ROH: All Star Extravaganza II: December 4, 2004: Elizabeth, New Jersey
ROH … ALL STAR EXTRAVAGANZA II … December 4, 2004 … Elizabeth, New Jersey
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
BG says: The show starts with Good Times Great Memories making its triumphant return. Colt Cabana is all upset because he couldn’t pay his prostitute bill because Generation Next put him out of ROH. Bobby Heenan comes out as the special guest. Colt seems a little nervous around Heenan, so he brings out partner Jimmy Jacobs to take the heat. Heenan thinks that Cornette is the greatest talking manager of all time, but Heenan is better armed for their debate tonight.
Alison Danger has a contract for Maff and Whitmer to face the Carnage Crew at Final Battle in a Fight Without Honor, and all she needs is some signatures. The FWH is the most brutal match in ROH history you know.
JZ says: Bobby Heenan and Colt Cabana could totally host their own talk show. Poor Jimmy Jacobs just looks lost in this whole scene. Ho, ho, ho … up your tree.
The past fights without honor were Low Ki versus Samoa Joe from “Glory By Honor” on October 5, 2002; Homicide versus Trent Acid from “Wrestle Rave ’03” on June 28, 2003; and John Walters versus Xavier from “Final Battle 2003″ on December 27, 2003. Just in case you were wondering.
MATCH #1: Davey Andrews, Anthony Franco, Shane Hagadorn & Matt Turner vs. Special K
BG says: Angel Dust and Andrews start. Dust hits a cobra clutch back breaker and kicks him in the back. Deranged and Turner tag in and Deranged hits a clothesline in the corner. He hits a high knee in the corner and a spinning kick. Hagadorn and Dixie tag in and Dixie hits a leg lariat. Franco and Izzy tag in and Izzy hits a Blue Thunder driver. He hits a knee lift but misses a springboard 450 splash. Andrews tags in and cleans house on Special K. He hits a big back elbow in Izzy and the match breaks down. All the students punch on Special K but end up getting run into each other and planted. Dust hits a DVD on Hagadorn but falls back into Izzy who gets rolled up by Andrews for the win. Special K were their usual selves and the ROH school students didn’t look too out of place either. Only Turner looked a little nervous in the ring. After the match Special K turns on Angel Dust, Dixie and Becky Bayless to finally get that feud moving.
JZ says: It’s good to know that the four best wrestlers from Special K are the ones that survived. There wouldn’t be too much to get excited about if Lit, Cloudy, Hijinx and Yeyo were the four feuding members. This is a good place to use the ROH students too, so everybody wins. Top graduate Davey Andrews gets the pin on Dixie with a rollup in 4:48. Special K gets into a big brawl afterwards. Not a great match or anything, but a very good way to start the show.
Samoa Joe Promo
BG says: Samoa Joe is ready to show Punk that he should have been careful what he asked for, because he’s going to get it. Ricky Steamboat comes up after the promo and asks Joe if he can watch the match at ringside. Joe says yes.
JZ says: Samoa Joe cuts an awesome promo, as per usual. You gotta love Joe.
MATCH #2: Jay Lethal vs. Weapon of Mask Destruction
BG says: Lethal slapped the Embassy down at the last show, so Prince Nana and Ghana declared war on him and said they would launch their WMD’s. This is the first. WMD jumps Lethal from behind but Lethal reverses a clothesline to a gut wrench suplex for 2. He hits a leg lariat for 2. WMD comes back by reversing a springboard crossbody to a powerslam for 2. He hits a back suplex for a pair of 2 counts and puts on a sleeper. Lethal goes for the dragon suplex but WMD responds with a clothesline for 2. He chokes Lethal on the ropes. They trade chops but WMD pokes the eyes. Lethal hits a second rope DDT and a back body drop. He hits a clothesline and crotches WMD in the corner. He pounds his head into the exposed turnbuckle and gives him a back breaker for 2. He hits a bodyslam but misses the diving headbutt. WMD hits a neckbreaker for 2. Lethal reverses a back suplex and hits the dragon suplex for the win. This was pretty good, as per usual for Jay Lethal. Nana is furious. He banishes WMD and tells Lethal that he’s raising taxes and stealing paychecks in Ghana to get another WMD to face him at Final Battle. WMD congratulates Lethal and is never heard from again.
JZ says: This is just the beginning of the Jay Lethal versus The Embassy feud. The Embassy is a great stable and Prince Nana is one of the best on the mic. Lethal and the masked WMD do some fine back and forth wrestling until Lethal gets the win with a Dragon Suplex in 6:37. Lethal is still a little spotty but he is athletic as all hell and has charisma to boot.
JZ says: We get clips of the Maff & Whitmer vs. Carnage Crew matches from “Scramble Cage Melee” and “ROH Gold” to build up for the next match.
MATCH #3: Tag Team Scramble – Outcast Killaz vs. Dunn & Marcos vs. Carnage Crew vs. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer
BG says: The Crew and Maff and Whitmer brawl on the floor while the Killaz and RCE fight it out in the ring. Dunn and Marcos hit the High Five Bulldog as Danger makes her way to ringside. Whitmer comes in and destroys Dunn with suplexes and a powerbomb for 2. Oman hits a knee lift on Whitmer but Maff catches him with a German suplex. Marcos helps Maff out and they dance but Marcos turns on him. Maff press slams Marcos onto everyone on the floor. Diablo hits an exploder on Maff for 2. DeVito hits the crossface forearms on Diablo and he and Whitmer hit the Carnage-plex on him. Everyone brawls on the floor until DeVito moonsaults onto them. The RCE hit the Stage dive onto everyone. Maff and Whitmer fire each other up in the ring and hit stereo suicide dives onto everyone. Loc and Oman go in the ring where Loc hits a side suplex. DeVito hits the northern lights in the corner on Oman. Maff and Whitmer send the Carnage Crew out and hit a dropkick/cannonball combo on Oman. They do Da Hit Squad frog splash/figure-four combo for 2. Maff and Whitmer go out to brawl with the Carnage Crew as the other 2 teams fight in the ring. Diablo hits an Alabama slam on Dunn. Marcos catches him with a hurricanrana and a tornado DDT. Oman hits the inverted Black Hole slam on Marcos. Dunn gets kicked to death by the Killaz as Maff hits a sick chair shot on Loc in the crowd. The Killaz block the standing Sliced Bread and hit their finisher on Marcos for the win. Usual scramble crap here with some cute stolen signature stuff thrown in.
JZ says: Maff and Whitmer have tacked the “Phantom of the Opera” theme onto the beginning of their theme music, and it really doesn’t sound cool. Good tune, but out of place. This is the usual high-energy scramble, but I like the dynamic with the two big-time teams and the two jobber teams. I also like it when tag team partners mix together to do signature moves. Maff, Whitmer, Loc, and DeVito brawl out of the ring and around ringside, which leaves Oman, Diablo, Dunn, and Marcos in the ring. The Killaz end up getting the victory on Marcos at 9:22, and they’ve certainly earned it I say. I really like their inclusion in the Embassy; I bet they’re just happy to be there.
MATCH #4: Pure Title Match – Jimmy Rave vs. John Walters
BG says: The referee explains the rules and bans the Embassy from ringside. Nana doesn’t take the news well. They lock up to start. Walters gets a quick roll up for 2 and they fight to a stalemate. Rave grabs a headlock but Walters pushes out and hits a dragon screw into a reverse octopus stretch forcing Rave to use his first rope break early. Rave bails but gets back in the ring by 7. Walters clocks Rave with a closed fist and gets a warning. Rave bails again but gets back in for a lock up. He fakes like Walters punched him again on the break and Walters loses his first rope break. This referee is just beyond bad. Walters gets an armdrag into an armbar, taking Rave to the mat. They do some neat stuff on the mat and Rave hits a monkey flip but Walters goes back to the arm. Rave reverses and hits a neckbreaker and hits a closed fist while the ref’s back is turned. Rave puts on the dragon sleeper but Walters fights out. He gets a rollup for 2. Rave hits an inverted DDT for 2. Rave gets a choke hold in the ropes and pulls Walters to the outside and slams him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Rave gets 2. He hits a side suplex for 2. Walters reverses a back suplex and rolls him up for 2. He gets a backslide for 2 and a crucifix pin for 2. He goes to the top and hits a missile dropkick for 2 when Rave uses his second rope break. Rave gets crotched in the corner and Walters hits the Lung blower for 2. Rave puts on the tilt-a-whirl crossface but Walters uses his second rope break. Rave hits the Raving Wizard for 2. He calls for the Rave Clash but Walters reverses to the Sharpshooter. Rave powers out and puts on a Boston crab. Walters fights out and gets out of his own and Rave uses his last rope break. Walters puts Rave on the top and puts on a torture rack. Rave hits a back breaker and Ghanarea for 2. Walters puts on the Sharpshooter but Rave rolls out of the ring. Walters holds on and keeps the hold on the floor. Walters stays strong until the ref gets to 16, and then he runs back in the ring and lets Rave take the count out loss. The finish was creative, but proved all the boring arm work at the beginning useless. There was some fun submission work near the end however.
JZ says: Two of my favorite mid-carders (seriously), so this was a match I was really looking forward to. Thankfully, they delivered just what I expected them to, and I ended up liking this match quite a bit, certainly more than Brad. The arm work in the beginning was fine, because it seems to me that Walters was just trying out things to see what Rave’s weak spot was and to see what might work. The mat wrestling in this one is very cool, lots of neat reversals and what-not, leading to an interesting finish that finally utilized the count-out rule only present is ROH Pure Title matches. Walters wins after 16:50 of really good wrestling. I guess I’m a sucker for these Pure Title matches, because I really liked this.
BG says: We get an update on the Briscoes played over footage of the “riot” started by them and the Rottweilers at “Testing the Limit.” Updating on the Briscoes is cool, but there’s no sound on the footage and Jimmy Bauer’s voice droning on in serious-mode here is pretty hard to listen to.
We also get a highlight video of Samoa Joe’s great title defenses from 2004. The matches they showed were the four-way from February, the cage match from March, the final Homicide match and the Bryan Danielson match. All of those got between ****1/4 and ****1/2 from me, so I’d say it was a fine selection.
JZ says: I really miss the Briscoes, I honestly think they’re the best tag team in North America when they’re completely healthy and stuff. Jay got to pin Low Ki in what might end up being his last match (who knows?), so at least that’s a good way to go out.
Where do you start with a Samoa Joe highlight reel? He has had so many good matches and title defenses, it’s almost like you could just pick some at random and they would be tremendous. Of course, they happened to pick his four-way with Low Ki, Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer, the cage match with Jay Briscoe, the “Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 1″ match with Homicide, and the Bryan Danielson match, all of which are GREAT. Samoa Joe is the coolest.
MATCH #5: Austin Aries vs. Low Ki
BG says: Winner here gets a World title shot at the next show. Ki shoves Aries before the bell, I guess making Aries the de facto babyface (a problem that still haunts him into his title reign). They lock up and Aries shoves Ki on the break. Ki puts on an armbar and works Aries over on the mat. The crowd starts to get behind Aries as Ki chops in against the ropes. They scrap on the mat where Ki attacks with punches until Aries turns over and gets to the ropes. Smokes wipes the sweat off Ki with an American flag, which for some reason I found very funny. Ki puts on a front facelock but Aries goes to the corner for the break. They go back to the mat where Ki puts on a body vice and a chinlock but Aries reverses to a wristlock. Aries blocks the headstand kick but Ki hits it on the 2nd try to break. Back to the mat where Ki traps Aries with a leg vice but he escapes with a seated dropkick. Ki bails but Aries hits a suicide dive. Aries controls on the floor and puts Ki back in, but misses the senton. He trips Ki up and hits it on the second attempt and gets 2 off of an elbow drop. He kicks Ki in the back and front and lands a dropkick in the corner for 2. Ki puts Aries on the apron and drapes him on the ropes. He dropkicks Aries to the floor. He puts him back in the ring and gets 2. He hits a gutbuster and goes to the eyes. He hits an elbow drop for 2 and nails a hard kick to the back for 2. He puts on the body scissors and blocks Aries from elbowing out, then roles him over for 2. He hangs Aries up in the Tree of Woe and hits the douche bag double stomp to him in that position. Very sick. It gets 2. Ki blocks the crucifix bomb but Aries roles and gets a sunset flip for 2. Ki fakes a chop and pokes the eyes to cut off the comeback. He puts the body scissors back on but this time Aries elbows out. Ki blocks a sunset flip with another double stomp for 2. He hits an elbow in the corner and goes for another douche bag stomp but Aries rolls out of the way. Ki goes for the Tidal Crush but Aries blocks with a clothesline. Ki goes back to the eyes but Aries comes back with the side suplex driver, a uranage and Explosive Elbow #2 for 2. They’ve been calling that the Power drive Elbow, but I didn’t make that up so I’m sticking with the numbered version. Ki hits a Manhattan drop but Aries comes back with a discus forearm. He hangs Ki up on the top rope and comes back in with a slingshot splash for 2. He goes for a springboard moonsault but Ki gets his knees up and gets 2. Ki hits a German suplex for 2. He goes back up but Aries blocks and catches Ki with a fireman’s carry slam. Ki blocks the 450 by getting his knees up again for 2. That would have been a good place for the finish. The one minute warning sounds as Ki goes for the Ki Krusher but Aries counters with the crucifix bomb. Aries rushes up to the top rope and hits the 450 but the time runs out after the 2 count. GMC comes out to announce that ROH officials have allowed for the match to continue for 5 more minutes if the fans want it. Well they’ve been chanting for it, so it’s settled. Ki doesn’t want to bother, however, so the fans get nothing. This match was brutal, but the finish was really bad on a couple levels. For one, Ki had been working over Aries’ ribs quite successfully the entire match, but Aries didn’t sell the injury at all when he hit the 450. For another, Aries was about to be pushed to the next level, and this didn’t do anything for him, especially as a heel. It seems like they were trying to get Ki over more as a heel, but he was already very over in that respect. Not to mention the fact that he wouldn’t be with the company no a regular basis for much longer.
JZ says: This is what I like, a straight up #1 Contenders match. The fans buy these guys as contenders so there’s no reason for a contender’s circle or a title petition or anything like that. The heel-heel dynamic is a little bizarre, but Aries just goes ahead and corrects that by acting like a babyface. Oh wait, that’s what he does in every match; never mind. I really do like this match though; the action is consistent and entertaining. It’s a little annoying that Aries doesn’t sell the ribs that Low Ki had been working on for the whole match when he does the 450. They do the 20:00 draw, which is really annoying, especially since Aries had Ki pinned. Why couldn’t they have just let Aries get the pin? If it’s some Japanese company that didn’t want Ki to job, he never should have been put in that match in the first place. The crowd wants five more minutes, and since wrestling promotions always do what the crowd asks for, GMC says the match will continue as long as both men agree. Aries does, but Ki decides that since the fans want it, he won’t give it to them. Now if Low Ki always says he doesn’t care about the fans, it shouldn’t matter to him if they want it or not. The fact that a shot at the title and a shot at his hated rival Samoa Joe is on the line should be more than enough for him to want to continue the match. Not to mention the fact that he’s too tough to let someone get the upper hand on him. It doesn’t really do anything to help anyone. The match was good though.
MATCH #6: ROH Tag Team Title Match – Chad Collyer & Nigel McGuiness vs. Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero
BG says: Collyer and Romero start, which pleases me because these two rocked it in the opener of Death Before Dishonor II Night 2. Reyes pisses me off by immediately tagging in. They trade wristlocks and Nigel tags in. He works over the arm and takes it to the mat with a full nelson. Collyer tags in and keeps the full nelson on. Reyes breaks out and works the arm. Romero tags in and kicks Collyer down. Collyer comes back and goes for an ankle lock but Romero makes the ropes. They trade monkey flips and Collyer goes to the ropes on an armbar. He grabs a headlock and hits another monkey flip but falls victim to a head scissor takedown. He comes back with an old school crossbody and tags in Nigel. They rotate twisting Romero’s appendages until he tags out to Reyes. Nigel puts on a cravat but Reyes comes back with a stiff kick and a wristlock. Nigel goes back to the hold but Reyes escapes with some stiff kicks. Nigel whips Reyes into the ropes and hits him with an enziguiri. Collyer tags in. They do an ugly double wristlock takedown and things fall apart for a bit. Collyer hits a suplex for one and Romero tags in. He hits the chinlock but Collyer escapes and tags in Nigel. Nigel tries the headstand trap so Romero shakes the ropes to bring him down. Collyer holds Nigel up so Reyes dropkicks him to the floor. Nigel manages to catch Romero and hits the sick stunner for two when Reyes saves. Nigel hits a big crossbody and puts on TAS but Reyes saves with a kneedrop. The lack of crowd heat is killing this match. The Pitbulls double team him as Collyer argues with the ref. A triple team dropkick with J-Train’s help gets two. Romero comes in and hits a knee strike before tagging back to Reyes. They do their double team sequence for two when Collyer saves. Reyes chokes and kicks and forearms Nigel into the Pitbulls’ corner. Romero tags in but Nigel forearms him down. Reyes tags in but Nigel manages to make the tag to Collyer. He cleans house and hits an awesome dragon screw into the cloverleaf on Reyes but Romero saves. Collyer hits an enziguiri and an UGLY suicide dive on Reyes. Nigel does the Artful Dodger, but Romero hits a huge knee to the face and puts on the Jujigatame. Collyer saves and hits a DDT on the legal Reyes for two. He hits a German suplex for two but Reyes reverses the bridge to an armbar. Nigel saves. Romero knocks Nigel out of the ring and hits a West Coast Pop on the floor. Collyer gets the cloverleaf on Reyes as the crowd finally wakes up but J-Train distracts him. Reyes hits a back breaker leading straight to the guillotine kneedrop from Romero for the pin. There was some solid stuff book ending this match, but the middle portion was kind of a mess with the dead crowd. That problem plagues many Havana Pitbulls’ matches.
JZ says: Oh boy, I love Pitbulls title matches. Ricky Reyes is approximately the most boring wrestler on the planet. It’s too bad that Rocky Romero is saddled with him, he has personality and can be a dynamite heel. Remember when Romero teamed up with Homicide, and they had a great match with Jack Evans and Roderick Strong? Then remember when Reyes and Romero faced the same two guys? Yeah, it wasn’t as good. After all this negativity though, I did like this match, but not a great deal. McGuiness and Collyer are two guys I like a lot, and the Pitbulls aren’t really known for having bad matches, just inconsequential ones. Yeah, matches for the Tag Team Titles become inconsequential in the hands of the Pitbulls. That’s crazy, no? The best part of the match is CM Punk on commentary referencing King Korn Karn from the original Nintendo Pro Wrestling game. Reyes and Romero get the win at 16:24 with the decapitation knee drop.
Great Managerial Debate
BG says: Jim Cornette hits the ring and praises Bobby Heenan as the only living manager that was ever better than he is. Heenan gets a very loud “Weasel” chant upon his entrance and takes in every second of it. Cornette calls himself a Heenan fan and shakes his hand. Heenan returns the sentiment. Bobby “I’m Recovering From Cancer, But I’m Fine” Heenan says some things on the mic that the crowd eats up, but his speech mixed with the lousy microphone-to-camera sound is almost inaudible. He goes to leave but Cornette stops him. He starts to get frustrated as he recaps his career and the comparisons that his fans and peers drew between him and Heenan. He’s tired of being in Heenan’s shadow and he wants to know when he’s gonna just shut up and die. He wants to be the guy… How 20X6 of him. Anyway, Heenan says he’ll never leave. Cornette gets mad, but says he’ll never hit Heenan, which brings out Roderick Strong and Jack Evans. They get tough with Bobby, but Heenan’s buddies Jimmy Jacobs and Colt Cabana make the save. The obvious match is thus made. If memory serves the match had already been announced, but I’ll let it go this one time because the whole charade gave us that great exchange. They managed to not only get themselves over, but subtly put over ROH and their talent very strong.
JZ says: I’m fully convinced that Jim Cornette can sell anything to anyone, ever. Heenan was supposed to make his debut back in March, but well, you know. After the mutual respect goes around, Cornette gets all angry and basically wishes death upon Heenan. Cornette brings out Jack Evans & Roderick Strong to beat up Heenan, but Colt Cabana & Jimmy Jacobs make the save, conveniently setting up a match that was already announced. This was really an awesome segment, as everyone came out looking just like they should, and the crowd got hot for the match.
BG says: “The Scoopster” GMC is backstage with the Embassy. Nana says that Lethal beating the WMD was a fluke, and the WMD that Lethal will face at Final Battle 2004 will be bigger and better than the one from tonight. He’s also going to make sure that his lawyers make sure that the Embassy will be allowed at ringside the next time Rave goes up against Walters for the Pure title. The Killaz start bragging about their second win in a row, but Nana isn’t interested.
SSP is backstage with Lacey’s half of Special K. She’s happy about the dead weight being out of Special K, and nobody else gets to talk!
JZ says: The dynamic of the Embassy, with the loudmouth leader (Nana), the arrogant prick (Rave), and the hired goons (The Outcast Killaz) is absolutely perfect. Nana says there will be a rematch, and his lawyers are on the case.
Lacey sure is pretty, and she doesn’t like to let the jerks in Special K talk. That’s fine by me.
MATCH #7: Jerk Jackson vs. Trent Acid
BG says: How strange that this complete waste of a match would be on a show called All Star Extravaganza. Acid slips the ref some money before the bell. Jackson attacks Acid while as he’s making out with a fan. He sets up a chair and press slams Acid onto it. He hits a nice dropkick on the floor and rolls Acid back into the ring. He tunes up the band and hits a big boot and a suplex for one. The highlight of the match is hearing Nulty explain to Punk why he mispronounced Cabana’s name during the first show he commentated on. Jackson misses a 450 and gets caught by a Yakuza kick. Acid hits the reverse brainbuster for the win. I don’t really understand the point of giving Acid a squash match when the whole idea is that he keeps losing, but it’s worth watching for the commentary.
JZ says: Punk and Nutly on commentary is a lot of fun. This match is boring though, and makes no sense given Trent Acid’s angle. I’ve seen worse than either of these guys, but this match was 3:26 worth of boring.
BG says: Backstage Alison Danger gives the Carnage Crew the contract for a Fight Without Honor against Maff & Whitmer at Final Battle. They’re all for it and sign. She gets all excited with the contract, so they pick up on the vibe and try picking up on her. She doesn’t respond. That was probably the most enjoyable Carnage Crew segment all year.
JZ says: It was fine for a Carnage Crew segment, but it still makes them look like scumbags. Which I understand is their gimmick, I just don’t like scumbags.
MATCH #8: Jack Evans & Roderick Strong vs. The Western Michigan University Professional Wrestling Team
BG says: The crowd welcomes back Cabana with chants and streamers and then HUSS for Jacobs. The managers consult their teams and things get under way as the babyfaces pull Generation Next into the ring. Strong hits a clothesline on Evans and both of them get dropkicked. They bail to the floor where Heenan pokes the eyes of both. They hug it out with Cornette until Strong and Jacobs get in the ring to start the match proper. Jacobs punches Strong with a chain, which the announcers helpfully tell us that Heenan gave to him, since the camera missed it. Heenan slips Cabana a chain, so he tags in and punches Strong with it out of the referee’s line of sight. He plays with the ref, moving the chain to different parts of his body. Heenan brags to someone on his phone about the chain as Evans comes in. He tries to serve Cabana, but Heenan subs in and serves Evans right back with the Moonwalk. Cabana distracts Evans with a jig and slaps him down. Heenan slaps Evans behind the refs back and Cornette has a temper tantrum. He clears everyone out of the ring and asks for Heenan. Heenan obliges and lays down, urging Cornette to hit him, but of course moves right before Jim can drop the elbow. Back to the match as Cabana tricks Evans into getting slapped down again. Evans goes for the same trick, but you can’t shit a shitter and Cabana slaps the crap out of him. Jacobs tags in and they battering ram Evans out of the ring. Strong comes in and takes the hardest battering ram ever. Generation Next and Cornette head for the showers, but pride gets the best of them and they head back until, for whatever reason, ref Sinclair starts a count out (there are no count outs in ROH). Jacobs and Evans get things back on track as Jacobs hits a spear and goes for the Contra Code. Evans reverses with an inverted Blockbuster and tags in Strong. Cornette gets a cheap shot on Jacobs and Strong hits a back suplex. Evans tags in and hits the assisted standing corkscrew for 2. Gutbuster gets 2 for Evans. Strong tags in and hits a clothesline to cut off the tag. Evans tags in and hits a phantom senton for 2. Strong misses the standing moonsault but still manages to cut off the tag with a back breaker for 2. Evans comes in and hits a back leg front kick right for 2. Strong tags in and tosses Evans into Jacobs. German suplex gets 2 for Strong. Evans tags in and gets hit with the reverse Pedigree allowing Jacobs to tag out to Cabana. He hits an Asai moonsault on Strong gets nothing because Evans is legal. He hits Colt 45 on Evans for 2 when Strong saves. Jacobs flies in with a forearm to Strong and they double suplex Evans. Strong comes in and destroys Jacobs, distracting the ref and allowing Cornette to nail Cabana with the racket. Heenan comes in and nails the dreaded HISTORY shot on Cornette, then puts Cabana on top of Evans for the win. As a match it wasn’t much. Too much stalling and shenanigans disjointed the flow. As far as comedy goes there is some good stuff here, as Cornette and Heenan don’t hold back and all four wrestlers play their parts well.
JZ says: That goof Jimmy Jacobs thinks the fans are chanting “Welcome Back” at him instead of Cabana. The comedy stuff at the beginning is really good, but my favorite part is when Heenan lays down for Cornette, who says “Do you swear to God? That’s all I need baby!” before dropping a big elbow onto the mat when Heenan moves. Great stuff. It’s almost as good when Cabana tricks Jack Evans into getting slapped, and Evans turns around and tries the same trick but ends up getting himself slapped again. When you need good comedy wrestling, you turn to Colt Cabana. Jacobs absorbs a lot of punishment in this one from the awesome offense of Evans and Strong. Eventually he of course makes the tag to Cabana, and after some involvement of the managers the babyfaces get the win at 17:16. I’d wager a guess to say that about half of that was stalling and/or comedy. It’s not a great match, but it’s a lot of fun.
MATCH #9: Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
BG says: They show a clip of the first meeting between the two from Reborn Stage 2 (***Ѕ). I’ve seen a lot of praise for this match here and there on the internet, but the fact remains that all the great selling by Homicide did not make up for the unfortunate lack of drama in the match, as well as Homicide falling on the injured hand after he gives the lariat and immediately getting the pin. But past nitpicking aside, this match is about hatred~! The Rottweilers turned on Danielson after he and Ki tagged up to take on Jushin Liger and Samoa Joe at the show before this and lost. Homicide starts things off by scratching his nether region with a streamer and throwing it at Danielson. Homicide makes the ref check Danielson’s pads repeatedly before he’ll lock up. Danielson wins a test of strength and gets a pair of 2 counts. He grabs a headlock and takes Homicide to the mat. He wrenches away but Homicide goes to the corner to break. Homicide grabs a wristlock but Danielson dropkicks out. Homicide bails and throws streamers at the crowd. Back in the ring Danielson hits the chinlock with a side of hatred. He puts Homicide in the corner and attacks with jabs and uppercuts. A strike trade goes Danielson’s way, hatefully knocking Homicide to the corner. Danielson lands a knee to the back of the head and then kicks the hatred out of him. He gets a trio of pinfall attempts off of shoulder blocks but Homicide bails on the fourth one, which had hatred. Back in the ring Danielson puts on a wristlock but Homicide reverses to a bodyslam. He misses an elbow drop and Danielson goes back to the wrist. He puts on an armbar but Homicide goes to the eyes to escape and tosses him from the ring. He hits a double axe handle on the outside and tosses him into the guardrail. Danielson returns the favor, in a hateful way. He bodyslams Homicide on the steel ramp, and if that doesn’t epitomize hate then I don’t know what does. Danielson goes after J-Train but Homicide attacks him from behind. He suplexes Danielson onto a table, and then gets a 2 count back in the ring. He starts favoring his ankle and thus can’t really hit his knee in the corner. He hits the chinlock but Danielson powers out and stomps at the ankle. Homicide hits a knee to the gut but collapses. He limps around the ring tagging Danielson with chops, but Danielson comes back and chokes him out in the corner. Homicide then comes back by using the injured ankle to hit a Yakuza kick. Danielson hits a back suplex and a knee to the gut. He puts on a Mexican surfboard stretch but Homicide breaks out. Homicide reverses an airplane spin to one of his own but his ankle buckles. Danielson gets the airplane spin and fireman’s carry slam. He goes to the top and takes out J-Train on the outside. Homicide attacks on the outside and hits the Ace Crusher for 2 back in the ring. He hits a T-bone suplex but can’t hold the bridge. He goes to the top but Danielson catches him with a superplex. Danielson goes to the top and misses the diving headbutt. Homicide goes to the top and hits the headbutt for 2. They block one another’s brainbuster attempts but Danielson catches Homicide with the Cow Killer. J-Train distracts Danielson and he breaks the hold. Homicide puts him on the top rope but Danielson blocks the hurricanrana and hits a flying forearm for 2. Homicide takes the boot off his injured foot but Danielson is so full of hate that he can’t help but attack that very foot in the meantime. With the ref distracted Homicide smacks Danielson with his boot for 2. Danielson blocks the Cop Killer but gets low blown. Homicide goes for the lariat to put him out as he did in April, but Danielson blocks it, blocks a low blow and ties Homicide up for the win. The Rottweilers beat Danielson down after the match. Homicide even hits a kneedrop off the top onto Danielson’s arm. Homicide’s funky selling is less annoying because the appearance was that he was faking the injury. That said, this match lacked the focus that the original match between the two had, but still managed to suffer from the same lack of drama. Perhaps all the hatred bogged it down, I don’t know.
JZ says: Ah, the rematch that everyone has been waiting for since April. Everyone except me, that is. I got a lot of e-mails back when we reviewed “Reborn: Stage Two,” because I didn’t give the first Homicide versus Danielson match a “OMG ****ѕ MOTYC!!!!” review. Basically, I really like both of these guys, I just don’t care for their matches together. Up to this point, it’s kind of like how Steve Austin and Chris Jericho are both great, but for some reason could never have great matches together. Mark Nulty severely annoys me in this match by talking about how Homicide and Smokes are going to “divide and conquer.” No, idiot, that’s what Danielson would do, what Homicide and Smokes are doing is double-teaming. This match seemed really disjointed and not entirely focused. Maybe it’s because this match was based on so much HATRED! It also gets really not fun to watch when Homicide is trying to take his boot off and the referee stops Danielson from attacking him. Look, either let them wrestle or stop the match, this in between stuff is nonsense. Anyway, Danielson gets the pin at 25:27, with referee Gary Moyer in horrible position to count the fall. The Rottweilers attack Danielson after the match, and Homicide delivers the double stomp to Danielson’s arm.
Taped Earlier This Week at ROH Studios
BG says: CM Punk and Jimmy Bower commentate over the first two Samoa Joe versus CM Punk matches, with Punk talking about his strategy throughout. I thought this was a really cool segment, because it helps fans better understand the match they are about to see without them having to see the first two matches as Punk hammers home the important points in the matches. In this case they really emphasize the importance of Punk’s headlocks and sleeper holds. It’d be nice if they did this with the babyfaces before the final blow off to other feuds.
JZ says: This was a really cool idea and not just mindless filler like some of the video packages are. Punk details his strategy and makes sure the fans understand the psychology of the match about to happen. Excellent idea, and it’d be cool to see more stuff like this.
Ricky Steamboat Promo
BG says: Ricky Steamboat comes out to watch the main event as promised. He recaps the night and name drops a bunch of legends, including Heenan and Cornette. He complains about Foley’s comments about him and his lack of wrestling skill. He calls him out for a face to face confrontation, which would end up being their final confrontation at Final Battle. He then gets the fans all riled up about the match to come and promises that he’s going to watch just as a wrestling fan with a front row seat. Keep that last bit in mind.
JZ says: I’m not sure why Steamboat had to cut a promo here. He says he’s going to watch this match as just a fan, but I don’t see anyone in the front row getting to cut a promo about it.
MATCH #10: CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe
BG says: The crowd is HEAVILY into both guys’ entrances, banging along to the beat of Punk’s music as usual and rapping along with Joe’s. Giving the match an even more special feel is both Punk and Joe bringing out seconds to the ring. They took the form of Jay Lethal for Joe and the ROH school students for Punk. Having seconds in all ROH title matches would be a great touch. Punk gets some streamers, but a solid amount of boos can be heard upon his introduction. Joe gets streamers and significantly fewer boos. This is Punk’s last shot at the title, so there is no time limit in this match to avoid another 60-minute draw.
They lock up and work the mat in a sequence that Joe stops with a hard chop. Punk goes for the headlock over and over but Joe avoids it forcing Punk to bail and regroup. Back in the ring Punk answers Joe’s chop challenge with a wussy one, and reverses Joe’s chop attempt with a backslide for 2. Punk catches Joe with the headlock and wrenches it in. Joe tries to elbow out, but Punk knows he needs it and keeps it on. He hits the snap mare and nails a seated dropkick before putting on a front facelock. Joe tries to roll out but Punk rolls through and keeps it on. Another snap mare leads to three seated dropkicks for Punk. He stomps away at Joe’s neck and dropkicks his head again. Joe catches him in the corner and strikes away, but a headbutt shakes him up. Punk gets tossed to the apron but hits a springboard dropkick for 1. He hits the chinlock but Joe punches out. Punk reverses the STO to a rollup but Joe reverses to one of his own which Punk reverses to the headlock. Joe goes to the corner to break and they strike it out. Punk slaps Joe to the ground but Joe comes back with big knees to the face. He nails a pair of running knee lifts sending Punk to the floor and busting him open. Back in the ring Joe elbows the cut and hits a fist drop. He nails the Big Joe Combo for 2. He pulls on the cut but the ref calls for the break. He stays on the cut as the crowd starts to get behind Punk. He puts on a crossface but Punk makes the ropes. They trade forearms but Joe puts Punk down with a headbutt and he bails. Back in the ring Joe hits the STO for 2. He stays on the cut with headbutts and rips him open with the face wash for 2. Punk goes back to the neck with kicks but Joe sends him to the apron and kicks him down to the floor. He quickly follows up with the suicide dive. He hits the ole kick and we get a cool visual of Punk’s blood all over Joe’s face. He goes for another ole kick but Punk blocks and nails a dropkick off the apron. Punk puts Joe on the apron and works over the neck with a kneedrop off the 2nd rope. Back in the ring Punk hits a high crossbody for 2.
Now they kick it up a notch. A pair of clotheslines doesn’t put Joe down but a tornado DDT gets the job done for 2. Joe reverses a shining wizard to a powerslam for 2 but Punk reverses a cross arm breaker to a rollup for 2. Joe hits the powerbomb for 2 and puts on a vertical STF. He pulls the hair to keep the hold on but the ref calls for the break. Punk blocks the dragon suplex and hits the spike DDT for 2. He puts on a headlock but Joe makes the ropes. He hits the Pepsi Twist and a moonsault to the face for 2. He goes back to the top but Joe cuts him off. Punk manages to sneak under and attempt a powerbomb but Joe reverses to a hurricanrana and lariat for 2. His reaction to the kick out is priceless. Punk hits the mule kick and the Shining Wizard for 2. Joe blocks a Pepsi Twist and puts on a sleeper. His hand drops three times according to the referee but Ricky Steamboat stops the timekeeper from ringing the bell because he sees Punk’s hand hasn’t hit the floor. The referee turns around, sees the hand and calls off his decision. That just really doesn’t work for 2 reasons that I’ll get into later. Punk punks up and hits a stunner but Joe holds on. Another stunner but Joe won’t let go. He tries to roll through but Joe stays on. Punk uses the turnbuckle to turn it over but Joe kicks out at 2. Punk gets a schoolboy Joe for 2. He reverses a lariat to a crucifix pin for 2. Joe reverses La Magistral to a cover for 2. Punk gets a crossbody for 2. The crowd starts chanting loudly for both men as they forearm each another. Joe rolls Punk up in the corner and tries to use the ropes for leverage but it only gets two and the crowd completely turns on him. Awesome. Punk has the support of the crowd but still gets hit with a top rope splash from Joe. Well it was mostly a knee to the face, but still. Punk goes for a rollup but Joe pulls him into the choke. He hits a German suplex and a dragon suplex to be safe and puts the choke back on. All the crowd support in the world can’t keep Punk from passing out, giving the match to Joe.
Given that ROH went to great lengths to educate fans on the other two matches in this feud on this release, I think it’s fair to rate this match with respect to those other two matches. Firstly, the focus in this match was better than in their first match. The first match saw problems like sloppiness and obvious spot calling. This match did not have those problems. Compared to the first match, this match is superior. The second match was pretty much flawless. It had great focus, amazing energy and non-stop action for 60 minutes. This match had the same great focus and non-stop action, but lacked the energy in the first half of the match. The second match was the best match in the feud. As far as this match goes on its own, it works perfectly. The shorter match time makes sense because of Punk’s inability to work his sleeper strategy due to Joe’s knowledge of it and Punk’s own blood loss. Joe’s desperation and sometimes dirty tactics also helped him dominate Punk in this match more so than in the previous matches. There IS one black eye on the match for me. The Steamboat goofiness knocks this down a bit. For one thing, the referee’s decision is final, and thus Punk lost when the referee made the call that Punk couldn’t continue. For another, Steamboat was basically interfering on Punk’s behalf, which of course should be a disqualification, and thus Punk lost. Punk lost anyway so at least we didn’t get a tainted title win, but it was still completely unnecessary to the match. Put it all together and you are left with a ****1/2 match.
Joe waits around after the match for Punk to regain his composure. He gets on the mic and puts over the belt, and then CM Punk. He tells everyone in the back that they are not taking the title from him. He even calls out Mick Foley, who said naughty things to Joe during the Weekend of Thunder, saying there is only one way he’ll convince him that Ric Flair was wrong about him. He’d need to get in the ring with Samoa Joe himself.
JZ says: I gave the 6/12 match ****1/2 and the 10/16 match *****, just for the record. Brad covers the play-by-play so well, sometimes it’s hard for me to add a lot about the match, so I’ll just try to explain how I feel about it. The match runs just 31:30 this time, far shorter than their previous two sixty-minute draws. That allows them to pack a lot of action into a much shorter amount of time. The match is awesome, but I have one big problem with it, much like Brad. The Steamboat thing is absolutely ridiculous and does nothing to help anybody. I’ve seen it explained before, but no explanation makes that okay. The referee is there to do his job, and Steamboat is neither a referee nor a timekeeper. Last I heard he was watching the match as a fan. Would any other fan be able to overrule a referee’s decision? If they wanted Steamboat to have a big impact on the match, they should have had him be the special referee. With that out of the way, I loved this match, I love the real finish, and I love how Joe gets the crowd to turn on him. The psychology is great, the action is great, and this is just a great, great match.
BG says: SSP is backstage with the babyface half of Special K. We learn that this half of Special K shouldn’t be allowed near a microphone. Oy vey.
Jimmy Bower tells Maff & Whitmer backstage about their Fight Without Honor against the Carnage Crew for Final Battle. They aren’t fazed and gladly tell the Carnage Crew that the feud is getting put to rest the right way.
GMC gives Austin Aries the good news that the ROH officials decided that he is the number one contender because he was more honorable than Low Ki after their contender’s match. Aries rubs it in to Low Ki and warns Joe that he’s coming for him at Final Battle.
JZ says: SSP is with babyface Special K. SSP should have just cut their promo for them.
Maff and Whitmer are content with the Fight Without Honor. I’m content that the feud will finally be ending.
Austin Aries gets the title shot against Samoa Joe at Final Battle. To play Devil’s Advocate for a minute (and not the pinball game), technically Aries didn’t beat anyone to earn that title shot, it was given to him just because he wanted five more minutes with Low Ki. So anyone who wants five minutes with Ki gets a title shot? Aries should have won the match straight-up.
BG says: Samoa Joe. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a cheater, and Joe not only got the entire crowd to turn on him with one motion but also managed to be one half of the match of the night.
JZ says: Jim Cornette, for proving that few can cut promos as well as he can, and adding a ton of heat to the tag team match and just being generally awesome.
See you soon with our review of Final Battle 2004!
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The 411: BG says: Every now and again ROH puts out these really long shows. This particular one clocks in at over 4 1/2 hours. There's pretty much no way to watch this all at once. However, there's some great stuff sprinkled throughout the show, including all of the Heenan/Cornette stuff, the Aries/Ki match and of course, the main event. If you've seen the first two Joe versus Punk ROH title matches, you owe it to yourself to see how it ends.
JZ says: This is definitely a long show, but for the patient viewer it yields some tremendous rewards. Ki versus Aries would have topped **** with a finish, the Cornette/Heenan stuff is great, the Pure Title match is really good, and the main event is tremendous.
|Final Score: 7.5 [ Good ] legend|