I’m going to have a hard time convincing people I’m not a smark if I use a derivative of the first ever Ring of Honor show. While a far cry from being perfect, I think this is perhaps one of the best shows I’ve seen from MPX. It’s like they’ve been waiting a long time for tonight and everything clicked. This whole night was about Kyle Valo taking over and what the effects would be.

First match: Frankie Fisher & Steven Kirby vs. Joe Angelo Garcia & JD Kros

I was quite pleased with Frankie’s work as a face. To me, Frankie is one of the most natural heels I’ve ever seen. But he does the babyface quite nicely. Steven has so much enthusiasm and natural charisma. Between him and Frankie, they both are great pros at listening to the crowd and reacting. It was Garcia’s first match so he gets immunity on his in-ring work. He looked professional and had a nice look. The crowd decided he looked like Mark Wahlberg, but I thought he looked more like Adam from HBO’s hit show “Girls.” The major thing is if you are a heel, tell your family to boo you. This is pretty much Heel 101. The match itself was fun and the crowd was into it. I didn’t see any botches or anything.

Winner: Kirby & Fisher

Kirby & Fisher have good chemistry together. Garcia walked back like nothing had happened. Sell, sell, sell.

Second match: Danny Saint w/Claudia vs. Kenny Steele

It took the crowd a little bit to warm up with this match. Saint is a good person to pair Steele with. I think he will be good for building up Steele and giving him legit experience. The crowd was weird during this match. They seemed to not care about the chain wrestling/catch-as-catch-can stuff. I liked Claudia in her role with the dynamic she added. At one point Saint had him in a Boston Crab and the crowd was riveted.

Winner: Steele

Since this was the first time these two had wrestled, it’s hard to build up a chemistry naturally. Andy Dalton came out without music. Dalton was ON FIRE with his promo. He called Kate Carroll (the heart and soul of the company) every name one could call a lady in a PG world. Out came Kate’s boyfriend, Gregory James, to defend her honor. They play Macho-Elizabeth so well. Greg and Dalton traded some pretty intense promos. Dalton’s dad was brought up. I wanted more of the dueling promos, not from the dueling promos, which I think is pretty nice praise.

Third match: Kristopher Haiden vs. Barrett Brown

Well, according to Kyle Valo’s rules, Barrett could not go off the top rope or do anything outside the ring. Barrett might have well been tied with both hands behind his back. I was really impressed by what I saw by both of these guys. The momentum was good. I was able to see Barrett have another type of match. Based on in-ring work alone, (aka, no car hood) this is one of the best matches I’ve ever seen Haiden have. The ref was knocked out and when he came to, Barrett was outside the ring at Haiden’s hands. (I think. The night was difficult for me to take notes). Haiden convinced him that Barrett was cheating and the ref disqualified him.

Winner: Haiden

I hated this finish. I hate it any time in wrestling somebody decides to do this. I hated it when Kevin Nash did this on Sid at Starrcade. In football, if you tell a ref there was pass interference, he doesn’t just throw the flag like an idiot. It was insultingly bad.

Fourth match: Andy Dalton vs. “Headbanger” Gregory James in best of 3 falls

Wow. These two guys really brought it. Both guys were firing on all cylinders. There was really nice back-and-forth. I gotta admit I didn’t take too many notes as my chair ripped during the last match and I was standing and it was hard to take notes. Dalton won the first fall. The back-and-forth continued. There was a DDT onto the ring apron that was insane to take by Dalton. Greg went back into the ring and there was a countout. The referee was going to do another 10-count. Dalton crawled back in at 9 and a half. He was also showing off a bloody forehead. And then the match got more stiff and more brutal. There were near-falls galore. But Greg came away with the win.

Winner: Gregory James

If you do not know the name Gregory James, learn it. This is my choice for “Match of the Year” so far. The crowd was into it, there were lots of near-falls and blood happened. I would have just liked to see this match have maybe a month or two more build-up. Zero the Antihero came out, and talked about how he’d never won a match. He was ready to finally win a match. It was easy to see his influence when he sat down legs crossed in the ring. He did a great job of listening to the crowd and cutting a promo in his character. The crowd loves Zero. I think one of the reasons why is that he’s a video game geek and has that connection with the crowd. Zero and Kyle Valo had a dueling promos segment. The crowd loved it. Valo made a match with Zero and James Hawke.

Fourth match: Zero the Antihero vs. James Hawke

I think I’m about to call Hawke “The Crowd-Killer.” I keep on trying to rack my brain on what it is that cools a hot crowd quite like he does. I guess it’s that they just don’t buy him. What I would have him do is take a few months off and then come back fresh. We are at a point where they are shoving him down our throats and with every shove, it makes him harder to come back and the audience care about him. The actual match itself was fine. The two meshed well together. The crowd even popped for the Mortal Kombat spot. Zero looked unable to compete and Frankie came out to his rescue. Kyle Valo ruled him unable to compete.

Winner: Hawke

Fifth match: Kanoa vs. Scott Murdoch w/ Steven Kirby

I’m really liking what I see from Kanoa. You can also tell Murdoch has been working on his physique. Kanoa did a lot of bumping and sold like crazy. Murdoch has a lot of commitment behind his moves. I really like this new chapter of Murdoch’s work here. He is very focused and really brings it. He and Kanoa clicked really well.

Winner: Murdoch

Sixth match: Asian Nation (c) w/Nigel Rabid vs. Tad Wylde

Both teams have connected with the crowd. Tad Wylde is great for the crowd, and the Asian Nation is equally good at keeping them engaged. One thing that I love about Li Fang of the Asian Nation is that his face is so expressive that he doesn’t have to say much. And when he does, it’s in Chinese (or a foreign language I don’t recognize) so it keeps the crowd hating him (because Heel 101 says to speak in a foreign language). One of my favorite spots of the year was Ben Wylde giving “Just” James Johnson what looked like an Atomic Wedgie. It was so entertaining. There was another really awesome looking spot with Wylde doing a double suplex with both members of the Asian Nation. The finish came with Johnson doing his finish on Li by mistake.

Winner: Tad Wylde

I’ve watched Ben Wylde from the beginning of his career, so it’s nice to see how far he’s come. He’s worked really hard to make it to this place. After the match, the Asian Nation were in the ring and Kyle Valo verbally berated them on the mic. Johnson began to fire back on his mic. I dare call Johnson one of the best on the mic in MPX. He kept on going on the mic that he didn’t notice that Li & Nigel had both left the ring. When Johnson turned around to call on their support, Li was standing right at the curtain. He bowed and left. It reminded me of what St. Francis of Assisi once said- “Cut your promo. And if necessary-use words.” (Maybe St. Francis said “Preach the gospel” instead of “Cut your promo” but you get the gist.)

Main event: Matt Palmer (c) vs. The Following in a Gauntlet Match

Palmer was total bumping machine in this match. First up was Matt Andrews. While their match was short, the actual wrestling part of it was very nice. Choice suffered victim to Palmer’s signature maneuver. Then in next was Regrub. Palmer bumped and sold more.  Regrub stopped during his match and pointed me out. So in response, Hi, back to you, Regrub. And then Palmer made pretty short work of Regrub. Then it was between Palmer and Carrion Arcane. Palmer still had no quit in him. Arcane is such a professional and carries so much intensity in and out of the ring. Palmer had Arcane in a submission hold and they just worked the drama. I loved what they did there with the hold.

Winner: Palmer (or so we thought)

After witnessing the carnage and retaining, Kristopher Haiden came out and did a clothesline that best I can figure out, decapitated Palmer. Kyle Valo counted to 3 for Haiden to get the win and win the title from Palmer.

All in all… As a matter of full disclosure, my sister- and brother-in-law are very close to Haiden and his girlfriend. Haiden was usher at her wedding. He’s also the person telling me about this new place he had just started wrestling at 2 years ago, which was MPX. I also thought it was rather odd that he’s been wrestling forever and this was the first time I’d ever seen his parents there. So forgive me for a moment when I say to Haiden congratulations. You have worked your tail off for the past few years. You not only have worked on your game, but you’ve helped make those around you better. You truly deserve this moment.

The reason for my personal disclosure is that I am excited with the direction they can go with Haiden on top. There’s a lot of really credible challengers waiting for him: Greg, Barrett, Frankie, Kirby, Johnson. A lot of feuds were blown off tonight, and some new directions were introduced. Oh, and Jerry Lynn on November 10th.

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photo courtesy of Staci Brown

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