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   Mon, January 24, 2005



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Aries retains ROH title in Montreal
New Year's Madness II a stacked card
By YVES LEROUX - SLAM! Wrestling


Kevin Steen slaps at Austin Aires.
- photo by Richard Leroux


MONTREAL - In what many wrestling fans are already calling the best card in many years, Austin Aries retained his Ring of Honor (ROH) heavyweight title, beating "Mr. Wrestling" Kevin Steen Saturday night in the co-main event at Marc the Grizzly's New Year's Madness II show.

Packed to near capacity, some 300-plus die-hard fans braved bitterly cold temperatures to take in a stacked card last over four hours, featuring the stars of ROH taking on some of the best grapplers Quebec has to offer.

Two of originally announced six ROH wrestlers were unable to attend. Jack Evans was forced to cancel his appearance due to a concussion sustained while wrestling in California and ROH Pure Wrestling champ John Walters was unable to make the trip due to severe weather conditions in the northeastern United States.

Aries retained his ROH championship title with an absolutely stellar performance against Steen. "Mr. Wrestling" earned the title challenge by winning an earlier four-way contest against his arch rivals El Generico, Excess 69 and former ROH champion, Samoa Joe. The contest featured an array of technical and high flying wrestling offence, mixed with the trademark brawling tactics of Joe. It should be noted that Excess was only added to the contest the night of the show, as he was originally scheduled to face Walters.

Following the Aries-Steen bout was the final match of the evening, with Quebec wrestling legend and former WWE tag team champion Pierre Carl Ouellet pitted against CM Punk, who wasted no time drawing the ire of Canadian fans while ranting on the mic. In a pitched, see-saw battle, Ouellet would come out on top.

Franky the Mobster retained his Internet Wrestling Syndicate (IWS) championship belt against Roderick Strong of ROH. Franky won the match after executing a sit-out choke slam on Strong in a spirited, main event calibre showdown. It was the second time Roderick Strong had attempting to win the IWS tile. He failed his first attempt against then belt holder Kevin Steen last year during at Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW).

The card got under way with the IWS MC Brian "The Guppie" Stolovitch welcoming the crowd, followed by a brief appearance by Marc the Grizzly extending his appreciation to all who were in attendance.

With some short promotional videos out of the way, Giovanni from the Elite Wrestling Revolution (EWR) defeated Connecticut based J-Busta.

In the comic-high flying, six way contest, Sexxxy Eddy defeated Beef Wellington, Damian, Mr Xtreem, Hellstorm and Kid Kamikaze. Eddy, having just returned from an overseas tour of the United Kingdom and Germany, scored the victory with his total XXXtacy reverse Swanton pinning Damian.

In heavyweight tag team action, the team of Michael Van Payton and Tank defeated Big Kurt Lauderdale and Nova Cain.

The Flying Hurricanes defended their IWS tag team championship belts against TNT Action in a fast moving high flying affair.

In a four way Tag team scramble match, the team of the New Bushwackers, (Wonder Fred and Viking) won against the Latinos Brothers, Adrenaline Rush and James Kraven and Arsenal. This match featured an abundance of highspot aerials, with some added humor.

NCW champion and veteran Quebec grappler Chakal successfully defended title against Handsome JF. Despite a select few vocal fans giving no respect to both competitors, pure wrestling fans very much enjoyed the confrontation.

In another high flying confrontation, Crazy Crusher defeated Alex Price, Dan Paysan and Player Uno.

After the show, Grizzly returned to the ring with wrestlers in tow to extend his thanks once again, with special mention to the ROH contingent who joined him in the ring and put on a great show.

Grizzly's next show will be this summer and will be called Mid Summer Madness II. A date has yet to be determined. SLAM! Wrestling will be brining our readers a special feature article from Corey David Lacroix on ROH.

Yves Leroux is grateful to Corey David Lacroix for coming to Montreal for New Year's Madness and wants him to come down every weekend so he can get his wife's blessing to attend one show a week.