ROH News Spoiler-free guide to ROH's "Man Up!" PPV (Briscoes-Generico & Steen, Morishima-Danielson
Dec 2, 2007 - 1:35:22 PM
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By Jason Detrick, PWTorch Contributor
Below is my SPOILER-FREE guide for ROH's 3rd PPV - Man Up. My goal is to give viewers who upon watching the PPV will get their first (or one of their first) exposures to the ROH product with some background on the competitors and feuds.
Nigel McGuinness vs. Naomichi Marifuji vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Chris Hero
Nigel McGuinness (face) was last seen by the PPV audience as one half of a strong contender for Match of the Year at ROH Driven vs Bryan Danielson in an excellent 25 minute match. Danielson became the #1 contender by virtue of his win in that match, but Nigel still carries a lot of momentum coming from such a great match and is by no means out of the title picture. Nigel employs a European mat based style in the ring as well as some brutal lariats. His finishers are the jawbreaker/rebound lariat and the Tower of London.
Claudio Castagnoli (face) has been on a roll ever since Driven when he defeated Matt Sydal. He went on to win the two night Race to the Top tournament in July, defeating El Generico in the finals in a great match. By virtue of winning the tournament, Claudio earned a title shot at World Champion Takeshi Morishima. The two biggest men on the roster had a great, dramatic match that saw Claudio come within an eyelash of becoming the first Swiss world champion. This match and tournament win successfully elevated Claudio to main event status with the company. While Claudio has other things on his mind (including his feud with Chris Hero and Sweet N Sour Inc.), he is still in the hunt for Morishima's belt. Claudio works many different styles well and is known for his trademark "Hey" catchphrase, his wide variety of European uppercuts, and his giant swing. His finisher is a cross-armed sitout powerbomb known as the "Ricola Bomb"
Naomichi Marifuji (face) is a top star in Japan's Pro Wrestling NOAH promotion and is one of the best young wrestlers in the world. He is on fire, picking up a win on each of the first two ROH PPVs. He puts that PPV undefeated streak on the line in this one. He is known for his Shiranui (Sliced Bread #2) finisher and his coast to coast dropkick. Marifuji has proven to be worthy of a title shot with his past PPV performances, and a win in this match would almost guarantee a shot at Morishima.
Chris Hero (heel) makes his PPV in-ring debut in this match. He has loads of charisma and is very fun to hate. Throw in his cocky manager Larry Sweeney and his stable Sweet N Sour Incorporated, and you've got a very entertaining entourage. Hero was the initial CZW wrestler to invade Ring of Honor in 2006, in effect starting the ROH vs CZW war that was a major storyline in that year. He is one of only a handful of truly hated heels in ROH history, garnering some great legit heat at times (though at other times he will get some applause for his tremendously cocky antics). He loves to utilize the cravate as a set up to other cravate-related moves like the cravate cutter, cravate-plex, etc. Even the Hangman's Clutch, his submission finisher, is part cravate. His main finisher is the Heroes Welcome rolling ace crusher.
Claudio and Hero have been tag team partners in nearly all of the promotions they've both been in. They were known as the Kings of Wrestling and were a big part of the CZW contingent of the ROH vs CZW war. When Claudio signed a contract with the WWE in late 2006 but then was terminated before he even reported to OVW due to what WWE claimed were Visa problems, Claudio thought he could go right back to teaming with Hero. However, this was right around the time that Hero hired Larry Sweeney as his agent and Sweeney officially put an end to the Kings of Wrestling. Since that day in December 2006, Claudio & Hero have been feuding and Claudio will be looking to get revenge on Hero in this match. While that is the main rivalry in the match, Nigel & Hero have have feuded a bit as well in 2007 and have some bad blood left over. Nigel and Claudio had a pretty heatded midcard rivalry back in 2005 with each other. This match pitting 4 top contenders against one another could very well determine a new #1 contender for Morishima's belt.
The Resilience vs the No Remorse Corps. - Singles Series
Matt "M-Dogg 20" Cross (face) is a dazzling high flier who debuted in ROH in late 2006. Some may remember him from the tag team The Fast and the Fury along with Teddy Hart on Wrestling Society X. He spent most of his time in ROH in multi-man matches on the undercard until Austin Aries recruited him as the 2nd member of his new stable The Resilience in February 2007. His finisher is a Phoenix Splash. He has also been known to use double stomps as well as variations of the Sasake Special.
Erick Stevens (face) Was only in ROH for about a month when Austin Aries recruited him to be the 3rd and final member of the Resilience faction. He is one of the bigger members of the ROH roster and uses a lot of power moves. He made his name in ROH's sister promotion "Full Impact Pro" down in Florida. Whenever these factions do battle, Stevens seems to go right after his trainer Roderick Strong. Stevens uses a Doctor Bomb (gutwrench powerbomb) as his finisher.
Austin Aries (face) is one of the biggest stars in ROH. He rose to stardom in 2004, first starting out as the silent but great member of the Generation Next heel faction, and eventually taking over leadership from Alex Shelley and kicking Shelley out of the group. Aries then did the impossible at Final Battle 2004 and defeated the unbeatable Samoa Joe, ending his 21 month world title reign. Aries had a great title run until dropping the belt to CM Punk in mid-2005. Shortly after the Resilience vs. No Remorse Corps feud started, TNA (to whom Aries was under contract) pulled him from all future ROH shows. Aries was suspended by TNA and sat around for a few months doing nothing. Aries asked for his release from his contract and was granted it, and as viewers of ROH Driven saw, Aries made his shocking return to the company and signed a Ring of Honor contract. For now he is focused on destroying the NRC, but Aries also wants the honor of becoming the first ever multi-time ROH World Champion.
The No Remorse Corps.
Rocky Romero (heel) is a cocky former ROH Tag Team Champion who returned to the company in early 2007 after an extensive tour of Japan. He was recruited as the 3rd and final member of the No Remorse Corps. by Roderick Strong and has turned his cockiness up to a new level. He uses a lot of kicks in his offense, as well as some MMA style submission maneuvers. His finishers are a Buzzsaw Kick and the anklelock. He is also known for his dazzling Diablo Armbar (top rope flying armbar takedown into an armbar submission)
Davey Richards (heel) turned heel in early 2007 upon becoming a member of the NRC. He uses a lot of suplexes and stiff strikes. He is being portrayed in backstage segments as the goofball of the group, and is often teased by Roderick and Rocky. His finisher is the DR Driver (a double arm brainbuster).
Roderick Strong (heel) started out in ROH as a part of the Generation Next stable. Once the stable broke up, he and Austin Aries continued to team together and became one of the best tag teams in ROH history. They defended the belts in the UK, making them World Tag Team Titles. Meanwhile in late 2005 Roderick shot to the main event picture and had a series of great matches with World Champion Bryan Danielson as well as picking up a victory in ROH over Matt Hardy. After a series of frustrating tag losses, Strong turned heel on Aries earlier this year and formed the No Remorse Corps. The two have been feuding (using their respective stables as backup) ever since.
The rules of the match: there will be three single matches between the teams. The stable who wins a coin toss gets to decide the match ups (think The Ultimate Fighter). These two stables have been going at it for most of 2007 all across the ROH territory. As far as wins and losses go, the NRC is ahead of the Resilience by a wide margin. Being without their leader for a few months did not do the Resilience any favors. This faction war is becoming very one-sides. With Aries back, this is the best shot the Resilience has of evening things up.
"American Dragon" Bryan Danielson vs. ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima for the ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson (face) was in the main event of the very first ROH show and has been a main eventer or towards the top of the card throughout his entire ROH career. As great as he was in 2002, he has just gotten better and better. In 2005 he came back from a lengthy absence from ROH and defeated James "Jamie Noble" Gibson to become the 7th Ring of Honor world champion. Soon after, he turned heel and it was like a switch flipped. He went from being a, but mostly silent, wrestler into becoming one of the most charismatic heels in company history and an excellent wrestler. His 15 month title reign is arguably better than Samoa Joe's in quality (while Joe's was 6 months longer, Danielson defended the belt 12 more times than Joe did). After losing the belt to Homicide in December of 2006, Danielson was out with a shoulder injury until his return at Respect Is Earned in May. His finishing maneuvers include the MMA elbows, the Triangle Choke, and the Cattle Mutilation.
Takeshi Morishima (heel) was a fast rising star in Pro Wrestling NOAH before making his ROH debut vs Samoe Joe in early 2007. Soon after his debut, Morishima was able to defeat Homicide to become the 9th ROH World Champion. His hard hitting straight ahead bruiser style is a great contrast to the previous lengthy title reign of Danielson. While his first few months were good, his matches got better as his confidence grew. He has become more heelish as of late and getting cocky. His finisher is the Backdrop Driver.
This match has gotten more personal. On 08-25-07 at Manhattan Mayhem II, Danielson got his world title shot. On that night, in a Match of the Year contender that saw some very hard strikes, Morishima actually severely injured Danielson's eye legit. After the match, Danielson's eye had rolled back in his head and he could not control it. It was discovered that he suffered a detached retina. Danielson was told he needed about 4-6 weeks off. Danielson came back early from the injury in order to get this title shot at Man Up. Danielson has to wrestle the match while wearing an eye bandage and eye patch. In an ROH Newswire, Morishima said that he will be honorable in this match and will not target Danielson's eye. Morishima has seemed unbeatable, but if anyone can defeat him, it's the self proclaimed Best In The World.
Kevin Steen & El Generico vs ROH World Tag Team Champions The Briscoes - "Ladder War" for the ROH World Tag Team Championships
The Briscoes (faces) are thought by many to be the best tag team in the world right now. They can always be counted on to have a great match. They have many high impact double team maneuvers and they are basically Southern ass kickers who are a little out there mentally. Jay was a big part of the very first ROH show and the early months of the company in general at the young age of 18, while Mark was only 17 and couldn't legally wrestler for a while longer. When he could wrestle and the two started teaming (after initially feuding with each other), there was little stopping the Briscoes in the tag division. Mark suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident in 2004 and the Briscoes both decided to taken an extended time off from the wrestling business. It wasn't until February 2006 that they returned to much fanfare. They were physically larger than ever and had more of a character and actually spoke. These new and improved Briscoes have had a hell of a run of matches all the way up until now. Mark Briscoe finishes opponents off with the Cutthroat Driver (modified Burning Hammer) and Jay Briscoe's finisher is the Jay Driller (double underhook piledriver). Their tag team finisher is the Springboard Doomsday Device or the Spike Jay Driller.
Kevin Steen (heel) came in for a handful of shows in 2005, mostly in undercard multi-man matches, but never really caught on with the fans. He was brought back in to ROH in early 2007 as a tag team with El Generico and it was a great match against the Briscoes that got them over with the ROH fans. Throughout the feud with the Briscoes, Steen has become more and more heelish and has received some legitimate heel heat for his efforts. Steen has been a fast rising star as of late. He uses a Swanton Bomb, the Steenalizer, and his finisher the Package Piledriver.
El Generico (face) also had a brief run in 2005 in ROH and was popular, but did not win many matches and did not last long. Once he started teaming with Steen in 2007 he became even more popular and more respected for his in ring abilities. As opposed to the heelish Steen, Generico generally plays by the rules and is a fan-friendly babyface. He is a self-proclaimed "generic luchador"...from Canada. He sometimes uses a running big boot to the corner and his finisher is a brainbuster. On rare occasions, he uses the very dangerous brainbuster off the top rope onto the top turnbuckle.
The Briscoes vs Steen & Generico feud is a legitimate contender for feud of the year in all of wrestling. The two teams have had a war with each other in almost every match imaginable since they first met in February. Street fights, lights out matches, falls count anywhere matches, 2 out of 3 falls matches, and even cage matches. During a few of these matches, Steen & Generico attacked the Briscoes with ladders. This led up to the signing of the very first ladder match in ROH history, the "Ladder War". This will be a brutal spectacle of a match. The Steen & Generico vs the Briscoes feud is about to reach previously unseen heights of brutality in the Ladder War.
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