The 1st Step: ROH It All Begins Again (15th Jan ’05)

Hello everyone again. I’m really sorry for the lack of updates lately. It was my 21st birthday last week (yes I know, I’m an adult now), and before it I was trying to get as much work out of the way as possible (have I mentioned that I hate economics?), and after that I have been far too drunk to do any sensible recaps. What a birthday though, six days of solid drinkin’, lots of presents, much pulling of women (and they thought wrestling fans never pull), and lots of hangovers, and running out in the middle of lectures to throw up.
My friends and family went all out this year, and made sure that we all had a great time. It was in stark contrast to last year, where only 3 people came out on my birthday. This year, there were almost 30 of us! Anyway, time to grow up now.

If you missed my last review, it’s here, and my Livejournal is here.

Team ROH have really been getting our shit together while I was away drinkin’. Check out this week’s News Report in the run up to the Third Anniversary shows this past weekend by Matt Francis, and the excellent columns from Big Andy Mac, this week he analyses the current place of stables in ROH. Brad Barnes has also posted his review of ROH Reborn Stage 1
and ROH Reborn Stage 2.

Show Background:
This is the first show in 2005 for Ring of Honor, and follows the ‘Final Battle 2004’ show, which finally saw the end of Joe’s mammoth title rain. Aries won the belt to one hell of a pop, in a decant match, which saw a clean pin fall, which is very important. Generation Next split at FB04; Roderick Strong and Austin Aries turned on Alex Shelly.
Elsewhere, the Special K split also continued at Final Battle, with Deranged & Lacey defeating Angeldust & Becky. Dunn and Marcos came out to save Becky post match from Special K. John Walters retained the Pure Title against Jimmy Rave, but joined the Embassy post match due to Prince Nana’s money.
All of this brings us to this show, which has a bit of a depleted roster. Jack Evans was not present at this show due to an injury suffered a couple of nights before.

– Austin Aries Interview
Swank new graphics tonight. Aries is YOUR new ROH World Champ, and says it’s great to be champ. No Shit. He says he will never be able to follow in Joe’s footsteps, but will make is own. Aries is OK on the mike, nothing special though.
Alex Shelly is out, and says he is the reason that Aries is champion. Strong comes out and attacks him, and Colt makes the save. He almost kills Aries with a back body drop, no seriously; his feet hit the middle rope on the way down. Shelly thanks Colt, but he did not come here to be friends, he came for the belt.
The angle did its job in progressing the Generation Next split well, and built up the title match for later. Two birds with one stone.

Spanky v Alex Shelly

Shelly follows the code to start, to further cement the fact that he has turned face. They trade holds, the usual stuff, Shelly controls with headlocks. He blows snot on Spanky, which is odd, because I thought he had turned face. Fight on the apron ends in Shelly getting a DDT on the lip of the ring, and follows with a nice crossbody.
Spanky pushes Shelly off the top to the floor, and works on the leg on the outside, and then continues inside. Alex eventually reaches the ropes in a figure 4. Some WWE fan chants boring in the crowd, bringing boos from the rest of the crowd. That shows how different fans are conditioned; WWE fans expect shorter matches outside the main events. Spanky attempts slice bread #2, but gets kicked in the chops by Shelly; he used the same leg that Spanky had been working over, dodgy. Another step-up enziguiri (again using the bad knee), and a face first J-driller gets 2. Double knees in the corner (AGAIN using the bad knee) misses, but a cross-legged brainbuster get 2 for Shelly.
Chin-breaker gives Spanky a comeback, and sliced bread #2 gets 2. Funny that. They mess around on the top rope for a while, and trade super kicks. Shelly hits a German (those German are always getting hit), and a modified Shellshock for 2. Another SB#2 gets 3 for Spanky. ***. Some odd psychology with Shelly not selling the knee much, and Spanky got very little offence in the match, but still won. Shelly now looks like an absolute chump.

– Backstage, team Corino and SCS meet up, and cut a promo. HILLARIOUS!
– Allison Danger promo, says the Prophecy will never die. What is this, the Corino happy smile time fun hour?

Azrieal (Angeldust) (w/no music) v Deranged (w/Special K and Lacey’s hot ass)

This is a further match in the Special K split angle. Indy sequence to start, Azrieal kicks Deranged’s face off. Nice step up shining wizard in the corner gives Deranged the advantage. Special K keep breaking the code of honor by interfering. Step up hurricarana sends Azrieal to the outside, they sure do like those step up moves. Azrieal tries to stomp Deranged into the mat, and a cradle shock draws Special K in for the DQ. *3/4 same old stuff really, the cop out of non finish did not help things. Dunn and Marcos come out to save Azrieal, and spank Lacey. Never wanted to be the RCE quite so much as then.

– Rottwielers promo, Homicide says he will stretch Dragon like Dory Funk, that’s quite the simile. Danger interrupts and tries to recruit the Rottwielers, ’cause she is Corino’s sister. Ah sibling rivalry.

Roderick Strong v Shane Hagandorn

Crowd chant ‘You tapped out’ at Strong (because he had just been on the Kurt Angle invitational on SmackDown!). “And I got paid for it” funny stuff. Actually, Strong impressed WWE management so much; I would expect him to get a developmental deal soon. This match came about after Jack Evens was injured at an Indy show the night before this show, when he messed up a 630, debuting his new Blitzkrieg II gimmick.
Hagandorn was trained by CM Punk, and gets smacked around, and pinned quickly with a backbreaker.
Roderick Strong v Evan Starsmore

Who gets his head kicked off before he can even get into the ring. Massive chops, and a wheelbarrow backbreaker, but Starsmore is in the ropes. That is really unlucky for the kid, and a huge Powerbomb gets 3.

Roderick Strong v Alex Law

Law is one of Corino’s young boys, and takes it to Strong with a few nice kicks. But, in the end, gets a Powerbomb backbreaker from Strong. MASSIVE chops, and a suplex backbreaker gets 3.

Roderick Strong v Ricky Landell

Landell takes it to Strong too. But is met with a messy fireman’s carry into a gut buster, and finishes with a camel clutch for the submission. *3/4 for the whole thing. Strong does not let go of the submission, drawing Corino out (sporting an FWA Academy T-shirt, I WANT ONE!). Crowd boo Corino, so he shouts that he is the babyface, funny stuff. He wants Strong NOW!

– Bryan Danielson promo, says he will make Homicide tap tonight. Danger again comes in and tries to recruit Dragon, who walks away. Danielson cuts the same promo every time.

– Lacey chews Special K out, camera man focuses on her bum, GOOD MAN!

ROH Tag Team Title Match – Ultimate Endurance: Steve Corino (w/team Corino and new haircut) & CM Punk (w/someone) v The Carnage Crew (HC Loc & Tony DeVito) v The Havana Pitbulls (Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero) (w/Julius Smokes)

It’s Cloberin’ Time! Corino’s entrance was fantastically OTT as usual. 1st fall will be a scramble match, and the 2nd will be a straight tag match. There is no back-story here.
Punk and DeVito start, and it looks like DeVito had too much turkey over the festive period. Carnage plex is broken up by Corino, and the Pitbulls get a DDT/Stunner combo from him. Happy New Year!
Pier 4 on the floor (hey that rhymes!) between the SCS/Extreme Horsemen combo and the CC. Romero flips out with a rolling senton. Inside, Pitbulls get their awesome knee drop double team on Punk, and everyone gets moves in. Pepsi twist and an anaconda vice makes Loc tap. Why not just do SCS v Pitbulls if the first fall was going to be that short?
Corino and Punk argue over elbow drops, and nothing interesting follows for a while. Pitbulls gain the advantage with a double stomp from the top. Romero slaps a royal octopus on, and Reyes continues to work on Punk. I’m rapidly loosing interest in this match as I go get another beer.
Punk finally gets a tag, and its bodyslams all round, and enziguiris for everyone. Man that Corino character is generous. Welcome to Chicago, fisherman’s suplex by Punk. Pitbulls return the favour with their nice strong style sequence on Punk. He comes back (very little continuity in this match) with a shining wizard on Reyes, into the anaconda vice, but the ref is distracted by SMOKES!
Strong comes from the back, and he and Corino duke it out at ringside (breaking Corino’s hand in the process apparently), and another Pitbulls double team knee drop gets the 3 count, just as I fall asleep. **. Long and boring. Time to move the titles on methinks.

– Intermission time allows me to get another beer. Low Ki is suspended from ROH for attacking a ref at “Final Battle 04”. Boo!
James Gibson (formally Jamie Knobel) is coming to ROH, goody.

Nigel McGuiness v Samoa Joe (w/New Music!)

These two were involved in a show stealing dream partner tag match at the “Weekend of Thunder Night One” show, which the announcers note. 10 points and a chocolate biscuit there. Trade kicks to start, which Joe no sells. Nigel moves as Joe was coming in which a boot when he is in his headstand position in the corner, showing he has learnt from WoT Night One, which the announcers pick up on again. Chocolate biscuits all around.
It’s all in vain however cause Joe kills him with a forearm, and NIGEL HAS A DIRTY FACE! Suplex gets 2. Joe gets a leg sweep, and all aboard for AIR JOE~! OLE OLE OLE x 2! (You can tell I really enjoy recapping Joe matches). Like a good Brit, Nigel takes all Joe has, and comes back with an STO, and the headstand works this time, thrust kick gets 2. Ankle pick DDT, into his arm submission (I like to call that Anarchy in the UK, bet ya it won’t catch on). Joe gets ropes and Joe powerslam for 2.
Another ankle pick DDT is blocked, but comes back with the hanging stunner. Headstand is met this time with a big boot from Joe (will Nigel never learn?). DVD and the choke leads to Nigel tapping **3/4. Yeah, I dug this. Not quite as good as their match from the IWA:MS TPI 04. Very stiff match.

Homicide v ‘American Dragon’ Bryan Danielson (Best of 5 Series: Match 1 – Tap out Match) (0-0)

This match has been a while in the making. Homicide defeated Dragon at Reborn Stage 2, but Dragon got his win back at ‘All Star Extravaganza II’ even with an injured arm. Low Ki and Danielson squared off at ‘Final Battle 2004’, and Homicide further injured Dragon’s arm to lead to this best of five series.
Big brawl spills into the crowd. Very intense, goes everywhere. Reminiscent of Hart v Austin at WM 13. Camera cuts out, and we go to…

– Cornette promo, he is 29 years old (w.t.f.?), he is never wrong, he thought he was once, but he was mistaken, hehe. He will kill Heenen.

Back to the match, and we have some intense lockups. Homicide grabs the hurt arm, and targets it in the early stages. Dragon counters, and targets Homicides arm. HAVE THAT! Oh wait, he then goes to the leg making me look like a fool. He ties him up and grabs the arm, nasty.
Homicide returns with a divorce court (why? Because it does not just separate the shoulder, it divorces it), back to work on the arm. Solid physiology. Some awesome arm submissions follow from Homicide, which Danielson sells well. See, good psychology + good selling = good match, read this if you want some more info on wrestling psychology.
Dragon fires up, and delivers some HARD European uppercuts, and ties Homicide up in a surfboard dragon clutch. Mark Nulty notes that the Dragon does not need to worry about his shoulders being down on submission holds, as it is a tap out match. Man, he sure is getting a lot of chocolate biscuits today. Airplane spin, but they are both too dizzy, and Dragon misses a dropkick. No need for a comedy spot in this match. Tope con halo, and you can hear Homicide actually splat on the floor.
Smokes rips the corner pad off, and Homicide flings Dragon shoulder first into the corner, into a ugi-gatami (if anyone knows the actual spelling of that, please mail me). Danielson escapes and Germans Homicide, but he holds on to the submission. Ropes. Dragon gets an avalanche style superplex, and a bridged figure 4, wow. Smokes goes up, but gets pressed off the top. Dragon goes up, but gets arm dragged off, into Homicides new arm submission for the tap out. What a fantastic match that was ****1/4 (Homicide 1 – 0 Dragon). Little gripe about the psychology in the early going, but the match pace was good, and the finishing was hotter than my first girlfriend (she was really hot).
Rottwielers try to kill Danielson post match, but he struggles out, and chair shots all around. He demands the next match be a taped fist match.

ROH World Title: Colt Cabana v Austin Aries (C)

Aries put Cabana out with 450 on Cabana’s shoulder at ‘Scramble Cage Melee’, this is Colt’s comeback after a number of months out with that injury. No Japanese style streamers for Austin. Aries bails, and stalls to start. Colt counters a leg vice, and they actually start to wrestle. Cabana controls with facelocks, and keeps the advantage with a lariat. Aries eventually comes back with a roaring forearm. Knee to the injured shoulder, tornado divorce court into an armbar.
Nothing of note follows, until Colt sit-down on an attempted crucifix bomb. Aries locks on an arm-bar, and applies the fish hook for good measure. I used to get the dreaded fish hook in school, happy days… no seriously, university sucks balls. Three dropkicks in the corner on Colt, and Aries looks like his is rapidly running out of ideas in this match. Colt counters a superplex, and hits a missile dropkick for the double KO. That was a really dull heat sequence.
Dusty Rhodes, I mean, Colt Cabana hits a bionic elbow, and a backdrop. Whirly bird bomb (that move has a stupid name, and is a stupid move anyway). Attempted Colt .45, countered with a roll through DVD, but the 450 misses. Pinning combo by Colt gets 2. Aries bails, and is met with an Asai moonsault. He then tries to crawl to the back, the whole sequence ends up with him giving Colt a brainbuster on the steel ramp way (yeah, ROH is going all WWE with steel ramp ways, classy).
Colt crawls… slowly (in keeping with the whole match really) back to the ring, and it turns out he was playing possum, and rolls Aries up for 2. Another brainbuster, and a firebird splash (450) gives Aries the win. *3/4 Long and boring (have I said that already in this rant?). No psychology, and heatless. Poor start to the Aries title rain, question why they booked a re-match after this.

– “Non-Sanctioned” Confrontation between Samoa Joe and Mick Foley
Will not ruin this for you, but it is a very good exchange between the two. Ends up with Foley on the phone to someone, a former WWE wrestler, agreeing to bring them in to face Joe. This was slated to be Andrew ‘Test’ Martin, thank god that was never sorted out.

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