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028 ROH Empire State Showdown 10/25/2003

ROH 28 – Empire State Showdown – 25th October 2003

I ended the review of Tradition Continues on quite a down note, and reading that back, I realised exactly how spoilt Ring Of Honor has made me. That show had no less than THREE 4* matches and I ended it complaining. Moving on to tonight, we’re in another new area, and perhaps more so than any of the other recent debuts, this one is a gamble. It’s a risky business running in New York, and previously only the First Anniversary Show has been held in the state. If this show is a flop it could be an expensive one. The card is not excessively stacked either, but we do have a rematch of the Do Or Die classic, as Samoa Joe and Homicide prepare to do battle one more time, this time in a No Holds Barred Match (although how the last match wasn’t No Holds Barred I don’t know). The curious relationship between CM Punk and Steve Corino takes another interesting twist as they wrestle each other tonight, and elsewhere, after his performance in the great fourway at Tradition Continues, John Walters gets possibly his biggest match to date as he faces Christopher Daniels. It’s not the company’s most famous show, but lets see if it’s an underrated gem. We’re in Spencerport, NY, hosts are Chris Lovey and Ray Murrow.

Top 5 Rankings
1) vacant
2) Colt Cabana
3) AJ Styles
4) Jay Briscoe
5) Xavier

Samoa Joe opens up, and he addresses the Briscoes declaration of war that ended Tradition Continues. Unsurprisingly he’s not backing down from them. He’s not afraid of Homicide tonight, and he makes the challenge for their (non-title) match to be No Holds Barred.

Colt Cabana acts like he’s had too much coffee…but he says he’s replacing GMC on scoop-getting duty tonight. He walks over to Homicide and Julius Smokes and tells them that Joe wants the match to be No Holds Barred. Homicide seems pretty happy about it…before Cabana ‘thugs’ with Smokes, by turning his hat sideways. ‘I don’t know what that means’ – Cabana after a stream of Smokes gibberish…well it made me laugh.

BJ Whitmer vs Dan Maff – Field Of Honor Block B
BJ Whitmer – Cincinnati, OH – debuted vs London, Homicide, Cabana 11/01/2003 – FOH Record 1-1
Dan Maff – Brooklyn, NY – debuted w/Mack vs Christopher St. Connection 23/02/2002 – FOH Record 1-0

Production is noticeably lower on this show, audio quality is far worse than usual, but still better than some tapes I own so, no biggy. It might just be the building, since commentary is fine. Danger distracts BJ and this allows Maff to get the jump on him. It takes less than a minute for them to break out some stiff as f*ck chops. Whitmer looks for the Exploder ’98 early but Maff blocks, and we get more chops as a result. To the floor and Whitmer gets thrown hard into the railings. BJ connects with a high knee on the apron…HE FLIES THROUGH THE ROPES WITH A TOPE!
It’s Maff’s turn to get sent hard into the guardrail. Maff goes for a half nelson suplex, but BJ escapes. EXPLODER ON THE FLOOR!! That brings the first ‘Holy sh*t’ chant of the night, and rightly so. Back in the ring…EXPLODER ’98…and still Maff kicks out. He gets to his feet AND DROPS WHITMER ON HIS HEAD WITH A BACK SUPLEX! Incredibly Whitmer gets up, but his roaring elbow attempt is blocked AND HE GETS POWERBOMBED INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! Cannonball from Maff gets him 2. BJ GETS DUMPED ON HIS HEAD AGAIN WITH A HALF NELSON SUPLEX! Maff wasn’t happy with that…SO HE DOES IT WITH EVEN MORE FEROCITY THE SECOND TIME! It’s Burning Hammer time, but BJ escapes and rocks Maff with a couple of super kicks…WRIST CLUTCH EXPLODER!! BJ goes 2-1 at 09:39

Rating – *** – 10 minutes of crazy head droppery, it’s hard to argue with that. This is probably my pick for best FOH match so far, just a step ahead of Walters/Stryker or Walters/Xavier. If this tournament is such a big deal, then why is it packed full of midcard guys and no match gets longer than 10 minutes?

Trent Acid is in Philadelphia, and he says Johnny Kashmere still hasn’t contacted him after the disappointment of losing the Tag Titles. They’ll be back in New Jersey on November 1st though…and he guarantees victory in the Scramble Cage Match.

Outcast Killaz vs Fast Eddie/Don Juan vs Dunn & Marcos vs Jimmy Jacobs/Alex Shelley – Scramble Match
Interesting Scramble here…and not just because Blind Eddie is back to land himself on his head some more (I love that guy). Dunn & Marcos have been in a few Scrambles, but have never looked close to winning one. For the Killaz, this is a rare chance to shine, rather than be job-fodder for someone. Not sure if they’ve been in a Scramble before, if they have, it probably wasn’t a very good one. This is definitely Jacobs and Shelley’s first Scramble, although they have teamed before in ROH. They lost to Colt Cabana and Ace Steel at Wrath Of The Racket you may recall. Interesting to see how they function as a team, given that Jacobs pinned Shelley to win a fourway on the Glory By Honor II convention card. This is the second time in as many shows that we’ve had a Scramble with none of the usual players…worked OK at Tradition Continues (the match should’ve gone way longer), I have hopes for this one. Shelley is all Hussed up like Jacobs…anything to get over huh.

Shelley and Eddie start, and Eddie does his best to hang chain wrestling. Santiago and Marcos in, and Marcos sends Diablo into the turnbuckles with a headscissors. Dunn and Juan now, and Dunn is a few steps ahead of him, until he gets kicked in the head. Jacobs and Tortuga complete a run through of the competitors, and we get a Huss satellite headscissors. Big open hand chops, before Oman wants a test of strength. He tries to act like a dick coz he’s taller, so Shelley comes in and lifts Jimmy onto his shoulders. Santiago in to lift Oman up…and we have a test of strength ON their partners’ shoulders! LOCK UP…ARM WRENCHES! That was great, and Dunn & Marcos almost sneak in and steal a win. TOMBSTONE ON MARCOS BY EDDIE! The TWA guys take big fuzzy boots to the face, and now it’s the Huss chaps against Dunn & Marcos. Jacobs and Shelley get the better of that, as Santiago drills Fast Eddie with a facebuster. A representative of every team goes to each turnbuckle, and they all get crotched…FOURWAY SIMULTANEOUS SUPER RANAS!
Oman with an assisted capture half nelson suplex on Eddie, before the Killaz kick crap through Don Juan as well. It’s a ring crew battle as Dunn & Marcos take on the Killaz. The Ring Crew Express hit all their trademark spots and almost get the win as a result. Jacobs and Shelley in…AIR GUITAR…MEETS HUSS! Jacobs wipes out Dunn, then Marcos takes a big senton into a backbreaker. Both of them to the top…BUT EDDIE THROWS SHELLEY TO THE FLOOR. Juan and Eddie have Jacobs in the other corner…MOONSAULT FALLAWAY NECKBREAKER! Oman Tortuga makes the save there and they double team the blind guy. Eddie escapes and goes to the top rope…BLIND GUY MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Stereo victory rolls from Dunn & Marcos almost put the Killaz away. CUTTHROAT DRIVER FROM DUNN ON OMAN…DUNN & MARCOS WIN!! 8:22 is your time.

Rating – *** – Best…Scramble…EVER! Seeing four hungry teams actually innovating and coming up with new spots (as opposed to doing the same thing every time i.e. SAT) was just great. The Outcast Killaz looked really impressive in this, but Jacobs and Shelley stole the show with their antics. Not sure the Huss thing really works for Shelley, but as a one time thing it was so much fun. Congratulations to all four teams for a great little match.

John Walters vs Christopher Daniels
At Tradition Continues I raved about how ROH can just throw guys like AJ Styles and CM Punk together in the midcard, and exactly the same applies here. What a promotion this is, just throwing a match like this out there, and it has the potential to be a classic. Last time we saw Daniels in an ROH ring he failed to win the World Title from Joe. He’s vowed to come back and get another shot at the belt, and to do that he needs a win here. Meanwhile Walters has been as impressive as any newcomer to the company in it’s nearly two year existence. He’s looked impressive every time he’s stepped foot into the ring…but he’s still yet to actually a win a match. From Andy Anderson to Xavier, everyone’s beating him. To a guy that says he only has two options in the ring (‘winning…or winning’) that must suck. Can he change his fortunes against arguably ROH’s top dog? Xavier is also allegedly a member of The Prophecy, whom Daniels leads. Will he take some frustration out on Daniels here and now?

Daniels is, beyond question, as close to being a babyface as possible. He got a huge pop and now everyone’s chanting his name. Daniels refuses a handshake, so Walters psyches him out of a lock-up – touché. Walters gets a couple of armdrags in, and Daniels has to take a powder and refocus. Daniels comes back and looks to outwrestle Walters, but he can’t as Walters is up to the challenge there as well. They literally go hold for hold with both guys looking fantastic. Walters scores with a dropkick, but Daniels fires back with a flurry of forearms in the corner.
LEG STUNNER BY WALTERS! He immediately follows up on that, and out of nowhere he’s opened up a weakness. MutaLock applied, and Walters is just wearing out Daniels’ knee right now. Daniels tries to mount a comeback, but Walters just traps him in a rolling leglock. He rolls it into a modified cloverleaf, but this allows Allison Danger to sneak into the ring and rake Walters’ eyes. Walters grabs her on the outside, but is aware enough to avoid a baseball slide attempt by Daniels THEN DRILL HIS LEG AGAINST THE RING! Back inside, Walters climbs to the top rope, but as Daniels distracts the ref, Danger shoves him off. Daniels is looking desperate right now, and he focuses his offence on the back of Walters. He peppers it with shoulders, forearms and knee drops, before finally planting him with a backbreaker…which of course hurts his injured knee.

Gutwrench suplex, followed up by elbows to the back, then a version of the camel clutch, drilling his knee into Walters’ lower back. Walters tries to fight out by punching at Daniels’ knee. Daniels looks for a suplex, but his knee gives out and Walters almost gets 3. Daniels puts Walters in a Boston crab which continues to wear down the back. Walters is getting close to the ropes, so Daniels puts him in a bow and arrow stretch instead, before the fight spills to the outside. Walters gets whipped into the guardrails, which is not going to do that back any good. He gets shunted into the ringpost, then back inside for a whip into the turnbuckles.
Back body drop, then a dropkick to the spine, as right now everything Daniels does is designed to hurt Walters’ injured both part in some fashion. He manages to lift Walters for a suplex, and it’s a stalling one at that. He follows up with an Arabian press right across the back, then he puts Walters in a Crossface. This is just brutal the amount of punishment Walters’ back is taking right now. Blue Thunder Driver isn’t enough to get it done however. OUT OF NOWHERE WALTERS GETS THE FALLING DOUBLE KNEE BACKBREAKER! Walters nails a spear as well…BUT DANIELS ALMOST DUMPS HIM ON HIS HEAD WITH A BACK BREAKER. STO nailed…DOUBLE JUMP MOONSAULT FOR 2! Daniels climbs the turnbuckles again, but he gets the springboard sunset flip powerbomb that Walters botched at Tradition Continues. HURRICANE DDT NAILED…BUT DANIELS KICKS OUT! Walters looks to do it a second time, but this time Daniels escapes. Walters breaks out every kind of roll up imaginable, but still can’t get it done…ANGELS WINGS FROM DANIELS! LAST RITES NAILED! Daniels wins it at 19:06.

Rating – **** – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, that was fantastic. They seemed to forget about their knee and back injuries at the end as they broke out the false finishes, but I don’t think it hurt too much. ‘Pure wrestling’ was the buzzword of the commentators during this, and rightly so. This is comparable to the match Daniels had with Doug Williams earlier in the year, and even the Xavier match from Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies. Credit to Daniels here, as he didn’t have to go out of his way to make Walters look like an absolute player, but he did. He took the 20 minutes they’d been given, worked with Walters and gave the fans an absolute treat. This company owes so much to this guy…

Daniels takes the mic after the match and puts Walters over. If he shook hands, he’d shake Walters’ apparently. He says he might be interested in bringing Walters into The Prophecy…which brings Xavier to the ring. He yells at Daniels for trying to bring losers into the group. Walters says he’ll win next time he wrestles…he likes doing that. Xavier beats him down, then yells at Daniels, but Walters gets one final shot in before Daniels and Xavier head to the back. They argue once they get through the curtain, and as soon as Xavier shoves Daniels Maff steps in. ‘You must’ve got kicked real hard’ – Xavier to Maff (referring to the Low Ki incident). This Prophecy in-fighting stuff is great, and Xavier continues to be great since his comeback. He’s really nailing his self-obsessed asshole gimmick right now.

Steve Corino is in an office somewhere. He has a few less-than-subtle shots at Paul Heyman in his upset at being called a snake by Chris Daniels. CM Punk reminds him of a young Corino, but says he needs to learn some respect…and he’ll teach him it tonight. He’s not done with Homicide either…

Special K vs Carnage Crew – ROH Tag Title Match
Izzy and Dixie of course represent tonight, since they’re Tag Champions. Another leg of the Crew/K feud which is stretching on now and getting more personal every time. Since beating down the Carnage Crew at Beating The Odds, Special K cheated them out of the Tag Title gauntlet at Glory By Honor II, then at Tradition Continues, with DeVito not on the show, they beat down Loc as he tried to help out the Backseat Boyz after the Tag Title match. Can the Crew get revenge and take the Tag Titles tonight?

Loc and DeVito beat down as many K members possible at the outset, brawling on the floor with pretty much everyone out there. DeVito and Dixie finally make it into the ring and he takes Dixie’s head off with crossfaces. Lit is bleeding as DeVito and Dixie fight on the outside. Dixie takes a drop toehold into the barricade which busts him open. Back inside Dixie manages to tag Izzy in, and he gets thrown straight to the outside. Loc hits a cannonball senton off the apron to a pile of K guys. Izzy gets dropped over the rail, then Loc attempts to kick his head clean through it.
DeVito in to hit a double back suplex, as Murrow gives the Crew the kiss of death – ‘there’s no way the Carnage Crew can lose this match’. Dropkick from DeVito, and for some reason Izzy is busted open as well. Carnageplex gets a 2 count. Lit grabs Loc’s leg which distracts the ref enough for Izzy to kick him in the nuts, and for Angeldust to come in with a springboard blockbuster. Double hiptoss facebuster by Izzy and Dixie. Again the ref is distracted, and Hydro takes the opportunity to choke Loc over the middle rope. Jumping inverted DDT from Izzy gets 2. Dixie tosses Loc to the floor and distracts the ref whilst he gets absolutely mauled by a crowd of the other guys (Hijinx, Lit, Angeldust and Hydro I think). Back inside

Dixie looks for a sunset flip…but gets dumped on his head with an inverted piledriver. Loc makes the tag and DeVito comes in and beats on both opponents. Dixie takes a northern lights into the turnbuckles, then Izzy gets dumped on top of him for some gay humour. Splash mountain/DOUBLE neckbreaker combo…but somehow they kick out. Izzy hits the moonsault kick on Loc and DeVito, but that’s not enough to retain the belts. Loc takes Dixie with a DDT into a front choke. Izzy looks to break it but DeVito cuts him off with a lariat. Somersault plancha from DeVito to the floor…as Becky is on the apron distracting the ref. Lit sneaks into the ring and smacks Loc in the head with a title belt…but Loc still kicks out before the three. Izzy takes a DDT from DeVito…and the Crew go to the corner to look for the Spike Piledriver. Again the referee is distracted, and Hijinx climbs onto the apron wielding a leather strap. This averts the piledriver, and one springboard sunset flip later Special K retain at 14:51.

Rating – * – It wasn’t actually bad per se, it was just very dull for a 15 minute match, and they went way overboard on the interference. I think we all get the point that K have to cheat to win, but it was definitely overkill on this particular occasion. It did set things up nicely for the Scramble Cage Match next show though.

INTERMISSION – Colt Cabana does GMC’s job much better than he does it. Cabana has ‘Daniel Maff’ to interview, and he gloats because Maff lost to Whitmer. ‘People love me you know?’ – Cabana. ‘I don’t like you’ – Maff. Cabana asks if Maff and The Prophecy were involved in Lucy’s attack in Dayton. Maff doesn’t care, but says The Prophecy didn’t have anything to do with it. Maff even swears it on his father’s grave. These two face each other in the FOH in Elizabeth. ‘This comedy sh*t ain’t over with me. You bring your jokes…and I’m gonna dump you on the friggin’ head’ – Maff. Colt Cabana is priceless in his interactions with…anyone.

Xavier vs Chris Sabin – Field Of Honor Block A
Xavier – Queens, NY – debuted vs Scoot Andrews 23/02/2002 – FOH Record 1-0
Chris Sabin – Detroit, MI – debuted vs Homicide, Walters, Credible 14/06/2003 – FOH Record 0-1

Sabin’s eye looks real nice after being massacred by Matt Stryker at Tradition Continues. Xavier again shakes hands, but again uses it to go for a move. He looks for an early Kiss Your X Goodbye, but Sabin escapes. Sabin gets a nice dropkick in to end a nice exchange of holds. Crowd applaud that, but don’t like Xavier going to the floor. Sabin gets him back in, and hits a nice slingshot headscissors. Xavier takes the advantage by going to the injured eye, but Sabin quickly comes back with a clothesline.
Xavier looks to skin the cat, but Sabin waits and dropkicks him to the floor. CORKSCREW PESCADO SCORES! Sabin hits the ring again with a springboard dropkick for 2. Xavier plants Sabin on his face with a sitout gourdbuster, then follows with a dropkick. Knee strikes in the corner, which aren’t doing Sabin’s eye any good at all. Headscissors submission applied, as Xavier looks to wear Chris Sabin down. Sabin somehow scores with a straightjacket German suplex…but Xavier just reverse heel kicks him in the face.

Inverted full nelson, then a heel trip takedown continues the punishment on Sabin. Xavier with a Mexican surfboard, but Sabin then escapes his powerbomb attempt and hits a front dropkick to the face. A trio of hard chops from Sabin, then a back body drop. Enziguri kick sends Xavier onto the apron. They battle on the turnbuckles over a superplex to the floor, but Sabin steps down into the ring. He press slams Xavier over the ropes, then drops Xavier on his head with a brainbuster for 2. Xavier NAILS the cobra clutch suplex…and Sabin taps to a bridging cobra clutch at 11:40. Sabin falls to 0-2 and joins Jimmy Rave and John Walters in elimination. Xavier and Matt Stryker’s match now decides the winner of Block A.

Rating – ** – OK match sums this up perfectly. Nothing was wrong with it, it was just devoid of any real excitement or emotion. For the people who watch WWE but haven’t seen much ROH…I’d rather watch this than a Mordecai match…

CM Punk vs Steve Corino
This is a little more complex than the usual ‘this guy hates this guy, this is why…no they’re gonna have a match’ stuff. Punk was spotted coming out of Corino’s locker room at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies, and apparently Corino tipped him off that Daniels took out Lucy (even though Corino has denied telling Punk that). That sparked off rumours that they were acting together in someway, and this speculation continued when Punk booked Corino to be Raven’s opponent at Glory By Honor II. However, at Glory By Honor II Punk cost Raven the match, and took a slap to the face from Corino as a result. Corino claimed he didn’t need, nor did he want Punk’s help. Corino aims to teach Punk some respect tonight…

Corino’s entrance today claims Corino follows the glorious tradition of a long line of wrestlers who have abused drugs and/or alcohol. Comic mentions include Sean Waltman (‘boo’ – NY), Jeff Hardy (‘BOOOOO’ – NY), Marty Janetty, Jim Duggan (‘HOOOOO’ – NY), the Original Doink The Clown, Scott Hall…Raven, Scotty The Body, Johnny Polo (all Raven’s personas), Jake Roberts…and all of the von Erich’s. All the while Corino and his ring announcer were swigging from a hip flask. Unsurprisingly, Punk is furious…so he has De’Angelis read a list of drugs he has never and will never take. Lots of drugs get pops hilariously. For those curious…Punk has never taken Viagra.

Punk hits an early armdrag, whilst doesn’t overly impress Corino. Punk backs Corino into a corner and teases a facewash, but doesn’t to make a point. Corino wants Punk to punch him, and as soon as he Punk tries, he takes Punk down in an armbar, then puts him in an abdominal stretch…and he’s made his point. They trade forearms, and Corino eventually forearms Punk to the floor. He follows him out and they continue to go at it. Corino sportingly slams Punk’s face into the rail. Inside the ring Corino gets 2 with a powerslam. Punk looks for the double underhook backbreaker, but Corino backslides him for another 2. Punk responds with a snapmare into a hard kick to the back.
Corino goes for a German suplex but Punk lands on his feet. Corino goes down in the corner and Punk hits a couple of running bootscrapes. Double underhook backbreaker connects this time. Corino gets put into a surfboard, then as he tries to escape he gets pulled down by the hair. Low blow from Punk, as he is busting out anything to win here. Hanging vertical suplex from Punk and he makes 20 seconds like Daniels earlier. Corino does likewise…but only manages 8 seconds. ‘He’s got a fat ass’ – Corino.

Backbreaker from Punk scores another 2. He chokes Corino in the corner, then drops him with a Russian legsweep. Corino is having problems with the ear Homicide injured, and Punk throws him to the outside. That hurts his chronically injured shoulder and neck as well. They trade right hands AND PUNK SLAPS CORINO IN THE EAR! Corino goes down like he’s been shot, and almost loses by KO. Punk to the top rope, but he MISSES a frog splash…CORINO WAS FAKING THE EAR INJURY! ‘Who’s the f*cking heel now?’ – Corino. Hashimoto DDT nailed, followed by the Ogawa STO. COLBYKAZE SCORES…but only for 2. Superplex connects, but Punk isn’t losing yet. Northern lights bomb hit as well, but still Punk won’t stay down. Mule kick from Punk…but he gets his head taken off with a lariat…ONE COUNT! Corino goes for the Old School Expulsion, but Punk escapes…SHINING WIZARD! It’s Corino’s turn to kick out. Punk looks for a second Shining Wizard, but walks straight into a superkick. Corino looks for another northern lights bomb…HAMMERLOCK DDT FROM PUNK! Punk puts Corino into a sleeper…broken up by a back suplex…and the bell rings at 20:32. 20 minute time limit has expired…and it’s a draw. Corino and Punk tease 5 more minutes, but eventually they walk because they’re both heel bastards.

Rating – **** – The match itself is probably a shade below 4*, especially with the non-finish, but this whole segment is fantastic, and one of those unforgettable parts of ROH history. From the one-upmanship on the ring announcing, to the attempts to out-heel each other during the match, everything had a point and it made this match seem like a huge deal. Corino’s fake on the ear injury is quality…

Jimmy Rave vs Colt Cabana vs Justin Credible vs John Walters
Double duty means a second chance to get his first win in ROH for John Walters. For Jimmy Rave this is a chance to redeem himself after his horrible showing in the FOH, where he jobbed to all 3 guys in his block and didn’t look capable of beating any of them. Cabana was amongst them so Rave could get some revenge on him for that. Justin is in the midst of the Carnage Crew/Special K war and is probably just out here to get his inevitable pop from the fans. Colt Cabana’s recent victories have elevated him all the way to #2 in the Top 5 Rankings, but he’ll need to carry on the streak here if he’s to retain the spot.

Rave and Walters start and they both look very crisp. Belly to belly throw from Rave before Cabana tags himself in to go at it with Walters. Cabana brings the comedy, but not quite as heavily as in recent shows, before Credible tags in from Walters. He knocks Colt down with a series of punches, then stomps him down in the corner. Justin goes crotch-first into the ringpost, then misses a front dropkick so Cabana tags out to Rave. Rolling verticals on Jimmy before he goes to the outside to chase Cabana. Rave takes a jawbreaker, but Colt pulls Justin to the floor to go at it with him. Rave looks for a baseball slide on them, but they move aside, slam Rave into the ring apron, then go back at it. Walters tries the same thing, Credible and Cabana move…and Walters wipes out Jimmy ha ha.
Justin and Colt try to fight in the ring but Walters comes off the top with a double missile dropkick. Satellite Crossface from Rave to Cabana…and Walters puts a submission on Credible as well. Walters and Rave meet in mid-air with cross bodies. Rave hits a running knee on Credible but Walters saves. FROG SPLASH CROSSBODY FROM CABANA! He wiped Rave out then, but walks right into a superkick from Credible. Back suplex on Walters gets Rave 2. Walters with a sunset flip on Cabana, who drags Rave over with a German. THAT’S INCREDIBLE ON RAVE! He looks for it on Walters as well, but Walters puts him in the sharpshooter. Credible taps at 07:16.

Rating – ** – Fun for what it was, and that’s a match designed to put Walters over. The only guy in there with any name value as a singles wrestler (sorry Justin) was Cabana and he wasn’t involved in the pin so isn’t hurt too much by it.

Homicide vs Samoa Joe – No Holds Barred Match
No ROH Title on the line, but Homicide challenged Joe to another match back at Glory By Honor II, and now he gets his wish. The issues between these two go way back. We know what the World Title means to Homicide, and we saw a graphic example of that in their wonderful Do Or Die match. That seemed to put this feud on ice for a while, but it’s set to reignite here. If Homicide can get a win he puts himself right in line for a title shot once again.

They’re intense to start, scoring early takedowns. Homicide goes for a quick STF but Joe scurries to the bottom rope. Joe drives a knee into Homicide’s ribcage then works over his arm. They slap each other, Joe plasters Homicide with forearms, so Cide thumbs him in the eye. Joe knocked down in the corner for Homicide to hit a running knee. More hard slaps, before Joe takes a big boot in the corner. Homicide comes off the top rope…INTO THE STO SLAM! Homicide to the outside…ELBOW SUICIDA FROM JOE! Homicide takes a seat which can mean only one thing. He’s prone for the OLE OLE KICK!
Back into the ring WITH A HEAD DROP GERMAN FROM JOE! Crossface applied by Joe but Cide makes the ropes. Homicide tosses Joe to the outside…TOPE CON HILO CONNECTS! Homicide grabs a chair and drives it into Joe’s face before bringing the World Champion back into the ring FOR A PILEDRIVER!

Smokes throws a table into the ring and Homicide sets it up in the corner. He tries to whip Joe into it…but Joe blocks that. Joe looks for a dragon suplex but Homicide blocks that. Joe messes up on a powerslam through the table…i.e. he misses the table. SO HE PICKS HOMICIDE UP AND POWERBOMBS HIM THROUGH IT INSTEAD! Powerbomb-2 count-STF, but Homicide escapes the STF. HEAD DROP DRAGON SUPLEX FOR HOMICIDE! Joe locks in the STF this time and Homicide makes the ropes…but since when did that mean Joe has to break the hold – it’s No Holds Barred. Joe takes Homicide to the top rope, probably for the Muscle Buster but Homicide blocks. Joe shoves him off then looks to dive…HE GETS CAUGHT WITH AN ACE CRUSHER!
Joe misses a lariat and gets taken over with a back suplex for 2. Homicide looks for another lariat but takes a hiptoss. E HONDA SLAPS…followed by an enzi kick. Homicide almost loses by KO like Corino earlier, but beats the count…only for Joe to knock him over again with a biiiiig knee to the face. They trade stiff forearms…before Homicide escapes the Island Driver. Homicide gets a couple of kicks to the knee, before flooring Joe with a Yakuza kick. STF applied but Joe’s still too strong. Smokes throws a hangman’s noose in the ring…HE’S USING THAT TO CHOKE JOE OUT…DANGEROOOUUUUUS! The ref stops the match and awards it to Homicide at 14:01

Rating – *** – Another violent match from these two, but it’s a few steps below the Do Or Die match, both in terms of intensity and emotional involvement. Lots of cool stuff, but it was things like Joe missing the powerslam through the table that just reminded you that this isn’t Do Or Die. Still, if you like neck bumping, if you like table spots and if you like crazy dives, you’re still getting your moneys worth from this one.

Homicide and Smokes pose with the ROH Title before dumping it on an unconscious Joe.

Special K are raving to celebrate their successful title defence…before Feinstein turns up and informs them Izzy and Dixie have to defend the Tag Titles against the Briscoes next week. He turned down a hug from Becky as well…the freak.

Jim Cornette is counting the days to his return next week in New Jersey. He’ll be with ROH Champion Samoa Joe and he’s coming to settle the score with The Prophecy…and make some money.

Tape Rating – *** – I’m all positive again, as that was a far better show…probably the best since Death Before Dishonor. It doesn’t have three 4* matches like Tradition Continues, and it doesn’t have Samoa Joe vs Chris Daniels like Glory By Honor II, but it’s so consistently good. Bar Special K vs Carnage Crew, everything reaches a decent standard. Certainly an underrated show IMO.

Top 3 Matches
3) BJ Whitmer vs Dan Maff (***)
2) CM Punk vs Steve Corino (****)
1) Christopher Daniels vs John Walters (****)

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