ROH 53 – Weekend Of Thunder: Night 2 – 6th November 2004
So last nights show was pretty solid, with a few decent matches, and climaxing in all the fun of Liger/Danielson. But tonight we’re in the RexPlex, and we know ROH really likes to push the boat out whenever it runs this building. To that end, the card is absolutely loaded with good stuff tonight. The main event is pretty much the biggest match (talent-wise at least) in the company…ever. It’s a Liger/Danielson dream partner tag match, with Jushin Liger picking ROH Champion Samoa Joe as his partner, and American Dragon selecting fellow ROH veteran Low Ki as his. Could that match be any more exciting? Also on the card is a Saints/GeNext No DQ Match, as CM Punk and Ace Steel take on Austin Aries and Rod Strong. John Walters defends the Pure Title against Homicide, whilst the Havana Pitbulls defend the tag gold against Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer. Believe me there’s a lot to look forward to tonight! Obviously, since we’re at the RexPlex we’re in Elizabeth, NJ. Hosts are Jimmy Bower and CM Punk.
Contenders Ring –
The Embassy open the show as they closed last night. They had a good party last night apparently. Rave says he can’t wrestle tonight because he doesn’t have any elbow pads. Nana sends that girl (Angel is her name) off to get him some pads and some food.
Chad Collyer vs Nigel McGuiness
There’s not really a lot to say about this one. In theory they’re both part of the Pure division, and a win here could put them right in line for a shot against John Walters. They know each other pretty well from their extensive past in Les Thatcher’s HWA. I’ve seen a pretty decent Iron Man match between them from that company so I know they can go. McGuiness is on quite the roll at the moment, and he extended that last night when he made Jay Lethal tap in a tag match. Collyer is getting booked more regularly at the moment, but last night he was in a really disappointing match with Low Ki (pretty much entirely Ki’s fault rather than his). These two did team together against Maff and Whitmer at Joe vs Punk 2.
The crowd seems a little dead as they run their nice opening exchanges. McGuiness stretches Collyer out with a chinlock, but Chad escapes and stretches Nigel’s arms and shoulders. McGuiness works Collyer’s arm, no doubt in preparation for his shortarm scissors finisher, and Collyer has to really fight to escape it. Fireman’s carry slam from Nigel, whilst still working an armbar. Collyer comes back and goes after McGuiness’ arm. Shortarm scissors from Collyer, but Nigel escapes by going to the legs. McGuiness with a hammerlock but Collyer sends him to the floor to absolutely no response. Nigel scores a kiss from a girl in the front row. Nigel kicks the middle rope into Chad’s crotch…and he goes for a sympathy kiss from the girl – she doesn’t play ball. McGuiness with a headbutt to the stomach, then an armdrag. He still focuses on the arm, but Collyer goes to the eyes to break it. He just punches Nigel in the face then drops him with a vertical suplex for 2. They trade European uppercuts but the crowd doesn’t want to know. McGuiness with the headstand in the corner. Collyer takes some boots to the face from that position, before McGuiness rolls down into a DDT on him. McGuiness goes for some quick pinfalls but can’t put it away. Collyer with a German suplex with a bridge for 2. Artful Dodger chain wrestling from McGuiness, which ends in some more nearfalls. Hammerlock drop toehold from McGuiness…SHORTARM SCISSORS! Collyer rolls through that into the Texas Cloverleaf. The time limit expires at 15:00, so this one is a draw.
Rating – ** – I dunno what to say about it, except that it wasn’t particularly good. There was absolutely no drama in that to make the non-finish exciting (see Joe vs Punk…either one), so I had to mark it down for that, and aside from that, it all seemed to tame. The crowd didn’t care, and that didn’t help me get into the contest, and beyond that, it just seemed like a cut and paste effort from both men. McGuiness didn’t exactly kill himself working Chad’s arm for his finish…whilst Collyer did precisely nothing to Nigel’s legs all match – hence the finish was entirely unexciting. I’m sure everyone had much higher hopes for this.
Generation Next promo time. Aries takes his spot as the mouthpiece for this, as Shelley becomes more and more irrelevant due to TNA commitments. Aries seems pretty confident that they’ll take the rest of the Saints out just like they took Cabana out back in Boston. Evans cuts a surprisingly competent promo on his fourway coming up…then asks if the tag match is definitely No DQ. Aries assures him that it is…interesting. Aries says he’s gonna be the next ROH Champion, and Strong/Evans will be your new Tag Champions.
Carnage Crew vs Davey Andrews/Anthony Franco
This is the second time the Carnage Crew have taken on a combination from the ROH Wrestling school, after they crushed Andrews and TJ Dalton at Joe vs Punk 2. Andrews is clearly the guy officials/CM Punk have the most confidence in, since he’s been in every one of these matches so far. He was partnered with Shane Hagadorn last night against the Outcast Killaz, and is now back for more of the Carnage Crew.
Franco starts with Loc, and I like his look. Loc promptly takes him down and kicks him in the spine. DeVito in with jabs and a dropkick. That leaves Franco on the mat, which of course means he’s open for the horrifically stiff crossface strikes. Allison Danger is at ringside as Andrews tags in. Carnageplex on Andrews. Loc comes off the second rope with an elbow drop, then sends DeVito to the top…but he MISSES his moonsault. Franco back in with a bulldog. Franco drop toeholds Loc, and Andrews drops a knee for 2. DeVito suplexes Franco into the turnbuckles. They go for the Spike Piledriver but Andrews blocks it. Franco almost rolls Loc up for a shock win. Loc back suplexes Andrews…SPIKE PILEDRIVER on Franco! The Carnage Crew win at 04:07.
Rating – * – Check that out, the ROH Wrestling School’s first star on the board. Credit to all four of these guys, it was pretty much a squash but they made the fans care far more about this one than they did about Collyer/McGuiness before it.
Allison Danger steps into the ring, drawing a ‘Please Don’t Talk’ chant from the crowd. She asks the Crew to join her. DeVito tells her to shut up or lapdance…which is funny. Loc and DeVito walk. Allison Danger says she’s going to book Maff and Whitmer in the most dangerous match in ROH. So they’re going down the Fight Without Honor path? Great…let them suck the life out of that gimmick with they’re rubbish brawling.
Bryan Danielson says Low Ki was his toughest opponent in ROH history (back at Round Robin Challenge). Ki is gonna take out Joe, meaning again it’ll be Dragon/Liger, and this time Danielson will prove he’s the best junior in the world.
Izzy vs Trent Acid vs Jack Evans vs Fast Eddie
This is the first time Izzy’s been around in a while, since he’s not been allowed on shows for being high. Acid has been in a slump for a while since he can’t even win multi-man matches anymore and continues to slip further into mediocrity. Eddie has been getting booked more since his performance at Scramble Cage Melee…last night he sucked in a fourway including Angeldust, Homicide and Dunn. Evans, meanwhile, is pretty much the premier high-flyer on the US indy scene. This one could be a whacky spotfest if all of them bring their a-game.
Evans and Acid start out. Nobody really hits anything until Acid dumps Evans on his face. Acid with a springboard swinging DDT, and that brings Eddie in. He blocks a springboard DDT and drops Acid with a death valley neckbreaker for 2. Izzy in with a SPRINGBOARD BLOCKBUSTER on Eddie for 2. Izzy suplexes Eddie, and Evans adds to the punishment with a springboard corkscrew enzi in mid-air. MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR from Acid. Evans wants to go diving but Eddie cuts him off. Evans SHOVES Eddie into SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! 450 PHOENIX SPLASH FROM EVANS! That’s pretty crazy! Back in the ring…BACKSEAT DRIVER ON EVANS, and Izzy has to break the count. Eddie chops and Izzy so Izzy kicks him square in the face for 2. Izzy to the top rope but Eddie pulls him off then gives him a Tombstone. YAKUZA KICK on Eddie. Evans brings the flips…Izzy with a reverse hurricanrana on Acid for 2. Dropsault from Evans on Izzy, as Eddie gives Acid a cradle back suplex. Eddie sends Evans to the top rope, then goes to the top rope…MOONSAULT FALLAWAY SLAM TO THE FLOOR! Izzy wants to dive but Acid stops him – SUPER SHIRANUI ON ACID! Izzy wins it and breaks the Special K losing streak at 07:04.
Rating – *** – Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but that was a lot of fun. It was short, so they just went full tilt, packing in as many dives and high spots as they could. It’s not a technical wrestling masterpiece, but it was enjoyable to watch, so I really can’t criticise it that much. It does seem an odd choice to put Izzy rather than Evans over here, but it does make the Special K split angle even more interesting, so I guess I see some logic.
Jay Lethal vs Jimmy Rave
Interesting match this, as both men have definitely been solidifying their spots as decent midcard talents. Since joining Prince Nana and The Embassy Jimmy has been on an impressive winning run, put on some decent little matches, and generally been a far more entertaining character than the wet dishrag of a wrestler we saw for months beforehand. Lethal meanwhile, has been very impressive since leaving Special K and being taken under Joe’s wing. However, he hasn’t been winning a whole lot, whilst Rave has. Can he turn the corner, or will Rave’s impressive run stretch past Joe’s protégé? Nana runs the whole air-freshening stick with the Killaz that he did last night. Rave uses Angel as a footstool again.
Both men try to score some nearfalls early, but Rave gains an early advantage with a thumb to the eye. Jumping heel kick from Lethal sends Rave to the floor for a tope. Head and arm suplex from Rave for 2. STO backbreaker on Lethal as Jimmy establishes control. ‘Why do you keep mentioning that AJ guy’ – Punk to Bower. ‘We want AJ’ – Elizabeth. Lethal blocks the Rave Clash then gives him a powerbomb for 2. Fireman’s carry slam for 2. Northern lights suplex, rolled into a neckbreaker, as Lethal is taking a bit of a kicking now. Russian legsweep into a grounded abdominal stretch, but Lethal isn’t tapping. Crippler Crossface applied…but still Lethal isn’t tapping. Lethal escapes that and they take turns in chopping lumps out of each other. Lethal with a dropkick into the corner, then the gutwrench suplex for 2. Lethal goes for the dragon suplex but Rave blocks. HUGE clothesline from Lethal for 2. Inverted camel clutch from Lethal, but Rave blocks. He goes for the Rave Clash but again Lethal blocks. JUMPING DDT from Jay but it only gets 2. Nana starts yelling at Rave, and that distracts the ref. Low blow from Jimmy…RAVE CLASH! Lethal is done at 08:38.
Rating – ** – Competitive, but come on, it’s time for something more meaningful than these brief, sub-10 minute, completely unmemorable matches. Rave’s character is good, Lethal is a good underdog. It was an ok match, just nothing special. Hopefully the show will hit a higher gear from here.
Lethal dishes out slaps to every member of The Embassy as Nana tries to occupy still more time talking. Huge ‘You Got b*tchslapped’ chants for that.
Generation Next vs CM Punk/Ace Steel – No DQ Match
What more can you really say about this feud. It’s raged on since July, but has been running lower and lower on steam since Colt Cabana got put on the shelf by GeNext in August at Scramble Cage Melee. Still, throwing the No DQ format in and finally bringing it down to just Punk and Steel (not adding Walters, or Jacobs etc to the equation) adds some punch to this match. GeNext is Austin Aries and Rod Strong. Aries beat Punk last night in a decent match, and Punk will be carrying head and leg injuries into tonight’s contest as a result of it. And why did Jack Evans ask for confirmation that the match was No DQ earlier?
Punk and Steel come from the crowd to get the party started. Aries unloads forearms on Punk – MICHINOKU DRIVER gets Punk a 2. Punk goes to the floor and sends Strong into the railings, but Aries is up and he dives through the ropes into a tope. Aries goes after Ace and sends him crashing into barricades all over the place Meanwhile Strong takes a chair from the crowd then gives Punk a FULL NELSON SLAM THROUGH IT! In the ring Strong props Steel up over his knees, leaving him exposed for a slingshot corkscrew plash from Aries for 2. Double suplex by GeNext. Punk drags Strong to the floor then helps Steel deliver a back suplex/leg drop combo on Aries. Ace and Punk drag Strong upside his head and Punk kicks him in the balls. Jack Evans appears with a ladder but Punk baseball slides into the ladder. PESCADO ON THE LADDER! Evans just got flattened under that. The ladder finds it’s way into the ring, and Steel suplexes Rod Strong onto it. Aries gives Steel a Russian legsweep on the ladder. Punk and Aries battle over a pinfall, then Punk POWERBOMBS ARIES ONTO THE LADDER! Evans misses a springboard corkscrew enziguri on Punk as he tries to interfere again. The Saints give him a chopping but Strong finally makes the save. Doomsday crossbody on Punk. ARIES WITH A FROG SPLASH for 2. Steel gets whipped into the ladder in the corner, and both Aries and Strong hit him with hard dropkicks as he’s propped up.
Phoenix splash from Evans, with the assist from Strong. Steel with a fisherman’s buster on Strong as Aries delivers a slingshot elbow drop on Punk. Evans keeps Ace occupied on the floor as Strong and Aries go after the leg injury using the ladder and a chair. Steel finally comes back with a chair of his own but Punk has been massacred. Aries whips Punk into a steel chair in the corner. Steel finally grabs Austin and NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEXES him into the ladder. He leg drops a chair into Aries’ face as Punk gives Strong a facewash. Strong tries to mount a comeback, so Punk gives him a back body drop into the ladder in the corner. Ace sets a ladder up and starts to climb it, but Strong electric chairs him off it. Aries sets Punk up on a table as Evans scales the ladder. SOMERSAULT LEG DROP OFF THE LADDER – DANGEROOUUUUUS because the table didn’t break! Aries onto the apron…AND HE MISSES A CACTUS ELBOW AND GOES THROUGH THE TABLE! Strong drags Punk back inside for a Canadian backbreaker. Brainbuster on Ace Steel. Strong wants another Doomsday Crossbody on Punk…BUT PUNK CATCHES EVANS AND POWERSLAMS HIM ONTO THE LADDER! Steel goes for a Spinal Shock on Aries, who bites the hand to break it. He goes for the 450 Splash BUT GETS NOTHING BUT LADDER! Ace takes Evans to the apron – AWESOMEBOMB THROUGH A TABLE! Strong props a ladder up in the corner and stands on it, but Ace is back and hauls him off with an implant DDT. PEPSI PLUNGE THROUGH THE LADDER! The Saints win it at 19:58.
Rating – **** – I’ve gone high because of the complete insanity of some of those moves. At times this was an absolute mess. There was a lot of messed up stuff, such as Evans’ somersault leg drop, or the Pepsi Plunge at the end – which ended up looking more like a double underhook piledriver it was so screwed up. But effort counts a bundle, and there was loads of it there. Aries looked the best wrestler in this match by a long way (including Punk) and he really is on his way to the top of the card now. Lots of courage, lots of heart, and it was a brutal match.
Punk stands alone in the ring as the wreckage is cleared away, and he gets on the mic. He says he deserves another title shot because he’s taken Joe to the limit title twice. He says Joe is dodging him, and challenges him to a no time limit title rematch at the next RexPlex show. He calls Joe out…but he doesn’t oblige him. Someone else does though…it’s MICK FOLEY! Foley isn’t here to promote his new WWE kids book. ‘At least it’s not TNA’ – Punk. ‘F*ck TNA’ – Elizabeth. He’s not been advertised, he’s not being paid…he’s here as a fan. He shows Punk a picture of him and Liger 12 years ago in WCW. He says he will go back to WWE (‘at least it’s not TNA’ – Punk again. ‘F*ck TNA’ – Elizabeth again) and bring Joe and Punk with him. Yeah, the fans hate that…but can’t argue with his reasons. If Snitsky and Heidenreich get seen by millions, so should they. Foley tries to use his pull to get Joe out there and accept the match…but no dice. Joe doesn’t show…Foley gets a cheap shot in on HHH (‘F*ck HHH’ – Elizabeth. ‘At least he’s not TNA’ – Foley). Foley calls Joe softcore. What a f*cking awesome segment. Foley and Punk in the same ring…it’s almost too much charisma for the ring to contain. Anyway…Punk’s sit-in continues. Gabe comes out right before we go to intermission and some wise asses chant ‘Jimmy Bower’ to a huge laugh from me. You NEED to see the Foley/Punk stuff.
INTERMISSION – GMC is with Nigel McGuiness. Collyer shows up before McGuiness says anything, and he’s still goofy. He asks Nigel to form a team to challenge for the tag titles next month. McGuiness agrees.
Punk is still in the ring. He’s on the phone and reading Mick Foley’s kids book.
SSP tries to get into The Embassy’s locker room but Nana slings him out. He says he’ll have a statement prepared later.
Intermission ends and Punk is still in the ring as competitors for the next match are brought out. The bell rings, but Punk grabs the mic and starts reading from Foley’s book. Joe FINALLY comes out looking PISSED! Punk demands an answer to his challenge. Joe runs down Foley and says his opinion doesn’t matter, then grants Punk his rematch. He forearms Punk in the face then walks…but Punk is pretty happy anyway. It’s on!! Meanwhile…
Special K vs Dunn & Marcos
K is Dixie and Angeldust, who still have long losing streaks on their backs, even though Izzy ended the faction’s streak earlier tonight with his fourway win. They still come out without music and looking all serious. Dunn & Marcos are popular guys and are good for a pop…hell, they might even get a win here. Depends how far they want to push this Special K losing angle. It’ll get real interesting if Izzy can win by not being serious, but the rest of them still can’t.
This is over five minutes old before they even get in the ring with each other. Angeldust rolls Dunn into a victory roll for 2. He follows it up with a slingshot hilo. Dixie in and Angeldust drop toeholds Dunn over his knee. Dunn blocks the springboard swinging DDT and almost rolls Dixie up. Marcos in but he misses a stepping enziguri. Dixie off the ropes and Marcos hits a stepping knee to the back this time. Jumping heel kick from Dixie for 2. Double underhook facebuster gets 2 as well. Angeldust comes in but takes a hurricanrana from Marcos. Marcos goes to follow up – SOUTH OF HEAVEN SCORES! Dunn has to make the save there. Swinging DDT from Marcos and he tags out. Gory Driver on Dixie. He wheelbarrows Marcos into a hurricanrana on Angeldust. Assisted Sliced Bread #2 on Dixie. Electric chair senton on Angeldust, and the Ring Crew Express win it at 10:47 (including the Punk/Joe stuff).
Rating – DUD – As worthless a match as ROH have ever put on, but it doesn’t really matter. The only things you need to know is – Joe vs Punk 3 is signed, and Dixie and Angeldust, the key protagonists in the drive to make Special K more serious, lost. Dunn is better than Marcos…by some distance on this showing.
John Walters vs Homicide – ROH “Prue” Title Match
Yep, that hideous typo in the graphics is here both nights. This really has been a weird weekend. Between Punk bringing the TNA hate on both nights, “Prue Champion” John Walters and Jushin Liger…there never will be a weekend like this again. Anyway, this is the only ROH Title Homicide has never had a shot at (yes, he’s had a tag title shot – All Star Extravaganza – Daniels/Morgan/Joe vs Ki/Williams/Cide). There’s no real history, and Homicide has no real direction right now, since he can’t get at Joe and the whole Rottweilers direction seems to be geared towards Joe/Ki. Here’s hoping he gets something good to sink his teeth into in 2005. For Walters, beating a legit main eventer like Homicide gives his title reign another boost. He’s been a good champion, and had a good run, but I still maintain he’s the wrong man to elevate the belt to anything beyond midcard status. Smokes is back with the Rottweilers tonight.
They work the arms to start, with neither man gaining a significant advantage. Homicide has come a long way since his speed-chaining of 2003. This is all paced, measured stuff. Homicide finally breaks a hold by stepping through the ropes to the floor, which apparently isn’t a ropebreak. He comes back in and boots Walters in the face, dragging him into a Rings of Saturn. Armdrags from Walters, into an armbar. Rolling hammerlock from Homicide, but Walters counters that into a surfboard. Bridging leglock from Walters. Walters jumps over a baseball slide which puts Homicide on the floor. Walters flies out after him with a PESCADO! Walters puts a Red Socks hat on and that pisses Homicide off so much he punches him in the face – that’s a warning. Armbar DDT from Walters for 2. He follows that up with a chinlock, which is a little unimaginative. STF out of nowhere from Cide. That drags the first ropebreak out of Walters. He’s down in the corner where Homicide just chokes on him. He punches Walters in the face repeatedly, but Smokes is distracting the ref, so it’s not costing him a ropebreak. Slingshot DDT from Homicide for 2.
Homicide takes Walters to the top rope then goes up after him…AND SLIPS OFF TO THE FLOOR! He is knocked out cold from that. Smokes has to shove Homicide into the ring right before the count out…but he is still way out of it. The fans start chanting his name out of respect – surely he can’t continue here. Reyes and Romero are out watching as well now, but Homicide wants to fight. DDT from Walters as he goes right to the head, but Homicide kicks out. HURRICANE DDT FROM WALTERS…and Homicide kicks out again! Homicide to the second rope…SPRINGBOARD SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB! Walters is being merciless, and he applies a sharpshooter. Homicide uses his first ropebreak to escape that. Walters pulls him away and goes back to the sharpshooter…which means Homicide uses his second ropebreak. Smokes charges in and belts Walters, and that’s finally enough for a DQ at 18:33.
Rating – ** – That finish both the matches main feature, and perhaps the primary detriment to it as well. This was a pretty mundane affair up until Cide’s injury (although it’s hard to tell where they were going, these Pure matches usually are slow burners), but those last couple of minutes were really exciting, as Homicide again proved how much heart and desire he has. However, a DQ finish in a title match sucks…and there must have been some kind of issue after the match ROH didn’t want to broadcast, because they cut away to the next match literally right after Smokes hit Walters. It’s a shame for Walters because that match and the end result does nothing for his credibility whatsoever.
Havana Pitbulls vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer – ROH Tag Title Match
More Rottweilers action, and it’s the rematch we’ve been waiting to see since Glory By Honor 3. There the Pitbulls triumphed in the second ever Ultimate Endurance match, beating Maff and Whitmer in a heated final fall. However, Maff and Whitmer have somehow worked their way back into contention (despite their on-going miserable feud with the Carnage Crew) and get a rematch now. Will Allison Danger play a part in this? Remember she still has her own issues with the former Prophecy members. This has been a tough weekend for the Pitbulls, semi-main eventing both nights with big Tag title defences.
Rather than shake hands the Pitbulls opt to slug it out with Maff and Whitmer. Romero floors Whitmer with a jumping knee strike for 2. Maff sends him out and goes for a tope but Reyes stops him with a dropkick to the knee. Rolling suplex combo from BJ on Reyes. Maff gives Reyes a spinebuster, then spoofs the People’s Elbow but hits a huge senton instead. Romero comes in but gets press slammed on top of his partner. Maff hits his cradle double underhook suplex, as Whitmer fires off some kicks to the spine. Whitmer goes for a hiptoss on Reyes, but he hits a sweet counter with a swinging DDT. Rocky comes in and he scores with a stream of kicks and stomps. Romero applies an octopus stretch in the middle of the ring, but Maff bundles in to break it. Reyes gets 2 on Whitmer with a neckbreaker. Urinage from Whitmer but Reyes distracts the ref so there is no tag. Smokes pulls Maff of the apron as the Pitbulls double team BJ in the ring. Whitmer ducks a big kick from Reyes – EXPLODER SCORES! Maff tagged in this time and he hits offence on both Pitbulls. HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON REYES…for 2. Cannonball senton in the corner, which Whitmer follows up with a dropkick to the face. Maff puts Reyes in the figure 4 – FROG SPLASH FROM WHITMER! Whitmer goes for the Wrist Clutch put Reyes counters with a roll up for 2. Rolling Germans from Reyes…rolling Germans from Whitmer…ROLLING GERMANS FROM REYES! Romero is tagged in and the Pitbulls hit the back suplex/inverted DDT combo for 2. Maff and Reyes fight on the floor as Romero and Whitmer go to the top rope. Whitmer goes for a Wrist Clutch but Romero counters with an inverted DDT. Maff goes for a Burning Hammer on Romero but gets a kick from Reyes. Maff throws Reyes out…BURNING HAMMER ON ROMERO!! Smokes pulls the referee out before the three count. The Pitbulls pull a switch on Maff and Reyes rolls him up for three at 16:12.
Rating – *** – Wow, the crowd really wasn’t into this at all. Seriously, they were dead for most of this, despite Maff’s best efforts to get them chanting every time he was on the apron. What I liked about this match was that it was a straight up, unabashed fight. At times it wasn’t pretty, but they just beat the crap out of each other, and I enjoyed that. I also thought Whitmer’s performance in this was pretty good. Everybody knows how good Romero is, or how charismatic Maff is…but I don’t think BJ gets enough credit as a wrestler – he was good in this. On the negative side, the finish was rubbish. Neither Reyes nor Maff were legal I don’t think. Still…it was a pleasing example of how Maff and Whitmer can actually work good matches when they get something better to do than pointless crappy brawls with Loc and DeVito.
Bryan Danielson/Low Ki vs Jushin Liger/Samoa Joe
Can you say biggest…tag match…ever? This was a dream partner match, with Danielson and Liger each selecting partners to continue their battle against each other from last night. Dragon wants to prove he’s the best junior heavyweight in the world, but needs to beat Liger (which he’s never done) in order to back up that claim. He lost last night in a singles match, can he even the score tonight? Meanwhile, Low Ki and Joe have a ton of heat, since Ki came back in July and turned on Joe to join the Rottweilers. They brawled at Testing The Limit, and against at Midnight Express Reunion, and will finally come to blows tonight. This is also the first time Joe and Dragon have been in the ring together since their classic at Midnight Express Reunion. Also, how will Danielson and Ki exist as partners? Thinking back to the first year in ROH, they had quite the rivalry, including clashing in possibly the finest match in ROH history at Round Robin Challenge. Smokes is out there for the third match running…dear lord.
Joe and Ki look set to start, but that’s what everyone wants to see so Ki bails. Joe/Dragon it is then. Joe strikes hard at Danielson and knocks him down with big chops and forearms. Indian deathlock from Danielson in response. Joe blasts Dragon with a kick to the spine, and now it’s time for Liger/Ki. Liger with a tiltaw-whirl backbreaker on Ki. Dragon comes in so Liger dishes one out for him as well. Joe in…ELBOW SUICIDA ON DRAGON. LIGER WITH A SOMERSAULT SENTON ON KI! Mexican surfboard on Ki, into the rear chinlock as the action returns to the ring. Liger tags Joe in, so finally we get Joe vs Ki. Stalling vertical suplex from Joe, before bringing Liger back. Liger chops away until Ki shunts him towards Dragon, who grabs him in a sleeper. Together they choke away at him on the apron, as Smokes chatters like a monkey in his face. Backbreaker from Danielson, but Liger escapes a surfboard attempt. Muta elbow from Ki for 2. Dragon goes after the mask then drives Liger’s face into Ki’s boot. Low Ki takes Liger to the floor, sending him into the guardrails before throwing him back to Dragon in the ring. Abdominal stretch from Danielson, and he’s in full on heel mode so he grabs Ki’s hand and adds more torque to the hold. Hiptoss to escape from Liger, but Danielson grabs a boot and tags, and Ki stops a tag with a big elbow drop. Headscissors from Low Ki, and again he grabs Danielson to add extra leverage. Airplane spin from Dragon, into the rolling front slam. Dragon stumbles like a drunkard and walks right into a forearm from Joe, but still makes the tag to Ki.
‘I hate yo’ Japanese ass…cocksucker’ – Smokes to Liger. I’ll admit that made me laugh. Ki drives an elbow to Liger’s head in the corner, then comes off the top with a huge DOUBLE STOMP! Liger ducks the springboard enzi and dumps Ki with a fisherman buster, and finally makes the tag. Bootscrapes from Joe…FACEWASH! That sends Ki to the floor, and Joe shoves him into a chair. OLE OLE KICK ON LOW KI! Around the ring we go…LIGER WITH AN OLE OLE KICK! Back in the ring, Joe drops Ki with a powerslam for 2. Ki goes for a crucifix but only manages to score with a knee to the head, but he follows it with a clothesline and tags out. Uppercuts from Danielson, then the diving European uppercut from the second rope gets 2. Joe blocks a dragon suplex and gives him a rolling legsweep. Tag to Liger who comes in with palm strikes all round. Danielson and Ki play the numbers on Liger. Dragon holds Liger open, and Ki comes off the ropes with the springboard enziguri for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION ON LIGER! JOE BREAKS IT WITH A HUGE SENTON! BLACK MAGIC FROM KI TO JOE! Ki ducks a palm strike and locks in a crucifix stretch on Liger. Ki goes to the top rope…PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES! Ki rolls through though…CAPO KICK ON LIGER. PHOENIX SPLASHED NAILED THIS TIME! Dragon covers but Joe saves at the last second. Danielson with a dragon suplex for 2. He goes for a German, but Joe charges in and gives him an enzi kick. Liger with a brainbuster for 2 before Ki saves. Ki holds Liger open…LIGER DUCKS AND DRAGON GIVES KI A ROARING ELBOW! LARIAT FROM JOE TO DRAGON…CAPO KICK ON LOW KI! Liger takes Dragon to the corner. LIGERBOMB!! That’s it at 21:17 – Liger beats Danielson for the second night running.
Rating – ****1/2 – I’m not entirely sure that I’m not overrating this a tad, but it was better than last night’s Liger/Dragon, which I gave 4* to so. It’s not the best ever match, but it’s a well worked tag team encounter, packed with so much star power that it was nearly impossible for them not to work something good. The heat segment on Liger was fun, and when it finally broke down at the end it got real exciting. Unlike last night, Ki was way up for this, and busting out the Phoenix Splash was an unexpected surprise. Liger and Dragon were gold as always…whilst Joe was Joe. The only criticism of this match I would make is that it seems so preoccupied with the momentous occasion of Liger being in ROH, and these four big international stars being in one ring, that they really don’t capitalise on the Joe/Ki angle enough. Bar one Ole Ole Kick, and Ki running away at the start there really wasn’t much interaction. This would be cool if they were saving them for a big title match, but knowing how Joe’s title reign finally comes to an end, it seems a bit pointless that they didn’t do more here. Still, great match…
The Rottweilers come to ringside and seem pissed off at Dragon for giving Ki the roaring elbow. Joe and Liger come back and make the save, including Liger dishing out a palm strike on J-Train, and that leaves the three of them to take the applause from the fans.
SSP goes to get the statement from Prince Nana from The Embassy locker room. Nana sends Angel to get some ice for Jimmy Rave…then makes the statement that Ghana declares war on Jay Lethal.
Bryan Danielson says it’s personal between him and The Rottweilers after they jumped him after the main event. We’re going to see a new man starting now…
Rating – *** – It’s a good show, and marginally better than last nights. There are a few disappointments, like Collyer/McGuiness, Rave/Lethal and Walters/Homicide, but there’s much to enjoy. The Saints/GeNext tag was chaotic and at times brutal, I surprisingly enjoyed the fourway spotfest. Maff and Whitmer proved they were more than just brawlers in their tag title shot, although it’s a shame the live crowd hated it. The Foley/Punk segment was awesome, and the huge main event definitely delivered.
Top 3 Matches
3) Havana Pitbulls vs Dan Maff/BJ Whitmer (***)
2) CM Punk/Ace Steel vs Generation Next (****)
1) Jushin Liger/Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson/Low Ki (****1/2)
Top 5 Weekend Of Thunder Matches
5) John Walters/Nigel McGuiness vs Samoa Joe/Jay Lethal (*** – Night 1)
4) Havana Pitbulls vs Generation Next (*** – Night 1)
3) Jushin Liger vs Bryan Danielson (**** – Night 1)
2) CM Punk/Ace Steel vs Generation Next (**** – Night 2)
1) Jushin Liger/Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson/Low Ki (****1/2 – Night 2)roh