023 ROH Wrath of the Racket 8/9/2003

ROH 23 – Wrath Of The Racket – August 9th 2003

Any guesses as to what the hell this shows title means? It truly is the most illogical, nonsensical and ridiculous choice for a show name I’ve ever heard. That aside, this show really does feel like the morning after the night before. We are fresh off the back of ROH’s biggest show to date, drawing 1200 fans to the RexPlex in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Now with Paul London gone, Jeff Hardy’s appearance done and all the excitement of Death Before Dishonor written into the history books, ROH makes its Ohio debut in Dayton. It’s not the most loaded of shows you’ll ever see either. No Low Ki, no Raven, no CM Punk, no Bryan Danielson (seriously, where is he?) etc. It is, however, crammed full of hungry talent, much like Do Or Die was, so there’s a lot of potential. Christopher Daniels is also back, and he gets the opportunity to win back his ROH Tag Title. BJ Whitmer challenges Samoa Joe for the ROH Title, and seeing as he’s from Ohio, he should be a hometown favourite. Jim Cornette also surfaces in ROH tonight, for what purpose, we can only imagine. Montgomery County Fairgrounds is your venue. Dayton, Ohio our location. Hosts are still Chris Lovey and Ray Murrow.

Top 5 Rankings –
1) BJ Whitmer
2) CM Punk
3) Tom Carter
4) Christopher Daniels
5) Matt Stryker

We start things off with the Second City Saints (Colt Cabana, Ace Steel, and Lucy on camera (apparently)). Cabana is trying to find out what the Field Of Honor is. Anyway…he runs into Homicide and Julius Smokes. He asks them…and doesn’t understand a word Smokes says. Homicide says they don’t know what it is…

AJ Styles and Red next…and they don’t plan on losing to The Prophecy tonight. Styles is worried about Red’s knee though. The SAT walk in, and they check on Red’s knee as well. Red talks so quietly you can barely hear him…no wonder he doesn’t get much promo time.

Fast Eddie/Don Juan vs Carnage Crew vs Special K vs SAT – Scramble Match
Carnage Crew is Loc and Masada. Special K may have 2 teams, given that they’re announced as Deranged, Hydro, Dixie and Hijinx. Fast Eddie and Don Juan haven’t frequented Scramble Matches, but Eddie will surely fit in. He’s good at making suicidal highspots whilst botching all the basics he possibly can. Don Juan sucks like Fat Joel…so it’s all good. The Carnage Crew in particular want to get their hands on Special K after the K cheated has cheated them out of a few wins and generally acted like disrespectful dicks. Likewise the SAT…K keep winning Scrambles with them in too…

Deranged and Hydro look like the Special K team…which is good since they’re two of the most talented members. Deranged starts out with Loc, and he breaks out some armdrags…before Loc just clotheslines his head off. HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX ON DERANGED. That was absolutely brutal, and Deranged crawls out. Jose Maximo and Fast Eddie in now…and Eddie sells a kick he didn’t even take coz he’s blind. He gets dropkicked right in the face, and that’s not gonna help his vision. Masada and Don Juan now, and Juan gives him an atomic drop. Juan gets dropkicked in the face in response, then a T-bone suplex. Hydro and Joel now, and Hydro gets in a hurricanrana. Springboard armdrag from Fat Joel, who apparently is slimming down. Double springboard moonsault from Joel, then a hard ass lariat. Blind Eddie in with Joel now and gets 2 with a hurricanrana. He looks for a hurricanrana…AND GETS A SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DDT FROM HYDRO!
Code Red from Deranged to Don Juan, before Loc hits him with a neckbreaker, then an reverse flatliner. Hydro and Deranged beat on Loc in the corner, before Deranged comes off the second rope to hit a double stomp into a backbreaker. Joel and Deranged now, and Deranged’s pants are falling down. Washing Machine on Deranged gets the SAT a standing ovation. Eddie and Juan have Jose in the corner…SUPER FALLAWAY SLAM/NECKBREAKER COMBO! Masada in to give Juan a neckbreaker. The Carnage Crew look for the Spike Piledriver on Jose, but Joel saves. Masada gets super rana’d off the top. Swinging neckbreakert from Loc to Deranged, before Hydro gets 2 on him with a bridging German suplex. Hydro goes up top, but gets caught up there by Joel…Spanish Fly on Hydro, but the TWA guys boot the SAT out of the ring. Eddie upstairs…BLIND MOONSAULT INTO THE FRONT ROW! Dixie breaks the Code of Honor and distracts Loc, then again as he helps Deranged pin Loc at 09:02.

Rating – * – A few decent spots, but these are becoming tedious and dull. The SAT have not got one tiny little bit better in over 18 months in ROH and by now the matches they are involved in are becoming frustrating. Fast Eddie provided his usual combination of green-ness and lunacy which I welcomed…but aside from that it was nothing that amazing. It’s a shame because with Deranged, Hydro, Loc, Masada and Fast Eddie all in the same Scramble I’d back it to be better than that.

Special K celebrate in the ring after the match…since there’s only 4 members representing the K tonight does this still count as a rave? Jim Cornette takes the opportunity to come to the ring, and he looks pretty perplexed. ‘Do you call that a wrestling match?’ – Cornette on Scramble Matches. He says he’s here to introduce the best Tag Team in the world…and Dunn & Marcos walk out. They’re the top tag team in ROH after all. ‘I’ve taken pills bigger than you’ – Cornette on Marcos. The Prophecy jump the Ring Crew Express from behind…and that was the team Corny had in mind. They break out some Midnight Express moves in the beating…before throwing them to Cornette for some racket shots. Is that what the title of this show is all about? Cornette is in The Prophecy anyway. Cool little segment.

BJ Whitmer promo…damn he’s dull. He’s #1 Contender for the ROH World Title tonight. He gives us his life story, and says he’s making a dream come true by becoming World Champion.

Chet Jablonski vs Nigel McGuiness
We are in Ohio, meaning we’re in HWA territory…so here we have a HWA match. Winner is the #1 Contender to the HWA Championship by the way. McGuiness is English…and comes out to The Clash which is pretty cool. Jablonski looks a lot like Mark Jindrak…which is not cool. Anyway…the crowd seems to know who to boo (Jablonski) and who to cheer (McGuiness), so that’s a good start for them. Both guys have never been in ROH before, so here’s a big shot for them.

Jablonski’s manager gets on the stick and cuts an awesome promo putting over ROH. He puts over both guys, and makes sure the fans unfamiliar with the HWA product pay both wrestlers the respect they deserve…

McGuiness has a little bit of Doug Williams in him, in that he breaks out all kinds of funky chain wrestling, but Jablonski hangs with him pretty well. McGuiness is a south paw like William Regal as well, but gets drilled with a spinebuster. Big shoulder tackle from Jablonski gets him 2. Capture suplex out of the corner by Jablonski, followed up with a test of strength. McGuiness rolls out of that with ease, then gets in a couple of armdrags. Enziguri kick to the back, followed by the Regal Stretch. Clothesline from Jablonski as McGuiness argues with the ref, but Nigel goes right back to the Regal Stretch. Again Chet makes the ropes though. Rear chinlock applied, then a surfboard. Jablonski reverses by sending McGuiness into the turnbuckles.
Fisherman northern lights suplex from Jablonski gets 2. McGuiness gets a couple of nearfalls in return. Hanging inverted fishermans DDT from Jablonski (that looked awesome)…for 2! He misses a senton off the top, and McGuiness rolls him up for 3 at 06:41. McGuiness is #1 Contender for Chad Collyer’s HWA Title.

Rating – * – It was OK, but I imagine they could do better if they weren’t trying to cram everything they can possibly do into 6 minutes. There’s definitely a hint of Doug Williams in Nigel McGuiness, but he’s nowhere near that quality yet. His moveset is nowhere near as varied, and his counters, whilst nice, seem to be the entire extent of his offence. Jablonski looked alright…just somewhat generic and limited in what he can do. I sense he may go the way of Andy Anderson…

The Field Of Honor is still coming soon…

Chris Sabin vs Homicide
Nothing by way of history here, just two talented guys put together in the hopes that they’ll produce quality matches. Homicide is on a real roll recently, producing great matches with CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Trent Acid and at Death Before Dishonor and Night of the Grudges (which included Sabin) in fourways. Last time we saw Sabin was at Wrestlerave when he lost an NWA Title match to AJ Styles. I don’t think he’s actually won a match in ROH yet…so he’ll he hoping to change that here with a win over one of the companies top players. Smokes is, unfortunately, at ringside.

To the canvas and they’re both pretty quick as they trade holds on the mat. Armdrags from Homicide, into an armbar. Sabin comes back with a couple of armdrags of his own. Monkey flip out of the corner from Cide, then he looks for a tornado DDT, which Sabin blocks. Sabin blocks an ace crusher attempt as well, and hits a DVD Powerbomb for 2. Forearms exchanged, before Homicide mafia kicks Sabin down for 2. Dropkick sends Sabin to the floor, but Sabin avoids a baseball slide attempt. In the ring again, and Sabin dumps Homicide on his face, then gets a running knee to the head.
Sabin with a brainbuster for 2. He goes to the top rope and gets a crossbody…but Homicide is up first, and puts Sabin into the STF. Sabin isn’t tapping, and Homicide lets him up, and immediately regrets it as Sabin drops him with a snap neckbreaker. To the top rope, but he gets crotched by Cide. SUPER RANA BY HOMICIDE! Sabin manages to kick out of that…and comes back with the catatonic backbreaker for 2! Sabin looks for a right hand…COP KILLA! Homicide wins it at 09:04.

Rating – ** – Nothing special, but it was alright…easily a class above anything we’ve seen so far on this show. Again could’ve done with more time…since it seemed to be all spots thrown together with no rhyme or reason. In fairness, it did have to be kept short, considering Homicide isn’t done for the evening…

Homicide has words for Steve Corino as he walks to the back…

Alex Shelley/Jimmy Jacobs vs Colt Cabana/Ace Steel
This is only the second time Shelley and Jacobs have been in ROH, but they were both excellent in a fourway match at Wrestlerave, along with Tony Mamaluke and BJ Whitmer. They team tonight, and should have some continuity in doing so given that they have teamed together and fought against each other numerous times before in the Midwest where they’re from. Without CM Punk tonight, Cabana and Steel team for only the second time under the Second City Saints banner. They have got a win over Da Hit Squad under their belts.

Steel and Shelley to start and he certainly isn’t a slouch as he gets the better of Steel in the first mat exchange. Jacobs blind tags in and bulldogs Steel for 2. He hits a comic HUSS swinging headscissors, then a flying forearm for 2. Cabana tagged in, and he chops at Jacobs and hurts his hand more than Jacobs. Dropkick from Jimmy, then the dreaded bite to the forehead. Shelley back in, and they hit a double facebuster.
Steel with a cheap knee to the back, then a cheap missile dropkick sends Shelley to the floor. Cabana goes out and drills him headfirst into the timekeepers table whilst the referee is distracted with Jimmy Jacobs complaining. Steel suplexes Shelley back inside, and he’s legal now. Shelley is isolated, and he takes shoulders to the stomach. Cabana tagged, and he holds Shelley in a full nelson which allows Ace to dropkick him in the face.

‘Big move here’ – Cabana calling his own matches. Steel tagged back in, and Cabana hits a running double knee to the sternum. Backbreaker from Steel gets 2. Colt back, but Shelley drops both Saints with neckbreakers at the same time. Jacobs tagged in, and he hits a double missile dropkick off the top. Chops to both guys…the big boots to the face. Shelley joins him, and after stomps to the feet, they manage to big boot both Saints over.
Shelley has Steel on the top rope, but he gets shoved off…INTO A SICK GERMAN SUPLEX FROM CABANA! Jacobs lifted to the top rope, but he dives off into a flying headscissors on Cabana! He goes back to Steel…SUPER SPINAL SHOCK FROM ACE! Shelley makes the save there but gets caught from behind by Cabana. Goku Raku bomb gets 2…DOUBLE COLT 45 WINS IT FOR THE SAINTS AT 11:17.

Rating – ** – Dull in the early going, but got real good in the last few minutes with lots of sick moves and head droppery. Probably should’ve been a little better, but it’s more watchable stuff.

Matt Stryker vs Justin Credible
Big ovation for Stryker since he got his start in the HWA and is still a regular there. He’s also back in the Top 5 after defeating Jimmy Rave at Death Before Dishonor. Credible is a member of the Carnage Crew but hasn’t really done anything too meaningful in singles competition yet. Victory over a guy in the Top 5 Rankings would surely boost his stock as a singles wrestler on the ROH roster.

Credible is working heel here, raising his middle fingers to Stryker, then taking his time to finally get in there and start the match. Both go after the arm in the early going, and Stryker, unsurprisingly, has the edge on Credible there. Stryker backs Credible into the corner and gives him a clean break, but Credible fakes being hit, and gets Stryker an admonishing from the referee. Credible cheap shots Stryker, then slaps him around. Right hands from Stryker, and Justin decides he’ll take a time out on the floor.
He has a shoving match with the referee then gets the microphone and informs everyone that he’s walking out. Stryker drags him back from the locker room and it’s on again. Credible flies off the turnbuckles onto the apron, then gets forearmed off into the guardrail. Stryker joins him on the floor then throws him into the rails once more. They brawl out into the crowd…am I watching a Matt Stryker match here? Eventually they’re back in the aisleway, and Stryker tastes some metal barricade. Stryker sends Justin into the ringpost and busts him open. Back into the ring and Stryker looks for the DVD. Credible escapes then hurls Stryker back to the floor.

Scoop slam on the wooden floor for Stryker. Back in the ring, Credible gets sent crotch-first into the ringpost. Big boot to the face, followed by a Lionsault gets him 2. Stryker goes to the top rope…but takes a superkick to the stomach on the way down. Credible goes upstairs and looks for a crossbody but Stryker rolls through it for 2. Stryker again almost gets the DVD. Both almost nail the ref…THAT’S INCREDIBLE…STRYKER KICKS OUT AT 1! Credible looks for it again…but Stryker goes for the DVD again. Credible looks to counter with a crucifix pin…ROLLED THROUGH INTO THE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER AT LAST! Stryker wins at 11:30.

Rating – ** – Fun to see something a little different from Matt Stryker, as he just worked a complete sports-entertainment style match, but it was mostly good. It won’t be winning any MOTY awards, but on a decidedly average show so far, it didn’t bomb and the crowd ate it up…you can’t ask for more than that.

INTERMISSION – Capetta isn’t here tonight, so Les Thatcher is getting the scoops for us. He’s with The Prophecy, including new member Jim Cornette. Daniels is ending the reign of Styles and Red, and to that end he’s employed one of the top managers ever, Cornette to help them. ‘Big man…you are so hot’ – Cornette, possibly hitting on Maff.

Colt Cabana and Ace Steel are back, with Lucy (whom it is embarrassingly obvious that she is not) on camera. They see Chris Sabin, and ask him about the Field Of Honor. ‘If you’re the future…how many chicks am I gonna hook up with tonight?’ – Cabana to Sabin. Turns out Sabin has already been invited to the Field Of Honor. This makes Colt incredulous…since he hasn’t been invited yet. He gives Sabin the finger then walks off.

Elsewhere in the building, Maff, Daniels and Cornette jump the SAT and Red as they are signing autographs. They lock the SAT out of the building then decimate Red’s knee, leaving him laying in a heap. Red has to be out of the Tag Title Match tonight…

Slyk Wagner Brown vs Hotstuff Hernandez vs Scoot Andrews vs Michael Shane
Pretty unique four corner survival here, and one that I’m hesitant to call a jobber fourway, despite the presence of Slyk and Hotstuff, who are not very good. Scoot was one of the guys that ROH really focused on in the early shows, as his feud with Xavier…well it happened, I won’t go in to how good it actually was. He’s back after a long time away, and he has no hair. He needs to make an impression of his return. This is also the first time we’ve seen Michael Shane in a few shows. He was part of Steve Corino’s Group, but that was forcefully disbanded by The Prophecy at Night of the Grudges. He’s lost his spot on the roster as well and will be looking to get it back here. I think this is Slyk’s debut on a full ROH show…he’s definitely been on a showcase card before…
Shane and Hernandez start out, and Shane quickly regrets it, as Hotstuff doesn’t feel any of his offence. Brown and Andrews refuse tags, and Hernandez takes over on Shane. Spinning heel kick from Hotstuff drops Shane on his back again. Shane looks for a double axehandle off the second but gets caught. Overhead choke suplex from Hernandez gets 2. Shane finally gives up trying to wrestle, just giving Hotstuff a low blow then tagging out to Scoot. Slyk tags in as well, and they prepare to go at it. Brown gets in some armdrags. Andrews back with a monkey flip, but he gets put back on the mat with another sloppy armdrag.
Scoot tags out to Hernandez who chops away at Slyk in the corner. Slingshot splash off the apron gets Hotstuff 2. Andrews back in, and he and Slyk go to the mat. That’s not particularly interesting, so the commentators take the opportunity to discuss the Red/Prophecy situation. Brown tags out to Shane and he gets an Alabamaslam from Scoot. Brown in with a back suplex on Shane for 2. Shane tags in Hernandez who hits more plodding big man offence on Slyk.

Goku Raku stretch on Slyk from Andrews. Brown gets his face raked over the top rope, then takes a suplex. Brown tags Shane in again, and he works a chinlock. More pretty standard stuff, as Lovey confirms that Amazing Red is out of the title match tonight. Hernandez gets taken over with a drop toehold, and Scoot dives off the top rope…but gets caught in a Spiral Bomb for 2. Pumphandle slam on Scoot gets Hernandez 2. More interesting is the scoop that as punishment for their attack on Red, Daniels will have to wrestle his stablemate Xavier in Xavier’s return match, with the #1 Contenders Trophy on the next show.
Everyone has illegal submissions on each other on the ropes, but everyone breaks after 5. Hotstuff avoids a missile dropkick from Slyk…THUNDERFIRE DRIVER. Shane and Scoot tagged in and they trade right hands. Scoot grabs Hernandez and Shane, and Slyk dives off the top rope onto everyone and they’re all down. Moonsault from Brown but no-one’s there. Shane and Scoot on the floor…ASAI MOONSAULT FROM SLYK! That leaves Hotstuff in the ring by himself, and he, as usual does his suicide dive and wipes out everyone. I’m getting so bored of this guy…he hits the same spots every show and looks no more improved in terms of actual wrestling. In the ring Hernandez hits a huge Razors Edge on Brown, but Shane flies in with a missile dropkick on Hotstuff. Hernandez spears Scoot down…then blocks Sweet Shane Music…NOT FOR A SECOND TIME. Slyk lands on his head with a shooting star press as Scoot hit a Tigerbomb…Force of Nature on Slyk…but Shane breaks it. He looks for one on Shane, but gets dropped with a swinging fishermans DDT, and Shane wins at 16:32.

Rating – * – That was largely horrible…seriously. That’s been the longest match of the night, and probably the worst. The guys in the Scramble were hitting stuff cleaner than Slyk Wagner Brown. I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t like Hotstuff Hernandez…so I could live without seeing any of these guys in ROH again.

Slim J vs Jimmy Rave – Field Of Honor Qualification Match
Winner gets an invite to the FOH. Slim J is an Eminem rip-off, but he’s one of the more talented Special K members. He had a decent little match with Amazing Red at Expect The Unexpected, and is clearly taking this match mildly seriously since he has none of his fellow K members with him. Rave is STILL looking for his first win in ROH…and I really hope he gets it now, since the prospect of Slim J in a tournament to demonstrate the skills of the very best in the country is somewhat worrying…

They start fast and run through a few holds. J uses Rave’s hair to jerk him to the mat then go back to a side headlock. Big clothesline from Rave to retaliate and Slim J heads to the floor. Low blow from J, before kicking Rave into the guardrail. J looks for a dive, but Rave shoves him off the ropes, then re-enters the ring to give him a belly to belly suplex. J messes up something, but does get a cool looking cradle DDT for 2.
Slim J just kicks away at Rave’s head and gets another 2 count. Inverted DDT from Rave gets him a nearfall as well. Fake-out kick to the face from Slim J. Reverse swinging neckbreaker takes Rave to the mat again. J diverts the refs attention then nails Rave in the bollocks again. Shining Wizard from Rave almost gets him the win. STO backbreaker into a back suplex almost takes Rave into the FOH again, but still J isn’t done. Tornado double underhook piledriver out of nowhere from Slim J. He follows that up by dropping Rave on his head again…but Rave still won’t stay down for 3. Jimmy Rave gets in a German suplex. Powerbomb gets him 2. Rave into an electric chair position, but Rave escapes. Satellite Crossface and J taps at 08:54.

Rating – DUD – Complete nothing match…boring, poorly executed and generally a shambles. This is seriously one of the most substandard ROH shows ever. It’s the debut in a new area and they are putting this crap out there. Slim J vs Jimmy Rave is not going to charm a new market Gabe…

Samoa Joe vs BJ Whitmer – ROH World Title Match
After last month when Joe had to tone down the stiffness to protect Paul London’s shiny new WWE contract, this one could be absolutely brutal, since these two are some of the hardest hitters on the ROH roster – and that’s saying something. Whitmer won the #1 Contenders Trophy last month at Death Before Dishonor in an awesome fourway also featuring Dan Maff, Homicide and Colt Cabana. He gets his shot tonight, but has to do it with a broken nose…not something you wanna be sporting when you face Joe. Samoa Joe added Paul London to his lengthening list of scalps in his title reign…and after coming through the ROH’s biggest show to date with the belt, he won’t want to lose it on ROH’s Ohio debut…

BJ looks like a gimp with his face protector on. BJ goes after Joe’s arm early, but as with most people, he struggles to out-wrestle Joe. Joe puts BJ into a half crab…with EXTREME crankage. Both men back up, and they trade big kicks to the leg. Joe wins that…but BJ gets right back up and forearms Joe to the mat. VICIOUS bitchslaps…and for some insane reason Whitmer decides to take his face guard off. E HONDA SLAPS FOR THAT! Whitmer still keeps fighting though, and he plants Joe with a back suplex…for just 1. BJ follows Joe into the corner and gets STO Slammed for his foolishness.
Chop/kick combo rocks Whitmer, then a knee drop gets a 2 count. Whitmer looks for a lariat…URINAGE FROM JOE! BJ rolls to the outside, and naturally Samoa Joe follows him. Whitmer manages to send Joe into the barrier three times…but still Joe fighrs back. He just launches BJ headfirst into the guardrail, and conveniently enough there’s a chair right there. WHAM – OLE OLE KICK! BJ taken around the ring to another chair. WHAM – A SECOND OLE OLE KICK!

Whitmer somehow hauls himself back into the ring, but Joe is dominant now. Joe looks for the Island Driver…but BJ scores with a superkick out of nowhere. Whitmer goes to the top rope and gets a diving forearm to the back of the head for 2. Snap suplex, rolled into a northern lights suplex from the challenger. Kicks to the spine, then a big kick to the chest keep Whitmer in the ascendancy. He looks for the Exploder ’98…KNEE STRIKES FROM JOE…CHOKE! CHOKE OUT OF NOWHERE! Whitmer makes the ropes to escape that. Rolling cradle from Joe gets 2. He looks for a lariat…EXPLODER ’98 FROM WHITMER…BUT JOE KICKS OUT!!! HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX – DANGEROOOOOUUUUUS! STILL NOT ENOUGH TO PIN JOE! Whitmer unleashes knees to the head. ENZI FROM JOE…THEN A GERMAN SUPLEX! DRAGON SUPLEX…STRAIGHT JACKET GERMAN! BJ is done at 12:20.

Rating – *** – Finally a good match to get my teeth into. It wasn’t the best Samoa Joe title defence, but anything Joe does at the moment is almost guaranteed to be good. He’s putting his all into every match, bumping like a maniac and delivering the type of brutality it’s just impossible not to like. He’s in BJ’s hometown and he got way more cheers than poor Whitmer. Not a classic, but after what’s gone before it, it might as well be Misawa vs Kobashi…

Colt Cabana and Ace Steel ask Nigel McGuiness and ask him where Feinstein is. They don’t understand his English accent and move on. Their comedy capers take them towards Dunn & Marcos, who threaten to rock them like a hurricane for being called ‘NEEEEEEEEERDS’ by Ace Steel. Cabana geeks it up big style during this…the guy is genius…

It’s time for the Main Event, and AJ Styles has been told he can pick any partner he wants to face The Prophecy tonight…much like he could when he won the belts from Daniels and Xavier in the first place…anyway, he’s chosen Homicide…

AJ Styles/Homicide vs Christopher Daniels/Dan Maff – ROH Tag Title Match
Match of firsts here, as both sides are teaming up together for the first time. Homicide is coming to AJ’s aid despite having already wrestled once tonight, and this is the first time they’ll have teamed together in ROH. This is also the first time Maff and Daniels have been in Tag competition together, although they did team up together in a 6 Man Tag at Night of the Grudges. Definite history here, as Styles and Red defeated Daniels and Xavier for the title, and Daniels knows to have all the power in ROH, The Prophecy have to have all the gold. He’s also squared off against AJ Styles before in ROH (most notably at Road To The Title and Scramble Madness) so he’s more than familiar with Styles’ work. There’s also an issue between Homicide and Maff still to be settled, as Maff turned his back on his trainer, Homicide, and joined The Prophecy at Epic Encounter. He faces Low Ki next show…so he could be in for a rough week…

Styles and Homicide rush the ring and we’re underway. They brawl on the outside, with Homicide getting some shots in on Maff, whilst AJ batters Daniels. Styles and Homicide send The Prophecy into the front row…STEREO SOMERSAULT SENTONS INTO THE FRONT ROW! Maff takes a chair to the head, before Homicide goes after Cornette. Styles and Cide with a rowboat on Cornette and Allison Danger.
We finally get a semblance of order, as we have Daniels and Homicide in the ring. Homicide nails a belly to belly. Daniels tags out to Maff, but he gets armdragged. Styles in now and he hits a nice powerslam for 2. Nip up hurricanrana on Daniels, before he tags Homicide and they hit a double back body drop. Awesome wheelbarrow suplex from Homicide, before Danger grabs his leg and distracts him. Maff takes the opportunity and gets in a suplex of his own, then a big knee to the side of the head. Cide takes a bootscrape, but avoids the cannon ball…RUNNING FACEWASH!

Maff makes a tag to Daniels and he gets a dropkick in on Homicide. Jumping heel kick follows that. Maff back in, and this time he hits the cannonball. Daniels tagged and they hit a double flapjack. Abdominal stretch locked in…and Daniels grabs Corny’s tennis racket for extra leverage. Maff back in and he works over Homicide’s leg. He distracts the ref whilst Danger chokes him over the ropes. Daniels back in, and he drops Homicide with the flatliner, into the headscissors crossface. Maff stops AJ from making the save, so Homicide has to fight to the ropes. Daniels to the top rope…Rocket Launcher missed!
Styles finally tagged and we all know what happens next. He looks for the quebrada…COUNTERED INTO A GERMAN SUPLEX FROM MAFF! Styles comes right back, but can’t get the Styles Clash on Maff…QUEBRADA INVERTED DDT! Blue Thunder Driver from Daniels, but Styles somehow kicks out. Urinage slam…DOUBLE JUMP MOONSAULT GETS 2! Styles misses an enzi kick…BUT GOES RIGHT INTO A MOONSAULT KICK! Cradle facebuster from Maff to Styles, and this time they hit the Rocket Launcher, but Homicide makes the save. SUPER ACE CRUSHER ON DANIELS! Cide slaps the STF on Daniels, and Maff has to break that. HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON CIDE! Maff clotheslined to the floor…where he brawls with Julius Smokes. HOMICIDE LOOKS FOR A TOPE…AND WIPES OUT SMOKES! YES!! Maff moved, but he tastes guardrail for that. Homicide looks for the Cop Killa on Daniels…COUNTERED INTO THE ANGELS WINGS…BUT AJ MAKES THE SAVE! Daniels shoves Styles into the referee…and Cornette throws Daniels the tennis racket. AJ ducks the racket shot…STYLES CLASH ONTO THE RACKET! FEEL IT’S WRATH! It’s over at 18:19.

Rating – **** – Finally a match on this card actually delivers. Most of the night was geared around hyping this match, so I’m glad at least one match actually breached 4*. The last 5 minutes were wild, as the tag format went out the window and they broke out all the high spots. It’s not the best tag match ROH have ever delivered, but on this show it’s fantastic stuff…

Cornette is irate…but offers Daniels and Homicide handshakes. Maff and Daniels can hardly believe that. The Prophecy argue, and Corny is pissed that Daniels and Maff made him a loser. Daniels jumps Cornette, before Maff joins the assault. Red limps to the ring and blasts Maff and Daniels with the racket…before Maff nails him with a SICK chopblock. Samoa Joe arrives and beats the sh*t out of both of them…remember Daniels is right in the hunt for his ROH title.

Homicide promo, and he calls Corino a pussy again. He still wants one last match with Corino…and wants to know how Corino can look his son in the eyes. Smokes chatters like a monkey in the background…

Samoa Joe next, and he’s still ROH Champion. No matter what anybody sacrifices, they can’t beat him – he’s still Champion. He wants a rematch with Low Ki, since Ki still holds a win over him at Glory By Honor. He also wants Daniels, and damn when that match happens it’ll be an explosion.

Steve Corino next, and this promo was obviously taped at the next show, but lets suspend disbelief here. He’s furious that Homicide brought his son into this. He’s coming back to ROH one more time and shut Homicide up once and for all. I LOVE this promo…Corino at his finest.

Colt Cabana and Ace Steel finally catch up with Rob Feinstein. Feinstein is on the phone to a young boy, but Cabana cuts him off. Feinstein confirms it is a tournament, and confirms that Cabana is invited. Cabana and Steel walk off in celebration…and someone jumps the camera man (ie Lucy) from behind. A piece of paper says ‘Rust Never Sleeps’…and we’re done.

Tape Rating – ** – Very weak show…I’d go so far as to say it’s possibly the weakest show ROH have ever put on. The undercard is woefully poor, and it’s only the performances of Joe, Whitmer, Styles, Homicide, Daniels and Maff that save it from complete sucktitude. It’s also a show focused far more on storyline development than on in-ring product, as we get all of the Cornette stuff (which was kinda rendered pointless when he ditched The Prophecy at the end of the show), and all the Second City Saints stuff. Still, that Lucy attack is pretty significant for future shows…I’d definitely recommend this tape for completists only.

Top 3 Matches
3) Colt Cabana/Ace Steel vs Alex Shelley/Jimmy Jacobs (**)
2) Samoa Joe vs BJ Whitmer (***)
1) AJ Styles/Homicide vs Christopher Daniels/Dan Maff (****)

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