Road Report: Ring of Honor - Chicago
Ridge, IL - 11/05/05
by Scott Christ
We were late for this show again, after getting into town an hour early AGAIN, because we keep missing the fucking turn onto 43 that takes us RIGHT TO THE BUILDING. So we had to park many blocks away AGAIN, and I missed part of a Nigel McGuinness match AGAIN.
We were going to take in the Detroit/Chi Ridge double shot but decided that was a lot of money for gas. Detroit is a six-hour round trip, and Chi Ridge is about 4 1/2-5 depending on traffic/construction/weather/how stupid we are. To me, the show with Daniels/Joe, Danielson/Strong, Cide/Cabana and the eight-man WAR looked better than the one with Shelley/Aries, a stupid four-way (which turned out to be even stupider when Homicide and Colt Cabana turned into Adam Pearce and Jimmy Jacobs), and Danielson/Sabin. Now don't get me wrong - if I were some Rockefeller or something, I'd have gladly gone to both. But I ain't, so we scrapped that.
Instead we ended up going down to South Bend to piss around (I bought the Jake DVD and Regal's book, which I was shocked and psyched to get), Dylan's New Morning album which is the first Dylan I've bought since my big Bob dive a few years ago, and some other crap. Then we went to Michigan City and I drank Tangueray vodka (now that is quality, and reasonably priced) and sat on a porch watching $40 a Day. So we got home at like 7 or something and I didn't get up until 3 the afternoon of the show, and the ride down was shit because I felt like garbage. After we explored the greater Chicago Ridge/Oak Lawn area I started feeling better despite that I was almost giving up on the hope that I'd see wrestling. Anyhow this isn't my fuckin' blog so I'll shut the F up already. On with the show!
NIGEL MCGUINNESS & CHAD COLLYER v. ACE STEEL & DELIRIOUS
Don't know exactly how much of this I missed, but what I saw was pretty good. The ROH board crowd estimate was "900-950" which I'm going to take a guess and say is overdoing it. It was not nearly as big as the last Chicago show, but that was Matt Hardy assisted and Punk's farewell, so dropping back down to normal levels is no big thing. It was nice to see Ace in a match where he had purpose, since this was going back to the Steel/Collyer match from August where Chaddo busted him open and put him down in his hometown of Chi-town. Down down town town town town. Ace Steel isn't as old as I thought he was. I was re-building the database (as in I obliterated the old one and have started from scratch) for the old EWR 4.0 game and looking up birthdates and shit so that, you know, the ages are at least REMOTELY correct, and I figured Ace was 34, 35, but he's totally not. I mean I didn't think he was 40 or anything. But I'm watching Ace Steel here, and he's a reasonably good looking guy with a nice build and he's totally solid in the ring. If WCW were still around, he could be on Saturday Night working Bobby Blaze or getting squashed by this week's big star appearance from Duggan or The Wall or whoever. Although the Wall is dead so that probably wouldn't pan out. When we came in Delirious was doing his hand in the mouth routine. I haven't seen Nigel in a damn long time. Oh wait I saw Nigel in August. I haven't seen Nigel since August. Collyer and Nigel were a decent tag team in IWA MS, they had a couple decent matches with Boz and Bradley, a fine match with Punk and Cabana, and one real shitfest against Whitmer and Danny Daniels that I can recall. Nigel's new kneepads and boots are sharp. Delirious was totally the star of this match, as he will almost always be as long as ROH isn't actually doing anything with him. He's mad over, or at least he is here. I dunno if he is out east or anything. Piss on the east coast. Steel was going to hit Collyer with a chair, but on the swing back he cracked Nigel with it. Collyer had powdered out so Nigel was pinned. Ace and Delirious made a good if oddball pairing.
JIMMY JACOBS (with Lacey) v. SAL RINAURO
The problem with this is that Rinauro isn't even remotely likeable as a babyface. He's far easier to take to as a doofy shithead heel. The crowd did the HUSS shit the entire match, so much so that there was almost no way they could've been actually paying attention to it. The whole match ended up centered around kicks and stomps and shit so that the crowd could say HUSS at all of them. Rinauro did nothing that I can remember. I found it really peculiar that ROH would throw the tag straps on him and Tony Mamaluke so quickly, and I don't find it any less strange now that I've seen Rinauro in action this year. These two had a better match on the second night of the 2004 TPI. Lacey looked as though she had dipped her legs in movie theater popcorn butter. Her up-do also didn't last long. I wish I had seen the Lacey/Sara Del Ray SHIMMER showcase they did earlier in the night. I miss watching Lacey wrestle. And sorry but as much as I'd like to I can't justify driving to Chicago to watch a bunch of broads wrestle. Jacobs will be a real star in ROH as soon as people give up on the HUSS shit, but that may never happen. He's been off his ass in IWA MS since he gave up on it. I also remember they did some spots that were taken out of the Cabana/Jacobs TPI match. That was kind of annoying. Anyway this wasn't all that good, as much as I like Jacobs.
Jim Cornette came out and kissed everything's ass, then Bill Watts came out and talked about the Junkyard Dog and heart and desire or something. I really have no idea. Adam Pearce interrupted and demanded a match. Cornette went all ape about how Pearce wasn't even scheduled to be there. Kind of a stupid thing to say when your advertising is based on your web site and your web site says Adam Pearce is going to be there. Cornette gave the call to Watts, who said he had someone Pearce could wrestle. Pearce didn't even ask who it was. What the hell fun is Adam Pearce if he isn't talking about fucking someone's mother in the ass?
BJ WHITMER (with Lacey) v. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI
Claudio's dope moustache is gone, but the new tights are pretty cool in a 1997 kind of way. Claudio is way over because he keeps going HEEEEEY! And then he'd point at Lacey and go, HOOOOOO! Heeeeey! Hooooo! over and over and over. Whitmer got quite probably the least reaction possible from hundreds of people upon his entrance. Claudio basically wrestled as Mike Quackenbush for this match. I've never seen him as a babyface before and I didn't particularly care for it. Whitmer won clean with the exploder followed by wrist clutch exploder. This Whitmer fascination is bizarre, and it always has been.
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS (with Allison Danger) v. SAMOA JOE
I'd never seen Chris Daniels live and I never get sick of seeing Joe or Allison Danger. I don't even think Allison Danger is particularly attractive, it's totally not that at all. I just think she's a good manager. She had this weird pleather nun outfit with black fishnets. OK so I'd bang her, but seriously that's not why I like her. Daniels was treated like a goddamned superstar. Just insane over. It got me more into this match than I figured I would be right out of the gate. Daniels also has a certain presence about him for some reason. He just looks and carries himself like a star. I've never been a huge fan, but seeing him live opened me up to why so many people really dig Daniels and have for so long. It's a lot different than seeing him on TV and in a very good way. Joe is Joe, Joe is always insanely over. This match was very good. Joe had the advantage early on, but Daniels started working on the knee to take the advantage. They did a bunch of cool shit in here, a few really nice submission spots, and early on Joe tripped Daniels, mounted him from the back, and just crossfaced the shit out of him. And I loves me some crossfaces. I was a big Taz fan. Daniels' moonsault is totally not the best moonsault ever but people were crazy for it anyway. Match went a fair amount of time, but seemed relatively short. The ROH board had it at 44 minutes which was completely not true at all. Joe won with a rather sudden muscle buster. Best live match I've seen in a long time.
We thought they'd go to intermission after that one. They didn't.
HOMICIDE (with Julius Smokes) v. COLT CABANA
All I've heard about is how hot and heated and fiery and heaty hotty fire man this feud has been all over this great nation of ours. The night before they beat each other up and had to be taken out of that four-way. So you figure, feud people are into, Cabana's hometown, Homicide, Julius Smokes running around the ring shouting, this has to be good. Right? Wrong, sucker, so wrong. This sucked. They called this one a no contest in like five or six minutes after some crappy brawling and comically unimpressive plastic chair shots. I'm not saying that it doesn't hurt, because what do I know, but it looks dumb and doesn't make a good sound. If you're going to have a chair brawl then do it right or don't do it at all. Crowd booed the hell out of the no-contest call, then they went on fighting and Homicide duct taped Cabana to the turnbuckles and forked him. This had almost no heat whatsoever and for something that should have realistically had a ton, that's saying something. I suppose you could argue that it had to follow Joe/Daniels and this was simply bad card structure, but seriously, the only heat this had was a small "Fuck the Yankees" chant and Homicide saying something mean about the White Sox, which even in the Ridge was met with at least 50-50 cheers. At one point they even had Julius Smokes power bomb Cabana which might have been the stupidest thing possible. Ace Steel eventually ran in for the save after people wanted CM Punk. Sorry, y'all, he's busy. Steel, who is rarely even on ROH shows, basically came in and shoved Homicide, a main event-level heel, and Smokes around, and they just left without a fight. What the hell is that? This was remarkably poorly done. I was expecting a good fight and a great atmosphere and this died on every level.
They actually did do intermission here. I got a piece of pizza that kinda sucked but was also kinda good. You know what kind of pizza I'm talking about.
DAVEY ANDREWS (with trophy) v. ADAM PEARCE
I like Andrews. This went about six minutes and Pearce won with something. A piledriver I assume. I was busy talking to The Cubs Fan as he unfortunately had to soak in all of our fourth-wind bullshit about BJ Whitmer and God knows what else.
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH
RODERICK STRONG v. BRYAN DANIELSON (champion)
Strong was way over, but so was Danielson, who insisted he be announced as "the best wrestler in the world." I really do like Danielson as a heel and it makes sense to me. He's working smart mark heavy environments so to turn heel, he might as well use it and be an old school asshole mixed in with an arrogant SOB that believes his own press from the fawning dullards (like me!). Considering they had only this and the eight-man tag left, I figured they were going long, and they did. Strong chopped Danielson's chest red in a matter of seconds. Literally, it went handshake, Danielson slap, chop, chop, bail, lookit his chest lookit his chest. I kind of hate the angle they built this match around (oooh they got uncooperative! Didn't people hate that shit with Russo?) so I decided to ignore that and just hope it was a good match. It was, and although we spent probably the first 15 or 20 minutes babbling about BJ Whitmer, I kept tabs, sort of, on the match out of the corner of my eye. And it just kept sucking me in more and more as it went on. It was a tremendous match, better than Joe/Daniels probably and one of the better matches I've seen this year. Strong can go, and although anyone can look good against Bryan Danielson, it's hard to have a great 40-plus minute match if you aren't carrying your end, and he did. A lot of it was centered around Danielson having no real interest in trading strikes with Roderick, and then Danielson took control with his one backbreaker over and over just to be a dick. They held off on the backbreakers with Roderick for a long time, and when he hit them they seemed like a huge deal. There was also one point where I just expected Roderick to do a back suplex and instead he dumped Danielson right on his dome, which caught me a little off guard. It was nasty. I really didn't expect this match to be as good as it was. The finish was fantastic, as Danielson elbowed Strong in his head until either Roderick gave up or the ref called it, I couldn't see which.
PRINCE NANA, ALEX SHELLEY, JIMMY RAVE & ABYSS v. AJ STYLES, AUSTIN ARIES, JACK EVANS & MATT SYDAL (with Daizee Haze and Jade Chung)
There was mass toilet paper thrown at the Embassy team, which was awesome. Jimmy Rave's reactions to that shit are great. It almost came down to a TP throwing war with the crowd, but it let up too soon to get that far. It was still fun. Styles got a huge pop. Rave took a big beating while in the face corner early on. They kept bringing him back for more. They did a dive sequence that was outstanding, ending of course with Evans showing everybody up. He is ridiculous. The story was that the Gen Next + AJ team wanted Nana in the ring, but Nana was not interested. The best spot with that was when they knocked Abyss and Shelley off the apron, and after not letting Rave get to his corner for a tag, they let him go with only Nana there, but Nana bailed and left Rave hanging. Evans predictably ended up in the Morton role and Shelley had a lot of fun stretching him into strange predicaments. It all broke down a bunch of times, and Abyss had set up a table in the corner. I figured he'd go through it, and he did...sort of, when Styles German suplexed him onto it. Ugly. The finish came after Aries and one of the others cornered Nana, who take Daizee Haze captive to keep them at bay. He shoved her at them, and they shoved her away. Since they were such total dicks to Daizee, she hit them in the nuts. Rave hit a pedigree on Aries for the win. An exciting and action-packed match. Can't ask for much more.
This was a real good show. Danielson/Strong and Joe/Daniels are well worth the tape along, and the eight-man is good too. The rest was mostly just OK except the crappy Cide/Cabana thing. They're coming back on March 31 and April 1 for a Chicago double shot on WrestleMania weekend, which is an interesting idea. Hey where was Jay Lethal?