Ring Of Honor
Supercard Of Honor 2023
March 31, 2023
Los Angeles, California
Daniel Garcia vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was a very late addition to the card that was announced by Tony Khan following AEW Dynamite on Wednesday Night. As if this card couldn’t get more stacked, we’ve now added a Hiroshi Tanahashi singles match. Now granted, I’m sure this won’t steal the show or anything like that, but it’s still going to be super cool to see Tanahashi square off with Daniel Garcia. As we would find out on the ROH media call (per Tony Khan), Will Ospreay was indeed scheduled to be on this show before his injury. It does suck that we lost Ospreay, but Tanahashi is a more than suitable replacement. Regardless, this should be a super enjoyable undercard bout. Garcia will likely be on the receiving end of a High Fly Flow from Tanahashi, but he will have a strong showing in defeat. Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles
The Embassy (Brian Cage, Kaun, & Toa Liona with Prince Nana) (c) vs. AR Fox, Blake Christian, & Metalik
The Embassy won the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles from Dalton Castle and The Boys in dominant fashion at Final Battle. Since then, we really haven’t seen much of them aside from Brian Cage getting a number of singles matches on AEW television. They retained in their only successful title defense to date (a rematch against Dalton Castle and The Boys at the ROH on HonorClub Tapings), but now they have a fresh set of challengers in the form of AR Fox, Blake Christian, and Metalik. The three of them came together when Metalik needed some backup against The Trustbusters, and after defeating them in a trios match on ROH television, they positioned themselves firmly as title contenders. I could see this bout opening the PPV, as it seems like the ideal match to kick off the main card on a good note. You’ve got one team with three exciting wrestlers who can fly all over the place, and you’ve got another team with three big dudes who can not only be great bases, but can easily toss guys like Christian, Fox, and Metalik around.
This should be a lot of fun, though the most interesting aspect of this bout will definitely be the result. We’ve known for a number of months that Brian Cage’s contract is expiring soon, and if he’s not planning on sticking around, then this seems like the perfect spot to get the titles off The Embassy. If Cage decides to stay with AEW and ROH, then The Embassy has a strong chance of retaining. I’m going to go with a title change here (and that has nothing to do with where I think Brian Cage is going next). I just feel that the trio of AR Fox, Blake Christian, and Metalik have the potential to be really exciting champions. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if The Embassy retained, but again, that could all depend on the future of Brian Cage. Prediction: AR Fox, Blake Christian, and Metalik
ROH Women’s World Title
Athena (c) vs. Yuka Sakazaki
All it took was for one squash match on Dark: Elevation to completely change the trajectory of Athena’s run in AEW. She had done fine as a babyface since her debut at Double Or Nothing last year, but she felt pretty directionless after losing her feud with Jade Cargill. This heel turn gave Athena a fresh coat of paint, and within a few short months, she captured gold as she defeated Mercedes Martinez at Final Battle to win the ROH Women’s World Title. Since then, she successfully defended the title a number of times in AEW (mainly Dark: Elevation) and ROH. However, the person she’s had the most issues with since the new year has been Yuka Sakazaki. The star from Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling had her first confrontation with Athena all the way back in January at The Forum in Los Angeles, and they’ve had numerous run-ins since then. Very fitting that they will finally meet one-on-one in the same city where this feud got started.
This has the potential to be a very strong women’s bout. Athena has been great since her heel turn, and I feel she’s going to mesh really well with Yuka Sakazaki here. I know some people don’t like Yuka because of the Magical Girl gimmick (which I totally understand), but every time I’ve seen her wrestle (in a non-squash match scenario), she always has good matches, almost without fail. In addition to that, Yuka does have a mean streak that she busts out from time to time (as least from what I’ve seen through gifs and other short clips from her matches in Japan), so I know that she can match Athena’s more aggressive style if it comes to that during the bout itself. While I’m not expecting a title change here, I definitely feel this match could deliver in a big way. Prediction: Athena
AAA Mega Championship
El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander
These two are arguably the most exciting luchadores on the planet right now, and both of them have had showcases (in various forms) on AEW television in the last month or so. Right before Revolution, Komander showcased some of his incredible high-flying skills in the Face Of The Revolution Ladder Match, while El Hijo del Vikingo is coming off his awesome Match Of The Year Contender with Kenny Omega on Dynamite last week. Now, they’re facing off in a singles bout with Vikingo’s AAA Mega Title on the line. This could easily steal the show, and it has a strong chance of being the best match of the entire weekend. These two are absolutely amazing at what they do, and seeing them mix it up is going to be something special. I’m fully confident that Vikingo will retain here, but what we’re all hoping for is a match that blows the roof off, and I’m sure that’s what we’ll get. Prediction: El Hijo del Vikingo
ROH Pure Title
Wheeler Yuta (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata
It’s so wild that “Katsuyori Shibata wrestling his first match of 2023” is a story that’s seemingly been lost in the shuffle. I suppose that just shows how stacked this card is from top to bottom. Wheeler Yuta won the ROH Pure Title back from Daniel Garcia at Final Battle in December, and has clearly shown a change in attitude, both in ROH and in AEW. His heel turn has led to him being more aggressive in his title defenses. He’s even resorted to using underhanded tactics (mainly using multiple closed fists behind the referee’s back when you’re only allowed one closed fist in a Pure Rules Match) to gain an advantage over his opponents. It’s been so cool seeing this more aggressive side of Yuta in the first part of the year, and he’s definitely going to have to bring all that aggression and then some if he hopes to turn back the challenge of Katsuyori Shibata.
I’m super hyped for this match, not only because Shibata is wrestling, but because it’s going to be different from pretty much every other match on the card. We’re likely going to get a fair amount of technical wrestling along with some very physical exchanges. Seeing these two play off each other is going to be very exciting to watch (especially after the aforementioned Yuta heel turn). As for who scores the win, Yuta retaining is definitely the safe pick to go with, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he retained. However, I feel there’s definitely a possibility that Shibata could win the title here. With the Blackpool Combat Club being a major focus on AEW television as of late, one has to wonder if they’re going to take some of the ROH championships off of guys who are going to be mainly wrestling in AEW. This potentially includes Wheeter Yuta. I’m going to be bold and go with Shibata to win this one, but again, it would not be a surprise to see Yuta leave Los Angeles with the ROH Pure Title. Prediction: Katsuyori Shibata
ROH World Tag Team Titles – Reach For The Sky Ladder Match
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) vs. LFI (RUSH & Dralistico) vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) vs. The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) vs. Top Flight (Dante Martin & Darius Martin)
Since the tragic passing of Jay Briscoe back in January, the ROH World Tag Team Titles have been in a state of flux. We knew that the titles would likely be held up, but we had no idea when or where new champions would be crowned. A few weeks back, we finally got an answer, as Mark Briscoe declared on an episode of Rampage that new champions would be decided in a Reach For The Sky Ladder Match. Putting the titles up for grabs (figuratively and literally) in a Ladder Match was a pretty cool decision, given the LONG history that The Briscoes have with Ladder Wars throughout the history of ROH. Yes, I know there has been Ladder Match fatigue in wrestling on the whole, but this is a very unique case.
I’m confident the match itself will be absolutely insane. These are five really good/great tag teams, and with this match being done in tribute to Jay Briscoe, I’m sure everyone is going to be working extra hard. You can definitely count on both Dante Martin and Fenix doing some super wild spots. In terms of the result, there are a number of different directions you could go. The Lucha Brothers are the biggest team in the match, but they just feel dropped in from AEW to add some star power (I don’t foresee them becoming ROH regulars at this point, even though it would be cool if they do pick up the win here). LFI could win, but that would feel like a weird choice at this moment. Aussie Open were on this first set of ROH on HonorClub Tapings, but it remains to be seen how often they’ll be in ROH, given that New Japan is their main priority right now. That leaves The Kingdom and Top Flight, and out of those two, I feel that having a brother tag team win the ROH World Tag Team Titles in a match that’s paying tribute to Jay Briscoe would be very fitting. Prediction: Top Flight
ROH World Television Title
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Mark Briscoe
Once it became clear that Mark Briscoe would continue his wrestling career following the passing of his brother Jay, many of us wondered what he would do next. I know a number of people had hoped that Mark would immediately go after the ROH World Title (and that day may still come in the future). Instead, the first few episodes of ROH on HonorClub revealed that Mark Briscoe would be going after the ROH World TV Title, currently held by Samoa Joe. Now if you’re someone who’s been following ROH for a long time (particularly during the Sinclair Era), this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whenever Jay would be off in the ROH World Title picture (either chasing the title or defending it), Mark would more-often-than-not be pursuing the ROH World TV Title. A line that has been dropped on commentary for years (by both Kevin Kelly and later Ian Riccaboni) is that Mark Briscoe’s dream was to become the ROH World TV Champion someday. He’s challenged for this title on a number of occasions in the past, but came up short every single time.
Not only do you have Mark’s history with the ROH World TV Title (and his desire to win it) as a big story going into this match, but you also have the fact that he (and his brother Jay) have a LONG history with Samoa Joe. Both Jay and Mark unsuccessfully challenged Joe for the ROH World Title during his historic title run in 2003 and 2004. They would later face Joe again in the back-half of 2006 as part of a brief mini-feud against Samoa Joe and Homicide (the major highlight of the feud being Mark doing a Shooting Star Press off a U-Haul truck). Combine all of that with this being the first major ROH event since Jay’s passing, and it’s going to be a very emotional match to sit through. I have no doubt that both guys are going to work their asses off to have the best match possible, and I’m certain the crowd will be fully behind Mark. In my mind, there’s really only one option for a finish, and it’s Mark Briscoe winning this title. Joe has already lost the TNT Title as part of his feud with Wardlow, and with it being nearly a full year since Joe won the ROH World TV Title from Minoru Suzuki (yes, that was almost a year ago now), this is the perfect time to move the title to someone else. I’m sure it will be an awesome moment when Mark does capture that title. Prediction: Mark Briscoe
ROH World Title
Claudio Castagnoli (c) vs. Eddie Kingston
I’ve been sitting here for a good ten to fifteen minutes trying to think about what I can say about this match, or what I could say about the history between these two that dates back many years, but I don’t think my words can do it justice. The main event of Supercard Of Honor will see Claudio Castagnoli defend the ROH World Title against Eddie Kingston. I was there in the United Center at Forbidden Door when Claudio made his debut against Zack Sabre Jr., though a memorable moment would occur later in the night, when Eddie Kingston had a verbal spat with Claudio at ringside right at the end of the PPV. While they would end up teaming together as part of last year’s Blood & Guts Match, I think many of us who were familiar with the past battles between Claudio and Eddie knew that someday (now that both were in the same company again), they would clash once again. Well….here we are. It’s been about nine months since that last interaction in Blood & Guts, and now they’re about to have without question the biggest match in their rivalry to date.
I don’t need to go over all of the juicy details about their past. You can learn all about that in the amazing video that ROH put out a few days ago. In terms of the match itself, while it probably won’t be the best in-ring match on the card, it’s one that I’m definitely going to be invested in (partly because I’m well aware of all that backstory between the two from CHIKARA). It’s sure to be a very intense and physical affair, and if we get Eddie Kingston at his best, there’s no way this won’t deliver. As far as the result goes, I feel there’s a strong chance of Eddie Kingston winning the title here. Earlier in the preview, I talked about how it might be time to get ROH championships off of guys who will mainly be in AEW (especially if we are to get more defined rosters in the future). With the Blackpool Combat Club being involved in a major storyline in AEW with The Elite, this feels like a great time to get the ROH World Title off of Claudio, and what better guy to beat Claudio than Eddie Kingston, who we know for a fact is going to be part of ROH going forward? While it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Claudio retain, I really feel that closing the show with an Eddie Kingston title win would be the right way to go. We’ll find out on Friday Night if this moment comes to pass. Prediction: Eddie Kingston