Ring of Honor TV – February 14th, 2018

Howdy!

Tonight, we’ve got a little bit of everything on ROH TV! Coast to Coast takes on The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas, the Women of Honor tournament kicks off with Mandy Leon against Madison Rayne, & the ROH World title will be defended as Dalton Castle defends against Punishment Martinez!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Hogan wanted three quarters of a million to walk out with the Bullet Club at Wrestle Kingdom? Get the fuck outta here. Only if they got to beat him down at the end of it. I’d have loved to see Hogan take the One-Winged Angel.

By the way, Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham had an outstanding professional wrestling match at Honor Reigns Supreme last week. I’m only saying that you should probably watch it if you can, since I’m a strong advocate for outstanding professional wrestling matches. Because you should watch all Gresham matches. Because Gresham rules.

Oh, right! Recap!

Ring of Honor TV – 2/14/18

Hey, that’s the ROH World Champion, Dalton Castle! Wonder what he’s got to say? “Always ready.” Always limber, never surprised! He goes left and right at all times in the ring, and not much surprises him, except the fact that the Boys are behind him. The second the ROH title became his (and I know I’ve been gone for a bit, but that belt is 8 kinds of FUGLY, Dalton), he knew that he was the biggest target in Ring of Honor! So when Punishment Martinez attacks him from behind, he wasn’t surprised – he’d do the same thing, if he was a big lummox with eyeliner! He’d want any advantage he could get, especially if he had to fight himself! Punishment, you clearly understand that you’re not getting into the ring with the Peacock of old; you’re getting into the ring with a champion, a man who’s willing to fight to protect what is his! You’re looking at someone who’s got no other plan but to come out swinging to do whatever it takes to leave Nashville as your Ring of Honor World Champion!

So, let me get this straight – the title means so much to him, that he’s changed part of himself to ensure that he’ll do anything to keep it? He knows he’s the biggest target in the company because the title means so damn much? His character is actually evolving significantly to match the tremendous responsibility and respect due to the belt, and that evolution feels more natural because of that respect?

I THOUGHT I WAS WATCHING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, DAMNIT! NOT A COHERENT STORY THAT ACTUALLY FEATURES CHARACTERS GROWING AND CHANGING! WHEN DOES HE POINT TO THE FINAL BATTLE SIGN?

Ahem.

We are TAPED from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee! Your hosts are Colt Cabana & Ian Riccaboni.

And there’s the music of the Beer City Bruiser! He, Brian Milonas, & Silas Young are out, as we’re going to kick things off with some tag team action. And they’re followed by the tones of Coast to Coast! Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni are out. 2 weeks ago, they beat War Machine so badly, it sent them right into the front row of NXT Takeover! Let’s get it on!

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas (w/ Silas Young) vs Coast to Coast (Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni)

Man, Milonas is a fat fuck. The Beer City guys outweigh Coast to Coast by 300 pounds, by the way. No Code of Honor, as Bruiser and Milonas attack before the bell. They beat Ali and LSG into separate corners as Cabana points out that Milonas makes the Bruiser look like Beer City’s in tremendous shape. Blind charges to the corner eats boots and Coast to Coast goes up, but both crossbody attempts are caught and they get slammed together, then Milonas tosses Ali aside and Bruiser drops LSG on the top buckle. Milonas clobbers LSG from behind and the Bruiser drops an elbow for two. Bruiser takes LSG to the corner and tags in Brian, who sits on LSG in the corner in rapid succession. Guys, his belly moves in a way that is hypnotic. Santa wishes he could jiggle like this bowlful of jelly is all I’m saying. Tag back to the Bruiser, he goes for a powerslam, but LSG wiggles out behind and dropkicks Bruiser into Milonas, and it’s hot tag to Ali. He ducks a Beer City clothesline and nails Milonas with a forearm, then a headbutt to the Bruiser. Milonas grabs him, so Ali turns around and hits him with a headbutt to the chest as well. Big kick from the Bruiser sends Ali into Milonas. “How do you like that, dummy?” You know, just because this match has sucked from the opening bell, don’t blame me for passing the time with cheap jokes about your weight, Brian…..oh, he was talking to Ali. Well, never mind. Beer City runs at Ali, who ducks and the Bruiser hits Milonas instead. Milonas collapses due to the awesome power of the Bruiser’s fist, and Coast to Coast hits the double team Flatliner combo on Bruiser! 1, 2, no! Well, shit. I was hoping that we were done. Elbows to the head of Ali from the Bruiser, he ducks the Bruiser coming in and hits him with a kick to the chest, snapmare and he sets up for a big kick. But Milonas distracts the ref and Young grabs the leg of Ali from the outside, allowing Brian to crush Ali in the corner with a running splash. Ref is still distracted, this time by LSG, so Young beats on Ali on the floor. Kenny King comes running out for the save as Young rolls into the ring to escape, and now we’ve got all 6 guys beating on each other as the ref calls for the bell. Fuck this shit. (No Contest, 3:05)

WORTH WATCHING? – Are you fucking kidding me? NO.

King, LSG, and Ali clear the ring as we’re told that this will be sorted out after we watch the following great ads!

We’re back as we see that this has now turned into a 6-man tag with King and Young joining their respective sides.

You mean we get more of this? OH JOY.

Kenny King & Coast to Coast (Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni) vs Silas Young, The Beer City Bruiser, & Brian Milonas

No Code of Honor, because the bell rings and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, as all 6 guys go at it in the middle of the ring. King sends Milonas to the floor and flies out over the top with a corkscrew onto the caucasian version of Bad Luck Fale. King celebrates with the ringside fans a bit too much, though, as the Beer City Bruiser is on the apron and takes off with a cannonball to flatten Kenny. Ali and LSG are back in the ring, LSG fakes out Bruiser and Milonas on the floor before dropping down as Ali flies over him onto both guys! Neato! Young takes that opportunity to hit a springboard clothesline onto LSG in the ring, then teases a tope! LUCHA SILAS~! Naw, not really, though – he just flips to the apron, kicks Kenny from there, then catches Ali with a Uranage onto the ring apron! THAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING! Young clobbers King with a right and gets back on the apron, then springs in with a double foot stomp onto Ali. LSG is behind Silas, though, and hits him with a bicycle kick. He tosses Young to the floor and goes up, but fear the lumbering Brian Milonas, as he rolls back in and hits LSG in the back. He hoists LSG up for a sideslam, Bruiser back in with a dropkick to the face of LSG before Milonas spins around and drops him with a sideslam for two. Tag to Silas, who comes in with a boot to LSG. Young throws his shirt at LSG and tells him to get up and fight him like a man, so LSG hits him in the face. Well, I suppose that works. They trade shots and Silas gets the advantage. Young ducks a wild right and goes for a suplex, but LSG goes over the top, tag to Ali. Springboard crossbody from LSG leads to a jumping Flatliner from Ali! 1, 2, no! Tag to Kenny, and he comes in and fires away with rights on Silas. Irish whip, spinning heel kick by Kenny! King trashes Young as Silas rolls to the ropes, so the Bruiser clotheslines him from the apron. Hey, you don’t cut the ring in half, you got no one to blame but yourself there, Kenny. Milonas and Bruiser just kind of meander into the ring now, and apparently Coast to Coast must HATE Kenny King, because they just kind of stand on the apron while the three heels circle King. I mean, it looks completely ridiculous, even by pro wrestling standards. Knee to the face from Silas on King, then Beer City and Milonas run together, crushing King in-between them. This is so dumb. I don’t mean to be an old wrestling fan tilting at windmills, but what happened to the heels working for a distraction and THEN hitting all these doubleteams and cheating? This is the laziest shit ever. And after all that, Coast to Coast finally comes to the aid of Kenny, but Bruiser and Milonas clobber both of them with forearms. Bruiser and Milonas sandwich King again, this time booty-first, Young covers and gets two. Yeah, the ref counted, even with all 6 dudes in the ring. I HATE THIS MATCH SO MUCH. Milonas and Bruiser then charge Coast to Coast against the ropes, LSG and Ali pull the top rope down to send them tumbling to the floor. Ali and Young then charge at each other and hit a spectacular double clothesline, dropping both guys. LSG goes up and walks the top rope, then does a flip onto Bruiser and Milonas on the floor. It sounds better than it looked, but I’m giving him a pass because I’ve seen him do it before and he’s really good at it, and because I’ll just blame Milonas for being a fat fuck and sucking. Young and Ali are back up and trading forearms, Silas gains the advantage. He comes off the ropes, but LSG is back and they catch him with a double hiptoss, flipping him back into the arms of King. Kenny hits the Royal Flush for the pin to end my suffering. (Kenny King & Coast to Coast over Beer City Bruiser, Brian Milonas, & Silas Young, pinfall, 5:43)

WORTH WATCHING? – The King and Young stuff was the only good part here. NO, skip everything about this. Milonas is useless, the offense was plodding and slow and not in a good way, the heat wasn’t built particularly well…..uh, at least the right guy went over if they’re building to a rematch for the TV title? That’s about all I got from this.

Post-match, King and Coast to Coast celebrate.

Let’s go to some words from the Dawgs! Man, it’s like ROH is trying to piss me off this week or something. Rhett Titus is watching on a screen. “Have you seen this, little Willy? This Coast to Coast?” Will Ferrara is jumping around behind Titus; man, I like Will, but first Cheeseburger and now this. Did he run over Delirious’ dog or something? Will can’t believe that the crowd is happy that these ham n’ eggers, these dingleberries; they ain’t the dogs! Titus tells him to calm down as Will calls him rocket man and says they should send them packing. Titus agrees, and it’s gonna be courtesy of the Dawgs! And with that, let’s forget that these first 20 minutes of ROH TV ever happened and watch these great ads!

We’re back with a look at tonight’s competitors in the first round of the women’s tournament, Mandy Leon and Madison Rayne! Mandy says that 5 years ago when she stepped into the ROH Dojo, she had one vision – a women’s division in Ring of Honor! Rayne adds that women’s wrestling is at the forefront of pro wrestling right now, it’s more popular than it’s ever been! Mandy says that now that it’s finally here, her biggest goal is to be the first Women of Honor champion! Madison is humbled that Ring of Honor chose her for this 16 women tournament. They both trade lines about wanting to win, and Mandy puts Madison over as a world-class superstar, having held titles all over the world. Rayne gives Leon tremendous credit for being there since day one of Women of Honor, but reminds Mandy that she was in Ring of Honor before Mandy was, showing some clips to prove it. She wins championships, she belongs here! Leon closes by saying that she will be the first Women of Honor champion!

Wait, did I just miss the part where they put over Stephanie McMahon? Isn’t that how this is supposed to go?

Regardless, this was actually pretty decent for those who don’t know much about these women, which I’m guessing is a decent chunk of the audience, at least for Leon, while Rayne obviously has been around a lot longer and has more name recognition. Nothing earth-shattering, but just a decent piece of video. Mandy needs to work on her delivery, though; that’s been a problem for her since she was doing the Inside ROH stuff. It’s just robotic.

And let’s get to that match! There’s the music of Mandy Leon, as we’ve been joined by Deoanna Purazzo on commentary. I like her quite a bit, she’s really good. We’ll see how she does on commentary. Mandy stops on the apron to tell us that she wants da belt! And here comes Madison Rayne! Let’s see how this one goes.

“The Exotic Goddess” Mandy Leon vs Madison Rayne – 1st Round match in the Women of Honor championship tournament

Code of Honor is followed. Lockup goes to the corner and Leon gives the clean break. Again, now Rayne gives the clean break. Headlock by Madison into a wristlock, back to the headlock. Leon reverses that, Rayne shoots her off, Leon with a shoulderblock. They run the ropes and Madison gets an arm drag, Leon reverses, standstill. They trade reversals in the center of the ring, Mandy snapmares her over, off the ropes with a kick, then follows with a necksnap. Leon does NOT look comfortable out there for some reason. I’ve seen her work pretty decent matches before, I know she can do it. Cover gets two. Rayne sweeps the legs and gets two, then rolls Leon up for two. Irish whip by Rayne, Leon rolls her up for two. Leon is moving in quicksand out there. They run the ropes and Madison spears her, and a step up kick by Rayne is going to send us to watch the following great ads!

We’re back with Madison hitting a reverse neckbreaker for two. Kick from Rayne and she comes off the ropes, Mandy avoids and they run the ropes, matrix hairpull puts both of them down. They throw forearms from their knees, and Mandy hits a headbutt. More strikes from Mandy, with the last one actually looking decent. Flatliner by Leon into the Koji Clutch! Rayne crawls for the ropes, makes it to break the hold and rolls to the floor. Leon to the apron, down the line kick. Leon with a cannonball off the apron onto Rayne! Leon tosses Madison back in and goes up, sort-of missile dropkick by Leon! 1, 2, no! Leon looks to finish, but Rayne reverses and hits a cutter for two. Suplex attempt by Madison is reversed to a cradle for two by Mandy. Rayne hooks her and drops her with a sitout jawbreaker! 1, 2, NO! Madison goes up, but wipes out on a crossbody attempt, and Leon hits her with the Astral Projection for the pin to advance. (Mandy Leon over Madison Rayne, pinfall, 7:21)

WORTH WATCHING? – Eh, I’m not grading on a curve here. Leon looked like a wrestling student out there, not a wrestler. She was slow, halting, and Madison was clearly slowing down to keep the pace at a level that Mandy could work with. NO, I’d skip this one, although not by a ton. The thing is, Leon can work, but she looked really out of place here, and that’s kind of on her. Rayne looked pretty decent, if not great. Maybe it was nerves on Leon’s part? Not sure, but we’ll see how the later rounds go for Mandy.

Post-match, we see that Leon advances to face the winner of the Kelly Klein/Bonesaw Brooks match. Code of Honor is followed, accompanied by a hug from both women. Madison raises the hand of Leon as we go to….

….last week, post-ROH TV, as Cody Rhodes bursts into the Bullet Club locker room! “What’s up, Code-man?” says one of the Jacksons, as the Bucks are getting into their gear. Cody is less than pleased, as he asks the Bucks where they were while he was getting beaten down by the Kingdom? The Bucks say that they just got there, their flight was late. Cody wonders where their flight came from? Winnipeg? Is this a Kenny thing? Because they don’t need Kenny Omega! That’s done with! It’s over! The crowd was chanting for the Young Bucks, and Cody got his ass kicked! Nick Jackson hears that and says “Right now?” and his delivery makes me giggle. Cody goes over the maladies he sustained in said ass-kicking, and says that he needed the Bucks’ help. Matt says they just got here, what could they have done? Cody says fine, but everyone wants them to break up, because that’s good for everyone else. He needs better from everyone, from the Bucks especially! The Bucks apologize again as Cody stalks out of the locker room, and then, in an awesome whipsaw, Marty Scurll comes in and shows off a fan’s homemade poster (of himself, of course); “Look at this, guys. Isn’t this cool?” The Bucks are unimpressed, pointing out that they didn’t even spell Marty’s name right at the bottom. Hee! Seriously, just give me Marty Scurll and Dalton Castle cutting promos on each other and give Marty the world title. That’s all I want. I’ll watch as much Brian FUCKING Milonas as you force me too so long as I get that. And with that unpleasant possible future looming, let’s watch some great ads!

We’re back with the Briscoes. Jay: “Motor City Machine Guns! Let me explain something to y’all boys!” Right now, at this point in the Briscoes’ careers, they don’t care about their opponents’ well-being or if the people cheer for them; all they care about is making statements! Mark agrees, saying that they are the baddest tag team to ever walk the planet! They don’t care if they break bones, cripple you, whether you walk back to the locker room or get carted back; hell, they don’t care if their opponents live or die! It’s not personal against the Machine Guns – it’s personal against everyone! Everyone is in the line of fire, and it just so happens that the Guns are the tag team champs. And those titles are the property of the Briscoes, so they’re coming to take their property back. God DAMN, heel Briscoes are best Briscoes.

It’s main event time and there’s the music of Punishment Martinez! Now, Charlie Owens did correctly point out that I certainly was no fan of Donovan Dijak and I came around on him (a bit – I won’t cop to being his biggest fan to say the least, but fair is fair, and he did improve), so maybe I’ll come around on Martinez. And since I don’t hate Punishment with nearly the fervor I hated Dijak in the day, maybe he’s right!

Also, they’ve brought Marty Scurll in to do commentary, so that always helps. He tells us that yeah, there are things going on Bullet Club, but the biggest story in Bullet Club is the Villain’s quest to win the ROH World Heavyweight title!

And there’s the music of the current ROH World Heavyweight champion, as Dalton Castle is out with the Boys! Crowd reacts like Castle is a star, because Castle IS a star. Kudos to ROH for putting the belt on him, because he’s not a traditional ROH champion, but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that he comes off like a big deal does. Scurll runs Castle down on commentary and insults Ian as Dalton comes out, because he’s awesome. The Boys fan the title as Castle is introduced.

Dalton Castle (c) (w/ The Boys) vs Punishment Martinez – Ring of Honor World Title match

Code of Honor is declined by Martinez, who just shakes his head no. Scurll points out that he came to Ring of Honor as a superstar who had won titles all over the world, but he hasn’t gotten one shot at the ROH World title! Castle is seemingly handed something by one of the Boys, and he goes over to Punishment, unfolding his fingers one by one to show and empty hand…..which he uses to slap Martinez in the face! Punishment does not take to that, grabbing Dalton and shoving him in the corner, but Castle escapes and fires away with forearms. Punishment shoves him away, Castle goes for a waistlock, Martinez drops him to the mat and goes for the chokeslam, Dalton escapes and just levels him with a shot across the chest. Martinez, well, he be angry and he charges Dalton, but Dalton backs up to the ropes and pulls down the top, sending Punishment to the floor. Castle wastes no time running the ropes and hitting Martinez with a tope on the floor! Even the commentators are surprised he didn’t do the fakeout and then the strut, but it fits his character becoming more serious this way. Castle with a right and he sends Punishment to the barricade. The Boys get on all fours and Dalton uses them as a springboard, but Martinez catches him in a choke and goes for a chokeslam on the ring apron, Dalton escapes and sends Martinez to the post! This match has been really good so far – wonder if we’ll say the same about the following great ads?

We’re back as Castle has a waistlock and is going for a deadlift German suplex, but Punishment stops that by backing him into the corner. He does it again and adds an elbow to the mouth of Castle, comes at him in the corner, Dalton hits a boot and goes up, Martinez hits a spinkick to send Castle to the floor. The Boys fan him off as Scurll goes off on Ian again on commentary, and it’s hilarious. Martinez goes out to back the Boys away, he tosses Dalton back in, Castle spins on the ring apron but gets caught, Castle fires rights to try to escape, Martinez doesn’t let him go and hits a Last Ride on the ring apron, which, if you weren’t aware, is THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Punishment pulls Dalton up and drops him with a big forearm. Martinez tosses Dalton back in and fires away. Cross-corner whip sends Castle to the buckles, and he’s in trouble here. Slam by Punishment and a springboard senton gets two for Martinez as Dalton rolls out to the floor. Punishment follows to chase off the Boys, but that allows Dalton to jump him from behind and he’s fists of fire! Martinez puts a stop to that with a crushing right and a superkick, then a whip to the barricade. Punishment tosses him to the barricade again, then back in as Scurll points out that it would just be heartbreaking for Dalton to lose the World title in his very first defense, wouldn’t it? Ian points out that it has happened before, last year in fact at Wrestle Kingdom, and FUCK YOU VERY MUCH IAN. Thanks for reminding me. Dick.

Man, I may need some therapy. Perhaps there will be some possible doctors in the following great ads!

We’re back as we see that during the break, Castle manages to connect with the apron ‘rana to try to turn the tide. Martinez goes for a splash in the corner, but Dalton catches him, deadlift German with a bridge! 1, 2, NO! Martinez sits up into a choke, but Dalton beats him down with rights. Another deadlift German attempt, Punishment escapes, Castle ducks a clothesline, Castle ducks a kick, Castle ducks another kick, deadlift suplex by Castle hits! Martinez is back up, but he’s wobbly and Dalton hits an overhead throw! Dalton is ready to finish and charges Martinez, but gets clobbered by a clothesline! Falcon Arrow by Martinez! 1, 2, NO! Martinez goes for a powerbomb, blocked by Castle, who goes for the Bangarang, but he can’t lift Punishment. He runs Martinez into the corner buckles with a spear, then Castle charges but gets put down with a boot from Martinez, and Dalton slides back to the floor. The Boys fan him off and Punishment takes a breather, then runs across the ring, tope over the top rope onto all three guys! That was SWEET. “Crikey!” sayeth Scurll! Cabana points out that isn’t even British as Martinez tosses Dalton back in and goes up, Martinez with a spinning heel kick off the top rope! 1, 2, NO!! Martinez sets up and waits for Dalton to get to his feet, but Castle ain’t getting up. Martinez pulls him to his feet and goes for the chokeslam, Dalton slaps his hand away, again, back elbow by Dalton! Big kick to the head from Punishment! Scurll cackles in glee! Another kick by Martinez! He picks Castle up for the Human Torture Rack, looks for the Psycho Driver, but Dalton escapes with elbows and grapevines the leg of Martinez, Castle rolls through into a small package, 1, 2, 3!!! Castle retains! (Dalton Castle over Punishment Martinez, pinfall, 12:01)

WORTH WATCHING? – I mean, I don’t totally HATE it when Charlie Owens is right. YES, this match was awesome and very much worth your time. What did I adore about this? Well, let’s really look at it. Castle had the early edge, and almost all of that edge was gleaned by him not being afraid of Martinez and taking it to him from the jump, showcasing the subtle changes in his character that he’s in this to keep the title because it means that much to him. After being caught by surprise, Martinez eventually takes over with size and power, using his longer reach to gain the advantage, while still giving Castle a ton of hope spots during the beatdown. Good near-falls for Martinez and here’s another thing I liked – he didn’t no-sell ANY of Dalton’s offense as the match went down the stretch, making Castle look like a million bucks and making it look like a fight. No one hit a finisher in the match, so both of them were protected. Castle gets the win, Martinez comes out looking better than he had before as does Dalton, and you can even do a rematch if you want.

The ringwork of this match was so simple in so many ways, but the story of the match was SO well-done, it’s an automatic thumbs up for sure. They really worked out there to convey all the parts of a pro wrestling match telling a story, I felt like standing and applauding. Watch it. It’ll feel simplistic in parts, I grant you, but I absolutely loved the tale that they told here.

Post-match, Martinez is shocked for a few moments, then does what he’s supposed to do and beats up the Boys, chokeslamming one on the apron and then powerbombing the other on top of the first. He leaves the ringside area as Scurll calls it the ‘upset of the century’, and Ian tells us that next week, the Hung Bucks will defend the ROH 6-Man titles against SoCal Uncensored, and we’re outta time!

FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Remember how last week, I said to watch the first half of the show and skip the main event? Exact opposite this week, as the main event was the part that delivered in spades this week and is worth watching. Check it out.

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter