ROH: Escape From New York, July 9, 2005 New York, New York
ROH … Escape From New York … July 9, 2005 … New York, New York
Make sure to check out Ari Bernstein’s Column of Honor, as it’s one of the best additions to a group (the 411 ROH Coverage Group) since Brad Garoon joined The Embassy.
JZ says: No change to the Top 5 since last night.
ROH WORLD CHAMPION: CM Punk (since 6.18.05)
ROH PURE CHAMPION: Samoa Joe (since 5.07.05)
1) Austin Aries
3) Nigel McGuinness
5) AJ Styles
BG says: Colt Cabana starts off the show hyping his European Rounds Rules match tonight with Nigel McGuinness. Austin Aries interrupts and voices his concern about CM Punk’s dishonorable treatment of the ROH championship. Cabana says he’s not connected with Punk on this one, but apparently he has a good relationship with Spike Lee.
JZ says: Colt Cabana is here to talk about Nigel McGuinness and the European Rounds match he has later on tonight. Austin Aries interrupts Cabana and asks him about what CM Punk is doing. Cabana says that it’s all Punk, and he has nothing to do with it. Cabana then makes a reference to Spike Lee, becoming even more one of my favorite wrestlers.
MATCH #1: Dunn & Marcos and Dixie vs. Lacey’s Angels & Vordell Walker
BG says: I happen to think that Walker would make a good heavy for Lacey’s Angels. Cheech and Marcos start. Marcos gets an armdrag and a hurricanrana. Cheech asks for Dixie who makes the tag. He slugs Cheech down and hits a roaring forearm. He hits a vertical suplex and a diving fist drop. Dunn tags in and the babyfaces do some Kai-en-tai stuff to Cheech. Marcos hits Walker with a hurricanrana. Cheech gets triple-teamed in awesome fashion. It gets 2 for Dunn. Cheech goes to the eyes and hits a hurricanrana. He hits an ugly dropkick and tags to Walker. Walker kicks Dunn in the face and hits an Ocean Cyclone suplex for 2. He hits a clothesline and tags to Deranged. I should note that Cheech is still selling his beating on the apron. Deranged puts on the over hype sleeper, which gets the same reaction from the crowd as it did the night before. Dunn comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Deranged hits a rewind hurricanrana for 2. Johnny Storm is crying somewhere as we speak. Dunn blocks an Asai moonsault but Deranged hits a DDT. He hits a handspring moonsault for 2. Walker tags in and sets Dunn on the top rope. Dunn shoves him off and hits a flying elbow. Walker comes back with rolling German suplexes for 2. Cheech tags in and gets a cocky pin for 2. Deranged tags in and hits the weakest chop I’ve ever seen. Dunn hits the Last Ride powerbomb but is too beaten up to cover. Cheech and Marcos make the tag and Marcos hits an enziguiri. He hits a dropkick for 2. He hits the assisted Sliced Bread on Walker. Cheech blocks the stacker senton and Deranged hits the doomsday Ace Crusher. Dixie hits a snap German suplex on Deranged and a neckbreaker on Cheech. Walker hits Dixie with the Vortex for 2 when Dunn and Marcos save. Cheech gets hurricanrana’d into the turnbuckle and Marcos hits him with a super stacker senton for the win. Solid fun in this match. I think they’ve found a niche for the East Coast high flyers, as the opening match seems to be the perfect place for them.
JZ says: This is an odd set of teams for a six-man tag. I guess Vordell and Dixie just had nothing better to do. They could have put them in a one-on-one match, before the show even, to get the crowd excited. Lacey accuses some fan of looking at her tits. Then cover up, I say. Lacey’s Angels are once again represented by Cheech & Deranged. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are tonight’s hosts. The babyfaces do a cute little triple air guitar spot. Apparently Vordell is trying out for a spot in Lacey’s Angels. Then Cheech gets dismantled with a neat triple team spot. I believe I’ve said it before, but if there’s anything these Special K and Ring Crew kids can do, it’s stuff. So they get into this match and do just that. Lacey’s Angels hit the springboard ace crusher but Dixie breaks it up. That thing should SO be a finisher. Walker hits The Vortex (a swinging uranage), but it’s broken up. Marcos gives Cheech a hurricanrana into the top turnbuckle (very neat) and then they hit the big senton off the top for the win at 11:23. That was a solid opener and the crowd was with them most of the way.
Colt Cabana, Take 2
BG says: Cabana tries to cut his promo on Nigel again, but this time Samoa Joe interrupts. He wants to know the same thing as Aries, but Joe is just slightly more aggressive. Cabana doesn’t want to take the plunge for this, and Joe says that nobody else will either. Cabana chalks the promo up as a lost cause.
JZ says: Colt tries again, but Joe gives him the same treatment that Aries did. Cabana says he’s not getting cut off anymore.
MATCH #2: ROH Tag Team Title Match – BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Carnage Crew
BG says: Jacobs and Whitmer do rock, paper, scissors to decide who starts the match, and we learn that HUSS beats rock. So Jacobs and Loc start. Jacobs gets a flying mare and a wristlock. Loc slugs out and puts on a headlock. Jacobs comes back with a hurricanrana forcing Loc to tag to DeVito. Whitmer tags in and takes DeVito to the mat. Frustrated, DeVito goes to the ropes. He says that he can do technical stuff too and puts Whitmer in a wristlock. Whitmer escapes and tags to Jacobs. The champions are just phenomenally over here. DeVito goes to the eyes and dumps Jacobs to the floor. The Carnage Crew send him into the guardrail. DeVito goes for the cannonball on the floor but Whitmer blocks. DeVito suplexes Whitmer on the ramp. In the ring Jacobs jabs Loc down. Loc hits a back suplex and tags to DeVito. He hits a dropkick for 2. Loc tags in and the Carnage Crew actually get booed. Loc hits a falcon arrow for 2. The referee gets distracted with Whitmer as Loc dumps Jacobs to the floor where DeVito beats on him. He rolls Jacobs back into the ring and tags in legally. The Carnage Crew hit a doomsday dropkick for 2. He hits the crossface forearms for 2. He puts on a sleeper but Jacobs HUSSes up. He goes for the jabs but DeVito catches him with a uranage. DeVito misses a moonsault and Jacobs spears Loc before making the tag to Whitmer. BJ cleans house on the Carnage Crew. He hits the vertical/northern lights suplex on DeVito for 2. He hits a leg lariat on Loc. The Carnage Crew hit him with a double spine buster. The put on a double Boston crab but Jacobs runs in and DDTs them both. Whitmer powerbombs Jacobs onto DeVito and gets 2. Loc dumps Jacobs. The Carnage Crew hit the spike piledriver on Whitmer for 2. They go for the Carnage Driver but Jacobs tags in and blocks the move. Whitmer hits the exploder on Loc as DeVito shoves Jacobs to the floor. Whitmer goes for a super exploder on DeVito but Loc blocks and shoves Whitmer out of the ring and through a table. Jacobs goes for the Contra Code on Loc but gets caught with the Carnage Driver. Ladies and gentlemen, Jacob Ziegler died a little this day as the Carnage Crew win the tag team titles. The fat boys had their working boots on for their title win, and the result was probably the best straight up tag match they’ve ever had. The crowd chants bullshit at the result.
JZ says: I guess since The Carnage Crew beat Dunn & Marcos twice in to earn this title shot. Big deal, Brad and I could do that. Loc & DeVito laugh at the mismatched champions, who do the reverse Shawn Michaels & Diesel pose. That’s very cool. Jacobs and Whitmer play rock/paper/scissors to decide who starts, and Jacobs declares that Huss beats Rock. Whitmer wrestled the Carnage Crew about a million times in 2004, so Jacobs starting is a fresh idea. Though Jacobs did face Loc in a six man mayhem match back at World Title Classic, so I guess Jacobs versus DeVito is the only first-time encounter going on here. The crowd is ridiculously hot for this match, and solidly behind the champions. The Carnage Crew takes their heat on Jacobs, and the crowd stays into it. They pull out a Doomsday Missile Dropkick, but Jacobs kicks out. DeVito goes for the moonsault but misses, and Jacobs hits a spear on Loc before making the hot tag to Whitmer after a backwards somersault. Jacobs gets dumped outside and they hit the Carnage Driver on Whitmer, but he kicks out. Jimmy Jacobs tags himself in but gets dumped right back to the outside. Whitmer goes up for an exploder off the top rope on DeVito, but they push him off onto a table that was set up at ringside. That looked painful. He goes for the Contra Code on Loc, who instead pushes him into DeVito for the Carnage Driver and we have new tag team champions at 14:11. Wow, so stay with a company for a while and have the same boring hardcore matches and give the same awful promos for a few years and they just hand you some belts. I hate the Carnage Crew. Match was solid if unspectacular, and the finishing sequence was really cool. Please let this reign be short. Jacobs makes sure the crowd is okay as he and Whitmer get a nice ovation on their way to the back. This is a great crowd.
MATCH #3: Four Corner Survival Match –
Roderick Strong Alex Shelley vs. James Gibson vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Azrieal
BG says: CM Punk darkens the venue from the balcony in serious evil villain fashion. He says that he was going to challenge the winner of the four corner match to a title match later in the evening. However, Gibson acted unprofessionally the night before and spoiled it for everyone. He starts getting on Gibson’s case, and rightly says that his record is not that of a number one contender, let alone a champion. Last time in New York he told Roderick Strong he was the future of ROH, and tonight he’s going to wrestle him in a non-title match. Well, nobody likes that, so Mick Foley emerges from the shadows and holds Punk over the balcony. When he hears the words ‘non-title match’ he feels like seeing a man’s skull get busted open. Foley cleverly quotes Dirty Harry, and that’s enough to get Punk to grant Strong a match for the title. That was the most awesome promo I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Gibson fires Strong up and sends him to the back. Jimmy Rave attacks Gibson from behind and puts the boots to him. Shelley comes out from the locker room here and joins the match. Rave tags to Azrieal who puts on a wristlock. Gibson reverses but Azrieal hits a flying mare to send him from the ring. The feed gives out here and we get more lame shots of Matt Hardy’s eyes. Back to the match as Prince Nana abuses Jade Chung on the floor. Shelley tags Azrieal out and we finally get the showdown that’s been sort of building since Stalemate. They knuckle up and Shelley gets Gibson down for 1. Gibson gets a takedown for 1. They work the mat until Rave tags in for Shelley. Rave gets 1998 Rock level heel heat here. Gibson puts on a leglock but Shelley breaks it with a double stomp. Rave tags to Azrieal who comes in with a bodyslam on Gibson for 2. He hits a vertical suplex for 2. Gibson hits an atomic drop and a short-arm clothesline before tagging to Rave. Azrieal blocks a blind charge but Rave blocks the double stomp and hangs him up on the top rope and gets 2. He hits a knee to the gut for 2. He tags Shelley who puts on a unique and painful looking chinlock. Gibson makes the save. Shelley hits a fireman’s carry slam and a moonsault for 2. He puts on a stranglehold and tags Rave. Hmm, sort of looks like a tag team match here. Rave puts on a legvice and lets go to hit a spear. He hits a northern lights suplex for 2. He tags to Shelley who comes in with a surfboard stretch. Azrieal powers out but gets hit with a back suplex. It gets 2 for Shelley. Gibson tags Shelley out but the referee misses it. Shelley tags Rave in who hits a gutbuster for 2. He rams Azrieal’s ribs against the post and gets 2. He tags to Shelley who hits a snap suplex for 2. Rave tags in and he and Shelley both hang Azrieal up on the top rope and then attack Gibson. Azrieal comes in with a springboard dropkick onto both of them. Gibson has enough as he comes in, double noggin knockers Shelley and Rave and hiptosses Azrieal to his corner so that he can make the tag. He then proceeds to clean house on Shelley and Rave, hitting a neckbreaker on Rave for 2. He hits a dropkick on Shelley and sets Rave on the top turnbuckle. He hits a superplex and floats into the Trailer Hitch. Shelley breaks it up with a dropkick. Azrieal enziguiris Shelley out of the ring and then dives onto him. Rave hits Ghanarea on Gibson for 2. He calls for the Rave Clash but Azrieal comes in with a springboard clothesline to break it up. Gibson tags Azrieal. He hits Rave with a knee to the gut and a seated dropkick. Azrieal hits a super snap mare but Gibson breaks the pin. Gibson hits a powerslam but the referee scoots him out of the ring. Shelley tags Rave out and comes in with a frog splash for 2. Azrieal misses the double stomp and Shelley hits him with a backbreaker. He hits a powerbomb for 2 when Gibson saves. Shelley nails him with a superkick and tags to Rave. Gibson DDTs Shelley and puts him in the Hitch but Rave breaks it up with the running knee and gets 2. Azrieal comes in with an enziguiri on Rave. Rave comes back and hits the fastest Rave Clash ever for the win. This was a big step up from recent four-ways, as it had established names, great action, AND Rave got a Pure title shot out of the win. Even so, I think three in a row is enough for James Gibson, as he’s becoming the Josh Daniels of 2005 with all these four way matches.
After the match Nana promises that the Embassy will party like it’s 1979. He takes offense to Jade Chung’s presence in the ring and punishes her by having her kiss a bunion on Jimmy Rave’s foot. With his back turned Jade makes like she’s going to finally fight back, but the power of Nana’s gaze brings her to her knees. What a vile cast of characters we have here. Something must be done.
JZ says: This is Gibson’s third four-way in a row. The bell rings but the lights go out and there’s CM Punk up in the balcony with his ROH World Title. This heel Punk is awesome. Punk says he was going to make this four-way a #1 Contenders match, but because Gibson was so unprofessional last night, he doesn’t want him to have the chance. Punk tells Gibson he will never get the title, and makes fun of the fans for getting emotional at the idea of Punk leaving the company at Death Before Dishonor III. Punk singles out Roderick Strong for a match tonight, in a non-title match. Foley sneaks up behind Punk, whose reaction is priceless. Foley holds Punk over the railing and threatens to toss him over. Punk thus agrees to make it a title match. James Gibson yells at Roderick Strong and tells him not to be in this match so he can get ready to face Punk later. The match proper is starting now, with Rave and Gibson going at it. Alex Shelley comes out in his wrestling gear to take Roderick Strong’s place in this match. This crowd LOVES Shelley. Gibson and Shelley have some heat though, from the events that transpired at Stalemate back in April. We get another goofy cut-in of Matt Hardy. Rave and Shelley are kind of working as a tag team; I wonder why? They’re both really working on the ribs, as this really has become a tag team match. The winner of this match gets a Pure Title shot at either Samoa Joe or Austin Aries next week in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Gibson finally gets tagged in and he cleans house on Rave and Shelley. After some good action, Rave gets the pin on Azrieal with the Rave Clash at 22:09. That was fun and pretty good most of the way through. Nana gets on the microphone, and says that the Embassy is going to party like its 1979. He takes another opportunity to humiliate Jade Chung by making her kiss Jimmy Rave’s foot. Jade goes to slap Nana when he has his back turned, but when he turns around she gets submissive again and Nana abuses her. I can’t wait until this gets blown off, it should be good.
MATCH #4: ROH Pure Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries
BG says: Aires has pretty much been the one guy to have Joe’s number in ROH, as he’s pinned the big man on three occasions and Joe has never been able to do the same. Oh sure he beat him in a tag team match, but he’s never pinned him. Prince Nana interrupts the announcement of the rules to invite Aries into the Embassy. Aries is more concerned with the Pure title, so he tells Nana where he can draw his bath water. Aries takes Joe to the mat to start and grabs a front facelock. Joe reverses and hits a series of headbutts. Twice Joe tries to clothesline Aries in the corner and both times Aries dodges the move. Joe gets a headlock and takes Aries to the mat. He tries to slap Aries but Aries dodges it. They knuckle up and Joe stomps on Aries’ fingers. Aries hits the rebound elbow but Joe is unfazed and he slaps Aries. Aries blocks a German suplex attempt but gets hit with a spinebuster. Joe hits a senton to the back. He puts on the Samoan Crab and Aries uses his first rope break. Aries tries to hit the Big Joe Combo but Joe powers through it and hits a kick to the chest. Joe hits a high knee in the corner and then washes Aries’ face. Aries bails but gets back in the ring at 15. Joe goes for another high knee but Aries dodges it and Joe ends up on the floor. He follows Joe out with a deep suicide dive. He teases doing an olй kick but then ticks off the fans by rolling Joe back into the ring. He hits a side suplex and an Asai moonsault for 2. He puts on a cross armbreaker and Joe uses his first rope break. He hits a dropkick in the corner and a missile dropkick for 2. He goes for the brainbuster but it’s too early and Joe easily blocks and hits an STO. Aries ends up on the apron and gets kneed to the floor. Joe follows him out with a suicide dive. He hits the Olй kick, breaks the count, and then hits it again. Back in the ring Aries reverses a powerbomb to a sunset flip for 2 into the STF. Joe uses his second rope break to escape. Aries hits a flying forearm but misses the 450 splash. Joe hits a powerslam for 2 and goes right into a cross armbreaker. Aries uses his second rope break to escape. Joe hits a powerbomb for 2 and goes right into the STF. Aries uses his last rope break to escape. He comes back with the crucifix bomb and a brainbuster. He climbs up to the top rope and hits the 450 but Joe uses his last rope break to stop the count at 2. Aries should have kicked him in the face first, like he did in December. Aries goes for another brainbuster but Joe comes back with the thousand hand slap. Joe misses an enziguiri and Aries hits the stiff kick to the face. He climbs to the top but Joe powers up and hits the Muscle Buster for the win. Aries had his foot on the ropes but it didn’t matter. Here was a match where the rules held the match back, as it seemed like the rope breaks were just a bit that they needed to get past to get to the finish, and they did so in a 2 minute period. It played off their past matches well, but felt like it went from first gear to the finish with no middle portion.
JZ says: Aries ought to be considered the favorite here, since he has pinned Joe three times in a row, something no one has ever done or will likely do again. We get clips from the first time that happened, back on 12.26.04, when Aries won the ROH World Title. This is Joe’s fourth title defense, and Aries’s second shot at the title (he challenged Doug Williams on 7.24.04). Prince Nana is back to cut a promo. He offers Aries a spot in the Embassy. Aries says he has more important things to worry about and tells Nana to go get his bathwater ready. It’s funny to note that these two have wrestled for the World Title on two occasions, and now wrestle for the Pure Title. They also wrestled each other in the first Survival of the Fittest, a tag match, last night’s four-way, and even an empty-arena match at the ROH School on 3.09.05 (which is available exclusively on the “Do or Die IV” DVD available only at rohwrestling.com). So they know each other very well. Wow, and Prazak just mentioned that empty arena match, I swear I typed it before he said it. Joe busts out a spinebuster, a move I don’t think I’ve seen him use before. Joe takes Aries outside for the Ole Kick, and I notice that the chairs in this building look just like the ones we use at the Radisson I work at here in Kalamazoo. This match is pretty good about building on their prior encounters. Joe hits the Muscle Buster to get the win at 17:10. Aries was trying to get his leg on the rope but it was just out of reach. I very much like that finish.
BG says: The Scoopster is with DeVito and the shillster Loc. They’re happy they have the belts and they’re ready to finish their war with Dunn & Marcos. GMC calling the nudie bar the bowery AND his reaction to getting uninvited are both priceless here.
JZ says: GMC is with the new ROH Tag Team Champions, and he’s a little too excited about it. Wow, these guys are a fucking joke. So, if someone joins ROH and has a bunch of matches that are exactly the same for like three years and cut themselves a bunch of times and cut the same stupid promos and yell a lot they get rewarded with titles?
MATCH #5: European Rules Match – Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness
BG says: Cabana is sick and tired of Nigel’s attacks on his manly parts, so he’s going to try to beat him at his own game here. These are the rules. The rounds are three minutes long. The first person to score two pin falls, two submissions or a knockout is the winner. Punches and kicks are illegal. When a wrestler is on the mat he has a ten count to get back to his feet. Breaking the rules results in a warning, and three warnings lead to a disqualification. Bobby Cruise screwed up a bit in explaining the rules, and since there are a lot of them I predict the crowd is going to have a tough time with this. Cabana’s corner man is Derek Dempsey and Nigel’s is an unmasked Smash Bradley.
Round 1: They lock up and Nigel punches Cabana out of the referees view. Cabana comes back with a flurry of punches and gets a warning. Nigel celebrates and acts like his master plan is finally coming to fruition. He baits Cabana to punch him again but Cabana grabs a headlock. He gets a shoulderblock and Nigel gets back up at 3. He puts on a wristlock but Nigel breaks and hits a forearm. Cabana goes back to the headlock and punches Nigel behind the referees back. He then falls to the mat and clenches his stomach, fooling the referee into thinking he’s been punched. Nigel gets his first warning. They knuckle up and Cabana ties Nigel up until the bell rings to end the round.
Round 2: Nigel throws the towel into Cabana’s face and rams his head into the turnbuckle. He tries to ram his face into the mat but Cabana keeps rolling through. Cabana manages to do it to Nigel. He does it again when Nigel argues with the referee. Nigel shoves the referee and gets his second warning. Cabana gets a roll up for 2. He gets a legsweep and a pair of dropkicks. I thought kicks were illegal. He gets a sunset flip for 3 at any rate and goes up 1-0.
Round 3: Nigel spits water in Cabana’s face and headbutts him in the gut. Cabana stays down for nine and jumps up. Nigel stays on the stomach but gets caught up and Cabana gets a sunset flip for 2. Nigel bridges out so Cabana smacks him in the groin and gets his second warning. That looked painful. Nigel gets up at 6. Cabana gets a drop toehold and a roll up for 2. He gets another for 2. He hits a hip toss and Nigel gets up at 6. Nigel’s stomach hurts from the low blow and he collapses, but he gets up at 8. Cabana hits a flying forearm but the round ends.
Matt Hardy interjects and cuts another promo on Christopher Daniels. Man, he would be so much cooler if he never talked.
Round 4: Nigel tries to hit Cabana with his iron at the start of the round but the referee takes it away. He forearms Cabana and hits the wristlock takedown. He hits the hammerlock DDT and puts on TAS with a leg grapevine for the tap out victory to even things up at 1-1.
Round 5: Nigel puts on a wristlock and wrenches the arm. Cabana hits a dropkick (illegal) and a double knee strike in the corner. Nigel misses a double knee strike and Cabana puts on a half crab. Nigel taps Cabana on the back (which is totally a tap out) and Cabana releases the hold. Cabana gets a backslide for 2. Nigel kicked Cabana before the backslide too. Nigel gets a roll up for 2. Cabana goes for a sunset flip but Nigel sits down and gets the pin and the victory.
Well, Colt kicked Nigel 3 times and Nigel kicked Colt once and they never mentioned that those were illegal. Not to mention the fact that the whole reason tapping out started is to tell your opponent that you quit, so Nigel tapping on Cabana’s back is a tap out loss. The match was also very awkward at points, as it seemed like they were more trying to fit in all the rules before actually having a good match. This is why TV is a good thing to have, as you can have the heel have a warm up match against a guy lower on the card and they can explain all the rules in that match. As it is, points for trying something new but this falls as the worst match in the feud, easy.
JZ says: We see a clip from their match on 5.14.05, in which Nigel intentionally kicked Cabana in the nuts and pinned him. These rules are pretty complicated. The main one I picked up was that punches and kicks are illegal. Keep that in mind. Nigel punches Cabana behind the referee’s back, so Cabana throws a bunch of haymakers. Cabana gets a warning, and he has two more until he gets disqualified. The second round begins, and Prazak says that the match will consist of eight three-minute rounds. No decisions yet, for those keeping score. Cabana takes a pin a few minutes later with a modified sunset flip. The picture goes out at the round break so that Matt Hardy can cut a promo. This could have happened at intermission. Man is Matt Hardy ever lame. Nigel wins a fall by submission to even things up. They do some more stuff, the crowd doesn’t seem to care, and Nigel gets the pin to win the match at 13:45. They get points for effort and for trying something different, but the end result was really flat and a match I hope I never have to watch again.
BG says: Austin Aries psyches up Roderick Strong in the back. He tells him to put Alex Shelley and his own Pure title loss out of his mind to just go out there and win the belt. Go get ’em Rod.
JZ says: Austin Aries comes back to help motivate Roderick Strong to take the World Title from CM Punk tonight.
MATCH #6: Homicide vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: The Rottweilers have been tormenting Lethal for months now, and this is stop 3 on Lethal’s revenge tour. The crowd is split for this one. Lethal unloads with chops to start. Sloppy moves are no sold by everyone until Lethal dropkicks Homicide to the floor. Back in the ring Lethal gets a suplex for 2. He hits a back suplex for 2. He hits a crossbody for 2. He hits a vertical suplex for 2. Lethal blocks an atomic drop but gets hit with a spinebuster for 2. Homicide takes over with chops and kicks. He hits a chin breaker for 2. They fight to the apron where Homicide hits the Ace Crusher. Homicide rolls back into the ring and J-Train hits Lethal with a baseball bat. Lethal gets a tiny cut on his forehead and Homicide works on it. Homicide takes a Red Sox hat from a fan, wipes himself with it and throws it to the other side of the crowd. So much for the crowd caring about Lethal. Homicide gets out his fork and rips Lethal’s forehead open with it. Lethal tries to fight back but Homicide goes to the eyes and hits him with a legdrop. They do some boring brawling and Homicide hits a sit-out Alabama slam for 2. Lethal blocks a hip toss and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. He starts firing up and hits a back bodydrop. He hits a dropkick and a knee lift. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. He hits a leg lariat from the second turnbuckle for 2. He hits the running vertical suplex and climbs to the top. He hits the diving headbutt for 2. Homicide comes back with a piledriver. J-Train puts a table in the ring as Homicide hits the running knee in the corner. He sets up the table and puts Lethal on the top rope. He goes for a superplex but Lethal comes back and DDT’s Homicide through the table for 2. He hits a bodyslam and goes back to the top. Grim Reefer comes from the back and hits Lethal with a side slam from the top rope. It gets 2 for Homicide. Homicide goes for the Cop Killer but Lethal blocks it and hits the dragon suplex for 2. Lethal goes out to the floor and beats up J-Train. In the ring Homicide dodges an enziguiri and hits Lethal with a chain. He follows it up with the lariat for the win. The match ran about 20 minutes long, but they didn’t put a lot into that time, and the overbooking at the end seemed like a bit much, relaxed rules or not.
JZ says: We get a clip from Jay Lethal’s hilarious beat down of Homicide from The Future is Now on 6.12.05. The crowd is rabidly supporting both guys. Jimmy Bower joins us on commentary. This one is relaxed rules, and they’re knocking the crap out of each other. Homicide gives Lethal an Ace Crusher on the ring apron, which is pretty neat. Unfortunately, apron moves are already being overused. J-Train interferes by hitting Lethal with a baseball bat. Homicide has a fork, which Bower classifies as a “ghetto fork.” If Homicide ever needs one, I’ve got a whole drawer full of forks just like that. I never called them ghetto forks though. This is the first time in his career Lethal has bled, I’m told. They do some more brawling, and Homicide brings a table into the ring. They do a goofy looking spot that I’m told was Lethal giving Homicide a DDT, but I couldn’t tell. And why should I, if Lethal barely sells it. Some new gang member comes out and gives Lethal a side suplex off the top rope. That was kind of neat looking, but not enough to put him away. Homicide kicks out of Lethal’s finisher, then pulls out a chain and hits him in the back of the neck before hitting the West Brooklyn Lariat for the victory at 19:12. That was just a bunch of brawling with very little to connect it. It does continue the Lethal versus Rottweilers feud very nicely though.
MATCH #7: ROH World Title Match – CM Punk vs. Roderick Strong
BG says: Strong’s entrance music is going to have to change if he’s going to be main eventing shows. Samoa Joe stares at Punk from the balcony during his entrance while the crowd chants OVW. They lock up and Punk chops Strong in the corner. Strong goes for a chop but Punk retreats to the ropes. Strong grabs a wristlock but Punk reverses to a snap mare and then runs from Strong and his chops again. Strong gets a drop toehold but Punk comes back with a headlock. Punk starts slapping Strong and immediately goes back to the headlock to avoid Strong’s chops. Strong goes for the Stronghold, but Punk blocks so Strong hits him with a Cactus clothesline. On the floor Strong still can’t hit the chop and Punk rolls back into the ring. Strong gets back into the ring but still can’t hit the chop, and Punk takes him back to the mat with the headlock. The crowd gives him Jimmy Rave treatment and Strong rolls him over for 2. He powers out and finally dodges a leapfrog and hits the chop. He starts unloading with chops, getting 2 off of one. Punk goes to the eyes to take control, but it doesn’t last long as Strong knocks him to the floor and follows him out with a plancha. On the floor Punk’s chest starts bleeding as Strong chops him into the crowd. Back in the ring Strong hits a backbreaker for 2. He hits a back suplex for 2. He rams Punk’s back hard into the turnbuckle and hits a clothesline in the corner. Punk catches him with a stun gun to take control. He lays some kicks into Strong’s chest and chokes him in the corner. James Gibson joins Joe in the balcony to watch the match. Punk hits the mule kick and a side Russian legsweep for 2. Strong comes back with a crossbody for 2. Punk quickly cuts him off with a clothesline. Strong misses a dropkick and Punk taunts the crowd. He hits a delayed vertical suplex for 2. He hits the chinlock but Strong powers out. Punk catches him with a knee to the gut for 2. He hits a backbreaker adding insult to injury. He hits a kick to the back for 2 and puts on a sleeper hold. Strong’s arm drops twice but he powers out and gets a sunset flip for 2. Punk comes back with a bare assed clothesline. He climbs to the top rope but Strong tosses him off. Punk begs off and goes to the eyes, just in case we hadn’t already figured out who he was paying tribute to. Strong comes back with the double knee gutbuster and the Sick Kick for 2. Foley joins Joe and Gibson on the balcony. Strong hits a chop to the back and then fires on the chest. He hits a pair of clotheslines and a dropkick for 2. He hits a clothesline and a running forearm and nails the uranage backbreaker for 2. He calls for the half nelson backbreaker but Punk blocks and gets a roll up or 2. He nails Strong with the Shining Wizard for 2 and puts on the Anaconda Vice. Strong reverses to a roll up for 2. He gets another for 2. Punk hits a superkick and a tornado DDT into the Anaconda Vice. Strong makes the ropes. Punk hits the Pepsi Twist but misses a springboard legdrop. Strong comes back with the Stronghold but Punk makes the ropes. Strong goes for the half nelson backbreaker again but Punk blocks and hits the spike DDT for 2. Haven’t seen him use that in a while. Punk goes for a roaring elbow but Strong catches him with a pair of backbreakers and a pumphandle piledriver for 2 when Punk gets his foot on the ropes. He pounds on the back and gets a roll up for 2 but Punk reverses to a weak roll up with his feet on the ropes for the win. This certainly topped their very good first match from the Future is Now, even with the lame finish. Strong came from non-contendership and looked like he could have been the man to take the title off Punk, which I think says a lot for how well this match was structured.
JZ says: Strong actually had a shot at the ROH World Title back at an FIP show in March, when Austin Aries was still the champion, so this is his second shot. This is Punk’s second title defense. I love symmetry. The crowd chants “Fuck You Punk” and “OVW,” which makes me glad. Punk’s using some headlocks early on, as he did with Samoa Joe in the epic trilogy last year. Roderick goes for his signature Stronghold and other various maneuvers, but Punk is able to block them. The crowd gives this match the Punk/Aries treatment, booing everything Punk does and cheering everything Roderick does. I’m begging Strong to get a personality; he’s an awesome worker, but his charisma is sorely lacking. When he rattles off a few moves and knocks Punk out of the ring, he looks to the crowd and beckons with his hand once or twice. He needs more fire to truly be one of the best. Oh and look, there’s CM Punk’s ass. He goes up to the top rope with his ass hanging out, but Roderick slams him instead. Then he thumbs him in the eye. Gee, I wonder who Punk was imitating. Joe, Gibson and Foley are watching the match from the balcony, since this is Punk’s last night and all. What a great angle this is. Punk goes for the stupid Anaconda Vice, but Roderick reverses into a crucifix roll up for a sweet near-fall. Punk gets an awesome swinging DDT and goes to the Vice again. Get out of the way, photographer. Roderick finally hooks on the Stronghold, but Punk reaches the ropes. Punk reverses an Ohkana Roll very sloppily and it actually holds Strong down for three. The match ran 26:28. Slightly messed-up finish aside, this was a killer match that had all kinds of psychology and neat reversals and good old fashioned intensity. I really liked their match on 6.12.05, but this one was so much better.
BG says: The commentators bemoan the broken lineage of the ROH title as Punk will now seemingly take the belt to the WWE with him. Punk taunts the crowd and says good-bye to ROH, so James Gibson comes from the back to get him. Punk runs into the crowd but Samoa Joe cuts him off. Punk runs back to the ring and towards the locker room but Foley cuts him off. He brawls with Punk back to the ring where Gibson hits him with the tiger driver and Foley counts 3. He challenges Punk to a match in Connecticut next week. Well, Punk can’t leave with his pride damaged like that, so he must accept the challenge.
JZ says: Punk says he’s leaving with the title, as the only undefeated ROH Champion in history. James Gibson disagrees with Punk’s plan and chases him off. He tries running through the crowd, but Samoa Joe cuts him off and chases him back. He tries going up the aisle way but Mick Foley is there to cut him off. Foley and Joe work together to throw Punk into Gibson, who connects with the Tiger Driver while Foley counts three. Well that sure didn’t count, but a point has been made. That point being that Gibson can pin Punk after a grueling 27 minute title defense. Gibson stares lovingly and longingly at the ROH Title, and he challenges Punk to defend the title against him next week in Woodbridge, CT.
BG says: Cabana blows off the camera crew and says that he’s going to have to go back to England for a while to get ready for revenge on Nigel McGuinness. He also has no comment on CM Punk’s antics.
JZ says: Cabana tries apologizing for Punk, but he has other things to worry about, namely Nigel McGuinness. Cabana says he’s going to England, and that he’s got “stuff to learn.” That’s a pretty cool way to have him off shows.
BG says: CM Punk, who’s title reign moves on as probably the most interesting one from the get-go. Bleeding from the chest also earns him points in my book.
JZ says: On our review of Sign of Dishonor, I said I was giving it to CM Punk for the second show in a row. I was actually giving it to him for the third show in a row. Now I give it to him for the fourth time in a row. Such a streak has never been seen.
You can pick up this show, as well as all other ROH shows at The Official Ring Of Honor Site.
Coming soon will be our review of Fate of an Angel!
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The 411: BG says: A much better show than the one that came one night before, as the Punk title reign seems like something really special. I think a lot of that should be attributed to Mick Foley, who despite being relatively worthless to ROH in the past is really making the danger of Punk leaving for the WWE with the belt seem real. So far this is the July show to get.
JZ says: Another solid show in the Punk era, which I hope never ends. The main event was awesome, and the undercard is pretty fun. Nigel versus Cabana and Lethal versus Homicide were disappointing, but they both play a part in a bigger picture, so I really have no major complaints about this show.
|Final Score: 8.0 [ Very Good ] legend|