Welcome to AMR, your source for the best ROH coverage on the ‘net. This week, a sleeper hit match review, a ton of recommendations, and a look at new talent in ROH.
News of Honor
ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness is hurt
His arm is injured. No word on how long or even if he is out. Obviously, if a MRI turns out terrible, ROH will have to do some major reshuffling.
Chris Hero wins Survival of the Fittest
He swept the card in a mild surprise. Apparently he’s poised for a big push. Check here for the full weekend results of ROH’s first foray out west.
The Human Tornado impressed in his tryout and will be brought back
I’m not a Tornado fan, but he absolutely should be brought back. There’s a significant portion of the fanbase who loves him and a portion that hates him, but both will pay attention and give him a reaction. Keep him in the lower card and let him build a buzz and his workrate.
This Week on Pulse Wrestling
Ted Petty Invitational 2007 reviewed by me. Check it out and buy the DVD. It’s great.
David Ditch talks Puro and interviews one of my mark out guys from last week, Mike Quackenbush.
Ollie Sutherland reviews Death Before Dishonor IV and the culmination of the CZW vs. ROH feud.
Vin Truncellito got into ROH based on a few recommendations by me. If you’re a wrestling and becoming disenfranchised with what’s on TV, please contact me.
Brashear discusses the New Pitbulls. That would have been a great team with their own gimmick and if Kash weren’t a jerk.
Check out Wallace’s contest particularly if you’re English.
Mark Allen looks at Halloween Havoc, appropriately. It and Superbrawl were my favorite WCW events.
A Modest Response: Bring on the New Talent
Ring of Honor was once the place where the best of the indies met to compete. Whether it was AJ Styles and Jimmy Rave from the South, Samoa Joe from out West, Punk and Cabana from the Midwest or Low Ki and Homicide from the East Coast, ROH took the very best of the countries indies and gave them a chance to shine and develop by pushing one another. After a while of this, ROH’s main event became cluttered with stars from everywhere, and since the remainder of the best talent was still rising or simply not suitable to the lower card where they would have had to fit due to the crowding in the upper card, ROH had a complete roster and only worked new guys in using the undercard.
Flash forward to late 2006. With TNA talent getting more and more expensive and soon likely to leave, ROH begins slowly incorporating new talent, again becoming a place where the best on the indies meet. By 2007 the floodgates are open and ROH is grabbing new regulars from the top of the card all around the indies. This week we’ll look at the new talent in ROH from 2006 through 2007, guys who should still be brought in now, and some long term prospects worth keeping an eye on. Thanks for Ollie Sutherland for help with the suggested viewing.
New ROH Talent from 2006-2007
Chris Hero – Chris Hero is one of the most controversial members of the ROH roster. A well rounded wrestler, he was the biggest name on the indies not in ROH with ease. Chris was brought in as leader of the CZW Team during 2006’s CZW War. From there he refused to leave ROH, winning the Tag Titles and later joining with Agent Larry Sweeney to wreak havoc on the company. Chris is a very well rounded wrestler, especially effective at European style and brawling. He’s a weak seller and, as a heel, sometimes focuses too much on the crowd, earning him nearly as many cheers as boos. He plays the comedy up most matches, but needs to learn more when to tone it down, although it does make the crowd rabid to see him beaten on, always a good sign for a heel. He’s clearly at his best when in a heated feud, where he and his opponent will often engage in absolutely classic brawls. Currently in ROH, after winning Survival of the Fittest, he’s getting a big push. That push will hopefully be accompanied by some more of the classic brawls that Hero is capable of and less of the comedy that made him a perfect midcard fixture. For some of Hero’s best ROH matches, check out In Your Face, Final Battle Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ06, and, due out by next week, Manhattan Mayhem 2. It’s worth checking out Chikara’s Anniversario? and CZW’s Out with the Old, in with the New for two amazing Hero matches.
Davey Richards – Davey is a very new wrestler compared to the majority of the ROH roster. Featuring an offense of stiff kicks and arm work, Davey has patterned his in ring style after KENTA and Dynamite Kid/Chris Benoit. Davey is still a bit green in the ring, but he has a lot of potential and really can bring it in the ring. He was pushed as a plucky face at first, then KENTA’s protÃƒÂ©gÃƒÂ©, and finally a member of the No Remorse Corps as a heel. He’s over, but not hugely so and currently puts up good midcard matches. It’s a good bet ROH sees him as an eventual champion due to his being kept well clear of the company’s big guns for the most part and his never receiving a title shot. He isn’t ready yet, but Davey is fast improving his previously poor selling and learning to better time his crowd interactions. His body language is still poor, however, and it remains to be seen if that hurdle can be overcome. He has all the tools, it’s just a matter for putting them together. For some of Davey’s best ROH matches, check out Time to Man Up, Fifth Year Festival: Dayton, and Caged Rage. Davey is, surprisingly, better in PWG. Check out Beyond the Thunderdome, Hollywood Globetrotters, Astonishing Xmas, and Battle of Los Angeles 2006 Night 3.
Matt Cross – Matt’s work is all over the place. At his best, he’s a visually impressive spot man who can innovate and times everything perfectly. At his worst, he’s a botch a minute who can’t put together a match. Fortunately for ROH, Cross is far more often closer to his best than his work. ROH saw that and put him in Austin Aries’s Resilience team. As a member of the team, he showed he was a good seller and could hit his spots well in unison with frequent partner Erick Stevens. He’s further along in his development than Jack Evans was at the same stage and so clearly has value to the company if his improvement can continue. Marufuji apparently agreed and liked him enough to get Cross NOAH bookings. The best showcase Cross ROH matches are Driven, Death Before Dishonor V Night 1, and Manhattan Mayhem 2. Check out UWA Hardcore Dawn of the Dragon and UWA vs. Toryumon Night 1.
Erick Stevens – Stevens was brought into ROH as a unique looking, big bruiser and quickly found himself as one of the better big men on the ROH roster. Stevens combines good face timing, with a realistic power based offense to help crowds get behind him, but his biggest skill is that for a big man he’s a great seller and is able to gain sympathy from the audience, making his offense mean more when he makes his comeback. He was trained by Strong and after a few impressive showings, invited by Aries to join the Resilience from where he has battled his mentor since. He’s going to be a star in either ROH or Japan one day. Erick’s best ROH matches are Death Before Dishonor V Night 2, Manhattan Mayhem 2, and Man Up. Also check out FIP’s Battle of the Belts.
Kevin Steen and El Generico – This odd couple tag team took ROH by storm, tearing the ROH circuit up with their Briscoe Brothers feud. El Generico is a fake luchador who’s an excellent flier and sells great. He times his comebacks well and the audience finds it easy to get behind him. Kevin Steen is an attention seeking bully who beats on his own partner, but is willing to defend him with his own blood as seen by the current Hangmen 3 feud. Steen is a great brawler who mixes in flips and head drops to be one of the most unique wrestlers going today. Together they are arguably the most interesting and best team in wrestling today. Their best matches are at Fighting Spirit, Domination, and Man Up. PWG Giant Sized Annual 4, from PWG, is more great Steenerico, as is Chikara’s Tag World Grand Prix 2005 Night 3, but not up to the pedigree of their ROH work, which is phenomenal.
Mike Quackenbush – Quack is among the biggest and best indy names to not be a ROH regular. He’s a great wrestler, mixing lucha libre, British style, and Puro junior wrestling. He truly stands out from the pack in indy wrestling in almost every regard and the longtime vet is capable of multiple great matches. His best in ROH are A Fight at the Roxbury, Domination, and Death Before Dishonor V Night 2. Check out more great matches from Quackenbush on Anniversario? and Best of Chikara 2005, as well as IWA-MS Ted Petty Invitational 2007.
Jigsaw – Jigsaw is the Chikara trainee who has most made his mark on ROH and the one who is most similar to his trainer, Mike Quackenbush. Jigsaw has recently branched off from Quack, joining the Vulture Squad to help Jack Evans. Jigsaw is a fast improving high flier with great timing. He rarely botches and recovers well. He’s also a very good seller, so he can be the beaten down or hot tag man in a tag team. He doesn’t have any overt weaknesses, just needing more experience putting a match together, which will come with time. His best ROH matches are Domination, Death Before Dishonor V Night 2, and Manhattan Mayhem 2. For non-ROH Jigsaw, get The Crushing Weight of Mainstream Ignorance and Running the Red, both Chikara shows.
Tyler Black – Tyler is a flashy mix of AJ Styles and CM Punk. He has a similar look to Punk and seems to do his best to imitate his personality, but in ring style is all flash, reminiscent of a young AJ Styles. Tyler doesn’t have AJ’s freak athleticism, though he is a great athlete, and he manages to be quite innovative in the ring. He needs a ton of work putting a match together and selling, but can be lead to something good already. He doesn’t have any great ROH encounters under his belt thus far, but as a member of Age of the Fall and with a Briscoes feud, the great matches are sure to come. Check PWG All Star Weekend IV and IWA-MS Ted Petty Invitational 2005.
The Necro Butcher – Necro is the wild brawler of the indies. With more wrestling skill, storytelling skill, and charisma than he is ever given credit for, Necro is a wrestler who makes people take notice. He has long been ready for ROH, but needed the right gimmick since his look and style is so unique. The Age of the Fall afforded him that chance and he’s already making a huge impact in ROH in this role, but was quite impressive during the CZW War at The 100th Show, Ring of Homicide, and War of the Wire 2. Check out IWA-MS We’re No Joke and Something to Prove.
Ruckus – Ruckus, a former long time CZW champion, is the only wrestler on the indies who might be flippier than Jack Evans, so it’s fitting that in the Vulture Squad, Jack first recruited Ruckus. Ruckus hasn’t done much yet, but if you’re looking for a visually impressive spotfest or a good brawl, Ruckus is your man. CZW’s When Two World’s Collide and Night of Infamy IV.
Brent Albright – The former Gunner Scott was released by WWE and quickly picked up and put in a gun for hire role by ROH. He continued this role until recently joining Adam Pearce in the Hangmen 3. He’s a very good brawler with impressive power, but really only seems to bring it for loud crowds and big moments unfortunately, and so really needs to improve on match quality if he is to be permanently higher on the card. Albright’s best are Fifth Year Festivale: NYC and Death Before Dishonor V Night 2.
Guys Who Should get Shots in ROH Now
Eddie Kingston – Eddie Kingston is currently the best indy wrestler not in ROH. Click Here for what I had to say about him last week. He’s basically got Taz’s moveset and style while developing Jake Roberts style psychology. CZW Out With the Old, in with the New, IWA-MS Ted Petty Invitational 2007 and Chikara Showdown in Crisisland, along with Maximum Overdraft show just how special of a talent Kingston is.
Chuck Taylor – Chuck Taylor is the most heavily pushed non-ROH wrestler on the indies. He’s a competent flyer and very good brawler who has fantastic heel psychology. Everything he does is tailored to antagonize the crowd, especially making little kids cry on the way to the ring (check youtube). Chuck is absolutely great in IWA-MS Ted Petty Invitational 2007 and Chikara Maximum Overdraft. If Hero moves up the card, Taylor would be perfect filling his comedy mid-card heel role.
Cheech and Cloudy – Up in Smoke are reasonable workers alone, but as a team, are great. Both are great high fliers who can sell well and put on great matches with regularity. They are a bit botch heavy, but when they’re on are among the top 10 teams in the states. They’d be a perfect lower card team to pop the crowd and have very good matches. Some of their best work is CZW Cage of Death 7 and Chikara Cibernetico and Robin
Guys I want More Of in ROH
Hallowicked – Hallowicked wrestles a very good Puro Junior style, with a little lucha mixed in. He’s very young, but has improved amazingly quickly to this point and is a very good babyface, with good size and very good selling. He absolutely must be in ROH as Delirious’s partner for Incoherence. There is simply no better way to go with the Hangmen 3 feud and he and Delirious are a championship pairing. Hallowicked shows his chops at Chikara’s Tag World Grand Prix 2006 Night 3 and Son of the International Invasion of International Invaders – 2nd Stage.
Eddie Edwards – Eddie Edwards is a poor man’s Austin Aries, with all the good and bad that entails. He’s a small, hard hitter, who can fly and is a good mat wrestler. He was a NOAH regular, which should give some idea of his skill in the ring. Thus far he’s been a bit wasted in ROH, but really is ready to break out because he can put together a hell of a match. Check out New England Championship Wrestling’s 4/29/06 and NOAH’s Aug 24, 2005 show and Nov 17, 2006 show.
Long Term Prospects – These guys are all young and all have big holes, but have a ton of potential at well. Keep an eye on them and next time ROH is looking for new talent, expect them to be at the top of the list.
Lince Dorado – Lince is a luchador who wrestles for Chikara. He’s been in the business a year and has a great head for it. He’s bilingual and with his current skill level, already a top guy in his company. Hugely impressive and he should be latched onto on the way up. Check out Showdown in Crisisland and Best Imitation of Myself, both Chikara.
Tim Donst – Donst is another guy who’s been wrestling a year. Remember Mikey Whipwreck? Donst takes that level beating and gets that level reaction. Connecting with the crowd to that extent is rare and Donst has star written all over him. Chikara’s Showdown in Crisisland and Cibernetico and Robin show Donst’s potential.
Riccochet – Riccochet is far more established than Donst and Dorado, but still too green for ROH. He will be the best flier in the business if Jigsaw or Dorado don’t get their first and shows how head and shoulders ahead of the curve the Chikara Wrestling Academy is. He’s basically European star Pac without all the hype and more potential. Check out Chikara’s Internation Invaders Weekend 2007 Night 1 and IWA-MS’s Extreme Farewell for some great Riccochet.
Honorable Mentions (you figure out where they go): Joker, Drake Younger, The Olsen Twins.
Upon Further Review– by Ollie Sutherland
ROH Domination: Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw vs Kevin Steen and El Generico:
Jigsaw and Generico start, with the usual feeling out process stuff. Jigsaw teases tagging Quack, screaming “DO YOU GUYS WANNA SEE QUACKENBUSH?!Ã¢â‚¬Â. Awesome. Quack tags in, and him and Generico have some crisp, mat based sequences. Steen and Jigsaw tag in. Steen wins a shoulder tackle exchange, but Jigsaw runs wild on him with some lucha arm drags and headscissors. Steen tags out, but comes back in and attacks Jigsaw from behind. He then tags himself back in! I love it. He starts really heeling it up, going to such lengths as biting Jigsaw.
Generico comes in and works over Jig. He hits a backbreaker and stuff.
Steen tags back in. He hits a flip leg drop to the back if Jig’s head. Jigsaw tries to come back, but Steen cuts him off with a sick backbreaker and a senton across the back! Generico tags in, and Jig finally comes back with an enziguri and a nice looking DDT variation. Hot tag to Quack!
Quack comes in and CLEANS HOUSE on Steen with his unique offence, as the fans mark the fuck out. Steen tries for the Package Piledriver, but Jig superkicks him as Quack rolls him into a pin! 1, 2, no! Quack hits a snap DDT, but his momentum is soon cut off by a powerbomb. He comes back on Generico though, hitting a Full Nelson Facebuster. Jig up top splash hits knees. Jig grabs Generico Torture Rack BOMB! That was sick. Quack goes up top Beautiful Swanton! Jig with a top rope leg drop! Quack with the DOUBLE KNEES! 1 2 NO!
Steen grabs Quack gutbuster. Up top moonsault misses! Quack sets Steen up top, Palm strike! He calls for Jigsaw. Jig tries his Ã¢â‚¬ËœLeap of Faith’ super hurricanrana, but Steen catches him and holds on! Generico takes out Quack, then hits an upside down Jig with a springboard flipping VAN TERMINATOR! SUPERBOMB FROM STEEN! 1 2 NO! Quack saves, and the fans ERUPT! That nearfall was fucking awesome. Generico throws Quack to the outside and hits a dive. Steen picks up a dead Jigsaw PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Generico back in BRAINBUSTER to Jig! 1 2 3!
Wow, excellent match! That really was basic tag formula done right. It started smooth, heat period on Jigsaw, Jigsaw makes hot tag, Quack comes in and makes AMAZING comeback, a few quality nearfalls then finish. Everyone played their roles excellently, Quack was the old veteran helping his student, Jigsaw was the young bump machine trying to prove his worth, Steen was the fat pissed off bully and Generico was his solid hard working buddy. This made everyone look great, and the match generally more awesome. By how much the fans reacted these 4 proved that you don’t need anything complicated to have a damn great match, this match will make you forget everything that’s wrong with modern day wrestling. ****.