Sitting on a bleacher bench, eying little indys with bad intent. Welcome to this weeks A Modest Response. Anyone who can tell me what song is being paraphrased in the header gets a free Ring of Honor DVD. The DVD goes to the first response, but you can also win a DVD if you paraphrase the whole song to be about Joe going to TNA. The winner will be posted next week.
Huzzah, opening contest now has a dual meaning. Let’s hit you with some news before you realize how corny that is. Shh, it gets better from here, I promise.
News of Honor
Roderick Strong stays FIP champion after defeating Davey Richards twice
Roddy’s title run has been built through the entire history of FIP, so it’s no surprise he’s maintaining the belt, but it’s still good to hear he’s putting on great matches with the belt and living up to the hype. He also appears to be going heel, a la Danielson with the belt, which sounds like it could be a blast because, while he isn’t the worker Danielson is, he’s quite good and comes off as an extremely cocky jock type who’s easy to hate.
March 30 and 31 will see Dragon Gate stars Naruki Doi, Shingo, Masaaki Mochizuki, Susumu Yokosuka, Ryo Saito, Dragon Kid and CIMA in ROH for the Wrestlemania double shot
Last year at Wrestlemania weekend they had the Wrestling Observer’s Match of the Year. The Dragon Gate stars have yet to disappoint in ROH s this is good news indeed.
Joe is leaving ROH because TNA wants to push the belt on him
This sounds good, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Marquis Cor Von can tell us all about the best laid plans of TNA and men.
The Amazing Red is primed for a comeback
This is more hopeful than anything as I’d love to see him get another ROH shot. In tag teams and the lower portion of the card he can be very useful if he makes anything close to a full recovery.
In Other News
Wrestlemania Main Event reportedly to be Batista vs. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena
Two face-face matches is courageous, but when the names are the size of the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, you can get away with it. Cena’s been fairly hot lately and his match with Michaels should be good, but the Undertaker and Batista have a distinct likelihood of stinking up the Main Event. Will either new star be cheered over their older counterpart? That’s the real point of interest for me.
Hulk Hogan is off Wrestlemania
While it would have been a nice moment, it surely does not hurt the match quality of the show, so I’m fine.
Scott D’Amore has been spotted at WWE events
Since D’Amore is the TNA mind that decided all the X-Division should do is spotfests, I’ll be the first to say good riddance.
Piper’s in My Super Sweet 16: The Movie
Glad he made such a quick and full recovery from cancer; everything else is gravy.
Scotty to Hotty added to the RAW roster
Apparently WWE really wants to keep me away. They’re succeeding.
Vince is serious about ECW because of WSX
This sounds like more of a hopeful rumor from people who’ve seen the creative fire in Vince all but die.
Kip James talks quite badly about TNA publicly
Well, hopefully this leads to a de-push and the end of the terrible Christy Hemme angle.
BG James says now it’s almost time to return to the WWE
Ron Killings will be given the gimmick of an aspiring movie star in black versions of existing movies
They have precious little TV time and this is what they choose to use it on. Impact could not be less interesting to me as a wrestling fan.
Hector Guerrero of Gobbledygooker fame, might get involved in the LAX vs. Team 3D Feud
Well, it’s been over a decade, but at least he’s finally getting a shot after the gooker debacle.
Christian, Tomko, Steiner, and Styles to form a stable where they all have tension
And I believe this will be done with any subtlety why? And how does AJ fit in with the rest of this crew?
Jake Roberts got drunk and made a fool of himself in FIP; he was replaced by Sean Waltman
Well, I guess so much for him being better now.
This Week on Pulse Wrestling
Andy Mac takes a look at Joe leaving ROH and is far less emotional about it than I will be. For those wondering where my comments are, it’ll receive its own column when he’s actually gone.
Keith is reviewing like a maniac again. If you ever wondered why he’s the best, now’s the time to see. Welcome back Scott!
The Chrononaut does the same as Scott, but not as well. It’s still good stuff and the dual perspectives are very interesting.
Eric S needs to read more of me since I’m so well hooked into the IWC Groupmind.
Blatt brings ECW the well, not love and actually quite a bit closer to hate but either way, he remains on top of his game. He’s the best show review out there, even if it is for the worst show.
Hevia does A Modest Response by a different name and I expect royalties.
Fitzgerald does a good classic review of a relatively bad Wrestlemania.
Phil Clark goes into depth with good Puro then bores me by hating Russo. At this point saying he’s terrible is like saying the sun rose this morning: it’s so obvious, why bother.
Wallace is back. You’ve bled with Wallace, now bleed with ME!
Broken Dial – Shhh, pretend it’s wrestling and broaden your horizons. They’re really, really good.
A Modest Response: The Top 12 ROH Shows of 2006 (Part 2)
Last week we ran down the first 6 Ring of Honor shows that you can get to keep up with the goings on of the best North American Wrestling company in 2006. Only 10 shows are totally necessary, but one is sold out and one is an alternate.
In case you missed last week’s,here it is.
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.
Show 7: Death by Dishonor IV 7/15/06
This is a huge must buy because it contains the culmination of the ROH vs. CZW feud (see last week for more background) in the Cage of Death, which is the old Wargames concept with added weapons inside the cage. This is either 5* or very nearly 5* and must see.
This show also has the trainwreck match of the year with Davey Richards vs. AJ Styles. AJ gets visibly upset about Davey stiffing him, and while the match isn’t very good, the drama because of Davey’s stiffness makes it quite interesting.
This show is topped off by a fun Danielson defense against Sonjay Dutt, which isn’t great, but is very much fun. As always, Danielson dealing with the CZW crowd is worth the price of admission alone.
Show 8: Generation Now 7/29/06
Ah, good old underrated Generation Now. This is among my favorite shows and should be essential viewing for just how good a regular ROH show can be.
My favorite feature of the show is the live Ballad of Lacey performance by Jimmy Jacobs followed by a very good match with Jay Briscoe. For the non-Jacobs mark, this is followed up by a Road of Homicide (Homicide’s road to the title at the final show the year) match that follows with Homicide against Mark Briscoe.
This is one of Christian Cage’s two Ring of Honor shows, this one against Christopher Daniels in a match head and shoulders above their recent impact outing. The match is quite good, but not great, unlike the next match.
Nigel McGuiness, the longtime Pure Title holder elevated the belt to near the level of Bryan Danielson’s World Title. Once this was accomplished a collision course was a must. This isn’t the best match between the two, that will come later, but it’s still a great match and must watch in order to see some of the best technical wrestling in the world by masters of their art.
The shows name comes from this being Generation Next’s last stand. Generation Next was a dominant stable in Ring of Honor formed of guys who decided they were going to take their spot on the roster from more established stars. The members at the time of this show were former ROH World Champion and Tag Team Champion Austin Aries, Tag Champion Roderick Strong, Jack Evans, and Current Tag Champion Matt Sydal. They feel they arrived and the Generation Next moniker is outdated so they have a final match as a unit here. Their opponents are Davey Richards, Jerrelle Clark, and Irish Airborne, all guys looking to earn a spot and do what Generation Next had already accomplished. The match is great and must see.
Show 9: Fight of the Century 8/5/06
This is Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson’s first meeting since 2004 and their best since then, even though they’ve now faced off three times since then. If you’ve heard of or seen these guys, you know this is special. See it.
The newly defunct Generation Next face off against each other as Aries and Strong, the tag champs, face former stablemates Jack Evans and Matt Sydal. The latter two are spotty, but the former as sound technically as they come and the results are just as great as you’d expect. That isn’t all though, this is an ultimate endurance meaning its elimination and there are two other teams involved. The two teams are the Briscoes, two Southern tough guys, and Irish Airborne, young high fliers. Great match and ultimate endurance matches tend to deliver.
Homicide knocked the hearing out of Steve Corino’s ears years back and their feud continued heated until November’s The Bitter End. An interesting chapter in that feud and a step in the Road of Homicide is here as Corino teams with Jim Cornette lackey Adam Pearce to battle Homicide and BJ Whitmer. Jim Cornette decided he hated Homicide for reasons I won’t spoil at the end of Death before Dishonor IV and is making Homicide’s life hell for it. This is a very good brawl.
KENTA, a pro wrestling NOAH star who is undefeated in Ring of Honor, makes his first appearance on this list here. He has adopted Davey Richards as his American protÃƒÂ©gÃƒÂ© and here gives Davey a shot one on one against him to see how much he’s learned. If you like stiff matches, this is for you.
This show offers stiff strikes, a technical masterpiece, a good brawl and great tag team action. It’s one of the best all around shows.
Show 10: Unified 8/12/06
This is Ring of Honor’s first London show, and while the second one the next night is good, this is spectacular and must own. There are two near 5* matches on this.
The first is the Title Unification match between Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness. This was better than anything TNA or WWE put out all year and absolutely amazing. Everything worked perfectly in this one and besides the great wrestling, some of the spots Nigel pulls out must be seen to be believed.
The Briscoes face Aries and Strong for their tag belts here and many consider it the best Tag Match they’ve ever seen. I’m hard pressed to argue and if you miss stuff like the Midnight Express vs. The Rock n’ Roll Express, The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs, or even Edge and Christian vs. The Hardyz, then this is absolutely for you. The stiffness, unique spots, pacing everything is on perfectly and this is another Match of the Year Contender for this show.
Leading up to the big two is Jimmy Rave trying to finally get a win on the upstart Davey Richards, Colt Cabana taking on the bad penny that won’t go away, CZW’s Chris Hero, and an interpromotional match between England’s Jody Fleisch and Doug Williams and NOAH’s SUWA and Go Shiozaki.
This is another on the must see pile and one of ROH’s better cards ever, if only it weren’t topped the next month by
Show 11: Glory by Honor IV Night 2 9/16/06
This is the big one. Either this, or last week’s Better than our Best is ROH’s show of the year.
First off, this has InsidePulse’s co-Match of the Year when Bryan Danielson puts his title on the line with a seriously separated shoulder against undefeated NOAH star KENTA. What a match. I reviewed this match in full in my very first A Modest Response.
This show also features the historic first time the NOAH World belt, GHC Title is defended off of Japanese soil as Marufuji takes on Nigel McGuinness in a great match.
The Road of Homicide continued with The Briscoes, Jim Cornette’s hired guns against Samoa Joe and Homicide, the ROH Megapowers.
The Kings of Wrestling, villains Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero make their ROH debut to challenge Austin Aries and Roderick Strong for their tag belts in a messy, fun tag formula match.
Every match on this card is at least fun, those are just the four important ones. Also featured is a Bruno Sammartino interview and the beginning of the Samoa Joe and Morishima issue. It’s an absolutely loaded show. If you can get one show from 2006, I suggest this be it.
Show 12: Final Battle 2006 12/23/06
Well, this isn’t out on DVD yet, but will be within the next week, so be sure to check it out. I was at this show live and here’s my review of it.
There you have it, 12 Ring of Honor shows that will be all you need to know for 2006. If you buy these with no sale they equal the price of 5 WWE Pay Per Views, but if you’re smart and at all patient, then you’ll get these at a buy 3 get 1 free sale or a 20% off sale and be able to pick all these shows up for the cost of only 4 Pay Per Views. Check these out and, as always, remember who sent you.
Upon Further Review
Check my profile on the right to see the reviews for Joe vs. Punk I and II, this week I’ll be reviewing the third in their Trilogy: Joe vs. Punk III.
All Star Extravaganza 2
ROH World Title Match
Samoa Joe (c) vs. CM Punk
This is the third of these two’s three matches for the Ring of Honor World Belt. Matches one and two went to time limit draws, so this match is no time limit.
Joe is the unbeatable champion, a strong style, striking, submission machine. Punk is his ultimate match, fast and smart, he tries to work over Joe’s body parts and get him to waste enough energy so that the better conditioned Punk can get the victory, but in doing so he must not let the high octane offense of Joe wear him down too much.
Standard mat stuff starts, like the previous two matches, but this time Punk is unable to get the headlock and hits the floor.
As Punk re-enters they battle again and Punk grabs a headlock and begins taunting Joe. Joe goes for the back drop, like he’s been using, but Punk counters differently by tossing Joe over his hip and maintaining the headlock. Punk is targeting the back of the neck again this match.
Punk aggressively, continually dropkicks Joe all over the mat, all focused on the head and neck areas. Joe naturally gets the advantage with strikes, but uses a headbut. That’s a mistake, as even though it’s early, the neck work is taking its toll. This allows Punk time to use a springboard dropkick to regain the advantage.
More back and forth action takes us through several minutes and for the first time in the three matches, Punk wins the strike battle. This just seems to anger Joe and he nails Punk with knees. Punk hits the floor and is busted open early. Punk can no longer afford to go long, even though it didn’t seem like that was his strategy this time.
Punk is dazed in the ring as Joe destroys the cut on Punk’s head. Joe continues the assault until a ravaged Punk retreats to the floor. Punk comes back in for more abuse.
Joe now goes for a headlock to wear down Punk in a role reversal, but Punk goes to the back of the neck for a counter. Alas, its just a hope spot as Joe tosses Punk to the floor and follows with a tope. The Olay Olay Kick follows and Joe is wearing the blood of CM Punk.
A second Olay Kick is countered and Punk gets a dropkick from the apron, showing the dropkick as his weapon of choice in this match. This also works because Joe was expecting a hurricanrana attempt since it’s something Punk tried in match one and two of their series.
Punk goes right back to the back of the neck of Samoa Joe with a top rope knee to Joe’s exposed neck on the ring apron. Back in and a tornado DDT gets two.
A series of reversals leads to several near falls as Punk manages to turn Joe’s powerslam combination into a roll up the bloody Punk slips out of the powerbomb-STF combination. Punk continues to rule the reversal game as a Joe Dragon Suplex becomes Punk’s DDT. Anaconda Vice to follow by Punk doesn’t work and Punk releases the hold. A Pepsi Twist and Moonsault (missed slightly) only get two as well.
They both head up to the top and Punk fights to hit the Pepsi Plunge. He can’t so he comes off to attempt to powerbomb Joe, which is reversed by the big Samoan into a hurricanrana and a killer lariat, but even though Punk seems dead, that only gets two.
Joe and Punk continue to fight it out as a Samoan drop attempt by Joe becomes a mule kick by Punk, followed by a big Shining Wizard that only gets two. Punk goes for another Pepsi Twist but Joe counters to a sleeper and the bloody Punk begins to lose consciousness and cannot escape. Punk tries a Bret Hart style reversal where he turns the sleeper into a pin as Bret did against Piper to win the IC belt. That’s followed by several other quick pin attempts by Punk, but all fail.
Samoa Joe finally gets an advantage and tries a pin and puts his feet on the ropes. The major face Joe has actually cheated and the crowd turns on Joe. Joe is so shocked he cannot counter and Punk goes for the Pepsi Plunge. Joe fights him off and goes for a Superfly Splash, but only hits Punk with his knee on Punk’s face.
Punk up again and goes for a roll up, but this time it’s reversed into the Choke! A German Suplex is rolled into a Dragon Suplex and Joe goes for the Kokina Clutch. CM Punk taps! Samoa Joe wins!
Samoa Joe defeats CM Punk (Submission, Kokina Clutch, **** Ã‚Â½)
This is far fast than matches one and two as Punk switched up his strategy to confuse Punk. Once again, like in the first match, a hurt body part betrayed CM Punk, this time the cut on his head taking away his wind and allowing him to fall victim to Joe’s choke. Great match in half the time of each of the first two matches.
Hope you’ll check back next week for the Ring of Honor weekend previews, another match review, and of course A Modest Response.