By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 17)
Taped in Chicago, Illinois at United Center
Streamed June 22, 2023 on HonorClub
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary, and Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer…
*Unless otherwise noted, all matches started and ended with the Code of Honor handshake.
At the top of the show the ROH Championship committee handed Samoa Joe a new ROH TV Title belt. Joe said he’s going to stomp faces.
1. Serpentico, Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade (w/ The Bunny, Luther and Angelico) vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo, Komander and “The Lucha Bros” Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo (w/ Alex Abrahantes). Vikingo and Serpentico started the match off with some crazy lucha opening spots. Vikingo stopped a huracanrana attempt but got caught with a powerbomb. Komander and Butcher got tagged in. Kip Sabian got a knee in and Komander got tossed to ringside. Sabian hit a layout moonsault and tossed Komander back in the ring for a big lariat from Butcher who got a two count.
The heels worked over Komander with quick tags. Sabian hit a bridging fisherman’s suplex for a two count. There must have been some botches cause as Komander came off a springboard we got a shot of Penta’s face for a few seconds. Penta got the hot tag and went crazy on the heels. Fenix got tagged in and hit a giant crossbody on two of the heels.
All the luchadors hit superkicks on all the heels. Fenix got a two count on Sabian off that. Butcher and Blade hit Drag the Lake and Sabian hit a double stomp off the rope. That got all the luchadores in to break it up. The Luchadors did a hamstring stretch in the center while Penta hit a destroyer on Serpentico in the middle of it. Vikingo and Fenix dove on heels outside. Penta hit Fear Factor on Serpentico for the three count.
El Hijo Del Vikingo, Komander and “The Lucha Bros” Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Serpentico, Kip Sabian, The Butcher, and The Blade.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Fun lucha opener. All the luchadors got spots to shine.
2.Gringo Loco vs. Willie Mack. Started off slow with some arm work but it picked up quick with some reversals and flip outs that got the crowd into it. Willie hit a big DDT and then hit a bunch of running corner strikes including a cannonball that got him a two count. Willie hit a samoan drop, kipped up and hit a standing moonsault for a two count.
Willie put Loco on the top turnbuckle but Loco knocked him off and hit a springboard moonsault that sent Willie outside where Loco immediately flip-dove onto him. Loco tried for a move off the top but Wille rolled out, and hit a Sky High that got a two count on Loco. Willie hit a huge running shining wizard for a double down. Willie went to the top and Loco followed him up, where Loco hit a standing spanish fly for the three count.
Gringo Loco defeated Willie Mack by pinfall in 8:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A little slower of a match than I expected from these two, but it was still pretty fun. I was surprised to see Loco win, but it was his hometown, so there is that.
3. Trish Adora vs. Allison Kay. No televised entrance for Kay. Adora came out wearing a camo army jacket and did a salute during her entrance. Early on the women did a test of strength. When Adora got the advantage Kay threw a knee. Adora hit a northern lights for a two count. Adora locked in a head scissors submission and Kay threw her into the ropes to break it and it was an ugly throw and landing.
Kay hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Kay started pie facing Adora who hit a german suplex while she was on her knees. Adora threw her hips into Kay who was slumped in the corner. Adora hit another northern lights for a two count. Kay hit a German suplex and a pump kick for a two count. Adora hit Lariat Tubman for the three count. Adora then saluted the camera.
Trish Adora defeated Allison Kay by pinfall in 5:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: The time in the NJPW dojo is paying big dividends for Adora. She’s looking good in the ring, and it hasn’t taken but a few months to get there.
4. Silas Young vs. Kyle Fletcher. Silas and Fletcher both rolled through some arm work to start. Then they stuffed shoulder blocks on each other, until Fletcher got the knockdown. Fletcher knocked Silas to the floor with a big leg lariat and then did a small dive on him on the outside. Back in the ring Silas hung Fletcher on the top rope and took over. Silas tried to suplex Fletcher but he reversed it and got a suplex of his own.
Fletcher took back over and got a two count off a back suplex. Fletcher hit a nasty looking chicken wing suplex and then hit a brainbuster falcon arrow for a two count. Silas cut Fletcher off and hit a backbreaker lariat combo for a two count. Silas tried for his Plunge sit-out moonsault but no one was home. Fletcher hit his hammerlock reverse DDT for the pinfall victory.
Kyle Fletcher defeated Silas Young by pinfall in 6:45.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice win for Fletcher over an opponent that made him have to work for it. Silas is the same size as Fletcher and this was a good pairing to make Fletcher look tough.
5. “The Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Bishop Kaun (w/Prince Nana) vs. Trenton Storm, AJZ and Luke Curtis. The enhancement trio didn’t get an entrance. Toa hit a big back drop on one of the jobbers and knocked the other two off the apron. The jobber hit a DDT on Toa but he no sold it and hit a belly to belly for a pinfall that got broken up.
Toa took the jobber to the corner to make him tag out. Cage tagged in against Storm. Cage stuffed a huracanrana attempt and hit a power bomb and then tossed Storm across the ring with a German. Kaun and AJZ tagged in and they forearmed each other a bunch. Kaun cut him off with a stun gun on the ropes. Kaun put AJZ on the top rope and gave him a sidewalk slam on the turnbuckle and Toa hit a senton on him on the apron. All three Embassy members hit finishers on the jobbers and pinned them all.
“The Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Bishop Kaun defeated Trenton Storm, AJZ and Luke Curtis by pinfall in 5:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another squash for The Embassy. Nothing to see here.
6. Josh Woods (w/Mark Sterling, Tony Neese) vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys). No idea what order these matches were taped in, but Castle seemed to wake up the crowd. The men did some chain wrestling to start and traded hip toss attempts before Woods pulled Dalton into the ropes and knocked him out of the ring. Dalton ran around outside the ring and got the crowd going. Back in the ring Castle hit a DDT and got a one count. Woods got hung up on the top turnbuckle and Castle hit a running knee that knocked Woods to the other side of the ring.
Sterling chased The Boys off and Nese distracted Castle so that Woods could take advantage. Woods hit a bridging german suplex for a two count. Castle made a comeback with a lariat and a couple of big suplexes including a big german for a two count. Sterling helped Woods get out of a Bangarang. Woods hit a German suplex and pump kick for a two count. Castle clotheslined Woods out of the ring and then threw both Boys out on Nese who was on the outside. Woods came back in and he got caught with Bangarang.
Dalton Castle defeated Josh Woods by pinfall in 9:15.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Nothing special, but those guys were throwing each other all over the place.
Stokely Hathaway was in the back and he got surrounded by “The Kingdom” Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, and Maria Kanellis, who told him that they deserved a tag team title match. Stokely told them that they needed to win while he was watching. The Kingdom told him that The Infantry was trash talking him and Maria whispered something into his ear as they left…
Another backstage segment with Stokley where The Infantry interrupted him asking him for a match against The Kingdom. Stokely told them they got the match and that their glasses looked ridiculous…
7. “The Infantry” Capt. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo vs. “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett (w/ Maria Kanlleis-Bennett). The announcers played up that Chicago natives were undefeated tonight, and they let us know that The Infantry are Chicago natives. Dean hit some quick arm drags and a drop kick on Bennett. The Infantry hit some quick offense and Bravo got a two cout on Bennett. Taven tagged in and Bravo got the best of him with big shots including a slingshot stunner that Maria had to break up by pulling Taven’s foot onto the ropes. The Kingdom took back over and went to work on Bravo. Bennett hit a brainbuster for a two count.
Bennett hit a spinebuster and Taven hit a lionsault for a two count. Taven hit a DDT for a two count. Bravo got the hot tag to Dean who went to work with clotheslines and back drops. Dean hit a high crossbody off the top on both members. Dean hit a tiger driver on Bennett for a two count. The Infantry hit a team work uranage for a two count. The Kingdom hit some combo moves for a two count on Bravo. Bravo hit an ax kick and Dean hit a frog splash for a cover that Bennett had to break up. It broke down until Dean and Bennett hit a double clothesline for a double down. Maria got on the apron to distract the ref and Bennett hit Dean with a chair in the gut. Trish Adora pulled Maria off the apron and The Kingdom were distracted. Dean rolled up Bennett for a three count.
“The Infantry” Capt. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo defeated “The Kingdom” Matt Taven and Mike Bennett in 9:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: It was very nice to see The Infantry pick up a win. I was curious if Adora was going to be put with them due to her military garb, I just didn’t expect it so soon. The Infantry looked real good here. They hung with The Kingdom and the whole match was nearly in second gear.
8. Lee Moriarty and Big Bill vs. Blake Christian and Matt Sydal. Moriarty and Sydal started off with some chain wrestling until Sydal hit a running huracanrana and a standing twisting corkscrew for a two count. Christian tagged in and got locked in an octopus by Moriarty. Christian rocked out and hit a drop kick that set up Moriarty for a bottom rope 619. Sydal tagged in and he and Christian hit a bunch of running moves on Moriarty. Moriarty took a breather on the outside and tagged in Big Bill.
Bill hanged Sydal in a jackknife and Moriarty hit a dropkick on Sydal’s head. Moriarty tagged back in and worked over Sydal in the corner until Bill had to pull him off. Moriarity hit a northern lights suplex for a two count. Bill tagged back in and missed an avalanche. Moriarty tagged in and missed a move too and Sydal hit a hot tag to Chrisitain who hit a bunch of crazy lucha offense. Christian hit a suicide dive on Bill on the outside and then a Fozberry flop on Moriairty on the other side.
Christian hit a springboard 450 and hit a cover that Bill had to break up. Bill got the blind tag and he clotheslined both Sydal and Christian. Bill hit a double rotation boss man slam for a cover that Sydal had to break up. Everyone but Chrisitan got tossed to ringside. Christian did a somersault 450 to the outside and landed on his feet. When he got up, Bill chokeslammed him on the apron and then hit the East River Crossing for the three count.
Lee Moriarty and Big Bill defeated Blake Christian and Matt Sydal by pinfall in 10:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Why was Sydal working with a new partner and not Christopher Daniels? It was never addressed. The match was fun for what it was. It was nice to see Big Bill in an actual match. It seems like we never see him in the ring, but only on the outside.
The Kingdom were upset backstage over their loss. They were mad at Stokely. Bennett said they were gonna go sweet talk Jerry Lynn into giving them what they want…
9. Davey Bang and August Matthews vs. “Dark Order” Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Negative One). No entrance for Bang and Matthews. Silver hit a big clothesline and a huge biel toss. Reynolds hit a butterfly powerbomb for a cover that got broken up. Matthews got tagged in and Reynolds unloaded on him with forearms. Silver tossed one of them into the barricade and then Dark Order hit their signature tag team combo for the pinfall.
“Dark Order” Alex Reynolds and John Silver defeated Davey Bang and August Matthews by pinfall in 2:30.
On the tron, The Righteous and Stu Grayson asked if the Dark Order would bleed for Grayson. Vincent asked to see the aggression next week. Dark Order hit some more aggressive offense on one of the jobbers…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A squash match and more build up for the Dark Order vs. Righteous feud. Snore.
Backstage, Diamante got a promo cut off by Mark Sterling, who said that they could come to a financial arrangement to call off the match. Diamante said she didn’t trust Sterling or Jade Cargill or anyone else. She said she’s going to take all of the winner’s purse…
10. Diamante vs. Leila Grey (w/ Mark Sterling). Diamante said she was going to lay down for Grey but kicked her in the head. Diamante dropkicked Grey on the outside but Sterling made a distraction and Grey took over. Grey missed a senton splash and Diamante hit a german suplex and her shotgun dropkick in the corner for a two count. Sterling made another distraction and the women traded strikes in the middle. Sterling got his hand stomped on and Grey rolled up Diamante with her feet on the ropes for the pinfall.
Leila Grey defeated Diamante by pinfall in 4:15.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A cheating upset win for Grey and Sterling. Fine enough. Diamante kept pulling at her gear, which didn’t seem to fit right. That was a little distracting.
11. Shane Taylor and “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake vs. AR Fox, Action Andretti and Darius Matin. The heels didn’t adhere to the code of honor and blasted their opponents. Fox made a quick comeback and tagged in Martin who hit a huge top rope dropkick. The heels quickly took back over and did some quick tag offense on Martin. Henry hit a brainbuster on Martin for a two count. Fox hit a parkour moonsault on Drake on the outside.
Andretti tagged in and hit a big drop kick on Henry. Andretti hit a Spanish fly that sent Henry outside. Andretti hit an Arabian press on Henry on the outside. Martin and Andretti hit an assisted German on Drake that landed him on his head. All three heels hit tag team offense for a cover that got broken up. The faces sent the heels outside and dove on the big men. Back in the ring Fox got a rollup on Henry that got the three count. There was no Code of Honor handshake afterward.
AR Fox, Action Andretti, and Darius Martin defeated Shane Taylor and “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake by pinfall in 4:30.
Robinson’s Ruminations: That was crazy and I wasn’t able to keep up with it all. That was all second gear.
Backstage, Leila Grey and Mark Sterling gloated over their victory. Diamante came in and said that it was a crap finish and wanted a rematch. Grey accepted the rematch against Sterling’s better judgment.
12. Daniel Garcia vs. Rocky Romero in a Pure Rules match. Early in the match Garcia kept pushing Romero into the ropes and the ref said Rocky used rope break number one. Immediately Rocky locked in an arm bar that forced Garica to use rope break number one. Garica took a powder on the outside, but Rocky followed him out with a drop kick. Back in the ring, Rocky hit Shurnoi and got a one count. Garcia hit a butterfly suplex into the turnbuckle and got a two count.
Garcia hit a vertical suplex and got a one count. Rocky got an octopus stretch locked in and Garcia was forced to use rope break number two. Rocky tried for a huracanrana but Garcia held him up and locked in an STF forcing Rocky to use rope break number two. Garcia was continually mocked by the fans with chants of “You’re a wrestler” and he would continue to dance in response. Rocky went up to the top turnbuckle, Garcia followed him up and Rocky hit a huracanrana off the top. Rocky hit a rope hung double stomp, and made a cover. Garcia used his last rope break to break the pinfall.
Garcia locked in a Boston Crab, and Rocky grabbed the ropes to break it and used his final rope break. Garcia called out Shibata and locked in a sleeper. When he tried for the PK, Rocky caught it. Not long after Rocky hit a springboard DDT, then a falcon arrow and locked in an armbar. Garcia went to the ropes, not to break the hold, but to flip through. Garcia locked in his Dragon Tamer, Rocky tried to go to the ropes, but that wouldn’t work, and Garcia used the ropes to add extra leverage to the hold and Rocky tapped out.
Daniel Garica defeated Rocky Romero by submission in 11:15.
After the match, Garcia tried to use the code of honor handshake to do some extra damage with the Dragon Tamer, but Orange Cassidy came to the ring with a backpack. Cassidy and Garcia stood face to face before Garcia backed away and Orange took his title belt out of the backpack. Garcia retreated up the ramp as Orange checked on Rocky…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A pretty formula pure rules match. It was fun, but not overly exciting. It almost seemed as if Rocky was staying in first gear. I’ve seen him move faster and better in other matches.
13. Athena vs. Kiera Hogan in a Chicago Street Fight for the ROH Women’s Championship. Athena took control early with a standing black hole slam. Athena tried to slide a ladder in the ring but Hogan dropkicked it back at her. Hogan hit a huracanrana off the apron that slammed Athena into a standing ladder. Athena ran Hogan into the barricade. Athena set up a table off the barricade. Hogan threw weapons into the ring. Athena used a trashcan lid to work over Hogan. Athena put Hogan in a trashcan and then used a kendo stick to beat on the trashcan.
Athena got a one count and argued with the ref. Athena tried to do a flip move but Hogan threw a trashcan into her face. Hogan drop kicked the trashcan into Athena. Hogan hit a swinging fisherman’s buster on the trashcan and got a two count. Hogan made a ladder bridge off the apron on the outside. Athena crawled out onto it. Hogan tried to splash onto it but Athena rolled out and Hogan splattered on the ladder. Athena tipped over the ladder and slid the other into the ring. Athena set up a table on the outside. Athena stomped on a street sign that said Clark St to boos from the crowed.
Athena set up a chair stack on the outside. Hogan made a comeback by throwing Athena into the diagonal table on the outside. Hogan tossed Athena back in the ring and worked her over with a kendo stick. Athena grabbed a Keno of her own and they traded shots until Athena got the better of it. Athena continued working on her chair stack. Hogan made a comeback and laid out Athena on a table on the outside, then she splashed her off the stairs, the table didn’t break. She climbed to the middle turnbuckle and splashed her and the table finally broke. Hogan slid a table into the ring and set it up. Athena slid in the ring and laid out Hogan on the table she just set up.
Hogan came back up and tried the Trish huracanrana but Athena picked her up and powerbombed Hogan through the table for a two count. An exasperated Athena slid out of the ring and grabbed a back of thumbtacks and spread them out on the ring. Athena tried for a razor’s edge but Hogan fought out and Athena ran into a trashcan set up in the corner and hit a back suplex into the tacks but only got a two count.
Athena pulled the tacks out of her arm while writhing on the ground. Hogan used her hair to try and choke Athena even climbing up the second turnbuckle to do so. Athena gouged Hogan’s eyes to break the choke. Athena then hit a nasty looking suplex off the turnbuckle to the chair stack on the outside. Athena rolled Hogan into the ring and covered her for the three count.
Athena defeated Kiera Hogan by pinfall in about 20:00.
After the match Athena celebrated with her title while refs and production associates checked on Hogan.
Robinson’s Ruminations: That was a super ugly fall at the end of the match. I hope Hogan is ok. The wrestlers worked hard and took some nasty looking bumps in this match. There’s not much more for Athena to do, there’s no one left. They really need to build someone up for her.
Riccaboni ran through some of the Forbidden Door lineup…
Backstage, Athena asked where her celebrations were. Athena said she’s done with Hogan, who can go sleep in whatever dumpster she wants. Athena grabbed Lexi Nai by the hair and said to the whole locker room, “Step up or step out.”
Robinson’s Ruminations: Why was this show 2.5 hours? There is no need for all of these matches. There was almost no storyline development other than Athena being done with Kiera Hogan. I was very happy to see The Infantry get a win. Some of the action was good, but not enough of it to make me recommend watching this episode. I will return later today with my ROH audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).