Samoa Joe vs. Chris Hero
13 November, 2004
Wilmerding YMCA; East Pittsburgh, PA
ROH Heavyweight Championship Match
Interesting find on Dailymotion. This might be raw footage from Digital Horizons before editing it into the DVD. Anyways...
Back in 2004 I lived and wrestled in Pittsburgh. I wrestled for the NWA promotion in the area, and our "opposition" was IWC. There were a ton of differences between the two promotions, along with a ton of bad blood between different people. IWC was promoted by Norm Conners, and I think it is fair to say that it can be classified as a "super indy" promotion. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a "Super Indy Promotion" would be a company that loads up their cards with a ton of talent from outside the area, generally "names" or wrestlers that would draw the "smart mark" type of fans; thus most of the cards are filled with former WWE wrestlers, TNA stars, or guys from Ring of Honor, along with other darlings of the internet. Sprinkled in the cards were a handful of local guys - either area vets or trainees. Across town the NWA was running shows two or three times a month featuring all local guys (including trainees), as well as a few out of town guys that were all regulars, or from other NWA promotions.
Needless to say, the companies hated each other. Many of the local guys at IWC would get pissed because they didn't have shows as often, and they were sometimes left off cards because there were so many names brought in. However, every once in awhile the local guys got to work a "name", and got exposure on the heels of IWC's strong DVD sales. The NWA guys would get pissed because they didn't get to have names on the shows, and there was no DVD sales or exposure to speak of. In general, all the local guys got fucked on pay.
Anyways, in 2004 Samoa Joe was on his crazy rampage as the ROH champion, and looked unbeatable. Chris Hero was a darling of the internet, but hadn't made it to ROH yet at this point. IWC booked this match, obviously with an eye on DVD sales, as that was where they made their real money. A main event match like this would be something of interest to the "smart marks", and if you have the DVD outlet to take advantage of, why not do it? You can see by the crowd (I'm putting it in the 150 range) wasn't going to make this a profitable show with these types of names on the card - you have to make the money in DVD sales.
The match itself is solid. It somewhat shows the work ethic of these two guys, as well as the differences in independent wrestling in 2004 and now, because Joe & Hero busted their ass here. Since Hero wasn't under a contract or anything, that can pretty much be expected from him, but as the ROH champion, you can see where Joe might want to just coast a bit. Instead, we got a very solid match from these two.
The one thing I didn't really care for, is that Joe is so much bigger than Hero, yet size doesnt play a factor in the match at all, really. Hero is a tall drink of water, probably 6ft3in or so, which makes him a heavyweight for sure with the amount of size he has on him, but he is still probably 70lbs less than Joe, who isn't as tall and is just way wider. When Hero no-sells the shoulderblock from Joe early, it really didn't make much sense. But, on the independent circuit, you do not get a lot of matches with two heavyweights, so to the fans, perhaps the size difference wasn't as big of a deal. Maybe I just notice these things too much...
Anthony "Kingdom" James is on commentary here, and he is the guy that I credit for breaking me in the business. He is the Black Canadian guy. You can tell by the voice.