Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

ROH Gold 10/15/04 Dayton, OH
by LUKI

1. x-C.M. Punk vs o-Homicide (17:16) pinfall (enzui Western Lariat)
One day from now, Punk has his big rematch with Samoa Joe yet for some reason he demands a match with Homicide in addition to the six man main event he's already booked for this show. Kayfabe, it makes zero sense but in shoot terms it's likely he just wants some extra cardio work before another sixty minute match. The story here, though, has two prongs: Homicide works on the back of Punk's head (he had a legitimate fractured skull in 2001) and Rocky Romero buzzes around the ring to distract the ref. So, this was pure old school "heel carries, face's IQ drops 50 points" material to the point where Punk had Homicide defeated but instead elected to go after Romero. Predictably, Homicide hits a low blow, a chair shot, adds a lariat and, of course, the referee sees none of it. Punk works quite well as the bullied underdog, but he's supposed to be an intelligent, crafty technician so the regressive story here just insults the fans' intelligence. Stupid finish aside, what they put together was fine but ultimately pointless. **

2. x-Trent Acid vs o-Matt Sydal (8:24) cradle
Sydal is quite green, Acid quite stoned. They were going for a sprinty indy spotfest, but the execution was sloppy and Acid stalled too much. For the finish, Acid goes for his vertical drop reverse brainbuster but Matt grapevines a leg and rolls forward into a cradle. I don't believe I've ever seen such a counter before. Pretty cool, actually. *

3. x-Dixie & Angel Dust vs o-Jimmy Jacobs & Delirious (12:41) pinfall (Contra Code)
Special K isolate Delirious for around eight minutes so he can show off his extremely eccentric style while getting wailed on, meaning 75% of the match was worked at crossed purposes to itself. If that isn't odd enough, when Jacobs finally gets the hot tag, it doesn't work! He gets his ass kicked and tags back out less than a minute later. A miraculously resuscitated Delirious turns the tables, Jacobs eventually hits his finisher and Special K's losing streak continues despite dominating most of the match. It's hard to determine exactly what this proved for any of these guys. Whatever the point was, 13 minutes was way too long for it. **

4. o-Chad Collyer vs x-Jay Lethal (12:53) Texas Clover Hold
Collyer works on the knee and wins with a knee-affecting submission. Within this remedial, training session technical style match, they were trying once again to sell Jay Lethal's tremendous "heart." He mounts a comeback on one leg, even does fighting spirit mugging, but no one cared because it was simply too dull and the themes too bluntly presented. ROH is shoving Jay Lethal down your throat and saying "YOU LIKE THIS MAN!!!" even though nothing is truly happening to make you want to. Collyer, meanwhile, is just boring. **

5. Dan Maff & o-B.J. Whitmer vs x-H.C. Loc & Tony DeVito (11:37) pinfall (double team chair strikes to garbage-canned head)
They begin with a heated tornado brawl straight away, all four duelling with chairs. Maff and DeVito each take a swing at the referee, so he disqualifies both teams 35 seconds in. Mick Foley comes to the ring, declares himself a licensed referee in Ohio and restarts the match under hardcore rules. And hardcore it indeed is. Everyone but Loc juices (as usual, Whitmer's looks the best) while they brawl around on the floor. The quality was fine during such stretches; things flagged quite awkwardly the few times they tried calling spots in the ring. Obviously, no thought was given to dramatic plotting - this was strictly violence. I'd like to see what these guys could come up with if allowed maximum craziness. *

6. Four Corner Survival: Matt Stryker vs o-Nigel McGuinness vs Roderick Strong vs x-Josh Daniels (16:40) pinfall (Tower of London)
The usual structure was followed of one guy being the "traffic cop" who carries sequences with each other guy; basically the foundation was a Stryker-Daniels match with other pairings woven in and out around Stryker. Added to that was an affectation of anti-Strong sentiments from the other wrestlers - the idea being "the whole roster" is sick of Generation Next ganging up on people, so these three gleefully take the opportunity to turn the tables. All well and good, I'm sure, but when Nigel hooks Strong with a submission, Stryker breaks it up because it's a one fall match. Nigel gets angry and they have a playground shoving match and eventually brawl on the floor while Strong & Daniels call some spots in the ring. Such an element would make more sense had Nigel, Stryker & Daniels not specifically excluded Strong from the match for the first eight minutes so they could wrestle each other! The accelerated phase involving all four as well as Nigel's brutal finish was all done very well. The problem with this type of match (and really, virtually every ROH match) is its predictability. Everything is done off a clearly delineated form with no variation but for today's goofiness with Roderick Strong. You can't say they didn't perform well, but no one raised their game past autopilot because they simply weren't allowed to. ***

7. ROH World Title (3rd,25): o- Samoa Joe vs x-Rocky Romero (18:09) STF
When Bryan Danielson or C.M. Punk bring out the marionette strings and stoutly affix them, you will see a good match, but it remains a good match in spite of Samoa Joe. When no such exceptional ring general is available, you get dullardry like this. To their credit, it was a decent idea to go for a sort of Americanised U-style match - certainly, Romero could excel in such a style and Joe's moveset for the most part would fit right in. Unfortunately, Joe isn't really good at anything, particularly kicking. Truly, his kicks look he's never even watched another person do the technique, much less practised them himself, yet those flaccid leg jerkings are sold as though they have the fusion power of a thousand suns - even after Romero has specifically targeted his knee! Rocky, on the other hand, blasts Joe to kingdom come with genuinely stiff shoot style kicks and knees, smoothly springs tight submissions and in total shows off what a superior athletic talent he is, but all this comes to naught when Joe explodes into an irrational rush of sloppy offense to win. The end of this title reign cannot come soon enough! **

8. o-C.M. Punk, Ace Steel & Jimmy Jacobs vs Alex Shelley, x-Austin Aries & Jack Evans (32:23) pinfall (Pepsi Plunge)
It seems everyone (or at least Punk) recognised the flaws of the elimination match from 10/2, because things here were significantly tightened up and streamlined. While the anachronised American idiom was kept, the irritating affectations vomited forth in the previous match were largely abandoned. Yes, this still followed the "cut a guy off, block his attempts to tag out" formula - the faces first brutalize Evans, then the heels brutalize first Jacobs then Punk - but it was done in a less stressfully contrived, more realistically strategic fashion. It makes perfect sense to target the weak links of each team, which includes Punk since he had a 17-minute singles match earlier. Generation Next didn't rip off the Midnight Express or Kaientai DX just to show off what they have in their dvd collection, they continued the attacks on Punk's head that Homicide started in a completely logical attempt to win a wrestling match. This wasn't worked at main event, max effort level due to next evening's show, but the pace was good and the action kept interesting enough to hold your attention over its entire length- completely unlike the elimination match. The finish was a little silly as Roderick Strong intruded with a chair only to be driven off by Ricky Steamboat, but the guy who received the most damage pulled out a relatively clean victory. It's heartening to know that ROH is willing to learn from their mistakes. ***

* * * * *

ROH Gold is without question a "B-level show" - indeed, since the past several ROH events have all felt like B-level, you could even call this one a "C-level show." However, what is different this time around is that they kept it simple and didn't try to mimic Raw and pretend it's a television taping. This felt like a real pro-wrestling show like you'd see a Japanese company do mid-tour outside of Tokyo and wind up on Samurai TV a month later. There were flaws, especially in the lazy title match, but the longest match (which was also the main event) delivered and the undercard was inoffensive. It's amazing how watchable something can be when it only tries to be exactly what it actually is.

by LUKI
7/16/14


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