ROH Honorable Mention: ROH TV Review (4/8/2017)

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ROH 04/08/2017 TV Review
Episode 290
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sam’s Town

The show this week was the fourth episode taped in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ian Riccaboni and Kevin Kelly were on commentary to start the show.

A video package about Bully Ray’s arrival narrated by Mark and Jay Briscoe started the show. The package showed Ray’s arrival at Manhattan Mayhem and his the subsequent alliance formed with the Briscoes. As has been the case for a while, ROH’s video packages are very well produced and edited extremely well.

First Match: Punishment Martinez vs. Hanson
No matter what the plans ROH had for Martinez previously were, the split from Whitmer has been a catalyst for Martinez to really grow into his own. The recent matches he has had as part of the tag team against War Machine gave him a chance to work with men closer to his size and in those matches he really has shined. This match was no different. Hanson was in control early, sending Martinez to the outside and eventually sitting him up on a chair before running down the ramp and flooring Martinez with a whoopie cushion onto the arena floor. Back on the inside the two traded control for duration of the match, with Martinez kicking out of Hanson’s Doom kick, much to War Beard’s surprise. As Hanson was climbing to the top for a moonsault, Davey Boy SMith Jr. came out on the ramp and distracted him long enough for Martinez to recover. After Hanson missed the moonsault,Martinez was able to take Hanson out with the South if Heaven chokeslam for the pinfall victory. The slow build of Martinez has been an effective way to protect him but also set the stage for him to be considered a top contender at some point.

Winner: Punishment Martinez

Video of Adam Page stalking Frankie Kazarian at the gym aired next. Page ambushes him from behind and attempted to tie his noose around Kazarian’s neck until someone else honked a car horn and scared him off.

Second Match: ROH Top Prospect Prospect Tournament Match

John Skyler vs. Curt Stallion
Brutal Bob in on commentary for this one, which was previously taped before Manhattan Mayhem. Collar and elbow tie up to start after noth adhered to the code of honor. The two proved to be equal and traded chops until Skyler locked a side headlock on, following it up with a shoulder block. Stallion slipped out of Skyler’s grasp with an elbow to the jaw and a dropkick, capped off with a double stomp to the solar plexus. Stallion slowly climbed the ropes which allowed Skyler to roll out of the ring. Stallion tried to surprise Skyler with a tope suicida but instead was redirected into the barricade. After the break Stallion made it back to the ring, only to have Skyler attempt quick pinfalls that went both went for two counts. Stallion fought out of chinlock only to be dropped with a fireman’s carry roll. Skyler reversed Stallion and hit a tiger bomb for two, opting to disrespect Stallion by spitting in his face.

The lack of respect ignited a fire in Stallion, as the two traded Germans, with Stallion able to come out on top. He whipped Skyler into the corner and hit three consecutive running attacks before scoring a near fall. Skyler elbowed out of another German attempt before the two traded kicks to their faces, sending Skyler to the apron. Stallion ran at Skyler and received a spear for his troubles. Stallion was able to drop Skyler with a Rite of Passage, but only got a two count. He placed Skyler on the top rope but was unable to continue on the offensive and instead was finished with the Southern Salvation from the top, earning Skyler a spot in the finals.

Winner: John Skyler

Adam Cole promo aired. He apologized to the Bucks for what he said and looked downtrodden as he stared off into space as the clip ended. The instability of the Bullet Club is a really interesting narrative here and a far more interesting story than straight domination.

Main Event: ROH World Tag Team Championship Match
The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia) & Silas Young (c) vs.
The Briscoes & Bully Ray
After the Briscoes and Bully Ray made their way to the ring a video aired of Taven and Marseglia trying to figure out who would take T.K. O’Ryan’s place in their title defense. Silas Young comes into the room and offers his services to the Kingdom, saying that no one is better suited to help them out. In return he and Bruiser want a title shot once O’Ryan is back. After than after a brief conference, Taven agrees, but only to have him fill in once. Things started ominously for the trip as they argued over who should start the match, only to be interrupted by Bully Ray. Ray asked if the three knew who he and his team were only to answer the question that he and his cronies would be kick the Kingdom’s asses. Thusly, the ass kicking commenced.

Ray and the Briscoes cleared the ring before a quick commercial break. Afterwards, Ray and Marseglia represented their squads as the show returned from break, with Bull Ray firmly in control.Momentum shifted back and forth until Young and Taven had Mark in a pinning predicament. The started to argue and has they did, Mark tagged out to Bully Ray who took them all out. With Taven and Young outside of the ring, the Briscoes and Ray hit a 3D on Marseglia for the win. O’Ryan’s injury precipitated the title switch here and it the booking made sense here, as it also set up the match at Supercard of honor, even if the timing was a bit off in terms of how this match aired after the event. Either way the story of the match worked, I’m just not sold that these three needed to be the champions.

Winner: The Briscoes & Bully Ray

Final Reaction: B-
A a standalone episode, this featured good matches from top to bottom and easily the best Top Prospect Tournament match thus far. Martinez and Hanson worked really well together and the distraction finish does build off of the issues from the 15th Anniversary, as well as the match that Smith had last week with Rowe. The 6 man match was more about the story of O’Ryan’s injury and needing to get the belts off of the Kingdom. This has not happened in a while, but the injury prompted ROH to have this air after the PPV, so the win itself was spoiled and did not have the same level of excitement that a title change should.

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Rich is a high school teacher from Brooklyn, New York and Associate Editor at Last Word on Pro Wrestling. When he's not working, he's a rabid wrestling fan, a Red Bull Season ticket holder and a generally long-suffering Mets, Jets and Devils fan. Father and Husband. He started watching wrestling when he was 7 in 1991. Due to now defunct local video rental stores, the exposure to anything made by Colosseum home video and other wrestling content providers was extensive. He also regularly attends local NYC shows, both small and large and watches as much wrestling as possible.

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