Second Ring of Honor Live Report: Edison, NJ, 4/12/08

This is going to be a slightly quicker review than my past couple since I’m not really in the mood to stay up until 4AM to get this done. I saw the show with Big Andy Mac, Pulse Glazer, Shawn Smith, and Vinny Truncellito from Pulse, alongside a friend of Aaron and Shawn. The ride to the show was marred by getting lost/making wrong turns at least on three different occasions, two of which were my fault because of getting distracted due to the off the wall discussional habits of Shawn Smith. Trust me, if you’re in the car with Shawn, you’re getting distracted.

Anyway, we ended up getting to the show around 7:20. We missed the opening match between Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne and Michael Nakazawa. I wanted to talk to him a little but lost my chance by being nervous and not being able to catch up with him after the show which sucked. The way it’s looking, it’s most likely going to do Nakazawa and Ibushi vs. The Briscoes in Detroit. Apparently the attendance for Edison nosedived. If it were for me to say, I’d say there were like 200 less people at the show than normal. Maybe more. No chairs at all for General Admission so we all stood for the majority of the show until after the intermission when it felt like a good portion of section C just upped and left. We ended up taking their chairs and sitting down in between matches.

Pulse Glazer’s short one sentence review consisted of “Long and formulaic.” He seemed quite unhappy with the show as did Andy Mac. I personally thought it was decent and that Edison finally got punished for just not being a good crowd. Their return date isn’t for another half a year and in that time I hope they give Ring of Honor the reaction it deserves. Still the audience seemed better than previous shows. We’ll see how it comes across on DVD but it felt like a much better show than Transform. Better than Undeniable as well to me. However, bottom line, Dover was a hotter crowd.

The show started off with El Generico and Jack Evans coming out. Evans got a welcome back chant and a quick dance off ensued. Generico pulled out his dance moves from PWG ( to some “you got served” chants. Jack busted out some wobbly dance moves to nothing. The match started off with a lot of technical stuff. Headlocks, etc. The crowd seemed decently into this good opener and went apeshit when Generico nailed Evans with two Yakuza kicks and a Brainbustaaaaa that crumpled Evans in the corner. As Evans laid sprawled out on the floor, referees came running out from the back and it seemed like he might be missing Chicago once more. In the end he got up and made it to the back on his own. In retrospect it was probably him just selling for the finishing move since I believe it’s only the second time to be hit in ROH.

Nigel stomped out to the ring after the match and called Generico back in. Everyone knew that Generico was being setup… everyone but Generico anyway. Well Nigel hit the clothesline and Steen came out and cut an utterly unremarkable babyface promo and to paraphrase Rikishi. He was doing it for the people. He was doing it for the Rock. And no he didn’t bring up the Rock. No that would have actually been hilarious. Too bad.

The match was followed up by Jigsaw vs. Mitch Franklin which was better than it had any right to be. Franklin more offense in tonight than he has in his entire career and he didn’t look all that bad doing it. Jigsaw seriously needed someone fed to him in order to retain some credibility and Franklin was the guy to do it. The two had a good match with a lot Chikara styled back and forth that I dug since it didn’t feel forced like it sometimes does in a Claudio match (at least to me). If Franklin got put up against more opponents in these kind of matches, he could develop a smidge of credibility ala Pelle. Match ended when Franklin got nailed with the Tea… I mean Jig N’ Tonic.

Sweet and Sour Incorporated then came out to a fantastic and epic new theme song. Just awesome. You’ll crap your pants when you hear it live. It’s so awesome. It starts off with a portion of Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler starting out with “I need a hero!”. As soon the chorus finishes and I love this, the theme busts out into orchestral version of the Requiem for a Dream theme by Clint Mansell. Best entrance of the night. Hands down. You can hear it here: – This is going to be breathtaking to hear in the Hammerstein. I’ve always thought that Morishima should have come out to this but man hearing this play and watching all of Sweet and Sour walk out is a sight to see. It truly makes the faction feel epic. Like it’s just beginning…

Anyway, Sweeney gets on the mic and laugh. Immediately Hero goes that the time for laughter is over and that he is done being entertaining. Essentially his super comedy heel gimmick is now dead. He then turns to Bobby Dempsey, blaming him for the title loss and making him beg to stay in S&S Inc. Eventually though Hero just keeps kicking Bobby in the face ultra stiff and busts Bobby open. Stevens and Pelle then come out as Dempsey is carried to the back. Stevens hilariously looks at Dempsey all dumbfounded in a really bad acted way. Like “Oh snap! Fat kid just got busted open yo! Oh snap! Where’d my mohawk go?! Dang yo! GRRR!”

This match was actually really good and had a bunch of heat on it. Edwards got a ton of respect out there and rightfully so. Dude looked amazing. He doesn’t have a persona or star quality yet but man could he go. Hero also worked his ass off as well. Just quick on his feet. Zero shenanigans. I don’t believe he smiled the entire match nor he did he even raise his hands in the air to the audience once. Pelle let himself get killed out there. On the other hand, it felt like he belonged. At least if you were familiar with the product. I had no qualm with Pelle, or even Franklin for that matter, being on the main show because they really did bring it. The match ended when Hero hit a super stiff roaring elbow on Pelle that had a huge “pop” sound to it. Overall I would rate this as good as well.

Up to this point the show is quite decent. It feels fresh. It feels good. But do you hear that whistling sound? Yeah. That’s the show about to bomb. Brent Albright comes out and sends Sweeney to the back. Then comes to Delirious. Although this match was much better than their Rising Above bout, they just lost the crowd. I blame mostly Delirious since he looked overly sloppy and slow. Delirious doesn’t need a gimmick refresh. He needs time off to heal whatever nagging injuries he may have because looked slower than a moped rushing away from the tornado behind it. It was that bad. Albright to his credit looked motivated. He was quick on his feet. He was doing rolls to avoid Delirious’ clotheslines. Towards the end they went back and forth through each others finishers. Delirious would go for the Cobra Stretch. Albright would turn it into a unique arm pulling submission followed by the armbar. They went through the spot again and when Albright got the armbar a second time, Delirious tapped. Overall though I would say this was a meh affair that killed the crowd.

Sweeney came out after the match in order to command Albright to break Delirious’ arm. This brought out Daizee Haze who protected Delirious which caused Sweeney to tell Albright to break her arm. He refused though and left the ring with Sweeney following him. Daizee then left Delirious who kind of made it look like he was interested in Delirious. Personally I’d find it much more interesting if Daizee turned down Delirious and since he is a lizard man and he doesn’t know how to react, he starts stalking the Haze. Not only could that be both comedic and scary, but it would bring an interesting turn to his character. Much better than being the go to guy for when a faction needs someone new to spar with.

Next up was the Roderick Strong vs. Necro Butcher NO DQ Non FIP Title match. Man was that brutal. Without a doubt more brutal than that awesome FIP title match at 6th Anniversary Show. Roderick just beat the crap out of Necro and Necro was actually punching Roderick in the face. Like we were right there with them and you could clearly see that Necro wasn’t pulling his punches at all. No one else with me had the heart to follow the action though or I would have pulled out some funny tasteless humor that is not to be revealed on Pulse, but Shawn Smith knows what I’m talking about. I’d say this match was great because they really killed themselves out there and it was by far and away better than the Necro/Jay Briscoe No DQ match from Undeniable. Much, much more stiffer. Roderick is quickly finding his footing as a great wrestler again in 2008 after a really bad 2007. Match came to an end after Erick Stevens ran out and Doctor Bombed Roderick through a table. Necro crawled in and made the cover the win. He hugged the title belt but the referee was like “Not yours!” The scene afterwards reminded me of the walrus/bucket image going around the net (This one: I really felt bad for Necro. 🙁

Intermission. We took the seats from the people who had left and sat down. Intermission felt like forever.

Finally after the intermission from hell, Kota Ibushi came out. Let me say it right now. This guy has every bit the star quality of Daniel Puder. He just has it. From the moment he was walked down the isle, it was clear that this guy had what Ring of Honor has been missing for years. He had it. Just a brilliant look that would get over with the mainstream. A beautifully remarkable sense of babyface empathy that you just don’t get from KENTA, Marufuji, Morishima, or Shiozaki. If Ring of Honor brought this guy in fulltime, he would put people in the seats. No doubt about it. The match was simply good though since the French Claudio decided to work a ground and pound type of match. It was the kind of match that I feared Claudio would run with and although there were no stupid arm drag variations, it was just really slow at the start and again it wasn’t what people had paid to see. I never for a moment thought Claudio would lose because of the rubs he has gotten from Marufuji and such and that was the case here. Claudio got the win with the Ricola bomb. Now here is the funny part. For the first time in forever, I actually heard Claudio get booed and I think this speaks more to Ibushi than it does Claudio. It was a turnbuckle spot where Claudio began to lock up Ibushi for the Ricola Bomb and as I started to boo (I really wanted to Kota to get the win), a chorus of boos also broke out. Although there isn’t much to make of, I still think it’s an important note to bring up since Claudio NEVER gets booed.

The World Title match was next. The crowd was hot for this and Mr. Wrestling got some really loud chants. The match was exactly what I expected it to be though. Kevin Steen has never had any really spectacular singles matches and tonight was no exception. He got all of his funny stuff in but Nigel got the last laugh and that’s all there is to say about that. There were never any believable near falls or tap out situations where the crowd genuinely thought there was going to be a title change and I expect in Detroit for either Generico to do the job or for Steen to pick up the victory for the team. Overall this was a good match but it got over mainly on Nigel’s heat than anything else. After a while Steen just couldn’t get the empathy from the audience so they went quiet. The finish involved Nigel rolling up Steen and grabbing the ropes at the 2.3 count mark. Basically the last second possible. It’s like everything went slow motion and you saw Nigel’s arm start to extend and everyone started going “Nooooo!” in slow motion but before the “oooo” part could come out Nigel had the win. It was like that.

Steen went berserk after the match and Cary played stupid. He can restart the match after the Dragon/Nigel but now he plays dumb? I personally would have strung Cary’s neck. It’s like what are you sitting out here for if you aren’t going to do the right thing? Well before it could get to that point, the babyfaces cleared out and pulled Steen away. Claudio got in the ring then and threw down the gauntlet. Nigel basically decried Claudio as a mid-card jobber and told Claudio to back away if he knew what was good for him. Claudio didn’t and instead got in Nigel’s face. Nigel calmed Claudio down, told Claudio off, and left the ring. I personally think they’ll be running Claudio/Nigel in Chicago and saving the World Title Match for Hammerstein for something bigger.

And another first for all of you. An actual “Rocky” chant broke out tonight in Edison. Mad props for that. Very few people actually cared about the Briscoes winning the belts as well. Most would have been perfectly content with the NRC holding on to them. Both teams worked a stiff sprint style and the was very, very fast paced. I enjoyed the match and thought it was The Briscoes best match in ages and were carried by the NRC in terms of heat. People have just been burned out on The Briscoes. The end came after Mark piledrived Davey in the entranceway and Jay Jay Drillered Rocky. Rocky kicked out but was immediately hit with a springboard doomsday device for a three count. In the end, it’s the same as in Dover. The crowd was slightly hotter for them than there, but the essence was the same. Good match. Horrid crowd. Welcome to Edison.

Overall I’d say this show is worth owning on DVD for the FIP No DQ match, Hero and Edwards vs. Stevens and Pelle, and Kota Ibushi. Nothing blowaway here though so I can’t say it’s a must have for your collection. Most likely though that honor and distinction will belong to Chicago next week. Take care and goodnight.

I know he’s not french. It’s an in-joke from the live show. You gotta go to these things to find out what we’re talking about. 🙂

“The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saruman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed. The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor, the last free kingdom of men. His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the Ring is close. The strength of the Ringbearer is failing. In his heart, Frodo begins to understand. The quest will claim his life. You know this. You have foreseen it. It is the risk we all took. In the gathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong. It works hard now to find its way back into the hands of men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The young captain of Gondor has but to extend his hand, take the Ring for his own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close to achieving its goal. For Sauron will have dominion over all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world. The time of the elves is over. Do we leave Middle-Earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?” – If you’re smart, you’ll figure out the connection to the review.

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