This is the moment that ROH faithful have been waiting for since March 2, 2022 when it was first announced that AEW CEO Tony Khan had purchased Ring of Honor Wrestling and that it would continue to operate moving forward. Fans witnessed the various Ring of Honor championships defended on All Elite Wrestling programming, saw Chris Jericho become one of the most impressive ROH World Champions in the title's history, Wheeler Yuta become the first 2-time Pure Champion in ROH history, and The Briscoes claim the World Tag Team Titles for the 13th time with their epic Dog Collar Match against FTR at FINAL BATTLE 2022.
ROH fans have seen the TV Title carried by ROH Legend Samoa Joe, making Joe a Triple Crown Champion some 17 years since he last held a ROH championship, and watched Athena defeat Mercedes Martinez to become the current ROH Women's World Champion, a position she has relished using to abuse any women coming for her championship.
Through a trio of pay-per-view presentations in 2022, Ring of Honor continued to present the wrestling that has shaped the industry over the last two decades, and through it all fans kept speculating when Ring of Honor would return to some form of weekly programming. Tony Khan told the world after FINAL BATTLE 2022 that ROH's Honor Club service would be host to a weekly programming in the new year, and it is finally happening this Thursday night beginning at 7pm ET/6pm CT exclusively on Honor Club
With the first edition of Ring of Honor on Honor Club, it only felt right to pay tribute to the origins of ROH while simultaneously looking to the present and future of what's to come in this new era of honor! So while there have been so many exciting ROH events and moments that have taken place over the last year, sadly there has also been tragedy as we lost Jay Briscoe earlier this year following an automobile accident. But his memory lives on through the moments he made, the fans he touched, the wrestlers he influenced, and the family who loved him, and in honor of his contributions to ROH, just as Jay Briscoe was part of the first official match in ROH history back on 2/23/02, so too will Mark Briscoe be part of this first Honor Club match!
ONE-ON-ONE ROH World Tag Team Champion Mark Briscoe vs. Slim J
At THE ERA OF HONOR BEGINS twenty-one years ago, Jay Briscoe defeating The Amazing Red in the first official match in Ring of Honor history. From that moment forward, and for nearly the entirety of ROH's existence, The Briscoe Brothers were the foundation of the entire promotion. They claimed the ROH World Tag Team Titles on 13 occasions, including three unforgettable 2022 battles with FTR that culminated in the must-see Double Dog Collar Match at FINAL BATTLE 2022. Jay claimed the ROH World Championship on two instances, and although Mark never acquired a singles title of his own during the first 20 years of ROH's existence, he was a consistent contender for the World Television Championship.
So with this new era of honor continuing to unfold with the first episode on Honor Club, it only seemed appropriate that ROH pays tribute to Jay by having Mark Briscoe be in the first match fans will see on Thursday night! Twenty-one years ago Mark was relegated to (reluctantly) supporting his brother from ringside for the first ROH match, but with this first match he will be in action against another man whose ROH credentials date back to Year One as well!
Once a part of the Special K faction that included Jay Lethal, Slim J made his own ROH memories during those early days, competing in multiple Scramble Matches with the likes of The S.A.T, The Carnage Crew, and even fighting The Briscoes on occasion. His original tenure with Ring of Honor ended in 2004, but at DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR 2022, as part of the Zero Hour presentation, Slim J returned to the fold alongside Ari Daivari as part of his TrustBusters unit!
This is a moment for Mark Briscoe and Slim J to set the tone, not just for the future of their respective ROH careers, but also for the future of ROH on Honor Club and for what's to come on April 1st at SUPERCARD OF HONOR 2023!
NJPW WORLD TV TITLE MATCH Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Blake Christian
At New Japan Pro Wrestling's annual WRESTLE KINGDOM event on January 4th, Zack Sabre Jr. become the first-ever NJPW World Television Champion, defeating Ren Narita in a tremendous 11 minute battle. Immediately following that match, he was offered membership in TMDK (The Mighty Don't Kneel) by Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste, an offer ZSJ readily accepted after bidding farewell to his SUZUKI-GUN stable a few weeks prior.
In the two months since claiming the NJPW TV Title and aligning with TMDK, Zack Sabre Jr. has experienced a great deal of success, including retaining his championship on two outings, first against Tomohiro Ishii on February 5th and then opposite Clark Connors on the 18th. Now the submission master returns to ROH for the first time since the G1 SUPERCARD event and brings the nascent championship with him as ZSJ continues to establish the title's value.
For Blake Christian, this is a huge opportunity as both his Ring of Honor and New Japan careers are in their relative infancy. Blake's very first ROH match was only at SUPERCARD OF HONOR 2022 as part of the ZERO HOUR presentation, but he was gifted a championship opportunity against Claudio Castagnoli earlier this year. As for his NJPW career, that first began in August 2020, and has been fought primarily under the California-based NJPW STRONG banner. He took part in the 2020 Super J Cup Tournament, attempted to qualify for the New Japan Cup in 2021, and has been in the ring with fighters like Hiromu Takahashi, El Desperado, David Finlay, and Juice Robinson during his time with STRONG. But this championship challenge against ZSJ is the biggest opportunity he's had to date in either ROH or NJPW, and Blake Christian aims to make the most of it on this premiere edition of ROH ON HONOR CLUB!
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH... Claudio Castagnoli(c) vs. AR Fox
A 2-Time World Champion during the course of 2022, Claudio Castagnoli is ready to lead Ring of Honor into this new era as the kind of honorable, respectable champion that the promotion deserves, the kind of champion ROH sorely needs after suffering through Chris Jericho's persistent denigration of Ring of Honor throughout his championship reign. Jericho may have been having spectacular defenses during his title run, but he had nothing positive to say about Ring of Honor, even rechristening it “Ring of Jericho” and treating it like a second-class organization.
Since FINAL BATTLE 2022, when Claudio reclaimed the championship from “The Ocho”, it has been Double C's mission to represent Ring of Honor as it deserves to be, and that means defending the title whenever possible against top challengers from all corners of professional wrestling. It goes without saying that the very first edition of ROH ON HONOR CLUB needs to feature the ROH World Championship, and the man stepping up to the challenge is well-traveled AR Fox!
Now AR Fox and Claudio Castagnoli have never crossed paths in a singles match, but it was the trio of Fox and Top Flight who cost The Blackpool Combat Club $300,000 in that Three Kings Trios Battle Royale on the 12/23 edition of AEW RAMPAGE, a victory that Fox and the Martin Brothers also parlayed into a pair of failed AEW World Trios Championship title bids.
Coming out of that, and with Claudio willing to face any man with designs on the ROH World Championship, the main event of this Thursday's premiere presentation will be AR Fox challenging Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Title! Between this fight and the NJPW TV Title match, Ring of Honor is definitely the land of opportunity, and AR Fox would love nothing more than to close out the first Honor Club episode by dethroning The Swiss Superman in his 4th championship defense. Just as Mark Briscoe and Slim J have the opportunity to make that first impression, so too does it fall on either Claudio Castagnoli or AR Fox to lead Ring of Honor as we move forward in this new era of honor!
In addition to those featured bouts, fans tuning into the very first addition of ROH ON HONOR CLUB will also see:
- ROH World Six Man Champions The Embassy (Brian Cage, Kaun, & Toa Liona) in action! - Metalik vs. Ari Daivari - The Renegades (Charlette & Robyn) vs. Madison Rayne & Skye Blue - The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennet) vs. The Infantry (Carlie Bravo & Shawn Dean) - “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. Rohit Raju - Konosuke Takeshita vs. “The Technical Beast” Josh Woods - Willow Nightingale vs. Lady Frost
This new era of honor began one year ago when it was announced to the world that AEW CEO Tony Khan had purchased Ring of Honor, and now it advances to the next level with the premiere of ROH ON HONOR CLUB! It all begins again this Thursday night at 7pm ET/6pm CT on Honor Club as we head towards SUPERCARD OF HONOR 2023, but Honor Club isn't just the home for this premiere, but also for twenty years worth of history from the most influential professional wrestling promotion of this generation!