ROH 2/10/18 TV Review: Dalton Castle vs. Punishment Martinez
This week was the first episode from the set of tapings from Nashville,TN. The show opened with a Dalton Castle promo about his match with Martinez, stating that he’s not afraid to take the big man on and that he will not relinquish the title. Ian Riccaboni and Colt Cabana were on commentary and welcomed everyone to show.
First Match: Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas (w/ Silas Young) vs Coast to Coast
A brief flurry of offense from Coast to Coast, Milonas and Beer City Bruiser used their size to dominate in a believable fashion. Just went LSG and Ali to mount some offense, Young interfered, immediately prompting Kenny King to come down to ringside to even the odds. Despite Teddy Long not being in the building, the match was restarted as a six-man tag. Both sides showed some nice teamwork here and Young looks even more imposing and Real Man-ish with the full beard that he’s rocking now. In the end, LSG floored Milonas and Bruiser on the outside with an absurd springboard Phoenix splash before he and Ali hoisted Young up for Tu Lo Sabes. They handed Young to King in a nice spot of teamwork before King hit the Royal Flush on Young for the pinfall victory. Good match that would have been stronger if they had cut to the chase and started with the six-man. It was good to see two different teams working together and adding more teams that will spice the division up. (**3/4)
Winner: Kenny King & Coast to Coast
A short promo by the Dawgs aired, as they watched Coast to Coast win and needless to say, Will Ferrara was not pleased. Rhett Titus calmed down his barking pal and assured that the Dawgs will send Coast to Coast packing when they square off.
Second Match: WOH Championship Tournament Match
First Round: Mandy Leon vs. Madison Rayne
Deonna Purrazzo joined commentary for the match. The match started off with the two trading some chain wrestling earlier on, before picking up the pace a bit more here, as commentary sold the story that this was a toss up in calling who would win. Despite Rayne’s recent reappearance with the company and the video package before the match, this match did not feel like it really had that extra fire, certainly not from the crowd. The crowd did pop when Leon hit a cannonball to the outside, but it left me wondering if the crowd in house saw the video package-something done so well that does allow the in-house audience to be drawn in. Hopefully the promotion will lead to future tapings of the tournament to feel bigger. Leon won with a flipping driver pin combination called the Astral Projection.(**1/2)
Winner: Mandy Leon
A video of Cody confront the Young Bucks backstage after last week’s show aired next. Cody was upset with the Bucks for not being there to help him, citing that the crowd chanted for them. He accused them of having a secret meeting with Kenny and urged them to move on. An elevated Marty Scurll proudly showed a fan sign to the Bucks, who pointed out that his name was not spelled correctly-cue sad Marty.
A Briscoes promo aired next during which they remind the Motor City Machine Guns that the belts belong to Dem Boys and that they plan on getting their property back. Compelling and believable as all of the Briscoes promos have been for months now.
Main Event: ROH Championship Match
Dalton Castle vs. Punishment Martinez
Marty Scurll came out and joined commentary for this match. After Martinez refused the code of honor, Castle played some mind games, grabbing something in his hand from the Boys and offered it to Martinez. He slowly unfurled his hand and then opened hand slapped the challenger, who immediately went after the champ, tossing him to the corner. The story told during the match here was once of a brute not being able to put the champion away and it was well told. Castle relied on his wrestling acumen here, as even despite his ability to toss Martinez, he was not able to sustain his offense for long. Cabana regaled us with a great Drake reference that even made Scurll chuckle as he made a case for himself to be a world title challenger. In the end, Castle reversed a psycho driver attempt into a cradle and won the match via pinfall, essentially out-wrestling Martinez to keep the title in his first defense. Good match here, but the big fight feel was missing here and that detracted from the match overall. (***1/4 )
Winner: Dalton Castle
Final Reaction: C+
This was an average episode of ROH television. The title match, the main event, did not have the big match feel that Castle’s first defense, specifically against Martinez, who has been built up slowly, deserved. The video packages were top notch here-it just never really felt like Castle was going to lose and that made the match a bit anticlimactic. The WOH tournament match lacked a feeling of intensity-it feels as if some matches may not get the crowd reaction that makes tournaments so much fun if crowds are as quiet during the matches. The opener was good once it got started, but with no authority figure and a commercial break returning to a six-man match, it was a bit of a head-scratcher how the match simply broke out after King interfered.
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