Ring Of Honor
Date: May 25, 2023
Location: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman, Nigel McGuinness
It’s Double Or Nothing week but Ring Of Honor still doesn’t have a major show of its own to build towards. I would assume that we might be seeing something like that being announced in the next few weeks, but for now we’ll have to settle for this show producing acts like Metalik/AR Fox/Blake Christian to be fed to the House Of Black on Dynamite. Let’s get to it.
By the way: this show sets new records at 2:56:30 and 19 matches.
JD Drake vs. Mark Briscoe
Anthony Henry is here with Drake. Briscoe sticks his chest out for the chop so Drake does the same, meaning the chops abound. A boot to the chest rocks Drake and Briscoe sends him outside. That means a dive to take out Henry and Drake at the same time but Drake is back in with more chops. A spinebuster gives Drake two more and a Boss Man Slam is good for the same.
Briscoe knocks him off the top though and a missile dropkick puts Drake down. Drake is willing to let Briscoe chop him, but Briscoe grabs a swinging Rock Bottom for two instead. Henry’s distraction breaks up the Jay Driller and Drake hits his moonsault for two more. For some reason Henry tries his own Jay Driller, which is reversed into a Death valley Driver. The Froggy Bow finishes for Briscoe at 9:24.
Rating: C. Drake continues to move well for a big guy but he was outmatched here against Briscoe. That’s part of the problem with Briscoe at the moment as he doesn’t want to be in a team (fair) but he’s a big enough star that he needs to win something. The TV Title was done at Supercard Of Honor and the World Title is mainly stuck on Proving Ground matches, so instead Briscoe just kind of floats, in this case as a guest referee on the main show.
Respect is shown post match and Briscoe says he wants the TV Title. I could go for a rematch, but Briscoe needs to actually win the thing.
Christopher Daniels wants Matt Sydal to get a TV Title and they’ll start the path tonight.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Serpentico
Non-title Proving Ground match, meaning that if Serpentico wins or lasts the ten minute time limit, he gets a future title shot. Castagnoli shoves him down to start as commentary talks about what kind of dog these two would be. Serpentico grabs his Castagnoli’s hands for a test of strength but gets sent flying off a suplex. A rollup gives Serpentico two and Castagnoli is sent to the floor for a big flip dive. Castagnoli sends him into the steps and hits about ten straight clotheslines back inside. A big clothesline finishes Serpentico at 3:39.
Rating: C-. Pretty much a squash here as there was no reason to believe that perennial jobber Serpentico was going to be a threat to Castagnoli. We’re currently waiting to see who is next for a title shot and the pickings are fairly slim at the moment. Maybe someone steps up soon, but for now, we might be stuck with little more than this from the champ.
Vertvixen vs. Kiera Hogan
Vertvixen grabs a headlock to start, followed by a running dropkick. Hogan fights up with a kick of her own as Athena comes out to watch. A Downward Spiral into a Koji Clutch has Hogan in trouble but she sends Vertvixen face first into the buckle for two. Vertvixen is back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two but Hogan grabs a Saito suplex for the pin at 4:59.
Rating: C. Hogan wasn’t a serious threat to Jade Cargill in AEW and she isn’t going to be a threat to Athena anytime soon. Athena has been great in her role but she needs a much stronger challenger than she has been getting recently. Skye Blue worked as she has at least done something, but Hogan beating Vertvixen in about five minutes isn’t going to make her a viable challenger.
Post match Athena shoves Hogan, who trips over Vertvixen, just to make her look even more like a goof.
Kyle Fletcher vs. AR Fox
Fletcher takes him down to start without much trouble and then circles the standing Fox a few times. Some hard shots put Fox down and Fletcher gets to stomp away but Fox blocks a suplex attempt. Instead it’s a suplex to drop Fletcher for a change, setting up the rolling cutter for two.
Another jumping cutter is countered into a dragon suplex but Fox kicks him in the face. Fletcher gets kicked to the floor for a big flip dive from the top, followed by a 450 for two back inside. They both go up top where Fletcher snaps off a super Falcon Arrow. The spinning Tombstone finishes for Fletcher at 10:12.
Rating: B-. I’m kind of amazed that it only took one drop on the head to finish Fox but my goodness that’s a nice change of pace from the usual amount of kickouts you see from similar moves. Fletcher is getting a nice singles run while Mark Davis is hurt but it’s hard to imagine it lasting when the team is ready to go again. Fox can have an exciting match against anyone and thankfully that one ridiculous match a few weeks ago was an anomaly.
Willow Nightingale vs. Hyan
Nightingale runs her over and poses a bit before grabbing something like a reverse Koji Clutch. Hyan gets in a few shots in the corner but Nightingale hits a running shoulder. The middle rope dropkick sets up a cannonball, followed by the Babe With The Powerbomb to finish Hyan at 4:14.
Rating: C. Nightingale could drop a box of puppies into a woodchipper and find a way to make it charming. You don’t see that kind of delightfulness very often and it is infectious every time she is out there. There is no such thing as too much Nightingale and I could go for her moving up the ladder rather soon.
The Kingdom vs. Willie Mack/Ninja Mack
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is here with the Kingdom. Willie hiptosses and armdrags Taven to start but Bennett comes in to take over. Taven is right back in with a middle rope dropkick but Willie clotheslines his way to freedom. Ninja comes in and reverses Taven’s suplex attempt to keep the pace up. A superkick rocks Taven but Bennett grabs a suplex to take over.
Taven’s frog splash gives Bennett two, only to have Ninja slip away and make the tag to Willie for the house cleaning. House is quickly cleaned, including the Samoan drop to Taven. The standing moonsault gives Willie two and Ninja hits a double backflip into a moonsault onto both of them at ringside. Back in and something like a 3D hits Taven but Bennett forearms Willie. The Proton Pack finishes Ninja at 7:44.
Rating: C+. Well, there’s your debut of the hot new team, as the Kingdom rightfully beats them. I’m not sure why Mack and Mack needed to lose in their first match together but at least it was a decent one. The Kingdom continues to be a team who could and probably should be higher up on the card, but here they are for the time being.
Dream Girl Ellie vs. Mercedes Martinez
Martinez runs her over to start and hammers away on the mat. A big boot drops Ellie again and some hard knees to the face make it worse. The surfboard dragon sleeper finishes Ellie at 2:59.
Willie Mack and Ninja Mack aren’t done.
Ashley D’Amboise vs. Danielle Kamela
They fight over wrist control to start until Kamela takes her into the corner for the stomping. D’Amboise gets tied in the ropes for some kicks to the back, followed by the chinlock. That’s broken up and D’Amboise hits a running flipping neckbreaker for two. Kamela is back with a faceplant, only to have D’Amboise hit a reverse AA for two more. A Rock Bottom finishes Kamela at 5:08.
Rating: C. Kamela definitely felt polished and it isn’t surprising that she had a stint in NXT before (as Vanessa Borne). If she can go at this pace and improve beyond that, she could absolutely be something in the future. Other than that, D’Amboise feels like someone with potential, and keeping her around makes sense.
Rocky Romero vs. Titus Alexander
Alexander elbows him in the face and hits a sliding dropkick, setting up a quick dance. Back up and Romero hits some Forever Lariats, only to walk into another dropkick. Romero is right back with a springboard tornado DDT before a missed charge sends Alexander outside. A standing Sliced Bread gets two on Alexander back inside but he grabs a brainbuster for two of his own. Romero has had it with him and puts on a cross armbreaker for the tap at 4:17.
Rating: C+. Alexander was bringing it here and did get to showcase some nice cocky heel stuff. Romero can wrestle a smooth match with anyone and got in some stuff to make both of them look good here. If this was a tryout for Alexander, he might have done well enough to stick around for a bit so nice work.
The Righteous/Stu Grayson vs. Marcus Kross/Vary Morales/LSG
Morales has to spin/roll away from Grayson to start before it’s off to Kross. Grayson throws him into the corner and brings Dutch in to power Kross around a bit more. Vincent’s basement Downward Spiral has him rather pleased but LSG comes in for a springboard forearm. Cue the Dark Order to worry about Grayson as Dutch’s swinging Boss Man Slam cuts Morales in half. Knightfall finishes Kross at 4:09.
Rating: C. Well at least they’re doing something with Grayson and the Righteous after so many weeks of just having them stare at each other. Granted we’re still not sure what is going on, but I’ll take this over the Dark Order running around without really doing anything. The Righteous are a decent team and could be in the title hunt if given the chance, but they get to work with the Dark Order instead.
The Dark Order and the Righteous yell at each other as Grayson is left in the ring.
Zack Sabre Jr. and Samoa Joe are ready for their tag match, with Sabre wanting to show that his TV Title is the one that matters most.
Shane Taylor vs. Tracy Williams
Shane Taylor has the Workhorsemen (Anthony Henry/JD Drake) with him while Williams has Rhett Titus. Taylor powers him around to start and unloads in the corner, only to get armbarred over the top. Back in and a side slam plants Williams but he’s right back with a middle rope DDT. A frog splash gives Williams two but Taylor gives him a release Rock Bottom. The big splash gets two and the package piledriver finishes Williams at 5:12.
Rating: C. Taylor continues to be a wrecking ball who runs through everyone in front of him (save for Mark Briscoe) and that could be used in a bigger spot later. Williams is still someone who can wrestle with anyone, but if he keeps losing over and over, I’m not sure how much good that is going to do. For now though, this was another perfectly fine match.
Athena vs. Promise Braxton
Non-title Proving Ground match. Athena takes her down and hits a shoulder, meaning it’s time to dance. Back up and Braxton snaps off an armdrag but Athena kicks her in the face. Athena’s release front suplex gets two more but Braxton gets in a shot of her own. That’s enough for Athena, who forearms the heck out of her and grabs a cobra sleeper for the win at 5:58.
Rating: C-. Of all the times where Athena has beaten up someone with no chance of beating her in a Proving Ground match, this was the most recent. It’s fun to see, but we’ve seen this so many times now that it is starting to lose its charm. She doesn’t need to be around every week, and having Kiera Hogan as the next victim isn’t going to make things much better.
Post match Athena stays on her but Kiera Hogan makes the save.
Dralistico vs. Tony Deppen
Deppen dropkicks him to the floor to start and hits the big flip dive through the ropes. Dralistico whips Deppen into various things, setting up a springboard Swanton back inside. A kick to the face lets Dralistico pose on the top rope but he misses a charge, allowing Deppen to hit a springboard flipping dive to the floor. Back in and Deppen lets Dralistico chop away until they trade knees to the face. A poisonrana plants Deppen but Dralistico can’t follow up. Dralistico cuts off a springboard and hits a springboard hurricanrana. That and a Fujiwara armbar finish Deppen at 6:32.
Rating: C+. Deppen is one of the better jobbers to the stars around here and he made Dralistico look good here. At the same time, Dralistico hasn’t exactly done anything on his own in ROH or AEW. He has talent, but there isn’t much about him that makes him stand out. Granted not being around Rush so often should help him a bit, and he looked good here.
Nick Comoroto, in his sweet hat, is ready to face Blake Christian, who looks like everyone else.
Miranda Alize vs. Skye Blue
Blue snaps off a hurricanrana to the floor and the chase is on, with Alize catching her with a DDT back inside. Alize kicks her in the head in the corner and a double underhook DDT gets two. A kick to the back of the head gives Blue one but Alize pulls her into the Miranda Rights. With that broken up, Alize misses a charge in the corner and gets rolled up for the pin at 3:59.
Rating: C. This was a match where they didn’t have the time to do much, which is a shame given who was involved. These two could have a good match if they are given the chance but not even making it to four minutes isn’t going to let that work. Alize has done well in her time around ROH and Blue has shown her talents multiple times. Just give them more time.
Athena yells a lot and seems to want to hurt Kiera Hogan.
Cole Karter/Zack Clayton vs. Action Andretti/Darius Martin
Andretti flips over Clayton to start and sends him into the corner before hitting a nice dropkick. Martin comes in and gets his head taken off with a clothesline. It’s already back to Andretti, who kicks Karter down. Back up and Karter is able to shove Andretti off the ropes and out to the floor in a crash. They get back in and Andretti kicks his way out of trouble, allowing the tag back to Martin. House is cleaned until Clayton grabs a powerslam, setting up a frog splash to give Karter two. Back in and Andretti/Martin hit a double pendulum slam to finish Karter at 4:48.
Rating: C+. Another decent match here as Andretti and Martin continue to look like a nice young, high flying team. Granted it doesn’t matter much until Dante gets back, though commentary might have had a good idea of Top Flight and Andretti as a trio. Until then though, I can settle for them doing something like this a few more times.
Blake Christian vs. Nick Comoroto
Comoroto throws a toothpick at him to start so Christian kicks him in the head. The chase is on around the ring and it works so well that they do it again. Christian manages to get back inside and hit a big flip dive to drop Comoroto for the first time. Back up and Comoroto posts him hard to take over, only to miss a charge into the buckle. Christian knocks him to the floor for the dive, followed by a top rope double stomp to the back on the apron. Comoroto hits a fireman’s carry slam for two so Christian….throws a chair across the ring. As Comoroto goes to get it, Christian rolls him up for the pin at 6:31.
Rating: C+. I still see potential in Comoroto, just due to how different he looks and how he has the power and charisma (the hair helps too). Christian continues to be good, but I don’t know if there is really anything he does that makes him stand out. The skill is there, but he’s going to need something more than that to move up to the next level.
Diamante vs. Trish Adora
Adora goes straight to a Kimura to start but has to deal with a headscissors attempt. A neckbreaker drops Adora and a baseball slide sends her to the floor. Back in and Diamante hits a basement dropkick in the corner but Adora punches her into the corner. Diamante neckbreakers her again and puts on an armbar for the tap at 4:47.
Rating: C. Diamante has always shown a lot of fire in her appearances and it was good to see it again. Adora is someone I’ve seen do some impressive things on the independent circuit but she didn’t have the chance to showcase it here. Both of these two are worth some time, but they are a long way from being big deals around here.
Alex Coughlin wants Katsuyori Shibata for the Pure Title next week.
Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Slim J
The Trustbusters are here with Slim J, who breaks up CERO MIEDO to start. Penta superkicks him to the floor but a suicide dive is cut off with a forearm. Back in and we hit the chinlock but Penta pops up for the Sling Blades. The Fear Factor is countered into a swinging cutter, only to have Penta kick him down in the corner. That means the Alberto double stomp but Slim J hits a wheelbarrow Downward Spiral for two. Penta has had it with him though and punches Slim J out of the air, setting up the Fear Factor for the pin at 4:43.
Rating: B-. I could have gone for more of this as Penta can still do his thing well when his brother isn’t around. He is someone who feels like a big deal and that isn’t something you can teach. On the other hand you have Slim J, who is kind of hard to take seriously but he can go in the ring if he is given the chance.
Zack Sabre Jr./Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal
Sabre and Sydal start things off with Sabre taking him down by the arms. Sydal spins up and kicks him into the corner, meaning it’s off to Joe vs. Daniels for a flashback. That doesn’t last long as Sabre comes back in and is quickly double teamed down. Joe comes back in to kick Daniels in the corner as commentary wonders about who gets a TV Title shot if Daniels gets the pin.
The armbar goes on to keep Daniels in trouble before Joe cranks on a wristlock. Sabre tags himself in and doesn’t seem happy with Joe, so it’s right back to Joe for a neck crank. The snap powerslam gives Joe two but Daniels fights up and gets away. The tag brings in Sydal to clean house, at least until a neckbreaker cuts him off. Sabre grabs a single underhook suplex but Sydal pulls him into a crossface.
Daniels gets the Koji Clutch on Joe at the same time, leaving Joe’s eyes rolling back in his head. Sabre makes the rope and saves Joe, who is able to break the Angel’s Wings. Sabre takes Sydal down and twists his neck, only to walk into Angel’s Wings to send him outside. Back up and Daniels charges into a Rock Bottom out of the corner, setting up a Koquina Clutch to give Joe the win at 15:17.
Rating: B. Match of the night here and the extra time, plus the talent involved, would seem to be why. I’m curious to see what is next for these guys, as Joe vs. Sabre would be a showdown, but Daniels vs. Sydal seems like a possibility as well. Either one would work, and this was a good example of a rather nice TV main event.
Joe and Sabre show respect to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. What do you want me to say here? It was nineteen matches over about three hours. There was some good stuff in there but when you’re nine matches in and not even halfway done, it’s a little hard to stay interested. There were a bunch of women’s matches and the division certainly has talent, but most of the matches were four to five minutes long and no one really stood out in a big way. The same is true with the men’s matches, leaving me wondering why this show was put together this way.
That’s what I really don’t get here: how is a show running this long with this much content supposed to be the best possible option. Who was putting this show together, got to twelve matches, and thought they needed seven more? This was long for the sake of being long and it didn’t work out very well, just due to how much was there and very little getting the chance to stand out in any significant way.
Mark Briscoe b. Anthony Henry – Froggy Bow
Claudio Castagnoli b. Serpentico – Clothesline
Kiera Hogan b. Vertvixen – Saito suplex
Kyle Fletcher b. AR Fox – Spinning Tombstone
Willow Nightingale b. Hyan – Babe With The Powerbomb
The Kingdom b. Ninja Mack/Willie Mack – Proton Pack to Ninja
Mercedes Martinez b. Dream Girl Ellie – Surfboard dragon sleeper
Ashley D’Amboise b. Danielle Kamela – Rock Bottom
Rocky Romero b. Titus Alexander – Cross armbreaker
The Righteous/Stu Grayson b. Vary Morales/Marcus Kross/LSG – Knightfall to Kross
Shane Taylor b. Tracy Williams – Package piledriver
Athena b. Promise Braxton – Cobra sleeper
Dralistico b. Tony Deppen – Fujiwara armbar
Skye Blue b. Miranda Alize – Rollup
Action Andretti/Darius Martin b. Cole Karter/Zack Clayton – Double slam to Karter
Blake Christian b. Nick Comoroto – Rollup
Diamante b. Trish Adora – Armbar
Penta El Zero Miedo b. Slim J – Fear Factor
Samoa Joe/Zack Sabre Jr. b. Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal – Koquina Clutch to Daniels
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