ROH 68 – The Future Is Now – 12th June 2005
This is an important show for Ring Of Honor. As the title of it points out, they claim to be the future of wrestling, and if that truly is the case, this show is the time to prove it. Tonight ROH returns to New York City for a special afternoon event, taking place before WWE’s ECW One Night Stand show in the evening. It was part of a huge weekend of pro-wrestling in reality, what with Hardcore Homecoming, CZW and IWA-MS shows all crammed in, attempting to take advantage of all the nostalgia and such. Here Gabe Sapolsky and co. are looking to show the world that the true alternative is Ring Of Honor, and aim to do it by putting on a stellar show. The card is stacked with decent sounding matches too. The Rottweilers, who caused so many problems last time in Manhattan, are here in force again. Homicide wrestles James Gibson, whilst Low Ki takes on World Champion Austin Aries in a non-sanctioned match as a result of what happened when ROH was on local NY TV back in May. CM Punk takes on the rapidly improving Roderick Strong as he prepares for an ROH Title shot at Death Before Dishonor 3, and Samoa Joe defends the Pure Title against Nigel McGuiness. Shane Douglas is here tonight as well for added ECDub nostalgia. We’re at the swank looking Supper Club in New York, NY. On commentary are Jimmy Bower, Dave Prazak and CM Punk.
ROH ON WB-11 – This DVD has highlights of ROH on WB-11 before Manhattan Mayhem. This first highlight has the newsreaders calling ROH an alternative to WWE, before going to the ROH ring that they set up outside somewhere.
Loc and DeVito are pissed off that nobody cares about them despite all they’ve done for ROH. Tonight they’re going to get their revenge on Dunn & Marcos, and beat the crap out of them just like they did all the way back at Night Of Appreciation.
Jay Lethal is here tonight with a cast around his neck thanks to Homicide and Low Ki last time in New York. Tonight we’re playing by his rules apparently. Wow his promo’s are simply appalling.
Jimmy Rave vs Colt Cabana
Poor Jimmy! He put on a MOTY candidate two shows ago, and has been curtain jerking ever since. Anyway, this isn’t a first time contest, since Cabana beat Rave in the Field Of Honor, back at Beating The Odds in 2003. Colt might have a little extra hate for this given that Rave has spent much of this year abusing his best friend…but that’d be perhaps a little too much continuity for pro-wrestling. Nana, Mike Kruel, the Outcast Killaz and Jade Chung are all out here in support of the Crown Jewel.
Colt is rocking a particularly hideous singlet for such a special occasion. He starts with a couple of armdrags, much to the annoyance of young Jimmy. Rave hits an armdrag of his own and gets a little too excited, so Cabana pulls his tights down. Rave tries to slow the pace, but only ends up getting his trousers pulled down for a second time as Cabana continues to have fun. Thanks to his fly new European skills, Colt just seems to have the edge over Rave at every turn. Eventually Jimmy just clotheslines him in the back of the head to gain an advantage. Neckbreaker suplex from Rave for 2, and he chokes Colt in the ropes, allowing Nana to get in a cheap shot. Rave cuts off a comeback attempt with a double knee gutbuster as Nana manhandles Jade Chung in dastardly fashion. On the floor Cabana goes for a chop but ends up smacking the ringpost instead. Missile dropkick from the Second City Saint as we go back inside, leaving both men down. Colt scores with a butt-butt and a big clothesline for 2. Rave comes off the second rope and gets caught in a cradle snap suplex which gets another nearfall. Colt 45 is blocked into the CRAPPY WIZARD! It’s Rave Clash time…but Colt climbs up the ropes to counter. And he’s also ROH’s resident master of the roll-up, and he pins Jimmy out of nowhere at 09:34.
Rating – ** – Good choice to open the show, since a lot of the comedy stuff they worked in got the crowd going, and by sending the most over heels out first, it immediately drew the crowd into the show (much like last time in Buffalo). Neither man wrestled the match of their life, but it was a competent back and forth match at least. I’m not sure the right man went over here, given that Jimmy really needs to look strong coming off the CM Punk feud, and with AJ Styles’ return at the next show to worry about.
Prince Nana isn’t happy about that, and he sends Jade Chung into the ring to teach Cabana a lesson or she gets sent back to Vietnam. Reluctantly she slaps Colt in the face…and he retorts with the SEXUAL DANCING! Jade seems to like that…so Nana dumps her on her face and drags her away. He’s an eeeeeeevil man isn’t he! This angle with Jade Chung is so wrong, yet so hilarious.
Carnage Crew vs Dunn & Marcos – New York Street Fight
Dunn & Marcos beat the Carnage Crew in the Scramble Cage at the start of the Third Anniversary week, and condemned them to 90 days out of ROH as a result. Carnage Crew showed up at Manhattan Mayhem and beat the crap out of the RCE to announce their return…and now they want to beat the snot out of them for even more revenge.
The Carnage Crew are fatter than ever, and come out downing whisky, which doesn’t bode well for Dunn & Marcos. They try to rush the ring but the Carnage Crew get right on top, and quickly take the fight to the floor. Loc is already dishing out chair shots on Dunn, and DeVito already has Marcos bleeding. He eats a DDT on the floor, whilst Loc pours alcohol into Dunn’s open cut. Swinging neckbreaker on Dunn for 2, as Prazak grills CM Punk on the speculation about his future in wrestling. Outside again, and DeVito squashes both members of the Express against the railings. He plants Dunn with the Side Effect, before joining Loc for the Carnageplex on Marcos. Dunn gets one of those as well…and has Marcos splash mountain neckbreakered down on top of him. We have entered squashville ladies and gentlemen. The Crew go for a ladder…DUELLING TOPE’S FROM DUNN & MARCOS! Finally they get in some offence, as DeVito eats the kick flurry and Loc gets the assisted Shiranui. Everyone goes to the top rope AND DUNN GETS SHOVED TO THE FLOOR THROUGH A F*CKING LADDER! SPIKE PILEDRIVER on Marcos and this is over at 07:34.
Rating – DUD – Despite a couple of sick bumps, that mostly sucked up in classic Carnage Crew fashion. I’ve found them interesting in their time, but it really has to be said, they’ve been wrestling the same match for three and a half years. It’s time they got a fresh act or cleared off.
ROH ON WB-11 – Lacey beats on a reporter in the ring as Austin Aries watches. They end up hugging…
Azrieal vs Izzy vs Deranged vs Fast Eddie vs Jack Evans vs BJ Whitmer
It’s the return of Six Man Mayhem, as ROH looks to cram a little bit of everything onto this card. We’ve had comedy, we’ve had hardcore, now it’s the turn of the spotfest. Are you fed up of seeing Azrieal, Izzy and Deranged wrestle each other yet? I totally am. Azrieal would love a win here, since last time we saw him, Izzy and Deranged beat him and Dixie to make them split up. Fast Eddie joined The Embassy in February and hasn’t done a whole lot since then. Jack Evans and BJ Whitmer bring some much-needed star power to this. They might even have some heat, given that Whitmer is half of the Tag Champions, and Jack would love another shot at the belts.
Azrieal and Deranged start, and as usual Deranged horses around and gets slapped by Az. Usually flippy stuff from them, ending with a quebrada into a swinging DDT from Deranged. Izzy and Evans next, and Izzy scores first with a rana. Gorgeous dropkick from Jack sends Izzy to the floor. Deranged gives him a Wonderwhirl facebuster but Eddie comes in to Tombstone Deranged. Whitmer enters the fray to dominate everyone…BRAINBUSTER on Azrieal. Izzy reverse rana’s BJ as the madness continues. Mad Scientist Bomb/neckbreaker combo on Eddie by Lacey’s Angels. SOMERSAULT SENTONS FROM THE ANGELS! PHOENIX SPLASH TO THE FLOOR BY EDDIE! The fans chant to see a dive from Nana hilariously. Eddie trades strikes with BJ and gives him the cradle Russian legsweep. Jack dishes out a standing corkscrew shooting star press. Izzy moonsault dropkicks Evans to the floor but Az muscles him into SOUTH OF HEAVEN. Deranged gives Azrieal the snapmare driver, but Whitmer boots him in the head before he can capitalise. CROSS-ARM SPIRALBOMB ON DERANGED! SPACE FLYING TIGER DIVE NAILED BY JACK! Azrieal is on the top rope to DOUBLE STOMP Izzy. He gets a huge win at 08:18.
Rating – ** – As far as spotfests go, that was pretty decent in fairness. I’ve probably rated far worse ones higher in the past, but times change, and so has my taste it seems. It’s hard to really fault anyone here, as nobody screwed anything up, and they all got a chance to show off what they can do. If you’re into your nutty spot-filled fun, this will really float your boat. Giving Azrieal the win is significant though. Are we going to see him break out over the summer?
ROH ON WB-11 – Austin Aries and Azrieal wrestle outside as the airhead reporter rabbits on in the background.
It’s about to be Masked Boston Superstar against Derek Dempsey (of the ROH Wrestling School second class) but they get interrupted…by The Franchise. He clears the ring of all jobbers, but the fans are already booing. First thing he does is take a shot at One Night Stand and Vince McMahon…and the fans are sh*tting all over him. He starts putting ROH over but nobody is even giving him a chance, instead opting to chant for Ric Flair. Shane read that ROH is the new ECW…and he thinks that’s a bunch of sh*t. ROH ain’t worth ‘the sweat on my balls’…he proceeds to put himself over, then walks out. I realise we’re trying to impress all the first-timers and ECW fans…but was adding Douglas to this show really necessary? ‘Don’t Come Back’ – NYC.
James Gibson vs Homicide
Talk about polar opposites in ROH right now. Gibson comes into this match in a real slump. He’s failed to beat Austin Aries for the World Title twice, and last time in Buffalo he lost a Pure Title match to Samoa Joe, meaning he’s still without his ultimate prize of gold. Homicide, meanwhile, has some momentum going at present. Consecutive wins over Doug Williams and Kevin Steen are nice, and he’s also responsible for the madness we saw last time in Manhattan, and part of the reason why Jay Lethal is in a neck brace here tonight. New Frontiers ended with Gibson vowing to become more ruthless to get the job done in ROH…but tonight he faces one of the most ruthless men in ROH history on his home patch. If this is a wrestling match we could be in for a classic. If they decide to opt for a fight/brawl instead…I’m less interested.
It’s starting out as a wrestling contest at least, which is interesting because you have to believe Gibson has an advantage over Homicide in that area. It actually turns out pretty even before they break off to accept the applause of the fans. The pace of their exchanges increases, but again it’s all even and it comes to a second stand off as the two men continue to feel each other out. Homicide lets the fans get to him, and tries to bring the bell into the ring, but the ref manages to get that removed without incident. Gibson gets sent to the floor, but he cuts off the tope con hilo with an elbow strike before Cide can even reach the ropes. Homicide takes Jamie to the ropes and rocks him with a superplex, and almost seems to hurt his own neck in the process. Gibson is tenacious and he goes right at any potential injury with a swinging neckbreaker. Tree of woe on Homicide, and now Gibson demonstrates his new, mean streak by stretching that neck in that position. He works a surfboard with a foot right in the back of the head to cause still more damage. More cheating from Gibson with a choke over the middle rope. They trade shots on the apron…Homicide with an ACE CRUSHER ON THE APRON! He’s hurt though, so he rolls in to take some time to recuperate, whilst Smokes takes a couple of cheapshots. Clearly Homicide is going after Gibson’s neck too, as he drops a leg on the exposed head as Jamie is set up over the bottom rope. He’s more aggressive than Gibson in working the body part though, using chokes and kicks before finally going to a chinlock. He dropkicks Gibson into the crowd…TOPE CON HILO INTO THE FRONT F*CKING ROW!
Smokes throws Jamie back in the ring but he kicks out at 2. Homicide goes back to the chinlock, sapping Gibson’s energy and working his bad neck too. Homicide looks for the Lariat but Gibson counters with a sleeper. Cide jawbreakers out of that and goes right into a powerslam as he attempts the Lariat for a second time. Awesome counter sequence right there. Gibson comes off the second rope with a diving elbow for 2. Back to the turnbuckles he goes and it’s once too often and Homicide drags him off with the double underhook superplex which protects his neck a little better. Cide misses a diving headbutt…and Gibson looks for a window for the Tigerbomb. KNEE TO THE HEAD…BRAINBUSTER! He looks for a tornado DDT but Homicide blocks and nails a second rope Ace crusher. Gibson blocks the Lariat for a third time with a boot…HOMICIDE LARIATS HIM ANYWAY! TWO COUNT! He goes for the Cop Killa, but Gibson counters with a German suplex for 2. Homicide goes for the Tigerbomb but Gibson counters with a DDT then applies a front double underhook…TIGERBOMB! HOMICIDE KICKS OUT AT 2! Homicide retreats to the apron but Gibson grabs him with a TRAILER HITCH IN THE ROPES! Gibson has lost it, and he shoves the referee over when he puts a stop to that. Low blow from Homicide…LARIAAAAAT! He gets the win at 21:15!
Rating – **** – Quality match, absolutely loved it. That was just so the kind of wrestling I enjoy. Two talented athletes attacking each other’s necks like real bastards, telling a good story, and having a logical conclusion. We ended New Frontiers with Gibson vowing to get more aggressive, and he showed that in this match, and in the end it cost him. For both men working the neck was logical considering their finishing moves, and although I’m sure the selling could’ve been better, it was still a great contest. I really liked the way Gibson constantly avoided Homicide’s murderous running Lariat, and in the end it took a low blow for him to be put in position for it. This was supposed to be an exhibition of what ROH is all about – it delivered.
Gibson snaps again after the match and attacks Homicide…then gets jumped from behind by Julius Smokes. Homicide drags a table out to teach him a lesson by dragging a table out as Smokes gives Gibson a piledriver. Jay Lethal shows up in a neckbrace…AND HE SPLASHES HOMICIDE THROUGH THE TABLE! He even legs it before Low Ki, Monsta Mack and another Rottweiler thug can grab him. Consider that some revenge then…
INTERMISSION – GMC has Dunn & Marcos, and despite the savage beating they received tonight, they still want more of the Carnage Crew.
FULL IMPACT PRO – Nice video package shilling FIP DVD’s. Buy them if you want…
STRAIGHT SHOOTIN’ SERIES – Yeah, buy these too. I’m still shilling Mike Rontunda’s shoot above all else. IRS is the man, baby!
Roderick Strong vs CM Punk
Next show CM Punk gets his ROH World Title shot against Austin Aries. Just like with James Gibson and just like with Homicide, Aries’ GeNext stablemate is going to act as a “policeman” here, attempting to soften up the challenger ahead of the big match. CM Punk actually said on commentary a few shows ago that he wants to wrestle Strong, so this should be a good match. 2005 has thus far been quite a break-out year for Roderick, who has been as consistent as guys far higher than him on the roster.
‘Please don’t go’ – NYC, as this crowd is rather behind CM Punk tonight it seems. Punk has Strong scouted, as he acts quickly to avoid one of his trademark stiff chops. He avoids another one, then acts quickly to counter the Stronghold and the double knee gutbuster. ANACONDA VICE and Strong goes straight to the ropes. Punk targets the arm apparently, utilising a variety of submissions to work it over. Neither man goes down from a series of shoulder tackles, and Punk again escapes the chops with a series of armdrags. Dropkicks to the head from Punk, and he chokes Strong in the corner, clearly trying to soften the neck as well as the arm up for the Anaconda Vice. He gets 2 with a hammerlock suplex. Now he really rubs it on on Roddy, throwing a few chops of his own. Strong blocks a headscissors and FINALLY nails a flurry of big ass chops. Punk comes back with chops of his own…and it’s Roderick that bails. CHOP WAR ON THE FLOOR! Strong connects with the ringpost which gives Punk the upper hand. Back inside Punk hits a couple of hiptosses then applies a shortarm scissors, slowing all Rod’s momentum and working the body part again. Strong eventually powerbombs his way clear of that. Punk goes upstairs but Strong boots the top rope to send him tumbling. He moves up a gear, with a back suplex and his first backbreaker, finally going to work on Punk’s back. Roddy earns my respect by selling his arm after hitting a suplex. Psychology rules don’tcha know?
Punk again tries to trade chops with Roderick, and he eats a back suplex backbreaker which hurts him so much he rolls to the apron. No sooner had I praised Strong for his selling, he goes for a double underhook suplex, which uses the arm he was just selling, ahh well. Camel clutch on Punk, doing yet more damage to the back which has to please Austin Aries. Now everything Strong does is causing Punk more and more pain, even simple whips to the turnbuckles cause him to go down. Finally he does mount some offence, hitting a springboard dropkick for 2. MORE STIFF CHOPS! NEITHER MAN GOES DOWN! Punk blocks the half nelson backbreaker and plasters him with a jumping heel kick. He follows up with a mule kick, then an axe kick to the back of the head, all weakening Strong for the Anaconda Vice. Strong counters the double underhook backbreaker, Punk counters the half nelson backbreaker again…DOUBLE KNEE GUTBUSTER from Strong! He rocks Punk with the big boot for 2! Punk goes for the Shining Wizard…STRONG WITH A POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER! STRONGHOLD!!! Punk makes the ropes but is he done? Roddy wants a superplex but Punk gourdbusters him off the ropes and nails a TOP ROPE LEG DROP! ANACONDA VICE…but now Strong finds the ropes. Roddy comes back again with a shady low blow and still eats a Shining Wizard for 2. ANACONDA VICE AGAIN! Strong taps at 24:08.
Rating – **** – Well what do you know, that was great as well. CM Punk’s great strength in the ring is his ability to tell a story, and that shone through with everything he did here. The early exchanges as he looked to avoid Strong’s backbreakers and chops were great, and throughout the match, everything he did was concentrated on softening Roddy up for the Anaconda Vice (which he even announced with the use of the Vice right at the outset). Just like Cide/Gibson, some selling issues aside, this one was a tremendous display of athletic, hard-hitting, logical, not gonna insult your intelligence pro-wrestling that ROH really needs to showcase on a show where they’re supposed to be presenting themselves as a viable alternative to Vince McMahon’s product. You can also look at this as Roderick Strong’s biggest chance to shine in ROH, and he definitely delivered.
Post-match Punk gets a thunderous ovation, with ‘Thank You Punk’ and ‘Please don’t go’ chants which bring him to the point of tears. He gets a microphone and has some words for three hecklers in the crowd…and tells Strong that he’s beating Austin Aries and becoming the new ROH Champion before he leaves for pastures new. And before he leaves the ring he puts over Roderick as the future of the company which is pretty cool of him. Aries/Punk is gonna be awesome!
Samoa Joe vs Nigel McGuiness – ROH Pure Title Match
Coming off back to back wins over Colt Cabana, in both singles and tag format, at Nowhere To Run and New Frontiers, Nigel has earned himself a shot at the Pure Title which Joe is attempting to restore prestige to. He’s coming off the back of an awesome match with James Gibson last time out, and will be looking to continue going through top-notch challengers to make his belt mean more. After beating Rave earlier, Colt Cabana faces the winner of this at Death Before Dishonor 3.
Nigel immediately goes after Joe’s arm with some tentative chaining, but Joe is too powerful and slaps on a camel clutch. He breaks that and the same thing happens again – he tries to work the arm and gets caught in a submission from the bigger man. Finally McGuiness does manage to drop the champion to the canvas with a wristlock. It’s just too difficult to keep Joe down though, and eventuall the Samoan just dumps McGuiness to the floor in frustration. Nigel comes in and tries an ill-advised forearm strike…JUMPING ENZI from Joe! He running knees Nigel in the corner, which leaves him prone for the bootscrapes. McGuiness blocks the running facewash and goes for one of his own – but Joe cuts it off with a chop. JOE BOOTS MCGUINESS INTO THE CROWD! He drags himself back into the ring as the count reaches 14, but Joe has no mercy, unleashing the chop/kick combo followed by the knee drop. McGuiness goes to the handstand in the corner to break up Joe’s offence, then scores with the wristlock takedown. Finally he has a real opening to work Joe’s arm and he follows up with a hammerlock DDT. Crippler Crossface applied, and Joe uses his first ropebreak. SHORTARM SCISSORS in the middle of the ring and he has Joe in all kinds of trouble…and he uses his second break right there. He does more damage to the arm in the corner, but eventually gets dragged into the STO slam.
Joe is hurt and frustrated, and accidentally uses a closed fist for which he receives his official warning. Forearms from Joe…but McGuiness slingshots off the ropes into a lariat and rolls him into a hammerlock. That baits the champ into using his last ropebreak, and now Nigel is well in the driving seat. McGuiness headstands in the corner again…BIG BOOT FROM JOE for 2. That busted Nigel’s nose open, but Joe can’t apply his STF properly due to the bad arm, and McGuiness makes the ropes. Nigel counters the STO slam second time of asking and tags Joe with a superkick, leaving both men on the floor. Headstand again, but this time he avoids the big boot…FIGURE 4 IN THE ROPES! Joe has no breaks so this is legal, but McGuiness is on the outside of the ring so he could be counted out! Joe guts it out and Nigel has to get back into the ring and break the hold. Joe sidesteps a second hammerlock DDT…RUNNING LARIAT NAILED! McGuiness uses the ropes for the second time to kick out. McGuiness goes for the slingshot lariat and walks right into the powerslam. Running senton from Joe for 2. Artful dodger from McGuiness, but Joe just counters with a PALM STRIKE! SPINNING MUSCLEBUSTAAAAA! Joe retains at 19:43. He now goes on to defend against Nigel’s rival, Colt Cabana, next show.
Rating – **** – Forget about the Cabana feud, this is the match that proves McGuiness can be a major player in ROH. This was a big chance for him, getting to go 20 minutes with the biggest guy in the promotion, and he came through, delivering his best performance yet. Joe didn’t have to go out of his way for Nigel here, but he made the Brit look like a legitimate threat to the belt, as McGuiness absolutely tore Joe’s arm apart, and the match ultimately came down to Joe’s heavy-duty offence against Nigel’s devastation of his arm. It’s amazing how much more interesting Pure Title matches have become now a main eventer has the belt, and the matches actually get a decent amount of time. From what we’ve seen of Joe’s reign so far, I’d say it was working out pretty well.
Shane Douglas decides getting crapped on earlier by the crowd wasn’t enough, he comes back to ringside and snatches the Pure Title belt. ‘You still suck’ – NYC. You can’t actually hear his promo the crowd are so hostile. I think he puts over ROH and Samoa Joe in the end…
ROH ON WB-11 – It’s 5:22am according to the newsreel at the bottom of the screen. Austin Aries and Azrieal are preparing to wrestle, but Low Ki shows up to warn Aries that NYC is their turf. Ki and Aries brawl on live television!
Low Ki vs Austin Aries – Non-Sanctioned Match
Since Ki is technically still suspended, that’s why this is non-sanctioned, and the ROH Title clearly isn’t on the line. As we just saw, this came about after the events of the last show in Manhattan. Ki crashed ROH’s big appearance on New York television and got into a fight with Aries, and at Manhattan Mayhem itself Aries backed away from the Rottweilers as they came to the ring after his match with Alex Shelley. Anyway, last time these two went at it was All Star Extravaganza 2 when they went to a time-limit draw, before Ki walked out and essentially handed #1 contendership to Austin. The champ is on a collision course with CM Punk for Death Before Dishonor 3, but with persistent rumours about an injured neck, he really doesn’t need to be facing an opponent the calibre of Low Ki right now.
Ki jumps Aries whilst he’s distracted by Smokes, and these two start off by stiffing the crap out of each other with forearms and chops. Ki goes to the floor but J-Train distracts Aries before he can hit the Heat Seeking Missile…and that causes the ref to throw him out. If it’s non-sanctioned, how can the ref send a manager to the back? Low Ki attempts an armbreaker in the ropes and the referee again defies the non-sanctioned aspect to break that. Finally they slow it down with some mat-based exchanges, and that ends with Aries dropkicking Ki in the back of the head as he attempts the kick from a headstand position. Unfortunately that doesn’t do enough damage and Low Ki just comes back with more stiff shots that you can shake a stick at. Austin with a rolling front slam, but Ki gets the knees up to block a frog splash for 2, and more importantly Aries’ ribs seem to be injured. He’s all gangsta now, but he can still wrestle, and Ki goes to work with a bodyscissors to squeeze the breath from the ROH Champion. He switches to a grounded headscissors which Aries is able to break with another dropkick. He chokes Ki in the corner, and the fans start to b*tch at the referee for breaking up holds in a non-sanctioned match. Springboard reverse elbow by Aries…KI BLOCKS THE TOPE WITH A KICK TO THE FACE! He’s had enough and is going after Aries’ neck now, choking him on the ropes and wrenching on a chinlock.
The hometown boy gets 2 from an absolutely devastating clothesline. Austin dishes out a couple of forearms but just gets decked again with a back suplex. Ki blocks the crucifix driver…STANDING GHETTO STOMP! That’s just going to kill Aries’ ribs! Ki goes old school with the Krush Combo…BUT ARIES IS NO-SELLING! HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX! The World Champion is back in it and gets 2 with yet another dropkick. He breaks out a bridging German, but there’s no chance he can hold the move with that gimpy neck. He goes for a slingshot corkscrew splash but Ki simply boots him in the chest again. SPRINGBOARD ENZIGURI! HOLY DAN MAFF THAT WAS BRUTAL! Low Ki to the top rope, but Aries avoids the Ghetto Stomp. Ki just turns round and dropkicks him almost through the turnbuckles for 2. He looks for the Dragon Clutch…then the Ki Krusha…ARIES WITH A BRAINBUSTER! TWO COUNT! Aries says it’s 450 time when it clearly isn’t. Regardless, he forces Ki into a tree of woe…DOUBLE STOMP ON KI FOR 2! CAPO KICK BY LOW KI! FACE KICK FROM ARIES! He goes for the 450 again, and this time the Rottweiler counters by kicking the ref into the ropes. KAWADA KICKS ON THE TOP ROPE! HOLY SH*T…TOP ROPE KI KRUSHAAAAAAAA! Aries is done, and his neck is officially f*cked at 21:59.
Rating – **** – What a goddamn awesome main event. I realise I’m a Low Ki mark, and I realise a lot of people will think I’m way overrating this, but I thought that was absolutely sensational. It combined logical wrestling (Ki’s working of the ribs and neck), storyline progression (both the Ki/Aries issue from the last show, and Aries’ injured neck going into the Punk title match), an awesome babyface/heel dynamic (Aries is miles better working as a babyface by the way, not that he’s a bad heel), shocking stiffness and some absolutely crazy spots. On a night where low-end 4* matches have been the norm it seems, this one really stood out to me. Ki’s gangsta character is sometimes hit and miss, but tonight, in the main event against the ROH Champion, he was well on, and it really showed. That was probably his best singles match in ROH since 2002 in truth. Thrilling match, that absolutely blew All Star Extravaganza 2 out of the water for me.
Homicide joins Ki at ringside and they try to break Aries neck with the Ghetto Stomp Cop Killa…but Strong and Evans come to make the save. Rottweiler thugs come to ringside…SO EVANS CUTS THEM OFF WITH A SPRINGBOARD 450 MOONSAULT! That man has a death wish! JAY LETHAL IN THE RING…DRAGON SUPLEX ON LOW KI! Generation Next leave up the ramp as Lethal runs off through the crowd. In New York, the Rottweilers just got f*cked over. You’d better believe Lethal will have hell to pay!
Colt Cabana cuts perhaps his worst promo in ROH history. He babbles on, essentially laughing that Nigel McGuiness didn’t beat Joe for the Pure Title tonight, and says he will at Death Before Dishonor 3.
GMC tries to get a couple of words with Austin Aries. He again reiterates his neck is fine, and points out that he’s still standing. No matter what CM Punk does, Aries says he’s keeping the belt.
The Carnage Crew and Dunn & Marcos have another fight as the RCE take the ring down. I’d have ended the show with the Aries promo personally…
Tape Rating – *** – This is as good a 3* ROH show as you will find. I can’t go higher because none of the matches are MOTY quality or anything, and there are a lot of wrestling fans out there who this really won’t appeal to. If 20 minute, work the body part, mildly psychological matches aren’t your thing, then you’re probably not going to enjoy The Future Is Now as much as I did. However, ROH came into tonight looking to make a statement. They wanted to show the wrestling world what they were all about, on a weekend when the spotlight was firmly on them. They delivered a show full of quality wrestling, and truly demonstrated that if you want great matches and storylines that won’t insult your intelligence, then Ring Of Honor is the place to find it. Assuming you can also find the fast forward button for the Carnage Crew/Ring Crew Express feud. Thumbs up for this…especially for Punk/Strong and Ki/Aries. Roll on Death Before Dishonor 3!
Top 3 Matches
3) Homicide vs James Gibson (****)
2) Low Ki vs Austin Aries (****)
1) CM Punk vs Roderick Strong (****)