ROH 03.11.2017 TV Review
The show this week was the third episode taped in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ian Riccaboni and Alex Shelley were on commentary to start the show.
First Match: The Young Bucks vs. Coast to Coast (Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali):
As the match began Riccaboni informed us that the match would be a proving ground match. Right off the bat, it was great to see ROH utilizing Coast to Coast in this scenario. The tag division needs to have other teams that are considered true challengers to the champions and this went a long way to establishing that. Nick and LSG started off for their respective teams. Nic was able to gain a slight advantage after a dropkick and he caught a frustrated LSG with a drop toe hold before tagging out to Matt. The Bucks cleared the ring with a double team jumping kick and then a leg scissors/dropkick combo before setting up for Rise of the Terminators. Ali thwarted their attempt to fly towards LSG, pulling them to the outside and holding them for LSG who walked the ropes and hit a springboard corkscrew to the outside. Ali and LSG were able to hit their coast to coast double dropkicks and were in the position to win, but a superkick party and a 450 from Nick later, led to pinfall victory for the Bucks. After the match Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Ali and Nick followed with a Swanton, obviously sending a message to the Hardys. Really great spot for Coast to Coast here while furthering the Bucks/Hardys issues going into the 15th Anniversary/Supercard of Honor.
Winners: The Young Bucks
A video recap of the issues between Lio Rush and The Kingdom aired, with Rush out to talk to Ian Riccaboni afterwards. Rush began by saying that he wanted to send a clear message to the clowns in the Rebellion. This prompted Kenny King to come out and answer back that the Rebellion gave him a golden opportunity, but that they are far from fools. He continued with some gems like “I get live at 225” and that he’s going to “hush Lio Rush”. It was actually refreshing to see King solo here and giving both Rush and King this type of program adds depth to the wrestlers and elevates the impending match to be that much more important.
Second Match: Top Prospect Tournament Match
Curt Stallion vs. Preston Quinn with Andy Vineberg.
Brutal Bob Evans joined commentary for the match as he has done for the entirety of the Top Prospect Tournament. He adds a bit of an insider’s take on the tournament participants. Alex Shelley also stepped up his game during this match, giving it the feel of a scouting session. Quinn worked the heelish big-man role to perfection all the while commentary played him up to be the favorite in the match due to his experience. He tossed Stallion around, used a distraction from his manager to gain a mid-match advantage and even committed the cardinal sin of going to the top rope when it’s clear he doesn’t venture up there often. Stallion did well to come off as the underdog here and his victory after a flying headbutt was unexpected, but played into the narrative of the match.
Winner: Curt Stallion
Cody and Adam Page came out to cut a promo during which he was given Page’s noose as a gift. Cody then unwrapped it and used it as a visual aide to challenge Jay Lethal in a Texas Bullrope match at Supercard of Honor. Cody’s heel work has been and continues to be spot on and the idea of this throwback match is one that is very intriguing
Third Match: Jonathan Gresham vs. Dalton Castle
Castle was being fanned by the Boys as the show returned from commercial. Gresham used his quickness and reversals to floor Castle, who was able to keep up quite well. Gresham challenged Castle to grab his arm as they reset, but Castle refused, asking Gresham to grab it before taking him down with a single leg takedown. WHen Gresham returned the favor, Castle struck his peacock pose instantaneously stopping Gresham short. Castle was finally able to his hands on Gresham, but any early Bang-A-Rang attempt was reversed and gave Gresham new life. A hurricanrana sent Castle to the outside and followed with a knee to the face from the apron but he took his time getting back inside. Castle was able to catch Gresham mid-air and this time was successful in hitting the Bang-A-Rang for the pinfall victory.
Winner: Dalton Castle
Main Event: War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson) vs. Punishment Martinez & B.J. Whitmer
Shelley was gone and replaced by Mark Briscoe on commentary for this match. As Martinez and Whitmer made their approach to the ring it was cut short by War Machine attacking them behind. Rowe slammed Hanson onto Martinez before Hanson then hit Martinez and Whitmer both with a cannonball off the stage. The four brawled on the outside for almost the entirety of the match, with bodies flying into barricades and the arena floor. When things finally made it inside the ring, Whitmer laced Hanson with chair shots, starting off with a particularly thunderous shot that caromed off of Hanson’s head. After the commercial break, Hanson had recovered and was flying back and forth the ring, delivering forever clotheslines in the corner. Martinez has really improved by leaps and bounds in the ring and he showed off his agility here, clearing the corner as he took everyone out with a plancha. War Machine set up a table mid-ring, which generally portends disaster later, and this was no exception. Hanson setup Martinez on the top rope and ultimately had his machinations play against him, as Martinez chokeslammed him through the table, securing the pinfall victory. As Whitmer celebrated with him, Martinez then chokeslammed his partner to a loud pop from the crowd as the show went off the air.
Winner: Martinez & Whitmer
Final Reaction: B+/B
Most normally, the ROH episode of television that airs the same weekend as a PPV is a bit weaker than the rest of the television, or it is a bit weaker. The show may not have featured all of the major players, but this episode was really well structured in terms of moving along important storylines, while also giving the viewers some fun matches. Castle/Gresham shined here, but the work that War Machine have down can not be understated. Martinez splitting from Whitmer is the right move and if this plays out the right way, martinez could be a major contender in the future. Cody’s heel work has been engaging and the upcoming Texas bullrope match challenge was well done. This was just the episode the company needed coming out of the 15ht anniversary and heading into Supercard of Honor.
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