066 ROH Nowhere to Run 5/14/2005

ROH 66 – Nowhere To Run – 14th May 2005

I started reviewing this latest Midwest double shot on somewhat of a downer. I certainly wasn’t that excited about these two latest shows, and the steel cage main events don’t really push my buttons so to speak. Luckily, The Final Showdown last night featured Austin Aries and James Gibson putting on a classic, and in fairness, the card for this show is pretty decent. It’s CM Punk and Jimmy Rave’s turn to step into the four sides of steel to end their violent feud, which for my money has been as good as any ROH has ever done. Austin Aries defends the ROH Title against Bryan Danielson in a renewal of an old rivalry that produced to awesome matches in 2004. Homicide wrestles Doug Williams in a first time ever match, Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuiness go one-on-one again, and Alex Shelley needs a partner to face Strong and Evans. Naturally we’re in Chicago Ridge, IL. Your hosts are Dave Prazak, CM Punk and Jimmy Bower.

Bryan Danielson opens the show saying all he cares about is winning the World Title. Alex Shelley interrupts to try to get Dragon to team with him tonight…but all Dragon cares about is the title.

James Gibson is naturally disappointed after losing his title shot. But tonight he faces BJ Whitmer, one half of the Tag champions. If he beats him, surely he would secure a Tag Title shot. Shelley turns up in this promo trying to get a partner. Gibson hasn’t forgiven him for costing him five more minutes at Stalemate.

Austin Aries seems pretty confident. He beat Gibson, he’s beating Danielson. He’s off to Mexico to defend the belt against Super Crazy (and Ricky Marvin as it turned out). You go champ…

James Gibson vs BJ Whitmer

Poor Jamie Noble! After coming so close to the title last night, now he goes right down to the bottom of the card and has to start all over again in his quest for gold in Ring Of Honor. This is an intriguing match because it’s been AGES since Whitmer was given a singles match. He’s spent so long teaming with Maff and now Jacobs that everyone seems to have forgotten he used to wrestle by himself.

Whitmer takes charge right off the bat, not wanting to chain-wrestle Gibson, instead slamming him hard and blasting him with a forearm. Gibson attacks Whitmer’s leg, wrapping it around the ringpost viciously. He stays on the leg, wrapping it in the ropes and stretching hard. Deathlock from Jamie, but BJ chops his way free. Gibson breaks out a pretty cool looking version of the half crab as the assault continues. He seems to attempt a Strykerlock but Whitmer makes the ropes. Gibson goes for a crossbody but Whitmer rolls through INTO A BRAINBUSTER! He seems to go after the neck, targeting it with a neckbreaker then choking the opponent in the ropes. Crossbody block from Gibson for 2, and he keeps it quick with a slingshot sunset flip. Whitmer catapults Gibson into a bottom rope guillotine. He applies a cobra clutch which is wearing Gibson down, working the neck and also stretching the arm he injured last night. Gibson uses the turnbuckles to free himself and scores with a dropkick. He drags BJ out of the corner for a neckbreaker for 2. Whitmer blocks the Tigerbomb so Gibson knee strikes the f*ck out of his face. He heads upstairs after a brainbuster for the guillotine leg drop which is good for another nearfall. Rolling suplexes from Whitmer…COUNTERED INTO THE TRAILER HITCH OUT OF NOWHERE! Whitmer makes the ropes, so Gibson just applies the hold again. BJ breaks it in the corner, and nails the Exploder ’98 for 2. It’s Wrist Clutch Exploder time but Gibson counters out. Instead Whitmer goes for a superplex, but Gibson counters in mid-air into a reverse DDT. TRAILER HITCH and this time Whitmer taps. 13:07 is the time.

Rating – *** –
Second only to Danielson/Spanky from Best of American Super Juniors, this is one of the best openers ROH has done in 2005. It’s also one of BJ’s best ever singles matches in ROH, but since he’s barely had one at all since 2003 that doesn’t seem as relevant. Anyway, good, hard-hitting fun to be had here. It’s a shame they seemed to completely forget about the leg work of the early going (or am I missing something?) with Gibson going after the neck in the closing stages with a neckbreaker, brainbuster and the leg drop to soften Whitmer up for the Trailer Hitch. It’s a minor point anyway.

Prince Nana brings Jimmy Rave to the ring somewhat early for the main event, bullying poor, hot little Jade Chung along the way. He gets so much heat from the Chicago crowd that you can barely make out what he’s saying on the microphone. Jimmy grabs the mic and tries to back out of the cage match later. Incredibly, Nana flat out demands he wrestle the match tonight. Rave has to put his life on the line for The Embassy against CM Punk tonight.

Chad Collyer vs Jimmy Jacobs

Now it’s time for the other half of the Tag champions to compete. In theory, they’ve already conceded one title shot tonight, what with Gibson making BJ tap. If Collyer can beat Jacobs, does that mean he gets himself and a partner (presumably Nigel McGuiness) a title shot as well? The fans chant ‘You beat Eddie’ at Jimmy, referring to his recent DQ victory over Eddie Guerrero on Smackdown.

Collyer is too good a wrestler for Jacobs it seems, as he is able to work the arm in a number of ways in the initial exchanges. Jimmy is eventually able to quicken things with a hiptoss, a dropkick and an armdrag. He hits a springboard crossbody for 2. Double knee gutbuster from Jacobs, and he stays on the midsection with stomps, headbutts and shoulder thrusts. He trampoline’s on Chad’s stomach then drops a double senton for another 2. Tilta-whirl backbreaker from Collyer to buy himself some time. He almost drops Jacobs on his head with a bridging German suplex and gets a 2 of his own. A northern lights suplex has the same result. Jacobs comes back with a hurricanrana but goes for a back body drop and gets elbowed in the neck. Collyer with a backbreaker stretch, but Jimmy is able to escape and nail a spear. Collyer gets sent to the floor off a springboard forearm and Jimmy goes right after him with a tope. Back in the ring Collyer ducks a flying crossbody attempt. He goes for one of his own and Jacobs dropkicks him in the stomach. Contra Code blocked…Texas Cloverleaf countered! Neckbreaker over the knee from Jacobs, and he scales the ropes only to miss the senton bomb. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF and Chad drags Jimmy into the middle of the ring. He has no choice but to tap at 10:47. Is he getting a title shot as well?

Rating – *** –
It took a little while to get going, but once it did, we saw a surprisingly heated battle. The storyline was pretty simple – Jacobs working the ribs for the back senton, Collyer working the back for the Cloverleaf. When it all came down to it Jacobs missed the finisher he’d been setting up for, Collyer was able to hit his and he won the match.

Alex Shelley still doesn’t have a tag partner and he seems pretty sad about it. He seems resigned to going it alone until he goes into a bathroom stall and finds Delirious just…hanging out. Shelley asks Delirious to team up, but he’s too whacked out to notice. He doesn’t seem to disagree though, and with that, a tag team is born. FUNNIEST backstage segment ROH has ever done right there.

Doug Williams vs Homicide

There’s no back story behind this. Just ROH throwing two top quality wrestlers together and seeing what happened. Homicide is coming off a pretty devastating loss in the Best of 5 Series to Bryan Danielson in the cage last night. He lost the match, the series and a title rematch with Austin Aries and needs to start rebuilding here.

Homicide goes right to the kimura he got a couple of wins with earlier in the year but Williams counters out with some ease because he rules. He seems to have an answer for everything Homicide tries, and Cide throws a tantrum on the floor after suffering a double underhook suplex. More wrestling exchanges which Doug largely controls, much to the dismay of Homicide. Williams ties Homicide into a knot in the middle of the ring, and that’s just deliberately pissing the guy off. Homicide eventually gives up on the wrestling, and kicks Williams in the stomach to take over. Hammerlock with a neck stretch as well, but Doug is too close to the ropes. Doug comes back with a trio of knee drops off the ropes for 2 then he starts stretching Homicide’s neck. That’s followed up with a neckbreaker, and this is all softening Cide up for the Chaos Theory. He goes for it but Homicide lands on his feet and dropkicks Doug to the floor. TOPE CON HILO CONNECTS! The outside is Homicide’s environment, and he starts sending Williams into the railings. Doug fires back with a suplex on the floor. Homicide throws a chair right into his face as all of a sudden this has gotten violent. Homicide comes off the top with a knee to neck as the fight returns to the ring. Cross-legged abdominal stretch by Cide but Williams isn’t softened up enough to tap yet. He tries to rally back but Homicide rakes his eyes like a bad, bad man. Williams goes for a knee but it misses and Homicide hits a piledriver for 2. Doug manages to block the Lariat but still takes a big kick to the spine. Williams with a gutwrench superplex, but he’s too worn down to role into a cover right away. Bomb Scare misses but Williams is still able to go for a couple of pins. Homicide goes for the Ace crusher but it’s blocked and Doug hits one of his own. BOMB SCARE KNEE DROP for 2. Top rope Ace crusher from Homicide…LARIAT! Williams barely kicks out before the three. CHAOS THEORY SCORES but Williams couldn’t bridge because his neck is too injured, and Homicide falls to the floor. Incredibly, Doug goes to the top rope. TOP ROPE PLANCHA BY WILLIAMS! He brings it back inside for a tiger suplex, but again he’s too injured to bridge. T-bone suplex from Homicide and that’s more damage. Williams blocks the Cop Killa but Homicide counters the Chaos Theory into a roll-up for the rapid victory at 18:59.

Rating – **** –
But then Doug Williams is awesome, did you really expect he’d go back to England after this fleeting visit to ROH without putting on at least one great match? I’m surprised these two gelled this well in all honesty. On paper it seemed like quite the styles clash, but after months of brawling with Bryan Danielson, Homicide steps up to the plate and again demonstrates what a good wrestler he is. Solid neck-work from both men…and Williams going for a plancha to the floor was awesome. It’s such a shame that what with his NOAH and FWA commitments ROH doesn’t get to see him more often.

JAY LETHAL UPDATE – His neck was injured at Manhattan Mayhem, and it’s unknown when he’s coming back. When he does, he wants revenge on The Rottweilers.

Alex Shelley/Delirious vs Generation Next

This one shouldn’t need too many introductions, since Shelley has been at war with GeNext since they booted him out in December. He lost to Austin Aries at Manhattan Mayhem, but recovered well, defeating Roderick Strong last night. But now he steps into GeNext’s environment. Nobody is a more fluent tag team than Strong and Jack Evans, and with a partner who is completely insane, are the odds against him tonight?

Once more the bell drives Delirious insane, much to the bewilderment of his tag partner. Strong and Shelley start and continue where they left off last night, spitting at each other and everything. Delirious and Evans in, but rather than wrestle Jack dances. Delirious opts to out-wrestle Evans instead, but the Hart dungeon graduate manages to hold his own. Delirious tries to eat Jack’s hand before bringing Shelley back. He double knees Evans into the raises knees of his tag partner. Shades of last time in Chicago as Alex almost snaps him in half with a Gory special, then a pretty disgusting surfboard/chinlock. Banana-phone cradle from Delirious gets 2. Strong tags in and is given the advantage thanks to a corkscrew enzi by Evans. More double teaming, but Evans decides Chicago isn’t worth the standing Phoenix splash, opting for a double stomp instead. Strong keeps things simple, wearing Delirious down with a bearhug, which eventually becomes a cradle belly to belly suplex. Rod suplexes Jack into a 360 splash for 2. Handspring elbow in the corner scores, and it’s followed with a springboard knee to the back. HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX OF TOTAL DEATH FROM RODERICK STRONG! Holy sh*t that looked sick.

Strong goes for the bearhug again but Delirious headbutts himself free. Tag to Shelley, who baits Jack into kneeing Strong in the head. He drop toeholds Strong into Jack’s crotch, then gives him a swinging DDT. Strong goes to the floor…SOMERSAULT PLANCHA FROM DELIRIOUS! Evans scores with a fisherman buster on Shelley as Strong and Delirious are both pretty dead. Superkick from Shelley, but Strong re-emerges with a half nelson backbreaker and a big boot for 2. Delirious gives Strong a running knee strike in the corner, and that sets up for SHADOWS OVER HELL…but Strong counters into a gutbuster. Doomsday crossbody by GeNext for 2. Delirious gets set up in the corner but Shelley stops the double stomp and puts Strong in the Border City Stretch. Evans breaks that with a standing corkscrew shooting star. His moonsault attempt is blocked…AND DELIRIOUS HITS SHADOWS OVER HELL FOR 2! Strong knees Delirious in the head, and this time does powerbomb Jack into the double stomp to the back. Lion Tamer from Strong and Delrious HAS to tap at 16:32.

Rating – **** –
What the hell? That was incredible stuff from all four guys! Seriously, I think this is a better tag match than Whitmer/Jacobs vs GeNext at Manhattan Mayhem, since it had way more of a plot and was less of a straight up spotfest. The last five minutes were as hot as anything ROH has done all year as all everyone went hell for leather breaking out everything in their arsenal. I can’t find enough good things to say about this honestly. Give Delirious a full-time spot NOW.

Shelley dishes out some chair shots for Strong and Evans after the match to again get one over his old friends.

Nigel McGuiness vs Colt Cabana

The third singles match between these two promises to be the most intense yet. The first time they wrestled in Dayton it was a friendly competitive match that spurned a tag team. But that fell apart due to Cabana goofing around, and the next time they met, in New York, Nigel was really desperate to win. He did so, but only after an inadvertent low blow, which pissed Colt off of course. Last night in Dayton’s tag match, Cabana (teaming with Doug Williams) scored the pin on Nigel (teaming with Chad Collyer).

McGuiness sets out his stall to control Cabana early but just as in their previous encounters, Colt is more than up to the challenge. He goes for a pin, but Cabana is able to crawl away, as he’s done in their other matches as well. McGuiness tries to put all his weight on Colt to stop him crawling away, but just ends up sprawling on his back as Cabana does it anyway. Nigel finally manages to ground Cabana, but yet again it’s countered and he has his face smashed into the mat. Wristlock takedown from McGuiness, then a series of wristlock snapmares as he gets more aggressive to combat the distracts of the comedy. He uses a cobra clutch, and then flattens Colt with a clothesline. Nigel forces Cabana all the way down with a hammerlock, and he starts using the ropes for extra leverage. Back to the cobra clutch, and again he’s able to floor Cabana with a clothesline when he finally works his way out of the hold. Cabana with a series of pinning combinations but nothing gets the job done. McGuiness hits a shoulder block and as Colt goes down he accidentally kicks him in the jewels. Unlike Nigel in New York, Cabana gives him a break and lets him recover. HEADBUTT from McGuiness as repayment and that has busted Colt open. Now this is intense, as Nigel is just stiffing Cabana all over the place, but the hometown boy doesn’t go down. Forearms in the corner from Cabana followed by a big clothesline for 2. He sails through the air with a sweet missile dropkick too. McGuiness flips again with more ferocious right hands. They even plough through the referee as they slug it out. DELIBERATE low blow from McGuiness, and he rolls Colt up at 13:32. Cheater…

Rating – *** –
In terms of in-ring quality, it still didn’t quite succeed what we saw in Dayton at the Third Anniversary show, but in terms of storyline and plot development, what a great match. It started out just like their prior matches, with lots of pretty wrestling, and Cabana generally gaining the upper hand, pissing Nigel off along the way. But as the match went on McGuiness just got more and more intense, culminating in what you’d assume to be his heel turn with the cheating finish. Good story, well executed…no complaints. Now these guys need a match to go longer, so they can really put on a classic.

Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson – ROH World Title Match

On paper, outside of the grudge cage matches, this has to be one of the top attractions of this whole weekend. For the third time in ROH, Aries and American Dragon are stepping into the ring to do battle. We saw them go 75 minutes in the 2/3 falls epic last August at Testing The Limit, and it was Danielson that really broke Aries out as a main eventer at Survival Of The Fittest, when they were the last two men in the elimination final match, and had an absolute clinic. But times change, and people change. Aries is now ROH Champion, and is coming off the back of a VERY close shave last night with James Gibson. He was caught in the Trailer Hitch, and was lucky to slump on top of Gibson for the pin. Some say his demanding schedule is taking it’s toll on him; are they right? Danielson, meanwhile, can’t be at a hundred percent since he was in a cage match with Homicide last night, which he won with the airplane spin of utter lunacy.

Aries throws Danielson across the ring so Dragon responds by doing the exact same thing right back…touché. Dragon wrenches the neck in a chinlock, but Aries is able to counter out, and equally able to avoid a dropkick attempt when it comes. He uses the beard to keep hold of a headlock as it’s his turn to try to dictate the pace. Finally Dragon gets out of the headlock but Aries catches him with a glancing dropkick. Japanese stranglehold by Danielson, and he stretches the back out with his knees as well. Dragon pays tribute to Earthquake with a running banzai drop for 2. He whips Austin into the buckles hard, really starting to assert himself at the ten minute mark. Shinbreaker from Aries…BACK SUPLEX OVER THE TOP ROPE! He scores with the Heat Seeking Missile as well, and his trademark explosive offence has brought him right back into the contest. Aries goes for the airplane spin, but Danielson isn’t keen on being ripped off, so Aries drives him arm-first to the canvas. He ties the same arm in the rope and runs at it, attempting to injure it just like he did to James Gibson last night. Aries gets 2 with a hammerlock sidewalk slam. He goes for hammerlock scoop slams, but Danielson counters to Cattle Mutilation…only his arm can’t sustain the hold! One swinging elbow drop to the injured arm and Austin is in total control.

He goes for Cattle Mutilation himself, but Danielson knows how to counter his own hold. Jumping enzi kick from Dragon and both men are groggy. Danielson bursts back to life with a barrage of kicks in the corner, then goes after Aries’ arm, snapping it over the shoulder viciously. But he’s more aggressive these days, and starts stiffing Aries in the corner instead. Springboard reverse elbow from Austin but did that further injure his arm? Dragon moonsaults out of the corner and hits a powerslam. DIVING HEADBUTT SCORES! Aries is desperate to avoid an airplane spin but still gets kicked to the floor. DIVING EUROPEAN UPPERCUT OFF THE APRON from Danielson! Taking it to the top rope, Aries blocks a superplex, but Dragon moves out of the path of a 450 splash attempt. Aries with a couple of murderous dropkicks in the corner for 2. Dragon blocks a brainbuster and fires off an enormous back superplex for 2. CATTLE MUTILATION…MUTILATION PIN FOR 2! Danielson wants to absolutely destroy Aries, and it’s time for the airplane spin…but Aries crucifix drives his way free. BRAINBUSTER NAILED! 450 SPLASH HITS THE MARK! Aries retains at 24:25.

Rating – **** –
Tremendous title defence by Aries, I’d say second only to the Gibson match last night if you’re comparing it to his complete reign. Just an incredibly physical, intense and intelligent match from start to finish is how I’d sum this up. Both guys try to wrestle all neat and tidy, working the body part etc, but it just wouldn’t work and degenerated into a total fight for the win. For Aries, it wouldn’t work because Danielson was just too aggressive and vicious, coming off his feud with Homicide. For Dragon it didn’t work because it didn’t nullify the explosive offence of Aries, and in the end, he just couldn’t do enough damage to put the champion down. There’s a lot of message board criticism for the crucifix driver counter to the airplane spin. Don’t listen to it, it doesn’t look THAT bad, thanks to a nice job of switching between cameras at the exact moment. Aries as champion is just money at the moment, he’s spitting out so many good matches it’s like he’s James Gibson or something.

Danielson storms off without shaking hands but…THE CHAMP IS HERE! By that I mean Samoa Joe, the Pure Champion, is here. He actually pays Aries a compliment, saying he’s lived up to the expectations Joe set for the World Title. But it’s a warning…now he’s Pure Champion, that is the top belt in ROH. Austin makes nice, but jumps Joe as he tries to leave the ring. That’s just silly Austin…SPINNING MUSCLEBUSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Aries…is…F*CKING DEAD!

INTERMISSION – DP has James Gibson who demands a Tag Title shot with his partner Spanky. Chad Collyer comes in rambling like a nutter as usual, but for making Jacobs tap out he demands a title shot for him and Nigel McGuiness.

Alex Shelley cuts ANOTHER promo on Generation Next but doesn’t say much…and Bryan Danielson quits ROH after not winning the World Title.

Jimmy Rave vs CM Punk – Steel Cage Match

Despite all the praise for Homicide/Danielson, this is my feud of the year for 2005 right now. CM Punk has made Jimmy Rave and Prince Nana huge stars…now can they seal the deal and end it with a good show? This started when CM Punk sprayed Nana with air-freshener way back at Third Anniversary Celebration Part 1. At Part 3 The Embassy blinded Punk with bug spray, Rave cheated to beat him in a match then gave Tracy Brooks a Rave Clash, and she hasn’t been seen since. Punk then spent the next few shows furiously trying to get his hands on Jimmy Rave, but with no luck. At the Trios Tournament Rave managed to duck him all night long. At Best of American Super Juniors in a tag match that went all over the building The Embassy cheated to win again then tried to scrape CM Punk’s tattoo’s with a cheese grater. Stalemate saw Jimmy Rave duck Punk who had Bobby Heenan in his corner, and at Manhattan Mayhem in a wild Dog Collar Match, Rave went after Punk’s once-fractured skull, destroying him with a series of vicious chair shots. You’re caught up to now, where Punk will finally get his hands on that dastardly Jimmy Rave. Tonight he has NOWHERE TO RUN!!!

The crowd is red hot, and Rave gets insane heat during his entrance alone. Punk is so ridiculously over you can’t actually hear his music. Jimmy starts the match by trying to escape by any means necessary like the little b*tch he is. Punk is hot, slamming Rave into the cage then punching lumps out of him on the mat. He finally makes Rave bleed as he drills him face-first into the cage repeatedly. After pummelling Rave relentlessly for minutes, Punk teases walking out the door…but all he wanted was a chair, and now he begins battering Rave with that. Jade Chung tries to slam the door in Punk’s face, but that distracts him, and Nana throws powder in his eyes. MONSTER chair shot from Rave and he crawls for the door. Punk manages to drag him back, but the Embassy cheating has worked because at last Jimmy is in control. Punk is bleeding now as Rave uses the cage like a cheese grater. Rave tries to climb out but gets caught on the top rope. He goes for a Russian legsweep off the top but it’s blocked and both men end up crotched. It’s a total slugfest with both guys throwing big rights and refusing to go down. Rave tries to escape again, but Punk catches him, and he tries to climb out as well. Russian leg sweep off the top by Rave…CROSSFACE WITH THE SHOELACE! He’s choking him out like last time in Chicago but Punk refuses to quit. He damn near decapitates Rave with a Shining Wizard but it’s only good for 2. He goes to escape instead, but Jade Chung invades the cage and drags him down. RAVE INADVERTENTLY SPEARS JADE! Punk goes for a roll-up…RAAAAAAAVE CLAAAAAASH!! The fans think that could be it, and Jimmy tries to escape. Punk is up in the nick of time and catches Jimmy on his way out. He goes for a hurricanrana like an idiot, and only just manages to block a super Rave Clash. TOP ROPE CRAPPY WIZARD SCORES but Punk kicks at 2. Both guys scramble desperately for the door but neither man can get out. Double underhook backbreaker from Punk, and he gets some more vengeance by choking Rave with the shoelace. He’s sets up for the Pepsi Plunge, but Nana distracts him. Nana takes a jumping enzi, and Jimmy gets a superkick. NANA GETS SLAMMED INTO THE CAGE! But Rave tries to use this as cover to escape…but Punk cuts him off on top. PLEASE DON’T DIE…SUPERPLEX OFF THE TOP OF THE GODDAMN CAGE! DANGEROOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUS!!! At 24:15, your winner is CM Punk!

Rating – ****1/2 – Screw the haters, that was incredible. It wasn’t a technical epic, but it was everything professional wrestling should be and one of the most entertaining main events ROH has ever done. The crowd was mental for the whole thing, cheering Punk relentlessly and booing everything Rave did. Punk dominated early as everyone expected, but with a variety of low down dirty heel tactics, Jimmy got himself an advantage. Indeed, he took it to Punk so much that after demanding revenge for so long, after 20 minutes Punk was just as desperate to escape as Rave was. Punk has absolutely made Jimmy Rave in this feud, and even in losing tonight, he looks like a star, and his future in ROH has never looked brighter. Total MOTYC in my eyes.

Rave is dragged away looking dead as Colt Cabana and Ace Steel (was he booked for this show?) hit the ring to celebrate with Punk. This whole scene will give you goosebumps as the fans, just like throughout the match, are deafening. The show ends with Punk on top of the cage leading the crowd in singing along to ‘Miseria Cantare’. Then ‘Thank You’ and ‘ROH’ chants. Simply unforgettable…

Tape Rating – **** –
What a way to prove me wrong. There was me not getting excited about this double shot, and this show decides to be marvellous. It’s up there with the best shows this promotion has ever put on. It doesn’t quite have the flow or universal appeal of Manhattan Mayhem (where there is something for every wrestling fan to enjoy), but it’s still damn good. Everything is solid (at worst), and there are three or four truly excellent matches. And the unforgettable images of Delirious in the toilet, and Punk on top of the cage singing to his entrance music. One of my favourite shows to date. If nothing else on this show tempts you, get this for Punk/Rave. It’s a match that deserves to be seen by you and everyone else. Even if you skipped The Final Showdown, buy this now.

Top 3 Matches

3) Generation Next vs Alex Shelley/Delirious (****)

2) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (****)

1) CM Punk vs Jimmy Rave (****1/2)

Top 5 Steel Cage Weekend Matches

5) Homicide vs Doug Williams (**** – Nowhere To Run)

4) Generation Next vs Alex Shelley/Delirious (**** – Nowhere To Run)

3) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (**** – Nowhere To Run)

2) Austin Aries vs James Gibson (****1/2 – The Final Showdown)

1) CM Punk vs Jimmy Rave (****1/2 – Nowhere To Run)

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