In the first three installments of the Honor Club Hidden Gems Series, I took a look at a number of matches that are worth checking out on Honor Club. If you’re someone who might be looking for a longer watch (instead of just one match), I decided to take a bit of a different route for this fourth installment. Instead of looking at specific matches, I’ll be going over some shows on the Honor Club streaming service that I feel are worth watching from start to finish. Now I’m sure some of these shows aren’t totally perfect (I’m sure most of them have at least one match that I would call skippable), but again, I’ll be talking about the shows as a whole.
ROH Breakout – January 25th, 2008 – Dayton, Ohio
Now this show was a relatively recent addition to Honor Club, and I know what you might be thinking. “Why are you bringing up a show from the Gabe Era on this list?”. Well, even though this is from the Gabe Era, it’s a show that I don’t think gets talked about that much. Now is this a super amazing show? Not really, but I thought it was a pretty easy watch from start to finish. I’m sure the reason why I feel that way partly has to do with the fact that this show was one of the first ROH DVD’s that I ever bought, but still. The undercard doesn’t feature anything stellar, but there are some fun highlights, such as the FIP Title bout with Erick Stevens, Austin Aries, and Davey Richards, as well as No DQ tag team bout with The Hangman 3 against Delirious and El Generico. Of course, the show is carried by the two top matches of Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black, and Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero for the ROH World Title in a Steel Cage, which are both great. Again, this isn’t an amazing show by any means, but if you want a fun snapshot of what was going on with ROH in early 2008, this is a very solid choice.
ROH 10th Anniversary Show: Young Wolves Rising – March 4th, 2012 – New York City, New York
This is a show that holds a special place in my heart, since it was the first ROH event that I ever attended. I understand that 2012 is a year that gets picked on a lot by fans as not being a good year for ROH, and for the most part, they’re right. However, as I’ve mentioned in previous entries in this series, ROH had a number of bright spots in 2012 as well. This show is a perfect example of that. A couple of the matches on the undercard are fine for their spot, but the rest of the stuff on the show ranges from good to great. Kevin Steen does a lot of things on this show, from a great angle earlier in the night with Eddie Kingston (featuring a run-in from The Colony), to a really good No DQ Match with Jimmy Jacobs. You also get Amazing Red making a special appearance, as he teamed up with TJ Perkins to wrestle Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong. The match that steals the show, however, is a tag team bout that sees The American Wolves and Future Shock split into different teams, with Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly (as Team Ambition) going up against Eddie Edwards and Adam Cole. Of course, this was after The American Wolves split up, and right after O’Reilly broke away from Cole. The finish saw Cole pin Richards, who was the ROH World Champion at the time, so it was the first real signal that Cole was going to have a big future as a singles star in ROH.
ROH Glory By Honor XI: The Unbreakable Hope – October 13th, 2012 – Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
In one of my previous entries in this series, I already talked about how great the main event of this show was. Kevin Steen and Michael Elgin absolutely tore the house down as they battled it out for the ROH World Title. However, the rest of the show is actually pretty good as well. The undercard is highlighted by some great singles contests, including Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal and Adam Cole defending the ROH World TV Title against Eddie Edwards. You also get some really solid tag team bouts in the form of Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino vs. The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, and The Bravado Brothers vs. C & C Wrestle Factory in the opener. Another example of ROH having some legitimately good shows in what was otherwise a very down year in 2012.
ROH Dragon’s Reign – Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania – May 11th, 2013
On the surface, this just seems like a random ROH live event in a town about forty-five minutes south of Pittsburgh, but when you look deeper, there’s plenty of really good wrestling up and down this card. The show kicks off with a fun tag team bout as The American Wolves take on RD Evans and QT Marshall, who were known as Marshall Law at the time (QT Marshall did some of his best work in ROH in this tag team with RD Evans, though that’s not high praise necessarily). Elsewhere on the card, you get a great match with ACH and Michael Elgin, and a trio of matches to close out the show that were all good to varying degrees. The main event involved the tag team that the show was named after, as reDRagon fought The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team Titles. 2013 was by no means a standout year, but it was underrated in some aspects. Shows like this are certainly positive contributions to that idea.
ROH All-Star Extravaganza V – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – August 3rd, 2013
Of course, this show is most famously remembered as the show where Michael Bennett nearly ended BJ Whitmer’s career when a piledriver on the ring apron went horribly wrong. In real-time, that was obviously a scary moment, but when you look at the rest of the show, there was some very good wrestling from the opener to the main event. This show featured a number of matches in the ROH World Title Tournament, but the clear standout of the bunch was Paul London vs. Michael Elgin. This show also featured returns and a few other special guest appearances.
First, you had The Young Bucks making their return to the promotion in a Three-Way Match with Adrenaline Rush and C &C Wrestling Factory. The Young Bucks had spent several months away from ROH after being let go from their contracts in the Fall of 2012 (their appearance did cause a commotion at the time, since they were the Dragon Gate USA Open The United Gate Tag Team Champions, and had actually wrestled on a pair of Dragon Gate USA events the prior weekend). We also saw KUSHIDA make his ROH debut, as he wrestled a very young Adam Page in a showcase to kick off the show. In the main event, The American Wolves won the ROH World Tag Team Titles from The Forever Hooligans in what could be considered the second leg of the unofficial Round Robin Challenge IV.
As a bit of a bonus, if you happen to get the DVD of this event, you get three matches from the ROH TV Tapings the week prior from Providence, Rhode Island. Those bouts were Jay Lethal vs. Sonjoy Dutt, Adam Cole vs. Mark Briscoe, and ACH vs. Karl Anderson. All three matches were part of the first round of the ROH World Title Tournament, and they were very solid bouts that are worth checking out.
ROH Road To “Best In The World 2014” Night 2 – June 7th, 2014 – Collinsville, Illinois
In my view, this was one of the best all-around events that ROH put together in 2014. Now while this show did feature a couple of really strong matches (Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the ROH World Title and reDRagon vs. The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team Titles), as well as a solid undercard, it wasn’t just the matches that made this a great show. This was the final event that ROH ran before their first live PPV (which took place a few weeks later), and it proved to be an excellent go-home show for that PPV. We got a number of angles that helped build some of the big matches. The highest-profile of the bunch featured Adam Cole cutting off Michael Elgin’s mullet (with the assistance of Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis) before locking MsChif (Elgin’s wife) in the Figure Four while Elgin was restrained. Other highlights from the show saw ACH take on Silas Young in a very good match, and an appearance by Ethan Page, back when he made appearances in ROH under the name of Ethan Gabriel Owens.
ROH Winter Warriors Tour: Atlanta – February 21st, 2015 – Atlanta, Georgia
2014 and 2015 were years where ROH was in a general state of growth. Attendance was rising, the New Japan relationship was now fully underway, and the roster was filled with so much talent. One of the best shows to take place during that period was a live event in Atlanta in February of 2015, as part of the Winter Warriors Tour (was never sold on the name). This show was so good that it would’ve fit right with the Golden Era of ROH. Some might see that as a bold statement, but the card speaks for itself. The opener is match that you can easily skip, but everything from the impromptu tag team bout with The Decade facing off against Corey Hollis and Jonathan Gresham, all the way through to the Three Stages Of Hell-style main event with The Briscoes and The Kingdom, ranges from very good to great to awesome. If you haven’t seen this show, I would absolutely recommend checking it out. All you have to do is look at that card, and you know you’re in for a good night of wrestling.