Wednesday, February 19, 2014

RoH Supercard of Honor V

If you are not familiar with Ring of Honor (RoH) Wrestling, they have been around since 2002, and have essentially been the top independent wrestling promotion in the country, a distant number three behind TNA, who is a distant number two behind WWE as far as the wrestling promotions ranked in the US today. The past five years has seen the company finally take some baby steps to go from Internet darling indy federation to becoming somewhat of a marginally recognizable national wrestling group. First there was a two year deal the company landed on HDnet in 2009, which was their first television deal of any kind and provided a much needed upgrade to their video production. Shortly after that deal ended, they were acquired by Sinclair broadcasting and now have a regional syndicated network television show, where if you cannot find them at odd hours in the night, you can watch for free on their website.

RoH was the home and breeding grounds of some big WWE names such as Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins and Evan Bourne standing out the most in recent years, and many more finding success in TNA Wrestling over the years. I have been to one RoH show two years ago during Wrestlemania 28 weekend in Orlando, which featured an amazing match between Michael Elgin and Davey Richards I will never forget. Those have been the trademark of RoH, especially in their early years which featured high quality wrestling from top to bottom. In recent years they have balanced things out a little more smoothly, which is probably for the best so they do not burn out the crowd as easily, but usually each show tends to have one or two matches featuring high calibur wrestling that you do not get terribly much of on WWE/TNA today.

I try to watch one or two RoH events a year, as they sell all their live events on DVD on their website, so I usually end up getting their Supercard of Honor branded event each year. I am behind on watching these however, so today I am covering Supercard of Honor V from 2010. The first four Supercard of Honor shows took place during Wrestlemania weekend, usually in the same area that Wrestlemania took place in so they were packed with diehard fans from around the world in town for the weekend for Wrestlemania. RoH usually went all out on these shows, with the first two Supercard of Honors being notorious for featuring a pair of classic Japanese tag team matches. Things are different in 2010 however, with it now taking place a month after Wrestlemania in New York City.

The Briscoes have been lifers in RoH from the inception of the company until recently departing last year. They are my favorite tag team in RoH history, so I was a little bummed to see them open the show against Kenny King and Rhett Titus. It was still a pretty good match, especially with the Briscoes winning with the legendary Doomsday Device, but you can tell both teams were bringing their "B" game. The next undercard bout saw Erick Stevens brutalize the world's smallest lumberjack Grizzly Redwood, who I usually get a thrill out of his never give up little guy demeanor, but he was all business on this night which did not fare so well for him.

Christopher Daniels made his RoH return match next in my pick for second best match of the night against Eddie Edwards in a thrilling back and forth match up. I do not know if RoH still has a deal with Shimmer wrestling, but at this time the standout women's indy wrestling group lent stars to RoH periodically for their shows, which resulted in a great match between Sara Del Rey and Amazing Kong (aka Awesome Kong/Kharma). If you have not seen her in action before, Amazing Kong is a rather large woman, who can somehow work well with all body types and is quite capable of pulling off a variety of moves than the average large body type wrestler, and her and Del Rey delivered a damn entertaining match levels better than anything we see on WWE women's wrestling today. Next up, Austin Aries and Delirous had a interesting promo, which featured Aries manipulating the crowd to his amusement, which eventually peeved off Delirous and led to them having a brief match before it turned into a shmoz and got thrown out.

I am not a Kevin Steen fan. Something about the guy that just rubs me the wrong way. That said, he put on a great hardcore last man standing match against Colt Cabana which featured all the classic weaponry one would come to expect in this match like tacks, barbed wire bats, tables, ladders and chairs. This is one of the few times I saw Colt in a serious match, as he usually is the company's go to comedy wrestler (trust me, he is league's better than Santino Marella), but he pulled off this serious hardcore brawl well. Damn did it get bloody and gruesome by the end, which saw Steen make Cabana pass out after putting him a crossface with a barbed wire bat, and drip buckets of blood as a result.

The Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro) & Chris Hero) and Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelly & Chris Sabin) went at it for the RoH Tag Titles next in my pick for match of the night. This featured tons of creative and innovative bits of tandem tag team offense that I rarely, if ever see in the WWE tag team scene (though it has improved tremendously this past year). It was just too bad it ended up with a cheap interference DQ at the end, but that is just a blemish in what was nonstop greatness from beginning to end.

The main event saw Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) successfully defend his RoH World Title against Roderick Strong. I am not a huge Strong fan, like some of his previous matches I saw this one started off pretty slow and methodical, which I usually do not mind, but Strong has a way of making the early stages of a match quite dull to me. The match picked up eventually and the closing minutes featured some great action which finally got me invested in the match, but if felt a little too late to make up for the early stages of the bout, and the earlier matches stealing the show for me. If you ask me, it is not a good thing when your world title main event ends up for fourth best match of the night.

This is the first time I saw an RoH DVD since their video production upgrade from signing on with HDnet, which resulted in a big step up to finally see an RoH show with near TNA/WWE quality lighting and video production. While the main event disappointed, Supercard of Honor V was still a pretty enjoyable show and is worth going out of your way to see for King of Wrestling vs. Machine Guns, Daniels vs. Edwards and Steen vs. Cabana.

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