ROH on HonorClub results: Claudio Castagnoli vs. AR Fox for the ROH Championship, Konosuke Takeshita vs. Josh Woods, Metalik vs. Ari Daivari, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Blake Christian for the NJPW TV Title, Rohit Raju vs. Christopher Daniels, Mark Briscoe vs. Slim J, Lady Frost vs. Willow Nightingale

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Ring of Honor on HonorClub
Taped February 25, 2023 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed March 2, 2023 on HonorClub

Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary and Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…

1. Mark Briscoe defeated Slim J (w/Mark Sterling, Ari Daivari). Slim J kicked out after taking several of Mark’s signature moves. Mark won the match using Jay Briscoe’s Jay Driller finisher.

Mark Briscoe defeated Slim J.

Powell’s POV: It was a nice touch to have Mark in the first match on the first show of the new era. For those keeping score at home, the Code of Honor was blown off in the first match, as Slim J declined to shake the hand of Briscoe. The match was well worked, though it overstayed its welcome a bit with Slim J kicking out of everything until Mark used his brother’s finisher to get a win that felt inevitable.

Tony Deppen was interviewed by Lexi Nair on a backstage set. Deppen read a prepared statement about how he would do the unthinkable by defeating Samoa Joe by pinfall or submission next week…

2. “The Infantry” Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis). The teams adhered to the Code of Honor. Late in the match, Bravo went up top for a move on Bennett, but Taven kicked Bravo right in front of the referee. The Kingdom hit the Proton Pack and then Bennett pinned Bravo.

“The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett defeated “The Infantry” Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo.

Powell’s POV: Dean and Bravo need more time as a team. They went for a couple of stereo style moves early on that felt a bit off. The Kingdom duo is polished and talented, and hopefully they’ll get more creative love in ROH than they did in AEW.

A video package aired on the NJPW TV Title match. Blake Christian spoke about his “All Heart” nickname and said he would beat Zack Sabre Jr. to win the title. Sabre checked in and said the match has a 15-minute time limit and suggested that Christian use those minutes wisely while in the ring with the best technical wrestler in the world…

3. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Blake Christian for the NJPW TV Title. At one point during the match, Sabre laid on the apron, looked into the camera, and asked “Bryan (Danielson)” if he was watching and then said he’s the best technical wrestler in the world. Late in the match, Christian went for a top rope move, but Sabre caught him in a submission hold on the way down and got the submission win moments later. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor after and intense staredown.

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Blake Christian to retain the NJPW TV Title.

Powell’s POV: A very good match and easily the best of the three matches thus far. Christian had the crowd behind him with his hope spots. Sabre calling out Bryan Danielson should set up a great match for either ROH Supercard of Honor or Forbidden Door 2.

Backstage, Nair interviewed Mark Sterling, who was accompanied by Ari Daivari. Sterling tried to talk Konosuke Takeshita into calling off his match with Josh Woods. Sterling offered Takeshita 45 percent of the winner’s purse. Daivari said he’d throw in another $10,000. Takeshita looked at the contract and tore it up before walking away…

Powell’s POV: I wish Sterling would go for actual heat rather than always being featured in these silly tongue-in-cheek segments.

A video featured Christopher Daniels talking about how he was on the first ROH show and is still in the thick of it all these years later. He told anyone who stands in his way to say their prayers…

4. Christopher Daniels vs. Rohit Raju (w/Jora Johl). Both men shook hands prior to the match. Late in the match, Daniels avoided Raju’s Dragon Stomp (top rope double stomp) and then put him down with a uranage slam. Daniels followed up with the Best Moonsault Ever and scored the pin…

Christopher Daniels beat Rohit Raju.

Powell’s POV: I’m surprised that things haven’t gone better for Raju since he became a free agent. He made the most out of anything they gave him in Impact Wrestling and he showed a lot of versatility along the way. That said, I wasn’t surprised to see him lose to Daniels on the first episode of the new ROH show given Daniels’ long history in ROH.

Rhett Titus and Tracy Williams were interviewed by Nair on the backstage set. They spoke about climbing the mountain top and restoring honor. “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis showed at the end of the promo. Fletcher said there’s no better team in ROH than Aussie Open. He offered to face them in a match next week and said they would shake their hands prior to the match as long as Titus and Williams agreed to shake their hands after they lose. The teams shook hands to make the match official…

5. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Josh Woods (w/Mark Sterling). Late in the match, Takeshita went for a German suplex, but Woods countered into a rollup for a two count. Takeshita came right back with a wheelbarrow German suplex and scored the clean pin…

Konosuke Takeshita defeated Josh Woods.

Powell’s POV: A very good match. The crowd was behind Takeshita from the start and the match drew “this is awesome” chants by the end. Woods needs character development as a heel. He was a likable babyface who really came into his own during the pandemic era. He doesn’t seem to have a character these days and comes off like he’s a heel just because he’s associated with Sterling. Meanwhile, Takeshita is a star. AEW continues to tease the idea that Don Callis is scouting Takeshita. While I don’t know where that’s going, I think it would be a mistake to turn Takeshita given how over he is with the live crowds.

ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli was interviewed by Nair on the backstage set. He said AR Fox may have cost him money on AEW television, but nothing would spoil his first title defense on the new HonorClub.

6. ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions “The Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Kaun (w/Prince Nana) vs. Joe Keys, Alex Lawless, and LSG in a non-title match. In the end, Liona and Kaun tossed LSG to Cage, who powerbombed him on the way down and then pinned him…

ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Kaun defeated Joe Keys, Alex Lawless, and LSG in a non-title match.

Powell’s POV: A lopsided win for the six-man tag team champions. It was a well placed match in that it gave viewers a chance to come down from the previous match.

A brief video package aired on Metalik, who is apparently no longer going by Gran Metalik. Riccaboni noted that Metalik also worked as Mascara Dorada…

7. Metalik vs. Ari Daivari (w/Mark Sterling, Slim J). Both wrestlers apprehensively adhered to the Code of Honor. Late in the match, Slim J ran in and held Metalik while referee Paul Turner was distracted by Sterling. Daivari tried to clothesline Metalik, who escaped, causing Daivari to clothesline Slim J instead. Metalik rolled up Daivari and got a visual pinfall, but Daivari was able to kick out due to the referee starting his count so late. Metalik protested with the referee and then Daivari hit him with his clothesline finisher and scored the pin…

Ari Daivari beat Metalik.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining back and forth match. I’m a fan of Daivari’s work and it’s been cool to see him progress from the local indies, but I’m just not buying this wealthy character he’s playing. Like everything involving Sterling, the Daivari act has a campy sports entertainment feel to it.

AR Fox was interviewed by Nair on the backstage interview set. Fox said he tried out for ROH about ten years ago and he wasn’t invited back. He said maybe he wasn’t good enough, so he started busting his ass to be the best he could be. Fox said now he’s in the main event and he’s coming for the title…

Powell’s POV: I want to learn more about Fox’s character. The only thing this established is that he’s a veteran independent wrestler who was rejected by ROH a decade ago. That’s not enough. I really hope this is addressed on future episodes because he is a talented wrestler.

8. Madison Rayne and Sky Blue vs. Charlette Renegade and Robyn Renegade. In the end, Blue and Rayne performed a couple of kicks on one of the Renegades and then Blue put her away with her Skye Fall finisher…

Madison Rayne and Sky Blue beat Charlette Renegade and Robyn Renegade.

Powell’s POV: This had AEW Dark written all over it. There were some slow developing moves and others that looked off. The finishing sequence was underwhelming.

A brief Dalton Castle video aired to promote his appearance on next week’s show…

Riccaboni stood in the ring and introduced ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta for an interview. Yuta walked out dressed in street clothes and had his title belt around his waist. Riccaboni brought up the main event. Yuta took exception to Riccaboni referring to him as the junior member of the Blackpool Combat Club. Yuta said he’s not a junior member, he’s a champion.

Yuta said he surrounded himself with three of the best wrestlers of all-time in Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli. Yuta said they beat him down and then forged him in combat. Yuta said he was willing to defend his title against anyone on next week’s show.

Timothy Thatcher made his entrance. Thatcher stood on the stage and said he’s not big on talking, but he is big on fighting. Thatcher accepted Yuta’s open challenge for an ROH Pure Rules Championship match for next week…

A brief video hyped TNT Champion and ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe as appearing on next week’s show…

9. Lady Frost vs. Willow Nightingale. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Frost hit a nice top rope moonsault for a near fall late in the match. Willow caught Frost charging in the corner and then performed a gut-wrench powerbomb and got the three count. The wrestlers shook hands and hugged afterward.

Willow Nightingale beat Lady Frost.

Riccaboni joined Willow in the ring afterward and teased dancing. Riccaboni laughed and then told Willow that she’s his wife’s favorite wrestler. Riccaboni asked Willow what’s next for her. She pointed out that she won her last two ROH pay-per-view matches. Willow said she’s been on a roll and thinks it’s time that she challenges Athena for the ROH Women’s Championship.

ROH Women’s Champion Athena made her entrance and spoke from the stage. Athena congratulated Willow on her win. Athena said Willow was happy to be there. Athena said she wouldn’t be champion if she was just happy to be there. Athena accepted Willow’s challenge for next week and heeled it up in the process…

Powell’s POV: I’m surprised they are going to Athena vs. Willow next week. I thought they would save that match for ROH Supercard of Honor. I suppose that whatever they do next week may still be working in that direction. If not, I’m curious to see what the women’s title match will be at the pay-per-view.

10. Claudio Castagnoli vs. AR Fox for the ROH Championship. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor and then referee Paul Turner called for the bell. Late in the match, Fox performed a 450 splash for a good near fall. A short time later, Fox went for a springboard move, but Castagnoli caught him with an uppercut and then pinned him.

Claudio Castagnoli defeated AR Fox to retain the ROH Championship.

Afterward, Castagnoli stood in the middle of the ring and applauded while looking down at Fox, who stood up and shook his hand. Castagnoli raised the arm of Fox, who left the ring.

Eddie Kingston made his entrance. Fox was lying on the floor next to the ring steps. Kingston leaned down and slapped his hand. Kingston entered the ring and informed Castagnoli that he’s an independent contractor so he could be there. Kingston recalled promising Jon Moxley that he wouldn’t beat Castagnoli’s ass in AEW. “But this ain’t AEW, bro,” Kingston said. “I’m coming after that championship.

An “Eddie” chant broke out. Kingston told Castagnoli not to be scared. Kingston handed Castagnoli the microphone for his rebuttal, but Castagnoli simply dropped the mic and left the ring. Castagnoli went to the stage and put his title belt around his waist, then nodded at Kingston and headed to the back. Kingston grumbled to the fans off-mic as he left the ring and headed to the back. The broadcast team hyped the previously advertised title matches for next week to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A good, competitive main event. I never bought into the idea of Fox winning the title, but the live crowd enjoyed it and it was an entertaining match. I’m guessing that the post match angle is setting up Castagnoli vs. Kingston for the ROH Supercard of Honor pay-per-view that will be held during WrestleMania weekend. Kingston was spinning his wheels in AEW, so some time away in ROH could be good for him. That said, he also strikes me as a perfect foil for MJF due to the differences between their characters, so hopefully Kingston finds his way back to AEW in a meaningful role eventually.

Overall, this was a safely booked show in terms of having predictable match outcomes. It was a good show that could have been even better had they trimmed some matches from the card and opted to focus heavily on the matches and angles that truly mattered. There’s obviously a place for spotlight matches, but I don’t know that we needed as many as there were on this show. I get that Tony Khan probably feels like he needs to deliver longer episodes to justify the price of HonorClub. Personally, I’d prefer to watch a 60- to 75-minute show (there are no commercials) filled with mostly meaningful content and leaves me wanting more rather than a bloated show that starts to feel like it is overstaying its welcome. I will have a lot more to say about the premiere episode of ROH on HonorClub in my Pro Wrestling Boom podcast coming up later today.


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