Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by Mr. Mojo Risin » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:43 pm

I agree with the title change from KoW to Sydal/Daniels making no sense whatsoever. I didn't understand Gabe's thinking at all on that one. Especially when you review Final Battle 2006 and with how hot the crowd was during The Briscoes/KoW match, a title change there would have blown the roof of that place as I remember that being at least a 4 star match.
As far as The Bitter End, that may be my least favorite show in the Gabe era and when burnout began to really manifest itself in his booking. That show is fucking painful to watch and I can't believe you had the stomach to sit through that show again. Ugh.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:40 am

You are delusional if you think I watched anything from The Bitter End other than KENTA vs. Sydal. If I ran ROH, I'd actually rename that event as "Burnout" in the company's history books.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:50 pm

Added a scoop to Danielson vs. McGuinness IV, as well as clarification on what likely led to KOW dropping the Tag Titles to Sydal & Daniels, and why Gabe reacted to a tough situation incorrectly.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:45 pm

The Chicago Spectacular Night 1 – December 8, 2006
Taped from Chicago, IL

Image

ROH Video Wire – December 1, 2006



Important news/footage in the above video:
In a promo filmed at Dethroned, Samoa Joe vows to finally dethrone ROH Champion Bryan Danielson in their cage match at The Chicago Spectacular Night 1. He then vows to bring the “Ring of Homicide” era to an end at Final Battle 2006. Pretty cocky for someone who just got humbled on live PPV by Kurt Angle.
Samoa Joe cuts another promo from the same location. He’s fed up with NOAH imports padding their resumes in ROH, and dares that company to send someone to face him. He claims there’s yet to be a response since he slapped KENTA at Burnout The Bitter End. Homicide also cuts a promo, and the way they interact in support of each other is very lamely acted. Credit must be given to booker Gabe Sapolsky, as Joe vs. NOAH along with everything involving Jimmy Jacobs is keeping this company from being utter trash creatively at this point.
New Tag Team Champions Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels cut a promo also from Dethroned, reiterating that they’ll take on all-comers. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong request a title match in Chicago, and the champs agree to it for The Chicago Spectacular Night 2 as reciprocation for Aries & Strong providing a shot during their reign at Gut Check.
Post-match footage of Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness airs from Dethroned. McGuinness is a fucking douche-bag. The two of them had shaken hands, only for McGuinness to mockingly throw a toilet paper roll at Rave, who is justifiably pissed over it. That’s an awful route to have taken to heat up their program. While McGuinness still has a bit of a cutthroat nature to him since breaking out a few months back, the way he treated the respectful Rave was completely disrespectful. Awful booking when the obvious goal is to groom McGuinness as the face of the company by 2007. Unlike Homicide a year before this, who was a psychotic piece of shit that had a long way to go in his journey to the tippy-top, McGuinness was already a babyface here, with very little tweaks left to officially complete that turn. How the fuck did us ROHbots miss all these cracks in Sapolsky’s booking in late 2006?

Another overall lukewarm show here, so once again C&P treatment of Brad Garoon and Jake Ziegler.
Bryan Danielson just got back from putting down half the Pro Wrestling NOAH roster and he gets thrown right into a cage match for the title. He’s going to debunk the Samoa Joe myth. He has to pick partners for his six-man tag match tomorrow night and his first pick is Jimmy Jacobs. He picked him because of what he did to BJ Whitmer on the last show. Lacey tells Jacobs to forget about tomorrow right now and think about destroying Colt Cabana. He’ll do anything for her.
Brent Albright faces Homicide in a first-time ever match on this card. The match ends when Albright is disqualified for refusing to release the Crowbar submission. Samoa Joe comes out to help his friend, and Danielson arrives to pay Albright a now obvious bounty placed on the Notorious 187.

Rave pulls off the upset in a rematch against McGuinness via the heel hook submission.
Rave gets on the microphone and reminds Nigel that he disrespected him at Dethroned by throwing toilet paper at him. Tonight he made him tap, “like a little bitch.” Nigel responds with what I assume are some harsh words but he’s pretty much whispering and I can’t understand him. When Nigel turns his back Rave shoves him down and puts the heel hook back on. Nigel obviously went to the Kurt Angle school of selling a submission because that’s the most convincing display of pain I’ve seen in a while.
BG says: Dave Prazak asks Bryan Danielson backstage during intermission if he paid off Brent Albright to injure Homicide. Danielson won’t answer that question and he isn’t worried about Samoa Joe. He announces that Jimmy Rave is his other partner for the six-man tag match tomorrow night. He likes Rave’s new vicious streak, and Rave is eager to finish Nigel off for good.
Colt Cabana wins his match against Jimmy Jacobs via disqualification when Lacey tosses powder into his eyes, then the post-match has quite a bit of angle advancement.
Daizee Haze runs out and hits Lacey with the heart punch. Jacobs pulls her off and Lacey catches her with a neckbreaker. She tells Jacobs to hurt her so he spears her across the ring. Cabana gets back to his feet and goes after Lacey but Brent Albright runs out and suplexes Cabana off of her. Albright and Jacobs hold Cabana’s legs apart and Lacey stomps on his groin with her high-heeled shoe. BJ Whitmer makes the save after the fact. Delirious comes back out and asks Whitmer to be one of his partners in the six-man tag match tomorrow night. Whitmer will take any chance he can to get his hands on Jacobs so he accepts. Nigel McGuinness staggers out and asks to be on the team as well so that he can get some revenge on Jimmy Rave. The match may not have been much but the angle got a lot accomplished.
Why is this Team Danielson vs. Team Delirious trios match just being mentioned now instead of on a Video Wire before this?

Dragon Gate Rules Match
Matt Sydal & Shingo vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong


Yet another indy tag in which tag legalities aren’t properly enforced, when it’s actually supposed to be much easier in this instance: tag legalities change either by traditional tagging, or when the legal man leaves the ring, meaning his partner can then become legal. Referee Todd Sinclair had already officiated these types of matches 8 months earlier, so there was no excuse this time.

The big takeaway from this is that Sydal looked like he hurt his right knee at the beginning and then gutted through it, then really came up limp once the match was over. The other takeaway is that he and Shingo had become Dragon Gate stablemates in the Blood Generation faction, so that combined with Sydal being Tag Champ now had him very cocky.

The highlights as far as sequences both involved Sydal and Strong. By the way, Gabe Sapolsky on commentary once again neglects PWG when he says that Sydal has yet to get a victory against Aries or Strong in any kind of match. Sydal boasted after a corner moonsault dropkick “That’s what champions are made of!” This triggered Strong to come in and just deck him from behind. The other was Sydal hitting a phenomenal DDT counter on Strong, and I believed because of the reaction it got, it actually saved the match for the crowd, who applauded at the end.

The result was obvious due to Aries & Strong challenging Sydal & Christopher Daniels tomorrow. They finished off Sydal with various blows and a 450 Splash, then told him afterwards the titles are coming back to them. He still acted cocky in defeat. Mechanically good but very disappointing match that can’t just be blamed on Sydal’s injury.

Rating: ***

ROH Title – Cage Match
Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe


While this is a good cage match, it’s disappointing on multiple levels. The first is that this failed to be a great cage match, and I won’t blame that on any booking. Both were dealing with severe injuries sustained a few months earlier, Danielson with his right shoulder in this very building, then Joe with sciatica a few weeks later. What makes this even more disappointing outside of the vacuum scope is that this was the final chapter of one of the defining underground rivalries of the 2000s, a rivalry that had started 4 years earlier in a four-way main event also involving Low Ki and Steve Corino at Final Battle 2002.

Such a rivalry-ender would ideally strive to be an all-time epic, especially since this had become such a grudge feud that it was ending inside of a steel cage. Without question, as soon as Danielson put his own interests ahead of ROH’s when he targeted Joe’s right knee in the Cage of Death feud-ender against CZW, this was officially a grudge feud. So it’s disappointing that this conclusion turned out to be one of the weaker chapters of their rivalry.

A decade later, I’m no longer bothered by the finish, which was Danielson breaking a choke hold due to profuse sweating while hanging on the outside fence, and then falling to the floor for the escape technicality victory. Danielson had 15 months of established credibility going over a who’s who of contenders; it was time for him to show some true vulnerability, much like Joe did 2 years earlier by putting his feet on the ropes at All Star Extravaganza II. With Joe’s rematch against Kurt Angle rushed to this same weekend by TNA, it wouldn’t surprise me if that caused this cage match to suffer a tad bit, nor would I blame Joe at all for holding back a bit considering his circumstances.

Sapolsky on commentary presented the story in exceptional fashion, explaining that more than Joe being out for blood, the reason he had an advantage is that Danielson was used to taking powders to stall his opponent’s momentum and play mind games. That was an important, polarizing factor in their 60-minute Broadway at Fight of the Century actually. Danielson was stuck in here unless he found a way to escape, or he’d have to dig down deep in this more rigid environment.

I wish that when Homicide showed up to give Joe a fork, that Joe was actually recovering from a blow and the utensil had just been tossed towards him. I’d have preferred for Danielson to be greeted by Homicide while attempting to escape, because then Danielson could get irritated that Homicide is giving him a sabotaging receipt, while also reminding Homicide of who came out on top when they fought in a steel cage environment. Just something extra to make Danielson more of a cocky prick in the company’s final weekend of events before Final Battle 2006 weekend.

This cage match didn’t come close to the spectacle of the one I just referenced from The Final Showdown, nor the one the night after that in this same building between CM Punk and Jimmy Rave. At no point did this match hit a fever pitch, and the crowd deep-down knew, no matter how much they enjoyed these 2 titans colliding, that Joe was not gonna dethrone Danielson 2 weeks before Homicide’s obvious career-defining moment. It didn’t matter that Danielson had been busted open, it didn’t matter how clever he got in his attempt to modify his game plan, this match had no chance of being a classic.

But with Danielson the victor, it is now official in the ROH canon: ROH’s closing match of 2006, in the main event of Final Battle 2006 at the Manhattan Center, will be Danielson defending the ROH Title against Brooklyn’s own Homicide. It’s the match that’s been 16 months in the making, ever since New Jersey went crazy hijacking Night of the Grudges II in favor of Homicide. History will be made, for either the greatest title reign in the history of underground wrestling will reach its conclusion, or a company legend will be forced per his own stipulation to bid farewell in his hometown.

Rating: ***1/4

The only reason whatsoever to get this show is for the most die-hard Sydal marks that wanna see him play heel for the first time in ROH. That’s it. Shingo and Aries would collide at least a couple more times for those who are disappointed like me that they never faced off in a singles dream match. While there’s some decent angle advancement on the undercard, I won’t be surprised if it’s all on the follow-up Video Wires that are free on YouTube. Danielson vs. Joe is on the Year Five compilation, so there’s your way to see that final chapter while getting a fuck-ton of amazingly superior shit from ROH’s 2006.

I’ll point out the obvious way to have improved the undercard: Sydal vs. Strong and Shingo vs. Aries in singles action with the latter in both matchups going over. Also instead of a four-way, Christopher Daniels vs. Davey Richards in singles. There you go.

Up next – The Chicago Spectacular Night 2
Matches will include:
Christopher Daniels & Matt Cross vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Homicide vs. Adam Pearce
Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards
Team Danielson vs. Team Delirious
Last edited by supersonic on Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by Mr. Mojo Risin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:27 pm

I was so disappointed in this show. The only highlight for me either night was when Danielson was pissed that his watch got broken in the brawl and found comfort in telling this to Jimmy Rave.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:41 am

The Chicago Spectacular Night 2 – December 9, 2006
Taped from Chicago, IL

Image

Due to Matt Sydal’s knee injury the night before, he’s off tonight’s card. The scheduled Tag Titles match pitting him and Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong will obviously be rescheduled. The injury has triggered major changes throughout the card, and per PWInsider’s report a decade ago, booker Gabe Sapolsky stayed up until deep into the early hours of Saturday morning rebooking this event. That’s definitely a positive sign in light of his recent decisions that display obvious burnout. If I was in charge and considered making a booking change (which I would’ve legitimately been looking into actually had I been owner Cary Silkin), this kind of dedication would likely convince me to remain loyal to the bookerman that’s been around since Day 1.

Adam Pearce vows to properly punish Homicide tonight in honor of former ROH Commissioner Jim Cornette.

Shingo says he has friends coming in soon from Dragon Gate. Lacey says that since he’s booked against Colt Cabana tonight, she’ll pay him if he hurts the Chicago native. He accepts the offer. Missed opportunity not making Shingo & Brent Albright as a brief team as the Mercenaries.

Cabana kicks off the show pissed about the night before, daring Jimmy Jacobs to come fight him. The request is obliged as he’s accompanied by Lacey, who meets her equalizer in Daizee Haze yet again. Haze takes out Lacey, only to be targeted by Jacobs. Cabana is down after Lacey strikes his freshly sore groin, so since he’s down BJ Whitmer comes out to protect Haze and get a piece of Jacobs. Whitmer’s come a long way since putting Allison Danger in harm’s way a couple years earlier. Shingo, Jimmy Rave, and Bryan Danielson come help out Jacobs, then Delirious and Nigel McGuinness come out as equalizers. I’m not sure what beef Delirious still has with Danielson, but everything in this is clicking. Whitmer and Cabana want Jacobs, McGuinness wants Rave, and Cabana makes the blasphemous statement that it’s time to eliminate Shingo’s flawless mullet. Shingo vs. Cabana in singles action is thrown out, as tonight will be an 8-man Survivor Series Style Elimination match pitting Danielson as captain with Shingo, Rave, & Jacobs against Delirious as captain with Whitmer, Cabana, & McGuinness.

That whole opening segment was fucking fantastic and a major positive for Sapolsky. It was an FIP segment with ROH’s superior polishing, with the direction making sense and everyone playing their roles perfectly. Shingo and Danielson even showcase their camaraderie from FIP as DP Associates stablemates, although Dave Prazak isn’t getting involved in this at all. Huge thumbs up here and I’m looking forward to this main event, as it teases all kinds of matches and has major storyline advancement potential.

I let the DVD just keep playing for a few minutes into the opening match, and Sapolsky claims on commentary that Sydal & Daniel vs. Aries & Strong was actually gonna be the main event. That’d have been interesting, but oh well. Aries & Strong will have to wait a bit longer for their title match, but will still face Daniels tonight as he teams with a TBD partner. Also, when ROH returns to Chicago on February 24, it’ll be at a different building in the actual city of Chicago instead of Chicago Ridge. Due to scheduling problems and other issues, Jared David (Mister Saint Laurent) has stepped down as commentator on good terms. “Lenny Leonard, if you’re out there, please take my job!” That tease obviously means LENNY LEONARD IS FUCKING RETURNING TO THE COMMENTARY BOOTH SOON~! OH FUCK YES~!

Sydal & Daniels have a promo, and Sydal is very cocky about protecting his athleticism. Daniels doesn’t seem on-board with his shit. Daniels then reveals that Matt Cross will be his partner tonight. Sydal is then condescending to both. While I understand the need to make new stars, I’ve made my feelings quite clear about Cross. So why not just throw Sydal’s stablemate Shingo in as his replacement? It’d have made more sense for Albright to be in the main event since he’d just done business with Danielson, Lacey, AND Jacobs the night before, and it’d get someone who has some potential in a top match. While I’m not fully sold on Albright, I see far more money in him than I do Cross; at least Albright has some cache from his time in OVW.

Pelle Primeau gets beaten up after his match by Shane Hagadorn & Adam Pearce, then the latter grabs a mic to call out Homicide for their strap match right now. Homicide obliges and Pearce powders to leave Hagadorn to be destroyed. Homicide vs. Hagadorn becomes an official match and I hate seeing Homicide sell for Hagadorn even for less than 30 seconds. Homicide should utterly, absolutely steamroll and obliterate Hagadorn like Steph Curry going up against a beer-leaguer. What I’ve said about Matt Cross lacking star power potential? He’s Randy Savage compared to a total scrub that brings nothing to the table whatsoever like Hagadorn.

After Homicide has finished Hagadorn, he says the strap match scheduled between him and Pearce is “pussy shit.” He says the cage fencing from the night before is still available in the truck outside, so they’re doing a fucking cage match tonight. Chicago goes apeshit for that, so I don’t see the issue.

I left the DVD going again into Mark Briscoe vs. Samoa Joe, and Sapolsky announces that Claudio Castagnoli will be bidding farewell at Final Battle 2006. The night before that on December 22, ROH will make its Hartford debut, and as part of Castagnoli’s farewell weekend, a dream match that looks to be once-in-a-lifetime has been booked between the Briscoes and Kings of Wrestling. OH FUCK YES~! Another reason I’m glad I let this match play is because Joe called out NOAH as he finished off Mark, then cuts a post-match promo demanding an answer from what was the #1 wrestling federation in all of Japan a decade ago. “Come get some.” Chicago breaks out in an “ROH” chant. McGuinness comes out as he’s tired of Joe shitting on NOAH, then lays down the zinger of “You don’t like Japanese people ‘cause you got your ass kicked in Zero-One?” McGuinness says he’s proud to have become a regular in NOAH, and will happily step up to answer Joe’s challenge in the future. Now this is a much better way to showcase McGuinness as a babyface. Joe accepts that they’ll fight in the future, and I’m looking forward to whatever they end up doing. ROH continues its formula of having multiple directions for various characters, and I find this as a MUCH more effective direction to get McGuinness over as a tippy-top babyface going into 2007.

I’ve gotta comment here. I haven’t reviewed any matches proper on this show yet, and I’m already digging the shit out of it just based on booking alone.

Christopher Daniels & Matt Cross vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong

The on-screen graphic has some news:
December 22 in Hartford – Briscoes vs. KOW; Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards for the FIP Title; Sydal & Daniels vs. CIMA & Shingo for the Tag Titles. Damn I’m getting hard.
Final Battle 2006 – Danielson vs. Homicide for the ROH Title; Sydal, CIMA, & Shingo vs. Delirious, Aries, & Strong. Holy shit, have mercy on me.
ROH returns to Long Island on April 13, and will be in Hartford on May 11.

Aries wishes Cross luck during the pre-match handshake, welcoming him to the big-time. He and Sydal are awesome exchanging barbs.

Daniels and Strong started the match with the former trying to evade chops, but that didn’t last long. Cross got tagged in pretty early and was given the chance to be in control. As Steve Austin would describe Cross years later on Tough Enough, Cross was fine here mechanically during his control segment, but nothing he did connected emotionally with the audience. I honestly felt at times like I was watching someone that would be featured on current-day NXT as enhancement talent.

The same could be said when he played the FIP and had the ring cut in half on him by Aries & Strong. They decimated him as he paid his dues, and never at any point did the crowd rally behind Cross. Once he eventually got the hot tag to Daniels, there was no big joyful reaction to it, even with Daniels being a tremendous house of fire.

A shooting star press from Cross to the outside impressed this Chicago audience enough for them to forget that he failed to connect with them emotionally or display a personality whatsoever. For all the valid concerns expressed about Aries & Strong a decade ago, they worked in ways that actually showed personality, be it aggression, cockiness, smugness, arrogance, ruthlessness, selling underneath, etc. I saw nothing whatsoever, despite this being a good match overall thanks to the 3 proven veterans, that told me Cross was worthy of this spot coming in. I’m not fooled by the crowd chanting for him in the post-match.

Sydal and Aries jaw-jacking yet again only further displays what a tedious chore Cross is. I love that Aries was respectful albeit intense to everyone else, but wouldn’t bother shaking Sydal’s hand, sick of his former friend’s newfound Blood Generation conceitedness. It was absolutely the right call of course for Cross to eat the fall, so kudos for that.

Rating: ***1/4

Dave Prazak interviews Jimmy Jacobs at intermission, and he has a cut on his left eye. Lacey isn’t concerned whatsoever about his life or health, and just wants him to take out Whitmer and Cabana. Jacobs says his blood comes from his soul, displaying a completely twisted, pathetic viewpoint. He ends it by saying the blood is “my bleeding body, my bleeding soul, my bleeding heart.”

Cage Match
Homicide vs. Adam Pearce


This was honestly some weak, disappointing shit. With that said, it has to be acknowledged that Homicide’s connection level with the audience here is something WWE absolutely wishes it had for Roman Reigns today. Even with all the weak storytelling in the aftermath of ROH vs. CZW, this crowd was fully behind him against their native Pearce, anxious for him to complete his journey in 2 weeks. When Sinclair got knocked down and Homicide discovered that he had his missing fork, the crowd popped huge for it like Mick Foley whipping out Mr. Socko in 1999.

I don’t wanna pile on this match too hard, as it’s certainly not an awful cage match, nor is it close to the worst I’ve ever seen, or even in 2006. This was Ric Flair vs. Triple H compared to Joey Ryan vs. B-Boy earlier in the year, and even that fucking awful cage match pales in comparison to Pearce’s steaming pile of dog shit a couple years earlier against Frankie Kazarian.

If there was anything I hated in this match, it was when Homicide got a sleeper on Pearce and they teased a knockout submission with it. For someone like Pearce who’s supposedly a smart worker compared to his colleagues that tend to be much more critically acclaimed, why would HE be in this position instead of the other way around? Why wasn’t Homicide teasing a submission and then making a comeback to get the crowd behind him?

At no point did this ever feel like a serious grudge match either like Homicide’s classics against Steve Cornio 3 years earlier, or even other all-time classics from the cage genre like Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA, Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (both.) While the fork came into play and both wore a crimson mask, this lacked the visceral body language that I was expecting. These two should absolutely despise each other, as this is a layered backstory of Pearce pretending to care about ROH against CZW only to be exposed as playing politics under Cornette, while Homicide had found a sense of justice in his soul along the way, albeit with negotiation demands that he was more than upfront about. With them being stuck in a cage, I wanted to see these two talking shit to each other, referencing their history and why they hate each other. Pearce can definitely hold his own as a trash-talker, while Homicide although a bit weaker knows how to verbally express himself in a way to either rally a crowd or be presented as a menacing threat.

I ultimately don’t think the cage match was the best idea in hindsight. I agree with the strap match being scrapped. Of course I have an alternative. My first instinct is to suggest a Falls Count Anywhere match with the intention of recreating the magic of Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan from Great American Bash 1996. But honestly that isn’t a dynamic Homicide ever had with Pearce; he had that kind of animosity with Corino, which was on full display in their work of art at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies.

So I end up with changing this to a dog collar match. It keeps the two together at all times, allows the whipping and choking with a steel chain instead of a leather strap, and allows the two to get creative in the leverage they use on each other with the chain and collars. This has the additional benefit of not being used in Homicide’s feud-ender the month before against Corino, and it hasn’t been used to settle or advance a feud since Jimmy Rave vs. CM Punk at Manhattan Mayhem. Homicide wins by choking out Pearce, reinforcing that despite his recent clean loss to Rave, he’s not to be fucked with in route to facing Danielson. Instead, we got a cage match that lacked a cohesive story, had a backwards submission false finish, and a completely forgettable finish with Homicide just hitting a couple lariats. None of this resonated other than the reaction to Homicide’s fork discovery.

Rating: less than ***

Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards

Richards dominates early when a strike exchange spills to the outside and he tosses Jay around onto some barricades. It continues inside the ring as he targets the neck area to soften Jay up for the Butterfly Brainbuster. After Jay has some control, it spills outside again when Richards suplexes him over the ropes, hitting his own neck on the top rope. That’s not good considering Jay’s finisher.

Richards continues with more suplexes, softening up Jay’s neck and shoulders and then going for the Butterfly Brainbuster, but it’s blocked and then brought to an even point when Jay gives him a Death Valley Driver. Richards gets an Alarm Clock and then a Hammerlock Brainbuster for a near-fall, once again softening up Jay.

Jay blocks a Superplex and drops Richards with a Gordbuster which the crowd loves. Richards blocks the double underhook piledriver and hits a double underhook DDT then places Jay in the Kimura Lock, and they’re both very exhausted at this point. Jay feels fighting spirit after getting kicked repeatedly, so they have another strike exchange that ends with both down and the crowd giving applause.

Mark comes to ringside at this point to provide moral support for Jay, and the Briscoes surprisingly don’t do anything dirty. Jay gets fired up but shoved off and Richards attempts a shooting star press only to eat knees to the abdomen. Jay then hits a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall, but the double underhook piledriver is all he needs to finish Richards off. Good match that the crowd loved, and one has to wonder where Richards goes from here. With the Briscoes very clearly not splitting up, it would’ve seemed so obvious that Richards would’ve won this program-ender. This was an important chapter for Richards, which makes it surprising that this hasn’t been included yet on a compilation.

Rating: ***1/2

Survivor Series Style Elimination Match
Bryan Danielson, Shingo, Jimmy Rave, & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Delirious, BJ Whitmer, Colt Cabana, & Nigel McGuinness


Team Danielson is accompanied by Lacey, while Team Delirious is accompanied by Daize Haze.

Brilliantly booked match here, although certainly not a favorite of mine. Where this match really deserves credit is that there was no telegraphing like WWE so frequently does in this type of gimmick match in recent years. It was very difficult to foresee who would eliminate who.

My biggest complaint is that once the match got down to Danielson & Rave vs. Delirious, the crowd wasn’t completely behind Delirious like I’d have hoped. I wanted a rabid audience during this come-from-behind portion of the match, but I guess I’ve gotta remember that not every babyface can be on the same level as Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, and Danielson during his days as Daniel Bryan.

The takeaways from this match were the advancement in the saga involving Jacobs, Lacey, Whitmer, and Cabana, and that ROH really seemed deadest on setting up new top stars going into 2007. Jacobs pulled out a spike to use on Whitmer, but Cabana prevented that and Whitmer got the weapon. Lacey tried distracting Whitmer only to get distracted by Haze, and so when Jacobs evaded a spike attack, it ended up hitting Lacey! Jacobs cradled her to the back and then reinserted himself minutes later, going for the intentional disqualification by targeting Whitmer’s right ankle with a chair, clearly not giving a shit about winning this match. He needed to satisfy Lacey’s demands, and now had extra motivation to do so.

Rave took full advantage of Whitmer’s damaged right ankle, eliminating him with the heel hook. He would then go on to do so once again to McGuinness too, and then eventually eliminate Cabana as well. A victory over Homicide plus this weekend’s booking really comes across as overcompensating to get Rave over as a top heel in the wake of Prince Nana’s departure.

Danielson and Delirious had a good closing portion once it came down to them at the very end. They countered each other’s usual finishers and signatures, but once Delirious hit a Cobra Clutch Suplex and then returned to the Cobra Stretch, Danielson had no choice but to tap out. This reinforces to Homicide that Danielson is vulnerable, and also tells me that perhaps Danielson had to take this loss to keep himself ready for Final Battle 2006. It’s really obvious that Danielson will finally take time off to rest his damaged right shoulder in early 2007, so Delirious going over here is an attempt to groom him for something marquee as a babyface in the coming months. Crowd was ecstatic when Danielson tapped out btw.

Rating: ***3/4

Davey Richards has decided that going forward, he needs someone watching his back. This would make more sense if Mark had intervened tonight to help Jay and Richards not been the defeated participant in his tag matches alongside KENTA.

Recommended event for the booking overall, which across the board was actually interesting.

Two new eras are about to begin. One is advertised and for the long-term over the next 7 years, while the other is felt almost immediately but unadvertised. In addition, a familiar voice returns to the commentary booth...

Up next – International Challenge
Matches will include:
Eddie Edwards vs. Austin Aries
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kings of Wrestling
Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Homicide vs. Nigel McGuinness
Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. CIMA & Shingo

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:28 am

International Challenge – December 22, 2006
Taped from Hartford, CT

Image

ROH Video Wire – December 14, 2006



Important news/footage in the above video:
Homicide cuts a promo from backstage at one of The Chicago Spectacular events, and he sounds like he may have a cold. That could be an extra explanation as to why the cage match against Adam Pearce was lacking in substance. He says he’s been screwed over since Day 1. Not entirely accurate, but his character is irrational so it works. Either he reaches the mountaintop, or he’s done at Final Battle 2006.

ROH Video Wire – December 21, 2006



Important news/footage in the above video:
ROH Champion Bryan Danielson says he’s chosen to ignore his right shoulder pain since Gut Check, then incorrectly says Homicide hasn’t had time to adapt to his own shoulder injury. That took place a fucking year ago at Steel Cage Warfare. Danielson states that Homicide’s shoulder, recently weakened by Brent Albright, is perfect for the Crossface Chickenwing and Cattle Mutilation. He also claims that nobody has kicked out of the small package, conveniently ignoring that KENTA had just done it in their rematch earlier this month in NOAH. I sure hope Homicide studied that match. Danielson puts Homicide over for being such a key player in ROH since Day 1, but never to the level of Danielson, citing their most recent match at Destiny. He should’ve also referenced who came out on top in their 2005 feud. In what is very ironic all these years later considering how Danielson reached WWE’s mountaintop, he buries New Yorkers for threatening to riot if Homicide doesn’t end 2006 as ROH Champion. Homicide will have to do what James Gibson, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Naomichi Marufuji, AJ Styles, Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley, Lance Storm, Delirious, Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness, Samoa Joe, SUWA, KENTA, Jimmy Jacobs, BJ Whitmer, Christopher Daniels, and the Notorious 187 himself have failed to do for the past 15 months. We will get our answer in the next 48 hours at the Manhattan Center.
FIP Champion Roderick Strong and Davey Richards have a pull-apart that airs from this past Saturday at FIP’s Florida Rumble 2006. Richards has come across as a major jabroni in that federation recently, but he finally gets his championship opportunity on December 22 in Hartford.
A sweet little video package airs highlighting CIMA for his return this weekend.
The Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness post-match segment from The Chicago Spectacular Night 1 airs. McGuinness is terrific selling the heel hook. Such a shame he never broke through to WWE.

Tag Champions Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels kick off with a backstage promo. Daniels is totally boring, while Sydal annoys him with his portion and says he’s ready to carry the load for the team since he’s more familiar with the Dragon Gate style as they face CIMA & Shingo tonight for the belts.

LARRY MOTHERFUCKING SWEENEY DEBUTS IN THE NEXT BACKSTAGE PROMO~! He implies we will find out his purpose in ROH soon.

At this point, I should quickly point out that when Alex Whybrow, better known to the fans as Larry Sweeney, met his end in April 2011, I was very much a jabroni about it, bitter about something trivial in the scope of such a tragedy that affected many people as friends, colleagues, and members of the media. It was a learning experience for me that when being let down, not to hold onto bitterness, but instead understand that people make mistakes, often because they may be in a difficult place in their lives and aren’t in the position to come through. As someone who at times has let others down in the years since, I’ve grown a great deal of empathy and compassion.

At the time I met Whybrow on WrestleMania XXV weekend in Houston, he was very much a lost, troubled soul in desperate need of help. There were incidents he was involved in that I didn’t witness, but the talks I had with him definitely seemed off, even from someone lacking in social awareness like I was at the time. As a result, I wasn’t surprised by the tragic news that came 2 years later.

I’ve long let go and forgiven Alex Whybrow for what happened between him and me. It helped nobody in how I acted at the time of his death, and it’s a lesson I learned in being selfless when others are suffering from grief, struggling to put the pieces together of a puzzle that has been eternally destroyed. In addition, I’ve recently been given a reality check about how many people and animals are suffering on a daily basis, and it has both given me perspective while re-evaluating what’s worthy of hostility.

I pride myself in compartmentalization as well. While I have yet to review any of Chris Benoit’s work, if I ever end up doing so, I will be as objective as possible in only judging him as a performer and contributor to the industry that he very much loved. The same will go for the performer known as Larry Sweeney as I continue to revisit the “glory days” of ROH.

Samoa Joe kicks off the live portion of the event with a promo of his own, noticeably not walking at 100%. He’s unable to compete tonight due to a knee injury recently suffered in TNA I believe. While the reason is obvious to why it was deleted, I really wish ROH would’ve included his comment that he suffered his injury in TNA due to tripping over bad booking. Maybe not include it on the proper feature presentation since it breaks kayfabe, but have it as a DVD extra for the LOLZ.

LENNY FUCKING LEONARD HAS RETURNED TO THE MOTHERFUCKING COMMENTARY BOOTH~! Apparently, he fucked up both of his knees several months earlier while playing softball, and he puts over his insurance carrier to tie into the fact that Hartford is America’s insurance capital. Mister Saint Laurent did an exceptional job filling in, but Leonard brings a flavor that accentuates the product’s vision; I very much consider his contributions in ROH as parallel to that of Jim Ross in WWE. In a time in which I believe that quality commentary has become an endangered species for all sports programming, both real and fictional, he’s a reminder that it isn’t quite extinct yet.

The ROH Debut of Eddie Edwards
Eddie Edwards vs. Austin Aries




Edwards is sporting a dreadlocked mohawk at this point in his career for God knows what reason.

Good showing from Edwards in his debut, as he dominated most of the match to make him shine. With the exception of failing to prevent the trademark dropkick counter of Aries while applying a head-scissors, Edwards had the former ROH World and Tag Champ scouted on a number of signature moves. But once Aries kicked out of a backslide and Edwards hadn’t gotten up yet, that left him prone for a kick to the skull, brainbuster, and 450 splash. I don’t see anything that special out of Edwards yet, but this match’s structure would seem to indicate the company sees potential in him.

Jimmy Jacobs claims to live in a blood-tinted world, and he now has dripping blood painted out of his left eye. Lacey was his diamond in the rough since she recruited him last year, and now he’s both torn and livid after BJ Whitmer stabbed her in the face with a spike. Her blood’s warmth and smell along with her pain now had her seeing the world as damaged as he does, and he wishes he would’ve been stabbed a thousand times to protect her. He vows to change Whitmer and Colt Cabana forever this weekend. This will not be their first rodeo, that’s for sure.

Daizee Haze & BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Mercedes Martinez

Based off of the Jacobs promo earlier, I decided to watch this for the storyline advancement. This is easily ROH’s worst match of 2006 that I watched. This makes the Briscoes vs. KENTA & Davey Richards look like an arguably flawless work of art on par with Low Ki & Samoa Joe vs. Homicide & Kenta Kobashi.

Perhaps society has simply evolved too in terms of misogyny and violence towards women. Perhaps the tragic events that were 6 months away from this final ROH weekend of 2006 made presenting such directions in the world of professional wrestling too taboo, too sensitive, too painful to be accepted as a digestible piece of theater. I don’t fully buy into that rationale, because Prince Nana’s antics towards Jade Chung throughout 2005 still hold up a decade later. It can be argued that it’s because the malice on her was more emotionally based, that the violence was more implied. Maybe it’s because unlike most of the participants in this segment, Nana has the charisma and mic skills to make a segment like that so effective for building heat.

Simply put, I was taken aback when Whitmer viciously clotheslined Martinez. It was within the rules of the match, yet I felt that it truly served no purpose, and ditto for when Jacobs attacked Haze. Stephanie McMahon getting speared at AT&T Stadium was accidental, as was Whitmer spiking Lacey a couple weeks before this. They were simply victims of self-interested attempts to insert themselves into or distract from violent battles between men.

When Brent Albright also appeared after the match and put his hands on Haze, there was no charm to it. Instead of seeing a villain that needed to be conquered, I saw something that likely resembled the tragic events to come 6 months from the very date of this event involving his former on-screen WWE mentor Chris Benoit. I didn’t wanna see Albright get his ass kicked for implying that he was going to assault Haze; I wanted him to be fucking arrested and served with charges. I felt just as uncomfortable with this segment as PWG’s tolerance of exploiting the Benoit family massacre while the wounds were still fresh with the entire wrestling community. The presentation of the violence from men towards women in this segment ultimately didn’t seem to serve any kind of substantial purpose; none of those moments enhanced the Jacobs vs. Whitmer saga whatsoever.

Now when Jacobs and Whitmer went at it, they were fine as always. They could sleepwalk their way an acceptable brawl if assigned such a task.

The performances of Haze and Martinez are a much different story. This match isn’t just a piece of shit for ethical reasons. Both women were absolutely abysmal in this. Whoever’s fault it is, I don’t care, but very early, Haze stood in the corner for way too long while Martinez was about to launch at Whitmer to the outside, and it made Haze look like a dipshit for not taking advantage to cut Martinez off. The strikes that the women threw on each other made them look like they must’ve been trained by the same person as Shane McMahon too. These ladies were simply business-exposing on this night, and Martinez’s total lack of malicious presence did no favors for her performance. This match would’ve been a perfect addition to booker Gabe Sapolsky’s burnout showcase known as The Bitter End.

Rating: less than ***

Dream Match – Claudio Castagnoli’s Farewell Weekend?
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kings of Wrestling


These two teams showed a good amount of chemistry. The hot tags needed a bit of work by the Briscoes, but this was definitely on its way to being the best match on the entire card. The cut offs were good, tag legalities were being adhered to, the ring got cut in half, this had the recipe.

Sweeney then inserted himself and struck a Briscoe with a steel briefcase to allow Chris Hero to get the victory for KOW. Hero & Sweeney celebrated together as they went to the back in utter jubilance, while Castagnoli followed behind them. I’d have preferred for this match to hit a more dramatic point before the sports-entertainment booking kicked in, but Sweeney joining up with Hero gives both something to do entering 2007, a necessity with Castagnoli apparently on his way out. With Sweeney now as a mouthpiece for Hero, this solidified Hero as my pick for a heel that would defeat Homicide in late 2006. Try telling me that’s not a huge bragging point for Sweeney and something he can use to politic for better opportunities on Hero’s behalf.

Rating: less than ***

Delirious is feuding with Adam Pearce. For God knows what reason, this is Sapolsky’s best idea to keep Delirious warm until whatever big plans are in store for him (as indicated by beating Danielson on the prior event.)

Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Homicide vs. Nigel McGuinness

This is a match that would be perfect to headline a go-home episode of TV, and since this is the penultimate event for Final Battle 2006, it makes sense why it got presented here. This match was never anything special, serving as nothing more than adequate storyline advancement.

Danielson and Rave briefly worked against each other. Homicide and McGuinness briefly worked against each other. Then it basically become a tag match pitting the heels against the babyfaces, thankfully with tag legalities being adhered to. The big takeaway is in the final minute, as Danielson rams Homicide’s injured right shoulder into a ring post and Joe comes to check on his friend. The ref focuses on Joe’s plea for Homicide to get medical attention, which McGuinness perceives as sabotage from Joe based on their NOAH-rooted issue. With McGuinness distracted, he falls victim to Danielson’s small package. Sapolsky is really hammering all month long how weak and vulnerable Danielson has become.

FIP Title Match
Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards


This was another match on the card on its way to being best on the card. It was the usual good match between the two with various quality strikes and submissions. In particular, I enjoyed their modified homage to Benoit’s classic against Kurt Angle from Royal Rumble 2003, in this case Richards hitting a tornado apron DDT, rather than just a standard one on that particular part of the ring canvas. That led to a count out false finish that didn’t come within a fraction of what Strong pulled off with McGuinness 5 months earlier at Death Before Dishonor IV.

Speaking of count outs, that’s how this match ended when Strong gave Richards an overhead suplex on the steel entrance ramp. Once again, the crowd didn’t give a shit. So why did it fail here, while McGuinness got mega heat for it during his Pure Title reign? It’s because McGuinness clearly had the charisma and personality to make count outs meaningful, especially with him playing the cutthroat, sometimes chickenshit heel role. Also McGuinness held the title for a LONG time before making this finish work against Strong, Danielson, and Homicide, and that time was done in an ROH ring. The FIP title hasn’t been given the time in ROH to be meaningful in any way at all, so the end result is an apathetic finish that dragged down a good match and had a wrestler take an unnecessary bump on steel.

Rating: less than ***

Joe gives a medical update on Homicide, saying that Julius Smokes has already headed to Brooklyn with the Notorious 187. Homicide will be ready for tomorrow night, and that Danielson will no longer be able to run away. The running finally ends in the “Ring of Homicide.” I like that Joe cut this promo, dead serious on behalf of his friend. Homicide and Smokes wouldn’t have been able to convey the same message as effectively as he did.

Tag Titles Match
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. CIMA & Shingo


Super disappointing match here. Tag legalities got totally ignored halfway into the match, which is unacceptable. This wasn’t being held under Dragon Gate Rules. Even with Sydal being transitioned into an arrogant little shit, all the dynamics were right there for him play a legitimate FIP and optimize this match’s potential.

While his Blood Generation stablemates did target his left knee, with CIMA also targeting the right knee to take away his aerial attacks entirely, they played too cute to be the heels they were aiming to be. CIMA particularly needed to go above and beyond as a piece of shit to turn the crowd against him, who were totally marking out based on his fantastic work on WrestleMania 22 weekend.

Had CIMA & Shingo been absolutely vicious to Sydal, regardless of their direct affiliation with him and the fact they were teaming together in a trios match the next night, this could’ve truly been off-the-charts shit. They should’ve been absolute total cunts, taking a page out of Super Dragon’s book, mocking Sydal for having too much damage in his knees to make the hot tag to Daniels. Of course, Blood Generation can get in the head of Daniels, who has proven to be a thin-skinned character at times. They can even illegally run around the ring and yank Daniels off the apron to prevent the hot tag. Just go all in on being fucking scumbags, while mixing in high-impact offense in the most devastating, vicious fashion possible. They can also play mind games with referee Todd Sinclair, who had been victim to such tactics in their state-of-the-art trios classics that had taken place 8 months earlier. I froth at the mouth imagining CIMA & Shingo taking complete mental control over this match, even going so far as to slap their own hands to falsely indicate a legal tag.

There’s no excuse for Blood Generation not working in a heel fashion like SD, not after CIMA had watched SD’s work in person 3 months earlier at the 2006 Battle of Los Angeles weekend. Had they done so, it also would’ve truly sold the importance of winning the titles were to them, especially after CIMA’s failure to do so alongside Naruki Doi at Better Than Our Best.

Instead, this just became a pile of moves that while mechanically sound and popping the audience, didn’t tie together in any kind of truly cohesive, substantial fashion. This match deserves some credit though, because no matter how shallow it was, it never bored and angered the live audience, who broke out in a “Please come back” chant for CIMA after it ended. Maybe that’s also a result of seeing a very underwhelming night of in-ring action, so like CIMA’s dream match against AJ Styles, at least the action, much like special effects in a not-so-great film, looked impressive.

This match is another reason I hate Sydal & Daniels getting a reign in hindsight.

Rating: less than ***

Danielson has a backstage promo saying that he and Homicide are now truly even with right shoulder injuries. The title belongs to Danelson, and tomorrow night in New York City, Homicide will NOT be leaving with it. Period.

The DVD closes with a brief vignette of many top highlights from ROH’s history, ending with the announcement that 6 events spanning from February 16 to March 4, taking place in NYC, Philly, Dayton, Chicago, and Liverpool, will be collectively known as the Fifth Year Festival. Neat idea, but I’ve seen very little as 2006 closes that would indicate it’ll be more than a poor man’s Milestone Series.

My friend Aaron Glazer was in attendance for this show and I remember him stating he left incredibly unimpressed. I couldn’t believe he had a takeaway like that. After all, look at the matchups on paper that I reviewed. Briscoes vs. KOW. Strong vs. Richards. Danielson vs. Rave vs. Homicide vs. McGuinness. Sydal & Daniels vs. CIMA & Shingo. How could a card with all of that be any worse than pretty damn good? Well, here’s the recipe.

Keep treading water with Delirious by having him in a program against Shane Hagadorn & Adam Pearce that has been going on for 3 fucking months.

Book the Briscoes vs. KOW dream match to have a sports-entertainment finish before it ever reached a dramatic point, instead cutting off in extremely premature fashion.

Make a four-way with nothing but established main-eventers just a nothing-special storyline advancement match, rather than a highly dramatic affair to bring the final night of Homicide’s journey to the same fever pitch seen at Night of the Grudges II, Better Than Our Best, Ring of Homicide, Destiny, Death Before Dishonor IV, and even The Chicago Spectacular Night 2. While planting doubt about Homicide the night before his career-defining moment is a solid direction on paper, the end result was so fucking obvious, especially due to Danielson’s legitimate injury, that I would’ve just made Homicide look fucking hot as shit coming out of this event, possibly at the close of the live event portion, to have everyone fucking HYPED on the go-home show of all go-home shows for 2006. For a good example of what I mean, see more than 7 years later for Danielson during his time as Daniel Bryan, when Raw was in Washington, DC the week before WrestleMania XXX. Like Homicide here, Danielson was also suffering from a storyline shoulder injury with the most important match at the Superdome on the horizon.

Oh, I’m not done with the recipe.

Take what was gonna be another good chapter of the Strong vs. Richards rivalry, and water it down with a finish for a championship that had never been given the proper time to get over with the audience.

Present a men-on-women violence segment in a manner completely lacking of any substance. Then watch the women in that match put forth a dreadful performance that exposes the business as a work.

Allow a very, very promising Tag Titles main event to be worked in a highly flawed, dime-a-dozen fashion that failed to enhance any of its characters or the very titles that they were battling each other for.

If I had attended this live event, rather than see the DVD release with good backstage promos to soften the blow a bit, I’d have been fucking livid. While ROH had been to Connecticut a handful of times in the past, this was the company’s debut in the Hartford metro area. To me, it’s always critical to make a damn first impression.

When I think of wrestling history in Hartford, it’s admittedly not the deepest. I still say it’s deep enough, because the first event that pops in my mind is Triple H. Cactus Jack. Hell in a Cell, Mick Foley’s planned retirement. No Way Out 2000. That match and that event turned out to be a classic, and there was nothing on this show that came close to that. I also think of the Undertaker character’s debut at Survivor Series 1990, a moment that will live forever.

Likewise, this show had the historic debuts of Edwards and Sweeney. Those are cool trivia points in a vacuum, but in no way do they save this show. If that’s the case, I should be going a bit softer on Suffocation 2 months earlier since Albright debuted that night. That doesn’t offset the abysmal effort presented up and down the card for the live audience.

What would my alternatives be then? Firstly, as mentioned in my Dethroned review, KOW are still the Tag Champs coming into this show. They are the defending champs in the main event against CIMA & Shingo. Since the crowd loved CIMA too much to probably ever give him heel heat, I let Blood Generation be default babyfaces and throw KOW’s taunting bullshit right back at them to get in their heads. I’d be really curious to see how creative such a match would’ve gotten too.

The Briscoes face Sydal & Daniels, with the winner getting a future Tag Titles shot. These 2 tag matches EASILY set up KOW vs. Briscoes for Final Battle 2006.

This one is kind-of hindsight, but since it was clearly not the right time yet to introduce FIP storylines into ROH, I make a modification. The Strong vs. Richards singles matches stay in FIP, but Richards wants a piece of Strong still. He’s also looking to find an ally as stated at The Chicago Spectacular Night 2, so on this night, I combine 2 matches: Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards. This is a huge, HUGE debut for Edwards and a chance to see if also has chemistry with Richards. Of course, we know the answer to that question today. But here’s the kicker: I have the tag team that we know as the Wolves actually go over in a huge, HUGE upset, with Aries taking the fall! I will explain why this is once I reach 2007 on this project.

I’d keep the four-way match as is, but just book it as a chaotic segment like I had mentioned.

Instead of the intergender garbage, I just have Jacobs cut a promo in the ring about Lacey’s recovery from her facial damage, sparking a brawl with Whitmer that would also involve Albright and Cabana.

So to reiterate:
Aries & Strong vs. Richards & Edwards
Jacobs promo leading into a Jacobs & Albright vs. Whitmer & Cabana brawl
Briscoes vs. Sydal & Daniels for a Tag Titles shot
Danielson vs. Rave vs. Homicide vs. McGuinness, but as a chaotic segment to enhance the momentum of Homicide’s ROH Title chase
KOW vs. CIMA & Shingo for the Tag Titles

C’mon now, don’t tell me that doesn’t get you the reader, either wet or rigid.

With all that said, this show is certainly better than Suffocation though. So would I go with How We Roll, The Bitter End, or International Challenge as the #2 shittiest ROH event of 2006? That’s a tough call to make. I believe those who completely shit on How We Roll easily forget the very good match between Aries and Jay on that card, plus it did help set up the big takeaway that would come the next night at Ring of Homicide, although to not any kind of significant degree whatsoever. The Bitter End also has a very good match between KENTA and Sydal, something lacking on this show. On the other hand, this show didn’t generate the kind of anger, even at its lowest point as I explained in detail, the way that everything involving Jim Cornette did on his last night as ROH Commissioner.

My ultimate verdict: skip this show, as it contains no matches that I gave even three snowflakes, all the big takeaways are easily explained the next night, and the Edwards debut can be found both on YouTube for free and his ROH compilation.

The journey to this point ever since Glory By Honor V Night 2 hasn’t been the most pleasant obviously. But I’ve reached another point that I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to when I started this project in April 2012. It’s the match that has been building for 16 months, ever since James Gibson had won the ROH Title with his ink still fresh on a new WWE contract and the crowd hijacked Night of the Grudges II in Homicide’s favor, elevating him to a level Sapolsky never saw him at.

This isn’t the same level as Better Than Our Best or Glory By Honor V Night 2, but it’s the closest thing to it in these bumpy last 3 months of ROH’s 2006. It’s time to revisit one of the defining moments of my wrestling fandom, a time that will never return to the business…

Up next – Final Battle 2006
Matches will include:
Christopher Daniels vs. Jimmy Rave vs. El Generico vs. Davey Richards
Brent Albright & Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kings of Wrestling
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness
Matt Sydal, CIMA, & Shingo vs. Delirious, Austin Aries, & Roderick Strong
Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide
Last edited by supersonic on Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:49 am

Final Battle 2006 – December 23, 2006
Taped from New York, NY

Image

The DVD release begins showing Homicide and ROH Champion Bryan Danielson arriving in the building, giving this a major sporting event feel. Love it.

Some ROH students dress up in Christmas gear and hand out gifts to kick off the live event. They do not get a warm reception. “Fuck you Santa!” The segment comes to a screeching halt when the Briscoes show up, with Jay giving Santa Dempsey an open chair shot on the head. Yeah, a chair shot to the head is DEFINITELY worth the downside in THIS segment. The brothers decimate the students to a “Thank you Briscoes!” chant.

Jay brags a mic and wishes the crowd a “Merry fucking Christmas!” Tonight, the Briscoes want a rematch against the Kings of Wrestling after last night’s finish. Crowd is hyped.

Jimmy Jacobs cuts a backstage promo, feeling lonely in New York City. Apparently he’s generally been very introverted and unsocial, until he found love in Lacey. He’s still pissed about what’s happened to Lacey, but tonight he’s alone, even with mercenary Brent Albright as his partner against BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana. “He’s not my friend.” Jacobs feels he has very little to live for, but his opponents “will have a lot to die for.”

Christopher Daniels vs. Jimmy Rave vs. El Generico vs. Davey Richards

Generico is quite over already as the crowd breaks out in “Ole!” chants before the bell even rings. Rave has some good heat, but nowhere near his peak when Prince Nana was with him.

Generico and Richards start the match off, and Generico is clicking on all cylinders in terms of connecting with the audience. No shocker there for anyone who’d followed him in PWG, CZW, IWA-MS, IWS, and numerous other indies at this time.

Daniels and Rave is pretty heated, with the Fallen Angel having little tolerance for the former Crown Jewel’s heel tactics. That’s short-lived as Rave takes a powder, returning it to more work between Generico and Richards, only for Daniels to get back in to work on the Generic Luchador. Once Daniels is tossed out and down momentarily, Rave of course tags in to take advantage. He gets an extended Abdominal Stretch on the Tag Champ, only to finally get cut off with a Death Valley Driver.

Richards tags in to reignite his program from a few months back against Rave. Generico tags back in only get dominated by Richards. Everything in this match so far is on point as the crowd chants for Richards.

Geenrico tries some hope spots but gets cut off, so Daniels breaks up the pin and tags in, knowing Richards would’ve had Generico finished off. But Richards scouts the Angel’s Wings and tags Generico in to work against Daniels, and once again the match has been a perfect opener. It’s come down to Daniels, Generico, and Richards trading work with each other while Rave remains on the outside.

Generico successfully hits a Yakuza kick on Daniels, but Richards has it scouted on the next attempt, turning it into an overhead T-Bone suplex into the corner. Rave is shown waiting for an opportunity to jump in, and he does as he tags Richards, who eats a Top Rope Brainbuster from Generico, and then finishes the future Sami Zayn with the heel hook submission.

The crowd breaks out in “Bullshit!” chants, but Rave says he’s aiming for the ROH Title. Nigel McGuinness arrives and kicks his ass. Even with Rave being arrogant and opportunistic, this seems like a bitch move for McGuinness after Rave had just competed. Crowd is fully behind McGuinness.

Perfect opener that guaranteed Generico would return in 2007, stayed true to Rave’s character, and had zero tag legalities as well.

Rating: ***1/2

Ricky Reyes vs. Adam Pearce is just a storyline segment. Pearce & Shane Hagadorn give a spike piledriver to Julius Smokes, still wanting to use any way possible to undermine Homicide tonight.

Brent Albright & Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana

Whitmer & Cabana dominate early, with the heels getting very little offense. Jacobs even eats an Exploder Suplex on the entrance ramp. A table gets set up outside the ring and Cabana backdrops Jacobs to set him up for a Whitmer powerbomb throught it, only for Albright to cut it off. This opens the door for the heels to turn Whitmer into a FIP, with Jacobs getting vicious.

Once the hot tag is made, Cabana takes care of business, with the heels having little answer for him. Jacobs finally cuts off the babyfaces with a Shiranui on Cabana and then spinning head-scissors on Whitmer. The dazed Whitmer is victim to a Splash Mountain Powerbomb from Albright onto a table, and this time Cabana cannot overcome the odds. That table spot certainly was spectacular although obviously questionable. Jacobs says this is vindication, and I like that Albright is trying to be congratulatory with Jacobs, reminding me of villainous alliances in films.

Claudio Castagnoli’s ROH Farewell?
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kings of Wrestling


Chris Hero introduces his agent Larry Sweeney, which is a good idea since not everyone was in Hartford the night before. I love Sweeney’s reaction when the crowd breaks into a “Sweet 'N Sour” chant. Hero also says he had a special farewell planned for Castagnoli, but instead they will “man up” in a rematch against the Briscoes

The Briscoes waste no time, being on KOW like white on rice before the opening bell even rings. This is some hot shit, especially when Jay hits a senton to the outside, and they just continue dominating. KOW has no answer for the Briscoes, who are dead set on making an example out of their opponents tonight. That onslaught finally ends though when Castagnoli blocks a head-scissors by Jay, allowing Hero to dropkick his head and begin dominating.

Jay attempts a comeback only to eat a Fall Away Slam and continue having the ring cut in half on him. Hero’s arrogance comes at a price it looks like when Jay gives him a Fisherman’s Buster, only for Hero to prevent the hot tag by yanking Mark off the apron. It finally happens when Jay blocks a double suplex and counters that with a double DDT. The crowd doesn’t pop at all for the tag, just Mark’s house of fire.

I’m glad this wasn’t treated as a turning point in the match, as KOW regained control by having Hero counter a springboard splash with knees to the torso, a scouting from the night before. Castagnoli’s Ricola Bomb on Mark is just a near-fall. Jay gets tagged back in, having regained some endurance.

Everything is mechanically good so far, but there’s been very little to be considered highly dramatic. Rather than create a match that would crack the crowd emotionally, it’s been a moves exchange with dueling chants for the most part. That finally changes when Mark hits a Top Rope Doomsday Rana on Castagnoli, who then eats a splash near-fall from Jay. The crowd breaks out in ROH chants at this point.

Jay tags in Mark in a different corner than they had established, which pisses Sweeney off. Sweeney is technically correct, although I’m happy to see the tag legality is being adhered to at all. The Briscoes’ dominance gets cut off when Hero prevents Jay from hitting a Springboard Doomsday Device, then Castagnoli moments later swings BOTH Briscoes around as their legs are tied on his shoulders for a great moment. KOW stack on Mark for a near-fall, and Sweeney is in disbelief that wasn’t the finish, then the crowd breaks in “This is awesome!” chants as moves start happening like there’s no tomorrow, including the Double Underhook Piledriver, Alpamari Waterslide, and Cutthroat Driver to the crowd’s delight.

I love that everyone is selling the finishing moves, so when Mark crawls to Castagnoli for a weak near-fall, it made sense that Castagnoli kicked out. Hero and Jay have a strike exchange, then Sweeney distracts the ref so Hero can deliver an eye poke, but that backfires. Castagnoli uses Sweeney’s steel briefcase to try knocking Jay out, only for Hero to be shoved in the way, allowing the Briscoes to finish them off with a stereo Guillotine Leg Drop and Shooting Star Press. The crowd is very happy, but this would’ve meant far more had it been a Tag Titles change as I’ve stated before (KOW would’ve threatened to “retire” the belts had they left tonight as champions since Castagnoli was originally leaving.)

Very good match, although not as great as I had remembered. This wasn’t as hot as the similarly structured classic the Briscoes had against Austin Aries & Roderick Strong a few months earlier, so in this instance I’d have liked to have seen the hot tags be more meaningful.

Rating: ***3/4

The crowd thanks Castagnoli and chants for KOW too, but he reveals that he’s sticking around! The crowd is supportive when he stumbles on his English, which I love. He implies that 2007 will be even more historic for KOW, only for Sweeney to say that only Hero is his client. “When you changed your plans, you killed the Kings of Wrestling, and they ain’t coming back.” Hero then begrudgingly sides with Sweeney, leaving Castagnoli all alone in the ring.

He doesn’t have any time to digest his broken friendship, as Samoa Joe arrives immediately once Hero & Sweeney go to the back. Castagnoli tries to be cordial with Joe, only to be told “This is my space, bitch, and I’m not your friend. Get out of my ring.” Castagnoli obliges as he exits through the crowd, completely dejected.

Joe is disappointed he can’t compete tonight in his scheduled singles match against McGuinness. Some of the crowd breaks out a “Fuck Umaga!” chant, but Joe squashes that quickly with pure logic. Joe then says that when ROH returns to this building on February 16, he wants NOAH to send someone, whether it’s Takeshi Morishima, Naomichi Maruufji, or “I’ll tell you what, old man, send me Mitsuharu Misawa.” He then even mentions Doug Williams and Scorpio, plus McGuinness. He promises a fight in 2 months, and then McGuinness comes out to say something. McGuinness wants the match on February 16, but Rave shows up to give him a receipt for earlier on the card, only to get bitch-slapped by Joe. The former ROH Champion then suggests they have a match later tonight. Not keen on Rave doing double-duty in principle, nor since he’s supposed to be a heel too. Why not just have booked the singles match as soon as Joe was unavailable, and let the opener just be a three-way?

The apparent over push of Rave, along with the splitting of KOW, comes across as desperation to manufacture individual stars going into 2007.

It must first be pointed out that the KOW breakup was a HUGE mistake on booker Gabe Sapolsky’s part. KOW are very similar to the Hardyz to me, in that they’ve never been very impressive opponents against each other, and thus it’s always better to keep them paired together. Why WOULDN’T Sweeney want both as his clients too? After all, they are a just a month removed from being Tag Champs. The three of them together had the chance to also be the greatest tag team and managerial combo since Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express as well, but instead Castagnoli, who lacks the mic skills and overwhelming charisma to be a completely solo act without a partner and/or mouthpiece, is thrown in the deep end, rather than protecting him and enhancing Sweeney’s on-screen shrewdness. In addition, Castagnoli’s weaknesses that I just pointed out are very glaring considering he’s now in the same position as Alex Shelley 2 years ago, someone who DID have the traits to pull off the “man without a country” direction. Lastly, at the time of this show, the tag division is looking quite stale without KOW, as it’s now the Briscoes, Aries & Strong, and Tag Champs Daniels & Matt Sydal as the champs. That’s it. That's you’re tag team division going into 2007, folks. Even with KOW having a weak title reign, the division still NEEDED them until at least 2-3 more teams were formed or introduced and got over to a significant level.

At intermission, Pearce tells Gary Michael Cappetta that Smokes has gone home due to cracked vertebrae, so no way does Homicide dethrone Danielson tonight.

Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness

McGuinness dominates early, targeting Rave’s left arm and shoulder, but is finally cut off when a running corner uppercut attempt is blocked with a knee strike to the head, and he’s then driven down Uranage-style on the apron. I certainly don’t feel any discomfort whatsoever a decade later when McGuinness hits a barricade head-first, and then Lenny Leonard says “This guy might have a concussion right now. His eyes rolled to the back of his head when he hit that barricade…” Honestly though, McGuinness may have gotten his hands in front when he hit the barricade, so who knows in this instance.

Rave continues dominating for awhile, not allowing the hope spots of McGuinness to stop him. But McGuinness finally regains control with a Hammerlock Takedown. They exchange strikes which McGuinness obviously wins, and Leonard is right to point out that wasn’t the best idea for Rave.

McGuinness continues targeting Rave’s left arm and shoulder. However, that work is cut off when Rave spears him. McGuinness has a hope spot near-fall when he counters the Gonorrhea with a small package, but Rave spears him again while following up with a Shining Wizard.

Rave scouts the rebound lariat, but McGuinness scouts his scouting, hitting a clothesline to regain control. This time the control is extended with various strikes and then a Tower of London, which is a near-fall. The crowd reacts in lukewarm fashion to that, which is disappointing. This wasn’t Rave getting a limb on the rope; he actually kicked out. That’s a huge deal for someone long established as a chickenshit heel.

Rave cuts McGuinness off in the corner, finally hitting the Gonorrhea for another near-fall that had a lukewarm reaction. That’s followed up with a Pedigree near-fall, and now the crowd is waking up as McGuinness kicked out at one and has insult-driven fighting spirit. McGuinness wants more, but it ends up with a Crippler Crossface. (Little did we know what was just 6 months away…) This is a great false finish when McGuinness gets a rope break, as the crowd actually reacts.

McGuinness eats a Saito Suplex and hits a rebound lariat, but the pain from the suplex delays him going for a cover. At this point the crowd is actually engaged in dueling chants which surprises me. Rave prevents another Tower of London and dumps McGuinness out, only to eat one on the apron just like Marufuji 3 months earlier in this building, and then Rave kicks out! Crowd actually treats that as a big deal, but not in overwhelming fashion.

Rave kicks out again when he eats a crotched clothesline, and the crowd is pretty damn surprised. They have a strike exchange and Rave scouts the rebound lariat, securing his second victory of the night with the heel hook. “You still suck!” chants are directed at Rave, who spits on McGuinness as a receipt for earlier. Rave then says he wants to face tonight’s ROH Title match winner on February 16.

Good match, no complaints about it really. They were limited without Nana being around, so of course the crowd wasn’t white-hot. This Rave push is getting really heavy-handed though. Instead of feeding so much to Rave, this was the opportunity to have McGuinness go over; instead of saying he’d face Joe on February 16, which wasn’t the plan at all anyway, he wants the winner of Danielson vs. Homicide. Joe vs. Morishima, which was the obvious plan, can be the closing match that night, with the obvious Homicide vs. McGuinness for the ROH Title underneath to have a controversial finish, leading to a rematch when ROH comes to Liverpool in March. Instead, we have what I consider the equivalent of the Maryse-less Miz’s push that resulted in him headlining WrestleMania XXVII. Without Nana around, Rave’s stock as a heel drops, and that’s the brutal reality of the situation. He’s still valuable as an mid-card to upper mid-card heel, but under no circumstances should be challenging for the ROH Title at the Manhattan Center without a charismatic mouthpiece to elevate him.

Rating: ***1/2

Danielson is shown preparing, reminding me of Steve Austin looking in the mirror at WrestleMania X-Seven.

Dragon Gate Rules Match
Matt Sydal, CIMA, & Shingo vs. Delirious, Austin Aries, & Roderick Strong


This review will be much shorter than I would’ve expected a decade later. Simply put, I was not impressed by this match whatsoever. Perhaps this should’ve been the pre-intermission main event so that Todd Sinclair, who had experience in this kind of match, could’ve been the ref instead of Mike Keener.

This match overwhelmingly ignored its very easy tag legalities, which could change by standard tagging, or the legal man exiting the ring to allow a partner to insert himself. With Blood Generation, especially Sydal, being such dicks, this was a major missed opportunity to actually build some tag psychology. Let Blood Gen dominate the match and take advantage of Keener’s inexperience in this environment, with Aries playing the FIP. Aries eventually makes the comeback against Sydal, who he’s had an issue brewing with, in very testy fashion. Delirious & Strong then go crazy at the hot tag, and the match becomes a spectacle as Keener makes a judgment call to let the action fly while adhering to the tag legalities.

Undoubtedly, the action in this match was incredible, as proven by how insane the Manhattan crowd went throughout much of it. The reception CIMA got afterwards was incredible. With that said, I even hate the ending of CIMA pinning Delirious. This was the opportunity for Aries & Strong to humble Sydal and give the cocky champion a sense of vulnerability, building to the former champs getting their Tag Titles shot, which based on Sydal’s Dragon Gate schedule, would happen in this building on February 16 at the very earliest. I am excited that CIMA says he’ll be back in 2007.

Rating: ***

Homicide is shown having his last warm-up moments.

Jack Evans is returning in 2007. Reflecting back, perhaps his absence in the last quarter of 2006 is another reason the product lost a significant chunk of its aesthetic peak. Matt Cross has certainly been a downgrade, and Evans has proven to be incredibly versatile thanks to his style and personality.

ROH Title vs. Homicide’s ROH Career
Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide


Todd Sinclair is assigned this main event, which explains why he was unavailable for the prior match.

New York City is obviously crazy for Homicide, as they should be. The entire pre-match presentation has an intimacy that is often missing in much of today’s professional wrestling; this simply feels like a historic match, in fact everything that Hulk Hogan vs. Sting was supposed to be in terms of crowd hype 9 years earlier at Starrcade 1997. This feels like what Game 7 of the past NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors would’ve been had it taken place in Cleveland instead of Oakland.

Danielson refuses Homicide’s gracious handshake at the beginning, instead giving the challenger a middle finger. This sparks a “Fuck you Dragon” chant. Awesome.

Danielson eventually targets Homicide’s taped right shoulder, but neither gets an extended advantage early. The champ’s cockiness is amazing here as he applies the La Tatipia twice, then drives the knees to the canvas on the third time. Homicide brings it to an even point when they exchange strikes though, only to eat an uppercut from the champion, who’s happy to brag about outsmarting the challenger.

They exchange straightjacket submissions, which allows Homicide to gain control. Danielson cuts that off with a chinbreaker, and then chokes Homicide on the ropes while showboating to the crowd and taking full advantage of the 5 count. Danielson got too cocky though, as Homicide evaded a choking strike and then hit Eddie Guerrero’s 3 amigos suplexes.

Then all of a sudden, Shane Hagadorn & Adam Pearce arrive to attack Homicide, including a spike shoulderbreaker. This ensures Danielson leaves as champion via DQ. Homicide’s various friends including Monsta Mack are fought off, only for Julius Smokes to return and drive both out despite his pain from the earler spike piledriver. The heels scurry to the back, but then Sinclair says this match will NOT end in a DQ; Danielson is livid. The cynical would say Sinclair was trying to avoid a riot and ass-kicking; the logical would see this as evidence that Sinclair never had a vendetta against Homicide over the years whatsoever, despite Homicide’s irrational claims.

Homicide is a house of fire despite his right shoulder hurting; that’s all Danielson needs to cut him off and target that joint again. Homicide finally cuts off Danielson with something I don’t recall if Chris Benoit ever did with DDP and Randy Orton, which was counter a diving headbutt with an Ace Crusher. He eventually tosees Danielson out with a vertical suplex, then follows that up with a Tope Con Hilo as Smokes shows concern and tries to give his support to the Notorious 187.

Homicide blocks a forearm strike from Danielson, causing Danielson’s right arm to hit a ring post, making him extra vulnerable when considering his injured right shoulder too. They then tease a great false finish when Homicide hits a Super Overhead Hammerlock Takedown, then locks a submission on the right arm. The crowd is displeased when Danielson cuts off Homicide with a boot, he gives the crowd a middle finger, and hits a diving headbutt. Danielson is showing more pain in the right shoulder than Homicide.

Homicide continues going after Danielson’s arm when he kicks out of a German Suplex. They then exchange strikes, Danielson with forearms, Homicide with boots, with Homicide winning that battle. Danielson avoids a Tope Con Hilo and clotheslines Homicide over a barricade, then hits an insane springboard aerial attack considering his shoulder.

After exchanging some near-falls, Homicide takes too long getting on the top rope; this allows the champ to hit a Super Backdrop Suplex for another near-fall. The champ then goes for elbows to the head, but the challenger does his best to shake them off, and then finds himself in the Crossface Chickenwing after a terrific struggle. They have an excellent false finish when Homicide’s arm drops a third time, but he holds onto Sinclair’s pants to prove he’s still conscious. Homicide gets a rope break but Danielson refuses to break, the champ obviously wanting a DQ, but Sinclair refuses.

Homicide elbows out and throws a right hand, obviously in pain, then locks on an STF, dragging the champ to the middle of the ring to apply it again. Danielson rakes his eyes to break another submission attempt. Danielson avoids the Kudo Driver, only to eat a boot, but then takes advantage of Homicide’s lariat attempt, using the momentum to apply Cattle Mutilation! Homicide rolls out, kicks out of a Tiger Suplex, and then is still victim to another Cattle Mutilation. Danielson goes for more elbows to the head, then reapplies Cattle Mutilation for a third time in the middle of the ring.

They have a great near-fall when Homicide uses the Tiger Suplex position to roll back on Danielson, and then the match hits a fever pitch when Danielson gets his hand on the ropes after a successful Kudo Driver! In shock, Homicide goes shirtless and grabs a ring bell, but the crowd begs him not to use it. Sinclair won’t let him, and Danielson takes advantage with a low blow and small package, but Homicide kicks out for another awesome near-fall! Danielson blocks a lariat, only for Homicide to tell his pain to fuck off just like in their first ever match at Reborn Stage 2, and hitting the lariat for the victory, and finally ascending to the top by ending the greatest title reign in underground wrestling history!

A number of babyfaces are in the ring to congratulate Homicide, including Roderick Strong (that’s something to remember MUCH later in the future.) If there’s a missed opportunity here, it could be that Homicide isn’t selling the fresh low blow, but perhaps it can be argued that while Danielson struck him, it landed NEAR the groin, not actually on it. Homicide is selling his right shoulder, but is then congratulated by the former champion Danielson, who graciously gives him the belt, but makes it clear he’ll want a rematch at some point.

The crowd is going crazy here, because on the underground wrestling scene, this IS as historic as a hometown team winning Game 7 of the World Series, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup Finals after suffering an extensive drought. Homicide takes the time to put over the backstage crew and the NYC crowd, saying that this is for them. He then pays homage to the Notorious B.I.G., ending it with “Brooklyn, we did it!” The ringside celebration then plays to the tunes of Jim Jones’s “We Fly High” and even more epically, Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” from what I can tell.

A terrific main event that while not even close to the greatest in ROH’s history, is a staple in the history of underground wrestling, that wrapped up years of storylines. Since Homicide would never reach a level of significance in TNA that matched up to this, and he would unfortunately be one of the numerous victims of WWE’s primitive hiring philosophies until CM Punk was the first to break that barrier at Money in the Bank 2011, this is, like the match I just referred to, a career-defining moment for its victor. This is also one of the defining moments of my 19-year wrestling fandom, a rewarding experience that the underground wrestling scene stopped delivering years ago.

Danielson should NOT have kept wrestling when he got hurt at Gut Check; with that said, his decision to keep going for another 4 months, in what primarily looks to be because he was a total team player throughout his career and wanted Homicide’s moment to be as meaningful as possible, is yet another reasons why a decade ago, there was no championship I respected more in North American wrestling than the Ring of Honor Title.

This was a great, emotional ending to the greatest reign in the history of underground wrestling, a title reign that significantly defined Danielson’s Hall of Fame career and the 2000s decade in general. It was a match that paid off many of the finishers Danielson had established since dethroning James Gibson at Glory By Honor IV, making all of them meaningful when they took place on this magical night. It is the moment that made sitting through the awful booking of Night of the Grudges II a worthy venture, for this moment would likely have never happened had New Jersey not hijacked that show in Homicide’s favor.

Lastly, this was yet another final chapter for a great underground wrestling rivalry for the 2000s decade in December 2006. Unlike Danielson vs. Joe 15 days earlier, this was a fitting end to the Danielson vs. Homicide rivalry that had started with a fantastic, highly under-appreciated dream match at Reborn Stage 2, and became an actual feud that spanned half a year.

Rating: ****

The match is followed by a video chronicling Homicide’s time in ROH since Day 1, showing his greatest moments and his worst moments (including the fact that Low Ki and Boogaloo were both excommunicated from the company), clearly stating how badly he wanted to become the ROH Champion; every decision of his since 2003 has been centered around winning this title, which even further elevated the importance of the belt as a box office attraction for the company. This video truly reminds me of what I miss so much about the Golden Age of ROH.

Do I need to spell out why this show is a necessity for fans of Homicide, Bryan Danielson, and underground wrestling? Do I need to point out that the match quality on this is on par with The Final Showdown?

Even with the booking red flags becoming more frequent, this gets my strongest recommendation possible. The historic main event alone would’ve made this a must-have, but the quality undercard gives this the depth to be considered just a notch below the most elite events in ROH’s history.

There will be 2 separate columns coming as holiday gifts to compliment this review; one will chronicle Homicide’s journey to what turned out to be his career-defining moment, while the other will chronicle the greatest title reign in the history of underground wrestling.

It’s difficult to really say if 2004, 2005, or 2006 has a stand out amongst the three as the greatest calendar year in ROH’s history. Some will pick 2004 because that’s when the switch got flipped in response to Rob Feinstein being forced out of the very company that he had founded. Some will pick 2005 because of its overall consistency, with peaks in February, May, almost all summer, and the majority of the last quarter. Some will pick 2006 because of its first 9 months, featuring all-time epic title reigns, all-time epic storylines, all-time epic rivalries, and excellent usage of special attraction talent.

I for one cannot pick between the three; it’s obvious that they are collectively the true peak of ROH’s 15-year history, a peak that will never be duplicated on the underground.

What I do know is that even with so many red flags popping up in the last quarter of 2006, it was one Hell of a historic, unforgettable year for the company. In a “normal” year, the breakthrough character work of Jimmy Jacobs and everyone else involved in his saga would be the angle of the year; but that’s not the case in a year featuring the greatest inter-promotional feud of all-time, which is also the greatest feud in ROH history, and my pick for the greatest feud of the 21st Century to date.

In a “normal” year, when there isn’t a definite easy one or two contests to point to as the MOTY, it’s because there are great picks aplenty, but none that stand head and shoulders above the rest. That isn’t the case here; in a rarity, it was difficult for me to pick the MOTY because there were so many all-time classics in 2006, the kind that in a “normal” year, would stand head and shoulders above the competition.

In a “normal” year, there would be an easy moment or two to point to as the most unforgettable, but like WWE in 2016, there are too many historic ones, just like the absurd quantity of historically great matches.

Let’s also not forget that 2006 featured what is, nearly 11 years later now, the greatest event in underground wrestling history, that being Better Than Our Best. From start to finish, it wasn’t just a consistent event in the ring; it featured interesting directions across the entire card, wrapping up angles, advancing angles, and kicking off angles that had viewers dying for the next chapters in ROH’s canon. It was a show that truly displayed the variety that ROH was once so defined by, from tag team wrestling to trios action to spotfests to hardcore matches to scientific artwork; from career-advancing victories to outsider domination to championship ramifications to violent finales; and all done with talent that came in to bust their asses to put on an awesome show and steal WrestleMania 22 weekend, whether they were hoping to get WWE’s attention, had already been in WWE and WCW, or visiting from the Land of the Rising Sun.

What must also be mentioned is that Better Than Our Best was the peak of the 7 events that compiled The Milestone Series. If I could use a comparison, I’ll go local here in the state of Washington. If The Milestone Series is the Cascade Ranges, then Better Than Our Best is Mount Rainier. Simply put, a fucking drop-dead gorgeous collection of artwork with a clear, distinct, breathtaking peak that like Mr. Rainier does for the Seattle and Yakima areas, is a defining staple of ROH’s history and reputation.

I would like to think that one day, I will have the time to once again revisit the golden years of ROH. I’m not sure if I ever will though, as much as I really would like to. I’ll still move forward with this project for now; but there are a number of things going on in this world that I know I’ll have to eventually prioritize over my consumption hobbies of various entertainment, whether it be pro wrestling, films, television series, sporting events, or even retro video game playthrough viewings on YouTube for nostalgic purposes. It isn’t to say that I don’t love, enjoy, and appreciate these hobbies, but they are ultimately leisure activities that I know deep down in my heart, consume time that I can instead use to assist those who don’t have the same kind of leisure as I and many other of my fellow first-world citizens do. That decision, if, or more plausibly when, will be a topic for another time when I reach it.

Not even taking THAT life-changing decision into effect, I will be honest. The last 3 months of 2006 for ROH have not impressed me overall. Sapolsky’s burnout has become apparent, and I’d be surprised if owner Cary Silkin didn’t notice the red flags too. Surely, he had to notice the mixture of anger and apathy displayed by the Philly crowd at Burnout The Bitter End. Surely, he had to see how dead the crowds were in Philly, Long Island, Hartford, Dayton, Cleveland, and Chicago. Surely, he cringed like I did when Christopher Daniels declared himself and Matt Sydal as “Lords of the Ring.”

Like I said, I will continue this project. But the truth is that I’m not looking forward to 2007. Sure, I’m excited to see Joe go up against Morishima and McGuinness. Sure, I’m excited to see the final months of the saga involving Jacobs, which obviously will have him end his portion against Cabana in Chicago on February 24, and then against Whitmer in Detroit on WrestleMania 23 weekend (I could see those coming a mile away a decade ago.) Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for Generico after his successful “tryout” at Dethroned and Final Battle 2006. Sure, I’m excited to see Evans return and notice if he’s had anymore improvement from spending even more time in Dragon Gate. Sure, I’m excited to see Shingo continue his excursion. Sure, I’m looking forward to what else Sweeney has up his sleeve, as he oozed a charisma that very few of his contemporaries could match up to.

But I’m not looking forward to a Nana-less Rave get shoved down my throat. I’m not looking forward to Castagnoli being left on his own in an effort to replicate Alex Shelley’s role from 2 years earlier. I’m not looking forward to whatever Sydal & Daniels are gonna do next with the Tag Titles. I’m not excited for the tag team division at all with them as champs, and now KOW broken up. I’m not looking forward to Matt Cross, get the same if not better opportunities when it’s clearly obvious Generico brings much more to the table, already gotten over as a character and not just for spectacular moves. I’m not looking forward to B-shows that will be so unevenly slapped together by a “GM/head coach” that is clearly displaying signs of exhaustion after nearly 5 years in the position. And I’m also not looking forward to an ROH without Bryan Danielson, who obviously will finally take the time off he’s procrastinated for 4 months.

Maybe the reputation that 2007 has will be a flawed narrative. Maybe I’ll find out that the unfavorable history of that year for ROH has been rewritten to an unfair degree. Maybe my reservations will be wrong. But based on every red flag I’ve seen, which honestly started showing at Fight of the Century and then became incredibly glaring at Survival of the Fittest 2006, I can’t bring myself to be excited.

I know that I’m glad ROH’s next event would be 5 weeks away, which is pretty much the same amount of time for me to have a break based on my 10th anniversary shtick I got going with this. But rest assured, every problem I’ve just pointed out about ROH, has ONLY been based on what I’ve come across from late 2006. I’m not even including anything that hasn’t been alluded to yet and is still to unfold in 2007.

With that said, the first 3 quarters of 2006 are enough to make this a fucking phenomenal year for ROH. Without further ado, I give to my readers…

SUPER DUPER ROH 2006 AWARDS

Wrestler of the Year:
Bryan Danielson
Runner-up – Jimmy Jacobs, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong

Debut of the Year:
Chris Hero @ Hell Freezes Over

Breakout Performance of the Year:
Matt Sydal @ Hell Freezes Over

Feud/Rivalry of the Year:
Ring of Honor vs. Combat Zone Wrestling
Runner-up – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness and Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer (including Colt Cabana’s involvement)

Show of the Year:
Better Than Our Best
Runner-up – Dragon Gate Challenge and Glory By Honor V Night 2

Moment of the Year:
Homicide declines CZW’s offer @ Ring of Homicide and Bryan Danielson gets his foot on the ropes after KENTA hits him with the Go to Sleep @ Glory By Honor V Night 2

Match of the Year:
Team ROH vs. Team CZW @ Death Before Dishonor IV *****
Runner-up – CIMA & Speed Muscle vs. Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, & Genki Horiguchi @ Supercard of Honor *****

ROH’s Top 10 Matches of 2006 (in chronological order):
1. CIMA & Speed Muscle vs. Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, & Genki Horiguchi – Supercard of Honor *****
2. Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong – Supercard of Honor ****3/4
3. Chris Hero, Super Dragon, & Necro Butcher vs. Samoa Joe, Adam Pearce, & BJ Whitmer – The 100th Show ****3/4
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness – Weekend of Champions Night 2 ****3/4
5. Homicide vs. Necro Butcher (entire segment) – Ring of Homicide *****
6. Austin Aries vs. KENTA – Chi-Town Struggle ****1/2
7. Team ROH vs. Team CZW – Death Before Dishonor IV *****
8. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness – Unified *****
9. Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA – Glory By Honor V Night 2 *****
10. KENTA & Davey Richards vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong – Honor Reclaims Boston ****3/4

Up next – Dedicated
Matches will include:
Davey Richards vs. Rocky Romero
Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness
Briscoe Bros. vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Last edited by supersonic on Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by Mr. Mojo Risin » Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:37 pm

Fantastic write up that arguably ends the ROH Golden Age. The writing was on the wall with Gabe like you said with burnout manifesting itself with the dumb idea to breakup the KOW. The comparison of Sweeney/KOW to Cornette/Midnight Express was fucking spot on. It can be said that this show was indicative of what starting to become all too apparent of what would become more telling throughout 2007, that the talent really overcompensated the booking decisions. You also failed to mention Gabe's misguided infatuation with boring as fuck Erick Stevens during 2007 as something not to look forward to.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:40 pm

I only cover what has happened so far in the journey. Be patient as we're just a few months away from the Stevens debut.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:43 am

Dedicated – January 26, 2007
Taped from Boston, MA

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ROH Video Wire – December 28, 2006



ROH Video Wire – January 19, 2007



Important news/footage in the above video:
Jimmy Jacobs has debuted his latest music video, titled “kiss2kill.” He has clearly lost his mind over Lacey, forcing himself to drink cranberry juice mixed with alcohol, which causes him to vomit, and also pours blood all over his face in another scene. The best part is him holding a spike; this is very clearly equivalent in significance to Homicide’s favorite weapon of choice, that being a fork. The first ROH live event of 2007 has yet to occur, and we’ve already got an early MVP candidate, folks.

The live event immediately explains this show’s name as it begins with a 10-bell salute to Doug Gentry, who passed away earlier in the day. He was an important figure in ROH’s first 2 years, creating the company’s preview video shortly before its birth, serving as a cameraman, and providing commentary under the stage name of Ray Morrow.

Gentry deserves just as much credit as Jim Cornette would get later on. Per PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, ROH was bleeding money after its first anniversary, so like Cornette would do to help facilitate the company’s purchase by SBG in 2011, Gentry reached out to Cary Silkin to invest in ROH. Had this not happened, ROH would’ve gone out of business after Night of Champions. A year later when original owner Rob Feinstein’s ephebophilia scandal was caught on camera, Gentry would be in the vehicle as Feinstein bailed from the scene. Silkin phased out RF Video, and Gentry chose to remain loyal to Feinsterin, for better or for worse.

Before ROH was even born though, Gentry was a staple in the Northeast scene, and seemed to be an equal to what George Carroll, Jr. is today, as he helped international stars such as Tajiri, Super Crazy, and Masato Tanaka get bookings in ECW. There’s no certainly that any of those 3 would’ve developed such a cult following in America, let alone any of them ever reaching any level of success in WWE, had Gentry not gone to bat for them.

While certainly not polished in the least, I’ve grown to appreciate Gentry’s efforts in the commentary booth throughout 2003 for ROH. Beyond the nostalgic value from watching so many hungry talents steal the show such as Homicide, CM Punk, Paul London, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, and Christopher Daniels, his enthusiasm was contagious and a key reason why I fell in love with the company when I first discovered it. It certainly helped that he was a tremendous improvement over Donnie B. in 2002, who was absolutely wretched.

The wrestling industry is a better business because of Doug Gentry’s contributions. May God rest his soul; he’ll never be forgotten as ROH’s early days grow in cherished value with each passing year.


I’m really disappointed that there was no mention of Bam Bam Bigelow during the 10 bell salute, as he passed away the week before this event.

The actual show begins at ringside with Bobby Cruise announcing Becky Bayless has returned as the company’s latest interviewer, and her first assignment is to interview the new ROH Champion Homicide. This is an awful segment saved only by Larry Sweeney coming out to put his client Chris Hero over; Hero shows up to give the champion a big boot and then helps Sweeney leave Julius Smokes laying. Sweeney totally saved this otherwise hideous portion of the segment, as Bayless was a total deer in the headlights. This Homicide vs. Hero match would’ve once again meant so much more had Hero actually gotten a victory over Homicide in late 2006 as I’ve mentioned before.

Rocky Romero makes his return after being gone from ROH throughout its entire 2006, so Hero & Sweeney decide to immediately leave. He asks his fellow Rottweilers why there’s been a lack of communication for such a long time, apparently having lost touch throughout 2006. Homicide & Smokes are none too pleased as they leave, and Romero wants his return match against Davey Richards now.

Davey Richards vs. Rocky Romero

Good opening match for 2007. I’d liked to have seen Romero sell his back and abdomen a bit more as Richards did quite a bit of work on it, but not too devastating to make the no-selling extremely frustrating. Richards trying to be alpha showed that he was trying to really stand on his own and not get lost in the shuffle, but his overzealous nature would backfire.

They had some good segments outside the ring, the most crucial being when Romero ducked a kick, causing the left lower leg of Richards to strike a ring post. That left Richards vulnerable to Romero’s ankle lock, which he’d fallen victim to before in PWG just the month before this actually. Richards gave a valiant effort, including a well-timed Enziguri to pop the Beantown audience and surprise Romero. But the ankle lock submissions were just too much, and once Richards failed to roll out, he had no choice but to submit.

Rating: ***1/4

One of the worst staples of ROH’s 2007 immediately comes in the next segment, as the viewer is treated to the company’s first side view promo from Jimmy Rave. This was a horrendous production idea at the time a decade ago, and doesn’t age well whatsoever.

Eddie Edwards gets a good pop from his hometown crowd in a defeat to the returning Jack Evans. This guy may really have some potential.

The Briscoes haven’t lost their sights on winning the Tag Titles in 2007, and make the declaration they’ll sweep Austin Aries & Roderick Strong in their 2/3 falls match tonight. That’s definitely a bold one.

At Lacey’s request, Jimmy Jacobs gives Daizee Haze a senton through a table, allowing Lacey to get the pinfall in their hardcore trios match with Brent Albright against Haze, BJ Whitmer, & Colt Cabana. This can’t possibly end well for Jacobs.

Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness

Revealed on commentary early in the match is the following: Takeshi Morishima will be making his debut matches for ROH at The Fifth Year Festival stretch of shows. OH FUCK YES~!

Easily the match of the night, with this being structured as another breakthrough for McGuinness and obviously grooming him to be ROH Champion at some point. This would’ve just been better with McGuinness going over clean to groom him for dethroning Homicide, rather than have Joe go over the night before a cold title match against the Notorious 187.

Long-term booking issues aside, this was good stuff from start to finish, although not completely blow away and that’s a minor disappointment. This was a slugfest with McGuinness eventually targeting Joe’s shoulders, but nothing he did could be enough to marginalize many of Joe’s trademark signature finishers such as the musclebuster or even a scoop slam for a comeback.

Joe dominated early after they exchanged non-clean breaks on the ropes, just tearing McGuinness up on the outside with numerous Ole Ole Kicks. Joe taking his foot off the gas momentarily would be all the London native needed, hitting a spin-around lariat on the outside to gain control and work on the former ROH Champion’s shoulders back inside the ring.

After good back-and-forth stuff with both exchanging hope spots, comeback attempts, and control segments, all of them engaging unlike numerous other matches from this time period in FIP and PWG, they got to the finishing stretch. Rather than a rope break, McGuinness actually kicked out clean in the middle of the ring to the musclebuster! Boston went fucking insane for that; without looking back to see, I don’t even recall Kenta Kobashi being put over that strongly against Joe!

McGuinness then even kicked out of a follow-up lariat for good measure to put him over even more strongly. If that wasn’t enough, he passed out in the Coquina Clutch, never once giving in. A spectacular protection of McGuinness in defeat while also showing that maybe Joe’s time in the company should start winding down; this could be a potential sign that Joe’s time as a cornerstone might be fading as never before had his signature offense looked so breakable.

In the post-match, Rave appeared and gave Joe a heel hock, then got shoved out by McGuinness. This Rave push was just relentless as has been mentioned; the babyfaces meanwhile exchange respect and leave to a standing ovation. Had this been booked with the correct long-term vision and the closing match of the evening, this probably gets put over the top into greatness territory.

Rating: ***3/4

Becky Bayless goes backstage at intermission and sees that Daizee Haze has a fucking hematoma on her forehead. So ludicrous on any level of this business, let alone the underground. Colt Cabana cuts a passionate promo, pissed about the misogynistic actions of Jacobs. In an ROH product that almost feels as its booking gets more flawed with each passing event, this has been the arc of hope that there’s still some magic left in Gabe Sapolsky.

Jack Evans claims 2007 will be his year and he wants some championship gold.

2/3 Falls Match
Briscoe Bros. vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong


Revealed in the commentary is that tomorrow night will be Battle of the Icons with the Briscoes taking on the Havana Pitbulls while Evans, Aries, & Strong will reunite against Delirious, Shingo, & Richards. The latter should be stellar as long as it’s not just a pile of moves.

This match saw a significant chunk dominated by Aries & Strong, cutting the ring in half at first on Mark and then on Jay. Neither hot tag got a huge pop which was disappointing; I think an audible for Aries & Strong to play default heels may have been wise, as this match lacked the atmosphere from Ring of Homicide and Unified. I appreciated that this match strictly stuck to its tag legalities, including the participants remembering who was legal and it costing falls at times.

This really came down to the Briscoes managing to divide and conquer Aries & Strong to hold true to their 2-0 sweep declaration. They were relentless when the opportunity was available to go for a spike double underhook piledriver. Aries & Strong were very aware of this, doing their damnedest to avoid it, but once it happened on Aries while Strong was taken out of the equation, it was all over. I appreciated Mark as the legal man putting his arm down when Jay went for the pin on Aries to ensure the pin was legal, and the crowd was in a stunned silence that this didn’t reach a third fall. This would seem to indicate Aries & Strong will undergo a major direction change soon, perhaps a split.

Rating: ***1/4

Decent but skippable event, as Joe vs. McGuinness and Briscoes vs. Aries & Strong are both on compilations. Richards vs. Romero is good but not must-see at all.

Up next – Battle of the Icons
Matches will include:
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness
Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer
Shingo, Delirious, & Davey Richards vs. Jack Evans, Austin Aries, & Roderick Strong

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:23 am

Battle of the Icons – January 27, 2007
Taped from Edison, NJ

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I’m once again disappointed that there was no mention or 10 bell salute for Bam Bam Bigelow, who passed away the week before this event. The failure to acknowledge his death is even more egregious than last night, for this is his home state of New Jersey. For a company that prides itself on work ethic and match quality, regardless of size, this is a black eye in its history books. While Bigelow isn’t the only athletic big man that came before ROH, who’s to say that there would’ve been a Samoa Joe without him? Who’s to say that there would’ve been a Takeshi Morishima excursion on the horizon had the Beast in the East not helped pave the way?

When factoring in that Gabe Sapolsky was under Paul Heyman’s wing in ECW, it’s even more puzzling that Bigelow’s death was ignored on this weekend. Bigelow was a part of some historic moments in ECW’s history, including the beginning of Rob Van Dam’s epic run with the TV Title. It’s inexcusable not to have paid tribute to one of the greatest big men in the industry’s history, and even more so when reflecting on the bits I’ve mentioned; never mind the fact that he was no jabroni as he was actually trusted enough to carry Lawrence Taylor in the main event of WrestleMania XI. While there were major politics behind that of course, it’s still quite the assignment to have been given and speaks volumes on Bigelow’s ability to be a foil to one of the greatest linebackers of all-time.

The DVD begins with Samoa Joe telling Homicide that “I’m on borrowed time.” It really is time for Joe’s ROH tenure to start winding down; it’s not his fault if Gabe Sapolsky doesn’t have a proper replacement for the roster, whether it’s Takeshi Morishima, Nigel McGuinness, or anyone else comparable.

I Quit Match
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness


One of the best openers in ROH history. McGuinness targeted Rave’s left shoulder, including body-slamming him on the floor in hammerlock position, and then driving it down with a wristlock takedown on a chair. The former Pure Champion was relentless working on Rave, pissed about the former Crown Jewel’s disrespect in recent months.

Rave would get a receipt by targeting the left leg of McGuinness, driving it into a barricade and using a chair for good measure, including a shin breaker on one inside the ring. Rave also had the spin around lariat scouted on the outside, preventing a McGuinness comeback. But after awhile in the ring, McGuinness managed to make it happen when Rave actually vomited as he had him in a Crippler Crossface.

This allowed McGuinness to continue working on Rave, including multiple crotched lariats. But Rave would dig down deep and have a rebound lariat scouted, locking on the heel hook. McGuinness would not give in as he climbed the ropes, instead telling Rave to go fuck himself. In a judgment decision, referee Todd Sinclair ended the match. That’s a clever way to protect McGuinness but the Rave push still feels very overdone without Prince Nana.

Rating: ***3/4

Last Man Standing Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer


Brutal match here with Whitmer immediately smacking Jacobs with a chair during the latter’s entrance. This saw bloodshed aplenty and Jacobs using his work at obvious times with all kinds of terrific brawling too. Whitmer was merciless to Jacobs in this one, with the highlight being a brainbuster on a chair.

There were other highlights too of course, including Jacobs hitting a suicide dive to the outside and crashing through a table. Later on, Whitmer had the spear-like move scouted in the ring, evading it and having Jacobs hit a chair head-first. Oh yes, there were unprotected chair shots aplenty, a sign of the times a decade ago while Chris Benoit was still alive.

Whitmer got too consumed with his vengeful thirst, telling Sinclair not to count Jacobs down. This allowed Brent Albright to arrive and give Whitmer an exploder through a table and then keep Jacobs up for the victory. I love that there hasn’t been a definitive finish yet between Jacobs and Whitmer; preserve that shit for WrestleMania 23 weekend coming just 2 months away in Detroit.

Rating: ***3/4

In their match against the Briscoes, the Havana Pitbulls have miscommunications issues, so Rocky Romero spits on Ricky Reyes and then deserts him as well as Julius Smokes. Romero claims he can win on his own and doesn’t need the Rottweilers anymore. In retrospect, I’m actually fine with Romero getting an ROH Title match against Homicide; he’s a completely fresh opponent after being gone throughout all of 2006, and now there’s a storyline reason for it. Homicide vs. Romero isn’t a main event, but it can be a good compliment underneath.

Apparent Dragon Gate Rules Match
Shingo, Delirious, & Davey Richards vs. Jack Evans, Austin Aries, & Roderick Strong


The former Generation Next mocks Delirious during his pre-match meditation, only for Evans to apologize to him at the beginning. I love that GeNext is wearing the same color combo to display their unity.

I’m disappointed there’s no mention whatsoever of Richards vs. Aries just 2 months ago in this very venue at Dethroned. That’s a missed opportunity to push that despite Richards generally being on the losing end after sweeping Jimmy Rave in their program, he has hope against the former ROH Champion. I do appreciate that since his direction is that he’s in a general downswing, Richards plays the FIP early. It also makes sense for GeNext to be in control due to their superior experience teaming up.

I’m surprised that the makeshift team would then cut the ring in half on Aries instead of Evans. Of course, seeing Shingo and Aries go it for the last time in an ROH ring makes me sad that neither Super Dragon or Gabe Sapolsky never pulled the trigger on their singles dream match. There are tag legality changes when Richards exits the ring and Shingo comes in; nobody mentioned that this was under Dragon Gate Rules, but since it’s a trios match and all of the participants have experience with those rules, I’ll just consider it a lapse in error for it not being specified.

The first real highlight would be Evans going for a Sasuke Special, only for Shingo to block the concluding Hurricanrana, and instead slamming Evans into a barricade. I’m sure Samoa Joe was proud of that one in the back. After outside brawling between all six men, this turned into Evans playing the natural FIP while the makeshift trio would taunt Aries & Strong. There was a funny spot when Shingo & Delirious posed together, then disapproved of Richards joining in.

The cockiness of Richards was noticeable, enough to irritate Aries. This could signify a transition in his attitude from starting so humbly in the company several months earlier. Evans was brilliant with his springboard double elbow, but the crowd didn’t care about the hot tag to Strong, who came in as his usual house of fire. The match became a bit more chaotic here, but nothing overwhelming. Another highlight came when Richards gave Evans a Super Release German Suplex, causing Evans to land on Aries.

Aries seems to have a leg injury after eating a Shadows Over Hell, yelling “Oh fuck!” and struggling to move around. Delirious and Richards have stereo dives moments later on Aries & Strong, with Richards taking an ugly bump on his Tope Con Hilo. Aries noticeably is still limping. Another incredible highlight happens when Evans & Strong do the Ode to the Bulldogs moonsault, but Evans does it to the outside. This allows the hobbled Aries to double-team Shingo with Strong and finish it off for the victory. Good match but nothing super special perhaps due to the injury of Aries, as this never hit the fever pitch of prior trios matches in the past year. That may be a good thing though after the borderline clusterfuck at Final Battle 2006.

Rating: ***1/4

Colt Cabana says that the Fifth Year Festival will be a celebration of his fist in the face of Jimmy Jacobs. Looking forward to their obvious climax in Chicago.

Nigel McGuinness says he’ll finish the job against Jimmy Rave during the Fifth Year Festival, and also claims Joe will fail against the incoming Morishima.

The DVD closes with Samoa Joe, alongside ROH Champion Homicde, cutting a promo. He says he doesn’t have Japan or NOAH, but wants to prove himself because he left that country defeated in the past. He once again says he’s on limited time, so it’s imperative he get the job done against Morishima and McGuinness.

Homicide then says bring on any challengers; he’s ready for Jimmy Rave in NYC, then says he’ll take on NOAH and Dragon Gate talents too.

This particular weekend of events, outside of everything involving Jacobs, largely felt like guys just taking bookings instead of being part of anything special. That even includes the really good stuff all involving McGuinness. I was not in love with how 2007 kicked off, but perhaps that could all change very soon, as the Fifth Year Festival is next, complete with the beginning of Morishima’s excursion. I still have major reservations, but that plus Joe’s time coming up soon should bring some of the magic back that was missing as ROH kicked off its 2007.

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: NYC
Matches will include:
Shingo vs. Xavier vs. Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Brent Albright vs. BJ Whitmer
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Briscoe Bros. vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness
Samoa Joe vs. Takeshi Morishima
Homicide vs. Jimmy Rave

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:02 pm

Fifth Year Festival: NYC – February 16, 2007
Taped from New York, NY

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ROH Video Wire – January 31, 2007



Important news/footage in the above video:
Jimmy Rave vows to make Homicide tap out like a little bitch at Fifth Year Festival: NYC and walk out as ROH Champion.
Samoa Joe thanks the Honor Nation, confirming that he’s leaving ROH as the Fifth Year Festival will be his farewell tour. His promo is very heartfelt, conveying the significance the company has played in his life and career and that he’s now reached the point in which he has to leave home. He promises to bow out by leaving everything in the ring. He’s being “forced” to say farewell to “the company that I love,” but ROH has always been about new talent.
The video package is amazing for Joe’s farewell tour preview, just as touching as a decade ago.
Fifth Year Festival: NYC on February 16 – Samoa Joe vs. Takeshi Morishima
Fifth Year Festival: Philly on February 17 – Samoa Joe vs. Davey Richards
Fifth Year Festival: Dayton on February 23 – Samoa Joe vs. Jimmy Rave
Fifth Year Festival: Chicago on February 24 – Samoa Joe & Homicide vs. Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuinness
Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool on March 3- Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness
March 4 in Liverpool – Samoa Joe’s final ROH match
This can’t be expected to measure up to the Summer of Punk, but this should be highly emotional.

The horrendously produced side view promos continue with Jimmy Rave saying that tonight will be his culmination, citing everyone has tapped out to the heel hook and he’s tired of being a failure.

Takeshi Morishima beats the shit out of Pelle Primeau in quick fashion via a backdrop driver in his official ROH in-ring debut. He wants Samoa Joe right now, which was clear when he came out to “The Champ is Here,” but Nigel McGuinness arrives to calm him down and says the big fight will be later.

Tag Champs Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels feel slighted and disrespected, being viewed inferior to the Briscoes and Austin Aries & Roderick Strong. They credit Aries & Strong for making the titles prestigious, but tonight in their rematch from Gut Check, Sydal & Daniels prove they deserve to be champions. Daniels is a total star here, rocking sunglasses and a goatee like Nigel McGuinness, while Sydal is very weak in comparison.

Xavier’s Final ROH Match – Elimination Match
Shingo vs. Xavier vs. Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs


Xavier is the mystery opponent, and doesn’t exactly receive a warm welcome. Then almost immeidatley, fans chant “Weclome back!” More on his tenure at the end of this review. He feels out of place here, but I’m definitely open-minded after the classics he’s had against Daniels and Paul London.

After a good sequence between Shingo and Xavier, Evans provides the first highlight when his Sasuke Special is avoided, causing him to crash into a barricade and have me screaming “GOD DAMN~!” The next highlight comes a few minutes later as Xavier decimates Jacobs, eats a Burning Hammer from Shingo, and then a reverse Hurricanrana Jackknife Pin by Evans to be eliminated. Xavier definitely needed to upgrade his gear, but more on him later as mentioned.

Shingo and Evans double-team Jacobs, but the former Tag Champ is resilient despite numerous blows, including a springboard knee strike from Evans that would make Seth Rollins proud. Shingo blocks a Shiranui and drives Jacobs neck-first onto his knee to eliminate him; Lacey is none too impressed as the crowd rallies behind Evans for the final portion of this match.

The Blood Generation stablemates ensure there will be no hard feelings before getting to business. The spectacle continues with numerous bombs, including a successful Sasuke Special from Evans, plus a Gordbuster on the top rope followed by a lariat that wouldn’t just impress JBL, but have him screaming so loudly as he’d mark out.

Evans cuts Shingo off with a front flip kick and after some more strikes including a Busaku knee, goes for the 630 Splash. Shingo tires to cut him off but Evans stops that with knees to the face and then hits the 630 to bring this nice appetizer to its conclusion.

While this is definitely not a classic, what I appreciate is that there were no silly tag rules. It was a pure scramble with everyone legal to allow bombs to be dropped aplenty. If ROH ever gets around to an Evans compilation, this should be be include.

Rating: ***

Bobby Cruise announces that tomorrow in Philly, Takeshi Morishima will challenge the winner of tonight’s Homicide vs. Jimmy Rave for the ROH Title!

Samoa Joe immediately comes out after that announcement to give NYC the first of his many farewell tour speeches. He gets the obvious “Please don’t’ go!” chants as he welcomes everyone and thanks the locker room for this opportunity to speak to the fans. Joe cools down some “Fuck TNA!” chants by saying they write his paychecks.

Joe thanks the fans for making ROH the most enjoyable part of his career, giving them respect for all the long road trips they took to see him as well, including the snowstorms happening in the Northeast on this date. This is basically Colt Cabana’s speech from Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 3, but with far more of a significant bite.

Joe is then ready to fight Morishima right now. Out comes Nigel McGuinness instead, dressed in warmup gear. He says that he respects Joe, but has no place to call out Morishima, and in fact it’s the other way around. Joe questions McGuinness of favoring NOAH over ROH, and says if “your Japanese sugar daddy” won’t come out, then he’ll kick his ass right now. Security comes out to limit the brawl, but NYC is hot for it. Why the fuck was I not seeing this feud on SmackDown a decade ago to build toward a match between them at WrestleMania 23?

Tables Are Legal Match
Brent Albright vs. BJ Whitmer


A poor, albeit spectacular, plunder match. Rather than build and develop stories to the numerous table bumps, which in individual vacuums were jaw-dropping, they spent too much time building up to spots. This took pieces of prior brutal classics of different styles, including Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind at Mind Games and Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon at King of the Ring 2001 without any of the subtlety at all. Just because the crowd popped for it doesn’t make the story any more convincing.

In a time when hardcore wrestling was so common, this match was really unwise in retrospect, as it was very dangerous for very little in return of terms of leaving any kind of legacy.

Rating: less than ***

Tag Titles Match
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong


ROH announces its entire schedule during the entrances through June 22, including returns to New Jersey, Chicago, Manhattan, Boston, Philly, and Dayton. Looking forward to when Bryan Danielson eventually returns on one of those events, which ever it turns out to be.

This was a bad match. Forget that Aries slipped on a Quebrada attempt, and fortunately on his awkward shoulder bump didn’t suffer the same fate as Hayabusa. There was little heat as the challengers cut the ring in half on the cocky Sydal, and the hot tag got no reaction. There was also a tag legality issue, and I’m gonna start assigning blame for that from now on. In this instance, that goes to Daniels, and it’s not his first time letting minor league shit like that unfold in his tag matches.

The only highlight in this match was a botch that turned out to be chicken shit turned into chicken salad. Sydal was standing on Strong’s shoulders, and instead of hitting whatever he had planned, slipped and ate a Strong gutbuster. The finish was nothing as Aries out a Shooting Star Press and Best Moonsault Ever, although he certainly gave a valiant effort.

Aries & Strong are left in the ring and Davey Richards arrives, then Aries eats a backbreaker from Strong! Strong says he’s tired of being sidekick, as he’s formed the No Remorse Corps and will be the leader with Richards as his first member. Jack Evans arrives and keeps them newly formed NRC at bay, unhappy about his former Generation Next stablemates being split up like this. He’s come a long way the past couple years compared to how he treated Alex Shelley.

Strong says he has no problem with Evans as he leaves, but Richards spits at him. Aries is actually really good on the mic in his promo, happy to find the true feelings from Strong, but disappointed it had to be a handicap moment. Aries dares them to fight him and Evans, but Evans says he doesn’t wanna fight against him or Strong. He offers to handle this, but Aries says he’s not backing down.

First of all, what a disappointing match to end the epic run by Aries & Strong. Since Night of the Grudges II, they cemented a legacy as one of the greatest tag teams not just in ROH, not just on the indies, but in ALL of wrestling throughout the 2000s decade. Hopefully their run gets a compilation soon, as it was because of them that the Tag Titles became meaningful.

As for the angle, this is BAD, BAD, BAD idea. Now I’m a believer in offering alternate solutions, so here you go, and there will be more details to come: Richards, Aries, and Strong collectively form a heel faction called the Elitists, with their shtick being that their style of wrestling is the correct one and they dare anyone to take their spots.

Holy shit, does the No Remorse Corps name sound fucking horrendous in hindsight.

Rating: less than ***

Briscoe Bros. vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness

Significantly superior tag match on this card. Everything made sense with the Briscoes deciding to be the default heels. While there were no big hot tag segments, there were also no tag legality issues, which perhaps should be credited to Cabana & McGuinness, for that was another benefit to their match against Aries & Strong 8 months earlier next door.

The finish was by the book and effective, bombs galore being thrown, including an assisted Tower of London, but not Colt .45, which I appreciated. Once McGuinness hit a rebound lariat not just successfully, but one that caused Jay to take a head drop bump, that was it. With the Briscoes clearly in line for a Tag Titles match after beating the Kings of Wrestling and sweeping Aries & Strong in 2 straight falls a few weeks back, this should put Cabana & McGuinness in the conversation.

That’s another mistake in the booking right there: McGuinness should instead be getting groomed for an ROH Title match on the final weekend of the Fifth Year Festival in Liverpool. That’s to be examined at another time.

Rating: ***1/2

Joe comes out in wrestling gear to spoil the celebration of McGuinness, attacking him. That’s definitely a bitch move to do to someone after just facing the Briscoes. But our real main event is right now!

Dream Match
Samoa Joe vs. Takeshi Morishima




Easily the match of the night as expected. Morishima dominated early with various blows and bombs, absolutely relentless. He wasn’t afraid to pull out any stops, including a super shotgun missile dropkick. It would take him getting overzealous on the top rope again for Joe to finally make a comeback with an appropriate Manhattan Drop counter.

Joe was even more vicious, truly displaying his animosity with two of the most intense Ole Ole kicks of his career as the Manhattan Crowd erupted. He was equally relentless in his attack while in control, not letting up one bit. This time, Morishima would have to regain control with his trademark side slam.

This would eventually lead to Morishima getting overzealous yet again on the top rope, leaving him open to an Enziguri from Joe, followed by a musclebuster for a pretty good near-fall, though not as epic as I would’ve hoped. The favor would be returned a few months later when Joe kicked out of the backdrop driver. I wouldn’t have booked that false finish.

Although the finish was obviously wrong with Joe going over clean, at least Morishima passed out in the Coquina Clutch, rather than tapping out or looking at the lights. This was a great match, that would grade even higher had Morishima gone over as common sense would dictate, rather than booker Gabe Sapolsky gambling that Joe would return for a rematch to put Morishima over later in the year. Think of the finish as ROH’s version of John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar from Extreme Rules 2012.

Post-match, both men get great ovations from the crowd, and deservedly so.

Rating: ****

Fifth Year Festival “Feuds of the Year” video package:
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness
Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness
Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA
Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide
Homicide vs. Colt Cabana
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana
Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer
ROH vs. CZW
Steve Corino vs. Homicide
Briscoe Bros. vs. Samoa Joe & Homicide
Briscoe Bros. vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Matt Sydal vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe

ROH Title Match
Homicide vs. Jimmy Rave


As expected going into this show, the Rave push has turned out to be a huge waste of time since Prince Nana’s departure. The first 15 minutes or so have barely any heat, and it takes Rave countering Homicide’s Super Hurricanrana attempt with a Super Styles Clash (a violation of his defeat to AJ Styles.) There was very little storytelling cohesion in this one, and Nana’s absence was very glaring, for he would’ve generated INCREDIBLE heat going up against Julius Smokes in this match.

The crowd reacts to Rave kicking out of Homicide’s running lariat, I guess since it’s the move that put down Danielson a couple months earlier. Unlike that match, Homicide’s lack of selling the work Rave did on his leg couldn’t be compensated for, and when it keeps him from hitting a Kudo Driver near the end, it’s too little too late. Once it’s actually hit, I’m just glad this is finally done with.

In the post-match commentary, Dave Prazak reveals Rave will face McGuinness in a hardcore match when ROH returns to Liverpool in a couple weeks. OH FUCK YES AT LEAST FOR THAT ONE AFTER THAT I QUIT MATCH A FEW WEEKS AGO~!

This is easily one of the most disappointing main events in ROH’s history. All the stock that was put into Rave didn’t deliver when it mattered most. He was fed McGuinness over and over again, including a clean submission. He was fed El Generico. He was fed Tag Champ Daniels. He went over Homicide via fluke albeit clean fashion at Black Friday Fallout, a booking that clearly should’ve been done for McGuinness instead. As I stated before, this should’ve been Homicide vs. McGuinness with a controversial finish, leading to a rematch in Liverpool for McGuinness to have his coronation in the city that saw him become a top guy. I dare anyone to make the argument that Homicide and McGuinness, the two biggest babyfaces on the roster at this time, wouldn’t have electrified NYC in the co-main event slot while Joe vs. Morishima closed out the evening (with Morishima over in that one of course.)

As for this match, this is further proof that Sapolsky should’ve known Homicide would need more appropriate challengers lined up, and Rave without Nana did not measure up. Homicide didn’t have the intanibles to stand on his own, he needed the right foil, and Sapolsky failed to develop that as 2006 came to an end, and then it blew up here with a lukewarm match.

Even had my idea of Homicide vs. McGuinness taken place here, there’s no way anything should’ve closed out this show except for Joe vs. Morishima. That match was The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan for this crowd, on this night; and thus, that made this “main event” into Chris Jericho vs. Triple H.

Rating: less than ***

The DVD closes with Becky Bayless discovering that Jack Evans has been assaulted with a concrete structure left on him. Bayless asks someone not shown on camera if they’re responsible. I hate this cliffhanger type production.

Avoid this show unless one is a Briscoes or McGuinness die-hard, as the real main event is available for free on YouTube, and is also on Joe’s Total Domination compilation. This was a show that largely fell apart, some of them Sapolsky’s fault, some of them not. The booking flaws are becoming more glaring with each passing month though.

As mentioned, this was the finale for “The All-Around Best” Xavier. While a year earlier I had only mentioned that Unscripted II was pretty much his swan song, I didn’t do his time in the company justice, focusing too much on that event being the actual finale for CM Punk.

For OG fans of ROH, it’s no secret that Xavier is one of the worst picks to ever hold the ROH Title. The debate has gone back-and-forth for far too long; he was a poor choice to be in such a position. No argument can soften the blow; more than his inconsistent workrate, which actually DID peak with show-stealing matches during his time in the company against Paul London, John Walters, Bryan Danielson, and Christopher Daniels, his horrendous promos were a far bigger problem, in no way ever adequately conveying the emotions of his assigned character.

As mentioned, Xavier did show at time he was a capable hand in very different matches. The hardcore match against Walters at Final Battle 2003 is often mentioned as a favorite of that match type in the company’s history, and is very comparable to Trent Acid vs. Homicide taken place 6 months earlier that same year at Wrestlerave. Both of his singles matches against London at Final Battle 2002 and One Year Anniversary Show are highlights of his ROH Title reign, as London’s ability to generate sympathy and fight from behind against ANY type of heel (including Xavier’s chicken shit flavor of it) were the perfect complement to accentuate Xavier’s arsenal. That also speaks volumes as to how elite London was as a performer before he signed with WWE; he managed to get two compelling matches out of Xavier, which the far more decorated AJ Styles failed to do. With that said, Xavier and Styles had an excellent feud-ender tagging respectively with Daniels and Low Ki at ROH’s Pittsburgh debut in January 2003, bringing the very-hard-to-find Revenge on the Prophecy to a hot close.

Xavier’s match against Danielson had the potential to be a career highlight for him, but it wasn’t meant to be as Sapolsky felt the need to give it a sports-entertainment finish. In hindsight, since Xavier would only be brought back one more time, that being a year later, with no other plans at all for him, Danielson should’ve just gone over clean to make it the classic that it was looking to be.

Xavier’s match against former Prophecy stablemate Daniels at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies would be my pick for his greatest match ever. It was a tremendous game of chess and scouting between two combatants that would know each other so well, both with something to prove to each other in their quest to dethrone Samoa Joe, the former Prophecy mercenary, for the ROH Title.

Xavier has been known to actually attend ROH events in Manhattan, and I personally him among the crowd on WrestleMania XXIX weekend. No matter how obscure he became, I believe that anyone who’s been ROH Champion shouldn’t be treated as just another fan in the audience. It’s also a shame that it looks like injuries in early 2004 derailed him, right after the feud-ending gem against Walters. Perhaps the spot that would eventually go to Jimmy Rave would’ve been his to grab onto and maximize, finally having the perfect mouthpiece in Nana to do all the talking for him while he brought it in the ring. We’ll never know.

There’s not much to Xavier’s body of work in ROH. There’s not even a true top 10 to be made for him. But I will present the matches that best reflect his time in the company, from the historic title changes, to the already mentioned gems, to his anticlimactic finale.

Xavier’s All-Around Best ROH Matches
1. Xavier vs. Low Ki – Unscripted
2. Xavier vs. Jay Briscoe – All Star Extravaganza
3. Xavier vs. Paul London – Final Battle 2002 ***3/4
4. Xavier & Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki & AJ Styles – Revenge on the Prophecy ****
5. Xavier vs. Paul London – One Year Anniversary Show ****
6. Xavier vs. Samoa Joe – Night of Champions
7. Xavier vs. Christopher Daniels – Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies ****1/4
8. Xavier vs. John Walters – Final Battle 2003 ***1/4
9. Xavier vs. Bryan Danielson – Unscripted II ***1/2
10. Xavier vs. Shingo vs. Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs – Fifth Year Festival: NYC ***

History is on the horizon, folks. In BOTH matches for the next event in this journey.

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: Philly
Matches will include:
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
Homicide vs. Takeshi Morishima

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:04 pm

Fifth Year Festival: Philly – February 17, 2007
Taped from Philadelphia, PA

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Despite both matches being reviewed here ending up being historic, this is a lukewarm show, so some C&P treatment here from Brad Garoon & Jake Ziegler.
JZ says: We picked up where we left off after last night’s show by finding out that Davey Richards is the one who attacked Jack Evans, even though he denies it.
Lacey is backstage with Jimmy Jacobs and Adam Pearce, whom she will team with tonight in mixed tag team action against Colt Cabana, BJ Whitmer & Daizee Haze. Lacey says good things about Pearce (and Hagadorn makes some homosexual sounding remark), and then berates Jacobs, as usual. Pearce says it’s about the money, but Jacobs disagrees. He says that “tonight we go to war with the crest of love on our shields” and I about spit Dr. Pepper out my nose.
Aries of course can’t finish a match without cutting a promo afterward. He challenges Strong to come out, and calls Davey Richards “Austin Aries Lite.” Jack Evans comes out instead and tries to play peacemaker. Strong and Richards come out now, and Strong is sporting a nice shiner. Strong says he’d fight Aries, but he has a huge FIP Title defense tonight. He then gives Evans the “with me or against me” ultimatum. Richards reiterates that message and the two go backstage. Aries absolutely can’t leave without getting the last word in. He also doesn’t bother selling the ankle on his way to the back.
Briscoe Bros. vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico

At long last, Steen & Generico found their groove in ROH. Generico had individually already gotten the job done at Final Battle 2006, but for Steen the struggle was even longer, having been completely absent from ROH in 2006. There will be a column detailing the significance of this match on their careers, the Briscoes’ run in 2007, and independent wrestling in general.

In a vacuum, this is just a good match, but nothing special. The biggest takeaway from a storytelling perspective was that Steen was clearly less sportsmanlike than white meat Generico. This not only was a ploy to get in the Briscoes’ heads, but indication how frustrated he must have been being avoided throughout not just 2006, but the peak 365-day period from September 2005 to September 2006. Steen & Generico weren’t just stars in IWS, PWG, and IWA-MS, but in CZW as well, and yet couldn’t get recruited to represent the ultraviolent cause when it invaded ROH?

There was never an incredible hot tag period, although there were half-assed efforts in making it happen. The Briscoes happily played dirty as a receipt to Steen, victimizing Generico and cutting the ring in half on him. Once Generico got the tag, Steen was a house of fire with various strikes and bombs, making the most of his opportunity tonight as the commentary clearly pushed the narrative that Steen & Generico were looking to earn spots on the roster.

The best part of the match would be a plethora of bombs, ending with Steen giving Mark the pop-up powerbomb that would define him once his major league dreams came true. The ovation this sequence got pretty much sealed the deal for Steen & Generico, but I appreciated the protection Steen got in defeat even more. Mark evaded the package piledriver (rather than booking it to be a near-fall or even worse, a kick out spot), countering with a cutthroat driver. The Briscoes then finished Steen off with stereo shooting star press and guillotine leg drops.

In the post-match, the crowd makes it official as Steen & Generico are left in the ring: “Please come back!” As if that was ever in doubt after Steen’s feud of the year contender in 2005 against Super Dragon, and Generico’s performances against CIMA and Chris Sabin.

Rating: ***1/2

Samoa Joe finishes off Jimmy Rave in an anti-climactic match, further proving what a waste Rave’s huge push in the last 3 months. Joe cuts a heartfelt promo, since this was the city that not only saw ROH’s birth, but his debut and his historic ROH Title win and loss. But beyond that, and even beyond Philly being the birthplace of hardcore wrestling, this was the city that gave birth to the hardcore wrestling fans, the type of fans that demanded nothing less than excellence, and for that he is thankful. He concludes this by thanking ROH and proclaiming his love for professional wrestling. A wonderful promo, and the rest of his farewell tour has got quite a bit to love up to on the stick.
BG says: Bayless is backstage with Jack Evans. She asks him who laid him out last night. Evans knows for sure that it wasn’t Davey Richards, but he really doesn’t care.
After the match Evans apologizes to Shingo in Japanenglish for being the weak link. Austin Aries comes out so Evans reiterates that he’s not taking sides on this issue. Aries isn’t going to beg Evans, so considering the fact that he lead Generation Next to the top he’s going to form a new group of young wrestlers to back him up against the No Remorse Corp. Evans decides that he should probably get a crew of his own together.
The former Generation Next splintering into 3 factions? Legitimately hilarious considering the alternative I pitched already – the Elitists of Richards, Aries, Strong, and Edwards. If booker Gabe Sapolsky had more faith in Steen & Generico (and he damn well should have instead of being narrowminded about their disappointing performances in 2005), they could’ve banded with Evans coming out of this to represent a new wave of talents in the company.
Rebecca Bayless is backstage with Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs. Awk-waaard! Lacey tells Jacobs that she’s proud of him for jabbing the heel into Cabana’s throat. She seems mildly turned on by the violence they committed together and then whispers something exciting into Jacobs’s ear. What a wild turn of events! Jacobs reaction is great.
Fifth Year Festival – International Influence

A neat package looking at all the Japanese and European talents utilized in the company over the past 12 months. The track used sounds awfully similar to a club scene in the first season of Dexter, and perhaps it is since that aired in late 2006. I’d have included Generico and Lance Storm in this package to complete it.

ROH Title Match
Homicide vs. Takeshi Morishima




Pissed off about losing to Joe, Morishima ambushes Homicide in the entrance aisle, throwing the champion around and even giving him a DDT on the floor before they get in the ring and officially start the match. But that plays to right in Homicide’s strength, as he manages to get the advantage early and ragdoll Morishima into barricades numerous times. I appreciate that as it stays true to Homicide’s character instead of marginalizing him just to showcase Morishima.

Julius Smokes also blatantly involved himself at points, even in front of referee Todd Sinclair at one point. Sinclair only admonishes Smokes, and perhaps Sinclair is being lenient not just based on his history with Homicide, but out of feeling disrespected by Morishima for his actions before the opening bell. This was really a competitive contest, far more than I had remembered a decade ago. This wasn’t as “decisive” as Sapolsky marketed this as being in the days after this. Homicide brought forth a tremendous effort, bloodying Morishima’s nose just like Joe did 24 hours earlier, and often knocking Morishima down, even enough to apply an STF.

In storyline, I believe Homicide fucked himself out of victory by giving up on the STF. Morishima wouldn’t give up, but he was unable to reach the ropes. Homicide could’ve possibly forced Morishima to pass out, enhancing his legacy as an unfuckable force to be reckoned with. Seriously, had Homicide with his much smaller size actually forced Morishima into passing out just like Joe, would anyone wanna bother trying to dethrone him and end his dream as champion?

But alas, it was not be. Once Morishima was back on his feet, he brushed off Homicide’s standard dropkicks much like Brock Lesnar would. The double lariat from Homicide lacked drama, which was echoed in the lack of reaction from the crowd despite it putting down Joe 3 weeks earlier in New Jersey. A part of me wishes just one backdrop driver had put down Homicide to establish it as a killer finisher, but with Homicide being such a protected, integral part of ROH’s first 5 years, it made sense for him to kick out at first, once again just like Joe the night before, with Morishima needing a second one to get the job done and make shocking history.

The crowd is pleasantly surprised at this title change. Who would’ve seen this coming after Joe had cleanly defeated Morishima in NYC? But in storyline, it can be argued, with the clear display in Morishima’s actions before the opening bell, that such a humbling defeat sharpened his focus, that it made him realize he was not gonna waltz into ROH and easily smoke the competition.

This was a very effectively laid out match, although I’m not the biggest fan of the direction in hindsight. Here are the details of what I would’ve booked on this card.

Homicide & Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Remember, Aries & Strong have NOT broken up in my scenario, instead sticking together and recruiting the tandem known today as the Wolves for a new heel faction. Homicide and McGuinness team up as a means to hype up their Liverpool rematch that I’d have on the horizon. Aries is also being groomed to earn an ROH Title match in the future.

Xavier vs. Takeshi Morishima
Xavier is brought back into ROH, with the hopes that like Steen & Generico, he’ll earn a spot back on the roster. Rather than winning the ROH Title in his first weekend, I groom Morishima to challenge for it in a huge match later in 2007. How so? By not just going undefeated like Goldberg almost a decade earlier, but by cleanly defeating every former ROH Champion available, with Joe and Xavier being his first victims.

Anyway, still a good main event that got both Homicide and Morishima over as bad motherfuckers, and that’s the least I could ask for. Easily the peak of Homicide’s short time as ROH Champion too, and although I’ve clearly explained why I wouldn’t have gone with Morishima so early, I am looking forward to seeing everyone step up to dethrone the asshole monster, who refused to celebrate with the roster as part of the post-match ROH Title change tradition.

Rating: ***1/2

As touching as Joe’s promo is on this show, it isn’t exactly Bryan Danielson’s retirement speech. So with the show-stealing tag already on 2 compilations, and the main event for free on YouTube, save your money and avoid this ultimately disappointing event.

We now reach literally ROH’s fifth birthday, but the show-stealer isn’t what anyone expects.

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: Dayton
Matches will include:
Brent Albright & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness
Shingo vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Matt Cross vs. Pelle Primeau vs. Roderick Strong vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Samoa Joe vs. Davey Richards

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:05 pm

Fifth Year Festival: Dayton – February 23, 2007
Taped from Dayton, OH

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ROH Video Wire – February 22, 2007



Another lukewarm show means C&P treatment from Brad Garoon & Jake Ziegler.

Brent Albright & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness

McGuinness is already at ringside first so he’s requested by Lacey to just ditch Cabana for the night, to which he declined by calling her a slag. Jimmy Rave came out and gave him the heel hook, allowing the heels to have the early advantage even after Cabana ran out to make the save.

This was effective if nothing special, with the heels cutting the ring in half on McGuinness, targeting his left leg thanks to Rave’s attack moments earlier. Credit must be given though because once McGuinness got the hot tag, the crowd actually reacted to it, which is something missing from the Briscoes’ matches during this time. Cabana was a very good house of fire.

Once Albright was taken down with an assisted Tower of London, that took him out of the equation. His counter of the rebound lariat into the crowbar submission has me interested in a singles encounter against McGuinness though. With Jacobs down to himself, he resorted to choking Cabana with a guitar string, but that left him open to a rebound lariat. However, this should not have ended the match, as Albright was still legal.

Rating: less than ***
Lacey doesn’t care whether or not the match was fair, and she loved having Jacobs out there supporting her at ringside. She’s been more and more impressed with him lately. She really liked the way he choked Cabana out with the guitar string. Tomorrow night she wants Jacobs to kill Cabana in the Windy City Deathmatch. If he does she’ll give him something that will make him very happy. His facial expressions during his subsequent emo rant are hilarious.
Shingo vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Matt Cross vs. Pelle Primeau vs. Roderick Strong vs. Claudio Castagnoli

This match didn’t hide that it was gonna be a spot fest, with incredibly lax legality rules in place. Should the wrestlers prefer, they could do the standard tag, which is why the match started like that, but anyone was allowed to go in and out as they please, with no actual legalities to be enforced. Keeping it honest like that goes a long way.

This was more than a spot fest though, turning out to be Primeau’s career-defining performance. The first half of the match was highlighted by him being bullied repeatedly by Shingo, Strong, and Castagnoli, all of them taking turns with brutal strikes including chops and uppercuts. Primeau should’ve been given a time machine on this to late 2016, as he’d have been a vastly superior alternate to James Ellsworth. The psychology paid off in spades too, because once Primeau managed to counter Castagnoli with a head-scissors, the Dayton crowd popped tremendously for him.

The second half of the match just became an all-out spectacle, with everyone taking turns with different bombs, strikes, and dives. Shooting star presses, gut busters, uppercuts, Alpamari Waterslides, springboard hurricanrana pins, this was a nonstop bonanza with Dayton going crazy. If there’s one flaw to pinpoint, it would be the finish from 2 perspectives. The crowd didn’t pop as crazy went Castagnoli finished off Cross with a press-up uppercut. Based on the match’s structure, Primeau should’ve taken the fall to bring it full circle and effectively frustrate the crowd.

Both Primeau and Cross got over huge with Dayton in this match. While the former was far more over by putting in a peak career performance, Cross was outstanding in this as well, placed in a situation that perfectly played into his strengths and hid the weaknesses in his game that always glare in standard singles and tag matches. Hopefully booker Gabe Sapolsky doesn’t overreact to this match, but based on his past few months, I’m not counting on that.

Rating: ***3/4

Samoa Joe vs. Davey Richards

A surprising toss-up with the show-stealer before this for match of the night, and had the Dayton crowd not sucked in this match, this could’ve actually been an excellent match. Sapolosky deserves blame for that; even in southwestern Ohio, nobody cared enough about BJ Whitmer challenging Takeshi Morishima for the ROH Title for it to headline over Joe vs. Richards. In addition, Morishima vs. Whitmer would’ve been the perfect **1/2 special cooldown match to showcase the champion as a killer in between the six-way frenzy and real main event on this card of Joe vs. Richards.

An example of the crowd sucking in this near-classic would be really deep into it, as Richards blocked Joe’s Superplex attempt and hit a Sunset Bomb on him to just a polite reaction. This should’ve been treated as a potential game-changer in the match on par with Aries hitting a Crucifix Bomb at Final Battle 2004. Richards also didn’t get much heel heat as I would’ve hoped when he hit some low blows. Considering this was Joe’s farewell tour, which Richards verbally shit on, the crowd should’ve been venomous towards the newly turned ROH rookie.

The work of the match was really good as mentioned, with Joe getting vicious in retaliation when he cut off Richards on the outside to deliver some Ole Ole Kicks. The Coquina Clutch false finishes were good stuff too, as was his scouting of the Richards handspring kick. The finish was also definitely the peak, putting Richards over strongly because of the difficulty Joe had in finishing him off, with an apron musclebuster, which finally got the monster reaction that this match deserved. This should be included on another Joe or Richards compilation in the future.

In the post-match, Richards opts to spit on Joe and immediately roll out of the ring. Joe explains that when you smack your bitch around enough, eventually she’ll spit on you. He then cuts another warm and fuzzy promo, citing this is where he and CM Punk said nobody would fucking stop ROH, and here they were nearly 3 years later. In addition, he correctly points out that while Dayton has been one of ROH’s smaller markets, it had wonderful fans that always came to have a great time. That was certainly true before Dayton got sadly saddled as a B-market.

Rating: ***3/4

Fifth Year Festival – Matches of the Year:
The 2006 Survival of the Fittest Elimination Match
Team ROH vs. Team CZW – Death Before Dishonor IV
Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe vs. KENTA – In Your Face
KENTA & Davey Richards vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong – Honor Reclaims Boston
Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Briscoe Bros. – Unified
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Nigel McGuinness – Glory By Honor V Night 2
Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness – Unified
Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA – Glory By Honor V Night 2
Bryan Danielson & Samoa Joe vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji – Best in the World 2006
CIMA & Speed Muscle vs. Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, & Genki Horiguchi – Supercard of Honor

Considering that neither of the matches that delivered are on compilations yet, this gets a recommendation by default despite being another lukewarm show. I’m still waiting for an event from the Fifth Year Festival that could even measure up to the worst of The Milestone Series, though.

In hindsight, what are the changes I would’ve made to make ROH’s official 5th birthday into something memorable?

If sticking with Morishima having dethroned Homicide in Philly, I’d have done the rematch here. The story can be that Homicide isn’t waiting for his traditional rematch clause, he wants it immediately. There’s the extra poetry that the OG of ROH wants to recapture his dream of being ROH Champion 5 years to the date of him starting with the company on Day 1. The three-way we got between Homicide, Jay Briscoe, and Christopher Daniels was fine in theory as an homage to Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson and also build heat for the Briscoes vs. Daniels & Matt Sydal the following night, but there was no juice in it at all.

There’s the argument that if Homicide had still been champion, then the OGs’ three-way would’ve meant much more as the main event for the biggest prize in the company. That definitely makes sense. However, seeing how hot the six-way was that actually happened, I’d have had a six-way as the main event with what is today known as “Defy or Deny” rules. In the very building where he had earned an ROH Title shot the previous summer by pinning Danielson, Aries would do it again by beating Homicide in a match also involving the Briscoes, Daniels, and overnight Sweet ‘N Sour member, Claudio Castagnoli, who Chris Hero & Larry Sweeney would’ve had a change a heart about the prior month. How would Castagnoli have been inserted into this match? Because Sweeney would be his agent, that’s how.

As for Morishima, he’d continue the undefeated streak in a hard-hitting match against the newly turned Roderick Strong, continuing his streak at 3-0 after defeating Joe and Xavier in his debut weekend.

Back to reality. Joe’s ROH tenure on American soil now reaches its conclusion, as does Jacobs vs. Cabana. At long last as well after waiting 6 months, ROH’s hottest tag team gets their shot at the Tag Titles. Can they bring their 365th day back in the company full circle and finally claim the silver, and in the process liberate viewers from a reign that has severely devalued everything Aries & Strong had built last year?

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: Chicago
Matches will include:
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. Briscoe Bros.
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana
Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe & Homicide

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:06 pm

Fifth Year Festival: Chicago – February 24, 2007
Taped from Chicago, IL

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Austin Aries tells Matt Cross and 2 other utter jabronis that he may recruit them for his new stable. Oh for fuck’s sake, why wouldn’t he just wait for Kevin Steen & El Generico to return after their effort against the Briscoes, an effort that earned “Please come back!” chants?

Instead of the usual Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, this event is taking place in Chicago proper at the Windy City Fieldhouse. There is literally another sporting event going on in another part of the building and it’s hilarious to hear whistles being blown by referees. Totally bush league for Samoa Joe’s American soil farewell in ROH.

The interaction between Brent Albright, Larry Sweeney, and Claudio Castagnoli makes me realize that had Sweeney just recruited the Kings of Wrestling, then Albright would’ve been a perfect mercenary third wheel to complete the Sweet ‘N Sour faction.

Colt Cabana cuts an effective promo, first looking upon the light snowy weather of his hometown. He’s disappointed because Jimmy Jacobs turned down his friendship, the opportunity for Cabana to share years of experience in life and wrestling. But tonight in Chicago, Jacobs will be left emotionally broken, a crimson mask, dripping head to toe, and Cabana will no longer have to be a part of it. I’m expecting a high heel to factor in based on him referencing Irresistible Forces and The Chicago Spectacular.

Cross wins a nothing special four-way and is recruited by Aries to take on Davey Richards & Roderick Strong tonight. This angle is already falling apart, as booker Gabe Sapolsky has overreacted to Cross getting pops for his flippy-dos in recent months. Strong having a feud with Delirious also makes this angle lack cohesion, which is surprising because ROH has prided itself the past few years on talents having multiple simultaneous arcs.

Tag Titles Match
Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. Briscoe Bros.


Outstanding tag match, even better than I had remembered. I’ll get the nitpick out of the way; what hurt this during the action-packed free-for-all third act, even with tag legalities being adhered to, compared to Aries & Strong vs. KENTA & Richards at Honor Reclaims Boston doing the same thing? This match saw referee Todd Sinclair early in the match keep one of the Briscoes from illegally entering, despite what would come in the third act as mentioned, and him calming the match down when it started hot early thanks to the participants coming and going as they pleased.

As mentioned, it was a refreshing surprise for tag legalities to be adhered to, and it paid off when the champs cut the ring in half on Jay and finally tagged in Mark. While it wasn’t quite the expected epic, the crowd reacted well to Mark being a house of fire. Everything in this match was just crisp and firing on all cylinders, nothing going to waste whatsoever.

There were plenty of highlights in this obviously, from the champs delivering an assisted pancake facebuster, to Sydal giving Daniels a hurricanrana-assisted double clotheslines off the turnbuckle, to Sydal eating a double press-up slam, to the very finish as Mark took both champs out with cutthroat drivers. That took Daniels out of the equation, allowing the Briscoes to finish off the legal Sydal with a guillotine leg drop and shooting star press. It wasn’t the stereo version they wanted thanks to Mark briefly slipping, but it was effective nonetheless.

In the post-match, Jay’s promo is interrupted as Sydal & Daniels grab the belts and demand they turn around. Despite Sydal’s cockiness and the crankiness of Daniels, they strapped the belts on the new champs. This was poetic, culminating the year-long journey the Briscoes had taken to finally winning the belts since their return 364 days earlier, and ended the weak run of Sydal & Daniels on a high note. The scary part though: who do the Briscoes have to defend the belts against, since even though Steen & Generico earned spots, the Briscoes had already beaten them?

Rating: ****1/4

At intermission, Lacey tells Jimmy Jacobs she doesn’t care about him winning and losing tonight. Instead, she wants someone to die, for Colt Cabana’s career to be ended, and promises him that if he gets the job done, she’ll do something nice for him. Lacey’s transformation is a sight to behold here, as she’s clearly becoming more attracted to Jacobs after all the work he’s done on her behalf. She doesn’t even mind him playing with her hair as he creepily says that when there’s death, there’s life, and tonight two lovers will unite where there’s bloodshed.

Hardcore Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Colt Cabana


Another excellent match on this card, bringing this portion of the Jacobs saga to its proper conclusion. This was a disgusting match, one of its time, with both men having crimson masks at different times. It’s weird to see that with 2017 eyes, but make no mistake, it certainly added to the story of how much these two hated each other.

There was some definite sports-entertainment thrown in. Lacey was ready to stomp Cabana’s groin but was stopped by Daizee Haze. The spot Haze did on Lacey looked incredibly awkward before chasing her to the back; looking back, it looks like Haze may have simpler just been a poor wrestler. Brent Albright also came in later to give Cabana a half nelson suplex, to be followed by BJ Whitmer to even the odds. There was nothing big done between Jacobs and Whitmer in this match, and there damn well shouldn’t have been, for they still had another 5 weeks of story left to tell.

Brutal highlights in this match include making me hope at some point we get a Jeff Hardy vs. Jimmy Jacobs match, as Jacobs hit a senton off of a ladder in the ring, on Cabana through a table outside. Jacobs also must have arrogantly not bothered to check his wardrobe before the match, as Cabana somehow had his trademark spike, which would later be used on the bloody head of Jacobs when Cabana found a hammer. Jacobs also broke the wooden pole of Cabana’s Chicago flag by snapping it on Cabana’s back, creating 2 wooden spikes out of it that would come into play.

My favorite piece of storytelling in the match was Cabana bringing scissors into the match. This was him displaying how much he learned feuding against Homicide, and it would take that kind of effort against the love-crazed Jacobs, who was no slouch in this environment himself in this city too, having put up an amazing effort against Alex Shelley in an I Quit match back in 2004. Cabana got overzealous with the scissors and stabbed it into a turnbuckle pad, wasting time trying to pull it out. That allowed Jacobs to get the upper hand.

Lacey would return to help Jacobs, wanting to use a high heel as I suspected. Cabana prevented it and use the shoe himself to attack Jacobs, finishing the two creepy significant others both off with Colt .45s and pinning them for the victory. Fantastic finish to this story for Cabana to put this behind him, and further ammunition for Jacobs to make things right with Lacey in his unfinished business against Whitmer.

Rating: ****1/4

Fifth Year Festival – Greatest Moments
Too many to list here, but plenty of crazy spectacles and special guest star appearances are highlighted.

Samoa Joe’s American Soil Farewell in ROH
Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe & Homicide


The positives of this match: nobody was buried coming out of it, and the standing ovation Joe got during his introduction was surreal, a well-deserved one And the post-match ceremony was tremendous too, with McGuinness also saying that since he beat Joe, he wants Morishima for the ROH Title the next time he’s booked.

This was a very disappointing main event, carried completely by being a novelty. There were tag legalities aplenty in this one; I was ready to excuse the first one after a solid brawl on the outside. But the ones later made absolutely no sense. There was never a truly cohesive, drama-building arc to this match.

I’d ultimately point to the booking holes as the culprit. Had Homicide vs. McGuinness with a title change been planned for Liverpool, this would’ve heated up that match. Morishima could’ve also been more steadily groomed for his inevitable shot at the title, rather than just having been thrust into the top spot so quickly.

Had Homicide vs. McGuinness been the planned next title change, then simply put, I have Joe vs. McGuinness wrapping up their program here with McGuinness going over, giving him that extra springboard before coming to his home country to challenge Homicide and end his feud against Jimmy Rave. Instead we got one of the most disappointing main events in ROH history, one that nobody ever talks about. All just so Morishima could defend the belt against KENTA in Tokyo.

Rating: less than ***

All of the important matches are available on compilations, so it’s a toss-up if this show is a necessity. Use your best judgment, but the 2 classic matches are definitely must-see.

Finally, we arrive at a double-shot of shows that actually received wide acclaim. This is the in-ring ROH that I fell in love with, and I expect the best shows since Glory By Honor V Night 2.

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool
Matches will include:
Homicide vs. Davey Richards
Jimmy Rave & Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana
Delirious vs. Matt Sydal
Roderick Strong vs. PAC
Briscoe Bros. vs. Shingo & Naruki Doi
Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:08 pm

Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool – March 3, 2007
Taped from Liverpool, England

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ROH Video Wire – March 1, 2007



Important news/footage in the above video:
A nice highlight reel of ROH Champion Takeshi Morishima’s first 4 nights competing in ROH
Samoa Joe’s farewell match on March 4 in Liverpool will be against his greatest foe, now best friend in the company, none other than Homicide. That should be an emotional match for both, and it’ll be nice to compare it to CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana all these years later.

The DVD kicks off with a horrendous Roderick Strong promo, revealing he attacked Jack Evans in NYC and the friendship was never real. He’s sporting the FIP Title and says it becomes a world title tonight, saying he’ll break the debuting PAC in half.

Jimmy Jacobs says his 6-hour flight was miserable since Lacey couldn’t come along due to eating Colt Cabana’s Colt .45 last week. Jacobs is proud for giving Cabana a crimson mask, knowing that it pleased Lacey. Her mission for him tonight is to take out Cabana and/or BJ Whitmer. He vows this war of attrition ends in Liverpool, and Lacey’s whispers will all come true for him. THIS should’ve kicked off the DVD.

Homicide vs. Davey Richards

Good opener that didn’t try to be anything special even though it probably could’ve been. After some even stuff, Richards got the upper hand on the outside via kicks to the torso and then a big boot with former ROH Champion crotched on a guardrail. Richards seemed to target Homicide’s torso, going after the front end with more kicks and delivering backbreakers. But he never completely focused on the torso, going for Kondo Clutches instead of a more conducive back submission.

Homicide got his shit in too, not letting the newly-turned ROH rookie boost his resume at his expense. The Notorious 187 brought plenty of his trademark bombs, including Eddie Guerrero’s 3 Amigos suplex chain, some lariats, and even a frog splash for a near-fall. Honestly though, his lariats more resembled clotheslines, lacking the epic firepower to be considered true lariats. So when that was a near-fall, It made sense. But after enough blows, Richards was prone to the Kudo Driver, not being able to evade it again. Too bad we never got a rematch between these two.

Rating: ***1/4

The side view promos return! The Briscoes vow to survive Dragon Gate’s Shingo & Naruki Doi tonight, just like they did a couple months earlier against other puro stars in NOAH. There’s an open contract for tomorrow’s event for whoever wants to man up!

Jimmy Rave & Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana

The pre-match brawl was the best part of this match, although it wasn’t that special. While the crowd enjoyed the brawl, it lacked the heat that I would’ve expected at this point between Jacobs and Whitmer. Once this settled into a match, it was primarily Whitmer playing the FIP to build to a hot tag. There was of course a tag legality issue I saw. Jacobs got the pin on Whitmer via a Shiranui, which is the right move.

Rating: less than ***

2/3 Falls Match
Delirious vs. Matt Sydal


The major takeaway from this match is that Sydal had become even more of a cocky little shit heel. His smugness and cheating was significantly elevated. In the first fall, he hit a low-blow that was intentionally a gray area, holding Delirious in the air and kicking him low. This was a precursor to how he’d secure the first pin, this time very blatantly kicking Delirious in the groin outside referee Todd Sinclair’s vision.

The second fall began with Sydal using the tassels from the mask of Delirious to repeatedly choke him. But as typical in these types of matches, Delirious was able to get the upper hand, eventually leaving his archrival prone to hit a Shadows Over Hell, and then immediately follow that up with a Cobra Clutch. There were also plenty of bombs thrown in this one, with those bombs and exhaustion being sold with exception improvement comparted to their contest at The Epic Encounter II.

Sydal became desperate and went under the ring at one point in the third fall, but Delirious wasted not time yanking him out. This was a very good final fall with Sydal going for a Shooting Star Press and landing on his feet, having scouted Delirious evading it while in midair. This then transitioned to a great sequence with crucifix pins and Cobra clutch false submissions, and even a La Magistral attempt by Sydal being counted with a Chemical Imbalance 2, getting a standing ovation and ROH chant from the Liverpool crowd.

The finish paid off an earlier story in the match. Sydal had unsuccessfully gone for a Flux Capacitor but Delirious shoved him off. So at this point, Sydal shoved the ref in the ropes to force Delirious to be crotched, leaving him in position to counter the Flux Capacitor this time. Damn good stuff here.

Rating: ***3/4

FIP Title Match
Roderick Strong vs. PAC


Arguable match of the night here. The match kicks off with Strong opting to spit on PAC instead of following the Code of Honor. As expected, Strong bullied PAC, who served as a perfect underdog body to help Strong’s recent transition into a jock bully heel. Strong was both merciless and condescending in this one, slapping the UK native early.

While PAC got enough offense in this match to be showcased, this was more about Strong as mentioned. PAC’s attempts to cut off and make comebacks were often just hope spots, especially when he went for a submission game. Strong resorted to any measure, whether it was strength, pulling hair, poking eyes, or refusing to give clean breaks, to exert his force. PAC managed to frustrate Strong at times with his acrobatic ability, which came in handy both for evasions and to drop bombs.

PAC’s go-to cut off would be various head-scissors, but he found himself too often caught by Strong to get tossed around. He was also very susceptible to backbreakers, including a bearhug variation that I don’t think I’ve seen before or since. But no matter the brutality, no matter how much arrogance displayed by the champ, PAC remained levelheaded, which played a huge part in the most memorable comeback spot in the match, that being a moonsault reverse DDT made famous by AJ Styles.

PAC also brought the forearm firepower, showing that he was more than arm drags and spectacular moves. His aggression paid off as it allowed Strong to be dazed enough to eat a Sky Twister to the outside, unable to evade or counter it. Despite how sore his back must’ve been, he also landed a Standing Shooting Star Press and Standing Moonsault Senton on separate occasions.

Strong made the mistake when in control of audibly calling the Tiger Driver. Giving that away allowed PAC to block it and hit a tornado DDT, followed by a gorgeous 450 splash for a near-fall and get his home country buzzing. But Strong baited him, allowing the exhausted PAC to attempt a top-rope corkscrew 450 splash, which was evaded. That left PAC completely vulnerable to a Yakuza kick and savage Tiger Driver to bring this classic to its conclusion.

In the post-match, Strong piles in with a Liontamer, only to be chased off by Delirious. As PAC got up, the audience chanted for his return, and I wonder why he didn’t get regular bookings after this. It must’ve been a schedule issue.

This was an excellent match that perfectly showcased Strong’s nasty prick attitude, while also serving as a platform for PAC to show off his resilience and creativity. A sensational contest, and why hasn’t this been placed on a compilation yet?

Rating: ****

Jacobs says his pin fall over Whitmer tonight is meaningless, as he’s supposed to end him or Cabana. He tells referee Todd Sinclair to inform Whitmer he’s waiting outside for a fight.

Tag Titles Match
Briscoe Bros. vs. Shingo & Naruki Doi


A horse shit tag match. This wasn’t under Dragon Gate Rules, and even had it been, this match broke those rules over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Those who have ever listened to Bryan Alvarez’s Briscoes critques a decade ago are very familiar, and had he watched this match, this would’ve been right up there in pissing him off.

This match personified the worst of 2007 underground wrestling’s fetish to provide all flash and no substance. There were no hot tags built, the moves built to absolutely nothing, and there were tag legality violations galore as the Liverpool crowd erupted. Now, the same can be said about the Briscoes against Strong & Austin Aries in this same venue at Unified. Well, that match really is a timeless classic, as it had just one tag legality violation that was very minor thanks to the match overwhelmingly making up for that flaw. The moves in that match were a battle of back-and-forth competition between the two best teams going in ROH, an electrifying neck-and-neck example for the squared circle of what so many sports fans look for in the most epic sports game.

This was nothing but fucking moves. Just moves, moves, moves, moves. As for the tag legalities, they were getting completely ignored not even a minute after the closest thing to a hot tag in the match when Shingo finally reached Doi. That was the moment when all logic and psychology in this match completely fell apart. The Liverpool audience was none the wiser, completely distracted by the constant barrage of moves to see through this shallow excuse for tag team wrestling.

The title change also caused a unique opportunity to have been lost that was sitting right there. While it’s nice that we’d get a once-in-a-lifetime match the next day between Shingo & Doi and Richards & Strong, it was a huge booking flaw. A decade ago, Shingo and Doi were in opposing factions, the former in Typhoon (officially formed the same day of this event), the latter in Muscle Outlaw’z. These factions were not exactly on friendly terms. So with that in mind, here’s how the pairing could’ve made sense, and what the Briscoes retaining could’ve done.

Announce that ROH approached both Dragon Gate factions and negotiated for Shingo & Doi to team together. Both factions would come to the agreement that it served their mutual interests as well as the greater overall interest of Dragon Gate to challenge for the ROH Tag Titles. This puts ROH over to the Dragon Gate audience as a federation to be followed and respected, and also does wonders for the Tag Titles.

Now in this match, there was actually a moment when a Briscoe ducked a clothesline, causing Shingo to strike Doi. That was the moment to use the cliché of unpleasant partners breaking apart, making them vulnerable to the Briscoes. Instead of the Jay vs. Mark singles match to mutually toughen each other up the next day, they defend the belts against the No Remorse Corps, and Shingo’s next chapter in his excursion would be a singles grudge encounter against Doi, both pissed at each other and pointing fingers for losing to the Briscoes.

The Briscoes are a strong contender as the greatest tag team of the early 21st Century. Shingo is always my most anticipated performer whenever I heard Dragon Gate talent is being imported. Naruki Doi is nothing short of fantastic. They could’ve done much better than this, even with the flaws of booker Gabe Sapolsky and probably even Dragon Gate to blame.

If the Briscoes have any aspirations of ever getting to WWE, I certainly wouldn’t let Triple H and William Regal watch this match.

Rating: less than ***

Fifth Year Festival – World Tag Team Titles

A nice highlight package focusing largely on the iconic reign of Aries & Strong, plus the other champions prior to February 2007, that being the Kings of Wrestling as well as Sydal & Christopher Daniels.

Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness

The final chapter in this rivalry went out with a bang. While McGuinness seemed to have hurt a part of his lower body that caused him discomfort, he was unrelenting in his pursuit of a career-defining victory at this stage of his career. His targeting of Joe’s left arm and shoulder was splendid as usual, including headbutting Joe’s shoulder. But before that, the two displayed some terrific scouting, as McGuinness avoided Joe’s Elbow Suicida. Joe motioned to cut McGuinness off, so McGuinness walked through the ropes only to get swept and then swung into a guardrail. This then left McGuinness open to Ole Ole kicks to the crowd’s delight, who were on fire for this historic match.

Another example of terrific scouting would be Joe never once eating the corner handstand double foot mule kick of McGuinness. Instead, just like in their prior encounters going back to their tag match involving John Walters & Jay Lethal at Weekend of Thunder Night 1, Joe canceled it out with a Yakuza kick to the vulnerable face of McGuinness. But the second time McGuinness went for it, he turned it into his signature spinal kick and forearm drive combo.

McGuinness also went for plenty of lariats, although didn’t rely on it as heavily as would expected in a huge match against the likes of Joe. Joe also evaded a Tower of London and went for a rear naked choke, only to actually eat it seconds later. But the third time would certainly not be the charm, as Joe scouted it once again. This led to Joe giving McGuinness a terrifying musclebuster on the apron. While Richards had taken this same move the week before and was finished from it, McGuinness landed on his side and laid on the floor, unable to move.

Nuermous referees check on McGuinness and eventually walk him to the back, but Joe at least wants a handshake. Eventually the former ROH Champion tells McGuinness he’s a “British pussy,” which finally gets McGuinness back in the ring. The match at this point becomes an emotional roller coaster with near-falls that have Liverpool going ape shit for McGuinness.

This portion didn’t just have McGuinness kicking out of great moves such as the musclebuste, it didn’t just have him kickout out at 1 after a lariat, to make it special. The scouting on display was something to behold as well. McGuinness countered a Uranage slam with a headlock takeover, and even outsmarted Joe by faking a rebound lariat and turning it into a schoolboy pin. McGuinnesss also rolled back during a Coquina Clutch for near-fall, but once Joe rolled over and kept the choke on, McGuinness passed out.

All that’s been said about this booking has been said. So instead the focus will be that this was a sensational match in front of an epic audience. In the post-match, Joe puts McGuinness over huge, saying he’s leaving ROH in great hands, making it crystal-clear that McGuinness will be ROH Champion at some point. As great as this post-match is, I can only imagine if this was McGuinness dethroning Homicide instead.

Rating: ****

The DVD closes with a Jacobs and Whitmer brawling cliffhanger.

Not as jaw-dropping as I’d remembered thanks mostly to the awful Briscoes vs. Shingo/Doi match, and a decade later the standards have been raised significantly for quantity of workrate on individual cards. With that said, this is absolutely a fantastic show pillared by two excellent matches that told very different stories, as well as a couple undercard goodies. Strongest recommendation.

An era for ROH comes to an end, the first of many to come over the next couple months for the company. What a ride it’s been to revisit Samoa Joe’s initial run in the company that put him on the map. And his initial farewell comes to be one of the most stacked match quality cards in company history.

Up next – Fifth Year Festival: Finale
Matches will include:
Delirious vs. Colt Cabana
Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer
PAC vs. Matt Sydal
Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
Shingo & Naruki Doi vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
Last edited by supersonic on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by supersonic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:09 pm

Fifth Year Festival: Finale – March 4, 2007
Taped from Liverpool, England

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The Briscoes are pumped to toughen each other up in tonight’s singles match.

Delirious vs. Colt Cabana

Cabana pays homage to the legendary Big Daddy, which the Liverpool crowd loves, especially the actual baby doll he brings to ringside. This is a wonderful comedy match as expected, and it starts off perfectly by Cabana going crazy at the opening bell to throw Delirious off from doing it. The crowd’s pop for this is amazing. The Lizard Man is none too pleased, tossing a chair in the ring among other itmes, including the baby doll to the crowd’s disapproval and drawing a “baby killer” chant.

Cabana: “How dare you do that to my baby! I hate you!”

A fan throws the baby doll back in the ring and Delirious holds onto it with his mouth. Cabana wins the first grapple battle and uses his power to pay further homage to Big Daddy, talking trash to Delirious. Back in the ring, Delirious asks Cabana if he’s sorry, leaving him vulnerable to a more Cabana grappling and his mask being shifted.

This pays off in hilarious fashion with Delirious rolling up referee Todd Sinclair and Cabana counting near-falls, once again the crowd totally enthusiastic. Cabana mimics a 5-count in the corner, irritating Sinclair, and Delirious finally realizes who it is during a waist lock, only to get shoved back by the official, which Cabana takes advantage of for a near-fall.

Cabana mocks Delirious about his confusion, to which Delirious replies back with jibber. He finally gains the upper hand, drawing “Bah!” chants. Cabana resorts to trying to shift the mask around, but Delirious ain’t letting that happen again. Cabana tries once again and the crowd boos, so he stops to his disadvantage. Once he regains the heat though, he starts pulling tassels out, only to have more back-and-forth action. It finally ends moments later with a La Magistral cradle variation counter.

One of the best comedy matches of the decade, a fantastic choice for the opener, and a chapter very much worthy of being included on a compilation. This smokes their Back to Basics match.

Rating: ***1/2

The No Remorse Corps promo is interrupted by Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer’s brawl spilling into their location.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer


This begins as their brawl continues in the audience after a totally meaningless women’s match. This is some heated stuff with Whitmer dragging Jacobs across a stadium balcony early, and then it goes backstage again. Jacobs uses a fire extinguisher on Whitmer’s back, only to get chopped and fall down a staircase. The crowd is really behind Whitmer here.

Whitmer teases a powerbomb off a balcony, but Jacobs has none of that and even saves himself from being tossed over. He then eats another chop sending him down a staircase, but his relentlessness is on point, fighiting back and hitting a leaping hurricanrana off a table. Jacobs then channels Jeff Hardy and hits an elbow drop from the balcony, making me further wish for that dream match at some point. That near-fall leads him to follow that up with a Cactus Jack style elbow, but instead of off of an apron, he runs across stacked chairs in the audience.

The action finally gets to the ring and continues to be splendid. Jacobs has the usual railroad spike pulled from his boot, running perfectly with it to cut Whitmer’s forehead open and then spikes it on a turnbuckle pad. Jacobs wipes Whitmer’s blood on his body, including his face, telling Whitmer to keep bleeding, then wipes his own face on the blood-soaked mat. These were very different times in the business indeed compared to a decade later.

Whitmer teases a comeback, only to get literally spiked again and eat a reverse hurricanrana, but then musters up enough adrenaline to counter a Shiranui and plant Jacobs with an Owen Driver. I appreciate that Whitmer sold his exhaustion for several seconds before going for the pin. He continues selling it as they engage in a chop battle, and their pride and adrenaline keep them going with more strikes. He rocks Jacobs with an elbow.

It goes to the entrance apron ramp and Jacobs blocks another powerbomb, but Whitmer cuts off a spear and hits a brainbuster on it for the finish! Perfect booking here, as Whitmer should get this victory before Jacobs comes home to Michigan to finally conquer his arch-nemesis, as well as Lacey’s heart, on the grandest weekend of them all. This was damn good stuff too, the unrelenting hatred for each other on display.

Rating: ***3/4

Jimmy Rave cuts a good promo, despising McGuinness for being disrespected by him via toilet paper a few months back, just like the Liverpool audience before that. Tonight’s hardcore match will end up leaving McGuinness bloodied and crippled, and that Rave is the best wrestler in ROH, deserving of nothing less than respect. I expect this absurd Rave push to go out on a high note.

PAC vs. Matt Sydal

The two have acrobatic stalemates early, so Sydal pie faces the UK native to turn into a striking battle. He better be careful considering that PAC did some damage to Roderick Strong with elbow strikes the day before. With that said, Sydal gets the upper hand thanks to a leg lariat receipt, maintaining his usual arrogance and cockiness at this time in his ROH tenure.

When PAC attempts a comeback, he takes an ugly bump and botches a head-scissors attempt, allowing Sydal to maintain control. He gets too cocky though, wasting time in the corner. This allows PAC to evade a jumping Super Hurricanrana, causing Sydal to be crotched. PAC is a house of fire with various strikes including a moonsault dropkick, then once Sydal is driven the outside, PAC follows up with a corkscrew press to Liverpool’s delight.

PAC maintains control in the ring, and a fallen Sydal allows him to hit a corkscrew 450 splash off the second rope for a near-fall. But Sydal cuts him off moments later to deliver a Snapmare Driver and standing moonsault for a near-fall, drawing “This is awesome!” chants. Sydal is condescending with his attacks and eats a spike hurricanrana counter for his trouble, as well as a Tiger Suplex.

Whatever Sydal had in mind from the second rope got cut off via an ear clap head-scissors, with Sydal immediately following up that by finishing PAC with a gorgeous Shooting Star Press. Damn good stuff proving PAC had earned a spot in ROH, and this needs to be on a compilation considering the star power both have acquired since.

Rating: ***1/2

Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe

The two come out together, truly signifying this is just a special challenge match for each other. Love it. Bobby Cruise even gives them in-ring introductions, a great way to present this as historic. The crowd also gets into “dueling chants” by yelling “Let’s go Briscoe!”

Early grappling results in slaps to the face, and Mark grabs Jay’s nose to break a leg submission. He keeps up the aggression by absorbing a backdrop suplex to hold onto a headlock, and kicks Jay in the spine. It heats up when Jay clotheslines Mark to the outside, becoming a striking exchange before Mark hits a scoop slam on the floor. That bump sounded awful.

Even though in torso pain, Mark absorbs it by getting the upper hand on a guardrail whipe, then hits a moonsault off of the guardrail. When Jay’s back up, they have another exchange with Jay getting the upper hand and taking the action to the entrance apron ramp. Mark reaggravates his back pain when he drops Jay on the ramp with a vertical suplex but brings it back into the ring.

The brothers have each other naturally scouted, countering each other’s arsenal before Mark wins that battle with a spinning kick to gain control. Jay stops a springboard Ace Crusher, only to knocked down and eat a slingshot double foot stomp and springboard senton. Jay finally blocks a Northern Lights Suplex attempt, spiking Mark with a DDT counter to get control.

Jay’s control segment isn’t quite as interesting as Mark’s. He hits his standard offense, and Mark regaining control with an exploder suplex makes this a bit more engaging. Mark’s control is short-lived though as he eats a Stunner and Yakuza Kick for a near-fall, then gets placed in a Stretch Plum. This is exactly what Jay should be doing: softening Mark’s neck up to eat the double underhook piledriver.

It becomes a strike exchange and Jay blocks Mark’s springboard attempt, driving him to the floor. Jay hits a somersault plancha, something I’m not used to seeing out of him. Jay’s frog splash distance is impressive but just a near-fall. Jay goes for the finish but Mark blocks it and hits a unique bicycle kick to escape and go for Karate chops, then hits the springboard Ace Crusher that was teased earlier. This is some decent storytelling tell so far.

Another strike exchange helps Mark maintain control, hitting more springboard maneuvers for near-falls to the crowd’s delight. Jay blocks a superplex attempt, and the match is elevated when he uses the positioning to hit a Super Gordbuster. Mark is blessed enough to get a rope break after eating a Falcon Arrow, then eats another Stretch Plum as the crowd breaks out in legitimate dueling chants. Jay doesn’t let that be a submission, hitting a lariat for a near-fall.

Mark blocks the double underhook driver and hits a couple exploder suplexes for a near-fall. Mark shoves referee Todd Sinclair and then uses him as a platform to go over the top rope and take Jay off the apron onto the outside with a head-scissors. That was impressive. After getting up from their exhaustion, they have another strike exchange, only for Jay to hit his finisher… but he’s too exhausted to go for the cover! The crowd is loving this storytelling.

As they rise up, Jay smiles and the crowd eupts for this strike exchange, then applauds again when they force each other collapse. Jay gets up first and opts not to win by TKO, but that backfires as he eats a Cutthroat Driver. Like Jay minutes earlier though, Mark is too exhausted to go for the cover after his finish. Instead, both men are counted down at 10. Very brief booing quickly turns into a standing ovation, the crowd wise enough to understand these siblings were equals and would be booked as such.

This is actually a great match that started slow and told the story of exhaustion at the end, carefully teasing signature moves and delivering them. The Liverpool audience’s knowledge helped tremendously elevate the story told, which paid off at the finish. This is nowhere near AJ Styles vs. Paul London which also had a draw finish and a very different one at that, but like that all-time classic, the draw here paid off the story of equality and toughening each other up after a one-and-done reign as Tag Champs.

Rating: ****

The horrible side view promo returns, with McGuinness saying that tonight’s feud-ending hardcore match against Rave, vowing to repay respect, kick his ass, and finally get a victory in Liverpool.

Tag Titles Match
Shingo & Naruki Doi vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong


Another dog shit tag match for Shingo & Doi. Tag legalities? A foreign (no pun intended) in this sham of a tag match. All booker Gabe Sapolsky had to do was schedule this as a Tornado Rules match, or at the very least a Dragon Gate Rules match. This had zero psychology and was just a pile of moves, although not as quantified as the match day before involving the Briscoes. Bryan Alvarez would despise this with a fucking passion. One of the most disappointing matches during this never-ending project.

Rating: less than ***

Hardcore Match
Jimmy Rave vs. Nigel McGuinness


As expected, Rave’s big push resulted in the end of it being a high note. McGuinness pulled his groin the night before so his right thing is strongly taped. After he got the early heat, Rave kicked a chair into that leg. Unfortunately for the former Crown Jewel, he never really went to work again on that right leg, which had to be disappointing for him. The targeting of that limb was extremely minimal.

Rave made another huge mistake trying to copy Bryan Danielson at Unified and ram the head of McGuinness into a ring post. Instead, the former Pure Champion blocked it and rammed Rave’s left shoulder into it. Then this fight had an insane weapon brought into the fold, that being a solo guardrail McGuinness pulled from under the ring. McGuinness placed it as a platform on the ring apron and a standing guardrail, guaranteeing some insanity was to come.

Spots on the guardrail platform included Rave’s face getting smashed into it, McGuinness getting shoved onto it off the apron and bending it, and Rave getting backdropped into it from the ring, collapsing it onto the ground. But that wasn’t the craziest spot on the guardrail; that would come in the finishing stretch to pay off this excellent story.

For whatever reason, Rave opted to work on the neck of McGuinness with butterfly submissions and the Gonorrhea. While it’s good to sometimes bring a different game plan than what’s worked before iin case the opposition finally knows how to overcome it, Rave should’ve relied on the tried and true heel hook submission.

Another great story in this was Rave escaping the first Tower of London attempt, thene eventually eating a regular one. A match highlight for this story though was when Rave ate another one on a chair, resulting in a shocking near-fall. Right after that, Rave got his only heel hook submission of the match by scouting a short-armed lariat. This was at least great drama as McGuinness screamed in agony; perhaps Rave saw it the move as instant death, no need to work on it.

The next moment was the top highlight, paying off the story of the Tower of London, as Rave ate on on the guardrail platform that had been placed back in position. The initial referee had been knocked down so head official Todd Sinclair immediately came back out for a near-fall in the ring. They had a strike exchange, ending the match with one of the most audible, dangerous strikes I’ve ever heard as McGuinness finally put Rave to rest with a devastating rebound lariat. Rave had ever right to be pissed as reported at the time, since it broke his jaw.

An insane spectacle with terrific storytelling, and the first MOTYC for ROH’s 2007. McGuinness finally shut Rave up and got his first ROH singles victory in his home country. I can only imagine if this had been his first ROH Title defense though to elevate that title. This is my pick for Rave’s greatest match ever in ROH, better than the cage match against CM Punk or his ROH Title shot against Danielson. It’s a shame it fucked him up more than any other.

Rating: ****1/2

Fifth Year Festival – ROH World Championship

This is obviously mostly focused on Danielson, providing a terrific highlight heel for him stretching from The Milestone Series to Final Battle 2006. Homicide got a very brief highlight reel just from January 2007, and then the video shows every ROH Champion in history prior to the Fifth Year Festival, then has a montage of every relevant star to have stepped foot in ROH, finishing with Takeshi Morishima holding up the championship. Damn good video that makes ROH’s 2006 and the rest of the early years come across as epic and intimate.

Samoa Joe’s ROH Farewell
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide


Joe gets an epic entrance, juggling through his themes as the camera focuses on him in the Gorilla position, and whoever made this production decision to follow him from behind, gazing upon the Liverpool audience deserves major kudos. An absolutely epic, fantastic, historic visual. Also perfect for his juggling entrance theme to end on “Another Body Murdered,” bringing his ROH tenure full circle.

Liverpool is fantastic in their towards Joe before the ring introductions, just as much as Paul London in New Jersey, CM Punk in Chicago, and James Gibson in Philadelphia. While Homicide gets a terrific reaction himself, it understandably doesn’t compare to Joe, who gets the well-deserved streamer treatment. That brings back memories of their encounter at Generation Next, but Homicide doesn’t go for the cheap shot to kick off the match, not to his now-friend. Liverpool continues its greatness by chanting “He’s a legend!” and “Joe’s gonna kill you!”

The content of this match was good, elevated to very good by its finish. While it wasn’t the epic one would’ve hoped, one must remember that Gibson vs. Roderick Strong was an anomaly, as it’s far more common for someone out the door to have a farewell on par with Joe vs. London and Punk vs. Colt Cabana. This was ultimately better than the two farewell matches just mentioned.

If there was anything disappointing in this match, it was the lack of actual moves to serve as callbacks to their ROH rivalry, Instead, the callbacks were in Homicide cheating and Julius Smokes inserting himself at times to bail out the Notorious 187, but not being as malicious as in the past to their friend. The ultimate callback would be at the finish.

Homicide got a significant amount of control in this match, which is no surprise just a couple weeks removed from being ROH Champion and taking Morishima to the limit. Before the actual finish, Homicide got multiple lariats in the only non-character callback in the match for a near-fall, paying off their finish from Battle of the Icons. Homicide also got in Sinclair’s face at one point, paying off the moment that changed the game at Reborn Stage 1.

When Joe hit a musclebuster, the near-fall was surprising. But we should’ve all known that wouldn’t be the end of Joe’s time in ROH, for he had yet to deliver the Ole Ole Kicks. Since Smokes yanked Sinclair out to save Homicide and make it a near-fall, Joe went after him and delivered the Ole Ole Kicks, putting Liverpool in a frenzy. He overzealously went to do it again, only for Homicide to have recovered and cut off Joe with a perfectly timed Tope Con Hilo that sent Joe over the guardrail! That was a fantastic spot.

The finish finally came on the top rope, as Joe finished Homicide off just like in their first ROH main event against each other from Do or Die. Once Joe hit the Super Musclebuster, there was no turning back, securing the victory for himself and going out on top.

The roster gathers at the entrance as Joe gives a wonderful farewell speech, pointing out that ROH had many doubters during its first 5 years. But now? They weren’t at a rec center in Philly, they were at a fancy sold out Liverpool venue! Joe puts over the roster, indicating to the audience that the future is very bright, and busts out a Gabe Sapolsky joke too. After getting respect from the roster at the entrance, he comes back into the ring one last time to say goodbye, posing to the crowd.

Rating: ***3/4

The DVD closes with another fantastic video package, this one showcasing Joe’s time in ROH. No major match, no major foe, no major victory, no major moment is spared. Homicide, Punk, and Kenta Kobashi are particularly mentioned; Danielson should’ve been too. This truly marked the end of an era.

One of the greatest shows in ROH history. A shitty excuse for exciting tag team wrestling cannot weight down an epic comedy opener, substantial Jacobs vs. Whitmer chapter, high-flyer’s dream match, epic feud-ending hardcore right, and historic farewell.

This is EASILY the greatest event on this journey since Glory By Honor V Night 2. This is the quality that would’ve fit right in during the glorious 365 day period that ended with that very event. If the match quality wasn’t enough, there’s the closing video to warm the heart and water the eyes.

A decade later, this obviously turned out to not be the end of Joe in ROH. But it was very much the end of an era as mentioned, and thus there will be a complimentary retrospective coming this weekend, especially because it’s so fitting that he finally makes his long-awaited WWE PPV debut.

What a fantastic weekend to wrap up this birthday festival and Joe’s farewell tour. And Joe was right when he said not to worry, because now we arrive at another epic weekend in the Motor City. Another long journey is about to reach its finale.

But before that, we have one of the most exciting main events on paper in ROH history, one that would make current PWG bookers incredibly envious, plus a long-awaited singles encounter between two stablemates that played key parts in ROH’s survival. In addition, the debut of a pet project for booker Gabe Sapolsky that’s been a major character in FIP.

Up next – All Star Extravaganza III
Matches will include:
Homicide vs. Christopher Daniels
Jack Evans vs. Roderick Strong
CIMA, Ryo Saito, Dragon Kid, & Susumu Yokosuka vs. Delirious, Rocky Romero, Austin Aries, & Claudio Castagnoli
Last edited by supersonic on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mr. Mojo Risin
Posts: 1800
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Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by Mr. Mojo Risin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:12 pm

Excellent work as always from you supersonic. Man, you really got me thinking of that Briscoes vs. Doi/Shingo match. I had such high expectations of that match going in considering I really dug the Briscoes vs. Sydal/Daniels match at the Chicago show. I have nothing but contempt for that match. It fucking sucked.. You know I tried to find some semblance of an actual story from that match and this is what I came up with. The Briscoes, who returned one year previous, finally, after several failed attempts regained the ROH World tag titles. However, they underestimated their opposition in their first title defense and spent the entire match scrambling to try and desperately put them away and couldn't. Kind of like when a sports team wins the big one and blows their first game back in the following season against a subpar team. That is about the only logic I can extract from that shitshow of a match. It is easily the worst match I have seen The Briscoes in.

Mike Adamle
Posts: 933
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:36 am

Re: Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

Post by Mike Adamle » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:55 am

I loved that Briscoes-Doi/Shingo match
BlackLesnar wrote:Seriously though, I completely agree with Mike.
Mr. Mojo Risin wrote:
Mike Adamle wrote:Should've named this show "Masters of the Roll Up"
This is the best post ever by Adamle. I laughed my ass off at this.

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