Going into the main event, things are tied between the FWA and ROH at 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw each. Daniels makes it known beforehand that he is not representing ROH, but the Prophecy. In fact, he’d actually been FWA British Heavyweight Champion just two months before this, having defeated Fleisch in October 2002. He lost the belt to Doug Williams at ROH’s Night of Champions in a match that I’d heartily recommend. Williams is actually an interesting absence from the card tonight, given his prominence in both companies, but that could’ve been for Japanese commitments.
Fleisch was also someone appearing somewhat regularly for ROH at this time, but he’s not in his Special K guise tonight, rather as lead babyface for the FWA. Early on we get plenty of stalling from Daniels, with him threatening to walk and arguing with members of the crowd on the balcony. When Daniels finally gets in the ring, Jody’s signature gymnastics and high flying quickly sends him running for the outside again and more crowd arguing. Once the match settles down, Jody is actually the one that tries to take a more mat based approach and I enjoyed his working of the headlock to stay on top. The result is Daniels trying to up the pace which proves a mistake and Jody headscissors him and hits a quebrada. As in the AJ Styles/Jonny Storm match earlier in the night, they fight up to the ramp where Jody gives Daniels a snap suplex on the entrance platform and then disappears and returns with a chair, which he springboards off into a rana on Daniels. The spot is fun, but the fact he had to go back stage to grab a chair to then do a rana off felt very unorganic and takes you out of the moment. This was a criticism I had of some of the spots in his ladder match at British Uprising.
When they return to the ring, Daniels is finally able to get some control, where he proceeds to work over the back and neck. The work is pretty consistent and I enjoyed The Best Moonsault Ever onto the back which then sets up a cross face. Fleisch gets a late flurry including a springboard Shooting Star Press, but Jonny Storm, cementing his heel turn, hits Jody with a chair as he tries a second one and Daniels picks up the win, and completes a come from behind 3-2 victory for ROH.
At just under 25 mins, the match is probably too long, with lots of stalling from Daniels early on. I appreciate him trying to build heat, but you feel that comes at the expense of the match in the beginning. I actually liked Jody adopting a more methodical pace and working in some chain wrestling at times, showing versatility. There are lots of nice sequences, but a tighter match would make it feel more coherent. Even though the ending features interference I liked the story of Jonny allowing his personal jealously of Jody to get in the way of company unity, and it further escalates the issues between them which the company was looking at as one of the key storylines for the year. Further heat is added in the post match where Storm and Daniels try to piledrive Fleisch on a chair, until both locker rooms chase them off, however, Storm and Daniels take out the FWA’s acting Commissioner at that point – Dino Scarlo - with an absolutely brutal and hard-to-watch-with-2018-eyes chair shot. (*** ¼)