The Art of Wrestling: ROH Newswire

Eric sent me the ROH Newswire email that he gets and asked whether I’d review these shirts. That’s like the wife asking Eric to stay off Stunt Granny. Or Jeremy being told to watch the latest freak show on TLC. Or Dusty being told Jim Cornette was signing autographs in Fond-du-Lac for free. Of course I’ll do it.

I love the advertisement in the middle of this add which screams “We’re high quality” by announcing that their shirts are only $10 this weekend. In comparison, you need to look at the prices at TNA (A majority of shirts are $19,99 with a high of $24.99) and the WWE (A majority of shirts are $24.99 with a high of $30.99). I’m not going to buy t-shirts from all three companies to compare their quality. I do feel like TNA & the WWE could bring their price down but I’m sure their shirts are of better quality than those from ROH. They could have put a nice spin on it by saying it’s a special for their ten year anniversary all year long.

The next part of this advertisement that bellows “We’re high quality” is by advertising their biggest stars which naturally means they’ve got two ROH shirts that are more generic than anything TNA or the WWE produces. The least they could do is add a hand shake silhouette in the background or even use a modified medal of honor. I don’t quite understand the logo either. The lengthened O underlines the other letters but it doesn’t really do much for the design. It adds flags to the top of R and H but not to the bottom so they didn’t keep the theme going. The O is also another spot that they could use the medal of honor.

The US Medal of Honor

To move on with the star content, they decided that Roderick Strong, The World’s Greatest Tag Team, Jay Lethal and Eddie Edwards should represent them. The only shirt with anyone’s name is Camp Strong which is just a tad ironic. One of my favorite moments on #WatchROH recently is when Nigel McGuinness explained that Strong concentrates on cardio conditioning. Why does the guy have a gut then at 180? Camp Strong needs a new head trainer. The barbell has beers on the end of it to make it a hilarious shirt. Oh, that isn’t funny?  Austin pulled off the beer drinking gimmick. James Storm pulls off the beer drinking gimmick. A little imp can’t pull it off.

Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas have the most boring shirt of them all. Black shirt with grey print and a script below it explaining the acronym. They should have used white to help make the contrast more bold but even that wouldn’t have saved this boring shirt. Jay Lethal and Eddie Edwards shirts are better with the contrasts but the designs are left lacking too. One could argue that the Lethal Injection looks like a syringe but I think they could go more in that direction to make it look more realistic. Instead, it’s a lazy lined fade pattern. WGTT & Lethal’s shirts have something in common that Edwards’s shirt doesn’t, the first two are centered and symmetrical, while Edwards has a lop sided design. As I’ve noted previous Art of Wrestling columns, lop sided is not necessarily bad. In this case though, there’s nothing to offset the design in the lower right hand side of the shirt so it’s bad.

The one last thing I will note about all of these shirts is that none of them are Ring of Honor’s champions. Not the ROH World Champion Kevin Steen. Not the TV Champion Adam Cole. Not their Tag Team Champions in Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs. The later two don’t even have a shirt so no link. The first two aren’t any better in quality but they should be pushed more because they’re the top names in the company. ROH is a third rate company. Their t shirts only help to prove it even more than their TV product. -Kevin

#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 11 March 2012

We get review of the main event from the previous week of Eddie Edwards vs Roderick Strong and the post match announcement that they will both take on Davey Richards at Showdown in the Sun. Jim Cornette explains how they’ll have a title match on both days at Showdown. Six men are fighting to determine who randomly gets a title match on the second day after the winner of the three way match on Friday. They went to commercial. Wow, what a terrible way to start a show.

Kenny King is excited about being part of Blind Destiny. He only has to beat Jay Lethal. Lethal ends up saying he failed. King pops back on. Lethal says it’s his destiny to get the title match. Not a fan of flipping back and forth between the promos. Kenny King came down with Rhett Titus. Jay Lethal hit the ring second. This shows how much I care about ROH, but is Baltimore like their Orlando? I’m too lazy to check on my own. The match had barely started. Just some early offense when Roderick Strong & Truth Martini came to ring side. Lethal took over after a strong beginning for King. Lethal tried for a top rope power bomb but King fought out. Lethal calls for the Lethal Injection but had to switch to the Lethal Combination. He only got two. Kng went for a roll up, Lethal turned it into a bridge pin for the win. That doesn’t make sense. There was no offense by Lethal before King got pinned.

Adam Cole is dressed in a suit. He is pumped about teaming with Eddie Edwards. He’s not going to back down to anyone. Kevin Steen is going to make Adam Cole a casualty. Still amusing in a bad way with the announcers talking down about Steen yet the vast majority of the crowd is cheering for him. Cole tried to use power at first but moved to speed and capitalized. Steen breaks the refs count when he tosses Cole against a post. Cole turned around things using his speed. He executed a nice tornado DDT.  Steen gave Cole an Orton middle rope DDT. Steen got two after a senton in the corner. Cole got in some kicks and a back cracker but only got two. Cole nailed a pair of super kicks. Cole charged at Steen and he turned it into a power bomb. Steen F5ed Cole for the win. Steen went for the package pile driver but Edwards made the save.

Roderick Strong didn’t like the triple threat stipulations. Eddie Edwards doesn’t like it either. He just wants one winner. Strong thinks it sucks that he has two opponent. It was the second time he said sucks. Oh, it wouldn’t suck if Edwards & Richards beat the hell out of each other. Not a good theme. Mike Bennett is going to beat Lance Storm so fast, he can still get the early bird special. Ha. Solid one. We get replay of the Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin feud with the Briscoes. Someone is getting carried out of Fort Lauderdale according to the Briscoes. That was so short it was pointless. The Young Bucks will see the dorks in Fort Lauderdale. You can tell this company thinks promos are useless.

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Kevin’s Blog: #ROH Aired 11 February 2011

Tag team wrestling isn't dead in ROH.

Kyle O’Reilly is going to prove to Eddie Edwards that he’s a bigger man. Eddie says Kyle started this whole ordeal. Eddie is going to knock sense into Kyle. It’s kind of strange that a grudge match they have built up for at least 3 weeks is a curtain jerker. The match has no action until O’Reilly gets in a couple of knees.  Edwards kicks him into a barricade after getting O’Reilly lost running around. Kevin Kelly is trying to sell the Ankle Lock as Davey Richards “move”. Richards shows up at ring side as they go to commercial.

O’Reilly has a pretty slick looking triple butterfly suplexes that he turned into a cross arm breaker. Edwards evidently is the weakest man ever and tumbles over the top rope with O’Reilly while trying to suplex him. Edwards kicks the ring post. Adam Cole comes down to the ring and starts rooting for Eddie. Edwards only gets a two count after  double stomp. They exchange two counts after back and forth action. Edwards turns a Dragin Sleeper into a bridge pin. He only got two. A single leg Boston Crab turns to a pin for O’Reilly. Edwards turns it into another pin and gets the win. Edwards talks about tag team partners. He offers Adam Cole a spot as a tag team partner. I guess tag team wrestling isn’t completely dead.

Steve Corino is going to be the color commentator for some events now. We get a replay of Kevin Steen’s promo. Mike Mondo is wrestling Matt Taven who is debuting in ROH. Corino is still at ring side. After early exchanges, Mondo takes over. They have mirrored each other too much in this match. Kevin Steen interrupts and complains that these guys got a match this week unlike him who has to wait until next week. Steen gives Taven (I originally wrote Maven) an F5. Steen then does the same to Mondo. Steen jaws at Corino as they go to commercial.

They replay the end of last week’s show. Shelton Benjamin was fined $5000 for a chair shot to the head. Charlie Haas is yapping about getting satisfaction. Benjamin says he’ll need to be sued to get the $5000 off of him. Oh & we’re losers if we root for the Briscoes. Jim Cornette says no one in ROH is above the law. I mean, except for everyone who holds the company hostage as we saw last week. Minor detail Jim. Benjamin will not compete until he’s paid the fine. The Briscoes say they’ll whip Benjamin & Haas when they wrestle them again. They said they’re fighting champs. This segment is such a train wreck week in and week out. It’s three terrible promos strung together.

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Kevin’s Blog: #ROH Aired 6 February 2012

Both Stunt Granny and ROH are trying to find the sweet spot.

They start the episode  by reviewing the situation with Jay Lethal and Mike Bennett. Kevin Kelly & Nigel McGuinness introduced the show. Mike Bennett is going to walk away with the TV Title while Maria acts like a dumb ass again. That’s not a good thing. There is no time limit to this match. They’re big on using the time limit which isn’t a bad thing. You can imply a lot with how the match is going. Bennett begs off to start the match. You know how I say that manager’s should be used more often? I’m thinking ROH could use a couple less managers. Brutal Bob the trainer, Truth Martini, Prince Nana & his lawyer. I’m probably forgetting someone. Anyway, over used for their roster size. Match was on pace for the time of the match when the commercial hits.

Glad Nigel tells us it’s a twenty count. What a weird count. Bennett is on the offense after a Jay Lethal miss. They have a dumb slugfest with them punching each other and not moving. ROH consistently does little stuff like that to make their matches lose some polish. Bennett gets a neck breaker for a two count. Maria tries to help Bennett but it backfires and Lethal wins with a crucifix roll up.

Veda Scott is with Eddie Edwards. He pretty much gives the same promo he had last week. Kyle O’Reilly interrupts. O’Reilly wants him to put up or shut up. Edwards says he has to prepare for a match next week. Just terrible.

They go over the Kevin Steen situation for what seems like the 300th time even though I’ve only been watching ROH for the year 2012. Kevin Kelly gets to interview him. Steen has been off for a year but he evidently was allergic to the gym. At least do some cardio fatty. He doesn’t understand why he was kept away for a year. I’m loving the fact that a guy who used to be mentally unstable is now the corporate boy in Davey Richards. He tries to yell at the crowd but half of them are cheering for him. It kind of kills the mood. Jim Cornette interrupts. Jim calls him out for being fat. Steen has terrible come backs. Jim bans the pile driver in any format. Steen repeats his promo before Cornette came out. He’s a main eventer? Really?

Truth Martini and the House of Truth blame the Briscoes for losing the eight man tag match and $10,000. They’re going to shut up the Briscoes according to Roderick Strong. Michael Elgin tells them they’ve written a check they can’t cash. Or something similarly hacky. The Briscoes say they eliminated Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas so the House of Truth had an easy path. Davey Richards says that he’s going to kick Jay Lethal’s head off. Glad he admits that he only has one move. The All Night Express is bummed because of Rhett Titus’ injury. Good to see an injured guy hanging around. They’re setting their eyes on the Young Bucks before going for the tag team titles.

Veda Scott interviews the Young Bucks. Matt & Nick Jackson hit on Veda. They sort of run down their opponents. They hit on her more. I want to put my hand thru this monitor. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas hit the ring. Kelly admits they are running short on time. Haas tells us they’re not wrestling because Steen talked too much and their mic time got cut. So they’re taking their mic time. Benjamin calls for a rematch. They’re going to take the show hostage. Kevin Steen is threatening that too. Why are you running the same angle on the same show? You’re only an hour long.

Dem Boys the Briscoes hit the ring after the commercial break. Todd Sinclair calls for the bell as they brawl.  The action moves into the ring as Cornette rants about the night from hell. I know this is going to cut off but this match is going to be too short without interference. Nigel tells Cornette he’s setting a bad example by caving to those holding ROH for hostage. Amen Nigel. And it cuts off. Whatever. -Kevin

Headlines: Jericho secret not secret enough, Bryan may “headline” MSG, New Japan is still around?

chris jericho airport

(Courtesy SEScoops.com) How did he fit his jacket in that little bag?? 😮

According to PWTorch.com (don’t be stupid, go VIP!), the Wrestling Observer reported that WWE considered going to even greater, more expensive measures to keep the return of Chris Jericho, a total non-secret, a secret.

Since he would likely be anticipated to be arriving at the Memphis airport on Monday, WWE had him fly in a day early and land in Nashville, instead. They could have flown him in via private jet, but opted to roll the dice that a day early in another town would be enough. It wasn’t. A fan snapped a picture of him.

And that picture quickly became a one-day Internet meme, giving Chris “Don’t Call Me Matt Hardy” Jericho even more self-jerkoff fodder.

Wank wank.

Also according to PWTorch.com, Daniel Bryan is scheduled to defend the World Heavyweight Championship at WWE’s March 18 Madison Square Garden house show. It’s every wrestler’s dream to win or defend a WWE title at MSG, so keep this in mind: Psycho Sid did it, too. And he could at least control his dorky smile and laughter, unlike Daniel “Don’t Call Me Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz” Bryan.

L to R: Laughing Asshole, four other people, Laughing Asshole

Finally, according to PWTorch.com, New Japan Pro Wrestling held its annual January 4 show at the Tokyo Dome. The card featured several well-known U.S. wrestlers, including MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Davey Richards. Unlike the glory days of the early to mid-1990s, not appearing were any wrestlers who have drawn money in WWE or, for that matter, TNA in the past 12 months. Ouch, sick burn. -Eric

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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