Ring of Honor Live Report: 4/13/07 in Long Island, NY and 4/14/07 in Edison, NJ

Ring of Honor Live Attendance Report: 4/13/07 in Long Island, NY and 4/14/07 in Edison, NJ

First, check out Big Andy Mac here and this week’s A Modest Response here. Lastly, show new ROHbot hopeful PK some love by clicking his live review of Lockdown right here.

4/13/07 in Long Island

Long Island is, despite a large crowd, without exception the quietest and rudest collection of wrestling fans on the Ring of Honor tours. Well, for one night at least that generalization was dead wrong. The crowd was into the match and mostly respectful and receptive to the performers. It wasn’t a NYC crowd, or even an Edison crowd, but it was still greatly improved from the usual. Bravo and let’s hope this continues.

Match 1: Kevin Steen vs. Pelle Primeau

This was a good big man vs. little man dynamic throughout. Pelle can make anyone look like a million dollars and he certainly did so with Steen, not a man who needs a lot of help looking good due to his agile and powerful offense. Steen looks like any chubby gym class bully and the tiny Pelle’s speed was just not enough to avoid all of the bigger man’s assaults. Pelle got in some decent offense, mostly based around various headscissors, but eventually always ended up running into the large Steen. By the end of this Steen was quite over as he finished with a filthy Package Piledriver.

Kevin Steen defeats Pelle Primeau (Pin, Package Piledriver, ** ½)
Great execution of formula and it got the crowd into the show. I’d love to see these two get more time in the future.

Match 2: Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Ray

Haze has the worst entrance music on the roster. Del Ray is a very good wrestler, but Daizee blows many spots and looks sloppy on the ones she does hit. Sara has been dominant in ROH thus far, playing the role of a power women’s wrestler. Daizee has the speed game and they told basically the same speed vs. power story as the previous match-up, except with neither being as good as their male counterparts. This was a fairly big upset as Del Ray’s double underhook submission was reversed into a roll up by Daizee for the surprise win.

Daizee Haze defeats Sara Del Ray (Pin, Roll up, *)
One can’t help but think this would have been better had Daizee cut out some of the high spots she was clearly unable to execute crisply, but the fluke win at least gives us places to go with the Women of Honor. I wish Lacey had interjected herself in some manner.

Match 3: Jason Blade vs. Eddie Edwards vs. El Generico vs. Erick “Choo Choo” Stevens

El Generico might be the generic masked luchador, but it’s hard to find more generic indy wrestlers than Jason Blade and Eddie Edwards. Jason Blade is a less flashy, more generic version of Austin Aries, while Eddie goes through the exact same moveset as basically every other indy wrestler, with no notable signature moves yet and only his crispness and dreads to set him apart. Both men have reasonable potential, but really need to do more to separate themselves on a roster as stacked as the current ROH one. El Generico is over instantly from his “Ole!” music and backs it up in the ring. He doesn’t seem to ever do anything without purpose and it’s extremely rare he has a bad match.

Now that that’s out of the way, and this isn’t a put down to the others, but we need to discuss Erick Stevens. This man is impressive. He’s a big wrestler, for ROH at least, with a realistic power moveset, stiff chops, a big old Mohawk, and a “Choo Choo” charge in the corner. He was over immediately. He oversells a bit for someone his size, but besides that is a very impressive wrestler who got over in practically no time with the live crowd. This guy should be a permanent roster fixture for a long time to come and it’s great to see a guy of this talent coming in and getting a push. He’s the best new ROH regular, in my opinion, since Chris Hero, one of the biggest names on the indies.

The match was fairly standard, built around showing off how effective Steven’s power could be. It wasn’t the match that was impressive, but the little ways that Generico and Stevens played to the crowd without detracting from the match. No top rope brainbuster here from Generico, unfortunately, but Stevens managed the win with a nice gut wrench powerbomb.

Erick Stevens defeats Jason Blade, Eddie Edwards and El Generico (Pin, Gutwrench Powerbomb, ** 1/2)
This would have been higher were it simply Generico and Stevens in there alone. Edwards and Blade, while good workers, need a gimmick of some kind badly to help force the fans to care. With nothing to set them apart either via gimmick or in ring work from the rest of the roster, their portions of the match fell flat.

After the match “Personal Jesus” minus the Boondock Saints intro heralded the arrival of Austin Aries. Spitting out a cliché a minute, but keeping the crowd involved by sheer force of presence, Aries named his new team “Resilience” and added Erick Stevens as it’s newest member, to the surprise of no one. Erick never even had a chance to properly accept Aries offer before the No Remorse Corps of Roderick Strong, Davey Richards and Rocky Romero took them out. Matt Cross evened the odds with a Sasuke Special to the floor and they all brawled to the back. This was a very good segment that made Stevens further seem like he was important enough to hang with the big names and added heat to the elimination match later on the card.

Match 4: Delirious vs. Colt Cabana

For those that don’t know Delirious is the masked crazy man who can barely speak English. He was the main comedy act on the card until he started picking up victories and showed he was actually a fine wrestler. If you’ve been reading Pulse Wrestling, you should know who Colt Cabana is. The Chicago star came up through the business with CM Punk and is a master of comedic antics and the European style. This is his fourth to last show because he signed a contract with WWE.

This was a brilliant comedy match with Delirious actually speaking coherently for much of it, a Masterlock Challenge, a mask switch, and many antics with the referee. The two comedic masters had the crowd in the palm of their hands for the entire time they were out there, and though there was little actual wrestling, the entertainment here was great. Delirious managed the big win here with a roll up, surprising the crowd as Colt is a main event caliber performer.

Delirious beats Colt Cabana (Pin, Roll up, *** ½)
For those that like comedy matches, this is must see and the perfect match to showcase both men. If you like this, also check out the IWA-MS match with CM Punk’s last match there vs. Delirious for a similar, but in my opinion, funnier match. Great work by both men here.

Match 5: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay Briscoe with Mark Briscoe

Claudio is a big performer reminiscent of a more agile, young Triple H. He was hired by the WWE only to be released almost immediately after for no immediately discernable reason. Claudio is a Swiss wrestler and wrestles under the gimmick of “The Most Moneymaking Man in Professional Wrestling.” His “heyyyyy” is over with the crowd and he’s probably the best big man at working with lucha style wrestlers I’ve seen. Much like Generico, while Claudio matches don’t usually steal the show, they are almost always very good.

Jay Briscoe is one half of the tag champions. A hick from Deleware, he just wants a good fight. His brother Mark is out tonight with a bad concussion suffered at the Wrestlemania shows.

These two had a very good back and forth match, Jay mixing stiff attacks with some speed to match up with Claudio who seemed focused on counter wrestling in order to make the most of his ever present European uppercuts. The match wasn’t long, but it kept moving very well outside of a slow start, but there were no near falls until the Alpamare Water Slide, a reverse DVD type maneuver finished for Claudio.

Claudio Castagnoli defeats Jay Briscoe (Pin, Alpamare Water Slide, ***)
A good, if unmemorable match, between two very good workers. It almost seemed like they were trying not to steal the show and they almost certainly could have considering the pace they were going and timing of the momentum switches.

After the match, Claudio, who sounds a bit like Borat, challenged the Briscoes to a tag title match with a partner of his choice since he had just beaten Jay. The Briscoes readily agreed to the match. This drew out Generico and Steen who demanded they get a title shot as well since they nearly beat the Briscoes at the Fifth Year Festival: Philly. Steen showed off his heelish antics, angering Mark who countered back in a thick southern drawl. Mark agreed to face the Generico and Steen Team and turned to walk away, only to be hit in his concussed head by Steen, immediately making Steen a hated coward. The ROH tag scene is back. With some luck Claudio will choose Chris Hero and the Kings of Wrestling can challenge for their lost crown.

Match 6: Homicide w/ Julius Smokes vs. Brent Albright

Homicide is a TNA tag champion, but if you don’t watch TNA all you need to know is he is a dangerous brawler who is one of the more versatile and better wrestlers on the roster, a former ROH World Champion. Brent Albright is a big, former WWE wrestler (Gunner Scott) who bases his offense around suplexes and arm submissions. He’s a hired gun who’s trying to take out Homicide for Jim Cornette, who hates Homicide passionately. If you don’t know Jim Cornette, watch more wrestling please. He’s one of the best managers ever, current TNA commissioner and former ROH comish.

This match was a wild brawl throughout the building that I couldn’t see. Albright got the upset win with several half-nelson suplexes.

Brent Albright defeats Homicide (Pin, half-nelson suplex, no rating)
This is impossible to rate since it was impossible to see much of the match. Ring of Honor must be serious about the Albright push to have him beat Homicide, who is a very big deal in Ring of Honor. I’m not sure about having Albright beat ‘Cide so soon, as with more build this really could have made Albright in ROH.

Shane Hagadorn, a Jim Cornette henchman and ROH wrestling school graduate, attacked Homicide after the match only to be beaten down by Homicide’s manager, Julius Smokes and take a spike piledriver from the duo.

Match 7: Jack Evans vs. Shingo

Shingo is a wrestler in the Japanese Dragon Gate promotion who is being left in America to gain seasoning. Jack Evans is a small breakdancer who is the most prolific highflier in America today. He and Shingo are part of the same faction in Dragon Gate and share a friendly rivalry dating back to the Fifth Year Festival: New York.

This was anther power vs. speed match, but separated enough from the others on the card that it felt quite different. A lot of that is due to not only card placement, but the presence of the unique Jack Evans. Jack used to flip everywhere with next to no impact and horrible selling. His moves now have impact and his spinning kicks are a highlight of Ring of Honor shows, along with the rest of his aerial based offense. He still oversells a bit, but at his size that’s excusable. It also helps that he can contort into ridiculous positions, making every submission seem like it might break him in half.

Shingo worked as a spring board for Jack for much of the match. Shingo is 250lbs while most of the Ring of Honor roster is around 205lbs on average, so he’s comparatively quite big. He used that to great advantage here, tossing Jack around, only to be knocked back down by Jack’s own counters in a very well done match. Jack debuted a move where he gets his opponent in the tree of woe and as they look up he lands on them with a double knee from the top. Jack eventually shocked me with the 630 splash (yes, that’s how much rotation he gets) to beat Shingo.

Jack Evans defeats Shingo (Pin, 630, ***)
This was impressive from Jack. Shingo has a world title match coming, but apparently Jack’s push is just as big and promising, so he got the win. It would have been nice to have seen Evans finally start recruiting for his stable to face off with Aries and Strong’s stables, but the good match makes it difficult to be too disappointed.

Match 8: Elimination Match: The Resilience of Austin Aries, Matt Cross, and Erick Stevens vs. The No Remorse Corps of Roderick Strong, Davey Richards and Rocky Romero

Once upon a time there was a dominant faction named Generation Next. At the head of that dominant faction was the dominant Tag Team of Aries and Strong. After they lost the tag belts though, Strong stopped being happy with Aries and attacked him with his new friend, Davey Richards. They added Rocky Romero of another disbanded heel team and decided the team of guys who were never quite “the man” before would work together, using every dirty trick they could to reach the top. This pissed off Aries who decided he would find a team of young superstars to combat his old partner’s team, and here we are. So far in the feud Roderick has had the upper hand throughout, both with attacks, beatings and defeating Aries in a singles match alone. Tonight, with his new troops, Aries tries to get his back.

The match, from the moment it started, was all about the little things. Aries was playing captain, directing his new team from the start in a great touch. Cross looked solid if unspectacular and the crowd was absolutely in love with Erick “Choo Choo” Stevens all show. Roderick’s heel turn is the most effective in ROH history. The crowd hates him with sarcastic Roderick chants echoing through the arena all match. Romero is cocky and fast, but like Cross, sort of just felt there. Davey Richards was fantastic all match, antagonizing the crowd by teasing spots, stopping big face spots, and taunting the crowd vocally.

The first elimination came after a huge brawl ending in Stevens taking a running boot from Strong followed by the Gibson Driver, which is just a tiger driver. The crowd deflated a bit at this, but Davey Richards weasel-like “I’m Winning!” immediately turned attention to him and the crowd was more than happy to spend the rest of the match taunting he and Roderick.

Resilience tried to fight back and earn their name, but it was futile, as first Cross, with a double underhook brainbuster, which is Davey’s DR Driver and later Aries, to a Tiger Suplex by Romero all without a single elimination by Resilience.

The NRC defeat Resilience (*** ½)
This isn’t the best match of the night, but is probably the one most worth seeing. The dominance by the more teamwork oriented NRC was a sight to behold. The NRC have dominated in a team match and Strong beat Aries cleanly in singles, so I’m not sure why this feud will continue, but I’m sure it will. The elevation of Stevens and the revival this is providing Davey charisma wise make it certainly worth it.

Match 9: Ring of Honor World Champion Takeshi Morishima and Chris Hero with Tank Tolland and Larry Sweeney vs. Nigel McGuinness and Doug Williams

Nigel is the British lariat machine, a top notch worker and ROH main eventer. Doug Williams is among the most respected British stars and can really go, one of the reasons British wrestling is more popular and improving so much now. Morishima is a complete beast from NOAH who appears to have a stranglehold on the ROH belt. Hero is a major heel who works NOAH style, lucha, and European in his own unique mix. He’s a faux superhero/sports star who everyone hates.

This was a very fast paced NOAH style match that was Nigel work almost exclusively lariats and Morishima actually play Ricky Morton for a bit. All men mostly stiffed each other and Hero got the spot of the night when he called out “Misawa” and hit roaring elbows, “Marufuji” and nailed the Sliced Bread #2 and finally “Go to Sleep” only to fail that maneuver on Nigel. The finish to this saw Nigel nail Hero with the jawbreaker lariat for the win, getting more heat for the following night’s match-up where he faces Morishima for the title.

Nigel McGuiness and Doug Williams defeat Morishima and Chris Hero (Pin, Jawbreaker Lariat, ****)
This was very much the best match of the night, but with so many other *** efforts, not the only thing to see. This capped off the best top to bottom Long Island show ever and really has to be seen to actually believe this is LI. The NOAH match was such a great change of pace to end the evening on, it brought the whole rest of the show up with it.

4/14/07 in Edison

Edison used to get all the big shows and Ring of Honor has tried to maintain a big match feel for these shows. Last time it was with Samoa Joe vs. Homicide, which sadly disappointed. This time it’s Nigel McGuiness vs. Takeshi Morishima. Would it suffer the same fate?

Match 1: Chris Hero and Tank Tolland vs. Jason Blade and Eddie Edwards

Tank is a musclehead and Hero’s trainer who was formerly one of the Dicks on Smackdown. He does a lot of steroids, but isn’t a terrible worker and is different enough to get over. Eddie and Blade had a choreographed entrance with a lightshow, foreshadowing a win. The match was dominated by Hero with no one else getting over nearly as much. Blade and Edwards were so dull that much of the crowd actually cheered Hero.

The heel team of Hero and Tolland worked a lot of double teams slightly reminiscent to the Kings of Wrestling team Hero had with Claudio Castagnoli, except about a quarter as good. Blade and Edwards were crisp, with Edwards showing some nice chops. Their team was mostly dominated but managed to pin Tolland with a sunset flip after Blade knocked Hero’s hands off Tolland while Hero was holding Tolland up from the ring apron.

Jason Blade and Eddie Edwards defeated Chris Hero and Tank Tolland (Pin, Roll up, **)
Fairly inoffensive tag formula match shown here, but there was nothing that stood out besides Hero. Blade and Edwards will likely get more bookings due to defeating a team with an upper card regular on it. Hopefully they can show more soon lest they go the way of John Walters.

Top of the Class Trophy: Shane Hagadorn (c) vs. Pelle Primeau

The Top of the Class Trophy goes to the top graduate of the ROH Wrestling school. Pelle is a little guy, but he sure has Hagadorn’s number and has for awhile. Hagadorn has been using southern heel tactics, specifically the brass knuckles and interference from Adam Pearce. Tonight Adam Pearce isn’t at the show so Pelle has a real shot at finally getting the Trophy.

Pelle dominated much of the match, but these two have great chemistry and Hagadorn’s cowardly tactics, including attacking before the bell paid dividends. Pelle almost had Hagadorn beat when Shane went for the brass knuckles, but Bobby Dempsey, another trainee, came out to alert the referee. When the ref took the knuckles, Pelle was able to hit a stunner into a rull up in a nice combination for the three and the Top of the Class Trophy.

Pelle Primeau gets the Top of the Class Trophy by defeating Shane Hagadorn (Pin, Stunner and Roll up, ***)
The crowd popped for this like a legitimate title change, a testament to the effective underdog babyface styling of Pelle and the effective heel shenanigans of Hagadorn. This was a perfectly put together classic styled match that dragged the fans into it and got over huge.

After the match, Pelle crowd surfed around the entire arena to everyone’s delight.

Match 3: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Rocky Romero

This started off very slowly and took quite awhile to pick up. When it did, it was unsurprisingly the lucha style that worked best, allowing Romero to use his speed off the best launching pad and most moneymaking man. Some nice reversals on the ring apron and the floor held the match in respectablility and a Riccola bomb (really, just a big powerbomb where Claudio yells Riccola, but it makes me happy. The finish came out of nowhere, with Romero getting three off of a small package. Damn sneaky heels.

Rocky Romero defeats Claudio Castagnoli (Pin, Small Package, **)
Claudio is officially a face again and over again. That annoys me to no end. ROH usually has better continuity than to let a traitor like Claudio become a face again with no explanation. Claudio turned on ROH to side with CZW during last year’s wars and should not be forgiven so easily.

Match 4: Jay Briscoe and Erick Stevens vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico

Steen and Generico have new matching tights. Steen is clearly playing a bullying heel with Generico taking a more sympathetic position, something they played up all match. Jay is extremely angry at Steen for attacking Mark Briscoe’s injured head last night and continually attacks him even when Steen isn’t the legal man. Jay is absolutely great and gets over huge with the crowd by stiffing the hell out of Steen and Generico. Stevens continues to earn a name after the previous night, managing to do the Briscoe tackle with Jay and getting his Choo Choo corner charge to a big pop. Steen shows why he is so impressive, mixing his power, head drops, and speed, while Generico keeps the crowd involved in every motion he makes.

This was going along normally until the heat sequence began on Jay Briscoe. When it did, the No Remorse Corps came out and powerbombed Erick Stevens into the guard rail. Erick, showing no resilience, had to be helped to the back, leaving Jay alone to endure a beating.

Jay continually fought back, drawing hope spots, but was outnumbered. Who would help Jay? Could Stevens return? Would the Claudio, disrespected by Steen the night before, come to aid his enemy Jay? Mark wasn’t in the building, but surely someone would aid Jay.

Well, Jay finally manned up and got a double count with his opponents when Mark Briscoe emerged from the crowd to the pop of the night, ignoring ROH officials and owner Cary Silkin and taking his place in Jay’s corner. The hot tag was a huge pop and everyone was on their feet. Mark hit his usual high speed, high impact offense and Steen and Generico were in trouble, but every time his head was touched he went down in a heap.

This continued until Generico managed a Yakuza kick in the corner on Mark, which was way too stiff, and Mark, manning up, totally no sold it and went at his attacker again. He knocked his opponents to the floor and Jay followed, but Steen managed to spear Jay into the guardrail, putting him down and giving Steen and Generico a chance to hit a Package Piledriver and Brainbuster respectively to get the pin on Mark Briscoe.

Kevin Steen and El Generico defeat Jay and Mark Briscoe (Pin, Package Piledriver and Brainbuster, **** ¼)
This was the best booked match I’ve ever seen. The crowd was rabid for The Briscoes and everyone in the building turned on Steen. This is an angle executed to perfection. WWE wishes they could get this level of real emotion from the audience. Must see.

After the match, Generico and Jay checked on Mark who was badly hurt, while Steen attempted to blow snot rockets at Mark, inciting the crowd even further. Mark Briscoe was eventually able to leave under his own power, but the tag belts are clearly at risk with Mark weakened.

Match 5: Colt Cabana vs. Doug Williams

The third to last of Colt’s ROH matches is a European style match. Colt being Colt, turned this into largely comedy antics and reminded me why I dislike him usually. The comedy was great at the beginning, but it began to make me feel detached from what was a more serious match later on, taking away the emotional involvement that is so important in creating a great match.

Both men continued the hold and counterhold wrestling, with Colt showing just how good he is at it. Eventually this lead to Doug Williams hitting the Chaos Theory (a roll through from a waist lock into a German Suplex with a bridge) for three on Colt out of nowhere.

Doug Williams defeated Colt Cabana (Pin, Chaos Theory, ** ½)
I wish I could give this higher. I was never a Colt fan, but I respect what he’s done for the company and how good he can be when he puts aside the antics like against Jimmy Jacobs and Homicide. This was everything I hate about a Colt match. Some fun antics at the start that go too far and take away from the competition in a serious match.

After the match Colt gives a speech thanking the fans that will always support him and says he is moving on, not moving up or down. He uses a Burger King and McDonald’s analogy to the delight of the crowd and leaves to a standing ovation. Goodbye Colt and thank you for your efforts.

Match 5: Sara Del Ray squashes Ernie Osiris
I’m entirely unsure what the point of this one.

Match 6: Shingo vs. Matt Cross

Matt Cross is very similar to Matt Sydal with more intensity and a bit less storytelling skill. Shingo worked a heel match here which hurt things, but he’s good at it so it wasn’t too bad. This begged for a fast paced, Dragon Gate style, but never delivered it. Shingo finished with a Shingo driver.

Shingo defeats Matt Cross (Pin, Shingo driver, ** ¾)
Not bad, but fairly generic and a let down at this point on the card.

Match 7: Davey Richards and Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans and Delirious

Two of the most hated heels vs. two of the most beloved faces and the crowd ate it up. Jack’s awesome new offense with all the spin kicks got over huge as did the Delirious insanity. Delirious wanted revenge for Roderick injuring him in their Philadelphia match recently and showed great intensity. Roderick and Davey picked right up where they left off last night doing all the little things to become the most hated men around.

The match was tag formula, but Davey and Roddy’s stiff assaults, along with Jack Evans fantastic selling kept it from feeling formula. Jack was an extremely successful face-in-peril and took a great beating. Ricky Morton would be proud. The faces eventually got the hot tag and things picked up, but when Delirious was thrown into the ropes he ate a chair and took Davey’s DR Driver to lose. Jack demanded the fans boo and we obliged.

Davey Richards and Roderick Strong defeat Jack Evans and Delirious (Pin, DR Driver, *** ½)
Ring of Honor rarely had face heel matches previously where everything was so clearly defined. Since the company is clearly moving in that direction, it’s good that they have guys of this caliber at playing their rolls to keep the fans happy.

ROH World Title Match: Takeshi Morishima (c) vs. Nigel McGuiness

Morishima, the beast, has completely outmatched everyone in size that he’s faced in Ring of Honor thus far except for Samoa Joe. That match would be his one loss. When he faces Nigel McGuiness, he faces someone nearly as big as Joe, but the night before Nigel learned brute force isn’t enough to topple the giant; Morishima was able to withstand several of Nigel’s patented lariats. Tonight Nigel went with a better rounded offense that included Nigel flying to the floor with a cross body on Morishima. The usual array of lariats was in effect from Nigel as well, keeping down Morishima with brutality. Takeshi’s speed wasn’t bad itself, and they had quite the brutal back and forth match.

Eventually Morishima hit the backdrop driver for two. After that Nigel managed a jawbreaker lariat that seemed to be the finish, but wasn’t. This was followed by another backdrop driver, but Nigel totally no sold that and want for another jawbreaker lariat only to be caught with a third backdrop driver for the finish. Even knowing what was going on, I bought every false finish.

Takeshi Morishima retains the ROH World Title against Nigel McGuinness (Pin, Backdrop driver, **** ½)
Worth the price of admission alone and better than Morishima vs. Samoa Joe. That about covers it, yes?

This was a great show with two 4* matches and another checking in at 3 1/2*. This weekend was great for Ring of Honor. A lot of the unnamed and smaller shows have been lacking lately and this showed that the momentum from the Fifth Year Festival and Wrestlemania Weekend shows will continue and that even the smaller shows will get a great product. Don’t forget these two when picking out your DVDs surrounded by bigger name shows. I know I won’t.

Tags: