ROH HELL FREEZES OVER PHILADELPHIA, PA 1.14.06
Review by Brad Garoon and Jacob Ziegler
JZ says: I've been using the top 5 as voted on by the ROH message board. After each show (or double shot weekend), go to The ROH Message Board and vote for the top 5. In parentheses after a guy's name is his position in the last Honor Roll, and how many consecutive weeks he has been listed.
ROH WORLD CHAMPION: Bryan Danielson (since 9.17.05)
ROH PURE CHAMPION: Nigel McGuinness (since 8.27.05)
1) Austin Aries (2, 2)
2) Jay Lethal (3, 2)
3) Roderick Strong (1, 8)
4) Alex Shelley (NR, 1)
5) KENTA (NR, 1)
BG says: The new ROH Tag Team Champions Roderick Strong & Austin Aries come down to the ring for some promo time. It occurs to me that Aries started out 2005 the same way he's starting 2006. He says he and Strong are going to take the tag titles all over the world to make them more prestigious. That has yet to happen. Strong also has Bryan Danielson on his mind. Next time he gets in the ring with the champion he's taking his title. Tonight he's going to get some singles gold when he becomes the FIP champion. Aries sends Strong to the back and then calls out Ricky Reyes, who has been beating up his students.
JZ says: Just like the first show in 2005, the first show in 2006 begins with Austin Aries coming out with his new title belt. In this case, Roderick Strong is with him because they're the new ROH Tag Team Champions. Aries says that they're going to take these titles all over the world. As of this writing, they've been to Ohio and New Jersey, and Illinois. Roderick Strong says that he will still win the ROH World Title from Bryan Danielson, just like he's going to win the FIP Title tonight too. Aries says he has some personal business to attend to and sends Roderick to the back. He takes his shirt off and all the ladies scream. He calls out Ricky Reyes and wants to get their match underway right now, because he handily put his wrestling tights on under his pants. Julius Smokes and accompanies Reyes, sans music.
MATCH #1: Austin Aries vs. Ricky Reyes
BG says: Aries dives onto Reyes and J-Train as they pace around the ring. Back in the ring Reyes nails a kick to the chest. Aries comes back with a roaring elbow but misses a dropkick. Reyes hits an overhead suplex but Aries comes back with a side suplex. He hangs Reyes on the top rope and punts his chest. He knocks Reyes to the floor where he rams him into the barricade. Back in the ring Reyes hits an exploder suplex and runs Aries hard into the turnbuckle. He hits a gut wrench suplex for 2. He hits a kneedrop but walks into a chinlock. Reyes hits a chin breaker to escape and kicks away. He hits a knee to the gut and sets Aries up top. Aries fights him off and hits a missile dropkick. He hits the corner dropkick for 2. Reyes reverses the brainbuster to the dragon sleeper but Aries leans back and pins Reyes for the win. Technically decent match, but nothing exciting at all. At least Reyes didn't go down looking bad after all those months of squashes.
Reyes keeps the hold on after the match and J-Train adds to the beat down. Roderick Strong makes the save. Reyes gets on the microphone and says that Aries isn't any better than his students because he couldn't get out of the dragon sleeper. He challenges the tag champs to put the belts on the line because in 2006 they're running professional wrestling.
JZ says: Aries dives through the ropes onto Reyes right away. Dave Prazak welcomes us to the year 2006, since it's the first show. Aries is the aggressor but Reyes fights back with kicks and suplexes. Aries knocks Reyes outside the ring and we have our first ringside brawl of the night in the very first match. Reyes dominates for a while and Aries fights back, but Reyes locks on the Dragon Sleeper, but Aries leans back to get the pinfall at 5:49. That was a nice little sprint to start the show. Julius Smokes attacks Aries after the bell until Roderick Strong makes the save. Reyes gets on the microphone and says that Aries can't escape his Dragon Sleeper. He challenges Aries & Strong to defend the titles against The Rottweilers.
Official ROH Top 5 Rankings
5) Christopher Daniels
4) Jimmy Rave
3) Alex Shelley
1) Jay Lethal
BG says: A really cool video shows the top 5 rankings for the month. KENTA being in there is pretty silly considering he's not going to be back much. I do dig the Embassy dominating though.
Colt Cabana Promo
BG says: Colt Cabana hasn't been getting much sleep lately because he has nightmares of Homicide when he does. His actions are going to speak louder than his words. Adam Pearce hijacks the promo to bitch to Jim Cornette about not being recognized. He performed in Detroit and Chicago and now he's booked in Six Man Mayhem. Well, that's not what he's about. Starting tonight he's going to get his message across to Cornette.
JZ says: Cabana is in a very foul mood, due to the Draino incident from the last show. He says his actions will speak louder than words.
Adam Pearce takes Cabana's place and starts cutting a promo about the treatment he has gotten in ROH so far. He says that Adam Pearce and Six Man Mayhem do not go together and that he and Cornette need to get their synapses together. That was a pretty good promo.
MATCH #2: ROH Pure Title Match Nigel McGuinness vs. Tony Mamaluke
BG says: Nigel had said prior to this match that he's only giving worthy technicians shots at his title, and he believes Mamaluke is worthy. Nigel grabs a wristlock to start. Mamaluke reverses to a leglock but Nigel slips into a full nelson. Mamaluke uses his first rope break to escape. Nigel palms his forehead and puts on a toehold. Mamaluke uses his second rope break to escape. Mamaluke dropkicks the knee and puts on a guillotine choke but Nigel suplexes out. Mamaluke reverses a suplex to an armbar but Nigel rolls out. Mamaluke puts on a triangle choke but Nigel lifts him up and sets him in the ropes, using his first rope break to escape. He hits the rebound clothesline for 2. He puts on a hammerlock and sets Mamaluke in the ropes, forcing him to use his final rope break. He hits a momentum fueled European uppercut and sets Mamaluke in the Tree of Woe. He punts his back and calls him an Italian piece of shit. There's got to be a Eurotrip joke in there somewhere. Mamaluke blocks a blind charge and hits a frog splash for 2. He puts on a cross armbreaker but Nigel uses his second rope break to escape. Mamaluke gets warned for using a closed fist but hits a big boot when Nigel tries to go for the hand stand. They fight on the mat and Nigel grabs an armbar for the win. This was so lame I spent more time picking a scab on my hand than I did focused on the match.
JZ says: Tony Mamaluke gets the title shot because, well, I have no idea. Prazak explains that essentially Nigel is allowed to pick his own opponents, which seems pretty silly to me. He has made six successful title defenses so far though. This is a weird contrast in styles. Prazak spends a lot of time talking about tonight's big main event, which was just the beginning of the CZW versus ROH angle. Nigel is controlling the action more or less. This match is on the fast track to nowhere. Nigel locks on an armbar and Mamaluke taps at 8:16. Well, that match sucked.
MATCH #3: Jimmy Rave & Alex Shelley vs. Azrieal & Claudio Castagnoli
BG says: This match was originally going to be Cabana and Claudio against the Embassy but Cabana got freaked out over his feud with Homicide and withdrew from the match. He does come out in the corner of his replacements, however. Claudio and Rave start. Rave stalls on the apron so Claudio spanks him. He hits a dropkick and the crowd chants that Jimmy liked the spanking. Rave grabs a headlock but Claudio escapes. All four men go through a cute segment that just goes way too fast for me to recap. Azrieal tags in and hits a slingshot senton for 2. Shelley gets a blind tag and the Embassy double-teams Azrieal. Shelley hits a spinebuster and an Asai moonsault for 2. He hits a seated dropkick and tags to Rave. Azrieal fights back but Rave catches him with a back bodydrop. Shelley tags in and the Embassy hit a slingshot faceplant. Shelley hits a baseball slide for 2. He puts on a royal octopus and then hits a back suplex. Rave tags in and puts on an abdominal stretch. Shelley tags back in and hits a dropkick. Rave hits a neckbreaker before leaving the ring. Shelley sets Azrieal on the top rope but Azrieal fights back and hits an inverted blockbuster. Claudio and Rave tag in and Claudio takes over. He hits a back elbow on Rave and a delayed vertical suplex on Shelley. He lifts Rave up for a suplex and then drops him on Shelley for 2. Azrieal tags in and hits a back elbow. Claudio holds Rave for a dropkick for 2. Shelley dodges a double stomp and hits a superkick on Azrieal. He hits a neckbreaker and Rave hits the running knee for 2. Claudio hits the Match Killer on Shelley and a running knee on Rave. Azrieal hits Rave with a double stomp from the top for 2. Claudio tags in and reverses Ghanarea to an inverted DVD for 2. He climbs the ropes but Shelley crotches him. He hits Claudio with a hurricanrana and Rave comes off the top with an elbowdrop for 2. Rave hits the running knee on Claudio for 2. Azrieal comes in with a dropkick to Rave and then pulls Claudio over for the tag. He comes off the top with a clothesline and hits an enziguiri. He hits a dropkick but Shelley catches him with an enziguiri. Rave puts on a butterfly hold and Azrieal taps out with Shelley holding Claudio back. The action was solid, but there were a lot of moments where things seemed mistimed and came off awkward as a result.
JZ says: Things should pick back up here. Azrieal looks like he's about to puke and pass out. Colt Cabana is accompanying them to ringside; I think he was originally scheduled to be in this match instead of Azrieal. If I'm not mistaken this would be Azrieal's last match in ROH. Azrieal and Claudio do some comedy bits in the beginning, but the Embassy soon takes control and goes to work on Azrieal. Man, Shelley is such a great heel. Claudio gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Embassy. Azrieal hits a sick double stomp on Rave but it only gets two. The tag ropes are allegedly in effect here, but Paul Turner couldn't be bothered to enforce it most of the time. Rave locks Azrieal in a butterfly submission hold to get the win at 14:17. That was a fun little tag team match, but I salivate thinking how good it would have been with Cabana.
BG says: Clips of Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans from FIP's Strong vs. Evans show are shown. Strong won this match making him the number one contender to the FIP title. The Scoopster, in front of the FIP backdrop, explains the anything goes policy of FIP and then brings out FIP Champion Homicide. The Scoopster asks him about his shoulder injury but Homicide insists that the match take place. Roderick Strong asks Homicide if he's sure he doesn't want to wait, but the champion is sure. Dave Prazak then comes out with Bryan Danielson. They say that since anything goes in FIP they are inserting Danielson into the match.
JZ says: Matt Pike talks over clips from Roderick Strong versus Jack Evans last week in FIP, where Strong earned his title shot tonight. The FIP set is in Ring of Honor, as Gary Michael Capetta calls out Homicide, who has held the FIP Title for sixteen months. We get a few clips of Homicide's title defenses, against CM Punk, Steve Madison, and Jimmy Rave. Homicide is ready for a fight tonight. Strong stops to cut a promo to tell Homicide that he will show him no mercy. Then, Animotion's "Obsession" plays and Dave Prazak is coming out with one of his charges in DP Associates, Bryan Danielson. They make it a three-way match, since FIP is anything goes. Good thing the ROH tech crew had a graphic for a three-way dance ready to go.
(20-2-1) VS. (7-4) VS. (15-18)
BG says: Danielson and Strong brawl through the crowd as Colt Cabana attacks Homicide in the ring. He takes him to the floor and rams him shoulder first into the barricade. Danielson and Strong brawl around the building and back to the ringside area. Danielson rams Strong into the barricade and rolls him back into the ring. Strong hits the gutbuster and a tiger driver. He puts on the Stronghold but Homicide breaks it up. Homicide and Danielson take Strong out of the ring and then Danielson puts an armbar on Homicide for the win and the title. Not much of a match, but what can you do when the champion's shoulder is messed up?
JZ says: As the bell rings, Colt Cabana comes out and attacks Cabana, while in the picture-in-picture Danielson and Strong are battling. Pike joins Lenny Leonard for commentary on this one. Homicide is out of the equation as Danielson and Strong brawl all over the building. Back in the ring and Roderick puts on the Stronghold, but just then Homicide runs from the back and gets involved in the match. Danielson knocks Strong down and locks on an armbar on Homicide and referee Todd Sinclair stops the match and awards the title to Danielson at 4:31; Danielson now holds both the ROH and FIP titles. That was an odd little three-way, I'm not quite sure what to make of it, and I'm not really up on FIP storylines at this point. I really don't like the crossing over, and it's pretty much a rip-off to the FIP fans in Florida that the title changed hands here.
MATCH #5: Christopher Daniels vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: Lethal pinned Daniels on the last show in a four corner survival match to set this up. Lethal takes control to start with a dropkick. Daniels comes back with a wristlock but Lethal gets a fireman's carry takedown. Lethal puts on a wristlock but Daniels comes back by hitting a shoulder block and standing on Lethal's head. Lethal dumps Daniels to the floor but he rushes back in and gets a roll up for 2. Lethal hits a bodyslam but Daniels gets another roll up for 2. A third roll up gets 2 for Daniels and Lethal bails. He tries to slingshot himself back in but Daniels slaps him down. He hits a leg lariat for 2. He knees Lethal down in the corner but Lethal goes to the eyes to come back. He hits a clothesline to the back and a bodyslam. He hits an elbow drop for 2. He hits a snap suplex for 2. He hits an armdrag into a dropkick in a moment too awesome for words. It gets 2. He hits a backbreaker for 2. He puts on a cobra clutch but Daniels fights out. He goes for a suplex but Lethal falls on top for 2. He hits a leg lariat for 2. He hits a stiff kick to the back and gets a cocky pin for 2. He hits a backbreaker for 2. They trade chops and Lethal hits a back suplex for 2. Daniels catches him going for a springboard maneuver and hits him with a flatliner. He hits a clothesline and a back bodydrop. He hits a backbreaker and a blue thunder bomb for 2. Lethal dumps him to the floor and follows him out with the slowest suicide dive I've ever seen. Back in the ring Lethal hits a spinebuster for 2. He hits a gutbuster and a knee lift. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. Daniels catches him coming off the ropes with a DVD for 2. Lethal dodges the triple jump moonsault and hits a superkick for 2. He hits the running suplex and climbs the ropes. Daniels tries to block the headbutt but Lethal sees it coming. He goes for a roll up but Daniels reverses to a roll up of his own for the win. Lethal's style has slowed way down to fit his heel persona, and the result was a match that wasn't as entertaining as their encounter back at This Means War.
Lethal asks for a handshake after the match but Daniels still isn't shaking hands. Joe runs out to get Lethal but he runs away. Daniels takes the opportunity to get some shots in on Joe allowing Lethal to catch the big man with a low blow. BJ Whitmer comes out from the back and nails Daniels with an exploder while he's arguing with Lethal. He gets on the microphone and says he hasn't forgotten that Daniels walked out on him in 2004, even if the fans have. Joe pouts and nails Daniels with a dropkick on his way out of the ring.
JZ says: Number one versus number five! This match will have huge implications on the Top 5 Rankings. For some reason some fans are still cheering Lethal, who is quite clearly a heel. Daniels goes for a series of pinning combinations early on and Lethal takes a powder. I'm actually kind of into Lethal as a heel, which surprises me since I've never really been into him as any kind of character. Good athlete though. Lethal does a cartwheel out of a hiptoss and nails Daniels with a dropkick. I don't think I've ever seen that before and it looked neat. They do a rollup sequence and Daniels is able to hold Lethal down for the three-count at 14:55. Wow, that match went by really fast and I really enjoyed it. Lethal extends the hand to Daniels, but he must have forgotten that Daniels is in the Prophecy, which is funny because I think everyone has forgotten about the Prophecy. Samoa Joe comes out to attack Lethal, who runs away, so Daniels takes the opportunity and beats up Joe, which leads to a disagreement between Lethal and Daniels. This gives BJ Whitmer the chance to run in and nail Daniels with the Exploder. He says that he will not forgive or forget Daniels leaving the company in 2004. Whitmer then talks some trash to Joe, who he will face later in the evening. Joe then takes Daniels out.
BG says: The Scoopster asks AJ Styles why he wants to wrestle Matt Sydal tonight. Styles says it's a test, mostly for himself, but maybe something beneficial for Sydal as well. Adam Pearce comes in and complains more about his upcoming match.
JZ says: GMC is with AJ Styles, who says that he wanted to wrestle Matt Sydal tonight because it's a test. So he gets to book his own matches too? Adam Pearce busts in and asks where Cornette is, but he's not here tonight. GMC promises a SUPER second half.
MATCH #6: Six Man Mayhem Jack Evans vs. Trik Davis vs. Sal Rinauro vs. Kid Mikaze vs. Adam Pearce vs. Jason Blade
BG says: This is the first match of this kind since The Future is Now, and frankly I wasn't missing them too much. I can't really do play-by-play for these things either as they're usually too fast paced. Blade and Mikaze start out against each other and do some mirror wrestling because they know each other so well. Evans comes in and issues Adam Pearce a trick challenge. Pearce loses badly and tags to Rinauro. Sal and Evans do some pretty flippy stuff and Davis comes in for Evans. Davis wrestled Evans in a dark match on this show that can be seen on the ROH website. Pearce blind tags in and destroys Davis. He uses Davis as a weapon in one of the worst looking spots in ROH in a long time. Evans misses a running knee on Sal and falls over the top rope to the floor in a nasty moment. Blade and Evans slop it up for a while until Evans hits a fisherman's buster on Blade. Sal botches his one high spot of the match just before Pearce kills Davis with a shoulder block. Blade and Mikaze doing some neat double-teaming on Pearce is pretty much the only highlight of the match. The finish comes when Pearce hits a piledriver on Mikaze but Evans breaks up the pin with his 630 senton and pins Mikaze himself. This was lame even by scrambled egg standards.
JZ says: Blade and Mikaze, normally tag team partners, start it off and do some cutesy stuff in the early going. Evans and Pearce are tagged in, and Evans challenges Pearce to a dancing contest. Pearce tries and fails miserably, so he tags out to Rinauro. Trik Davis is tagged in, and he's making his ROH debut tonight. He wrestled Evans in a real short match that was taped earlier on this night for ROH Videos. Pearce comes back in and destroys Davis. Evans comes in and takes a sick bump to the floor. Davis takes out Evans and Rinauro on the floor, leaving Pearce in the ring with Blade and Mikaze. Pearce just launches Blade over the top rope and nails Mikaze with a huge piledriver but Evans sneaks back in and hits a 630 and pins Mikaze to get the win at 11:28. Illusions, Brad. A trick is something a whore does for money or candy.
MATCH #7: Samoa Joe vs. BJ Whitmer
BG says: This is a rematch from Wrath of the Racket back in 2003 and is happening because Whitmer hit Joe with a chair when he was about to pin Daniels in the four corner survival match at the last show. Joe harasses Lacey at the bell. He puts a cravat on Whitmer but Whitmer forearms out. Joe puts on a wristlock but Whitmer forearms out of that as well. Whitmer forearms Joe again so he unloads with kicks. He hits a high knee in the corner and tumbles over the top to the floor. Holy crap. Back in the ring Joe hits the Big Joe Combo. Whitmer blocks a blind charge but gets slapped down. Whitmer slaps him back and gets kicked to the floor for his trouble. He follows him out with a suicide dive but Whitmer comes back by running Joe into the turnbuckle. He sets Joe up for an Ole kick but Joe blocks and goes for the move himself. Whitmer blocks it as well and throws Joe back into the guardrail. Joe fights back and boots Whitmer over the barricade and into the crowd. He sets up a table over the barricade and tries to ram Whitmer through it but Whitmer stops short and hits Joe with an exploder through it. Sort of. Really it went through a tiny part of the table but mostly Joe landed square on the floor. Back in the ring Whitmer gets 2. Whitmer dropkicks the knee and hits a running knee for 2. He hits a brainbuster for 2. He climbs the ropes but misses a frog splash. Joe hits a Manhattan drop and the Sick Kick. He hits a senton for 2. He hits a powerbomb for 2 and goes right to the Samoan crab. He switches to a cloverleaf but Whitmer gets to the ropes. Joe hits a running knee in the corner. He tries to wash Whitmer's face but Whitmer pops up and hits an exploder for 2 when Joe gets his foot on the ropes. Whitmer blocks the STJoe but Joe connects with a clothesline for 2. Joe puts on a chinlock but Whitmer gets to the ropes. He goes for the choke but Whitmer bites his arm. Whitmer hits a roaring forearm but Joe comes back with a scary kick to the face. Whitmer goes down cold and the referee calls for the bell. Not as overall entertaining as their first match against each other, but this was more of a striking contest and it certainly ended appropriately.
JZ says: The crowd is very much behind Joe. Joe dominates the early going and looks particularly angry tonight. Joe kicks Whitmer a bunch and basically doesn't take much from Whitmer. That all changes when they go out to the floor and Whitmer is able to hit the Exploder on the concrete floor. That looked pretty sick. Joe somehow manages to kick out though, but the crowd is not as invested in this match as I think Whitmer and Joe would like them to be. Whitmer goes for the frog splash but Joe moves out of the way. Joe hits some very hard knees to the face. Whitmer is able to block one and hit another exploder but this time Joe got his foot on the bottom rope. Joe comes back with a big lariat but Whitmer kicks out at two. Joe keeps going for the choke but Whitmer avoids it a few times, even biting the arm. Joe kicks Whitmer so hard in the head that referee Paul Turner stops the match and awards it to Joe at 13:20. That was pretty slow going, but I did really like the finish, and both guys looked good in it. Whitmer is really on the upswing now.
Courtesy of ROHVideos.com
BG says: The following video can be seen for free at ROH's website. Jimmy Jacobs goes through his history in ROH. He talks about how dominant his tag team title reign with BJ Whitmer was. He lost the belts, but luckily Lacey came along and filled a void in his heart. He professes his love for her and pours a couple glasses of wine for him and her. He kisses a picture of her and then lays it down next to him in his bed. This was very funny stuff, and that room he was in looked somehow familiar.
JZ says: Jimmy Jacobs is here to talk about his history in Ring of Honor, including his history with Alex Shelley, Ricky Steamboat, and BJ Whitmer. He goes over their tag team title reign, which would sound much more impressive had it not gotten bungled at the end, or if they had a feud of any kind. He says that Lacey has filled the void that was left when he lost the tag team titles. Jacobs tells everyone that he loves Lacey. Man, his bedroom looks EXACTLY like my roommate's room. That was a nice creepy little promo. Emo Jacobs~!
MATCH #8: AJ Styles vs. Matt Sydal
BG says: These two put on some insane matches against each other in IWA:MS, so I'm hoping we get some of that here. They lock up and then fight it out on the mat. They trade wristlocks and Sydal gets a roll up for 2. Styles hits a hurricanrana and Sydal begs off. Sydal grabs a hammerlock and they trade armdrags. AJ plants Sydal's face in the mat but Sydal comes back with a roll up for 2. He goes back to the hammerlock and hits the step up hurricanrana. Styles grabs a headlock and hits a dropkick. He hits a vertical suplex for 2. He hits a kneedrop for 2. He hits a back elbow sending Sydal to the floor. They fight to the apron where Styles hits a brainbuster. I should mention that this brainbuster on the apron was much nastier than the one Styles gave to Rave the year before. Back in the ring Styles gets 2. He hits a neckbreaker for 2. He stays on the neck but his blind charge is blocked. Sydal comes off of the second rope with a roundhouse kick. He puts on a modified half crab but Styles powers out. Sydal hits a back suplex for 2. He hits a backbreaker and puts on a modified bow and arrow lock. Styles fights away and goes for the springboard forearm but Sydal responds with a dropkick. Sydal goes to the top but Styles kicks him to the floor. Styles goes for a dive but Sydal moves. Styles goes to jump onto Sydal off the barricade but Sydal pushes him into the crowd. He climbs the ropes and hits Styles with a moonsault from the top. Back in the ring Sydal gets a roll up for 2. He gets a backslide for 2. Styles reverses a bulldog attempt to a back suplex. Sydal hits the inverted Rocker Dropper for 2. Styles comes back with a faceplant for 2. Sydal blocks a legsweep and hits a standing moonsault for 2. He climbs the ropes but misses a 450 splash. He blocks a DDT but gets hit with a backbreaker for 2. He blocks the Styles Clash and hits a beautiful hurricanrana for 2. They fight to the top rope where Styles rolls through a hurricanrana and pins Sydal for the win. Like many matches tonight this wasn't the best I've seen between these two, but in this case it was damn close.
Styles gets on the microphone and puts Sydal over. He says that the match was actually a test of Sydal to see if he was good enough to team with Styles to go for the tag titles, and he passed. That's pretty silly considering that these guys have teamed up a couple of times already in ROH. And while I'm picking out inconsistencies, for a homophobe Style's displays some really effeminate posturing.
JZ says: The Code of Honor is followed between these two friends. They're also some kind of acrobats, as they can both do some ridiculously athletic things. They battle outside the ring and AJ actually gives Sydal a brainbuster on the ring apron. That was gross. AJ then starts to really go to work on the neck. Sydal makes a comeback and he goes to work on the back. They trade some back and forth stuff and this match is getting really good and the crowd is responding to it with "ROH" chants. Styles goes for the Styles Clash off the ropes but Sydal reverses to a hurricanrana but Styles reverses into a sunset flip to get the three-count at 17:07. I know I didn't type much, but that's because I was really interested in this match, so that's a good thing. They're going to have to have a rematch somewhere down the road. AJ demands that his music be cut so he could give one of those self-congratulatory promos. The crowd is chanting "Sydal." AJ proposes that they team together and go after the titles. Sydal agrees.
BG says: Joe says he used BJ Whitmer as an example of the lengths he'll go to get what he wants, and he wants to be dominant over Christopher Daniels. Adam Pearce hijacks another promo and bitches to Cornette that he was kicked in the throat in six man mayhem, a match he didn't even want to take part in.
JZ says: Samoa Joe tells Christopher Daniels that there's nothing he will not do to achieve his goals. He says he will finish Daniels. Adam Pearce busts in on this promo too, and tells Cornette that he will continue to earn his spot in the company.
MATCH #9: ROH World Title Match Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero
BG says: Chris Hero leads Nate Webb, Necro Butcher, Adam Flash and referee Bryce Remsburg through the crowd to the ring for the main event. In the ring Necro Butcher is already bleeding. Hero compares ROH's elitism to the Nazis in Germany. He promises to win one over the company that's shunned him and take the title back to CZW.
Despite constant pleading by ROH fans and Hero fans alike, Hero and ROH have maintained up until this point that neither one needed the other to be successful. At CZW's Cage of Death show it was announced that they would run a double header with ROH on this night. Hero took offense, having been ignored by ROH pretty much since CM Punk's debut in late 2002. In what then turned into a big story as far as Indy wrestling goes, Hero challenged Bryan Danielson to an ROH World Championship match. Jim Cornette, who's always hated hardcore wrestling, sent Hero an open contract so that Danielson could prove that ROH is better than CZW. It's actually Hero's second shot at the title, first battling Samoa Joe for it at an IWC show. The crowd is all over Hero, making me happy that ROH has finally found a way to get someone booed. Danielson makes Bobby Cruise call him the wrestler too good to ever wrestle for CZW instead of the greatest wrestler in the world this time around. Chris Lovey joins commentary here to give the ROHbot voice a chance to be heard.
They lock up and Danielson grabs a full nelson. Hero reverses to a wristlock but Danielson breaks free and hits a dropkick. Hero regroups with his buddies and Necro gets rightfully annoyed that one of the fans actually gets a chant. Back in the ring Danielson shows Hero that even though he's been shitting on the fans for months they still prefer him over an outsider. Danielson grabs a headlock but runs into a dropkick. Hero puts on a headlock but eats a dropkick himself. Danielson goes for the Mexican surfboard but Hero gets to the ropes. Danielson stomps on his thighs and Hero bails. Danielson follows him out and tosses him into the barricade. Back in the ring Danielson hits a stiff kick to the back and a kneedrop for 1. Hero becomes my hero by trying to block the Mexican surfboard with his hands. Danielson puts on a deathlock instead but Hero grabs a wristlock, a cravat and then the ropes to escape. They trade strikes and Danielson takes it to the mat. Hero puts on a painful looking wristlock and then rams Danielson's shoulder into the turnbuckle. He puts on an armbar and floats into a cross armbreaker. Danielson slips out and swipes at Hero's face but he goes to the arm to regain the advantage. He hits a hammerlock backbreaker for 2. He stays on the arm and stomps on the hand. He pins Danielson for 1 with a knucklelock but Danielson comes back with slaps to the face. He hits a running forearm and the neck wrench suplex. He climbs the ropes and hits the diving headbutt for 2. He goes for the Cow Killer but Hero comes back with an STO for 2. He goes back to work on Danielson's arm but Danielson comes back with knee strikes and a backslide for 2. Hero gets a roll up for 2. He fakes a roaring forearm and then goes to the eyes. He puts on an arm capture hangman's clutch, a variation of his submission finisher, but Danielson gets to the ropes. Danielson goes for the chicken wing but Hero suplexes away. He climbs the ropes but misses a double stomp. Danielson hits a forearm, seemingly knocking Hero out cold, but it only gets 2. Danielson puts on the Cow Killer but Hero rolls to the ropes. The referee helps Danielson pop his arm back into place and then he sets Hero up top. Hero fights him off and hits a cravat buster. He hits another with the arm captured for 2. He puts the armbar hangman's clutch back on but Danielson gets to the ropes. Hero hits the Hero's Welcome for 2. He goes for another but Danielson reverses to a tiger suplex for 2. He puts on the crossface chicken wing and that's all Hero can handle. This reminded me a lot of Danielson's first title defense against Austin Aries, as it was filled with really good mat wrestling and neat stuff you don't usually see, but was just a bit too slow paced for a main event match, in my opinion. Hero did show that he can hang with ROH guys here, not that anyone who's seen a lot of his work really questioned that.
JZ says: Hero is in the crowd with referee Bryce Remsberg, Spyder Nate Webb, Adam Flash, and Necro Butcher. He demands that the sound guy play his music. Hero makes his way through the audience and this really feels like a big match to me. Hero cuts a promo putting over himself and his fellow CZW guys. Necro Butcher is insanely over. He starts to cut an anti-ROH promo (even namedropping booker Gabe Sapolsky), and the crowd quickly turns on everyone. Hero says he's going to bring the ROH title back to CZW and throw it in the trash. This prompts "The Final Countdown" and ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson is on his way out. The crowd just goes ballistic for the dual champion. This is actually Hero's second shot at the ROH World Title; he challenged Samoa Joe at an IWC show in November of 2004. Jimmy Bower joins the commentary booth and proceeds to shit all over everything that is CZW. Good for him. Danielson plays the aggressor and Hero tries to beg off. Hero is able to fight back and goes to work on the arm as Jimmy Bower comes in an out of commentary. Hero actually has a bit of crowd support, but they're mostly behind Danielson. Danielson is down to one arm, but he's still able to slap Hero in the face about ten times. He hits the flying headbutt and goes for Cattle Mutilation but Hero comes back with an STO for two. Hero actually hits a roaring eye poke and locks on the Hangman's Clutch. Danielson makes the ropes and a few moments later he locks on the Cattle Mutilation, but Hero reaches the ropes. Hero gets the Hangman's Clutch again but Danielson is able to reach the ropes. Hero's Welcome gets two. The crowd bought that one. Danielson then locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing and Hero taps at 29:06. That was a tremendous match that really felt big.
BG says: Prince Nana comes out after the match and offers Danielson an impressive sum of money for the ROH title, Ted DiBiase style. The check is unfortunately in Ghana's currency, which isn't good enough for Danielson. Nana slaps him and Danielson fights back, which brings out Shelley and Rave for the beat down. Rave goes for Greetings from Ghana but Shelley stops him so that he can hit Sliced Bread #2 and do the High Voltage dance. See, Shelley thinks that move is Danielson's weakness because Spanky pinned him with it in a gauntlet match in 2002 at Night of Appreciation. Unfortunately that theory is flawed as Danielson kicked out of the move when Naomichi Marufuji did it to him back at Final Battle. Ah well, points for trying.
JZ says: Prince Nana comes out and offers to buy the ROH World Title from Bryan Danielson. But that title means wrestling freedom! Danielson refuses to sell, so Nana slaps him in the face. Danielson goes after him, so Shelley and Rave come out and we have ourselves a beat down. Rave goes for Greetings from Ghana, but Shelley stops him and delivers the Sliced Bread #2 onto the belt, and then does Spanky's dance. That's a cool way to close the show.
BG says: This one is tough, but I'm going to give it to Chris Hero for starting up a very interesting feud with a really good match and some nice promo work.
JZ says: I liked quite a bit of this show, and I will also go with Chris Hero for being one of the few guys capable of getting genuine heel heat with the audience and having a stellar match to boot.
BONUS MATCH Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Hero, IWA Mid-South, 2005 TPI Night 2, 9.24.05
BG says: This was a quarter final match in the tournament, and takes place a week after Danielson won the ROH belt. They knuckle up and Hero gets a surfboard stretch. Danielson reverses to his own but Hero whips him away. He puts on a leglock and holds it with some crafty maneuvering. Danielson bends his wrist to escape. Danielson blocks a takedown with a sleeper hold so Hero sets him on the turnbuckle. Danielson asks for a handshake and then stomps on his hand. They fight it out on the mat and Hero stays on the leg. He puts on a modified figure 4 leglock and then dropkicks the leg. He dragon screws Danielson off the top turnbuckle and puts on the classic version of the figure 4 leglock. Danielson turns over and then gets to the ropes. He hits chops and kneestrikes in the corner and then hits a butterfly suplex. He mounts Hero and palms his face for 2. He goes for the crossface chicken wing but Hero blocks. Danielson goes for the Mexican surfboard but Hero blocks so Danielson stomps on his thighs. Hero hits a crazy reverse dragon screw and then puts on a cloverleaf. Danielson has a great pained look on his face as he gets to the ropes. Hero tries to Irish whip him but Danielson's knee is completely dead and he collapses. Hero puts on a reverse figure 4 leglock and each pull on the canvas to get to and keep from the ropes, respectively. Danielson does eventually gets to the ropes. Hero uses the airplane spin but it charges up Danielson who gets a roll up for 2. They trade roll ups for 2. Danielson gets a sunset flip for 2. Hero hits a shinbreaker but Danielson comes back with an enziguiri. He slaps Hero around and hits a roaring forearm for 2. Danielson puts on the crossface chicken wing but Hero gets to the ropes. Hero blocks the airplane spin and then ducks an enziguiri to roll Danielson up for the win. This was even more methodical than the ROH main event, which makes sense since Hero had another match to go on this night. They did a lot of little things here that helped boost it up, but all in all the majority of the match was too slow (compared to the ROH match) to stay interesting and the finish was pretty weak.
JZ says: Astute readers will recognize that this date is the same as ROH's "Survival of the Fittest 2005." I've actually worked for IWA-MS on several occasions. Ian Rotten actually fired me after my last show, and I thought it was just a work but he hasn't called me back yet. That show was a few weeks before this one (I refereed for James Gibson versus Jimmy Jacobs!) This is a quarterfinal tournament match. They start off with a lot of mat wrestling. Trik Davis and a voice I don't quite recognize are on commentary. Hero goes to work on the legs of Danielson. Hero insults Danielson by putting on the airplane spin, but Danielson is so used to it he's not affected. Danielson goes for an enziguiri but Hero reverses it into a rollup to get the pin at 21:48. That was a bit of a sudden finish, but the match was pretty solid and it's interesting to see Danielson wrestling in a promotion besides ROH.
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The 411: BG says: After a slow start this show gets pretty damn solid. The four matches featuring established ROH stars against mid-card/newer talent all clocked in at ***+. Since that made up most of the show I can give this one a recommendation. Also interesting as it's the beginning of the ROH/CZW feud.
JZ says: This is the best first show of the year ever in ROH, and it really bodes well for the remainder of 2006. The CZW feud started off really well and Danielson got another excellent title defense out of it. Theres some junk on here, but the good stuff is really good.