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MISAWA IN NYC THOUGHTS, ANOTHER HOLLYWOOD BIGWIG AT RING OF HONOR AND TONS OF ROH NEWS

By Mike Johnson on 2007-11-05 11:11:29

This past Saturday's New York City return saw the best Mitsuharu Misawa match I can remember in a number of years as Misawa literally willed a body that shouldn't have been able to have a classic match and churned out a really fantastic, stiff performance against KENTA, who did more than carry his own.  Ring of Honor did everything they could to recreate the big-time feel of a Pro Wrestling NOAH main event in the middle of the Manhattan Center, right down to the NOAH music, banners, and the Global Honored Crown declaration read by Joe Higuchi.  After being disappointed personally by Misawa's recent bout against TNA star Samoa Joe, I went into this weekend with little expectations for Misawa and ended up blown away.  I'm not sure how the match will translate on DVD (I even felt the amazing Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi bout lost a little in the translation to video), but the atmosphere was amazing and really helped propel the match to the next level.  I'm often jaded about professional wrestling these days, feeling that there's nothing that can draw me in the way I love to be drawn in, but I won't even deny feeling goose bumps as I watched Misawa and KENTA exchanging some of the stiffest strikes back and forth I can ever recall seeing live.  Truly a special, once in a lifetime moment.  You'll want to see this one for yourself when it's released on DVD.

Bryan Danielson vs. Takeshi Morishima was also very good with Danielson going for revenge against Morishima for injuring his eye.  A blood feud in 2007 in wrestling, what a concept.  I hated the DQ finish there but it made sense since Danielson had really lost it and it sets up a rematch when Morishima returns.  Claudio Castagnoli vs. Naomichi Marufuji and the Vulture Squad vs. The No Remorse Corp were also very, very good.  

As noted over the weekend, Hollywood star Nicolas Cage was backstage and watched part of the show from the balcony, taking in the atmosphere as part of his research for the upcoming 2009 independent feature film "The Wrestler."  Director Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream") was also in attendance.  Both mingled backstage with the performers, but were there more for research and "were obviously working" according to one ROH source.  They were never acknowledged publicly during the show and I don't believe they filmed anything backstage for the DVD release.  When they entered the building, fans in the venue didn't even realize it as they were reacting to ROH champion Nigel McGuinness heading backstage.

If there was a downside to the Glory by Honor event in New York City, it's that the promotion tried to do too much in one evening.  The show clocked in at about four hours and there was a lot of wrestling as well as a lot of promos setting up the company's return on 12/29 and 12/30 for a PPV taping and Final Battle 2007, respectively.  The company was happy with pre-sales for both nights, so in that vein, it was a success.  For ticket information, visit www.ROHWrestling.com.

When the promotion added a bonus Chris Hero vs. Austin Aries bout as a surprise, while it was a great value for the fans on one of the biggest shows of the year, but it also led to a longer evening.  Still, you won't get more in-ring wrestling for your dollar then you will attending ROH live, so you have to appreciate how much the company gives their audience in one sitting.  As I sat in the Manhattan Center, I was marveling at the atmosphere and how the promotion has turned the venue into their little own Sportatorium.  The NYC crowd takes the show a level not seen in any other market.  That said, you can start to sense that at least portions of the audience are getting spoiled by the company (see below), which is the double-edged sword you hold when you play to a die-hard audience - you have to constantly top yourself because they won't accept even the slightest step backwards or lack of immediate gratification.

The live NYC crowd reacted so negatively to a Double DQ finish between Age of the Fall and The Briscoes early in the New York City show that they somewhat overshadowed a ceremony for Harley Race and Joe Higuchi chanting for the Briscoes.  While the plan was to always have the Briscoes return and issue a No DQ challenge to close the show, ROH moved the angle up to prevent themselves from losing the crowd, who were obviously taken down a huge notch by the non-finish, something the promotion rarely, if ever does involving its top names.

The hope is that Nigel McGuinness will be able to return in late December.  If he requires surgery, he'll be out four months, which would obviously be a disaster for his ROH title reign.

Austin Aries will be heading to Dragon Gate in Japan from 12/1-12/9 as part of the King of Gate 2007 Tournament.

The next Ring of Honor PPV "Man Up" will debut on 11/30, headlined by ROH Tag Team champions The Briscoes vs. Kevin Steen and El Generico.

Speaking of Steen and Generico, the storyline is that when they were attacked by the Hangmen 3 in New York City, "they were taken out" of action.

ROH has released the excellent "Manhattan Mayhem II" event on DVD, featuring Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson for the ROH title and The Briscoes vs. Steen and Generico for the Tag straps in a Best of Three Falls match, Ruckus' ROH debut and much more as part of a great show.

Ring of Honor's next live events will be 11/30 in Dayton, Ohio headlined by ROH Tag Team champions Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero and 12/1 in Chicago Ridge, Illinois which will host the 2007 Trios Tournament featuring a six man tag team tournament with the winners garnering the right to book any match they want for themselves.

Scheduled thus far for the ROH NYC return:
 
12/29 PPV Taping
*ROH champion Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries
*Chris Hero vs. Claudio Castagnoli - Claudio must leave ROH if he loses.

12/30 Final Battle 2007:
*The Vulture Squad vs. The No Remorse Corps in a Brooklyn Street Fight
*Claudio Castagnoli vs. Larry Sweeney

Scheduled for both events as well are ROH Tag Team Titles Jay & Mark Briscoe, The Age Of The Fall of Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black, The Necro Butcher & Lacey, The Hangmen Three of Adam Pearce, Brent Albright & BJ Whitmer with Shane Hagadorn,Erick Stevens, Delirious and Daizee Haze.

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