By Sam Robinson, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@altaine)
Ring of Honor on HonorClub (Episode 41)
Taped December 2, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania at Erie Insurance Arena
Streamed December 7, 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 shots of the crowd and a rundown of some of the matches for tonight, including three different Survival of the Fittest TV Title Eliminator matches…
1. Billie Starkz vs. Dani Mo. Mo’s entrance was not televised. Mo avoided a few grapple attempts from Billie, but then ate a big spin kick and a few german suplexes. Billie went to the top and hit her swan dive for the pinfall.
Billie Starkz defeated Dani Mo by pinfall.
After the match, Athena snuck up on Billie and blasted her with the title belt and threw Billie out of the ring. Athena tried to run Billie into the barricade but Billie reversed it and then suplexed her on the floor. Security held Billie back and Athena drop kicked her and then put down the security. Athena suplexed Billie into the ring post and then more security separated them. Athena blew through the security only to eat a spear from Billie. Athena and Billie attacked security and refs to get at each other. Athena hit a pop up powerbomb on the floor on Billie and then rolled her in the ring and hit Billie with her own finisher, the Star 10, on the title belt.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Squash match that led to the real meat here which was the Athena attack. I understand the story of Billie teaming with Athena and gaining an edge, but there was no real mia culpa moment from Billie that said she was regretful.
A video package for Final Battle aired…
Backstage, Wheeler Yuta and Brian Danielson challenged FTR and Mark Briscoe to a six man tag match at Final Battle against BCC. Danielson said they would bring the fight like Jay Briscoe would have wanted…
2. Johnny TV vs. Dalton Castle (w/The Boys). TV hit a quick jab that sent Castle to ringside. Castle got fired up and backed TV into a corner but got distracted arguing with the ref and TV hit a spinning clothesline and a flip leg drop for a one count. Castle ducked to ringside and stalled, firing up the crowd. Bask in the ring Castle tried for a suplex but had to resort to some clotheslines and a short DDT for a two count. Castle hit a knee in the corner. TV eventually threw Castle outside and then hit a kneeling 450 splash on the floor and back in the ring he got a two count off of it. TV locked in a cravat and Castle fought out only to get dumped to ringside again. The Boys threw Castle in as TV came out.
Back in the ring, TV threw Castle out again, and again The Boys threw Castle in. TV tried a handstand kick on the apron and Castle kicked his arm out. Castle threw TV into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Castle hit some of his exploder suplexes, and TV retreated to ringside and up the ramp calling for a time out. TV ran Castle into the ring apron and then tried to dive on Castle but The Boys got Castle out of the way. Castle hit a kick and celebrated with The Boys.
Castle hit his running knee in the corner and tried for Bangarang, but Taya Valkyrie came down the ramp. The Boys stood in her way but she just speared them. TV rolled through the Bangarang attempt and hit a knee and repositioned Castle for Starship Pain. Castle rolled out of the ring to get away from Starship Pain and walked right into Valkyrie who taunted him. Back in the ring, TV hit a springboard kick. Valkyrie got on the apron and Kiera Hogan came down and pulled her off as Castle was able to hit Bangarang on TV for the pinfall.
Dalton Castle defeated Johnny TV by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: Man, this one was slow with lots of stalling on the outside.
Another rundown of segments and matches was shown for later tonight, including the contract signing between Tony Nese and Ethan Page…
3. Rachael Ellering (w/Leyla Hirsch, Maria Kanellis-Bennett) vs. Nikki Victory. No televised entrance for Victory. The wrestlers traded some arm wringers until Ellering hit a shoulder block. Victory tried a drop down and Ellering picked her up and hit a gut wrench suplex. Ellering hit a spinning elbow for a two count. Lots of shots of Maria clapping and cheering as the announcers wondered what Maria’s motive really is. Ellering chopped Victory down a few times. Ellering got shot into the ropes and Maria grabbed her leg and Victory used the distraction to get a two count on a roll up. Victory hit a nice jaw breaker but ran right into the Bosswoman Slam for the pinfall.
Rachael Ellering defeated Nikki Victory by pinfall.
After the match, Maria, Ellering and Hirsch all argued as they went up the ramp…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A squash match that just furthered a storyline.
Backstage, Lexi Nair asked Athena about the attack on Billie Starkz. Athena asked Lexi if she loved it and Lexi said Yes like a hostage. Athena said the women’s world title match will main event Final Battle. Athena said Lexi will be the special guest ring announcer. Lexi was a deer in headlights…
4. “The WorkHorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake vs. “The Infantry” Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo. Henry and Dean traded some arm work before Bravo tagged in and The Infantry worked over the arm with quick tags. Henry hit a quick forearm and then he and Drake hit some quick sequence offense that included a DDT from Drake. Drake worked over Bravo with some big chops. Bravo tried to fight out with some punches but got hit with a belly to belly from Drake that got Drake a two count. Henry teased more chops but hit some PKs to the back instead. More sequence offense from the WorkHorsemen that got them a broken up nearfall.
Bravo tried to fight out but got his hands stomped on by Henry. Bravo got away with an arm drag and Dean came in house of fire with some clotheslines, DDTs and superkicks. Dean hit a top rope crossbody on Drake and a pop up drop and then a double DDT on Henry. Bravo hit a scissor kick on Drake and then Dean hit a top rope splash for a two count. Dean hit a spinning forearm on Henry and Infantry went for Boot Camp, but Drake broke it up. Henry hit Meteora in the corner on Dean but Drake missed the cannonball. Dean hit a dive on Drake on the outside. Infantry had some miscommunication and Dean superkicked Bravo and then Workhorsmen hit a combo slam kick move and got the pinfall.
“The WorkHorsemen” Anthony Henry and JD Drake defeated “The Infantry” Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: I like both of these teams and the work in the ring was plenty solid. Sadly, though, the crowd just wasn’t into it.
Another rundown of upcoming matches aired, including for the main event of Kyle Fletcher vs. Gravity in a Eliminator match…
5. Charlette Renegade and Robyn Renegade vs. Trish Adora and Lady Frost. Frost and Robyn ran a series of reversals before Frost hit a running neckbreaker for a two count. As the ref was distracted by Robyn, Charlette hit Frost on the apron and threw her into a flatliner from Robyn that got The Renegades a two count. Robyn hit a vertical suplex that got a one count. The Renegades hit a Muta Lock combo move that got them a two count. The Renegades tried a double suplex but Frost fought them off and put them down with rewind kicks. Adora tagged in and ran through The Renegades with clotheslines and german suplexes, the last one which got a two count. Adora hit her full nelson slam. Frost hit a head scissors to help Adora escape an abdominal stretch and then hit Lariat Tubman and Lady Frost hit a top rope moonsault for the pinfall.
Trish Adora and Lady Frost defeated The Renegades by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine tag match.
Backstage, Ellering interrupted a Maria interview before it started and asked what was up with the leg trip. Hirsch told her to give Maria the benefit of the doubt. Maria walked off. Hirsch said she has Ellering’s back from here on out, which Ellering accepted…
7. Josh Woods vs. Lee Johnson in an ROH TV Title Eliminator match. The men did some chain wrestling to start that Woods of course got the better of. Woods put Johnson down with a shoulder block and Johnson popped right back up only to get taken down by a headlock takeover. Johnson hit a dropkick and an arm drag. Woods hip-tossed Johnson over the top to the floor and then told a fan, “You have a receding hairline, shut your mouth.” Woods slammed Johnson into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Woods put Johnson down with a kitchen sink knee for a one count. Johnson fought out of the corner and hit a few kicks and a float over neckbreaker. Johnson hit a moonsault reverse DDT for a two count. Johnson hit some running chops in the corner but Woods fought him off and went up top. Johnson cut Woods off and followed Woods up. Woods got the better of it and hit a twisting vertical superplex for a two count. Woods tried chaos theory but Johnson rolled through and got a two count. Woods hit a running knee and a gut wrench powerbomb for a two count. Woods tried for a running knee and Johnson hit a pump kick. Johnson hit a top rope frog splash for the three count.
Lee Johnson defeated Josh Woods by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: I guess the Johnson losing streak story is officially dead. Did we really have to sacrifice his winning streak for this?
There was a rundown of more matches and segments…
8. “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd vs. “The Righteous” Vincent and Dutch. Vincent but Magnum in the corner and worked him over with chops right away. Magnum fought out with chops of his own. Magnum came in and The Outrunners hit a back elbow. Dutch got a blind tag and hit a running crossbody and then choked Magnum on the mat. The Righteous worked over Magnum in their corner including Vincent biting the forehead. Vincent pulled Magnum around with a fishhook and then hit a basement flatliner. Floyd came in house of fire with punches and a scoop slam for Vincent. Floyd wound up and blasted Dutch with a punch. Floyd hit a suplex on Vincent. The Outrunners ate a double clothesline from Dutch and then The Righteous hit Autumn Sunshine on Floyd for the pinfall.
“The Righteous” Vincent and Dutch defeated “The Outrunners” Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A standard TV tag team match.
9. Tracy Williams vs. Lee Moriarty in an ROH TV Title Eliminator match. Half of the front section in front of the hard camera was empty by this point. The men traded arm work until Williams got a roll up for a two count. The men traded submission attempts until Williams got a one count roll up. The men traded chops in the middle of the ring until Williams caught the hand and pushed Moritary into the corner with forearms. Moriarty fought out with a pump kick. Moariarty hit a bridging suplex for a two count.
Moriarty hit a basement dropkick to the face and got a two count but maintained wrist control. Williams reversed a suplex attempt into a cradle for a two count. Moriarty hit a corner flatliner but ran right into a slam for a double down. Moriarty kicked the arm of Williams, but Williams came back with a Saito suplex. Williams went to the top rope but Moriarty cut him off. Williams hit his top turnbuckle DDT and then a clothesline for a two count. Moriarty tried the Border City Stretch but Williams slid into a crossface of his own. Moriarty did the finger snap spot and then hit a suplex flatliner move called The Thang and got the three count.
Lee Moriarty defeated Tracy Williams by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice TV match that gave Moriarty a win against a game opponent. Selfishly, I’d love to see these two in a Pure Rules feud.
Backstage Lexi congratulated Dalton Castle on his win. Castle said he was walking on air and he was so excited. Castle said he’s ready for TV. Johnny TV came into frame and the two went back and forth naming TV shows before Taya Valkyrie came in and broke it up. Valkyrie said the only reason Castle won was because he had an army. Valkyrie walked TV away but he kept trying to keep the shouting match going off camera…
10. The Butcher and The Blade vs. “The Boys” Brandon Tate and Brent Tate. YAY! The Boys took the masks off to wrestle. Butcher used a lock up to throw Brent around. Brent hit a dropkick that Butcher no sold. Brent tried a running crossbody but got caught. Brent hit a basement dropkick to the knee and tagged in Brandon. The Boys hit a double dropkick and put Butcher down. Butcher came right back with a knee to the gut and tagged in Blade. Blade worked over Brandon in the corner until Brandon fought off with a flipping cutter.
The Boys did a do-si-do spot and made Butcher and Blade run into each other and then low bridged them to ringside. The Boys tried to dive out, but got cut off by forearms. Blade hit a gourdbuster on a Boy and tagged in Butcher. Butcher choked a Boy on the ropes. Blade came in and hit a PK to the back for a two count. Brandon hit an enzuigiri on Butcher to make the hot tag to Brent who came in with clotheslines and dropkicks to knees. Brent hit a flatliner that got a broken up nearfall. Blade ran Brent through with a clothesline and Butcher and Blade hit Drag the Lake on Brandon for the pinfall.
The Butcher and The Blade defeated The Boys by pinfall.
Robinson’s Ruminations: This was much more competitive than it should have been. I like The Boys, but they got way too much offense here.
Backstage Lexi asked Maria, Griff Garrison and Cole Karter if the chemistry is still there. Garrison said he thinks they’re “Bros” now, it’s just been hard competition. Karter complained about the lack of hot moms and new gear. Maria said that maybe they need new entrance music and then sung a few bars of a new song. Maria was a little self conscious and walked off to work on it some more. Garrison was wide-eyed shocked and said “She’s a song bird”…
11. Christopher Daniels vs. Angelico (w/ Serpentcio). Serpentico hopped on the apron asking for a code of honor handshake too. Daniels obliged as Serpentico shouted “We’re the good guys”. The men traded holds until Daniels hit a shoulder block and locked a headlock right back in. Daniels was continually one step ahead of Angelico and kept locking in headlocks. Angelico finally got away by pulling on Daniel’s ear. Daniels pushed him back into the corner and punched and chopped Angelico. Angelico hit a punch to the back of the neck and then choked Daniels on the ropes.
Angelico hit a snapmare and a kick to the neck for a two count. Angelico locked in a figure four like hold and then let go to get a two count. Daniels hit a backslide and then a jackknife getting a two count each time. Angelico put Daniels down with a closed fist punch. Daniels hit a t-bone suplex. Daniels hit some clotheslines and Angelico did a Flair flop. Daniels did the ten punches in the corner and then hit a big back body drop and his STO for a two count. Daniels went for Angel’s Wings but Angelico fought out and hit a rewind kick. Angelico went to the top and Daniels cut him off and Daniels tried for Iconoclasm but Serpentico grabbed Daniels’ leg. Angelico locked in his inverted deathlock submission for the tap out.
Angelico defeated Christopher Daniels by submission.
After the match, Daniels put the beatdown on Serpentico, but got cut off by Anglico. Best Friends’ music hit and Danhausen and Orange Cassidy came to the ring for the save. Danhausen cursed Serpentico and Cassidy hit him with an Orange Punch. As the faces celebrated, Angelico picked the ankle of Orange Cassidy and ran up the ramp…
Robinson’s Ruminations: A fine TV match and an interesting set up for a new feud. OC and Danhausen vs. SAP? I’d be down for it.
Tony Khan stood in the ring for a contract signing. He brought out Tony Nese, who came to the ring with Mark Sterling. Nese is really starting to groom and carry himself like Randy Savage. Khan announced Ethan Page and Page came down the ramp all smiles.
Khan reminded the men that while he was out there, there wasn’t supposed to be any physicality. Khan announced that Sterling asked for this to be an “I Quit” match. Sterling said it was to remind Page about how many times he’s quit before. Sterling put up some images of a chubbier Page on the big screen. Sterling said in three months, he’ll look like that again and then ran down all the things Page has already quit, like tag partners. Nese signed the contract and passed it to Page.
Page said that he came to ROH to become champion and be a leader. Page said that Nese is a great pro wrestler. Page said he was upset because Nese and Sterling cheated to ruin his winning streak. Page said that when he is done with Nese he’s going back to work on becoming champion. Page said that when he’s done with Nese, he’s moving on and taking the spotlight with him and then signed the contract and got up to walk away. Tony Khan left too.
Nese said that Page was delusional, a quitter and a loser. Nese said that Page created the problem. Page turned around to listen. Nese said that Page was beyond helping, but he was going to try one more time. Nese said to remember to take your protein and Sterling threw protein powder in Page’s face. Nese started the beatdown as Sterling set the table up in the corner. Sterling chop blocked Page when he tried to mount a comeback. Nese ran Page into the table in the corner and posed with Sterling. Sterling threw a business card on Page as he gasped for air…
Robinson’s Ruminations:That was a pretty decent contract signing angle to set up a grudge match at the PPV. Nese is definitely becoming a much better talker.
12. Kyle Fletcher vs. Gravity in a ROH TV Title Eliminator Match. Fletcher kicked away the code of honor handshake. Fletcher used his power to push Gravity around with a lock up. Gravity used a clean break to hit a handspring back elbow and a dive outside. Gravity hit a lucha arm drag off the top and got a roll up for a two count. Gravity tried a springboard crossbody but Fletcher caught him and hit a swing out side effect for a cocky two count. Fletcher stomped on Gravity in the corner and then covered him for a one count.
Riccaboni talked about Fletcher’s prospects and said something about the North American Triple Crown. Fletcher went for a powerbomb but Gravity rolled through and got a two count. Gravity hit a standing moonsault for a two count. The men traded tip up reversals in the corner until Fletcher hit a very quick Michinoku Driver for a two count. Fletcher asked for chops and he put Gravity down with a heel kick. Fletcher went for his hammerlock tombstone but Gravity rolled through for a two count. Fletcher hit the hammerlock tombstone right after for the three count.
Robinson’s Ruminations: A nice, quick match to put Fletcher in Survival of the Fittest. As someone who didn’t watch the original ROH, I still don’t know exactly what Survival of the Fittest is, and the announcers haven’t told me. I did catch during this match that it’s a tournament of some kind. Is it a one night tournament? How does that work with six men? Is it a gauntlet match? Who knows, because the announcers haven’t told viewers.
As for the overall show, it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t stand out in any way. They have really settled into this formula of TV matches and backstage promos. The only thing different tonight was the contract signing, and that was a nice break from the formula.