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070 ROH Sign of Dishonor 7/8/2005

ROH 70 – Sign Of Dishonor – 8th July 2005

So where does ROH stand as the promotion enters what undoubtedly is it’s most ambitious summer schedule yet? June ended with the unbelievable events of Death Before Dishonor 3. Here’s the lowdown – CM Punk is now ROH World Champion, despite the fact he’s on his way to the WWE. Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles are back in ROH, after the TNA-imposed ban on them ended. Daniels walks right into a quest for retribution from CM Punk, after Punk’s actions in January of 2004. Styles, meanwhile, has issues with Jimmy Rave and The Embassy, who have been ripping him off mercilessly during his own exile. Generation Next is looking as weak as it ever has, with Austin Aries now dethroned as ROH Champion, Jack Evans taking some time off, and the threat of Alex Shelley still hangs over them. Homicide and James Gibson have heat, Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuiness still haven’t settled their issues. Samoa Joe is on a mission to establish the Pure Title. Jay Lethal and the Rottweilers are tearing lumps out of each other too. There are more unanswered questions in ROH right now than you could shake a stick at is my point. Gabe Sapolsky’s booking to set up this vigorous summer undertaking has been nothing short of remarkable. Now he has a bundle of shows to play with – 8 in July and August – so lets see what he does with them.

For tonight’s event we return AGAIN to the state of New York, this time for the debut in the Long Island area. CM Punk is scheduled to be here, despite the fact he “left” last show…but tonight is his “real” last night. Chris Daniels makes his first official appearance back and is booked against Colt Cabana, who had a hand in injuring him at Battle Lines Are Drawn over a year ago. AJ Styles gets his hands on Jimmy Rave again…and Mick Foley is making his return on this show as well. It’s Lake Grove, NY. Hosting tonight is Dave Prazak, Jimmy Bower and Lenny Leonard making his debut after impressing on FIP releases.

Straight out of the gate CM Punk comes to the ring, new entrance music, new hair cut, new suit and new ROH Title belt. He draws a ton of heat as he basks in the glory of his masterplan. He tells the story of how he chose ROH over TNA (unlike AJ Styles, Chris Daniels and Jerry Lynn) and says he built and carried the company so they could even make a comeback. He claims he was disrespected whilst he did that with people asking for the returns of Styles, Daniels or Low Ki. And he b*tches that everyone begged him not to go when the WWE came calling. To piss the fans off more, he wants to sign his WWE contract in an ROH ring…ON THE ROH TITLE? That is so disrespectful that ring announcer Bobby Cruise and referee Todd Sinclair refuse to hold the belt to sign it on. Shane Hagadorn (one of Punk’s students) does though. James Gibson comes out all pissed off, and gives Hagadorn the Tigerbomb as Punk retreats up the ramp. CHRIS DANIELS CUTS HIM OFF ON THE RAMP! Daniels and Gibson both tee off on the new champion before Punk runs off through the crowd. What an awesome segment to start the show! CM Punk went on so long we have no more space on the DVD for anyone else’s promos apparently. What a spotlight hog!

Heartbreak Express vs Jay Lethal/Dixie

Who did Lethal piss off to get booked in this match? The Heartbreak Express are making their debut having apparently impressed in FIP. From the looks of them, I’m glad I don’t watch FIP. They’re brothers apparently – Phil and Sean Davis – and work a ladies man gimmick…except Sean is very very fat. Lethal and Dixie should know each other pretty well from their days in Special K, and it’d be quite the auspicious debut for the HXP if they can win here.

Lethal and Sean start, and Jay takes the fatty down with a drop toehold. Phil tries to interfere but takes a back body drop…and we fade to static for no reason. What the hell was that? We come back with Sean giving Dixie a big fat ass to the face. Nutcracker Suite on Dixie…and again the feed cuts for a close up of MATT HARDY! That’s cool I guess. Lethal hits the DRAGON SUPLEX on Phil Davis and that gives his team the win at 03:05 shown.

Rating – DUD –
I have no interest in seeing the Heartbreak Express back in ROH. They might be over as heels but they clearly don’t have good enough matches in them to hang with the rest of the roster, so sod off. Luckily they just clipped up the match as a completely inexplicable way of announcing Matt Hardy’s pending debut. I thought it came off as hokey, ridiculous and pointless for the record, but at least we’re trying something different with these DVD releases.

Azrieal vs Roderick Strong

Both guys have been in the midst of pushes thus far in 2005. Azrieal has constantly been tipped as the next break out superstar from all the ex-Special K lads, whilst Strong has been tearing it up with an incredible series of matches. Both are pretty short on wins though. Whoever wins this match will surely be getting more of a push and more sizable opportunities coming out of this, whilst maybe the other will have to wait a little longer to truly break out.

Neither man can gain an advantage during the initial chaining, but Az scores the first significant offence with a satellite headscissors for 2. But he’s an idiot and starts chopping Roderick which is clearly foolish. He eats a big boot to the face before Strong retorts with a couple of big chops of his own. Rod drags Azrieal off the top rope into his first backbreaker of the match. To the floor we go, and Strong looks to soften up Azrieal’s back by sending him into the railings. Az tries to comeback with forearms, but just gets driven into the ring apron for his troubles. Strong goes for the half nelson backbreaker but that gets blocked…so he decapitates Azrieal with a lariat instead. Az goes for a sunset flip but Strong rolls through into a CRADLE BACKBREAKER! Still that isn’t enough to win it though. Roddy does more damage with a superplex but Azrieal kicks out again. He goes to the ropes again and this time Azrieal crotches him. Double stomp from that position from Az and that’s good for 2. Azrieal sends Strong to the floor with a hurricanrana…SOMERSAULT PLANCHA SCORES! It does some damage, but surely Azrieal’s back is even worse now. He goes for the springboard blockbuster but gets caught with a POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER for 2. Azrieal blocks a suplex and this time does score with the springboard blockbuster. He kicks at Strong’s back, then rolls through with the low dropkick for 2. Strong seems a little pissed off now though, and drills him with the Rock Bottom backbreaker. Azrieal still won’t quit though…but Strong blocks South Of Heaven. STRONGHOLD APPLIED! Azrieal taps at 11:29.

Rating – ** –
It was a decent match, but nothing more. I’m sure ROH was looking for more from Azrieal, who did an ok, but not spectacular job as the plucky underdog here (something Jay Lethal has made a specialty of his in 2005). His selling pretty much sucked as well, as he went for all his usual flippy floppy moves, regardless of the fact the whole match is supposed to put over how much of a killer Strong is supposed to be on your match. In the end, it came off somewhat like a squash (since never did you really buy Azrieal as credible). A good squash, but a squash regardless. Roddy is absolutely begging for more big time singles matches (like Punk at The Future Is Now).

Alex Shelley comes through the crowd after the match to lay Strong out with SHELLSHOCK! He’s more over as a face in Long Island than he’s been anywhere else in 2005. What the hell?

BJ Whitmer/Jimmy Jacobs vs Lacey’s Angels – ROH Tag Title Match

The Angels get a tag title shot after beating Generation Next at Death Before Dishonor 3, and are represented by Deranged and the inexplicably and annoyingly popular Cheech, who I really don’t like at all. And it was Izzy that won this shot with Deranged. Where’s he at? The title reign of BJ and Jimmy is getting more and more impressive as each show goes by. They won the belts against Joe and Lethal, and have since successfully defended against Generation Next, the Second City Saints, the Ring Crew Express and The Embassy. Are Lacey’s Angels going to be the team that finally ends their run with the gold?

Whitmer intimidates Deranged so much the Angel tries to avoid even getting in the ring with him. When they finally wrestle he actually gets the advantage with some lucha armdrags…until Whitmer murderises him with a lariat. Jacobs joins BJ in the ring to clubber away on the unfortunate Deranged for a 2 count. Powerbomb senton on Deranged gets another nearfall, and the champions get another one even after that after a flurry of double team offence. Lacey distracts the referee which allows Cheech and Deranged to double team Jacobs. Cheech brings the heel tactics by choking Jimmy, then distracting the ref so Deranged can do the same. ‘Chant for us you f*cking idiots’ – Deranged. Jacobs starts to fire back on Deranged until he goes to the eyes. The ref gets caught up with BJ Whitmer again, and that means Deranged, Cheech and even Cloudy as well can choke Jacobs in the ropes. Cheech gets two with the comedic cocky pin of doom. Deranged comes in with the RUNNING CHINLOCK! I love that spot! He goes for a springboard double stomp but ends up connecting with Cheech instead. Hot tag to Whitmer who actually starts battering the challengers with his own partner. BJ lifts Cheech into a spear from Jacobs. RUNNING POWERBOMB on Deranged for 2. They set up for the Doomsday Rana but Lacey and Cloudy drag Jimmy down with Cloudy occupying the official. Doomsday Ace crusher on Jacobs for 2. The Angels take Jacobs to the top again, but Whitmer makes the save. DOOMSDAY RANA ON DERANGED! He’s pinned at 11:23.

Rating – * –
Sorry guys, I didn’t feel it at all. It was entirely formulaic stuff, and aside from some comedy heel work from the Angels, not a particularly good one at that. The problem is, outside of the spotfest environment, this sort of match is all the Lacey’s Angels seem to be capable of. In straight tag matches they’re just plain average. Anybody else starting to question their role on the roster, no matter how funny Cheech apparently is?

It’s time for Jimmy Rave vs AJ Styles. Rave’s entrance is clipped off the DVD release because Nana’s actions towards Jade Chung were so deplorable we can’t even see them. The Outcast Killaz quit The Embassy as a result, but Jade opts to stay with Nana rather than leave with them. I guess we’re not seeing Diablo or Oman anymore then…

Jimmy Rave vs AJ Styles

AJ made his full-time return to ROH at Death Before Dishonor 3, where he defeated Petey Williams, who was the paid assassin for The Embassy. But that night ended in frustration for Styles, because Jimmy ended up laying him out with the very move he stole from him – the Rave Clash. This is the first time AJ will actually be able to get his hands on Rave since the Third Anniversary Celebrations, when he made a one night only appearance in Dayton, only to be beaten thanks to an aerosol spray to the eyes.

AJ goes onto the attack right away with a back drop driver which sends Rave scurrying for the outside. He tries to walk out with Nana but gets chased down. Styles sends Rave into the railings, then takes him into the ring where he continues to just kick lumps out of his former protege. He actually seems to be working the back too, following up the guardrail attack with a flurry of backbreakers. AJ tosses Rave to the floor again and keeps on the midsection, dropping him chest-first over the barricade. He goes for his dropkick but Jimmy’s seen that a thousand times before…and walks into a spinning heel kick instead. He uses a couple of high impact suplexes, but Rave still has enough left in him to block the Styles Clash. Rave ducks the discus lariat and AJ falls to the outside where he eats a baseball slide. Finally it’s the Crown Jewel’s turn to turn the screw, sending Styles into the railings whilst the fight stays on the floor. He chokes AJ in the corner right in front of Nana, who continues to drag Jade Chung around by her hair.

Styles goes for a sleeper but Rave northern lariats his way out, and he lands hard on his face too. AJ blocks the Satellite Crossface, but still eats a big right hand. Rave gets 2 off a slingshot guillotine in the ropes. Chopfest time, and AJ ends that with a jumping enzi kick to the head, which is followed by a brainbuster for 2. He goes back to the midsection with a pumphandle gutbuster, and this is all softening him up for the Styles Clash. SLINGSHOT quebrada inverted DDT blocked by Rave…CRAPPY WIZARD FOR 2! Styles comes back with his trademark dropkick leaving both men down. They fight on the apron before Styles scores with a springboard forearm. Maybe it’s Spiral Tap time but Jimmy cuts him off on top. AJ headbutts Rave away, but as the referee turns his back Nana crotches him on the ropes. Rave drops AJ ribs first over the ropes, then spears him almost through the corner pad for 2. He wants the Rave Clash, but Styles rolls him up to counter and gets a flash pin at 16:42. Now both men have a singles victory over the other…

Rating – *** –
That was decent, but much like their match in February, I’m sure they’re capable of far better. There seemed to be a hint more psychology to this one, but yet again what was supposed to be a hate-filled fight ended up like a pretty soulless exchange of spots. It started well, first with AJ on offence, then Rave bringing the heel stylings during his beatdown on Styles…but in the home straight it fell apart. AJ seemed to forget the ribs/back he’d been working earlier, and the two just traded nearfalls as the drama fell away, as opposed to climaxed. It was an improvement from last time, but these two I’m sure would want a little more from their matches. Rave is a far better heel than he showed here, and AJ is talented enough to do whatever he sets his mind to. Oh, and the finish sucked…damn you roll up!

There’s no way this issue is settled, as they continue arguing after the match. Nana tries to jump AJ, and ends up distracting him long enough FOR RAVE TO GRAB A PLASTIC BAG! He starts choking Styles out like it’s Ric Flair and Terry Funk all over again. The Embassy walk out again having got one over their nemesis.

They do the goofy feed thing during the next match and eventually it’s interrupted by Matt Hardy. He warns Christopher Daniels (who he faces in his ROH debut) to be ready for a double dose of Mattitude. They really could’ve come up with a better way to work these Hardy promos in…

Vordell Walker vs Nigel McGuiness

Hard to know what to call this. Is it a big opportunity for Vordell to prove himself in one of his bigger matches to date, or is it a huge comedown for McGuiness after a couple of decent matches at The Future Is Now and Death Before Dishonor 3? Anyway, Vordell really needs to deliver a performance here. He’s been given a few opportunities now, and thus far hasn’t shown the promise which has made him such a prospect in Florida with FIP.

After a couple of lock ups we “lose the feed” for the Matt Hardy promo. We come back with McGuiness slingshotting off the ropes to nail Walker with a clothesline. Vordell avoids the Artful Dodger but eats a superkick instead. But the Floridian comes back with a bridging German for a 2. McGuiness stiffs Vordell with a volley of forearms but gets dragged into an Ace crusher. Walker to the top but he gets crotched. TOWER OF LONDON and it’s over at 03:09 shown.

Rating – DUD – Impossible to rate as anything higher since it’s pretty much clipped to the bones, and seemed like nothing more than Nigel squashing an enhancement talent. I want to say it’s time to give up on Vordell, because clearly his performance wasn’t that special in this match – it got clipped off the tape after all. He’s had more than enough chances, give somebody else a chance.

James Gibson vs Homicide vs Austin Aries vs Samoa Joe

This is about as loaded a Four Corner Survival as you’re ever likely to see. These are four of the top guys in ROH all thrown into one match, it should be interesting. There’s a lot going on too. Gibson has heat with Homicide after the last two shows, and he also has issues with Aries and Joe, after failing to win the World and Pure Titles from them previously in the year. Homicide is hated like always, but will especially have heat with Joe considering their issue dating back to 2002. He also pinned Austin Aries at the Trios Tournament, so Aries will be looking to get his win back there. There’s also the whole Joe/Aries thing to consider too. Aries was the man that ended Joe’s epic World Title reign, and he pinned Joe again at the end of the Third Anniversary week to keep hold of the belt. Now he needs to bounce back strongly after losing the title to CM Punk at Death Before Dishonor 3. To avoid any confusion, Joe’s Pure Title is definitely not on the line here. Man a fourway Pure Title match would get confusing…

Gibson and Aries are in first and after their matches at Stalemate and The Final Showdown, they know each other pretty well. They trade armholds without gaining any real momentum before Gibson tries to get a little more aggressive. He blocks the springboard reverse elbow but Aries blocks the attempted German suplex counter. Springboard elbow scores second time of asking for Aries, but Gibson pops right back up and forearms him in the face. Homicide is tagged, but he’s hesitant to get in the ring with Gibson, and demands Joe instead. Joe monkey flips Cide across the ring then throws him outside. Homicide has the elbow suicida scoped though and hides under the ring. TOPE CON HILO ATTEMPT…BLOCKED BY A PALM STRIKE! That’s enough to make Homicide tag out to Aries, who challenges Joe for the Pure Title tomorrow night. Joe goes after Aries’ neck with a volley of headbutts. Gibson in with Aries again, and he has to block an attempted brainbuster from the former World Champion. Cide is tagged in, and he hits a double underhook suplex then slows it down with a chinlock. He tosses Gibson to the floor where Smokes gets in a couple of cheap shots before returning him to the ring. Cide hits a leg drop on the apron…BUT GIBSON SUPLEXES HIM THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPERS TABLE! Even that doesn’t buy a worn down Gibson enough time to make a tag, whilst Homicide brings Austin in to crank on the neck. Aries blocks Gibson’s swinging neckbreaker and dumps him with a back suplex for 2. Joe is in next and he immediately fires off the chop/kick into the knee drop combination. He wrenches on Jamie with an abdominal stretch, then wipes him out with a rolling legsweep before he can build up any momentum.

Rolling butterfly stretch by Cide but Gibson is able to counter out with a northern lights. Joe finally tags Gibson out and slaps away on Homicide. Cide blocks the running knee, but Joe blocks a tornado DDT and rocks him with a powerslam for 2. Running knee strike in the corner from the Pure Champion, before he washes Homicide’s dirty face. A rejuvenated Gibson tags back in and immediately gets dumped with an Ace crusher. Aries in and he puts another abdominal stretch on Jamie, who is trouble again. Swinging neckbreaker on Aries and Gibson hot tags out again. Joe hits the STO slam on Aries and clotheslines Homicide for 2. Homicide stops Gibson going for a tope…TOPE CON HILO ON JOE! HEAT SEEKING MISSILE FROM ARIES! Gibson goes to the top rope…SOMERSAULT PLANCHAAAAA! Now Joe is alone in the ring, and he busts out the CORKSCREW PESCADO! Joe is going mental, sending Aries and Homicide into the railings amidst chants of ‘This Is Awesome’. OLE OLE KICK ON ARIES! He sets up for one on Gibson, but Homicide cuts that off by spearing him into the guardrail. Cide goes for an Ole Ole Kick of his own…AND JOE BACK DROPS HIM INTO THE RAIL! Back inside Joe puts Gibson in the STF. Aries breaks that and takes a big ass slap as punishment. Slaps for Gibson…headbutts for Gibson…but he fires back with a knee strike. GERMAN SUPLEX for 2! TRAILER HITCH but just like New Frontiers Joe is too strong. Aries in…DOUBLE BRAINBUSTER ON JOE! Aries sends Jamie to the floor BUT HOMICIDE SHOVES HIM OFF THE TOP ROPE! LARIAAAAAAAT! BUT GIBSON CLOTHESLINES HOMICIDE OVER THE ROPES! ARIES WITH THE 450 ON JOE! ARIES WINS IT! ARIES PINS JOE AGAIN AT 25:48!

Rating – **** –
As much as I don’t like the ‘This Is Awesome’ chant…that was awesome. I can’t believe people don’t talk about this match more to be honest. It’s not a serious MOTYC, but it’s almost half an hour of great wrestling between four of the best guys not in the WWE right now. The initial exchanges oozed with fun, as everyone has so much past with everyone else that no matter who was in the ring it meant you were psyched to see them go at it again. The heat segment on Gibson was a lot of fun, and the inevitably high spot exchange at the death was great because everything that built to it was so solid. Gibson again gets put over as a fighter and a tough bastard after taking all that abuse, but once again he still doesn’t have a win to show for it, meanwhile Joe defends his Pure Title tomorrow night against a man he seems to be unable to beat in Austin Aries. What an unexpected little gem of a match.

Alex Shelley again runs in during Aries’ celebration and drills him with a superkick. Meanwhile Gibson and Homicide are brawling outside the ring. ROH is just in utter chaos at the moment!

Christopher Daniels vs Colt Cabana

Daniels first match in ROH since January of 2004, and it’s against Colt Cabana, who had a hand in the injuries which initially forced him out of the promotion all that time ago. The real story here is though, Daniels is desperate to get his hands on CM Punk, both for retribution and for the World Title…and Punk has used his swing as champion to book Cabana in this match. Colt isn’t too happy with Punk himself after he no-showed Good Times, Great Memories at Death Before Dishonor 3, and has now forced him into a match with Chris Daniels that he has no interest in wrestling. I missed Daniels’ entrance so much!

Daniels still doesn’t follow the Code Of Honor, and he wastes no time in pointing out Cabana’s roll in injuring him last year. Colt naturally is clowning around a little bit but Daniels is all business from the outset. He tries in vain to shoulder tackle his much larger opponent but eventually just trips Cabana to the mat instead. Colt grinds on a chinlock, and he uses his counter-wrestling abilities to crawl away from a series of flash pin attempts from the Fallen Angel. Cabana again gets a measure of control on the mat with his chain wrestling skills. He sticks on Daniels’ arm with everything he does, and it’s all Daniels can do just to survive at this point. He eventually comes back with a knee to the stomach and that looks like where he’s going to focus his offence. Cabana takes a big gutbuster but gets his shoulder up at 2, before Daniels applies an abdominal stretch to continue the pressure. Arabian press for 2, and again that’s all impact on the ribs. Colt rolls to the outside to regroup, and now CM Punk is at ringside distracting Daniels…who gets dumped into the guardrails by Cabana. Colt seems pissed off that Punk is even out here before taking it back inside where he begins to work the midsection of Daniels. Colt avoids a dropkick and hits a series of elbow drops all to the chest.

Punk taunts Daniels with the belt as he writhes in pain, and that again seems to raise the ire of his fellow Second City Saint. Tornado snap suplex from Cabana for 2. He scales the ropes but Daniels has a missile dropkick scouted and follows up with a running STO. Daniels gives Colt a stepping enziguri then goes to the top rope himself for a crossbody block. It’s Angel’s Wings time but Colt still has gas left in the tank apparently. This breaks down to a complete slugfest in the middle of the ring with neither man backing down. Cabana gets 2 with a quebrada press as we approach 20 minutes. Blue Thunder Driver on Colt, but Daniels has sustained so much damage he’s slow to cover initially. He goes for the Fall From Grace as Cabana gets caught on the top with a palm strike. Cabana blocks that and NAILS the missile dropkick, but again it’s only good for 2. He sets up for the Colt 45…COUNTERED TO THE KOJI CLUTCH! CM Punk is so pissed he gets on the apron and that takes the attention of both the referee and Chris Daniels. Punk jawbreakers Daniels behind the ref’s back…THEN HE ACCIDENTALLY SMACKS CABANA WITH A CHAIN! Daniels throws Punk out…BEST MOONSAULT EVER ON COLT! Daniels wins at 23:04.

Rating – *** –
Nothing to go out of your way to see, but that was a solid encounter which I found myself enjoying far more than I expected to. Some of the psychology was dodgy as anything, such as Cabana’s complete lack of offensive focus, or both men entirely forgetting about Daniels’ attack on the ribs as the match wore on, but it was a fun back and forth match, and certainly achieved a far greater sense of tension and drama than AJ and Jimmy Rave created earlier with their match. Admittedly the presence of CM Punk and the sports entertainment finish might annoy some people, but it furthered the Punk/Daniels feud, and there’s interesting heat between Punk and Cabana as well now. It’s almost too bad this is Punk’s last night in ROH so we’re not going to see either of those matches…right?

Daniels gets on the mic to tell a story of his own and begs Punk to attempt some revenge for him picking TNA over ROH. He wants a World Title shot right now…but Punk says he hasn’t beaten anybody to earn it. Punk says if Daniels doesn’t leave the ring right now Punk will leave for the WWE without even defending the belt one last time here tonight. Referees have to drag Daniels away for the good of the company, and CM Punk decides to announce who he wants to defend the belt against tonight. He challenges Low Ki to a match…but of course he’s in Japan. Since Ki is too ‘scared’ to come out, he has a second challenge. He calls out American Dragon…but he quit at Nowhere To Run. Maybe if one guy won’t accept his challenge he can wrestle two, and he challenges the Briscoes, who haven’t been seen in 11 months. Punk is loving this and tries to walk out and off to Vince McMahon with the belt, but he gets cut off by Mick Foley. Mick isn’t here to challenge for the title, but he’s here to encourage Punk to do the right thing. ‘There’s only one way you can be champion forever, and unfortunately for you Gabe Sapolsky doesn’t have a daughter you can marry’ – Foley. Punk says Foley isn’t in Punk’s league, he’s not in HHH’s league, he’s not even in JBL’s league. Foley basically backs Punk into a corner and forces him to give a young guy a shot just to prove he’s as good as Mick was when he put over guys like HHH and Randy Orton. Punk finally challenges Jay Lethal because he beat him at Back To Basics.

CM Punk vs Jay Lethal – ROH World Title Match

Like you just read, Punk is giving Lethal the shot because Jay pinned Punk at Back To Basics with the Dragon Suplex, and now Punk wants to get some revenge on his way out. Last time these two wrestled a singles match was at Survival Of The Fittest 2004 when Punk absolutely killed Lethal and beat him pretty convincingly in a match I really hated. But then again, both these guys have improved heaps since then. Can Lethal achieve the impossible and stop Punk heading to the WWE with the ROH World Championship?

DRAGON SUPLEX FROM LETHAL…BUT PUNK FALLS OUT OF THE RING! That has to be devastating for the challenger, but he goes to work on the floor regardless. He tries to get the match back in the ring but CM Punk just keeps bailing to the floor. Lethal doesn’t let him rest, flinging him repeatedly into the rails. Punk rolls out of the ring once too often and Jay NAILS him with a tope. He stomps away on Punk in the corner, and scores 2 counts with a snap suplex and a back suplex. Punk is looking to attack the neck which the Rottweilers injured in New York, but Lethal has a counter for everything it seems. Backbreaker from Lethal for another nearfall. Finally Punk catches a break, and guillotines Lethal over the top rope. Punk goes right to work, stomping on the neck. He connects with a jumping heel kick then targets the injury again with a chinlock. Lethal tries to get some momentum but Punk throws him over the top rope to the outside, and this is dangerous territory for the challenger. Jay eats some guardrail now, and that’s going to do more damage to his injuries. Back in the ring Punk wrenches the neck and elbows Lethal in the top of the head, then lays him out with a neckbreaker. Lethal still tries to fight courageously, looking for a series of quick pins until he walks into a swinging neckbreaker and is right back where he started. Punk goes back to the chinlock right in the middle of the ring but again Lethal won’t stay down. He goes to top rope, but he’s slow to climb because of the neck injury. DIVING HEADBUTT MISSES! That has to be it, the dream has to be over now.

Punk props Lethal on the ropes and punches him right in the neck. LETHAL COUNTERS A BACK SUPERPLEX! Both men are down, as Samoa Joe comes to the ring to cheer on his protege. They trade big shots, and Lethal unloads with a series of clotheslines. Jay hits a running neckbreaker of his own for 2. He kicks Punk in the head, and flies off the second rope with a jumping heel kick to go close again. Springboard crossbody from Punk, but Jay rolls through for a 2 count. Punk nails the double underhook backbreaker – ONE COUNT OF DISRESPECT! Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex again but Punk enzi kicks him right in the neck. Lethal blocks a suplex attempt and counters with a FISHERMAN BUSTER! DIVING HEADBUTT CONNECTS…BUT PUNK KICKS OUT! He calls for the Dragon Suplex but still Punk counters. Pepsi Twist blocked…Dragon Suplex blocked…PUNK WITH THE SHINING WIZARD! ANACONDA VIIIIIICE! LETHAL GETS THE ROPES! Joe starts slapping Lethal to fire him up, and he starts no-selling Punk’s kicks to the neck. Still he can’t hit the Dragon, and Punk cuts him off as he goes for the jumping DDT. PUNK WITH A MUSCLEBUSTER! CHOOOOOKE! HE’S TAUNTING JOE…and Lethal can’t hang on any longer. He taps at 21:01. Punk is taking the belt to the WWE!

Rating – **** –
Man those two absolutely NAILED that match. It was everything the SOTF2004 match should’ve been, and then some. I’d actually say Jay Lethal’s performance was his best in ROH ever, better than the Low Ki match, better than the Samoa Joe match. He had the gritty underdog routine down to an absolute tee here tonight, and when combined with Punk’s exceptional rejuvenated heel character, they put on a hell of a show. If Jay had been selling his neck as he made his big comeback at the end, we’d seriously be talking an extra half star for this, it was that good. Even the commentary from Prazak and Bower was spot on for this. That rocked…

Joe has had enough, and he gets right into CM Punk’s face. Mick Foley comes back to the ring…and of course they have heat and get into a stand off with each other. Punk knocks them both down and kicks away on the pair of them. James Gibson sprints to the ring to get a piece of Punk, who bails through the crowd. Mick says he was just on the phone to Vince McMahon, and says that Punk’s actions in ROH are making Vince question whether he’d “do the right thing” in the big time. Unless he wants to spend a lifetime in OVW, he’ll show up tomorrow night and defend the belt one last time in Manhattan. Joe and Foley shake hands with that, and clearly Punk’s actions have unified them too.

Tape Rating – *** –
Sign Of Dishonor was not the best show the promotion will ever produce, not by a long shot. It was, however, one of the more unique. It felt like a great follow up TV show after a big pay-per-view, with a couple of lengthy in-ring promos, a few real throw away matches, but then, a couple of really killer matches too. The TV taping feel, combined with a lack of backstage promos and the like really give this a different feel, and make the show kinda hard to rate. On the one hand, there were a couple of really lame tag matches, and McGuiness/Walker sucked too. Styles/Rave and Daniels/Cabana were alright without being anything spectaculer…but then again, the fourway and Punk/Lethal kicked ass. What the event does do is perfectly follow up from Death Before Dishonor 3, and set up the forthcoming shows on the hectic summer schedule very well, and provide more than enough entertainment to warrant as a stand alone purchase as well. If you’re looking for the very best of ROH, you should probably look elsewhere, but I’m quite sure completists will enjoy this. If nothing else, the two in-ring Punk segments are great, and Punk/Lethal is a cracker of a main event. Tomorrow night’s ‘Escape From New York’ event is the one that gets all the plaudits from this New York double shot event…but this isn’t bad.

Top 3 Matches –

3) Christopher Daniels vs Colt Cabana (***)

2) Austin Aries vs Samoa Joe vs Homicide vs James Gibson (****)

1) CM Punk vs Jay Lethal (****)

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