Little over two years ago ROH put on three shows before Wrestlemania 24. The most unique aspect of these shows was the appearance of 6 Japanese wrestlers from the Dragon Gate promotion. While some fans had heard of the promotion, many fans such as myself knew very little about the promotion. By the end of the weekend many people were thinking â€œwhere can I find more from these guys?â€ Those three shows, Dragon Gate challenge, Better Then Our Best and Supercard of Honor, were three of the best ROH shows in 2006. Personally, I feel that Better Then Our Best is one of ROH’s 5 best shows of all time. When ROH announced that all 6 of those wrestlers, along with Shingo and BxB Hulk, would return at this years Wrestlemania weekend shows I expected something special.
I never expected something this special.
Like my last live report I will be rating matches out of 5 and the show out of 10. These ratings are focussed more on how entertaining I found the matches, rather than a critical analysis of the matches artistic qualities.
Note: I apologise for the lateness of this report but I have had a busy schedule since the show and Internet access at my Hotel was hard to come by. I hope that people don’t mind my lack of punctuality since I thought that this show was amazing.
Supercard of Honor 3 â€“ 3/29/08, Orlando, Florida
Match 1: Delirious vs. Go Shiosaki
This was a nice comedy style match, with the humour based on Delirious yelling Go and Stop. The other great bit was Delirious trying to avoid Shiosaki’s chops. When Delirious gets a good rapport with his opponents and the crowd you can forget how stale his act can be. This was a good example and I felt that Delirious had a good weekend as he focussed on banter between himself and his opponents. Shiosaki was his usual solid self in that he brought out some vicious sounding chops and had a good match.
Go Shiosaki beats Delirious with the Go Flasher, 3 out of 5
Match 2: The YRR of Chasyn Rance, Sal Rinauro and Kenny King (with two random ladies) vs. â€œSugarfootâ€ Alex Payne, Dingo and Bushwhacker Luke
This was another opportunity for me to see the YRR (Young, Rich and Ready for Action) and I was paying special attention to Kenny King. I was surprised to see Dingo, and even more surprised by the presence of Luke. It has to be said that Sugarfoot was over with sections C and D, while Luke and Dingo also got some love from the crowd. The match was based on the YRR dominating Payne before he made the hot tag. Luke used Payne’s head in the battering ram spot and Dingo had some nice mat wrestling at the start of the match. While Rinauro was a good heel I felt that man of the match was Kenny King. King impressed me with his move set on the Friday show. This time he showed a much better grasp of how to be a heel and he did some good work jawing with the crowd. King’s work this weekend makes me more eager to track down some of his other work since he looks like his is on the way to being a regular for ROH’s southern shows. This was an inoffensive match where the YRR’s experience as a team was the deciding factor.
Sal Rinauro beats Dingo by Springboard Enziguri, 2.5 out of 5
Match 3: ROH World Tag Team Title Match â€“ The No Remorse Corps of Davey Richards and Rocky Romero (champions) vs. The Vulture Squad of Jigsaw and Ruckus (challengers
This match was taped for the PPV and looks to be a good addition to Take No Prisoners.
This was a short, fast paced match where Jigsaw and Ruckus showed good chemistry together and the match played to both sides specialities since the Vulture Squad were quick and used a lot of high risk offence while the No Remorse Corps focused more on hard hitting strikes. Jigsaw and Ruckus got over with the fans well and had a decent run of offence with a nice variation of the hot tag (Both opponents were on the outside so it led immediately into a dive). The NRC eventually regained control, even coming up with a great counter to the Jig-n-Tonic, before they retained the belts. This is a good, short tag team match where the Jigsaw and Ruckus showed that they are coming together as a team.
Davey Richards pinned Jigsaw with the Spike DR Driver, 3.5 out of 5
After this match Larry Sweeney and Shane Hagadorn came out in order to influence the NRC without Roderick Strong’s presence. Strong eventually came out and reiterated his view, that he had formed the NRC, and that he didn’t need Larry Sweeney taking over. I loved Hagadorn in this, as his baseball cap and cocky grin make you really want to boo the guy. Strong was followed by Erick Stevens and this led into the next segment.
Roderick Strong brawls with Erick Stevens
This was not a match, it was a massacre. Both guys tried to beat each other to a pulp in a brutal brawl. The referee was knocked out by punches from both competitors, since both were so focussed on punishing their foe as much as possible. Stevens burst a blister on Strong’s chest with a chop (this was from the previous nights hard hitting main event), making Strong bleed, before both men ended up wearing crimson masks. This was a stiff brawl which was eventually ended by Strong using a brutal chair shot. Strong called out Romero and Richards, who brought out Barber’s Shears and proceeded to destroy Stevens’ beloved Mohawk. Eventually help arrived from the students and the Vulture Squad, with Stevens getting dragged to the back. If I was to rate this as a match I would give it 3.5-4 out of 5 as it really got over the hatred both wrestlers had while hyping up the next encounter due to Strong targeting Stevens’ Mohawk.
Match 4: Relaxed Rules match – The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black with Lacey and Rain) vs. Mark and Jay Briscoe
It was nice to see Rain in an ROH ring again, with her and Lacey making themselves a big distraction at Ringside. Prior to the match Jacobs cut a promo on how the AOTF was helping people, with Jacobs boasting about giving a homeless man in a wheelchair a ticket to the show. The man in question was Mr Milo Beasley, the FIP regular who pretends to be disabled in order to carry out surprise run ins. This match will be hard to rate since they went all around the arena, beating each other up at every turn. I couldn’t see any of this but I did like it when the crowd started chanting â€œThis Sounds Awesome.â€ The teams make their way to the Bleachers where a table is brought out. Mark proceeds to dive off the bleachers and onto Milo Beasley who had been laid out on the table. The match got back to the ring but Mark’s dive meant that Jay was on his own against both Black and Jacobs. Jay kicked out of everything that he could before Mark made the save. The finish was out of this world as Jay set Jacobs up for the Doomsday Device. Jacobs caught Mark in mid air with the End Time Guillotine Choke, using Marks momentum to flip himself of Jay’s shoulders and Mark was eventually deemed to have been knocked out by the move. This looked like a great, round the building brawl which ended with a nice segment with Jay fighting off both opponents after Mark did something crazy and reckless. Although I feel that Jay kicked out of too much the finish was excellent and even better then that of Marufuji and Sugiura vs. the Briscoes. I was impressed that the Briscoes sold the beat down post match better then they usually do, and I like the fact that Jay now has a history of keeping his team a live after Mark keeps making the wrong decision. If the match turns out as I expect it to be on DVD then I would add 0.5 to the match rating.
Jimmy Jacobs made Mark Briscoe pass out with the End Time, 3.5 out of 5
The show went to intermission and the first half looked solid, even better was that my three most anticipated matches of the night were still to come.
Match 5: BxB Hulk and Shingo vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico
Firstly, BxB Hulk came out and danced without his dancers and yet he still got over for it. Some fans were surprised that people didn’t heckle him for doing this, although I got the consensus that a good proportion of fans knew about BxB Hulk’s dance intro. Steen and Generico were as over as ever. Kevin Steen is so charismatic it is unbelievable, no matter what he does. His verbal sparring with Generico and his mocking of BxB Hulk going for the hot tag were both great moments that added to the match. BxB Hulk worked well as the Face in Peril and one point, and has a nice array of kicks. Generico was his usual self with his good spots and better selling wile Shingo was great. As can be guessed from my reviews, I am a Shingo mark so I was loving this. From his facials to his periods of domination it was great. I really loved one of the opening segments where Shingo and Steen kept using the ropes to try and get the upper hand on a shoulder block exchange. This was a crazy match with so many moves, double teams and moments that I can’t remember half of them. Despite this I also liked the selling and there was some good character work. Shingo eventually gets the win to make the New Hazard representatives unbeaten for the weekend. Personally this was one of the three best of the night and I have no problem giving it a high rating since I’m judging the matches on personal enjoyment as well as artistic merit.
Shingo beats El Generico with the Last Falconry, 4.5 out of 5
Match 6: ROH World Title Match – Nigel McGuinness (champion) vs. Austin Aries (challenger)
As expected, this was a very psychologically sound match with Aries looking to use the Horns of Aries very early in the match, while Nigel focussed Aries left arm in order to weaken his offence and set up for the London Dungeon. Both men were equally tough and had to look at their back up plans, namely Aries’ 450 splash and Nigel’s Lariats. Nigel heeled it up well and Aries played a very good plucky face despite the fact that he occasionally forgot to sell the arm. The match was technically sound but both guys used their explosive offence to keep the fans on their toes. There were some good spots based around Aries’ Tope and Nigel was opportunistic enough to seize upon a missed Tope, something that ultimately resulted in him winning the match. I can’t compare this to their other matches against each other but I would call this a great match and the match of the weekend if you are a fan of more psychologically sound, storyline based matches.
Nigel McGuinness beats Austin Aries by Jawbreaker Lariat, 4.5 out of 5
After the match the Age of The Fall come out and try to determine Aries’ stance. Eventually Lacey decides to take Aries to the back to persuade him one on one, much to Jimmy Jacobs annoyance. This brings out Sunny, who is surprised that Aries has not sided with her after she offered him all her services. Aries still leaves with Lacey and Sunny is ambushed by Rain until the Briscoes come out to make the save. This progressed the Briscoes vs the AOTF and Sunny vs the AOTF story lines while also suggesting that Jacobs still has feelings for Lacey. This feels like it could go somewhere really interesting.
Match 7: The Muscle Outlawz of Naruki Doi, Masato Yoshino and Genki Horiguchi vs. Typhoon of CIMA, Ryo Saito and Dragon Kid
This was my first live Dragon Gate six man, and it featured the same member as the first one, with Horiguchi and CIMA on different sides. The action started off a little slow but the pace built up to frantic levels with each side busting out double teams and triple teams. Both sides showed good chemistry with each other as the Outlawz focussed on Dragon Kid and Typhoon focussed on Yoshino, the two smallest men in the match. These matches may not appeal to all fans as some people dislike the spot like nature, the pacing or seeming lack of selling. Personally, I loved this match as I enjoy almost all the guys in the ring. The Outlawz eventually picked up the win in this close, highly charged match that had the fans on the edge of their seats. This may have been the worst of the three Dragon Gate 6 man matches, or it may not. Everyone has their own personal favourite Dragon Gate 6 man, although I couldn’t pick one myself although I would be tempted to say this one did feature great teamwork from one of my favourite current tag teams (Doi and Yoshino) and I saw it live.
Naruki Doi pinned Dragon Kid with the Muscular Bomb, 4.5 out of 5
The post match was great since CIMA and Doi were keen to shake hands in order to celebrate the match. This led to Horiguchi shunning Doi and Yoshino, while Saito was actively defying CIMA. This is nice in that it follows the current Dragon Gate story lines with Saito getting a title shot for CIMA’s Open the Dream Belt and Doi and Yoshino seeming to be raising the ire of the rest of the Muscle Outlawz. In the end Doi, Yoshino, Dragon Kid and CIMA stood in the middle of the ring and shook hands.
There was not a single bad match on the card as I felt that the YRR match brought something to the table in terms of Kenny King continuing to impress, both in terms of in ring skills and character. I would call BxB Hulk and Shingo vs. Steen and Generico the best match of the weekend, although it is amazingly close between the three post intermission matches from this show. This was a fantastic all round show as every match added something different, there were more obvious angles then on the previous night and there was something for everyone. Seriously, if you like ROH I would definitely recommend this show as it could potentially be one of the 10 best shows in ROH’s history. I would recommend it even more to Dragon Gate fans due to the awesome matches and the angle development for Dragon Gate. I may get flack for rating this show so highly but I truly feel that this may have been ROH’s best show for months.
Show rating: 10 out of 10