ROH 88 – Steel Cage Warfare – 3rd December 2005
The penultimate show in ROH’s year usually produces something a bit special. London/Danielson at Night Of The Butcher in 2002. Joe/Styles and Homicide/Corino in 2003’s War Of The Wire and last year’s tremendous All Star Extravaganza 2 event produced an excellent night of action rounded off by Joe/Punk III. Tonight has a lot of potential to live up to those past matches. The main event is the big blow-off to the Embassy/Generation Next feud which has raged since the summer and is one of my favourite feuds in the history of the company. It’s produced a load of hugely enjoyable matches and we should get one more tonight as the two factions collide in Steel Cage Warfare. Essentially it’s Wargames except WWE owns the rights at a name. Eight men, one cage…should be a treat. Also tonight Homicide and Steve Corino will go at it in a singles match for the first time since War Of The Wire in 2003. Bryan Danielson defends the ROH Title against Rocky Romero who is in the company for the first time since Manhattan Mayhem. Jay Lethal has challenged his mentor Samoa Joe to a rematch from that same Manhattan Mayhem too. Mamaluke and Rinauro defend the Tag belts, and Lance Storm is in the house as well. We’re in Basketball City – the New York Knicks practice building. This is the new venue for ROH shows in Manhattan, NY. Hosts are Dave Prazak and Jimmy Bower (who is filling in for the absent Lenny Leonard tonight).
FROM ROHWRESTLING.COM – Jay Lethal talks about his relationship with Samoa Joe. He took him from the Special K douche to the man you see today. But after all he’s achieved by himself in 2005, he’s fed up of being called a ‘protégé’. That’s why he’s challenged Joe to a match tonight. Considering that was a Lethal promo, it wasn’t too bad.
Jim Cornette books a rematch between Nigel McGuiness and Claudio Castagnoli, but this time there will be two referees to stop Nigel’s cheating. He also decrees that if Colt Cabana or Julius Smokes or any of the Rottweilers interfere in Homicide/Corino tonight there’ll be heavy fines for the guilty party.
Jason Blade/Kid Mikaze vs Dunn & Marcos
Rematch from Night Of Tribute. Blade and Kid M have shown some promise in their two outings so far but now they must secure a win in order to get more bookings with the promotion. Dunn & Marcos are still Dunn & Marcos. I heard they can’t be booked regularly since one of them (Dunn I think) has a regular job which tends to clash with weekend shows. That means that 1) we won’t be seeing them as often in 2006 and 2) when we do, they’ll continue to be lower card jobbers. They did notch up some notable successes in 2005 though. Can they keep the run going in the penultimate show of the year?
Why do these two teams try to start with chaining when they’re so bad at it? Blade hits a dropkick on Marcos who tags out to Dunn. Double Japanese armdrag by Blade and Mikaze for 2. Kid M hits a low corkscrew enzi but the real story is Jimmy Bower’s running down of Lenny Leonard on commentary. Slingshot senton gets Jason another 2. Spinebuster scores too as the rookies are in full control. To the top rope they go but Marcos makes the save by shoving them both to the floor. STAAAGE DIIIIIVE! Marcos blocks the tilta-whirl with a northern lights suplex a-la RVD/Jerry Lynn and the RCE cut off Mikaze. Snap DVD by Dunn and Blade has to break the pin. He has to do the same again after Marcos plants Kid with a falcon arrow. Finally Blade does get the tag then Mikaze runs into a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA TO THE FLOOR! Blade blue thunder bombs Marcos then Kid M rejoins him for a TILTA-WHIRL LUNGBLOWER! Dunn returns to hit Blade with the Gory Driver to even things up. Assisted Shiranui nailed and now the Crew look for the electric chair senton…but Mikaze moves Blade. Mikaze to the top rope…INVERTED SHOOTING STAR PRESS!?!? That’s pretty insane! Blade wipes out Dunn with a big somersault plancha whilst Kid covers to get their first win at 09:58.
Rating – ** – Still a few green moments but the majority was good tag team wrestling. Mikaze and Blade improve and have something new every time they step into the ring at the moment. I’m glad we’ll be seeing more of them in the future. I was purring about their Spanish Fly double team last show, but man, the inverted SSP tops that! The biggest compliment you can give is that this was a clear improvement over the Night Of Tribute match showing that all four guys have progressed.
Austin Aries says tonight Alex Shelley and Prince Nana have nowhere to run and Generation Next will have their revenge and prove themselves the top faction in ROH.
Prince Nana says pretty much the same thing except with a pause to laugh at Jade Chung’s mangled face.
Davey Andrews defends the Top Of The Class Trophy against Pelle Primeau and pretty much kills him from the get-go. Davey wins by suplexing him on his head then slapping on the Anaconda Vice. Ricky Reyes breaks up the party and complains that he doesn’t have a match tonight. Judging by the crowd, Reyes is OVER! Remember, you heard he was cool here first people! He puts a beating on every student he can find and makes them all his b*tches with the dragon choke. Davey tries to be a heroso Ricky beats him up with his own trophy. 2006 could be his year man…
It’s Roderick Strong (w/ gay blue jumper) to talk about Steel Cage Warfare now. He says he’s crippling Jimmy Rave.
Jimmy Rave (looking almost as “well dressed” as Roddy) is up next. He keeps it short and says he’ll cement his place as the top guy in ROH.
Tony Mamaluke/Sal Rinauro vs Colt Cabana/Milano Collection AT – ROH Tag Title Match
We haven’t seen Tony Mamaluke since Buffalo Stampede in mid-October because he’s been struggling with a concussion. He’s back now and will doubtlessly be bringing the power of SERIOUSNESS with him. Sal really needs a new partner. The champs have a defence looming against Generation Next so could be looking past this one – since neither of their challengers particularly deserve it. Cabana hasn’t won a match in ages, and this is only Milano’s third appearance. Still, they could be a fun team – unless Colt has his issues with Homicide on the brain.
Jimmy Bower helpfully informs me this match is happening because the champions put out an open challenge. Cabana and Rinauro go hold for hold where Sal more than holds his own. Colt is notably subdued though. Mamaluke tags and out-SERIOUS’s him with a dropkick to the mouth. Milano tags and has as smooth an exchange with Tony as anyone has managed. HALF CRAB ON BOTH CHAMPIONS! MCAT kicks so much ass! He Paradise Locks Rinauro in the bottom rope then gets a running start on the basement dropkick. Cabana makes me mark out by hitting the Warrior Splash. AT and Colt with a hanging hamstring stretch on Sal which Mamaluke finally breaks with a dropkick from the top. Hot tag and the former ECW Tag Champ cleans house on the challengers. Horse collar on AT who inches to the ropes. Rinauro comes in and follows the horse collar by working over Milano’s leg. Serious Tony with some serious kicks but Milano knocks him on his ass with an open hand strike. Top rope elbow nailed by Rinauro for 2. He tries a springboard but AT enzi’s him in the side of the head and makes the tag. Cabana with a beating for both opponents then a QUEBRADA PRESS for 2. Canadian gutbuster on Rinauro but Mamaluke blocks the same move and hits a German suplex. RUNNING MOONSAULT gets Sal a 2. Handspring lariat by Milano takes out Mamaluke and he joins Cabana for a gourdbuster/Ace crusher combo. ARMANI SHOE EXCHANGE (springboard corkscrew senton) for 2. ELEVATED IMPLANT DDT by Mamaluke and Rinauro knocks AT the f out. The champs retain at 15:24.
Rating – *** – That was easily Mamaluke and Rinauro’s best match since they won the belts, although it was due in no small part to their opponents. They were blessed with having two of the more entertaining wrestlers on the roster opposite them and all four meshed pretty effectively. Mamaluke was much better, spending most of the time on the outside, only coming in to hit his ANGRY/SERIOUS offence in short flurries (as opposed to his usual endless minutes of crappy chain wrestling because he’s such a bad ass shooter) and Rinauro continually improves, both when playing the FIP and on offence too. SalMaluke really do need a regular finisher though. They’ve done some neat stuff but every match seems to end with a new move. It really is a tragedy ROH never gets to see more of Milano since he’s been great in his three showings so far. Cabana deserves extra credit for his role. He managed to be great to watch without ever breaking from his Homicide-induced subdued character. 2005 has been his year. I really think we could see him as World Champion in 2006 – something else you heard here first.
Matt Sydal complains that The Embassy screwed him out of his big break as part of the Air Devils. Now he has a new group to watch his back and will prove himself the future of wrestling tonight.
A cameraman tried to get a comment from Abyss but ended up in hospital. There will be no comments from Abyss ahead of Steel Cage Warfare.
Bryan Danielson vs Rocky Romero – ROH World Title Match
ROH’s year may be winding down, but for World Champion Bryan Danielson, things are getting harder and harder. At Final Battle 2005 he’ll defend his title against Naomichi Marufuji, and tonight he has Rocky Romero, who hasn’t been seen in ROH since the riots at Manhattan Mayhem, and hasn’t (officially) wrestled in the company since Back To Basics all the way back in March. Injury and success in New Japan as Black Tiger have kept him away. But tonight he is the final member of the winning Rottweilers team at the Trios Tournament to cash in on his right to book his own match. He and Danielson train together at the Inoki Dojo in California so could familiarity be his key to victory? Lets not forget this is the first time Danielson has been in the ring with a Rottweiler since his feud with Homicide in the spring.
Danielson is in his MMA style gear tonight and both men look to throw big roundhouse kicks from the bell. They go to a knucklelock and start kicking ferociously, before Romero applies a cross armbreaker. He controls the champion in the corners with his striking power but Dragon comes back with a vicious headbutt and some stiffness of his own. They jostle for position on the mat with Romero winning out and going to the cross armbreaker again. Dragon is pissed off now and b*tchslaps Rocky then kicks him so hard he rolls to the apron. Danielson retrieves him and gives him the stretch treatment with the Mexican surfboard…but Romero counters to an anklelock! Grabbing this opportunity he stays on the champion’s leg. Danielson tries to mount some offence and gets KILLED with another sick kick to the spine. He goes for mounted strikes but Danielson counters into a half crab which he uses as a transition to a deathlock. Dragon is working over Rocky’s leg now and the Havana Pitbull tumbles to the floor from pain. But the respite does him some good as he comes back in with a BRUTAL kick flurry. Palm strikes by Danielson, then foot stomps to keep Romero on the run. HANGING HAMMERLOCK FRONT CHOKE out of nowhere by Rocky. Dragon’s arm only drops twice though and he counters the same way he escaped James Gibson’s Trailer Hitch. ROMERO WITH THE TIGER SUPLEX…for 2! Romero chases the champ around the ring going for strikes but Dragon rallies back with a PALM STRIKE FLURRY! B*TCH SLAP DUEL! Romero floors Danielson with kicks to the leg but he pops up and dragon screws the challenger. Half crab applied and Romero taps at 15:28.
Rating – **** – Completely different from anything else in Danielson’s title reign so far, and it was still so good. The MMA/big fight psychology to this was great, as two guys just looked to gain an advantage and beat the crap out of their opponent until he couldn’t stand anymore. Both have credibility with such an approach – Romero is an established MMA fighter, having taken part in a couple of Inoki’s Bom-Ba-Ye events, whilst we saw Danielson knock Roderick Strong out at Vendetta. It’s a shame Romero can’t be booked more because he’s awesome. All his notable singles matches in ROH in 2005 (as Romero against James Gibson and Bryan Danielson, and as Black Tiger against Alex Shelley, Bryan Danielson and James Gibson) have been terrific. Then again, it’s BECAUSE he’s so good that we don’t see him more I suppose. Hopefully he’ll return sometime in 2006.
But Bryan Danielson’s business is not concluded for the evening. Someone in the back has something to say – Lance Storm IN DA HOUSE! He says he retired because he didn’t get to wrestle the kind of matches he could be proud of anymore and gets a big pop for his retirement match with Chris Jericho at One Night Stand. Then he pays Danielson the ultimate compliment by saying if he was to reconsider it would be to wrestle someone like American Dragon. Storm offers a handshake, but Danielson teases not shaking. He says he’s not doing it because Lance or the fans want him to…but he will out of respect for what Lance did in the business. ‘One More Match’ anyone?
Jack Evans is the man with more Scramble Cage experience than anyone else. He calls Steel Cage Warfare tonight his environment.
Alex Shelley says Generation Next is GeNext Lite without him, and tonight he’s making it his mission to ‘crucify’ Austin Aries.
Jay Lethal vs Samoa Joe
Lethal’s promo at the start of the DVD pretty much summed this match up. He’s been Joe’s protégé for a long time. Joe took him from Hydro the Special K goofball and turned him into what you see today. But Jay wants to step out from under Joe’s massive shadow now. In 2005 he won the Pure Title, defended it against Spanky AND defeated Low Ki – something Joe has never done. After losing their tag match at Night Of Tribute we saw Lethal walk out on Joe…and in the end he issued a challenge for this match – to prove he is ready to become more than just a protégé. Of course this is a rematch from ROH’s Manhattan debut when it was Joe who muscled in on Jay Lethal’s glory to satiate his own personal ambitions and defeated him for the Pure Title he worked so hard to take from The Embassy.
There’s a hot crowd as there always is during Joe matches, but they seem split fairly evenly over who to cheer. Jay tries to chain with Joe who grounds him in a camel clutch and pulls at his face. Next he takes him over his knee with an abdominal stretch. Lethal responds by camel clutching the Samoan. The student and the teacher trade armdrags then both narrowly miss kick attempts in a nice exchange. Springboard body press from Lethal only gets 1 but allows him to roll into an armbar. He goes for another springboard but this time Joe just steps out of the way. Lethal gets pissed off and shoves Joe away so kicks him very very hard. He comes back with a dropsault then a dropkick to the back of the neck. Standing moonsault press gets 2. He finds the mark with a jumping heel kick then springboards off the ropes with another dropkick that sends Joe to the floor. TOPE SUICIDA down the aisle as the protégé finds himself in command right now. In the ring he nails a DDT that gets another 2 count. Cobra clutch applied but it’s hard to keep a much bigger opponent down on the mat and eventually Joe pops up to hit a big boot and a back senton. Chop/kick combo next, then the knee drop as well. He chinlocks Jay, almost to catch his own breath and recover from the damage Lethal inflicted. Running knee strike in the corner which is the indication that Lethal has a dirty face that needs washing.
Jay slides out and avoids the running bootscrape, wrapping the leg around the ringpost. STEEL CHAIR TO THE EXPOSED LEG! Joe falls to the floor and LETHAL GOES MENTAL! STEVE AUSTIN WRESTLEMANIA 17 CHAIR MASSACRE TO THE KNEE! Jay has snapped, taking Joe back inside and stamping on his injured leg over and over again. Incredibly Joe manages to support himself to hit a series of chops but Lethal dropkicks the knee out from under him. He deathlocks the knee, pulling on the ropes for extra leverage/heelishness. ‘Where’s my Pure Title’ – Lethal as he kicks the leg again. Out of nowhere Samoa Joe scores with the powerslam, but he can’t follow up like he usually does. Rolling cradle on Jay gets a 2. Joe manages to hit the ropes and hit a mega lariat but Lethal kicks out again. He goes for a DVD but starts limping and Jay is able to elbow free and hit a lariat in return. He scores with the running suplex…DIVING HEADBUTT TO THE LEG! HALF CRAB LOCKED IN! Joe gets to the ropes but now he can’t even walk. Lethal springboards in and Joe messes up the STJoe but makes up for it right away with a HEAD DROP GERMAN! He looks for a Musclebuster but the knee gives out. LETHAL WITH THE DRAGON SUPLEX! LETHAL PINS JOE! 20:44 is your time.
Rating – *** – Good match of course, but Manhattan Mayhem was much better. In this one, the first ten minutes or so before Lethal’s heel turn with the chair were really drab. There were some nice exchanges but there was no real flow or plot or any kind of drama…just two guys doing a few wrestling holds. That’s where the Pure Title match is superior. There the opening stuff was awesome with Joe struggling to adapt to the Pure rules, whilst Lethal struggled to adapt to the massive challenge of wrestling Samoa Joe. However, Lethal’s heel turn dragged this one back, his facials were excellent, and, as always, Joe’s selling was remarkable. After a real breakout year in 2006, Lethal ends with another huge victory.
Lethal comes back to kick Joe’s leg some more after the match and leaves to ‘F*ck You Lethal’ chants.
Homicide vs Steve Corino
This is the renewal of a feud which goes back to 2002. We’ve seen barbed wire, Homicide cost Corino hearing in one of his ears with the sickest b*tchslap ever, riots, forks and much more besides. Last time they wrestled one-on-one it was Corino coming out on top in their Barbed Wire Match, but Homicide refused to shake hands after the bell. When Corino returned to ROH at Glory By Honor 3 it was then his turn to decline a handshake from the Notorious 187. Corino managed to get another pin on Homicide at Enter The Dragon in a tag match also featuring Low Ki and Colt Cabana. Speaking of Cabana, Homicide also has his issues with him, but like Cornette said, the Chicago native is banned from ringside. Corino’s ‘O Fortuna’ remix entrance is still amongst the most annoying things in wrestling. His lengthy intro tonight is a poem about the history between the two men.
No pretty lock-up here, Homicide and Corino tear right into each other on the ground. HOMICIDE WITH THE B*TCHSLAP! That cost Corino his hearing in August 2003. AMERICAN WIZARD sends Corino to the floor. TOPE CON HILO F*CKED UP! Homicide flew almost straight over his opponent and landed right on his shoulder. Meanwhile a masked man who looks surprisingly like Colt Cabana comes out from under the ring and attacks Julius Smokes with a pipe. We get a DISGUSTING shot of Homicide’s f*cked up shoulder with the bone sticking out. Inside the ropes again and Steve sets up a barbed wire chair then tries to handcuff Cide to the ropes. Despite only having one arm, Homicide fights back and DROP TOEHOLDS HIM INTO THE WIRE CHAIR! Inevitably he pulls out the fork…AND STARTS STABBING CORINO IN THE EAR! As if it wasn’t bad enough Homicide lifts the barbed wire chair for another big swing to the back. After some more ear stabbing with the fork Corino eventually manages to create some distance by throwing another chair into Cide’s face. They brawl onto the apron where Homicide hits an ACE CRUSHER THROUGH THE TIMEKEEPERS TABLE! Corino brings a big ‘ROH’ hoarding into the ring and sets it up on four open chairs. He stabs Homicide right in the head with the fork then goes to the top rope…FOR HOMICIDE TO PRESS SLAM HIM THROUGH THE HOARDING! Homicide’s shoulder is so screwed he can barely pick the wire chair up, and when he does he throws it straight into the ref’s face. He Ace crusher’s Corino and another ref comes in and counts to 2. The Cabana-esque masked man runs in again to hit a lariat on Homicide and rolls Corino on top. The bloody first referee counts the fall for Corino to win at 16:30.
Rating – *** – A fitting addition to the Corino/Homicide rivalry since that was, as always, disgustingly brutal – to the extent that sometimes it’s uncomfortable to watch. Homicide shouldn’t have been in there at all after injuring his shoulder in the first two minutes – it looked awful. Hell, it STILL looked awful over a month later when he showed it to me at the 1PW shows in January. How he finished the match who knows. We got the usual array of cringeworthy fork work, some big bumps and barbed wire. The Cabana (under the mask) interference hurt it though, and it felt a little bit like a greatest hits compilation from Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies and War Of The Wire. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it does mean I’m not going as high on the rating as I did for those.
INTERMISSION – GMC interviews Lacey who is without her Angels tonight. She points out that they’re (technically BJ…Jacobs has only won like one match) on a big winning streak and when they return, she wants the World Title.
SIDENOTE – Since there will be SO much to write, I thought I’d recap the GeNext/Embassy feud here. In December 2004 Generation Next kicked out their founding member and leader Alex Shelley, installing Austin Aries as the new leader – and he’d go on to win the World Title later that night. The GeNext/Shelley feud would rage for the first six months of the year, with Shelley taking on Jack Evans at the Chicago 3rd Anniversary show, challenging Aries for the ROH Title at Manhattan Mayhem and hard-hitting bouts with Rod Strong at The Final Showdown and New Frontiers. GeNext injured Shelley several times but they were never able to put him out – whilst Alex was never able to get that definitive win over his rivals. In July 2005 he joined The Embassy – led by the vile Prince Nana, who habitually abused Embassy slave-girl Jade Chung, and was pissed off that Aries had turned away his attempts to buy-out Generation Next earlier that month…and so the feud began.
At Redemption the factions clashed in full-force for the first time. Prince Nana brought in his hired weapon – the monster Abyss – whilst Generation Next, short on numbers thanks to Jack Evans’ hiatus, recruited Matt Sydal for their team. GeNext came out the victors that night, but the factions would clash again the following night, where Austin Aries narrowly defeated Jimmy Rave. The rest of August saw tag matches between the groups (Aries/Strong vs Rave/Puma @ Night Of The Grudges 2, Aries/Strong vs Rave/Spanky @ Dragon Gate Invasion). The Kobashi shows saw Roderick Strong take centre stage as he defeated Jimmy Rave in Manhattan, then stood by Jade Chung as she memorably finally broke free of the dastardly clutches of her former master. The next night Roddy was attacked by The Embassy after his epic and emotional match with James Gibson. In Buffalo, NY two weeks later we had another six-man tag (Aries/Strong/Evans vs Rave/Shelley/Abyss) under No DQ rules – this time The Embassy took the win.
As Roderick Strong occupied himself with Bryan Danielson and the World Title Generation Next turned to AJ Styles (who they helped with The Embassy at The Homecoming in July) to back them up. In Detroit Austin Aries beat Alex Shelley again, and AJ Styles teamed with Matt Sydal to beat Rave and Abyss. However, the next night at Vendetta The Embassy got their revenge as they beat the team of Aries, Evans, Sydal and Styles in a wild 8-man, which earned first entry into the cage tonight (meaning they’ll have the numbers advantag), then after the show, they attacked Jade (now Strong’s girlfriend) in the parking lot, putting her out of wrestling. Then at the Night Of Tribute they laid out both Roderick Strong and Matt Sydal, sending one last message ahead of this show. It’s been a long feud which has produced some wonderful matches. Lets get it on…
Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Abyss/Prince Nana vs Austin Aries/Matt Sydal/Roderick Strong/Jack Evans – Steel Cage Warfare
The rules are pretty simple since this is Wargames (except WWE own the name rights to that. It’s one man in at a time, elimination rules. Entrants come in every five minutes. Elimination is by pinfall or submission only – no DQ, no count-out, no winning by escaping the cage. The first team to eliminate every member of their opposition is crowned the winner. After the Vendetta 8-man, The Embassy has the advantage here. They’re sending the Crown Jewel in first, whilst Austin Aries is stepping up to the plate as the leader of Generation Next and actually demanded he be the first man in, despite the fact he’ll be down 2-to-1 after the first entry. After that it’s a game of tactics and strategy. Surely The Embassy will be sending in Prince Nana last, but they have the colossal size and power advantage of Abyss on their side, plus the cunning and vicious Shelley who is desperate for revenge on his fallen comrades. GeNext have the backbreaking, power-chopping Roderick Strong to call on, and he’s desperate for revenge on Jimmy Rave for putting Jade Chung out, and the two aerial specialists in Evans and Sydal who will surely be looking to put the cage to use if GeNext are to stand any chance.
Jimmy Rave tries to run but Aries keeps cornering him so he goes to the eyes. He tries to walk out but Aries catches him in the aisle and pummels him around ringside. Rave’s next escape tactic is running inside the ring but Austin crotches him on the top rope. Aries continues to dominate as the commentators remind me that both these guys have already been in cage matches this year. Aries needs to eliminate Jimmy before the next entrant is due but he just doesn’t get enough pinfall attempts. Alex Shelley comes out in a Generation Next shirt but Aries dropkicks him off the apron rather than let him in the cage. Inevitably the numbers catch up with him, but Aries manages to floor both his opponents with a springboard reverse elbow. He calls for a 450 but Rave heaves him off the top rope and the Embassy team hit the spear/running neckbreaker combo to finally take control. Rave camel clutches Aries, with Shelley pulling back on him for extra leverage. They start using the cage as a weapon as the clock counts down to the next GeNext entrant…which is Matt Sydal. He comes in on both opponents, and moonsaults over a double knee attempt by Shelley then dropkicks Rave down onto the same exposed knees. STANDING MOONSAULT on both guys for 2. Aries and Sydal know they need to do some damage quickly because Abyss is almost certainly in next. They tie Rave and Shelley together in the middle of the ring for DOUBLE BOW AND ARROW STRETCHES! Jimmy walks into the enzicanrana but kicks at 2. Sydal starts choking him with Shelley’s GeNext shirt, desperate to force a submission with less than a minute until Abyss arrives. But it’s too late, the Monster is on his way. Sydal and Aries just bounce off him…TORTURE WRACK DROP FOR ARIES! He gets wild air with a press slam on Sydal.
Meanwhile Rave is standing on Austin’s head in the other corner. Shelley double stomps his back the second he shows any signs of fighting back. Abyss takes Aries and press slams him into the cage for added brutality…then Alex kicks it up another notch with a vile chair shot. SKULLF*CK ON THE CHAIR! Aries is bleeding as the clock counts down to Roderick Strong’s arrival. TILTA-WHIRL BACKBREAKER ON SHELLEY! ROCK BOTTOM BACKBREAKER NEXT! The Messiah of the Backbreaker has made an impact, and now he starts chopping the sh*t out of Jimmy Rave. Abyss is still there though…BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX INTO THE CAGE! So much for Roddy’s momentum. SYDAL SPRINGBOARDS INTO THE ULTRA-SWINGING BLACK HOLE SLAM! RAVE WITH THE GREETINGS FROM GHANA! Sydal is eliminated at 22:26. Now Rave takes Strong to the floor to introduce him to the metal railings whilst Abyss and Shelley double team the leader of GeNext in the ring. On the floor both Rave and Strong are bleeding, inside Abyss chokes Aries with thechair…and now Prince Nana arrives to make it 4-on-2. It’s not so much faction warfare as a massacre now, with his cronies holding Strong and Aries prone so Nana can take his shots. We get a nice close-up of Abyss STOMPING on Austin’s balls. Rave rakes his face against the cage as the crowd wait for Jack. JADE CHUNG IS HERE! She gets on the microphone and draws all the members of The Embassy to the floor. IT’S EVANS TIME! OH MY F*CKING GOD…450 MOONSAULT OFF THE CAGE!
There’s just a pile of bodies on the floor, but Aries and Strong have had some time to recover. GeNext isolate Abyss in the cage…FIREMAN’S CARRY GUTBUSTER! Rave tries to make the save but Strong grabs him as Jack climbs the cage. SKIPPING A GENERATION OFF THE CAGE! ROH! ROH! ROH! Everyone pins Abyss and he is eliminated at 33:25. Rave is crotched with Evans, Aries and Strong all striking him. Jack hits Shelley with a Busaiku knee and a fishermans buster…which is preparation for the 630 SPLASH…but Shelley got the knees up. SUPER AIR RAID CRASH BY ALEX! Evans is eliminated at 35:54. Aries powerbombs Rave off the second rope. Nana is now hiding out on the floor by the way. Rave blocks the half nelson backbreaker and almost eliminates Roddy with his feet on the ropes. Aries blocks Greetings From Ghana…AND EATS SHELLSHOCK INSTEAD! STRONG BREAKS THE PIN! GHANAREA ON ARIES – FOR 2! Strong and Aries get set up in the corner for Nana to hit his trademark running ass to the face. But they switch it round…BIG ASS FOR RAVE…BIG ASS FOR SHELLEY! STRONG WITH AN INSANE BACKBREAKER FLURRY ON RAVE! STRONGHOOOOOLD! ARIES BRAINBUSTERS SHELLEY ON A CHAIR! SHELLEY IS PINNED…RAVE TAPS! At 40:11 they’re both gone…Nana is the only man left! They play volleyball with his head, then Nana eats the HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! 450 SPLASH FROM ARIES! GENERATION NEXT WIN AT 41:42!
Rating – ****1/2 – Great, great, GREAT match. Not an all time classic, but on a whole lot of levels this was really hard to fault. I’ll admit it dragged at times, that’s why I haven’t gone for the extra half star, and without having seen all the chapters that led to this match, it probably wasn’t as good. However, to fit eight men into one indy ring, inside a cage and fantastically wrap up as many intricate plot-lines in one match was truly tremendous…and from the arrival of Jack Evans onwards it was nothing short of incredible. The opening 25 minutes were quite slow but the way they told the story was awesome. You had The Embassy getting beaten down whenever the numbers where even, then dominating using whatever means necessary when they had the advantage. I loved how tactics came into play, with Generation Next having to choose when to deploy their high-fliers, or Aries standing up as the leader and volunteering to enter first and take the 2-on-1 abuse. In similar fashion, the way The Embassy used Abyss to obliterate their opposition before the arrival of Prince Nana. Then in the final 15 it all went mental. Jack Evans once again proved himself the king of the steel cage high spots as he reprised the 450 moonsault from Main Event Spectacles that made him a star in the first place, then broke out the Skipping A Generation from the cage – one of the craziest spots ever seen – to eliminate Abyss. Then it was all about ending all the feuds in one crazy flurry. Jade Chung got her final revenge on The Embassy by distracting them for Evans, and getting to reunite with Roddy. Aries finally got a definitive pin on former GeNext leader Alex Shelley, whilst Strong absolutely massacred Rave’s back in revenge for what he did to Jade. That just left the final matter of settling the feud between the factions – and what better way to do that than the complete annihilation of Prince Nana, the infamous leader of The Embassy? It wasn’t always as exciting as it could’ve been, but it’s a wonderful feat of story-telling with some spellbinding moments to enjoy. A true MOTY candidate indeed…
Evans, Sydal and Jade bundle into the ring to celebrate with Aries and Strong…and one final conclusion is reached as Jade uses Jimmy Rave as a footstool. We fade away with the iconic scene of all four members standing on top of the cage with their hands aloft. Man what a great feud that was…
Samoa Joe reflects on the events of his evening. ‘Why Jay…why?’
Tape Rating – **** – ROH has the Midas touch whenever it comes to Manhattan. They ALWAYS put on a great show here and this was no exception. It’s not quite Manhattan Mayhem, but it’s alarmingly close. If you’re looking to introduce a friend to Ring Of Honor, this would be a good show to use, because it has a little bit of everything. A physical world title match, a good wrestling match between Joe and Lethal, culminating in the excellently done Lethal heel turn, Homicide/Corino is absolutely brutal and Steel Cage Warfare lived up to all the hype and delivered an outside shot for MOTY. Something for everyone I think you’ll agree. You might want to add this to your collection…
Top 3 Matches
3) if you like wrestling then Lethal/Joe (***). If you like violence then Corino/Homicide (***).
2) Bryan Danielson vs Rocky Romero (****)
1) Aries/Strong/Evans/Sydal vs Nana/Rave/Shelley/Abyss (****1/2)
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.