clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ROH TV recap & reactions (Mar. 16, 2023): Dante Martin steals show

Week three in the ROH TV revival (Mar. 16, 2023) had two title fights and two more champions in action, but it was Dante Martin who stole the show with a superstar performance.

The Kingdom continued their beef with Top Flight for a singles bout between Mike Bennett and Dante Martin. Their clash was the best match on the show. Bennett worked the arm to ground the high-flyer, but Martin still had spring in his step for elusive tactics. Just check out this flying splash in particular. Martin added style with a double between the legs basketball dribble midair. That puts in perspective his hang time. So cool.

Martin showed grit fighting back after taking a piledriver on the ramp. He even demonstrated development in his offensive arsenal by breaking out a package powerbomb. Being a high-flyer with a slim frame can give the impression that Martin is soft with finesse. That wasn’t so in this match. He went toe-to-toe throwing haymakers with Bennett. Martin used his brain to achieve victory. He bridged out of a submission for a pin forcing Bennett to release. Martin followed with an emphatic slam for victory.

Martin was the complete package in this match to demonstrate main event potential. Heart, overcoming adversity, cool moves, determination, toughness, strategy. It truly was a breakout performance. This is what ROH TV should be all about. Give the young prospects valuable experience to work their craft and shine in the process. Credit to Bennett too as the veteran dance partner.

Martin also had solid delivery on a backstage promo to hype brother Darius battling Matt Taven next week.

ROH TV quick results:

  • Proving Ground match: Claudio Castagnoli defeated Willie Mack via European uppercut. The Proving Ground is a way for the underdog to earn a title shot. Winning or surviving the ten-minute time limit earns the reward. Mack won the crowd over by humping the mat, and he backed it up with Big Willie Style in the ring. Both men were down, then Mack kipped up with energy to execute a standing moonsault. The crowd reaction was split with dueling chants at the start, then the crowd was fully pro Mack by the end. For the finish, Mack missed a frog splash, and Claudio attacked with a pulverizing uppercut to win.
  • Metalik & Blake Christian defeated Ari Daivari & Slim J via Michinoku Driver. Christian took out Daivari on a Fosbury Flop, and that cleared the way for Metalik to execute an airplane spin Michinoku Driver without worry of the pin breaking up. These past three weeks have done a good job of rebuilding Daivari and Slim J from fancy jobbers to legit mid-carders.
  • Eddie Kingston defeated Jeeves Kay via stretch plum submission. Kingston had little trouble in victory.
  • Proving Ground match: Athena defeated Hyan via crossface submission. Athena intensified with a cartwheel powerbomb off the apron down to the floor. She rammed Hyan into the ring steps and finished with the submission. Athena continued dishing out post-match pain. The champ laughed maniacally. When the crowd chanted, “You suck,” Athena changed her expression to anger.
  • Silas Young defeated Marcus Kross via Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Kross was energetic early until the Last Real Man manhandled him. Young closed with a rolling Samoan drop followed by a headstand on the turnbuckles into a rope-bouncing moonsault.
  • ROH World Six-Man Championship: The Embassy retained against Dalton Castle & The Boys via destruction. Brian Cage, Kaun, and Toa Liona overwhelmed the competition with muscle power. The challengers fought with the heart of a peacock, but they couldn’t overcome. Castle was impressive suplexing the larger foes. In the end, Kaun and Liona smashed Brandon in a clothesline sandwich then slammed Brent on top of his brother for the win.
  • Trish Adora defeated Madison Rayne via lariat. Near falls came on a ripcord cutter from Rayne, a bridging German suplex from Adora, and a crucifix bomb from Rayne. Rayne ducked a backfist, but Adora followed up with a clobbering clothesline for victory. Adora is building momentum in the women’s division with two wins in a row.
  • Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal defeated Outrunners via lightning spiral. CD and Sydal handled business. Daniels executed the Angel’s Wings and Sydal added a lightning spiral for the 1-2 punch to win.
  • ROH Pure Championship: Wheeler Yuta retained against Clark Connors via mouse trap pin. The score was two rope-breaks for Connors and one for Yuta. Both men were warned for using closed-fist punches. Yuta trapped Connors in a submission. As Connors reached for the ropes on his final break, Yuta creatively snatched the arm to transition for a tricky roll-up. (Full details here.)

On the storyline and promo side:

  • Mark Briscoe has long dreamed of becoming ROH TV champion, but he has fallen short each time. It is his destiny to win the title, and he will get the job done against Samoa Joe at Supercard of Honor. Briscoe also had words for Mark Sterling. Since the esquire keeps butting in his business, he will make it his mission to bust ass of every man Sterling represents. First was Josh Woods, and next week will be Tony Nese.
  • Claudio Castagnoli sat front row to watch Eddie Kingston’s match. The action spilled outside, and Kingston rammed Jeeves Kay into the barricade in front of Claudio. The contact caused Claudio to spill coffee over his shirt. Kingston tried to rile up the champion, but Claudio maintained his poise and walked away. (Full details here.)
  • Mark Sterling filed an injunction to overturn the Trustbusters loss due to questionable legal tags from their opponents. Ari Daivari challenged Metalik and Blake Christian to a trios match next week. Later, the babyfaces brought in AR Fox as their third. They also have eyes on the ROH six-man titles and made the save on a post-match beatdown from the Embassy on Dalton Castle and The Boys. (Full details here.)
  • Silas Young ran his mouth after victory about being the greatest TV champion in ROH history. Shane Taylor stepped on stage to stake his claim as the most dominant TV titleholder. He’ll show Young why next week. The Last Real Man accepted the challenge for a match.
  • Athena called out Yuka Sakazaki to step up for a title fight at Supercard of Honor. Their feud has yet to be settled in a singles match. Athena claimed Yuka was hiding in Japan. Apparently Yuka is injured, but she is still wrestling matches over there. Come get that ass whooping. (Full details here.)
  • After Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal earned the win, Aussie Open entered on stage with a challenge. Kyle Fletcher put over CD and Sydal as integral to ROH history when winning the tag titles in 2006. But now it is 2023, and nobody is better than Aussie Open. They have eyes on taking the ROH titles, so beating former champs is a good way to throw their name in the hat as contenders. The crowd starting chanting for a match right now. Mark Davis cut them off cold. It’s not 2006. CD and Sydal are no spring chickens, and they need time to rest to be at their best. Aussie Open wants no excuses when they win. Daniels accepted the match for next week.
  • Wheeler Yuta beat NJPW LA Dojo student Clark Connors, and now he wants the teacher. Yuta called out Katsuyori Shibata for a Pure title match.

ROH TV continued setting the table for Supercard of Honor and beyond. It follows a simple formula of setting up future action with quick promos. I like how ROH focuses on one thing leading to another. It doesn’t feel like any wasted segments. I also enjoy ROH letting the wrestlers play off the crowd. It makes the flow feel more organic. ROH TV does lack primo major angles demanding attention, but it does delivery enough spicy morsels to create anticipation. The show is still in that range of half Dark level and half Rampage level. The watch list includes Dante Martin versus Mike Bennett, Wheeler Yuta versus Clark Connors, Claudio Castagnoli versus Willie Mack, and Metalik & Blake Christian versus Ari Daivari & Slim J. The rest were showcase matches with purpose.

A couple of other thoughts. ROH really needs a timer on screen for matches where the time-limit is part of the story, such as Proving Ground matches. Speaking of Proving Ground, that might be Eddie Kingston’s angle to get his title shot. Have the Mad King rumble to a ten-minute draw against Claudio, and there you go. ROH can’t force Claudio into taking the title match, but it is an easier explanation to book a Proving Ground match. Plus, it adds a layer of disrespect that Kingston has to prove himself as a veteran in the fight game.

Metalik’s airplane spin Michinoku Driver was pretty cool. I love airplane spins. Shane T! Nice to see Shane Taylor pop up in ROH again. In my book, Taylor is the real deal, so I’m looking forward to seeing him wrestle again. The Embassy are so effective in mauling opponents. I feel like AEW did them a disservice by piling losses to higher stars early in their arrival. It put a cloud over them as muscles for show and not for go. Watching them crush in ROH shows the potential to be dominating titans. Now, they have to work twice as hard to rehab their monster image.

Share your thoughts on the ROH TV episode on Honor Club. Who were the standout performers?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats