Ring of Honor: Arena Warfare

Edison, NJ – 3.11.2006

Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

The show begins where the Fourth Anniversary Show ended – Christopher Daniels outside of the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, the site of the first ROH show and most of their shows in 2002. He talks about the memories and moments made in that building, but also how fans would constantly ask when ROH was going to run the ECW Arena, which is just five blocks away from the Murphy Rec Center. The rest of the promo takes place inside of a car where Daniels is being driven. He says it may be called something else and look different today, but the ECW Arena is still the same building where wrestlers made a name for themselves and some of the biggest moments in wrestling have taken place. Many companies have tried to fill the shoes of ECW, but nobody has been able to do so. Four years after ROH first opened their doors, they will step up to the plate. They will bring their brand of wrestling to the ECW Arena and leave their mark. They finally arrive outside the ECW Arena (then known as the New Alhambra) on the corner of Swanson and Ritner. Daniels says today ROH takes a shot at making their own legacy in the ECW Arena.

#1 Contendership for the ROH World Tag Team Championship; Scramble Match
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Rottweilers (Homicide & Ricky Reyes) vs. The Ring Crew Express (Dunn & Marcos) vs. Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze

Julius Smokes and Grim Reefer are in the corner of the Rottweilers. Blade and Mikaze get the better of the Ring Crew Express in the opening moments of the match. Blade knocks down Homicide with a dropkick, and Homicide comes back with a leaping back elbow. He pulls Blade crotch first into a ring post and Reyes dropkicks Blade on the top of his forehead. Blade and Mikaze come back when Mark is tagged in, taking him down with a double Japanese armdrag. Mark catches Mikaze coming off the ropes with a uranage suplex. Jay unleashes an onslaught of offense on Mikaze but can’t keep him down. Mark himself gets a two count with a slingshot double stomp, and Mikaze tags in Reyes. Both Rottweilers come to take down Mark, but Mark sends them outside with a double springboard clothesline. Mikaze, Dunn, and Blade all stop Mark from landing dives and do it themselves, until Mark finally gets the chance to moonsault onto everyone. He spinwheel kicks Reyes back inside the ring. Reyes unleashes a series of knees and kicks before dumping Mark on his head with a pump-handle suplex. Jay demolishes Reyes with a big boot and Blockbuster. Jay belly-to-belly suplexes Homicide off the middle rope. Marcos shoves Jay to the floor and crossbody’s Homicide. Blade and Mikaze hit a version of Ticket to Mayhem on Marcos, and an elbow drop from Dunn stops their pin attempt. They hit a tandem electric chair drop, but the Briscoes interject their pin. Dunn is laid out with a springboard Doomsday Device. Reyes ducks a big boot from Jay and pulls him down into a Dragon Sleeper. Mark jumps in just as Jay is losing oxygen. Homicide assists Reyes with a super powerbomb on Mark, and Jay stops their pin just in time. Homicide lariats Jay as he tries the Jay Driller on Reyes. Marcos tries an Irish Whip. Homicide reverses it into the Cop Killa for the pin at 11:55. This was a fun, energetic way to start the show. I think it was wise to not give the Briscoes the tag title shot right away and let that story percolate. Besides, the Arena crowd was into seeing The Rottweilers get the win. ***

BJ Whitmer makes his way to the ring. He’s pissed that the CZW contingent interrupted his big match with Christopher Daniels at the Fourth Anniversary Show. Because of this, he now takes the rivalry against CZW personally, and challenges Necro Butcher to a fight right now. Butcher does not come out, so Whitmer goes to the back, possibly to find Necro himself.

Roderick Strong vs. Jimmy Yang

These are the two top World title contenders, and the winner of this match will be the next challenger for the World title. The opening exchange ends with Strong nailing Yang with a leg lariat. Strong also gets the better of a chop exchange, though Yang dropkicks Strong to the floor and follows with an Asai moonsault. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker turngs things back in Strong’s favor. Strong wears down Yang’s back and lights him up with chops. Yang is able to get Strong to the corner, but when he attempts a follow up attack, he ends up driving his own shoulder into the ring post and falling to the floor. Strong drops Yang onto the barricades before bringing back in the ring and landing a slingshot splash for two. Yang is able to nail a spinwheel kick and catch his breath. He also lands a second spin kick off the second turnbuckle and gets a two count. Strong takes him down with a uranage backbreaker for two. Yang armdrags out of a half-nelson backbreaker and hits a third spinwheel kick on Strong for two. Yang Tiger walks up Strong in the corner, but when he lands on his feet, Strong drills him with a Sick Kick for two. Death by Roderick gets Strong another two count. Yang stops another corner attack and moonsault presses onto Strong for two. Yang tries a bodyscissors takedown to bring Strong off the top turnbuckle, but Strong instead maneuvers Yang into a Boston Crab. Yang taps out at 12:52. Some of this match got to be a bit of a slog with its repetitiveness, and the detached audience did not help. It was a solid win for Strong en route to challenging for the World Championship again, but not a very memorable or exciting match in and of itself. **½

Colt Cabana tells us he is in a Three Way Dance main event tonight, the match type that put the ECW Arena on the map. Unfortunately, his mind is focused on Homicide, and if ROH won’t sanction another match between them, he challenges Homicide to a fight after the show. Alex Shelley says you always remember your firsts, and he remembers the first time Generation Next debuted. He says his goal then was to take the top spot in ROH, and he will do just that when he defeats Bryan Danielson tonight for the ROH World Championship. He plans to take out Danielson’s neck, even purchasing the technique for Sliced Bread #2 from Spanky to aid in doing so. Sure, that move has defeated Danielson before, but he’s also kicked out of it plenty which Shelley of course does not mention. He says there will be mandatory shots of Vitamin A when he is champion.

We quickly cut to the ring where BJ Whitmer comes back to the ring and calls out Necro Butcher once more. This time, Butcher shows up and they fight around ringside. After Whitmer knee strikes Butcher off the ring apron and into the barricades, Super Dragon runs in and attacks Whitmer from behind. He gives Whitmer a Curb Stomp and flips off the crowd. They go outside where Whitmer whips Dragon into the barricades. Butcher joins Dragon back in the ring and Whitmer succumbs to the numbers game. Dragon comes off the top turnbuckle with a double stomp to the back of Whitmer’s head. Finally, the teams from the opening match (sans Homicide and Reyes) and a slew of ROH Dojo students run out, sending Dragon and Butcher to the backstage area. Whitmer says this is far from over before he and the rest of the ROH crew leave. Pretty awesome and surreal to see Super Dragon in an ROH ring.

Austin Aries vs. Matt Sydal

Since Sydal has decided to continue teaming with AJ Styles even after losing their tag team title opportunity, Aries wants to beat some sense into his Generation Next brethren. Sydal takes a page out of Aries’ book and utilizes a side headlock in the opening stretch. Aries shoves Sydal to the corner and forearms him in the back. He comes off the second rope with a back elbow. He now puts on his own side headlock. Sydal reverses. Sydal gets on a headscissors and rolls over to stop Aries’ usual method of escaping. Aries rolls out and headbutts Sydal’s neck while applying a front chancery. He gives Sydal a suplex to stop his headlock attempt. Sydal dropkicks Aries to the floor and follows out with a twisting tope con hilo. In the ring Sydal gets two with a second rope legdrop. A short chop battle ensues. Aries and Sydal fight in the corner. Aries knocks him to the floor and hits the Heat-Seeking Missile. Another chop battle breaks out back in the ring. Aries drives him into the mat and puts on the Last Chancery. Sydal escapes. He goes for a sunset flip, but Aries rolls through and hits a dropkick. Aries also blocks a crucifix driver by hitting a Finlay Roll and a frog splash. Aries brings Sydal to the top rope. Sydal knocks him to the mat and comes off with a swinging DDT. Sydal tries a huracanrana, but both men crumple to the canvas instead. Sydal recovers and gets two with a standing moonsault. Aries fights off the Here It Is Driver. He nails the IED for two. Sydal knees his way out of a brainbuster. He successfully hits the Here It Is Driver, but Aries is able to kick out. Aries evades a shooting star press. Sydal cradles Aries to block a brainbuster. Aries kicks out of a backslide. He punts Sydal and drops him with the brainbuster. The 450 splash puts him away at 16:50. I like the structure of the match evolving from familiarity between one another into a battle of big moves and pinfalls, but like the Strong and Yang match, this had an issue of playing out in front of a mostly indifferent audience. They were certainly louder in this contest, especially by the end, but it made the first portion of the match feel a lot longer than it was. ***¼

Like they did at the Fourth Anniversary Show, The Briscoes attack Austin Aries and Matt Sydal as they shake hands. Roderick Strong makes the save, and the Briscoes hightail it out of there.

During intermission, Gary Michael Capetta interviews The Rottweilers outside the building, bringing Cabana’s challenge to Homicide’s attention. Homicide says he’s willing to fight Cabana on the streets and asks GMC to deliver the message to Cabana, saying he can bring anybody he wants with him.

Tony Mamaluke & Sal Rinauro vs. Irish Airborne (Dave & Jake Crist)

Rinauro does some damage to Dave’s neck. Dave gives him some armdrags and Jake gives Rinauro a neckbreaker. Mamaluke and Rinauro hit a running Blockbuster/side Russian leg sweep combo for two. Jake tries controlling with a side headlock but gets suplexed onto his head in the process. The former tag team champions beat down Jake in their half of the ring until Dave blind tags in and blasts Mamaluke with a springboard dropkick for two. Irish Airborne give Mamaluke a double waterwheel slam, and Jake follows up with a moonsault press for two. Rinauro wipes out Jake with a spin kick for two, and does so again after a walk-up moonsault out of the corner. Jake fights out of a double team, sending Rinauro to the apron with a headscissors. Mamaluke puts Jake in a Guillotine choke. Jake powers Mamaluke onto his shoulders. Dave double stomps the back of Mamaluke’s head as he is on Jake’s shoulders, then Jake gives Mamaluke a Death Valley Driver onto Dave’s knees for the pin at 9:17. That was a very pedestrian match, but a nice win for Irish Airborne. This would be Mamaluke’s final match in ROH, and considering he was an ECW original, leaving at this time seems appropriate. **

ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Alex Shelley

Danielson has been champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his thirteenth defense. Like Rave the previous month, Shelley earned this title match from the Embassy’s Trios Tournament victory. Prince Nana is in Shelley’s corner. The match was originally intended to take place at the event that became “Unscripted II.” The crowd is mixed for Danielson, but very anti-Shelley. Danielson admonishes the crowd for using such profane language considering there is a young girl in the audience. That was until he saw the girl flip him off, and now Danielson wants to punch her in the face. He then turns his attention to Shelley, saying he used to work for a crappy company called CZW, and that he heard a rumor that Shelley was looking forward to going back to CZW. He says he beat Chris Hero so badly, that he split to Mexico with Claudio Castagnoli. Danielson plans to give the fans the best wrestling exhibition the Arena has ever seen. The fans chant “overrated” at him. He lists some of the great wrestlers who have wrestled in the ECW Arena, such as Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho, and STILL claims to be the best wrest;er the building has ever seen. Danielson gets in the face of the previously mentioned little girl and then discusses how she and nobody in the building can “fuck him up” as the crowd had been chanting towards him. With that taken care of, Bobby Cruise finally introduces the competitors.

The crowd’s heckling has thrown Shelley off of his game, so much so that he gets on the microphone to give them a piece of his mind. Danielson puts him in a double knuckle lock. He monkey flips him out of the corner while keeping the knuckle lock on. The fans chant “boring” as Danielson breaks the lock in the corner. Shelley puts the main instigator in his place. Danielson and Shelley chain wrestle. Shelley bites his finger to break a chinlock. Danielson dropkicks him to the floor. He comes back in with a lock-up. He slaps Danielson in the corner. Danielson responds with some slaps of his own which causes Shelley to retreat. He slaps Shelley when he comes back in. He applies an abdominal stretch. Shelley slaps Danielson and gives him a kneeDT. He puts Danielson in a figure four. This devolves into a strike exchange when Danielson throws forearms to escape. Danielson catches Shelley with a belly-to-belly suplex. He stomps Shelley’s knees into the mat. He gives him a slingshot suplex for two. Danielson applies a surfboard stretch. Shelley powers out of it. Danielson stomps his knees into the mat and gives him several spinning toe holds. He puts on the figure four again. Shelley makes it to the ropes. A diving headbutt gets him two. Shelley blocks a chicken wing. He enzuigiri’s Danielson and gives him a tornado DDT. A series of pin reversals ends with a dropkick from Shelley. He gives Danielson three neckbreakers and then puts his entire body weight onto his neck and shoulders. Nana pulls Danielson to the floor to get in some cheap shots. Shelley misses a suicide dive and lands on Nana instead. Danielson pitches them both into the crowd and dives after them. In the ring he nails Shelley with a top rope dropkick. Shelley ducks an elbow. Shelley goes for Shell Shock. Danielson evades and puts on Cattle Mutilation. He tries for a superplex. Shelley shoves him down and gets two with a frog splash. He superkicks Danielson. A brainbuster and 2k1 Bomb are only good enough for a two count. He locks on the Border City Stretch. Shelley rolls his shoulders over and gets two again. He goes for Sliced Bread #2. Danielson instead superplexes him. Nana gets on the apron when Danielson wins a forearm exchange. Shelley kicks him in the groin and hits Shell Shock. Danielson kicks out. He reapplies the Border City Stretch. Danielson gets his foot on the ropes. Shelley goes for Sliced Bread #2. Upon impact Danielson puts on Cattle Mutilation. Shortly after he rolls Shelley onto his shoulders and gets the pin at 32:29. That was out of this world awesome and probably the best Rudo battle one could witness. Shelley working over Danielson’s neck was very well done. However, what Shelley did not count on, was that Danielson’s proclivity for taking the Sliced Bread allowed for him to have discovered a “counter” and from it was able to pick up the win. Honestly, Shelley’s lack of Danielson’s ability to take this move as mentioned earlier from Shelley’s backstage promo makes the story even better. This is easily my favorite singles match from Shelley. Heck, it’s one of my favorites from Danielson too. ****¼

Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana vs. Samoa Joe

This is a tribute to the “Night The Line Was Crossed” three way dance with Shane Douglas, Sabu, and Terry Funk. Daniels and Cabana start, and Samoa Joe will come in at the 15 minute mark. If someone is pinned or eliminated before that time, Joe will enter immediately. Commentary keeps talking about how Joe is late to the building but is ready to go, so I guess they don’t understand this concept. Allison Danger is in Daniels’ corner.

They do a whole bunch of holds and reversals for the first few minutes of the contest. Cabana shoulder blocks Daniels twice before taking him down with a headscissors and monkey flip. Daniles gets Cabana with an upturned boot in the corner and a Code Breaker. He drops a knee onto Cabana’s stomach and then punts him in the ribs. Cabana tries a sunset flip, but Daniels steps out and drops an elbow onto Cabana’s stomach. When Daniels tries blocking a second sunset flip with an elbow, Cabana catches the elbow and crucifix pins Daniels for two. Daniels blocks a hip toss with an abdominal stretch. Cabana misses a charge and collides with the turnbuckles and Daniels covers him for two. Daniels also gets two with an Arabian Press. Cabana comes back with a lionsault press. He hits the Flying Asshole and a lariat for two. Daniels scoops up Cabana as Cabana comes off the ropes into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. He also gets two after a Death Valley Driver. Cabana knocks down Daniels with a missile dropkick after avoiding a BME. Daniels and Cabana fight out of each others’ double underhooks. Cabana rolls through Daniels’ sunset flip and pins him with a kneeling frog press at 13:43.

Joe comes to the ring in jeans and a t-shirt, so maybe he didn’t have time to dress? Bizarre. He belly-to-belly suplexes the eliminated Daniels, then does his atomic drop/Sick Kick/senton combo on Cabana. Cabana takes Joe out with a lariat for two. Joe stops Cabana on the top turnbuckle and brings him down with the Muscle Buster for two. Joe then pulls Cabana into the Coquina Clutch. Cabana pummels on Joe’s knee and then gets the ropes to escape. Cabana kicks Joe in the thigh, and Joe responds with an enzuigiri. A second Muscle Buster gets Joe the pin at 2:45. This was a cute idea that just did not work in theory. It’s nice that Cabana got a win over Daniels, we got a tiny bit of interaction between Daniels and Joe to whet our appetite for their next encounter, and that Joe got to be a badass for basically an entire three minutes in street clothes, but this whole thing had such a strange vibe to it. It was pretty fun though, just something I wouldn’t replicate. ***

BJ Whitmer hits the ring the moment the match concludes. A fan throws toilet paper at Joe, who jumps into the crowd and passes him off to a security guard so they can be kicked out. Whitmer asks for another CZW fight, and this time Joe remains ringside. Necro Butcher runs back out, as does Super Dragon and a couple other individuals. When Ruckus and Sabian enter the fray, so do Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Matt Sydal who are facing them in a six man tag on the evening CZW card. More ROH and CZW talent enter the scene and a full fledged brawl breaks out. CZW Owner Zandig leads Wifebeater out with a weedwacker. By this point, Butcher and Dragon have Whitmer duct taped to the ropes by his wrists. Zandig digs a barbed wire baseball bat into Whitmer’s head and staples some items (tickets?) to his back, stomach, and forehead. Zandig spray paints CZW on Whitmer’s back, then spray paints CZW over the ROH logo on the canvas with several CZW members standing on the ring apron and the two rosters brawling outside. The CZW roster celebrates with beers as Whitmer remains taped to the ropes. Super Dragon chokes him with a fans ROH t-shirt, then rubs it on his groin and throws it back to the fan. As Zandig begins to cut a promo, Jimmy Bower demands the show be cut to black. All this did it’s job in making BJ Whitmer an ROH star.

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