I started watching ROH and NJPW more often around May of 2017. Adam Cole was heading off to NXT, so it was interesting to see him be replaced in the Bullet Club by Marty Scurll in Ring Of Honor. Plus, the cast of Being the Elite killed him off on the program via poisoned energy drink, never to be seen again.
Throughout the summer I started to watch NJPW live. June came and I watched Dominion. The Young Bucks Won against Roppongi Vice, but the highlight was Kenny vs. Okada 2 as they had not wrestled each other individually since Wrestle Kingdom. This was an absolutely explosive match and they did not hold back. One of the spots I enjoyed the most was when Kenny dodged a Rainmaker lariat by collapsing by pure exhaustion. This match had me on the edge of my seat and it was a great 60 minute time limit draw. Ring of Honor sadly attempted to replicate this recently at the 17th Anniversary show, and it failed to impress.
The G1 Special came to my backyard of Long Beach, Ca. This was a two night event where we saw a champion vs champion match between Okada and Cody Rhodes. NJPW had an elimination tournament to crown the new IWPG US Champion and Kenny Omega took home the new title for the Bullet Club. This event took place at the Long Beach Convention Center which was a very small venue. Some of my friends had the odds in their favor and were able to get in. Being a Bullet Club fan, they told me go see the Bucks live because it is amazing and watching it at home is just not the same.
I kept checking the internet and saw that the Bucks, Cody, Adam Page, and Marty were all going to be at a Ring of Honor show in Las Vegas called Death Before Dishonor. My head of Finance and Fun (aka my wife) was a hard sell. She was reluctant since she saw how pissed I was after Wrestlemania 33, so how was this going to be better?
We came to an agreement that we would only go to the TV taping as it was on a Saturday and was only $20 a ticket. Plus, they were having a Meet & Greet with a good chunk the cast from Being the Elite. And as Las Vegas was only a couple hour drive from So Cal, it was not going to hurt the bank in comparison to flying out to an east coast show.
September rolled around and it was time to test the waters with our first ROH TV taping. We got to Sam's Town an hour before the Meet & Greets started because I had seen the line wrapping around arenas at other shows. Both my wife and I were strangers so we were not too familiar with the lay of the land. Fortunately for us, we were in front of Terrie Neilson, aka the Las Vegas Sign Chick. She welcomed us and gave us the 411 about all things ROH.
We bought our voucher and waited for our turn to meet The Elite. First, we met Hangman Adam Page. He was very polite and thanked us both for supporting independent wrestling. Next in line was Cody Rhodes and his new ROH championship ring. The apple has not fallen too far from the tree as he is just as charismiatic and kind as his dad. We both geeked out as I thought his entrance gear from last night looked like it came straight from Fall Out, and he thought it was a X-Men uniform the 90's animated series.
Marty Scurll was up next and he was so polite to a young girl and her father. Recently this girl had her arm amputated and the dad took her to the show to raise her spirits. Without even missing a beat, Marty was a true gentleman and doted on this young fan. He gave her a t-shirt, signed 8x10, and let them take a bunch of photos. He apologized to me that he took so long with her, but I told him none was needed. He took a sip of a Red Bull and I said that he was a smart man to avoid the Monsters especially with what happened to Cole. He laughed so hard he spat half of it out. The Villain had become my hero and he had made a fan for life that evening.
Finally, I waited in the longest line wrapping around the pool area to meet the Young Bucks. I admit that I geeked out and gave both of them Cracker Barrel gift cards. They were very grateful and even signed my Bullet Club Jersey. Matt, always having business on his mind, asked where I got it and how much it cost to make. Nick was just happy to see another SoCal sports fan make the trek out to Vegas and check out the show.
The arena inside Sam's Town is very small and intimate. Both my wife and I were seated in the bleachers and we were less than 30 feet away from ringside. Vegas fans are rowdy and were heckling the wrestlers that they did not like or when they screwed up in the ring. Pre-SCU, a guy made Kaz screw up when he told the Rock N Roll Rebel that he was soft and listened to Nickelback.
If you live on the West Coast then it is definitely worth the drive because you are guaranteed four hours of nonstop wrestling by some of the best independent talent in the United States.
Thanks everyone for reading my blog and until next time #StayHeel
By Steve Soeffner