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230 ROH Contention 6/12/2009

ROH 230 – Contention – 12th June 2009

It’s been a month since the last DVD tapings – which has really allowed me to focus on the HDNet product. In that time we’ve seen some absolutely superb build to an ROH Title Match with several segments, on numerous episodes, dedicated to building up the monumental four corner Lynn/Aries/Dragon/Black bout from Episode 012. Compare that to the somewhat farcical treatment of the belt on DVD tapings and the contrast is stark. We’ve seen Strong, Briscoe, Hero and Cabana all receive barely deserved title opportunities…whilst tonight we see Tyler Black (who won a legitimate #1 Contendership bout at Caged Collision in January and is yet to cash that in – and was scheduled to challenge for the belt last month in Boston) now only worthy of a non-title bout. Luckily they’ve got great chemistry so that should be a good match, and the rest of the card for tonight looks solid too. The Young Bucks make their ROH debut against Steen and Generico, Davey Richards is in singles action against Jay Briscoe and there’s a four corner survival packed with top name talent too. We’ll go to Manassas, VA to join Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard, who doesn’t have too many ROH shows left now sadly. With no shows in over a month, there’s an absolute mountain of Video Wire material to sit through…most of which hyping HDNet tapings it has to be said.

ROH VIDEO WIRE (13/05/2009-19/05/2009-27/05/2009-08/06/2009) – Danielson is on the Video Wire to hype his rematch (teaming with Tyler) against the American Wolves. It was at the most recent set of HDNet tapings at the end of May.

– Necro Butcher says The Embassy has awoken the sleeping beast inside him. He’s going to get real hardcore with them apparently.

– Jay Briscoe announces that he and Strong have another singles match at the next TV Tapings.

– Joey Ryan implies that, like Claudio, he’s a hired gun for The Embassy rather than a full member.

– In the back Jerry Lynn recaps his activities at the last Boston/Edison weekend, but is interrupted by Rhett Titus and Kenny King. They tell him that Austin Aries is coming for the title.

– With Tyler Black’s neck already injured, the Wolves threaten to put him on the shelf just like they’ve done to Mark Briscoe and El Generico in recent times when they meet on HDNet

– Eddie Kingston cuts a half emotional/half kayfabe shattering promo about how badly he wanted to be in ROH and blames Chris Hero for holding him back and blocking his path. He’s out for Hero’s blood when HDNet returns to Philadelphia.

– Ric Flair hypes his forthcoming appearance in Manassas. I think that’s the first time anyone has mentioned this DVD in 20+ minutes of Video Wire.

– Brent Albright and Erick Stevens enjoyed teaming against the Super Smash Bros. and want to partner up again in future. Yes…that was really worthy of some airtime.

– Jimmy Jacobs recalls Tyler Black calling him a disappointment in Chicago. With big matches scheduled for this weekend in New York then in a Steel Cage in Detroit soon after, their feud may be coming to a bitter and violent end.

– D’Lo Brown has his eye on Roderick Strong in their four corner match at Contention.

– El Generico (wearing a Dragon Gate USA shirt) is back alongside Kevin Steen, and they’re preparing to take the Tag Titles back from the Wolves in a Submissions Match in New York.

– Tyler (who, it has to be said, has been plagued by neck problems and doesn’t look in great health) is fine with his match with Jerry Lynn being non-title. He’ll cash in his #1 Contendership when he’s ready. He admits they’ll both be using that match as preparation for their big matches in New York with Black facing Jacobs and Lynn defending the World Title against Austin Aries.

– Kyle Durden (IN THE HDNET DUNGEON OF MESSY CRAP!) asks A-Double about his preparations for his title shot in New York. Aries gets emotional as it will be Jerry Lynn’s ‘last match’

– Apparently Nigel McGuinness going to be sat ringside for the ROH Title match in Manhattan. ROH are doing a great job of keeping Nigel in the spotlight whilst he’s been out injured. From commentary to promos and appearances. As a fan I can’t wait to see him back in the ring (albeit briefly before the big leagues came knocking)

After hours of Video Wire, the full show opens with Jay Briscoe telling Kyle Durden that Davey Richards is going to have to man up tonight…

Jimmy Rave/Claudio Castagnoli/Ernie Osiris vs Colt Cabana/Necro Butcher/Grizzly Redwood

Cabana has had his problems with The Embassy all the way back to his return to ROH at the anniversary show. Prince Nana sabotaged his first appearance on HDNet and the issue between them has been growing ever since. Meanwhile, Necro and Grizzly have bonded over a mutual dislike of The Embassy after Necro saved Grizz from a beard-shearing.

Rave has new flared tights which look particularly offensive. The highlight of the opening two minutes is Necro Butcher eating a dead fly to the disgust of his opponents, his partners, the crowd, commentators and very possibly everyone else ever associated with ROH. Colt removes his boots to wrestle barefoot like Necro and Grizzly then levels every member of The Embassy with a hiptoss. Multiple bare feet to Osiris’ face next until Jimmy and Claudio make a save. Barefooted babyface team do some barn dancing then start stealing the referees shoes as the comedy capers continue. Necro forces Ernie to tag Rave in but Jimmy really doesn’t want to get physically involved with him. He turns and runs, leading Necro into a Bicycle Kick from Castagnoli. The Embassy isolate Butcher now, until Osiris misses a top rope leg drop and allows him to make a critical tag to Cabana. Flying Asshole gets 2 before Rave saves with the Heel Hook…but Jimmy flees again as Necro looks to pounce. Redwood dives off the top at Claudio…INTO A DDT ON THE FLOOR! Colt with a quebrada on Osiris, into the Billy Goat’s Curse. Ernie taps at 12:56

Rating – *** –
Great way to start the show – with all six guys making sure the comedy was funny and the wrestling was to a decent standard too. The Rave/Necro feud was promoted well, without detracting from the overall light-hearted vibe they were shooting for, and everything was helped by a vocal VA crowd who were really into all six competitors. This was arguably Mitch Franklin’s best performance since adopting the Grizzly Redwood persona too.

Alex Payne vs Shawn Spears

I feel like this DVD wouldn’t have been missing anything if this was relegated to the pre-show and cut from the DVD altogether. I’ve never seen Spears before, but he’s physically imposing enough to suggest that Sugarfoot has a fight on his hands.

No Code Of Honor from the newcomer, who trades armdrags with Payne. He tries to use his size to bully Sugarfoot, only to eat a dropkick when he gets cocky and start cartwheeling. Alex tries a risky slingshot move from the apron and jumps into a dropkick in return from Spears. He goes for a DVD only to be rolled into a crucifix pin by Payne for 2. The ROH student hits a Russian Legsweep then gets driven into the turnbuckles as Spears blocks a tornado DDT attempt. Diamond Dust out of the corner instead gets 2 before Sugarfoot heads upstairs…to miss a frog splash. RUNNING DVD! Spears takes the victory at 08:26

Rating – ** –
Surprisingly watchable stuff. Neither talent set the world on fire but Payne was a solid whipping boy whilst Spears visibly grew in confidence, presence and persona as the match wears on. This was an impressive victory for him so you’d imagine there has to be plans to bring him back down the line.

Ric Flair is out next. Is it me or does he look more bald in ROH? He’s vaguely comedic in his observation that there aren’t many women in a Ring Of Honor crowd. Totally pointless appearance (unlike on HDNet where he’s at least served a vague purpose as a powerless authority figure) but it actually looked like he was having some fun out there rather than being here for easy cash.

Kenny King vs Bryan Danielson

It was at Age Of Insanity last year that Kenny King announced his return to the regular ROH roster with a terrific performance against American Dragon. Although he wasn’t successful on that night, he did come within seconds of a time limit draw with the Best In The World. But with additional experience behind him, can Kenny improve on that performance and secure a shock win?

Rhett Titus is at ringside and he richly enjoys King start off with a succession of gorgeous armdrags. Lenny Leonard is taking some thinly veiled shots at Mike Hogewood which is really entertaining. Unimpressed, Danielson responds by attacking Kenny’s arm, forcing him to retreat to the corner for a chat with Rhett. Manassas has some kind of in joke with snapmares and the crowd go nuts when Dragon whips King to the mat with one. Kenny fires back with a snapmare of his own which gets more heat than BJ Whitmer got in his entire ROH tenure. Danielson snapmares him into a kick to the spine, then a RUNNING SNAPMARE which sends people crazy. Rhett Titus hijacks the match to start singing his theme music…seriously. Dragon is so confused by the ridiculous spectacle that he turns his back on King…who takes advantage by mauling him. Suplex into floatover forearms get 2. He goes for his rebound leg drop off the bottom rope but misses and eats a horrific kick to the face. Kenny retreats to the floor…then bails as Danielson runs off the apron into a FLYING KNEE STRIKE ON TITUS! But Rhett recovers to grab Dragon’s leg as he tries to suplex King back into the ring. Shotgun Knee gets Kenny another nearfall. Coronation countered to a kick to the groin…then MMA ELBOWS! But King CATCHES THE ARM and hits a capoeira kick. CORONATION NAILED! DANIELSON HOLDS ON FOR THE TRIANGLE CHOKE! Bridging pin from King to escape that. He goes for another capoeira kick but Dragon catches it and goes to the UNBREAKABLE SMALL PACKAGE! Danielson scores the victory at 13:01

Rating – *** –
Same rating since it was just a tad too overbooked for my taste, however, this match was MUCH better than the Age Of Insanity bout last summer. It was a real showcase for how much King has advanced as a performer in that time. In Cleveland Danielson was visibly dragging King from spot to spot, carrying the bulk of the workload for the duo. This time Kenny was far more self-sufficient – and the way he started trading smart counters with Dragon at the end really impressed me. That kid has a bright future which will surely see him get to the WWE some day. Much more imminently headed for the WWE is Danielson. If he needed a match to showcase his transition from overblown, 30-minute match indy darling to crisp, precise, ENTERTAINING midcard act this was it.

Young Bucks vs Kevin Steen/El Generico

Were the Jacksons not particularly big at this point? They come out for their ROH debut to almost zero reaction from a crowd that was just going mental for snapmares. Their music is beyond abysmal too. They’re an exciting act though, and are a great addition to ROH’s tag team division and have been signed up for more shows after impressing at the HDNet tapings at the end of May. Steen and Generico reunite for the first time since Montreal, as Generico’s knee problems have kept him out since then. They have the American Wolves in Manhattan tomorrow night.

‘No relation to Michael or Janet’ – Dave Prazak of the Jackson brothers. Matt Jackson starts with Generico who is still working with a big knee brace which the commentators are quick to point out. He kicks Matt in the mouth before we get tags all round. Nick uses his speed to out-match Steen, flying into an early rana. Steen stomps him in the chest but can only watch as Nick grabs Generico and out-luchas the Generic Luchador with a TWISTING rope run lucha armdrag. Mr Wrestling retaliates with a cannonball senton on Matt. After a series of impressive double teams by the Bucks, Steen and Generico show they can hang in that department with the drop toehold/somersault leg drop combo…then Generico gets in on the snapmare carnage. Steen does one too, with added elbow to the back of Matt’s neck. The former ROH Tag Champions isolate the darker-haired Jackson until Matt manages to turn Generico into an INVERTED Code Red and make the hot tag to Nick. Slingshot facecrusher on Generico into a MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR ON STEEN! Standing moonsault/springboard splash combo gets 2 as the Bucks start to turn it on. Steen mows down both Bucks to save his partner. STEEN-TON BOMB on Nick for 2. Matt saves Nick from the Package Piledriver. SUPERKICK COMBO! Generico saves this time. RUNNING SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR BY NICK! Steen evades More Bang For Your Buck though…DOUBLE YAKUZA KICK BY GENERICO! DOUBLE SAMOAN DROP BY STEEN! GENERICO HITS THE SOMERSAULT VAN TERMINATOR! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER NAILED! BRAINBUSTER NAILED! Matt is dead at 13:45

Rating – **** –
Ring Of Honor gets a taste of what the rest of the indie scene had been enjoying for a while – the Young Bucks are awesome. They are the epitome of modern day independent wrestlers in that they are basically entirely made up of cheap thrills to pop a crowd. But that’s the landscape of wrestling outside of the WWE right now, and it’s hard to deny that they’re as good as anyone out there in that particular genre. Steen and Generico are no slouches in the mindless spot-athon environment either and held their own comfortably with the high flying Jacksons. If ROH can do a better job of booking the Bucks then they can of booking Kenny Omega then the tag division could get very interesting over the coming months.

INTERMISSION – Alex Payne cuts a surprisingly effective promo saying he’s sick of being a whipping boy and being assaulted after matches by various people.

Nigel McGuinness (sporting a menacing new haircut) heads to the ring to start the second half. He announces that his arm is basically healed and his comeback is definitely imminent. The World Title is firmly on his mind – and says that Jerry Lynn is starting to feel the pressure of tough matches, inhospitable crowds and the fact that when he loses the belt his career will basically be over. Austin Aries comes out and BURIES Flair for leaving as soon as he’d finished his promo earlier. He promises Nigel a title match when he becomes the first two-time World Champion tomorrow night. Apparently D’Lo has his back in the forthcoming Four Corner Survival too…

Austin Aries vs D’Lo Brown vs Eddie Edwards vs Roderick Strong

As he pointed out moments earlier, Austin Aries has a title shot against Jerry Lynn tomorrow night in New York, so his priority will be staying healthy ahead of his big match. To that end he supposedly has Brown watching his back. Strong will be looking to avenge a couple of recent defeats to Aries, whilst Eddie, already having a breakout year as part of the Tag Team Champion American Wolves, will look to enhance his burgeoning singles reputations with a headline grabbing win here.

All three heels seem to bond quickly, leaving Roderick Strong with an apparent mountain to climb. He pitches D’Lo to the floor then starts chasing Edwards around with big chops. Early Gibson Driver attempted but Aries makes the save with a sidewalk slam. All three heels start pounding on Roddy in the corner (apparently tags aren’t necessary in this one. I wish Pearce would stop changing the goal posts on these multi-man matches). Strong looks for a Sick Kick out of the corner but gets knocked out of the ring. TOP ROPE AXEHANDLE SMASH to the outside by A-Double. But Edwards wants the win for himself, and evokes some HEAD SHAKING RAGE from D’Lo when he stops him covering Strong. Their alliance breaks down as Edwards boots Aries in the chest. Cleverly Aries hides behind Brown, then throws Strong at D’Lo moments later to ensure his hired heavy continues to do his bidding in the match. Impact Explosion Dropkick nailed for 2, then Eddie hits a missile dropkick on Austin. Strong with the slingshot falcon arrow on him. SHINING WIZARD by Brown…THEN THE SKY HIGH! Aries breaks the fall! He only did it because he wants to see D’lo hit the Lo Down. ARIES CROTCHES BROWN! SICK KICK ON ARIES! Half nelson backbreaker into the STRONGHOLD! ARIES TAPS! He taps quickly to preserve his body ahead of the New York show. 08:04 is the time.

Rating – *** –
Great blend of solid wrestling, amusing comedy and clever mind games. Aries was so entertaining as the master manipulator, and I thought the story of the gradual unravelling of the heel alliance as the match wore on was extremely cleverly played out.

D’lo tries to leave but gets a standing ovation from the ROH fans. Can’t say I ever thought I’d type that, but there you go. I like nostalgic babyface D’lo as opposed to cliché heel so the reaction is fine by me. He tells Manassas to ‘recognise’ which gets a snapmare-sized pop.

Jimmy Jacobs vs Sonjay Dutt

Jacobs has a First Blood Match with Tyler Black tomorrow night to prepare for. He’s openly stated that the demise of Age Of The Fall has left him with nothing to lose, which makes him an extremely dangerous and destructive presence in Ring Of Honor. Dutt, meanwhile is looking to work his way onto the roster permanently and has secured a few bookings after an impressive return weekend.

Jimmy, who has since freely admitted to struggling with substance and alcohol abuse, and feeling almost entirely unmotivated to perform (to the extent that he was habitually turning up late, drunk, high and carried a generally unpleasant backstage attitude to boot) during this time period is wrestling in jeans tonight. He attacks Sonjay during his entrance…only to eat a 619-style boot off the apron from Dutt. Gorgeous pescado takes Jacobs down again. Sonjay does the Jeff Jarrett strut but the shenanigans lead to Jimmy booting him in the gut and clamping onto a bodyscissors. Somersault senton into a standing moonsault attempt by Dutt…into Jacobs knees for 2. He takes Sonjay to the outside for the TOPE SUICIDA THROUGH A CHAIR! Having done damage to the midsection with that high risk move, Jacobs goes back to the bodyscissors to capitalise. Dutt bulldogs him into the turnbuckles and scores with a slingshot leg drop in the ropes. People’s Lionsault…COUNTERED TO END TIME! Sonjay powers out and hits a superkick. Spear by Jimmy gets 2. Dutt hits the Lionsault second time around and gets his own nearfall. RKO…countered to End Time again, but for a second time Sonjay powers out. MUSCLEBUSTER! Jimmy kicks out (and Dutt rightly gets heat for stealing Joe’s finisher in the house that Joe built) and they fight on the turnbuckles. Jimmy jumps out of the corner into End Time for a third time. Sonjay is unconscious at 11:05

Rating – *** –
I like Sonjay more before he started doing his random wrestler tribute act (especially since Austin Aries already has the market cornered in bitter ‘I hate TNA’ spoof moves) but I want to see more of him in ROH. He was the perfect opponent for Jimmy here because, for all his detractors, Dutt is an enormously crisp and athletic performer. The washed up, nothing left to live for creative direction they’re running with for Jacobs actively requires him to look sloppy, to work sloppy etc (it’s hard to know how much of this was booked out of necessity) was really highlighted with him being in there against such a clean and capable worker.

Davey Richards vs Jay Briscoe

Bobby Cruise announces this as a grudge match and rightfully so – Jay is out for revenge as he’s spent all of 2009 thus far competing as a singles worker after the Wolves put his brother on the shelf with their attack at Final Battle 2008.

First strike to Richards as he bridges into a kick to the shoulder and comes up smiling about it. He lands another couple of kicks before being booted out of the ring by a fired up Briscoe. They trade shots on the floor before Jay clotheslines Richards over the barricade and into the front row. Richards comes back by throwing him shoulder-first into the ringpost. A hammerlock back suplex leads off a flurry of arm-targetted offensive combos from the Tag Champion. Alarm Clock nailed, then the diving headbutt to the shoulder for 2. Jay keeps him at bay with the turnbuckle flatliner but the arm is really aggravating him now. DVD blocked and it allows Davey to ricochet out of the corner into an enzi kick to the back of the head. Briscoe gets to a rope before his opponent can apply the Kimura though. Frog Splash sees him sail right into the knees of Richards. BRIDGING GERMAN gets 2. KIMURA! But it’s countered to a neck drop DVD to leave them both down. Duelling big boots…forearm duel. Richards with another German…but Jay NO SELLS to flatten him with a lariat for 2. Jay Driller countered repeatedly, dispersed with multiple stiff kicks from both parties. Richards tries to use the ropes but Jay counters into a sunset flip to win it at 13:46

Rating – *** –
I have to be honest and say I was expecting more from this. It was the sub-headline match and, for my taste, it should have been something far more adventurous. However, they produced a solid back and forth match which enhanced Davey’s impressive and growing this year without hurting Jay Briscoe in any way.

Eddie Edwards runs in for a Wolves beatdown on Jay…but Steen and Generico make the save. Roles reversed ahead of the Submissions Match tomorrow night with the challengers doing some damage to Richards and Edwards with stereo Sharpshooters.

Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn

After missing the last DVD tapings – and therefore missing out on a shot at both the Tag and World Titles – with a neck injury, Black returns to house shows in non-title action. Since he earned himself #1 Contendership on ppv in January, he happily keeps that guaranteed Championship Match in his back pocket and works a non-title main event against Jerry – who is preparing for a huge defence against Austin Aries in Manhattan tomorrow. Since Lynn’s re-emergence onto the ROH scene he and Tyler have had a couple of great matches – most recently a time limit draw in Detroit. After that show they agreed they wanted another match against each other down the line and Manassas is the market that gets it. Will Jerry take momentum into New York tomorrow, or will Black make an emphatic statement about his own championship credentials and overshadow the main event tomorrow?

Decent reaction for Jerry tonight. I suppose that’s part of the problem with him. The fans in the minor markets are happier to applaud seeing a respected veteran and former ECW/WWE performer, whilst the major markets like Philly, New York and Chicago, who see a lot of top notch performers, need a little more than just respecting a worker as a valid reason to cheer for him. Black tries to show some personality and work the crowd…but comes off a little like he’s on stage saying ‘this side is the loudest’ at an N’Sync concert. Manassas is still desperate for snapmares, which Jerry and Tyler wisely play off with near-miss snapmare spots which get thunderous ovations. Lynn starts positively with headlocks, headscissors and…you guessed it more snapmares. SNAPMARE DUEL! Prazak uses Homicide as an example of a short ROH Title reign, which is fine but it does somewhat ignore Low Ki who managed just the one successful defence. Tyler looks for Peroxism but Lynn counters into an inverted DDT of his own for 2. Black springboards, but Jerry evades that trademark Tyler spot too, leading to a mid-air crossbody collision and both men on the mat. Super rana by Lynn but it’s still too early for the Cradle Piledriver. Black tries the Lionsault but Jerry moves…and he goes straight to the Black Star Press, only for Lynn to move for a second time. Having seen enough, he opts for a rudimentary boot to the back of the head that sends the Champion to the floor. Backbreaker on the outside, then a GUARDRAIL MOONSAULT! Now he’s done enough damage to Jerry, Black is able to nail the springboard clothesline second time around and gets a nearfall. Lynn counters the Buckle Bomb with a sunset flip…but Tyler comes up to score with Peroxism. Lynn fires back with the TKO! They fight on the turnbuckles and nearly provoke a riot by NOT working a super snapmare spot. God’s Last Gift countered to an actual small package by Jerry for 2. AIR RAID CRASH! Two again and the frustration is starting to show on the champion’s face. BUCKLE BOMB OUT OF NOWHERE! LYNN NO SELLS! SUPERKICK! BLACK WINS! Just like last time in Manassas, Black defeats the World Champion in a non-title match at 18:28

Rating – **** –
I’ve seen some lowball ratings for this match that seem pretty harsh. I mildly preferred the Motor City Madness bout for athleticism and intensity (and the absence of snapmare fetishists) but this was a third crisp encounter between these two. At the start of the year Black was all set to be ROH’s big star but ever since that inexplicable draw at Injustice 2 his push has come off the rails. This is a major win for him and a positive attempt by Adam Pearce to make him relevant to the World Title picture again.

Austin Aries appears ominously on the ramp, applauding sarcastically and thanking Tyler for making his ‘job easier’ tomorrow night.

Tape Rating – *** –
All B-shows should be like this. No filler-packed undercards, no sham World Title matches which are obviously meaningless – just a strong top to bottom wrestling show. I’ll admit that there’s not a lot here for those that aren’t completists. But being realistic, with money being what it is, the only people who are going to by this show are pretty hardcore ROH collectors anyway, so I hope people will enjoy this. The Young Bucks debuted in a spot-laden midcard tag which reminded me of the way Steen and Generico burst back into ROH during the 5th Year Festival with a comparably offensive-minded performance against the Briscoes. Kenny King continued to show his marked improvements as a worker in a solid match with Danielson. The main event and a surprisingly fun fourway did a great job entertaining a live audience and building up the Lynn/Aries bout tomorrow. The comedy opener, Jacobs/Dutt and Shawn Spears’ first showing weren’t bad either. For me the biggest disappointment of the night was Richards/Briscoe – who had some barnburners a few years ago but didn’t really capture anyone’s imagination tonight. We all know that the New York show tomorrow is where the money is in this weekend, but this was a fun little show in front of an enthusiastic and positive crowd. I really enjoyed this.

Top 3 Matches

3) Bryan Danielson vs Kenny King (***)

2) Tyler Black vs Jerry Lynn (****)

1) Kevin Steen/El Generico vs Young Bucks (****)

Whilst I’ve been writing this review the tragic news broke of the death of Sweet’n’Sour Larry Sweeney. He’d fought a publicised battle with depression and Bipolar Disorder – problems which actually led to his departure from ROH just a few months before the taping of this show. It was always said that if he could get himself back into the kind of mindset where he could positively contribute to Ring Of Honor he’d be brought back and that his bridges most definitely weren’t irreparably burnt. He was even brought back to do live commentary for Final Battle 2009 – ROH’s first ever iPPV. But sadly it seems that the demons with which he’d lived for so long finally got the best of him – and he was never able to get back to a place where he could be welcomed back to ROH as a performer, which is a great shame. His run in ROH from the end of 2006 through to early 2009 was extremely popular, and his ‘Super Agent’ act at the helm of Sweet’n’Sour Inc. drew him multiple accolades and plaudits – many calling him a true modern master of pro-wrestling management, in an era where that is fast becoming a lost art in favour of arm candy and super model valets. The fact that ROH will probably go down as his most high-profile gig is perhaps what makes his untimely death so sad – as he undoubtedly had the capability and charisma to ply his trade to a far wider audience. Sweeney’s death is earth-shatteringly tragic and you can only send your condolences to his family and friends who have lost a great one. For newer fans of ROH who’ve not seen any of his work, I really encourage you to pick up some DVD’s and check out all the backstage Sweet’n’Sour skits you possibly can – particularly anything you can get your hands on from 2007’s comedic S’n’S era featuring the likes of Sweeney, Tank Toland, Chris Hero and Bobby Dempsey. His legacy will live on through our memories and through wonderfully entertaining pieces of footage like that.

Gone – but certainly not forgotten. RIP Larry Sweeney

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