1. I may be in the minority here, but I like Kenny King and Rhett Titus as Austin Aries’ flunkies. Sure, they’re a little goofy (especially Titus), but Aries is just humorous enough in his smug heel character that King and Titus don’t look out of place with him. Plus, given ROH’s recent efforts to make King and Titus look like credible threats, the association with the ROH World Champion can give them a much-needed rub, if done properly.
2. One can only wonder what the ultimate payoff to the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery will be. Most likely, if they decide to see it all the way through, it will end with Austin Aries getting his comeuppance and dropping the title. But to whom? Logic (and Hogwood’s overly obvious remarks on commentary) point to Tyler Black or Roderick Strong. But will fans buy it? Roderick has been around a while, has had some title matches, but has never quite broken though. Black seems to be the anointed one, but I am concerned that his initial title reign will be greeted with a lukewarm reception and/or apathy, for two reasons: (a) this “eye off the ball” booking has made him look somewhat weak (although they’ve at least tried to counteract it by having him pick up a couple of big TV wins), and (b) ROH may have waited too long to pull the trigger (see Samoa Joe in TNA).
3. I like the ROH video/promo packages, with soundbites from the wrestlers mixed with short action clips, as a way to hype up feuds far better than long, dragging 20-minute promos. The Hero-Kingston package was a good example of this, and provided a good recap of the feud between these two men – which was necessary, since their feud hasn’t gotten much airtime since ROH hit Monday nights. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t mention how far above Hero was above Kingston on the mic.
4. Jack Swagger should watch some footage of Erick Stevens hitting the Doctor Bomb. I don’t know what it is about it, but Stevens’ gutwrench powerbomb just looks crisper and more impactful.
5. Watching Danielson deliver his promo hyping the six-man main event makes me curious as to how WWE will package him. Let’s be honest, his look differs from the cookie-cutter buffed, tanned, buzz-cut (or shaved-head) main eventers seemingly coming from the WWE assembly line these days. At a listed 180-something pounds, he is far from the largest cat in the world. Guys listed at or around his weight either get over as high flyers (See Bourne, Evan), which he is not, or get lost in the shuffle (see Noble, Jamie). I know many point to CM Punk as an analogy for Bryan Danielson, but Danielson doesn’t have a ready-made character like Punk did. He definitely has the ability. The question is whether he will get a fair opportunity.
6. Good God, Necro and Jimmy Rave are crazy (well, we knew that regarding the former). They laid a barricade from the ring apron to another barricade with the legs facing up! Had Necro botched the slam, or Rave botched the landing, Rave could have been impaled.
7. I usually don’t like schmozz non-finishes, but in the context of the Rave-Necro feud, it worked. The point was probably to hype up the Dog Collar Match (which yes, happened in Chicago this past weekend, but tonight’s show was taped before that, so in the ROH world, where the space-time continuum does not apply . . .), so it wouldn’t make sense to give one guy a clean one-on-one win over the other. It also looks like the end of the Necro-Rave feud may not blow off Necro’s feud against The Embassy, judging from the Necro-Bison Smith fisticuffs, and the big deal that Hogwood and Prazak made out of it.
8. The six-man main event was my first look at the American Wolves in a non-squash match, and they did not disappoint. Not only do they work extremely well as a team, but they also manage to stand out very well individually. Davey Richards, in particular, was very impressive, hanging with Bryan Danielson on the mat and hitting some great offense (the handspring enziguri was pretty awesome). I can see now why so many in the IWC seem to be so high on the guy. Now having seen both teams, I am really looking forward to the Ladder War between the Wolves and Steen & Generico.
9. I know I seem to say this about most ROH main events (and for good reason), but I can’t praise the six-man main event enough. This match had just about everything – technical wrestling, brawling, high-flying, double-team moves, some great tag-team formula stuff, and a SUPER FALCON ARROW . . . props to all six men involved. My one complaint would be that Bryan Danielson spent most of the time either playing face-in-peril or fighting on the outside. With his ROH run coming to an end, it would have been nice to see him be “showcased” here. However, with Strong now almost certain to be one of the top two faces in the company, you can understand why they’d want to let him look as strong (no pun intended – I promise) as he did, and pick up the pinfall.
10. This show was a mixed bag for me. The stuff preceding the main event served to further some feuds, but wasn’t what I’d call entertaining. However, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that the actual wrestling in this match was going to be carried by one match, and MAN, did that match deliver! This is the kind of show where you would have been better served by recording it, as you could fast-forward through the first 40 minutes (and read what happened later, on Pulse Wrestling!), and watch the main-event. Let’s go thumbs in the middle, leaning up, because the six-man was certainly must-see TV.
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, Chris Hero, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Eddie Kingston, Jimmy Rave, Kenny King, KENTA, Necro Butcher, Rhett Titus, Ring of Honor, Roderick Strong, ROH, The American Wolves, Tyler Black