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Monday, June 20, 2005 12:00AM

Guest Column by Alexander Horowitz


Ring of Honor Wrestling.  Several things come to mind when this indy wrestling federation is brought up in the IWC.  Some think work-rate and great matches.  Others think spot fest after spot fest.  And yet a good portion also thinks about ol’ Rob Feinstein and his NAMBLA shenanigans with the Chicago police.  Say what you want about Rob and his “genius booking”, the guy is one step away from hanging out in front of a playground with a rented van and some tainted candy.  ROH fans constantly deny that this is behavior that is representative of ROH, which is a fair point.  That argument was kinda blown to hell when Dan Maff, one of their biggest tag team wrestlers, up and “quit wrestling”, which when ran through the translator is booking speak for “Maff sexually propositioned a wrestler’s underage daughter.”  Yep, according to inside sources, Dan Maff sexually harassed wrestler Homicide’s underage daughter, who is said to be under the age of 15.  Homicide has been credited with saying that “if he ever meets Maff or anyone else that does that does that kind of crap, he’ll beat the living daylights out of them.”  In a totally unrelated story, Jerry Lawler bites his lip nervously and wipes sweat from his brow.  Again, I’m not jumping to conclusions, just a bunch of delightful coincidences I bring to amuse you all.


Hey, no matter what you think, there isn’t an IWC discussion that goes by without someone invariably trumpeting ROH as the savior of wrestling in America today.  These so-called ROHbots try to begin and end every discussion with why Austin Aries is so much better than anybody in the WWE, why Samoa Joe is the greatest champion ever, or why the WWE doesn’t have the balls to put Paul London in the main event.  So I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  I’d been to two previous ROH shows in Dayton, one was when my little brother was in town and I took as a belated birthday present, and the other was just to see AJ Styles, who occasionally wrestles there.  I am at best a casual fan of ROH, but in order to do this I researched the company and its history extensively (meaning I looked on the message boards for 5 minutes, got bored, then masturbated to Asian transsexual porn).  So, with nothing better to do on a Friday night, my roommate and I bought tickets to the 5/13 show in Dayton, Ohio.  What follows is a running diary of sorts, pieced together from witness testimony and scribbled notes during the event itself. 


Note:  Instead of using real names, I’m just going to use nicknames, that way I can mention people and they won’t get embarrassed.  Hey, I’m not a complete bastard.


4:00:  I get home from class just as my roommate Taco is getting home from the gym.  We decide that now would be a good time to start drinking heavily.  We pop in Taco’s brand new copy of Team America: World Police and commence destruction of a 30-pack of Rolling Rock.  We determine that in order to attain said destruction, a drinking game is in order.  We settle on drinking every time a bodily secretion is either seen, eluded to, or talked about.


5:10:  Taco has already devoured 9 beers and I’m on my 8th, so we are well on our way to being obscenely drunk.  The drinking game was given up 20 minutes in favor of a game of Quarters, which Taco is losing horribly.  He is venting his frustration by chucking his empty beer cans off our balcony and screaming “MATT DAMON!!!!” at the top of his lungs.


5:50  The movie is over and so is the 30 pack.  Taco has taken to serenading our apartment complex with the theme song to Team America, but he forgets half of the lyrics so he basically is just repeating “America….Fuck Yeah!!!!!  So lick my butt and suck on my balls!!!”   Panic sets in as both me and Taco discover we have no more beer to drink.  I offer up my six pack of Guinness as an alternative, which Taco instantly shoots down because “it tastes like donkey cum”.  When I inquire him as to how he knows this, he mumbles to stay out of his personal life.


6:12:  All is well as our mutual friend DickAss appears with a 24 pack of Miller.  Horrible, but at least we have more alcohol.


6:25:  We have been reduced to playing Circle of Death while watching Gastineau Girls on FX.  Such is the life of a chronic alcoholic.


7:04:  DickAss reminds us that we have a wrestling event to get to.  Normally, at this stage we would forego the trip since we are so drunk, but Taco and I decide that since we have already bought the tickets, we might as well go. 


7:16:  Logic throws a kink in our plans when we realize that neither of us is in any condition to drive.  We not so politely ask DickAss to drive us, to which he replies for us to go fornicate ourselves.  Taco threatens to stab his eyes out with his erect penis, but alas, we still have no ride. 


7:35:  Savior comes in the form of Taco’s girlfriend, Decaf.  She volunteers to take us to the event and pick us up afterwards.  I profess that I love her, but Taco threatens me with death if I touch his woman.


7:45:  We are on our way to the event.  I demand that we pull over to get Taco Bell, and when Decaf asked why, I reportedly said “Because the lives of Vietnamese Refugees are at stake.”  Like I said, I’m an asshole when I’m drunk…..


8:03:  We arrive in time for the show and Taco thanks his girlfriend for driving us in the form of kicking her bumper as she drives off.  We walk into the arena and sit down just as the first match is taking place:  Roderick Strong vs. Alex Shelley.


8:29:  Not a bad match.  Good fast paced action at first that melts into a solid technical match with Strong trying to work Shelley’s back at every opportunity and Shelley really selling himself as the baby face in peril.  Shelly comes back though and gets the duke in an entertaining match that really warms up the crowd.  I actually begin to look forward to the rest of the event.  I begin to see why the ROHbots trumpet Ring of Honor as the heir to the pro wrestling throne.  Then I remind myself that I am a cynical bastard and that this is an indy show with a budget of 12 dollars and 6 wooden nickels.  Meanwhile, Taco is shouting random stuff at the ring crew all the while aggressively attacking the contents of the hip flask we snuck in.


8:31:  Next match up:  Fatal 4 way with ROH pure champion Samoa Joe vs. Ebbesan vs. Delirious vs. Jack Evans.  Taco immediately gets two zingers in by first pointing at Joe and saying he loved him as the Stay-Puff marshmallow man and then yelling at Jack Evans that he sucked when he starred in Can’t Hardly Wait.  Yes, Taco was so drunk he thought Evans was Seth Green.  It must be noted here that we were far from the most obnoxious people at this event.  People were shouting crap throughout the entire card and we only said some of the mildly offensive stuff.  Anyways, then this fat guy in a weird Japanese mask comes out (I later learned this was a newly arrived wrestler from Japan called  Ebessan).  Seriously, this guy had one of the most ridiculous looking masks I’ve ever seen.  Not a cool Japanese mask like an anime character or anything, it looked that Popeye villain Bluto on a bender.  Anyway, as soon as Taco sees this, he goes absolutely nuts, starts laughing, then stands up on his chair and starts yelling.


Taco:  Hey!  Hey!  Dragon Ball Z!!  You rule Goku!  Whachachachacha (Chinese gibberish).  Kick his ass like General Tsao (I have no idea what this means, I’m just repeating what he said).


8:49:  The match thankfully ends.  This match was really just a train wreck.  It had a lot of comedy spots including slow motion fighting between Ebessan and Delirious and a bunch of high spots from Evans.  Shockingly, Joe wasn’t really involved in the match that much and it ended in confusion with Evans getting the duke over Delirious and then taking the title belt and running away.  It was never explained at the event if the match was for the title and when Evans ran away, Joe pretty much acted like he didn’t care. 


8:51:  A tag match starts between CM Punk/Ace Steel vs. BJ Whitmer/Jimmy Jacobs.  This was actually the highlight of the night for me, not because of the match, but because I got into an altercation with another fan.  When Jimmy Jacobs came out, I yelled to him “Hey, you stole Rey’s mask!”  See, Jimmy Jacobs was the guy that Eddie beat the crap out of a couple of weeks ago on Smackdown, then put the mask on him and beat the crap out of him some more.  Apparently this old white guy took exception to it and started staring my down and then yelled “Don’t you dare insult the great tradition of luchadors!”

This opened the flood gates for me, since this guy was obviously a 40 year old virgin who had never even been to Mexico in his life, much less wrestled as a luchador.  For the next 20 minutes I proceed to taunt him, telling him he must be from the Ozark mountains part of Tijuana, jokingly saying that Rey mowed my lawn last week (this was just a joke to rile this guy, Taco was joining in too and he’s actually a full-blooded Mexican from Texas), and that I was glad he could leave his mom’s basement for a couple of hours.  After about a half hour of this, the guy got up and we never saw him again.  On the bright side, I was told the match was good.


8:52: Ringside altercation between Jimmy Rave and CM Punk ensues (On a side note,  big props to Punk for wrestling this show 2 hours after he had a root canal) leads to both factions “bodyguards” getting into a scuffle.  Unfortunately, their bodyguards look more like the local High school Magic the Gathering league than seasoned bouncers.  This leads to a quick match between Jimmy Rave and Matt Sydal (who looks mysteriously like my paper boy).  Rave gets the duke in an ok match that showcases Sydal’s flippy-dippy high flying skills. 


9:01:  Taco had finished off the flask and is now eating bad stadium nachos with his bared hands.  Unfortunately, he has succeeded at getting more of it on his shirt than his mouth.


9:04:  Colt Cabana and Doug Williams vs. Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer starts.  This match was a well-paced match that interspersed comedy a lot better than the 4-way.  It basically had the 4 guys beating the crap out of each other then one of them doing such a thing as an eye poke, then the other guy loudly exclaiming “Ow, that really hurt!!”  Think a comedy Owen Hart match and you’ve pretty much got a good idea what this was about.  There was a little bit of good technical wrestling here, especially from Cabana, who took a really nice backbreaker and reversed into a Russian leg sweep. 


9:24:  The match ends and Taco is threatening to puke.  I drag his drunk ass to the bath room to unload what will no doubt be a nights worth of Taco Bell, beer, whisky, Jagermeister, and nachos.  In pulling him up, he falls against me and gets nacho cheese all over my brand new shirt.  I get pissed because I had planned to go over to the club later in the night to meet up with my gf, Strawberry.  He mumbles “Sorry dude…..m’m gonna puke….”


9:28:  I seat Taco right in front of the toilet and tell him to Ralph, then stand back 10 feet to make sure he doesn’t swallow his tongue.  I’m not getting any closer because I know from experience this man has more pressure than a fire hose when he is puking.  He spends the next 15 minutes mumbling “I’m not gonna puke….don’t wanna….not gonna”


9:45:  Taco assures me he isn’t going to puke, that his nausea has passed, so I stand him up to splash water on his face in the sink.


9:46:  Taco pukes anyways.


9:50:  I finally get Taco back into his seat just as James Gibson (Jamie Noble) is making his way to the ring for the title match versus Austin Aries.  Taco is laughing that he puked in the sink while I’m hoping that no one reports us and we don’t get thrown out on our asses an hour and a half before our ride shows up.


9:52:  The crowd starts a Smackdown Sucks chant for Gibson.  Heh.


9:54:  As the opening bell rings, I nearly lose my composure from laughing hard when Gibson is waving around the Confederate flag and another guy sarcastically yells “We hate black people too!”  Gotta love the comments from the peanut gallery.


10:35:  Austin retains in a good match that mixes high-flying and technical wrestling.  Aries is really starting to impress the major leagues with his skills and there is talk of bringing him up to OVW or whatnot, so I paid close attention to this match.  Aries was good in this match and Gibson/Noble always delivers the goods, but there were times in the match when Aries looked lost and stared around the ring blankly.  It was a good match, but I thought that the opening match was a lot better and booked way better than this semi-main event.  The match didn’t plod along like the Michaels/Hart Iron Man match and wasn’t filled with rest holds, but there was times where the lads seemed to totally lose their bearings for a few minutes and it took a couple more to get their chemistry back.  There were a couple great spots though like a top rope suplex that looked like it killed Noble and 3 minutes with the guys literally going full blast.  Overall, a good match, but not a great one, and certainly not as good as ROHbots would have you believe.


10:45:  They start setting up the cage for the main event:  the final match in the best of 5 series with the American Dragon Bryan Danielson versus Homicide.  In the interests of research, I got a hold of the first 4 matches to properly set up this feud for you readers.  The first match was a Submission match that Danielson went into injured due to previous backstage interference.  Danielson played the baby face in peril to a T in this match, not wanting to give up, while Homicide was great as the ruthless heel who was just attacking Danielson’s weakness left and right.  Danielson eventually gave up to put Homicide over as a heel that would do anything to win and Danielson as a baby face.  The second match was a taped fist match, which is kind of a stupid stipulation when you think about it.  Whats so big about taped fists?  They can close their fists anyways, so whats so big about taping your damn knuckles?  Whatthehellever.  Anyways, Homicide gets the second match after beating the living crap outta Danielson.  This stipulation wasn’t as bad as Raven’s Monsters Ball match, but it was still pretty bad.  Still, it put over Danielson as he now had to overcome huge odds and win 3 in a row.  The third match was a falls count anywhere that was a really good brawling match that any true ECW fan would enjoy, including a dive off a Coke machine (!).  Danielson won this one after doing some nasty color and showed a different side of him, really vicious.  The fourth match was a lumberjack match that showed all the people that Homicide screwed over come back on him and Bryan ended up making Homicide tap.  All of this leads up to the final match, a cage match.  Keep in mind this was a feud ender (to a blood feud no less) as you read the end of this match. 


11:35:  Pretty mediocre cage match ensues.  There weren’t really any wild spots that you would associate with ROH.  The two lads had a pretty standard cage match that was actually a little on the short side and was also pretty lack luster.  A little bit of pure wrestling, a suplex onto a chair, and a throw into the cage were basically the fare for the entire match.  One funny spot near the end saw Danielson climb the cage to do a flying forearm, but since the ceiling was so low, he couldn’t stand all the way up without hitting the ceiling, so he basically just dropped off the side of the cage, nearly scratching himself on the sprinkler on the ceiling in the process.  Anyways, Danielson wins after putting Homicide in an Airplane Spin for about 2 minutes straight.  Wait…..what the fuck?!?!  The match ended with a fucking Airplane Spin?  Despite what most ROHbots would have you believe, the crowd was utterly confused right after it ended and some boos were heard.  I honestly can’t believe they ended it like that.  They ended a blood feud with an Airplane Spin?  When researching this article, a lot of ROHbots were trumpeting that Danielson won with a pure wrestling move that was a return to classic wrestling.  BULLSHIT.  This was a blood feud.  These guys literally beat the living crap out of one another for 6 months straight, interfering in each others matches, brawling in the parking lot after shows, and just trying to damn near kill one another.  Now the feud is capped off with an Airplane spin?  I like pure wrestling as much as the next person, and I think Danielson is one of the most gifted wrestlers on the planet, but this is damn ridiculous.  Yeah, doing an Airplane spin for 2 minutes is impressive, but you aren’t gonna do that to someone you are supposed to loathe with your entire being.  You are gonna beat the shit out of him.  That’d be like if in Hell in the Cell, HHH beat Batista with an arm drag (hey, don’t think it won’t happen).  This was a serious let down to a great feud.  Afterwards,  Danielson offered his hand to Homicide, they shook hands and hugged, then Homicide RKO’d Danielson and left.  The announcer than told us that Matt Hardy would make his independent debut for ROH in Dayton in early August.  Oy…..


11:40:  I rouse Taco from his state of near unconsciousness and proceed to drag him out where Decaf is patiently waiting for us with her car.  I deposit Taco in the back seat who manages to get out a “Hey babe”, before passing out completely.  Since I’m still slightly drunk and covered in nacho cheese, I opt to just have Decaf drive me home in hopes Strawberry won’t go to the club and come over to my house.


12:20:  Strawberry doesn’t come over.  I pass out.  Damnit


Overall analysis:  Not a bad indy show.  It had a couple of decent matches and a really good opening bout.  Its also refreshing to see so much audience participation in these indy feds.  The wrestlers laugh along with the fans at the chants and often join in on them.  However, I really can’t get over how they ended the Homicide/Danielson feud.  It was incredibly stupid and made both Homicide and Danielson look incredibly weak.  This was ROH’s biggest feud of 2005 so far, and they totally screwed up the pay off.


Stay tuned, because in the next couple installments, I’m going to through each of the most popular wrestlers in ROH (including WWE’s newest jobber, CM Punk), and see if they have what it takes to make it to the big leagues of Vincetopia.  See you there in 7!


*Pics & logos created by Sean Carless.

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).