It’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at Ring of Honor’s “Women of Honor” offshoot, so this week on Random Reviews… you can guess where we’re headed!
Kelly Klein, Britt Baker & Veda Scott vs. Mandy Leon, Faye Jackson & “Crazy” Mary Dobson (September 16, 2016 – video posted @ https://youtu.be/PK8Wr-reyNw)
Filmed before ROH’s show in Pittsburgh, this six-woman seemingly included someone (Baker) because she was was a victim of Nia Jax on Raw back in July… okay then?
The venue here, Stage AE, looks like they’ve shortened down an ice hockey venue, but it’s really a music venue. So quite why the entrance way has them walking by a stage wall… it looks a little bush league, shall we say? Ian Riccaboni acknowledges on commentary that Faye Jackson is only on her third match here, which CageMatch.de calls BS on, since she’d had three previous matches in ROH when this was taped. Minor details, but still!
Leon starts by charging into Britt Baker in the corner, before a short DDT gets her a near-fall. Baker rolls up and smashed Leon with a forearm, before Veda Scott comes in and gets rolled through into a pinning predicament. Mary Dobson comes in and rams into Scott with a knee to the midsection, but Veda replies with a cartwheel kick, only to get dropkicked back into her corner.
Kelly Klein and Faye Jackson come in, and the pair trade shots as the back of Jackson’s suspenders wave around like tassles. A series of shoulder tackles from Klein don’t move Jackson, but she takes a knee to the back from Baker… and barely sells it. Klein’s clothesline drops Jackson, who then gets triple-teamed in the heels’ corner.
Baker goes for a sunset flip, but Jackson sits down on her, then tags out to Dobson rather than pinning her. A double underhook suplex takes down Baker, but she immediately replies with a ripcord elbow, before Scott came in and took down Dobson with a snapmare and a clothesline.
Klein returned to knee Dobson a few times, then tagged straight back out to Baker, but Dobson countered a waistlock with an overhead kick. Leon made the tag in and cleared house on Scott and Klein, as Taeler Hendrix on commentary uttered the line “the heels are not… oh man”. Is ROH commentary usually like this for “insider” terms?
Leon catches Baker with a running Unprettier – but Baker kicked out after the awkward looking move. The match breaks down a little as Klein and Baker double-team Jackson, but Leon makes a save before Jackson drops into the heels with hip attacks. I’m not making any Rikishi connections here, okay? But Ryusuke Taguchi she ain’t.
Jackson slams Baker, before the not-at-all-dubiously-named Chocolate Thunder (a forward roll into a big splash) earns her a near-fall as Scott breaks up the pin. Dobson levels Veda Scott with a knee to the chest, then another diving knee off the apron to the floor. Leon catches Baker climbing the ropes and ends up powerbombing her, before we get a crossbody to the pile outside for some reason.
Faye Jackson then looks to dive, and she just about connects with a tope through the ropes. Veda gets rolled into the ring by Dobson, who goes for a German suplex, but instead switches it into an Exploder, before the Hail Mary (cartwheel into a kneedrop) takes down Scott. Kelly Klein rushes into slam Dobson, but a wheelbarrow bulldog from Mandy Leon takes out Klein.
Our parade of moves ended with a Jackson spear and a Famouser from Baker, before the pace slowed down with a pair of rolling brainbusters from Dobson to Baker. After a Tower of London out of the corner from Scott, Klein caught Dobson with the guillotine choke she’s dubbed “the end of the match”, and that forces the submission. Being fair, this match wasn’t great. There were way too many times where the formula of “woman hits a move, tags out, hits a move, tags out” got tiresome. As a total package, this just epitomised the worst of indy wrestling: moves ahead of psychology. **
Kelly Klein vs. Sumie Sakai (August 20, 2016 – video posted @ https://youtu.be/YtqytLOi2G8)
Another match with Kelly Klein, this time taped in Las Vegas… Japanese veteran Sumie Sakai’s the opponent for the undefeated Klein, who refuses the handshake at the bell.
Sakai goes for an early roll-up for a one-count, and gets a handful of them before Klein grabs a sleeperhold off the ropes. She swings Sakai out of the ring whilst still holding the sleeper, and ends up following her outside with a slap that sends Sakai to the deck.
A leaping clothesline takes down Sakai for a two-count back inside the ring, before Klein went back to a sleeper, but Sakai gets out of it… and is taken straight back down with a big boot for a two-count. A series of dropkicks from Sakai takes down Klein, before a flying forearm gets her a near-fall.
Sakai goes up top and connects with a missile dropkick for just a one-count as Klein grabbed the bottom rope. Klein blocks a suplex, and countered with a simple forearm smash and a release German suplex that gets a near-fall. We see Sakai lock up Klein in a mixture of a Japanese stranglehold and a surfboard, but it was too near the corner as Klein got a foot on the ropes to break it up.
Sakai goes up top, only to miss a moonsault, and then takes a charge into the corner as Klein gets a delayed vertical suplex before rolling into the End of the Match for the submission. Basic, but a lot, lot better than that mess of a six-man. ***
Taeler Hendrix vs. Sara Del Rey (August 20, 2010 – video posted @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZA–XraTAM)
We’re going back to the early days of ROH on HD Net for this match taped in the former ECW Arena. ROH are using their old red-and-black blocky logo, with massive overlays added on for the video. Del Rey’s now a coach with WWE, so that’ll tell you how old this is! Del Rey’s accompanied by Chris Hero, Shane Hagadorn and the man we now know as Cesaro. Aah… whatever happened to Hagadorn and his doily tattoo?
From the opening handshake, Del Rey whips Hendrix into the corner then lays into her with forearms. A slam turns into a backbreaker for a near-fall, before Hendrix gets stretched in the rope and genuinely has her arse kicked. Del Rey kicks away at the left arm of Hendrix, before grabbing a double chicken-wing that Hendrix eventually stunners her way out of.
Hendrix hits a Polish hammer to knock down Del Rey, before going up top for… a double axehandle that Del Rey swatted away with a big boot. One rolling cross arm-breaker later, and Hendrix is tapping for her life. A fun squash, and I never even had enough time to mention how ridiculously great those old ROH tag titles were… or how bad-he’s-good Mike Hogewood was with Dave Prazak on commentary! **
Deonna Purazzo vs. Mandy Leon (July 25, 2015 – video posted @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHwfHkLwFcg)
We end this week with one of Mandy Leon’s first matches in ROH… so set your expectations low! Before this, Leon had been a backstage interviewer, and was training at the ROH dojo.
From the bell, they lock up and force each other to the mat, before trading front facelocks. They attempt waistlocks, and switch back to a headlock takedown, which Purazzo switches into some headscissors before Leon gets back up into a headlock.
A shoulder block knocks down Purazzo, before they give and take a hiptoss each. Purazzo takes Leon into the ropes as they shove back and forth, before a kick to the midsection leads to Leon doing a slow motion headscissors takedown that take Deonna to the outside. Leon kicks Purazzo from the apron, before she dives off with a clothesline to the floor.
Back inside, Purazzo knocks Leon off the apron with a forearm before she tosses her into the guard railings. Leon misses a shoulder charge in the corner, which gives Purazzo a chance to target the arm by hanging it in the ropes. Leon did a Flair flop as Purazzo tried for an arm wringer – presumably going for an arm whip – so Purazzo followed up with a legdrop to the arm instead.
Purazzo hits a series of handsprings then a back elbow into the corner, before finally dropping Leon with that armwhip that was intended earlier, getting a near-fall from it. Off the ropes, Leon countered a hiptoss into a roll-up for a near-fall, before Deonna targeted the left arm once more. Purazzo chops Leon in the corner, but Leon escapes and throws some lackadaisical chops of her own.
A reversed Irish whip sends Leon back into the corner, but she catches a modified Tarantula in the ropes before Purazzo again gets that arm whip for a couple of near-falls. Leon strikes back with a headbutt, but she’s sent into the ropes, before countering a back body drop with a wheelbarrow into a bulldog. This is slow, sloppy and not very good, I have to say…
Purazzo gets her feet up in the corner, before she’s caught up top with a headscissors takedown, and then a back cracker sends her down for a near-fall. Leon goes up top, and connects with a moonsault for the win. Wow… That was bad. As in “first match bad”. Except Leon had her first match at least a year earlier than this, with over a dozen matches before this one… All I could think of during this match was 80s women’s wrestling but with modern day moves. *½
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