Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Monday, October 01, 2007

ROH Driven PPV review

Resilience v No Remorse Corps:

TKG: I dug this a bunch I'm always a fan of the spotfest as opener format. This was filled with guys who I actively don't like and for some reason they kept on matching up Romero and Cross which didn't help to hide either of their flaws. But the advantage of this type of quick multiperson spotfest was it got guys in and out quickly. Guys hit their spots and then get out of the way, guys who are tempted to work, everything is even, matches are forced to work man down and sell for the two on ones,etc. Davey Richards was perfectly fine in this and both Delirious and Erick Stevens delivered. Roderick Strong who is normally the best guy on his team looked really really off for large chunks of this. But even with the an off Strong and the pairing of Romero/Cross this was a format that meant none of that really hurt the match. Post match-Austin Aries does some babyface mic work and they need to get a real sound-man for these shows.

PAS: Yeah Strong looked actively terrible here, which is kind of weird. He blew a missed clothesline by actually clotheslining the guy, which is actually kind of unique. I liked this way more then I thought I would considering how much I dislike most of the guys in it. Stevens especially looked really good, in a type of match that isn't really his thing. I think they should have shaved off a minute or two at the end, as they had a two count or two too many.

Claudio Castagnoli v Matt Sydal

TKG: This had some spectacular spots, Castagnoli takes the Chris Hamerick/Fuerza bump, and Sydal eats a giant swing better than I've ever seen anyone eat a giant swing as his face goes through multiple guy trying to hold down his lunch on a roller coaster variations. But this was disappointing. Both guys are guys who can work multiple speeds. Guys who can move from fast to slow to concentrated fast to medium, etc. Both guys can do and sell for nice mat work, both guys know how to do and sell for good brawling strike sections. Both are guys who can work face and heel and here instead they worked just super match up and those are completely forgettable outside the spots. Part of the format of starting show with fast 6 man spotfest is that you slowly move away from that opening speed. Second match at same speed as first means they start to run together.

PAS: I had similar problems with this as Tom. This really could have used some face/heel structure, so it would be something besides just spot after spot. Still I guess for the post match angle to work, this needs to be worked as a scientific face v. face match. I would rather see Bret Hart as a face working Buzz Sawyer as a heel, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy them exchanging gut wrench takedowns in their Georgia match. I guess intricate headscissors are the 2007 version of gut wrench takedowns.

TKG: Post match Larry Sweeney does mic work to sign Sydal up for a contract and I really liked the almost parallelism of Austin Aries signing contract to Ring of Honor-this place that values and respects the wrestlers and the fans, while heel Sydal signs contract with Sweeney who represents lack of respect and sportsmanship. Larry Sweeney has never facially looked or sounded as much like Christopher Love.

Naomichi Marifuji v BJ Whitmer-

TKG: Lenny Leonard tells me all about the backstory of Marifuji and how he has held every title in NOAH including the "prestigious" GHC belt and he tells me Whitmer's backstory and then he announces "this will be a very even matchup". Really? They are going to run an even match-up between the guy they are putting over as a GHC title holder and the guy who is working a PPV loosing streak leading to joining an Adam Pierce stable.??? I guess working 50/50 opposite former GHC title holder is better than last PPV where Whitmer took 60 against current ROH title holder. Still this was shitty and the half that Whitmer was in control for was ugly and the half where Whitmer was eating stuff wasn't a ton better. This was worked really even and started fine but quickly went to shit. They did lots of bad looking strike exchanges which only reminded me of how much the last match could have used some strike exchanges.

PAS: I didn't hate this as much as I hated either guys previous PPV match, but that is damning with pretty faint praise. Whitmer is a guy who is clearly someone who started tape trading about 1998, I bet I sold him a Schneider Comp at some point. He jumps between 1998 Big Japan bumps, and 1998 All Japan suplex exchanges. He doesn't do either particularly well, but his channeling of a 1998 Kobashi v. Akyama match is the shittier of the two. Marifuji was probably a ring boy at that point so he can run through a shitty approximation of one of those matches. Also Marifuhji has some goofy fucking offense, less like he is channelling Misawa and more like channeling Cheech and or Cloudy. There is a point where Whitmer crotches himself on the top rope, where he actually crotched himself before Marifuji made contact with the ropes. One of the problems with both PPV's so far has been that all the matches are too similar, they don't break up the high impact stuff with mat based matches or comedy matches. I guess your poorly executed Whitmer match is in the spot on the card where Colt Cabana v. Kikutaro used to go.

Pelle Primau v. Brent Albright

PAS: I like the idea of introducing someone new by having them brutal squash a jobber, it is basically how they introduced Steen and Generico on the last PPV, and it works well here too. Albright is a shitty guy to showcase, as he looks like Joey Fatone with an HGH belly, but this is a fine way to showcase him.

TKG: Yeah this was fine. Primau eats stuff well and Albright hit his stuff well. They should have worked the Whitmer v Morishima match more like this. This was also helped by just being the only uneven match on the show thus far and just being paced differently from everything else on the show.

Briscoes v. Kevin Steen/El Generico

PAS: I liked this better then the Briscoes match on the last PPV, as Kevin Steen is really good at working heel, and you do want to see him get his pasty face kicked in. The match meandered a bit in the beginning, as Generico worked face in peril, which he isn't very good at, and he wasn't a face. Still when they got kicking with their Briscoes finish it was something to see. Jay's Cactus clothesline was awesome, and the beel into the chairs was a great street fight execution of a signature spot. Jay should really stop using the press slam DVD as a set up move, but I liked this a bunch and it makes me want to see all of their garbage match rematches.

TKG: Yeah this was the best thing on the show thus far. It had the face/heel dynamic that was missing from the last PPV tag match. Had less Marc insanity though. Being paced like everything else made it not stand out as much as it should have but it was fun crazy tag with nice hateful crowd brawling. Generico as faceish member of his tag team working heel in peril didn't work to well for me either but Generico looked pretty great in everything else he did. It really feels like he needs to go the Jimmy Jacobs route and move on in terms of gimmick. This type of match can feel like it has excessive near falls or goes, this didn't. Outside of the press slam DVD for two that set up the finisher, this really felt like it ended right where it should end.

TKG: I liked both the backstage Sweeney and Adam Pearce promos, both a lot better than their promos from last PPV.

PAS: Adam Pearce's Kevin Sullivan stuff doesn't work with his black button up shirt and blue jeans. He needs a robe or something. It doesn't work with a guy dressed like a middle manager at a sports bar.

Takeshi Morishima v. Jimmy Rave

PAS: I don't like the Morishima 3 minute squash, where opponent still gets all of his signature offense in, match formula at all. Still Rave takes crazy bumps on the clothesline and backdrop so this was better then the Whitmer match. Still it is a dumb formula.

TKG: It should also be said that Rave's spear and other offense looks alot nastier than Whitmer's offense. Bad formula, but like the Albright squash, this still felt different enough to other matches that it was satisfying.

Bryan Danielson v. Nigel McGuiness

PAS: Man alive, this is how you end a PPV. These guys have a real formula worked out with each other, and it is really great to see how they adjust that formula in their different matches. I loved all of the opening matwork, all of the stuff with Nigel in the guard, and Danielson digging his knuckles into the temple was spectacular, I loved how they did the MMA spots, but made them pro-wrestlingy. I thought the selling in this match was actually pretty top shelf. Nigel often works restarts into his big matches, but here he kind of did mini-restarts throughout the match, toughing his way through moves he normally does easier. The fighting into the Tower of London was especially awesome. This match really felt like it was the stylistic offspring of all of those Regal v. Benoit matches, like this was the main event match those two never got to have with each other. Of course it is hard to watch both of these guys slam their heads into each other until they bleed without thinking about ghosts. Still great art is often tinged with tragedy, and this is the best piece of wrestling art this year.

TKG: Yeah this was pretty spectacular. And this is what you watch ROH for. So I complained earlier about everything on this PPV being worked at same pace. Instead of starting with a hot multiperson spotfest opener, slowing down to a technical match, then doing a brawl followed by a comedy match, followed by your big hard hitting main event...they instead ran with lots of even stuff, worked all at the same breakneck level and a couple squashes. And I could see there being a market of people who were upset that TNA didn't just build around the X-division but that market isn't me. This is what I want to see and I imagine that people who enjoy the other stuff on the show should enjoy this too. There were parts of the main which were really Regal v Benoitish and parts which were really about All Japan cumulative selling. For a match to determine who gets to challenge for the title it really was worked like a title match. The previous two Nigel v Danielson matches were worked essentially with Danielson as the man and Nigel as challenger to the man. Danielson had the title then. Here Danielson doesn't have the title and its not quite that you feel like he's the guy challenging, but the dynamic is completely changed. Here he isn't guy fighting to protect and hold onto his title, instead he is guy who has to take the title shot away from Nigel. The match moves really nicely from mat section to hard hitting section to throw section to dives into brawling section to your post-back dropped on guard rail back selling stretch to final strikes finish. The match never really feels broken up as you don't have a sense that you are in one section as it just it all flows from one to the other as both guys sell the cumulative punishment as they try to win. Great main event and it feels like this PPV top to bottom is probably a much better advertisement for ROH than the last one. I think even if your only exposure to Morishima was from these PPVs, you'd leave this one excited about Morishima v Danielson. So not only a good advertisement for their other product but also good advertisement for next PPV.

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