ROH 74 – Redemption – 12th August 2005
Coming into August 2005 ROH is on one of the biggest “hot periods” they’ve ever had. CM Punk’s title reign is delivering in both storyline and match quality terms. He’s had absolute crackers with Jay Lethal, Rod Strong, James Gibson and Chris Daniels and the chase for ROH Title to keep it in the company escalated at every show. Now we come to the latest Midwest swing, and once again CM Punk is vowing that this is it. He’s leaving for the WWE after tomorrow night’s Chicago show and wants to take the belt with him. Tonight he defends in a stacked four corner elimination match, with Samoa Joe, Daniels and Gibson all challenging. Elsewhere, Matt Hardy is back in ROH this weekend despite being back on WWE TV now and embroiled in his feud with Edge. He’s honouring his commitments to the company, which is a classy act from the guy. The Embassy/GeNext feud began in earnest last show with Alex Shelley joining up with Prince Nana. This show has a 6-man tag between the factions, tomorrow night it’s Aries/Rave one-on-one. The Rottweilers are here in force with both Homicide and Low Ki booked, and it’s also a big weekend for new ROH Tag Champions BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs. Dayton, Ohio is where we’re at. Dave Prazak, Lenny Leonard and Jimmy Bower call the action.
SIDENOTE – Top 5 ROH MOTYC’s January-July 2005
1) Austin Aries vs CM Punk (18/06/05)
2) CM Punk vs James Gibson (16/07/05)
3) CM Punk vs Jimmy Rave (14/05/05)
4) CM Punk vs Christopher Daniels (23/07/05)
5) Austin Aries vs Bryan Danielson (14/05/05)
It’s been a good year for CM Punk so far! I’d like to give honourable mentions to Joe/Lethal (07/05/05), Aries/Gibson (13/05/05), Punk/Shelley (25/02/05) and Joe/Danielson/Walker vs Spanky/Gibson/McGuiness (05/03/05).
James Gibson talks about how he’s failed to become World Champion on three separate occasions. Tonight he’s blessed with a fourth shot and there’s no way he’s leaving tonight without the gold.
Generation Next cut a promo…they all look naked. Aries points out that they’re short-handed in their war with The Embassy since Jack Evans is taking some time off. Tonight they team with Matt Sydal, who has his own issues with The Embassy. If they win tonight, Sydal is the newest member of GeNext.
Ace Steel vs Matt Stryker vs Delirious vs Sterling Keenan
This is as close as you come to a jobber match in ROH. Ace Steel has never really been a full-time worker. Matt Stryker is barely in ROH anymore since everyone crapped all over his big push in late 2003/early 2004. Delirious has had some fun showings but we’re yet to really see him get involved in anything substantial. This is Keenan’s return to ROH, following his debut way back at Round Robin Challenge 2 where he teamed with EZ Money in a Scramble Match. I thought it was Sterling JAMES Keenan, but ROH seem to be cutting the James part out. Anyway, everyone will be looking to impress and to earn a spot.
Delirious gets freaked out by the bell as usual. Stryker and Steel kick things off. Keenan puts Delirious into a headscissors, Stryker does the same to Steel…and that breaks into a fourway headscissors spot. Ace hits a springboard clothesline on Sterling but walks into a heel kick from Stryker. Delirious stands on Ace, then hides underneath the ring. Keenan with a backbreaker on Steel then Stryker wipes him out with a lariat. STRYKERLOCK on Delirious, but Steel breaks it by dropping Keenan on top of him. Ace dumps Sterling on his head with a German, and Stryker bulldogs him on top of Delirious. Lionsault on Steel for 2. Headscissors/powerslam combo by Keenan and Delirious on Stryker. The Field Of Honor champion hits Keenan with a neckbreaker off the top. Delirious sends him to the floor. SHADOWS OVER HELL ON STEEL! They fight to the ropes…GUTWRENCH SUPERBOMB BY ACE! He wins at 05:26.
Rating – * – It was nice to see a few different talents out there, but in a match this short it was never going to be anything but a pretty uncoordinated spot display. It’s enjoyable to a degree but ultimately meant nothing. Delirious was the star of the show to be honest, from both an entertainment point of view, and from an ‘I mark out for selling’ point of view, as he was still selling the Strykerlock later in the match. Anyway…nobody needs to see Matt Stryker in ROH anymore. I’m sure Ace will continue to be a bit-part player and nothing more…unless Punk’s eventual departure sees him disappear. Hard to tell what Keenan is capable of on this performance.
Christopher Daniels says the fourway tonight is his destiny vs his history. It’s his destiny to be ROH Champion, yet every time he’s got close to the gold circumstances have stopped him. Unlike last time in Philadelphia when they went to the 60-minute draw, Daniels takes the gold home.
Spanky vs Colt Cabana
Tomorrow night in Chicago is a big night for both of these two. Cabana is wrestling CM Punk, potentially for the World Title, whilst Spanky has a Tag Title shot. Neither one will be wanting to lose momentum here and go on to tomorrow night on a roll. Spanky returned from Japan at The Homecoming, and it’s clear he’s on borrowed time in ROH before his WWE return. This is Cabana’s return from a brief, self-imposed hiatus to Europe after his loss to Nigel McGuiness at Escape From New York. They blow-off their feud next week in New Jersey by the way.
Cabana and Spanky pause to discuss a heckler in the crowd before engaging in a comedic handshake. Colt wants to get all fired up but Spanky calms him down by saying it’s only a special attraction match. Spanky with a headlock which Cabana breaks by feeling his ass. ‘Is that what they taught him in Europe’ – Leonard. Japanese armdrag nailed by Spanky but Cabana pops up to hit an armdrag of his own. Criss-cross time…and that ends with Cabana kicking Spanky in the buttock. Criss-cross again, until Spanky calls time-out. They go again ending with Spanky misses a leg drop. Atomic drop by Colt, then a chop to the rear end. ‘Basically he’s working the ass’ – Prazak. Cabana gets 2 with a weird-ass roll-up. Spanky unloads with a chop but seems mildly upset when it hurts his opponent. ‘I thought we were friends’ – Cabana. Colt hides behind the referee and almost ambushes Spanky with another pin. Spanky finds the mark with a jumping heel kick and a swinging DDT. He nails a flatliner before ascending to the top rope. FROG SPLASH but Cabana rolls it into another pin. Jumping enziguri by the Second City Saint and both men are down. Colt is first to his feet and gets 2 with a superkick. Artful Dodger by Cabana, into a Mexican roll-up to take the win at 08:27.
Rating – *** – Really entertaining comedy match, from both the in-ring work to the excellent commentary by DP and Lenny Leonard. It’s a shame Spanky is heading back to the WWE, he’s really been one of my favourite performers in 2005. The finish was clever too, as it showed Cabana’s improved ring-skills after spending three weeks in Europe. Nigel McGuiness will be thinking now…
Spanky is about to leave the ring when CM Punk’s music hits and the World Champion heads to the ring. Spanky asks for a title shot. Punk gloats that he’ll be on Raw whilst Spanky will be stuck on Velocity and Spanky leaves…calling Punk a ‘stinker’. Punk takes credit for the success of the Dayton market after his first hour draw with Samoa Joe and says that when he leaves ROH is losing their title, their best wrestler, their head trainer and best commentator all at once. With the crowd suitably pissed off that’s the end of the segment. It seemed pointless…but maybe ROH were fearing Punk would get too much of a babyface reaction or something.
BJ Whitmer/Jimmy Jacobs vs Nigel McGuiness/Chad Collyer – ROH Tag Title Match
This Midwest weekend sees Chad Collyer and James Gibson both get the tag title shots they earned way back at Nowhere To Run when Collyer beat Jacobs and Jamie beat Whitmer. Since that time, Whitmer and Jacobs have lost the titles, winning them back from the Carnage Crew on the last show. McGuiness and Collyer are a becoming a somewhat regular team, and beat Punk and Cabana at New Frontiers. It wouldn’t be a total upset if they won this…but is Nigel’s mind on this match or his feud with Colt Cabana?
Collyer has a mohawk, that goofball. Nigel starts with Jacobs and he toys with the smaller man, throwing him around. Jimmy fires back with b*tchslaps which drive McGuiness to his corner. Collyer tags and takes a springboard crossbody for 2. Whitmer works Chad’s arm then tags Jimmy back, and he enters with a double stomp to the shoulder. Collyer hotshots Jimmy over the top rope to allow himself the time for a tag. Hammerlock pedigree on Jacobs for 2. The challengers are working on Jimmy’s arm now, before McGuiness floors him with a slingshot clothesline out of the ropes. McGuiness and Collyer swing Jimmy into Whitmer on one side of the ring, then toss him on top of BJ on the other side. Collyer snap suplexes Whitmer and McGuiness snap suplexes Jacobs down on top. Same again, this time with monkey flips instead. They go for a Doomsday something but Whitmer makes the save by spearing McGuiness. Brainbuster on Collyer gets 2. It’s BJ’s turn to use Jimmy as a weapon, slamming him into Collyer in the corner. They get carried away though and Whitmer monkey flips Jacobs too far and gets nothing. Collyer blocks a Doomsday Rana attempt and Whitmer gets DUMPED with a German. TOWER OF LONDON ON JACOBS! He gets his boot on the ropes at the last. POWERBOMB/CONTRA CODE COMBO for Collyer and the champions retain at 10:49. They go on to tomorrow night where they face James Gibson and Spanky.
Rating – ** – A solid title defence with some fun little double team exchanges involving Jimmy Jacobs (both on offence and defence) but it wasn’t spectacularly exciting fare. Definitely better than anything the Carnage Crew could’ve done though so lets not get too disappointed.
Samoa Joe talks about all he did for the ROH Title…and all CM Punk has done to disrespect it. Tonight he gets his belt back.
Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss vs Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Matt Sydal
This is the first real clash in this feud between the two stables. We know Prince Nana has always used his wealth to bring new weapons to The Embassy. He recruited Alex Shelley at The Homecoming, after Aries refused a buy-out offer on Generation Next in Manhattan. Tonight we see he has splashed out again, bringing Abyss back to ROH as his paid assassin (he had a VERY brief stint as Special K’s insurance policy in early 2004 before the Feinstein scandal). Matt Sydal adds an interesting x-factor to this. He’s been tipped as a “break-out” prospect (and is a far more talented guy that Azrieal, or even Jay Lethal) so this is a huge opportunity. His issues with The Embassy date back to February in this very building when Fast Eddie screwed him over to join. The next night in Chicago Eddie beat him, and at The Final Showdown he came up short in a spirited match with Jimmy Rave. If GeNext win tonight, Sydal earns himself a spot in the stable. Daizee Haze is in Aries/Strong/Sydal’s corner.
Strong takes Rave to the mat with an early chinlock. Spinebuster/clothesline combo by Aries and Strong on Shelley for 2. Aries’ springboard reverse elbow finds the money and he hits the slingshot corkscrew splash and the Lionsault. BORDER CITY STRETCH from Shelley…FISH HOOK CROSSFACE counter by Aries! Sydal hits a gorgeous guillotine leg drop on Alex for 2. Abyss in for the first time and Sydal takes evasive action. Abyss scores with a massive pancake but gets trapped in the corner by an Aries running dropkick. Sydal goes for a sunset flip…Abyss isn’t going down. Aries goes for a crossbody AND ABYSS JUST PRESS SLAMS HIM ONTO SYDAL! Shelley and Rave give Matt a guillotine gourdbuster, and Shelley traps the GeNext trialist into a surfboard. Inverted Rocker dropper on Shelley and he tags out to Austin. Shelley takes the power drive elbow but Abyss drags Aries to the floor. The monster sends Aries into the railings and the apron, destroying the midsection. Shelley capitalises with a grounded abdominal stretch. Rave does likewise by holding him in a bodyscissors. Abyss is tagged and he chops lumps out of Aries’ chest.
Body avalanche in the corner and the leader of Generation Next is in real trouble. Spear/clothesline combo by Rave and Shelley for 2. Jimmy with the bodyscissors again, leaving Aries absolutely desperate for a tag. Shelley occupies the ref whilst Nana chokes on Aries with the Ghanaian flag. Bearhug now…and Rave distracts the referee as Aries finally makes a tag. Rave switches with Shelley with the bearhug but Austin again struggles free. Hot tag to Roderick who dishes out THREE BACKBREAKERS to Shelley. Abyss comes in AND GERMAN SUPLEXES STRONG! Sydal and Aries have a crack at him…DOUBLE DROPKICK INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX FROM RODDY! ABYSS IS DOWN! Sydal gives Shelley a standing moonsault. HEAT SEEKING MISSILE BY ARIES! SYDAL WITH A MOONSAULT ONTO ABYSS ON THE FLOOR! Jimmy goes for the Rave Clash on Strong but Aries makes the save. HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! 450 SPLASH! GeNext win at 16:53. Abyss isn’t finished though. TORTURE WRACK BACKBREAKER ON STRONG! BLACK HOLE SLAMS FOR ARIES AND SYDAL!
Rating – **** – What a treat that was, with everyone bringing their best to the table and putting on a hell of a match. Abyss was booked perfectly, really not getting involved unless he was throwing the smaller guys around and looking like a monster. Alex Shelley was the general of the Embassy team, controlling the rib-work on Aries, it’s wonderful to see him return to being a heel as it’s what he does best. Rave was his usual, detestable self too. Meanwhile I thought the Generation Next team was actually better with Sydal in it. He’s far more of a wrestler than Jack Evans and they seemed a more formidable unit as a result. Aries is an awesome babyface in peril by the way, and much like Abyss for the Embassy, Strong was booked well to come off like an absolute killer. A wonderfully constructed 6-man tag.
INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak has students from the ROH Wrestling School. Prince Nana interrupts and has Abyss kill them. Nana says they’re the top faction in ROH, and Shelley basks in the glory of the odds between himself and GeNext finally being evened up.
Low Ki vs Jay Lethal
Jay Lethal has another chance to beat Low Ki at last. He looked about to do it at Death Before Dishonor 3, but Julius Smokes interrupted the match causing it to be thrown out. He couldn’t beat Homicide at Escape From New York either thanks to Cide using a chain, and came up short yet again at The Homecoming when Homicide used a chain to pin James Gibson in the Six Man War. Is tonight the night he’s been waiting for? This is Low Ki’s first ever ROH appearance in Dayton, after almost 2 years of running shows in the area.
This is a grudge match and Lethal wastes no time going to work on Ki. Ki misses a double stomp and runs into a clothesline. Dragon Suplex blocked and the Rottweiler has to go to the outside to regroup. Lethal looks for a tope but gets cut off with a knee. Jay sends Ki outside again with a jumping heel kick…and THIS TIME HITS THE TOPE! Back to the ring UNTIL KI DROPKICKS LETHAL OFF THE APRON! They trade chops on the floor and that’s a battle Jay will never win. Low Ki with a gutbuster for 2. He continues to bombard Lethal with vicious chops but the youngster refuses to back down. Bodyscissors on Jay but he fights the pain to get to the ropes. He tries to punch with Ki but takes a boot to the stomach. Just like at DBD3 Lethal gets slammed by his nasty ass hair for 2. Mutoh elbow to the chest gets another 2. He continues the awesome with a back suplex switched into a facebuster, all impact on the stomach. Lethal with a straight back suplex and both men are down. CHOPFEST AGAIN before Lethal fires up and scores with the running suplex. DIVING HEADBUTT but the cover is slow because of his chest injury. Low Ki fights the Dragon Suplex by grabbing onto the referee. Tree of woe for Lethal…INTO THE F*CKING DOUBLE STOMP! He sets up for the Ghetto Stomp but Lethal gets mean and shoves the ref into the ropes to crotch him. Lethal gets set up on the timekeeper’s table…GHETTO STOMP OFF THE APRON MISSES! That table exploded and this spills into the crowd. Despite Ki’s unbelievable stiffness Jay Lethal doesn’t know when to stay down. At 15:54 the referee has had enough and throws the match out…
Rating – *** – In many ways this was their best match yet, as it did a superb job of building on their previous encounters to show the progression of Jay Lethal. He met the full force of Gangsta Ki here and despite having his chest battered he just wouldn’t stay down, and finally got nasty himself by shoving the referee into the ropes, then brawling in the crowd. This feud is doing wonders for both men. Low Ki actually gets better as a dickhead heel everytime you see him, and if it ends with Lethal finally getting a pinfall win over Ki that’s a massive rub for him. Thanks to this series he is a player. I just hope the match between these two that finally has a decisive finish is as good as the DBD3 match and this one…
Homicide comes from the back and this becomes a two-on-one. OOHHHH YEEEAAAAAH! Matt Hardy’s music hits and he comes from the back to even the odds. Some dicks in the crowd chant ‘We Want Edge’. Ki and Lethal brawl down the aisle as Matt Hardy announces he doesn’t want to wrestle ‘some 300lbs greenhorn’ and is ready for the baddest man in ROH. His ‘Matt Hardy WILL…NOT…DIE’ catchphrase is lame though.
Homicide vs Matt Hardy
He’d committed to these dates with Ring Of Honor before returning to the WWE, and credit to the man, he is fulfilling his obligations and is wrestling on this weekend’s events. I’m quite sure there’ll be a portion of fans who will sh*t on him for selling out but, whatever. Credit to him for turning up. He’s here for competition and tonight he faces one of the founding fathers of Ring Of Honor in Homicide.
The crowd is split 50/50 at the bell. They jostle for control early but it’s all pretty even. Hardy grapevines Homicide’s leg but he finds the ropes and bails. Cide thumbs Matt in the eyes to finally establish some dominance. He hits a satellite headscissors but Hardy comes back with right hands. He goes for a second headscissors and this time Hardy counters with a tilta-whirl slam. Homicide tries to work Matt’s leg with a grapevine of his own. A drop toehold sends him to the floor, which can only mean that it’s TOPE CON HILO TIME! Neckbreaker by the Notorious 187, then a diving headbutt for 2. Rear chinlock on the WWE star which, as Lenny Leonard points out, negates the size advantage. Hardy keeps coming back with punches though. Homicide with a jump swinging DDT off the second rope for 2. He climbs the ropes again but this time gets caught. Superplex by Hardy but he’s unable to take advantage. He hits the mark with a discus punch and gets a 2 on Homicide with a bulldog. He applies the front choke he beat Christopher Daniels with but Homicide is too close to the ropes. Side Effect scores for 2. YODEL LEG DROP nailed but still Cide kicks out. He counters the Twist of Fate with a northern lights. LARIATOOOO…but Hardy kicks out. Cop Killa blocked, but so is the Twist of Fate. Matt counters a second Lariat and Homicide hits an ACE CRUSHER FOR 2! Matt with a SPLASH MOUNTAIN! Low Ki is back and distracts Matt, enabling Homicide to hit a T-bone. Jay Lethal runs in and stops Homicide using a chain…and Hardy rolls Homi up for 3 at 17:37.
Rating – *** – The Hardy/Daniels match was better, but this really wasn’t as bad as some make it out to be. Admittedly it wasn’t spectacular and felt a little out of place in an ROH ring, but it had its moments. I liked the way most of Homicide’s offence seemed to target the neck for the Lariat/Cop Killa…and the for all the people that complained about Hardy going over an ROH star, I thought the finish made perfect sense. Having Lethal distract him was a great way to continue their feud, and gets him over that little bit more. If people are giving Hardy heat because it’s ROH vs WWE then fair enough…but if it’s because he “sold out” and went back then screw them. That’s bullsh*t…and it’s a credit to Matt that he turned up this weekend. He wrestles Roderick Strong tomorrow…
CM Punk vs Christopher Daniels vs James Gibson vs Samoa Joe – ROH World Title Match
Elimination rules for this one, and is it one step too far for the World Champion on his last weekend in ROH? Now he’s confronted with three of the guys he’s pissed off the most in the last month as ROH Champion. He’s disrespected the belt Samoa Joe worked so hard for. He assaulted Gibson with a chain then held the ropes to beat him at Fate Of An Angel. Chris Daniels returned to ROH specifically to get his hands on Punk, and after ducking him for three shows, their eventual confrontation at The Homecoming went to a time limit draw, just when it looked like Daniels had it won. This has a 60 minute time limit as well, meaning even if Punk is eliminated, he’ll retain the belt if the other three can’t beat each other. Will Punk survive once again, or will somebody finally save the ROH Title from the WWE?
Gibson, Daniels and Joe have a team talk before the bell but end up bickering over who starts. Punk avoids Joe and gets to start with Gibson. They test each other for weaknesses but come off pretty even. Daniels in, and on crowd reaction at least, he’s the most over guy in the match. They pick up where they left off at The Homecoming, charging through a flurry of back and forth counters. Joe tags, and this time Punk doesn’t have a choice but to face him. HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX! Joe scores with the chop/kick combo but Punk rolls to the floor to avoid the knee drop. CANNON BALL SENTON by Gibson! Joe/Daniels now, with Daniels getting slapped in the face. Gibson tries to outwrestle the big Samoan but gets trapped in a toehold camel clutch. Joe wipes him out with the rolling legsweep, but Jamie avoids the senton splash and hits one of his own. KNEE STRIKE TO THE HEAD! Gibson goes down and Joe tags out to Daniels. Gibson targets the arm of the Fallen Angel before they run through a positively swish counter sequence. With Daniels in trouble Punk tags but he gets double-teamed by those two, then headbutted to the floor by Joe. Punk tags out by slapping the Pure Champion in the face. Daniels gets plastered with a running knee in the corner which is the set up for the running bootscrape. Punk tags and rips off the chop/kick combo for 2. He grounds Daniels with a chinlock, and as the clock ticks past 20 minutes, Punk really could be playing for time. Hanging crucifix in the ropes…BROKEN BY A JOE RUNNING BOOT!
Daniels almost makes a tag but Punk recovers in time to catch him in a bow and arrow. Boston crab next but Gibson breaks it to save time. The champion brings Daniels to the floor to introduce him to some railings. Punk sets up for an Ole Ole Kick, but Joe isn’t having any of that. Daniels gets put in another chinlock and he has to be almost worn out. He gets the knees up to block a split-legged moonsault and wipes Punk out with a running STO. Gibson in to mount Punk in the corner with right hands. A second rope leg drop gets him 2. He accidentally knocks Joe off the apron, but has to react quickly to send Punk over the top rope. PESCADO ON THE CHAMPION! ARABIAN PRESS BY DANIELS! Joe is left alone…ELBOW SUICIDAAAAAA! Daniels flatliners Joe in the ring…AS PUNK SMACKS GIBSON WITH A CHAIR! Just like Connecticut, Jamie is bleeding and he is so out of it he has to be carried to the back. Punk and Joe finally go toe to toe with forearm strikes and brutal kicks. Punk gets drilled with a powerslam for 2. Pepsi Twist on Joe and a moonsault, but Joe kicks. Punk mule kicks him into a tag to Daniels. DVD on the champion but it’s still just 2. BME misses and Punk hits the double underhook backbreaker. Daniels with an urinage slam…BEST MOONSAULT EVER! Joe tags in to powerbomb Daniels into an STF. He finds the ropes and takes Joe over with a Samoan drop. Lionsault nailed…KOJI CLUTCH!
Joe fights it and stays in the match. Angel’s Wings blocked…E HONDA SLAPS! CHOOOOOOKE! KOKINA CLUTCH ON MR TNA! Daniels gets to the ropes but Punk shoves his boot off and Daniels is eliminated at 41:14. Punk and Joe slap the crap out of each other…but Daniels won’t leave. JUMPING ENZI ON JOE! Punk low blows the Fallen Angel at rolls up Joe to eliminate him at 42:15! Joe is furious with Daniels and they brawl to the back…and Punk thinks he’s won the match. The fans want Gibson…AND HIS MUSIC HITS! Dayton is going nuts for this, but Punk immediately stomps on the wounded head. Jamie hits a flying body press for 2 but Punk lays him out with a TKO. Punk tries to beat him up on the floor but gets crotched on the rail. CHAIR SHOT TO THE KNEE! That’s some payback for Jamie but Punk keeps going back to his bleeding head. He goes for a super rana…GIBSON ROLLS THROUGH INTO A CLOVERLEAF! Despite having the chair shot Punk fights out. SHINING WIZARD…ANACONDA VICE! Gibson gets to the ropes. TIGERBOOOOMB…BUT PUNK KICKS OUT! To the ropes, and Punk is looking for a Pepsi Plunge. It’s blocked…SUPER F*CKING TIGERBOMB! NEW CHAMPION! GIBSON WINS AT 50:43.
Rating – ****1/2 – An hour of some of the best story-telling in a wrestling ring you’re ever likely to come across. At times it was slow, but that was only natural with the match they were going for. Punk was perfect in this, especially with his isolation of Daniels. He dropped the match to a snails pace with submission holds, and spent most of the match playing for time, knowing a draw means he retains. Samoa Joe was at his brutal best, and was almost underused, and the angle they worked with Gibson was genius. At the start of the match he was probably the least over guy in the ring. No fault of his own, but Punk is leaving and the biggest heel in the promotion, Joe is Joe and Daniels was insanely over for some reason. But when he came back from injury to win the belt the roof practically blew off the arena. An epic contest and a fitting end to a great title reign. If you’re looking to place it, this was better than Punk/Daniels, but I preferred Punk/Gibson. CM Punk’s title reign is, beyond question, the best angle Ring Of Honor has ever done. I can’t praise Gabe, Punk and everyone else involved enough.
The ovation for Gibson’s win is incredible. Spanky and Jamie’s tearful wife lead the rest of the locker room to the ring…what a moment. He calls this the most important moment of his career, more than being Cruiserweight Champion, more than Wrestlemania etc. I actually have tears in my eyes and Punk and Gibson hug in the middle of the ring and everyone chants ‘Thank You Punk’. We even go backstage and see him congratulated by Matt Hardy, Samoa Joe and Dave Prazak as well…and that’s where we fade.
Tape Rating – *** – Another strong, enjoyable show from Ring Of Honor. They’re on a real hot streak right now, as I said at the start of this review, and we saw an extension of that with this event. The main event is an MOTYC. The GeNext/Embassy tag was heaps of fun, and Ki/Lethal, Hardy/Homicide and Spanky/Cabana were nice additions as well. Buy it now, if only for the unbelievable scenes at the end of the title match.
Top 3 Matches
3) Low Ki vs Jay Lethal (***)
2) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Matt Sydal vs Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss (****)
1) James Gibson vs CM Punk vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (****1/2)