The angle of this Ring of Honor match from four weeks ago is whether Lance Storm, 43, 6', 238#, can teach cocky upstart Mike Bennett, 26, 6', 222#, the meaning of "honor." Christ, I hope not. Pretty in pink, with the bluest eyes and whitest teeth in wrestling, Bennett may not know the rulebook, but he and girlfriend Maria Kanellis give loads and loads of spectacle.
I do like this storyline: The noble veteran with the crowd in his back pocket (except for a barely-heard Bennett contingent, where I would be sitting, no doubt about it) plays by the rules of honor. He has paid his dues and deserves our respect. Bennett, on the other hand, is happy to cut corners to save himself the little extra effort it might take him to gain a clean and honorable win. He disrespects Lance from the beginning. Maria interferes on his behalf; at one point Mike cravenly hides behind her. When the resilient Lance keeps coming back after Mike has dealt him his worst, he pleads with the veteran to "die, die, die." The crowd shouts encouragement to Lance. They, the better part of them, want to see Bennett squashed like a bug.
For me, the key moment in this fight is when Lance gets Mike in a half leglock. Mike, on his hands and one knee, his back swayed provocatively as Lance rests his middle-aged butt on his youthful bubble, struggles, struggles oh so desperately, to get to the ropes, Maria urging him forward every inch of the way, to get to the ropes to grab hold of just one of them so as to get the ref to force the break. It's the sort of delicious moment, ripe with drama, that I love in pro wrestling.
Lance works Mike's leg exactly the way I would love to work that leg. Mike is nearly crippled. His hamstrings throbbing with sharp, jagged pain. Lance won't let go, even though the effort to hold on to this young buck is exhausting. He wants to give pretty Mike a taste of what by-the-rules scientific wrestling can accomplish. He wants to teach the suntanned punk some manners. He wants to give the crowd the squashed bug they're clamoring for.
I don't care how bad Mike is, I'm in his corner. The man is beautiful in his wickedness. It's fun to see him pushed up against such a paragon of wrestling virtue as Storm. You can watch the whole show for yourself right here. As for me, my balls are already tingling at the announcement (just published on the ROH site) that in three weeks in Richmond, Virginia, in the show for which I've got front-row seats, with two friendly lesbians at my side, my man Mike is scheduled for a grudge match against former ROH champ Eddie Edwards. Damn, the anticipation is killing me already. (Must remember to wear dark and baggy pants.)