ROH Ringside: All The Way To The Top
By Jose Perez
I decided that in each article that is published, I will give the readers an update on my pro wrestling collection. I spoke in previous articles about my future intentions on purchasing wrestling products and following wrestling promotions.
I have access to the first New Japan Pro Wrestling show, which I want to watch. I know this promotion is getting big, and I am contemplating subscribing to their network.
I possess the first two Chikara shows on DVD, and recently the website that distributes Chikara merchandise has the next two shows available on Digital Media for download. So I will be hoping to get those shows soon and thus watch the first four shows.
I’m also trying to obtain the first Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show, but it’s nearly impossible to find. There is a V.H.S. version on a website, and I do have a V.C.R. however I prefer to have it on DVD or purchasing it via a Digital Download from a wrestling shop.
With regards to Ring of Honor, the next show I need (Night of Tribute) is available on eBay for $75 or the best offer, plus shipping and handling. It is a bit pricey, however if I land one of the two job offers I am waiting on, I will look into getting it. I have been needing this show to watch for the past two or three months.
This article however, will be my review of WrestleMania 31. This is the first WrestleMania I ever saw live. I have seen many WrestleManias in Canada and I have seen many pay per views live, but WrestleMania is not one of them. So I was kind of excited for it, even though the card was not up to par on paper. However, I have to say that the show was terrific. The best WrestleMania in a very long time. I don’t think there was one bad match on this card (taking into account I did not see the tag team match on the pre-show nor the Andre the Giant Battle Royal). Take into account I am writing this as a fan of more than thirty years, not as a critical analytic fanboy who likes to nitpick and criticize.
The first match was the Intercontinental Ladder Match. This was a good match; however I think it is over rated. I have seen better ladder matches than this one, but it was good for a WrestleMania. I imagined (from the reports that I read) that Daniel Bryan was going to win. I guess it was a good compensation for not being in the main event after having to give up the World Title without losing it and being the most over guy in the company. Although I did mark out for Daniel Bryan winning, I was also hoping Dean Ambrose would win because WWE are totally destroying him, and he’s over as heck. However, that’s a topic for another day.
Seth Rolling vs. Randy Orton. There was not a lot of build up to it because of Randy Orton’s absence; however there was a back-story from a few months or even a year ago, with the authority protecting Seth Rollins. However, the match was very good. It was very entertaining and good in ring psychology (due to their hatred). The R.K.O. spot that everyone is praising was AWESOME. Wow, that was spectacular and a great way to not kill any of the wrestlers, momentum wise. With regards to the winner, it made sense. Randy Orton came back from an absence and WWE didn’t want to kill his heat (although they do it with other wrestlers, but Randy Orton is a top star). It makes more sense knowing the outcome of the World Title match (which no one expected) to continue this rivalry.
Triple H vs. Sting. Wow, so many things to say about this. First of all, the entrances were really well done. I’ve read people say that Triple H’s was a mock of WCW and maybe it was, but I think it was more of a promotion for Terminator 4 or is it 5, seeing how Arnold was at the Hall of Fame, and Terminator was mentioned during the show. The match was really good for what it was. Sting can still go, Triple H trains all the time, so there was no problem there. The atmosphere of Sting being there, took the match up a couple of knots up, and the fans chanting “You still got it” to Sting, made it that much better. With regards to the NWO and D.X. coming out, I understand what they were going for. Since Triple H brought the WCW vs. WWE into the mix, they made the biggest stable in WCW history face off against WWEs biggest stable (since the Heenan Family, hehe). Apart from that, I guess they wanted to do a mock of WCW with how most of their big matches suffer from interference from all over the place. However, the NWO – D.X. would’ve been better back in 2001/2002 when WWE tried to do a WCW takeover (and failed). But in was kind of awesome and nostalgic. On a side note, there was a moment, I started laughing, because I thought Kevin Nash had injured his quad, because he seemed to grab it, as he was on lying on the floor after getting hit.
With regards to the winner, obviously I am disappointed. Bringing in Sting, to hype him up, and then make him lose, makes his return pointless. Of course, when it was confirmed that it would be Triple H vs. Sting, I thought, Triple H does not want to lose, that’s how big his ego is. I was more convinced of this, when Triple H started to bring in WCW and WWE´s war, even though Sting did not really try to reference WCW. However, I still had a glamour of hope that Sting would win, and I thought he would, but in the end I was really disappointed. I imagine that another reason for the NWO and WCW interference was to not make Sting look weak, and add to that the Triple H use of the sledgehammer, but still, why bring Sting back for this?
Now the question is what happens with Sting? Will there be a WWE vs. WCW Survivors Series match at Survivor Series? Will Sting face the Undertaker at WrestleMania as the fans chanted at the Raw afterwards? After Sting lost to Triple H, I have no clue what could be a good idea. Face the Undertaker after Undertaker’s streak was broken? Make Undertaker have two losses at Undertaker? Or make Undertaker beat Sting and thus make Sting 0-2 in the WWE? I just don’t get it.
I didn’t watch the woman’s match. I’m not a fan of woman’s wrestling at all. I’m not sexist, I believe in equal rights, I respect women, yet women’s wrestling doesn’t excite me at all. I will watch it on ROHs DVDs because they are there, but not because I want to.
The segment between The Rock and Triple H, was very good. However, it did drag on a tad too long. Funny thing is, when the Rock presented Rhonda Rousey and I heard the crowd pop really loud, I was a bit lost. I watched some UFC back in Canada, but I don’t really follow it, and I thought it was The Rock’s sister (no joke), and this despite seeing her on Conan a few weeks before WrestleMania. I don’t care if she wrestles Stephanie or not. Good segment, but too long.
John Cena vs. Rusev. I didn’t expect great things from this match. I was expecting John Cena to win which would make Rusev lose his momentum, and also John Cena winning would be pointless and he doesn’t need the U.S. title. Despite this, I think the match was pretty good. Cena and Rusev are not the best men in the ring, but they good for a “big man match”. It was entertaining. As I mentioned, the winner makes little sense, but not as much as Sting losing.
Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt. This is one of those matches that was also hard to determine (which is good from a fan stand point, because it makes it more interesting). The Undertaker came from a loss, and would it be good for him to lose a second match? Bray Wyatt was cutting interesting promos and is a very good character that should be the future mystic wrestler like the Undertaker. However, the WWE has misused Bray Wyatt so much it’s not even funny. One thing I will say about this match is that the Undertaker looked to be in better shape than last year against Brock Lesnar. In this shape I think he can go at least two or three more years, although people are asking him to retire. With regards to the winner, as I said, it’s good and bad. Good because the Undertaker losing twice in a row would be weird after winning twenty one straight years. Bad because now what do you do with Bray Wyatt? In any case, the match was very entertaining to watch.
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. The big match everybody wanted to talk about. In my last article I mentioned my take on the Roman Reigns situation. I wanted Brock Lesnar to win, because I believe that if the fans really didn’t want Roman Reigns to win, the WWE shouldn’t force feed him to the fans. I actually expected Brock to win, seeing how he re-signed with the WWE , however at the same time I actually had a small feeling that the WWE leaked the re-signing mostly to trick the fans, so that the result could be more unpredictable. The match itself was very good and very intriguing. When Roman Reigns started coming back with Superman punch after Superman punch I was like NOOOOOOOO no one wants this. Then out of nowhere and unexpectedly Seth Rollins music plays and the fans started going nuts and I got out of my chair and was marking out like crazy. When Seth Rollins got the win, I was jumping all over the place.
I think this was a great ending to a great WrestleMania. Each match delivered and it was just a good show overall entertainment wise. If the WWE continues putting on these types of shows, fans will tune in more. Oh, and did I forget to mention, that Seth Rollins, has been the Ring of Honor world champion, the NXT champion and the WWE world heavyweight champion? Not a lot of wrestlers can say that.
In my next article I will go back to speaking solely on Ring of Honor.
— Jose Perez