Chicago Ridge, IL – 3.31.2006
Commentary is provided by Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard.
We start with Jim Cornette addressing the phone call that ended Dragon Gate Challenge. His investigation led to the discovery that Low Ki was the man who knocked out his tooth in Dayton, OH back in January. Cornette says as punishment, Ki is banned for life from Ring of Honor. I don’t say this often, but thank you Jim Cornette!
After a video recapping Bryan Danielson and Roderick Strong’s feud leading up to tonight’s title match, we see Chris Hero harassing the ROH fans in line for the event, including a very uncomfortable moment where he asks a woman what race she is. Sheesh. CIMA along with the rest of Blood Generation tells us Dragon Gate is cutting edge pro wrestling.
In the building, Bobby Cruise informs us that Colt Cabana will not compete tonight due to suffering a concussion yesterday in Detroit. He then introduces Jim Cornette who is accompanied by BJ Whitmer on crutches. Jim Cornette tells the Chicago Ridge crowd that they are part of history, as tonight sees the largest attendance in the building to date. He then turns his attention to Whitmer, saying that his injury occurred in the parking lot where he was attacked by CZW wrestlers from behind, which is a nice cover up for his ankle breaking in the Jimmy Jacobs bout yesterday. Because of this, Whitmer will not be wrestling tonight. Cornette then shows the crowd his Louisville Slugger which he first introduced in a home segment at the Fourth Anniversary Show, saying he’s prepared if the CZW wrestlers attack again. Cornette then has a change of heart, thinking perhaps the CZW folks deserve a second chance, so he found a couple CZW wrestlers at a local peep show and offered them a match tonight. The two CZW wrestlers are a masked Pelle Primeau and Rhett Titus carrying a broom and bin wearing street clothes. Cornette makes some homophobic insinuations about hardcore wrestlers, before letting the two hardcore wrestlers know that their opponents for tonight are Adam Pearce and Samoa Joe.
Adam Pearce & Samoa Joe vs. Hardcore Wrestler #1 [Pelle Primeau] & #2 [Rhett Titus]
As you would expect, Joe and Pearce demolish the poor ROH Dojo kids. Joe facewash kicks Titus and gives Primeau a Muscle Buster. Pearce then pins Primeau with a Superfly Splash at 1:00. This was a pretty long and pointless segment for a show that’s already quite lengthy on paper.
Delirious vs. Flash Flanagan vs. Ricky Reyes vs. Shane Hagadorn
Hagadorn is replacing Jimmy Jacobs, as Jacobs will take Whitmer’s place in tonight’s triple threat match. Julius Smokes is in Reyes’ corner. Delirious loses his mind at the bell. He runs around Reyes and Flanagan as they are doing battle, distracting Reyes and allowing Flanagan to clobber Reyes in the back. Delirious dropkicks Flanagan as Reyes sunset flips Hagadorn for two. Reyes belly-to-belly suplexes Hagadorn to the corner. Delirious does some damage to Hagadorn’s midsection, but ends up being triple stomped by the rest of the competitors and tossed to the floor. Reyes attacks Hagadorn’s neck. Flanagan German suplexes Reyes. Delirious pushes Flanagan off the top turnbuckle. He misses a missile dropkick on Reyes. Reyes takes him down. Flanagan clotheslines Hagadorn to the floor and gives Delirious a spinebuster. Delirious is able to come back with Shadows Over Hell on Flanagan for two. He also gives Hagadorn a Bizarro Driver but Reyes breaks his cover. He taps out Delirious to the Dragon Sleeper at 6:53. After the bell, Smokes and Reyes attack Delirious further. Reyes also tells Delirious he doesn’t belong in ROH. Delirious tries fighting from underneath and Reyes rips the streamers off the back of Delirious’ mask. The match itself was pedestrian but the post-match was definitely interesting. **
Chad Collyer is laughing over the memory of making Ace Steel bleed like crazy last August. He will do it again tonight in their First Blood match. Ace Steel remembers how special of a night that was supposed to be, as he said farewell to his student CM Punk. Instead, he lost so much blood from a chair shot thanks to Collyer that he passed out. He had to chase Collyer all around, but he gets him tonight, and he is going to make Collyer bleed hard.
Claudio Castagnoli & Jimmy Yang vs. The Embassy (Alex Shelley & Jimmy Rave)
Prince Nana and Daizee Haze are in The Embassy’s corner. Shelley paint brushes Yang in the back of the head during their exchange, and Yang gives it right back. Claudio frustrates Rave during their exchange, especially due to the crowd cheering “HEY!” along with him so much. Claudio’s levity takes a momentary pause when Rave gives him a chop, and he chops up both Rave and Shelley. He takes them both down with a London Bridge. He recruits Yang who helps put the Embassy in positions where they do harm to one another, and then in some compromising positions. Claudio does some more damage before tagging in Shelley. Shelley stomps on Yang’s foot and gives him an enzuigiri, then with Rave wear Yang down in their half of the ring. Yang stops Rave in mid-air with a spinwheel kick. Shelley tags in and knocks Claudio off the apron, knocking Yang back down with a headbutt. Yang shoves Shelley off the top turnbuckle and nails a missile dropkick, but Shelley tags in Rave upon landing. Yang enzuigiri’s Rave and finally tags Claudio, who cleans house on both Rave and Shelley. A diving European uppercut to Rave’s neck gets him a two count, as does the Match Killer. Shelley dropkicks Claudio on the top of his head and superkicks Yang. Yang sends Shelley to the floor and launches off Claudio’s back onto him. Rave schoolboys Claudio for two. As they are trading nearfalls, Rave hooks Claudio’s leg forward and pins him at 16:04. There was a ton of fun at the beginning and the end with Claudio’s comeback, but there were definitely some parts that dragged and the finish was wack. This was a mixed bag, but The Embassy getting back to back tag victories is a positive. ***
Chris Hero quickly grabs a microphone from ringside, then runs back into the crowd to talk. Hero tells Claudio that he abandoned their partnership and friendship in the course of this rivalry, and angrily hurls some chairs towards the ring. Some ROH Dojo students and staff literally pick Hero up and take him out of the building.
First Blood Match
Ace Steel vs. Chad Collyer
This was as a result of Collyer leaving Steel in a pool of blood at “Punk: The Final Chapter.” Very little happened between then and now to beef up their rivalry. Steel chases Collyer with a “Section B” sign from the crowd. Collyer uses a steel chair to injure Steel’s hand. Steel manages to take out Collyer with a suicide dive. Collyer bulldogs Steel onto a flat table and throws a piece of the metal barricade into the ring. Steel gets into that, and has a chair dropkicked into his head, but no blood. Steel eventually busts open Collyer with a chair shot at 11:50, then hits him with the chair again for good measure. First Blood matches are usually not great due to the lack of drama, and this match was no different. It’s extra limp when the rivalry began due to a bloodbath and ended with a tiny forehead cut. I can appreciate ROH trying to make something out of a moment that was handed to them, they just didn’t make anything interesting with it, and a big part of that has to do with the two people involved. *
Dave Prazak interviews Homicide and Julius Smokes during intermission, telling Homicide his match with Colt Cabana tonight is cancelled. Homicide doesn’t care that he almost killed Cabana and left him with a concussion. He says Cabana is old news and wants to move on to something else. He and Smokes then head off to party, I think.
Generation Next (Austin Aries & Jack Evans) vs. AJ Styles & Matt Sydal
A fast-paced exchange between Sydal and Evans ends with Sydal giving Evans a dropsault. Styles throws Evans to the corner because he wants Aries to tag in. Aries backs Styles to the corner and Sydal tags in by request. Aries takes down Sydal with a pair of Japanese armdrags. Sydal gives Aries a taste of his own medicine with a headscissors escape, and when Aries does his own headscissors escape, he fakes out Sydal and kicks him in the chest. Styles and Aries finally go at it properly. Sydal helps Styles by taking down Aries by surprise with a neck-tie headscissors. Aries blocks a standing moonsault from Sydal by getting his feet up. Evans hits his own dropsault for two. Sydal eventually escapes Generation Next’s grasp by German suplexing Evans and tagging in Styles. Styles knocks Aries off the apron twice and drills Evans with an overhead spinebuster. Aries breaks up the pin. Styles gives Evans a backbreaker, which Sydal accentuates with a super legdrop. Aries once again breaks up the pin. Evans is able to deliver a back handspring elbow to Sydal, but when he comes in with a springboard, Sydal wipes him out in mid-air with a spinwheel kick for two. Evans is able to flip over Sydal and Styles’ backs and quickly tag in Aries. Aries elbows Sydal in one corner and hits the IED on Styles in the other. Evans tries a Frankensteiner on Styles. Sydal enzuigiri’s Evans. Styles looks for the Styles Clash, but Aries swoops in and spikes Styles with a crucifix bomb. Sydal hits the Here It Is Driver on Aries. Evans dropkicks Styles back to the floor. He tries a Sasuke Special, but Styles catches him and hits the Styles Clash on the floor! Aries is stopped dead in his tracks when he sees this. Sydal forearms him down from the second turnbuckle. As Styles throws Evans into the ring, Aries takes Styles down with a Heat-Seeking Missile. Sydal hits a Shooting Star Press on Evans for the pin at 17:47. This was another great match in the Styles/Sydal vs. Generation Next series. By now they all know each other so well and can very creatively weave their awe inspiring and hard hitting offense into one another in a super exciting and intriguing manner. The last few moments especially ruled. ***¾
With a singles defeat over Samoa Joe last night, Christopher Daniels says things seem to be turning around for The Fallen Angel. The only question that wasn’t answered was would he finally uphold the Code of Honor in ROH. Now the question is when will he uphold the Code of Honor. Allison Danger also hypes the Six Woman Mayhem match later in the evening.
Do Fixer (Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino)
Yoshino backs to the ropes after being arm dragged by Horiguchi. Kid and Doi tag in. Doi initially knocks Kid down but ends up being headscissored to the floor. Horiguchi and CIMA tag in. CIMA dropkicks him to his corner. Doi holds Horiguchi but CIMA accidentally knocks Doi to the floor. Horiguchi sends CIMA out. Saito and Yoshino come in. Yoshino runs the ropes lightning fast. He gets dropped with a side slam. Saito holds Yoshino so Kid can forearm him in the back. Saito and Horiguchi give him the Maraha Isappa sequence. Kid gets backed to the Blood Generation corner, where he is beaten down until he manages to give CIMA a spin kick to his chest. Saito tags in and slams CIMA into a legdrop. Doi breaks the hold. Saito wins an overhand chop exchange with him. He assists Kid with a 619. Doi gets triple dropkicked for two. CIMA and Yoshino pull Horiguchi to the their corner. Blood Generation take turns throwing Horiguchi by his hair. Yoshino puts him From Jungle, then sunset flips him for two. Doi hits the Dai Bosou. CIMA and Yoshio hold Horiguchi so Doi can somersault senton onto him. CIMA dropkicks his buttocks, sending Horiguchi’s neck into the middle turnbuckle. CIMA puts on an abdominal stretch. The fans’ “H-A-G-E” chant give him the energy to hip toss his way free. Horiguchi suplexes Doi and tags in Saito. He overhead suplexes Doi out. Kid Déjà vu’s Yoshino to the floor and Horiguchi tope con hilo’s onto Doi. Kid flies out onto Yoshino with the Bermuda Triangle. CIMA and Saito trade chops. Saito blocks a huracanrana with a powerbomb. He gives CIMA the Fisherman Express for two. CIMA O’Conner rolls him into a double stomp. Blood Generation all attack Saito in the corner. CIMA bulldogs Kid off of Saito’s shoulders for two. Yoshino Sling Blades Kid and heads up top. He comes down with a shotgun dropkick. Kid kicks out. Kid blocks a suplex with the Dragon Stunner. Doi plants Kid chest first. Horiguchi dropkicks Doi in the corner. He goes for a moonsault. Doi gets his knees up. Horiguchi gets two with an inverted DDT. Doi drops him with Doi 555 and gets two. Saito catches Doi on the top rope. Kid brings him down with the Skyscraper Huracanrana. Saito follows with a big splash. Kid goes for a huracanrana. Doi holds on so that Yoshino can dropkick him. Horiguchi missile dropkicks Yoshino. CIMA superkicks him. Horiguchi drops CIMA with a DDT. Doi gives Horiguchi a Rydeen Bomb. Saito huracanrana’s Doi and German suplexes Yoshino. Kid comes in with the Dragonrana. Doi breaks the cover. Kid goes up top. CIMA catches him with Venus. Kid however assists Saito with a German suplex to CIMA. Horiguchi drops him with the Beach Break for two. Yoshino and Doi crotch him in the corner. They hold up Saito. CIMA double stomps Saito, then rolls forward to give Horiguchi a Superdrol. Dragon tries the Dragonrana. CIMA catches hit and drops him with the Schwein. Kid kicks out! Doi hits the Bakatare Sliding Kick. Horiguchi breaks the pin. Doi brings Kid to the top rope for a super Doi 555. Kid blocks with a super Ace Crusher. The Dragonrana follows for the pin at 20:32. It’s been years since this match received heaps of praise and I’m pleased to tell you it still holds up. I became a huge Dragon Gate fan in the years that succeeded this match, so watching this again with more context to the characters made me appreciate it even more. Not only is this a fantastic match but very important to the landscape of independent wrestling. If for some reason you never saw this, go watch it on YouTube right now. ****½
The ROH Pure champion Nigel McGuinness checks in from Japan as he is on a tour with Pro Wrestling NOAH. He claims to be the best champion in ROH today, running down the list of names he has defeated in Pure Title matches, including both of the current tag champions Roderick Strong and Austin Aries, as well as former World champion Samoa Joe twice. People tell him Bryan Danielson is the better pure wrestler, but McGuinness says Danielson hasn’t defended his title all over the world, nor has he defeated the people McGuinness has. McGuinness says he is the true World champion in ROH.
Allison Danger vs. Cheerleader Melissa vs. Daizee Haze vs. Lacey vs. MsChif vs. Rain
Everyone goes for a roll-up to start and everyone else just watches instead of trying to interject? What? Haze headscissors MsChif to the floor and boots Lacey in the face when Lacey does the splits. Lacey weaves Haze into a backbreaker. Danger drops Lacey throat first on the bottom rope and stomps her in the back of the head. Rain drops Danger with a reverse DDT. Melissa tosses Rain outside. She lariats Haze and gives MsChif a Samoan Drop. MsChif uses a bodyscissors to bring down Melissa into a Muta Lock which Rain breaks up. Lacey holds Danger in a full nelson and Rain gives Danger a dropkick. A big submission chain leads to everyone rolling to the floor. MsChif dives onto everyone but Haze who remained in the ring. Haze moonsaults onto everyone once they get to their feet, then rolls Danger into the ring for a two count. A series of offense leaves all six women laying. Lacey spikes MsChif with an Implant DDT. Haze breaks the pin and gives Lacey both a Heart Punch and yakuza kick. Rain saves Lacey and hits Acid Rain for two thanks to Melissa. Melissa hits an Air Raid Crash on Rain. MsChif kicks Melissa in the head and lands a standing moonsault for two. Melissa puts MsChif in an inverted cloverleaf, forcing MsChif to kick herself. Two kicks from Haze gets Melissa to release. Melissa dropkicks MsChif twice, but on the third attempt, MsChif green mists her in the face. Rain attacks MsChif from behind. MsChif escapes the Rain Drop and plants Rain with the Desecrator for the pin at 8:44. There was some good action in here but no particular person stood-out amongst the pack. That said, I appreciate giving these six the spotlight in front of such a large audience. **½
Homicide vs. Mitch Franklin
Julius Smokes is in Homicide’s corner. Homicide’s tag partner Ricky Reyes gobbled up Franklin in just 22 seconds at “This Means War.” Homicide takes his sweet time demolishing poor Franklin while the crowd taunts Homicide with “Colt Cabana” chants. Homicide is offended that Franklin would dare kick out of a t-bone suplex. Franklin even evades a diving headbutt. Just a moment later, however, Homicide will drill him with the Cop Killer for the pin at 2:35. ¼*
Colt Cabana ambles down the aisle way with a microphone. He says a concussion won’t stop him from coming to his hometown of Chicago, and that he wants to end his issue with Homicide right now. Cabana runs to the ring and takes down Homicide with the Flying Asshole and a big boot. He beats up Homicide ringside, eventually backdropping Homicide through the timekeeper’s table. Smokes distracts Cabana long enough for Homicide to attack Cabana with chairs directly to the head. Homicide sends Cabana head first into a chair propped up between turnbuckles, then gives him a DDT on a ladder. Like he did last night, Homicide slams a chair onto the ladder as Cabana’s body is closed between it. Homicide threatens to end Cabana’s life if he sees him tomorrow night.
Chris Hero and Necro Butcher then rush the ring as Cabana is being helped to the backstage area. Hero says what we saw was not ultraviolent – CZW is ultraviolent; ROH is garbage. Adam Pearce and Claudio Castagnoli come out to even the score. The camera follows Necro and Pearce as they brawl throughout the building. They eventually fight back to the ring where Hero hits Pearce with a chair and then assists Necro with a side Russian leg sweep off the apron and through a table. Jim Cornette runs out and attacks Necro with his baseball bat. Hero takes down Cornette and puts him in a Fujiwara armbar. Samoa Joe enters and attacks Hero. Hero and Necro look to flee and end up surrounded thanks to BJ Whitmer coming down the aisle and Pearce now recovered. Pearce whacks Hero in the shoulder with a chair, and Whitmer hits him with a chair from behind. Members of the ROH Dojo carry Hero and Necro out as Cornette has the fans give it up for Joe, Whitmer, and Pearce. Pearce, Whitmer, and Cornette leave. Joe hits the crowd with the bubble gum line from “They Live” and demands his opponents to come to the ring for their scheduled match.
Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Jacobs is replacing the originally scheduled Whitmer due to Whitmer breaking his ankle the night before. Lacey is in Jacobs’ corner. Jacobs is more or less a bother to Daniels and Joe who just wish to slug it out amongst themselves. They each keep striking Jacobs away when he tries to get involved. Jacobs staggers them both with stereo dropkicks after stomping on their feet. Daniels takes down Jacobs with a leg lariat and sends him into a shoulder block from Jacobs. He uranage’s Jacobs onto Joe while giving Joe a reverse DDT. Joe comes back with an STJoe on Daniels. Joe also walks out of the way of a crossbody attempt from Jacobs. Joe elbow suicida’s onto Jacobs and Daniels on the floor. Joe blasts Daniels with an Ole kick. Joe misses a running knee in the corner and Jacobs tries the “Top 8” punches on Joe. Joe shoves him off. Daniels wants a Death Valley Driver. Joe instead big boots Daniels and lands a senton onto him for two. Jacobs slaps Joe when he puts his hands on Lacey who jumps up on the apron. Daniels O’Connor rolls Joe into Jacobs into Lacey. As Jacobs is apologizing to Lacey, Daniels hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Joe for two. He calls for the BME. Daniels lands on his feet when he sees Joe has moved, and Jacobs spears Daniels upon landing. Jacobs lands a super senton on Joe and drops Daniels with an STO. Jacobs also gives a shout to Lacey by hitting her Implant DDT for two. Daniels gives Jacobs a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Jacobs counters the Angel’s Wings with a Frankensteiner. Daniels escapes the Contra Code. Joe superkicks Daniels. Jacobs tries the Contra Code on Joe, but Joe reverses into the Coquina Clutch, Jacobs taps out at 9:13. On paper Jacobs seemed like the odd man out, but the story they told worked really well. The match was a lot of fun, the crowd was into it, and the finish was cool. I still think it’s weird this Daniels and Joe trilogy started with the singles match but this triple threat worked for me. ***¼
ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong
Danielson has been champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his fourteenth defense. This is Strong’s 3rd title opportunity against Danielson. The first came at “This Means War” where Strong submitted to a nasty looking armbar the moment it was locked in after a grueling, heated nearly 38 minute contest. The vitriol between these two reached such heights that just one week later at “Vendetta” Strong would get his 2nd opportunity. This time, Danielson won after reversing a half-nelson backbreaker attempt into a crucifix, then elbowing Strong in the face until the referee called for the bell. In January, Danielson teamed with Lethal to challenge Strong and Austin Aries for the ROH Tag Team championship. Strong submitted Danielson with the Stronghold in that match to retain the titles, and afterwards said that submitting Danielson in that match earned him another opportunity at the World title. ROH management agreed.
Both Strong and Danielson took a more methodical approach than their previous encounters. They kept to the mat almost the entire time, partially in part to Danielson hoping to keep Strong grounded to avoid his onslaught of chops and kicks. One of Strong’s chops down the line smacked against the ring post. Danielson decided to play the hand dealt to him and focused his attack on that arm. Danielson had also begun implementing the crossface Chicken Wing in his arsenal and used that early on. He had started earlier in the match, but changed tactics when he had to go more on the defensive. When Danielson tried the same elbow to the face strategy that got him the win at “Vendetta”, Strong immediately rolled back and muscled him up into a gut buster. He got a nearfall after the fact with two Sick Kicks and a Gibson Driver. Danielson went back to the crossface Chicken Wing when the Cattle Mutilation didn’t work, but like he had multiple times earlier, Strong used the ropes to escape. Strong managed to bust out a super Gut Buster at the 55 minute mark, creating a major sense of urgency given there was a 60 minute time limit. He hesitated for a second as to whether he should try for a pin or apply the Stronghold, and that lapse resulted in Danielson being able to kick out. Strong locked on the Stronghold, but Danielson rolled under and converted it into a cradle to earn the pinfall and retain the championship at 56:04. Not for a moment did this match drag or feel like it was going long for the sake of it. Their work was appropriately more methodical than their previous two encounters as they have learned from one another in their previous encounters and didn’t want to make any mistakes that could be exploited. They played off the finishes of all the matches mentioned in the preamble and had the crowd buying that they were moments away from seeing a new champion crowned. The finish for this was excellent, but is a little surprising since there was no true follow up. The only thing this match had working against it was the crowd was coming off 4+ hours of wrestling before the bell rang, and to say the Dragon Gate six man tag stole the show would be an understatement. Nevertheless, with the odds against them, these two pulled out yet another high quality main event. ****½
The show ends with Lance Storm congratulating Bryan Danielson on another hard fought victory. No matter how hard tonight may have been, it will be nothing compared to the fight Storm gives him tomorrow night. He’s been training 10 months for this one match, and he didn’t come out of retirement to lose.
We jump ahead to the next day where behind the curtain, Dave Prazak tries to check in with Colt Cabana, but Cabana keeps muttering “it’s gotta end, Homicide” to himself.
Jerelle Clark vs. Erick Stevens
Full Impact Pro – Crystal River, FL – 4.8.2006
This the first match in a gauntlet match to determine the #1 contender for the FIP Championship. Stevens headbutts Clark before rolling hom down into a front facelock. Clark gets back to his feet out of a double knuckle lock. He headscissors Stevens to the corner and sends him outside with a Frankensteiner. Stevens pulls Clark to the floor and drops him chin first on the barricades. Back in the ring Clark is able to rock Stevens with forearms and dropkick him to the corner. Stevens halts a monkey flip and tosses Clark across the ring! Clark pops out of Stevens’ grounded headscissors and delivers a dropkick. Stevens shuts down Clark with a straightjacket neckbreaker and gets frustrated when it doesn’t get him a three count. Clark low bridges the top rope to send Stevens outside. Stevens however stops a Frankensteiner attempt and swings Clark into the ring post! Stevens misses a senton splash back in the ring. Clark escapes a TKO attempt. He leg lariats Stevens before hitting a back handspring moonsault for two. Stevens pops Clark up into a TKO as Clark comes off the ropes for two. Clark escapes the Doctor Bomb and jams Stevens’ arm with a high speed leg sweep. Clark delivers a springboard tornado DDT into a Fujiwara armbar. Stevens gets the ropes to escape. After a bridging German suplex doesn’t keep Clark down, Stevens places him on the top turnbuckle. Clark however takes Stevens down with a super Frankensteiner. Clark knocks Stevens back down again with headbutts, then lands the 630 Splash for the pin at 13:40. This crowd really got into the big brute vs. resilient high-flier story, and these two are damn near experts at playing those respective roles. This was a great pick for a DVD bonus, as it made me very interested to see more from both Stevens and Clark. ***¼