Three title matches headline Thursday's Ring of Honor TV show.
In a match that has been building for the last month on AEW programming, ROH Women's Champion Athena will defend against Willow Nightingale.
ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta will defend against Timothy Thatcher who made his AEW debut recently against Bryan Danielson.
After losing his TNT title on Sunday, ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe returns to defend against former TV Champion Tony Deppen.
In his pursuit of ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli, Eddie Kingston will face Ben Dejo while former Women's title challenger Trish Adora faces the debuting Billie Starkz.
Aussie Open will make their ROH debut as they take on Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus as Rush & Dralistico face Angelico & Serpentico of the Spanish Announce Team.
Former ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champions Dalton Castle & The Boys will wrestle C4 & Marcus Kross while Ari Daivari & Slim J take on Jake Crist & Man Scout.
Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman are on the call as we open with our first of three title matches.
ROH World TV Title: Samoa Joe defeated Tony Deppen to retain
A fine opener. Deppen didn’t get much offense in, but he hung with Joe well enough.
Joe took control early on, peppering Deppen with heavy strikes that sent him to the mat. Deppen came back with chops of his own before getting flattened by a Joe back elbow for a nearfall. Joe clubbered on Deppen in the corner before Deppen fought his way out with more strikes. Joe sent Deppen into the corner and dropped him with a body block and enzuigiri.
Joe brought Deppen to the top rope, but Deppen fought him off and hit a missile dropkick. Deppen came over the ropes and hit a stunner for a nearfall. There was a mix-up in the corner that ended with a Deppen nearfall for two. Joe hit the uranage out of the corner, but Deppen reversed the rear naked choke with a roll-up for two. Joe sent Deppen into the corner and took him down with the Muscle Buster for the pin and the win.
– After the match, Samoa Joe took the mic and said no matter the era, he runs ROH. He made a challenge for anyone to step up and make a challenge for the TV Title. Mark Briscoe made his way to the stage. He said that the TV Title was his destiny and made the challenge, which Joe quickly accepted.
– Backstage, Dalton Castle lamented the loss of the ROH Six-Man Titles to The Embassy and “that pennyfart” Prince Nana. He says that after moving dense furniture all weekend, him and The Boys are ready to take the titles back.
Dalton Castle & The Boys defeated Marcus Kross, Cody Chhun, & Guillermo Rosas
The women in the crowd shrieked in excitement when Castle’s music hit. I can’t say I blame them. Castle told Kross to fire up before immediately catching him in position for the Bangarang, but Kross hooked the ropes and sent Castle to the floor. After getting the Boys to limber him up, Castle got back in the ring and took Kross down. After a tag to Rosas, The Boys got in and hit stereo offense for a nearfall as Castle worked the crowd into a fever pitch on the floor.
Rosas tagged out to Chhun, and they isolated Boy Brandon. After avoiding a double stomp from Kross, Boy Brandon tagged out to Castle, who flung all three of his opponents around with aplomb. After sending the Boys flying to the outside onto their opponents, Castle dropped Rosas with the Bangarang for the win.
– Maria Kanellis-Bennett introduced Mike Bennett and Matt Taven for a promo. The Kingdom talked themselves up as being champions wherever they’ve gone, with Bennett calling out Top Flight for ruining their ROH return.
La Faccion Ingobernable (Rush & Dralistico) defeated Spanish Announce Project (Angelico & Serpentico) (w/ Dr. Luther)
Angelico, Serpentico, Dralistico. This is gonna be a challenge. Rush and Angelico started off, with Rush hammering Angelico with a chop. Angelico tagged in Serpentico, who tried hitting Rush with chops before getting drilled by a chop of his own. Dralistico came in with a springboard crossbody and a flurry of kicks.
Rush tagged back in, with him and Dralistico sending both of their opponents to the floor with strike combinations. Dralistico hit a dive onto SAP, with Rush following up with a feigned dive before hitting his pose. Rush and Dralistico beat them down on the floor, with Rush hitting Angelico with his trademark cable. Back in the ring, Dralistico hit an assisted springboard legdrop for a nearfall. Serpentico tried firing up, but LFI had none of it and put the boots to him.
Some wires got crossed up before Dralistico got on the apron and hooked Serpentico in the ropes. Serpentico ducked a Rush strike that hit Dralistico. Serpentico dived onto Dralistico on the floor before taking a headbutt from Rush. Angelico cut off the Bull’s Horns, but got taken down with a Meteora from Dralistico. Dralistico hit a destroyer on Serpentico for the win. After the match, they ripped Serpentico’s mask off his head and tore it in half.
Trish Adora defeated Billie Starkz
Adora worked on the arm of Starkz to start. Starkz sent Adora to the floor and tried a dive, but Adora caught her with a forearm in the ropes. Adora dropped Starkz with a bodyslam on the apron before getting a nearfall in the ring. Adora hit a very delayed German Suplex for another nearfall before locking on the Cattle Mutilation, sending Starkz to the ropes to break.
Starkz booted Adora in the corner, but Adora responded with a boot of her own for a nearfall. They traded forearms, with Starkz hitting a spin kick out of it. But Adora immediately followed with the Lariat Tubman for the win.
– Lexy Nair interviewed Christopher Daniels. Daniels talked up wanting the ROH World Tag Team Titles. He wanted to team with Frankie Kazarian again, but he honored his word as SCU lost the right to team up back in 2020. But he’s had several partners in his career, one of them being Matt Sydal. Sydal accepted the offer, and Daniels told the other teams in ROH to say their prayers.
Ari Daivari & Slim J (w/ Smart Mark Sterling) defeated Jake Crist & Jake Manning
I’m going to get very tired of hearing the Trustbusters music on this show.
Slim J gave Daivari a matching t-shirt as they made their way to the ring. We have a lot of bits going on, as Manscout Manning was reading a scout’s guide as the bell rang. Daivari threw the book away and got started with the match. Crist quickly tagged in and ran wild on Daivari before missing a crossbody. Manning tagged in, taking a lariat from Daivari after a knee to the back from Slim J. Slim J tagged in and dropped Manning with a springboard reverse DDT. Slim J locked on an STF on Manning and scored the win.
After the match, Daivari talked trash about Metalik, which brought the luchador out to the ring. The Trustbusters stomped on him before Blake Christian ran them off with a chair.
ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta defeated Timothy Thatcher to retain
While I’m not usually a fan of Thatcher’s work, this was a quality Pure Title match. The Blackpool Combat Club’s new heel-leaning tendencies were reflected here, with Yuta using an edge and cheating outright at the end of this match.
The judges for this match were BJ Whitmer, Colt Cabana, and Christopher Daniels.
Thatcher immediately locked on a Fujiwara armbar, sending Yuta to the ropes to use his first rope break. Thatcher controlled Yuta’s arms, denying Yuta’s attempts to escape. Thatcher jammed Yuta’s arm into the mat before hitting a body slam and an elbow drop for a one count. He did it again, but Yuta fought out of a third attempt and turned it into an Octopus Hold. Thatcher used his first rope break to get out of it.
Thatcher avoided a bicep stomp and took Yuta down with a single-leg, but Yuta went right back to the arm. Thatcher sat Yuta on the top rope, but Yuta brought Thatcher down by the shoulder. Thatcher started throwing European uppercuts to try and escape, but Yuta kept on the left arm. Thatcher fired up and hit a big belly-to-belly suplex but couldn’t follow up with a cover. Yuta stuffed a double underhook suplex attempt and used a hammerlock variant to force Thatcher to use his second armbar.
They traded uppercuts before Yuta sent Thatcher back to the mat with the same hammerlock variant. Thatcher fought back up and drove Yuta into the corner with uppercuts with the good arm. Yuta fought out of the corner with a closed fist, which earned a warning from the referee. Yuta hit the Right Angle Slam for a nearfall, which used Thatcher’s final rope break.
Thatcher sent Yuta into the ropes, but Yuta rebounded through the ropes and caught Thatcher with a German suplex. Thatcher kicked out and locked on an armbar to force Yuta’s second rope break. Thatcher strung offense together, scoring nearfalls with a back suplex and a butterfly suplex. Thatcher drove his knees into Yuta, who had to slide to the ropes and use his final rope break.
Thatcher dropped Yuta with another uppercut, sending Yuta to the floor. Thatcher shoved the referee out of the way, allowing Yuta to hit an illegal closed fist to Thatcher in the ropes. Yuta tied Thatcher in the ropes with a Cobra Twist to score the tap out.
– After the match, Yuta called out the tracksuit wearing LA Dojo boys for thinking that they’ve accomplished something. Clark Connors made his way to the ring to respond. He says that all three of Yuta’s BCC teammates wish that they trained under Katsuyori Shibata before making a challenge for the Pure Title next week. Yuta blew him off and left, but turned around on the ramp and told him that the match was on.
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) defeated Rhett Titus & Tracy Williams
A great introduction for Aussie Open on ROH television. They showed off their impressive offense here and got a great response from the crowd by the end of the match.
After an opening exchange with all four men, Aussie Open took control with a flurry of offense on Titus. Fletcher started a delayed vertical suplex before tagging Davis in so he could take hold and complete it. Titus fought out of the corner and tagged in Williams, who ran wild on Fletcher with a high-angle suplex and a DDT off of the second rope for a nearfall.
Fletcher fought off a piledriver attempt, sending Williams to the apron. Williams sent Fletcher to the floor, but missed a running knee. Davis and Fletcher picked up Titus and Williams and ran them into each other. Back in the ring, Aussie Open hit the Dental Plan and the assisted cutter on Williams for a nearfall. Aussie Open hit dual forearms, but Williams fought off the Dental Plan and hit La Mistica on Davis before locking on an armbar. Titus caught Fletcher in a submission as well, but both men caught the ropes.
Titus and Williams ran wild on Fletcher, scoring a nearfall with a flurry of offense. They isolated Fletcher, hitting a diving knee and top rope splash back-to-back for a nearfall. Fletcher caught Williams with a spinning tombstone before Davis took out Titus with a pull-up piledriver. A pair of lariats set Aussie Open up to hit Coreolis for the win.
Eddie Kingston defeated Ben Dejo
Kingston hit the machine gun chops, a Saito suplex, and a backfist to win in under a minute. He made sure to adhere to the Code of Honor, shaking Dejo’s limp hand after the match.
– Kingston took the mic after the match and called out ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli. Kingston told Castagnoli to give him his shot, but Castagnoli said that a man without honor would never hold the ROH World Title and left. Kingston followed him to the back, but still got no answer.
– We got promos from champion and challenger for the ROH Women’s Title match main event.
ROH Women’s World Championship: Athena defeated Willow Nightingale to retain
A fantastic main event. Athena has earned a spot as one of the best women’s wrestlers in America today with the level of intensity and viciousness she brings to her big matches. Nightingale had this crowd behind her from the jump and hung with Athena every step of the way. This was the best match of ROH’s Honor Club run to date.
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Nightingale scored the first pin attempt after a running crossbody, before following it up with suplexes for a nearfall. Nightingale hit a big chop to Athena in the corner, but Athena yanked Nightingale’s arm over the rope to take control. Athena clubbered on Nightingale in the corner before mockingly cheering herself on to boos. Nightingale kicked Athena’s knee out, but Athena kept control with a top wristlock.
Athena missed a senton, allowing Nightingale to attempt several flash pins. Nightingale went for an O’Connor Roll, but Athena ducked and sent Nightingale throat-first into the ropes. Athena sent Nightingale onto the apron, where she hit a big kick and a baseball slide to send Nightingale to the floor. Athena trapped Nightingale’s arm in the stairs, and after ramming her other shoulder into the post, Athena dropkicked the stairs into Nightingale’s trapped arm.
Athena baseball slid into Nightingale as she tried to get into the ring, but Nightingale caught her on a kick and powerbombed Athena into the apron. Nightingale followed with a Spicolli Driver on the floor that left both women laid out. Both women got back in the ring at the count of 19, where Nightingale ran wild with offense. Nightingale hit a main event spinebuster – in the actual main event – before attempting the Babe With The Powerbomb. But Nightingale’s arm couldn’t hold, allowing Athena to catch her in a crossface. Nightingale got to the ropes, but Athena followed with running knees into the corner.
Athena hit a big facebuster, but Nightingale kicked out, earning This Is Awesome chants from the crowd. Athena went to the top rope, but Nightingale caught her with a Pounce to score a nearfall. Athena went for a springboard, but Nightingale caught her in the gutwrench and hit the Babe With The Powerbomb for another nearfall. Athena took a powder, but Nightingale followed her onto the stage. Athena clawed at Nightingale’s eyes and dropped her on the ramp with a forward slam. After running Nightingale into the stairs, Athena rolled her into the ring and hit the O-Face for the win.
– After the match, Athena menaced the referee before hitting Nightingale with the title belt on the outside. Athena hit the running knees to Nightingale into the stairs to boos as the show faded out.