I have not done a full blown topic laden column in some time, and there are quite a few things that are worthwhile to discuss, so if you’ll permit me the time, I have some opinions to share.
I hadn’t heard much of Misawa until I began following ROH religiously. I believe the first time I had any significant knowledge of the man is when Samoa Joe stood in the middle of the Grand Ballroom, and challenged any member of the NOAH roster to a fight, including calling out Misawa himself. The interest became piqued in Japanese puroesu when I had the chance to see stars like Takeshi Morishima, KENTA, & Naomichi Marufuji perform live. I’ve seen Go Shiozaki, and the obvious Kenta Kobashi double shot a bunch of times as well on tape, and I have been incredibly interested in all of Japanese pro wrestling, from NOAH to the rest of the companies that Japan has to offer. So, when the opportunity came to see Misawa live in New York City, I knew it was something I had to take advantage of. I wasn’t in to ROH as big as I am now when Kobashi came to the USA, otherwise for sure I would’ve seen him as well.
So, I went to Glory By Honor VI, I believe, (I’m going by memory, my memory sucks, so If I’m wrong there, I’m sorry), Night 2, which featured a GHC Heavyweight title match involving Misawa defending against KENTA. I know before these cards I had complained vigorously about why Misawa was booked against members of his own roster, as I was desperate to see the legend fight some of ROH’s true badasses, aka Danielson, aka Nigel, aka Aries, and so on. Well, obviously, after seeing Misawa vs. KENTA live and in living colour, I need to put my words back in to my mouth, because the match, the spectacle, the experience was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
I had collected a lot of WWE autographs back in the day, and at the time of this card I wasn’t collecting autographs, although the chance was there to meet the NOAH contingent, including the legend. I do regret not taking that advantage, as by coincidence, that night, I saw the legend enter the building, proceed to the room for the autographs, and proceed out of the room back to the dressing area to prep for his championship match. Never thought I wouldn’t get the chance to see the man compete live again, or anything further like that, and for that, the regret is there, although seeing the match, and possessing the match on DVD, is definitely a worthy subsitute for a picture with an autograph. Not 100% subsitute, but damn close.
Since 2005’s Sign of Dishonor, and CM Punk’s signing of his WWE contract on top of the ROH world title to the recent Manhattan Mayhem III, and the crowning of a new ROH World Champion in A Double Austin Aries, I have attended a lot of ROH shows. And mostly all of them have been incredible experiences, but only a handful have been brain stickers, matches and shows that you just keep in your head for years to come.
For example, I was in attendance when James “Jamie Noble” Gibson lost the ROH world championship to the American Dragon, which began a reign that has solidified the legacy of the competitor from Aberdeen, Washington. I was also in attendance when the Notorious 187 put up his ROH career in an attempt to take the belt off of Danielson, and succeeded in winning the championship, even with the false finish during the match that I was sure was going to lead to an absolute riot in the Grand Ballroom. I was in attendance for the Rising Above 2008 PPV where Nigel McGuinness had his head bashed in by Austin Aries, and wrestled the match with a concussion, and a crimson mask that was ugly to look at, and still came out victorioius. I was also in attendance at the 7th Anniversary Show where Nigel McGuinness wrestled basically with no arms against the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion KENTA, and successfully defended the ROH World title.
I’ve listed about six shows all told in the past few paragraphs, and I’ve been to close to 20. Not a large amount of shows stick in my head for years and years, but the ones I have mentioned have. Misawa’s match could potentially be in the top 3 of those experiences, perhaps only behind Homicide’s win and Nigel’s miraculous title defense against KENTA.
Now, I am not going to sit here and say to you I am an expert on Japanese puroresu. Far from it. If you want expertise, go see Hunter Golden’s Rising Sun Soliloquy column here at Wrestleview. That is thorough and expert to say the least. I will tell you this though. Mitsuharu Misawa was probably the catalyst that brought me to a deeper understanding of the art of professional wrestling. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, I said art. For someone at his advanced age to perform at the level that he did under the lights and scrutiny of the American audience was nothing short of awesome. It was an experience I will not soon forget.
The story behind his tragic fall is devastating and also inspiring as well. A man who obviously was on the downside of his career took a company on his shoulders, and turned it in to the staple of wrestling in a country that focuses almost all of their energy on the world of professional wrestling. And then, when the company needed him to step it up again, when he knew for himself he was not physically capable to, he did, and did it well, and continued to do so until his tragic demise. It is a story of perserverence, dedication, heart, and sacrifice, which is something that every single individual should take for what its worth, and apply that same kind of focus in their own experiences. It would benefit everyone for years to come.
Rest in Peace Misawa-san. And thank you, sir, for the privilege of watching you perform live.
WWE releases Candice Michelle and Sim Snuka, along with other developmental talent
I’m not going to go in to the developmental talent here because I just don’t have any knowledge of the men who have been released from FCW, so I would be remiss to try and say I have an opinion there. I do have opinions, however, on Candice and Snuka’s departure from WWE. First, the easy one, Snuka. Apparently, there was a bump during the HBK/Undertaker match that should’ve involved Snuka, who was masking as a cameraman, but apparently, Snuka missed it, and the Undertaker took a scary bump when he leaped to the outside. I’m going to have to check that out again, because I missed that when I saw that match initially. But, bottom line here is simple. If you wrong the Dead Man back in the locker room, or in the ring, you’re doomed. Snuka was doomed from the minute they left Houston. It’s just surprising it took this long for the axe to fall. I don’t think you’ll see him in TNA anytime soon.
Candice had to be rubbing the talent the wrong way for showing up at nearly every single social function outside of her rehabilitation from various injuries. I also believe she pissed off someone in WWE brass the wrong way for her lack of dedication to return to the ring. Maybe she was being dedicated and just taking enough time to recoup, as well as work on other projects, but she definitely didn’t hide herself very much, and for that, I am sure, that the WWE began to sour on her in a big big way. What puzzles me though is Michelle’s response to this, as she wrote a single sentence on her twitter page in response to her release. “I’m free to grow!” What does this mean? Does the epxerience in WWE stifle one’s ability to evolve as a competitor?? I thought so on a couple of different cases back in the day, but here, it kind of puzzles me, because I have to think that Michelle was becoming a solid in ring worker before her demise of injuries, and to say she’s free to grow kind of makes me think she wasn’t getting some sort of support behind the scenes with her character that maybe she wanted. Nevertheless, I doubt she’s going to return to wrestling, as I think the knockouts of TNA would kill her. I suspect she’ll take the Torrie/Stacy route, and go to Hollywood, and use her godaddy.com connections to start landing some acting roles. Best of luck. She was a hottie when I met her, she still is, and I hope she lands on her feet. But, hopefully, not in another ring, for her own well being.
Kurt always seems to find his way in to the limelight, one way or another. I read an interview where his matches are “to pass the torch to the next guy”, and that he doesn’t necessarily need the TNA World title. And also recently at a TNA house show, he said publicly he’d never work for Vince McMahon again.
Let’s clarify a few things here, folks. First, Angle left WWE under weird terms, no matter what is said behind the scenes, allegedly, and shows up in TNA mere days afterwards, absolutely stunning the world. Christian returned to WWE and has allowed them to basically disavow his participation in TNA, because I believe Christian can have the experience in Orlando forgotten and not feel the ego bruise in the same expense. Angle can’t. Angle will want to be remembered for all of his work in professional wrestling, whether its in Stamford or Orlando, and I’ll be damned if I think Vinnie Mac is going to welcome this cat back in to the fold when he basically has spent the better part of the last year trying to be a combination of Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Ric Flair all in one fell swoop.
Not to mention the fact that this guy is insane. His health has to be an issue, I don’t care what you tell me, and his demeanor continues to be a question mark from where I sit. Bottom line here, ladies and gentlemen, this man is a train wreck waiting to happen. Question is, how severe that train wreck will be.
Tommy Dreamer wins the ECW World Championship
You know, I have checked out Paul Heyman’s Sun columns repeatedly, and most of the time, I don’t agree at all with what the man has said, but two specific recent articles have caught my eye. First, was Heyman’s take on World champion CM Punk, and how WWE has made this man in to the breakout star of Smackdown, and a star where the fans have been able to emotionally get behind,.one way or the other, to a big degree. The other article I read was Heyman’s take on Dreamer winning the ECW title.
Heyman said by Dreamer winning the ECW championship, it shows one thing. That Dreamer’s hard work and perserverence has paid off as he has won the attention of the man driving the WWE universe, that being Vince himself. And I have to give the man his due, because A) Heyman is right on the money, and B) Dreamer really worked his ass off to get this job done, and he should be commended from pillar to post with this. It is nothing short of miraculous, and could be compard with the Miracle on Ice as to how Tommy Dreamer came from an after thought Original on ECW on Sci Fi to the champion of the brand. For that to happen, something has to have changed in the mind of the billion dollar maniac. To change that man’s mind, someone has to really hone their craft, and take some serious lumps. Dreamer has, and he deserves some major kudos for the work he has done. Whether his reign is a month, or a year, the fact that he has had one more run at the top of the food chain in ECW is a testament to the legacy of the Innovator of Violence. Hats off, sir, you really pulled off a miracle.
ROH vs. Dragon Gate USA
I am wondering if we’re going to see a fed vs. fed feud in the coming months with ROH and DGUSA. It’s got the seedlings for problems already with Sapolosky in the DGUSA corner already stealing talent from ROH to appear on the shows, specifically Danielson and Davey Richards. Question here is, will the Dragon Gate office show egos, and not let this actually play out as a legitimate feud for the product, or will they actually let their talents do the talking in the ring, and see which of the companies has the better talent? I know one thing, if this were to come down, I am damn sure I would try and be a part of it, as I think both companies are the future of the business, and I think a feud involving these two companies would be prime product for any wrestling fans.
I think that’s about it for now. Either that, or I have to give up the computer before my wife kicks me off. One or the other.
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