ROH 93 – Unscripted II – 11th February 2006
The Trios Tournament weekend in Cleveland proved a surprisingly enjoyable success. The Tag Wars event hosting the actual tournament was a great show, highlighted by the best Tag Title match in the history of the promotion. The following night featured a heck of a lot of DISSENSION, and a wonderful Bryan Danielson title defence against AJ Styles. Now we come to this event which, it has to be said, probably had the worst live reports of any show since Night Of The Grudges 2. Admittedly, that event wasn’t spectacular but it had it’s high points. The original Unscripted event featured a hastily rearranged Tag Title tournament after several cancellations, and it wasn’t one of the highlights of 2002. Unscripted 2 takes place during one of the worst snowstorms in American history, and the night before a big TNA ppv. That means Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Chris Daniels aren’t here tonight (yes, Joe is officially a “TNA guy” now it seems..how gay). But TNA had to make it worse – as hours before the event they ordered all their contracted talent to pull out of the show and fly straight to Orlando. That also means no Jay Lethal, no Homicide and no Alex Shelley (hence ruining the main event, which was supposed to be Danielson/Shelley). It could’ve been worse but for Austin Aries and Roderick Strong defying TNA’s order and appearing on the show – something that would cost them a three month suspension. Oh yeah, and Low Ki walked out days before meaning the Strong vs Ki main event dream match was cancelled. Cue a frantic reworking of the card, featuring a surprise which Gabe pimped as must-see event. A surprise so huge that if you weren’t satisfied after three matches you could leave and get a full refund. Prepare for a night where anything could happen in Lake Grove, NY, I guess. Your hosts are Jimmy Bower and Lenny Leonard – no Dave Prazak tonight.
Colt Cabana is back from his cooling off period. He thought a lot about Final Battle 2005 when Homicide almost killed him with Draino. He’s decided he’s not going to be forced out of what he loves to do and he wants to fight a Rottweiler tonight and take out all his anger on them. His attention is taken up by someone arriving off camera. A VERY familiar voice tells the cameraman to turn it off…
The opener is set to be a student match – Mitch Franklin vs Pelle Primeau – but Adam Pearce walks out and talks about the big surprise tonight. Pelle and Franklin look like hobbits next to the Scrap Daddy. Primeau tries to take exception to that and Pearce kills both him and Mitch with the microphone. We have an impromptu squash handicap match which Adam wins with a DOUBLE SUPERFLY SPLASH! He’ll be at ringside to wait for the big surprise…and comically he sits right in front of Green Lantern Fan haha.
FEBRUARY TOP 5 RANKINGS
1. Roderick Strong (Straight in at 1 for making Bryan Danielson tap out in Dayton)
2. Christopher Daniels (he beat Jay Lethal and Matt Sydal to move from up #5)
3. Alex Shelley (part of the triumphant Trios Tournament team – still due a title shot)
4. Jimmy Rave (he challenges Bryan Danielson at the next show)
5. Low Ki (wins over Jack Evans and Chris Daniels get him on the list…but he quit)
Prince Nana tells Jimmy Rave that even though Alex Shelley had his “flight cancelled” so won’t be challenging American Dragon tonight, he has a huge surprise for the Champion. Now is that the same huge surprise that this whole show is supposedly built around…or a different surprise?
Julius Smokes is in the ring with Grim Reefer and he calls out Cabana…but gets someone else. CM PUNK WALKS THROUGH THE CURTAIN! Yep, that guy under WWE contract! ‘F*ck The Refund’ – Long Island. Adam Pearce seizes the opportunity to make a name for himself and moves from his seat at ringside to jump Punk and hammers on him until Colt Cabana makes the save. Prince Nana makes a hilarious cameo, coming out to laugh at CM Punk then leaving again. Eventually Punk recovers and reveals he’s here tonight to talk some sense into Colt Cabana. Colt isn’t interested though and ushers him away so he can ‘beat the sh*t’ out of Reefer. Punk leaves, but not without pointing out to the rest of the locker room that he bought his gear with him.
Colt Cabana vs Grim Reefa
The commentators repeatedly put over this as Reefer’s official debut, which it isn’t. He was in a Scramble Match as part of the Rottweilers at Tradition Continues in October 2003. It’s his first official visit to an ROH ring in some time though. By this point we’re all well aware that Cabana is obsessed with getting revenge on Homicide. The Notorious 187 isn’t here – so he’s gonna beat on his lackey.
Speaking of that lackey, he attacks Colt from behind and starts hot…until Cabana hiptosses him over the top rope. Smokes distracts Colt by swinging his bat at him as Grim heads to the top for a SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT SENTON. Cabana recovers quickly though, and he beats on Reefer, all the while calling him Homicide. He tries to twist Reefer’s head off his shoulders, then reaches into his mouth and tries to pull out his tongue. He calls for the lariat, but to Grim’s credit he manages to block it with a heel kick. Colt no-sells his offence until Grim slaps him into a Satellite Crossface. Cabana stands up out of it and throws him over the top rope again. Reefer hits a top rope DDT for 2. Colt goes on the no-sell again and lariats Reefer for the win at 08:16.
Rating – * – It went on miles longer than it really needed to go and mostly sucked, but I’m awarding a star because Cabana carried his new, serious character superbly. Coming from a guy that’s made a career out of being a funny man, the way he was able to continue to utilise all his charisma and turn fans onto this intense, darker side to his character is the sign of a truly talented and diverse performer. After b*tching about this Homicide feud for so long, I think it’s ended up doing more for Cabana’s career than anything else. He’s proved what a great all-round wrestler he is. Either he’ll be World Champion before the end of the year, or he’ll be in the WWE.
Kid Mikaze vs Ricky Reyes
Reyes has reinvigorated his ROH career by squashing lesser talents to get himself over. But most of the time he did it with students. Mikaze is a hungry young talent but he’s got a little more experience. His fledgling team with Jason Blade has some potential. If he can stand in the way of Ricky’s path of rage his career will get a boost. Reyes is fresh off choking Austin Aries out at Hell Freezes Over.
No handshake for Mikaze, just a string of violent kicks. He tumbles away from a Spiralbomb and dishes out a shining wizard though. He hits a lungblower too but Reyes takes control again with an overhead belly to belly. He scores with the spinning powerbomb this time, but Kid M kicks out at 2. Wheelbarrow driver by the young upstart but he misses a springboard kick and falls victim to the dragon sleeper at 02:16.
Rating – DUD – Just the usual stuff from your Reyes squash matches. The formula was changed slightly to give Mikaze a few little bursts of offence so as not to completely bury him. Originally it was going to be Blade vs Mikaze at this show – I think the original line-up would’ve suited him better. Instead he’s just another victim. I’m disappointed ROH didn’t take the opportunity given to them by so many talent withdrawals to give Ricky the chance in a higher profile match.
Nigel McGuiness vs Austin Aries – ROH Pure Title Match
Remember, Nigel is picking his own challengers for the belt now, based on who he deems to be the best pure wrestlers on the roster. Tonight’s challenger is one half of the Tag Champions, and former World Champion Austin Aries. That means he’s vying not only to become the promotion’s first ever dual champion, but also to pip Samoa Joe and become the first ever triple crown champ. I’m just wondering whether we’ll see the comedy weasel Nigel McGuiness who cheated his way past so many challengers in the tail end of 2005, or will be show his wrestling side like he did against Mamaluke on the first show of the year?
Aries initiates the inevitable wristlock exchange to start with and he is able to out-wrestle McGuiness, forcing the Pure Champion to elbow him in the face. He misses the springboard reverse elbow but grounds Nigel again off a Japanese armdrag. Nigel is penalised a ropebreak for backing Austin to the ropes to escape the armbar. On the ground McGuiness again has to go to a striking game to get an advantage over his challenger. He applies a headscissors and counteracts Aries’ traditional dropkick counter by blocking it and hooking the legs again. He goes for the headscissors a second time and this time Austin is able to score with his dropkick. HEAT SEEKING MISSILE as McGuiness tries to roll out. Nigel headstands in the corner and catches Aries coming at him with a kick to the spine then a neckbreaker for 2. Nigel hits a wristlock takedown which works the arm he softened up a little earlier. He stays on that with an armbar camel clutch variant…then the hammerlock DDT as Aries works his way to a vertical base. He gets 2 with an arm clutch suplex, and his persistent pinning attempts draw Austin into using his first break. His shoulder gets driven into the bottom turnbuckle as he looks to fight back. Aries is pitched to the floor as McGuiness looks to win by countout. Desperation back suplex by Austin gives him some time to recover. Power drive elbow connects, but that hurts his own bad arm. To the top…GUERRERO SPLASH for 2. Nigel crotches him over the ropes for a SECOND ROPE LARIAT! He moves Aries closer to the ropes so he uses his second break kicking out. REBOUND LARIAT SCORES…but Aries kicks at 2. TOWER OF LONDON! Aries uses his final ropebreak to stay in the match. Aries doesn’t have enough in his arm to hit his brainbuster but drops to apply a bridging chinlock that drives Nigel into using his second break. Nigel with the TOWER OF LONDON AGAIN! ARIES KICKS OUT! Nigel tries the headstand…countered with the RUNNING DROPKICK! BRAINBUSTER – but McGuiness takes his final break in saving himself. Aries says it’s 450 time…HE NAILS IT! But the pain in his arm means he takes a second too long to cover and Nigel kicks out. THAT ARM SUBMISSION! Aries is out of breaks and taps out at 18:54.
Rating – **** – After decent, entertaining title defences against the likes of Claudio Castagnoli, Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal, Nigel finally has a defining Pure Title Match. Really good stuff there – not always perfect, but easily the most exciting and competitive PT Match since Samoa Joe’s reign. The early matwork was given some meaning by Aries demonstrating an ability to outwrestle Nigel, whilst the champion seemed to have all Austin’s trademark offence scouted. A couple of times they were noticeably stalling coming up with something to do next, and I thought the early ropebreak used by Nigel was a little disconnected to the rest of the match. However, it steadily built at a good pace, throw in some nice arm dismantling and a liberal scattering of popping the crowd by kicking out of each other’s finishers and take it home with a hot ending. It’s a shame this match didn’t happen on a show with a bigger reputation – had this match happened at something like Joe vs Kobashi or Steel Cage Warfare people would be raving about it.
The fans rightly give Austin a big ‘thank you Aries’ for jeopardising his position with TNA to show loyalty to ROH and put on a hell of a match in the process.
Roderick Strong gets some promo time since he doesn’t have a match tonight because Low Ki took his ball and went home again. He wants to know when he gets another shot at Bryan Danielson after pinning him in Dayton and rocketing to the top of the Top 5. BJ Whitmer comes out to take advantage of all the upheaval in the line-up tonight. He challenges Roddy for his number one contendership as the World Champion himself makes an appearance. He slaps Strong in the face and they have to be pulled apart. Prince Nana arrives to announce Alex Shelley’s replacement. His big surprise is the return of his founding Embassy member – former ROH Champion Xavier!
Bryan Danielson vs Xavier – ROH World Title Match
At the end of 2005 The Embassy decided that they wanted to add gold to their stable, and immediately turned their attention to American Dragon. They came out for a closer look during his defence against Marufuji at Final Battle, and things came to a head at Hell Freezes Over when Nana tried to buy the title from Dragon. Obviously there was no sale, and Jimmy Rave and Alex Shelley beat him down – including Shelley using Sliced Bread #2, a move taught to him by Bryan Danielson that is apparently guaranteed to put him down. Winning the Trios Tournament guaranteed both Nana’s boys (and even Abyss if he’s ever brought back) whatever match they chose, and both have opted for shots at Dragon. Jimmy Rave awaits at the next show, but despite Shelley’s cancellation, Nana has called in his original Crown Jewel, Xavier to bring the World Championship to The Embassy. This is the first time ROH has seen Xavier since Round Robin Challenge 3 (yes it’s really been that long). Whether this is for one night or on a more permanent basis probably depends on his performance here. This is his first rematch for the title since he lost it to Samoa Joe at Night Of Champions. That feels like an eternity ago too…
Xavier slaps Danielson in the face rather than shake his hand. Dragon goes right for the Crossface Chickenwing but X wriggles to the ropes. After an extended knucklelock fight AmDrag returns the favour and slaps Xavier in the face. Xavier gets thrown to the floor and Danielson hits a WILD pescado. Xavier manages to ground Dragon with a hammerlock. A springboard dropkick to the back sends Danielson out for an ELBOW SUICIDA! DANGEROOOOUUUUS! Dragon is furious and marches back into the ring to unleash a volley of stiff shots. He turns his wrath on the fans as well as he prepares them for a Mexican surfboard only to piss them off by stomping the knees instead. On the outside again with Xavier crashing into the railings as he misses a springboard plancha off a chair. Danielson misses the diving headbutt and X takes him into the corner for a slingshot knee strike. AmDrag almost uppercuts him out of his boots and escorts him to the top for the superplex. Xavier catches Dragon going for a running elbow then powerbombs him. He locks in a cross armbreaker but it’s too close to the ropes. KISS YOUR X GOODBYE! He goes for the 450 but nobody’s home and Danielson suplexes him on his head. CATTLE MUTILATION…only for Jimmy Rave runs in to give us a DQ at 12:59.
Rating – *** – Considering I’m guessing Xavier wrestled this match on only a couple of hours notice he looked pretty good out there. Admittedly it’s not hard to look good against Bryan Danielson but this was no carry job. Obviously it was nowhere near the quality of Danielson’s previous title matches but it was a good back and forth contest until the storyline finish which sets up for tonight’s main event and the Fourth Anniversary Show’s World Title match as well. With Abyss gone there’s room for Xavier to return on a more permanent basis – and I certainly wouldn’t say no to that.
CM Punk hits the ring to brawl with his old enemy Jimmy Rave. Adam Pearce is back to do more of that seizing his opportunity stuff. Pearce and Rave but a beating on the World Champion and the former OVW TV Champion and walk out. Punk challenges them a tag match later.
TAPED AT DISSENSION – Commissioner Cornette cuts another awesome ranty anti-garbage wrestling promo. The point of all this shouting is to declare war on CZW.
Jason Blade vs Jerrelle Clark vs Azrieal vs Jimmy Yang
Talk about sticking Yang in with the jobbers here. I have to say, I really hope this is given some time. This is a show rocked by cancellations to a number of major stars – give some of the guys that have made it onto the show a chance to shine. Blade, like his partner Kid Mikaze, has looked moderately decent in a nervous, spotty sort of way so far. Jerrelle wrestles like a young RVD which is both a good and bad thing. His match with Roderick Strong at Survival Of The Fittest last year wasn’t too bad. This is Yang’s third show back from a lengthy hiatus. He just scored his first singles win at Dissension against Jay Lethal. Azrieal…well, he’s here too.
Clark starts with Azrieal in a rematch of Night Of The Grudges 2. They have your standard wrestling with a few flippy counters exchange. Jerrelle hits a couple of dropkicks then backflips into a third on the spin. A crisp armdrag trade-off gets them a round of applause. Jason Blade blind tags and MISSILE DROPKICKS both guys – their heads knocked together pretty brutally there. Blade drags Yang into the ring for a satellite DDT for 2. Jimmy belly to belly throws him hard into the buckles. Tiger Mask kick hits the mark and Jimmy has successfully proven himself the smoothest man in Long Island tonight. Az gets the tag and hits a powerbomb. Blade hits a springboard enziguri and stops Azrieal running at him with a gutwrench backbreaker. Mr 630 tags and peppers Jason with a series of kicks. Blade, who’s been stuck in the ring for sometime, tries to hiptoss Yang but that isn’t happening – he swivels way and chops him down with a clothesline. Az tags only for Blade to drop him with a standing Shiranui and he finally gets a tag out. Yang/Clark now, with Jerrelle getting a 2 with a standing SSP. He dives off the top straight into a spinning heel kick. Azrieal slides to the floor and Blade goes after him with a RUNNING SWANTON! SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT BY CLARK! Jerrelle takes Blade back inside for a handspring corkscrew senton. Azrieal hits a double stomp on Jason. Jerrelle springs off the ropes…LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE ON AZ! JIMMY FLIES OFF THE TOP WITH YANG TIME! He pins Clark at 13:58.
Rating – ** – Well, ask and you shall receive I suppose. This got a semi-decent time allocation but wasn’t really very good. The problem was that Azrieal and Jason Blade got most of the in-ring time, when Jerrelle and Yang are miles better. Frankly Yang looked in a class of his own out there, whilst Clark looked a step above someone like Blade or Azrieal – I’ll repeat that if he didn’t live in Florida he’d be a regular on the roster. He’s spotty but he’s exciting and very watchable with a number of cool spots. Being in the ring for that long (as the isolated wrestler) really exposed Blade’s weaknesses. I’d keep him and Kid M in the undercard tag matches for a while to develop.
Roderick Strong vs BJ Whitmer
As the #1 ranked man after a victory over Bryan Danielson at Tag Wars 2006, Rod Strong is officially the number one contender for the World Title (although he has to fall in line behind the members of The Embassy since they won the Trios Tournament and have booking rights). BJ Whitmer is seizing the opportunity handed to him by so many other big names pulling out of this event (like Strong’s original opponent Low Ki) and issued the challenge earlier. Roddy’s number one contendership will be on the line.
BJ must spend days under the tanning bed to get that orange in February. In the ring it’s a tentative start as they vie for early advantages with keenly contested ground holds. Strong turns his focus to BJ’s arm after Whitmer proves he’s able to go toe-to-toe with him in a chop war. He shunts Whitmer to the floor with a forearm smash and dives over the top in a nice pescado. Roddy busts Whitmer open on the guardrails as he continues his dominance over the match. He winds up the fans…OLE OLE KICK! Everyone is stealing that from Joe these days. He goes for it a second time – and scores. But that seems to rile Whitmer up as he pops out of his seat and hits a swinging neckbreaker on the hard floor. That turns the tide in a heartbeat and he attacks the neck with fervour. Camel clutch applied, then he moves over to apply the hold in the ropes for extra damage. Strong hits back with a springboard crossbody but BJ drops him again using a snap suplex. Roderick goes for the Stronghold and sends his opponent scrambling to the ropes. Whitmer thumbs him in the eye and DDT’s him for 2. He ascends for the frog splash but takes way too long. He manages to shove the wounded Strong away from him but MISSES the big splash regardless. Head and arm backbreaker scores but it hurts Rod’s injured neck and Whitmer knocks him on his ass with a running knee strike. Roderick looks for the fireman’s carry gutbuster and gets powerbombed for his effort. Again BJ takes too long climbing the ropes and gets dropkicked in the head. Roderick nails a neck-protecting superplex. Half nelson backbreaker countered to a BIG LARIAT for 2. Strong kicks out and powers his way to victory with a fireman’s carry gutbuster then the GIBSON DRIVER at 20:11. He’s still your number one contender
Rating – *** – Was it technically perfect, probably not, but this was a great example of the Unscripted format of the show being used to elevate a talent. Whitmer is clearly being elevated somewhat – that was evident towards the tail-end of 2005 when he called out Daniels for abandoning The Prophecy. He’s a solid talent and matches like this one and the Samoa Joe match in January provide fresh and interesting matches to revitalise the upper card. Not that Strong/Whitmer wasn’t decent, because it was. Nice plot of Whitmer surviving Strong’s early dominance to prove he belongs in this elevated spot on the roster by decimating his neck, but in the end it was Roddy’s ability to put together a flurry of high-impact moves that got him the win.
COMING SOON – The return of the Briscoes. Next show in fact…oh yeah!
Jimmy Rave/Adam Pearce vs Bryan Danielson/CM Punk
In case you were wondering, Pearce has not joined The Embassy tonight. He attacked CM Punk because he was seizing an opportunity – just like he did when he beat up Necro Butcher in Cleveland. But now he faces the consequences of his actions, and will stand across the ring in his biggest ROH match to date with current World Champion Bryan Danielson and one of the most influential figures in the history of the promotion – CM Punk. We all remember the Punk/Rave feud last spring. Hell, Rave’s status as one of the top heels is one of Punk’s lasting legacies. He took a disliked midcarder and made him a HATED main eventer, and tonight he’s back for a little bit more. Danielson will want to get his hands on Rave as well. He’s had issues with The Embassy this year, and defends his championship against Jimmy at the Fourth Anniversary Show later this month.
Danielson slaps Pearce in the face to welcome him to the main event. He does a good job of controlling Bryan for a few moments until he gets dropkicked in the face. Punk tags in and wastes no time demanding he get his hands on Jimmy Rave. Unfortunately he’s not so willing and runs away from Punk. Inevitably he gets brought in the hard way for the Punker to get a few shots in. Danielson in with a diving headbutt for 2. Pearce returns and Dragon sets up for the Mexican surfboard. Punk makes it worse with a dropkick to Adam’s jaw. Rave and Punk spill outside for a brief tussle and the heels take a moment to regroup. All four brawl in the aisle now, with Punk slamming Pearce into the rails as Danielson and Jimmy fight off into the people. Everyone converges on the ring again as Rave begs away from CM Punk. Danielson sneaks in behind Rave for a cheeky slap. Pearce knees Danielson in the back to distract him, allowing Rave to cheapshot the World Champion. Scrap Iron drops Dragon with a neckbreaker for 2 before tagging Jimmy back to get in his shots against his opponent at the next show. He cranks AmDrag’s neck and Pearce continues the weardown with a rear chinlock.
DOOMSDAY DEVICE by Rave and Pearce but Punk breaks the fall. Adam throws him out and they go for the Device again, except this time Danielson victory rolls away and dishes out roaring elbows to both opponents. Punk gets the tag and hits Welcome To Chicago on Rave. Pearce gets back dropped to the floor for a TOPE SUICIDA! Rave is lifted into the front row with his partner…AND DANIELSON SPRINGBOARD SENTON’S AFTER THEM INTO THE CROWD! HOLY SH*T! Even RVD struggled to make that look so easy. Punk brings Pearce and locks in the Anaconda Vice but Jimmy dives in to stop him. Superplex from Rave INTO THE PEARCE SUPERFLY SPLASH! Punk is put into the Rave Clutch but he rolls out to the ANACONDA VICE! CATTLE MUTILATION ON PEARCE! Rave escapes the Vice…GREETINGS FROM GHANA FOR THE CHAMP! CRAPPY WIZARD FOR PUNK! He kicks out of that and just about manages to take Adam over with a flying headscissors. Punk is by himself at the moment as Dragon sells the Pedigree. Rave goes for it on Punk but now Danielson is back to save with a missile dropkick. ANACONDA VICE! Rave taps…29:02 is your time.
Rating – **** – Not the same level of detail and technique that we saw in Danielson’s Tag Title challenge last month, but that was another corking tag bout that probably justifies the price of the DVD. It was never perfect but it never got dull either, despite going almost 30 minutes, and is a far more memorable match for Punk to go out on than the Cabana 2/3 falls match where the emotion of the occasion rather over-shadowed the contest. Speaking of Punk, he really brought his working boots to this, and his enjoyment at being back in the ROH ring really showed. He could’ve shown up, taken the pops and phoned in his performance but he busted his ass with the other three. Danielson and Rave had a few interesting exchanges building to their match – such as Rave KOing Dragon with the Pedigree. If he hits that in their match we’ll have a new champion. Finally, give Pearce some credit too, this was the biggest match of his tenure so far and he hung every step of the way. He doesn’t have a flash ring style but he is good at what he knows and he adapted it well.
‘F*ck the snow’ – Long Island. Danielson puts over Punk for showing up when he didn’t have to on a night when several people who were supposed to didn’t. He offers CM Punk a title shot anytime he wants to ‘leave the entertainment business’ then exits stage left for Punk to have his final moments…again. How many ‘final nights’ does one guy need? I make this his seventh. Punk spends five minutes (a LEGIT five minutes) ripping on a guy in the front row who yelled ‘sell-out’ at him. He runs off outside to make snow angels
Cut to shots from the wrestling school a few days later. Austin Aries backs down to Matt Sydal’s demands – he agrees to put the tag belts on the line against him and AJ next show. But promises there’ll be consequences for his actions.
Tape Rating – *** – After watching this event frankly I cannot believe people came home from this event so disappointed. Was it the best ROH show ever? No it was not. Was the return of CM Punk a little over-hyped by Gabe? Yes it was. Did the last minute cancellations of Homicide, Shelley, Lethal and co. hurt? Yes they did. But you know what, despite all that, this was still thoroughly enjoyable. Ironically (given the promise that you could get a refund after the first three matches), it was only the first three matches that actually flat-out sucked. Cut those off and it’s a solid show. The returns of CM Punk and Xavier, the best Pure Title match for a long time and a hella-fun tag team main event. Frankly the poor live reports of this kinda prove how spoilt ROH fans are!
My biggest concern coming away from this DVD is the state of ROH’s undercard. Bar Strong and Aries, this was a card without any of the TNA talent, and it was admittedly below the normal high standards you’d expect. Imagine if Strong and Aries hadn’t disobeyed TNA, where would the show have been then? Imagine if ROH hadn’t managed to pull CM Punk out of the bag. And to that end I think they missed a chance to showcase some of the younger talent in a much bigger way (a’la London/Shane from Unscripted 1). BJ Whitmer and Adam Pearce did take the chance to get themselves over a little more, and with the opportunity to give Nigel McGuiness a longer Pure Title match than normal, he delivered too, but beyond that, it exposed the roster as being a little thin. I think this event should serve as an eye-opener to Ring Of Honor that they do need to start cultivating their own talent outside of the TNA-contracted guys. Sooner or later TNA will sign all their wrestlers to exclusive contracts – it’s a fact. Unless they act now to build new talents whilst they still have everyone else around, the inevitable exodus of top-line guys to TNA will decimate ROH. They’ll still have American Dragon though…
Top 3 Matches
3) Roderick Strong vs BJ Whitmer (***)
2) Nigel McGuiness vs Austin Aries (****)
1) Bryan Danielson/CM Punk vs Jimmy Rave/Adam Pearce (****)