By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 25)
Taped August 12, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina at Greensboro Coliseum
Streamed August 17, 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.
We started the show with Ian and Caprice at ringside talking about a few of the matches we were going to see tonight. Nice touch!…
1. Gringo Loco vs. Gravity. Gravity got the early advantage with a wheelbarrow armdrag and some crazy lucha rope moves. A standing Gravity Falls got a one count for Gravity. Loco got a comeback with a pressing fall away slam for a two count. Loco locked in a bow and arrow with an Indian deathlock on the legs but let it go fairly quickly. Gravity got a two count off of a snap powerslam. Gravity went up top but got dumped outside. Loco did a jumping moonsault to the outside.
Back in the ring, Loco got a two count. Loco hit a nasty looking springboard twisting senton that just got all of Gravity and got a two count. Gravity hit a flying huracanrana to the outside over the ring post from the inside! Gravity did a spaceman splash off the apron to the outside out of a handstand by the ropes. On the inside Gravity did another delayed splash after a handstand on the ropes. Loco hit a running Spanish Fly for a two count.
The wrestlers tried a sunset bomb and Loco fell right on top of Gravity. Ugly looking. Loco audibly said “I’m gonna kill this guy” as they both went to the top turnbuckle. Loco hit his Avalanche Spanish Fly but it only got a two count. Loco but Gravity back on the top but gravity cut him off and hit an avalanche samoan drop and then hit Gravity Falls for the three count.
Gravity defeated Gringo Loco by pinfall in 10:30.
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was pretty ugly in places, almost to the point of being scary. Gravity still screams not ready for prime time to me, even after a few weeks of looking good with other opponents.
2. Silas Young vs. Josh Woods in a Pure Rules match. Jerry Lynn, Pat Buck, and Jimmy Jacobs were shown as the judges for this match. The announcers talked about the history between Woods and Young. The men did some chain wrestling and then stuffed arm drags on each other to the delight of the crowd. The men traded arm work before Young hit a leg sweep that made Woods grab the ropes to not fall and it burned a rope break. Woods worked a waist lock and finally got a waist lock slam.
Woods tried a chaos theory but it just turned into a few roll up attempts from each man. Woods worked and arm and dove outside still holding the arm of Young and slammed it into the ropes. Back in the ring Woods worked over the arm of Young and got a two count after an arm snap. Young got a quick roll up for one and another stack pin for one. Young hit a twisting sunset flip for two. The men traded headlocks and breakouts before Woods hit a big right hand and got called for it. Woods then hit his Twist of Woods suplex for the three count.
Josh Woods defeated Silas Young by pinfall in 6:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine match.
Maria Kanellis cut a backstage promo about power. She said she built a Kingdom, but now she’s scouting an army to protect that Kingdom. Leyla Hirsch came into frame and said that she only did her the one favor. Hirsch asked what Maria can give her that she can’t earn herself. Maria said she’s got another match tonight against Rachel Ellering.
3. Athena vs. Brittany J in a Women’s World Championship Proving Ground Match. No entrance for Brittnay. Athena pie faced Brittnay to play to the fans and got rolled up for a two count. Brittany low bridged Athena who got dumped outside. Brittany tried to running kick Athena but got pulled onto the floor and slammed into the barricade. Athena got in the face of Riccaboni asking for competition and Ian shrunk down in the face of it all. Athena cartwheeled out of a head scissors attempt. Athena hit a popup powerbomb and then a straight right hand for the three count.
ROH Women’s Champion Athena defeated Brittnay J by pinfall in 2:00 in a Proving Ground match.
After the match, the Renegade sisters ran out and put the beat down on Athena, until Billie Starkz ran out to make the save and the Renegades ran off before Starkz got to the ring. Athena didn’t take too well to being saved.
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was just a match to set up the beatdown and save afterward.
4. “The Boys” Brandon Tate and Brent Tate vs. Samoa Joe and Stokely Hathaway. Stokely did not look pleased as he made his way down the ramp with Joe but then he cut a promo playing up Joe. Ian Riccaboni did a great job of explaining the Joe/Stokely story as Joe got started destroying The Boys. Joe tagged in Stokely and Stokely hit a wheelbarrow arm drag! Stokely’s momentum didn’t last long as he got cut off and got hit by a nice dropkick for a two count.
Stokely went for a suplex, but he was too small to get leverage on a Boy. Stokely distracted the ref and let Joe do some interference so that Joe could tag back in. Corner enzuigiri and Joe set up for the muscle buster but Stokely said he wanted to try for a splash. The Boy rolled away from the splash and Stokely sold it like he died and Joe choked out The Boy with the Coquina Clutch.
Samoa Joe and Stokely Hathaway defeated The Boys by submission in 3:00.
Joe left Stokely laying in the ring as he walked away. The ref tried to use Joe’s towel to revive him.
Robinson’s Ruminations: God help me, I love Joe making small people look dumb. Stokely is doing a great job of playing his part.
Backstage, Lexi asked Billie Starkz what is up between her and Athena. Before Starkz could answer, the Renegades cut in and cut a quick promo about taking out Athena…
5. Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal vs. “Gates of Agony” Toa Liona and Bishop Kaun (w/ Prince Nana). Toa got the early advantage with a shoulder block and he tagged in Kaun. Kaun got caught with a drop toe hold. Sydal tagged in, slammed Daniels onto Kaun and hit a standing moonsault and only got a one count for it all. Daniels tagged back in and worked over Kaun in a neutral corner with some chops. Daniels tried his STO but Kaun stuffed it and Toa hit a clothesline to put Daniels down. Daniels got trapped in Gate’s corner and worked over by both men.
Toa got a two count after a standing headbutt. Some double team offense got Gates a pinfall broken by Sydal, who got thrown right back out of the ring. A uranage backbreaker got Kaun a two count. Toa hit a running splash that got him a two count. Toa worked a bear hug in the middle of the ring, but Daniels fought out with a bite to the forehead. Daniels hit his STO and tagged in Sydal. Sydal hit a shining wizard and a big head kick for a one count. Gates got a sandwich clothesline on Sydal that got them a broken nearfall. Daniels tagged back in and worked over both men with chops. The Gates of Agony had some miscommunication. Daniels hit Kaun with Angel’s Wings for a broken up nearfall. Kaun and Liona each hit a big move and got the pinfall on Daniels.
“Gates of Agony” Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona defeated Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal by pinfall in 10:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A showcase match for Gates against something more than jobbers. It was fine action, but nothing to write home about.
6. Madison Rayne vs. Dani Mo. Mo snagged an early backslide for a one count, and then the ladies traded roll ups for a bit. Mo hit a cartwheel knee strike and got a two count.Rayne made a comeback and hit a neckbreaker that landed on her knee and then a northern lights suplex with bridge for a two count. Rayne hit an ugly looking CrossRhodes for the three count.
Madison Rayne beat Dani Mo by pinfall in 3:30.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Rayne is still sloppy, but this was just a quick win for her.
7. “Dark Order” Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver vs. Isaiah Broner, Lord Crewe, and Corey Calhoun. Uno held onto the code of honor a little long and used it to start working over one of the jobbers with strikes. Uno and Reynolds knocked the other two jobbers off the apron and Reynolds hit a chop block and double stomp. Silver got tagged in to the delight of the crowd, hit a kick and got a cocky cover for a one count. Uno tagged in and hit a suplex. Reynolds tagged in and worked some knee drops and stood on the face of the jobber.
Stu Grayson came onto the stage in his new white pants and some white face paint. Dark Order turned their attention and Reynolds got rolled up for a one count. Reynolds and Silver hit their combo offense and then Dark Order hit their big flipping finisher that Riccaboni may have called Darker Realm for the pinfall.
“Dark Order” Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver beat Isaiah Broner, Lord Crewe, and Corey Calhoun in 4:00.
Grayson clapped and said “That’s more like it”…
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was supposed to be the Dark Order is evil show, but Silver is still way over with the crowds.
Backstage ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli looked into the camera and addressed complaints, including mine, about him not being on the show. He said just because you don’t see him, he’s not taking ROH seriously. He quickly ran down his last few challengers. He said he’s proud of being a world champion after 20 years. He complained about losing the ROH Title to Chris Jericho and said he learned something from the ordeal.
Castagnoli asked the viewers to imagine letting go of their biggest dream to take the next step. He said that there’s not many people in the world that can do what he can do, running down his last few crazy weeks. He said he knows what he has to do to keep hold of his ROH Championship. He then said that this is just a job, but that he’s really good at his job. He said if you want to take the title, you have to be better than him, good luck…
Robinson’s Ruminations: While it was nice to see and hear from Claudio and this was a fine to good promo, it was a bit rambly and all over the place. It was kind of a recap promo, but then it was also sort of forward looking at the end. I was really into it until he said that this is “just a job” and that took me out of the moment. I don’t know if its the fact Claudio speaks six languages but sometimes it seems like he can’t find exactly the phrase he really wants, and maybe that’s the thing that has always held him back.
8. Griff Garrison vs. Cole Karter. Garrison got a quick waistlock takedown and worked over Karter in the corner with chops. Garrison hit a big stinger splash and falcon arrow for a two count. Garrison called for his big forearm but Karter dropped out and was able to hit a dropkick for a two count. Karter hit a snap powerslam for a two count. Karter blew a kiss into the hard cam and hit a suplex. Garrison got a quick roll up for a two count. Garrison hit his rolling forearm and went for a torture rack, but Karter fought out and hit his flip out slam twice before getting the three count.
Cole Karter defeated Griff Garrison by 4:50.
After the match, Maria came out and walked down to the ring and whispered something to Karter, then did the Code of Honor handshake and walked up the ramp with Maria…
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another showcase match for Karter and some forwarding of the Maria storyline. Karter is really doing early Randy Orton now, and I’m not sure how to feel about it.
9. Charlette Renegade vs. Billie Starkz. Charlette used the Code of Honor to blast Starkz with a big right. Starkz got dumped to ringside and Charlette hit a dive off the apron onto her. Back in the ring Charlette worked a camel clutch with nose hooks! Starkz got a comeback with a rewind kick and went to the top but the other Renegade held her up until Charlette could hit a superplex. Starkz hit a ushigoroshi right out of that. Starkz tried for a senton, but the other Renegade pulled Charlotte out of the way. Charlette hit a nasty looking Michinoku Driver for a two count. Starkz hit an arm trap facebuster for the three count.
Bille Starkz defeated Charlette Renegade by pinfall in 4:00.
As soon as the three count happened the beat down started. Athena wasn’t far behind for the save. Starkz and Athena cleared the Renegades from the ring and then dove onto them. Back in the ring, Athena held up her title belt. Athena asked Starkz to square off with her. Starkz asked for a handshake, but Athena blew it off and said, “Come on, minion, lets go” as she rolled out of the ring.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Interesting developments here with Athena and Starkz.
Backstage, Lexi asked Tony Nese what he was trying to accomplish with his group training. Nese said that he’s just trying to help the fat fans look more like him and Daivari. Nese said he’s finally got the floor for a full group training session tonight…
10. Lee Moriarty and “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake vs. Darius Martin, Action Andretti and Lee Johnson. Johnson and Moriarty started with some nice chain wrestling. Johnson hit big dropkick to stall Moriarty. Martin and Andretti did a bunch of double team work and got a two count on Moriarity. Johnson got trapped in the heel corner and got worked over until Drake hit a bossman slam for a two count.
Moriarty executed a vertical suplex, bridged and locked in a choke. Andretti got a hot tag and went house of fire on all three heels and then dove on Henry at ringside. Andretti hit a standing Spanish Fly for a broken nearfall. Drake hit a huge claymore kick for a two count. Workhorsemen hit a popup powerbomb combo that got a broken nearfall. Drake hit a spinning butterfly suplex. Henry rolled up Andretti for a nearfall. Andretti rolled through a chaos theory attempt by Henry and got the three count, but it looked ugly.
Lee Johnson, Action Andretti and Darius Martin defeated Lee Moriarty and “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake by pinfall in 7:45 .
Robinson’s Ruminations: I missed a ton of stuff about this match in my report, it was a fast paced affair. It was fun until the clunky ending.
Backstage, Lexi brought Athena and Billie Starkz in for a promo. Athena said that Starkz gets a minion number that was silly huge. Starkz asked for a tag match with the Renegades. Athena said that she makes the rules around here. Athena said Starkz had to drive her to the mall, Starkz said she’s not a minion with a pouty look and foot stomp…
11. Lady Frost vs. Trish Adora. Frost got an early couple of roll ups for one. Trish got a few roll ups of her own. Frost botched a handspring and Trish had to throw a bad kick to cover it. Trish did the splits on top of Frost as a submission, neat looking. Frost did some acrobatics on the apron and hit a cannonball and threw Trish in the ring for a two count. Trish came back with some forearms and a standing crossbody. Trish hit her kneeling german suplex for a two count. Trish hit a hanging sternum breaker for a two count. Frost ducked Lariat Tubman and got a roll up for a two count. Frost hit a spinning kick and went up top and hit a twisting splash for the three count.
Lady Frost defeated Trish Adora by pinfall in about 4:00.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A surprising result for me, as Trish is an up and comer.
Backstage, Lexi talked with Kiera Hogan who called out Lady Frost.
12. Rachel Ellering vs. Leyla Hirsch. No Code of Honor handshake from Hirsch. Ellering hit an early bodyslam and senton splash. Hirsch rolled out of a back body drop attempt and kicked out Ellering’s arm and started working it over with kicks and stomps. Hirsch tried to lock in a Fujiwara, but Ellering kept fighting it off. Hirsch rolled it into a cross arm breaker as Ellering tried to stand up, but Ellering locked her hands and tried to pick Hirsch up, but it didn’t go well. Ellering hit a spinning European uppercut and a brainbuster for a two count. Hirsch did a tip up and tired to lock in a sleeper, but then turned it into an arm submission. Ellering hit a bossman slam for a two count. Hirsh rolled into a cross armbreaker for the submission.
Leyla Hirsch defeated Rachel Ellering by submission in 4:45.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Sloppy looking match that was a win for Hirsch. Not sure who all the sloppiness was on, it was hard to tell, but it might have been Ellering not being strong enough.
13. “Pretty” Peter Avalon vs. Dalton Castle. Avalon came out to some cringy “sexy” saxophone music. Dalton came out with generic Boys and said he doesn’t step over speed bumps but smashes through them. Avalon looked on at Castle’s entrance in awe.
Castle started by working a waistlock and hit a slam. Castle picked an ankle and worked the waistlock again. Avalon hit a turnbuckle climbing headlock takeover and a dropkick. Castle came right back with a t-bone suplex. Castle quickly hit the Bangarang for the pinfall while staring into the camera seductively.
Dalton Castle defeated Peter Avalon by pinfall in 3:00.
Castle ranted into the camera that he’s going to win the ROH TV Title, win an Emmy, and break some hearts…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A showcase win for Castle. This one was all about the entrances. I was entertained.
Backstage, Lexi asked Shane Taylor about his upcoming match with Samoa Joe. Taylor ran down his accomplishments. He said that people only wanted to talk about the old guard, but now they’re all back and he can take them on, and Joe is the first. Taylor said he’s going to knock Joe out and take back the ROH TV Title. Very good promo!
14. Tony Nese (w/Ari Daivari) vs. Metalik. Mark Sterling was not in Nese’s corner this week. Nese did his usual heel work on the way to the ring and tried to get some group training going. The crowd played along for a minute until Jerry Lynn came out on stage and cut him off before introducing Metalik. The announcers acted shocked by Metalik, which is odd because they just told us that this match was coming.
Nese got an early advantage with a shoulder block and some jumping jacks. Metalik hit a rope bounce arm drag. Metalik on the top and executed an arm drag that sent Nese outside. Metalik teased the dive but hand-springed away. Daivari held onto Metalik’s leg and Nese slid out and tripped him and pulled him outside the ring. Back in the ring, Nese rolled through a sunset flip and hit a big kick that got a two count. Nese put Metalik in the tree of woe and did his crunch kicks. Nese got a two count off a cocky cover.
Metalik fought off both heels at ringside and hit an Asai moonsault onto Nese and his ankle may have gotten caught underneath him. Metalik hit a top rope crossbody. Metalik hit a sling blade bulldog and a shotgun dropkick off the middle rope for a two count. The crowd chanted for “Waffle House”. Nese hit a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Metalik hit a superkick and his Driver move for the pinfall.
Metalik defeated Tony Nese by pinfall in 7:30.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine TV match. Tony Nese keeps getting TV time, and I have no idea why. I guess he’s good at making others look good, but the group training bit is just not getting over. Overall, this was largely a missable show. We got some developments with Maria and some with Athena. There was not a standout match, but there were plenty of clunky, bad looking moments in several of matches. My audio ROH on HonorClub audio reviews are available weekly for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).