Ring Of Honor – September 21, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 22nd September 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: September 21, 2023
Location: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
Things have gotten a lot more interesting around here as we have a new Ring Of Honor World Champion in the form of Eddie Kingston. The problem with that is it might not have much of an impact on the show as not much happens around here, plus the whole this show was taped before the title change. Let’s get to it.
Eddie Kingston opens the show and talks about what a great champion Claudio Castagnoli is. He’s proud and happy but that will change as soon as he gets back to the hotel and realizes he has to defend the title. This is dedicated to Xavier, the second Ring Of Honor World Champion and someone people don’t remember.
Pure Rules Title: Nick Wayne vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Wayne, who has never wrestled in ROH or had a Pure Rules match, is challenging. They go to the mat with Shibata working on a bodyscissors before switching over to the arm. It’s too early for the PK so Shibata pulls him into an ankle lock, sending Wayne to the ropes for the first time. They head outside with Wayne being sent into the barricade for a running boot to the face.
Back in and Shibata kicks him in the face a few times but Wayne fights up with a jumping elbow. There’s a shotgun dropkick into the corner so Wayne can forearm away, setting up a basement dropkick. Shibata isn’t having that and unloads in the corner, setting up a suplex for two. The cobra twist goes on but Wayne uses a second rope break, with the third being used seconds later. Wayne gets in a shot of his own but Wayne’s World is countered into the sleeper. The PK retains the title at 9:17.
Rating: C+. Not a bad way to open the show, but as commentary pointed out: it was Wayne’s first ROH match as well as his first Pure Rules match. That makes the idea of him winning the title more than a little hard to buy and Wayne felt like he was in over his head. In other words, it felt like a match for the sake of getting a title match on the show and that’s not a great idea.
Lee Johnson is interrupted by Shane Taylor Promotions and Lee Moriarty is ready for him tonight.
Diamante vs. Catie Brite
Diamante runs her over to start and fires off some elbows to the chin. Brite gets a rollup out of the corner for two but Diamante is back with a Cross Rhodes for the pin at 1:57. Not much to see here.
The Infantry and Willie Mack are ready to win the Six Man Tag Team Titles tonight.
Lee Johnson vs. Lee Moriarty
They fight over a lockup and wristlock to start until Moriarty sends him into the corner for a shot to the face. Back up and Johnson sends him outside but Moriarty stomps away on the way back in. The seated abdominal stretch goes on but Johnson fights up and makes the clothesline comeback. A Blue Thunder Bomb gives Johnson two and a superkick into a frog splash gets the same. Back up and Moriarty hits a dropkick into an enziguri for the pin at 7:18.
Rating: C. Well Moriarty wasn’t going to lose so soon after joining Shane Taylor Promotions so this was about getting him in the ring and having him break a sweat. The good thing is that Johnson did get in some offense so this wasn’t a squash. Johnson continues to be a nice hand who needs a few wins to establish himself as a bigger threat, but I’m not sure those are going to come.
And now, Minion Training with Athena training Billie Starks and Lexi Nair in tasks such as running the steps, giving her a standing ovation and booing people don’t like. Nair is dubbed the Minion Bestie, but Starkz still sucks. More funny stuff here.
Trish Adora vs. Mercedes Martinez
Martinez grabs a headlock to start and takes Adora down, only to have Adora escape without much trouble. A spinebuster gives Martinez two and a forearm staggers Adora again. Martinez hits a suplex for two more but Adora gets a suplex of her own. That’s too much for Martinez, who hits a running knee into a Hidden Blade into the Brass City Sleeper to make Adora tap at 4:39.
Rating: C. Almost a squash here as Martinez gets to look like a monster again. She’s someone who could easily be slotted in or a title shot and hopefully that comes sooner rather than later. At the same time you have Adora, who has fallen pretty far through the cracks. She felt like someone ready to move up the ladder yet here she is instead, losing in less than five minutes with so little offense. That’s kind of disappointing but not everyone can can a push.
Women’s Title: Athena vs. Angelina Love
Athena, with Billie Starkz, is defending. They go with some standing switches to start until Love takes her down into an armbar. Athena breaks out and hits a basement Meteora but gets dropped hard on the floor. Back in and Athena’s head gets slammed onto the mat before they trade rollups for two each. Love gets the better of things and pulls her into a chinlock before taking it to the mat again to cut off a comeback attempt.
Athena fights up again without much trouble, setting up a kick to the face. The O Face is broken up (partially due to Starkz’s cheering) and the Botox Injection (pump kick) gives Love two. Back up and Starkz offers a distraction, allowing Athena to grab an over the shoulder backbreaker into a Codebreaker for the retaining pin at 6:21.
Rating: C+. Love is someone with enough of a history to hang in there with Athena but this was still about Athena and Starkz. That all but has to be the big match at Final Battle but my goodness that’s a good ways off. For now though, Athena gets a win over a name rather than devouring another nobody/midcarder.
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is ready for Griff Garrison and Cole Karter’s first match as a team. Garrison already doesn’t seem confident.
Leyla Hirsch/Renegades vs. Willow Nightingale/Skye Blue/Kiera Hogan
Hogan hurricanranas Robyn out of the corner and it’s off to Blue for a basement superkick. Charlette comes in to take over on Blue and grab a chinlock before Leyla tags herself in for some German suplexes. Blue manages to come back with another kick and it’s Nightingale coming in to clean house. A double suplex drops the Renegades for two as everything breaks down. Hogan kicks Robyn in the head and grabs a neckbreaker. Everyone else heads outside and it’s Code Blue to finish Charlette at 7:11.
Rating: B-. This was the fun six person tag and that’s what they were trying to do here. Nightingale and Blue are good for a spot like this and Hogan has grown quite a bit. Unfortunately the Renegades have fallen through the floor in recent weeks after a rather promising start. Hirsch is someone else who should be given a chance and could have a spot with that style but instead she’s here filling in a three woman team.
Tony Nese and the Spanish Announce Project are ready for their debut as a team. If they win, Nese will give them free group training. They aren’t impressed.
Ethan Page vs. VSK
They trade headlocks to start until VSK has to go to the eyes to escape. The Ego’s Edge is broken up and VSK fires off some strikes. Page catches him in a kind of cobra clutch belly to back suplex, setting up a slingshot cutter for the pin at 2:11. Not much here but Page is someone worth pushing around here.
Tony Nese/Spanish Announce Project vs. El Hijo del Vikingo/Gravity/Metalik
Well that’s kind of one sided. Mark Sterling introduces Nese for his usual stuff, though he does mock the local college football team. Serpentico and Metalik turn up the speed to start with Metalik grabbing a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Angelico comes in and gets flipped over by Gravity but it’s too early for the dive.
Instead Vikingo springboards in to take over on Nese, including a missile dropkick. Vikingo loads up the big springboard dive but lands HARD on his hip and oh yeah that’s going to be a problem. Metalik and Gravity hit their own big flip dives before Metalik takes Nese back inside for a running knee. Nese dropkicks him down though and slap tags Angelico in, which doesn’t seem to go well.
A legdrop keeps Metalik in trouble as Vikingo is nowhere to be seen. Metalik’s sunset bomb gets him out of trouble and the hot tag brings Gravity back in to clean house. Everything breaks down and Metalik powerbombs Serpentico for two with Nese making the save. Nese goes for Gravity’s mask but that’s too far for Serpentico and Angelico, who walk out instead. That leaves Metalik to come in with the rope walk Swanton for the pin on Nese at 8:32.
Rating: B-. Another entertaining match here, Vikingo injury aside. That is the kind of thing that is going to happen at some point as Vikingo’s style is so high risk in the first place. Then you have Nese going too far and annoying his already not so interested partners. Sometimes it’s nice to see a villain get what is coming to them and that is what they did here.
Ethan Page is glad to have a bit of a winning streak around here and talks about how great it was to challenge for the World Title in his hometown. It’s been downhill from there though and now it’s time to rebuild himself around here because this is the place for competition. This is a Page I could see going somewhere and that’s a good thing.
Griff Garrison/Cole Karter vs. Action Andretti/Darius Martin
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is here with Garrison and Karter. Martin armdrags Martin to start before it’s off to Garrison to grapple it out with Andretti. Martin comes back in for a top rope double stomp to the back of the head but Maria offers a distraction so Garrison can score with a big boot.
Garrison doesn’t like that interference and doesn’t like her choking on the ropes any more. It’s back to Martin to pick up the pace, including a double handspring elbow. Karter grabs a rollup and puts feet on the ropes, which is broken up by Garrison. Maria and Garrison yell at each other so Andretti dives onto Garrison. Martin’s suplex sets up Andretti’s springboard 450 to finish Karter at 4:52.
Rating: C. I’m really not sure I get this Maria story. She’s an experienced and successful manager who is billed as a mastermind but she picks these two goofs to be her army to protect the Kingdom, who aren’t even on this show. I’m assuming the story is she can make anyone good, but if she’s that talented, why not just give her an established team. LIKE THE KINGDOM?
Post match Garrison shows respect but Karter isn’t having that and makes him leave.
Six Man Tag Team Titles: Mogul Embassy vs. Infantry/Willie Mack
The Embassy, with Prince Nana, is defending. Kaun shoulders Dean down to start but Dean snaps off a dropkick so Bravo can come in for a wishbone. Toa comes in to miss a charge in the corner but runs Bravo over with a shoulder. It’s back to Kaun for some rolling suplexes and an early near fall.
Cage hits the clotheslines in the corner but Bravo gets over to Mack to take over. The swinging slam puts Cage down and there’s a running boot in the corner. That doesn’t work for Cage, who suplexes Mack down in quite the power display. Everything breaks down and the Infantry kicks away at Toa, leaving Mack to hit his frog splash for two on Cage. That’s broken up and Open The Gates finishes Mack at 9:26.
Rating: B-. They had another fast paced match here but this was the latest case of a three man team being put together over a few weeks and then losing to the champs. The Embassy has been built up as being almost unbeatable and that makes for some less than dramatic title matches. Granted that might change with the Young Bucks and Hangman Page coming for the belts, but for now it’s just pretty good action without much drama.
Overall Rating: C+. This was a great example of Ring Of Honor in a nutshell. Yes there was good action and the wrestling was good enough to work, but it’s another hour and forty five minute show with a lot of things being lost in the shuffle. There were ten matches on this show and you could have probably cut almost half of them without missing much. Even the title matches, which are nice to have around, were just kind of there for the sake of having them included, as Wayne, Love and the Infantry/Mack didn’t feel like viable challenges. The wrestling carried it again, but this show is just not very fun most of the time.
Katsuyori Shibata b. Nick Wayne – PK
Diamante b. Catie Brite – Cross Rhodes
Lee Moriarty b. Lee Johnson – Enziguri
Mercedes Martinez b. Trish Adora – Brass City Sleeper
Athena b. Angelina Love – Spinning facebuster
Willow Nightingale/Skye Blue/Kiera Hogan b. Renegades/Leyla Hirsch – Code Blue to Charlette
Ethan Page b. VSK – Slingshot cutter
El Hijo del Vikingo/Metalik/Gravity b. Tony Nese/Spanish Announce Project – Rope walk Swanton to Nese
Action Andretti/Darius Martin b. Cole Karter/Griff Garrison – Springboard 450 to Karter
Mogul Embassy b. Infantry/Willie Mack – Open The Gates to Mack
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