Weekend previews ahoy!
Ring of Honor in Toronto, 7/25/08
ROH World Title Match: Nigel McGuinness Â© vs. Kevin Steen
Why its happening: Nigel, the heel champion, cheated to beat Steen at Injustice. They had a rematch at Return Engagement where Steen tried to match cheating with Nigel, but came up short. This is Steenâ€™s third and likely final shot a the ROH title before heâ€™ll be forced to chase the tag titles to fulfill his vow of title gold before the year is up. Steen is a Canadian and makes perfect sense as a challenger for the ROH debut in Canada.
What to expect: The previous two matches were good to very good, but something was missing to keep them from being great. Iâ€™d expect more of the same here, except with a fired up crowd for the home-town Steen and, thus, more near-falls to play that up. In the interest of history, this should play off Unified, Nigelâ€™s third time shot at Danielson when he was ROH champion in England. Either way, Iâ€™d expect this to be a step up from the previous encounters. It really needs to be for Steen to be a serious, regular main eventer.
Who should win: Steen needs a breakout singles performance before he wins the big belt. Nigel should win.
Who will win: Nigel has a huge showdown with Claudio the next night on PPV, so the belt wonâ€™t be going anywhere.
No-DQ Match: Jay Briscoe and Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black
Why its happening: The Age of the Fall are a revolutionary group that made their debut by attacking the Briscoes. They later ended the Briscoes record setting ROH Tag Team Title reign and injured Mark Briscoe. Aries took Jacobs girlfriend/object of obsession Lacey from the Age of the Fall and then Jacobs chased her out of ROH. Since then Aries wants revenge for Jacobs hurting Lacey while Jacobs wants revenge for Aries taking her. Mark Briscoe will be added to the match if he is healthy enough, as will Necro Butcher.
What to expect: This will be a huge brawl. Whether Mark is healthy enough or not, he will at least appear to cost the Age of the Fall the match after Jay bleeds buckets and the Aries/Jacobs feud moves up a bit.
Who should win: Honestly, so long as this is suitably violent, nothing will be settled here and the winner doesnâ€™t really matter.
Who will win: Briscoe and Aries.
Rematch from Vendetta II: Bryan Danielson vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Why its happening: Danielson is, as usual, facing top competitors. Claudio is moving up the card into title contention and defeated Danielson at Vendetta II. Danielson wants revenge and Claudio canâ€™t afford to be hurt going into a title match the next night.
What to expect: Claudio is moving up the card and the surest way to do that in ROH is a great series with Danielson. This should be a top notch match thatâ€™s more serious than their previous encounter which had some comedy at the start.
Who should win: Danielson winning here makes a lot of sense. If Claudio wins against Nigel, then heâ€™s a challenger to CCâ€™s belt immediately. Claudio also canâ€™t afford to be hurt, so he should lose.
Who will win: Claudio seems to be getting the Jesus push, so he will likely win.
First Time Ever: Roderick Strong vs. Naomichi MarufujiM
Why itâ€™s happening: Roderick was the head of the NRC who had issues with Marufuji three times, at Live in Osaka, Dragon Gate Challenge 2, and Southern Navigation. Also, KENTA ran through the gauntlet on his initial ROH run and Marufuji is too, though itâ€™s taking longer.
What to expect: Iâ€™d be quite surprised if this isnâ€™t great. Strong, despite losing to Hero and losing the FIP belt to Stevens, is on a run of incredible matches, especially now that heâ€™s back as a face, while Marufuji simply doesnâ€™t have bad matches with anyone. This will be exhibition style, likely, but still very good.
Who should win: Strong could really use a win over Marufuji to reclaim momentum after some big losses. Strong could be the man if Danielson leaves, but needs big wins to get there.
Who will win: Marufuji very rarely loses and as a former GHC Champion he wonâ€™t likely be losing to a guy NOAH doesnâ€™t even book.
Special Challenge Match: Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki
Why itâ€™s happening: Go is now a member of Sweet and Sour, Inc. Stevens hates SnS dating back to Rising Above and Take No Prisoners. Shiozaki will also get an FIP title shot soon in Florida.
What to expect: Stiff chops and lots of them. Both men are known for that, check A New Levelâ€™s hard hitting opener to see what I mean. This will likely be the hardest hitting match thus far, but will also likely feature some kind of Sweet and Sour interference.
Who should win: Stevens can do a lot to show how much heâ€™s learned by fighting off SnSâ€™s interference and winning. Beating Go, after Go beat Nigel would help Stevens seem like a top guy after some iffy booking of late.
Who will win: Go just beat Nigel in FIP and a win, even with interference, will really set up the FIP title match to come.
Special Attraction Match: Chris Hero vs. Ruckus
Why itâ€™s happening: Serious Chris Hero has been working his way up the ROH card. Next on his hit-list is Ruckus.
What to expect: Hero is great with fliers so this should be a short, but fun and hard-hitting match.
Who should win: Hero is on a slow burn to the top of the card.
Who will win: No way does Hero lose.
Shimmer Bonus Match: Sara Del Rey vs. Jennifer Blake
Why itâ€™s happening: Gives Del Rey someone new to wrestle and beat.
What to expect: Del Rey wins a solid little match.
Who should win: Del Rey is a top 5 womenâ€™s wrestler in the world.
Who will win: Del Rey is a regular, Blake is not. Del Rey wins.
Singles Action: Kenny Omega vs. Delirious
Why itâ€™s happening: Kenny Omega is the JAPW champion and he wants a shot at being on the ROH roster. Delirious is lower on the card and the ROH trainer so heâ€™s a good measuring stick.
What to expect: A short match to highlight Omegaâ€™s talents with Delirious going over.
Who should win: Omega could use a win to make him seem legitimate right off the bat. The roster already has one Eddie Edwards who seems unlikely to ever get a win. Omega doesnâ€™t need to be another.
Who will win: Delirious could use a victory and Omega can be showcased in a loss.
PPV Taping in Detroit, 7/26/08
ROH World Title Match: Nigel McGuinness vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Why itâ€™s happening: Claudio has done pretty much everything in ROH. Heâ€™s a former Tag Champion who soundly beat his major rival, Chris Hero, as well as Danielson and Aries, the ROH Aces. He won ROHâ€™s Race to the Top Tournament, as well. All thatâ€™s left is the ROH title of Nigelâ€™s and if he canâ€™t take it, heâ€™ll walk away from ROH.
What to expect: With a hot PPV crowd, this should be a better match than the Hammerstein Ballroom match which suffered from a tired and burned out crowd. These two should mix it up with Claudioâ€™s speed setting up his striking, which will be countered by Nigelâ€™s arm work.
Who should win: Nigel should take this to take Claudio out of ROH for a bit. Claudio is getting a bit stale, in my opinion, and could use a break before returning to challenge a later champion.
Who will win: Claudio will take the ROH World Title. He had his breakout singles matches in the past with Generico and, more recently, Danielson. Gabe had a whole big face title run planned for Nigel before injuries derailed that, so now Claudio gets the planned run. Hopefully once he has the ball, he can run with it.
Special Challenge Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black
Why itâ€™s happening: Tyler got a match against Danielson at Breakout and disrespected Danielson before losing. They had a rematch at Southern Navigation that Danielson and Tyler took far more seriously, but sound strategy got Danielson the big win. At the last PPV taping, Respect is Earned 2, Tyler got a big win on Danielson in a tag match. Now, itâ€™s time for Tyler to put up or shut up in singles matches.
What to expect: This match will likely be a technical classic with a rabid crowd. Fans have really gotten into Tylerâ€™s big push and Danielson is, as always, the man at getting crowds to care about his matches. This should be great!
Who should win: Danielson is, in my opinion, likely headed to WWE soon. Tyler should be built huge by a win here and, really, after two losses, a huge win on PPV here would make him.
Who will win: Tyler will get the duke. Danielson wants a shot at Nigel, but once Nigel loses the belt, he can get that anyway, while Tyler can move on to World Title Contention.
Tag Team Grudge Match: Chris Hero and Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong and Marufuji
Why itâ€™s booked: Roderick was turned on by Davey Richards for Sweet and Sour, Inc. He wants revenge and needed a partner. Marufuji stepped up. Itâ€™s on!
What to expect: Iâ€™d expect a good, very stiff match that wonâ€™t be overly long. Strong is chasing a win on SnS and wonâ€™t find one quite yet. Iâ€™d be surprised if Stevens werenâ€™t somehow involved here.
Who should win: Strong has barely begun chasing SnS and could lose here to continue that chase.
Who will win: Hero needs building on PPV, while Strong, after a huge win last PPV over Stevens can afford a loss.
Non-PPV Honor Rumble
Why itâ€™s booked: With a ton of fallout expected from Toronto and two matches on the PPV expected to go long, there isnâ€™t a lot booked, so we get ROHâ€™s first ever Royal Rumble for a future title shot. Sounds good.
What to expect: No one knows, itâ€™s the first of itâ€™s kind.
Who should win: Austin Aries because if, as Iâ€™d expect, Claudio wins the title, heâ€™ll get a great match with Aries to help make his reign more credible.
Who will win: Kevin Steen will likely use this opportunity to stay in the title hunt as Aries and Jacobs eliminate each other.
Thatâ€™s it from me for this week. For more check – http://themajestyofwrestling.blogspot.com/2008/07/interview-with-pulse-wrestlings-aaron.html wherein I am interviewed.
Tags: Claudio Castagnoli, Kevin Steen, Nigel McGuinness, ROH, ROH