Ring Of Honor – August 3, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 4th August 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: August 3, 2023
Location: XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We’re back after a not so great fallout show from Death Before Dishonor. The show featured a bunch of the same things that we have seen for months, plus the start of another TV Title #1 contenders tournament but minus the new Tag Team Champions. Maybe things can be better here so let’s get to it.
Quick rundown of the show.
TV Title #1 Contenders Tournament Semifinals: Christopher Daniels vs. Shane Taylor
Daniels can’t get a drop toehold to start but he can avoid a charge in the corner. The right hands don’t work for Daniels though as Taylor blasts him with a clothesline. Taylor runs him over with a shoulder and then hits a heck of a right hand. The chinlock goes on but Daniels is back up with a quick neckbreaker. The middle rope hurricanrana sends Taylor flying but he’s back with a release Rock Bottom and the slam for two. A middle rope crossbody of all things crushes Daniels again and the Marcus Garvey Driver finishes him off at 6:40.
Rating: C. Daniels couldn’t get much going here as Taylor was that much bigger. The good thing about someone like Taylor is that while he’s big, he can also move around enough to make himself more dangerous. I could go for a bit more of him, though seeing Daniels lose this decisively is a little weird.
The Iron Savages want the Tag Team Titles from Aussie Open.
Tag Team Titles: Aussie Open vs. Iron Savages
The Savages, with Jacked Jameson, are challenging. Fletcher and Bronson start things off and they do a shouting forearm exchange. A slam plants Bronson and it’s off to Davis, who gets the big power showdown with Boulder. An exchange of shoulders doesn’t go anywhere but Boulder’s second attempt manages to knock him down. Bronson is back in with a backsplash as everything breaks down.
The Aussies send them outside and score with dives for a bonus. A running kick into a backsplash gets two on Bronson, followed by a loud chop in the corner. Bronson manages a high crossbody of all things and Boulder gets to come in and clean house. The running powerslam gives Boulder two but Bronson has to break up a double something. There’s a double spinebuster for two on Davis so Boulder puts Bronson on his shoulders. All that does is set up an inadvertent Doomsday Device, followed by some kicks to the head for two. The Coriolis finishes Boulder at 10:28.
Rating: C+. I still like the Savages a good bit but this was more an instance of them being monsters to be slayed by the new champions. The Aussies are already being featured more than the Lucha Bros around here so maybe some things are getting better. This worked for a first title defense and as usual, the Aussies work so well together.
Post match the Aussies go to the back where they run into Tony Khan, who congratulates them. What kind of a nothing cameo was that?
Stokely Hathaway likes the feedback on the tournament so far and they might make another one. Dalton Castle comes in to say he should be in the tournament, with Hathaway hinting that he took Castle out. Cue Samoa Joe to say he’s tired of Castle and makes a tag match between himself/Hathaway and the Boys in two weeks. Hathaway’s reaction is as expected. I can go for Castle chasing Joe, as at least it’s a story.
Pure Rules Title: Josh Woods vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Shibata is defending and Woods has Mark Sterling with him. They go to the mat to start until Shibata takes the leg out. Shibata wrestles him down until cranking on the kneebar. They roll outside with the hold still on to keep up the damage. Back up and they fight around the outside with a lockup before having to come in to beat the count.
The fight over arm control is on back inside with Woods getting the better of it but making the mistake of trying the PK. Shibata fires up and hits a running corner dropkick into a butterfly suplex for two. The sleeper goes on and Woods has to use the first rope break. They forearm it out until stereo kicks put both of them down. Woods actually gets the better of things and kicks away, only to get sleepered into the PK to retain the title at 11:12.
Rating: B-. These matches are hit and miss most of the time but this was one of the better ones. The idea of this division being more about wrestling is fine, but the problem is there isn’t much difference between this and what you see in most matches. Shibata is rather nifty in the ring, though Woods hasn’t been that interesting in a long time. Good enough match, but Shibata’s title rarely feels like it is in jeopardy.
Respect is shown post match, with Sterling not being happy.
Dalton Castle vs. Zack Clayton
The Boys are here with Castle. Clayton starts fast and stomps him down in the corner, setting up some trash talk. Back up and Castle slugs away but the suplex is blocked. Castle isn’t having this and comes back with forearms to the face. The Bang A Rang finishes Clayton at 3:50.
Rating: C. It wasn’t quite a squash but at least they got to the point here and let Castle look good in his win. Castle seems ready to go after the TV Title (again) sooner than later so hopefully we are on the way to something bigger for him in the coming weeks. Castle has long since been in need of more exposure around here and it would be nice to have this be the start.
Respect is shown post match.
Josh Woods talks about his resume but he is tired of all the losing and something has to change.
The Infantry vs. Nick Comoroto/Jora Johl
Trish Adora is here with the Infantry. Bravo suplexes Johl to start and hammers away in the corner. A few hard shots stagger Bravo though and a suplex puts him down. Back up and Bravo ducks a superkick, which hits Comoroto by mistake. Dean comes in off the hot tag and it’s a Russian legsweep/big boot combination to finish Johl at 4:37.
Rating: C. Much like the Castle match, this wasn’t a squash but it was designed to make someone look good. That worked out well as the Infantry can certainly use a win, though it’s a bit difficult to imaging them rising up the card after being destroyed so often. For now though, a quick win is better than nothing.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Miranda Vionette
The volume gets a lot louder for Hirsch’s entrance for some reason. A gator roll has Miranda in trouble to start but she’s back up with a small package. Cue Maria Kanellis-Bennett to watch from the stage as Hirsch unloads with right hands. A running kick into the Saito suplex sends Miranda into the corner. Miranda’s one move comeback is countered into a cross armbreaker for the tap at 3:19.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t as entertaining or effective of a squash as the previous two matches, but the Maria stuff is a bit more interesting. Hirsch has felt like someone ready to move up and being aligned with Maria is one of the more intriguing options that she could have. Granted it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s better than nothing.
TV Title #1 Contenders Tournament Semifinals: Tony Nese vs. Gravity
Mark Sterling is with Nese. Gravity interrupts Nese’s group training deal and hits a gorilla press as commentary points out Gravity’s recent loss to Samoa Joe. A Sterling distraction lets Nese knock him outside, where Sterling gets in a cheap shot for a bonus. Gravity fights up, ignores a Sterling distraction, and hits a big dive to the floor to drop Nese. Back in and a splash gives Gravity two but Nese kicks him in the face. Gravity scores with a quick powerbomb though and the top rope splash finishes Nese at 5:34.
Rating: C+. Gravity overcome the odds here and put in a solid performance, though they’re going to have to come up with a pretty special idea to find a way to get me interested in Joe vs. Gravity II. Commentary even pointed it out so it wouldn’t surprise me to see it being some overcoming the odds/redemption story. Other than that, Nese is still an acceptable villain for Gravity to conquer.
Women’s Title: Athena vs. Diamante
Diamante is challenging after winning three matches in a row (simple and effective). Athena toys with her to start but gets kicked to the apron and baseball slidden to the floor. That’s fine with Athena, who whips her hard into the barricade to take over. Back in and Athena grabs a surfboard but misses a running boot to the head.
Athena doesn’t seem to mind as she hits a Side Effect onto the apron, followed by a spinning backbreaker for two. The O Face is blocked though and Diamante hits the Chaos Theory for two. Athena knocks her out of the air and grabs a crossface. Diamante slips out, only to get rolled up to retain Athena’s title at 9:19.
Rating: C+. This was another match where it wasn’t quite a squash but it was pretty one sided for a long stretch. Athena is still by far the most dominant champion the women’s division has ever seen but I’m really wondering who is supposed to come after her. Barring someone coming over from AEW (which is likely), she has completely cleaned out the division and there isn’t much of anyone left to come after her.
Post match Athena actually shows some respect.
The Boys vs. Gates Of Agony
Prince Nana is here with the Gates. The fans are rather behind the Boys, even as Kaun stomps Brent down in the corner. Kaun pulls him out of the air and sends him flying so Toa can come in for a splash in the corner. Nana gets in some cheap shots and Kaun adds a backsplash but Brent manages to enziguri his way to freedom. Everything breaks down and Toa hits a Samoan drop, followed by Open The Gates to finish Brandon at 4:17.
Rating: C. I’ve long since lost interest in Dalton Castle/The Boys vs. the Embassy as they are two of the only longstanding six man teams around here. They did a nice job with the layout of the match though as there is little reason to believe that the Boys can have a chance against these two monsters. And hey the Gates are actually winning some regular tag matches!
Diamante isn’t sure what Athena was doing but Athena comes in to say she saw her younger self in Diamante out there. So figure out what’s missing and stay away from her.
Cole Karter vs. LSG
Karter dropkicks him at the bell but LSG is back up with a waistlock. That earns him a throat first shot into the rope and Karter hits another dropkick. A snap suplex drops LSG again as Maria Kanellis-Bennett is here again. LSG makes the comeback but gets kneed out of the air. A Razor’s Edge spun into a DDT finishes LSG at 2:58. Thank goodness we got a Cole Karter feature match.
The Dark Order thanks Stu Bennett after their Death Before Dishonor match.
Robyn Renegade vs. Christina Marie
Charlotte is here with Robyn. Marie actually takes over with a slam for two to start but stops to chase Charlotte, allowing Robyn to get in a cheap shot. Robyn’s basement dropkick gets two so she yells at Marie a lot. One heck of a clothesline gets two on Marie, who is back up with a clothesline of her own. Robyn doesn’t seem to mind as she grabs an abdominal stretch and pulls her down into something like a Koji Clutch for the tap at 3:57.
Rating: C. I still like the Renegades and they can do well on their own, but this is another example of a match that could have been cut to let the show breathe a bit. As usual, there is too much being crammed into this show and while the Renegades are interesting prospects, they could have done this elsewhere. Or maybe against a team, if ROH can scrape one together.
Workhorsemen vs. Komander/El Hijo del Vikingo
Oh you thought you were getting a week without the Workhorsemen didn’t you? Henry grabs Komander’s arm to start but can’t get very far with it. Instead Komander is back up with a dropkick before Drake comes in to shrug off some forearms. Vikingo comes in with a springboard missile dropkick and a frog splash (with Eddie dance) gets two on Drake. A crazy headscissors takes Drake down but since it’s just a headscissors, he’s right back up with the chops.
We settle down to a Russian legsweep/big boot combination getting two on Vikingo but he’s back up with a kick to the head. Komander gets cut off before the tag though and Henry hits a Shining Wizard for two. Vikingo is fine enough to hit a Code Red and now Komander comes back in to pick up the pace. House is cleaned and it’s quickly back to Vikingo, who is pulled out of the air for a swinging butterfly suplex. Vikingo’s step up dropkick connects and the stereo rope walk moonsaults take the Workhorsemen down. Stereo 450 splashes finish Drake at 8:09.
Rating: B-. Good match with the luchadors doing their crazy high flying, but Caprice Coleman summed up the issue. Coleman said he had never seen this before, which made me think “I have, because I saw it on Dynamite”. It’s exciting, but it might be more exciting if it wasn’t something that had happened the day before. I’m not sure why they needed to be on this show to get their win back, but that has long since been a Tony Khan thing.
Overall Rating: C+. This show was better than last week, but it’s still full of the same problems it has always had. I do like the Maria scouting stuff and Athena encouraging Diamante, but those things are in the middle of so many matches that don’t feel like they’re going anywhere. As usual the match quality isn’t the problem, but rather how much of it there is and how long it goes.
Shane Taylor b. Christopher Daniels – Marcus Garvey Driver
Aussie Open b. Iron Savages – Coriolis to Boulder
Katsuyori Shibata b. Josh Woods – Penalty Kick
Dalton Castle b. Zack Clayton – Bang A Rang
The Infantry b. Nick Comoroto/Jora Johl – Russian legsweep/big boot combination to Johl
Leylah Hirsch b. Miranda Vionette – Cross armbreaker
Gravity b. Tony Nese – Top rope splash
Athena b. Diamante – Rollup
Gates Of Agony b. The Boys – Open The Gates to Brandon
Robyn Renegade b. Christina Marie – Abdominal stretch neck crank
Komander/El Hijo del Vikingo b. Workhorsemen – Double 450 to Drake
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