistico jump them to start and send the other two outside, setting up the double pose. Back in and we settle down to Dralistico striking away on Williams. Rush takes his shirt off and chops away at Titus, who gets tied in the ropes. That means the top rope legdrop can give Dralistico two but Williams suplexes his way out of trouble.
It’s off to Titus to slug it out with Rush, who is fine to strike back. A running boot in the corner rocks Rush and Dralistico gets knocked down as well. Everything breaks down and Dralistico hits a springboard Codebreaker on Williams. Rush’s Bull’s Horns is cut off by Williams’ spear but Dralistico sends him outside. There’s the big flip dive, leaving Titus to get Bull’s Horned for the pin at 5:34.
Rating: B-. This was energetic while it lasted but it was almost a squash for Rush and Dralistico. Williams and Titus could be something in the tag division but for now it seems that La Faccion is getting the focus. Odds are they’ll be in the ladder match for the Tag Team Titles, which might make Rush interesting for the first time….well ever around here actually.
We get a sitdown interview with Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston. Castagnoli has said that Kingston is without honor and thinks his words speak for himself. Kingston only cares about winning the title and lists off some wrestlers who have held the title and served as his mentors. Castagnoli doesn’t think much of Kingston referring to himself as a fighter, because Kingston is the one who ran away when it became hard.
Kingston doesn’t like that but Castagnoli is scared for him. That makes Kingston challenge for the title and Castagnoli is in, because he can win and leave Kingston blaming everyone. Oh and then he’ll quit. It’s on for Supercard Of Honor. This was all but set weeks ago but it’s nice to have it made official.
Matt Taven vs. Darius Martin
The rest of the Kingdom is here but there is no Dante Martin. Darius armdrags him down to start and Taven needs a quick breather. Back in and Darius grabs a headlock before drop toeholding him down without much trouble. Bennett and Maria offer a distraction though and Taven takes over for the first time. Another Maria distraction lets Bennett hit a hard forearm on the floor and Taven’s double underhook backbreaker gets two back inside.
Taven misses the springboard senton though and Just The Tip doesn’t do much better. Darius atomic drops him out of the air though and a slingshot Downward Spiral gets two. A Spanish Fly gives Darius two more but they trade enziguris for a double knockdown. Back up and Just The Tip gives Taven two but Darius German suplexes him down. Taven is sent outside, where Darius dives onto Bennett. Maria grabs the boot though and Taven Climaxes Darius for the pin at 8:35.
Rating: C+. The more I see of Taven on his own, the more I like him. Taven is someone who works well on his own but his stuff with the rest of the Kingdom works well too. I’m not sure why the team (or just Taven) hasn’t been featured on AEW a bit more but at least they’re getting to do some stuff here. I’ll certainly take Kingdom vs. Top Flight in a bigger feud and we might be on our way there.
Post match the beatdown is on until Dante Martin makes the save. Where the heck was he two minutes ago???
Tony Deppen vs. Brian Cage
Prince Nana and the Gates of Agony are here with Cage. For some reason Deppen slaps him in the face to start and is quickly knocked to the apron for his efforts. The apron superplex plants Deppen and Cage drops an elbow into some pushups (must be a Scott Steiner fan and yes the jokes are too easy).
Deppen manages to catch him on the ropes and hits a Backstabber to send Cage outside. That means the big dive drops Cage again and the running knees connect back inside. Deppen’s top rope double stomp gets a close two, with commentary going NUTS on the cover. Back up and Cage blasts him with a clothesline but gets small packaged for two more. Cage spinebusters him though and a Drill Claw finishes Deppen at 4:27.
Rating: C+. They packed a lot into about four and a half minutes with Deppen showing some great energy. Commentary had me buying the chance of a big upset on that double stomp and the small package almost got me there too. At the end of the day though, Cage is a much bigger star and a champion isn’t going to get pinned so close to the big event (and likely title defense).
Post match the 3-1 beatdown is on until Metalik, Blake Christian and AR Fox (with pipes) make the save.
Silas Young vs. Shane Taylor
This could be interesting. They fight over a lockup to start until Young slaps him in the face. That’s not a great idea as Taylor shoulders him down but misses the apron legdrop. Young knees him in the back and drops a backsplash for two. A bunch of elbows give Young one but Taylor BLASTS HIM with a clothesline.
Taylor’s neckbreaker is broken up and Young knees him in the face. A DDT gives Young two, only to have Taylor pull him into a release Rock Bottom. The big splash gives Taylor two but Young knees him again. Young can’t hit his moonsault out of the corner though, allowing Taylor to hit a knee of his own. The package piledriver puts Young away at 6:46.
Rating: C+. Another hard hitting match here as Taylor gets a win over someone with a name in his own right. Pushing either of these guys would make sense, as they both have ties to the old Ring Of Honor but also have a lot to offer now. I’m not sure about putting them together so fast, but at least someone won definitively.
Billie Starkz vs. Miranda Alize
Alize is a luchadora who was around in the last phase of the old Ring Of Honor. The fans are behind Starkz and the lockup goes nowhere early on. Alize bails to the floor and the fans are already getting on her nerves. Back in and Alize bites the hand to take over but a dragon suplex gets Starkz out of trouble. Starkz has to roll out of a dive off the top though and Alize takes her down for two.
A running slap to the head (rather than the signature Shining Wizard) lets Alize brag a bit before grabbing the Miranda Rights (Crossface). With that broken up, Starkz elbows and kicks her in the face. Starkz charges into a shoulder to the ribs though and Alize grabs a hurricanrana driver for two. A cutter looks to set up a Shining Wizard but Starkz blocks it and hits the Starkz Driver (Tombstone) for the pin at 6:58.
Rating: C. Starkz is rather talented or her age but she needs some more seasoning. Hopefully she can get some of that on a slightly bigger stage like Ring Of Honor before getting in over her head elsewhere. Alize is a fine midcard villain, but I’m not sure I can see her going much further than that.
Aussie Open vs. Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal
Sydal takes Fletcher down to start and grabs a quick rollup for two. It’s off to Daniels to take over on Fletcher’s arm before Davis comes in. Daniels takes the leg out and nails a clothesline to the back of the head. Sydal comes back in and flips Daniels onto Davis, setting up a standing flip of his own for two. Daniels is even smart enough to slide between Fletcher’s legs and pull him to the floor for a right hand.
Back in and Davis decks Daniels, setting up a slingshot cutter. Sydal gets dropped as well and it’s Davis hitting Daniels in the face again. The hand off suplex is countered into a small package to give Daniels a breather but Fletcher kicks Sydal off the apron in a smart move. Daniels manages to send them into each other though and grabs a middle rope Downward Spiral to Davis. Sydal comes back in with a hurricanrana driver on Fletcher but Davis slows Sydal down.
Daniels is back in and sends Davis outside, leaving Fletcher to get powerbombed/top rope Meteoraed for two. Everyone gets dropped for a breather until Sydal gets tossed into Fletcher’s boot to the chest. Daniels Downward Spirals Fletcher though and clotheslines both of them. The Blue Thunder Bomb gets two on Fletcher, who accidentally kicks Davis in the head. Sydal tries to come back in but gets Tombstoned, only to have Daniels release Rock Bottom him down. The double clotheslines stagger Daniels though and Coriolis gives Fletcher the pin at 14:10.
Rating: B. Best match of the night so far and it’s nice to see the Aussies get a win after losing so often on AEW. Daniels and Sydal were built up (as much as a team can be in one match) to be fed to them and odds are we’ll be seeing the Aussies at Supercard Of Honor. They had a heck of a match here as it even overcame my lack of taste for Sydal.
Post match Daniels and Sydal tease leaving but come back and shake hands.
TV Title: Samoa Joe vs. ???
Joe is defending against….Cheeseburger. Joe hammers him down in the corner and gets annoyed at Cheeseburger swinging at him. The MuscleBuster retains the title at 1:01. That’s a relief, though the lack of Cheeseburger would have been a better one.
Post match Joe wrecks Cheeseburger but Mark Briscoe makes the save to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. The show had its usual setup problems but I think we’ve covered those enough forever. I’m aware they’re not going to change because this is what Tony Khan likes to do but they’re by far the show’s biggest problem. It was another show with good action and a lot of talented people, but I’m looking forward to a few weeks from now when Supercard Of Honor is over and the show can breathe a bit. Or just keep piling stuff in until the good stuff is overwhelmed by the sheer volume. For now though, another perfectly fine show, with the Aussie Open match being rather good.
Mark Briscoe b. Tony Nese – Froggy Bow
Metalik/AR Fox/Blake Christian b. Trustbusters – 450 to Daivari
Skye Blue b. Lady Frost – Skyfall
Rush/Dralistico b. Tracy Williams/Rhett Titus – Bull’s Horns to Titus
Matt Taven b. Darius Martin – Climax
Brian Cage b. Tony Deppen – Drill Claw
Shane Taylor b. Silas Young – Package piledriver
Aussie Open b. Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal – Coriolis to Daniels
Samoa Joe b. Cheeseburger – MuscleBuster
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