Episode 3 of ROH had another 2 women’s matches so that seems to be the format. World Champion Athena is back and has our first bout in a “Proving Ground Match”. What’s that, you ask? A Proving Ground Match is like AEW’s Championship Eliminater Match where if you beat the champ you get a title shot but additionally in a Proving Ground Match if you last more than 10 minutes you get it as well.
One criticism I’ll briefly make about ROH as I can pretty regularly hear the wrestlers and referee talking to each other. It’s not always clear what they’re saying but I did hear a referee at one point clearly say “Two minutes” and sure enough, the match ended 2-minutes later. Not a huge deal but something to iron out.
Hyan comes out, and I’m not familiar with her but commentary puts her over as an ROH veteran. Athena comes out with a light up vest with an LCD screen on the back the reads “I’M GONNA BREAK YOU”.
Athena opens the match by cold cocking Hyan with a forearm strike. I never get tired of that. After taking some savage strikes and kicks, Ryan is able to get back into this match with some quick reversals and a trio of knee strikes. But trying to match aggression with Athena is a fool’s errand. She takes Hyan down hard with like a Bossman Slam and starts pounding her head into the mat.
Hyan earns another brief hope spot but Athena viciously puts a stop to that with a sickening cartwheel power bomb from the apron onto the floor. God damn, son. Athena eventually brings Hyan back into the ring and taps her out to the Crossface.
Winner: Athena (4:44)
What is there left to say? ROH is in very good shape with Athena as its centre piece. Just incredible.
Trish Adora again! I’m hoping this is a good sign that she’s been signed. She faces AEW Women’s Division Head Coach, Madison Rayne. This match had a really cool start where it was counters and reversals but it wasn’t just pinning combination-fest.
Momentary botch, perhaps, as a Crucifix Bomb didn’t work out but these women just rolled with it and turned it into a story within the match. Adora has some really unique offence including a submission hold that looks like a standing suplex but then she goes to one knee.
Madison hits a Cloud Cutter which a bit on for the finish but she only gets two. Rayne hits the Crucifix Bomb perfectly this time as commentary callback to the first attempt, bring it full circle. Again, I bit on this being the finish. But then it’s Trish Adora with the Lariat Tubman for the win!!!
Winner: Trish Adora (5:14)
That actually shocked and delighted me as I take that as a sign that Adora may be here for the long haul. Another strong episode of ROH. I’m looking forward to seeing this brand grow into, hopefully one day, its own strong brand completely separate from AEW.