Ring of Honor is built on respect, so rivalries to see who the better man is often take shape. Today we take a look at the Top 20 Rivalries in ROH history. You’ll be surprised at some of what made the list; I know I was. Also, as always, John Kirschner’s PWG Chikarticles close out the week.
News of Honor
Driven, the second PPV, debuts on InDemand Friday
Check our review here. This is must buy.
Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson will have a best of three series in Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia to see who faces Morishima in NYC
These two have a longstanding rivalry and every match but one has been **** or more. This will be great and I can’t wait to see their Philly rubber match. Look below for more on the best competitive rivalries in ROH history.
Jigsaw will be the third member of the Vulture Squad
There is a lot of complaining about this, but the fact remains that Jigsaw is one of the best high fliers around and considering his age, might soon be the best. Anything that gets him on more shows is a plus. Also worth noting is that he was a good heel in Chikara, he’s from the Bronx, and the VS now has the best flier in ROH, CZW, and Chikara.
Ring of Honor in Las Vegas will be the annual Survival of the Fittest Tournament
Included will be Delirious, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, and Chris Hero. This should be a stacked card, as usual.
Homicide, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Hernandez and Sonjay Dutt have all talked about leaving TNA recently.
This would be phenomenal news for ROH, obviously. Homicide and the Murder City Machine Guns alone would be major can’t miss talent that’d be a blast to see mix with all the new ROH wrestlers.
The $10 Sale is on at ROHWrestling.com
Here’s what to get this time: All Star Extravaganza, One Year Anniversary, Night of Grudges, Death Before Dishonor, Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies, Reborn Stage 1, Reborn Stage 2, Death Before Dishonor 2 Part 1, World Title Classic, All Star Extravaganza II, Glory by Honor 3, Midnight Express Reunion, Final Battle 04, Future is Now, Death Before Dishonor 3, Escape from NY, Redemption, Punk: The Final Chapter, This Means War, Vendetta, Fourth Anniversary Show, 100th Show, Weekend of Champions Night 2, Destiny, Chi Town Struggle, Death Before Dishonor IV, Generation Now, Unified, Glory by Honor V Night 2 (KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson, GET THIS!)
This Week on Inside Pulse
Brashear writes about ROH finally, discussing the Straight Edge CM Punk vs. Raven feud that helped put ROH on the map. He missed the conclusion of the feud somehow, which is helpfully on a show called The Conclusion.
Chris Sicoli is finally back and he continues our series of shows reviewed, Fighting Spirit. I’ve also got the next show in that same series reviewed, Battle of St. Paul, early next week.
Blatt covers ECW, which is now the best national wrestling show.
Kirschner reviewed Cibernetico and Robin. If you read last week, you’ll know what that is. If not, click the link and find out about the best Lucha action in America.
Iain has a reader that likes me. Thanks Iain’s reader! You could have just written me you know And Burnside, buy the 100th Show next sale and tell me about Danielson’s personality then.
Welcome to Paul Marshall, our new Raw guy, who covered Driven, his first ROH exposure, as noted above.
Wheeler pretends ECW no longer exists and sees what would happen to four of its stars. Punk lands on his feet Andy, trust me.
who also covered Driven for me (anything to make a new ROH fan).
A Modest Response The Rivalries of ROH
With Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries embarking on a three match series starting next weekend, I thought this week would be a good time to look back at the rivalries of ROH that produced a series of matches.
To qualify, there must have been three or more matches in a relatively short period of time. If the feud runs enough matches, that can be up to six months between meetings. These will not be blood feuds or feuds based on hate, so don’t look for those here. This list is all about respect. So let’s count down the top twenty rivalries in ROH history. The best match in the series will be italicized.
First, though, here are those that failed to make the list for various reasons:
Davey Richards vs. Briscoes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ From when Davey debuted in ROH in 2006 he was the hottest young prospect on the indies. He looked to quickly rise on the roster and to do so targeted, who else, the Briscoes with various partners. He also went after Aries and Strong, but it was the Briscoes beating of him that caused Davey to decide he needed a stable for protection. That lead directly to the formation of the No Remorse Corps.
Matt Sydal vs. Aries and Strong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Matt was a member of Generation Next, a stable lead by Aries consisting of himself, Strong and Evans. Aries and Strong were the tag champions and Sydal decided that although he was their stablemate, a healthy rivalry couldn’t hurt and he’d come after their tag belts. Going through partners like AJ Styles, Davey Richards and Samoa Joe, he eventually settled on Chris Daniels and got the elusive win over his former teammates when he and Daniels held the titles at Fifth Year Festivale: NYC, but the better match was held at Gut Check with Daniels as his partner and at Supercard of Honor with AJ Styles against Evans and Aries.
CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Punk and Cabana’s names just go together, since they trained and rose in the business together. They had some of their first matches against each other and were multi-time tag champions. They had two matches early on, then formed their stable with their trainer, Ace Steele, and didn’t face off again until the compelling Punk: The Final Chapter, a must buy DVD.
Delirious vs. Matt Sydal Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Strikingly similar to Punk and Cabana without the teaming, and with one more match. I actually enjoy these two’s singles matches as much or more than the two above them.
AJ Styles vs. Bryan Danielson Ã¢â‚¬â€œ They had an intense early ROH rivalry that produced two matches, the second at Main Event Spectacles being one of AJ’s best in any company. They again faced off during Danielson’s title run in 2006, again being one of AJ’s best matches in that time frame (besides obviously Joe and Daniels), no small praise. This rivalry is fun since it’s basically ROH’s chosen one against TNA’s.
Nigel McGuinness vs. Morishima (Fighting Spirit, Live in Tokyo, PPV 4) – This one is still ongoing and so, difficult to place. Their
Fighting Spirit match is great, a personal favorite, but their second encounter fails to live up. Next weekend, let’s see how their third works out and we can place this on the list.
20. Briscoes vs. Irish Airborn (Death Before Disohonor IV, Epic Encounter 2, Chicago Spectacular Night 1)
The Briscoes are the team in ROH history. In three different eras they dominated the tag scene to the point that when the Age of the Fall wanted to make a name, they went after the Briscoes as icons of ROH. Irish Airborn, young HWA (that’s Les Thatcher) brothers, needed to make a name in ROH, they battled the Briscoes. While impressive in other matches, Irish Airborn were not able to defeat the Briscoes, with the first two matches being quite good, and the third basically a squash. Their inability to beat the Briscoes managed to get them taken off the roster, an unfortunate case since they were a good young team with a lot of potential.
19. Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero (Supercard of Honor 2, Driven, Death Before Dishonor V Night 1) – 2006
I’m entirely unsure if this rivalry is over. Hero and his agent Larry Sweeney brought in reality TV star Johnny Fairplay and Nigel lariated his head off, so the had a few matches. The first is directly related to the Fairplay angle. The next is a non-PPV bought at Driven which was very good before an abrupt ending. Their third match was pure rules and a ton of fun. Nothing is resolved here really, but Nigel does have a 2-1 lead in the series currently.
18. Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe (Future is Now, Dragon Gate Invasion, Buffalo Stampede) – 2005
A lot of these rivalries will be over a title belt and this is the first such. Joe was the Pure Champion after he lost the World Title. Nigel was one of his major challengers for the Pure Title and when he first got his shot, Joe beat him fairly handily. Their rematch at Dragon Gate Invasion saw Nigel’s chicanery earn him his first ROH championship in a fun upset. Their third match is the best of the series as Joe came after the belt again, but came up short. These two had two more matches in 2007, a bad match (for them) at Dedicated and a great match, easily their best, in Joe’s second to last ROH show Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool. I’d suggest picking that one up as they play off their earlier history quite well and the match is great to boot. The others are a fun rivalry in which Nigel established himself as a major heel and a major player.
17. Bryan Danielson vs. Colt Cabana (100th Show, Chi-Town Struggle , Gut Check) – 2006
Bryan Danielson managed quite a few major competitive series during his World Title reign. The second of these, and least prolific, was against Colt Cabana. Colt was mostly a comedy wrestler, although he was clearly very good, particularly at the European style. Their first match lasted about 6 minutes and ended with a roll up. Danielson, naturally, crowed endlessly about this until Cabana got a rematch. In the rematch, Colt had one of his best ROH singles matches and one of the more underrated great matches of Danielson’s title run. If you’re a Cabana fan, pick this one up. Their third match was a 2/3 Falls match, but unfortunately, Danielson hurt his shoulder about 10 minutes into that one, a serious injury, and though he continued, the match suffered greatly. At the very least, however, the match, a time limit draw which was Danielson’s second in as many nights, helped build the legacy of this modern classic title run. Chi-Town Struggle is still the only match worth watching, however.
16. Aries and Strong vs. Kings of Wrestling (Glory By Honor V Night 2, The Bitter End, Black Friday Fallout) – 2006
Another feud based off belts, this time, the Tag Titles. Aries and Strong had beaten every major team in ROH at this point, so they sent out an open contract which CZW and Chikara Tag Champions, the Kings of Wrestling, picked up. The Kings used devious tactics to win each time, staying one step ahead of the best ROH Tag Champions in each defense, using tactics no regular ROH talent would. The matches are all good, but each drags a bit.
15. Chris Daniels vs. Matt Sydal (Dissension, Weekend of Champions Night 2, Ring of Homicide, War of the Wire II) – 2006
Young Matt Sydal faced the veteran Christopher Daniels to try and make a name for himself in the wrestling business. Daniels and Sydal had a series of very good matches, with Sydal coming a bit closer to victory each time, eventually getting the big win in their final encounter. At this point Sydal was chasing Aries and Strong for the tag titles with numerous partners and this match caused him to get Daniels as his partner, which lead to a tag title run for the duo.
14. Briscoes vs. Kings of Wrestling (International Incident, Final Battle 06, Domination) – 2006-2007
Two of the best tag teams in the world met for pride at the end of 2006. With Claudio supposedly leaving to the WWE, International Incident was to be the only chance they would have to face off against each other. At the show, a rather plain match was won by KOW when a debuting Larry Sweeney interfered. This incensed the Briscoes who demanded a rematch the next night and put on one of my favorite matches in ROH history, defeating the Kings of Wrestling who then broke up. After that, the Briscoes went on to win the tag titles, and when Claudio earned a second shot against them, he turned to Chris Hero. Since this was the rubber match, it was made 2/3 Falls. The Briscoes won in two straight, finishing up a very good match that could have been so much more.
13. Amazing Red and AJ Styles vs. The Briscoes (Night of the Champions, Epic Encounter, Death Before Dishonor) – 2002
In 2002, Paul London and AJ Styles were supposed to challenge for the ROH Tag Titles, but due to injury, London was unable to compete. Since London couldn’t wrestle, AJ turned to Red and won the Tag Titles with him. Red and AJ were faced with a newly united Briscoes team who they wrestled in three of the best spotfests you’ll ever see. Red’s knees were hurt by the third match, making it suffer comparatively in quality, but these are top quality spotfests nonetheless and offer an early glimpse at some of the best talent to ever pass through ROH learning together. The finishing sequences here are some of the best outside of Dragon Gate.
12. Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious (100th Show, Ring of Homicide, Honor Reclaims Boston) – 2006
Danielson’s rivalry began with Delirious because he chose him as a joke opponent after defeating Colt Cabana in 6 minutes on the same show. Delirious, in a good match, refused to go down easy and earned a name for himself. In each rematch, Delirious showed slightly more, being a serious contender by the time Honor Reclaims Boston came around. These matches are good, but not as good as the series immediately below them on the list, so it earns its place instead by taking Delirious from pure comedy to upper card threat.
11. Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave (Dethroned, Final Battle 06, Battle of the Icons, Fifth Year Festival: Finale) – 2006-2007
After Danielson was done with Nigel and Rave was done with the Embassy, neither man had much to do. They wrestled a match, looking for direction, and at Dethroned, after a rather dull match, Nigel tried to treat Rave with respect. A dumb joke later and they were trying to kill each other. This is the closest to a blood feud on the list. Their matches got better and better as they went on, culminating in the great Fight Without Honor that’s must see.
10. Briscoes vs. 2nd City (Reborn Stage 2, Round Robin Challenge, Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 1) – 2004
Another feud for the tag titles, this is one of the best and most overlooked in ROH history. Punk and Cabana beat the Briscoes for the tag belts and basically played keep away with them thereafter. The first two matches are good, but the third, a 2/3 Falls Match was something special. It was so good, in fact, that Ricky Steamboat called it one of the best tag matches he’d ever seen.
9. Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson (It All Begins, 3rd Anniversary Night 1, 3rd Anniversary Night 2, Stalemate, Final Showdown) – 2005
This was an official Best of Five series to see who the better man was. The series started off with bad matches and Homicide wins, but Bryan Danielson took over and the matches picked up greatly in quality. This lead directly to Danielson’s title shot loss against Aries and leaving the company, which in turn became Danielson’s return to win the belt, only to eventually lose it to Homicide at Final Battle ’06. Their best match was at Reborn Stage 2 or Final Battle ’06, not this series, but it’s still a fun series that should have been more between two greats.
8. Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe (Fight of the Century, Survival of the Fittest 06, Irresistable Forces, Chicago Spectacular Night 1) – 2006
Dragon as champion managed to avoid Samoa Joe for almost a year. When he was finally forced into facing his long time rival, the match was a great, 60 minute draw. They then had another draw at the next show, though this was only 20 minutes. A non-title brawl and a cage match were split, but Danielson winning in the cage ended the feud. Besides the first match, there is nothing here that is anywhere near what guys of this quality should be putting out, but the first match is really great and the rest is still very good, just not for the men involved. They had matches in 2003 at Revenge on the Prophecy and the 1st Anniversary Show which were good, and a great one in 2004 when Joe was champion at Midnight Express Reunion, by far their best match.
7. Aries and Strong vs. Briscoes (Ring of Homicide, Destiny, Unified, Dedicated) 2006-2007
When the Briscoes, the most iconic ROH team, returned there was no doubt they’d be gunning for the most successful ROH tag champions ever. The two teams had three great matches during the Aries and Strong tag title run, with their Unified match being maybe the best tag match in ROH history. After the tag titles were lost to the Kings of Wrestling, these two teams met one more time in a 2/3 falls match, which the Briscoes swept, gaining some revenge for their earlier losses, though it was the teams worst match.
5. Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe (Final Battle 04, 3rd Anniversary Part 3, Escape from New York) 2004-2005
The biggest upset in ROH history was their first match. That one was a major classic. Their next match was Aries defending his title against Joe, and it was nearly as good as the first, though without the crazy drama and heat. Their final match was for Joe’s pure title as he finally got revenge on Aries, unfortunately, since Aries having Joe’s number was such a fun
5. Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson (Survival of the Fittest, Testing the Limit, Nowhere to Run, Enter The Dragon) 2004-2005
Aries and Danielson’s earlier series was epic and basically made Aries name in ROH. At first they were battling for respect and who the best wrestler was. At the first Survival of the Fittest, they met in the elimination main event where they were the final two, and it was great. They then had a 2/3 Falls match that lasted 80 minutes. It drags at points, but it’s just too impressive to miss at the aptly named Testing the Limit. Their next two matches were title defenses, the first being during Aries title run, the next being Dragon’s first defense. All of them are great. Seek them out and get excited for their upcoming series.
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Paul London (All Star Extravaganza, Night of the Butcher, Epic Encounter) – 2002-2003
The gauntlet finals that housed their first meeting were quite good and won by Danielson. Both men, Texas Wrestling Academy graduates, wanted a rematch and they got one for the number one contendership. London won that in a great match. They had a rubber match at the Epic Encounter and it was a phenomenal ***** match, the first, but not the last of these on the list. Their 2/3 Falls match lead to me calling London the modern day Steamboat for the brilliance of his selling and comebacks. And do I even need to sell the quality of Danielson at this point? This match is just too good to not push the series into the top five, and each of the other two matches are worth seeking out as well.
3. Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong (This Means War, Vendetta, Supercard of Honor, Anarchy in the UK) – 2005-2006
These two men killed each other for the better part of a year as Roderick aimed for Danielson’s title. Each match was long and epic, never going below **** once. Vendetta is considered one of the best matches in company history, but is by no means unanimously their best. Supercard of Honor was many people’s match of the year for 2006 and Roderick personally prefers Anarchy in the UK to all of the others. When one of the best matches in company history isn’t even unanimously considered the best of the series, you know you have something special.
2. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness (Weekend of Champions night 2, Generation Now, Unified, Epic Encounter 2)
These two have unbelievable chemistry. They put Nigel’s Pure Title against Danielson’s World Title the first time they met, but a countout win by Nigel meant he didn’t get the world belt. That match was great. At Generation Now, in a normal match, Danielson was the victor. That match was almost as good as the first. Then in the UK at Unified, Danielson finally took Nigel’s Pure Title, but the match was phenomenal, a unanimous MOTY Contender and received **** Ã‚Â¾ from Meltzer. Their final match was a 2/3 falls time limit draw that’s on par with match 1 and 2 of the series, which leaves it merely at great, not all time classic. They recently had one more match on the current Pay Per View Driven, which leads this years MOTYC pack.
1. Joe vs. Punk (World Title Classic, Joe vs. Punk 2, All Star Extravaganza III) – 2004
The Trilogy has been compared to Steamboat vs. Flair. The second match got ***** from Meltzer. At the bottom of each column: Joe vs. Punk I, Joe vs. Punk II, Joe vs. Punk III Ã¢â‚¬ËœNuff Said.
Guerrilla CHIKARticles by John Kirschner
1) “Battle of Who Could Care LessÃ¢â‚¬Â, “The Solid Perils of Everyday ExistanceÃ¢â‚¬Â and “Chapter 11Ã¢â‚¬Â have been confirmed by CHIKARA as the last shows of the 2007 Season. Check out the “Upcoming EventsÃ¢â‚¬Â section for further details.
2) “Cibernetico and RobinÃ¢â‚¬Â was one of CHIKARA’s most successful cards with a crowd of over 430 people, and a card that blows away most of their past. Read my live review here.
3) Incoherence earned their 3rd and final point at “Cibernetico and RobinÃ¢â‚¬Â, and have been given a match against Team FIST for the Campeanatos De Parejas at “BruisedÃ¢â‚¬Â.
4) The CHIKARA Pod-Per-View 2 is still available! The cost is $2.99. You’ll get two great matches, exclusive interviews, and a countdown of CHIKARA 5 Top Shows. Check it out.
October 26, 2007 in Reading, PA: “BruisedÃ¢â‚¬Â. Announced Matches: Eddie Kingston vs. Tim Donst; Open Challenge for Chuck Taylor’s Young Lions Cup; Los Ice Creams vs. Team FIST for the Campeanatos De Parejas.
October 27, 2007 in Barnesville, PA: “New Star NavigationÃ¢â‚¬Â. There are no announced matches for this card, though the theme of the card is “Veterans vs. RookiesÃ¢â‚¬Â. The Colony, Ophidian, Tim Donst, Lince Dorado, Hallowicked, Team FIST, Mitch Ryder, Chuck Taylor and Delirious are featured on the event homepage, so they will more than likely appear.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
1) PWG plans to run a show on October 14th. Not matches or signed wrestlers have been confirmed. Don’t expect to see CIMA there, though, as he injured his neck over in Dragon Gate.
Slow News Week for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
October 26, 2007 in France: PWG European Vacation II: France. Announced Matches: Austin Aries vs. Joey Ryan; PAC vs. Jack Evans; PWG Title Match where Bryan Danielson will defend his belt against Nigel McGuinness. Also Scheduled to appear: Super Dragon, El Generico and Kevin Steen.
October 27, 2007 in England: PWG European Vacation II: England. Announced Matches: Austin Aries vs. Nigel McGuinness; PAC vs. Kevin Steen; Martin Stone will challenge Bryan Danielson for the PWG Title. Also Scheduled to appear: El Generico, Jack Evans, Spud, Super Dragon, Joey Ryan, Terry Fraizer and Sha Samules.
October 26, 2007 in Germany: PWG European Vacation II: Germany. Announced Matches: Kevin Steen vs. PAC vs. Super Dragon vs. Jack Evans; Austin Aries vs. Murat Bosporus; El Generico will take on Bryan Danielson for the PWG Title. Also Scheduled to appear: Joey Ryan, Tommy End, Bad Bones, Ares and Nigel McGuinness.
Have TNA Pullouts and Injuries set PWG back?
Ring of Honor stepped into the world of professional wrestling knowing that they were going to be big. Innovating the style of wrestling that we all see today even on WWE TV. ROH brought styles that most didn’t even know existed into America. They took the serious approach and it was only a matter of time until they got big.
PWG, on the other hand, stepped into the wrestling world over a year after ROH introduced themselves. While bringing some big names to the plate, PWG approached their introduction in a bit of a goofy manner. With show names “Kee_ The _ee Out of the _ool!Ã¢â‚¬Â and “An Inch Longer than AverageÃ¢â‚¬Â, it was hard to take them serious at first. But as the years progressed, so did their credibility. By the time ROH got onto the PPV, these guys were giving us Grade A shows and even attracted notice from MTV, being the motivation behind the failed WSX project. But, and this is a big but, TNA got greedy and the injury bug made its way into and around the PWG Locker Room.
After ROH signed for their PPV deal, TNA saw them as a threat and pulled them from Ring of Honor. For some reason, they also started pulling their talent from other promotions (IWA-MS couldn’t pay their debt to ROH) and that’s when PWG started stalling. Motor City Machine Guns came into PWG as crowd favorites and would sell the shows with their names on the tickets. But for reasons unknown to us, stars like Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Low-Ki, MCMG, and Sonjay Dutt were barred from being regulars over in PWG, and can only show up during big shows. At BOLA 2007, Alex Shelly cut a promo basically saying how much he loves PWG and it’s his favorite promotion to wrestle for. TNA putting a limit on their talent could hurt them in the long run when the wrestler’s contracts expire, but for now it’s just harming PWG. Another wrestler who was a big draw for PWG was Colt Cabana/Matt Classic. Now that WWE has brought him up to OVW, there is no chance in hell we’ll see him in Cali again outside of a WWE show, barring his release.
Super Dragon and Bryan Danielson may be the biggest draws PWG has right now. With Super Dragon having recurring ankle and knee injuries, they should stop booking him and let him rest up. Super Dragon just won’t let that happen, though. He will always wrestle through his injuries since he is a PWG founder, which will hurt him in the future. The same goes for Bryan Danielson; his stubborn decision to come back to face Morishima over in ROH has set him back further than he already was with his recent eye injury. Hell, he missed a number of shows when he first got the torn retina. The Dragons’ stubbornness will not only hurt them, but will hurt the promotions they carry (Super Dragon owns part of PWG and American Dragon is the PWG World Champion).
Head to www.chikarapro.com for the latest updates on events, merchandise, and to buy tickets.
Go to www.chikarapodcast.com for a weekly video podcast of CHIKARA with hosts like Bryce Remsburg, Mike Quackenbush and the always whacky Ultramantis Black!
CHIKARAFANS is a site dedicated to CHIKARA only. Find Roster information, theme songs, results, DVD Reviews, and Tag Team Points over at CHIKARAFans. Be sure to check out their forums, because they are fantastic and funny. CHIKARA Head Office even posts there sometimes. Find them at www.chikarafans.com.
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That concludes my time here on the Internet. Hope you enjoyed, and if you would like to give feedback it would be greatly appreciated. Just send your LOVE/DISGUIST for Guerrilla CHIKARticles to firstname.lastname@example.org or IM me on the AIM at OcopacabanaO.
That’s all for this week, be sure to check back regularly for a huge new feature about ROH.