Ring of Honor: Redemption

Dayton, OH – 8.12.2005

Championship Rundown
World Champion: CM Punk
Pure Champion: Samoa Joe
Tag Team Champions: BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs

Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak and Lenny Leoanrd.

James Gibson says he has his fourth opportunity at the ROH World Championship tonight, but he has to go through three other people in order to be victorious. He’s got unfinished business with CM Punk, and has every intention of leaving Dayton with the title.

Generation Next are outside and shirtless. Austin Aries says their goal when they formed was to take the top spots in ROH, and it is a goal they’ve achieved. Right now, they find themselves short on troops in their war against the Embassy, as Jack Evans is nursing injuries. Because of this, they have recruited Matt Sydal. Sydal says he found out the hard way how valuable back-up can be when he was blindsided by Fast Eddie and The Embassy back in February. That continuity rules.

Ace Steel vs. Delirious vs. Matt Stryker vs. Sterling James Keenan

Delirious runs around the ring after the bell rings. As Stryker holds Steel in a headscissors, Keenan grounds Delirious when Delirious re-enters the ring and puts on his own headscissors. Stryker and Steel then put them in side headlocks which are quickly escaped. A series of attacks leaves Delirious as the last man standing, but he retreated under the ring when confronted by Steel. Stryker turns Keenan inside out with a lariat for two. Keenan inadvertently breaks up Stryker’s Trailer Hitch on Delirious when Steel gives him a neck snap and Keenan falls on top of them. Stryker has Steel pinned with a quebrada but Delirious breaks it up. Keenan takes out Delirious and Stryker with a wacky double slam, then hits Steel with a Go 2 Sleep. Stryker wipes out Keenan with a diving neckbreaker. Delirious sends Stryker to the floor and hits Shadows Over Hell on Steel for two. Steel manages a super Doctor Bomb on Delirious for the pin at 5:23. This was a fun, energetic match to kick off the show and shine a light on some talent who usually are only seen in the Midwest. **

Christopher Daniels says tonight is a battle between his destiny and his history. He thought that in Philadelphia, his history would take a backseat to his destiny, but it didn’t work out that way. At the end of the match, he had no title, no glory, and an unfulfilled destiny. He says Punk is out of his mind if he thinks he will allow him to leave Dayton as champion. He was in the same World Title scenario before, with four men all vying for the title, all the way back at “Crowning A Champion.” He says that Joe and Gibson will not be a factor in the match. Punk can pray for mercy, but he will not get it. Daniels’ destiny will be fulfilled tonight.

Colt Cabana vs. Spanky

Cabana tickles Spanky’s buttocks to get Spanky to release a side headlock. After trading wristlocks, Spanky takes down Cabana with a Japanese armdrag, but Cabana surprises him by popping up and snapping off his own armdrag. After criss-crossing the ropes, Spanky drops down and Cabana kicks him in the keister. Spanky needs a time out to catch his breath during a second criss-cross. Cabana avoids a leg drop, gives Spanky an atomic drop, and sends him to the floor with a hip attack. Cabana follows him with a tomahawk chop off of the apron. Cabana does not appreciate the chop to the chest Spanky gives him back in the ring. Spanky offers an apology handshake, turning that into an Irish whip. Cabana do-si-do’s with the referee and schoolboys Spanky for two. He also gets two with a folding press. Spanky nails a leg lariat and tornado DDT for two. After a Complete Shot, Spanky goes to the top turnbuckle. He hits a frog splash, but Cabana pulls him over, pinning him for a two count. Spanky kicks Cabana, who nails an enzuigiri in response. He superkicks Spanky after ducking a clothesline. Spanky whips Cabana to the corner. Cabana ducks his attack, sweeps Spanky off of his feet, and locks Spanky in a European Clutch for the pin at 8:25. This was a wonderful mix of humor and wrestling that didn’t overstay its welcome. The finishing sequence showcases that Cabana did indeed pick up some tricks during his excursion to England. With the heaviness the title scene has brought to these shows, I welcome levity. ***

Speaking of the World title scene, CM Punk makes his way to the ring in a pink button up short sleeve shirt and black slacks. Spanky asks for a World title match against Punk before Punk leaves the company, and the crowd does not get behind Spanky’s request. Punk informs Spanky that this weekend is the end for him in ROH, and while Spanky will be wrestling on Velocity, Punk will be on RAW, so they won’t cross paths in WWE either. Spanky leaves, presumably to get some aloe for that burn. Punk then takes full credit for ROH returning to Dayton, as his match with Joe at “World Title Classic” kept fans coming back. He built ROH, and he’s taking it with him when he leaves for WWE as ROH World Champion.

ROH Tag Team Championship
BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer

Whitmer and Jacobs have been champions since 7.23.2005 and this is the first defense of their second reign. McGuinness makes light of Jacobs’ height until Jacobs slaps him in the face twice and with chops and forearms. The champions keep on top of Collyer until Collyer Hot Shots Jacobs. Whitmer saves Jacobs from pin attempts as McGuinness and Collyer wear him down. Whitmer interjects so often that McGuinness and Collyer decide to use Jacobs as a human weapon on Whitmer. McGuinness and Collyer look for a Doomsday maneuver. Whitmer shoves Collyer off the top rope and spears McGuinness. He then tags himself in after hip tossing Jacobs to his corner. Whitmer uses Jacobs as a weapon against both McGuinness and Collyer. Collyer avoids a Doomsday Frankensteiner and German suplexes Jacobs. McGuinness drops Jacobs with the Tower of London, and Jacobs is able to get his furry boot on the bottom rope to stop the pin. Whitmer rescues Jacobs from a sunset bomb. Jacobs hits a Doomsday Shiranui on Collyer for the pin at 10:49. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to McGuiness and Collyer getting this match, so while all the wrestling was solid, and I appreciated that they changed up the tag team formula a little bit, there wasn’t something meaningful to sink your teeth into. As far as inconsequential title matches go, it was quite good. **¾

Samoa Joe says he dedicated 21 months of his life to the ROH World Championship. In just two months, Punk disrespected all the hard work he put into building that title. Not only will he end Punk’s championship reign, but Punk himself.

Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Matt Sydal) vs. The Embassy (Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley & Abyss)

Sydal will officially become a member of Generation Next if they win the match. Abyss is a hired gun for The Embassy. This is his first ROH match, although he did appear with Special K back at “The Battle Lines Are Drawn.” Daizee Haze, Sydal’s manager, is in the corner of Generation Next, and Prince Nana is in the corner of the Embassy. Strong stretches Rave’s back out across his knee. He chops Rave which causes him to tag in Shelley immediately. Strong grabs hold of his arm and tags in Aries. He and Strong give Shelley the Hart Attack for one. Aries connects with a back elbow from the second rope. He then slingshots in with a twisting splash and a quebrada. He fishhooks Shelley’s mouth while applying an arm submission. He tags in Sydal after a Finlay Roll. Sydal comes in with a cannonball leg drop for two. Shelley suplexes Sydal and tags in Abyss. Sydal is able to avoid his offense until Abyss tosses him up in the air. He misses a corner charge and Gen Next all attack Abyss in the corner. Abyss press slams Aries onto Sydal. This allows The Embassy to isolate Sydal in their corner. Sydal legdrops Shelley into the mat and dropkicks Rave out of mid-air as he attempts a crossbody. Aries tags in and gets two on Shelley with the Powerdrive elbow. Abyss low bridges the top rope to bring Aries to the floor and rams his back into the ring and chest into the barricades. Rave and Shelley take turns targeting Aries’ back and midsection in their half of the ring. Todd Sinclair is tied up with the Embassy when Aries makes a tag to Strong, so it doesn’t count. Aries gets another tag after ducking Rave’s Doppler Effect. Shelley takes a few backbreakers while Strong chops up Rave. Abyss is too big for a gut buster, and he ends up German suplexing Strong. Aries and Sydal dropkick Abyss to assist Strong with his own German suplex. Strong then Sick Kicks Abyss to the floor. Sydal hits a standing moonsault onto Shelley. Aries then sends him into the barricades with a Heat-Seeking Missile. Sydal moonsaults onto Abyss on the floor. Rave spears Strong and sets him up for the Rave Clash. Aries puts a stop to it, and Strong gives Rave a half-nelson backbreaker. Aries follows that up with a 450 splash for the pin at 16:52. That was a really energetic, fast-paced match that set the tone for the rivalry between the two groups. ***¾

Abyss takes out his aggression by laying out Strong with the Shock Treatment and Aries with the Black Hole Slam. Sydal gets in a few shots before he also succumbs to the Black Hole Slam.

Intermission sees Dave Prazak interviewing two students from the second class of the ROH Wrestling School. Abyss goozles them both and takes them off screen. You hear them getting beaten down as Prince Nana proclaims The Embassy as the top faction in ROH. Shelley says although it may seem like things are even between The Embassy and Generation Next, the Embassy will ultimately prevail.

Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki

Lethal goes for the Dragon Suplex right off the bat, so Ki bails to the outside. He gets in a few chops when he comes back in, but bails again when Lethal nails a leg lariat. Lethal suicide dives after him, sending Ki up the aisle. Ki pulls the referee in the way when Lethal looks to come back in the ring after him, and the distraction enables Ki to dropkick Lethal off of the apron and into the barricades. Ki does some damage around ringside. Lethal avoids a double stomp and rolls up Ki for two, and Ki mows down Lethal with a clothesline after kicking out. He gets two on Lethal with a Muta elbow drop and a face first slam from off of his shoulders. Lethal uses the ropes to reverse a waistlock and gives Ki a release German suplex. After a chop exchange, Lethal gives Ki a running vertical suplex. A diving headbutt follows for two. Lethal puts Ki in a full nelson, looking for a Dragon suplex. Ki grabs the referee’s shirt to block his attempt. Ki knocks down Lethal before putting him in a tree of woe. Ki nails the Ghetto Stomp, but Lethal grabs the bottom rope to save himself from being pinned. Once again Lethal tries a Dragon Suplex. Ki tosses him off through the floor, and Lethal ends up on the timekeeper’s table. Ki goes for the double stomp through the table. Lethal moves and Ki’s legs crash through the table instead. They fight into the bleachers. They end up shoving referee Bruce Grey who throws out the match at 15:56. That ending was very unsatisfying, but the fight leading up to it was really cool. ***

Homicide jumps Lethal from behind. He and Ki beat down Lethal until Matt Hardy, Homicide’s opponent for the evening, runs out and tosses Homicide to the floor. Lethal and Ki fight backstage. Hardy then eggs on Homicide to start their match now.

Matt Hardy vs. Homicide

After a fairly even start, Homicide pokes Hardy in the eyes so he can stomp him down in the corner and choke him with his boots. He takes down Hardy with a headscissors. Hardy stops a second headsicssors attempt with a side slam. Hardy chokes and overhand chops Homicide as revenge for his earlier corner attack. Homicide pulls down Hardy by his right knee, and Hardy grabs the ropes before Homicide can cinch in a grapevine ankle lock. Homicide drop toe holds Hardy to the floor and follows with a cannonball suicida. Hardy is able to get in a couple strikes ringside, but Homicide kicks the middle rope into his crotch as he is re-entering the ring. Homicide takes him down with a neckbreaker and hits a diving headbutt for two. Homicide spikes Hardy with a swinging DDT for two. Hardy manages to place Homicide on the top turnbuckle and take him down with a superplex. Hardy clotheslines Homicide in the corner, then brings him out with a running bulldog. He locks Homicide in a double underhook guillotine, but Homicide gets the ropes to escape. Hardy hits a Side Effect for two. Homicide follows Hardy to the top turnbuckle. Hardy throws him down and hits a second rope legdrop. Homicide counters a Twist of Fate into a Northern Lights suplex. Homicide takes off his elbow pad before delivering a lariat for two. Homicide goes for the Cop Killa. Hardy shoves Homicide to the ropes. He wants the Twist of Fate, but Homicide instead pulls Hardy into an Ace Crusher. Homicide jumps to the second turnbuckle when he’s whipped into the corner. Hardy swoops in from behind and brings Homicide down with a sit-out Razor’s Edge for two. Low Ki distracts Hardy momentarily, surreptitiously placing a chain in the ring. Homicide gives Hardy an exploder suplex. Jay Lethal runs out to neutralize Ki. Lethal and Homicide get in a tug of war over the chair. Lethal lets go, which sends Homicide tumbling back into a schoolboy from Hardy to get Hardy the pin at 17:37. The split crowd gave this match a really fun atmosphere. I was a bit surprised they had as good of chemistry as they did and thus produced a totally solid match. Interference aiding Hardy in both of his wins just to salvage the ROH homegrowns losing is understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less irksome. ***

A video package precedes the main event, showcasing CM Punk’s title win over Austin Aries, and the quest of James Gibson, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe to prevent him from leaving ROH and going to WWE with the title.

ROH World Championship; Elimination Match
CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels vs. James Gibson vs. Samoa Joe

Punk has been champion since 6.18.2005 and this is his fifth defense. Jimmy Bower joins commentary. Given the circumstances of “The Homecoming” it is worth noting that if this match goes the time limit, even if Punk is eliminated, he will remain the champion. Punk and Gibson trade holds to start. When Punk sends Gibson tumbling with a shoulder block, Daniels blind tags himself in, much to Gibson’s chagrin. The pace picks up as Punk and Daniels are determined to match one another when exaching holds. Joe requests to be tagged in, and Daniels fulfills the request. Gibson nor Daniels will allow Punk to tag out. Joe dumps Punk on his head with a Saito suplex, but Punk rolls outside to avoid Joe’s knee drop combo. Gibson however attacks Punk with a cannonball senton off of the apron. Punk slips through Joe’s legs and tags in Daniels. Daniels is determined to wear down Joe in a side headlock, but when Joe escapes twice, Daniels decides to tag out to Gibson. Despite Joe taking most of their exchange, Gibson avoids a senton splash and gives Joe one of his own. Joe dazes Gibson with a knee strike to the side of the head and tags in Daniels. Gibson works over Daniels’ left arm. Punk blind tags himself in when Gibson has Daniels in a hammerlock. Daniels and Gibson manage to take Punk down with a double hip toss. All three opponents get in their shots on Punk, leaving the champion dazed ringside. Daniels does some damage to Punk’s neck. Punk slaps Joe in the face to tag out. Joe focuses his anger on taking Daniels down and delivering the facewash kick. Punk tags himself in, then mocks Joe by hitting the same combo Joe attempted to hit him with earlier, but instead of a knee drop delivers an elbow drop. Punk gets Daniels in an Anaconda Vise in the ropes. Joe facewash kicks Punk while he is vulnerable, getting revenge for all the taunting. After Gibson tosses Punk back into the ring, Punk wears down Daniels’ back. When Punk tries to mimic Joe’s “Ole” kick, Joe stands in his trajectory. Punk re-enters the ring and continues to attack Daniels’ back and neck. Daniels gets his knees up to block a split-legged moonsault. He drops Punk with an STO. Gibson tags in. He gets in some offense on Punk, but ends up accidentally knocking Joe off the ring apron. Gibson backdrops Punk to the floor and follows with a pescado. Daniels hits an Arabian Press onto them both. Finally, Joe lays out all three of his opponents with an elbow suicida.

In the ring, Joe sends Gibson shoulder first into the ring post. Punk nails Gibson with a chair behind referee Todd Sinclair’s back, slamming Gibson’s head into the ring post! Gibson is busted open. He wants to get back in the ring, but several referees take him backstage instead. Joe wins a battle of hamstring kicks against Punk. Joe then powerslams Punk for two. Punk comes back with a Pepsi Twist and crooked moonsault or two. Daniels almost has Punk pinned with an O’Connor Roll. He then drops Punk with a Death Valley Driver. Punk evades a BME and hits Welcome to Chicago, Mother Fucker for two. A second BME lands. Punk however kicks out and tags in Joe. Joe boots and powerbomb Daniels before locking him in an STF. Daniels uses the ropes to escape. He Samoan drops Joe and hits a quebrada for two. Daniels then pulls Joe into the Koji Clutch. Joe’s arm almost drops for a third time, but he does get his foot on the rope to save himself. Joe avoids the Angels Wings. He gets Daniels in a rear naked choke. Daniels had his foot on the ropes, but Todd Sinclair doesn’t see it, and Punk shoves Daniels foot off the ropes before he can. Daniels passes out and is eliminated at 41:04. Daniels comes to and is not happy. Joe holds Punk in a waistlock. Daniels looks to give Punk a enzuigiri, but he ducks and Daniels hits Joe with it instead. Punk low blows Daniels. Punk then small packages and pins Joe at 42:07. Joe and Daniels fight ringside, not happy that they more or less both eliminated one another from the match. Joe gets his leg cut on the guardrail as referees split them up. The crowd chants for James Gibson, who commentary tells us is at the hospital across the street. Gibson then makes his way back out to the ring, with blood still on his forehead. Punk throws him outside to stop an onslaught of punches, but Gibson comes right back in with a high crossbody for two. Punk catches a running crossbody attempt and drops Gibson with a TKO. Gibson dropkicks Punk’s knee, but once again Punk tosses him to the floor. Gibson crotches Punk on the barricades and slams his leg against the barricade with a chair. Despite this, Punk is able to manage a super Frankensteiner in the ring. Gibson rolls through and locks on a cloverleaf. Punk reaches the ropes to force a break of the hold. Punk pops Gibson up, sending him crashing to the mat. Punk hits the Shining Wizard for two, then pulls Gibson into the Anaconda Vise. Gibson gets his feet on the ropes to escape. He pulls Punk into a crucifix pin for two. He reverses a whip into a kick to the stomach and drops Punk with a Tiger Driver. The crowd boos Punk when he kicks out at two. Punk pulls Gibson to the top turnbuckle for the Pepsi Plunge. Gibson however reverses it into a super Tiger Driver, pinning Punk and becoming the new ROH World Champion at 50:39. The amount of joy and relief felt by Gibson is palpable. A huge smile comes across his face as the babyface locker room and Gibson’s wife comes out to celebrate.

This title change was a very gratifying end to Punk’s short yet incredibly impactful title reign. Given that he was never able to defeat Joe during Joe’s reign as champion made it logical for him to avoid him at all costs. He also wasn’t able to defeat Daniels in their match at “The Homecoming”, which is why he also attempted to avoid him as well, albeit to a lesser extent than Joe, and thus hoped to run out the clock once again. He did however defeat Gibson at “Fate of An Angel”, so he was fine getting in the ring with him. In that match, Gibson subverted the Pepsi Plunge. While in that match he did so with a backdrop, here it was a super Tiger Driver, and that is what it took to finally unseat the man who kept threatening to take the title with him. Gibson was also busted open by Punk in their previous title match, but in this scenario, two other people also worked to wear down Punk, making it somewhat less of an obstacle that Gibson had to fight back from. On top of that, this match finally got Punk his pinfall victory over Joe, and reignited Joe and Daniels issue with one another. Suffice it to say, there was a lot to love in this match. While it probably didn’t need to be 50 minutes, and there is an argument to be made that perhaps Daniels should’ve won this match instead, the crowd response to Gibson winning and his tremendous celebration erased any doubts I had that he was not the “right” choice. All four parties put in a tremendous effort and produced something really special. ****½

Spanky playfully tells Gibson he can’t wait to get that first title shot, brother. Gibson celebrates with a Coors Light as the fans chant “match of the year.” If only they knew what was coming October 1st. Gibson thanks the fans and puts over the locker room. Gibson even thanks Punk, shaking his hand. Punk and Gibson embrace in the aisleway, and then Punk exits with Ace Steel and Colt Cabana by his side.

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