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The Palace: ROH Manhattan Mayhem III
By MIKE SICILIANO - MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Jun 14, 2009 - 1:36:02 PM

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Quick Results from ROH Manhattan Mayhem III
The Young Bucks defeated Rhett Titus & Kenny King
Roderick Strong defeated Sonjay Dutt
Necro Butcher defeated Jimmy Rave
Jay Briscoe defeated Guido Maritato
Colt Cabana defeated Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli & D'Lo Brown in a four corner survival.
Jimmy Jacobs defeated Tyler Black in a first blood match.
The American Wolves defeated Kevin Steen & El Generico in a submissions match to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championships.
Tyler Black cashed in his world title match, and is added to the main event.
Austin Aries defeated Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn in a 3 way elimination match to capture the ROH World Championship.

I know that's not in order, I'm sorry, I'm doing it from memory, and it's 2 a.m., for God's sakes, gimmie a little slack.

Last night was ROH's return to the Hammerstein Ballroom for Manhattan Mayhem III.  I had tickets for this show since the 7th Year Anniversary in March, and I was anxious to see the competition.  However, a  family crisis almost made it impossible to attend this show.  I was able to make some changes and attend, however, and I'm glad I did.  I'll write a second column about this show when it's a little bit more civil a time, but there are quite a few things that need to be discussed from this show.

First, ROH showed some true class and dignity with the tribute that was bestowed upon the legend that was Pro Wrestling NOAH president Mitsuharu Misawa.  That is also a topic I will forego commentary on till another column, as there are a few topics I would like to discuss there.  However, the gestures made by the company of ROH was extremely well done and appropriate for the legendary Japanese champion, and a fitting tribute to the career and life of one of the best professional wrestlers on the planet.

Next up that needs to be said is Austin Aries.  Aries has really begun to shine as the top heel in Ring of Honor, especially since the departure of Nigel McGuinness following his drop of the ROH World title to Jerrry Lynn one show after the 7th Anniversary.  I am watching Nigel's last defense with KENTA from the 7th Anniversary, and the testament to Nigel is beyond reproach.  However, A Double also deserves the kudos beyond all reproach as well, as he was successful in the quest to become to first ever two time ROH World Heavyweight Champion, defeating Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black in a three way elimination match to capture the belt.  Aries has become the true ace of the company, with the focus solely on him as champion.

Which to me is a bit of a surprise as Bryan Danielson is still around competing for the company, but apparently has been booked repeatedly in four corner matches, like he was last night with Claudio, D'Lo, and Colt Cabana.  A terrific match to say the least, but it was a bit of a surprise to me that the honor of being the first ever 2 time ROH World Champion was not bestowed on Danielson, who had the 2nd longest title reign as champion.  Both Dragon and Aries have been with the company from the beginning, and I would've thought that whomever got this honor would be the true "ace", and as much as you can debate for both men, the fact that the trigger was pulled last night and Austin Aries walked out of the Hammerstein Ballroom as ROH World Champion, it's pretty obvious to the Ring of Honor roster, I would believe, that the ace of the company is not the Dragon, but the man from Millwaukee known as "A Double."

Gotta make some comments about Nature Boy Ric Flair.  Seeing Flair is always an experience, seeing him cut a promo is a treat, even this far in to the man's career.  However, whomever was involved in the making of this appearance needs their head examined.  Sure, Ric Flair re-signed with WWE, and had to drop his commitments to ROH, we all know this.  I don't like it, you don't like it, but we all know this to be the case, and we all have to deal with it.  

Because of Flair's committments already booked to ROH, he was at the show last night, did his autograph session, and cut a promo.  He was originally scheduled to be guest referee for the world title match, but after the WWE situation came to light, it was renamed to "guest ringside enforcer."  A legitimate, albeit discouraging demotion, but still, Ric Flair involved in a world title match in any sense is a good move for the company.  Well, hold on a second, ladies and gentlemen.  Ric Flair's music rings to start the introductions to the main event, but out comes A Double, who says due to conditions not brought on by Ring of Honor, Ric Flair will not be at ringside for this match.

Forgive me, ladies and gentlemen, but Aries' promo before the main event was ROH saying to Ric Flair, in no uncertain terms, to go take a flying leap off a short pier.  And Flair really looked shallow and fake by his actions tonight.

He cut a terrific promo putting over the talent and the company for four minutes and change in the middle of the ring, and had the fans eating out of the palms of his hands.  He had women at his beckon call, and he was truly stylin' & profilin'.  I don't understand why he could not have simply been at the ringside table, even if he was not permitted to get involved, just to show that he did support the company, even with his decision to return to WWE.  

By not appearing, it makes WWE look like they're afraid of ROH, it makes Ric Flair look like he's shilling for a paycheck, and it is a slap in the face of Ring Of Honor.  It's unfair to the company, and to Cary Silken and his team who paid a pretty penny to bring Flair in to New York City, for him to bail before the end of the show, especially when he was announced and advertised to appear at ringside during the main event.

Seeing Nigel appear was the right move as a replacement for the world title match as an enforcer, and damn, does he look good.  I love the fact that he got rid of the Heidenreich haircut, and after seeing the guts and intestinal fortitude that he oozed throughout his grueling insane title defense vs. KENTA back at 7YA, I don't give a damn if Nigel hates the world, I'm a Nigel fan, and I'm a Nigel fan for life.  The man is a trooper, he's as tough as they come, and I'm looking forward to Nigel vs. A Double for the strap, sooner, rather than later.

Couple of other things before I meet my pillow.

El Generico still is hobbling pretty obviously.  He gutted out the submission match and took a pounding in defeat.  His guts, especially for someone of such a slender frame as the Generic Luchador, must be commended.  I didn't like Richards and Edwards as a team at first, but they are beginning to grow on me, and Richards continues to impress me, although he does remind me so much of a past competitor whose name I will not indulge here.

Oh, one other thing about the tag title match.  I remember about 4 years ago when a certain individual was a student in the ROH academy handing CM Punk the ROH World title belt so he could sign his WWE contract on top of it.  Now four years later, he's the leader of a faction by default that includes one of the top female wrestlers on the planet, and the world tag team champions.  Nice to be persistent and stick to your guns.  I hate the character of Shane Hagadorn as a wrestler, but I must commend his perseverance for sticking it out as long as he has to achieve the position he has at this time.  I may not appreciate the way ROH dealt with Larry Sweeney, but Hagadorn does deserve kudos for sticking to his guns and getting to the point he has, obviously with major league hard work.

Although, and this has to be said, my son, who attended the show with me last night, said his accent was "awful."  I guess he was trying to sound Australian, and man, did it suck.  I have to agree myself on that same aspect.

ROH returns to New York in September, September 26th, for a show at the Grand Ballroom upstairs in the Manhattan Center, where they began their run at this facility.  No disrespect to the Hammerstein, as it is a fabulous place to witness professional wrestling, but I am glad ROH is going back upstairs.  It's more intimate.  And I think, slightly better angles to watch the show.  

I also think that they're going back upstairs because there's some economic strings that have to be pulled by ROH brass, especially after the bath they took when Flair dumped out of their deal.  I heard rumours last night that the Hammerstein was double booked for 9/26, and that it even could be Madonna at the Hammerstein that night, but I take those rumours with a grain of salt.  I have zero proof of my claims, but its just a gut feeling I have.  We'll see what happens.  

One thing that also seems to be prevalent is ROH is taking another chance on a big name to promote their product, especially with them still on national television, even though they're suspending their PPV production.  Bret Hart will be in New York in September.  I have my own personal opinions on the Hitman, which I will not divulge here because I know it will royally anger the boss of this website, and I am not looking to do that in any way, shape, or form.  I just wonder if ROH is making the right economic move on these 'legends' when its entirely possible that they'll bail for a bigger paycheck at the drop of a hat.

During the show last night, I tried to do some audio tidbits and commentaries from the floor of the Hammerstein Ballroom.  I tried to tweet them in real time, but it didn't work.  I tried to keep it going as best I could, but I had some problems with security.  However, I did a bunch of updates which I will attempt in the a.m. to get on to the web in some way, shape, or form.  I also will write a more detailed column about the matches themselves.  Once I re-listen to the updates, my memory will be able to replay the matches over, and I can give you a more detailed review of Manhattan Mayhem III.

One thing can be said for sure, ROH hit a triple with this show.  A solid triple.  I was impressed.  And I am also becoming lucky.  I have been witness to now three  ROH world title changes.  James Gibson's loss to Bryan Danielson at Glory By Honor IV, Danielson's loss to Homicide at Final Battle '06, and now last night, with Jerry Lynn's loss to Austin Aries.  Congratulations to the first ever two time ROH World Heavyweight Champion, A Double, Austin Aries.

Stay tuned for more content from me about this show, and the passing of NOAH legend Mitsuharu Misawa.

Check me out on twitter and drop me a line with any thoughts.  I'll try to reply as quickly as I can.  I'll also inform here when and where I get my audio updates up and on the web from last night's ROH show.

My twitter is

Thanks for reading.

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