ROH 124 – Honor Reclaims Boston – 3rd November 2006
Since 2002 Ring Of Honor has promoted shows in the Boston market, but due to bad crowds and dwindling attendances, the market was dropped after Survival Of The Fittest 2005. Now they’re returning to the area and promising a big show to win back the Boston fanbase. In order to do that, we have a strong card. The main event looks awesome, with Aries and Strong teaming up to face KENTA and his protégé Davey Richards. Bryan Danielson defends the World Title against Delirious for a third time and they always produce the goods. There’s also a juicy looking 6-man tag with Samoa Joe, Homicide and the returning BJ Whitmer wrestling the Briscoes and Steve Corino and a whole lot more. We’re in Braintree, MA. The same building where AJ Styles won the ill-fated Pure Wrestling Title and Jack Evans won Scramble Cage Melee. Hosts are Dave Prazak and Jared David.
ROH VIDEO WIRE (01/11/06) – Steve Corino is your host for this instalment. He says in Philadelphia he finished what he started when he suffocated Homicide with a plastic bag in Dayton. He also does some comedy narration over footage of that incident. He sounds like he’s jacking it.
– Bryan Danielson complains about Samoa Joe challenging him to a cage match.
– Jimmy Rave says The Embassy is finished, and tells Sal Rinauro not to screw up in his match against Danielson. Of course…we all now how that turned out.
Straight to the ring with Nigel McGuinness. He’s happy that ROH is back in Boston. He says his opponent tonight is somebody local we haven’t seen in a while…
Nigel McGuinness vs John Walters
Yep, this is the first time we’re seeing Walters in an ROH ring since Trios Tournament 2005. I suppose he’s back from ministerial duty in Ghana now The Embassy has folded. Remember Glory By Honor 3 when ROH was trying to back Walters as the golden boy of the Pure division, and had him go over Nigel in the process? How times have changed. Anyway, surely he’ll get himself in line for more bookings with a decent showing here.
As you’d expect that go straight to some heavy chaining where Walters holds his own with Nigel. Slingshot armdrag takes the British competitor down for the first time, and Walters stays in control with more traditional armdrags. McGuinness rocks his opponent with big uppercuts, but Walters comes from the top rope with a crossbody for 2. He runs at Nigel again only to collide with the ringpost, which opens him up for the work on the arm that McGuinness is famous for. Multiple wristlock takedowns confirm the arm as the focus for Nigel’s offence now. Walters escapes a cobra clutch and attacks McGuinness’ arm in return with a tornado divorce court for 2. Nigel fires back with the spine kick into a final cut and goes back to the arm with a hammerlock heel trip. Cobra clutch again, but this time into a powerful lariat that gets another nearfall. Once more he returns to a cobra clutch and stretches Walters over a knee to add to it. This time Walters ducks the clothesline attempt and nails a big Rydien bomb to even things up. Back to the top rope goes the Bostonian, for a missile dropkick. Nigel hammerlock DDT’s him. Tower Of London blocked and he jumps over Nigel for a FRONT LUNGBLOWER! Armbar applied but McGuinness finds a rope. Neckbreaker gets Walters a 2 count. He climbs the ropes once too often and gets hauled off with a TOWER OF LONDON! That only gets 2. McGuinness really needs to stop using that as a nearfall if he wants to keep it credible as a finisher. REBOUND LARIATOOOOO! WALTERS KICKS OUT! Nigel has had enough and lifts John for the Super Lariat…but he’s too close to the ropes to pin him. Tower Of London finishes at 13:58.
Rating – *** – Solid opening contest, and it’s fair to say that Walters didn’t look out of place back in an ROH ring. If Trik Davis can get booked every now and then, I’m sure we’ll see John back at some point. It wasn’t without it’s faults – since the majority of match was focused on the arms and neither man put a great deal of effort into selling the injuries. I also don’t think Walters is somebody who should be kicking out of all three of Nigel’s finishers. In my opinion it didn’t but John over, it just made Nigel lose a little credibility. Since he’s going to head in 2007 as a main event level guy he needs to have believable finishing moves and guys like Walters shouldn’t be kicking out of them. And why didn’t Dave Prazak acknowledge Walters’ time in The Embassy at all?
Lacey says she’s sent Jacobs home for this weekend, and isn’t happy about not being booked in the womens match on the card tonight. She also has words for BJ Whitmer and Colt Cabana too.
Daizee Haze vs Mercedes Martinez
Speaking of ex-Embassy members who are now inexplicably face again – here’s Daizee Haze. In fairness, since this is a SHIMMER attraction match, it’s probably fair that she’s a babyface, since that’s what she is in SHIMMER. Martinez is also a big star in that company, and famous for her battles with Sara Del Rey (who beat Daizee at Destiny). She made her ROH debut at Best In The World.
Martinez powers Haze into the corner during a lock-up, but Daizee is able to use her speed and agility to grab a headlock on her larger opponent. Satellite headscissors scores as well, but she goes to the well once too often and gets dropped on her face by Mercedes. A brainbuster gets Martinez a count of 2. Daizee runs out of the corner, only to be scooped up into a spinebuster. She gets caught with a facecrusher by Haze, who then dropkicks her into the corner. Wheelbarrow bulldog nailed this time but Martinez still kicks out. Heart Punch blocked, but so is the Fisherman Buster. HEART PUNCH…but the Yakuza kick is countered with Martinez’s FISHERMAN BUSTER! She wins at 04:31.
Rating – ** – Not a lot more these women could really do with less than 5 minutes. I was surprised at how respectful the crowd was, as they were into this big woman versus quicker, smaller opponent affair throughout. For what it was it was really good. I’d like to see them in a singles match in SHIMMER where they’d get a much better time allocation. If you enjoyed this, then you really NEED to find yourself some SHIMMER DVD’s now.
Lacey sees fit to stick her nose in at the end of the match. She complains that she deserved to be in the match instead of Haze, then slaps her in the face.
Christopher Daniels vs Chris Hero
I can’t believe this match is just being randomly tossed in on the undercard of what is already a pretty stacked show. I’m really looking forward to it. Basically, Daniels (and his partner Matt Sydal) are after the Kings Of Wrestling and their tag title belts. Obviously the KOW have to deal with Aries and Strong tomorrow night, but the Daniels/Sydal team are still hot on their trails. Tonight we have singles matches with Daniels/Hero and Sydal/Castagnoli. The latter pairing are at ringside in their respective partner’s corners, so I’d expect interference of some description.
Hero spends an absolute age pissing people off before the bell rings…then takes a couple of armdrags and retreats right back to the floor where Claudio Castagnoli has a quick chat with him. Three minutes later and he’s still stalling like a prick. His rolling around the ring for no reason is hilarious, as is Daniels slapping the taste out of his mouth. Eventually Castagnoli distracts Daniels and allows his partner to get an advantage. Fallen Angel gets back on offence for too long though, then grabs a chinlock to stop Hero running to the outside again. Daniels takes him on a tour of the top turnbuckles which the fans enjoy after Hero was such an asshole earlier. Again Claudio distracts Daniels though, and again it enables Chris Hero to get an offensive advantage. No messing around this time, he decides to choke the Fallen Angel and make sure he stays down. I seriously love Hero working a crowd. The way he celebrates after nailing a rudimentary double axe handle smash is a priceless example of how he sucks an audience into anything he does. A running atomic drop drops the TNA regular for a 2 count, as does a tumbling twisting senton. But Sydal gets involved now, causing Hero to hesitate on the top rope and allowing Daniels to press slam him off it. Arabian press nailed for 2, before Hero cuts off his momentum with a Saito suplex. Hero brings some sweet offence now, first with a cravat Iconoclasm then a release suplex modification. Daniels comes out of nowhere with an urinage slam and the BME…but the pin isn’t counted because Castagnoli has the ref’s attention. Random roll-up by Daniels, and this time he does snatch a victory at 14:40.
Rating – *** – I enjoyed that, perhaps more than a lot of people would, due to the fact that I’m absolutely loving Hero’s ROH work at the moment. The fact is, if these guys went out and had a straight wrestling match they could do better than this, but it’d be nothing we’ve seen before. Hell, Daniels’ singles work in 2006 has tended to be incredibly copy and paste, and has frequently left so called “dream matches” feeling very bland (e.g. the two matches with Austin Aries). This one was made totally fresh and interesting thanks to Hero going out of his way to annoy the hell out of everyone. It made you CARE about the spots Daniels hits in almost every match, and that’s saying something. The way he’s performed this year, it makes you wonder why Chris Hero wasn’t on the Ring Of Honor roster a whole lot sooner. Lousy finish though, but I guess it had to be done to protect Hero.
Matt Sydal vs Claudio Castagnoli
Both these guys waste no time in hopping into the ring, so we’re going straight into their singles clash. Matt Sydal already holds a victory over Chris Hero (defeating him at Motor City Madness) in a match where he proved that he wasn’t the weak link in his team and was ready to challenge for the ROH Tag Titles. If he wraps up a success here it’ll mean Daniels and Sydal have beaten both the current champions in singles matches. If they beat Aries and Strong tomorrow night it’ll be impossible to deny them a title shot with that kind of record against them.
Hero and Daniels brawl off through the crowd meaning there will be no outside interference dogging this one. Castagnoli uses the fact that he’s much bigger, but Sydal’s quickness almost gains him an instant victory. He uses it again to ride out of a snapmare and then flip into a backslide position. Matt lands a nice dropkick in the corner, but Claudio finally uses his speed against him with a tilta-whirl face bomb. He kicks Sydal to the floor then uses the steel rail to do some damage to his back which will obviously limit the high-flying stuff. Matt comes off the second rope INTO a satellite headscissors, but Claudio quickly cuts him off and stands on his throat to put pay to any comeback hopes. Whacky lucha armdrag next, but again Castagnoli reacts speedily to stop Matt following up. Even MORE whacky lucha armdrag, then a dropkick which finally gets Sydal some distance. RUNNING MOONSAULT to the floor scores. Rolling headscissors out of the corner scores, but he tries a jump swinging DDT from the second rope only to be hoisted into a EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! Sydal backflips off Castagnoli’s shoulders into a Déjà vu headscissors. ROLLING HURRICANRANA gets 2! Claudio hits the Riccola Bomb but Sydal kicks out at 2 as well. Castagnoli takes it upstairs thinking about a top rope Riccola, but Matt shoves him away for a SYDAL PRESS! That’s another victory, and one that surely guarantees Sydal (and Daniels) a title shot at 10:24.
Rating – *** – Not as character-driven as Daniels/Hero (as you’d expect given the fact that these two just aren’t as charismatic) but they packed some really cool stuff into the time given. I’ve heard a few people complain that Sydal basically stole moves from Mike Quackenbush here, but since I don’t watch Quack on a regular basis this was thoroughly enjoyable. Claudio Castagnoli was a superb base for Matt Sydal’s aerial antics and I’d really like to see these guys get another singles match somewhere down the line. These two KOW vs Daniels/Sydal segments have really hyped me up for their imminent title clash. It has made tomorrow night’s big rematch against Aries and Strong seem like nothing more than a formality though.
Aries and Strong commend KENTA for his respect for them after their battles in June. Tonight they want revenge for those defeats, then roll into tomorrow night looking for revenge against the KOW.
Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe/Steve Corino vs Homicide/Samoa Joe/BJ Whitmer
Why is BJ Whitmer on Joe and Cide’s team exactly? I know this is his big comeback match, but aren’t his issues with Jimmy Jacobs and Lacey? Or are we still playing up the Homicide/Whitmer mutual respect thing after the CZW feud? Anyway, basically this is Cornette’s sympathisers (including Shane Hagadorn at ringside) teaming up to put an end to the problems caused by the union between the Notorious 187 and Samoa Joe. Tomorrow night Steve Corino and Homicide end their long-standing feud in a Fight Without Honor, where Jim Cornette will be hoping Cide’s career (and chances of a title shot at Final Battle 2006) go out the window. We’ve also seen two exciting Briscoes vs Joe/Homicide matches in recent shows, and they’ve traded wins so they’ll be keen to go at it again. BJ Whitmer really doesn’t fit in at all.
Corino looked set for some mic work but Homicide sprints to the ring and goes right after him. Immediately all six guys spill to the floor and brawl everywhere as the crowd goes pretty nuts. Joe and Whitmer dominate the Briscoes as Homicide and Corino continue to fight. He goes after Homicide’s ear until Joe comes over and helps his partner out. In fact, Samoa Joe is basically a wrecking crew and destroys any of the three men he comes across. Eventually a semblance of format is established with Corino taking a pasting at the hands of the babyfaces. He bails before Joe can give him a facewash, only to be tossed right back in by Homicide. Eventually Mark Briscoe gets a cheap shot in on Whitmer, and follows it with a slingshot double stomp to turn the tables in the favour of Team Cornette. He gets 2 with a springboard body splash as well, leaving BJ well-isolated from his corner. Jay applies the Stretch Plum but Homicide breaks it before there’s any chance of a submission. Corino flattens BJ with a running STO, but as Joe and Homicide occupy the official it allows a three-way cheat session on their stranded colleague. Whitmer hits an exploder suplex on Steve and that’s his window to get a tag to the Notorious 187. Again it’s Corino that gets a kicking, and this time Joe is able to hit a running bootscrape. Back drop driver by Whitmer sends Corino to the floor. Mark cuts off the tope con hilo but misses his slingshot double stomp. Unfortunately Homicide can’t run the gauntlet of both Briscoe brothers and now it’s him that feels the wrath of the heel beatdown. Corino and Hagadorn get some cheap shots in whilst Jay distracts the bewildered Todd Sinclair. Tornado DDT blocked and Corino floors Cide again with a superkick. Hagadorn is doing Julius Smokes impressions on the floor, but runs away when Smokes tries to go after him. Jay camel clutches Cide facing his partners to add insult to injury, then the Briscoes combine with a sidewalk slam/leg drop for 2. Julius Smokes finally gets his hands on Hagadorn on the floor, clobbering the Top Of The Class Trophy holder and leaving him on the ground. In the ring that’s a cue for Homicide to drop Steve with the Ace crusher and get the hot tag to Samoa Joe who goes to town on all three opponents. Jay and Mark stop him with a big boot/Saito suplex combo for 2. Whitmer and Jay try unsuccessfully to hit their finishers, ending with BJ getting 2 with a brainbuster. Corino kicks him in the side of the head, so Homicide tags in and clears house on both Briscoes. Corino tries to stop him hitting the Cop Killa with a pair of knucks, but Homicide sees it coming. The referee gets rid of the foreign object, but Hagadorn hands Steve another set, and this time Homicide is clocked with a knuck-shot. SPIKE JAY DRILLER! Team Cornette win at 19:53.
Rating – *** – That was a solid 6-man clash with lots of effectively told stories, but after the exciting brawl of the first few minutes it all felt a little bit stunted and never seemed to hit a higher gear going into the finish. I don’t think it helped that Joe (the most over man in the match by a mile) hardly did anything all match, whilst the first babyface in peril segment (which somewhat dampened the previously very heated crowd) was on BJ Whitmer, who just isn’t anything like as over as any of the other five guys. Ultimately this wasn’t a bad match, but with the talent it involved, you’d be forgiven for expecting a little bit more.
Steve Corino does get his mic time, as he promises to kill Homicide tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
INTERMISSION – Christopher Daniels stands with Allison Danger and Matt Sydal in front of a chalk board, and decides to conduct a quick lesson. He anoints their team the Lords Of The Ring, and calls himself one of the best tag wrestlers going today (just ask Donovan Morgan, Elix Skipper or AJ Styles). The lesson is concluded by saying that he and Sydal will be the new champions soon.
Jimmy Rave vs Colt Cabana
Rave has new music for this, and it just isn’t good. Obviously he couldn’t keep his Embassy theme, but that’s a shocking choice. He’s desperate to get his career back on track after an increasingly lengthy losing streak which stretches well back into the summer. He faces a Colt Cabana with a new sense of direction. At Irresistible Forces he was assaulted by Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs, and he’ll be desperate for revenge at some point in the future. For tonight though, this is all about the win.
Despite the new music, Rave starts the match in typically evasive fashion. He takes a slap to the face and threatens to walk out of the arena as a result. Cabana takes the extra time to load up a roll of toilet paper which we know Jimmy despises. Almost four minutes in and we get a few wrestling holds…then Rave walks out again. He hides behind the referee and uses that distraction to finally get on offence with assorted chokes. Next up is the classic clawing at the face strategy. This is so slow there’s a real danger I may fall asleep. They go to the floor…and don’t do anything of significance there. Cabana rallies back with some right hands and a quebrada press. Rave gets 2 with a spear as this finally starts to pick up. Ghanarea blocked twice but Jimmy nails it at the third time of asking. Billy Goat’s Curse applied, and Colt gets the win out of nowhere at 11:30.
Rating – * – Bad match between two competitors who have had enormously disappointing 2006’s. The whole thing felt lethargic and at no point was there any real effort to pick up the pace. The initial fan enthusiasm showed you that these are some of the more popular athletes on the roster, but the match was totally phoned in. You watch Hero’s stalling in the opening minutes of his match on this show, then watch Jimmy Rave’s…then you tell me which you thought made for a better match.
SIDENOTE – Both Cabana and Rave really need to regroup and refocus as we round out 2006 and head into 2007. They both entered 2006 with a lot going for them. Cabana was tremendous showing his serious side in the feud with Homicide, whilst Jimmy Rave put in the match of his career in February with Bryan Danielson. Yet it’s all started to unravel. Cabana’s series against Bryan Danielson was disappointing, and whilst it’s been entertaining, his involvement with Jimmy Jacobs and Lacey has yet to produce any quality in-ring results…and ultimately ROH is about wrestling product. Meanwhile, the faltering Embassy has hindered Jimmy’s progress up the card, and Nana’s departure then ground it to a total halt. He’s struggling to stay over, he’s also putting in disappointing matches. Like I just said, these guys are enormously popular acts. But at best they’ve done nothing but tread water this year (arguably they’ve even gone backwards), and I think it’s time something drastic was done with them to shake them up. It’s nothing that a strong end to 2006 won’t cure though. Jacob’s turn on Cabana at Irresistible Forces keeps him occupied storyline-wise. Jimmy Rave is a tougher proposition though…
Bryan Danielson vs Delirious – ROH World Title Match
This is the third instalment of what has been a surprisingly excellent string of matches between the two. They had an impromptu clash at The 100th Show where Danielson gave a masterclass in heel wrestling. In the rematch at Ring Of Homicide Delirious proved he was deserving of his elevated spot on the card – delivering a superb back and forth bout with numerous believable nearfalls. He earned a third title shot by winning Survival Of The Fittest in Cleveland, and now he’s coming to collect. American Dragon comes into this match on the back of a defeat to Samoa Joe at Irresistible Forces.
Delirious doesn’t do his usual ring-bell lunacy, much like at Ring Of Homicide, and almost wins the match immediately with a roll-up. The initial chaining does a great job of establishing that Delirious is now on the same level as Danielson, unlike their previous matches where it seemed he was wrestling “above himself”. He tries Shadows Over Hell but Danielson has that scouted. Panic Attack scores instead, THEN Shadows Over Hell for 2. He tries the Never Ending Story clotheslines but Dragon captures both his arms and suplexes him. That was a neat counter. Despite the injured shoulder he manages to lift the lizard man into a Mexican surfboard. This is the champion’s first period of extended offence he’s managed thus far. He switches it to a Dragon Clutch but Delirious is in the ropes. The mask tassels come into play as he uses them to choke Delirious, much as both men did in the May match. Cross armbreaker applied next, which is always a useful hold considering how many of his finishers target that region of opponents. Now Danielson starts to get cocky, as demonstrated by disrespectful slaps and palm strikes as the crowd start to get behind Delirious. He sends Delirious to the floor but misses his pescado. SUICIDE FLIP BY DELIRIOUS! But he got as much guardrail as he did World Champion there, and takes a while to recover. Dragon evades the big soccer punt once (spot recognition rules) but eats it second time of asking. The Cobra Stretch is also evaded and Danielson takes Delirious over with a German suplex for 2. Delirious refuses to be superplexed, and rolls through a sunset flip into a knee strike for 2. Cattle Mutilation on the challenger but he slides backwards into a rope. Danielson is ready to go home, clobbering Delirious on the top rope then hauling him off in a colossal back superplex. MMA ELBOWS…DELIRIOUS COUNTERS WITH LIZARD ELBOWS! COBRA STRETCH, but too close to the ropes. The champion belts Delirious with big elbows but Delirious responds with a HANGING neckbreaker. Again Danielson goes to elbow smashes, but Delirious stands toe to toe with him. Bizarro Driver switched into Cattle Mutilation again. Delirious stands up into CHEMICAL IMBALANCE II! COBRA STRETCH! Just when Delirious thinks he’s won it Danielson stands up into a Million Dollar roll-up and snatches victory at 21:09.
Rating – **** – Once again that was grand wrestling from these guys. If you’re keeping score it was probably the worst of their trilogy, but some of that was excellent. I love the progression from the three matches. In the first one you had Delirious showing courage, but Danielson dominating. In the second one you had Delirious surprising Danielson with his ability to wrestle at his level. For the third clash they were basically presented as equal competitors (right through to the desperate roll-up finish), which does wonders for Delirious and shows his elevation up the card. There were also some neat references to their prior matches which is something I always try to acknowledge in my ratings because it totally makes any match seem more realistic. I thought it lacked the excitement of the Ring Of Homicide clash, and lacked the crowd involvement of The 100th Show bout as well, but there’s more than enough good stuff to see this into 4* territory.
Daizee Haze has words for Lacey. It’s not over between those two, and having seen their match on SHIMMER Volume 1, that’s fine with me.
KENTA/Davey Richards vs Austin Aries/Roderick Strong
This weekend is KENTA’s last weekend in ROH this year. He’ll be back, but not until well into 2007 so this is somewhat of a farewell for someone who’s added a lot to the roster this year. He teams with his American protégé against Aries and Strong in what some would term a dream match. KENTA defeated both opponents in singles matches in June, so the former Tag Champions will be looking for revenge under tag rules, where they have vastly more experience than their opponents. This is a big match for Richards, who comes into this weekend after back to back wins over the Briscoes.
Aries and Strong crack me up during the intros by throwing streamers for each other. Richards and Strong work the mat in respectful fashion with neither man getting a real advantage. In the end Davey bridges into a kick and that cranks the intensity up a notch. Roderick goes for the Stronghold but it’s far too early and Richards has the quickness to avoid it. AWESOME sequence between those two. Kenta comes in and demands to wrestle Aries. They waste no time STIFFING each other which brings the crowd to life. Kenta foolishly tries a headscissors and gets dropkicked in the face. Watch your tapes man. Strong tries to chop Kenta but the Japanese wrestler rebuffs that with a flurry of kicks. Stepover kick from Davey floors Strong as well. The striking from all four guys is sickening. Fluid teamwork from the former champions leads to Aries hitting a slingshot senton and the frog elbow on Davey, and for the first time one team has a noticeable advantage. Richards tries to tag out but Roddy sprints across the ring and whacks Kenta off the apron. He also tries to fire up only to have the sh*t chopped out of him again…poor guy. Finally he rolls through a double suplex attempt and gets the hot tag to Kenta who promptly kicks lumps out of Aries and Strong. Springboard double dropkick hits the mark and the match takes a 180 as it’s now Kenta in control. He stares down with Roderick and slaps him down into the corner, which pretty much shows you how badass Kenta is. His entire offensive arsenal right now is kicking and slapping Strong from assorted positions. Richards suplexes Strong into Kenta’s slingshot boot of disrespect. Finally Roddy lifts Kenta into a hotshot which catapults him all the way over the ropes.
Hot tag to Austin who flies around wiping out both opponents. Slingshot shoulder tackle from Strong into Aries’ FROG SPLASH for 2. Double backbreaker scores, but Richards drags Strong out before they can nail the chop brainbuster, allowing Kenta to fisherman buster Double A. Aries is set up over the top rope for a FLYING KNEE STRIKE by Kenta. Eventually Austin catches one of Kenta’s many kicks and executes the shinbreaking back suplex. HANDSPRING ENZI BY RICHARDS! URINAGE BACKBREAKER BY STRONG! BUSAIKU KNEE FROM KENTA! Brainbuster blocked, but Aries recovers by going THROUGH Strong’s legs into the HEAT SEEKING MISSILE! Kenta scales the ropes too! TOP ROPE PLANCHAAAAAA! Go 2 Sleep countered with Aries’ running dropkick for 2. He thinks about an avalanche Brainbuster but Richards pulls him away. DOOMSDAY F*CKING BUSAIKU! STRONG BREAKS THE PIN! He powerbombs Kenta into the turnbuckles, but Davey has their finishing sequence scouted and drops Strong with a BACK DROP DRIVER! KENTA WITH THE RUNNING SUPER FALCON ARROW! ARIES KICKS AT 2! RICHARDS TRIES A SHOOTING STAR PRESS…INTO ARIES’ KNEES! DEATH BY RODERICK! Kenta blocks the Gibson Driver with a KICK FLURRY! CHOP BRAINBUSTER ON HIM! He actually recovers in time to stop the former champions hitting the same move on Richards. Strong prevents Davey from nailing the DR Driver by chopping the back. He hoists Richards onto his shoulders for Aries. DOUBLE STOMP…KICK OF DEATH…ALABAMASLAM! 450 SPLASH! What a psychotic finishing sequence. Richards is obliterated at 24:38.
Rating – ****1/2 – You’d have to be on crack not to like this one. Everyone was totally on and it made for an absolute cracker. Seriously, from the opening bell when Richards and Strong breezed through a super-smooth opening stretch, it was obvious this was going to be good. KENTA totally brought it, and despite the fact that his moveset was almost exclusively kicks and slaps, he oozed personality, and his intense exchanges with Aries and Strong in the middle portion of the match kept the crowd on the edge of their seat. And after some solid tag wrestling you knew when the high spots came they’d be good. Naturally it was absolute carnage…with the added bonus of a rare Davey Richards SSP. Since that’s Sydal’s finisher these days you don’t see him do it too often (nor Mark Briscoe for that matter). In a year in which Ring Of Honor was totally reinvigorated tag team wrestling with some absolute classics, this match has earned a spot up there with the best of them. Go out of your way to see it…
2006 ROH TAG MATCHES YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY SEE
1) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs Bryan Danielson/Jay Lethal (Tag Wars 2006)
2) Roderick Strong/Jack Evans vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (Best In The World)
3) KENTA/Naomichi Marufuji vs Bryan Danielson/Samoa Joe (Best In The World)
4) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (Unified)
5) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs KENTA/Davey Richards (Honor Reclaims Boston)
Take a look at that list, now think about the matches that didn’t get on it. THAT’S how good this year has been for tag team wrestling in Ring Of Honor. It’s chronological by the way, not a Top 5.
Promo time at the end of the DVD is pretty limited. Konnan says he’s coming to ROH to look after Homicide’s back against Jim Cornette. He’s on tomorrow night’s show. Hopefully it goes better than his last appearances in 2002/3.
Jimmy Rave complains about the fans still throwing toilet paper at him and says something has to change now. Basically a promo to explain ROH banning the throwing of TP. Fair enough, it was fun while it lasted but it was tired and old. Plus there were shows like Chi-Town Struggle where everyone threw sh*t during pretty much every match so.
Tape Rating – *** – Ring Of Honor returns to form in spectacular fashion, and returned to the Boston area with a hell of a show. The signs of improvement where there during the Suffocation/Irresistible Forces weekend but for the selective ROH buyer, THIS is the first show after the second night of the Glory By Honor 5 weekend that simply must buy. Aside from the disappointing Cabana/Rave match everything is good (and I include the brief SHIMMER match in that). Nigel/Walters is a hot exhibition-style opener. The Daniels/Sydal vs KOW matches are good and have me really hyped for their eventual match. The 6-man fell short of expectations but was still decent, and the double main event delivered in spades with the usual Bryan Danielson story-telling excellence then a thrilling tag team contest at the top. Traditionally these first nights of a double shot act as warm-ups for night 2, but The Bitter End (tomorrow’s event) will have to do a lot to top this. Go out and purchase…it’s not quite GBH5 Night 2 but it’s right up there with all of the better shows this year. It was almost hitting the hallowed 4* mark.
Top 3 Matches
3) Matt Sydal vs Claudio Castagnoli (***)
2) Bryan Danielson vs Delirious (****)
1) Austin Aries/Roderick Strong vs KENTA/Davey Richards (****1/2)