ROH: The Women's Television Tournament Finally Begins

Ring of Honor has a new championship and the tournament to crown the first holder has finally started.

Stardom - Women's Pro-Wrestling
Stardom - Women's Pro-Wrestling / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

Last December, Tony Khan announced that ROH would be adding a second women's title, the ROH Women's TV Championship. Little has been said about the title since the initial announcement. Some women like Billie Starkz and Rachael Ellering have stated their intentions that they were going to be inaugural champion, but that was about it.

In episode 50, fans got an announcement that the tournament was starting on Thursday. Just a graphic, no bracket. On Wednesday, ROH posted on social media the first four matches of the tournament. There have been some head-scratchers about participants and matches. For instance, four of the 16 spots went to indie wrestlers. Yet women featured semi-regularly like Leila Gray and Marina Shafir were completely left out. Some of the first-round matchups should have been for later in the tournament.

Episode 51 opened with Queen Aminata versus JRod. JRod has never appeared on Honor Club and was on AEW programming more than a year ago. This is not to say she isn't talented, but why is she earning a tournament spot without ever even appearing in ROH, let alone in a tournament for a title? They had a competitive match with Aminata moving forward, as expected.

The second tournament match was one of the head-scratcher matches. Rachael Ellering and Leyla Hirsch have been telling a story for months. They started as enemies but became friends despite Maria Kanellis-Bennett meddling in their matches and seemingly trying to make them turn on one another. Both women were favorites to become the first ROH Women's Television Champion. This match should've been a semi-final match, if not the final.

During their match, Ellering was injured. The match was paused so that Doc Sampson could check on her. He popped her arm or elbow back into place. Hirsch felt bad and didn't want to continue. Elliering slapped her in the face to make her fight back. The women went on to nearly pin the other for several more minutes with Hirsch eventually winning.

Former ROH Women's Champion, Mercedes Martinez faced another favorite to win, Trish Adora. Adora and Martinez were evenly matched, although the former champ mocked Adora a few times. Adora didn't take kindly to it and made her pay, before saluting her opponent. This was a great match and they got ten minutes. Martinez got the win in an upset.

Martinez is a fantastic wrestler and as a previous champion should make it far in this tournament. Adora is one of the best wrestlers in ROH and AEW, period. She should be the champion and many ROH fans thought she would be the inaugural TV champion. To have her knocked out in the first round is absurd. If this was the route they were going, it should've happened later in the tournament.

The main event was Diamanté vs. Keira Hogan. This was another match that was a surprise that happened in the first round. One reason is that they are a real-life couple. Another is because both women have been featured heavily recently in four-corner survival of the fittest matches.

Before the match started, Diamanté told Hogan that this would hurt her more than it hurt Hogan. The two had a great match. They knew each other well and didn't hold back. Diamanté was victorious and moved on to the second round. 

Next week, we will see Billie Starkz vs. Robyn Renegade, Taya Valkyrie vs. Sussy Love, Abadon vs. Viva Van, and Red Velvet vs. Sandra Moone.