1. Another entertaining edition of the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery. Austin, as always, was at his smug best, and will continue to get cheers as a heel so long as he entertains the fans and brings the goods in the ring. I wish Kenny King and Rhett Titus had come out again as his lackeys to get some more of a rub, though. The match itself with Alex Payne was little more than an exhibition/squash for Aries, but because it it’s Aries, it didn’t suck.
2. While watching tonight’s Lucky Lottery, I was reminded of when, during the McMahon-Helmsley Era, HHH drew names for a shot at the WWE Title. Rikishi, presumably as a joke, ended up being the lucky winner. The resulting match was more competitive than anyone expected. Rikishi looked great from it and shot up the card as a midcard babyface, even getting an Intercontinental Title reign out of it (let’s ignore the crummy booking that began with his heel turn and never stopped). The point? One of these days, if the resulting match is done right, this thing could help someone in the low-to-mid card get over.
3. Loved Chris Hero promo hyping his match with KENTA. Usually, a guy will just say come out and say “I’m a better wrestler than so-and-so.” Hero went a step beyond, explaining why he is better than KENTA – because he can wrestle both the heavyweight and the junior-heavyweight styles, thus making him more multi-faceted than his opponent. It’s little nuances like that that make me really enjoy Hero’s mic work.
4. Dull, nothing brawl between Bison Smith and Necro Butcher. It’s apparent that they are building to some kind of hardcore or other gimmick match between the two, which, given Necro’s history in that element, has the potential to be good. If so, then I can forgive the non-finish. But it doesn’t mean I liked it.
5. More funny stuff by Colt Cabana. He talks about how the last place he worked didn’t allow him to express his creativity, which instantly makes you think it’ll be the usual indy worker rant about the “WWE style” . . . but then he says he was a lemonade vendor in Chicago. He really is great at this comedy wrestler work.
6. Not a great encounter between Tyler Black and Rhett Titus, but decent enough. The highlight for me is that both men came out of the match better off. Black gets another win on his way to title contention. Titus was allowed to go toe-to-toe with Black, which will only help him in the long run if it’s not forgotten.
7. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out how much Mike Hogwood and David Prazak helped both Black and Titus in this match. Prazak took the time to point out that Titus gave Black a hell of a fight, which helps Titus look good. Both men also pointed out that Black looked more focused here than he has in the recent past, which helps further the storyline with Jerry Lynn as Black’s mentor. I am usually all too happy to point out inaccuracies in their work, so I thought it right to give credit where it’s due.
8. Fantastic match by Hero and KENTA in the main event. They took great care to make sure they didn’t start too fast, stiffed the hell out of each other at all the right times, and threw some great counterwrestling out there. I could nitpick at the finish being used to further the Hero-Eddie Kingston storyline, but it didn’t really take away from the match, so I’ll let it slide.
9. This show was a great illustration of why Pulse Glazer thinks Chris Hero could be the next ROH wrestler to get picked up by the WWE. As I pointed out, the promo earlier in the show was very good. He then proceeded to go out there put on a hell of a show with KENTA. His offense is hard-hitting and diverse. He does a great job of interacting with the crowd, and could play either the face or heel role well. He is not a bodybuilder, but in the post-wellness era, he doesn’t have to be.
10. Tonight’s show was a mixed back. The first two matches were largely used for angle advancement purposes. Black-Titus was OK, but I think they’re capable of something better. The promo work from Aries and Hero, and to a lesser extent Cabana, was very good though. The main event was excellent, and Chris Hero’s star really shone brightly tonight. In conclusion, I could do without most of the first half of the show, but really enjoyed the second half.
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Alex Payne, Austin Aries, Bison Smith, Chris Hero, colt cabana, jerry lynn, KENTA, Necro Butcher, Rhett Titus, Ring of Honor, ROH, Tyler Black