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Project Rewatch - ROH: The Good Shit

ROH Ring of Honor Old School ROH Gabe Sapolsky Summer of Punk Milestone Series ROH vs. CZW

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#41 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:10 PM

Reborn: Completion - July 17, 2004
 
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Vacant Pure Title Match Qualifier
Jay Lethal vs. Doug Williams vs. John Walters vs. Nigel McGuinness
 
This one was really on its way to being one of the most pleasant surprises in ROH history.  There were so many little intricacies throughout the match - mind games, submission work, storytelling.  For the first 3/4 of the match, it was just beautiful to watch.
 
Then for no explainable reason, the ref goes indyriffic and stops enforcing legal tags.
 
But what that does is take a great match and brings it down to merely being good.  It was a great way to put Lethal in an even match after being told by Samoa Joe to drop the Special K and "Hydro" shit, and this should have been included on his recent compilation instead of the CM Punk singles match that goes on forever.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Trent Acid vs. Prince Nana's hyped-up mystery Crown Jewel
 
As you can see on the DVD cover, the mystery seemed like a huge letdown in Jimmy Rave.  But that was the entire point of this segment.  It wasn't about some HUGE surprise (that would come later on in the evening) - this was about practically rebooting the career of Jimmy Rave.  Before there was Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez, there was Jimmy Rave & Prince Nana.  (Nana embodied the antics of Ricardo and AW in this segment.)
 
One could mistake this match as being laid out incorrectly, as the jabroni Acid got a quite a bit of offense and heat on Rave.  But it made sense - even though Rave had just been in some tremendous matches in recent months, he hadn't gotten a victory.  This wasn't meant to be a squash to get over the new gimmick - it was the very beginning of Rave's appropriate rebirth, kick-starting the most memorable and entertaining era that the Embassy has ever put together.  ANY kind of victory, no matter how cheap or ugly, was gonna make the Embassy happy.  Remember, Prince Nana was down in the dumps too (veiled by his brashness and arrogance) - his previous prize project Xavier had gone down to injuries.  The "Rave Clash" was also a perfect finish for Rave to shit on his now-gone mentor AJ Styles.  Perfectly executed match.
 
Vacant Pure Title Match
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley
 
This match ensured that ROH continued its hot streak of shows that feature great matches.  It also rebooted the previously flawed Pure Title division (consisting of two disappointing CM Punk vs. AJ Styles matches) in proper fashion.
 
With his left arm in pain from the previous qualifier match, Shelley found himself badly outmatched by the technically superior and much healthier Williams.  It didn’t take long for Shelley to become the bitch of Williams, even at one time being tied up into knots and left in the middle of the ring, struggling momentarily to free himself as everyone had a laugh at his expense.  It (along with kicking the ropes as a means to give Shelley a lowblow) was quite the karma after all of the continued antics of Generation Next.
 
But through sheer determination reminiscent of the performance of GeNext teammate Austin Aries (who was in Shelley’s qualifier and agreed to help him win and go all the way) at Survival of the Fittest 2004, Shelley found every little opportunity possible to get himself out of the figurative corner he found himself in.  Eventually he was able to get some work done (either by submission or the occasional strikes and stomps) on the neck of Williams, laying the groundwork for the inevitable Border City Stretch.
 
Ultimately, Williams brought the better gameplan though to the injured Shelley, causing the GeNext leader to lose his ropebreaks, and using the ropes to apply a submission hold on the injured left arm.  The standing ovation for both men wasn’t just a standard automatic reaction – it was well-deserved and intelligently earned.
 
Rating: ****
 
CM Punk and Ricky Steamboat: The Final Confrontation
 
Short, sweet, and to the point.  You got the two stars colliding for a few minutes and using great callbacks to Steamboat's classics against Ric Flair and Randy Savage.  Steamboat, in order to prove that he was still game for a fight any day of the week, ultimately got the better of Punk.  But instead of finishing Punk off, he pleaded for Punk to stop with the antics, to have legitimate integrity and respect to go along with his skills and talents.
 
GeNext then came out to beat the shit out of Steamboat (despite Punk telling them to fuck off earlier in the evening) and allowed Punk to stand over the HOFer.  Punk then agreed to turn babyface, attacking GeNext, and moments later Steamboat was back up and assisting his former enemy, the two of them destroying the physically battered faction (due to their matches earlier in the evening.)  One might think that it would look ridiculous, almost a burial of GeNext just to get Punk's big moment over, but GeNext were not mentally prepared for Punk and Steamboat to form an alliance against them.  They were mentally and physically outmatched, even with it being four against two.  Steamboat left the ring to allow Punk his time in the spotlight - the newly turned Punk received a standing ovation from the New Jersey crowd.
 
This was yet another moment of brilliance during Gabe Sapolsky's prime - there was no better location to turn Punk babyface than in front of the audience that despised him the most.  One could say Chicago, but he was always cheered there no matter what.  New Jersey was the only place to pull this off, and it planted the seeds for one of the most historic moments in company history down the road.
 
Samoa Joe & Briscoe Bros. vs. Homicide & Havana Pitbulls
 
This wasn't the all-out war that I had hoped for, but it was still a fine main event that most importantly did two things - brought the Reborn name to a proper conclusion by doing the same finish as Joe vs. Homicide in Minnesota, and being the go-home segment for Joe's title defense against Homicide the next weekend.
 
The ref did have a moment of forgetting who was legal, but like the impromptu classic at Generation Next, it's understandable here.  There was simply too much chaos between these six men to be on the ball at times with enforcing rules.
 
I must mention that I love the full circle nature of Joe teaming up with the Briscoes - it was last time in the same venue where they wrapped up their feud and earned mutual respect.
 
The most important moment of the evening took place in the post-match, as Low Ki returned to get in the face of the Rottweilers after they had ganged up on Joe.  After talking trash to them, his true colors finally came out, blasting Joe with the title belt and joining his long-time friend's faction.  He then shit on the direction of the company in his absence, and announced that his return marked the true rebirth of ROH.  FUCKING BRILLIANT BOOKING to counter Punk's babyface turn.
 
Rating: ***1/2 (for the match)
 
ROH continued its hot streak of shows that not only featured great matches, but historic moments in independent wrestling here.  While the streak of MOTYCs was broken, this more than made up for it with important storylines and surprises.  New stars were made, alliances were formed, stars returned, feuds started, and the new era in ROH was cemented.
 
This show featured Lethal's final chapter into becoming a singles competitor, the crowning of a new Pure Champion, the finale of the Punk vs. Steamboat feud, Punk's babyface turn, Rave & The Embassy's reboot, the beginning of the Generation Next vs. Second City Saints/Steamboat feud, and Ki's return to turn heel.  SEE THIS.
 
Up next - Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 1
Matches will include:
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley
Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs, John Walters, & Matt Stryker
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Briscoe Bros.


#42 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:10 PM

Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 1 - July 23, 2004
 
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Pure Title Match
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley
 
This rematch couldn’t live up to their classic the week before, but it’s still damn good.  With several days of rest, Shelley never really gave Williams the opportunity to damage his arm this time, and was far more tenacious here.  He was tremendous working on the neck of Williams to set up for the Border City Stretch.
 
But even with Williams having his neck worked on and losing rope breaks, he was able to go back to the Chaos Theory to finish off Shelley once again.  It’s a shame that this rematch where he did use his finisher (I don’t recall it being used the week before) didn’t get as much heat as their first match.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs, John Walters, & Matt Stryker
 
This was a very good and FUN match that just could not live up to the classic standard set by the previous multi-man tag Generation Next matches, even with Ricky Steamboat at ringside for the babyfaces to counter Shelley and coach his team.  It did get out of control and the ref stopped bothering with what was legal, but it’s understandable in this one (even though the referee’s performance at World Title Classic is what made it better than this match) given the games that GeNext played.  Again, this IS a good and fun match, with plenty of great cutting-the-ring-in-half moments, triple-team moves, and HOLY SHIT maneuvers.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
 
ROH continued its streak here of shows that feature great matches.  While I personally preferred the work of brutality these two put together at Generation Next, this was just as outstanding.  In this one, even though it was a clean win and not a draw, the signs were becoming more evident that Joe’s days as champion were numbered.  Not only because at this point he had been champion for 16 months, but because of the caliber of opposition he defended against.  So many opponents had been taking him to his limit from different directions, and it was starting to show.
 
With this being Homicide’s last shot at the title during Joe’s reign, I was happy to see he was willing to use technical wrestling as a way to throw Joe off and still show he had the wrestling side in his arsenal.  Showing this not only displayed how seriously he was taking this match, but reminded everyone just how dangerous of a competitor he truly was.  But his psychopathic emotions directly led to his failure yet again to reach the top of the mountain.
 
Mocking Joe, Homicide attempted an Ole Ole Kick, only to be countered with a throwover belly-to-belly suplex, landing spine-first on the floor.  This cost him a few minutes later when he planted Joe face-first in an attempted piledriver – the suplex on the floor plus the exertion of attempting a piledriver on Joe was too much for Homicide to bear.  He went down fighting though, kicking out of a musclebuster and an Island Driver, getting the crowd to go apeshit.  But Joe finally finished him off with the rear-naked choke.
 
Post-match, the Rottweilers (who were kicked out at the beginning of this classic contest) returned and ambushed Joe.  The commentary said the Briscoes were unaware of the situation because they were preparing for the main event and that the rest of the locker room had left for Chicago.  I’d prefer to think that Joe's non-allies were happy to see him get beaten down, making a title change more likely in the near future.  This beatdown ensured that even though Homicide was out of title shots for the rest of Joe’s reign, we’d still get to see the feud continue.
 
Watching these shows got me thinking of a match that could have been huge for the Jushin Liger debut show later that year in Boston – keep Liger vs. Bryan Danielson, and have the semi-main as Joe & CM Punk vs. Low Ki & Homicide.  It’d have given ROH the Punk vs. Ki matchup, Joe and Ki mixing it up again, Joe and Homicide tearing each other apart, and then have Punk defeat Homicide to give him momentum for the inevitable rematch against Joe.
 
Rating: ****
 
Tag Titles - 2/3 Falls Match
CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Briscoe Bros.
 
This was good but seemed to drag at times.  It went long for what I would assume was just for the Saints to give their old stomping grounds overly long matches like they wrestled during the early 2000s against each other and with Chris Hero.  It didn't quite work here as much as it did in Dayton for Joe vs. Punk.
 
Of course, this couldn't measure up to the ***** Paul London vs. Danielson 2/3 falls match, but it was certainly in a different league from the horseshit Christopher Daniels/Donovan Morgan vs. SAT 2/3 falls match.  There were just weird inconsistencies with enforcing tags,with referee Todd Sinclair even being vocal about enforcing it and the Briscoes just ignoring him.  Go all the way with it refs, not some half-assed lip service.
 
I'd say the best part about this match was the booking of the second fall.  Because Punk lost the first fall by a double underhook piledriver and was knocked out the entire following fall, Cabana had to go at it alone.  He single-handedly outsmarted the Briscoes and got the match to an even 1-1.  Brilliant way to book him the night before he challenged Joe for the ROH Title.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Up next - Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 2
Matches will include:
Chad Collyer vs. Rocky Romero
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Doug Williams vs. Austin Aries
Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana
CM Punk & Ace Steel vs. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer


#43 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 2 - July 24, 2004
 
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Chad Collyer vs. Rocky Romero
 
One of the finest openers in company history, this still held up with great technical wrestling and was perfectly paced for its spot on the card.  Romero was just fantastic continually going after the arm and shoulder of Collyer, while Collyer used his technical superiority to find ways out of it.  Once he locked on the Texas Cloverleaf, it was a thing of beauty.  But all the work done on Collyer was too much as he finally gave in and tapped to the armbar.  Just a great opener.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
 
We got another stellar match here, as these two were just too familiar with each other from their Michigan days to put together any less than that.  Shelley was just a tremendous prick here and beat the fuck out of Jacobs.  But Jacobs responded back with one of the most inspiring underdog performances I've ever seen, finding ways to counter Shelley through sheer heart.  He even surprised his arch-nemesis with his own Shellshock.  But Shelley was too skilled and driven to let the scrappy Jacobs defeat him.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Post-match, Roderick Strong & Jack Evans help Shelley destroy Jacobs for good only for Ricky Steamboat to come out and start an impromptu tag match.
 
Impromptu Match
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. John Walters & Matt Stryker
 
I'm glad I decided to not skip this, as this match was FUN.  Strong & Evans were just so on-point in this one, and the ref in the closing moments actually refused to count a pin because it was not being done on the legal man!  Unfortunately, the match broke down into storyline when Shelley & Austin Aries brawled with Steamboat outside the ring.  To me it took away from the match.
 
Rating: ***
 
Pure Title Match
Doug Williams vs. Austin Aries
 
This was some really good stuff.  The mind games played by Aries were a great and fresh twist on the unique rules of the match, and served as a preview for what we would see during another Pure Title reign much later down the line.  Williams though showed he was too brilliant and focused, overcoming the manipulative antics of Aries and working on his arm after driving it into the steel turnbuckle while they brawled outside the ring.  With this fresh injury on Aries, the challenger found himself having to rely on the rope breaks, using up all of them and being placed in the same arm submission on the ropes that Williams used to win the championship the week before against Shelley.  Aries had no choice but to tap out.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana
 
Yet another good match for this show.  Knowing that Joe had been taking to the limit by Homicide and fellow Tag Champ CM Punk in recent months, Cabana attempted to use some tomfoolery to throw Joe off, and attempted the same cradle that he pinned Joe with the month before.
 
With Joe's mind likely elsewhere, he still was able to dominate the Chicago native.  But that right there was another challenge for the champ - the Chicago crowd provided tremendous energy and enthusiasm for Cabana, who put up far more of a fight than I would have expected.  This was just some quality professional wrestling.
 
Post-match, Joe's victory is spoiled by the Rottweilers, but this time the Briscoes are around to assist him.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Hardcore Match
CM Punk & Ace Steel vs. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer
 
I will get the questionable parts of the way - I am certain that all four men regret challenging each other with unprotected chair shorts.  And I hope the dipshit fans regret throwing those chairs in the ring, when there was still a human being in there trying to protect himself from being struck by them.
 
This is a match I remember thinking "good, but way overrated" last time I saw it.  I was wrong.  This still holds up over the years, not in the Homicide vs. Steve Corino or Triple H vs. Cactus Jack way, but in the Homicide vs. Trent Acid way.
 
This was a great match through sheer willpower, continuing the consecutive streak of ROH shows that featured great matches.  This was definitely an impressive performance, considering that only one of the participants has legitimate talent.  Steel, Maff, and Whitmer were all on Punk's level, bringing out not only jaw-dropping spots, but hatred and emotion.  This was crazy, this was chaotic, and brought the Saints vs. Prophecy feud to its proper conclusion.
 
Post-match, Generation Next attack the wounded Saints, and prevent Cabana & Steamboat from making a difference.
 
Fan: "Why don't you go to TNA and kiss Jeff Jarrett's ass?"
Shelley: "Will do."
 
Rating: ****
 
In terms of match quality, this was definitely the most consistent show ROH had hosted yet.  This is definitely a must-see, not just for the matches, but in closing a chapter so that the reborn ROH could move forward.  I still say Generation Next was a better overall show due to the MOTYC it had and storylines it furthered, but you don't wanna miss this.
 
Up next - Testing the Limit
Matches will include:
Briscoe Bros. vs. Low Ki & Homicide
Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson


#44 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

Testing the Limit - August 7, 2004
 
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Good Times, Great Memories
Guest: Prince Nana
 
Great chemistry displayed here as the Outcast Killaz showed and Nana bossed them around.  Colt Cabana also broke down and couldn't believe that "OutKast is dead."
 
Briscoe Bros. vs. Low Ki & Homicide
 
While this wasn't very high on the star rating scale, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  This was definitely a prelude to something that was coming down the road, don't know what it was, but something was simmering here.  Maybe some kind of War Games style match or Steel Cage Warfare?  It's a shame Mark got injured and the Briscoes took a break before the next event.
 
The match was destined to be a historically important one, with Jay getting the small package pin on Low Ki (who is notorious for not doing jobs.)  I'd also call it a historic ROH match because the ref was very clear about only counting the pins on the legal men.
 
The real story of this entire segment is afterwards, when Ki just kicks Jay right in the head.  This of course pisses off Mark but also gets Samoa Joe to come out.  Pretty soon a good chunk of the babyface locker room is out, including CM Punk.  He eventually has his own pull-apart with Homicide, making me wish even more we'd gotten the dream tag of Joe & Punk vs. Ki & Homicide later that year.  (Edit: I've since found out that dream tag match was indeed announced for the next event but was cancelled because Ki decommitted to instead work a NOAH event.)
 
The various pull-aparts eventually spill to the parking lot, and I like the way the entire segment is shot, very disorganized and bringing an additional layer of authenticity to the hatred and chaos.
 
2/3 Falls Match
Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson
 
This match was fucking long.  And while it fell just a tad bid short of the Joe vs. Punk 60 minute draw in Dayton, this was still an excellent main event and throwback to the days of Ric Flair, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, etc.
 
Whereas Survival of the Fittest 2004 was the breakout for Aries, this was the match that turned him into a true superstar.  This is where the seeds were planted for what was destined to come months later.
 
Danielson was just vicious in this one, working on the following body parts throughout different parts of the match, and doing so in an effective fashion: the left arm/shoulder, the left knee, the neck, the abdomen, and the lower back (to offset the abs.)  He just dissected Aries and tore him apart in this match.  Even though he lost the first fall to his own Cattle Mutilation, he carried himself like it was part of his strategy to do so.  He didn't come across as being backed into an 0-1 corner whatsoever.
 
The submission work was brilliant in getting Danielson the second fall, because after about 45 minutes, Aries was too worn out and broken down to not get a fall counted against him.  His arrogance when Danielson became temporarily unconscious is what directly led to his left arm/shoulder being worked on, leading to his downfall in this second fall.
 
But Aries was adamant in this match.  Despite being physically obliterated for over an hour, he was not going to lose this match.  He just couldn't.  And that is why he came out the victor.
 
These two would go on to do better than this.  But this is definitely a match that should be seen, especially for those who appreciate strategic submission wrestling and limb work.  They also manage on a couple of occasions to turn some botches into beautiful audible pinfall attempts.  Even with its faults, this is a great match.
 
Rating: ****1/4
 
Up next - Scramble Cage Melee
Matches will include:
Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley
Doug Williams vs. John Walters
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk vs. Homicide


#45 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

Scramble Cage Melee - August 28, 2004
 
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Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley
 
I way overrated this back in the day.  This wasn't a bad match by any means.  It did its job in being an extended squash to show that Lethal was no match for Shelley yet and had a lot of work to do in order to reach the upper echelon.  Shelley was fucking vicious working on Lethal's left knee, never once showing mercy.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
Pure Title Match
Doug Williams vs. John Walters
 
Before the match gets started, Samoa Joe comes out and shits on the entire segment.  Not sure this was the greatest way to build heat between the two title belts.
 
As for the match, it was damn good shit.  Walters was very focused and got Williams to use all of his rope breaks early, targeting the left knee in particular.  But Williams, the outstanding wrestler that he is, never once came close to having a meltdown, showing great composure and focusing on the neck of Walters to get all the rope breaks out of the equation for both men.
 
But Walters got more work done than Williams did, causing Williams to not give himself a full base when he executed the Chaos Theory.  This ultimately is what led to the huge victory for Walters in front of his hometown crowd.  A very good match that could have been a MOTYC if they played to the crowd more often (something I'm seeing Williams avoid doing quite often.)
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk vs. Homicide
 
This couldn't live up to the threeways from The Era of Honor Begins or the One Year Anniversary Show, but this was definitely a good match full of great action and the closing chapter in 2004 for the Joe vs. Homicide feud.  I think the best way to describe this match would be FUN, as there was never a dull moment, but it never had a jaw-dropping moment to make it a great match.  The finish is pretty damn clever too to keep both Punk and Homicide strong.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Up next - Glory By Honor III
Matches will include:
Alex Shelley vs. Bryan Danielson
John Walters vs. Nigel McGuinness
Samoa Joe vs. Doug Williams


#46 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:11 PM

Glory By Honor III - September 11, 2004
 
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Alex Shelley vs. Bryan Danielson
 
Shelley came into this with a broken left arm (which actually could have played off the same injury he had against Doug Williams in July.)  The commentary says it was during the Mick Foley segment, but it was actually from his CZW match against Chris Hero earlier that day.  It took awhile for this real-life injury to come into play, as Shelley got a great amount of time on offense, working on the neck of Danielson.
 
However, with an ROH Title shot on the horizon for Danielson, plus that glaring injury on Shelley, he couldn't lose here.  He got focused on the arm and came out on top with the Cattle Mutilation, which was the most logical finish possible.  Not the MOTYC that many were hoping for, but a nice preview of what they would do much later on.
 
Post-match, Danielson reminds everyone that he's owed an ROH Title shot, and makes the challenge to Jushin Liger.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Pure Title Match
John Walters vs. Nigel McGuinness
 
This was the singles breakout for McGuinness, showing that he had what it took to be booked as a long-term investment in the company.  While not the level of breakout performance from Paul London and Samoa Joe a couple years earlier, this match sealed the deal for him.
 
Walters again proved his focus against the European challenger, not allowing the armwork done by McGuinness to make him panic.  He also did armwork on McGuinness, and the match was pretty damn even.  But the triple Lungblower backbreaker chained into an arm-vice choke was too much for McGuinness to continue.
 
I'm starting to see that Walters may have been in ROH at the wrong time.  During this golden age, the roster was just too stacked with the best indy talent, to be followed by some of the greatest talent in the world flying over from Japan.  If he's available nowadays and can still go, I'd highly advise the current ROH to sign him.  He's just as good as Eddie Edwards.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Doug Williams
 
Another good but not great match for this event.  Williams was definitely deserving of an ROH Title shot after spearheading the successful relaunch of the Pure Title.  This one had some solid psychology, focusing on the left leg of Joe, but the champ's offense was just too devastating to overcome for Williams.  I'm not a fan of kicking out of the trademark musclebuster just to go down to a generic lariat moments later though.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Up next - Midnight Express Reunion
Matches will include:
Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal
Homicide vs. Nigel McGuinness
John Walters, CM Punk, Ace Steel, & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans
Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:12 PM

Midnight Express Reunion - October 2, 2004
 
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Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal
 
This match was ALL sports-entertainment, and a damn good extended squash at that.  Far more engaging than the extended squash against Alex Shelley several weeks earlier, Lethal was extra motivated to earn respect from the dickhead Ki due to his family being present and taunted by the Rottweilers.  But despite how much heart and improvement Lethal displayed, he was just no match for ROH's original legend.
 
Post-match, Ki gives Lethal the same disrespectful kick he delivered to Jay Briscoe a couple months earlier.
 
Rating: ***
 
Homicide vs. Nigel McGuinness
 
Following up on the match that sealed the deal for him the month before, McGuinness was on fire in this one, completely outclassing Homicide's brawling and cheating with his superior technical wrestling.  For 20 minutes he got the chance to showcase what he could do, getting heat for most of the match, and the crowd just ate it up.
 
The match also played off of Homicide's match against Bryan Danielson earlier in the year, going back to Homicide using his trademark lariat on the arm damaged by McGuinness.  This time, Homicide couldn't get enough adrenaline to overcome the damage done and get the proper finishing force behind the lariat.  Moments later, he found himself in an arm submission and then suddenly unable to kick out of a pinfall with the arms hooked in the same fashion that Bryan Danielson got over Austin Aries two months earlier.  Huge upset here that was well-deserved, and meant more after Homicide's victory several weeks earlier in his match against Samoa Joe and CM Punk.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Survivor Series Style Elimination Match
John Walters, CM Punk, Ace Steel, & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans
 
Meh.  Some good stuff in this, but way too much going on to properly digest.  And I'd like to nominate Mick Foley vs. Ricky Steamboat as ROH's worst feud of 2004.  Just an utter waste of time when Steamboat (complete with a haircut that rivaled the he-bob haircut of Shawn Michaels a couple years earlier) trashed Foley and hardcore style wrestling.
 
Some of the best parts though - Jacobs had to be brutalized by a chair in order to be eliminated, and the post-match promo by Shelley & Aries planted great seeds for friction as they both demanded an ROH Title shot.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson
 
 
This match showed yet again that even with an amazing victory, Joe's days as champion were numbered.  Danielson dominated the majority of the match, willing to play a little dirty like he did in the 2/3 falls match against Aries in order to reach the pinnacle of the promotion.  He also was far more devastating than Punk was in the 60 minute draw from World Title Classic.  It was brilliant seeing him break Joe down on the left leg, to keep the champion from having a consistent base to brawl and strike.
 
But Joe was not to go down without a fight.  This was certainly the most brutal defense he had to this point (which speaks volumes when considering his defenses against Low Ki, CM Punk, Homicide, AJ Styles, and Jay Briscoe), but he had plenty of adrenaline left in the tank to return the brutality favor tenfold to the quicker and more technically efficient Danielson.  Once he got the knees to the head and slapped on the choke in the middle of the ring, more than 30 minutes into this classic, Danielson had no choice but to tap or pass out.
 
This isn't my favorite match by any means.  But I honestly can't think of a single flaw with it.  The storytelling was great.  The psychology was great.  It never dragged.  It got the title even more over than before.  The crowd was hot and believing they'd get a title change.  And although it gave more glaring points for Joe in future title defenses, one still had to wonder what it was gonna take to bring the iconic reign to an end.
 
Post-match, we got plenty of chaos, just tremendous booking that led to so many great matches throughout the remainder of the year.  Punk came out and asked when he would get his rematch.  Generation Next came out to ambush Punk, but Joe & Danielson got fed up when Shelley & Aries got in their faces.  The Rottweilers then came out just to raise hell (mixing it up for the first time with GeNext).  After many holy shit high-risk aerial moves, Joe teased that he would do one but then got cut off by Ki out of nowhere.  They brawled and Danielson tried to pry Joe off of Ki, but Joe was so furious that he elbowed the fallen challenger, who gave the champ a receipt with roaring forearms.  This left Ki and Danielson in the ring standing side by side.
 
Danielson: "Me and Ki against you and Liger, Joe.  Bring it!"
 
Rating: *****
 
Up next - Gold
Matches will include:
CM Punk vs. Homicide
Jay Lethal vs. Chad Collyer
Samoa Joe vs. Rocky Romero
CM Punk, Ace Steel, & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, & Jack Evans


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:12 PM

Gold - October 15, 2004
 
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CM Punk vs. Homicide
 
A fine, star-studded opening contest, one of the best in company history.  The hatred was there, they didn't waste much time, and Homicide eventually won when he used the side of a chair on Punk's neck (which he'd already been working on for the Kudo Driver.)  Homicide's victory here over the #1 Contender made the victory of Nigel McGuinness on the previous event mean even more.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Jay Lethal vs. Chad Collyer
 
I must mention that Collyer's backstage promo prior to this match must be seen to be believed.  Had to be inspired by a compilation of Jim Hellwig's work in WCW.
 
This match is another fine back-and-forth contest designed to get Collyer in the mix (he'd team up with McGuinness the next night as Steamboat's technical team in that God-awful Foley vs. Steamboat feud), and to showcase that Lethal could hang with such a skilled technician after the much different type of match against Low Ki on the previous show.  Just stellar work here for both men.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Rocky Romero
 
Another good defense for Joe, but nothing spectacular (a recurring theme usually for Romero singles matches I'm noticing.)  They obviously held back a bit due to the huge Joe vs. Punk rematch scheduled the next night, but they still worked hard here.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
CM Punk, Ace Steel, & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, & Jack Evans
 
This match was good, but dragged a bit to be anything special.  It seemed to go way too long with hardly any engaging story going on.  Sure, there are some great moments, and Jacobs is his usual awesome self playing the Ricky Morton role, but this didn't add up to anything memorable.  Punk was obviously holding back, and perhaps the only remarkable story to me was that Aries attacked Punk's girlfriend and ended up paying for it with a Pepsi Plunge (knocking him out of action the next night.)  Aries obviously didn't study the Second City Saints vs. Prophecy match.  Punk certainly had to get a victory here though.
 
Rating: ***
 
The DVD ends with a Ricky Steamboat promo that I IMMEDIATELY shut off as soon as I hear Mick Foley's name come out of his mouth.
 
Up next - Joe vs. Punk II
Matches will include:
Rocky Romero & Homicide vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:12 PM

Joe vs. Punk II - October 16, 2004
 
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The DVD opens with two great promos, first from CM Punk explaining that this is the most important match of his career for a number of reasons (which I'll get into when I review the main event.)  Then, Alex Shelley cuts a promo on behalf of Generation Next to explain the importance of the two semi-main events that the faction is involved in.  Great stuff here.
 
Later on in the DVD, Samoa Joe cuts a simple and effective promo that Punk needs to just get the job done.  He really should have called out Punk on his catchphrase of "Better than you," since he was adamant that Punk not just try to be his equal.
 
Rocky Romero & Homicide vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans
 
This match had its odd legal man tag problems, but this was still just dripping with fun.  This was definitely an important match as it was the first time the Rottweilers collided with GeNext.  There was no feeling out process, somewhat surprising with this being a first-time encounter between the factions.  But then again, these two factions didn't have time for that - they were out to prove a point of superiority and weren't going to bother attempting to technically one-up each other.  This was vicious, fast, and hard-hitting.
 
This match did have some great moments of cutting the ring in half and building up to hot tags.  We got to see some new tools out of the playbook of GeNext also, causing the crowd's jaw to drop in the process.  And for all the odd problems there were with legalities during the finishing stretch, the finish was actually between the two legit legal men when Evans knocked Romero out with a million-degree senton.  Great booking here between these two heel factions that not only earned Strong & Evans a title shot against the Havana Pitbulls, but protected Homicide also to ensure that Nigel McGuinness defeating him two weeks earlier was a major deal.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
I Quit Match
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
 
Fuck, this was just phenomenal stuff, and did a fantastic job of conveying hatred and emotion in a unique fashion.  This match had lots of bumps, but they were done with purpose to truly inflict pain.  The use of weapons was tremendous also, and Jacobs blew away his underdog performance from their prior match in the same building just three months earlier.  Even in defeat, this did nothing but elevate Jacobs and I'm shocked that he didn't earn a permanent spot after this.  Shelley was also even more of a dangerous bad-ass from this match.  This had insanity, this had psychology, this was just terrific.
 
Of course, as soon as Ricky Steamboat comes to save Jacobs from a GeNext post-match beating, I'm sure to hit next on my remote to avoid that awful feud between him and Mick Foley.
 
Rating: ****1/2
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk
 
This is honestly not the greatest match in ROH history.  But that's not a criticism of the match whatsoever.  It's a compliment of the quality of matches ROH has delivered for the past decade, and when both men finally hang up their boots, they will certainly look back on this as likely the best match of their careers despite some stupid bumps they took.
 
This was definitely an improvement over their match at World Title Classic (which I merely described to be an excellent ****1/2 MOTYC).  In this one, they built off the previous match, but still changed it up to make sure this was wholly original.  If I had one nitpick complaint about this match that keeps it from being the absolute best ROH match ever, it's that the work done on Punk, while they did pay off in the latter stages of the match, was not paid off quite as convincingly as the standard set by the ***** Paul London vs. Bryan Danielson and AJ Styles vs. Paul London matches.
 
This match also took aspects from the ***** title defense Joe had just two weeks earlier against Danielson.  This was not only a highly intelligent wrestling match, but it got brutal as well.  The work done in the early stages was sharp and clever, being more engaging with the matwork than in the previous match the two had earlier that year.
 
This also had incredible drama in the last third of the match.  Of course, this was due to the match being in front of Punk's hometown crowd (which he alluded to at the beginning of the DVD), but this was simply more impressive than what they did in Dayton.  The crowd firmly believed that Punk would defeat Joe, even though the match was booked just a few days prior due to Steve Corino being pulled from the weekend's ROH events.  This was a nail-biter, and the most emotional moment was properly placed and flawlessly executed in the last 2-3 minutes, as both men struggled twice on the turnbuckles, an epic battle of muscle buster vs. Pepsi Plunge.  On the second battle, Joe won it and got the musclebuster on Punk, but time ran out and he couldn't pin Punk.  But just several weeks prior, the Pepsi Plunge did put away Joe in their threeway match involving Homicide.
 
Both men cut backstage promos afterward, Punk demanding one more shot without a time limit.  Joe then states that Punk failed and the goal isn't to be the champ's equal, it's to defeat him.
 
This stands not just as one of the ten greatest matches in ROH history, but as one of the defining matches of the 2000s decade.  It is a work of art.  It is worthy of all the hype and praise it got.  It still holds up as a masterpiece, and will continue to stand the test of time.
 
Rating: *****
 
This DVD is a must-have.  Yes, get the 2-disc version of the Joe vs. Punk trilogy so that you get their epic shoot interview, but you still should find a copy of this event for the two semi main events, and the theme music for Joe and Punk adds just a little bit additional grand layer to their match.  GET THIS.
 
Up next - Weekend of Thunder Night 1
Matches will include:
Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal vs. John Walters & Nigel McGuinness
CM Punk vs. Austin Aries
Havana Pitbulls vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans
Jushin Liger vs. Bryan Danielson


#50 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

Weekend of Thunder Night 1 - November 5, 2004
 
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Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal vs. John Walters & Nigel McGuinness
 
My surprising pick for match of the night, as this one really felt like it served a purpose.  It had interesting dynamics, new blood getting a chance to shine, and proper tag transitions.  This match also served as a reminder that during this time, EVERYTHING involving Joe was interesting, whether it was mentoring Lethal, the Rottweilers feud, his issue with the establishment of the Pure title, the CM Punk rivalry, and his overall title reign.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
CM Punk vs. Austin Aries
 
This match was just great storytelling.  Punk was just a tad bit too excited due to the personal issue these two had, and coming after the second of two 60 minute draws against Joe and demanding one more title shot.  This cost him the momentum and the match when he missed an attempted Shining Wizard and hit the steel post instead of Aries.
 
I don't know if it was the crowd's fault, or the fault of the building's maintenance issues (the lights went out during this match), but the heat really suffered in this one.  A shame because the psychology and story in this was just tremendous.
 
Rating: ***
 
Tag Titles Match
Havana Pitbulls vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans
 
If you needed solid evidence that Ricky Reyes is fucking useless and overutilized, here you go.  This did NOT have the pacing of the match involving Homicide at Joe vs. Punk II, and I was massively disappointed with this one.  Just forgettable stuff.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
Jushin Liger vs. Bryan Danielson
 
 
Up to this point, Liger's entrance was the biggest moment in ROH history, creating the most passionate and loudest crowd reaction.  It surpassed the farewells of Paul London and Eddie Guerrero.  The crowd was also awesome at the end when Liger won (as he should have.)
 
But this match hasn't held up over time.  Don't get me wrong - this is a good match, but just an exhibition and nothing special outside of Liger's presence.  Both men have done much better than this, and I'm still looking forward to the tag match.  This is an entertaining novelty and nothing more.
 
Rating: ***
 
Up next - Weekend of Thunder Night 2
Matches will include:
Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave
Samoa Joe & Jushin Liger vs. Low Ki & Bryan Danielson


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

Weekend of Thunder Night 2 - November 6, 2004
 
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Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave
 
Prince Nana was THE SHIT back in the day.  That needs to be acknowledged.  EVERY SEGMENT OF HIS on this DVD was entertaining.
 
The pre-match Nana promo was golden, and set the stage quite nicely for the former party kid (and Elizabeth native) Lethal.  The match was quick and fast-paced, a forgotten undercard gem.  It established Lethal as being one step closer in his progress to being an accomplished singles competitor, and furthered Rave's snot-nose heel gimmick.  I love this match, and the post-match, closing out with another phenomenal and passionate Ric Flair-eqsue promo from Nana after the main event, is one of the many things that made ROH so beloved during its golden age.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Samoa Joe & Jushin Liger vs. Low Ki & Bryan Danielson
 
After a main event the night before that I felt was retrospectively disappointing, this made up for it quite nicely.  Not the greatest match in ROH history (not even close for 2004), but an excellent tag team main event that never once got boring or felt insultingly indyriffic.  Every exchange was fun and meaningful, every encounter was interesting, it kept the Joe vs. Rottweilers feud steady, gave us a dream collision between Ki and Liger, and was booked perfectly in its ending to kickstart the Danielson vs. Rottweilers feud, a storyline that I adored back in the day and am very much looking forward to seeing if it holds up.  Kudos for doing a different Liger finisher too as well.
 
Rating: ****
 
Up next - All Star Extravaganza II
Matches will include:
Good Times, Great Memories featuring Bobby Heenan
John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave
Low Ki vs. Austin Aries
The first ever verbal confrontation between Jim Cornette and Bobby Heenan
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Colt Cabana
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk


#52 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

All Star Extravaganza II - December 4, 2004
 
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Good Times, Great Memories
Guest: Bobby Heenan
 
A great opening segment to bring Colt Cabana back into ROH, as he brings the comedy and reminds Generation Next of their issue.  Heenan is also gold with his one-liners and chemistry with the Huss-centric Jimmy Jacobs.
 
Pure Title Match
John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave
 
This is a nice little contest that foreshadowed a future title reign for someone else.  Walters through sheer anger and savviness was able to overcome the manipulative tactics of Rave (it helped that the Embassy was banned before the match began.)  Walters post-match gets into it with some fans, and I wonder if that's another foreshadowing.
 
Rating: ***
 
ROH Title Shot Match
Low Ki vs. Austin Aries
 
A very, very good match that came close to excellent, and probably would have been had it not been hindered with a 20 minute time limit.  Aries showed absolutely zero fear towards Ki (and with huge victories over CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, why would he?), and he was definitely the default babyface in this matchup.  Aries once again showed sheer heart and determination during the match, fighting for everything he had and surprising the cocky Ki, despite all the damage being applied to the midsection by Ki.  The finishing sequence as the time expired, and the post-match with Ki bailing out on continuing the match as well out of complete arrogance, was the best booking possible considering how Ki can put a booker into a corner.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
The Verbal Confrontation
Jim Cornette vs. Bobby Heenan
 
This certainly lived up to the hype with Heenan playing the sympathetic recovering cancer patient and Cornette going totally nuts about being in Heenan's shadow throughout his entire career.  That Cornette first showed Heenan respect only made Heenan come across as even bigger legend, and I love that the upcoming Strong/Evans vs. Jacobs/Cabana match was combined into this.
 
Team Cornette vs. Team Heenan
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Colt Cabana
 
A great comedy match that made the most out of Cornette and Heenan.  It was a nice surprise for Jacobs & Cabana to use comedy as part of their dirty tactics to get vengeance on GeNext for what had happened throughout 2004.  This was just great entertainment.
 
Rating: ***
 
Before the main event, the DVD includes CM Punk looking back on his previous two title shots against Samoa Joe.  EXCELLENT.
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk
 
I really am just a sucker for matches that bring prestige to championships.  This is another classic match that stands the test of time, and a fitting final chapter to such an epic trilogy.  From the callbacks to the previous two matches these men had against one another, to the bloody cut on CM Punk's head (a nice way to bring back memories of his feuds with Raven and the Prophecy), to the acts of desparation on Joe's part, this match was just perfect.  In addition, this had legitimate drama and plenty of believable false finishes, with the crowd just being APESHIT in the last 10 minutes.
 
In the end, all the punishment dished out to Punk was just too much for him, as he passed out to the choke like so many other great challengers Joe faced.  But this got him only more over, and really made the crowd wonder who if anybody could dethrone Joe.
 
But one could argue that this was evidence that Joe's days as champion would be coming to an end in the near future.  The Punk trilogy, the Rottweilers feud, and the classic defense against Bryan Danielson all in the past several prior months were taking such a toll on him that he was resorting to blatant cheating, breaking his code that he had established as champion.
 
Rating: *****
 
The DVD closes with Aries being informed that Ki forfeited the title shot, and Aries will be challenging Joe at Final Battle 2004.  With more determination than Ki, and huge victories over Punk and Danielson, AND seeing what Joe had to do continue his reign, does Aries actually stand a chance?
 
Up next - Final Battle 2004
Matches will include:
The confrontations Mick Foley has with Samoa Joe and Ricky Steamboat
A major turning point for Generation Next
Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson
Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:14 PM

Final Battle 2004 - December 26, 2004
 
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Pure Title Match
John Walters vs. Jimmy Rave
 
Forgettable match that couldn't live up to the one they had at the prior show, but this is noteworthy because Prince Nana is able to convince Walters to join the Embassy, ensuring that the stable goes into 2005 including a champion.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
Ricky Steamboat's Final ROH Appearance
Mick Foley's confrontations with Steamboat and Samoa Joe
 
A decent segment (head and shoulders above anything else in the tedious Foley vs. Steamboat philosophy feud) that easily peaked once Joe showed up and punked out Foley.  This would have been FAR more noteworthy if Foley had agreed to wrestle Ric Flair at WrestleMania 21 and done an actual match against Joe too.
 
CM Punk & Steve Corino vs. Alex Shelley & Roderick Strong
 
Another forgettable match with a far more important post-match.  Austin Aries (scheduled to challenge Joe for the ROH Title in the main event) shows up and gives Shelley the ultimatum that Generation Next had given so much of the roster in 2004.  Aries betrays Shelley very quickly, and Strong plays the Arn Anderson role perfectly, temporarily pretending to be mutual but also betraying Shelley, accepting Aries as the leader of GeNext.  Aries proclaims himself to be the "Personal Jesus" and that nobody will stop him from defeating Joe tonight.
 
Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson
 
God this show fucking sucks so far.  A good but nothing special match completely ruined because of Gabe Sapolsky's refusal to let his roster job to the stubborn Ki.  Because I'm sure Danielson would never recover from doing that.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
ROH Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries
 
 
By itself, this match is good/forced or awesome, depending on your tastes.  But when one watches everything that led up to this classic like I did, you realize what a masterpiece of a story this truly is.
 
This match played off the majority of Joe's title reign, including the title defenses against Punk, Danielson, Homicide, AJ Styles, and Christopher Daniels.  It also played off the classics Aries had against Danielson and his victory over Punk the month prior.  Coming off of a grueling 21 month reign and two ***** defenses against Punk, Joe had been exposed as being vulnerable and even went so far on the prior show as to blatantly attempt to cheat in order to remain ROH Champion.
 
On the other hand, Aries had that victory over Punk and a HUGE one a few months earlier in the 2/3 falls match against Danielson, plus he showed absolutely no fear or inferiority on the prior show against Ki.  Reflecting back, the seeds were planted all along for ROH's final moment of 2004.
 
Aries brought everything in this match towards Joe - explosive maneuvers, crisp and intelligent technical wrestling, incredible tenacity.  But the champ would not go down without a fight, smacking around the smaller Aries and showing a vicious side that hadn't been seen since his feud against Homicide.
 
In the end though, all the elements that led to this historic match, as well as the gameplan that Aries brought to the table, finally brought the epic reign of Samoa Joe to an end.  The atmosphere in the closing moments, and especially the finish, was just beyond electric.
 
This is truly an incredible match, one that paid off two storyline arcs that overlapped on a very special night, closed out the year with a bang, and truly saved a shitty in-ring ROH event.
 
Post-match, Aries follows the Code of Honor for the first time at Joe's request, and he has to hide back his emotions temporarily.
 
Rating: ****1/2
 
SUPER DUPER ROH 2004 AWARDS
 
Wrestler of the Year:
Samoa Joe
Runner-up - Bryan Danielson
 
Debut of the Year:
Austin Aries - Reborn Stage 2
(I don't include pre-show matches.)
 
Breakout Performance of the Year:
Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans @ Generation Next and Austin Aries @ Survival of the Fittest 2004
 
Feud/Rivalry of the Year:
Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
Runner-up - CM Punk vs. Ricky Steamboat
 
Show of the Year:
Death Before Dishonor II Pt. 2
Runner-up - Generation Next and Reborn: Completion
 
Moment of the Year:
Austin Aries ending Samoa Joe's ROH Title reign @ Final Battle 2004
Runner-up - Jushin Liger's appearances @ Weekend of Thunder
 
Match of the Year:
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - Joe vs. Punk II *****
Runner-up - Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson - Midnight Express Reunion ***** and Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - All Star Extravaganza II *****
 
ROH's Top 10 Matches of 2004 (in chronological order):
Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson - Reborn Stage 2 ****1/4
Briscoe Bros., Jimmy Rave, & John Walters vs. Alex Shelley, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans - Generation Next ****3/4
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - World Title Classic ****1/2
Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana vs. Homicide vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries - Survival of the Fittest 2004 ****3/4
Austin Aries vs. Bryan Danielson - Testing the Limit ****1/4
Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson - Midnight Express Reunion *****
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs - Joe vs. Punk II ****1/2
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - Joe vs. Punk II *****
Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk - All Star Extravaganza II *****
Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries - Final Battle 2004 ****1/2
 
Up next - It All Begins
Matches will include:
Brian Kendrick vs. Alex Shelley
Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinnness
Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana
Samoa Joe and Mick Foley confrontation


#54 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:15 PM

It All Begins - January 15, 2005
 
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Alex Shelley vs. Brian Kendrick
 
Prior to the match, Austin Aries does his victory speech coming off his ROH Title win over Samoa Joe at Final Battle 2004.  Shelley quickly interrupts and brawls with Aries & Roderick Strong, but Colt Cabana comes out to take out Generation Next.  Shelley apologizes for his actions as the former GeNext leader, but Cabana tells him to fuck off.
 
As for the match, this was some quality professional wrestling and another candidate for best opener in ROH history.  Shelley was very good with subtle efforts to stop playing dirty, but the world-traveled Kendrick was too much for him in this back-and-forth technical showdown.  Very good match and excellent opener to get both men in the title hunt.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinnness
 
Another quality match that further moved along establishing McGuinness as a future singles star.  But Joe, just coming off that emotional title loss, came in to this one with something to prove.  He was too great to succumb to the tremendous technical and psychological efforts of McGuinness.  The vicious striking and merciless style of submission were once again all the strategy Joe needed to secure the victory, but McGuinness went down fighting.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Tap Out Match - Match #1 in Best of 5 Series
Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
 
Before the bell even rings, the two have a chaotic brawl and a pre-taped Jim Cornette promo is shown while the ringside area settles down.
 
Cornette cuts a fantastic promo, pissed off that he was outdone by Bobby Heenan at All Star Extravaganza II.  Just excellent, passionate work that shows the good stuff that Cornette can bring to the table.  Everyone in the industry should watch this promo.  This defeat MATTERED to Cornette, and had me pumped for another collision between the two managerial legends.  I know it's a crazy concept, making wins and losses matter, but it actually works.
 
Getting back to ringside, Homicide and Danielson had a tremendous match.  The hate was there but not overwhelming, the submission work was excellent, and it made me wonder how well this feud holds up.  The majority of the match was used on Homicide working on the left arm and shoulder of Danielson, and that's what led to the finish.  Another crazy concept - the story of a match paying off in the finish.
 
Rating: ****
 
ROH Title Match
Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana
 
 
This match had the pacing and crowd reaction of the typical PWG match of its time.  This was not a bad match at all, but it never got out of third gear.  The heat was lacking, but the story was more than solid.  The two did a solid job getting over their issue, but it didn't do much to make one think "Man, this Aries reign is gonna be the shiiiiiit!"  However, the closing moments (as much as they deflated the crowd with the exception of a teased upset cradle pin) led nicely to a rematch.
 
Rating: ***
 
Samoa Joe and Mick Foley confrontation
 
I'll never understand why TNA didn't pull the fucking trigger on doing this feud when Foley was with that federation.  Foley was just an excellent prick here, pretending to be a messenger of Vince McMahon as an obvious excuse to take more shots at Joe and ROH.  Foley, the HOF veteran that he was, outsmarted the hot Joe and they had a very short but sweet brawl.  Someone handed Foley a chair from behind the entrance curtain, thickening the plot of this feud.  I REALLY wish we had gotten an official match between these two.  AWESOME segment.
 
The show closes with Cabana challenging Aries to a cage match on the next event.  Quality booking here.
 
This show is interesting - it is never discussed, but had an excellent match and great showdown between two of the most vicious personalities the business has ever seen.  The undercard also had two quality (but very different) professional wrestling matches.
 
The title of this show also has more than the obvious meaning.  Very layered here actually:
This was the beginning of Austin Aries's ROH TItle Reign.
This was the beginning of Nigel McGuinness's serious push as a singles competitor.
This was the beginning of Roderick Strong's establishment as a singles competitor.
This was the beginning of the Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson best of 5 series.
And this was the beginning of Alex Shelley's genuine attempt to choose right over wrong.
 
I recommend this show.  One of the most underrated ROH ever hosted.
 
Up next - Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1
Matches will include:
Steve Corino vs. Roderick Strong
Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave, with the winner challenging John Walters for the Pure TItle
CM Punk vs. Brian Kendrick
Samoa Joe taking on Mick Foley's hand-picked mystery opponent
Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:16 PM

Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1 - February 19, 2005
 
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Steve Corino vs. Roderick Strong
 
This started out as some heated, hard-hitting shit but calmed down into a solid opener within a few minutes.  What was most notable was Corino's students interfering because of Strong's bullying of them the previous month; this planted the seed for the inevitable face turn of Generation Next.
 
Rating: ***
 
Pure Title Shot Match
Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave
 
Prior to the match, John Walters is introduced and wearing an outfit that looks like it was bought at a garage sale, not appearing royal in the least.
 
A great undercard style match to go with the one these two had at Weekend of Thunder Night 2.  Damn good storytelling of working on Lethal's neck, but the Elizabeth native was too pissed off and determined to get his title shot and wrap up this issue with the Embassy.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Post-match, Walters wants to defend the Pure Title RIGHT NOW.
 
Pure Title Match
John Walters vs. Jay Lethal
 
Great storytelling here, showing just how far Lethal had come under the tutelage of Samoa Joe.  His in-ring intelligence kept him alive in this one, returning the favor of manipulating Walters into using up his rope breaks.  The continued neck work carrying over from the prior match was quite beautiful, but the newly-turned Walters, someone who had solidified his position in the mid-card, was too much for Lethal to take down so quickly after the title shot match.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Skimming through this DVD, I find another great Jim Cornette promo, completely giving Bobby Heenan credit for one-upping him, but pissed off and coming back next week with a much improved plan and personnel.  WINNER.
 
CM Punk vs. Brian Kendrick
 
(Note: the above video does NOT include the important post-match I discuss below.)
 
An average match.  Nothing great, nothing horrible.  Just average.
 
What matters is the post-match, as Prince Nana shows up and dismisses "Common Man" Punk, instead offering Kendrick a spot in the Embassy.  Kendrick respectfully declines (disrespectful in the eyes of Nana of course) and Punk laughs at the rejection.  Nana gets in his face and slaps him, but Punk is able to take out the Outcast Killaz quite easily and uses their air freshener on Nana's face.  Definitely interested to see how this one holds up.
 
The Mick Foley Challenge Series
Samoa Joe vs. Vordell Walker
 
Foley cuts a tremendous promo prior to the match, stating that he had planned to face Joe himself as a surprise but he was too sore after the brawl they had the month before.  So instead we got Walker in a quick extended squash.
 
Foley then told Joe he set up a backup plan...
 
Hardcore Match
Samoa Joe vs. Ebestus Jack
 
Pure comedy match that the crowd ate up in spades, and Foley found himself blatantly interfering despite what he stated earlier.  Post-match, it's revealed that Austin Aries had helped Foley and would be given an opportunity to be in the WWE.
 
Cage Match
Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana
 
Damn good cage match that would have been excellent with more emotion behind it.  What we did get though is some great tenacity and solid storytelling.  Aries once again proved that he would do whatever he needed to do to stay champion, pulling off an amazing tope con hilo through the ropes and cage door to the floor in order to ensure Cabana's feet did not touch first.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
All of the post-show footage is some garbage VHS for some reason.  That's a shame because Alex Shelley cuts a great promo about the position he's found himself in and how he's going to move forward with it.
 
There is also a Colt Cabana promo shot three days afterward, with a special appearance by Bobby Heenan.  Stoked for Heenan vs. Cornette II.
 
Up next - Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 2
Matches will include:
Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness
James Gibson vs. Brian Kendrick
CM Punk vs. Alex Shelley
Austin Aries & Jack Evans vs. Samoa Joe & Bryan Danielson
AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:16 PM

Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 2 - February 25, 2005
 
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Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness
 
Tremendous undercard match.  Lots of comedy spots, all based upon outstanding technical wrestling.  This definitely looks like it holds up.  Just a superbly entertaining match, and yet, as hard as it was to believe, it would be topped later on in the evening in that aspect.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
James Gibson's ROH Debut
James Gibson vs. Brian Kendrick
 
Another great undercard match, and a hell of a debut for Gibson.  This is very comparable to the awesome WCW undercard cruiserweight matches.  Incredible focus, awesome psychology on the left arm/shoulder work done by Gibson on Kendrick, tremendous technical wrestling.  Just give them probably a few more matches and it would have been truly great.  Damn do I miss Gibson in the ring, and damn do I miss a motivated Kendrick.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
CM Punk vs. Alex Shelley
 
My pick for match of the night, although you really can't go wrong with any of the five matches I'm reviewing for this show.  This was a great matchup of bitter babyface going up against the newly-turned remorseful archnemesis, and here's a fun fact - the similar storytelling of Steve Corino vs. El Generico in 2011 also took place in Dayton.
 
What made this so great for me is that it wasn't just a competition between two great wrestlers like Cabana vs. McGuinness and Gibson vs. Kendrick (not that there's anything wrong with those type of worked matches of course.)  But this had that extra little bit of storytelling and psychology, and the chemistry between the two men is what made it stand out above the rest of this excellent show for me.  The technical wrestling was crisp, the storytelling between body parts was amazing, and I loved Shelley doing everything he could to win, but still struggling to do it with integrity.
 
Post-match, the Embassy attack Punk and Shelley makes the save.  Pretty weird thinking that Shelley attacked the Embassy considering what would happen later on, but yes, he helped Punk get them to fuck off.
 
Rating: ****1/4
 
Austin Aries & Jack Evans vs. Samoa Joe & Bryan Danielson
 
Another fantastic match for the evening, that would have been a MOTYC if it had avoided the lack of enforcing who's legal by the referee.  This is the one that surpassed Cabana vs. McGuinness in terms of pure entertainment.  Evans just took an absolute ass-kicking in this match as Joe and Danielson had fun at his expense physically and mentally.  Aries was also tremendous in being overly cautious to get in on the action because of the disrespect he showed on Joe the week before.  This was just absolutely FUN.
 
Post-match, Homicide shows up and brawls with Danielson.
 
Rating: ****
 
One Night Only
AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave
 
This main event was not just great, but properly brought the in-ring to a close for the evening on what was just a fantastic night of professional wrestling.  Styles was tremendous as always with his intensity, absolutely ready to go immediately and being aggressive to his former protege Rave.  However, Rave did his job too going toe-to-toe with the established Styles, and this match was his singles breakout.  He was given the opportunity, and he delivered.  I loved the match, I loved the sports-entertainment bullshit finish, and I loved the post-match of Fast Eddie Vegas (who had joined the Embassy after the evening's opener and turned on fellow Air Devil Matt Sydal) showing up to gang up on Styles only for Punk to show up and take Rave out of the equation, I loved Styles closing out the in-ring show getting his heat back.  This got over a new star and moved storylines forward without sabotaging anyone.
 
Rating: ****
 
Homicide and Danielson are shown still brawling outside, and if you didn't believe that Bryan Danielson is a crazy son of a bitch, he was pretending to fight outdoors on a cold February night in Dayton, Ohio wearing nothing but wrestling boots, shinpads, kneepads, spandex underwear, and maybe wrist-tape.
 
The DVD closes with Cabana in "Chicago" discussing his match with McGuinness.  Entertaining wink-wink conversation that ends in the two agreeing to become friends and potential tag partners, as well as a willingess to lock horns again down the road.
 
This show was fucking FANTASTIC.  Just like with my Generation Next review, what I loved is not only the quantity of splendid professional wrestling on this show, but the variety of it.  There was comedy, sports-entertainment, beatdowns, technical wrestling, junior style wrestling, European style wrestling, psychological wrestling, interesting characters, interesting storylines moving forward, an awesome debut, an even better one night only return, a fun heel turn, and a star being made.
 
Also, the crowd on this show.  HOLY SHIT THEY WERE JUST PERFECT.  Why did ROH murder this market?
 
GET THIS.  YESTERDAY.  God DAMN 2005 ROH is going to be a killer rewatch if the more reputable shows later on in the year hold up and still surpass this too.
 
Up next - Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 3
Matches will include:
Jack Evans vs. Alex Shelley
Round 2 of Jim Cornette vs. Bobby Heenan
Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness
Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Brian Kendrick
James Gibson vs. Puma (TJ Perkins)
CM Punk vs. Jimmy Rave
Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:17 PM

Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 3 - February 26, 2005
 
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Jack Evans vs. Alex Shelley
 
A good match that would have been much better as an extended squash to properly build up to the inevitable Shelley vs. Austin Aries match.  This was too back-and-forth, with a few too many near falls when one considers that Shelley was established as a singles act while Evans hadn't been and there was no reason for him to be booked in such a way for this match.  That said, this was still a fun match and the post-match confirmed that I will love watching this feud unfold again.
 
Rating: ***
 
Good Times, Great Memories
Guest: Bobby Heenan
 
This was just a feel-good (ie, NOTHING) segment until Jim Cornette came out with Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer.  Cornette's promo here was a classic, completely rationalizing why Heenan was completely in his head before we got to our impromptu match...
 
Team Cornette vs. Team Heenan
Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer vs. Colt Cabana & Nigel McGuinness
 
Another Cornette vs. Heenan classic here, and I could've watched these two managerial minds collide a few more times to be quite honest.  Just fun and entertaining here with both teams trying to one-up each other in the Eddie Guerrero department of lying, cheating, and stealing.  A perfectly booked and executed sports-entertainment match with a finish that could lead to a future Tag Titles match for Cabana & McGuinness.
 
Rating: ***
 
Falls Count Anywhere Match - Match #3 in Best of 5 Series
Homicide vs. Bryan Danielson
 
I felt this was a very good match that showed the hatred in this feud.  What these two did to each other was quite insane when the action spilled throughout the gymnasium floor.  Wickedly fun and brutal match and I look forward to this feud continuing.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Brian Kendrick
 
A good match but nothing special since no man really had much of an issue with one another and neither was a truly established force within the company.  Sorry, but Kendrick being pissed because Jacobs is using "his" finisher isn't deep enough to be engaging, especially when it's Naomichi Marufuji that was using the Shiranui before either one of them.  Solid and steady buildup for Kendrick to get a title shot though.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
James Gibson vs. Puma (TJ Perkins)
 
Another good match based purely on technical wrestling.  Nothing truly special, but this was definitely some good stuff with Gibson being the established name and struggling to overcome the work Puma did on his knee.  Whereas Evans vs. Shelley wasn't completely convincing as a back-and-forth contest, this definitely was because Gibson and Puma also had time spent in the New Japan dojos, it wasn't obvious that Gibson would soon be getting high-profile matches, and Puma was able to exploit a weakness on Gibson, but not enough to put down the former WCW and WWE superstar.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
CM Punk vs. Jimmy Rave
 
 
Another great sports-entertainment style match, although it couldn't touch Rave vs. AJ Styles from the night before.  While that had the intensity of Styles to make that match chippy, this one instead was more WWE-esque, and there was nothing wrong with it at all.  Rave was once again great at being a cheater, while Punk was solid as always being a babyface in his hometown.  Perfectly executed match for what everyone was aiming for, and a solid feud so far.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
ROH Title Match
Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe
 
This could not come close to the classic they pulled off at Final Battle 2004, but this was still a great title match.  With the events of the previous several weeks, Joe came in completely pissed off and dominated the majority of the match, but Aries of course would not go down.  It became obvious with the finish that the actions of Aries coming into this match were all mind games to psych out Joe, as he was able to turn the choke into a successful pinfall.  Aries escaped with the title yet again, the big rematch checked off with plenty of fresh challengers on the horizon.
 
Rating:: ****
 
The Embassy close out the DVD with a tremendous promo boasting about how badly they outsmarted Punk.
 
GET THIS DVD.  Look at how solid it is up and down.
 
Up next - Trios Tournament
Matches will include:
James Gibson, Brian Kendrick, & Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, & Vordell Walker
Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans vs. Homicide & Havana Pitbulls


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:17 PM

Trios Tournament - March 5, 2005
 
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Trios Tournament Quarterfinal
Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, & Vordell Walker vs. James Gibson, Brian Kendrick, & Nigel McGuinness
 
This was some very, very good professional wrestling here.  Easily the highlight of Vordell Walker's career, there was a hardly a dull moment in this match.  Joe brought the heavy shit, Kendrick brought the scrappy seasoned vet shit, and Gibson/Danielson/McGuinness all brought the excellent technical wrestling into the mix as well.  For historic purposes - this match marked the first time Danielson and McGuinness locked horns, and served as a nice preview for their rivalry to come.  Just about everything was on point, and the match got hotter as it went on.  Just really good stuff here.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Trios Tournament Final
Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, & Jack Evans vs. Homicide & Havana Pitbulls
 
This is where I could see why the Philly market was dying, and it would take something truly, truly special to get it back to enthusiastic levels.  With the show not being that great, and both teams already wrestled two matches each, it took awhile for them to get past even first gear, with lots of annoying stalling in the beginning few minutes.  But because these six men were on a roll at the time, each of them motivated as well to move up in the business, it still turned into a pretty good trios match.  I must note that Evans and Homicide made one of many failed attempts to copy the backflip DDT spot from Halloween Havoc 1997, which would not be done until WrestleMania XXVI.  With the match getting good in the closing several minutes, and no noticeable neglecting of enforcing tags (something the other match I reviewed on this show suffered from once or twice), and the right team winning, I still would say this is worth seeing.
 
Post-match, the Rottweilers cut a simple promo explaining why their victory was so important, earning them matches of their choice in the future.  Money-in-the-Bank-esque a month before the first ever Money in the Bank match.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Up next, it will not be an ROH show. Instead, it will be the greatest shoot interview ever caught on camera...
 
STRAIGHT SHOOTIN' WITH SAMOA JOE & CM PUNK~!


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:18 PM

Straight Shootin' w/ Samoa Joe & CM Punk - March 10, 2005
 
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Every wrestler should watch these two discuss the trilogy.  Both men stress the importance of storytelling and psychology as to what made their matches so artistically successful - it wasn't just a bunch of moves and reversals for no reason.  They also discuss how the matches came together, often at the last minute and on the fly, Perhaps most importantly, they make sure to discuss how incredibly the smartest of crowds were able to suspend their disbelief and just become fans while watching the trilogy.
 
Also discussed is the potential at that time of moving on to WWE, which leads to their assessment of the WWE's roster and hiring practices of 2005.  Joe explained why he felt the roster wasn't up to par with those of the boom periods - little did we know how stacked that 2005 roster would be compared to what we would get several years later.
 
In addition, discussion of ROH's evolution from 2002 to 2005 is interesting.  In discussing the overall product and their trilogy, it's very obvious both men were driven to move up and put together the best overall events possible for the fans.  It was a very genuine moment hearing both men explain the importance of all the little things it takes to keep a wrestling event slick and professional, with everyone being a team working together.  Very interesting compared to what both men's mentalities and priorities have become today.
 
The other primary portion takes up about an hour and a half, which is road stories for when someone's name is brought up.  I won't go into full details, but will give a quick explanation of what to expect.
 
Jushin Liger - just a cool guy
Teddy Hart - they dance around this topic
Christopher Daniels - his fingerprints were all over the indy scene with multiple examples brought up
AJ Styles - a great guy and video game geek
Colt Cabana - a complete carny (but the more justifiable side of it).  This also leads to a disgusting Adam Pearce story.
Steve Corino - a transvestite bar in Great Britain.  That's all I will say.
Low Ki - struggles to balance between work and shoot, but still a decent guy
Homicide - an EPIC story involving Joe, Punk, Homicide, Rocky Romero, B-Boy, and Nosawa during PWG's Tango & Cash Invitational weekend.
Gabe Sapolsky - a ticking time bomb that is easily trolled
 
Entertaining stories of their "parallel lives" and an FIP match between Punk and Homicide make for nice dessert dishes on this as well.
 
All in all, this is the greatest shoot interview of all-time, and for the most part is very honest and genuine.  Those who enjoy wrestling that emphasizes storytelling, psychology, and pacing, this is for you.  Those who want some epic and hilarious road stories, this is for you.  This is the standard for all shoot interviews to meet, and the equivalent to Mick Foley's Have a Nice Day.
 
Strongest recommendation possible, and get the Joe vs. Punk trilogy set RIGHT FUCKING NOW if you don't have this shoot interview yet.
 
Up next - Back to Basics
Matches will include:
Delirious vs. Colt Cabana
Homicide vs. Roderick Strong
James Gibson vs. Rocky Romero
Jay Lethal & Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk & Brian Kendrick


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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:22 PM

Note: this project took an unplanned eight month break after the previous entry.
 
Back to Basics - March 12, 2005
 
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Delirious vs. Colt Cabana
 
A harmless, cute little comedy opener, though not as entertaining as I remembered.  Not worried or disappointed though, as I know there's a certain comedy match involving Delirious that may be the highlight of his career on the horizon.
 
Homicide vs. Roderick Strong
 
A good match that accomplished the goals for both participants.  It kept Homicide warm for his upcoming ROH Title shot against Strong's Generation Next leader Austin Aries, showing his technical side that his gimmick could often overshadow.  Meanwhile, Strong's momentum kept moving forward in his ascension to his singles breakout.  That it took TWO lariats to put Strong down was great for both men in terms of what the goals were for both in the future.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
James Gibson vs. Rocky Romero
 
Announced before the match that this is an ROH Title shot for Gibson if he wins, this was an unsurprisingly good match.  That announcement though seemed to create more crowd heat.  While I felt the Homicide vs. Strong match was technically superior and a bit better at accomplishing its goals, the heat in this one gives this one the overall nod in comparison.  This was quite the back and forth match, and I wish these two had been around a decade earlier in WCW to feud for the Cruiserweight Title; that would have been a nice little feud.
 
Post-match, Kendrick asks for Gibson to give him first dibs on an ROH Title shot should he go on to win it.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Tag Titles Shot Match
Jay Lethal & Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk & Brian Kendrick
 
A very good tag main event that could have been great if not for the sports-entertainment finish.  For a makeshift last-minute team, Punk & Kendrick had quite the chemistry and looked to make for a great tandem had they tagged more often.  With a Tag Titles shot on the line, they even resorted to cheating at one point, pissing off Joe in the process in a great bit of irony considering the Joe vs. Punk III match.
 
Speaking of Joe vs. Punk, I should mention the obvious: coming off their acclaimed trilogy, the crowd went APESHIT when they tagged in to face each other for the first time in three months.  But the story of the match came when Punk threw Lethal ribs-first on the top edge of a steel barricade, with the makeshift team working on those ribs.  It was obvious the match was gonna be over as soon as Punk had Lethal set up for a Super Pepsi Plunge.
 
Then Steven Richards shows up, stopping Punk in his tracks, and he manages to land a superkick on Punk.  Moments later, Lethal and Punk woke up, with Lethal successfully hitting a Dragon Suplex for the victory.
 
A couple things about this match: Steve Corino was originally announced as Punk's partner and wasn't on the show for reasons I'm not aware of.  The commentary said he no-showed and was unprofessional, but that could be kayfabe.  As for the Richards appearance, he apparently was/is a good friend of Punk and it was to be explained later that he was paid off by the Embassy to backstab his friend.  I'm assuming WWE put the kibosh on any further Richards involvement in ROH.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Also of note is that this would be Dan Maff's last ROH appearance due to some personal beef with Homicide, with the kayfabe explanation that his career was over at the time due to an automobile accident.  He would be stripped of the Tag Titles and Whitmer would go on to pick a different partner as mentioned below.
 
Up next - Best of American Super Juniors Tournament
Matches will include:
Brian Kendrick vs. Bryan Danielson
James Gibson vs. Roderick Strong
Black Tiger (Rocky Romero) facing the Kendrick vs. Danielson winner in a BOASJ semifinal
Jay Lethal & Samoa Joe vs. Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer
Austin Aries vs. Homicide






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: ROH, Ring of Honor, Old School ROH, Gabe Sapolsky, Summer of Punk, Milestone Series, ROH vs. CZW

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