|Tales from the Eastside Directory
Honor 8/24 Preview
-After a string of successful shows in Philadelphia, ROH
branches outside its home area for this show, running in
Boston. Quite a loaded card here, including new ROH World
Heavyweight champion Low-Ki's first title defense and the
introduction of some new talent. Let's get to it...
Oh, as I promised in my last CZW TV report, I've brought
along a guest for this preview: The resident ZERO-ONE
addict and British correspondant, ~Alf~! He'll be chiming
in at various points to offer his thoughts on matches.
Low-Ki (c) vs. AJ Styles for the ROH World
Backstory: If you're talking exclusively ROH, there's not
much of a backstory. At "A Night of
Appreciation" (4/27), Ki got a 'controversial' pin
on Styles. However, in NWA:TNA, they've been building up
quite a rivalry over the X title. Styles developed a
disrespectful attitude after winning the title, turning
heel (without much explanation, because RUSSOMANIA~! is
running wild over in TNA land) on his tag team partner
Jerry Lynn. During a Ki vs. Lynn match, Styles ran down
and attacked his partner right before Ki was able to hit
the Ki Krusher. Ki fought back against both men after the
match, and this lead to a triangle match on the following
show. Ki won that match, and the X title, by pinning Lynn
after Styles nailed him with a chair. There's talk that
Ki would be defending his X title here, but it's not
mentioned on the ROH website.
Analysis: Predictable choice for Ki's first defense, but
these two are perfectly capable of pulling out a good
match (I can't comment on their 4/27 match as while I
have it on tape, I'm yet to watch it). Styles has
seemingly been regressing from his late 01/early 02 form,
with more spot-heavy matches and sloppier work (witness
his concussion of Jacey North on a recent Wildside TV
taping). Ki certainly isn't one to carry, but he has
improved to the point where this should be at the very
least a decent spotfest. Hopefully they'll take it in a
different direction than the TNA style, though, as the
ROH audience is more patient and more willing to accept a
match with slower build and more story (as opposed to the
finisher killing and rapid-fire highspots of the X
Alf-alysis: This could be a swanktastic main event. We'll
certainly see some great highspots and I'm sure, as it is
ROH, that they'll instill some kind of story to the
match. It'll certainly have some great heat and could be
Patrick Predicts: It'd be downright nutty to put the
title on Styles here, plus Ki has enough of a following
to warrant a long title reign.
Alf Predicts: Low-Ki all the way. ROH is a company that
should know the importance of keeping titles credible and
with Ki being X-Division champion too, it's very unlikely
Styles' will win. Add that to Styles having defeated Ki
earlier in the year, it all points towards a Ki victory.
American Dragon vs. Donovan Morgan
Backstory: This is being billed as an "ROH vs.
Prophecy" match, with Morgan the representative of
Chris Daniels' splinter group. The Prophecy was formed at
the 3/30 show, where Morgan beat Daniels. Afterwards, in
the back, Daniels told Morgan he had his respect and how
he thought Ring of Honor was a joke. Morgan agreed. After
Eddy Guerrero got an emotional sendoff (which Morgan
& Daniels didn't show up for), several wrestlers-
notably Dragon and Low-Ki- took exception to the attitude
of Morgan and Daniels. There was a locker room brawl
between the four (and Spanky, who was only looking out
for himself because he's the coolest mofo alive).
There's also some "legit
heat" here, as Dragon has recently supplanted Morgan
as the head trainer in APW over on the West Coast.
Analysis: Well, this certainly won't be as good as the
originally planned Spanky vs. Dragon 2/3 falls match, but
it's certainly nothing to sneeze at. These two had a
pretty bad match at the APW King of Indies '01 show, but
that was more due to Morgan's unmotivated performance
that lasted the entire tournament. Morgan has really
stepped up his work recently, in both NOAH and the US
indies, so this should be a good scientific match.
Alf-alysis: This could turn out to be an immensely great
match. Whilst not being at the same fun level of Spanky
vs. Dragon, this could be a technical marvel. Morgan's
looked very good on recent NOAH and Dragon has looked
very good on recent ROH. There's a very strong chance
that this could be MOTN or possibly even at MOTYC, given
the work ethic, the crowd response and the time they get.
Patrick Predicts: There's an old saying 'round these
parts, it goes something like "NOAH boys never
lose". Morgan wins here and we may see a new
Prophecy member (Xavier?).
Alf Predicts: There's also a saying that goes
"There's always a first time for everything",
yet this probably won't be the day. With the Prophecy
being the big heel faction and Dragon being the least
protected of the "big three" (Ki, Daniels and
Dragon), it makes sense for Morgan to go over here.
Da Hit Squad vs. HC Loc and Tony Devito in a
Boston Massacre match
Backstory: The "Carnage Crew" of Loc &
Devito have been feuding with the Natural Born Sinners
(Homicide & Boogalou) since the inception of ROH, a
feud I covered in my preview of the last show. Loc and
Devito lost the Bunkhouse match to NBS on 7/20, but they
attacked the Sinners with hubcaps afterwards. Now they
get to go against the other monster tag team imported
from JAPW, Mafia and Monsta Mack- Da Hit Squad. It hasn't
been announced what exactly a "Boston Massacre"
match is, but it's a pretty safe assumption that we're in
for a street fight with lots of weapons and blood here.
Analysis: Ugh. These teams never go away. In the last
preview I encouraged ROH to not do these gorefest matches
every show, since they'll attract the bloodmark fans. So
of course they book this. DHS are twice as bad as the
Sinners, who aren't exactly a good team to begin with.
The best we can hope for is that this is short.
Alf-alysis: Blah. Although I agree with Patrick in the
sense that gorefests will attract bloodmark fans, variety
can sometimes be a promotions best friend and every once
in a while it's nice to bring out the plunder. But
hopefully, the emphasis of the promotion will stay on the
work rate department and this won't go too long. It'd be
nice to see a nice brawl, rather than 10 minutes of
baking trays being whacked over guy's heads.
Patrick Predicts: DHS win to give them some build-up for
the Tag Title tournament at the next ROH show, which
hopefully they won't go very far in.
Alf Predicts: As Patrick said, a DHS win going into the
tag tourney, however it would also make sense for Carnage
Crew to win, seeing how they lost at the previous show.
Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
Backstory: The story for this one goes way back- far
beyond the beginning of ROH, even. Jay and Mark had the
show stealing match at CZW's 2001 "Best of the
Best" juniors tournament, which Jay came out the
winner in. The Briscoes were without friction for the
rest of the year, until they went under masks as the
Midnight Outlaws (due to PA State Athletic Commission
laws forbidding Mark from working in that state, and CZW
was starting to run shows at the ECW Arena). They were
relatively successful as the Outlaws, until at the March
show Jay went out from under the mask for the first time
in months to have a 2/3 falls match with Ruckus. The
Outlaws (with Ian Knoxx filling Jay's spot) had an
undercard match with the Overboys. The Outlaws ran in
after the second fall of Jay/Ruckus ended and attacked
them both in a veritable orgy of bad booking from CZW.
This was supposed to lead to Jay vs. Mark (under the mask
as an Outlaw) at the next show, but Mark got hurt to nix
those plans. Mark then healed up in time for the next CZW
show, which was coincidentally booked the same time as
the 4/27 ROH show. The two companies came to an agreement
where Jay would work ROH while Mark would work CZW and
fight Nick Berk. However, politics interfered and Mark
no-showed the CZW show and appeared at ROH to second his
brother. The Briscoes were done with CZW.
Meanwhile, back in ROH,
Jay was in the middle of a losing streak. Mark would
second his brother for every match (remember, he can't
wrestle in PA- and that's not an angle, he's under 18),
and laugh at him for losing. Jay has only gotten one win
in ROH, a pinfall on Tony Mamaluke. At the 7/20 show, he
lost to James Maritato after being distracted by Mark
walking off from ringside. Jay confronted his brother to
set up this match.
This is actually the fifth Briscoe vs. Briscoe match.
Aside from their Best of the Best match, there was a
match in Jersey Championship Wrestling for a spot in the
Jersey J-Cup, which Mark won. They then had a match at
Wildside's Freedom Fight '02 show, where Jay won in over
twenty minutes with two J-Drillers. They recently had a
match in New England Championship Wrestling that went to
a double pin draw, which sets up this rematch nicely (Jay
being up in the unofficial series two to one).
Analysis: This might be
the most overkilled match in all of US indy wrestling,
but these two never fail to put on a good show. Their CZW
match was good but overrated, but their Wildside match
was tremendous and a ligit MOTYC. By all accounts their
NECW match was excellent as well. Most of their matches
don't have a face/heel structure, since it's normally
about respect, but here there's the obvious story of Mark
being the bitter, jealous brother with something to
prove, so he's the natural heel here. If they restrain
themselves from doing excessive headdropping and get a
lot of time to work with, this could be the match of the
Alf-alysis: I've never seen Briscoe vs. Briscoe, but by
all accounts, I've heard their matches to be superb. This
should be quite the treat, I'm sure.
Patrick Predicts: I originally thought they should book
this to a time limit draw and have the Briscoes make up
for the upcoming Tag Title tournament, but then I
remembered Mark wouldn't be able to work the tournament
show since it's in PA. :-( So I think Mark will win this
one, to even the series 2-2, but he'll give his brother
respect after the match to keep the team solid in ROH for
the future- and to build for an eventual final rubber
match between them a year or so down the road.
Alf Predicts: They could go two ways with this
(obviously). If Jay wins, it puts an end to his losing
streak and puts proverbial egg on his brother's face. Yet
if Mark wins, it evens out the series and they can build
to a rematch at a later ROH show and perhaps also
concentrate on tag team work in ROH - the tag titles will
need to be defended and the Briscoe's are quite the
credible challengers. Thus, I'll go with Mark winning,
allowing for Jay to gain more experience on future ROH
shows, building to an eventual rematch.
Michael Shane vs. Paul London
Backstory: These two are quite familiar with each other,
as they're both graduates of Shawn Michaels Texas
Wrestling Academy. They've had issues since the 4/27 show
where Shane beat London in the "Heartbreak
Gauntlet" series. Then at the 7/20 show, in the
London & Don Juan vs. Shane & Bio-Hazard match
that had an ROH contract on the line, London pinned
Bio-Hazard (the legal men) while Shane pinned Juan at the
same time. Shane was angry after the match and started
ranting, putting Spanky on notice that he was the real
"new Showstopper" since he was not only a
graduate of Michaels' school, but was also Michaels'
cousin. His arrogance ticked off London, who attacked
him. The two had a wild brawl, having to be separated by
security and their trainer Rudy Ray Gonzalez.
Analysis: London is one of the most overlooked indy
workers out there, with a great training pedigree that
includes Michaels and Dory Funk Jr. Shane is a solid
worker, technically sound and with several years
experience. All these facts sound pretty dry and boring,
but they do prove that these two have the chops to put
together a very good match. However, ROH doesn't exactly
like to give a lot of its undercard matches time, so I
doubt this will get over seven or eight minutes.
Alf-alysis: This is one of those nice little undercard
matches that, whilst not being blow away, will help the
overall quality of the show. It should be a very solid
Patrick Predicts: With his persona, Shane is one of the
best candidates to be a new member of the Prophecy
(Xavier is my other choice), so I think he goes over here
and continues his heel push, maybe as an ally of Daniels
and a foil for Spanky.
Alf Predicts: I'll go with Shane, getting payback for
last month's result.
Natural Born Sinners vs. James Maritato and Tony
Backstory: Not much here. At the 7/20 show, Boogalou and
Maritato were having a friendly conversation about
shootfighting when Mamaluke interrupted and started
taunting the Sinners, saying the only
"shooting" they know about is the kind
involving guns. Well, I guess Tony thought it was
insulting. The Sinners responded by laying out a
challenge to Maritato and Mamaluke, and while Maritato
isn't happy with Mamaluke keeping his goofy persona, he
didn't want to turn down the challenge. Mamaluke and
Maritato previously teamed up (with Terry Knightonelli)
at Wildside's Freedom Fight '02 show to take on G-Rated
and Onyx, and while the FBI won the match, Mamaluke
wouldn't stop stretching the young guys after the match.
Maritato tried to get Mamaluke to cool off, and in
response he got beaten up by Mamaluke and Knightonelli,
so there's some possible friction between the former FBI
partners going into this match.
Analysis: This is a filler match, but it has potential to
be entertaining, depending entirely on the level of work
brought by the Sinners. Homicide and Boogalou can be
carried, but only if they're affable and not doing
mindless brawling and headdrops. It's a definite style
clash, with Mamaluke and Maritato being mat wrestlers and
the Sinners being brawlers, but there's a slim chance it
Alf-alysis: This will be interesting, even if just to see
what they try to do with the match. The FBI have brawled
in ECW before, so they're not completely alien to it yet
it would make sense, at least in theory, to push the
match as a style clash, with the FBI trying to score a
win for technical style and The Sinners trying to score a
win for 'their' style.
Patrick Predicts: I think ROH will go the predictable
route and do a breakup with Maritato and Mamaluke here,
although I wish they'd make Mamaluke go serious and have
him and Maritato as a serious threat in the Tag Title
tournament. I doubt that'll happen, though, and the
Sinners win here.
Alf Predicts: I'd like to go with the FBI, but I can't
see them winning. The Sinners will win. I get a creepy
suspicion they'd win through submission too
Alex Arion vs. Maverick Wild
Backstory: If this were Japan we'd call this an
"NECW Offer Match". Two of Sheldon Goldberg's
boys square off here. They're apparently in a heated feud
in NECW, but I don't follow that promotion so I don't
know about it. Arion seems to have a Rick Rude/Rick
Martel type of arrogant heel gimmick (his nickname is
"Golden Greek"), but I'm just going by scraps
of info and I'm probably totally off.
Analysis: No clue. They're apparently good workers, but
this will likely get the ROH undercard treatment and be
Alf-alysis: I too have to plead ignorance. There's been
much praise of the NECW talent roster around the net and
they seem to be quite underrated. This could be a
possible sleeper match.
Patrick Predicts: Arion has gotten the more press of the
two and has some good buzz behind him, so I think ROH has
plans for him beyond this show. He goes over Wild here.
Alf Predicts: Arion is the current NECW Heavyweight
Champion, so it seems logical that he'd go over Wild
here. If they do have further plans for him, it wouldn't
make sense for him to lose.
Red vs. Quiet Storm
Backstory: For most of their short pro careers, these two
have been closely intertwined. They were on opposite
sides of the Divine Storm & Brian XL vs. Spanish
Announce Team feud in CZW in the summer of 2001, they
left CZW around the same time, and in the first two ROH
shows they were involved in the same universally panned
matches (on 2/23, Red vs. Storm vs. Brian XL vs. Chris
Divine vs. Jose Maximo vs. Joel Maximo; on 3/30, Red
& XL vs. Maximos vs. Divine Storm). They don't have
any real outstanding issues in ROH, but this match is
being touted as a "breakthrough" for both (of
course, that could just be empty hype).
Analysis: Red's act has gotten kind of stale in 2002, but
he had a shockingly good match with Low-Ki at the 6/22
ROH show and an apparently excellent match with Slim J in
Wildside at the 8/4 TV taping. Storm is easily the best
of Mikey Whipwreck's students and he's the only one to
work a mat-based style, so there's a good chance he'll
restrain Red's spot monkey tendencies. This was one of
the first matches announced for the card and it's been
heavily hyped, so there's a good chance it'll get time.
Alf-alysis: I can't say I have extensive viewing of
either man, yet from what I understand, Red is
spot-tastic and Storm is "easily the best of Mikey
Whipwreck's students". I'm sure many will get
enjoyment from this match and it'll probably be very fun.
Patrick Predicts: They seem to be grooming Red as the
premier junior in ROH (a mistake if you ask me- which you
didn't) and Storm is primarily a tag team worker w/Chris
Divine in Divine Storm, so Red wins here. Hopefully an
announcement about an ROH Jr. title is made soon; after
this match would be an ideal time to make that
Alf Predicts: Red seems to be the logical choice to win,
considering his prominence on previous ROH cards
alongside his NWATNA exposure.
Xavier vs. Prince Nana
Backstory: Umm...Nana was "concussed" (worked
KO) by Low-Ki at the 6/22 ROH show in a World Heavyweight
title tournament match. He milked the concussion to get
out of working the 7/20 show, and now he's working
Xavier. Not exactly an epic buildup.
Analysis: Say it with me: Filler, filler, filler.
Hopefully the shortest match on the card. Nana's a comedy
worker and Xavier really deserves better than this.
Alf-alysis: Nana's booking kinda reminds me of Yasuda's
recent NJ stuff, treated like a joke yet continually
booked along side serious opponents who are just there
because they have nothing else to do (read Nishimura).
Hopefully they'll go the route of having more of an
exhibition match for Xavier, just a couple of minutes
showing off offence and attitude.
Patrick Predicts: Xavier wins, if he doesn't there's
something seriously wrong with ROH. I wouldn't be
surprised to have Xavier rail against ROH after the match
for booking him against such a goof, leading to him
joining the Prophecy.
Alf Predicts: Xavier wins
Jose Maximo, Joel Maximo and Chris Divine vs.
Brian XL, Insane Dragon and Dixie
Backstory: Brian XL has been an arrogant jerk for his
tenure in ROH, disrespecting Eddy Guerrero and generally
being a pest. His former friends the SATs and Divine
Storm ditched him, leading to XL taking two JAPW workers
(Dragon and Dixie) under his wing and forming the
"Special K" stable.
Analysis: Maximos are spot monkeys, Divine is just not
good. XL is pretty good, and Dixie & Dragon are two
of JAPW's best workers (talk about damning them with
faint praise). Expect a spotfest here, but hopefully
energetic and maybe Special K will interject a story
somewhere in there.
Alf-alysis: As Patrick said, this'll be spotastic, yet I
have no problem with the spotfest on each card. Variety
is one of the greatest things a wrestling promotion can
offer. I'm really pleased this is just going to be a
traditional six man tag, the can maybe retain a semblance
of structure, a possibility than instantly goes out the
window whenever a multiple team match takes place.
Patrick Predicts: The Maximos and Divine are beyond stale
and Special K are just getting started. The upstart heels
win and Brian XL will wow us all with his
"Bia-bia-bia-bia-BIATCH!" catchphrase. I think
Divine will take the fall for the faces.
Alf Predicts: I'll go with what Patrick said.
Patrick: Looks like an all around solid card, with maybe
one or two too many matches. This is a key show for ROH,
as it's their first show outside of the Delaware Valley
and it's their last show before ROH TV starts in early
September. Dragon/Morgan, Red/Storm, Briscoe/Briscoe and
London/Shane all have tons of promise, and outside of
DHS/Loc & Devito there are no outright horrible
matches. If they don't make any stupid booking swerves
(such as putting the title on Styles) this should be a
worthwhile tape when it's released- knowing RF, that'll
be six months from now, then an extra two or three months
Alf: As usual, ROH continues to put on solid cards.
Overall there're some very nice looking singles bouts,
along with some good variety. The two top matches could
be great, Ki/Styles being extremely high-impact and
Dragon/Morgan being more somber and technical. It will be
interesting to see how the crowd reacts, but all in all
this could be really neat.
That's it for now. I'm about halfway done with my Freedom
Fight '02 review, but I'll make sure to get my Wildside
TV review done before that (it wasn't a notable show,
some solid matches but nothing standout). Then the ROH
key matches review I've been promising for epochs.
No CZW TV review this week as I have a family reunion
down in southern Maryland that I'm dreading more than a
Zandig match. So I'll see you when I see you.