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#MustWatchMonday (4/16/18): Up For Some Punishment


The pro wrestling fandom around the world has watched former Ring of Honor stars like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and more grow into the industry's top names, so it's safe to say that whoever's on the rise in the beloved super indy company will be the ones to watch someday. Even though you can say that now for many indy companies around the world (and non-indy companies such as New Japan Pro Wrestling) coming from ROH still carries a certain pedigree.

The current generation of ROH stars are a little lacking in big homegrown names right now—preferring to favor veterans from elsewhere—but if there's anyone up-and-coming to follow this year in the company, it's these two: Punishment Martinez and current ROH World Champion Dalton Castle. Most recently, they met in an ROH championship match on the February 12, 2018 episode of ROH TV, and let's just say that that bout was inevitable.

Protip: Watch this video in 0.75 speed.

Castle's already a cult hit for his queer character, magnetic charisma, natural athleticism, and a solid amateur wrestling-based skillset—which is why he was booked to win the championship from Cody Rhodes back at Final Battle—so this is more of a showcase for Martinez. This is Martinez's biggest title shot since challenging Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship at last year's Honor Rising.

Here's the deal with Punishment: the name's a little ridiculous, but you get over it quickly. He's a lean monster at 6'7" and 250 lbs., and the size alone already makes him scary in the independents, where body types tend to skew smaller and/or stockier. (Unless, of course, you're Keith Lee.) Couple his size with a badass demonic aura that screams "unfuckwittable." Throw in a scary striking game that makes full use of his appearance's intimidation factor and you could have a minor indy darling. 

Add in one more secret ingredient—a deceptive athleticism that could go toe to toe with the likes of Aleister Black and the Undertaker, and you have the exact kind of wrestler Baron Corbin wishes he was.

And so the project that is Punishment Martinez gets to showcase himself in a world title match in which the champion barely gets by with his natural wrestling skill. Never mind that, you know Castle's good—watch Punishment sail from and over the top rope like a 6'7" 250-lb. dude isn't supposed to. 

Punishment dominating the match is ROH telling us to wait a little more, because it's looking a lot like 2018 is going to be his year. That's looking even more true when you get a win against Tomohiro Ishii at WrestleMania weekend, and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he makes it to Orlando by the end of the year.

Photo from Ring of Honor

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