SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Wake the pets & call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive ROH pay-per-view projections.
DISCLAIMER: Projections are made by myself and for myself with absolutely no assistance from Gary Juster, Greg the GM, Nigel McGuinness, or The Man With The Lizard Face. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a supply of Firestone tires. Firestone, where the rubber meets the road. Don’t forget, when you land on “Bankrupt,” you lose your cash but not your merchandise, because once you buy a prize, it’s yours to keep. Remember, this is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These predictions are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over ROH, unless a better one-liner comes along.
If you’ve recovered from last week’s pair of ROH/New Japan shows in Tokyo, you may actually be ready for tonight’s ROH/New Japan show at Sam’s Town, or even tomorrow’s ROH TV taping with lots of New Japan. “Best In The World” is important, “Final Battle” is fun, but an ROH pay-per-view in Sin City is a wrestling fan’s dream weekend. I would be in Las Vegas this weekend to celebrate with Ring of Honor, but I went and got married instead.
Before we preview tonight’s show, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place. Twenty years ago, on February 11, 1996, World Championship Wrestling presented its “SuperBrawl VI” pay-per-view from St. Petersburg, Florida, headlined by Hulk Hogan taking on “The Giant” Paul Wight inside a steel cage. We definitely can’t show you that match. But we CAN show you the pregame show on “WCW Main Event.” Hacksaw Jim Duggan is set to take on a mystery opponent from The Dungeon of Doom. The announcers didn’t know who it was, even though someone had tipped off the graphics guys. Your announcers are Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes.
Are you up for something a little more timely? Ring of Honor has its “Women of Honor” matches airing exclusively on You Tube. Let us take you back to January 15th in Philadelphia, where Solo Darling battled Kelly Klein. Your announcers are Ian Riccaboni & B.J. Whitmer.
And, as your free gift for viewing this column, let’s take you back to ROH’s 4th Anniversary Show, from February 25, 2006. In the main event, it was the Generation Next duo of Austin Aries & Roderick Strong defending the ROH World Tag Team Titles against A.J. Styles & Matt Sydal. I think this one turned out okay, Your announcers are Dave Prazak, “Drunk” Jimmy Bower and Lenny Leonard.
On with the projections!
I have no idea what the dark match will be for this show, but I hope Tim Hughes is involved.
Adam Page vs. BJ Whitmer: As you’ll recall, The Decade was formed as a last-minute idea to stall for time until Chris Hero arrived at a Ring of Honor. Now that no one’s left except Whitmer, can we put an end to this? Please? Projection? Page wins with the Rite of Passage. For a follow-up, maybe he can tag with Corey Hollis in NXT.
Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels: In case you missed our Wednesday PWTorch Livecast, Christopher Daniels made a surprise appearance and predicted victory over Alex Shelley tonight. That’s good enough for me. Projection? Daniels wins with Angel’s Wings off a distraction by Frankie Kazarian. Chris Sabin takes offense to The Addiction screwing over his former tag team partner, and we’re one step closer to Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Addiction at “Best In The World”. So, everybody wins.
Hirooki Goto vs. Dalton Castle: It’s enough of a novelty to see Dalton Castle in action against the big stars of New Japan. Castle doesn’t actually have to win a match yet. Projection? Castle gets his stuff in before Goto scores the decisive victory with the Shoryu Kekkai.
The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) vs. Kushida, Matt Sydal & ACH (NEVER Six-Man Titles): Yes, New Japan has solved its gaijin problem by moving Kenny Omega up the ladder and signing Michael Elgin, not to mention Jay Lethal joining Los Ingobernables. Do a rematch of this bout in Dallas, and WWN might not have the best six-man tag of the weekend. Projection? ACH gets introduced to a Meltzer Driver and The Elite keeps the six-man belts.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Moose (Non-Title): The real betting line isn’t who wins this match. The bets are on how long the match lasts. Projection? The IWGP champ wins with the Red Ink in about ten minutes. Sorry, Moose.
The Briscoes vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin: The duo of Tanahashi & Elgin is the sort of “superteam” you often get in Japan, where the promotion actually has depth as uses tag team bouts to set up singles matches. Still, the Briscoes are ROH’s tag team legends, and you think they’d win. Unless we’re setting up for a big rematch in May in Chicago. Projection? Elgin and Tanahashi hit a spinning powerbomb/High Fly Flow combo on Jay Briscoe for the win.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Fish (ROH Television Title): Conventional wrestling wisdom has Ishii dropping the title here, so that Strong or Fish can continue making title defenses in the United States. But conventional wisdom doesn’t always work around here. Projection? Ishii retains the title by pinning Fish with the Ishii Driller. You can always have the title change hands at the TV taping on Saturday.
War Machine vs. All Night Express (ROH Tag Titles – No Disqualification): Titus and King have returned to earn their shot at the tag team titles. While the company likes its surprises, there’s probably more that can be done with Rowe & Hanson. Projection? Lots of Weapons, and maybe some blood, and the champs with King with a double chokeslam to hang on to the championship
Jay Lethal (w Truth Martini) vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly (ROH World Heavyweight Title): I’m trying to remember the last time Jay Lethal wasn’t holding a singles title in Ring of Honor. It has been a while. It also seems we’ve been waiting for the night Adam Cole took the ROH World Title back. It could be as soon as tonight. Projection? But it won’t be. Lethal surprises Cole with the Lethal Injection, and Truth Martini stalls O’Reilly from breaking up the pin. Jay Lethal takes the title to the tapings on Saturday for a big match against Goto.
Aftermath: What is next for Ring of Honor? I think we’re about due for Global Wars. And I think it’s high time we had Jay Lethal vs. Kenny Omega, War Machine vs. Tanahashi & Elgin, and Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Addiction.
Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He’d take the Atlanta Hawks over the Chicago Bulls in tonight’s televised NBA basketball match-up. You know, if gambling were legal.