January 31, 2009
Lynn-Black go to the time-limit in Detroit
By CHRIS SCHRAMM - SLAM! Wrestling
DETROIT - You can not tell Jerry Lynn that he is too old to have a good match. The 45-year-old stole the Detroit Ring of Honor show on Friday night. Lynn, who has been wrestling full-time for ROH since fall, used old school philosophy in his 20-minute time-limit draw with Tyler Black.
Snow, 15 degree weather, 11% unemployment and the possible crumbling of the auto industry in and around Detroit did not stop the crowd from showing up. The crowd's numbers did not shrink from ROH's last appearance, and the crowd was hot from start to finish.
This is ROH's first show to Detroit since summer, and since there was a booker change (Brent Albright took over). The show seemed to move faster and most matches seemed to have a slow build to them. Lynn and Black's match was no different. The match started with several minutes of headlocks with short action spots in-between. The match built and built until the two were working at a rapid pace at the 15-minute mark.
The 20-minute mark came quickly, but with five minutes of rapid action, both men were exhausted. Even though the crowd asked for more time, Lynn and Black probably had nothing more to give. The crowd appreciated what the two gave, and they received a long and deserved standing ovation. Live, it was an almost perfect match. It did not burn the crowd out with fast action early but rather built the crowd up. Some would call it old school, but it was different than the usual spotfest you see at independent shows.
Matches endings become melodramatic after the crowd and wrestlers are exhausted three minutes in. When the finish comes, the crowd is often disappointed or spent.
The new bookings saw some errors, which is expected. Several matches saw the same gimmick repeated from a previous match. One example was seeing a wrestler slipping into the ring right as the referee was to count them out at 20. Another gimmick repeated was saving being pinned by placing a leg on the bottom rope.
Another noticeable problem is the lack of crowd support (and belief) in ROH Champion Nigel McGuinness. McGuinness was out of action in the fall for a number of months due to a shoulder injury. The promotion refused to strip him of the title, and McGuinness has been wrestling with a taped up shoulder. During his match Friday night with Jay Briscoe, he got very little crowd heat, and the heat he did get was not the good kind of heat. The crowd mocked his injury and McGuinness was not 100% recovered from the shoulder injury.
If fans get there way (based on chants), Tyler Black will dethrone McGuinness in the near future.
The main event featured Kevin Steen and El Generico defeating Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards to retain the ROH Tag Team titles when Larry Sweeney's shoe was used on his own team. This was more of the fast from start to finish tag team match people know of ROH. Richards and Edwards used the barrier multiple times during the match where it almost lost its effectiveness.
Overall, the show was average with the Lynn-Black match and the tag team main event saving what may have been considered a poor show. ROH will need to figure out in the near future what to present on their upcoming HDNet show. On pay-per-view shows and live events, longer and slow building matches may work but will they work on a weekly television show? Will the show be used to sell pay-per-views or just present an overall feeling of what the promotion is about? Will the show feature skits, gimmicks and more storylines than a live show or pay-per-view may have? Will the live shows build off television or will they stand alone? Those questions will come in the months to come as ROH prepares to take the next step in the growth of their company.
Ring of Honor will return to Detroit on June 26. With a booking change playing a minor part in presenting a different show this time around, you have to wonder what a television deal will do to the show in June.
Full results from the show:
Christopher Schramm has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 1997. He has a degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. You can email Chris @ email@example.com.