Ring of Honor PPV Review: Respect is Earned, 7/01/07

Ring of Honor: Respect Is Earned

Top US independent promotion, Ring of Honor, aired it’s first ever Pay per View, ‘Respect is Earned’ on July 1st, on the DishNetwork. The PPV was taped on May 12th in the Manhattan Center, in New York City, NY. This was a major step up for the 5 year old company, as it has grown into the main alternative wrestling promotion for diehard wrestling fans.

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The show opens, with BJ Whitmer inside the ROH ring, in front of a loud NYC crowd. The fans chanted “ROH, ROH!” loudly. BJ welcomed us to the PPV, and said that in ROH, they let their wrestling do their talking for them. He then called out anyone who thought they could take him out, to the ring for a fight!

It then cut to a 30 second long opening video, highlighting some of the wrestlers, with the “Respect is Earned” logo.

We go back to the ring, where ROH world champion, Takeshi Morishima (from Japan, who competes regularly from Pro Wrestling NOAH) comes out, accepting Whitmer’s challenge, and putting the ROH title on the line!

Match # 1: ROH world title match: Takeshi Morishima (c) vs BJ Whitmer: It starts with a hard forearm exchange right off the bat. Whitmer goes off the ropes, but runs straight into a side slam from Morishima. Shima follows it up with a big boot in the corner. He continues to clobber Whitmer in the corner with punches. Shima goes for a Backdrop Driver (his finisher), but Whitmer floats over into a pin attempt! It only gets a 1 count. Whitmer gets some offence in, with a knee strike followed up by an Exploder suplex (Morishima’s a big guy to lift)! That flurry gets BJ a 2 count. He takes Shima down with a lariat, for a 2 count. He hits a top rope frog splash, again for a 2 count. Whitmer tries to lariat Shima again, but he won’t go down. Whitmer runs off the ropes, but Shima turns around and gives Whitmer a HUGE lariat! He hits a running big boot, for a 2 count. Shima kills Whitmer with another lariat. 1 2 NO! Whitmer kicks out! A Backdrop Driver seconds later gives Morishima the victory, in roughly 3 minutes.

Well that was a tremendous way to kick off the PPV. Hard hitting, intense match, which felt important. A good way to bring fans into the ROH atmosphere too. **.

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“It’s top challenger, Nigel McGuiness!” Dave Prazak exclaims, as Nigel makes his way into the ring. The fans are chanting “Nigel, Nigel!” loudly. Nigel gets on the mic, and says “That was one hell of a title match and you, sir, are one hell of a wrestler, but then again, so am I”. Nigel challenges him for a title match, not caring if the match is in London, Tokyo, or right here in NYC.

Former ROH world Champion, Bryan Danielson comes out on the mic, telling everyone to wait a second. He talks about how he was ROH champions for 15 months, and the ‘Best Wrestler in the World’. He notes the people he defeated as ROH world champ, including big names such as Lance Storm, Samoa Joe and even Nigel McGuiness. He tells (while prodding Nigel’s chest with his finger) Nigel if anyone deserves a title shot tonight, it’s the ‘American Dragon’.

Nigel says if Danielson continues to poke him, Nigel will snap his finger off. Dragon backs off, and says it’s not the time for fighting. He then hits Nigel with a forearm! They start to brawl. Morishima then joins, in, attacking Nigel. Dragon and Shima form an alliance, and continue to double team Nigel.

Dragon picks up the ROH belt and says “It’s mine”. Morishima sees him with it, snatches it off of him, and walks away. Nigel challenges Danielson to a fight right now, but Danielson says “I don’t need this crap” and walks off.

Good segment to get over the importance of the world title and the world title situation, with challengers etc.

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A video package is shown (reading “Coming soon to PPV”), highlighting ROH wrestler Brent Albright. They show Albright hit half Nelson suplexes, and using his ‘Crowbar’ armbar finishing hold. We hear Albright’s voice in the background, he says that he wants money, and the best way to do it is to take people out. He says it’s his world, and in his world, it’s either get out, or TAP OUT!

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We cut straight back to the ring, with ROH regular and NRC (No Remorse Corps) member Rocky Romero making his entrance. Naomichi Marufuji (out of Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH) makes his entrance (with clips of him competing in ROH in the past), and we have a singles match right here.

Match # 2: Naomichi Marufuji vs Rocky Romero: Marufuji dominates with some fast mat wrestling, counters, and holds to start. Rocky comes back with a standing Octopus hold, before rolling ‘Fuji down into a pin attempt, for a 2 count. ‘Fuji puts on a very similar move, and gets a 2 count off of that. Both men try holds on the mat, but neither can gain an advantage. Romero hits some swift kicks to ‘Fuji’s legs both. Both men dodge each other’s kick attempts and have a stand off. Romero takes Marufuji over with a hurricanrana variation, and then turns it into a cross arm breaker! Marufuji reaches the ropes, but Romero starts kicking away at his arm/shoulder area. He continues to work over the arm, striking it, and then going back to the cross arm breaker. ‘Fuji hits a nice springboard dropkick, while Romero was on the apron. ‘Fuji tries to shake some life back into his arm.

‘Fuji rams Rocky’s leg into the guardrail. Back in the ring, he continues to work over Rocky’s leg. He hits all kind of sick stuff to it, including a dragon screw leg whip over the ropes, a dropkick to it, and a dragon screw leg whip off the top rope. He applies a figure 4 leg lock. Rocky reaches the ropes.

Romero comes back with a big tilt-a-whirl DDT. Romero grabs at his leg. Marafuji catches a dropkick attempt, into a half Boston crab! Rocky climbs up out of it though, and hits an enziguri. He hits a springboard swinging DDT for a 2 count. ‘Fuji lands on his feet of a Tiger suplex attempt, and drives his knee into Romero’s face. He hits a stiff lariat, and then gives Romero a power bomb, for a 2 count. ‘Fuji goes up to the top rope. Rocky meets him up there, and hits a top rope hurracarana, into a cross arm breaker! Nice spot! ‘Fuji reaches the ropes to get out of the hold. Romero hits a few kicks to the arm, but Marufuji DRILLS him with a superkick! Romero instantly fires back with a high kick to the head, and both men are down! ‘Fuji powerbombs Rocky into the turnbuckles, then gives Rocky a Tree of Woe Van Terminator! 1 2 NO! Romero hits a Tiger suplex, then a Buzzsaw kick to the head! 1 2 NO! Marufuji KILLS Rocky with a spinning superkick, then connects with the Shiranui (sliced Bread #2)! 1 2 3!

“You have just witnessed the style of wrestling ROH was built on!” Dave Prazak says. That was an excellent wrestling match. Everything looked crisp and gelled together nicely, the body part work periods were great, and the finishing sequence was hot. One can says Romero no-sold the leg, but good things came out of that, for Marufuji didn’t go back to the leg once he saw Rocky using it. Excellent wrestling match. ***3/4.

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The camera cuts to backstage, as ‘Super Agent’ Larry Sweeney appears on camera, alongside ‘the natural, superior athlete’ Tank Toland. Sweeney says how he’s the best deal maker in wrestling today, and boasts about his top clients. He introduces Sweet and Sour Incorporated‘s newest client, ‘the best female wrestler in wrestling today’, Sara Del Ray.

Sweeney says what rules Sara must follow, if she’s going to be with Sweet and Sour Inc. He then says she has the best personal trainer, a ‘natural, superior athlete’, Tank Toland. The camera cuts to Toland, who shows Sara ROH student Bobby Dempsey (who is quite overweight), and says how he will mould Bobby into another Tank Toland. He ordered Dempsey to start squatting, shouting “you’re pathetic” at Dempsey while he was doing them.

Del Ray started squatting, but Toland told her to stop, for it’s an exercise for men. She says “I bet I can do more squats than you” to Tank. The start having a squatting race. Off camera, someone yells at the camera to go to the ring, there’s something going on in the ring. Helluva fun segment there, and a sound way to introduce Sweet and Sour Inc.

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The camera cuts to the ring, where Nigel McGuiness and Takeshi Morishima are brawling. Bryan Danielson comes out, attacking Nigel. KENTA (from Japan, Pro wrestling NOAH) comes out attacking Morishima and Danielson with kicks, making the save for Nigel. The commentators bill KENTA as “Bryan Danielson’s toughest challenger from last year, and Morishima’s top rival in Japan”. Nigel takes down Morishima with a lariat. Fine segment there, setting up alliances (Shima and Dragon, Nigel and KENTA) and the main event.

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An advert for www.rohwrestling.com rolls, saying “for more info, please visit www.rohwrestling.com”.

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We cut back to the ring, where Matt Sydal (a smaller, high flying wrestler) and Claudio Castagnoli (a big, agile European wrestler) are standing in the ring. The fans are chanting “Briscoes, Briscoes!”, as ROH world tag team champions the Briscoe Brother’s music hits.

Match # 3: ROH world tag team title match: Jay and Mark Briscoe (c) vs Matt Sydal and Claudio Castagnoli: The commentators announce that tonight’s main event is Morishima and Bryan Danielson vs KENTA and Nigel McGuiness. Lots of good wrestling to start. Jay and Sydal have a cool headscissors/hurracarana exchange. Both teams exchange holds, but no one can gain a clear advantage. The Briscoes hit Claudio with a double kick combo. Sydal hits Mark with a standing Cannonball leg drop. The Briscoes double team Sydal with a neat series of moves. That gives them control over Sydal.

The Briscoes isolate Sydal, working him over. They hit lots of their nice double team moves, throwing Sydal around a bit. They continue to dominate Sydal with some power moves. Jay hits a tilt-awhirl backbreaker, then holds Sydal in place for Mark, as he hits a guillotine split legged corkscrew moonsault leg drop! Awesome move right there. Sydal makes a comeback, throwing a running Mark Briscoe over the ropes, then hitting Jay Briscoe with a hurracarana from standing position, while Jay was perched on the top rope!

Sydal makes the much needed tag to Claudio. He comes in and hits some of his trademark European uppercuts. He goes to the second rope, walks across it doing a taunt, then drops the elbow on Jay Briscoe. Mark Briscoe ends his momentum with a knee strike, and hits a slingshot-in double foot stomp to the chest. The Briscoes did double beel throws to both Sydal and Claudio. Claudio (a big guy, keep in mind) hits Jay with a nice top rope springboard European uppercut. Sydal hits Mark with an enziguri straight after.

Claudio and Sydal work over Jay Briscoe. Claudio hits him with a Fisherman’s suplex. Claudio hits a rolling European uppercut in the corner, and Sydal hits a double knee strike to the chest, then a clothesline. Claudio grabs Jay’s legs and gives him a GIANT swing. Unique move there. The fans chant “ROH!”. Sydal hits a springboard bulldog, then a springboard moonsault senton for 2. Jay comes back with a flipping neckbreaker on Sydal, then a stunner on Claudio. He makes the hot tag to Mark.

Mark comes in and hits his REDNECK KUNG FU offence onto both Claudio and Sydal. Jay sends Claudio to the floor, with a monkey flips over the ropes, then he hits a no hands flip dive onto Claudio! The fans are loving this! Mark VISCIOUSLY powerbombs Sydal into the turnbuckles, then hits a big Uranage suplex for a 2 count. The Briscoes hit a top rope leg drop/side slam combo for a 2 count. Claudio plants Jay on top of Mark, with a spinning face buster. This match is starting to get crazy.

Claudio hits his Alpamare Waterslide (modified Angle slam) for a 2 count. Claudio hits an AWESOME top rope springboard headscissors, then a running Bicycle kick for a 2 count! Sydal hits a reverse DDT variation, then a lovely standing moonsault for 2. Mark tags Jay, who hits Claudio with a top rope cross body for 2. He follows it up with a sitout gordbuster for 2. Mark hits a corkscrew press for 2. Claudio nails Jay with a springboard European uppercut. This match is now having too many awesome spots/nearfalls to call!

Sydal STANDS on Claudio’s shoulders, then dives onto both Briscoes on the outside! Back in Claudio WIPES OUT Jay with a running European Uppercut, then Sydal hits a picture perfect top rope shooting Star Press! 1 2 NO! Jay has Sydal in press slam position DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Mark goes over the ropes with a dove onto Claudio! This is incredible! Jay has Sydal’s arms butterflied for the Jay Driller Sydal rolls up and hits a snap hurracarana! 1 2 NO! INCREDIBLE spot right there. Jay has Sydal on his shoulders Mark jumps and springboards off the top rope SRPINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE! 1 2 3! Awesome!

Well that was an absolutely fantastic match right there. The pace they handled the match at was incredible. So many quick sequences and exchanges. Because of this pace, the match never got boring and the long sequence of nearfalls at the end were damn incredible. If you are a tag team wrestling fan, or hell, just a normal wrestling fan this match is must see. ****1/2.

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Post match, they show some replays of the finish. While the Briscoes celebrate the win, ROH commentators Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak make their on camera debuts., standing in the crowd, with their backs facing the direction on the ring. They thank us at home giving them chance to earn our respect. They talk about how great the ROH live experience is, and tell us to attend a live show when ROH comes down to our area.

Kevin Steen and El Generico (a tag team who have beaten the Briscoes in the past, in non title matches) interrupt them, and Steen asks the Briscoes when he and Generico are getting a title shot. The Briscoes say that they’re right here (in the ring). Steen and Generico then ran down to the ring, and started to brawl with the Briscoes.

Tons of random people and a few wrestlers come out break it up. They try to, but all 4 guys keep fighting. Eventually the Briscoes are taken away, to the entrance ramp. Steen and Generico then kill whoever’s left in the ring with them, with sick suplexes and piledrivers. Generico then did a huge top rope flip dive onto the Briscoes and everyone around them.

Everyone starts to brawl to the back. Steen smacked Mark Briscoe in the head with a chair someplace backstage. Mark seemed out. Steen and Generico are taken away by several people, with Steen saying to Jay: “Kiss those belts goodbye”. People checked on Mark, who looked knocked out. Well that was an awesome brawl/segment, and a good way to introduce Steen and Generico.

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A video package is shown of Roderick Strong giving Delirious a legit concussion in a match they had together at ROH’s Fifth Year Festival: Philly show, back in February of this year.

Match # 4: Roderick Strong vs Delirious: They were already in the ring ready to wrestle when we return. Delirious, a masked wrestler with tassels went crazy at the sound of the bell, sending Strong to the outside. He followed Strong out there attacking him around ringside (nice change of pace from all the in-ring stuff we’ve had so far). Back in the ring, Strong hit a shoulder block, and the 2 wrestled on the mat. The fans were getting behind Delirious, with his signature chant “Bah, bah, bah, bah!”.

Delirious hit a rana jumping off the top rope, but Strong stopped his momentum launching Delirious face first into the top turnbuckle. Delirious hit a clothesline, bouncing off the turnbuckles. He followed it up with a back suplex, for a 2 count. Strong hit a Black Hole Slam backbreaker. Strong hit a gut buster and some chops. Delirious came back, hitting a head butt to Strong’s mid section. Delirious hit the Panic attack (running knee strike to the head, in the corner), but Strong avoided the ‘Shadows Over Hell’ back splash.

Delirious hit the Bizarro Driver (leg hook Michinoku Driver) for a 2 count. Delirious hangs Strong on the top rope, then gives him a SICK neckbreaker, folding him in half. Strong came back with a chin breaker, followed up by a nasty looking Torture Rack backbreaker. Strong hit a top rope fall away slam, for a 2 count. Delirious made a come back, and connected with the ‘Shadows Over Hell’ backsplash! 1 2 only a 2 count. Delirious locks on the Cobra Stretch (his finishing hold)! Strong slithers out of it though, and gets a few rollups for nearfalls.

Strong hit his Strongbomb (powerbomb straight onto his knee). Delirious hit a somersault dive to the outside. They fought on the floor. Roderick wounded up back suplexing Delirious on the ring apron! Sick spot. Back in, it gets 2. Strong hit his Gorilla Press Gut buster for a 2 count, then applied a Boston crab. Delirious hit the Chemical Imbalance #2 (A move dumping his opponent on the back of their head, very unique move, I really can’t describe it)! 1 2 NO! Delirious hit a nice looking Cobra Stretch Suplex! It got 2! Strong hit a half nelson backbreaker, BIG running boot, then a Tiger Driver for the 3 count!

That was a very good match. The fans weren’t into it as much as they’ve been for the other matches, but that’s understandable, because this didn’t really have the fast pace or awesome spots the other match did. This match never really got that boring, and the psychology was good, with Strong’s back work paying off, and Strong not taking Delirious seriously, so when Delirious had Strong on the edge Strong tried to end it quickly with rollups. ***1/2.

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Post match, Roderick Strong’s faction, the No Remorse Corps (which consists of Strong, Rocky Romero and Davey Richards) come down, and beat down Delirious. They take part of a guardrail, and lay it between the ring and the railing. Strong gets Delirious, and Tiger Drivers him on it! Delirious is like dead. Erick Stevens, from the Resilience (the faction feuding with the NRC) comes out and makes the (late) save for Delirious, hitting some powerslams and other moves to the NRC.

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Backstage, Adam Pearce is shown talking to Shane Hagadorn, telling him to find someone. Pearce then goes up close to the camera, talking about the growth of ROH over the years. Hagadorn came back, saying he’s found “him”. The camera shows BJ Whitmer, tired, still recovering from his match with Morishima earlier. Pearce says to the camera this man’s soul is in so much pain he can’t reveal it to the world. He says BJ’s made sacrifice after sacrifice for ROH, and its fans. He says BJ’s spirit is broken, and talks about how bad it is for BJ losing the first ever match on ROH PPV. Pearce says every man has to dig deep into their soul, to find what they’re capable of. He says he knows what he’s capable of, and soon, every single one of us will know too. Decent promo, maybe went on a bit too long, but Pearce made it sound pretty serious and important.

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Bobby Cruise (ROH’s ring announcer) announces that the following match is the evening’s main event. KENTA’s music hits, as he and Nigel McGuiness make their way down to the ring. Once they are in the ring, Takeshi Morishima’s music hits, and he and Bryan Danielson make their way down to the ring, and have full introductions. There’s a video package for all 4 guys, too.

Match #5: Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson vs KENTA and Nigel McGuiness: The match starts with lots of back and forth wrestling. Dragon and KENTA have a nice back and forth exchanges, with KENTA coming out on top with a Yakuza style kick. Nigel and Shima tag in, and Shima takes down Nigel with a shoulder tackle. Dragon tags in, and he and Nigel do some technical wrestling. Dragon uppercuts Nigel off the ropes. Nigel head butts Dragon. Shima lariats Nigel down. KENTA takes down Shima with a series of boots to the face. Dragon takes down KENTA with a Dragon screw leg whip. All 4 men have a stand off, as the fans chant “ROH!”

Shima gets control over Nigel, as he and Dragon work him over. Dragon puts Nigel in some submissions on the mat. Shima and Dragon continue to work over Nigel. Nigel comes back kicking at Dragon’s back, then giving Morishima a lariat. He makes the hot tag to KENTA. He comes in on fire, hitting Dragon with all kinds of kicks. He hits Dragon with a springboard missile dropkick, for 2. They exchange some slaps, then KENTA hits a running boot to the face, in the corner. Danielson runs up the ropes with a moonsault, then hits KENTA with a backbreaker. Dragon tags out to Morishima. Morishima whips KENTA into the corner, then does a cartwheel into a splash! He’s a big man to be doing a cartwheel. He then goes up top, and hits KENTA with a big missile dropkick! Shima comes off the ropes, but KENTA hits him with a big powerslam! He makes the hot tag to Nigel!

Nigel comes in, taking Shima to the corner with uppercuts and chest thrusts. Shima goes up top and hits Nigel with a missile dropkick, but Nigel gets back up and hits a lariat! It gets 2. Shima goes for his cartwheel splash again, but after the cartwheel Nigel nails him with a lariat! Cool spot. Nigel tries to sunset flip powerbomb Shima off the ropes, but he just sits on Nigel’s chest! Shima blocks the jawbreaker lariat (lariat where Nigel rebounds off the ropes in a unique way) and hits a Backdrop driver! It gets 2 when KENTA breaks up the pin attempt.

Morishima goes up top again, but KENTA cuts him off, and Nigel hits his Tower of London (Diamond Cutter off the ropes). Both Nigel and Shima tag out, to KENTA and Dragon. They come in and instantly start striking each other. KENTA drapes Dragon over the top rope, and hits a top rope knee drop to the back of Dragon’s head. Dragon gives KENTA a Dragon suplex for a 2 count. He then outs on the Crossface Chicken Wing, but KENTA escaped, nearly pinning Dragon in the process. Nigel hits Dragon with a powerbomb. Shima catches KENTA in the air, and hits an overhead suplex.

Nigel throws Shima into the front row, then goes up to the top rope. He hits Shima with a massive plancha in the crowd! Back in, KENTA hits a Busaiku knee kick, then the Go 2 Sleep (Fireman’s carry into a knee strike to the face!) on Dragon! 1 2 NO! Shima broke it up. Shima then kills KENTA with an Uranage suplex. Nigel’s arm is badly hurt on the outside, and he’s getting it taped up by ROH staff. Dragon and Shima kill KENTA some more in the ring, but he keeps kicking out. Nigel comes back in, and CONNECTS with the jawbreaker lariat on Morishima (he was screaming pain while he hit it, making the spot look great), then KENTA leaps up to the top rope (where Danielson is) and hit his SUPER TWISTING FALCON ARROW! 1 2 NO! The fans chant “ROH!”

Danielson nails a super Backdrop suplex on KENTA, but it only got 2! Danielson locks on Cattle Mutilation (double arm hook bridging submission)! KENTA rolls over, so Dragon re-hooks his arms, and starts giving KENTA the MMA style elbows to the head! KENTA will not go down though! As he fight his way back up to his feet, with Dragon still elbowing him! He gets Dragon on his shoulders! GO 2 SLEE NO! Dragon catches the leg! He goes under KENTA Tiger suplex! 1 2…NO! Dragon holds onto the arms CATTLE MUTILATION! KENTA taps! KENTA taps! Dragon and Morishima are your winners here!

Well that was a great match, and a satisfying main event. I really liked the finish, as Dragon used the same move combo that he defeated KENTA with in singles competition (at ROH’s Glory by Honor V (five) Night 2) when he saw KENTA ‘hulking up’ out of the elbows. It was also good to see Nigel noticing that Shima had already been successful with certain moves on KENTA (cartwheel splash, missile dropkick) and counter them when Shima tried to use them on him. My gripe here was that Morishima looked pretty weak (with his strikes most notably) considering he was the big and dominant world champion. But that was his fault, not really the booking’s. Overall a really fun and intense main event, which established the world title picture nicely. ***3/4.

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Post match, Dragon got hold of the ROH title but, Shima gave him a back drop driver! Nigel went back into the ring and gave Shima the title (out of respect) and said “this is your belt”, but Morishima gave hit a lariat! Shima then grabbed his title and stormed off, as the PPV went off the air.

The Inside Pulse
— Overall thoughts: Wow, what a great PPV debut for ROH. There was all sorts of wrestling on display, matwork, striking, high flying and plain fast paced wrestling. Lots of nearfalls and exciting finishing sequences to matches, too.

The production wasn’t as good as say the WWE, but it was far from bad, and a small step above what ROH usually has. All; the video packages highlighting individual wrestlers were done very well, as well as the on screen graphics for wrestler’s names.

The many promos throughout the show, in my opinion, were excellent. They got over wrestler’s (that didn’t wrestle on the PPV) characters well, and were entertaining at the same time.

I am already an ROH fan and I loved this, it was very good compared to usual ROH nowadays. Non-ROH fans/people new to ROH should find this different, but I reckon they’ll like it, and hopefully give the product a deeper look into.

I strongly recommend ordering this.

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