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136 ROH Fifth Year Festival: Dayton 2/23/2007

ROH 136 – Fifth Year Festival: Dayton – 23rd February 2007

It was exactly five years ago that Ring Of Honor first opened it’s doors, presenting the Era Of Honor Begins show in the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia. Now here they are in the Midwest in the midst of presenting an entire streak of shows (including international dates in the UK) to celebrate their fifth birthday. It’s pretty impressive to see an independent company get so far solely based on a loyal fanbase and an exceptional product. Tonight is the start of new World Champion Takeshi Morishima’s reign. He has BJ Whitmer lined up as his first opponent, and if he wins, he’s taking the belt back to Japan with him. Speaking of Japan, Matt Sydal makes a historic first international defence of Dragon Gate’s Open The Brave Gate championship against Austin Aries on this show. There’s also Joe’s farewell tour stopping off for a slugfest with Davey Richards and the most pimped Six Man Mayhem ever. As you can guess from the title we’re in Dayton, OH. Hosts are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

ROH VIDEO WIRE (22/02/07) – It was about this time that Gabe realised he didn’t need to produce new features or interviews to make the Video Wire a success. The DVD’s are released so far away from the date the shows are actually taped that all the online show really needs is highlight packages of recent events. I don’t think I’ve seen any new features on a wire since the Joe farewell promo.

Dave Prazak calls Takeshi Morishima to the ring for an interview with the new champion. Nigel McGuinness (who apparently is Morishima’s PA or something) comes out and announces that Mori only comes to the ring if he’s going to beat someone up. Irish Airborne (do they still have jobs?) come out and get a bigger pop than Morishima or Nigel. Stupid Dayton! They demand an opportunity to wrestle Nigel and Morishima. Hands up who fell about laughing when they made that challenge. Morishima appears from the locker room, massacres the Crists single-handedly then leaves. Lacey then brings her troops to the ring (Jacobs and Albright) and tells McGuinness to sod off. Jimmy Rave Heel Hooks Nigel from behind as the amount of characters involved in this opening segment increases again…but Colt Cabana saves leading to a tag opener.

Jimmy Jacobs/Brent Albright vs Nigel McGuinness/Colt Cabana

This is the final build up for the conclusion to the lengthy feud between Jacobs and Cabana. Tomorrow night they meet in Chicago to settle the score. The key question here, however, is what condition is Colt in after having his throat attacked with a high heeled shoe last week in Philadelphia. The team of Nigel and Colt have also made noises about re-dedicating themselves to their team this year and got off to a good start by beating the Briscoes in New York. They don’t want to blow that momentum now.

Cabana starts the match hot so Albright and Jacobs decide it’s probably best to trap McGuinness in the ring and they work over the leg that Jimmy Rave just injured with the Heel Hook. They spent literally minutes tearing Nigel’s leg apart, and show a surprising amount of cohesiveness for essentially a makeshift team. ‘Emo sucks’ – Dayton. Credit to this crowd, the ring work is methodical but they’re staying in the match and really anticipating McGuinness’ hot tag. Finally Nigel is able to clobber Albright with a McLariat and gets the eagerly awaited tag to his partner. Jimmy evades the initial attempt at a butt butt so gets wiped out with a springboard Flying Asshole instead. He flattens JJ again with a moonsault but it only gets 2. Colt 45 on Brent blocked. HALF NELSON SUPLEX into the Jacobs senton bomb but Nigel breaks the fall. 619 knee by Albright, and that sends Cabana into a Jacobs spear for another 2. One-legged Nigel still saves Colt from a spike piledriver. Tower Of London on Jimmy whilst Colt drops Albright with a kryptonite neckbreaker. McGuinness is doing a mega-sell on the leg. Shortarm McLariat gets 2. Jacobs prevents McGuinness from landing another Tower Of London, and Albright in turn saves him from the Rebound Lariat with a CROWBAR. Colt has to throw Albright’s own partner on top of him to save. DOUBLE TOWER OF LONDON on Albright, who collapses through the ropes to the floor. Meanwhile Jimmy Jacobs has ripped the strings from a guitar, and he starts choking Cabana with them. REBOUND LARIAT SAVES COLT! It’s over at 13:07.

Rating – *** –
To be honest with you I totally lost track of the legal man at the end there, but regardless I thought that was a surprisingly decent match to start us off. The pace was noticeably slow at first, and I noted my enthusiasm for the crowd who patiently stuck with the four athletes as they laid the ground work for a thrilling finale. Nigel did a decent sell-job on the leg which only heightens the aura around Rave’s Heel Hook, and there were some nifty sequences (the Kobashi-plex/senton combo by Jimmy and Albright, the Crowbar counter to the McLariat etc). This is the 5th show of 2007 and it’s already the third one which has had a commendable opening match. Maybe that’s going to be a theme for this year – strong curtain jerking matches – and I definitely don’t have a problem with it.

Time for another looking off the camera promo. Seriously Gabe, I dunno what the idea is behind this but it looks retarded and needs to stop now. Has he papered the walls behind the camera with porn or something? Anyway, BJ Whitmer (who looks retarded enough when he’s talking) says he’s earned his title shot tonight for everything he’s been through in the past year. Long, bad and unspeakably dull…

Sterling Keenan vs Jimmy Rave

I’ve still not got an answer as to why SJK has dropped the ‘James’ from his name when he’s in ROH. Not that he’s in ROH all that often though. If you talk to me you know I’m a fan of Keenan’s. I’ve really been taken by his stuff in 1PW. The problem is, he’s kind of a Jimmy Rave himself in that, whilst he can be solid in the ring, he’s never going to be outstanding and/or wildly impressive as a jobber/enhancement talent. He looks bland and like a thousand other indy guys. Give him a push/gimmick/direction and he’ll shine. Here he’ll be nothing more than job-fodder for Rave who needs to re-establish some credibility after losing two big matches last weekend (against Homicide and Joe) before going in to his feud-ender with Nigel McGuinness in Liverpool at the end of the Festival.

I think I’m in the minority that like Keenan’s new look. He’s ditched the horrible blue, don’t fit him properly tights too. Someone throws TP at Jimmy, which is vaguely amusing since it’s banned. I’m talking about this since the first minute of the match is dull. Rave keeps using SJK’s hair so finally Keenan snaps and throws him across the ring by the hair. Stinger Splash then a tarantula headscissors in the ropes, but Keenan tries running attacks once – and then two times too many and gets put on the back foot again. Spinebuster into a Regal Stretch but Jimmy finds the ropes. Greetings From Ghana blocked and Sterling drops Rave into a backbreaker for 2. Dragon screw into the Heel Hook and we’re done at 05:51. Jimmy gets a much-needed win.

Rating – DUD – Boring, and rather poorly executed as well. It’s matches like this where you really notice Prince Nana’s absence from Jimmy Rave’s corner – despite the evolution Rave has undergone in terms of ring style and charisma. Nobody cared about SJK and thus the whole thing tanked. And SJK looked lousy here – hesitant and sloppy on numerous occasions. Like I said, he’s not terrific in the jobber role anyway but he did himself no favours here. I’m sure he’ll get another look down the line because he’s a talented guy with lots to offer…but this poor showing means he goes to the back of the line again. Oh well, I’ll catch him next time I head to 1PW I suppose.

Nigel McGuinness is back in the ring and he brawls into the crowd with Rave.

Lacey vs Daizee Haze

Why is Lacey coming out to ‘Kiss2Kill’ rather than Disturbed’s ‘The Game’. Sorry Jimmy but Disturbed are better than your emo warbling. Anyway, we know these ladies have been going at it as part of Ring Of Honor’s first true female feud in their five year history. They had a terrific match to main event SHIMMER Volume 1. If they even approach that standard tonight I’ll be surprised.

Daizee isn’t her usual stoner happy self and rushes the ring to get the match going. Lacey gets sent to the floor but even then Haze isn’t satisfied – launching herself into a plancha onto both her opponent and Jimmy Jacobs at ringside. Leaving the ring turned out to be a mistake though, as Lacey drops her on the hard floor, then does more damage against the guardrails. Lacey dominates from here, stretching the Haze’s back around the ringpost then dropping her with a neckbreaker for 2. ‘She’s got herpes’ – Dayton. ‘How do you people know what my doctor says?’ – Lacey. That was awesome. She misses something in the corner but still spikes Daizee straight on her neck with a vicious back suplex. Cobra clutch into a backbreaker nailed despite the crowd willing Daizee to get back into it. Delirious is quite randomly hanging out on the crowd incidentally. Haze strings together a flurry of slaps that has Lacey reeling. She scores with a superplex but is too worn down to cover immediately and thus isn’t too close to winning. Missile dropkick misses so Daizee hits a bridging German suplex. After the damage to the neck and back it’s obviously a weak bridge. Heart Punch/Yakuza kick combo nailed, but Lacey then distracts the official. Jacobs sneaks in to spear the Haze, allowing Lacey to win at 08:18.

Rating – ** –
One of the better women’s singles matches in ROH history, but it’s still not up to much. Lacey is a superb wrestler (that is only now getting the credit she’s due) and this match was fine for sub-10 minute filler, but it’s not a patch on what these two are capable of. There’s a big debate right now about the place for women’s wrestling in ROH. Since I watch SHIMMER I really don’t mind either way. I do think it’s a shame that there are people out there who think this sort of the match is the best these ladies are capable of though. I would like to see two women (preferably one of Del Rey, Lacey or Cheerleader Melissa) get 15+ minutes to really show what they’re about though. Maybe if the SHIMMER title is ever defended in Ring Of Honor.

Becky Bayless tries to interview Delirious who is still sitting in the crowd. He doesn’t say anything though. That’s cool that they’re keeping the same interviewer for the Midwest as well now (as opposed to GMC on the east coast, Prazak in the Midwest etc).

Austin Aries can’t decide whether he wants to follow the ‘look off camera for your promos’ rule or not. He’s looking for partners to help him fight the No Remorse Corps, but first he’s winning the Open The Brave Gate title and heading back to Dragon Gate to defend it.

Jay Briscoe vs Homicide vs Christopher Daniels

This is a neat little tribute to the fact that it is five years to the day since Ring Of Honor opened its doors. All three of these guys were on the first show (Jay lost to Amazing Red, Homicide was part of the Natural Born Sinners, whilst Daniels stole the show in the famous main event) so it’s three long-time vets going at it – plus Allison Danger in Daniels’ corner and she was there on night one too. Obviously there’s also symmetry with the first show since Era Of Honor Begins was headlined by a triple threat match, and we’re getting another one here.

Homicide attacks Daniels to start but the initial stuff is the annoying triple threat style of one guy lying randomly whilst the other two fight. Briscoe busts out an awesome counter by rolling through a hiptoss into a belly to belly suplex. Homicide is shown standing on the floor doing nothing whilst Daniels and Jay fight – and that’s why I mostly hate three-ways. He finally does try to monkey flip Daniels, who lands on his feet and clotheslines Jay. He then drops Cide with a Blue Thunder Driver and things get interesting. He puts a camel clutch/Boston crab submission on both men. Trust Daniels to be the first one to attempt some three-way stuff. Homicide puts Jay in a kimura (basically totally stealing Davey Richards’ 14:59) but Daniels breaks it. The Notorious 187 still manages to string some offensive moves on both opponents and send both of them out of the ring. Obviously that means it’s tope con hilo time then. Not to be outdone, when the match spills out of the ring again Briscoe takes to the skies with a somersault plancha. Homicide DDT’s him from the second rope then hits his crappy looking senton as well. Daniels DVD’s him into the Koji Clutch but too close to the ropes. He then gets 2 on Jay with a nice charging STO. Daniels manages to knock Jay off the turnbuckles but Homicide charges up at him to hit an Ace crusher for victory at 13:03.

Rating – * – Sorry but I really didn’t like this match at all. I tend to be a harsh critic of triple threats at the best of times and this one was just everything that I dislike about them. There were SO many times when two guys would be wrestling with another guy looking like a tool standing around doing nothing. Add in the fact that at no point was the match particularly exciting, it was a spot-heavy match just without any interesting, innovative or challenging spot-work, and the finish was out of nowhere too.

Matt Sydal vs Austin Aries – Open The Brave Gate Title Match

The OTBG Title is Dragon Gate’s secondary singles title, so for Sydal (a gaijin) to win it is a pretty big deal and shows you how highly he’s thought of in Japan. This is the first time it’s been defended internationally apparently. In recent months since winning the Tag Titles Sydal has become more and more cocky. But he’s had difficulty overcoming his former Generation Next partner Aries before. He lost a really decent singles match at Arena Warfare last year, and also fell in numerous efforts to win the tag belts from Aries and Strong. He finally broke the curse and overcame that duo last weekend in Manhattan. Now he’s looking to finally get a definitive singles victory against his old leader.

It’s a fairly tentative start but that makes sense given the extensive history the two wrestlers have with each other. Sydal puts Aries in a headscissors and gets a ‘you f*cked up’ chant. I love how over the escaping dropkick is now. Although this time Austin counters into his own headscissors instead – since he knew Sydal would have the dropkick scouted. Sydal uses his speed to hit a number of nifty armdrags so Aries dumps him on his face to stop that. They have an amusing sequence where both attempt dives to the floor but neither is able to. The main storyline coming from that is that Aries is still having problems with the ankle that he suffered with last weekend in NYC/Philly. For absolutely no reason at all (as in, it looked totally fake and retarded that he’d do it) Double A decides to climb to the top with his back to a standing opponent. Sydal takes advantage and ties the bad ankle in the ropes to do more damage to it. He grapevines the leg into an anklelock to do more damage to that particular body part. Cannonball leg drop misses (I love how he announces it like a total moron) and Aries proceeds with a comeback flurry that takes Sydal out of the ring again for the Heat Seeking Missile dive. He’s not selling the ankle at all now, but does take too long to set up for the 450 Splash. Missile dropkick instead, then a running dropkick in the corner – neither of which are particularly conducive to good selling. Sydal quebrada’s into the Slice for 2 but then tries his standing moonsault whilst taking too long to showboat and gets kicked in the head. INVERTED TOMBSTONE gets 2. I’m sure that move must have a name. Wikipedia says Aftershock. Aries comes back with the kick of death then the Brainbuster for 2. Once again he takes too long to get set for the 450 though. Sydal drags him off with a standing frankensteiner. HERE IT IS DRIVER…SYDAL PRESS! He retains at 13:45.

Rating – *** –
That barely scraped into 3* territory to tell the truth, and this match wasn’t a patch on the exciting contest they put out a year ago in the ECW Arena. I liked the familiarity psychology of the early going (I think Aries is pretty good at that sort of thing) but it fell apart. The match was wrestled a pedestrian pace, and there were a couple of things which really niggled me about it. For instance – Aries’ ankle injury. If it’s legit, why can he still hit everything fine then limp around like he’s in agony? And if it’s fake why isn’t he selling it properly? I gave him the benefit of the doubt against Claudio Castagnoli at the last show but I’m not doing it twice. Sydal’s new super-cocky persona is really watchable though. There’s something really dislikeable about him and it’s finally added some personality to the guy – whose wrestling just keeps getting better too. Disappointing match though.

The No Remorse Corps come out to show no remorse on Aries after the match until Delirious emerges from the crowd to make the save. Clearly he’s annoyed at how Strong treated him in Philadelphia. ‘What he said’ – Dayton. This is a funny crowd tonight…

INTERMISSION – I think I’m in love with Becky Bayless…again. She reminds us of her Special K history…and she’s with another former Special K girl too. Lacey is happy after her win over Daizee Haze. She’s also impressed with Jimmy Jacobs as of late but wants him to kill Colt Cabana in Chicago tomorrow night – and whispers more sweet nothings in his ear.

Larry Sweeney kicks off the second half of the show with Tank Toland and Mitch Franklin (urgh) in tow. Chris Hero is touring NOAH and misses the entire Fifth Year Festival, but in his absence his ‘super agent’ has recruited Toland as his new fitness coach. Tank beats up Franklin to make a point.

Pelle Primeau vs Matt Cross vs Claudio Castagnoli vs Shingo vs Mark Briscoe vs Roderick Strong

This Six Man Mayhem is a curious mix of established top tier talent (Briscoe and Strong), midcarders with bright futures (Castagnoli and Shingo) and guys right at the bottom with a bit of a cult following and looking to move up the card (M-Dogg and Pelle). I’m still not convinced Primeau is as good as some make out, but it’s hard to deny he’s showing consistent improvement and is worthy of a place on the card now. Cross impressed so much during his limited opportunities at the end of 2006 you can expect to see him more regularly this year. You should know what to expect from the other four guys in this strong line-up. Should be an entertaining match.

Why would Pelle voluntarily start this match? He desperately tries to use his speed on Strong but runs straight into a backbreaker. Shingo and Cross have a nice exchange with Shingo’s power winning out. M-Dogg hits a sweet headscissors on Castagnoli, then fakes out on a dive on one side of the ring, only to hit a SOMERSAULT PLANCHA on the other side. DOUBLE JUMP MOONSAULT PRESS by Mark on Primeau but everyone piles into the ring for a six-way submission spot. After that it’s still Pelle trapped in the ring, and he’s swung round by the throat by Shingo. Strong, Claudio and Shingo almost get into a fight as to who gets to kick Primeau’s ass. The ease with which Shingo is able to toss him around is a little frightening to be honest. It makes it very difficult to take Pelle seriously. He’s also about half the height of Double C. Roderick acts like he’s going to hit a stalling suplex, but instead lets the crowd count then hits a stalling B*TCH SLAP instead. But the extensive beating is doing it’s job. You can hear the crowd enjoying the beating so much that Pelle is getting more and more over as a result. Claudio uses his tie to choke the poor little guy after an inverted fallaway slam from the FIP Champion. But tempers start flaring between Castagnoli and Shingo again – allowing Primeau to hit a super popular satellite headscissors and tag out to Cross. ULTRA-HURRICANRANA on Claudio for 2. Roddy drops M-Dogg with the slingshot jackhammer, but Briscoe then slingshot double stomps on his chest. Pelle hits a top rope hilo on Shingo for 2. POWERBOMB BACKBREAKER on Primeau gets Roddy his own nearfall. SPINNING ALPAMARE WATER SLIDE on Strong, but this time Shingo saves. SHINGO LARIATO gets 2. Cross hits a CORKSCREW MOONSAULT on Briscoe as the chaos continues. DEATH BY RODERICK kills Cross, and Strong then evades Mark’s springboard Ace crusher to kick him in the face. Gibson Driver on Castagnoli, but Primeau breaks the fall and gets another pop. ARGENTINE BACKBREAKER…but Austin Aries does a run in and chases Roderick to the back. SLINGSHOT SOMERSAULT HEADSCISSORS TO THE FLOOR BY PELLE! Mark dumps Shingo on his neck with the urinage then takes to the skies. SSP OUT OF THE RING! Cross thinks he can hit a dive too, but Castagnoli cuts him off with SWISS DEATH! Claudio wins at 15:28.

Rating – **** –
This certainly hasn’t been the easiest show to sit through but out of nowhere comes a crazily entertaining spotfest that will probably go down as the biggest surprise package of 2007. By giving them over 15 minutes Gabe obviously earmarked this match to be something special, but he couldn’t have counted on all six guys being bang on their game (even Strong and Briscoe, who had relatively minor roles). It was also very clearly designed to get Primeau over and give him his first really outstanding match (I think bragging rights for beating Jimmy Rave in November had expired by this point) – and it worked. He took a massive beating and Dayton became absorbed by it and got right behind him. After the isolation segment on him he was getting huge pops for everything he did. Therefore it’s Pelle that steals the headlines but everyone deserves a pat on the back here.

Davey Richards vs Samoa Joe

New HEEL music for Davey, as this is his first in-ring action since the formation of the NRC last weekend in New York. He sat that one out through injury but is healthy enough to go tonight, in one of the more eagerly anticipated matches on Joe’s farewell run. These two had a few heated exchanges when they met as part of a four way match at Throwdown in June 2006, and it was obvious that fans were interested in seeing a singles bout. Well – here it is. Better late than never I guess.

I imagine we’ll be seeing a few hefty kick exchanges during this one. It’s Davey that bridges into the first of the match just past 2 minutes in. Joe catches a leg as he tries a few more and peppers him with slaps. A jumping enzi kick by the Samoan floors Davey, who’s giving some comedy sell-jobs on these strikes here. He again clocks Joe with an enziguri as this battle continues. Handspring Enzi misses though, leaving Richards rolling around on the canvas again. Joe tries to kick him around, but Davey tries to get up. DISGUSTING KICK TO RICHARDS’ HEAD! No Remorse that b*tch! He has to roll out of the ring since he’s been knocked silly by that one. He looks good to keep wrestling though, and sends Joe through the ropes with a missile dropkick. TWISTING TOPE SUICIDA scores, but it’s never a good idea to wrestle the match on the floor when you’re in there with Samoa Joe. OLE OLE KICK with such force that he gets his boot stuck in the rails. He tries to string together four consecutive Ole Kicks, but Davey cuts it short at three then runs back into the ring to protect himself from more damage. TORNADO DDT ON THE APRON as Joe tries to return too. Clearly the kick to the head did some damage though, since Richards apparently thinks he can Ligerbomb Joe. Musclebuster blocked and Davey springs out of the corner with a sunset flip powerbomb for 2. He backflips out of the corner but Joe is still able to drop him with the powerslam, then utilises the powerbomb/submissions sequence to do more damage. Davey tries a brainbuster, but he doesn’t have the power to do that either. HANDSPRING ENZI scores second time round, and he gets 2 with a nice bridging German suplex. He tries the German again, but this time is dragged into the CHOKE! The fans think it’s over…BUT DAVEY ESCAPES! He needed to go low in the end but he survived the Choke for a long ass time first. He kicks Joe in the nuts again, again out of sight of the referee. SHOOTING STAR PRESS gets 2. Maybe if he hadn’t spent so much time yelling at the fans. He thinks about another apron DDT but gets caught. MUSCLEBUSTER ON THE APRON! You’d better believe that’s Richards beaten at 19:44.

Rating – **** –
I think the fans were a little burnt out after the wild 6MM, but that was a hell of a match – maybe even Joe’s best singles match since Fight Of The Century in fact. At the beginning it reminded of Glory By Honor’s Joe vs Low Ki due to the ferocious strike exchanges, but they included more wrestling exchanges in this match than that 2002 battle had. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse though, I suppose it depends on your taste in wrestling. Still, it was a physical match that did a lot to put Richards over in defeat (I’d go so far as to say Joe put Richards over more than Morishima). Escaping the Choke – something hardly ever one in ROH – is a pretty momentous thing. And Richards is fast becoming one of my favourites on the roster. He’s not everyone’s favourite since he’s not exactly Mr Personality and can be somewhat predictable. But for six months now he’s been really dependable and has basically put on a string of super-solid matches. Hopefully the NRC is the start of bigger things for him. A win would help too. When was the last time he actually beat someone?

Richards gets his heat back by spitting and Joe then walking off. Joe pauses to make a few amusing, if somewhat politically questionable jokes and thank the Dayton fans before he leaves.

5TH YEAR FESTIVAL VIDEO – 2006 MOTYC’s according to ROH. They have Sydal/Delirious (SOTF06 finals), Cage Of Death (Death Before Dishonor 4), KENTA/Danielson/Joe (In Your Face), Aries/Strong vs KENTA/Richards (Honor Reclaims Boston), Aries/Strong vs Briscoes (Unified), Marufuji/McGuinness (GBH5 Night 2), Danielson/McGuinness (Unified), Danielson/KENTA (GBH5 Night 2), KENTA/Marufuji vs Danielson/Joe (Best In The World) and Do Fixer/Blood Generation (Supercard Of Honor) among them. There are some amazing matches in there…

Takeshi Morishima vs BJ Whitmer – ROH World Title Match

I was going to use this paragraph to question exactly why BJ is getting a title match, but I suppose he answered that query with his promo earlier on the DVD. Either way, he’s carrying a lot of responsibility tonight. Morishima is booked in a tag match tomorrow night, meaning if BJ doesn’t win here then there’ll be no ROH Title matches at the forthcoming UK or Wrestlemania weekend shows – since Morishima will be in Japan for them. He will defend it in NOAH at the Budokan Hall though.

Once again Morishima ignores tradition and skips the ring introductions in favour of battering BJ out of the ring. The ref actually has to stop him using a chair. Maybe he just rikes hardcore…like Shingo. Whitmer tries a sunset flip like a moron and gets sat on by Mori’s big ass. Cartwheel Stinger Splash continues the assault. TWISTING ASS ATTACKS get 2. Almost five minutes in and BJ tries to throw a couple of forearms only to get pounded to the canvas again. This is just a one sided mugging thus far. Morishima eventually gets distracted by yelling at the referee though, and this allows Whitmer to hit a running knee strike to the head, then a tope suicida through the ropes. Mori’s response is to POWERBOMB HIM ON THE FLOOR! Apparently he’s given Misawa a concussion doing that. Whitmer is, of course, struggling now so Morishima takes his time climbing the ropes for the mega-missile dropkick. But BJ at last looks like mounting some offence. He strings together a DDT then a frogsplash for his first 2-count of the match, almost 11 minutes into it. He even manages to lift Mori into an exploder suplex but it’s only good for 2 as well. Wrist Clutch Exploder blocked and the champ dumps the challenger with a sidewalk slam. He gets 2 with the Amaze Impact (inverted chokeslam), then drills BJ on his neck with a sambo suplex. Whitmer hits the worst-looking German suplex ever, followed by a lariat. I’m not buying his nearfalls at all though. BACK DROP DRIVER! Whitmer gets a shoulder up, and does the same again after bumping on his neck off a big lariat. Morishima has had enough of this. BACK DROP DRIVER again. It’s over at 14:11, and the World Title is off on holiday.

Rating – ** –
That went on way too long for what was nothing more than a total squash. Morishima killed Whitmer to such a brutal extent that nothing BJ did was credible at all. Even with the supposed big near falls at the end, there was just no drama whatsoever due to the nature of the match. I get it that Morishima needed to be fed an opponent to decimate in order to establish himself as World Champion before disappearing to Japan. But this should never have been the main event of a show, and it should never have got 15 minutes. The Morishima/KENTA ROH Title match a week later in Tokyo went around 10 minutes and was miles better than this.

The Briscoes say they’re becoming 3-time Tag Champions in Chicago tomorrow night.

Austin Aries reminds somebody off camera of his history of taking young guys with a lot of talent to the top of the card – like he did with GeNext. Incidentally, Alex Shelley deserves way more credit than Aries for that. Anyway, he wants to pick up some more new talent to start a new group to feud with the No Remorse Corps. We’ll find out on the next show who he was talking to.

Tape Rating – ** – I don’t want to sound harsh but this just wasn’t a great Ring Of Honor show. When a barely above average, run of the mill, formula tag match is the third best on the show then you’ve got some problems. Joe/Richards and the 6MM were terrific matches, but everything else (bar the aforementioned competitive if unremarkable and ultimately forgettable opening match) was a disappointment. Rave/Keenan and Cide/Daniels/Jay sucked. Lacey and Daizee can do miles better. The same can be said for Aries/Sydal, and that match should’ve been one of the premier bouts on the show. The main event fell flat on its face as well. The two 4* matches are good but it’s hard to recommend spending $20 on this just to see 40 minutes of good wrestling amidst a lot of indifferent stuff. I suppose seeing the Crists get slaughtered was pretty funny.

Top 3 Matches

3) Nigel McGuinness/Colt Cabana vs Jimmy Jacobs/Brent Albright (***)

2) Samoa Joe vs Davey Richards (****)

1) Castagnoli vs Cross vs Primeau vs Strong vs Briscoe vs Shingo (****)

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