Quick results from ROH Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown.
Colt Cabana defeated Rhett Titus.
The Dark City Fight Club defeated Cheech & Cloudy.
Claudio Castagnoli defeated Kenny Omega.
Roderick Strong defeated Sonjay Dutt in Four Corner Survival that inclduded Grizzly Redwood and Delirious with Daizee Haze at ringside.
The American Wolves retained the ROH World Tag Team Championship, winning Ladder War II over Kevin Steen & El Generico.
Chris Hero defeated Eddie Kingston.
Austin Aries defeated Petey Williams to retain the ROH World Championship.
Jim Cornette returned to ROH, and announced he is the new Executive Producer of ROH on HDNet.
The Young Bucks defeated the Briscoes.
Bryan Danielson defeated Nigel McGuinness.
I have been fortunate enough to be at some of the most memorable matches of the careers of Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness since I began following ROH. While I am a Dragon fan more, I cannot discount the title defense Nigel performed against KENTA at the 7th Anniversary Show where he basically worked the match without arms, and he looked like he was in absolute agony, yet still gutted the match through and through, and defended his title. THAT match made me a staunch and life long Nigel McGuinness supporter. And what I am about to discuss, just cemented that fact even further.
With Bryan Danielson, the memories are extensive. Especially for the chances I have been fortunate enough to see the man perform live. It starts for me when it goes all the way back to Lake Grove, Long Island, and Glory By Honor IV, where on September 17th, 2005, Dragon made James Gibson submit to capture the ROH World Championship, and helped to continue to cement its legacy as one of the most prestigious titles in pro wrestling.
It continued with defenses against Christopher Daniels, competing against then NWA World Heavyweight Champion Christian Cage in a tag match with Daniels. Cage’s comment of how Dragon looked whiter than John Cena is still classic. (I know it’s not appropriate, but at the time it was funny as hell. There’s a tremendous coincidence and nice closure to this comment that I’ll get to later.)
One of the most memorable nights I have ever had with seeing Bryan Danielson perform live was back on December 23, 2006, in the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, where I thought a riot was going to occur once Dragon had won the match via disqualification when he was defending the world title against the Notorious 187, Homicide. Fortunately, for me, and for the rest of the fans, the match was re-started, and Homicide came out victorious. Dragon, who had been beaten to death from his extensive title reign, showed true class in handing the belt to Homicide, and gave him his moment in the sun. I had never left a show more emotionally jacked than I did back on that night.
Even though I did not see his match at Man Up live, the match with Morishima where Danielson’s eye was injured just showed the true grit and determination of a professional wrestler. I could not imagine, nor would I even try to estimate the pounding that he took that night. I continue to hold that DVD in my possession as one of my most prized.
Fast forward to Glory By Honor VI Night 2, and the only United States appearance of Mitsuharu Misawa (R.I.P.). Danielson and Morishima beat the high holy crap out of each other, and it had to be stopped, if memory serves, by the entire locker room after Danielson bled like a stuck pig.
The Rising Above 2007 PPV saw Danielson get some serious pay back on Morishima, making this feud, quite possibly one of the most intense and violent feuds in the 7 1/2 years of Ring of Honor. I know one spot in the matches I’ve seen with Dragon and Morishima had Dragon stomping Morishima’s testicles in to grated hamburger meat. I think it was back at Glory By Honor VI, Night 2, but I could be mistaken. But, one thing is definitely for certain, these two men, who were tag partners at the Respect Is Earned 1 PPV, showed how to conduct a feud, with hard hitting, emotional, and in your face intensity.
The 6th Anniversary show saw Nigel EEK out a win in defense of the ROH world championship against Dragon. I mean EEK. It showed how equal these men are, and how competitive their series of matches has been throughout both of their careers inside a Ring of Honor ring.
Final Battle 2008 saw the culmination of the Danielson/Morishima feud when Dragon and Morishima beat each other practically to death in a fight without honor. To me, it proved that Danielson is one of the few men in this business who can do it all. From comedic entertainment to hardcore fighting, there is nothing, if given the chance, that the American Dragon cannot do.
The 7th Anniversary show had one of the most emotional moments I have had in some time at an ROH event, when Danielson had a mystery partner going up against the Embassy of Bison Smith and a mystery partner. That match saw Jimmy Rave & Colt Cabana return to Ring of Honor and the match had an audience reaction the likes I have never heard. The best part of the match, besides the competition, was seeing how Cabana and Dragon were literally vying for the turnbuckles during the playing of the Final Countdown, after Cabana said thanks for welcoming him back to ROH, but he wanted to hear one theme song, and that was Danielson’s. Personally, I loved every single minute of that.
Manhattan Mayhem III: I just bought this DVD last night, so I haven’t watched it fully yet, but the match was a four corner with Dragon, Colt, D’Lo Brown and Claudio Castagnoli. The match was competitive, and even teased perhaps a feud with Colt and Dragon, after Colt was able to get the victory over D’Lo Brown. Another memorable experience.
I know this was long, and a little bit tedious, but my point here is this. It all led to last night, when I was honored to have the experience of being in the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center for ROH’s Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown.
Now, I’ll talk about the whole card in a minute, but there’s some things that need to be said beforehand. I was livid pissed when ROH changed the main event from Aries taking on Dragon for the world title to Dragon vs. Nigel one last time after Nigel had signed with WWE.
How WRONG was I about that one.
The passion and emotion showed during the main event last night was tangible. The atmosphere in New York City was electrifying, and you could cut the furvor with a blade. Dragon and Nigel beat each other from one end of the Grand Ballroom to the other, and I swear to you, some of the shots that were struck made me cringe, and I was sitting in the 3rd row of the balcony.
When Nigel McGuinness, quite possibly one of the toughest bastards to walk a ROH ramp says in the post match speeches that “he had a lot to say, but this clamdigger knocked me out,” all that can be said is, the intensity was off the freakin’ page.
It was kind of ironic, and for me, a little bit satisfying, to see how Bret Hart, who was booked for this show back at the 7th Anniversary Show, was literally an after thought throughout the night. The line at the autograph session for him was extensive, don’t get me wrong, but he was tucked away in a separate room away from the main room, while Dragon and Nigel’s table was crowded with fans from the time I walked in to the arena till bell time. (I Know Wrestleview brass will hate me for that, but that’s the way I feel.)
I met Dragon during the meet & greet, and thanked him for the memories. I stammered and stuttered like I was a 12 year old kid meeting his idol, but truth be told, I kind of was. I had seen an incredible amount of Dragon’s matches live, and have some more on DVD that I did not list above, so I have had a connection with Dragon from the time I started following ROH back at Sign of Dishonor.
Dragon was the consummate gentleman, thanking me for supporting “US”. That type of comradeship is lost in this world, but I will not go further there, because it’s a soapbox for another day.
He then took the time to personalize the autographs that I asked for. One for me, and one for my son’s friend. I only wish I was smart enough to pick up something else, because I had Dragon sign the DGUSA promo pics we picked up en route inside the building, and it’s difficult to see his wriitng. Nevertheless, the chance to say thank you to someone I have followed for four solid years was well worth the price of admission.
The opening contest saw COLT CABANA defeat RHETT TITUS. It was the typical Cabana match, a little comedy, a little insanity, a flying asshole, and a Billy’s Goat Curse for a victory. Titus, I have to say, I remember him when he was holding the ROH Top Of the Class trophy, and he has really made some incredible progress in his career. The potential on this man, I believe, is nearly limitless, and it appears ROH is continuing to give him the ball, and let’s hope he runs with it.
Cabana’s “pro wrestler” jacket was red in color, perhaps in tribute to the departing legends, but it does show me this. This company, throughout all its financial problems, still has the absolute best WRESTLING I have ever had the privilege to experience.
Match #2 saw Chikara members CHEECH & CLOUDY fall to the DARK CITY FIGHT CLUB when the DCFC hit a double team neckreaker powerbomb combination off the top rope on Cloudy. I had thought Cheech and Cloudy were the same guys I saw back in 2005 at Sign of Dishonor as a part of Lacey’s Angels, and maybe they were, but regardless, they put up one hell of a fight against a team that outweighed, and outpowered them 10 to 1. This was my first time seeing the DCFC, and damnit, they’re good. Double teams with precision and ferocity, and an attitude to match. I was impressed.
Match #3 saw CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI with Prince Nana and beard-less Ernie Osiris defeat KENNY OMEGA with a low blow and European uppercut. This match was incredible, with Omega countering and countering every attempt at a short cut Claudio did. This was my first time seeing Omega, and I now know why he has been nipping at A Double’s heels, because he can hang with the big boys of ROH. This match was impressive as hell. If memory serves, Omega kicked out of the Ricola Bomb, which is something that I have never seen happen before.
BRET HART came out for a promo. As God as my witness, it appeared like either he was sedated, or had marbles in his mouth. Maybe because I’m going deaf, and I have trouble hearing is one thing, but I could barely hear what Hart was trying to say. He paid homage to Curt Hennig, his brother Owen, and the boys in the back, and left the ring to a standing ovation. All but me, of course, but that’s a whole differerent story.
A Four Corner Survival was next when RODERICK STRONG pinned SONJAY DUTT with a Gibson Driver. In the match as well was GRIZZLY REDWOOD and DELIRIOUS with DAIZEE HAZE in his corner. Strong looked like a man on a mission, realizing it’s his time to begin to step up to the main event level, and take the places that are being vacated by the legends departing for WWE. Delirious was aiming for Sonjay throughout the match, even audibly saying “Come on, you son of a bitch,” which was funny, and also really cool to hear out of the masked man. Strong lost it when Dutt started hitting on Haze, and chopped him down to size for the win. Dutt ended up walking around half the ringside area with his tights around his thighs. (Not a pleasant thought.)
LADDER WAR 2
There has to be some things said here first.
First, Steen looked like he was going to pop a blood vessel. Intensity? Focus?? Mr. WRESTLING!
Eddie Edwards was injured the night before in Boston. ROH said his elbow was broken. I would have never dreamt in my life that Edwards would compete.
He did. And he received the respect that he deserved from the New York crowd, because if you looked at his arm, it was troubling to see. He couldn’t bend it obviously, and he had it taped so high, that if Steen or Generico focused on it, Edwards would have been in career threatening trouble.
I’ll say it right now.
Tremendous and unbelievable kudos go to Eddie Edwards for competing in this match in the condition that he was in.
Hell, kudos to ALL FOUR MEN who put themselves through the absolute match of their lives. Steen & Generico know this match, having been in it with the Briscoes back in Chicago at Man Up, but this match was on par with that one, no question.
Steen’s worst spot he took. From the top of a huge ladder, one of the Wolves, I don’t remember who, powerbombed Steen through a table and a ladder set up from the apron to the floor, ala Sabu. I thought Steen was dead. And damnit, he never moved for the rest of the match, as that spot happened toward the end.
Edwards and Generico fought nearly 20 feet in the air, (and I’m not WWE exaggerating this one), when Edwards was able to get Generico’s knee (the hurt one), in the rungs of the ladder. He leant back, put Generico in pain the level I couldn’t even imagine, and Richards climbed up, and got the belts back for the champs.
Richards, earlier in the match, took a suplex through a table from at least 15 feet in the air.
Generico, damn, this dude, is indestructible. He ends up wrapped aorund so much debris, it’s almost too obscene to discuss.
Words cannot provide this match justice, ladies and gentlemen. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this match as a spectator. I cannot say any more than that. Except this.
The welts on the back of both members of the Wolves was disturbing to see. That’s how intense this match was. That’s how off the page this match was.
Intermission time. And the fans needed it. And more. Because that match took a lot out of the crowd.
The next match saw CHRIS HERO defeat EDDIE KINGSTON. Kingston grabbed the emerald elbow pad to nail Hero with it, but Hero had a backup, hit the loaded elbow and got the win. This match was doomed from the start. New York did not have any respect for Eddie Kingston, and truthfully, neither did I. I didn’t like his style, because he had none, and I thought he would be this super insane bad ass, and to me, and I’m gonna say it, he looked like a clone of D’Lo Brown. I can understand why ROH doesn’t book Kingston regularly. He’s just not got that much to give to the table. But like I said, the crowd was shot from Ladder War II, and it seeped over in to this match without question. Hero was impressive and athletic, don’t get me wrong, and I liked his increased ferocity, which is new for him in my eyes, but as I said, this match could’ve, or should’ve been better, and I don’t blame it on Hero. I blame it on his opponent, and where the match was set up on the card After the match, Kingston lost his temper, and began flinging anything around the ring he could find. It didn’t seem emotional or intense to me, it seemed like a man who was crying that he lost the match. I was not impressed.
Next was the A DOUBLE L DOUBLE I love Aries. Heel. Face. I don’t care. Aries is the man. Aries calls out BRET HART who is obviously, long gone, and then proceeds to call Hart a coward. Out comes PETEY WILLIAMS and after a brief debate, the title match is on. Aries retains by count out after hitting a brain buster on the floor. He needed to, because Petey hit not one, but two Canadian Destroyers on Aries, one from the middle rope. It looked sick, that second one. We all knew in the crowd that Aries was not dropping the title tonight, but the match, no questions about it, was entertaining. I thought it was entertaining for the wrestling, but the crowd had other ideas. They proceeded to shout “TWINKIES” at Todd Sinclair, the referee, every time he made a count. It got so bad, that Aries got on the mike after the match, and told the fans to stick a twinkie someplace obscene. Petey then said to Aries to shove one in the same place, on himself. My son and his friend were rolling in the aisle from the twinkies chants. I gotta admit, it was funny as hell.
Next out, was JAMES E. CORNETTE. Now, look. Cornette in ROH is a good thing. No questions. Cornette is a genius mind, and if he can get along with the locker room, it’s gonna benefit the company. The promo he did ripping TNA was priceless. Sarah Palin’s gonna give Barack Obama a lapdance in the white house before I get behind Vince Russo 100%. I’ll never forget that line as long as I live. But, let’s take this in to consideration. The crowd is wiped. ARIES comes out, and has literally a ten minute debate with Cornette as to who is truly the power man in ROH. It got so long winded that the crowd starting yelling “SHUT THE F*** UP,” to Aries. It really devalued Aries’ performance in the world title match, in my opinion.
The semi – main was the YOUNG BUCKS beating THE BRISCOES with I believe, their finisher, the MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, on Jay Briscoe. These two teams could possibly be the best two tag teams in wrestling at this moment. This match was insane. It showed how the Bucks, who look like pretty boys on the outside, can be as tough as nails when they have to be, because they got their asses kicked, and still managed to get the win. Nice show of class by Jay and Mark, raising the hands of the Bucks following the contest. I wish it was higher in the card, so I would’ve been more focused, but I was trying to save up for the main event.
Bryan and Nigel came out to thunderous roars. And I mean thunderous. The crowd was upset when they didn’t play the Final Countdown for Bryan. Streamers were passed around, and the respect given was incredible. Danielson did his usual spots with the suicide plancha to the crowd, the elbows, cattle mutilation, and the roaring elbows, but take this in to consideration. Danielson took a post shot that busted him open badly. He was in bad shape for some time, took multiple towers of london, and sat in the London Dungeon for an endless amount of time. They did not disappoint, ladies and gentlemen. They did not. Danielson won the match with a triangle choke, after knocking Nigel out with elbows I believe. Draogn’s back was to me, so I don’t know what the knockout blow was.
The post match speeches were emotional beyond words. The ROH locker room came out and stood at ringside. Nigel thanked ROH for allowing him to be a pro wrestler, put over Danielson, and thanked the fans, and it’s a miracle he was able to do that, because like I said earlier, “this clamdigger knocked me out.” He did. Dragon did knock him out. Nigel looked loopy for the entire time before the end of the night.
Dragon began putting over the locker room, specifically the Wolves, which is justified beyond measure. He then put over the rest of the ROH locker room, saying without them, he would not be him. He asked the fans that wherever he may go, wherever he may end up, to continue to support ROH. The fans ate it up. Dragon joked he wasn’t going to be able to punch anyone in the ear anymore, and the crowd chanted they wanted to see Dragon punch John Cena in the ear. Dragon responded that he would come up to that son of a bitch, and POW!. Nice closure to the comment back from years ago made by Christian Cage at How We Roll.
Dragon was the epitome of class throughout this speech, and asked for one thing, to have his favorite song played one last time. “The Final Countdown” was played, and to hear the crowd in the Manhattan Center sing that song in unison, well, bluntly, it made my spine tingle.
I can say, with conviction, that this show was by far and away, the most emotionally jacked show I have ever been too. This blew Final Battle 2006 out of the water. Cornette returning was a nice surprise, the wrestling was off the charts, ladder war lived up to its billing, Eddie Edwards deserves a purple heart for competing in that match, and the legends of ROH left their essence in the ROH canvas.
I am honored, pardon the pun, to have had the pleasure to experience ROH: Glory By Honor VIII: The Final Countdown.
Whether you’re a fan of ROH or not, I recommend highly picking up this DVD when it’s released. It will be a hot item, I believe it will be one of the best ROH shows on DVD ever sold.
I did some taping (audio only) from the show, which I will upload to my blog later today or tomorrow. I cannot comment on the quality. It’s an iPod touch, so cut me a little slack on that. I’ll put up the pieces, and let you be the judge. I make some comments throughout the pieces, (and there are a lot of them), talking about what I am seeing and experiencing.
I do have Dragon and Nigel’s speeches and the music playing in its entirety in audio form. Like I said, the quality isn’t good, but, it will show you the emotion that was in that building last night.
Be sure to check it out on my blog later tonight or tomorrow. Click here to go to my blog.
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Thank you for reading.