AJ Styles vs. Matt Sydal
“Hell Freezes Over” – Philadelphia, PA – 1.14.2006
Styles requested this match against Sydal as a test for himself, and thinks Sydal may get some benefit as well. Sydal O’Conner Rolls Styles for two, and Styles from the mat takes over Sydal with a snap Frankensteiner. Moments later, Sydal ducks a back elbow and takes over Styles with a necktie headscissors. Styles responds with such a hard dropkick that Sydal rolls to the apron. He gives Sydal a brainbuster for two. Styles also gives Sydal a brainbuster onto the ring apron. In the ring, Sydal is whipped to the corner. He gets his boot up to stop Styles’ charge in, and comes off the middle rope with a spinwheel kick. Sydal utilizes a backbreaker and stretches to wear down Styles’ back. When Styles is given moment, he tries the Phenomenal forearm, and is dropkicked out of mid-air. Sydal attempts a tornado DDT, but Styles escapes and enzuigiri’s Sydal off the top turnbuckle and to the floor. Sydal tries a moonsault press off the barricades, but Sydal shoves him into the crowd and hits a springboard moonsault onto Styles in the front row! Styles kicks out back in the ring. Sydal maneuvers him into a reverse Rocker Dropper for two. Sydal reverses a German suplex at first, but then succumbs to a waistlock facebuster for two. Sydal resists a side Russian leg sweep, which sends Styles down, and Sydal hits a standing moonsault for two. Sydal tries a shooting star press but Styles avoids it. He also stops a crossbody, and swings Sydal out into a backbreaker across his own back for two. Styles looks for the Styles Clash, Sydal uses the ropes to place himself onto Styles shoulders and hit a dragonrana for a very close nearfall. Sydal looks for a superplex. Styles impressively repositions him into a Styles Clash. Sydal counters that with another dragonrana, but this time Styles rolls through and pins Sydal in a sunset position at 17:07. With a lot of jaw dropping offense and counters, the crowd was really into this and so was I. It was a lot of fun to watch, and is probably one of the better “friendly competition” bouts I have witnessed. ***¾
CM Punk & Bryan Danielson vs. Jimmy Rave & Adam Pearce
“Unscripted II” – Long Island, NY – 2.11.2006
Danielson wins the opening exchange with Pearce due to a dropkick. Punk and Rave tag in. Before they even touch Rave tags Pearce back in. In a lock-up, Punk brings Pearce’s arm to the corner and has him tag in Rave. Punk slingshots Rave in and takes him down with hip tosses and a suplex. Danielson tags in. He pummels Rave in opposite corners. He gets two with a top rope headbutt. Rave gives Punk a chinbreaker to escape his grasp. Pearce tags in but is taken down immediately with an armdrag. Punk and Danielson double team him in their half off the ring. Rave tags in and fights with Punk to the floor. Punk kicks Rave’s leg out back in the ring. Rave bails to the floor and Punk follows. This causes all four men to fight out on the floor. Danielson and Rave fight into the crowd while Punk sends Pearce into the barricades a few times. Punk and Rave end up back in the ring together. Punk is begging for mercy as Danielson continues to send Pearce into the barricades. Danielson slaps Rave when he comes back in. He and Punk deliver stereo kicks. Pearce catches Danielson with a knee strike. Danielson tries fighting him but gets dropped onto the barricades. Pearce gets a receipt by sending Danielson into the barricades. Rave and Pearce work Danielson over. Danielson victory rolls out of a Doomsday Device and knocks them both down with rolling forearms. Punk throws some punches. He Welcomes Rave to Chicago. He backdrops Pearce to the floor and follows with a suicide dive that sends Pearce into the crowd. Punk sends Rave into the crowd and Danielson slingshot dives onto them both. Back in the ring Punk puts Pearce in the Anaconda Vise. Rave breaks it up. Rave superplexes Punk into a top rope splash from Pearce. Danielson breaks the cover. Pearce keeps Danielson at bay. Rave tries for Greeting from Ghana but Punk turns it into the Anaconda Vise. When Pearce tries breaking it, Danielson puts him in Cattle Mutilation. Both men make it to the ropes. Pearce stops Punk and Danielson from superplexing Rave. Rave drops Danielson with Greetings from Ghana. Pearce gives Punk a spinebuster. Rave hits the Doppler Effect for two. Punk gives Pearce a headscissors. Punk misses a Backfist. Rave goes for Greetings From Ghana. Danielson stops him with a missile dropkick. Punk catches Rave with a Complete Shot and puts on the Anaconda Vise. Danielson makes sure neither Peace or Nana can interfere. Rave taps out at 29:02. appreciate that Danielson kept his persona intact even while teaming with Punk who was obviously insanely beloved. It was also a lot of fun seeing Punk back in the company for one night, though having Rave tap out right before he challenged for the World title was puzzling and probably a mistake (although I did enjoy seeing them wrestle again). As a placeholder main event, it worked out really well given the unfortunate circumstances that struck this show. ***½
Bryan Danielson gives Punk credit for coming to the show even though he didn’t have to. If Punk ever decides to leave “the entertainment business”, Danielson would be happy to give him a shot at the World title. That’s a funny comment in hindsight. Danielson has the crowd give Punk a standing ovation and shakes his hand. Punk verbally destroys a detractor in the audience. He then gives the Long Island crowd the proper East Coast goodbye he never got to have during the Summer of Punk. As the fans chant his name, Punk runs outside and makes a Snow Angel.
Samoa Joe vs. Jay Lethal
“Fourth Anniversary Show” – Edison, NJ – 2.25.2006
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. ***
Do Fixer (Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino)
“Supercard of Honor” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 3.31.2006
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. He’s much smaller than the rest of the crew, so it’s easy for them to bully Kid. He manages to give CIMA a spin kick to his chest and tags in Saito. He 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 20:29. It’s been years since this match received heaps and heaps of praise. I’m happy to tell you this still holds up and is quite a jaw dropper. I became a huge Dragon Gate fan in the years that succeeded this match, so for me watching this again made me appreciate it even more with knowledge of the characters. Were it not for this match, Dragon Gate USA would have never existed and many fans like myself would have never followed the promotion. Not only is this a fantastic match but very important to the landscape of independent wrestling. ****½
ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong
“Supercard of Honor” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 3.31.2006
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 pin, 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 this match earned him another opportunity at the World title. ROH management agreed, and it main evented one of the biggest shows in company history.
This was a more methodical approach from both gentlemen 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
AJ Styles & Matt Sydal vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe
“The 100th Show” – Philadelphia, PA – 4.22.2006
The Briscoes lunge at Sydal and Styles at the bell, but Styles tackles Jay into the corner while Sydal chops Mark. They attack the Briscoes in opposite corners, then AJ pops Sydal into a knee strike to Mark. Styles hits his patented drop down/leapfrog dropkick on Jay.. Styles ducks a springboard dropkick from Mark and tags in Sydal. Sydal and Styles double team Mark, but Mark blocks a knee strike in the corner from Sydal and delivers a chop. Jay tags in and the Briscoes hit a double shoulder tackle for two. The Briscoes isolate Sydal in their corner until Sydal blocks a Death Valley Driver and takes Mark over with a headscissors. Sydal tags in Styles after a dropkick. Styles hits a leaping knee drop and a back suplex on Jay for two. Jay drop toe holds Styles onto the middle rope where Mark drills him in the side of the head with a knee strike. Mark follows up with a slingshot double stomp, and Styles now finds himself isolated in the Briscoes corner. Styles fights back and takes Mark to the floor with a kip-up headscissors. Styles knocks Jay to the floor, and Styles and Sydal hit stereo dives onto the Briscoes. Back in the ring, Mark low blows Styles. The Briscoes both launch Sydal straight in the air and he comes crashing down to the mat. The Briscoes continue to beat down Sydal until Sydal takes Mark off the middle rope with a Frankensteiner and tags in Styles. Styles knocks down both Briscoes with kicks and punches. Styles turns an Asai moonsault into a reverse DDT on Mark, then hits a German suplex/facebuster combo on Jay. Mark Jon woo dropkicks Styles to save Jay from a Styles Clash. Styles and Sydal hit a neckbreaker/top rope splash combo on Mark and Jay breaks up the pin. Styles and Sydal hit a tandem neckbreaker on Jay. Mark attacks Styles on the floor. Jay blocks a huracanrana from Sydal, and the Briscoes nail him with a springboard Doomsday Device. Jay wipes out Styles with a yakuza kick. Sydla kicks Mark to the apron. Sydal blocks the Jay Driller and hits a standing moonsault. Jay forearms Sydal from behind. The Briscoes hit Sydal with the Spike Jay Driller for the pin at 12:42. In the battle of teamwork versus speed, teamwork won out, with the Briscoes dominating Sydal with two huge tandem maneuvers to ultimately come out victorious. Between this win and the win against Evan and Strong the month prior, The Briscoes proved they are ready for a tag title shot. Both teams packed a lot of action into a relatively short period, and it made for a super fun watch. ***½
ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Delirious
“Ring of Homicide” – Edison, NJ – 5.13.2006
Danielson has been champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his twentieth defense. He gives Delirious the chance to quit before the match starts, but after an incoherent rejection of that notion, Delirious forearms and headbutts Danielson like crazy to start the match, to the point where Danielson has to poke Delirious’ eyes to stop him. Danielson takes a breather outside after avoiding a knee to the face. Danielson fights for Cattle Mutilation but Delirious gets to the ropes. Danielson wears down Delirious’ arms and neck before trying the submission once more, but Delirious gets to the ropes again. He counters Danielson’s suplex attempt with a headscissors and nails a leaping clothesline for a one count. After trading forearm shots, Delirious ducks a forearm and gives Danielson a belly-to-back suplex. When Delirious tries for the Cobra Stretch, Danielson grabs the ropes and back elbows his way free..Delirious’ crossbody sends them both to the floor. Danielson takes control by dropping Delirious throat-first on the barricades and throwing a chair at his head. In the ring Danielson puts Delirious in the Romero Special and chokes him with his own mask tassels. He throws Delirious into the barricades before bringing him back in the ring and reapplying the Romero Special. He then puts on a cross armbreaker which Delirious breaks via the ropes. Delirious sends Danielson to the floor to avoid an abdominal stretch and suicide dives after him. In the ring, Delirious chops up Danielson in the corner until Danielson throws him across the ring out of a cravate. As Danielson attempts a diving headbutt, Delirious catches him in mid-air with an Ace Crusher. He crucifixes Danielson into the Cobra Stretch and gets his foot on the ropes to escape. Danielson comes off the second rope with a diving uppercut, then Dragon suplexes Danielson for two. He puts Delirious in the Crossface Chicken Wing. At the moment it looks like he will pass out, Delirious maneuvers his way to the ropes. When Danielson goes for a belly-to-back superplex, Delirious reverses mid-air for a crossbody. He hits the Panic Attack and then Shadows Over Hell for two. He gives Danielson a backbreaker before applying the Cobra Stretch. Danielson rolls to the ropes. Delirious goes for Shadows Over Hell again. Danielson catches him coming down and puts on Cattle Mutilation. Delirious somehow makes it to the ropes. Danielson throws elbows to the side of his head. Delirious fights out and punts Danielson in the head twice. Danielson catches him in a small package for the pin at 24:28. The fact that Delirious got to look really strong against Danielson and was believably close to winning the belt on a couple of occasions really did a lot for his in-ring career especially considering Danielson ended up having to catch him off guard to get the win. This also had some fun call backs to their first match making this an overall success. This is probably Delirious’ best singles match in ROH. ****
Cage of Death
Team ROH (Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce, Ace Steel, & A Mystery Partner) vs. Team CZW (Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb, & Mystery Partner)
“Death Before Dishonor IV” – Philadelphia, PA – 7.15.2006
Since Ring of Honor’s first show of 2006, they and Combat Zone Wrestling have been at war. It started out simple enough with Bryan Danielson defending the ROH title successfully against CZW stalwart Chris Hero. From there, things got wild and turned into a giant company vs. company battle. Throughout the months, CZW invaders would come to ROH shows looking to start fights and cause chaos. Eventually, sanctioned matches between the two sides occurred, mostly in ROH, though ROH wrestlers did make sporadic appearances on CZW shows during the time period.
While CZW had ROH’s number in the majority of the matches, one ROH star stood above the pack as the one guy who could handle and defeat CZW’s guys: Homicide. At the same time, Homicide was getting fed up with Ring of Honor feeling that they had done him wrong too many times. In June, referee Todd Sinclair stopped his ROH World title match with Bryan Danielson when he felt Homicide could not continue. Homicide saw that as a slight. He then would get a match with Nigel McGuinness for the Pure Championship where he got counted out (thanks to Nigel stalling and forcing Homicide to be far away from the ring). Those two events frustrated Homicide enough that he quit the company. This was a serious problem for ROH, because they knew they needed Homicide if they wanted to be successful in the Cage of Death match. Dave Prazak even flew out to Florida during an FIP weekend to ask Homicide what would convince him to come back to ROH. Homicide says he would consider returning if Jim Cornette (acting ROH commissioner) would grant him three wishes. The day of the show, Bryan Danielson ended up convincing Cornette to make him the fifth man on the ROH team since he A) has never lost to a CZW wrestler and B) is the ROH World champion. That explanation, along with there being no guarantee Homicide was around, is reason enough for Cornette to grant Danielson the fifth and final spot on team ROH.
Then comes the match itself. The Cage of Death works like War Games; the match starts with one member of each team. Every few minutes a member from one of the teams comes to join the match. ROH won the coin flip, so they will get a new team mate first. The match can only end when all members of both teams have entered the cage. The big question here is who the fifth CZW teammate is. Is it Homicide? If not, will we see him during the match?
Samoa Joe and Claudio Castagnoli start. Joe is able to whoop on Claudio for awhile and BJ Whitmer joins him. Chris Hero comes out to turn the tide in his and Claudio’s favor. Bryan Danielson enters next and tells Samoa Joe to go for the Muscle Buster on Hero. As he is doing so, Bryan clips Joe’s knee! Jim Cornette is flipping out as Danielson hits Joe’s knee with a chair. It turns out Danielson only wanted in this match so he could injure Joe. The reason he wanted to do this is because Joe has a shot at his ROH title in a few weeks. He does not care about the ROH vs. CZW feud. He only cares that he holds onto his title. Danielson leaves, and Joe is too injured to compete any further, so this leaves Whitmer alone with Hero, Claudio, and now Nate Webb.
Ace Steel, Adam Pearce, and Butcher join the fray. Then it’s time for Chris Hero to introduce CZW’s final teammate. Steel wipes him out with a trashcan, but Hero is able to recover and fight back to make the announcement. Hero decide to put aside his personal hatred for this man in order to get help for this match. The fifth teammate is none other than Eddie Kingston. Before I continue, I need to point out that I thought this was silly and a bad hiccup at the end of this feud. This feud was a Ring of Honor feud. CZW by and large ignored most of this feud (save for a few shows) and the issue was not at the crux of any of their major storylines. The Hero/Kingston feud was 100% CZW and many of the fans in attendance for this match seemingly had no clue who Kingston was. I know when I first watched this show I did not. Even if every fan knew who Kingston was, introducing him into the feud at the very end is just poor planning.
At this point, the match was 5 on 3 with ROH looking totally hopeless. Just as Hero and Kingston begin to argue, Homicide’s music hits. He breaks a wooden board over Kingston’s hand and hands out ghetto forks to all of his teammates. This was the turning point in which the ROH team was able to take over. While CZW is able to get the upper hand again for a moment or two, the majority of the post-Homicide portion of the match is the ROH team standing tall. Everyone gets wiped out on the floor except for Homicide and Nate Webb. After two ties, Homicide dropped Webb through a barbed wire board with a Cop Killa to pick up the victory for Team ROH at 40:36.
It’s a shame the Danielson/Joe angle (which was so great) took place that early in the match, because it left a huge chunk of time where it was just the CZW team beating the crap out of Whitmer, Pearce and Steel. Once Homicide came in, things picked up tremendously. This was an absolute, total war. These guys beat the living hell out of one another to fight for the side they firmly stood on. This not only was an incredible ending to the feud but helped set up a lot of what was to come in the future. If this match was not the all out war it ended up being, ROH fans would not revere the ROH/CZW feud as one of the best in the company’s history. This is easily one of my favorite Ring of Honor matches ever and one I strongly encourage seeking out. ****¼
Jim Cornette has the ROH Dojo students carry all the CZW wrestlers out of the building. He thanks Pearce and Steel, then asks Homicide, Dillon, and Pearce to stay behind. Cornette tells Homicide that he came through for ROH, and because of that, he will grant him three wishes. Cornette grants Homicide’s first two wishes with no issue: a match with Steve Corino in an ROH ring and a future shot at the ROH World Championship. His third wish, for Cornette to reinstate Low Ki, Cornette has a problem with. He can’t look past Ki knocking out his teeth, and Cornette also views that as a favor to Ki, not Homicide. Homicide calls Cornette a God damn liar and spits in his face in response to Cornette not reinstating Low Ki. Pearce attacks Homicide from behind and Cornette throws powder in his eyes. JJ Dillon locks the cage door so Julius Smokes can’t enter. Homicide gets handcuffed to the corner and Cornette whips him with a belt. Dillon and Pearce also stop ROH Dojo students from attempting to save Homicide. Once he’s concluded the lashings, Cornette tells the fans they can kiss his ass if they don’t like his decisions.
No Rope Barbed Wire Match
BJ Whitmer vs. Necro Butcher
“War of the Wire II” – Dayton, OH – 7.28.2006
In addition to barbed wire being in the place of standard ring ropes, barbed wire covered boards have been placed in two of the four corners. Homicide is in Whitmer’s corner. The first contact with wire comes when Butcher drives Whitmer chest and arms first into the wire and hits him in the back with a chair. Butcher uses that chair to assist with a slam, and then rubs a strand of barbed wire into Whitmer’s forehead close to his right eye. Butcher then digs Whitmer’s back into the wire. Whitmer forearms a chair into Butcher’s head and then whips Butcher back first into the wire twice. After Butcher kicks out of both a piledriver and a brainbuster, Whitmer attempts a powerbomb. Butcher escapes and knocks Whitmer down with a boot to the forehead. After trading blows, they fight over a pair of wire cutters, which Whitmer retrieves after a knee stike. He cuts free the wires on one side of the ring providing an opening to a side of the floor that has a barbed wire board placed onto a table ringside. Butcher ends up putting Whitmer through the board with a sit-out Tiger Driver off of the apron!. It takes multiple personnel to get them back to their feet. Whitmer suplexes Butcher through the chair for two. Whitmer dumps a bag of thumbacks onto the apron, and Butcher gives Whitmer a Tiger Driver onto them! Whitmer kicks out, Butcher side slams Whitmer onto the tacks, and Whitmer kicks out again. Whitmer throws tacks into Butcher’s face and drops him bare feet first onto them. Whitmer then hits an exploder suplex onto the tacks for two. Whitmer ties a big boot, but Butcher ducks and drives Whitmer through one of the corner barbed wire boards with a Death Valley Driver! Butcher throws in some chairs as Whitmer is being freed from the board, his back now lacerated like crazy. Butcher picks up the other board. Whitmer kicks the non-wire end into him, then drops the wire covered portion onto Butcher’s fallen body. Whitmer repeatedly uses chair shots to drive the barbed wire board onto Butcher. Whitmer then climbs a ladder and splashes onto the board! Amazingly, Butcher is able to kick out from a pin after that, so Whitmer gives him an exploder suplex onto the thumbtacks, finally earning the pin at 26:09. This was a stellar outing from both men. It gave us the blood and violence expected out of a match of this nature and put a bow on this internal issue that stemmed from the CZW rivalry. At this point it was Whitmer’s finest hour in singles competition, and probably Butcher’s best ever. Of the two No Rope Barbed Wire matches presented by ROH, this was definitely the superior bout. ****
Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles
“Time To Man Up” – Lake Grove, NY – 8.4.2006
After a handshake, Styles blindsides Joe with rapid forearm strikes. Joe takes down Styles with a pair of shoulder blocks. After a headscissors and backbreaker, Styles looks for an early Styles Clash, which Joe frees himself from with kicks. Styles puts on a Muta Lock but Joe grabs the ropes with ease. Joe clobbers him with a right hand. Styles uses a bodyscissors to take Joe to the floor. Joe kicks out Styles’ legs from underneath him to avoid a PK, causing Styles to crash onto the ring apron. Although Styles avoids being whipped into the barricades, Joe slams him into a chair against the guardrail and Ole kicks him into the barricades. A forearm and enzuigiri back in the ring takes Styles down for two. Styles comes back with a tope con hilo, then in the ring lands the Phenomenal Forearm for two. When Styles tries another springboard maneuver, Joe catches him with an Ace Crusher in mid-air. Joe powerbombs Styles into an STF, and Styles grabs the ropes when Joe transitions into a crossface. Joe misses an enzuigiri and Styles hits the Phenomenon for two. Joe powerslams Styles for two. Styles sunset flips his way out out a Muscle Buster and hits the Styles Clash. Joe grabs the ropes to avoid being pinned. Styles puts Joe in a sleeper hold. Joe drives Styles into the mat to break his sleeper. Joe then gives Styles a rear-naked choke suplex to get the pin at 11:59. Commentary tried to make this seem like a big deal, as it would be Styles last match in ROH for a while, but it had a lot of factors working against it. The Lake Grove crowd wasn’t very receptive, all the attention was on Joe’s title match with Danielson the next night, there wasn’t much of a story aside from some occasional knee work from Styles, and the ending was very sudden. These two have such a chemistry that even with all those factors the match was good, and with Styles leaving and Joe having the title match the next night, it made sense for him to be so dominant. This just isn’t anything special on its own, which is exactly how it is digested in a compilation format. ***¼
ROH World Championship & ROH Pure Championship Unification Match
Bryan Danielson (ROH World Champion) vs. Nigel McGuinness (ROH Pure Champion)
“Unified” – Liverpool, England – 8.12.2006
Danielson has been World champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his twenty ninth defense. McGuinness has been Pure champion since 8.27.2005 and this is his eighteenth defense. The match is contested under Pure Rules. It is made clear that unlike their “Weekend of Champions, Night 2” bout, both the World and Pure titles can change hands on a count out.
The match is contested under Pure Rules. It is made clear that unlike their “Weekend of Champions, Night 2” bout, both the World and Pure titles can change hands on a count out. An aggressive lock-up is broken against the ropes and Danielson smacks McGuinness in the face. McGuinness responds with his own slap to Danielson’s face after arm dragging his way out of a wristlock. Danielson pops McGuinness in the face with his elbow in the corner. McGuinness reverses Danielson’s wristlock and Danielson dropkicks him to the ropes. Danielson does more damage to the arm until McGuinness snapmares him into a back kick. Danielson pushes McGuinness to the corner to break a front facelock, then sends McGuinness shoulder first into the mat. Danielson attacks McGuinness’ wrist and shoulder and then delivers a dropkick for two. Danielson butterfly suplexes McGuinness into a cross armbreaker, forcing McGuinness to use his first rope break. McGuinness catches Danielson in the corner with a kick to the back before driving Danielson down to the mat in a lariat. He then drives Danielson’s arm to the mat in a top wristlock. McGuinness applies a Cobra Clutch after clobbering Danielson with uppercuts. Refusing to use a rope break, Danielson escapes on his own accord and delivers an enzuigiri. Danielson then stomps the back of McGuinness’ knees into the canvas. Danielson delivers a superplex and follows up with a diving headbutt. When that doesn’t get Danielson the pin, he puts on the Cattle Mutilation. McGuinness uses his second rope break to escape. McGuinness catches Danielson climbing the ropes and delivers the Tower of London. Danielson uses his first rope break to stop the pin. McGuinness then puts on his own Cattle Mutilation, and Danielson uses his second rope break to escape that. They fight spills out to the floor where Danielson throws McGuinness face first into the timekeeper’s table. Back in the ring we get a forearm exchange which ends when McGuinness delivers a lariat for two. McGuinness does a corner headstand but gets caught by a dropkick and subsequent rolling forearm. Danielson applies the Crossface Chicken Wing with a bodyscissors, the same method that won him the World Title. McGuinness uses his third and final rope break to escape. Danielson hits a German suplex. He goes for another diving headbutt but this time McGuinness gets his boot up to block it. Danielson wins an intense slap battle. McGuinness blocks a Dragon suplex and crotches Danielson on the top rope, bringing him down with a lariat. Danielson uses his final rope break to stop the pin attempt that follows. Danielson stops McGuinness as he climbs the turnbuckles and puts him in a Chicken Wing while seated on the top turnbuckle. McGuinness cleverly converts into the Tower of London for a two count. They both go outside the ring where Danielson pulls McGuinness head first into the ring post four times. The repeated impact busts him open. Danielson dropkicks McGuinness into the crowd and springboard dives after him. Despite Danielson’s best efforts, both he and McGuinness make it back into the ring before the twenty count. McGuinness is fired up and bloody. He and Danielson throw simultaneous headbutts, as if they were freakin’ rams or something. Danielson counters it the first time, but the second time McGuinness scores with the Rebound Lariat. McGuinness crawls over to Danielson and covers him. Danielson not only kicks out at two, but rolls himself and McGuinness over and applies the Cattle Mutilation. McGuinness escapes, so Danielson traps his head and lays in a barrage of elbows to the side of his head. Odd Sinclair stops the match at 26:20, giving Danielson the win and both titles. This had everything you could want from a high stakes match – a tremendous backstory, intense action that escalated, a rabid crowd, and the genuine feeling something important and momentous was happening. This is easily one of the best matches in ROH history, one of the best matches of both guys’ careers, and a bonafide classic. If you have not seen this match, you need to. ****¾
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji
“Glory By Honor V, Night 1” – East Windsor, CT – 9.15.2006
KENTA denies Jay a handshake. Mark knees Marufuji in the stomach and tags in Jay after neither man gets control on the mat. Marufuji twists up Jay’s arm and tags in KENTA. Jay picks him up and carries him to his corner. Mark tags in, delivering shoulder blocks and a suplex for two. Marufuji stands on Mark’s face in his corner, but then finds himself trapped in the Briscoes corner. Marufuji shoves Jay across the ring and tags KENTA, who slaps Jay when Jay tries a sunset flip. KENTA gets two with a butterfly suplex. Mark blind tags in and gets two with a crossbody. The Briscoes wear down KENTA until he catches Mark with a powerslam. Marufuji comes in and gets two with a back elbow. He puts Jay in a Muta Lock and a Bow and Arrow. Mark comes off the second rope with an elbow to break it. Jay hammers Marufuji with a back elbow. Marufuji falls victim to another Briscoe beatdown. He escapes this time by tripping Jay and dropkicking him in the side of the head. KENTA brings back the springboard head kick of doom! Marufuji’s slingshot elbow gets him a two count. Mark misses a springboard crossbody onto KENTA and eats a bunch of kicks. Mark cuts him off with a Northern Lights suplex, and then spinwheel kicks Marufuji. Jay knocks down KENTA so Mark can springboard in for a stomp. The Briscoes give KENTA the Redneck Boogie for two. KENTA recovers and springboard dropkicks both of them. Marufuji kicks out Jay’s knee and delivers a low running clothesline. The Briscoes hit a Hart Attack with a spinwheel kick for two. Marufuji clotheslines Mark and KENTA gives him a fisherman’s buster for two. A series of offenses leaves everyone laying KENTA tiger suplexes Jay and kicks Mark when Mark tries a springboard. Mark eats kicks from both men, but luckily Jay is there to save him from being pinned. KENTA hits Mark with a Busaiku Knee and Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 20:24. There really was so rhyme or reason as to what they were doing, but it looked cool as hell and that finishing stretch was an amalgam of wrestling lovin’. I don’t know what that means but I assure you it is positive. ***¾
ROH Tag Team Championship
Austin Aries & Roderick Strong vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
“Glory By Honor V, Night 2” – New York, NY – 9.16.2006
Aries & Strong have been champions since 12.17.2005 and this is their nineteenth defense. The Kings of Wrestling stole the ROH tag titles ransom in order to get this match. Aries’ ribs are taped up due to suffering an injury during a tag title defense against the Briscoes last month.
The Kings deny Aries & Strong a pre-match handshake and jump them before the bell. Aries and Strong lay in some strikes as retaliation, with Hero and Claudio bailing to the floor. Strong takes Claudio to the mat. Claudio goes for a Boston Crab but Strong twists on his ankle. Claudio holds Strong so Hero can hit him, but Strong baits them into striking each other. Strong gives Claudio a fallaway slam and Aries follows with a slingshot senton and frog splash for one. Strong gets one with a butterfly suplex. Aries slingshot sentons onto Claudio while he is stretched out across Strong’s legs. Strong and Aries double suplex Claudio for two. They give Claudio the Hart Attack for two. Claudio wisely distracts the referee so that Hero can push Aries off the top rope. Aries lands ribs first on the top rope. The Kings take turns attacking Aries’ ribs with referee Todd Sinclair having to keep Strong from jumping in. After a lengthy beat down, Aries manages to slip out of a double suplex and tag in Strong. Strong wails on both Hero and Claudio, sending them to the floor. Aries wipes them both out with a Heat-Seeking Missile. Strong follows with a twisting tope. In the ring Strong hits Claudio with a Tiger Driver and Hero breaks the count. Hero rips Strong’s face in the corner and then atomic drops Strong into a gutwrench powerbomb from Claudio. Claudio gets two with Alpamare Water Slide thanks to Aries breaking the count. Aries hits Hero with the IED and Strong delivers the Sick Kick. Strong chops Claudio into a brainbuster from Aries and then gives Claudio a half-nelson backbreaker. Aries heads up top for the 450 splash. Hero and Strong fight which causes Aries to lose his balance. Claudio nails Aries in the ribs with his briefcase behind the referee’s back. The Kings hit the Hero’s Welcome: KOW Edition on Strong. Strong rolls to the floor to avoid being pinned and Aries comes back in to attempt to fight both Hero and Claudio. After taking a boot to the ropes, the Kings hit Aries with the KRS-ONE for the pin at 21:32 and to become the new tag team champions. This match told a simple but effective story, with Aries’ injured ribs as the focal point. The portion of the match where the Kings had Aries isolated lasted too long and I felt my interest waning because of it. The teams made a very nice recovery, but this wasn’t the epic match they would be capable of a few years later. ***¼
ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson (Champion) vs. KENTA
“Glory by Honor V, Night 2” – New York, NY – 9.16.2006
Danielson has been World champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his thirty fourth defense. Danielson ducks KENTA’s initial kick. KENTA slaps him in the face after breaking a lock-up. Danielson does the same. Danielson pulls up on KENTA’s arm and shoulder, bringing KENTA to the ropes. Danielson knee strikes him before letting go. KENTA kicks Danielson in his injured shoulder, so Danielson takes some time on the floor. KENTA kicks Danielson in the shoulder again, causing Danielson to angrily unload with some strikes. KENTA dishes another kick to the shoulder anyways. Danielson grabs a side headlock to stop KENTA’s offense. They exchange submissions on the mat. KENTA puts a wristlock on Danielson’s bad arm. Danielson dropkicks him to the floor. Danielson follows out only to be kicked in the shoulder multiple times. KENTA throws him shoulder first into the barricades and continues to work over Danielson’s shoulder back in the ring. Danielson feels insulted by KENTA’s slingshot head kick and takes KENTA down from behind. KENTA keylocks his arm and Danielson desperately grabs the ropes. Danielson goes for a sunset flip and KENTA smacks him in the face. Danielson knee strikes him in the stomach and delivers a cravate suplex. Danielson throws a bunch of kicks in the corner and lays his forearm across KENTA’s chest after a suplex. He eye rakes KENTA across the top rope and stomps his knees into the canvas out of the Romero Special. He twists up KENTA’s legs before putting on a figure four leg lock. Danielson slingshots KENTA throat first into the bottom rope. KENTA kicks the inside of Danielson’ leg to block a boot in the corner. He delivers a boot of his own and kicks Danielson’s bad arm. He even gives the arm a missile dropkick. KENTA puts on a cross armbreaker and Danielson makes it to the ropes. He trips KENTA into a half crab. KENTA grabs the ropes and hits an enzuigiri. Danielson nails a forearm to block the Go 2 Sleep, then superplexes KENTA for a two count. He puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing with a bodyscissors and KENTA gets the ropes to escape.
KENTA gets his feet up to block Danielson’s diving headbutt. KENTA goes for a springboard move and gets caught mid-air by a dropkick. Danielson smartly uses his uninjured arm when throwing punches at KENTA. Danielson retaliates with headbutts to combat KENTA’s chest kicks. Danielson belly-to-back suplexes KENTA on the floor, then throws KENTA into the crowd and springboard dives out onto him. In the ring Danielson connects with a top rope dropkick. KENTA ducks a forearm and applies a Fujiwara armbar on Danielson’s bad arm. Danielson scurries to the ropes in an expedient fashion. KENTA catches him with an Ace Crusher and re-applies the hold. Danielson gets the ropes again. Danielson Regalplexes KENTA for two. Danielson superplexes him as well, doing some damage to his own shoulder in the process. When KENTA kicks out, Danielson puts on the Cattle Mutilation. KENTA maneuvers towards the ropes to escape. Danielson suplexes KENTA before heading to the top rope. KENTA jumps up but gets thrown back down. Danielson dives off. KENTA catches him on his shoulders and hits the Go 2 Sleep! Danielson puts his foot on the bottom rope to stop the count, making him the first person to not be pinned by the GTS in ROH. Danielson blocks the Busaiku Knee with an O’Conner Roll. KENTA boots Danielson in the face. Danielson crucifix pins KENTA to block another Go 2 Sleep, throwing elbows at the side of KENTA’s head while locking his arm. KENTA fires up so Danielson reapplies Cattle Mutilation. KENTA rolls through for a two count. Danielson Tiger suplexes him for two. He puts on the Cattle Mutilation. He throws more elbows and applies it again. KENTA taps out at 33:01, making Danielson the first person to defeat KENTA in ROH. KENTA was smart to after Danielson’s arm but was too focused on hitting Go 2 Sleep to keep with his strategy. That gave Danielson enough time to recover some of the strength and submit KENTA with the move after wearing him down with elbows. It was also great that Danielson wore down KENTA’s knees to mute the Busaiku Knee and Go 2 Sleep. Pretty much every single thing about this ruled. This ties with the Low Ki match as KENTA’s best match in ROH, and is rightfully remembered as one of Danielson’s best title defenses. ****¾
Roderick Strong & Austin Aries vs. KENTA & Davey Richards
“Honor Reclaims Boston” – Braintree, MA – 11.3.2006
Richards ends the opening exchange with Strong by taking him down with an armdrag and tagging in KENTA. KENTA points, silently asking for Aries, who obliges by tagging Strong. Slaps to the face leads to KENTA taking down Aries with a running boot. Aries dropkicks out of headscissors and tags in Strong who lights up KENTA with chops. KENTA responds by chest kicking Strong all the way to his corner. Richards delivers his own chest kicks. Aries blind tags in, surprising Richards with a slingshot senton and leaping elbow drop. Aries and Strong wear down Richards’ back until he slips out of a tandem back suplex and tags in KENTA. He unleashes kicks on both opponents before delivering a double springboard dropkick. KENTA stomps down Strong in his corner, allowing for him and Richards to wear him down. Strong is able to tag out when he ends up tossing KENTA to the floor when attempting a Hot Shot. Aries’ slingshot body press on KENTA leads to Aries giving Richards a lionsault press. Strong slingshot shoulder blocks KENTA into a top rope frog splash from Aries. KENTA snaps Aries’ throat on the top rope. Richards holds Aries on the top rope so KENTA can drive a knee into the back of Aries’ head. Strong comes to Aries’ aid. Aries gives KENTA a shinbreaker suplex, but then is wiped out by Richards’ Damage Reflex. Strong takes out Richards with a half-nelson backbreaker, and a flying boot from KENTA to Strong means all four now are now left laying. Aries wipes out Richards with a heat-seeking missile. KENTA boots Strong to the floor then dives off the top turnbuckle onto both him and Aries. In the ring, KENTA hits a Doomsday Busaiku Knee on Aries, and Strong breaks up the pin just in time. Strong buckle bombs KENTA. Richards Saito suplexes Strong. KENTA leaps to the top rope and brings down Aries with a super Falcon Arrow for two. Strong gets his knees up to block Richards’ shooting star press. He gives Richards a half-nelson backbreaker and Sick Kick. KENTA breaks Aries’ pin and gets in a strike exchange with Strong. Strong chops KENTA into a brainbuster from Aries, and KENTA rolls to the floor. Strong back chops Richards to stop him from giving Aries the DR Driver. Aries punts Richards into a waterwheel slam from Strong, then lands a 450 Splash on Richards for the pin at 24:37. This was action-packed and had a lot of really fun counters and sequences to keep your eyes on. KENTA and Edwards may be great wrestlers, but Aries and Strong proved to be the superior team. Even though it didn’t serve any bigger storyline purpose, it was a unique and really enjoyable main event for ROH’s return to the Boston area. ****
ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) vs. Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal
“Dethroned” – Edison, NJ – 11.25.2006
The Kings of Wrestling have been champions since 9.16.2006 and this is their fifth defense. Allison Danger is in Daniels and Sydal’s corner. Daniels mocks Hero and Claudio’s showboating after taking both Kings down with armdrags. Hero slaps Daniels in the face to end an exchange and bails to the floor right away. Daniels gets his own slap in, and Sydal sends Claudio out to the floor with a spin kick. Sydal swiftly moves around, avoiding the Kings’ offense so fast that they end up hitting one another. Daniels further humiliates them by throwing Sydal onto them both after sending them to the floor. Sydal and Daniels control Hero with various double team offense. Claudio sneaks in with an uppercut to the back of Daniels’ neck, and assists Hero with a back suplex. The Kings wear down Daniels’ back and neck, taking some time to antagonize the fans in the process. Daniels takes down Claudio with an STO and tags in Sydal. He takes down both Hero and Claudio with headscissors, and stands on Claudio’s shoulders before dropping down into a DDT for two. Hero gives Sydal a release vertical suplex, then kicks him off of Claudio’s shoulder into a slam for two. Sydal knees his way out of a double suplex and tags Daniels who comes in with a diving double clothesline. Daniels gives Claudio and Iconoclasm and Hero a uranage. He lands the BME on Hero, but referee Todd Sinclair points out Claudio is the legal participant. Sydal crossbody’s Claudio to the floor and holds him so Daniels can land an Arabian Press. Hero hits a twisting dive onto Daniels (and subsequently Claudio), and Sydal follows that with an Orihara moonsault. Daniels victory rolls Hero to avoid a Doomsday uppercut from Claudio. Moments later, Daniels is caught with Hero’s Welcome: KOW Edition, but Sydal is able to break the pin. Sydal drops Hero with a standing leg drop. He tries a shooting star press but is met in mid-air with an uppercut. The Kings set up Sydal for KRS-ONE. Mid-move, Daniels tackles Hero, and Sydal brings down Claudio with a huracanrana, scoring the pin and winning the titles at 22:45! The crowd popped huge for the title change, happy to see the relatively new tandem of Daniels and Sydal finally vanquish the cocky Kings. The ending was super creative and satisfying as well, and Claudio taking the fall sets up what is to come for the Kings too. The match may have taken the longer route to get to that satisfying conclusion, but it was a lot of fun to watch. ***¾
ROH World Championship; Steel Cage Match
Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe
“The Chicago Spectacular, Night 1” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 12.8.2006
Danielson has been World champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his thirty eighth defense. Joe headbutts Danielson after they each try to send one another into the cage. Danielson is constantly trying to escape the cage, with Joe having to constantly halt him. Little actions like a straight up kick to the groin shows Joe does seem happy he is able to bend the rules. He also busts Danielson’s head open against the cage wall. Homicide tosses Joe a ghetto fork to use against Danielson during the match which Joe uses to further open Danielson’s forehead wound. Joe finds himself in a position to go over the top of the cage for escape, but Danielson runs up from behind and takes him down with a belly-to-back superplex. Danielson tries crawling through the cage door after hitting a diving heabdutt, but when Joe grabs his leg to stop him, Danielson gives Joe a Regalplex for two. Joe gets his own two count after an atomic drop, running boot, and senton splash combo. Danielson tries an O’Connor Roll, and Joe pulls him into a rear-naked choke. Danielson uses the ropes to turn it into a pinning combo, then dizzies Joe with another flash pin. Joe barrel rolls Danielson in a cradle to dizzy him as well. They fight their way up to the top of the cage. With Danielson up and over the top of the cage, Joe puts him in a rear-naked choke. It backfires against him, as Danielson passes out while in the choke, slipping out of Joe’s grasp and hitting the floor, which wins him the match at 20:42. I’ll admit that the match itself was painfully average, but again, I think Danielson’s hurt shoulder likely played a part in that, as after the KENTA match it seemed like he took it very easy until finally losing the title. I thought the ending was clever as hell, as it fits Danielson’s character and Joe more or less lost the match for himself accidentally. This is nowhere close to their best match against one another, but it’s a fun chapter. ***
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli)
“International Challenge” – Hartford, CT – 12.22.2006
Hero has the opening exchange with Jay won after a dropkick, but too much showboating from Hero allows Jay to come back with a spinwheel kick. Jay snaps off a Frankensteiner and tags in Mark, who comes in with a knee drop off the second rope. Hero gives him a suplex and tags in Claudio. Mark gives him a spinwheel kick. The Briscoes double Beele toss Claudio out of the corner. Jay gets two with a leg drop off the second rope to the back of his neck. Mark slingshots in for a double stomp. Behind the ref’s back, Hero snaps Mark’s neck across the top rope, sending him into the Match Killer from Claudio. The Kings beat down Mark in their corner until he escapes Hero’s running Manhattan Drop and gives Hero a German suplex. He flapjacks Claudio and tags in Jay who boots Claudio to the corner and dropkicks Hero. After giving Hero a fisherman’s buster, Jay backdrops Claudio out of the corner for two. The Briscoes dive after the Kings when they go to the floor. In the ring, Claudio neck-tie headscissors Jay off the top rope. Hero gives him a front flip neckbreaker and cravate neckbreaker for two. Hero boots Jay off of Claudio’s shoulders for another pin but Mark breaks the cover. Mark tags in and springboard splashes onto Hero. Claudio disrupts his pin. Mark springboard kicks Claudio in the back of the head and Jay clotheslines Claudio to the floor. Hero slides out of the Redneck Boogie but falls to stereo shoulder tackles. Larry Sweeney makes his way ringside and clocks Jay while the referee is dealing with Claudio who tried to interject in the match with his briefcase. Hero rolls up Jay the pin at 15:10. This was a good, solid tag team match between two tremendous teams, but their match from the next night and several of their matches from years later were significantly better. Larry Sweeney in ROH was so awesome. ***¼
ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide
“Final Battle 2006” – New York, NY – 12.23.2006
Danielson has been World champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his thirty ninth defense. This title match was promised to Homicide back at “Death Before Dishonor IV” as a reward for coming to Team ROH’s aid in the Cage of Death match. Homicide promised he would leave Ring of Honor if he was unable to defeat Danielson in this contest. Like Homicide did at “Destiny”, Danielson flips off Homicide instead of shaking his hand. Danielson suplexes Homicide out of a double knuckle lock. Danielson places Homicide on the top rope to break a headlock and slaps him in the face. Homicide goes for Danielson’s knee while Danielson goes for Homicide’s left arm. Danielson puts Homicide in the Romero Special and stomps his knees into the canvas. Danielson gets two with a slingshot suplex. Homicide reverses Danielson’s straightjacket choke into one of his own and then tosses Danielson to the floor. Homicide throws Danielson’s bad leftshoulder into the barricades. In the ring Danielson uses a chinbreaker to free himself from a chinlock. Danielson does some damage to Homicide’s bad shoulder. Homicide avoids an attack on the ropes. He uses the Three Amigos and heads to the top turnbuckle. Adam Pearce and Shane Hagadorn interfere, ending the match in a disqualification at 10:50. The fans are livid as Pearce and Hagadorn continue to attack Homicide. Danielson smiles as he walks away with the title. Julius Smokes and some other people from Homicide’s crew take Pearce and Hagadorn out. Todd Sinclair decides to re-start the match.
Danielson is furious, but makes his way back to the ring. Homicide knee strikes Danielson and gets two with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Danielson jams Homicide’s shoulder across his own shoulder. Danielson butterfly suplexes him into a cross armbreaker. Homicide escapes. Danielson gets two with a rolling forearm. He goes for a diving headbutt but gets caught with an Ace Crusher. Homicide suplexes Danielson to the floor and follows with a tope suicida. Homicide does further damage to Danielson’s shoulder, hammerlocking his arm and suplexing him off the second rope. Danielson then gets the ropes to break an armbar. Danielson boots Homicide away and nails an uppercut. Danielson flips off the crowd before hitting his diving headbutt. Danielson German suplexes Homicide. Homicide not only kicks out from the accompanying pinfall, but he then reapplies the armbar. Danielson gets the ropes again. Homicide’s spears Danielson to the floor to end a strike exchange. Danielson shoves Homicide into the crowd and springboard sentons onto him. Back in the ring Danielson hits a dropkick off the top rope. Homicide turns mid-air to counter a superplex, but Danielson hits it successfully when he stops Homicide from climbing the ropes. Danielson is slow to cover and Homicide is able to kick out. Danielson repeatedly drives his elbow into Homicide’s head and puts on the crossface chicken wing with a bodyscissors. Homicide’s arm drops twice, but he grabs Sinclair’s foot when it’s about to drop the third time. Homicide grabs the bottom rope to escape the hold but Danielson won’t let go. Homicide fights out anyways. Danielson blocks a lariat, and Homicide dragonscrew leg whips Danielson into the STF. Danielson rakes Homicide’s face to force the break. Danielson puts on the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson gives him a Tiger suplex and reapplies it. Danielson throws elbows at the side of his head and applies it one more time. Homicide climbs the ropes to turn it into a pin, in which Danielson kicks out. Homicide ducks a clothesline and finally hits the Cop Killa, but Danielson grabs the bottom rope to stop the pin. Homicide brings in the ring bell. As Sinclair disposes of it, Danielson kicks Homicide low. He small packages Homicide for a two count. Homicide then lariats Danielson for the pin and the title at 18:34! This definitely felt a little long, but the false finish earlier really helped the energy. This also felt like a genuinely enormous moment for both Homicide and ROH. Danielson and Homicide did a great job playing off their previous encounters and a lot of what Danielson did in his title reign as a whole. The crowd’s joy over the title change cannot be understated either. This is one of the top moments in ROH history, without question. ****
The locker room comes out to celebrate Homicide’s win. Danielson respectfully hands the title to Homicide, while also telling him that he will be coming back for it. He tells the crowd he is going to get high and party all night. He holds up the title and says it’s for all the fans.