ROH 86 – Vendetta – 5th November 2005
Vendetta is an appropriate name for this show since there’s a ton of grudge matches and hot feuds all over the card. There’s an Embassy/GeNext 8-Man main event, Danielson/Strong II, Daniels/Joe III, plus more from the likes of Homicide/Cabana and Collyer/Steel. Just like last night, Jim Cornette is in the house, and tonight he’s brought Bill Watts with him. Short introduction, but that’s all I can muster. We’re in Chicago Ridge, IL for the first time post-Punk. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard in the booth and we’ve got a brief Jimmy Bower cameo as well.
In fact, DP isn’t in the booth at all. He tries to get a comment from Bryan Danielson ahead of his big match tonight, but just like Roderick in Motown – he has no comment.
Nigel McGuiness/Chad Collyer vs Ace Steel/Delirious
In August in this building Chad split Steel wide open with one of the bloodiest and sickest chair shots (or if you don’t like kayfabe – blade jobs) in wrestling history. Seriously, Ace was drowning in his own blood in the middle of the ring. Now the Chicago native is out for revenge, but Collyer wouldn’t wrestle him in a singles match.
McGuiness tries to lock-up with Delirious as he loses his mind at the bell. Eventually Nigel makes him eat a European uppercut. The Pure Champion sets to work on Delirious’ arm but he gets shoved in the corner for an ENDLESS clothesline flurry. Steel tags and gets distracted by Collyer as McGuiness headstands. Collyer has a quick soiree into the ring when Ace is on the back foot. Delirious lies on his back with his knees in the air allowing Steel to bulldog him on top of his partner. He puts the masked man in the corner and reels off a series of forearm strikes. Cobra clutch applied but Delirious is able to make the hot tag. Ace chases Collyer but ends up with McGuiness. Delirious holds Nigel in the headstand position for Steel to hit a running dropkick. Sidewalk slam/guillotine leg drop combo nailed but Collyer tries to bring a chair into play. Steel swings it at him but inadvertently connects with McGuiness. Chad bails and Steel beats the Pure Champion at 09:14.
Rating – DUD – Way too long for a nothing match which did nothing more than further the random and somewhat unnecessary Steel/Collyer feud. Delirious continues to be woefully under-utilised, probably for reasons I outlined in my Showdown In Motown review. It made the Pure Championship/Champion look weak by booking Nigel in all this. Is Ace getting a title shot now btw?
Homicide talks about being injured after that crazy brawl with Colt Cabana last night. He’s not here for a match with Colt tonight, it’s going to be a fight.
Jimmy Jacobs vs Sal Rinauro
Jacobs is back to his Lacey’s Angels gimmick after returning to the HUSS gimmick for ROH’s debut in his hometown. He’ll be looking for some revenge on Sal since it was Rinauro, along with Tony Mamaluke who beat he and BJ Whitmer to take the tag belts. If he can win they’d be right in line for another shot. These two had a fun little match at the 2004 TPI I seem to recall.
Rinauro goes for a leapfrog but Jimmy has that scouted…but Sal has his atomic drop scouted too. That stand-off ends with Sal hitting a flurry of atomic drops and sending Jacobs to the floor. He tries the headlock approach but only ends up taking a couple more atomic drops. A running atomic drop sends Jacobs outside again and Sal goes for a pescado. Jimmy moves but Sal lands on his feet and scares his opponent so much he runs straight into the ringpost. Running atomic drop on the floor and now he flies into the front row. Rinauro goes to the top rope but gets shoved all the way to the guardrails. Jacobs takes control as the fans piss him off by chanting ‘HUSS’ at everything he does. Bottom rope elbow drop for 2. Second rope elbow drop…2 again. He tries to come off the top rope and jumps into Sal’s boot. German suplex by Rinauro takes him close. SENTON BOMB from Jacobs. Contra Code countered with a slingshot reverse DDT. Sal goes for the springboard corkscrew enzi but goes right into the CONTRA CODE which is good enough to wrap things up in 11:04.
Rating – ** – Good for a laugh and the crowd was really hot for it. I guess that means both guys are worth their spots on the roster still. Heel Jimmy Jacobs has some real potential if they can move him from comedy like this to more serious matches. The fans will absolutely HATE not being able to HUSS and rally behind whoever he faces. Rinauro remains the better half of the tag champions, regardless of Mamaluke’s mat-skills and colourful history.
Commissioner Jim is out next and he thanks ROH for rejuvenating his love of pro-wrestling. He brings out Cowboy Bill Watts for what amounts to nothing more than a shill for their shoot interview DVD. Bill’s microphone sucks so I have no idea what he says. Luckily Adam Pearce brings us back from the nostalgic tedium that has descended. He’s pissed off about not being booked tonight and demands a match. Cornette asks for Bill Watts’ opinion. His microphone still sucks but he seems to approve. That would be a second crappy in-ring segment with Jim Cornette saved by the Scrap Daddy…
BJ Whitmer vs Claudio Castagnoli
Double C got screwed last night in his big Pure Title shot. He requested a rematch but Nigel McGuiness told him he had to earn his shot. Tonight he’ll be attempting to do that against BJ, who’s been on something of a winning streak recently. He’s also lost a PC Match to McGuiness and would love another shot I’m sure.
The fans love Claudio as they always do, and he leads them in a big ‘Hooooo’ chant at Lacey. Whitmer tries to go hold-for-hold with him but he’s a European specialist so it doesn’t work. He tries to play the striking game instead and almost gets his head knocked off with a European uppercut. In the end he resorts to throwing Double C into the buckles and going to work. Stiff chops then a chinlock by Lacey’s Angel. Castagnoli escapes that only to run into a spinebuster. Uppercuts from Castagnoli before both men collide in mid-air. Diving uppercut to the neck from Double C…followed by the UPPERCUT DIVE to the floor. Whitmer gets 2 with a running knee to the head. Castagnoli snatches a 2 of his own with the Match Killer. Suplex reversals exchanged until Whitmer hits a brainbuster. Castagnoli with the Alfa Mari Water Slide as the momentum shifts again. Riccola Bomb countered with an exploder suplex. WRIST CLUTCH NAILED…and Whitmer keeps his streak going at 09:55.
Rating – ** – Improved as it went along but that was mostly too lethargic for my taste – especially when Whitmer was on offence. At least he kept it all on the neck preparing for the finish I suppose. It just seemed like a whole load of boring, then a big move trade-off at the end. That’s a big win for Whitmer though, he’s quietly putting a good run together. Bad weekend for Claudio…
Christopher Daniels vs Samoa Joe
This has a lot of history going into it. Daniels brought Joe into ROH back in 2002 but in the end he turned his back on the Fallen Angel and joined up with Steve Corino’s rival group. In the end he took the World Title from The Prophecy and went on to hold it for almost two years – including a victory over Daniels, who believes it’s his destiny to win it. Then their issue re-ignited in the summer of 2005 when Chris Daniels caused Joe to be eliminated from the ROH Title fourway at Redemption. Joe beat Daniels for a second time at Night Of The Grudges 2, but last night in Motown Chris finally scored that illusive pinfall over the Samoan in a fourway. Now he wants that precious singles victory…
Joe seizes the early initiative with a couple of kicks to the leg and a shoulder block. Daniels goes for an extended headlock but Joe escapes that and knocks him silly with crossface strikes. Fallen Angel sticks with his headlocking/facelocking strategy though and it has some success. Eventually strays from that plan and runs into the STO slam. Chop/kick combo then a knee drop for 2. Joe hooks on the Samoan crab but way too close to the ropes. Running knee in the corner finds the mark and…’does he got a dirty face?’ – Leonard. Facewashing from Joe brings the crowd to it’s feet. But Joe goes for a second and Daniels counters with a dragon screw. He stays on the leg with a series of dropkicks then applies a leg grapevine anklelock. Lots of leglocking next putting more pressure on the knee. ARABIAN PRESS TO THE LEG! Next he tangles the injured body part up in the ropes for more offence in that position…until Joe lifts him out of the corner with a LIMPING DVD. Joe throws out his powerslam but he can’t transition into the cross armbreaker like normal. Powerbomb (with leg selling) into the STF though so he’s looking for a tap this way instead. Like the Kobashi match Joe uses the Crippler Crossface and Rings Of Saturn to prolong the agony for as long as possible. Daniels evades the Musclebuster and nails an STO for 2. He can’t get Angel’s Wings but flies into another leg grapevine but Joe strikes his way free. Daniels tries the figure 4 and gets b*tch slapped. Joe with a running boot in the corner for 2. Daniels tries to roll him up…KOKINA CLUTCH! Daniels elbows the knee then bridges into a pin, forcing him to break. BEST MOONSAULT EVER…gets 2! Joe crotches Daniels on the ropes for a LIMPING LEG-SELLING MUSCLEBUSTER! He wins at 20:36.
Rating – **** – Another tremendous match from two ROH stalwarts. I know a lot of people rate this far higher than the Night Of The Grudges 2 match but I really enjoyed that one so. I felt they went for a more ambitious story back in August and I loved the hanging Choke finish. However, the story they went for here was fantastically executed, with Joe’s leg selling being pretty spot-on save that one running boot. The hot crowd was a huge advantage over the dead New Jersey mob from the summer, and I think not having Pure Title rules helped them out as well. Again it really felt like they needed five more minutes to round off their drama with more nearfall exchanges at the death.
INTERMISSION – Colt Cabana and Homicide are having an impromptu brawl (in their ring gear??) despite being too injured to compete after last night. Cabana lifts Cide’s Ace Crusher but Smokes distracts him before he can hit the lariat. Eventually this ends in absolute chaos as Homicide tapes Cabana to the ropes and tries to CUT OUT HIS TONGUE with scissors. That’s sick dude…
Adam Pearce vs Davey Andrews
Oh yes Scrap Daddy, you b*tch and you whine to Jim Cornette and Bill Watts, and you’re rewarded with a match against a graduate from the wrestling school. How happy you must be! Davey looked good at This Means War when he teamed with Azrieal against Blade and Mikaze, and went on to win the Top Of The Class Trophy at Showdown In Motown. Is it asking too much of him to win here?
Davey tries to explode out of the blocks but Pearce avoids his boot and chokes him in the corner. Andrews tries to rally back so Pearce goes to the eyes and chokes him again in the ropes. Powerslam scores but Davey kicks at 2. The graduate kicks out again after a hard spinebuster. Adam mounts the turnbuckles and misses a somersault senton. Generic offensive flurry by Andrews so Pearce begs off until he can poke the eyes again. Swinging neckbreaker DDT by the Chicago-native. JUMPING PILEDRIVER finishes Andrews at 05:16.
Rating – DUD – Entirely unpretty and went too long, exposing Davey’s weaknesses when he’s not in there with someone who can carry him. In fairness, Pearce also has to shoulder some of the blame. I like his old-school heel routine but he seemed subdued tonight, with only peripheral heelage that was just never going to be enough to seem significant after someone tried to cut someone else’s tongue out.
Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong – ROH World Title Match
The big rematch that’s been a whole week in the making. They had last week in Connecticut where Danielson tried to dominate Roddy, but the GeNext youngster refused to play ball and just lie down. He took the fight right back to the arrogant champion and it ended up degenerating into a heated personal game of one-upsmanship. Danielson scored the win on that night, but only after Strong had knocked him out cold with an elbow strike. Last night in Detroit AmDrag looked to send a message to Roderick by using repeated backbreakers on his way to defeating Chris Sabin. Will the Messiah of the Backbreaker show him how it’s done, or can Dragon again prove himself to be the best in the world?
During the intros fans chant ‘next World champ’ for Roddy, whilst Dragon officially anoints himself as the best wrestler in the world. Danielson brings the disrespectful slap of doom so Strong explodes from the get-go with a chop flurry that has Danielson heading the hills. Dragon is fired up for this, chopping and slapping at Strong in the corner, but one chop from the challenger sends him to the floor again. He spends several minutes yelling at the fans to stall as long as possible. Extended knucklelock sequence as they struggle for control, which Dragon ends up getting with a stranglehold. He camel clutches Strong complete with nasal claw then takes it to the ropes where he savages him with chops and rakes to the face. Roderick with more chops, and this time as Danielson bails he goes after him and chops him around the ring. Judo DDT by Dragon back in the ring, but his chest is bleeding now. He trampolines on Rod’s gut more for fun than to inflict any significant damage. Springboard crossbody nailed by GeNext’s enforcer and that gets a 2. He goes after Danielson’s arm by tying it in the ropes and pulling on it. Is he using a different strategy to throw Dragon off? Wristlock applied but Bryan escapes and peppers the chest with more chops. In the corner he stands on the challenger’s face – we’re past 15 minutes by the way. Slaps by Dragon…CHOPS BY STRONG! Danielson hates that and dragon screws the leg to get some distance. He gets 2 with a bridging German then goes for the Stronghold theft but we’re too close to the ropes.
He seems to be ready to work the back now but Roddy comes back again with a running boot for 2. Danielson off the buckles but he gets met with a dropkick to the ribs, and Strong keeps it coming with a powerbomb. Now he tries the Stronghold and has Danielson squirming to the ropes. AmDrag takes control once more with a series of straight backbreakers, mirroring his offence in the Chris Sabin match. Roderick has to roll out but gets pursued up the aisle. They trade strikes before Strong slams Dragon on the metal ramp. The champ throws him into the railings though meaning both backs are taking a pounding. In the ring Danielson meets another volley of chops by spitting in Roderick’s face. The personal touches in this match are great. On the mat he literally grinds his palm into the challenger’s face and mounts him in a sleeper hold. Strong escapes with a HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX! That gets 2 but Danielson takes charge once more with another backbreaker, followed by a bow and arrow hold. Dragon goes upstairs and scores with the diving headbutt for 2. Slaps and chops in the corner then he positions him on the top rope for a back superplex. Strong counters in mid-air with a crossbody for a nearfall. He goes for the springboard crossbody again and Dragon counters with the Fujiwara armbar he won with last time. CATTLE MUTILATION…then the CM pin but Roddy gets the shoulders up. Cattle Mutilation again but this time it’s too close to the ropes. ROCK BOTTOM BACKBREAKER…TORTURE WRACK BACKBREAKER!
34 minutes and Roddy just hit his first backbreakers of the match! STRONGHOLD APPLIED! Dragon makes the ropes and we spill outside again for more chops. Strong gets tied up in the ropes for Danielson to dropkick him to the floor. Danielson targets the leg now, probably to block further backbreakers, utilising a deathlock. He switches again and works pretty much everything with a deathlock/abdominal stretch/armbar with leg over the neck as well. Strong avoids a dropkick to the knee and almost scores a quick win off a clothesline. Danielson goes for a belly to belly suplex and ends up muscling Roderick over the top rope. That somehow busts him open and AmDrag needs to no invitation to go after the cut. HEAD DROP DRAGON SUPLEX! Roderick blocks the Crossface Chickenwing…DOUBLE KNEE GUTBUSTER! But that hurt his knees and he couldn’t cover straight away. To the top rope where it’s STRONG WITH THE SUPERPLEX! STRONGHOLD AGAIN but he has to let go – his legs are just too injured. Roaring elbow from Dragon – CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Roderick finds the ropes and we’re still going! BACK SUPERPLEX from Danielson but it slows both men down. Roddy blocks the Stronghold with kicks to the head…so does AmDrag! SUPER-STIFF ELBOW STRIKE DUEL! STRONG WITH CHOPS! Danielson counters the half nelson backbreaker with a crucifix pin THEN ELBOWS THE HEAD REPEATEDLY! The ref stops it at 47:21!
Rating – ***** – That was simply epic stuff, with Strong cementing his claim to be 2005 MVP and Danielson continuing to put together one of the best series of World Title defences ever. Terrific throughout, with Danielson again looking to dominate the challenger, but Strong never truly staying down. The match was continually Dragon on offence for a few minutes before Roderick fired back with a flurry. However, he was never quite able to sustain it, and it was accumulative damage plus Danielson’s bad temper which ended up doing for him. The highlight of the match for me was the little flashpoints of hatred we saw throughout the match. Things like spitting, pokes to the eye, slaps, move-theft etc. They were used effectively from the first bell and it really added to the drama. Roderick has proven beyond question in these two matches that he is a legit top card guy. I didn’t think it needed to go almost 50 minutes – the first 25 were a tad slow – and I preferred the finish to the first match, but these are minor criticisms. Let these guys have one more match please??
Chris Daniels tries to cut a promo on Samoa Joe but is interrupted by BJ Whitmer. He laughs at Daniels and again reminds him about turning his back on The Prophecy…
Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss/Prince Nana vs Austin Aries/Jack Evans/Matt Sydal/AJ Styles
Winner of this gets the advantage of going into the cage at Steel Cage Warfare first (meaning it’ll be 2-on-1 etc). That’s a cool stipulation that adds extra importance to what should be a fun main event. With only one more show left before the big cage match after this, the hatred between the two is off the charts now. Last night in Detroit Aries defeated Shelley and the combination of Sydal and AJ overcame Rave and Abyss so the babyfaces are on a roll. They also have the combined hotness of Jade Chung and Daizee Haze in their corner.
Apparently Rave is planning to reveal his new finisher tonight. He’s hesitant to start out with Aries though so eats a running dropkick in the corner. Styles tags to get his own licks on his big enemy. Jimmy is stuck in the Generation Next corner and is taking a pounding. Climbing Wizard by Sydal – cool move. Aries and AJ clear Shelley and Abyss away and actually try to make Rave tag in Nana, who runs away rather than wrestle! Rave goes to the floor and avoids pescado from AJ but gets hit by Aries instead. Shelley guillotines Sydal but gets pulled off the apron so Matt can hit him with a RUNNING MOONSAULT PRESS! SPACE FLYING TIGER DIVE BY EVANS! Everyone except Nana is brawling and Shelley has to save the Prince before Aries makes a grab at him. Abyss clobbers Aries but runs into Styles’ dropkick. Backbreaker on Rave and the legal men are back in…awesome. Jack capoeira kicks Rave then scores with a springboard flippy kick for 2. Springboard again but Nana wipes out his legs and he tumbles to the floor where Abyss is waiting. The Monster tags in now and hits the spastic run body avalanche. Shelley and Rave with the guillotine facebuster double team for 2. A spear/clothesline double team hits the spot as well before Alex reprises the Third Anniversary show in Chicago with a stretching exhibition. Finally Prince Nana is ready to enter the match legally and he hits a few chops then does the Ghana dance of triumph.
Evans gives Shelley the finger so the former leader of GeNext bites it haha. Jack almost makes the tag but Nana stops him. But eventually it’s his ineptitude that allows Evans to tag out. All the babyfaces in with dropkicks before Abyss inadvertently spastic body avalanches his own boss. PELE on Shelley but Rave flattens AJ with a spear. Abyss brings a table in with skirmishes all over the place. Jack tries to handspring elbow him and takes an INVERTED CHOKESLAM! ULTRA SWINGING BLACK HOLE SLAM! Aries and Sydal are back but he overpowers both of them. He goes for a double chokeslam…BUT AJ GERMAN SUPLEXES HIM THROUGH THE TABLE! Aries with the power drive elbow on Shelley and Sydal follows that with a standing moonsault then the inverted Rocker Dropper on Rave. Aries back suplexes Jimmy into the buckles, and the only person Nana has left to hide behind is Daizee Haze. SHE LOW BLOWS SYDAL AND ARIES! JADE CHUNG IN FOR A CAT FIIIIIGHT! DAIZEE CUTTER ON JADE! NANA WITH THE RUNNING ASS TO SYDAL AND ARIES! AIR RAID CRASH ON ARIES! RAVE WITH A PEDIGREE ON SYDAL! The Embassy have the advantage in the cage at 20:05.
Rating – **** – Probably the most outright fun of any match on the card, so it was a worthy main event. Fun babyface dominance period to start on Rave, great babyface in peril segment on Evans, and more whacky highspots than you shake your bootay at as well. The finish was just off the page lunacy (complete with hilarious commentary by Prazak and Leonard) with fighting girls, Prince Nana and Jimmy Rave’s comedic new stolen finisher (which is called Greetings From Ghana by the way). Turn your brain off and enjoy the mindless entertainment value of this match. The Embassy/GeNext feud delivers again folks…
Colt Cabana cuts one of the best promos of his career and totally sells me on the Cabana/Homicide feud. Finally it has succeeded in helping Colt find his serious side. He talks about how he was just having fun at first but Homicide has taken things too far. He doesn’t need his tongue to fight him and he’s not afraid.
BREAKING NEWS – Camera’s show the aftermath of The Embassy attacking Roderick Strong and Jade Chung in the parking lot. It’s too dark to see anything but there’ll be more on the next show.
Tape Rating – *** – There’s a lot of sh*t here, moreso than on most ROH DVD’s actually. However, the three marquee matches (Danielson/Strong, Embassy/GeNext and Joe/Daniels) all deliver and take up enough of the tape to make it worth 3*. Plus there’s a really strong Cabana promo hidden away in there as well. Just make sure to fast forward the Cornette/Watts segment…and probably a few matches as well!
Top 3 Matches
3) Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss/Prince Nana vs Austin Aries/Jack Evans/Matt Sydal/AJ Styles (****)
2) Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (****)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong (*****)