Faced with the exodus of talent in the wake of the Rob Feinstein scandal, ROH decided to regroup around young talent by devoting a whole show to showcasing indie talent from across America.
The idea of the show is to arrange a series of singles matches and let the fans vote for the most impressive wrestlers, who will receive contracts.
ROH was supposed to run the National Guard Armory, but with the War in Iraq peaking, the National Guard decided they needed it and forced ROH to run outside in a tent. Notice how Cary Silkin does not spend 20 minutes of this show berating a Donald Rumsfeld lookalike before shoving him down.
May 22, 2004
From Philadelphia, Pa.
Your hosts are Chris Lovey and Mark Nulty.
Danny Maff talks about his time with the Prophecy. He recalls the feeling of winning the tag titles the week before and the letdown of losing them an hour later. He says it's do or die for the Prophecy because he's finished if they don't win.
Good Times, Great Memories.
Colt's very special guest is Trent Acid, who apparently got out of the tag scene because he recognized the Second City Saints would be dominant for years to come. Colt wants to know who dropped a deuce in the Carnage Crew's bags. Someone, mmkay, thought it'd be a good idea to go up to a perfectly clean bag, maybe spread his butt cheeks, mmmkay, and squeeze out a chocolate monkey for the world to see. Acid refuses to name names, even under the threat of violence from the Carnage Crew.
Opening Match, Tag Team Scramble: Dunn & Marcos vs. The Christopher Street Connection (w/Ariel) vs. Special K.
The match doesn't even get under way before Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans hit the ring to destroy the CSC. [N/R]
Shelley announces there will be no Tag Scramble, nor will there be voting. He doesn't trust the idiot fans with his career, so he's taking the rules into his own hands and forming a faction to take those empty spots. "Generation Next" will now refer to their stable. Dunn & Marcos object but don't put up much of a fight.
Generation Next vs. Special K (w/Becky).
Good idea for the factions first match. Nobody bumps quite like Special K, and they're small enough not to reveal that GenNext aren't exactly giants. I honestly thought Jack and Slim J were the same guy when I first saw Jack Evans. Lots of backbreakers by Strong, but more flippy moves from Evans. That really holds it down. Jack didn't mature to a semblance of realism until 2007. Aries was already showing great snap in his moves. GenNext hits triple finishers to pick up the win at 7:44. Good showcase match, but they'd top themselves later in the night. **1/2
Hydro objects to Shelley's attitude, so…
Hydro vs. Alex Shelley
Hydro was transitioning from "the black guy in Special K" to Jay Lethal. Shelley works in his cache of bizarre stretches. Hydro doesn't seem to put up much fight outside of his jobberific moves early. He does block Shellshock, though, and rolls him up. Shelley reverses to the Border City Stretch, but Hydro rolls out to avoid that and turns it into a bridging chinlock. Shelley squirms out, hits the Shellshock, and finishes with the Border City Stretch at 7:28. Excellent "coming out" for Shelley that did just as much for Lethal as it did for Shelley. **3/4
Post-match: Shelley offers Hydro a spot in GenNext, but he turns them down. Shelley vows they will not be stopped.
Trent Acid, Danny Daniels & Masada vs. Justin Credible, Loc & Devito.
So it turns out Danny Daniels was the guy who crapped in the Carnage Crew's bags (and in front of company!) Daniels and Masada pretended to search for the fecal felons, but then revealed themselves to be the poopetrators. Loc & Devito are now the Carnage Crew while Daniels & Masada are the "New Carnage Crew." Why did they do this? Well, Nulty isn't even sure. Acid was stirring the pot the whole time; hence his presence. The match… is not good. It's not horrible, but it's not my bag… ha! Get it? Bag. Loc & Devito go for the Spiked Super Piledriver, but Daniels smashes Devito's leg with a chair. Trent Acid hits a Yakuza Kick on Loc for the win at 6:31. Meh. *1/2
ROH Top Five (bring this back for TV, please!)
2) BJ Whitmer
3) Alex Shelley
4) Bryan Danielson
5) John Walters
I'm not sure how Punk is not even in the Top 5, but Alex Shelley is #3. Then again, I'm not sure how Danielson is justifiably #4 either.
John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave.
If Jimmy Rave doesn't win, he won't be booked anymore. But since he's not going to have a match, it's not an issue. Generation Next comes out again and tells both guys that they're taking the spots from Walters and Rave. GenNext attacks and leaves them laying. [N/R]
Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Jacobs.
Here's another one of those "totally different from today" matches for Nigel. Jimmy is happy-go-lucky here. Much different from today. Nigel does a lot of working the joints, as is his usual strategy. Jimmy husses out of a wristlock, but Nigel keeps working his arm. Jimmy is freaked out by the handstand in the corner, but he charges in anyway – right into the Tower of London. Nigel blocks the Contra Code but eats a boot. Nigel locks in a sick armbar for the win at 9:20. It's fun to watch Nigel before he assimilated into the American style of working the crowd and hitting lariats. Obviously, that change was good for his career, but he was so different from anything that was happening at the time that he was unique. **3/4
ROH Tag Team Titles, No DQ: The Second City Saints vs. The Prophecy (w/Allison Danger).
Whitmer and Punk still hate each other for various things, but this is about the tag titles, which the Prophecy won a week earlier before dropping an hour later. Whitmer plays your face-in-peril throughout as the Saints dickishly work him over. Colt and Punk stretch him out with a combination Billy Goat's Curse/Chinlock. Maff gets the hot tag and belly-to-bellies Punk onto Cabana. The match breaks down as Punk and Cabana try to leave. They brawl out into the crowd and get into it with the fans. Punk returns to the ring and nails Whitmer with the Shining Wizard for two. Punk goes up, but Maff shoves him to the floor! Whitmer superplexes Colt, so Maff and Punk both come off the top on top of them. They all four go up for a superplex spot, but Maff gets knocked through a table. That sets up the Pepsi Plunge on Whitmer at 19:17. Pretty good tag match for the first part, then they went outside and just threw good sense out the window. The Plunge finisher on Whitmer looked great, though. ***1/4
Special K has no answer for their losing streak.
Sugar Shawn Price gets no answer from the Prophecy.
The Briscoe Bros. vs. The Outkast Killas.
No commentary on this one for some reason. It's just a squash anyway, so it's not like you need the subtly nuanced commentary of Chris Lovey or some story about how Pepper Gomez slashed Pat Patterson's tires from Nulty. Cutthroat Driver and Jaydriller finish the Killas at 4:42. Nana is already berating the Killas for embarrassing him. 1/2*
The Briscoes are celebrating, so Generation Next comes out to demand their spots. Jay's response: Who the fuck are you?Jimmy Rave and John Walters return, so…
8-Man Tag: Generation Next vs. John Walters, Jimmy Rave & The Briscoes.
Long series of feeling-out segments early so we can establish that Shelley is the cocky submission wrestler, Aries is the cocky explosive wrestler, Jack is the cocky flippy wrestler… and then there's Maude. This is fun for Jay going absolutely nuts on Roderick after a stiff chop. Walters catches Jack on his shoulders and tosses him onto the Briscoes' knees. Shelley disapproves. The faces take over on Jack as Walters just PLANTS him with a powerbomb. Jack gets out of trouble with a moonsault kick. Jay gets hit with a Yakuza kick, and now he's the face-in-peril. Walters tags in and hits Shelley with the Lungblower. That sets up one of those Walters goofy double submission moves. We hit the 30-minute mark as Shelley tries to twist Walters' neck off. Walters LEVELS Evans with a clothesline to come back. Mark, who has barely been in the match, gets the hot tag. The Briscoes nail Aries with the Springboard Dooomsday, but Aries kicks out. Huh? Shelley puts Jay in the Strykerlock. What a dick! Everyone starts throwing out insane moves. Jack drops Mark on his gourd, but Mark staggers back and drops Jack on his head with the Cutthroat driver. Jay hits the Jaydriller, but Aries comes off the top with the 450-splash. Walters just makes the save and hits Aries with the Super Dominator. Shelley doublestomps Walters' head into the mat and puts him in the Border City Stretch. Rave tries to save, but Aries intercepts him. Walters has to tap at 41:22. Just an awesome star-making performance for Generation Next. Not only did they prove they could hang with (and outshine) the best in ROH, but they demonstrated that they each had distinct and entertaining personalities. ****1/4
Gary Michael Capetta hosts a verbal confrontation between CM Punk and Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat looks like he should be Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor's co-host. Punk does that thing where he sounds like he's giving Ricky a compliment, but he's really just insulting him. Ricky says he built a career on 20 years of hard work and great moments, so Punk can't steal that in one night. Punk offers to shake his hand and then suckerpunches him. Ricky fights back, so Punk tries to rip his eye out. Colt Cabana eventually comes in and helps out, and they leave Ricky laying. Punk screams, "Just like that, I took it away from you!" The Prophecy, of all people, make the save.
ROH World Title, No DQ: Samoa Joe vs. Homicide (w/Julius Smokes).
Homicide set off a fireball in Joe's face to set this up. Joe attacks amidst the rain of streamers. Homicide bails, so Joe follows him out with the elbow suicida. Back in, Homicide begs off. Joe takes him up top, but Homicide bites his ear. Homicide takes out a fork and stabs Joe in the face. Joe can't see from the blood, so Homicide throws a chair at his face. A Tornado DDT gets two, and Joe shakes out of it. He hits a DVD for two. Joe sets up for the Super Muscle Buster, but Homicide reverses it on him and hits a lariat. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! He hits a Hangman's Neckbreaker and locks Joe up in the STF. That makes Joe easy pickings to be stabbed in the face again. Joe powers up and slaps him. LARIAT! Joe gets two. A Brainbuster finishes Homicide at 19:57. The match demonstrated that Homicide was no match for Joe in a one-on-one, but Homicide was willing to pull out all stops – foreign objects and all – to get an advantage. ***1/4
Maff says he'll give the Prophecy one last shot to pull things together. Allison and Whitmer can't believe it, even though he said the same thing on the last show (and are they cueing them for an impromptu speech?).
Back in the ring, Homicide gets a standing ovation, which only pisses him off even more. Lovey is hilariously over-the-top in his panic. "EVACUATE! EVACUATE!"
The 411: In the wake of the Rob Feinstein situation and TNA pulling their talent, Ring of Honor needed to regroup and build around new talent. They certainly did that here with Shelley, Aries, Strong and Evans becoming a big part of the booking over the next year. Fantastic debut for the faction. Add in one of Joe's best feuds, and you have a damn fine show.