Ring of Honor Live Review: 11/3/07 – Glory by Honor VI night One, Philadelphia, PA

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So I just returned from the first night of the Glory by Honor weekend, and I have to say I really did enjoy myself. Seeing Misawa was an amazing experience, and the rest of the show was a lot of fun, entertaining wrestling, if it was not always great. Enough introductory mumbo jumbo onto the review.

The Hangm3n (BJ Whitmer and Brent Albright) vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico

If Steenerico are not in a major program match, and their issue with the Hangmen 3, is not a major program yet, they are a great choice to open the show. I have to stay, for a no-nonsense, straight ahead brawl, this match was very enjoyable. Steen and Generico have a great dynamic as a team, and more and more I wish they took the straps off of the Briscoes. I have also always enjoyed the work of Albright and Whitmer. Naysayers of Whitmer even have to admit he is a competent brawler. Steen was able to score a win over the competent brawler with the Steen-ton bomb. After the match Hagadorn threw baby powder into the eyes of the victors and the Hangmen 3 beat them down. This made the National Guard Army smell like a baby’s patoot.

Winners: Kevin Steen and El Generico; **1/2

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hallowicked

This match was a pleasant surprise, as I am definitely a fan of the Chikarmy. This match was just kind of there. It had some great lucha armdrag sequences. Claudio ended up winning a fun and entertaing match with a European Uppercut. I did enjoy this match, but as I said, it was just kind of there. I really do want to see Hallowicked get more bookings, and a team wit Delirious may just be the thing to do that and freshen up the green monster.

Winner: Claudio Castagnoli; **

Delirious vs. Davey Richards

Delirious has a butterfly on his tights and a glittery green jacket, but I still loves ‘im. This match was pretty back and forth, but Delirious is just not particularly interesting in “heated” (read anger based) matches. He really should just do straight comedy somewhere in the middle of the card. From that comment, you would think that I dislike the match. That is not the case. Davey Richards is winning me over, and he heel character is quite good. My favorite sequence of the match was Delirious using his unorthdox style and antics to fluster Richards with a series of teased clotheslines while running the ropes. This is what Delirious is best at, and what he should continue to do every time out. Davey did a good job of attacking the arm all match and won after a tombstone into the kimura lock.

Winner: Davey Richards; **1/2

Ring of Honor World Tag Team Title Match: Jay and Mark Briscoe © vs. The No Remorse Corps of Rocky Romero and Roderick Strong

Do you like storytelling? Do you like flow? Do you like a match that makes sense? If so hit the fast forward button when this comes out on DVD. OK, that may be a bit harsh, but this match had no flow to it at all, and honestly, I am putting the onus for that squarely on the boys from Sandy Fork, DE. This was a case of four guys just doing moves to each other with no real rhyme or reason. Romero and Strong are both experts and body part psychology, and Strong is easily one of the top guys in the company period. Romero may be hit and miss in terms of his selling, but next to the Briscoes in this match he looked like an expert. I really feel like I am being unfair in this match, but oh well.

It kind of sounds like I disliked the match and that is not the case. There was a lot of fun stuff going on, it is just that none of it had any build or seemed to go anywhere. The Briscoes ended up winning the match after a springboard Doomsday device.

Winners: Jay and Mark Briscoe; **1/2

Screams began emanating over the loudspeakers and that signified the arrival of the Age of the Fall to try and put the hurt on the Briscoes. They were unable to get the advantage until Lacey treated both Jay and Mark to ball shots. Then we hear an “Aw-Ah, Aw-Ah” from the PA and Julius Smokes saying “Transform.” This lead into

Tag Team Scramble: The Age of the Fall: Tyler Black, Jimmy Jacobs, and The Necro Butcher vs. The Vulture Squad: Jack Evans, Ruckus, and Jigsaw

This match like the one before it lacked a ton of flow, but the format set out from the get go made it more forgivable. The Age of the Fall seem not to prescribe too much to any sort of format especially when the Necro Butcher is involed. Necro and Jack quickly paired off for a violent brawl outside the ring and into the crowd. One of the most innovative spots that many fans missed due to the three ring circus nature of the match involved Ruckus hit his rolling fisherman’s suplex on Tyler Black into a powerbomb by Jigsaw. The stars of this match, to me, were Necro and Jigsaw. Necro just punched people in the face, it was a great way to counteract the high flying Vulture Squad, just straight punches to the face hilarious. Eventually the Age of the Fall was able to get Jigsaw alone and Jacobs and Black were able to hit their awesome finishing sequence of a torture rack senton, into a running dropkick into a torture rock driver, into a ddt into a guillotine choke for the tapout victory. I love that sequence.

Winners: The Age of the Fall; **1/2

In a moment I have to mention. The timekeeper was unable to ring the bell to signify the end of this match because Necro took it and did the mustachioed bellringer’s job for him. The Briscoes then came out and Mark completely shrugged off two direct shots to the face with the timekeeper’s hammer, but that was only the beginning of the absurdity of the upcoming melee. All of the stables present, The Age of the Fall, No Remorse Corps, Hangmen Three, and Delirious, Kevin Steen, and El Generico, and Daizee Haze, why the hell not got involved for the craziest dive sequence this side of 2003. It was absurd and ridiculous and every fan in attendance had a blast watching it. This brought us to intermission.

Top of the Class Trophy Match: Mitch Franklin © vs. Ernie Osiris

They usually only pre-announce a top of the class trophy match if there is going to be a title change and tonight was no different. Osiris one, but for the life of me I cannot remember how. Still it was what it was.

Winner: Ernie Osiris; (no rating due to lack of attention paid)

Deciding Match in a Best of Three Series: Austin Aries vs. “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson

This match was all sorts of awesome. The first almost two thirds of the match was just Dragon shitting on Aries proving how freaking awesome he is. Dragon is just so crisp with his moves, transitions, and counters it is a thing of beauty to behold. There are few wrestlers in the world that can compare to him at this stage in the game. Dragon even went old school and tried the airplane spin. I would have loved to see Aries hit the crucifix bomb out of it, but still Dragon going for the airplane spin made me smile. Aries is still awesome and the finishing sequence was stellar. Dragon went balls out hitting Dragon suplexes, two attempts at the Cattle Mutilation, and the MMA elbows, but none of it was able to put Aries down. Aries even reversed a small package into the brainbuster and the 450 splash for the victory. On a side note, I think it would be awesome, if Aries had a shirt that said “Austin 450” in the style of Stone Cold, but I think that ship has sailed. This match was a classic and Dragon’s nine star weekend is underway.

Winner:Austin Aries; ****1/2

Main Event Tag Team oh wait no

Larry Sweeney makes his way to the ring with Sweet and Sour Inc. in tow. Chris Hero was wearing a Survivor of the Fittest shirt and Bobby Dempsey was wearing a Survivor of the Fattest shirt man I love Sweet and Sour. Sweeney proceeded to announce that part of Chris Hero’s contract for his Survival of the Fittest victory included a title shot any time, any place, and if the champion refused the title would be forfeit. This brought out Nigel McGuinness.

Sweeney and Hero proceeded to run down Nigel and call him a coward. Nigel cut a heartfelt promo explaining how much it pained him to not be able to wrestle on a show as big as this. The taunting of Hero and Sweeney proved to be too much and Nigel was coerced into defending his title. TNA should take note as this is how to do a promo segment.

Ring of Honor World Championship Match: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Chris Hero

For what this was, this was an awesome match. Hero was relentless in attacking Nigel’s arm and probably wrestled the smartest match I have seen him in. They title was truly in jeopardy throughout this match. Nigel, to his credit, was amazing drawing a ton of sympathy and used some right armed lariats to pop the crowd huge. Hero locked in an arm submission and it seemed all was lost for Nigel. Nigel was able to reach the ropes, but referee Paul Turner did not see it. He did however see Nigel tap out, and was ready to award the match and the championship to Chris Hero. Turner saw the error of his ways though and restarted the match. Nigel then flipped out and delivered a Tower of London on the floor, and destroyed Hero’s arm before locking in a similar arm submission hold for the tap out victory. This match proved a few things. Nigel is able to bring the drama. Hero is ready for the big time. Hero could easily be Ring of Honor champ at some point. This could have buried Hero, but it didn’t and Hero still has heat for a world title rematch down the line.

Winner: Nigel McGuinness; ***1/2

Main Event Tag Team Match: GHC Champion Mitsuharu MISAWA and KENTA vs. Naomichi MARUFUJI and Takeshi MORISHIMA

This was a very cool thing to witness. Misawa’s entrance with the emerald banners and the streamers and everything was one of those special moments. Misawa’s entrance theme and everything make him truly seem like the big deal that he is. The match started with KENTA and Marufuji just going absolutely ape on one another. It made me think that the match would be a sprint. It wasn’t but it was still awesome. When Misawa was in the ring the crowd was going pretty wild. He does do A TON of elbows and forearms, but he has not become that self parody that a Ric Flair has in the twilight of his career. The interactions with the younger guns from Pro-Wrestling NOAH were the highlights of the match, but Misawa hitting a senton, a top rope forearm, and the good old fashioned Tiger Driver (not the ’91 variety) were pretty awesome to see live and in person. Unfortunately, the match ended in a 30 minute draw, which was fine. It is just that the match was paced and structured to go beyond 30 minutes. The stars of the match for me, and I think everyone else in attendance were KENTA and Marufuji. Marufuji showed some of the most character and best crowd interaction of anyone on the show period. Not having a winner was ok-ish, but the Philadelphia crowd did chant bullshit, and it was kind of bullshit. Still the match was pretty awesome, and the spectacle of seeing Misawa in an American ring was unbelievable.

Time Limit Draw

The first half of the show was pretty lackluster, but the second half more than made up for it. Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson engaged in an absolute classic. Nigel cemented his status as champion with his display, and Misawa. The show was a good time despite the first half of the show just kind of being there. The undercard solely for the second half was better than Joe vs. Kobashi, but nothing can compare to that main event. Likewise it was not as good from start to finish as Unforgettable. I did have a great time as a fan, and ultimately that is all that matters.