A Modest Response


Welcome to this week’s A Modest Response. Thanks for all the feedback. I’m thinking if you send me anything long and thoughtful I particularly like, then I can run it in its own section from now on, so keep the feedback coming in.

The big news for me this week is I got WWE 24/7. It’s so cheap and fantastic, I couldn’t help myself. Expect many of the column ending match reviews to be from this. Well, a ton of real news this week so we might as well get right to it.


Vladmir Kozlov to be the Russian MVP

Do they particularly care that a guy can’t wrestle? Does it matter when a gimmick totally bombs? This item gives the answer to those questions, an emphatic “Hell No!”

New Hart Foundation to include Harry Smith, Nattie Neidhart, Teddy Hart and T.J. Wilson

Well, Teddy is likely to piss them off and kill this rather quickly. That seems to be the way of these things with his career. Let’s see if Harry can live up to the hype. I’ll be watching just to see how this turns out because, as a workrate fan, I’m a bit required to be a Hart mark.

Kurt Angle concussed during ‘iron man’ match

If I ignore this match, do you think it will politely go away? Joe continues to build up his credentials carried a broken down and concussed man to what was a **** match by all reports.

TNA gives away AJ styles vs. Kurt Angle on Free TV

I see we’ve learned nothing from WCW giving away Hogan-Goldberg. You can do rematches on TV in time, but the first will pop buyrate. Don’t waste profit.

CM Punk is to be depushed and potentially turned heel due to Arn Anderson and Dave Finlay Seeing him as not ready and being seen as a Heyman guy

Alright, Punk is sometimes sloppy. He’s an excellent storyteller, but he isn’t crisp. He certainly has his own style in the ring and isn’t generic or WWE Style in his movements. He looks different from the big guy/bodybuilder norm and was really pushed and heavily favored by Paul Heyman. He’s hugely over, at least partially because he debuted at the Hammerstein Ballroom, but was heavily promoted before and since, and got a legitimately bigger pop than DX at Survivor Series.

He mouthed off supposedly, so the vets clearly want him in his place. As a rule, that type don’t take kindly to departed workers ex-favorites. Guys like Triple H and Steve Austin were mid-carders in WWE before being pushed, so the “pay his dues” argument has some merit too.

Of course, Bobby Lashley is the Champion of his brand, he’s been wrestling far less, paid fair fewer dues, and is as green as a forest viewed from above in the summer. It’s a B show and a good portion of the crowd is there only for Punk, who seems to be the most over guy on the roster except RVD. You can spin a lot of shit if you really try, but to pretend Punk doesn’t deserve a push, or is greener than the man on top is just ignorant. Congrats Finlay, you’ve lost a lot of my respect.

Lawler interviews Dave Arquette
Thanks for that reminder of westlecrap better forgotten.

WWE releases: Tony Mamaluke, Doug and Danny Basham, Al Snow, Gangrel, Gymini Sylvester Terkay, Jazz, Rodney Mack, CW Anderson

Let’s take them one at a time.

Tony Mamaluke was never going to succeed in WWE. His size and look just guarantee it. This is still a great payday for him and allows him to increase his price on the Indies. Ultimately, he comes out ahead in this, as I’m sure he had to be paid through the end of his contract.

Doug and Danny Basham need to get to ROH pronto. They’re a really good team that WWE wasted and destroyed. A few months in Ring of Honor feuding with the Briscoes, Aries and Strong, and Daniels and Sydal and their stock will be high enough to get a lucrative deal in TNA or Japan. I can’t wait to see the matches too.

Al Snow is the one guy I feel really badly for. He’s Heyman’s guy and clearly being punished for that, even though he was a good company man for a long time. Supposedly he’s too broken down to make a living on the independent circuit and he isn’t a big enough name to get by besides. He’s a good teacher and good talker. I don’t know why he isn’t being given a shot to train the next generation or be the new voice of ECW. Either way, it’s sad to see him go and I wish him the best.- Updated- it appears that Al will continue to be a trainer

Sylvester Terkay got blown up under a minute into a televised tag match. Good riddance.

Jazz will wander over to TNA and their vague beginnings of a womens division that they lack TV time for.

CW Anderson never had a chance to get over, which is a shame, because he’s a heat magnet and he can really go. I suppose I’ll be forced into enjoying watching him on the Indies again until TNA or WWE realize he’s good, sign him, and waste him again. C’est la vie.

Rodney Mack is generic. Wake me when I should care.

Gymini I don’t know.

Gangrel‘s gimmick was given to Kevin Thorne. His days were numbered since. He’ll be fine on the smaller indies.

Scott Steiner to return to TNA in the Angle/Christian feud

He’s nuts. He’s total shit in the ring right now, but he’s nuts. And it carries over onto TV. A guy with true star presence, putting he, Christian, and Angle in a ring together is damn near guaranteed to keep a viewers attention, and that’s really all you can ask.

TNA to go to Monday when WWE is off for the dog show

This will not please Vince. Combined with the growing TNA champs, this fringe promotion has to be close to drawing his ire. That sounds fun. I can’t really stand either, but all the same, it should make for some compelling (car) Crash TV moments.

Monty Brown debuts on ECW

Expect a full column on him next week. I’ll save comments until then.

Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Chris Hero for Edison, NJ 1/27

The Kings of Wrestling Explode!! I don’t know what I hope for more, a protracted feud between Hero and Claudio or this being a ploy to injure Daniels and reclaim the tag belts.

Roderick Strong vs. Delirious for the FIP title 2/17 in Philly

Looks like I’m not making this show And that just gets sadder and sadder.

Jimmy Jacobs to debut a new video in the ROH videowire

The Emo Warrior is fantastic, as are his videos. I’m chomping at the bit for this and this is the best news of the week for me.

The Briscoes went undefeated in NOAH

Pick between Aries and Strong and The Briscoes to create a Best Of please. More fans need to be able to appreciate just these two teams for their absolutely special work.

BJ Whitmer vs. Brent Albright in a Tables are Legal Match in Manhattan on 2/16

BJ will take a bump that nearly kills him. We still need to see how good Brent really is. Nice.

Jack Evans signed for every Ring of Honor show thus far

Since he spent most of the year in Japan last year, this is big news indeed. I can’t wait to see him as a major player in Ring of Honor. He’s got charisma to spare and really is the best high flier around today.

Sweeney is holding Hero out of the Fifth Year Festival

The idea is that this allows Hero to name his price when he’s champion. In practice it will mean he can show up at the CHIKARA shows running at the same time.

Austin Aries vs. Claudio for 2/17 in Phili

I’m such a sad ROHbot. I want to go!

Ace Steele and Cassidy Riley sign WWE developmental deals

The guy who trained Punk needs developing? If you say so ‘E.

Doug Williams in negotiations to return to ROH in America

There aren’t many guys available who could be better for ROH right now. He’s a fantastic technical wrestler and an immediate upper mid-carder at the very least. I can’t wait to see him interact with BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs, or Jimmy Rave and the big dream match, Nigel McGuinness.

Be sure to check back next week for a preview of that weekend’s Ring of Honor shows, as well as coverage of each event here at Pulse Wrestling!

Respondents of Honor

From Jmull911-

“You’re going to have a lot of people tell you Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA is the match of the year. I expect it to win on the ROH boards, and your going to get a lot of arguments as to why it is. I’m not going to pretend to be different, I love this match as much as the next guy. So I’m going to tell you why its so damn good, and I’m going to have to tell you better than everyone else.

Lets start out with the obvious: the match is friggin awesome.Anything that needs to be present in a match of the year, this has it all. Build, suspense, crowd heat, workrate, selling, stiffness, its for a world title, you name it, this match has it all. For 33 minutes Dragon and KENTA proved that wrestling can be an art form, and they had the lucky Manhattan Center fans in the palm of their hands. The match is awesome, but you know that. But being awesome alone, does not make it a match of the year.

The second question is does this match well represent 2006? The answer, of course, is absolutely. Outside of the CZW feud, which only produced about 3-5 true big matches, the major draws this year would be a KENTA match, and a Dragon title defense. Those two collided here, in front of one of the biggest crowds in ROH history.

Not only that, but this was the main event of probably the most important show in ROH history. Glory by Honor V, probably the longest running tradition ROH has right now, was able to sell out the Manhattan Center under these two men, when many questioned if ROH could even draw enough to make good money on the gate. And the match was extremely important, as its quality was going to decide whether or not Dragon has the ability, with his severely injured shoulder, to work until Final Battle, or, if (presumably) another champion must carry it into the major Homicide match.

When many look back at 2006, most will remember the great Dragon title defenses more than anything. Nigel, Roderick, Joe, but none of those were as great, or important, as September 16 at the Manhattan Center.

The one thing that in my mind puts this match over the top as Match of the Year, however, is the atmosphere. “Big fight atmosphere” may be a cliché, but never was it put to better use than right here.

You have American Dragon, coming off a shoulder injury that should have put him on the shelf till 2007, and looking to make it a year with the belt. Business under Dragon has been the best it has ever been for ROH. you have KENTA, Japanese superstar who unlike most outside challengers, had dates scheduled past his title shot. Add it all up and you have half the crowd rooting for Dragon, half for KENTA, and no one knowing who’s walking out with the belt. And the crowd was so familiar with the rivalry, in fact, the last two NYC shows were headlined by matches in the KENTA vs. Dragon saga, making this match a good 6 months in the making, not to mention the KENTA and Dragon back to back defenses that occurred in December of 2005 in New Jersey.

And the crowd was amazing, much to their credit. In the year and a half since Manhattan Mayhem, NYC has proven itself as THE place to see an ROH show. Whether it’s Manhattan Mayhem’s untouchable card and match quality, all the stars at Escape from New York, the epic Joe vs. Kobashi, the Generation Next vs. Embassy feud ending in a steel cage, or even KENTA’s other two matches in NYC, ROH always brings the goods.

So what better place for the Match of the Year than in ROH’s Budokan, it’s MSG, in front of the largest crowd ROH had ever seen in that city? KENTA vs. Dragon is your match of the year, in match quality, in representing 2006, in everything. It was a match that made me and countless others buy the DVD as soon as it came out. While watching the Honor Reclaims Boston show live, many times I was thinking about rushing home to see this match and not what was going on in the ring in front of me. If that’s not a match of the year, I don’t know what is.”

This wonderful response won JMull a free ROH DVD and a charter spot in the Respondents of Honor. There isn’t a free DVD at stake every week, but for at least the next two there will be, so get those responses in!

This Week on Pulse Wrestling

I interviewed ROH head matchmaker Gabe Sapolsky! Can you say mark out experience? I can. Thanks for giving me the time Gabe.

Phil continues his huge run on the best and worst of 2006.

Brashear gives us his usual in depth look at the gimmick of Dude Love.

Sir Eric uses the elaborate ruse of a job interview to avoid giving me my New, Opinions, Etc fix. But he’s still here for the short forum, even if he didn’t plug the Punk piece, which he should have. Hope this isn’t bad karma for the Bears.

Ditch, if you’re reading then, drop me a PM on the writers forum or e-mail. The rest of you, if you’re reading this, go get your Puro fix. Oh, and you can’t leave. Sorry, I guess you’ll have to write for both sites weekly. Please?

Blatt vs. ECW continues to make me happy with a terrible product. Go let it make you happy, as well.

Link of HonorBambi Weavil appears to love Shawn Michaels nearly as much, although potentially in a quite different way, as I do. Her column is consistently insightful and well thought out, certainly a high mark of the section. I do have an issue with her comments this week, however, particularly this, which I’ll be modestly responding to-

The real passion of the night was Shawn Michaels and Rated RKO’s main event match up. It had everything a good wrestling match has – a buildup, a storyline and a clear cut underdog. Shawn Michaels does comeback/underdog better than anyone in wrestling today. The blood was a nice touch and everyone did a great job with executing a good story to wrap up the mess of the night. DX is not dead, of course, and Rated RKO for the night did not take out the Heartbreak Kid. Give Shawn the ball and watch him carry the show.

A Modest Response: The 40 Year old Kid

Shawn Michaels has had the Heart Break Kid moniker for over a decade at this point. He’s 41-years-old. He’s balding. He’s in a sad parody of a young man’s gimmick, D-Generation X. He runs around doing high school pranks. He’s found religion. He still rarely puts anyone over.

Shawn Michaels has lives the Heart Break Kid moniker for over a decade at this point. He’s in the most over act on the show, D-Generation X. He’s in great shape. He has some of the best matches on RAW. He’ll even job occasionally now.

So, which is he? The old man who can’t take the proper role in the business and is vaguely pathetic? Or the huge act who can carry the ball despite his advancing age?

This past Monday on RAW, Shawn Michaels wrestled both Randy Orton and Edge in a handicap match. Orton and Edge are former world champions. Young, physically superior wrestlers who are both probably the most over heels on the show. They should have and did dominate the aging superstar.

Shawn is the consummate underdog. Maybe the best at that role to ever play it in the wrestling ring, he sells an underdog match like no one else. John Cena’s gimmick is overcoming the odds, but Shawn Michaels wrestles it to perfection. Any match with him in this role will manage to be serviceable. It’s his version of the old Flair broomstick trick.

So, yes Bambi, of course the match was good. It’s Shawn doing his classic routine; what did you expect?

Shawn, despite finding religion, has always been an egomaniac and master politician. He once “lost his smile” rather than job his belt like a professional. He’s now aligned with the boss’s husband and has dominated RAW with said husband, Triple H for the uninformed, more so than even the current champion.

So, yes Bambi, of course the story has the proper backing outside the ring and is over with the crowd. It’s all that’s on TV; what did you expect?

Shawn Michaels is a fantastic in ring performer, perhaps my favorite ever, but he’s also an egomaniac. It’s what makes him so divisive and dynamic. He can carry the show and he has before.

Unfortunately, he’s also 41 with a bad back. He’s one bump away from the end of his career. His defeating of two main event heels, regardless of the circumstance, does more harm than good.

Simple storytelling states that should the good guy be outnumbered he fights back valiantly only to fall just short at the end. He’s 41 and has been a main eventer for years. He has nothing to gain from the win, but by consistently coming up just short, he does have something to lend Edge and Orton- extra credibility.

Edge and Orton both have credibility. They’re legitimately in the main event, but neither has had that legendary run, that huge feud that puts them over the top. Destroying Shawn with a proper build for a bit gives them that feud. What’s more is that it allows the introduction of a new element, a new wrestler, who could instantly be elevated to the level of those above by his involvement.

A wrestler like Ken Doane, Carlito, or even an out of brand star wouldn’t have to turn the tide to get over, just even up the odds. Suddenly you have another main eventer, a more complete story, and you’ve yet to hurt anyone. DX doesn’t even need to win until Triple H gets back, when he can validate the new member and they can move forward.

As things stand now, Shawn can make the show watchable, but he can’t elevate anyone from his current position. He can beat both Edge and Orton alone. He doesn’t need help and the crowd will recognize that. Someone can get a rub, but that doesn’t amount to being made a major star, as CM Punk has no doubt noticed.

Another problem with making HBK the focal point, the sole main winner, besides what happens when he’s hurt or done and there’s no one to replace him, is that his ego will quickly become an issue in such a situation. If the man won’t job to two main event heels, why would he job later to a single major enemy? We end up with a credibility gap, as well as one major face champion, and underdog who cannot be beat. At that point he is no longer and underdog and there’s already one John Cena.

So, Shawn Michaels, the best underdog in the business, should not be given the ball to run with. Giving Shawn the ball leads to more problems than it solves. He might be able to run with it, but it would actually lessen the value he serves in what should be his true role: making sure the next generation can run with the ball. His job now is to direct the attention, increase the perception of superstars who have a decade or more left in their career. That he can do it while proving the best stories, in and out of the ring, on wrestling television today is a testament to how amazing he truly is. Nevertheless, between his ego, the length of his career, and the benefits of him not being the main guy, there are far more reasons for him to lose badly to Orton and Edge for now than to continue to win.

Let Shawn carry the ball, but only so he can hand it off in a reverse.

Upon Further Review

Random match review time to close us out. I grabbed any DVD at random for this week and came up with a recent Ring of Honor show, Honor Reclaims Boston.

Since I’ve been pimping Aries and Strong so often this is a fortuitous circumstance. I get to review a great Aries and Strong match against Davey Richards and KENTA.

Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. KENTA and Davey Richards

KENTA is the NOAH wrestler who was in Pulse Wrestling’s co-Match of the Year against Bryan Danielson. This is his second to last match in Ring of Honor. Davey Richards is his American protégé. They’re both incredibly stiff workers.

Aries and Strong are the former longtime tag champs. Both are fantastic all arounder wreslters, with Aries lending himself more to technical and high flying moves, while Strong is more about impact and striking.

KENTA has beat Aries and Strong both in singles matches, so we’ll see how a tag match goes.

Mat wrestling starts us ut as usual, this time between Davey and Roderick Strong. Davey has been getting the control. Starting off with the less over members of the team is smart. They get to get over the mat style, setting up the build as the pace picks up and increasing anticipation to see the bigger names.

The two mix in some strikes and speed things up, but KENTA tags in and he wants Austin Aries, immediately causing an Aries chant. Strong, since he’s not a heel, obliges.

KENTA slaps Aries after pushing him into the ropes, showing the former champion disrespect. Aries returns the favor. And it’s striking time, finally won by a KENTA Yakuza kick. That was stiff! In rapid succession they establish Aries is likely stronger with a shoulder block and better technically with a few reversals.

Aries throws KENTA into Roderick’s foot, establishing that the former tag champs have a team work advantage. We knew that from before the match because of time together, but it’s always a plus to establish early for the uninitiated.

Strong is in with chops, a mistake as we know, since KENTA has too much energy early and kicks the absolute crap out of Roddy, then tags in Davey.

Davey now stiffs Roderick and goes to mat work. He has an advantage, but Roderick and Aries work out a springboard senton off a blind tag, again using their teamwork to gain the advantage.

Aries takes control and he and Strong maintain control with quick tags and double teams. The tag team advantage is really making a big difference early. Beautiful usage of the classic tag formula mixed with innovative moves and double teams make this heat sequence feel different.

Eventually a double team back suplex is flipped out of by Davey and KENTA is in to destroy the former champions. KENTA with kicks and a missile dropkick get the crowd going.

They have an awkward moment where no one is ready to continue, but KENTA gets Aries back in the ring and goes chinlock. This is a mistake, Aries still has the technical advantage and hits a back-suplex.

Aries continues to show his brains by making a quick tag to Strong who ends up in a striking match with KENTA, still a mistake. Roderick’s strategy in this match has been as bad as Aries has been good. KENTA and Davey take turns controlling Strong now. It’s good that his poor strategy has lead to him being the one of his team being beaten upon.

Eventual tag and Aries with some beautiful series takes out both KENTA and Davey. Davey eventually takes out Roderick and returns to the ring to control Aries with some double teams, including a diving knee to the back of Aries head while he’s hung on the ropes.

KENTA and Aries go to war in the middle of the ring, but Davey is too fresh and cuts off Aries. Strong is finally back up and he takes out Davey, but a big flying knee from KENTA puts down Strong and everyone in the ring is on the mat.

Everyone ends up on the floor and they hit the dive sequence, which as always, pops the crowd and signals that we’re at the fast paced portion and false finish part of the match.

They hit the ring where Aries gets control, but not for long as he eats a Doomsday knee attack! That’s sick, but Roddy makes the save. Aries is fresh enough from wrestling a smart match to control offense, but Davey, better physically than Roddy at this point, is able to counter Aries control of KENTA. Roderick is showing up late to everything, but generally just in time to save Aries as he gets overwhelmed.

They continue this same general sequence with KENTA hitting a top rope falcon arrow on Aries. Aries had time to rest previously and kicks out. Davey goes for a shooting star but gets knees. Tag maneuvers on Davey end in a KENTA save.
Go to Sleep continually countered seems to foreshadow a finish of the move, but it’s not to be. A ridiculous double team- Stomp from the top, head kick, spine buster, and the 450 in a sequence on Davey gets the finish.

Austin Aries and Roderick Strong beat Davey Richards and KENTA (Pin, 450 splash, ***3/4)
Great match dragged down slightly by failing to pay off on the Go to Sleep tease and the few seconds they were lost and nothing happened in the middle. A great modern tag match and one to check out, especially since it gives you a chance to see one of the top tag teams of the new millennium, one of the best young Japanese stars, and Davey Richards, who many consider to be the next big thing.

See you next week with another huge A Modest Response including the weekend’s Ring of Honor show previews.

Glazer is a former senior editor at Pulse Wrestling and editor and reviewer at The Comics Nexus.