Ring of Honor: Dragon Gate Challenge

Detroit, MI – 3.30.3006

Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard.

We start the show with a follow up from the end of “Best in the World” where Embassy members Alex Shelley and Jimmy Rave were arguing. We see that Prince Nana was able to get them to shake hands and make nice, and then Nana says they are going after the ROH Tag Team Championship. Jimmy Jacobs is not happy Lacey has not seen “The Ballad of Lacey” video, but is happy when Lacey tells him that if he succeeds in beating BJ Whitmer within an inch of his life tonight, he can give her a foot rub (Jimmy’s suggestion, not hers).

Colt Cabana interrupts Bobby Cruise during his welcome to the live crowd. He knows the crowd is pumped for tonight’s show, but there is one match that cannot wait. He reminds us that the last time they were in Detroit, his match with Homicide ended when they were both taken out by a superplex through a table ringside, but that won’t happen tonight because their match will be Falls Count Anywhere.

Falls Count Anywhere
Colt Cabana vs. Homicide

Julius Smokes is in Homicide’s corner. After trading blows, Cabana hits the Flying Asshole and a lariat. He pummels Homicide around ringside and hip tosses him into the crowd. Homicide suplexes Cabana onto several chairs, but Cabana hits Homicide with a chair as they fight up into the bleachers. When they get back to the ring, Cabana sets up a ladder in the corner and Homicide introduces a couple of chairs. Cabana ends up sending Homicide face first onto the ladder and then lands a splash. Homicide reverses a whip, sending Cabana into the ladder, then dropping him with an Ace Crusher on the rebound. He places Cabana’s head between the ladder and crushes his head with a chair shot. Homicide laughs as he pins a knocked out Cabana at 5:22. This was maybe a bit short, but I like the logic that such a vicious move would knock out Cabana, and it’s the beginning of a weekend long story. This was a hot way to kick off the show and continue their feud. **

The Dragon Gate Do Fixer faction says they are ready to take on all challengers. We then go to Christopher Daniels who says even when Samoa Joe was a “contract killer” for the Prophecy, Daniels knew Joe was more trouble than he was worth, and that has not changed. Joe may have bested them in every singles match they have had in ROH, but tonight he will earn Joe’s respect by defeating him in their final singles encounter.

Ricky Reyes vs. Chad Collyer

Julius Smokes is in Reyes’ corner. Collyer takes down Reyes with a pair of dropkicks and a leg lariat. Reyes is able to catch Collyer re-entering the ring with a rope assisted DDT. From there, Reyes continues to attack Collyer’s neck. Collyer ducks a high kick and German suplexes Reyes for two. He weaves Reyes into a neckbreaker before giving him a second German suplex for another two count. Reyes comes back with a neckbreaker. Collyer escapes a fisherman’s buster and trips Reyes into a Gedo Clutch for two. Reyes counters a slam, pulling Collyer down into a triangle choke. Collyer converts into a cloverleaf, and just as Reyes looks to consider tapping, he scurries to the ropes to escape. Collyer looks to re-apply the hold. Reyes escapes. Collyer unwisely goes for a back bridge pin, giving Reyes the opening to pull him into the Dragon Sleeper. Collyer taps out at 7:10. This was so much better than I expected given the competitors. They told a simple story that didn’t overstay its welcome and was enjoyable to watch. **¾

CIMA is with the other members of Blood Generation. He says Generation Next is number two, and they are number one. Samoa Joe then says he will defeat Christopher Daniels tonight, just like he has in every other singles match between them. Whether Daniels wants to or not, he will shake Joe’s hand after being defeated.

BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs

Lacey is in Jacobs’ corner. Whitmer reverses Jacobs’ wristlock and takes him to the mat. Jacobs gets distracted by Lacey and Whitmer decides to go after her. Jacobs pescado’s out but Whitmer catches him and throws him into the barricades. Whitmer back elbows him in the ring for a two count. He’s proud of his leg lariat even though it only also gets a two count. Jacobs headscissors him face first into the second turnbuckle and stomps on the back of his head. He dropkicks Whitmer’s head into the side of the ring post for two. He stomps on his chest a few times with assistance from the ropes. Whitmer manages to give Jacobs an exploder suplex. Jacobs ducks a boot. He goes for the Contra Code. Whitmer blocks it with Snake Eyes and a German suplex, then rolls Jacobs into a Dragon suplex. Jacobs counters a powerbomb with a sunset flip. A kamikaze suplex sends both guys to the floor. Jacobs tries a huracanrana. Whitmer counters by powerbombing Jacobs into the barricades. He gets two with a brainbuster back in the ring. Whitmer heads up top. Jacobs crotches him. He wants a super Contra Code. Whitmer sets up for a super powerbomb. Whitmer trips though, and both men come tumbling down to the floor! Jacobs’ head hit all three ropes and the ring apron while Whitmer went straight to the floor. It is just as terrifying as it sounds. All that madness only gets Whitmer a two count! A somehow alive Jimmy Jacobs nails the Contra Code. He’s about to go for a pin but Lacey tells Jacobs that he wants Whitmer dead and instructs him to put Whitmer through the timekeeper’s table. Jacobs takes too much time between placing Whitmer on the table and climbing to the top turnbuckle, that Whitmer has recovered and superplexes Jacobs. Whitmer then lariats Jacobs for the pin at 15:15. The fact that both guys kept wrestling after nearly dying after spilling to the floor shows just how tough (or stupid, or both) they really are. The match was pretty crazy before that, but that spot changed everything and is one of the most memorable moments in the company’s history. I know it was totally by accident, but that worked out so well in terms of raising the intensity in their rivalry. ***¾

Whitmer tries to give Jacobs props with a handshake after the bell, but Jacobs spits in his face due to Lacey’s discouragement for him to embrace the handshake. Whitmer then turns his attention to the CZW attack from “Arena Warfare.” He heard a rumor that Chris Hero and Necro Butcher may be in Detroit tonight and decides to call them out. Neither of them show, but Whitmer says he will watch the rest of the show just in case they or anyone else from CZW shows up.

ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge Series Match #1
Jimmy Yang vs. Ryo Saito

Yang breaks a lock-up in the corner with a slap to the face. Saito slaps Yang in the back of the head in a hammerlock. Saito blocks a hip toss with a Frankensteiner. After a facebuster he dropkicks Yang to the outside. Yang gives him a spin kick to the chest back inside the ring, but Saito shuts him down with a belly-to-belly suplex into the buckles. Yang stops a charging Saito by crotching him on the top rope and pushing him to the floor. Yang attacks Saito’s left leg back inside the ring. Saito gets in some chops, but Yang takes him down with an enzuigiri for two. Saito sends Yang to the apron. Yang tries a double axe handle but gets dropkicked out of mid-air. Saito belly-to-belly suplexes Yang again. Saito ducks a spin kick. He gives Yang the Fisherman’s Express for two. Saito’s super splash is cut off in mid-air with a spinwheel kick. Yang hits Yang Time for two. Saito blocks a backdrop with a DDT, then successfully lands a super splash for two. After dodging Yang’s moonsault press, Saito pins Yang in the Premium Bridge at 11:53. That was a good introduction for Saito and a really solid back-and-forth match, just not terribly exciting or memorable. ***

Bryan Danielson & Delirious vs. The Embassy (Alex Shelley & Jimmy Rave)

Prince Nana and Daizee Haze are in the Embassy’s corner. Delirious sings some “Final Countdown” as he circles Shelley. Delirious actually does pretty well in the opening exchange, so Shelley jabs him in the jaw and tags in Rave. Rave puts the Ghanian flag on Delirious. Delirious hip tosses Rave to the corner and puts the flag in his mouth. Shelley bites Delirious’ hand. Delirious rolls to the floor and baits Shelley into a leaping clothesline back in the ring. Danielson stretches out Shelley’s arms on the canvas. He puts Shelley in a Dragon Clutch. Shelley rakes his eyes to free himself. Rave tags in. Danielson grabs his arm and tags Delirious. He runs around the ring before kicking Rave’s arm. He does the Airplane Spin to appease Danielson. Danielson then does his own Airplane Spin, with Delirious running around him in the opposite direction. Danielson stretches out Rave’s arms. Shelley rakes his eyes to break it. Rave staves off Delirious and legally tags in Shelley. Danielson pokes him in the eyes and chokes him on the middle rope. Danielson then wins a slap battle and puts Shelley in a Bow and Arrow. Rave kicks Danielson as he hits the ropes. Delirious does the same to Shelley. He and Danielson dropkick Shelley to the floor and double backdrop Rave. Prince Nana and Daizee Haze distract Danielson long enough for Shelley to baseball slide out of the ring and throw Danielson into the barricades. The Embassy trap Danielson in their corner until he is able to avoid a double clothesline and dropkick them both to the corner. He finally tags in Delirious. He headscissors Rave to the corner. He blocks Greetings from Ghana with a Cobra Clutch backbreaker. After throwing Shelley to the floor he dropkicks Rave to the corner. He sweeps Shelley’s leg so he dropkicks Rave. The Panic Attack follows. Shadows Over Heck misses. Shelley superkicks him. Delirious fights off a Shiranui. Danielson missile dropkicks Shelley. He and Delirious put the Embassy in simultaneous Cattle Mutilations! Upon release, Danielson suicide dives after Rave who retreated to the floor. Delirious goes for the Bizarro Driver. Shelley escapes and dropkicks the crown of his head. Haze distracts the referee so Shelley can kick Delirious low. Danielson re-enters the ring but gets speared by Rave right away. Shelley then gives Delirious a Shiranui for the pin at 20:56. I enjoyed most of the beginning and end of this match but it sure did drag in the middle, as the fans did not seem interested in watching Danielson as a babyface in peril. Even though this match fell short of expectations, especially considering how much Danielson vs. Shelley ruled just a few weeks prior, it was still quite enjoyable and very fun. ***¼

During intermission, Dave Prazak interviews Colt Cabana outside. It’s so dark you can’t even see his face. He says his issue with Homicide needs to come to an end in Chicago, but his head is still in rough shape from tonight’s match. Prazak suggests he may have a concussion and needs medical attention.

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn

The crowd adores Claudio and loves to yell “HEY!” along with him. Hagadorn gets in more offense than you would expect, but this is very clearly the Claudio show. He pins Hagadorn with the Alpamare Water Slide at 4:02. I would have had Claudio be more dominant, to be honest. ¼*

Chris Hero and Necro Butcher jump in from the crowd. Hero tells the audience that he found Claudio in Europe, and brought him to the United States so he could realize his full potential. They became a successful tag team shortly after, including winning the CZW tag team titles. Claudio gets the fans to chant “ROH” during this speech. Hero goes on, saying he and Claudio won CHIKARA’s Tag World Grand Prix and then spent a month teaming together in Mexico. Above all that, Claudio is his best friend, and last week, his best friend turned his back on him. Hero is in a forgiving mood and once again asks Claudio to join CZW in the battle against ROH. As he asks Claudio for his decision, BJ Whitmer runs out and attacks Hero and Necro. The CZW duo get the upper hand. Claudio looks like he is about to stomp on Whitmer, but he instead nails Hero and Necro with uppercuts. A frustrated Hero and Necro leave through the crowd. Claudio and Whitmer shake hands and embrace.

ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge Series Match #2
AJ Styles & Matt Sydal vs. Do Fixer (Dragon Kid & Genki Horiguchi)

Horiguchi and Sydal trade holds on the mat. Horiguchi takes down Sydal with a shoulder block. They armdrag one another, reaching a stalemate, and Sydal tags in Styles. After they armdrag each other, Styles points to Kid. Horiguchi obliges the request and tags Kid. Styles’ size advantage serves him well until Kid sends him to the floor with a headscissors. Sydal is put in Christo upon entering the ring. Horiguchi drop toe holds an incoming Styles and puts him in a surfboard, a remnant of his old surfer gimmick. Kid then dropkicks Styles in the corner. Horiguchi comes off the top with a stomp to Styles’ stomach. Styles pulls Horiguchi’s minimal hair to escape a leg hold. He carries Horiguchi to the corner and Sydal clotheslines him. He and Styles hit a backbreaker/cannonball legdrop combo for two. They continue to wear Horiguchi down until he catches Sydal with an enzuigiri. He reverses Sydal’s suplex attempt and tags in Kid who springboard dropkicks Styles and spinwheel kicks Sydal. He sends Styles to the outside with Déjà vu and follows up with the Bermuda Triangle. Horiguchi tope con hilo’s onto Sydal. In the ring, Kid gets caught by Styles with a wheelbarrow suplex. Horiguchi kicks Sydal while giving Styles a tornado DDT. Styles blocks his moonsault attempt, and Sydal hits a standing moonsault of his own. Horiguchi drop toe holds Sydal to the corner. Kid comes in with Jesus Walks. Styles punches Kid German suplexes Horiguchi before slamming him chest first into the mat. Kid breaks the pin and hits his signature Dragonrana! Sydal breaks up the pin and drives Horiguchi into the mat with a standing legdrop. Sydal sends Kid to the floor with a neck-tie headscissors and then Fosbury Flops after him. Horiguchi gets two on Styles with the Backslide from Heaven. Styles rolls him up into the Styles Clash for the pin at 12:32. Aside from Kid and Styles’ having a moment of awkwardness, this was a lot of fun. The crowd was really into everything and both teams gelled together very well. ***½

ROH vs. Dragon Gate Challenge Series Match #3
Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA, Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi)

Strong surfs on CIMA’s back to show off, but CIMA shows his agility when he dropkicks Strong after taking a shoulder block. Strong kips up and lands a chop. After they trade armdrags and pin attempts, they tag in Evans and Doi. Evans flips through a slingshot, but Doi rushes in with a forearm takedown. A double springboard headscissors from Evans sends Doi outside, and Evans follows with a springboard somersault splash. Yoshino dazzles the crowd with his speed before dropkicking Aries. He also gives Strong a fallaway dropkick in the corner. Aries blocks a second attempt from Yoshino with a powerbomb. Generation Next isolates Yoshino in their half of the ring until he takes down Strong with Slingblade. Although Evans outmaneuvers CIMA at first upon CIMA tagging in, CIMA catches Evans’ slingshot attempt and gives him an Ace Crusher. Blood Generation have fun taunting Strong and Aries as they beat down Evans in their corner. Strong has to jump in to break up a pin when CIMA double stomps Evans as he is dangled on the second rope. Evans hits a double moonsault elbow on Yoshino and Doi, giving him the opening to tag in Aries. Aries Finlay rolls CIMA into a top rope elbow smash from Strong. Aries then frog splashes onto CIMA, with Doi breaking the pin attempt after the fact. CIMA gives Aries a dragonscrew leg whip as he steps through the ropes. Evans gets assaulted in the corner. CIMA double stomps Evans as Doi and Yoshino holds onto him, then rolls into a lung blower on Aries. CIMA dives onto Aries as Doi knocks down Strong with a running back elbow. Strong blocks Doi 555 and gives Doi a Tiger Driver for two. Aries saves Strong from being pinned after a big spinebuster. Aries nails the IED on Yoshino. Doi shoves Aries to the floor, and Evans surprises him with a spin kick. Doi blocks a suplex and drops Evans with Doi 555. Evans then eats stereo Tokarev’s from CIMA and Yoshino. Yoshino hits Strong with Torbellino. Strong rolls Yoshino up into Death By Roderick. CIMA hits Venus on Evans, but turns right into a Sick Kick from Strong. Strong gives Doi a half-nelson backbreaker. CIMA superkicks Evans. Doi and Yoshino hold onto Aries and Strong as CIMA drops Evans with Schwein for the pin at 16:00. This was incredibly fun, with Generation Next needing to pull out just about everything they had to stay in the game and Blood Generation outclassing them in trios wrestling. It gives Blood Generation momentum heading into the big Dragon Gate showdown (after winning this series for their home promotion), and momentum as they face Aries and Strong for the tag titles the night after that. This is almost just as good as the Dragon Gate six man from tomorrow’s event. ****¼

A tremendous video package is shown chronicling Joe and Daniels’ history together in ROH prior to the contest. Over the course of the next three nights, they will wrestle in three different match types. Unconventionally, this series begins with a singles match.

Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe

This is the fourth singles match between Daniels and Joem and Joe has won all three previous matches. Allison Danger is in Daniels’ corner. Joe attacks Daniels in the aisle, because Daniels angers Joe by playing “The Champ is Here” with the TNA X-Division title around his waist. Even though Daniels throws Joe into the barricades twice, it’s Joe who has control when they enter the ring. Joe sweeps out his legs to avoid a palm strike. When Joe goes for the Muscle Buster, Daniels uses his legs to bring Joe to the floor. Daniels then comes after him with an Arabian Press. In the ring he gets two with a headscissors. Daniels trips him in the corner and gets two again with a swinging DDT. Joe drops Daniels chest first into the mat when he goes for another headscissors. He uses kicks and a chinlock to keep Daniels grounded. Daniels gets the ropes to break the Boston Crab. Daniels tries to charge Joe in the corner. He gets sent out with the STJoe instead. Two Ole kicks are dished out. He goes for the Muscle Buster back in the ring. Daniels escapes and drives his shoulder into Joe’s mid-section. He brings Joe down with the Iconoclasm. Daniels throws a flurry of forearms. He gets two with the Blue Thunder Bomb. Same with the STO. Joe catches Daniels with an atomic drop. Daniels gets his knees up to block a senton. Joe however powerbombs Daniels into the STF. When he switches to a crossface, Daniels uses the ropes to escape. Daniels snapmares Joe and looks for the Last Rites. Joe turns it into a choke. Daniels uses a chinbreaker and hits the Angels Wings. Daniels can’t believe Joe is able to kick out of that. He hits the BME three times to finally get the pin at 16:58. This was much more of a brawl and a fight to see who could get to their one of their bigger finishers first, but it made for a very cool ending sequence. This was without a doubt the best of the singles matches they have had in ROH and a great way to “end” the rivalry. ****

Chris Hero and Necro Butcher interject as soon as the match ends. An emotional Allison Danger pleads with Daniels not to get involved and leads him to the backstage area. Despite being beaten up, Joe decides to try and fight Hero and Necro on his own. He does a valiant job but gets overwhelmed. Whitmer comes to Joe’s aid, taking out Necro and Hero with a chair. They are carried away by ROH Dojo trainees and staff. Samoa Joe says CZW wanted a war with ROH, but what they failed to realize is that they didn’t get the attention of ROH’s big guns until just now. Joe himself declares war on CZW. He says CZW can bring whatever weapons they want, he will take them out with what God gave him along with the bad ass sons of bitches in the ROH locker room. He says ROH is pro wrestling before leaving with Whitmer.

We get another comment from Lance Storm, who says the more he sees from Bryan Danielson’s World title reign, the more he wants to be part of it.

We then see Jim Cornette on a cell phone. It looks like he’s learned who knocked his tooth out in Ohio back in January, and promises the man on the other end they will never see the perpetrator again.

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