Zero Hour: Josh Woods def. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams in a Pure Rules Match
Williams is one of the few talents pulling double duty in Ring of Honor and MLW at the moment, but there have been zero signs of Tony Khan getting behind Williams in ROH. He's a hell of a hand, though, and I'm glad he's been a regular in the new ROH as well. This would explain why Woods competed in a Pure Rules match on Thursday's edition of ROH TV. This was well worked, but we'll see if it leads anywhere for Woods.
Zero Hour: Darius Martin and Action Andretti def. The Workhorsemen
Both of these teams were a part of the Four-Corner Survival tag team match on Thursday's show. Andretti and Martin won the Fight Without Honor against The Kingdom a month or two ago, so it makes no sense that they're not a part of the ROH World Tag Team Championship match on this show. At least they picked up a win here in what was a really fun sprint. The Workhorsemen never really win but always have standout performances. It was announced that Martin and Andretti will face Jay White and Juice Robinson on Saturday's Collision.
Zero Hour: "Legit" Leyla Hirsch def. Trish Adora
This is the one Zero Hour match with an actual story. Hirsch returned to the ring a few weeks ago, teaming with The Kingdom to beat The Infantry and Adora. Hirsch has racked up two wins then, but Adora was a nice step up in competition and they had a quality contest. Hirsh should continue to be built up, but both women should be key players in ROH's women's division going forward. Post-match, Skye Blue saved Adora from Hirsch, so that looks to be Hirsch's next feud.
Zero Hour: AR Fox def. Shane Taylor
Neither Taylor nor Fox have anything of note going on right now, but they should. Both guys are great and I'm glad they got a chance to showcase their skills here. Fox was over in front of this crowd and Taylor was the perfect foil for him. It was the good match you'd expect. We found out on Wednesday that Fox will face Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship next week on Dynamite, so it was virtually a lock he'd win here.
Gravity def. Komander
Gravity competed on AEW Dark once this year as well as on ROH TV against Rey Fenix in early June, which is where we found out he's Bandido's brother. No storyline reason was provided as to why this match happened, but it was intended to be a spectacle and the crowd was obviously into all of the action. Komander has had some big matches in AEW and ROH this year, so Gravy winning was a surprise. He'll take on Pac on Wednesday's Dynamite.
ROH World Television Champion Samoa Joe def. Dalton Castle
Castle being such a fan favorite carried this match more than most of Joe's title defenses. Despite the lack of buildup for this bout, Castle felt like a legitimate threat to the title and they told a solid story. Joe only won because he hit Castle with a low blow while the referee was distracted with The Boys, so a rematch is clearly coming and I have no issue with Castle remaining in chase mode assuming the feud continues.
Aussie Open def. Best Friends, The Lucha Brothers and The Kingdom in a Four-Corner Survival Tag Team Match to Win the ROH World Tag Team Championship
Although everyone involved worked hard, this was essentially a less wild version of the Ladder match we got at Supercard of Honor. I mean, three of the teams were the same with the only difference being that Best Friends replaced Top Fight. Don't get me wrong, this was entertaining and fast-paced, but the ROH World Tag Team Championship have felt like such an afterthought these past few months that I would've preferred an actual story coming into this show. Still, the crowd was hot for this because it was complete chaos, specifically in the second half. Aussie Open had to vacate the IWGP Tag Team Championship a few months ago due to an injury to Mark Davis, but they're officially golden again.
ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions The Mogul Embassy (Brian Cage and The Gates of Agony) def. Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi and Leon Ruffin
Khan couldn't be bothered to build up any actual challengers for Mogul Embassy prior to the pay-per-view? Mogul Embassy have defended against so many random trios in the last six months and this was no exception. The breakups of some of the pinfall attempts looked late, but this was enjoyable otherwise. I don't know if a single soul in that building thought for a second Mogul Embassy were losing here, though.
ROH Pure Champion Katsuyori Shibata def. Daniel Garcia
You had to know these two would put on a wrestling clinic and that's exactly what they did. Garcia's goofy dancing has actually helped him connect with the crowd again. He feels like just another goon in Jericho Appreciation Society in AEW, but he's been used well in ROH. This was superb stuff. The fact Shibata is even back holding gold in ROH is still surreal. For the record, ROH's Pure Rules are a lot easier to follow than WWE's convoluted Heritage Cup rules (maybe because the rounds hurt the match flow).
The Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver and Alex Reynolds) def. Stu Grayson and The Righteous in a Fight Without Honor
ROH just had a Fight Without Honor between The Kingdom and the duo of Martin and Andretti not too long ago on ROH TV, so while it may have been too soon to go back to the gimmick, it was certainly befitting of the feud given Grayson's history with Dark Order. Some of the spots didn't mean as much because we just had Blood and Guts on Dynamite two days ago, but it was quite the hardcore war, to say the least. Here's hoping this marked the end of this rivalry. Dark Order recently turned heel in AEW but were the babyfaces in this feud, so that should've been cleared up.
ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli def. Pac
I was thinking to think of the last singles match these two had, specifically in WWE. A quick Google search reminded me they had a match on NXT over 10 years ago, which I totally forgot about because I wasn't watching NXT at the time. Needless to say, this was pure excellence. For a match put together at the last minute due to Eddie Kingston wrestling in the G1 Climax and Mark Briscoe getting hurt, this was wonderful. My only nitpick is the lame finish with Wheeler Yuta causing a distraction at ringside. I also could've done without the post-match chaos, but I understand it was designed to set up stuff for Dynamite next week and potentially beyond.
ROH Women's World Champion Athena def. Willow Nightingale
Having this headline the event was most definitely the right call. They've proven in their last two encounters that they have tremendous chemistry, not to mention it felt like the biggest match on the card. Congrats to Athena and Nightingale for becoming the first women to ever main event an ROH pay-per-view. It was well deserved. Personally, this was my favorite match of the night that only got better with the suspenseful nearfalls down the stretch. I really thought this was Nightingale's night, but apparently not. That was a bummer, but I am curious to see who will ultimately dethrone Athena. If it's Nightingale, I wish they would have pulled the trigger here because the crowd was ready for it.
Khan unquestionably needs to do a better job of promoting these pay-per-views. Amazingly, this was the worst built event under the AEW banner yet, and that's despite ROH TV being a thing since March. The show had very little buzz beforehand, but it turned out to be a real treat. The wrestling was terrific per usual and the main matches delivered. The four-match pre-show wasn't necessary, but the main card was top-notch and gets a strong recommendation from this viewer.