039 ROH Round Robin Challenge III 5/14/2004

ROH 39 – Round Robin Challenge III – 15th May 2004

Can ROH not have one show without something going wrong right now? First the scandal broke, then TNA pulled their talent. For this show, ROH were forced to change venue at the last second due to the National Guard Armory in Braintree being needed for military purposes. They go from the nice, air-conditioned new Boston home, to this building, a small, cramped, stiflingly hot venue elsewhere in the Boston area. That’s the bad news for the fans in attendance, and the wrestlers. However, for those of us watching on tape, there’s lots to look forward to. It’s the third Round Robin Challenge, and for the first time, it’ll be a tag team RRC. The Briscoes, The Prophecy and the new ROH Tag Champions, the Second City Saints all clash, and any time the champions are in action, the belts are on the line. Elsewhere, Spanky makes his much-anticipated return to ROH against Homicide, and Samoa Joe will challenge the man who turned off the lights during his match with Homicide in St. Paul. Tonight we’re in Lexington, MA. Your hosts are Chris Lovey, and for the first time, Mark Nulty.

Top 5 Rankings

1. Homicide
2. BJ Whitmer
3. Bryan Danielson
4. Matt Stryker
5. Nigel McGuiness

Allison Danger looks HOT, but she delivers the bad news that Chris Daniels may never be back in ROH. However, he has given Maff and Whitmer two tasks tonight. 1) leave with the belts…2) destroy the Second City Saints.

Shawn Price isn’t dead unfortunately, and he’s with Prince Nana. Nana plucks the Outcast Killaz from the ring crew to be in The Embassy. Loc and DeVito show up to ask Santiago and Tortuga if they crapped in their bags. Nana rambles on, and it turns out it’ll be The Embassy (including a mystery fourth recruit) against the Carnage Crew and Dunn & Marcos.

Colt Cabana is preparing for Good Times, Great Memories, but Punk shows up to shoot promos for the Round Robin Challenge. CM Punk protests Ricky Steamboat being a trouble-shooting referee for the RRC tonight. He refuses to defend the titles if Steamboat is the ref in any of his matches.

CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer – ROH Tag Title Round Robin Challenge Match

Explosive way to kick off the show is this. The Saints/Prophecy feud is still going, and as we saw from the start of the tape, the remaining members of The Prophecy are still irate that Punk, Cabana and Steel took out Chris Daniels back in January. Daniels has given them the mission of regaining the Tag Title and taking out the Saints tonight, so that’s what they aim to do here and now. For the Saints, this is their first title defence after winning the belts in the Main Event of the last show in Chicago.

Maff and Whitmer ambush the Saints in the aisle. Maff drills Cabana with a chair as Whitmer and Punk go at it in the ring. Punk rolls through a German suplex and NAILS a Shining Wizard. Maff in with Punk and the Prophecy’s assassin chokes Punk in the corner. He wants the cannonball but gets cut off by Cabana. Maff fights back on him, and the Saints try to take a walk. This goes into the crowd and Punk takes a belly to belly suplex on the floor. In the ring Cabana drops Maff with a missile dropkick. Cabana mounts Maff but gets taken over with a bulldog off the ropes from Whitmer.

BJ goes to the top but gets shoved off by Punk. Mule kick on Maff…then Allison Danger jumps Punk. That distracts him for long enough for Punk to get a SPEAR from Maff. The Saints try to walk out again, but once more they get cut off. They grab the belts and try to leave again…and get stopped by Ricky Steamboat. He sends them back to ringside AND MAFF HITS A TOPE! WRIST CLUTCH EXPLODER ON CABANA! The Prophecy regain the Tag straps at 07:05.

Rating – *** –
Much more fun than the Cabana/Whitmer match from Reborn Stage 1 last month. Not a classic, but it was a dynamic (rather than plodding) brawl, with several clever ideas worked in. The Saints continually trying to bail was comical, and it eventually led to their downfall, as it drew Steamboat out and that distraction cost them the match and their titles. Poignant moment for Dan Maff, as he’s been one of the staples of ROH, and he finally has a title to show for it.

Steamboat (supposedly a new authority figure in ROH) celebrates with The Prophecy, a group created way back in 2002 with the goal of bringing down ROH, who’d have thought you’d ever see that? Anyway, Punk and Cabana beat the crap out of him. Eventually they (sort of) put him through a table. It wasn’t clean, but Steamboat’s back was at an ‘UNNATURAL POSITION’ – Lovey.

The Prophecy are backstage, and Maff is speechless and in tears. It’s a beautiful moment.

Alex Shelley vs Matt Stryker

Shelley lost to Stryker at Battle Lines Are Drawn, but blamed the 3 rope break rule. Now he has challenged Stryker to a best of three series, except he’s only signed for two matches against the unibrowed 3* merchant. Does that mean he already sees himself as 0-1 down after losing in January, or just that he’ll be able to beat him in two? For Stryker, this is the start of the rebuilding process. Having failed to win the Pure Wrestling Title, and failed to win the World Title, he’s pretty much exhausted all the opportunities winning the Field Of Honor got him. Now he has to start at the bottom again.

Shelley scores the first takedown and forces Stryker to get to the ropes. Stryker certainly isn’t the most popular man in Lexington tonight. Octopus stretch on the mat from Stryker, but Shelley escapes that. Shelley literally climbs up Matt Stryker to work a stretch of his own, and Stryker has to get to the ropes there. Slingshot legdrop from Shelley gets 2. Rolling Germans from Stryker, because since he impersonates Kurt Angle anyway, he might as well throw in some Chris Benoit too. Full nelson with the legs from Shelley forces Stryker to struggle to the ropes again. Another German suplex, this time with a bridge, gets Stryker a 2. Inverted DDT from Shelley, but Stryker quickly puts him into a bow and arrow stretch.

Stepping enzi from Shelley, but Stryker stays on his feet – DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Shelley roles to the floor to buy himself some time, and Stryker has to retrieve him before covering. He goes for a second DVD which Shelley counters. STRYKERLOCK! Shelley gets to the ropes, then rolls Stryker up out of nowhere for a (poorly counted due to crap officiating) three count at 07:00.

Rating – ** –
Crap finish, but it was a fairly exciting match. They crammed a lot in, and Alex Shelley looked amazingly good. It lacked the technical solidity and uniqueness (thanks to the 3 rope break rule) of the first match, but was still a fun match. Stryker gets heavily criticised by live crowds these days, but this performance was enough to quieten the critics down and he produced an enjoyable little contest. AWFUL refereeing to count the three, but lets not dwell on it for too long. Does this mean Shelley is 1-0 now? Or is it 1-1?

Gary Michael Capetta has Jay and Mark Briscoe backstage. Jay Briscoe fires Jim Cornette for not showing up in Chicago, then promises they’ll win the belts back against The Prophecy. That was a good promo for Jay…

The Embassy vs Carnage Crew/Dunn & Marcos

The mystery fourth member of The Embassy is Josh Daniels. The other member, Xavier is out for six months with a shoulder injury by this point. Someone sh*t in the Crew’s bags after their big win back in March’s At Our Best Show. They’re on a rampage trying to find out who it is. They tried to beat an answer out of the Ring Crew Express in the Midwest, but no luck. They tried to ask the Outcast Killaz earlier but Prince Nana got in their way. We got this match as a result. Never mind all the heat surrounding the Carnage Crew, you know Dunn, Marcos, Diablo Santiago and Oman Tortuga are desperate to get at each other. They’ve been rivals on the ring crew for over 2 years.

Loc is so ripped he doesn’t need a shirt these days. DeVito gets excited at a sign for him in the crowd, although I’m more amused by the ‘F*CK TNA’ sign next to it. Loc and Tortuga start, and Oman hits an early armdrag, much to his excitement. Oman hits a facebuster, but ducks an enzi kick then scores with a kick of his own to the side of the head. DeVito tagged and the Crew hit a double flapjack. CROSSFACES rock Tortuga and he rolls out and tags to Santiago. Diablo demands DeVito tag in Marcos, and he gets his wish. Marcos gets a couple of quick roll ups, before he tags in Dunn for some DOUBLE AIR GUITAR! Nana in and he takes a couple of armdrags. Josh Daniels tagged, and he quickly asserts himself over Dunn. Dunn goes for a double axehandle, but Santiago gives him a bridging T-bone suplex for 2. Prince Nana is tagged back and he hits his fatty ass to the face in the corner.

Oman tagged, and he blocks the Gory Driver and hits a swinging facebuster. Marcos raids the ring but gets floored by Josh Daniels. The Carnage Crew in next, and the give Daniels the Carnageplex. Yakuza kick/Russian legsweep by the Killaz on Loc. Nana hits a swinging neckbreaker on DeVito, then a fat man senton. Santiago gets an enzi kick from Marcos, as Tortuga takes the Gory Driver from Dunn. Everyone is on the floor so the RCE decide it’s time for a STAGE DIVE! Gutbuster from Loc to Oman, followed by a top tope legdrop from DeVito. A slingshot into a DeVito lariat gets Loc the win at 08:02.

Rating – * –
At the peak of the Scramble Match lameness in the spring of 2003, I’d have probably given this match an extra star. However, fact is, times have changed, and so must matches like this. An exchanging of basic wrestling before hitting all the same old spots at the end just doesn’t cut it as a good match in 2004 I’m afraid. Plus that new Carnage Crew finisher is lame – get the Carnage Driver back now.

Right, it’s now time to find out who turned the lights off during the Samoa Joe/Homicide match from Reborn Stage 1. We also know that the mystery light-switch operator is the newest member of The Rottweilers. The Havana Pitbulls music plays, and Ricky Reyes walks out, flanked by Homicide and Julius Smokes, so you’d assume the Pitbulls are the newest members of The Rottweilers…big step up from Slugger and Grim Reefer. Rocky Romero is in Japan btw. GMC tries to get a word, but Homicide goes nuts at him and scares poor Capetta sh*tless. Basically, ROH won’t let Samoa Joe come out whilst Homicide is in the ring.

Homicide goes to the back, and Joe’s (new) music plays…and Joe comes out brawling with Homicide. A few members of the locker room (predictably the Carnage Crew are there) manage to drag Homicide to the back, and Reyes jumps Joe to begin the match.

Ricky Reyes vs Samoa Joe

Joe has to defend the World Title against Homicide again next week at Generation Next, as ROH officials desperately try and end this increasingly violent feud. As we now know, Reyes was the man responsible for turning out the lights which allowed Homicide to throw a fireball into Samoa Joe’s face, so naturally Joe will be a little pissed at him. Smokes remains at ringside, even though Homicide has been hauled to the back. The ROH Title isn’t on the line.

Reyes kicks Joe over then takes him into his leglock, but Joe quickly makes the ropes. More hard strikes from Ricky, before he grounds Joe on the mat for a knee strike. Forearm/slap war, and Reyes manages to back Joe into the corner. That means he gets the inevitable STO SLAM! Chop/kick combo into the knee drop for 2. They take turns to stiff each other with kicks…then Joe TAGS Reyes with a forearm. Ricky comes off the ropes AND GETS TAKES A PALM STRIKE TO THE FACE! That was so hard it sent him all the way to the floor – OLE OLE KICKS CONNECT!

Scoop slams from Joe, but Ricky tries to fight back. He takes a slap to the face, but puts Joe into a triangle choke. Jump swinging DDT from Reyes for 2. Reyes ducks a lariat, then dumps Joe with a back suplex. Rolling legsweep from Joe, then the powerbomb-2 count-STF. Reyes even finds time to flip off the crowd as he makes the ropes there. Joe goes for the Island Driver but Reyes turns it into a sleeper. Joe uses the ropes to break that – THEN DECAPITATES HIM WITH A LARIAT – FOR 2! Reyes goes for some kicks but gets BITCH-SLAPPED again! ISLAND DRIVER finishes at 09:53.

Rating – *** –
It’s been compared to the Joe/Low Ki match from Glory By Honor, and whilst a justifiable and deserved comparison, this is nowhere near that level. It is a HIGHLY watchable, back and forth stiff-fest, as Joe proves once again that he could get a good match out of a broomstick, because he’s just so violent. Good to see Reyes deliver a decent singles bout after the poor match he and Danny Daniels had at Reborn Stage 2.

CM Punk and Colt Cabana interrupt the ring announcer (who tonight is Bobby Cruise, the Zero-One USA (and Steve Corino’s personal announcer) ring announcer) and Punk says Cabana had his shoulders up before the three. He also blames Ricky Steamboat for their defeat, and calls him out. Obviously he doesn’t come out because he got put through a table earlier tonight. They’re also routing for the Briscoes to beat The Prophecy so they can win back the belts in the Main Event.

Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title Round Robin Challenge Match

Jay and Mark lost the belts against the Saints in Chicago last month, after over six months defending them against all comers. Right now they’re looking to win them back at the first opportunity, and ensure that Maff and Whitmer’s reign doesn’t make it much past an hour long. For Maff and Whitmer, winning the Tag Title marked just reward for endless hard work (particularly in Dan Maff’s case) and was an emotional moment. They’ll be fighting tooth and nail to ensure they win the match and walk out both the winners of the third Round Robin Challenge, and ROH Tag Team Champions. If Maff and Whitmer retain, the winners of the Saints/Briscoes match later gets a title shot at Generation next.

Whitmer and Mark start off, and Mark works the arm until he gets a thumb to the eye. Maff in and he clubs Mark over the back, bringing Jay in. FOREARM WAR! Whitmer and Mark back in…HEADBUTT WAR! Urinage suplex from Mark sends BJ to the floor – PESCADO SCORES! Jay hits some forearms on Maff THEN TAKES A HEAD DROP GERMAN SUPLEX! We get to watch Maff walk around in the ring rather than a fight on the floor, before Jay gets tossed back in, and his forehead is cut open. Maff attacks Jay’s head relentlessly, but Jay refuses to stay down. Mafia kick floors Maff, and Mark gets tagged in with a springboard forearm. Axe kick on BJ, then a spinning heel kick on Maff.

He goes for his double spring crossbody, but slips and crashes to the canvas. That softens up the chest, and Whitmer follows up with a gutbuster. Mark is tossed to the floor where Maff is waiting, and he front suplexes the younger Briscoe over the guardrail. Steel chair to the back is hardly going to do those ribs much good either. Maff tagged into the match and he drops a big senton for 2. Whitmer back in and he slaps on an abdominal stretch, then hiptosses him into the top rope. Maff tosses Mark around on the outside some more then tosses him back into a waiting BJ to cover. Running dropkick in the corner from BJ, then the cannonball from Maff. He scoops Mark onto his shoulders, then drops him into a gutbuster over Whitmer’s knee.

BJ takes Mark to the corner but somehow Briscoe escapes with a sunset flip powerbomb. Jay and Maff tagged in, and Jay scores knockdowns on both Prophecy members. FALCON ARROW on Maff gets 2. Maff stops the Spike Jay Driller with a lariat on Jay, but Mark breaks up the pin with a springboard double stomp. Mark takes a front suplex over the ropes, and Jay gets another German suplex. HEAD DROP HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON MARK! Whitmer inadvertently forearms Maff, and Mark rolls him up for three at 13:23. New champions again!

Rating – *** –
Really decent little match, with a lot of psychology crammed into it. This could’ve been an absolute corker had it been given more time, but given that Maff and Whitmer had already wrestled once, and the Briscoes had to wrestle again, this was probably sufficient. Cool booking, as now both Briscoes go into the main event with weaknesses (Jay was busted open, Mark has rib injuries). We’ll now have the exact same main event that we had at Reborn Stage 2…and that is not a bad thing.

INTERMISSION – GMC is with Spanky, wonderful facial expressions and all. He’s all humble and excited to be back and stuff…awwww. He wants to beat Homicide and get in contention for some title shots…and he has a crazy hat.

Shawn Price is ready to irritate The Prophecy. He barges into their locker room, and Allison Danger is pissed off. Maff looks distraught, but Allison promises The Prophecy will regain some dignity before the end of the night. SOD OFF SHAWN PRICE!

Josh Daniels vs Dixie

Originally Quiet Storm (of STORM…CRADLE…DRIVER fame) was scheduled to make his return to the company in this match, but for some reason he no-showed, which is disappointing. I have no idea which one of these guys he was scheduled to wrestle, although given that this is Daniels’ second match of the night, I assume he was going to be facing his old Scramble adversary, Dixie. As is, Daniels is the newest member of The Embassy, has Prince Nana with him, and will be looking to score his first win for the group. Dixie, meanwhile, is part of a Special K group that are in tatters after being decimated in Scramble Cage II. His K buddies look pretty down, and Angeldust has to be helped to ringside, his neck in a brace, still feeling the effects of the Carnage Driver off the cage, through two tables.

Angeldust is pretty comical outside, yelling that Josh Daniels broke his neck until Becky points out that it was the Carnage Crew. Dixie is unsurprisingly out-classed in the chain-wrestling sequences but does manage to get a knockdown with a reverse elbow. Ox Baker lumbers to the ring and rambles on about something, as Josh Daniels takes over on Dixie. He tells Dixie he ‘DID NOT RUN ME OUT OF THE STATE OF FLAWIDAAAAAH’…oh wait, he doesn’t say that. Dixie catches Daniels with an enzi kick out of nowhere for 2. SAVAGE ELBOW from Dixie gets another near fall. German suplex from Daniels drops Dixie on his head, as Nana and Ox Baker yell at each other on the outside – talk about your wacky cornermen. Fisherman’s buster gets Josh the win at 04:50.

Rating – DUD –
The match sucked, and Ox Baker’s random appearance really didn’t help it at all. It did provide some comic relief…I’d love to see an episode of Good Times, Great Memories with Nana and Baker…imagine the humour there!

Ox Baker insists he wants to help Special K some more after the match, but they look at him like the stupid old freak that he is and run off.

Roderick Strong vs Izzy vs Hydro vs Masada vs Trent Acid vs John Walters

Interesting Six Man Mayhem here, as only Hydro and Masada (who has a Vince McMahon quote before his entrance theme) have been in this environment before. Special K look no more happy this time out. Hydro insists on being serious, whilst Angeldust cowers in fear of Masada, a member of the Carnage Crew team that destroyed the K inside Scramble Cage II. Obviously both Izzy and Hydro will want revenge on him for that. Strong is making his first ROH main show appearance tonight, but he’s made a few previous appearances, most recently at Do Or Die II. Trent Acid kicks off a singles career in ROH tonight. He will no longer team with Johnny Kashmere as part of the Backseat Boyz, and will work solo from now on. Walters needs to get his career on track. He started 2003 as a red hot talent, and but has only beaten Chad Collyer and Justin Credible in all of 2004. This is a hometown match for him remember.

Walters and Hydro to start off. Walters blocks a hurricanrana and hooks on a deathlock. Standing switches, before Walters cartwheels out of the way of a Hydro nip-up. Acid and Masada next, and rumour has it Acid knows something about who sh*t in the Crew’s bags at the At Our Best show. Dropkick from Masada, followed up half a nip up to prove his agility. Acid comes back with a few strikes, before it’s time for Izzy and Strong to take the floor. Moonsault kick from Izzy, but he can’t get a powerbomb, and takes an Alabamaslam. POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER from Strong for 2. Acid launches Hydro to the floor, as Masada lifts Izzy to the top rope. Backbreaker/powerbomb combo from Masada and Strong on Izzy, before Acid takes Masada off his feet by diving off the top. Walters takes a superkick from Acid, before he dishes out a swinging DDT to Strong. Hydro drops him with a lariat, but he takes a full nelson slam from Masada. Strong and Walters trade German suplexes as Hydro DROPS MASADA ON HIS HEAD WITH A SPIDER SUPLEX FROM THE TOP!

Triple submission, but none of the three men in the holds tap. Izzy and Hydro team up on Walters, before he goes for a MutaLock on Hydro. MOONSAULT SPLASH from Izzy breaks that up. Back suplex from Hydro gets 2.

Izzy and Hydro are working as a team on Walters, but he finally fights back…WITH AN ELECTRIC CHAIR THROW ON HYDRO! He full nelson slams Izzy onto Hydro before tagging in Trent Acid. Blue Thunder Driver on Strong but Hydro comes in. INVERTED BRAINBUSTER ON HYDRO! Izzy ducks a Yakuza kick THEN HITS A SPRINGBOARD 360 TO THE FLOOR! Acid lifts Izzy onto his shoulders AND WALTERS GIVES HIM THE DOUBLE KNEE BACKBREAKER OFF ACID’S SHOULDERS! SPRINGBOARD DDT FROM HYDRO TO WALTERS! FISHERMAN’S CRADLEBREAKER FROM MASADA TO HYDRO! REVERSE RANA FROM IZZY TAKES ACID DOWN! Walters slingshots Izzy to the floor but gets a full nelson backbreaker from Strong. YAKUZA KICK ON WALTERS but Masada saves before the three. Acid looks for a Yakuza kick on him but gets caught with a powerbomb. ACID REVERSE SUPLEXES MASADA TO THE FLOOR! Hydro lifts Walters to the top rope and is joined by Izzy. Walters drops Hydro to the floor – SUPER HURRICANE DDT ON IZZY! Walters gets the popular hometown win at 12:31.

Rating – *** –
The best straight spot-fest ROH has ever done. It was just so different and so unique compared to your usual Scramble match stuff. Everyone had something to prove, and they really clicked. Everything was clean, from Strong’s high-impact backbreakers to Izzy’s flying around the ring. Walters proved he can adapt to this type of match as well – he really is such a talent. Trent Acid and Masada looked great, and the two Special K guys more than held their end of the deal. Hopefully this new side of Special K we’re seeing will mean we get to see more serious wrestling from those two, they were both good in this.

Spanky vs Homicide

Deafening ‘welcome back’ chants for Spanky, as this is the first time we’ve seen him in ROH since Glory By Honor. Such a lot has changed for both the company and Spanky in that time. He went to the WWE, almost made it big, but eventually fell to the way-side, whilst ROH went from small-time indy to independent powerhouse, drawing damn near 2000 fans back in March, promoting joint events with All Japan Pro-Wrestling and knocking out stellar shows for fun. My respect and admiration goes to Spanky, as he wasn’t content to sit around for an easy payday in the WWE, he asked for his release so he could get the chance to enjoy his wrestling and get some meaningful matches, primarily back in Japan, but also on the US indy scene as well. Homicide, meanwhile, has been on a rampage ever since he felt he’d won the World Title in St. Paul at Reborn Stage 1. He went crazy then, throwing a fireball at Joe, and looked equally unbalanced the next night as he managed a fantastic victory (and an MOTYC) over Spanky’s former TWA colleague, American Dragon. Can he polish off another TWA-alumnus tonight, just a week ahead of his rematch with Joe for the title? Homicide has added a cool effect from the Kill Bill soundtrack to the start of his entrance theme.

Homicide again looks more preoccupied with the fans than with his opponent, in similar fashion to Reborn Stage 2. Armdrags exchanged, and Spanky is the first to go for the armbar. Spanky stretches out the hand a little, perhaps testing the injuries Bryan Danielson did to Cide’s hand at Stage 2? Dropkick sends Homicide to the floor, and he starts throwing chairs. Spanky responds by throwing a chair into his face ha ha. Spanky goes to the outside and he BACK DROPS Homicide on the floor. Crossbody from Spanky, then a roll up for 2. He almost pins him again with a backslide. Cide finally gets some offence in with a knee drop to neck from the second rope. A couple of neckbreakers follow that up. Hamerlock stretch from Homicide, and he makes Spanky flip the fans off to add some insult to injury.

Belly to belly throw from Homicide gets 2. Spanky attempts a fightback, but takes a T-bone suplex. PILEDRIVER continues the assault on the neck. Cide to the top rope, but he gets caught by Spanky. A dropkick sends Homicide to the floor. SPANKY OFF THE TOP WITH A PLANCHA!

On the floor, Homicide looks to use a chair, but the ref grabs it – SLICED BREAD #2 ON THE FLOOR! Homicide gets shoved back into the ring, and Spanky re-enters with a missile dropkick. TIGER DRIVER FROM HOMICIDE…FOR 2! Flatliner from Spanky stops Homicide dead in his tracks. Both men battle on the top, and Homicide gets the DOUBLE UNDERHOOK SUPERPLEX! Homicide goes back upstairs, and he MISSES a diving headbutt. Homicide goes for a sleeper but gets a jawbreaker. YAKUZA KICK FROM HOMICIDE…SUPERKICK FROM SPANKY!

Homicide blocks a Sliced Bread #2 attempt, but then Spanky escapes his Cop Killa. Spanky to the top again, but Smokes tries to distract him. No dice there…SAVAGE ELBOW…ONLY GETS 2! SLICED BREAD #2 SCORES…BUT SMOKES PULLS THE REF OUT OF THE RING! Smokes argues with the ref, and he gets a SLINGSHOT KICK from Spanky. He looks to go upstairs again – SUPER ACE CRUSHER FROM HOMICIDE! LARIAT TO THE INJURED NECK! Homicide wins it in 16:13.

Rating – **** –
Not the classic that Danielson/Homicide was, but a fantastically worked match. The early work on the neck made sense, as Homicide uses the STF and the Cop Killa to finish, however, just like the Danielson match, he used a lariat to capitalise on a neck injury for the win. Spanky played the plucky underdog perfectly (would you expect anything less? He really could’ve been the next Shawn Michaels if Vince had used him right), hitting lots of quick offence early, but having to battle back against lots of high impact stuff later in the match. I didn’t like the Smokes interference either. I appreciate it’s use in getting Homicide over as a heel, so can’t exactly criticise it, but it still means I didn’t like how it affected the match. Incidentally, Spanky hasn’t been back to ROH since this appearance.

Homicide takes the mic after the match and calls out Samoa Joe. Joe obliges and they go at it again…until Reyes and Smokes jump Joe from behind. The locker room tries to empty again, but Homicide threatens them with a razor blade. Cide and Reyes take it in turns to give the World Champion piledrivers as Smokes babbles away on the stick. ‘Ichiban…MOTHERF*CKER’ – Homicide. Joe eventually has to be helped out by jabronis.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs CM Punk/Colt Cabana – ROH Tag Title Round Robin Challenge Match

So once again, we main event with this. Last show, they produced a wonderful, emotional match, as the Saints returned home to Chicago and tasted ROH gold for the first time. They lost the belts at the start of tonight’s show though, and no go into this match in the exact same position they entered their match with the Briscoes at Reborn Stage 2 – as challengers. Turnaround this time is, the Briscoes will be the babyfaces tonight. Punk and Cabana had the Chi-Town fans behind them, but you sense the Boston fans may be a little less supportive. Remember both Briscoes are injured coming into this – Jay having been busted open, and Mark with injured ribs after Maff and Whitmer worked them over in their match. Punk’s entrance gets more awesome with every show…with fans hammering on the guardrails and singing along…it ROCKS. Best entrance in wrestling today bar-none.

Punk and Jay start off, as Jay looks to protect Mark’s ribs. They run some fun little exchanges before Mark tags in. Punk thumbs him in the eye then brings Colt in. He gets a hiptoss then a back body drop. He splashes Cabana in the corner, which of course, hurt his own ribs. Mark works a headscissors, which Cabana finally counters into a headlock. Jay back, and the Briscoes hit a leg drop/sidewalk slam combination for 2. Punk tagged back to trade holds with Jay Briscoe again. Mark hits a springboard clothesline (note a clothesline, not his usual springboard dropkick due to his ribs), and tags out almost right afterwards, feeling the ribs. Cabana comes back in and works a headlock, which provokes Mark to tag back in. Mark gets caught with a leapfrog – GUTBUSTER SCORES! The ribs have been isolated!

Punk tagged and he slingshot hilo’s in over the ribs. Stalling vertical suplex from Punk continues the punishment to Mark’s ribs. DOUBLE HOTSHOT OVER THE TOP ROPE! Cabana lures Jay into the ring so he can switch to Punk without a tag. Punk drives shoulders to the ribs in the corner then tags back to Cabana who just kicks at the gut.

Mark tries to roll to a tag, but gets cut off, and put in a horizontal bow and arrow stretch. Jay finally has to break that hold with a stomp to the back. The Saints switch again whilst the ref admonishes Jay, as they are looking SO polished as a team right now. All this is being fantastically analysed by the commentators – great job in this match. Cabana pulls Jay off the apron to stop Mark making a tag. Mark tries to fight back, but takes a reverse elbow TO THE RIBS (psychologaaaaah!) before Colt tags Punk in – ABDOMINAL STRETCH! Classic cheatery ensues so Cabana can pull back on Punk to add extra leverage with the ref distracted. Mark somehow manages to escape with a hiptoss, but he again gets cut off before he can tag. He low bridges Punk and sends him to the floor – SPRINGBOARD DROPKICK ON CABANA!

That had to hurt but he finally makes the tag, and Jay unloads on Colt. JAY SUICIDE DIVES OVER THE TOP ROPE ONTO PUNK! Mark is still going and he hits an axe kick. He breaks out the roll up he used to pin Dan Maff earlier for 2. DOUBLE BOOT IN THE CORNER from the Briscoes! Colt gets lifted onto Jay’s shoulders, but Punk crotches Mark to prevent the Springboard Doomsday Device. Jay rolls Cabana up – SHINING WIZARD FROM PUNK BREAKS IT! Jay somehow sends Colt to the floor and hits a Yakuza kick on Punk for 2. Tiger suplex from Punk…with a bridge…MARK MAKES THE SAVE AND SACRIFICES HIMSELF WITH A SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Despite his injured ribs he still covers, and Cabana drags the ref out to save the match. Cabana kicks Jay to the floor…and Mark blocks the Pepsi Plunge. He looks for the springboard crossbody on Cabana – COUNTERED WITH A GUTBUSTER! FROG SPLASH NAILED! Cabana wins back the Tag titles at 19:14.

Rating – ****1/2 –
That right there, folks, was the best tag match in ROH. Forget the Briscoes/Amazing Phenom series…forget the Briscoes/Samoa Joe series…this was ALL of those and a bag of chips. What an absolute barnburner of a main event. Mark Briscoe should be proud because this is HIS match. His selling of the ribs is so fantastic, it literally sucks your attention into the match and doesn’t let you go. Punk and Cabana’s tag work is as slick as anything you’ll ever see…Jay Briscoe is always great. The Chicago match was great, but memorable more for the crowd reaction than the wrestling, not so this time. This stole this show, and takes third place in the MOTY tables thus far (behind Homicide/Danielson on 24/04 and Briscoe/Joe on 13/03). Truly a classic in every sense of the word…

Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer jump the Saints after the match, as the Saints/Prophecy feud continues. They’ll meet next week at Generation Next with the belts on the line…and now the Briscoes are involved in the brawl as well. ASAI MOONSAULT FROM CABANA…and as Punk prepares for a tope…RICKY STEAMBOAT TURNS UP! He ducks a cheap shot attempt from Punk – ARMDRAGS! For some reason Ricky goes upstairs…FLYING CROSSBODYYYYYYYYYY!! THE CROWD GOES APESH*T…

Alex Shelley encourages Matt Stryker to slit his own wrists ha ha. He says he’ll beat him again…and he says he has a big surprise for everyone next week at Generation Next. “Bang” – Shelley…campest…Catchprase…EVER! He walks out with Rod Strong – odd huh? ;-)

Allison Danger is triumphant because The Prophecy got the last laugh at the end of the night. Whitmer is ready for their rematch with the Saints for the Tag Title…Maff agrees and says he’s there in The Prophecy’s hour of need.

Tape Rating – *** –
Great show, with lots of solid action, leading to three tremendous bouts to close out. The Six Man Mayhem blew me away, Homicide/Spanky was predictably good, and the Briscoes/Saints match takes it’s place as the best tag match in ROH…ever. Can’t ask more than that. I’m not sure I agree with the three title changes in one night, particularly after all the work the Briscoes did in stabilising the tag team division over the last six months. However, it did make the point that the three teams are all even, and any one of them can beat any other one of them at any give time. I’ve heard it suggested that those looking to catch up on recent ROH shows could probably skip this one. I disagree. In fairness, it doesn’t do a lot to advance the storylines that would go on to mean something over the summer…but it’s SUCH a good show, with the Six Man Mayhem and the Briscoes/Saints match being must-see…don’t skip this folks!

Top 3 Matches

3) John Walters vs Izzy vs Hydro vs Trent Acid vs Masada vs Roderick Strong (***)

2) Homicide vs Spanky (****)

1) CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****1/2)

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