ROH Ė Final Battle 2006 Ė Manhattan, New York Ė December 23, 2006
BG says: Computer problems destroyed my original review of this show as well, so itíll be lousy until the main event where Iím toughing it out and doing it for real because of the importance of the whole thing.
JZ says: Homicide walks into the building with his entourage. Bryan Danielson walks into the building alone. The only thing missing is the music from the BJ Whitmer segments at War of the Wire II.
Bobby Cruise welcomes everyone to the show, and Bobby Dempsey and Pelle Primeau come out as Santa Clause and an elf. Is this Ring of Honor? Dempsey opens his sack and Mitch Franklin comes out and they all throw t-shirts into the crowd. Thatís a nice present two days before Christmas. Unfortunately for the students, Jay & Mark Briscoe are not in a celebratory mood and they storm the ring and deliver an unholy beating to the trio of students. Jay cuts right to the chase and challenges the Kings of Wrestling to a rematch from last night, and Mark tells them to Man Up.
Jimmy Jacobs, with new eye makeup resembling blood coming from his eye, talks about how he is an island unto himself. All he needs is love, and therefore Lacey. He is under the impression that Colt Cabana is the one to take Laceyís purity. Ha ha! He promises to put Cabana and BJ Whitmer in hospital beds. He says he doesnít have much to live for anymore, but that his two opponents tonight will have a lot to die for. Jacobs is giving the best promos in ROH right now.
MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Ė Christopher Daniels vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Davey Richards vs. El Generico
BG says: The crowd chants "We want cookies" at Allison Danger who is dressed as a girl scout. ROHBots really should get off their high horses and stop ragging on WWE fans for drooling over T & A. Danger's presence on ROH shows is solely to titillate fans with her different stereotypical fantasy outfits, and the bots haven't complained about it at all. This is a solid opener, furthering the Davey Richards losing streak and further solidifying Rave's heel hook as a scary finisher. Good action all around.
JZ says: Allison Danger is dressed as a sexy girl scout, which must be some kind of statement on womenís equality that Iím missing. Brad ranted on this and the crowdís response to her already, so Iíll just agree with him and move on. Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are hosting tonight. Richards and Generico start it off, and itís been about a month since weíve seen Generico. He needs a win here to try and earn a main roster spot. Generico takes abuse for a minute but comes back with some armdrags. Richards powders and then gets back in the ring and tags out to Daniels. He is able to take control of Generico, as he goes after the arm. Rave finally tags in and the crowd hates him already. Rave and Daniels go for a bit until Richards tags in, and Rave smartly wants no part of him since Richards beat him about 300 times over the summer and fall. Rave has no problem getting in the ring with Daniels though. Richards and Rave finally get in the ring together and as usual with those two, Richards dominates. El Generico takes a turn and Richards kicks him a lot. Daniels tags himself in and Richards goes right to kicks on him too. Daniels hits the Best Moonsault Ever on Richards but Generico breaks it up. We break down to the brawling stage where everyone is in the ring hitting moves on everyone. It all ends when Rave locks the heel hook submission on Generico, who taps out at 17:46. That was much too long, but there was some fun stuff tucked away in there. Nigel McGuinness comes out and attacks Rave, who pretends to leave but then gets a slap in the face for his troubles.
MATCH #2: Adam Pearce vs. Ricky Reyes
BG says: This is a nothing match to set up some extra drama for the main event. Pearce picks up the win with a brass knuckle shot and then gets help from Hagadorn to hit a spike piledriver on Julius Smokes.
JZ says: Pearce comes out with Shane Hagadorn and cuts a generic heel promo to get the crowd to hate him. Ricky Reyesís music hits and he comes out with Julius Smokes. J-Train cuts a promo on him and calls Jim Cornette a ďhomo.Ē This leads to an impromptu match between Pearce and Reyes. Iím very glad they didnít make it a tag team match. They trade moves, mostly power stuff, with neither guy gaining a sustained advantage. Pearce plays to the crowd a little too much and Reyes gets the Dragon Sleeper on but the referee is distracted by Smokes and Hagadorn. The distraction allows Hagadorn to toss Pearce brass knuckles and he hits Reyes with them and gets the pin at 3:22. That was a nothing match, but at least they kept it short. Pearce and Hagadorn give Smokes a spiked piledriver.
MATCH #3: BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana vs. Brent Albright & Jimmy Jacobs
BG says: Now that Lacey is out after being spiked Jacobs has been cutting some great promos. This match has a few spectacular bumps in it but thereís nothing exciting connecting them. Albright hits Cabana with rolling German suplexes and Jacobs finishes him off with a top rope senton.
JZ says: Itís amazing to think that in one year Jacobs went from barely having a spot on the roster to being one of the move over and interesting guys in the company. The babyfaces pull a decoy on Laceyís Angels and knock Albright outside the ring. Both Whitmer and Cabana have scores to settle with Jacobs, who doesnít back down from them. Albright comes back in to make the save, and I wonder if this is a traditional tag team match, because Todd Sinclair has made no effort to make anyone tag. Jacobs gets tossed to the floor and Whitmer hits him with an exploder on the entrance ramp. The match continues to be a big brawl with Whitmer and Cabana doing a lot to hurt Jacobs, and Albright backs him up. The match calms down into a more traditional tag team match. Jacobs and Albright gain control of Whitmer. Cabana gets the crowd into it but Albright knocks Cabana down before the tag can be made. Man, I thought everyone in wrestling looked out for each other. Cabana eventually does get the hot tag and he beats up both guys for a while and turns himself into a flying asshole, not too tough, but he misses. It breaks down into a brawl again and all four guys are in the ring. Whitmer and Cabana isolate on Jacobs, but canít keep him down for a three-count. A Doomsday Device attempt leads to Jacobs hitting the Contra Code on Cabana and a headscissors on Whitmer. Albright comes back in and throws Whitmer over the ropes through a table on the floor. That was a SICK bump. Iím pretty sure BJ Whitmer will take any bump no matter what. Albright delivers German suplexes to Cabana while Jacobs taunts him and slaps him in the face. Jacobs hits the back senton off the top to pin Cabana at 13:49. That started off a little messy but they caught a groove and did some really cool stuff in the last half. Albright blows disgusting snot on Whitmer after the match. Now THATíS how you insult an opponent.
MATCH #4: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
BG says: This is pretty much the same match as the night before but with about a dozen added shots of adrenaline. Itís high impact the whole way through and the Briscoes get revenge for last nightís robbery by finishing off Hero with a shooting star press/top rope legdrop combo. After the match Claudio says heís not actually leaving ROH but Larry Sweeney tells him that heís not a part of Heroís new plan. Claudio doesnít believe Hero would leave him out but Hero leaves the ring with Sweeney. Joe then comes out and tells Claudio to hit the bricks. He rips on NOAH until NOAH regular Nigel McGuinness comes out to retort. He says heís going to ask NOAH to send someone over. Rave attacks Nigel from behind until Joe slaps him down and sets up a rematch between Nigel and Rave for after intermission.
JZ says: These two teams had a pretty swank match on last nightís show, so Iím really looking forward to this. The awesome Larry Sweeney is with former ROH World Tag Team Champions The Kings of Wrestling. Hero gives an extensive introduction to Larry Sweeney, who hams it up and is seriously awesome. He then addresses Claudio Castagnoliís going-away party, but then moves on the challenge made by the Briscoes earlier tonight. They take it, and the Briscoes are on their way. I think they have the best entrance music in ROH, by the way. It turns into a brawl right away, with everyone fighting on the floor and Jay hitting a big dive from the top rope to the entrance way onto both Kings. They get into the ring and a real match begins to take shape. The Briscoes control the early going with their kick-ass offense. Hero makes a blind tag and heís able to take control on Jay. It soon breaks down into an awesome brawl with everyone coming in and hitting moves on everybody. Iím struggling to keep up because a lot is happening and Iím sucked into watching it. The crowd is really behind both teams. The finishers then make an appearance as everyone hits one on somebody and everyone is down. They get up and start going at it again, and Sweeney distracts the ref. Claudio tries to hit a Briscoe with the briefcase, but he hits Hero instead. A combination shooting star press / guillotine legdrop is quite enough for the Briscoes to get the victory at 17:13. That was much in the same vein as last nightís match, but everything was turned up just a little bit, and that finish was awesome. Claudio gets on the microphone afterwards and says that heís actually going to stick around a little bit longer. He says that the Kings of Wrestling will wreak even more havoc in 2007 than they did in 2006. Larry Sweeney interjects and says that when Claudio decided to leave, he killed the Kings of Wrestling. He tells Claudio to hit the bricks, because he and Hero have plans that donít involve him. Hero looks sad, but he does leave with Sweeney.
Now Samoa Joe comes out, for reasons Iím sure he is about to make clear. Heís mean to Claudio for no reason, and then apologizes for not being able to compete tonight. He promises that on February 16 someone from NOAH will answer his challenge. He name drops Morishima, Marufuji, and Mitsuharu Misawa. He also mentions Nigel McGuinness, which causes him to come right out and accept Joeís challenge for the sixteenth. Thatís kind of unfair to the fans, given that Nigel is way more known as a ROH guy than a NOAH guy. Jimmy Rave comes out and tries to attack Nigel, but Joe knocks him down and suggests that the two of them fight it out later tonight.
JZ says: The Scoopster is backstage all excited about the first half of the show. Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn come out and talk about how Homicide will not win the World Title tonight.
MATCH #5: Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave
BG says: I now officially consider Raveís entrance music a failure because he comes out to it for a second time in this same building here and still gets no reaction. This is definitely the best of the matches theyíve had so far. Like those previous matches Rave wins this one with the heel hook. This started out mat based and then picked up with high impact moves down the stretch, which worked well this time around.
JZ says: I havenít loved their matches together so far, so letís see if this one can change my mind. Rave already won a four-way earlier in the show, so he might be a little tired. Nigel takes the early advantage but Rave gains control with a uranage on the ring apron and then tosses Nigelís head into the barricade. Back in the ring Rave continues to have the advantage. Rave works on the midsection for a while, but Nigel is able to take the advantage and start bending Raveís arm in unnatural ways. Rave comes back with a spear and Nigel rolls to the floor. Back in the ring, Nigel gets a small package for two, and Rave gets up and hits the running knee to the face for a two count. Nigel hits a big lariat from the left side for two. Short-arm lariat from Nigel gets two. He looks for the Tower of London and hits it hard on Raveís head, but he kicks out. Rave snaps the top rope into Nigelís eyes and hits a nice tornado DDT for two. Rave hits the Move Formerly Known as Ghanarea, but it only gets two. He follows up with the Pedigree but Nigel kicks out at one. Nigel is Hulking Up! Rave scores with From Dusk Till Dawn, but Nigel reaches the ropes. Rave hits a suplex on Nigel, who no-sells it to hit the rebound lariat for a two count. Man, they are just killing all of Nigelís moves in this one. A few moments later Nigel hits a vicious Tower of London on the ring apron but Rave kicks out of THAT too. Thatís ridiculous. Nigel hits the rope-assisted lariat but that also gets two. Nigel tries the Rebound Lariat again but Rave reverses it to the Heel Hook and Nigel taps out at 16:57. I liked the early parts of this match, but Rave kicked out of WAY too much stuff. Not that I mind him going over, but come on, kicking out of the Tower of London on the apron? The crowd chants ďyou still suck,Ē so he grabs the microphone and spits on Nigel. Rave says he wants the winner of the World Title match.
MATCH #6: Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Delirious vs. Shingo, CIMA & Matt Sydal
BG says: This was the beginning of a trend of Delirious flip flopping sides in this little series between the former Generation Next and the Dragon Gate guests. That aside this is a very fun spotfest, almost on the same level as the tag title match the night before. Itís also not quite on the level of the Dragon Gate rules matches from the Milestone Series, but honestly it would be unfair to ask it to be that good. CIMA, Shingo & Sydal get the win when CIMA hits Delirious with a package piledriver. This would also be the final US appearance of Blood Generation as a team.
JZ says: Sydal comes out with both tag team title belts, but Christopher Daniels and Allison Danger are nowhere to be found. This one will be very difficult for me to keep track of, so I donít anticipate much play-by-play here. I think I would really like to see Strong against CIMA one-on-one. Come to think of it though, I really wouldnít mind seeing any combination of these six in one-on-one matches. CIMA makes the mistake of putting Aries in a headscissors. Even so, I really think itís time CIMA joined ROH full-time, please? The Dragon Gate team takes the first sustained advantage, with everyone working on Aries. This goes on for quite some time. After a long beating Aries makes the hot tag to Strong, who cleans house on everyone. Delirious comes in and joins the fun as well. Aries is of course done selling that ten-minute three-on-one beating in just about a minute. This one starts to break down with everyone just throwing caution to the wind and hitting huge moves. Sydal takes a parade of finishers but CIMA breaks it up to keep the match going. In all the madness Delirious is able to lock Shingo in the Cobra Stretch but CIMA breaks it up. CIMA then hits the Schwein on Delirious for a two count. He follows that up with a package piledriver with a cradle to score the pin at 24:01. That was the usual fun spotfest from the usual suspects, and it really made me wish CIMA would be in ROH full time. One can dream.
Jack Evans returns in 2007!
MATCH #7: ROH World Title Match Ė Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide
BG says: This is pretty much a loser leaves town match as both men have said theyíre going to leave ROH if they lose. Danielson said heíd only leave to heal up his injury so the winner was never really in doubt. Both men have bad shoulders. The crowd is all the way behind Homicide. They fight it out on the mat to start. Danielson hits a northern lights suplex and trades holds with Homicide. He puts on the Mexican surfboard and hits the thigh stomp. Homicide hits the Bad Slap but Danielson comes back with a slingshot suplex for 2. He puts on a stranglehold but Homicide counters to his own. The amount that the commentators are talking about Danielsonís reign further telegraphs what the outcome will be. Homicide sends Danielson to the floor and rams him into the barricade. Back in the ring Homicide puts on a chinlock. Danielson escapes with a chinbreaker but Homicide comes back with the Three Amigos. He climbs the ropes to hit a frog splash but Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn run down and draw a disqualification. They hit a spike shoulder breaker as Danielson goes to leave with the title. The crowd is livid about the outcome. Todd Sinclair stops Bobby Cruise from announcing the decision and restarts the match. He promises this match wonít end in a disqualification.
Homicide is on fire as the match starts again. He hits his knee in the corner and an overhead suplex for 2. Danielson hits a series of armbreakers and a butterfly suplex. He puts on a cross armbreaker but Homicide gets to the ropes. Danielson drops a knee on the shoulder for 2. He hits a roaring forearm for 2. Homicide counters a diving headbutt to the Ace Crusher. He hits a back bodydrop and a suplex to the floor. He follows Danielson out with a suicide dive. Danielson goes for a running forearm but hits the post. Homicide stays on the arm with armbreakers. Back in the ring Homicide hits another armbreaker. He hits a Manhattan drop and a super hammerlock takedown. That looked painful. He puts on an armbar but Danielson gets to the ropes. Danielson hits a second rope European uppercut and the diving headbutt for 2. He hits a German suplex for 2 but Homicide immediately goes after the arm. Danielson gets to the ropes. They trade strikes with Homicide using boots to compensate for his bad arm. He kicks Danielsonís arm and spears him to the floor. Danielson clotheslines Homicide into the crowd and then gets back into the ring to hit his springboard dive. Back in the ring Danielson hits a dropkick off the top. He hits a running forearm but the back superplex is countered to a crossbody for 2. Homicide hits a T-bone suplex and climbs the ropes. Danielson crotches him and hits a dropkick. He hits the back superplex for 2. He lays in the elbows but Homicide wildly lets the referee know that heís still conscious. Danielson puts on the crossface chicken wing but Homicide grabs the refereeís leg to let him know he hasnít passed out. He gets to the ropes but Danielson wonít let go. The referee wonít disqualify Danielson so Homicide has to power out. What an awesome series of events. Homicide hits a butterfly suplex for 2. He hits a dragon screw and puts on the STF. Danielson comes back by countering a lariat to the Cow Killer. He hits a tiger suplex and keeps the Cow Killer on. He drops the elbows and puts the Cow Killer on a third time. Homicide goes for a turnbuckle pin counter but it only gets 2. He hits the Cop Killer for 2 when Danielson gets to the ropes. Homicide goes for the ring bell but Sinclair takes it away from him. Danielson hits a low blow and rolls Homicide up for 2. Danielson blocks a lariat but Homicide fires up and connects with one for the win and the title.
This was the ultimate blend of WWE showmanship and Danielsonís mat based and high impact style. He pulled out every trick he had but ROH refused to let Homicide get screwed again. The psychology got a little silly at the end but there was so much adrenaline in the match that it really didnít matter. The babyface roster looks genuinely happy for Homicide as they come out to congratulate him. After the match thereís a great video of Homicideís ROH career leading to this title win.
To close out the show thereís another video that shows clips of big moments in ROH over the last five years. Itís hyping the Fifth Year Festival, which will appropriately be held in five cities.
JZ says: Danielson has been the champion since 9.17.05, and this is his thirty-ninth defense. This match is so important that Jimmy Bower comes up to try and convey the atmosphere of the second consecutive sellout of the Manhattan Center. He puts over the history of this match as the crowd is really into the early chain wrestling. Danielson attacks the shoulders right away, because heís a smart champion. The fight spills to the floor where Homicide takes the advantage when he decides not to sell anymore. Back in the ring the Champion regains control until Homicide comes back with three straight suplexes. Homicide goes up to the top rope and Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn come out and beat on Homicide and thatíll be a disqualification. The crowd is PISSED. Julius Smokes comes back and Pearce actually bumps for him. Bobby Cruise tries to make the announcement but Todd Sinclair stops him and does the right thing by declaring that the match canít end this way, and he demands that it be restarted. Danielson comes back and Homicide is on fire now. That doesnít last too long, as Danielson regains control and starts dissecting the shoulder of the challenger. The champion goes for the Diving Headbutt but Homicide catches him with an Ace Crusher instead. He then dumps Danielson outside the ring and hits the Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring Homicide returns the favor by working on the championís shoulder. Danielson comes back and actually hits the Diving Headbutt. They exchange more moves and Danielson gains the advantage and hits the elbows to the face. He follows that with a cross-face chicken wing attempt. He locks it in with the body scissors and it doesnít look good for the challenger. Homicide gets the ropes and Danielson wonít break the hold at five and Sinclair wonít call for the DQ. Homicide comes back with an STF. Homicide tries the Cop Killa but canít hit it. That leads to Danielson putting on Cattle Mutilation. Homicide gets back up and hits the Cop Killa but Danielson just grabs the bottom rope. Homicide goes and gets the ring bell. Sinclair pulls it away from him, which gives Danielson the chance to kick Homicide hard in the nuts and score a small package but Homicide somehow kicks out. He follows that by hitting the Lariat to get the pin and become the eighth ROH World Champion at 30:36. The locker room empties and the crowd is going nuts. Honestly, I have a few gripes about the match, but it was mostly booked so well with lots of cool little stories being told throughout , and it was a suitable end to the best Championship reign in ROH history, so Iíll just overlook my problems with the match, because this one is still a must-see. Danielson shakes the new championís hand and presents him with the belt.
We end the show with a pretty cool video package about Homicideís career in ROH up to this point. Iím not Homicideís biggest fan but this video does show why heís been a very important part in ROH history.
We close with the ad for the Fifth Year Festival.
BG says: It can only go to Homicide.
JZ says: Homicide.
Top 10 Matches of 2006
1. Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA Glory by Honor V Night 2
2. Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong Supercard of Honor
3. Blood Generation vs. Do Fixer Supercard of Honor
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness Unified
5. Blood Generation vs. Generation Next Dragon Gate Challenge
6. Samoa Joe vs. KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson In Your Face
7. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. CIMA & Naruki Doi Better than our Best
8. Team ROH vs. Team CZW Death Before Dishonor V
9. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Bryan Danielson & Jay Lethal Tag Wars 2006
10. Bryan Danielson vs. Alex Shelley Arena Warfare
1. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Unified
2. Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA, Glry by Honor V Night 2
3. Blood Generation vs. Do Fixer, Supercard of Honor
4. Bryan Danielson vs. Alex Shelley, Arena Warfare
5. Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong, Supercard of Honor
6. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, Unified
7. Blood Generation vs. Generation Next, Dragon Gate Challenge
8. Bryan Danielson vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Throwdown
9. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. KENTA & Davey Richards, Honor Reclaims Boston
10. Team ROH vs. Team CZW, Death Before Dishonor IV
The 411: BG says: Only 2 matches dip below ***; one of them is very short and the other one is almost ***. The rest of the show is fantastic and finishes up with a great match and a historic title change. This is a must have for any ROH fan.
JZ says: This is definitely one of the best shows of the year and features a fitting end to the greatest title reign in ROH history. Thereís not much more that needs to be said, just buy this show.