Ring Of Honor – October 26, 2023
By Thomas Hall on 29th October 2023
Ring Of Honor
Date: October 26, 2023
Location: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman
We’re about six weeks away from Final Battle and the card hasn’t really started to come into focus yet. At the moment Eddie Kingston is getting ready to defend his World Title against Angelico, likely in the next few weeks. Other than that, MJF is set to defend the Tag Team Titles against the Gunns. Ignore that neither the champion nor the challengers have ever wrestled on this show. Let’s get to it.
Angelico, with Serpentico, says he’s Eddie Kingston’s friend and it takes a good friend to tell Kingston that he has gone too far. Angelico is ready for his title shot.
Angelico vs. Metalik
Serpentico, with his arm in a sling, is here with Angelico. They fight over a wristlock to start until Metalik snaps off a headscissors to take over. The rope walk high crossbody takes Angelico down again but he’s right back up to dropkick Metalik out of the air. Angelico ties the legs up to send Metalik to the rope and he’s right back up with a reverse Sling Blade. That’s enough to send Angelico outside for the big rope walk flip dive and a springboard splash gets two back inside. Angelico gets the better of an exchange of kicks though and the leglock makes Metalik tap at 5:05.
Rating: C+. The match was another good use of Angelico, though he still doesn’t feel like a challenger for the World Title. Granted it doesn’t help when the World Champion isn’t here because he’s busy getting beaten up on Dynamite and setting up what feels like a far bigger title match with Jay Lethal. If there is a better example of what is wrong with ROH, I haven’t seen it, as the wrestling is still good but the setup is all wrong.
Kyle Fletcher is annoyed at his losses but he’ll be back.
Infantry vs. Hughes Brothers
The Brothers (the twin sons of D-Von Dudley) jump them to start and snap off an overhead belly to belly on Bravo. Dean comes in off the tag a few seconds later though and a high crossbody hits Terrance. Boot Camp finishes for the Infantry at 1:14.
Maria Kanellis-Bennett is happy that Cole Karter and Griff Garrison want the Tag Team Titles but Leyla Hirsch interrupts. Hirsch is willing to let Maria help her but Maria says earn it.
Anthony Henry vs. Dalton Castle
The Boys are here with Castle. Henry shoves him to start and Castle snaps a bit, only to have Henry score with a kick to the leg. The grappling goes to Castle as he drives Henry into the corner, only to get elbowed out to the floor. A run around the ring wakes Castle up and he throws Henry down back inside. Castle does it again and they head outside, with Henry’s back being rammed into various things.
Back in and Henry rolls away before Castle can come off the top, with Castle naturally following. This time Henry knocks him into the post but Castle hits his own elbow to the face. The reverse Sling Blade sets up a blocked Bang-A-Rang attempt so Castle starts throwing the suplexes. Now the Bang-A-Rang can finish for Castle at 8:53.
Rating: C+. It’s nice to see Castle back in the ring as his slightly unhinged (and I mean unhinged even for him) promos have been quite out there. This was more or less the same Castle though and that is not a bad thing to see. I’m not sure where this is leading, but Castle getting back into a title hunt could be rather nice.
Ethan Page interrupts a Mark Sterling and company interview. Page wants Josh Woods but Tony Nese says he’s done with them. Sterling seems to make Woods vs. Page for next week.
Mercedes Martinez/Diamante vs. Athena/Billie Starkz
Texas Tornado rules so Athena and Diamante head to the floor. Starkz sends Martinez into the barricade but Athena doesn’t offer her much praise. Back in and the villains take over on Athena, including a hanging anarchist suplex for two. Starkz comes in and gets dropped a few times before Athena gets planted for two more.
A running dropkick has Starkz down in the corner again as commentary talks about Fight Forever. Starkz flips Athena over to spear Martinez, followed by an electric chair faceplant for two. Diamante gets crushed in the corner and Martinez is kicked to the floor. A Rocket Launcher gets two but Martinez breaks up a double superplex. Diamante adds a Blockbuster to finish Starkz at 9:03.
Rating: C+. It was fun while it lasted, and it wouldn’t shock me to see that loss cause more issues between Starz and Athena. All signs would point to Starkz finally having enough of Athena and taking the title from her at Final Battle, though that felt like the case with Willow Nightingale earlier this year too. For now, Athena is going to have to deal with Martinez/Diamante, but Starkz almost has to be waiting in the wings.
Kyle Fletcher vs. Willie Mack
Mack works an armbar to start before snapping off a running hurricanrana for two. Fletcher is back with a few kicks to the ribs but Mack plants him with the swinging slam. The standing moonsault gets two but the Stunner is blocked. Fletcher hits a springboard cutter and a running knee to the back. A Tombstone finishes Mack at 5:21.
Rating: C. Well thank goodness we got our required Fletcher appearance in here as he’s currently filling the Daniel Garcia role of “he must be here no matter what”. As usual, Fletcher’s stuff in the ring works just fine, but there is very little reason to be interested in anything he does. Again at the same time, you have Mack losing, because that’s just what he does most of the time.
Athena screams at Billie Starkz for losing in the tag match, leaving Starkz in tears and Lexi Nair not sure what to do.
Slim J vs. Gringo Loco vs. Blake Christian vs. Gravity
Christian and Loco are left alone with Loco flipping around before being sent outside. Christian’s dive takes out Loco and J, followed by Gravity armdragging Loco back inside. J comes back in with a slingshot Blockbuster but Christian comes in to steal the cover. Gravity flips J to the floor and takes him down with a dive, leaving Loco to moonsault onto them.
Christian springboard flip dives onto a bunch of people but J kicks him down back inside. Back in and Loco catches J on top with a twisting sitout Razor’s Edge powerbomb (that was cool and they stuck the landing). Christian springboards in with a 450 for the save but Gravity comes in with a top rope splash to steal the pin on J at 5:38.
Rating: B-. Oh yeah this worked. This was ALL action from bell to bell and while they didn’t have a ton of time, the match was about packing as much in as they could. I’m not sure how much longer it could have gone at this pace but dang it was fun while it lasted. Good stuff here and a much needed energy boost for the show.
Leyla Hirsch vs. Nyxx
Hirsch grabs a suplex to start, runs her over a few times, and finishes with a cross armbreaker at 1:50.
Dante Martin vs. Lee Moriarty
Shane Taylor is here with Moriarty. Martin wastes no time in clotheslining him out to the floor but charges into an elbow to the face back inside. Moriarty puts on a seated abdominal stretch before hitting a dropkick. Martin fights up but Taylor drops him with a right hand, setting up the Border City Stretch to give Moriarty the win at 2:40. Well that was a waste of time.
Post match the hold stays on but Action Andretti runs in for the save.
Robyn Renegade vs. Rachael Ellering
Ellering chops away to start and hits a running backsplash but Renegade hits a faceplant on the apron. Back in and Ellering fishhooks Renegade for a rather painful looking visual. Ellering is back up and runs her over for two before hitting a hard discus forearm. A swinging Boss Woman Slam finishes for Ellering at 3:18.
Rating: C. Here we have two women who both feel like they should be doing something more but instead they’re just kind of here filling in time. The match wasn’t bad for the short time that it had and Renegade didn’t get squashed. That being said, it wasn’t much of a match and that is pretty normal for this show far too often.
Griff Garrison/Cole Karter vs. Gates Of Agony vs. Iron Savages
Maria Kanellis-Bennett, Prince Nana and Jacked Jameson are here too. Karter and Garrison double team Bronson to start but Boulder flapjacks both of them. A big boot/TKO combination puts Boulder down but the Gates come in with Open The Gates for the pin on Karter at 2:48. That’s back to back wins for the Gates in a three way tag. Shame they don’t just go and ask for title shots instead.
Overall Rating: C+. This was one heck of a mixed bag and I’m not sure where to start. First of all, the show was a good bit shorter at about 1:20 and that helped a lot. There wasn’t as much filler with matches just meandering along until an obvious winner won, which made the show a much easier sit. They also advanced a few things, as Angelico gets some momentum, Starkz slips up and Castle gets a win, among some other things.
Now all of that being said, this show still felt like it had a bunch of stuff there just to make it longer. Would anything have been lost without the Fletcher, Infantry, Moriarty or Ellering matches? Again: there is no requirement to meet for the show’s length and a lot of these shows feel like they’re being extended for the sake of being extended. It also doesn’t help that the show feels all the more worthless when the important title matches are being booked elsewhere. For now though, I will definitely take the shorter version of the show, as it goes from a chore to watch to just kind of dull in spots.
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