SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Punishment Martinez vs. Dobbs: One of the many reasons that I enjoy ROH is that we get matches like this. We all knew when this match started who was going to win but to me it still matters in wrestling when you stack some wins under a talent’s belt and that was the point to this match. Martinez makes quick work of Dobbs and gets the victory. After the match, Dalton Castle comes out with The Boys. Castle looks as if he wants a match. They square off in the ring for a second but Martinez retreats to the outside. Martinez then teases getting back into the ring before he decides to walk away. I like the tease between these two right here. We know that Martinez is one of a handful of people on the tail of ROH World champion Dalton Castle. The slight build-up to that match is what we saw here, and I liked it.
Coast To Coast (Shaheem Ali & LSG) vs. War Machine (WarBeard Hanson & Ray Rowe): Remember, this is the match that will decide if Coast To Coast will stay together. To stay together, Coast To Coast will have to beat former IWGP and ROH tag champs War Machine. I was really looking forward to this one to see just how this match would play out. I am on record in saying that War Machine is the best tag team in the world. That includes ROH, WWE, Impact, NJPW, etc. That said, this was a tall task for Coast To Coast. Coast To Coast got some quick offense in the beginning but they give way to War Machine as we get into the match. Things then break down into a 4-way between the two teams with all four participants trading offensive maneuvers. Eventually we get back to a tag match and we see LSG make the hot tag to Ali. Throw in a couple of two counts by War Machine on Coast To Coast but Coast To Coast is resilient and will not lose. Coast To Coast hits their Coast To Coast finisher on Rowe but Rowe kicks out. Then War Machine hits a big finisher on Ali, but Ali kicks out as the crowd gets a ‘This Is Awesome Chant” and “Coast To Coast” chant going. Then out of nowhere, as Rowe is setting up Ali for another finisher Ali slips through and rolls up Rowe to get the three count and Coast To Coast wins. War Machine graciously shakes Coast To Coast’s hands at the end. This was a very good match. War Machine puts over Coast To Coast as they leave for the WWE. I assume this is there last televised ROH match. I am going to miss War Machine in ROH. Over the last three plus years, they have given their hearts, souls, and bodies to ROH. I wish them well as they move on. On another note, it was great to see Coast To Coast get that elusive victory they have been striving for. I have been following them this last year in ROH and they have been close numerous times. They finally got a big victory on TV. I look forward to seeing what happens going forward with them. Very good match with excellent story telling.
Beer City Bruiser and Brian Milonas: Nice video recap of Bruiser and Milonas attacking King from two weeks ago. Then we are thrown to Bruiser and Milonas backstage cutting a promo. This was quick and effective. Bruiser talks about how he and Milonas had a great match about six months ago against each other. Bruiser was impressed with Milonas at the time. Bruiser tells us that Milonas is a diamond in the rough and a needle in the haystack. Bruiser calls Milonas a Boston Bruiser which I thought was very fitting for Milonas. This was good. These two are two huge men and with War Machine leaving, there is definitely an opening for a tag team. Being a fan of both guys, I am looking forward to seeing what these two will do together in their new formed alliance.
Bully Ray Retires Again: Let’s assume this is a real retirement for a second since I cannot see there being any immediate or coming pay off to this speech from a storyline perspective. Bully tells us that he’s done. And in short, Philly and this building the 2300 Arena is where he should leave his boots in. There is a lot more to his speech, but this was the meat of it. Soon after Jay Lethal and the ROH talent all come out to surround the ring. Lethal jumps in the ring to give his own speech to the fans and to Bully. Lethal talks about the apprehension of when Bully first came to ROH and how the talent all had their guards up because they had heard the rumors about Bully. Lethal then tells us that Bully changed his mind and everyone’s mind with his performance and how he gave back to the ROH talent night after night. Lethal calls Bully a legend and then he thanks him for everyone. Like I said at the beginning, assuming this is all a true retirement, this was good. Bully gave it his all during his matches that we witnessed, and he was not in ROH to be a nostalgia act. He even changed my mind in his last feud with The Briscoes going into Final Battle that I admittedly was not high on when I witnessed his first retirement speech last year. If this is the end, thanks Bully for the memories in ECW, ROH, and WWE and best of luck riding off into the sunset. The man put his body on the line for us fans year after year and it is fitting that he and Devon are headed into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Women of Honor Update: This starts with a recap of the announcement of the WOH tournament that recently began at the last set of TV tapings. They show various clips of various matches with all of the ladies from the past year. I look forward to seeing how the tournament plays out and how the division looks going forward. The takeaway from the video package is to continue to give the women’s division a spotlight. I assume once we crown a champion that we’ll have a lot more WOH matches air, but we will have to see. For now, I look forward to the tournament kicking off in the next few weeks. With all of that said, I do agree with what a friend of mine said a couple of weeks back. He asked me why it took so long to develop a WOH title when Impact, WWE, NXTR etc. have had one for years. I cannot answer that, but I am glad it is happening. Lastly, I would put my money on either Deonna Purrazzo, Kelly Klein, or Karen Q to win the inaugural title.
SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) vs. Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Marty Scurll & Cody): Excellent main event to close out the show between these two teams. Although Daniels and Kazarian have teamed for years, SoCal Uncensored as a trio is a newly formed team that needed a victory going into this one. Sky as the new team member continues to impress in ROH and I felt that he has good continuity with his teammates. Taven was on commentary during the match and I enjoyed his smug attitude towards the talent in the ring throughout from him. Pretty much everything that each team did Taven mentions in so many words that he and The Kingdom could do it better. Hangman Page scared me when he hit his moonsault on to Sky on the outside. Ever since I witnessed TK O’Ryan break his leg when it hit the barricade, it frightens me when I see guys legs hit a barricade on those types of moves. In the end, SoCal Uncensored get the victory on The Bullet Club. Once again, no Shane Taylor although he was not needed for this match. See below in the one miss I had from this week.
SoCal Uncensored Pays of Shane Taylor: The show did open this week with Shane Taylor beating up Marty Scurll in the dressing room at the same time as the ending of last week’s match. I mentioned last week that I thought something was missing since Taylor never stopped Hangman Page from making his way to the ring when he was paid to stop The Bullet Club from interfering. I am wondering what is going on with this. Are we to assume that Taylor did keep Scurll from attacking with Page? Is this setting up something with Taylor and Scurll down the line or was something missed with this? It is a little weird but sometimes it takes a while for these things to shake out. For the time though, this is two weeks in a row where we are left to scratch our heads.
The main event was excellent and nearly everything made sense throughout the show. However, the big news coming out of this episode has to be War Machine making Coast To Coast look good as they leave. Coast To Coast has been chasing that big victory for a while and they finally got it against a great tag team in the departing War Machine. Another solid episode of ROH this week as we close out the first month of 2018.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: ROH HITS & MISSES 1/22: Taven attacks Castle, Machine Guns vs. Dawgs, Coleman’s Pulpit with Coast to Coast, Cody, SoCal Uncensored
Mike Mills is the PWTorch.com ROH TV Hits and Misses Specialist, providing his point of view on ROH TV weekly. You can follow Mike at @BTT_Podcast and @Mike504Saints on Twitter and you can check out his old school wrestling podcasts at tinyurl.com/BTTPod