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supersonic

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About supersonic

  • Birthday 02/20/1987

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  1. From what little I've seen, that federation's entire shtick has always come across as incredibly disingenuous.
  2. supersonic

    Supersonic presents The Lapsed ROHbot

    As we reflect on a horrific tragedy that took place 4 years ago today, the journey now officially enters the era of honor. The Era of Honor Begins - February 23, 2002 https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2020/06/12/the-lapsed-rohbot-roh-the-era-of-honor-begins-2-23-2002/
  3. supersonic

    Supersonic presents The Lapsed ROHbot

    After re-subbing to the Observer, I found a gem that's available online and got it inserted into the Prologue: Doug Williams defending the FWA British Heavyweight Championship against Christopher Daniels at FWA Crunch 2002. In addition, spelling/grammar errors have been corrected.
  4. A quick introduction: Some of you know me more over the past 13-14 years as “Supersonic” throughout various message boards. During that time eight years ago, having grown frustrated with Jim Cornette’s direction with Ring of Honor under the ownership of Sinclair Broadcast Group, I went back to ROH’s birth and chronicled “The Good Shit” on message boards, spending 5.5 years reviewing roughly the same amount of years for ROH and other promotions, concluding with Man Up. With over 2.5 years of not reviewing anything since, I now feel recharged and will once again go back in time during this pandemic. But this time, it’s different; no longer am I cherry-picking just “The Good Shit,” and no longer am I wasting these away on message boards. Although I grew as a reviewer, the early ROH events didn’t get the best effort from me; now they will. In addition, as a dedicated member of the Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast’s “Solar System,” it’s become crystal-clear over the past several years that while the business has grown in many ways, it’s also largely evolved away from many of its emotional intangibles that once truly hooked viewers. Of the many different hashtags and catchphrases that have come from that podcast, one has stood out above the rest: It used to be better. And this is your chance to learn why that’s completely true for ROH. This won’t be some rose-colored glasses bullshit. Throughout the 2020s decade, I am reviewing every ROH event of the company’s first nine years and four months (sans the Do or Die jobber/tryout cards.) Every DVD event. Every PPV. Every TV episode that would come so many years later. It’s all going to be chronicled. This journey will capture a time period that will never be duplicated. It’s a time when a monopolized mainstream giant arrogantly spent a decade allowing the underground to become arguably the premier spot for the most dedicated, passionate pro wrestling fans. And during that decade spanning from the end of the Monday Night War all the way to a certain Chicago wrestling icon’s barrier-breaking “Pipebomb” style promo being brought onto mainstream cable television, no underground company benefited more than Ring of Honor. But before digging into ROH’s first chapter in February 2002, the stage was set throughout 2001 in the wake of WCW and ECW’s death, as well as one pioneer’s bad choices that briefly landed him back in the underground. As I’m about to dig into the 2001 chapters that would eventually spawn ROH, I want to thank Voices of Wrestling for being the introductory and currently exclusive home to this journey. I can’t think of a more fitting platform than the very site that was spawned from the summer of events which ended the decade-long period that this journey will cover. This is the Lapsed ROHbot. ARCHIVE: Prologue: APW's 2001 King of Indies (Plus More) https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2020/05/29/the-lapsed-rohbot-prologue-apw-king-of-indies-2001-plus-more/ 2002 The Era of Honor Begins - February 23, 2002 https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2020/06/12/the-lapsed-rohbot-roh-the-era-of-honor-begins-2-23-2002/
  5. supersonic

    Rebooking WCW from July 1998

    The most important thing I do is try building good rapport with all the corporate executives during such a tumultuous time. We don’t know how chaotic it’ll be yet, but it’s ALWAYS a no-brainer to make a quality first impression rather than be combative. Scott Hall is fired. Period. I want Flair back ASAP. He’s our version of what Undertaker became in the 2000s so stop pussyfooting around. I prefer he return the same night as Goldberg winning at the Georgia Dome (with all those executives present,) and wrapping up the Bischoff program at Fall Brawl in the Carolinas. I’m getting Bret completely away from the nWo saga. While the long-term plan is for him to be in the tippy-top picture, he’ll get strong wins in fresh programs against Jericho and Benoit, elevating those two in the process. It might be time for Mysterio to also graduate from the Cruiserweight division, so he’s a quality program to keep Bret busy too. The most important long-term plan will be to implement a drug policy including steroids. While it won’t be immediate, this needs to happen sooner rather than later after the deaths of Pillman and Spicolli. Hall’s termination serves as that preview. The other huge long-term plan is investing heavily in the Power Plant. While we are firing on all business metric cylinders currently, this is a wise path to find new stars without having to bid huge against WWF for already established stars. Especially with the corporate suits seemingly looking for excuses, having a long-term farm system could be a great means to lower the roster payroll, and be seen as a smart investment and maybe even as programming to eventually take over Saturday Night since the main roster already has 5 combined hours of Nitro and Thunder.
  6. supersonic

    Project Rewatch - PWG: The Good Shit

    2007 Battle of Los Angeles Night 3 – September 2, 2007 Taped from Los Angeles, CA Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal Match Joey Ryan vs. Roderick Strong Understandably worked just like a one-segment TV match, considering whoever reaches the final has to pull triple-duty tonight. That’s not a criticism at all, as this was perfectly executed with Strong generally dominating unless Jade Chung bailed Joey Ryan out. As has seemingly been the case for her, there’s been no acknowledgement whatsoever of her history with Strong in ROH, which is disappointing. Something as simple as “I saved your skank ass from slavery and you hook up with these Arrogance pieces of shit, you fucking bitch?” would make for nice continuity. Her attempt to help Ryan out eventually backfired, as Ryan wasted time trying to win an argument against the ref with her, allowing Strong to hit the Tiger Driver and Liontamer for the victory. Rating: less than *** Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal Match Matt Sydal vs. Alex Shelley Quality matchup as expected, and yet again no reference at all to their ROH history, instead showing respect at the beginning. Sydal surprisingly was able to go toe-to-toe with Shelley, showing off his improvement from the past year or so in Dragon Gate. But Shelley had him scouted on multiple occasions, first by evading an Enziguri midway through. But the killer came at the end, and if the indies were treated with more respect by WWE, this match could’ve been pointed to as one scouted by Randy Orton; years before he would do so to Evan Bourne, Shelley here countered Sydal’s Shooting Star Press with an Ace Crusher, bringing the crowd to its feet. A follow-up Tiger Suplex and Cross-Legged Brainbuster was just the cherry on top for Shelley to advance. Rating: ***1/2 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal Match PAC vs. Claudio Castagnoli First time matchup here with Castagnoli dominating most of the way due to his size and strength advantage. In this one, PAC channeled his work against previous larger opponents to look for bombs when the opportunities struck, with the biggest being when he had Castagnoli outside. That allowed PAC to leap outside via a Somersault Plancha and in mid-air turn it into a head scissors to gain control. Castagnoli still regained control, but PAC was determined on this night, perhaps due to Dragon Gate officials being present. He managed to pull off the upset by cutting off a corner uppercut, turning a Moonsault Press into a Tornado DDT, and finishing it off with the Sky Twister. Huge upset here even with PAC beating former PWG Champion Kevin Steen earlier in the year. Rating: ***3/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal Match CIMA vs. Shingo Easily my favorite match of the night so far, as this had some heat in it due to tensions between Typhoon and New Hazard. However, what elevated this so far was that it had noticeable selling, as CIMA targeted Shingo’s bandaged right elbow. After working on it for a few minutes, Shingo did a fine job of paying it off, grimacing when using that limb to deliver a chop rather than switch to his left arm. But it would be CIMA’s experience in the pin variations that became the difference-maker. While Shingo was elevated in kicking out of the Air Raid Crash, it was enough to put him down for good the second time CIMA locked a variation pin on him, after having failed to put him down with a modified La Majistral cradle minutes earlier. PAC’s got his work cut out for him against CIMA in the next round. Rating: ***3/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal – Hardcore Match Necro Butcher vs. Nigel McGuinness Short and sweet with the best crowd atmosphere to far thanks to Necro being a viscerally connecting star. He tried getting the advantage early by attacking McGuinness during his entrance and turning it into a hardcore match, but the former Pure Champion just targeted the hardcore legend’s bandaged right knee. This came into play later as Necro did a great job of selling. He managed to knock McGuinness down a few times with clotheslines but couldn’t get the momentum to turn them into lariats. Necro was doomed when he couldn’t deliver a backbreaker on a chair, his knee buckling. This allowed McGuinness to suplex him onto it, with the damaged right knee landing perfectly on the edge of the chair. Splendidly worked and one has to wonder if Nick Gage could ever come into BOLA and steal the show as well as Necro did here. Rating: ***3/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Quarterfinal Match El Generico vs. Dragon Kid Excellent close to the quarterfinal round as this had some spunk to it. Dragon Kid decided to surprise Generico at the beginning with an immediate leg lariat, causing Generico to eventually get so frustrated he decided to play a bit dirty and knock him down from behind. Dragon Kid seemed to think he could Generico’s Yakuza kicks due to his shorter stature, but that didn’t go quite as planned, although generally he had a solid answer for almost everything Generico threw at him. The scariest part seemed not to fuck either competitor up, as Generico’s Top Rope Brainbuster was countered with a Stunner that saw Dragon Kid bounce off the top rope and take a bump too. But Dragon Kid simply didn’t have enough when Generico kicked out of the Springbaord Hurricanrana, getting cut off with a Yakuza kick on the top rope and being put down with the Turnbuckle Brainbuster. Would love to see a rematch. Rating: **** Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Semifinal Match Alex Shelley vs. Roderick Strong Definitely not as interesting as their ROH matches, once again not recognizing their history there on this evening. However, this was still very good as par the course so far on this card. Although it’ll get a high rating, this lacked something extra special to really dig in and analyze. Perhaps the best story told was that Shelley couldn’t put Strong down with anything, not even the Shiranui, which get a great reaction when Strong kicked out of it. Instead of aiming for a submission to put down Shelley, Strong just used consecutive Tiger Drivers to get the job done, not allowing Shelley any time to recover from the first. Perhaps that’s the story of desperation for a night in which the finalists have to pull triple-duty – get the job done quickly and by any means necessary, even if trademarks spots have to be arguably spammed. Rating: ***3/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Semifinal Match CIMA vs. PAC Good showing from PAC here to earn him a Dragon Gate invitation afterwards. He did his best to avoid CIMA’s Schwein, spiking the legend on his head a couple times. The first was with a DDT, the second was CIMA’s fault as he didn’t rotate enough on a head-scissors, getting dropped on his head. Once again though, there’s not much to dig into this match, and the fact that looks like it was intended to be a sequel of sorts to CIMA vs. Generico a year earlier, comes up a bit disappointing, To state the obvious, PAC simply was not on Generico’s level yet for crowd connection and building drama. The finish really told that when he botched a top rope move that got saved when CIMA finished it with a Super Schwein, probably taking the match home early to rest his neck before the final. Rating: ***1/2 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Semifinal Match El Generico vs. Nigel McGuinness Easily my favorite match of the night, as this focused on two great characters colliding, adding drama to this on the level of an ROH main event at the time. McGuinness even got some minor heel heat, which fit in well as he targeted Generico’s left shoulder with various strikes and submissions. The real story was centered around their signature moves though, such as McGuinness evading a Yakuza kick, instead taking advantage of Generico’s failure to scout the corner headstand kick. However, Generico would prove to have that scouted later, hitting an instant Yakuza kick to cut it off, while also avoiding lariats throughout the match. McGuinness stayed focused on Generico’s left arm to cut him off, but his overreliance on the rebound lariat attempt came back to bite him, as Generico finished him with a desperate schoolboy pin. These two definitely need another round, but in an ROH ring. Rating: **** Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Final – Elimination Match El Generico vs. CIMA vs. Roderick Strong An excellent finale that stood out over most of the prior tournament matches, as this never stopped and saw some quality scouting throughout. It started with a bunch of strike exchanges to have all three down early, but managed to turn into CIMA gaining the advantage when he tossed Generico off the top rope and then hit a Frog Splash on Strong. I couldn’t believe Generico tooks his signature spots to the apron, hitting a Yakuza kick and Brainbuster on Strong on that section. But CIMA would intervene as Strong recovered, hitting an uppercut and then an Apron Air Raid Crash for a tremendous pop. Back in the ring, Generico tried to find the fighting spirit, popping up immediately after a Brainbuster, but succumbed to the Schwein. Strong wasted no time reinserting himself when Generico got eliminated, having a hot finale with CIMA. CIMA couldn’t be denied on this night though, fueled after losing in the prior year’s BOLA finale; not even Strong kicking out of the Air Raid Crash was enough. CIMA just stayed determined, hitting a Package Cross Armed Powerbomb to finish off Strong. Post-match, PWG Champion Bryan Danielson presented CIMA with the BOLA Trophy, teasing a rematch between the two for the title. CIMA closed the night with a classy speech and his Typhoon stablemates present, vowing to return to PWG as soon as possible. Rating: **** Although the card can get a bit monotonous due to its format, this gets the highest recommendation, especially since the best matches weren’t raved enough to get placed on compilations. A stellar card that had the best come at the very end, which is what every show should strive for in its pacing. Up next – Schadenfreude Matches will include: Scott Lost vs. Davey Richards El Generico vs. Jack Evans Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong
  7. supersonic

    Project Rewatch - PWG: The Good Shit

    2007 Battle of Los Angeles Night 2 – September 1, 2007 Taped from Los Angeles, CA Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match Davey Richards vs. Nigel McGuinness Easily the match of the night, and rightfully so since this was the only singles encounter of their careers. With Richards not yet a main-eventer on the top indies yet, he played the underdog, seeing many of his early strike attempts being easily blocked by McGuinness. Why didn’t Richards just aim for lower body shots then? There was a stalling moment that killed the pace in which McGuinness got smooches from a female at ringside, and Richards thought he could make it happy after getting the middle rope blatantly jerked into a low blow shot. After that, it became the story of Richards trying so hard to evade the various lariats of McGuinness, and he managed to kick out of one from the top rope, as well as a Tower of London. Once the rebound lariat was successful though, that was the ballgame. Gabe Sapolsky certainly has to regret not booking this sometime in 2008 as McGuinness was on top and the improvement of Richards became significantly more noticeable. Rating: ***3/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match Dragon Kid vs. Susumu Yokosuka Others may get a bit more out of this one since it was obviously more spot-oriented. The main story seemed to be similar to their tag together 24 hours earlier, with Yokosuka doing everything possible to avoid Dragon Kid’s Springbaord Hurricanrana. Everything built to Dragon Kid eventually hitting it and that was it. While a good match, there’s not much to recap and analyze since it didn’t violate any critical fundamentals, but also didn’t blow anyone away like CIMA vs. El Generico did 363 days earlier. Rating: ***1/2 Buy this cheap for the 2 quality matches, as this was a lousy show with one of the most tasteless angles to ever take place, one that’ll be recapped later on when its saga includes must-see matches. Up next – 2007 Battle of Los Angeles Night 3 Matches will include: Joey Ryan vs. Roderick Strong Matt Sydal vs. Alex Shelley PAC vs. Claudio Castagnoli CIMA vs. Shngo Necro Butcher vs. Nigel McGuinness El Generico vs. Dragon Kid The semifinals and final of the 2007 Battle of Los Angeles tournament
  8. supersonic

    Project Rewatch - PWG: The Good Shit

    2007 Battle of Los Angeles Night 1 – August 31, 2007 Taped from Los Angeles, CA PWG Champion Bryan Danielson kicks off the show, sporting an eyepatch, announcing that he’s unable to compete in the tournament due to the injury sustained at Manhattan Mayhem II. He says he’ll be available to compete on October 14 though. Apparent Lucha Rules Match Young Bucks vs. Los Luchas Decent opener between quite some green upstarts. This was plagued not just by there being no established lucha or tornado rules (to explain the come-as-you-please lack of tag legalities), but some mistiming from Zokre in a couple spots involving Matt Jackson. There were some highlights to cherry-pick and use in future, much more seasoned matches of course, including a pop-up spear in the corner, as well as an instant Somersault Plancha to the outside. The best highlight, and one that I’m surprised has seemingly not become a massively copied staple over the past decade, was Zokre locking on a Gory Special, Phoenix Star using the positioning to deliver an Angle Slam, landing on Zokre’s knees to deliver a double-team Gut Buster. That would be a tremendous idea if Roderick Strong ever gets to the main roster to reform his tag team with Danielson. Oh yeah, the finish was the spotty fun with the Bucks winning thanks to consecutive top rope splash variations. Rating: less than *** Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong Another quality chapter to this rivalry, although this wasn’t coming close to their classic earlier in the year at Supercard of Honor II. Rather than target the back of Aries, Strong aimed for his ribs perhaps to offset the core and set up for the obvious Gut Buster. The first time Aries teased a comeback, Strong turned into a strike exchange, cutting him off in the process. It would take the Stroke for Aries to cut off Strong, followed by his trademark suicide dive. But the highlight would be something I haven’t seen anyone else do before or since, which was Aries countering Strong’s O’Connor Roll by turning it into a Tombstone Piledriver. Perhaps the work done on the ribs of Aries came the difference-maker; while he managed to hit the Quebrada and other moves involving abdomen bumps, Aries was cut off when going for his signature finishing combo. That’s the best explanation for why Strong was able to suddenly finish him off with a small package upon going for the Brainbuster. These two could sleepwalk their way to a *** contest. Rating: ***1/2 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match Tyler Black vs. Alex Shelley Disappointing match on paper, as this lacked the intensity of Aries vs. Strong. This also lacked Shelley’s mean streak that was on display in their tag classic the prior year at All Star Weekend IV Night 1. He used his experience to dominate on the mat early, but none of his submissions had the sizzle one would be conditioned to have expected from him by this point. Black pulled out some spectacular moves without much of the special timing to make them dramatic that would go on to define his ROH and WWE tenures. A Running Stunner for a near-fall and Super Ace Crusher are the two best examples of that. The latter in particular was a major missed opportunity to be the hottest near-fall of the entire match had he been selling a sore body part, struggling to reach Shelley to make the pin. Shelley’s Shiranui for the victory was ugly and once again got the appropriate midlevel reaction. His post-match promo was strange also, putting the roster over and giving a conditional farewell speech should his plane crash the next day and he can’t get back for Night 3. Rating: ***1/4 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match Doug Williams vs. Claudio Castagnoli This felt very much like a mid-card match on SmackDown with a stupid concrete bump from Williams thrown in. It never reached a high gear to be expected from two of the finest European imports of the 2000s. Instead it seemed to be mostly a low-level strike exchange with some Williams domination thrown in, minus the major body part targeting that made up so many of his ROH classics earlier in the decade. Castagnoli’s Ricola Bomb for the victory was yet another sudden 1st round finish, except this time the crowd seemed even less crazed than earlier on the card. These two can do a lot better than this glorified TV filler three-snowflake special. Rating: *** Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match PAC vs. Jack Evans Another match that felt like TV filler. This high-flying dream match still delivered the spectacular moves, but not before Evans had control early on the match. PAC would cut him off by sweeping him and forcing an apron bump. They’d exchange more acrobatic moves, with the highlight prior to the finish being Evans pulling out his Sasuke Special. It’s debatable that the match should’ve ended when PAC hit Evans with a Super Slingshot Neckbreaker, as it was the audible match peak for the crowd. However, the follow-up Tiger Suplex and Sky Twister was quick enough to not drag the crowd volume down, and this definitely feels the show-stealer for the night. Rating: ***1/2 Tag Titles Match Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Dragon Kid & Susumu Yokosuka Excellent main event that elevated this from being utterly forgettable. This was a pleasant surprising in adhering to tag legalities, as this easily could’ve exploded into a mess like the undercard tag match did. In this one, Steen used his heavier frame to avoid selling for the Typhoon tandem, but the challengers would use each other’s bodies to gain the advantage. Dragon Kid’s Springboard Hurricanrana was a nice false finish, still showing that 17 months later, the trios masterpiece from Supercard of Honor was still fresh in the minds of the American indy audience. This had the usual signature spots seen from these four at the time, but it ultimately came down to Typhoon making the fatal mistake. That mistake? Relying on Dragon Kid to try overcoming Steen’s size, as the Hurricanrana counter was rolled through to be countered back into the Package Piledriver and follow-up Brainbuster. As mentioned, a splendid conclusion to the card. Rating: **** Recommended for a great main event and two undercard gems that were vastly different, that being another chapter in the Aries vs. Strong rivalry, and the high-flyers PAC vs. Evans dream match. In particular, the main event is a terrific resource to show indy wrestlers that there IS a formula to doing nonstop moves while appropriately adhering to fundamental tag team psychology. Up next – 2007 Battle of Los Angeles Night 2 Matches will include: Davey Richards vs. Nigel McGuinness Dragon Kid vs. Susumu Yokosuka
  9. supersonic

    Undertaker could be coming back

    Per Ticket Drew on the November 1, 2017 edition of the Wrestling Reality with Justin LaBar podcast: Expect Undertaker to compete in the main event of Raw 25, probably against Kane. Also expect the show to be 4-5 hours since it's dual venue and that'll give each venue adequate content. https://twitter.com/ticketdrew/status/929890892802076674
  10. supersonic

    WrestleMania 34 - Card Speculation Thread

    Double Retirement Match Kane vs. Undertaker
  11. supersonic

    WWE TLC 2017

    Lights out, video, special effects, etc. magical distraction screwjob by Sister Abigail to screw Balor.
  12. supersonic

    Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

    Man Up – September 15, 2007 Taped from Chicago, IL Man Up (PPV) – Aired November 30, 2007 The broadcast wastes no time as Naomichi Marufuji is in the ring already for the opener. ROH Title Shot Match Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Claudio Castagnoli McGuinness says he’s keeping a close eye on tonight’s rematch between Takeshi Morishima and Bryan Danielson. Way to telegraph the booking here. The commentators are interrupted by a masked man with a raspy voice screaming “Age of the Fall!” Before the opener starts, an intro package features highlights from the Driven 2007 PPV. Claudio Castagnoli’s pre-match promo isn’t interesting at all, continuing the program against Sweet ‘N Sour Inc. that should’ve been aborted before it even began. At least Larry Sweeney is entertaining on the microphone and he’s over. This match would’ve been best served as a free-for-all, and perhaps even as a final chapter in the Hero vs. Castagnoli program since a good chunk of the match focused on it. (In hindsight since it was pushed on PPV but not quite clicking, end the program with Castagnoli beating Hero and Sweeney in separate matches at the next PPV taping.) When the two of them went to the outside, referee Todd Sinclair forgot about tag legalities despite Lenny Leonard specifically stating on commentary that tags were necessary, but he covered for the bad officiating by pointing out Sinclair chose to go with relaxed rules. From a business perspective, the biggest missed opportunity was the failure to mention the classic, historically important on many levels GHC Heavyweight Title encounter that had taken place just 364 days earlier between McGuinness and Marufuji. What they showed here was a nice sample of what had taken place at the prior year’s epic September event, and yet potentially new audiences watching this PPV would have no idea about Glory By Honor V Night 2; this is a very fair criticism since Danielson and KENTA’s match from that same card was talked about in the PPV main event of Respect is Earned. To nobody’s surprise, McGuinness picked up the victory after cleaning house, though it was mildly surprising for Castagnoli to do the job instead of Hero, as this would’ve served as a decent finish to the lukewarm Hero vs. McGuinness program. The finish was definitely perfect, McGuinness using the momentum from eating Castagnoli’s springboard twisting uppercut to deliver a decisive rebound lariat. So the next PPV is either Morishima vs. McGuinness III or Danielson vs. McGuinness VI, and it’s nice for McGuinness to no longer being on the creative treadmill that he’s been on for months either without direction or just a lukewarm one (his program against Hero.) Rating: *** In a career highlight promo that defines much of his life and has much greater meaning a decade later, an eyepatch-sporting Danielson points out that the injuries are really starting to take an emotional toll on his family, but his father said that this is his dream so to keep pursuing it. Since he’s not the ROH Champion, he acknowledges that he’s not the best wrestler in the world anymore, but against Morishima tonight he will show he has the most heart of anyone in the sport. Terrific promo here that matches up with Danielson’s far more celebrated ones in WWE. The Resilience and No Remorse Corps meet for a Best of 3 singles matches series. The NRC won the coin flip so the Resilience must pick their representative first. Matt Cross vs. Rocky Romero Good showcase for Cross here as he displayed his gymnastics background and got plenty of counters on the more experienced Romero, but once Romero got one kick to the head, that was the ballgame. Roderick Strong pretends to be next to goad Austin Aries into being next, but Davey Richards is the opponent in a swerve. Davey Richards vs. Austin Aries Extremely superior to their first ROH encounter exactly one year prior to this, and much more heated and interesting than the rematch that was supposed to be a landmark Richards victory at Dethroned. This did far more to put Richards over as he shined more in this match than the already established Aries. He had the former ROH Champion scouted very well, evading almost every major trademark move of his until Aries had the opportunity to hit a suicide dive. Richards would still control most of the match, specifically blocking a kick to the head to not be prone to the brainbuster and 450 Splash combo of Aries. But Aries ensured not to fall prey to the Butterfly Driver, finally turning it into a backslide and using the little opportunity possible to pull out his finishing sequence for the victory. Rating: ***3/4 Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong An excellent showcase for Stevens to complete the obvious point of this series: the established stars of the original Reborn era go over, but the newer talents in each match are showcased. After dominating early here, Stevens find himself still shining by selling mostly underneath the rest of the way, busting out numerous spectacular power moves against the established powerhouse Strong, giving the NRC leader a taste of his own medicine that only the likes of Shingo, Joe, and Morishima could’ve done before. That it was such a struggle for the cocky Strong to pull out the victory here was monumental in Stevens earning Chicago’s support, just like he’d done the night before in Detroit against Morishima. A Super Tiger Driver would be blocked by Stevens, being turned into a Super Power Slam for an excellent near fall that would’ve been a very satisfying upset finish; there’s an argument that perhaps Stevens, for all of his glaring flaws, should’ve just gone over here, especially with a thrown-in stipulation that this would be the end of the program. Doing so also would’ve creatively established that Aries proved he could successfully form and lead another faction, rather than just take over one like he had done over Alex Shelley at Final Battle 2004. But Stevens still came out of this with his stock raised, being beaten to a pulp to fall prey to a Super Release Splash Mountain Powerbomb, followed by a standard Tiger Driver. Perhaps the best test to see if Stevens can sustain the momentum of this breakout weekend would be to just feud against Strong without anyone else involved, as it’d also keep Strong busy once Aries has a conclusive match against his former stablemate too. Rating: **** The formation of the Hangmen Three at the expense of Delirious is shown from Caged Rage. I have a theory now: perhaps booker Gabe Sapolsky knowingly, intentionally formed this totally useless, humdrum faction as a means to make other weak stables such as the Resilience and Vulture Squad shine in comparison. As burned out as he was, he couldn’t have possibly been blind to just how much of a black eye this was serving for the ROH brand to a potential new audience on PPV. In fact, with this direction being featured on PPV, it’s astonishing in hindsight that this or something from TNA failed to win the Worst Feud of the Year in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards instead of it being crowned upon the perversely entertaining Kane vs. Big Daddy V. This whole saga had zero enjoyment value from any kind of perspective. ROH Title Match Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson Although Danielson had just gotten a title shot 3 weeks earlier, he had earned that thanks to his cream-of-the-crop reign; this was earned by defeating McGuinness on the Driven 2007 PPV. Danielson dominated this match surprisingly, compensating for his injury with a focused, furious quest for vengeance over his eye injury. Morishima seemed unprepared for Danielson’s onslaught, eating various strikes and submissions, including elbows to the head, Triangle Chokes, Super Backdrop Suplex, Tiger Suplex, and Cattle Mutilation. Chicago was in awe at Danielson’s dominance here over the monstrous champion, each big move and submission hold gaining more drama as the match went along. Even when Morishima blocked a schoolboy pin attempt to finally sit his fat ass down on Danielson, it wasn’t enough to stop the challenger’s relentless pursuit. Morishima would have to his size and dig down deep into his obviously inferior cardio while locked in a second triangle choke, lifting Danielson up for a one-armed powerbomb. Danielson would come back for more, but once Morishima was able to block a forearm charge, that was enough to hit a lariat and backdrop driver. However, Morishima had poor ring positioning, allowing Danielson to be close enough to get his foot on the bottom rope in another piece of excellent drama. To nobody’s surprise, Morishima became frustrated and broke his vow, removing Danielson’s eyepatch and gaining the victory by targeting the injury and striking Danielson’s head repeatedly, causing the referee to call the match in favor of the champion much to Chicago’s disapproval. Another excellent match on this PPV and worthy follow-up to the acclaimed first match just 3 weeks earlier. This is perhaps the greatest example of what an encounter against Brock Lesnar would’ve been like for Danielson; surprise the monster with absolute fury to destabilize him, get relentless with a number of strikes and submissions, and hope that it’s enough to gain the upset. It’s definitely obvious not just from a booking perspective, but from a kayfabe perspective, that Morishima’s days as champion are numbered after having his most grueling defenses against Danielson, Castagnoli, and Brent Albright in recent weeks. He had to break a competitive vow and is showing very clear signs of fatigue, including poor cardio against much smaller, more driver opponents, and poor ring positioning as well. The writing is on the wall for McGuinness to finally get the job done. And of course, the Morishima vs. Danielson saga is far from finished. Rating: ****1/4 Tag Titles – Ladder Match Briscoe Bros. vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico Getting the obvious out of the way: the opening crowd brawling had an absolutely ludicrous amount of unprotected chair shots, ESPECIALLY with Chris Nowinski shortly before this revealing that Chris Benoit had severe brain damage that had aged twice as fast as it should’ve been at the time of his death. It’s actually MORE realistic in a fight for someone to put their arms and hands up anyway to protect their heads and faces, so these guys along with those who paved this kind of shit for them such as Mick Foley, were always sadly mistaken. The dangerous bumps on the ladders, including a Package Piledriver and Butterfly Piledriver, didn’t appear to be dangerous for the head and neck, but mainly just for those taking the back bumps on the ladders. The same can be said for the unforgettable Beal that the champs forced Generico to take, a true highlight in this all-time classic that had Chicago going insane. From a purely entertainment perspective, the only dynamic missing from this brawl, and it’s an arguable nitpick, is that Jay and Steen never took a moment to viscerally talk shit to each other. Perhaps that would be unrealistic with the amount of brutality endured in this appropriately marketed “Ladder War,” but it was noticeable when factoring how much of a factor Steen’s mouth had played in all the months leading up to this piece of history, not just in promos, but during the actual in-ring battles. Steen deserves major kudos for saving the conclusion of the match, climbing back up since so much time had passed while Jay struggled to remove the belts. Steen had nothing left, but it was only logical that his character would’ve used the last pitiful amount of energy possible to prevent the inevitable, which was that he had started a fight, and now he and his best friend were gonna lose it. This ending could’ve been a very glaring black eye, much like Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon at SummerSlam 1995. Other chaotic highlights in this match include Mark hitting a Shooting Star Press on the ladder and landing spectacularly in a way that hurt himself, Jay being shoved back-first onto a previously breaking ladder to break it even more (this particular piece of furniture actually looked like it was designed to give in and protect these men, which is a good thing if that’s the case,) and Jay calling for the maintenance ladder to bring in the ring in the last few minutes of the match, causing another Windy City eruption. The Doomsday Device that saw Mark jump underneath the maintenance ladder must also be mentioned, an amazing “special effect” as Generico would call such highspots years later when he appeared on Talk is Jericho. This definitely lived up to the hype of being the company’s first-ever official ladder match, completely blowing away the closing thing to one 5 years earlier between Paul London and Michael Shane at Unscripted, which also drew “Match of the Year” chants from the live crowd. But this never let up, belonging in the conversation with the HBK vs. Razor series as well as the Rock vs. Triple H and the trilogy involving the Dudleyz, Hardyz, and Edge & Christian several years earlier. This was a car crash from start to finish that blew the roof off the Frontier Fieldhouse, and set a bar so high that the company would not host a ladder match that could come close to it for another 9 years. Undoubtedly, this is the feud of the year, and I’m sad to see it end. I’ve zero faith that the obvious McGuinness era on the horizon will creatively carry this creatively decaying company like this program did. But maybe Steen pie-facing Generico is a sign that they’re gonna actually break up and feud? While it may seem a bit too soon, one cannot argue that it’s reliable enough to carry the company and make up for Sapolsky’s creative collapse. It also ensured that both have something substantial coming out of this direction. The same cannot be said for the Briscoes in the post-match though. Project 161 finally gets revealed when a bunch of masked unknowns appear in the front rows donned in black, providing a distraction for the debuting Tyler Black to arrive along with Lacey & Jimmy Jacobs, who are then joined moments later by the returning Necro Butcher! (In hindsight, what a missed opportunity in 2006 for Jacobs & Necro not to have some kind of loose alliance when they simultaneously feuded with BJ Whitmer.) Necro sticks out like a sore thumb visually, but the PPV quickly ends. The rest of the segment is in the bonus features, and it’s incredibly cringe-worthy. Jay is hung upside down and lifted while his head is bleeding, and Jacobs cuts an overall ineffective promo as the blood falls on him. Jacobs says that Lacey’s love failed to save him and rid his misery, and that nothing ever will. He shits on the fans for supporting the obnoxious drunkard Briscoes (I’m sure the PWG Six would agree with that sentiment after what happened the day of Giant Size Annual #4) and wants the power in the company, so the newfound Age of the Fall will be coming for the Briscoes. Based on his verbiage, Jacobs did a good job explaining why he recruited Necro, as both are outcasts in their own way. As for Black, he described as a lost potential superstar. That could make sense when considering that Black is in his early 20s, but the fact that Jacobs gloats about all his obvious strengths doesn’t really fit the outcast shtick that Jacobs is going for. Some mark in the front row gets under Jay’s skin afterward, but the Briscoes leave with the belts, proud of vanquishing their 2007 archenemies and ready for the new Age of the Fall challenge. Rating: ****3/4 (for everything prior to the Age of the Fall segment) BONUS MATCHES Amazing Kong’s ROH Debut Lacey & Sara Del Rey vs. Amazing Kong & Daizee Haze Impressive debut for Kong here and the Chicago crowd’s enthusiasm certainly helped. As expected, Haze played the FIP, getting double-teamed until finally getting the hot tag on Kong, who played a role similar to Samoa Joe but with far more outward facial expressions. It was a surprise that since Del Rey would soon be defending the Shimmer title against Kong, that Haze got the victorious pin on Lacey. Nobody cared about the Lacey vs. Haze program, so this ample opportunity to throw a bone towards Dave Prazak’s promotion and build up one of his matches. Rating: *** How remarkable, BJ Whitmer got a haircut and dyed his hair blonde to look like Ken Anderson. That’ll save the Hangmen Three saga. Tyler Black’s ROH Debut Match Jack Evans vs. Tyler Black Very simple match. Black sneaks from behind to dominate at first, Evans makes a comeback. Necro & Jacobs appear to attack Evans and the match is called off, then Irish Airborne makes the saves. Zero interest in this impromptu trios match, but Black looks just fine in this federation. Good for AOTF winning their first match together too. Matt Sydal’s ROH Farewell Delirious vs. Matt Sydal These two are getting in-ring introductions to signify the importance of this rivalry ending. It’s truly the end of an era for the 2 that debuted against each other at Reborn Stage 1. Sydal gets incredibly treatment from Chicago despite going out as an SNS heel. To sell the sentimental value of this, Delirious opts not to go crazy at first, instead wanting a handshake for this final chapter. But Sydal takes a cheap shot. Perfect. This was a fitting end to the rivalry but couldn’t touch their 2/3 falls match earlier in the year. With that said, this was everything expected, all the crisp moves and counters of these 2 archrivals, and Larry Sweeney going postal when he thought Todd Sinclair counted too slow. He was probably still mad from eating a Senton by Delirious too. Delirious won which made sense, but Sydal took a head drop late in the match via a Cobra Clutch Suplex, and that must have led to his concussion as reported by the Wrestling Observer the following day. The crowd gave him a great ovation as he left, but with the news the following day, it’s understandable that he couldn’t provide a farewell speech. One can only imagine the whirlwind it had been for him, as he had come a long way in the past year, just had a show-stealing match in PWG against Alex Shelley, and had even been in the American Bank Center to get the news about the Benoit family tragedy along with the WWE roster on what was supposed to be a tryout for him. Rating: ***1/4 Easiest recommendation possible thanks to 3 tremendous matches, including a historic all-time feud-ending ladder match and another classic performance from Danielson, plus Sydal’s farewell to bring his rivalry with Delirious to a close. This really marks the finale of Sapolsky having any positive creativity to offer the company, going from the Feud of the Year to one of the most disappointing starts to a faction and program I’ve ever seen immediately afterwards. Not exactly the post-match from Cage of Death. Of course, this would turn out to not be the end for Sydal in ROH, so assuming 2017 is still the end for him a decade from now, that’s when his ROH career can truly be chronicled. But his initial 3-year run is something to be proud of and worthy of its own compilation. So many quality tag matches with different partners, so many great trios and 8-man tags, so many entertaining promos both good and bad, so many quality singles encounters against AJ Styles, Claudio Castagnoli, Austin Aries, Christopher Daniels, and Jimmy Rave, just to name a few, plus the rivalry against Delirious that bookended this run for him. As mentioned earlier, an era is on the horizon that should’ve already started several months back in Liverpool. We’ll see how it holds up, plus there’s a lazy excuse for a creative shakeup too! But the good news – one of the greatest rivalries in underground wrestling history returns! Up next – Honor Nation Matches will include: Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson Vulture Squad vs. No Remorse Corps Takeshi Morishima vs. Kevin Steen
  13. supersonic

    Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

    Motor City Madness 2007 – September 14, 2007 Taped from Detroit, MI ROH Video Wire – August 31, 2007 Important news/footage in the above video: Bryan Danielson’s left eye could not look straight due to his injury against Takeshi Morishima so he got emergency surgery shortly after Manhattan Mayhem II. So foolish for nobody to call the match off immediately. Why exactly is there no mention in the Video Wire that the Man Up PPV will be headlined by Morishima vs. Danielson II and the historic, first-ever, feud-ending ladder match between the Briscoes and Kevin Steen & El Generico? Another ho-hum show overall, so C&P treatment again when appropriate, this time from JD Dunn. Very disappointing considering this is ROH’s Motown follow-up to WrestleMania 23 weekend. As a result of winning a four-way against Delirious, Kevin Steen, and Roderick Strong early on the card, Erick Stevens faces Takeshi Morishima tonight for the ROH Title. Can he step up and have powerhouse matches against the monster heel on par with Shingo, Brent Albright, Samoa Joe, and Claudio Castagnoli? Dream Match El Generico vs. Naomichi Marufuji Very good match at the end to elevate Generico’s stock. Had the main portions of the match developed a bit more of a story to have Marufuji soften Generico’s neck and shoulders, this would’ve turned out to be tremendous. That’s because Generico’s resilience after the first Shiranui would’ve been more dramatic, although it’s difficult to find fault based on the monster reaction he got with his foot reaching the bottom rope, but not quite as epic as Bryan Danielson doing similar against KENTA 363 days prior to this. Generico very obviously came out the star in this match, only being briefly sabotaged from the Yakuza Kick, absorbing Marufuji’s cutoffs and then hitting it anyway. The drama was definitely noticeable when he hit a standard Brainbuster for a near-fall; that they never teased the Top Rope Brainbuster at least is another flaw in this match though. But Marufuji having to take his game a step further with a Super Shiranui to obtain the victory spoke volumes, as well as his insistence to get the crowd behind the Generic Luchador in the post-match as they exchanged respect. This match makes the “What if?” that never came to be even more glaring: KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico. Rating: ***3/4 ROH Title Match Takeshi Morishima vs. Erick Stevens Like the other match reviewed, this was designed solely to use a puro star to elevate an ROH rookie and it worked even better despite this match not being quite as good but pretty close. Stevens winning the fans over here was quite impressive considering that the fans apparently weren’t happy of missing out on Morishima vs. Steen or Morishima vs. Strong II. The story here was a bit simpler: Stevens absorbs the larger Morishima’s powerful blows, but keeps managing to make comebacks and avoid the backdrop driver. Once the gut wrench powerbomb was finally hit, the crowd exploded in a true career highlight for Stevens. But it obviously wasn’t enough as Morishima picked up on the repertoire of Stevens, dead-weighting and sitting on Stevens when he went for a second German Suplex. Morishima surprisingly gave respect to Stevens, but perhaps that’s a red herring for what’s to come. Stevens has some potential by this point, but the lack of charisma is concerning. My suggestion: find a direction that will pair him up with Albright to form a powerhouse team, with the two eventually making a complete heel turn against Steen & Generico for a Tag Titles program sometime in 2008. Rating: ***1/2 Get this DVD cheap for the 2 reviewed matches as they’re worth seeing. Now it’s the big one. It’s the end of the Feud of the Year Front Runner. It’s the first-ever ladder match in company history. And it’s the rematch of the classic that turned out to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year. Plus.. the payoff to the Project 161 viral direction. And the farewell of Matt Sydal as well, capping off his underground run against his greatest career rival Delirious, plus 2 major debuts! It’s time to simply Man Up! Up next – Man Up Matches will include: The entire PPV broadcast Lacey & Sara Del Rey vs. Amazing Kong & Daizee Haze Delirious vs. Matt Sydal
  14. supersonic

    Mauro and JBL

    Phillips needs Graves. Ideally my dream commentary teams would be Cole & McGuinness, Phillips & Graves for main roster. Not sure who'd be Ranallo's best partner... Lenny Leonard? That'd be a bit of a throwback to the Prazak & Leonard tandem.
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