113 ROH Fight Of The Century 8/5/2006

ROH 113 – Fight Of The Century – 5th August 2006

I just re-read my Time To Man Up final thoughts – man I was hostile! Oh well, I stand by my opinion that it’s an underrated show and the mass criticism it’s received is pathetic. Anyway, it’s the night after that and everyone is here for one reason – Joe vs Dragon, the Fight of the Century. I don’t need to say too much to hype it, you know it will be good. The semi-main event is also a potential classic with KENTA facing the rookie sensation, Davey Richards. There’s another Ultimate Endurance which will hopefully be better than last night’s somewhat lame one. Steve Corino has his first ROH match of 2006 and there’s some other stuff too. To Edison, NJ with your hosts Dave Prazak and Jared David.

ROH VIDEO RECAP (02/08/06) – see Time To Man Up (ROH 112) review

Samoa Joe cuts a promo from so close to the camera he sounds like he’s got the worst cold in the history of the universe. Tonight he proves that he is the defining champion in ROH history.

Elsewhere Bryan Danielson is intent on proving he’s the best wrestler in the world.

Sal Rinauro vs Colt Cabana

Since the new Embassy of Rave/Rinauro was formed Colt Cabana has come up on the losing end of two tag matches – with Jay Lethal as his partner at Death Before Dishonor 4, and with Ace Steel at Generation Now. Will he fare better against the goony footstool of The Embassy in singles action? Sal’s music is awesome! He’s with Nana and Jimmy Rave (who’s still got that head injury).

‘Brokeback Tarzan’ – Edison. Sal starts all angry so Colt steps out of the way and watches him comedically tumble through the ropes. Rinauro tries some of Cabana’s European counters and gets a headlock, but Colt seems to be playing games with him. Next he leapfrogs the referee into a legsweep on the hapless Rinauro. Jimmy Rave slaps Sal because he’s a goofball. Cabana sends Sal back to the floor…and this time Nana slaps him. ‘Brokeback B*tchslapped’ – Edison. Eventually Sal does get an advantage thanks to a sneaky clothesline by Rave. Rinauro occupies the ref again allowing both Rave and Nana to come into the ring and get shots in. Cabana gets in a series of bionic elbows so I guess that’s all the offence Sal will be getting. Tornado fisherman suplex gets 2. He tries the flying asshole but Rinauro counters with a superkick for 2. He tries a rana but it’s blocked into the Twirly Bird. Colt hasn’t done that for a while. An inverted crab gives him the win at 07:31.

Rating – ** –
Completely forgettable but moderately enjoyable. Easily a better match with more plot and progression than Cabana’s lame match with Claudio Castagnoli yesterday. Sal is so good in this total loser role with The Embassy. He’s believable as a total goof who gets no offence in but still stays over. It’s a shame that the angle won’t get to go anywhere (Nana leaves ROH in September) because had they played it out to the Jade Chung finale with him standing up and leaving the group he could’ve been a bigger lovable underdog than Jimmy Jacobs is now. There’s something Mikey Whipwreck about him I think…

Up next is a Top Of The Class Trophy Match with Hagadorn defending against Bobby Dempsey (the fat one – think illegitimate lovechild of Jerry Lynn and Vader). Hagadorn uses knucks to win it in like 5 seconds (an ROH record). This leads to Adam Pearce coming to the ring to congratulate him. Hagadorn sucks up then leaves. Sound is kinda poor here, I’m struggling to understand what everyone is saying. Pearce calls BJ Whitmer to the ring to reiterate that he didn’t fight CZW for the fans, he did it for Jim Cornette. Whitmer refuses to follow Cornette’s orders to destroy Homicide, so Steve Corino attacks him from behind. It’s Corino/Pearce vs Homicide/Whitmer later.

Claudio Castagnoli vs Jay Lethal vs Christopher Daniels vs Nigel McGuinness

Obviously the Pure Title is not being defended here, although all three men have been beaten by Nigel in defence of the belt. Daniels and Claudio have heat after Castagnoli was the recipient of the first ever non-heelish (he shook hands with Dragon at Round Robin Challenge 1) handshake from the Fallen Angel in ROH. I’m guessing Lethal is back as a semi-regular as he’s been really impressive in his two last-minute replacement roles thus far. He won’t get any kind of run whilst he’s with TNA but he’s a homegrown ROH talent and it’s nice to see him back every once in a while. He’s also the last member of Special K still getting booked (unless you count Jody Fleisch next month, or Sal Rinauro who was in Special K for like a week). Nigel is heading into the UK and a title vs title unification match with American Dragon so he’ll be looking to gain some momentum with a win.

The crowd is surprisingly hot for this, with all four men getting chants. Daniels slaps Castagnoli rather than shake his hand and that gets us started. Double C avoids a high heel kick and promptly tags out to the Pure Champion. ‘English asshole’ – American assholes. Nigel and Daniels work the mat, allowing McGuinness to impress everyone with some fancy counters. Lethal tries to work a headlock and gets snapped over with a wristlock takedown. Nigel applies a cobra clutch, then spins into a clothesline as Jay starts to free himself. Lethal cracks him in the head with an enziguri to tag out. Castagnoli distracts Daniels and McGuinness takes advantage with the Spinal Cut out of the corner. The Europeans almost form an alliance to isolate the Fallen Angel. Lethal has to break the pin after a savage running uppercut from McGuinness. Castagnoli tries the stalling suplex but Allison Danger spits water in the face allowing Daniels to escape it. Hot tag to Lethal who comes in with a nice springboard dropkick. He gets 2 with a neckbreaker into a bridging arm capture suplex. He thinks about the diving headbutt only for Claudio to shove him to the floor. Daniels gives him an STO then plants Nigel with a death valley driver. BME misses and McGuiness rocks him with a superkick. BACK FLIP kick by Lethal, but Castagnoli elevates him into a European uppercut. Daniels plants CC with a flatliner leaving all four down. That was a great sequence. Angels Wings on Castagnoli blocked with a lariat by Nigel. REBOUND LARIAT on Claudio! Nigel gets the win at 11:49.

Rating – *** – Well that was surprisingly good, and I actually wanted it to go a little longer. I liked how they kept the issue simmering between Daniels and Claudio, who have a rematch in the Midwest at the end of the month. I actually wish Jay Lethal wasn’t in TNA because he looks great these days, hitting all his high spots really cleanly. Nigel gets the much-needed victory to take to England next weekend. Claudio continues his losing streak since CZW got beaten at Cage Of Death.

Davey Richards says it’s a dream to wrestle KENTA. Speaking of KENTA, he’s right next to Davey and very charismatically tells him that ‘tonight…I test you’. KENTA rules!

Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs Irish Airborne vs Jack Evans/Matt Sydal vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe – ROH Tag Title Ultimate Endurance Match

Three more teams are fed to the dominating World Tag Champions, who already survived one Ultimate Endurance in Long Island yesterday. The Briscoes are desperate for their belts back and have a chance tonight, ahead of the rubber tag bout in Liverpool. Jack and Matt are teaming for the first time in ROH, but know the champions well having been in Generation Next with them. Irish Airborne have impressed everyone since debuting in March and have put up good displays against the Briscoes, and their other four opponents in the Generation Now 8-man tag. Last night they looked a little off their game so hopefully they’ll get better again this evening. Same rules s last night. First fall is a Scramble, second fall is Submissions (and DQ’s apparently), the decider is for the belts (which are still missing).

Everyone runs to the middle of the ring for a big slug-out which is an awesome way to start. The four GeNext guys clear the ring, but don’t get to fight before the Briscoes and the Crists get back in. Irish dropkick Evans and Sydal out for STEREO corkscrew pescados. Strong back drops Jay Briscoe onto all four of them. RUNNING CORKSCREW DIVE BY STRONG! Aries drives right through Mark into a HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! Mark fakes everyone out with a back flip then hits the RUNNING NO HANDS SUICIDE DIVE! The Briscoes try to work Jake but Evans finally manages to get into the ring…then gets a double stomp on the ribs by Mark. Jack takes a splash mountain neckbreaker too, then Briscoes move onto Sydal with a leg drop/sidewalk slam combo. Spike Jay Driller blocked as Roddy gives Mark the BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER ON THE APRON! Randy Orton Crist feeds Jay to his brother. IRISH AIR RAID! THEY ELIMINATE THE BRISCOES! 05:11 is the time as we go to submissions with the fans in utter shock! Jack hits the double stomp standing moonsault on Randy Orton Crist. Everyone seems to be having problems grasping that pins don’t count. Strong is in the ring now, giving Dave a backbreaker than a reverse fallaway slam. Austin tries to get a submission with a bridging camel clutch, only to have Evans break it. Rod is back with a hammerlock abdominal stretch on Legend Killer Crist.

Evans again sneaks into the ring as Aries and Strong go for their catapult/slingshot splash double team and takes advantage dropping the double knee over Crist’s torso. Finally Dave rolls into a tag to Jake. They try to set up for the Air Raid again, but this time Strong counters into a GO 2 SLEEP GUTBUSTER! Urinage backbreaker into the STRONGHOLD! Irish are eliminated at 11:41. It’s now an all Generation Next affair with the title on the line. Strong absolutely b*tchslaps Evans. Jack hits a sweet capoeira kick which sends Strong to the floor. Aries blocks another dive with a slingshot lariat. Enzicanrana from Sydal sends Double A out. RUNNING MOONSAULT BY SYDAL! SOMERSAULT PESCADO BY EVANS! Team Dragon Gate hit a double corkscrew enzi on Strong. Standing moonsault gets Sydal 2. BRUTAL Climbing Wizard followed by the handspring elbow by Evans. Roderick catches Jack on his shoulders and press slams him into the corner which Aries makes worse with the RUNNING DROPKICK! Double backbreaker…CHOPPY BRAINBUSTAAAAH! They get Jack next, but he blocks the same sequence and almost shocks everyone with a pin. Moonsault reverse elbow allows Evans to tag. He goes to the top or the Sydal Press but Aries moves. HALF NELSON BACKBREAKER! 450 SPLASH! Aries and Strong retain at 17:02.

Rating – *** –
Well, that was pretty great. Somebody needs to book Aries/Strong vs Evans/Sydal now since 5 minutes of watching those two teams go at it was nowhere near long enough. I liked this so much more than yesterday. The first fall was hectic ending with the big shock with Irish Airborne eliminating the Briscoes. The second fall featured 5 minutes of pretty focused offence on Dave Crist’s back which logically led to the Stronghold and the Crists being eliminated, then Generation Next tore it up to finish. My biggest complaint AGAIN is that this is way too short for this kind of match. Everything seemed too rushed for my tastes. Imagine how much more exciting the Crists getting the Briscoes out would’ve been after 10+ minutes of Scramble action. Imagine how much better the second fall could’ve been (and how much it would’ve done for Dave Crist’s credibility) had they had an extra 5+ minutes for the second fall, allowing him to sell that back some more. And I’ll say it again, 5 minutes is just not long enough for the Aries/Strong vs Evans/Sydal goodness. They’ve all got Dragon Gate experience and that would be a great match. Book it Gabe…

SIDENOTE – the sound (maybe it’s the building) on this show is really terrible. It’s as hard to understand what anyone is saying on the mic tonight as it was to understand Prince Nana’s in-ring promos with the lousy Murphy Rec sound system on the early ROH shows.

INTERMISSION – Colt Cabana is ready to cut a promo but Lacey interrupts him. He acts like he hasn’t heard anything about the rumours about what’s going on between them. She leaves and he pervs on her ass.

Steve Corino/Adam Pearce vs Homicide/BJ Whitmer

Thankfully the heels come out to Pearce’s music, not Corino’s hideous ‘O Fortuna’ remix. Anyway, if you’re not familiar with the endless feud between Homicide and Steve Corino then you haven’t been a fan of ROH for very long. At Death Before Dishonor 4 Homicide demanded Cornette bring Corino back for one more match between them, and naturally given what then ensued, Jim has called him in to do a number on the Notorious 187. Homicide is also pissed at Pearce for staying loyal to Cornette and helping him attack Cide after the Cage Of Death. Whitmer feels stabbed in the back by Pearce. They fought side by side against CZW, but now they’re at odds. Corino is kitted out in pink. That’s camp…

A big fat guy takes his shirt off and gets ripped on by Corino. It’s unsightly to say the least. ‘You’re gonna die in a year…enjoy the heart attack moron’ – Corino. Homicide starts a fight with both men before Whitmer comes out to join him. BJ comes out and starts arguing with Pearce. ‘You made me do this’ – BJ right before he lamps him in the face. All four brawl into the crowd and it’s hard to work out what’s going on. Homicide is twatting Corino about with chairs. I’m guessing there wasn’t a camera on BJ and Pearce because the next time we see them is when it comes back the right side of the railings. Whitmer and Cide start teeing off on the Lt. Commissioner as Corino is incapacitated. The man in pink tights makes his way back in as some form of tag normality is restored. Pearce and Corino heel it with BJ without actually doing that much wrestling at all. Finally Whitmer blocks Scrap Iron’s jumping piledriver but Corino blocks the hot tag. Another minute or so of nothing goes by before BJ nails an exploder and this time is able to reach Homicide. He and Corino go ape on each other, and it’s Cide that wins the slug-out. Corino tries the Joe bootscrapes/running facewash combo but J-Train pulls on his leg allowing Homicide to hit a running knee. Second rope Ace crusher scores, but Cide isn’t ready for the match to be over. Corino with an STO, but Homicide blocks a lariat and slaps him in the face. He pulls out a pair of scissors only for Adam to cut him off with a spinebuster for 2. Homicide gives him a second rope DDT for 2. The Briscoes run in and attack Cide, causing a DQ at 15:31.

Rating – DUD –
The match was boring and slow, the finish sucked. I think it’s safe to assume this is up there with the worst ROH matches this year. It’s nothing against the guys in the ring, I like them all in the right environment. I just had no interest in watching them half-ass and ramble their way through the best part of 20 minutes of my life in a match which accomplished pretty much nothing. I do love how three quarters of the roster want to kill the Briscoes.

Davey Richards vs KENTA

Davey told us last night that it’s his dream to go to NOAH and become GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion. That makes a weekend of interaction with KENTA a big deal for him. They teamed up against the Briscoes last night in a losing effort (the first time KENTA tasted defeat in ROH). Tonight they’re opponents. KENTA is on the road to Manhattan and Glory By Honor 5, where he gets a shot at the World Championship.

Kenta gets tons of streamers tonight. He backs Richards to the ropes and tries a kick which is ducked, and he’s quick to block a return kick too. He doesn’t block Davey’s bridging kick to the shoulder. Richards tries a leapfrog and gets slammed, then it’s time for Kenta to introduce his kicking power to the match. Davey stands up for himself with a few stiff forearms and tilta-whirls his mentor into a backbreaker. He pushes Kenta down for the chops into a stepover kick for 2. Every strike thrown in this match thus far has been nasty. Kenta gets suplexed onto the top rope then booted to the floor. KICK DUEL ON THE FLOOR! Richards gets thrown into the railings then booted into the front row! I love Kenta’s ‘you stupid moron’ expression as a couple of fans chant ‘USA’ at him. He camel clutches Richards to slow the pace down. Davey tries to no sell some kicks but there’s no way that’s happening. He catches Davey between the ropes for a few Kawada kicks then a flying knee drop to the back of the head for 2. He puts the protégé in a bodyscissors next. The opening 10 minutes have been pretty much all Kenta. Richards manages to place a knee in the stomach and follows that with a running powerslam and a second rope leg drop for 2. CRADLE SUPLEX has Kenta falling to the outside. TWISTING TOPE SUICIDA!

Richards brings it back inside with a springboard dropkick then drops Kenta on his neck with a German suplex. Butterfly Brainbuster blocked and Kenta catches Richards out of the corner with an Ace crusher. Now it’s Kenta’s turn to nail a beautiful springboard dropkick. He hangs Davey in the corner for the charging big boot. He fakes a second one and instead brings out the PALM STRIKE for 2. F*CKING MAFIA KICK DUEL! HEAD DROP SUPLEX BY DAVEY! He appears to want a Ligerbomb but Kenta hurricanrana’s out. Tornado guillotine by Kenta, but Richards his springboard dropkick with a powerbomb. HORSE COLLAR! Kenta makes the ropes. KAWADA KICKS! KENTA NO-SELLS AND KAWADA KICKS! SLAP WAR! RICHARDS HANDSPRING ENZIGURIIII! NO SOLD…BUSAIKU BY KENTA! Richards throws Kenta over his head and connects with his charging forearm/lariat combo for 2. They counter each others finishers before Kenta gets a nearfall with a tiger suplex. Richards with a firemans carry gutbuster then a GODDAMN LIGERBOMB! He goes to the top rope…and blocks the single leap super falcon arrow. SHOOTING STAR INTO KENTA’S KNEES! BUSAIKU KNEE FOR 2! Davey still fights Go 2 Sleep WITH A CRUCIFIX PIN for 2! SAMOAN CUTTER…GO 2 SLEEEEEEEEP! Kenta wins at 19:25.

Rating – **** –
Realistically, these guys were never going to have a bad match. It started slow with KENTA absolutely dominating it (which went on too long, lost the crowd a little, and hurt the rating) but once they kicked it up a gear it was breakneck stuff. The real thing to admire about this is how damn hard they were hitting each other all the time. Everything was done with such ferocity. Davey continues to be an excellent addition to the roster (and I’m sure NOAH will have been impressed tonight), and KENTA continues to show ROH why he’s a world class performer. Next time he’s in town it’s Glory By Honor 5 weekend – and Marufuji’s coming back with him as well.

Bryan Danielson vs Samoa Joe – ROH World Title Match

Here we go with the “fight of the century”, and the fourth time these two have faced in ROH. Thus far Joe has a 2-1 record over Dragon with wins at Revenge On The Prophecy and Midnight Express Reunion. It was Wrestlemania weekend in Chicago that Joe announced he was officially starting a campaign to get his World Title back. Since then Dragon has systematically tried to avoid it at all costs by continually attacking his injured knee. He did it after the Dragon/Homicide match at Destiny. He did it when they were on the same team inside the Cage Of Death in July. But as we saw via video clips during Generation Now, Joe has rehabbed and is in fighting condition for this match. It’s a battle of the top two ROH champions to find out who’s the best. Is it Joe who’s epic reign spanned almost two years, helped the promotion survive some dark times and above all else, MADE the ROH Title a world renowned and respected championship? Or is it Bryan Danielson, the man who has defended it against more people than anyone else, and possibly the most consistently good wrestler in the world today?

First exchange sees Joe show his power advantage before being out-manoeuvred by the World champion. We have a London/Danielson style split crowd. Dragon misses a dropkick and gets punted by Joe. He traps Danielson in the corner and keeps throwing kicks, then knee strikes when Danielson gets too close. The champion flees because he was getting murdered. He comes back in and gets KNEE’D IN THE HEAD! Unsurprisingly Dragon immediately retreats again. Joe pins him in the corner and again batters the sh*t out of him so he goes outside, this time with a hurt and confused expression on his face. Joe kicks him in the back this time. All these kicks are demonstrating that he has no problem with his knees. Danielson tests that by picking out the leg and twisting it. Joe tries to Kobashi-chop out of that only to have the champion go to the eyes. More kicks and knees…and again Danielson grabs the leg. The first 10 have been AWESOME! Joe sets up for that running big boot meaning Dragon takes to the floor for the fourth time in the match. Then a fifth time, and he has a Homicide-like tantrum by throwing furniture around. Finally he tries to bring it back to a wrestling match rather than a sh*t-kicking contest, holding the face. Unfortunately Joe is strong, so he stands up into an ELECTRIC CHAIR DROP! So wrestling didn’t work, Danielson rakes the eyes this time then pulls at the arms. This is a much better strategy for the World Champion. So is choking the Samoan over the middle rope. He misses the running attack and takes more violent kicks to the head. Joe tries his usual bootscrape flurry but Dragon has it scouted. He even tries to steal it, only for Joe to come up and club him. Danielson goes to the arm again with a sexy-sexy leg hammerlock then a shortarm scissors. In the corner he again rips off Joe’s offence with chop/jab combos…but Joe spins him round and easily hammers him into the ground. His powerslam gets 2, before Danielson starts kicking him in the face. Judo DDT scores, as does the diving headbutt, and that’s probably the most significant offensive stuff AmDrag has connected with.

Stranglehold camel clutch applied but too close to the ropes. Suddenly Joe seems to attack Danielson’s leg, rocking it with a dragon screw then slapping on the Figure 4. Danielson frees himself and savagely palm strikes his opponent down. Back suplex backbreaker by Samoa Joe, followed by the Samoan crab. Joe refuses to be placed into the Mexican surfboard, and gets 2 with a running Samoan drop. Jared David makes the great point that Danielson has always found a way to prevent Joe from stringing together big flurries of offence thus far. Musclebuster escaped with a DIVING EURO UPPERCUT! CHOPBLOCK ON THE KNEE! 30 minutes in and now is the time to work Joe’s injury. RINGPOST KNEE ATTACK! Dragon is swinging chairs at the prone limb. Next he hangs the leg against the bottom rope and Earthquake splashes it. Joe uses right hands to try to flee a deathlock, so in a touch of awesomeness Dragon simple stands up and rolls the hold over so Joe is trapped on his face. That sh*t rules. Next it’s some good old smash your opponents leg into the canvas. He hoists it into the ropes for a running dropkick as well, then he returns the favour from earlier and puts a Figure 4 on Joe. For the first time the Samoan looks a little desperate, and he limps noticeably on his bootscrape sequence. That means he’s slow to capitalise and Danielson is back with a dragon screw. REGAL STRETCH…and Jared David calls it! That guy is stepping up on commentary today. Unlike earlier in the match, Dragon is now free to pepper Joe with strikes. He goes for the diving headbutt again though, and Joe counters it with a mid-air Ace crusher. Dragon outside…ELBOW SUICIDAAAAAAAAAA! LIMPING OLE OLE KICK! He tries it again, and just like every other time someone has tried the same move twice in this match – it doesn’t work. Dragon sits Joe in a chair. OLE OLE DROPKICK! He deposits Joe into the front row then rather comically falls over. Joe suplexes him into the crowd as well and they start brawling there. Danielson gets back into the ring. SPRINGBOARD SOMERSAULT PLANCHA INTO THE CROWD! How the hell do you do that after 43+ minutes of wrestling?

Back in the ring he lands the Misawa missile dropkick then charges into the STJOE! Joe is working hurt and he tries to put Dragon away with a few pinning combinations. DRAGON SUPLEX for 2! REGAL STRETCH AGAIN! JOE SLIDES INTO THE CHOKE! Danielson does the old Million Dollar Dream run the ropes into a pin escape. Joe tries the STJoe again…COUNTERED TO CATTLE MUTILATION! He keeps reapplying it but too close to the ropes. SIT-OUT KNEE DRIVER by Joe, then a half crab! But Joe’s leg attack hasn’t been anywhere near as aggressive so that doesn’t work. They’re running out of gas but start stiffing each other. JOE LARIATOOOOOO! Both men are flat out with 10 left in the time limit. Joe nails the powerbomb into the variety of submission holds but Danielson won’t give. He tries the powerbomb again and Danielson counters with a rana. Going for the same move twice in this match is just death. Danielson fights the Musclebuster into a crucifix pin. FLYING KNEE STRIKE gets Joe a 2. Five minutes remaining. BRAINBUSTER! He’s just trying anything to pin the champion. Joe keeps using his injured leg to knee Danielson which is a slight niggle with me. Danielson quickly crabs it and puts him in a half crab though. Joe lifts Dragon to the top rope. MUSCLEBUSTER…BUT HE COULDN’T CARRY IT TO THE MIDDLE OF THE RING! That means he dropped too close to the ropes and Danielson finds them at 2. He thinks about the Homicide Super Musclebuster…BACK SUPERPLEX BY DRAGON! MMA ELBOWS OF DEATH! 90 SECONDS LEFT! JOE F*CKING POWERS OUT! CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! JOE WILL NOT DIE! CHOOOOOOOOOOKE! LESS THAN A MINUTE TO GO! DANIELSON’S HANGING ON…TIME LIMIT EXPIRES! SIXTY MINUTE DRAW GODDAMNIT!

Rating – ****1/2 –
I’m not going the whole way with the rating, but check this match out now because it’s amazing. The first 20 and the last 20 are simply incredible, and as I say every time he does it, watching Samoa Joe go an hour defies all wrestling logic. So why not 5*? Well, as some people have commented on, the middle portion of the match is slow. If you watch many of the famous AJPW broadways, there’s normally a sequence in the middle where they just turn it up a notch – which didn’t happen here – particularly between 20-30 minutes where nothing really happened. The halfway point signalled Danielson’s brilliant assault on Joe’s knee…which leads me to be second criticism. I consider Joe to be one of the best injury sellers in the business right now (which is why I think it’s actually him, not Dragon that is the best wrestler in the world) but he somewhat stopped selling the knee injury during the last 10. That’s ok to a point because they were doing some tremendous stuff (hence this match is still very much an MOTYC) but it’s things like that which make a great match an unforgettable match. Check out Low Ki’s leg selling at Crowning A Champion – he just stops kicking once the other three work it over. If you like 60-minute battles then you’ll love this. The first 20 were so psychologically immense, with Joe coming out of the blocks determined to kick the crap out of the champion – easily my favourite portion of the match. However, as Jared David pointed out, he was never able to string enough offence together (as he did during the majority of his own title reign for instance). Incidentally, this was easily the best finish to any of the time limit draws ROH has done. Do yourself a favour and get this now…

Naturally Edison wants five more minutes. Equally naturally, Bryan Danielson teases it then walks out. Except he can’t get to the locker room because KENTA is standing on the ramp. He makes the title belt gesture…then the Briscoes come and attack him. Everyone hates the Briscoes remember, and Homicide comes out to make the save. But there are more Briscoes than there are Homicide…and in a momentous moment, Joe helps out his most hated rival in ROH. He says he did it because Cide helped ROH against CZW. Joe sides with him against the ‘bullsh*t politics’, presumably Cornette and co. Homicide lays down the challenge for Joe/Homicide vs Briscoes at Glory By Honor 5.

We close with a video clip of the empty Liverpool Olympia. ROH goes international next weekend.

Tape Rating – *** – This show turned out to be a real mixed bag. There’s the awesome (Joe vs Dragon), the good (KENTA vs Davey), the bad (Homicide/Whitmer vs Corino/Pearce) and the flat-out ugly (Bobby Dempsey and/or that topless fat guy). Despite a MOTYC and the Richards/KENTA kick-a-thon I’m not going any higher because the undercard is inconsistent. Ultimate Endurance and the fourway are good but nothing massively special, whilst Cabana/Rinauro is a generic opener and the Homicide/Corino tag really blew. Put it this way, this show has the better headline matches, but in my opinion, the much-maligned Time To Man Up event yesterday is a better top-to-bottom show. Maybe it’s just me on that…

Top 3 Matches

3) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans/Matt Sydal vs Briscoes vs Irish Airborne (***)

2) KENTA vs Davey Richards (****)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Samoa Joe (****1/2)

Top 5 Time To Man Up/Fight Of The Century Weekend Matches

5) Aries/Strong vs Evans/Sydal vs Briscoes vs Irish Airborne (*** – Fight Of The Century)

4) Nigel McGuinness vs Delirious (*** – Time To Man Up)

3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs KENTA/Davey Richards (**** – Time To Man Up)

2) KENTA vs Davey Richards (**** – Fight Of The Century)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Samoa Joe (****1/2 – Fight Of The Century)

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