By Nicholas Jason Lopez
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was once signified as the “Be All, End All” of professional wrestling.
By now, that statement has been detracted with talent like The Young Bucks, Colt Cabana and Kenny Omega, all of whom have achieved financial efficiency and without any WWE stints (or pushes in Cabana’s case) to boot.
Ron Snyder’s “Wrestling’s New Golden Age: How Independent Promotions Have Revolutionized One Of America’s Favorite Sports,” released by Sports Publishing, succeeds in its goal to inform and explore just how independent wrestling came to be from its eerie territorial beginnings.
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
Welcome To The Fish Tank
– Coming out of Final Battle, one of the primary developments was the attitude change of ROH World Television Champion Roderick Strong, pulling an Undertaker 2015 by tapping out of an opponent’s submission maneuver out of the Referee’s view to get him to break the hold before taking advantage. The opponent in this case was Bobby Fish and they wasted no time revisiting that moment, but not before a good opener that saw Strong defend his Title in the latest chapter of “Roddy Versus The World” against Philadelphia’s own Stevie Richards. Richards didn’t show an ounce of aging and hung in there to show a respectable effort by ROH standards, but could only go so far. Strong unleashed a wicked chop in the match that actually left a dark mark on Richards’ chest, which only set the pace to come, despite some nice near-falls. Strong teased some heel tendencies before putting Richards to rest with his running knee strike to retain. The “Fish Tank” segment that followed with a suit-clad Fish, a table and two comfy looking chairs was a stage to have Fish show photographic evidence of Strong tapping out at Final Battle to warrant him another shot. Strong went deeper into heel mode, telling the crowd to shut up and denied any wrongdoings, which will likely lead to a rematch at one of these next TV shows we can assume. We do like the new twist on Strong’s character, as it keeps him from becoming a stale babyface.
– Kevin Matthews’ promo to set up the No Ropes Barbed Wire match against Brian Myers was good as usual, as Matthews convincingly set up the challenge he had of convincing Mick Foley to give him a match and him revealing the stipulation just with the camera shot of the barbed wire above a fence alone was fittingly appropriate. Myers’ retaliation promo put over his laid-back confidence and demeanor, as well as the barbaric nature (pun admittedly half-intended) of the upcoming match, making him happy to “kill” Matthews.
– The Aesthetic Enterprise continue to be a comedic highlight of the show, looking as tough as two men could possibly look while holding umbrellas and being thrown out of a fitness center for using their weights.
– The New Jack-Delroy partnership with the “dark alley” background was about right, yet extremely stereotypical. Delroy has been someone we can’t take seriously. Let’s see – he’s been outsmarted by a vending machine and has had others cut promos in front of his locker, preventing him from getting to it. The moment of seeing New Jack aligned with him was our one bright shining moment of hope that maybe his character could go somewhere, but then again, it’s New Jack leading the way.
– Johnny Howl actually talks?!?!? His promo was pretty decent, though random. How did he become such a basketball master?
– The On-The-Spot Title Shot Battle Royale match had its moments of glory; the brief dominance of The Untouchables, Devon Moore and Craven Varro squaring off, Hellbilly releasing the fireball once again, Dave D-Struction coming to the ring unceremoniously, Raven introducing Stevie Richards in surprisingly good shape (and classic Daisy Dukes attire), Nova, Blue Meanie and the return of BWO. The seemingly early eliminations of Matt Macintosh and Mario Bokara was a surprise, but evidently planted seeds for a new feud, so that was good. Delroy’s performance was utterly a let down. The spot of Beefcake Charlie dropping Damian Gibbs after “saving” him was pretty funny. Dan Maff beating Bonesaw to get the Medallion wasn’t shocking considering his monster build as of late and this guarantees another match with Fallah Bahh at any given time for the Title.
– The Myers-Matthews No-Ropes Barbed Wire main event match was the latest chapter in the feud that keeps on giving. These two could work any kind of match together and make it exciting. This was as brutal as you could get on this spectrum. Though there were numerous menacing spots, the spot off the ladder through the board outside the ring was incredible. The finish with Matthews using his finisher with the barbed wire looked to be an appropriate end. His postmatch promo to call out Fallah Bahh was a good sign of things to come.
– Bokara’s promo towards Macintosh was good stuff. Guess it’s clear Bokara is a face now, with Macintosh a clear heel. His fury was unprecedented here, with the throwing of the chairs. No response from Macintosh? Maybe they’re stretching this out, as we know Macintosh can cut a very good promo.
– Maff’s comments about running right through obstacles was okay. It was only a matter of time before he started shouting and sure enough, he did.
– The “wrap up” video package did its job, more or less – Sandy Mann’s appearances were incredibly random, yet funny, Habib From The Car Wash continues to wash things in Pakistan now seemingly for money, “Shining” Edward Jackson’s promo towards Matthews was great, Raven going off on Stevie Richards was decent if they can follow up on it, The Untouchables calling out Monster’s Island was a good next step for both teams, Lifeguard Mike Del bragging was good progress, The Aesthetic Enterprise remains disgruntled at Charlie’s expense, the Mick Foley appearance was good and Chris Payne continues to be disrespected.
– On-The-Spot Title Shot Battle Royale – Dan Maff eliminates Bonesaw to win
– No Ropes Barbed Wire Match – Kevin Matthews def. Brian Myers via pinfall
PWS Rankings (As of 3/15/15): 1) Mario Bokara, 2) Dan Maff, 3) Bonesaw, 4) Kevin Matthews, 5) Brian Myers, 6) Starman, 7) Bobby Wayward, 8) Amazing Red, 9) Chris Payne, 10) Matt Macintosh