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ROH TV recap & reactions (Apr. 13, 2023): Claudio Castagnoli needs a challenger to step up

Week seven in the ROH TV revival (Apr. 13, 2023) featured three champions in action, an update on Eddie Kingston, and more.

Claudio Castagnoli was in the main event to defend the ROH World Championship against Metalik. The story was Claudio’s past troubles with high-flyers rearing its head again. Metalik’s offense was quick and creative to keep Claudio on his heels.

Down the stretch, Claudio unloaded a barrage of European uppercuts and body shots in the corner. The champ went for a superplex, but the challenger countered the situation into a rope-walking hurricanrana. Metalik went for a flying elbow drop. Claudio got his boot up to block. Claudio pounced for a crossface submission. Metalik escaped. After an exchange of roll-ups, Claudio exploded for a brutal European uppercut. Metalik kicked out on the cover, so Claudio went to vicious hammering elbows to set up the Neutralizer for victory.

After the broadcast, Claudio had a message for the ROH locker room. He watched the show prior to his bout, but he was not that impressed. The champion needs someone to step up and stand out. Be warned that they better be ready to step in the ring with the best.

Claudio has a point. Aside from Eddie Kingston and Katsuyori Shibata, I don’t see any other babyfaces on the ROH radar that could be a genuine threat to become the next world champion. On the heel side, I still want to see Claudio versus Rush. ROH has some work to do to boost the regular players. They are going to need someone to dance with Claudio for the next PPV. ROH may have to dip into the AEW talent pool. Hangman Page would fit the bill with the current Blackpool Combat Club versus The Elite storyline.

Who do you want to see as the next serious world title challenger for Claudio?

ROH TV quick results:

Mark Briscoe defeated Ari Daivari. Mark Sterling, Tony Nese, and Josh Woods were ringside for interference. Commentary explained that Daivari spent his money to secure a manger license for each of them. Referee Stephon Smith caught the tail end of a physical altercation, so he ejected the Varsity Athletes. Briscoe kicked out of a roll-up to set up the Jay Driller for victory. Afterward, the Varsity Athletes stomped Briscoe. FTR ran out for the save.

Eddie Kingston will be on the sideline due to hernia surgery. Kingston spoke about not following his game plan in the loss to Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH World Championship. He gave credit to Claudio for being the tougher and more violent man on that evening. Kingston spoke about wanting to quit, then he showed a mental turn by explaining he learned from that loss. The Mad King will keep moving forward. (Full details here.)

Skye Blue defeated Kelly Madan. Madan put up a good fight early. Blue took control in the end to win via Sky Fall.

Darius Martin defeated Mike Bennett. Matt Taven and Maria Kanellis were ringside. When Martin was close to victory, Taven entered the ring throwing punches. The referee called for a disqualification and awarded the win to Martin. The Kingdom beat down Martin after the match. Action Andretti ran in for the save. Later, Martin and Andretti explained that they are new pals, and they challenged the Kingdom to a match next week. (Full details here.)

Wheeler Yuta defeated Tracy Williams. This was a battle of technical skills until Yuta got dirty. He turned the tide by biting Williams’ head. That led to Yuta blitzing for a Saito suplex, a right angle slam, hammering elbows into Williams’ surgically repaired shoulder, then finishing with a dragon sleeper. Yuta leaned back to crank the submission for victory.

Katsuyori Shibata & Alex Coughlin defeated Workhorsemen. Of note, Shane Taylor was watching this match backstage, but his target was unclear. Anthony Henry and JD Drake isolated Coughlin. Shibata was not pleased with his student’s performance, so he broke up a submission by stomping Henry then stomping Coughlin in an effort to fire him up. Hot tag to Shibata. When Coughlin came back as the legal man, he wrestled stronger. In the end, Coughlin hit a deadlift gutwrench suplex to Drake on the floor. Shibata poured on the pain for a strike, a sleeper, and a running penalty kick to pin Henry. Afterward, Coughlin shook Shibata’s hand and requested a shot at the ROH Pure Championship.

Willow Nightingale defeated Little Mean Kathleen. LMK was feisty, but she was no match for the Babe with the Power. Willow pulled the straps down to finish with the Oklahoma Stampede slam.

Stu Grayson defeated Tony Nese. Back and forth bout. Grayson was a house afire throughout. He closed with a torture rack into a backbreaker for victory. Afterward, the Righteous came out on stage to applaud Stu’s success. Later, Vincent and Dutch explained that Stu seems a shell of himself with the happy-go-lucky Dark Order. Stu is someone bred for combat, and he’s trapped in a cage. Maybe the Righteous have the keys? They made clear that they don’t want to hurt Stu. They want to keep him.

Athena defeated Ashley D’Amboise. This was a Proving Ground match, which means a time-limit draw or a win by D’Amboise would earn a shot at the ROH Women’s World Championship. Once Athena upped her aggression, that was a wrap. She wrecked D’Amboise into the barricade and ring steps. The O-Face flying stunner sealed the deal. Backstage, Athena violently interrupted D’Amboise’s interview. The champ threatened ROH that if they keep giving her garbage opponents then Lexy Nair will be her next target.

ROH TV was in better form this week as a television show. There were more promos and events to build their own world. As a viewer, you can see the chips falling into place for various feuds and future matches. Eddie Kingston’s promo was strong and added an extra nugget of interest overall. All the men’s matches were competitive with fun and cerebral action. The women’s side was lopsided this week with each winner clearly the better wrestler than their opponent. My top three watch list would be Wheeler Yuta versus Tracy Williams, Stu Grayson versus Tony Nese, and Katsuyori Shibata & Alex Coughlin versus the Workhorsemen.

Quick thoughts. Move of the night was Coughlin was a seated vertical suplex lift rising to his feet to execute the move.

I still think Skye Blue needs to dump her Sky Fall finisher. It just doesn’t look good or even effective as a move worthy to be a finisher. Yuta was impressive with explosive aggression to finish. His match with Williams had a lot of mat work, but there was always motion. That technical style is much more enjoyable than grinding rest holds. The Workhorsemen brought their A-game. JD Drake uses his weight well to enhance his offensive arsenal. A lot of his moves fit his body to make the impact more believable. All night had a lot of amusing character interactions, such as the Workhorsemen mocking Shibata’s poses, Athena’s unamused reaction to Ashley D’Amboise’s counters, Tony Nese popping his pecs, and anything Mark Briscoe does to name a few.

Time for the commentary appreciation section. Jam on it.

Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman make the show fun to watch. They have a nice blend of technical analysis with outbursts of enthusiasm. Coleman is poetic with his vocabulary. Riccaboni is the dry man of the duo, but he freestyled to Willow’s song this week.

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

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