Moments Ago: The Match of the Weekend
So the biggest weekend in sports entertainment and professional wrestling is only a few days away and there are three awesome shows forthcoming. Two of which are presented by Ring of Honor, the professional wrestling, and the third is of course Wrestlemania which is the pinnacle of sports entertainment. I must say that for the first time since Wrestlemania XX, I am actually looking forward to the WWE offering although personal commitments will prevent me from being able to see it on Sunday. There are several matches which could steal the weekend, so the Moments Ago Staff has compiled a list of these potential show stealers for your reading pleasure.
Ring of Honor: All Star Extravaganza III
There are essentially two matches that have top billing on this show: the 8 man Dragon Gate rules match and the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Title match, and a third which could be a show stealer in Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans. There are a couple of undercard matches that could blow the roof off as well, such as Davey Richards vs. Masaaki Mochizuki and Christopher Daniels vs. Homicide, but for the sake of the column and to not spoil my predictions for the show which will be a part of A Modest Response on Friday I will limit my focus.
Dragon Gate Rules 8 man match: Austin Aries, Delirious, Claudio Castagnoli and Rocky Romero vs. CIMA, Susumu Yokosuka, Dragon Kid, and Ryo Saito
Saito, CIMA, and Dragon Kid will be familiar to fans that saw the Wrestling Observer Match of the Year last year. Yokosuka is supposed to be just as impressive as any of these Dragon Gate stars. The Ring of Honor team is a bit of a mixed bag as Aries and Claudio have most recently been enemies, Romero is a lot of people’s prediction for the newest member of the No Remorse Corps and Delirious is just crazy, so I think this match will follow the precedent set by Unforgettable and differences will be momentarily put aside to present the best match possible.
Claudio Castagnoli is slowly gaining a reputation as the best “baseÃ¢â‚¬Â for high flyers in the world after stellar matches with Matt Sydal in RoH and the Lucha Libre influenced Chikara wrestlers, so his role is basically set. Romero and Aries are simply awesome talents and Delirious may be the single most entertaining live performer on the Ring of Honor roster. The winner of this match does not much matter although I think Ring of Honor will take the fall. The intriguing part of the match will be seeing what craziness they can bring, and this will be an amazing match. Just the combination of hard hitting, high flying, and general insanity gives this match a huge leg up on stealing the weekend.
Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship: Naruki Doi and Shingo defend against Jay and Mark Briscoe
Doi and Shingo made perhaps the most shocking title win in Ring of Honor history upending the Briscoes in England earlier this month. The Briscoes are for sure out for revenge and judging by their efforts in 2007 thus far will certainly deliver with an unbelievable match. Although I have not seen most of the shows thus far, it seems that the Briscoes are involved in the best or second best match on basically every show they have been a part of. Odds indicate that they will regain the titles here, but I am going out on a limb and saying Doi and Shingo will retain.
If the reports of their first encounter are any indication this should be an incredible tag team classic. This is also the only Ring of Honor championship being defended on the weekend which gives it some added oomph.
Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans
The first time that this happened it was so good that FIP named the DVD release after this match. Now the match is happening in Ring of Honor and it is also part of the Generation Nextplosion angle that has been fermenting since the beginning of the Fifth Year Festival.
Evans and Strong may have been the most impressive tag team to ever enter a Ring of Honor ring. Their double team maneuvers and big man/little man dynamic were second to none in the stellar tag ranks of Ring of Honor. As a team they had classics with the Briscoes at Best in the World, and with Whitmer and Jacobs at Manhattan Mayhem. When they meet as enemies for the first time under the Ring of Honor banner this match with no frills, gimmicks, titles or stipulations could end up truly stealing the show and being the best match of the weekend.
Predicted Match of the Night: Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans
Supercard of Honor II
This show truly comes down to two matches. As great as the FIP title match between Aries and Strong could be it will not hold up to the competition for match of the night. Aries and Strong will no doubt deliver an amazing contest as they are part of one of the greatest tag teams in the history of Ring of Honor and the hatred percolating between these two will add to the match, but it has a rematch of last years Match of the Year and the end of one of the best feuds RoH has ever produced to contend with.
Dragon Gate Rules Six Man Match of the Year Rematch: CIMA, Shingo, and Susumu Yokosuka vs. Dragon Kid, Rya Saito, and Masaaki Mochizuki
This truly needs no explanation as to why it is a potential show stealer for the weekend. It does have an incredibly tough act to follow based on last year’s performance, but with some new faces this could truly be the match of the year for the second year in a row. The winner doesn’t much matter, but CIMA’s team will probably get their win back. The question is will they be able to build up the feverish pace they had last year without the speedy Genki Horiguchi. Also will they generate another “Please Don’t StopÃ¢â‚¬Â chant? I wish I could be there to see this match in all of its glory, because I am sure that fans will be talking about this one.
Steel Cage Match: Jimmy Jacobs w/ The Lovely Lacey vs. BJ Whitmer w/ Daizee Haze
This is my personal pick for show stealing match of the weekend. This is the final match of one of the longest running, most intense, violent, over the top feuds in Ring of Honor history. The only risk this match has besides the obvious physical harm both men will put themselves through is trying to hard to outdo itself.
This feud essentially started with a powerbomb off the top rope gone wrong that almost ended the career of Jimmy Jacobs. In the confines of the unforgiving steal there is no telling the lengths that these men will go to put the other away. I will leave my predictions on this one for later, but I think that the fans in attendance will be picking their jaws up off of the floor at the end of this match to say the least.
Predicted Match of the Night: Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer
That brings us to
This is one of the better built Wrestlemania cards in the past couple of years. Three matches have main event level attention; the Money in the Bank ladder match has some building storylines and the least clearcut winner of the previous two, but onto my picks.
WWE Championship: John Cena defends against Shawn Michaels
Looking at the past few Wrestlemanias Shawn Michaels has delivered on every single one of them. He had a match many call a classic with Chris Jericho at WM XIX, the best WWE Triple threat match ever at Wrestlemania XX, a classic with Angle at 21, a fun brawl with McMahon at Wrestlemania 22, not to mention his classics with Bret Hart, Razor Ramon and others before his back injury. Michaels always brings it at Ã¢â‚¬ËœMania. Cena has proven one thing as well. He knows how to bring it in big match situations. This will be the better of the two title matches on the show, but Undertaker vs. Batista could provide for some good drama if not good wrestling.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Booker T vs. Finlay vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
This could be the best MitB yet. Edge has his burgeoning Wrestlemania win streak on the line, not to mention his issues with Randy Orton. Finlay is one of the best pure wrestlers on the roster, and despite being a bit out of place in this match he will provide it with some much needed pacing. Booker T could play a spoiler. Mr. Kennedy seems to have the most to gain as he will be a top heel during the summer months on Smackdown. The Hardy’s both thrive in this environment as evident from their previous Wrestlemania ladder match appearances, and CM Punk should be the future of the WWE. This match has such a huge upside and such an unclear winner that this will be the best match at Wrestlemania this year.
Predicted Match of the Night: Money in the Bank Ladder Match
So if the three matches of the night will be Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans, Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer and the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, then what will be the best match of the entire weekend. I already kind of gave this away and I think that Jacobs and Whitmer will put on the best match. They have the most history going in, and since it is their first shot at a main event unto themselves. They will not disappoint. Any number of matches could be the best of the weekend, but the edge will go to Jacobs and Whitmer.
Stay tuned for A Modest Response, and see my picks for all of the weekend shows.
I’ll see you next time