099 ROH Better Than Our Best 4/1/2006

ROH 99 – Better Than Our Best – 1st April 2006

Better than their best? Better than Manhattan Mayhem? Better than any other wrestling show ever? I’ve heard or seen everyone one of these statements made in reference to this event, the sixth of the seven Milestone Series shows. From live reports to DVD reviews, people now reckon that THIS is the definitive Ring Of Honor DVD release. I think it’ll have a hard time topping the broad appeal of last nights superb Supercard Of Honor event, whilst Nowhere To Run and Manhattan Mayhem from 2005 are incredible shows – this one has a lot to live up to if it’s going to make me believe the hype. But in fairness, the card is good. There’ll be more Dragon Gate action, with Do Fixer taking on The Embassy (with Masato Yoshino in tow) whilst CIMA and Naruki Doi challenge Aries and Strong for Tag Team gold. There’s a stacked four way which brings together the three pillars of TNA’s X-Division (Joe, Styles and Daniels). In one of the more eagerly awaited World Title matches to date, Lance Storm makes his ROH debut to challenge Bryan Danielson in is potentially a classic and we’ll also finally see the end of the remarkable Cabana/Homicide feud. It’s the night before Wrestlemania and you know ROH will be wanting to send fans away from Chicago and their first ever triple shot weekend talking. Hosts once again are Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak.

Colt Cabana stumbles to the ring at the end of a SHIMMER dark match and begs Homicide to come out and try to kill him again…but he’s not in the building yet. How unprofessional.

Jack Evans vs Jake Crist vs Dave Crist vs Matt Sydal vs Jimmy Jacobs vs Ace Steel

Nothing like a bit of mayhem (of the Six Man variety) to get a show underway. Everyone seems to have a real reason to win here which is nice. It’s Jack’s last ROH show before disappearing to Dragon Gate for a few months. Irish Airborne (the Crists) make their second ever main show after beating Mamaluke and Rinauro in the ECW Arena. Sydal (who broke his nose last night) wants to follow up on his momentum from last night and maybe beat another GeNext colleague. Jimmy needs to win in his quest to get with Lacey – his entrance looked incredible this evening by the way. Then there’s Ace Steel, fresh off his win over Chad Collyer and looking for another popular hometown win.

Prazak announces this is the biggest ever ROH crowd. Evans and Sydal start with a few acrobatic counters but they know each other well so it’s all even. Jake and Jimmy in and it’s Jacobs with a headscissors. Crist hits a nice neckbreaker combo for 2. Dave comes in with his brother to double team him, but Steel almost clotheslines him onto his head. Dave goes for all his strange armdrag variants so Evans returns for a standing Yang Time. Choke STO from Jacobs to Jake gets 2. STANDING MOONSAULT by Sydal on Ace. Evans, Sydal and Jacobs go upstairs but all three get caught on each other shoulders. THREE WAY ELECTRIC CHAIR CHOPFEST! THE CRISTS FALL TO THE FLOOR! EVANS MOONSAULTS OFF ACE’S SHOULDERS ON TOP OF THEM! Steel goes for a dive but Irish Airborne again work together to stop him. Sydal in but he eats a springboard dropkick from Dave. Sydal hits the inverted Rocker dropper on Jake and dropkicks Dave in the sternum as he comes off the ropes again. Everyone is on the outside so Sydal climbs the ropes for MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Ace gives Jake a tiger driver and goes upstairs. Jacobs goes up after him…SENTON BOMB on Crist! SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT PLANCHA BY EVANS! Steel is still perched on the top rope and he scoops up Sydal. Dave Crist comes from behind but gets caught as well! SUPER SPINAL SHOCK/STUNNER COMBO ON SYDAL AND CRIST! Steel has it won but Lacey is distracting the ref so he has a grab at her. Naturally this makes Jimmy Jacobs freak out – so much so that he doesn’t notice Jack going to the top. 630 ON JAKE CRIST! Evans takes it in 10:08.

Rating – *** –
The crowd was hot before and this was a great way to open the show. The spots came thick and fast but weren’t so utterly death-defying that they’ll kill the rest of the show. The GeNext boys were quality as if you wouldn’t expect that. Irish Airborne looked better here than they did in their debut. If they’ve got anything else to go with their range of bouncing off the ropes moves they could be quite the acquisition to the tag team scene. Meanwhile Ace Steel was the darkhorse of the match, giving one of his best ever ROH performances. He dominated the smaller guys and was involved in the top spots of the match. Jack Evans is improving all the time – hopefully when he gets back from Japan he’ll have got even better.

Cornette comes out to cut another promo about the actions of CZW last night. He’s enlisted Adam Pearce to work security to keep them out. Colt Cabana comes to the ring again and pleads with Jim to grant him one more match with Homicide – a Chicago Street Fight. But the Commissioner still isn’t finish. He calls Delirious to the ring to give him an opportunity. Since he’s so talented and popular Corny wants to give him the chance to pick whatever opponent he wants for a match tonight. But, he’s also never won a singles match in ROH – and if he loses tonight he loses his spot on the roster. In lizard-speak he demands Ricky Reyes…

Delirious vs Ricky Reyes

Last night after a fairly innocuous fourway match Ricky Reyes and Julius Smokes made a statement by brutalising Delirious. Clearly he hasn’t forgotten that as he’s handpicked him as his opponent tonight in a quest for revenge. But Reyes has been on quite a tear for months. Aside from some fluke losses to Austin Aries he’s gone through everyone in his path, and has one of the most devastating finishers on the roster – nobody has ever escaped his Dragon Sleeper. Delirious loses and he’s gone..

Delirious wastes no time, dropkicking Reyes into the crowd then hammering him around ringside. He tries to DDT the Rottweiler on the concrete but Smokes rakes his back. That distraction allows Ricky to at least bring the match into the ring for the first time. A swinging neckbreaker puts the lizard man on the back foot for the first time, then Ricky starts choking him with the tassels from his mask. Delirious blocks the fisherman buster only to be clotheslined back to the canvas before he can gain some momentum. Reyes is awesome on offence here, just brutalising the popular Delirious with bully-ish stiff strikes from all sides. Delirious blocks the Dragon Sleeper so gets lifted to the top…SHADOWS OVER HELL SCORES! BIZARRO DRIVER FOR 2! Reyes comes back with ROLLING swinging neckbreakers then the fisherman buster for 2. Reyes goes for the sleeper again but Delirious COUNTERS TO THE COBRA STRETCH! REYES TAPS! 06:20 is your time.

Rating – ** –
It was really too short for me to put the rating any higher but that was a hell of a lot of fun. Reyes is so good at doing this brief, physical undercard matches these days, whilst Delirious, all gimmick work aside, is more than talented enough to hang with him. He played the underdog to perfection, holding the crowd in the palm of his hand whilst Ricky was on top form as he dominated him. It’s a shame the finish was so sudden – they could’ve added a tad more drama there and pushed for the third star. Still, an entertaining little match and Delirious keeps his spot on the roster.

Jimmy Rave/Alex Shelley/Masato Yoshino vs Dragon Kid/Genki Horiguchi/Ryo Saito

The Do Fixer trio come into this match fresh of their thrilling victory over Blood Generation in a 5* match last night and will want to sign off from their trio of ROH appearances with a win. Meanwhile Rave and Shelley are 2-0 this weekend so far, and since they’re in the hunt for a Tag Title shot, a third win tonight, with the help of Blood Generation and special Embassy guest Yoshino, a win here is a must. Masato Yoshino gets into the spirit of the TP wars, lobbing the rolls back into the crowd with gusto, then saving one to hilariously pelt Ryo Saito in the head with right before the bell. Genki is in full on suck up mode as he comes to the ring with a sign that reads ‘Please call me HAGE’ (the Japanese word for bald). How will Rave and Shelley adapt to the DG style?

Shelley gives Saito perhaps his most impressive sequence this weekend as they run through a beautiful mat session from the bell. Yoshino and Dragon in next and unsurprisingly the pace immediately quickens. CRAZY tilta-whirl headscissors by Kid but Yoshino bails to avoid a dive and Dragon poses to the fans with a 619 fake. Rave tags in with Horiguchi but he uses his classic stalling tactics to avoid actually wrestling him as far as possible. Masato Yoshino gets caught in the ring and Do Fixer start to work him over. Facecrusher/dropkick combo by Saito and Genki, before Ryo grabs a roll of toilet paper and starts belting him with it. Yoshino manages to tag Shelley, but Dragon Kid beats the tar out of him as well. He 619’s off Saito like last night…then the ASSISTED TRIPLE DROPKICK! Yoshino eventually turns it in his team’s favour by pulling at Horiguchi’s hair. Now it’s The Embassy’s turn to work over an opponent, Yoshino with a hanging guillotine on him in the ropes. Shelley gets 2 with his lame Lionsault. I don’t know why he has that move in his arsenal, it always looks wank. He holds Genki prone for Rave and Yoshino to hit dropkicks to the neck. Alex works a chinlock right in his corner but the crowd rallies behind Horiguchi. Hot tag to Saito as Kid nails the DÉJÀ VU on Yoshino!

TOPE SUICIDA NAILED! Elevated super bulldog by Saito and Genki on Shelley. FISHERMAN EXPRESS but Shelley blocks the final fisherman buster with an enziguri. BRAINBUSTAAAAA ON SAITO! SPRINGBOARD FLYING HEADSCISSORS BY KID! SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT STUNNER ON RAVE! But Jimmy hits back with a spear then his new gutbuster/DDT combo. He goes for a suplex but Kid counters with another stunner. Yoshino springboards in and ALL 3 members of Do Fixer meet him with a dropkick. DOUBLE SPRINGBOARD ARABIAN PRESS FROM KID TO YOSHINO! Saito gets nailed by Rave and Shelley’s spear/neckbreaker combo. CRAPPY WIZARD gets 2! Saito sidewalk slams Yoshino but Nana sweeps his legs! SPRINGBOARD RANA ON YOSHINO…BUT SHELLEY BREAKS THE PIN! Shelley drags Kid out of the corner with a super Ace crusher. DUELLING GHANAREAS BY RAVE AND YOSHINO! BACKSLIDE FROM HEAVEN ON RAVE…gets 2. Jimmy gets to his feet and hits GREETINGS FROM GHANA on Genki. The Embassy get the win and complete a 3-0 sweep at 16:14.

Rating – **** –
Obviously not a patch on the sublime quality of the previous night’s DG 6-man, or indeed BloodGen/GeNext from the night before that but that was still loads of fun. It was interesting because this match saw the Dragon Gate wrestlers work a more Americanised style trios match, but still work in an absolutely crazy finish. As a result it seemed a little disjointed, lacking the superior pacing of the SOH encounter but it never once got boring. Credit to Yoshino here because he gelled with his new partners really well to come up with some interesting double and triple teams.

Lance Storm says that Bryan Danielson’s Ring Of Honor World Title convinced him to come out of retirement. He’s trained for 10 weeks focused solely on this one match and tonight he wants to win his first ever World championship.

Jimmy Yang vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels

The most star-studded fourway match ever? Quite possibly. Joe, Styles and Daniels pretty much owned TNA in late 2005 with their series of matches against each other over the X-Division Title. I’m not the biggest TNA fan ever but watch ALL of those matches since they’re all great. They’ve got incredible chemistry and it should carry over here. Then add Jimmy Yang to that. He’s got talent and pedigree, but his performances in ROH have been pretty erratic. When he’s on though, he is ON (see the Yang/Gibson match or both matches in the 2006 Trios Tournament). If he turns up in any way tonight there’s no way this shouldn’t be good. Not to mark for man-pants or anything, but AJ’s yellow trunks/ring-jacket combo look awesome. Don’t forget, this is the final chapter of the Joe/Daniels rivalry in Ring Of Honor.

Yang and Daniels wrestle in front of a surprisingly split crowd. Is Yang over in Chicago? He levels the Fallen Angel with chops then they duel armdrags before an INDYTASTIC stand off for applause. Joe tags and pelts Daniels in the corner with his big strikes. Joe hits an atomic drop but Daniels knows him well and bails before he can hit the big boot/back senton sequence. Styles tags and they REALLY lay in the big kicks. AJ sweeps Joe’s legs and clubbers him on the canvas. Daniels takes Joe down with a headscissors and Yang rocks the Samoan with a standing moonsault. Moonsault kick THEN a super kick in one fluid motion by Jimmy who does look impressive tonight. Joe knees AJ in the ribs but foolishly runs straight into his normal dropkick sequence. Styles goes for a springboard forearm but Joe meets him with an enziguri to the stomach. Yang comes off the second rope with a martial arts kick as all of a sudden it’s AJ that is getting beaten up. But he gets too cocky and Styles levels him with MIKE MODEST STIFF forearms! SHORTARM SUPERKICK by Yang turns the tide again. SUPER-STIFF KICKS BY JOE! Did AJ call everyone faggots in the back? He seems to put extra venom into the facewash/running bootscrape flurry too. Daniels takes Styles over with an STO for 2. Rolling heel kick in the corner by Jimmy. KAWADA KICKS TO THE STOMACH BY JOE! They’ve been working the midsection all match and that was an awesome way to keep that going. PELE KICK ON JOE! Styles finally manages to tag out to Daniels who hits Yang with blue thunder. DOUBLE SPRINGBOARD CLOTHESLINE by AJ on Yang and Daniels. Joe grabs his leg though and Yang shakes the ropes as Styles goes for a springboard and he crashes chest-first on the ropes. Joe goes for the Ole Ole Kick but Styles avoids it. Joe with RUNNING YAKUZA KICK ON THE FLOOR! SUICIDE DIVE BY YANG! ARABIAN PRESS FROM DANIELS! Yang gives Daniels a low corkscrew enzi for 2. The Fallen Angel chases him up the ropes to block Yang Time…TOP ROPE REVERSE RANA! Daniels goes for a BME press but Yang avoids it and hits a moonsault press of his own. Joe is back and he powerslams Jimmy for 2. Styles gives him a quebrada REVERSE DDT for 2. He FINALLY changed that spot a little bit! Joe suplexes him onto his injured chest and gets 2 with a rolling cradle. LARIATOOOOOOOO…but both Yang and Daniels save. Jimmy gets nailed with a jumping enzi but Daniels hauls Joe into the KOJI CLUTCH! Styles blocks Last Rites…but Daniels blocks the Clash. Angels Wings countered…and Daniels kicks out of the Styles Clash again. KOKINA CLUTCH ON STYLES! He escapes and goes to the top. MUSCLEBUSTAAAA! Joe wins it in 18:29.

Rating – **** –
That was one for the TNA X-Division style fans out there, but with some Ring Of Honor sensibility thrown in as well. Thumbs up to all four for bringing their A-game here. On a big show, during a big weekend, this match is relatively unimportant, but they all brought everything they had and the workrate oozed from this one. Sure the end was just one big spot-romp with very little semblance of legality, but the isolation segment on AJ was first class with everyone absolutely hitting the sh*t out of him and pounding on his stomach. Joe’s changing up of the Kawada kicks to work the midsection was some awesome psychology that I dug. This may actually have been the stiffest match of the weekend by the way. Some of the striking was just brutal…

Samoa Joe gets on the stick and announces that he’s officially going after HIS World Title once again. That brings Bryan Danielson to the ring for an official response. ‘If it weren’t for ROH you’d still be in Samoa climbing coconut trees’ – Dragon. He then leads the crowd in a chant of ‘lose some weight, Joe, lose some weight’…THEN he gets even funnier by ripping off Lance Storm with an ‘if I can be serious for a moment’. Bryan Danielson is the best heel in wrestling, as well as the best wrestler in wrestling! Dragon says that when they finally wrestle, whether it’s for the belt or not, it will decide who is the ultimate ROH icon and best ever champion. Then he runs away before Joe can slap him. He heads to the back…and Chris Hero and Necro Butcher decide it’s time for ANOTHER CZW invasion. Adam Pearce runs in through the crowd to help out, as Joe and Dragon get sidetracked with each other. Hero and Pearce do their best to injure every fan in attendance tonight by throwing chairs around during a brawl in the crowd but it’s mostly too dark to see anything. Finally we’re back in he ring where we can see something, and Claudio Castagnoli comes out to help Pearce. He accidentally hits Adam Pearce then gets thrown out of the ring by Hero. Jim Cornette tries to help (injuring his knee in the process) and Hero goes after the arm he hurt last night – with a chair. BJ Whitmer limps to the ring for one last attempt at a save only to have the vile Chris Hero clip his injured leg then DESTROY it with a chair. FINALLY the locker room empties but Hero and Necro have already done a runner, leaving Pearce, Whitmer, Cornette and Claudio all scattered injured around ringside.

SIDENOTE – I just wanted to write how awesome that segment was. The calls for another Joe/Dragon match have been growing since Danielson really started establishing himself as ROH Champion. They’ve had great matches in the past (Revenge On The Prophecy and in particular, Midnight Express Reunion). Clearly Gabe is learning from past mistakes (Joe/Ki) that the “slow-burn” approach to dream matches only works so well. Then the CZW segment was great (once it got back in the ring). Hero and Necro took down and decimated all of the main defenders of ROH – a great statement ahead of the 100th Show (which is the next and last event in the Milestone Series), headlined by a big showdown between Ring Of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling.

INTERMISSION – Dave Prazak is with a buoyant Embassy. How things have changed from a week ago when they were arguing at the end of Best In The World. Rave and Shelley have scored a hat-trick of wins this weekend and now they’re going to bring the Tag Titles ‘back to Ghana’. ‘We can get laid by hookers’ – Shelley.

Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs CIMA/Naruki Doi – ROH Tag Title Match

Since Blood Generation beat Generation Next on Thursday night at Dragon Gate Challenge they are rewarded with a Tag Title shot in this, the final Dragon Gate match of the weekend. Can CIMA and Doi return to Japan with Ring Of Honor gold in tow? Unlike The Embassy who we’ve just seen, both Aries and Strong are both winless this weekend. If they go 0-3 they’ll be losing their belts.

Doi and Cima kindly respect the Code since they’re in a title match tonight. Strong and Naruki go first but their ground exchange is nowhere near as good as Saito/Shelley earlier. Roddy doesn’t seem to be selling the effects of last night’s gruelling classic with American Dragon. Aries and Cima take it to the mat too, and since Cima hasn’t done enough homework Aries is able to hit the headscissor escape dropkick. He nails the slingshot hilo and a frog elbow for 2. Roderick comes in with a chop on Cima – and he sells the hand. I guess he IS feeling some of the injuries from last night which is awesome. HART ATTACK scores 2 before Doi breaks the pin. SIXTY COUNT STALLING SUPLEX by Rod! Austin gets a couple more nearfalls which again draw Naruki into the ring. Another chop by Strong, still with selling, but in the end Cima drop toeholds him into the turnbuckles then jumps over Aries to tag in Doi. GeNext accidentally clothesline each other then get dropkicked to the floor. STEREO TOPES BY DOI AND CIMA! Aries’ nose is MASHED all over his face and pouring blood. Cima is the ultimate dick though, kicking him in the face straight away. SUPER-SPEED SENTON in the corner by Naruki keeps the bloody Tag champion on the mat. Cima tags in and double stomps Austin’s face. He props his neck against the buckles and for the third night in a row dropkicks the ass to compress his spine.

Aries tries to throw some chops at Doi but he rakes the nose to kill all momentum. MISSILE DROPKICK/SAITO SUPLEX combo! Naruki gets cut off on the top rope but he sunset flips over for a RUNNING POWERBOMB INTO THE GODDAMN TURNBUCKLES! If Austin wasn’t in the ropes he’d be an ex-champion. LEAPFROG SENTON BY DOI…TOP ROPE DOUBLE STOMP TO THE GUT! Even without Yoshino that combo is cool. Aries hits Cima with the shinbreak back suplex and finally gets the hot tag to Strong. Cima double stomps Roderick’s ribs…CROSS-LEGGED MICHINOKU DRIVER for 2! Aries tries a slingshot but Cima catches him with an Ace crusher. He goes for the elevated lungblower only for Strong to counter it with a backbreaker. DOI GERMAN SUPLEXES ARIES OFF THE SECOND ROPE! CHA-CHING on him by Strong! Aries is on the top rope again…but Cima catches him again. VAN CIMANATOR! VENUS STRIKE! ICONOCLASM!! MAD SPLASH…BUT ARIES GETS THE KNEES UP! FIREMANS CARRY GUTBUSTER BY STRONG! NARUKI WITH DOI 555! ARIES BRAINBUSTAAAAAA! CIMA WITH A MICHINOKU DRIVER! Strong blocks the Schwein…MISSILE DROPKICK/POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER COMBO BY GENEXT! HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER…450 SPLASH! They retain in a crazy 20:22.

Rating – **** –
Some early live reports called this the best match of the weekend. I think they were way off the mark but once again the Dragon Gate talent have provided an engrossing match with a colossal closing sequence. Moreso than perhaps any other DG match this weekend, this took a while to get going. There were some awkward early exchanges and Generation Next early working over (bar some cool chop-selling by Roderick) of CIMA wasn’t so good. But once Aries’ accidentally destroyed his face (it hasn’t been a good weekend for GeNext noses) the match kicked into higher gear with CIMA attacking the broken nose like a bastard. Aside from one moment where Roddy tagged Aries in the wrong corner, the wild home stretch was entirely well done with CIMA again looking quality as he busted out one awesome move after another. That powerbomb backbreaker/missile dropkick thing GeNext broke out looks absolutely devastating. That should be a new finisher to add to the half nelson/450 combo.

Post-match the fans chant ‘that was awesome’ and ‘please come back’. CIMA says he loves ROH.

Bryan Danielson vs Lance Storm – ROH World Title Match

One of the matches I’ve most looked forward to in the whole Milestone Series. Lance looks in great shape and is unfortunate that he’s never really been pushed hard enough in any company he’s worked for to earn a place alongside one of the all-time great wrestlers (like a Benoit, a Hart, an Angle, a Dynamite Kid, a Steamboat etc). He will take a place in history as a fine technician and an all-round underrated talent. Hopefully tonight in ROH he can leave wrestling fans (although he worked 1PW in the UK a couple of months later) with a reminder of how good he was. He looks in good shape having signed an open contract for a title shot after his appearance (and confrontation with Dragon) at Steel Cage Warfare last December and trained for this match for a couple of months. Will Danielson be worn down after a demanding schedule as champion, and gruelling matches against the likes of Jimmy Rave, KENTA and Marufuji and Roderick Strong?

For some reason Danielson looks really small compared to Lance. The Canadian tries to control Dragon with a wristlock but the champion is able to bridge out. He gives Storm the slap of disrespect in the corner. Lance is a bigger guy though and he is able to control his opponent and quickly return the slap. Danielson is able to land a dropkick to end a period of Storm dominance. Storm hits a great dropkick of his own that sends AmDrag to the outside. Lance cartwheels away from a knucklelock to chants of ‘you still got it’. Dragon goes to some strikes instead since he can’t seem to out-wrestle his bigger and more experienced opponent and those, combined with some dick antics give him an advantage. Storm comes back with a stalling suplex and grounds Danielson again with a half nelson. The World Champion backs Storm to the corner and opts to choke him with his boot rather than offering a clean break. Sayama flip from Danielson…BUT HE RUNS INTO THE ROLLING HALF CRAB! Dragon quickly finds the ropes and bails again. This time Storm goes after him and chops at his chest which looks like sh*t after Roderick Strong the previous evening anyway. Storm is showing he can strike with Danielson too, but he gets forearmed off the second rope all the way to the concrete. AmDrag starts driving knees into Storm’s back then applies a camel clutch variant. It’s a surfboard next. Danielson has had to use other means to get the advantage but now he’s got it he’s much happier going hold-for-hold with the Calgary-native.

Storm counters with that a mule kick, so right again Danielson switches to dirty tactics – uppercutting him into the ropes then raking at the nostrils. He hits a backbreaker at 15:00 then breaks out the ever-popular Mexican surfboard. Lance doesn’t tap though and rallies back to his feet to exchange shots with Danielson – who goes to the eyes again. Storm hits a blind jumping heel kick but takes a while to recover. He takes some more abuse but comes back again with an enziguri. One more time he nails a jumping heel kick and gets 2 – something he accomplishes again with a Tiger driver, then with a big powerslam. He goes for a hurricanrana but Danielson meets him with a POWERBOMB for 2. Bow and arrow stretch, slowing it down and attacking Storm’s back again. Lance blocks the Regalplex and the Chinckenwing…SUPERKICK! TWO COUNT! He takes it to the top rope but soon has to block a sunset flip bomb. BACK SUPERPLEX BY DRAGON! CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Storm’s still got size on his side and he works to the ropes. Danielson prepares for the diving headbutt…but MISSES! STORM WITH A CRADLE PILEDRIVER! TWO AGAIN! HALF CRAB! But he just hasn’t done enough damage to Dragon’s leg or back and he’s able to USE THE STRONGHOLD COUNTER PIN…for 2! Danielson blocks the superkick – REGALPLEX GETS 2! CATTLE MUTILATION BUT STORM ROLLS THROUGH INTO A PIN! TWO COUNT! TIGER SUPLEX…CATTLE MUTILATION AGAIN! Storm taps at 26:24 – the longest match of his career.

Rating – **** –
I do see how this one slipped under the radar in such an epic weekend (and indeed series) of ROH shows, but these two men just put on an absolute clinic. It was a rare treat to watch Bryan Danielson have to change his game up to adapt to someone that can mat-wrestle every bit as well as him, and even perhaps has the edge due to his size and experience. Then the story switched to Danielson cheating and striking to get the advantage – then tearing apart his ageing opponents back. To be honest, at times Lance did look a little rusty, but what do you expect? He barely wrestles for a few years then comes back to wrestle the longest match of his career? He was able to hook the crowd in for some great nearfalls at the end and did the right thing by tapping out – and putting the new generation of mat specialist over. It won’t be grabbing any headlines this Wrestlemania weekend but you should check this out if you like awesome technical wrestling.

Homicide vs Colt Cabana – Chicago Street Fight

When this whole feud started I thought it sucked. It felt like two guys that they had no other plans for so they thought they’d throw them together for no real reason. Cabana goofed around and insulted Cide on a Good Times, Great Memories (remember that?) in August and ended up getting attacked in the parking lot. Then they had a horrible match at Glory By Honor 4, looked goofy the Kobashi weekend as they traded defeats to Jack Evans (remember Colt’s rap from the balcony?). Then it just got dull as big matches during the Cleveland debut weekend (Enter The Dragon/Buffalo Stampede) were largely overwhelming. But it got better. At Night Of Tribute they had a violent No DQ Match (with the coat hanger incident), then in Detroit they had a wild brawl all over the arena that ended with a superplex off the bleachers through a table. Homicide attempted to cut out Cabana’s tongue with scissors the next night in Chicago, and a new, serious – and scared side to Colt’s character was born, and it was pretty good. Under a mask Cabana cost Homicide a match against his hated rival Steve Corino in early December, but Cide retaliated by almost murdering Cabana with Drano gel at Final Battle 2005. Attacking his injured shoulder, Colt played a part in costing Homicide his FIP Title in January at Hell Freezes Over, and Homicide almost killed him for it during their gripping and brutal “Ghetto Fight” at the Fourth Anniversary Show. This whole weekend Homicide has been destroying Colt some more, but Cabana refuses to lay down. He has a broken nose, a black eye and a concussion but he wants one more chance at redemption. Can he do it in front of an emotional hometown crowd – or will he just be massacred again?

Colt tries to choke Homicide with his ring jacket from the bell, he’s that desperate for revenge. Unsurprisingly it quickly spills to the floor where Cabana continues to rattle his opponent around ringside. He misses the butt-butt only to lay Homicide out again with a big boot. He tries to throw him throw the timekeepers table but the fight goes up the aisle instead. Finally Homicide gets in some offence of his own, elbowing Cabana’s injured head. Throwing him head-first into the guardrails won’t help him either. Homicide goes under the ring and pulls out a coat hanger. Unlike last November though, Cabana blocks…COAT HANGER CHOKE ON HOMICIDE! He manages to throw Colt through the ropes – TOPE CON HILO! He pulls Cabana to the apron for an Ace crusher but it’s blocked. Colt brings a ladder into the ring then gives Cide an Alabamaslam. Slingshot into the ladder for Homicide. JUMP SWINGING DDT ONTO THE LADDER BY CIDE! On the floor Cabana tries to drive his shoulder into the ringpost but he gets laid out on a table instead. HOMICIDE WITH A TOP ROPE SPLASH THROUGH THE TABLE! Because that wasn’t crazy enough, Homicide goes under the ring to retrieve a BARBED WIRE BOARD! He can’t use it though, because Cabana suplexes him THROUGH the ladder! Colt tries to use the barbed wire but Cide escapes the barbs with a Russian legsweep.

STIFF haymakers from both guys…before Cabana finds the ghetto fork in Homicide’s boot! HE STABS HIM IN THE HEAD! Cue violent and uncomfortable forking close-ups as Cide starts to bleed. Homicide goes under the ring…FOR DRANO GEL! CABANA WITH A SLINGSHOT TKO! He goes to the floor and brings in rubbing alcohol as the Cabana/Homicide greatest hits match continues! RUBBING ALCOHOL TO CIDE’S BLOODY HEAD! He pleads for a time-out but Colt refuses. Homicide counters the Colt 45 with a low blow and goes to the floor. OUT OF NOWHERE A GODDAMN CHAIR THROWING RIOT STARTS! WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON!! Now Cabana and Homicide pile into the chair-covered ring to keep fighting! Colt with a SUPERPLEX INTO THE CHAIRS! Cide still kicks out though as the ref starts to empty the ring. Cabana goes to the top again but this time Homicide grabs him…PEPSI PLUNGE! CABANA KICKS OUT! Cabana ducks one lariat…BUT NOT A SECOND! JUST TWO AGAIN! Smokes tries to get involved and accidentally nails Cide. Cabana uses his wrist tape to tie J-Train in the corner, then both competitors bring tables into the ring. Homicide gets into position to use one first…BUT CABANA POWERBOMBS HIM THROUGH A TABLE INTO THE BARBED WIRE! HOMICIDE KICKS OUT! CABANA LARIAT…FOR 2 AGAIN! COLT 45!! CABANA WINS! 26:36 is your time.

Rating – **** –
I thought the Ghetto Fight at the 4YA show had more intensity and plot, but for sheer insanity this was probably the best match of the feud. Admittedly they relied almost exclusively on all the sick stuff they’d ALREADY done to each other once (Drano, coat hanger, alcohol, ladders, the superplex etc) and after the chair throwing things got a bit messy as every spot took twice as long to set up. But it’s impossible to deny the courage and intestinal fortitude of the two men to put themselves through that. I hated this feud at first, they made me a fan and they ended it strongly with probably the best match of the night on one of ROH’s best shows ever. You can’t ask for much more…

Cabana starts to celebrate his win only for Julius Smokes and Ricky Reyes to attack him in the corner with a hangman’s noose. Homicide calls his men off though. After six months of kicking the crap out of each other Homicide has some respect for Cabana. He shakes Colt’s hand…meaning Cabana can finally find peace. In an awesome visual, confetti falls from the ceiling as the fans chant ‘ROH’. What a great way to end a triple shot.

We close with shots of Cary Silkin and Bryan Danielson in the ROH School…to be continued.

Rating – ****1/2 –
This one should definitely be in your collection. Hell, the whole Milestone Series should be in your collection, but this event is worthy of all the hype. Personally I think last night’s was better (two MOTYC’s vs nothing breaking past 4* on this card), but with FIVE matches hitting the “very good” mark and the other two being enormously crowd pleasing you can hardly argue. Cabana/Homicide is extremely violent, Danielson/Storm is technically very good, the Dragon Gate matches are exciting again and that fourway has to be seen for some real physicality and gripping wrestling. Buy buy buy…

Top 3 Matches

3) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs CIMA/Naruki Doi (****)

2) Bryan Danielson vs Lance Storm (****)

1) Colt Cabana vs Homicide (****)

Wrestlemania 22 Triple Shot Top 5 Matches

5) Bryan Danielson vs Lance Storm (**** – Better Than Our Best)

4) Colt Cabana vs Homicide (**** – Better Than Our Best)

3) Blood Generation vs Generation Next (****1/2 – Dragon Gate Challenge)

2) Do Fixer vs Blood Generation (***** – Supercard Of Honor)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong (***** – Supercard Of Honor)

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