This is my first ROH experience. After hearing SO much hype about their wrestling from fans of this stuff, I’ll admit I was a little intrigued - although you can imagine a tad skeptical.
In all honesty, this stuff has a LOT to live up to in my books just based upon all the snowflakes thrown around by Other Wrestling Recappers on the net. But I’ll take my chances with any alternative to what the WWE is bringing, so here we go... (Thanks Widro!)
We open our show with HOMICIDE. He promises tonight to be a night the company truly will be Reborn with a new champion crowned. He’s furious at current champ Samoa Joe and vows to kill him. “I hate you, just like Corino! Samoa Joe, your days are over!”
THE CARNAGE CREW discusses the fact it took them 2 years to make it to the main event - and it was supposed to be the biggest night of their lives...until they walked into the locker room and found out someone shit in their bags. Oh lord. Their goal: Find out who did the deed.
Champion SAMOA JOE is kind enough to show us some of the submissions he’ll be using tonight against Homicide, but BRYAN DANIELSON interrupts to show us how they’re really applied. Joe doesn’t take kindly, and after a brief war of words Danielson issues a challenge for the belt on a future program.
DUNN and MARCOS stand around outside the building at 2:00pm, and promise to rock me like a hurricane.
NIGEL MCGUINESS vs. MATT STRYKER
I’ve seen Stryker in TNA before, but it was part of some 6-way matches that pretty much saw him get whipped around by Kazarian if memory serves. CHRIS LOVEY and CM PUNK are our announcers, and welcome us to the show, live from Minnesota on April 23, 2004. We start out with some chain wrestling, which actually serves to get the fans going. McGuiness tries a backslide for 2. Punk uses his outlet to hype his match for Reborn: Stage Two. Stryker tries a bodyslam, but McGuiness hooks Stryker and rolls through. Stryker tries to come back with an anklelock, but McGuiness fights him off and applies a headlock. Stryker works his way out, and slaps on a headscissors. McGuiness tries a submission hold, but gets caught in the center of the ring with an anklelock. McGuiness rolls through to send Stryker face first to the buckle. They battle in the corner, and trade uppercuts. McGuiness tries a dragon screw, but Stryker sits down on him for 2. McGuiness rolls out, and applies a single leg crab - but Stryker’s quick to get to the ropes. Stryker hits a dragon screw, and puts on a Strykerlock...but it’s too close to the ropes. Punk talks trash to Ricky Steamboat who’s in the back apparently - while Stryker heads to the top. McGuiness cuts him off and ties him to the tree of woe. He gets in some shots, lets Stryker go - and heads up. Stryker follows and nails a superplex for 2! McGuiness retaliates with a keylock and sweeps the legs out sending Stryker down and getting 2. Stryker comes back with CM Punk’s DDT finisher, which Punk says he’ll charge him for. It gets 2. McGuiness comes back with a double arm DDT, and applies an interesting wristlock. Stryker escapes, and they wind up in a bridge with Stryker on top. McGuiness tries to bridge out, but his leg has been damaged so much that after 2 attempts to bridge out his leg finally collapses, and Stryker gets the pinfall at 10:11. **1/4 Post-match, Stryker asks the fans to give McGuiness his due, stating “you’re a tough motherfucker” and gives him a hug.
RICKY STEAMBOAT lets us know ROH asked him to referee tonight to ensure a winner in the Cabana/Whitmer feud - and promises to answer the call of duty.
THE RING CREW EXPRESS vs. THE CARNAGE CREW
Loud “DUNN AND MARCOS” chant from the crowd, and the fans aren’t quiet in letting DeVito know how they feel about him either. This is a bonus match. Punk: “In whose mind is this a bonus?” Loc takes down Marcos with a shoulderblock. Marcos tries to hiptoss Loc, but he’s too heavy and Marcos gets hiptossed. Dual dropkicks miss. Marcos stupidly slaps Loc, and gets killed. Tags on each end, and DeVito gets hiptossed. DeVito comes back with a dropkick and starts throwing crossfaces. Dunn comes back with a rana that sends DeVito out. Loc attacks, but the Express are able to knock him out as well. They head up, but Carnage Crew is smart enough to run to the other side of the ring to avoid getting hit! They re-enter, and hit the Express with DDTs. Punk: “A sidewalk slam maneuver! Thank you Tony Schiavone!” DeVito gets a 2 on Dunn. A Carnage Plex gets a 2 for Loc. Loc and Dunn trade chops, but Loc quickly hits a facebuster and neckbreaker combo for 2. DeVito enters and slaps the snot out of Dunn, but Dunn comes back with a Gorybomb! Tags on both ends, and Marcos nails Loc with an enzuigiri! A jumping DDT hits DeVito, and flying senton gets 2. Sliced Bread #2 puts DeVito down for 2! Loc nails Marcos with a brainbuster, and DeVito gives Dunn an overhead t-bone, dropping him on his head!!! DeVito then hits a spike piledriver off the SECOND rope onto Marcos, and that is DEFINITELY it at 8:18! **3/4 The Carnage Crew eliminate the Express as suspects for the bag shitting incident, and will continue their search.
COLT CABANA welcomes us to “Good Times, Great Memories”, live from Chicago! He plugs ROH Wrestling.com, where you can get all the latest scoops up to the minute such as “BJ Whitmer is a douchebag”. He continues, eventually letting us know that he once tag-teamed the mothers of the HAVANA PITBULLS who happen to be within earshot - and aren’t happy. Cabana invites them to take a seat, but they just glare at him. They tell him that they’re only here for money, and to climb to the top. One of the Pitbulls lets Cabana know that if he knocks them again, he may be seeing more of them than he wants to. They wander off, so Cabana welcomes BECKY BAYLESS to the show. She uses the word “flabbergasted”, and Cabana’s so impressed he lets her know how smart she is, and cons her into doing jumping jacks for the fans.
JOHN WALTERS vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE
Walters bites Credible’s fingers to start, causing Credible to scream. Punk notes this is Credible’s first mid-western show since his ECW days...which tells you how much the WWF used him during his run there. Walters works a headlock, and upon release he nails Justin with a shoulderblock. He nails a dropkick, but Credible comes back with the chops. Walters nails a blockbuster for 2. Justin pokes Walters in the eye, but when trying something on the apron, Walters shoves him off and sends Credible to the guardrail. Outside, Walters charges, but takes a drop toe hold right into the barricade. Credible starts whipping Walters into the guardrail over and over, and then rolls him in. Justin hits a vertical suplex for 2. We move to a chinlock, which is followed by a backdrop. Credible applies a camel clutch, but Walters won’t give. He escapes the hold and nails Credible with a swinging neckbreaker. Walters starts in with the clotheslines and heads up. A missile dropkick gets 2. Credible tries a superkick, but it’s blocked, and turned into a deathlock! Justin barely makes the ropes, so Walters goes up...but misses a splash! Credible goes up now, connects on a crossbody...but Walters rolls through, and gets a close 2! Credible snaps off a superkick out of nowhere for 2. Thumb to the throat, Justin sets up That’s Incredible, but it’s turned in midmove into a double knee to the back of the head, and Walters scores the win at 8:51! *1/4 Easily worst match of the night, but no surprise considering the guys involved. They shake hands afterwards, and Credible puts Walters over as the man.
DANNY DANIELS vs. MASADA vs. JIMMY JACOBS vs. ALEX SHELLEY vs. JIMMY RAVE vs. JACK EVANS (in a six-man mayhem match)
Evans informs us that he’s the greatest motherfucker I’ve ever seen, and I know my brother who’s a huge fan would certainly agree. This is my first look at all of these guys, except Shelley whom I’ve seen in TNA. Evans breakdances around the ring for fun. Shelley and Rave start. Shelley works a hammerlock, and rolls through into a mat submission, but Rave makes the ropes. They roll around on the mat, and Rave bridges back for 2. Shelley gets a rollup for 2, but misses a follow up elbowdrop. Jacobs and Daniels tag in. Daniels takes Jacobs down with a shoulderblock, but Jacobs comes back with a headlock takedown face first to the mat. Daniels hits a tilt-a-whirl gutbuster sending the crowd into a frenzy, and follows with a stomp into a senton for 2! Great sequence! Daniels jabs his thumb to Jacobs’ eye, but Jacobs comes back with a rana off the top. Daniels rolls out - and Jacobs decides to go for a tope suicida, only he misses Masada who’s quietly entered the ring, and a clothesline nearly takes Jacobs’ head off. Masada puts Jacobs in a wheelbarrow hold, and swings him around while Evans jumps in and nearly takes the head of Jacobs off by dropkicking him in mid-swing! Masada and Evans go toe-to-toe...and start into a breakdancing contest. Evans wins that one easily. Masada hiptosses Evans, but he comes back with a rana. A dropkicks hits Masada, but the big man comes back with a shoulderbreaker! Masada goes for a tope suicida, but much like the result for Jacobs, Shelley clocks him in the face before he can! Daniels then crotches Masada on the top, and sends him outside. Back in, Shelley hits Rave with a backbreaker! Rave comes back with a Russian legsweep, and holds on with a submission hold. Jacobs and Daniels then wind up in the middle of the ring, with Jacobs working a camel clutch. Evans and Masada enter, and do the same thing. Everyone then starts taking turns with avalanches and other shots to Jack Evans who’s caught in the corner! Evans manages to sidestep the train that’s known as Masada, and now Masada starts taking everyone’s moves! Daniels and Rave then walk into superkicks delivered by Jacobs and Shelley, who will apparently be in a tag-team match tomorrow together. Jack Evans then clears the ring by dropkicking Jacobs and Shelley. Shelley comes right back on Evans with a double leg slam, and follows with a Stunner variation! Masada then enters and nails Shelley with a fisherman’s buster for 2 before Rave saves. Rave tries a tilt-a-whirl crossface, but it’s blocked by Masada. Rave opts instead to just drive his knee into Masada’s skull, and gets 2 before Jacobs saves. Jacobs plans Rave with Sliced Bread #2, and then hits Evans with a Twist Of Fate off the top rope for 2! Daniels blocks the Sliced Bread #2 from Jacobs with a backbreaker, and then KILLS JACOBS with an electric chair piledriver!!!! That’s insane! Evans bounces onto everyone with a sky twisting moonsault on the floor, leaving Shelley and Jacobs alone. Shelley jumps all over the now destroyed neck of Jacobs, and applies a Crossface for the submission at 11:31! ***1/2 Once they got going, that was wild. Everyone shakes hands, even the near dead Jacobs, while the fans give them an appropriate ovation.
Back in the locker room, Shelley makes sure that Jacobs is okay - and informs him that there’s no shame in losing to a man with a God given talent like himself. He also wants to ensure that Jacobs won’t be a weak link in the scramble tag-team match. Jacobs doesn’t respond all that positively, as you may imagine.
COLT CABANA (with CM Punk) vs. BJ WHITMER
RICKY STEAMBOAT gets a massive response from the crowd, as the referee. Cabana enters dressed like Steamboat in the 90’s, and carries a plastic baby doll to the ring...before entering the ring and kicking it around. A pre-cursor to the Snitsky angle seen on RAW last week? Steamboat isn’t much impressed by the antics of Punk and Cabana, but laughs it off. Punk grabs the stick, and discusses the past (Steamboat), present (Cabana and Punk), and the future (getting the hell out of St. Paul). That leads to a “SHUT THE FUCK UP” chant from the crowd. Punk brags about chasing Chris Daniels out of ROH, and promises to do the same to Whitmer.
Punk trips up Steamboat before the opening bell, and launches him face first into the ringpost. “THAT’S FOR JERSEY! YOU DON’T FUCK WITH ME!” The other refs and officials send Punk to the back, and try to get Steamboat back to his feet. Instead, Steamboat rushes to the back to find CM Punk - and we’re left with PAUL TURNER refereeing instead. Cabana bitchslaps Whitmer, and poses. Whitmer returns the favor, and Cabana rolls to the floor. Punk rejoins the commentary booth, laughing like a hyena. Cabana delivers a rana and poses...only to eat a spinning heel kick. Cabana again heads out to the floor. Back in, they trade rollups back and forth, getting 2 each time. Whitmer launches Cabana to the floor - but when he follows he winds up getting whipped to the guardrail by Cabana. Another whip sends him headfirst to the rail this time. A third attempt is reversed, and Cabana hits it this time. Whitmer charges and winds up being backdropped into the crowd! Cabana nails Whitmer with a chair to the back, but Whitmer turns and whips Cabana into a string of chairs in the crowd! Cabana returns the favor moments later. Cabana nails Whitmer over the head with a chair, and throws him back to the ringside area. Back in, Cabana tries a package for 2. Whitmer lays in some chops, but runs into a big boot. The Tornado suplex is blocked, and Whitmer hits a Russian legsweep for 2. The Colt 45 is blocked, but a backdrop driver isn’t, and Cabana gets 2! Running kneelift connects, and Cabana drops the kneepads for a second one...but Whitmer sidesteps and launches him into the corner. They fight to the top rope and Whitmer nails the Exploder off the top, and secures the win at 11:35! ** I haven’t seen any of the buildup to this, but from the looks and sounds of things the blowoff probably should have been MUCH better than that mess.
In the back, DAVE PRAZAK lets us know that Ricky Steamboat is okay, and turns things over to ALEX SHELLEY. Shelley basically says the other 5 guys in the early match were good - but he was the best wrestler so the result was hardly unexpected. He promises to make his mark at Generation Next in May.
DELIRIOUS vs. MATT SYDAL (with Daizee Haze)
I’ve seen both these guys in TNA before, and neither one impressed me at the time. This match kicks off the second half of tonight’s show. Sydal hiptosses Delirious and rides him. They trade wristlocks before Delirious rolls him up in a crucifix package for 2. A clothesline is followed by a rana, and Delirious gets worked up...only to get taken right down by a quick recovering Sydal. Sydal hits a clothesline of his own, and dropkicks him. CM Punk blows this match off completely by asking “who are these jokers?” and Lovey repeatedly lets us know both guys are pretty much jobbers. Sydal nails a spinning heel kick, and follows with a monkey flip. Delirious bitchslaps Sydal with his feet on the mat. Sydal whips out a rana from nowhere, and chops away. A boot to the face is followed by an interesting tornado legdrop out of the corner. Shooting Star Press misses the mark, but Sydal lands on his feet! Delirious comes back with a TKO for 2. They fight up top where Sydal hits a belly to belly superplex and scores the pinfall at 6:23. *1/2 Total filler, albeit solid. Punk’s response to seeing Daizee Haze: “Look at her, would somebody feed her???”
THE HAVANA PITBULLS vs. THE BRISCOE BROTHERS (in a non-title match)
Ah yes, the Briscoe Brothers...the gayest tag-team this side of Lenny and Lodi. They dress totally badass in ROH however, so perhaps the gay thing is strictly TNA. Rocky Romero and Mark Briscoe start. Romero kicks away at Mark and works a wristlock. Mark comes with a legbar, but Romero escapes and kicks him in the back. Mark takes him down, but Romero comes back with a surfboard submission. Tags are made on each end. Ricky Reyes takes Jay down with a headlock, and pounds at him on the mat. Reyes applies a leglock, and Jay has to dive to the ropes for safety. Romero re-enters and rolls Mark up for 2. He kicks away at Mark for awhile and tags back Reyes. Mark shoves him off and tags Jay. Jay unleashes a flurry of punches at Reyes, causing him to roll out to safety. Back in, Jay delivers a snap suplex and tags in Mark. The Briscoes double team Reyes with chops. Romero gets a cheap shot in on Jay, and the Pitbulls double team HIM in the corner with stomps. Jay fights back with a boot to the face of Romero, and chases off Reyes. The Pitbulls and Briscoes mouth off at eachother, and the referee tries to maintain control. The Pitbulls re-enter, and it just breaks down with everyone squaring off and beating the piss out of each other. Reyes in the ring kicks the crap out of Jay, and tags in Romero. Romero drops a knee and gets 2. A running knee strike knocks Jay out, and Reyes enters. He whips Jay, and misses a blind tag made by Mark, allowing a flying clothesline to take out Reyes. In the corner the Briscoes hit double team splashes on Reyes. A double boot takes him down, and Mark gets 2. A Northern lights suplex gets 2. Jay tags back in, dropkicks Reyes in the face and gets 2. Jay connects with a series of double stomps and gets 2. Romero desperately wants in, and helps Reyes get back to his corner. The Pitbulls work over Jay with the double team. Romero chokes out Jay on the mat, and throws a half dozen body kicks to get 2. Romero tries a suplex, but it’s blocked and turned into a fisherman’s buster from Jay! A tag is made, and Mark levels Romero with a huge superkick! A boot to the face drops him, and Reyes enters only to walk into a backdrop driver! Romero is set up on Mark’s knee, and Jay comes flying off the top with a double stomp from a backbreaker position to get 2! Reyes backdrops Jay out of the ring, and Jay takes a MANSIZED bump to the floor! Mark is promptly caught in a backbreaker position...and Romero flies off the top with a kneedrop for 2!!! Another double team sees Jay held in position for Romero to drop a big elbow, giving Reyes 2. Jay comes back with a rollup out of nowhere for 2. Mark is tagged back in, and connects on the springboard dropkick! Uranage suplex gets 2! The Briscoes go for a Doomsday Device...but it’s blocked by the Pitbulls! Jay is nailed with a kneestrike for 2 from Reyes! Romero keeps Mark out of the ring, leaving Jay and Reyes alone. Jay escapes a backdrop attempt, and comes back with a spiked Jay Driller for the win at 18:21! ***1/4 Good stuff, but not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea since it didn’t seem to follow any sort of flow. Mark and Jay pose with their tag-team belts.
CM PUNK vs. BRYAN DANIELSON
Punk gets a loud heel response upon entrance, and when one of the fans won’t stop his catcalling, Punk tells him he wants him to die. RICKY STEAMBOAT comes back to the ring before the match starts, and reminds us that he’s being paid by ROH to be a referee. With that said, he volunteers to referee THIS match instead - and Bryan Danielson has NO problems with letting that go. Danielson and Punk take turns posing for cheers, and you can guess who wins that exchange...prompting Punk to go all Ron Artest on them. Danielson saves the fans from a beating and nails him from behind. Back to the ring - Punk takes a cheap shot on Danielson and immediately dives to the floor. He slowly gets back in, and works a hammerlock. Danielson breaks it up and delivers a European uppercut and chokes him out with his boot. Punk dives back to the safety of the floor. Back in, Danielson works the hammerlock this time but Punk makes the ropes. Punk starts mouthing off at Steamboat...so Steamboat grabs Punk’s head and yells at him like a child. Punk backs down, and turns back to the match. Danielson delivers a monkey flip, and Punk complains about a hair pull to Steamboat. Steamboat asks the opinion of the fans, and they respond with a “BULLSHIT” chant. Steamboat then shows Punk what a hair pull REALLY is, yanking on Punk’s locks. Hah!!! Back to the match, and the wrestlers fight over a knucklelock. Danielson wins the exchange, and bridges Punk back. Punk comes back with a knee to the midsection and a backdrop. Punk is quick to apply a chinlock, driving Danielson’s back into his knee at the same time. Danielson escapes, drives his knee to Punk’s midsection taking him down, and then drops a knee for 2. Danielson applies a full body submission, pulling at the nose and face of Punk during the move. Punk gets out of the hold, and snapmares him over, holding the front facelock. Punk delivers a second snapmare, follows with a rolling fireman’s carry and goes for a split legged moonsault...which Danielson blocks with the knees! Danielson sends Punk to the outside, and follows. Chops are laid in, and Punk is quickly rolled back in. Danielson applies an Indian deathlock, and rolls him right back so he can apply the Dragon sleeper at the same time!!!!! Punk actually DOESN’T tap out, and escapes! Danielson tries to put on an abdominal stretch, but after the previous hold Punk knows he can’t possibly take another hold...and somehow manages to squirm into a backdrop that sends Danielson flying to the outside! Punk follows, and drives Danielson back into the guardrail hard! Back in, Punk drives his knee into the back of Danielson repeatedly, and works a chinlock at the same time. Danielson works his way out, but runs right into a backbreaker getting 2 for Punk! Danielson comes back with some chops, but Punk thumbs him in the eye, and dropkicks him in the back of the head! Punk goes to choke out Danielson with a knee, but Steamboat’s not having any of that shit, quickly counting 4 before Punk breaks. Punk isn’t happy about the fast count and gets in Steamboat’s face, allowing a rollup from Danielson out of nowhere for a fast 2 count! Steamboat basically lets Punk know not to mess with him. Danielson hotshots Punk onto the top rope, and charges. However, Punk sidesteps and gives him a neckbreaker across the top rope, follows with a missile dropkick off the top...and gets 2! Punk moves to a camel clutch, but Danielson won’t give. Punk starts dropping his weight down on Danielson, but does it once too many times and Danielson blocks him via the knee to the crotch. Punk takes a couple of chops, but tries for a Razor’s Edge. That’s blocked because Danielson uses the ropes for leverage, and falls backwards. The momentum backdrops Punk, and Danielson gets 2! Punk charges Danielson in the corner and eats boot. A springboard elbow levels Punk, and the fans start to help Danielson rally! Danielson gives Punk a seriously nasty airplane spin, and follows with a fireman’s carry roll...but can’t follow up because he’s dizzy! Regaining his bearings, Danielson slowly goes up top...but takes too long and misses a flying headbutt! Punk comes right back with a mule kick, but Danielson no sells and applies the Cattle Mutilation!!! Punk escapes the hold with a variation of Unprettier, and follows with a Shining Wizard for 2! Punk and Danielson head up to the top, and Punk tries for the Pepsi Plunge, but it’s blocked! Danielson and Punk continue to fight, and Danielson wins the exchange with a superplex!!! Steamboat starts a 10 count, and both men are up at 9. Punk tries a Shining Wizard, but Danielson ducks, and they wind up bridged back with both shoulders down...and they both kick out at 2! Punk snaps off a crucifix backdrop from nowhere, and is quick to put on a half crab! Punk bridges back while Lovey informs us that this is the hold that caused Raven to tap in their first exchange...but Danielson makes the ropes! Punk heads up, tries something...but it’s blocked by a dropkick from Danielson! A dragon suplex gets 2!!! Danielson throws an abdominal stretch on Punk, and he can’t worm his way out of the hold this time! Punk’s abdominal muscles have been stretched to high hell, and he can’t hang on anymore, tapping to secure the win for Danielson at 25:08! ***1/4 Lovey screams about this being a classic, while the fans give Danielson a standing ovation. I dunno about giving it THAT kind of a rave review, but it was definitely solid, and an interesting showcase of what these guys have. Certainly better than any CM Punk work I’ve ever seen in TNA.
Punk and Steamboat get back into it after the match, but Steamboat tells him he’s got NO grounds for complaint because HE tapped out. COLT CABANA shows back up, and despite the fans chants of “LOOK BEHIND YOU”, Steamboat doesn’t and gets double-teamed. Punk beats Steamboat down while Cabana holds him hostage. The beating continues for nearly a minute before THE BRISCOES make the save, and chase the heels off.
HOMICIDE vs. SAMOA JOE (for the ROH world heavyweight title)
Streamers explode all over Joe before the match starts, and Homicide gets into a maniacal rage over it. Good lord. The fans chant “HOMO-CIDE” for fun. The referee and Joe demand that Homicide take his hat off, which he tosses towards Joe - and attacks in the distraction. Joe comes back with a hiptoss, but walks into a drop toe hold. Joe quickly hits his own drop toe hold, and applies an STF...albeit WAY too close to the ropes. Homicide rolls to the outside and launches a chair into the ring. The referee is quick to get rid of that since this isn’t a hardcore match. Back in, they circle eachother, and Joe manages to take down Homicide. Joe hits a series of crossfaces, and applies an interesting standing headlock/figure four hold. Homicide gets out, and decides to chop away at Joe...which he just GLARES at Homicide for even thinking about trying. One headbutt sends Homicide down. CM Punk rejoins the commentary team. Homicide bites at Joe’s ear, and pounds away at the champion. Homicide tries headbutts, which causes Punk to quip “I guess Homicide didn’t read the chapter in his pro-wrestling handbook about headbutting Samoans”. Homicide applies a figure four sleeper, but Joe makes the ropes. Homicide hits an avalanche, but it does nothing. Joe hits an avalanche of his own, and THAT one is much more like it! Homicide stumbles forward right into a sidewalk slam! He rolls out, but that won’t stop Joe who nails a tope suicida!!!! Very impressive! A backdrop sends Homicide over the guardrail, and when he stands back up, Joe promptly hiptosses him BACK over and to ringside! Back in, Joe gets a 2 count. Joe quickly hits a backbreaker, and works the Samoa Joe special submission. Joe rakes his boot over Homicide’s face in the corner repeatedly, and then follows with 2 straight running knee strikes to the face!!! Joe works a dragon sleeper looking for the tap out, but Homicide escapes and elbows Joe in the face! Homicide goes up quickly, drops a double knee to Joe’s head, and finishes the set with a neckbreaker for 2. Homicide somehow lifts Joe up for a spike piledriver, and gets a 2, ONLY because Joe’s foot gets to the bottom rope! Homicide now works a dragon sleeper of his own, but again Joe puts his foot on the rope! Joe tries to get an Island Driver, but he’s too woozy and Homicide hits an enzuigiri sending Joe to the outside! A BEAUTIFUL tope con hilo hits Joe!!! However, Homicide tries a whip to the big man, and of course it’s reversed sending him into the guardrail. The Ole Leg Kick drops Homicide, and Joe then viciously sends him headfirst into the guardrail again. ANOTHER Ole Leg Kick just seems excessive, but not for Joe. They take it back to the ring where Joe chokes Homicide with his boot. A charge from Joe is blocked with a boot to the face, and Homicide hits a swinging DDT out of nowhere for 2!!! A tornado DDT is blocked by Joe, and an overhead belly to belly sends Homicide into the TURNBUCKLE back first! Joe hits a powerbomb for 2, but holds on and goes for a half crab! Homicide elbows out, but Joe’s on him and applies an STF! Homicide makes the ropes, and hits a Diamond Cutter from nowhere!!!! A clothesline connects, Homicide covers, and Lovey shrieks “NEW CHAMPION” to ensure that we won’t have one here. Joe kicks out at 2. Joe comes back and goes for a choke, but Homicide rolls him up, which only gets 2...but some idiot rings the bell anyway. The referee is quick to make sure everyone knows it’s only 2, so Homicide DECKS him in anger. Joe gives Homicide a big boot to the face, and...the lights go out. Next thing you know, Joe’s eating a fireball courtesy of Homicide, and the whole affair is thrown out at 19:01. ***1/2 Homicide starts taking out EVERYONE in the ring, from Joe to the 3 referees, causing THE ENTIRE LOCKER ROOM to empty and attack Homicide!!!
Joe is being treated for burns in the ring, and in the melee THE SECOND CITY SAINTS attack THE BRISCOE BROTHERS. They fight until Mark hits a shooting star press onto EVERYONE! All the wrestlers start fighting amongst eachother! Colt Cabana hits an Asai moonsault onto about 15 guys! THE RING CREW EXPRESS hit THE CARNAGE CREW with a Stage Dive! DeVito counters with a moonsault off the top onto everyone outside. JACK EVANS decides to hit everyone with a skytwisting moonsault for No Apparent Reason, which makes it that much funnier. RICKY STEAMBOAT re-appears, and takes it RIGHT to Punk and Cabana, beating the shit out of both with chops and hiptosses to a HUGE response from the crowd! Punk’s face makes it look like he’s seen a ghost! Punk tries to get back into the ring, promising “YOU’RE A DEAD MAN!” - but the referees restrain him and drag him off to the back. The Briscoes pose with Steamboat once the rest of the mess has been cleared up, to a loud ovation and “ROH” chant!
Overall, the show was solid. There was nothing to complain about from a technical standpoint. However, very few of the wrestlers actually managed to really grab me. Standouts include Samoa Joe, Homicide, CM Punk, Colt Cabana, and The Carnage Crew - and it’s completely evidenced by their position on the card that they’re quite possibly the only star power they’ve got. Most of their wrestlers, with Bryan Danielson being the most glaring example, are blander than white bread.
Still, the ending was more than enough to keep my interest piqued, and I wish I had a copy of Stage Two, just for the fallout of Steamboat/Punk.
COMING SOON: No Mercy 2004, WWE Jukebox: November 2004 (all Shawn Michaels, all the time!), and ROH Reborn: Completion.
Good review as usual. Stage Two has no Punk/Steamboat fallout since it was in Chicago and Punk is a superface there, so no one was going to boo him. In fact it's really weird if you watch both shows back-to-back like they occured, because the St. Paul show has Punk and Cabana as total heels and the Briscoes as triumphant babyfaces, and then the next night it's totally reversed and they don't even try to pretend about it.
The Punk/Danielson match here is not at all indicative of Danielson's best work (or Punk's, for that matter). I liked the Briscoes/Pitbulls match a little more than you did but other than that I thought mostly the same thing about this show.
Ditto for verbalizing my hangups about Cole, Jeb. Compare that with a typical JR quote, which is heavy on the action and symbolism: "Bah God! Michaels just drove a sledgehammer right into the black heart of the Game!!!