Chris Lovey and Ray Murrow are on commentary.
EZ Money defeated Chad Collyer, Colt Cabana, and Michael Shane at 15:18 in a Four Corner Survival Match. Lovey promises that this match will have ramifications on the Top 5 Rankings. All four men get a chance to show the crowd what they’ve got in the opening minutes. After the feeling out process and a heat segment on Money, the match totally breaks down and all four men start pulling out all the stops. Amidst all the chaos, Money is able to hit Collyer with the Cha-Ching to get the pin. This went on a little bit long for what they had to offer, but they managed to keep it interesting enough most of the way through. Not much to remember though.
The Texas Wrestling Academy (Don Juan, Fast Eddie & Hotstuff Hernandez) (w/ Rudy Boy Gonzales) defeat The Carnage Crew (DeVito, Loc & Masada) by DQ at 5:42. The action is fast-paced from the get-go here, with six men eager to prove what they can do in front of this hot crowd. The TWA gain control and start to build some momentum, mostly thanks to Hernandez, and they clear the ring. When Fast Eddie goes for an Asai Moonsault to the floor, Loc cracks him in the face with a hubcap. Juan and Hernandez get hit with hubcaps as well, and that’s enough to cause the DQ. This was fine while it lasted, and although the finish was lame it would lead to some better matches down the line so that’s okay.
Jay Briscoe def. Mark Briscoe at 16:40. The brothers chain wrestle and trade moves back and forth, with neither brother really sustaining an advantage for too long. The crowd chants “Briscoe,” which is cute. Things get heated and it turns into a slugfest. Jay is the first one busted open. Things start to get crazy down the stretch. Jay hits a torture rack backbreaker, which looked sick. He follows with a Death Valley Driver for two. Mark comes back with a climbing shining wizard in the corner. He follows with a springboard super Ace Crusher for two. Mark tries the Cutthroat Driver but Jay slips out. Jay tries the Jay Driller but Mark counters with an Alabama Slam. Mark puts Jay up on the top rope and tries the Ace Crusher again but Jay hits one of his own instead! Jay takes his brother’s head off with a big mafia kick. He follows with a sitout powerbomb. Jay goes up top and hits the cannonball senton but it only gets two! Mark catches Jay with a uranage slam. He hits the Jay Driller! Jay kicks out! Mark goes up top and misses a moonsault. Jay then hits three rolling Jay Drillers to get the pin. That was definitely better than their first match, with a little more structure and a little more selling. That goes a long way.
Steve Corino defeats Homicide at 12:17. Corino is accompanied by his Group of Samoa Joe, Michael Shane, C.W. Anderson, and Simply Luscious. It appears as though some of the fans are Homicide’s friends and they’re getting into shouting matches with The Group. Homicide and Corino go back and forth, showing their hatred for each other. Homicide goes for the Tope Con Hilo but Corino moves and Homicide crashes hard to the floor. He appears to be actually hurt. The entire Group has to throw Homicide back in the ring and Corino covers for two. Corino hits the Old School Expulsion for two. He follows with the Northern Lights Bomb but Homicide kicks out again. Corino locks on the Cobra Sleeper and Homicide reaches the ropes. Surprisingly Corino breaks the hold but then he pulls Homicide back out to the center of the ring and locks on the Cobra Sleeper again, this time adding a body scissors. Homicide passes out at 12:10. The match was decent back-and-forth stuff, and I like the finish. I would have expected it to be a little more brutal though.
The real story happens after the match, as a full-scale riot breaks out, with fans hopping the rail and trying to charge the ring. The locker room empties as everyone tries to regain control, with wrestlers fighting fans all over ringside. This was a huge deal at the time and was played as a total shoot, which definitely worked to generate some buzz. Of course we know now that it was a work, but good for everyone involved for making it seem legit.
Back from intermission and the riot, and we’re supposed to have a match between the Outcast Killaz and the Ring Crew Express. Unfortunately, CW Anderson comes out and attacks all four men and lays them out. Anderson then issues an open challenge, which is answered by CM Punk!
CM Punk defeats CW Anderson at 9:42. They chain wrestle back and forth for a bit, with Anderson focusing on the arm. As things escalate, Punk does a little bit of flying, while Anderson sticks closer to the mat. Both men hit some big moves, but when Anderson goes for his spinebuster, Punk counters with a sloppy sunset flip to get the pin (even though his foot was under Anderson’s shoulder). Punk wasn’t great at this point, and I’ve never been into Anderson as a worker, and they just didn’t click here at all.
Bryan Danielson defeats Samoa Joe at 15:21. This is a rematch from Revenge on the Prophecy last month, which was won by Joe. Both men are aggressive right from the get-go, and trade holds and strikes. Danielson tries to keep Joe grounded, which is very wise against a bigger competitor. Joe uses that size and strength advantage to wear Danielson down. Things stay heated throughout the match, as both men refuse to back down from the other. Late in the match Joe flattens Danielson with a powerbomb, but when he goes to pick Danielson up for more, Danielson captures him in a small package to get the pin. That was a really fun, hard-hitting match from two of the best ROH ever had, but man that finish can blow me.
Paul London defeats AJ Styles and Low Li in a Number One Contender’s Three Way Match at 18:50. ROH Champion Xavier is out at ringside to scout his potential opponents. All three men are on their A-game straight away, and Styles accidentally snaps the bottom rope with a baseball slide. The action is very had to keep up with here, as everyone is moving at 100mph. I kind of forgot about typing anything here and just sat back and enjoyed the non-stop flurry of perfectly executed maneuvers and ridiculous high-spots. Everything just clicked here. All three men wind up on the top rope and fight it out. Ki brings Styles down with a Super Ki Krusher, and London follows down with a London Star Press to steal the pin as Ki is recovering. That was ridiculously awesome, and I’d say even underrated in ROH lore. All three men wrestled at a pace that defied conventional logic, and managed to hit everything perfectly. It just felt like one of those times when everything came together for everyone, and it could never be duplicated.
The winner was supposed to get a break before the title match, but Xavier declares that the title match will take place RIGHT NOW and London accepts.
ROH Champion Xavier (w/ Allison Danger) defeats Paul London at 19:33 to retain the title. London is at a huge disadvantage here, having just gone through the exhausting three-way match. Danger interferes early on, so Alexis Laree comes out to thwart her. The Champion dominates, keeping London on defense and busting him open. London guts it out, and continues to battle Xavier and Danger’s interference. He and Xavier take the fight to the floor to allow Laree to beat up Danger in the ring, much to the delight of the crowd. Back in the ring Xavier hits Kiss Your X Goodbye and follows with a 450 Splash on the back but London kicks out! Xavier goes for the X-Breaker but London reverses to an inside cradle for two! London ducks a clothesline and tries an O’Connor Roll but Xavier reverses and grabs the tights to get the pin. London playing the plucky underdog fighting from underneath will work against almost anyone, and Xavier was generally pretty solid if unspectacular, so this worked pretty well.
Da Hit Squad (Mafia & Monsta Mack), Divine Storm (Chris Divine & Quiet Storm), Mikey Whipwreck & The SAT (Joel Maximo & Jose Maximo) (w/ Trinity) defeat Special K (Angeldust, Brian XL, Deranged, Dixie, Hydro, Izzy, Jody Fleisch, Slim J, Slugger & Yeyo) in a Scramble Match at 33:37. This is a rather infamous main event, more for its length than any other reason. It’s all just a mess throughout, with lots of stuff happening but none of it really meaning anything until Mikey Whipwreck turns on his teammates and hits every one of them with Stunners. Trinity gets in Whipwreck’s face, so Slugger comes in and hits Trinity with the Body Bag. The commentators are openly crapping on the match, which is always fun. It finally ends when Mafia hits one of the Special K kids with a Super Burning Hammer to get the pin. Awful idea to put this on last, and a truly mind blowing idea to give it over 30 minutes. This is probably the worst main event in ROH history.
The main event was an absolute disaster and a joke, but the three-way match that led into the title match was phenomenal, and the title match was pretty solid too. Jay v Mark and Joe v Danielson are two more very good matches and both help make this show feel like a big deal. Unfortunately, the running time of over four hours, and that’s simply too long of a show. The highlights are certainly worth seeking out though.
Tags: AJ Styles, Anniversary Show, Low Ki, Paul London, Ring of Honor