Ring Of Honor
Date: May 18, 2023
Location: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, Nigel McGuinness
We’re back at the studio show this week and that means the show is probably going to run long. As was the case last week, there is a heck of a show in here somewhere, but adding in so many other things bogs it down. The main attraction this week is a Fight Without Honor between Action Andretti/Darius Martin and the Kingdom so let’s get to it.
Willie Mack and Ninja Mack respect each other and they seem ready to team together.
Gringo Loco vs. Rey Fenix
Loco slaps him during the handshake so Fenix fires off the rapid kicks. A multi springboard hurricanrana sends Loco outside and more springboards set up a dive to take him down again. Back in and a gorilla press sitout facebuster gets two on Fenix, meaning it’s time to rip at the mask. A flipping faceplant gives Loco two more but Fenix is right back with a kick to the head.
They trade kicks to the head until both of them are down for a breather. Fenix loads up a rolling cutter but Loco grabs one of his own for two more. Another kick drops Loco again and a super hurricanrana gets two. Loco shoves him away on top and grabs a twisting super Canadian Destroyer for two more. Fenix is right back with a poisonrana though and now the rolling cutter can finish Loco at 8:49.
Rating: B. This was the formula that has worked for years and still does to this day: take two high fliers and let them go nuts with one big spot after another. It made for a fast paced opener and the fans were way into it as well. Fenix can make anything look good and Loco can work very well with him. Heck of an opener here, which shouldn’t be a surprise whatsoever.
Peter Avalon and Ryan Nemeth make fun of the Iron Savages with bear puns.
Willow Nightingale vs. Madi Wrenkowski
Nightingale gyrates a bit to counter a waistlock but gets pulled down by the hair. Back up and a shoulder into a backsplash crushes Madi but she trips Nightingale down. Some slaps get one on Nightingale and we hit the chinlock. A facebuster gives Madi two more but Nightingale Pounces her HARD. The Babe With The Powerbomb finishes Madi at 3:46.
Rating: C. Madi got in a lot of offense here and has been around a few times in AEW/ROH before, so the success shouldn’t be that shocking. That being said, there was no reason to have Madi be a real threat here (which she wasn’t), as Nightingale is a much stronger star. I’m not sure what kind of major push she can get, but she does need to beat some bigger names (and eventually get some gold) at some point.
Peter Avalon/Ryan Nemeth vs. Iron Savages
Jacked Jameson is here with the Savages, who seem rather interested in lifting weights these days. Bronson shoves Avalon down to start and then hits a shoulder for a bonus. Nemeth comes in and gets beaten up as well, with Avalon taking a backdrop for trying to interfere. It’s off to Boulder for a running splash in the corner but Nemeth gets in a chop block for a breather. That doesn’t last long as it’s back to Bronson, who gets to run some people over. The middle rope moonsault misses but Avalon can only get a bunch of near falls. Boulder picks Bronson up on his shoulders for an electric chair splash to end Avalon at 5:14.
Rating: C. It wasn’t quite a squash but the Savages are nice for a big man team who can move well enough. Nemeth and Avalon aren’t exactly a top team but they have been around long enough to get in just a bit of offense here. I could see the Savages going somewhere though, and Ring Of Honor really needs to build up some teams, making this a nice fit.
Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal vs. Cole Karter/Zack Clayton
Daniels and Karter trade wristlocks to start until Daniels hits a leg lariat. Sydal comes in with a standing legdrop and an assisted moonsault for two. Daniels drop toeholds Clayton into a basement dropkick and Sydal fires off some kicks to the shoulders. That doesn’t do much though as a whip into the corner has Sydal upside down and Karter tosses him into Clayton’s powerslam (that looked good). A frog splash gives Karter two but Sydal DDTs his way out of trouble.
The hot tag brings in Daniels to clean house as everything breaks down. Daniels hits a bulldog/clothesline combination but Clayton blasts Sydal with a clothesline. Sydal is right back up with a dive onto Karter on the floor. Daniels plants Clayton and hits the Best Moonsault Ever for the pin at 6:30.
Rating: C+. Perfectly nice match here and it was a fine enough workout for Daniels and Sydal. I’m not sure they’re going to become a major team again or get back near the title picture, but having a veteran team with some previous success is always a good thing. They can also make anyone look good, which was the case here for a pair of guys without much going on. This went as it should have, as Sydal and Daniels needed to get a win after a few weeks away.
Video on the Kingdom vs. Darius Martin/Action Andretti, who have been feuding for a few weeks now, meaning it’s time for a Fight Without Honor.
Lady Frost vs. Miranda Alize
Alize sends her into the corner to start and adds a running elbow to the face. A butterfly suplex gives Alize one but Frost is back with a jumping knee to the face. Alize drops her again with a release suplex, followed by a tiger driver for two more. Back up and Frost cartwheels over into something of an Air Raid Crash, setting up a corkscrew moonsault (and a good looking one at that) to finish Alize at 3:21.
Rating: C. This didn’t get much time but Frost would be a nice addition to the roster. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from her before and she has a rather unique look that would make her stand out. Other than that, Alize still feels like a star who could be someone when she gets the chance, and adding her into the Ring Of Honor women’s division would be a good idea. I could have gone for more of this, but what we got worked well enough.
Angelico/Serpentico vs. Eli Isom/Cheeseburger
Luther is here with Angelico and Serpentico as part of the Spanish Announce Project. Cheeseburger climbs onto Serpentico’s back to crank on the arm to start but it’s quickly off to Angelico. A quick leglock has Cheeseburger in trouble but he slips out and sends them together for a big crash. Isom comes in as everything breaks down, including a suicide dive onto Serpentico on the floor. Back in and Angelico ties up Cheeseburger’s legs again, this time for the tap at 3:40.
Rating: C. It was fast paced, but neither team really had the chance to show off what they can do. Angelico and Serpentico aren’t exactly a top level team and Isom and Cheeseburger have been around for a long time. That doesn’t make or the most thrilling match, but at least they kept it short here.
NJPW TV Title: AR Fox vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre is defending and they trade arm control to start. A cravate doesn’t get Sabre very far as Fox sends him into the corner for a running clothesline. With Sabre on the floor, Fox hits a big dive over the top to take him down again. Back in and Sabre gets serious about the arm cranking but a cross armbreaker attempt sends Fox into the ropes. Fox kicks him in the face and grabs the swinging suplex for two.
Sabre comes right back with a running kick to the chest but Fox snaps off a running hanging DDT for two of his own. Lo Mein Pain gets the same on Sabre as we have five minutes left. Fox sends him outside for the big running flip dive but the 450 misses. Sabre goes right back to cranking on the leg, including something like a stretch muffler on the mat to make Fox tap at 11:19.
Rating: B. It’s amazing how much easier it is to get into a Fox match when he isn’t doing something ridiculous like shrugging off getting dropped on his head four times. Granted it helps being in there with Sabre, who is one of the better in-ring technicians going today. Good match here, with the technical exchanges being rather entertaining.
Post match Sabre says he feels bloody marvelous and knows he is the most active TV champion anywhere. Cue Samoa Joe to say there can be only one champion around here and the challenge is on. Hold on though as here are Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal, with the former saying Sydal is overdue some gold. A tag match is set up and if Sydal can beat either of them, he gets a shot.
Gates Of Agony vs. Dalton Castle/The Boy
Prince Nana is here with the Gates, who seem to have taken out Brent (the other Boy, as opposed to Brandon here). Castle starts with Khan but Brandon asks to come in instead. This actually goes well for a few moments before Khan hands it off to Toa to run Brandon over. Khan’s chinlock keeps Brandon in trouble and Toa adds a running kick to the face. The seated abdominal stretch keeps Brandon in trouble but he finally fights up. An enziguri gets Brandon over for the hot tag to Castle, who twists Toa’s nipple. A series of splashes get one on Toa but a Nana distraction lets him hit Castle with a fireman’s carry gutbuster. Open The Gates finishes Brandon at 9:30.
Rating: C+. This was your usual big monsters squashing a smaller guy until the real star comes in to do something. Castle is still someone who feels like he could break out if he was ever given the chance but for whatever reason, he is stuck teaming with one or more of the Boys. Even though it seems that we have run the main course of that angle, Castle keeps getting stuck there instead of letting him be a star on his own.
Post match Castle says he was the legal man, because the Embassy and Castle/the Boys must feud for all time and eternity in an effort to validate the existence of the Six Man Tag Team Titles.
Workhorsemen/Shane Taylor vs. Schaff/Ricky Gibson/Eddie Pearl
The Workhorsemen take over on Pearl with some stomps and a suplex but he gets over to Schaff. Taylor cuts off that comeback, setting up the package piledriver to finish Schaff at 2:43. They didn’t waste time there.
The Righteous are in the back when Stu Grayson interrupt. He wants to know what is going on but here is Evil Uno to say the Righteous need to leave Grayson alone. Grayson says no one speaks for him though, and tells the Righteous they have one chance. The Righteous seem giddy with gladness.
Ashley D’Amboise vs. Mercedes Martinez
Ashley moves away from him to start but Martinez snaps off some suplexes to take over. Martinez misses a charge in the corner though and a running flip neckbreaker drops her fast. As we get a comparison of Vader/Ron Simmons/Bronco Nagurski to Ashley (because they’re all two sport athletes, with Ashley’s other sport being dance), a reverse AA gets two on Martinez. That’s enough for Martinez, who takes her down for a curb stomp into a surfboard dragon sleeper for the tap at 6:24.
Rating: C+. D’Amboise continues to look pretty good in the ring, but Martinez is still one of the best stars in all of the women’s division. Having Martinez back and active would be a good thing, as she can make anyone look better while also easily being slotted into the title picture. You don’t get too many like her and letting her do something more would be a good thing.
The Kingdom vs. Darius Martin/Action Andretti
Fight Without Honor meaning anything goes and Maria Kanellis is here with the Kingdom. The fight starts on the stage before they get down to ringside. The weapons are brought in rather fast, with a double dropkick sending a chair into Bennett’s face. A trashcan is put over Taven’s head and various weapons crush it around him. It’s time for a ladder, but Maria’s distraction lets Bennett hit a NASTY chair shot to Andretti’s face, knocking him onto the ladder.
Back in and a spinebuster drives Andretti onto a trashcan as Bennett is busted open. Just The Tip onto a ladder onto Martin’s face lets the Kingdom set up a table in the corner. The Doomsday Flight Of The Conqueror doesn’t work for the Kingdom though and Andretti is right there with an Arabian press. Back in and Martin hits a springboard Downward Spiral on Bennett, meaning it’s time to set up some chairs.
Hail Mary onto the open chairs gets two, with Andretti making the save. The Proton Pack is broken up and a springboard 450 hits Bennett on the table, though it doesn’t quite break. Back up and Bennett Death Valley Drivers Andretti through the table in the corner. Purple Thunder onto a chair gets two on Martin, who is knocked outside. Maria holds Martin up for chops from Bennett, who accidentally forearms Maria down. Back in and a low blow hits Taven, before Bennett comes back in to spit at them. A bunch of kicks knock him silly and it’s a powerbomb/clothesline off the ladder combination to finish Bennett at 15:09.
Rating: B. It was your pretty run of the mill yet still good weapons match, even if having a thrown together team taking out former Tag Team Champions is a little weird. The Kingdom has been back for a bit now and for some reason just hasn’t clicked. You would think someone with their credentials and in-ring skills would have more success or at least be more prominently featured in a promotion being built from the ground up, but instead they’re putting people over. It’s a fine use for them, but I’m not sure it’s the most logical.
Respect is shown post match and the winners post on the ladder to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. I liked this one a bit better than last week, even though it was somehow even longer, clocking in at just over two hours (second longest show yet). There is enough good wrestling in here to make it work, but there is also a good deal of stuff that you might want to fast forward through instead. That is the signature of this show and I’m still not sure why a lot of this stuff needs to be included every week.
Rey Fenix b. Gringo Loco – Rolling cutter
Willow Nightingale b. Madi Wrenkowski – The Babe With The Powerbomb
Iron Savages b. Peter Avalon/Ryan Nemeth – Electric chair splash to Avalon
Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal b. Cole Karter/Zack Clayton – Best Moonsault Ever to Clayton
Lady Frost b. Miranda Alize – Corkscrew moonsault
Angelico/Serpentico b. Eli Isom/Cheeseburger – Leglock to Cheeseburger
Zack Sabre Jr. b. AR Fox – Stretch muffler
Gates of Agony b. Dalton Castle/The Boy – Open The Gates to Brandon
Workhorsemen/Shane Taylor b. Eddie Pearl/Schaff/Ricky Gibson – Package piledriver to Schaff
Mercedes Martinez b. Ashley D’Amboise – Surfboard dragon sleeper
Action Andretti/Darius Martin b. The Kingdom – Powerbomb/clothesline off a ladder combination to Taven
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