A Modest Response

A Modest Response time!

A quick message to Eric S. I don’t think you lost your passion on the whole, but it seems like you bring more to the table for a product that you have more interest in. The less frustrated the product makes you, the better you’ve been lately. That’s a major switch since you were previously much more passionate about how things should be and would step up when they were clearly wrong. Sorry about the new medical news and best wishes.

News of Honor

The Briscoes win the ROH tag title for the third time

They’re the first three time champions and probably the best team on the planet. This should lead to great things.

Samoa Joe will face Homicide in his final ROH match

This will be, I believe, the sixth time this has headlined an ROH event and is probably the biggest feud in ROH ever. It’s a great way for Joe to go out since their January “Battle of the Icons” meeting was pretty bad.

Kevin Steen was so impressive he’s added to 4/13 in LI, 4/14 in Edison, 4/27 in St. Paul and 4/28 in Chicago

He was actually more impressive than this indicates. He should be immediately made a full roster member.

Matt Cross joins Austin Aries in his battles with the No Remorse Corps of Roderick Strong and Davey Richards

Glad to see Matt get a push. He’s a top notch high flier, only a step below Jack Evans and Matt Sydal. Working with guys like Aries, Strong, and Richards should really help improve him from his already good quality quickly.

3/30 in Detroit is to be called All Star Extravaganza III, while Supercard of Honor 2 will be the 3/31 Detroit show

Those are two huge show names. When these kinds of titles are broken out, something special occurs.

The next few ROH bits are according to Meltzer

Morishima getting the world belt was decided in December, the timing was changed due to the Danielson injury

I wonder how differently the Joe portion of the feud would have gone had the Danielson injury and Joe exit not changed things. I’d bet we wouldn’t have had that recent slow period.

Homicide was never meant to be a long term champion, he isn’t felt to be over enough outside of the New York area markets

And his popularity was suffering even there. Brilliant chase, but just as smart is getting the belt right off him. Check last week’s column for details.

Morishima will be pushed as Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen were in the 80s: short faced paced matches where they run over opponents

Monster heels who can go rarely fail to get over. Morishima will be no exception once he becomes acclimated, one would think. The different style is said to be preferred because no one can do the Danielson type matches as well as Danielson.

NOAH wants to build stars in America like the Great Muta was in the late 80s. They feel they did that with KENTA. They will now try it with Marufuji and Morishima.

This is great for ROH because it insures an influx of top talent. Marufuji was already GHC world champion and getting him regularly is a huge coup. I can’t wait for this!

ROH, taking a cue from Dragon Gate, will build tag and three ways around the Evans, Aries, and Strong groups

So looks like the upper card will be built around a NOAH style while the tag ranks are based around Dragon Gate. Interestingly, NOAH is built off of mid 90s AJPW, while DG is a descendant of NJPW juniors. Overall, they’re emulating the best eras of Japanese wrestling.

Joe not being constantly at the top of the card annoyed TNA. This and money will lead to Joe and Daniels being pulled

Well, Daniels hasn’t been doing much lately anyway, even with his tag title run. He’s important, but really a mid-carder with name value at this point. In all honestly, sadly, Joe seemed on his way to becoming the same, so his leaving might be fortuitous.

Homicide and Aries are not being pulled as of yet

Homicide can replace Joe’s spot on the card unless Romero is back for a major feud or Gabe has yet another trick up his sleeve. Aries has a ton left to do, including several dream matches and carrying the promo portion of the Faction War, so I’m very relieved to see he’s not on his way out.

In Other News

WSX is reportedly cancelled

It’s unclear whether it will be returning to finish the season or not, but the ratings have dipped badly. There might just be too much wrestling on TV. It’s a shame. I enjoy their program more than Impact regularly.

Test was released

Supposedly Test’s pride was wounded by being used to get Lashley over. Well, at least his ego is in touch with reality then.

Triple H should be back by Summerslam

Just in time for a feud I was sick of before he was hurt.

Jim Ross could be released to let Michael Cole do both Raw and Smackdown

This hurts brand distinction and is a shady rumor at best.

Kennedy will be turned face

He’s getting good reactions. Sorry Eric. At any rate, this is bad business. The clamor needs to be huge before they blow it again. They learned nothing from Orton and the Cena backlash.

No more extremists, ECW wrestlers are now superstars

I love what they think matters. The extremists is a dumb name anyway.

Konnan and Brother Ray hate each other

That will certainly add heat to the feud, although really, this is something to be put aside while Konnan heals up, no?

Jeff Jarrett wants more wrestling on Impact

Well, when the spoilers indicate this actually occurs, I’ll tune in again.

Jay Lethal’s Macho Man impersonation is to be a regular gimmick

What makes this guy so special everyone insists on pushing him? I didn’t see it in ROH and I don’t see it here.

Samoa Joe has a torn MCL and will work through it

Joe works through more injuries, it seems, than anyone. When considering his body type, his career doesn’t appear destined to be a long one.

Respondents of Honor

Last weeks contest was for readers to e-mail me about whom they thought would be the best man to step up and become the new face of Ring of Honor. The best response would win a DVD and be run in the column.

The Winner is Kyle K Sparks. Good job Kyle. Send me your mailing address and I’ll get your DVD right out. Here’s his e-mail:

Most of ROH’s best–or if nothing else, most complelling–ROH Title matches came from a heel champion that everyone wanted to see get his. Call it the Honky Tonk Man syndrome if you like, but Danielson’s matches were huge because not only was he a masterful storyteller in the ring that made you believe any man could be the one to dethrone him, he was a completely unapologetic asshole in the ring. He knew it, you knew it. Everyone knew it. People wanted to see him lose. Of course, it helped that he put on a great match in the process. CM
Punk’s title reign provided a little bit different appeal. There was a sense of urgency about Punk’s reign, because no one knew how long he was staying and the title HAD to be removed from him. The matches were solid 3-4 star affairs for the most part, but there was a different feel. That’s why the man I’m proposing is the perfect man to win the title, though where it (could) happen won’t. He’s in Japan right now. And it would provide an absolutely perfect angle upon his return to the United States.

That man is none other than Chris Hero.

Why Chris Hero? Simple. Think of his introduction to the company. Think of his threats to throw the ROH Title in the trash. Think of the heat he and Castagnoli had during their Tag Title reign–much less how they won said titles. You have a man who can wrestle very solid, psychologically sound matches. His match with Danielson from Hell Freezes Over remains one of my favorites despite iffy responses from reviewers. But the meat of “Why Chris Hero?” falls in one simple hypothetical. Think of the response from ROH fans, and think of how a
mic worker the level of a Chris Hero can work it over that ROH needed Chris Fuckin Hero to step up to the plate and save them after they screwed the pooch and let the title escape to Japan. The obvious response would be to let Hero win it in Japan, but like you said about the Budokan, it just doesn’t really seem feasible. But nevertheless, having Hero be the one to take the title back would provide a brilliant angle for Hero and the always fantastic Larry Sweeney to capitalize on, provide a well defined, tangible heel for your chosen face chaser (my pick would be a turned Jimmy Rave or Nigel McGuinness, or possibly Austin Aries) to go after and would again create another series of long running, compelling shows with solid wrestling at the top as man after man try to step up and unseat the constantly crowing Hero.

And there we have it, this week’s entrant into the Respondents of Honor.

JMull
Stacy J
Kyle K Sparks

This Week on Pulse Wrestling

My Roderick Strong Interview is finally up. Go listen to it.

Scott Keith gets us all warmed up for Wrestlemania V with a review of a MSG set up show.

Eric S reviews WSX just in time for its cancellation. He hits ECW too, but that show was less than stellar. They really need to cut out the rest holds in five minute matches. Also, Eric, Joey Ryan is an ex-PWG champion and he’s great. For those that don’t know, the west coast based Pro Wrestling Guerrilla promotion is absolutely worth checking out. It’s the closest thing to a west coast Ring of Honor, if a bit more storyline based.

Clark talks about the cancellation of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Brashear talks Paul Onrdorff vs. The Natural Born Sinners from WCW’s dying days. I hated this angle, but remain a bit of an Orndorff mark.

Blatt battles ECW and loses some more of his sanity.

Wallace looks ahead, as per usual.

Eric S again, this time with Raw and some personal information.

A Modest Response: The Wrestler’s Role in the Ring

This isn’t a response to anything specific; it’s been a quiet week. This is something I’ve been meaning to discuss for a while, so here it is.

Welcome back to another Ring of Honor DVD review. Between the server change and my own computer exploding, I’m entirely unsure if I have any readers left. So, since that might, or might not I suppose, be the case, I’ll be changing a few things up from the earlier format. Here’s what’s changing.

To start the reviews from now on will be a mini column about something that interests me about either a particular worker or wrestling in general, which I can further discuss using a particular match later on the card.

From here on out I’ll also be devoting far less column space to each match. Move for move run downs are good for completions sake, but a basic rundown of the matches plot serves much the same purpose, while not taking up tons and tons of space. For certain special matches I’ll be going with the whole rundown of action, but for most, it’s unnecessary and actually detracts from the point of the reviews- discussing the pros and cons of in ring performance. An essay doesn’t begin with a point by point discussion of the book; rather it is focused on the points being made.

Today, I’d like to discuss ring role. There is surely another way to explain this, but I’ve never come across it, so I’ll be using and explaining my own terminology throughout. Ring role is exactly what it sounds like; the role the wrestler plays in the ring. This is different from both character and wrestling style, although related to both. I’ll explain using famous wrestlers that most are familiar with. Bret Hart, for a time anyway, played a classic baby face character with a technical style in the ring. Neither of these were his role, although both were related. Against a wrestler like Curt Hennig or Shawn Michaels, Hart’s role was a strong/aggressive type. The type of moves he used with this was what made up his wrestling style. He played this role because of his babyface character allowing him to show his strength in the ring against similar sized and skilled opponents. This aggressive role lead him to, generally, be working over a body part, specifically the back and/or legs, which would play a part later. His aggressive/strong role, however, leads to the arrogant heel, as played by his opponents, to take advantage and gain control of the match. This comes into play again with various hope spots, built around the fact that Hart is too powerful an opponent to keep down.

Shawn Michaels, as a face, plays quite a different role. He plays the underdog babyface role. This plays into his cocky character and highflying style. In a match against nearly any opponent, Shawn will start off well and take quite a beating. His hope spots come from his highflying style and the cockiness comes from the fact that he can take whatever an opponent dishes out and make a comeback. Shawn is almost always fighting from behind, but unlike Hart against a like sized opponent, will get offense almost exclusively through counters and combinations. Hart on the other hand, will merely control a match for a time, working over his chosen body part, being the competent technician that his style and role call for.

The role of Hart will change a bit when he is facing a significantly bigger opponent, like Diesel or Yokozuna. At that point, Hart will take on the same underdog role as Michaels, but keep the same wrestling style. Where Michaels’s hope spots and eventual comeback are caused by speed and high spots, Hart’s will still be technical moves focused on the leg or back of his opponent. The payoff will likely be similar, (a full comeback), but the road they use to get there, and the story told on the way, can be altered quite a bit based upon the ring role in combination with the wrestling style of the characters.

Let’s take a look at one more wrestler to ensure you understand what I mean. This time, let’s discuss Triple H as a heel. Triple H plays a dominating heel using an old school style. Triple H, much to the chagrin of his detractors, spends the majority of his matches on offense, regardless of his opponent. Against a smaller enemy, like Benoit, his ring role will be that of a dominating heel. Triple H will, despite a flurry of early offense, nearly always be in control and seem a favorite to win, regardless of booking, making the face seem like the underdog. This is a large part of why he is so respected by other wrestlers. He’s amazingly adept at making his opponent into the underdog and making himself more hated and the opponent more cheered in the process. He does this with an old school style, which is, simply put, beating down on the opponent. He can be countered by the underdog babyface, as all his opponents end up beating, when they play to their strengths, whether they be pure power like Batista or throws and mat work like Benoit.

Ring role interacts with wrestling style to determine what a wrester does in the ring and why. Without establishing this role, or rather, these roles, any style comes off as empty and moves are merely being used and not be applied for a sense of furthering the match and building the story. For more on building the story please see my Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle 1 article. Please do give the link a try. These two pieces really go together.

Upon Further Review will be up Sunday after Joe’s final ROH match and will be two huge Joe matches, so bookmark this page and check back!

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