I’ve only been to a handful of live wrestling events in my life. Before Friday night, my tally was four WWE shows, which included three TV tapings and one PPV event. I was in floor seating, first row behind the production area by the stage, third row ringside, and the 100 section. Each time, I thought that it couldn’t get any better than this.
Well my friends, it just did.
The place was Collinsville, Illinois. It was about three hours from where I lived and I’ve never been down by the St. Louis metropolitan area by myself, so it was that and what I was about to experience that set the mood for what would be the best night of my life.
Let me start off by saying that before I joined Inside Pulse Wrestling, I haven’t watched Ring of Honor. That quickly changed once I covered ROH: Driven for this website. I was hooked. Once ROH began to show on HDNet, I was happy to cancel my satellite subscription and go back to cable since HDNet was regular HD programming and not a pay-based channel.
So this is my first ROH live event and here we go with what went down.
I walked into the Gateway Center around 6pm and I caught Jim Cornette leaving the restroom. He said hi to me and shook my hand. I couldn’t say anything as it was the first time I actually met someone associated with professional wrestling. Once the doors opened, I found a seat – fifth row back in general admission. It was a good seat for the action. I left and I was able to get an autographed Jim Cornette picture and a picture with the wrestling legend, in my eyes, for $5. He was pleasant to talk to and it made the overall experience that much better.
The show kicked off around 7:30 with three preshow matches to warm the crowd up. There were roughly 400 people in attendance and there were plenty of kids in the crowd.
Jordan McIntyre & Kyle O’Reily d. The Bravado Brothers via submission
Decent match that the crowd immediately got into. The fans were behind the Bravado brothers and we laughed a bit as we heard Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. It reminded me of getting Rick Rolled back in the day. Finish sees O’Reily apply an anklelock on one of the Bravado Brothers for the submission. Formula tag team match for the most part. **1/2
Grizzly Redwood d. Tony Kozina via pinfall
Lots of midget chants in the early going of the match. They worked the crowd well with armdrags, but messed up a leapfrog spot that ended up sending Kozina out of the ring. The finish came when Redwood missed a springboard crossbody, but he played possum long enough to catch Kozina for the three. **1/2
Bobby Dempsey, Alex Payne, & Mike Sydal d. Aaron Scott, Shawn Schultz, & Muscle Gang via pinfall
Bobby Dempsey was over huge in the crowd tonight. It was decently paced and had its share of decent moves, including a matrix move by one of them. It was awesome seeing Muscle Gang taking the dropkicks and still stay up until Sydal & Payne connected at the same time. Bobby Dempsey gets the pinfall with the DVD. **
Once that was over with, the main show began with Jim Cornette discussing his role in ROH and how he will make sure that ROH gives the fans the wrestlers and the wrestling that they want to see. He also got in a huge diss on Vince Russo saying that no amount of money would make Cornette agree with Russo. The fans enjoyed this.
Roderick Strong d. Kevin Steen via pinfall
Both were over with the crowd tonight and the action went out of the ring. Lots of near falls after some huge moves. It was nice to see Steen hitting the rope-assisted spike DDT on Strong. Both men took to the top, but it was Steen who took advantage with a Swanton that everyone thought would end the match. The finish was a bit interesting as Steen hit the Package Piledriver on Strong, but Strong managed to use some momentum from the impact to get an inside cradle for the win. ***
MsChif d. Nicole Matthews via pinfall
This was a special SHIMMER Challenge match and it was also a non-title bout. Both ladies put on a good match for the time allotted. Matthews kept the bout close, even after suffering a bloody nose from contact with MsChif. Finish comes when MsChif nails the Desecrator for the pinfall. **1/4
Austin Aries Promo
Austin Aries comes out to the ring to a decent reaction until Aries heeled the crowd by poking on a gentleman in the front row opposite where I was sitting. He hyped the “A Double L Double” and pulled out his opponent for the ROH World Title later tonight. That opponent was Daizee Haze. She and Delirious made their way to the ring and she argues on how Delirious was training for a ROH World Title shot and that Aries should face him instead. Aries says no, but Jim Cornette gets involved and he gave Austin Aries a public dress down. It was hilarious how Cornette got down to business. He overrules Aries and tells him to get ready as he would be defending against Delirious in the main event.
Four Corner Survival: Claudio Castagnoli d. Ace Steel, Petey William, & Colt Cabana via pinfall
The match began with a three-on-one against Castagnoli, but everyone else didn’t like how the others were getting involved in their business. Hard to keep up with the action in the ring and out of the ring. Williams busted out the Canadian Destroyer on Cabana and that took him out of the match. Finish comes when Castagnoli hits the Ricola Bomb on Ace Steel. **3/4
The Briscoe Brothers d. The House of Truth via pinfall
Words cannot describe this match. The Briscoes were mad over in Collinsville and they showed just why they are the best tag team in ROH (I could argue that they are the best team in professional wrestling, but I’m sure many would disagree). The House of Truth was good as well, keeping the match exciting. The action was in and out of the ring and the fans really ate it up. Our section started a House of Douche chant which carried on for a bit. Very awesome atmosphere. Finish came when the Briscoes set Josh Raymond up for a spiked Jay Driller and Jay Briscoe got the pin. ****
Up next was a brief intermission period. Jim Cornette was back in the corner meeting with the fans and they had the merchandise stand available.
Kenny Omega d. Davey Richards via pinfall
This match got off to a hard and heavy start and the pace never slowed down. The bout was in the ring, out the ring, and into the front row. Both men were over in the crowd and they delivered a main event quality match that went nearly to the 30 minute time limit. Lots of “This is Wrestling” chants and “ROH” chants from the ENTIRE crowd. Omega busted out the Electric Chair German and we all thought it was over, but Richards wouldn’t be denied. There was a SSP spot that landed ugly, but the bout was even from begin to end. The end came when Omega caught Richards with a small package. The finish seemed to killed the crowd a bit, but we still enjoyed it. ****1/4
Kenny King & Rhett Titus d. Nick & Matt Jackson via pinfall.
The Collinsville crowd was chanting “Hepa-Titus” and was questioning his manhood, or lack thereof with the pink bowtie on the front of his trunks. I’m dead serious. The fight goes out of the ring and the kids get involved with the Hepa-Titus chant. King and Titus employed decent tag strategy. Titus did a weird dance that made me try a “You Got Nothing” chant. Sadly, that didn’t get as over but the fans near me agreed with the logic. King got drilled with More Bang for Your Buck only for Titus to steal the victory with a schoolboy using the tights. ***1/2
Tyler Black d. Chris Hero via pinfall
Both stars get equal treatment from the fans in the early going, but the crowd slowly started to hate on Black as the match progressed. The fight spills into the crowd and Shane Hagadorn got involved in the contest. The bout was pretty even despite that Black seemed to be off a bit, but it was a minor thing. Some of the shots in this match could be heard echoing around the room, which made for an exciting atmosphere. Finish comes when Black hits the God’s Last Gift for the pin. ***1/4
ROH World Title: Austin Aries d. Delirious via pinfall
The match was in the ring and out of the ring. Both stars gave it their all and it showed. I’d pay to see these two lock up again in the near future. Aries was on the defensive for the first half of the match, but the tide began to slowly turn for “A Double”. The match turned chaotic towards the end when Aries hit a suicide dive out of the ring and he directly connected with Daizee Haze. She landed HARD against the railing and it was quite difficult to see the action as everyone in front of me was trying to see how bad she was hurt. The referee checked on her and he signaled for another referee to come out. At that point, Delirious was checking up on her and he paid the price with a stalling brainbuster from Aries on the floor. Delirious barely made it back into the ring at the count of 19. He tried to mount a comeback, but after missing Shadows over Hell, Aries took advantage and he nailed another Brainbuster in the ring to keep the title. ***1/2
After the main event, Daizee Haze came to and she was helped under the ropes to check on Delirious. She was then taken to the back by two referees with Delirious a ways behind. Hopefully she wasn’t hurt too bad.
Overall, it was a solid show. There weren’t any bad matches in my eyes. As I exited the room, Jim Cornette and Cary Silkin were thanking fans for coming. I said to them that it was my first ROH live show and it was absolutely an experience to be had by anyone who is a pro wrestling fan. The atmosphere is unlike ANYTHING you will ever see at a WWE or TNA event. I encourage anyone that wants to try something different to check out a ROH live event. This was my first one and I’m damned sure that I’ll be there when they return to Collinsville July 23rd, 2010!
Tags: Austin Aries, inside pulse wrestling, Jim Cornette, Ring of Honor, ROH