By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 12)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios
Streamed May 18, 2023 on HonorClub
Ian Riccaboni, Caprice Coleman and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary, and Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
*Note – Unless otherwise stated, all matches began and ended with a Code of Honor handshake
The show started with Willie Mack and Ninja Mack in the back talking about mutual respect and maybe forming a tag team.
1. Gringo Loco vs. Rey Fenix (w/Alex Aberhantes). This started off with the men trading kicks and lucha spots. Fenix got the early advantage with a springboard headscissors that sent Loco to the outside where Fenix splashed Loco from the top rope. Back in the ring, Loco took over and worked on tearing the mask of Fenix. Loco hit an inverse Angle slam for a two count. Fenix hit a rope walking PK kick, and a frog splash for a two count.
Fenix hit a rebound roundhouse kick for a double down. Loco hit a diving cutter from the top rope for a two count. Fenix hit a rolling hurricanrana for a two count. The crowd chanted “Cero Miedo”. Fenix hit his triple jump hurricanrana from the outside to the inside for a two count. Loco hit a jumping, rotating destroyer from the top rope for a two count. Fenix hit a poison rana and Phoenix Rising (a rolling cutter) for the pinfall victory.
Rey Fenix defeated Gringo Loco by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fun opening bout. A step or so slower than some of the other lucha matches we have seen recently on ROH, but super fun nonetheless.
Backstage Dashsa had “The Wingmen” backstage who made fun of their opponent’s for tonight and flaunted their own style.
2. Willow Nightingale vs Madi Wrenkowski. Madi Wrenkowski was in the ring to start the match. The crowd chanted for Willow as the match got started. Willow hit a pair of shoulder tackles and a senton, before Wrenkowski took over with a tarantula choke in the corner. Wrenkowski worked Willow over on the outside for a few seconds, tossed her back in and tried a pinfall but only got a one count. Willow took back over with some corner strikes and a spinebuster. Wrenkowski countered a powerbomb attempt with a facebuster, and got a two count. Willow came right back with the POUNCE and her gutwrench powerbomb for the win.
Willow Nightingale defeated Madi Wrenkowski by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Nice win for Willow. The announcers touted her recent win streak on ROH, which now sits at 6-0. I guess we’re going to get another Willow vs Athena match soon, since they blew right through Skye Blue last week.
3.”The Wingmen” ”Pretty” Peter Avalon and Ryan Nemeth vs. Iron Savages. Iron Savages don’t have entrance music, they just come out to their manager ranting and raving about them being Iron Savages. The Wingmen got to a quick advantage with some quick tag team work, but it didn’t last long. Bronson hit a stalling vertical suplex on Nemeth for a two count. Boulder got tagged in and hit a big splash in the corner. Bronson tagged back in and Avalon tagged in and The Wingmen did a tag team move for a two count.
Nemeth posed in the hardcam while Bronson snuck up behind and hit a spinebuster. Hot tag to Boulder who went to work on The Wingmen. Boulder flapjacked both men, then missed a moonsault. Avalon hit a splash and got a bunch of two counts as Boulder pressed Avalon. Crowd chanting “Savages” as the Savages hit an electric chair drop of Bronson onto the Wingmen for the win.
Iron Savages defeated by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Not as much of a squash as I would have thought it would be. Savages probably have something, but they probably need to give up a little less in their matches, at least for a little while, and especially against opponents like The Wingmen.
4. Cole Karter and Zack Clayton vs Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal. Some early headlocks and shoulder tackles by Karter before Daniels took over and tagged in Sydal where they did some tag team work and Sydal tried for a pinfall and got a two count. Calyton got tagged in, and so did Daniels. After some tag work Daniels got a one count pinfall. Karter and Clayton took over with some quick tags and worked over Sydal. Clayton hit a powerslam and Karter tagged in and hit a frog splash and got a two count as Daniels broke it up. Sydal hit a DDT and hot tagged Daniels who hit a series of forearms and backdrops. Sydal and Karter fought to the outside and Daniels hit the BME for the pinfall victory.
Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal defeated Cole Karter and Zack Clayton by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Showcase win for Daniels and Sydal. Pretty basic tag stuff here. Clayton and Karter looked good in defeat, getting to show some strong powerful offense. The tag division might be over-saturated at this point, and I’m not sure what purpose Daniels and Sydal serve in it. Old hands that can bring along new talent, I guess but again, so many tag teams already exist.
A video package hyped up the main event, the Match Without Honor featuring The Kingdom vs. Action Andretti and Darius Martin. Still a great video package even though we saw it last week too.
5. Miranda Alize vs. Lady Frost. Miranda blew off the handshake of honor and worked over Frost in the corner to absolute crowd silence. The crowd had been great until this bout. Alize hit a butterfly suplex for a one count. Frost hit a comeback and a handspring cannonball for a two count nearfall. Alize hit a throwout vertical suplex for a two count, and then a one count. Alize hit a tiger driver for a two count. Frost hit some sort of cartwheel slam and then Temperature Drop (a Twisting Moonsualt) for the pinfall victory.
Lady Frost defeated Miranda Alize by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: These ladies hit a lot of strong, powerful moves, but they did them a half step slower than I’d like to see at this stage. This didn’t last very long either.
6. Eli Isom and Cheeseburger vs. “Spanish Announce Project” Angelico and Serpentico (w/Luther). The crowd was chanting “SAP” before the bell. Cheeseburger did the Johnny Saint spots and locked in a submission hold that Angelico broke up. Angelico tagged in and locked Cheeseburger up in a deathlock variant, and Cheeseburger got to the ropes. SAP worked over Cheeseburger in the corner but he made it to his corner for the hot tag to Isom. Isom hit an exploder suplex and a pop-up neckbreaker for a two count. Cheeseburger back in, Angelico back in. Isom dived on Serpentico on the outside, while Cheeseburger rolled up Angleico for two. After a Luther distraction, Angelico locked in a twisting deathlock variant for the tap out.
Angelico and Serpentico defeated Eli Isom and Cheeseburger by submission.
Robinson’s Ruminations: I’m not sure if this is the case in AEW, but on ROH the heels don’t always work from the bottom corner of the hard camera, but the lesser stars do. It threw me off here for a minute. This was a fun showcase for SAP, yet another tag team.
7. Zack Sabre Jr. vs AR Fox for the NJPW World Television Championship. Sabre started off with arm work but Fox flipped out and mocked Sabre. Fox hit a leg lariat and a skin the cat dropkick in the corner for a two count. Fox hit a slingblade and Sabre went outside where Fox hit a high dive on Sabre. Fox hit a springboard dropkick for a one count. The crowd with dueling chants as Sabre locked in an arm and head submission hold, Fox got to the ropes. Sabre worked over Fox with European Uppercuts. Fox really sold his arm, not even being able to Irish Whip, stark contrast to his no-selling of piledrivers last week.
Fox hit a swinging suplex for a two count. Sabre came back, continuing to work on Fox’s arm. Sabre hit a PK for a two count. Fox hit a hanging DDT for a two count. Fox tried for a superplex but Sabre countered into a tarantula hold on the top rope. Fox hit a Spanish fly for a two count. Fox kicked Sabre out of the ring and hit another huge flip dive to the outside. Back in the ring Fox took too long on the 450 splash and Sabre rolled him up for a two count. Sabre worked over Fox’s legs. Sabre locked Fox in a banana split and stretch muffler combo submission for the tap out.
Zack Sabre Jr defeated AR Fox by submission.
In the ring, Dasha asked Sabre about his match against Jeff Cobb coming up. Sabre said he’s the best champion and most active TV champion in the world. That brought out Samoa Joe. Nigel begged to see this match on commentary, I agree. Joe said that here in ROH there can only be one TV champion. Joe said let’s do it tonight.
Before Sabre could accept, out come Daniels and Sydal. Daniels says that Joe can’t make matches. Daniels says that Sydal needs some single’s gold. Daniels asks which one wants to give Sydal a title match. Sabre proposes a tag match where if Daniels and Sydal win they’ll get a title match, and then maybe they’ll get back to their match later. I guess this match will happen next week?
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was a heck of a showcase for AR Fox. Much better selling than last week and he hit some strong, unique offense to match Sabre’s unique offense. The idea of Joe vs Sabre Jr intrigues me so much. The tag match, not so much, but I’m sure it’ll deliver.
8.”Gates of Agony” Kaun and Toa Lion (w/Prince Nana) vs. Dalton Castle and “The Boy” Brandon Tate. Thankfully, the Twitter handle at the bottom of the lower ⅓ showed us that The Boy is Brandon Tate, cause nothing else even told us which one is which. Castle was all fired up talking trash while doing the code of honor handshake. Brandon really wanted to start the match, and he did against Khan. Prince Nana got on the apron and gave his men the distraction they needed to take over. Gates worked over Brandon in their corner.
Khan hit a backbreaker and got a two count with Castle breaking it up. Toa hit a splash and tried for a pinfall, but Castle broke it up again. Khan got a two count, and Brandon actually kicked out. Brandon got to Dalton finally for the hot tag. Castle hit some bulldogs. Castle used a titty twister as a counter and then Castle and Tate hit a bunch of splashes for a two count. Castle hit a german suplex on Khan. Nana on the apron again, and Khan hit a fireman’s carry gutbuster on castle to send him out of the ring, and then Gates hit Open the Cates on Brandon for the pinfall victory. The announcers questioned if Brandon was the legal man.
“Gates of Agony” defeated Dalton Castle and The Boy by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fun match. Lots of selling by Brandon, who made Gates look super strong. Castle looked like a dope getting distracted by Nana twice.
9. Schaff, Ricky Gibson and Eddie Pearl vs. Shane Taylor and “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake. Gibson and Pearl got a quick moment to shine against Henry but Drake got tagged in and then ended quick. Drake hit a Drake Bomb for a two count as Gibson broke up the pinfall. Shaff and Taylor got tagged in and Taylor put him down with a clothesline. Workhorsemen hit suplexes on the tag team while Taylor hit a package piledriver on Schaff.
“The Workhorsemen” and Shane Talyor defeated Schaff, Ricky Gibson and Eddie Pearl by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A quick squash for a six-man team. The six-man division needs some babyface teams, not another strong heel team. Odd. The Workhorsemen are really growing on me. I’d hate to see them locked away in the six-man division.
Backstage Dasha asked The Righteous about their feud with Dark Order. Before much of an answer, Stu Grayson appeared and questioned them too. The Righteous said the Dark Order didn’t have his back but they do. Uno appeared and tried to tell Righteous off, but Grayson cut him off and said no one speaks for me and stormed off. Uno questioned what just happened.
10. Ashley D’Amboise vs. Mercedes Martinez. D’Amboise used her agility and power to work over Matrinez at the start. Martinez cut her off with a forearm. Martinex hit some suplexes for a two count. D’Amboise came back with a neckbreaker. Martinez cut her off with a spinebuster for a two count. D’Amboise caught an inside cradle for a two count. D’Amboise hit an inverted Death Valley Driver for a two count. Martinez came back and hit a curb stomp and locked in a surfboard dragon sleeper for the submission.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Ashley D’Amboise by submission.
Robinson’s Ruminations: D’Amboise is coming along very nicely. The announcers really talked her up big. Martinez being back throws some questions about who’s next for Athena into the light. Maybe it’ll be a number one contenders match with Matinez and Willow.
11.”The Kingdom” Mike Bennett and Matt Taven (w/Maria Kenellis) vs. Action Andretti and Darius Martin in a Fight Without Honor. Andretti came out to the stage with a pipe, and The Kingdom came to get him but Darius blindsided them. Andretti and Martin suplexed The Kingdom on the stage. Down at the ring, Martin slammed Taven into the stairs. Andretti and Martin tossed weapons into the ring. In the ring, Andretti and Martin double drop kicked Bennett in the face who was holding a chair. Taven got a trash can on his head and the faces slammed other weapons on it.
Bennett came back into the ring bleeding. Andretti and Taven got a ladder out. Maria hit Marin low and Bennett slammed Marin with a chair and he fell off the apron. Bennett hit a spinebuster on a trashcan on Andretti. The ladder got put on Darius’ neck and Taven kneed the ladder into Darius’ face. The Kingdom tried a Doomsday Device from the inside out, but Darius got away and Taven dove onto Bennett. As Darius tried to set up a table, Taven blasted him with a chair. The Kingdom tried for a spike piledriver on some set up chairs, but it went awry, but it got them a two count anyway. Andretti got away from the Proton Pack and worked over The Kingdom with superkicks.
Andretti hit a springboard 450 while Taven was laid out on a table. He then suplexed Taven into the table that didn’t break and got a two count. Bennett hit a Spicolli Driver into a table that was set up in the corner. Taven hit Purple Thunder on an open chair for a two count. Bennett tossed Martin from the top rope to the outside, backwards. Maria hit Martin with a pipe. Then she held Martin up for Bennett to chop him. Marin ducked and Bennett blasted Maria with a forearm. Andretti hit Taven low and then Marin and Andretti hit a nasty looking slam on a chair to Taven. Bennett came back in to get worked over, and Martin and Andretti hit a Doomsday Device off a ladder for the pinfall.
Action Andretti and Darius Martin defeated “The Kingdom” Mike Bennett and Matt Taven by pinfall in a Fight without Honor.
After the match, Darius trash talked The Kingdom as the crowd chanted “That was Awesome”. The Kingdom offered the code of honor handshake before they retreated. Bennett ranted in the camera about how that match was ROH. Marin and Andretti posed atop the ladder as the show closed…
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was a super fun brawl. All four men worked hard and took some nasty bumps. They worked hard in this one. Overall, a fun show that set up some interesting angles going forward, closed out some others and made progress on some stories, which isn’t always the case with an ROH show these days. I will have more to say about this episode in my weekly ROH on HonorClub audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).