The idea behind this is pretty simple. All of the big superstars are assembled into teams of three for a big tournament. The winners of the tournament get to book their own matches at some point in the future.
March 5, 2005
From Philadelphia, Penn.
Your hosts are Jimmy Bower and CM Punk.
Steve Corino complains that he was told to show up to do a promo and CM Punk isn't even there. He says if he wins tonight, he wants Homicide, and if Homicide wins, Corino begs him to book another match between them.
Opening Match: Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Shane Hagadorn, Davey Andrews & Anthony Franco.
The jobbers are Punk's trainees, so you know they're toast. To make matters worse, they turn their backs on Generation Next, and the vets jump them from behind. GenNext hit triple finishers for the win at 1:11. Just a squash to get the students out there and to give GenNext an easy path to the next round. 1/4*
Steve Corino, CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Jimmy Rave, Oman Tortuga & The Weapon of Mask Destruction #3 (w/Prince Nana).
Rave sprayed bug spray in Punk's eyes and gave Punk's girlfriend Traci Brooks the Rave Clash at the Third Anniversary Show, so CM is pissed. Punk sprints down the aisle and tackles Rave during his entrance. Dave Prazak replaces Punk on commentary, a spot he would eventually settle into for the long haul. The Weapon of Mask Destruction clips Punk's leg to give the Embassy the advantage. They beat on Punk for a while before he gets the tag to Corino. Corino gives Ace Crushers all around as the match breaks down. Punk finally gets his hands on Rave and pummels him in the corner, screaming, "I'm gonna fuckin' kill you!" Tortuga jumps Punk from behind, allowing Rave to run to the back. Punk takes the WMD3 down into the Anaconda Vice at 4:56. Just another squash to show what a pussy Rave is. *1/4
In the back, Samoa Joe and his team find Jay Lethal laying semi-conscious with a huge shiner. Jay says he doesn't know who hit him.
Homicide, Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero (w/Julius Smokes) vs. El Generico, Dunn & Marcos.
Generico is a guy in a mask who wrestles like a luchador. On paper, this would seem to be a quick squash, but the jobbers acquit themselves quite well. Homicide tags in and kills Marcos dead with a rope-assisted DDT. The Pitbulls take over and dismantle Marcos Benoit-style. The work in a few triple-teams before Generico gets the hot tag. Generico actually thinks he's going to put Homicide away, but Homicide slips out of his suplex and finishes with a lariat at 8:44. An extended squash made watchable by the antics of the comedy jobbers. **
Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson & Vordell Walker vs. Spanky, James Gibson & Nigel McGuinness.
"Danger! Danger!" never leaves my top-played songs on my iPod. Just thought you should know. Spanky and Gibson began to respect each other after their match, so they formed a team. Punk actually explains the psychology of how Nigel was recruited to balance out Joe's size and Danielson's technical abilities. Long feeling out period because all six guys are babyfaces. Everything is all even until Nigel and Jamie heel it up (because someone has to) on Vordell. Vordell tries to get tricky with a double-chop, but Nigel LEVELS him with a forearm shiver. Joe gets pissed and sprints at Nigel, who is in the handstand position, but Nigel slips over Joe's big boot and taunts him. He tries it again, but Vordell runs in from outside and dropkicks Nigel right in the chest. BRILLIANT! Funny spot as Danielson picks up Spanky in the Airplane spin and knocks Nigel down. Then, he picks up Gibson and spins him around, knocking Nigel down again as Nigel is picking himself up. Unfortunately, Danielson is so groggy, he picks up Vordell and gives him the Airplane Spin (clipping Nigel once again just for good measure). He finally tries one on Joe before realizing what he's done and passing out. If anyone ever tells you Danielson can't make it because he doesn't have personality, feel free to kick them in the nuts. Gibson takes over and cleans house. How often are you going to get that on Smackdown? Nigel and Danielson go at it, foreshadowing their big series in 2006. Danielson stops to play to the crowd and gets leveled with a lariat from behind. Danielson gets Cattle Mutilation, but Spanky gets the blind tag and breaks it up with a frogsplash. He goes for Sliced Bread #2 on Joe, but Joe blocks and counters to the Coquina Clutch for the tapout at 23:48. Fun match! This is the kind of fun stuff that the WWE could be doing on a nightly basis, but for whatever reason, they want to tone down their product to the point of tedium. ***3/4
Trent Acid brushes past the wrestlers and runs down the crowd for cheering for these guys when he's a local boy. Spanky returns to the ring and says Trent isn't booked on shows because he's a fuck-up who has no respect for the business. The two brawl before Joe and the gang run back in to chase Acid away.
Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Steve Corino, CM Punk & Colt Cabana.
Colt wins a fan for life by making Corino's own personal ring announcer run through a long list of people he wants to have a three-way with (because it's a Trios Tournament). Punk and Corino object to "April Hunter & Slyk Wagner Brown." Even Corino can't help but crack up when he finishes the list with "El Dandy & Lita." Ewwww. Anyway, this has been brewing for a while. Punk actually made the save for Ricky Steamboat against GenNext, earning their wrath. Aries responded by injuring Colt's shoulder and putting him out for months. Punk brought in Corino to help out, so Strong destroyed Corino's students. Corino and Aries smack each other around for a while to open. Colt and Strong go next with Colt showing some really nice British stuff before the ringpost support snaps. Everyone seems a bit flustered and not really sure of what to do. Punk and Evans improv a little sequence, and the babyfaces start cheating to the delight of the crowd. Things settle down with Aries targeting Punk's bad leg. Punk plays face-in-peril as Corino appears to be calling the match on the fly. Punk counters an Evans handspring elbow to a Tombstone and tags Cabana. Colt cleans house as does Corino. Funny spot as Steve sees Jack coming off the top a mile away and casually walks away from him. He follows that up with about half a dozen powerbombs and prepares to finish with a lariat, but Punk tags himself in over Corino's objections and hits a Shining Wizard. Punk sets Jack on top, but Aries runs in and delivers an Electric Chair drop to set up Jack's springboard into a moonsault at 24:48. After the match, Corino blames Punk for being a selfish prick, and the two trade shoot comments. The words "Triple H" and "errand boy" get tossed around. Colt tries to play peacemaker, but Corino refuses to shake hands and walks out. **1/2
Gary Michael Capetta stalls for time by getting an interview with Jay Lethal. Man, they must be desperate. Lethal says he got kicked in the face and doesn't know what happened.
James Gibson and Spanky are pissed about losing. Gibson tells Spanky he needs to get serious about wrestling. Spanky assures him that he is serious and calls Trent Acid a "disrespectful little prick."
Homicide, Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero (w/Julius Smokes) vs. Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson & Vordell Walker.
The ring has been rigged, but the announcers aren't sure it will hold. Drama! Danielson and Homicide are still in the middle of the Best-of-Five series, so Danielson storms the ring. The announcers mention that if one of them win this tournament, he could name his own stipulation. Homicide and Danielson start, but Homicide is no idiot. He takes a cheapshot at Joe (who hates him from their feud the previous year) and uses the distraction to jump Danielson from behind. That's basically the Rottweilers' whole strategy: to cause as much chaos as possible to throw the faces' off. Punk, who has returned to the announce position, says that there is no heat between him and Corino. Sure. Danielson plays face-in-peril for a long bit before tagging in Joe. Joe clears the ring with SAMOAN VIOLENCE! Gotta love the classics. Danielson goes after Homicide on the outside, as does Joe, but that leaves Vordell alone with the Rottweilers who finish him with the Death Sentence at 9:54. Too short and chaotic, and it was just here to further the Best-of-Five series and get the Rotts to the next round instead of, you know, being an actual good match. It certainly wasn't bad, though, for what it was. **1/2
Six-Man Mayhem: Azrieal vs. Kevin Steen vs. B-Boy vs. Deranged vs. Izzy (w/Lacey) vs. Dixie.
The idea here is B-Boy and Steen are getting a tryout. Azrieal and Dixie are former Special K members who are trying to become actual wrestlers while Deranged and Izzy are still rich kid ravers spending their parents money (and banging Lacey). Just to be dicks, everyone else drops off the apron, forcing Izzy and Deranged to start. They try a fingerpoke of doom spot, but Azrieal makes the save before the pin. Big spot #1: Izzy sets up Azrieal on the top rope and hits a dropsault. Both men land on the two little brawls that had broken out on the floor. B-Boy (poor man's Homicide) and Steen (poor man's Colt Cabana) go next. They look pretty good but not exceedingly spectacular. Cue the head-dropping! Steen hits his Cradle Piledriver. For a bigger guy, Steen can move. He hits an over-the-top tope but gets Reverse DDT'd by B-Boy. Azrieal and B-Boy wind up in there alone. Azrieal shoves B-Boy to the mat and finishes him with the Double-Stomp at 11:10. Deranged is pissed about the loss, and Lacey just seems fed up. Quick and spotty. Reminiscent of the old scramble tags. B-Boy and Steen impressed enough to be invited back. ***
Pure Title: John Walters (w/Prince Nana & ) vs. Jay Lethal.
Nana cost Lethal a match against Jimmy Rave at "Weekend of Thunder, Night 2," so Lethal bitch-slapped him. Then, at the first stage of the "Third Anniversary Show," Lethal got a measure of revenge by beating Rave for the #1 contendership to John Walters's Pure Title. Unfortunately, Nana's lawyers arranged it so his title shot would come immediately after the qualifier match. John Walters was able to win fairly easily. Before the match, CM Punk comes out and chases Nana & Rave to the back. Now, there are no excuses. Well, except for Lethal's eye, which is swollen shut from the earlier attack. Lethal starts out strong with a missile dropkick and a backdrop. He forces Walters to use a ropebreak, but Walters hits him with a Super Stunner to take over. Lethal surprises him with a crucifix for two but gets caught in the Sharpshooter, forcing him to use on of his ropebreaks. Walters starts going after Lethal's back, but Jay counters the Lungblower, triggering a series of nearfall reversals. Walters uses one of his ropebreaks during the sequence. The crowd tries half-heartedly to get into the match as things get sloppy. Looks like Lethal's timing was knocked off, and he never recovered. Walters hits a trio of Lungblowers, but Jay kicks out. The champ sets up for a Super Lungblower, but Lethal tosses him to the mat. Walters counters one Dragon Suplex, but Lethal hits him with a real one at 10:29. Samoa Joe comes out to celebrate with him. The fans are happy for the Lethal win, but the match was marred by a lack of chemistry, blown spots and lack of direction. **
Trios Finals: Homicide, Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero (w/Julius Smokes) vs. Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans.
GenNext are the default faces here. Jack starts with Homicide and pisses him off by avoiding Homicide's swipes. Homicide rips the turnbuckle pad off and swings it at Jack. Jack busts out the windmill to "serve" Homicide, but 'Cide busts out the Kobashi Irish Whip Knees. Strong tags in and takes over on the Pitbulls, but Homicide punts him in the face. The announcers point out that Aries has yet to tag in and wonder if he's saving himself for his title defenses at the expense of his team. He finally does tag in and gets swarmed by the Pitbulls. He gets out of trouble and tags Evans back in. Jack hits a senton, but Romero punts him off the ropes. Homicide gives Evans a Super Butterfly Suplex. He tries a Backdrop Superplex, but Evans elbows out of it and backflips into a DDT. INSANE! Reyes makes the save. Everyone brawls to the floor, allowing Jack to fake them out with a Shooting Star Plancha and then hit a springboard corkscrew plancha. Back in, Aries plants Homicide with the Brainbuster, but Homicide breaks up the 450-splash. ACE CRUSHER! LARIAT! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Roderick jumps in and hits a Press Gutbuster on Homicide, but GenNext can't capitalize before the Pitbulls jump in and hit the Decapitation. Jack breaks up the cover but gets tossed to the floor, leaving Homicide and Aries. They trade reversals and reversals of reversals until Homicide gets the Cop Killa at 21:05. The early part meandered, and the crowd didn't really take to GenNext in the face role. Once it hit the closing stretch, though, things picked up in a hurry. ***1/4
In the back, the Rottweilers contemplate what they're going to book. Homicide says it's a title shot at Aries without a doubt. The Pitbulls aren't sure if they want the tag titles yet, though.
Elsewhere, CM Punk chases the entire Embassy out of the arena.
The 411: An uncharacteristically disappointing show from one of ROH's best years. Outside of the one stellar babyface match in the middle of the show, the wrestling wasn't that impressive. I like the idea of the winner of the whole show being able to book their future, but it didn't really mean anything in the long-term. Some of the other things like the Punk/Corino tease never received a satisfying payoff either.
Thumbs down for "Trios Tournament."