By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 24)
Taped August 5, 2023 in Greenville, South Carolina at Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Streamed August 10, 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.
1. Slim J vs. Dalton Castle. Dalton didn’t have the Tate Twins with him, just some generic nameless Boys. Dalton got right to work with some waistlock slams, but Slim came right back with a head-scissors and a drop kick. Slim J went to the eyes right in front of the ref who did absolutely nothing about it. Slim hit a rope climbing rotating kick that looked good. Slim tried a lucha arm drag but Castle caught him and tried a Bangarang but Slim grabbed the ropes to block it. Slim got hung up on the top turnbuckle and Castle kneed him in the face and sent him flying to the outside. Castle tossed Slim inside and hit some of his exploder suplexes. Castle hit the Bangarang for the pinfall.
Dalton Castle defeated Slim J by pinfall.
Castle looked into the camera and declared that he’s not a meal he’s a feast…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A showcase match for Castle. Slim bumped good for him.
Backstage, Mark Sterling and Tony Nese said that they were not going to have a match against Pat Buck, but it was going to be group training instead.
2. “Iron Savages” Boulder and Bronson (w/Jacked Jameson) vs. Lucky Ali and Brady Pierce. No televised entrances for Ali and Pierce. After a powerslam, Bronson grabbed a protein shake bottle from Jameson and hulked up as he drank it. Boulder tagged in and threw Ali towards his corner with a back body drop so he tagged out. Boulder pressed Pierce over his head but couldn’t connect. Ali tagged in and Boulder slammed both of them. Boulder tossed Bronson to the outside with a suicide dive. Then Savages hit their electric chair body press move for the pinfall.
Iron Savages defeated Lucky Ali and Brady Pierce by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A showcase win for the Savages. Not much to this one. The Savages are still clunky in places, especially against opponent’s they aren’t familiar with. They still aren’t getting over, as the crowds are silent. They really miss the Orlando crowd that was into them.
3. “The Infantry” Capt. Sean Dean and Carlie Bravo (w/Trish Adora) vs. Zicky Dice and Movie Myk. No entrance for Dice and Myk. The crowd seemed really into Infantry in stark contrast to the last match where they were silent. Dean worked over Myk with some arm drags. Bravo tagged in and worked over Myk in the corner with strikes and got a two count after his big fake out punch.
Myk made a comeback and quickly tagged out to Dice. Bravo got caught in the wrong corner and the jobbers tried to make the most of it but Bravo got away and made the hot tag to Dean who went out house of fire with punches and clotheslines. Dean hit a DDT and kipped up and called for Boot Camp. They hit their Russian leg sweep, big boot combo, now called Boot Camp for the pinfall.
“The Infantry” Capt. Sean Dean and Carlie Bravo defeated Zicky Dice and Movie Myk by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another showcase win, this time for The Infantry. Happy to see it and happy to see the crowd receptive to them.
Backstage, Lexi asked Hirsch how she was going to keep her momentum rolling. Hirsch said she wants a shot at Athena. Maria Kanellis walked into frame and said that Hirsch still needs to build a little more confidence. Maria said she’d be watching Hirsch’s match…
4. Lee Moriarty vs. Andrew Everett. No televised entrance for Everett. Moriarty got right to work with some quick action including a stomp and basement drop kick. Everett made a comeback after some quick high flying moves including a big drop kick of his own. Moriarty stopped the momentum with an arm twist stomping move and then went to work on the arm. Moriarty locked in a submission with a bridge, and when Everett escaped, he maintained his bridge to the delight of the crowd. Everett hit a springboard moonsault and a falcon arrow, which got him a two count. Everett went for a shooting star but no one was home. Moriarty hit a spinning gory special thing and locked in his Border City Stretch for the submission win.
Lee Moriarty defeated Andrew Everett by submission.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A showcase win for Moriarty, but Everett got more offense than the enhancement wrestlers thus far. Everett’s gimmick of being a “Giant” even though he’s a cruiserweight is ridiculous.
5. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling) vs. Pat Buck. Sterling and Nese did some heel mic work on the way to the ring and even got the crowd to chant for “Waffle House” of all things. They tried to do the group training bit and some of the crowd played along. Referee Aubrey Edwards was particularly amusing in the background questioning everything. Pat Buck finally made his entrance after a bit too long for my taste.
The crowd continued to chant for “Waffle House” and Buck just shrugged. Each man hit a sequence and posed with some push ups. This turned into a push up contest and Nese tried to kick Buck during his push ups but Buck saw it coming. Buck hit a huge monkey flip and locked in a headlock. Sterling made a distraction from the floor and Nese took back over with a Macho Man hot shot and a clothesline that got a one count.
Nese hung Buck up in the tree of woe and did his crunch kicks. Buck tried a sunset flip but got caught with a big kick. Nese hit a springboard moonsault that got a two count and then tried again and no one home. Buck hit a Sky High for a two count. Nese got a roll up for a two count. Nese rolled through a roll up attempt, hit a big kick and then hit a running knee for the pinfall.
Tony Nese defeated Pat Buck by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Waffle House was more over than anything in this match. This is the first time I’ve seen Buck, who works behind the scenes in AEW, and I wasn’t impressed. He looks like Seth Green and looked to be only slightly more coordinated. Sometimes the adage of “Those that can’t do, teach” is correct.
Backstage, “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry were lamenting their losing streak when Nana and Gates of Agony came into frame. Nana said that if The Workehorsemen can beat Gates next week they’ll get a six man tag shot. Toa Liona tried to scare The Workhorsemen, but JD Drake was having none of it.
6. Athena vs. Rachael Ellering in a ROH Women’s World Championship Proving Ground Match. No televised entrance for Ellering. The crowd was split for the wrestlers, who traded arm drags until Ellering got the best of it. Ellering hit a clothesline, scoop slam and a senton, but Athena rolled out of the way before a cover could happen. Athena hit an arm wringer and ran Ellering’s face into the ropes. Coleman did a great job on commentary making that seem devastating.
Ellering got a school girl roll up for a two count. Ellering got dumped to the outside and Athena hit a big basement dropkick that sent Ellering from the apron to the announce table. Athena ran Ellering into the barricades. Back in the ring Athena locked in a cravat as the announcers argued who might be the face of the new ROH if it’s not Athena. Ellering worked her way out and hit a big running uppercut and a sling blade clothesline. A huge Bossman Slam got Ellering a two count. Ellering climbed to the top, but Athena pulled her off and hit a shining wizard. Athena hit O-Face for the three count.
ROH Women’s Champion Athena defeated Rachael Ellering by pinfall in a Proving Ground match.
Robinson’s Ruminations: That was the most Athena has given up in a proving ground match for a long time. I’d be very willing to see more of Ellering in ROH.
7. “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake vs. “Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun (w/ Prince Nana). Henry tried for a single leg takedown but got a scoop slam for his trouble. Henry got a trap pin for a one count. Toa and Drake tagged in. The Workhorsemen are the faces tonight because they are in their hometown. Drake was over. The big men traded strikes for some no sells until there was a foot stomp by Drake. Henry tagged in and hit a dropkick from the top that didn’t even take Toa off his feet. Henry got trapped in the wrong corner and Gates worked him over. Henry got dumped to ringside with a low bridge and he got tossed into the barricade and creamed by a hip attack by Toa.
Henry made it into the ring at the count of nine only to get caught in the wrong corner again. Drake eventually made his way back up to the apron and Henry got a quick cradle roll up for a two count on Kaun. Kaun hit a huge backbreaker for a two count. Henry for his part really fought through the punishment and seemed to ask for more in places. Toa missed a senton but Kaun knocked Drake off the apron. Toa hit the senton this time for a two count. Henry hit a rewind kick to get the hot tag to Drake who hit some clotheslines and a falling headbutt.
Drake hit a Bossman Slam for a really close two count. Henry got tagged in and they knocked Kaun to ringside. Henry held the rope for Drake to dive to the outside and he did! Henry hit a frogsplash on Kaun that had to be broken up by Toa. The Workhorsemen hit some combo offense including a double stomp that got broken up by a foot on the ropes that Nana was trying to help with. Drake went for a moonsault but no one home. Gates hit Open the Gates on Drake for the pinfall.
“Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun defeated “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A great showcase loss for The Workhorsemen. They really showed they can go and are another tag team I’m really high on.
Backstage, Lexi Nair asked Cole Karter if he knew why Maria was watching his match. Karter said it’s because she has the hots for him. Maria walked into frame and laughed, called him a puppy, and said she’d be watching his match again tonight.
8. Leyla Hirsch vs. Angelica Risk. No televised entrance for Risk. Hirsch hit an ugly looking Biel toss as Maria walked out on stage and applauded. Hirsch continued working on the arm of Risk. Risk reversed a suplex attempt with a roll up for a two count. Risk tried a middle rope crossbody, but Hirsch stuffed it and locked in a cross arm breaker.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Angelica Risk by submission.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Squash match that forwarded the Maria scouting story. I’m interested to see where the Maria story goes.
Backstage, Lexi asked Athena about being the face of ROH. Athena asked why that was a question. Athena said she’s all the champions. Athena told Lexi to put some respect on her name and that this is her show. Athena said she’s going to find more porcelain to break and took Lexi with her.
9. Rhett Titus vs. Cole Karter. Titus performed a monkey flip and then grabbed a trap pin for a one count. Titus missed a dropkick and ate one. Karter played to Maria who had walked onto the stage. Titus rolled through a backslide attempt and hit a butterfly suplex out of it. Titus hit his kidney punches and a backbreaker. Titus hit a big clothesline and then his dropkick for a two count. Maria was shown shaking her head. Karter hit a ripcord knee strike and then a spin out DDT for the three count.
Cole Karter defeated Rhett Titus by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another match to forward the Maria scouting story. Karter looked only ok here but that was part of the story being told, which is a good thing.
10.Robyn Renegade (w/ Charlette Renegade) vs. Billie Starkz. Robyn worked an arm and kept up with break out attempts but Starkz picked an ankle. Charlette got on the apron but the distraction didn’t work. Starkz hit a suplex and went up top. Charlette threw Starkz off the top while Robyn had the ref distracted. Robyn hit a shotgun dropkick and a big boot in the corner. Robyn got a one count after too much posing.
Robyn worked a camel clutch with fishhooks and that got the crowd to rally behind Starkz. Robyn stopped a big boot attempt and slapped Starkz instead. Starkz took umbrage to that and went to work even hitting a Gory bomb for a two count. Robyn hit a half nelson slam and got a two count. Starkz dumped Robyn to the floor and hit a dive on both Renegade sisters. Starkz hit a swanton dive for the pinfall.
Billie Starkz defeated Robyn Renegade by pinfall.
Charlette started the beatdown just as Starkz got to her feet. Athena made her way onto the stage, Lexi not in sight. Robyn tried to go after Athena but got plastered by a big boot. Athena took out Charlette and then teased making Starkz kiss the title but decided not to. Starkz looked legitimately frightened by the prospect.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice win for the newcomer.
Backstage, Lexi stood by with Josh Woods and Mark Sterling. She said it’s a safe space for both of them to talk about the change they both say needs to happen. Woods said he wants to be on his own. Sterling said he can make that happen, he’ll even get him a match against Silas Young for next week. Woods nodded in agreement…
11. Shane Taylor vs. Gravity in the finals of the ROH TV Title Eliminator Tournament. Gravity is growing on me, but the astronaut gimmick is still ridiculous. Gravity started off trying to do lucha offense but Taylor stuffed it all. Gravity tried a springboard cross body but Taylor caught him and hit a snake-eyes and a big right hand for a two count. Taylor hit a series of scoop slams. Taylor taunted the slow mo walk and tried a leg drop but Gravity rolled out of the way.
Gravity executed an around the turnbuckle head-scissors. Taylor tried to suplex Gravity into the ring but got rolled up for a two count. Gravity hit another roll up for a two count. Taylor hit a huge uranage out of the corner and went to the top. Gravity cut him off and went up too. Gravity hit an avalanche samoan drop from the middle rope. Gravity tried his spaceman splash but got the knees. Taylor hit his package piledriver for the pinfall.
Shane Taylor defeated Gravity by pinfall to earn an ROH TV Title shot.
Taylor looked into the camera and told Joe that he needs to get out of neutral and that he’s going to knock him out…
Robinson’s Ruminations: I was very glad to see this in the main event slot, because it really gave prestige to a tournament that had been lacking. The match wasn’t anything special. Taylor couldn’t really be the base that Gravity needed to be as spectacular as he had been against other opponents who have been making him look good. That said, Gravity looked fine in defeat in this match.
As for the overall show, this one was a reset and focus on our up and comers night, which is fine in doses, but there were definitely some things missing. Another week without hearing from ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli is a problem. I would have loved to have seen ROH Tag Team Champions Aussie Open respond to the challenge from Adam Cole and MJF on Dynamite. I also would have loved to have seen at least a little bit of ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe looking in on the tournament or sit in on commentary for the finals.