ROH The Midnight Express Reunion, October 2, 2004, Philadelphia, PA
Posted by Andrew Shillinglaw on 01.05.2005
For the first time in fifteen years
ROH The Midnight Express Reunion, October 2, 2004, Philadelphia, PA
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
BG says: We get a clip of Cornette being goofy with the Midnight Express the afternoon before the show. Of note is the presence of OVW talent Synn and Dennis Condrey looking old and like George Carlin.
JZ says: Wow, I don't think I would have recognized Dennis Condrey if I didn't know it was him. Bobby Eaton I actually got to referee for a couple of years ago at an ill-fated Indy show in Traverse City, Mich. He wrestled Monty Brown of all people. Eaton played the heel and got the win with his feet on the ropes, which prompted Monty to punch me in the head after the match to get his heat back. It was my first bump! By the way, where's Randy Rose?
MATCH #1: ROH Tag Team Title Match ROH Tag Team Champions Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero, with Julius Smokes vs. Izzy & Angel Dust, with Special K
BG says: Heel and face elements of Special K join forces to take on the tag team champions. Special K of Izzy and Dixie lost a shot at the titles at Scramble Cage Melee, and when Dan Maff got injured forcing he and BJ Whitmer to forfeit their title shot K got the shot again. Izzy's girlfriend Lacey blamed Dixie for the previous loss and thus Angel Dust gets the opportunity here. Dust and Reyes start. Dust gets Reyes in a headlock but Reyes reverses to a wristlock. Dust gets the headlock again as J-Train says inappropriate things to Becky Bayless at ringside. Reyes grabs a hammerlock but Dust runs him into his corner and Izzy tags in. Reyes grabs a front facelock and tags in Romero. Romero grabs a headlock but Izzy reverses to a headlock. Nulty falsely says that Lacey can't wrestle when in fact she is quite good at it. Izzy hits his dropsault on Romero who bails and Dust comes in and attacks Reyes. Dust comes in officially and slaps Romero. Romero returns the favor but runs into a back elbow and a Cobra Clutch backbreaker. Izzy comes in and suplexes Reyes and gives him a back suplex for 2. Dust comes in and elbows Reyes but gets back suplexed and Romero tags in. The Pitbulls hit a double-team dropkick. Reyes comes back with the only thing he does, a stiff kick to Dust's back. Romero tags in and chokes Dust. Romero dumps Dust and Reyes beats on him outside with the help of J-Train. Back inside Romero hits a bodyslam and Reyes tags in with a senton for 2. Dust comes back with a double stomp to the back of the head. Izzy and Romero come in and Izzy cleans house. He gets a shiny lizard for 2 and the K Code for 2. Romero slaps him a bunch and rolls him into a submission until Dust saves. Special K hit their double team faceplant into simultaneous half crabs but Reyes saves. Dust hits the electric chair driver for 2 but Romero saves. Nulty confuses me because he says here that he didn't want to mention that ref Turner was doing a bad job as referee, but he felt no qualms about saying that Izzy was blown up. He's getting better, but stuff like that still bothers me. Reyes hits the rolling Germans, hard ones, but Izzy saves with a moonsault. Train pulls Izzy out of the ring and Dust falls prey to the guillotine kneedrop for the 3 count. Not as good as the previous K v. Shitbulls match, as I didn't find K's offense to be as believable in this one. Becky and Lacey go at it after the match and have to be separated by their respective K boys. The crowd has already picked up on which side is face and which side is heel, so you know this angle is pretty well done.
JZ says: I didn't much care for the first tag title match between these two teams, which had Dixie in place of Angel Dust, so let's see how this one goes. Nulty and Bauer talk about the significance of the tag team matches tonight given that the greatest tag team of all time is in the house, which is a nice way to start the night. Nulty still calls the back suplex a Greco Roman backdrop, so I guess that's one thing he'll never overcome. Then he says Lacey can't wrestle, which if anyone has seen her in IWA-Mid South they will know it's false. But I haven't seen Lacey matches in ROH yet, so maybe they're just going to go the cat fight route with her. That would be a shame for sure, if they actually want to build women's wrestling. Nulty compares the Pit Bulls to Lane & Eaton, which is too bad since Reyes sucks and neither Lane nor Eaton sucks. I really liked Angel Dust in this match, and I think he's going to make a solid babyface. Lacey also does a good job on the outside of the ring only caring when her boyfriend is in the ring. The Pit Bulls get the win at 11:29. Brad makes a good point about the crowd knowing who the faces and heels are in this match, as a brawl between Special K members breaks out, specifically the women, and the crowd chants "fuck her up Becky, fuck her up!" Good for them.
MATCH #2: Four Corner Survival BJ Whitmer vs. Trent Acid vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Josh Daniels
BG says: This was supposed to be Rave v. Daniels in a battle of former and current Embassy members, but Maff got injured so Whitmer needed something to do and he and Acid got put in this match. Rave and Daniels start. They trade rollups and Daniels avoids the shining wizard. He puts Rave on the mat but he makes the ropes. They shove each other around in strange fashion until Daniels gets back into Chris Benoit mode with chops. He misses a dropkick but hits the big forearm and Rave tags out to Acid. Whitmer tags in as Rave stops an Acid moonsault allowing Whitmer to hit him with a back suplex and a backbreaker for 2. Allison Danger comes to ringside to annoy Whitmer and myself as he gets a northern lights suplex for 2. He tags Rave in who gets hit with a blue thunder driver for 2. Daniels comes in for Acid with some big chops. Rave strikes back but gets decked with a big clothesline. Daniels hits a northern lights suplex for 2. Rave hits a swinging neckbreaker. Acid and Whitmer tag in and Acid hits a nasty springboard DDT so Whitmer bails. Daniels hits a suicide dive to him on the outside. Things break down in an ugly way as Acid hits an Asai moonsault to Whitmer. Rave goes for a dive but Daniels cuts him off. Daniels goes for the superplex but Rave shoves him off and hits a hurricanrana and shining wizard on Whitmer. Whitmer and Daniels chop it out until Daniels hits a German Suplex for 2. Acid dumps Daniels but gets hit with an inverted DDT by Rave for 2. Whitmer hits a powerbomb on Rave for 2. Prince Nana gets on the mic to pump up Rave. Acid hits a Yakuza kick on Whitmer but Rave gets the shining wizard and Rave clash on Acid for the win. After the first few minutes this just got really spotty and messy. Danger begs the Embassy to kill Whitmer after the match but they leave. And now it's just Whitmer and Danger in the ring but the Carnage Crew jump him, put him in a garbage can and bash it with baseball bats. Apparently the Ring of Hardcore war is on.
JZ says: Ah, there originally was no Four Corner Survival or Six Man Mayhem on this card, and I was excited. Then Maff unfortunately got injured and this was the match we got instead. At least I like three guys in it. Jimmy Rave in the Embassy is such a great midcard act, and it gives Prince Nana something to do. Josh Daniels seems to kind of come and go, so it's kind of hard to get too attached to him, but he's pretty solid in the ring. Rave and Daniels start it off, and make me wish even more that this had just been a straight one-on-one match between the two. Oh well, maybe another time. Allison Danger comes out, prompting Nutly's line of the night "what is this, useless women at ringside night?" Good stuff. They all do the usual four corner survival stuff, until Rave gets the pin on Acid at 9:51 with the Rave Clash. And that's the right man going over and the right man going under. We end up with Allison Danger alone in the ring with BJ Whitmer, but the Carnage Crew comes out and attacks Whitmer and beat him up with baseball bats. They didn't do it to save Danger that's for sure. This is one of the places where ROH excels Maff was gone, so they had Whitmer get overwhelmed by a 2-on-1 disadvantage. Nice.
MATCH #3: Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki, with Julius Smokes
BG says: Lethal is defending the honor of his mentor Samoa Joe here. They lock up to start. Ki goes for the wristlock but Lethal reverses. Ki hits the headstand kick to break. He chops Lethal hard but jaws with the crowd and gets decked with jabs and a back elbow. Lethal hits a clothesline and a leg lariat and Ki bails. Lethal hits a suicide dive on him on the outside. Back inside Lethal hits a nasty back suplex. J-Train gets on the apron allowing Ki to hit a dropkick. Ki hits a snap mare and a stiff kick to the back. He chops him down as J-Train messes with Lethal's family at ringside. Ki gets a cocky cover for 2 and then chops Lethal down HARD. Lethal starts to fight back but Ki snaps his neck on the top rope and gets 2. He vices the head and taunts Lethal's mom at the same time but he makes the ropes. Lethal gets a pair of rollups for 2 but Ki catches him and wrenches the neck for 2. He goes up top and hits the douche bag double stomp, taunts Lethal's pain and gets 2. He dumps Lethal and double-teams him with J-Train in front of his mom. Ki jaws with her and spits at her but ends up getting slapped. That was cool and the crowd loved it. Back inside the crowd gets FIRED UP for Lethal as he hits a gut wrench suplex for 2. He hits a backdrop and a gutbuster and a neckbreaker for 2. You can tell he's feeling it now. Lethal goes for the dragon suplex but J-train helps Ki block. Lethal goes after Smokes but catches a koppo kick. Ki hits a Guy Smiley on Lethal on the bottom rope, American History X style. He puts on the dragon clutch and Lethal taps even though the crowd begged him not to. This started slow but really picked up by the end and did a lot for Ki as a heel and Lethal as a babyface. Ki threatens to beat respect into Lethal after the match, and gives him a nasty kick to the head.
JZ says: The contender's ring is
- Austin Aries
- CM Punk
- Bryan Danielson
- Alex Shelley
- Rocky Romero
Despite the fact that Low Ki has been doing really good work as a heel since July, the crowd usually likes to cheer him no matter how nefarious his deeds are. Well in this case, they found the recipe to get the crowd to hate him have his opponent's mother in the crowd. Seriously, having Lethal's mom in the crowd added so much heat to this match, making it better than it already was, which was pretty good to begin with. Julius Smokes and Low Ki keep jawing with Lethal's mom, which prompts her to slap him and get a huge pop from the crowd. This cements Lethal as a huge babyface. The interference by Smokes is pretty blatant for the referee to ignore here, but since the match is so hot it's forgivable. Ki ends up getting the win at 14:25. Really fun match.
MATCH #4: Nigel McGuiness vs. Homicide, with Julius Smokes
BG says: This is a pretty famous match in the ROH universe. I dig that the commentators don't call this a dream match even though it had never happened before. Nigel takes Homicide down to the mat with a wristlock. Homicide vices the head to reverse but Nigel gets out and grabs a cravat. They go to a knuckle lock but Nigel turns it into a wristlock and takes Homicide back to the mat. Homicide puts on a stepover chinlock and attempts a Rings of Saturn but Nigel make the ropes. Nigel uses his UK ways to reverse a hammerlock and go back to the wristlock. He elbows Homicide's elbow and spins him around into a clothesline for 2. He holds on to the wrist but Homicide puts him in the corner to break. Nigel changes the pace by going to the leg and he puts on a stepover sleeper, but Homicide makes the ropes. Nigel goes back to the leg with a toehold and they slug it out. Homicide reverses to a submission of his own and gets a 2 count with it. Nigel slips out but Homicide hits a quiet DDT and goes back to a front facelock. Nigel gets out with a hammerlock but Homicide dropkicks him to the floor. He teases the tope but makes me happy by messing with the fans, hitting a double axe handle instead. He goes for a lariat on the floor but hits the post and Nigel takes advantage. Back inside Nigel goes after the arm, hanging it up on the top rope and cutting out Homicide's legs. He hits an armdrag off the top rope for 2. Man, the crowd is just absolutely dead here. Nigel hits a backbreaker while holding the arm for 2. Nigel hits a crazy German suplex but Homicide goes low to block a second. He complains that Nigel went low on him while J-Train chokes Nigel. Homicide tries to make a comeback using his strong arm but can't, so his comeback is weak. Homicide hits the knee in the corner and J-Train takes advantage of the distracted ref. Homicide awkwardly uses his left hand to come back. He gets an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for 2. He goes low and puts on the STF but Nigel makes the ropes. He hits the diving head butt for 2. He goes up for another but Nigel catches him and gives hi a neck wrench suplex from the top. Nigel blocks a clothesline, grabs the arm and hits a back suplex for 2. Homicide tosses him into the turnbuckle and hits a piledriver for 2. Nigel blocks a suplex with a strike to the arm and hits a hammerlock DDT to finally get the crowd behind him. Homicide hits a fisherman's suplex for 2. Nigel hits the baited neckbreaker for 2, and man did he struggle for it. He goes to the top but Smokes blocks him and Homicide hits the Ace crusher. He hits the clothesline from Hell with his left arm for 2. He goes for it again with the injured right arm but Nigel blocks, avoids the Cop Killer, does the Artful Dodger and hits separation anxiety. He puts on his arm submission but Homicide fights out, only be caught by a quick rollup for the 3 count. It's kind of obvious they were going for a Homicide v. Danielson feel here, with Homicide hitting an inanimate object to set up the arm work. Just like then, the live crowd didn't care here either. Nigel pretty much outclassed Homicide here. The match was technically very good from a selling standpoint, and Homicide did a great job turning on heel mode, but it was pretty dull without the help of crowd support.
JZ says: The crowd is behind Nigel initially, though Brad's assessment of the dead crowd through most of the match is right on. Nigel does a lot of work on the arm, showing his technical expertise, and Homicide is keeping up with him. You know, I try to say nice things about Mark Nulty, but then he calls a belly-to-belly suplex a dragon suplex. He tries, he tries. Nigel actually is on offense for most of the match, and the crowd only gets into it near the end. That arm submission that Nigel does needs a name like yesterday. "Arm submission" just doesn't cut it. But, in a very nice decision, Nigel got the victory with a rollup at exactly 20:00. This was a pretty good match that would have been better if it was a little shorter and had better heat. Nigel going over Homicide surprised me a great deal when I heard it happened, but if you want to get someone over, a victory on Homicide is a good place to start.
BG says: Gary Michael Capetta and Sugar Sean Price, respectively, interview both teams for the 8-man elimination match in what seems to be a nod to early Survivor Series pre-match interviews. An even cooler touch would have been Jimmy Jacobs being hidden by Ace Steel, CM Punk and John Walters and trying to get some camera exposure a la Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Tito Santana.
JZ says: GMC gets to interview Generation Next, and Alex Shelley says some really weird stuff that I don't really understand. SSP gets the babyfaces, and I gotta agree with Brad, that if CM Punk and Ace Steel would stand in front of Jimmy Jacobs and talk about the power of Arribaderce that would have ruled ass.
MATCH #5: Eight Man Elimination Generation Next vs. CM Punk, John Walters, Ace Steel & Jimmy Jacobs, with Ricky Steamboat
BG says: In the ongoing Generation Next v. The World feud, this match was made as a way to capitalize on the great 8-man tag match from the Generation Next show, and also the great 2-on-2 and 6-man tag matches that Generation Next had produced in the months after their formation. Ricky Steamboat, who is in the corner of the face team, tells Mick Foley that he doesn't like that he came to ROH and dubbed it Ring of Hardcore. Then he calls him a stuntman, playing off of the Ric Flair book. Walters and Strong start the match. Walters takes him down with a wristlock. Strong tags out to Evans who gets suplexed for 2. Walters catches him in a full nelson and tags Jacobs in. Evans head butts Jacobs to no effect, and Jacobs returns fire. He hits a big back elbow and 12 double stomps. He hits a flying forearm and Strong comes in but gets taken down with a headlock. Punk tags in and trades chops with Strong. He hits an ugly slingshot suplex and tags in Walters. They hit a guillotine elbow for 2. Walters hits a dropkick and tags in Steel. Steel hits a head butt to Strong's stinky groin and tags Walters in. He gets a wristlock and tags in Punk who grabs one as well, and Jacobs stands on Strong's back as they mock Generation Next. It breaks down as everyone comes in. The faces pound on the heels in the corners and throw them all into each other. They do a 3-way rowboat and Jacobs hurricanranas strong in the middle. Cute. Jacobs becomes the legal man and spends most of the rest of his time in the match as the victim of very creative quadruple-team maneuvers. He does get a few hope spots however, including a really cool one where he hits a reverse pedigree to Aries and a regular one to Evans simultaneously. It's all for naught however, as Shelley distracts the referee long enough for Aries to hit Jacobs with a chair. Shelley hits the Shellshock to eliminate Jacobs.
It all breaks down again and settles with Punk and Strong in the ring. Punk gets a backslide for 2. Evans tags in and hits a spin kick to Punk's head. He hits a fisherman's buster for 2. Aries tags in and hits Punk with a back suplex. With the ref distracted, Evans and Strong double-team Punk for 2. Punk fights back and finally tags in Walters who cleans house on Generation Next. He single handedly takes out multiple members of Generation Next at once and then double-teams them with Steel. Steel hits Evans with the spinal shock for 3 while his teammates hold the fort. Punk hits the mule kick on Strong and Walters hits him with the lung blower. Aries hits Steel with the crucifix bomb to eliminate him. Walters comes in and takes a Golden Gate swing from Aries for 2. Aries hits a sidewalk slam for 2 and an STO for 2. Shelley tags in and hits a tree of woe dropkick. Aries tags in and gets hit with the hurricane DDT. Strong comes in with a chair but Punk takes it from him and tags him with it. He gives Aries the Undertaker treatment with it and drop toeholds Shelley on it in front of the ref and gets disqualified. Steamboat chews him out for being hardcore on his way to the back. Walters hits a backbreaker on Aries for 2. He puts on a full nelson but Aries low blows to get out. Walters gets a rollup for 2. Aries hits an explosive forearm and a snap mare for 2. Strong tags and goes low on Walters. There have been way too many low blows on this show. Shelley tags in but Walters starts hitting lung blowers on everything in sight and eliminates Strong. Aries comes in and the crowd gets behind him despite the fact that he's a heel. He beats on Walters as they cheer, and who can blame them? Walters already used his finisher 5 times and it's pretty obvious now that he can't win. Might as well cheer a sure thing. Aries puts on the Rings of Saturn but Walters makes the ropes. Strong comes back out with a chair but Steamboat chases him away. That was pointless. Aries puts Strong on top but Walters escapes and hits a super lung blower. Shelley saves. Shelley hits a superkick and the Shellshock but Walters gets his foot on the ropes. Aries hits the 450 and that's it.
What a frustrating match. The booking was really messed up here, which can be seen when the crowd turns on Walters. There were some great spots in there, but there were a lot of times when you could see guys looking back for a spot to begin. And then it just started feeling really long after Punk got eliminated. And let's not forget that the referee was completely unconvincing in not seeing the faces tags and the heels cheating. This wasn't at all up to par with the other stuff these guys have done against each other. Nice creative multi-man moves, not much else. Shelley and Aries argue over who will take the ROH World title from Samoa Joe, but decide to agree that Generation Next will be dominant.
JZ says: Quite the interesting assortment on the babyface team. Steamboat cuts a semi-awkward promo, seeming to group Generation Next in with Mick Foley, despite the fact that they are also feuding with him. Jimmy Jacobs is really over in this match, and most of the first part of this match is Gen Next double, triple, and quadruple teaming him. On the other side of the coin there's a neat triple-rowboat/hurricanrana spot from the babyfaces. Jimmy Bauer notes that Ace Steel's fresh new haircut must have been done by a "mentally challenged" person. Tee hee. Jacobs keeps fighting the heels until succumbing to a chair shot from Aries and a Shell Shock by Shelley to get pinned at 13:53. Will Jacobs ever get another win on Shelley in ROH? The match pretty much falls apart after Jacobs leaves. The next elimination comes when Ace Steel hits the Spinal Shock on Evans to even the odds at 20:16. Unfortunately for Ace, Aries comes in and hits a crucifix bomb to pin him at 20:50. Roderick Strong tries to introduce a chair, but of course Punk comes in and takes the chair and gets caught using it for the DQ at 24:44. Steamboat chastises him on his way back to the locker room. Now Walters is left with a 3-on-1 disadvantage, and the crowd totally turns on him. In response, he goes to rest holds. Now I try to defend Walters a lot, and I like him, but he totally looked lost in this situation and didn't know what to do. He manages to eliminate Strong at 28:25 however, after three straight lung blowers. Strong tries to introduce a chair again, only to be chased out by Steamboat. Okay. Shelley and Aries dominate Walters, and in a really annoying spot, Shelley, the not legal man, goes for a pin on Walters and the referee counts it. Seconds later, Aries, with no tag to speak of, hits a 450 and pins Walters to end this cruel game at 34:13. For one of Jimmy Jacobs' best performances ever and some good stuff in the beginning. Shelley and Aries argue over who is going to be the one to take the title from Samoa Joe. My vote goes to Alex Shelley, but what do I know?
THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS REUNION
BG says: Jim Cornette, Stan Lane, Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey make they way to the ring. Cornette introduces the Midnight Express. Stan Lane does his own introduction of everyone in the ring. Cornette thanks the Express for giving him a career and then hands the mic to Eaton. He says thank you to this and that and then hands it over to Condrey who says more of the same from him. Stan Lane gets the mic and praises the ROH talent for being great and the ROH fans for being into heels. Cornette talks about the recently departed Ray Traylor, who was supposed to be a part of the Midnight Express reunion tour but tragically passed shortly before this. The crowd gives it up for the Big Boss Man. The festivities conclude all classy and such but Prince Nana comes out to spoil the party. He praises the Midnight Express but says that the fans don't deserve to see them. He compares himself to Cornette, but that doesn't fly well. Nana retorts by bringing out the newest member of the Embassy, the man he emptied out his bank accounts and borrowed money for, RICKY MORTON! He comes out with the Embassy and runs down the crowd and the guests of honor. Morton rules my world by being awesome on the mic and even wearing his ring gear. The war between Morton and Cornette on the mic is priceless and ends with a brawl between the Midnight Express and the Embassy. The seniors of course get the better of that one, hitting all of their trademark moves. Morton chooses the high road however, throwing Nana to the wolves and letting him take a Rocket Launcher. Cornette puts on the crown to a standing ovation from the crowd. This was, without a doubt, the best non-wresting segment in the history of this company.
JZ says: Cornette promises that they're going to shoot, and introduces everyone. All three members make little speeches about thanking everyone; Eaton is a man of few words for sure, which Cornette notes by saying "that's more than he's said in 10 years," or something to that effect. Stan Lane says Philadelphia is cool for turning heels into babyfaces. Cornette makes a tribute to Ray Traylor, who really seemed to be one of the nice guys in the business, I never heard too much bad talk about him. Then the segment kicks into high gear as Prince Nana and The Embassy come out, and Nana introduces Ricky F'N Morton (who was also at that Traverse City show where I reffed for Eaton, but Larry Zbyszko got to ref the Rock & Roll Express vs. Powers of Pain match). Cornette and Morton have a verbal duel, which I think Cornette wins when he quips "at least we knew when to retire!" Ouch. A big brawl breaks out, and the Midnights dominate and give Nana the Rocket Launcher to a huge pop from the appreciative crowd. I'm with Brad best non-wrestling segment EVER in ROH.
MATCH #6: ROH World Title Match Bryan Danielson vs. ROH World Champion Samoa Joe
BG says: Danielson was given this title shot for winning Survival of the Fittest in June, but he'd been challenging Joe for the title since he returned to ROH in December of 2003 to help him with his Briscoe Brothers problem. They traded wins against one another in early 2003, but Joe had not yet won the title. Those matches were both very good, clocking in at ***1/2 and ***1/4 respectively. Oddly enough, this was Danielson's first ever shot at the ROH title, as he had lost every Number 1 Contender's trophy match he was in.
They start with a knucklelock. Danielson goes to the ropes to break it. They take it to the mat where Joe gets a 1 count. Danielson wrenches Joe's neck but Joe turns it over. Danielson gains control with a vice on the head. Joe tries to twist the ankle but Danielson reverses to an enziguiri for 1. Joe tries a cross arm breaker but Danielson quickly gets to the ropes and bails. Joe hits a shoulderblock but Danielson gets a drop toehold and hits the chinlock. Joe piggyback drops Danielson and puts on a seated abdominal stretch. Danielson puts on a toehold and turns it into an inverted Mutalock. Joe gets Danielson to release but is now favoring his leg. Danielson goes to grab it but Joe kicks him away. Danielson catches Joe's ankle and tweaks it. He goes for an ankle lock but Joe kicks and chops him off. They go back to the knucklelock where Joe takes the advantage with head butts for a pair of 1 counts. Joe puts on a double underhook hold but Danielson reverses out and hits a dropkick. He hits the noselock but the ref forces the break. Danielson goes for a head butt, which insulted Joe into striking him. Danielson won't play along and dodges many of them. He's is playing a dangerous game, looking cocky here. They go back to the knucklelock where Joe gets a knee to the head for a pair of 2 counts. Danielson vices the head but Joe makes the ropes. They trade strikes, but Danielson's cockiness gets the best of him and he goes down hard. Joe back suplexes Danielson to the floor. He beats Danielson into a chair outside for the ole kick but Danielson grabs his leg and slams it into the guardrail. He jumps back in the ring and hits a really nice springboard somersault dive onto Joe. I've got Artie in my ear peace telling me this match rules. Danielson knocks Joe into a chair and hits an ole dropkick on him. Then he hits another. It gets 2 inside. He hits a hard knee and a kneedrop and goes back to the chinlock. He hits a European uppercut but Joe comes back with a flurry of strikes, only to get his eye poked. Rick Rude, er, Bryan Danielson hits an elbow drop for 1. He puts on a seated abdominal stretch and resists Joe's knee strikes. He turns it into an armbar but Joe powers out. Danielson tries head butts again and again it ends up bad for him. He knocks Joe down with 3 European uppercuts but gets hit with a big knee to the midsection. Joe hits a gutbuster and some kicks to the stomach. He catches his breath while Danielson coughs on the apron.
Danielson takes the Antonio Inoki defensive, but Joe is no Muhammad Ali and he kicks him and grabs a half crab. Danielson makes the ropes but Joe puts on the abdominal stretch. Danielson fights out with axe handle strikes. Joe hits a legsweep to stop the strikes and gets 2. He puts on the Joejigatame, I believe for the first time in ROH. This inverted crossface was an oft-used finisher of his in Japan and California early in his career. Danielson reverses and vices the head but Joe makes the ropes. Danielson hits the neck wrench suplex and goes up, hitting the diving head butt for 2. Joe catches him with a fisherman's suplex for 2. He hits an enziguiri and Danielson bails, so he hits the suicide dive. He hits the ole kick right on, and then not to be outdone hits another one. Well he kind of whiffed on the second one, but he did slap a fans face on the run over to make up for it. Back in the ring Danielson chop blocks Joe. He hits a dropkick to the knee hung up in the corner. He puts on a Mutalock but Joe makes the ropes. He stays on the knee and reverses the STO into a headlock and hits a flying forearm for 2. Joe catches Danielson going for a rebound crossbody with the STO for 2. He hits the powerbomb and catches the STF on the kickout, but can't hold his knee in place and changes to a crossface. Danielson makes the ropes. He blocks a German suplex by kicking the knee and dropkicks the knee as well. He puts on a toehold and a reverse Native American Deathlock but Joe makes the ropes. Joe hits a powerslam and puts on the cross arm breaker which Danielson reverses to a snap back suplex for 2. He puts on the Cow Killer and then turns it over for 2. He won a fall over Aries with that move you know. He puts Joe on the top but Joe slips out, grabs the choke and then hits a German suplex off the second rope. He hits a lariat for 2. He goes for the muscle buster but Danielson fights out and hits a roaring elbow and kicks the knee. He hits a dragon suplex but couldn't hold the bridge. He puts on the Cow Killer but Joe makes the ropes. Joe catches Danielson with a knee to the ribs. They trade knees to the face, an exchange that Joe easily wins. He puts on the chokehold and Danielson taps.
That was just a great match, plain and simple, that for me stayed interesting from bell to bell and followed its own rules. Nothing beats two guys going balls out for 40 minutes. Punk comes to the ring and asks for a rematch on the basis of not getting pinned at World Title Classic. Danielson says he fought harder than Punk did and thus deserves a rematch more. Generation Next attacks Punk, and Danielson and Joe just let it happen. Aries gets in their faces so they jump in. The Rottweilers hit the ring with Joe's stolen belt. This brawl goes on until Danielson and Ki stare Joe down from the ring to hype the dream tag match with Jushin Liger.
JZ says: Nulty annoys me right away by saying that Joe was pinned with a pinning combination at Scramble Cage Melee, which is just not true. He was probably thinking of Survival of the Fittest, which was the show that Danielson won this title shot at, all the way back in June. Oddly enough Danielson had never had a shot at the ROH Title until now. This is their third meeting, Joe winning the first and Danielson winning the second. The first time I watched this match I was really tired and didn't fully appreciate it, as the beginning was pretty slow with the feeling out process. The second time I was in a better mood for it, and the beginning was really good stuff, and so was the middle, and so was the end. The end comes when Danielson tries to knee strike Joe, but Joe was having none of it and came back with knee strikes of his own and choked Danielson out at 39:12. See how Danielson can wrestle a great match without having to go 75 minutes? CM Punk comes out afterward and asks for a rematch, since Joe has yet to beat him. Danielson says he deserves the rematch more because he fought harder. Which is a completely preposterous argument, because no matter who fought harder, Punk fought smarter because he didn't get beat and Danielson got choked out clean in the middle of the ring. Generation Next come out to attack Punk, while Joe and Danielson look on apathetically. Aries gets in everyone's face, prompting Joe and Danielson to go after everyone. Then the Rottweilers come out, while J-Train taunts Joe with that new title belt he was presented with in Dayton back in June. Low Ki comes out to attack Joe, and then Danielson joins him. This serves as hype for the dream partner tag match as Joe would join Jushin Liger to take on Ki & Danielson. Chaotic segment to end the show.
BG says: Bryan Danielson: I'm tempted to give it to Price Nana because he was so great in the Midnight Express segment. But Danielson edges him out on the basis of a great challenge to Joe and his best singles match possibly ever.
JZ says: I'm going to give it to Ricky Morton, for being a big surprise and adding a lot to the Midnight Express Reunion segment, even though he wasn't out there very long. Plenty of people from this show deserve praise though, including Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette, Prince Nana, Jimmy Jacobs, Jay Lethal, and Jay Lethal's mom.
E-mail Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail Jacob at email@example.com
See you soon with our review of "ROH Gold" and Joe vs. Punk II!"
Visit rohwrestling.com for news on ROH shows, ROH merchandise, and the ROH forum!
The 411: BG says: Any Danielson fan HAS to have this show, but a casual fan would enjoy it too. The main event is plain good no matter how you slice it. Skip the curtain jerkers and the 8-man tag and youre left with the awesome Midnight Express reunion and two good Rottweiler matches. This gets a strong recommendation from me.
JZ says: Some solid undercard matches, a great non-wrestling segment, and a great main event is more than enough to recommend this very good show.