It is time for another Jose Marrero show review and this time I was fortunate enough to attend Glory By Honor IX live in NYC at the Manhattan Center. This was a much anticipated show as has been the case the past few years. If you recall last year this show sold out due to the hype of Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson’s last night in the company and many people prophesized that we were seeing the downfall of the company. Well in that span the ROH on HD Net show has still been alive and kicking and ROH has even expanded operations into the world of Internet Pay per View. Well this weekend was no different as current ROH Heavyweight Champion Tyler Black was finishing up at this PPV and everyone wondered what was next and some were even sounding the death knell for the company yet again. Well once again this show showed that ROH is alive and well but don’t just take my word for it let’s start the review.
Let’s give some pre show thoughts as there were some funny fans in attendance that should be acknowledged. My first visual getting to the building was security searching a girl wearing an El Generico mask by groping her mask. The girl had to explain why she was not taking the mask off and said how it was a mask of “Generico my favorite wrestler” I just found this scene kind of comical as this little lady was so devoted to Generico that in true luchador fashion she refused to be unmasked. Go inside and have to climb 7 flights of stairs thanks to the laziness of the people that run the Manhattan Center to turn on the elevators and the first thing I did was bump into Shelton Benjamin…literally!! Shelton was cool about it and since I am not much of a mark for pictures I let him get back to his table with Terry Funk and Charlie Haas who were chatting away. See I don’t care so much about pictures although they are nice I do however enjoy watching wrestlers interact with each other since it shows me that they are people too which I think fans often forget. Sit down to my seats and the first thing I see are three fans wearing Nexus T Shirts. One of them waves his shirts to other fans to get the proverbial boos. I am all for wearing controversial stuff. See my custom Jose Cool/O.C.K shirts the past few years at Wrestlemania but I don’t wear it for reaction as much as it pops me. There are some ROH fans who wear John Cena stuff and other WWE merchandise literally to be in shouting wars all night with ROH fans and it just mystifies me. Show gets ready to begin we get the introductions or the commentators for the night and all the referees with Paul Turner getting a “next world champ” chant that was pretty funny. We had a moment of silence for 9/11 and the announcement that Cary Silken had made a donation to the Police Aid Foundation. I guess that was nice but I wish Cary would have just made the donation and kept that to himself but I guess he wanted the good PR. Anyway the show was about to begin with our first match.
First match out the gate was Jay Briscoe vs. Kenny King. I have to say I don’t mind the idea of doing singles matches to build to a tag team match. I just think that the singles matches should be done on TV and the tag team match should be the PPV. I felt this match really had nothing behind it from the start because everyone kind of figured there was going to be some sort of shenanigans that would lead to a split of the matches and well all you could guess was which match the heel was going to go over and which match the babyface was going to go over. This meant after the first match the mystery was more than likely going to be solved. King came out with his new valet who I believe is named Taylor who debuted the night before. I guess the idea of Austin Aries managing the All Night Express is near an end. Anyway I wasn’t really enamored with Taylor as she just showed no real personality and didn’t do anything in my opinion to enhance the act but she has time to improve I guess. This was a basic match that had a really nice flow to it and was probably the first time I ever saw a Briscoe match without a million and one spots in it although there was a ejection seat spot that saw Kenny King dumped on his head that got a “you killed Kenny” chant. The finish came when Rhett Titus came down and ran interference. Jay initially did eliminate the threat however after some time Kenny was able to take advantage of the distraction and hit Jay with The Royal Flush for the pin at about the 8 minute mark. The heel jump Jay and out comes Mark to make the save which leads to the next match between Mark and Rhett Titus.
I thought it was really hard to get into this match as both tag team partners stuck around at ringside and as I said previously I already sort of felt there was going to be a split to these matches to keep the idea of a tag team match alive between these two teams. I really thought it would’ve still kept that program alive and probably been more surprising if Rhett went over Mark here but that was not to be. Tag partners were again involved in the finish but this time the babyfaces prevailed as Mark got the win over Rhett with the cut throat driver at about the 10 minute mark which made me happy as I felt these matches were just filler to get to some of the other stuff.
Next match up on the card was Erik Stevens and Necro Butcher with Prince Nana and Ernesto Osiris vs. Ballz Mahoney and Grizzly Redwood. It was nice to see Ballz wrestle as Ballz even if they had to add a “Z” and not kahoney. One thing I couldn’t help but think about was how I remembered when Erik Stevens was first starting out and looked bigger and was getting that serious push behind him in both ROH and FIP and even remembered being that in NYC when he defeated Roderick Strong, his teacher in a pretty good match up and thought he was going to be onto bigger and better things. Boy was I wrong, don’t get me wrong he looks in better shape and I think he is even a better worker now than he was then, I don’t know what happened but I would like to see more from Erik than the Embassy. This is not to say the Embassy isn’t a cool little faction because I enjoy Prince Nana immensely and well for obvious reasons (See O.C.K) am always going to have fondness for the Embassy. I just see it as a joke stable and well I don’t see Erik Stevens as a joke wrestler. Anyway it was nice to see Erik make the IPPV and Necro went for the cheap heat by wearing a Tampa Bay Rays jersey and well it didn’t get as much heat as it should’ve probably cause Tampa Bay despite being neck and neck in a pennant race is just not a big rival for the Yankees yet but I digress. Typical tag team brawl with Ballz being over and getting to do all of his spots which he still does a decent job of doing but nothing that makes me want to see him with TNA or WWE as the years have taken their toll on him and he doesn’t move around in the ring as good as he used to. This isn’t really a knock as much as an observation as you can’t expect a 20 year vet to be a spring chicken. Anyway the finish came about 8 minutes in as Stevens got the pin on Ballz who did the job for the company guy with Stevens hitting Ballz with the Ghanarrea for the finish. Fans were really respectful to Ballz chanting “ECW” when he left until Ballz did the classy thing and what you should really do in that position since ECW is dead and buried and instructed those fans to chant “ROH” which they did.
Next match was one I was really looking forward to as it was Colt Cabana and El Generico vs. Steve Corino and the man who every time I see him becomes more and more my favorite ROH wrestler Kevin Steen. As a matter of fact one of the coolest wrestling shirts I have ever seen is his new shirt to the point where I almost bought it and I don’t buy wrestling shirts. Introductions to the match stated that this match could only end by pinfall, submission or knockout and the linking of the chain was going to be decided by coin toss. For some reason that I’m sure was explained on IPPV Kevin Steen got to make the call, called heads and lost. El Generico immediately signaled to the crowd that he wanted to be paired with his old tag team partner and the crowd cheered like crazy. The babyfaces ran wild in the opening moments as they thrashed the heels in entertaining fashion where I almost was able to look past the fact that Generico was tossing around Steen during that span like a ragdoll and well considering the weight advantage Steen has on him should not have been able to do that. It all broke down from there as the heels were busted open and eventually colt was busted open as well. for a hardcore match they did their best to tell a story in there as they built up to a point in the match where Generico was tossed through a table and Steen couldn’t help Steve due to the dead weight of Generico but a kid who I believe but have not confirmed as of this writing to be Steve corono’s son Colby ran in and freed Kevin so that they could both ganged up on cabana. they shackled cabana by both chains to the ropes and kept teasing a unprotected chair shot to the head which fans actually bought even though ROH does not do unprotected chair shots to the head anymore. Generico kept running in to protect colt and was stopped until finally he freed colt and the match finally ended around the 20 minute mark when cabana submitted Corino with the Billy Goats Curse. The celebration didn’t last as the heels immediately jumped both men afterwards leading to Steen pulling off Genericos mask and placing it on a chair and using Steve Corino’s blood to write “Mr. Wrestling” on the chair simulating the image on the aforementioned Kevin Steen t shirt. So the feud continues and to be honest I don’t mind. It’s been 9 months since this feud began and I find it as entertaining as I did from day one. I do expect this to end once and for all at final battle.
This took us to intermission which I always thought was really funny since this is an IPPV but whatever, it is what it is I guess right? Anyway we come back with Jim Cornette in the ring. He announces that Davey Richards due to commitments with New Japan Pro Wrestling and starts to talk about how everyone knows that Davey had previously stated that 2010 would be his final year in professional wrestling and then states how Davey is a licensed Fireman and an EMT and has a lot of on his plate. He says how ROH got him to reconsider and has resigned Davey for one more year and as a reward for resigning is going to give him the main event slot against whomever the ROH Heavyweight Champion is at Final Battle 2010 which is also going to be held in the Manhattan Center and will also be on IPPV on December 18, which just so happens to also be my 29th Birthday. He says how the hunt is on for Davey who vows to be the very best in the world and everyone cheers and we go on with the rest of the show. I didn’t like the fact that title shots can just be handed out for resigning but that’s the way they worked it. I thought they could have done a better job of giving Davey the title opportunity.
First match after intermission is the “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries who was not accompanied by Taylor which I found odd. Aries cut a promo to start things off and says how it was Christopher Daniels who coined the “A Double” nickname five years ago and that he should give the nickname “CD” to Daniels because like CD’s Daniels is outdated. He backtracks on the insult and calls upon Daniels to steal the show with him and the crowd roars approvingly. Needless to say, shockingly this did not steal the show. I don’t know what it was but sometimes you have good nights and sometimes you just don’t. This wasn’t the best night for these two and part of it was the crowd who maybe had too much alcohol that was kicking in at that point and was just at times enjoying chanting “Fuck TNA” and “Fuck WWE” and even “NXT” and “Nexus” chants rather than paying attention to the match. This was the only match that I could outright tell was called in the ring and Daniels and Aries did their best to try to get the crowd into it and succeeded but I just felt the match was a bit lackluster and Daniels got the finish with a really cool top rope Angels Wings at about 13 minutes in. I’d like to see these guys wrestle again as I feel they will have the show stealing match nine times out of ten but this unfortunately was number ten. After the match Daniels did motion that he wants a title shot as he did once again take Tyler Black the night before to a draw so at least Daniels was reestablished as a top contender to the title as Austin Aries seemingly fades to the ether.
We then had the “Dream Match” of The Kings of Wrestling Chris Hero and Claudio Castignolli vs. “Wrestling Greatest Tag Team” (fans kept calling them the “World’s Greatest Tag Team” but that’s trademarked) The crowd was super into this match and I had to laugh as one of the themes of this and every ROH show is to chant “fuck TNA” and “fuck WWE” repeatedly yet they were very receptive to the WGTT and cheered as Shelton and Charlie hit every spot they ever did in WWE. This is not to say it was a bad match as it wasn’t but I was waiting for all this new stuff that I heard Charlie Haas talk about the past few weeks and never got it. KOW got the heat on WGTT forever as a matter of fact they probably took 80% of the match. The finish came with Chris Hero hitting has with loaded elbow at 27 minutes and Claudio gets the pin on Haas.
of course the WGTT didn’t come to ROH to look foolish so they got there shine back by rallying back after the match and running the KOW out of the ring which left them alone with Shane Hagadorn who they stripped to his underwear which looked a bit wet and stained to be honest. They whipped poor Hagadorn with his own belt and Shelton held him down so Charlie could hit him with a flying elbow drop to the nether regions and the WGTT celebrated with the ROH tag team titles which really does not mean much unless they actually come back. I really liked the match but Charlie Haas looked very rusty as Shelton was in there most of the match and I just felt that if the kings were going over the WGTT on IPPV it should have been a title match and it wasn’t.
Finally the much anticipated main event of reigning and departing ROH Heavyweight Champion Tyler Black vs. Roderick Strong who was accompanied by Truth Martini with Terry Funk serving as the outside ring vigilante. Isn’t a vigilante supposed to be someone who takes the law into his own hands? Well that is what Funk did later on but I’ll get to that. This was a bit different than what I’m used to from a ROH crowd. Usually these matches happen when a guy is leaving and he is up against the opposite of what his characters disposition is but in leading up to this match Tyler was the babyface which is why we had Terry Funk as the outside vigilante in this match. Roderick was the heel but with the WWE signing of Tyler the crowd dictated roles change for at least one night and they did…kind of. you see Tyler worked heel and even did a John Cena “you can’t see me” gesture leading up to a STF but towards the end of the match they switched roles with the referee taking a bump and then instead of helping the poor ref to his feet Terry Funk throws him out of the ring and takes over as referee for the match ripping off his shirt to show a referee’s shirt underneath. The House of Truth would wind up running in and being cut off by Terry Funk leading to Funk beating up Truth Martini. The match was good and I was shocked to see Roderick win with a backbreaker, gut buster and dropkick combo in 25 minutes to become the new ROH champion clean in the middle of the ring. If anything other than the heel/face dynamic hurt this match it was the slow refereeing of Terry Funk who at his age shouldn’t be put in those kinds of positions. I think it would have been one thing to have Terry count the three but he couldn’t get down over and over again to do the near falls and it hurt the match somewhat.
Cary Silken immediately ran in to congratulate strong and all of a sudden all was forgiven for Tyler black as the same crowd that earlier serenaded him with chants of “jobber”,”FCW”, and “NXT” were now chanting “thank you Tyler”. there was no teary eyed send off for Tyler who didn’t go for the Roderick strong handshake and flipped everyone the bird and just like that the Tyler black era was over in Ring of Honor.
Of course this show couldn’t just end here with the sad note of Tyler black leaving so while strong begins to celebrate the lights go out and out comes the returning Homicide to ROH. Homicide and strong face off; with Strong acting like he wanted to make a go of it right then and there only to be talked out of it by Martini which of course the crowd hated. Homicide grabs the microphone reminds everyone that he is a former ROH champion and puts the challenge out there for final battle and says he will go through everyone to get a shot at the “Ring of Homicide” title at final battle and that pretty much ends the show.
It was a solid show overall and it set up things nicely for final battle with strong already looking at Davey Richards as a challenger with Homicide and Christopher Daniels on his trail. for all the people that like to deride the talent in Ring of Honor it should be stated that all four guys in the ROH title picture are pretty much original ROH guys with Roderick, Homicide and Daniels being there from year one. Davey Richards is the heir apparent for Bryan Danielson on the Indy scene and well those four guys make up quite a main event scene. With Homicide back the potential for other storylines including ones that involve Homicides old ROH nemesis Jim Cornette exists. Overall this is a good position for new booker Delirious to be in and I think I like the new direction. Hopefully Final Battle lives up to expectations and ROH can keep having strong IPPV shows. This was not the “show of the year” as I heard one ROH fan shout as he left the building but a very solid show building up to another PPV. ROH can’t have a s how of the year every time out but as long as they continue to have solid shows I think this company will be just fine.
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