ROH 115 – Anarchy In The UK – 13th August 2006
Welcome to a very special ROH review. It’s special because it was the first ever Ring Of Honor event that I attended in person. I’m front row, hard camera side (thankfully) but I’m sure I’ll crop up at numerous points throughout the night. Anyway, the show was thrown into turmoil since Austin Aries was injured in the exciting Tag Title defence against the Briscoes last night. The whole thing has been rebooked, hence we have an “Unscripted” feel. Although in truth, I think even if Aries had been healthy it would’ve felt similar. I think there were only 2 matches announced before the night of the show in advance anyway. What we will see – the Briscoes against Davey Richards and Matt Sydal in a potential show stealing tag bout. Bryan Danielson WILL defend the ROH Title against somebody. It’s ANARCHY I tells ye. Anyway, we’re in Broxbourne, England. Hosts are Dave Prazak and Jared David. I assume Lenny Leonard isn’t coming back, as Jared has been around for months. Luckily JD gets better with every show and is an adequate replacement.
ROH VIDEO RECAP (09/08/06) – See Unified (ROH 114) review or ROHVideos.com
We kick things off with an in-ring promo. Austin Aries gets emotional and announces that he’s injured and can’t wrestle tonight. Bryan Danielson comes out to call him a pussy, and proclaims himself the best champion in ROH. Roderick Strong takes offence to that and challenges him to a title match. That’s your main event right there. He tries to leave only for SUWA to attack him in the aisle.
Go Shiozaki vs BJ Whitmer
BJ has experience in NOAH, Go’s home promotion. Tonight is supposed to be a card putting ROH’s best against some of the imported talent that have been booked for this weekend so this match fits right into that. Wow I have nothing to say here…
Sound is much better tonight. BJ and Go start with the basics to get a feel for each other. Shiozaki picks at BJ’s leg but the damage isn’t too severe, and he rolls out when Whitmer lands a jumping heel kick. They test each other’s strength until BJ stomps the hands. We go to strikes and they really lay them in. Go gets 2 with his pretty dropkick. He suplexes Whitmer over the ropes then gets a run up for another dropkick between the shoulder blades. Whitmer tries to hit back with forearm strikes only to run into a jumping knee. Jared David further wins me over by comparing it to Jun Akiyama. Shiozaki gets another 2 from a second rope knee drop. He makes his first mistake and runs into an exploder suplex which sends him to the floor. Whitmer squashes him against the railings with a tope suicida. BRAINBUSTER by Whitmer. Shiozaki brings more hard elbow smashes then gets another 2 with a fisherman buster. He scores with a missile dropkick too but it’s still not enough. BJ hits a big boot but Shiozaki just turns round with a big superkick then a CATATONIC for 2. He misses the moonsault. HEAD DROP GERMAN from Whitmer. Shiozaki comes up with a BACK DROP DRIVER! BJ no-sells another jumping knee and nails a sick lariat. He finds 2 again with a dragon suplex. LARIATOOO again, but still just 2! FOREARM WAR! Whitmer goes for that running knee strike and runs into a lariat from Go. Cobra Stretch on BJ but he gets the bottom rope. GERMAN SUPLEX INTO THE TURNBUCKLES! BRIDGING GERMAN…BJ KICKS OUT! MOONSAULT! Go wins at 15:20.
Rating – *** – That’s a hell of a way to start the show, and one of the best opening matches of the year. It started out basic but neither man tried to exceed what they’re capable of doing, and they gradually increased the intensity and physicality with some brutally hard striking exchanges, leading to a typical NOAH head-drop fest to finish off. It’s definitely one of the best singles matches I’ve seen out of Shiozaki thus far. Live I liked this but it definitely comes off better on DVD, where I got a much better appreciation of the pacing they were going for.
Jimmy Rave and Prince Nana talk about their experiences in Liverpool. Rave isn’t happy about getting toilet paper. He vows to take it out on an Englishman tonight and challenges Doug Williams…
Spud vs Jonny Storm vs Jody Fleisch
Look, it’s Jody and Jonny in the same match. You NEVER see these guys booked together! Oh well, this should be fast-paced from three of Britain’s premier fliers. There’s some heat for Spud again, which I will sulk about since he rules. Thankfully I bought Manga Spud pictures from him at this show, and they now hang on my living room wall.
Spud and Jonny take it turns to beat up Fleisch, who breaks out some flippy stuff then takes them both out with a springboard crossbody. He gets kicked to the floor and Spud chases him with a somersault plancha. Jonny tosses Spud away then hits his own corkscrew dive on Jody. Fleisch misses a springboard shooting star into the ring as Storm hits the floor. He picks up Spud AND POWERBOMBS HIM INTO THE GUARDRAIL! That was sickening. ‘You killed Spud’ – fans. Fleisch blocks the Wonder Whirl and Spud returns with a springboard sunset flip on Storm who German suplexes Fleisch in the process. Spud dropkicks Fleisch’s head into the middle turnbuckle for 2. He drops Storm’s springboard Japanese armdrag only to eat a jumping hurricanrana by Fleisch. Double jump flying headscissors from Storm to Fleisch. Jody is soon up and hits a SHOOTING STAR on Spud. Running super armdrag gets Jonny 2. 720 DDT NAILED…but Spud breaks it. Fleisch goes for the 720 on him but Spud blocks it. WONDER WHIRL on Spud. Storm wins at 06:34.
Rating – ** – Almost ridiculously spotty but they hit everything pretty clean and packed a career-shortening amount in so it’s hard to complain. I’m a huge Spud mark but to be honest, this was as good as I’ve seen Jody look since he came out of retirement. Jonny Storm is always pretty solid but he lacks the charisma of Spud (especially as a babyface) and seems destined to be “that other guy” thanks to the success Fleisch has had in his career. They all looked good enough for future ROH UK bookings.
Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli and Chad Collyer crash the post-match and beat the crap out of all the Brits. I think the Kings Of Wrestling debut the KRS-1 (their new finisher) on Spud in all that. Hero calls British wrestling inferior and gets bombarded with heat and toilet paper. Apparently Collyer is with them because he too hates ROH after they released him. Nigel McGuinness and Robbie Brookside to defend the honour of British wrestling. Colt Cabana joins them because he considers the UK a second home…that’ll give us an ANARCHIC 6-man tag.
Nigel McGuinness/Colt Cabana/Robbie Brookside vs Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli/Chad Collyer
Chris Hero has flown to the UK this weekend specifically to ruin ROH’s big debut weekend. We saw it last night when he clashed with Colt Cabana and he continues tonight. Chad Collyer will be looking for revenge on Robbie Brookside after Robbie beat him in Liverpool. Nigel is fresh off his career-defining match (to this point) last night and has a rather bruised/misshapen forehead to show for it. He had a lengthy feud with Claudio Castagnoli a few months ago, and goes way back with Collyer, both as partner and opponent.
The crowd brings an assortment of great chants throughout this one. That’s the benefit of having REAL football as your #1 sport. All the heels are hilarious as they stall for time and play to the hot crowd. Almost 4 minutes in and spare a few brief exchanges they’ve barely touched each other. Brookside and Hero do some nice stuff, but in fairness those two could probably chain with each other for days. Eventually Collyer and the Kings cheat to isolate Robbie. Claudio’s impersonation of Cabana is quite amusing, then he runs off into the crowd when Colt tries to beat him up for it. Hero has Brookside tied in the ropes and works the leg whilst he’s there. Collyer applies a half crab and bites the leg at the same time. Eventually Brookside is able to roll into a hot tag to a concussed Nigel. He gets consecutive 2’s on Hero with a lariat then a headstand mule kick. Castagnoli blind tags to hit a diving European to the neck. Brookside hits a basement dropkick then gets the Iconoclasm for 2. Cabana takes out Chad with a quebrada. The Kings get cleared out for all the babyfaces to hit running strikes in the corner on Collyer. TOWER OF LONDON! ALFA MARI WATER SLIDE! Brookside takes out Claudio with a Regalplex, but then eats a cravat neckbreaker by Hero. Kryptonite neckbreaker by Cabana. The sequence ends with Collyer hitting a German suplex and everyone is down. REBOUND LARIATOOO! Nigel McGuinness pins Chad Collyer at 15:38.
Rating – ** – As a live experience this match was SO much fun. Giving sh*t to Hero and Claudio was one of the most memorable parts of the show, and they were really entertaining in playing up for it. It doesn’t translate to DVD as well, but it’s still an entertaining match in front of a lively crowd. I didn’t like Brookside no-selling the really classy leg-work done by Hero but it’s no big deal. At 15+ minutes I think this just drags a tad but I liked it.
Doug Williams says it’s great to be back in ROH. He accepts Jimmy Rave’s challenge for tonight.
American Dragon storms back to the ring and demands SUWA come and fight him now, and he’ll put the belt on the line as well.
Bryan Danielson vs SUWA – ROH World Title Match
But for injuries I imagine this could’ve been the feature World Title match. These two are both huge dicks when they wrestle so it could be fun to see them attempt to out-asshole each other. Unfortunately with Danielson/Strong still to come, this match won’t be a patch on what it could’ve been. They did have a decent bout in 1PW apparently so I’ll look out for that…
Danielson doesn’t even wait for Suwa to make it to the ring and pretty soon they’re brawling in the crowd. Jared David is talking about the KENTA/SUWA GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title match now – he’s clearly been taken his awesome pills. SICK CHAIR SHOT BY SUWA! That gives Dragon a big cut in the side of the head. They make it into the ring and the match actually starts. Suwa wipes blood on the referee…I love this guy. He rakes at the face then uses backbreakers to keep Danielson at a disadvantage. He folds the arms and applies an over the shoulder backbreaker into a slam for 2. Dragon tenaciously keeps getting up in the face of some stiff chops, then Suwa puts him in a Lion Tamer. I bet Roderick Strong is loving all the damage Danielson’s back is sustaining. Finally AmDrag connects with something – a flying European uppercut from the second rope. That’s followed by a superplex then a diving headbutt for 2. Crossface Chickenwing but Suwa makes the ropes. Saito suplex by the Japanese challenger puts him on offence again. He scores 2 with a flapjack, but misses the Shotgun dropkick. Danielson blocks the FFF finisher of his opponent and nails a German suplex. They trade strikes until Suwa goes to the throat, then comes off the ropes with a lariat. He blocks a roaring elbow with a straight right hand, but falls victim to Danielson’s small package. The champ retains at 10:07.
Rating – *** – It’s a solid match, with Dragon working hard and taking a real pasting, before showing resilience and ingenuity to beat the impressive challenger. My main problem with this was that, he was working as an underdog. Therefore he really needed to be over as a babyface to give the crowd any kind of emotional involvement in the match. The opening segment had positioned Danielson as a big heel therefore that wasn’t possible. As the pop he received when he caned Dragon at the end showed, the fans REALLY wanted to cheer SUWA, but the way they worked the match meant that wasn’t possible either. It was good but I think booking held it back. Dragon just signed a deal with NOAH so hopefully they get a chance to do better in Japan.
INTERMISSION – Davey Richards and Matt Sydal explain that they’re teaming together tonight because they both have problems with the Briscoes. I think Sydal would team with Davey regardless to be honest. He LOVES tag teams.
Jimmy Rave vs Doug Williams
The duck loofa I threw for Jimmy Rave doesn’t make it on camera dammit. Anyway, as we saw earlier, Rave made the challenge for this one because he’s pissed off that he’s flown all the way to England only to be disrespected by the fans. Williams was expecting a Tag Title shot tonight but now the ROH veteran (remember he debuted in June 2002) gets singles action in his home country. Look close on the hard cam side and try to pick out Gabe coming out to yell at a guy a couple of rows behind me.
Williams is so much better on the mat than Rave. It’s not even close. Jared David makes his third great comment of the night by saying people get executed in Ghana for throwing toilet paper. ‘Jimmy swallows’ – crowd. ‘No I don’t’ – Rave. ‘Jimmy spits’ – crowd in response. Doug starts working the arm but Jimmy runs away. Unfortunately he has to get back in, and when he does Williams continues to school him. Eventually he manages to heave Williams outside where Nana ambushes him. Doug gets thrown into the crowd for an EYE POKE OF DOOM! It’s the cheap tactics that finally give Jimmy an advantage, and having Nana at ringside is also somewhat beneficial. Gory Special by Williams, then a double underhook superplex for 2…when Nana breaks the pin. Doug applies a weird abdominal stretch variant with the wrist clutched as well. Ghanarea used to escape that and get a 2. Rave kicks and stomps on him in the corner, then chokes him on the floor (as Gabe tells the annoying twat to stop throwing crap). Now he distracts the official as Nana comes in for the RUNNING ASS TO THE FACE! Knee combo by Williams, but Nana grabs the leg as he goes for the Bomb Scare. Doug crotches Rave on the ropes but Jimmy recovers to score with a superplex. Nana tries to help Jimmy up but gets kicked off the apron. Chaos Theory blocked and Rave comes out of the corner with a spear. Gutbuster/DDT combo gets 2. He thinks about the super Ghanarea but Doug gets away from the ropes. CRAPPY WIZARD gets another nearfall. Chaos Theory countered again and Rave almost steals it with his feet on the ropes. Now Greetings From Ghana is blocked…and Rave accidentally knocks out Nana. BOMB SCARE KNEE DROP! Williams tries a backbreaker but it’s countered into a SATELLITE CROSSFACE! BRIDGING HAMMERLOCK by Williams! He worked the arm earlier, and won the Pure Title in July 2004 with that hold. Spear again by Jimmy, then a second CRAPPY WIZARD for 2. Still no Greetings…CHAOS THEORY! Williams wins at 20:58.
Rating – *** – It’s a good match pitting the outstanding wrestling skills of Doug Williams against the cheating and outside interference of the Rave/Nana combo. However, if you’d have told me I’d be getting 20 minutes of Rave vs Williams I’d expect a little more. Whilst the story was good I don’t think they worked hard enough to get it over. Rather than get the story over the match essentially became a vehicle for Jimmy and Nana to get heat, with a little too much emphasis placed on the heel shenanigans and not enough on the in-ring action. I was also a tad disappointed that the early arm work was forgotten about for the middle 10 minutes. Look at it this way – it was good but it could’ve been better. Maybe a rematch when Ring Of Honor returns to the UK in March 2007?
Backstage American Dragon is seen by a doctor because his head has a big gash on it. He’s still adamant about competing again in the main event though.
Davey Richards/Matt Sydal vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe
Like they themselves said at intermission, Davey and Matt are tagging up because neither of them like the Briscoes. The Briscoes have spent most of the summer making enemies with pretty much everyone on the roster. They constantly jumped Generation Next and ruined the stable’s farewell at Generation Now which is why Sydal is here. They also attacked Davey Richards’ mentor KENTA a few times, and beat the KENTA/Richards team last week at Time To Man Up. After losing in a MOTYC at Unified and now out of Tag Title contention for the time being, the Briscoes now have a lot of issues and scores to settle with other competitors.
Richards starts with Mark and shows off more chain-wrestling than he has done in the rest of his ROH tenure. He connects with that nifty bridging kick then tags out to Sydal who tests the water with Jay. Briscoe hits a hurricanrana but Sydal comes right back with an enzicanrana. Chops/stepover kick by Davey who looks ultra-intense tonight. Sydal hits a dropsault in the corner on Mark. The Briscoes go to some double teaming to turn the tables and go to work on Richards. They also keep winding up Sydal on the apron who distracts the ref allowing extra cheating. Sydal finally does get the tag and gets 2 on Mark with a gorgeous fisherman suplex, then starts cranking away on an abdominal stretch. In the end Briscoe turns it round with a spinning heel kick on Davey. Every Jay/Richards exchange is really solid. I want to see a singles match down the line. Richards uses some familiarity from last weekend to block the Briscoe double shoulder tackle with an STO then tag out to Matt. Running powerslam/cannonball leg drop combo gets Richards/Sydal a 2. Matt tries a top rope rana but Jay holds his brothers leg meaning Sydal crashes on his face. BIEL OF DEATH by the Briscoes almost launches Matt into space. They hit their double tackle on Sydal instead then trap him in their corner to do more damage. Jay looks like he’s actually there to break his face with a high-velocity flurry. STANDING SUPER RANA enables Sydal to get the tag. Davey changes his handspring enzi to roll the ropes and connect with a missile dropkick instead.
TWISTING TOPE SUICIDA UP THE AISLE! That’s Jay taken out and he comes back in to kick lumps out of Mark then take him down with a German suplex. He back drops the younger Briscoe out onto Jay on the floor, but the brothers then pulls him outside and throw him into the crowd. THERE’S ME! THEY’RE FIGHTING IN FRONT OF ME! Meanwhile Sydal is climbing the ropes. MOONSAULT INTO THE FRONT F*CKING ROW! Davey holds Mark in a gutbuster allowing Sydal to hit an elevated STANDING MOONSAULT to the back! He tries the normal version but this time Mark gets the knees up. SPLASH MOUNTAIN NECKBREAKER for 2. Sydal counters the Cut-Throat into the IMPACT DRIVER! Jay gets the tag – PRESS SLAM DVD! HEAD DROP SUPLEX BY RICHARDS! Backbreaker/knee drop combo on Davey. NECK DROP URINAGE for Sydal. Richards is back again with the HANDSPRING ENZIGURI! CRADLE SUPLEX F*CKING NO SOLD! Richards and Jay knock each other out and everyone is down. Sydal kicks Mark to the floor then gets killed by Jay’s boot. 5 STAR FROG SPLASH INTO THE KNEES! Davey and Sydal hit new levels of awesomeness with a SPINNING HEEL KICK/LIGERBOMB COMBO! Matt catches Jay on the top rope for the MOONSAULT BELLY TO BELLY! Mark breaks the fall. Richards DDT’S MARK OFF THE APRON! STEINER SCREWDRIVER BY JAY! Richards breaks that. SPIKE JAY DRILLER! Sydal is still in the match and he blocks the Doomsday Device. CUT-THROAT DRIVER/LEG DROP! The Briscoes finally end the madness at 26:35.
Rating – **** – Even though the crazy high spots at the end of this one were much better than in the tag title match last night, I just can’t go to MOTYC territory for this wild effort. Just like last night we have a wonderful example of back and forth tag wrestling, but it wasn’t quite as smooth (probably owing to Davey and Sydal’s inexperience as a duo). Plus last night they really told a story and built to the big spots. Tonight they went out there, put on a tag wrestling exhibition for 15 minutes then changed up about 4 gears to the most INSANE spot-mania seen this side of 2002. Both were good but the transition seemed a little out. It was awesome/murderous stuff though. I loved it live and on DVD it rocked too. The Briscoes have had an absolutely colossal weekend…
Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong – ROH World Title Match
This is one mother of an unscheduled main event. The trio of matches these two have had since October 2005 (plus another MOTYC tag effort at Tag Wars 2006) are all up there as some of the greatest matches ever in ROH. They’ve all ended the same way – with American Dragon coming out on top. But each time they’ve gone longer, and each time Roddy has looked closer to winning the belt. Tonight he has an extra advantage – Dragon has already wrestled once. After battling SUWA earlier he comes into this with a big cut on the side of his head and a potentially damaged back as well.
Danielson wastes no time in slapping Roderick in the face, but Strong isn’t wasting time tonight. He looks determined to win at the fourth time of asking and repeatedly tries to give chase. Danielson tries to headstand out of a grounded headscissors and gets his head jammed into the mat. But Strong again gets too eager and tries to please the fans. He’s punished with a bow and arrow stretch by the World Champion. He also applies a bad ass headscissors crossface. But Roddy eventually turns it around and gets to pummel Dragon with chops and a backbreaker. Strong has come out super-aggressively tonight, and he attempts the Mexican surfboard – but Danielson crawls away. He dragon screws Strong but stomps the legs rather than give him the surfboard. Danielson b*tch slaps Roddy for trying to forearm him in the face. The champion is the aggressor now, charging Roddy into the ring apron, then repeatedly kicking him in the back. Strong once again refuses to quit, coming back with some RIDICULOUS chops and a falcon arrow. Dragon slaps on an abdominal stretch (with rope cheating) to put him back in his place. Roderick goes for a pescado and gets nothing, then Danielson takes to the air with a tope suicida. Misawa missile dropkick lands, then he counters a crossbody into CATTLE MUTILATION! Strong rolls it over into a back suplex backbreaker then the GIBSON DRIVER. Diving headbutt misses by Danielson, but he swots Rod’s big boot attempt aside straight afterwards. STIFF STRIKE EXCHANGE…DEATH BY RODERICK! Dragon recovers to forearm Strong in the face for 2. He goes for the superplex but Strong damn near breaks his jaw knocking him away. TOP ROPE BIG BOOT! STRONGHOLD! Dragon makes the ropes. Strong thinks about the super gutbuster but that’s a mistake and Danielson turns it into a back superplex. CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Strong makes the ropes. That’s 2 of Dragon’s finishing holds countered. Back superplex countered second time. SUPER F’N GUTBUSTER! STRONGHOOOOOLD! Danielson refuses to tap, THEN TRIES THE SUPERCARD OF HONOR ROLL-UP for 2! ROARING ELBOW…BIG BOOT! MMA ELBOWS…BUT RODERICK COUNTERS! MMA ELBOWS AGAIN! CATTLE MUTILATION AGAIN! Strong is officially unconscious and it’s over at 20:08.
Rating – **** – Because it’s not as good as their previous matches (nor was it meant to be) this will go down as one of the most criminally underrated/unnoticed/unwatched matches of 2006. It’s a superbly crafted main event, which featured oodles of psychology and another massive babyface performance from Roderick Strong. Indeed, Roderick was so good tonight he even outshone the (admittedly tired) Bryan Danielson. They changed the plot here. Where as their previous matches have all gone a minimum of 35 minutes, Roderick came out extra aggressive and the time was shortened accordingly. Danielson is still a dick and he punished Strong for his mistakes whenever he made them. But it was the fire of Strong that carried the match. He showed that he’s learned from their previous matches as he countered ALL Danielson’s finishers, and even the finish that beat him in Chicago in March…but much like with SUWA earlier, it was the tenacity, resilience and perseverance of Dragon that got the victory. I didn’t appreciate this live (because the Briscoes tag match was really draining) but…this match is really great.
Tape Rating – *** – Unlike Unified the previous evening, you don’t NEED this show. Sure the top 2 matches are great but they’re nothing you haven’t seen before or done better elsewhere. However, for all you completists out there, I think you’ll really appreciate this. It’s a solid show without a bad match on it. The opening match is surprisingly good, the crowd are lively, and the main events deliver. Oh, and I’m in the front row…what more could you want really! I know I left feeling like I got my money’s worth, that’s for sure. I will say this – do NOT sleep on Danielson/Strong. It’s not in the same league as their other matches but it’s a classic in its own right.
Top 3 Matches
3) Go Shiozaki vs BJ Whitmer (***)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong (****)
1) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Davey Richards/Matt Sydal (****)
Top 5 UK Debut Weekend Matches
5) Doug Williams/Jody Fleisch vs SUWA/Go Shiozaki (*** – Unified)
4) Bryan Danielson vs Roderick Strong (**** – Anarchy In The UK)
3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Davey Richards/Matt Sydal (**** – Anarchy In The UK)
2) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****1/2 – Unified)
1) Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness (****1/2 – Unified)