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033 ROH The Battle Lines Are Drawn 1/10/2004

ROH 33 – The Battle Lines Are Drawn – 10th January 2004

Welcome to ROH in 2004 proper. The ROH/JAPW show (which took place the previous night) was tolerable viewing but nothing more, but now ROH truly begins 2004 with a mouth-watering main event. The Second City Saints and The Prophecy have been on a collision course for a long time and tonight we get their first confrontation in a 6-Man Tag. Samoa Joe challenges the Briscoes for the Tag Title for a second time, this time with Bryan Danielson as his partner, and two of ROH’s MVP’s for 2003, AJ Styles and Homicide meet in a dream match. We’re in Wilmington, OH for the first time tonight. Hosts are Chris Lovey and the debuting Chris Nelson.

Top 5 Rankings
1. vacant
2. Matt Stryker
3. AJ Styles
4. John Walters
5. Bryan Danielson

The Prophecy open the show, and Daniels talks about how they took The Group out in one match. BJ is no more charismatic alongside Chris Daniels, but his bickering in the background with Dan Maff is comical. Point is…they’re taking the Saints out tonight as well

SAMOA JOE’S RING – Joe takes a jobber and demonstrates the abdominal stretch. American Dragon turns up with his own jobber and they try to one-up each other with how well they can work holds. Danielson says he’ll be the next ROH Champion when he gets a shot…INTENSE. Joe offers a handshake, but Dragon won’t be shaking hands until he has a World title match.

Matt Stryker vs Alex Shelley

This is a demonstration of the new Pure Wrestling Title matches, as the 3 rope break rule is in effect. This means each wrestler has three rope breaks, and when they’re used up submissions in the ropes are all legal. Stryker won the Field Of Honor last time we saw him…so naturally now he’s working the first match. Alex Shelley had a few decent matches in 2003, but never really earned a full-time spot. He’s ready to break out in 2004…and matches like this are his chance to shine.

We open up with them trading arm holds. Shelley works a wicked abdominal stretch, one that even Joe and Dragon would be proud of. Stryker goes to the ropes and uses his first rope break to escape the hold. Armdrags from Stryker, then a spinebuster for 2. Stryker looks for a cross armbreaker, and Shelley roles to the ropes to block that, and both now have 2 rope breaks left. Shelley takes Stryker down and puts him in a full nelson using the legs. Rolled into a hammerlock before Stryker finally escapes. Dropkick from Shelley, they a nice hurricanrana, but Stryker rolls out of a chinlock right back to an armbar.

They trade roll-ups but neither man can hold his opponent down for 3. Shelley goes to the top AND TAKES THE SABIN BOTCH POWERSLAM! Shelley grabs the ropes to break the pinfall, meaning he’s down to just one rope break. Stryker catches Shelley on the top again…and gives him a dragon screw off the top. Horse collar from Stryker, but Shelley manages to escape without using his last rope break. Stryker continues the pressure on Shelley’s leg, working a version of a deathlock, even whilst they trade chops. Shelley finally escapes but he can barely walk, and takes a clothesline for 2. Enziguri from Shelley buys him some time but Stryker comes right back and goes for the leg. Neckbreaker over the knee from Shelley, which was foolish because he hurt his bad leg. Goku Raku neckbreaker from Shelley…into a bridging Goku Raku camel clutch! Shelley traps Stryker into a choke on the ropes…which costs Stryker a rope break apparently, meaning he’s down to one rope break. Shelley goes to the top rope but his knee gives way and he falls to the mat. Stryker puts him in the Strykerlock and Shelley uses his last rope break to free himself. Strykerlock locked in again…and Shelley taps at 14:25.


Rating – *** –
Enjoyed it…a lot actually. It gave a real purpose to Stryker’s aimless work of the arm at first because he can work holds just to cost his opponent rope breaks, then go to the leg and set up for the Strykerlock as the match progresses. Decent performance from Shelley as well, particularly in selling the knee.


Nigel McGuiness vs Cody Hawk – HWA Heavyweight Title Match

No ring entrances on this tape mean we jump straight to this match. Last time we were in Ohio back in August we saw Nigel become #1 contender for the HWA Title by beating Chet Jablonski. Back in Ohio, it’s Nigel making his third appearance in ROH, and this time he’s defending the HWA Title. Cody Hawk, kinda like Jablonski actually, is a big chap, so it’ll be interesting to see how he meshes with Nigel’s mat skills.

We get some chain wrestling to start of course, and despite being a big guy, Hawk nicely works the arm, complete with kicks to the ribs, despite Nigel rolling around all over the place with the British wrestling shiznit. Nigel finally breaks it with an awesome flip off the ropes into an elbow to the head. Rolling armdrag from McGuiness, before Cody goes for a couple of quick pin attempts. Nigel goes for a headbutt, then clotheslines Hawk to the floor. He drills Hawk’s shoulder into the ring post, but McGuiness’ head takes a plastering into the ring post, and he’s busted open. To the top rope, and Cody drags him off the top WITH A MUSCLEBUSTER! McGuiness kicks out at 2…but then gets an electric chair drop out of the corner! Piledriver from Hawk as he continues to attack Nigel’s bleeding head…but Nigel gets a foot over the ropes before the three. Nigel tries to pin Hawk out of nowhere but only gets 2. Nice over the shoulder sidewalk slam (??) from Hawk gets another 2…and he is a powerful guy! McGuiness again rolls him up out of nowhere, and Nigel retains at 07:31.


Rating – ** –
Perfectly watchable and the blood made it a lot more interesting than it had any right to be. Hawk looked decent for a powerful guy (again not unlike Jablonski actually) although his Musclebuster was pretty tame compared to Joe’s. Normally I dislike roll-up finishes as we all know, but this one worked well in the context of the match – as Nigel out-wrestled a stronger guy to take the fall.


GOOD TIMES, GREAT MEMORIES –
Colt Cabana brings in Ace Steel as his guest – CM Punk will be his guest next week. Ace Steel won a bowling tournament when his mother when he was young, and they reminisce together on bowling…and Colt Cabana being hopscotch champion. Feinstein sends in a small boy (I’m not touching it) to bring in Ace’s bowling trophy. CM Punk FINALLY makes an appearance on GTGM, but he is NOT happy. He wants them to be serious…and I think he’s succeeded. AWESOME rallying promo. Meanwhile the newest Saint, Tracy Brooks (from TNA) is in the background looking HOT!

Chris Sabin vs Jimmy Jacobs – Pure Wrestling Title Tournament Qualifying Match

At the Second Anniversary Show in February there will be a tournament to crown the first Pure Wrestling Champion, and the winner of this is guaranteed a spot in the tournament. For Sabin, entry to that would be a good way to redeem himself after a less than fantastic Field Of Honor performance. Jimmy Jacobs, like his friend/rival Alex Shelley, has been on a few ROH shows, has looked impressive but has yet to guarantee his spot. Obviously getting in the tournament would be a good place to go for him…

Stiff forearms from Jacobs, then he takes Sabin down into a Fujiwara armbar. E HONDA CHEST SLAPS FROM JACOBS! They accelerate, going through some rapid back and forth exchanges before pausing for a ‘HUSS’ chant from the crowd. Dropkick from Sabin gets 2. He sends Jacobs’ head into the corner, which has no effect on Jacobs, who does it himself then bites Sabin in the face. Suplex followed by a knee drop gets 2. If Nelson calls Jacobs ‘Bruiser Brody-lite’ once more I’ll scream. HUSS camel clutch from Jacobs which Sabin eventually escapes. Sabin in off the apron with a springboard dropkick, and Jimmy bails to the floor. Jacobs goes HARD into the guardrail, then gets rolled inside for 2. Goku Raku surfboard from Sabin, but he has to release that since he almost pinned himself.

STO into the turnbuckles from Jacobs, and now both men are down. Sabin gets taken down with a clothesline, then a neckbreaker…THEN a diving forearm for 2. Jacobs looks for the big boot but misses…then takes the Catatonic backbreaker. Jacobs comes off the second rope with a swinging headscissors, and follows that up with an UNPRETTIER for 2! Jacobs dives off the ropes again but he gets CAUGHT then brainbustered by Sabin. Final Cut from Jacobs before he goes to the top rope again. He goes for a senton splash BUT SABIN GETS THE KNEES UP! Dragon suplex from Sabin gets 2. Sabin gets caught on the top rope and nailed with a big boot. Jacobs to the top rope with him…SIT OUT POWERBOMB FROM THE SECOND ROPE! Sabin wins at 10:45.


Rating – *** –
Lots of nice, high impact offence here, and this honestly was as entertained as I’ve been by Chris Sabin in ROH. Jacobs is so much fun in the ring as well, it’s hard not to enjoy this match for what it was.

Jimmy Rave vs Caprice Coleman vs Rainman vs Todd Sexton

Three debutants here, as Jimmy Rave is joined by three of his NWA-Wildside chums. Coleman looks like a funkier Shelton Benjamin…Todd Sexton looks like he’s a Special K reject, whilst Rainman looks like “Homicide-lite” (I do not like Chris Nelson, and it’s only been 3 matches). Having picked apart what they look like…lets see what they do in the ring.

Rainman is pretty over, but it’s Rave and Sexton to start. Neat little exchange on the mat before Coleman and Rainman come in. Coleman breaks out the boxing stylings and punches Rainman to the floor. He teases a dive, but Rave blind tags in TO HIT A SPRINGBOARD PLANCHA! SEXTON GIVES HIM A NECKBREAKER OVER THE MIDDLE ROPE! Rainman hits a heel kick on Sexton, and tags in Coleman to hit a springboard reverse heel kick. Swinging Edge-O-Matic from Caprice gets 2. Coleman misses some kicks and Sexton takes him over with a fisherman suplex. Rave tags in with Sexton and Rave hits a messy rana. Piledriver on Rave…but Rainman comes off the top with a flying elbow for 2. Back suplex into a sidewalk slam gets 2. Belly to belly suplex from Rave, and we get Coleman and Sexton tagged in. Figure 4 from Sexton, until Caprice rolls it over. Rainman puts him in a camel clutch as Rave puts Sexton in a bridging hammerlock, and the ref has to break that up.

Rainman back drops Rave to the floor…SUICIDE DIVE FROM SEXTON! SOMERSAULT SENTON FROM RAINMAN! Caprice Coleman is left in the ring…HIIIIIIIIGH SPRINGBOARD PLANCHA WIPES EVERYONE OUT! Rave is suddenly back in the ring, and walks right into a superkick from Sexton. Coleman breaks the pin with a springboard leg drop off the ropes. TKO from Coleman, and now Rainman makes the save. Rydien bomb from Rainman to Coleman, but he gets the STO backbreaker, then a head and arm suplex from Rave. DDT from Sexton and Rave has to he saved by Rainman. Back suplex atomic drop from Rainman. TORTURE RACK PILEDRIVER FROM COLEMAN…and Rave saves at the last possible second. Rave tosses Caprice out…Crappy Wizard on Sexton, and Rave picks up the win at 09:52.


Rating – *** –
Total spotfest, but I enjoyed it. I really liked Caprice Coleman’s stuff, as he looked really fluid and natural in there…and even Rainman looked more impressive than Rave ever has. Have ROH been bringing in the wrong guys out from Wildside? Sexton looked no better than Rave however…and at times didn’t seem to have Rave’s ability either…count me a little disappointed in him. Nice exhibition of what all three are capable of, and I hope to see more of Coleman, and possibly Rainman too.

AJ Styles congratulates Rave backstage…and tells Rave that now he’s ready for AJ himself!

AJ Styles vs Homicide

Total dream match here, as the two men who put on more quality matches than anyone else (bar perhaps Samoa Joe) meet one on one for the first time in ROH. No feud as such, so there’s not a lot to say here. Both lost significant matches at War Of The Wire, as Styles lost an ROH Title match to Joe, whilst Homicide lost in the War Of The Wire itself against Steve Corino. AJ recovered though – with a win over Kaz Hayashi at Final Battle 2003. Homicide, meanwhile got dropped on his beat then beaten by Satoshi Kojima.

Armdrags both ways as we start fast and hard. Homicide goes for an early Cop Killa…so AJ goes for an early Styles Clash! Homicide rolls to the floor and naturally they get applause for that exchange. Picture freezes for a few seconds so match-time will be a little out. Homicide jaws with the fans as Lovey points out Smokes isn’t at ringside, which is such a tragedy. Homicide works a tight headscissors, and AJ has to get to the ropes to break that. AJ hits his perfect dropkick, then gets in more armdrags. AJ works an armbar, and even with Homicide punching him in the face he manages to keep hold of an arm wrench. Homicide goes to a headlock…AND GETS A HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX!

Homicide goes to the floor…and sidesteps a baseball slide attempt then slams Styles into the crowd barrier. AJ leapfrogs over a charging Homicide, and he crashes headfirst into the barrier. Styles whipped, but he jumps the barrier…SUPERKICK SCORES! I love that spot so much. Knee drop from AJ gets 2. Front dropkick from Homicide sends AJ into the corner for some HARSH bootscrapes. Homicide takes Styles to the top ropes…DOUBLE UNDERHOOK SUPERPLEX!

Homicide looks for a superplex again, but gets shoved off. AMAZING crossbody from AJ gets 2. Homicide ducks the discus lariat and NAILS the ace crusher. Chinlock applied…then he scores with a belly to belly once Styles escapes. Big right hand from Styles connects, but Homicide rolls through a German suplex attempt. Homicide looks for the American Wizard…CAPTURE BACKBREAKER FROM AJ! Pumphandle ribbreaker from Styles since Homicide didn’t go all the way round, and that will definitely set Cide up for the Styles Clash. Homicide looks for a hiptoss, but AJ catches him in an abdominal stretch – is everyone trying to out-do Joe with one of those tonight? Dragon screw from Homicide…then a bridging T-bone suplex for 2.

Homicide tries to whip AJ, but gets caught and hot-shotted over the ropes. A big kick to the ribs sends Homicide to the outside. AWESOME near-miss sequence on the apron until Homicide sends AJ to the floor…TOPE CON HILO AND HOMICIDE JUST LANDED SQUARE ON THE F*CKING GUARDRAIL! How is this man not dead people? Homicide refuses to let the ref stop the match but he is limping badly. Cide is completely carrying his right arm next to him…then gets caught with a swinging over-the-back backbreaker! Homicide onto AJ’s shoulders…and he almost drops into a Cop Killa! Low blow from Homicide, then a piledriver for 2. Homicide comes off the top but misses a diving headbutt, which hurts his ribs and back even more. DISCUS LARIAT FROM AJ! To the turnbuckles again, and Homicide blocks a superplex attempt, but then takes the overhead kick – NO SOLD! Yakuza kick from Homicide…and now both men are down. They get up and decide it’s time to beat the crap out of each other with forearms. STYLES CLASH SCORES! AJ wins at 21:42.


Rating – **** –
Absolute quality match, with great psychology all the way through. AJ worked the ribs and back to set up for the Styles Clash, whilst Homicide worked the neck and head in preparation for the Cop Killa. This also featured possibly the sickest tope con hilo ever, and how Homicide isn’t crippled I really don’t know. So much good stuff about this…ROH has it’s first classic in 2004.

INTERMISSION – Les Thatcher (since we’re in Ohio) has the Carnage Crew with him. Special K apparently have a new member, but Loc and DeVito don’t seem to care. They’re still furious about DeVito’s daughter trying to get into the rave scene and K are gonna take a beating.


Special K vs Carnage Crew/Dunn & Marcos – Scramble Match

Special K are being represented by Joey Matthews, Slim J, Hydro and Dixie. The Carnage Crew/Special K feud got even more intense at Final Battle 2003 when it was revealed DeVito’s daughter has been out raving and someone gave her ecstasy. They had a pretty violent match on the convention card that night, which had to be stopped due to Special K’s blood loss. Their war even spilled to Collision Course last night when Special K jumped Justin Credible, prompting Loc and DeVito to save, then to challenge K to Scramble Cage II next time they’re in the RexPlex in Elizabeth, NJ.

Joey and Marcos start, with Matthews not exactly being the most popular man in the ring tonight. It’s almost 90 seconds before they actually touch each other. Joey throws Marcos away then air guitars. Marcos shoves Matthews away next then mocks his taunt. Monkey flip from Marcos, then some armdrags. DeVito tagged on and he manages a dropkick on Joey. Slim J in with a diving headbutt to the back. Iconoclasm from DeVito…then some DISGUSTING crossfaces. Big hiptoss sends J all the way across the ring, followed by a back body drop. Hydro in and he takes the Carnageplex. Dunn and Dixie next and they fight on the floor meaning the Carnage Crew can continue beating on Loc. Double Boston crab/armbar submission on Hydro and Slim J…and the RCE arrive to put submissions on Joey and Dixie as well.

On the floor Dixie gets a drop toehold into the guardail…as DeVito takes a few shots on the newest Special K member – Mellow. Mellow goes comes off the top with a somersault senton, as Dunn & Marcos clothesline Joey to the floor. Everyone’s brawling…SO IT’S TIME FOR A STAAAAAAGE DIIIIIIIVE! Slim J goes to the top for a CORKSCREW PLANCHA!

Joey Matthews comes back inside with DeVito and he misses with a chair shot. Chair opened in the middle of the ring, and DeVito takes a drop toehold right onto it. He’s busted open and Marcos makes the save for him. Inverted DDT drops Marcos, and Loc stops the pin. Swinging neckbreaker on Joey, and J has to save. Swinging ace crusher on Loc, and in comes Dunn to save. Gory driver on Slim J, and now it’s Hydro’s turn to save. German suplex levels Dunn, before Marcos comes in with an enzi kick. Dixie is bleeding from his brawl with DeVito on the floor, but he gives Marcos a Side Effect for 2. Ironically, one of Matt Hardy’s best friends (Joey Matthews) is back…and he gets the assisted Sliced Bread #2 from the RCE. Headscissors from J, and Hydro almost puts Dunn away with a clothesline.

Carnage Crew back…and Dixie takes the splash mountain bomb/neckbreaker combo. That would be a won but the referee is pulled out…AND ABYSS WALKS INTO THE RING! TORTURE RACK DROP ON LOC…and Slim J pins him for Special K to steal another win at 12:58.


Rating – *** –
Great Scramble, really conveying the intensity of the Special K-Carnage Crew feud…and highlighted by Abyss making his ROH debut. Good work from all for K guys, as they actually hit everything cleanly and made this a competitive bout.

Abyss gets sent back into the ring…BLACK HOLE SLAM ON DEVITO! PRESS SLAM ON MARCOS! CHOKESLAM ON DUNN! Special K’s newest member is Abyss! He gives Dunn the Black Hole Slam just to make the point that he’s a bad ass.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Samoa Joe/Bryan Danielson – ROH Tag Title Match

Samoa Joe and the Briscoes are still at war of course, and after failing to win the belts with AJ Styles back at The Conclusion, he’s having another crack with American Dragon here. Both challengers scored singles victories over the Briscoes at Final Battle 2003, with Jay being forced to tap out to the Cattle Mutilation and Joe choking Mark Briscoe out in an ROH Title match. Cornette was supposed to be back in the Briscoes corner tonight, but he’s not here. Can Joe and Dragon co-operate and function as a team given that we know there’s heat between them – since Danielson wants an ROH Title shot.

Mark and Danielson start and that pretty quickly turns aggressive. Dragon with a crossface chickenwing on poor Mark, who is getting unmercifully stretched. Jay comes in and Danielson puts him into a NASTY bow and arrow stretch. Dragon is thus far looking particularly brutal tonight. Speaking of brutal, it’s time for brutality defined – Samoa Joe. Joe demonstrates his abdominal stretch again…then takes it into a side headlock much like he showed us earlier. Big crossfaces from Joe, then a camel clutch. Neck crank from Mark, but Joe counters easily into a headscissors on the mat. Headbutts to the arm, before he wraps it in the ropes and lets Dragon drop it over the top rope. Danielson in, and he snaps Mark’s arm over his shoulder. Jay manages to tag in and stomp at Dragon in the corner. Mark blind tags and hits a springboard dropkick for 2. Mark hits some forearms but Dragon no sells until Mark almost shoves him over. ONE European uppercut sends Mark Briscoe to the mat, followed by a dropkick for 2.

More work on Mark’s arm ensues, before Joe tags back in…and he just kicks at the arm. Jay gets a knee in from behind on Joe, and Mark is able to hit a spinning heel kick then tag out. Dropkick on Joe, then a chop but Joe just slaps him in the face. Eye rake from Jay, then it’s time for Mark to come in and work over Joe in the corner. Jay back in with a chinlock…but he gets DROPPED with an enziguri kick. Danielson tagged back in, Mark tags in as well, but he gets floored with a reverse elbow.

Running forearm in the corner from Dragon. Airplane spin into a front slam…DIVING HEADBUTT! Mark escapes a suplex attempt then whips Dragon into the Briscoes corner. Mark looks for a chop but Danielson just doesn’t feel it. He European uppercuts both Briscoes, then takes Mark to the top rope. He wants a back superplex but Jay stops him…DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Joe has to make the save to stop the pin this time. Mark distracts the ref as Jay chokes Danielson over the bottom rope. Next he baits Joe into the ring so he can continue choking away after he tags in. Snap suplex from Jay gets 2. Mark in and he traps Dragon with a Lion Tamer. He draws Joe into the ring again so he can use the ropes (and his partner) to cheat, then switch places with Jay, who puts him into a straight Boston crab.

Backbreaker into a springboard knee drop from Mark for 2…and Joe saves with a leg drop. Jay tags in, but he accidentally catches his brother with a Mafia kick. Roaring elbow from Danielson to Jay…hot tag to Joe! Mark looks for a springboard – STO SLAM! Yakuza kick for Jay…powerbomb-2 count-STF on Mark! The younger Briscoe is screaming in pain there, but Mark somehow makes the ropes. Rolling cradle from Joe for another 2. Joe slaps on the Choke, but Jay stops that with a kick to the spine. Dragon in – CATTLE MUTILATION! Jay saves that with another kick to the back. Mafia kick into a German suplex from the Briscoes. They look for the springboard Doomsday Device…but Dragon counters with a victory roll. Danielson blocks a Jay Driller attempt…Dragon suplex…but Mark comes off the top with a double stomp. Joe takes Mark to the floor….OLE OLE KICK! Danielson takes Jay to the top rope – BACK SUPERPLEX SCORES! Mark takes a SECOND OLE OLE KICK on the floor! Meanwhile Jay and Dragon are still in the ring. JAY DRILLER SCORES! Jay pins Dragon whilst Joe is still on the outside with Mark Briscoe…and the champions retain at 24:02.


Rating – **** –
Another wonderful Briscoe tag match. There probably isn’t a better team on the indy circuit right now. Loved the dichotomy of wrestling techniques in this, as you had Dragon and Joe, the superior wrestlers, dissecting the Briscoes, who used as many double teams and underhanded tactics as possible to retain their belts. The only disappointment of this is the little amount of time Samoa Joe spent in the ring. He was probably involved in this match for less than 10 minutes of the near 25 wrestled…not that 15 minutes of Bryan Danielson is a bad thing.


Second City Saints vs The Prophecy

Ring entrances for this, your Main Event. This has been coming since around Expect The Unexpected, when CM Punk rose to prominence and showed his true heel colours at the outset of his feud with Raven. His Second City Saints in place, this clash between the two foremost heel stables in the company was inevitable. All the way back at Do Or Die Daniels tried to recruit Punk to The Prophecy because, in Punk’s words, Daniels was scared of the Saints. Then at Wrath Of The Racket, with CM Punk in Japan, somebody attacked Lucy and took her out at ROH. Steve Corino told Punk it was Daniels and The Prophecy, and Punk believed him so strongly that at War Of The Wire he laid Daniels out with the Last Rites. At Final Battle 2003 Chris Daniels admitted it was The Prophecy that took out Lucy – and that it was their newest member, BJ Whitmer, who was pissed off with Punk for German suplexing him through a table at Epic Encounter. That set up this match…and all the Saints seem to be ready. Can the same be said for The Prophecy? Maff promised on his fathers grave that The Prophecy didn’t do it…so when it turns out that BJ Whitmer, a rival of Maff’s, was the culprit and was in The Prophecy, he seemed a little pissed. They don’t get on. Allison Danger is in The Prophecy’s corner, and for the first time, Tracy Brooks is in the Saints’. WOW there’s a lot of history to this…

Everyone is wearing red and black, Saints are pretty much the heels, Prophecy thereby are the babyfaces. For the opening 2 minutes of the contest, Punk and Daniels stare each other down, before Punk bows out, and it’ll be Ace Steel and Daniels starting. They both work tight headlocks on the mat, but eventually Ace ends the niceties and slams Daniels head-first on the mat. Punk grabs Daniels from behind and chokes him and that brings Maff and Whitmer in to complain. Daniels dishes out hiptosses to Cabana and Steel, but Punk backs off before he can get one. Maff and BJ take it turns to right hand Punk, then Daniels finally gets some offence in on the Saints leader with a clothesline. All the Saints climb to the floor…SO MAFF AND WHITMER BACK DROP DANIELS ON TOP OF THEM!

Maff sends Cabana into the guardrail, as BJ does likewise to Punk. Daniels and Steel are still going at it in the ring, and Daniels dishes out a stalling vertical suplex…until Ace escapes. Daniels hits a jumping heel kick, then tags in Whitmer for a double hiptoss. Maff tags and drops a senton, but Punk breaks the pin. Punk tagged and he gives Maff the facewash in the corner. Maff muscles Punk across the ring and Daniels tags in to drive shoulders into Punk’s midsection. Punk responds by driving Daniels across the ring then tagging in Cabana. Daniels tags Maff in who drops a double axehandle over Colt’s arm. Whitmer tagged and he drops an elbow over poor Cabana’s arm. In comes Daniels, and he drives a forearm to the same spot once more. Fujiwara armbar locked in, but Punk breaks that as well. Punk tags in and gives Daniels the double underhook backbreaker for 2. Palm strike from Daniels knocks Punk down, and Maff is tagged again.

Maff knocks Ace off the apron then gets clotheslined out by Punk. Steel and Cabana drop to the floor and drive Maff head-first into the ringpost, and just like Nigel McGuiness earlier, Maff is busted open. Ace tagged in, and he drops Maff with a back suplex. He hits a dropkick in the corner, and Maff is just dripping blood right now. Cabana tagged in and he continues the work on the cut, drilling elbows to the forehead. Inverted Boston crab, with a camel clutch from Punk…and an added dropkick to the face from Steel. Punk tagged in and Maff takes him down in the corner – CANNONBALL! Maff had time for a tag, but went to the wrong corner, and he gets chopblocked and the chance is gone. Cabana in and he clasps onto a front facelock. Maff makes a tag to Daniels, but Punk distracts the ref he didn’t see it.

Punk holds Maff in a chinlock, then grounds him again with a knee to the stomach. Steel in with a suplex, then he goes to the top to drop an elbow. Cabana tags in for a SWEET frog splash, before tagging out to Punk for a guillotine leg drop off the top – AND ALL THAT GETS A ONE COUNT! Maff blocks a Shining Wizard and scores with a lariat. Maff tags in Daniels!

Daniels unleashes on all three Saints. Neckbreaker on Punk, followed by a Blue Thunder Driver for 2. Whitmer in and he drags Punk to the floor for a brawl. Cabana onto the apron – ASAI MOONSAULT! Steel and Maff are going at it in the ring…UNTIL MAFF RUNS THROUGH ACE AND HITS A TOPE! Ace hammers Daniels down, then goes through the ropes for a tope himself. Punk to the top – SPRINGBOARD PLANCHA! Daniels out onto the apron for the ARABIAN PRESS! Back inside with a tilta-whirl backbreaker than an STO on Cabana for 2. Cabana blocks Angels Wings, then drops Daniels with a cradle DDT. HEAD DROP BACK SUPLEX BY WHITMER! Steel comes in and hits a Tiger Driver on BJ. HALF NELSON SUPLEX FROM MAFF! Punk comes in and delivers the mule kick on Maff, then the hammerlock DDT…and Daniels has to save at the very last second.

Daniels ducks the hammerlock lariat – and delivers the urinage slam. BEST…MOONSAULT…EVER! BUT PUNK KICKS OUT! They collide in mid-air with cross bodies…AND NOW TRACY AND ALLISON DANGER ARE GOING AT IT! Punk pulls Allison off Tracy and starts choking her. BJ tries to make the save with a chair BUT HE GETS THE REF! PUNK FOLLOWS IT WITH A SUPERKICK TO THE CHAIR – AND TO BJ’S FACE! All semblance of control has been lost now as Daniels, Punk, Cabana, Whitmer, Steel and Maff are brawling all over ringside now. Jawbreaker from Daniels to Punk, but the ref is still down. Another ref comes out and rules the match a no-contest at 28:34.


Rating – **** –
A little disappointing to go all that way just for a draw, particularly as, in the end, this is the only time in this feud we’d get all six men in the same ring at the same time. What we did see though, was a tense, action-packed battle, which, had this feud actually had a proper conclusion, would’ve been seen as a fantastic start to the war. As it was, a well-executed match, with a crazy finish…and it probably earned it’s fourth star with the angle that was to follow…lets watch.

It doesn’t matter that the match is over, as everyone brawls on the floor. They all disappear into the crowd as, thankfully, the commentators leave (seriously, Nelson is bloody awful). Maff sends Ace Steel into a chair, as Punk and Whitmer continue to brawl over the other side. A ref gets bumped into the guardrail…and meanwhile Daniels has Cabana down in a stack of chairs somewhere else. In the ring Tracy chokes out Allison with her shirt…UNTIL BJ TURNS UP AND GIVES HER THE F*CKING WRIST CLUTCH EXPLODER! Jumping heel kick on Steel…UNTIL LUCY (YES, LUCY!!) RUNS IN AND LOW BLOWS HIM! Steel hits a swinging DDT on BJ…then Cabana lifts him onto his shoulders FOR A DOOMSDAY BLOCKBUSTER! Maff in with chair shots for everyone, but he gets floored with a dropkick from Punk, then thrown out by Ace. On the floor again and Maff is propped up next to the ring post SO THE SAINTS CAN RAM A WHOLE SECTION OF RAILING INTO HIS FACE!

Cabana and Daniels in the ring BUT PUNK SCORES WITH THE SHINING WIZARD AS DANIELS GOES FOR ANGELS WINGS. Steel drops him again with a Spinal Shock, and Cabana brings in a table. Punk goes upstairs and is handed Daniels…PEPSI PLUUUUUUNGE THROUGH THE TABLE!! Daniels is a deadman…and Punk laughs like a deranged lunatic. Triple Straight Edge pose over Daniels’ carcass and ‘Miseria Cantare’ starts to play as wrestlers and officials rush to Daniels’ aid (including Jimmy Jacobs, who gets a ‘HUSS’ chant).

Alex Shelley…he’s the nextht you know…technical exthellenthe on loan from God…2004 will be his years apparently.

Daniels is still down in the ring and we’re still waiting for a doctor to check on Daniels as the fans start to leave.

Special K are real chuffed with their new recruit – Abyss…who appears to have partaken of a few narcotics himself.

Daniels is STILL laid out, so they start dismantling the ring to get him out.

The Second City Saints locker room, and Punk is triumphant. Cabana has injured shoulders, Tracy took the Wrist Clutch Exploder, Ace Steel has crazy eyes, and Lucy looks hot after getting some revenge on BJ Whitmer. Daniels is the first casualty on the Saints rise to the top. Next, Punk wants all the belts and all the power – sounds familiar.

Medics appear to be on hand now, and Daniels is transferred to a stretcher, with Maff, Whitmer and Danger all on hand and looking distraught.

Backstage a little later, and Maff is blaming Whitmer for Daniels’ injury. He swears it’s not over, and that’s where we leave things.

Tape Rating – **** – One of the most consistently solid shows ROH has ever produced. NOTHING is bad on this show. At worst it’s the 7 minute long acceptable match between Cody Hawk and Nigel McGuiness, and at best it’s the underrated classic between AJ Styles and Homicide. The Saints/Prophecy match is must-see for the crazy aftermath. The Pepsi Plunge, and Lucy’s one-night-only (remember she’s signed a developmental deal with the WWE) return is great fun, and the whole Daniels injury angle is very well done. Fantastic way to start 2004…


Top 3 Matches:

3) Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs Samoa Joe/Bryan Danielson (****)

2) Second City Saints vs The Prophecy (****)

1) AJ Styles vs Homicide (****)

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