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041 ROH World Title Classic 6/12/2004

ROH 41 – World Title Classic – 12th June 2004

Right, so it’s been a couple of weeks, and yesterday the two most recent shows popped through my letterbox. I’ve been looking forward to this, and the title of the show should explain why. Samoa Joe and CM Punk finally meet in an ROH Title match, and you can tell by that same title, how good it was. However, we don’t get a world title classic, without ROH’s now customary pre-show crisis. We’ve seen the Feinstein scandal break. We’ve seen TNA pull their talent. We’ve seen them booted out of buildings in Boston and Philadelphia. Before this show, ROH was rocked by the bombshell news that Rob Feinstein wasn’t gone from the company, far from it, he was even still taking company money, courtesy of his friend Doug Gentry (camera man, and Ray Murrow on commentary). Too much for existing ROH officials to take, ROH officially split from RFVideo and became a company in it’s own right. Cary Silkin became sole owner, with Gabe Sapolsky still in position as the promotions booker. We’re in Dayton, OH for the first time since Wrath Of The Racket. Chris Lovey, meanwhile, reveals that he’s been lying to us about his true identity all along (this is hilarious stuff, remember, Lovey is Gabe)…and tonight he’s going under his real name at last. Therefore, our hosts for the show are Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty, making his third appearance as colour analyst.

No Top 5 anymore, since ROH (in the spirit of relaunching themselves as a new company) have done away with them and will be debuting a new way of deciding contenders to the ROH titles soon. Incidentally, a new Code of Honor will soon be implemented as well.

Colt Cabana (in a ‘Kamala Gangbang’ t-shirt) welcomes us, and Ace Steel joins him, much like he did last time ROH was in Dayton. But they’re more interested in the last time they were in Ohio, when they had even more fun (not at Denny’s after the show either – they MEANT when they took Chris Daniels out of ROH). Tonight they want to finish the job and take out Maff and Whitmer in the Ultimate Endurance match tonight. They come across Les Thatcher, Jeff Gorman and a couple of referees and mistake them for Generation Next…priceless. Austin Aries (Les Thatcher) tries to talk back but Cabana and Ace walk off. They run across Jimmy Rave, and he’s down in the dumps because if he loses tonight, he’s out of ROH. They tell him they have good news – that they saved a ton of money on their insurance. This is honestly the best GTGM ever!

New & Improved Carnage Crew vs Dunn & Marcos

The New Crew are Danny Daniels and Masada, after they were revealed as the guys that crapped in the Carnage Crew’s bags (surely meaning Masada took a sh*t in his own bag – FREAK) way back at the At Our Best Rexplex show. Anyway, thanks to Trent Acid they sneaked a win over the Carnage Crew at Generation Next, and DeVito is out injured for all of June. So until he is back, they have time to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash by taking on the Ring Crew Express. Dunn & Marcos took an ass kicking back at Reborn Stage 1 because Daniels and Masada wouldn’t just come forward and confess to being the phantom sh*tters, so they’ll probably want some revenge.

They cheap shot out of the handshakes by the New Crew because they’re dastardly heels. Gutbuster on Marcos, before both RCE members get near falls with roll ups. Daniels taken down with boots, then Masada is forced to play AIR GUITAR! Baseball slide on Masada, but he catches Dunn as he looks for a pescado and SWINGS him into the guardrail. Daniels and Marcos battle on the top rope, but Masada takes Marcos onto his shoulders – DOOMSDAY BULLDOG by the New Crew! We get some tag normalcy as Masada is left in the ring with Marcos, and he gets 2 with a reverse elbow.

Marcos tries to get some momentum on both guys, but Daniels drops him with the swinging gutbuster, and Masada takes Marcos right into a cradle full nelson slam. Masada hangs Marcos over the ropes, which leaves him prone for a baseball slide from Daniels. Marcos takes a POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLE! Daniels runs in, and Marcos somehow manages to headscissors Daniels into the turnbuckle. Tag to Dunn and he hits a missile dropkick on Masada. Blue Thunder Driver on Daniels. Thumb to the eye on Masada, but he comes back with some big chops. Northern lights into the turnbuckles, but Marcos drops him with a baseball kick to the knee. Assisted Sliced Bread #2 blocked…PILEDRIVER from Daniels. FISHERMANS CRADLEBREAKER from Masada. Double inverted Cradlebreaker on Marcos, and the New Crew take the win at 06:29.

Rating – * –
Some fun, but it was pretty much a squash, which is disappointing since I think Dunn & Marcos are above that now. I still don’t think Danny Daniels is particularly great, but Masada impresses me more every time he steps into the ring. He’s shone in the last few months (and it’s that kind of form which would get him noticed and get him a spot on a Japanese tour in the upcoming months). Didn’t much like the New Crew’s finisher either. Masada’s Fishermans Cradlebreaker looks far more devastating.

Jobbers are in the ring for a Do Or Die Tag Match…but there’ll be none of that, as Homicide comes to the ring. He’s not wrestling tonight because of a hand injury…and a jobber with a kick ass afro gets in Homicide’s face. Bad idea…and Homicide kicks all their asses. BIG LARIAT on one guy, and afro jobber takes a super ace crusher. He beats another jobber with his own mask, then decides it’s time to FORK HIM! Grotesque forking footage ensues…not a patch on the Samoa Joe forking though. EXPLODER on a valet…and the final jobber backs off. A referee takes a pasting too…and Homicide leaves by vowing to do something disrespectful. That was fun…I like heel Homicide.

Matt Sydal vs Jimmy Jacobs vs Loc vs Delirious vs Rainman vs Caprice Coleman

Six Man Mayhem is here again, but it’ll have to go a long way to top the greatness of the Round Robin Challenge 3 6MM. Sydal and Delirious are back after impressing at the Reborn weekend…meanwhile it’s the first time we’ve seen Coleman (who was in the first ever 6MM) and Rainman since January. Jimmy Jacobs is coming off a string of losses, whilst Loc is going solo tonight because DeVito is injured.

Jacobs and Delirious start, so it’s oddities on either side of the ring. Delirious nicely rolls Jacobs into a bridging pin for 2. His character is great, but he chain wrestles really well – I like Delirious. Jacobs decides to HUSS…so Delirious barks at him. Neckbreaker from Jacobs, before he trampolines on Delirious’ chest. Coleman in and it’s time for his boxing jabs in the corner. SPINNING axe kick drops Jacobs, leaving him prone for a somersault senton. STRAIGHT INTO AN ASAI MOONSAULT but Jacobs gets the knees up. Rainman enters – RYDIEN BOMB/EDGE-O-MATIC COMBO on Jacobs. Sydal missile dropkicks both the Wildside boys, then hits a tilta-whirl ace crusher on Rainman. Asai corkscrew senton gets 2 before Loc comes in. HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX ON DELIRIOUS! Coleman back suplexes Loc, who in turn suplexes Sydal. Cobra clutch Russian legsweep from Coleman. Delirious rolls Caprice into a double underhook facelock, but that gets broken by Rainman. Cobra clutch atomic drop…before Sydal grabs Rainman. Jacobs drags Sydal into a camel clutch, and that’s broken by Loc.

Inverted cloverleaf from Loc, broken by Coleman. Everyone hits kicks, ending with Jacobs almost big booting Sydal out of his boots. To the floor…SOMERSAULT SENTON BY DELIRIOUS! Caprice Coleman slides in meaning it’s time for the ULTRA HIGH SPRINGBOARD PLANCHAAAAAAA! Sydal and Rainman criss-cross the ring TO FLY OVER OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE RING! Guys got wiped out either side there…before Jacobs and Rainman re-enter the ring. Side Effect by Rainman BUT SYDAL BREAKS THE PIN WITH A SHOOTING STAR PRESS! HEAD DROP MOVE OF DEATH BY DELIRIOUS ON SYDAL! THUNDERFIRE PILEDRIVER FROM COLEMAN! Loc saves there and hits the swinging bulldog for 2. Jacobs saves and goes for the Contra Code. Loc blocks and puts him on the top rope. He joins him up there…SUPER CONTRA CODE! Jacobs takes the win at 09:51.

Rating – *** –
Another cool spot match, as the Six Man Mayhem proves itself again to be a far better spotfest than the Scramble Match ever was (mostly because they’ve generally included far better wrestlers)…but I think they’re over doing it somewhat having them on every show. I’d give the 6MM match a rest for a few shows now, so people don’t get bored of them. It really peaked at RRC3 IMO. However, for what this was, it was great. Caprice Coleman and Delirious shone as the stars of this match for me, and it was nice to see Jacobs get a win, seeing as he’s been jobbing a lot recently. Sydal looked good again, whilst Loc and Rainman were a little under-utilised. Coleman’s springboard plancha is one of my favourite dives in wrestling right now.

Alex Shelley (along with the other three members of Generation Next) and Matt Stryker head out for the next match in their Best of 3 series. Shelley decides that rather than wrestle him again, he’d rather Stryker just pissed off. Strong, Aries and Evans jump him, before Shelley busts him open with a chain. John Walters and Jimmy Rave (both participants in the epic 8 Man Tag at Generation Next) make the save, and grab Jack Evans. Walters takes him AND POWERBOMBS HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR…SICK SICK SICK BUMP! Stryker has to be helped out, but decides to come back to the ring and help out Walters and Rave as the remaining three GeNext members try to take them on 3-on-2.

Generation Next vs John Walters/Jimmy Rave/Matt Stryker

Shelley, Aries and Strong are obviously representing here, since Evans just got dropped on his head on the wooden floor. GeNext continue to defy the booking sheet and call their own shots, and we get this match as a result of them trying to take spots, just like we did in Philadelphia at Generation Next. Both Walters and Rave were in that match, Walters finally tapping out to Shelley’s Border City Stretch after having his neck worked on throughout the match (and taking a Goku Raku piledriver from Strong earlier in the show). Rave, meanwhile, has more to worry about. If he gets pinned tonight he is out of a job in ROH, meaning he’s fighting for his career just like he was scheduled to do back on May 22nd. Stryker is attempting to rebuild his ROH career after losing his ROH Title match at Reborn Stage 2. Bombing in the Field Of Honor finals really was unfortunate for him.

Stryker takes over with right hands on all three GeNext members, before Walters and Rave join him on offence. Shelley and Strong bail, and Stryker press slams Aries out onto both of them. He’s bleeding a treat thanks to that chain assault as well. Walters and Shelley start us out, and Shelley traps him an early Devil Lock, which Walters makes the ropes to break. Rod Strong tags in, and Walters (irritatingly called ‘Walter’ by Nulty, who’s constant inability to get people’s names right is starting to irk me) manages a little better against him, before tagging Rave in. Rave holds his own in some wrestling exchanges, before tagging in Stryker. He gets a 2 with chops and a kick to the spine. Walters tagged back and he drops Strong with a LEG STUNNER! Rave tags in, and he actually looks aggressive, chopping away and going right after Strong’s knee. Half crab applied, and Strong has to battle to the ropes. Standing figure 4 from Walters, before he brings Stryker, who goes for the Strykerlock out of a rolling leglock but no dice. Dragon screw from Stryker, and he quickly tags out. Rave tries to stop Rod tagging, but he gets thrown to the mat by his hair, and Strong tags Aries in. Rave tries a hurricanrana, but gets blocked. The ref has his hands full with Walters and Stryker, as all three GeNext members hit the ring for a BACKBREAKER/NECKBREAKER BOMB ON JIMMY RAVE!

Aries gives Rave a backbreaker out of a hair pull, and tags Alex Shelley in. Rave tries to mount some offence, but gets taken down with a back suplex. Strong tagged in, and when your back is being worked over, he’s the last man you want in. Aries and Shelley pepper Rave back with high double knees, as Strong baits Walters and Stryker in to distract the ref. SNAP back suplex from Aries gets 2. Walters again distracts the referee, as Alex Stryker just surfs on Jimmy Rave’s back. Goku Raku stretch from Shelley, as Rave’s back is taking a royal working over here. Strong in, and he hits a hiptoss backbreaker. Shelley in, and he slingshots Rave into a Mafia kick from Strong, then a slingshot hilo from Aries. Lion Tamer on Rave, which Walters breaks. Front facelock from Strong, but Rave somehow manages to make a tag. Shelley and Aries had the referee distracted, meaning the tag wasn’t seen, and isn’t allowed. Rave again makes a tag, but again the referee is distracted…and STILL Rave is fighting back. Enzi misses Aries but gets Strong. STO backbreaker, into an STO drops Aries. CRAPPY WIZARD ON SHELLEY! Rave tags Stryker in at the third time of asking. Powerslam nearly puts it away. Rolling Germans on Shelley…but Strong doesn’t let him do it. DOUBLE KNEE BACKBREAKER FROM WALTERS. FLYING RANA FROM RAVE! ROPE RUN BELLY TO BELLY BY STRYKER ON ARIES! CAPTURE STUNNER BY WALTERS ON SHELLEY! On the floor Shelley throws Walters into the guardrail…whilst in the ring Rave has the Satellite Crossface on Strong. 450 SPLASH FROM ARIES! RINGS OF SATURN! Rave taps and is out of ROH at 16:48.

Rating – **** –
Wonderful exhibition of how to work a tag match, with lots of sound psychology, building to a dramatic finish. I was a little disappointed that all the early work on Strong’s knee seemed to be forgotten, although he only hit one backbreaker all match – excellent way to sell the injuries, by hitting none of his trademark offence. This, for me, was Rave’s best ever performance in ROH, and you’re a fool if you think he’ll never be back and we’ll see this stipulation stuck to. He took all the work on the back like a trooper and for once conveyed emotion into his performance, making him much less like a wet dishcloth in there. The GeNext guys are a talented bunch, and their tag work as a heel unit is wonderful to watch.

Rave and Stryker get a nice ovation after this match…what a difference not being in Philly or Boston makes.

INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak is with CM Punk, who is deep in focus before his World Title match tonight. He says he wins the big matches – winning feuds with Colt Cabana, Raven, Chris Daniels, and beating the Briscoes twice for the Tag straps. He does include AJ Styles in his list of big match wins…which is odd since he never beat AJ in ROH (he, in fact, lost three separate high profile matches against him). Joe gets put over, and Punk says this is the biggest match of his life. Not Punk’s best promo ever, as he rambles a little, repeats himself and stumbles over his words. But hey, you’re preparing for a huge match, you can afford to screw up your promo’s a little.

Les Thatcher is with Samoa Joe, and Les starts with the news that ROH will be reinstating the Pure Title in July. Joe laughs that news off as irrelevant, then does a much better job in cutting a pre-match promo. He points out all the people who claimed they were gonna beat him and failed. Apparently New Japan want to see if one of their guys can take the belt from Joe. ‘I am pro wrestling, and I can’t be beat’ – Joe.

Chad Collyer vs Hydro vs Ray Gordy vs Superstar Steve

Collyer is back for the first time since acting like a loon in Chicago at Reborn Stage 2, when he declared that he’d negotiated with ROH officials to be given the ROH Title should Matt Stryker beat Joe for it. This is probably the biggest match of Hydro’s ROH career, as he gets a chance to wrestle solo in a high profile singles match for the first time. Ray Gordy (son of legendary Terry Gordy) and Superstar Steve are debuting tonight. You may have caught Gordy in NWA-Wildside, whilst Steve is frequently over in Japan…but I can’t remember for the life of me whether it’s NOAH or AJPW he regularly wrestles for. Anyway, this match bombed live, with Gordy and Steve being particularly negatively received, meaning we don’t get to see an awful lot of it. Winner advances to the tournament to crown the new Pure Wrestling Champion on July 17th at the Rexplex in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

JIP with Hydro and Collyer beating on Gordy in the ropes. Gordy takes Collyer down with a clothesline. HEAD DROP TIGER SUPLEX ON HYDRO…FOR 2. Gordy takes Hydro to the top rope, but Hydro rolls through a German suplex attempt. Inverted cobra clutch on Collyer…and he taps at 01:09 shown.

Rating – N/A – It apparently sucked live, but it’s impossible to judge it from this. Hell, we didn’t see Superstar Steve do anything. It’s worth its spot on the tape for the brutal Tiger suplex on Hydro though. It’s a shame because this is the biggest win of Hydro’s career and it got practically clipped off. Still, if it sucked, then hell yeah, save room for the awesomeness of what’s to come. It’s now late August and Gordy, Steve have both failed to make an appearance since this incidentally.

Generation Next again ask Hydro to join them after he makes it to the back. Hydro says he’s concentrating on the Pure Wrestling division…and irrelevant of the fact that his response doesn’t answer the question at all, and defying his injured back, Jack Evans break dances. ‘Even injured…you still got served BOY’ – Evans. I’ll admit that piece of wiggenomics made me laugh.

Samoa Joe vs CM Punk – ROH World Title Match

This is the match you bought this tape to see. There’s no real history in terms of a feud between them, although they did meet in a non-title match (which Joe won) last August at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies. They were both legitimately injured for that…and aside from Joe being pretty banged up after his ever lengthening title reign, they’re both healthier than they were then. They’re two of ROH’s marquee players, and Punk is one of the few big players that Joe hasn’t already beaten for the belt. The title of the show promises a classic, can they deliver? Before the match Les Thatcher comes out and presents Samoa Joe with the new ROH World Title belt…it’s not as ugly as some claim, but it’s not a patch on the original.

Crowd is split at the outset, and they test each other with a string of early lock ups. To the mat and neither man can get an advantage there either. Joe sets Punk up for some crossfaces, but opts not to deliver them – psychological warfare folks. Punk goes to a headlock and looks to slow the pace right down. Chops from Joe, driving Punk into the corner. Punk finally ducks a chop…and takes Joe down again with another headlock. Punk goes for a shoulder block…but Joe doesn’t move. He tries a second time, and still no movement from the champion. Right hand from Punk, and this time his shoulder tackle scores. Joe goes for a Boston crab and gets rolled up for 2. Punk avoids Joe’s trademark front kick out of a lightening fast exchange…and it’s a stand off. Joe tries to deliver a series of kicks and slaps, but Punk covers up and blocks them all. Joe overpowers Punk in a Greco-Roman knucklelock, which Punk finally has to break with a kick to the arm. Joe headbutts Punk down in the corner, then gives him some bootscrapes. He sets up for the running bootscrape, and Punk bails.

Back in the ring, Joe manages to strike through Punk’s blocking, and beats him down in the corner. Joe goes for the chop/kick combo…but Punk blocks and takes him back into a headlock. Punk delivers a series of crossfaces, and now it’s Joe that has to take a break on the floor. He gets in the face of a CM Punk fan…then scares the sh*t out of him threatening to hit him. HA HA. Punk goes out there to offer his fan a handshake…THEN HE FAKES HIM OUT TOO! Wow that guy must feel like such a fool right now. Hilarious little interlude there.

Punk tries to go back to the headlock, but Joe escapes. This time he hits the chop/kick combo…so this time Punk avoids the knee drop that always follows that combo. Punk goes to a chinlock…but Joe escapes. Chop/kick combo scores again. Once more Punk tries to roll out of the knee drop – Joe pauses THEN drops the knee! Stalling vertical suplex (20 count) follows that. We’re almost twenty minutes deep here, and Bower points out Joe’s matches are normally over by now. Thumb to the eye from Punk, before he goes back to the headlock once again. Joe tries to escape with a back suplex, but Punk clings on to the headlock. Punk drags Joe to the floor where Joe batters him with forearms and headbutts. Punk thrown into the guardrail, and he grasps his knee after that. Somehow Punk still gets up and sends Joe into the rails. He sets up for an Ole Ole Kick of his own, but runs away when Joe rises to his feet.

Back in the ring Joe UNLOADS on Punk with slaps, knee strikes, then a huge ass uppercut palm strike. Punk gets knocked to the floor again, which leaves him in prime position for the ELBOW SUICIDA! Punk blocks an Ole Ole Kick attempt. He looks for a flying headscissors off the apron BUT GETS CAUGHT AND SWUNG INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Now it’s time for the OLE OLE KICK! Around the ring we go – OLE OLE KICK NUMBER TWO! One more time you ask? OH HELL YEAH! Three Ole Ole Kicks…CM Punk may have another fractured skull after that kind of abuse. Punk somehow hauls himself onto the apron – but he was playing possum. He rolls through a suplex attempt…BUT GETS DRILLED WITH THE STO SLAM! Punk kicks out at two so gets vicious chops and punches in the corner. BOOTSCRAPES…RUNNING BOOTSCRAPE! Thirty minutes gone here chaps.

SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY from Punk, right as he was getting desperate. He kicks Joe in the face, then drops him with a big boot for 2. Russian legsweep, before he figure 4’s the legs. Joe breaks that with a flurry of headbutts, then puts Punk in an abdominal stretch. Punk comes off the second rope with a guillotine leg drop but can’t keep Joe’s shoulders down for three. Punk is a jackass does one of Joe’s poses, and gets an enziguri to the back of the head, then a back suplex. Roaring elbow from Punk for 2. Punk goes to the sleeper hold, which is a sensible idea given by this point (39 minutes) Joe must be exhausted anyway. COUNTERED WITH THE CHOKE…Punk escapes and goes back to the sleeper. OVERHEAD ENZI KICK FROM JOE! Joe just did that as well as AJ Styles!

Back suplex backbreaker from Joe, and he looks for the Boston crab that he beat Punk with back at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies. Foley-esque running knee in the corner from the ROH Champion. Punk gets lifted to the top rope but manages to elbow Joe down. FLYING ELBOW DROP…for 2! Punk lifts Joe to the top rope now. Joe looks absolutely drained by this point – AND PUNK MAKES IT WORSE WITH A BACK SUPERPLEX! Joe hits a powerslam out of nowhere for 2, then goes for the cross armbreaker. Punk blocks Joe’s powerbomb so instead gets KAWADA KICKS! He counters the powerbomb again and almost rolls Joe up. POWERBOMB…2 COUNT…BOSTON CRAB…STF!! Punk again battles to the ropes, and the crowd is coming unglued. Punk flips up out of the corner then rocks Joe with a running Yakuza kick. He lifts Joe to the top rope, AND SCORES WITH A SUPER HURRICANRANA…FOR 2!!

Mule kick from Punk…followed with the hammerlock lariat which gets 2. Punk comes off the ropes but gets thrown onto his face. Rolling cradle from Joe, but that isn’t enough to get it done. Crucifix pin from Punk gets 2…BEFORE HE WALKS RIGHT INTO A HUGE LARIAT! Joe just took his head off BUT PUNK KICKS OUT AGAIN! Elbows from Punk – SHINING WIZARD…SOMEHOW JOE KICKS OUT! Low blow from Punk, but he gets caught with a SIT OUT KNEEBREAKER! Joe goes to a half crab, as that injured knee takes still more abuse. Joe takes Punk to the corner for the Musclebuster, but Punk escapes. He drags Joe to the top…PEPSI PLUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNGE!! BUT PUNK FALLS OUT OF THE RING! That move landed him right on his knees, and he’s lying in a heap on the outside. It’s announced there’s under 5 minutes left of the time limit as Punk manages to get back into the ring. Both men floor each other with clotheslines, and it’s a stalemate again. ‘I haven’t seen a match go 60 minutes since the Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat series in the 90’s’ – Nulty. Has this guy watched wrestling in the last 10 years? He’s so old school it hurts, although some of his commentary in this has been excellent.

SHINING WIZARD FROM PUNK…DRAGON SCREW FROM JOE! Joe lifts Punk to the top rope for a SUPER INVERTED DDT! Both men are down, and there’s a minute of the time limit remaining! SLAPS…KICKS…PUNK HITS A DDT! Both men are near dead…AND JOE KICKS OUT OF THE PIN! The 60 minute time limit expires…it’s over!

Rating – ***** –
One of the best executed 60 minute matches ever. Bar a five minute spell just past 40 minutes, these two went at it flawlessly for an hour, and never once looked stuck for an idea, or like they were killing time (see the recent Benoit/HHH Iron Man from RAW). Wonderful levels of psychology, as we saw Joe open up a weakness in Punk’s knees (which meant even after hitting the Pepsi Plunge he couldn’t beat Joe), whilst Punk didn’t need to work a body part – taking Joe to such a long match physically exhausted the champion. Incredible effort from the 275lbs Samoa Joe. He’s a big big man to be going 60 minutes, and it honestly does go to about 40 before he starts showing signs of being winded. Punk really came into his own. We all know he can go looooong distances (see his series of IWA-MS matches with Chris Hero – including a 93 minute 2/3 falls match) and when Joe started feeling the longevity of the match, he took the lead, helping Joe through the last 20 minutes in grand fashion. One of ROH’s best matches…EVER.

Crowd want five more minutes, but that’s not even an option because Homicide storms the ring and lays out Joe with a chair. He knocks the referee down, then lays out Dave Prazak for kicks. He steals the new ROH Title belt and tears up ringside on his way out. Once he’s gone, the fans give Punk and Joe ‘Thank you’ and ‘Match of the Year’ chants, which are both thoroughly deserved. Punk puts over the ROH Title (with the old belt that Homicide didn’t steal) then shakes hands with Joe. ‘F*CK ANYBODY that tries to stop us’ – Punk…oh yeah, you better believe this is one of those special moments.

Generation Next vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Colt Cabana/Ace Steel – Ultimate Endurance Match

Ultimate Endurance makes its debut tonight. It’s a four team elimination match. First fall is a Submission Match. Second fall will be fought under Scramble Match rules, and the third fall is an anything goes, no DQ fight. Lots of issues here…where to start. The Briscoes have heat with the GeNext pair (Austin Aries and Jack Evans) after the 8 man tag on May 22nd. They also have heat with the Prophecy and particularly the Second City Saints after the events and en-mass Tag Title switches of the third Round Robin Challenge. Then there’s Maff and Whitmer, who of course are still feuding with the Saints, despite the inner turmoil within the Prophecy since Christopher Daniels is now gone from ROH. Maff said at Generation Next that if they don’t win tonight, he’s done with the Prophecy…so there’s lots on the line. Aries and Evans (who’s injured after that brutal Walters powerbomb earlier) are accompanied by Shelley and Strong. Obviously Maff and Whitmer have Allison Danger in their corner.

Steel and Jay kick us off, and they take things slow as the crowd (and commentators apparently) recover from the drama of the last match. Fisherman’s suplex from Ace, rolled into an anklelock as he looks for the submission. Cabana in, and he eventually gets trapped in a headlock from Jay. Bower and Nulty are still chatting away about Samoa Joe and CM Punk. Double underhook facelock from Cabana, before Aries blind tags in and it’ll be him and Mark now. Mark traps Austin in a surfboard, then a hammerlock, but no submission there. He catches Aries in a headscissors, but Aries escapes that, then puts him in a headlock. Russian legsweep from Mark, into an abdominal stretch on the mat, but Aries isn’t tapping. Austin traps Mark in the Rings Of Saturn, so Jay has to save. Aries stretches Mark over his knee, then puts him an armbar (with a fishhook of the mouth).

Evans tags in and he hits a moonsault splash. He goes for an Asai moonsault to follow and gets kicked in the face. Back suplex backbreakers on Jack’s injured back. Jay tags in and plants him with a Canadian backbreaker. Mark drops a series of knees to the back as the Briscoes have isolated Evans. Jay puts him in a torture rack…and holds him there as Mark springboards in with a double stomp. Surfboard from Jay, as Aries and Maff argue with each other on the apron. Ace Steel gets in with Evans and gives him a press slam. Colt 45-style over the shoulder stretch from Cabana, before Jay tags himself back in. He applies a camel clutch and Jack Evans is just limo folks. Jay lifts Evans to the top rope, but gets caught with a super Asai DDT. Jay tags out to Maff. Whitmer gives Aries a Spinebuster, then helps Maff deliver a backbreaker version of Revelations to Evans. Jack taps to Whitmer’s Boston crab at 13:38. Evans and Aries are eliminated.

It’s a Scramble now, with the Briscoes double teaming Whitmer. Maff finally drops Mark with a lariat, which brings in Ace to level him with a missile dropkick. Maff rolls to the floor so Ace nails him with a tope. Cabana and Whitmer in the ring, and Colt almost puts him away with a hurricanrana. Whitmer gives Cabana a German suplex, then gets sunset flipped into another suplex on Cabana by Mark Briscoe. Jay and Whitmer have a forearm war…duelling urinages on the Prophecy guys by Steel and Mark. MARK GIVES HIM A FISHERMANS BUSTER! MAFF COMES IN WITH A HEAD DROP DRAGON SUPLEX! Cabana slingshots Jay to the floor then looks to give Mark the Colt 45. DOOMSDAY SHINING WIZARD BY THE PROPHECY! Cabana lets Whitmer pin Mark Briscoe, and that eliminates the Briscoes at 17:30. It’s down to the Saints and the Prophecy…predictable but still interesting.

Anything Goes now, and Cabana gets on the mic and gets heel heat by reminding everyone that it was them that took Chris Daniels out of ROH. Maff and Whitmer jump the Saints and the fight is on. Spinebusters on Cabana and Steel…now Maff gets the mic. ‘As you were saying B*TCH’ – Maff. Maff says they’re not leaving tonight without getting revenge for Daniels. Both Saints take powerbombs into the buckles…and the fight spills outside. Steel breaks out a chair and drills Whitmer with chair shots – and he’s busted open. Ace grabs Allison Danger and THROWS HER INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Maff levels Colt with the ring bell, as Whitmer and Steel brawl back into the ring. Swinging impaler DDT from Steel gets 2. He goes outside and runs through Maff with a chair to help out Cabana. Colt starts slamming Maff’s head into the chair, before the Saints grab a section of guardrail and plaster him with it. Maff is bleeding now.

Maff and Whitmer are thrown back into the ring where they take more abuse. Maff and BJ start chopping each other to fire each other up, then they take over on Cabana and Steel. To the floor again as the Saints take crowd barrier shots. Maff suplexes Steel on the wooden floor, then throws a chair into Cabana’s face. Inevitably we get the good for the fans on that side of the building (crap for people watching it on tape and on the other side of the building) crowd brawl that has really started to become a staple of this feud. Cabana climbs up the bleachers and DIVES OFF WITH A CROSSBODY! Maff got tagged with that, and Ace lays out Whitmer by PILEDRIVING HIM ONTO A CHAIR! Back in the ring Ace gives Maff a Tiger Driver for 2. BJ drops Steel with a brainbuster, and Cabana has to save before the three. Cabana upstairs – MOONSAULT SCORES FOR 2! Lariat from Whitmer INTO A HEAD DROP GERMAN from Maff. Ace powerbombs Whitmer, and the Saints go outside to bring a table into play. They want to end another career…but The Prophecy aren’t playing ball. Maff crotches Ace on the ropes. BJ climbs – SUPER EXPLODER ’98…THROUGH THE TABLE! HOLY SH*T! Maff has Cabana – BURNING HAMMER ONTO THE SHATTERED TABLE PIECES! AAARRRRRGGGHH! The Prophecy win Ultimate Endurance (including winning every fall) at 37:32.

Rating – *** –
That was…long. Not in a good way like Joe/Punk, but in a more forced, far less enjoyable manner. The submission match was completely pointless and largely nothing but a stop gap to let the crowd recover so they would be into the later stuff (although some of the work on Jack Evans’ back was cool). The Scramble was too short to mean anything, meaning both the Briscoes and Generation Next went completely under-utilised in this match. The final fall was pretty meh in my opinion. Some of the spots were awesome, and the head droppery at the end was nuts, but it went 20 minutes, and most of it was largely aimless brawling, which I don’t particularly enjoy. This should definitely have gone on before Joe/Punk…but at least the crowd were up for this. Had the crowd been dead it would’ve come off a lot worse. Consider the first UE Match a VERY mild success. It needed to go longer, it needed not to come after one of the best matches in ROH history as well. As is…it was alright.

Loc cuts a promo on Masada and Danny Daniels. Passing reference to his past issues in ECW with Daniels. He wanted to batter them senseless tonight, but he’ll wait for DeVito to return before they finally take the N&I Carnage Crew out.

Maff, Whitmer and Danger are obviously in pretty jubilant moods. Maff looks particularly thrilled…because tonight will be remembered as the night The Prophecy died. He and Whitmer proved they’re one of the best teams in the company…they erased their debt to Chris Daniels by getting revenge…and now they don’t need The Prophecy or Allison Danger anymore. He wants BJ to join him in a team and leave The Prophecy…and BJ agrees. They walk, leaving a pissed off Allison Danger – who ends the tape by swearing that The Prophecy isn’t dead.

Tape Rating – *** –
It’s pretty much a one-match show, but my word what a match. Samoa Joe vs CM Punk is one of the best matches in ROH history – certainly the best match in the esteemed ROH careers of both men. The non-finish didn’t hurt it at all, as Joe erased the one doubt about him – that he couldn’t last long distances, whilst by not losing, Punk instantly doesn’t lose heat by not walking out champion. The rest of the show is solid. The GeNext tag is good, but not a patch on the big 8 man. Ultimate Endurance suffered because it came after Joe/Punk, meaning it didn’t have the time or emotional involvement it really needed. Six Man Mayhem is good too…and that’s pretty much it. One squash and one match that’s too clipped up to rate…if you’re buying this show you’re getting it for Joe/Punk, so I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with it.

Top 3 Matches

3) Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer vs Colt Cabana/Ace Steel vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Generation Next (***)

2) Generation Next vs John Walters/Jimmy Rave/Matt Stryker (****)

1) Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (*****)

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