Windy City Fieldhouse – Chicago, IL – Saturday, February 24, 2007
Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Albright has Larry Sweeney temporarily in his corner tonight, as Sweeney paid him to fight Castagnoli while Chris Hero is wrestling in Japan. Castagnoli unloads with a flurry of forearms right at the bell. He keeps up the torrid pace, but allows himself to be distracted by Sweeney and Albright is able to take control. Albright wears Castagnoli down with a variety of strikes, slams, and holds. Sweeney interferes every chance he gets. They head out to the floor and Castagnoli reverses a whip, sending Albright into the barricade. Sweeney holds Castagnoli’s leg on his way back into the ring and that allows Albright to resume control. Castagnoli fights back with a series of European Uppercuts and then the Match Killer for a two-count. He hits the Alpamare Water Slide for another near-fall. Albright comes back and locks on the Crowbar and Castagnoli is able to reach the ropes. The Gun for Hire keeps up the pressure, hitting the 6-1-Knee and a neckbreaker for two. Castagnoli lands a diving European Uppercut for a near-fall. He goes for a backslide but Albright counters with a Crowbar. Castagnoli escapes and hits the Ricola Bomb but only gets two! Sweeney distracts Castagnoli long enough for Albright to hit a half nelson suplex and that’s enough for the pin at 11:38. That was fine for an opener, as the crowd is pretty into Castagnoli. But the finish was pretty weak and I was never that into Albright in the first place.
MATCH #2: Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger vs. MsChif & Serena
Serena and Del Rey start the match. This is Serena’s ROH debut. They start with some chain wrestling and Del Rey is able to keep Serena on the mat. Del Rey uses her power to try and keep Serena on the mat, but Serena is no pushover and she uses her speed and agility to fight back. Danger tags in and Serena takes her down with some armdrags and then puts on an armbar. MsChif tags in and continues the arm work. Momentum shifts back over to the Dangerous Angels team and they isolate MsChif in their half of the ring. MsChif fights back and hits Code Green on Del Rey for two. Serena gets the hot tag and she unloads on Danger with right hands and a dropkick. Danger cuts her off and makes the tag. Del Rey almost kills Serena with a Samoan Drop, and then she finishes her off with the Royal Butterfly at 7:28. That was almost all action and they kept the crowd into it. Serena came off well in her debut.
MATCH #3: Four Corner Survival – SHINGO vs. Matt Cross vs. CJ Otis vs. Trik Davis
Cross and Davis start the match with some chain wrestling. Both men are pretty adept high flyers, and they quickly wrestle to a standoff. SHINGO and Otis tag in, and they’re the two powerhouse wrestlers in this match. Otis is able to withstand SHINGO’s aggression and he uncorks a flurry of offense. Perhaps SHINGO is impressed because he and Otis exhibit a bit of teamwork as they wear down Davis. After several minutes of abuse Davis is able to hit SHINGO with a tornado Codebreaker and tags are made. Cross comes in with a springboard missile dropkick and a clothesline that sends Otis to the floor. Davis catches Cross with a headscissors that sends him to the floor. He goes for a dive but SHINGO trips him up. SHINGO goes back in the ring to beat on Davis some more while Otis and Cross fight on the floor. Cross makes his way back in the ring while everyone else is out on the floor and he follows them out with a Super Space Flying Tiger Driver. He throws Otis back in the ring and Otis hits a Back Drop Driver. SHINGO hurls Davis into the barricade and then goes back in the ring to work with Otis, though that partnership is short-lived when they don’t appreciate each other going for pinfalls. Davis comes back in and offense is coming from all four men. SHINGO kills Otis with a lariat, and then Davis knocks SHINGO to the floor and takes him out with a suicide dive. Cross catches Otis with a neckbreaker over the knee and then goes up top for the shooting star legdrop to get the pin at 11:04. That was an effective showcase for Cross, who gets to join Austin Aries’ new faction after the match. Otis and SHINGO were fun together, and Davis held up his end.
MATCH #4: Jimmy Rave vs. BJ Whitmer
Rave hits Whitmer with a knee to the back during his entrance and Rave is in control right off the bat. He’s all over Whitmer on the floor, throwing him around and choking him with his own vest. Whitmer fights back with chops and brings the action back in the ring. Rave cuts him off with a knee to the gut. He spends the next several minutes wearing Whitmer down with his methodical mixture of strikes and holds. Whitmer catches a charging Rave with an exploder and he follows with a series of hard chops. He lands a leg lariat and a back body drop, followed by a spinebuster for two. Whitmer throws Rave to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. He peels up the pads on the floor and exposes the hard floor. Whitmer sets up for a piledriver but Rave counters with a backdrop. Back in the ring Rave hits a Spear and The Move Formerly Known as Ghanarrhea for a near-fall. Rave tries the Pedigree but Whitmer blocks it. They fight up on the ropes and Rave knocks Whitmer down. Rave leaps right into an exploder and Whitmer covers for two. Whitmer brings Rave up top and brings Rave down with a sunset bomb into a jackknife cradle for two. Back on their feet Rave trips Whitmer up and locks on the Heel Hook! Whitmer quickly reaches the ropes. A sequence of reversals ends with Rave scoring a schoolboy rollup with his feet on the ropes to get the pin at 10:52. That was perfectly solid and the heel got a cheap win but he did it all on his own, so it works for me.
MATCH #5: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe
Daniels and Sydal have been the Champions since 11.25.06, and this is their fourth defense. Sydal also is the current Open the Brave Gate Champion. Daniels and Jay start the match. Things get out of control pretty quickly and referee Todd Sinclair seems to have little interest in restoring any kind of order. All four men wrestle to a standoff and the crowd digs. Jay and Daniels start the match over, more or less, and Jay controls with a headlock. The Champions control Jay for a bit until Mark helps his brother from the apron and that’s enough for the challenging brothers to take the advantage. Momentum shifts back and forth between these two well-matched teams. Jay and Mark are able to isolate on Daniels for a little while, and enjoy a prolonged advantage as they wear him down. Daniels fights back with an enziguiri and makes the hot tag. Sydal is a house afire, and he does his best to keep Jay off his feet. Daniels follows suit, and the Champions are looking good almost 15 minutes in to this defense. Sydal brings Jay to the top rope and it’s Jay bringing Sydal down with a face-first superplex. Mark gets the hot tag and he’s a Redneck on fire. The Champs cut him off briefly but the Briscoes are quickly back on offense, with Jay recovering enough to help his younger brother out. The referee loses control again and the Briscoes are dominating with their double-team expertise. Daniels and Sydal fight back but the Briscoes are just too on point tonight. The action stays fast and hard to follow, as the referee is pretty much letting everyone do whatever they want. The Champions hit Jay with a double-team super Angel’s Wings and Mark has to make the save to break up the cover. Mark hits Daniels with the Cutthroat Driver, and then has one for Sydal as well. The Briscoes go up to opposite corners and Jay hits a guillotine legdrop and Mark follows with a shooting star press to get the pin at 24:58. They probably could have shaved a few minutes off but this was mostly a lot of fun and the action never stopped. They worked some cool tag team moves throughout the match too. The crowd was into it the whole way, as they love all these guys. After the match the former Champions strap the belts on the new Champions as a sign of respect.
MATCH #6: Roderick Strong & Davey Richards vs. Austin Aries & Matt Cross
Aries and Cross attack right away and the No Remorse Corps bail to the floor. Back in the ring Cross and Aries maintain control and isolate Richards from his leader. Richards fights back and tags Strong, who will only do battle with Aries when it’s convenient for him to do so. So as soon as Aries starts fighting up, Strong gets the hell outta there, and the future Resilience is back in control. After a few minutes of that, Cross misses a big missile dropkick and that allows Richards and Strong to go on offense. Strong and Richards isolate Cross and keep him in their half of the ring. Aries is on the apron just getting fired up more and more as the beating continues. Eventually Cross is able to catch Strong with a tornado DDT and both men are down. Tags are made and Aries comes in a house afire, flying all over the ring. Aries sends Strong to the floor and wipes him out with a Heat Seeking Missile. He heads back in and tries the quebrada but Strong pulls his legs out from under him. Richards nails a handspring spin kick and the NRC is double-teaming their number one nemesis. Cross gets involved and sends Richards to the floor. Aries and Strong are left alone in the ring together and Aries lands a hard roaring forearm. Cross goes up top and Richards shoves him to the floor. He then takes Strong out with an insane springboard corkscrew press, landing himself on the guardrail. That leaves Aries and Richards alone in the ring and Aries hits the Brainbuster. Aries goes up top and lands the 450 Splash to get the pin at 14:40. Cross got a nice showcase there, and Strong and Richards are a great team. This was a good start to the Aries/Strong feud because they got to do stuff but it didn’t feel like they were giving too much away, which is always a plus.
MATCH #7: Windy City Death Match – Colt Cabana vs. Jimmy Jacobs
This was the blowoff to a rather ingenious and unique feud for ROH. They start slugging at each other right away. The fight spills to the floor and Cabana is throwing Jacobs all over the place. Cabana rearranges the furniture and tries to put Jacobs through a table but Lacey stops him. That distracts Cabana long enough for Jacobs to clip his knee from behind. Lacey tries to help Jacobs further but Daizee Haze comes out to stop her and the two women brawl to the back. Cabana reclaims control and introduces a ladder. Unfortunately for him he gets it kicked back into his face. Cabana fights back with elbows that bust Jacobs open, and we learn it’s because Cabana had scissors hidden in his elbow pad! That’s cool. Cabana further uses the scissors to work on Jacobs’ bloody head. He tries a running stab but Jacobs moves and Cabana hits nothing but turnbuckle. The scissors is stuck there now. Jacobs cracks Cabana with a chair and goes for the spike, but it turns out Cabana sneakily stole it from him! Cabana hits Jacobs in the face with the spike and digs it into his head. They go back to the floor and Cabana abuses Jacobs with a Chicago flag. Back in the ring Jacobs kicks the middle rope into Cabana’s junk. Jacobs takes control of the flag and takes the flag off to use the pole as a weapon. Now Cabana is busted open as well. Jacobs uses the flag to wipe the blood from his eyes and choke Cabana with it. He uses the spike and a chair to abuse his rival. Cabana avoids the Contra Code and is able to retrieve the scissors. He jams the office tool into Jacobs’ head and then throws a series of punches. Cabana picks up a chair and waffles Jacobs across the head. He calls for the Colt .45 but Brent Albright runs out and hits a half-nelson suplex. Albright puts Jacobs on top but it only gets two. BJ Whitmer runs out to even the odds and run Albright off. Everyone except Cabana gets knocked to the floor so Cabana hits an Asai Moonsault onto both Jacobs and Albright. Cabana grabs a hammer from under the ring and uses it to drive the spike into Jacobs’ head! He hits the Flying Apple and then throws two chairs. He sets a chair on top of Jacobs and hits a moonsault for two. Cabana sets up a table but nothing really comes of it because the table is too weak. He sets up a ladder between the barricade and the apron. Jacobs tries setting up another table and Cabana throws a chair at his face. Cabana sets Jacobs on the table and goes up top but Lacey pushes him down, crotching him on the top rope. Now Cabana is set up on the table. Jacobs climbs a very tall ladder and crushes Cabana with a senton! That was awesome. Back in the ring Jacobs covers but only gets two! Lacey puts a table in the ring and Jacobs sets it up in the corner. Jacobs charges and Cabana sidesteps him, so Jacobs crashes through said table. Lacey gets on the ring apron and yells at Jacobs to get up. She tries to hit Cabana with her shoe but Cabana gets a hold of it and hits Jacobs in the head and throat. Cabana kills Jacobs with a lariat and then hits the Colt .45. He also hits the Colt .45 on Lacey and pins them both at 22:54. That was a great hardcore brawl, with unique spots and plenty of blood from both guys. It was the perfect finish to this feud.
MATCH #8: Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe & Homicide
McGuinness and Homicide start it off with some chain wrestling. Homicide hits a dropkick and the World Champion tags in. Morishima took the title from Homicide a week ago in Philadelphia, and it becomes apparent why when Morishima dominates. Joe tags in and they take it to each other, reprising their match in Manhattan eight days ago. When Joe knocks Morishima to the floor he goes for a dive but McGuinness blocks him. Homicide takes offense and knocks McGuinness to the floor, and then he and Joe hit stereo dives to wipe out both opponents. Everyone starts fighting through the crowd now and things are getting out of hand with Joe and Homicide using chairs. Joe hits Morishima with the Ole Kick. Back in the ring Joe and Homicide continue to dominate. After a few minutes McGuinness catches Homicide with a lariat and makes the tag. Morishima starts throwing Homicide around the ring and wearing him down. Homicide is in trouble and getting beaten down by both of his much larger opponents. McGuinness goes for a short-arm lariat but Homicide ducks it and hits an Ace Crusher. Both men are down. Tags are made and Joe is a house afire. Joe hits Morishima with a Death Valley Driver for two. He goes for a powerbomb but Morishima backdrops him and sits down on his chest. McGuinness tags in and works on Joe for a bit. Homicide makes a blind tag and hits McGuinness with a hurricanrana off the top rope. McGuinness goes for a superplex but Joe assists in blocking it and Homicide hits a super DDT. Homicide follows with a top-rope elbow drop for two. He hits two straight neckbreakers and a piledriver for a two-count. Morishima comes in to break up the pin and knock Joe to the floor. He pulls McGuinness over to the corner to make the tag. Morishima goes up top and nails the Missile Dropkick. McGuinness tags in and hits the Tower of London. Joe breaks up the pin attempt and knocks Morishima off the apron. He tags in officially and the referee loses control. Everyone throws lariats at someone and all four men are down. Back on their feet the action is coming from all over the place. Morishima hits Homicide with the Back Drop Driver and then catches Joe with the side slam. He goes up top again but Joe kicks him down and hits the Muscle Buster! Joe goes for the Muscle Buster on McGuinness but can’t hit it. McGuinness is able to hit the Rebound Lariat to get the upset pin at 23:10. That had some good stuff in there but a lot of it just felt like going through the motions. Granted, for these guys that’s still pretty good but this just seemed to lack fire.
Tags: Fifth Year Festival, Homicide, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe, Takeshi Morishima