Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – ROH Suffocation (27/10/2006)

Hello You!

Back with another Stinker Review, as we journey to the land of ROH for the first (And likely the last unless I ever do that ROH/New Japan supercard show from MSG sometime down the line) time, with Suffocation from 2006. This is one of those shows that might be a comparative Stinker as opposed to a full on one, mainly because ROH generally put on hot shows in 2006 and this is one of the few shows from that year that got less than inspired reviews.

The first half of 2006 for ROH had been really strong, with a blood feud between Colt Cabana and Homicide as well as an inter-promotional feud with fellow Philly based indie CZW being the notable highlights. The latter feud had ended with Homicide going face and helping ROH win the climactic battle, leading to babyface authority figure Jim Cornette trying to make it up to him.

However, one of Homicide’s requests was for Cornette to start booking Low Ki again, which got a big fat no and led to Homicide and Cornette falling out, with Cornette and his heavy Adam Pearce going heel. This led to Homicide feuding with Cornette and his associates, one of which was old foe Steve Corino, along with The Briscoe Brothers.

Homicide had help from the likes of Samoa Joe, and even Colt Cabana buried the hatchet to help him at one point. Eventually along the way it was announced that if Homicide didn’t win the ROH World Title by the end of the year then he’d be gone from the company, so the race was on for him to deal with Cornette’s heavies in time to dethrone World Champ Bryan Danielson.

On the under card, Colt Cabana had begun a relationship with Jimmy Jacobs’ manager Lacey, much to Jacobs’ misery as he had the hots for her as well, enough to write a hilarious slow ballad about how much he loved her. Cabana and Jacobs were thus an uneasy tag team, with Jacobs playing nice to keep Lacey happy in the hope that he could eventually win her heart.

So, is Suffocation really a bad show or just bad by ROH 2006 standards? How much of a role does context play in one of these reviews? Maybe I won’t be able to answer that? Maybe I will? Who knows, just read the pigging review and you might find out!

Also, stay tuned for the end because I’ll be revealing which reader request was the lucky one out of the hat for May’s review.

The event is emanating from Dayton, Ohio on the 27th of October 2006

Calling the action are Dave Prazak and Jared David

We open up with a promo from Homicide and Samoa Joe. Homicide says Julius Smokes isn’t there, but they don’t need him because they are bigger than even The Mega Powers. I wonder who is the Hogan and Savage equivalent in that case?

Austin Aries cuts a promo on Claudio Castagnoli. He wants revenge for Claudio hitting him with a briefcase.

Jimmy Rave is yelling at Sal Rinauro, telling him not to screw up in the next match.

Opening Match
Sal Rinauro w/ Jimmy Rave Vs ROH World Champ Bryan Danielson

Sal and Rave had been part of The Embassy faction, a heel group managed by Ghanaian royalty Prince Nana, but Nana has now left so they are a bit of rudderless ship. Danielson was on a run as heel World Champ, where he proclaimed himself to be the Best Wrestler In The World and acted like an insufferable jerk at all times. He also was using “The Final Countdown” by Europe as entrance music, which is always awesome. He’d injured his shoulder in a match with Colt Cabana though, so matches like this were a way to get him onto the show without putting too much of a strain on his injury.

Sal is outmatched here and mostly gets outwrestled whilst Rave chastises him, but he keeps trying and manages to get some offence in of his own. Danielson was in a really good groove of working matches where he looked like a dominant Champion whilst also making guys like Sal and Delirious still look good at the same time. He actually busts out the Bob Backlund arm scissor counter at one stage, which leads to Sal firing up with a moonsault press and some punches. Danielson sells all of that well, being very giving, but eventually he gets angry and takes Sal apart with some elbows before mockingly finishing him off with a Small Package.

WINNER: BRYAN DANIELSON
RATING: *1/2

This was fine and really only existed to give Danielson a strong win, although Sal wasn’t made to look like a chump and did get some offence in before finally getting pinned

Rave is angry at his cohort’s effort and slaps him before calling out Shingo Takagi for our next match.

Match Two
Jimmy Rave Vs Shingo Takagi

Shingo was on excursion from DragonGate here and was acquitting himself well. The fans do their usual gag for Rave, throwing toilet paper at him instead of streamers, which causes him to throw it back at them. Rave tries to cheap shop on the opening handshake, but Shingo sees it coming and fends him off, which causes Rave to bail and stall. Shingo shines on Rave following that with power stuff like shoulder tackles and body slams, and it’s decent, especially as Rave is happy to stooge and bump all over for him.

Rave eventually manages to cut him off with an overhead belly to belly suplex into the corner and then targets the head and neck area following that, yelling at the referee and just generally being dislikeable. Rave is a good heel, especially as he isn’t afraid to actually wrestle like one, which was something you didn’t always see on indie shows like this in the 00’s. ROH had a good collection of guys like Danielson, Rave, Chris Hero and Steve Corino at the time though who were happy to be disliked and actually play into the role, which made it stand out a bit as a company.

Rave eventually misses a charge in the corner, sending him tumbling to the floor, and Shingo follows him out with a dive off the apron for a double down. We head into the finishing stretch following that, with Shingo getting a near fall with a second rope knee drop and Rave getting one of his own with a swinging DDT. Rave gets a few more near falls, but Shingo keeps kicking out, so he goes to a butterfly lock for a submission tease instead. Shingo survives that though and powers out into a powerbomb for another double down.

The crowd has stuck with this for the most part and it’s been a good closing section, although they’re perhaps doing a tad too many near falls for the second match on the card, especially when Rave gets the Ghanarea (Paige Turner) for only two, as that was his finisher at the time. Shingo is the one getting the win though, so he fights off a Pedigree attempt from Rave and lariats him before getting a wrist clutch slam for the three count.

WINNER: SHINGO TAKAGI
RATING: **1/2

They did too much for the second match on the show really, but it was a solid outing for the most part, with Rave doing his job as the heel and Shingo getting over with the crowd thanks to his move-set and character work

Brent Albright cuts a promo backstage. He’d recently been in WWE as Gunner Scott, but that push faded and he got released, so now he’s in ROH to try and rejuvenate his career. Tonight is his debut and he’s going to make a name for himself by defeating ROH mainstay Christopher Daniels.

Match Three
Irish Airborne (Jake & Dave Crist) Vs Colt Cabana and Jimmy Jacobs w/ Lacey

The Crist’s are from Ohio and were in Impact Wrestling, but Dave got fired over Speaking Out allegations and Jake then left the company also. Cabana and Jacobs enter to Jacobs’ ballad song, much to Lacey’s annoyance. BJ Whitmer cuts a promo from the hard cam before the match starts, where he says that he’ll be returning from an ankle injury soon in order to get revenge on former tag team partner Jacobs.

Cabana and Jacobs are a pretty fun combo, as Cabana is clearly getting under Jacobs’ skin but he’s also not being an outright jerk to him either. It’s more of a big brother/little brother relationship going on, with Jacobs trying really hard to impress Lacey, which only serves to annoy her as it means he isn’t focusing on the match enough. The actual wrestling is fine, but the story of Cabana and Jacobs’ relationship is ultimately more important, with the Airborne being pretty generic opposition.

Cabana does some nice British inspired technical wrestling, and he was working over here quite a lot at the time due to being a noted fan of the World of Sport action from back in the day. Cabana and Jacobs do manage to work together at points, with the idea being that their chemistry is getting better due to them tagging more with one another and their own personal relationship with one another being less antagonistic.

Cabana had been mugging in the early stages like Jim Duggan, so the crowd calls for a Three Point Stance and he preps for it, only for Dave Crist to fight him off (to audible boos) and make the tag to Jake, who runs wild for a little bit. Things break down following that, with everyone going at it leading to a double Three Point Stance from the Cabana/Jacobs tandem. The Airborne manage to catch Jacobs with an O’Connor Roll though and that’s enough for the upset flash pin.

WINNERS: IRISH AIRBORNE
RATING: **

Generic tag action for the most part, with the story stuff between Cabana/Jacobs keeping it interesting

Jacobs is upset to lose but still shakes hands at the request of Cabana. Cabana then steps in to stop Lacey from chewing Jacobs out too much following the loss.

Tank Toland (One of The Dicks from WWE) is now in ROH and cuts a lame promo about how he’s now in ROH. Pelle Primeau comes over and recognises Toland for his old gimmick, which causes Toland to throttle him and demand that he never call him by that name again.

Match Four
Brent Albright Vs Christopher Daniels

The crowd chants “Smackdown Sucks” for Albright during his entrance in a funny moment. Daniels was a face at this stage in his ROH career and had finally started shaking hands after years of not doing so. Ironically the first man whose hand he’d ever shook, Claudio, ended up betraying ROH latter on that same show, thus making his heel turn even more egregious in the process.

This one is very technically sound in the early stages, with both men trading holds and attempting to outwrestle the other. They focus on the idea that Albright is the stronger of the two but that Daniels is the quicker, leading to Albright trying to aggressively brute force it with his holds at points whilst Daniels tries to be more slippery and wily. It works well as a story and the action is solid too, with both men doing some nice counters and working the match like it’s an actual contest between two guys who are trying to outwrestle the other.

Albright eventually manages to gain control by going after Daniels’ arm, trying to weaken it for his trademark arm bar submission hold he did at the time called The Crowbar (Basically a Fujiwara Arm Bar). Daniels sells all of that well and Albright is good as the vicious submission expert trying to weaken his prey. If watching a technical battle where one guy targets a body part isn’t your jam then this probably won’t do it for you, but I like this style of wrestling so it works just fine for me.

Daniels eventually manages to catch Albright with a desperation Space Tornado Ogawa and then makes the one armed comeback, which is a nice touch. I like how he didn’t just ignore all of the arm work because the match called for him to fight back. He even sells it when he hits the Best Moonsault Ever, which leads to a momentary delay that allows Albright to hook an arm bar for a submission tease. That was very slickly done and looked good.

Albright fires off a Half Nelson Suplex following that, to “oohs” from the crowd, but Daniels kicks out at two. Albright’s performance has impressed the crowd though and they chant for him as he tries another version of the arm bar. However, Daniels is able to get a desperation pin counter to that, which is enough for the three count.

WINNER: CHRISTOPHER DANIELS
RATING: ***1/4

This was good stuff and I enjoyed it. If technical wrestling and submission work isn’t your thing then this likely won’t convert you, but if you appreciate that style then this was a good example of it

Albright teases no handshake following that, but eventually relents and the crowd appreciates it. Daniels welcomes him to ROH and Albright makes it clear that he wants another shot down the line.

Match Five
Four Corner Survival Bout
ROH Tag Champ Chris Hero Vs Roderick Strong Vs Mark Briscoe Vs Tank Toland

Hero had been the defacto leader of the CZW invasion and had stuck around in ROH following that, winning the tag belts with Claudio from Strong and Aries. Mark and his brother Jay had gone heel by backing Cornette in the feud with Homicide, whilst Toland is having a bash at restarting his career here in ROH following a stint in WWE. I do love Strong’s music with the Willem Dafeo “And there was a FIRE FIGHT!!!” sound bite at the start. Hero comes out of the crowd to push the idea that he and Claudio are an outside threat. He also has what looks like the CHIKARA and CZW belts as well.

I know some can’t get over the fact that Hero has a non-traditional body type for pro-wrestling, but I dig his work and like the fact that he would commit to being a heel. Mark is missing teeth here, which Gabe Sapolsky pops in to explain by saying he lost them in a bar brawl, although he then ruins it somewhat by saying that Mark eventually won said brawl with a Shooting Star Press. Toland hangs reasonably well with Strong in the early going, but I’m not sure how much of that is down to Strong being the consummate workhorse.

The action in general is good for the most part, with Briscoe and Hero doing a fun exchange, which leads to Hero sitting out on the floor for a bit whilst the other three go at it. Toland is a bit of a step behind everyone else at points, but he was still getting acclimatised to ROH style, so it’s somewhat understandable. His bumping, selling and feeding is on point, but he doesn’t really have much in the way of interesting offence and sometimes he’s a bit behind the pace in comparison to everyone else.

Things are all building to Strong getting his hands on Hero, and he eventually does, destroying him with high impact offence but Toland breaks up the resulting pin. Things break down following that, as he we head into FINISHER MADNESS™, where everyone comes in to hit a big move of some kind. Hero almost steals it with a trunks assisted school boy on Strong following that, but Strong kicks at two and locks in The Strong Hold for a measure of revenge.

WINNER: RODERICK STRONG
RATING: **1/2

I feel like posting that clip from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where Sean Connery bemoans that “I’m waiting to be impressed” in regards to this show if I’m honest. This was yet another perfectly cromulent match, with everyone getting to do a little bit and nothing bad happening, but it also didn’t really excite me either. I think a bit more Hero Vs Strong wouldn’t have gone amiss. I honestly think you could have put this match on second and the Rave/Shingo match in fifth and the show would have had a much better flow

Claudio jumps Strong following the match, but here’s Aries for the rescue to lead nicely into the next match.

Match Six
ROH Tag Champ Claudio Castagnoli Vs Austin Aries

I’ve seen these two have a number of good matches over the years so hopefully this is where the show finally starts picking up a bit. Aries wastes no time busting out a TOPE SUICIDA and then batters Claudio around ringside. They tell a good story of Aries being too aggressive due to the anger at Claudio stealing his belts and then injuring his ribs, which allows Claudio to eventually cut him off with a Stun Gun and then work the mid-section over. You don’t need to overcomplicate things sometimes, and I like that they don’t try here.

Claudio’s stuff is good in the heat, with his offence looking nice and Aries selling it all well. We even get the old rope assisted abdominal stretch at one stage, as Claudio is another heel who is actually happy being a proper heel, which is always nice to see. In a funny turn around, Aries gives him a taste of his own medicine at one point by going to his own abdominal stretch and grabbing the ropes, and it’s always fun to see the heel hoist by their own petard. Aries eventually manages to catch Claudio with a desperation clothesline and that leads to the double down.

Aries makes the comeback following that, firing up on Claudio with a slew of forearms and chops before getting a nice slingshot splash for two. We get some near falls from both men following that, and they’re well executed. The crowd doesn’t really bite that much though, and they’ve been kind of flat for a couple of matches now. Some of the exchanges in the closing section are done really well, especially when both men are countering the others’ big move attempts. Aries eventually manages to come off the top rope with a 450 Splash though, and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: AUSTIN ARIES
RATING: ***

Good stuff there, although the flat crowd hurt it a bit

Hero comes back out for the heel beat down, but Strong makes the save to potentially set up another match between the two units.

Dave Prazak is backstage with Lacey, Jacobs and Cabana. Lacey is annoyed and says that if they don’t win their next match then Jacobs is done. Cabana thinks Lacey is out of line and laughs off the idea that he’s going to have do what she tells him from now on. Oh dear, I smell a potential split coming up! Whitmer attacks Jacobs following the promo and the camera cuts away to keep that feud bubbling away.

Match Seven
Davey Richards Vs Jay Briscoe

Richards had been working as a mid-card babyface since arriving in the company and had been holding his own for the most part, even picking up some wins over the likes of Jimmy Rave. He’d been feuding with The Briscoe’s recently, with Richards and a revolving cast of guest partners failing to get the duke over The Briscoe’s in a tag setting, so Richards is trying his luck in the singles realm tonight.

Richards gets to shine on Briscoe in the early stages, with Jay playing a clear heel here whilst Mark was more of a tweener in the previous four corner match. Briscoe bumps around a lot for Richards to make him look good and Richards looks decent on offence, with some snug kicks in particular being executed well. Briscoe eventually manages to counter a flying head scissors into a face buster though, and that’s enough for the cut off.

Richards sells well in the heat, and Briscoe even busts out a Stretch Plum at one stage, which manages to get the crowd to clap for Richards a bit. This has been a very spotty crowd for the most part actually, with them sitting on their hands quite a bit for chunks of the show, and it’s given the overall feeling of the show itself feeling a bit flat, even though the wrestling itself has been solid and there’s been a few good matches.

Richards eventually manages to catch Briscoe with a superplex, which leads into both men fighting up to their feet whilst throwing forearms at one another. Richards wins that battle and suplexes Briscoe to the floor before following with a dive out into the entrance way. We get some near falls back inside following that, with Richards working hard and showing some fire in an effort to get the crowd invested. It’s nice to see that he’s trying at least, even if it’s kind of falling on death ears.

This one has had a very Japanese feel to it, like something you’d see from the New Japan Junior Heavyweight division, and both guys work that style well (And indeed they’d both eventually tour in Japan later on in their respective careers). The near falls are done well, with the moves having a nice snap and the kick outs being timed well for drama. Eventually they succeed in getting the crowd into it some more and there’s some good atmosphere in the closing stages. Richards manages to catch Briscoe with his DR Driver under hook brain buster styled move and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: DAVEY RICHARDS
RATING: ***1/2

They worked very hard there and eventually succeeded in getting a so-so crowd to actually care by the end. The wrestling itself was very good and I enjoyed the near falls

The commentators mention that Richards will face Mark Briscoe on the next show to see if he can complete the set.

Full Impact Pro advert. This was ROH’s Florida based feeder company.

Match Eight
Matt Sydal Vs Delirous

These two had quite a few battles together over the years, with them notably being the final two participants in the Survival of the Fittest bout in 2006. Delirious had a bit of a breakout year in 2006 as far as ROH was concerned, with Bryan Danielson having a couple of very good matches with him to establish him as a legitimate threat to the top stars.

They do some comedy in the early stages, with Delirious doing his wacky madman antics and the crowd enjoying it. They mix in some decent wrestling on the mat too at points, but it’s mostly Delirious being odd and Sydal being exasperated by it whilst the crowd has a giggle. Eventually Sydal decides to turn it into more of a fight with some strikes, which leads to Delirious firing back with some of his own. Sydal wins that by kicking Delirious square in the bonce and then starts teasing his eventual heel turn by being cocky about it.

Delirious keeps coming, and “works some nerves” with a nerve pinch, which the crowd gets a kick out of. I’m not sure they really know what sort of match they want to have here, as they keep doing the comedy elements but they also look like they are trying to do more of a standard serious indie match, and the two styles don’t really mesh that well. Delirious even does a bit where he hides under the ring and Sydal has to ring the bell to freak him out. I enjoy comedy in my wrestling, but this has been a pretty middling show by ROH standards and it feels like they need to be picking up the pace this late in the evening, not slowing it down with comedy spots.

Sydal finally starts getting more serious by pulling off some of the tassels on Delirious’ mask, which succeeds in drawing some heel heat from the crowd, and then controls things whilst continuing to be cocky. Sydal’s stuff looks good and Delirious sells it well before making the comeback with leaping clotheslines. The crowd is into his comeback and “oohs” when he gives Sydal a stiff running knee to the face. Delirious has done a good job playing to the crowd and keeping them invested throughout the match, and it’s led to this match having some of the most consistent heat on the entire show.

Things of course head outside so that Sydal can do a wacky dive from inside the ring to the floor, which does indeed look great, and he follows it up with being arrogant when getting back inside to draw some more boos. Delirious spikes him with his own wacky pump-handle slam inspired There It Is Driver for two back inside though. The story they’ve been telling here of Sydal being too cocky and it costing him has been a solid one, and they add another case of move theft as well when Sydal hits Delirious with his own Shadows Over Hell splash to the back for a two.

We get some more near falls following that, with both men turning it up a notch in the closing stages and both coming close to victory. This one has improved as it’s gone on and they’ve settled into having a standard match rather than focusing on all the comedy early doors. It hasn’t been a show-stealer or anything, but it’s turned into a really good match. Delirious eventually manages to avoid eating a Shooting Star Press and gets Sydal with a wacky slam/power bomb styled move called the Chemical Imbalance for two.

WINNER: DELIRIOUS
RATING: ***1/4

That one started a bit slow but they had their working boots on and by the end I was enjoying it. This show still hasn’t had a real ROH calibre level great match yet though, which is kind of what you watch these shows for

Delirious celebrates with the fans afterwards and addresses Bryan Danielson with his usual gibberish into the camera as they will be facing for the Title soon.

Main Event
Adam Pearce and Steve Corino w/ Jim Cornette and Shayne Haggadorn Vs Homicide and Samoa Joe

Corino and Pearce both work in WWE now, with Corino being an agent in NXT and Pearce being the on air authority figure. Cornette makes sure to fire off a homophobic slur at the audience before starting his promo proper because…

Thanks. Cenk

Anyway, Cornette says that his men are going to make sure that Homicide doesn’t make it to his scheduled Title shot with Danielson in December. Corino also gets to grab the mic and wind up the crowd a bit too, and as usual he’s excellent at it. Corino’s barbs are more about how ugly and stupid the crowd are, and he has such glee in making fun of them that they even start to laugh along at one stage.

This one is a brawl right from the off, which is a nice change of pace considering that they’ve rationed the brawling in the other matches so that it stands out here and feels special as a result. Things do eventually settle into more of a traditional tag match once the initial brawling section comes to an end, with Homicide and Joe shining on the heels and showing decent chemistry as a team.

Eventually the heels manage to cut Homicide off and work him over, doing traditional heel tag spots of distracting the ref so the other guy can cheat. It doesn’t draw much reaction from the crowd though, even though both guys know what they’re doing and work it all well. Joe soon gets the hot tag and runs wild, looking good in the process, with the heels taking big bumps and selling big to put him over.

However, Pearce cheap shots him and that leads into another heat segment, which I don’t think this match really needed. That doesn’t last very long and we get the Homicide/Corino hockey fight, which the crowd are scary silent for. That’s usually a guaranteed big crowd reaction spot as well as it plays into our primal desire to see two people swing fists at one another, but it didn’t even get a peep there.

They decide to just start fighting in the crowd following that, which is probably what they should have just done from the start as the crowd hasn’t bitten on barely any of the actual wrestling in this one and this is supposed to be a blood feud anyway, so you might as well just get out there and start swinging furniture, especially as it’s not like an ECW situation where there have already been 2-3 matches like that already.

Homicide splashes Corino through a table at one stage, which gets by far the biggest reaction of the match thus far, if not the entire show. We get FINISHER MADNESS™ back inside the ring following the brawl, with everyone getting a chance to hit a big move at some point, with the faces getting hold of Cornette’s tennis racquet and using it on his men, before turning poor Haggadorn inside out with some kind of back suplex double team. Haggadorn had very little luck with stuff like that sometimes.

We get an “I AM THE TABLE” moment when Joe tries to suplex Corino through a table in the corner but it doesn’t break, so he picks Corino up and flings him through it with a power bomb instead. Pearce takes a Muscle Buster following that and Homicide turns Pearce inside out with a lariat for three, although Pearce kind of kicked out, which ruined it a bit.

WINNERS: HOMICIDE AND SAMOA JOE
RATING: **

This picked up once they started brawling and the finish gave Homicide a measure of revenge whilst keeping the feud going as he didn’t get his hands on Cornette and wasn’t able to pin Corino yet

Joe fights to the back with Haggadorn following that, which leads to Cornette bringing out The Briscoe’s to attack Homicide. Homicide does his best, but he’s out numbered and ends up eating a 5 on 1 heel beat down. Corino tries to suffocate Homicide with a plastic bag (hence the name of the show I guess) whilst The Briscoe’s stop anyone from coming down to help. Aries and Strong of all people end up coming to Homicide’s aid and their brawl with The Briscoe’s allows the rest of the locker room to run down and fend off Corino and Pearce. That was a very old school heel heat angle, but I must say I’ve really become sick of heel authority figure Vs rebellious babyface storylines because they’ve been utterly done to death over the years, so this didn’t quite do it for me.

Is It Really A Stinker?

No I don’t think it’s even remotely fair to call this a Stinker when you look at some of the other horrible shows I’ve reviewed for this feature.

It was a middling ROH show to be sure, but there were still plenty of matches in the *** range and nothing actively bad, so to call it a Stinker would be an injustice.

Final Rating – Odourless

See you all next month when we’ll be looking at WWE Insurrextion 2003 courtesy of AJ Haemorrhoids (Get that bloke some Pile cream by the way, he must be living in agony!)

Don’t be disheartened if your pick wasn’t chosen though, all shows remain in the hat and you could find your choice gets selected for July’s Stinker Review! If you’ve not suggested a show yet then feel free to do so in the comments and I’ll add it to the hat!

If you’d like to get in touch to suggest shows to review, ask questions, share your love of those wonderful Royal Blue Toffees, or just generally chat the grapple game, then feel free to hit me up at [email protected]