Ring of Honor Weekly

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

News of Honor

Aries and Lacey are a couple and left Age of the Fall

In related news, Jimmy Jacobs is now insane.

Mark Briscoe is hurt indefinitely, Jay chose Aries as his new partner

Mark was “hurt” by Jacobs, but really needs surgery on a previously injured wrist. Meanwhile, I smell a swerve when Jay and Aries face the AOTF at the Hammerstein.

Nigel will defend vs. Claudio in the Hammerstein

Not in love with this, but the match will be very good.

Danielson chooses Necro for Morishima to face

Morishima will destroy Necro, but take a huge beating in the process and since Danielson wants him hurt, this makes sense. It’s also a big draw to many CZW fans.

Morishima chooses Marufuji for Danielson to face

1. This should be a classic.
2. Morishima just wants Danielson to lose so he isn’t high ranked enough for a shot and no one has a better chance of beating AmDrag than Marufuji.

Stevens vs. Strong vs. Go at Hammerstein

Stiff chops and awesome selling. Surely a sleeper MOTYC brewing.

FIP has been faneffingtastic lately

30% off right now. Go get Undefined for less than $15 and find out how awesome it can get.

This Week on Inside Pulse

Mark Allen loves Joe vs. Angle. I analyze that and HBK-Flair. Which of us is right?

Wiswell discusses dumb big announcements.

The DVD Lounge has a spoiler free review of ROH Proving Ground.

Vin Tastic goes over Impact!

The Fool in the Stands

A lot of young wrestlers pattern themselves off of former greats, whether consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes, due to training, this is done almost subconsciously. While the more a guy wrestles, generally, the further they get from these influences, they are still stylistically obvious, at the least in how they build matches. Today we will look at the ROH roster, along with what other wrestler they are most reminiscent of throughout wrestling history. Added to this will be how they can improve further by learning from their influence.

Brent Albright is like Arn Anderson. Now to cut off the hatemail, I know Arn is a ridiculous amount better than Albright. Albright’s style is just highly reminiscent of Double A. The Andersons were famed for focusing on a body part and absolutely picking it apart. Albright is improving on this all the time. This often sets up big suplexes, like the half-nelson for Albright, while for Arn it would set up a big spinebuster.

The major difference here is that Arn managed to craft a tough guy persona with a constant “don’t eff with me” intensity. Albright brings that to the table in short bursts, notably the tables match with Whitmer and the Morishima match, but needs to study the little things Arn does that make him constantly seem so dangerous.

Austin Aries is like Owen Hart. Aries, like Danielson, has almost outgrown these comparisons, such a complete and unique performer has he become, but if one has to fit, it’s that of the youngest of the Hart clan. There was a time when, working in New Japan and even a bit in WWE, where Owen was just about the crispest worker in the world. Everything he did looked fast and smooth to an unmatched level, whether it be his flying or technical wrestling. Aries is just about the smoothest wrestler in the world today, with everything he does flowing naturally from the move before. Both men, even when selling, give off the impression of a tiger coiled to strike.

Owen is still a better seller than Aries. Aries has improved a ton in this area and is certainly no slouch, but he has a way to go before he can have the beating he took effect him offensively to the effect it did Owen.

Tyler Black –is like Brian Pillman. Pillman was the master of many roles, sometimes in an incredibly short period of time. Whether playing the simple underdog face, the unhinged loner, or the evil, manipulative heel, Pillman was a sight to behold at his various character work. Add to that the beautiful, explosive offense and you have one of the most talented men in wrestling history. Tyler has shown himself adept at playing different roles, a cult follower for AOTF, a cocky heel vs. Danielson, and an underdog face against Nigel, but what makes this stand out as so comparable to Pillman is that he does so with a physical skill and unique offense seen rarely in the sport, most comparable to AJ Styles.

Tyler is good in all of his roles, but Pillman became all of his roles. This method acting of Pillman’s would take Tyler from great talent to one of the best in the world.

Briscoe Brothers are like the Steiner Brothers. The Road Warriors are those most compared to the Briscoes, but the Steiners are a better fit. Both are tough, stiff brother combinations with ridiculously flashy moves. Neither group uses everything they have every match, but they both do so much you’d be hard pressed to notice otherwise, as the Super Assisted Frankensteiner was as rare as the Spike Jay Driller and Shooting Star with Guillotine Legdrop are today.

The Briscoes need to learn to space their hot offense better. They control too much, so their matches resemble a flurry of fantastic moves. The Steiners got some cool stuff in with their early shine, then a good bit in their comeback hope-spot, but the rest of the match, besides the big hot tag, was all about their opponents. The Steiners offense was so strong that they could let the opponents control a ton and still look golden because of the flashiness. When Mark recovers, the Briscoes should try that.

Claudio Castagnoli is like Booker T. This was the toughest of all of my choices. There are very few pure athletes the size of Castagnoli who can provide a very good base for fliers, manage great crowd interaction, and get this over. The closest in all of these areas is a young Booker T. Booker used to be very athletic, made his name in Harlem Heat, just as Claudio did in the King’s of Wrestling, and was notable as a singles wrestler when he was the Television Champion, facing many smaller than him in very good matches. Claudio has all of these things true of him, but is years ahead of Booker in the crowd interaction scheme of things, to his benefit.

Claudio does need to study how Booker improved in the promo department. I’m aware that English is not Claudio’s native tongue, but Booker was terrible at first but slowly evolved into a simple, fan friendly style. Claudio should study the structure of Booker’s interviews as he rose up the card.

Bryan Danielson is like Antonio Inoki. This will likely be the most controversial of my picks and it’s one I came upon almost by accident. When discussing who is closest of current wrestlers to Inoki Strong Style, I had the epiphany that Danielson works a weird bastardization of it (if you don’t know what Inoki Strong Style is, check A Modest Response on Monday). Danielson essentially works hold to hold and strike to strike, going with a steady progression of moves and holds, leading to the big finish, which Danielson does in a distinctly non-strong style manner. Still, Danielson is the modern master of going hold for hold and having it mean something, working it in and fighting for the move.

Inoki was better than maybe anyone ever at giving the impression that what he was doing was real and making the crowd care for him. There’s an easily found match on youtube where he’s facing Tiger Mask (Sayama) who is handling him fairly well with speed and striking. Inoki simply falls onto his behind, inviting Sayama in for the mount and the crowd explodes. Sayama’s strikes and grapples were no match for Inoki’s mounted defense. Danielson could become among the best ever if he could get crowds to realize and react in that manner to his storyline moves. Slowing down when his opponent is on an offensive flurry and inviting him in would be a great start.

Jack Evans is like Too Cold Scorpio. In the early 1990s Scorpio was the ultimate acrobat, breaking out breathtaking moves that no one had ever seen before. Now, that’s Jack Evans role. There are a lot of fliers in each era, but none quite like them.

Jack absolutely has to learn to tell stories like Scorpio in order to have anywhere near the longevity. The athleticism will forcefully be toned down as Jack ages and without that, right now…

El Generico is like Ricky Steamboat. Both are absolute gods at the underdog babyface role, a role at which Steamboat is the best ever. Generico has a great twist in that his hope spots and comebacks are terribly flashy, keeping the crowd extra involved, just like Steamboat’s were for his era.

Steamboat had the highspots, but he didn’t need to go to them as often as Generico does. Early in the match he had phenomenal mat wrestling, which made it viable for him to win in a multitude of ways. Generico’s mat wrestling is solid, but has a ways to go to add versatility to his “face in peril” role.

Chris Hero is like Rick Rude. The greatest athlete is here to meet the sexiest man. Both men are fantastic brawlers who keep their cockiness first and foremost, but neither, at their best, lets it get in the way of putting on great matches. Both men are regularly top heels who elevate faces by facing them, while not needing to go over to stay over.

Rude had a silly gimmick, but even when he did comedy, he didn’t let it overpower his in ring skill. Hero is easily distracted and can often let his antics detract from the match. There’s a way to have them play into things and further studying of Rude (or even Hall who is not the worker Hero is) would help Hero learn the line.

Jimmy Jacobs is like Raven. This one has been beaten to death. Both have a penchant for reinvention and are miles ahead of the curve in terms of their relevance. Both manage to say unique (at least in wrestling) things about society. Both are awesome brawlers.

Raven, however, can hold a live crowd in thrall with his promos. Jacobs can put on a killer taped promo, but needs to figure out the tricks to keeping the live crowd’s attention.

Jigsaw is like Taka Michinoku. Jigsaw is straight out of the Quackenbush school, so he’d be the obvious choice, but I think if you’re going to shoot for a great talent in that style, it should be Taka. Perhaps no one mixed lucha and Puro Jrs better than Taka in the heyday of Michinoku Pro. Taka even looked a bit goofy, as does Jigsaw, so there’s even that.
Taka is still a world away in skill level, but Jigsaw had damn well study a ton of tapes if he intends to overcome the lost momentum caused by his Special K look.

Eddie Kingston is like Jake Roberts. The psychological brawlers. Both men are excellent at making you care about every move they make and absolutely reek of a creepy intensity. Neither is the biggest man, but both give you the impression that they might be the baddest.

Jake in the ring learned that less is more. Kingston still goes out and tries to wow you with a full, stiff arsenal. When he learns that less is more, every little thing he do will be filled with that same intensity.

Necro Butcher is like Bruiser Brody. The two most prolific brawlers of their era, Bruiser was the prototype that Necro followed. No one, no matter how crazy the stunts, will ever match Bruiser in ring, but Necro seems bound and determined to kill himself trying.

Bruiser was plenty awesome at normal matches, which is where Necro needs to improve. Considering it takes tons of weapons to defeat him regularly, imagine how near unbeatable he’d be could his opponents not use them on him?

Joey Matthews is like Greg Valentine. Both men are sort of flamboyant, but in the ring that falls by the wayside as they work a retro-heel style, drawing a lot of heat in the process. Neither is really appreciated outside purists, but both bring a lot of quality and professionalism to the ring.

Matthews needs a focus in the ring. The stomps and so on are fine, but a bodypart focus or something would go a long way to making up for the boredom he instills in many. Valentine focused on leg work. It doesn’t have to be the same for Matthews, but it has to be something.

Nigel McGuinness is like Ric Flair. Both are fantastic wrestlers who are all about the cheap way out of a match. Ric worked the leg over to disable the opponent, figuring out a ton of ways to debilitate that body part, while Nigel does the same with the arm. Both are beloved by smarks, who they taunt mercilessly in return as everything they want to be.

Well, obviously Nigel has a long way to go before sniffing Flair, but still, one obvious way he could work on the path there is to get flashier with his mannerisms and moves. This would make more people want to see him get his ass beat, just like they did for Naitch.

Adam Pearce is like Jerry Lawler – Both are cheating, stalling, loud mouthed Memphis heels.

Pearce is nowhere near Lawler in getting the crowd to care. A face run seems necessary so the crowd can feel properly betrayed when he goes back to his cowardly nonsense. Either way, he can’t draw heat anywhere but openers (in ROH) and really, really needs to watch Lawler to figure out why.

Davey Richards is like Dynamite Kid. Actually he’s what happens if you miss Dynamite with the striking of Tiger Mask. I was not sold on Davey at all for a long time, but his ability to take an awesome beating, sell it, and still hit his flashy offense in tune with the match’s story make him a future star on par with the Kid.

Davey needs to work on continuing his storytelling no matter what weird stiffness or who he’s facing. He’s too easily thrown off his game by the wrong opponents and doesn’t force others to his level like Dynamite did. Not many do, but still, it’s what he needs to work on.

Kevin Steen is like Roddy Piper. Like Piper, Steen’s great talent is his mouth. His cocky, big mouthed attitude makes him stand out from the pack. In ring both can be great, but usually when their personality carries them because what they do is merely a competent mix of brawling and technical maneuvers, the latter of which often end up lacking fire. Still, by the end, the brashness is back and so is the fan’s interest… at least for Piper.

Steen needs to work out finishing sequences like Piper. The middle portions can be dull if they want, but Steen’s only hot finishes are in tags. Trading finishers doesn’t do it. The cockiness and brashness needs to return, like it did for Piper. Get a good “That’s all you got? You can’t beat me!” attitude at the end, just like the beginning and you have pure awesomeness.

Erick Stevens is like Barry Windham. This is the big one that inspired the column. Stevens pretty much is a very young, face Windham. This is a huge compliment. For those that don’t know, Windham was a big guy with good agility who sold like a god and was among the five best workers of the 1980s. He had a peak that might have been better than Flair’s. His road to success was simple, he had a great size, so tons of babyface fire, with which he mixed awesome selling to make the heels look great, so when he came back the fire made the matches phenomenal.

Stevens needs to study more tapes of Windham. That’s why he’s a very young Windham. He still needs to determine how to time and use that fire better. Once he does, he’s an inevitable superstar.

Roderick Strong is like Bret Hart. Bret was a great technician who focused on a body part with perfect precision. He sold wonderfully. Strong, as a face, follows the same mold, with clearly defined moves and great selling.

Bret was a great in ring leader who forced opponents up to his level. Strong still too often wrestles down to his opponents. This is a habit he’s breaking in FIP, where as champion, he is bringing guys along, but he still has quite a ways to go before he equals Bret.

Larry Sweeney is like Bobby Heenan. Two of the most amusing heel talkers around. Heenan might be the best ever and Sweeney should simply study his delivery on every tape he can find.

Rocky Romero is like KENTA or Eddie Guerrero. As Black Tiger, Romero wrestles as a poor man’s Eddie. He’s great at this and if it was his full time gimmick, he’d be a superstar. As Romero, he’s far more KENTA like than Davey ever was. He’s stiff and smooth in the ring with a good idea of what he’s doing.

To improve to KENTA’s league the first thing Romero needs to do is stop fearing getting hit. He slows for big bumps noticeably and even for some of his own big moves, leading to botches. He should watch KENTA for pointers on how to take a huge hit.

Ruckus is like Mike Rotunda – The perfect tag wrestler with the right attitude whether face or heel. He can sell or work you over and get the proper response either way.

Ruckus needs to work singles more like Rotunda, even if that means toning things down so that the story gets across as much as the flying.

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