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ROH TV recap & reactions (June 22, 2023): Night of upsets

The vast majority of ROH TV episodes have a 99% predictability rate in choosing winners. Week seventeen in the ROH TV revival (June 22, 2023) flipped the script with a number of upsets during the show.

No upset was bigger than the Infantry defeating the Kingdom. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett are two-time ROH tag champs and former Impact tag champs. Shawn Dean and Carlie Bravo have barely make a blip on the radar so far in their AEW/ROH careers. That was about to change in a big way.

The match was set up when the Kingdom tried to butter ROH board member Stokely Hathaway for a tag title shot. They never received a rematch from when they last lost the belts. Hathaway suggested that the past is the past and for the Kingdom to earn their way in his presence. The conversation turned to the Infantry. The Kingdom claimed that Dean and Bravo were talking trash about how long it will take before Hathaway is fired. That didn’t sit too well with Big Stoke.

Later, the Infantry approached Hathaway. Their version was that the Kingdom were taking bets on Hathaway’s future. The Infantry reminisced about hanging with Big Stoke (aka regular-sized Shaq) in the strip club. They offered to take care of this business with the Kingdom.

The big question was how the Infantry would handle Maria Kanellis. As expected, Maria interfered during the contest. Both Dean and Bennett were down on the mat after a double clothesline. Maria distracted the referee, so Taven could slide in a chair. Bennett rammed the foreign object into Dean’s midsection. The Kingdom set up for their Proton Pack finisher, but it was stifled when a friend of the Infantry evened the odds.

Trish Adora ran down to pull Maria off the apron. She shares a military bond with Dean and Bravo. That distraction bought time and allowed Bravo to shove Taven off the turnbuckles. Dean capitalized with a roll-up on Bennett to win.

Backstage, the Kingdom were furious claiming there was no honor in that win by the Infantry. They openly plotted to sway ROH board member Jerry Lynn to their side with the hope of receiving a tag title shot. Maria had a warning for Adora. Maria was the one who gave Adora her first shot in ROH, and now she will be the one to end Adora’s time in ROH.

Adora also scored an upset win in her own right earlier in the evening. Adora triumphed over Allysin Kay. Kay is a former world champ in Impact and NWA. Kay aimed to close with the AK47, but Adora escaped on the lift and exploded for the Lariat Tubman to earn the win.

Another match on the upset list was Gringo Loco prevailing over Willie Mack. Gringo has been making waves lately on the indie scene, but Mack is by far the bigger star. When Mack climbed the corner for a frog splash, Gringo sprang up to surprise Mack for a Spanish Fly. That aerial attack was the winner for Gringo Loco.

ROH TV quick results:

Tony Khan presented a brand new ROH World Television Championship title belt to Samoa Joe to celebrate his dominance. (Full details here.)

Fenix, Pentagon Jr., Hijo del Vikingo, & Komander defeated Serpentico, Kip Sabian, Butcher, & Blade. The masked men used lucha yoga to trap Sabin, Butcher, and Blade into a circle hamstring stretch. Pentagon hit a Mexican destroyer to Serpentico in the middle of the circle. A package piledriver from Penta sealed the deal.

Kyle Fletcher defeated Silas Young. The Last Real Man missed the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Fletcher took advantage for a superkick and a hammerlock reverse DDT to win.

The Embassy defeated Trenton Storm, AJZ, & Luke Kurtis. Destruction. The Embassy crushed a triple slam for emphasis as Toa Liona picked up the pin.

Dalton Castle defeated Josh Woods. Castle used the Boys to snuff out interference from Mark Sterling and Tony Nese. When Woods leapfrogged, Castle caught him for a spinning Bang-A-Rang slam to win.

Lee Moriarty & Big Bill Morrissey defeated Matt Sydal & Blake Christian. The 7-footer was the difference in the end. Bill chokeslammed Christian on the apron then finished with a suplex side slam for victory. Check out Bill dancing big.

Alex Reynolds & John Silver defeated Davey Bang & August Matthews. -1 was in the house. The Dark Order was extra aggressive to squash their opponents. They finished with the stunner to German suplex to jackknife pin combo for Reynolds to take the win. The Righteous and Stu Grayson popped up on screen applauding the Dark Order’s angry attitude, but they doubted it was a permanent change. Vincent respected the effort then wondered if it would be the same next week. (It sounds like something ominous is in the works, perhaps another match against Stu?) Reynolds and Silver responded by doling out more pain to Bang and Matthews after the match.

Leila Grey defeated Diamante. Mark Sterling approached Diamante with an offer to take the loss and split the winner’s purse 51-49 in favor of Grey. Diamante didn’t bite. She doesn’t trust Sterling to honor his end. Instead, Diamante planned to win and take the entire purse for herself.

Diamante was controlling the contest when Sterling caused a distraction. Grey scored a roll-up with her feet on the ropes to win. Later backstage, Diamante demanded a rematch.

AR Fox, Darius Martin, & Action Andretti defeated Shane Taylor & the Workhorsemen. Martin and Andretti took flight to wipe out Taylor and JD Drake on the outside. Anthony Henry missed a high-risk leap, so Fox secured a roll-up to win.

Daniel Garcia defeated Rocky Romero. Pure rules in effect. Stokely Hathaway, Jerry Lynn, and Pat Buck were the judges in the case of a draw. Garcia clinched Romero and placed his leg on the ropes to sucker the referee in calling that Romero’s first rope-break. Romero came back for an armbar forcing Garcia to use his first rope-break. Garcia’s second rope-break was to escape an octopus submission, and Rocky’s second rope-break came on an STF. Romero landed a flying double stomp. Garcia grabbed the ropes on the pinfall for his third and final rope-break. Garcia was able to trap Romero in a Sharpshooter for Azucar’s final rope-break. In the closing sequence, Romero locked in an armbar. Garcia reached the ropes with his feet. Without any breaks at his expense, Garcia used the ropes to step up and roll over into top position for a natural escape. Garcia grabbed a Sharpshooter. Romero went to the ropes, but there was no escape. Garcia cranked back and forced the tap.

After the match, Garcia suckered Romero into a Code of Honor handshake to attack. Orange Cassidy made the save, and Garcia backed down. OC and Rocky shared a jumping high-five as friends.

ROH Women’s World Championship: Athena retained against Kiera Hogan in a Chicago street fight. The action was physical with tables, ladders, chairs, tacks, and more. The big spot came with Athena executing a superplex to the outside crashing onto a stack of open chairs. Athena rolled Hogan into the ring for the pin. (Full details here.)

Backstage, Athena was not happy about the lack of a celebration. It is time for her to be recognized for dominating the women’s division.

The cream of the crop watchlist for this episode includes Daniel Garcia versus Rocky Romero, Athena versus Kiera Hogan, and Dalton Castle versus Josh Woods. Garcia and Romero put on a duel of strategy in their Pure match. The finish was extra interesting working around both men with no more rope-breaks. The Chicago street fight was hardcore fun. Athena and Hogan took their lumps. Castle strut his stuff in the ring to remind the world why he is a former ROH world champion. It’s easy to be mesmerized by Castle’s peacocking, but he also has legit amateur wrestling skills.

This episode also featured several little moments to take notice. I like that the B-cast was given promo time to develop personalities. You never know what could catch fire in the fans’ eyes, like the scissoring phenomenon.

The underdog wins were surprising. For that reason, Shawn Dean, Carlie Bravo, and Trish Adora were the standouts. They fit together as a crew with their military backgrounds. I hope ROH can find a way push them a little as a unit. Dean and Bravo showed charisma in their gab session with Stokely Hathaway, and Adora can bring it in the ring. Shout out to the Kingdom for putting over the Infantry. Matt Taven and Mike Bennett don’t have much to gain by doing that, so it shows they are true professionals.

Share your thoughts on the latest ROH TV episode. Who were the standout performers?

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