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ROH: Second Anniversary Show 2/14/04

August 6, 2004 | Posted by Jacob Ziegler
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ROH: Second Anniversary Show 2/14/04  

ACME Products

Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler

Intro

BG says: First off, my name is spelled Brad Garoon, so if it’s spelled differently above then its wrong. Okay, now the show.

Samoa Joe’s Ring. Joe talks about bringing prestige to the ROH title and making it a World Title by taking it around the globe. He says that it is an insult to him that on the second anniversary of ROH’s existence they are crowning the first pure wrestling champion. He welcomes the competition, but says the belt is only in existence because nobody can beat him for the world title. This was a cool segment, and helps the Pure Wrestling Title to get over.

Allison Danger mourns the loss of Daniels from ROH and says that Maff or Whitmer will win the title from Joe tonight. Maff and Whitmer do their usual bickering with Maff being intense because Whitmer turns his stomach and Whitmer laughs it off. Maff says that he will bring the title back to Daniels. He brings up Low Ki, who is also in the title match tonight, and says he’ll get revenge for being knocked out last August. Whitmer tells Maff to be careful that Ki doesn’t knock him out again.

The tournament will make up most of this show, and none of the matches will be under Pure Wrestling rules except for the finals because it is the only match that is actually for the Pure Wrestling title. All matches in the tournament have a sixty minute time limit.

JZ says: Samoa Joe does his promo in a suit, which looks classy and helps get over what a great champion Joe is. This promo does a great job talking about the importance of both the World and Pure titles, and makes Joe seem both prideful and bitter at the same time. Great stuff

The Prophecy cut another promo talking about tonight’s World Title match, which Low Ki has suddenly been added to. I guess the ROH website explained it at the time, but just watching the tape now I have no idea how Low Ki got into the match. But I really don’t mind. The Prophecy manage to squeeze in my favorite catchphrase, “you know it!” only twice.

The ROH Top Five Rankings as of February 14, 2004:

1) Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer
3) Jay Briscoe
4) John Walters
5) Chris Sabin

MATCH #1: CM Punk (7) vs. John Walters (2), First Round Tournament Match

BG says: Before the action can begin, Disposable Teens plays over the speakers. Christopher Daniels shocks us all by coming through the curtain. When the robe comes off in the ring we realize it’s actually CM Punk. The deception! The crowd chants for Daniels. Punk says he will get the Pure Wrestling Title tonight, move on to the tag titles in Chicago, and then he’s coming after Joe. Walters hits the ring, but before the match can start, Punk dedicates his performance to former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka. Walters works Punk’s arm to start. Walters gets Punk in a leg scissors but Punk reverses to a leglock. Walters makes the ropes. Danger joins commentary for a minute to bitch about Punk’s playing dress up and annoys the crap out of me. Walters gets Punk in a surfboard but Punk makes the ropes. Walters, the hometown boy, has the crowd firmly and loudly behind him. Nice chain wrestling ends in the Indy applause moment. Played guys, soooo played. Test of strength that Punk escapes in awesome fashion. Walters goes to the apron, armdrags Punk to get back in and slaps on an armlock. Nice. Battle of armdrags goes Walters’ way. Walters keeps working the arm, putting Punk back into the armlock. Punk sends Walters to the outside and actually hits a really nice suicide dive. They brawl on the outside, which Punk ends with an eyepoke. Back in Punk gets a gutbuster for 2. Punk gets a seated abdominal stretch but Walters escapes. Punk hits a knee to the ribs and a double arm backbreaker. While Walters is facedown Punk pulls back on his arms and kicks him back to the mat… twice. Awesome curb-stomping action there. Crowd tries to cheer Walters on. Punk vices Walters’ head. Walters makes the ropes. Punk puts Walters on top and gets a hurricanrana, but Walters reverses for a pin, which Punk reverses for a pin, which leads to a series of pins, which leads to a Walters lariat for 2. Punk hits an STO into an STF and Walters gets to the ropes. Punk nails the back kick uppercut. Walters turns things around with a double knee strike to the chest and the falling double knees to the back for 2. I love those moves. Michinoku driver gets 2 for Punk. Walters nails a crossbody but his ribs are too banged up to cover. He does land the Hurricane DDT but Punk gets his foot on the ropes. Punk reverses a Walters rollup for the 3 count. That ending may have sounded like it was out of nowhere, but it felt like it fit. Punk looks into the camera and says he did it for the injured Cabana. So what’s Ditka, chopped liver? Jeeze.
Rating: ***1/4

JZ says: Punk, being the king of all Heels that he is, dresses up as Daniels just to piss off the crowd. He also pisses off Allison Danger, who tells us so via commentary. Who let her in the booth? Punk was the mystery entrant into this tournament, and claims that Bobby Heenan got him entered. Punk is getting great heat here, which is only magnified by the fact that Walters is from Boston, so the crowd is just amped. Great choice for an opener. The match is really solid as Walters works over Punk’s arm and Punk works on the ribs. I continue to like Walters the more and more I see him, as the sweet moves he does with his knees really endear him to me in this match. Punk does all kinds of nefarious deeds like eye-poking, just to sell the fact that he thinks he’s bigger than the tournament. Awesome. The end comes at 13:01 after a really cool reversal by Punk after Walters had him rolled up, but Punk grabs Walters’ arms and holds him down for three. Great way to start the show.
Rating: ***1/2

MATCH #2: Chris Sabin (5) vs. Doug Williams (4), First Round Tournament Match

BG says: Doug dominates Sabin to start, working the arm and landing a big kneedrop to the back of Sabin’s head. Chinlock by Williams, into a surfboard, into a pin attempt for 2. Williams slaps on the front facelock and turns it into a neckwrench. Sabin reverses for 2 but Williams holds onto the facelock. Sabin tries to get out but can’t escape. Sabin finally gets out but Williams leg vices his head, and hits a mini-piledriver in a very cool moment. Williams lets go and hits another kneedrop on Sabin. Huge kneedrop gets 2. Williams brings the European uppercuts as I begin to smell squash. Williams locks in the Crippler Crossface but Sabin makes the ropes. Kneelift gets 2 for WIlliams. Williams nails a knee in the corner, a vertical suplex and a top-rope kneedrop for 2 in what felt like one fluid move. Williams goes up but is caught by Sabin. Williams knocks him down but misses the big senton. This is the first time Williams has been on his back in this match, and it wasn’t due to a Sabin offensive move. Both men up and Sabin hits a springboard dropkick for 2. Sabin gets a hurricanrana but can’t hit the vertical suplex because his neck is messed up. He tries again and fails so he turns it into a spinning neckbreaker for 2. Williams goes for the Chaos Theory, but Sabin reverses to a beautiful springboard DDT for 2. Sabin catches Williams in the corner and nails his finisher for 2. After some rope running Williams hits the Chaos Theory for 3. This was basically a Doug Williams squash, with Sabin hitting a few moves near the end to add a little drama. However, both guys looked so good out there that the one dimensional match was at least very pretty. Post match Williams says Sabin gave him a hell of a fight, and I disagree. He says the Pure Wrestling Title was made for him and his style, and he’s going to win it.
Rating: ***

JZ says: This was my first time seeing a Doug Williams match, and Chris Sabin is my favorite wrestler. So needless to say I was pumped up for it. Williams pretty much dominates for the whole match, working on the neck to set up for Chaos Theory, which could be the coolest finisher going right now. Sabin proves how awesome he is by selling the neck injury to the point where he can’t even suplex Williams. This match had a cool dynamic once Sabin got in what little offense he did, as Williams was successful with a ground attack, and Sabin was successful when he went to the air. Williams hits a Chaos Theory, which up until this point I had only heard the legends of, and gets the pin at 8:18. I would love to see what these guys could do with more time. Can Sabin come back to ROH, please?
Rating: ***1/4

MATCH #3: Josh Daniels (6) vs. Matt Stryker (3), First Round Tournament Match

BG says: Stryker works the arm to start. Hmmm. They trade arm locks, hammer locks, head locks, padlocks, Goldilocks and bagel and lox. Stryker gets a shoulderblock for our first 2 count. They trade chops, but since Daniels was cloned from Chris Benoit genes, Stryker has to back off. Some nice mat wrestling follows. Stryker takes over with a leg lariat and gets a bodypress for 2. Daniels reverses a headlock to a backdrop. Snap suplex gets 2 for Daniels and he immediately puts Styker in the leg scissors. Stryker reverses to an STF. They trade forearms and chops until Daniels hits a huge lariat for 2. Daniels nails a German suplex, and since he was spawned of Benoit blood cells, it gets a 2 count that curiously looked like a 3 count. Daniels motions for the headbutt in Benoit fashion but gets caught on top by Stryker who nails a snap superplex for 2. Daniels gets a sort of standing spear to Stryker into a northern lights suplex for 2. That ruled. Daniels runs in for a charge but Stryker catches him with the Strykerlock for the tap out and victory. This was a lot of fun but there wasn’t much flow. I give Daniels a hard time about his Benoit-like style, but he’s a really talented performer and only lifts from Benoit sparingly.
Rating: **1/2

JZ says: This is my first Josh Daniels match, and the rumors about his resemblance to Chris Benoit in look and style are true. But if you’re going to emulate someone, why not the best right? Benoit lifted directly from Dynamite Kid, so Daniels, you rip off Benoit any way you want to. Anyway, this match was pretty good, but didn’t quite have the heat of the first two. Both are over, so Stryker starts to play the cocky heel, which he is pretty good at actually. Stryker steals Kurt Angle’s pop up superplex, but like I said, if you’re going to steal, etc. Holy crap, Daniels throws HARD chops. Stryker has no choice but to sell those. They go back and forth for a bit, trying to establish a rhythm, but just never quite got it together. Still, what they did was good. Stryker wins via the Stryker-lock at 8:29. Stryker cuts a promo afterwards and puts over Daniels, and I would concur. I’m anxious to see more of him.
Rating: **3/4

MATCH #4: AJ Styles (1) vs. Jimmy Rave (8), First Round Tournament Match

BG says: This match actually has some history. Styles had been coaching Rave through the Field of Honor tournament last year. Styles would constantly give Rave tips to go after his opponents injured bodyparts, but Rave didn’t feel right about it and lost all 3 of his matches. At the first show of 2004, Rave won a 4-way against 3 fellow NWA-Wildside regulars, and when he got to the back AJ told him he was ready for a match with Styles himself. Both men were entered in the Pure Wrestling Title tournament, AJ being seeded number 1 and Rave at number 8. AJ requested that his opening round match be against Rave and ROH accepted, so here we are. AJ is insanely over with the crowd. Armwork to start. OKAY THAT’S IT. Every match in the first round started with an armlock or a wristlock. This is seriously annoying. They trade, ugh, armlocks in a pretty looking segment. AJ destroys Rave with a big forearm and Rave bails. Back in Rave misses the shining wizard and AJ gets a backbreaker. AJ gets another, very brutal, backbreaker and a kick to the back of Rave. A great exchange gets a backbreaker, Russian legsweep, 2 count and crossface for Rave. AJ makes the ropes and gets a kip up hurricanrana and powerslam for 2. A gutbuster and neckbreaker get 2. Rave hits a huge kick and goes up top. He goes for a hurricanrana which AJ tries to reverse to a Styles Clash, but no dice as Rave fights for it and nails it. Rave gets the shining wizard for 2. AJ hits a backdrop suplex for 2. AJ goes for the moonsault DDT but tweaks his knee. Rave backs off but AJ tells him to go for it, so Rave ferociously goes after the knee. He puts on a leglock but AJ gets to the ropes. Shortly after AJ hits the discuss lariat for 3, but his knee is still quite banged up. The match had some cool stuff but not too much to differentiate it from the other first round matches aside from AJ’s injury and Rave finally doing what he should have been doing all along, only to lose anyway. Post match Rave apologizes to AJ but he says not to, as he would have done the same thing.
Rating: ***

JZ says: I really like the story behind this match, as Brad so succinctly documented. AJ seems to be coaching Rave throughout the match, which rears its ugly head at AJ after he hurts his knee. Rave is reluctant, but AJ encourages him to go after it, which Rave does with a vengeance. An aggressive Rave looks good, as he continually works over the knee, but he ends up falling prey to a discuss lariat at 7:36 to allow Styles to move on to the second round. Now Styles with a hurt knee vs. Matt Stryker, master of the Stryker-lock, in the second round would be a great story, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it? Rave tries to apologize, but AJ says he did the right thing. I really like Jimmy Rave.
Rating: ***1/4

MATCH #5: Scott Clark & Jerk Jackson vs. Dunn & Marcos

BG says: Scott Clark & Jerk Jackson come out for a match with Dunn & Marcos. It never happens as the Outkast Killahs spoil the party. Oman Tortuga runs down the fans and Dunn & Marcos in generic fashion. The Ring Crew Express aren’t going to take it anymore and continue the 2004 tour by beating up the Killahs while Twisted Sister plays on the speakers. This was fun once Oman stopped talking and I hope they go somewhere with it.

JZ says: The Ring Crew Express are insanely over with this crowd, and rightfully so. The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” 2004 tour rolls through Boston, baby! I don’t know much about the Outcast Killahs, but I was annoyed with them and glad to see Dunn & Marcos kick some righteous butt. You know what would be a great team name for them, once they graduate from being on the ring crew? The Wyld Stallyns. That would totally rule, dude.

Jim Cornette Promo

BG Says: Cornette chimes in from Louisville, saying he can manage the Briscoes over the phone because they are so good. He says the Backseat Boys have no chance of winning tonight and that Jay will beat Joe in the cage match for the title because the escape rule is in effect. Cornette is awesome as always.

JZ says: Cornette runs down the Backseat Boyz, and talks about the cage match coming up on 3/13’s “At Our Best” show. I’m fairly convinced that Cornette can sell any wrestling match as being the most important match ever.

MATCH #6: Country Whipping Match – Special K vs. The Carnage Crew

BG says: Just as on the last show there is no way to know which members of Special K are supposed to be in this match. K attack the Crew from behind to start, but it doesn’t take long for First Class White Trash to dominate. Most of the match is just brawling on the outside with a cool bump here and there, mostly by Hydro. Izzy and Dixie bleed for no reason, this match isn’t particularly violent. The Crew use their strength and K use their numbers. Cool spot where DeVito wraps his belt around the necks of Hydro and Dixie and neckbreaks them both at the same time. Izzy tries to come off the top with something and Credible superkicks him on the way down. Izzy then gets a That’s Incredible. Angeldust brings a girl (DeVito’s daughter) out from the back causing DeVito and Credible to run after them, leaving Loc alone. Loc gets slaughtered and takes a spike piledriver through a table on the outside. Izzy gets the pinfall back inside. This was slightly better than the last shows Carnage Crew/Special K match, and was a nice break from the tournament matches which were starting to become monotonous. Still, this wasn’t good.
Rating: *

In the back Special K bleeds and laughs. The Carnage Crew have nothing on them and Angel Dust is taking care of little DeVito. Because statutory rape was exactly what this feud needed.

JZ says: Do I really have to sit through more of this garbage? Would doing these every other show instead of every show be too much to ask? Oh well, at least the live crowds seem to like this stuff, despite my objections. And like Brad said, it was a nice break from the tournament matches. The one cool spot in this match was DeVito wrapping up two Special K members in the strap and giving them a simultaneous neckbreaker. Other than that, a bunch of people whip each other and do stuff to each other, and I yawn. DeVito and PJ run to the back when Angel Dust brings out DeVito’s daughter, which causes Loc (who looks odd with no facial hair) to get destroyed and pinned at 8:48. Points for DeVito’s neckbreaker. And hey, just what I’ve been waiting for, an insinuation of statutory rape. So in the last two years I’ve gotten to see that and necrophilia to go along with my wrestling. Great. The members of Special K find this to be really funny though, in their backstage promo.
Rating: 1/2*

Gary Michael Cappetta interview with Julius “J-Train” Smokes

BG says: Gary Micheal Cappetta is in the ring for an interview with Julius Smokes. GMC asks where Homicide is, so J-Train sings. I love that song. He fires off his mouth gun and says he doesn’t know where Homicide is, and that he’s not returning any phonecalls. J-Train reminds us that Homicide has beaten Whitmer, Punk and Samoa Joe. He says more stuff I can’t understand that probably had something to do with nothing that matters.

JZ says: This promo just establishes that Homicide is missing, and not even J-Train knows where he is. I realize after seeing Death Before Dishonor this past weekend that I like J-Train so much better as a heel. I could barely understand this promo, as Smokes kept saying “yeah yeah yeah” and doing his mouth gun thing at random times; think Austin and his “what” routine in early 2002. Yeah, that annoying.

MATCH #7: CM Punk (7) vs. Doug Williams (4) (Semi-Final)

BG says: Punk points to a kid in the audience wearing a Curry Man mask and says that’s all that’s left of Christopher Daniels’ legacy. Cool party. Williams vices Punk to start and bridges so that he doesn’t get pinned. Nice to see a tournament match not start with a wristlock. They trade forearms until Punk dumps Williams and goes for a tope, but Williams cuts him off with a European uppercut. Nice building on the last Punk match there. Williams gets some really cool pins so Punk bails and takes his first of three CM Punk Special Time Outs. Test of strength into a Punk hurricanrana has no effect on Williams. He goes for the Chaos Theory but Punk blocks and grabs a headlock. Williams attempts some pinfalls while in the headlock and maneuvers his way out of it as only he can. Williams gets out of a leglock by crossing one leg over the other. Punk tries to do the same thing but gets caught in an STF by Williams. That just brought so much awesome that it made me tired. Punk goes to the ropes and then bails to take his second CM Punk Special Time Out. The crowd chants naughty words at Punk as he baits Williams out of the ring and gets the advantage back inside. Punk gets a headbutt to the gut and a neckbreaker. He gets a German suplex on Williams, then chops and punches him in the corner, finishing things up with some bootscrapes. Punk gets greedy and wants to wash Williams’ face again, but it’s reversed to a nasty release Chaos Theory. Williams goes up but misses the top rope knee drop, severely screwing himself in the process. That looked insanely painful. Punk zeroes in on the knee and gives Williams a dragonscrew for 2. Punk puts Williams in the tree of woe and gives the knee chops and a big boot. Doug gets released and collapses. Punk puts him back in the tree of woe and hits him with a shoulderblock to the knee. He goes for another but Williams reverses it into the Chaos Theory. He can’t get the bridge so the referee counts them both down. CM Punk gets his shoulder up at 2 and advances to the finals. What a great match. Williams’ selling was perfect, the finish kept him strong, and it gave the idea that Punk knows how to dissect a body part when the opportunity arrives. I’ve heard zero praise for this match and it’s completely unfair that nobody talks about it. Also of note, Punk beat Williams without using his last CM Punk Special Time Out.
Rating: ****

JZ says: Seeing how I marked out for my first Doug Williams match earlier on this tape, and I mark out for just about anything CM Punk is a part of, so this match had me all geeked up before it even started. And lo and behold, these two guys delivered. Early in the match, Williams reversed a single leg into a headlock by spinning, crossing one leg over another, and pulling Punk into a headlock with his leg. I seriously rewound this three times just to fully absorb how fantastic it was. Williams beats the hell out of Punk, until missing a big knee off the top rope, and then Punk goes to work. This is a good story not only for this match, but SHOULD have built for the finals versus AJ Styles. More on that later. Anyway, Punk works over the knee, showing what a skilled mat wrestler he is. Williams comes back with a wicked release Chaos Theory, but is too hurt to go for the pin. The finish comes when Williams does hit the Chaos Theory, but his knee is too injured to maintain the bridge, and Punk lifts his shoulder at the last second to get the win at 10:42. Again, I would love to see more from these two. I initially was going to knock a little bit off my match rating due to it being almost identical to the AJ Styles vs. Paul London match from Night of the Grudges, but then I watched the match again and decided I just don’t care.
Rating: ****

Steve Corino Promo

BG says: We get a pretaped promo by Steve Corino. He runs down all the injuries he received in ROH at the hands of Homicide, and how he got pinned by “his own boy” Josh Daniels because of Homicide. He exposes that the commentary on the tapes is not live. He rips on the Pure Wrestling Title and says that Samoa Joe wears his tights too high for him to care about the ROH world title. He also calls CM Punk his hero and the only reason ROH is still in business. I don’t understand what the point of this was. Corino hasn’t come back since this and in my opinion it just exposed things in ROH that were fun to ignore.

JZ says: I’ve never liked much about Steve Corino, and I like even less now. This whole promo was pretty pointless, and he says that the ROH World Title and Pure Title are meaningless. He does say that CM Punk is the only reason ROH is in business, which, while I am a CM Punk mark, isn’t true at all. Boo on you Steve Corino.

MATCH #8: AJ Styles (1) vs. Matt Stryker (3), Semi-Final Match

BG says: The commentators try to rationalize the Corino promo, but it just isn’t doing it for me. Styles rips at Stryker’s unibrow to start. They both work the arm until Stryker gets Styles down and double stomps him. AJ kicks at Stryker’s leg, so Stryker responds with a huge European uppercut. They size each other up again. This match has more circling than a Michael Jackson video. AJ gets an enziguiri, beats up Stryker and finishes things up with a dropkick. The announcers stress AJ’s knee injury, but I guess nobody told AJ that he was hurt. AJ hits a springboard backflip on Stryker in the corner and a kneedrop for 2. Alright, from now on I’m only going to do play by play with moves involving AJ’s injured leg. Stryker gets AJ in a surfboard, so AJ kicks him to escape. AJ gets a Mutalock on Stryker (which also puts pressure on AJ’s legs) and turns it over, supporting Stryker with his legs. Stryker elbows out of it. Stryker finally goes after AJ’s leg, making me finally think AJ will start selling it. Stryker goofs on the ringpost figure four but keeps pressure on the knee, and AJ uses his legs to force out. Stryker gets a shinbreaker and dragonscrew for 2 on the inside. Stryker gets a leglock but AJ reverses out. Stryker gets another dragonscrew into a leglock, so AJ kicks him to escape. On the outside AJ sits Stryker in the corner and kicks him. The commentators, bless their hearts, try to say that AJ is using a different part of his leg than the one he’s kicking Stryker with, but this is wrestling, not a hospital, and when one part of the leg is hurt the whole thing needs to be factored in. Back inside AJ gets a roundhouse kick on Stryker, kicking with his good leg but putting all his weight on the injured one and not letting it faze him. Stryker gets a big boot and slaps on the Strykerlock but AJ gets to the ropes. AJ falls and finally sells for a second, and apparently that’s all we get because he goes for and misses a springboard moonsault. Stryker gets 2 off AJ’s mistake. They play around on the top rope for a while until Stryker gets knocked down and AJ hits a freaking springboard 450 splash for the three count. This was probably the most frustrating match I’ve seen all year. The entire match you could tell the commentators (who as Corino told us, do their thing after the show is over) were trying to get AJ’s injury over, and doing their best to cover up his lack of selling. In the end it was just what could have been a great match spoiled by a phantom leg injury.
Rating: **1/2

JZ says: Wow, I really wanted to like this match. I am a huge AJ Styles fan as a worker (he’s arguably one of the top five in the world), and after I met him at an MMWA show this past May, I was a big fan of him as just a guy. I had a short conversation with him and he was really cool. So I don’t want anything to be misinterpreted by my review of this match. Seriously, what was AJ’s problem with not selling his leg at all during this match? The announcers keep harping on it. Stryker tries his hardest to go after it and make AJ sell. I’ve seen AJ sell beatings like no one else, and his outright refusal here is baffling. The whole tournament was designed around this injury, and here’s AJ doing springboards, dropkicks, regular kicks, and all kinds of things that an injured knee should not allow. What kills me even more is that if there was no injury angle in this match, it would be really sweet. Stryker and AJ are both really good workers, and they worked a good match, but when there’s supposed to be this huge injury and the AJ is pretending like it’s not there, it takes away a lot from the match. To make matters even worse, AJ got the pin at 20:37 with a SPRINGBOARD 450. On an injured knee. Had this match not had the injury angle, it would have been **** or higher, but as it is I can’t be as generous.
Rating: ***

Backstage Promos

BG says: Punk is backstage. He dedicates his win against Walters to Colt Cabana (again, what happened to Ditka?) and his win against Williams to Ace Steel. He says he knows AJ is hurt. I guess he’s got information that AJ never got. He’s going to win the Pure Wrestling Title, then the tag titles, then the ROH World title.

GMC is with Loc, who looks like a clown without his facial hair. Loc is flipping out because DeVito had to bring his daughter to the show because she can’t be trusted alone, and Special K has now abducted her. He says they are going to kill Special K and tells GMC to tell him if he finds any members of Special K.

JZ says: Punk cuts a promo, reiterating that he is going after all the belts in ROH, and will start by beating a (supposedly) injured AJ Styles. Punk is a master of promos, there I said it.

Loc yells at GMC, Special K, his wife, me, Brad, my dog, Art Mendez, and everyone else within earshot. And isn’t threatening to commit murder some kind of offense?

MATCH #9: ROH Tag Team Title Match – The Backseat Boyz vs. The Briscoe Brothers

BG says: A great thing about ROH is the way they begin title matches. During non-title matches the competitors are introduced the same way the WWE does it, while they are on their way to the ring. In title matches they wait until everyone is in the ring and introduce them and the title. Very cool. Kashmere and Jay start. Headlock by Jay which Kashmere can’t escape from. Blind tag by Acid gets Kashmere out of the ring. Mark makes a blind tag and the Briscoes double team Acid with a springboard dropkick. Jay and Kashmere tag in and we get more tag team goodness from the Briscoes. Jay gets a sleeper on Kashmere. Mark and Acid both tag in and we get some double teaming by the Backseats. Jay tags back in and things begin to break down. The Backseats hit the Dream Sequence on Mark for 2. Acid hits a springboard DDT on Jay. Acid goes to dive on Jay who is on the outside but Mark catches him on the top and pulls him back in. The Briscoes hit an assisted double stomp on Acid’s face. That was nasty. Everyone hits and reverses their finishers in a segment ending with Jay and Acid trading Yakuza kicks. Mark hits Acid, who was on the apron, with a tornado DDT from the top to the outside through a table. Inside the Briscoes hit a spike Jay Driller on Kashmere for the three count. Fun tag team spotfest.
Rating: ***1/4

JZ says: The Briscoes are just awesome night in and night out, and I like the Backseat Boyz much better as a tag team than on their own. This match was nothing fancy, but was again a nice break from the tournament matches. It was a very classic tag team style match with a bit of new school mixed in. Near the end, Mark hit an awesome tornado DDT on Acid through a table (though the camera didn’t pick it up), and then the Briscoes ended with a spike Jay Driller at 8:03. I bet they could do more with more time and a nice heat segment in the middle.
Rating: ***

Spanky Promo, AJ Update

BG says: Spanky has something to say!!! He says they say you can’t go home again. Well screw whoever they are. He remembers his bloody match with Jay Briscoe and his participation in the iron man match to crown the first ROH champion. Then he says that maybe you can go home again. Hooray.

GMC tries to get into a room to see how AJ Styles is doing. Judging by her performance he’s fine. Jimmy Rave tells GMC that he is in fact, fine, but that nobody can see him.

JZ says: Spanky is the man, I just have to get that out of the way. Oh, and I hear he liked “Mean Girls,” so I’m a big fan of that. Anyway, he hints that he might be coming back to ROH, which he did, but only for one match. Come on Spanky, come home already, we miss you.

Jimmy Rave says AJ is fine. So who’s lying, Jimmy Rave or the commentators?

MATCH #10: ROH World Heavyweight Title and Number One Contender’s Trophy Match – Low Ki vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Dan Maff vs. Samoa Joe

BG says: There’s a ton of history in this one. Joe’s first match in ROH was against Low Ki. It was a brutal match that ended in a rare Samoa Joe loss. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer both failed in their respective title shots against Samoa Joe in 2003. Maff & Whitmer are both members of the Prophecy but they don’t get along and they faced each other twice in 2003, trading wins. Low Ki faced off against Dan Maff shortly after Maff joined the Prophecy and knocked him out legit, so Maff wants revenge. Whitmer could almost be considered Low Ki’s understudy for 2003, taking his place in matches against Mark Briscoe and Homicide (both of which are great) when Low Ki couldn’t make the shows. All of that comes to a head here, in our semi-main event. If anyone pins Joe they are the new ROH world champion. If Low Ki, Dan Maff or BJ Whitmer get the pin on anyone but Joe they will be awarded the trophy and a singles match against Joe for the title at a later date. If Joe pins anyone he retains and the world keeps spinning. I hope you got all of that, because the match is a doozy. The crowd chants welcome back to Low Ki, who is greeted with stare downs from Dan Maff, and then Joe. Joe and Ki shake hands, and the Prophecy of course does not. Joe and Ki start things off and dodge each other’s strikes. Maff tags Ki out. Joe and Maff lock up and prove to be of equal power. Joe gains the advantage by faking an eye injury and slapping the skin off Maff’s back. Whitmer and Ki tag in. Ki kicks Whitmer and gets him in a cross armbar but he makes the ropes. Ki works Whitmer’s arm. Whitmer reverses and wristlocks Ki, who kicks to escape. Ki chops Whitmer like crazy. Double knee, vertical suplex and northern lights suplex with a bridge get 2 for Whitmer. Ki chops and drops and elbow on Whitmer. Ki gets a double underhook suplex for 2 and then tags in Joe. Joe stretches Whitmer, but Maff saves. Boston Crab but Maff saves again. Ki tags Joe out and gets a European uppercut for 2. Ki dragonclutches Whitmer in the ropes. Maff comes in for the save but Joe sends him to the outside and nails him with the biggest suicide dive in ROH. Whitmer suplexes Low Ki to the outside and follows. Joe beats on everyone and goes for the Ole kick on Low Ki. Ki blocks and we get our first glimpse of Joe’s hand gushing blood. Ki goes for an Ole kick on Joe but Whitmer attacks Ki on the way. Joe gets the Ole kick on Low Ki and throws Maff & Whitmer onto him in the corner outside. Joe’s hand is really gross and Paul Turner tapes it up. Ugh, thats nasty as hell. Whitmer gets an exploder on Joe and Maff hits a senton on him for 2. Maff bites Joe’s hand and spits at Ki. Maff tags in Whitmer who bites Joe’s hand. Maff tags back in only to eat an enziguiri by Joe. Maff DDTs Joe and the Prophecy double suplex him. Maff bites Joe’s hand again, so Turner tapes it up more. Whitmer gets a German suplex on Joe but Ki saves. Joe finally gets out of trouble with an STO, and Ki tags Joe out. Maff comes in and attacks Ki, but gets hit with the move that knocked him out at Bitter Friends Stiffer Enemies. This time he survives it. Tiger suplex on Whitmer but his shoulder is up. Whitmer struggles and eventually hits an exploder on Ki for 2. Maff tags Whitmer out and spears Ki. Maff half nelson suplexes Ki but Joe saves. Maff goes for the cannonball on Ki but misses. Ki goes for the Tidal Crush on Maff but Maff moves. Ki stays on the middle rope so Joe slaps him down and tags him out. Joe gives Maff a HUGE and scary powerbomb. Maff kicks out at 2 but gets locked in the STF. Ki saves. Ki and Joe kick Whitmer and start beating the crap out of each other. This throwback to their Glory by Honor match ends with a Joe enziguiri. Maff and Whitmer come in and beat on Ki and Joe. Ki gets the dragonclutch on Maff and Joe gets his choke on Whitmer, but both lock eyes and decide to keep fighting each other. They pull down their pads a la their Glory by Honor match, but Maff spears Ki out of the ring. Joe hits Whitmer with the exploder and chokes him until he taps to win. This match was so brutal. The first time I watched this a couple months ago I didn’t like it as much. Apparently I was wrong because the lulls in the action that I remembered just weren’t there and the match was really just four guys beating each other for however long the match was (Jake does the match times). The homage paid to the older matches was great, and Maff & Whitmer working as a team added more greatness to the match. Brutality defined is more than just Samoa Joe, it’s this entire match.
Rating: ****1/4

JZ says: I saw this match a few months ago, and was actually really bored during it. The only thing I remember is the disgusting cut on Joe’s hand, and being disappointed. Well I was certainly wrong, because watching the match this time, I realized how completely whip ass it was. The rules, which Brad outlined, were very cool, and eliminated that “the champion lost the title but was never pinned” garbage, and makes the match mean something no matter what. Very cool. The announcers explain that Low Ki simply asked to be in the match because “you can’t have the second anniversary without Low Ki.” I think that you could very well have the show without him, but he’s in the match anyway, and that’s cool. This match did everything it set out to do. It was unbelievably stiff. Seriously, I hurt just watching how hard these guys all hit each other. I couldn’t decide who the baddest of them all was. Joe’s bloody hand was absolutely sickening, but being the bad ass mother that he is, Joe got Paul Turner (being a real sport about the whole thing) to tape it up for him, and he just kept on going. The match almost played like a tag team match at times, with Whitmer & Maff pairing off against Joe & Ki, but you just had to know that wouldn’t last. Whitmer impressively nails Joe with several suplexes, which I surmise many in ROH could not do. Joe and Ki get into a verbal war at one point, and Joe slaps him so hard in the face that I had to rewind it just to hear the sound again. Joe follows that up with one of the sickest powerbombs you will ever see on Dan Maff. Then Ki and Joe get into it, and just brutalize each other with kicks, chops, and everything else that they do, and everything just looks like it HURTS. The finish is very cool, as Maff gets his revenge on Low Ki, and Joe gets to choke Whitmer out to get the win at 24:00.
Rating: ****

Jerry Lynn Promo

BG says: Jerry Lynn congratulates ROH on its second anniversary. He lets us know that he’s coming after the Pure Wrestling Title. He says “you know it,” which I’m sure will cause Jake to think he’s joining the Prophecy.

JZ says: Jerry, bless him, what a great wrestler, but the man sounds so uncomfortable every time he talks. He says he’s coming back to go after the Pure Wrestling Title, and I would really love to see him in ROH regularly. And if he ever joined the Prophecy, I would take them out myself, I swear.

MATCH #11: CM Punk vs. AJ Styles, Pure Wrestling Tournament Finals

BG says: Full PBP this time around. This is the first match to ever use all of the Pure Wrestling Division’s rules. They are the three rope break rule, no closed fists, and a 20 count on the outside. AJ dodges Punk’s charges to start. Punk uses his first rope break on a reversal of a wristlock. Ooooh, controversial. Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Punk reverses into a leglock causing Styles to use his first ropebreak. They lock up and take it outside, where the lockup stays on, and the 20 count begins. They stay locked up until they realize there’s a count, and run back in at 15. AJ goes after Traci Brooks on the outside so Punk hits him with a plancha. AJ gets a big dropkick outside and breaks the count. AJ dives into the crowd and Punk dives after him. Back inside AJ goes for the kip up hurricanrana, but Punk reverses to a Boston crab causing AJ to use his 2nd rope break. AJ rollup gets 2. Punk puts AJ on his shoulders, so AJ drapes himself over the ropes and strangles Punk with his legs. The referee breaks the hold costing Punk a ropebreak. The commentators say that it’s a bad call but it’s obviously a good call, legal move or not. AJ goes for a springboard something (AHHH) but Punk swats him down. Punk gets a brainbuster for 2. AJ punches Punk in the gut. The commentators say it’s legal because it wasn’t to the face, but I don’t recall that being part of the rule. Maybe I’m wrong. Punk puts AJ in a half crab and he uses his last rope break. Punk kicks AJ to the mat the same way he did to Walters in the first round, but this time with a leglock. AJ grabs Punk’s head to get out of the leglock, so Punk lets go and somehow his last rope break is gone. I don’t understand why he would have gone to the ropes after the hold had been released. AJ reverses a superduperplex and drops Punk on his face from really high up. That looked cool. AJ discus lariats Punk to the outside, where he stays for a count of 14. Punk blocks a tornado DDT and gets a Shining Wizard for 2. Punk hits a piledriver and locks on a cloverleafish submission. AJ climbs the ropes and kicks Punk’s head to escape. AJ reverses a Shining Wizard into the Styles Clash for 2. That’s how the Tradition Continues match ended. Punk reverses a discus lariat into his spike DDT for 2. AJ blocks the Pepsi Plunge and hits a moonsault kick to daze Punk on the top long enough to hit a top rope Styles Clash for the pin. So not only did he not sell the leg at all, but he actually went against the supposed psychology of the match in the finish. There was some good action but this match was just so hard to watch. The entire tournament was obviously supposed to be based around Styles’ injury. The announcers constantly talked about the injury and then would have to go back on what they’d said when Styles did a move with his leg. Punk’s win over Williams seemed to be to prove that Punk could take out Styles’ knee in the finals. The entire tournament would have been much more effective had it either not be based on the injury or if Styles would have sold the damn injury. Not to mention the controversy surrounding Punk’s rope breaks was very confusing. Post match Punk protests saying he had one rope break left (he also had 3 CM Punk Special Time Outs left). He shakes Styles’ hand anyway. The locker room congratulates Styles. Joe gets on the mic and challenges Styles to make the Pure title as prestigious as his title, saying it meant nothing to him now. Styles said it means a lot to him because he won it in Boston. Okaaaaaaaaaay. He asks the fans to let him be from Boston for just one night.
Rating: ***

JZ says: Once again, two of my favorite wrestlers, I should be loving this match, right? Right? Well, yes and no. As with the Stryker match, the action was really good, and there were a few cool gimmicks in the match, like Punk making a mockery out the Pure wrestling rules, and basically being in Full-On Dick Heel Mode, Alex Shelley style. One spot in this match that made no sense was AJ going out after Traci, before she even did anything. What kind of babyface would do that? The rope break rule is also very confused in this match, as Punk was unfairly charged a couple of times, and it was more of a “legitimately doesn’t fit the match” unfair than “the heel thinks he got cheated.” And look, there’s AJ Styles springboarding all over the place on his hurt leg. I thought the whole point of Punk working over Williams’ leg in the semi-finals was to build up drama for AJ’s injury, but AJ doesn’t seem to care about that, no matter how hard Punk tries. This match should have been great, but the internal errors in the execution were too many. AJ got the win at 16:35 with a Styles Clash off the ropes, which he should not have been able to execute with his injury, with Punk having his foot on the ropes. My rating is almost solely based on the work of Punk, just for the record. Punk protests, but to no avail. The locker room empties, Joe makes a challenge to AJ, and AJ wants to be from Boston for just one night? Why would you want to do that AJ? Make this make sense for me, I’m begging you.
Rating: ***1/4

Good Times, Great Memories with Ace Steel and a surprise guest

BG says: Ace Steel is the guest again. Colt says that AJ cheated and Punk was ripped off. Ace talks about how its the anniversary of a lot of things, including Kris Kross’ song going number one 13 years ago, his Teddy Ruxpin doll (creepy freakin dolls) singing 12 years ago, and Ace Steel starting his impression career 26 years ago. Ace does a Dusty Rhodes impression only to be confronted by Dusty himself. Dusty calls the Saints toilet paper and says he’s coming with the Carnage Crew to take out Special K. He says ROH has been all about the boys for the last 3 or 4 years (there you go Dusty) and that controversy can’t take that away. Me thinks this was recorded a few weeks after this show judging by what I think Dusty is talking about. Anyway, cool segment.

JZ says: I actually really missed Colt and Ace on the show proper, so it was nice to see them here. They are their usual funny selves, and Ace had me in tears with his spot-on Dusty Rhodes impression. Dusty, I know you’re not involved with the company all the time, but someone should have let him know this was for their SECOND anniversary show. Ah well, small detail, GTGM was fantastic as always.

GMC with J-Train

BG says: GMC is with J-Train and says he couldn’t hear him in the ring, so I wasn’t alone. J-Train again says he has no idea where Homicide is. Some Special K kid asks Smokes if he can score some weed from him. Smokes is offended and puts him in a headlock while GMC goes to get the Carnage Crew. DeVito and Loc beat the kid up and ask where DeVito’s daughter is. All he knows is she’s with Angel Dust, so the Carnage Crew take a blowtorch to him as the camera cuts out.

JZ says: Special K has DeVito’s daughter, Carnage Crew are mad, blowtorches get involved, and GMC gets outta town. Meh.

Brad’s MVP of the Show: Doug Williams, for being a man and selling the way AJ either couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Jake’s MVP of the Show: CM Punk, for having three really good matches and putting up with AJ’s crap in the main event.

ROH: Second Year Flashback

JZ says: As an added treat on this home release, ROH compiled about a 45-minute clip reel of some of their best matches. Since Brad has been buying ROH tapes for a lot longer than I have, he is going to present a little commentary on each of the matches ROH showed here.

BG Says: Being the ROH historian that I am, allow me to take this look back at the highlights that ROH has bestowed upon us from their second year.

03-22-03: Samoa Joe vs. Xavier (Samoa Joe wins the ROH title ending Xavier’s dishonorable reign and kicking off a spectacular run ***)
01-10-04: The Second City Saints vs. The Prophecy (Your mileage may vary, this one did nothing for me **1/2)
07-19-03: Samoa Joe vs. Paul London (Paul London’s last match before hitting the bigtime. The post match farewell really makes this one feel special ***1/2)
04-26-03: Christopher Daniels vs. Red (Cool match, but the real stories were in the other two round robin matches ***1/4)
04-26-03: Paul London vs. Red (London mimics Red’s tag partner AJ Styles the entire match, bitter that he missed his chance to win the tag team titles with Styles ***1/2)
04-26-03: Paul London vs. Christopher Daniels (Dream match between 2 ROH superstars that totally delivered ****1/4)
11-01-03: The Briscoe Brothers vs. Izzy & Dixie (The Briscoes stop the curse of the tag titles and finally win the belts they so rightly deserved **1/2)
06-28-03: Homicide vs. Trent Acid (From BJPW to CZW to ROH, Homicide and Acid just can’t get along anywhere they go. This match was pretty good, but their rematch at Beating the Odds would save that show ***1/2)
11-01-03: Scramble Cage: The Backseat Boyz vs. The SAT vs. The Carnage Crew vs. Special K vs. Teddy Hart & Jack Evans (The match that kickstarted Teddy Hart’s career as a controversial jerk off. Depending on how much you like spotfests this was either ** or ***3/4, but make no mistake – this is insane and Jack Evans steals the show)
07-19-03: CM Punk vs. Raven, Dog Collar Match (The best match in the series, followed by a great moment after the match. This match sums up what made the Punk/Raven feud great ****)
12-27-03: CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Tamaoki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto (Great tag action between these two stellar teams from different sides of the globe ***3/4)
12-27-03: Kaz Hayashi vs. AJ Styles (Former WCW cruiserweights collide after finding great success elsewhere. Crazy fun here ***1/2)
12-27-03: Homicide vs. Satoshi Kojima (Homicide’s tope ruins the end of another match, but both men tried really hard here and put on a good match ***)
12-27-03: Christopher Daniels & Dan Maff vs. The Great Muta & Arashi (The match itself isn’t the best, but Muta wrestling in America again is alone worth picking up the show for **3/4)
08-16-03: Homicide vs. Steve Corino (Brutal match that would lead to an even crazier match at War of the Wire ****)
06-14-03: AJ Styles vs. Paul London (This is without a doubt in my mind the greatest match of the first two years of ROH. Don’t let the lack of a winner fool you, there is no equal to this match in ROH. If you see no other match, see this one *****)
________________________________________________________________________________________

E-mail Brad at [email protected]
E-mail Jacob at [email protected]

To pick up this show and all ROH shows visit www.rohwrestling.com.

See you soon with our review of “At Our Best!”

The 411BG says: This was a long show and felt it, but it was worth it for the Williams/Punk and World title match. The tag title match is fun and the rest is hit and miss. The tournament is solid outside of the Styles frustration, but it’s hard to say bad things about a show with 2 ****+ matches.

JZ says: I really liked the first five tournament matches, until AJ just got out of hand and refused to sell an injury that was the crux of the whole show. Of the ten matches, I gave two of them ****, two of them ***1/2, three of them ***1/4, two of them ***, and one lonely match at 1/2*. That is an awesome ratio, and becomes maddening only when I think about how much better the last two Styles matches could have been. I’ll give the show a high recommendation, and blame AJ Styles for not getting a better rating. It pains me to say it, but that’s the straight up truth.

 
Final Score:  6.8   [ Average ]  legend

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