Kenta vs. Chris Hero
15 August, 2009
ECW Arena; Philadelphia, PA
Full Disclosure: I broke into the business around the same time as Chris Hero, and we both crossed paths in Pittsburgh working for the NWA. We both lived outside of that area, and would arrive at the building way early for Friday shows (one of the perks of no Friday classes!) and would chain wrestle and work on fundamentals for a couple hours before shows started. We were also in the lockerroom together the night Jimmy Jacobs tried to stab Shorty Smalls in Hagerstown. I do not get to see Hero that often anymore, but when I do he calls me by my old ring name...
This is an excellent television match. It is an excellent match - period, but it is an excellent television match for a multitude of reasons. First, it is given plenty of time, but not anything excessive; about fifteen minutes of in-ring action. Second, it is well worked by both men. Quick mat exchanges, followed by an exchange of strikes, followed by working over some body parts, followed by more strikes, followed by false finishes. The strikes make so much sense here because both men have established themselves as excellent strikers - Kenta with the kicks, and Hero with the elbows. In addition, the strikes were not super-indy bullshit strikes where they hit each other really hard, but they actually look like crap. These guys were laying in punishing strikes that looked and sounded like bloody murder.
Some might crap on the finish, but this was for a television taping, and the finish was to build to a big match between Hero and Kingston. This match was excellent because of Hero and Kenta's familiarity from NOAH. Some might take away from the match because of the finish, but that is general over-analysis. To a fan, Hero got what he had coming, and that he is going to want a match with Kingston for this.
A match like this is why ROH typically has the best US aired wrestling show. They usually have three matches - an established guy against an un-established guy, a tag team match, and a competitive main event. You get about thirty minutes of wrestling on the program, which is often more than you see on a two-hour WWE or TNA program.