A2Z Analysiz – ROH Fifth Year Festival: Liverpool (Samoa Joe, Nigel McGuinness)

5th Anny - 5

The Liverpool Olympia – Liverpool, England, UK – Saturday, March 3, 2007

Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Homicide vs. Davey Richards

For some reason ROH found it cost-effective to fly Julius Smokes over for the show, so he’s in Homicide’s corner. They start with some chain wrestling and Homicide scores the first advantage. More back and forth ends in a stalemate and the crowd is digging it. The fight spills to the floor and Richards kicks Homicide over the railing and into the crowd. Back in the ring Richards follows up on the advantage but of course Homicide can’t stay on defense for any extended period of time. Of course just moments after I type that, Richards cuts Homicide off and starts working on the back. Homicide gets his hope spots in because, again, he refuses to look weakened. They head back to the floor, where Smokes gets to interfere as much as he wants without causing a disqualification. Homicide takes Richards out with the Tope Con Hilo, much to the crowd’s delight. Back in the ring Homicide works Richards over, and Richards shows that Homicide isn’t the only one in this match with incredible recuperative powers. Homicide hits a swinging DDT and then signals for the Lariat but Richards blocks it and hits a Saito Suplex. Richards follows with a sitout powerbomb for a near-fall. He locks on the Kondo Clutch and Homicide reaches the ropes. Richards goes up top and Homicide joins him, bringing Richards down with an Ace Crusher. Homicide goes for the Lariat but Richards ducks it and hits the handspring spin kick, but that matters not to Homicide, who shrugs it off and hits the Lariat for two. Richards battles back with the Alarm Clock and a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall. He puts the Kondo Clutch back on but Homicide is able to escape. Homicide hits the Three Amigos and a Frog Splash for a two-count. He follows with Da Cop Killa to get the pin at 16:10. The crowd was pretty into this so it worked on that level as an opener. Neither guy is really a favorite of mine, and for similar reasons, so the first half or so was both of them doing the things that irritate me about them. It did turn out pretty okay by the end, and let’s just be grateful it wasn’t for the ROH World Title as it was originally scheduled to be.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Allison Danger vs. Sara Del Rey

These two have been partners recently, so they should know each other fairly well. They start with some chain wrestling and show that they are pretty evenly matched. Del Rey uses her power advantage to attack Danger’s arm, but Danger is able to counter her. The back and forth continues, with neither competitor able to hold an advantage for any length of time. Danger uses her speed advantage and Del Rey continues to counter with her power. Del Rey goes for the Royal Butterfly but Danger counters with an STO. Both women are down. Back to their feet Danger lands a couple of forearm shots and a hard clothesline. Danger hits the Lovelace Choker for a two-count. Del Rey fights back with a trio of big boots for a near-fall. She hits a Samoan Drop for another two-count. Danger drop toeholds Del Rey onto the bottom rope and hits the Curb Kick for two. She puts on a cravat with a body scissors (does not look good). Del Rey powers her way back to her feet and hits the Royal Butterfly to score the pin at 8:29. That was a solid exhibition and a good showcase for both wrestlers. I enjoyed the finish particularly.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Jimmy Rave & Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana

Cabana and Whitmer are having way too much fun during their entrance, so the Jimmys attack them and the fight begins on the floor. Jacobs and Cabana pair off while Whitmer and Rave battle each other; all four men are brawling in the crowd. Eventually everyone makes their way back to ringside and they trade dance partners, with Cabana and Whitmer firmly in control. They’ve been using a split-screen to capture all the action, which is rare for ROH. Whitmer hits the first big move of the match, powerbombing Jacobs onto the guardrail. Finally the action gets back to the ring with Whitmer working on Rave while Jacobs recovers on the floor. Jacobs finds a weapon (can’t quite tell what it is) and hits Whitmer in the back with it, and that’s enough for his team to take control. Rave and Jacobs isolate on Whitmer for several minutes, and Cabana tries to help out but gets thwarted at every turn. Finally Whitmer catches Rave with an exploder and he’s able to make the hot tag. Cabana comes in a house afire and the crowd is behind him. Whitmer comes back in to help out and the Jimmys are in trouble. The referee loses control of the match and the Jimmys go back on offense. Jacobs hits Whitmer with a huge back senton from the top rope for two. Rave and Cabana battle to the floor while Whitmer hits Jacobs with a spinebuster. Whitmer follows with a Brainbuster for a two-count. They head to the top rope and Jacobs is able to hit a Super Contra Code! That’s enough to get the pin at 13:47. That was a really god tag team brawl with non-stop action that served a purpose to build more heat on Jacobs and Whitmer. Cabana and Rave held up their end too and made this a rather enjoyable fight.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #4: Two Out Of Three Falls Match – Delirious vs. Matt Sydal

Sydal is the current Open the Brave Gate Champion but this is not for the title. Delirious loses his mind at the bell so Sydal bails to let him get it out of his system. These two know each other very well, so when Sydal gets back in the ring they chain wrestle back and forth. Delirious is able to stay about a half step ahead in the early going, and Sydal doesn’t appreciate that. Sydal comes back and tries to ground Delirious, but the unorthodox masked man is able to thwart this plan. Momentum shifts back and forth several times, with both men controlling the action for brief spurts of time. Delirious catches fire and appears ready to take the first fall but Sydal catches him with a low blow behind the referee’s back and then traps him in an inside cradle to get pin and win the first fall at 10:15. Cheating heel Sydal is awesome.

Delirious is having trouble regaining his breath and Sydal goes right to work on him. Sydal chokes Delirious with his own mask tassels. He sends Delirious to the apron and follows him out with a slingshot guillotine legdrop. Sydal pitches Delirious to the floor and goes for a whip but Delirious reverses it and sends Sydal into the barricade. Delirious follows with a Panic Attack and he’s got a second wind now. Back in the ring Delirious is on fire, heaving Sydal around and going for the Cobra Stretch. Delirious hits the Bizarro Driver for a near-fall. Sydal comes back with a leg sweep and a standing moonsault for two. He puts Delirious on the top rope but that backfires when Delirious shoves Sydal down and follows down with Shadows over Hell! Delirious then locks on the Cobra Stretch and Sydal taps out to even the match at one fall apiece at 16:46.

The third fall starts with a bang, as both men feel a sense of urgency now. Delirious lands a Panic Attack for a two-count. He goes for the Cobra Stretch but Sydal is able to crawl his way to the ropes and roll to the floor. Sydal crawls under the ring but Delirious pulls him out in short order. Not sure what the point of that was. Back in the ring Sydal catches Delirious with a DDT for two. Sydal tries to follow up but gets too cocky and Delirious hits him with a neckbreaker for a two-count. Both men connect with a big boot at the same time and now they are both down. They get back to their feet and continue to trade offense. Sydal hits the hog log and then tries the Shooting Star Press but Delirious moves out of the way. Delirious is able to lock on the Cobra Stretch but Sydal escapes out of it, only for Delirious to hit Chemical Imbalance II for a near-fall! Whew. Delirious goes up top and Sydal shoves the referee into the ropes to knock Delirious down. Sydal pops up and hits the moonsault belly-to-belly to get the pin and win the final fall at 23:22. These two came up in the business together and always seem to put in big effort against each other. This was no exception, as both men busted tail and had the crowd with them. They worked a smart three fall style, balancing the big moves between the falls expertly, and showing off great counters and reversals because they know each other so well. Good stuff here.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #5: FIP Heavyweight Title Match – Roderick Strong vs. PAC

Strong has been the Champion since 11.10.06, and this is his ninth defense. This is the first time the belt has been defended outside of the United States, so it will henceforth be known as the FIP World Heavyweight Title. The Champion is ultra-cocky in the early going, as this is PAC’s Ring of Honor debut. They chain wrestle to start and Strong tries to keep the high-flying PAC grounded, which is wise. PAC plays to his strengths and uses his agility to counter attack. Strong gets cocky again and PAC makes him way for it, sending him to the floor with a headscissors. PAC tries a moonsault off the apron but Strong catches him and slams him down hard on the barricade. Ouch. Strong then military presses PAC into the ring post, which is a really cool move. Back in the ring Strong pounces, keeping PAC on the mat. Strong focuses on the back, as he is known to do. PAC pulls off a flurry of offense, including a standing shooting star press, but Strong quickly cuts him off with a backbreaker. Strong tosses PAC to the floor and continues to work the back, putting PAC in a compromised position. He drops PAC on the ring apron with a back suplex, and that just looked vicious. PAC barely makes it back to the ring and Strong pounces on him as soon as he does. Strong sends PAC to the apron but that backfires as PAC is able to knock Strong back and drill him with a springboard missile dropkick. PAC connects with the AJ Styles inverted DDT and both men are down. Back to their feet PAC has a second wind and he avoids Strong’s strikes and drills him with a series of forearms and dropkicks. Strong takes a powder and PAC follows. They fight into the crowd and rearrange the furniture. PAC goes to the top rope and takes Strong out with a corkscrew dive from the top rope! Awesome. Back in the ring PAC covers but only gets two. Strong fights back with a suplex for two. He goes for the gutbuster but PAC avoids it and hits a dropkick. PAC follows with a standing moonsault senton for a near-fall. He goes up top and Strong knocks him down and brings him down with a superplex. Strong connects on the gutbuster but that’s still not enough to get the pin! He goes for the Gibson Driver but PAC fights his way out of it and hits a swinging DDT. PAC goes up top and hits a beautiful 450 Splash but Strong kicks out! He goes back and tries a Phoenix Splash variation but Strong moves out of the way. Strong quickly connects on the Sick Kick and the Gibson Driver to get the pin at 18:09. What a tremendous clash between two well-matched opponents. Strong viciously worked the back throughout the match, and PAC tried to counteract with his high flying abilities. It made for the perfect dynamic and both men worked it expertly.
Rating: ****

MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Naruki Doi & SHINGO

The Briscoes have been the Champions since 2.24.07, and this is their first defense. Shingo and Mark start the match on the mat. Mark gets an early advantage and tags his brother, so Shingo responds by tagging Doi, who is not his brother. Jay and Doi start slugging right away and Jay gets the better of it. Doi perseveres and takes Jay down. Shingo tags in and Jay reveres a suplex on him. Mark tags in and hits a knee drop off the second rope for a two-count. Shingo fights back as the momentum continues to shift back and forth. Mark slips out of a suplex and hits a leg lariat. He makes the tag and Jay comes charging in. The Briscoes unload on Shingo with a flurry of offense. They keep him in their half of the ring and pour on the pressure. The referee looks a little like Andy “Right Leg” Ridge. At any rate, Shingo catches the Briscoes with a simultaneous DDT/Flatliner and makes the tag. Doi sends Mark to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Shingo hits Jay with a spinebuster for a two-count. Apparently the referee cares not about the legal man. Shingo stacks the Briscoes up in the corner and Doi comes flying in with Dai Bosou. The challengers are firmly in control now. Shingo holds Jay up on the ropes and Doi flies off the top rope with a senton for a two-count. Moments later Jay comes back with a neckbreaker and makes the tag. Mark unleashes his Redneck Kung Fu on Doi and also hits a Michinoku Driver for two. He spots Shingo on the floor and pops up to the top rope for a Shooting Star Press. Shingo didn’t really catch him at all. Jay and Doi trade forearm shots now and neither man will give an inch. Doi ups the ante to a flying forearm and gets a two-count. He follows up with the Rydeen Bomb for two. Shingo tags in and hits a Back Drop Driver with a dropkick assist from Doi for two. This is getting really hard to keep up with. The Briscoes hit Shingo with the Sidewinder for a two-count. Jay goes outside to battle Doi and gets thrown into the barricade. Doi and Shingo double-team Mark now but can’t put him away. Mark fights back and goes up top but Doi takes him down with a German Superplex for two. Jay hits Doi with a gourdbuster. The Briscoes go for the simultaneous guillotine legdrop and shooting star press but Shingo breaks that up. Doi hits Mark with Doi 555, Shingo hits Jay with a superplex, and then Doi hits Jay with a Frog Elbow off the top rope for two. Shingo accidentally hits Doi with the Pumping Bomber, and Jay boots Shingo to the floor. The Briscoes hit Doi with Total Elimination and the double-team neckbreaker for two. They go for the springboard Doomsday Device but Shingo breaks it up and Doi gets a victory roll for two. Jay hits Doi with a Stunner, Mark follows with an exploder, and then Jay hits a Death Valley Driver for a near-fall. He goes for the Jay Driller but Doi blocks it and Shingo levels him with a Pumping Bomber for two. Mark tries a springboard but Shingo lariats him out of the air. Shingo hits a TKO for two, and then Doi hits the Bakatare Sliding Kick for another near-fall. Mark goes for the Cutthroat Driver but Shingo slips out and hits the Last Falconry to get the win and take the titles at 22:40. I did not expect the Dragon Gate duo to win the titles, but I think it’s awesome that they did. The match was phenomenal, with a ridiculous pace and lots of awesome stuff from everyone. Doi and Shingo are amazing.
Rating: ****

MATCH #7: Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness

They start with some chain wrestling, which McGuinness excels at. Things start to get heated early on and Joe dumps McGuinness to the floor. Joe goes for the elbow suicida but McGuinness avoids it. McGuinness goes to the apron and Joe sweeps his legs out from under him, and then swings him head-first into the guardrail. The UK crowd is surprisingly supportive of Joe against their countryman, but it is his second-to-last night in the company so I can see it. Joe hits two Ole Kicks and then tries to throw McGuinness back in the ring. McGuinness rebounds though and nails Joe with a lariat. Back in the ring McGuinness goes to work, hitting a mule kick. McGuinness goes to work on the arm and shoulder now. He charges into the corner, right into an STJoe. Then Joe hits the Big Joe Combo, but can’t cover right away and only gets two. McGuinness comes back with the Guns of Brixton combo for two. He hits a running European Uppercut and a short-arm lariat for two. McGuinness tries the Tower of London but Joe avoids it. Unfortunately for Joe, McGuinness is able to hit it on the second attempt but still only gets a two-count. Joe is able to get up to the second rope and hit a huge nee strike for two. Joe hits the snap powerslam for two. He follows with the powerbomb for two and turns it into the STF and then the Crossface. McGuinness reaches the ropes. Joe tries a lariat but McGuinness ducks and hits one of his own. McGuinness goes for the Tower of London again but this time on the apron. Joe avoids it and is able to trap McGuinness for a Muscle Buster on the apron! That’s a pretty sick bump to take.

Referees come out and start walking McGuinness to the back as Prazak and Leonard surmise that the match is over. Joe gets on the microphone and is angry that McGuinness didn’t shake his hand before leaving. McGuinness slowly walks back to the ring and slaps Joe across the face! The fight is back on! Joe has the advantage still, hitting another Muscle Buster. McGuiness kicks out! Joe hits a big lariat but again McGuinness kicks out! He hits another one and this time McGuinness kicks out at one! McGuinness gets a quick schoolboy rollup for two. He tries the headstand but Joe kicks him square in the face. Joe then locks in the Choke and McGuinness is out at 22:51. The stop and start part of the match would have made sense if McGuinness won the match, but since he didn’t it just looks like he got his ass handed to him twice instead of once. Aside from that it was a pretty good match I just don’t care for the finish.
Rating: ***¼

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