ROH 44 – Death Before Dishonor II: Part 1 – 23rd July 2004
After Reborn Completion which was a real hit-or-miss show depending on how you like your ROH, we travel back to the Midwest for the Death Before Dishonor II weekend. Last year’s inaugural DBD event produced one of ROH’s most famous shows, what with it being Paul London’s last night, Jeff Hardy getting boo’d out of the building and a host of other great matches. This year it’s “an event so huge” it’s taking place over two evenings. Critically, it’s the second night of the DBD2 weekend which gets more of the plaudits, but personally, it’s the Part 1 card which has me more excited. Tonight we see the climax of the Saints/Briscoes tag series in a 2/3 falls match. Their last clash (Round Robin Challenge 3) produced one of my favourite tag matches ever. Homicide gets his last shot at Samoa Joe’s title…and it’s not like they haven’t had good matches before. Alex Shelley gets a Pure Title rematch, and gets a chance to put on another awesome show with Doug Williams…plus Low Ki’s return to an ROH ring and another Generation Next multi-person tag. Lots to be excited about, and this is just night one. St. Paul blew it last time, so tonight we’re giving Wauwatosa, WI a try. Hosts are Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty returning alongside him.
Contenders Ring –
No backstage segments for these two shows, so we’re right in the ring with Dave Prazak who brings out Baron von Raschke. Nothing like wheeling out the old local legends for a cheap pop. He goose steps for more pops…which is nice. Generation Next come out to be assholes, which is more interesting. The Baron is louder than Shelley and he doesn’t have a stick. The Saints come out and rumble with GeNext in case anyone missed the point that Punk (and by association Cabana and Steel) is babyface now. They feed Evans to Baron for the IRON CLAW.
Delirious vs Matt Sydal vs Trent Acid vs Ace Steel
The deal is here, Acid has proclaimed himself to be king of the multi-man matches. I’m not entirely sure of the exact premise upon which he bases this statement, but lets run with it. Which means…he has to win here to not look like a jackass. Ace is still the most unappreciated member of the Saints (although personally I think he’s a far superior worker to Cabana)…whilst Sydal and Delirious continue their quest to not have matches with each other in. Last time we saw them they were in World Title Classic’s Six Man Mayhem match. Jimmy Jacobs won that.
Steel and Acid kick it off. Trent pokes Steel in the eye but almost gets dumped on his head with a powerslam. Sydal and Delirious in, and it’s quick and looks like they’ve wrestled each other a thousand times…which they probably have. Enzicanrana from Sydal which sends Delirious into the corner. Spinebusterbomb from Delirious…but Steel breaks up his Indian deathlock. ACID WITH AN ASAI MOONSAULT TO ACE ON THE FLOOR! Sydal gets blasted outside as Acid hits the ring. He and Ace mess up a spot on the ropes. Delirious flies in with a crossbody on Ace…that looked botched too. They run the spot again and Ace slams Delirious into the turnbuckles then drops him with a Michinoku Driver. Spinning heel kick from Sydal…then an inverted Fame Asser for 2.
Inverted tilta-whirl slam on Delirious. Everyone brawls on the top rope…and we get the fourway mess spot. Ace Steel ends up sitting in the corner wondering what the hell happened there. IMPLANT DDT on Acid gets 2…DELIRIOUS CROSSBODY’S THE BACK OF ACE’S HEAD! PUMPHANDLE DRIVER FROM SYDAL…but Acid saves. Sydal escapes the inverted brainbuster but gets Yakuza kicked to the outside. Delirious and Steel fight on the top…SUPER SPINAL SHOCK ON DELIRIOUS! Ace ducks the Yakuza kick. SOMERSAULT PESCADO FROM SYDAL TO STEEL! ACID HITS THE INVERTED BRAINBUSTER ON DELIRIOUS! Acid takes the win and lives up to his new gimmick at 09:14.
Rating – ** – Much like the tag opener at Reborn Completion, lots of cool, crowd-popping spots to get the crowd going at the start of the show, but not a lot else. It was even a little messy to begin with, but I’m not sure it matters. Consider it a success because it achieved it’s purpose, and there’s other matches on the show to deliver 4* and 5*.
Doug Williams vs Alex Shelley – ROH Pure Title Match
Rematch from the Pure Title finals at Reborn Completion. In my opinion at least, Williams/Shelley totally stole the show last week, and get the chance to do the same here tonight. In that match, Doug totally dominated, as he focused on the arm injury Shelley suffered making his way to the final. Today both men are fresh and get to go into the match 100%. It’s also the start of a big weekend for Doug and GeNext. If he gets through Shelley tonight he has to defend against Austin Aries at Part 2. Obviously Pure rules are in effect, this is the last time I mention them – 3 rope breaks, 20 count on the floor, no close fists.
Just like last week they run through the wrestling exchanges at first. Doug takes Shelley down early and stamps on the hand. Test of strength time, and Williams has the edge there, as you’d expect. Cloverleaf from Shelley, with a hammerlock applied as well…but Williams manages to escape without losing a rope break. They trade roll-throughs until Williams slams Shelley’s head into the canvas. Wristlock from Shelley, countered into a headscissors from Williams. Williams is starting to out-wrestle Shelley just like he did last week, as he is taking Shelley down at will seemingly. Williams attacks the legs, and Shelley grabs the ropes for his first break. To add salt Williams hogties him in the ropes. Crossface from Shelley, and that immediately forces Williams to use his first ropebreak. Neckbreaker drops Williams, then a kick to the spine. Is he repeating last week and going after the neck? Goku Raku neckbreaker from Shelley, into a bridging camel clutch. After a second neckbreaker Williams goes to the ropes again, and that’s two of his ropebreaks down. Shelley ducks a high knee but gets rolled right into a half crab. Shelley uses his second break to escape that. Enziguri from Shelley to knock Williams down, but his leg is definitely hurt.
Knees to the neck from Shelley, but he has to pause because he’s aggravating his own injury. He goes for a suplex but Williams small packages him for 2. Williams breaks out more British chaining and drags him into a Gory special. He slams Shelley into the turnbuckles…DOUBLE UNDERHOOK SUPERPLEX – for 2. Did his neck injury cost him a split second on the fall there? GOLDEN GATE SWING on Williams gets 2. SUPERKICK…SHELLSHOCK! Williams grabs the ropes to break the fall…and that’s his last one. Williams goes to the top – BOMB SCARE KNEE DROP for 2. Shelley blocks Chaos Theory and almost rolls Williams up. Shelley counters a back suplex with a reverse DDT and now both men are down. Shelley climbs up Williams and puts in a double wristlock, but Williams slams him into the corner. DOUBLE STOMP TO THE NECK! Williams blocks a second Shellshock attempt…and Shelley uses his last rope break to block Chaos Theory. CHAOS THEORY SCORES THIS TIME! Williams retains at 16:49.
Rating – *** – I liked the match, but Reborn Completion was definitely better. At the second time of asking, their psychology was just a little looser, and in the methodical pace these guys wrestle at, it’s the psychology that makes or breaks the bout. It just seemed at the end that Shelley stopped selling his knee to hit moves, and Williams stopped selling his neck to hit moves…and it just wasn’t as convincing as last week’s match. Still, good stuff, and the way Williams attacked the leg in this match really put Shelley over. Last week he dominated Shelley with arm work and only needed one rope break on his way to winning. The way he attacked the leg this week highlighted that thrashing as a fluke…but still kept the title on Doug.
Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer vs Low Ki/Rocky Romero
Allison Danger has booked this match because she owns Maff and Whitmer’s contracts, and since they abandoned The Prophecy, she wants them as beaten up as possible. Her first booking for them is to put them against the Rottweilers, represented by Rocky Romero and the newest member, Low Ki. Maff has his issues with Ki already (remember who knocked him out at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies almost a year ago), and Whitmer also came into contact with Ki at the Second Anniversary Show. Maff and BJ are supposed to be heels…but Ki gets the hugest pop of the night for his entrance alone. Julius Smokes is in Ki and Romero’s corner.
Allison Danger gives Maff and Whitmer one more chance to rejoin The Prophecy…they refuse. Ki and Romero jump the gun and attack before the bell rings to try and at least act like heels amidst the ‘Low Ki’ chanting. Ki beats on Whitmer in one corner as Romero hammers away on Maff in the other. The heels take shoulder blocks and roll to the floor and order is restored somewhat. Rocky and BJ kick things off properly with a test of strength. Low Ki and Maff in next…JUMPING ENZI FROM KI! Maff fires back with a stiff chop. Maff goes for the half nelson suplex but Ki low blows. Muta elbow dropped, before Romero is brought back in. He kicks every bit as hard as Ki before Maff brings Whitmer in again. Jumping heel kick from BJ gets 2. Romero throws Whitmer into Low Ki’s boot then tags him in. Ki chokes Whitmer on the ropes as Romero distracts Maff and the ref. BJ somehow manages to wrestle Ki to the ground and tags Maff in. Ki rolls out rather than take an elbow drop…so Maff goes to the floor and drops it there! Romero comes round the ring and shoves Maff shoulder-first into the ringpost. That opens up Maff’s shoulder, and Ki goes right after it with an armbar takedown.
Romero comes in with a high knee right to the injured shoulder, and follows that with a Fujiwara armbar. Whitmer breaks that with a kick, so Ki comes in and boots Maff in the face. Rocky drops a knee over the shoulder before kicking away at it. Ki goes to the top for a DOUBLE STOMP! Hammerlock from Romero, but Maff escapes with a scoop slam. Ki comes in to stop any fightback. Maff avoids a double knee…THEN BACK SUPLEXES BOTH OF THEM!
Maff makes the tag but Smokes distracts the ref…so Maff is still legal. BJ throws Smokes into the ring…FOR MAFF TO GIVE HIM A SPEAR! BJ tagged in now and he’s on fire. Northern lights on Romero gets 2. Whitmer avoids the springboard enzi from Ki…EXPLODER ’98 RIGHT ONTO ROMERO! Homicide is at ringside as Whitmer gives Romero a brainbuster. EXPLODER ’98 ON KI AGAIN! Ki dropkicks Maff in the shoulder as he puts Romero in a full nelson. Ki escapes the Wrist Clutch Exploder…DRAGON CLUTCH – MAFF BREAKS IT WITH A SPEAR! Maff goes for the Burning Hammer but Ki breaks it by shoving Whitmer into him. ROMERO WITH A CROSS ARMBREAKER ON MAFF! Ki holds BJ in the ropes, and Maff finally taps at 16:52.
Rating – *** – Man it’s good to see Low Ki back. I forgot just how intense and real he makes all his matches appear. Honestly, this is good stuff, but it’s far from perfect. For one thing, Maff’s selling of the shoulder injury is appalling. He’s supposed to have a shoulder injury yet every move he does involves his arm in someway. Plus, as Nulty even points out at one point, the refereeing is absolute crap…and Whitmer was the legal man at the end. Still, at least the finish was relevant to the rest of the match…plus Whitmer and Low Ki were really awesome as the match climaxed. It’s a good starting point for Ki’s heel work at the very least.
Allison Danger steps into the ring again at the end, and points out that since they did such a good job maybe one day the Rottweilers could be in The Prophecy. Maff shoves her into Homicide…AND HE GIVES HER THE COP KILLA! HOLY SH*T!
INTERMISSION – Allison Danger is stretchered out of the ring in a neckbrace.
Danny Daniels vs Chad Collyer
Ahhh the welcome back from intermission match. Daniels has just had the N&I Carnage Crew gimmick yanked from under him thanks to Masada heading to Japan for a while, so now he’s stuck doing nothing again. Collyer, meanwhile, is a guy ROH only use when they’re in this area. Last time we saw him he was in the clipped-coz-it-sucked-so-much fourway at World Title Classic. They’ve been thrown together…can they surprise a few people?
They go after each other’s arms to start with and it’s pretty fluid stuff. STO from Daniels, into a submission, and Collyer has to grab the ropes to break. They turn up the pace, and as Daniels blocks an armdrag, Chad gives him a dropkick, then traps him in an armbar. Daniels has his wrist stamped into the mat. Gutbuster from Daniels, then the double stomp senton for 2. Collyer goes for a German suplex, but that gets blocked and Daniels swings him into another gutbuster. Abdominal stretch on the mat, with the leg grapevined, as Daniels continues to work Collyer’s ribs. LEG STUNNER from Collyer, and that’ll soften Daniels up for the Texas Cloverleaf. Daniels comes baqck with a knee to the gut. He charges Collyer but gets suplexed legs-first into the corner. Jumping heel kick from Collyer, then the messiest hurricanrana ever for 2. Daniels runs at Chad again but gets shunted to the floor. Collyer gets a run up THEN SCORES WITH A TOPE! Collyer goes to the top rope but gets caught on the top rope. He jumps off – RIGHT INTO ANOTHER GUTBUSTER! Daniels rolls through a backslide but gets caught with a dragon screw. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF APPLIED…Daniels taps at 08:27.
Rating – *** – So to answer my own question – hell yeah they can surprise a few people. That was really really good! In less than 9 minutes they really did themselves a lot of justice, and did their chances of future bookings with ROH the world of good. Honestly, I’m so impressed by this I’ve ignored the botched rana spot in my rating and given this an extra star. They story they crammed into the match was good, it had a pay-off in the finish and the crowd loved it…well done lads.
Generation Next vs Jimmy Jacobs/Matt Stryker/John Walters
Obviously, since Shelley competed earlier, GeNext is represented by Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans. Everyone on the face team (although in the case of Stryker and Walters I use that term loosely) has issues with GeNext in some way. Walters has been feuding with Generation Next since they came into existence, ending up on the losing side of a GeNext tag at Generation Next, World Title Classic and Survival Of The Fittest. Stryker has heat with them after they busted him open at World Title Classic. Jacobs has heat with Shelley after he shunned him as his tag partner last time in the Midwest. As a rule, when you put GeNext in tag matches, the results are good…so here’s hoping for more now. Shelley is in GeNext’s corner, so Walters brings out Ricky Steamboat to be in theirs.
Jacobs and Evans to start. Armdrags from Evans to piss off Steamboat. Jacobs breaks out some armdrags of his own in retaliation. Walters in with Strong next, and he reels off more armdrags. Stryker and Aries now…and Stryker dishes out still more armdrags. ‘Work that arm’ – Wauwatosa. Stryker misses a high knee in the corner and Aries goes right after the knee. Strong comes back and continues where Aries left off. Evans comes in, and even he shows he can work a body part as he continues the assault. Aries cranks on the ankle until Stryker writhes free. Armbar DDT from Stryker as he looks for a tag. He tags in Jacobs who unloads on all three members opponents. Shelley distracts the ref as Strong heaves Jacobs into a MISSILE DROPKICK from Evans. Aries follows that up with a dropkick in the face for 2. Jacobs goes for a tag but Aries muscles him into an inverted atomic drop.
Strong comes in and gives Jacobs a nice back suplex. Evans next and he dropsaults Jacobs…which sets him up for the STANDING CORKSCREW SENTON! Aries takes Jacobs to the top rope…and gets bitted as a result. FLYING CROSSBODY from Jacobs but Aries catches him and rolls through with a slam. FLYING ELBOW DROP from Strong for 2. Strong muscles Jacobs up and PRESS SLAMS him into the turnbuckles! Back suplex/neckbreaker/double stomp triple team from Evans, Strong and Aries.
Jacobs makes a tag but the ref misses it, and he gets dragged back into the Generation Next corner. Strong BOOTS Jacobs into the corner for 2. Slingshot hilo from Aries, into the elbow drop for 2. Jacobs tries to make a comeback and PRESS SLAMS EVANS INTO ARIES AND STRONG! He tags Stryker and Walters at the same time and they charge in. Hiptoss backbreaker from Stryker to Aries. Gutbuster on Strong…before Stryker drops Strong into a double knee gutbuster from Walters. Evans perches on Stryker’s shoulders…AND WALTERS DRAGS HIM DOWN WITH THE LUNGBLOWER! Strong gives Stryker a powerbomb…450 FROM ARIES! JACOBS BREAKS THE COUNT WITH A SENTON! Shelley drags Walters to the floor…and gets some Steamboat right hands for his trouble. EVANS MISSES THE 630! Walters puts Evans into the headscissors crossface and Evans taps for GeNext to lose their first match as a team at 16:48.
Rating – *** – Not quite as good as the six man from World Title Classic (which incidentally, I also clocked at exactly 16:48) but still pretty damn skippy. The psychological aspect of the match was nowhere near as sound as the WTC match (Stryker didn’t sell his knee once he’d tagged out…there was no work on Evans before the finish) and this was far more spotbased, as you’d expect when you substitute Shelley and Rave for Evans and Jacobs. However, it’s still another marvellous exhibition of how to work a multi-person tag, which GeNext truly are good at. Plus it’s a good way to give John Walters a little of momentum, as he heads into August, where he promises to have won a title, or be in a position to challenge for one by the time ROH reaches his hometown of Boston on the 28th.
Samoa Joe vs Homicide – ROH World Title Match
So this epic feud “ends” here and now, as Homicide challenges for Joe’s title for the third time in 2004…and these two go one-on-one for the 6th time in ROH history. This feud is what ROH’s “rebirth” has been based around, and has it’s routes going all the way back to the Homicide/Corino feud in 2002. Just concentrating on our immediate history however, Joe will be more fired up than ever for this one after Reborn Completion. There Homicide tried to throw another fireball at him (which hit Mark Briscoe by mistake), then had his Rottweilers (including the returning Low Ki) demolish him in the middle of the ring. This is the last time he gets a title shot with Joe as champion…he has to make it count. Homicide has Julius Smokes, Rocky Romero and Low Ki in his corner.
Smokes distracts Joe right as the bell rings, so we’re underway with Homicide jumping him. Joe fights Cide back…so Romero distracts him. Again Joe manages to fight Homicide away…and this time Ki grabs his boot. Yakuza kick from Homicide fells Joe once more. The ref throws the Rottweilers out which is good, since I actually want to see a match, not heel tactics 101. Joe and Homicide slap the sh*t out of each other to start with. Headbutts from Joe…then more slaps and down goes Homicide. Bootscrapes in the corner, then the running facewash as Homicide is taking a kicking right now. Chop/kick combo into the knee drop and Homicide is on the ropes. Fujiwara armbar from Joe, before Homicide fires back with some strikes of his own. Back rakes from Cide but Joe comes back with a big boot.
Thumb to the eyes gives Homicide an advantage…and now they trade big boots. Homicide attempts the STF but Joe rolls over and grabs the ropes. E HONDA SLAPS from Joe, but Homicide thumbs him in the eyes again. Joe is prone on the apron and Homicide drops his leg across the throat. Joe goes apesh*t on Homicide again, and unleashes more stiff shots. Joe misses a forearm in the corner and goes down for Homicide to dish out the running knee. He tosses Joe to the outside and baseball slides him into the railings. Joe reverses a whip and sends Homicide flying into the guardrail. Back inside and Joe literally starts punching Homicide in the face…JUMPING ENZIGURI floors the challenger for 2.
Homicide goes to the top rope and KNEE DROPS THE BACK OF THE HEAD! E HONDA SLAPS FROM JOE…then he rolls low and sweeps the legs from under Homicide. Joe again gets thrown to the floor…and Homicide teases the tope con hilo for crowd heat. He sticks his head through the ropes – JUMPING ENZI AGAIN! Joe sets up for the Ole Ole Kick but gets takes a drop toehold into the chair. Homicide goes for the Ole Ole Kick…AND GETS A BELLY TO BELLY ON THE FLOOR! OLE OLE KICK FOLLOWS THAT! Back inside Homicide runs at Joe – STO SLAM FOR 2! Homicide gets lifted onto the apron and he guillotines Joe over the top rope. The knee to the back of the head misses and Joe whips Homicide over with a powerslam for another two count. BRUTAL kicks from Joe and Homicide is down in a heap. Powerbomb…2 count…TIGER DRIVER…SO CLOSE TO 3!
DIAMOND DUST from Homicide, then a neckbreaker…THEN A PILEDRIVER! Homicide goes for the lariat but Joe doesn’t go down. THE THIRD ONE KNOCKS HIM OVER…FOR 2. Joe blocks another lariat…E HONDA SLAPS…HEAD DROP COBRA CLUTCH SUPLEX – BUT HOMICIDE KICKS OUT! Homicide gets pulled off the ropes…STANDING MUSCLEBUSTER! HOMICIDE KICKS OUT AGAIN – ARE YOU SH*TTING ME?? ISLAND DRIVEEEEEER…HOMICIDE KICKS OUT FOR F*CKS SAKE! CHOOOOOOOOOKE! Homicide is choked unconscious at 24:01.
Rating – **** – This was so hard to rate, because as far as Joe vs Homicide goes, there’s not a lot else they can pull out to surprise me, or that I can say about their matches. As was, this only just missed out on the extra half star, despite the fact that it was better than the Generation Next match, and in my opinion their best since Do Or Die over a year ago. It had the emotion of the DOD match, the sheer physical violence of Reborn Stage 1 and Generation Next, with the finisher that both of those matches lacked. Seriously, watch this match, as it’s 25 minutes of two guys beating the absolute sh*t out of each other. The last 10 minutes are edge-of-your seat exciting and I have so much respect for these guys to putting themselves through this
Samoa Joe holds onto the Choke after the match, as it’s his turn to snap. Officials pour into the ring and can’t pull him off…finally Romero and Ki arrive to save their leader. Even Smokes starts attacking Joe as they beat the champion down. Homicide takes the mic says that it might be it for his challenge, but Joe isn’t through with the Rottweilers yet. Romero, Ki and Homicide spit on the belt to show the ultimate disrespect…and honestly that’s one of the most sickening things I’ve seen in ROH.
CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title 2/3 Falls Match
And with the Joe/Homicide issue “settled”, ROH ends another series tonight, as the Saints and the Briscoes go into battle for the Tag straps one last time. The two previous encounters have been classics, with the Saints going in as challengers and leaving as champions both times (at Reborn Stage 2 and Round Robin Challenge 3). This time it’s 2/3 Falls, and the Briscoes enter as challengers. Additionally, both Punk and Jay go into this match with concerns about their partners after Reborn Completion. Cabana was “thrown 20 feet off a balcony” last week during a Falls Count Anywhere match with Maff and Whitmer, whilst Mark Briscoe landed on his head in a botched SSP attempt, then got fireballed by Homicide as the Briscoes teamed with Joe against the Rottweilers. Will those injuries play a part in the match. I’m SO looking forward to this. There’s a fifteen second rest period between falls so Dave Prazak informs me.
Punk and Mark start and Punk dominates with a headlock. Near misses ensue, before Mark scores with an armdrag. Cabana and Jay in now and they go for some quick covers. To the mat with headlocks, and they end up headlocking each other. Mark steals Cabana’s neck crank which is a nice familiarity touch. Cabana makes the tag to Punk who focuses on Mark’s arm. More armdrags traded before they stand off. Bootscrapes from Punk, but Mark avoids the running facewash. Cabana Russian legsweeps Mark into a slingshot hilo from Punk. Abdominal stretch applied, as Punk attacks the ribs just like they did at Round Robin Challenge 3. Cabana comes in and makes it a double stretch. Cabana does his neck crank as payback for earlier. Cabana holds Mark prone for some shots to the ribs from Punk. Mark blocks a swinging neckbreaker with a backslide for 2. Jay cheapshots Punk who still manages to roll Mark up. Punk goes out after Jay…AND MARK FLIES OUT WITH A PESCADO!
Mark drops a knee to the balls and makes the tag to Jay who axehandles Punk’s ribs. Jay unleashes a jumping heel kick then attacks Cabana in the corner. He distracts the ref as the Briscoes double team Punk. Falcon Arrow from Jay gets 2. Punk tries a small package on Jay and gets 2. He tries to tag but Jay cuts him off with an elbow to the head. Springboard dropkick from Mark, then a cocky cover for 2. Punk yanks the turnbuckle pad off as he gets choked on the ropes by Jay. Jay then insults him by belting him in the face with it…nice. Mark stops Jay pulling Punk out of the corner and flip up like he always does. Punk rolls through a monkey flip from Mark and tags in Cabana. The Saints do the inverted crab/camel clutch combo which Jay blocks with a Yakuza boot. JAY DRILLER ON PUNK! The Briscoes take the fall at 20:12.
Cabana and Jay slug it out and Jay dropkicks Punk to the floor. Mark gets knocked to the outside and Cabana goes for a roll up on Jay for 2. Pendulum swing from Cabana, into an elbow drop. Punk is out, so apparently Colt is doing this alone. Mark inadvertently nails Jay with a springboard crossbody and it’s down to one-on-one. Reverse suplex from Cabana gets another 2. Jay cheapshots Cabana to distract him and Mark flies through with a spinning heel kick – advantage Briscoes.
They drill Cabana with the double boot in the corner as the Briscoes have both Saints on the rack. A hard reverse elbow from Jay stops Cabana mounting a comeback. Cabana goes for his double knee in the corner but misses, and Mark drops a neckbreaker out of the corner as a result. Mark goes for the springboard knee drop but Cabana pulls Jay’s head into the way. ROLL UP FROM CABANA EVENS THE SCORES AT 26:14!
Mark stomped on Cabana all the way through the rest period, then he distracts the ref so Jay can choke Colt in the corner. Cabana makes it to his corner, but Punk still isn’t back on the apron for a tag. SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE from the Briscoes…BUT PUNK MAKES THE SAVE! Punk is back in the match, but Jay traps Cabana in a chinlock. Cabana scores with a clothesline, and now both men are down. Jay tags Mark, and he sprints across the ring to cut off the tag. CABANA WITH A SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY ON BOTH BRISCOES! Jay ducks an enzi but it hits Mark instead…CABANA MAKES THE TAG!
RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP/DDT COMBO…FOR 2! Double underhook backbreaker on Mark gets a nearfall too. Jay attempts the Jay Driller again but Punk blocks with an Alabamaslam. FROG SPLASH FROM CABANA…BUT MARK SAVES! The Saints play volleyball with Mark’s head until Jay pulls Cabana out of the ring. Mark back drops Punk out onto them…then goes upstairs for the SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE FLOOR! Cabana goes onto the apron – ASAI MOONSAULT! Back in the ring Mark ducks a Shining Wizard and dishes out an enzi. Cabana nails a lariat on him…and Jay plants Cabana with a Yakuza kick…SHINING WIZARD ON JAY! Punk goes upstairs with Jay but Mark blocks the Pepsi Plunge…SPRINGBOARD ACE CRUSHER ON PUNK! Cabana pulls Jay out of the corner with a kryptonite neckbreaker. CUT-THROAT DRIVER FROM MARK TO CABANA…BUT PUNK SAVES!!! Punk escapes another Cut-throat Driver and goes to the top rope…PEPSI PLUUUUUUUNGE! CM Punk wins it at 36:29!
Rating – **** – Awesome, awesome, awesome! Not quite their RRC3 match (which apparently in the eyes of me only is a MOTYC) but it was so engrossing. It lacked the psychology of the RRC3 encounter, and didn’t have the emotion of the Chi-town crowd from Reborn Stage 2…but it was still so crazily good. I loved the familiarity spots, and I loved how they built up for Cabana’s title match at Part 2 with him taking the second fall by himself and winning it with a roll up. Punk sitting the second fall out made the third fall even more dramatic, as he returned to engage in a thrilling conclusion. No idea who was legal in the end, but does it really matter. After near-40 minutes of wrestling you can’t complain. I’d say this Briscoes/Saints series wipes the floor with the Briscoes/AJ & Red series from 2003…and anything else in US tag wrestling for a long time. If these guys are booked against each other again in future, I really won’t be unhappy.
After the match they all shake hands, which is nice to see after such a great contest. The show goes out with the fans chanting ‘ROH’ as Punk and Cabana hold the belts aloft…which works far better than Reborn Completion’s Special K argument. I like backstage segments, but maybe they should keep the show endings like this.
Tape Rating – **** – Maybe I’m getting a little overexcited on the rating (after I was relatively harsh to Reborn Completion) but I loved this show. Seriously, I think it may well be the most underrated show ever, as I’ve heard no such overwhelming praise of it. There’s nothing bad on this show, it’s THAT solid. Once the crowd-pleasing opener is out the way nothing drops below 3*, and in the last two matches, you honestly do get two classic feud-ending bouts. I can’t praise this show highly enough…get it people.
Top 3 Matches
3) Low Ki/Rocky Romero vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer (***)
2) Samoa Joe vs Homicide (****)
1) CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****)