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131 ROH Final Battle 2006 12/23/2006

ROH 131 – Final Battle 2006 – 23rd December 2006

Might as well start with a criticism – the packaging for this DVD looks rubbish. Given that this is supposed to be one of ROH’s landmark shows for the year I think they could’ve done a lot better. Beyond that, I don’t have the energy for a big long intro. Ring Of Honor is looking to end a big year for them in style. The main event will see either the end of American Dragon’s epic title reign or the end of Homicide’s ROH career. There’s also a Dragon Gate Rules 6-man, Briscoes/KOW rematch, two Jimmy Rave matches and Samoa Joe punking out Claudio Castagnoli in awesome fashion. This is the second show ROH have done in the famous Manhattan Center in NYC. Calling the action are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard (who I thought did a fine job on his return at International Challenge).

ROH VIDEO WIRE (14/12/06-21/12/06) – See International Challenge (ROH130) review for details.

Bryan Danielson and Homicide arrive (separately) and look focused/determined/confused.

Santa and some elves (Bobby Dempsey, Pelle Primeau and Mitch Franklin) come to the ring to throw out free t-shirts. The Briscoes walk out and don’t seem especially festive as they totally decimate the students to a massive pop. ‘Merry f*cking Christmas’ – Jay Briscoe. I guess it’s safe to say they’re babyfaces now. Jay challenges the Kings Of Wrestling to a rematch…

Jimmy Jacobs continues his awesome promo streak. He promises to put Whitmer and Cabana in hospital for stealing the beauty of love from him.

El Generico vs Jimmy Rave vs Davey Richards vs Christopher Daniels

It’s nice to see Generico getting more chances. He’s popular due to his work elsewhere on the independent scene, and if nothing else, his theme music is brilliant for a live audience. He’s got to have more of an upside than somebody like Jason Blade? This is a decent line-up of guys and should make up for a good opening match. Jimmy is on a hot-streak thanks to his Heel Hook, and has history with Davey Richards who beat him on three separate occasions over the course of the year.

New York is easily the best ROH crowd. The guys actually have to wait for them to calm down before getting the match going. Richards and Generico start with the luchador finding it hard to come to terms with the striking power of his opposite number. Eventually he gets the upper hand with armdrags and the fans LOVE that. If NYC is anything to go by Generico needs to be full time now. Daniels tags and shows he can throw a few armdrags himself. Jimmy tags in, but quickly scurries across the ring and tags out again when Richards comes in. Davey has to be satisfied with kicking lumps out of Generico again. Rave drags a rope down and causes Daniels to fall out of the ring, then takes advantage by driving him into the barrier. That’s him opportunistically getting into the match and he now slows the pace with an abdominal stretch on the Fallen Angel. In the end Daniels breaks that with a DVD and gets the tag out so we finally see Richards/Rave again. Davey dominates that so Jimmy leaves again. Generico gets another kicking including the ALARM CLOCK into a perfect German suplex for 2. The two guys take turns blocking finishers so Davey hits a Ligerbomb instead. Daniels positions Richards for a BME but Generico breaks the fall. He then hits a rope-running tornado DDT on Daniels for 2. Fallen Angel blocks the Brainbustah but in the end Richards, Daniels and Generico all take each other out. Rave has been hiding on the floor for ages. HANDSPRING ENZI for Daniels! YAKUZA KICK ON DANIELS! Davey grabs Generico for a CAPTURE SUPLEX INTO THE BUCKLES! He thinks about a shooting star but Daniels stops him. BRAINBUSTAAAAAAAAAAA! But Jimmy Rave made a blind tag so Davey isn’t legal! HEEL HOOK! Generico taps at 17:46.

Rating – *** –
That was pretty much a perfect opening match, and I thought it broke the mould of the archetypal ROH four corner match pretty well too in that it never broke down into a strange impromptu tag match. Generico was really over and delivered the kind of fun underdog performance that will see him cement a place on the roster. The fact that he managed to hit his turnbuckle brainbuster for the first time in ROH would suggest we’re going to be seeing him more now. However, my favourite parts of the match came from Jimmy Rave. The tip of the hat to Richards’ dominance over him in the past was nice, and the way he hid on the floor when the other three guys were beating the hell out of each other was really intelligent. Of course it’s all to save himself because (spoiler) he’s wrestling again later, but it worked well. I also hope Davey Richards gets some sort of storyline soon because for the last two months he’s been on fire and produced some really good matches. I’m sure all the talk of him being “vanilla” would disappear then.

Jimmy Rave says he deserves respect and will get it by winning the World Title. Nigel McGuinness runs to slap him in the face. Rave leaves but promises it’s not over.

Adam Pearce (with Hagadorn) to wind up the crowd. He swears Homicide won’t become World Champion tonight too That brings out Julius Smokes and Ricky Reyes and we get ourselves an unscheduled match.

Adam Pearce vs Ricky Reyes

This exists for no other reason other than to add heat to the main event. Pearce hates Homicide because he’s the guy that forced Jim Cornette out of ROH. Ricky Reyes is still technically a member of the Rottweilers so it’s logical to book this. Unfortunately Reyes can’t even get over in NYC after Pearce has pissed the whole crowd off so I wouldn’t expect too much from it.

Reyes starts with a few forearms and kicks to precisely no response, then gets 2 with a swinging neckbreaker. Pearce musters up a spinebuster but has his work cut out making anyone care about Ricky. The Havana Pitbull nails a flying headscissors but Adam acts rapidly to stop his momentum again. Reyes locks in the Dragon Sleeper out of nowhere but Hagadorn distracts the referee before he can see Scrap Iron tapping. Shane then slips Pearce some brass knucks for a tainted win at 03:21.

Rating – DUD –
It did its job in that it got heat on Pearce but that was painful to watch. Literally nobody gave a sh*t about Reyes. It’s a shame because I actually quite like the guy and coming into 2006 I had him picked as a potential breakout wrestler but it all fell apart after jobbing to Delirious at Better Than Our Best. Rocky Romero is coming back in 2007 but I’m not sure even a Havana Pitbull reunion is enough to save his roster spot in truth. When you can’t get over as part of a pro-Homicide feud in NYC I think it’s safe to assume you’re doomed.

Pearce and Hagadorn give Smokes a spike piledriver for good measure. Hopefully that means Smokes won’t ruin the main event with his presence. His selling is amusing though.

Jimmy Jacobs/Brent Albright vs BJ Whitmer/Colt Cabana

I shouldn’t need to recap the history between Jacobs and his two opponents tonight. But tonight he is joined by “The Gun For Hire” Brent Albright, who is being paid by the absent Lacey (still recovering after being spiked in the face by BJ in Chicago) to assist in putting Cabana and BJ out of ROH.

Whitmer and Cabana come out from behind their opponents to get the jump on them from the off. Albright is dumped outside and both take great pleasure in clubbing the crap out of Jimmy in handicap fashion. In the end Brent does return, but much like last night, he gets confused by Cabana’s antics. They isolate JJ on the outside allowing Whitmer to suplex him on the metal ramp. Whitmer sets up a table on the floor and has Jacobs earmarked for it but Brent makes the save before getting knocked away again. DRAGON GATE CHALLENGE SUPLEX TO THE FLOOR BY WHITMER! That spot is downright nuts. But it did give Albright an opportunity to get the upper hand on someone and at 5 minutes some semblance of tag format is instigated. He tries a crossface on BJ and Colt repeatedly has to intervene to break it. Jacobs is making frequent cameos into the ring to enjoy an advantage over Whitmer too. In the end BJ makes a totally heatless comeback and gets the hot tag to Cabana. He hits a quebrada press on both the heels for a nearfall. Repeated Flying Assholes for them too, then he motions that he wants to stomp Jimmy in the nuts much like Lacey has done to him. Albright saves with the Swinging Knee of Death into a Jacobs’ spear for 2. Whitmer gives Brent a spinebuster and collars Jacobs for an exploder suplex. He dishes out a powerbomb into the turnbuckles then a brainbuster (which after El Generico has no heat either). Cabana and Whitmer think about a Doomsday Device but Jacobs counters with a CONTRA CODE on Colt straight into a satellite headscissors on BJ. Albright then grabs BJ for an AWESOMEBOMB THROUGH A TABLE! ROLLING GERMANS ON CABANA! That’s set up for Jimmy’s senton bomb and he gets a victory at 13:49.

Rating – ** –
The start and end of this match were strong, but the “heat” segment on Whitmer just stunk the place up. The NYC fans that I’ve been praising got distracted by a few morons and the in-ring stuff just wasn’t enough to keep them interested. Despite Jimmy Jacobs’ best efforts, despite the CZW feud BJ Whitmer is still struggling to get over and it sucked the momentum out of the match. Fortunately the climax was top notch. Brent Albright looked like a total machine by destroying both opponents for Jimmy. And I’m pleased because the formula early in the match of Albright lumbering across the ring, getting clocked by BJ and Colt then lying down whilst they beat on Jacobs some more made “The Gun For Hire” look like a fool. In the end there were lots of bright flashes but not enough to cover some of the obvious flaws.

The Kings Of Wrestling head out (from the locker rooms now – since Larry Sweeney has got them backstage again). Chris Hero formally cancels his farewell ceremony for Claudio in order to accept the Briscoes’ challenge of a rematch. He also announces Sweeney as his personal agent.

Kings Of Wrestling vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe

Their match yesterday was solid, but hardly befitting of the ‘dream match’ status some fans had been giving it. But the conclusion, featuring the debut of Larry Sweeney (who will be ringside tonight) left an opening for this rematch, and the Briscoes wasted no time in killing Christmas and demanding it earlier in the show. This is supposed to be Claudio Castagnoli’s last ROH appearance before leaving for World Wrestling Entertainment.

The Briscoes chase the Kings all over ringside and the match starts as a brawl. SOMERSAULT PLANCHA UP THE AISLE BY JAY! And all that’s before the bell has even rung. Hero gets an advantage SO MARK SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULTS TO THE FLOOR ON TOP OF CASTAGNOLI! The Briscoes continue to dominate their opponents using their vast array of high impact tandem moves and fluid tags in and out. Finally Claudio holds Jay in the air going for a rana and allows Hero to boot him in the stomach. It allows the KOW to start to impose themselves on the contest for the first time and isolate Jay by doing so. Finally Briscoe manages a fisherman buster on Hero, but Castagnoli sidetracks him allowing Hero to drag Mark off the apron before a tag can be made. He rallies again though, and hauls both Kings into a double snap suplex and gets the tag to Mark. Hero takes a urinage suplex but gets his knees up as Mark goes for a springboard splash. FLYING European uppercut by Claudio then a RICCOLA BOMB for 2. Jay tags but Castagnoli hits the Match Killer on him. CRAVAT ICONOCLASM by Hero but that is only good for 2 too. Double C keeps bringing the awesome with a ROPE RUN enziguri then superplexing Jay into his partner’s flying body press. The fans are eating this up now. DOOMSDAY RANA FROM THE TOP BY THE BRISCOES! JAY WITH A FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH! Hero has to save Castagnoli as he is pinned following a splash mountain neckbreaker. He then pulls Mark down as they prepare for a springboard Doomsday Device. Castagnoli with a DOUBLE giant swing on Jay and Mark. Cue everyone wiping out everyone with big strikes. JAY DRILLER ON HERO! ALFA MARI WATER SLIDE ON JAY! CUT-THROAT DRIVER ON CLAUDIO! Jay and Hero are the first men up from that round of chaos as Larry Sweeney distracts the referee. CASTAGNOLI ACCIDENTALLY HITS HERO WITH BRIEFCASE! SHOOTING STAR PRESS/LEG DROP COMBO! The Briscoes win at 16:01.

Rating – **** –
I’ve seen this way over-rated by a few people, but it’s still a crazy match and worth going out of your way to see. Those who are calling it the best tag match in ROH this year and/or an MOTYC are off the mark in my opinion. As a dynamic, breathtaking display of tag team wrestling and four guys meshing to hit some mental stuff it’s terrific, but it’s not in the same league as numerous other tag matches this year (Aries/Strong vs Danielson/Lethal; Strong/Evans vs Briscoes, Aries/Strong vs Briscoes, Aries/Strong vs KENTA/Richards etc). These guys went out and proved why they’re basically the two premier teams on the independent scene today though.

Everyone was on their feet after that match anyway, but they stay standing to salute Claudio on his way out. But he gets on the microphone and informs everyone that he’s not leaving after all (it’s yet to be revealed as to why WWE released him before they actually signed him). He promises more chaos in 2007 courtesy of the Kings Of Wrestling. That’s where Larry Sweeney cuts him off. Apparently he and Hero already have plans for the coming year and he’s not a part of them. Hero doesn’t look too happy about it but he shakes hands with Double C before leaving with Sweeney. Looks like the KOW is dead.

And the post-match shenanigans roll on as Samoa Joe comes out and tells Castagnoli to leave in the single most awesome fashion ever – ‘this ain’t Myspace b*tch, and I’m not your friend…get out of my ring.’ With him gone he says that on February 16th when ROH is next in the Manhattan Center he wants someone from NOAH – be it Nigel McGuinness, Doug Williams, Morishima, Marufuji or even Misawa himself. Nigel comes out and says that if NOAH doesn’t send anyone else he’ll accept the challenge on 02/16. Jimmy Rave runs in to attack McGuinness, but then gets slapped by Joe for being such a b*tch. Joe suggests they have themselves a match tonight and they both seem to agree.

INTERMISSION – Gary Cappetta brings his goofy interview skills to Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn. They’re happy they’ve taken Julius Smokes out of the main event.

Jimmy Rave vs Nigel McGuinness

I’m trying to remember the last show when these two didn’t wrestle each other in some capacity. Between (and including) The Bitter End and Final Battle 2006 there have been seven shows, and these two have opposed each other in some form of match in every one bar Black Friday Fallout. Nigel initially had the upper hand on Rave but since Jimmy developed the Heel Hook submission (which he debuted by making McGuinness tap out twice in one weekend over the course of the Chicago Spectacular) he has struggled. These two will both be thinking about ending this feud and moving into World Title contention for 2007 so a win is vital here. Bear in mind Rave has already wrestled once (victoriously) this evening.

Jimmy tries to punch McGuinness from the handshake but Nigel blocks and goes on the offensive straight away. He starts wrenching the arm inside the opening minute which is fast even for him. Rave gets a knee up as Nigel goes for a charging uppercut. APRON STO follows that and the complexion of the match changes. Rave keeps it on the floor to use the rails to his advantage. Next he works the mat, grounding the Brit in order to wear him down with various holds. McGuinness gets some time by nailing the hammerlock DDT. He quickly targets the arm again, grounding Rave for a bridging chickenwing hold which brings the crowd to life. Jimmy ducks a shortarm lariat and spears Nigel, sending him to the floor again. CRAPPY WIZARD OFF THE APRON! Back in the ring Jimmy gets 2 following a swinging neckbreaker. Ghanarea is blocked so he hits another spear then the traditional Crappy Wizard to batter Nigel back to the canvas. Pedigree blocked and McGuinness connects with a lariat for 2. The final cut out of the corner scores too but Rave is still able to kick out. COBRA CLUTCH LARIAT gets 2 as well. Tower Of London also scores, but everyone in the world kicks out of that and that’s the case here too. Rave slingshots into a swinging DDT then manages Ghanarea. These guys are just trading nearfalls now. PEDIGREE…ONE COUNT OF DISRESPECT! They must be doing the Pedigree kick-outs as a rib on HHH. SATELLITE CROSSFACE but Nigel edges to safety. Saito suplex NO SOLD INTO A REBOUND LARIAT! But McGuinness takes a second too long before covering and doesn’t secure the win. Jimmy fights the Tower Of London and dumps Nigel to the floor. TOWER OF LONDON ON THE APRON INSTEAD! RAVE STILL KICKS OUT! Nigel positions him for the SUPER LARIAT…and still Jimmy Rave refuses to be counted down. Nigel tries another Rebound Lariat…COUNTERED TO THE HEEL HOOK! He taps at 17:01.

Rating – *** –
I was surprised to learn that there are people who really aren’t enjoying this series of matches between these two guys. I think they have terrific chemistry together and this was a fine third instalment in their rivalry. It’s the best match of their trio so far, but still not quite good enough to wind up in 4* territory. It was easily the most exciting and heated of them, but in order to do that they ditched some of the excellent psychology and story-telling that I enjoyed so much about the first two. That meant that there was a five minute period in the middle of the match where we saw nothing more than ‘meaningless spot – 2 count, meaningless spot – 2 count’ over and over and I didn’t enjoy it. I’d have liked to have seen Rave work the leg at any point before the finish too. I know the Heel Hook is over and supposed to be a killer move but he literally hadn’t done ANYTHING to McGuinness’ leg at all. At least Nigel tried to minimise the amount of pointless, I’ll forget about this in order to just do lariats later in the match, arm work tonight.

Rave (who has worked 30+ minutes tonight) gets the microphone and demands a World Title shot when they return to Manhattan in February.

Backstage Bryan Danielson is warming up for the main event.

CIMA/Shingo/Matt Sydal vs Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Delirious

This almost falls into the category of a rematch of the Blood Generation vs Generation Next match we saw at Dragon Gate Challenge. CIMA, Shingo and Sydal are regular partners in Dragon Gate so should be familiar with a team. Aries and Strong have recruited Delirious (a man very familiar with Sydal) to team with them against the Japanese visitors and their former stablemate. This is obviously under DG rules meaning maximum action, minimum tags.

Cima seems fascinated by Delirious, and stares at him throughout the entirety of the pre-match formalities. The bell finally rings and Delirious scatters all five other wrestlers with his lunacy. He starts with Sydal and they do the sort of super-smooth stuff you’d expect from them. They crash to the floor allowing Strong and Shingo clash – and we’ve seen them wrestle a few times recently. Strong sends Shingo out with a b*tch of a chop meaning its Aries/Cima. The Japanese man makes the mistake of trying a headscissors and gets dropkicked to the floor. CORKSCREW PLANCHA by Double A. Cima’s selling of Roddy’s chops is awesome. The former Tag Champions manage to isolate Cima and cut him off from his partners and even find the time to work in some triple teaming involving Delirious as well. Eventually Cima manages to DOUBLE STOMP Strong and Delirious and escape the ring for Shingo. Sydal helps out with a crossbody as Shingo lays out Aries with a sit-out powerbomb. He then powerbombs Matt into a moonsault on Aries. They hold him neck-first against the turnbuckle for Cima’s ass-dropkick, then Sydal scores a 2 with the Cannonball leg drop. Shingo gets a nearfall as well with his swinging sleeper slam. He leapfrog’s Sydal into a hilo, then Sydal holds Aries in place for a DOUBLE STOMP TO THE RIBS by Cima. ELEVATED LUNGBLOWER from Cima and Shingo, then Sydal hits a STANDING SSP off Aries’ back.

The combination moves from BloodGen in this heat segment have been awesome. Aries finally manages a quebrada press on Cima and Shingo and gets the hot tag to Strong. This is DG rules so Delirious ambles in too. Roderick seems to want to murder Cima with a tilta-whirl facebomb. Delirious gets 2 with the Panic Attack. Spot mayhem brewing folks. Never Ending Story on Shingo. Shingo responds by giving Delirious a TKO. Roddy dives at him with a pescado as the battle spills outside. MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR from Sydal. Cima deathlocks Aries then suplexes Delirious at the same time. DOUBLE STOMP ON DELIRIOUS! ELEVATED LUNGBLOWER ON ARIES! Roderick makes the save then hits a colossal superplex on Shingo. SICK KICK NAILED! Cima tries an Iconoclasm but Delirious saves with a BIZARRO DRIVER! Strong rolls through Sydal’s super rana attempt…SO SYDAL STANDS ON HIS SHOULDERS FOR A NECKBREAKER! KICK OF DEATH BY ARIES! CHEMICAL IMBALANCE II…Cima saves the fall! CHOP BRAINBUSTER ON SHINGO! DEATH BY RODERICK INTO SHADOWS OVER HELL ON SYDAL! 450 SPLASH! CIMA SAVES AGAIN! SHINGO LARIATOOOOOO! Doomsday Crossbody by the Japanese then Shingo gives Austin a gutwrench throw. COBRA STRETCH! Cima breaks that up as well. SCHWEIN ON DELIRIOUS, BUT HE KICKS OUT! CROSS ARM PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Cima pins Delirious at 24:03.

Rating – **** –
Much as expected, that was totally awesome. Really fun and watchable tag team wrestling for 15-ish minutes leading to countless super-hot nearfalls and lots of whacky spots that drove the crowd wild. CIMA and Delirious were the stars of the show in my opinion. Judging him by this performance and how well he meshed with CIMA and Shingo, I wouldn’t be surprised if Delirious was the next guy to go the route of Jack Evans and Matt Sydal and become a star in Dragon Gate. He’s got the style they look for and his character is so bizarre that the Japanese fans would surely love him.

CIMA once again says he loves ROH and promises he’ll be back in 2007. He’s scheduled to be back with a whole host of DG talent for Wrestlemania weekend in Detroit.

Homicide goes through his final preparations then leaves for the ring. It’s main event time…

Bryan Danielson vs Homicide – ROH World Title Match

This really does have a big match vibe to it. Homicide was awarded this title shot after coming to the aid of ROH and helping the promotion win the feud with CZW inside the Cage Of Death. But he started a feud with Commissioner Jim Cornette when he demanded Low Ki be reinstated. Cornette (with the aid of Adam Pearce and JJ Dillon) whipped Homicide for that insolence and so began the Road Of Homicide. He announced that if he didn’t win a belt in ROH by the end of 2006 he would quit the promotion. Cornette then announced that Homicide’s title shot would be tonight – the final show of the year. Meaning if he loses, he’s gone. Homicide has gone through the Briscoes (with the help of Samoa Joe), Steve Corino, Adam Pearce and Cornette himself to make it to tonight’s big title match with Danielson. And remember, the Danielson/Homicide feud stretches all the way back to 2004. They engaged in a Best Of 5 Series (which Dragon won) in 2005…and in Chicago AmDrag paid Brent Albright to re-injure Homicide’s problematic shoulder. That means that both men come into this match with lingering shoulder injuries. All the elements are there for a classic title match. Can these two deliver and live up to the hype? Will Homicide realise his destiny and become ROH Champion, or will Final Battle 2006 be his final night in a promotion he’s wrestled for since February 2002?

The commentators are having an orgasm over the atmosphere which seems electrifying even on DVD. It’s a very tentative start from both competitors, but that’s to be expected given how familiar they are with each other. Danielson is the first to go after the shoulder injury of his opponent but Homicide is able to work his way free. The champion locks in a Mexican surfboard with surprisingly little theatricality before breaking it and stomping on Cide’s knees. He establishes the first real advantage of the match and gets 2 with a slingshot suplex. Stranglehold applied, which is working the shoulder as well as choking the challenger. Homicide takes the match to the floor as that’s where he has the edge – demonstrating that by tossing Dragon into the barricade. But Danielson responds by choking Homicide on the ropes. He gets too cocky allowing Cide to hit the Three Amigos, but as he climbs to the top rope for a frog splash Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn run in. That’s enough for Todd Sinclair to call for a DQ at 10:51. SPIKE SHOULDERBREAKER on Homicide as Danielson walks out. Julius Smokes and Grim Reefa are out there to brawl with Pearce and Hagadorn. Meanwhile Sinclair gets on the microphone and overrules his original decision and restarts the match. That’s AWESOME pay-off from the Destiny match right there. But Hagadorn and Pearce have done some serious damage to Cide’s shoulder and Danielson immediately targets it.

He’s in total control until going for a top rope diving headbutt which Homicide manages to counter into a mid-air Ace crusher. He suplexes the champion to the floor. TOPE CON HILO INTO THE FRONT ROW! Cide inflicts some damage to Dragon’s shoulder using the railing before coming back inside. He uses a top rope hammerlock takedown but AmDrag fights the urge to tap out. Diving headbutt (with crowd flipping off) scores, but the wise-ass NYC fans respond by chanting ‘you’re not Benoit’. Homicide spears Danielson to the floor but gets sent into the fans himself. SPRINGBOARD CROWD PLANCHA BY DANIELSON! It’s at the point now where both guys are f*cked up and just emptying the tanks on each other. Homicide counters a back superplex then scales the ropes only to be caught up there and superplexed anyway. MMA ELBOWS! CROSSFACE CHICKENWING! Homicide’s arm drops three times but on the third time he grabs the ref’s boot to prove he’s still conscious. Is that legal? Dragon refuses to break the hold but the corrupt officiating continues as Sinclair doesn’t call for the bell. Homicide locks in the STF in mid-ring only for AmDrag to rake the eyes. Cop Killa blocked…CATTLE MUTILATION! Homicide won’t tap…MMA ELBOWS BACK TO CATTLE MUTILATION! But the challenger still won’t quit and almost wins it with a roll-up. COP KILLAAAAAA! DANIELSON GRABS A ROPE! Homicide threatens to lose it because he just can’t win the title. DANIELSON KICKS HIM IN THE BALLS! SMALL PACKAGE…HOMICIDE KICKS OUT! LARIAAAAAAT! NEW CHAMPION AT 29:26!!!

Rating – ****1/2 –
Thing is, I had a bunch of things to criticise about this match. The first 10 minutes up until the run-in were totally bland, some of the refereeing was ridiculously biased and so on. But who the hell cares? This was a super-dramatic main event that took the fans in New York on a total rollercoaster of emotions and gave them the result they all wanted with the popular Homicide title victory. It was brilliant story-telling from both competitors, brilliant booking from Gabe and deserves to go down as an outside MOTYC. Utilising little things like Sinclair reversing the DQ after he called the match too early at Destiny in June, or Danielson using the desperation low blow/small package combo he used to save his title reign against Cabana in August show the sheer attention to detail of these guys when putting the match together. In truth I think it’s one of those matches that was far better live than it was on DVD, but it still holds up. Hell of a way to round of ROH in 2006.

The locker room empties (including blasts from the past like Monsta Mack) to get the party started. You don’t see him on camera but Low Ki is out there too. Bryan Danielson sportingly hands the belt over then walks out. That’s the last time you’ll see him for months since he’s off to rehab his shoulder injury. Everyone celebrates to that annoying ‘Ballin’ song in one of the more memorable moments in Ring Of Honor history. Incidentally, I don’t think Samoa Joe looked this happy when HE won the belt.

Tape Rating – **** –
Ring Of Honor closed out 2006 with one of their top shows of the year. Go out and order it now, it’s really that simple. As if the must-see historic main event wasn’t enough there’s a tag team classic, a whacky DG 6-man and Jimmy Rave had a hell of a night with two really good matches as well. Highly recommended…

Top 3 Matches

3) CIMA/Shingo/Matt Sydal vs Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Delirious (****)

2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kings Of Wrestling (****)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Homicide (****1/2)

Top 5 International Challenge/Final Battle 2006 Weekend Matches

5) Jimmy Rave vs Nigel McGuinness (*** – Final Battle 2006)

4) Christopher Daniels/Matt Sydal vs CIMA/Shingo (**** – International Challenge)

3) CIMA/Shingo/Matt Sydal vs Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Delirious (**** – Final Battle 2006)

2) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Kings Of Wrestling (**** – Final Battle 2006)

1) Bryan Danielson vs Homicide (****1/2 – Final Battle 2006)

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