ROH on HDNet Non-Report 05.31.2010 – Since there’s no show!

Well, HDNet, this is a fine mess you’ve gone and gotten us into. For those of you who doubt the awe inspiring sense of timing of Misters Glazer and Michaels, I was just brought on as the ROH on HDNet recapper, did one show, and now have a week off. This week either ROH or HDNet has decided that wrestling fans don’t particularly care to be entertained after a weekend of unbridled meat and/or alcohol consumption. So, that leaves me, a budding columnist still trying to put together enough gullible people to constitute a following, in a bit of a bind. So, I decided to take it upon myself to beat Glazer to the punch and offer up an early preview of the upcoming event that this show should have been building to, Death Before Dishonor VIII, June 19th in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Despite the fact that I tend to enjoy a little fantasy booking here and there, I tend to be terrible predicting the remainder of a card from ROH’s remaining talent, plus it seems to me that there are still a number of names that are yet to be added to the list, so let’s just get started right away. This is going to be fairly simple and straightforward, like any other preview column, only it’s of necessity going to be a little incomplete as the card and talent list isn’t 100% yet. But there being 5 matches announced (even if one is incomplete) and with everything building to the iPPV, that should be enough, plus there’s really not much else to talk about in ROH right now.

So let’s get started!

2nd Annual Toronto Gauntlet
Colt Cabana vs. Steve Corino vs. Eddie Edwards vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA

This could be an interesting measuring stick for the future plans of the company, especially given the (albeit) short history of this particular match. Last year at Death Before Dishonor VII (Night 2) in Toronto, Davey Richards was the last entrant and won the Toronto Gauntlet over (in order of elimination) Jimmy Rave, Necro Butcher, Jerry Lynn, Sonjay Dutt and D-Lo Brown. Four months after this, Davey got his shot at Austin Aries’ World Title in a 45 minute classic at the aptly named “Aries vs. Richards” and his main event stock was truly cemented. This match could be ROH’s attempt at trying to replicate that success, and given the first three participants, it’s a distinct possibility.

There’s been rumblings for years that Cabana could be a future champion, and his feud with Homicide, as well as his current feud with Kevin Steen and Steve Corino prove he can work a strong, serious match with anyone (technical, brawling, etc.) without resorting to head drops and hyper stiff striking. However, a win here would simply give Cabana another World Title shot, which he’s had upwards of a dozen of. One would think the only way he’d be given the win here would be if he was legitimately going to win the belt.

Corino would be accepted as a main event guy today, but I find it hard to believe that that was the reason he was brought in, or that he’d be given this level of victory when someone else could be really made by it. Nevertheless, his involvement with Cabana there provides a nice undercurrent to the match which (one would hope) would keep it from simply being a collection of spots.

Eddie Edwards is simply in this match to continue to legitimize his presence as an “up and comer,” a fact evidenced by the TV Title and the advent of the “Eddie Edwards 10 Minute Hunt” Challenge that we’re seeing on live events now. That said, with all this developing for Edwards right now, a win in this match would still likely be too soon to see all those things to their completion first. The likely pick here, unless three scrubs are announced for the remaining three slots (unlikely at best) is that someone who has not yet been announced will win this match, but it being gauntlet style could cause the whole thing to drag if they’re not careful.

Pick 6 Contender Series Match
“Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (2) vs. Kenny Omega

My initial response to this match is that it exists to put Omega over as a bigger deal, defeating the Fallen Angel, and positioning himself for another shot at the title. With Black still only three months into his reign as champion at this point, an Omega match would be fun, but his Japanese commitments somewhat preclude him from being a major full-time player with the company. When was the last time we saw Kenny Omega on HDNet? In addition to that, I don’t think we see Daniels lose his spot here if for no other reason than that a successful title defense for a young champion on a Saturday show over Christopher Daniels still holds a fairly significant meaning in the overall scheme of the company, and Omega knocking him off here gets in the way of that.

The biggest problem that a lot of people tend to have with Omega is that his selling can get awfully spotty at times. For example, his match with Katsuhiko Nakajima at “Aries vs. Richards” is a good example of this, as it was a lot of fun to watch, but to see him do the things he did as his leg should have been metaphorically severed at the knee by that point was a little frustrating. So, going into this match, you should definitely expect something a lot of fun to watch, as Omega can deliver the eye-popping offense even if his selling is hit-or-miss, and Daniels is an always strong performer and should be able to put together an excellent bout with the younger Omega. Until I see a more consistent stateside presence from Omega, my predictions will generally hold him as a periodic attraction that will occasionally get title shots, especially in Canada.

Grudge Match
Kevin Steen vs. El Generico

The story behind this match is nice and simple. Steen and Generico teamed in ROH for 2 years plus, and at Final Battle 2009, Steen turned on Generico, wrapping a chair around his head, and eventually allying himself with Steve Corino and refusing to even say Generico’s name. His new concept of writing “open letters” to the ROH offices (despite it being generally clear who they are directed at) is doing a tremendous job of making him look like a cold, calculating, murderous monster. Now, five-plus months after the initial turn and several tag team wars later, this is their first one-on-one match since. If ROH is smart here, this will not be as good as everyone hopes. Now, I’m sure you know where I’m going, but I’ll say it anyway. Everyone is really expecting a massive bloodbath here, given the bloodshed in the 34th Street Deathmatch between Steen and Cabana, the Chicago Street Fight pitting Generico and Cabana against Steen and Corino, etc. However, this is clearly not meant to be the end of the feud, and pulling too much out of the box right now will serve to simply make the rest seem anticlimactic. Of course, there needs to be some bloodshed, some weapons, and in the words of Anthony Burgess, a little of the ol’ ultraviolence, and the key will be, as I said, just how far they let it go. Everyone has to know that this will eventually end with a Fight Without Honor, possibly as far out as Glory By Honor IX, but as they say, getting there is half the fun. This will likely still be fairly violent compared to the rest of the card, one or both men will bleed, and Steen will likely pick up the win, because if Generico wins, why is there any need to go further? And this WILL go further. It just has to. It will work well as a stand-alone match unto itself, and it will stand out even more due to its drastic difference in feel and atmosphere from anything else on the card.

ROH World Tag Team Title Match
Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) (c) vs. The Briscoe Brothers

The Kings of Wrestling reunited at Final Battle 2009, after Jay and Mark Briscoe won the Tag Team Titles from the American Wolves. At “The Big Bang,” in Charlotte, NC, the KoW became 2 time ROH World Tag Team Champions, defeating the Briscoes. After their victory, the Kings were content to simply let the Briscoes linger at the bottom of the list of contenders, but the boys from Sandy Fork, DE took it upon themselves to interfere in what had been an epic Title match against the Motor City Machine Guns at “Supercard of Honor V,” attacking Sara Del Ray in the process, thus riling up the Kings enough to earn themselves this match. There’s really not much to say about this match. We’ve seen the Kings and the Briscoes in the ring many times individually, together, against one another, etc. It’s a tried and true match up that always seems to churn out great results. I don’t personally anticipate June 19th being any different.

ROH World Title Match
Tyler Black(c) vs. Davey Richards

There was a big reaction when this match was announced, and justifiably so. Davey Richards is one of the most commonly mentioned names when it comes to the question of “who will dethrone Tyler Black?” Davey is the guy who ROH fans are touting in their seemingly never ending cycle of building up “the next big thing” before they turn on him–Nigel McGuinness and Jerry Lynn being the other two examples–and is definitely riding a high wave of momentum.

I’m sorry, at this point, I feel the need to break in and announce that as I write this, Daniel Bryan will be having a match on Raw against The Miz, as ordered by Bret Hart and announced by Guest Host Ashton Kutcher. The reason this is announce-worthy is because apparently, Pulse Glazer is marking HARD (his words, not mine) and yours truly remains cautiously optimistic.

Now, continuing, Black has a particular style that he is tremendous at, especially as champion, a style that was illustrated brilliantly in his recent match at “Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies 2” with Chris Hero. Black takes a beating like none other, and the longer he gets beaten on, the more over he gets. Davey Richards excels at doling out punishment and I anticipate a great match between the two, assuming Black sticks to that plucky underdog style. It led him to great matches against Aries, Danielson, McGuinness, Hero, etc, and it can definitely lead to a great match against Richards as well. A lot of people are picking Richards to win here, but I don’t see that happening just yet. I see Black holding onto the title until Glory By Honor, or possibly as far out as Final Battle. While Davey is as good a pick as any to unseat him, I just don’t see it happening here. Especially with potential challenges from Omega, Castagnoli, Daniels, Steen, etc. on the horizon.

So, there you have it. Thus far, that’s all that’s been announced. There’s more talent yet to come, with Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, the very underrated Tyson Dux, Shawn Daivari and the high flying Cheech & Cloudy (aka Up In Smoke) yet to have matches announced. Aries vs. Strong, is an obvious answer because of the simple fact that they’ve teased an issue between them on HDNet in the last couple of weeks, but with Roderick looking to be leaning slightly heel (yes, I know the answer, I’m disregarding spoilers for the sake of readers), wrestling Aries would make him a de facto face, and I get the impression that that isn’t where they really want to go. I could see either one going up against Dux one-on-one and either would be a solid match up. Or, all three could find themselves in the Toronto Gauntlet, which would definitely add some intrigue to the match and give a more significant rub to the eventual winner, as outlasting Aries and Strong would be a big deal.

In any event, with GoFightLive.tv offering this for only $14.99, there’s no way this show is not worth your money. I wasn’t even that thrilled with Final Battle 2009 on GFL, all told, but it was still easily worth $15, especially when WWE is charging almost 3 times that for (generally) lower quality. Truth be told, I was perfectly ready to spend the 6.5 hours to go see it live myself, were it not for the inability of my wife and buddy to go with me. So instead, I’ll just watch it on GoFightLive, and frankly so should you guys. Thanks for the read, and I’ll look forward to being back next week!

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