You know, it’s been a long time, a real long time, since I have had this much energy to write about pro wrestling. But this one really has me jacked up. I gotta first address a topic that, when I wrote my initial review at 3am on sunday morning, I didn’t know much about. Now, that I have had the chance to do some research, I have some more information, and it needs to be brought to the forefront.
However he did it, Nigel McGuinness, current ROH World Champion, seriously injured his arm and shoulder in Pennslyvania on friday night in a tag match with Davey Richards against El Generico & KENTA. People will say it goes with the job, and I’ll agree to that, in most cases, but when a champion is approaching 40 title defenses, it becomes a little bit more pronounced.
Now, at the Hammerstein, for ROH’s big 7th Anniversary party, it wouldn’t have been anybody’s fault, blame, or anything, if Nigel had pulled out of the title match. At the time he came to the ring, I honestly began to think the reports I had read prior to going to the Hammerstein were bogus, and that everything was OK.
How wrong I was.
Nigel’s shoulder looked like it had gotten hit by a bomb from all the tape and bandages he had on it. But, he began the match with the Japanese champion KENTA, and with the arrays of lethal strikes with the GHC title holder’s feet and knees, it was inevitable that the weakened part of McGuinness’ anatomy was going to be tested, and tested early.
I’ve seen my fair share of Nigel McGuinness matches, both on DVD, and in person live. At first, he reminded me of a Jon Heidenreich clone with the hair, and the gimmick, in a matter of speaking. The iron was a stupid touch, in my humblest of opinions, but when you cut through all the fluff, the man can compete. He can technically wrestle, he can fight, and he can play you like a sap on a regular basis.
Sure, the nickname McLariat does come to play, and frankly, I can’t still get used to that bounceback lariat he does off the ropes, but I’m not in the business, and if it works for Nigel McGuinness, I gotta live with it, and it obviously has if the man has been ROH World Champ for over a year, and is approaching legendary status as that title holder.
Getting back to the match, the bottom line here, each time KENTA struck Nigel in the shoulder, the screams could be heard in the 2nd balcony of the Hammerstein. I’ve followed ROH since July of 2005, and Long Island’s Sign of Dishonor show. I have never heard Nigel McGuinness scream in such agony like he did when KENTA kicked, punched, and armlocked that shoulder. It sounded like torture.
There’s an old saying, “never bring a one legged man to an ass kicking contest.” Well, Nigel saturday night was a one armed man, and he still managed to take the fight to KENTA for nearly 40 minutes. He abosrbed punishment that would’ve floored any normal competitor, even taking the Go To Sleep from the originator of the move, and literally kicking out at the absolute last possible millisecond. (I was screaming thinking the title had indeed changed hands.)
I could continue on and on, but the bottom line here is this. Nigel McGuinness must be applauded and respected for going through what quite possibly could have been his toughest title defense or match as a whole in his entire career. He absorbed so much punishment and took so much pain and showed the true heart of a champion. The true heart of a competitor. For that, I show nothing but the utmost respect for the London, England native, no matter what happens in two weeks when he is scheduled to defend the belt in Houston.
Before I mention something about Nigel’s fallen challenger, I need to say this. I jumped ship from the Ballroom as soon as the bell hand rung, and the match was over. I read a report that there were fans throwing debris at Nigel after the match.
These are the types of fans who give this sport, give this experience a bad name. When two men go out there, and give 150% of their energy to beat the high holy ever loving crap out of each other for your entertainment dollar, and you respond by throwing debris at them, it shows truly how much of a lowlife scumbag you really are. What truly worries me about these morons that think they’re better than the talents inside the squared circle is that the talents will begin to think negatively toward the bulk of the fans of the product and the company and the wrestlers because of the actions of a few jackasses.
I can’t change what happens in an arena. But I can say this.
From a fan. A fan with a forum. A fan who could not, in his dreams, perform in that ring like the men and women who perform for ROH and SHIMMER on a show in show out basis, you have my utmost respect and admiration for your dedication, effort, and showmanship.
Moving on, quickly, some positive feedback needs to go to the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion, KENTA. While KENTA did fall, as his body was contorted in ways that it should not have been, he performed beyond the scope of any possible aspiration during the contest, and made this match as emotion filled as any match I have seen since Danielson vs. Homicide a few floors up in the Grand Ballroom back in 2006.
Seeing the Japanese performers compete in the United States continues to bolster my desire to follow their careers in any way, shape, or form possible. That theory should be well evident as I bought Dragon Gate Challenge II, Battle of the Best, and the Tokyo Summit while at the show last night. KENTA’s last match I saw was when he challenged for the GHC title belt against Mitsuharu Misawa in the Grand Ballroom at Glory By Honor VI Night 2. He excelled then, he excelled tonight. It’s no wonder he’s one of NOAH’s major players now, and for years to come.
I have to talk about a few more matches from saturday night. The tag title match for starters. Kevin Steen looks absolutely huge in stature, but damnit, the boy can move. Even on technically one leg, he moved around like a cat, and dealt out a lot of damage. El Generico took what my son and I thought was the spot of the night with a hip toss on a ladder that broke it, and made the ladder bend as if it was almost in slow motion. It was sick to witness.
The Wolves impressed me as they played off each other really well. They’re sick obsession of going after the knees is going to get them in to a heap of trouble down the road, I would assume, but for now, they did a pretty damn good job of beating the crap out of the champions, and putting them in a desperately bad situation coming in to Houston and Wrestlemania weekend, where I am sure (I have to check, I don’t know for certain), that another tag defense is scheduled in the near future.
I am also reading that the seeds are being planted for Ladder War II. I think that would be insane, as Steen & Generico know the match already. Richards has had his experience in some violent matches, and Edwards, well, Edwards is the wild card, but its definitely something I’ll be tuning into, as soon as humanly possible.
The other tag match involving Danielson and Bison, well, it was the night moment by a landslide. Yes, KENTA vs. Nigel was a better match, but that’s simply for two reasons. A) Nigel and KENTA are better wrestlers than Bison Smith could ever hope to be, and B) It was for the World Championship. However, this match, this tag match involving Dragon, Bison, and two returning ICONS to ROH, was nothing short of awe inspiring. Jimmy Rave’s triumphant return to ROH from being a wanna be rock star jobber in Florida was nothing short of superb, and seeing Nana back ridiculing the New York faithful was a joy to experience. But, the moment of the day, the moment of the show, the absolute feel good moment that I still remember vividly…
Danielson shoots out of the back attacking Bison… he gets double teamed by the Embuhsee.
GRIZZLY REDWOOD comes out, and gets press slammed to the floor like a rotten waffle.
Colt, Colt, Colt Cabana… Colt, Colt, Colt Cabana…. It’s Colt Cabana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Colt vs. Delirious. Colt vs. Homicide. Colt & Punk as the Saints before I started following ROH. Colt challenging Danielson for the belt. Collt teaming with Cage against Daniels and Danielson. There are so many freakin’ memories of this guy that I have from seeing him in Long Island all the time that I CRINGED everytime WWE screwed up while using this guy. I cring for CM Punk, even with winning the World, ECW, IC and tag belts. I cringe for Evan Bourne, I cringed for Paul London, and I cringe for Spanky. Why? Because every hardcore wrestling fan knows, KNOWS that these guys have TALENT, and WWE does not allow them to showcase it. Maybe, MAYBE, a little different setup for Spanky and Bourne, but I’m not ready to say that with conviction yet. Add James “Jamie Noble” Gibson to that list, along with Jimmy Yang. Both of those two guys can go with the best of them, but both are hamstrung by the suits in Stamford, and it sickens me to death.
Cabana back in New York, at this show, at this time, at this moment, was one of the most enjoyable moments I have experienced since Homicide won the title 3 years ago in the ballroom a few flights up from where we were. It was THAT inspiring.
Ultimate Endurance was a cluster. The rules were difficult to understand. How could they have made this more understandable, I don’t have a clue, but the match itself was pretty cool. I would’ve liked to have seen more Jacobs vs. Delirious, but the definite push Tyler Black got out of this match is tangible, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Black get another world title shot in the near future, especially from winning this match as the sole survivor.
It was kind of confusing to hear how D’Lo Brown is claiming his “future endeavours” lie in Ring of Honor, yet his ring attire had markings in Japanese.
How many more times does Mark Briscoe have to end up on the sidelines before he realizes he’s really putting himself out there and taking risks that he doesn’t need to take?
I think I’m pushing here, but I had to relay some of my positive energy from the show again. Simply put, I’m ready to get back to work, in a big, big way. Let’s go to war.
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Thanks for reading.