ROH – Joe vs. Kobashi – New York, New York – 10.01.05
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: Bryan Danielson (since 9.17.05)
ROH PURE CHAMPION: Nigel McGuinness (since 8.27.05)
1) Roderick Strong
2) Austin Aries
3) Samoa Joe
4) Colt Cabana
5) Christopher Daniels
BG says: I want to say first and foremost that I hate the title of this show. I know that the main event is probably amazing and it's the selling point for the DVD, but much like Joe vs. Punk II and more recently FIP Strong vs. Evans I think it just sounds awful.
The show starts with a video chronicling the evolution of Samoa Joe in ROH throughout the years, with little stills of Kenta Kobashi being spliced in. Joe claims in the video that Kobashi is coming to his house, where he has the advantage.
JZ says: We start right off with a video package to hype the main event of Samoa Joe versus Kenta Kobashi for this evening. It's really well done and makes me really excited to finally be reviewing this show.
MATCH #1: Colt Cabana vs. Claudio Castagnoli
BG says: The crowd is jacked. Cabana is unable to wrestle Homicide in Manhattan because the ROH offices received threats from Homicide's boyz that he'd do more than put a hurt on him. Claudio grabs a wristlock but Cabana reverses to a hammerlock. Cabana gets an armdrag into an armbar but Claudio goes to the corner to break. He dodges a dropkick and gloats as Monsta Mack jaws with Cabana from the crowd. Cabana gets a monkey flip but Claudio hangs him on the top rope. Cabana counters Claudio with an armdrag and goes back to the armbar. Claudio comes back with a European uppercut. He hits another and then one to the back. He puts on an inverted surfboard stretch and pins Cabana for 2. He goes for a delayed vertical suplex but Cabana rolls him up for 2. He gets another roll up for 2. Claudio catches Cabana with an inverted suplex for 2. Cabana kicks Claudio to the floor as another Rottweiler taunts Cabana from the balcony. Claudio rushes back into the ring and gets hit with a clothesline. Cabana comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick. He hits a double knee strike in the corner and a butt-butt. He misses a clothesline but hits an Asai moonsault for 2. Claudio comes back with a neckbreaker for 2. Cabana goes for the Colt 45 but a Rottweiler distracts him and Claudio hits the Ricolabomb for the win. It was more a match to build the feud with Homicide, but fun nonetheless.
JZ says: Claudio gets a good response, as well he should. These are two of my favorite guys in Ring of Honor actually. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are here to welcome us to this huge show. Both men have the same initials. This is only Claudio's second main show appearance, his last coming against Nigel McGuinness at Fate of an Angel. They so some mat wrestling and we get a shot a fat guy in the audience who is reportedly a Rottweiler. Claudio shows several variations of the European Uppercut. I really want to see Claudio's Pure Title shot at Doug Williams from England, which was well before he came to ROH. Does anyone know if that match was ever released on tape/DVD? And while we're on the subject, does anyone have Jay Lethal's Pure Title defense against Kevin Dunn from NWA Upstate on April 9, 2005? Just let me know. We get another cutaway shot of another Rottweiler in the crowd. Cabana goes for the Colt 45 but gets distracted by the Rottweilers and Claudio reverses to a pyramid power bomb for the upset at 7:50. That was solid but felt a bit rushed and disjointed.
MATCH #2: Three Way Elimination Match – Christopher Daniels vs. Azrieal vs. Matt Sydal
BG says: This is elimination rules, and I don't think the result is in doubt here. Azrieal grabs a headlock on Daniels so Sydal puts one on Azrieal. Daniels knocks them both down but Azrieal fights back. Daniels gets hip tossed and dropkicked. He bails and Azrieal hits Sydal with a backbreaker. He hits a back suplex and one on a returning Daniels. Sydal hits a high knee in the corner on Daniels but gets powerbombed by Azrieal for 2. Daniels hits Azrieal with a leg lariat for 2. Azrieal comes back with a hurricanrana. Daniels monkey flips Sydal into Azrieal who face plants him. Daniels hits Azrieal with a clothesline. He hits Sydal with a backbreaker and runs him hard into the turnbuckle. He hits a palm strike but Sydal comes back by stepping over Azrieal to hit a DDT on Daniels. Azrieal hits a cobra clutch drop and Sydal hits a second rope legdrop for 2 on Daniels. Daniels fights back and hits a bulldog/clothesline combo on his opponents. He clotheslines everyone and hits Sydal with a blue thunder bomb for 2. Sydal hits him with a chin breaker and Azrieal hits him with a clothesline from the top rope. He dumps Daniels to the apron and hits a double stomp after hanging him up on the second rope. Sydal hits a legdrop on Azrieal for 2. He slingshots out of the ring and hits Daniels with a hurricanrana on the floor. Azrieal follows them out with a plancha. Back in the ring Azrieal hits an enziguiri. He hits a dropkick for 2. Azrieal goes to the top rope but Sydal cuts him off and hits the belly-to-belly superplex for the elimination. Daniels comes back into the ring and gets rolled up for 2. Sydal gets another roll up for 2. Daniels comes back with a nasty clothesline. He hits a back suplex for 2. He hits an Oklahoma DVD for 2. He puts on a chinlock but Sydal fights out and hits a leg lariat. He hits an enziguiri and a bodyslam. He hits a standing moonsault for 2. He climbs the ropes and hits a crossbody for 2. He gets a roll up for 2 but Daniels hits the Angel's Wings out of nowhere for the win. Sydal looked really good here, and the match was good spotty fun.
JZ says: Daniels appears to be mildly slumming it in this match. Not that I don't like Azrieal or Sydal, they're just not on Daniels's level, so this could be big for them if they beat Daniels or at least put on a good showing. They do a lot of three-way spots early on, with only some of them looking contrived. Sydal hits this ridiculous DDT off the top rope on Daniels, only after using Azrieal as a stepping stone. That was awesome. Sydal and Azrieal seem to be double-teaming Daniels a bit, which is very smart strategy. Sydal hits a top-rope belly-to-belly suplex on Azrieal to eliminate him at 9:25. Sydal is going right after Daniels and gets a series of near-falls while h shows off his offensive repertoire. Daniels hits the Angels Wings out of nowhere to get the win at 13:00. Sydal looked really good there, so hopefully there's a one-on-one rematch in the works.
BG says: James Gibson tells us it's his last weekend in ROH, and ROH officials have let him pick his last two opponents. Tonight he'll wrestle his former partner from WCW Jimmy Yang. He tells Yang what ROH is all about, and tells him about the lack of restrictions in the company. Yang makes a career mistake by talking and revealing that he's actually American. He tells Gibson that his time is up, and that it's Yang time now.
JZ says: Former ROH World Champion James Gibson says that it's his last weekend in ROH, and he's glad that officials let him pick his own opponents. He knew exactly who he was going to pick. Tonight it's Jimmy Yang, making his debut in the "territory," as Gibson calls it. Yang should never talk. I also find it really ridiculous how Gibson says all these things about how no one will tell them what to do, etc., and he's on his way back to WWE literally as he says it.
MATCH #3: ROH Tag Team Title Match – BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro
BG says: The Italian challengers have Rocky theme music. They took advantage of an open challenge put out by the champions to get this shot. The fans HUSS along with Whitmer and Jacobs' tag team theme music. It occurs to me that if Alex Shelley were Mamaluke's tag partner here it'd be a different take on Shelley and Jacobs' debut match. Mamaluke and Whitmer start the match. They work the mat until Mamaluke puts on a cross armbreaker. Whitmer powers out but can't hit a German suplex. They trade slaps and both men tag out. They lock up and Jacobs puts on an armbar. He hits a pair of armdrags but Sal blocks a third and hits a dropkick. He puts on an armbar and tags to Mamaluke. Sal drop toeholds Jacobs into a Mamaluke gutbuster for 2. Mamaluke hits a side suplex for 2. He dragon screws Jacobs into the turnbuckle but Jacobs comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Mamaluke dropkicks the knee and puts on a leglock. He rolls into a camel clutch but Jacobs makes it to the ropes. Sal tags in and hits an ugly legdrop for 2. Mamaluke tags in and gets hit with a back elbow. Whitmer tags in and hits a forearm. He hits a back elbow and a running forearm in the corner. Mamaluke dropkicks his knee and climbs to the ropes. Whitmer blocks the DDT so Mamaluke adjusts into a guillotine choke. Whitmer suplexes him into the corner and tags Jacobs. Jacobs hits a top rope tomahawk chop and they clobber him down. He hits a bodyslam and a big elbow drop for 2. He puts on a front facelock and tags to Whitmer. Whitmer powerbombs Jacobs onto Mamaluke for 2. Mamaluke hits an inverted lung blower and tags to Sal. Sal comes off the top with a hurricanrana. Jacobs tags in and gets hit with a back flip knee strike. Sal hits a neckbreaker and a German suplex for 2. Jacobs comes back with a spear and tags to Whitmer. Whitmer hits a running knee for 2. He hits a snap suplex and a northern lights suplex for 2. Sal makes the tag but gets clotheslined after the fact. Mamaluke comes in with a series of kicks and goes for a crossface. Whitmer rolls through but Mamaluke gets a triangle choke. Whitmer powers up and drops Mamaluke on the turnbuckle. Jacobs tags in and they go for the super Contra Code but Mamaluke fights it off. Whitmer hits him with a powerbomb and the champions hit the doomsday hurricanrana for 2. Uh oh. Sal dumps Jacobs and hits him with a plancha. He comes back into the ring and dropkicks Whitmer to the floor. Jacobs goes for a superplex on Mamaluke but gets hit with a powerbomb. Sal hits a springboard kick and the challengers hit a sick double Rubix Cube Driver for the win and the titles. The match was good stuff, if a little sloppy near the end, but the new champions had better set the world on fire after winning the titles in their first match as a team.
JZ says: The Miracle Jobber Connection are the ones who accepted the open challenge for the ROH Tag Team Titles, which haven't been defended since Punk: The Final Chapter. Mamaluke and Rinauro were scheduled to face each other in a singles match, but they decided to team up instead. Man, I remember the fans were so excited about this open challenge, they all thought it was going to be the Briscoe Brothers, the Dudley Boyz, or even KENTA & Marufuji. And what they get is two guys who have never teamed before and haven't been seen in an ROH ring hardly at all (Rinauro) or in a long time (Mamaluke). Despite the last two months of inactivity as a team, Whitmer and Jacobs have had a really good run as tag team champions. Whitmer overpowers Mamaluke to start, so Mamaluke slaps him in the face. Jacobs and Rinauro are tagged in now, and Jacobs is pretty over with the East Coast crowd. I saw a match these two had at the 2004 Ted Petty Invitational that was pretty alright. They do a bunch of tag team stuff until Mamaluke kills Whitmer and Jacobs' finisher when he kicks out of the Doomsday Rana. The crowd is sort of getting into this. Mamaluke just looks really off his game here. Even so, the challengers hit a sick double rubix cube driver to win the titles at 13:47. The match was just average, and I hate when two guys teaming together for the first time win the titles. I understand wanting to make new stars and taking advantage of the added press because of Kobashi being there, but this was just rushed. If they wanted to put the belts on Rinauro and Mamaluke, they really could have made a feud out of it and made it mean something instead of just rushing the belts onto them. I mean, they spent months on a Carnage Crew versus Dunn & Marcos feud, but they can't bother to run feuds involving the tag team titles. This was supposed to restart the tag team division, but what it did really was set it back. Whitmer and Jacobs endorse the new champions.
MATCH #4: ROH Pure Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: Nigel is the best there is, the best there was, and he wants us to just start the match because he's figured out how to get great heel heat. The crowd shows it's schizophrenia by cheering for him moments later. Nigel gets a headlock takedown but Lethal comes back with a dropkick. Nigel takes Lethal to the mat by his arm and then beats him up in the corner. Lethal tries to do the same but Nigel blocks and wrenches the neck. He tries to dodge artfully but Lethal hits a bicycle kick. Nigel gets a toehold but Lethal rolls out and fires away. Nigel goes to the handstand and kicks Lethal out of the ring. Lethal gets back in at 12. Nigel hits an armbreaker and a hammerlock DDT. He hangs Lethal in the Tree of Woe and punts his back. He tries to set him on the top rope but Lethal gets away. Nigel goes for the handstand again but Lethal chops him down. Lethal hits a spinebuster and a leg lariat from the second rope for 2. Nigel blocks the dragon suplex but gets hit with a running suplex. Lethal climbs the ropes and hits the diving headbutt for 2. He hits a superkick and puts on the inverted cloverleaf but Nigel uses his first rope break to escape. Nigel grabs the iron and Jay Lethal tries to get it away from him. Nigel is still in the ropes so the referee tries to keep Lethal away and is distracted long enough for Nigel to use it to pick up the win. The action in the match was really good, but that finish was just beyond cheap and deflating.
JZ says: Nigel sucks up to the referee in his pre-match promo, imploring the crowd to give respect to Todd Sinclair. Fat chance. This is Nigel's third title defense since winning it from Samoa Joe, who had in turn won it from Jay Lethal back in May. This is Lethal's first chance to win the title back. Nigel works on the arm early on, as the crowd is solidly behind Lethal (but Nigel has his supporters too). This one is pretty slow going, as Nigel continues to work on the arm, with Lethal getting gin a few flurries of offense here and there. Nigel gets the iron to the face out of nowhere to get the victory and retain the title at 10:58. That was fine but it never really developed into anything substantial. Nigel thanks the fans for their support after the match.
MATCH #5: Roderick Strong vs. Jimmy Rave
BG says: Rave stalls at the bell. They lock up and Rave dodges Strong's chop at the break. He grabs a headlock and takes Strong to the mat. Strong powers out and gets a wristlock. They trade chops with Rave dodging as many as he can. Strong starts to hit them consistently so Rave bails. Back in the ring Rave goes back to the headlock. Strong hits a back suplex to escape. He sends Rave hard into the turnbuckle and then Irish whips him to the floor. He follows him out with a baseball slide and rolls him back into the ring. Nana distracts him long enough for Rave to knock him off the apron and into the barricade. He rams his head into the barricade over and over and rolls him back into the ring. He hits a snap suplex for 2. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. He wrenches the neck but Strong fights back and hits a crossbody for 2. Rave hits a clothesline to the back of the head for 2. Nana slaps Strong while Rave chokes him out in the ropes. Rave hits a neckbreaker for 2. He hits a side Russian legsweep into the royal octopus. Strong starts to fight back but Rave gets a crucifix pin for 2. Strong hits a clothesline and a back bodydrop. He hits a dropkick for 2. He hits the rolling backbreaker and goes for the Stronghold but Rave gets to the ropes. Rave dumps Strong to the floor and then blocks a sunset flip for 2. Strong gets a roll up for 2 but Rave comes back with the running knee for 2. Strong hits the uranage backbreaker and the Sick Kick for 2. He hits a running forearm and a backbreaker for 2. Rave blocks the half nelson backbreaker and hits a spear. He hits a northern lights bomb for 2. Nana throws him a chair but the referee takes it away. Strong catches him with the gutbuster and puts on the Stronghold for the win. Strong looked like a killer here.
Nana attacks Strong after the bell and hits his old signature moves. Awesome awesome awesome. Rave beats on Strong and Nana forces Jade to watch. Rave uses Jade's leash to choke Strong out in a cool visual moment. Apparently this is enough to make Jade snap as she rips off her shroud and kicks Rave in the balls. She slaps Nana and uppercuts him where you'd expect. Strong clears the ring and challenges the Embassy to Steel Cage Warfare. Nobody knows for sure what that means, but everyone in the crowd probably assumes that it's War Games. Strong and Jade embrace to give us our happy ending.
JZ says: Prazak and Leonard mention that Aries is out nursing a sore back that he suffered as a result of Survival of the Fittest, which was won by Strong. Rave plays Larry Zbyszko to start the match. Rave goes for headlocks and other mat wrestling techniques, and Strong counters with backbreakers and chops. Rave controls most of the match, but Roderick is able to fight back and eventually hits the half nelson backbreaker and hooks on the Stronghold for the victory at 13:45. That was a solid match with pretty decent crowd heat. I expected more though. Nana attacks Strong after the match and pulls Jade into the ring to make her watch Rave beat up Roderick. Nana says he wants Roderick to die as Rave chokes him with Jade's leash. Jade finally removes her leash, takes the bed sheet off, and hits Rave and Nana in the nuts. The crowd was super hot for that and this was the right time to do it. Strong challenges Nana for a Generation Next versus Embassy Steel Cage Warfare match (whatever that is) for the next time they're in Manhattan. Then he and Jade hug as the crowd chants Jade's name.
BG says: Lacey's promo, which was reportedly unbelievably bad, is dubbed over by an announcement by Jimmy Bower that she'll announce the new Lacey's Angels the following night. The following night will also have an announcement as to who will be the new commissioner of ROH, as the amount of lame finishes has gotten out of control and an authority figure has to be brought in to do something. Bryan Danielson will return two shows from now at Enter the Dragon to wrestle the man that made him quit ROH a few months back, Austin Aries, for the ROH title.
JZ says: Lacey is in the ring during intermission, telling the crowd that she will unveil her new Lacey's Angels tomorrow in Philadelphia. Also, ROH will announce their new (and first) commissioner. It's funny that we didn't even get to see Lacey cut the promo, but rather Jimmy Bower did voice over for it. I like that, because I don't like Lacey's character at all.
Also, ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson will come back to ROH in time for the Cleveland debut, which will be called Enter the Dragon. He will make his first title defense against Austin Aries, a man he has a storied history with. I like these little packages previewing upcoming shows.
MATCH #6: Ricky Reyes vs. Pelle Primeau
BG says: Primeau is the smallest ROH school graduate to date. Reyes beats him up for a short time and hits a back suplex. He hits a spider bomb and puts on the dragon clutch for the win. Reyes' entrance was about as long as the match.
JZ says: Reyes kills Primeau dead in 47 seconds. Jimmy Bower comes in for commentary, and notes how easy of a night he had and that he's back to the bar.
MATCH #7: James Gibson vs. Jimmy Yang
BG says: Yang has an awesome bizarro Matrix thing going on here. As I said earlier Gibson has this and one more match left in his ROH run, so he plays nice with the crowd on his way to the ring. They lock up and break in the corner. Gibson gets a single leg takedown but Yang spins away. Yang gets a headlock takedown but Gibson reverses to a roll up for 1. He gets a headlock of his own and then starts working over the arm. Yang goes to the corner to break an armbar and kicks away. Gibson blocks a powerbomb with an armdrag and hits a neckbreaker for 2. He hits a bodyslam and a legdrop for 2. He puts on the Mark Nulty Special but Yang makes it to the ropes. Yang hits a clothesline and an enziguiri for 2. He puts on a hammerlock but Gibson fights out. He forces Yang to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive, sending both men into the crowd. That side of the crowd is just ridiculously close to the ring. Back in the ring Yang catches Gibson with a roundhouse kick to the face. He hits a tiger flip and a superkick for 2. He puts on a chinlock but Gibson forces him into the corner to break. They trade roll ups and clothesline each other down. Back on their feet Gibson hits a high knee and a back bodydrop. He hits a spinebuster for 2. He hits a bodyslam and climbs the ropes but misses an elbow drop. Yang blocks a blind charge and hits a moonsault for 2. He calls for Yang Time but Gibson gets out of the way. Gibson hits a great DDT and puts on a double underhook submission. Yang blocks the tiger driver but Gibson puts on the guillotine choke. Yang slams him in the corner to escape and hits a weak backbreaker. He hits Yang Time for 2. He goes for it again but Gibson crotches him. He hits a turnbuckle powerbomb and a sick tiger driver for 2. Well, that really should have finished things so he puts on the guillotine choke for the win. Fun match, but it lacked the energy it would have needed to be excellent.
After the match they show clips of Gibson's matches. Included are his debut in ROH, a match from the trios tournament, his first match against Romero and his first title match against Aries. Gibson gets on the microphone and says he'll be glad to come back to ROH anytime the fans and the company ask him to. He thanks Yang for having the privilege of wrestling him. Tomorrow night he's going to wrestle a guy that he's taken under his wing recently, Roderick Strong. He promises to give the greatest performance possible.
JZ says: This is Yang's first match in ROH. Leonard says that they don't know who Gibson's last opponent will be tomorrow in Philadelphia, but I remember it being announced well ahead of time. The crowd chants "please don't go" at Gibson, who's wearing black John Deere tights tonight. They do a lot of mat wrestling, and quite honestly none of this is very gripping. The crowd is into it but only in spurts. They do a bunch of stuff and Gibson gets an extreme near fall with a Tiger Driver and follows it up with the guillotine choke to get the win at 15:47. I realize I didn't say much about that match, but not much stuck out to me. It just a solid match, nothing more, nothing less.
Gibson grabs the microphone to talk over clips of some of his best matches in ROH. He says he'd be honored to come back anytime ROH would have him. That's cute, but I think Vince McMahon might have something to say about that. He announces that he'll be facing Roderick Strong tomorrow in Philadelphia. They show clips from Gibson's debut against Spanky, the first round match at this year's Trios Tournament, against Rocky Romero at Back to Basics and Austin Aries at Stalemate. That felt incomplete.
MATCH #8: Homicide vs. Jack Evans
BG says: After a brief hiatus from the company to get his motivation back Evans returns. This is something like his fourth singles match in the company, if you can believe that. Homicide is escorted to the ring by J-Train and the Rottweiler B-team. The crowd is behind their hometown anti-hero. Evans grabs a wristlock and fancily reverses when Homicide gets his own. Homicide hits a shoulder block and they trade failed monkey flips. Evans gets a hurricanrana and Homicide bails. Evans follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Evans hits a springboard crossbody for 2. He hits a running knee for 2. He hits a snap suplex for 1. Homicide comes back with a backbreaker and a T-bone suplex for 2. Evans comes back with a hurricanrana for 2. Homicide hits a clothesline and a bodyslam. He puts on a half crab and then pulls the hair to contort Evans. He hangs Evans in the Tree of Woe and hits a dropkick to the face. He hits a legdrop on the apron while Evans' head is draped over the bottom rope. He hits a tornado DDT for 2 when Evans gets his foot on the bottom rope. Evans dodges a blind charge but gets crotched on the top turnbuckle. He fights Homicide off and hits a back flip butt splash for 2. I think he was going for something else but what he hit looked cool. He dropkicks Homicide to the floor and baseball slides him into the crowd. He follows him out with a somersault dive. Grim Reefer gets on the apron so Evans dives onto the local Rottweilers. Back in the ring Evans hits a springboard dropkick for 2. He sets Homicide on the top rope but Homicide fights back and hits a super DDT for 2 when Evans gets his foot on the bottom rope. He goes for the Cop Killer but Evans blocks. Homicide hits an Ace Crusher and the lariat. Colt Cabana gets on the microphone in the balcony and lays some rhymes down on Homicide. Everyone is too distracted to continue the match. Cabana calls Homicide by his real name, Nelson, and says his thug life is an act. Evans sneaks up and gets a reverse hurricanrana and a roll up for the win. Like the opener, this was more there to advance the story line than it was to have a great match, but it was still fun.
JZ says: This is an odd choice for the semi-main event. Evans flips, Homicide stiffs, and both men do some stalling. I'm really not interested in anything that they're doing right now, as Homicide dominates and stretches Evans in ways that shouldn't be allowed by nature. The amount of offense Evans is getting thus far is dangerously close to the negative range. Homicide's thugs come down to interfere, but Evans takes them out with a big dive. Homicide goes for the Cop Killa and they do a series of reversals that ends with Homicide hitting the Ace Crusher and the lariat for the presumable three count. But Colt Cabana is on the house mic now to verbally distract Homicide. He calls him "Konnan's bitch," a reference that I really don't get. I mean, it makes sense at the time I write this, but not at the time Cabana said it. After Cabana's rap Evans hits a reverse hurricanrana and rolls Homicide up for the three count at 13:35. Well that was a nothing match with a lousy finish. No sir, I didn't like that one much at all.
Go to rohwrestling.com and buy some stuff already!
MATCH #9: Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe
BG says: This would be Kobashi's first American match, ever. The crowd is insane for him. Joe kicks Kobashi in the thigh to start. He does it again and then slaps him, to really let him know what he's in for. Kobashi powers Joe to the corner and hits a strong chop. They knuckle up and Joe hits a northern lights suplex. He hits a shoulder block and Kobashi bails. Joe hits a baseball slide and a suicide dive. Back in the ring he gets 2. He hits bodyslam and an elbow drop for 2. He puts on a chinlock and turns it into a dragon sleeper. Kobashi makes it to the ropes. Joe chops him in the corner but it only fires Kobashi up. He hits chops the likes of which I've never seen so Joe kicks his chest and hits an enziguiri. He tags him with Kawada kicks and knees to the face. He hits the Big Joe Combo and Kobashi bails. Joe follows him out and hits the Ole kick. He goes for another but Kobashi fight him down and hits a running chop sending Joe into the crowd. He pulls him back and hits a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring Kobashi puts on a front facelock but Joe gets to the ropes. He hits a pair of knees to the gut and a falling chop. He hits two more for 2. He goes back to the front facelock but Joe makes it to the ropes. Joe blocks a suplex and hits one of his own. They trade chops for a good long time and Kobashi comes out the victor of the exchange with a 2 count. He puts on an abdominal stretch and you can see the horrible welts on Joe's chest and shoulder. Kobashi hits another falling chop for 2. He puts on a chinlock and chops Joe's head. Joe blocks a discus chop and hits the STJoe. He hits a senton and chops and jabs in the corner. He hits a turnbuckle powerbomb and washes Kobashi's sweaty face. It just occurred to me that there is no commentary for this match, as Prazak's annoying face wash call is absent. Joe sets Kobashi on the top rope and hits the muscle buster for 2. The look on his face is priceless. He knees Kobashi's shoulder and hits a big kick to the face. He hits a powerbomb for 2 and puts on the STF. Kobashi fights it of with his hands and crawls towards the ropes so Joe puts on a crossface. Kobashi reaches with his other arm so Joe puts on an armbar. Awesome! Kobashi gets to the ropes with his foot. Kobashi blocks a charge with a chop and hits a half nelson suplex. He chops Joe into the corner and then hits 85 fucking chops in a row! That's right, I counted. He hits a series of double handed chops and Joe's chest is completely cashed out. It's amazing when you can actually see the focus on a body part on the outside of a guy's body. Kobashi hits a half nelson suplex ever for 2 when Joe gets his hand on the bottom rope. Joe comes back with forearms but Kobashi puts on a sleeper hold. He hits a half nelson suplex landing Joe on the tippy top of his head for 2. Joe comes back with slaps to which Kobashi responds with discus chops and the Burning Lariat for the win. You've heard all the hyperbole for this match elsewhere, and almost all of it is appropriate.
Joe, looking half-dead backstage, says that no matter how much this match took away from his health it was worth it. He tells Kobashi that he's coming for round two and then passes out.
Kobashi says some things in Japanese to a few of his buddies behind a curtain on the balcony. He doesn't look to be in as bad shape as Joe is.
JZ says: Since the commentators are taking this one off, I think I will do so as well. By now you've all heard everything you could hear about this match, and most likely if you are reading this you have already seen it. You know that it's 22:13 of greatness.
Afterwards, we get some slow motion clips from the main event with the crowd chanting "match of the year" in the background, followed by promos from both men.
BG says: I'm going to give it to Joe because he's an ROH regular and if I learned one thing from giving it to Liger twice last year, it's that with only two shows it's hard to factor that into my nerdy way of figuring out MVP of the year. Kobashi deserves it as well, but Samoa Joe gets it officially.
JZ says: I'm actually going to go with Samoa Joe, for being man enough to take everything Kobashi had and give it right back to him. He also gets it for being awesome enough in the first place to be able to get Kenta Kobashi over here.
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The 411: BG says: The main event is all you need here. The rest of the show is solid stuff too, with a tag title change, the beginning of the end for the Generation Next/Embassy feud and advancement between Cabana and Homicide. Get this now.
JZ says: This is almost a one-match show, as only two matches besides the main event topped ***; but if it is a one match show, WHAT a one match to have on a show. Samoa Joe versus Kenta Kobashi is worth all the hype.