Thursday 5 May 2011

Revolution predictions

This weekend Ring of Honor will present wrestling events in Dearborn, Michigan and Toronto, Canada. As a company proud to promote professional wrestling (unlike certain sports entertainment organisations that could be mentioned) RoH have dubbed the weekend’s events Revolution, possibly a way of saying that they are revolting against the mainstream’s lack of ambition and pride. The announced cards for both nights are very strong, and as I did with the company’s internet pay-per-views at the end of March I will be offering my predictions for winners and losers below.

Revolution – USA:

Michael Elgin with Truth Martini v Andy ‘Right Leg’ Ridge

I like the fact that Ridge is getting a chance to be seen this weekend. He deserves to be used more frequently. That said, Elgin is the more established star and is being pushed as something of a beast, so I don’t think this match will last too long or see ‘Right Leg’ win. We may see Truth get involved to distract Ridge, but even that’s a long shot. Both men will likely get more ring time on Saturday as part of the six man match.

Prediction: Michael Elgin

Christopher Daniels with Truth Martini v Colt Cabana

I have a feeling this one could occur after the Elgin v Ridge match. Knocking Ridge about after the match finishes would be a suitably heelish thing for Elgin to do, with Daniels joining in and Cabana being brought out to make the save.

Whether that scenario happens or not this should be one of the best matches on the show. Both Daniels and Cabana are tremendous workers, and the fact that this is part of a feud means that Cabana will probably not be as comedic as he usually is. His comedy act is okay in small doses, but I prefer it when he wrestles more seriously. I also prefer Daniels as a heel and am interested to see how he works with Truth Martini in his corner. It’s a nice addition to his act. I suspect that because this is Daniels’ first match as a member of the House of Truth he’ll get the win here, to demonstrate that joining the group was a smart move on his behalf. Unless something goes very wrong this should be a contender for match of the night.

Prediction: Christopher Daniels

Mike Bennett v Grizzly Redwood

I’ve not been hugely impressed with Bennett so far. He’s pretty good with a microphone, but RoH has always been a company that allows men to make it to the top based on in-ring ability, so being a good talker isn’t as important as it might be elsewhere. Maybe I’ll be impressed when I see Manhattan Mayhem IV.

Bennett’s someone Ring of Honor seems to be counting on as a future star so I expect him to win this match. Both men are competent and fans always seem to get behind Redwood so I think this will be a well received, if basic match. I also have a feeling this match will be preceded or followed by Steve Corino’s address to the fans. That’s a storyline that has tied in to both Redwood and Bennett, placing it elsewhere on the card when both men will be in the ring at the same time would make no sense.

Predictions: Mike Bennett

Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly v Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team

Sadly, I think this is going to be another loss for Cole and O’Reilly. The trouble for them is that the tag team division in RoH features very well established teams in WGTT, the Kings, the Briscoes, and the All Night Express, with other teams rarely getting wins over those big four. I understand why: in order to keep those four teams looking hot and carrying the division they cannot lose to teams lower down the ranks too often. I expect that sooner or later Cole and O’Reilly will pick up a tag win that elevates them and allows them to be seen as equals to the better established duos, but I don’t think it will be at Revolution: USA. Of course, Cole and O’Reilly could surprise us with a win in this match. It would be an effective way of advancing them, but it’s unlikely. Benjamin and Haas are still too early on in their reign to be losing non-title matches to set up challengers.

As far as match quality goes I think that if they get fifteen minutes it could be a scorcher of a match. Less than that will still be good, but it would mean it’s less likely they’ll get in many impressive spots.

Prediction: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team

First Blood match – Mark and Jay Briscoe v The All Night Express

This will not be a pretty match. It should be an enjoyable brawl though. As the Briscoes were victorious in Atlanta I expect the ANX to win here: they need to be shown as being on the Briscoes’ level or they will run the risk of slipping back down the card and undoing all the progress they’ve made in the last year. The Express are by far my favourite of the two teams and I want them to come out of this feud looking strong and ready for a run as tag team champions.

Prediction: The All Night Express

Tommaso Ciampa with the Embassy v Homicide

This is a rematch from Honor Takes Center Stage. With Homicide significantly outnumbered by Ciampa’s hefty entourage, and Ciampa himself being noted as undefeated on the RoH website, I think ‘The Notorious 187’ could be losing again. The undefeated reference makes me think it’s going to be something that’s built up for a while, so his first loss means more when it finally comes. That would help the Embassy be viewed as more of a force to.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

No Disqualification match – Roderick Strong with Truth Martini v El Generico

Generico and Strong have faced each other several times this year and have developed a crowd pleasing rivalry. They are both talented workers, and Generico is someone I can see having a run as TV or world champion in the future. With Roderick announced as challenging for the RoH title on May 21st at Supercard of Honor VI he will be kept strong (no pun intended) over this weekend, to appear more of a threat to Edwards. Not only that but Generico won their last match and Christopher Daniels is likely to get involved to cement his recent heel turn and advance his feud with ‘The Generic Luchador’.

Prediction: Roderick Strong

The American Wolves v The Kings of Wrestling with Shane Hagadorn

I haven’t checked, but I suspect I predicted the Kings’ match at Honor takes Center Stage Chapter One would be the match of the night. I am predicting the same thing for this show. They are Ring of Honor’s finest act right now, and I say that knowing that it’s a company full of very accomplished and talented men and women. They have put so much work into being seen as a united force and stressing the importance of tag team wrestling, and I think they should be applauded for it.

Davey and Eddie are both great wrestlers, not afraid to take big bumps and working the stiff, realistic style that RoH fans love. I fully expect the storyline that started at Manhattan Mayhem IV will continue: Eddie won the RoH world title, a belt Davey has long coveted and tried to win for himself several times. At HTCS the Wolves lost to newly crowned tag champions Benjamin and Haas after a miscommunication, with Richards being pinned.

I think the same will happen at this event, and the two men will have a more volatile disagreement than they did last month. The two will blame each other for the loss, leading to the expected Richards v Edwards matc at Best in the World in June. That’s a match I and a lot of others want to see.

This may not just be match of the night; it could be match of the weekend.

Prediction: The Kings of Wrestling

Revolution – Canada:

Tommaso Ciampa with the Embassy v Rhett Titus v Grizzly Redwood v Andy ‘Right Leg’ Ridge v Adam Cole v Michael Elgin with Truth Martini

The rules for this one are not the simplest. Two men will be in the ring at any one time, with the other four on the apron. Men on the apron can become legal in the match by either tagging in or stepping into the ring if one of the legal men is thrown to the outside. The first man to score two pinfalls or submissions wins. There are no eliminations.

It has the potential to be overbooked and confusing. I’d have preferred a return of the simpler six man mayhem, in which the first man to get a pinfall or submission won. But this is something new and could work out well. It’s a chance for Andy Ridge or Adam Cole to pick up a rare pinfall, even if it doesn’t lead to an actual victory. The biggest possibility for either of them doing that is if they trade one pinfall each. Ultimately I expect Tommaso Ciampa to win this to continue his undefeated streak. My second choice is Michael Elgin.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

Steve Corino v Mike Bennett

Having not seen their match at Manhattan Mayhem I’m not sure what the chemistry of these two is like. I can imagine it not being the best, but the fact that this is a rematch would say that RoH decision makers think otherwise. I won’t try to second guess them.

At MMIV Bennett defeated Corino and then assaulted him after the match. The fact that nobody from the locker room came to help Corino was highlighted. I can see Bennett gaining another victory here and going for another post-match assault, but with Grizz making the save, having changed his outlook Corino after his promo in Dearborn.

Prediction: Mike Bennett

Kyle O’Reilly v Claudio Castagnoli with Shane Hagadorn

This one may have tinges of comedy to it at the beginning. I can very easily imagine Claudio posing and muscling O’Reilly around the ring, not taking him at all seriously until the smaller man gains a series of near falls. With a pronounced size difference this isn’t likely to be an especially long match, but it will be very good. I expect lots of close calls for O’Reilly, but I think he will come up short.

Prediction: Claudio Castagnoli

Davey Richards v Kenny King

This is my pick for match of the night from the Canadian show. It’s likely to be a long, athletic contest that gets King over as someone who could one day hold the RoH world title (for the record, I think if he’s with the company long enough he’ll do just that). I expect Richards to go over though. That would allow him to say that the only losses he’s suffered in the last few months have been when tagging with Eddie Edwards, with that fact being the deciding factor in Richards accepting Jim Cornette’s offer from Honor Takes Center Stage of a title shot.

Prediction: Davey Richards

Delirious v Colt Cabana

This will be the first appearance of Delirious on a Ring of Honor show since he became booker of the company and wrote himself out of storylines last year. With this being a match dedicated to the memory of Alex ‘Larry Sweeney’ Whybrow the match will probably be more light-hearted than serious, which means we may get to see Cabana’s comedy wrestling and Delirious’s crazy man character in overdrive. That’s not a bad thing: I think their gimmicks suit one another and they’ll settle into a solid match that serves as a fitting tribute to ‘Sweet ‘n’ Sour’.

I’ll pick Cabana to win as Delirious seems to be against using himself as a regular performer, meaning he’s unlikely to want to put himself over.

Prediction: Colt Cabana

El Generico v Christopher Daniels with Truth Martini

I’ve predicted a Roderick Strong win over Generico for the Dearborn show as well as a Daniels win over Cabana, so I think by this point it will be time for the House of Truth to lose. I can see that happning as a result of Truth’s interference, bringing Cabana to ringside to even the odds, distracting Daniels and allowing ‘The Generic Luchador’ to take the win.

Whoever wins this match should be good and will almost certainly feature some sort of development to the House of Truth v Cabana and Generico feud. I’m expecting Cabana and Generico v Daniels and Strong to be announced for Best in the World, so the feud needs to be furthered on this show.

Prediction: El Generico

RoH World tag team title match – Jay and Mark Briscoe v Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (c)

This should be a wild match that gets a lot of time. We could possibly see the All Night Express getting involved towards the end or, more likely, after the finish, to move their feud with the Briscoes along. I can’t see what a title change would do here other than harming Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, so I expect a successful defence.

Prediction: Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team

RoH World title match – Eddie Edwards (c) v Chris Hero with Shane Hagadorn

This will be another match that doesn’t feature a title change but will certainly be worth watching. I bought the Survival of the Fittest 2010 DVD based on the strength of the singles match these two had there and as long as this match doesn’t get negative reviews (which I doubt it will) it will be one of the reasons I buy this event on DVD too.

Hero and Edwards have very good chemistry and there’s a nice history to their careers that can be tapped into by the announcers. They were stablemates and tag team partners, with Hero’s manager formerly having managed Edwards. Hero pinned Edwards in the first meeting of the Wolves and the Kings last December, which is also sure to get a mention.

This match should be a fitting main event to the night and the weekend in general. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Prediction: Eddie Edwards

As always, Ring of Honor have put together a card that looks very strong on paper and will almost certainly end up being even better in the ring. There are lots of potential highlights: Strong v Generico, Richards v King, Edwards v Hero, and the Kings v the Wolves all spring to mind. As I’ve said before, companies that operate on a bigger scale could learn a lot from the way RoH operates. Instead of promoting the same matches with the same people the company builds new acts and constructs logical, easy to follow storylines that draw fans in. The one gripe I have is that the shows aren’t being presented on iPPV, meaning I’ll have to wait to watch them in a few months on DVD. If that’s the biggest complaint I have then they have to be doing something right, surely?

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