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The Furious Flashbacks – ROH Supercard of Honor

December 17, 2008 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – ROH Supercard of Honor  

The Furious Flashbacks – ROH Supercard of Honor

Any show with two Match of the Year candidates can’t be bad!

Hi folks. Haven’t seen any ROH in ages. I’ve been so busy I don’t even remember what the last show was that I saw (Final Battle 2005 – I looked it up, posted in May 2008). But seeing as I keep getting asked about Ring of Honor (probably because of my epic run of event reviews back when ROH was in its infancy) I figured I’d chip in my two cents on this much beloved show. This is part of ROH’s Milestone Series where they went off the charts in terms of awesomeness.

31st March 2006. We’re in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. Hosts are Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard.

BACKSTAGE Jim Cornette says he’s discovered that Low-Ki knocked his tooth out. He’s also been whining and crying and making demands so he’s suspended FOREVER! Oh-ho! Ki was going through a very demanding period in his career at the time. He ended up going to TNA for the run as Senshi. To date I don’t believe Ki has returned to ROH making his “lifetime ban” an actuality thus far.

CLIPS we see Bryan Danielson Vs Roderick Strong and their matches thus far. They’ve both made each other tap out but Strong hasn’t been able to beat Danielson for the title yet. It’s been a hard hitting series of matches. Back in November they went over 45 minutes. Tonight will be Strong’s third shot at Danielson’s belt.

EARLIER Chris Hero mouths off to the fans outside. One of the female fans takes a swing at him. Hehe.

BACKSTAGE CIMA and his Blood Generation cut a promo that might, or not might not, be in English. It still cracks me up because CIMA just has this “I don’t give a shit what you think of me” vibe every time he appears on camera. We’re reminded that Roderick Strong is ranked #1.

Out in the ring Bobby Cruise tells us that Colt Cabana is injured and won’t be on the card tonight.

PROMO TIME – ROH Commissioner Jim Cornette w/BJ Whitmer. He calls this the “biggest two night stand in ROH history” and reminds us that Wrestlemania is tomorrow “BOOOOO”. He brings up Whitmer getting his ankle bust in a parking lot by CZW wrestlers. He talks about getting caught up in a schmoz in Ohio and losing a tooth. Cornette has a baseball bat and says if someone unscheduled shows up here he’ll knock their head off. He rambles a little about getting a couple of hardcore guys and bringing them in to have a match. CZW’s music kicks in and a couple of midgets come out here in masks. Is that Pelle Primeau? Cornette spends ages calling them both gay before bringing out a couple of real wrestlers to face them.

Two Masked Jobbers v Samoa Joe/Adam Pearce

Oh dear. MASSACRE! Joe doesn’t even bother taking his shirt off. The one guy takes a face washing. Then the midget gets a Musclebuster and Pearce splashes him for the squash.

Shane Hagadorn v Flash Flanagan v Delirious v Ricky Reyes w/Julius Smokes

I don’t really see the need for Hagadorn and Flanagan. Amazing for an ROH show that it’s taken us 20 minutes to get to what is, essentially, the opening match. Delirious is the star with his wacky antics and middle rope chewing (despite his losing sequence in ROH). Reyes is the heel contrast. The others are filler. All they’re here for is to look confused by Delirious’ behaviour. Delirious pulls out some more of the usual comedy to make Hagadorn look like a goof but the others put the boots in. Harsh! Smokes interjects to distract Hagadorn who gets thrown over the top as a result. Flanigan has been somewhat more involved and is far more seasoned than Hagadorn so that make sense. Delirious connects with SHADOWS OVER HELL!!! That gets 2. Small Package Driver on Hagadorn for 2. Reyes gets in there and now Delirious finds himself somewhat outmatched. Dragon Sleeper! The others are fighting on the floor and Delirious taps out. *1/2. Nothing match but it’s there to set up the start of Delirious’ first major angle in Ring of Honor.

POST MATCH Reyes continues to abuse Delirious and chokes him out. The gist of the Rotties attitude towards Delirious is that they don’t care for his comedy spots and he doesn’t belong here. Another beat down follows the promo time complete with an assault on Delirious’ tassels. “Colt Cabana’s next” shouts Smokes.

BACKSTAGE Chad Collyer cuts a promo about making Ace Steel bleed for weeks. The promo reminds me of Don Muraco. In both a good and a bad way. Steel tells us he’s never bled that much in his life but he didn’t quit and he didn’t get pinned and now Chad is running scared of him.

The Embassy (Alex Shelley/Jimmy Rave w/Prince Nana/Daizee Haze) v Claudio Castagnoli/Jimmy Yang

I’ve missed so many shows. Nice to see the toilet roll assault on Rave continues. Daizee turned on Sydal to join the Embassy. Rave is a nice change of speed here doing the old school heel shtick and telling the ref that Yang pulled his hair. He then pulls Claudio’s hair! Claudio starts bringing comedy by ducking chops and having the Embassy comedy miscue. The Embassy breaking out the accidental gay sex poses is a reminder of ECW’s finest moments. With Shelley’s fruity blonde hairdo this probably isn’t a shock. The faces have some nice teaming. With Yang doing a wheelbarrow bomb while Claudio adds in the forearm uppercut. Claudio seems to be having a great time out there and he adds in some Embassy mockery with their hand gesture during a headlock. The biggest problem the Embassy face is that they’re a joke. So when they hired Shelley instead of him giving them legitimacy they turned him into a comedy act. This match breaks down and they stop tagging, which is a major problem in every promotion nowadays. Why should I care about a tag match if they just stop tagging at some point? It’s not like they’re really telling much a story in this match anyway. It’s all very disjointed. Eventually Rave just ends up on top of Claudio in a reversals sequence and gets the pin. Meh. **. I dig Claudio being funny and he came off as a star in this one but everyone else is on autopilot.

POST MATCH Chris Hero is in the house!! “Fuck you Hero” – Chicago. I like that he has to steal the microphone from ringside. He’s here to berate Claudio for turning his back on him but the entire crowd feels the need to chant “shut the fuck up” over his promo. Come on guys…you don’t need to start until the heel is rambling! Let him get his point over first.

First Blood – Chad Collyer v Ace Steel

Ace coming out to the Blues Brothers is hilariously weird and totally inappropriate for the match. Ace is a nutjob and throws “Section B” at Chad. The sign…not the entire section. Funny how ROH runs down hardcore wrestling and the kind of garbage that CZW put on and then out comes a garbage match right after Hero’s promo. Collyer seems more focused on the stipulations and tries to open Ace up with headbutts and biting. Although headbutts seem a little strange as you’re pretty much guaranteed to cut yourself too. Ace decides to use the much harder surface of the guardrail. “We want tables”. Is this ROH? Really? I guess it is a bigger crowd than usual so you’ve probably got a more mixed crowd. Chad with a bulldog on the table. Still no blood. Collyer grabs a section of barricade and it occurs to me that Chad doesn’t have a lot of experience in matches like this and it shows. Much like the violent crap that proliferated ECW, CZW and XPW they run an entire sequence that’s just head shots with no set up. One head shot after another. Eventually they get to duelling over a chair, which is finally the debut of psychology as that’s what Chad used to bust Ace last time. Ace wins but Chad dropkicks the chair into his face. No blood. Ace gets the chair again and Chad begs off. Ace caps the match off with a Tombstone on the barricade but Chad isn’t busted so Ace goes back to the psychological home run of a chair shot and that does it. *1/2. They spent ages going nowhere until the chair came into play and the match then had a purpose. Unfortunately it took them far too long to get into the meat of the match.

OUTSIDE Dave Prazak has Homicide for an interview. Colt got concussed last night in Detroit. Homicide says he doesn’t care about that, or Chicago or the match. Homicide says the feud is over and the Rotties are moving on.

CLIPS we get some history of Matt Sydal being in Generation Next but getting the chance to team with AJ Styles for the tag titles and turning his back on Gen Next in the process.

AJ Styles/Matt Sydal v Austin Aries/Jack Evans

Aries & Strong are the tag champions but Roderick has a title shot tonight so AJ & Gen Next’s own Matt Sydal get a chance to prove they’re good enough for a title shot at the tag straps. Evans SERVES his opponents pre-match. Thankfully AJ doesn’t dance in response. Evans shows his improvement on the mat with Sydal as they chain to open. It does suffer from looking rather pre-planned. They run through some standing stuff before Sydal breaks out the dropsault. AJ tags in and just THROWS Jack into his own corner. He wants Aries! Austin is such a babyface he has support over AJ though! Sydal wants a piece of Aries and Austin decides to teach him a lesson on the mat. While Aries generally controls the pace Sydal shows he’s familiar with Aries moveset thus forcing him to change up. And it’s not often Aries changes his trademark stuff to suit his opponent. Aries invites AJ in and that’s INTENSE. I’d love to see an extended singles match between them. They duck and dodge each other’s offence until AJ just leads in with a forearm. Sydal comes in and showboats into his standing moonsault but that gives Aries time to get knees up. Evans comes in with a double stomp and for once he’s the guy wanting to hit the move quickly to ensure his showboating opponent doesn’t get the opening. Which shows he’s learned from being in Generation Next while Sydal hasn’t…yet. He also makes quicker tags and positions the weakened Sydal to allow a double team and THEN when he’s not legal he takes the high risk assisted moonsault. Which is all tremendously smart wrestling from Jack Evans and shows how Generation Next operate as a unit, which is what Sydal has so far failed to comprehend. Sydal is still talented though so he doesn’t get completely mown down here and gets to German suplex Jack on his head. AJ & Sydal are well aware that Jack Evans is still the weak point in this team and AJ’s power alone is enough to isolate Jack from his partner. Jack has insane moves and manages a springboard back elbow where he lands on the floor before going to a springboard but there’s a feeling he hadn’t really clocked Sydal hard there and sure enough the glancing blow isn’t enough to keep Sydal prone. He pops back up catches Evans coming down. Now it’s Sydal’s turn to show he’s learned something and he makes a point of frequently tagging AJ. He’s learned to cut the ring off and other basic tag team psychologies. Surely from AJ who’s had experience in tag teaming before. Jack is a tricky guy to keep down though and he sneaks past both guys to tag Aries. Aries is explosive! Unfortunately the match completely breaks down with everyone spilling in. I hate that! Can’t we get one tag match where it doesn’t break down. Sydal catches Aries with the Here It Is Driver. Sydal appears to be bleeding from the nose. I think Aries caught him with an elbow. Evans tries to flip over the top onto AJ but gets caught in a Styles Clash on the floor! AJ throws him back in, Aries topes AJ but Sydal gets the chance to go up top and finish with the Shooting Star Press! Good finish despite all the mess in the 90 seconds or so beforehand. ***1/2. I could have done with it having a more logical closing section but the psychology beforehand was all very fine and dandy.

POST MATCH Aries comes over to check on the nose injury showing that perhaps he’s not opposed to Sydal pushing himself…merely opposing his mentors. Generation Next remains despite the possibility of dissention. Maybe it’d be different if Sydal wins the tag titles.

And finally after about 100 minutes of the show it’s really picked up to the level where I’m excited.

BACKSTAGE Christopher Daniels & Allison Danger talk about how things are looking up now. Daniels points out that he may uphold the Code of Honor…but “when” is the question not “if”.

Do FIXER v Blood Generation

This is a guest match from Dragon Gate and quite a well known one at that. Do FIXER is Ryo Saito, Genki Horiguchi and Dragon Kid. Blood Generation is CIMA, Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino. Remember back on ECW’s PPV debut Barely Legal there was a Michinoku Pro guest match? This is the modern equivalent. Genki has such a PIMP hat on. He also wins the fans over so much they chant “H-A-G-E” at him, which means bald basically. It used to be an insult but he turned it around and feeds off the chant now. If you’ve never seen Dragon Gate it’s this crazy world where everyone is in a faction and the wrestling is done a freaky pace complete with unique reversals and submissions. It also has a lot of lucha-libre influences. Yoshino is so fast running the ropes here that he gets the crowd buzzing just by how quickly he runs across the ring. When we start into armdrags and flying headscissors and this crowd is primed! Now, my usual complaints about the match breaking down simply don’t apply here as the rules are completely relaxed from the opening bell. It’s just a showcase. “Look at what we can do!” CIMA changes pace and throws Dragon Kid across the ring one handed. Kid comes back with Tiger Mask kicks but his back is injured so he has to bail out. Now Do FIXER is at the disadvantage of carrying an injured Dragon Kid. Doi and Saito have a girly chop off…at speed! Not so girly now, eh? Do FIXER all come in for some assisted triple dropkick work. How come the guys in Dragon Gate can think of shit like this but no one else does? BG start fucking with Genki by hair maring him around the ring. Yoshino catches him in a ridiculously wonderful flying Octopus stretch! Doi in…CANNONBALL! CIMA dropkicks Genki’s ass causing him to crush him own neck on the turnbuckles. Yoshino comes in and gets launched across Genki’s back and CIMA adds in a double stomp for 2. Crowd is biting on this now. Genki has already won the crowd over so they chant to support him and we have a hot tag to Saito!

Kid flies in with the triple rotation armdrag! MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! CIMA V SAITO CHOP OFF! CIMA loses but nips up and dropkicks him! He goes for a rana but Saito snap powerbombs him into a FISHERMAN EXPRESS…for 2. O’Connor roll into a double stomp! CIMA breaking out more awesome there. Everyone in and Saito gets piled on in the corner. Kid gets stacked onto him and BULLDOGGED OFF by CIMA for 2. Yoshino breaks out the SLING BLADE (which is a running sleeper slam, I know it sounds impossible, trust me). MISSILE DOUBLE STOMP DROPKIIIIIIIIIICK! That gets 2. “This is awesome”. Kid one up’s the motherfucker by countering a suplex into a STUNNER. Crowd can’t even get “this is awesome” out without popping something…that’s how fast the spots are coming in this one. Kid tries a triple rotation headscissors on Doi but gets wheelbarrow bombed! Now that’s a counter for that move. Genki runs in and he counters with Doi so many times in a minute that I can’t keep up. “This is awesome”. We get the stack in the corner with Doi stuck on top of Saito and Kid climbs outside them for the SUPER, SUPER RANA. Saito splashes him…for 2. Kid wants the rana but he’s blocked and Yoshino dropkicks him. CIMA with the superkick. SUCK MY FUCKING DICK! Genki counters him into a DDT! Yoshino is distracted and gets German suplexed for 2. Kid in…SPRINGBOARD RANA!!!!! SAVED! CIMA is in – VENUS! Saito jumps him though for the German suplex aided by Dragon Kid’s sunset flip! Genki in…BEACH BREAK! Go on HAGE, get the pin! That gets…TWO! FUCK OFF! Saito gets singled out for a train of abuse and they set him for CIMA double stomp and he spots Genki hanging off the turnbuckle and LUNGBLOWERS him as an afterthought. This match is INSANE! Kid in looking for the Dragonrana but its countered into the SCWEIN…FOR TWO!!! Noooo! Everyone looks knackered. Dragon Kid is just sat there so Doi knees him in the face…for 2. Doi takes Kid up top but they counter around up there – BULLDOG OFF THE TOP! Kid back up. DRAGONRANA!!! YES! Doi is too tired to kick out and Do FIXER wins it! ****1/2. Insanity. You could argue the second half just resorted to a spots all over the shop but it had that level of craziness that made the Michi Pro guest match at ECW’s first PPV special. When you’re just popping the shit out of a smart crowd like this you know you’ve done well. And it was pretty much a continual ten minutes of pops. They did mostly have saves rather than kickouts too in order to retain believability. The huge roars from the crowd says it all. Enormous pop for that match and a standing ovation. I think these guys will be back.

POST MATCH CIMA’s handshake with Saito causes both Doi and Yoshino to object to his behaviour and walk off.

BACKSTAGE Nigel McGuinness says he’s taking the Pure title all around the world and he’s not on this show because he’s in Pro Wrestling NOAH defending the title. He points out he’s beaten Samoa Joe AND Austin Aries. He says Bryan Danielson is getting props for being a pure wrestler but Nigel is the real world champion. He makes a point of running down the “internet geeks” who seem to think he’s not as good as Danielson.

Lacey v Rain v MsChif v Daizee Haze v Cheerleader Melissa v Allison Danger

Rain looks a lot hotter than I remember. I like how they come out to angry chick rock. Haha. It’s Ten Things I Hate About You: The Wrestling Match. I need the equivalent of a Heath Ledger run in. “I love you baaaaaby…” Hey, I’ve got no issues with women’s wrestling. If you like sloppy and half-speed then more power to ya! The major problem they have here is they’re on after the showcase match we just had. So they look even worse by comparison. The only thing MsChif can do to any great deal of competence is bridges. And she’s the best wrestler in the match. Worse still is the psychology is non-existent. We establish that Melissa hates MsChif but we get a multi-person spot and she goes to the opposite end and applies a meaningless hold to someone else with MsChif wide open. Much like any other competitors who know they’re not good at actual wrestling they opt to do high spots to the floor. It’s like Psicosis cloned himself as female six times. Oh and Daizee, I love the gimmick but the Heart Punch is a truly terrible looking move if you weigh about 60lbs. Daizee kicks Melissa in the head twice and she no sells the first good one and then sells the second one, which barely connects. This match is just riddled with problems. It’s a mess. GREEN MIST! That puts Melissa out of the match and MsChif hits the Desecrator for the win. ¼*. Fewer participants next time. I wouldn’t mind seeing MsChif and Melissa in a match but I could live without the rest.

Homicide v Mitch Franklin

Seeing as Colt Cabana was injured they had no real last minute options for Homicide so they gave him a squash. Mitch is about 5’ 2”. Cop Killer finishes in around a minute.

POST MATCH Colt shows up saying a concussion isn’t going to stop him ending this war in his home town.

Homicide v Colt Cabana

We have a ref so I guess we’re good to go here! Colt starts fast and hard and the crowd support for him is big because this is his backyard. Colt’s anger drives him into a series of vicious shots and Homicide eats guardrail a few times before taking a backdrop through the timekeepers table. Colt is having a hard time selling the concussion here. He wants the Colt 45 but Julius Smokes runs in. Colt goes to give it to him instead and Homicide NAILS HIM with a chair shot. Homicide has had enough of Cabana and just SNAPS. He pulls out a ladder, sandwiches Cabana’s head and chair shots it repeatedly! I guess that’s the match then! Homicide gets the mic; “honkies…shut the fuck up”. He compares Colt’s failure to that of the Cubs and tells him if he shows up tomorrow he’ll kill him. “Oh, you’re quiet now”.

POST MATCH Chris Hero and Necro Butcher are out here! Again Hero gets his promo drowned out. Hero calls ROH garbage leading to Adam Pearce running out here to have words.

Necro Butcher v Adam Pearce

ROH didn’t quite think this one out as the crowd chants “Necro”. Necro Butcher has a lot of underground grass roots support like say Mick Foley. While Adam Pearce is a career heel. They brawl into the crowd for ages and I can’t help but feel this kind of match has run it’s course somewhat. This is so…1997. Crowd seems to enjoy it but the camerawork isn’t on a level to make it interesting. Much like early ECW crowd fights where you couldn’t really see anything and nothing happened anyway. Eventually Cornette lives up to his promise and runs out here to baseball bat shot Necro. Hero runs in and armbars the commissioner but that brings out SAMOA JOE to give Hero a kicking. There’s a ‘get out of my ring, bitch’ vibe about his beatdown. BJ cuts off Hero’s retreat with a chair. Pearce chair shots him out of the ring and ROH wins this round, I believe. Cornette orders the trash removed and the “home team” stands tall in the ring. Samoa Joe, Adam Pearce and BJ Whitmer. That’s Team ROH at the moment. Although the crowd reaction will tell you its Team Joe.

POST MATCH Joe gets the mic. He says he came here for two reasons. “I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum”. AND HE’S OUT OF BUBBLEGUM! ‘THEY LIVE’ THAT SHIT DOWN!

Samoa Joe v Christopher Daniels v Jimmy Jacobs

Jimmy Jacobs’ “Ballad of Lacey” is hideous but the lyrics about their relationship being “the match of the year” do amuse me. Crowd are still hussing at Jimmy despite him ditching that gimmick ages ago. Lacey grabs the mic to tell him if he wants to make her proud he should win this match. Oh, is that all? Suuuurrre! Joe and Daniels make this about comedy early by ignoring Jacobs. Joe especially! He eventually stamps on their feet before dropkicking them both. Took him a little lightly, huh? Daniels brings the comedy by throwing Jacobs as a weapon. The constant three-way stuff is hindering the match somewhat. Daniels then throws Jacobs onto Joe to assist on an inverted DDT. Nice. Daniels then runs head first into the STJoe! Jacobs tries to springboard Joe…who just moves. It’s so simple it’s amazing that no one else has ever done it. The others bail so Joe breaks out the ELBOW SUICIDAAAA! OLE OLE KICK for Daniels! The biggest problem this match has is that Jacobs is not on Joe’s level. So there’s a logic gap. Why doesn’t Joe just Musclebuster him and choke him out? The only thing that should be stopping him is Daniels presence. But instead they run bits where Joe misses and opportunities arise from that. Joe gets frustrated by Lacey mouthing off causing a miscue where Jacobs gets run into Lacey. Daniels with BLUE THUNDER…for 2. Daniels gets up a head of speed and gets caught in the snap powerslam…for 2. Daniels nearly gets his arm removed and Jacobs is too busy with Lacey to deal with it. Joe avoids the BME. Jacobs tries to throw his weight around but he doesn’t have any. Jacobs lifts Lacey’s Implant DDT finish on Daniels…for 2. Yeah, as if Jacobs goes over here! He does manage to counter out of Angels Wings. Daniels escapes the Contra Code and Joe superkicks Daniels. He tries for the Contra Code on Joe but Joe just grabs him and chokes him out. ***. Fun three-way action. I’d have rather seen elimination rules here though as Jacobs was never going to beat the other two. It felt like Daniels v Joe for the right to easily beat Jacobs. Joe got the opening.

Visit RohWrestling.com for all your ROH merch needs.

ROH title – Bryan Danielson (c) v Roderick Strong

Lovin’ Strong’s Boondock Saints inspired entrance music. “THERE WAS A FIREFIGHT!!” Danielson has already held the title for 6 months. Given that ROH’s title changes are fairly infrequent this isn’t a shock per se but the way ROH built challengers during his reign was a matter of interest. For example this is Strong’s third shot at the belt. Danielson’s cocky heel champion never really suited him. Sure, he’s plays an awesome jerk but not like this. He has himself introduced as the “best wrestler in Chicago this weekend”. Well, technically that’s probably true. That doesn’t make him a heel…it makes him good. We’re past Midnight already here and this isn’t going to be a short main event! Danielson won in 37 minutes via referee stoppage the first time. Strong finds himself somewhat outdone on the mat and Dragon stops to celebrate getting himself chopped HARD. He left his hand print on Danielson’s chest there and that was ONE chop. That’s Strong’s freaky retard strength. Danielson retorts by breaking out a FREAKISH bridge where he powers up with Strong resting his whole weight on Danielson’s bridge. Jimmy Bauer drops in for a big scoop; Lance Storm will face the winner of this match tomorrow night. Strong lands another huge chop! Danielson is intent on not taking more than one of those. Each time one connects he just bails to the floor. Danielson considers taking a walk after one of the fans gives him shit. Strong gets the mic and calls him a “motherfucker”. Hmm, I’d have selected “coward”, “pussy” or something more appropriate. Swearing is only cool if you use it correctly. Strong goes after the surfboard but Danielson knows the move too well and twists out of it during the rocking. Danielson gets a receipt for those chops. Now he sets for the surfboard. It’s almost as if Danielson is teaching the upstart a lesson but Strong uses his leg strength to get free. Strong starts looking after Danielson’s arm. There’s a feeling he wants to weaken Danielson’s aggressive grappling skills thus eliminating many of his patented holds especially the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson takes it for a while but then realises it’s turning the tide of the match and wrestles out of a wristlock very quickly. Danielson’s strategy is unclear so far. He just seems to think he can outwrestle Strong and doesn’t need a masterplan. Danielson gets the goku-raku stretch and controls with it until Strong slides out through the legs and gets it himself.

Strong is now opening up with chops specifically to weaken Danielson’s resolve. Danielson has had enough of that and takes the leg looking for the STF. Strong’s powerful upper body prevents that so Danielson switches to an Oriental crossbow. Danielson sneaks in the first cheap shot with a knee to the head as Strong was in the ropes. He DID have until five, ref. Danielson starts stretching the rules again by messing with Strong’s face on the ropes. Danielson feels the need to open up a bit with some heavy kicks but Strong has too much left in the tank and fires back with chops. Danielson seems comfy with those now but gets caught with a flying knee and a lariat gets 2. Strong gets the Surfboard at the second attempt! Ohhhh, slap in the face for Danielson! He tries for a superplex but Danielson gets out with a diving forearm uppercut. Both guys are starting to look a little fatigued. Still able to summon reserves of power when needed but leaving themselves open more often. Danielson tries to sneak in a choke and when he covers the nose too the aim is to stop Strong’s oxygen input. Someone shouts “Bob Backlund” at Danielson so he breaks out an atomic drop, just barely keeping a giggle subdued. Strong, ever the humourless machine, continues to sell like a champ. Danielson breaks out the swan dive headbutt…for 2. Shades of Wilbur Snyder and Danielson uses the ropes! HEEEL! This is totally old school. Fans boo! What year is this? Strong gives Danielson a clean break when they get away and Danielson FOREARMS HIM IN THE JAW! HEEEL! That’s what you get for a being a sucker! Strong blocks Cattle Mutilation for long enough that he’s able to position himself under the ropes. Danielson goes after Strong’s arm probably aiming to eliminate all those backbreakers.

Swan dive again but this time Strong moves. Danielson spent too long setting it up. Strong sees this point of the match as a possible ending and gets a few cheeky roll up’s for near falls. Leg capture backbreaker! That gets 2. His first impact move on his favourite area. Strong with a superplex from right off the top…for 2. Danielson has taken a beating in the last couple of minutes. We’re up to 30 minutes. Strong looks for the Stronghold and hooks it on. Crowd aren’t too animated about it yet even though Danielson has tapped to the hold before. There’s a feeling we’re not that far into the match. Even though we’ve had 30 minutes. Danielson starts laying in firm forearms to set up a German suplex…for 2. He holds on and we get the Rolling Germans. Strong kicks out and Danielson holds on with the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Strong is forced into the ropes to survive. He has so many weapons that Strong is finding himself open at every turn. Strong gets thrown into the ropes and he picks up a knee problem. Danielson sees this as a target as he wasn’t previously aiming for any one body part to any great degree. Danielson bridges back on the knee and adds in slaps! Its insult and injury here. He hooks up the arms as well as both legs. It’s the old human pretzel move. Danielson claims he can’t break at five because he’s “all tied up”. Conveniently this moment arrives while his leg is across Strong’s throat. Strong’s power is always an asset to him and out of nowhere he sneaks in a gutwrench backbreaker. Probably should have thought about the outcome of that though as he used his bad leg…thus injuring himself worse than Danielson. The champ hooks him up in the Figure Four! Surprisingly they don’t run the reversal spot and Strong gets the ropes instead. Danielson considers the dragon suplex but can’t get it so he dropkicks the bad knee away. Danielson lifts the Boston crab but the knee isn’t taking as much abuse in this as the back. Strong kicks him off and steals CATTLE MUTILATION! Of course the bad wheel prevents him getting a good bridge so he can’t get a tap from that.

They battle over the ropes and Strong suplexes Danielson to the floor! That’s his sheer power. Danielson is bleeding from the mouth. Strong chops Danielson against the ring post and THAT is a mistake. He full on chops the post and that sounds nasty. DING! Danielson once again is given an opening by Strong’s mistake. Which is why Strong isn’t ready to be a champion. In a tag match if he makes a mistake he can tag out to Aries but now…he’s all alone. Worse still he’s just injured his chopping hand thus eliminating his best transition. His easiest to execute offensive weapon. “Tap out to a wristlock” shouts Danielson but that would be fine psychology. Of course the crowd doesn’t want that. They want an epic finish although I’m sure there are a few out there who are thinking about the 60 minute draw by this point. Even though Strong is down and hurt. Danielson chops and kicks away showing how strong his body is still. Strong SWITCHES hands. There we go! They’re not as powerful as the right handed ones but they’re still weapons that Danielson didn’t see coming. Strong gets thrown into the crowd and Danielson, throwing caution to the wind, dives off the top into the crowd! Danielson takes a moment to sell himself to the fans; “best wrestler in the world”. Back inside Danielson hits a missile dropkick and nips up! He still has that energy left. Danielson unloads with some elbows like he did when he won the first match. Strong powers him up into the gutbuster but in the process hurts himself worse! That bad knee is totally hampering him here. Strong with the flying kick and TIGER DRIVER…gets 2. Strong’s powerful upper body is of huge benefit here because he doesn’t need his bad leg to power Danielson up and his hand doesn’t need a strong grip to do it. Half nelson backbreaker….over the bad knee. BOO! Another backbreaker on the bad knee. BOO! Why not use the other one Rod? Come on! Strong slaps on the Stronghold and the crowd still aren’t buying the finish even though Danielson has taken shots to the back now. The focus has been so much on Strong’s injuries during the match that they’re just not buying into the Stronghold. Up top and Danielson hits the back superplex…for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION!

Crowd don’t want a tap out! Danielson realises we’re a little close to the ropes and rolls him the other way. Strong is now the wrong side so he can’t find the ropes. Eventually Danielson is tired from holding the bridge and gives up looking for something else. Another Cattle Mutilation! That makes three. Strong tries to block so Danielson throws some knees. Strong comes back and he’s throwing forearms, which makes you wonder why he didn’t do that earlier. Danielson with the ROLLING ELBOW! DRAGON SUPLEX! CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Why not just go for a pin? Strong was out there. Danielson got his eye cut during that striking sequence. Strong won’t give up. That has become abundantly clear. So Danielson tries for the KO off the top. Strong escapes and gutbusters him off the top…onto his bad knee. At least he sells it this time. 55 minutes gone! We’re nearly out of time! Strong gets a pin…for 2. Strong doesn’t know what to do. STRONGHOLD! Now we’re getting a feeling that it could possibly end but Danielson counters out into a roll up to retain! ****1/2. There are some holes in the psychology and there are higher levels they never really went to (no realistic submissions from Danielson on the injuries, no airplane spin, Strong almost laying off his trademark stuff in the match when he could have used it because of the lack of injuries). Still quite the marathon. How many times do you see a match finish in the 56th minute nowadays? Although they did look a little confused leading into the final minute or so.

BACKSTAGE Lance Storm congratulations Danielson on another tough win. But he didn’t come out of retirement for nothing and he’s trained 10 months for one match.

ELSEWHERE Dave Prazak has Cabana who has very little comment (what with the concussion and everything) but it would seem he’s urgent for a final match in the Homicide feud.

The 411: Great show with two top matches. The downside is the amount of stuff that really didn’t need to make the DVD. 5 hours? Is it time to start the return of clipped tapes ala 1980’s NWA perhaps? Nevertheless you don’t get many shows with two Match of the Year contenders on them. This comes recommended.
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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