By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 30)
Taped September 16 in State College, Pennsylvania at Bryce Jordan Center
Streamed September 21, 2023 on HonorClub
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman were on commentary, and Justin Roberts was the ring announcer…
*Unless otherwise noted, all matches started and ended with the Code of Honor handshake.
The show opened up with a backstage promo from new ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston after his title match from Dynamite. He talked about how he’s grown and why he shook Claudio’s hand. He talked about being proud and happy, but he’s got a grueling schedule ahead of him. Then he dedicated his win to Xavier, the second ever ROH champion.
1. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Nick Wayne for the ROH Pure Championship. The lights hadn’t gone down yet and you could clearly see just how empty the venue is, including the first few rows on the hard cam side. Then men traded some chain wrestling to start the match but eventually Shibata was able to mount Wayne and slapped him around a bit before stomping on him. Wayne avoided a quick PK attempt, but Shibata snatched up an ankle lock. Wayne had to use his first rope break to escape. Wayne went to the outside and Shibata followed him, running him into all the barricades.
Shibata nailed a nasty looking big boot against the barricade. Back in the ring, Shibata worked Wayne over with some strikes. Wayne tried to fire back, but Shibata no-sold it all. Wayne fired up and hit a couple of european uppercuts to get back in the match. Shibata asked for more strikes as he no-sold them all again. Shibata hit his running corner dropkick. Shibata hit a butterfly suplex for a two count.
Shibata locked in an octopus stretch and Wayne had to use his second rope break. Shibata pushed Wayne into the ropes to burn his last rope break. Wayne flipped out and hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Wayne went for a springboard move and jumped right into the sleeper. Sleeper PK combo got Shibata the pinfall.
Katsuyori Shibata defeated Nick Wayne by pinfall to retain the ROH Pure Championship.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine match. Wayne has all kinds of potential. Great babyface fire, and he can only get better by being in the ring with guys as good as Shibata.
Backstage Lexi asked Lee Johnson about his upcoming match with Lee Moriarty. Before Johnson could get in three words, Taylor and Moriarty came into frame and threatened Johnson a little bit before Lexi shooed them away.
2. Diamante vs. Catie Brite. No entrance for Brite. Diamante used the Code of Honor to land a forearm that put Brite down. Diamante worked Brite over in the corner with strikes. Brite got a rollup for a two count. Diamante came right back with a dropkick. Diamante hit cross roads for the three count.
Diamante defeated Catie Brite by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Squash. Brite only got a roll up. Just another win for Diamante.
Backstage Lexi had The Infantry and Willie Mack, asking them about their six man tag title match. Bravo said they are ready for war. Mack informed us that this is The Infantry’s first ever title match. Lexi wished them good luck, they said “no luck, we down”. Good stuff here, I wanna hear more of these guys talk!
3. Lee Johnson vs. Lee Moriarty (w/Shane Taylor). The lights finally went down and they stopped showing the empty seats in the front row with some camera trickery. The men traded arm wringers to start the match. Then they traded hammerlocks. Moriarty worked over Johnson with chops and kicks in the corner. Johnson turned up the speed and hit a big dropkick that put Moriarty to the outside. Johnson followed him out and worked Moriarty over with strikes on the outside.
Back in the ring, Moriarty hit a big knee lift. Moriarty hit a bridging suplex for a two count. Johnson hit a jackknife roll up for a two count. Johnson avoided the knee lift again with a roll up for two. Johnson hit a series of clotheslines and a neckbreaker before firing up. Johnson hit a short blue thunder bomb for a two count. Johnson hit a superkick and went to the top turnbuckle. Johnson hit a frog splash but Moriarty got his foot on the rope on two. Moriarty hit a leg lariat for the three count.
Lee Moriarty defeated Lee Johnson by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: This one was a little on the slow side but both men worked clean. Honestly Johnson could stand to be part of Shane Taylor Promotions, he’s too clean cut, but doesn’t have enough fire to be a good baby face. Maybe a heel run would do him some good.
We cut to an empty arena where Athena had Lexi and Billie in MIT shirts and we got a montage of Minion Training that included stair climbing, Willow Booing, Athena cheering and no smiling drills. Lexi graduated to Minion Bestie, and Bille got the verdict that “you still suck”. Cute, funny stuff.
4. Trish Adora vs. Mercedes Martinez (w/Diamante). Martinez worked a headlock but Adora rolled out and hit a shoulder tackle. Diamante popped up on the apron and made a distraction, Martinez hit a spinebuster. Diamante got involved again with a rope choke while the ref was distracted. Martinez hit a rolling forearm and a rope hung suplex for a two count. Adora hit her kneeling german suplex and a senton splash for a two count. Martinez came back with a half dragon suplex. Martinez hit a knee trembler and an elbow to the back of the head. Martinez then locked in her surfboard dragon sleeper for the win.
Mercedes Martinez defeated Trish Adora by submission.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Sad to see Trish lose here, but the Martinez and Diamante pairing needed the win more at the moment.
5. Athena (w/ Billie Starkz) vs. Angelina Love in an ROH Women’s World Championship. Athena didn’t have her wrestling gear on, but a shirt that said Minion Trainer and a pair of leggings. Love and Athena both complained about hair pulling after a quick lock up. The women traded arm drags and holds until Athena got the better of it and hit a knee drop for a one count. Love rolled to ringside and used Billie as a distraction to get the better of Athena. Back in the ring. Love basketball Athena’s head and then they traded rollup nearfalls.
Love hit a side slam for a two count. Love worked a chin lock for quite a while until Billie got the crowd behind Athena and Athena fought out. Athena came back with a series of strikes that ended with an ensiguri. Athena hit a handspring forearm in the corner and went to the top. Love hit the ropes and hung Athena up on the top. Love pulled her off the top and they traded reversals for a bit until Love hit a big boot for a two count. Billie tried to break it up and Love got distracted. Athena hit a rollout lungblower for the pinfall
Athena defeated Angelina Love by pinfall to retain the ROH Women’s Championship.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Is this a ploy to turn Athena face? I assumed this was to set up a feud with Billie, but it seems more like Athena might be going face. That might just be because Love is for sure a heel. Fine match otherwise.
Backstage Lexi had Maria with Cole Karter and Griff Garrison. Lexi asked Maria if her two boys were ready. Maria asked Griff if he’s ready, is he with them. Griff said this is just a trial, but he’s ready for the opportunity.
7. Leyla Hirsch, Charlette Renegade, and and Robin Renegade vs. Willow Nightingale, Skye Blue and Kiera Hogan. Hogan hit a head scissors on Robin and then a hip attack in the corner for a two count. Blue tagged in and she hit a superkick for a two count. Robin came back with a forearm and an ugly snapmare for a two count. The Renegades hit a double suplex for a two count. Maria was shown on the stage watching. The Renegades hit some more ugly looking offense that the cameras tried to hide.
Renegade hit a spinebuster for a two count. Hirsch tagged in and hit some german suplexes. Blue fought out of the wrong corner only to get rolled into an armbreaker by Hirsch. Blue rolled through for a two count. Willow tagged in and went house of fire on The Renegades with clotheslines.
The Renegades fought her off and tried a double suplex, but Willow suplexed them both! Things broke down until we got the “everyone hits a big move on each other” line of spots. Hirsch was the last one in and she ate a POUNCE! Hogan hit a dive on a Renegade outside. Willow pushed hirsch outside. Blue hit Code Blue on a Renegade for the pinfall.
Willow Nightingale, Sky Blue, and Kiera Hogan defeated The Renegades and Leyla Hirsch by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine six-woman tag match. Good action. The Renegades and Skye Blue didn’t work well together at all and the cameras tried to hide the sloppiness. I couldn’t tell who’s fault it was, but it was ugly.
Backstage Sterling and Nese offered Angelico and Serpentico free training if they are able to win their match tonight. Nese told them that they need to follow his lead tonight. Sterling tried to suck up on his way out. Once they left the rest of them said they are too much…
8. VSK vs. Ethan Page. VSK got an early advantage with an eye rake. Page came right back with a running powerslam. VSK fought out of an edge attempt, but got clipped by a shoulder block. VSK missed on an ensiguri and got caught up in a cradle, and got dropped. Page hit a slingshot cutter for the pinfall.
Ethan Page defeated VSK by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: It’s nice to see VSK not doing the butler gimmick, but this was just a squash match for Page. I liked the cradle bomb, that’s a fun new move.
Tony Nese and “Smart” Mark Sterling made their entrance and did some heel mic work about college teams and then tried to do their group training bit. They were cut off very quickly by SAP’s entrance music.
9. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling) and “SAP” Serpentico and Angelico vs. Gravity, Metalik and El Hijo Del Vikingo (w/Alex Abrahantes). Metalik and Serpentico fought with some quick lucha offense until Metalik hit a backbreaker for a two count. Gravity and Angelico tagged in. Angelico worked some unique arm holds until Gravity hit some rope assisted arm drags. Vikingo and Nese tagged in. Nese was arguing with Angelico and got hit with a springboard crossbody and then lit up with some enzuigiris.
Vikingo hit a dropkick and a springboard, flipping, rotating dive onto Nese on the outside. Metalik and Gravity hit stereo flip dives onto SAP at ringside. Sterling tripped Metalik so that Nese could get an advantage against Metalik. Nese tagged in Angelico, still arguing with him. Angelico did some more crazy arm work on Metalik that made Metalik use the ropes to get out. Angelico set Metalik on the top turnbuckle, only to get a sunset bomb done to him. Gravity tagged in and clotheslined everyone.
Gravity hit a big running powerslam and a standing moonsault for the two count, broken up by Nese. Things broke down into the “everyone gets a big spot” line. Nese tried to take off Gravity’s mask and Serpentico, his tag partner, tried to stop him. SAP dropped off the apron after that. Metalik hit a rope walking Senton dive for the pinfall.
Gravity, Metalik and Vikingo defeated Tony Nese and SAP pinfall.
Lexi backstage with Ethan Page who said it’s nice to be on a roll and reminisced about his AEW title shot in his hometown and how that was the moment his spiral started. Page said he needs to be competitive and work his way back up to touching the gold again.
Robinson’s Ruminations: That was a fun time filler match. Nese eating a loss because he tried to disrespect Lucha, while teaming with luchadors was pretty funny. Nese is a great professional enhancement guy with just enough personality to want to see him beat up every night.
10. Cole Karter and Griff Garrison vs. Darius Martin and Action Andretti. Martin hit an early arm drag on Karter. Andretti tagged in and so did Garrison. They traded holds and reversals before Andretti and Martin hit some double team moves to send both Karter and Garrison down. Maria got a desperation trip because neither of his guys could get things going, and it got her men back in the action.
Maria got a rope choke in and Karter hit his big drop kick for a two count. Garrison argued with Maria about the rope choke. Andretti made the hot tag and put both men down with back elbow and a handspring back elbow. Andretti and Martin hit a dropkick german suplex combo on garrison. Karter tried to roll up Andretti but Garrison pulled Karter’s feet off the ropes. Andretti hit a springboard 450 on Karter for the win.
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Christopher Daniels by submission.
Garrison tried to adhere to the code of honor but Karter and Maria pulled him away and Kater flipped them off…
Robinson’s Ruminations: This one was fun, but not because of the action. The story being told here was that there was no chemistry between Karter and Garrison and they played it very well with mistimed moves, arguing, etc. I’m interested in seeing where this story goes.
11. “Mogul Embassy” Brian Cage, Bishop Khan, Toa Liona (w/Prince Nana) vs. Willie Mack and “The Infantry” Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo (w/Trish Adora) for the ROH Six Man Tag Team Titles. The front row were all excited about Nana’s dance during the entrance. Dean hit a dropkick on Khan and The Infantry hit a reverse wishbone on him. Bravo ducked and moved for a bit avoiding Toa before getting leveled by a clothesline. Khan hit a bunch of suplexes on Bravo and got a two count. Cage lit up Bravo in the corner with clotheslines and got a 10 count from the crowd for it. Cage hit a backbreaker and got a two count. Bravo hit a lungblower but couldn’t make the tag. Bravo flipped out of a suplex and tagged in Mack.
Mack blasted Cage with strikes and kicks and a scoop slam. Mack took out Gates. Mack hit a running big boot in the corner for a two count. Mack went up to the top turnbuckle, but Cage cut him off. Cage hit his outside-in suplex on Mack with ease! Bravo knocked Cage out with a right hand, hit his spinning DDT on Khan and avoided a Toa spear.
The Infantry superkicked Toa and tried to suplex him, but Mack hit a stunner on Toa. Infantry suplexed Toa. Infantry hit some double team offense on Khan and Mack hit a frog splash on Cage for a two count. Khan hit an air raid crash on Mack. Toa shoulder blocked Dean out of the ring. Cage tossed Bravo out. Gates hit open the gates on Mack and Cage covered him for the win.
“Mogul Embassy” Brian Cage, Toa Liona, and Bishop Kaun defeated The Infantry and Willie Mack by pinfall to retain the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Predictable outcome, but fun action while it lasted. There’s never anything wrong with Embassy matches, they are always fun train wrecks. I’m wondering if Martin and Andretti are still together so that when Dante comes back they can unseat the Embassy finally, because there seems to be no team on the horizon to even remotely challenge them.
Typical 11 match special from ROH this week. Not as many squashes as usual, and more good action than not.