Ring of Honor Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and ROH Highlights from March 16

Ring of Honor Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and ROH Highlights from March 16

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    The Ring of Honor logo and stars.

    The Ring of Honor logo and stars.ROH

    Welcome to Bleacher Report’s coverage and recap of Episode 3 of Ring of Honor TV on March 16.

    This week’s show featured two Championship Proving Ground matches. Athena faced Hyan, and Claudio Castagnoli battled Willie Mack. If Hyan or Mack won their match, they would earn a shot at the title.

    We also saw some championship action as The Embassy defended the six-man titles against the former champions, Dalton Castle and The Boys.

    Let’s take a look at all of the action from Thursday’s show.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Willie Mack

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    Claudio Castagnoli and Willie Mack.

    Claudio Castagnoli and Willie Mack.ROH

    Mack received a non-title match against Castagnoli this week, but since this was labeled as a Proving Ground match, a win would earn him a shot. It’s similar to AEW’s Championship Eliminator matches.

    They began with a standard exchange of holds and reversals. Mack is a big dude, but he’s not afraid to mix it up on the mat when the need arises.

    The longer it went, the more physical it became. Castagnoli took every opportunity to show off his power by throwing Mack around, and the big man showed he has the speed to keep up with the ROH champion.

    They did a good job making it feel like Mack believed he had a chance to win, so it made Castagnoli’s victory with an uppercut out of nowhere that much better.

    Winner: Claudio Castagnoli

    Grade: B+

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Castagnoli tried to take a page out of Samoa Joe’s playbook with the walkaway spot, but Mack saw it coming and cut the dive short. 
    • Hitting a double-underhook suplex on a guy the size of Mack will always be impressive no matter who it is. 
    • Mack shouldn’t be able to hit a standing moonsault that well. It’s kind of like how some people say a bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly. 

Mike Bennett vs. Dante Martin

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    Mike Bennett and Dante Martin.

    Mike Bennett and Dante Martin.ROH

    The Kingdom’s Mike Bennett took on Top Flight’s Dante Martin in the second match of the night. Bennett had Matt Taven and Maria Kanellis by his side, and Dante had Darius Martin in his corner to keep things as even as possible.

    These two men are similar in size but work very different styles. Bennett is more technical and methodical with his offense, while Martin is a high-flyer who favors speed over anything else.

    However, both men also know how to adjust their styles to match their opponent, so they ended up working well together to put on an entertaining contest that showcased both men.

    A piledriver on the entrance ramp almost led to Dante being counted out, but he beat the 20-count by a few seconds to keep the match going.

    Both men came close to winning a few times before Dante scored the win with a unique slam. This bout was good enough to have been featured on any PPV card. These guys killed it, and you should absolutely go out of your way to watch this match.

    Winner: Dante Martin

    Grade: A-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Dante has such a nice dropkick. 
    • The piledriver was a banned move in WWE for a long time, so seeing it randomly in a match with no major stipulation or prize on the line can be surprising sometimes. 
    • The fact that WWE couldn’t find more to do with Maria during her last run with the company is such a shame. She’s great at being a heel manager. 
    • Dante’s package powerbomb looked great. 
    • Taven wearing a Jay Briscoe shirt was a nice touch. 

Ari Daivari and Slim J vs. Metalik and Black Christian

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    The Trustbusters, Metalik and Blake Christian.

    The Trustbusters, Metalik and Blake Christian.ROH

    After the events of last week’s show, a tag team match was booked with Slim J and Ari Daivari of The Trustbusters taking on Metalik and Blake Christian, who have some experience tagging together in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

    Metalik and Christian had the upper hand at first, but some heel tactics from Slim and Daivari turned the tide quickly.

    Once they were grounded, Metalik and Christian spent a long time on defense. Daivari and Slim used quick tags to keep one man isolated for long periods of time.

    After getting a hot tag late in the match, Metalik scored the win with a spinning Michinoku driver. This match was highly entertaining, especially during the second half.

    Winners: Metalik and Blake Christian

    Grade: B

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Bragging about spending $300 on an undershirt is a weird flex, but it’s kind of funny because you know they are probably just the ones you get in a pack of three for less than $10. 
    • The tilt-a-whirl backbreaker is one of those moves that looks really cool and can be performed relatively safely by most people. 
    • It’s so easy to forget how long Slim J has been doing this because he doesn’t look old enough to be a 20-year veteran. 
    • Metalik needs more of a defined character. Talented luchador isn’t enough to differentiate him from all of the other masked wrestlers who are just as good. 

Eddie Kingston vs. Jeeves Kay

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    Eddie Kingston and Jeeves Kay.

    Eddie Kingston and Jeeves Kay.ROH

    Another member of The Trustbusters was in action this week when Jeeves Kay took on Eddie Kingston.

    Castagnoli came out with a drink to watch the match from the crowd. The Mad King kept his eyes on the ROH champion but never forgot about the man he was fighting.

    He ended up knocking Claudio’s coffee all over him by throwing Kay into the barricade right in front of where he was sitting.

    After they yelled at each other, the champ made his way to the back while Kingston took a massive suicide dive to the face. He quickly recovered and applied a dragon sleeper in the ring for a quick win.

    This wasn’t a long match, but it accomplished its goal of making Kingston look like a badass while furthering his feud with Castagnoli.

    Winner: Eddie Kingston

    Grade: C

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Kay wearing white gloves during his entrance is a nice touch. 
    • The camera was placed perfectly so Kay’s suicide dive was a genuine surprise. 

Athena vs. Hyan

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    Athena and Hyan.

    Athena and Hyan.ROH

    Hyan had a chance to earn a title shot this week if she was able to defeat or last at least 10 minutes against the reigning women’s champion, Athena.

    The champ has been on a roll lately, most recently scoring a hard-fought win over Willow during the premier of ROH two weeks ago.

    Athena dominated her opponent from the moment the bell rang by using aggressive, stiff offense. Hyan managed to get in a handful of moves, but that just served to piss Athena off.

    She grabbed Hyan by the throat and brought her down to the mat so she could unleash a torrent of strikes. She almost got herself disqualified by touching an official, but she ended up scoring the win with a crossface.

    This was a great showing for Athena, but it probably won’t end up on Hyan’s sizzle reel anytime soon.

    Winner: Athena

    Grade: C+

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Athena has taken Chris Jericho’s title as the person with the coolest ring jackets. 
    • Hyan hit some nice running kicks. 
    • The way Athena took Hyan down by her neck was nasty. It looked so brutal, but that’s why it was great. 

Silas Young vs. Marcus Cross

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    Silas Young and Marcus Cross.

    Silas Young and Marcus Cross.ROH

    The last real man in professional wrestling made his return to ROH this week when Silas Young battled Marcus Cross.

    While Cross was not exactly defenseless, Young definitely dominated this match. This was all about bringing Young back to ROH and immediately establishing him as a threat.

    You won’t see this talked about as the Match of the Week, but it was actually a decent performance from both guys because they did exactly what was expected of them.

    Young scored the win in just a few minutes, much to the delight of the crowd.

    Winner: Silas Young

    Grade: C+

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Young looks like he could be the son of Jake Roberts. 
    • Young’s finisher is really cool, but it looks like it would be easy to make a mistake when trying to balance on the turnbuckle like that. 

The Embassy vs. Dalton Castle and the Boys (6-Man Tag Titles)

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    The Embassy, Dalton Castle and The Boys.

    The Embassy, Dalton Castle and The Boys.ROH

    Dalton Castle and The Boys lost the six-man tag titles to The Embassy at the end of last year, so they were looking to regain their gold and their former glory in this match.

    Brian Cage, Toa Liona and Kaun were accompanied by Prince Nana for this defense. Kaun and Castle started for their teams, which was probably smart because they were the two closest competitors in size.

    Both teams had plenty of fun moments, but there were times when it felt like they were rushing from one move to the next so they could pack as much into this match as possible.

    The action was fun and frenetic, but there were a couple of pacing issues along the way. The Embassy ended up retaining when Kaun pinned both of the Boys at the same time.

    The Embassy continued to attack them after the match was over, but the new trio of Metalik, Christian and AR Fox chased them off.

    Winners: The Embassy

    Grade: B-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Castle’s gimmick is so unique to him that it could never be recreated by anyone else. 
    • Castle being able to adjust and still hit a suplex after losing his footing was impressive. 
    • One of The Boys accidentally screwed up a double-team spot with Liona and Kaun, but it didn’t slow the match down. 
    • A superkick from a guy like Brian Cage should kill someone. It shouldn’t be a random move that never puts anyone away. 

Trish Adora vs. Madison Rayne

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    Madison Rayne and Trish Adora.

    Madison Rayne and Trish Adora.ROH

    Two women were looking to rise up the ranks in the ROH women’s division this week when Madison Rayne battled Trish Adora.

    Since both of these women are babyfaces, they had a clean exchange to get things going. The pace was a little slow at first because they were building up as they went.

    They lacked a bit of chemistry due to not having much experience as opponents, so a few spots and sequences ended up looking awkward, and the silence from the crowd only added to that feeling.

    Adora ended up scoring the win, and both women showed respect by observing the Code of Honor after it was over.

    Winner: Trish Adora

    Grade: C

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman do such a great job filling people in on ROH history in a quick way. 
    • Adora was unable to support Rayne on her shoulders but rolled through to turn it into a different move and save the spot. 
    • The submission Adora used halfway through the match was cool but unrealistic because it would be very easy for Rayne to counter it. 

The Outrunners vs. Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels

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    The Outrunners, Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels.

    The Outrunners, Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels.ROH

    The Outrunners made their ROH debut this week when they took on the team of Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels.

    Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd used some cheap tricks to take control right away. They kept Sydal at bay while they double-teamed Daniels in an attempt to win the match early.

    The match ended up being pretty short once Sydal and Daniels were able to regroup. They scored the win to get their partnership off to a good start.

    Winners: Matt Sydal and Christopher Daniels

    Grade: C

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd are incredible pro wrestling names. 
    • Aussie Open confronted Sydal and Daniels after the match. 

Wheeler Yuta vs. Clark Connors (Pure Championship)

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    Wheeler Yuta and Clark Connors.

    Wheeler Yuta and Clark Connors.ROH

    The main event of the show saw Yuta defend the ROH Pure Championship against Connors. These men are no strangers to one another and the prematch video package filled us in on why they are fighting.

    As with all Pure Rules matches, this bout had a heavy emphasis on submissions and other types of offense since punches to the face are illegal.

    Both of these men are like walking Swiss army knives when it comes to pro wrestling. They can do a little bit of everything.

    Ideally, the main event should be the Match of the Night on any show, and that is exactly what this was. On a technical level, nothing else from this show came close. Just about everything they did was executed to perfection.

    While Connors put up a great fight, Yuta was able to tie him up in a pinning combination to score the win. Yuta grabbed a mic and called out Katsuyori Shibata for a match to end the show.

    Winner: Wheeler Yuta

    Credit: A-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Connors hit a beautiful brainbuster at one point. 
    • Connors has a great pounce for a guy his size. The way he took out Yuta looked great. 
    • It’s still weird to hear fans chanting “Yuta sucks.” 
    • Having Yuta weather several slaps to force Connors to use his one punch to break the hold was a great spot. Yuta hitting him back with his only punch a moment later was the icing on the cake. 

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