On Saturday, June 16th, at Ring of Honor State of the Art Day 2 in Dallas, Texas, Punishment Martinez defeated Silas Young to claim the ROH Television Championship for the first time. The win marks Martinez’ first major title victory after previously capturing belts in Monster Factory Pro Wrestling and Keystone Pro Wrestling. It also makes him the 20th television champion in ROH history.
The 36-year-old Martinez first debuted with Ring of Honor in 2015 where he wrestled a series of dark matches under his real name, Luis Martinez. From there, Martinez, now on ROH’s radar, took part in the company’s annual Top Prospect Tournament where he lost to Lio Rush in the semifinals. Despite the loss however, Martinez was signed by Ring of Honor, where he quickly aligned with BJ Whitmer and Kevin Sullivan during their feud with Steve Corino. From there, Martinez, took part in the 2016 Honor Rumble and Survival of the Fittest. He didn’t win either event but had a respectable showing both times.
Punishment Martinez’ star began to rise when he took part in his first mini tour of Japan in 2017 at Honor Rising. On the first night, Martinez, who was referred to as Punisher Martinez, joined the Los Ingobernables de Japon team of Hiromu Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito to defeat Dalton Castle, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi. It was Martinez that got the winning pinfall. On the second night of the show, Martinez challenged Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship in a match that received three stars from Dave Meltzer.
Success isn't always linear. @ROHPunishment took things to another level in the last few years and has become a bonafide star.
— Ian Riccaboni (@IanRiccaboni) June 17, 2018
Back home at ROH, Punishment Martinez entered into some high profile feuds and picked up some of the biggest victories of his career. He defeated Frankie Kazarian at Supercard of Honor XI; Jay White at Death Before Dishonor 2017; Will Ospreay at ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2017; and Jay Lethal at Survival of the Fittest.
Kicking off 2018, Martinez received an ROH World Heavyweight Championship shot against Castle. He lost, but followed this up with a strong match against Marty Scrull at ROH’s 16th Anniversary Show, which earned him his second 3.5 star rated match of his career and first that occurred in singles competition. Martinez then picked up victories over Shane Taylor and Tomohiro Ishii before earning his second title shot, this time for the IWGP United States Championship, at this year’s War of the Worlds. A few weeks later, Martinez re-entered into the television title discussion which he has been a part of for the past month.
After I'm done dropping heroes in San Antonio, I head to Dallas to not only creep violence but to claim @ringofhonor gold. While my Legion prepares to rejoice, everyone else should #PrepareToBePunished! Especially Page☠#MessiahOfPain #CreeperOfViolence #HeartOfDarkness pic.twitter.com/pWRwr5ncvi
— Punishment Martinez (@ROHPunishment) June 11, 2018
Martinez, who was involved in the Fatal-4-Way from ROH Final Battle that saw Silas Young win the television title (he was the one Young pinned to win), received an on-the-spot match at night two of State of the Art, after defeating Young, Hangman Page, Jonathan Gresham, Scorpio Sky and Cheeseburger. Facing Young in a singles match later that night, Martinez claimed his first gold in ROH.
The victory marked the end to Young’s less than inspiring reign but it should also be noted as the first time since ROH launched their Honor Club streaming service that a title change took place at a live event and not a TV taping or iPPV. Punishment Martinez’ first defense will likely be at Best in the World, in just over 10 days. It was already announced prior to the title change that Martinez would be facing Hangman Page, who has become his rival as of late, at that show. Now, it is likely this will mark Martinez’ first defense of his newly won championship.