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ROH TV recap & reactions (Mar. 23, 2023): Samoa Joe open challenge

Week four in the ROH TV revival (Mar. 23, 2023) was headlined by Samoa Joe’s open challenge for the ROH World Television Championship. Joe has a date with Mark Briscoe to defend the title at Supercard of Honor on March 31, but the King of Television wanted to send a violent statement to remind Briscoe of his folly in requesting the match.

Joe opened the program explaining his motivation for the open challenge. Every great champion must give fair warning to those who seek to be contenders. The open challenge will be that warning for Briscoe to watch carefully as Joe reminds him of his powers of destruction.

Commentary wondered throughout the broadcast who would step up. The reveal was Cheeseburger! He was a fan favorite skinny underdog in the past ROH era. Joe whopped him hard and fast. It didn’t take long for victory via musclebuster.

After the match, Joe was true to his word in sending a message to Briscoe. He did so with a second musclebuster. Joe geared up for a third musclebuster, but Briscoe ran out with a chair. Joe was quick to retreat.

The rest of the matches were competitive and given a good chunk of time to work. ROH TV quick results:

  • Mark Briscoe defeated Tony Nese via froggy bow. Mark Sterling and Josh Woods provided distractions and physical interference. Briscoe rallied with redneck kung fu. A rolling Spicolli driver set the scene for Briscoe to reach for the sky on a froggy bow.
  • Metalik, Blake Christian, & AR Fox defeated Ari Daivari, Slim J, & Jeeves Kay via 450 splash. Chaotic trios action. Metalik was the base for a four-man Tower of Doom Spanish Fly combo. Daivari took flight, but Fox caught him midair for a cutter. Fox pinned Daivari on a 450 splash. Afterward, the Embassy attacked the babyfaces in a step toward a six-man title feud.
  • Skye Blue defeated Lady Frost via Skyfall. Frost looked good with gymnastics offense, such as a cartwheel into an Air Raid Crash. Frost climbed the corner, and Blue tossed her down to the mat. Blue followed for a flying crossbody. A swinging neckbreaker set up the full nelson slam to win. It might be time for Blue to ditch her Skyfall finisher. I’ve seen it a few times now, and it often doesn’t look good. I don’t know if it is a case of Blue not being strong enough or not tall enough for the full nelson lift to swing her opponent.
  • Rush & Dralistico defeated Rhett Titus & Tracy Williams via Bull’s Horns. Aggressive intensity from both squads. In the end, Jose The Assistant held Williams on the outside for Dralistico to land a tope con hilo. Rush finished Titus with the Bull’s Horns running dropkick to win. Titus and Williams are a pair of wrestlers with zero visual charisma, but they certainly know how to wrestle. Even though I’m rarely eager with anticipation for one of their matches, I often find myself completely focused by the end. Titus and Williams wrestle with excellent fundamentals and have a way of building a match to peak for the finish.
  • Matt Taven defeated Darius Martin via Climax. Taven was flanked by Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett, while Martin was solo without his brother. That was a stupid decision, because the Bennetts were persistent in pestering Darius throughout the match. Darius had momentum down the stretch until Mike willingly accepted a suicide dive collision to save Taven. When Martin returned to the ring, Maria grabbed his foot. That allowed Taven to pounce for an arm trap headlock driver to win. Afterward, the Kingdom were sizing up for more punishment. Dante Martin ran in for the save. That was double stupid booking. I suppose Dante’s absence was to sell last week’s attack, but he ran out there anyway. That means he could have come out at any time to help his brother or been there from the start to prevent cheating.
  • Brian Cage defeated Tony Deppen via Drill Claw. Cage mauled Deppen early, then Deppen rallied with fire in his eyes. Deppen connected on a flying double stomp. Cage kicked out. Deppen continued to frustrate Cage with speed, but Deppen ran into a spinebuster. Cage executed his finisher for victory. Afterward, the Embassy took liberties with Deppen. Metalik, Christian, and Fox ran out with weapons to clear the ring.
  • Shane Taylor defeated Silas Young via package piledriver. Battle of former ROH TV champions. JD Griffey was ringside cheering on Taylor. This was a hard-hitting affair. Young went to finish with the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. He hit the first part for the rolling Samoan drop, but Taylor moved for Young to miss the moonsault. Taylor crushed a huge knee to Young’s face then ended the match with the package piledriver. Emphatic finish to remind the world that Taylor is a stud.
  • Billie Starkz defeated Miranda Alize via tombstone piledriver. Starkz survived the onslaught of Alize’s best moves. Alize hit a cutter, but Starkz blocked the running knee finisher. Starkz whirled Alize into position for a tombstone piledriver to win. This was a genuine upset in the ROH landscape. Starkz is a newcomer with hype but lacked winning results. Alize was in the women’s title picture prior to ROH going on hiatus. Alize was the favorite heading in, but that’s why they play the game. This was a result that is bigger for the overall picture of ROH TV, because it keeps viewers on their toes that anything can happen in the ring in regard to wins and losses.
  • Aussie Open defeated Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal via Corealis. Plenty of near falls from sweet teamwork maneuvers. Aussie Open won the battle of attrition through a divide and conquer strategy. They had Daniels alone for a clothesline sandwich, then they finished with a double elevated pumphandle half nelson driver. Afterward, Aussie Open waited to receive the Code of Honor handshake. Daniels and Sydal were reluctant to adhere, but they did the right thing to show respect and put over Aussie Open.

On the promo tip, Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston had the best segment of the episode. (Full details here.) They sat down with Carprice Coleman to discuss matters on the ROH World Championship challenge. Claudio was steadfast that Kingston is not worthy to bring honor to the company. He called Kingston the biggest waste of potential he has even seen. When the going gets tough, Kingston is a quitter. Despite those salacious insults, Claudio accepted the world title match for Supercard of Honor.

This episode of ROH TV was mid-card fever. I don’t mean that as an insult. It was a bunch of solid matches giving wrestlers enough time to elevate quality and find their status in the pecking order. The matches were long enough for viewers to develop an attachment to the in-ring work. For example, Shane Taylor is a bruiser, and Tony Deppen is a wild underdog. All the matches had something that left me wanting more of a particular performer. In addition, the show had a wide variety of cool, creative moves.

On the down side, this episode lacked promos. Those bits enhanced the viewing experience in past weeks through character development and challenges to build anticipation. Nothing was set in motion for next week, so I’m not sure if there will even be an episode. It seems like all the taped material has been aired. Maybe ROH will put together a hype show for the Supercard of Honor PPV on March 31.

For the top three watch list, I’m going with Rush & Dralistico versus Rhett Titus & Tracy Williams, Aussie Open versus Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal, and Metalik, Blake Christian, & AR Fox versus Ari Daivari, Slim J, & Jeeves Kay.

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

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