Last night was a night of grudges at Ring of Honor in Richmond. It started, ironically, with me getting to personally thank Maria Kanellis for her and Mike Bennett's contribution to the NOH8 Campaign. But hate and bad blood were the rule for the next three hours.
I won’t try to detail the matches and their results. You can find that information easily enough for yourself at the ROH site … or in a few months you can perhaps purchase the DVD. If you watch the DVD, look for me with my two cute lesbian friends on the front row close to the glittery entrance curtain, all three of us in black ROH baseball caps. I will, however, share a few of my impressions of the event.
It was very cool to see Paredyse and Chris Silvio from OCW on hand. They were a later addition to the card. Apparently they’re both from Virginia. The fans in Richmond had nothing but love for the two, so the positivity of Paredyse’s flaming, flouncing, and fluttering gay gimmick seems to carry over, away from his current base in Louisville, I'm happy to report. It was a grueling old-school match, but Paredyse and Silvio, with a huge cheering section of twenty-something females (and me), triumphed over Jeff Early and Zak Hilton, who were working their own strain of pink as the bad guys.
I was mostly happy to see Adam Cole (vs. Tommaso Ciampa) and Mike Bennett (vs. Eddie Edwards) in the flesh—and they both looked every bit as perfect as I could have wished. Cole lost his match, in no small part because of the interference of Ciampa’s entourage: Prince Nana, Mia Yim, and Ernesto Osiris. When Prince Nana urged Osiris to finish Cole as Ciampa exited the ring, Adam must have got some satisfaction by giving the toady a sound trouncing. Bennett lost to Edwards. Everybody hated Mike. Everybody but me, I guess. Mike and Maria engaged in massive amounts of suckface whenever Mike could tear himself away from Eddie. Big sweaty Mike smooching on his girlfriend was a pretty sight, even though it was designed to enrage the fans. Maria interfered once or twice, and her comeuppance was a nasty fall off the ring apron at the match’s climax. As the soundly defeated Mike left the ring area, he scooped her up into his arms and carried her away.
Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly were scheduled to fight Kevin Steen and Jimmy Jacobs. However, as was announced at the show’s prologue, Kevin had been barred from the ring due to a recent head injury. So Davey offered to wrestle Kevin’s “girlfriend,” Jimmy, in singles competition. This ended up being the main event of the evening. Kevin, by no means in a mood to convalesce, spent the bout beating down Kyle at all four corners of the ring, while Davey won a brutal (biting and scratching!) battle against Jimmy inside the ring.
After the official end of the show there was an unsanctioned lights-out grudge match between Jay Briscoe and Charlie Haas. Both men had wrestled earlier in the evening in tag events, Haas with partner Shelton Benjamin twice, versus the Bravado Brothers and then versus Rhett Titus and Kenny King. They solidly squashed the Bravados, Lance and Harlem, whom Titus and King ultimately had to save. Haas and Benjamin lost to Titus and King by DQ, thus keeping their championship belts. Jay and Mark Briscoe had fought and beat the team of Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, accompanied to the ring by the ever irritating Truth Martini. At the end of the fight Martini had been accidentally tossed into the ring. The Briscoes stripped off his pants (not the only time the symbolism of clothing I talked about on Friday entered into the night's events), revealing that he was wearing Roderick Strong's tights under his long pants! The unsanctioned brawl between Charlie and Jay was to settle an old score (I don’t know what … something). It was a savage free for all, as the two literally dismantled the ring, detaching ring ropes to strangle each other with. Shelton interfered, thus bringing Mark out, too, to help his brother. Haas declared himself the winner.
It was a great night. On the front row with my friends, I did get to reach out and give supportive swats to Richards, the Briscoes, King, Bennett, and Cole. It was the usual fan “slap” but, hey, it was fun and corny at the same time. Also we had three or four close calls, as wrestlers crashed (or, rather, were hurled) into the metal barricade at our knees. While Edwards was beating down Mike Bennett outside the ring, he got a series of fans at the four surrounding sides to hold Mike’s arms against the barricade while he punched him. The only thing that would have made the evening totally perfect for me would have been to be chosen as one of the fans to secure Bennett’s sweaty biceps.
I took well over 700 photos, the vast majority of which are shit. I've limited my choices here below to my twenty favorites, favorite for a variety of reasons. In time I hope to improve my action photography skills. For the interested, I had a blast, three hours in sado-erotic heaven, as colored by the Three Stooges, Popeye cartoons, and the old Hercules movies.
|It's a mondo mondo world, as Mike Mondo enters|
|Jay Lethal, causing some problems for Mondo|
|Charlie Haas bending Lance Bravado|
|Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa, outside the ring|
|Cole and Ciampa, a blur|
|Adam shakes the cobwebs out after he's been tossed from the ring|
|Cole and Ciampa, about to work the ropes|
|The loser (but crowd favorite) glistens|
|Roderick Strong on Jay Briscoe|
|Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis, sharing the love|
|Mike getting some hurt off Eddie Edwards|
|Maria is concerned|
|Bennett submits to Edwards|
|Post-match, Mike rushes to save Maria|
|Davey Richards under Jimmy Jacobs' voodoo princess spell|
|Davey teaching Jimmy about pain and humiliation|
|Charlie Haas brings the rope to Jay to choke him on it|
|Look up "shambles" in a dictionary|