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Michigan State Fairgrounds & Expo Center – Detroit, Michigan – March 31, 2007
The show opens backstage with Jimmy Jacobs pontificating about his cage match against BJ Whitmer tonight. Jacobs says the reasons they fight are different: Whitmer fights for acceptance and hubris, while Jacobs fights for love. He says that he is not the underdog tonight, that Whitmer has already lost. This was another great promo by one of the more underrated guys in the business.
Next up is a swank video package of last year’s Dragon Gate six-man tag team match, which was all kinds of amazing. I have a feeling this year’s will be good as well.
MATCH #1: Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal vs. Delirious & Jay Briscoe
Jay Briscoe comes out without his brother, who injured himself last night during the Briscoes’ match with Naruki Doi and Shingo for the Tag Team Titles. Even without Mark, Jay was able to regain the titles and make Jay and Mark four-time ROH World Tag Team Champions. Jay mentions that Mark is too injured to compete tonight, which brings out Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal, who were scheduled to get their rematch for the titles. Daniels wants Jay to put the belts on the line by himself or forfeit them. Jay says without his brother he can’t defend the titles, but he does have a partner to fight them tonight. The partner is Delirious! That sure is an interesting pairing. Daniels and Sydal don’t look pleased. That took forever to set up.
Jay and Daniels start the match. Both of these men competed in the first-ever ROH show back in 2002. Daniels takes the first advantage and I must admit I prefer heel Daniels to pandering babyface Daniels. Jay fights back with a flurry and clotheslines Daniels to the floor. Back to the ring Sydal tags in and Delirious follows. Daniels and Sydal try to cheat but Delirious thwarts their efforts. They bail to the floor and Delirious and Jay work together to send them crashing back into the guardrail. Back in the ring Jay and Delirious continue to dominate. Sydal cuts Delirious off with a nice leg lariat. Daniels and Sydal focus on Delirious and keep him isolated from his partner. After several minutes Delirious is able to hit Daniels with a headscissors and a Cobra Clutch backbreaker. Tags are made and Jay is a house afire. Jay knocks both Daniels and Sydal with a dive. Back in the ring Jay hits a Superfly Splash on Sydal for two. Sydal is able to sneak over and make a tag. Daniels hits Jay with a Death Valley Driver for two. He goes for the Best Moonsault Ever but can’t connect. Daniels instead hits the Iconoclasm for a two-count. He then locks on the Koji Clutch. Delirious breaks it up and then makes the tag. He hits Daniels with the Panic Attack and Shadows Over Hell for a near-fall. Sydal tags in and hits Delirious with the Here It Is Driver for two. He follows with a standing moonsault for two. Delirious comes back with the Bizarro Driver for two. Daniels comes in illegally to knock Jay off the apron and then double-team Delirious. Jay doesn’t take too kindly to that and he comes in to slug it out with Daniels. The referee loses control and everyone is coming in and out of the ring with no regard to the legal man rule. Delirious hits Sydal with Chemical Imbalance II to get the pin at 18:07. With the pre-match promo this was all about half an hour long, and both the promo and the match should have been a little shorter to be more effective. Still it was a good way to get around Mark being and to use Delirious, so points for ingenuity, and it was still an overall good match.
Backstage – BJ Whitmer has a retort for Jimmy Jacobs. Whitmer says things have gone too far, and that he feels like a Dr. Frankenstein that created Jacobs. He says he has to take Jacobs out tonight.
MATCH #2: Claudio Castagnoli vs. YAMATO
YAMATO looks so different here. Anyone want to pay money to see this match today? I know I would. They start off with a test of strength and YAMATO actually has to stand on the bottom rope to reach. That doesn’t last too long and they switch it up and wrestle on the mat. They get to their feet and after a few tries YAMATO is able to knock Castagnoli off his feet. Castagnoli comes back with a European Uppercut. He continues to use his power advantage while YAMATO tries to use his speed. It’s so strange to see YAMATO in this kind of role. YAMATO catches Castagnoli with a spear and follows with a t-bone suplex for two. Castagnoli hits a bicycle kick and then a huge running European Uppercut. YAMATO gets his foot on the bottom rope. They trade some strikes and YAMATO hits a bridging German Suplex for two. Castagnoli comes back with the Alpamare Water Slide for a near-fall. He then finishes with the Lasartesse Lift to get the pin at 6:59. That was a nifty little match and I shudder to think at what they could do today.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – At the Best of American Super Juniors Tournament, Whitmer and Jacobs teamed for the first time to beat Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal for the vacant ROH Tag Team Titles.
MATCH #3: Erick Stevens vs. Mitch Franklin
Franklin shows fire early on but Stevens just overpowers him right into a TKO. Stevens then hits the Doctor Bomb to get the pin at 0:41. That was certainly emphatic.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – At Dissension, after losing to ROH Tag Team Champions Austin Aries & Roderick Strong, Whitmer turns on Jacobs with a Wrist-Clutch Exploder.
Larry Sweeney comes out and says he’s got something to say. Sweeney says he and Hero have been hanging out with A-list celebrities like Corey Feldman, Scott Baio, and Pauly Shore. But their favorite, and he’s accompanying Hero to the ring tonight, is reality TV icon Johnny Fairplay! They have a mutual love-fest and insult the crowd for a bit before calling out Nigel McGuinness for their scheduled match.
MATCH #4: Nigel McGuinness vs. Chris Hero
McGuinness attacks right away but Hero is game for a fight. They trade blows and then McGuinness tosses Hero to the floor. McGuinness gives chase and works Hero over on the floor. Sweeney distracts McGuinness while he’s getting back in the ring and that one moment is enough for Hero to take control. Hero keeps McGuinness on the mat and allows Sweeney and Fairplay to take cheap shots where they can. McGuinness hits a lariat from out of nowhere and both men are down. Back on their feet McGuinness unleashes some offense, including a short-arm lariat for two. McGuinness puts Hero on the top rope but then gets kicked in the face. Hero hits a boot to the chest from the second rope for a two-count. He puts McGuinness on the top rope and hits a cravat slam for another near-fall. Hero hits a combination of strikes but McGuinness ducks a boot and hits a lariat for two. McGuinness hits the Tower of London and covers but Fairplay pulls him to the floor. That could cost him. McGuinness gives chase and corners Fairplay in the ring, and he takes his head off with a lariat! Kudos to Fairplay for taking that. Hero hits McGuinness with a boot but McGuinness comes back with the Jawbreaker Lariat to get the pin at 9:39. That was a decent back and forth contest, and I like the Fairplay involvement because ROH so rarely did stuff like that that at least it was unique.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – Jacobs and Whitmer fall backwards off the top rope and crash to the floor in the scariest moment I’ve ever seen in wrestling at Dragon Gate Challenge.
MATCH #5: Davey Richards & Rocky Romero vs. Jack Evans & Naruki Doi
Richards comes out with FIP World Champion Roderick Strong, who says that tonight he will teach Austin Aries a lesson. Strong then turns it over to Richards, who announces the newest member of the No Remorse Corps is none other than Rocky Romero!
Doi and Romero start the match. It doesn’t take long for things to get heated between them and they are exchanging offense at a rapid rate. They wrestle to a standoff and then tags are made. Evans starts high flying right away to take the advantage on Richards. Doi flies in with a somersault senton and Evans covers Richards for two. Evans shows off his agility but the NRC team is able to use some dirty tactics to take the unfair advantage. Back in the ring Richards and Romero isolate Evans and keep him in their half of the ring. After several minutes of punishment Evans is able to hit a springboard back elbow on both Richards and Romero. Doi tags in and he’s a house afire. He sends Romero to the floor and then wipes him out with a dive. Richards hits Doi with an enziguiri and a Falcon Arrow for two. Doi comes back with a Rydeen Bomb for a two-count. He stacks Richards and Romero up in the corner and then flips Evans on top of both of them just for fun. Evans than places Romero and Richards in the corner for Doi to hit Dai Bosou. Romero comes back and he trades shots with Doi, and gets the better of it. He then this Doi with the second-rope DDT for a near-fall. Romero puts Doi up top but it backfires when Doi counters to a German Suplex! Both men are down. Romero gets the first tag and Richards goes for the DR Driver. Doi reverses it and puts Richards on his shoulders. Romero tries to grab the leg but Evans comes in and jumps off Richards’ back to wipe Romero out on the floor! That was awesome. Doi then hits Richards with Doi 555 for a near-fall. Evans tags in and trade shots with Richards. He blocks the handspring kick and then hits a reverse rana for a two-count. Doi and Romero take it to the floor and Evans goes up top and Richards joins him. Evans knocks him into a Tree of Woe position and hits double knees to the chest. He then goes up and hits the 630 senton to get the pin at 14:38. That was a fun Dragon Gate style tag team match, and Romero makes a great addition to the No Remorse Corps.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – At In Your Face, Whitmer powerbombed Jacobs off the top rope and into the crowd! It’s a pretty cool spot.
MATCH #6: Brent Albright vs. Homicide
Homicide charges into the ring and they start brawling right away. Albright tries a charge in the corner but Homicide avoids it and hits a tornado DDT. Homicide puts Albright up top and Adam Pearce runs in for the disqualification at 1:22. Well that was certainly a spirited 82 seconds.
Albright and Pearce continue the beating until Colt Cabana comes running out to make the save, much to the delight of the Detroit crowd. Cabana recalls his brutal feud with Homicide and how he earned his respect. He then offers his respect, and proposes a tag team match RIGHT NOW. Pearce and Albright try to bail but Cabana and Homicide will have none of it. Homicide and Cabana bring Albright and Pearce back to ringside and throw them around a bit. They even fight into the crowd for a good long while. Finally they make it back to the ring to start the match proper.
MATCH #7: Colt Cabana & Homicide vs. Adam Pearce & Brent Albright
The brawl continues in the ring with Homicide and Cabana handily in control. While the referee is busy with Cabana and Albright on the floor, Shane Hagadorn tries to interfere but gets run off by fellow student Pelle Primeau. Jim Cornette comes out next and distracts Homicide long enough for Pearce and Albright to take control. I don’t recall Cornette being around at this time or what he was doing exactly. Pearce hits Homicide with a piledriver and Homicide wisely rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Pearce continues the beating. Pearce goes for a superplex but Homicide shoves him down. Homicide makes the tag and Cabana is a house afire. The referee loses control and all four men are brawling in the ring. Homicide knocks Albright to the floor and wipes him out with the Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring Pearce tries to hold Cabana for Cornette to spray hairspray in his eyes but Cabana ducks and it hits Pearce. Cabana takes Cornette out with an elbow and then hits Pearce with the hairspray can to get the pin at 8:44. This was fine for what it was and it did add some variety to the card. None of the people involved in it are my favorite but I can see why they’re there so let’s just move on.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – At Throwdown both Whitmer and Jacobs got a shot at ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson in a three-way elimination match. They teased the powerbomb from the top rope spot, but Danielson broke it up and helped Jacobs hit a Super Contra Code and they both pinned Whitmer.
Backstage – Rebecca Bayless is with Erick Stevens, who reflects on his first weekend in ROH. Stevens says he’s been tearing it up in FIP but he’s happy to be in ROH now. He says this is only the beginning. Austin Aries with his weird haircut was watching that promo from the wings.
Whitmer vs. Jacobs History – At Dethroned, the two engaged in a bloody and violent battle that caused their match to get thrown out.
MATCH #8: Steel Cage Match – BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Jacobs is accompanied by Lacey, Whitmer has Daizee Haze with him. The match starts when Jacobs sails through the cage door to wipe Whitmer out before he can even get in the cage. Jacobs throws Whitmer into the barricade and jumps off a chair to deliver an elbow. He picks up an empty water bottle of all things and throws it at Whitmer. Unfortunately for Jacobs, the bottle bounced back and hit him right on one of his front teeth and chipped it. If you go to Wikipedia and look up Jacobs’ page there’s a picture I took when we got back to Brad’s place that night where you can sort of see the chipped tooth. Whitmer fights back and they make their way into the cage.
They slug away at each other and try to use the cage as a weapon. Whitmer uses his strength to take control, throwing Jacobs into the cage repeatedly. He tries to use a chair but Jacobs kicks it back into his face. Whitmer perseveres though and stomps Jacobs down in the corner. He sets the chair up against his face and hits it with a dropkick. Whitmer charges in and Jacobs again kicks it back in his face. The chair continues to be a big part of both men’s attack plan. Whitmer cracks Jacobs on top of the head with it. Jacobs responds with a drop toehold into the chair. Both men pull out spikes and they stab each other in the head! They then unload on each other’s foreheads with the spikes and both men are bleeding. Whitmer lands a Buckle Bomb and a big boot. Rhett Titus runs out in a Staff shirt and hands Whitmer a barbed wire baseball bat. Who knew that over five years later they’d be a tag team? Whitmer can’t connect but Jacobs gets a hold of the bat and hits Whitmer in the face with it! Jacobs then hits Whitmer in the arm to bust it open, and then he puts the barbed wire in his own mouth and then sticks it to his hair. He’s sick. Jacobs continues to abuse Whitmer’s arm with the barbed wire. He goes back to the spike and actually licks blood off Whitmer’s head just to spit it back in his face! Ewwwwww. Jacobs grabs both spikes and unleashes on Whitmer’s arm and forehead. He sets Whitmer face-down on the barbed wire bat and then cracks his head with the chair. Jacobs sets up a chair in the corner and goes for a Spear and Whitmer sidesteps him. Whitmer hits an exploder and both men are down. Jacobs tries a rana but Whitmer catches him and powerbombs him into the cage. Whitmer uses the bat to wear Jacobs down. He sets up the chair and hits a brainbuster! Amazingly that only gets two. Whitmer tries to climb out but Lacey slams the door on his head. Jacobs takes Whitmer down with the bat for two. He goes up top and hits a huge senton bomb for two. They fight on the top rope and Whitmer drops Jacobs down face-first on the top turnbuckle. Whitmer hits a German Suplex/Dragon Suplex, Powerbomb/Jackknife Pin combinations but only gets two. Bobby Dempsey and some other rube bring out a table. Whitmer and Jacobs fight on the top rope again and this time Jacobs hits the Super Rana that went wrong once and kicked off the year-long feud being settled by this match. #Synergy. Jacobs goes for the Contra Code but Whitmer catches him and hits an Owen Driver for two! Lacey missed her cue there breaking up that cover. She tries to slap Whitmer but gets hit with an Owen Driver as well! Whitmer goes to the top of the cage and misses a Frog Splash. Jacobs hits the Contra Code but only gets two! That’s the bump that messed up Jacobs’ knee. Jacobs goes over to check on Lacey and asks for a table. Titus and Dempsey throw it in the ring and Titus helps him set it up. What the hell? That makes no sense. Anyway, Jacobs sets Whitmer on the table and goes all the way to the top of the cage. Whitmer joins him up there and almost knocks Jacobs to the floor. Jacobs knocks Whitmer down. He sets Whitmer back on the table and goes back to the top of the cage once more. This time Jacobs hits the senton to break the table and get the pin to end this feud at 24:31. That was an awesome blowoff to the feud and both guys looked tougher than nails. The violence was unique and the match was structured perfectly. It may be either guy’s best match eve in the company, and the only thing that drags it down is the weird involvement of the students.
MATCH #9: FIP World Championship Match – Roderick Strong vs. Austin Aries
Strong has been the Champion since 11.10.06, and this is his tenth defense. These two are former ROH World Tag Team Champions, and they show a couple of clips of them together as a team to build that up. Aries wastes no time in going after his former partner. He quickly knocks Strong to the floor and the champ takes a breather. Back in the ring they start chain wrestling. Strong foolishly tries a headscissors and we know how that eventually turns out. They go back and forth a bit, showing off how well they know each other from their time together as partners. Strong lands his first chop and it was a doozy. He covers and gets two. Strong continues to work Aries over, using backbreakers and otherwise focusing on the back. Aries comes back and hits a missile dropkick. He unleashes a flurry of offense now, including the IED for another near-fall. Strong tries to escape to the floor but Aries hits him with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries keeps the pressure on. Strong cuts him off with a hard backbreaker. Aries goes right back on offense though but can’t put the Champion away. Strong uses Aries’ momentum to drive him into the turnbuckles. He then puts Aries up top and hits a super Fallaway Slam for a near-fall. They take it to the apron and Aries hits a Death Valley Driver! Strong gets back in the ring at 15 and immediately shrugs off a Death Valley Driver ON THE APRON and rolls Aries up for two. He hits a gutbuster and runs off the ropes but gets hit with a clothesline. Aries hits the Brainbuster and goes up top but Strong shoves the referee into the ropes to knock Aries down. Strong goes up and tries a superplex. Aries tries to fight back but slips off the top rope and crashes through a table! That looked unplanned. Strong is ruthless and hurls Aries into the steel barricade. He then sets the barricade on the floor and delivers a Gibson Driver! That looked sick. Somehow Aries makes it back into the ring. Aries gets a quick inside cradle for two but Strong immediately blasts him with the Sick Kick and another Gibson Driver. Strong locks on the Stronghold and Aries passes out at 21:45. Strong tries to assault Aries after the bell but Delirious comes out and chases him off. That was a tremendous contest between two guys that know each other well and are willing to do crazy things to make the other one look good. I love the finish where Aries had one last gasp but Strong just overwhelmed him into submission.
Backstage – A despondent BJ Whitmer is backstage with Daizee Haze, muttering about how he couldn’t get it done. He walks out of the building with Haze following behind.
MATCH #10: CIMA, Shingo & Susumu Yokosuka vs. Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito & Masaaki Mochizuki
Saito and CIMA start it off, two participants of last year’s match. They go back and forth and feel each other out, trying to set the pace for their respective teams. Tags are made to Shingo and Mochizuki and they immediately start tearing into each other. Mochizuki unloads on Shingo with kicks but Shingo is able to grab a quick bodyslam before tagging out. Kid and Yokosuka tag in and the pace is ridiculously fast. Yokosuka quickly gets dumped to the floor and CIMA comes in. Kid’s team isolates CIMA briefly, but then Saito gets dragged into the opposite corner and worked over. Saito makes the tag but Mochizuki receives the same treatment his partner was getting. Yokosuka hits a backbreaker on Mochizuki for two. Mochizuki fights back with a bodyslam and Kid tags in. Kid’s team focuses on Yokosuka for a bit now. Yokosuka is able to get Saito into his corner and CIMA’s team goes on offense again. Saito fights back and the momentum continues to sway. CIMA’s team tries like hell to isolate Dragon Kid, which is wise since he’s the smallest man on the opposing team. Out on the floor CIMA and Yokosuka drive Kid into the ring post in a very precarious position. CIMA’s team shows some impressive double- and triple-team maneuvers as they decimate poor Kid. They try to set Kid up for a CIMA powerbomb off the top rope but Kid is able to reverse to a rana and finally makes the tag! Mochizuki is kicking everything that moves on the other team. Saito comes in as well and squares off with Shingo. The action is getting absurdly fast to follow. Kid hits Yokosuka with Deja vu and then takes him out with a rana on the floor. Mochizuki kicks CIMA to the floor and goes for a dive but Shingo stops him. Shingo and Mochizuki try to out-badass each other, which is a tough battle. Saito hits the Fisherman Express on CIMA but only gets two. Kid traps CIMA in a submission hold in the middle of the ring but Yokosuka breaks it up. Yokosuka tries a suplex but Kid counters to a Stunner for two. Kid tries a rana but Yokosuka turns it into a suplex slam for another two-count. Yokosuka goes up top but Saito joins him up there. CIMA hits Saito with Venus and then Shingo helps Yokosuka complete a Doomsday Device on Kid. CIMA then hits the coast-to-coast dropkick on Saito. He follows up with Schwein for a near-fall. The action is getting out of hand again. Leonard and Prazak decide the action ca speak for itself, so as is custom I will bow out and return for the finish. After incredible action, Kid goes for the Ultra Hurricanrana on Yokosuka, but Yokosuka rolls through into a sunset flip to get the pin at 27:16. That was nearly as good as the previous year and only lacks the “OMG” factor of seeing this stuff for the first time. All six guys pulled off some incredible moves, and Dragon Kid in particular shined by taking tons of offense being able to keep fighting back. I love Mochizuki and he brought a somewhat different style into the match. The six guys together presented the prefect blend of styles and made for another great, memorable match.
Backstage – Rebecca Bayless gets an interview with Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs. Bayless asks if they’re okay but they give her no response, instead just finding comfort in each other’s arms.