ROH Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1: February 19, 2005
ROH … Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1 … February 19, 2005 … Elizabeth, New Jersey
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
JZ says: I really liked it when ROH did the top 5, so I think I’m going to start including a top 5 at the beginning of each review. This top 5 was voted on by those on the ROH message board, and they do a new top 5 after each show or double shot weekend. Here is tonight’s top 5 –
ROH World Champion: Austin Aries
ROH Pure Champion: John Walters
1) Samoa Joe
3) CM Punk
4) Jay Lethal
5) Roderick Strong
BG says: Alex Shelley gets his first backstage babyface promo. He’s finally gotten in touch with of Jack Evans, who has been out with injury, and he knows he’ll take his side in this Generation Next war. Evans shows up and nicely tells Shelley that he’s on Austin Aries’ side and that he should stay away from Generation Next for his own good.
CM Punk and Steve Corino continue their friendly enemies relationship. Corino is mad that Roderick Strong is trying to make a name for himself at his own expense, and blames Punk in a roundabout way. Corino leaves and Punk cuts a promo highlighting his time in ROH during its third year. Now he’s going to win the ROH title. Punk’s promo was cool, but when he was talking to Corino it was like they were having two different conversations.
Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal talk about Joe’s post-ROH title plans. For Joe that means becoming the first Triple Crown champion in ROH. He’s going to do for the Pure and tag titles what he did for the world title. But first he’s going to take out Mick Foley and his mystery man. For Lethal it’s strictly about getting the Pure title away from the Embassy. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Lethal’s bit was hilarious.
All of the babyfaces gather in the ring to kick off the week-long celebration. Punk leads the pack by basically saying the exact same thing he did in the back. He thanks the fans for their support and tells them to enjoy 2005 as much as they enjoyed 2004.
JZ says: Alex Shelley mistakenly believes that Jack Evans will be on his side. That’s too bad, I wonder if Evans has any idea what Shelley can do to him.
Steve Corino is in a bad mood tonight, CM Punk is excited to be wrestling Spanky. Corino blames Punk for the feud he’s in with Roderick Strong. Punk decides to take a promo when Corino walks out.
Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal are backstage. Joe gives a serious promo about how he wants to capture the remaining titles in ROH. Lethal then says that tonight is his night, and for some reason I laugh at Lethal’s bit too.
CM Punk of course takes the microphone while all the babyfaces are out there. Some guys are in gear clothes, some guys in street clothes. Jimmy Jacobs tries to crawl on Samoa Joe for some unknown reason.
MATCH #1: Steve Corino vs. Roderick Strong
BG says: These two actually have a nice little mini-feud going. Strong dropped out of a tag match that Corino was in at the last show, but opted to show Corino what he had by beating up his students Alex Law and Ricky Landell in a gauntlet match until Corino made the save. Later on during Corino’s tag match, Strong ambushed him and tore up his knee at ringside, causing his team to lose the match. Corino steals the microphone from his own ring announcer and cancels his long ring intro. He wants to beat up Strong right now, even with his broken hand and messed up knee. Strong runs out to the ring and the brawl is on. Corino kicks him in the face but Strong comes back with a backbreaker. Corino bails and Strong follows. He charges blindly and Corino backdrops him into the crowd. Back at ringside Corino hits a Yakuza kick. Strong goes to chop Corino against the post but misses and hurts himself. Back in the ring Strong goes to work on Corino’s knee. He puts on a leglock and punches at the knee. He brings in a chair and rips off Corino’s kneepad. He hits a shin breaker for 2. He slaps on another leglock but stops to wedge the chair in the corner. He slams Corino’s knee against the post. Corino reverses a whip to the chair but eats boot for 2. Strong puts on a figure 4 but Corino makes the ropes. He tries to put on another figure 4 but gets kicked into the chair in the corner. They trade forearms but Corino slows things down with an enziguiri. Corino reverses a backslide to an Ace Crusher for 2. Strong pushes Corino to the corner but he comes back with a huge clothesline. Corino calls for a brainbuster but his knee gives out and Strong hits a backbreaker for 2. Strong hits another backbreaker but it only fires Corino up. A boot to the face puts him down but Corino’s ring announcer distracts the ref. Law and Landell come in and hit a pair of dropkicks and Corino hits a northern lights bomb for 2. They block each others clotheslines and Corino hits a back suplex. Strong comes back with a gutbuster for 2. Strong goes for a powerbomb but Corino slips out and hits a lariat for the win. Really fun opener that saw Corino use Generation Next type tactics against a member of the group.
JZ says: This is quite a good example of how to do a good short-term feud. Corino is apparently bucking the format this evening. Mark Nulty tries to get “it … is … on!” over as some kind of catchphrase. They brawl outside the ring and Strong accidentally chops the ring post and hurts his hand. The crowd is pretty hot for this one, and Corino and Strong keep them going with lots of high impact moves and backbreakers. Strong continues to impress as a singles wrestler, and his tag team with Jack Evans is very promising. The finishing minutes are fun too, as Corino gives Strong a dose of his own medicine with the interference before finishing with a big lariat at 11:12. That was a hot opener with a great pace. The crowd responds with a few streamers for Corino. Corino cuts a promo putting Strong over, but Strong still refuses to shake hands.
BG says: Backstage the heel side of Special K joke around until Lacey lays down the law. She demands they put out Dixie, Azrieal, Dunn & Marcos.
JZ says: Lacey is a demanding woman. And damn she looks good tonight. The losing team of the Scramble Cage match tonight is out of ROH for 90 days.
MATCH #2: Jimmy Rave vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: Jay Lethal slapped the entire Embassy down back at the Weekend of Thunder after his match with Jimmy Rave. After that, Prince Nana put him in matches against his Weapons of Mask Destruction. In order to get a shot at Pure champion and new Embassy member John Walters, he’ll have to pass one more test and beat Rave to get a shot later on in the show. If Rave wins, he gets a shot at his fellow Embassy member for the title. Nana brings out Walters before the match, who has new Embassy music and ring gear. Anyway, on to the match, even if the result is a foregone conclusion. The crowd is heavily behind Lethal, as finally a faction has caught on as heels. They lock up intensely to a stalemate. Rave grabs a sleeper but Lethal reverses out. They trade chops. Hard ones. Rave falls first. Lethal gets a back bodydrop. He hits a back elbow for 1. He hits a snap suplex for 1. He hits a leg lariat for 2. They dodge one another’s forearm attempts but Rave goes to the eyes. Lethal goes for the dragon suplex but Rave blocks. Lethal blocks an eye poke Three Stooges-style but gets whipped into the post and bails. On the floor Rave puts him into the guardrail and works the back. Back in the ring he gets 2. He stays on the ribs and back. He hits a rib breaker for 2. Lethal comes back with a leg lariat but get caught in a seated abdominal stretch. He turns Lethal on his shoulders for 2 and hits a knee to the ribs. He hangs Lethal up on the top rope. He misses a blind charge and Lethal nails a missile dropkick. Rave bails so Lethal hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring he hits a diving headbutt but can’t capitalize because of the ribs. He still gets 2. Rave comes back with a backbreaker and Ghanarea for 2. He goes for another rib breaker but Lethal blocks and hits a clothesline for 2. Lethal goes back to the top rope but Rave dodges the attack. He hits a donkey kick and running knee strike for 2. He calls for the Rave Clash but Lethal seamlessly reverses to the dragon suplex for the win. This was every bit as good as their match from Weekend of Thunder. Seeing as it’s an anniversary show, Nana and Walters take a cue from Xavier’s strategy at the First Anniversary Show and decide to give Lethal his title shot right now.
JZ says: John Walters has undergone a slight makeover, with new music and new ring gear. Fans have wanted to boo him forever, it’s good that they turned him heel. You know, if they wanted to make this show a little shorter, they could have put this match on the Do or Die afternoon card. Not that I’m complaining about the match, because it’s very intense and quite good. Bower notes that the winner of this match will have a long time to rest before the title match, because we have a long night ahead of us. Sometimes these long shows, while good, can be a chore to get through. I’m just sayin’. Rave goes to work on the ribs, which would definitely be affected by the finisher that he invented, the Rave Clash. Rave hits his running knee, called as such by Bower. All that time calling matches with Punk paid off. Rave goes for the Clash but Lethal works an amazing reversal to get the Dragon Suplex for three at 10:52. That was an excellent match, probably my favorite Lethal match to date (since Manhattan Mayhem was still three months off at this point).
MATCH #3: ROH Pure Title Match – John Walters vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: Walters runs in and takes a quick handshake before going to work on the ribs. He hits a clothesline for 2. Walters takes it to the floor where he rakes Lethal’s face against the guardrail. Back in the ring Walters hits a vertical suplex for 2. He puts on a surfboard stretch but Lethal powers out. He gets hit with a back bodydrop and Walters goes back to work on the chest. Lethal comes back with chops. He misses one and Walters launches Lethal into the corner. Walters puts Lethal on top and hits a supercanrana. Walters goes right to the Sharpshooter and Lethal uses his first rope break. Lethal hits a dropkick for 2. He hits a back suplex for 2. He puts on a hold that I can’t even begin to describe and Walters uses his first rope break. Lethal hits a snap suplex and goes to the top. Walters moves out of the way of the headbutt. He puts on a Lion tamer but Lethal rolls over. Lethal puts on the Sharpshooter and Walters uses his second rope break. Walters comes back with a big powerbomb for 2 and puts the Sharpshooter back on. Lethal uses his second rope break. Walters hits a pumphandle backbreaker and puts on a chinlock. Lethal powers out but Nana trips Lethal from the outside. Walters goes for a clothesline but Lethal dodges and nails a suicide dive onto the Embassy. He flips back into the ring and hits a lariat for 2. He dumps Walters and hits a double axe handle. He rolls back in the ring and goes for another suicide dive. Walters catches him and drops him on the guardrail. He hangs him up and punts his ribs. Back in the ring he gets 2. He puts on a body vice and Lethal reluctantly uses his third rope break. Walters goes for the Hurricane DDT but Lethal reverses to a powerbomb. Lethal attacks with clotheslines and hits a big back bodydrop. He hits a second rope DDT for 2. Lethal goes to the top and hits a flying elbow for 2. He goes for the dragon suplex but Walters reverses and hits three lung blowers. He rolls Lethal towards the ropes and legally uses them for leverage to get the win. Lethal didn’t really sell the exhaustion of it being his second consecutive match, nor did he really sell the ribs consistently, but the action was great throughout and that can’t be ignored.
JZ says: Due to Prince Nana’s lawyers, Walters was able to decide when he defended the title, and he elected to do it NOW! Nutly points out that Walters has the longest current winning streak in ROH at seven. Nutly and Bower call this a handicap match, which is odd because it looks one-on-one to me. Lethal really has his hometown crowd behind him here. Lethal uses a powerbomb in one of his comeback spots, and it makes me wonder when the powerbomb made the transition from death move to a non-finisher, kind of like the DDT did. Lethal goes for the Dragon but Walters reverses into three straight lung blowers to get the win at 12:51. I didn’t like it as much as I did the prior match, but the action was good and the crowd was hot, so that’s good enough for me. Walters shakes Lethal’s hand after the match
BG says: The cameraman interrupts a meeting between Homicide and Allison Danger. Danger leaves and Homicide cuts a promo on Danielson. He’s going to beat him in their taped fist match tonight.
JZ says: Allison Danger looks really cute as she’s walking out of the bathroom that Homicide and Julius Smokes are in. Smokes says “no justice, no peace.” I really don’t get it.
MATCH #4: Billy Ken Kid vs. Ebessan
BG says: It’s an Osaka Pro invasion! I’ve seen a few Ebessan matches and they were all really funny. They lock up and Billy grabs a wristlock. Ebessan can’t take the pain and let’s us know. He puts on a wristlock of his own and breaks for a pinfall sequence. He grabs a headlock and catches Billy with a kick to the back of the head. Billy dropkicks Ebessan out of the ring and hits a somersault dive. Back in the ring Billy hits a crotch thrust in the corner. They trade chops and Ebessan does a Flair flop. Billy struts. Ebessan hits a superkick and a falcon arrow for 2. He hits some chops and struts. He hits a clothesline in the corner but Billy blocks a bulldog. Billy hits Stratusfaction for 2. He hits a hurricanrana for 2. Ebessan hits a really ugly springboard kick and tunes up the band. Billy gets a really complicated backslide for 2 but Ebessan comes back with a Shining Wizard. Ebessan has trouble with his throat slash motion and gets hit with Emerald Frosion for 2. Billy hits a bodyslam and goes to the top. He hits a 450 splash for the win. This was actually pretty disappointing compared to some of the other stuff I’ve seen from Ebessan.
JZ says: This is my first Ebessan match actually, although I might have seen his matches from the Chikara Grand Prix tag team tournament before this, since I watched them all around the same time. Speaking of matches that should have been on the afternoon card, I would say this one would fit there too. Nulty thinks that it’s Steve Kerr under the mask. Awesome, make references that don’t make sense and few will get. I watched the Bulls religiously from 93-97, and Ebessan bears no resemblance to Steve Kerr. The match starts with some fun comedy, and Bower even makes a joke about the length of the show, so at least he’s aware of it. Ken Kid gets the win at 7:24 with a 450 splash. It was moderately fun, but nothing I couldn’t live without ya know?
BG says: A clip of Samoa Joe versus AJ Styles from War of the Wire plays under the announcement that Styles will come back to ROH to face Jimmy Rave at night two of the Third Anniversary Celebration.
JZ says: This AJ Styles versus Samoa Joe match is tremendous, by the way.
MATCH #5: Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley
BG says: A video package of their history is shown before the match. Jacobs plays the aggressor early on. Shelley grabs a headlock but Jacobs goes to the corner to break. Jacobs can’t get the shoulder block so he slaps Shelley around. Shelley cuts him off with a clothesline and blows snot on him. He hits a back elbow and back suplex. I wish he’d act outside the ring the way he wrestles inside the ring, as a heelish babyface. He goes for a crossbody off the top but Jacobs lands a knee to the ribs. He hits a spear and pounds him into the mat. They trade headbutts, which will obviously goes Jacobs’ way, so Shelley slaps him. Jacobs bites him back. He puts Shelley’s face down in the corner and double stomps the back. He spears him in the ropes and hits a series of double stomps and a senton. Shelley tries to bail and Jacobs pulls on his cheeks. Back in the ring Shelley takes Jacobs down with a snap suplex. Jacobs goes for the spear in the ropes again but Shelley moves and Jacobs topples to the floor. Back in the ring Shelley gets two. Shelley tunes up the band and hits three superkicks in a row for two. That was probably a shot at Shawn Michaels using the line “I’ve got talent on loan from G-d” on Raw shortly before this. Shelley hits a super atomic drop and enziguiri. He hits the Golden Gate swing for two. He puts Jacobs on the top but Jacobs fights him off and hits a reverse senton for two. Jacobs gets fired up and goes for the Contra Code but Shelley blocks. Jacobs hits the boot of fear twice, but Shelley catches him with the Border City Stretch on a third attempt. Jacobs makes the ropes. He goes for the Contra Code again but Shelley reverses to a Shellshock into the turnbuckle. He goes for another but Jacobs reverses to a Shellshock of his own for two. He puts the Border City Stretch on Shelley, but Shelley reverses and puts it on Jacobs for the win. Shelley asks for a handshake and forgiveness after the match, but Jacobs’ heart is hard and he hits him with the Contra Code. Shelley lifted a line from Principal Skinner there, and it was awesome. The match however was not that awesome, and was not representative of what these two can do against one another.
JZ says: Shelley’s heel turn on Jacobs on April 24, 2004 was perfectly executed. This would be their fourth one-one-one match in Ring of Honor; the previous three were at The Last Stand, Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 2, and Joe vs. Punk II. All were very good. This however, would be the first time they have wrestled each other on the East Coast, and it shows, since the crowd doesn’t seem to be terribly interested in this outside of a few spots. Nutly further earns my ire by referencing Don Henley. I’ve never understood what the big deal about The Eagles is. Jacobs takes a huge face bump on the floor, and the crowd gasps for a second. He tries to get the crowd into it and they just refuse. For some reason this isn’t reaching the usual level of goodness that the matches between these two usually reach. It feels more like two guys trying to imitate a Jacobs versus Shelley match than the real thing. Shelley gets yet another win at 13:03 with the Border City Stretch. This match was fine, but lacked the usual spark that they have.
BG says: Jim Cornette chimes in with some good old life lessons from Journey. He’s going to get rid of Bobby Heenan in his own hometown of Chicago at night three of the Third Anniversary Celebration. Last time he had two boys do a man’s job, but he’s got a surprise for Heenan this time.
JZ says: Jim Cornette is still one of the best promo men in the business, seriously.
MATCH #6: Spanky vs. CM Punk
BG says: Spanky’s entrance music rules. I still can’t believe that the production crew can’t get it together to film the crowd during Punk’s entrance and not the curtain. Spanky grabs a headlock to start. Punk reverses to one of his own but Spanky quickly gets out. Punk manages to get it back on but Spanky goes to the ropes to break. Spanky puts on a hammerlock but Punk goes back to the headlock. Spanky powers out and puts on a front facelock. Punk gets out and tries to go back to the headlock but Spanky blocks. Punk changes his strategy and puts on an armbar. Spanky powers out and gets a hurricanrana but misses a clothesline and Punk hits a neckbreaker for 2. He headbutts Spanky down for 2. The announcers actually mention that the New Jersey crowd, like the Boston crowd, just won’t accept Punk as a babyface. He hits a seated dropkick for 2. He hits a bodyslam for 2. He puts on a head scissor hold but Spanky makes the ropes. Punk takes Spanky’s head over the top rope with him but Spanky cuts off a springboard attempt with a dropkick. Spanky starts rabidly going after the leg, ramming it against the apron. He puts on a leglock but Punk gets to the ropes. He rams his leg into the ring post and the announcers become admitted hypocrites, saying that it’s okay for Spanky to do it but it was a cheap shot earlier when Roderick Strong did it. Well, I guess that doesn’t make them hypocrites, but it makes them annoying. Spanky puts on another leglock and blocks Punk’s attempts to kick out with his hand. That should be done more. He lets go and stomps away at the leg. Spanky meets every strike from Punk with a kick to the leg and tries Sliced Bread #2 but Punk blocks it. He catches Spanky on the top rope with an inverted superplex. He hits a pair of clotheslines and the mule kick. He gets a small package for 2. He hits the mounted punches but it allows Spanky to hit an atomic drop. He dropkicks the knee and hits a Flatliner. He hits a face buster and a clothesline. He goes to the top for the frog splash but it hits knees. That was a mistake for Punk, who further hurts his knee. Punk goes for a piledriver but his knee buckles. He calls for the Shining Wizard but Spanky meets him with a superkick. He goes for Sliced Bread #2 off of the center of the ropes but Punk blocks. He goes for Welcome to Chicago, but thinks better of it because of his knee and hits the Angel’s Wings instead for 2. He goes for the spike DDT, but it hurts him too much to wrap the leg and Spanky hits Sliced Bread #2 off of the middle of the ropes for the win. The psychology and selling was top notch, but the crowd turned on it before it even had a chance to get started and the energy of the match suffered as a result.
Nana and the Outkast Killaz come out after the match to offer Spanky a spot in the Embassy. Spanky rejects the offer, using the second Simpsons reference of the night in the process. Then he wisely runs away before they can do him any harm. Nana catches Punk laughing at him so starts running him down and slaps him. Punk beats up all three of them and sprays the aerosol can that the Embassy uses to purify the building in Nana’s eyes.
JZ says: Punk gets some heel heat from the New Jersey crowd. For some reason the East Coast has just never latched on to him as a babyface. This is just Spanky’s second match since coming back. We are told that both men have put in title petitions. Excuse me while I laugh about that for a moment. Spanky goes to work on the legs and the crowd seems a little disinterested. It’s approximately a million degrees in my room right now. Punk is really selling the injury well though, as opposed to most Indy matches. It’s really weird to hear Punk getting booed, but that’s the Rex Plex for ya. Spanky executes a Flatliner, which is apparently the move that everyone is doing in 2005. Punk calls out the Shining Wizard (which I believe was the move of 2003), and since Spanky heard him he’s able to counter. I hate that when wrestlers call out their move, it’s so bush-league. Nutly proves that he doesn’t know what CM Punk’s finishing maneuver is. Spanky gets the Sliced Bread #2 for the win at 14:40. The selling and psychology was pretty great, but the brevity and crowd reaction didn’t help much. The post-match segment with Nana and the Embassy is brilliant, and sets the stage for one of my favorite ROH feuds ever.
MATCH #7: ROH Tag Team Title Match – Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer vs. Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero
BG says: This is pretty much the far too delayed blow off to the crap that Maff and Whitmer had to go through to get the tag titles that they really should have taken at Glory by Honor III, back when people cared about them. At World Title Classic the two realized that they could be a dominant team when they won Ultimate Endurance. They ditched Allison Danger and the Prophecy gimmick, which caused her to snap. Since she still owned their contracts she put them through hell. Their biggest test was a blood feud with the Carnage Crew which turned into a contest to impress Mick Foley as much as it was a rivalry out of anger. They got through all of Danger’s games, but she made one last ditch effort to ruin them. They get a tag title shot, but if they lose they have to split up.
Reyes and Maff start. Reyes gets a drop toehold into a headlock but Maff reverses out. He chops away but Maff can’t feel it. Maff shoulder blocks him down and he tags to Romero. Whitmer tags in and hits a big boot. They slap one another and Whitmer hits a knee lift. He hits a back elbow and a back suplex for 2. Maff tags in and hits a boot to the face. Whitmer tags in and they hit a double shoulder block. Reyes tags in and gets hit with a bodyslam for 2. Romero tags in and kicks Whitmer down. He nails him with a high knee sending him out of the ring where Reyes and Smokes double-team him. Back in the ring Reyes tags in and the Pitbulls double-team Whitmer for 2. Reyes hits a spinebuster and the Pitbulls hit a double-team springboard kneedrop. Reyes hits a backbreaker for 2. Romero tags in and gets a double leg takedown. He tags in Reyes who hits a springboard senton and a kneedrop for 2. Whitmer hits an exploder suplex and both men are down. Romero tags in but Maff makes the hot tag. He no sells a dropkick and hits a press slam and a senton for 2. He hits a leg lariat on Reyes and the cannonball on Romero for 2. Romero goes for a double axe handle but gets belly-to-belly suplexed for 2. Romero reverses a lariat to a floating hammerlock but Maff makes the tag to Whitmer. Romero hits a high knee and tags to Reyes. Whitmer catches him with German suplex but Reyes hits one of his own. Whitmer hits a side suplex and both men are down. Maff gets the tag but gets caught in a triangle choke. Romero cuts off the save but Maff powers out. He hits a half-nelson suplex and the burning hammer to end the reign of terror that was the Havana Pitbulls’ time with the titles. Allison Danger comes out and tries to say that the match was non-title and she has the contract to prove it, but Maff and Whitmer have had enough. They make her tear up the contract once and for all and then hit her with an exploder and a frog splash. I don’t know how legal the whole tear up the contract thing is, but I’ll let it go on the grounds of my own ignorance. The finish to the match came out of nowhere, but the crowd was way into it. It was better than the last match between the two teams as well.
JZ says: Wow, the new intro on Maff & Whitmer’s music is LAME. This match is pretty stiff from the get-go, and Maff is in full no-selling mode. Nutly yells at the oddest times, and it’s really annoying when he yells over a silent crowd. Not that the crowd isn’t into this match, because they are, but you know what I mean. This is the third match between these two teams, the first two coming at Glory By Honor III (9.11.04) and Weekend of Thunder Night 2 (11.06.04). Let’s see which episode of Seinfeld is on. I ended up watching Dharma & Greg also. This match is actually much better than their prior matches. Nutly still calls the bodyslam a “crotch hold left.” Maff and Whitmer seem to enjoy dropping the Pitbulls on their heads. Speaking of which, Maff gets the pin with the burning hammer at 10:41. Allison Danger tries to nix the title win, but Maff & Whitmer show her who’s boss and they are the NEW tag team champions, for the second time.
BG says: The Scoopster gets in the ring and announces that ROH will co-host New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of American Super Junior Tournament in April. It will feature eight of America’s best wrestlers. Keep THAT little bit in mind.
JZ says: I love tournaments, don’t you?
Mick Foley Promo
BG says: Mick Foley comes out to the ring and kind of makes fun of the fans for cheering him despite the fact that he ripped apart their promotion. He says that the special WWE challenge match that he had set up for Samoa Joe would not take place. He says he was going to bring in Test as the surprise WWE challenger (although I’d constantly heard during the build to the show that it was actually supposed to be Billy Gunn). Had Joe beaten Test he would have become the WWE superstar to defeat Joe himself. But Test was still too injured and Foley realized after his brawl with Samoa Joe at It All Begins that he was in no condition to wrestle. So he’s going to bring out a young competitor who he sees a lot of potential in to face Samoa Joe.
JZ says: Foley is still bitching about Ric Flair. Besides that, the fans have the nerve to chant “Fuck Triple H.” Foley at least gives HHH his dues, but Triple H gets no respect. Look, I know that he probably uses his position as son-in-law to keep himself in the forefront, but the guy is awesome when he wants to be. Foley decides to bring out a wrestler that has never been in WWE before, despite this being a “WWE Challenge” match.
MATCH #8: Mick Foley’s WWE Challenge
Part 1: Vordell Walker vs. Samoa Joe
BG says: Walker had actually gotten an ROH title shot against Austin Aries in FIP shortly before this, and though I haven’t seen the match yet I’ve heard it was quite good. Walker strikes away at Joe to start and hits him with a dropkick. Joe hits a belly-to-belly suplex. He hits the Big Joe Combo and Walker bails. Joe hits the suicide dive. Back in the ring Walker gets an armdrag and goes for a cross arm breaker but Joe blocks. He puts on the choke but Walker elbows out. He hits an enziguiri and a standing moonsault for 2. He gets Joe up on his shoulders but Joe kicks himself down and hits an enziguiri. Walker regroups but runs right into the choke and passes out. That was just a squash. Foley decides to make good on his promise for a WWE superstar and brings out Cactus Jack! Well, not quite.
JZ says: Oh goody. Vordell Walker. While he had wrestled on the Do or Die IV show earlier in this day, this would be his first real appearance in Ring of Honor. Also he had that title match that Brad mentioned. The finish, which is awkward, comes after 4:06 of action.
Part 2: Hardcore Match – Samoa Joe vs. Ebessan Jack
BG says: That’s right, it’s Ebessan dressed up like Cactus Jack. The crowd responds favorably. Foley makes it a hardcore match. Joe misses a clothesline and Jack attacks with forearms and a back elbow. He can’t shoulder block Joe down and bails when Joe gets pissed. He crotches Joe on his way back in the ring. He dumps Joe to the floor where Foley puts him into the guardrail and clotheslines him. Foley tells Jack to hit the Cactus elbow, but he gets scared and just drops an elbow from the floor. Joe actually sells it as he rolls back in the ring. Jack tunes up the band but Joe blocks whatever it was going to be with a botched powerslam attempt. He hits the powerslam on a second attempt. He hits the powerbomb and puts on the STF on the kickout. The crowd begs him not to tap and he makes it to the ropes. The crowd chants for Mr. Socko, even though they supposedly hate sports entertainment. Joe puts Jack down in the corner and washes his face. Foley gives Mr. Socko to Jack who puts on the mandible claw. Joe bites the hand in his mount because Jack apparently doesn’t know how to do the hold properly. Joe hits the enziguiri. Foley trips Joe and gets in the ring to help Jack put the boots to Joe. Joe nails Foley with a clothesline and hits Jack with the STO. He hits Jack with the muscle buster and gets the win. As a match it was nothing, but it was damn funny.
Foley hits Joe with the double underhook DDT after the match and beats him up on the floor. Joe turns things around and is about to hit the ole kick when Austin Aries sneaks up in a hoodie and attacks Joe with a chair. The commentators tell us that he MUST be the guy who secretly helped Foley beat up Joe at It All Begins. Foley tells Aries that he’s going to try to get him a job in the WWE. It’s a shame that what could have been a huge angle for Joe turned into mere comedy and build for the title rematch.
JZ says: The commentators say Ebestus Jack, Foley says Ebetus Jack, the chryon says Ebessan Jack – you decide! I personally prefer Ebessan Jack, as it’s more of a combination of the two names. The elbow drop on the floor is really great, Ebessan totally has a knack for comedy. Foley actually gets in the ring to help beat on Samoa Joe, but that doesn’t go so well. Joe puts Jack down with the Muscle Buster at 6:28. It wasn’t great, but it was funny. Then again, this angle didn’t warrant a comedy match, so I’m torn. The whole thing was basically to add heat to the Joe versus Aries rematch, rendering Ebessan and Walker’s involvement, and even Foley’s, useless.
BG says: A clip from Full Impact Pro in Florida is shown. The Homicide/Danielson feud spilled over into FIP when Danielson attacked Homicide after his FIP title defense.
JZ says: I like the idea of using FIP to help promote ROH and vice-versa.
MATCH #9: Best of Five Series Match 2; Taped Fist Match – Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
BG says: Danielson’s beard is starting to get a little out of hand here. There is indeed tape on the fists of both competitors. They jab at one another to start. Danielson grabs a headlock but Homicide dodges the punch. Homicide gains the advantage with a punch to the ribs and back. He hits a series of jabs but Danielson comes back. He knocks Homicide down with a shot to the jaw and gets the advantage. Homicide dumps Danielson to the floor but gets whipped in the guardrail and clotheslined into the crowd. Homicide cuts Danielson off with a chair and knocks him to the floor. He sets up a little chair platform but ends up getting suplexed on it himself in a sick spot. They brawl up to the bleachers on which Homicide hits a DDT. Danielson fires back and knocks Homicide down the steps. Homicide brings his fork out of retirement and gouges into Danielson’s forehead, drawing blood. Back in the ring he stays on the cut with his fork. The referee takes the fork away so Homicide rips at the cut with his hands… which are taped! Danielson punches his way into an airplane spin but Homicide goes to the cut to escape and gets a roll up for 2. He hits a bodyslam and second rope fist drop for 2. He hits Steve Corino’s Old School Expulsion for 2. He misses the second rope fist drop and hurts his hand. Oh crap. Danielson punches for the advantage and puts on the Mexican surfboard stretch and turns it into a dragon sleeper but Homicide thumbs the eye to escape. He calls for the Clothesline from Hell but Danielson punches the arm and puts on the Cow Killer. He turns it over for a 2 count. He hits an atomic drop and a forearm to the back. He puts Homicide on the top rope and hits a back superplex. Homicide did punch him in the face on the way down however and both guys are down. They beat the count and trade punches but knock each other out again. Romero distracts the referee while J-Train comes out to ringside and tapes brass knuckles to Homicide’s fist. They punch each other again but Homicide lands on top and gets the win. They used the gimmick really well and the finish was pretty cool, but the match was punchy kicky the whole way through. I guess the taped fist stipulation doesn’t do it for me.
JZ says: Remember when Jim Duggan used to tape his fist and punch a dude in the face for his finisher in WCW? That would have been cool if they had a special referee for every match, a guy whose specialty was the gimmick that they are doing that night. They brawl to the outside early on, because they just hate each other that much! Usually when people do that I tune out. This is no different. Danielson is bleeding for the first time in his entire career, they say. Danielson finds it necessary to call out the airplane spin when he already has Homicide up for it. That seems unnecessary. They’re doing a lot of punching and kicking, with very little wrestling actually happening outside of signature moves. The finish is pretty creative, albeit a bit anticlimactic. Match ran 17:54.
BG says: Maff and Whitmer celebrate with their tag team titles with the Scoopster backstage. Maff promises that this title reign will last much longer than the hour-long reign they had last time. They’re going to go down as the longest reigning and best tag team champions that ROH has ever seen. The Scoopster offers them cake.
SSP is backstage with Bryan Danielson. Some of the guys told Danielson that Homicide would fight him any place and any time. So Danielson wants to meet him in the parking lot after the show.
JZ says: Man, I want some cake.
Looks like SSP and Danielson aren’t getting any cake either.
MATCH #10: ROH World Title Steel Cage Match – Colt Cabana vs. Austin Aries
BG says: They show a video package of Aries putting Cabana out of ROH back at Scramble Cage Melee and then the brainbuster on the ramp at It All Begins. They lock up but Aries goes to the corner to break. He tries to quietly slip out of the door but Cabana catches him. Aries grab a wristlock but Cabana reverses to a headlock. He goes to climb out but Aries catches him and brings him down. He tries to ram Cabana into the cage but he blocks. Aries reverses a sunset flip to a dropkick. Cabana hits a back bodydrop and a bodyslam. He hits another and then flings Aries back first into the cage. Cabana blocks a whip into the cage with a flying forearm. Aries blocks a whip into the cage but gets hit with a clothesline. Cabana goes to escape but Aries kicks his leg out from under his leg and rams his face into the cage. He dropkicks Cabana’s face into the cage twice. He hits a springboard double axe handle for 2. Cabana is busted open as he gets flung into the cage again. Aries rakes his face against the mesh. Cabana catches Aries in a tree of woe by the cage door and tries to escape but Aries grabs his ankle. Aries hits a tornado stunner. Aries tries to go over the top but Cabana tosses him to the mat. Aries hits a kick to the gut and a nasty one to the top of the head for 2. He hits the chinlock and stomps on Cabana’s hands. Aries slugs away but Cabana gets fired up and slaps him down. He flings Aries into the cage and he blades on camera. He rakes Aries face against the cage. Cabana goes to escape but Aries meets him on the top. Cabana blocks the crucifix super bomb and hits an Asai moonsault. He goes to escape again but Aries catches him with a hurricanrana off the ropes. Cabana tries to crawl out the door but Aries cuts him off. Austin “super heel” Aries claps to get the crowd behind him before dropkicking Cabana in the corner. He hits another one and Cabana almost falls out the cage door but Aries catches him. Cabana mindlessly tries to climb out but Aries keeps cutting him off. They slug it out on the top rope and end up getting crotched. Aries hits the roaring forearm and tries to escape. Cabana cuts him off with a spinning Razor’s Edge for 2 and then tries to escape but Aries catches him. He tries to climb over Cabana but gets pulled into the ring. Cabana goes for it one more time so Aries rams the door into his face. Cabana blocks a brainbuster but gets hit with a knee in the face. He goes to escape over the top but Cabana catches him on his shoulders. Aries gets off with a reverse hurricanrana for 2. Cabana suplexes Aries into the cage 3 times and then hangs him tree of woe-style on it. He hits him in the gut a few times and then hits a brainbuster. Cabana goes to escape over the top but Aries slows him down. Cabana knocks Aries off the ropes and gets over the top but Aries bolts through the door before Cabana’s feet can hit the floor. I remembered that finish looking contrived, but on second viewing here it looked great. Good action in this match, and a huge improvement over their previous two matches. There just might be something to this Austin Aries guy.
JZ says: Aries tries to be real sneaky and get out of the cage early on. They do some real wrestling, which seems a little backwards since it seems as though a cage would be more of a venue for a fight. The crowd is doing that annoying double chant, but the one good thing about it is that it means they are into the match. Aries and Cabana both bleed. Cabana, whom many (myself included) said couldn’t be believed as a World Champion is proving me wrong by having an excellent match and leaving the comedy at home. He even busts out the spinning razor’s edge, but it only gets two on Aries. They do some good wrestling and brawling, with the finish coming after 20:35 of action. The finish looks really cool and makes both guys look strong, but makes Aries look just THAT much more determined, which as champion he should. This was much better than their prior two matches, and Aries’ first really good title defense (though I haven’t seen the Kevin Steen or Vordell Walker matches that happened in between the two Cabana matches).
BG says: SSP finds Homicide backstage and relays the message he got from Bryan Danielson. Homicide RSVPs that he’ll be there.
JZ says: Parking lot brawl, hopefully in the vein of Steve Blackman and Ken Shamrock.
MATCH #11: Scramble Cage Match – Jack Evans & Roderick Strong vs. Izzy & Deranged vs. The Carnage Crew vs. Dixie & Azrieal vs. Dunn & Marcos
BG says: Winners of this match get ten times their pay and the losers are suspended for 90 days. Generation Next and Evil Special K start. Izzy and Evans do a cool high flying sequence which Izzy gets the better of. Strong press slams Izzy through the cage door. He gets hit with a reverse hurricanrana by Deranged for 2, even though nobody can win until all the teams are in. The Carnage Crew enters the match and takes it to Strong. DeVito hits a northern lights suplex into the corner on Strong with a cigar in his mouth. They hit Evans with the Carnage-plex. Dixie and Azrieal come out to no music even though Azrieal beat Deranged by DQ on the last show. They stay out of the ring for fear of the Carnage Crew while inside the ring Deranged gets plowed into Jack Evans. Dunn and Marcos run out and climb to the platforms. The babyface Special K use the distraction to come in the ring. Dunn and Marcos hit the Stage Dive from the platforms. They hit the assisted Sliced Bread on DeVito and then a double senton for 2. Evans goes to the platform and Azrieal follows. Evans tosses Azrieal off the cage and hits a 450 splash on Dunn. DeVito and Azrieal both climb to separate platforms. DeVito moonsaults onto everyone in the cage and Azrieal nails Izzy with a double stomp to the head. Some of the guys fall out of the cage. DeVito brings a table into the ring. All of the evil Special K kids beat up the good Special K kids on the outside. DeVito goes to give Izzy the Carnage Driver from the platform but Dunn breaks it up. Izzy dives onto everyone on the floor. Marcos puts Loc on the table and then he and Dunn hit him with the double senton off of the platform for the win. Dunn and Marcos get ten times their pay and the Carnage Crew gets 90 days off to freshen up their gimmick. The match was the usual collection of crazy dives and nothing else.
JZ says: Yay, scramble cage! I think I would have preferred Aries and Cabana going on last, but the crowd usually likes these things, so either way I guess. This is Roderick Strong’s second match of the night, by the way. He lost to Corino way back in the opening match. This is like the Scramble Cage match from Main Event Spectacles (11.01.03), not At Our Best (03.13.04) or Scramble Cage Melee (08.28.04). Strong is being taken to the back as Azrieal & Dixie make their entrance. Bower notes that Strong hurt his ankle. Dunn & Marcos get the win at 10:25. I give it a few points for effort and brevity. I give it a few million points for ensuring that I won’t see The Carnage Crew for the next 90 days.
BG says: Backstage the Scoopster asks Alex Shelley how he feels about Jimmy Jacobs not accepting his apology. Shelley says that nothing has been going his way. He lets his whiny babyface persona come through, repenting for everything he did in Generation Next and calling himself a dumbass before apologizing to the entire locker room. Oh, and by the way, he’s coming after Generation Next and the ROH title.
The Carnage Crew are all upset that Dunn and Marcos knocked them out of ROH for 90 days. Apparently they were Loc’s students. Loc gets the line of the night with “I need that money bro.” He really sells the crackhead thing well. In 90 days we’re really going to see some crazy.
Cut to the parking lot where Danielson calls out Homicide, School Ties-style, in an awesome orange sweatshirt. Homicide meets him and they brawl by a Ryder truck until security breaks it up.
Three days later Colt Cabana is back in Chicago in the Good Times Great Memories studio. Bobby Heenan is the special guest for this late edition of GTGM. Heenan is still ready for Cornette. We learn from this that Cabana has grown up with a family of attorneys.
JZ says: It’s too bad that Alex Shelley got his balls cut off. He could be a babyface without being a total wuss. Ideally, he would be a heel, just like in real life.
The Carnage Crew are practically crying, screaming about their loss. They should be tougher than that if they’re actually tough guys. This is just like any other Carnage Crew promo, good riddance.
STELLA!!!! STELLA!!! STELLA!!!
Good Times, Great Memories Late Show is on, be quiet. Bobby Heenan is tonight’s special guest.
Great Third Year Moments
BG says: They also show a clip from each show in ROH’s third year, so here they are with ratings next to the matches and short comments next to non-matches:
Second Anniversary Show: CM Punk dressed as Christopher Daniels fresh off of getting him out of ROH (Awesome angle)
At Our Best: Scramble Cage (**, not even close to the best match on the show)
Reborn Stage One: The Briscoes v. The Havana Pitbulls (***1/2)
Reborn Stage Two: CM Punk & Colt Cabana v. The Briscoes (****)
Round Robin Challenge 3: Homicide v. Spanky (***1/2)
Generation Next: Homicide v. Samoa Joe (***1/2), I’d have gone with the 8-man tag
World Title Classic: Samoa Joe v. CM Punk (****1/2)
Survival of the Fittest: The Survival of the Fittest Match (****3/4)
Reborn Completion: The CM Punk/Ricky Steamboat final confrontation and the Low Ki heel turn that sees him join the Rottweilers (Both good angles)
Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 1: Generation Next v. Jimmy Jacobs, John Walters & Matt Stryker (****)
Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 2: CM Punk & Ace Steel v. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer (****)
Testing the Limit: Austin Aries v. Bryan Danielson (****1/4)
Scramble Cage Melee: John Walters v. Doug Williams (****)
Glory by Honor 3: Mick Foley, Maff & Whitmer kill everyone after Ultimate Endurance (They should have given Maff and Whitmer the tag titles in this great moment)
Midnight Express Reunion: The reunion (Awesome stuff)
Gold: Generation Next v. Jimmy Jacobs, Ace Steel & CM Punk (***1/2)
Joe vs. Punk 2: Samoa Joe v. CM Punk (*****)
Weekend of Thunder Night 2: Jushin Liger v. Bryan Danielson (****)
Weekend of Thunder Night 2: Jushin Liger & Samoa Joe v. Low Ki & Bryan Danielson (****1/2)
All Star Extravaganza 2: CM Punk v. Samoa Joe (****1/2)
Final Battle 2004: Austin Aries v. Samoa Joe (****1/4)
It All Begins: Samoa Joe/Mick Foley confrontation (Great potential, shame it had a disappointing blow off)
Second Anniversary Show: CM Punk dressed as Christopher Daniels fresh off of getting him out of ROH (This was when I first started to really like Punk)
At Our Best: Scramble Cage (* I think, I didn’t really care much for this match)
Reborn Stage One: The Briscoes v. The Havana Pitbulls (***3/4)
Reborn Stage Two: CM Punk & Colt Cabana v. The Briscoes (***3/4)
Round Robin Challenge 3: Homicide v. Spanky (***1/2)
Generation Next: Homicide v. Samoa Joe (***1/2, the 8-man tag was much more important in the scheme of ROH’s third year)
World Title Classic: Samoa Joe v. CM Punk (****1/2)
Survival of the Fittest: The Survival of the Fittest Match (****1/2)
Reborn Completion: The CM Punk/Ricky Steamboat final confrontation and the Low Ki heel turn that sees him join the Rottweilers (Both real good non-wrestling segments)
Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 1: Generation Next v. Jimmy Jacobs, John Walters & Matt Stryker (****)
Death Before Dishonor 2 Night 2: CM Punk & Ace Steel v. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer (****)
Testing the Limit: Austin Aries v. Bryan Danielson (****)
Scramble Cage Melee: John Walters v. Doug Williams (***3/4)
Glory by Honor 3: Mick Foley, Maff & Whitmer kill everyone after Ultimate Endurance (Foley’s debut, and he got more annoying with each appearance)
Midnight Express Reunion: The reunion (Best non-match in company history, period)
Gold: Generation Next v. Jimmy Jacobs, Ace Steel & CM Punk (***3/4)
Joe vs. Punk 2: Samoa Joe v. CM Punk (*****)
Weekend of Thunder Night 2: Jushin Liger v. Bryan Danielson (****)
Weekend of Thunder Night 2: Jushin Liger & Samoa Joe v. Low Ki & Bryan Danielson (****1/2)
All Star Extravaganza 2: CM Punk v. Samoa Joe (****3/4)
Final Battle 2004: Austin Aries v. Samoa Joe (****1/2)
It All Begins: Samoa Joe/Mick Foley confrontation (I want this match to happen so bad)
BG says: Colt Cabana. Nobody thought Cabana was winning his match going into it, but you sure felt like he might once he got rolling.
JZ says: Jay Lethal, for having two very good matches.
See you soon with our review of Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 2!
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The 411: BG says: Another show that's over four hours, but it flows really easily. Nothing is bad even if a few matches come up disappointing. I'd stop after the ROH title match however, because these Scramble Cage matches are way tired.
JZ says: This one took me a while to get through. It’s a good show but it’s very long, and none of the matches just scream “WATCH ME!!!” However, most of the matches are good enough, and there’s quite a variety here, so this is definitely a recommended show.
|Final Score: 7.0 [ Good ] legend|