Ring Of Honor – June 22, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 23rd June 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: June 22, 2023
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We’re onto the new reality of this show, as there were three matches taped before Collision and then about ten more after. I’m not sure why there needs to be that much done in one night but we do have a big main event this week. Women’s Champion Athena is defending against Kiera Hogan in a Chicago street fight which could be nice and violent. Let’s get to it.
Tony Khan and the Board present Samoa Joe with a new TV Title belt. Jerry Lynn manages to talk here, saying “Tony it is my pleasure to” before the belt is ripped from his hands.
Serpentico/Kip Sabian/Butcher and the Blade vs. Lucha Bros/El Hijo del Vikingo/Komander
Bunny and Luther are here with the villains. Serpentico and Vikingo start things off, with Vikingo being monkey flipped into the corner. A powerbomb plants Vikingo but he’s right back with a spinning kick to the face. Butcher comes in to send Komander to the floor and Sabian adds a springboard moonsault. The reverse Cannonball connects back inside and a fisherman’s suplex gives Sabian two.
Komander tornado DDTs his way to freedom and the hot tag brings in Penta to clean house. Fenix’s springboard high crossbody helps clear out some villains and a quadruple superkick puts all of them down. The spike Fear Factor is broken up though and Sabian’s double stomp gets two on Penta. Another quadruple superkick sets up a big row your boat spot. The dives take out Butcher/Blade/Sabian, leaving Penta to Fear Factor Serpentico for the pin at 7:17.
Rating: B-. Komander and Vikingo didn’t get to do much here but it was a fun opener with the lowest level villain taking the pin. This is a good way to get the crowd into a show as they will always react to a match like this one. I’m not sure who is going to come after the Tag Team Titles, as the Bros have held them for almost three months and haven’t defended them on a Ring Of Honor show yet. I’m sure that will change at Death Before Dishonor, but that’s a long reign without many defenses.
Gringo Loco vs. Willie Mack
Loco is the hometown boy and works on the wrist to start. Some flips get Loco out of the corner but Mack snaps off a handspring to block a headscissors. A DDT out of the corner plants Loco and Mack kicks him in the face for a bonus. Mack grabs the chinlock with a knee in the back, followed by the Samoan drop and standing moonsault for two.
Loco knocks him off the ropes though and there’s the springboard moonsault to hit Mack. Another dive to the floor sets up a missed moonsault back inside. Mack’s Sky High gets two and they trade kicks to the head for a double knockdown. They go up top at the same time, allowing Loco to snap off a super Spanish Fly for the pin at 7:45.
Rating: B-. Another back and forth match here with Loco getting the win in a nice moment. Loco is someone who catches your eye no matter what he is doing and that might be worth a closer look in the future. Then you have Mack, who feels like he should already be a star but almost never wins anything. I get having a good hand, but Mack being something higher on the card should have been a given a good while ago.
Respect is shown post match.
Trish Adora vs. Allysin Kay
They fight over a lockup to start and Kay bails into the corner. Adora grabs a headscissors n a standing Kay but can’t stay up, allowing Kay to fire off some right hands. Kay gets two off a swinging neckbreaker and sends her hard into the corner. Back up and Adora suplexes her way to freedom, setting up some hip attacks in the corner. The Lariat Tubman is cut off with a kick to the face but the second attempt finishes Kay at 4:51.
Rating: C. This didn’t have time to go anywhere but it’s nice to see Adora getting a win for a change. Adora is unique enough to stand out in the division and Kay has some name recognition to be valuable. I could go for having both of these two around more often, and at least Adora got a bit of a boost.
Silas Young vs. Kyle Fletcher
They fight over wrist control to start until Young cuts off a charge with a kick to the ribs. Fletcher knees him to the floor and hits a suicide dive. Back in and Young takes him into the corner for a running shot and of course that means some trash talking. Fletcher is back with a suplex and a belly to back version gets two. A brainbuster gets two more but Young sends him to the apron and hits a springboard clothesline. Back up and Fletcher hits a superkick, setting up a lifting arm trap reverse DDT to finish Young at 6:24.
Rating: C+. Fletcher has been all over the AEW/ROH shows in recent weeks and it’s almost strange to see him morphing into a fan favorite. That certainly was the situation here, though that might have something to do with Young being a rather unpleasant sort. I’m not sure what Fletcher’s ceiling around here is but he’s certainly off to a nice start.
The Embassy vs. Trenton Storm/AJZ/Luke Kurtis
Non-title and Prince Nana is here with the Embassy. Toa runs Kurtis over and shoulders him in the corner to start. Kurtis sunset flip doesn’t work and a DDT does even less as we’re back in the 80s. Storm comes in to dropkick Cage, who clotheslines him down. Cage hits a release German suplex and it’s AJZ coming in to clean some house. A Stunner over the ropes cuts that off fast though and everything breaks down. Toa plants AJZ with Jimmy Rave’s Greetings From Ghana for the pin at 4:56.
Rating: C. This was mostly a squash as the Embassy continues to dominate the most worthless division in wrestling. I’m sure they’ll defend the titles at Death Before Dishonor and I’m sure it will be a most important match, as the division might be back up to three teams by that point. More of the same here from the Embassy and that’s all it should have been.
Dalton Castle vs. Josh Woods
The Boys and the Varsity Athletes are here too. Castle looks into the camera and says take a look at the greatest thing on your television or mobile device. They go with the grappling to start with Woods grabbing a front facelock. Woods sends him to the apron and pulls him face first into the rope to really take over. Hold on though as Castle and the Boys have a quick run around the ring to wake them up. Back in and Castle grabs a waistlock before a running boot to the face knocks Woods outside.
A Sterling distraction lets Woods grab a backbreaker into a German suplex for two as the villain takes over. Woods grabs his own waistlock but Castle suplexes his way to freedom. The Bang A Rang is blocked and Sterling breaks up another attempt. Woods powerbombs him into a hard knee to the face for two but Castle clotheslines him to the floor. Castle DEMANDS A BOY and a few of them are thrown at the Athletes. Back in and the Bang A Rang finishes Woods at 9:32.
Rating: B. There are certain matches that you know are going to be good based on the talent involved. That was certainly on display here, as both of them are solid amateur wrestlers and know their way around an ROH match as well. Castle still has value despite being years removed from the main event scene so it’s cool to see him pick up a hard fought win like this one.
Last week, the Kingdom buttered Stokely Hathaway up about getting a future Tag Team Title match. Apparently the Infantry has been talking trash about them, which doesn’t sit well with Hathaway.
We cut to the Infantry telling Hathaway the Kingdom are the ones who don’t believe in him. The match is made, but the sunglasses still look ridiculous.
The Infantry vs. The Kingdom
The Infantry are hometown boys also. Dean dropkicks Bennett to start and Bravo comes in for two off a splash. A slingshot cutter drops Taven for two with Maria having to make a save. Taven comes back in and beats on Bravo in the corner, setting up a brainbuster for two. Taven’s DDT gets the same as some early frustration sets in. Bravo manages to send Taven into the corner though and a diving tag brings Dean back in to pick up the pace. Back up and Taven hits a springboard kick to the face and it’s already back to Bravo, with commentary saying he might not be ready.
Bennett gets knocked down for a frog splash from Bravo with Taven having to make a rather last second save. A pump kick/Russian legsweep combination drops Taven but Bennett runs the Infantry over. Maria gets on the apron for a distraction, allowing Bennett to chair Bravo. Cue Trish Adora to take out Maria though, leaving Dean to roll Bennett up for the upset pin at 7:22.
Rating: B-. They kept the action going here and that near fall close to the end was very good. The Infantry winning was a surprise and it’s nice to see a new team getting moved higher up the ladder. I’m a bit surprised by the Kingdom losing, but they only have so much equity loaded up in recent months that the loss isn’t too devastating.
Blake Christian/Matt Sydal vs. Lee Moriarty/Big Bill
Moriarty headlocks Sydal over to start but Sydal is back with a dropkick. The exchange of front facelocks sets up Sydal’s running hurricanrana. A standing corkscrew moonsault gets two on Moriarty and Christian comes in to pick the pace up rather quickly. Sydal hits a running boot in the corner and now it’s Bill coming in to glare at Sydal for a change. A hurricanrana is blocked and Bill even throws in a little dance.
Moriarty comes back in and stomps away in the corner so much that Bill has to break it up. Bill misses a charge in the corner and Sydal dives over for the tag to bring Christian in. The Fosbury Flop hits Moriarty and a 450 gets two, with Bill making a save. Bill’s swinging Boss Man Slam gets two on Christian, with Sydal having to make a save. With Sydal on the floor, Bill chokeslams Christian onto the apron. The East River Crossing finishes Christian at 9:56.
Rating: C+. Another nice tag match here as Bill gets to pin someone for a change. He’s starting to find himself as the big monster and that is something that could serve him well going forward. There is always something to be said about someone who can run people over with straight power and that is what he does rather well. Sydal falls pretty fast after his title shot last week, but he very well could bounce back up.
The Kingdom is livid and promise revenge. They knew Stokely Hathaway and remember going to Cracker Barrel with him, where he would apparently order a kid’s meal. Well now Mike Bennett is going to Jerry Lynn and tell him how much he loved ECW. He didn’t of course, but that’s what he’s going to say!
Dark Order vs. Davey Bang/August Matthews
Silver wrestles Bang down without much trouble and then drops him with a clothesline. Reynolds comes in with a tiger driver for two and it’s Matthews coming in to get forearmed in the face. Everything breaks down and Bang is sent into the barricade, leaving Matthews to get caught with the finishing sequence. The jackknife rollup finishes for Reynolds at 2:27. Rather to the point here, though the Dark Order was doing more violent tendencies for a likely rematch with the Righteous/Stu Grayson.
Post match Grayson and the Righteous pop up on screen and say they want to see more of that Dark Order aggression next week. The Dark Order beats them up some more.
Mark Sterling interrupts Diamante and offers to split the winners purse (51/49 to Sterling of course) rather than have her fight Leila Grey. No.
Diamante vs. Leila Grey
Mark Sterling is here with Grey. Diamante offers to lay down before running Grey over with a clothesline. Grey bails to the floor and there’s a baseball slide to take her down again. Back in and Diamante chops away but gets taken down by a running hair pull. The backsplash misses though and Diamante loads up a reverse DDT. Sterling offers a distraction to break it up though and Grey grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 4:04.
Rating: C-. Not much to this one and it’s quite the choice to have Grey beat Diamante, who was getting a bit of a build up in recent weeks. Then again Sterling isn’t on the show nearly enough and needs another act to feature with more often. The match didn’t have time to go anywhere and featured a lot of forearms in four minutes, so it was only going to be so good.
AR Fox/Action Andretti/Darius Martin vs. Shane Taylor/Workhorsemen
Fox has to dodge some Taylor swings to start before it’s quickly off to Martin. Drake pulls him to the floor to start the beating though, setting up a Cannonball in the corner. Everything breaks down in a hurry and Andretti gets to clean house, including a springboard spinning kick to Taylor’s head. A handspring elbow/German suplex combination drops Drake but Taylor is back up with the Marcus Garvey Driver for two. With everyone else on the floor, Henry misses a top rope stomp and gets rolled up by Fox for the pin at 4:19.
Rating: C+. It was fun while it lasted, but it didn’t last that long. This is a good example of a match that really didn’t need to be on the show. The Workhorsemen feel like they’re on the show every week and the winners really didn’t need a rehab win the day after their Dynamite loss. It’s ok to leave this until next week and shave some time off the show, especially when we’ve already had multiple six man tags (plus an eight man) this week.
Mark Sterling and Leila Grey declare her as the #1 baddie when Diamante comes in. A rematch seems imminent.
Rocky Romero vs. Daniel Garcia
Pure Rules and Romero takes him to the mat without much trouble to start, leaving Garcia frustrated. A lockup of all things sends Romero to the ropes for his first break, followed by a cross armbreaker to send Garcia to the ropes to even things up. The Forever Lariats are broken up and Garcia grabs a suplex for two. Romero tries a leglock and Garcia has to burn off another rope break.
Garcia is fine enough to come back with an STF, sending Romero straight to the ropes as well. A kick to the face lets Garcia stop to dance a bit (fans: “YOU CAN’T DANCE!”). They go up top, where Romero snaps off a hurricanrana, with Garcia using his third rope break at two. Garcia is right back with a Boston crab but Romero grabs the rope to get rid of all breaks. A penalty kick is blocked and Romero is back with a tornado DDT. Romero gets the cross armbreaker but Garcia kicks off the ropes into the Dragonslayer in the ropes for the tap at 11:15.
Rating: C+. This was “I can use a rope break too!” as a match and that is only going to get you so far. The Pure Rules stuff can work, but this felt like they were only trying to burn off rope breaks instead of going for a win. Other than that, Garcia and Romero are still only so interesting and they didn’t quite hit their best levels here.
Post match Garcia stays on him but Orange Cassidy comes in for the save.
Women’s Title: Athena vs. Kiera Hogan
Athena is defending in a street fight and they have well over twenty minutes here. Athena takes her down to start and grabs a ladder, which is dropkicked right back into her. Hogan’s hurricanrana off the apron sends Athena into another ladder, meaning it’s time to send some weapons inside. As usual, that takes too long and Athena gets in a kendo stick shot to take over.
Hogan is sent into a trashcan in the corner but the referee yelling at Athena lets Hogan fight up. A fisherman’s neckbreaker onto the trashcan drops Athena again but Hogan spends WAY too much time setting up a ladder bridge on the floor. That lets Athena avoid a middle rope splash and she stomps on a Chicago street sign.
A bunch of chairs are stacked up but Hogan sends Athena through a table. Hogan’s splash onto Athena onto a table doesn’t break anything, so Hogan goes to the middle rope to drive her through it instead. Another table is set up inside and Athena cuts her off again, only to get caught on top.
Athena superbombs her through another table so let’s bring in the thumbtacks. Hogan grabs a belly to back suplex to send Athena into the tacks for two. With the brawling not working, Hogan uses her braids to choke Athena, who superplexes her onto the pile of chairs on the floor for the retaining pin at 19:23.
Rating: C+. Yeah there was a bunch of violence and ladders and tables. All of that added up to nowhere near enough to make me believe that Kiera Hogan was going to take the title off of Athena, leaving this as nearly twenty minutes of taking too long to set up spots and waiting for Athena to crush her. Athena is outstanding right now and maybe the best thing about Ring Of Honor. She needs a strong challenger though, and Hogan never came close.
We get a quick Forbidden Door rundown.
Athena is livid about not being respected after the win and wants a new challenger. And that’s it.
Overall Rating: B-. This show started of well and then it just kept going. Then after that, it just kept going even longer, because that’s what Ring Of Honor does. I’m not sure why, as a fan in the arena, I would want two hours of Collision plus two and a half hours of Ring Of Honor on the same night, but it’s hard to imagine that the masses stuck around. As for the show itself, it was the usual situation: good action, but it goes on for so long that the positives lose so much impact because there is so much here. As is the case almost every week: cut this WAY down and it’s a much better show, but it’s not likely to happen.
Komander/El Hijo del Vikingo/Lucha Bros b. Serpentico/Kip Sabian/Butcher and the Blade – Fear Factor to Serpentico
Gringo Loco b. Willie Mack – Super Spanish Fly
Trish Adora b. Allysin Kay – Lariat Tubman
Kyle Fletcher b. Silas Young – Lifting arm trap reverse DDT
The Embassy b. Trenton Storm/AJZ/Luke Kurtis – Greetings From Ghana to AJZ
Dalton Castle b. Josh Woods – Bang A Rang
The Infantry b. The Kingdom – Rollup to Bennett
Big Bill/Lee Moriarty b. Blake Christian/Matt Sydal – East River Crossing to Christian
Dark Order b. August Matthews/Danny Bang – Jackknife rollup to Matthews
Leila Grey b. Diamante – Rollup with feet on the ropes
AR Fox/Action Andretti/Darius Martin b. Shane Taylor/Workhorsemen – Rollup to Henry
Daniel Garcia b. Rocky Romero – Dragonslayer
Athena b. Kiera Hogan – Superplex onto a pile of chairs
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