I should probably write an intro here. I do a lot of rambling here so I apologize for the length. If you want a real recap, you can find that anywhere. These are meditations of the iPPV event and my stream-of-consciousness as it happened.
Jigsaw vs. El Generico
The opener was pretty fun. You got a Gory special from Jigsaw. What was special about that was that this was the 6th anniversary of Eddie Guerrero’s death. Eddie, if he were still around, would have been very proud and very humbled. There was very good action; both wrestlers came out of this looking strong. There weren’t any “Holy s***” moments, but there was some great action and some innovative moves I’ve never seen before. And you don’t need to have too many “Holy s***” moments in an opener. Being two high flyers, there were some great planchas and suicide dives. The announcers over-sold it a little, but it was still a great match.
Young Bucks w/Marty Jannetty vs. The Colony (Soldier & Fire Ant)
First of all, I loved the surprise of Marty Jannetty. I don’t understand why he was there though. Could they have maybe found a face tag team he could be mentor for, like an inspirational leader? (Let’s face it. Who is going to boo Marty Jannetty at this point in his career?) At first appearance, the Young Bucks look so indy and so generic. As the match goes on, we find out they have moments of greatness in the ring. Aside from the last ROH Ladder Match at Death by Dishonor, the best match of the night for me was Young Bucks-Future Shock-Bravados (once the Bravados were eliminated). They can be so great. There’s just nothing that separates them from Joe Indy Tag Team at my local VFW. One of my favorite moves is the guy close to the ring apron, they spin him and then kick him. I’ve seen that in PWG, I saw it today and think it is an awesome spot. I counted 2 “Holy s***” moments, one team each. You have to love Chikara’s style. They have their own story to tell and they’re not afraid to tell it. They took a lucha style to the states and found it more than successful. Their crowd is so great and so devoted. This had a very good finish that resulted in The Colony winning out of nowhere.
Sara Del Rey vs. Jakob Hammermeier
Sara was greeted with a Happy Birthday chant and a “Sara’s gonna kill you” chant. Hammermeier gave a really good cowardly heel-Genius-type performance. During this match, the commentary got much better. It didn’t seem like they were channeling Don West so much now that they already had our money. The thing closest to a “Holy s***” moment was an axe kick to the back of the head. Del Rey pretty much killed him for the match. She won. It was a short match, everything it should have been.
Amassis came out and retired. Ophidian sprayed mist on him and then proceeded to attack him. And then they unmasked him! I like a wrestling promotion where masks mean something. (hint, hint, WWE)
Green Ant vs. Tursas
To begin with, there was a huge size difference. It began with a heel ref. I hate heel refs. Well, Green Ant moved and Tursas ended up hitting the ref and he was out. The Colony carried him out. I liked it. It was a good big man-little man match. There was a reference to Tursus having, “Arms like legs and legs like people” followed by an “Oh, my God!” Not many people would get that reference, but I did-Mr. Joey Styles in ECW. There was one “Holy s***” moment for me, Green Ant’s splash off the top turnbuckle onto Tursas on the floor. He got a “Please don’t die” chant before he even did it. Green Ant put Tursus in a hold I’ve never seen before and submitted him.
During the intermission they had an unbelievable video package talking about the main event. It was up there with the Triple H-Undertaker package they did with Arn Anderson and all the legends.
Colt Cabana vs. Archibald Peck
Ok, I get Chikara’s weird and wacky gimmicks. But I’m sorry. This one was too much. The comedy spots in this match were really good. You can tell they had lots of fun preparing this match. This hurts me to say this. I love Colt Cabana. I listen to Art of Wrestling when they have somebody I care about on. Archibald Peck also cut his teeth in my neck of the woods in Arlington, so I have all the love and respect for him. If ever there are two sacred cows on this show, these two are it. But something did not click for me during the match. It was paced very slowly, and while I appreciated the comedy aspects, it took them a while to get serious. It still had some really good comedy aspects, but overall, this match did not do it for me. Colt Cabunny (yes, I just wrote that) hit Peck and Cabana got the pin. After the match Colt Cabana and Colt Cabunny hugged. The only way to salvage this match was for CM Punk to be the bunny and turn heel on Colt Cabana. That didn’t happen.
Gregory Iron vs. Icarus
Of course during this match, my wife came home with the groceries and dinner for the night so I had to help her out. It reminded me of one WWE house show I went to (the night I bought my Eddie Guerrero “Latino Heat scarface” t-shirt btw). During the Shawn Michaels match (where my wife and sister-in-law acted like tweens meeting Justin Bieber), a guy walked past our way on his cell phone saying, “Come on, what do you want? You got me during HBK.”
Now, onto the match. I liked Icarus engaging the crowd during his entrance. And how do you not love Iron? I gotta admit. I popped for the sweater-taking-off thing from Icarus. Aside from the main event, this was the greatest story of the night. Icarus did everything he could to Iron. And every move, Iron would get back up. There was a lead pipe where Iron took the whole 20-count to walk back into the ring. This was a huge way to put him over. Icarus won with a low blow followed by a Spicolli Driver into the turnbuckle. Iron was almost put over more because he lost.
After the match, Akuma appeared in the ring and when he was trying to attack Icarus, he got Gregory Iron. Akuma tried to apologize and they kept holding him back from apologizing. There was a lot of raw emotion in this segment.
Ares & Tim Donst vs. Hallow Wicked & Ultra Mantis Black
This is the match where my wife decided to have dinner so I put the laptop to my right and ate sesame chicken with white steamed rice with my ear-bud in my right ear while the tv played “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That.” So my attention to this match was pretty low. (Sorry, guys) There was one major moment that stood out to me. That was Ares’ insane bump he took onto the chairs. It felt like a season finale to a huge storyline. The action was pretty good; I just had life happen during this match.
Eddie Kingston vs. Mike Quackenbush
First of all, Eddie Kingston cut the promo of his life before this match. My three favorite promos of the year are Triple H-Undertaker when they just stared at each other and then both looked at the Wrestlemania sign, CM Punk’s “The Promo” and the promo Kingston cut before this match (with special props being given to CM Punk’s promo he cut on Greg Iron at the AAW show near Chicago).
This had a big-match feel. You could feel the anticipation so much. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pro wrestling match that had so much anticipation at the moment. What made this match was the emotion. Mike Quackenbush was escorted by Jigsaw and Eddie Kingston was escorted by Tommy Dreamer. During the intros, my daughter climbed up on the couch with me. She looked at what was going on and I told her who everybody was. She is two and has never really acknowledged wrestling characters before (thought she did say “Woo woo woo” after Zack Ryder on Smackdown once). She was pointing at the wrestlers and I was telling her who they were. We tried saying Eddie and Mike. That didn’t quite happen.
To me, the most touching part was when the ring announcer said “For those watching around the world… (long pause) And for those watching up above…” There was a long pause and the fans started chanting something. I couldn’t tell whether it was “Eddie” (for Eddie Guerrero, who had passed away 6 years ago to the day) or “Larry” for Larry Sweeney, a very instrumental figure in the Northeastern Independent scene for a long time.
I guess I should start talking about the match. They really played up the knee injury and told the story of Quackenbush going after the knee. Quackenbush is billed as the Master of 1,000 Holds and did everything he could to use them on Kingston. Then the wrestlers started coming out one-by-one to watch. It was reminiscent of an early ECW Pay-Per-View show when all the wrestlers would come out to watch or Wrestlemania X when all the wrestlers came out to celebrate with Bret Hart. There were names I hadn’t heard in years, like Reckless Youth. The wrestlers would pound the apron in honor of them. The fans started chanting “Please don’t tap” when Quackenbush would put him in a hold. Then the wrestlers joined them in chanting “Please don’t tap.” They were all out there, heel and face alike. It has got to be one of the most emotional things I’ve ever seen.
For me the special moment happened when my daughter’s attention was diverted to the computer from Dora or whoever she decided to torture us with. Eddie Kingston had Quackenbush hooked in a submission hold and was putting him through body scissors. She looked down at the laptop and saw Quackenbush struggling to break free. She said “Uh-oh.” And for a second, she diverted all her two-year-old attention to the laptop screen. She watched the match for a while. It was like the first time she realized wrestling was going on. So it was kind of like “Baby’s First Wrestling Match.”
Eddie won and it was such a great moment. The title was brought to him by Larry Sweeney’s brother and friend. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.
So, match of the year so far? We’ve got Trips/Taker at WM27, Punk/Cena at Money in the Bank, All Night Xpress/Briscoes in the ROH ladder match. This has got to be up there. You didn’t know who was going to win the match (Taker-Trips). Both wrestlers could do abdominal stretches (*cough, cough* John Cena). And this fight didn’t rely on plunder or blood. (Ladder match) Dare I call it the match of the year?
All in all… I have rambled so much about this event. While I think this event had Match of the Year, I’m not quite so sure it was Event of the Year. I’m still going with ROH’s Best in the World 2011. Not every match on this card clicked for me, but there were a lot of great stories told. I’d say the main event and the Gregory Iron match are worth the price of the iPPV alone. You can’t book passion, and that’s exactly what we saw on Sunday afternoon.