Dark Pegasus Video Review: Ring of Honor — The Homecoming Posted by J.D. Dunn on 03.09.2007
Christopher Daniels returns home to Philly to face a renegade CM Punk for the ROH Title.
Feedback from the Pepsi Challenge:
From our very own DivasRgr8:
OK, after watching more of the Escape From NY DVD I have a few other thoughts:
1. Everyone who told me during my anti-Joe rants that I needed to see him in ROH was right. TNA books him like absolute shit. If they would just let him show more personality like in ROH, Joe would be much easier to like. You know where he would probably be used better? WWE. Anyway, Joe in ROH = a guy you can get behind and Joe in TNA = no selling fat bastard. Nice work TNA!
2. TNA is completely blowing it with Alex Shelley using him like a comedy heel. Sure, he's funny and whatnot but he is solid as fuck in the ring. He would also do well in the WWE; his style seems ready made for it. TNA is blowing it with Austin Aries (Starr) too.
3. The Nigel McGuiness/Colt Cabana match was boring as hell. McGuiness has a similar moveset as William Regal, which is good, but he doesn't have the personality to pull it off. It's only one match but so far my impression is that both guys are nothing special.
4. Jay Lethal is a jobber talent. It was fun watching Homicide beat his ass. There is something about him that I just don't like. Maybe it's his resemblance to Mike Tyson. Anyhoo, his hair should never again be that long and nappy. He looked terrible. As for Homicide, what's the big deal about him exactly? He doesn't really do anything impressive.
5. Roderick Strong is a nobody and unless he undergoes some kind of drastic change he'll always be a nobody. I can't imagine ever being impressed with the guy.
Overall, I thought the Escape From New York DVD was good. It really did highlight to me why Samoa Joe and Punk are the Rock & Austin of ROH because it doesn't seem like anyone else is in their class. It also showed me why people like Joe and Shelly so much because if you judge them solely by their work in TNA, there is no reason to be behind either guy. It’s only one show and my opinion could change BUT right now I’d put ROH ahead of TNA. They’re still way behind the WWE though.
And, from Johnny Sorrow:
Here's my thoughts on Escape From New York.
Dunn, Marcos, & Dixie vs. Lacey's Angels & Vordell Walker. I'm
not sure what the point was to this or even got time enough to
tell many of them apart. This much is for certain, Lacey's
Angels need sandwiches. Badly. Flippy-floppy spots which all
blur together after while. Although running the ropes six times
and grabbing a chin-lock was pretty funny.
BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Carnage Crew (ROH Tag Team
Title Match). BJ is the most pure form of who cares that I've
ever seen. And The Carnage Crew don't even make any sense in a
promotion that is supposed to be all workrate intensive.
They're fat brawlers. I don't get the attraction. Jimmy
Jacobs, on the other hand, being 5'5 165 or whatever doing the
Berzerker gimmick is pretty fucking great. Huss beats rock.
James Gibson vs. Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Azrieal (Four
Corner Survival Match). Shelley substitutes for Roderick Strong
who is now in the main event. Two guys in the match are really
interesting in Gibson and Shelley. Which means that 75% of the
match is Rave vs. Azrieal. Including the finish.
Disappointing. I really have no use for Azrieal. At least Rave
has Prince Nana with him but I'd have much preferred
Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries (ROH Pure Title Match). This would
be my first experience with a Pure Title Match. And I can
safely say, I hate it. The rules are stupid and interfere with
what should have been a good match on its own. As it is, the
rules kept it from being more than good.
Nigel McGuinness vs. Colt Cabana (European Rules Match). Now
this is just stupid. From all the 'Gabe is a booking genius'
claims, he books this match, which has stupid rules that people
don't understand after the last match which has stupid rules
that people don't understand. Again, type of match restricted
me from giving a shit.
Homicide vs. Jay Lethal. I will say it right now. I hate Jay
Lethal. Completely overrated. Blows a bunch of spots as
Homicide tries to keep it together. Average at best.
CM Punk vs. Roderick Strong (ROH World Title Match). Is it a
good match? Sure. Does it blow me away? Not so much. Its
pretty entertaining but that's about it.
For all the talk about how great ROH is, I don't see that much
psychology. And the flippy-floppy spot-fests are still to
prevalent. And sweet christ, keep Gabe away from a microphone.
I was puzzled as to the naming of this show. I know Gabe had been using clever names like "Fate of an Angel" (Matt Hardy 'Twist of Fate' vs. Christopher Daniels 'The Fallen Angel') and "Sign of Dishonor (Punk signs his contract on the ROH title), but this one didn't make much sense. After all, AJ and Chris Daniels had been back for a couple shows now. Maybe it was a reference to Low Ki coming back. Or maybe it was a reference to the Homecoming dance where I finally felt up my drunken 15 year-old girlfriend before she threw up behind the gymnasium. Man, 2005 was a great year!
But then I realized it was Christopher Daniels first show back in Philadelphia where he started it all. Finally, he was getting a title shot at CM Punk in ROH's hometown. Just about everything pointed to Daniels winning the title after three and a half years. Could he close the deal?
July 23, 2005
From Philadelphia, Penn.
Your hosts are Dave Prazak, Jimmy Bower and…CM Punk. (in his third or fourth "last night in the company").
Christopher Daniels and Allison Danger open the show holding the belt. Daniels says he hates to resort to stealing the belt, but Punk threatened to take the title to the WWE, and Daniels isn't letting that happen.
Elsewhere, Alex Shelley says he's keeping his mystery partner a secret.
Opening Match, Four-Corner Survival: Spanky vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Azrieal vs. Deranged (w/Lacey & Cheech).
Deranged and Azrieal start because they were both Special K kids. Deranged wins over the crowd by taunting Spanky for his new hairstyle and then slapping Nigel in the face. Everyone gets fed up with him and chases him to the back. He finally returns and gets a nice hanging armbar on Azrieal. Azrieal counters to a backbreaker. Deranged looks really sharp, hitting a rana, a spinning front kick, and a uranage facebuster. Spanky tags in and hits a Stinger Splash on Deranged. Nigel wants a piece too, hitting a Rope-Assisted Stunner. Azrieal gets the blind tag and covers, but it only gets two. Spanky gets too intense and pushes the ref out of the way, enabling Deranged to go low. Prazak brings up the fact that Lacey has threatened to make changes if the Angels don't start winning. Azrieal works Spanky's leg, and Nigel continues it with that snapmare into the ropes and an Indian Deathlock. Azrieal comes back in and snaps Spanky's leg off the top with a Dragon Screw. Spanky gets out of trouble with the Flatliner to the corner, and they all start hitting dives. Spanky "fights through the pain" to hit a dive of his own. I hate that. Back in, Spanky misses Sliced Bread #2 on Nigel. Azrieal tries an Electric Chair Drop on Deranged, but Spanky double-crosses him with a superkick (with the bad leg) and finishes Deranged with Sliced Bread #2 (with the bad leg). Azrieal looked sharp. Deranged showed great personality. Nigel just seemed to be out there just to have him on the show. Spanky's no-selling of the legwork was irritating and out-of-character for him. What the hell is up with that? **3/4
Gary Michael Capetta announces, on behalf of Ring of Honor, that if Prince Nana touches Jade Chung again in an abusive way, he'll be fired and so will the rest of the Embassy. Nana says he'll abide and offers Jade a chance to go back to Thailand (the running joke is that Nana can't distinguish between Asians) and live in her hut and babysit her eleven brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, the whole Jade mystique is lost once she takes the mic and tells Nana she'll stay with him in her Trish Stratus-esque voice. I mean, if she was a poor immigrant, you'd think she'd have some accent. Nana says since can't slap her around anymore, he'll keep her in line by making her wear a leash. Capetta washes his hands of the whole thing.
ROH Tag Team Titles: The Carnage Crew vs. BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs.
This is a return match from when the Crew defeated Whitmer and Jacobs for the titles. Punk makes fun of Devito for struggling for 14 years only just now winning the tag titles. Brawl on the outside to start. Jacobs plays face-in-peril once things get calmed down. I know Devito and Loc are probably really nice guys to have a beer with and probably hard workers, but their act is just such a warmed-over Dudley Boyz style that they constantly feel stale. The Crew goes for a Doomsday Device, but Jacobs counters to a Victory Roll. Whitmer gets the hot tag and powerbombs Jacobs on Devito for two. Loc makes the save and hits the front-flip senton. Devito follows up with the moonsault for two. Jacobs hits Loc with the Contra Code for two, and Whitmer and Jacobs team up for the Contra Code Bomb for the win and their second title reign at 9:23. The Crew would fade into obscurity after this while Whitmer and Jacobs' careers took off. **1/4
Six-Man Tag: Homicide, Low Ki & Ricky Reyes (w/Julius Smokes) vs. Samoa Joe, James Gibson & Jay Lethal.
The faces storm the ring and clear the Rottweilers out. Joe and Reyes start out on the mat. Reyes runs right into a uranage and gets planted on his head. Ooh. That's not fun. Low Ki and Gibson go next with Ki hitting his usual stiff kicks and glowering. No one can glower quite like Low Ki. Joe and Lethal team up for the Hangman's Facewash. Gibson gets belly-to-bellied a few times and plays face-in-peril. He gets out of trouble with a dropkick, and Jay Lethal cleans house before getting swarmed by Reyes and Homicide. Now, Lethal plays face-in-peril. Homicide and Low Ki team up for the chinlock/dropkick to the face and then switch off. Joe eventually gets the hot tag, and Joe opens a can of whoop-ass. Gibson gets a shot in on all three Rotts and DDTs Homicide over into the Butterfly Lock. Low Ki breaks it up with the springboard kick. A donnybrook erupts, and Lethal hits Ki with a missile dropkick. Homicide breaks up the Dragon Suplex, and Ki and Homicide team up to make a wish with Lethal's legs across the ringpost. Reyes adds a dropkick to the face. They go for the Cop Killa/Double-stomp combo, which is supposed to be banned, but Gibson makes the save, and Ki crashes into Homicide. The faces dump the Rottweilers to the floor in unison and hit triple topes. Joe hits Homicide with the Ole Kick, but someone slips Homicide a chain. He wraps up his fist and BLASTS Gibson with it for the win at 23:35. Smokes shouts, "You always gonna be a house nigga, you cocksucka!" (presumably at Lethal). Wow, that finishing school really paid off. Nothing really to say about this other than it was pretty good but nothing spectacular. ***
Lacey is disgusted by her Angels. She suspends them and threatens to make some personnel changes. One of the problems with angles like these is everyone involved just has to repeat the same thing over and over without going anywhere until something snaps. It's just like that in the WWE too. Meanwhile, Gary Michael Capetta plugs an Entertainment Weekly article on ROH.
Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Alex Shelley & Fast Eddie (w/the Embassy).
Before the match, Alex Shelley explains he spent the last six months apologizing, and it didn't get him anywhere, so he's selling out to the Embassy. This changed the dynamic of the feud between he and GenNext, double-turning everyone involved so Shelley is now a heel and GenNext are the faces (which they arguably were anyway). It also kicked off one of the feuds that would carry ROH through the last half of 2005. GenNext open up with a series of doubleteams on Eddie, including a Hart Attack. Finally, Shelley gives Strong a boot from the outside, allowing Eddie to hit a Fisherman's Neckbreaker. Aries gets the tag and goes up, but Shelley pushes him off the top. The Embassy isolates Aries, and Eddie hits a suplex into a neckbreaker. I guess he's the Messiah of the Neckbreaker? Aries ducks a Doomsday Device and ranas Eddie. Strong gets the hot tag and starts breaking backs. He pescados to take out everyone on the outside, but Jimmy Rave runs down and hits Aries with a chair. The Shining Wizard allows Shelley to pick up the win at 12:55. The new alliance is paying immediate dividends. **3/4
AJ Styles runs down to even things up a bit, which leads to…
Street Fight: AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave (w/the Embassy).
The brawl immediately spills over into the crowd and out near the entrance area. AJ spears Rave and goes for a suplex off a chair, but Rave counters to a DDT on the chair. Rave takes over and tosses AJ around for a while. Nothing of note, really. Back to the ring, AJ blocks a chairshot but takes a right cross and the running knee for two. AJ fires back with headbutts. They take it to the apron where Rave blocks a Russian Leg Sweep, but AJ backdrops him through a ringside table. DANGEROUUUUS! Back in, AJ sets up the chair and signals for the Styles Clash. Rave backdrops him on the chair to counter and just CURBSTOMPS his face into it. AJ comes back with a brainbuster on the chair, but Killer Kruel and Fast Eddie run down to buy Rave time. AJ takes everyone out with a pescado. Jade Chung tries to slap him, but AJ gently deposits her on the outside. Alex Shelley comes down now and hits Shellshock to set up the Rave Clash at 12:53. The Embassy unloads a hellacious beatdown. Even Roderick Strong and Austin Aries can't stop them. The Embassy lays the boots to all of them and poses above their prone bodies. It seems Shelley has made the right career choice. Once they all recover, AJ makes nice with GenNext. ***
ROH World Title: CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger).
Here we go. This one has been brewing ever since Punk won the title at "Death Before Dishonor III" and Daniels returned that same night. Actually, you can go back to Punk putting Daniels through the table in January of 2004 and putting him out of action. Punk seems more intense than his previous title defenses. He opens with a lot of heat-getting early, arguing with the crowd, slapping Daniels and then bailing, etc.. Slow start with both men trading mat maneuvers. Daniels gets the better of that. This is a radical departure from Punk's matches with Lethal and Strong where the young lions got so frustrated by Punk's mind games that he was able to take advantage. Instead, Daniels is content to let Punk do his thing without being fazed.
Nearly 10 minutes have gone by and, for the most part, they just been exchanging headlocks and letting the match flow from that. Daniels lays in a series of headbutts, but they only get one. Punk spears him into the corner and slams his head into the cornerpad. They exchange atomic drops. Punk blocks a charge but misses a blind crossbody. Daniels takes over with a backdrop suplex and a catapult into the ropes. He hits a vertical suplex to set up the Arabian Press. Instead of going for the pin, though, he utilizes the crossface. Punk makes the ropes.
With 20 minutes gone, Punk hits a knee to the gut to give his neck a rest from the beating Daniels was laying on it. He stomps Daniels in the gut and does the Flair strut. Punk continues to work the ribs with a bodyscissors and poses for the audience. Another Arabian Press misses, and Punk gets two. Daniels tries to shoulderblock his way back in the ring from the apron, but Punk counters to a neckbreaker. They slug it out, and Punk catches him in an abdominal stretch.
We're halfway gone as Daniels elbows out of the abdominal stretch and reverses to his own with an added neck wrench. Punk reverses, knees him in the gut, and goes back to the abdominal stretch. Daniels elbows out again. Punk tries to monkey flip him, but Daniels lands on his feet and hits the Flatliner. Daniels gets his second wind with a quebrada for two and a Falcon Arrow for two more. Daniels mounts him for the 10-punch corner pummel. He rams Punk's face into the exposed buckle, but Punk shoves him to the floor. Punk follows him to the floor and slams him into the barrier. After mocking the crowd, he gets a few more jabs. Bower wonders if Punk is trying to hold out for the draw. Back in, Punk squashes Daniels ribs again with a senton. He goes back to the bodyscissors. Daniels chops his way out of it, though.
The match reaches the 40-minute mark as Daniels catches Punk with a powerbomb. He sets Punk on top and nearly knocks him off with the Shoryuken. Punk blocks the Iconoclasm but takes an enzuigiri for two. Punk comes back with Welcome to Chicago, but Daniels sets him on top and goes for the Iconoclasm again. Punk blocks and goes for a missile dropkick but takes out the referee. BOO! Daniels gets the Blue Thunder Bomb, but the ref is still out. Punk hits the Pepsi Twist, but the ref is still out. Daniels hits the Best Moonsault Ever as Todd Sinclair runs down to replace the original ref. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Punk kicks out. They fall to the floor where Punk grabs a chair. A Daniels mule kick knocks it out of his hand, though.
With only 10 minutes left to go, they brawl on the apron. Daniels fails to get the Angel's Wings on the apron, and they brawl up to the top. Punk hits the SUPERPLEX! Punk's neck is hurt, though, and he can't capitalize right away. Daniels pops up and snaps him down with the Flatliner into the Koji Clutch. Punk is in the middle of the ring! Allison is leading a "tap, tap, tap!" chant. Punk struggles and makes the ropes. Daniels delivers a dozen headbutts but runs right into a big boot. Punk tries to mock Daniels with a split-legged moonsault, but Daniels gets the knees up. Daniels gets two off a crossbody. Punk goes into the bag of tricks that worked over he past few title defenses with a rollup and a handful of ropes for two. A handful of tights and a schoolboy gets two. A small package gets two. Daniels kicks out and hits the Best Moonsault Ever. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Punk rolls the cover into the Anaconda Vice! Daniels just makes the ropes, though. Punk grabs it again and stays with it despite Daniels trying to counter to a crucifix. Daniels fades before powering up and armdragging Punk over. Daniels unloads a flurry of rollups, trying to get the win. Punk blocks the Angel's Wings and backdrops Daniels over at the :30 mark. Punk rolls on top of him, but he can't get his feet on the ropes, so Daniels is able to roll him over and hit ANGEL'S WINGS! DANIELS COVERS…but the 60-minute time limit expires. The crowd chants "five more minutes," but it ain't happening. The psychology and the storytelling were there, but I wasn't feeling the ferocity of the stretch home, which really kept this match from reaching that upper echelon. Plus, I've come to expect more than a clichéd ref bump from ROH. Still, it really didn't feel like an hour, and that's half the battle. ****
After the match, Punk knocks Allison out with a right, triggering another brawl between the men. James Gibson runs down and gets him some as well. Punk takes them both out with belt shots before Samoa Joe runs down and punts Punk right out of the ring. Punk escapes with the title once again.
The 411: The one-hour title match took up a third of the show, and it's worth the purchase, but there are also the semi-historic moments of Shelley joining the Embassy and Whitmer & Jacobs reclaiming the titles.