077 ROH Dragon Gate Invasion 8/27/2005

ROH 77 – Dragon Gate Invasion – 27th August 2005

What a long summer it’s been. Eight shows in two months has been an ambitious and at times incredible run. Frankly, it felt like ROH may have been running out of steam at Night Of The Grudges 2, but there have been some amazing moments along the way. Tonight we round things off with the Dragon Gate Invasion, as two stars from Japan’s Dragon Gate (formerly Toryumon) promotion arrive to battle two of ROH’s best. It’s CIMA vs AJ Styles and Shingo Takagi against Chris Daniels. Also on the card is Gibson defending the World Title against Colt Cabana, Joe putting his Pure Title on the line in another match with Nigel McGuiness and another Embassy/GeNext tag. This is ROH’s return to Buffalo, NY, and has Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard on commentary.

Colt is on a hell of a winning streak, has a World Title Match tonight, but he’s most excited about the return of his talk show. Homicide is his guest. Cabana asks if he’s been spending his life living in a gangster’s paradise lol. He continues to make fun of Cide’s background, eventually leading to Homicide storming off in a rage.

Ricky Reyes vs Puma

These two have a bit of a history from the SoCal/Inoki Dojo scene but they haven’t really come close to crossing paths in ROH before. Both are looking to solidify a spot in ROH and an impressive performance in this match would go a long way to doing that. Puma has ‘No Reason’ – Sum 41 back after last weekend’s association with The Embassy.

Puma gets the first takedowns with a hurricanrana and a satellite headscissors. Reyes goes to the floor and gets faked out on a dive. Tope suicida by Puma as he finally does take to the air. Ricky goes on offence after a knee to the stomach. He nails a gutwrench suplex for 2. Puma takes a few stuff forearms to the chest but comes back with a series of hard kicks. Reyes takes a basement dropkick in a tree of woe position and rolls outside again. He takes control again with a back suplex though. Puma gets the boot up as Ricky tries to come off the top rope. A spinning heel kick finds the mark, and he follows up with a Tombstone for a close 2. Somersault senton misses, and Reyes blasts him with a sit-out powerbomb. Puma knees out of a dragon sleeper but Reyes rocks him with a backbreaker. The Rottweiler gets 2 with a fisherman buster. ‘Crap’ – Reyes. Puma locks in a cloverleaf but he hasn’t worked the legs and isn’t getting a submission win. Rear choke from Reyes and Puma taps at 07:33.

Rating – ** –
There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about, but it was enjoyably stiff, had a refreshing back and forth flow and didn’t go on too long to suck the crowd dry either. I don’t think it’s the best opener to an ROH card ever, but it’s not the worst either.

Nigel McGuiness calls tonight a big night for him. He’s frustrated and not being able to break out of the midcard. Tonight he needs to step up and beat Samoa Joe at all costs. Decent little promo…

Davey Andrews vs Kevin Steen vs Chad Collyer vs Jimmy Jacobs

A multi-man match to cram a few more people onto the card…since there’s not a whole lot of other reasons to throw this match together. I think BJ Whitmer is in NOAH tonight hence there’s no tag title defence for Jimmy. Collyer is back in ROH after almost killing Ace Steel last time in Chicago. Kevin Steen is loathed by ROH fans, but actually seems to be developing himself a nice little heel personality to run with that. If they booked him more I’m sure he could run with it. Davey looks to be the best in-ring prospect of all CM Punk’s students from the first ROH school class. He also looks to have about as much personality as a piece of broccoli.

Collyer and Andrews start, with Chad looking to school Davey on the mat. The youngster can hang though and proves himself to be no pushover. Bridging hammerlock by Collyer, and that prompts Andrews to tag out to Jacobs. He hits a dropkick and Steen enters the match. He winds up the fans as he stomps Jimmy down to the corner. Jacobs with a springboard crossbody for 2. He scores with a hurricanrana as well but Andrews tags him out. Steen plants Davey with a back suplex before dishing out a somersault leg drop. Collyer works Andrews over some more with a few uppercuts and a knee drop. Davey with some strikes of his own…so Collyer elbows him in the neck. Jacobs makes the tag and sails in with a top rope clothesline. Steen trades forearms with Davey then gets dropped with a clothesline. Chad suffers a similar fate, but Jacobs gives Andrews the BACK SENTON! Collyer Cloverleaf on Jacobs…but Steen breaks and goes for the Package Piledriver. Jacobs stops that and has a Contra Code attempt blocked. Simultaneous bridging Germans by Collyer and Andrews both get 2. Steen missile dropkicks both of them outside where Jacobs hits a tope. TOP ROPE SOMERSAULT SENTON by Mr Wrestling. He tries to isolate Jacobs, but he HUSSes up. Swinging Kryptonite Krunch scores for 2. Andrews gets 2 with a Pepsi Twist. Collyer throws Jacobs to the floor to block another Contra Code. COLLYER CLOVERLEAF on Andrews who taps at 10:36.

Rating – * –
I thought it was bordering on Steen’s best performance in ROH, but the rest of the match was a mess. Lots of spots crudely strung together with very little flow, other than Steen pissing everyone off by being such an asshole. After busting Steel open at The Final Chapter and getting the win here, I assume Chad is in line for some form of push, and he does have a fun little character. I’d rather see what Kevin Steen could do with that kind of storyline though. He’s much better than most ROH fans give him credit for.

El Generico vs Homicide

Is Generico like…ROH’s go-to guy when one of their top-liners doesn’t have anything else to do at a show, they want to give him a clean win and have him look good in the process? Generico has already stared at the lights for Roderick Strong at Stalemate and Austin Aries at Fate Of An Angel. Tonight would appear to be Homicide’s turn, unless he can pull out an unlikely upset. Generico has fallen victim to Cide’s Lariat before – at the Trios Tournament when he and the Ring Crew Express fell in the first round to the Rottweilers of Homicide and the Havana Pitbulls. Which reminds me…aren’t Reyes and Romero supposed to get to book a match of their own for winning that?

Homicide acts like he’s going to have a respectful wrestling match then boots Generico in the gut and takes him to the floor to introduce him to some guardrail. The luchadore hits some armdrags back in the ring and gets some distance as a result. Satellite headscissors by Homicide but Generico throws him out of the ring. He pisses Cide off by palm striking him…HEAD DROP German by the Notorious 187. Generico fights out of a chinlock and charges right into a knee to the stomach. Running bootscrape in the corner for the Canadian. He gets caught with a belly to belly suplex but kicks at 2. Homicide sets up for a second rope Ace crusher but Generico counters with a sunset flip powerbomb. Tilta-whirl backbreaker for the Rottweiler, and he follows it with a springboard dropkick. RUNNING CORKSCREW PESCADO! Generico scales the ropes again to score with a crossbody block. Homicide blocks the brainbuster but can’t hit the Cop Killa. Generico counters the Lariat with a springboard swinging DDT for 2. Homicide drags him off the ropes with a super Ace crusher, but he goes and gets caught on the top as well. Generico looks for his brainbustaaaah but gets shoved away and Cide scores with a diving headbutt. LARIATOOO! Homicide wins in 14:03.

Rating – ** –
It went on too long for what was essentially nothing more than a squash, but I found myself enjoying myself. Generico is good at being fed to the main eventers because he’s a fun underdog, takes a good beating and makes everyone else’s offence look pretty good. If ROH ever want to push him just have him win one of these “squash” matches. It’d be over like crazy…

We learn that Christopher Daniels hasn’t made it to the building, but we have a suitable replacement. The replacement being former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champion Curry Man to make his ROH debut!

Shingo Takagi vs Curry Man

Curry Man is Chris Daniels comedy alter-ego in Japan. Apparently this is his US debut. He’s been around in the east though, having competed for Michinoku Pro and New Japan. Shingo is a big prospect in Dragon Gate, and is still in his first year as a pro. He’s a protégé of CIMA apparently. He works a Chris Masters-style flex/pose/I’m so hulky gimmick…which is fine except, if you’re used to seeing Chris Masters and his roided up physique, the size of a fairly well-built, average height Japanese man isn’t so impressive.

Takagi tries to impress his masked opponent by doing press-ups. Curry responds with a rolling armdrag and engages Shingo in a push-up contest. He tries to control the bigger man on the mat but as soon as Takagi gets to his feet he’s able to knock Curry down. Dropkick through the ropes to the floor by Curry Man…rolling right into a pescado which finds the mark. Curry flies again with a diving shoulder tackle for 2. Shingo grounds Daniels with a chinlock, slowing down his much faster opponent. He’s got a methodical offensive style, breaking Curry Man down with scoop slams them choking him in the corner. Takagi gets 2 with a big powerslam. Daniels tries to mount a comeback and gets decapitated by a lariat. Crippler Crossface on the NJPW star but he gets to the bottom rope. Takagi goes to the top but Curry press slams him off. NO SOLD…and they slug it out in the middle of the ring. Daniels with a springboard reverse elbow. Blue Thunder Driver scores for 2. Shingo hits a gutbuster then DDT’s him. Running STO into his Manriki submission hold. That’s one of his finishers, but again Curry Man gets a rope. Stepping enziguri by Curry…into the HOTTEST, SPICIEST, GREATEST TASTING MOONSAULT EVER! Takagi kicks out of that but eats a flatliner. Curry Man gets a win in his ROH debut with the SPICY DROP! 12:14 is your time.

Rating – ** –
Shingo is decent considering how little experience he has, but he still looked pretty green out there, and adding that to the inevitable communication errors and stuff you get in matches like this, I really wasn’t feeling it. It just dragged and never seemed to get out of second gear. Adding Curry Man to the show was a nice surprise and definitely made the match more of a draw but it’s still nothing to go out of your way to see. Look out for Takagi in a few years time though, he seems to have all the fundamentals.

Curry Man takes the mic (apologising for his “broken English”) to put over Takagi and ROH. It’s made an extra special moment by Curry extending a handshake to Shingo.

Samoa Joe vs Nigel McGuiness – ROH Pure Title Match

Nigel is getting a title shot here, despite losing his feud with Colt Cabana at the last show, due to his impressive performance in that match and the winning streak he was on before it. This is his last shot at Samoa Joe and the Pure Title (he’s already wrestled Joe twice in 2004 – losing both times) and his prospects of moving up the card will take a massive hit if he fails to topple the big Samoan again. For Joe, he achieved everything he set out to do with the Pure Title at Night Of The Grudges 2 by elevating it to the main event for the very first time. Where does he take the belt from here? New music for Nigel – which I really like. It has much more of a big match vibe…

McGuiness is all business, looking to out-wrestle the defending champion and work the arm. Joe is the stronger of the two though, and he powers Nigel to the mat with a knucklelock and kicks him hard. Nigel closed-fist strikes Joe in the face out of the sight of the referee which is kinda shady. He does it a second time and has Joe shaken up it seems. The champ tries to fight back but again gets caught with an unseen closed fist. He snaps and unleashes a series of punches…earning him an official warning. McGuiness doesn’t capitalise though, instead getting a big boot to the grill. Chop/kick combo into the knee drop all score. Nigel looks for the slingshot lariat but Joe counters with a powerslam, into a cross armbreaker which forces the Brit to use his first break. McGuiness gets nothing but canvas from a springboard crossbody and Joe drops a senton across the back for 2. Running knee strike in the corner which is the set up for the bootscrapes. Nigel bails to avoid the running facewash…AND SMACKS JOE WITH A CHAIR as he goes for an elbow suicida. Incredibly, that’s not a DQ, but the referee does deduct his second ropebreak. Shortarm Scissors on Joe who takes his first break now. The challenger stays on the arm with an armbar. He slingshots again, but this time has Joe’s powerslam counter scouted and drops into a Fujiwara armbar. Joe takes break number 2 now. Nigel hammerlocks the arm around his own leg and begs the champ to use his last break. Out of desperation Joe connects with a closed fist and that costs him his final break. McGuiness counters the STO slam and superkicks Joe. STO SLAM nailed at the second time of asking. McGuiness headstands and jumps over Joe’s running boot counter and Fujiwara’s him in the ropes. Artful dodger doesn’t work and Samoa Joe does hit a running boot the second time of asking. He goes for the Musclebuster, and when McGuiness counters he hits a jumping enziguri. Joe misses the running knee…TOWER OF LONDON! He dropped Joe right on his injured shoulder and we have a new champion at 14:48.

Rating – *** –
Probably the worst match they’ve had in ROH this year, but it was still fairly good. I enjoyed the story of McGuiness being so focused on “breaking out” of the midcard that he was just doing whatever he could to beat the almighty Samoa Joe. But I can’t help but think it made Joe, one of ROH’s biggest names, and someone that is facing Kenta Kobashi in a few shows, look a little weak. Aside from a few offensive flurries he pretty much got out-smarted and out-wrestled by a guy he’s already beaten twice this year. In fairness, perhaps the time was right for a Pure Title change. Joe had done all he could for the belt after main eventing with it…but I just think the title change could’ve been done differently – perhaps a longer match to allow Joe more offence. Or perhaps having Nigel’s win be a little more heelish and sneaky. Either way…definitely the best match on another mildly disappointing show so far. Congratulations to Nigel on what will be a huge opportunity…

INTERMISSION – SSP interviews Chad Collyer. He says nobody can beat him…including Ace Steel who he f*cked up so royally in Chicago. Homicide interrupts and says he’s going to give Shaun a big scoop later tonight…involving Colt Cabana.

Clips of Dunn & Marcos against Shane Hagadorn and Matt Turner. The RCE win with the electric chair senton off the turnbuckles…before Christopher Daniels walks out and apologises for being late. He’s ready to wrestle now, but of course, Curry Man filled in for him already. Shane Hagadorn b*tches at him for stealing his spotlight and gets an ANGEL’S WINGS! What was the point of that?

SIDENOTE – With Spanky’s appearance on behalf of The Embassy tonight, I make that a whopping 20 guys who have been in someway involved with the stable. That’s a minimum…I’m sure there are a few people I’m forgetting. Check out the list! Prince Nana, Xavier, Josh Daniels, Diablo Santiago, Oman Tortuga, Jimmy Rave, Angel Williams, Ricky Morton, John Walters, Fast Eddie, Jade Chung, Petey Williams, Alex Shelley, Abyss, Excess69, Puma, Spanky and three Masked Weapons.

Jimmy Rave/Spanky vs Generation Next

Since Puma failed so miserably when The Embassy paid to bring him in to put a beating on GeNext, now they’ve used Nana’s money to recruit Spanky to their cause. Generation Next keep beating The Embassy at the moment – with notable wins on the last three shows. Can that trend be reversed here tonight? There’s no Prince Nana in the corner, but Alex Shelley is here and has Jade Chung leashed as usual. GeNext are represented again by Strong and Aries. You’re probably more interested in Rave and Shelley joining Kendrick in the Spanky-dance, after Jade drags them to the ring on skateboards.

Spanky doesn’t want to start with Roderick Strong, instead opting to yell at someone in the crowd. Rave similarly avoids Roddy and tags out as well. The Crown Jewel jumps off the apron to avoid a diving tag attempt by Spanky before it’s finally time for some actual wrestling. Strong controls Spanky with a knucklelock. He doles out a big chop which sends Spanky hopping around the ring in pain. Jimmy takes a chop as well and has to recuperate outside the ring. Spanky jabs away at Strong’s ribs but winds up taking more hideous chops. Aries tags and it’s a rematch from New Frontiers. Clothesline/spinebuster combo (which Leonard calls the Hart Attack) for 2. Headlock-headscissors counters by Aries and Spanky, before Austin dropkicks the WWE-bound star in the face. Strong hits his own beautiful dropkick for 2. Running dropkick in the corner from Aries for another 2. Spanky rakes the eyes and tags Rave. Jimmy uses as many shady tactics as possible but still eats a baseball slide. Strong positions Rave over his knees as Aries gives him a slingshot hilo. Roderick chops Spanky again but gets double teamed in the corner. Aries clotheslines Spanky from behind and Rave has to stop him hitting the half nelson backbreaker. The Embassy single out Rod and it’s Spanky that traps him with a sleeper. Strong fights out and tags to a hot Aries who gives Spanky the power drive elbow. HEAT SEEKING MISSILE for Rave and the Spankster. Slingshot corkscrew splash on Spanky for 2. Aries blocks Sliced Bread #2 and Strong boots him in the face. Jimmy tries to Rave Clash Aries and gets cut off by Roderick. Rave counters the brainbuster with a northern lights bomb for 2. Strong in…HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! Spanky stops Austin hitting the 450 – RAVE CLASH! Strong breaks the fall with a kick. Double knee gutbuster for Spanky. Spanky ties Strong up on the floor with Jade’s leash…as Shelley cracks Aries in the skull with a wooden chair. Rave pins and The Embassy finally get a win over GeNext at 18:45.

Rating – *** –
Nice to see a tag match get a really decent time allocation, but I don’t think they did enough with it. It strayed nicely away from formula as it was GeNext on offence for large periods of time against the cowardly, shady duo of Rave and Spanky and the structure of the match and finish was in keeping with their characters. However, a lot of the early pace was exceptionally slow, even considering they were going nearly 20 minutes. It felt like they were gearing up to go longer still.

SIDENOTE – That turned out to be Spanky’s last ROH appearance before heading back to Vinnie Mac. It’s a shame he couldn’t go out with more fanfare since his 2005 run with the company has yielded some excellent matches. I really hope he makes it big in the WWE. If you talk to me you’ll know I really believe he could be the next Shawn Michaels if they used him right. He’s got the same attitude, the same style, the same attributes and the same charisma. For now I’d settle for them pushing the Spanky/London team harder…probably no chance of that either.

CIMA vs AJ Styles

Confession time, I’m not an especially big Dragon Gate fan. If you’re into they’re lucharesu style then they’re fantastic but my puro tastes lie more in your 90’s AJPW stuff. However, what I can tell you is that CIMA, arguably DG’s top guy, is a hell of a talent. I’m sure some DG fans will wince at this, but I think he’s fairly comparable to AJ. He has a whole host of wicked spots, is a blast to watch but can occasionally be a fairly spotty worker. For my money, both these guys work best with a more mat-based competitor to ground them and work around their highspots. However, this probably remains an “international dream match” to many and I look forward to seeing what they can do with each other.

The crowd is split 50/50 from the bell and the competitors are very respectful in their initial exchanges. The matwork is all even, but drags a little long in truth. After almost five minutes the pace quickens with Styles hitting a couple of armdrags. He hits his dropkick after a slight mishap but Cima fires back with a slingshot hilo. AJ goes for the Styles Clash on the floor and gets sent into the ringpost. TOPE SUICIDA from the Japanese import. Styles with his nip-up rana. Cima fires back by headscissoring him into the buckles then double stomping the back. Styles gets catapulted into the bottom rope by the leader of the Blood Generation. Cima ducks a kick but runs into a (messy) swinging backbreaker and the momentum switches again. AJ follows up with a regular backbreaker for 2, then dishes out a back suplex. MutaLock on Cima – more punishment on the back. Cima avoids the quebrada and dropkicks the knee. Styles manages to hit a heel kick but is clearly favouring the leg. Cima blocks the Styles Clash and they collide in the middle of the ring going for crossbody blocks. Cima with a dragon screw to further the damage to AJ’s leg. PERFECT DRIVER…for 2. Styles no-sells the knee and goes for the quebrada inverted DDT, but Cima holds the top rope and blocks. Springboard forearm nailed by Styles. He hits a torture wrack powerbomb for a close fall. He looks for the Spiral Tap and gets caught on the top with a Venus punch. Cima superkicks him…VAN TERMINATOR! ICONOCLASM NAILED! He goes for the Mad Splash but Styles gets the knees up. Overhead enzi kick from AJ…but he still can’t hit the Styles Clash. Cima can’t hit the Air Raid Crash but does roll AJ up for 3 at 16:59.

Rating – *** –
Much as I suspected, without a more grounded opponent to reel these two in, it really was a straight offence-dump on each other. Luckily, despite a few communication errors and slight botches along the way, it was largely good, senseless entertainment. In truth it felt like CIMA was phoning in his performance a little bit, and AJ was struggling with a knee injury he got on a TNA ppv working Samoa Joe (that kept him from appearing last week in Morristown). All things considered this could’ve been a whole lot worse, and it was great seeing CIMA in an ROH ring. Hopefully he comes back down the line…

Samoa Joe seems pretty down after losing his Pure Title tonight. He’s determined to prove he’s not losing a step or getting complacent and vows to get even better…and more vicious.

James Gibson vs Colt Cabana – ROH World Title Match

Cabana earned this shot after beating Nigel McGuiness in a Soccer Riot Match to win their feud. James Gibson went through Homicide and Spanky at Night Of The Grudges 2 to keep the belt he so covets. Much like Nigel earlier, Colt has had numerous title shots before and really needs to take one of these opportunities to break out of the midcard. If he gets serious he’s actually got the wrestling skills to match Jamie in the ring…if not this could be a bit of a mess.

Gibson looks fired up and looks to out-wrestle Cabana, which isn’t the easiest of tasks these days. Bridging hammerlock by Jamie but Cabana counters out into a hamstring stretch. Colt tries to work the champion’s arm but Gibson is able to come up with counters of his own. He grounds Cabana with a headscissors but is at a loss when he bridges free of it. He tries to work a snug side headlock and still the challenger comes up with counters. Colt goes all Artful Dodger and flings Gibson through the ropes out of it. Jamie is clearly frustrated and he slaps Cabana then walks off down the aisle to clear his head. No clean breaks from Gibson now – he hammers on Colt in the corner. He moves the match away from a mat-based match, striking away at his opponent to establish some control. Tigerbomb blocked and Cabana dumps Gibson OVER THE TOP ROPE to the floor. He follows the champ out and chops him around ringside. He’s proving he can be serious, and he uses his legs to wrench Gibson’s neck, leaving him writhing in pain. Gibson takes a hard chop whilst tangled in the ropes, but is able to come back with a swinging neckbreaker. Going back to the grounded headscissors, and now with his neck injured, Cabana can’t bridge out like before. Colt in the tree of woe…HANGING HEADSCISSORS from that position. Awesome move by Gibson that’ll do some serious damage to that neck. Chinlock now, wearing the challenger down.

Cabana escapes, only to be caught by a high knee. Jamie locks in a cobra clutch instead, talking some smack as he does so. Cabana escapes and again attacks Gibson’s neck with a Regal neckbreaker. Bionic elbows from the Chicago native but he isn’t able to nail the Colt 45. Gibson throws him over the top to the floor and goes after him with a DIVING TOPE! Champion and challenger are both worse for wear at the 20 minute mark. Gibson with a backbreaker but he takes an eternity climbing the ropes and gets crotched. TWIRLY BIRD out of the corner for 2. Gibson with a knee strike to the head and a bridging German for a 2 of his own. Cabana with a tornado snap suplex…ROLLED INTO THE TRAILER HITCH ON GIBSON! Jamie has to fight to the ropes on his own hold. He goes for a slingshot sunset flip and gets punched off the apron. ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Cabana is laying it all on the line to take the belt here, but could’ve done more damage to himself. Gibson gets the knees up to block a butt-butt and victory rolls into an inverted cloverleaf. Jamie drags Cabana to the top rope with him FOR A SUPER SWINGING NECKBREAKER! Colt still blocks the Tigerbomb…SIT-PUT POWERBOMB INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! GIBSON KICKS AT 2! Colt looks for another cornerbomb – TRAILER HITCH! Gibson counters the lariat with a DDT. TRAILER HITCH AGAIN! Colt eventually taps out at 28:21. Jamie retains and still the WWE can wait…

Rating – ****1/2 –
Probably Colt’s career-defining match thus far. Certainly it was his best ROH effort by some distance. Just incredible story-telling from start to finish here. Gibson started trying to wrestle with Cabana but got shaken up by his European countering so made it more of a hot-tempered fight, slaughtering the neck. But Cabana’s comebacks were well-timed, and he had some nice neck-based offensive spots as well. I loved him ripping off the front choke by the way. Cabana has had a phenomenal month of August, from the comedy with Spanky, emotion with Punk, intensity with McGuiness and now a classic to round things off. He’s doing a hell of a job stepping out of CM Punk’s shadow at last. Outside MOTYC if you’re interested…and a match that will single-handedly earn this show an extra star on the rating.

After the show Homicide walks into the parking lot with SSP and jumps Colt Cabana. That’s revenge for disrespecting him on GTGM earlier. That’s an interesting idea for a feud. I’m not sure about the potential for the matches, but it’ll allow Cabana to express a far more serious side…which he needs to progress.

Tape Rating – *** –
Much like Night Of The Grudges 2, despite not having a lot of openly ‘bad’ matches, until the main event came along, there was nothing to really make you sit up and take notice. Joe/McGuiness, GeNext/Embassy and CIMA/Styles were decent (but nothing more) and there was a load of irrelevant/indifferent/average undercard stuff. With CM Punk as Champion, every card seem to have a phenomenal amount of creative direction and flow. Now he’s gone he seems to have left a void creatively, and as such, we’re getting more filler creeping into cards again. I’m sure it’ll work itself out but his absence has definitely been noticeable on the past two events. Hopefully the same things won’t happen with Spanky and Gibson leaving too. All that criticism aside, the main event was awesome. A real classic that I simply wasn’t expecting. Cabana finally stepped up and put on the stand-out match he’s always had the potential to achieve. Seeing CIMA in ROH, Nigel’s big title win, Spanky’s last ROH match and a hell of a main event. It’s nowhere near the best Ring Of Honor show ever…but there’s more than enough to recommend it.

Top 3 Matches

3) Jimmy Rave/Spanky vs Generation Next (***)

2) Samoa Joe vs Nigel McGuiness (***)

1) James Gibson vs Colt Cabana (****1/2)

and for extra listy goodness…

Top 10 Matches of ROH’s Summer (July-August) Schedule

10) AJ Styles vs Roderick Strong (**** – Fate Of An Angel)

9) Roderick Strong vs Matt Hardy (**** – Punk: The Final Chapter)

8) Samoa Joe vs Austin Aries (**** – Escape From New York)

7) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Matt Sydal vs Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss (**** – Redemption)

6) CM Punk vs Roderick Strong (**** – Escape From New York)

5) CM Punk vs James Gibson vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (****1/2 – Redemption)

4) James Gibson vs Colt Cabana (****1/2 – Dragon Gate Invasion)

3) CM Punk vs Christopher Daniels (****1/2 – The Homecoming)

2) Samoa Joe/Jay Lethal vs Homicide/Low Ki (****1/2 – Punk: The Final Chapter)

1) CM Punk vs James Gibson (****1/2 – Fate Of An Angel)

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