A Modest Response


Welcome to A Modest Response. Glad you decided to visit this week, hope you enjoy and stay. Today as I write, I watch Punk: The Final Chapter. It’s fitting. If you don’t know why, you will soon. The review won’t come from this show, though. It’ll be Joe-Punk II today. For the reasoning, check the first news item.

News of Honor

Samoa Joe is leaving Ring of Honor at the end of the Fifth Year Festival

I don’t know that I’m ready to talk about this, really. This one really hurts. He saved the promotion and put it on his back. I wish this weren’t true. I’ll try and write more at length about it next week

New ROH Video Roster up at ROHvideos.com

If you want a short introduction to Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, The Briscoes, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, Jimmy Rave, Colt Cabana, Davey Richards, the Women of Honor, Jack Evans, and Brent Albright.

Super Agent Larry Sweeney lands Chris Hero a February and March Pro Wrestling NOAH tour

I’m very curious to see how Hero adapts to the NOAH style. My guess would be well and we’ll be seeing less of him as he becomes a major gaijin there due to his size.

Daizee Haze got a concussion Friday, but is okay

Glad she’s doing well. She spent Saturday deep in conversation with Chris Daniels about how wrestlers were putting together their matches.

I’m really going to miss Joe.

In other News

Kurt Angle talks more crazy jive

All you really need to know is he claimed TNA is currently beating Smackdown and ECW in the ratings. If the man can’t grasp simple facts, why bother with his opinions?

Teddy Hart wants out of WSX and into WWE

Does it matter? He’s good, but he’s a spot monkey. He’s certainly no better than Jack Evans or Matt Sydal, both of whom are on the WSX roster also.

Lagana wanted Monty Brown to keep his real name, Gerwitz wanted Brown on Raw

But as usual, Vince did what he wanted and screwed up twice.

Arn Anderson and Finley are responsible for Holly being the top heel, even though he might need to retire

That’s not short sighted is it? A mediocre mid-carder who has never been over and might need to retire going over a young guy the crowd is behind, Punk, and RVD. Do I even need to explain why that’s stupid?

ECW’s dead when the TV deal is done, Vince thinks they can’t work, and Dusty is being moved over to try and save the idea

Dusty is a very good booker when he isn’t on top of the promotion, so that’s good news, but it weakens Smackdown, which far more people watch, so it’s bad business.

Vince thinks no one on ECW can work, which is fine, but he’s in charge and he stocked the roster, so isn’t that his fault?

So, can the TV deal die soon enough so we can put this aborted atrocity behind us?

RVD is being offered a new deal and acting like he’s got one foot out the door

There is absolutely no reason for RVD to stay in WWE. They put the title on a guy who’s on the cover of pot magazines then got all surprised when he was caught. Give me a break.

Punk’s push is dead as his demeanor annoys people

Just cut him. Please?

TNA’s big five (Nash, Christian, Angle, Jarrett and Sting) are getting special treatment and this is making the locker room angry

Since everyone on that list but maybe Christian has their best years behind them, and TNA bills themselves as the “new face of professional wrestling,” they might want to consider that they’re pissing off the very guys they’re going to need to rely on to survive long term. If only there was another viable option. I’m quite upset Joe is leaving ROH to end up in this cesspit full time.

Nash plays politics- gets Borash back on interviews, ends up confronting Backlund over drug comments

Good to know a leopard really can’t change its spots. He adds nothing doing what he is right now.

Brother Ray (Bubba Ray Dudley) was stiff with Homicide and has heat on him

Well, that’s good. At least they aren’t letting guys outside the big five take liberties with the young talent.

Senshi (Low Ki) is not being allowed onto LAX because of his attitude

This kind of stuff follows him everywhere. It’d be nice if someone put good business ahead of personal attitude.

Mike Tenay is back on the booking team

Well, at least he knows his stuff.

New Foley DVD set to debut

But it’s really just the old one with a few more recent matches. Way to milk the consumer.

A Wrestlemania III special edition is due out

And by special, they mean complete. Way to milk the consumer.

Links of Honor

Vin has a good column, but unfortunately keeps track of the roundtable results, and since I refuse to suspend reason, I suck.

Bambi talks RAW and Rumble, or Rumble and RAW. Either way the events she discusses are alliterative.

Eric S delivers more so on the news, opinions, etc, but at least he delivers.

Brashear makes me upset speaking of the first ECW revival.

Michaels and PK talk mania, but devolve a bit into fantasy booking.

Ditch talks Puro and learning from the past, two things definitely worth knowing.

Kace Evers the newest Pulse Wrestling staffer has a two hour podcast, full of goodness like ME and Eric S and ME!

No Column of Honor this week as I’m going to respond to an e-mail question I get constantly this week.

A Modest Response: The Top 12 ROH Shows of 2006

This week we’re going to run down the 12 Essential ROH Shows of 2006 with notable match-ups, feuds, and storylines for that show. Why twelve? Well, it really isn’t twelve, it’s ten. One show is currently sold out and another is just an alternate in case of any problems.

For 10 shows, if you were impatient and didn’t wait for a sale, you’d spend $200. 30 hours, at the very least, of wrestling, for $200, the same price as 5 WWE PPVs, most of which run at least a half hour less than the advertised time. So, five Pay Per Views, or the best in ring action from the promotion known for the very best in ring action? You decide, but here’s what to spend your money on if you decide to try Ring of Honor.

Due to length, this will be in two parts. Expect part two next week!

Show One: Arena Warfare 3/11/06

This is a part of the famed Milestone Series in which each show was a Milestone for Ring of Honor as a company. Although this is the worst show in the series, this one is among the most important because it beginning the big story of the year: ROH vs. CZW.

For this show, Ring of Honor is running the old ECW arena. The CZW, Combat Zone Wrestling, locker room takes exception tot his, specifically ROH world champion Bryan Danielson calling them garbage wrestlers. Jim Cornette, ROH Comissioner, agrees with the champion and the feud begins between the two companies.

Also of import on this show is the ROH World Title match between Bryan Danielson, the champion, and Alex Shelley, a major heel who’s an excellent mat wrestler, playing to Danielson’s strengths. This match is important in the face portion of Danielson’s run as champion, as it establishes the type of matches he’s capable of.

The last important match on this show is Matt Sydal vs. Austin Aries. They two are stable-mates in Generation Next, but Sydal is cocky and really wants to beat the leader Austin Aries and get his hands on Aries and Strong’s tag gold. This feud continues to this day.

Overall, this isn’t the strongest show, but it sets up the year very well. If you’re willing to just assume on the start of the CZW vs. ROH feud as garbage wrestling vs. traditionalism, you can easily skip this for an alternate, but if not, then this is where the year really kicks into high gear.

Show Two: Dragon Gate Challenge 3/30/06

This is the first of the Wrestlemania weekend triple shot, this one marks a challenge series of three matches between Dragon Gate and Ring of Honor wrestlers.

The first match in the series is Jimmy Yang vs. Ryo Saito, a good, but not great match. The second match features insanely fun high flying with AJ Styles and Matt Sydal against Dragon Kid and Genki Horiguchi. This is really great. It spoils little to say that the first two matches are split between promotions.

The third match is Generation Next members Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Jack Evans against CIMA, Naruki Doi, and Masato Yoshino. This is a great, great match and sets up quite a bit for the rest of the triple shot over the weekend. You must see this before the next two shows to fully appreciate it though, so be sure to do so.

This show also features the continuation of two blood feuds. The first is Homicide vs. Colt Cabana. Colt hosts a little interview show called “Good Times, Great Memories” and on it, during an interview, Homicide felt Colt mocked his past pretending to be from the mean streets and calling Homicide “My Nizzle.” Well, Homicide got angry and things got extremely violent quickly when ‘Cide decided to try and kill Colt by pouring Drano down his throat. This is a Falls Count Anywhere match in the feud that’s run since late in the Summer of 2005. Homicide is an amazing heel through this, dangerous, violent and disturbing, as he dominates Colt Cabana, formerly a happy go lucky dancing fellow.

The second blood feud is Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer. Jimmy is the Emo Warrior and he turned on his former tag partner Whitmer out of love for his valet Lacey. Well, Lacey hates BJ and wants him hurt. What Lacey wants, Jimmy does, so he goes through many insane brawls with BJ, including one of the sickest bumps you’ll ever see in this match. Must see again and this feud goes on to this day.

The main event of the show is years in the making. Christopher Daniels brought Samoa Joe into ROH as a hired gun, but Joe quickly outstripped Daniels and became champion. From that time Daniels has never been able to pin Samoa Joe in Ring of Honor and this is the latest chapter in their long feud and yet another memorable match.

Get this show as one of your ten, no matter what. Three interpromotional dream matches, two blood feuds, and the culmination of a long time battle between icons. Tough to top.

Show 3: Supercard of Honor 3/31/06

The second show of the Wrestlemania triple shot out does the first. Let’s begin with the two Match of the Year contenders from this show.

The first is Do Fixer vs. Blood Generation. The two Dragon Gate teams put on a 5* spotfest according to both Meltzer and Keith. This match is must see and speaks for itself.

The second MOTYC is ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong. These two engaged in quite the series of matches for Danielson’s World Title, with this being many’s favorite. This match goes quite long, but builds very well and truly elevates Roderick from mid-carder to main event caliber.

Also worthy of note from this show is AJ Styles and Matt Sydal vs. Aries and Jack Evans. This is a nearly perfect tag match that is totally blown away by the amazing Dragon Gate match that immediately follows it. Still, watching this, it’s impossible to not be impressed with the great use of tag formula and innovative spots as Sydal continues to try and defeat his stable-mates.

Ace Steele, trainer of Cabana and CM Punk, has quite a good, if overshadowed, First Blood match with Chad Collyer, one of the most underrated workers around.

Last nights main event adds a new wrinkle as Joe and Daniels add Jimmy Jacobs to make a three way dance and a major feud continues as Adam Pearce, ROH captain, faces the Necro Butcher, CZW’s extreme monster.

This, unbelievably, tops the night before.

Show 4: Better than our Best 4/1/06

First off, this is the one sold out show. It is also possibly ROH’s best show ever. Rather than go through an out of stock show, here’s Scott Keith‘s full rant on it.

Show 5: The 100th Show 4/22/06

And the ROH battles with CZW finally explode to a war. This show features an 6-man tag match between the promotions with Samoa Joe, Adam Pearce and BJ Whitmer of ROH battling Chris Hero, Super Dragon and Necro Butcher of CZW. This features a stunning betrayal at its conclusion and is a great match to boot. Also featured is a debate between Jim Cornette and CZW head man John Zandig in which who you believe won depends on whether you favor garbage wrestling or not.

Also important is a Christopher Daniels vs. Claudio Castagnoli match where Daniels gives his first handshake in Ring of Honor, stating Claudio is the future of wrestling. They have a very good match too, but not quite as good compared to Bryan Danielson beginning a feud and the elevation of former comedy lower card worker Delirious. Through this match and the long simmering feud that followed, Delirious went from an opener to an upper mid-carder. Danielson’s interview to the CZW crowd is among the best of his career, as well.

Early in Ring of Honor AJ Styles and The Amazing Red had several great matches with Jay and Mark, the Briscoe Brothers. On this show that feud continues with a new member as AJ teams with Matt Sydal to take on the Briscoes in an overlooked classic. The Briscoes are sick, stiff workers and AJ and Sydal aren’t afraid to bump like maniacs for them, leaving this as a very entertaining and stiff match.

CZW Feud matches are not to be missed.

Show 6: Destiny 6/3/06

This one is the first of the two alternates, but don’t confuse it for a less than amazing show, because it’s far better than Arena Warfare and probably several other shows by virtue of having two of the best matches ROH can put on.

The first absurdly high quality, main event caliber match on this show is the World Title Match featuring Bryan Danielson, the champion, against Homicide. This is a great match and begins the build to Homicide’s “Destiny” of winning the World Belt or leaving ROH for good.

The second match is actually better than the first and it’s Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, the tag champs, against the Briscoes. The two best teams in America face off for the tag gold and it’s as special as you’d expect. This isn’t their best match though, that’s coming up later in the countdown.

ROH newcomer Davey Richards made a huge buzz for himself in the smaller independents, but he debuts in Ring of Honor facing Jimmy Rave. Can he beat the major heel and ROH title threat? They put on a great match as we try and find out.

There are several other good matches, but those are the ones with repercussions that are memorable to this day.

Well, that’s the first 6 ROH shows, with alternates included, if you’re going to get 10 for the year. Please check back next week for the next 6 shows which you should be checking out for the year of 2006.

Upon Further Review

Since Last Week I reviewed Joe vs. Punk, this week seems the perfect time to review Joe vs. Punk II, especially in light of his impending departure from Ring of Honor.

Since he’s leaving, for the next few weeks I’ll be taking a look at some of his best and most memorable Ring of Honor matches. Next week, Joe vs. Punk III

Joe vs. Punk II
Chicago Ridge, IL

ROH World Title Match
Samoa Joe (c) vs. CM Punk

Punk is now a major face and Joe is still the unbeatable heel champion. The first match saw Punk use hit and run tactics to try and wear down the big, offensive, Samoa Joe, but a hurt knee prevented him from capitalizing. Will Punk be able to defeat Joe this time, or will Joe’s knowledge of Punk’s strategy allow him to come out on top? Punk has home field advantage, being from Chicago, but Joe has the champion’s advantage. It’s match time.

As the familiar “Miseria Cantare” blares out Punk emerges to chants of “Welcome home” and “New Champ.”

Easier chanted than done, as the Godzilla theme leading into “The Champ is Here” heralds the arrival of the year long champion, Samoa Joe.

During ring announcements the crowd is strongly behind CM Punk and against Joe. It’s always disconcerting to hear Joe get heel heat in an ROH ring, but here it is.

Both men feel each other out again to begin. This time Samoa Joe works on the mat with Punk rather than trying to shrug him off and go for strikes. He seems a lot more successful this way, although Punk is still better on the mat.

The respect from the last match comes out early in this match as both men are giving each other clean breaks and avoiding going for anything high risk and giving their opponent the advantage.

As Joe looks like he has the mat advantage, Punk goes with the headlock again, just like last match. Joe has reversals for that prepared and manages a leg scissor with an underhook of the arms. They continue to fight over Punk getting the headlock and maintaining it for several minutes, but Punk, still better on the mat, has a counter for every counter Joe attempts. Joe is getting a lot more offense in while trying to fight back this time and using less energy going for huge moves.

They begin to re-do the shoulder block spot from the first match, where neither can move the other, but when Punk goes for his cheap shot Joe begins striking and both men end up in a big reversal sequence. This is won by Punk and Joe goes to the floor. Punk won’t try returning strikes with Joe and instead goes right back to mat work.

A test of strength results in Joe using his slap combinations to pepper Punk, but Punk fires back, using his speed. Joe, taking a page from Punk’s book, covers up and kicks Punk’s head off, forcing Punk to bail.

Back in and Joe and Punk begin working a knuckle lock again. Joe has the strength advantage and uses it, but Punk uses his speed and mat skill again, now to work Joe’s arm. This is ongoing and Punk is badly outwrestling Samoa Joe in this one.

Punk climbs across the ropes, a la Undertaker with an arm lock and takes Joe down with a leg drop to the arm off the ropes. The arm work continues as the announcers put over that Punk has been working with Ricky Steamboat, a nice bit of inter-feud continuity.

Joe finally escapes the wristlock with a spinning forearm. Joe goes for his chop-kick-knee combination, but Punk again has Joe scouted and goes to the side headlock. Punk is using the strategy Bryan Danielson did in his Midnight Express Reunion match with Joe by picking apart two body parts to ensure he has options and Joe is weakened in more than one way. Danielson attacked the arm and leg, and Punk is going after the head and an arm.

Punk, working the headlock follows Joe to the floor without breaking the hold, but Joe turns it into a suplex on the floor to break the hold hard this time. Joe hits the chop-kick-knee combination, this time countering Punk’s counter and that big suplex changed the complexion of this match. Joe finally has Punk open enough for chops and the facewash, but Punk retreats from that and attacks Joe’s head for the advantage.

Punk now goes for the facewash on Joe and connects. The head work is paying off!

From here Punk rides a knee from the second rope down on Joe’s back. The wear down continues.

Joe, finally counters with kicks and he’s attacking Punk’s leg, a tactic which saved the title in the first match. Punk refuses to tap to an STF alteration and tries a flying cross body, but Joe walks out of the way of it. Joe has Punk hurt and goes for high impact maneuvers.

Joe goes after the legs again with a sweep, but Punk dodges and Joe takes a dropkick, no sells and hits the sweep as intended. Joe continues the assault with a Boston Crab. Punk’s back and legs are suddenly in a load of trouble, but Joe still seems winded.

Joe unleashes on Punk with strikes and Punk is in big trouble. The saving grace for Punk this time is that Joe still appears winded and isn’t putting together combinations like he usually does. Joe finally hits the facewash, but has to catch his breath afterwards.

Joe continues the assault for several more minutes, but Punk gains an advantage with a second rope hurricanrana and a tope suicida. Punk goes with the Olay Olay kick and connects. A second Olay Olay kick and Joe is out. Punk’s speed and conditioning have totally changed this match.

But, I spoke too soon as Punk tries another hurricanrana he ends up being spun into the guardrail. Joe’s strength is not to be underestimated here. Angrily Joe goes for an Olay Kick, but is cut off and both men have finally gotten their second win and exchange strikes.

That goes about as well for Punk as one would expect and he eats Olay Kick. Back in and Joe retains control by planting Punk with a giant STO. Joe now knocks Punk out of the ring and nails Punk with a diving forearm. At this point the announcers sign off and we get the remainder of the match with no commentary.

Joe still in control DDT’s Punk on the apron. The crowd continues to rally behind Punk, clapping out the beat to his song, and booing Joe heavily when he hits the ring. Back in and Punk attempts offense, but eats a spear from Joe.

Joe, in a rare act of desperation, goes to the top and misses a big splash. High risk is called that for a reason. Punk has an opening and goes with a mule kick and enziguiri to keep the big man on the defensive. He continues kicking the crap out of Joe until he runs into Joe’s powerslam and armbreaker combination.

Joe, thinking he has control and can finish, goes for the powerbomb combination, just as he did at this point in the previous match, but this time Punk snaps off a hurricanrana and a Yakuza Kick.

Punk hits an elevated neckbreaker, but can’t keep Joe down. Punk manages a tornado DDT, but that won’t finish either so he goes back to the headlock, which sends Joe scurrying for the ropes.

Punk goes into the ropes again, which has been a mistake pretty much every time he attempted it this match, and Joe kills him with a lariat. Joe in control continues working over Punk.

A quick reversal leads to a hammerlock DDT, working the hurt arm and the head, but even that only gets two, the first real near fall of the match, around 50 minutes in. A Pepsi Twist attempt by Punk, just like the first match, but this time Joe counters into a powerbomb combination to a crossface. Punk won’t tap and makes the ropes. We’re clearly in King’s Road Style were the very slow and story heavy start gives way to the fast paced, high impact finish.

Joe tries a Dragon Suplex, but Punk counters with a sunset flip and a Shining Wizard. Huge false finish there as Joe has his foot on the ropes.

Pepsi Twist into a moonsault and Punk just cannot keep Joe on the mat. Punk picks Joe up but receives a big pumphandle for his trouble. His speed allows a sleeper counter on Joe, though and Joe is in trouble… but he escapes with a back suplex. Punk no sells and they double clothesline each other for a double count.

Punk is up first and he sets Joe up for the Pepsi Plunge, top rope Pedigree, and with his knee basically fine in this match, if he hits it the match is over! They fight it out on the top and Joe manages a superplex to the crowd’s dismay.

Muscle Buster set up by Samoa Joe and they fight out of that. Only 10 seconds remain and Joe hits a big fisherman’s buster from the top as time runs out.

Samoa Joe and CM Punk go to a draw (60 Minute Time Limit, *****)
Technically this is as good a match as you’ll find. They told the story and built on nearly every spot contained in the first match and managed to go through all the big spots the first match lacked in the last 20 minutes of this one. This one focused on Power and Striking by Samoa Joe vs. Speed and Technical work by CM Punk. Both looked completely beat at several points, but at those times that one big move was never connected with to end it, usually because of something that happened in Joe-Punk I.

I’m usually really hyped up by the end of this one, but with Punk gone and his push dead, and Joe leaving and his role in the big feud in TNA basically being that of a meddler, this upset me more than cheered me up. Luckily the pace and build of Joe-Punk III is so different that it’s bound to hold interest.

After the match the two ROH Legends shake hands and “The Champ is Here” plays. Well in a month, the champ will have left the building for good.

This is Pulse Glazer, the ROH Reviewer, saying good night and see you next week for the next 6 Pivotal ROH Shows of 2006 and a review of Joe vs. Punk III.

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