At this point, I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you about what’s going on in the world right now. We’re all in a terrible place right now, and we can use some entertainment to help keep our minds off the disaster that’s unfolding as we speak.
Fortunately, the world of pro wrestling has an endless supply of options if you’re looking to pass the time. One of those available options is ROH’s streaming service, Honor Club. While the back catalog, featuring all the shows from the Golden Years, has yet to be uploaded to the service (though ROH has promised that these shows will be up there soon), there is still a plethora of content to check out on Honor Club.
With this article series, my hope is to shine a light on matches that are available on the service (mostly from 2011 onward) that are worth checking out. Despite the various ups and downs that ROH went through during the 2010s, they still put on countless great shows and so many awesome matches….some of which you might’ve forgotten about. There are numerous options to pick from, and with this series, I’ll be providing you a look at the cool stuff on Honor Club that’s gone unnoticed.
The All-Night Express vs. The Briscoes
Honor Takes Center Stage: Chapter 2
April 2nd, 2011
What if I told you that there was a time in ROH’s history when The All-Night Express were on their way to being the top babyface tag team in the company?
On the surface, that would seem patently absurd. The All-Night Express were a very solid mid-card tag team for most of the team’s existence, but the top babyface tag team in ROH? Kenny King and Rhett Titus didn’t seem like the type of team that would ever fit in that role (one famously called a “fucking preliminary wrestler” by Jim Cornette, while the other has been practically a jobber to the stars outside of the All Night Express team), but 2011 was the year that they were elevated to that level. How did they get there, you ask? An excellent feud with The Briscoes.
This match took place during the set of ROH events at Center Stage in Atlanta (the company’s first events in that venue) during WrestleMania Weekend in 2011. The feud started a few weeks earlier at Manhattan Mayhem IV, when a double turn was successfully executed both during and after the match. This was a very interesting period for The Briscoes, as it was really the last time that they were fully-fledged heels (they did have a heel run in 2017-2018, but it wasn’t nearly as strong as this heel run was). The match itself was pretty awesome, as it was very much a fight at various points. Titus played a great babyface in peril after getting busted open, and after Jay got busted open a few minutes later, we got an awesome exchange between Jay and Titus as clouds of bloody mist flew off their faces. The Briscoes ultimately came out on top, but this was a great early chapter in this rivalry. Again, ANX as a top tag team is a hard thing to imagine (especially when you look at how things turned out for the both of them nearly a decade later), but they did a lot of great things in 2011, and this was just the start of it.
The Colony (Fire Ant, Green Ant, & Soldier Ant) vs. Ophidian & Los Ice Creams
ROH TV Episode #34
May 12th, 2012
When you look back at ROH through the Sinclair Era, 2012 is often remembered as the height of Jim Cornette’s reign as the driving creative force in the company. While this period had plenty of negatives and low points, there were some high points mixed in.
A positive aspect of ROH in 2012 that often gets forgotten is the relationship with CHIKARA. The two companies exchanged talents throughout the year, and as part of the build-up to the big double-header event that took place in Chicago Ridge in April of 2012 (where ROH and CHIKARA would both run events at the Frontier Fieldhouse on the same day), CHIKARA got a showcase match on ROH TV!
To be completely honest, the main reason why I’m recommending this match is that we got to hear UltraMantis Black on commentary with Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness. It’s just a crazy sight to behold almost eight years later. The match itself wasn’t very long, but it was still a ton of fun to watch. The fact that it was so different from anything you would’ve seen on ROH TV at the time really helped it stand out. It’s also fun to look back at this match in hindsight, knowing where all three members of The Colony have gone since then (one of them is on the active ROH roster right now!). Again, this was relatively short, but very entertaining.
ROH World Title – Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin
Glory By Honor XI: The Unbreakable Hope
October 13th, 2012
This match is the absolute definition of a hidden gem.
As I’ve already mentioned, 2012 isn’t a year that’s remembered fondly when it comes to the history of ROH, but the year had more than its fair share of memorable matches. Of course, the two matches that stood out the most from ROH in 2012 were Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin from WrestleMania Weekend and Kevin Steen vs. El Generico in Ladder War IV at Final Battle 2012. Both matches were easy Match Of The Year contenders in 2012, but they, unfortunately, overshadowed another match that was just as fantastic. If those two matches that I just mentioned hadn’t taken place, this main event from Glory By Honor XI would’ve been the talked about match from ROH in 2012. These two went to war for just over thirty minutes, but the action from start to finish was just fantastic. It was the strongest defense of the Kevin Steen title run up to that point, and even though Elgin came up short, this was another step up in his elevation. If there’s any match from this list that you must check out, it’s this one.
Six-Man Mayhem – ACH vs. Adam Page vs. Mike Sydal vs. QT Marshall (with RD Evans) vs. Silas Young vs. TaDarius Thomas
11th Anniversary Show
March 2nd, 2013
Much like the CHIKARA showcase match that I talked about earlier, this Six-Man Mayhem was an inclusion that was done mainly for retrospective reasons. It was a super enjoyable match for the seven or so minutes that it lasted, but it’s crazy to look back on this in hindsight knowing where some of these people went in the ensuing seven years. Some of them had stints with New Japan, and a few of them are in AEW right now. Meanwhile, one had a stint as a writer on the WWE creative team, while another is still with ROH to this day. Unfortunately, a couple of the names in here didn’t see the same success. Still, it was a fun PPV opener featuring a number of guys who would gain more notoriety in the years that followed.
Michael Elgin & The Briscoes vs. Kevin Steen & The Young Bucks
Raising The Bar: Night 1
March 7th, 2014
I really don’t have any detailed backstory or lengthy thoughts about this particular match. I just wanted to include it because it was really freaking great!
How could you possibly go wrong with this Six-Man Tag? One side featured a trio of some of the top babyface acts on the ROH roster at the time, while the other side saw Kevin Steen and The Young Bucks bring their Mount Rushmore faction to from PWG to ROH (even know they were never announced as such, pretty much everyone at the time knew these guys were known as Mount Rushmore). What’s notable is that, to my knowledge, this was the only time that Kevin Steen teamed with The Young Bucks in ROH (Steen, of course, left for WWE several months later). I should also note that the crowd really added to the atmosphere of this match. The Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee was a regular stop on the ROH circuit for many years after the Sinclair purchase, and they quickly became one of the best markets for ROH, in terms of crowd reactions. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this match.
Alberto El Patron vs. Roderick Strong
Winter Warriors Tour: Dayton
January 31st, 2015
It’s fair to say that Alberto El Patron/Alberto Del Rio has been a problem child in the North American wrestling scene for many years. Attempting to keep track of the number of times he’s been in and out of major promotions, or the number of incidents he’s been involved with outside of the ring, is almost impossible. However, the one company where he seemingly never had any issues of note was Ring Of Honor.
He was never signed to ROH, but he had a relatively brief run, as he picked up a couple of singles victories on his way to getting a shot at (then) ROH World TV Champion Jay Lethal on PPV (he would lose that match, and worked one more match…a six-man tag…before he left for good). One of the victories he got en route to that title shot was over Roderick Strong at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, Ohio (a classic ROH venue).
Alberto El Patron really seemed to have his working shoes on during this stint in ROH, and it should come as no surprise that his best match during his run with the company came against Roderick Strong. In fact, I would even say that this was probably the best singles match of Alberto’s entire career (I challenge anyone to think of another one, because nothing else comes to mind). This was a hard-hitting affair that included a couple of crazy moments (such as Alberto nearly killing himself on a dive), some accidental blood in the form of a Roderick Strong bloody nose, and a great closing stretch. Alberto certainly held up his end of things in this bout, but it also served as another incredible match in what would be a fantastic in-ring year for Strong. Go seek this one out for sure.
AJ Styles vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Roderick Strong
Aftershock Tour: Hopkins
July 11th, 2015
Just to show you how great the ROH roster was from 2014 through the first half of 2016, this Triple Threat Match was the main event of a random live event in suburban Minneapolis in the summer of 2015. Now, I should note that this was by no means a stellar, knock-it-out-of-the-park kind of bout, but it was still a very good main event that featured lots of really solid wrestling from start to finish. It’s not even a super long match (clocking in at just about fifteen minutes), but still, these three could deliver a quality main event in their sleep. If you’re just looking for a match where you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy it, this is definitely a fine pick.