I watched ROH's Supercard of Honor III. I'm going to do this a little differently as I'm going to tell you my star ratings for each match. I don't normally do that, but in this case I'll make an exception. For simplicity, I don't do quarter stars. It breaks down as such:
* = Match sucks
** = Match is OK
*** = Match is good
**** = Match is great
***** = Match is awesomely amazing
With that said, the first two matches here tonight - like the last show - are just here to get the crowd rocking. Delirious opens with Go Shiozaki and has a fun match with him. Delirious works perfect in this role as very few people can interact with the crowd as well as he does. He brings levity to the match, begging for Go's chops to be made illegal, and tons of crowd interaction. Go inevitably wins, though, with the Go Flasher. ***
Next is a six-man tag with the YRR (Sal Rinauro/KENNY KING~!/Chasyn Rance) vs. The Man They Call Dingo/Alex Payne/BUSHWHACKER LUKE~! Seeing the chick with Rance, I can't help but wonder if she's 15. Rance is doing time in Florida for statutory rape. This match is a nice exhibition designed solely to give YRR some momentum with their win. **
From here on out, the card never lets up.
Next is Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong. This match actually ruined Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair for me, because after seeing this one - Flair's weak chops are nothing. Seriously, I have never in my life ever seen a match as brutally stiff as this one. It's not actually a match, really, as the ref gets knocked out early and it's just a fight between the two. They beat the shit out of one another all around the ring, with Stevens chopping Strong so hard - Strong bleeds from the chest! Both men don the crimson mask eventually in this violent affair. It comes to an end with a chairshot to the head (a horrible idea in retrospect). Roddy calls out the NRC and they shave Erick's mohawk. ****, but if this was an actual match with an appropriate finish (i.e. Stevens winning), this would get the full monty.
The violence continues as the Briscoes take on the Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs/Tyler Black) in a "Relaxed Rules" match, which might as well mean no rules. They brawl all around the arena. Mark uses a trampoline to fly over the guard rail at one point. After brawling everywhere, the Briscoes bring out a table and set it up in the crowd entrance. Mark and Tyler brawl up into the crowd above the entrance, while Jay takes care of Jimmy Jacobs down on the floor. A guy seconding the AOTF is there in his wheelchair and miraculously gains the ability to walk~! That's a mistake, as he ends up the table. Up in the crowd, Mark climbs up onto the entrance way balcony (lifting up onto it with the aid of my buddy) and dives off onto the fake cripple. I was standing right next to him when he did. Mark is pretty much incapacitated from there and the brawl goes into the ring. Jay fights valiantly, but it's of little use. Mark does finally get back into the thick of things to save his brother, and they put Jimmy up for the Springboard Doomsday Device. Jimmy counters it in mid-air with the End Time to get the submission win. ****, hell of a brawl.
Next is BxB Hulk/SHINGO vs. El Generico/Kevin Steen. This match is even better than the night before and is probably my all-time favorite ROH tag match. It's just insane. BxB Hulk plays face-in-peril, but eventually it devolves into a series of kickouts and big moves and all that good stuff. The crowd buys into each finish, gasping when it's not the end. Generico takes a hell of a beating, eventually succumbing to the Last Falconry (this gives DG an unofficial 3-2 finish, they still lose the series but not as badly). I think in a lot of ways these two tag matches really helped set the future for Steenerico, moreso than the Briscoes-feud. The Briscoes-feud put them on the map, but these matches really made people step back and realize that Steenerico was the future of ROH. They were right. ****
Next we come to Austin Aries vs. Nigel McGuiness. Up until June 23, 2011, this was my favorite ROH match ever. It held the spot of my favorite match ever until WM25. It's probably the closest the promotion has ever come or will come to Rock vs. Austin. You have two of the, at the time, biggest draws in ROH going face-to-face. While Nigel is a heel, the crowd is split right down the middle. Both men throw everything they can at one another and at one point, Aries has the crowd convinced he's going to make history as the first 2x ROH World Champ (in time, Aries). He eventually goes down to the Jawbreaker to one of the best matches I've ever seen and the best match I've ever seen live. *****
We end the show with the annual Dragon Gate six-man. It's the Muscle Outlawz (Genki Horiguchi/Naruki Doi/Masato Yoshino) vs. Typhoon (CIMA/Ryo Saito/Dragon Kid). This would actually be the last one in ROH, thanks to political reasons. You remember the old multi-man Cruiserweight tags from Nitro with all the luchadores? This is like those matches, except on fast-forward. Think about that. I'd be foolish to try and encapsulate what all happens. It's insanity from the word go with tons of high flying moves, innovative submissions, awesome triple-teams, etc. It's a fantastic display of athleticism and pro wrestling, with the Outlawz winning in the end (Dragon Kid eats the pin). ****
Every so often on wrestling message boards with ROH forums, the inevitable question is asked: what is the best ROH show? This show is usually at the top of everyone's list (or close to it). It is, easily, my favorite ROH show of all time and my favorite wrestling show of all time. Once you get to Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens, this show takes a turn for excellence and doesn't turn back. If you don't believe me, find it on E-bay and buy it. You won't regret it and you won't be disappointed. It won't matter if you don't recognize the talent, you won't need to. The wrestling alone will take care of you, guaranteed.
Match of the Day goes to Austin Aries vs. Nigel McGuinness.
"Hogan is trying to get Yokozuna into WCW. Remember, he still has a win he needs to get back" - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter: December 08, 1997