1. Ho-hum match to start the show between Jerry Lynn and Kenny King. In my eyes, King has potential, but still has a long way to go. Yes, he is an impressive athlete, but he needs to improve on working his flashy moves into the context of a match and in making his crowd interactions seem more natural. However, it was incumbent upon Lynn, as the veteran, to lead King through the match, but he was pretty off himself.
2. The double-team wheelbarrow piledriver that King and Rhett Titus hit on Lynn looked pretty sick! Still, it must be asked: if, as we learned a few minutes thereafter, Tyler Black was backstage, why didn’t he come out and help out his mentor while he was getting jumped? Even a short “Tyler Black hasn’t pulled into the building yet” would have sufficed, especially considering the beatdown didn’t last long. As is, Tyler looks like an incompetent boob yet again.
3. OK, we just came back from a commercial break. Lynn was piledriven only about 5 minutes ago. He is still being attended to by medical staff in the ring. And they’re already asking Tyler Black for an update on his condition? Tyler Black, who hasn’t even been down to the ring to check on Lynn yet? Really?
4. Nigel McGuinness vs. Sal Rinauro was a nothing match. Even if rated based on a “squash scale”, it wasn’t a good one. I did like Nigel furthering the storyline where he refuses to maim himself, and to a lesser extent others, just to appease the fans. The fact that he does it through his words AND his actions makes it even better. His teasing the Tower of London to the outside, but opting against it, was a particularly nice touch.
5. Credit where credit is due: King’s “some guys don’t know when to quit” promo on Jerry Lynn was pretty good, both in delivery and in content. Extra credit for the Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, and Roy Jones, Jr. references.
6. Nice little match between Colt Cabana and Claudio Castagnoli. It’s really hard for me to not enjoy Colt Cabana matches. Other than his in-ring work being quite good, he just looks like he is having so much fun out there. Even the more goofy, over-the-top stuff (the cartwheels, tickling his opponent, constantly talking) is done in a way that doesn’t detract from the match.
7. It’d be interesting to analyze tonight’s main event in the context of the current debate between my esteemed colleagues Pulse Glazer, Charlie Reneke, and Vinny Truncellito on the role of kicking and punching within the context of a match, even though this wasn’t a punchy-kicky (yes, that’s a word) match. I don’t want to turn this single thought into an entire column, so I’ll save my views for another time (perhaps we can all meet for punch and pie?), but in short: punching and kicking have their place within a match (and more often than not, are an essential building block to a match), but have to be done by guys who have a sense of when, how, and why to do it. That’s why the little striking that was done in this match worked. The match began as a pure wrestling affair, and the strikes came only as the intensity escalated and both men felt the need to put the other away. And when the strikes came, they did so very crisply.
8. The distance between the ROH ring and the barricades is so short that I can’t help but wince every time someone does a suicide dive. Aries’ dive tonight was no exception. I mean, it’s only a matter of time before someone pulls a Lita and goes face first into that thing, isn’t it?
9. Very good main event, though not as good as the six-man from September 21, or even KENTA-Hero from last week. Not the best match these two have ever had, but given time constraints, it was nicely condensed version of what they are capable of doing together. You could tell they still had plenty left they could do with each other (no surprise, considering they’ve had longer matches together), and it actually made me want to watch them have a lengthy affair one more time. Also, kudos to Danielson for being a consummate pro and not hogging the spotlight on his farewell tour, but instead using these last few matches to put other guys over.
10. Decent show this week, though nothing blew me away. The first half wasn’t worth much in the way of matches, but contained some nice storyline advancement and mic work. Two very enjoyable matches then brought the show home. Not ROH’s best effort in the Monday night era, but a good enough way to spend an hour.
Tags: 10 Thoughts, Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, colt cabana, jerry lynn, Kenny King, Nigel McGuinness, Ring of Honor, ROH