I’m not quite sure what prompted me to come back and review yet another ROH show. See, the first time I recapped a show - I took on the challenge of Reborn: Stage One. Apparently reviewing ROH is like reviewing underground music... If you’re not going to damn it with praise every step of the way, you can expect the hate mail to flood in.
Specifically, thirty-one alert readers seemed to be annoyed at the suggestion that, and I quote, “most of their wrestlers, with Bryan Danielson being the most glaring example, are blander than white bread.” Forget the fact that I certainly handed out more snowflakes towards their matches than I did towards No Mercy which I did around the same time, because I suggested that the lord and savior of ROH Mutants is...well...boring.
So I had that working against me. Not to mention the fact that this show I decided to undertake features an hour long match, and quite frankly the IDEA of watching an hour long match is up there with being thrown into a cage with 100 starving weasels for things that entertain me. I believe I had a gun in my mouth during the Triple H/Shawn Michaels HIAC match this past June.
However, I’ve decided to give it a go... Surely if everyone tells me CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe is a *************** match, then I’ll at least be able to watch it, rather than take on a pack of hungry ankle-biters.
We start with COLT CABANA hosting yet another edition of Good Times, Great Memories - live from Dayton, Ohio...where he apparently walked to, from Chicago. He welcomes his tag-team partner ACE STEEL, and the two chuckle about all the fun they have together. They stumble upon a GROUP OF OLD MEN outside the arena, and start introducing them as members of Generation Next, which is quite funny. From there, they move over to JIMMY RAVE, and let him know they have some GREAT news. “Me and Ace have saved a ton of money switching to Geiko! YES!”
NEW AND IMPROVED CARNAGE CREW vs. THE RING CREW EXPRESS
Everyone shakes hands while CHRIS LOVEY welcomes us to Dayton, Ohio on this June 12, 2004 show. Masada and Danny Daniels clothesline both Express guys, and backdrop Dunn. Marcos gets in a rollup for 2, and then Dunn gets a crucifix for another 2. Dunn delivers a baseball slide dropkick to Masada, but a slingshot plancha fails when he’s caught by the big man - and Masada just swings him into the guardrail. Back in, the new Carnage Crew work together and just plant Marcos with a bulldog off a doomsday device. Daniels chops Marcos, and a clothesline from Masada gets 2. Chris Lovey tells us he’s been hiding behind this made up name too long, and we can call him by his real name...Jimmy Bower. Comedy gold! Carnage Crew decided that perhaps it’s time for Marcos to die, and we see Daniels connect with a sidewalk slam into a backbreak, and it’s followed by a short powerbomb at the hands of Masada for 2. Masada tries another powerbomb, but this time hangs Marcos over the top rope where Daniels is able to deliver a baseball slide dropkick...at which point Masada picks him back up, and powerbombs him HEAD FIRST to the corner turnbuckle. If THAT’S not enough, the Carnage Crew hit double dropkicks to the head of Marcos. Daniels goes for a blind charge, and Marcos whips out a rana from nowhere, sending Daniels face first into the buckle! Dunn tags in, and hits Daniels with a gutwrench powerbomb. He goes to chop at Masada, but of course when you’re about 3 times the size of your opponent, you are NOT gonna feel the chops. Masada casually kills Dunn with a Northern lights suplex to the corner turnbuckle. Yeeeow!!! Marcos rushes in, and tries Sliced Bread #2 on Masada...only Daniels is standing right behind both of them, and catches Marcos on his way over, and tombstones him!!!! Masada then hits a fishman’s buster on Dunn, and the duo finish Marcos with a double backbreaker at 6:01. **1/4 Just an absolute massacre.
TJ DANIELS and JT STAR vs. ALLAH HUSSEIN and SHAWN OSBORNE (in a do or die tag-team match)
A very vocal fan announces that “WE WANT SONJAY”. Before anything even happens, HOMICIDE hits the ring, and DAVE PRAZAK is fast behind him. Prazak wants to know what he’s doing here, and Homicide says he wants to kill someone, and tells Prazak to get out before he kills his white ass. Prazak complies, and before you know it - Homicide is going to work on every single one of the jobbers in the ring. We see backdrops to the floor, Diamond Cutters off the top, big boots to the face, and various other acts of violence. The fans join in with a “FUCK ‘EM UP HOMICIDE, FUCK ‘EM UP!” chant. This encourages him to do just that, as does a “HIT THE REF” chant. “COP KILLER, COP KILLER, COP KILLER...” Homicide grabs the stick and promises to do something disrespectful to the company tonight.
MATT SYDAL (with Daizee Haze) vs. JIMMY JACOBS vs. LOC vs. DELIRIOUS vs. RAINMAN vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN (in a six man mayhem match)
Jacobs and Delirious start. They trade wristlocks, and Delirious rolls Jacobs back for 2. Jacobs and Delirious start huffing back and forth for God Knows What Reason - and eventually Jacobs just boots Delirious in the midsection. A neckbreaker drops Delirious so Jacobs is able to jump up and down like a trampoline on the fallen man. Coleman tags in, and works over Jacobs with a series of punches...followed by a spinning Rocker dropper. A springboard moonsault is blocked by the knees of Jacobs, so Rainman enters and helps Coleman hit a splitta’. Matt Sydal dropkicks both guys, and hits a rana on Coleman. A springboard moonsault into a senton gets 2! Loc enters and starts chopping away on Sydal. A running clothesline in the corner takes Sydal down, and a running knee knocks him silly. Delirious enters, and promptly gets killed by Loc with a Saito suplex. He then hits a Saito suplex on Sydal, but gets caught with a quarter nelson into a Russian legsweep by Coleman. Delirious dropkicks Coleman in the face, and rolls him up into a full body dragon sleeper. Rainman isn’t thrilled with his partner getting attacked, and nails an ace crusher on Delirious and hangs on. Sydal forces a break and slaps on a submission, but that’s of course broken up by the forgotten Jacobs and his camel clutch. Loc kicks Jacobs in the back of the head, and folds him up in a cross leg Boston crab. Coleman nails a Yakuza kick on Loc, but Delirious gives Coleman a Shining Wizard, which is then followed by a spinning heel kick by Rainman, and THAT’S followed by a superkick by Sydal, before Jacobs hits a Yakuza kick. It comes full circle back to Loc who packages Jacobs for 2. Everyone spills out to the floor, and Delirious kills them all with a swanton off the top onto everyone! Coleman avoids the attack though, and is back in the ring...and now HE kills everyone (again, we’re talking some serious reborn action here) with a springboard plancha. Sydal and Rainman wind up back in together and each take a side to deliver sky-twisting moonsaults OVER the top rope to folks on the floor! Rainman and Jacobs head in together, and Jacobs is planted with a suplex into a chokeslam! Rainman goes for a pin, and completely doesn’t see Sydal come zooming back into action with a crazy Shooting Star Press off the top!!! That gets 2 before Delirious makes the save! SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, Delirious hits a pumphandle piledriver that appears to kill Sydal, and THAT doesn’t end it because Coleman breaks it up at 2! Coleman then decides two broken necks are better than one, because he snaps off a crucifix piledriver (yes, you read that right) - and gets 2 on Delirious! Loc bulldogs Coleman off the top for 2. Jacobs gets back into the mix and goes after Loc. Sliced Bread #2 is blocked, and Loc chops away at him on the top rope. Jacobs tries to escape, and actually hits a super Sliced Bread #2...and it gets the win at 9:58! *** Fun stuff, and Sydal impressed me here.
ALEX SHELLEY (with Generation Next) vs. MATT STRYKER
Stryker’s slaps hands with all the fans on his way in, because he’s a happy-go-lucky blue chipper who’s just so excited to be here...and HEAVEN forbid he try to stand out. Shelley cuts a pre-match promo, introducing his stablemates to virtually no response. Shelley offers a choice to Stryker: Leave, or get beaten down then leave. He chooses the latter - and promptly gets beaten down. Shelley wraps a chain around his hand, and knocks Stryker out. He immediately starts bleeding, and that draws out JIMMY RAVE and JOHN WALTERS. The two start beating on Jack Evans for some reason, despite Jack doing the least amount of damage to Stryker...and POWERBOMB HIM OVER THE TOP STRAIGHT TO THE WOODEN FLOOR!!! Holy fucking shit! The fans of course respond accordingly and sit on their hands. I hate these fans. A bloodied Stryker is carried to the back by the referees, while Walters calls out Generation Next...and they want it NOW.
JOHN WALTERS and JIMMY RAVE vs. GENERATION NEXT (in a handicap match)
As soon as the bell rings, Stryker fights off the referees - and rejoins his buddies in the ring, so we’re even at 3 guys each. The faces clear the ring, highlighted by Stryker launching Aries over the top in gorilla press style onto his friends. Shelley opts to start for his team, and Walters for his. Shelley tries to lock up Walters in a tequila sunrise style hold, but Walters makes the ropes - and Roderick Strong tags in. Walters takes him down in the test of strength, and gets 2. Walters goes for a spinning toe hold, and tries to avoid the kicks from Strong, but can’t. Strong finds himself locked in a camel clutch - but GenNext saves. Rave enters, and puts a headlock on Strong. Lovey tells us that if Rave loses one more match, he’s losing his job. More on that later. Stryker comes in at Strong, and kicks him in the back of the head for 2. He tags out quickly to Walters, who is prompt to pull Strong back to the face corner - and tags in Rave who works a kneebar. He turns that into a single leg crab, but Strong makes the ropes. Stryker kicks at the hands of Strong - and Walters comes in trying to put on a figure four. He fails, but Stryker doesn’t with the shiftbreaker and dragon screw! Walters puts on a half crab and goes for a tag, but Stryker is starting to fade, and doesn’t want in. Rave takes it instead, and hangs on to the hold. Strong manages to fight out, and goes to Aries - but Rave chops away. He goes for a rana, but it’s blocked - and all 3 members of Generation Next hit the ring, and give him a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo! Aries drops a knee, and puts on a camel clutch. Shelley enters and pounds at the back of Rave. Rave starts to fight, but a backdrop puts him down for 1. Strong joins the party, and chops at Rave. Rave isn’t out yet though, and chops right back! Strong pokes Rave in the eye - and Generation Next starts coming in and out, hitting running knees in the corner! Aries drags Rave towards the face corner, and just before a tag is made Aries spits in the eyes of Walters! Walters FLIPS, and that gives us time for heel shenanigans. Aries and Strong hold Rave hostage while Shelley jumps over Rave’s back and onto his head before dropkicking him in the face! It gets 2, because of the ref being really out of position. Shelley starts a surfboard style hold, and then turns it into a self-choke with crossed arms on Rave! Strong heads in, and gives Rave a backbreaker...only Rave rolls dangerously close to a tag - so Strong has to quickly pull him back. Aries gives Rave a slingshot senton, and Shelley puts on a Liontamer. Walters FINALLY has enough, and gets in a shot at Shelley, chopping at the back to prevent a tag. Rave starts fighting his way towards his corner, and actually tags Stryker, but RIGHT before the tag Aries distracts the referee - and when he turns, he orders Stryker back to his corner. Stryker throws a shit fit, and it gives the heels another triple team chance, and they stomp away. Shelley holds a dragon sleeper over the top rope, releases, and Aries yanks Rave down for 2. A front facelock is applied - but Rave is fighting again. Strong pulls the ref over AGAIN as the tag is made, and for a second time the referee chases the faces away because he saw nothing! Rave tries to get away, and gives Strong an enzuigiri! Aries eats 2 consecutive backbreakers, and Shelley meets the Shining Wizard, and NOW Stryker can tag! Aries is backdropped and then powerslammed for 2! Shelley meets the rolling Germans, taking three of them! Roderick Strong takes a rolling German, and Walters follows with a running kneelift to the back. Rave hits a rana on Strong, and Stryker sees Aries going to attack off the top, blocking him with a superplex!!! Walters nails Shelley with a sitdown Stunner, and the two fight to the floor. Shelley whips Walters to the guardrail. Meanwhile, in the ring, Rave catches Strong with a crossface! He doesn’t see Aries, who flies on top of him with a 450 splash!! Rings of Saturn are applied to Rave...and he gives it up at 17:35! ***3/4 Killer tag-team match, and Rave’s loss means he’s fired. Wade Keller reported that Rave had been fired In Real Life, and wasn’t informed of this until AFTER the match...but it wound up being a big Internet work, because Rave would find himself with a job again shortly.
DAVE PRAZAK takes us through halftime with CM PUNK. Punk says he’s got the greatest win/loss record in ROH, and his record in big matches is unparalleled. Raven’s no longer here because of him. Neither’s Chris Daniels. AJ Styles, Homicide, the list goes on and on. Punk feels he only needs one title shot to seal the deal, and will knock Joe off the mountain after 14 months. “I win big matches! Ask the Briscoes! Tonight is no different. So Samoa Joe, when I see you in the ring tonight, kiss your belt goodbye.”
LES THATCHER is elsewhere with SAMOA JOE, and Joe starts bitching about the Pure Title. He says it’ll never be held in the same regard as the World Title because he’s established his belt. Turning to Punk, Joe realizes that he’s won a lot of big matches, but he reminds everyone he’s the champ - and will retain.
CHAD COLLYER vs. HYDRO vs. RAY GORDY vs. SUPERSTAR STEVE (for a spot in the pure title tournament)
This match is already well underway when we arrive - due to the fact the crowd absolutely shit all over this one when it was live at the arena. Lovey passes it off as a time constraint issue. After about a minute Hydro locks Collyer in a submission, and Collyer taps - so Hydro advances to the tournament.
As Hydro celebrates his victory in the back - GENERATION NEXT approaches him in the dark. They said they were impressed, and offer Hydro a chance to shoot to the top by joining their group. Hydro says the only thing on his mind is the Pure Title, and turns them down for now.
CM PUNK vs. SAMOA JOE (for the ROH world heavyweight title)
Before the match starts, LES THATCHER is brought to the ring. Thatcher thanks Joe for having helped establish the ROH title as a world’s heavyweight title thanks to his 14-month reign. So, in honor of his accomplishments - Joe is presented with a brand new world’s heavyweight title.
The boys shake hands before the match, though Punk isn’t quick to let go - and has some words for Joe. We have a bit of a feeling out process before Joe gets in the first shot; a kick to the leg. A couple more take Punk down, so Punk rolls out to prevent Joe from getting too big an advantage. They take it to the mat, where Joe wins that exchange as well - countering every hold Punk tries. Joe takes Punk down, and finds himself in a spot to really lay waste to Punk...but instead pats him on the back, and lets up. Oy, THAT may come back to bite in the ass. Punk gets a headlock applied, but Joe fights it by grinding his forearm into Punk’s ear, and rolls around getting Punk’s shoulders pinned for a couple of 2’s. Punk keeps working the headlock though, and starts using his own elbow to grind Joe’s face. Joe escapes, and starts laying waste with some vicious chops and right hands. Punk crumbles in the corner - so Joe brings him out to the middle of the ring. Punk sees an opportunity to re-grab the headlock, and starts working it again. Joe gets away again, and when they meet face to face Joe bitch slaps Punk. Punk turns around and sucker punches Joe - and then shoulderblocks him. That serves to piss Joe off, and he starts armdragging Punk around. Punk does sneak in a victory roll from nowhere though, and gets 2! Joe comes back by sweeping Punk’s legs out, and goes for his kick - but Punk ducks out of the way. After a brief period of trying to figure out what they’re gonna do next, Punk decides he’d like to try the knuckle lock. Joe suckers him in, and then starts kicking at the legs of Punk before going hardcore - peppering Punk with a series of punches. Punk covers up, and the referee orders a break. Back to the middle, this time they go for the knuckle lock for real - and Joe wins THAT with ease. A hammerlock attempt is blocked when Joe just drives Punk back to the corner, and Joe starts headbutting! After some face washing by Joe, Punk rolls to the outside and wants a timeout. The fans get on him, and Punk gets in the face of a couple of the fans. Finally he heads back into the ring, and promptly gets the shit kicked out of him. Punk takes a chop to the back, and realizes that a big kick is coming - so he times it perfectly, and winds up hitting a dragon screw, and goes back to the headlock. Punk lays in a bunch of great crossfaces, and now it’s Joe that needs to head outside for safety. A CM Punk fan gets in Joe’s face, and Joe threatens to knock his head off...causing the fan to flinch something fierce, and Joe yuks it up with the rest of the fans. Just to make it a thousand times worse on the guy, Punk rolls out to shake the hand of his fan...then does the Ric Flair pullback, and rolls back into the ring. Now that’s comedy! Back in, Joe immediately comes back into this by this time hitting his back chop/big kick combo, but misses a followup knee drop. Punk works a rear chinlock, and drives his knee into Joe’s back. Joe escapes, and again hits the chop/big kick, and this time connects on the knee drop for 2! The announcers both note that Joe is breathing a little heavy, and suspect he’ll be going in for the kill because his conditioning won’t allow him to stay in it much longer. And just as they say that, Joe hits a 20 second standing brainbuster, and gets himself another 2. They go to the corner where Joe works in another vicious series of punches, but Lovey notes that Joe doesn’t quite have the fire behind them he normally does, likely due to the fact we’re now pushing 20 minutes. Punk rakes the eyes of the champion, and goes to the headlock again. Joe backdrops Punk, but the challenger hangs on, refusing to ever let go of this headlock. Joe rolls out, so Punk begins to chop away at the tired champ, and runs his face across the ropes. Joe starts to come back, so Punk rolls out - and pulls Joe to the outside! They brawl on the floor, and Punk winds up collapsing against the guardrail when he takes a headbutt. Joe then runs Punk across the floor and launches him into the opposite guardrail! Joe takes a seat on a chair, while holding Punk down with a foot on his face. Joe then decides to run him back to the other side once again, but Punk reverses the run - and sends Joe headfirst to the rail! Punk takes a head of steam towards Joe...but Joe stands, and runs back at Punk - so Punk scurries into the ring where it’s safe! The fans erupt in a back and forth “LET’S GO JOE/LET’S GO PUNK”, and they take the momentum to square off in the middle. Punk’s an idiot for even trying that, because a boxing/kickboxing match is won EASILY by Joe, and he hammers into Punk something fierce! A right hand in the corner leaves Punk wondering if he still has a nose. Joe whips Punk into the buckle - and Punk flips over the top to the ring apron...where Joe easily delivers a shot that sends him sprawling to the floor. With Punk dizzy, Joe nails a TOPE SUICIDA! The fans show their appreciation, and get even more fired up when Joe sets up the Ole Ole Kick. Punk stands and blocks it - then jumps to the apron, and tries a rana...but Joe is strong enough to catch him in mid-move, and then swings Punk headfirst to the guardrail!!! For a second time the Ole Ole Kick is setup, but this time it connects! Joe drags Punk to another corner, and goes for a second one...and hits again! Lovey feels that Joe should go for the Island Driver in the ring NOW, but Joe instead goes for a third Ole Ole Kick. Lovey speculates his outside beating on Punk is because the crowd was 50/50, and now he’s out to destroy Punk’s popularity by just outright squashing him. Punk slowly crawls back into the ring, and eats a sidewalk slam that gets 2!!! To the corner, Joe unloads with his punches and chops - then connects with his running boot scrape! Punk is on the verge of being finished here. They go to the middle, and Joe slaps on a figure-four sleeper hold. Punk rolls out of the hold, and tries to put on a submission, but Joe’s right on the ropes. Punk instead goes for a springboard crossbody...and hits it! We’ve gone past the 30 minute mark now. Punk kicks Joe in the face several times, including one that looks like a KO - but Joe manages to kick out at 2. A side Russian legsweep is followed by the Trailer Hitch, but Joe’s got large legs and Punk has a seriously hard time keeping it on. Punk makes the idiot mistake of headbutting Joe - and Joe turns around to headbutt Punk over and over! Joe puts on an abdominal stretch, and rolls backwards into a pinning combo...and gets another 2! Joe’s frustration of not being able to put Punk away is starting to show. Punk and Joe trade chops, and somehow Punk knocks Joe down - and follows with a running knee drop! Punk whips Joe to the corner turnbuckle and head up - connecting with the guillotine off the second rope! Joe kicks out of a number of 2 counts. Dropkick to the back of the head gets 2. Punk makes another in his series of stupid mistakes tonight by mocking Joe - and gets backdropped because of it! Punk comes right back though, and throws some forearms before applying a sleeper hold. With Joe as tired as he is, he fades quickly. With the help from his fans, Joe does rally...and gets in a 180 degree enzuigiri out of nowhere - and Lovey shrieks he’s just saved the title. Lovey is not exaggerating. Joe gets a backbreaker, and follows with a Boston crab while Joe’s knee is driven into Punk’s back. Joe then changes, and just holds it while SITTING on Punk’s back...so Punk’s crawl to the ropes probably feels like a mile. He does make it while we pass 40 minutes, and the fans are solidly behind Joe. Joe kicks Punk in the head several times in the corner, and Punk falls. Joe hits a running knee, and plants Punk on the top rope. Lovey announces that this is the longest world title match in ROH history. Punk fights off Joe on the top rope by elbowing him off - and Punk then drops an elbow off the top for 2. Punk then somehow places the huge man on the top rope, and hits a belly to back superplex!!! Punk gets 2. He slowly attacks now, as he’s exhausted, and Joe plays possum before firing off a fast and furious powerslam - and follows with the cross arm breaker!!!! Punk rolls to the safety of the ropes, and Joe calls for the Island Driver. He goes for it, but Punk rolls over the top into a sunset flip for 2! Joe figures he’s had enough of Punk’s shit, powerbombs his ass and then rolls over into the sitdown Boston crab with Punk NOWHERE near the ropes. He turns that into an STF, but Punk refuses to tap! A slow crawl sideways gets Punk to his nearest rope, and he escapes! Joe is PISSED. He tries something in the corner, but Punk somehow fires off a big boot that stuns Joe! Punk again puts the big man on the top...and nails a super rana!!!! He covers...for 2! Punk hits a mule kick, follows with a clothesline, and gets another close 2. Punk hits a bunch of forearms, but Joe pancakes the challenger, then sunset flips him, and THEN puts him in the rolling cradle and takes Punk around the ring! That gets 2! Joe goes for a lariat, but Punk ducks and hits a crucifix rollup for 2! Joe stands, and crushes Punk with a lariat this time - and everyone figures that’s it...but Punk finds it in himself to kick out at 2 again! 50 minutes have passed. Punk and Joe start slugging it out, and Punk hits a Shining Wizard!!! He dives in for a cover, the fans count along, but it’s only 2! Punk hits a low blow, but Joe manages to quickly recover, and hits a knee first atomic drop, which I’ve never seen before but looks painful. A submission is applied, and the fans chant “PLEASE DON’T TAP!” He doesn’t, and makes the ropes. Joe heads up and goes for his Muscle Buster, but Punk slips away - and it’s a good thing he did, because you can bet he’d be finished otherwise! They fight on top, and Punk HITS THE PEPSI PLUNGE!!!!!!!!!!! He can’t cover though, and rolls out because his knees hurt so badly, and screams on the floor!! Joe is down, Punk is down! The referee goes to check on Punk, and Punk gets into the ring. It’s too late to cover, because Joe stands. They each have the same idea and go for clotheslines, taking eachother out. Punk hits a Shining Wizard, hits a vertical suplex, but whatever he tries next is blocked by a dragon screw by Joe!!! Joe starts chopping at the back of CM Punk, places him on the top, and pulls him back down to the mat with a full nelson drop! The boys get into a slugfest - and Punk hits a DDT out of it!!! He covers, and gets 2! And that does it as time expires at the 60:00 mark. ****1/4 The fans chant for 5 more minutes, but the ring announcer declares the match a draw.
Joe stands with his two title belts, kissing them while the fans REALLY try to goad him into going into overtime. However, before any decision on that can be made, HOMICIDE attacks with a chair - knocks out the EXHAUSTED Joe, and spits on the champion. The ref gets involved, and he gets knocked out! So does the ring announcer! Homicide grabs the stick and tells Joe “this shit’s not over”, before turning to the crowd and screaming “fuck yall!” Homicide tears up the ringside, smashing chairs and tables all around. CM Punk stands, and actually chases off Homicide. The fans start chanting “match of the year”, and Punk grabs a mic. Punk says he’s never been as pissed off at anyone as he is at Homicide right now, stating that the ROH title is the most important belt in North America. “And it’s because of you,” pointing at Joe. “This is your belt.” The two men embrace in the middle of the ring. “FUCK ANYBODY WHO TRIES TO STOP US!” And they shake hands.
JACK EVANS and AUSTIN ARIES (with Generation Next) vs. DAN MAFF and BJ WHITMER (with Allison Danger) vs. THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. ACE STEEL and COLT CABANA (in an ultimate endurance match - first fall, submission match)
Steel starts with Jay - and hits a fisherman’s suplex. He moves into an ankle lock, before going into a full half crab. Jay makes the ropes, and Cabana tags himself in. He goes for a couple of pinfalls, but it’s submissions only - so it goes nowhere. Mark heads in, runs Cabana to the corner and tags Jay back in. Jay chops at Cabana and uses a single leg takedown. Cabana comes back with a tornado DDT, and works a double arm submission. Aries tags himself in by slapping Cabana hard while Jay tags Mark. Aries gets caught in a double toehold, but gets away and puts Mark down with a fireman’s carry. A reverse toehold is worked, but Mark makes the ropes. Mark comes back with a figure four sleeper, and slaps at Aries’ back. Aries fights free of the hold, and goes to a headlock. It’s leg go, and Aries hits a shoulder block. Mark comes back with a Russian legsweep, and applies a submission - but Jack Evans is quickly in to break it up. Aries rolls Mark up with a crucifix, and overhooks the arm...but Jay breaks it up before the submission. Aries with a backbreaker and drops an elbow. Aries tears at the shoulder, and fishhooks Briscoe at the same time! The referee orders a stop to the fishhook, but Evans comes in and dropkicks Mark in the mouth. Jack officially tags himself in now, and moonsaults Mark. A springboard moonsault is blocked with the knees, and now Mark starts hitting backbreakers, one after another! Jay’s in with another backbreaker, and stomps at Evans. The announcers are stressing that Evans is screwed after his earlier beating, while Jay hits another backbreaker, and drops his knee on it about a thousand times. Jay applies torture rack, and when Aries tries to save Evans is simply used as a battering ram to get rid of him. Mark springboard in with a legdrop on Evans, and follows with a surfboard, but Aries saves this time with a dropkick. Dan Maff wanders over to Austin’s corner, and slaps him in the mouth! They start duking it out while Ace Steel heads in against Evans. Steel gives him a gorilla press, and goes to Cabana. He puts on a backbreaker submission, but Jay Briscoe tags Cabana out. Camel clutch is applied in the middle of the ring, but Jack still doesn’t give! So Jay puts Jack on the top rope, but Evans hits a Sliced Bread #2 to save himself! Dan Maff tags in and clears the ring of everyone except Evans. Whitmer joins Maff, and hits a double team backbreaker on Evans! The Boston crab finally puts Jack out of his misery at 13:46.
DAN MAFF and BJ WHITMER (with Allison Danger) vs. THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. ACE STEEL and COLT CABANA (in an ultimate endurance match - second fall, scramble match)
Mark and Jay work over Whitmer in the corner, chopping away. Simultaneous dropkicks drop Whitmer, so Maff gets in and kills both Briscoes. Ace Steel flies off the top with a dropkick to the back of Maff’s head, and when Maff rolls out, Steel follows with a tope suicida!!!!! Cabana gets in against Whitmer, hits a rana, and gets 2! Whitmer comes back with a German, then hits a dragon suplex at the same time as Briscoe nails HIM with a sunset flip! Jay and Whitmer get into a slugfest in the middle of the ring. Mark and Steel get in. Steel hits Jay with an exploider suplex, while Mark does the same thing to Whitmer on the other side! So Steel and Mark square off. They trade a number of punches, and Mark hits a fisherman’s buster on Steel!!!! Maff nails a half nelson suplex on Mark, but immediate eats the boot of Colt Cabana! Cabana slingshots Jay to the floor, goes for the Colt 45 on Mark, but Maff steals Mark on his own shoulders! Whitmer hits a Shining Wizard off the top onto Mark, Maff covers, and scores the win at 18:02! So they’re out, and we’ve got one fall left...
DAN MAFF and BJ WHITMER (with Allison Danger) vs. ACE STEEL and COLT CABANA (in an ultimate endurance match - third fall, anything goes match)
Colt Cabana grabs the stick before the final fall, and wants a 20 second timeout. He reminds everyone he’s part of the tag-team champions, and that last time they were in Dayton they demolished Maff and Whitmer. Maff and Whitmer aren’t having it - and attack. They hit double spinebusters, and Maff grabs the microphone while standing on Cabana’s face. “As you were saying, bitch?” Maff swears on a stack of bibles that they aren’t leaving until they take one of the Second City Saints home in a box. Maff and Whitmer hit double lowblows, then powerbomb each guy into the corner! The Prophecy poses, and go back on the attack. Steel grabs a chair and cracks Whitmer over the head. Whitmer juices, and Steel stays on him. Whitmer is tossed into a stack of chairs at ringside, and he grabs Allison Danger - throwing HER into the guardrail! Whitmer’s face is a bloody mess. They head back in, and Steel tries to open the cut further. An implant DDT from Steel gets 2. Steel grabs the chair, and runs outside to hit Maff over the head. He cracks Maff one more time in the back, then goes back to Whitmer in the ring to hit a dropkick. Outside, Cabana rams Maff’s head into a steel chair over and over and over. The Saints grab a whole piece of guardrail, and use it to run over Maff! Maff’s head is opened up now as well, but we don’t see it long before the steel ROH sign it thrown on him. Cabana squeezes Maff’s head like a zit to draw more blood! Everyone heads back inside the ring, and the Saints continue their domination of the Prophecy. They pound away with no real flow to their attacks. Maff and Whitmer start chopping each other for some reason...but it fires them both up, and they attack! Whitmer launches Cabana into the guardrail, and Maff does the same to Steel! Maff suplexes Steel on the exposed wooden floor, and grabs himself a chair. Cabana winds up the recipient of the chair to the head. Maff throws Steel into the stands, and they start using the chairs setup as weapons. Steel throws Maff into about 50 chairs, and he knocks them all over! Steel hits Maff with a Rubbermaid, but Whitmer’s on him, and hits Steel with a chair to the head twice! Maff grabs the Rubbermaid, and slams Steel. Elsewhere, Cabana has a Rubbermaid thrown on him via Whitmer. They continue through the crowd, and Cabana tries to make his way to higher ground for safety. Steel hits Maff and Whitmer with a chair, and Cabana climbs the bleachers! He flies off with a splash onto Maff and Whitmer! Steel hits Whitmer with a sitdown piledriver onto a chair!!! Steel then throws Maff back to ringside, and heads over the guardrail with an axehandle. Cabana KILLS Whitmer with a chairshot to the face, and Steel also hits Maff with a less impressive shot. Cabana and Whitmer return to the ringside area. Steel and Maff do battle in the ring. Maff flips Steel off, and starts to chop away. Steel comes back with a double underhook knee to the head, then hits the tiger driver, nearly dropping Maff on his head...for 2! Whitmer gives Steel a brainbuster, and gets 2 before Cabana makes the save! The fans are silent at this point, really drained from the last few hours of action. Cabana hits a beautiful moonsault on Whitmer for 2! Whitmer and Maff come back with a German suplex/lariat on Cabana for 2. Steel gives Maff a back elbow and powerbombs Whitmer! Steel grabs a table, and asks Cabana for help. They set it up, and put Whitmer on top. Maff is put in a position to go through the table with Whitmer on it, but Maff hits a hotshot on Cabana, and Whitmer goes hit to hit the Exploder off the top and through the table!!!!! Maff catches Cabana with the Burning Hammer on the debris, covers, and score the HUGE win at 38:56!! ***1/4 for the whole affair.
LOC is interviewed after the show, and wonders why Masada would ruin his moment? What about Danny Daniels ruining their night? Loc says DeVito’s getting healed up, and when he returns, they’re dead. “Scramble cage, that was NOTHING!”
ALLISON DANGER celebrates the win by MAFF and WHITMER. Maff says that tonight is going to be remembered as the night that the Prophecy died...causing Danger to wonder what he’s rambling about. Maff says they no longer have to fight against the Code Of Honor, and they don’t need a leader anymore. “We don’t need any women at ringside.” Maff feels their debt to Christopher Daniels is now paid in full, and wants to make some noise of their own. “Maff and Whitmer will go down as the best god damn tag-team in the history of Ring Of Honor.” Danger is shaking her head. Whitmer agrees - and they walk off together leaving Danger alone. Danger: “The Prophecy will never die!!!” And we fade.
So lessee... The grand total finds us with an average of about 3.3 stars per match, which certainly makes for quite the wrestling show. I could have done with a less garbagy brawl to end things, because they were on a roll with the straight wrestling.
I will note that this is still not a product you can bottle and feed to the masses, especially the World Title match - because it did drag at points, and I found myself asking if it would ever end. The match could have been 15 minutes shorter and still had the same overall impact, but that’s just minor nitpicking to an overall pretty darn good wrestling show.
Great article Justin, I agree with 95% of what you wrote. A very informative look back. Thanks. Just to support you on a few of the WWF Mistakes. 1. Having a main event match as a four corner match with a McMahon in each corner was a huge turn-off.