Ring of Honor: Fourth Anniversary Show

Edison, NJ – 2.25.2006

Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

ROH Commissioner Jim Cornette welcomes us to the Fourth Anniversary Show, thanking the fans for supporting the promotion. He is excited to start off the fifth year of ROH and is sad he cannot be in attendance for tonight’s event, but will be checking in throughout the night with some announcements as he gets live updates from the building.

Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro vs. Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze

Just as these teams are shaking hands, “Gimme Back My Bullets” by Lynyrd Skynyrd hits the speakers. The Briscoes make their way out, surprising the live crowd, as it’s their first time in ROH since “Testing The Limit” in August of 2004. Jay says they have returned to ROH to prove they’re the best tag team in the whole damn world, and propose making this tag match a three way dance. They slide into the ring and the match is on.

The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro vs. Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze

Despite both teams attacking the Briscoes as they enter the ring, Jay takes out Mamaluke and Rinauro while Mark handles Blade and Mikaze. The Briscoes double boot Mikaze in the corner, then Mark does a shooting star press onto Mamaluke, Rinauro and Mikaze on the floor. Jay pops Mikaze up into a Death Valley Driver back inside the ring for a two count. Blade sneaks in with an atomic drop on Jay, and Mikaze follows up with a knee strike. Mikaze and Blade take down Jay with a double Japanese armdrag. Mamaluke suffers the same fate. Mamaluke and Rinauro hit some double team offense on Mikaze and take turns wearing him down. Blade dropkicks Rinauro to the Briscoe corner, allowing Mark to tag himself in and blast Blade with a dropkick off the top. He spinwheel kicks Mamaluke before suplexing him right onto his head. Jay nails an incoming Rinauro with a big boot. Blade gives Jay a facebuster but Jay is not the legal man so he cannot be pinned. Mark sneaks in from behind. He and Jay hit a super leg drop/cutthroat driver combo for the pin at 6:32. The crowd was so hot for The Briscoes that the middle portion where they were not included dragged their enjoyment down. Fortunately, the parts of the match where The Briscoes tore the two teams apart ruled. They came in beating two teams, including former tag champions, and pump some new life into the tag team scene right off the bat. This was a great return, but I would’ve loved if the Briscoes were even more dominant in this match. **

Christopher Daniels says BJ Whitmer has been a thorn in his side for the past few months, upset that Daniels didn’t get in touch with his old Prophecy stablemate when he returned to ROH in June. Daniels tells Whitmer the reason he didn’t contact him when he returned to ROH was because he put his hands on Allison Danger at the Third Anniversary show. He wasn’t going to let that go unnoticed, and Daniels will make him pay tonight. Once the camera man calls “cut”, Lacey enters the picture. She says she would be more than happy to tell Daniels all of Whitmer’s weaknesses. Allison Danger wonders why she isn’t more concerned with Jimmy Jacobs. Lacey says that he is off training. Danger thinks maybe Daniels should listen to what Lacey has to say, and off the three of them go.

Adam Pearce vs. Azrieal vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Jay Fury

Pearce easily controls Azrieal in the opening portion of the match, but also is concerned with mocking Claudio in the process. A flurry of offense sends Pearce high tailing it to Claudio for a tag. Claudio has some fun frustrating Azrieal and getting the fans to yell “HEY!” along with him. The fun ends with a top rope dropkick from Fury. Fury sweeps the legs and delivers a spinning senton. Pearce knees Fury in the back as Claudio whips him to the ropes. Claudio and Pearce have a bit of a pissing contest as they keep tagging themselves in and pummeling Fury. Pearce places Fury on the top turnbuckle, and Fury is able to come off the top with a double stomp to drive Pearce into the canvas. Azrieal tags in. He wipes out Pearce with kick and slams, then hits a slingshot senton for two. Pearce stops him with an atomic drop and a lariat. Pearce also knocks Claudio off the apron with a right hand. Fury sends Pearce into an uppercut from Claudio. Azrieal snapmares Claudio into a low dropkick, and Fury breaks the pin. He gives Azrieal a neckbreaker and Pearce turns Fury inside out with a lariat. Claudio uppercuts Pearce as Pearce goes to the top turnbuckle. Fury wipes out Claudio on the floor with corkscrew pescado as Pearce comes off the top with a Superfly Splash to Azrieal for the pin at 11:03. The fans were pretty much only interested in Claudio, and while I liked the interplay between him and Pearce, the rest of the match was pretty uninteresting. **

Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal gets caught attempting a pre-bell sneak attack. Joe makes him pay for it with a flurry of chops, but a running knee from Lethal sends Joe outside and Lethal follows with a suicide dive. He whips Joe into the barricades before taking him back into the ring and doing further damage to his neck. This helps Lethal when he knees Joe in the head to stop a vertical suplex, which provides the opportunity for Lethal to then choke Joe with the bottom rope. Joe is able to escape a grounded headscissors, but Lethal drags him outside and sends him head first into the barricades. Joe pulls down Lethal by his leg when Lethal tries a leapfrog, then nails Lethal with a running knee for two. Joe successfully gives Lethal a delayed vertical suplex. Lethal is able to counter the STJoe with a roll-up into a neckbreaker for two. Joe fights out of a Dragon suplex, but Lethal takes him down with a snap powerslam for two. Joe cuts off a springboard move from Lethal with an atomic drop. He follows that with a Sick Kick and senton splash for two. Joe powerbombs Lethal into an STF until Lethal gets the ropes. Lethal goes to Joe’s eyes to escape a Muscle Buster. He impressively gives Joe a running suplex and a diving headbutt for two. Lethal tries another running suplex. This time, Joe places Lethal on the top turnbuckle, hits him with a jumping enzuigiri, then drops Lethal with the Muscle Buster for the pin at 14:20. I think the story of Lethal working over Joe’s neck and back was smart and logical, but it made the pacing of the match a bit slow. Things did pick up quite a bit in the second half, but even still, it lacked an intensity the crowd (and myself) expected. Lethal would soon be gone, which is a shame because it felt like he was just getting into the groove of his new persona, but quite truthfully this whole feud didn’t do much for him anyhow. ***

A phenomenal highlight video plays covering the first six months of the Fourth Year of ROH, including: the Rottweilers winning the first Trios tournament, the CM Punk and Jimmy Rave feud, the return of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, the Summer of Punk, the debut of Matt Hardy, and James Gibson’s incredible string of matches that ended with him winning the World Championship.

Christopher Daniels vs. BJ Whitmer

Both Allison Danger and Lacey are in Daniels’ corner. An aggressive lock-up ends with Whitmer getting in a cheap shot on Daniels in the corner and taking him down with a high knee for two. A series of Irish whip reversals sees Whitmer sent chest first into the turnbuckles. Whitmer kicks Daniels’ recently injured knee. Angry, Daniels tackles and pummels Whitmer before sending him over the top rope with a clothesline. He then uses a steel chair on Whitmer’s back, which sends him into the crowd. Whitmer throws a chair into Daniels’ head from the crowd. As the two of them are brawling amongst the people, Chris Hero and a slew of CZW allies rush the ring. Hero begins to sing “Happy Birthday” as the CZW contingent keeps everyone trying to interject from doing so. Hero says he is here to ruin ROH’s birthday. As Pearce enters the ring successfully and tackles Hero, the bell rings at 5:20 to officially end the match in a No Contest. I appreciate that they wanted to address the two former Prophecy members being in the company once again, but it was a half-baked premise at best and a match I was totally fine with serving as a backdrop for a CZW angle.

Whitmer gets in a fight with Necro Butcher in the ring as other members of the ROH and CZW groups brawl. Hero ends up the last man standing in the ring and says nobody can stop him. Enter Samoa Joe. Confetti falls from the sky as he and Hero fight. Joe puts Hero in the Coquina Clutch. Necro Butcher comes to his aid, but Joe quickly takes care of him as well. The CZW crew heads for higher ground as the ROH roster stands tall in the ring. As everyone disperses, The Briscoes attack Austin Aries, one-half of the tag team champions. Roderick Strong notices and fights off the Briscoes, and then the rest of the roster breaks them up before things get too severe.

Just as things have settled and everyone is leaving, Colt Cabana emerges from backstage, pummeling Homicide down the ramp, into the crowd, and around ringside. When Cabana brings Homicide into the ring, their scheduled match officially begins.

Ghetto Street Fight
Colt Cabana vs. Homicide

Julius Smoke is in Homicide’s corner. Homicide hits a jumping back elbow. Cabana delivers a boot and reigns down punches on Homicide. Homicide dropkicks Cabana to the floor and throws him head first into the barricades. Cabana jabs Homicide in the mid-section with a chair. Homicide shoves Cabana into the ring post and again sends him head first into the barricades. Homicide throws a chair at Cabana who is now busted open. Homicide throws a barricade sheet onto him as well. Homicide then sets the metal barricade sheet in the corner back in the ring. Julius Smokes hands Homicide a razor that he digs into Cabana’s head before whipping him into the barricade sheet. Cabana throws some chops but gets promptly poked in the eyes. Homicide misses a corner splash, allowing Cabana to hit the Flying Asshole. Homicide elbows Cabana and hits a tornado DDT. Cabana refuses to tap out in an arm-capture half crab. Homicide misses a diving headbutt. Homicide slips out of the Colt .45 but eats a clothesline. Cabana put on a modified straightjacket choke. He releases and heads up to the top turnbuckle. Cabana misses a moonsault and Homicide hits a lariat. Homicide puts Cabana in a Camel Clutch. Julius Smokes then tosses Homicide a coat hanger which he uses to choke Cabana. Even though Cabana refuses to give up, referee Todd Sinclair mercifully calls for the bell at 11:15. Homicide and Smokes are celebrating in the aisle when Cabana grabs the microphone. He says he never gave up and that Homicide better kill him if he wants the match to end. He re-starts the match, ringing the bell himself. In disbelief, Homicide heads back to the ring and gives Cabana an Ace Crusher. Homicide goes for the Cop Killer but Cabana drives Homicide’s shoulder to the mat to block it. Cabana bites and claws at Homicide’s shoulder. Julius Smokes distracts Cabana so Homicide can smack him in the back with a chair. Smokes, Homicide and Ricky Reyes tape Cabana in the corner so that he is helpless. Homicide throws a chair at him and slaps him across the face. Sinclair once again calls for the bell at 4:10 after Homicide throws the chair a second time. Cabana grabs the microphone once he is freed. He tells Homicide to come back and finish him off. Cabana fights of Smokes and Homicide. He and Homicide fight on the apron until Smokes pours a bottle of rubbing alcohol onto the open wounds on Cabana’s head. Homicide piledrives Cabana through the timekeeper’s table and the bell is called for again at 1:08, officially putting this match to rest. Restarts can really halt a story’s momentum, but it worked here. It brought the feud to the next level, with Cabana taking severe punishment but refusing to give up, which both bewildered and angered his rival. Homicide on the other hand looked like a monster who was happy to give Cabana the beating they kept asking for. ***½

We go back to Jim Corrnette in his office who was informed of the CZW intrusion. He is sick of CZW’s garbage wrestlers trying to make their name off the back of the real wrestlers in ROH. He lets us know that he picked up a genuine Louisville Slugger baseball bat to protect himself after the riot that broke out last month in Dayton. He warns CZW that ROH has banded together, and if it’s war they want, it’s a war they have got. He promises he will be there in Chicago WrestleMania weekend to handle any CZW intruders himself.

ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Rave

Danielson has been champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his twelfth defense. Prince Nana is in Rave’s corner. After wrestling to a stalemate, Rave pie faces Danielson. Rave also fights out of Danielson’s grasp on the mat. Danielson pie faces Rave after another exchange. Rave stomps on his face. Danielson gets right up and snapmares him into a back kick. Danielson key locks Rave’s legs and snaps back a few times to apply pressure. Rave throws some chops in multiple corners. He stomps Danielson down. Danielson grabs his boot trying for the surfboard. Rave escapes before it can be applied. He puts on his own surfboard with a chinlock. Danielson escapes and puts on a straightjacket choke. Rave reverses it. He fires away with chops and strikes in the corner and chokes Danielson with his boot. Danielson uppercuts him from the second rope. He hits a slingshot suplex for two. Rave nails a spear and a twisting neckbreaker. Danielson puts Rave in a surfboard with a chinlock. He stands on Rave’s face. Rave hangs Danielson face first on the top rope. He kicks him in the face which sends him to the floor. Rave sends him into the barricades and clubs on Danielson’s back. Rave puts him in the Cattle Mutilation back in the ring. After releasing, Nana sneaks in a cheap shot from the floor. Rave re-applies the Cattle Mutilation after a superplex. Danielson reaches the ropes. He hops out of the corner and connects with a tornado kick. Danielson wins a strike exchange with an enzuigiri. He nails a diving headbutt. Rave kicks out. When Rave fights off a double underhook, Danielson German suplexes him for two. Rave comes back with a Saito suplex. He goes for the Doppler Effect. Danielson trips him into an Achilles Lock. Rave fires back with punches to the face. He puts Danielson into a sleeper. Danielson is able to fire up and reverse it into the Cattle Mutilation. With Rave now busted open but unwilling to quit, Danielson takes Rave to the top turnbuckle. He brings him down with the superplex. Rave somehow kicks out, so Danielson re-applies the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson gives him a Tiger suplex. Prince Nana pulls referee Todd Sinclair out of the ring before he can make a three count. Danielson takes him out with a suicide dive. He comes back in with a springboard move but gets caught mid-air by Rave’s spear. Rave hits Ghanarhea and the Doppler Effect for two. He calls for the Pedigree. Danielson escapes and knocks Rave down with a forearm. He gets two with a Regalplex. Danielson drives his elbow repeatedly into Rave’s face until Sinclair stops the match at 32:05. This was an awesome character study for Rave as the match incorporated all of his best elements: cowardice, move thievery, as well as some clever and well crafted maneuvers. Nana only came into play once during the match and it was very effective. Aside from his feud with Nigel, this is probably the best Rave ever looked in ROH, and this is an underlooked bout from Danielson’s title run. ***¾

A second highlight video plays covering moments of the latter half of ROH’s fourth year, including the debut of CIMA, Nigel McGuinness winning the Pure Championship, Bryan Danielson winning the World Championship, Joe vs. Kobashi, the Generation Next vs. Embassy feud, the ROH debuts of KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji, Chris Hero’s debut, The Embassy winning the 2006 Trios Tournament, and CM Punk returning for one night only at “Unscripted II.”

Jack Evans vs. Ricky Reyes

Julius Smokes is in Reyes’ corner. This match is an extension of the rivalry between ROH Dojo trainer Austin Aries and Reyes who has been abusing ROH Dojo graduates in matches. Reyes turns down Evans’ handshake and pounds on him. Evans moonsault dropkicks Reyes to the outside and follows with a springboard 450 splash. Back in the ring, Reyes weaves Evans into a Saito suplex. Evans continues to take a beating. He flubs a Frankensteiner which the commentators cleverly cover up as jet lag. Reyes powerbombs Evans, then Evans spikes Reyes with a Frankensteiner when Reyes tries it a second time. A back handspring elbow and a springboard knee to the back of the head follow for two. Evans spin kicks Reyes in the back of the head. Evans damn near kills himself with a moonsault senton to the floor, crashing head and neck first into the exposed floor. Reyes powerbombs Evans back in the ring three times, and yet Evans still gets his shoulder up. Reyes stops Evans on the top turnbuckle. Reyes gives him a hanging DDT and then locks on the Dragon Sleeper to get the submission victory at 7:58. The scary as hell Evans dive and the moments that followed were far and away the most exciting portions of the bout. Otherwise it was mostly filler (shout out to Willow Rosenberg.) *½

ROH World Tag Team Championship
Generation Next (Austin Aries & Roderick Strong) vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal

Aries & Strong have been champions since 12.17.2005 and this is their third defense. Sydal and Strong end up in a stalemate during the opening exchange. Styles tags in and controls Strong by his wrist. Their exchange ends with an armdrag. Aries tags in and keeps Styles locked into a side headlock. When it goes to the mat, Styles puts on a headscissors. Aries pops out, but Styles rolls back to avoid a dropkick. The aggression picks up as chops are thrown between the combatants, and Sydal comes in to stomp Aries down. Sydal gets a two count after a hip toss Falcon Arrow. Aries chops Styles back to his corner and tags in Strong. He and Aries wear down Styles in their half of the ring. Even when Styles has an opening to tag, he goes for a dive instead and it backfires. When he gets a second chance after a Pele Kick, he makes no hesitation to tag in Sydal. Sydal takes out both of his Generation Next partners with relative ease. Styles even assists by sweeping Strong’s legs so Sydal can deliver a standing moonsault. Sydal dropkicks Strong to the floor. Aries stops him from taking a dive, but Styles does land a pescado successfully. Aries sends Styles into the entrance aisle with the Heat-Seeking Missile. Sydal then moonsaults to the floor after Aries and Strong. Styles and Sydal take control of Strong back in the ring. Strong chops Sydal when Sydal goes for an O’Conner Roll. Aries tags in and dropkicks both Sydal and Styles, and the Powerdrive elbow on Sydal earns him a two count. Sydal puts Aries in a torture rack until Strong makes the save. Styles gives Aries and Strong the Phenomenon at the same time. Aries then eats a gamengiri and enzuigiri, but Strong prevents him from being pinned. Strong also dropkicks Styles to stop his attempted springboard maneuver. Strong also gives Sydal a torture rack backbreaker for two. Styles comes in and ends up taking the Hart Attack. Strong pops up Sydal for the Death by Roderick. Aries gets two with a brainbuster. Styles catches Aries with a belly-to-back suplex. Sydal’s shooting star press only gets two due to Aries putting his foot on the ropes. Strong Sick Kicks Styles when he goes for the Styles Clash on Aries. Aries saves Strong from Sydal’s Here It Is Driver. The half-nelson backbreaker/450 splash combo earns Generation Next the win at 23:11. This was really entertaining, filled with exciting offense that flowed and got progressively more exciting as the bout went on. Styles and Sydal were a pretty underrated team, even if they only had a handful of matches together. It’s really cool this match got the main event spot of the Anniversary show, and both teams delivered. ****

After the match, The Briscoes attack all four men as they are about to shake hands. They put down Strong with a spike Jay Driller before Aries chases them off. Jay says they’re going to take the tag belts back.

The show then ends with a shot of Christopher Daniels standing outside of the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia.

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