Punk: The Final Chapter - August 13, 2005 - Chicago Ridge, Illinois
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
JZ says: I've been using the top 5 as voted on by the ROH message board. Board member Lonewolf runs the top 5, and he does a fabulous job. After each show (or double shot weekend), go to The ROH Message Board and vote for the top 5.
ROH WORLD CHAMPION: James Gibson (since 8.12.05)
ROH PURE CHAMPION: Samoa Joe (since 5.07.05)
2) Austin Aries
3) Nigel McGuinness
4) Christopher Daniels
5) Jimmy Rave
BG says: Dave Prazak starts us off in the ring and introduces the new ROH World Champion James Gibson. He gives a speech similar to the one he gave the night before when he won the title, only less adrenaline fueled. He acknowledges that he is indeed going back to the WWE, but guarantees that he won't leave until someone beats him for the title. Spanky comes out to ask for the third time in two days for a title shot. Gibson accepts the challenge. Solid promo that established that Gibson's reign would be the opposite of CM Punk's. Unfortunately that would mean that the quality in Punk's reign wouldn't be present in Gibson's.
JZ says: Dave Prazak is in the ring to welcome the new ROH World Champion, James Gibson. He says that he has had some hard times, and that ROH is the company that picked him back up. He says that winning the ROH World Title is the most important thing that's ever happened to him. He says he will stick with ROH until he drops the title. Spanky come out to join his friend. They will challenge for the ROH Tag Team Titles tonight. He challenges for a chance to win the World Title, to which Gibson accepts.
MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Ė Matt Sydal vs. Delirious vs. Alex Shelley vs. Nigel McGuinness
BG says: You know the drill by now, no play-by-play here. Delirious is insanely over with the Chicago crowd, and I think its safe to say he's being wasted in these nothing matches. Both the Embassy and Generation Next are represented in this match. Prazak is still suspicious that this would indeed be Punk's last show. Delirious and Nigel have a cute exchange where they mimic each other's gimmicks. When Delirious isn't in the ring the match feels like it's in slow motion. That is until the home stretch when everyone pulls out the big guns. Sydal takes a bite out of the Embassy with a moonsault onto Shelley and Nana. Nigel picks up the win with the Tower of London on Delirious. Decent match, as everyone got to show their stuff and Delirious shined as he always does in Chicago. Sydal and Shelley brawl after the match.
JZ says: This is an interesting quartet to say the least. Delirious is insanely over in Chicago. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are the hosts. Sydal earned a spot in Generation Next last night by virtue of the six man tag team match he was in last night. Shelley ties Delirious up in himself and drapes the Ghana flag over him, which only serves to infuriate the lizard man. Nana yells at Daizee Haze outside the ring. Who could ever yell at her? The action breaks down as all four guys are in the ring hitting their stuff, and it ends when Nigel hits the Tower of London on Delirious at 10:51. Sydal and Shelley were busy brawling on the outside, furthering the Gen Next versus Embassy feud. That was a good four way that got the crowd all riled up. I credit Delirious, even though I really like all four guys in this one.
MATCH #2: Chad Collyer vs. Ace Steel
BG says: At the show nobody was all that jazzed for this match, but it would end up making its own special mark in ROH history. They lock up to start. They trade headlock takedowns and beg off. They work the mat and Steel gets a hammerlock. Collyer reverses to a full nelson. Steel reverses to one of his own. Collyer makes it to the ropes so Steel drops him. Steel splashes Collyer's leg and puts on a leglock. They both dodge a lot of offense from the other and then get into a shoving contest. Collyer hits a forearm and a leg lariat for 2. He hits a knee to the gut and a double stomp. He hits another for 2. Collyer goes for another pin fall but Steel puts his knees into his crotch. He hits a hurricanrana and a clothesline. He hits Collyer with the corner dropkick and a back suplex for 2. Collyer hangs him up on the top rope and forearms him out of the ring. He tries to dive onto him but Steel catches him with a chop. They fight on the floor until Steel accidentally knocks down Pelle Primeau, who was working security. While checking on him Collyer grabs a chair and wraps it around Steel's head. Steel bleeds like crazy, and when I say like crazy I mean that looking at it might drive you crazy. Collyer drags him back into the ring and puts on the cloverleaf. The referee lifts Steel's head twice and drops it into a pool of his blood, then awards the match to Collyer. This is so unbelievably disgusting. The match itself was nothing, but the blood rivaled Jay Briscoe at At Our Best for most difficult flow to watch.
JZ says: We start off with some nice mat work. The crowd is pretty hot for this match given that they were juiced after the opener and Ace is from Chicago. This is a pretty even, back and forth match. Collyer goes for a dive outside the ring but Ace chops him instead. Ace accidentally hits a student acting as a security guard on the outside of the ring, and he and the ref check on him. Meanwhile, Collyer grabs a chair and just waffles Ace upside the head with it. Ace is busted open BAD. Like, I can't believe he cut himself that deep in the second match of the show bad. It's really sick. There's a puddle on the mat that splatters. Collyer puts on the Texas Cloverleaf and Ace is unconscious, giving Collyer the win at 10:27. That match was going fine until the unnecessary blade job.
MATCH #3: Austin Aries vs. Jimmy Rave
BG says: Chicago still hates Jimmy Rave, stemming mostly from his feud with CM Punk. Rave slaps Aries but then gets slapped down. Aries takes him to the mat and grabs a front facelock. He hits a basement dropkick and Rave bails. Back in the ring Aries hits the rebound clothesline and a pair of Japanese armdrags. Nana tries to help Rave out so Aries dropkicks him. He hits the slingshot splash but the Asai moonsault hits knees. Rave pulls Aries' ribs into the post and punts him. He hits a northern lights suplex for 2. He puts on an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes and Nana for leverage. Sinclair notices it and breaks it up allowing Aries to hip toss out. Rave gets a knee to the gut for 2. He hits a gutbuster for 2. He puts on a legvice but Aries fights out. Aries reverses Ghanarea to a crossbody for 2. Rave puts on a bearhug but Aries claps around Rave's head to escape. He hits a big clothesline and a back bodydrop. He hits a pair of back elbows and the Powerdrive elbow for 2. He hits the corner elbow and the corner dropkick for 2. He gets a sunset flip for 2. Rave reverses the crucifix bomb to a Samoan drop for 2. Aries misses the roaring elbow and Rave hits a spear for 2. Aries dropkicks the knee and hits a brainbuster for 2. He goes up for the 450 splash but it hits knees. Rave gets 2. Rave goes for the Rave Clash but Aries blocks. He sets Rave on the top turnbuckle. Rave catches him and goes for the Rave Clash but Aries fights away. Rave goes for a sunset flip but Aries sits down and picks up the win. Good match, but a bit disappointing given those involved. After the match Shelley attacks Aries from behind and Rave hits him with the Rave Clash. Sydal and Strong make the save after the fact.
JZ says: Rave has new tights. They're long and blue, for those wondering. Aries slaps Rave to start. Aries starts off in control, but Rave takes over after countering the quebrada and goes to work on the ribs of Aries. Rave puts Aries in a bear hug so that Aries can do his clapping spot. It's a fine little spot, but it's kind of annoying since the only time anyone ever does the move is against Aries. Stuff like that bugs me. Aries stupidly goes for the 450, and Rave gets his knees up, further injuring the ribs. That would have been a good way to finish the match I think. Rave goes for a sunset flip off the top rope but Aries sits down with it a la Bret Hart versus Davey Boy Smith at Summerslam '92 to get the win at 13:28. That was a good match and all, but I don't see the sense in having Aries pin Rave two nights in a row. Alex Shelley comes out to help administer a beat down to Aries after the match. Roderick Strong and Matt Sydal make the save.
MATCH #4: Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki & Homicide
BG says: Here we have a rematch from the impromptu main event of Manhattan Mayhem. Homicide and Ki look good and intimidating during their entrance. The Rottweilers attack as Joe and Lethal get into the ring. Joe clotheslines Homicide to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. Lethal hits a series of clotheslines on Ki as Joe tosses Homicide into the barricade. Lethal hits a springboard dropkick on Ki. Ki cuts off his attempt at a dive. Joe and Homicide get back in the ring and Ki helps Homicide beat on Joe. They hit a double clothesline. Homicide hits a kneedrop and tags to Ki, thus making this match better than the original already. They hit a double suplex and Ki gets 1. Ki hits a seated dropkick for 2. Homicide tags in and rakes the back. He hits a tornado DDT and tags to Ki. They trade chops until Ki kicks Joe below the belt. Homicide tags in and gets hit with a belly-to-belly suplex. Lethal tags in and hits a clothesline. He hits a back bodydrop for 2. He hits a leg lariat for 2. Ki runs in and pokes him in the eyes. Lethal starts to fight back so Homicide pokes him in the eyes. Ki tags in and slams Lethal down by his hair for 2. He dumps Lethal to the floor and Homicide comes out with the Cactus elbow. Back in the ring Ki gets 2. He hits a bodyslam for 2. Homicide tags in and hits a high knee. He puts on a nerve hold but Lethal fights out. Homicide hits a knee to the gut and tags to Ki. He dropkicks Lethal in the corner for 2. The Rottweilers hit a doomsday bulldog for 2, even though Homicide wasn't legal. Ki puts on a legvice and Homicide slaps Lethal's hand away each time he tries to get to the ropes. Ki lets go to go for a pin fall but Joe runs in and dropkicks him. Homicide tags in and hits a piledriver for 2. Homicide is an amazing heel. Ki tags in and they hit a double shoulder block for 2. He hangs Lethal in the Tree of Woe but misses the double stomp. Lethal comes back with a second rope leg lariat. Joe and Homicide tag in and Joe cleans house. Back body drops for everyone. DVD on Homicide for 2. Powerbomb for 2 right into the STF. Ki comes off the top rope with a double stomp to break it up. Wow. Lethal tags in and hits a suplex and an elbow drop for 2. Homicide hits him with the Ace Crusher for 2. He blocks the dragon suplex but Joe runs in and powerslams him. Lethal climbs to the top and hits the diving headbutt for 2. Ki dodges the Ole kick on the outside and smacks him with a chair against the back. Homicide hits Lethal with an enziguiri and tags to Ki. Ki hits Lethal with rapid Kobashi chops and hits a double stomp for 2. That could have been the finish right there. He climbs to the top and hits a flying elbow drop for 2. He kicks the referee in the face out of frustration. Homicide knocks Joe to the floor as Lethal and Ki trade chops. Ki hangs Lethal on the second rope and hits a double stomp from the top. It gets 2 when Lethal gets his foot on the ropes. Joe blocks a DDT from Homicide but gets kicked into the corner by Ki. Lethal hits the dragon suplex on Ki for 2 when Homicide elbow drops the referee and draws the disqualification. This match was better structured than their first match and just as exciting. A finish would have given it a higher rating.
And now the madness begins. Everyone starts brawling on the floor and Lethal gets a cut on his back. They brawl through the crowd and start recklessly throwing chairs at each other. Joe hits Homicide with the Ole kick hard. Homicide comes back and plasters Joe and Lethal with a chair. They fight up to where Jake and I were sitting and slug it out on the bleachers. Lethal hits a sick dropkick on Homicide. Ki bodyslams Lethal on the floor and Joe beats on Homicide and Ki with a shoe. Joe goes for a butterfly suplex on Homicide but Ki stops that by smacking Joe across the back with some girl's purse. Joe and Homicide fight to the ramp where Joe hits a suplex. Ki knocks Lethal down, climbs to the top of the bleachers and hits him with a double stomp. I got a great view of that live, and a replay shows that contact did indeed occur. Man, I look like a doofus. Ki goes back to ringside and meets with Homicide. Joe starts grabbing chair after chair from the fans and throws them at Homicide and Ki until they retreat. Joe poses triumphantly in the ring until Ki attacks him from behind. Lethal tries to save but a bloody Ki hits him with the Ki Krusher. This was a great brawl that added a lot of heat to the Lethal/Ki feud. Low Ki is possibly the most evil looking person ever in wrestling.
JZ says: This one starts off as a big brawl right away, of course. Dave Prazak calls this a rematch of sorts from Manhattan Mayhem, but I would prefer to just call it a rematch, since that's exactly what it is. Wow, these guys are just sick. They hit each other so damn hard. There's all kinds of history in this one, dating back to the first Glory by Honor when Samoa Joe made his debut against Low Ki. Ki and Homicide isolate Lethal and go to work on his neck, playing off the aforementioned first match back in May in Manhattan. Joe finally gets the hot tag and cleans house, Joe style. Ki gives Lethal the Kobashi chops. Joe and Homicide are brawling outside the ring as Ki and Lethal are going at it inside. Lethal gets the Dragon Suplex on Ki, but Homicide gives the referee an elbow drop to break up the count, and the ref calls for the bell at 17:34, presumably giving the match to Joe & Lethal via DQ. Of course a big brawl breaks out and they're fighting all over the building, particularly right where Brad and I were sitting in the bleachers. And hey, there we are. Ki gives Lethal a double stomp off the bleachers, prompting the crowd to chant "you killed Lethal." But Joe is back, throwing chairs at Homicide and Ki. And now Lethal is back, and the fight is back on. They fight for a while longer, and the crowd chants "ROH." The match was pretty brutal and stiff, but it's the brawl afterwards that most people talk about and rightfully so.
BG says: In a promo recorded earlier in the evening, Ace Steel talks about training Colt Cabana and CM Punk. He talks about Cabana's short college football career, which he carried out at Western Michigan University, the school that I go to and Jake graduated from. He says Punk was a pseudo-icon in his neighborhood but would never be a wrestler. He had charisma, however. They never missed a single practice, and they formed a close bond. So Steel told them to take any booking they could get for any pay, and they fell in love with it. Now Cabana has become a marketing genius who has wrestling shows named after him in Europe, and Punk is working dark matches for the WWE. For Steel it's like watching his two kids grow up and go at it. But he doesn't want one fall to decide a match this big, so he requests that the match be 2/3 falls. Nice promo, all of which was spoken under older clips of Punk and Cabana, from Night of the Butcher where they had their first ROH match against each other, to Reborn Stage One when they teamed up to beat on Ricky Steamboat.
JZ says: Ace Steel is here to talk about training CM Punk and Colt Cabana. He recaps the entire history between the two of them. Ace says that he wants two out of three falls tonight and says that everyone will cry. There's no crying in wrestling.
MATCH #5: ROH Tag Team Title Match Ė BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. James Gibson & Spanky
BG says: Gibson beat Whitmer at Nowhere to Run to earn this shot at the tag champions. HUSS beats scissors again tonight. If HUSS ever beats paper then I'm gonna call shenanigans on it. Whitmer tags himself in and starts the match off with Spanky. Whitmer grabs a headlock and hits a shoulder block. Spanky hits a Japanese armdrag and grabs a wristlock. He puts on a hammerlock but Whitmer reverses to his own. Spanky reverses that to a roll up for 2 and goes back to the arm. Gibson tags in and drops an elbow on Whitmer's arm. Jacobs tags in and gets armdragged down. He puts on an armbar and tags to Spanky. They hit a double armdrag and Spanky dropkicks Jacobs to the floor. Whitmer comes in and gets dropkicked out and the challengers follow the champions out with stereo suicide dives. Back in the ring Spanky hits a splash in the corner and tags to Gibson. Gibson hits a pair of bodyslams and a legdrop. Spanky tags in and gets speared. Whitmer gets the tag and he decimates the challengers. Spanky comes back with a hurricanrana and a tiger flip. He hits a crossbody for 2. He goes for Sliced Bread #2 but Whitmer reverses to a neckbreaker and Spanky bails. Spanky rolls back in and breaks up the pin fall attempt at 1 with his hand on the bottom rope. Jacobs tags in and hits a neckbreaker for 2. He hits a series of elbow drops for 2. Whitmer tags in and hits a forearm for 2. He hits a snap suplex for 2. Jacobs tags in and the champions double-team Spanky for 2. Jacobs puts on a front facelock to keep Spanky from making the tag and hits an implant DDT for 2. Whitmer tags in and gets hit with a tornado DDT. Gibson gets the hot tag and cleans house. He hits a neckbreaker on Whitmer and puts on the Trailer Hitch. Whitmer reverses to a northern lights suplex but Gibson reverses back to the submission. Jacobs breaks it up with a big boot. Whitmer hits an exploder suplex but gets pressed down for 2. Spanky tags in and hits a reverse hurricanrana for 2 when Jacobs saves. Jacobs hits a neckbreaker on Spanky and tags in legally. He headbutts Spanky around and tags to Whitmer. They hit a double shoulder block and Whitmer powerbombs Jacobs onto Spanky for 2. They go for the doomsday hurricanrana but Spanky reverses to a roll up for 2. Gibson spinebusters Jacobs out of the ring. Spanky hits a flatliner on Whitmer and tags to Gibson. Gibson comes in with a knee off the top. He hits a running knee for 2 and goes for the tiger driver when Spanky superkicks him! Spanky hits him with Sliced Bread #2 and Whitmer crawls on top for the win. The match started slow but picked up by the end and the turn was very well done.
Spanky hands the tag titles over to Whitmer and Jacobs. He gets on the microphone and says a lot of things I can't make out while kicking Gibson in the face. I do make out him telling Gibson that it was a business decision before slapping him. The crowd simultaneously boos and cheers him, but there were enough boos to put this in the solid heel turn category.
JZ says: This is Gibson's first match since winning the ROH title last night, duh. Mat wrestling abounds as all four of these guys are babyfaces and want to play by the rules. Sissies. Whitmer is the biggest guy in the match, by far. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not, but I refereed for Jimmy Jacobs versus James Gibson match in IWA-Mid South a few weeks after this happened, and it was a lot of fun. Gibson kicked me in the head twice, really hard. I don't think he liked me. Jacobs hits a realty nice spear on Spanky. Prazak says that Artie is in his earpiece, who says that Gibson's first title defense will be next week against Homicide. Gibson goes for the Tiger Driver (loudly calling it out to the fans, I hate that shit), but Spanky turns on Gibson and gives him the Sliced Bread #2, allowing Whitmer to crawl over and get the pin at 17:28. That was a really good old fashioned tag team match, which might have ranked higher with a better finish. Some people in the crowd cheer for Spanky, which is the exact opposite response they should be giving him. Spanky cuts a promo that I can barely understand due to the sound system. Man, they have got to get a system that can connect the microphones to the cameras so we can understand these promos.
MATCH #6: Matt Hardy vs. Roderick Strong
BG says: Strong's entrance music is awful. His new trunks and shirt are not awful. The Embassy tries to sneak attack him but Aries and Sydal make the save. This is match three of three for Hardy in ROH. He gets a microphone and the crowd tells him to shut up before he even starts talking. He thanks his supporters for supporting him and his detractors for buying a ticket. They lock up to start and Hardy grabs a headlock. He takes Strong to the mat and keeps the hold on tight. Strong pushes out and gets an armdrag into an armbar. He turns it into a hammerlock but Hardy makes the ropes. Hardy hits a bodyslam and goes for the guillotine choke hold but Strong goes to the ropes. Hardy dumps him to the floor and follows him out. Strong chops him hard and Hardy's reaction is priceless. Strong keeps chopping and chopping but misses one and hits the post. Hardy yanks Strong's shoulder into the post and rolls him back into the ring. He hits a legdrop and a second rope elbow for 2. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. He puts on a cravat and then dropkicks the knee when Strong fights out. He chop blocks the leg and puts on a figure 4 leglock. Strong tries to fight out so Hardy rakes the eyes. Strong turns it over so Hardy goes to the ropes. Strong hits an enziguiri but misses a forearm and gets set on the top rope. Hardy hits him with the Splash Mountain powerbomb for 2. Strong comes back with a backbreaker but it hurts his knee. He chops the skin off of Hardy's chest and hits a butterfly suplex for 2. Strong's selling here is pretty phenomenal. He gets a roll up for 2. He hits a dropkick for 2. He hits a clothesline for 2. He hits a delayed vertical suplex but is slow to cover because of the leg and gets 2. He chops Hardy down but gets caught with an inverted DDT. Hardy hits a clothesline in the corner and a bulldog for 2. He puts on a sleeper hold but Strong gets out with a back suplex. He sets Hardy on the top rope but gets shoved off. Hardy goes for the second rope legdrop that ROH fans hate but Strong blocks it and the crowd erupts. He climbs up and tries the double knee gutbuster from the second rope but Hardy blocks that and hits a tornado DDT for 2. He goes for the guillotine choke again but Strong blocks and hits a northern lights suplex for 2. Hardy comes back with a forearm for 2. He goes for the Twist of Fate but Strong reverses to a neckbreaker for 2. He hits the double knee gutbuster and the Sick Kick for 2. Hardy gets a sunset flip for 2. Strong gets a roll up for 2 and goes right into the Boston crab. Hardy makes the ropes. Hardy puts on the guillotine choke but Strong makes the ropes. Strong fights off the Side Effect but Hardy blocks the half nelson back breaker. He dodges a crossbody attempt and hits the Side Effect for 2. He hits another and only gets 2. Strong reverses another attempt at the Side Effect and gets a roll up for the win. This was a total star-making match for Strong, as he did what Christopher Daniels and Homicide couldn't do in beating Hardy, and he did it while putting on an awesome performance in an amazing match.
JZ says: The Embassy comes out to try and attack Roderick, but Gen Next saves. Matt Hardy gets a pretty good reaction here. This is his last ROH appearance. Some of course are chanting "fuck you Hardy," which I honestly don't get. I'm not the world's biggest Hardy fan, but I'm not sure what he did to piss off ROH fans. I mean, let's see, he got unfairly fired and decided to come to ROH since he was such a big fan of the promotion that all of these fans just bought tickets to come and see, put the company over on WWE TV, and did everything he could to bring more exposure to the company. Yeah, let's boo that guy. And people wonder why ROH fans get a bad rap. Yeah, fans can cheer and boo whoever they want, good for them, but give me a break. Prazak notes that Matt is getting a better reaction than his brother Jeff did. The battle spills outside, and Strong delivers a series of chops culminating in a big chop on the ring post, injuring his hand. They get back in the ring and do some more good stuff, and the crowd is just going bananas. They do some back and forth until Roderick gets a rollup for three at 23:52 and the crowd goes ape shit. That was a stellar match and another step up for Roderick Strong.
MATCH #7: 2 out of 3 Falls Match Ė CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana
BG says: Cabana gets a great reaction for his entrance, but this is Punk's last match so let's focus on him. Punk's entire babyface entrance song plays out, with the crowd pounding the barricades and singing throughout. Simultaneously we get clips of Punk and Cabana's history, including the party after they won the tag team titles at Reborn Stage Two, defending the titles at and the post-match celebration after Punk beat Rave in a cage at Nowhere to Run. Then some new music plays and Punk comes out crying. The crowd loudly chants his name as he touches all the purple haired girls in the crowd and accidentally slaps a kid with Down Syndrome. Okay, maybe he doesn't have Downs, but he sure looks like he does. Cabana helps him into the ring where he gets engulfed by streamers. The music playing fits the moment perfectly. The crowd cheers for Cabana during his introduction, and he reluctantly accepts their cheers. Punk remains very emotional during his introduction, and Ace Steel comes down to ringside. After the longest pre-match production in ROH history (not including Steve Corino) we finally start the match.
Cabana and Punk hug to start. Jimmy Bower joins the commentary team as Punk grabs a wristlock. Cabana rolls out and gets his own. Punk goes back to it but Cabana reverses to a headlock. Punk back into the corner for the break. Cabana takes Punk to the mat but Punk goes back to the corner. Prazak goes through Punk and Cabana's pre-ROH careers as Cabana outwrestles Punk. Punk hits a series of shoulder blocks but Cabana trips him up when he goes for one too many. Cabana starts working the arm and knuckles up. He puts on a legvice but Punk pushes out. Cabana puts on a headlock and gets a hurricanrana. Punk gets a funky armdrag and Cabana backs off. Punk works the arm and shoulder with a knucklelock and hits a springboard crossbody for 2. He goes back to the arm but Cabana comes back with a monkey flip. He leg vices Punk's head but Punk flips out. Cabana dodges a monkey flip and stomps on Punk's face. Punk gets frustrated with Cabana's antics as he struts about. Cabana gets Punk to focus on a fan and grabs a headlock. Punk gets out and they criss cross. Cabana can't trick Punk into looking up so he stomps on his foot. Punk gets hot so Cabana apologizes and then stomps on his other foot. Punk low blows him and hits the Colt 45 to win the first fall.
Punk starts the second fall off with kicks to the face and Garvin stomps. He hits a vertical suplex and a stiff kick to the back. Punk puts on a tarantula like move in the ropes and the referee calls for the break. Punk hits a springboard dropkick for 2. He puts on a front facelock but Cabana fights out. Punk hits an elbow in the corner but Cabana comes back with a lariat to tie the match up one to one.
They crawl to their knees and stare at each other. They get to their feet and trade chops. They move to forearms and Cabana comes back with jabs. Punk goes for the rope submission but Cabana lets go and Punk falls to the floor. Cabana goes for a moonsault but Punk blocks it. Cabana tries to powerbomb Punk to the floor but Punk blocks and then hits a hurricanrana. Back in the ring Cabana gets a roll up for 2. Punk blocks a Boston crab and goes for Welcome to Chicago. Cabana blocks and hits a butterfly suplex for 2. Punk gets tossed to the apron and Cabana hits him with a springboard crossbody. Punk falls to the floor and Cabana hits him with the Asai moonsault. Back in the ring Cabana climbs to the top but Punk cuts him off. He goes for a hurricanrana from the top but Cabana rolls through into a Boston crab. Punk makes the ropes. He catches Cabana with a reverse hurricanrana for 2. Punk strikes away and hits a high knee for 2. He climbs to the top but Cabana cuts him off and hits an inverted DDT from the second rope. Punk puts on the Anaconda Vice but Cabana makes the ropes. Punk calls for the Pepsi Plunge but Cabana blocks and hits a second rope Samoan drop. Punk gets a crucifix pin for 2. He says naughty things to Cabana as they slug it out. He kicks Cabana down for the Shining Wizard and eventually hits it for 2 when Cabana gets his hand on the bottom rope. Cabana gets a roll up for 2. Punk gets a roll up for 2. Cabana gets another roll up and wins the match. This was not a classic by any means, as they seemed to want to send Punk out in a lighthearted match. The result was a confused and quiet crowd, and a solid if completely unspectacular final match for Punk.
Punk acts frustrated that the match is over, but not so much that he lost. He shakes Cabana's hand and hugs him. Punk's parents and all the wrestlers come out to the ring. They do the down on one knee thing but Punk tells them to get up. Joe is crying. Cabana dumps a bottle of Pepsi over Punk's head and then pours him some in a campaign glass. Punk says that ROH is the best and the ROH fans are the best and all the other usual post-main event speech stuff. Everyone in this moment at least seems legitimately emotional, however. Punk thanks Gabe Sapolsky, who has joined the Rottweilers by the looks of things. The DVD fades out with Punk on the shoulders of his fellow Second City Saints.
JZ says: This is Punk's last match, and he means it this time. They show a bunch of Punk clips from past shows, particularly involving Cabana. Punk is crying like a little girl when he comes out. He is showered with streamers in the ring. Jimmy Bower joins the commentary booth in place of Lenny Leonard. Ace Steel and Samoa Joe are watching on from ringside. They do some mat wrestling along with some comedy early on. Punk finally gets tired of Cabana's shenanigans and calls him on it. So Cabana uses more shenanigans to take the advantage. Punk actually hits Cabana in the groin, turning this into a serious match. Punk then hits the Colt 45 to score the first fall. Prazak and Bower keep talking about how this match sums up the history between the two, and I think to really make it a throwback, Punk would have to be wearing his basketball jersey and Cabana would be wearing tennis shoes. If you know what I'm talking about, you're lucky. A big lariat gets a pin for Cabana, evening things up at one fall apiece. The third fall features a lot of big moves, like a top rope hurricanrana, and even a reverse hurricanrana. They do a rollup and reversal sequence that ends with Cabana getting the pinfall and winning the match two falls to one at 27:43. I understand the emotion behind that being Punk's last match and all, but honestly the match itself was nothing special. Punk and Cabana embrace after the match as the rohbots fans chant "ROH." The locker room empties to pay tribute to the departed Punk, even Brad Bradley comes out. Punk's dad is there to hug him. Remember when he was feuding with Raven and he hated his dad; poor Mr. Punk. Cabana gives him a Pepsi shower, followed with a toast and a speech from Punk. Conspicuously absent from these proceedings is Jimmy Jacobs, I wonder what happened to him. Cabana and Steel put Punk on their shoulders as the crowd chants his name, and we fade out.
BG says: Roderick Strong. I know it was Punk's last night, but Strong totally broke out here. Matt Hardy deserves some credit too, but Strong was the star of the show in my opinion.
JZ says: One last time, CM Punk.
JZ says: I've decided to include a section detailing all of the matches CM Punk had in Ring of Honor, so everyone can see his evolution during the three years he spent there, along with my own personal star ratings (where applicable).
- All Star Extravaganza, 11.9.02: Michael Shane pinned CM Punk in the first match of a gauntlet series.
- Night of the Butcher, 12.7.02: Colt Cabana pinned CM Punk.
- Final Battle 2002, 12.28.02: CM Punk pinned Colt Cabana to earn an ROH contract.
2002 Win/Loss Record: 1-2
- Revenge on the Prophecy, 1.11.03: CM Punk pinned Michael Shane.
- One Year Anniversary Show, 2.8.03: CM Punk pinned CW Anderson.
- Expect the Unexpected, 3.15.03: CM Punk pinned Raven.
- Night of Champions, 3.22.03: CM Punk & Ace Steel beat Raven & Colt Cabana when Cabana turned on Raven. The Second City Saints are thus formed.
- The Epic Encounter, 4.12.03: CM Punk and BJ Whitmer went to a no-contest when both men were knocked out on the floor after Punk German suplexed Whitmer through a table.
- Round Robin Challenge II, 4.26.03: Homicide pinned CM Punk to win the #1 Contenders Trophy.
- Do or Die, 5.31.03: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat The Briscoe Brothers, The Carnage Crew, and Izzy & Dixie in a tag team scramble. Later in the show, Christopher Daniels beat Punk, Frankie Kazarian, and Jimmy Rave in a four corner survival.
- Night of the Grudges, 6.14.03: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat Raven & BJ Whitmer in an anything goes match.
- Wrestlerave '03, 6.28.03: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat Raven & Christopher Daniels.
- Death Before Dishonor, 7.19.03: CM Punk beat Raven in a dog collar match.
- Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies, 8.16.03: ROH World Champion Samoa Joe beat CM Punk in a non-title challenge match.
- Beating the Odds, 9.6.03: Raven beat CM Punk in a "clockwork orange house of fun" steel cage match.
- Glory by Honor II, 9.20.03: Terry Funk beat Raven by disqualification.
- Tradition Continues, 10.16.03: AJ Styles pinned CM Punk.
- Empire State Showdown, 10.25.03: CM Punk and Steve Corino wrestled to a 20-minute time-limit draw.
- Main Event Spectacles, 11.1.03: CM Punk and Steve Corino both won a four corner survival match over ROH World Champion Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels when they both pinned Daniels. They allegedly both earned a title shot due to the victory.
- The Conclusion, 11.28.03: CM Punk beat Raven in a steel cage match.
- War of the Wire, 11.29.03: CM Punk beat Jimmy Rave in the first match of a gauntlet series; Matt Stryker beat Punk in the next match.
- Final Battle 2003 Convention Card, 12.27.03: CM Punk pinned Mase.
- Final Battle 2003, 12.27.03: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto.
- The Battle Lines Are Drawn, 1.10.04: The Second City Saints fought to a no-contest with The Prophecy (Christopher Daniels, Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer). (**½)
- The Last Stand, 1.29.04: Homicide pinned CM Punk. (***)
- Second Year Anniversary Show, 2.14.04: CM Punk pinned John Walters in a first round Pure Wrestling Title tournament match; Punk pinned Doug Williams in the semifinals; and AJ Styles beat Punk in the finals to win the ROH Pure Wrestling Title. (***½, ****, ***¼)
- At Our Best, 3.13.04: ROH Pure Wrestling Champion AJ Styles beat CM punk to retain the title; Ricky Steamboat was the guest referee. (***½)
- ROH Reborn Stage One, 4.23.04: Bryan Danielson beat CM Punk. (***½)
- ROH Reborn Stage Two, 4.24.04: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat ROH Tag Team Champions the Briscoe Brothers to win the titles. (****)
- Round Robin Challenge III, 5.15.04: Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer beat CM Punk & Colt Cabana to win the titles; later in the show Punk & Cabana beat the Briscoe Brothers to regain the titles. (*½, ***¾)
- Generation Next, 5.22.04: ROH Tag Team Champions CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer in a no-disqualification match to retain the titles. (***¼)
- World Title Classic, 6.12.04: ROH World Champion Samoa Joe and CM Punk wrestled to a 60-minute time-limit draw. (****½)
- Survival of the Fittest, 6.24.04: CM Punk beat Dixie & Hydro, Dunn & Marcos, and The Outcast Killaz in a tag team scramble by himself to retain the titles; later in the show he pinned Hydro in a singles match. (*, ***¼)
- ROH Reborn Completion, 7.17.04: Alex Shelley beat Austin Aries, CM Punk, and Matt Stryker in a four corner survival match to earn a spot in the Pure Title match later on. (**½)
- Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 1, 7.23.04: CM Punk & Colt Cabana beat The Briscoe Brothers in a two out of three falls match to retain the tag team titles. (***½)
- Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 2, 7.24.04: CM Punk & Ace Steel beat Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer in a Chicago Street Fight. (****)
- Testing the Limit, 8.7.04: Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero beat CM Punk & Colt Cabana to win the ROH Tag Team Titles. (***)
- Scramble Cage Melee, 8.28.04: Homicide beat Samoa Joe and CM Punk in a three-way match. (**¾)
- Glory by Honor III, 9.11.04: CM Punk pinned Austin Aries. (**¾)
- Midnight Express Reunion Afternoon Card, 10.2.04: CM Punk pinned Davey Andrews.
- Midnight Express Reunion, 10.2.04: Generation Next beat CM Punk, John Walters, Ace Steel & Jimmy Jacobs in an elimination match. (***)
- ROH Gold, 10.15.04: Homicide pinned CM Punk; later in the show, Punk, Ace Steel & Jimmy Jacobs beat Alex Shelley, Austin Aries & Jack Evans. (***¼, ***¾)
- Joe vs. Punk II, 10.16.04: ROH World Champion Samoa Joe and CM Punk wrestled to a 60-minute time-limit draw. (*****)
- Weekend of Thunder Night One, 11.5.04: Austin Aries pinned CM Punk. (***¼)
- Weekend of Thunder Night Two, 11.6.04: CM Punk & Ace Steel beat Austin Aries & Roderick Strong in a no-disqualification match. (*¾)
- All Star Extravaganza II, 12.4.04: ROH World Champion Samoa Joe beat CM Punk to retain the title. (****¾)
- Final Battle 2004, 12.26.04: CM Punk & Steve Corino beat Alex Shelley & Roderick Strong. (***¼)
- It All Begins, 1.15.05: Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero beat CM Punk & Steve Corino and The Carnage Crew in an Ultimate Endurance match to retain the tag team titles. (*½)
- Third Anniversary Celebration Part One, 2.19.05: Spanky pinned CM Punk. (***¼)
- Third Anniversary Celebration Part Two, 2.25.05: CM Punk pinned Alex Shelley. (***½)
- Third Anniversary Celebration Part Three, 2.26.05: Jimmy Rave beat CM Punk. (***¾)
- Trios Tournament 2005, 3.5.05: The Extreme Saints beat The Embassy in a first-round match; Generation Next beat The Extreme Saints in the semifinals. (½*, *)
- Back to Basics, 3.12.05: Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal beat CM Punk & Spanky to earn a shot at the tag team titles. Steve Corino was scheduled to be Punk's partner, but he did not show up at the event. (***¾)
- Best of American Super Juniors Tournament, 4.2.05: Jimmy Rave & Fast Eddie beat CM Punk & Colt Cabana in a no-disqualification match. (¾*)
- Stalemate, 4.16.05: CM Punk pinned Mike "Killer" Kruel. (½*)
- Manhattan Mayhem, 5.7.05: Jimmy Rave beat CM Punk in a dog collar match. (****½)
- The Final Showdown, 5.13.05: ROH Tag Team Champions BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs beat CM Punk & Ace Steel to retain the titles. (***½)
- Nowhere to Run, 5.14.05: CM Punk beat Jimmy Rave in a steel cage match. (****)
- New Frontiers, 6.4.05: Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer beat Colt Cabana & CM Punk. (***½)
- The Future is Now, 6.12.05: CM Punk pinned Roderick Strong. (***½)
- Death Before Dishonor III, 6.18.05: CM Punk pinned Austin Aries to win the ROH World Championship. (****¼)
- Sign of Dishonor, 7.8.05: CM Punk beat Jay Lethal to retain the ROH World Title. (***½)
- Escape From New York, 7.9.05: CM Punk beat Roderick Strong to retain the ROH World Title. (****)
- Fate of an Angel, 7.16.05: CM Punk beat James Gibson to retain the ROH World Title. (***¾)
- The Homecoming, 7.23.05: CM Punk and Christopher Daniels wrestled to a 60-minute time-limit draw; Punk retains the title. (***½)
- Redemption, 8.12.05: James Gibson beat CM Punk, Samoa Joe, and Christopher Daniels in a four-way elimination match to win the ROH World Title. (****½)
- The Final Chapter, 8.13.05: Colt Cabana beat CM Punk in a two out of three falls match. (***)
Coming soon will be our review of Night of the Grudges II!
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The 411: BG says: Some of the matches, including the main event, were a bit disappointing. However, Matt Hardy goes out of ROH with a bang, Punk makes his last moments memorable, and the Rottweilers, Joe and Lethal kill each other for our amusement. This one is a safe recommendation.
JZ says: Thereís not really a bad match on the show, and most everything starts something new or continues something existing (except for Punk and Cabana of course). The Matt Hardy versus Roderick Strong match is really terrific, the Joe/Lethal vs. Homicide/Ki match is pretty insane stuff, and the Tag Team Title match is really good (though for some reason I donít see it getting much love). Also, even if the match isnít that great (which itís not), itís still Punkís last ROH appearance, and thatís enough to warrant a recommendation.