Firstly, I must mention the elephant in the room that I am SO behind on reviews, it is insane. I think the fact that I’ve been to both Chicago & New York in the past 4 weeks for a total of 8 events is enough to explain the exhaustion and backlog. I’ve just consumed so much live wrestling, it’s been hard to find the time and energy when I’ve been home to review it all.. but I will get to it. If not for any other reason, because the completionist in me has to.
With all that said, I think the fact that I’m choosing to write about this match before any of it speaks for itself.
It could be just a personal thing. An experience that’s special to me and not nearly as special to anyone else. And that’s fine. This is my terrible blog and this is what it’s here for.
On Friday, September 24th, New York City saw it’s hero go toe to toe with a legend from across the world and it was a sight to behold.
Homicide has been an independent wrestling staple for almost two decades. I can’t claim that he has always been at the top of my list of favorite wrestlers, but my admiration for him and interest in his matches has always been there. Seeing him live this weekend in this match in his home really brought me back to a time when I was binging the classic ROH golden era of the early-mid 2000’s. It brought me back to being a massive LAX mark as a 10 year old kid. It reminded me of just how much of a legend Homicide is and how much his career means to me.
Heading into this event, I was excited. Seeing Homicide be announced as Suzuki’s first opponent during the GCW portion of his excursion immediately got my attention. However, it wasn’t until I was in the Melrose Ballroom and felt the energy and presence of Suzuki & Homicide in the same vicinity that it hit me.. this is HUGE.
On a week where Bryan Danielson paired off with Kenny Omega on AEW Dynamite and brought me back to 2006 ROH, Homicide squared off with Minoru Suzuki here and did the exact same damn thing.
Much like Omega/Danielson, this reminded me of the pacing and style of the 2004-2006 ROH epics like Joe/Kobashi and Danielson/Nigel. This was classic professional wrestling in its purest form. I truly don’t know how else to explain it. From the moment the entrances began, an entirely different aura fell over the Melrose Ballroom. The crowd rose to its feet from the sound of the bell and the sight of these two veterans standing toe to toe. The opening battle of chops and strikes was so intense and well paced, I was hooked.
This was big, and I cannot even find the words to fully encompass it, but you know that feeling when you’re watching a match and it’s not just spots you’re popping for? It’s just the entire match itself that you’re popping for? When your eyes can’t leave the ring and you’re hanging on the edge of your seat for every strike and move. That was this match.
Suzuki & Homicide grabbed me and owned my attention for the entire duration of this match. They didn’t make me invested, they forced me to be because there was no way around it. Suzuki’s crazy facial expressions that popped the audience, an intensity from Homicide that matched the intensity we used to see from him in his classic matches against Steve Corino in 2003 and Danielson in 2006, everything here was awesome and when it was over, I found myself still in awe of what I had just seen.
I also have to mention the fact that during this match, we saw multiple roster members emerge from the back and sit/stand on the stage to watch this unfold. Including Brett Lauderdale, who I think was popping for this just as much as everyone else in the building. This was a special match.
Walking down the street back to our hotel after this barnburner, I felt glazed over because I had just been sucked in and lost in the performance that these two delivered. Those are the moments I live for and those are the moments that make me love pro wrestling.
I haven’t seen this match getting nearly the amount of praise or love it deserves, so I absolutely had to put this into the universe as someone who was there live. Watch this match, don’t let it slide under the radar.
Match rating - ****1/2