By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 39)
Taped November 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California at Kia Forum
Streamed November 23, 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 off with Athena and Billie Starkz issuing a challenge to anyone. After they walked away Marina Shafir came into frame, grabbed her cell phone, dialed a number and said “Dude…”
The announcers ran down some of tonight’s matches and gave away the Ronda Rousey surprise…
1. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Trent Beretta for the ROH Pure Rules Championship. Jerry Lynn, Madison Rayne and Jimmy Jacobs were shown as the judges for this match. The men traded some headlocks and then some finisher teases. Shibata worked on a short arm scissor lock and Beretta used his first rope break. Shibata did an arm stomp spot, and then continued to work over the arm with kicks. Beretta came back with a through the ropes spear. Beretta hit a tornado DDT and a running knee for a two count. Shibata let Beretta chop him a bunch and ate all of them before blasting Beretta with a forearm. Beretta got a leaping knee that sent Shibata to the outside, where Beretta followed with a plancha.
Back in the ring Beretta hit a missile dropkick from the top for a double down. Shibata came back and hit his running dropkick in the corner. Shibata hit a hatch suplex for a two count. Shibata locked in an ankle lock and even grabbed a leg grapevine, but Berretta used his second rope break to get out. Shibata tried a bow and arrow but Beretta rolled through and got a two count. The men traded chops, and Beretta went for a clothesline but Shibata hit an STO for a two count. Shibata slapped Beretta and then hit his PK for the three count.
Katsuyori Shibata defeated Trent Beretta by pinfall to retain the ROH Pure Rules Championship.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Fine opening match. These two worked very well together.
2. Diamante vs. Trish Adora vs. Kiera Hogan vs. Willow Nightingale in a Four Corner Survival match. Diamante ducked to ringside as soon as the bell rung and the other women all traded roll up pinfalls. Diamanted pulled Hogan to ringside and blasted her with a forearm. In the ring Willow hit Trish with a shoulder block and Diamante broke that cover up. Diamante worked over Willow in the corner with strikes. Diamante hit a rope hung neckbreaker to send Willow to the floor. Hogan and Diamante hit stereo suicide dives on the others.
Hogan went to the top rope but Willow cut her off, and then Trish and Diamante hit Willow with a powerbomb, and then Hogan hit a crossbody off the top on Diamante and Trish. All the women traded forearms and chops in the middle before they all ganged up on Diamante. Trish hit a big boot on Hogan and then a Bubba Bomb that got a cover Diamante broke up. Willow hit Diamante with a DVD. Hogan hit Willow with some kicks for a broken up cover. Diamante tossed Hogan outside and ate a pump kick from Trish. Willow hit Trish with the doctor bomb and got the three count.
Willow Nightingale won a Four Corner Survival match by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Fun action from the ladies that never slowed down. Willow getting a feel good win is a fine thing.
The announcers ran down a few matches again and then showed a few clips of Rousey and Shafir vs Starkz and Athena at Pro Wrestling Revolver a few weeks ago.
3. Tony Nese (w/Mark Sterling) vs. Ethan Page. On the way to the ring, Sterling said group training is canceled until they deal with Ethan Page. Sterling said that Nese will be 2-0 against Page after tonight. There was some stalling early where they both played to the crowd. Eventually Nese got the advantage with some strikes in the corner on Page. Page came right back with a shoulder block and ten punches in the corner. Page hit a sidewalk slam and got a one count.
Nese got a throat punch and his Macho Man hotshot to take control. Nese ran Page into the stairs on the outside. Back in the ring the men traded strikes and then Page missed his Headshot finisher and Nese hit a big kick for a two count. Nese locked in a body scissors while the crowd chanted at Sterling “You Shut Up”. Page broke free and they traded strikes until Page hit a clothesline. Page hit a big shoulder block and his Headshot cutter for a two count. Sterling grabbed Page’s foot and Page pulled him up on the apron. The ref ejected Sterling. Page hit a big boot on Nese that got the three count.
Ethan Page defeated Tony Nese by pinfall.
After the match, Page wanted the Code of Honor handshake, but Nese attacked him. Sterling from the top of the ramp called for security and then we had a quick pull apart brawl.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another fine match, but I don’t think this feud is over just yet. I want these guys to have a PPV quality match to end the feud because I know they can and I think it could be very good.
A recap aired of Eddie Kingston defending his ROH World Championship against Jay Lethal on the Zero Hour pre-show, followed by a recap of the MJF/Samoa Joe match against the Gunns from the Zero Hour pre-show…
4. “The Workhorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake vs. “Iron Savages” Bronson and Boulder (w/Jacked Jameson) vs. “The Infantry” Sean Dean and Carlie Bravo vs. “West Coast Wrecking Crew” Jorel Nelson and Royce Issacs in a Four Corner Survival match. Drake worked over Bravo with some chops to start. Infantry hit some quick offense on Drake, Henry and Bronson. Bronson hit a huge flapjack on Dean. Bronson rubbed Dean’s face into Boulder’s chest hair. Issacs and Bronson traded forearms in the middle. Issacs hit a head kick and WCWC hit some tandem offense on Bronson and Bravo and celebrated until The Workhorsemen cut them off.
WCWC dumped Workhorsmen to ringside and then they ate a Boulder crossbody. The Infantry hit some flip dives to everyone at ringside while the Savages drank some sauce and then Bronson hit a dive onto everyone too. Boulder hit Royce with a sidewalk slam. Savages went for their transformers splash and missed. Henry hit a double stomp to the back of Bronson’s head. Drake tried a crossbody on Boulder but he got caught and Issacs snuck up behind and germany both men. Infantry hit some tandem kicks on Henry. WCWC hit some double team offense on Dean. Henry worked over WCWC and Drake hit a dive outside. Workhorsmen hit a double team finisher on Royce to get the pinfall.
The Workhorsemen won a Four Corner Survival match by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Another crazy train wreck match with lots of dives and big moves. A Workhorsmen win is a plus in my book, but I know not everyone likes them. The Savages developing this double entendre gimmick is cute for undercard comedy but that’s its ceiling. They are kind of like The Nasty Boys if the Nasty’s ever worked out. That’s not a terrible place to be, but I think in today’s crowded landscape they’re going to just get overshadowed by teams that can do more.
Backstage Lexi asked Tony Nese about his temper tantrum after the match. Nese complained about Sterling getting ejected. Sterling said this last match is going to get thrown out too because he got ejected. Sterling questioned who runs this place because he needs answers. Sterling said it’s not over. “See you soon pal”…
5. Lee Moriarty vs. Wheeler Yuta in a Pure Rules match. This match was said to be from Chicago and I know the main event was taped in California, so they’re really mixing and matching tapings now. Judges were shown, Jimmy Jacobs, Madison Rayne and Pat Buck. The men were trading arm work and then worked a bunch of knuckle lock work including a monkey flip from Yuta and a Kimora attempt from Moriarty. Moriarty worked some arm holds, including a hammerlock bow and arrow that Yuta rolled through and got a one count. Yuta came back and locked in an Octopus hold, and then tried to roll through and the men traded roll up two counts.
Yuta hit a scoop slam and a big splash from the top for a two count. Yuta was working some elbows to the neck and Moriarty rolled it into his Border City Stretch and Yuta rolled through and got a two count. Moriarty put Yuta on the top turnbuckle, and they fought on top including Moriarty biting Yuta. Moriarty hit a huge top rope superplex that sent Yuta ¾ the way across the ring. Both men used their closed fist punches and got called for it. Then they traded forearms until Moriarty hit a big boot. Then they traded german suplexes, and Yuta bridged on the last one for a two count. Yuta bit Moaritary’s hand to stop the border city stretch and then hit the hammer and anvil elbows, then he rolled right into a trap pin for the pinfall.
Wheeler Yuta defeated Lee Moriarty by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice Pure Rules match to get Yuta back into the Pure division.
The announcers hyped up the Ronda Rousey main event again.
7. Lee Johnson vs. Willie Mack vs. Fred Rosser vs. Jack Cartwheel in a Four Corner Survival match. Rosser blasted Mack with a big boot and then he ate a double dropkick from Cartwheel and Johnson. Mack hit a flying head scissors on Johnson and a drop kick on Cartwheel. Cartwheel hit a flying headscissors on Mack and then a gymnastics floor routine into a back dive over the ropes to dive onto everyone at ringside. Rosser hit a belly to belly on Cartwheel and then worked him over in the corner with chops.
Cartwheel got dumped to ringside and Johnson came in and worked over Rosser with running chops, but got caught with a powerslam. Mack and Rosser traded forearms and shoulder block attempts. Mack hit a running enzuigiri on Rosser and then got hit with a neck breaker from Cartwheel. Johnson hit a DVD and standing moonsault on Cartwheel and ate a huge forearm from Rosser who got a two count on everyone else who was down. Cartwheel hit a handstand elbow off the ropes. Cartwheel tried a shooting star but landed on his feet and then ate a Sky High from Mack. Johnson hit a springboard sunset flip on Rosser to get the pinfall.
Lee Johnson won a Four Corner Survival match by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: What happened to Johnson being on a losing streak to keep him thinking about Shane Taylor Promotions? This seems like a set back for that story.
Lexi congratulated Ethan Page on his win and told him that Nese and Sterling said this wasn’t over. Page said “Oh it isn’t?” Page said he shook Nese’s hand even after they both cheated. He said they rushed to get their interview first to change the narrative. Page said he knows they aren’t done, because HE says they aren’t done. He said that when it’s all said and done, Nese will shake his hand…
Robinson’s Ruminations: Great promo!!!
8. Athena and Billie Starkz vs. Marina Shafir and Ronda Rousey. Athena nearly fainted when Rousey’s music hit and Starkz had to hold her up. Rousey had some generic music. Athena made Starkz start the match because she wanted nothing to do with Rousey. Rousey threw Starkz around with judo throws. Shafir worked over Starkz with a few kicks for a one count. Billie escaped and got a tag but Shafir tagged out and so Athena did too. Starkz got tossed around again and ate a knee in the corner and a tarantula arm bar on the ropes.
Shafir hit a belly to back suplex and got a two count. Athena hit Shafir with the knee from the apron and then tripped her. Starkz got a basement dropkick to the face on Shafir for a two count. Athena tagged in and choked Shafir on the ropes. Athena hit a running forearm in the corner and then taunted Rousey on the apron. Athena hit a spear on Shafir for a two count. Starkz and Athena did some quick tags and worked over Shafir in their corner. Starkz and Shafir traded forearms in the middle until then both hit big boots for a double down.
Athena and Rousey tagged in and Rousey threw Athena around with judo throws and a sidewinder slam for a two count. Rousey choked Athena on the ropes, Starkz tagged in and got choked too. Eventually Starkz dove onto Rousey at ringside. Athena tripped Shafir on the apron as Starkz threw Rousey into the barricade. Athena slammed both Shafir and Rousey on the outside at the same time. Back in the ring Athena got a two count on Rousey. Athena went up top for O-Face but Rousey blocked and turned it into an arm bar and then a triangle. Athena lifted Rousey and powerbombed her, but Rousey locked in another arm bar. Stakz broke it up with a swanton from the top and then Shafir threw Starkz with a belly to belly for a quadruple down! All the women traded strikes in the middle.
Rousey did a step up arm bar on Athena who bit her hand and hit an electric chair german on Rousey for a two count. Starkz and Shafir tagged in. Starkz hit a rewind kick and went up top. Shafir cut her off and the both went down. Starkz tried to go up across the ring and Shafir cut her off. Athena hit a blind tag and kicked Shafir and then tried to powerbomb her but Rousey cut her off and Shafir got a two count roll up. Starkz was thrown to ringside and Shafir and Rousey hit a slingshot DVD combo that got a two count.
Athena blasted Rousey with a forearm and we got a double tag. Starkz rolled up Shafir for a two count. Starkz and Athena hit a Gory Special/Codebreaker combo that got a broken up cover. Shafir tripped Athena and tagged in Rousey who locked in an ankle lock on Athena, Shafir locked in one on Starkz as well. Athena and Starkz rolled through and escaped. Athena went up top and hit O-Face on Rousey, but Athena wasn’t legal! Starkz dove on Shafir at ringside and Athena made her go up top. Starkz missed the Swanton and Rousey locked in an arm bar and got the tap out win.
Ronda Rousey and Marina Shafir defeated Athena and Billie Starkz by submission.
After the match, Athena tried to jump Rousey and Shafir but got caught. Rousey teased hitting Athena with her title, but Athena scurried away.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Man, what a difference a hot crowd makes. This match got a ton of time and was well worked by all the women involved. It’s hard to believe that they have so much faith in Starkz to send her out there in a match like this, at her age, but my God does she deliver. Athena was amazing as always in all aspects of this match, from actual in ring work to character work. Rousey looked good in this match too, and was made to shine like a star here.
Overall, the show had a lot of high energy train wreck matches, which isn’t always a bad thing. But I think in this instance, a lot of the developing stories took a bit of a back seat.