So I went to the Ring of Honor show in Asheville last Saturday. It was at the Agriculture Center, which was cool because it was the same place my brother had one of his MMA bouts. It was a pretty exciting experience and a bucket list item as well from my list of wrestling promotions I need to see before I die.
Kevin Steen has been ROH World Champion for 327 days.
We showed up and there were tons of fans there waiting in line to get in. I was surprised because it felt like an Indy show except everybody knows ROH is one of the “Big Three” here in the United States and throughout the world. There were fans with signs, ROH T-shirts already on, and some were even wearing retro ROH tees from way back in the day! True fans. True fans, indeed. My favorite was the old couple sitting second row from the ring. They looked like they both had to be 70-90 years old. It was the most adorable thing. They were ready for some wrestling.
We finally get inside and there he is, Kevin Steen, Ring of Honor champion. He’s at his table selling 8X10’s, autographs and pictures for $10 a ticket. Pretty worth it I would say. Right next to him in a straw cowboy hat is Charlie Haas of WGTT fame, but unfortunately, he looks a little out of it.
Steen was a real nice guy. I hate to let the cat out of the bag because on screen he’s one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever seen, but here in person, he’s just like you and me. He’s friendly, he’s smiling, and he’s wearing a workout tee and some gym shorts, which, ironically, is his wrestling gear as champion?! I love Kevin Steen. He handed me the ROH title (I nearly melted holding such a prestigious and rarely traded championship) and then snatched the sunglasses off of my head and preceded to do a Rock pose complete with people’s eyebrow. It was the coolest thing ever and it made my freakin’ day.
Corino in his current S.C.U.M. look.
I didn’t have the money for a Charlie Haas ticket. It seemed like a lot of people were in the same boat. The guy had no line and I felt terrible so I went over to at least just shake his hand and tell him thank you for everything he has done in the business and for all the memories I have, especially of Team Angle. He looked a little befuddled as he looked at me with those sad and tired eyes. A weird feeling came over me. I wondered if he was on something.
The show started with Michael Elgin brutalizing a poor young guy, and it was fantastic. Michael Elgin, that’s all I need to say. S.C.U.M. ruled everything that night and I swear Steve Corino was the MVP of the night. He was everywhere, cutting promos, managing during matches, laying stomp-downs. The man even sat down next to Kevin Kelly and started doing commentary complete with jabber jaw and wild animations. I’m tellin’ ya, the man was everywhere. What’s funny is how I hardly recognized him until Charlie pointed out that that’s who he was. He looks a lot different than the skinny fat bleach blonde professed “King of Old School” from his ECW days. He looked like a sharp dressed man with his jet black hair and thinly shaved face and suit. Corino was a legend.
The coolest feeling was seeing S.C.U.M. in the ring and Jimmy Jacobs is looking as pretty as ever. Haha. He’s facing the hard cam in the opposite direction of me but I belt out an extremely loud “DO IT FOR HER!” and he slowly turns around and looks at me to give me a smirk and a nod. Real Jimmy Jacobs fans will get it.
All was good until Matt Tavin came out with his ‘Hoopla Hottie.’ She was the hottest thing I’ve seen in a while. She was so decked up and gussied and I’m tellin’ you, there was a fatal four way of non-stop action going on in the ring but all I could focus on was her and her ‘quite revealing’ outfit. She reminded me of why I got into wrestling in the first place. Ahhh the memoires. I even yelled out, “Hey Tavin, I approve!” to his reply, “Of her?” and I said, “No, of you. OF COURSE OF HER!” We all had a good time. I yelled at Roderick Strong, who was in the match, “I’d give it a backbreaker!” He smiled and told me the next one was for me. I love it when they acknowledge the crowd.
Have we seen the last of Haas?
Intermission came up and the company gives a ten-bell salute to Reid Flair which was very classy. Then apparently there was a scuffle backstage. A real one. Legend has it that Charlie Haas punched Grizzly Redwood and a fight had to be broken up. My buddy Kledus heard the whole thing and told me he saw the puddle of blood.
After intermission Charlie Haas hits the ring. He’s got a mic and he’s telling everyone that his match tonight is his last match and he will be retiring and returning home to his wife and kid after this. I couldn’t understand it because he’s supposed to have a match with his former partner (that he turned on) Shelton Benjamin, a match I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see, at NY’s Supercard of Honor PPV event.
Haas finished his pre-match promo, complete with a “Who the **** is Super Dragon?” quote, and wrestled some local jobber and radio DJ. The match wasn’t the greatest. I was sitting front row and I was watching Haas. He was crying. He was wrestling his match and there was real pain and emotion in his face. It’s not like he was trying to get the match over or his opponent over, the guy was a nobody. Haas was definitely feeling something real in there. After the match, the crowd chanted “GIVE HIM THE MIC!” but I saw the stagehand come out and give a cutthroat sign saying no. Haas said **** it and cut a promo without one. We all sat quietly and let him speak. My buddy Kledus taped it but ROH had it taken down from YouTube. It was a very gripping and unpredictable happening.
I kind of wonder if the man had just been fired.
American Wolves and CMC had the tag match of the night. They went about half an hour. Those guys are warriors and I think they have a lot of good things coming their way.
The main event saw Steen defending against Mark Briscoe. Jay was not at ringside (his arm was in a sling) but halfway through the match the Briscoe’s father and other family members hopped the guardrail and chased away S.C.U.M. It was pretty epic seeing Papa Briscoe get his hands dirty. Steen won with a Package Piledriver. It was pretty crazy seeing a Briscoe getting pinned. I’ve seen John Cena get beat more than I’ve seen those guys defeated.
An absolutely fantastic show I attended. On our way out we saw Mike Mondo sneaking over to an ATM. We all popped for him and he indulged us. What an awesome guy. I hope to see him make it back to WWE and pair up with Ziggler again somehow.
So we ended the night at an IHOP hoping one of them would stroll in. No such luck, but I did have the pot roast sandwich to send me home happy, not that I wasn’t already ecstatic. It’s too late for me to ever be able to see an original ECW show, but I got in my Ring of Honor, and it felt pretty close to that same magic. Thanks ROH. I had a blast. Man up!