Ring Of Honor – August 31, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 1st September 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: August 31, 2023
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee/Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We’re still doing the split shows here, which should mean that things are a bit shorter again this week. It’s probably going to be the last time that is the case for the time being but I’ll take it while I can. The best story continues to be Athena/Billie Starkz and that should be fun again this week. Let’s get to it.
I was in the arena for the Lexington portions of the show, about ten rows back in the first section off the floor with the stage on my right.
New Japan Pro Wrestling TV Title: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Metalik
Metalik is challenging. They go to the mat to start with Sabre easily flipping out of a wristlock and taking him to the mat for the arm cranking. A surfboard doesn’t work for Sabre as Metalik flips over and we get a standoff. Metalik pops up for a springboard spinning crossbody into a rope walk hurricanrana. Sabre isn’t having that and stays on the arm, including a stomp ala Shayna Baszler.
With that broken up, Metalik hits the reverse Sling Blade to send Sabre outside, meaning the big running flip dive can connect. A rope walk high crossbody gives Metalik two back inside but Sabre quickly pulls him into the octopus. Metalik makes the rope and snaps off a tornado DDT before they trade rollups for two each. Back up and the rope walk elbow is pulled into a double arm crank to retain Sabre’s title at 8:28.
Rating: B-. Sometimes you need to have two talented people out there doing their thing and that is what we got here. Metalik was doing his high flying stuff while Sabre was getting to pull people into his holds, which are always going to work. When Sabre is on his game, he is still one of the most entertaining people you will see in wrestling and he was feeling it well enough here.
Cole Karter isn’t overly pleased with Griff Garrison getting a match but gets Maria Kanellis-Bennett to come to the ring with him.
Josh Woods vs. John Walters
Woods has Mark Sterling with him and he takes Walters down to the mat without much effort. Walters reverses into an armdrag but Woods pulls him out of the air and starts forearming away at the chest. Some rollups give Walters three combined but Woods pulls him into the Gorilla Lock for the win at 2:32.
Workhorsemen/Lee Moriarty vs. Invictus Khash/Lord Crewe/Beef
Yes Beef and yes the fans are rather into him. Invictus gets kneed in the back to start so it’s off to Crewe. A rollup doesn’t work for Crewe as Drake comes in to run him over. Moriarty suplexes him for two but Crewe kicks his way to freedom. Beef comes in but misses a top rope splash, allowing Drake to hit a moonsault for the pin at 4:21.
Rating: C. Nothing much to see here, other than the incredibly strange visual of the Workhorsemen actually winning a match for a change. I’m not sure how far the team is going to go around here, but they have to get a win somewhere to start. If that has to involve pounding Beef and having him for dinner (I had to) so be it.
Cole Karter vs. Dustin Jackson
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is here with Karter. Jackson hits a charge into the corner to start but Karter hits a dropkick to easily take over. A clothesline out of the corner drops Jackson again and Eye Of The Beholder finishes Jackson at 1:24.
Emi Sakura vs. Alice Crowley
Sakura avoids a right hand to start but gets caught with a running dropkick. Crowley gets knocked down but she avoids a Vader Bomb. A fisherman’s suplex gives Crowley two, only to get pulled down with a faceplant. Sakura hits a running crossbody in the corner and a rather delayed butterfly backbreaker finishes Crowley off at 3:13.
Rating: C. Sakura is someone who has been around AEW for a long time now but she has never really broken through to the top of the division. I’m not sure if this is going to be a step in that direction but she is talented enough to be worth a look at whatever she is doing. Just a squash here, though Crowley got in some offense.
Josh Woods is happy with the challengers that Mark Sterling has been getting him and they are going to prove he is the face of the Pure division.
Outrunners vs. Spanish Announce Project
Magnum takes Serpentico into the corner for a slap but Serpentico cranks on the arm to take over. The Project starts taking over on said arm and Serpentico hits a basement superkick. Floyd comes in for a running knee, complete with a bit of a spin first. Serpentico headscissors his way out of the corner and the hot tag brings in Angelico to clean house. Everything breaks down and Serpentico dives onto Floyd. That leaves Angelico to tie up Magnum in an arm trap half crab for the tap at 4:50.
Rating: C+. As weird as it is to see the Project actually getting a win, there is something to the Outrunners that is so entertaining. The team embraces the goofiness and that makes them stand off. They know exactly what they’re doing and while they’re just a joke team, it works well enough and that’s all it needs to do.
Marina Shafir vs. Angelica Risk
Risk tries some grappling to start and is quickly planted down. A choke keeps Risk in trouble and Shafir kicks her down. Some judo throws keep Risk in trouble but she’s back up with some rights and lefts. Shafir plants her with a slam and grabs a triangle choke for the win at 2:34.
Six Man Tag Team Titles: Mogul Embassy vs. Action Andretti/Lee Johnson/Darius Martin
The Embassy, with Prince Nana, is defending and jump the challengers to start fast. Martin hurricanranas his way out of Cage’s powerbomb though and a tornado DDT is enough for the tag off to Johnson. Kaun offers a distraction though and Cage grabs a neckbreaker out of the corner. The Gates unload on Johnson in the corner and some whips into various other corners make it even worse. The nerve hold goes on for a bit until Johnson gets smart with a stomp to the foot.
Toa misses a charge into the corner though and the hot tag brings in Andretti to pick up the pace. The Spanish Fly gets two on Kaun, followed by Andretti and Martin hitting stereo dives. A split legged moonsault gives Andretti two but Toa runs Johnson over with a crossbody. Everything breaks down and Johnson hits a frog splash for two before a triple superkick drops Nana. Not that it matters as Johnson is tossed into a sitout powerbomb to give Cage the pin to retain at 9:34.
Rating: B-. Power vs. speed is something that has worked forever in wrestling and it worked again here, with the two teams working together well enough for a good main event. That being said, the Embassy is so far beyond the point where they need to drop the titles that the already limited value the titles had is almost long gone.
Overall Rating: C+. This show was under an hour and oh how much better than made things. It didn’t feel like anything was there to pad out the show and while there wasn’t much in the way of storyline advancement, I also wasn’t an hour in and wondering how much more there could possibly be. Not a great show, but it’s what Ring Of Honor should be, which is why it’s likely going to be completely different next week.
Zack Sabre Jr. b. Metalik – Double arm crank
Josh Woods b. John Walters – Gorilla Lock
Workhorsemen/Lee Moriarty b. Invictus Khash/Lord Crewe/Bee – Moonsault to Beef
Cole Karter b. Dustin Jackson – Eye Of The Beholder
Emi Sakura b. Alice Crowley – Butterfly backbreaker
Spanish Announce Project b. Outrunners – Arm trap half crab to Magnum
Marina Shafir b. Angelic Risk – Triangle choke
Mogul Embassy b. Lee Johnson/Action Andretti/Darius Martin – Sitout powerbomb to Johnson
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