Metalhead’s Riff: Wrestlemania Weekend … (ROH’s Supercard of Honor 9)

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Sometimes, when you’re writing columns on a regular base, you sit down at your little desk, chase the cats away from your keyboard and start writing, fully intending to finish the job in a reasonable amount of time and having fun doing it. And sometimes it just doesn’t work like that. And no it’s not because the cats keep coming back but rather because you can’t really figure out how to tackle a given subject.

Case in point, today. There is this big elephant in the room I don’t really want to write about because I don’t feel like I connect to it in any way, and yet, it’s kind of difficult to ignore an elephant when you are living in as small a studio as I do.

Wrestlemania.

It’s rather funny in a way. I’ve spend the past few weeks reading all kinds of comments about how the show was gonna suck, about how everybody was going to boo the hell out of Reigns And how things could have been so much better if they had done it this or that way. And the, on the other side, you had some few rather positive ones and of course the long list of wrestlers and wrestling personalities endorsing Reigns and even the respected Jim Ross getting in on the fun and telling us how the Tug of War on RAW was actually a clever thing and how good it was for Lesnar to have such a limited schedule.

The thing is I actually agree with neither one of those.

From a personal point of view I’ve made no secret that I wasn’t sold on the whole thing at all, and that is perhaps the most disappointing thing  because it shouldn’t be a problem to sell the “Showcase of the Immortal” to one who has remained a wrestling fan, trough good and bad times, for 27 years. But OK, this happens. I find myself lacking enthusiasm towards most of the things the card is proposing and there is nothing really wrong with that. It’s only wrestling after all, and there is more than enough going on in the wrestling world nowadays to keep the wrestling fan in me happy. So I’m gonna watch one match probably, read the various reviews, maybe catch highlights here and there and for me that will be the end of the it. The reason I’m writing this is, I find myself somewhat flabbergasted at the long list of negative comments and fans going: “I’m gonna watch simply to see how the audience is gonna shit all over the product in general and Reigns in particular”. Really? That’s why we’re watching something nowadays? What’s the point? I mean if you’re gonna pay or spend a couple of hours of your live to watch this, shouldn’t you keep at least an open mind to the whole thing? What’s the reasoning in paying to watch something for the sole purpose of  saying how bad something is? Criticize the build-up, say how they haven’t sold you on it, how you aren’t gonna watch this year, that is all fine, but saying you’re gonna watch something just to see fans turning on a product or wrestlers (why are those fans paying to do that in the first place would be a good question), sorry I simply don’t get it. It’s one thing to have some fun and take a shot at WWE from time to time (and I’m not the last to do it), but there comes a time when enough is enough. Watch or don’t watch, agree or disagree but stop complaining about it. If with all promotions like ROH, NJPW, AAA and others (and yes, even TNA) are proposing you still find yourself needing WWE to bring your weekly dose of WRESTLING, then you only have yourself to blame.

On the other hand I don’t like people like Ross or Jericho trying to sell me on something that simply isn’t there either. Ross saying that the fact that there was no physicality between Reigns and Lesnar, and the fact that Lesnar being on such a limited schedule was actually a good thing is simply incorrect even if his arguments aren’t. Yes no physicality before a match can be good, yes, limited schedules reduces the danger of having a wrestler over-exposed, but, in this case it doesn’t work because Lesnar  wasn’t there AT ALL (or barely). You can’t create a build-up for something that isn’t there. Heyman might be the best talker in the world, but even he can’t create miracles. The one confrontation between those two ended with Reigns snatching the title away from Lesnar (and I can’t blame him, probably the first time he saw the damn thing with Lesnar NEVER being there and all) and Lesnar snatching it back? And that’s supposed to be enough to sell me on the whole thing? Well, sorry Mr Ross, I’m not buying it.

Wrestlemania is going to be what it’s going to be. Like it, hate it but there it is. There are gonna be some good things, perhaps, some bad things, perhaps, some swerves, perhaps, hey WWE might throw in some surprises here and there and end up with a reasonably entertaining show. But, as things stands now,  I find little enjoyment in writing about how it’s going to suck or how it could have been better. And even less enjoyment in listening to people telling me how the build-up was great after all and that it was just me “not getting it”. For me Wrestlemania-fever will occur next year (hopefully) and that’s the end of it.

 

Does it mean it’s gonna be a wrestling-free couple of weeks for me? Hell no. I’ll be giving out my WM predictions anyway on Mr Widro’s Round-table tomorrow, and even will have fun doing it, I’ll be doing this site’s first ever One Man Round table on Invasion Attack next week and this week, I’m gonna talk about an event  I’m REALLY exited about. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: ROH’s SuperCard Of Honor 9, which will be happening this very evening! Well, for you guys anyway.

I’m a bit astounded that, even  in the mids of Wrestlemania Negativity week-end, so little has been made about what is  scheduled to be an action-packed card  featuring Samoa Joe  Challenging Jay Briscoe for the ROH world Championship. This is also Joe’s final announced date with ROH (until now), so speculation will again be rampant over what he’ll do next. The result and the way this night’s match will go might give us some clues, but, either way, this one should be huge.

Let’s take a look at the full card, shall we?

ROH World Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Jay Briscoe (c)
 Samoa Joe already had his debut matches , most recently against Michael Elgin (in what some are claiming was a Match of the Year candidate, don’t ask me, I haven’t seen it), but this is of course something diffrent and expectations are very high for this one. Not in the least because, as hinted above, the result of this one might give an indication of what Joe’s future is going to be. Is Joe there to put Briscoe over before moving on to new horizons? Or will he reclaim that which he was associated with for so long? Either way, this one will likely send the sell-out crowd into a frenzy and earn ROH some much deserved coverage if it’s anywhere near as good as I think it will be.
 Prediction: you’re gonna have to forgive a little subjectivity here, I’m gonna say Joe, but mainly because I want him to stay right where he is, at least until NJPW/ROH’s Global Wars rolls around.
 ROH WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Jay Lethal (c)
 On paper this could be good, but it might also suffer from the same default as the Lethal/El Patron match at 13th anniversary. Meaning that no-one really believes Liger will win here. Of course Lethal has proven he could deliver and Liger is an absolute legend (even if, let’s face it he’s no spring chicken anymore) but they will have to tell a damn good story here to avoid everyone to just wait for the final bell and the Lethal win. On the other hand Jay winning over such a legend will probably bolster his claim of being the REAL ROH champion but they have to be careful not to go on auto-pilot here, otherwise this might feel somewhat dull.
 Prediction: Jay Lethal vanquishes another foreign star.
 ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) w/ Maria Kanellis vs. reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) (c)
 Though one to call. It is perhaps interesting to remind all that The Kingdom is scheduled to face Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (current IWGP Tag Champions) at Invasion Attack in 9 days, so, as much as a champion vs champion match in Japan would be great, in this case I see reDragon retaining. Also The Addiction has already been announced as “seeking redemption” about reDragon on the April 4th show, so this one seems easy enough to call. Still a great match-up and they could still surprise us with a Kingdom win. Just doesn’t seem very likely. Also will be interesting to note if the Mysterious Masked Red Figures will show up here.
 Prediction: reDragon after some shenanigans.
 BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs
 This one I loved already before it even started. Partners in The Decade, hitting some bumps recently (Jacobs resenting Whitmer getting rid of Strong and replace him with Adam Page, Whitner questioning Jacobs’ decision to start following the Code of Honor) and finally deciding to settle things  the way they always should be settled, in the middle of the ring. Wrestling can be so simple, yet so enjoyable sometimes.
 Prediction: Whitmer beats his kind of sense into Jacobs.
 Christopher Daniels vs. Roderick Strong
Frankie Kazarian vs. Michael Elgin
 I’m putting these two together since it’s kind of the same story here. The Addiction splitting up for one night in search of some single victories against two who have suffered some crushing defeats recently. Wisdom would say that Strong and Elgin would go over, but The Addiction can’t really afford to loose either, before their big match with reDragon. Regardless how this turns out these are two excellent match-ups who will undoubtedly bolster an already great looking card.
 Prediction: Daniels over Strong and Elgin over Kazarian.
 Mark Briscoe vs. ACH
 A clash of styles if there ever was one this is a late addition to the card, but one I certainly don’t mind. Both can have great matches so it will be interesting to see if they can develop some chemistry and produce a coherent match. Chances are they will, of course but you never know.
 Prediction: Difficult… Gonna say ACH cause he probably needs the victory the most.
 Matt Sydal vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Moose w/ Stokley Hathaway & Veda Scott vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Andrew Everett
 Another late addition, the 6 Man Mayhem Match format, while having produced some great spectacles in the past, has also sometimes suffered from the same affliction all matches of this type potentially have, that being ending up as a mindless spot-fest without much in-ring psychology. Is it gonna be spectacular? No doubt. Is it gonna be anything else? Wait and see…
 Prediction: … No idea… Ciampa? Yeah, let’s go with that.
And there you have it. Supercard of Honor looks like another great offering from ROH with enough spectacle, intrigue and great rivalries to keep everyone happy. For those who wonder, this ISN’T a Pay-Per-View, but it will be available on the ROH site, in Video On Demand format in a few days. Check it out, I know I will.
That’s all from me this week, see you all next week for you-know-what and have fun!

 

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