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052 ROH Weekend of Thunder: Night 1 11/5/2004

ROH 52 – Weekend Of Thunder: Night 1 – 5th November 2004

I tried to come up with some kinda quirky intro, but screw it. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger is in from Japan for an exceedingly rare US appearance, and where does he choose to make it? That’s right…ROH baby. It’s the Weekend Of Thunder…meaning a weekend of Liger in the main event. His opponent over the two nights – American Dragon. Tonight it’s one on one, tomorrow night they pick “dream partners”. Realistically, these shows are sold on that alone…the rest of the card is irrelevant. For tonight however, there is a lot more to see. The Havana Pitbulls defend the belts against Rod Strong and Jack Evans, Austin Aries and CM Punk meet in a rematch from Glory By Honor 3, the Maff/Whitmer vs Carnage Crew feud continues in a Boston Street Fight. There’s more as well, but I’m keen to get going. Boston again, different venue again. We’re in Revere, MA, proud home of the Mass Transit incident. Oh yes, I’ve been watching my Rise & Fall of ECW DVD. Hosts are Jimmy Bower and CM Punk.

Contenders Ring –

CM Punk (Took Joe to the limit again at Joe vs Punk II)
Homicide (Beat CM Punk at ROH Gold)
Alex Shelley (Beat Jimmy Jacobs in a brutal ‘I Quit’ Match at JvsP2)
Nigel McGuiness (Undefeated since Midnight Express Reunion)

Bryan Danielson mumbles about his big matches in ROH…but tonight is his biggest match. He’s beaten every top junior you can name – except Liger. Tonight he’s out to prove he truly is the best wrestler in the world.

The Embassy come to the ring (ROH even has a shiny new ramp now…amazing), and Nana has the Outcast Killaz spray air freshener around in anticipation of the next match. Rave has a new girl with him…she’s hot. He uses her as a footstool to get into the ring though, which is very amusing.

Jimmy Rave vs Ace Steel

This is a real test for Jimmy’s undefeated streak. He’s beaten Special K guys for fun, and pinned Trent Acid in a fourway last time we saw him at Midnight Express Reunion. However, Ace is part of the Second City Saints, arguably the top stable in ROH right now. Can Rave prove he’s turned his career round and put himself in line for some title shots? Nana, Diablo, Oman and the new girl are all in his corner.

Punk and Liger have been mountain climbing together. Springboard bionic elbow from Ace, and Jimmy bails to the floor. Steel works a long headlock, and Rave has real problems getting him off. Rave finally breaks free but takes a slam then gets put in the headlock again. They fight onto the apron and fire off some big forearms. Jimmy crotches Steel on the top rope, then uses Ace’s hair to slam him into the mat. STO backbreaker from Rave. Russian legsweep from Rave, into a grounded octopus stretch. Rolling northern lights suplex from Rave, but Ace comes back with a nice back suplex, and both men are down. Tiger Driver from Steel for 2. Camel clutch applied, but Rave rolls out. Headlock from Ace, but Jimmy counters with a swinging back suplex. Springboard sunset flip from Ace, but Rave rolls through it and hits the Crappy Wizard. Jimmy calls for the Rave Clash but Ace blocks. Double underhook deathlock from Ace but Rave makes the ropes. Steel blocks the Satellite Crossface…SPINAL SHOCK! Nana does his yelling at Jimmy over the mic deal, which distracts Steel as he looks for something in the corner. Jimmy crotches Steel…RAVE CLASH! Rave wins it at 11:17.

Rating – ** – Decent, if unexciting opening match. Steel’s quasi-comic wrestling worked well against the entire comedy stable of The Embassy, and Rave really is improving under this new gimmick and wrestling style. He still can’t hit a Shining Wizard for sh*t though.

Lacey is pissed off because Izzy wasn’t allowed on the show because he needs to clean up his act. She says she’s come here for more than hanging out with the Special K losers. Is she hot or not, I can’t decide. She definitely has weird eyes.

Fast Eddie vs Angeldust vs Dunn vs Homicide

Homicide and jobbers in a fourway – thrilling stuff. Angeldust comes out to no music (and Lacey booing) as he looks to end the losing streak. Eddie is booked both nights this weekend after his impressive performance at Scramble Cage Melee. Dunn was a last minute replacement for someone, I can’t remember who though. Poor Homicide really needs a feud or something. Since his 83rd straight ROH Title defeat he’s been wasted doing nothing on the undercard. Homicide does have impressive pedigree in fourways though, from the very first one at Revenge On The Prophecy, through the great Justin Credible debut one at Night Of The Grudges, and the showstealers at Death Before Dishonor and Tradition Continues. No Julius Smokes tonight, apparently he was arrested for pissing on Fenway Park.

Eddie and Dunn, and they trade armdrags before Dunn gives Eddie a Blue Thunder Driver. Angeldust in with the cobra clutch backbreaker on Dunn for 2. Dunn tags out to Homicide, who isn’t pleased about that. He quickly gives Angeldust a big kick to the spine. NASTY kicks to the face, then he tags out to Eddie with a chop to the face. Satellite headscissors on Eddie. Eddie messes something up, then gives Angeldust a back suplex. Dunn in, but Homicide quickly tags him out with a thumb to the eye. Angeldust kicks him out of the ring with an enziguri, THEN LEAPS TO THE FLOOR WITH A SOMERSAULT SENTON. STAGE DIVE FROM DUNN! PHOENIX SPLASH FROM EDDIE…except he’s blind so he missed Homicide and smacked his face against the rail. Homicide grabs a chair and hits everyone with it. ‘There’s nothing wrong with using a chair on the floor, that is not illegal’ – Bower. WHAT?? Homicide blocks a swinging DDT from Angeldust, but gets put in a cross armbreaker. Dunn breaks that with an elbow off the top. Springboard spinning heel kick from Eddie on Homicide. GORY DRIVER FROM DUNN TO EDDIE! Homicide gives Dunn a T-bone suplex. Homicide pokes Eddie in his blind eyes – SLINGSHOT DDT! Angeldust gets crotched on the top, and Homicide dishes out the double underhook superplex. Eddie dropkicks Homicide…then somehow manages to put Dunn on the top. Moonsault fallaway slam on Dunn. Homicide with a hammerlock on Dunn, then a SUPER ACE CRUSHER on Eddie. LARIAT on Eddie, but the ref doesn’t count the pin because Angeldust is legal. Homicide blocks the South of Heaven….but Angeldust blocks the lariat. COP KILLA SCORES…and Homicide wins at 11:50.

Rating – ** –
It was good when Homicide and Angeldust were in there, but Eddie was really having an off night. He managed precisely nothing clean all night. I’d criticise Dunn, but he got in three offensive spots all match. In hindsight, I’d much rather have just had Homicide vs Angeldust. That could really have been a breakout match for Dust too.

A “fan” tries to attack Homicide but gets beaten senseless by him and both Pitbulls. Low Ki shows up to get some shots in too. What exactly was the point in that? For anyone wondering, that was one of Punk’s students from the wrestling school.

Allison Danger is backstage and crazy. She says Maff and Whitmer will die this weekend, and maybe not even get to their Tag Title shot tomorrow night. Allison sleeps with their contracts and wants to bathe in their blood. That’s nutty!

Carnage Crew vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer – Boston Street Fight

Mick Foley will be keeping an eye on this one, since it’s his Ring of Hardcore boys in the hardcore environment once again. At ROH Gold these two met in a Hardcore match, and to put it bluntly – it was god awful. It sucked dick, and they’ll be hoping to better that effort tonight. The previous Street Fights we’ve seen in ROH (London vs Shane, Punk/Steel vs Maff/Whitmer) have both been awesome, so there’s some legacy to live up to here. This feud stretches back to Testing The Limit and shows no signs of stopping yet sadly.

Loc and DeVito go for the Carnageplex on Whitmer but Maff makes the save. To the floor for guardrail tedium. DeVito bleeds as Maff bounces his head off the metal. Loc crossbodies Whitmer into the front row, whilst DeVito DDT’s Maff onto the ramp. He stamps a chair into Maff’s head as well, and everyone is bleeding now. In the ring Loc drops Whitmer on his head with a back suplex. HEAD DROP GERMAN SUPLEX from Maff to DeVito. Whitmer throws a chair into Loc’s face, but it’s no sold. Maff smacks him in the head with a chair and this time he goes down. Allison Danger comes out with garbage cans as Maff continues to hammer away at the Crew with a chair. BJ goes after Allison but gets cut off by Loc. Maff throws a chair at her as she crawls back up the ramp. Whitmer chases her out as the Crew give Maff a double garbage can shot to take the win at 07:50.

Rating – DUD –
Equally rubbish…end this sh*t now. Maff and Whitmer are better than this, and I’m getting sick of the Carnage Crew having the same match every time. They’re fine when they have spot monkeys to work with (see their matches with Special K, or the TWA)…but this is the second time they’ve sucked up the joint with this sh*tty garbage crap.

Chad Collyer vs Low Ki

Collyer is being booked more regularly now after good performances in the last two Midwest double shots, and starts big with this match. Ki has a huge match tomorrow, as he teams with Bryan Danielson to take on Samoa Joe and Jushin Liger. He can’t look past Collyer to that, especially as Collyer will be looking for a huge win to cement his spot. Ki has Ricky Reyes with him.

Collyer runs the show early with his mat skills. Ki kicks him in the face to even things up. Punk first compares Low Ki to a pirate, then to Gollum. Rather than give the fans the big chops they want, he grinds his forearm into Chad’s face. Big chops and a dropkick from Collyer, and Ki crashes all the way to the floor. Collyer goes for a monkey flip, but Low Ki lands on his feet…and seems to injure himself. Immediately he starts limping, but tries to fight back with chops. He bails and limps around to try and walk it off. Back in, and Collyer goes right after the injury. Ki can barely stand, and Collyer kicks him relentlessly. Knee drop from Low Ki, but he still can’t walk. He goes down finally, and the ref calls for doctors from the back. We go to a GeNext promo (see later) and when we come back, Low Ki is being helped out by the referee and Collyer. LOW KI KICKS COLLYER! ‘That motherf*cker’ – Bower. It was all a big fake, and Ki gives Collyer a gutbuster.

To the outside where Ki rams Collyer into the railings. Ki prepares to put Collyer through a table, but takes him back inside to piss the fans off. Canadian backbreaker on Collyer, into a drop for 2. They exchange chops, until Low Ki goes to the eyes. Jumping heel kicks from Collyer, then he dropkicks the leg. Leglock from Collyer, actually looking to injure the leg in revenge. Ki blocks an attempted suplex to the floor, and goes for the Dragon Clutch. Collyer escapes that and nails a dragon screw. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF LOCKED IN! Ki gets Reyes to jump onto the apron and Collyer releases the hold to go after him. Reyes punches Collyer which the ref somehow misses. Dragon Clutch applied, but Collyer escapes by going to the ankle. Collyer gets 2 with the Toilet Flush pin. Romero appears at ringside and gets on the apron as well. Reyes guillotines Collyer over the top rope…DOUBLE STOMP FROM KI! Collyer is counted down at 17:14 shown.

Rating – * –
Meh…Ki really couldn’t be assed with that tonight. Against Lethal at Midnight Express Reunion he at least wanted to bring some workrate. Today it was all cheap heat…literally, he did nothing for 20 minutes except get cheap heat. It was barely a wrestling match at all. I appreciate what he’s doing, but seriously, this is a load of crap. I feel sorry for Chad Collyer because this should’ve been a big opportunity, but he just had to sit and watch as Ki assed around with the fans. I love Low Ki, and think he’s a phenomenal worker. However, if this is just the way he’s going to work in ROH – don’t book him. Everybody can still watch his awesome stuff in Japan (especially now he’s gone to NOAH – check out Ki vs Kanemaru) and we get people who actually want to be there on ROH shows.

Rod Strong and Jack Evans (shown during the Ki/Collyer match) say they’re going to beat Reyes and Romero tonight, to bring the first gold to Generation Next.

John Walters/Nigel McGuiness vs Samoa Joe/Jay Lethal

Hilariously, the caption over John Walters name introduces him as ‘PRUE CHAMPION’. That’s pretty much as unprofessional as it gets. For the first time ever the World Champion and the Pure Champion will be in the same ring together. Pure Champion Walters will be looking to prove the worthiness of his belt by beating World Champion Samoa Joe. For McGuiness, this is a big chance to step up and continue his impressive run against the World Champion. This is Lethal’s first big match since the Low Ki match three shows ago. He did manage a win against Delirious at Joe vs Punk 2 though.

Lethal and McGuiness start and chain some. McGuiness does the headstand in the corner, then floats over into a roll up for 2. Lots more pinfalls get exchanged, before Nigel brings Walters in. Lethal hotshots the back of Walters’ neck then hits a springboard dropkick to the back. Walters turns up the pace with a few more nearfalls before Lethal tags out. It’s World Champion vs Pure Champion for the first time ever now. Joe slaps Walters down on the mat, to prove he can wrestle as good as the Pure Champion. Walters fires back with a crossface strike to prove a point. Dropkick from Walters, but Joe lays him out with a hard forearm. McGuiness in but Joe takes him down and goes for a crossface. Joe goes for a facewash but Walters pulls Nigel out of Joe’s path. McGuiness goes for the headstand again so Joe MASSACRES him. Chop/kick combo, followed with the knee drop and Walters has to break the pin. Lethal in with a chinlock, before he hits a dropkick for another 2. Joe comes back and puts McGuiness in a surfboard. Joe goes for the STO Slam but McGuiness counters…SUPER KICK! He tags Walters but the ref didn’t see it, so Nigel is still trapped. Hammerlock DDT on Lethal, and this time McGuiness tags out. Walters with a neckbreaker for 2. Electric chair drop on Lethal, then a big lariat for 2.

McGuiness and Joe fight on the floor as Lethal takes Walters to the top rope. TOP ROPE CAPTURE STUNNER FROM WALTERS! Jumping heel kick from Lethal, before he tags out to Joe. Walters takes E Honda slaps then a powerslam. Walters springboard out of the corner right into the STO Slam for 2. Walters blocks a powerbomb attempt by Lethal – LUNGBLOWER! McGuiness in but he takes a jumping DDT from Lethal. Walters makes the save then gets thrown out by Joe. ELBOW SUICIDA SCORES! Lethal and McGuiness are left in the ring, and McGuiness scores with the hammerlock DDT again. Shortarm scissors from Nigel, but Joe makes the save. OLE OLE KICK ON WALTERS! McGuiness headstands on Lethal…REVERSE SUPLEX ACE CRUSHER FOR 2! SHORTARM SCISSORS AGAIN! Walters prevents Joe from saving and Lethal taps at 18:11.

Rating – *** –
Cracking little tag outing from these four. I had my doubts going in that they would click though. Walters and McGuiness are flexible workers and can go with pretty much anyone, but with Joe in a pure wrestling environment, and Lethal in probably his biggest match in ROH, this could’ve gone seriously wrong. As was, it was decent. It felt a little long, and there wasn’t a massive amount of work on Lethal for the finish, but it was a nice way of giving Nigel the rub whilst making Joe and Walters look strong too. Realistically, it had to be Lethal or McGuiness going over here, because no way the Pure Champion was going over the World Champion or vice versa.

INTERMISSION – SSP is with Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer. They’re pissed because they got cheated out of their match tonight. They want the Tag Titles (they get a shot tomorrow night) and they want revenge on Allison Danger. The feud with the Carnage Crew is fast sucking my enthusiasm out of the Maff/Whitmer team. As workers I like them both, but the constant garbage brawling is sucking all the heat out of them. Blow off the Carnage Crew feud, settle the issue with Allison Danger, ask Maff to drop some of the weight that’s been creeping back onto him then book them as a serious, credible WRESTLING team.

Davey Andrews/Shane Hagadorn vs Outcast Killaz

Andrews is the top graduate from the ROH Wrestling School’s first class, and apparently he’s churned out a few decent little performances in other companies. This is his second main show appearance, having previously been fed to the Carnage Crew along with TJ Dalton. His partner today is Shane Hagadorn, who was probably on the Midnight Express Reunion convention show. Realistically, they’ll be giving the OCK a rare win, but it’s all good experiences for the young guys. Nana is in the corner of his perennial jobbers.

Oman slaps Andrews to start but the kid isn’t intimidated and gives him a back body drop. Hagadorn brings an armdrag and a dropkick. Diablo Yakuza kicks him into a Russian legsweep. Santiago floors Andrews with a clothesline for 2. Alabamaslam from Diablo, but again Andrews kicks out. Tortuga comes in and delivers a swinging facebuster for 2. Hagadorn tries to interfere but gets thrown to the floor. Santiago boots Andrews into a cradle half nelson suplex and that’s it at 03:32.

Rating – DUD –
It’s a squash and it’s pretty rubbish as a match, but looking at the bigger picture, it’ll do Andrews and Hagadorn a world of good so, just let it go. Andrews definitely looks pretty decent. He’s green but in two main show matches he hasn’t messed up once and has carried the brunt of the workload for his team so.

Austin Aries vs CM Punk

This is a rematch from Glory By Honor 3, where CM Punk got the win, with a little help from Steve Corino. That one was a decent, if unspectacular encounter, so surely they’ll be hoping to go better tonight. This is another extension of the Saints/GeNext feud which, without Cabana, is fast losing momentum. Aries is by himself, as is GeNext tradition for bigger matches. Alex Shelley, in fact, isn’t on either line-up for the Weekend Of Thunder…damn TNA…or as Boston put it – ‘f*ck TNA’.

Punk takes the mic and rips on a fan wearing a TNA shirt, then demands a rematch with Samoa Joe. Slaps and forearms get traded at the bell, before Aries puts Punk into a hammerlock. Headlock from Punk, but Aries rolls across the ring and springboards into a reverse elbow. Punk fakes a springboard of his own then comes off the ropes with a bionic elbow. Mounted right hands in the corner from Punk, but Aries carries him out of the corner with an inverted atomic drop. Aries off the ropes and Punk catches him with an atomic drop of his own, then follows with a stalling vertical suplex. Aries gets choked in the ropes, then kicked to the floor. Aries avoids a pescado attempt but Punk lands on the apron. He goes for a slingshot sunset flip but Aries rolls through that and dropkicks him in the face. Punk lifts Austin to the top and drops him with a neckbreaker. He follows with a dropkick to the back of the head for 2. Aries gets sent to the floor again and Punk sails out after him with a tope. Aries takes some guardrail bumps, but finally manages to come back and spear Punk against the railings. Punk blocks a suplex attempt…THEN CONNECTS WITH THE RINGPOST FROM A MISSED SHINING WIZARD! That was brutal! Aries is like a shark, and he slams Punk’s knee into a table to continue the punishment. Punk avoids a slingshot hilo attempt but Aries uses the injured knee to take him down again.

The lights go out with Aries well and truly in control. A spotlight illuminates them as Aries drapes Punk’s legs over the ropes then hits a dropkick. The lights come on then go out again, but the spotlight shows Aries take another dropkick to the leg. Punk is bleeding as Aries continues to work the leg. LEG STUNNER from Aries as the lights are fixed. Bridging half crab applied, then an STF. Forearms from Punk, and he counters a springboard reverse elbow attempt with a back suplex. They throw more forearms at each other, and Punk takes an advantage with a clothesline to the back of the head. Nearfalls exchange, and Punk might have got it done had he been able to bridge properly. Slingshot hilo over the knee from Aries for 2. Aries blocks the Pepsi Twist and clotheslines Punk down. Swinging elbow drop over the knee, then a half crab. German suplex from Punk, but it only gets 2 because, again, Punk can’t hold a bridge. Aries blocks a Shining Wizard attempt…BACK TO THE HALF CRAB! Punk makes the ropes so Austin takes him to the top rope. Punk goes for the Pepsi Plunge, whilst Aries goes for a brainbuster. PEPSI PLUNGE SCORES! Punk hits his finisher but that must’ve killed his knee. He takes too long and only gets 2. Punk goes for another Plunge but Aries blocks. Shinbreaker from Aries INTO A BACK SUPLEX INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! 450 SPLASH OVER THE KNEE! HALF CRAB APPLIED AGAIN! PUNK TAPS! Match time is 22:48.

Rating – *** –
Much better than the first match, and the second half was money, but the first ten minutes were just so dull, uninspired and generally lacking. They literally sucked the energy out of the crowd with it, and in the end it took the crazy Shining Wizard spot against the ring post and the light malfunctions to get the crowd into it again. That’s the reason this didn’t edge a fourth star. Credit to both men for working around the technical difficulties and holding it together though. Punk’s selling of the knee injury was great, and Aries gets another big win to his resume. He really is gaining momentum at the moment.

Aries gets the microphone and demands a title shot with Samoa Joe. After the wins he’s racking up he’s probably justified.

Havana Pitbulls vs Generation Next – ROH Tag Title Match

It’s a tough weekend for Romero and Reyes, as they’re defending the belts against tough opposition on both nights. Tomorrow they get Maff and Whitmer, but tonight they face the tandem of Roderick Strong and Jack Evans. Strong and Evans beat a Rottweilers combination (Homicide/Romero) at Joe vs Punk 2 to earn this title shot and a repeat of that feat will see them bring the first gold to Generation Next. No Julius Smokes tonight, remember…but the Pitbulls do have Homicide in their corner.

Romero and Strong start out hard against each other, with Strong swinging Romero around the ring then kicking him to the outside. Reyes and Evans in, but Evans sends Ricky right back to the floor with a dropkick. TOPE CON HILO FROM EVANS! That pisses Homicide off and he argues with the ref whilst Strong buts Romero into a chinlock. Romero kicks at Strong’s leg then puts him into an anklelock. Rock Bottom backbreaker from Strong. Standing Phoenix Splash from Evans for 2. Strong puts Rocky into a camel clutch, then dumps him into the corner so he can PRESS SLAM Evans right on top of him. Wheelbarrow somersault senton from Strong and Evans for 2. Stalling suplex from Strong, but I’m distracted by ‘I think I’ve got a vagina on my head’ – Punk. Romero kicks at Evans then FLOORS him with a jumping knee strike. Reyes in with a neckbreaker for 2. He dropkicks Evans hard in the corner, and Homicide gets some cheap shots in as well. Camel clutch from Reyes, with added neck crank for even more punishment. Hammerlock from Romero, with a body scissors, and Strong has to make a save. On the floor Evans tastes guardrail, before Romero spikes him with a DDT for 2. Double dropkick on both Pitbulls from Evans, and he manages to tag Strong in. Double knee gutbuster from Strong on Reyes. The fight spills outside…SPRINGBOARD CORKSCREW MOONSAULT FROM EVANS!

Triangle choke from Romero, but Strong muscles him into a backbreaker for 2. Pumphandle backbreaker follows and gets another nearfall. Springboard dropkick to the knee from Romero, then he deploys more strikes. Jumping knee from Rocky brings Evans in to make a save. Belly to belly suplex from Reyes for 2. Back suplex from Strong and Evans is tagged back. Doomsday crossbody from GeNext for 2. They go for it on Romero as well, but Romero victory rolls Strong into an anklelock. Reyes hits a fishermans buster on Evans for 2. Spinning heel kick from Evans, then a standing CORKSCREW shooting star press for 2. Corkscrew enzi to the back of Reyes’ head, and Evans goes upstairs. 630 SENTON SCORES…THREE COUNT?? NO…ROMERO MADE THE SAVE! The fans aren’t happy, but GeNext go for the torture wrack/moonsault combo. ROMERO MOVES and Evans double stomps Strong in the head. REYES WITH A TOMBSTONE! Evans is finally done and the Pitbulls retain at 17:56.

Rating – *** –
A fun tag match, and the Strong/Evans team is totally one of the best in ROH right now. The way they combine Strong’s power moves with Evans crazy high flying ability is so unique. This was probably better than the JvsP2 Rottweilers/GeNext tag purely because the execution was better. Minimal interference (just a few Homicide cheap shots), and both men were legal at the finish. Can we have a rematch of this?

Bryan Danielson vs Jushin Liger

Catchy theme tune, crazy outfit, big hair and all, Liger is in ROH…and that is just unreal. Danielson issued the challenge to him back at Glory By Honor 3, so tonight he gets his chance. As Dragon pointed out in his promo, he’s beaten all the top juniors he can find – except for Liger. He wants to prove he’s the best, he has to beat the man that has invented and re-invented the Jr. Heavyweight scene around the world more times than you can count. He is a legend and has been putting on top quality matches for almost two decades. Forget Tanaka, forget Ohtani, forget Kojima, forget Muta, forget Dreamer, forget Foley, forget EVEN Eddie Guerrero…I’ve never been more excited to see someone in an ROH ring than Liger. Interestingly, this is the first time Dragon has appeared for ROH in Boston since Scramble Madness back in August 2002.

Liger gets streamers and the crowd are absolutely rabid, even on tape this gives me chills. Liger controls Dragon with a headscissors, then puts him into a camel clutch. Danielson goes after Liger’s leg, cranking it hard. Armdrag out of nowhere from Liger to even things up again. They test each other’s strength, before Danielson goes for a surfboard. Liger muscles out and traps Dragon in the MEXICAN SURFBOARD! Tilta-whirl backbreaker follows, and Danielson goes to the floor to bail. Dropkick through the ropes from Liger…THEN A PESCADO! Revere absolutely eats that up! Back in the ring Dragon takes control with some hard shots. They trade chops before Dragon suplexes Liger over the top rope. On the floor again and Dragon whips Liger into the rails. Abdominal stretch from Dragon, into a roll-up for 2. Double underhook suplex from Danielson follows that up. Dragon chinlocks Liger and goes after the mask, which is not a popular move. Airplane spin from Dragon, and he shows amazing strength and goes for a long time. Dragon scales the ropes…DIVING HEADBUTT MISSES! Liger to the top rope…AND HIS DIVING HEADBUTT MISSES!

Dragon runs the ropes but takes an UPPERCUT PALM STRIKE! He gets another one in the corner…SUPER RANA FROM LIGER for 2. Danielson dropkicks the arm as Liger goes for another palm strike, then goes right after it, jamming it over his own shoulder. Bridging German suplex from Dragon for 2…CATTLE MUTILATION LOCKED IN! Liger isn’t tapping so Danielson rolls it into a pin for 2. ROARING ELBOW from Danielson…DRAGON SUPLEX FOR 2!! CATTLE MUTILATION AGAIN! Liger makes the ropes, so Danielson goes for a suplex. BRAINBUSTER FROM LIGER! Both men stay down…PALM STRIKE FROM LIGER! Dragon escapes the Ligerbomb but takes a CAPO KICK! LIIIIIIGERBOOOOOOMB…FOR 2!! To the top rope they go…SUPER BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAH! DANGEROOOOOOUUUUUUS!! Liger wins it at 18:24.

Rating – **** –
It’s a good match, but moreso it’s just an incredible mark-out experience. Unlike Great Muta, for example (although I could’ve pulled up Masato Tanaka or Shinjiro Ohtani on this as well), when he came over for Final Battle 2003, Liger definitely wasn’t phoning this in. Sure his offence was pretty much cut and paste, but he went out there and busted his ass for 20 minutes. It still felt a bit like an exhibition match, but at least one where both men are going full-tilt, and it’s all agreeable stuff. It also sets the pace nightly for tomorrow nights huge tag match, which really should challenge for MOTY honours if it lives up to the potential it’s name value indicates.

They shake hands and Liger bows to the crowd who were on their feet and cheering like nutters throughout that match.

Loc and DeVito say it isn’t over between them and Maff/Whitmer, or Mick Foley, or Allison Danger. They also question why they haven’t got a tag title shot, seeing as the men they beat tonight get a shot tomorrow night.

Jushin Liger thanks the fans for his reception and is sure to point out that he is ‘very happy’.

The Embassy are in chirpy fashion. Nana says Rave should be challenging for titles now, since his unbeaten run is so long. He then has the hot girl clean Jimmy’s shoes.

Tape Rating – *** –
There’s no match that particularly shines as an MOTYC, but with four matches ranked at 3* or more, this is a pretty consistent effort. I thought the performances of Angeldust, Homicide, Jimmy Rave and Ace Steel were pretty decent on a pretty indifferent undercard, whilst Walters/McGuiness/Joe/Lethal, Aries/Punk, Pitbulls/GeNext and Liger/Danielson were all good. If you’re short on cash you can skip this show and just pick up tomorrow night’s show, which is a better card and has a better Liger main event…but this isn’t too disappointing.

Top 3 Matches

3) John Walters/Nigel McGuiness vs Samoa Joe/Jay Lethal (***)

2) Havana Pitbulls vs Generation Next (***)

1) Jushin Liger vs Bryan Danielson (****)

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