A Modest Response

Welcome to this weeks A Modest Response. Since last we talked I’m sick as a dog, my apartment almost burned down/flooded, and all my grading is due within the next week but I’m really in a great mood, so it balances out. Still, I have a ton of work to handle and a ton to say, so let’s get started…

This week I have news on calling out the staff about ROH, all the Ring of Honor Weekend Previews featuring Big Andy Mac, plus all the regular features headlined by A Modest Response. Let’s begin with news, shall we?

News of Honor

Mark Briscoe is out for the weekend shows

This is precautionary and smart. He wanted to compete but Ring of Honor won’t let him.

KENTA to face Delirious and Marufuji to face Matt Sydal, both on 5/11

Both matches should be great. Marufuji has thus far only faced the top of the card, while KENTA will likely continue his tour of dominating the ROH roster save Bryan Danielson. These are both clearly must see matches.

New ROH Video Wire

Not a lot of analysis needed for this one since it’s just highlights, but if you like big botches, go watch Mark mess up a shooting star press. Pay special attention to Jay Briscoe’s face in the background. The pop for the return of Cornette is also notable, as he is clearly one of the more hated heels around, as well he should be due to his fabulously angry mic work. The good news is, with his return, Homicide has direction again.

In Other News

Hogan to take on The Big Show, not Lawler at 4/27 in Memphis

This is a big step down in terms of mark out quality for a 1980s fan. Lawler won’t be allowed to wrestle because footage will appear on Hogan knows Best and Vince doesn’t want to support a competing network when on bad terms with Hulk.

Jim Ross believes Cody Runnels, Dusty’s son, can be a Main Event player with seasoning

Since WWE’s most successful period had Ross making all the talent acquisitions, this is high praise indeed. This is also why I don’t understand how people can scoff at JR’s praise of Punk.

TNA talks of adding another hour, again

Wake me when it occurs.

Holly is out indefinitely

Hey hey hey, nana na na, goodbye. Jerk.

Miz and Carlito have heat, Edge is upset

For more, click here. I don’t care about the Miz, Carlito needs consistency and seasoning, and Edge’s worries will go away quickly because of his value.

Commentary on the Televised

Raw

I hate bait and switch nonsense and I hate the Lashley and Vince feud.

The Edge-Orton-HBK-Cena promo was very well handled, but Michaels and Edge are still a league above the other two. Cena is closing the gap, though. Orton seems to have completely stalled out.

ECW

Well, since I only care about CM Punk, here’s my thoughts on his turn along with those of Pulse Wrestling boss, Matthew Michaels here.

I wasn’t a fan of the idea at first, but Matt convinced me to give it a chance. Punk can be a phenomenal heel, so this should be interesting. I also think Eric S has a very good point here. The final verdict is still yet to be determined. Let’s wait and see.

That’s it for this week. It’s been a busy one.

Results of Last Week’s A Modest Response

Eric S. replies to our Cena discussion. At this point we’ve both presented valid opinions here and given enough information that the reader can form their own opinion on who is correct about Cena’s improvement. Eric and I have both agreed that we respect each other’s opinion on the matter and there could be more discussion, but the major points are made.

Because that back and forth made for such great column fodder, we’ve begun exploring bringing back the weekly Vs. column, originally created by GRUT, brought back/stolen by Matthew and PK, and now being used in a new format by our friends that cover video games. If it happens, this will feature as many of our writers as are willing to participate and may even be run by Rob Blatt (see below for links to his writing) who is, in my opinion, one of our best and most consistent writers.

Now, last week, I also called out the staff for more Ring of Honor coverage. The responses ranged from the incredulous to the eager, but the end result is we’re working on team reviews for Ring of Honor Chapters. ROH runs their shows in series, or chapters, each with their own storylines and feuds (Gabe has even explained what these chapters are over on ROH’s fan forum). We’ll be attempting to review these as a group, giving you the best sampling of ROH coverage anywhere on the net while introducing you to authors you might otherwise not have read. Keep your eyes peeled in this space for links to these reviews as they go up. It’ll be a bit to get organized, but I’ll keep you updated.

This Week on Pulse Wrestling

Look it’s a Broken Dial

Wheeler gets my ire up with a blatantly wrong ROH comment.

Ring of Honor is to TNA like ECW was to the WWE. TNA used ROH as a breeding ground for their superstars because like ECW before it, ROH has “street cred” with wrestling fans. If a guy’s from ROH then chances are he’s good. If a guy’s from ROH and he winds up in the WWE, then he’s probably going to get buried. (See London, Paul) If he winds up in TNA, however, then he’s got a chance at longer TV matches and national exposure. It worked for Styles. It worked for Daniels. It worked for Sabin and Shelley and Joe. Maybe TNA was going to be different; like ROH but with a TV deal.

Styles was TNA from the start. He wasn’t developed in Ring of Honor and had maybe one match there before TNA was started and he was the center piece of the X-Division. Chris Sabin was never a major part of Ring of Honor. Chris Daniels is and was, but hardly made his name there. He was the best indy wrestler for years and was actually signed by WCW for a short while. That leaves Joe and Shelley. Shelley never gets to wrestle a singles match and despite being over, was just pinned by Shark Boy. He’s as buried as buried gets. Joe is the one major success story in TNA from ROH you mentioned, but you ignored Senshi (Low Ki) and Austin Starr (Aries) two guys who TNA is haphazardly attempting to push, and Homicide, one half of the TNA Tag Champions and a Ring of Honor original. Besides Samoa Joe, none are as pushed as the three major Ring of Honor stars to sign WWE deals.

First is CM Punk, who it could be argued is the second major centerpiece to the ECW television program. He’s among the most over men on the roster and his turn was the big point of this weeks television show. Further add in that London, Wheeler’s example of being buried, is one half of one of the longest tag title reigns ever, with another ROH alum, Brian Kendrick, and it’s easy to make the case that while WWE doesn’t pull as many ROH talents, they have used them significantly more successfully.

TNA got one Main Event player, a tag champion and some useful undercard filler from Ring of Honor. WWE got one Main Event player on a show that still does better ratings than TNA and the longest running tag champions in recent times from Ring of Honor. With current evidence, it’s silly to argue that TNA is using Ring of Honor talent more effectively and thus the analogy at the start of your statement fails.

As for the rest, TNA needs to get their shit in order before going to two hours. Agreed.

Blatt has a podcast you must hear. I usually don’t think to link those, and I’m unsure why, but this is 10 minutes of goodness. Check it out. Blatt vs. ECW is also as good as always.

Eric S spends too much time on golf this week, possibly the only thing he writes about that I have no interest in whatsoever.

A Tough Enough retrospective by Mark Allen makes me annoyed to realize that Johnny Nitro is the only wrestler who came out of the show that ended up any good. They really should have accepted people with independent training to make sure the show was a success.

Andy Mac goes over the biggest storylines of the weekend. I agree with his results. We ROHbots think alike.

Brashear goes over Shawn Stasiak’s Meat gimmick. I’m entirely unsure why.

Column of Honor goes to Murray along with a public apology. I wasn’t paying enough attention last week and called him Brashear, then proceeded to discuss his (Murray’s) column for the rest of the area. Sorry Steve. A few notes on his column: 1) His DVD collection will also be growing due to some new Ring of Honor additions, 2) Blaming smarks for booing the Make a Wish kid is weak, it’s far more likely to be a drunken college type who just went with friends to be cool, 3) I also was one of Eric’s regulars once upon a time (2001-ish), 4) As for blocking cliché spots, those of you who watch ROH know this, but Austin Aries is fabulous at working out counters and reversals to normal spots and making sure his spots work despite counters, so be sure to look out for that on your next ROH DVD purchase.

Stay tuned after the Response for the Ring of Honor weekend previews. Here’s the quote I’ll be responding to this week:

10. Kinda enjoyed the Hall of Fame stuff. And Cole’s line about “absolute Hall of Famer” got me thinking: who on the active roster is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and who will probably get in? Off the top of my head, I can think of:

The Undertaker
HBK
Triple HHH
Stone Cold
Ric Flair (only because I’m shocked he hasn’t been inducted already)

A Modest Response: Sure-fire Hall of Famers

Well, first, it’s important to note that Vince McMahon is a vindictive gentleman and there is no sure-fire guaranteed Hall of Famer. Randy Savage, arguably the WWE’s second biggest star of the 1980s is still not in the Hall of Fame due to various issues with Vince. If Triple H were to divorce Stephanie, for example, it isn’t hard to see Vince keeping him out of the Hall of Fame due to it.

For the rest of the column, however, we’ll pretend objectivity and go over guys who are currently on the WWE roster almost guaranteed to make it to the Hall of Fame.

Chris Benoit

Chris is the best worker of his generation except perhaps for Shawn Michaels. He influenced a generation of workers, and while you could say that’s really second hand influence of the Dynamite Kid, it’s still important that the legacy be kept alive. Vince doesn’t give personalized DVDs to everyone and Benoit has one. He doesn’t give Main Event title wins at Wrestlemania to everyone either and Chris has one of those two. Adding in that despite his brutal looking work he’s apparently quite gentle in the ring, Chris has all the requirements, both kayfabe and otherwise to be a surefire WWE Hall of Fame member.

Mick Foley

Mick isn’t really a current WWE superstar, but then again, neither is Steve Austin. Mick, a multi-time former champion, has done as much to grow professional wrestling’s legitimacy with the masses with his books as anyone has besides perhaps The Rock. Adding in his brilliant career spanning both America and Japan, plus his contribution to the Attitude era, second only to Austin and The Rock and giving each some of their best matches, and his constant sacrificing of his body for the business, specifically in Hell in a Cell matches, this man is as sure as any to end up in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Rey Misterio

Rey is damn near guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame. He’s the smallest WWE champion ever and one of the best money-makers of the current era. With the intended growth in the Latino market, many great matches, and Eddie Guerrero already inducted, Rey’s addition to the Hall of Fame ranks is merely a matter of time.

To these definates, I will add three probable members:

Booker T

The Invasion angle was a failure but what little success was derived from the WCW side can largely be attributed to Booker T. He was the only major player in WCW to actually hold up his end of the bargain and got major feuds with the Attitude Era WWE stars to his credit in the process. A useful mid-carder for along while, he completely reinvented himself with the King Booker gimmick and got the WWE title to go along with his WCW title reigns. He certainly has the kayfabe requirements and the since joining WWE, his loyalty has been unparalleled. Unless he is held back by his association with WCW, he will almost certainly be a Hall of Famer.

JBL

I’m not a fan of JBL the wrestler nor am I, from what I can gather, a fan of JBL the man. He’s one of the longest tenured WWE employees, however, and Vince does love to reward that type of loyalty. It was already rewarded once with a title reign, which despite poor results early, ended up doing very well as JBL grew into his heelish persona. The fact that he’s a great heel announcer, which is a lost art, and that he made the WWE a ton of stock money only add to his value within the company. JBL will likely end up in the WWE Hall of Fame, just to say thank you.

Edge

Edge is the most marginal Hall of Famer I have listed here, but he’s another extremely loyal WWE employee. He’s becoming adept at the political game and it is easy to imagine him as a great Main Event and upper mid-card heel for the rest of his career. Whether he maintains his current awesome output as the best heel in the business is icing on the cake. He already revived the tag division in the late 90s with Christian, the Dudleys, and Hardys and was a major draw as heel champion. While he might not quite be there yet, he’s clearly on his way, and barring tragedy, should make it.

Honorable mention: Finlay, Tazz, Rob Van Damn (if he ignores the lure of TNA), The Hardys (if Jeff stays clean and Matt stays quiet)

Ring of Honor Weekend Previews: April 13 in Long Island, NY and April 14 in Edison, NJ

4/13/07 in Long Island, NY

Takeshi Morishima and Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness and Doug Williams

This should be one hell of a match. The European styling of everyone involved but Morishima are absolutely top notch, plus all of these guys can work a strong style as NOAH vets. The mix of styles will be interesting and the match should be great. I’d expect Nigel to continue to beat about Hero, continuing a feud that began last week and Doug to get the victory on his return. This will help Nigel keep up momentum going into the next night’s title shot for Nigel.

Winners: Nigel and Doug

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This could easily be the match of the weekend given the talent involved. Morishima has had good luck in tag matches, hell Morishima has had good luck in basically all of his matches. I am sure something will go down to put heat on the title match the following night. If this were WWE Nigel would pin Morishima here and lose the match tomorrow, but we all know it isn’t. I say Chris Hero scores a big pinfall and lobbies for a chance a title shot down the line.

Winners: Takeshi Morishima and Chris Hero

Elimination Rules:The No Remorse Corps of Davey Richards, Roderick Strong, and Rocky Romero vs. Austin Aries, Matt Cross, and ???

This looks absolutely awesome. Elimination matches are always fun and I look for a great showing from someone here, probably Matt Cross, to put them over as a major player. The No Remorse Corps won’t be able to prepare for a mystery opponent and that will cost them the match. Just a thought, but imagine the mystery third man were Jack Evans? I’d mark out.

Winners: Aries, Cross, and ???

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: They have been hyping the debut of ??? in Ring of Honor for years, but somehow he always gets replaced by another surprise competitor. All kidding aside I mark huge for elimination matches. I have already stated in my column that I think Aries newest stable-mate will be Erick Stevens. I also think that Aries stable will get the win. Erick Stevens and Roderick Strong will be the last two left, and Stevens will get the win, but the NRC will come out after the bell and show their lack of remorse beating down Erick Stevens and some more faction warfare goodness will follow.

Winners: Austin Aries, Matt Cross and ???(Erick Stevens)

Homicide vs. Brent Albright

Albright is being paid off by Cornette to finish the job and take out Homicide. Homicide, just as I said last time, has a big rub to give Albright, but it won’t come here. The feud needs more building first.

Winner: Homicide

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This match never really got going during Wrestlemania weekend as Adam Pearce and Jim Cornette got involved leading to a tag match between Homicide and his unlikely partner in Colt Cabana against Pearce and Albright. The match should go off without a hitch here, and I think Homicide needs this to get back on the winning track in singles competition. Albright can look strong in defeat, but is just as likely to score a victory…another toss-up.

Winner: Homicide

Jack Evans vs. Shingo

Long Island crowds are notoriously weak, but a nice Dragon Gate style spotfest will fix that right up. Shingo has a title shot coming up and can’t lose here, but this should be hugely fun and flashy.

Winner: Shingo

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This was super entertaining as the finish of the four way fray in New York, but now they have a whole match all to themselves. I think that Shingo is going to get his win back here, and maybe even reveal that he has joined Evans stable.

Winner: Shingo

Jay Briscoe vs. Claudio Castagnoli

If only this were a precursor to a Briscoes and Kings of Wrestling match. Well, the great match they had at Final Battle 2006 showed these guys have chemistry, so this should work well with Claudio playing the heel. Double C will likely win here so he can challenge for the tag belts with a new partner.

Winner: Claudio

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Jay is an awesome singles wrestler and the two have proven great chemistry given the matches the Briscoe Brothers had with the Kings of Wrestling. This one could be a show stealer, but I think both men’s strengths lie in the tag team ranks. Claudio has more at stake getting a singles win, and could even end up being Nigel’s partner when Nigel gets a title shot in the midwest.

Winner: Claudio Castagnoli

Colt Cabana vs. Delirious

This is bound to be absolutely hilarious. Interestingly Delirious always brings it to LI and is one of the most over men with that crowd. Cabana will be even more over on his farewell tour and thisis probably the match on this card I’m most looking forward to.

Winner: Colt Cabana

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This match will be comedic gold and super entertaining. I think it is a good choice as an opener as well. The winner in this one doesn’t really matter but since Colt is on his way out, I will pick him.
Winner: “Classic” Colt Cabana

Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Ray

This should be a good match. Daizee is a bit green but Del Ray is a very good wrestler. Look for this match to involve Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs in some capacity leading to a Del Ray win.

Winner: Del Ray

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: SHIMMER matches in RoH are usually top notch. These are also two of the best women wrestlers on the independent scene. Del Ray will probably get the win here, but Lacey could get involved, and any number of other things could happen.

Winner: Sara Del Ray

El Generico vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Jason Blade vs. Erick Stevens

This is a very interesting four way with several men trying to impress and gain a roster spot. Stevens as been dominating thus far, but Blade and Edwards have yet to get a win. Generico earned a push with an amazing match on the Fifth Year Festival: Philly, so will probably get the win here. With all these guys looking to impress, this should be very good. The corner brainbuster is a filthy and dangerous move.

Winner: Generico

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: I see one of a couple things happening, first off Erick Stevens could absolutely dominate this match win in short order and then join Aries’ stable, in that case he is the obvious winner. The more likely situation is that Stevens is pulled out of the match to compete in the six man elimination contest and we have a triple threat. If that is the case I want to see Generico hit the corner brainbuster and get the win.

Winner: El Generico

Kevin Steen vs. Pelle Primeau

This will be a ton of fun with little bump-aholic Pelle against the agile and strong Steen. Steen should do bad things to little Pelle while Pelle gets over by taking a beating and coming back for more. Steen will be too big for Pelle to overcome, though.

Winner: Steen

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This will be a great big man/little man dynamic. Steen is winning

Winner: Kevin Steen

4/14/07 in Edison, NJ

ROH World Title
Takeshi Morishima defends vs. Nigel McGuinness

Morishima looks strong, almost unbeatable at this point. He dominated the likes of KENTA and Homicide, but has had trouble with Samoa Joe, a man Nigel recently pinned. This looks like it will be a great match, but Nigel will need more than one shot to topple the behemoth.

Winner: Morishima

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Morishima is not losing the title this early. The match will be great and McGuinness may be the man to topple the Japanese behemoth. Hopefully, Morishima repeatedly blocks the rebound lariat and doesn’t kick out at two which would lead to the killing of a second finisher for Mr. Nigel.

Winner: Takeshi Morishima

Colt Cabana vs. Doug Williams

This will be great European style wrestling. Colt will go from a comedy match to a Euro style match as he continues to go through the match types he was best in during his ROH career. Doug Williams, a British wrestler, is a master at the style and will keep up with Colt wonderfully, but this being Colt’s farewell, he won’t lose.

Winner: Cabana

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: I think that Colt’s record over his farewell will be less than stellar. There is a strong chance that he could lose all of them. If Williams is going to be around for a while he is going to win, otherwise this could be Cabana’s lone win during his farewell.

Winner: Colt Cabana

Jack Evans & Delirious vs. Roderick Strong & Davey Richards

Jack’s team has not looked up to snuff with the No Remorse Corps or Aries squad. That looks to continue until Jack gets some regular members. Delirious is a strange partner choice here, but he knows Richards well and Strong recently injured him, so he has reason to want revenge, assuming Delirious actually remembers that kind of thing. Still, it won’t be enough to defeat the practiced team of Strong and Richards.

Winners: Richards and Strong

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This is where Evans will get a touch of revenge, as will Delirious. Strong has been nigh unbeatable since forming the No Remorse Corps, but I think they will fall in tag team action on Saturday in Edison.

Winner: Jack Evans and Delirious

Shingo vs. Matt Cross

Shingo has dominated smaller wrestlers besides Evans and as good as Cross is, he is no Jack Evans. Shingo still has a title shot upcoming nad will likely defeat the former MDogg20.

Winner: Shingo

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Shingo has done well working with high flying wrestlers. Matt Cross needs to get some wins under his belt and a win over Shingo will go a long way to proving his worth.

Winner: Matt Cross

Kevin Steen and El Generico vs. Jay Briscoe and Erick Stevens with Mark Briscoe

Steen and Generico already took the Briscoes to the limit once, so this unpracticed team of Jay and Stevens doesn’t look to stand much of a chance. The match should still be great and this is one I’m really looking forward to. If Stevens can really hang with top ROH players, this will show it.

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: t is a shame that the rematch from Fifth Year Festival: Philly, but Mark Briscoe’s safety is more important than a great rematch. Instead we get a match that should be pretty great in its own right. I think that the miscommunication and lack of experience with Briscoe and Stevens will give the win to Steenerico.

Winner: Kevin Steen and El Generico

Rocky Romero vs. Claudio Castagnoli

I have no idea how these two men’s styles will mesh, but perhaps this foreshadows Claudio joining the team of Austin Aries?

Winner: Romero

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This match is tough to call. Romero’s hard striking technical style will mesh well with Claudio. Both men are also quite adept in the noble art of Lucha Libre and it will make for an entertaining contest.

Winner: Rocky Romero

Top of the Class Trophy: Shane Haggadorn vs. Pelle Primeau

And the Top of the Class Trophy will finally change hands. Pelle is an amazing bumper and good worker who makes whoever he wrestles look like solid gold. That’s what you want facing your rookies.

Winner: Pelle

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: I think this could be Shane’s swan song as the holder of the Top of the Class Trophy. Pelle needs to do him some crowd surfin’ and the New Jersey venue is well suited for it.

Winner: Pelle Primeau

Chris Hero and Tank Toland with Larry Sweeney vs. Eddie Edwards and Jason Blade

It’s no secret that I’m not an Eddie Edwards fan, but I’m also not huge on Toland. Hero should keep heat on himself in this match, but there’s not much else here I care about unless Eddie or Blade really step it up.

Winners: Hero and Toland

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: The boys from New England will come up short against Hero and his personal trainer. There is an outside chance Edwards and Blade could steal a win but I would not bet on it. This could also be the match that Edwards and Blade win over the RoH fans and earn full time spots despite a losing effort.
Winner: Chris Hero and Tank Tolland.

Overall these look like good shows, especially for new talent and showcasing ROH’s new direction. Neither show looks like they’ll be blow away, but both should deliver, with Long island having a slightly stronger card that will likely be sucked away by the week crowd, so I’ll recommend Edison more strongly. Both shows are worth a shot and will likely be worth the price of admission, but neither will be among the must see shows of the year. Be sure to check back over the weekend for live coverage from both shows from myself and Andy Mac. See you then.

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