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COMMENT





Albright a ROH star on the rise
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling


Brent Albright.
Photo by Mike Mastrandrea


Brent Albright didn't have to wait long to find work when he was released from the WWE on October 12th, 2006. The same day, he was made an offer by Ring of Honor's Gabe Sapolsky, and debuted for the company on October 27th.

"I had a two-month tryout and by December I had a full-time job with ROH," Albright recently told SLAM! Wrestling. While his first match in Ring of Honor was a loss to Christopher Daniels in Dayton, OH, the next night he destroyed Trik Davis in Chicago Ridge, Ill., while the crowd chanted "Please come back" and "Welcome Home." It was a special moment that helped restore Albright's faith.

"It felt pretty good. It is good to have the appreciation of the fans, especially in a new company I had never worked for before in front of new fans. To have that kind of response and respect from the crowd was really excellent."

The Ring of Honor fans, while undyingly loyal, have at times been criticized for being too "smart" for their own good, which takes away from the shows at times.

"I like the ROH fans, but sometimes they try to read to much into it and think this and that sucks because they are the fans and what they say goes. By doing that they miss the whole point of being a wrestling fan and buying a ticket. I think some buy a ticket just so they can say 'Oh I knew that was going to happen.' Wrestling is wrestling, you go to be taken out of your reality for a little while. If you keep trying to nitpick and find the things that are wrong then you are missing the whole point of being there. Go to have a good time and escape from your daily grind and watch these guys beat the crap out of each other -- that is the fun part of wrestling."

After earning a roster spot, Albright turned heel and became the "Gun for Hire," being paid by Lacey to attack Colt Cabana, and by Bryan Danielson to weaken Homicide's shoulder a month before Homicide was to challenge for Danielson's belt. Albright ended up locked in a lengthy feud alongside Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs against B.J. Whitmer, until August, when Albright, Whitmer and Adam Pearce formed the Hangmen 3.

"I love working with B.J. and Adam, they are two of my best buds in the whole world," Albright said, before Whitmer announced his ROH departure. "Adam and I have wrestled each other and worked together in a lot of other places besides ROH, while B.J. and I clicked almost immediately. We travel together, hang out, drink beer, smoke cigars, when we are together we hang out, have a good time and wrestle." He added that he has more fun beating people up with B.J. than beating on him. "I like having B.J. on my team. We gel pretty well and are on the same page. It is a whole lot of fun teaming with B.J."

Having been well paid as a mercenary over the past year, it is natural to ask how much it would cost to turn on Adam Pearce. "It would take pretty good money, because me and Adam are pretty tight and have a good thing going," he said without any hesitation.


Brent Albright ties up Nigel McGuinness.
Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
At 6-foot, 230 pounds, Albright is one of the larger men on the ROH roster. While he gets to showcase his skills in a different way than he did in WWE, he has had to adapt to being a big man.

"I would really rather just go out there and wrestle like I did in OVW [Ohio Valley Wrestling]. Unfortunately because I am one of the biggest guys on the roster with ROH, I can't do that. I have to do more power moves. I prefer more of the wrestling but that is my role in this company since I am physically one of the biggest guys on the roster."

The past year has seen an influx of factions into Ring of Honor. In addition to the Hangmen, ROH currently has the No Remorse Corpse, The Vulture Squad, The Age of the Fall, and the now split Resilience. Albright feels that having stables and teams helps keep the shows interesting.

"The good thing about being part of a group is that, just because I am in the Hangmen 3, I can still do singles matches along with the tags and six-mans. We have been doing these off-the-wall scramble matches. It is good for the company in that it gives a lot of variety and some really good main events and matches."

The year 2007 was one of change for ROH, with long-time talent leaving, which allowed new stars to be created and fresh faces when the company debuted on pay per view.

RING OF HONOR IN ORLANDO
Ring of Honor has two shows WrestleMania weekend in Orlando, Fl., plus a fanfest. The shows on Friday and Saturday nights are at the Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex, 649 West Livingston Street. Tickets are now on sale at www.rohwrestling.com, www.tickets.com, or by calling (215) 781-2500.

The fan fest is free, at 3 pm on Saturday, at the Orlando Jai-Alai, 6405 S US Highway 17/92, Fern Park FL. These ROH stars have been announced as appearing: ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness, Jay & Mark Briscoe, Austin Aries, Delirious, The Age Of The Fall of Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black & Lacey, Larry Sweeney, Erick Stevens, and the stars of Dragon Gate.
"When I first got there at the end of 2006 we had Samoa Joe, Chris Daniels, Homicide and young stars like Matt Sydal and Colt Cabana that brought a lot to the table. When they left it just opened up the doors for other guys to step in and step up. With the pay per views, they have been going really good as far as the product goes and helped ROH get a bit more exposure."

Surprisingly, despite having worked for WWE, Albright had never wrestled in New York City until he joined Ring of Honor. The city, and the Manhattan Center, is Albright's favorite place to go.

"I love going to the Manhattan Center. I had never been to New York until I joined Ring of Honor and every time we go I absolutely love it. When we did a double-shot there in December, one of the fans throws a big party for the fans and wrestlers and he threw one after that double shot. We closed that bar down, closed down an after hours bar, got a bite to eat, and didn't go back to the hotel but slept at the Manhattan Center because we had an earlier show that day."

Brent worked his way up the roster to challenge ROH champion Takeshi Morishima on August 11th in Philadelphia. Although he lost the match, the performance lead to him challenging again on August 24th in a triple-threat match that also included Claudio Castagnoli.

"It was kind of funny because at the beginning of the Philadelphia show I did a run-in on the pre-show matches and generated a little excitement for the match. I was doing a promo and got a lot of fans really giving me a hard time. By the end of that match they really wanted to see me beat Morishima, you could tell they wanted me to win and it was awesome to be able to turn a crowd 180° to where they really want to see you win. Then we had the triple-threat title match, and I really enjoyed that match it was fun. I always enjoy working Claudio, he is very, very talented."

For those who have never seen Albright outside of his brief run as Gunner Scott on WWE Smackdown, ROH provides the opportunity to see a different side of him. Albright closed the interview by encouraging people to check out Ring of Honor either live or on pay per view.

"Anybody that is a fan of ROH, come out and watch. It is a great product and we are really doing great things, it is always a good time at the shows. If you don't know much about us, order a pay per view, it is a really good representative of what we do and what ROH is."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch for part two of our conversation with Brent Albright in the coming weeks, where he talks about his WWE departure, Chris Benoit, and more.

RELATED LINKS

  • Ring of Honor's website
  • Brent on Myspace

    Jason Clevett is ... out of ideas to put here.