#RingOfHonor Is The Second Worst

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Since TNA/Impact Wrestling has wrestled the crown of worst promotion from the very incapable hands of Ring of Honor, I wasn’t sure if I could continue doing this column. I will try to talk about the positives  but I already know it’s not going to last long. Simple solution. When they do more than 50% positive in a show, I’ll call it “ROH is Second Worst”, if not it will resume it’s former name of “ROH is the Worst.”

Tomasso Ciampa had a quality match with Roderick Strong, who continues to look better than he had for the last year and a half. 2014 has been sharp for him from what I’ve seen aside from not knowing how to take the Styles Clash. ROH has highlighted the ongoing feud between Cedric Alexander and The Decade, which consists of Strong, Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer and lackey Adam Page. Alexander interfered in Strong’s match and cost him the victory. They ended up fighting after the match which I’m not a big fan of since they are fighting at the next pay per view. On a positive note, they have fought recently (last week if memory serves) so they weren’t giving away anything we haven’t seen before. Having people cost their adversary a victory is in the Booking 101 hand book. Good on ROH.

Silas Young versus The Romantic Touch was good for what it is. The Romantic Touch is mildly amusing character so he lost to the more serious Young. Silas isn’t going to be moving up the ladder any time soon but he had a quality feud with Mark Briscoe early this year. He should and did get the win over the comedy act. ROH is 2 for 2.

Kevin Steen‘s claim for the World Title is a very valid one since he never got a rematch for his title. Playing a video package to recap this feud is what you should be doing. I never said wrestling was rocket science.

Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly cut a quality promo against the Young Bucks. I could have used without Kyle O’Reilly drinking casually out of a coffee mug but he was fine when he spoke. Bobby Fish really delivered and made me like this short promo.

Jimmy Jacobs taking on Corey Hollis was another example of The Decade going after younger wrestlers and disrespecting them. Jacobs did his part by not shaking hands with Hollis. The Decade also debuted a new lackey, Tadarius Thomas. I’m not sure that ROH needed to add anyone else to the ranks of the Decade because four seems to be a good limit. I’m also not sure what they have in mind so I’ll give the angle some time. Jacobs ended up winning the match without interference, which is another good choice by ROH. If The Decade wants to maintain their disdain of younger wrestlers, they need to beat them first so that the crowd rallies behind Cedric Alexander and whoever else they have help to dismantle The Decade.

Michael Elgin versus Rocky Romero was a good quality main event. It wasn’t anything special but much like the Touch vs Young match, the correct person won in Michael Elgin, which isn’t a given in ROH. They gave Romero enough offense to not look bad but had Elgin win fairly handily. Quality show for ROH all around. Maybe I’ll start calling them Second Best if this keeps up. – Kevin

#ROH Is The Worst Part X

Surprise+Surprise+with+Holly+Willoughby

Holly Willoughby from Surprise, Surprise.

Well I’ll be damned. Ring Of Honor put on a good show. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander took on a debuting Alex Reynolds & John Silver. Most teams in their first match aren’t good but they performed admirably. The next match on the docket delivered too, Veda Scott taking on Ms. Chif. Even though Ms. Chif ended up winning the match, Veda Scott showed much improvement from when I saw her at Wrestlelution. She only had one year of experience at that point and has pretty much doubled that in the mean time. Very good match with a very good opponent. The third match of the show was Silas Young taking on Adam Page, another new comer. Young got to cut a promo before the match so one would assume that he was going to get the win. You would be wrong. Page ended up winning with a victory roll which made things really odd. Young had won more of the match and got the mic time so why let him lose? I only count this match as a victory because the match itself was really good. The main event was Eddie Edwards taking on Matt Taven. Kevin Kelly & Steve Corino hit Taven’s problem directly on the head when they said that his entourage of Turth Martini & the Hoopla Hotties (Scarlett is pretty damn hot) take away from how good of a wrestler Taven is. When the announcers do something right, you’ve got to give it to ROH for a good show. To boot, the min ring product did have a high quality. One part of all of these matches was that they weren’t very “ROH” in that people didn’t kick out of multiple finishers and they didn’t exchange an obnoxious amount shots. Congratulations ROH, you got one right. -Kevin

#ROH Is The Worst Part VIII

Signs and symptoms

Jay Lethal vs Jimmy Jacobs was a fair enough match. So was Cedric Alexander & Caprice Coleman vs Cliff Compton & Rhett Titus. Both matches were ROH vs SCUM. Both had injured babyfaces (Lethal & Coleman) that made valiant efforts but were still defeated. The idea of a heel getting a victory because of an injury is classic. There comes a problem when ROH executes it though. To borrow an example from Raw and of all unlikely people, HHH, let me point out some differences. Curtis Axel makes his debut on the 20th of May. He ends up challenging HHH because of Paul Heyman’s association with Brock Lesnar. The announcers do a good job of selling HHH’s brutal cage match. This part, ROH got right. Kevin Kelly sells the injury while Steve Corino mocks them for being idiots for wrestling while injured. Curtis Axel ends up knocking HHH silly after he puts up a semblance of fight, but not much one. I was surprised that Bigfoot Levesque put someone over fairly easily. That’s where ROH comes in, they decided to borrow from Bigfoot or John Cena. Jay Lethal came back several times and dominated the match. He only failed to win when his knee buckled after he was going for his second finisher. Lethal was well enough to execute his first finisher! Jacobs should have beaten him much easier. He got made to look weak during the match instead of looking like a heel who took advantage of a baby face’s injury.

Coleman pulled the same routine. He left the match for a long stretch leaving Cedric Alexander to fend for himself. Alexander did a good job of selling after the normal flurry of offense. Coleman was being escorted to the back by referees and EMTs when he came back to ringside to tag the hot tag. Coleman got in entirely too much offense. He ended up losing the match but again, SCUM was made to look so weak by barely beating an injured opponent. ROH is the worst.

On a side note, I was so happy that Steve Corino called out Kevin Kelly for slobbing Kevin Steen’s nob. Corino told him that he didn’t like Steen a month ago. Kelly countered with “He was a great world champion.” Corino ripped that idea since many people were former world champions. Kelly had no logical reason to back Steen so he started to call the match. Corino didn’t hound him but that’s okay. The damage was done. After hearing that though, it make me wonder if our old WWE mole is now working for ROH since I called Kelly out on it a month ago. -Kevin

#WatchROH – Aired 7 May 2012

We get a replay of Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander beating the Briscoes with the help Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin. Tomasso Ciampa starts off the show with his clown car. Matt Taven is his opponent. Kevin Kelly tries to sell us on Taven’s credibility. Ciampa got a quick jump on Taven. Jay Lethal comes to ring side and sits down. Ciampa nailed his finisher then stared at Lethal. Taven reversed into a suplex on the exposed concrete. They exchange on their knees and feet back in the ring. Taven uses his legs to his advantage. Taven gives Ciampa a neck breaker after Ciampa was hung up on the top rope. Ciampa kicks out after a frog splash. Nigel McGuinness says the crowd is going nuts. They aren’t. Ciampa gave Taven a jumping knee but only got two. Ciampa kneed Taven twice in the Tree of Woe.  Ciampa nails “Project Ciampa” for a win. If a schmuck gives Ciampa this trouble, shouldn’t Lethal walk all over him?

Veda Scott interviewed TJ Perkins who will be wrestling Mike Mondo again. The Young Bucks make fun of Perkins. They still suck, not in a good way. Perkins had a paint by numbers promo. He’s not engaging. I love his in ring work. They shake hands, which is more of a rarity than not shaking. Perkins gets in a neck breaker. Mondo crawled under the ring to attack Perkins from behind. Mondo fish hooked and dragged Taven around. Kevin Kelly tells me to set my DVR to watch Rhino take on Davey Richards. It won’t be that epic. Mondo ground his elbow into Perkins head. Mondo exposed the eyeball and appeared to be ready to eat it. Perkins fought out and started to use his speed advantage. Perkins nails a missile drop kick. The Young Bucks came to ring side. They distract Perkins. Mondo tumbles to the floor. Obvious over the top rope spot. One of the Young Bucks holds a leg. Mondo gets the win. The All Night Express makes the save after Mondo & the Bucks attack PErkins after the match.

Charlie Haas gives everyone a reminder that the Briscoes started the war between themselves. Shelton Benjamin said they want their belts. The Briscoes admit to starting the feud. They’re going to whoop them in Toronto. Truth Martini runs down his houses matches. Roderick Strong told Fit Finlay he’ll be in for the biggest fight of his life. Michael Elgin tells Adam Cole that he’s the only break out star. Rhino said that he’s going to take out Eddie Edwards. Eddie says it’s all about who can take more punishment. He told Rhino he won’t stand in his way to getting the ROH Title back. Mike Bennett told Lance Storm that he’s pathetic for asking for a rematch. Bennett said that Storm’s career will come to an end at Border Wars. I just realized that Border Wars was last night. Their events seem more packed together than the WWE’s PPV. I’m not even looking up the results but Dusty’s “LOL ROH” tweet takes on a whole other context now.

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#WatchROH – Aired 28 April 2012

It’s more highlights from Showdown In The Sun. They showed off the Briscoes beating the World’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin. Benajmin & Haas attacked the Briscoes after the match so they had to be carried to the back. I’ve bitched about other companies giving away their pay per views. It’s even worse when you only show the pin fall.

Cedric Alexander & Caprice Coleman are in a Proving Ground match against the Briscoes. ROH has too many types of matches. Alexander get the upper hand on Mark early.  Coleman started to get worked over by both Briscoes. Alexander gets a luke warm tag. Alexander gets a two count from a face buster. Coleman got wheel barrowed into the barracade. Alexander kicked out after a combo ending with a Razor’s Edge. Haas & Benajmin low blowed Jay with no one seeing it. Mark takes the pin after a huracanrana & frog splash combo.

Veda Scott interviewed Prince Nana & Barrister Evans along with Truth Martini. Rhino had his contract purchased by Martini. Rhino is going to rip Eddie Edwards in half. Vinny Marseglia was the sacrificial lamb for a debuting Rhino. The best thing I can say about this match is that Rhino is in much better shape than just about any other ECW alumni. Everyone was cheering Rhino. Um, he’s never been a particularly good wrestler. Rhino wins with a Gore.

I think John Cena gets less mic time than Kevin Steen. I’d take his dick jokes over Steen droning on about a horrendous angle any day. Jimmy Jacobs is with him. Kevin Kelly & Jim Cornette were already in the ring. Steen makes a fat joke about Cornette. People in glass houses Mr. Steen, should not throw rocks. He did have a good crack about the flags and theme of Border Wars being so 1987. Davey Richards comes out drag down the quality of this segment even more. Steen claimed that Richards promised to help him but he didn’t. Steen steals the show every time. Richards says he’s holding himself down.  Steen says that Richards threatened to leave ROH multiple times. They were ready to fight but security separates them. Cornette wants them to sign a waiver since the pile driver will be legal for the match. Cornette slipped in a provision that this is Steen’s only shot at the title. The segment was OK when they were yelling at each other. Richards would only threaten to go to Japan because his mic skills aren’t even good enough for TNA.

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#WatchROH – Aired 17 & 24 March 2012

They showed Adam Cole pinning Davey Richards. Richards shakes Cole & Eddie Edward’s hands. Kyle O’Reilly refuses to shake. Kevin Steen is going to be Davey Richards personal nightmare until he gets a match against him for the ROH Title. Adam Cole comes out for March Mayhem Eight Man Tournament. Cole had a backstage promo. He’s mad at O’Reilly for not respecting him. He’s going to make O’Reilly respect him. Chris Silvio is his opponent. I’m ready for a squash match. Oh my lord, Kevin Kelly compares Silvio to Jesse Ventura & “Superstar” Billy Graham. I just vomited on my lap top. Kyle O’Reilly does his best to make the announce booth sound even worse. Cole wins a Florida Key which is a criss cross dragon suplex. Not an impressive outing. O’Reilly stormed out of the booth for storyline reasons but it should have been because it was a poorly executed match. O’Reilly challenges Cole to a match at Showdown in the Sun. Cole accepts.

They recap Jimmy Jacobs vs Kevin Steen. Hilarious that Jacobs is rehabbing from being evil in ROH & being evil in PWO. Kelly gets to interview Kevin Steen. He is carrying a tennis racket that has Davey Richards on it. Steen talks about destiny. He’s just as boring as Alberto Del Rio. He will be ROH Champion despite Jim Cornette‘s attempts to kept him away from the title.  Cornette shows up. Cornette tells him that his opponent for Friday night for Showdown in the Sun. El Generico is his opponent. Steen said he won’t be dumb enough to get himself suspended by using the pile driver.

Lance Storm cuts a promo from his gym. He said he isn’t out of shape and will be ready for him. He said Mike Bennett doesn’t have the passion to be in wrestling. They try to make the promo more interesting by shooting him from multiple camera angles. It doesn’t work. Davey Richards knows how tough his three man match will be against Eddie Edwards & Roderick Strong. If he wins that, he takes on Michael Elgin. Richards said if he gets out of that weekend with the title, he’ll have earned it. DemBoys said everyone in this match hates each other. The chicken shit is going to hit the fan in Florida. Charlie Haas tells the Briscoes that they’re dumb. It’s a grudge match so when this match is over, their feud is.

Evidently everyone pays in and wins a pot of money for the March Mayhem. Four matches lead to a four way match. Winner of the four way wins the cash. They love having money on everyone’s mind. We get replay of Jay Lethal versus Tomasso Ciampa. The match went to the time limit. Ciampa attacked Lethal and stole the TV belt. Roderick Strong with Truth Martini takes on Jay Lethal in the first four way match. Counting in English reminded Kevin Kelly of El Generico’s return. I think he’s locked up worst announcer in wrestling with tonight’s showing. Congratulations on unseating Mike Tenay’s several year reign. They go to commercial before much has happened.

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#WatchROH – Aired 25 February 2012

I watched An Idiot Abroad earlier.

For some reason, honor makes me think of Japan. Since Karl Pilkington just went to Mount Fuji on An Idiot Abroad, I figured it’d be a good picture to use. ROH has an internet pay per view going on right now but I’m not going to pay for it. We get recap of Charlie Haas taking on Mark Briscoe from the week. The Young Bucks are going to teach someone else to show the Briscoes what they’ll do to them later. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander are the example. They worked their way up the food chain. The one guy ended by singing. I don’t know the difference between them. Caprice was the singer. Both teams are pulling out some fun aerial moves. Their characters stink. Pretty easy win for the Young Bucks. Their finisher is a bit much for me. It’s a Rolling Hill, 450 then a moonsault. Tomasso Ciampa is going to take whatever gold Jay Lethal has come March 4th.

DemBoys comes out to talk about the Lady Boys. They going to make the Young Bucks their bitches. Big man is going to beat $5000 out of Truth Martini if they come back to Baltimore. They’re going to put Charlie Haas or Shelton Benjamin in a body bag. I always think that’s stupid. No one is going to die.

We get more Kevin Steen review. Jimmy Jacobs learned one life lesson, evil wins. Jacobs is going to become more evil than Steen. Kevin Steen thinks Jacobs hope is amusing. He said Jacobs corporate man is going to kill him. He wants Jacobs to be evil. Rhett Titus is recovered from knee surgery. They want to prove they’re better than ever by beating Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas. I forget who Titus’s partner is. Truth Martini talks. Roderick Strong wants Jay Lethal to win because he can beat him easier. Strong has a match against Eddie Edwards to determine the number one contender. They are doing a great job of pimping tonight’s event, internet Pay per view that is.

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ROH Results: Firsthand Account Of ROH’s Davis Arena TV Taping

Stunt Granny friend and partner in crime Steve Williams checks in with this burning missive:

Here is my way-too-long, nearly 1700 word account of Ring of Honor’s  national television taping, which was held in Louisville’s historic Davis Arena on 10/1/11.  There are no match times, because only fags bring notebooks and stopwatches to wrestling shows.  Enjoy.

So without any further ado, here is his firsthand account of ROH’s television taping last night:

The taping appeared to be a legitimate sellout.  We arrived at 6:45 and could only find scattered single seats.  We had to convince a group of fat guys to scoot over so we could get two seats next to each other.  They (ROH workers, not the fat people) eventually had to add  several rows of chairs to the floor area to accommodate the crowd.  One of the quirks of Davis Arena is that there are two oversized, black leather recliners in the crowd.  A local pizza company used to sell pizza at OVW shows and would draw a name from the crowd to sit in the “Wick’s Pizza Party Zone”, where they would kick back in the recliners and get free food and drink during the show.  When ROH comes here, they charge (I believe) $150 per ticket for the recliner treatment.  Yes, someone actually paid for a recliner that is several rows back at a wrestling show.  Tickets were priced at $50 (first row), $40 (second/third row, depending on which side of the building you were on, and $15 (GA).  My $15 general admission seat was 8 feet away from the $50 seats, plus it was on 12 inch platform, so I could see right over the ringsiders.  

Cornette came out for the rah-rah speech, and it was time for our first match!  OVW Tag Team Champions The Elite (Adam Revolver & Ted McNaylor) beat Moose Thomas & Rocco Bellagio, accompanied by “Prince” Bolin (Kenny Bolin’s son Chris).  The Elite are one of the best-working teams on the indy scene, and they have been together since 2006.  I believe The Elite won after their Spear/Russian leg sweep combo in about 10 minutes.  Good opener.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuinness were introduced to the crowd and were seated at ringside for commentary.  Kelly received polite applause, but the place went nuts for Nigel.  

 T.J. Perkins defeated Mike Mondo, but I have no recollection of how he did it.  Mondo is ok, but he really comes across as a lower-card act.  Perkins was technically good, but showed little personality.

Cornette interviewed The Briscoe Brothers.  They are supposed to be heels, but a Kentucky crowd is not going to boo an asskicking tag team that wears Confederate colors.  Briscoes demanded a match at Final Battle against ROH Tag Team Champions Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin.  Cornette booked Briscoes vs All-Night Express “next week” to determine the top contenders.

It was around this time that something odd started happening.  There was a girl standing near the barricade wearing a silk gown watching the show.  She took the gown off and approached the ring wearing a bikini.  No one acknowledged that this was happening.  One cameraman approached her and filmed her up and down for several minutes.  It wouldn’t be so odd if this happened once as a buffer to air between segments on the show.  This happened several times throughout the night.  At one point, she was being filmed for what seemed like ten solid minutes, including several minutes focused solely on her breasts.  It didn’t help matters that the camera guy looked just like the tow-truck driver from Adventures in Babysitting.  

It was time for the “television main event”.  Jay Lethal defended the TV title against Mike Bennett (with “Brutal” Bob Evans).  This was a good little match.  Bennett reminds me a lot of 2006-era Chris Masters, at least as far as his body appearance.  At one point, Lethal attempted the “Macho Man” elbow, but Bennett moved.  With 30 seconds left in the 15 minute time limit, Bennett mounted Lethal and started pounding on him, not unlike Ralphie beating Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story.  Lethal reversed the position with about 10 seconds left and stayed on top until the time limit expired.  Lethal and the crowd wanted five more minutes, but Bennett chose to retreat.

Roderick Strong defeated Kyle O’Reilly.  These two had a good, stiff match.  The story was that Strong is a stiff bastard, and the rookie O’Reilly was able to hang with him.  Apparently, O’Reilly trains with “Team Davey”.  Michael Elgin came out to attack O’Reilly after the match, and then someone else came out and got his ass kicked too.  Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards came out to clean house, going so far as to punt the Book of Truth into the front row, right into a fat guy’s face!  Cornette came out to help restore order.  I should point out that ROH had encouraged fans to bring signs to the television taping.  The only signs were two pro-Kevin Steen signs in the front row, and a guy behind them that had a sign which read “Let This Be A Sign”.  The three would all hold up their signs whenever they were on camera.  Cornette cut a promo on them, saying that he recognizes that Steen is a great wrestler, but the fans don’t have to deal with him as a person.  He called Steen mentally unstable and said he was an insurance liability, and reiterated that he had no plans of ever bringing Kevin Steen back to ROH.  

Tomasso Ciampa (with Prince Nana and Ernie Osiris) pinned Alex Silva.  Silva is a young, good-looking guy who works for OVW regularly.  Nothing special.

Mark and Jay Briscoe beat ANX to earn a title shot at Final Battle.  This was a great match with some fun double-teams.  I believe the finish was: one of the ANX held Mark in a powerbomb position near the corner.  Jay came off the top and nudged Mark, who turned the move into a hurricanrana and got the pin.  If that wasn’t the finish, it should have been, because it was the most memorable spot in the match.  The Briscoes didn’t do much to establish that they were supposed to be the bad guys.  

Next up was intermission.  They didn’t seem to be doing nearly as much merch business tonight.  The gimmick table was much smaller than usual, too.

Michael Hayes (no, not the Freebird) beat Mohammad Ali Vaez.  Both of these guys are OVW regulars.  Hayes is legitimately in his rookie year.  He also only has one leg.  He lost his left leg in an I.E.D. explosion in Iraq in 2006.  He was the only survivor  of the attack.  Unlike Zach Gowen, Hayes wrestles while wearing the full prosthetic.  He is quite mobile considering his predicament.  Vaez has apparently been attacking Hayes at OVW shows and ripping off the prosthesis.  He did it again tonight, only for Hayes to catch him in a submission hold.  Before he could tap, Vaez’s partner interfered for the DQ.  The match was ok, but a bit clumsy.  Considering Hayes’s inexperience, immobility, and the fact that Vaez had to work his right side, things went fairly well.

Michael Elgin dominated Shiloh Jones.  Good for what it was.

Jim Cornette came out to announce the top contender for the ROH World Title at Final Battle.  That man is…….Grizzly Redwood!  Just kidding, it’s Eddie Edwards.  Eddie came out and said that people always chanted “next world champ” at the American Wolves, and everyone assumed the chant was for Richards, but Edwards won the title before Davey did.  Eddie said that he learned a lot from Team Richards, but it was time for him to move on.  Eddie has a new trainer, but he wouldn’t reveal who it is.  The two shook hands and agreed to let the wolfiest man win.

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin beat Cedric Alexander & Caprice Coleman in the week 2 main event.  This started out decent, but completely fell apart toward the end.  One of the guys not named Haas or Benjamin missed a series of aeriel moves that he was supposed to hit, including a standing shooting star press where he landed on his face Brock Lesnar-style.  This match is going to need to be cleaned up quite a bit before it airs.  

The Young Bucks beat the Bravado Brothers.  Full disclosure:  I hate the Young Bucks with a passion.  That being said, they were much more subdued than they were last time I watched them live.  At the beginning, they offered their hands to Lance and Harlem Bravado, only to turn and shake each other’s hands instead.  This was a fairly competitive match and both teams looked good.  The finish came when the Young Fucks did some double team flippy 9 move sequence nonsense that ended with a 450 splash.  They refused to shake the other team’s hands after the match.  I hope they catch herpes.  My personal hatred for Nick & Matt Jackson aside, they got very little reaction until the finish.  

MAIN EVENT TIME!  The American Wolves beat Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin.  Good, solid, hard-hitting match that seemed to go past 20:00.  My favorite comment of the night came from my friend, who is a casual fan and knows nothing about ROH.  As Richards was repeatedly kicking Elgin in the chest, my friend said “he’s just spamming the A button!”  He summarized the state of indy wrestling with that statement, in my opinion.  The finish was kind of screwy, although it could just be that I was tired and missed something.  Elgin had Richards in a hold (camel clutch), but the ref was distracted by Truth Martini.  Edwards locked Elgin in a dragon sleeper, choking him out.  Richards ended up on top of Elgin for the pin.  Davey kept looking at what appeared to me to be a wristband or something, then looking at Eddie like he didn’t know what to make of him.  Again, I had to have missed something here, because I have no idea what his deal was.

Overall this was a very entertaining night of wrestling, but far too long.  The show started at 7:00 and we were walking out at 11:05.  There were far too many superkicks and at least 4 “Codebreakers” throughout the show.  The crowd was hot for most of the show.   The venue was darkened quite a bit.  My guess is that they don’t want a building that small to be exposed on national television (Davis Arena sits 400).  Return date is 11/5.

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