ROH 51 – Joe vs Punk II – 16th October 2004
Back in Chicago, and it’s time for the most anticipated rematch in ROH. World Title Classic was aptly named, as Joe and Punk went to a 60 minute draw. Tonight it’s the rematch, it’s the main event, it’s the match that the internet is raving about. Elsewhere, Alex Shelley and Jimmy Jacobs blow off their feud in an ‘I Quit’ Match, which also has quite the reputation. Mick Foley and Ricky Steamboat will clash again, leading their respective hardcore and pure wrestling teams into battle – Maff and Whitmer vs McGuiness and Collyer. The popular Generation Next combination of Roderick Strong and Jack Evans have a big match tonight as they face Homicide and Rocky Romero. Plus it’s the first chance we get to look at the first year graduates from the ROH Wrestling School (they were on the Midnight Express Reunion convention card though). We’re in Chicago Ridge, IL. Commentating are Jimmy Bower and Mark Nulty.
Contenders Ring –
CM Punk opens the show, and it’s a massive night. He challenges for the ROH Title in his hometown. Punk says he has the advantage tonight because nobody beats him in Chicago.
Generation Next blame Steamboat for their loss last night. Austin Aries isn’t here tonight because he was injured by the Pepsi Plunge in the 6-Man tag. Shelley promises to rid himself of Jimmy Jacobs once and for all tonight. They’re also excited because it’s the first meeting of Generation Next and The Rottweilers – and Shelley guarantees victory in that as well. Jack Evans break dances.
The show is supposed to open with Davey Andrews against TJ Dalton. These two are graduates from the ROH Wrestling School, trained by CM Punk. However, before they even get going the Carnage Crew come down and clobber them. They’re pissed that Foley didn’t put them over with his Ring Of Hardcore stuff, and that Foley counted Loc’s shoulders down last night whilst he was in a trash can. They’re gonna get hardcore on Maff and Whitmer too when it’s all said and done.
Delirious vs Jay Lethal
Lethal really needs a win in this one. Since going solo he has one fourway win and one win over Matt Stryker…and that’s it. Not great for Samoa Joe’s protégé really. He lost to Chad Collyer last night as well. Delirious is a popular part-time act in ROH, and got a win last night teaming with Jimmy Jacobs. It’s probably his biggest main show singles match to date.
Delirious hits an early hurricanrana, then busts out the palm strikes for 2. Backbreaker from Lethal for 2. Rydien bomb from Delirious, then the Regal Stretch, and Lethal has to grab the ropes. Jay responds with a jumping heel kick. He takes Delirious to the top rope, but the lizard-man fights back and scores with a flying headscissors. They chop each other before Delirious eventually bails. Lethal follows him out and carries on chopping him on the floor. Delirious goes to the top rope and reverse rana’s Lethal into a guillotine over the top rope. He goes upstairs again as Lethal falls to the floor and dives off with a somersault plancha. Lethal avoids the frog splash and hits a clothesline for 2. Delirious blocks the dragon suplex but Lethal drops him with a swinging neckbreaker. He goes to the top now for the diving headbutt…BUT DELIRIOUS COUNTERS WITH AN ACE CRUSHER! FROG SPLASH TO THE BACK…FOR 2! Delirious gets another 2 with a running elbow smash. DRAGON SUPLEX FROM LETHAL! That’s enough to earn him a win at 08:19.
Rating – ** – Not amazing by any stretch of the imagination but it was ok. I liked the conclusion, but the opening few minutes just seemed a little tedious. Nothing wrong with the execution, but the match lacked a little flow. Fortunately, the finish has the crowd buzzing, and that’s what an opener is for anyway.
Samoa Joe says in the 60 minute draw, all CM Punk proved is that he couldn’t beat Joe…and you don’t get the belt by just surviving.
Tracy Brooks vs Daizee Haze
Tracy’s return to ROH this weekend really does indicate TNA loosening their grip on the embargo on TNA talent performing in ROH. They’ve allowed Alex Shelley to continue appearing for months, and now allowing Tracy to come back for her first appearances since the Second Anniversary Show. Could the returns of Daniels and Styles be on the horizon? Anyway, this is an exhibition of women’s wrestling…and the first time a woman’s match has made a main show since Alexis Laree vs Becky Bayless in August 2003. ROH is contemplating a serious women’s division in 2005 (after the success of a similar endeavour in IWA-MS)…these two will no doubt be key figures should they decide to do it.
Mark Nulty demonstrates all he knows about women’s sports as they run a nearfalls sequence. They go to a test of strength, which Brooks wins because she has a size advantage, but eventually Daizee monkey flips out of it and almost pins Tracy again. Gutwrench suplex from Tracy for 2. Forearms from Haze, then a running strike for 2. Missile dropkick from Daizee for another 2. Haze goes for a stunner, but Tracy blocks it. Tracy goes for a DVD but Haze escapes that and this time hits a stunner. NO SOLD by Tracy, who hits a lariat and wins at 03:43.
Rating – * – I’ve generously given them a star for that, seeing as given it’s miserly time allocation, it never really had a chance. I said back in the days of Alexis Laree that I had no interest in seeing womens matches in ROH, and I still don’t. I haven’t seen a huge amount of the female wrestling from IWA-MS, but what I’ve seen I haven’t been overwhelmed by. There’s a crapload of amazingly talented male wrestlers not in ROH. I’d much rather see a Chris Hero, an Arik Cannon or a Super Dragon get a run of shows, rather than a boatload of women for 5 minute exhibitions.
Angeldust vs Trent Acid vs Matt Sydal vs Josh Daniels
Jobber fourway action here. Angeldust is part of the constantly winless Special K, but has looked impressive in recent months after adopting a somewhat more serious attitude. Josh Daniels has been booked in fourways throughout October, and put in good showings at both Midnight Express Reunion and Gold. Sydal and Acid clashed yesterday, with Sydal stealing a shock upset, which Acid will be looking to avenge tonight.
Daniels and Angeldust start, and with Daniels rocking Dust with some chops. Lots of nearfalls, before Daniels sits on a side headlock. Sydal tags in with Angeldust, as the fans chant for Trent Acid. Tilta-whirl backbreaker from Angeldust, followed by the cobra clutch backbreaker, before tagging out to Acid. Hurricanana from Sydal, before Acid slings him over the turnbuckle to the floor. Daniels clotheslines Acid out but Acid blocks a tope attempt. SYDAL DOUBLE STOMP ON DANIELS, INTO AN AXEHANDLE ON ACID! MOONSAULT PLANCHA FROM ANGELDUST! Acid feeds Sydal and Angeldust to chops from Daniels, then comes in to give him a blue thunder driver. Angeldust kicks Daneiels in the spine, but gets elbowed in the face and lifted onto the top rope. DOUBLE STOMP to Daniels…Acid hits a Yakuza kick on Angeldust. Sydal goes for a shooting star press but lands on his feet. Acid nails him with the inverted brainbuster, and pins, but Daniels has already stolen a three count with a German suplex on Angeldust. Match time was 06:33. Acid doesn’t win a multi-man again.
Rating – * – It gets a star for a few decent spots, but frankly this was short and rubbish. Acid looked slow, I need to check out some of Sydal’s stuff from IWA-MS because he’s nothing more than a spotmerchant in ROH. Angeldust did nothing and Daniels was the best of a bad bunch. Utterly forgettable encounter.
Ricky Steamboat and Mick Foley send their respective teams to the floor to have another confrontation. Steamboat says that his style of wrestling is better than Foley’s. He disses the Maff/Whitmer/Carnage Crew feud as garbage…then disses Foley’s novels. Foley says being a good pure wrestler is being like a good softcore porn actor. Foley disses Ric Flair, which pisses off Steamboat…so Steamboat rips on Terry Funk. More Flair bashing from Foley…this is awesome stuff.
Nigel McGuiness/Chad Collyer vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer
It’s Ring Of Honor vs Ring of Hardcore – Steamboat vs Foley in this one. Last night they had a memorable war of words in Dayton, and eventually agreed to pitch Maff and Whitmer against two pure wrestlers of Ricky’s choosing. He picked the impressive Nigel McGuiness, who comes off big back to back wins against Homicide and in a fourway last night. Collyer has a reputation of being a solid pure worker, putting on numerous good matches with Matt Stryker in 2003 (winning all of them) then picking up a win last night over Jay Lethal. Maff and Whitmer beat the Carnage Crew last night in an abysmal hardcore match. Chad and Nigel have Steamboat in their corner, whilst Foley is in Maff and Whitmer’s.
Whitmer and McGuiness start, and Nigel bewitches BJ with his chain-wrestling skills. Collyer in and he’s too quick on the mat for Whitmer as well. Maff tagged, and Collyer is even able to ride him in a front facelock. McGuiness comes back, and he works Maff’s arm so intelligently he even holds onto it as Maff slams him. Armdrag from McGuiness, into an armbar. Whitmer tagged in, and he gets exactly the same treatment. The Carnage Crew run in and brawl with Maff and Whitmer, meaning the match is thrown out at 04:44. Steamboat is irate and calls them dickheads. Steamboat starts fighting with the Carnage Crew and swings a chair at them. Foley restarts the match under hardcore rules and immediately Whitmer takes the advantage. Maff throws Collyer to the floor whilst Nigel throws Whitmer into the rails. Foley smacks McGuiness in the head with a microphone as Maff and Collyer are out in the crowd. Maff hits Collyer with a trash can, before tossing him to Foley who scores with a chair shot. Whitmer hits McGuiness with a chair so hard it gets stuck around his neck. Back in the ring with Whitmer raking Collyer in the eye. EXPLODER ON A CHAIR! Steamboat comes back and tells McGuiness to stop brawling and wrestle. McGuiness busts out the British style and rolls Whitmer up for three at 10:16. Steamboat 1-0 Foley
Rating – * – I really like the Foley/Steamboat feud, but the match sucked. It looked good early as a wrestling match, with Collyer and McGuiness proving their wrestling skills and working the arms well…but as soon as it broke down to a brawl it sucked. The finish was clever and advances the angle, but getting there felt so much longer than 10 minutes.
INTERMISSION – Prazak has Trent Acid who sits on the floor looking pretty glum. Acid says if he doesn’t stop losing he’s just gonna snap.
Carnage Crew vs TJ Dalton/Davey Andrews
Well, the ROH students get their chance at revenge right away. Loc and DeVito beat them up to open the show…now they face them in a match. Andrews is apparently the top graduate from the first class.
Andrews and Dalton hit early dropkicks, then a back body drop on DeVito. Double flapjack on Loc, before they mount opposite turnbuckles to hammer away. Doomsday Device on Dalton after Andrews got dumped to the floor. Loc drops an elbow from the second rope on Dalton. DeVito comes in and it’s CROSSFACE TIME! Dalton somehow tags out to Andrews, who scores with reverse elbows on Loc and DeVito. Carnageplex on Andrews. SPLASH MOUNTAIN NECKBREAKER on Dalton! The Spike Piledriver puts Andrews away at 04:21.
Rating – DUD – Not unsurprisingly, that was a total squash. However, I’m sure the ring time on a big ROH show like this will be invaluable to the young talent. Andrews in particular looked pretty good considering he was in his second ever match.
Homicide/Rocky Romero vs Generation Next
GeNext is Evans and Strong. This combination has looked good the previous times we’ve seen them, and now they finally get the chance to shine in a big tag match. Homicide beat CM Punk last night in an impressive opener, whilst Rocky Romero put on a decent show in a losing effort against Samoa Joe. If GeNext can get a win here (over half of the tag champions), you have to believe they’ll be right in the Tag Title picture. The two factions clashed in a brawl at Midnight Express Reunion…and this match is a result.
It’s a fight to start, with Romero and Strong immediately going to the floor stiffing each other. MOONSAULT KICK from Evans to Homicide and Homicide rolls out. TOPE CON HILO BY EVANS! Romero knees Strong in the jaw, then he and Homicide take it in turns to lay in stiff kicks. Double stomp off the second rope from Homicide. He gets 2 with a bridging northern lights suplex. Romero throws out more kicks then a knee drop. Big boot from Homicide in the corner but Strong finally manages to tag out. Snap suplex from Evans for 2. STANDING Phoenix splash from Evans with a boost from Strong gets another nearfall. Strong press slams Jack into Homicide in the corner. Double underhook suplex from Strong, then the Picture Perfect elbow. Diving crossbody off the top from Evans, but Homicide soon hangs him on the ropes for a SLINGSHOT DDT! Romero in, and Evans throws a couple of shots in before getting sent flying with a slap. Camel clutch from Romero, which Roderick breaks with a huge chop to the back. Double foot choke in the corner from the Rottweilers, then a big running knee from Homicide.
Homicide hits a T-bone suplex on Jack, and Strong has to break the count. Romero unloads kicks and slaps on poor Evans, then puts him in a Boston crab. Homicide comes in and puts him in a camel clutch as well. Alabamaslam from Homicide, before he catapults him into a slap then a knee drop from Romero. Romero and Homicide heave Evans up and dump him over the top rope onto Strong on the floor. Homicide goes to the top rope but MISSES a diving headbutt…and Evans makes the tag. TORTURE WRACK MOONSAULT ON THE ROTTWEILERS! Homicide blocks a German suplex and kicks Strong in the nuts. DOOMSDAY BULLDOG on Strong for 2. Evans tags in with a springboard corkscrew enziguri. Homicide puts Evans in a front choke as Romero puts Strong in a triangle choke. Rod powers out of that and breaks Homicide’s submission. PILEDRIVER ON STRONG by Homicide, but Evans hits another spinning kick on him. Evans sets up for the 630 on Romero but Homicide cuts him off WITH A DOUBLE UNDERHOOK SUPERPLEX! Tiger Driver by Homicide BUT STRONG SAVES! LARIAT ON EVANS BY HOMICIDE…but Romero’s the legal man. Romero with knee strikes on Strong. Double suplex on Strong for 2. Strong Yakuza kicks Romero…DOUBLE KNEE GUTBUSTER ON HOMICIDE! SPLASH MOUNTAIN ACE CRUSHER ON ROMERO…630 SENTON FROM EVANS! GeNext win it at 17:30.
Rating – *** – Great tag match, hurt only by horrific legal man stuff. Homicide and Romero blended surprisingly well as a team, as Homicide has a lot of cool moves, whilst Romero comes in with his variety of powerful strikes. Strong and Evans again look impressive, and are right in line for a title shot now. That should be a good match, and it’s good to see Rod Strong finally get some of the spotlight on himself, as he has been so unappreciated in Generation Next.
Homicide demands that the Rottweilers shake their opponents hands…COP KILLA ON EVANS! Well who didn’t see that coming!? Romero says they can have a title shot. ‘Chicago, I f*cking hate you all…Thank you very much’ – Homicide.
Alex Shelley vs Jimmy Jacobs – ‘I Quit’ Match
This feud finally comes to an end tonight in Chicago, where a lot of its most significant moments have took place. At Reborn Stage 2 Shelley finally turned on Jacobs, slapping him down after they lost a Scramble Match. At Death Before Dishonor 2 Part 2 Shelley pinned Jacobs in a decent match…so tonight it’s their final encounter. Shelley already holds two pinfall victories over Jacobs, from The Last Stand and DBD2, but Jacobs was part of the team that beat Generation Next last night at ROH Gold.
Jacobs spears Shelley down and clubbers away. Shelley slams Jimmy’s head into the turnbuckle, which of course never works. Shelley tosses Jacobs to the floor, but Jimmy slams his head into the rail…then climbs onto the apron for A FLYING HEADSCISSORS INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Shelley backdrops Jacobs into the ropes, but Jimmy springs back…for ANOTHER headscissors into the rail. Jacobs takes a chair from the crowd – CHAIR GUILLOTINE…but Shelley refuses to quit. Shelley blocks the Contra Code on the floor…SHELLSHOCK INTO THE GUARDRAIL! He follows it with a Russian legsweep into the railings. DDT ON THE APRON from Shelley. Shelley takes Jacobs onto the apron again, and this time double stomps the back of his head. Back in the ring – SKULLF*CK ON A CHAIR! Jacobs refuses to quit, but he is taking a hammering. NECKBREAKER ON A CHAIR FROM JACOBS! He drives a chair into Shelley’s ribs, then cracks him across the back. Jacobs pulls a metal spike out of his boot…SUPERKICK from Shelley. Shelley takes the spike and starts raking at Jacobs’ forehead, leaving Jimmy bleeding.
Shelley opens a chair up. Jacobs goes for the Contra Code again, but Shelley blocks…TOMBSTONE THROUGH THE CHAIR! Shelley retrieves a Singapore cane from under the ring then tapes Jacobs’ hands to the turnbuckle. ‘Now would TNA ever let you do something like this?’ – Fan to Shelley. Shelley takes the cane…AND BRUTALISES JACOBS WITH IT! Jacobs refuses to quit and low blows Shelley. Jacobs pulls ANOTHER spike out of his boots and uses it to cut through the tape. Shelley knocks the spike out of his hands with the cane…YAKUZA KICK FROM JACOBS! He stomps away at Shelley in the corner then canes him across the back. Camel clutch with the cane, but Shelley isn’t quitting either. Jacobs goes to the top but misses his senton bomb. Shelley grabs the cane and the spike…CANE SHOT…SPIKE SHOT…CANE SHOT AGAIN…MORE SPIKE STABBING! BORDER CITY STRETCH! Jacobs STILL doesn’t quit and stops his arm dropping for a third time. INVERTED PEDIGREE SCORES! Jacobs goes back to the top…SENTON BOMB SCORES! BORDER CITY STRETCH ON SHELLEY! Shelley doesn’t quit, so Jacobs sets up a chair on two open chairs. Shelley blocks another Contra Code attempt with the cane…CROSS LEGGED BRAINBUSTER THROUGH THE CHAIRS! BORDER CITY STRETCH! Jacobs finally quits at 16:46…what a match!
Rating – **** – Absolutely brutal match from these two, and it was something different, something that we haven’t seen in ROH before. Their first two matches were good technical bouts, with Shelley softening up the neck for the Border City Stretch. This one was two guys wanting to steal the show and absolutely destroying each other to do it. Jimmy Jacobs took an absolute beating and still kept coming back…whilst Shelley proved he can turn his hand to just about anything, from pure wrestling, to multi-person tags to hardcore spotfests. A surprising gem of a match is this, and it caps off a great weekend for these guys, they have had two really good matches.
Shelley prepares to destroy Jimmy with a cane…and he’s joined by Rod Strong to help him. Ricky Steamboat finally comes out and runs them off. The Carnage Crew come out and jump Steamer for fighting with them earlier during the tag match. Mick Foley out with Maff and Whitmer…MANDIBLE CLAW ON DEVITO…DOUBLE ARM DDT ON LOC! Foley just saved Steamboat…it’s SO Steamboat 1-1 Foley now.
Samoa Joe vs CM Punk – ROH World Title Match
Before intermission, this show was really poor…but it doesn’t matter. The two matches post-intermission have been pretty decent…but it doesn’t matter. This is what everyone came to see. The first time they met back in June they went 60 minutes. Punk used his rope-a-dope technique to wear Joe down. He perceived Joe’s only weakness to be his inability to go long…and was wrong. Joe proved another theory wrong, and neither man could get the win. Tonight is the rematch…and this time it’s in Punk’s hometown. It won’t be an even split like Dayton, Punk will have the people right behind him. Will that be enough to push him to the belt? Will either man change his tactics after the first bout? Will we be going long again? Has Joe been worn down still further after a long few months, defending against Homicide, Colt Cabana, Trent Acid, Doug Williams, Bryan Danielson and Rocky Romero? So many questions…screw it lets rock. Oh yeah…originally this was going to be Joe vs Steve Corino. This is better.
Both men get streamers, and this just oozes big-match feel. Joe throws Punk down from lock-ups early, just in case you didn’t realise he was stronger. Punk baits him in to doing it a third time and nails a drop toehold. Headlock from Punk, just like he used so effectively in Dayton. Hammerlock from Joe which he uses to ground Punk and negate the speed advantage. Rolling legsweep from Joe, into the camel clutch. Punk goes right back to the headlock, and that immediately slows Joe’s offensive momentum. Joe tries to counter with a back suplex but Punk rolls through it and slaps the headlock right back on. Joe gets Punk to the ropes, and he’s pissed off with the headlocks so doesn’t give Punker a clean break. Punk comes back with a cravat, which he turns back to the headlock again, and it’s clear he wants to make this go long and wear Joe out again. Jay Lethal is in Joe’s corner, but he’s watching Joe get dominated right now. Joe finally hits a back suplex, but Punk STILL holds onto the headlock. Punk goes for a series of shoulder blocks, but finally takes E HONDA SLAPS! They charge through some near miss stuff and Punk almost puts Joe away with a schoolboy and Joe goes to the floor to rethink his strategy. Punk tries to ride Joe with a front facelock, but Joe keeps escaping. Headbutts from Joe, then more slaps. Punk comes back with slaps of his own…SO JOE KICKS HIM IN THE HEAD! Punk slumps to the floor and lies in a heap. Joe forces Punk to the mat in a knucklelock. Punk breaks it by kicking Joe’s arm, and he goes to work on it in a flash. Armdrag from Punk, then a dropkick to the shoulder. He forces Joe to the mat with a hammerlock, and clearly he’s decided to go after the arm here at the 20 minute mark. Punk goes to the ropes and nails the ROPE WALK LEG DROP OVER THE ARM! Chinlock from Punk, but he hooks the arm too. Armdrag from Punk, into the armbar, as Joe really has not got out of the blocks thus far. Punk dropkicks the arm again. Joe floors Punk with a forearm. Punk blocks the chop/kick combo…and goes right back to the headlock!
Joe tries to force Punk through the ropes but Punk holds onto it. Headlock outside…BUT JOE BACK SUPLEXES PUNK ON THE FLOOR! Punk tries to block the chop/kick combo again, but Joe responds by chopping and kicking him harder, then dropping the knee. Bootscrapes from Joe, but Punk avoids the running strike. Bootscrapes from Punk, and he scores with the running bootscrape too. Punk goes to the top rope and rides Joe to the mat with a knee in the spine. Joe goes for an STF, but instead hauls Punk over into an inverted STF. Punk goes for a springboard crossbody, but Joe just moves aside. Back suplex backbreaker from Joe, then a stalling vertical suplex for 2. Chops from Punk, and he jumps over Joe’s rolling legsweep then dropkicks him in the face. Boston crab from Joe and Punk yells in pain before grabbing the ropes. Kawada kicks from Joe, so Punk B*TCHSLAPS him. They trade forearms, before Joe wipes Punk out with a European uppercut. Kicks from Joe, then more bootscrapes. Punk with FLYING HEADSCISSORS sends Joe to the floor…TOPE NAILED! Punk sets Joe up in a chair…OLE OLE KICK THEFT! Round the ring we go for MORE OLE OLE KICK THIEVERY! Punk goes to the apron for another headscissors…AND JOE SWINGS HIM INTO THE GUARDRAIL! Punk made the exact same error at World Title Classic. Big kicks from Joe…but Punk blocks the Ole Ole Kick. They stiff lumps out of each other on the floor, before Joe forces Punk back into the chair. OLE OLE KICK SCORES! Back in the ring Punk sends Joe into the corner with a headscissors. He runs in, which is never wise…STO SLAM! Punk misses a shoulder block through the ropes and gets BOOTED off the apron. Joe takes a run up – ELBOW SUICIDAAAAAA! The commentators bail to watch in the crowd…I hate this gimmick. Joe and Punk fight on the apron…AND JOE GIVES PUNK A DDT! Back in the ring Punk dropkicks Joe’s knee, but Joe comes right back with a spear for 2. Joe goes to the top rope…AND MISSES A HUGE FROG SPLASH!
Both men trade shots on their knees, before Punk gets up to hit his mule kick, then a jumping enziguri. More mule kicks from Punk, but Joe takes him over with a powerslam, then locks in a cross armbreaker. Punk makes the ropes and both men are feeling the burn now. Hurricanrana from Punk, then a mafia kick for 2. Punk lifts Joe onto the ropes to drop him with a neckbreaker but that’s still only good for a 2. Joe blocks a tornado DDT but Punk recovers and nails a swinging DDT…but again only for 2. Headlock from Punk but he’s far weaker now and Joe escapes with some ease. LARIAT FROM JOE…for 2. He drops Punk with a gutbuster, then knees through his head. Brainbuster scores, but Punk kicks out. DEVIL LOCK DDT FROM PUNK…ONLY GOOD FOR 2!! Joe blocks the Pepsi Twist and powerbombs Punk hard, then switches to the STF. CRIPPLER CROSSFACE!! PUNK MAKES THE ROPES!! Punk blocks a dragon suplex attempt then dropkicks the knee again. SHINING WIZARD…2 COUNT! Pepsi Twist connects this time, but Punk ascends to the top. MOOOOONSAAAAAUULT…AND JOE STILL KICKS OUT! Slaps from Joe…PUNK LOCKS IN THE CHOKE! Joe escapes that…they both hit clotheslines, and they’re both down with 57 minutes gone! Punk goes to the top and tries to drag Joe up after him…but Joe is blocking the Pepsi Plunge. Forearms from Joe…but Punk fires back with shots of his own. Headbutts from Joe…AND HE NAILS A SUPERPLEX! 59 minutes gone!! Joe lifts Punk to the top rope…BUT PUNK FIGHTS BACK! MUUUUUSCLEBUSTEEEEEEEEER!! TIME LIMIT EXPIRED!! I have 60:06…but that matters not. It’s ANOTHER time limit draw…
Rating – ***** – Yep, they’ve gone and done it again. Another 60 minutes, another 5* match. If possible, that was actually better than the World Title Classic. Unlike the June match, there was no five minute period where they looked like they were stalling for time. This flowed seamlessly from one segment to the next with absolutely no signs of stalling. Hell, there was only one messy spot all match, right before Punk went for the Choke. Unlike June, the pacing of the match was far better, and Samoa Joe still looked like he had a lot in the tank at the 60 minute mark, whereas last time it was visible Punk was walking him through the closing moments. Joe vs Punk 2 also has a far better end, with Joe dropping the Musclebuster at the bell. And the advantage the rematch has is that it can play off the last match. Punk tweaked his strategy from the first match, and it was awesome to watch. Clearly he decided rope-a-dope didn’t help too much last time, but the idea of wearing Joe out and making him go long did. For the first 30 minutes he literally did everything possible to slow Joe down and wear him out. However, as soon as it became Joe’s striking, high-impact match, Joe came right back, and in the last 10 minutes both men were just fighting hammer and tongs to snatch the win. Perhaps the key for Punk was, he needed to hit the Pepsi Plunge. He hit it at World Title Classic but then he fell out of the ring. We know it can beat Joe, because Homicide pinned the champion at Scramble Cage Melee after Punk hit him with the Plunge. So many intricate little things to enjoy in this match…you really have to see both to appreciate just how good it is.
The fans, who were fantastic all match, want five more minutes, but just like Dayton, they’re disappointed. Punk is a sportsman and hands Joe the title, and we get a handshake. You KNOW there’s one more in this rivalry!
Backstage later, Punk has 2 black eyes, and is gutted he couldn’t get it done again. He’s sure he can win with his Pepsi Plunge, but doesn’t have that same certainty with Joe’s Musclebuster. He wants one more shot, with no time limits.
Samoa Joe is somewhere else, and he points out that Punk couldn’t get it done. He says that Punk isn’t getting another shot…you don’t get the belt by surviving (I said that earlier!!).
Tape Rating – *** – Real show of two halves. Before intermission it was poor, very poor. But the Rotts/GeNext tag, Shelley/Jacobs and Joe/Punk turned it round, and in the end, it was most definitely the better show of this weekend. You know you need to see this for Joe vs Punk 2 (as the title suggests) anyway, so I could give this a -* rating and it wouldn’t matter. World Title Classic is a better show, this is the better Joe vs Punk match.
Top 3 Matches
3) Generation Next vs Homicide/Rocky Romero (***)
2) Alex Shelley vs Jimmy Jacobs (****)
1) Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (*****)
Top 5 Gold Weekend Matches
5) Samoa Joe vs Rocky Romero (*** – Gold)
4) Homicide vs CM Punk (*** – Gold)
3) Alex Shelley vs Jimmy Jacobs (**** – Joe vs Punk II)
2) CM Punk/Ace Steel/Jimmy Jacobs vs Generation Next (**** – Gold)
1) Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (***** – Joe vs Punk II)