By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 18)
Taped in June 24, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario at Scotiabank Arena
Streamed June 29, 2023 on HonorClub
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary.
*Unless otherwise noted, all matches started and ended with the Code of Honor handshake.
1. “LFI” Dralistico and Preston Vance (w/Jose the Assistant) vs. Mark Wheeler and Vikram Prashar. Wheeler and Prashar didn’t get an entrance. Code of honor handshake was a beatdown from LFI. Dralistico hit a running side kick in the corner before lounging in the turnbuckle over the fallen opponent and tagging in Vance. Vance hit a quick spinebuster and got a broken up near fall. Vance toyed with the other opponent before he put him down and tagged in Dralistico who hit a springboard codebreaker on the legal opponent. Vance put the non-legal opponent down with a huge lariat and LFI stacked them up and pinned them with one foot each.
“LFI” Dralistico and Preston Vance defeated Mark Wheeler and Vikram Prashar by pinfall in 2:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Squash Central.
2.”Dark Order” Alex Reynolds and John Silver (w/Evil Uno) vs. “The Righteous” Vincent and Dutch (w/Stu Grayson). Still no white outfit for Grayson. Uno came out dressed in a suit. Dark Order skipped out on the code of honor handshake that was offered by The Righteous. Reynolds quickly dispatched Dutch and dove on to him. Silver knocked Vincent outside and Grayson distracted Silver. Vincent tricked Uno into grabbing a chair in the ring and Rick Knox saw him and threw him out.
Back in the ring, Dutch hit a huge black hole slam but only got a two count since Knox was out of position. Vincent hit a back elbow and tried for a cover but Silver already had a shoulder up. Dutch went for a suplex but Silver reversed it and suplexed Dutch with ease. Reynolds got the hot tag and beat Vincent up with double legs and mounts. Vincent rolled out of the ring but Reynolds chased him out and ran Vincent into the Barricades. He even got the better of Dutch and Reynolds and Silver hit Dutch with successive moves outside to leave him laying. Back in the ring Dark Order set up for their combo, but Dutch grabbed Silver and threw him into the stairs. Grayson snuck in and hit Reynolds with a big boot and Vincent rolled him up for the three count.
“The Righteous” Vincent and Dutch defeated “Dark Order” Alex Reynolds and John Silver in 5:45.
The beat down continued after the bell and Uno ran down for the save, but Grayson stood in front of him. Uno couldn’t quite hit him with the chair even though Grayson begged for it. Grayson shoulder tapped Uno on the way out of the ring.
Robinson’s Ruminations: I don’t understand why Uno hesitated, they’ve already fought each other in the ring. This continues the feud, no idea where it ends, but I also don’t know whether I care. Why are Dark Order heels in AEW when it comes to Hangman, but faces in ROH when it comes to Grayson? I would understand if this was really two different companies, but the same guy is booking both shows!
Claudio was in the back being asked “What’s next?” Claudio said no one wants to step up and he understands it. Chuck Taylor came in and challenged Claudio before quickly leaving. Claudio said it’s an eliminator, not a proving ground, but no time limit.
3. Lelia Grey (w/Mark Sterling) vs. Diamante. The ladies traded headlocks and arm bars early before Diamante took over with a series of arm drags. Grey took a breather on the outside, but Diamante followed her out and threw Grey into the stairs. Sterling distracted Diamante and Grey took the opportunity to knock Diamante off the apron. Back in the ring Grey hit a snap suplex and got a one count. Grey worked some submission holds before Diamante hit a jaw breaker and some lariats. Diamante hit a rolling German suplex, but Grey rolled out of the ring and hit a stun gun. Grey hit a side effect slam and got a two count. Diamante hit a big corner drop kick but Sterling put Grey’s foot on the rope. Diamante hit CrossRhodes for the three count.
Diamante defeated Lelia Grey by pinfall in 5:45.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice comeback win for Diamante. Grey is still a little slow in the ring. Diamante had to walk her through a few spots and it showed.
4. Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo, El Hijo del Vikingo, and Komander (w/Alex Abrahantes) vs. Gringo Loco, Shane Taylor, and “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry. Both teams brush off the code of honor handshake. Dueling chants for Penta and Gringo Loco before anything. Penta did his taunts and it immediately broke down with everyone hitting big moves on each other. Penta hit a pump-handle cradle driver and got a two count. Loco threw Penta into Fenix and tagged in Taylor who hit a running splash and got a two count. Fenix tagged in Komander who ate a big lariat.
The Workhorsemen tagged in and hit some tag team moves and Loco hit a twisting springboard moonsault that brought everyone in to break it up. Drake back in and he got a two count off a big right hand. Vikingo got tagged in and went crazy on everyone with kicks. The Lucha Bros hit an inverted code red splash on Drake for a two count. Henry and Fenix tagged in and lit each other with strikes before Henry got the best of it and hit a legs crossed brain buster for a broken up nearfall. Komander and Vikingo hit crazy splashes on the outside. Lucha Bros hit Fear Factor on Henry for the pinfall.
Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero Miedo, El Hijo del Vikingo, and Komander beat Gringo Loco, Shane Taylor, JD Drake, and Anthony Henry by pinfall in 9:15.
After the match the luchadores celebrated with flags from the crowd.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Crazy lucha stuff.
Samoa Joe was in the back talking about his upcoming match with Roderick Strong. He said that Strong is going to come up short. Stokely Hathaway said he runs things and asked for some gratitude. Joe talked him up for a bit before saying that Joe runs Stokely, who got wide eyed…
5. Karou and Tarik vs. Big Bill and Lee Moriarty. No entrance for Karou and Tarik. Moriarty immediately tagged in Big Bill who no sold some shots from one of the opponents and then hit a big boot. The other opponent tagged in and he nearly got the better of Bill but ate a huge black hole slam. Moriarty tagged in and rolled up the opponent for two. Moriarty took a right hand and got mad and unleashed on both opponents. Tarik hit huracanrana and tagged out. Bill came in and cleared house. Moriarty hit a spinning slam and then locked in what was called a Border City Stretch (a crossface variant).
Big Bill and Lee Moriarty defeated Karou and Tarik by submission in 3:45.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another squash match and another win for Moriarty and Bill.
6. “The Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Lion and Kaun (w/ Prince Nana) vs. “LIJ” Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi for the ROH Six Man Tag Titles. Bushi ran right into Cage and tagged out. Takagi and Cage traded shoulder tackle attempts. Hiromu tagged in and got stuffed by Cage with a shoulder tackle. LIJ hit some quick offense and Hiromu got a one count off it. Cage hit his outside-in suplex on Hiromu and tagged in to Gates, who hit a top turnbuckle slam and a senton on the apron, which got them a two count on Hiromu.
Hiromu hit a big DDT as a reversal and hot tagged Takagi who took it to Kaun with some hard strikes and a lariat. Cage came in and Takagi slammed them both. Takagi hit a huge vertical suplex on Kaun and got a two count. Kaun hit a backstabber but Takagi came right back with a DDT. Bushi tagged in and hit a big top rope dropkick. Bushi took out Cage and Toa and hit a spinning suplex on Kaun and got a two count. Kaun came back with a big lariat. Things broke down a bit. Cage caught both Takagi and Hiromo and slammed them both. Bushi hit Cage with the black mist on the outside. Bushi tried to take on both Gates of Agony but was quickly dispatched by Open the Gates for the three count.
“The Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Lion and Kaun defeated “LIJ” Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles by pinfall in roughly 7:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: I like The Embassy’s music. It’s very fitting for three big scary dudes, almost some super villain music. This was a nice match with the challengers giving The Embassy a run for their money. I didn’t expect a title change, but it was nice to see The Embassy sell.
United Empire was in the back. TJP said that big man Jeff Cobb would get it done. Cobb said it didn’t matter what lineup for UE or what company, they were going to win…
7. El Desperado vs. Willie Mack. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” before the match even started. Desperado tried to shoulder tackle Mack and he finally rocked him with a back elbow, but ate a single leg drop kick in response, Mack got a two count off of it. Desperado tried to chop Mack but one chop from Mack sent Desperado down, and Mack got a one count off of it. Mack hit his Samoan drop standing moonsault combo and got a two count. Desperado cut Mack off with a basement dropkick to the knee.
Desperado worked over Mack’s knee and locked in an inverted figure four, Mack had to work towards the rope for a rope break. Mack hit a big pop up forearm and then a running cannonball and got a two count. Mack went up top and tried for a splash but no on home. Desperado tried to lock in a stretch muffler, Mack rolled through and got a two count. Desperado drop kicked the knee again. Mack blasted Desperado with a big high kick. Desperado hit a butterfly facebuster for the three count.
El Desperado defeated Willie Mack by pinfall in 9:15.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Very fun match. Both men worked hard and worked well together.
8. “House of Torture” Sho and Yujiro Takahashi vs. “Roppongi Vice” Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta. Trent’s mom Sue has a book and it’s on AEW’s website shop? House of Torture tried the double whip into each other, but Vice did the dose doe to reverse it. We got the big high five real quick. Trent got a two count on some double team offense and a standing moonsault. Yujiro made a comeback by biting the hand of Trent. It didn’t last long as Trent did a slingshot dive on Yujiro on the outside.
House of Torture ran Vice into the barricades and took over. Back in the ring Sho got a one count off a back drop. Sho hit a deadlift suplex and got a two count. Yujiro back in but Trent hit a big tornado DDT to tag in Rocky. Rocky teed off on Sho and hit a flying head scissors. Yujiro came in and Rocky teed off on both of them and finished it off with a double clothesline. Vice hit some more double team offense and got a two count for it. Trent hit a half nelson dragon suplex. Yujiro came in with the cane and Trent stole it. Ref took it from Trent and Sho hit a jackknife lungblower for a two count. Yujiro put Trent on the top turnbuckle and hit a super fisherman’s buster but Rocky came in and broke up the pinfall at two. Vice both hit high knees on Sho who went outside. Rocky followed him out with a dive. Vice hit Strong Zero on Yujiro for the three count.
“Roppongi Vice” Rocky Romero and Trent Beretta defeated Sho and Yujiro Takahasi by pinfall in 10:00.
After the match House of Torture blindsided Vice and started the beat down. Orange Cassidy made his slow entrance for the save. House of Torture decided to just bail. Best Friends Hug to close the segment.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Nice tag match. Sho was very impressive moving the much bigger Trent around like it was nothing.
9. “United Empire” Kyle Fletcher, Jeff Cobb and TJP vs. Darius Martin, Action Andretti and Christopher Daniels. Martin and Andretti came out to Andretti’s music tonight, not the Top Flight entrance. Andretti and TJP started out with some chain wrestling until TJP tried a head scissors and Andretti flipped out, then TJP returned the favor only to eat a dropkick and a springboard twisting splash for a one count. Fletcher tagged in only to get worked over by Martin and Andretti. Daniels tagged in and hit a back suplex for a two count on Fletcher. TJP tagged in and tricked Daniels to the outside where Cobb slammed Daniels into the ring post and tossed him back in without dropping him.
Cobb tagged in and no sold some forearms. Cobb hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Cobb and Fletcher traded Daniels in a suplex and got a two count. Daniels hit an exploder suplex on TJP and hot tagged in Martin who hit a tornado DDT on Fletcher and a Flatliner on Cobb. TJP hit a back suplex on Martin who tagged in Andretti. Andretti hit a handspring back elbow, then a dead lift falcon arrow for a two count. TJP hit a tornado DDT. Cobb hit Tour of the Islands and TJP hit a splash and got a two count. UE tried to isolate Andretti but the faces isolated TJP. Martin and Andretti hit their Spin Cycle style finisher on TJP for the pinfall.
Darius Martin, Action Andretti, and Christopher Daniels defeated “United Empire” Kyle Fletcher, Jeff Cobb and TJP by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Kyle Fletcher looks good as the leader of a team. What happened to AR Fox, the fourth Martin brother? A huge win for Top Flight and Daniels. The announcers wanted to call it an upset, but then said they just kept winning.
“The Kingdom” Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, and Maria Kanellis were backstage trying to suck up to Jerry Lynn. Taven was doing a good job but Bennett talked about retiring Lynn. Lynn said it’ll be The Kingdom and Maria vs. The Infantry and Trish Adora…
10. ROH Women’s World Champion Athena vs. KC Spinelli in a Proving Grounds match. No televised entrance for Spinelli, who got the quick advantage with some headlock takeovers. She even hit a shoulder tackle too. Athena tripped Spinelli and hit an outside-in splash for a two count. Athena taunted the crowd and Spinelli hit a backslide for a two count. Athena made a comeback with forearms to the back that put Spinelli to the mat. Athena hit a strong right hand for the three count.
ROH Women’s World Champion Athena defeated KC Spinelli by pinfall in 2:00 in a Proving Ground match.
After the match, Athena ran Spinelli into the ring steps and kneed her head into them.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Spinelli looked good during her brief time in the ring. It wasn’t ever going to be more than a dominant win for Athena, but Spinelli got some nice looking offense in. Athena is as good as ever, it’s almost getting cliche to say it at this point.
11. ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chuck Taylor in a Proving Grounds match. Athena is 27-0, Claudio is only 12-0, just something worth noting. Taylor got an early advantage with the 10 punches in the corner and throwing Claudio into the ring steps. Back in the ring Chuck hit Sole Food and Claudio fell back out. Claudio took back over by running Chuck into the barricade and hitting a running European uppercut against the barricade.
Claudio made the ref count the count out. Chuck got back in and big booted back out. The action spilled into the crowd where Claudio hit a DDT on a chair.Claudio ran back to the ring and made the ref count again. Roppongi Vice came out to cheer Chuck on. Chuck slid in and hip tossed Claudio out and then running splashed him on the outside. Chuck locked in a Koji clutch but Claudio got a rope break. Claudio came back with some twisting European uppercuts in the corner. Chuck came back with a slip piledriver for a two count. Claudio hit the pop up uppercut for a two count. Chuck rolled up Claudio for a two count. Claudio hit the Ricola bomb for the three count.
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Chuck Taylor by pinfall in 5:45.
Robinson’s Ruminations: That was a flurry. A very fun and quickly paced match. This show was much better than last week’s episode. This was really the undercard of Forbidden Door with lots of fun interpromotional matches you wouldn’t get to see anywhere else, and won’t get to see again until next year. I kind of understand the mentality to cram as many of these matches together as you can, while you can, so I don’t fault that. And honestly this eleven match structure has been the norm for ROH so far, so it was just nice to get some interesting matches that weren’t all squashes.