Cult of ROH: Supercard Weekend Preview

With Big Andy Mac covering ROH on HDNet, this Cult of ROH is all about their live events this weekend. This weekend ROH follows WWE to Houston, Texas in the hopes of catching all the Wrestlemania tourists. On Friday night they present Supercard of Honor 4, while the Saturday show will be in the afternoon in order to avoid conflicting with the Hall of Fame ceremony. It’s a smart move to court as many people into General Admission as possible, even if it takes away a little form the Pay Per View they intend to tape then.

Friday

ROH World Title Match
Nigel McGuinness defends vs. Jerry Lynn

GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title Match
KENTA defends vs. Davey Richards

Roderick Strong vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima

Bryan Danielson Vs. Alex Koslov

Tyler Black & The Necro Butcher Vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Austin Aries

El Generico Vs. Claudio Castagnoli Vs. Brent Albright Vs. Blue Demon Jr.

Kevin Steen, Jay Briscoe, & Magno Vs. Chris Hero, Eddie Edwards, & Incognito

Colt Cabana Vs. D-Lo Brown

Rhett Titus Vs. Erick Stevens

What do you want to see? Nakajima kick Strong’s head off his shoulders? Cabana riff off of “Down with the Brown?” KENTA and Richards fight for the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Belt? The blow-off to McGuinness Vs. Lynn, with McGuinness hurt, leaving him in the most dramatic position for losing his belt yet? This is a Supercard.

We have a double dose of nutty stiffness in Strong Vs. Nakajima and Richards Vs. KENTA. The former in each match is more of a technician and will adapt to the latter, who in both cases is a world-class kicker. KENTA has been on fire this year in singles matches, and with Richards’s phenomenal mat and striking game, as well as a fantastic persona that can bounce between toughness and heel vulnerability, there has never been a better time for this match-up (and the original at Fight of the Century was really fun). Meanwhile Strong is more versatile, competent and confident than when he had the smashmouth encounter with KENTA back in 2006, and especially if Nakajima starts to get petty like he’s done in Japan lately, Strong can go into overdrive as the stalwart striking good guy.

Alex Koslov is debuting this weekend, and unlike the Mexican-born Lucha visitors, there are rumblings that this will be the beginning of a run for him. This is the man that stole TNA’s World X Cup last year. Their management let him slip, but he might be ROH’s best new pick-up. He has great presence and attitude that he manages to express even when diving with the grace of AJ Styles. He is trained in Puro and Lucha, and he’s wrestling Bryan Danielson. With striking- and brawling-heavy matches around the card, expect more science here, and both are capable of slowing it down without sacrificing any necessary substance. This could easily be the match of the show, especially since Koslov is vying for a job here.

With so many interesting matches in place, ROH has bought itself the credit the gamble on the World Title match. McGuinness is seriously hurt and needs a long tine off. Wrestling at all will complicate his arm injuries, and Thursday’s Newswire management declared, “Should McGuinness ultimately be unable to compete this weekend in Houston, ROH officials and the Booking Committee are prepared to shift the card.” They ignored that McGuinness wrestled in FIP last week in a much more skippable match. That makes it seem like he’ll show up here. Still, we are left to speculate on interim champions, vacating the belt for a tournament or a match between top contenders (likely Lynn and Black, who has a title shot in his pocket), or putting the World Title on hold altogether for a while. But if the match happens as scheduled, a lot of people aren’t looking forward to it.

I’m among the crowd that is tired of Lynn in ROH. The matches haven’t been that good, they’ve spent too much time (especially on Videowires) trying to make us sympathize with someone who was already sympathetic and wound up making people sick of him, and on the long list of people I want to see as champion, Lynn is not high. In this respect I can understand not being excited for the match. I can even understand being worried now that rumor is out on McGuinness’s severe injuries, and that he may have to drop the title one way or another this weekend. What was excitement when Danielson was hurt going against KENTA is dread for many going into this contest. If these two competent storytellers can convert the common knowledge of McGuinness’s injury into drama, which isn’t much to ask, you’re looking at a great match. Both at Vendetta and Southern Hostility they showed good chemistry, with storylines only increasing Lynn’s frustration with the impudent champ.

And maybe Black will show up with his back-pocket titleshot afterwards. You never know.

Saturday

KENTA & Tyler Black Vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Austin Aries

Bryan Danielson Vs. Jerry Lynn Vs. Erick Stevens Vs. D-Lo Brown

Alex Koslov Vs. Roderick Strong

Nigel McGuinness & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Blue Demon Jr. & Brent Albright

No Disqualification Match
Jimmy Jacobs Vs. The Necro Butcher

Kevin Steen, El Generico, Jay Briscoe & Magno Vs. Chris Hero, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards & Incognito

Colt Cabana Vs. Ace Steel

You might compare this to Friday and go, “Eh, that’s not special.”

Wait. KENTA and Nakajima are still coming in from Japan for this. Alex Koslov, Blue Demon Jr., Incognito and Magno are still coming in from Mexico for this. Cabana will be back! How did they manage to make this not seem special?

Friday does Saturday no favors. Frankly, Saturday is the sister you date to get Friday’s number. There are no title defenses, and the World Champion is in a lackluster tag. Bryan Danielson is in a wacky four-way that doesn’t look like the best use of any of the four guys involved. And what is ROH but Danielson and title matches?

Koslov Vs. Strong and Cabana Vs. Steel both look like matches designed introduce (or reintroduce) the first guy in a fun match against the second. Strong will help Koslov put on a clinic while Steel will help play up Cabana’s comedy. These are fine, and Koslov Vs. Strong could actually be great, but they still register as filler.

Jacobs Vs. Butcher happened in the crazier days of ROH and it wasn’t that good then. With No DQ in the Pearce Era, there’s almost no chance of a clean ending, and with Butcher’s long track record of disappointments in ROH, there’s not much to it. It will be the crazy hardcore match to compliment the finesse of Koslov Vs. Strong and the humor of Cabana Vs. Steel.

No, there are only two matches on this show that really catch the imagination. The first is one that looks like somebody booked it on Fire Pro: the 4 Vs. 4 international wacky grudge match. Realistically, if you put Davey Richards and Incognito in a spotty match against Generico, Steen and Jay Briscoe, it should rule. But also realistically, if you put eight guys in a scramble match, especially in the new ROH where they’ve been told for months to tone it down, you run the risk of a trainwreck. Now if this was on an amazing card, you’d instantly be more psyched. Because it’s a selling point, people are worried. I don’t think it’s possible for this to be anything other than either a hit or a miss. People will rave or bitch about it the next day.

The other match, frankly, should have a lot more hype than it does: KENTA & Black Vs. Aries & Nakajima. KENTA and Nakajima are always gold against each other in tag matches. Black and Aries have built a great report. Aries is more of a chicken heel now, so watching him dodge KENTA will be fun. Aries demonstrated through his runs with Strong and Danielson that he has a great mind for tag wrestling, while Black can excel in any sort of structured main event tag, as he demonstrated partnering with Jacobs. Four guys who are world-class at tag matches are very likely going to main event a Pay Per View taping. People should be going nuts for this. If not for Friday.

That’s it for Cult of ROH. Also on the site this week:

Vinny Truncellito asks if ROH on HDNet is really a good idea at all.

Bones Barkley lists his five favorite prospects in ROH.

And David Ditch gives Japanese wrestling a status check.

And enjoy Aries Vs. Danielson on free TV Saturday!

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