I’m sorry this report is so late, I have some major problems in my personal life lately, and it is difficult to get the energy to write about much these days. I will have another ROH DVD report up soon, but don’t expect too much in the near future. I’m sorry.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter, and not stuffing their faces too much with chocolate. I’m now glad that for my own health that people now consider me too old to buy Easter eggs for now (I am 21 after all now, i.e. OLD!).
The South by Southwest festival in Texas has been entertaining me all week; all the new up-and-coming British bands have fled to the U.S. to try to get some interest from the Yanks. I know that there is a great interest/jealousy of the British music scene at the moment in the U.S., and I think that many over here take the vast amount of quality music that is coming out at the moment for granted. In fact, many of the hottest North American bands find it harder to be accepted in their own market than over here (and I am NOT talking about the Killers or the Bravery when I talk about hot bands, because they both suck). But it is nice to see British invasion (#96 ish) happening, and bands like Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs and the Futureheads are being accepted. Well done US, you caught up, no more 50 Cent please. (If you want to listen to some North American bands that do NOT suck, see the Dears, the Arcade Fire and Ambulance LTD).
The Wrestling Channel promoted an international super show in Coventry, England, with a host of internationally recognized and respected athletes all making their way to perform in the Coventry Sky dome, the show promised to be spectacular. Misawa, Ogawa, Scorpio, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Raven, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, Mick Foley, Bill Apter, Doug Williams were the internationally recognized stars booked on the show, with more British stars also working the show.
The Sky dome was sold out weeks before the event in anticipation for the show, the only tickets I could get was the cheapest on sale; which still offered an amazing view of the action. I had been drinking pretty much solidly throughout the day because of the Blackburn v Arsenal football match (go Rovers!) and the climax of the Six Nations Rugby Union tournament (Cymru am Byth!!); so if I miss anything out, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help me out.
I actually ran into five people who had read my stuff, and the ROH merch guys also had read my columns; WHAT A THRILL!
Petey Williams v Jonny Storm v Chris Sabin v Spud
Good way to start the show I think. Apologies, I missed the start of the show because I was arguing with the ROH merchandise guys (25 quid for two DVDs, no way!), and I was in line to get even MORE beer (I had started to sober up due to all the queuing). Raven walked past me as I was carrying the beer back, and gave me an approving look.
Petey Williams and Chris Sabin you know as former TNA X Division champions, and current stars in NWA TNA. Williams is also a former IWA:MS champion. Jonny Storm works primarily for FWA (Frontier Wrestling Alliance) in the UK, but has also worked for TNA (most notably as part of their Super X Tourney in 2003), and for CZW. He has also worked a match for ROH as part of their ‘Road to the Title’ show in 2003, jobbing to the now retired Jody Fleish in the first round. Spud has started to make a name for him across the UK Indy scene, but I don’t know too much about him (sorry).
Usual X Division style match, lots of dives to the outside. Some good exchanges between Sabin and Williams, the stuff you have come to expect from the two. Storm hit his usual spots.rnatrnr
Steve Grey v Mal Sanders – Traditional World of Sport 3 Minute Round Match
Blast from the past as these two used to wrestle in the heyday of British wrestling, as past of ITV’s ‘World of Sport’ programmes, every Saturday afternoon here in the UK back in the 70s and 80s. Not much to say here, if you have seen some of the British wrestling style of say Nigel McGuinness, you pretty much have an idea of what this match was. The British style is very easy on the eye, but too extravagant IMO; there are certain exchanges that you just know have been meretriciously planned before hand, and not much is called on the fly as it were. A fun match nevertheless.
CM Punk v Samoa Joe
You all know who these two are, so no bios are required. This was booked as a continuation of their fantastic ROH feud, which produced the MOTY in my opinion last year at ‘Joe vs. Punk II’, and two other very good matches.
Cookie cutter stuff here, good strong style exchanges, with Punk attempting headlocks, and reversing and avoiding Joe’s strikes.
Alex Shane v Raven – Raven’s Rules Match
Raven needs no introduction. Alex Shane is an FWA champion, and a mainstay of British wrestling in the last five years. He also booked this show I believe.
I missed a large portion of this match, more beer was needed. A couple of notable spots; the done to death drop-toe-hold into the chair reversal spot was done, Shane dove off one of the balconies onto Raven. Shane also punched Raven’s steel chair swing.
Misawa/Ogawa/Tiger Emperor v GHC Tag Champions Doug Williams/Scorpio & James Tighe
This was the match I was most looking forward to seeing when the card was announced, and I decided to sober up for this one. I’m not really up to date with Japanese wrestling, but I have seen a few Ogawa matches, and lots of Misawa matches. Misawa is the owner of NOAH, and he has been GHC tag champion with Ogawa on many occasions. Tiger Emperor (Kintaro Suzuki) has been making his name in NOAH, and in Mexico.
Doug Williams has made a big impact on the US Indy scene in the past few years, particularly in ROH; where he is a big favourite. Scorpio has been all over the place, from Mexico and Japan, and stints in ECW, WCW and WWF (as Flash Funk). The two beat Misawa and Ogawa for the GHC titles. James Tighe is a product of the FWA Academy, and is a major player in FWA here in Britain. He worked the joint FWA/ROH show, where he went over current WWE superstar Paul London.
Fantastic Japanese strong style match, the usual high quality stuff you see on Pro Wrestling NOAH (the stuff I have seen anyway). Everyone hit their respective spots, Scorpio looked much better than the last time I saw him wrestle of ROH, he looked fresh, and was able to pull off some spectacular aerial stuff. Misawa was used sparingly, and to good effect with hot tags. Williams took his chance to impress, and looked very good throughout. James Tighe had his ear busted open by Ogawa, which looked mightily painful.
Great match! I was worried the crowd really would not buy into the Japanese style, but everyone was hot for the segments with Misawa and Williams.
AJ Styles v Christopher Daniels
What has not been said in the past about these two? I don’t need to add anything. Both have worked dates for the FWA in the past. Very X Division match, similar to their match at the recent TNA PPV (the name escapes me, but their names all suck anyway; I’m gonna get a rough ride from team TNA on insidepulse for that!). Again, cookie cutter stuff, but the crowd was really into it. I was pretty much the only one in our section to recognize Daniels finish, and my mate Rich and I were the only ones in the entire arena to chant “F**k TNA”, which got many things thrown at us (p.s. Hey Rich, Shakey said he would f*ck us up for that). Hey, if you want to kid yourself that TNA is a credible threat to the WWE, and that a lot of what they do is not complete shit, be my guest. Match was good.
Winner – Daniels
After the show, I waited for the crowd to leave, and went to the curtain in hope to get some quotes from the wrestlers, just for you lucky readers of insidepulse.com. While I emailed TWC to say that I would be covering the show, and would appreciate any information they could give me; they told me that they would not accommodate independent journalists at the show. So, I gave them the middle finger, and snuck backstage anyway. Have that f*ckers.
The first person that I ran into was Raven; he did not have much to say as he was escorting three women backstage from the crowd, not very attractive ones at that. One of the mothers of the girls was busy asking the security guard to let her backstage, probably fearful for her daughter’s virginity, good luck mum. Spud said that he was “really proud” to be involved in a show with the “legends” that were on the show, and was happy with the way his part of the four way match went.
Next I spoke to Jane Chiles, the former FWA ring announcer, and current executive for the company. She said that it was a “fantastic night for British wrestling”, and hoped that the FWA would benefit from this exposure. Christopher Daniels walked by, and I chased after him to talk to him. He was very gracious, and took the time to talk at length with me. “AJ really pushes you out there, and it is easy to work with a guy like that, he gets the best out of me”. I congratulated him on winning the X Division title, and he thanked me, shook my hand, and went on his way. What a nice guy Daniels is, very respectful and friendly.
CM Punk walked by with Samoa Joe. Punk told me to “blow it out of my own ass”, and Joe laughed, more on that later. I bumped into AJ Styles next, literally. He also took the time to discuss his match with me, “We took it to another level tonight”, “Daniels is so easy to work with, and I know that it will be a good match”. I asked him about his contract situation with TNA, and he was reluctant to answer any questions. He thanked me (!), and I shook his hand, and went on my way. Another nice guy.
Bill Apter was next, and what a thrill that was for me. Basically, the conversation was me gushing over his career, and telling him how much respect I had for him (which is genuine too). He took my details, and said that he would look out for me on the net. He also said that I was a “confident” young man, and “very respectful” toward the talent he had seen me talk to. Hello Mr Apter if you are reading this, but I respectfully doubt it.
Ross Jordon worked the dark match prior to the show, which only gold ticket holders could see, but I asked how his experience of the night; “it was surreal to be booked on a card with such superstars of world wrestling” “I felt the match went well, but it was mind blowing to work in front of such a large crowd”. I asked him about his handicap match as part of the tag team double dragon against current WWE developmental talent Paul Burchill at the ROH/FWA joint show ‘Frontiers of Honor’; “I was discussing some of the spots backstage before the match, and I could not see many working. They required some of Paul’s amazing power” “I was lying on my back, smiling after it all worked out”. “Paul’s visa was rushed through by the WWE, and I hope he is successful in the future”.
The shows booker Alex Shane then took the time to discuss his match with Raven, who had still not come out of his dressing room with his women. Shane felt the match was “what the show needed, and it was booked in the right spot”, “my hand really hurts after punching the steel chair, I think I might have broken a finger”. He seemed really busy at the time talking to ‘professional’ journalists, but once I mentioned that I wrote for insidepulse.com, he made the time for me; another top man.
Scorpio was then waiting to talk to me (!!), “It is such an honour to hold the GHC tag titles, considering the men who have held the titles in the past, such as Misawa”, “Doug is a fantastic man to tag with, and he is so easy to work with, I could have not of picked a better partner”. I told Scorpio that I really enjoyed his work in ECW and WCW in the early and mid 90s, but did not enjoy his WWF carrier, which brought a smile to his face; “well, I appreciate your honesty young man”. He thought the match “went really well”, and was “looking forward to tagging with Doug in NOAH in the future”. He hugged me (!!!), and went on his way.
I had the best conversation with James Tighe, who sat with me for about 20 minutes. He felt that it is “so different working the Japanese style”, and was “very conscious about making a mistake during the match”. “The Japanese guys were very understanding, and just went with it, despite the fact I was so nervous”, “Misawa is THE Japanese wrestler, and the Tiger Emperor is just amazing”. “Working with the owner of NOAH, I had to make sure that I did not f**k up. The crowd really helped me though”. “Scorpio has been everywhere, and his experience really helped”, “Doug was flawless, as ever”. The topic of conversation then moved to the FWA; “it cannot compete with the US Indy scene, a TV deal would cost too much, but would be the next step needed”, “World of Sport on ITV was the most watched program on Saturday afternoons, I don’t think that it would be that big again”. “The US style is so much faster, but it is far more technical than over here”, “big men always get ahead, I could never compete with the size…. There are few small wrestlers in the OVW developmental system at the moment”. James would like to work in Japan, for NOAH ideally, but he is not into the “shooting style of Zero-One”. I then asked him what his experiences in the FWA Academy were like; “I would not be where I am today without it, Mark Slone really believes in you”. The topic turned to his match with Paul London at ‘Frontiers of Honor’, “I will never forget that match, London is such a great guy to work with”. I thanked James, and then I went home. It was really refreshing to talk to such a positive young wrestler, who in my opinion, has a wealth of talent, and has a bright future in the business.
Overall, it was a fantastic event. The quality of the matches was high, and the crowd was hot throughout. It was really great to talk to so many talented people, and for them to be very friendly. EXCEPT for CM Punk and Samoa Joe, I was really disappointed in their attitudes. I firmly believe that independent wrestler’s careers are made by internet writers. Word of mouth on the internet is often what gets Indy wrestlers recognised by a wider majority of wrestling fans. I have been very supportive of both men in my columns, and have not said a bad word against them. Sure, I cannot expect the two to recognise me, and to be familiar with my work; but a little common courtesy never hurts. I even identified myself as an ROH writer for insidepulse, and was looking forward to talking with both CM Punk and Samoa Joe to enhance my ROH coverage on this site.
While I am still a fan of the two on a professional level, my opinion of them on a personal level is now very low. Please remember that internet writers, whether you like us or not, help to elevate your carriers, if you show some potential, and talent; and there is no doubt that both men have tons of both. I was treated better by absolute legends like Scorpio, Bill Apter, Mick Foley and Misawa; and was approached in a friendlier manner by more internationally recognised stars like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Raven than Samoa Joe and CM Punk.
I will still be objective in my future columns toward both Punk and Joe, because I AM professional.