Ring Of Honor Supercard Of Honor XV

Supercard Of Honor XV
Date: April 1, 2022
Location: Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, Texas
Commentators: Caprice Coleman, Ian Riccaboni

Now this is a big one as we have the first new Ring of Honor show in about three and a half months. The catch this time though is that the company has been purchased by AEW President Tony Khan, which means there is likely to be a bigger AEW presence on this show. Most of the card hasn’t been announced, but we are getting the Briscoes vs. FTR, which should be pretty good. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about what it means to be a champion and looks at Bandido vs. Jonathan Gresham. That’s the most important (singles) match on the card.

Commentary runs down the card.

Zero Hour: Colt Cabana vs. Blake Christian

The bigger Cabana backs him into the corner to start and counts his own four count to save the referee some work. They trade some wristlocks before Cabana cranks on both arms at the same time. Christian takes him down and gets two off a standing splash. Cabana sends him outside and blocks a wristdrag off the apron, sending Christian crashing down onto the floor.

Back in and Cabana listens to the crowd a bit too much, allowing Christian to send him into the corner. Cabana is fine enough to send him face first into the buckle, only to get caught with a handspring enziguri. Another enziguri sends Cabana outside, followed by a 450 for two back inside. Christian tries to take it up top but gets caught in the Chicago Skyline of all things for the pin at 8:03.

Rating: C. Cabana is a great choice for a spot like this as he isn’t going to do anything too ridiculous and is mainly there as a way to warm up the fans. He has been around Ring of Honor for so long that he is almost an institution in the place and the fans are going to react to him no matter what he does. Nice, safe match here and that’s all it needed to be.

Respect is shown after the match.

Zero Hour: AQA vs. Miranda Alize

AQA works on the arm to start and grabs a headlock takeover. La majistral gives AQA two and the armbar goes on. Alize finally fights up with some running knees in the corner, setting up a butterfly suplex for two. They fight over a suplex until a DDT gets two on Alize, leaving them both down.

Back up and a running dropkick into an ax handle drop Alize, setting up a Sling Blade for two. Alize pulls her off the top though and a ripcord cutter gets two, setting up a quickly broken Crossface. Some kicks to the head rock Alize though and a shooting star press gives AQA the pin at 8:16.

Rating: C-. The women’s division hasn’t exactly improved that much and this was another pretty weak example. No matter how you look at it, Ring of Honor’s women’s division has often been a problem and running two women out there in a cold match, when Alize was never a big star in the first place, isn’t going to help things. There is a way to make the division work, but they need something other than “I want the title” over and over.

Zero Hour: Shinobi Shadow Squad vs. Gates of Agony

It’s Eli Isom/Cheeseburger (no longer The World Famous CB) for the Squad here. The Gates are Jasper Kaun/Toa Liona, as introduced by Tully Blanchard as his new clients. Isom gets planted by Liona to start but Cheeseburger gets in a superkick. Everything breaks down and the Gates clean house, setting up a fireman’s carry gutbuster to Isom. Kaun throws in an elevated Samoan Spike for the pin at 2:27. Almost total dominance.

Post match, Blanchard promises to introduce his new singles star tonight.

Zero Hour: Joe Hendry vs. Dalton Castle

Hendry continues to look great and Castle still has the Baby Chicks. The fans are happy to have Castle back, as they should be. They fight over some grappling to start until Hendry snaps off a headlock takeover. Back up and Hendry runs him over with a shoulder, sending Castle outside for some fanning from the Chicks. A lap around the ring lets Castle sneak back in to single leg Hendry, setting up a DDT. Hendry isn’t having that and powers Castle over the top for a crash/breather.

Back in and Hendry hits a hard clothesline for two but Castle catches him with a running boot to the face. Hendry cuts off a charge with a tilt-a-whirl slam and the cobra clutch goes on. Castle gets sent outside but he manages a hurricanrana on the floor to take over. Back in and a suplex drops Hendry for two but he’s back with a spinebuster for the same. Hendry hits a fireman’s carry drop, only to get punched in the face, setting up the Bang A Rang to give Castle the pin at 9:46.

Rating: C+. Castle is one of the most charismatic wrestlers around today and it is nice to see him back in the ring anywhere. He can mix up the weird nature with the amateur skills and it works out well most of the time. On the other hand, Hendry has transformed himself from a goof to a guy who looks great and can do some good things in the ring. I liked this one and it would be nice to see both of them getting back in the ring sooner rather than later.

No opening video for the proper show.

Swerve Strickland vs. Alex Zayne

They start fast with neither being able to get very far until Zayne hits a running headscissors to send Swerve into the ropes. That doesn’t matter as Swerve lands on his feet anyway so Zayne takes him down and hits a quick backsplash for two. Back up and Zayne sits him on the top to try a running hurricanrana, only to get caught in a swinging cutter onto the top rope.

A middle rope elbow to the back gives Swerve two and we hit the chinlock. Zayne fights up and hammers away before blocking the rolling Flatliner. Swerve can’t hit the JML Driver but can grab a half crab to crank on the leg. The rope is grabbed so they wind up on the apron, where Zayne snaps off a poisonrana to the floor in a huge crash. Back in and Zayne hits some shooting star knees to the back for two but Strickland grabs a German suplex. The rolling Flatliner connects and the Swerve Stomp gets…two, in a nice false finish. With nothing else working, Swerve kicks him in the leg and hits the JML Driver for the pin at 11:41.

Rating: C+. Having Strickland on any given show is a good thing and that was the case here. He is going to get a reaction no matter what he does and the fact that he was in there against someone who can do the flips and the dives like Zayne made it better. This was a good choice for the opener proper and Strickland looked like a star (shocking I know).

We run down the card.

Ninja Mack vs. ???

Mack is a rather short masked man who can do a lot of flips. The mystery opponent is Tully Blanchard’s newest signing and that would be….Brian Cage. Mack flips at Cage to start but gets caught in the air and dropped onto the apron. The Drill Claw doesn’t work so Cage fires off the corner clotheslines instead. Mack manages a kick to the head but gets LAUNCHED with a release German suplex. Some kicks to the head stagger Cage but he’s back with the swinging release Rock Bottom. The Drill Claw finishes for Cage at 2:48. Mostly a squash, as it should be.

We recap Jay Lethal vs. Lee Moriarty. Lethal likes what Moriarty can do but asks if Moriarty is ready for this kind of competition.

Jay Lethal vs. Lee Moriarty

Matt Sydal, on crutches, is here with Moriarty. Feeling out process to start with Lethal getting the better of a battle of wristlocks. Back up and Moriarty grabs a rollup, sending a frustrated Lethal into the corner. The Lethal Injection is countered into another rollup and Lethal doesn’t like this.

Moriarty gets the better of an exchange of forearms so Lethal armdrags him into the basement dropkick for two of his own. The fans aren’t sure who they prefer as Moriarty shrugs off some forearms and springboard armdrags Lethal down. That’s too much for Lethal, who grabs a shinbreaker into a dragon screw legwhip to start in on the knee. Lethal sends him outside for a pair of suicide dives but Moriarty switches places before the third.

Moriarty’s dive is slowed by the knee though and Lethal is back in for some kicks to the leg. A superplex attempt is broken up as Moriarty goes for the wrist. Moriarty’s dive off the top misses though and the Lethal Combination gets two. Lethal hits the superkick into a cutter but Hail To The King is countered into la majistral for two more. More rollups get two each before Moriarty has to go to the ropes to avoid the Figure Four. The referee has to fix the ring skirt so Lethal hits him low and grabs the Lethal Injection for the pin at 14:52.

Rating: B. This was a rather good technical off until the end when they went with the storyline for Lethal instead. You can tell that they’re going with the AEW stuff here as this tied into everything that they have been doing on Dynamite and Rampage in recent weeks. Moriarty isn’t ready to beat Lethal in AEW or Ring of Honor, but they let him have time here and frustrate the star, which is a great sign for his future.

Lethal doesn’t look happy with himself but then goes full heel by attacking the injured Sydal. Sonjay Dutt comes out of wherever he has been to talk Lethal, his best friend, to the back.

Mercedes Martinez and Willow Nightingale are ready to fight for the Interim Women’s World Title, because just stripping Deonna Purrazzo of the title apparently wasn’t an option.

Interim Women’s Title: Willow Nightingale vs. Mercedes Martinez

For the vacant title. Willow tries to go technical to start but gets hit in the face for her efforts. A rollup gives Martinez two but Willow blocks the third rolling butterfly suplex. Willow’s grappling still doesn’t work so Martinez grabs a double arm dragon sleeper (that’s a new one), followed by a big boot for two more.

Martinez’s fisherman’s buster is blocked and it’s time to kick each other from the mat. Back up and a running clothesline drops Martinez to give Willow a needed breather but Martinez grabs the Air Raid Crash…for two. That’s a bit of a surprise. An Angle Slam gives Willow two of her own and the Pounce rocks Martinez again. Willow takes the straps down and hits the Cannonball for another near fall.

The Vader bomb is loaded up but Martinez reverses into a Razor’s Edge Dominator for the next two. Martinez tries a belly to back but gets knocked into the Tree Of Woe, with Willow forearming away. Willow’s moonsault connects (with a weird looking landing) for two but Martinez pulls her into a surfboard with a dragon sleeper (geez) for the tap and the title at 12:34.

Rating: C-. This felt like a styles clash as Martinez is the old classic power brawler while Nightingale is much more about the modern style and being the bigger woman who can move. They traded some good looking stuff here and Nightingale still feels like a prospect, but this didn’t exactly click.

We recap FTR vs. the Briscoes for the Tag Team Titles. FTR talks about how this is the match that people have been talking about, because we get to see two of the best teams of all time facing off. The feud started when FTR showed up at Final Battle back in December after the Briscoes won the titles but they haven’t had an actual match yet.

Tag Team Titles: FTR vs. Briscoes

The Briscoes are defending (and FTR’s AAA Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line) and the HOLY S*** chants are on before they even shake hands…which doesn’t happen. Well now it’s serious. Cash Wheeler and Mark start things off and the staredown is on as the fans are split (you can feel it with this one). Even the lockup gets a big pop and the fans think Mark’s headlock to the mat is awesome.

A fireman’s carry into an armbar puts Mark in a bit of trouble but he reverses into a front facelock as the technical off ensues (fans: “TAG TEAM WRESTLING!”). Dax Harwood and Jay come in and immediately go nose to nose, setting up the aggressive lockup. Harwood takes him down with a headlock but gets reversed into a headscissors without much effort. That’s escaped as well and Harwood spits in Jay’s face to make this a lot more serious.

A running hurricanrana and a kick to the head rock Harwood and a clothesline puts him on the floor. Harwood tries to throw in a chair but Jay catches it to show off. Wheeler comes back in and gets elbowed in the face, allowing Mark to come in for some shots in the corner. An uppercut drops Mark though and it’s back to Harwood for some clubberin (well you knew that was coming). The chop off goes to Mark, with Harwood realizing that he is in over his head and punching Mark in the face.

It’s back to Jay to take Wheeler into the corner though and the Briscoes clear the ring. That sets up Jey’s big flip dive and Mark adds the Bang Bang Elbow. The brawl is on outside, with FTR getting creative and catapulting Jay face first into the bottom of a table. Back in and Harwood pounds on Jay’s bloody head so hard that he hurts his own hand. The chinlock goes on (I think they’ve earned it) for a bit before Harwood hits the top rope superplex for a big bounce.

The fans aren’t sure who to cheer for here but seem pleased as Jay rolls under a right hand and brings Mark back in. House is cleaned and an Iconoclasm gets two on Harwood. Redneck Boogie gets the same on Wheeler as the fans are somehow getting more into this. Harwood catches Jay in a slingshot powerbomb so Wheeler can add a top rope splash for two. Mark is back in to break up the Big Rig and the Briscoes hit one of their own for two on Harwood.

Jay hits Wheeler with a Death Valley Driver on the floor before suplexing Harwood over the top and out to the floor in a BIG crash. The medics come out to check on Harwood but everyone gets back inside (fans: “FIGHT FOREVER!”). We get the big forearm off in the middle until Wheeler is sent outside.

Mark goes up for a huge corkscrew dive to take him out again, leaving Harwood to slug it out with Jay. The hangman neckbreaker sets up the Froggy Bow for two and everyone is spent. The Doomsday Device is loaded up but Wheeler makes the save and sends Jay outside, leaving Mark to walk into the Big Rig for the pin and the titles at 27:24.

Rating: A+. If that isn’t the match of the year, I’m not sure what has beaten it to date. This had the atmosphere coming in and the fans were ready for it from before the bell. Then the match actually got started and things actually got even better. It was an instant classic with both teams blowing the doors off and leaving it all in the ring until one of them won clean.

Just seeing a match like this end without some kind of shenanigans is worth a boost and that was the case here. You’ve heard all of the accolades already and this was worth every one of them. It takes something special to have all the hype in the world and then completely exceed it but they managed to make it happen here. Check this out, as the Briscoes are great but FTR can do no wrong right now.

FTR looks spent after the match but get up to accept the titles. There is no handshake, because teams hug after something like that. The fans chant for the Briscoes as FTR leaves but here are the Young Bucks to superkick the Briscoes. FTR runs back in for the save and want the Bucks now, but they’ll have to wait until Dynamite.

TV Title: Rhett Titus vs. Minoru Suzuki

Suzuki is challenging and is in search of his first American title. Titus gets knocked down almost at the bell but manages a single leg takedown. An armbar into a half crab sends Suzuki over to the ropes, where Suzuki ties the arm over said rope. A trip to the floor goes badly for Titus, as Suzuki brings him back inside for a Fujiwara armbar.

Make that a chinlock, as Titus is getting overwhelmed here. Titus fights up and manages some running boots to the face, setting up a Saito suplex for two. The big dropkick connects for another near fall and Suzuki is mad. He knocks Titus down without much trouble and the Gotch style piledriver makes Suzuki champion at 5:52.

Rating: C-. This was little more than a squash win for Suzuki as he shrugged off everything Titus threw at him and took the title in short order. Odds are this was out there for the sake of giving the fans something shorter and easier to digest than the previous war. Suzuki is going to be over by definition so putting him in this spot was going to work no matter what, even if the match wasn’t that great.

We recap Wheeler Yuta challenging Josh Woods for the Pure Wrestling Title. Woods won the title at Final Battle and has defended it since, while Yuta is looking to prove himself for the first time.

Pure Wrestling Title: Wheeler Yuta vs. Josh Woods

Woods is defending under Pure Rules. Yuta grabs a very fast rollup for two and they trade armdrags for a standoff. An armbar sends Yuta straight to the ropes for his first (of three) breaks but he slips out of an abdominal stretch attempt on his own. Yuta wins a grapple off on the mat and grabs a headlock before switching to a headscissors. That’s broken up and Woods starts stretching Yuta’s legs before a wristlock sends Yuta over for his second break.

Back up and Yuta hits a dropkick before tying up Woods’ legs for a change. A bridge into an Indian Deathlock sends Woods to the ropes for a change. Now it’s Woods going after Yuta’s arm and bending it back, complete with some finger cranking. They lock hands and forearm it out with Woods getting the better of things for a near fall. Yuta grabs a DDT but can’t cover, meaning it’s time for the forearm exchange.

This time it’s Yuta getting the better of things and hitting a top rope forearm to send Woods outside. A big dive takes him out on the floor as well but it’s Woods back in with a running knee. The TKO is blocked so Woods settles for a swinging suplex into the corner. That’s good for a near fall, with Yuta using his final rope break. Yuta reverses a Tombstone attempt and ties Woods’ legs up for a cradle and the title at 12:43.

Rating: B-. The Pure Wrestling division was one of the best things about the final days of Ring of Honor and it was still working here. Sometimes you need something rules based just to reset things a bit and it was nice to see again. That being said, you can absolutely see the new guard coming in to become the new Ring of Honor roster. I get why that is a sad thing for Ring of Honor, but it’s not like the company has anything else going on at the moment (literally in this case).

Here’s what’s coming on Dynamite, which is bizarre to see here.

We recap Bandido vs. Jonathan Gresham for the undisputed Ring of Honor World Title. Bandido was the champion but couldn’t be at Final Battle, leaving Gresham to beat Jay Lethal for the Classic Title. Since Bandido is still champion, it’s time for the big unification match. That’s how the card should go, but they have their work cut out for them after that Tag Team Title match.

Ring Of Honor World Title: Bandido vs. Jonathan Gresham

Both are champions coming in, but Bandido being dressed as Zorro makes him cooler. Granted having Chavo Guerrero in his corner might even that out but dang I love myself some Zorro. This actually doesn’t get any Big Match Intros, but it does get a handshake. They stare at each other to start before we get the big lockup. The fans chant for EDDIE, which isn’t even a surprise at this point.

Neither gets anywhere so they go with a test of strength, with neither getting very far. Bandido takes him down but can’t send Gresham into the corner. Instead Gresham pops up and hits an armdrag out of an electric chair, giving us another staredown. Bandido gets a bit more intense with a knee into a dropkick and the posing is on. Gresham is fine enough to send Bandido to the apron for a dropkick to the back and it’s time for a breather on the floor.

Back in and Gresham works on an armbar before a crossface sends Bandido to the ropes. Bandido is right back with the surfboard but Gresham slips out and grabs the crossface again. With Bandido getting too close to the ropes, Gresham switches to an ankle lock to change things up a bit. Make that the Octopus but Bandido makes the rope again.

A corkscrew high crossbody drops Gresham again, so Bandido picks him up for a vertical suplex….for a completely ridiculous SIXTY THREE SECONDS. That’s one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a long time but it’s only good for (a delayed, as Bandido was spent) two. Gresham is back up with a running clothesline into a bridging German suplex for two more. A straitjacket German suplex gets two more and it’s time for some hammer fists.

The crossface goes on for the third time before Gresham switches to the second Octopus. That’s broken up as well so Bandido is sent outside, with Gresham loading up a dive. Chavo breaks that up with a shove to Bandido and the crash leaves Gresham laying. Back in and Bandido grabs a suplex for two, followed by a Shining Wizard for the same. Some more rollups give Gresham some near falls of his own and they’re both down for a bit.

They slowly forearm it out until the referee gets knocked down (good grief I’m getting tired of this), allowing Chavo to get in a belt shot….but Bandido doesn’t want it that way and tells the referee to eject Chavo. Ok that’s a cool one. Chavo yells a lot as he leaves, with Gresham grabbing la majistral for two. Bandido snaps off the pop up cutter for two of his own so it’s time for the 21 Plex.

That’s reversed into la majistral into a bridging cover for a VERY near fall so Bandido sends him outside. The big running flip dive sets up the X Knee and the 21 Plex gets a VERY close two. Gresham shrugs off a superkick and hits a springboard moonsault to send Bandido outside, followed by an immediate suicide dive. Back in and Gresham slingshots into a rollup, spun around into an armtrap bridge for the pin and the titles at 24:46.

Rating: A-. The Tag Team Title match is going to get all of the attention but this was a heck of a match too as it started slowly but then built into a classic by the end. These guys were hitting a very high level on the near falls and Gresham finally took the belts in the end with a wrestling move. Bandido is going to be a star when he gets to AEW (you know it’s coming one day) and Gresham won’t be far behind. Great main event here as they meshed very well together.

Post match Gresham says his mission was to make Ring of Honor pure and he has accomplished his goals. Hold on though as here is Jay Lethal to interrupt (Coleman: “Is this Kanye West or something?”) and challenge Gresham for the titles. Gresham says Lethal’s current actions have shown that he has changed, but Lethal says no one would know who Gresham was without him.

Sonjay Dutt comes in to cool things off but quickly turns on Gresham for the double teaming. Lee Moriarty comes in for the failed save attempt…and that means nothing because it’s SAMOA JOE making his big return to chase off the villains. Joe poses with Moriarty and Gresham as we are told that Joe will be on Dynamite to end the show.

Overall Rating: A-. Any show like this is going to be an instant classic with three awesome matches like Lethal vs. Moriarty and the two big title matches and that’s really all you need here. There was some other good stuff on here (and some not so great stuff) but the one two punch carried this one all the way and it’s absolutely worth going out of your way to see.

Now at the same time, this isn’t going to be a show that a lot of old school Ring of Honor fans like. You could see the BIG shift over to the AEW developmental setup here with very few wrestlers from Ring of Honor of old moving looking great here. It shows the new direction of the company and while it might not be the best for the old school Ring of Honor people, this is certainly better than having no Ring of Honor at all. It’s a very good show here and worth seeing, though this is the first step into a brand new world for the promotion.

 

 

 

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