NEW YORK, NY – While the WWE Universe waits until Sunday night for their heroes to hit the ring, the other promotions that have invaded the New York/New Jersey area during WrestleMania weekend have already been putting in work. In the case of Ring of Honor, that goes not just double, but quadruple.
ROH was back in the Manhattan Center on Saturday, a day after its Supercard of Honor crowned a new world champion in the renowned Hammerstein Ballroom. That would be Jay Briscoe, a man who’s been with the promotion since the beginning. While the action kicked off with a celebration of Briscoe’s victory over Kevin Steen – including the naming of his first challenger – there was a lot more to follow as ROH recorded four episodes of its TV show in one session.
The tapings began at 2 p.m. and lasted until after 6. That’s a lot of wrestling, even for the fed’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans. How do you keep the energy level high for that long?
You don’t, at least without some peaks and valleys. The crowd came to life on cue for the opening of each episode, and there were plenty of in-ring fireworks that got big reactions. Two terrific matches featuring the American Wolves bookended the afternoon, with Eddie Edwards taking on Bobby Fish in the first televised bout and Davey Richards facing Kyle O’Reilly in the final contest.
Karl Anderson and Michael Elgin also had a spirited, back-and-forth affair that earned some love for both men, and a five-man scramble determined the top contender for the ROH TV title. Giving any more details would venture into spoiler territory, but it’s not ruining anything to say that there was a heart-to-heart between Steen and Steve Corino over the future of SCUM, and… well, just a lot of SCUM in general. The sinister stable had a heavy presence in each of the four episodes, and it’s safe to say that Matt Hardy has some of the most serious heel heat around right now.
Even with all of that going on, there were times when the marathon session wore down the live crowd just a bit. Minds wandered to the rest of the weekend, with “Cena sucks” chants breaking out at random moments. A bit of a scuffle almost broke out in Section A between one fan who wanted to concentrate on the action and another who was passing the time making loud, random wrestling references.
Other fans speculated out loud about high risk moves not getting the same pops after people had seen them multiple times. The request to watch the foul language and middle fingers was honored for two episodes, tops.
Still, it’s hard to argue with the chance to see nearly the entire roster in action for one price, with some guys working more than one match. Heck, Jay Briscoe found out who his challenger would be, had the contract signing, and tagged with that same man (though not without some drama), all in one afternoon. In terms of bang for your wrestling buck, it’s hard to imagine anyone in New York or New Jersey this weekend giving their fans more.
Maybe that’s because New York means a lot to Ring of Honor. The promotion will be back again in August, but it did plenty in April to leave an impression until then. As Richards said in a none too subtle jab at the big boys when he cut the day’s final promo, “Connecticut, top that.”