It feels like every couple weeks there is a major shake-up in the landscape of Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe vacating the ROH World Television Championship for example, and this past Saturday on RAMPAGE was no different as a new Pure Champion was crowned when Wheeler Yuta defeated Katsuyori Shibata! That makes Yuta the only 2-Time and 3-Time champion in the history of the Pure Title, and has done little but fueled his already expanding ego. Fans also witnessed ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston fall to Brody King in the Continental Classic Tournament, a heartbreaking defeat for the champion considering he's put both the ROH World Title and the NJPW STRONG Openweight Title on the line in said tournament, but one he's got to get over quickly given his match with Lee Johnson on Thursday and his fight with Bryan Danielson on Saturday!
As FINAL BATTLE 2023 draws nigh, and the Survival of the Fittest to crown a new ROH World TV Champion takes shape, ROH ON HONOR CLUB is the place to catch all the action starting at 7pm ET/6pm CT every Thursday night! In addition to being the exclusive home of FINAL BATTLE 2023, Honor Club is also the place to watch more than 20 years of professional wrestling history created by Ring of Honor, featuring some of the greatest professional wrestlers that have defined the sport for this century and beyond!
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST TV TITLE ELIMINATOR...
Dalton Castle vs. Evil Uno
And so it begins, the road to FINAL BATTLE 2023 and the crowning of a new ROH World Television Champion with the return of Survival of the Fittest (https://www.ringofhonor.com/post/the-history-of-survival-of-the-fittest)! A staple of ROH since 2004, the short explanation for SOTF is that a series of matches whittle the field down to six competitors, and those six compete in an Elimination-Style bout to determine the winner. When ROH returns to Texas for its annual year-end extravaganza, for the very first time in the event's history Survival of the Fittest will have a championship title at stake, which means the competitors in Ring of Honor need to start earning their way into that title situation! Two such bouts will go down this Thursday night on Honor Club when Dalton Castle locks horns with Evil Uno in one SOTF Eliminator contest while Komander faces Gringo Loco in another!
Castle, though a former ROH World/TV/Six-Man Champion, as well as the winner of the 2017 Soaring Eagle Cup Tournament, has not had great success in the SOTF field. 2015 saw him knocked out in the qualifier, as did 2018, and while Castle made it to the Elimination bout in 2016, he was the second man eliminated in the match. So he would love nothing more than to return to the finals and add a SOTF victory, as well as a second TV Championship reign, to his already impressive ROH resume.
As for Evil Uno, given his limited ROH experiences, he has never been entered into the SOTF field, although he and Stu Grayson did participate in the Tag Wars 2010 tournament early in their careers, and somewhat surprisingly this will also mark Uno's first foray into singles competition under the ROH banner. He, along with the rest of The Dark Order, have been quite successful in ROH competition in the New Era of Honor, including that unforgettable Fight Without Honor at DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR 2023 against Stu Grayson and The Righteous, but this is a whole new test for Uno. At least history, albeit from over four years ago, bends in his favor as the lone singles encounter between Dalton and Uno went in Evil Uno's favor.
Komander vs. Gringo Loco
Now the other two competitors facing a SOTF Eliminator Match this Thursday are completely new to this ROH staple, but they are quite familiar with one another. Though their first meeting took place only 17 months ago, Gringo Loco and Komander have shared the ring on twenty-four occasions, some as friend and some as foe, with each holding a victory in their two singles matches, and Komander holding the Ring of Honor victory from episode 19 on Honor Club. This Thursday, Gringo Loco has a chance to not only even up their ROH score, but also get into a Ring of Honor title picture for the very first time! Komander has had opportunities at both the ROH World Championship, as well as the ROH World Tag Titles, but a berth in the SOTF Finals would be his first time near the World Television Championship, so this Thursday is a night of huge potential for both individuals. Who will advance to FINAL BATTLE 2023 this week on Honor Club?
PROVING GROUND MATCH...
ROH World Champion Eddie Kingston vs. “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson
This isn't the first time “Big Shotty” Lee Johnson is standing on the Proving Ground with a potential ROH World Championship match at stake. Three months ago, during Claudio Castagnoli's reign, Johnson had his first opportunity to earn a title fight but, just three minutes and thirty seconds later, he was looking up at the lights. That didn't kill his hunger to find success in ROH, not in the least, in fact in the eleven weeks of ROH ON HONOR CLUB since, Lee has been in the ring seven of them to garner that invaluable experience, and though he's won just one of those bouts, last week's Four Corner Survival, each has pushed “Big Shotty” to better himself just that much more.
This week on Honor Club, Lee has his second chance to step onto the Proving Ground for a potential ROH World Championship match, only this time it is against Eddie Kingston, a man coming into Thursday night having just tasted bitter defeat in his first Continental Classic bout:
So will this be a Kingston fired up from losing to Brody King, or one vulnerable to being upset by Lee Johnson, sending him into Saturday's COLLISION contest with Bryan Danielson on even more of a down note?
“Minion in Training” Billie Starkz vs. “The Problem” Marina Shafir
Last week, after the Open Challenge of ROH Women's World Champion Athena and Billie Starkz led to the shocking arrival of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey as Marina Shafir's partner, and the subsequent tapping out of the Minion-in-Training, let's just say that Starkz is not high on the list of Athena's favorite people at this moment.
But this week on Honor Club, Starkz will have her opportunity to make up for that failure (only in Athena's eyes would tapping out to a Olympic-level Judo player be a failure) by defeating Marina Shafir in a singles bout. Now outside of ROH the two women have split a pair of singles matches, Marina winning the first REVOLVER bout and Starkz the second, and then of course there is the No Contest tag match there that led to the ROH fight last week, so this is in essence their rubber match.
Would a victory here finally prove Billie's worth to “The Fallen Goddess” or will she forever remain a Minion-in-Training? And if “The Problem” is the one getting her hand raised Thursday night, will she then set her eyes on the Forever Champion with FINAL BATTLE 2023 on the horizon?
-Trish Adora vs. Emi Sakura
-Robert Anthony vs. Willie Mack
-Leyla Hirsch in action!
-The Infantry (Capt. Shawn Dean & Carlie Bravo) vs. The Boys