047 ROH Scramble Cage Melee 8/28/2004

ROH 47 – Scramble Cage Melee – 28th August 2004

The return of the Scramble Cage after just 5 months, to make ROH’s sixth cage match in less than a year, was greeted with groans of ‘overkill’ rather than excitement. Unfortunate, then that the Scramble Cage is the big attraction of this show. It’s named after it, it’s main evented by it, and the rest of the card seems to be a line up of filler before we move onto ROH’s big autumn schedule. Scramble Cage Melee is ROH’s attempt to head out of the summer months with a bang…but going on the card alone, which was devastated by cancellations, it does seem like more of a moderate popping sound. It was rumoured to be getting Joe’s title defence against American Dragon, but when Dragon pulled out to work NJPW, no chance of that. Then it was booked to get Joe/Punk vs Homicide/Low Ki…but then Low Ki pulled out to work for NOAH. The Briscoes were also last minute cancellations. So now, aside from the Scramble Cage, we have a non-title triple threat grudge match, as the three “big three” of ROH – Samoa Joe, CM Punk and Homicide (although I’d argue they’re the second generation of “icons” – the first being Low Ki, Chris Daniels and Bryan Danielson) battle to become the true Icon of ROH. With so much hasty rebooking surrounding that match, you could be forgiven for not expecting a lot. Doug Williams returns to defend the Pure Title against John Walters. Also on the card, the recently impressive Colt Cabana faces Austin Aries, fresh off his huge 2/3 falls victory over Bryan Danielson at the last show. Lets see if this show surprises a few people. Once again ROH has shifted its Boston base, this time back to Braintree, MA (where they had the Second Anniversary Show). Hosts are Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty.

Contenders Ring –

Austin Aries (inevitable after his win over Danielson at Testing The Limit)

Bryan Danielson (still owed a title shot after winning Survival Of The Fittest)

John Walters (earned a Pure Title shot by defeating Nigel McGuiness at Testing The Limit)

Alex Shelley (following consecutive victories – over Jimmy Jacobs and a fourway at Testing The Limit)

Jay Briscoe (pinned Low Ki last show, the first man to do so since Xavier in September 2002)

Shawn Price is outside as the ring crew unload the Scramble Cage from the truck for the match. Dunn & Marcos are in the match, but they’re also still on the ring crew. They scale the truck to prove they have no fear going into the match.

Prince Nana is with Jimmy Rave, who’s back from his relaxing trip to Ghana. Rave is excited about the Rave Clash. Oman Tortuga is looking for Diablo Santiago to prepare for Scramble Cage Melee, but Nana has sent him on an errand.

Jay Lethal vs Alex Shelley

Lethal made the challenge for this match after Shelley pinned him in a fourway (also featuring Ace Steel and 2 Cold Scorpio) at Testing The Limit. Shelley has offered him a spot in Generation Next twice, and twice he has turned it down saying he doesn’t want to take shortcuts to get to the top…and since then Samoa Joe has taken him on as his protégé so it’s not all bad. Shelley has all the other members of GeNext in his corner.

Lethal is really over as a face, and he starts off in the ascendancy. Shelley clotheslines Lethal over his knee and that puts an end to that. Lethal gets lifted onto the apron and Shelley stunners him over the top rope. Shelley misses a pescado – TOPE FROM LETHAL! Back in the ring Shelley gets in a dragon screw and quickly follows up with a dropkick to the knee. He traps Lethal into a leglock as he continues to attack the leg. Lethal gets 2 with a desperation small package. Shelley keeps slamming Lethal’s leg into the mat, and almost snaps Jay’s neck he lifts the leg so high in the air. SHINBREAKER ON THE APRON from Shelley, ouch! Shelley ducks an enziguri attempt then dropkicks the knee again. Lethal counters another shinbreaker attempt with a sunset flip, but Shelley quickly escapes and gets Jay in a half crab.

He hoists Lethal in the air and drops him knees-first into the canvas. Enzi from Lethal – DRAGON SUPLEX OUT OF NOWHERE! That almost puts Shelley away! Gutbuster from Lethal, into a back suplex…but Lethal can’t cover right away because of the knee injury. Shelley goes back to the dragon screw to get back on top. Standing figure 4 from Shelley continues to pile on the pain. Lethal gets lifted to the top rope but he fights back – DIVING HEADBUTT SCORES! Shelley again kicks out at 2. Lethal tries to go up again but gets cut off by Shelley. SUPER SHINBREAKER NAILED! Shelley goes upstairs now – DOUBLE STOMP TO THE KNEE! FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK! Lethal rolls over and grabs the ropes to escape. Lethal blocks that knee drop to the canvas move…Shelley blocks a powerbomb and applies an STF. Lethal makes the ropes and goes for the Dragon Suplex again. Shelley goes behind and rolls him up with the tights to steal it at 12:43.

Rating – *** –
Brilliant pure wrestling opener, and that’s something that Alex Shelley is really good at. He’s put on great opening matches with the likes of Matt Stryker and Mark Briscoe beforehand to prove that. It would’ve been in contention for an extra star, but I still felt Lethal was being treated too much like a jobber to be taken seriously. If he is to be considered a threat, surely he should be placed on more of an even-footing with guys like Shelley. Instead, he was made to look like a plucky underdog. It’s going to get him over, but doesn’t make him look like a credible top-liner at all.

Backstage the Carnage Crew are excited about going into their third Scramble Cage match. They want the extra money the winner gets. Last time they were in the cage they gave Angeldust a piledriver off the top…no doubt they’ve got plans for more violence.

Jimmy Rave vs Angeldust

Special K are having their own problems right now, as their losing streak grows ever longer and they continue to argue internally. The members that come out (Angeldust, Cheech and Cloudy I think) all look a little somber. This is the first time Jimmy Rave has been in an ROH ring since Reborn Completion when he returned as the newest member of Prince Nana’s Embassy. Now with new music, a new heel attitude and a new finisher (the Rave Clash) he is looking to embark on a run to the top. Can Angeldust stand in his way and bring some much-needed cheer to the Special K locker room. Rave has Nana and the Outcast Killaz in his corner.

Rave rolls Angeldust into an early Crippler Crossface and Angeldust has to desperately grab the ropes. Dust snares Rave in a headscissors, but Jimmy comes back with a headlock. Rave goes to the eyes in the corner but Angeldust gets a foot up then comes off the second rope with a double stomp to the head. He hits a dropkick in the corner, and Rave is on the rocks here. Side Effect backbreaker from Angeldust gets 2. Rave avoids a back body drop and pops up with a nice head and arm suplex. Climbing high knee in the corner lays Angeldust out. Swinging snap suplex from Rave gets 2. Angeldust gets a desperation kick in, but Rave holds the ropes and Angeldust sails over Rave’s head as he goes for the springboard blockbuster. On the floor Rave dumps Angeldust into the railings. Rave threatens to throw Angeldust into the front row but fakes the fans out…but Dust comes back and dropkicks him out into the crowd anyway. Back in the ring Angeldust hits a springboard double stomp. He goes nuts with knee strikes and kicks, and Jimmy Rave is in a world of trouble. Desperation superkick from Rave, then the STO backbreaker. Rave goes to the top for something but Angeldust kicks him in the head. SOUTH OF HEAVEN FROM ANGELDUST…2 COUNT! Prince Nana gets on the mic and starts screaming at Rave…and that distracts Angeldust. Angeldust blocks the Rave Clash, but gets the CRAPPY WIZARD! RAVE CLASH CONNECTS! Jimmy Rave wins it at 10:50.

Rating – ** –
Clever little piece of business here, and by a long way Angeldust’s best performance in ROH. He didn’t mess anything up, and I loved the way he lifted his JAPW finisher, where he performs as Azrieal. It isn’t winning MOTY awards or anything, but for the second time since he joined The Embassy and went heel, Rave has provided a fun match, with lots of entertainment and a strong heel/face dynamic…that’s very promising because we’ll clearly be seeing a lot more of him.

Roderick Strong vs Ace Steel

The Saints/GeNext war has been on ever since CM Punk saved Ricky Steamboat from an attack by the faction at Reborn Completion. The Death Before Dishonor II weekend ended with GeNext beating down the Saints in their hometown of Chicago, and now they’re up for revenge. Alex Shelley largely managed to avoid Ace Steel then sneak the win in a fourway which included them both at Testing The Limit, but tonight the fights are on in earnest. Rod Strong, who’s hot after back to back wins at Death Before Dishonor 2 Part 2 and Testing The Limit takes on Steel now, and we’ve still got Cabana/Aries to come. Shelley, Aries and Evans are all there with Strong…whilst Ace is out there by himself.

They start out by slapping each other. Strong makes use of the ropes early to make sure Ace has to keep his distance. Steel finally manages to grab Strong and get in a few tasty shots. STO drops Ace, and he holds on with a version of a headlock. Mark Nulty had a dinner date with Mick Foley. Hammerlock from Steel forces Strong to again scramble for the ropes. This time though, Ace keeps assaulting him, finally dropkicking him through the ropes. He baseball slides out, but soon gets slammed back-first into the ringpost. Back inside and Strong fires off some of his famed stiff chops. Ace goes for a scoop slam, but his back has already suffered too much punishment and he falls down with Strong on top of him. Strong hangs Ace from the bottom rope, stretching him out before letting him fall to the floor. Strong pulls Steel out of the corner with a backbreaker, then folds him up, leaving him prone with a huge kick to the spine. He goes to the second rope to drop his picture perfect elbow drop for 2. Slapfest again between the two, before Ace scores with a few knock-downs on Strong. He hits some double underhook facebusters, then hauls him into a Tiger Driver for 2. Chokeslam backbreaker from Strong gets 2. Ace escapes a Spinal Shock attempt and traps Strong in a cross armbreaker. Rod taps out of nowhere at 09:36.

Rating – * –
Hard fought, but particularly underwhelming. I’m starting to think both men are far more suited to tag team wrestling, as all of their best matches in ROH have come in some form of tag match. Strong showed some promise with his focus on the back to soften Ace up for all his backbreakers, but the finish (after barely any work on Strong’s arm) just sucked the life out of what already wasn’t a spectacularly thrilling contest.

Aries, Evans and Shelley jump Steel right after the bell and beat him down until Colt Cabana comes out to make the save. The GeNext guys manage to get some space…except for Evans who gets caught by Ace Steel and pummelled in the aisle. Jack Evans gets his arm busted open quite badly. Cabana challenges Aries to have their match right now…and it’s on.

Colt Cabana vs Austin Aries

Obviously Cabana was also a victim of the Generation Next assault on the Saints at Death Before Dishonor 2, so he’ll want some revenge as well. He has an unpredictable task in front of him though. Will Aries be hot following his 74+ minute classic with Bryan Danielson, or has that gruelling bout just three weeks ago taken its toll on him? Cabana’s recent performances have been really good, so I’m excited about this.

Cabana dons goggles again, just like at Testing The Limit…does he have eye problems at the moment or something? He backs Aries to the ropes then flicks him in the nose as the mind games continue. Aries goes for the eyes, but of course, Cabana has the glasses on so he’s protected. Cabana sends Aries to the floor after hitting a nice dropkick. Cabana tries to bounce back from the apron but Cabana moves and Aries crotches himself. Cabana ties Aries’ limbs up for extra humiliation. They run through some fast exchanges as Cabana breaks out a series of roll-ups…he’s the master of those by the way. Butt-butt from Cabana gets 2, as he is dominating proceedings right now. He goes for a shoulder tackle in the corner, Aries moves and he hits so hard he tears the turnbuckle pad off. Aries immediately follows with an armbar DDT…and Aries is now focusing on the hurting shoulder, which, as Bower points out, has been injured before.

Hammerlock from Aries, but Cabana chops to escape that. Aries heaves Cabana to the floor, and Shelley and Strong holds Cabana. Aries goes for a pescado, but Cabana moves meaning Aries wipes out his own team-mates. Cabana chops Aries on the floor, but finally one gets ducked and Cabana NAILS the ringpost. Aries throws Cabana shoulder-first into the railings, and one of the metal sheets gets dumped on him. CACTUS ELBOW FROM ARIES! Cabana is busted wide open thanks to that!

Back in the ring, Aries goes for a Fujiwara armbar. Cabana catches Aries running in the corner, but his reverse elbow hurts himself more than his opponent. Cabana can’t see thanks to the blood, and he pins the referee. Aries fakes him out by counting the pinfall, then takes Cabana’s head off with a clothesline as he celebrates a win. Cabana nails a big clothesline, but again that hurts himself as much as Austin Aries. Cabana unloads some more one-armed offence and gets a 2 from an elbow drop. He nails the kryptonite neckbreaker but can only force another 2. He scores with elbow drops from the first two turnbuckles, but misses the top rope elbow drop, and almost gets pinned as a result. Aries incredibly heaves Cabana up for a brainbuster and gets 2. Shelley grabs Cabana’s leg through the ropes, and that allows Aries to hit the crucifix driver into the Rings of Saturn. Cabana passes out from the pain at 16:09.

Rating – *** –
Both men really, really impressed me with this effort. Austin Aries showed that he doesn’t need to wrestle guys with the ability of Bryan Danielson to produce good matches, whilst Colt Cabana equalled (and possibly even bettered) his splendid performance with Samoa Joe from 2 shows ago. Honestly, he really is on top of his game right now, finally blending his comedy in with enough credible wrestling to really put on good matches. The theme for the match was simple – Cabana hurts his shoulder, an area where he’s had problems before, and much like with American Dragon’s head injury at Testing The Limit, ruthlessly attacks it to get the win.

Post-match, Shelley passes Aries a couple of chairs and Aries sandwiches Cabana’s arm between them. 450 SPLASH INTO THE CHAIRS! CM Punk and Ace Steel charge out to save, but they weren’t in time to save Cabana! He is screaming in pain after that. Punk rages on the microphone and promises that once he’s won the battle of the icons he’s coming after Generation Next. ‘You can stay in Nashville you little b*tch’ – Punk to Shelley…OUCH!

Shawn Price is in the ring next and he announces that Jushin Liger is coming to ROH in November for the Weekend Of Thunder. Excited? You bet I am!

SIDENOTE – The next match was originally scheduled to be the Pitbulls defending their newly won belts in a rematch from Reborn Stage 1 against the Briscoes. However, Mark was in a motorbike accident before the show and was obviously in hospital. Jay, who was going to gut out problems associated with the concussion he suffered at the hands of Low Ki at the last show is with his brother, and they’ll both be out for some time.

Officially, the storyline is that after the riot at Testing The Limit, ROH dished out huge fines, and anyone that couldn’t pay was suspended. Samoa Joe, Homicide and Julius Smokes paid their fines so they’re here tonight. Low Ki refused to pay because he doesn’t want to give ROH any money, so he’s suspended for now. The Briscoes, meanwhile, couldn’t afford to pay their fines, and they’re now suspended as well.

Havana Pitbulls vs Special K – ROH Tag Title Match

With the Briscoes out, Special K (Izzy and Dixie – the stable’s primary team) get an opportunity at the tag straps that, let’s be honest, they didn’t earn. Maff and Whitmer could have had this shot, but Allison Danger booked them in the Scramble Cage. The Saints could’ve had a rematch but they’re all busy as well tonight. It’s an opportunity for the struggling faction’s former tag champions and it’s one they must take. Izzy comes out with his new girlfriend Lacey for this one. The Pitbulls snatched the belts from CM Punk and Colt Cabana at Testing The Limit, and are defending the belts for the first time. I’ve seen them work good matches against spotty opponents in PWG (I’m considering starting reviewing PWG shows soon) so I’m hoping they can repeat the feat here. Obviously the Pitbulls have Smokes in their corner, whilst Izzy and Dixie have the rest of Special K with them.

Izzy offers a handshake before the match, proving how serious Special K are getting. Reyes grabs him in an early cross armbreaker. Izzy comes back with some quick kicks then the moonsault dropkick for 2…as Bower warns people you’ve gotta ‘stay away from those young girls’. He gets another 2 with a suplex. Reyes grounds him with a big clothesline then tags out to Romero. Izzy dropkicks him and goes for a dive but Reyes kicks the legs out from under him. Romero follows that with a surfboard in the middle of the ring. Dixie gets tagged and he avoids a kick from Romero but just takes a hatful of chops instead. He fires back with a jumping heel kick for 2. Romero gets thrown to the floor then Izzy gets tagged. He sends Reyes to the floor as well…SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW SOMERSAULT SENTON FROM IZZY!

Dixie is tagged again but Reyes trips him from the outside. He comes in legally and Romero sweeps Dixie’s legs again in the corner for a big dropkick from Reyes. Romero back and he just reels off a stream of kicks then puts Dixie in an abdominal stretch. Izzy breaks that with a dropkick but then gets pummelled by Ricky Reyes.

Reyes stays in the ring though and Dixie manages to catch him with an enziguri. Slingshot splash on Romero before he tags out to Izzy. SPRINGBOARD FROG SPLASH FROM IZZY! Izzy gets Reyes with his flipping inverted DDT but Romero makes the save. Reyes muscles Izzy into a spinebuster, then slaps on a Sharpshooter. Dixie outbrawls Romero on the floor then comes into the ring to make the save. Dixie tagged in now and he almost gets dumped on his neck with a belly to belly suplex. SPRINGBOARD SWINGING DDT BY DIXIE! He hurricanrana’s into a pin and gets a 2. Dixie gets kicked right in the face by Romero and Reyes nails a bridging German. IZZY BREAKS THE FALL WITH AN ASAI MOONSAULT! Romero gets tagged but Dixie dropkicks him in the ribs them nails him with a side effect for 2. Slaps from Romero, then a huge high knee for 2. Dixie knees Romero in the back and gets dropkicked off the apron by Reyes as a result. Izzy gets plastered with a knee drop/backbreaker combo from the Rottweilers, and that finally puts Special K away at 13:15.

Rating – *** –
I don’t think I’ve been more pleasantly surprised by anything in nearly three years of watching ROH. That was a really good little tag team match. Lets face it, we all knew Izzy and Dixie weren’t going to win here, but for these two teams to come up with such a well-worked, and well-executed plucky underdog vs dominating heels tag match is really a testament to both of them. With Angeldust’s performance earlier, and Izzy and Dixie’s performance in this one, I’d say the core members of K are really stepping up their game. Sure it’s spotty work, but with sound technical guys like Reyes and Romero to reign their spots in, you get good matches like this as a result. I’d really like to see a rematch! Credit goes to Reyes and Romero though, they didn’t have to make their opponents look this good, but they really did, and as a result their tag title reign has got off on the right foot.

Lacey gets into the ring after the match and yells at Dixie, apparently blaming him for losing the match. She gets into a shouting match with Becky…and soon all of Special K are shoving each other. Izzy has to act as peacemaker as Cheech, Cloudy and Lacey try to fight Dixie, Angeldust and Becky. Eventually they all make up and go to the back. You haven’t heard the last of this angle folks, and for the first time since in nearly two years of existence, I’m really interested in a Special K angle!

Samoa Joe comes out before the start of the next match with messages for both Doug Williams and John Walters. Clearly he’s still pissed off about the Pure Title’s existence. He says it means nothing next to his World Title (he has a point)…and he urges Walters not to choke in his hometown like he does everywhere else.

Doug Williams vs John Walters – ROH Pure Title Match

All the pressure is on John Walters here, because at the start of the summer he guaranteed he’d walk into his hometown of Boston at this show either as a champion, or with a title shot on tonight’s show (which in turn he guaranteed he’d win). He’s got his wish of a title shot, because after making Jack Evans tap out in a 6 man at Death Before Dishonor 2 Part 1, then beating Nigel McGuiness at Testing The Limits, he’s deemed to have earned himself one. Williams returns to ROH after missing the last show. He now has three successful defences to his name, as he defeated both Alex Shelley and Austin Aries at the DBD2 weekend, and also defended against Double C in England.

Williams comes out looking confident, trapping Walters in a surfboard. Goku Raku from Williams, and he goes back to stretch out Walters spine as well. Walters counters and does the exact same thing right back to the Pure Champion. They continue to trade holds on the mat, and Walters looks pretty good hanging with Doug. MutaLock from Walters as he looks to force Williams into taking a rope break. They trade more surfboards, as the common theme for the first five minutes is both men trying to force rope breaks. Walters hits a dropkick, then the leg stunner. Walters goes right after the leg with a bridging toehold but Williams manages to counter out. They throw European uppercuts at each other, before Walters puts Willams in a sharpshooter. That forces Williams to take his first rope break. Rolling deathlock from Walters, before he rips off Bryan Danielson and turns it into a bridging deathlock. That forces Williams to grab the ropes again, and suddenly Walters is up 2-0 on breaks. Walters goes for another leglock…AND WILLIAMS TAKES HIS THIRD ROPE BREAK! He’s at a massive disadvantage now, and surely Walters can’t lose from this position.

Walters tries to tie Williams up in the ropes to force a submission, but Doug fights free. Reverse DDT backbreaker from Williams, but that hurt his own knee. He’s looking desperate but he grabs Walters into a front facelock. He forces a rope break as Walters lifts him over the ropes onto the apron. Williams follows right up with a springboard blockbuster, then an Ace crusher. He’s starting to focus on the neck now, and just in case you missed that, he locks in a Crossface. That forces Walters to take a second break…and suddenly it’s 3-2. Williams follows that up with a camel clutch, and that forces Walters to take his third break. The ropes are in play for both men now, and Williams demonstrates by applying a camel clutch in the ropes. Williams nails a bridging dragon suplex, but he couldn’t hold onto the bridge for a three count thanks to his leg injury. Williams goes to the top rope but Walters cuts him off with a dropkick. SUPER RANA FROM WALTERS…Williams rolls through and almost pins Walters with a small package. Double knee gutbuster from Walters…THEN THE LUNGBLOWER FOR 2! Walters gets sent into the corner…CHAOS THEORY…BUT AGAIN WILLIAMS CAN’T HOLD THE BRIDGE! Walters kicks out at 2! Walters ties Williams leg up in the ropes…and Williams taps at 18:47!

Rating – *** –
Another solid Pure Title match, and that’s something Williams has made the hallmark of his reign. Every Pure Rules match I’ve seen him in has had a sound psychological storyline that has been followed through to a logical conclusion. Like the Aries and Shelley defences at Death Before Dishonor 2, however, this felt a little stunted. I’d really like to see a Pure match go something like 25 minutes so they can really play out the matches better. For instance, in this one, there really wasn’t enough made of Williams attack on the neck. It was useful because it took Walters’ rope breaks away quickly, but then had to be discarded quickly because they had to take it home. Given another five minutes or so of Williams working the neck, this could have been something really dramatic, as Walters had to battle through crippling neck pain to win the belt in his hometown.

Walters gets a nice ovation from the fans for his victory…sadly I don’t think that’ll be repeated outside of his hometown (more on Walters as Pure Champion in a moment). Williams offers a handshake, and I’m sad to see his run as champion end. Still, he’s booked for Glory By Honor 3 next month, so at least he’s not quite finished his run of appearances and heading back to the UK quite yet.

SIDENOTE – on Walters as Pure Champion. To start, I like John Walters, more so than most people. I think his selling is excellent and is technically a very good wrestler. However, I really disagree with him getting the belt. The time to push him was back in the early part of 2004, when he was still hot following his feud with Xavier. By this point, his act has become stale, and fans have started to really notice his weaknesses (such as awful promos and a lack of decent offensive moves bar the lungblower). If ROH are serious about making the Pure Title look like a credible belt, on a par with the World Title, Walters is the wrong man for the job. Williams wasn’t fantastic (given that he’d already lost a World Title match to Joe)…neither was AJ Styles for that matter. However, at least with those guys you had someone who was a credible main-eventer in the eyes of the fans. Walters is a mid-carder. Without a new character (perhaps a heel turn) to go with the title, the belt won’t elevate him. Rather, he’ll drag the belt down to his midcard level. I’m in no doubt he’ll have some really good matches as Pure Champion…however, I also think that around his waist, no matter how good the matches, his current schtick just isn’t over with the fans, and the belt becomes a midcard title.

CM Punk vs Homicide vs Samoa Joe

In case you missed it earlier, the ROH Title isn’t on the line here (Homicide isn’t allowed another one until 2005 anyway – they already backed out of the stipulation that he’s not allowed another one whilst Joe has the belt). What is on the line, however, is a whole lot of pride. These three men are ROH’s main eventers right now. With Styles and Daniels gone, with Danielson and Low Ki frequently in Japan, and with guys like Alex Shelley and Austin Aries still on the rise, it’s these three that are the proverbial “sh*t”. They’re on every show, are involved in all the major angles and have provided some memorable matches this year. Homicide is obviously still feuding with Joe as he’s the leader of the Rottweilers, whilst CM Punk is still fishing for an ROH Title rematch given that he went to a time limit draw with Joe at World Title Classic. Both Punk and Joe will be pissed off with Homicide because after that 60 minute epic, Homicide came out and disrespected both of them, then stole Joe’s new title belt. Homicide has Smokes and Romero in his corner…

Homicide makes the referee where his Yankees shirt…but the ref gets a pop by throwing it down. Punk and Joe then take it in turns to disrespect the shirt. Everyone dishes out armdrags to start with, after 2 minutes of stalling. Joe and Punk both want Homicide after World Title Classic, and that’s not good for him. They send Homicide over with a back body drop then go after each other. Chop/kick combo from Punk but Homicide trips him before he can continue to steal moves from Joe with a knee drop. Homicide pulls out a fork but Punk knocks it out of his hand. Joe wipes out both of them and takes the fork for himself. Homicide throws Punk into the rail then trades elbows with Joe. Punk comes back with a tilta-whirl backbreaker on Homicide. Bootscrapes follow that, and Punk immediately flips out of a German suplex from Joe. He gets pressed on top of Homicide though, THEN dumped on his head with a German. Joe with a powerslam on Homicide for 2. Joe goes for a cross armbreaker, and Homicide has to grab the ropes.

Joe sends Homicide to the floor with a slap which sets him up for the ELBOW SUICIDAAAAAAA! OLE OLE KICK NAILED! Now Joe’s pulled out the fork! HE STABS HOMICIDE IN THE HEAD WITH IT! Cide is trapped against the railings as Joe hacks away at his forehead. Shades of Generation Next when Homicide forked him!

Joe goes for another Ole Ole kick but Punk cuts him off with a spear. Punk takes Homicide back into the ring and focuses on the head wound without mercy. Homicide comes back with dragon screws then puts Punk into a figure 4. Joe breaks that with huge knee drops for both men. Joe slaps at Homicide, but then takes a back suplex. Punk and Homicide brawl on the apron and eventually stumble through the table. On the floor Homicide PILEDRIVES PUNK INTO THE TABLE SHARDS! I imagine they were going for a piledriver off the apron there. Back in the ring Joe dishes out an STO slam for Homicide…then the powerbomb into an STF…COMPLETE WITH FORK STABBING! Joe wants to apply a crossface, but can’t get a good grip because of all the blood. Homicide blocks a clothesline and drops Joe with an Ace crusher. Punk comes back with a springboard dropkick on Cide. Sitout shinbreaker from Joe on Punk…but after Homicide boots Joe in the face Punk lays Cide out with a shining wizard. Homicide up – DEVIL LOCK DDT ON PUNK! Joe is up and he uses an Ace crusher on Homicide! Punk grabs Joe – KNEE STRIKES…CHOKE! Homicide goes to the top and breaks Punk’s Choke with a double stomp. Homicide takes CM Punk to the top where he goes for a Pepsi Plunge. Punk fights back and Homicide shoves him off. Joe throws Homicide out of the corner and goes after Punk on the top rope. PUNK NAILS JOE WITH THE PEPSI PLUNGE! HOMICIDE WITH A LARIAT ON PUNK! HE THEN COVERS JOE FOR THE VICTORY!! He can’t have another title shot for a few months, but Homicide just got the last laugh on Joe and became the ‘Icon of ROH’ at 20:31.

Rating – **** –
There’s a lot of people that really don’t like this match, and apparently it was pretty disappointing live. However, I enjoyed this a lot, and think it’s one of the most underrated matches this year. If you don’t watch it expecting a Punk/Joe classic or Danielson/Aries technical perfection, you might really enjoy this as it’s simply a lot of fun. The fork spots add some (somewhat unnecessary) brutality, whilst throughout the match the continual theft of each other’s moves is really entertaining. It’s Homicide who, for me, was the stand-out performer in this. Much as he has throughout 2004, he really made the most of his heel character, both through facial expression, selling and of course, his offence. Turning him heel at the Reborn shows was possibly Gabe’s brightest move as ROH’s Head Booker (and that’s saying a lot)…for almost 2 years now Homicide has been one of the most consistent wrestlers on the roster and throughout 2004 he has consistently been at the forefront of the major storylines and looked perfectly at home there.

Trent Acid is backstage eyeing up a section of the Scramble Cage. He won the first Scramble Cage match as part of the Backseat Boyz, and points out that he’s the king of the multi-man match. He proved it at Death Before Dishonor 2 and everything. I guess that means he’s confident of winning.

Back in the ring Generation Next ambush CM Punk from behind. Ace Steel tries to make the save but the numbers overwhelm him as well. Cabana comes out with his head and shoulder heavily bandaged, and incredibly the Saints manage to beat GeNext out of the ring…WHERE CABANA HITS THEM WITH AN ASAI MOONSAULT! Ace runs GeNext off as Cabana is screaming in pain again. He gets checked by a doctor as it’s time for intermission.

INTERMISSION – Shawn Price is with Allison Danger…who looks so incredibly hot it’s unreal. She’s almost orgasmic because she denied Maff and Whitmer a tag title shot and booked them in the cage instead. She wants to see them hurt and bleed and die in the match.

Altar Boy Luke vs Outcast Killaz vs Fast Eddie vs Dunn & Marcos vs Carnage Crew vs Jack Evans vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer vs Trent Acid – Scramble Cage Melee Match

Quite the line-up for this, the third Scramble Cage match in ROH history. However, the rules for this one are a little different from the first two (hence this is Scramble Cage Melee folks!). There’s no wargames entry here, everyone starts in the ring at the same time, and to eliminate someone, rather than pin them, you have to dive off one of the cage platforms and hit someone. Yes, that’s correct, suicidal moves only to eliminate someone. This possibly is among the most insane booking ideas ever, but it’ll produce one hell of a match – assuming nobody dies. Despite the fact that there are several teams in this, it’s technically every man for himself. Luke is making his ROH debut, clearly he has plans to pull a Jack Evans and earn a spot by near-killing himself. Fast Eddie is back for the first time since War Of The Wire (I think) for some much-needed blind stupidity. The Outcast Killaz and Dunn & Marcos have a rivalry stretching back to their days on the ring crew, but now the OCK have extra pressure on them because Nana wants them to win it for The Embassy. The Carnage Crew stole a win over Maff and Whitmer at Testing The Limit thanks to Allison Danger, and given that Allison also booked Dan and BJ in this rather than the Tag title match earlier, you figure they’ll be pissed off. Jack Evans needs a win as he’s been losing a few matches for GeNext recently and doesn’t want to be perceived as the weak link. Trent Acid says he’s the king of the multi-man match…and baby this is the MOTHER of all multi-man matches right here. The winner gets “10 times his usual pay”.

The Carnage Crew and Maff and Whitmer get in each others faces before the bell, and when it finally does ring there’s just brawling all over the place. As the biggest guy in the match, Dan Maff dominates early. He press slams poor Marcos into the cage, then HALF NELSON SUPLEXES Acid right into him. The ring starts to empty a little as Loc dumps Eddie on his head with a suplex. The Killaz and the Ring Crew Express are fighting on the floor now. All that’s left in the ring are the Crew and Maff and Whitmer so you’d better believe the fight is on. DeVito and Loc are soon bleeding all over the place after repeated trips into the cage. Maff suplexes Loc into the cage on one side, as on the other DeVito gives Whitmer a northern lights into the corner. DeVito climbs up onto a platform…AND NAILS A MOONSAULT ELIMINATING MAFF AND WHITMER! The Carnage Crew get the one up on Maff and Whitmer again! The former Prophecy guys aren’t going quietly though, as the fight between these four guys just doesn’t stop. Eddie and Trent take over in the ring now, but we’re mostly following the brawl in the aisle with Maff and Whitmer. The RCE hit an assisted Sliced Bread #2 on Acid but the Killaz soon arrive to continue that fight.

Luke and Evans take out the Outcast Killaz, before Luke wipes out Evans with a corkscrew enzi. Luke scales a platform now…SWANTON BOMB TO MAFF, WHITMER, LOC AND DEVITO ON THE FLOOR! The Carnage Crew are eliminated as well now! Fast Eddie dumps Diablo Santiago on his head with a Russian legsweep suplex. Electric chair senton by Dunn & Marcos on Eddie. Now they head to different platforms. Eddie grabs Marcos though…AND DUNN MISSES A STAGE DIVE! THAT’S SHEER LUNACY! Eddie grabs Marcos on the other platform…MOONSAULT BELLY TO BELLY SUPERPLEX ONTO THE OUTCAST KILLAZ AND DUNN! That’s the Altar Boy Luke, the Outcast Killaz and the Ring Crew Express eliminated…and Fast Eddie has to be carried to the back injured as well!

It’s down to Jack Evans and Trent Acid! Evans ducks everything Acid can throw at him then delivers a dropkick. Acid comes back with an elbow them scales a platform. Evans tries to pull him down and gets a TOP ROPE REVERSE HURRICANRANA! Acid is limping badly, and you have to wonder how healthy his ankle is after the Samoa Joe match at Testing The Limit. Evans counters the inverted brainbuster with a reverse DDT. Acid blocks a standing corkscrew senton from Evans – YAKUZA KICK! INVERTED BRAINBUSTER SCORES! Acid struggles up onto a platform, but Evans has recovered and follows him up. RANA OFF THE PLATFORM FROM EVANS! He goes back up to the platform…oh dear god no…630 SENTON OFF THE CAGE – DAAAAAANGEROOOOOUUUUUS! EVANS WINS…EVANS WINS…EVANS WINS!

Rating – **** –
That was probably the most insane of all the Scramble Cages right there. It literally took my breath away how many different ways these men came up with to risk their lives. There was no reason to book such a ridiculous match, but since it was there, by goodness these men put everything on the line to put on a great show. Much like Main Event Spectacles last November, Evans completely stole the show with that performance. Himself and Trent Acid nearly killed themselves in the last few minutes, and I ate it up. One of the best spotfests in wrestling…period.

Doctors have to tend to both men after that, as the applause they get is deafening.

Backstage Lacey comforts Izzy and calls the rest of Special K losers. Becky doesn’t find that especially endearing and gets all alpha female. Lacey and Izzy head off with Cheech and Cloudy, leaving Dixie, Angeldust and Becky pissed off.

John Walters closes the show in typically robotic fashion, triumphant with the Pure Title over his shoulder. Walters wasn’t happy that Joe belittled him and the Pure Title earlier. At Glory By Honor 3, he and Joe get to pick each other’s challengers for their respective belts. Walters picks Doug Williams to challenge Joe, and doesn’t fear whoever Joe picks.

Also signed for Glory By Honor 3 (according to a caption at the bottom of the screen) is Ultimate Endurance II for the Tag Titles, CM Punk vs Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson vs Alex Shelley and, of course, Mick Foley is making his debut.

Tape Rating – *** –
ROH has only gone and done it again. Much like Part 1 of the DBD2 weekend, a show that was largely criticized as a poor show (by ROH standards at least) has turned out a really consistent event. It’s totally skippable (although a better show than Testing The Limit, which I deemed ‘must see’ due to the Danielson/Aries clash) because aside from the Cabana injury, nothing major really happens (unless you are big Maff/Whitmer or Carnage Crew fans…their feud got advanced). However, aside from Strong/Steel and Rave/Angeldust (which is still surprisingly decent) everything about this show is pretty damn good, and the main event is just an extravaganza of high spot madness. If you liked the Scramble Cage from Main Event Spectacles, then you probably need to see this show as well. I felt the Homicide/Joe/Punk match is underrated, but lets be honest, unless you’re a completist, you’re buying this for the Scramble Cage Melee. I certainly didn’t feel my money was misspent.

Top 3 Matches

3) John Walters vs Doug Williams (***)

2) Homicide vs Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (****)

1) Scramble Cage Melee (****)

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