Friday the 13th Ring of Honor Review
Ring of Honor returned to the much maligned Sports Plus in Lake Grove, Long Island, New York. This venue gets a bad rap saying that crowds, while large, are lackluster in energy and disrespectful with their cheering. Tonight, the Long Island crowd dispelled many of the stereotypes it had come to be associated with. While they did get drained towards the end of the show they were pretty much into every match.
Opening Contest: Pelle Primeau vs. Kevin Steen
Just as Pulse Glazer and I predicted this was big guy vs. little guy at its finest. Pelle is coming into his own as the plucky underdog and Steen is cementing his status as a full time member of the roster. Of all the recent additions, Steen is proving that he belongs. The match was essentially Steen throwing Pelle around like a rag doll. Pelle would occasionally score with a head scissor or a DDT to try to gain advantage, but the bigger athlete, Steen, never totally lost control. Steen won after a powerbomb, followed by a head clutch alley-oop suplex into the corner, and ultimately finished with the package piledriver (an arm and leg clutch version of the move) for the three count.
Winner: “Mr. WrestlingÃ¢â‚¬Â Kevin Steen Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I’d have to give this one **3/4. It was basically a squash, but it got the notoriously silent Long Island crowd into the show big time, and made Steen look like a force to be reckoned with,
SHIMMER Bonus Match: Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Rey
While the Dangerous Angels (Allison Danger and Del Rey) seem to be a face tag team, Sara played the role of the dominant heel. She threw Daizee around in much the same manner as Steen threw around Primeau in the opener. One spot I particularly liked was when Del Rey hit a fallaway slam into a bridge for two, rolled through still holding Daizee and delivered another bridging fallaway slam. This was not enough to stop the Haze however, and despite Del Rey’s best efforts, Daizee was able to score the win with a surprise sunset flip.
Winner: Daizee Haze Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This one gets about *1/2 from me. Some things did not click, and it was too similar to the previous match to keep the crowds interest up high, though they did do a good job. The SHIMMER matches are usually bright spots on the cards, this one, while good, does not live up to previous outings from these two women. I also would have liked to see Lacey or Jacobs make some sort of appearance here, but alas
Four Corner Survival: “Die HardÃ¢â‚¬Â Eddie Edwards vs. “Hey My Entrance Has Strobe LightsÃ¢â‚¬Â Jason Blade vs. “The Generic LuchadorÃ¢â‚¬Â El Generico vs. “Choo ChooÃ¢â‚¬Â Erick Stevens
Apparently if you wrestle on six or more main shows you get a light show with your entrance, that is the case for Jason Blade, but maybe he is in line for a push, who knows. Erick Stevens with his large frame, Mohawk, and train noises got almost instantly over with the Long Island fans, Eddie Edwards is still trying to find his niche in RoH, and El Generico gets the crowd into his matches from his entrance alone. Luckily, he backs it up in the ring and is one of the more entertaining performers on the roster.
The match was very solid, but nothing stood out. All four men got to show what they were capable of, and in an exhibition style match that is about all you can expect. Sadly, El Generico did not deliver the corner brainbuster; I really want to see that move live. Stevens was the standout of the match using his size and power to overwhelm the other three competitors. He eventually won after hitting Blade with his version of the gut-wrench powerbomb into a pin.
Winner: Erick “Choo ChooÃ¢â‚¬Â Stevens Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This was about a ** affair. I almost vindictively knocked a star off for the lack of corner brainbuster. Either way, this match did what it set out to do, and Stevens was made to look like a force without making anyone else look weak or outclassed. No one, save Stevens, made a huge impact, but I am sure we will see all four of these man after tomorrow as well.
After the match “Personal JesusÃ¢â‚¬Â hits the speakers and Austin Aries made his way to the ring. Aries congratulated all four men on their performances and asked them to return to the locker room, except for Stevens. He then said that during his RoH tenure he has frequently been knocked down, but more importantly he has always gotten back up. That is why he is calling his new stable “The Resilience.Ã¢â‚¬Â He asked Erick Stevens to join him in the six man competition last night, but before Stevens had a chance to respond Roderick Strong appeared on the entrance ramp.
Strong tried to convince “Choo ChooÃ¢â‚¬Â to think better of joining Aries group, but Stevens would not be swayed. He agreed to join “The ResilienceÃ¢â‚¬Â and was rewarded with this decision by a sneak attack from Rocky Romero and Davey Richards. Strong also made his way to the ring, but the attack was short lived as Matt Cross evened the odds and hit an impressive “Sasuke SpecialÃ¢â‚¬Â to the outside. I was not surprised by the addition of Stevens to the six man elimination match.
Colt’s Farewell: Part One: Colt Cabana vs. Delirious
Much as predicted this match was comedic gold. At the start of the match, Delirious put Cabana in a full nelson and asked “What’re you gonna do when you get put in the Masterlock?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Colt responded by easily escaping the hold and cinching in a leg submission. Delirious made the ropes, but Colt claimed that the hold was so intricate that he “was stuck.Ã¢â‚¬Â He asked Sinclair to help lift him up, but that actually put more pressure on Delirious. When the two were finally separated Delirious informed Sinclair that it is “1-2-3-4-BREAK!Ã¢â‚¬Â
The match continued in much the same until Delirious went under the ring. Colt seemed confused but chased him regardless. Delirious emerged from the other side and Colt followed now wearing a Smiley Face mask. The action continued and both men returned to the area beneath the ring. This time Delirious emerged with the Smiley Face and Cabana had on a Delirious mask!
Cabana removed the Smiley Face and began mimicking many of Delirious’ mannerisms including the repeated clotheslines in the corner, feigning exhaustion after only about five to seven before resuming.
Throughout the match Delirious had been working Cabana’s hindquarters and rather than deliver his own version of the clotheslines he attacked with punches to Colt’s posterior. Shenanigans and tomfoolery continued for the rest of the match but Delirious was able to score the surprise three count after a roll-up.
Winner: Delirious Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This was easily the best comedy match I have seen live, and probably period. It gets **** from me for being super entertaining. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but they had the crowd into the whole match and it was a fitting first chapter to the farewell of Colt Cabana.
Special Challenge Match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe
These two have proven good chemistry based on their tag matches when Claudio and Hero were still teaming as the Kings of Wrestling. This match had lots of back and forth but oddly very few nearfalls or false finishes. They did some fighting on the outside and Claudio hit Briscoe with a guardrail. The finish came when Claudio hit the Alpamare Water Slide for the three.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I know I didn’t write a lot but this was easily a ***1/2 star match. Both men gave their all and put on an entertaining show.
After the match Claudio challenged the Briscoes to a tag title shot with a partner of his choosing. Mark Briscoe in English worse than the Switzerland born Claudio accepted the challenge I think. This brought out El Generico and Kevin Steen. Steen proved that not only is he impressive in the Ring, but he is also a skilled talker outshining most of the RoH roster with his brief microphone time. Steen claimed that he and Generico also deserved title shots, and eventually popped Mark in the back of the head. This led to a huge brawl and the re-ignition of the tag team scene in Ring of Honor.
Grudge Match: “The Notorious 187Ã¢â‚¬Â Homicide vs. Brent Albright
This was your violent brawl of the night. More often than not these prove to be super entertaining on DVD, but the Sports Plus is not the best venue to be able to see a good portion of the outside the ring action the way the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia is. Either way despite most of the crowd being unable to see what was going on they stayed pretty hot throughout the match, they must have been doing some cool stuff that I just did not see. The eventually made it back to the ring and the match settled down into a more straight wrestling affair. Both men went for big moves and were rebuked. At one point Homicide was on the top rope and Alrbight was left in the Tree of Woe. I thought for a moment that we were going to see Homicide’s version of the Ghetto Stomp, but he just delivered a running drop kick. Albright got the shocking win after a few Half Nelson suplexes.
Winner: Brent Albright Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I have a hard time giving this match a rating since I didn’t see most of it so I won’t. It was entertaining though, and surprising that Albright got the win.
After the match Shane Hagadorn came out to attack Homicide. Julius Smokes was having none of this however and laid a beating into the Top of the Class Trophy holder. He was finished off with a spike piledriver ala the Brainbusters.
Shingo vs. Jack Evans
Evans brought his A+ game to the Sports plus last night. Shingo was also over for his hairstyle choices and his big move offense. Evans controlled a surprising portion of this match but Shingo came up with some innovative counters to the high flying unorthodox attack from the “Prince of P-town.Ã¢â‚¬Â Evans has added a new array of kicks to his arsenal and is getting crisper by the match. He eventually won with the 630; I thought Shingo was a lock for this, but I was wrong.
Winner: Jack Evans Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This was a *** star match in my book. The action was exciting and the finish a surprise. That is really all you can ask for from a wrestling match.
Six Man Elimination Match: The Resilience of Austin Aries, Matt Cross, and Erick Stevens vs. the No Remorse Corps of Rocky Romero, Davey Richards, and Roderick Strong
A few things to not before the match: One Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the NRC shirts are badass, Two Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Roderick Strong’s heel turn is by far the most effective in RoH, and Three Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Davey Richards took charisma pills at some point, because he sure has it as a heel.
The Resilience attack the NRC before the bell and the match is a paired up brawl around the ring before things can settle down. Eventually the match gets underway it is pretty basic in format with the NRC putting the hurt on whichever Resilience member is in the ring. Stevens was over huge in this match however and whenever he was in the ring the crowd was electric. He and Strong had some vicious chop exchanges but eventually Stevens succumbed to an absolutely VICIOUS running kick from Strong followed by the Gibson Driver for the three.
The Resilience would not have to show if they could live up to their name despite being down three men to two. They did their best but Matt Cross fell to the DR Driver leaving Austin Aries alone to fight for his team.
Aries did as best he could, but he was no match for the full onslaught of the No Remorse Corps. Romero was able to pin Aries after the Tiger Suplex.
Winners: The No Remorse Corps of Rocky Romero, Davey Richards, and Roderick Strong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This was an awesome match, but a couple of things got to me. The first is that Aries team was really outclassed in this one. They almost didn’t look like they could hang with the NRC. Also when Aries was left alone to face all three NRC members they didn’t dominate enough to seem like they were toying with him and Aries wasn’t able to mount enough comebacks to seem like he could get an elimination or two. Nitpicking aside this was one of the best matches of the night and I give it ***1/2 stars. They did a lot of the little things to make the match work and it was fun. Also I love elimination matches and I did think that this one delivered.
The NRC tried to continue their beating on Aries but Delirious made the save using the Section C sign.
Main Event Tag Team Action: Ring of Honor World Champion Takeshi Morishima and Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness and Doug Williams
The final match on the card certainly delivered. It did have the feel of the final RAW main event before a Pay-Per-View though. McGuinness and Morishima had some great interaction and it will be interesting to see how they build on that with the show in Edison. Doug Williams was a pleasant sight to have back. I have always been a big fan of his style and the unique energy he brings to the ring. The real star of the match for me, however, was Chris Hero. He is a heat magnet and his growing entourage adds to his character. He tried to put Nigel away with Misawa’s barrage of forearms and strikes; no dice. He then tried Marufugi’s Shiranui; again, no dice. He finally attempted Go 2 Sleep ala KENTA, but for a third time was unable to get the pinfall.
All four men truly brought their best in this match. They told a great story and I think provided the match of the night. One thing I am not a huge fan of is Nigel’s new lariat-based offense. I know it is his finish, but he was just constantly delivering clotheslines, his attack used to be much more diverse in my opinion, maybe I will see more when he gets his title shot tonight in New Jersey. Nigel did end up getting the pin over Hero with the jawbreaker lariat and in my opinion the fans went home happy.
Winner: Nigel McGuinness and Doug Williams Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Like I said this is my match of the night and I give it ****. It gets the rating for completely different reasons than Cabana vs. Delirious, but I thought it really delivered in the main event spot.
Final Thoughts and Opinions
While this may not have been one of the best Ring of Honor shows ever, I thought it delivered what it promised. No matches really exceeded my expectations going in, but also no matches were underwhelming either. I was entertained pretty much from start to finish. Colt’s match with Delirious is worth seeing on its own. This show also showcased a lot of new talent and could be the starting point of a lot of good things in the next six to eight months.
Tonight’s show in Edison will almost certainly overshadow the Long Island offering as is usually the case, but it will have an uphill battle without Aries or Homicide on the card. Either way, two matches on the card hit four stars and three others were above three. For that alone it is a show worth checking out and one of the best shows RoH has done in the Metropolitan Caribbean.
I should be back on Sunday with a review of tonight’s show in Edison, NJ. Pulse Glazer will definitely weigh in with his thoughts on tonight’s show. For more information about the promotion I love so much check out RoHwrestling.com.
I’ll see you next time
Tags: Puroresu, ROH, TNA, WWE