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ROH TV recap & reactions (June 8, 2023): Stu Grayson is not impressed with the Dark Order

Week fifteen in the ROH TV revival (June 8, 2023) featured the continuing soap opera between the Dark Order and Stu Grayson, Athena’s attack on Kiera Hogan backfiring, Willow Nightingale defending the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship, and a huge announcement from Tony Khan.

ROH doesn’t play with a lot of storylines, but one important tale is Stu Grayson’s frustration with what the Dark Order has become. When the Righteous came calling, Stu gave them a shot to impress him. That led to Vincent, Dutch, and Stu beating the Dark Order last week.

Fast forward to this week on ROH TV, the Dark Order was in action against the Workhorsemen and Shane Taylor. Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds, and John Silver wrestled with increased intensity. They used a divide and conquer strategy in the end taking out Taylor and Anthony Henry. That left JD Drake alone for a suplex train. The Dark Order prevailed when Reynolds pinned Drake off Silver’s German suplex.

That win was fine and dandy, but Stu was not impressed. He knows deep down who Uno, Reynolds, and Silver really are. They are not the Dark Order who was once willing to kick the door down.

Athena outsmarted Kiera Hogan to retain the ROH Women’s World Championship last week, but Hogan retaliated with a post-match attack. Athena tried to repay the violence with more violence this week.

Hogan took care of business to defeat Robyn Renegade. The Hottest Flame sniffed out twin magic when Charlette Renegade went for the switch. Hogan smashed skulls then took Robyn into the ring to blast a head kick and a superkick for victory.

Afterward, Athena ambushed Hogan with a kendo stick, except that plan backfired. Athena swung into the ropes, Hogan ducked, and the weapon bounced back to hit Athena. Hogan snatched the kendo stick to treat Athena like a piñata.

Willow Nightingale had a tough test against Rachael Ellering in defending the NJPW Strong Women’s Championship. Ellering’s strength was able to match Willow’s power. The challenger imposed her will at times. Willow had the edge in explosiveness and crushed a huge pounce.

Willow followed with a running cannonball in the corner. The champ went for a lazy cover and paid the price when Ellering countered for a crucifix pin. Willow kicked out, then she regained control for a spinebuster. Willow slapped on the camel clutch for the submission victory.

The biggest news on the episode came from Tony Khan personally. He put together a board of directors for ROH and introduced Stokely Hathaway and Jerry Lynn as decision-makers.

Hathaway had a few suggestions, some of which Khan molded into passable ideas. TK declined to eliminate lucha libre from ROH, but he did bite on a six-man title match. Instead of Action Andretti vs the Embassy, Khan added Darius Martin and AR Fox as Andretti’s partners for the championship contest next week.

ROH TV quick results:

Kyle Fletcher defeated Christopher Daniels. CD controlled the pace for much of the match. The tide turned after a suplex showdown. Fletcher countered Angel’s Wings into a back body drop. The Aussie ducked a clothesline to grab Daniels’ free arm for a hammerlock piledriver. Slick finish.

Matt Sydal defeated Zack Clayton. Cole Karter was ringside for his Jersey boy. Sydal was too quick for Clayton and finished with a Meteora. After the win, Sydal grabbed the mic to put Samoa Joe on notice. Sydal proved a point beating an opponent twice his size. He wants a shot at the ROH World Television Championship. Later, Tony Khan granted Sydal his wish for a TV title match next week.

Dralistico defeated Willie Mack. Jose The Assistant interfered on several occasions. In the end, he distracted the referee so Dralistico could kick Mack in the groin. The luchador finished Mack with a knee strike to the head.

The Embassy defeated Cheeseburger, Eli Isom, & Marcus Kross. Proving Ground match. The six-man champs mauled their opponents to win on a pop-up powerbomb. Brian Cage and Toa Liona hoisted Kross into the air for Bishop Kaun to deliver pain.

Mercedes Martinez defeated Vertvixen. The former ROH women’s champ rallied with a hanging neckbreaker out of the corner. Vertvixen kicked out on the cover, so Martinez smashed a running forearm to the back of the head. Vertvixen submitted to the surfboard sleeper.

Lee Moriarty defeated Griff Garrison. This was Garrison’s first match back from injury. Moriarty controlled early with ferocious attacks on the shoulder. Garrison found his groove for a blitz of offense. On the fireman’s carry lift, Moriarty raked the eyes. As Garrison collapsed, Moriarty stacked on top to grab the tights for the winning pin.

Darius Martin, Action Andretti, & AR Fox defeated Sonny Kiss, Jeeves Kay, & Slim J. Rapid trios action with everyone getting a chance to shine. The match broke down in the end with moves all around. Martin and Andretti hit a pendulum slam on Kay for victory.

The Kingdom defeated El Cobarde & El Dragon. The luchadores had a chance to win, but Dragon made a celebratory cover. Matt Taven easily kicked out. The Kingdom rallied to close with the Proton Pack finisher.

Fenix defeated Gravity. The brother of Bandido was impressive in the main event against the Mexa King. Gravity even took Fenix to deep waters to almost win on several occasions. Fenix fired up for a rolling cutter and earned victory on a fire driver. Afterward, Fenix made a point to shake LSG’s hand, who was working as the timekeeper. This felt like it happened for a reason, such as perhaps Fenix having a personal desire for a future singles match.

The top watchlist was Fenix versus Gravity and Willow Nightingale versus Rachael Ellering. The luchadores put on a show of athleticism to rock the crowd. The women’s bout had added value with championship stakes.

The ROH board of directors is an interesting twist. It seems like comedy relief so far. We’ll see how it evolves over time. This idea does give ROH context for setting up PPV matches, since the show doesn’t spend a lot of time on storylines. That makes it easier to shuffle over AEW wrestlers to jump the line.

Gravity was a standout of the fresh faces. He pulled out a variety of offense to make a name for himself in his big opportunity. Commentary suggested brothers versus brothers, and I agree. Paging Stokely Hathaway, please sign Lucha Bros to wrestle Bandido and Gravity. Griff Garrison looked good in his injury return. He moved fluid and didn’t seem to have any rust. Of course, it is always a standout when commentary celebrates Willow’s entrance song. Caprice Coleman crooned a tune with melodic notes this week.

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

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