Moments Ago: Respect is Earned Ã¢â‚¬â€œ My Thoughts on RoH’s First PPV
While it took a little over two months to see it, I finally was able to watch Respect is Earned on Pay per View. I may not be the best person to critique the broadcast because I am far from RoH’s target audience for the show. I will loyally lap up anything fed to me by the Ring of Honor staff. They far from won a new fan in me with this show. They just reaffirmed why they are the best wrestling company in North America today.
I can say that I enjoyed Respect is Earned more live than I did on PPV, but I find that more often than not I enjoy their live presentation better than re-watching the show on DVD. This may be the newness of things or the atmosphere of the live show. The only way you can truly experience RoH is to come to the live events, though, as the commentary frequently states. It is true though.
I decided I will go match by match and compare my thoughts from my live thoughts to the thoughts after seeing the PPV.
Respect is Earned: Live vs. Taped
BJ Whitmer vs. Takeshi Morishima
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion LIVE: Morishima was made to look like a monster, it is a shame that it was at the expense of BJ Whitmer who is a formidable presence in his own right. Still it did the job it needed to and it gets *** but the booking of the match and what followed is more worthwhile.
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinionTAPED: No way is this a 3 star match. That was totally due to me being jazzed up from watching it live. I still say that it did the right thing in terms of putting over Morishima, and it lays the groundwork for a future angle for BJ. It is more like a ** squash, but it was fun and entertaining.
My thoughts are virtually the same on the next in ring segment setting up the main event so there is no need to say anymore.
The Brent Albright promo did its job putting over the fact that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Rocky Romero
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion LIVE: This match was absolutely awesome and an easy ****. It is probably Romero’s best singles match in Ring of Honor, and Marufuji’s best singles match not contested for a championship. I am looking forward to see what he can do in an extended program in Ring of Honor.
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion TAPED: I still really really enjoyed this match. I may not have gone all the way to ****, but it is not very far off. Some of the psychology was a bit iffy, but nothing to go crazy over. I like Romero, and Marufuji is certainly one of the top stars in the world, so you really can’t go wrong.
The backstage segment with Larry Sweeney, Tank Toland and Sara Del Rey was awesome. Del Ray is bar none the best female wrestler in the states right now, and Sweeney is on his way to being a classic manager. Tolland may be the best role player on the RoH roster right now. He totally understands why he is there, and plays his part perfectly.
The brawl between Danielson, Morishima, KENTA, and Nigel did not change my thoughts from the live show to the taped.
RoH Tag Team Titles: Jay and Mark Briscoe Ã‚Â© vs. Matt Sydal and Claudio Castagnoli
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion LIVE: Briscoes are the best thing going. As far as I am concerned they deserve the RoH MVP this year already. Claudio and Sydal made a solid team, but at the same time if they both focus elsewhere, I am fine with that too. Regardless, this is a ****1/2 star match, and although I never suspected a title change, this match delivered on all levels.
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion TAPED: This was a classic tag team match no matter how you slice it. Live it had the set-up explaining why they were fighting, but the announce team of Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard did a fine job of filling the audience in, as they had been doing all night. Concerning stars, I would have to say that this match is in the same ballpark live as taped, just a great match, and probably not even in the top five Briscoe matches this year.
The ensuing pull-apart brawl with Kevin Steen and El Generico taking on the Briscoes truly stands up as one of the best of its kind. This angle has been run for decades, and Ring of Honor truly made the audience feel the hatred between these two teams. This is turning into the surprise top feud of the year.
Roderick Strong vs. Delirious
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion LIVE: This match was good, but my big gripe is that Delirious did not do what he was best at. He was the most orthodox he has ever been in a ring of honor match. None of his usual antics were used to try and throw Roderick Strong off of his game. I know it was a grudge match, but what better way to piss someone off than to get in their head and then steal a victory. The crowd was sort of out of this match, probably because it followed a high energy scramble match, and the deliberate pace of this one stood in sharp contrast. Either way it was a *** match and will come off better on PPV when the scramble is nowhere to be seen.
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion TAPED: When I am right, I am right. This match was much better on PPV than live. It also didn’t have the fast paced scramble preceding it, which helped. There was enough time to come down off of the tag title match, and the brawl to where this match seemed well placed. I still say that this didn’t showcase Delirious well enough, but perhaps future Pay per Views will.
The Pearce promo was good if not a bit overlong. He is better at doing cocky and evil than dark and evil, which this particular promo was, but it still advanced angles.
Main Event: Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness and KENTA
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion LIVE: This was a classic mid nineties style All Japan Pro Wrestling match. It may have lacked the head drops and Toskiaki Kawada, but it had the spirit there all the same. The Briscoes tag was probably better, but this match was not far behind. It gets ****1/4 from me for the finishing sequence and the effort put forth by all involved. This match was a total commercial for the main event scene in Ring of Honor over the next few months and things are shaping up to be amazing.
Big Andy Mac’s Big Andy-pinion TAPED: This was equally good on tape. It may have even been better. You got to see Nigel getting his arm wrapped, which was something I missed or did not notice when I was there at the Manhattan Center. It very much had the All Japan feel to it, and was a great way to showcase the top of the Ring of Honor card.
In a lot of ways Respect is Earned felt more like a television show than a true Pay per View in the sense that we are supposed to think of PPV’s broadcast by WWE or TNA, but it did its job in selling the company.
The audio/visual presentation was basically on par with their DVD releases. It was not earth shattering, but it did not look amateurish either. The commentary was the same fare as well. I may not have seen Backlash that everyone is raving about, but I really can’t see how this could be topped by anyone but Ring of Honor this year.
I’ll see you next time