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ROH TV recap & reactions (Aug. 10, 2023): Maria Kanellis and Athena add mystery to the show

The vast majority of ROH TV content in the Tony Khan era is pretty straightforward. The bulk of the shows are wrestling matches with little to no storylines. Maria Kanellis and Athena are changing that to add an edge of mystery for week twenty-four of the ROH TV revival (Aug. 10, 2023) on Honor Club.

Maria Kanellis was seen scouting Leyla Hirsch and Cole Karter last week. Maria approached Hirsch to offer advice. Hirsch has her eye on a title shot due to her win streak. Maria was impressed, but she suggested that Hirsch continue to build confidence through more victories before jumping up to Athena. Hirsch appeared to be annoyed at Maria’s unsolicited guidance.

Hirsch backed up her words by crushing Angelica Risk in the ring. Maria was on stage scouting. Hirsch dodged a flying crossbody to close with a suplex and an armbar. That makes six wins in a row for Legit.

When Maria approached Karter, his impression was that she was smitten by his good looks. Maria laughed it off like he was a puppy.

Karter had a tough test in competition against Rhett Titus. Maria scouted this bout as well. Karter prevailed in the end to stun Titus with a jumping knee and finish with a Canadian backbreaker DDT, all the while flirting with Maria.

On the surface, this appears to be a managerial angle of Maria building her stable of talent. However, Hirsch doesn’t trust Maria, and Karter may be too dimwitted to benefit from Maria’s services. There is no certainty that Maria can hitch her wagon to those two rising stars.

The adventures of Athena are a bit more perplexing at the moment. She handled business in a Proving Ground match against Rachael Ellering. The challenger was tough, but the champ operated on a higher level of athleticism and aggression. Athena closed with a shining wizard and an O-Face flying stunner.

Ellering wisely rolled out of the ring to safety to avoid Athena’s post-match attacks. Athena’s itch was not scratched, so she was on the search to break more porcelain hussies.

Athena next appeared in the aftermath of Robyn Renegade versus Billie Starkz, but the Fallen Goddess’ motives were unclear. Starkz overcame interference from Charlette Renegade to wipe out the twins on a suicide dive. Starkz kept on the pressure for a swanton to pin Robyn.

The Renegades attacked Starkz immediately after the bell. Athena’s music hit, and the champ sauntered out. The Renegades were not pleased with the intrusion, so Robyn ran up to get some. Athena clobbered her right onto her ass. The champ did the same to Charlette inside the ring. Athena appeared to be setting up Starkz for punishment by smashing her head into the title belt, however, she didn’t follow through upon seeing the fear in Starkz’s eyes.

That mercy was uncharacteristic behavior from Athena. Commentary theorized that she is protecting the division in an effort to get better competition. I don’t fully buy that logic yet, but I am intrigued enough to tune in and find out as Athena’s story progresses.

ROH TV quick results for the rest of the matches:

Dalton Castle defeated Slim J. The Boys were absent in an effort to bulk up before wrestling Samoa Joe and Big Stoke next week. Castle was joined by the Chicks instead. Slim J was shifty, but it was only a matter of time before Castle connected on the Bang-a-rang for victory.

Iron Savages defeated Lucky Ali & Brady Pierce. Jacked Jameson acted as the hype man. He even passed over the savage sauce for Bronson to sip for a power boost. Iron Savages finished Ali with a teamwork electric chair splash.

The Infantry defeated Zicky Dice & Movie Myk. Trish Adora was ringside for support. Shawn Dean cleaned house on a tag leading to the Boot Camp teamwork big boot to side Russian leg sweep combo. Enjoy the Infantry having fun, Fugees style.

Lee Moriarty defeated Andrew Everett. Moriarty styled his taiga talent. Everett rallied with a Falcon Arrow slam, but he missed the target on a shooting star press. Moriarty pounced for a spinning hammerlock slam then transitioned to the Border City Stretch submission.

Tony Nese defeated Pat Buck. Nese cut a scathing promo backstage about the Jabba the Hutts in Greenville, SC. He asked for a health food store and was taken to a Waffle House.

Nese insulted the gluttons in the crowd and fired up group training before Buck interrupted. Their match had a pushup battle, but it was cut short when Nese tried to curb stomp Buck in the pushup position. Buck saw it coming and took control early. Mark Sterling was a pest ringside helping Nese gain the edge. Buck’s rally was cut short by a kick to the mush and a running knee strike in the corner.

Gates of Agony defeated Workhorsemen. This match was setup by Prince Nana offering a bone to the Workhorsemen. If they could beat the Gates of Agony, then Nana would grant them a shot at the ROH six-man titles.

Bishop Kaun and Toa Liona overwhelmed their opponents with ferocity to isolate Anthony Henry. JD Drake ran wild on the hot tag setting up several near falls for the Workhorsemen. The Gates of Agony was savvy enough to survive. The tide turned when Drake missed a moonsault. Kaun and Liona planted Drake with a double-team pendulum slam for victory. No title shot for the Workhorsemen.

Josh Woods had a powwow with Mark Sterling. Woods felt he is better when alone. Sterling cautioned Woods not to terminate their relationship. Sterling agreed to present Woods as a real deal fighter. No more Varsity Athletes and no more group training. Sterling proposed setting up competition for Woods, and next week would be Silas Young. Woods was satisfied.

ROH World Television Championship eliminator tournament final: Shane Taylor defeated Gravity. Gravity was surging toward victory on an avalanche Samoan drop, but Taylor thwarted a flying splash by getting his knees up to block. Taylor snatched victory via package piledriver. Taylor earned a future shot at Samoa Joe and the ROH TV title. (Full details here.)

The cream of the crop watchlist for this episode are Gates of Agony versus Workhorsemen and Shane Taylor versus Gravity. Heavy leather was being thrown in that tag bout. The tournament final was a tasty appetizer to create excitement for the upcoming hoss fight delight between Taylor and Samoa Joe.

I have to give credit to ROH for increasing the quota of interest the past few weeks by serving several short promos. It makes the ROH product more intriguing as a whole to create curiosity of what will happen next. Simple but effective. These aren’t major stories, however, it is much better than the usual style of cold showcase matches for 90% of the program.

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

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