A Modest Response

Welcome to A Modest Response. We check in with a gigantic column this week including my TNA business model and booking and the Ring of Honor weekend previews. Let’s get you started with the news.

News of Honor

ROH will run in Orlando for Wrestlemania weekend

ROH has never run in Orlando before so this will be a big test of their fanbase and to see what kinds of new areas can support ROH. I’ll probably fly down for this weekend just because the Wrestlemania shows have been the best of the year.

5/12 in the Manhattan Center is nearly sold out

Without announcing a match, ROH is looking at this as a huge compliment. If you still want tickets, get them now. Hopefully this is a precursor for ROH moving into the Hammerstein Ballroom proper soon, but that’s just idle speculation at this point.

The Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool and Fifth Year Festival: Finale are both out on DVD

These complete the 6 show Fifth Year Festival, which is must buy. Wait for a good sale, I’ll try and post when one shows up on Pulse Wrestling, and jump on these DVDs. The hot streak ROH is on since FYF: NYC must be seen to be believed.

Mark Briscoe is fine, he even had his mom confirm it

Awwww.

Jimmy Jacobs is out up to nine months

This is a major shame. He was on an amazing roll, putting on two match of the year candidates already (with Colt Cabana in the Fifth Year Festival Chicago and on one of the Wrestlemania shows with BJ Whitmer in a steel cage). If he comes back without much ring rust he should immediately become a major player.

Danielson is due back as early as May

I really hope this is the NYC show and he’s the unannounced big signing.

Stay tuned for this weekend’s full ROH previews later in the column.

In Other News

Jeff Jarrett’s wife’s health isn’t doing well

Mantell and Russo are booking. Best wishes to the Jarrett household.

Randy Orton was sent home from the WWE’s European tour

To see all my thoughts on this, please check out tomorrow’s VS with me vs. Allen Noah, the only man I know to have had sleepovers with members of the ROH roster (minds, remove from the gutter, he worked for HWA when it was a WWE developmental fed).

Triple H expects to be back in July

Assuming Triple H is in better shape than last time he returned and his ego is in check, both big assumptions, a feud with a major heel champion Edge would do great business.

Booker’s knee injuries will keep him out for about two months

Glad the injury isn’t that severe. Booker’s a talent that fits into any role and really valuable.

Cody Runnells is now being called Cody Rhodes in OVW

Cody can really talk if the Hall of Fame show is any indication. Playing up his father’s name and history in the business hindered Dustin who could never live up to expectations, but if Cody is as good as advertised, this will help him get and stay over.

Chris Kanyon announced his retirement

Never a guy who was going to set the world on fire, he still had a nice run in WCW and was a useful mid-carder. He was a weird talent and hard to book because his character is so off beat, which limited his usefulness, but he was still very useful and one of the few WCW used well. Good luck in life past wrestling Kanyon.

Ashley has heat and her push is over

Well, since she was in Playboy her use to the company is pretty much up. Can’t say this is a surprise.

Commentary on the Televised

Fifth Year Festival: Dayton

Brings the awesome early on. Jimmy Jacobs and Albright against Cabana and Nigel has some great psychology and selling and a perfect build. Not **** but not far off.

I recently bought the following non-ROH DVDs, but lord knows when I’ll have time to watch them. If you want me to review them, please send an e-mail. A few e-mails for a certain DVD and I’ll do a review of the matches.

Here’s the list followed by a quick comment or two:

Blood Sport ECW: The Most Violent Matches– This has a lot of the most memorable moments in ECW on it and one of it’s three best matches in the Terry Funk vs. Sandman vs. Stevie Richards match. This is another reminder that Stevie was fantastic back then and Funk is one of the ten best ever.

Rob Van Damn: One of A Kind– This one has another of the best ever ECW matches, RVD vs. Jerry Lynn from anarchy Rulz in 1999. There’s some other good stuff, notably RVD’s Invasion match with Jeff Hardy that got him over in the WWE when they seemed to have no intentions of that occurring.

Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon– I’d been avoiding this out of some half-baked protest at WWE not releasing a War Games DVD. I love War Games. That match and the Canadian Stampede 10 man make this a must own DVD.

Superstars of Yesteryear– It’s random and it was cheap. It has Hennig vs. Bockwinkle on it, so it’s worth it.

Wild Men of Wrestling– Another cheap one, this one is two DVDs of some decent old stuff. It came with the Superstars of Yesteryear and the following, or I wouldn’t have gotten this one.

The Dusty Rhodes Story– I don’t really like Dusty, but this got cheap fast and has some decent stuff on it. Dusty the booker, besides over reliance on Dusty finishes, is actually quite good.

Wrestling Gold– This is five DVDs of some great stuff including a lot of young Lawler, Savage, and middle aged and crazy Terry Funk. This is super cheap and I urge you all to get out and find it.

And now, four I already had, but am willing to review a few matches from if the demand is there:

The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection– Probably the best collection ever. The Flair-Steamboat matches alone are worth your money.

Shawn Michaels: From the Valut– For those that have only seen post-return Michaels this is must get. He’s probably the best in ring performer of the 1990s and absolutely innovative and influential in every way. This has the Wrestlemania XII Iron Man with Bret, the Wrestlemania X Ladder match with Razor, Hell in a Cell with ‘Taker and Mind Games with Foley, among others. This is fantastic.

Chris Benoit: Hard Knocks– Another great DVD, my main pet peeve here is the total ignoring of Jericho who was Benoit’s major feud for at least a couple of years. Besides that, it’s Benoit, so it’s fabulous.

Bret Hart: Hitman– Another one where the in ring stuff is amazing. This has Hart vs. Mr. Perfect from my birthday in 1991, at a Summerslam I was at. One of my favorite wrestling memories and still a great match.

E-Mail me here if you’d like to lobby for anything specific to be reviewed by me. Give me a good reason or a good match review of your own to be posted.

Respondents of Honor

This week I received an e-mail from Justin which is the best summary I could ever give of why I write this column. Here it is:

Hey man, I have been reading your stuff a lot lately and I have to say that after reading a modest response for a while I decided to at least check out the ROH video wire and I’m very glad I did. The video wire lead me to FullImpactPro.com which I was extremely excited to find out operated out of central Florida and ran shows within an hour of my house. SWEET! I’ve been to the last three shows including the Eddie Graham Memorial battle of the belts and I’m getting ready to head toward Inverness for International Impact night 1. Thanks for the suggestion man I really appreciate it. By the way, you need to check out the Eddie Graham show when it hits DVD. The Jay Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens vs. Strong matches are top notch and the Stevens/Strong match may be one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Take it easy

I’ll absolutely be getting the Eddie Graham show and urge everyone else to do the same, if only to see what the big deal about Erick Stevens is. Thanks for giving the independent wrestling product a try Justin, and I urge more of you to do the same.

Sorry to the other Respondents of Honor, I can’t get to the list of your names this week since I’m on a different computer. I’ll be sure to add you guys in next week to make up for it.

This Week on Pulse Wrestling

I reviewed the first night of Ring of Honor’s Fifth Year Festival right here. I paid special attention to making it accessible to a new fan of the product who wouldn’t know the storylines and wrestlers. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Eric has the ECW Short Form and Wrestling News, Opinions, Etc. echoing my sentiments that Matthew Michaels is insane. More from Eric later so I won’t go in depth about anything he’s written thus far. I missed Michaels vs. Cena though, so if anyone has a video link to it, send it here.

Brashear goes in depth with a look at the Horsemen. Timely considering the DVD release. Considering the amount of work he puts into these, he’s a lot more likely to give you an accurate outlook on the Horsemen’s fall than the WWE hype machine. Give it a read and I really hope someone will do a comparison with the Horsemen DVD.

Murray discusses the Brightside of all things wrestling, while slowly becoming more negative. It’s really fun to watch.

The bad mouthing of Paul London on this site has to stop. I don’t care if he’s the biggest queer to ever walk to planet, which he isn’t, he’s a phenomenal wrestler. The use of the adjective phenomenal is not accidental. You see, as most of you know, in 2002 and 2003 Paul London was a regular in Ring of Honor. At that time he engaged in what should be an absolutely legendary and nearly unsurpassed series of matches with the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Spanky (Brian Kendrick), and others. He was, at that time, as good as any of them. All have improved since then, but with the tutelage of the legends backstage in WWE London still maintains even footing with the other, better known workers he encountered so memorably in his past. Paul London, despite being under utilized, is a better worker with more charisma than AJ Styles. He’s better than Kendrick and Low Ki. He might be as good as Joe and Danielson still, but we really have no way to know. Unfortunately, most of you don’t know what you’re missing: an elite worker for his generation. Check out any of the following to find out: One Year Anniversary Show, The Epic Encounter, Night of the Grudges, or Death before Dishonor at Rohwrestling.com. There are other great London matches, but with any one of those, you’re getting something so blatantly obviously special, it’s impossible to fail to notice.

Mark Allen takes the most comprehensive look at Randy Orton so far. Once again, check the Saturday VS to see my thoughts on Orton.

Eric S appears again and gets the Column of Honor for his TNA recap, which is not only a perfect example of him being on form again, but also contains the highest compliment anyone in the IWC has paid me and it’s hard to imagine a compliment as flattering:

You know, we used to say here that if me, Scooter, and Hevia were given complete control by Steph for two months, we’d turn WWE’s booking completely around. Let me modify that. If Dixie called me up today and offered me the book, even on a temporary basis, I’d get a hold of Blatt and Glazer, the perfect guys for this mission, and use Panda’s credit card to get them flights to Orlando. Then we’d use that credit card to book us some rooms at any convenient hotel in the area (like there aren’t enough of them) and make sure that we’d have the number to the nearest pizza delivery joint. We’d call up Flea, who’d bring the booze, then we’d all lock ourselves in until we came up with a concrete plan to book TNA, as a whole, with a helluva lot more sense. We’d probably not get through the third pizza.

Thank you Eric. Far be it from me to not highlight this and show exactly how I’d book TNA.

A Modest Response: How to Book TNA

Former WWE, WCW and ECW wrestler Lance Storm recently broke down how he would structure TNA given the time restrictions. I can’t top that. It’s perfect so there’s no reason to try.

What’s needed in TNA is a big fight and big match feel. Ratings are important, but Spike is happy with the ratings and as more people begin to hear about the TNA product, the ratings will naturally increase if the product is solid. It’s a young company, so name value is a very important thing.

First off, TNA is a terrible name, but making the wrestling product associated with it unique has to be the main focus. In WWE matches are part of the storyline. In TNA the storyline should all be built to the matches. TNA makes most of their money off Pay Per View buyrates, so they need to focus everything around making the matches that appear on the Pay Per View special and feel like events.

The first way to do that is to get the title matches off of free television. As little as 15 years ago it was extremely rare to see a title match on free TV. If you wanted to see a title match you had to shell out money for a Pay Per View or go to a house show. We’ll get to the house show business in a minute, but simply removing title matches from free television makes every match the titles are defended in more important. If it’s important and rare, people are more likely to be willing to spend money to see it. To establish this simply have the heel champion declare that he will no longer be defending his belt more than is expressly demanded by his contract and let the other champion, Chris Sabin of the X-Division, another heel, follow suit. With both of these deciding to honor the letter of their contract and deny the fans matches, their heat increases and when they do defend it is more important. When the belts move, merely quietly keep the title matches restricted to Pay Per View and move on.

Next, all big matches need to be taken off television except for extremely rare occasions. I won’t pay to see Angle and AJ Styles anymore. I love both wrestlers and as little as 6 months ago would have paid almost any amount to see this match. TNA gave it away on free TV with no time and had several tag matches featuring both men. What is my incentive to buy a pay per view headlined by these two now? They will be given time and maybe have a great match, but I’ve seen how they interact in the ring. That spark and curiosity is gone. Take all the big matches like this off television. Angle and AJ need TV matches obviously, but let them be against wrestlers from different parts of the card.

Pay Per View builds would obviously have to be restructured. The simplest way to do this is to greatly increase a reliance on stables and alliances. With a stable or alliance the one or two major draws of the stable could wrestle the lower card, keep looking strong and advance storylines without giving away anything. If done over a month and with proper sectioning off of the stables any feud can last months before the big match is shown. By keeping the big matches based upon big feuds staggered, each pay per view could have one major blow off while continuing to move other feuds along to the one major match between the heads of the stable. With this booking, the storylines are constantly advancing, the wrestlers are kept separate and it’s easy to re-book a match with proper importance, even with a changing of spots on the card for some wrestlers, since it would be months before any rematches were possible due to a continuation of the storylines taking a natural several month period. Fresher matches seeming more important would lead to greater buyrates. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe’s first encounter showed that a fresh match will lead to a greater buyrate. Imagine that fresh match with a proper build.

To restructure the business and make more income, I’d restructure the business model for house shows. I’d run about 20 weekend house shows per year, equaling 40 shows, mostly spread out among the south. I’d ensure guys like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Christian worked exclusively for my house shows and to be able to pay them, I’d hype the house shows to no end. Announcing matches, releasing big cards that can not be seen on TV, and constantly hyping upcoming events on the internet and Impact along with the aforementioned pulling of big matches from free TV would make sure the attendance at these shows would be strong. With these house shows, I’d book local talent to supplement the major talent so that all the big matches are never given away, but the local fan has a reason to come out and support TNA to see their favorites get to battle the television stars. That’s only a small part of the profit to be made from these shows, however.

In addition to this restructuring of the house show business, I’d release each house show on DVD in almost exactly the same manner in which Ring of Honor does. There is a built in business for this type of venture in the independent fan bases and adding to that the audience that would be pulled in from the advertising of the shows on the nationally broadcast Impact, the business could be huge. If the only way to see Homicide and Samoa Joe live were to go to a TNA house show or buy the DVD associated with it, then the business for each would go up. Adding in the booking of outside talent, Joey Ryan of PWG for example and you’re attracted even a broader cross referencing of the audience from which to draw revenue. Exploring On Demand services for these house shows is a viable way of increasing income through this venue as well.

With all of this established for the business model, booking TNA is a lot simpler. One of the major draws of TNA is the X-Division. The X-Division has become all high spots, a playground for Kevin Nash, and lost importance. Samoa Joe, a former X-Division superstar mainstay, has been moved up to the heavyweight division, where he has lost his aura of being special and dangerous and become just another upper-carder in Angle’s feud with Christian.

The solution to this is simple: let Samoa Joe realize that he’s lost his way and realize that Kevin Nash is making a mockery of his division. Joe should then decide to start from the beginning and properly build himself up again by dismantling Nash’s X-Division. Nash should in turn, turn the remnants of the division into his own personal army to take out Joe. Verbally Nash and Joe are both top notch and would have little trouble carrying this feud. By interspersing rarely used talent like Jarelle Clark and Shark Boy on Impact to meet with Joe in matches, they can keep the confrontations with the bigger X-Division stars special and make the matches mean more. With X-Division stars taking Joe to the limit left and right, using hit and run and the numbers game, Joe’s slow climb back to the top would highlight what a special performer he is.

Sting has quite a rub to give and Chris Daniels is an excellent performer to have him deliver that rub to. Daniels has long deserved a top spot and to be seen as special by the fans around the country, so this works well. Daniels is also one of the best promos in the business today and him playing mind games with Sting, while costing Sting low level matches, attacking him at random, and refusing to actually accept Sting’s challenge could build for months before Sting finally found a way to lure Daniels into confrontation. For once, a Russo quirk would actually help, having Daniels a mismatched partner with Sting so that they win matches, but Daniels attacks Sting afterwards each and every time, building the feud and accumulating heat.

Kurt Angle makes whatever angle he is in seem important. I’m not as interested in his hyper-intense character in TNA or as impressed with his ring work, but there’s an easy way to make both work. The tag division in TNA is quite strong and headed by a stable that hates American icons. To highlight the tag division, putting the belts on LAX, which would need to expand several members, and having them decide they want to destroy the American icon Kurt Angle would be an instantly hot angle. Here the build would not lead to the big match, but the big reveal of Kurt finding the perfect partner to face LAX. LAX, attacking him at every turn, would dispose of any partner who dared aid Kurt, until a final reveal- either a newly released wrestler from WWE like potentially Randy Orton or Rob Van Dam, or a wrestler with a huge internet buzz that would get him over like Bryan Danielson would begin to pay off the angle. From there, a series of high stakes matches would have such hype that the angle and division would sell themselves.

Christian is, surprisingly, the hardest person to book correctly currently. He has his dominant stable and is a major heel force. Right now he does not need one major feud. A series of revolving upper mid-carders like Rhino, AJ Styles (who should be a tweener), X-Division wrestlers and men who have just won other feuds, could fight through his minions, a few months at a time in order to earn a shot at Christian. Christian for his part should play the absolute classic heel that has to cheat for everything. His match quality has been great of late and making the collection of men chasing him, which ultimately amounts to everyone in the company coming one by one, look great is not an issue. That they can take the champion to the limit makes them more important, thus more people will pay to see them in other feuds. That the champion can beat them all makes the belt more important and that he’s cheating makes him more hated, so that people will pay to see him defeated.

There you have it: an overall direction for TNA as a company with which to increase buyrates and DVD consumption along with major booking direction for the company’s biggest stars for months to come. I hope you enjoyed and feel free to send any comments or disagreements my way.

ROH Weekend Preview: 4/27 in St. Paul, MN and 4/28 in Chicago, IL

I’ll be attempting to contextualize each match so that the uninitiated have some idea what’s going on and what the reason is for each confrontation. We’ll have coverage for Fridays show from ROH Fan and former games section writer Matt Yeager. Saturday’s show will be covered by Eric S. Expect commentary from me as well, because lord knows I can’t seem to shut my mouth about ROH’s angles and developments.

As always my thoughts are first followed by Big Andy Mac’s.

ROH Preview: 4/27 in St. Paul, MN

ROH World Title Match
Takeshi Morishima vs. Austin Aries
:

Takeshi Morishima is the monster heel invader of Ring of Honor from NOAH who took the Ring of Honor title from Homicide. Since then he’s seemed unbeatable, taking out KENTA, BJ Whitmer, and Nigel McGuinness. His style is reminiscent of Stan Hansen with more agility. He’s actually often compared to Samoa Joe because of his size and agility and he works an amusingly dangerous offense using his weight and butt to his advantage.

Austin Aries is the man who defeated Samoa Joe for the ROH Title and established the Tag Titles as valuable teaming with Roderick Strong. Since then he and Strong have gone to war with each other, but he has never lost sight of becoming ROH’s first two time champion. With a high impact offense, good speed, and surprising strength Aries will look to shock the world the way he did when he beat the last unbeatable behemoth in ROH, Samoa Joe.

Aries would actually have a great shot here, but has to be distracted by his faction’s war with Roderick Strong’s, which Aries is clearly losing at this point. He is still too good to be easily defeated by Morishima, but Takeshi’s strength and size should ensure this match does not go much more than 10-15 minutes in which Morishima will retain his title. A strange note: Morishima’s matches have been uniformly much better on DVD than in person. I’m curious if that continues.

Winner: Takeshi Morishima

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: There is a lot of hype on this one saying that since Aries beat Joe, he could beat Morishima who is similar to the Samoan Submission Machine in many ways. Takeshi is big, fast, and powerful. Aries is small, fast, and hard hitting. This will be an interesting dynamic. It could be Morishima’s toughest defense or his easiest. Either way it has all the potential of being an awesome match. Morishima is not losing though.

Winner: Takeshi Morishima

FIP World Heavyweight Title Match
Roderick Strong vs. Christopher Daniels

Roderick Strong is the heel leader of the No Remorse Corps. He uses a high impact, power offense with big chops (although he seems to have dropped the backbreakers) to take out opponents. He’s the champion of ROH’s sister promotion, FIP, and doesn’t look to lose his belt on a non-FIP show.

Chris Daniels is the old man of the indies. He’s been around for years and is a very smart worker and one of the best rounded men in the business. He’s good at absolutely everything, but can sometimes pace a match a bit too slowly for my tastes. Unfortunately Strong is in the same boat, so this might not be all it could be. There is no outstanding issue between the two men, but there is no way Strong loses his belt.

Winner: Roderick Strong

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: I thought Roderick had stopped defending the FIP title on RoH shows, or at least I hoped that he had. It really has no place in RoH. I think that FIP should be kept as separate as possible. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this match has taken place in RoH, and it should be one an awesome match. Daniels is slowing winding down his run in RoH and i doubt he will get an FIP title run.

Winner: Roderick Strong

World Tag Team Title Ultimate Endurance
(elimination match with each fall having a different stipulation. First fall can only be won by tap out. Second fall is a Tag Team Scramble meaning no tags are needed. Final fall is for the ROH World Tag Team Titles)
ROH World Tag Team Champions Jay & Mark Briscoe
vs.
Pelle Primeau & Mitch Franklin
vs.
Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw
vs.
Hallowicked & Gran Akuma

Andy wasn’t linked in the usual section because I knew I’d be heavily pimping him here. This is my favorite column by him in awhile and he introduces Quackenbush, Jigsaw, Hallowicked, and Gran Akuma far better than I ever could.

Pelle and Mitch Franklin are graduates of the ROH training school and absolutely about 130lbs tiny. They’re here to take a beating and be eliminated early, but Pelle might get something fun in before they are taken out.

Jay and Mark Briscoe are hicks from Delaware who are the ROH tag champions and love to Man up. They will fight anyone at any time and are stiff high fliers who can do a bit of everything in the ring. They’re the best team in the America today and no one else is particularly close. Seeing them in the ring with Quackenbush is an absolute dream come true.

This should be fantastic. The Chikara guys lucha influence will mesh extremely well with the Briscoes high flying and hard hitting. Particularly interesting is the stiff strikes of Gran Akuma against the Briscoes and the high flying of the rest of the matches participants. I can imagine this stealing the show quite easily, but it won’t be by virtue of a surprise winner. Jay and Mark aren’t losing their belts this time, they’re just gaining steam.

Winners- Jay and Mark Briscoe

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This has potential to be match of the night depending on how they book it. Logic says that Pelle and Mitch go down first letting the Lucha Libre influenced Chikara boys shine in the scramble portion of the match. It will come down to the Briscoes against Jigsaw and Quackenbush and an awesome tag match. Briscoes are not losing to these newcomers.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe

Four Corner Survival Match
Jack Evans vs. Delirious vs. Rocky Romero vs. Erick Stevens

Jack Evans is a small, white break dancer who is the best high flier in America. He’s worked hard in Dragon Gate, added a lot to his arsenal and is primed for a top spot. He really needs to add someone into his supposedly forming stable to combat Roderick Strong’s No Remorse Corps and Austin Aries’s The Resilience.

Delirious is a small madman with a mask who is incoherence and insanity defined. He’s a very good matt wrestler with decent speed and an ally of Evans against the NRC because Roderick Strong injured him at the Fifth Year Festival: Philly and the NRC cheated to beat he and Jack in Edison. Even though he’s not a member of any stable, he has a vested interest in the match.

Rocky Romero is a member of the NRC and a stiff striker. When he gets going he moves around the ring quite well and he’s easy to hate for his cocky attitude. If he’s going to win, he often seems a different wrestler than if he isn’t, but is always at least good and despicable.

Erick Stevens is a member of the Resilience. He’s a big dude with a Mohawk who goes “choo choo” and is almost immediately over with the audience. Watch how absolutely brilliant he is at the little motions to get the crowd involved and how his power offense is kept realistic seeming, further impressing upon the audience that he is a badass. Erick Stevens is truly impressive.

I’d look for NRC interference here, but I don’t think it’ll do much good. There are too many men that have a direct stake in ensuring the NRC doesn’t beat them again for Romero to sneak away with the victory. The match should be high octane and a ton of fun, and Erick Stevens should roll over the smaller competitors to keep his momentum going.

Winner: Erick Stevens

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: The four corner survivals have lately been absolutely awesome. This should be no different. The issues here are plentiful as well. All of the wrestlers have issues with Romero and the NRC. This might also be the toughest match on the card to call. Either Jack Evans scores a big win or Romero steals one. Either way it should be action packed.

Winner: Rocky Romero

Anything Goes Fight
Colt Cabana & Homicide vs. Brent Albright & Adam Pearce with Shane Hagadorn

Colt Cabana’s second to last ROH show is a tag match with his former arch nemesis Homicide. After a violent feud they showed respect for each other and became allies against Albright and Pearce. Pearce and Albright both hate Homicide due to Jim Cornette, although Albright’s hate is due to his desire for cash and Pearce’s is far more personal.

Albright is the former Gunner Scott and keeps a high impact, power based offense. He’s really good in tag matches and seems to be in a lot of them. He beat Homicide in a big upset in Edison and will look to keep momentum going.

Adam Pearce is an old school heel of the Lawler variety. He’s a bit boring at times, but is usually good enough at getting the crowd to hate him to make his live matches fairly entertaining.

Cabana and Homicide have nothing to gain with a win here and while this will be a fun brawl around the building, they have to lose to give the rub to two guys who still have a legacy to build in ROH.

Winners: Pearce and Albright

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Colt Cabana has gone 0-2 in his farewell tour, and I honestly think he goes 0-3 here. The match should be off the charts brutal, and the start of the “big push” Aaron sees in Brent Albright’s future.
Winner: Brent Albright and Adam Pearce

Special Challenge Match
BJ Whitmer vs. Shingo

BJ Whitmer is the Tommy Dreamer of ROH. He’s a passionate leader who will take any beating for the audience who does not always accept him. He wrestles a good power game, but besides his ability to take and dish out awesome beatings, is generally better in tag matches. In hardcore or tag matches though, few are his match. Unfortunately this is neither.

Shingo is a Dragon Gate star in America to learn the ropes so when he gets to Japan he’s immediately ready to be a major player. His time in ROH looks to be coming to a close, but since he has a match with Morishima on Saturday, he should be kept strong here.

The match should be high impact. Both men prefer power moves and if they keep the pace up, the sheer force unleashed here should be quite the spectacle. BJ is stronger, but Shingo is faster and has better motivation because of the title shot.

Winner: Shingo

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Shingo needs a win to build momentum towards his title shot and Whitmer does not lose much in defeat. There is a chance, albeit a small one that Jimmy Jacobs rears his emotional head in this match, but I think that issue is dead.

Winner: Shingo

SHIMMER Tag Team Action
St. Paul’s own Rain & Lacey vs. Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger

Del Ray and Danger are undefeated and dominant, but Rain and Lacey have been looking to topple them. Rain and Lacey are both very good and very attractive, but Del Ray is one of the best women’s wrestlers around and is very hard to beat.

Winners: Sara Del Ray and Allison Danger

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This could be the best SHIMMER match on an RoH show yet. Rain is a solid wrestler and easy on the eyes much like her partner Lacey. The Dangerous Angels are undefeated in RoH and this one ccould really go either way.

Winners: The Dangerous Angels (Allison Danger and Sara Del Ray)

ROH Preview: 4/28 in Chicago, IL

Cabana’s Final ROH Match
Colt Cabana vs. Adam Pearce

This will be emotional and make Eric S. want to puke. Cabana will likely mix up styles with Pearce, who’s also a Chicago native, going with comedy, a brawling and European wrestling to show what Cabana is all about. Pearce should be able to keep up on all but the European wrestling, so this should be at least solid. Cabana will have lost every other farewell match to this point, so even to me it’d be nice to see him go out with a win.

Winner: Cabana

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Colt will have an emotional farewell as he ends his tenure.

ROH World Title Match (if Morishima is still champion)
Takeshi Morishima defends vs. Shingo

Dragon Gate and NOAH agreeing to this is a big deal, so the match should be good. Shingo is almost done in America and has no shot against Morishima. Shingo wrestles with power but Morishima is far, far stronger and almost as fast. This should be a lot of fun, but Morishima will beat the tar out of Shingo. Once again, the reminder that Morishima’s matches tend to be better on DVD is in effect.

Winner: Morishima

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This is a rare occasion. Top up and comers in both Dragon Gate and NOAH will meet in the same ring. I think I read somewhere that Shingo is on his way back to Japan as his year in America is almost up, and he was rewarded with a tag title reign for his troubles. He is not winning the World title.
Winner: Takeshi Morishima

ROH World Tag Team Title Match (if Briscoes are still champions)
Jay & Mark Briscoe defend vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin

Dream Match time. Sabin and Shelley are major TNA wrestlers, so I don’t need to explain who they are, and both tend to only do ROH in guest shots. Both are still very good wrestlers and can put on quite a show. I’d love to see them win, even over my favorite team, the Briscoes, so they’d have to stay in ROH, but this is likely a guest shot to put over the importance of the tag titles. If the Briscoes are to lose here, it’ll be because of Mark’s previous injury while botching a shooting star press and Jay’s more recent injury getting a shard stuck in his head during a hardcore match.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: No way are the Briscoes losing the titles before this match takes place. Some people may have less than stellar opinions of Alex Shelley, but I truly think he is one of the best wrestlers in the world today. This could genuinely be match of the year when all is said and done, and it is my pick for match of the night on this stacked show. I would love to see the Motor City Machine Guns win, so I am going to go out on a limb and pick them to take the tag titles.

Winners: Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin

Grudge Match #1
Jack Evans vs. Roderick Strong

Roderick Strong turned on his former Generation Next partners when he formed the No Remorse Corps and he has since defeated both former partners, Jack Evans and Austin Aries in two great matches. The Evans match was so close that here Evans gets a rematch. These two always put on an amazing show together and unless the Tag Title match in inhumanly good, this will be the match of the weekend, including the WWE Pay Per View.

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This will be an awesome, awesome, awesome match. I really think that Roderick will continue his dominance of the former members of Generation Next and score yet another win here.
Winner: Roderick Strong

Grudge Match #2
Austin Aries vs. Rocky Romero

Austin Aries and his Resilience stable have yet to get a bit win over the NRC. Aries is too high up the card, however, to lose to Romero in any kind of a clean manner, so this should be Aries getting some of his heat back for all of the losses. There is also a distinct possibility of Strong getting involved and costing Aries the match or leading to a DQ. These two’s styles match up very well. The speed and striking are right on par and if they don’t slow this down, this could be very good. The chemistry will likely be there, Aries is too good for it to not be, and the results should be a win for him.

Winner: Austin Aries

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: No way is Aries going to lose to Romero. I think it will be a stellar match, but Aries will get a measure of revenge on the former Rottweiler.

Winner: Austin Aries

Three Way Dance
Homicide vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Brent Albright

Two guys just out of monster feuds, Homicide in his quest for the world title and BJ Whitmer in his battles with Jimmy Jacobs over Lacey, will battle the fastest rising man in ROH. Albright is in the process of making his name at the expense of both of these men. His employers thus far have been Lacey to take out Whitmer and Cornette to take out Homicide. He was unable to fully eliminate them from their respective feuds for obvious reasons, but here will get the win back in what should be a wild, stiff brawl.

Winner: Brent Albright

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: Homicide and Whitmer both don’t really need victories in this match and Albright really can’t afford a loss. Albright wins pinning Homicide again to continue their little feud.

Winner: Brent Albright

Special Challenge Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Erick Stevens

This should be worthwhile in that it allows us to see Stevens get over wildly quickly against someone who isn’t a major heel, unlike the NRC. Daniels has been heeling it up lately and likely will here. Stevens will look great against a pro like Daniels. Daniels wanted this match because Stevens is a FIP regular and Daniels expects to take the FIP belt on Friday. Daniels won’t take that belt, but he’s too established to lose to Stevens without any build. This should be a ton of fun and is one of the main matches I’m looking forward to in Eric’s review.

Winner: Daniels

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This is an intriguing match and a chance for Erick Stevens to make his mark. It seems that all youngsters coming into Ring of Honor wind up standing across the ring from the veteran Chris Daniels sooner or later and this is Stevens’ time. Stevens could use a win, and Daniels is not hurt by a loss.

Winner: Erick Stevens

Six Man Mayhem
Delirious vs . vs. Pelle Primeau vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Gran Akuma vs. Jigsaw vs. Hallowicked

Once again, I direct you to Andy’s awesome article about the Chikara wrestlers. This will be pure lucha highspots. Delirious and Hallowicked’s insane match up will be fantastic alone. This could steal the show, even if it won’t be the best match of the show. I’m expecting a “Please don’t stop” as these guys go all out for their new audience. All but Pelle are Chikara regulars, so they have the chemistry down, and the way Pelle takes a beating, he’ll no doubt fit right in. Quackenbush, the best indy wrestler to never appear in ROH, will get the win marking a stellar debut.

Winner: QUACK!

Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion: This could be one of those special matches where everything clicks. Mike Quackenbush trained three of the competitors in this match (Gran Akuma, Jigsaw, and Hallowicked), two of the wrestlers are occasional tag partners (Hallowicked and Delirious) and one takes a beating better than anyone in a long time (Pelle Primeau). This could top the match from Fifth Year Festival:Dayton as the best Six Man Mayhem match yet. I think that the veteran Quack will take the victory here and the four Chikara boys will be getting “Please Come Back!!” chants.

Winner: “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush

Summary: Friday’s show looks good, but nothing amazing seems to be on that card. The debut of Quackenbush and seeing what Aries and Morishima can do will be worth admission, but it lacks a MOTYC calibur match. It’s worth seeing if you’re in the area, but not going out of your way for.

Friday’s card is stacked and has several MOTYC possibilities. I urge you, even if it’s a several hour trip, check that show out. You won’t be dissapointed.

That’s all for this week. Please remember to check back later in the weekend for ROH results from both of these shows and my first appearance in VS. I’ll also be in the Backlash Rountable this Sunday, so don’t forget to join us at Pulse Wrestling for all your wrestling coverage and analysis needs.

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