Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Ring Of Honor SUPERCARD Of Honor 2022

So at the moment, I'm somewhat conflicted because I'm not sure whether I should count this as a Ring Of Honor PPV or an All Elite PPV. Because it's the first ROH PPV since Final Battle in December and the first show since the company went on self-imposed hiatus, but at the same time, it's also the first show since Tony Khan bought Ring Of Honor and I'm not sure which is which.

See, it looks like an ROH show in terms of the sets. It sounds like an ROH show, with the usual commentary crew doing the honors here. But the whole thing comes across as a thinly-veiled AEW B-show, with some of the underused AEW guys being featured prominenetly while you only had a handful of ROH guys from prior to the hiatus who aren't signed by AEW.

In any event, it's billed as a Ring Of Honor show despite now being part of the AEW empire and since I tend to treat NXT as its own thing during the few times I've covered their stuff, I suppose I should do the same here. And since I made the leap and jumped on board with an Honor Club subscription - because I might as well while the service is still up to try and take in as much ROH as I possibly could - maybe this will get the ball rolling on revisiting some old stuff from the promotion's prime years and such.

But that is then. Let's talk about this Supercard Of Honor show and how awesome it was.

Shane "Swerve" Strickland (an AEW guy) defeated Alex Zayne in a perfectly acceptable professional wrestling match to open the show. Crowd was really into Swerve and he was always a smooth wrestler. Hopefully he sticks around this ROH thing and shines.

Tully Blanchard's newest signee, which turns out to be the long-dormant Brian Cage, squashed some geek whose name I forgot because he was a geek to be killed by Brian Cage. Nice to see Cage have something to do again because his being MIA in AEW was kinda sad. Here's hoping he sticks around this ROH thing and has a chance to shine. That's THREE AEW guys on this show, by the way.

Jay Lethal defeated Lee Moriaty via low blow followed by Lethal Injection finisher in a good ol' fashioned AEW-style wrestling match to further the AEW wrestling angle on this here ROH PPV. On the one hand, this was a good match and seeing an ROH legend like Jay Lethal on "home turf" was fitting for a show like this. On the other hand, this felt like something that they would've done on Dynamite or one of the PPVs and as such, it seemed jarringly out of place.

Mercedes Martinez defeated Willow Nightingale in a pretty good match to win the interim ROH Women's title... apparently, then-current ROH Women's Champ Deona Purazzo was working the Impact show on the same night and couldn't make it, so TK booked an interim championship, which is stupid because not only is the idea of an "interim" championship stupid, but it's done for the sake of having a silly title match on the show despite the fact that the champ is busy elsewhere. Someone needs to clue TK and let him know that it's okay to not have a title match on the card if the champ can't make it. Just book a number-one contender's match and you'll have a program for a future ROH show down the road.

And yes, I know UFC has interim championships. They're equally fucking stupid.

Oh, and for those wondering, Martinez defeated Purazzo on an episode of Dynamite to unify the titles... in a main event match for a Ring Of Honor Championship that the majority of the AEW audience didn't care about. I've discussed this in the appropriate Dynamite.

AAA Tag-Team Champions FTR defeated ROH Tag-Team Champions The Briscoes to win the ROH titles. GO WATCH THIS MATCH BECAUSE IT IS TEH AWESOMES. No, seriously, this match was really fucking good and I'm not going to spoil anything further beyond... go watch it. It's fun.

Minoru Suzuki defeated TV Champion Rhett Titus in a quick five minute session of violence to win his first American championship... that he would lose a couple weeks later over to Samoa Joe.

Wheeler Yuta (another AEW guy) defeated ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods (an ROH guy) in a PURE WRESTLING match to win the title... and apparently, he's all elite now. Surprised they didn't sign the guy earlier.

ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham defeated ROH World Champion Bandito to unify both belts. See, Bandito was the ROH World Champion and was supposed to defend the title at the last "proper" ROH show in December, but COVID had other plans, which resulted in Jonathan Gresham beating Jay Lethal for what they dubbed the "original" ROH World title (basically the old ROH World title belt), with the plan for both titles to be unified at some point, which is this show. See, this is a case where an "interim" championship would've made sense because the current champ was inactive, not because he was wrestling some other show on the same night.

Anyway, this match was also fantastic.

Gresham cuts a quick promo before being challenged by Jay Lethal for a future title shot. Out comes Sonjay Dutt to calm things down, but he lowblows Gresham and the beating is on until SAMOA JOE returns from exile to scare off the heels and dwarf the reigning World champion of Ring Of Honor to close the show.

Much to the surprise of no one, Supercard Of Honor was a phenomenal wrestling show with a lot of great wrestling content and such, but the more cynical side will see the very apparent AEW influence leaking into this, with a lot of AEW-contracted talent getting all the big wins over the ROH faithful. They tried to make this feel as ROH-authentic as they could; similar sets, same commentary team, same sort of presentation, but there was no masking that All Elite scent from this show. It didn't bother me because I still enjoyed the show, but it might make some fans wary about ROH going forward. Still, I'm not going to complain because this was a fun little wrestling show that went by quickly, had nothing but great shit on there, and was a good time had by all.

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