Ring of Honor Weekly


This week we take a look at Go Shiozaki. He came to America to be a star and fix his deficiencies. How is he doing? Well, he’s got the best in ring character arch of anyone in ROH this side of Nigel and Aries, so quite well is the short answer. For the long answer, read on.

News of Honor

Rising Above, the next ROH PPV, debuts tonight

Be sure to check it out. Aries vs. Nigel alone is more than worth the price of admission.

The Larry Sweeney-Allison Danger segment will appear on DVD

Gabe is still apologetic and says this won’t happen again. I’m for this being on the DVD, because while it was tasteless, I’m also anti-censorship in any form. Click here for my full thoughts on the whole affair.

The Hammerstein Ballroom is the quickest selling ticket in ROH history

Hopefully this continues and ROH had better have a blow away show to keep all the fans! They’ll likely need good advertising to even continue the pace though, and advertising is surely their weak suit.

This Week on Inside Pulse

Phil Clark talks ROH PPVwoes. He’s wrong about how poorly they did: they did fine. He’s right about their advertising: that was terrible.

Wiswell discusses the absence of Briscoes from ROH. It is absolutely a positive, especially considering how they stepped up their style against Marufuji and Sugiura. Get that match ASAP.

Mark Allen is back with this week in WWE. It’s a great read. Be sure to keep up with it.

Lastly, I talk about The Murder City Machine Guns refusal to blade. Let me know what you think

The Fool in the Stands: Go Shiozaki in ROH thus Far

Go Shiozaki, the Kenta Kobashi trained NOAH youngster has had five matches in Ring of Honor and one more on a NOAH show for the ROH title. I’ve covered his very first ROH match, the underrated classic with Bryan Danielson from Live in Tokyo in depth previously, but needless to say, it was a match that won him a job in ROH and a classic. Let’s take a look at the rest of Go’s matches thus far.

NOAH Show Title Shot: 1/20/08 ROH World Title Match: Nigel McGuinness vs. Go Shiozaki

This match was almost all storyline. It featured Go showing a lot of physical tools, but being taken out by Nigel’s superior skill. Nigel’s arm work here was Go, and without his arm, Shiozaki had no way to compete with the wily champion. Nigel thus controlled the high majority of a slow match as he wore down the physically impressive challenger. Nigel defeated Go, leading to Go’s deciding to come to America to brush up on his skills. Since he was meant to be a clear step below Nigel, this did its job, but it wasn’t a very good match in the process, checking in at about ***.

Match 1 as a Regular: 2/22/08, Go Shiozaki vs. Necro Butcher

Go was scheduled to face Erick Stevens here, but weather issues lead to a tournament being held. This meant that Go had the potential to have multiple matches in one night. Unfortunately, the first of these was against Necro Butcher, the unconventional, stiff brawler. It turns out this would be an opportunity for Go to show his brutality and toughness. As he and Necro brawled along the floor, they beat the living piss out of each other, with Go actually coming out the better against the fearless Necro thanks to his fighting spirit. For an unplanned match, this worked perfectly for Go. He was able to get a win against an established undercard wrestler, but one with enough respect for being a badass among the fanbase that Go being tougher actually means a lot. This high class brawling shows that though Go can be out wrestled (as shown in both the Nigel and Danielson matches), his physical tools are second to none and he simply cannot be intimidated or bullied. Go finished with the moonsault which established that, as an athlete Necro lacks the weapons to stay with Go. This is near **** for the brutality displayed and Go’s rising to that level with Necro.

2/22/08, Match 2: Go Shiozaki vs. El Generico

Go got his second match against the Generic luchador who looks like a bit of a joke coming after Necro, but Generico had just come off a much tougher match, barely escaping ROH Ace Austin Aries. Go is a physical specimen who, with his adrenaline from the Necro match, goes right at Generico. Generico uses his speed to slip away and control as much as he can, attacking the knee to further his own advantage. This works for a time, but Generico, when he gets caught, is totally destroyed by big moves of Go. Generico’s attack takes its toll, but despite numerous near falls, the big, power of Go, with the Go Flasher, is too much for Generico. This is a sure **** with Generico’s knee work giving him an advantage, but not as big an advantage as Go’s power. Ultimately, that, and the difference in first round quality of opponent is the difference.

2/22/08, Match 3: Go Shiozaki vs. Kevin Steen

This showed the two of them to be very similar wrestlers. Go goes after the leg early, knowing that with his weakness, he needs to weaken Steen to have a shot. This works well and Go is able to stay even. The rest of the match is these two unloading bombs at each other, with neither man’s speed being nearly enough, they just go all out. Go has the knee as a fallback, but Steen just won’t stay down. The fighting spirit war is won by Go and he even kicks out of a package piledriver, but a second is too much for him to handle. This isn’t that great. It has pacing and selling issues. After Steen set up the Sharpshooter as a finish, it really should have finished Go here since Generico worked the leg already, but instead he went with big bombs after a weird, selling-free build. This established little unless you buy that Go is lacking in stamina, as his two longer matches (Nigel and Dragon), plus his third tournament match were all losses. This is around *** and really disappointing.

2/23/08, Sixth Anniversary Show: Go Shiozaki vs. Austin Aries

Aries is just the type of wrestler that gives Go trouble and caused him to come to America. Go has trouble going long and with the better pure wrestlers on the roster. Aries is both. Go immediately does what he always does against everyone: chop the hell out of them. He’s a clearly better striker, but as with other top line talent, his aggressiveness and their wrestling ability allow them to take control. Go’s power and athleticism are, as usual, unmatched, but Aries is so good a wrestler that he can just stay alive, and as Go begins to wear out, he makes a crucial mistake: Aries gets the kick to the head. The brainbuster and 450 follow, making it academic. What this does for Go’s story is awesome. Go has now lost to the same type of wrestler twice, and lost when he’s gone long three times. What’s more is that Aries has defeated Go, but lost to Generico, while Generico beat Aries, but lost to Go. That means that Generico and Go have a rematch likely, with Generico having the counter wrestling tools to beat Go if he hadn’t just had a war with Aries immediately prior. Generico comes out looking like a world beater, while Go’s problems are clearly outlined. He’s a potential dominator, but just can’t put it together against a certain kind of opponent. Of course, since he did beat Generico, who beat Aries, it could be purely stylistic and that Go wrestled three times the night previous that allowed Aries to escape with a win. Rematches and Go’s story are set.

Where to Go from here: Go’s next announced match is with Brent Albright. He figures to win that. Go’s physical tools are, thus far, unmatched. Albright could beat Go the way Steen did, by coming out ahead on big bombs, but Albright hasn’t shown that capability yet and Go has gotten up from much bigger offense than Albright’s in the past, having faced the likes of Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki. He can handle Albright’s power. That likely puts him in the PPV four man, where he is a definite threat. It’s certainly too soon for him to face Nigel again, especially because with it being his second match of the night and Nigel having dominated him thoroughly the first time, he’d have next to no shot of victory. He’ll likely lose in the four-way, though not be involved in the decision. It’s not like he has much experience in this match type anyway.

Besides that match, Go only has a 6-man with CIMA and Stevens vs. the NRC. This is perfect for Go. All of the NRC are the style of guys he has trouble with, and working through their ranks could help prepare him for another shot at Nigel. That is what should be done with Go as he has shown he can handle the rest of the roster. When he can take the NRC, and the chop war with Strong will be epic and can carry a show on its own. After that, rematches with Generico, Steen, Aries, and eventually Nigel or, preferably (so he can win) Danielson, will carry him through the remainder of the year, leaving numerous classics in his wake. As is, though he has failed thus far, he has gotten a clear picture of his weaknesses and what he needs to improve while putting on two great matches, with Generico and Necro, and one fantastic one with Aries.

Glazer is a former senior editor at Pulse Wrestling and editor and reviewer at The Comics Nexus.