Ring of Honor: Year Six (Disc Two)

Nigel McGuinness & Doug Williams vs. Takeshi Morishima & Chris Hero
“This Means War II” – Lake Grove, NY – 4.13.2007

Larry Sweeney and Tank Toland of Sweet N’ Sour Inc. are in Morishima and Hero’s corner. Morishima and Hero wipe out both opponents with double big boots to start off the bout. Hero brings Williams to the outside while Morishima clobbers McGuinness in the corner. McGuinness cuts off Hero with a kick to the back and clothesline down to the canvas. Williams and McGuinness damage Hero’s left arm while keeping him isolated. Williams staggers into enemy territory after taking a chinbreaker from Hero. Morishima sends Williams crashing into the guardrails, and then knocks McGuiness off of the apron before he and Hero wear down Williams in their corner. Williams is able to escape their grasp by catching Hero with a tornado DDT and giving him an enzuigiri before tagging in McGuinness. McGuinness wipes out an intruding Morishima with a superkick after sending him crashing into Hero, and Williams takes him out with a flying knee strike from the top turnbuckle and to the floor. McGuinness nails a lariat back in the ring on Hero for two. Morishima saves Hero from a kimura lock and Hero chokeslams McGuinness. Morishima ascends the ropes after a corner splash, but Williams holds onto his leg so McGuinness can bring him down with the Tower of London. Morishima resists some of McGuinness’ offense, but McGuinness is able to take him down with a lariat for two. Morishima and Williams volley Morishima between them with shots to his neck, ending with another lariat from McGuinness. Williams gutwrench suplexes Morishima and Hero breaks his pin attempt, and Morishima kicks out of a Bomb Scare on his own. Although Morishima takes him over with a uranage, Williams is able to take down Morishima with a belly-to-back. Morishima sits down on McGuinness’ chest after McGuinness blocks the Backdrop Driver. Hero knocks McGuinness down with a rolling elbow for two, and also gets two with a Shiranui. McGuinness blocks a Go 2 Sleep but eats a big boot. A series of offenses leaves everybody lying. McGuinness lariats Hero and with Williams aid delivers the Tower of London. Morishima breaks the pin and sends Williams into the barricades. Morishima blocks McGuinness’ lariat attempt on Hero with a side slam. He follows that up with the Backdrop Driver for two. Williams throws Hero into Morishima, McGuinness lariats Hero for the pin at 18:57. This was a solid match to give McGuiness some momentum into his title match against Morishima the following evening night. Hero using the offense of NOAH luminaries was cute, but the purpose behind it wasn’t really fleshed out. I guess he was mostly showing off. I had fun with this, but I question including it on this compilation over some other notable omissions. ***¼

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
“Good Times, Great Memories” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 4.28.2007

This match was set up at “All Star Extravaganza III” when Shelley and Sabin hit the ring after Jay and Mark won the ROH World Tag Team Championship for the fourth time and issued a challenge. Mark was taken out when he suffered a severe concussion doing a shooting star press, leaving Jay alone with the Machine Guns in the ring. With the encouragement of the crowd, Jay accepts the challenge, and is then left laying by Shelley and Sabin. Shelley declares himself and Sabin the future ROH Tag Team Champions. This is not featured on the compilation DVD, but can be found on ROH’s YouTube channel.

The Briscoes have been champions since 3.30.2007 and this is their second defense. The major story here was the Machine Guns focusing their attack on Mark’s neck, knowing their best chance of winning the titles was going after the Briscoes achilles heel. The Briscoes aren’t like any other team though: they’re tough as nails, have that subconscious brotherly connection that senses when the other needs a hand. The Machine Guns had to work very, very hard to make a dent in the champions, but that didn’t stop them from resorting to eye pokes, spitting in their opponents faces, and illegally breaking up pins when needed. Even at their most “comical”, the fans still hated them. Mark hitting the shooting star press on Shelley, then Shelley later hitting the Air Raid Crash on Mark, got the crowd in a legitimate frenzy. We’re talking about people jumping up and down ringside. Mark would pin Shelley after a cut-throat driver, then a super leg drop cut-throat driver combo at 34:30. At the time, these two were the best teams in wrestling, and their amazing tag team wrestling, crisp offense, and bevvy of believable nearfalls made this one of the most memorable and exciting matches in ROH history. To this day it’s considered one of the best matches in the promotions history, probably one of the best MCMG matches ever, and while you can say the same for the Briscoes, it was in some ways “just” another incredible match in a year where they had them almost every ROH show. This is simply two teams at the top of their game putting on an incredible show for an audience ready and happy to eat it up. ****¾

Nigel McGuinness & KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson & Takeshi Morishima
“Respect Is Earned” – New York, NY – 5.12.2007

KENTA boots Danielson out of mid-air when Danielson attempts a leapfrog. Morishima doesn’t budge from McGuinness’ shoulder block and pulls him to the corner where Danielson tags in. The two men grapple, going for one another’s arms, ending with an uppercut from McGuinness. A distraction from Morishima enables Danielson to surprise McGuinness with a diving uppercut off of the second turnbuckle. McGuinness headbutts Danielson, so Morishima takes him down with a clothesline. KENTA enters the ring, taking down Morishima with a running boot, leading to a four way stalemate after Danielson gives him a dragonscrew leg whip. Morishima hip attacks McGuinness, leading to him and Danielson wearing down McGuinness in their corner. McGuinness catches Danielson in the corner with a falling lariat into the canvas, and then knocks down Morishima with a lariat, giving him space to tag in KENTA. KENTA clobbers Danielson with a yakuza kick and a springboard dropkick for two, and then gets another two count after a leg lariat. Danielson shuts down KENTA with a backbreaker, feeding him to Morishima for a cartwheel corner splash and top rope dropkick. KENTA impressively takes him down with a powerslam and tags out to McGuinness. McGuinness delivers several shots to Morishima’s throat, but Morishima ducks a ripcord lariat and knocks him down with a big boot. McGuinness rolls through Morishima’s top rope dropkick and connects with a lariat for two. McGuinness also blocks the cartwheel corner splash with a lariat. Despite Danielson taking him out on the floor, KENTA is able to save McGuinness from being pinned by the Backdrop Driver. McGuinness takes out Morishima with a Tower of London, leading to both men tagging out. They do damage to each other’s neck, with Danielson getting KENTA in a Crossface Chicken Wing. KENTA turns it into a pin to escape, and then McGuinness powerbombs Danielson to save KENTA from a belly-to-back superplex. Morishima belly-to-belly suplexes KENTA and McGuinness lariats Danielson off of the top rope. McGuinness takes out Morishima on the floor with a lariat and a springboard crossbody into the crowd. In the ring, KENTA gets his feet up to block a diving headbutt from Danielson and wipes him out with the Busaiku Knee for two. Morishima breaks the pin after KENTA hits the Go 2 Sleep and takes him down with a uranage suplex. McGuinness is having his elbow taped up as Danielson and Morishima pummel KENTA. McGuinness enters in time to save KENTA from a Doomsday Device. McGuinness wipes out Morishima with the Jawbreaker Lariat as KENTA brings Danielson off the top turnbuckle with a Falcon Arrow for two. KENTA goes to the corner to block another crossface chickenwing attempt, but Danielson takes him down with a super belly-to-back suplex. KENTA fights out of elbows to the side of the head and attempts the Go 2 Sleep. Danielson blocks and Tiger suplexes KENTA for two. Danielson locks in Cattle Mutilation. Morishima blocks McGuinness from interjecting, and KENTA taps out at 24:44. That was an action packed, fun match to showcase the top 4 people in ROH to the PPV audience. It was a perfect set up to the next three shows where Danielson and McGuinness would face one another, and then each challenge Morishima. The story could’ve been a bit more cohesive, but I think to showcase the athletic style ROH was known for at this time, it was the right kind of match for this show. ***¾

ROH World Tag Team Championship – 2 out of 3 Falls Match
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli
“Domination” – Philadelphia, PA – 6.9.2007

The Briscoes have been champions since 3.30.2007 and this is their fifth defense. Larry Sweeney, Bobby Dempsey, and Tank Toland are in Hero and Castagnoli’s corner. Based on their impressive performance at “Respect is Earned”, both Sydal and Claudio were granted tag title rematches against the Briscoes with any partner of their choosing. Despite being rivals, Claudio chose Hero, the same man he previously held the tag titles with. The champions, especially Jay, control the opening portion of the contest. The Briscoes take down Hero with a double shoulder tackle, sending him to the floor where Sweet N’ Sour Inc. tends to him, as Claudio also succumbs to a double shoulder tackle. Claudio baits Mark into a boot to the side of the face from Hero, and then lands a Naniwa elbow for two. The former Kings of Wrestling work in synch to wear down and isolate Mark, with Jay needing to save him from being pinned along the way.Mark escapes their grasp by avoiding a double backdrop and wiping out Hero and Claudio with a springboard dropkick. Jay unloads on Claudio before powerslamming Hero. Jay clotheslines Claudio to the floor, and is caught off guard with a big boot from Hero. Hero wastes too much time showboating, and Jay is able to take him down with the Jay Driller to take the first fall at 10:38. The Jay Driller keeps Hero incapacitated as the second fall begins, leaving Claudio to fight the champions on his own. He does an admirable job, even scoring a nearfall on Jay with a running uppercut. Mark misses a corner attack, and Claudio takes him down with a diving uppercut before tagging in Hero, who has finally recovered from the Jay Driller. Mark kicks out of both a rolling cravate neckbreaker and a leg cradle suplex. Mark clobbers Hero with a springboard forearm and tags Jay so they can take down Hero with the Sidewinder. Hero chokeslams Jay and Claudio takes him off the top with a neck-tie headscissors. Hero big boots Mark on the floor as Claudio drops Jay with the Alpamare Water Slide for two. Jay fights out of a Ricola Bomb. Sweet N’ Sour Inc. grabs Mark’s leg after Mark sends Hero into the barricades, so Mark wipes them out with an Asai moonsault when he is able. Claudio pins Jay with the Ricola Bomb and Mark makes the save. Jay slips under Claudio when he tries another Ricola Bomb, and the Briscoes take him out with a springboard Doomsday Device for the pin at 17:59. If you can ignore the logical leap of Claudio choosing Hero as his partner for this match, this is a doozy. I don’t think it’s their best match together, but it is a great one-man show for Claudio and another match to establish the Briscoes dominance in ROH right now. ***¾

ROH World Championship #1 Contendership Match
Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness
“Domination” – Philadelphia, PA – 6.9.2007

This match was taped at “Domination” in Philadelphia, but aired as part of the “Driven” PPV. McGuinness is apt at playing defense, and uses shoulder tackles to keep Danielson down. Danielson takes down McGuinness by his legs and digs his fist into McGuinness’ cheek and ear. Danielson rolls to the ropes when McGuinness goes for a kimura lock and baits McGuinness into a slap to the face when asking for a handshake. After trading strikes, McGuinness baits Danielson into a headstand mule kick. McGuinness does some damage to Danielson’s left and shoulder. Danielson gets him in a straightjacket choke. McGuinness muscles out of it and sends Danielson to the outside with a short-arm lariat. Danielson angrily throws a chair and timekeepers’ table onto McGuinness. When Danielson tries to send McGuinness back inside the ring, McGuinness uses the bottom rope to roll back off and lariat Danielson into the crowd, and McGuinness then comes off the top turnbuckle with a high crossbody! When they come back ringside, Danielson gains some momentum by suplexing McGuinness back first onto the sharp top of the barricades! He suplexes McGuinness on the floor before bringing him back into the ring, where he continues to do more damage to McGuinness’ back and face. It’s when Danielson throws repeated slaps to his face that McGuinness fires up and knocks down Danielson with a rolling lariat. McGuinness scores a nearfall after a superkick and lariat. Danielson takes down McGuinness with a spin kick to the stomach and swiftly kicks him in the ear, knocking McGuinness down for a two count. McGuinness rolls through a super sunset flip and catches Danielson’s leapfrog with a sit-out powerbomb. Danielson blocks another headstand kick by dropkicking McGuinness and bringing him down with a superplex. He puts McGuinness in a crossface chicken wing. He backs Danielson to the corner to escape, and then fights through his back pain to pull off the Tower of London. McGuinness clobbers him with a lariat off of the top rope, and even though McGuinness pulls his arms away, Danielson’s foot is close enough to the ropes to stop the pin. Danielson nails an enzuigiri, leaving both men laying. A battle of open hand strikes leads to a gruesome headbutt battle, which busts open Danielson. Danielson nails a rolling forearm before giving McGuinness a Tiger suplex. McGuinness flips over to block a Cattle Mutilation, but Danielson rams his elbows repeatedly into McGuinness’ head before applying the hold successfully. McGuinness passes out, and referee Todd Sinclair calls for the bell at 24:29. At this point, both guys had become so familiar with each others’ repertoires that they had to incorporate some new stuff into the fold. They did that while also keeping some motifs that made their previous matches so great. This is at least on the same level as the “Unified” encounter and I would listen to an argument that it was better. Once again, these two had a damn near perfect wrestling match. ****¾

Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA
“Driven” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 6.23.2007

Although the match begins with a respectful handshake, Danielson throws KENTA to the mat in a cavalier manner. KENTA pays him back moments later with a slap to the face in the corner, Danielson responds with one of his own after another exchange. KENTA dropkicks Danielson out of mid-air and to the outside. When Danielson attempts a sunset flip, KENTA openhand slaps him and delivers an insulting slingshot head kick. Danielson dragonscrew leg whips KENTA to stop his barrage of kicks and snapmares him into a back kick. Danielson puts on a Stretch Plum and grinds his elbow into KENTA’s face and head.KENTA reaches the ropes to escape a cross armbreaker. After KENTA escapes a Romero Special, Danielson brings him to the corner and slaps him in the ear twice before digging in with his elbow again. This leads to a forearm and big boot exchange, ending with KENTA catching Danielson out of mid-air with an Ace Crusher. He follows that up with a running boot and a springboard dropkick. Danielson hops over KENTA in the corner and German suplexes him for two.KENTA avoids a Crossface Chicken Wing but succumbs to a backbreaker. Danielson kicks KENTA to the floor, but KENTA meets him with a big boot from the floor to stop his suicide dive. Danielson, however, is able to belly-to-belly suplex KENTA off of the ring apron and to the floor. Danielson’s shoulder seems hurt (because he’s awesome and used that as a small call back to their first match) so it takes a few minutes before he goes for the pin. He only gets two, so he puts on the Crossface Chicken Wing, and KENTA makes it to the ropes. After a few forearm strikes he locks on Cattle Mutilation, where KENTA again uses the ropes to escape. An exchange of pins leads to each man suplexing each other twice and slapping each other silly. KENTA ducks a clothesline and nails the Busaiku Knee. KENTA blocks a rolling elbow and puts Danielson in the Cattle Mutilation, turning it into a Tiger Suplex for two. Danielson gets KENTA crotched on the top turnbuckle, but KENTA swings down into a sunset position and Buckle Bombs Danielson into the opposite corner. After a pair of Busaiku knees. Danielson ducks a third and O’Connor rolls KENTA, but KENTA turns that into a rear naked choke. Danielson muscles him up into the Go 2 Sleep. KENTA pulls him down into the Cattle Mutilation, which Danielson quickly escapes to throw repeated elbows to the side of KENTA’s head. KENTA pops him back up into the Go 2 Sleep. Danielson blocks and Tiger suplexes KENTA for two. KENTA bridges forward to escape Cattle Mutilation. As Danielson reigns down with elbows, KENTA muscles him up into the Go 2 Sleep for the pin at 25:32. This was just the slightest bit shy of their first match because it lacked the drama their match did due to no title being on the line. However, I’ll be damned if this wasn’t a worthy successor. The small callbacks to their first encounter really got a rise out of me and I loved the using of each others’ finishers to differentiate things as well, especially since KENTA ultimately won with the finisher he innovated. This is a badass match that doesn’t get the love it deserves. ****¼

Bryan Danielson, CIMA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & The No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards & Rocky Romero)
“Live In Osaka” – Osaka, Japan – 7.17.2007

This was originally to be a tag team match pitting KENTA & CIMA against Romero & Richards, but KENTA suffered an injury giving us this trios match instead. CIMA and Richards’ opening exchange ends with them in a stalemate after throwing stereo dropkicks. After a monkey flip, Romero treats Danielson to his ¡Azúcar! Dance. Danielson pitches him to the floor and lands a suicide dive, treating the crowd with a Rick Rude hip swivel after the fact. Mochizuki of course wins a kick exchange with Marufuji. Marufuji traps him with a side headlock on the apron. When Mochizuki kicks Maurufji in the back, CIMA helps Marufuji out by delivering a double dropkick with him. Richards illegally jumps in to kick CIMA when he has Mochizuki in a stretch. Mochizuki throws some kicks before bringing CIMA back to his corner where Richards and Romero throw some running kicks to the back and chest. CIMA trips Romero and brings him over to the corner where he and Danielson snap his legs. Danielson’s team comes off as almost mirthful as they wear down Romero in their corner. Romero cuts off Danielson with a chest kick. Richards begins to attack Danielson’s arm and elbow, and his partners follow his lead. Danielson escapes their grasp by giving Richards an uppercut from the second rope after escaping a back suplex. CIMA almost has Richards out after a modified Tokarav. Richards tags out as soon as he can after Mochizuki kicks CIMA from the apron. Marufuji catches Mochizuki off guard with a clothesline and takes him down with dragonscrew leg whip. Mochizuki blocks a shin breaker and delivers a running chest kick. Mochizuki and Marufuji knock each other down with a superkick and enzuigiri. Danielson gets caught in Romero’s cross armbreaker as soon as they tag in, and CIMA saves his partner. Romero springboard knee strikes Danielson’s sternum, driving him into a back cracker from Richards. Romero accidentally knee strikes Richards and Danielson sweeps him into a back breaker. After Marufuji hits the Code Breaker, all three “Aces” attack Romero in the corner, ending with an Iconoclasm from CIMA. Danielson puts on Cattle Mutilation which Richards breaks. Romero brings Danielson off the top in the Diablo Armbar, which Danielson ultimately gets the ropes to escape. Danielson superplexes Romero. Romero blocks an Iconoclasm from CIMA and drops him with a Flying DDT. CIMA blocks a kick to the head and lands the Perfect Driver. A series of offenses ends with Romero going for a cross armbreaker on CIMA. CIMA rolls Romero up into the Schwein for two. After CIMA and Marufuji double superkick Romero, CIMA helps him with a Shiranui and then delivers another Schwein for the pin at 24:17. I had a good time with this match. Aside from the novelty factor, the No Remorse Corps played their part of the antagonists perfectly. CIMA coming to help Marufuji when he had trouble with Mochizuki was a small thing I really appreciated, as CIMA is the competitor most familiar with Mochizuki. This was a unique and fun way for ROH to cap off their inaugural Japanese excursion. ***¾

Disc One
Disc Three

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