076 ROH Night Of The Grudges 2 8/20/2005

ROH 76 – Night Of The Grudges 2 – 20th August 2005

So CM Punk has finally left Ring Of Honor, but the show must go on. Despite him leaving there are still lots of scores to be settled and wars to be waged. To that end, it is perhaps fitting that this is the second “night of the grudges”. In 2003 we saw Paul London and AJ Styles put on a classic, the end of the forgettable Group/Prophecy war, BJ Whitmer tag with Raven against the Second City Saints and Justin Credible’s debut. In 2005 there are more feuds on this card than you could shake a stick at, with practically every match bearing some form of “grudge”. How will ROH cope in the post-Punk era? Anyway, this show doesn’t have a great write up, and apparently the crowd is sh*t. It’d be hard to piss me off more than the Chicago fans did with their treatment of Matt Hardy last time, but we’ll see. Let’s head back to the Mennan Sports Arena in Morristown, NJ with your hosts Dave Prazak, Lenny Leonard and Jimmy Bower.

The Rottweilers are outside somewhere. Julius Smokes handles most of the talking so it’s mostly inexplicable jibberish. Essentially Reyes has to put a beating on Jay Lethal. Homicide promises a parade in Brooklyn tonight after he wins the World Title.

Spanky puts it pretty simply – titles mean more than friendship. He did what he had to do to get a shot before both he and Gibson leave ROH.

Carnage Crew vs Dunn & Marcos – Weapons Match

Tonight this feud actually does end. Last time they met one-on-one was at Death Before Dishonor 3 when Dunn & Marcos bumped and bled like crazy to give the Crew one of their best matches in some time. But then again, their match before that at The Future Is Now was pretty crap. So was their coming together at the end of Ultimate Endurance 4 at Fate Of An Angel. So far the Express haven’t been able to pin Loc and DeVito once, but have always got up for more. Tonight must be their night.

Lots of clubbering to begin before Marcos starts swinging a trash can lid to get the advantage. Dunn sends DeVito in the railings and that busts him open at just past the 1-minute mark. Marcos tornado DDT’s DeVito on the floor as Dunn whips Loc through a ladder and over the top rope. Loc comes back by tearing the ropes off a toy wrestling ring and choking him. DeVito takes over on Marcos by elbow dropping a chair on top of him. He obliterates the toy ring on Marcos’ head…NORTHERN LIGHTS THROUGH A TABLE! Dunn has propped a section of guardrail up on chairs outside…BUT LOC MOVES AS HE GOES FOR AN ELBOW DROP! Marcos sets up a ladder between chairs, clearly not learning from his partner’s mistakes. DeVito busts a computer keyboard over his head…SPLASH MOUNTAIN NECKBREAKER THROUGH A TABLE ON THE FLOOR! DUNN DVD’S LOC THROUGH A TABLE! The RCE electric chair senton a can onto DeVito for 2. They destroy some guitars over the Crew’s respective heads and set Loc up on the ladder. ELECTRIC CHAIR SENTON THROUGH THE LADDER! They finally beat the Carnage Crew at 08:07.

Rating – ** –
Probably the best of their matches I’d say. They kept it short, did some new things (like the toy wrestling ring, or the keyboard or the guardrail spot) and, yet again, Dunn and Marcos took some absolutely ridiculous bumps. I’ve absolutely hated this feud, but I’ve come away from it really respecting the RCE. The things they’ll do to themselves to earn the respect of the fans and get over really takes some balls. I wonder if they’ll go on from here or return to job-land. And it’s time to not book the Carnage Crew anymore, or at least put them on hiatus. They were cool for a time, but there’s just nothing left for them to do. They’ve had as many blood-feuds as any sane fan can take, they’ve had their tag title run. Thanks for the memories guys…

Nigel McGuiness has ‘been up for 36 hours sniffing glue’ and ends his feud with Colt Cabana tonight. Umm…what? Glue? You crazy limey…

Jerrelle Clark vs Azrieal

Mr 630 gets a spot on an main show after impressing at Do Or Die 5 which took place earlier in the evening. He was also on Do Or Die 2 I believe…he’s got MUCH better ring attire since then. He’s also been impressing people in FIP which Gabe books, and he occasionally pops up in TNA to job to someone. It was probably only a matter of time before he got another chance. I’m not a big fan of his, but then I haven’t seen any of his recent stuff so lets give him a shot. Is this the end of Azrieal’s big summer? He’s been in some big matches and wrestled some of ROH’s top talent and really hasn’t shone or got over in the way I’m sure management would’ve wanted him to. Maybe this is his moment.

Lots of quick wrestling and near-misses from the bell. We get an exchange of armdrags and DUELLING dropkicks. That was pretty impressive, I’m dizzy watching them. Dropkicks from Clark, followed by a dropsault for 2. He slows it down with a Fujiwara armbar but Azrieal lifts him to the second rope. Jerrelle gets electric chaired onto his face. Az goes after the leg with a shinbreaker into a dragon screw. He gets 2 with a basement dropkick to the hamstring. Tree of woe for Clark and Azrieal dropkicks his exposed leg. Clark fires back with a pumphandle facebuster then demonstrates some fine leg selling with a handspring moonsault. He drops Az’s arm over the top rope then SPRINGBOARDS OFF IT! Armbar DDT into an inverted cross armbreaker. Double knee armbreaker scores….now the CLARKBAR, which is an armbreaker in the ropes. Azrieal hits a big boot leaving both guys in a heap. Jerrelle tries to suplex him to the floor but only lifts him to the apron. Clark slingshot knee’s the neck leaving him hung in the ropes. SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT in the ropes. Azrieal goes for South of Heaven but gets planted with a DVD for 2. Spinebuster out of the corner by Clark but Az goes back to the leg with a dropkick. SOUTH OF HEAVEN but he couldn’t hit it properly because of his arm and it only gets 2. Jerrelle further sells his leg by going for a top rope rana. Az double stomps him in the head and wins at 10:42.

Rating – ** –
I think I’m being pretty generous with that rating to be perfectly honest. On offence, Jerrelle was pretty cool, and he had some innovative ways of working Azrieal’s arm. But, man his leg selling was appalling. Not just bad, we’re talking Rob Van Dam “I’m just going to hit my stuff anyway” bad…and he is not in ECW RVD’s league folks. In fairness, Azrieal wasn’t a whole lot better. He sold his arm well, but he looked so weak when he was on offence it was just IMPOSSIBLE to get into his comebacks. If it was Clark that lived in the northeast and Azrieal living in Florida, I guarantee you Jerrelle would be getting this push before the former Angeldust. Time to pull the plug on Az? Jerrelle will be back at Survival Of The Fittest 2005, and I’ll give him another chance since, at the very least, he has some cool spots.

Ricky Reyes vs Jay Lethal

Lethal is desperate to get a win over Low Ki, but has been thwarted at every turn. Their feud got even more intense at Punk: The Final Chapter in that wild tag team brawl also involving Homicide and Samoa Joe. Tonight the Rottweilers send Reyes to put a further beating on Lethal, and keep him out of their business. Is it a good thing that Reyes is getting booked again (without Rocky Romero,who’s injured/in Japan too much – he’s huge in NJPW as Black Tiger now)? I can’t tell…

Reyes looks like a jacked-up gerbil, I’ve decided. He knocks Lethal down with a couple of shoulder tackles. Jay hits a back suplex for 1. Reyes evades a pescado and gets helped by Grim Reefa and Smokes to ram Lethal into the guardrail. I like Ricky’s intensity but he’s a little vanilla on offence. Jay unleashes a series of forearms and the jumping heel kick, but Reyes wipes him out with a heel kick of his own. Now it’s Lethal who takes a back suplex. Reyes camel clutches him, pulling on the hair for added insult. Jumping heel kick from the second rope by Jay, but Mega-Gerbil kicks out and nails a spinebuster. Chinlock by Reyes, working the dodgy neck of Jay Lethal. ‘This place stinks like ass’ – Reyes…right before Lethal drops him off the second rope with a DDT. That gets followed with a jumping DDT off the ropes for 2. Reyes is caught in the running suplex…DIVING HEADBUTT! Ricky isn’t done though, he blocks the Dragon Suplex and low blows Lethal as Reefa occupies the official. A fisherman buster gets a nearfall…so does a sit-out powerbomb. DRAGON SUPLEX! Lethal manages to beat a Rottweiler at last, in a time of 11:22.

Rating – ** –
The first five minutes were tedious, but after that they really hit their stride and did a few decent things. To answer my question from the intro – yes it’s a good thing Reyes is getting booked. He looks and acts so pissed off in the ring, and he’s got some nifty hard-hitting strikes. If he could get himself over and add a couple of decent moves to his arsenal he could make himself something more than the less good member of the Havana Pitbulls…or the guy that just jobbed to Jay Lethal.

Nigel McGuiness vs Colt Cabana – Soccer Riot Match

The deal for this feud-ending match is that Cabana is picking the stipulations, based on what he learned in England in July. Everyone thinks he’s been studying classic old-school British mat action, but no, he’s back, sporting a Liverpool shirt, and now well-versed in the fine art of football hooliganism. The rules for this are simple – there aren’t any. This rivalry has been raging since February when they first met one-on-one at the Third Anniversary Celebrations. They decided to form a team coming out of that, but Nigel got pissed off with Colt’s tomfoolery. McGuiness beat Cabana with an inadvertent low blow at Manhattan Mayhem, then finally went heel at Nowhere To Run, scoring another win with an intentional bollock-shot. McGuiness has also beaten Cabana in a European Rules Match, plus in tag contests at The Final Showdown and New Frontiers. The winner of this gets a title shot of their choosing in Buffalo at Dragon Gate Invasion.

Nigel tries to get Cabana to explain the rules and gets headbutted in the face…which is legal in a Soccer Riot Match. Low blows are legal too, and Cabana has the crowd chanting ‘LEGAL’ along with everything he does. To the floor where McGuiness tastes the railings then gets brought into the crowd – which is still legal. The Brit eats a chair shot then gets whipped through about three rows of chairs. He collapses against the hockey hoardings…AND CABANA GOES CHAIR-THROWING MENTAL! Lenny Leonard is my new hero since he’s calling soccer ‘football’. Falls count anywhere it seems, as Colt covers for 2. They fight into the GA section, brawling all the way to the top of the building before Nigel gets kicked back down the stairs. Colt sets up for a balcony dive but Nigel bails before he can take to the air. Cabana with a clothesline over the hoardings instead then. Fan participation time now as Cabana rams McGuiness’ spikey head into suitably positioned chairs. Nigel finally gets some offence in, going low then launching Colt into a few rows of chairs.

He brings it back into the ring where he punts Cabana in the back repeatedly. Colt slumps in the corner, and McGuiness grabs the football and looks to kick it into his balls…but that goes the way of Chris Waddle in Italia ’90, much to the fans’ delight. Cabana dumps Nigel in the corner…and THROWS the ball into Nigel’s testicles. Colt with Shattered Dreams, then leads New Jersey (and Dave Prazak) in a lengthy ‘GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL’ chant. McGuiness with another low blow then he sets up a table on the floor. Cabana blocks a suplex and hits a missile dropkick for 2. He scores another nearfall with a pretty moonsault then goes for Nigel’s iron. McGuiness with ANOTHER low blow and he drops Cabana with a DDT. Colt blocks a superplex…BUT GETS SMACKED WITH THE IRON AND PLUMMETS THROUGH THE TABLE! Ridiculously that only gets 2. Nigel pulls him back inside but Cabana has grabbed another iron from under the ring. IRON TO THE HEAD for 2. They’re teeing off on each other, and Cabana counters McGuiness’ slingshot lariat with a clothesline of his own to pull out the win at 17:35.

Rating – *** –
I’m surprised that two great pure wrestlers managed to find their best match in an anything goes environment, but that was shockingly good. The comedy stuff (which to be fair, they’ve always been good at) was right on, and the Soccer Riot rules led to a lot of new exchanges, which we hadn’t seen before. The brawl in the crowd didn’t go on too long, something I was very happy to see and the table spot looked pretty brutal. I HATE Cabana’s lariat finisher though. So many people use lariats as a finisher that unless you have a particularly brutal looking one (Kobashi, Kojima, Homicide, hell, even JBL) it looks sh*t. Colt’s isn’t good…his search for a finisher that isn’t the Colt 45 should continue.

The feud ends honourably with a handshake and a hug. Credit to both of them for stretching this feud out and keeping it entertaining. I don’t think they achieved their full potential in terms of a straight wrestling match, but here ends a thoroughly decent midcard rivalry.

James Gibson vs Spanky vs Homicide – ROH World Title Match

Just like the match where Gibson won the title at Redemption, this has elimination rules. I’m sure ROH would much prefer to have Jamie finish his feuds with Cide and the Spankster in singles matches as opposed to a thrown together three-way (there hasn’t been a good triple threat in ROH since the First Anniversary Show). Unfortunately, with the WWE beckoning both Gibson and Spanky, that’s just not possible. Homicide cheated Gibson out of wins at The Future Is Now and The Homecoming, and they clashed in a couple of fourways as well, and Spanky turned on his friend during their Tag Title shot at The Final Chapter. The World Title can do crazy things to a man. Gibson has vowed to stay in ROH and defend the belt with honour until someone takes it from him. Will his return to Stamford be quicker than he would’ve liked?

Homicide is as over as a babyface as Gibson is. Spanky runs away meaning Jamie and Homicide go at it. He continues to hide on the floor until Gibson and Cide call a truce to go after the coward. Double back drop on Spanky. Gibson tree of woes him for a basement dropkick from Homicide, but then the Notorious 187 turns on the World Champion and clotheslines him, which gets a lot of ‘Homicide’ chants. He slings Spanky into the railings whilst Jamie hangs out on the apron. Crossbody/suplex combo by Gibson and Spanky on Cide. Finally Gibson does get his hands on his former friend but Homicide sunset flips him before he can exact some revenge. Belly to belly suplex on Spanky for 2. He lies in the corner whilst Cide goes after Gibson’s leg and drags him into an STF. The champ gets choked over the bottom rope as Spanky returns to running away from his opponents. Gibson counters the Cop Killa with a German suplex…but Spanky breaks the pin with a low blow. He connects with a jumping heel kick on his fellow challenger. TOPE CON HILO ON GIBSON! Spanky dives out onto Homicide with a somersault plancha. He goes for a superplex and is joined by Gibson…BACK SUPERPLEX/SUPERPLEX CAR WRECK! Gibson with a tilta-whirl backbreaker for Spanky. Spinebuster on Cide for 2. He looks for the Tigerbomb but Spanky breaks it with an enzi. Homicide Ace crusher’s Spanky for another 2. He looks for a diving headbutt but takes too long. TIGERBOMB by Gibson but Smokes pulls the referee out. GIBSON HITS HIM WITH A PESCADO! Spanky goes for a frog splash but Grim Reefa crotches him. Homicide grabs a chain…and right hands Gibson in the face. The referee spots it and at 13:44 Homicide is eliminated by DQ. But that isn’t the end of the story. Spanky injured his knee when Reefa crotched him, and he’s unable to continue…so Gibson retains.

Rating – * –
Blargh, a few decent spots, and heel Spanky was hilarious at times…but in classic triple threat fashion, there was SO much of one guy lying around doing nothing whilst two guys wrestle. I hate that…and I didn’t like the fact that this was a pretty monotonous exchange of spots. Gibson isn’t at his best in that kind of match in truth…and what was up with the goofy finish?

The Rottweilers go crazy as a result of that call, and Homicide, Smokes, Reyes and Reefa beat up jobbers to show how pissed off they are. I notice Davey Andrews at least getting some offence in on Reefa though.

SAL RINAURO CLIP – Sal won the four corner survival that main evented Do Or Die 5 earlier (also featuring Jerrelle Clark, Steve Madison and Claudio Castagnoli) and has won himself a spot on the roster as a result. That’s cool…he impressed at New Frontiers.

It’s time for the Heartbreak Express against Lacey’s Angels. The fat Davis brother (I can’t remember which one is which) tries to convince Lacey that she wants a real man. Didn’t he watch Death Before Dishonor 3? She HATES disgusting men. Men suck. Down with men etc etc. Anyway, James Gibson comes out and clears the ring of all these retards that nobody wanted to see since he’s so pissed off about the end of his title match. GMC comes out to calm him down with the news that Spanky is getting treatment, and later tonight it’ll be Gibson vs Spanky for the gold.

INTERMISSION – GMC has Sal Rinauro with him to continue the hype for Sal joining the full roster. Jeez, he isn’t THAT good!

Jimmy Rave/Puma vs Generation Next
Puma is another paid assassin for The Embassy, since Alex Shelley (who is at ringside by the way) is injured and can’t compete. Aries and Strong represent GeNext, with Jack Evans still on hiatus and Matt Sydal still not able to get more bookings apparently. This feud escalated big-time last weekend in the Midwest, but GeNext twice came out victorious over Nana’s troops, with a 6-man tag victory at Redemption, and Aries pinning Rave at The Final Chapter. Jade Chung is back in The Embassy’s corner after missing last week’s shows “scrubbing toilets in Ghana”. GeNext have sh*tty new music. Puma doesn’t come out to ‘No Reason’ by Sum 41 either. Is this Night of Lame Entrances?

Puma flips over a monkey flip attempt, and fakes out Roderick by hanging in the ropes. Aries takes his head off with a clothesline. Slingshot corkscrew splash by GeNext’s leader for 2. He dishes out the Finlay roll and hits a Lionsault for 2. Strong dropkicks Rave, and that gets followed by Austin’s running dropkick in the corner. Puma puts Aries in a tree of woe and takes a big run up before…low blowing him. He connects with a series of pretty devastating kicks as The Embassy isolate Austin. Hammerlock chinlock by the Embassy’s latest hitman. Aries elbows his way free and makes a tag to Rod who hits Rave with a jumping heel kick. Jimmy avoids the half nelson backbreaker and tries to roll him up using the tights. Slingshot hilo by Puma before Nana takes a couple of cheap shots on the floor. All four guys brawl on the floor but the Embassy bring it back inside where Rave camel clutches Strong for a Puma running dropkick. Headscissors on the Messiah of the Backbreaker, followed by a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Puma cranks on a neck vice since that’s the body part they’re working on. Roddy forces his way to a tag but the ref doesn’t see it, and Rave cranks on a front facelock. Strong again makes an unseen tag, before he lays out Puma with a Rock Bottom backbreaker. Aries in with a head drop back suplex on Rave. Dropkick/gutbuster combo by GeNext on Puma. HEAT SEEKING MISSILE/PESCADO COMBO! Puma hits an inverted Ghanarea for 2. Rave gives Aries a regular Ghanarea right afterwards. CRAPPY WIZARD but Strong breaks the pin. Puma eats a CRADLE BACKBREAKER. Rave tries to trade chops with him and wins with a thumb to the eye. Roddy hits the double knee gutbuster but Rave almost pins him with his feet in the ropes. Boston crab on Puma which gets broken by Rave. Aries stops the Rave Clash and Rod nails a HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! Nana crotches Austin as he goes for the 450. Puma goes for something but he trips on Jade’s dog leash. BRAINBUSTER BY ARIES! 450 SPLASH NAILED! Puma is pinned and GeNext win again at 15:33…and this time it probably is Jade’s fault!

Rating – *** –
Pretty much a by the numbers match. Nothing bad, but nothing all that special. Lots of your standard formula stuff – the faces start strong, the heels dominate for a while before a hot tag and some big spots as the match climaxes. I like Puma (he’s miles better than guys like Azrieal or Jerrelle Clark) so I’d like to see more of him, but he looked better at the Third Anniversary shows. Oh, and the referee completely ignored the concept of the legal man, which I found grating. Hopefully Alex Shelley’s back injury heals quickly…I can’t wait for he and Rave to team regularly.

Nana sends Puma away for his incompetence and berates Jade for her part in the defeat. Cue more racial and physical abuse – until Mick Foley comes to make the save. I forgot he was on this show! He says Nana makes him ashamed for being an ROH fan…and shills his book. Apparently if you want to abuse women in America you need to be an inbred redneck from West Virginia (where James Gibson is from…way to trash the champ Mick). He tries to convince Jade to leave The Embassy but gets attacked by Rave and Shelley. Generation Next brawl in the aisle with those guys…and Foley gives Nana a double arm DDT on his book.

James Gibson vs Spanky – ROH World Title Match

You can look at this as the conclusion of the triple threat from before intermission, or a rematch from Third Anniversary Celebration Part 2, where Gibson debuted and immediately put on a great little match. This is probably going to be his only shot at revenge on Spanky for turning on him at the last show…and given that Spanky is carrying a knee injury and can barely walk, he has to be favourite. He’s even too injured to do the Spanky-dance…that makes me sad.

The fans chant for Homicide like idiots and generally crap all over this match. Spanky limps to the floor to avoid Gibson whilst the fans keep booing the lack of Homicide. ‘This match sucks’ – NJ dicks. Jamie sets up to go after Spanky’s knee but seems to hesitate somewhat. He doesn’t wrap Spanky’s leg around the ringpost and looks to keep this sporting. Spanky responds by superkicking him in the face and revealing the knee injury as a big fake. ‘It’s a miracle!’ – Spanky. He chokes on Gibson on the floor with some tape from his perfectly healthy knee. He actually tries to hang the World Champion with some bandage. Gibson gets dropped throat-first on the railings…and NOW we get the Spanky-dance! Join in at home kids. The challenger goes to the eyes as Jamie shows signs of fighting back. Body avalanche misses in the corner and Gibson reels off some chops. Spanky kicks him to the floor to maintain some distance. He works the fans by slow-motion setting up for a dive then stomping Gibson in the head. Spinebuster by the champ as his opponent jumps off the top. Spanky takes a brainbuster get kicks at 2. Now Gibson actually tries to injure his leg, finally deciding to ram it against the ringpost. Figure 4 leglock applied but Spanky rolls to the ropes. BRIDGING deathlock next, but again Spanky finds respite with the bottom rope. Spanky avoids Jamie’s trademark running knee strike and drops him with a flatliner. Sliced Bread blocked…so is the Tigerbomb. Spanky hurts his leg going for Sliced Bread again but still counters out of the Tigerbomb with a rana. Gibson rolls Spanky up to retain at 11:20. The asshole crowd chant ‘Homicide’…I HATE ROH’s smarky fans sometimes.

Rating – *** –
A solid match, but the dead/hostile crowd killed it as a dramatic contest, and frankly the booking was pretty hokey anyway. Why not just have given Spanky a one-on-one match to start with? Spanky is awesome as the cocky/cowardly heel by the way, kinda similar to his 2002 character. It’s a shame we won’t get to see more of it. In case I need to state the obvious, their first encounter in February was miles better.

Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels – ROH Pure Title Match

For the first time ever, an ROH show is main evented by a Pure Title Match. Joe set out to elevate the prestige of the belt during his reign, and here is the proof. We have this coming together after Daniels cost Joe his elimination from Redemption’s World Title match as he b*tched about the way he himself was eliminated. Obviously these two go way back to 2002 though, when it was Daniels who brought Joe into ROH as a paid henchman for The Prophecy. I’m sure everyone also remembers Glory By Honor 2 with Daniels went so close to beating Joe for the World Title as well.

The initial exchanges seem geared towards looking to get an opponent to use a ropebreak. Lots of wristlocks and counter wrestling, but neither man looks like going to the ropes. Finally Daniels uses the ropes to flip out of a wristlock, and the ref adjudges that to be a ropebreak at last. Inverted atomic drop and a big boot by the defending champion. He scores with the chop/kick combo into the knee drop and the Fallen Angel is reeling. The running knee in the corner finds the mark, before he works an STF with fingers in Daniels’ nostrils. Stalling vertical suplex on the challenger. Joe peppers Daniels with kicks and knee strikes but gets felled by a double knee gutbuster. Daniels goes after the midsection in an instant, driving shoulders and knees into the torso. Prazak points out that Joe had injured ribs back in May. Abdominal stretch locked in, complete with elbows to the exposed chest. Joe has to use his first break now at 10 minutes. He comes back with bootscrapes, but Daniels blocks the running facewash with a kick to the gut. We go back to the mat with a bodyscissors, which negates Joe’s big size advantage.

Joe uses his second break at this point. Back to the abdominal stretch goes the challenger, except Joe is able to fight out of this one. Daniels hurdles the rolling legsweep only to be flung to the ground with the powerslam. Cross armbreaker for Chris, who takes his second ropebreak to tie that score at 2-2. Closed fist strikes by Daniels…and Joe gets pissed and responds with a punch of his own. Both men get official warnings as Joe uses his powerbomb/STF sequence deliberately close to the ropes to cost him his final break. Samoan drop on Joe, followed by an Asai moonsault. E HONDA SLAPS but Daniels drops him again. BME…for 2. KOJI CLUTCH, and he has Joe twisted on his side to keep working the ribs. Joe almost fades to unconsciousness, but winds up fighting to the ropes for his last break. Daniels strays from the midsection to smack the champ about with forearms, and gets punished with a huge running boot. Joe misses the running knee in the corner and ends up crotched. Fall From Grace COUNTERED INTO A HANGING CHOKE! That’s an awesome spot in the Pure rules environment. Daniels taps at 20:17.

Rating – **** –
Well these guys just saved what had been a pretty average show with this terrific, methodical, mat-based main event. It wasn’t rocket science, and I really felt it should’ve gone another five more minutes to allow for a few more exciting near-falls, but for believable and fun technical wrestling, I felt it delivered. It’s an obvious strategy, working Joe’s ribs to slow him down and wind him (as the bigger man), and Chris Daniels is really good at working a body part so that part of the match worked so well…but in the end he just couldn’t withstand Joe’s hard-hitting offence.

Shaun Price is with Colt Cabana, who opts to challenge for the World Title at Dragon Gate Invasion.

Dunn & Marcos call their win tonight the biggest victory of their careers. Loc shows up to give them some respect…and they all leave together to hit the nudie bar.

Tape Rating – ** –
For the record, this show is nowhere near as bad as some people suggest. I mean, there isn’t a really bad match on the card. Granted I really found the triple threat match to be disappointing, but that’s mostly because I don’t like three-ways. The main problem is, there’s a massive amount of painfully average stuff, and very little in the way of the top quality, superior wrestling ROH has built it’s reputation on. Cabana/McGuiness and Joe/Daniels are good bouts, and for what they are, the Embassy/GeNext tag and Gibson/Spanky were ok too. But in an 8 match card, that means half the matches didn’t even reach 3*, the booking around the World Title was pretty lame and the fans were f’n appalling…not the quality you expect. Unless you’re a completist, with ROH pumping out more shows than ever in 2005, and with some big events lined up for Autumn, you could probably skip over this quite easily, unless you’re particularly desperate to see the end of the Cabana/Nigel feud.

Top 3 Matches

3) James Gibson vs Spanky (***)

2) Colt Cabana vs Nigel McGuiness (***)

1) Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (****)

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