Monday, July 13, 2009
For ROH’s second Double Feature, they went north of the border to Canada’s own, Montreal, Quebec and Markham, Ontario. This is actually the first 2009 release I picked up almost immediately, not to say a few other 2009 DVD’s didn’t peak my interest, and it was just how things worked out. This was odd because I thought the first Double Feature was one of the worst ROH releases in the last few years of the Gabe Era. I am glad to say, this double feature provided a good wrestling, top to bottom and was not the same case as the first Double Feature. As you may have read in other reviews, this DVD doesn’t feature any bad matches, and it really doesn’t. I believe the original intent was to have these shows be two separate releases, however I think that helped and hurt the DVD a little bit, and I’ll explain later. In fact, they even designed two separate covers, which I thought was cool, and it makes it seem really like the “best of” of shows. I thought this was a good idea, and in the long run good for the majority of ROH fans. I know there are some fans, that want the complete show, but a majority cannot afford to purchase every DVD. This helps with storyline building as well. So let’s into the match reviews.
The Hunt Begins
Tyler Black vs. Jimmy Jacobs
This has got to be one of the biggest let down feud’s, in the past decade. In my opinion, each guy had their own agenda going, and they forgot to feud with each other for 3-4 months. That is NOT supposed to happen. Tyler Black was going for the belt, and Jimmy Jacobs was dealing with Delirious, while this feud should have been going on in the first place. However these guys put on a great opener. You can tell Tyler Black’s inexperience a little bit, by how he was playing to the crowd a little bit for them to get behind him. Which isn’t a bad thing, however in a blood feud like this, you need to get the fans to believe you really hate your opponent (see Eddie Kingston) This match of one of the reasons I bought the DVD, and not the over-hyped tag title classic. I gave this one 3.25-3.5
Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong vs. Jay Briscoe vs. Kenny Omega
This was a highly entertaining and fun match. Four of my favorite guys in ROH, going out there, and doing what they do best. Austin Aries cut a good promo to set some of the psychology of the match to follow. Well booked, well delivered. 3.00 – 3.25
Claudio + Jimmy Rave vs. Brent Albright + Colt Cabana
The new embassy is back in full effect . All four of these guys had some singles feuds going with their opponents, so why not throw them in a tag match. That was basically what this was. They didn’t try to over-deliver on the match. Just some good fun wrestling. 3.0
Kevin Steen, El Generico , Bryan Danielson vs. The American Wolves + Sylvain Grenier
Better match than I was expecting. I didn’t think Sylvain looked as bad as people made him out to be, however WHY THE WORLD was he in the main event. He should be been opening the show against Grizzly Redwood or something. He looked WAY out of place. Plus they teamed the Frenchman, with the American wolves as heel. That didn’t look good in my book, however they did a some nice promos to set up their alliance. Wasn’t anything out of this world, but worth checking out. I actually think, ROH didn’t think this main event would help sell the DVD enough, which is why we have Double Feature II. 3.25
Tag Title Classic
Colt Cabana vs. Claudio
This was a rematch of sorts from the tag bout the night before. What you would expect from these two, in fact it was quite similar to the tag match. 3.0
Austin Aries, Rhett Titus, Kenny King vs. Kevin Steen, Generico Dos, and Kenny Omega
On paper, this match looks very good. They gave this match even enough time, and it was good value for the time allowed. Some high flying, high impact moves in this one. Glad this made the DVD. 3.25
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Delirious (Markham Street Fight)
Awesome match. Well booked, with the match opening with a backstage prom that turns into a brawl to the crowd. My personnel favorite match, with the AOTF Dissolving, thus far. The match felt like a war. Good climax and some good spots in this one. 4.0
Jay Briscoe vs. Roderick Strong
This might be my favorite fued of 2009 thus far. Reminds me a little bit of the Stong/Stevens fued from FIP and ROH a year or two ago. Both guys needed a little boost their careers, and putting the two ROH veterans against each other really made the fans notice these guys again. This was round II, even though we already seen the television round 3. Can’t go wrong with Jay and Roddy. 3.5
The American Wolves vs. Tyler Black and Bryan Danielson
Maybe I’m crazy, but I didn’t think this as great as people were making this out to be. Classic match? I guess, but I wouldn’t call it a strong match of the year contender. I don’t even think this was the best tag match in ROH this year. I thought the main event to Take No Prisoners, Tyler Black + Kenta vs. Aries + Nakajima was pound for a pound a better match. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a very good match, just a little slow to start, which is understandable. I must also say I hate draws. If the fans are demanding 5 more minutes, than they should get 5 more. All in all, my highest rated match on the show. 4.25
So there we go, my rating may surprise you a bit, as I rated the “Tag Title Classic” a little lower than most others, however I thought the Jacobs matches, and Briscoe/Strong matches more than made up for it. As I mentioned before, the double shot helped and hurt the DVD. It helped by an amazing compilation of matches. You get to see your favorite ROH stars, not only once but twice on the same disc. I thought that was cool. Plus multiple main event quality matches. The only reason I say it hurt, was because night 1, didn’t really set up night two enough, in my opinion. The matches were well booked with the match itself, including great promos before the match. (which was one beef I had with Double Feature 1) but for the most part the main feuds did not really cross over good enough from night one to two. I think this show will be very close to a top ten ROH DVD for 2009. With that being said, my overall DVD Rating for this show is 88 out of 100.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
One of my favorite youtube wrestling fans Spinnernet1, talks about Brock Lesnar's impact on the world of MMA, and how pro wrestling fans love or hate his sucess, outside of the WWE.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Towards the end of December 2008, I made some predictions for 2009 so i figured i would revisit them here today. Predicting storylines a year out, isn't always the easiest.
1) HBK wins the championship, thus resulting in financial security.
- At this point, it doesn't look like HBK will be winning the championship, and his financial security situation is now over. So this one is wrong, however i still this would have been a good way to end this storyline. Have HBK break away from JBL, with nothing and he realizes he must win the world championship. Also with WM 25 in Texas, i think if HBK would have won the belt one last time, the place would have went nuts.
2) TNA returns to Detroit for the first time since 2006.
Correct, Detroit just got Slamiversary last month. Good PPV.
3) Elijah Burke wins gold in TNA.
- I haven't heard much on Burke lately, but i'd still think he could pop in TNA this year, and maybe even win some gold. Time is ticking on this prediction, but i guess there is still a chance of it.
4) Jack Swagger becomes the first two time WWECW champion
- I am very surprised he didn't win it twice. It felt like he did, or should have. Swagger was really getting over on ECW, and i thought he was helping cement that show. I wonder why Raw took him over Christian at this point. Swagger has a lot of years ahead of him, and i think if he were to really dominate ECW, it would have helped farther his WWE Legacy. (More so than joining Legacy)
5) Randy Orton will walk out of Wrestlemania, a winner against all odds.
- Wrong, Well...he did win the rumble, and main event Wrestlemania. If you would have asked me a few months later when HHH and Orton was officially announced, i would have said HHH, but none the less decent prediction 4 months in advance.
6) Priceless wins the tag belts twice or more
- This one doesn't look that good at this point. They will probably win it once, however twice may be stretching it at this point. With Ted teasing a face turn. Not too mad about this prediction.
7) The Legacy will be over by SummerSlam
- Probably won't be the case, however they are already teasing Ted going face. Looks like i will be a few months off off on this one.
8) CM Punk will hold the IC belt over 7 months
- Wrong...CM Punk is always holding some gold it seems.
9) Jesse + Festus get canned
- I don't think they've been fired yet, but they should have.
10) Vladimir wins midcard gold
- Does The ECW Belt count as midcard? Seems like Kozlov is still floating around that midcard level, so he might pull this one off.
11) MVP loses steam on SD as a face and resorts back to being a heel
- Wrong, It looks like the WWE wants to actually push MVP, and he's doing a great job as a face. It wasn't really until MVP went to Raw, and they seem to let him speak his mind, until MVP really showed us what he can do.
12) Ricky Ortiz does not get released, and gets more noticed as the year goes on
- Well, he's not fired yet, and he is on SD, so you could say this is partically true. We'll have to wait and see how Ortiz pans out, i'd say he's on the fence now. They don't seem to want to fully promote the guy, yet.
13) Tommy Dreamer wins the ECW belt and drops it withing 2 months
- Tommy Dreamer has done the impossible! The wwe really should have hyped this story up a little more. It just seemed real early in the show, and didn't really promote it right. Dreamer has until Aug 7th to drop the belt, in order for this prediction to be true.
14) AJ Styles wins the gold
- This prediction is looking good at this point. He's got the legends championship, but i don't know if that counts. Either way AJ is being prepped to be the star of the company. I think TNA has done a phenomenal job with AJ and his character. I really enjoyed how they turned him heel, to sort of rebuild his character, and then giving him a hard push. Nice job TNA.
15) Samoa Joe turns Heel
- Correct...I've been saying since Joe's first title reign he should turn heel. They FINALLY did it. This should set up the BFG main event, cause Joe turned on AJ, right?
16) Joe vs AJ at Bound for Glory
- As you can see, the last three predictions sort of work hand in hand. If joe won the belt Slamiversary, i would say this is a lock. Now this gets tricky.
17) Christian wins a world championship in WWE
- Again, does the ECW championship count as a world title??
18) RVD makes his return (wishful thinking)
- Wow, RVD actually did return, and i was there live. Even it was was just for one night.
19) Bobby Lashley does not return
Well, Bobby Lashley sort of returned, however he did not return to the ring. You can kinda twist these predictions to be correct. We will have to wait and see on Lashley on this one. His MMA career seems to be doing pretty good.
20) Another tragedy will happen in the wrestling world. (someone like Luger or Hall will bite the dust)
- Not yet, but that's a good thing.
Friday, July 10, 2009
A Luminous Future
Rewind the clock about seven years ago and we will all remember debuts of two of the WWE's current top stars for good and bad reasons. One had an incredible impact in John Cena's debut against Kurt Angle and one had a lackluster approach that being Randy Orton's backstage debut. It's pretty clear that these two are the measuring stick as to how to come into a company and make an impact to become all you can be. John Cena took the route of coming in with basically no gimmick and turning it into something huge that fans today still adore him for, that being the rapper gimmick. Orton was a little different when he got injured not too far into his WWE career but did align with the mega group, Evolution led by Triple H and Ric Flair. We go into 2009 and see that these two are most likely the company's and maybe the industry's most marketable names and it all happened in less than a decade. People look at guys like Edge, Chris Jericho, Jeff Hardy, etc and see just how long it took them to win their first world title. After debuting in the WWE, Randy Orton won his first World Heavyweight Championship at the ripe age of twenty four just two years after his debut. Cena had to wait a little longer winning eight months after Orton at Wrestlemania 21. This begs the question who's next?
Over the past year we've seen the debuts, re-debuts, and upper card emergence of four prime, young WWE superstars. This is the future of the WWE and the future looks good.
We remember John Hennigan from Tough Enough III, co-winner along with Matt Cappotelli. From Blaze to Spade to finally a last name that stuck, Nitro. Johnny Nitro swept into the Smackdown tag team scene with Joey Mercury and took it by storm winning a total of 3 WWE Tag Team Titles as the tag team MNM managed by Melina. Nitro went off to Raw after being 'fired' from Smackdown and enjoyed instant success as a two time Intercontinental Champion. Nitro was riding high on Raw until the fatal Chris Benoit murder/suicide tragedy that brought up a new opportunity which Nitro seized upon. Shortly after this tragedy Nitro moved to the ECW brand and essentially took Benoit's place, winning the vacant ECW Championship. A little bit into his reign as ECW Champion Nitro made an interesting change in name that landed him what many say to be his rightful persona being dubbed John Morrison. The striking resemblance to Jim Morrison played a part in this renaming but to many revolutionized his career before it truly got started. Morrison's ECW Championship reign eventually led him to a tag team run with another former Tough Enough alum, reality show star The Miz. The two dominated the tag team ranks much like earlier in Morrison's career but this time it was only for one WWE Tag Team Championship reign, one that lasted two hundred and fifty days. As of now Morrison has held the World Tag Team Championships with Miz as well but not for nearly as long. Also Morrison is the longest reigning combined WWE Tag Team Champion in the titles' history with four reigns of five hundred and forty one days.
The Miz and Morrison tag team ended in the WWE's April draft sending Miz to Raw and Morrison to Smackdown where Morrison would find himself in a more comfortable role. Morrison took his spot on Smackdown as a babyface, where he could truly allow the fans to appreciate his unorthodox in ring style while not having to worry about his partnerships or allies. Finally Morrison was given a chance to shine and to shine he is, putting on amazing matches week in and week out. Whether it's winning championships or drawing early comparisons to the great Shawn Michaels, John Morrison is destined for greatness and some could only think that the main event isn't too far away.
Like many in professional wrestling the first gimmick or two are not the ones that lead to super stardom. Ask “The Ringmaster” Steve Austin or Rocky Maivia or “The Blueblood” Hunter Hearst Hemsley. This was the case for Dolph Ziggler when he debuted on Raw in 2006 as a member of the five man cheerleading stable called the Spirit Squad. The Spirit Squad run was memorable for one thing, the return of Degeneration-X and not a single member of the Spirit Squad. They were written out of Raw and Nic Nemeth was sent back to developmental. Nobody could have predicted a brash blond young man introducing himself over and over again would have success in the WWE but low and behold if you've got the talent to get over a gimmick you can be a star. Ziggler shocked people with types of offense they have never seen before in his re-debut match against Batista. Even in a loss Ziggler showed a lot of people he had huge potential that was untapped.
The draft to Friday Night Smackdown helped Ziggler just as much as it helped John Morrison in the way of giving him a true outlet to display his talents and even as a heel he has shown a deep connection with the fans. Ziggler is going out and putting on great matches on a consistent basis showing that he isn't a joke and maybe this gimmick really hit the spot. Dolph Ziggler is possibly the hottest superstar on the rise in the WWE today and if he keeps going at the rate he is than we could very well be seeing the name Ziggler for years to come.
Ted Dibiase Jr.
Legacy isn't just a stable name when you're talking about Ted Dibiase Jr. The son of the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase was bred for greatness and was given a primetime show to develop it on Monday Night Raw. Dibiase showed up on an edition of Monday Night Raw introduced by his father and making an impact in the tag team division claiming he would win the tag titles with a mystery partner. It turns out that mystery partner was apart of the current tag team champions and a second generation superstar himself in Cody Rhodes. The two would go on to hold the titles for a few months until their true 'destiny' came in the form of Randy Orton forming the stable Legacy. After a few weeks of looking for the right members and combinations it became clear that the trio of Orton, Rhodes, and Dibiase Jr. would fit the bill just right.
Many have seen Dibiase as the star of Legacy much like Randy Orton himself was the star of Evolution years ago. Even as far as recent editions of Raw have shown signs of Dibiase ready to make the turn against Orton and possibly propel himself into the main event scene. The sheer God given talent his genes have provided him may have been enough to get into the business and join such a storied group but will he have enough to take it a step further. Can Dibiase Jr. do what his father couldn't and win a World Wrestling Entertainment World Championship? Time will tell and the evolution of this superstar isn't so far off if you ask me.
Many times a great amateur wrestler makes their way into a WWE ring and shines, the story of Jack Swagger is no different. Being a two sport athlete in wrestling and football as well as attending the University of Oklahoma helped Swagger get noticed by Jim Ross who got him the job in the WWE. Like most Swagger went into developmental, perfected his craft and was ready to debut on the big stage. Swagger was sent to ECW and defined potential when he won the world championship only short of only five months of being there. Swagger, the Two Time All-American quickly made an impact as he defeated some of ECW's most tenured competitors including Tommy Dreamer, Finlay, and Matt Hardy.
Like most in this piece a move to Monday Night Raw looks to be the move of his professional career as it is giving him a bigger stage to show what he can do and the potential he hones can only bring him higher and higher. Swagger, like Morrison is a former World Champion just now arriving onto a prime time show ready to accomplish everything there is to and when you've got such a raw talent in the former of knowing the ins and outs of amateur competition, it's going to be hard to stop him.
A downfall to a company could be not making new stars and with the emergence of Total Non-Stop Action it begs the question are we going to see a repeat of the Monday Night Wars and if so who is in what position. The key difference between WCW and WWE a decade ago is the WWE's willingness to create new stars and let them shine under their own banner. With the four names listed above it is clear that making new stars is still the WWE's philosophy. Check back here five, ten years down the line and see just what these four men have done. I will personally guarantee that at least two of them will have held either the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship if not all four.
Below is a chart on how fast it took John Cena and Randy Orton to win their first World or WWE Championship in relation to how long it would take these four to do it in order beat Cena and/or Orton.
*According to the superstar's first appearance on WWE Television under any persona
Cannot win a World Title faster than Randy Orton.
Cannot win a World Title faster than John Cena.
Cannot win a World Title faster than Randy Orton.
Has to win by December 1, 2009 to beat John Cena's record.
Ted Dibiase Jr.
Has to win by September 16, 2009 to beat Randy Orton's record.
Has to win by April 3, 2011 to beat John Cena's record.
***Note- April 3, 2009 is a Sunday which would mean a strong possibility of Wrestlemania 27 to be held on that date making Dibiase's win much like Cena's in the fact that it would be at a Wrestlemania and the length of time to win a World Title was exact to the day.
Has to win by December 30, 2009 to beat Randy Orton's record.
Has to win by July 30, 2011 to beat John Cena's record.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
TNA Impact Review
With the recent happenings of Slamiversary in Detroit last month, I would have thought Impact would have a new look or feel to it, however the last few weeks I haven’t got that feeling just yet. Samoa Joe’s heel turn was huge, as well as Sting’s official turn to face. However this week, much like week’s past features the show opening up with a Jarrett/Foley Promo. Now I think these two have amazing chemistry (along with Kurt Angle) However, it’s getting repetitive. Friends one week, enemies the next. None the less, both guys provided a pretty good promo.
Next up was the BIG return of Homicide. OK, apparently I’m the only one to care that Homicide returned, because TNA surely didn’t do much. It was almost as if he was never gone. I thought they could have hyped his return, and regaining his briefcase better. It seemed to feel like 3D kinda stole the show in this segment.
A special sit down with suicide was next, and I don’t the direction they are going with suicide. I’ve defended his character, as he seems to be mildly over with the fans. I think it is a little early to “dig inside” the head of suicide.
Tna Impact continued with another promo, this time between Sting and Samoa Joe. Your standard promo hyping the PPV, leading to Joe taking out Sting later in the show.
A nice little mini-match with Beer Money and MCMG was next. To me TNA focuses on 3D and Beer Money WAY too much in the tag team picture, when you have teams like MCMG, LAX, and Lethal Consequences in and out of the tag picture. Certainly a PPV match between MCMG and Beer Money would be better, but this was a nice little tease. Beer Money with another W.
Next up was Tara and her new pet tarantula vs. The Beautiful people. First Tara defeated Velvet Sky, and then Angelina Love to take for Knockout title. This was actually pretty well booked, however not sure if the timing on this was the best. It’s seems like the Beautiful People were really starting to take off, and they just killed their steam. Plus this double segment ran a little long.
Next up is the team of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels to take on Matt Morgan and Kevin Nash. Pretty solid match here, what you would expect from these guys. Nash/Morgan put AJ/Daniels over, and AJ/Daniels looks pretty good teaming together.
Following that match was the PPV-worthy (on paper) Triple Threat main event match between Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley. Well booked match, that gave the fans something to look forward too, however predictable finish. Eric Young was selected as the guest referee, and he pulled a earl hebner as he said Foley quit when he didn’t to Kurt Angles, ankle lock.
Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with this show. They went through the motions. The matches were average, and promo’s were average. They hyped the PPV which is the main goal of the TV show, however I don’t think this was a show, that would draw in new viewers, or old viewers that stopped watching. This show may not have scored very high, but I also thought match placement hurt the show. The show didn’t flow well to me. It’s not the content wasn’t that good, it was more about momentum, and time value.
Promos : B-
Overall Show: C+
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Ring of Honor has a new video wire promoting their upcoming shows in Canada, as well as some highlights from last week's midwest shows.
Hogan says TNA is one big name away from catching WWE...
The Southtown Star has an interview up with Hulk Hogan. Highlights are below.
On TNA: "I watch both products. (TNA's) like the little engine that could. Everybody thought they wouldn't be around for long, and they've been chugging along for seven years. They gain momentum every week. They seem to be real fresh. When a lot of guys go over to that side of the fence, they seem to get a spring in their step."
On WWE: "Vince is the constant. He's the standard of excellence. I just love watching his show because you never know what he is going to do. Plus, the production -- you can't even touch his production. It's so dialed-in. It's amazing just to see how they put the pieces together."
On TNA's future: "If you look at history, everyone says, 'History repeats itself.' With all of the choices in the universe of entertainment, I look at the big package and look at the big picture from 40,000 feet. I see history repeating itself. I see TNA getting strong. I see Vince McMahon being impeccable except for a few little holes in the boat. TNA is lacking that one momentum-shifting move, that one big name that would even the playing field, the brand (that is) just as powerful as the WWE brand. (TNA's) lacking the big piece of the puzzle. It wouldn't matter who did what in the past. It will be a totally even playing field. You never know."
WWE RAW on Monday did a 3.6 rating off hours of 3.43 and 3.79. The show did a 3.9 rating last week and a 4.5 rating two weeks ago.
Nobody from WWE has made any sort of official comment on Edge's status following his Achilles heel tendon surgery yesterday, but word is that it went as well as it could go. He will now have to stay off the foot for 10-14 days. He will then have to wear a rehabilitation boot at which time he will start rehabbing.
- Matt Hardy has put up a photo of abdomen following surgery.
- WWE apparently went back to the Cyber Sunday PPV name because some in management didn't like the Annihilation name. The Cyber Sunday name still may end up being dropped though as WWE wants to get away from the cyber PPV concept.
411 Interview With Cary Silkin
I spoke with the man behind the promotion abut the upcoming shows, legends, future stars and more!
With Ring of Honor coming to Toronto later this month, I contacted them about talking to some of the guys to hype the show. Little did I know that the first person I'd be talking to was none other than RoH president, Cary Silkin. Here's what he had to say about the shows, Canadian audiences and Ring of Honor in general:
411mania: This is your third trip to Canada in the last year. Has the Toronto audience lived up to expectations?
Cary Silkin: Absolutely. Toronto, and Canada in general has a very rich wrestling history going back many years. Crowds are very knowledgeable and appreciative there, particularly Toronto fans. They have a sense of good wrestling, they know what good wrestling is. I believe they historically have had good promotions there too.
411: With that in mind, is there a chance you'll do some TV tapings in Toronto in the future?
CS: Well we've been discussing with HDNet the possibilities of taping in other markets, aside from Philly. We haven't discussed Toronto, but that's because we haven't discussed anywhere in particular yet. Sure, though why not? It's up there with all the other markets at this point!
411:: This trip was supposed to be a Montreal-Toronto shot. Unfortunately that got cancelled, but are there any plans to do Montreal again? Or any other Canadian cities?
CS: Right now, with the way the economy and the wrestling business are, we have to err on the side of caution. People who came to Montreal shows were great but there just weren't enough of them. Right now we have no plans to return but it's not scratched off the cards by any means. We knocked around the idea of other cities in Canada but there are no plans yet. I do know we are planning to come back to Toronto in November.
411:: I'll have to get my tickets early for that one then! So with a double shot in the same city, is there a concerted effort to make the cards feel different?
CS: Absolutely. We're not like with other companies where with house shows, you get the same thing or close to it for 2 nights in a row. There's no fear per se to come to both nights and feel like you're getting the same thing. Each show has its own flavour. Above and beyond the matches, having the pleasure of having Bret Hart 1 night and Ric Flair the other, not to mention Lance Storm in both shows, and wrestling on both show is really exciting. We're certainly going to enjoy these shows.
411:: Well that leads nicely into my next question! With Bruno Sammartino, Bobby Heenan, Ric Flair and now Bret Hart, you've brought in some great wrestling legends in non-wrestling roles in the past. Is this something you'd like to continue? Any hints on who else you might be looking at?
CS: We would love to continue that! History and wrestling don't normally go together. WWE create their own history, they don't want to recognise certain people because of whatever feelings or incidents, might have happened, like Bruno Sammartino not being in the Hall of Fame. We do recognise history and we do recognise the people who paved the way and we respect that, we've always been happy to have legends come in. You mentioned a few but you didn't mention Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Percy Pringle, Mick Foley, Ricky Steamboat, Cowboy Bill Watts, JJ Dillon...it's become a Ring of Honor trademark to try to involve these legends. It's good for the product, good to have them associated. We respect the legends and enjoy having them come to see us and hearing what they have to say. Some of these guys are very proactive in voicing their opinions and what they like or don't like, some don't fancy themselves in the role of a teacher and just want to keep quiet. It's the first time we've had dealings with Bret, who you can also see him on September 26 in New York City and we just announced September 19 in Chicago Ridge. I'm interested in meeting him and seeing what he thinks of Ring of Honor. Ric Flair has been with us a number of shows, and I'm sure the fans will be interested in meeting both these legends.
411: I'm sure they will. If we can switch to some more general questions now, how happy are you with the HDNet shows?
CS: Very happy. The production we get, their staff, their quality, they're really into the detail and having it look right and look great. It's been great and as time goes on and they have more exposure it's going to get better. They've been great to work with, very open-minded, they let us do their own thing with the matches, and overall it's been a pleasurable experience.
411: I have to say, the product looks great there. HDNet really go all out with their HD filming and it's really helped the look of the show. With that success in mind, are you working towards bringing back PPV at any point?
CS: Right now we're taking a break from PPV, but if we did anything, we've spoken to HDNet and it would be through them. Right now we're concentrating on TV, doing the HDNet shows and the live events.
411: With the Super Smash Brothers and the Osirian Portal both having matches recently, there has been a lot of CHIKARA talent being used in Ring of Honor over the past few months. With RoH now selling Pro Wrestling Guerilla DVDs, is there a chance we'll see more PWG talent coming in?
CS: I think our talent is pretty much theirs isn't it? We don't have too many shows committed past Canada, we have TV tapings in August, as well as Boston, New York, Chicago and Dayton in September, so is it possible? Yes. Nothing is concrete yet. The Young Bucks will be working the next TV tapings and in one of the other markets, and the Smash Brothers will be in Canada later this month.
411: I think most people asking this question really wanted to know if we'll see Paul London in an RoH ring again.
CS: I'd love to have Paul London back, but he doesn't seem interested in wrestling right now. I've spoken to him and he's not really into pro wrestling at the moment for whatever reason, and that's fine.
411: Probably too busy looking at dolphins. To be honest, you've done well picking up some name value with D-Lo Brown appearing occasionally, and you've started using Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams and the artist formerly known as Nunzio...is there anyone on the Indy scene you'd like to bring in?
CS: There's not that many guys that really stand out. Right now we have a hell of a crew. Austin Aries, our current champion, is fabulous, the Wolves have really come into their own, the Briscoes are back strong as far as being healthy, as well as the rest of the crew: Nigel, Claudio, Tyler...I always forget a ton of guys when I do this.
411: We're all waiting to hear Danielson!
CS: Of course! Bryan is like the Babe Ruth of Ring of Honor. We have a solid crew, but if the right guy comes around we'd certainly take a look. And I didn't even mention Jerry Lynn, the veteran. Kenny Omega is my personal favourite new guy. Both shows in Canada, he'll be there. NOAH have also been great for us. KENTA has provided some incredible matches, I apologise to the fans in Canada but NOAH are on tour that weekend so we couldn't bring them in. I also didn't mention Necro Butcher, Jimmy Rave, Colt Cabana... I had the pleasure of taking Necro Butcher to Yankee Stadium recently, he's a big baseball fan. Necro, Jerry Lynn and Colt Cabana, came with me to see Yankees - Mets. Colt's return in the earlier part of the year in New York, in the same match as Jimmy Rave, was one of the biggest pops in RoH history.
411: Absolutely, right up there with CM Punk at Unscripted 2
CS: Oh yeah, I am very happy for all the success that Punk has achieved. He works hard and, to go on the record, if anyone thinks the straight edge talk is a work, it's not. He's 100% clean, he works hard and he likes to eat. Very boring! Well, not boring but it's all real.
411: Oh for sure. Punk and Samoa Joe have done well since moving on, no doubt. We've seen Rhett Titus, Bobby Dempsey and Grizzly Redwood all have a fair amount of success since coming through the RoH Academy. Who do you think will be next to break through?
CS: Who knows! Right now nobody comes to mind. Sugarfoot Alex Payne has been in a lot of good and exciting matches, he'll be in Toronto, but none of the new students are ready to break out of the pack. We do have plenty of new guys, and I'm sure we'll be seeing some of them on the next few shows.
411: A couple more to close us out, Cary. I know it's a ways off, but...Phoenix Arizona, WrestleMania weekend: can we book out tickets knowing that RoH will be there?
CS: Yes. We're planning to be in Phoenix. Houston was great this year, the crowds were great. It's always exciting to be there for WrestleMania weekend, we got to go to the Hall of Fame this year and most of the crew went, which was great.
411: Great stuff. Well just to close this off, give us the hard sell. For anyone in the area who doesn't have tickets yet, what would you say is the main reason to come out?
CS: You're going to see two of the best wrestling shows you ever saw in your life. You have the opportunity to meet Bret Hart, Lance Storm and Ric Flair, three legends. Above and beyond the quality of wrestling, Ring of Honor live is a tremendous experience. Good tickets for both shows are still available at rohwrestling.com, or you can call the office and order (the number is on the site). We will also have tickets at the door. It's a great atmosphere, there will be beer, and this time there is after party at the bar of a former lady of RoH, Jade Chung, that's on Friday. I'm looking forward to getting out and meeting all the great fans in the Toronto area.
411: Cary thanks very much for your time, we really appreciate it.
CS: My pleasure.