By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 4)
Taped February 26, 2023 in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed March 23, 2023 on HonorClub
ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe was interviewed by Lexi Nair on the backstage interview set. Joe said Mark Briscoe is forgetting who he is getting in the ring with. Joe issued an open challenge and said he would remind Briscoe of who he is getting in the ring with… The ROH opening aired…
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman checked in on commentary and noted that Supercard of Honor was just over a week away. Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
1. Mark Briscoe vs. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling, Josh Woods). Mark brought his ROH Tag Team Title belt to the ring with him. Mark performed a Jay Briscoe style neckbreaker for a late near fall. Nese rallied with a flurry of kicks, but Mark responded with a big suplex. A short time later, Mark put Nese down with a Death Valley Driver and then followed up with his Froggy Bow elbow drop and scored the clean pin. Mark hugged young members of the Briscoe family who were in attendance…
Mark Briscoe defeated Tony Nese.
Powell’s POV: The strong match one would expect from these two. It’s a shame that Nese just hasn’t clicked as a personality, because he’s excellent in the ring. There was no mystery regarding the outcome of the match, as Mark had to go over strong as he gets closer to his ROH TV Title match against Samoa Joe. By the way, I’m filling in for Sam Robinson, who needed the week off.
2. Blake Christian, Metalik, and AR Fox vs. Slim J, Ari Daivari, and Jeeves Kay (w/Mark Sterling). There was a wild double Spanish Fly tower of doom spot with the babyfaces coming out on top. Daivari dove off the top rope at Fox, who caught him with a cutter. Fox performed a 450 splash on Daivari and pinned him clean.
Blake Christian, Metalik, and AR Fox beat Slim J, Ari Daivari, and Jeeves Kay.
After the match, ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Kaun attacked the babyface trio and cleared them from the ring. Prince Nana entered the ring and handed the champions their title belts…
Powell’s POV: I assume this means the babyface trio will be challenging for the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles at Supercard of Honor. The match was well worked and drew some “this is awesome” chants. It’s just tough to take The Trustbusters act seriously because it just hasn’t clicked.
3. Skye Blue vs. Lady Frost. Late in the match, Blue performed a crossbody block from the ropes for a near fall. Blue followed up with a backslide for a two count. Blue executed a neckbreaker and then hit her Skye Fall finisher and scored the clean pin. The wrestlers shook hands afterward…
Skye Blue defeated Lady Frost.
Powell’s POV: There were a couple of clunky moments, but it was good for the most part. Blue should benefit from getting longer matches on ROH than she would on the AEW YouTube shows.
4. Rush and Dralistico (w/Jose) vs. Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus. The heel duo blew off the Code of Honor. There was a spot where Williams and Titus hit a series of moves on Rush that led to Titus covering him. Dralistico was late to break up the pin and there were some boos, but Rush actually had one shoulder up anyway. A short time later, Rush hit his Bull’s Horns finisher on Titus and then pinned him…
Rush and Dralistico beat Tracy Williams and Rhett Titus.
Powell’s POV: It’s seems pretty clear already that Williams and Titus aren’t getting the same type of push that they did while working as part of The Foundation with Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal in the Sinclair version of ROH. They were given some offense, but this was clearly more about showcasing Rush and Dralistico. I was happy to see Williams advertised for MLW’s Opera Cup tournament. He’s a talented guy and hopefully he’ll be showcased with some wins in the annual tournament.
Caprice Coleman conducted a sit-down interview with ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston. Coleman recalled Castagnoli stating that Kingston had no honor and wasn’t worthy of being champion. Castagnoli said it was self explanatory, but he apologized and conceded that Kingston has his own style of pride and honor, though he still feels he shouldn’t be champion.
Kingston said Castagnoli’s apology doesn’t mean anything to him. Kingston said the only thing that matters to him is beating Castagnoli for the championship that was held by mentors such as Low-Ki, Xavier, and Homicide. He said that lineage belongs to the underdog and the fighter. He said Castagnoli isn’t a fighter. Kingston said Castagnoli met his family and is a coward for not doing business the first time. Kingston said Jon Moxley can’t stop any of this.
Castagnoli said Kingston sees himself as a fighter, but he quits when things get difficult. Castagnoli said he works out every day while Kingston threw himself pity parties. Castagnoli said Kingston talks the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk. Castagnoli said he’s not scared of Kingston, he’s scared for him because he’s on a different level than Kingston is. Kingston told Castagnoli to prove it by giving him a title shot.
Castagnoli granted Kingston the title shot and said he would beat him and outclass him. Castagnoli said Kingston would blame everyone but himself for the loss. He said Kingston will run away and quit again. Castagnoli called Kingston the biggest waste of potential that he’s ever seen in his life…
Powell’s POV: An excellent verbal exchange. There’s a lot of good wrestling on the ROH show and while we’re not even halfway through the episode, I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t stick with me more than any of the matches.
5. Matt Taven (w/Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis) vs. Darius Martin. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Darius was sent to ringside. Maria distracted the referee while Bennett took a cheap shot. Later, the wrestlers traded nearfalls and then threw simultaneous enzuigiri kicks that put them both down briefly. Taven hit Just The Tip and followed up with a frogsplash, but Darius hook him into a pin for a two count. Martin took out Bennett with a suicide dive. When Martin returned to the ring, Maria grabbed his foot as he was going through the ropes. Taven hit Climax and scored the pin.
Matt Taven defeated Darius Martin.
After the match, the heels surrounded Darius, but Dante Martin ran out and chased them off…
Powell’s POV: You had to know Taven was going over when Dante Martin didn’t accompany his brother to ringside, leaving him outnumbered. For that matter, Taven is a former ROH Champion, so they should make his singles match losses count. Between the ROH show and the angle on AEW Dynamite, the creative forces have done a nice job of setting up the feud between the two tag teams. I’d like to see The Kingdom win the ladder match to become the new ROH Tag Team Champions and then have Top Flight chase them for the titles.
6. Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana, Toa Liona, Kaun) vs. Tony Deppen. The wrestlers adhered to the Code of Honor. Deppen had a nice flurry of offense that included a missile dropkick followed by double knees in the corner. Deppen went up top and drilled Cage with a double stomp for a good near fall. Cage rallied with a clothesline, but Deppen caught him in an inside cradle for a near fall. Cage put him down with a spinebuster and then followed up with the Drill Claw and scored the pin.
Brian Cage defeated Tony Deppen.
After the match, Toa and Kaun entered the ring and attacked Deppen. AR Fox, Metalik, and Blake Christian ran out with weapons and chased off the heel trio…
Powell’s POV: A good match with Deppen getting some believable near falls before Cage put him away. Cage has taken enough losses on AEW television that it didn’t feel unrealistic to think that Deppen might beat him. Deppen is working as a free agent and will actually face Tracy Williams in that Opera Cup tournament match for MLW.
7. Silas Young vs. Shane Taylor (w/JD Griffey). The crowd opted to cheer for Taylor over Young, who drew some “Silas Sucks” chants at one point. Taylor played into the cheers and got a “Let’s Go Shane” chant. Taylor drilled Young with a knee strike and then put him down with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Young came back with some knee strikes and a DDT for a near fall of his own. Taylor took control and put Young down with a uranage and then splashed him for another near fall. Young rallied went for his finishing moonsault, but Taylor avoided it. Taylor hit Young with a knee strike and his piledriver finisher before getting the clean pin. The wrestlers shook hands afterward…
Shane Taylor defeated Silas Young.
Powell’s POV: A good competitive match from the former ROH TV Champions. I hope both men have meaningful roles in the new ROH. Young can play a great gatekeeper, and Taylor should get another crack at being in the upper mix. Taylor’s mic work always stood out in the Sinclair ROH era, so hopefully he starts to get some good promo time.
8. Billie Starkz vs. Miranda Alize. Alize blew off the Code of Honor to establish herself as the heel. Late in the match, Starkz performed a suplex onto her knee. She went for a Swanton, but Alize avoided it. Alize performed a neckbreaker. Alize went for a Drive By, but Starz hooked her into a pin for a two count. Starkz followed up with her Starkz Driver finisher and scored the pin…
Billie Starkz beat Miranda Alize.
Powell’s POV: More good than bad. There were a couple of rough moments, but it was a pretty good match that the broadcast team tried to sell as an upset. I think the idea was to have Starkz beat Alize just as Rok-C (Roxanne Perez) did as the teenage sensation in the finals of the ROH Women’s Championship tournament. This match really could have used a pre-match video package or promo time.
9. Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal vs. “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis. Late in the match, Daniels dragged Sydal to their corner and tagged himself in. Daniels worked over both opponents and put them down with a double clothesline. Daniels put Fletcher down with a Blue Thunder Driver for a near fall. Daniels set up for Angel’s Wings, but Fletcher escaped and hit some double team moves on Daniels. Sydal got involved and was taken out by a piledriver. Davis blindsided Daniels with a kick. Fletcher and Davis performed their finishing sequence on Daniels and then Fletcher pinned him. Afterward, the babyfaces thought about leaving, but they stuck opted to shake hands with Aussie Open and then raised their arms…
“Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis defeated Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal.
Powell’s POV: The best match of the show. I was surprised to see how friendly the teams were afterward, as I’ve always looked at Aussie Open as heels in AEW/ROH.
Riccaboni questioned who would take up Joe’s open challenge. The mystery graphic was clearly for Cheeseburger, who then made his entrance followed by Joe…
10. Samoa Joe vs. Cheeseburger for the ROH TV Title. Joe dominated the brief match and hit the Muscle Buster for the win.
Samoa Joe defeated Cheeseburger to retain the ROH TV Title.
Afterward, Joe performed another Muscle Buster and then looked into the camera and talked smack to Mark Briscoe. Joe went to ringside and dumped ring announcer Bobby Cruise before grabbing his chair. Mark Briscoe made his entrance with a chair in hand, causing Joe to leave the ring. Riccaboni hyped Joe vs. Briscoe for the ROH TV Title for the ROH Supercard of Honor event to close the show…
Powell’s POV: I’m not really sure why they positioned Cheeseburger as a mystery open challenger during the taping and then just announced that he’d be challenging Joe online ahead of this episode. Nevertheless, this wasn’t much of a main event, but it’s what it needed to be with Joe making quick work of the longtime underdog fan favorite. The post match angle was really basic and forgettable, though I am looking forward to Joe vs. Briscoe.
I would gladly give up one match per week in favor of more mic time for the wrestlers. It would help with both the presentation of the matches and character development while also breaking things up a bit to prevent the matches from running together. The tag match was good, but the most memorable part of the show truly was the sit-down interview between Castagnoli and Kingston. I’m surprised there weren’t more promos and storytelling to set up the pay-per-view matches. I will be hosting our weekly ROH on HonorClub audio review later today for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).