Ring of Honor TV
June 26, 2016
Municipal Auditorium – Nashville, TN
This past weekend, ROH aired a special episode dedicated to the Women of Honor. For this particular review, I’ll provide some thoughts on the division as a whole while also talking about the matches that took place. Now, before I go any further, I just want to stress that I am by no means an expert on women’s wrestling. There are plenty of people out there who know a lot more about women’s wrestling than I ever could. Personally, this is really my first true look at this revitalized Women of Honor division, as I haven’t seen too many of the matches that they’ve been putting on their YouTube page over the past several months.
Women of Honor
One thing I can talk about is how ROH has handled women’s wrestling throughout their history. I recall that, during the “golden years” of ROH, we did get occasional SHIMMER showcase matches (Dave Prazak, a longtime ROH commentator, was one of the founders of SHIMMER, so seeing those showcase matches was no surprise) featuring the likes of Lacey, Daizee Haze, Sara Del Rey and others. There was a more serious push towards a Women of Honor division around 2010 & 2011, which heavily featured people like Sara Del Rey & Daizee Haze, while also introducing the likes of Serena Deeb, Amazing Kong, and even competitors from Japan.
That attempt fizzled out, and the next serious attempt at kickstarting the division came in 2013. MsChif, Athena (now Ember Moon in NXT), and (to a lesser extent) Veda Scott were the focal points this time around. However, that also fizzled out. It wasn’t until just last year that yet another attempt to push this division forward was made, and it’s seemingly been their most serious attempt yet.
Now I think one of the issues with the Women of Honor as a division (and this is something that I’ve seen others bring up as well) is that it’s been hard to take it seriously when it’s always been in a flux of stops & starts. It gets going for awhile, and then it just vanishes. It’s a very valid argument to make. If you’re going to commit to a whole new division, don’t drop it halfway through. However, I think the fact that they did an episode here that was dedicated to the Women of Honor, along with ROH actually putting on a special Women of Honor live event in Baltimore, Maryland on July 8th, does show that (at least) this attempt is a serious one. Whether it ultimately succeeds or not, time will tell, but for now, let’s take a look at some of these matches.
“Bullet Babe” Amber Gallows & Allysin Kay & Veda Scott vs. Sumie Sakai & Thunderkitty & “Crazy” Mary Dobson
A particular complaint about ROH TV this year is that, for a period, they were airing matches in April & May that took place in February (specifically the Honor Rising events in Japan). Now while that was seemingly fixed a little bit with the build towards Best In The World, this episode was a real step backwards.
The four matches that were shown on this week’s episode were all taped on February 6th. Yes, you read that right. It’s almost July, and they’re airing matches that were taped in the first week of February. Just to show you how out-of-date these matches are, this Six-Women Tag Team Match features current TNA Knockouts Champions Allysin Kay (now known as Sienna in TNA). To be honest, that’s a joke. They could have easily aired this back in April or May. When you wait so long to air an episode that one of the wrestlers in said episode now works for, and is now a champion in, a promotion that is (theoretically) your competition, you know you’ve done something wrong.
As for the match itself, it was actually pretty solid. Mary Dobson stood out the most in this match, in my view, busting out Code Reds and Split Legged Moonsaults. We also saw a Tower of Doom spot. Everyone seemed to have their chance to shine, which was good. I don’t think the outcome (Amber Gallows, Allysin Kay, & Veda Scott winning) was ever really in doubt, but again, it was a fine Six-Women Tag.
ODB vs. Faye Jackson
Up next we have ODB taking on Faye Jackson, a trainee from the ROH Dojo, who is making her pro-wrestling debut here. We did get a video package before the match, where Faye Jackson talked about how she began training at the ROH Dojo in January 2015, and how she’s put in a lot of hard work, before adding that she’s nervous about facing ODB. The match itself was ok. Like I said, this is Faye Jackson’s first-ever match, so I really wasn’t expecting much coming in. I think it’s hard to judge someone who’s making their pro wrestling debut, so I’ll have to see how she does in future matches. As you would expect, ODB won this match.
We then get a video package featuring Mandy Leon & Hania The Howling Huntress, who are in our next match. This is only match that I feel had any sort of build, but it’s a pretty simple build. Hania (who I thought, of the two, was the better promo) was mad that Mandy Leon had defeated her in a tag team match a few months prior. Again, simple, but straightforward.
Hania The Huntress vs. Mandy Leon
Mandy Leon had really been pushed as one of the faces of the division. Hania has made appearances in the past, and is someone who also spent a lot of time in CHIKARA, pre-shutdown (I won’t even touch who she portrayed in CHIKARA. There’s no need to open up that can or worms again). This match got a lot of time, going around twelve minutes or so. I thought it was the best match on this show. Hania – the more experienced of the two – did a really good job here. Mandy Leon held her own, as well. Mandy’s only been wrestling for two years, but from what I’ve seen, she can have good when in there with a good opponent. She’ll only get better with more experience.
On the other hand, I honestly thought Hania was (or at least, came off to me as) the best wrestler on this show. Looking at her cagematch profile, I’m actually kind of surprised that she’s never wrestled in SHIMMER, because I think she’s a very good wrestler. Hania would pick up the win here with The Eclipse (basically a Codebreaker).
It was just announced today (as I type this) that these two will be having a rematch at the Women of Honor live event in Baltimore on July 8th, so it’s nice to see they’re doing some follow up.
Before the Main Event, we get two promos hyping up the participants. The first one sees BJ Whitmer talking about how great Kelly Klein is. The second promo features Taeler Hendrix promo, who says that she has taken issue with all of the talk surrounding Kelly Klein.
Taeler Hendrix (with Truth Martini) vs. Kelly Klein (with BJ Whitmer)
Kelly Klein is undefeated in ROH competition coming into this match. I thought this was ok, but it was the worst match on the show that didn’t involve a trainee making their pro-wrestling debut. I don’t mind Taeler Hendrix, but Kelly Klein really doesn’t do much for me despite being one of the faces of the division. This brings me to something that I think this iteration of the Women of Honor really needs to focus on. If they really want people to take this division seriously, they need to add some of the best women’s wrestlers on the scene today. What they have right now is a solid start, but there are others that you could, and should, build this division around.
People like Kimber Lee & Heidi Lovelace – who have made appearances in ROH in the last year – could easily fill this role. As could Candice LeRae, who’s making her ROH debut against Kelly Klein on July 8 in Baltimore. They really need to add some of the best, and I think they’re slightly lacking in that department. Back to the match, Kelly Klein wins with a submission hold that’s literally called “The End Of The Match”. It doesn’t get any more uncreative than that.
Before I give my final thoughts on this show, here’s what’s been announced for the first Women of Honor live event in Baltimore, Maryland on July 8th:
– Kelly Klein vs. Candice LeRae
– Veda Scott vs. Jenny Rose
– Mandy Leon vs. Hania The Howling Huntress
– Taeler Hendrix vs. “Crazy” Mary Dobson
– Six-Women Tag – “Bullet Babe” Amber Gallows, Deonna Purrazzo, & Kennedi Brink vs. Sumie Sakai, Faye Jackson, & Solo Darling
As I said before, it’s nice to see ROH actually trying to push the Women of Honor division. This was a nice little showcase episode featuring a number of the competitors in the division. If you’re only going to watch one match from this episode, watch Mandy Leon vs. Hania. The Six-Women Tag was solid as well, with some fun spots sprinkled throughout. The biggest issue I had with the episode as a whole was the whole issue of all of these matches being taped back in early February, but that’s a problem that’s been with ROH TV over the last few months.