ROH in Chicago
April 9, 2006
Iíve gotten a ton of email asking me about my return to the ring this past Saturday for ROH in Chicago. So I figured I would deal with it here as apposed to answering a 1000 email.
The weekend itself was fantastic, albeit exhausting. It takes only a few minutes of travel to remind me why I retired in the first place. I hadnít even entered the terminal in Calgary and I was already saying to myself, ďwhat the hell am I doing?Ē I got dropped at the airport around 3:30 pm and it was after 2am by the time I was checked into my hotel in Chicago. Boy I love traveling!
Once in Chicago mind you things went really well, and Iíve got to say ROH runs one hell of a show. It seems to have all the love, passion, and hard work of ECW, without the chaos, disorganization, and bounced checks. (LOL) The show on Saturday had the largest advanced ticket sales in the history of the company. A fact I am taking full credit for. Iím not saying it was all me, Iím just taking credit for it. It was also I believe the largest crowd in ROH history (Iím taking credit for that too) and what a crowd they were. I cannot thank them enough for making my return something truly special.
When I hit the ring that night the crowd response was amazing and I was greeted by a huge bombardment of red and white streamers. This is a Japanese tradition and Iíve always been a huge fan of the concept. I could not have received a warmer welcome and again I thank everyone for it, as this helped make this night one of the greatest in my career.
I still havenít decided how I feel about the match itself. By all accounts it was a great one. All the fan reports Iíve read put it over strong, and there is no doubt the live crowd ate it up, but it just felt strange to me. Part of the problem I think is that it was such a different match for me. The match was a different style than Iím used to. Iíve always tried to adapt and follow the, ďWhen in RomeÖĒ philosophy, so I attempted to work more to the ROH style that Bryan Danielson is used to. I also had to work as a Baby Face, which is unnatural for me now and to be honest I donít much care for it. Those things aside though, I do feel it was a strong performance. Even more so considering Iíve been inactive for almost 2 years, and itís been a full 10 months since my last match. In all honesty I was a little disappointed I was as tired as I was after the match until Gabe Sapolski pointed out that we went approximately 27 minutes, which would be the longest single match Iíve had since early 1995.
Again I would like to thank everyone who had anything to do with that night in Chicago. I want to thank ROH for convincing me to return to the ring, and even more so for not making me regret it. I cannot say enough good things about the company and how I was treated. If you have not been to a ROH event you are missing out, this is truly a product to watch and support. The DVD of this event will be available in 6-8 weeks and it is a must see show believe me. I got one email from a guy who went to both this show and WrestleMania and said Mania was a Snooze Fest by comparison. Iíll be sure to post a link once the DVD is available. I want to thank all the great fans. Your reception and support made the night truly special. I love this business and fans like you are a big reason why. The ďPlease Come BackĒ and ďYou Still Got ItĒ chants were music to my ears. For future reference though I could live without the ďYouíre not BoringĒ chants. I know they are with good intentions, but lets just let that whole angle DIE! Lastly Iíd like to thank Bryan Danielson for a great match and for being the kind of worker who brings respect to this industry. Wear that Championship with pride, my friend. Shawn Michaels once said, ďItís not the title that makes the man, itís the man that makes the title.Ē You make the ROH title something worth fighting for and this sport is better because of it.