Ring Of Honor DVD Review: 7/8/05 Sign Of Dishonor

After a shocking turn of events, CM Punk won the ROH World Championship on what was supposed to be his final night in the company, and immediately afterwards turned his back on the company! Now, tonight is slated to be his real last night, but there’s a few men who refuse to let him leave without a fight, and one of those men is the ‘Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels. However, Punk doesn’t think Daniels is worry, and signs up his own friend Colt Cabana to take on Daniels. Meanwhile, Punk is left without a challenge, so everyone on the roster is trying their best to impress both the champ and management to try and earn themselves a title shot. There’s four men in particular who need a big win in their match tonight to prove themselves as a top contender, and those men are James Gibson, Homicide, Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe who are competeing in the biggest and most important Four Corner Survival match to date! Can someone step up to the plate and dethrone Punk before he leaves for good?! Find out at Sign Of Dishonor!
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CM Punk enters the ring to start the show and says that he doesn’t owe anyone an explaination for his recent action, but he wouldn’t be a true evil genius if he didn’t tell everyone his master plan. He says he needs tell the crowd a story, and the last time he told a story a few people were heartbroken (referring to his promo at Death Before Dishonor III where he turned heel), but this story ends a little differently. Punk tells us the story of the TNA/ROH conflict and how he chose to stay with Ring Of Honor while Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles abandoned him to stick with TNA. Punk says if it wasn’t for him, there’d be no ROH for Styles or Daniels to come crawling back to. He built the company, he trained the students, he did it all. Punk says the fans always talked about Daniels, Styles, and even Low Ki while he held the entire ROH world on his shoulders, keeping it afloat. Punk says the fans turned on him with their remarks, but now he’s the champion and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Punk talks about his offer from the WWE, and how the fans not only doubt his ability in the ring or on the mic, but people doubt that he signed his contract. Punk says they’re right, the contract isn’t signed…yet. He pulls the contract out of his coat pocket and tells the ring announcer, Bobby Cruise, to hold the belt so he can sign the contract on it…but Cruise refuses! Punk tells him to have fun on the indys, and then asks referee Todd Sinclair, who also refuses. Punk brings out his top student, Shane Hagadorn, and tells him to hold the belt as Punk signs the WWE contract on it! Suddenly, James Gibson runs into the ring, but Punk escapes and pushes Hagadorn in the way, so Gibson destroys Hagadorn with the Tiger Driver. Punk backs up towards the entrance, only to get jumped by Christopher Daniels! Daniels and Gibson try to attack Punk together, but Punk manages to escape through the crowd. On commentary, we’re told that all promos are canceled tonight because Punk hogged all the promo time!

The fat guy in Heartbreak Express tells the crowd to show them some respect, and to hold their ladies back as they unveil themselves and show the crowd what real men look like.

Match One…ish
Heartbreak Express vs. Dixie & Jay Lethal-

Lethal and the annoying fat one (Sean) start off, as Lethal gains control with a headlock, and then back body drops the skinny one (Phil) that runs in. Suddenly, the picture starts to fizzle out and the ’emergency testing’ buzzer goes off. Yes, this is SUPPOSED to happen.. Camera cuts back to the match as the Heartbreak Express double team Dixie in the corner. Sean takes Dixie down with a series of scoop slams, when suddenly the camera cuts to a man’s eyes being shown…he looks oddly familiar. Camera cuts back to the ring as Lethal gives Phil the Dragon Suplex for the win at 3:07.

Dixie & Jay Lethal defeat Heartbreak Express via Dragon Suplex on Phil Davis at 3:07 (clipped).
This was a clipped match with nothing happening, and was only used to get some hype going for the newest addition to the roster…but who could it be?! DUD

Match Two
Azrieal vs. Roderick Strong-

The beginning part of the match is the usual indy ‘trade holds and go into a stand-off’ routine. It works, but it’s done way too often. Azrieal ends up taking the advantage after a nice tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a back suplex. The advantage doesn’t last long as Strong gives Azrieal a BIG boot to the face, knocking him loopy, and then pulls Azrieal off the top rope onto his knee for a backbreaker variation. Strong continues to dish out the punishment on the outside of the ring, slamming Azrieal into the apron and chopping him across the chest. Back in the ring, Azrieal reverses a half-nelson backbreaker attempt into an O’Conner roll, but Strong kicks out and levels him with a clothesline. Azrieal again tries to fight back, this time with a sunset flip pin, yet Strong rolls through and connects with a great cradle backbreaker! Strong dominates Azrieal some more by taking him down with a superplex, but he gets too confident and attempts another superplex only to have Azrieal crotch him on the ropes and connect with a double stomp to the back of the head, leaving both men laid out on the canvas. Both mean reach their feet and Azrieal has the upper hand by dishing out some chops and sending Strong out of the ring, allowing him to connect with a flip over the top rope! Azrieal really starts to fire up and gain a clear advantage, but it’s cut off as Strong blocks a hurricanrana attempt and destroys Azrieal with a powerbomb backbreaker, yet he kicks out! Azrieal manages to connect with a semi-botched blockbuster. Strong suddenly nails a cool release snap suplex followed by a half-nelson backbreaker, but only gets a two count. Azrieal tries to lift Strong up, but his back gives out, so Strong immediately attempts the Stronghold! Azrieal fights off the first attempt, only for Strong to go right back to the hold and lock it on, forcing Azrieal to tap at 11:29.

Roderick Strong defeats Azrieal via tapout to Stronghold at 11:29.
For those many people who think Azrieal can’t work, I direct you towards this match. Not saying he’s the smoothest in the ring, but he can work. To me, this was the perfect wrestling match formula between two babyfaces and it was done by two guys that were just starting to come into their own, so in the end it made for a real good match. Even in an undercard match, these two told a real simple yet effective story; mixing the strength vs speed aspect with the major point of who the breakout star for 2005 was going to be. Everything just clicked and worked well, sans one minor botch towards the end. ***

Post-match, Alex Shelley ruins Strong’s celebration by taking him out with the Shellshock! The crowd chants ‘Alex Shelley’ as he stands tall in the ring.

Match Three
ROH Tag Team Championships
BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Cheech & Deranged-

Deranged cheap-shots Whitmer to start off and takes early control with some quick lucha-style arm drags, but Whitmer flips him with a huge lariat! Whitmer powerbombs his own partner, Jacobs, onto Deranged, and then assists him by Lacey gets on the apron and distracts both the ref and Whitmer which allows Cheech and Deranged to double-team Jacobs in the corner to gain the advantage. Cheech & Deranged are really jawing with the fans tonight, talking trash whenever they can. Using quick tags and illegal chokes, Lacey’s Angels continues to pummel Jacobs in their corner for a good while, until Jacobs starts to fire up and HUSS around the ring…only for Deranged to poke him in the eyes and choke him with the ropes. Deranged hits the ropes several times at a super fast speed and it ends with…putting Jacobs in a sleeper hold! Jacobs fights his way out of the hold and dives for his corner, but Deranged pulls him back. Cheech holds Jacobs in place as Deranged goes for a springboard knee strike, but Jacobs ducks down and Deranged strikes Cheech! Jacobs makes the hot tag to Whitmer! Whitmer grabs Jacobs and uses him as a battering ram on his two opponents, and then just drops Jacobs like a sack of potatoes. Whitmer tosses Cheech into the air and Jacobs spears him…well, he spears his knees, but let’s pretend it was his gut! Whitmer KILLS Deranged with a running Ligerbomb, but he kicks out. Whitmer lifts Derganed up for the Doomsday Rana, but Lacey crotches Jacobs on the top rope while Cheech distracts the ref which allows Deranged to plant Whitmer on his head with the reverse hurricanrana! Deranged dives Jacobs a Doomsday Ace Crusher, but it only gets a two count! Cheech and Deranged lift Jacobs to the top rope and get ready for a double-team move, but Whitmer runs over and shoves Cheech out of the ring, allowing him to get Deranged on his shoulders and have Jacobs connect with the Doomsday-Rana, scoring the three count at 11:21!

BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs defeat Cheech & Deranged via Doomsday-Rana on Deranged at 11:21.
Cheech and Deranged did a great job of putting the heat on Jacobs, using every dirty trick in the book including the numbers game with their entourage on the outside. The only real problem I have with this match, and almost all Whitmer/Jacobs tag matches, is that Whitmer gets treated like a cruiserweight when he has to sell or get cut-off by the heels. I mean, the dude is about twice as big as either of his opponents, yet he gets hit or takes a move and sells like Jacobs. Partly Whitmer’s fault, partly the fault of his opponents who dish out the moves and expected him to sell’em thusly. On the plus side, this match was more about the psychology of a match instead of a total spotfest, which both teams have no problem engaging in at the drop of a hat. It was a nice change of pace to have the focus of the match be on the beatdown and the comeback rather than how many hurricanranas they can pull off. Overall, good work by everyone involved, but with more drama (like thinking the challengers stood a chance) and some more action, this would have been great. **3/4

A clip plays showing Orman Tortuga & Diablo Santiago quitting The Embassy because of something disgusting Prince Nana did to Jade Chung (not shown, as a voiceover tells us it’s too bad to show on film). The Outcast Killaz ask Jade Chung to leave with them, but she refuses.

Match Four
Jimmy Rave vs. AJ Styles-

Styles immediately tosses Rave into the air and drops him gut-first onto the canvas, which prompts Rave to start walking back to the locker room, however AJ cuts him off and tosses him around on the outside. Inside the ring Rave tries to beg off Styles, but Styles decides to give him a series of backbreakers as well as a back suplex instead. Styles sets up for his signature dropkick, but Rave has it scouted and stops in his tracks, so Styles just gives him a spinning heel kick and then grinds his forearm into his face for good measure. After unleashing some hard headbutts to the neck, AJ attempts the Styles Clash but Rave catches him with a low blow while Nana distracts the ref. Rave returns the favor from earlier by grinding his forearm into AJ’s face, and then cuts off a comeback attempt from Styles by clotheslining the back of his head. Rave continues to dominate Styles with basic heel tactics and holds, leading up to him slingshotting him into the middle rope for a two count. A small chop battle ensues which quickly ends after Styles gives Rave a nice enziguri, followed by a brainbuster, but he just gets a two count as well. AJ goes for the springboard inverted DDT, but Rave slams him down to the mat and connects with the running knee strike for a believable nearfall, however Styles comes back with his signature dropkick to even the odds once more. Styles is on the top rope, but Nana crotches him which allows Rave to simply toss Styles back-first onto the top turnbuckle, followed by a huge spear into the corner. Rave sets up for the Rave Clash, but Styles rolls him up for the pin at 16:42.

AJ Styles defeats Jimmy Rave via roll-up at 16:42.
The match suffered from a dead crowd, but it’s understandable considering this feud was in it’s early stages and no one had any reason to care about it. Plus, they (the crowd) were more excited to see AJ Styles back in an ROH ring since he had just returned to the promotion rather than seeing him get revenge. As for the actual match, it was good…but just good, as both men seemed to be trying different things throughout the match, like Rave kind of tossing Styles onto the top turnbuckle, and honestly a good portion of them just didn’t work (both in looks and reasoning). Having back-to-back matches involving heel entourages at ringside was a poor idea as well. This match basically had a lot of factors working against it, hence the ‘good but not great’ feeling. ***

Nana tries attacking Styles after the match, but Styles blocks it and prepares to give him the Styles Clash! However, he’s stopped by Rave who puts a plastic bag over his head and tries to suffocate him! He fails at doing so since the bag rips before Styles can die, and the refs direct Rave towards the back. Seriously, who the hell tries to kill someone because they ‘barely’ lost a match? Rave isn’t Terry Funk, he’s a cocky pretty boy…have him act like one.

Match Five
Vordell Walker vs. Nigel McGuinness-

Lenny Leonard, the voice of FIP, debuts on ROH commentary during this match to put over FIP’s own Vordell Walker. Moments after the bell is rung, the camera fades out and suddenly Matt Hardy appears on the screen! Hardy says he’s coming to ROH for a dream match with Christopher Daniels! Hardy tells Daniels to be prepared for a double-dose of Mattitude while attempting to give an evil snarl at the camera. See, this was when Hardy’s promos would either be real good, or real bad…take your guess here. Camera returns to the match as Nigel decapitates Walker with the rebound lariat, followed by a superkick, but Walker kicks out. Walker comes back with a very nice bridging german suplex, and continues his momentum with an ace crusher. Vordell goes to the top, but Nigel crotches him and nails the Tower Of London (which was nameless at the time) for the win at 3:32.

Nigel McGuinness defeats Vordell Walker via Tower Of London at 3:32 (clipped).
This was the same as the first match, except it probably had a chance of being somewhat decent whereas the first match didn’t. Showing the first few seconds and the final two minutes really means nothing. DUD

Match Six
Four Corner Survival
James Gibson vs. Homicide vs. Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe-

Wow, being able to look at this match and see every man in it wore the ROH World Championship at one point is really cool. Anyway, Aries and Gibson start off with some real good chain wrestling which of course leads into the inevtiable stand-off. Suddenly they turn things up a notch and start trying to hit some pretty big moves on each other with everything being reversed and avoided until Gibson finally chases Aries out of the ring. Joe and Homicide enter the ring but Smokes quickly tricks Joe out of the ring and taunts him, so Cide attempts his tope conhilo but Joe stops him with a big slap to the face. Aries re-enters himself into the ring which proves to be a bad idea as Joe dominates him with several powerful strikes, as Gibson then enters and takes it to Aries himself with some simple yet effective holds and strikes. Homicide comes in and takes advantage against Gibson, wearing him down with a mix of heel tacts like eye rakes followed by wrestling holds such as a butterfly suplex and legdrop on the apron. The two brawl to the outside and Gibson manages to suplex Homicide through a table at ringside! Aries keeps Gibson down by working over the neck, and Joe enters to continue doing the same thing, using kicks and submission holds to try and injure the neck of Gibson. Homicide applies a double-underhook submission on Gibson, but he counters with a northern light’s suplex yet is too weak to capitalize. Joe and Homicide go through a lot of big move reversals and misses until Joe plants him with his snap powerslam, following up with the facewash in the corner. Gibson runs back in and starts to go wild on Homicide with strikes and slams, trying to get some measure of revenge, but he’s soon cut off by an ace crusher.

Aries takes his turn to work over Gibson again, but Gibson fires back once more and connects with a swinging neckbreaker, allowing both men to tag out. Homicide connects with the tope conhilo out of nowhere on Joe, taking both men out, and is quickly followed by Aries’ beautiful suicide dive on both men, and then a top rope flip onto everyone by Gibson, finished off with the twisting body press by Joe! Great sequence of moves! Joe gives Aries the Ole Kick, and tries to do the same to Gibson but Homicide spears Joe into the guardrail OUT OF NOWHERE! However, Joe quickly gets his revenge by catching a charging Cide with a back body drop into the barricade! Inside the ring, Joe gies Gibson his signature powerbomb and transfers right into the STF, but Aries breaks it up before a submission occurs. Gibson gets his second wind and takes all the punishment Joe can give him before planting Joe with a bridging german suplex for a two count, so he then catches him in the guillotine choke! Gibson and Aries team up to give Joe a double brainbuster, and Aries attempts the 450 but Homicide once again comes out of NOWHERE and shoves Aries off the rope and into the guardrail. Homicide connects with a sick lariat to the back of Joe’s head, followed by one to the front, but before he can make the pin Gibson Cactus Clotheslines them out of the ring, allowing Aries to regain himself and connect with the 450 Splash on Joe at 25:47 for the win!

Austin Aries defeats James Gibson, Homicide, and Sama Joe via 450 Splash on Joe in 25:47.
There was a lot of cool mini-stories in the match due to all the history between the men involved. Gibson and Homicide were trying to kill each other, while Joe and Aries kept trying to prove who the better man truly was, while Aries and Gibson revisited their rivalry as did Homicide and Joe. Lots of really fun interactions throughout the entire match, along with awesome action, made everything very entertaining. ***3/4

Post-match, Alex Shelley ruins another celebration by superkicking Aries in the face. Meanwhile, Gibson and Homicide continue brawling on the outside, showing that their problems are far from solved.

Match Seven
Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana-

Colt’s ‘friend’ CM Punk signed this match himself to try and see if Daniels was really a worthy competitor. Dualing chants for both men to start as Daniels refuses to shake Colt’s hand, not matter how hard Colt tries to convince him. Colt tries to trip Daniels on a running shoulder block attempt, so Daniels gets frustrated and shoves him down. Cabana easily escapes a few pin attempts by Daniels and laughs about it, further frustrating his opponent as Daniels tells him to get serious! The two try to wear each other down on the mat, keeping the contest very evenly matched. Colt really works over the arm with various armbars, but Daniels comes out on top with a running knee lift to the midsection, leading to Daniels working over that body part by stretching Cabana out and even nailing the arabian press. Suddenly, Punk appears at ringside and holds up his belt, distracting Daniels and taunting him, allowing Colt to hiptoss him into the barricade while Punk stomps him down. However, Colt gets in Punk’s face and shoves him away, not wanting him involved! In the ring, Cabana continues to keep control of the match by smartly striking and stretching Daniels all over, keeping him worn down and cutting off various comeback attempts. Cabana gives Daniels a big boot to the face followed by his signature tornado snap suplex (one of my favorite moves), but gets too confident and tries a top rope move that Daniels easily sidesteps, followed by giving Cabana an STO. Daniels rocks Cabana with some forearm strikes, clotheslines, an enziguri, and finally a top rope crossbody, getting a burst of adrenaline.

Daniels attempts the Angel’s Wings, but Cabana drops to his knees to block and then ends up giving Daniels another big boot to the head. The two are slow to their feet and trade strikes until Cabana nails an asai moonsault, butt-butt in the corner, and a flying lariat in quick succession, but Daniels is able to kick out. Daniels responds with a nice blue thunder driver, but after some struggling in the corner Cabana nails him in the face with a missle dropkick. Man, these two are really going all out and their bodies are showing it. Daniels escapes a Colt 45 attempt and drags him down with a Reverse STO, going right into the Koji Clutch! However, Punk gets on the apron to distract the ref, and Daniels decides to break the submission hold. Suddenly, Punk gets ready to hit Daniels with a chain, but he ends up striking Cabana by accident! Daniels nails the Best Moonsault Ever at 23:02 for the three count!

Christopher Daniels defeats Colt Cabana via Best Moonsault Ever at 23:02.
If you love old school wrestling, you’ll love this match. These guys went at a slower, methodical pace and only sped up during certain parts where it was needed, not doing anything unrealistic. Everything in this match, especially the working over of body parts, flowed and clicked greatly, with my only problem being that the work-over didn’t play a part later in the match. The thing I don’t understand though is Punk hitting Cabana with the chain by accident. It didn’t set up a Punk/Cabana feud or match, it didn’t make the fans hate Punk more or feel sympathy towards Cabana…it was just a mistake. They should have had Punk swing at Daniels and miss, then either have Daniels use the item on Cabana or have Cabana shoo away Punk allowing Daniels to beat him while distracted. Punk nailing Cabana just added nothing to the match or feud, and really felt tacked on for no reason. Overall it was a very well wrestled match, but at the end of the day, this was just there to advance the fued between Punk and Daniels, so the match was secondary. ***1/4

Punk cuts a promo in the ring about how all the fans are waiting by their computer and calling each other to see who he’ll be defending the title against that night, but he says that he went through the list of ROH icons and legends until he found someone he’s going to love to beat. Punk says it’s time for the match that was never supposed to happen, as he calls out Low Ki! Low Ki’s music hits…and he doesn’t come out, so Punk calls him a gutless coward. He says he has a backup plan, and that plan is the ‘American Dragon’ Bryan Danielson! Music hits, no appearance. Punk says he’s not surprised by Low Ki, but he thought Dragon had more integrity and guts. He goes on to say that he has one more challenge to make against two people at once, the returning Briscoe Brothers! Of course, music, no appearance, crowd boos. Punk says he made three challenges, and none responded, so he’s leaving with the belt. Well, he’s gonna have a problem with that since Mick Foley hits the ring! Foley does the cheap pop and goes on to say he spends more time in the buffet than the gym these days, and after watching the 11 hours of wrestling (sarcastically), he realized he’s nowhere near able to step into the ring at this time for a match. Foley says he has a few friends and family in the show tonight, and all of them can back up the fact that Foley never curses, but he says it’s all about to change. Foley says that with the mixture of purple hair and an expensive suit…Punk looks f**king ridiculous! A huge ‘Foley’ chant starts up, and Foley says that despite looking ridiculous, his words were even more f**king ridiculous. He continues by saying Punk knows damn well the people he challenged weren’t anywhere near the building, and even worse was that Punk said he made ROH when Foley disagrees and thinks ROH made him. Foley says he wishes Punk well in the WWE but before he leaves he has to do the right thing for himself and for the business. He then says there’s only one way Punk can be champion forever, but unfortunately Gabe Sapolsky doesn’t have a daughter he can marry. OH SNAP!

Punk sarcastically praise Foley’s joke, and then says that Foley is a three-time WWE champion for a total of almost three weeks. Punk continues by saying there’s a man with three initials that Foley can never live up to when it comes to selling out arenas, and that man is…JBL! No matter how worked that is, that’s a harsh comment. Foley says that he wasn’t close to three weeks total for being a champion, but the only reason he’s so proud is because he can look in the mirror and tell himself that the business is better for having him. Foley says that he left the WWE a better place than he found it by putting over all the talent that he could before he left. Foley demands that Punk challenge a new generation wrestler to a match to give someone a chance, but Punk says he already built this place and doesn’t need to help it anymore. However, Punk acknowledges Foley helping him get to where he’s going, so he’ll do Foley this favor and challenges the man that pinned him in a tag match at Back To Basics…Jay Lethal! Funny moment; you can see a fan in the front row immediately sigh at the announcement and then pretend to choke himself. Yeah, Lethal wasn’t exactly a star and had almost no chance of winning, so fan’s were disappointed aside from a short ‘Lethal’ chant before the match begins.

Match Eight
ROH World Championship
CM Punk(c) vs. Jay Lethal-

Lethal immediately pulls Punk in and nails his signature move, the Dragon Suplex! However, Punk smartly rolls to the outside to avoid the pin. Lethal tosses Punk around on the outside and fires off quite a few chops to the chest. Back in the ring, Punk fires off a single punch but Lethal just keeps coming with a series of shoulder tackles, knocking Punk to the outside once more which leads to a suicide dive from Lethal. Lethal dominates Punk in the ring with moves such as a snap suplex and a backbreaker, not giving him a split second to breathe. Punk finally cuts off his opponents assault by dropping Lethal throat-first across the top rope. Punk stomps down on Lethal’s ‘injured’ neck a few times before lifting him up and delivering a series of chops and finally connecting with a leg lariat. Punk sidesteps a tackle from Lethal, sending him to the outside where Punk beats him up a bit more by slamming him into the barricade and apron. After re-entering the ring, Punk jokingly chants ‘Let’s Go Lethal’ and nails a series of neckbreakers. Lethal gets a few roll-ups on Punk, but Punk quickly stops him with another neckbreaker, followed by a dropkick. Lethal fights his way out of a rear chinlock and slams Punk down to the mat before climbing the turnbuckle, but Punk cuts him off with some headbutts and strikes. Lethal manages to fight off Punk and attempts the diving headbutt, but Punk rolls away just in the nick of time. Punk tries to give Lethal a back suplex from the top, but Lethal turns in midair and connects with a crossbody, when suddenly Samoa Joe comes out to cheer on his protege!

Lethal starts to fight back with a series of jabs and clotheslines, finishing it with a back body drop and a neckbreaker. Lethal leaps from the middle rope and delivers a leg lariat of his own, but only catches a two count. On a side note, I think Prazak just said ‘Foley was able to kick out’, right after calling a neckbreaker a backbreaker. Punk goes for a crossbody, but Lethal rolls through into a pin for a two count, so Punk responds with his double-underhook backbreaker. A few mule kicks from Punk followed by a weak enziguri switches momentum of the match once more. Punk and Lethal reverse suplexes and waistlocks until Lethal connects with a fisherman buster, followed by his diving headbutt…but only gets a two count! Punk escapes one Dragon Suplex attempt…a second Dragon Suplex attempt…a third…and ends up scoring with his Shining Wizard on Lethal for a believable nearfall, and immediately places Lethal in the Anaconda vice! Lethal struggles with all his might and gets to the ropes, as Joe gives a grunting cheer at ringside. Lethal fires up and shakes off some strikes from Punk, responding with a bunch of chops and jabs of his own before attempting yet another Dragon Suplex, only for Punk to escape. Lethal goes to the top, but Punk cuts him off and connects with a Muscle Buster…however Punk decides to not pin him for the three count! Instead, Punk applies the rear-naked choke on Lethal, mocking Samoa Joe and giving Punk the win at 20:58.

CM Punk defeats Jay Lethal via tapout to rear-naked choke at 20:58.
I’m a sucker for a good underdog match, and this was one of those matches. In the beginning, the fans and myself literally gave Lethal zero chance to make them think he was a real contender. By the end of the match though, due to the mannerisms by Lethal and Punk, myself and the fans really thought that the title could change hands. Lethal looked like a star after this match, and Joe coming down to ringside to aid his protege really added another unique element to the match that once again made it seem like Lethal was a legitimate threat. Although, the finish really seemed abrupt considering how much damage Lethal had been able to fight through during the match. Really, it only takes a punch to the gut to ready him for a Muscle Buster? Still cool for Punk to mock Joe that way and get even MORE heat on him. Aside from that minor gripe, this was straight up a great match. ***1/2

Joe and Foley argue over who gets to hit Punk after the match, but end up getting knocked down by cheap shots from Punk. James Gibson rushes the ring but Punk escapes in time through the crowd. However, Foley says he was just talking to the owner and promoter of WWE, and he was told by Vince that if Punk can’t do the right thing by ROH, why would he do the right thing by WWE? Foley continues by saying Vince said he’ll keep Punk in OVW forever with a few Heat appearances unless he gets in the ring the next night in Manhattan and defends his title. After all of this, Foley and Joe shake hands!

Moment Of The Night: There’s two things that immediately jump to mind, both surrounding the main event. The first is Foley’s line to Punk before his match, about there being only one way to be champion forever but Sapolsky doesn’t have a daughter he can marry, with the other being the perfect shot of a fan literally choking himself after Lethal is announced as Punk’s challenger. Screw it, I’m going with the fan looking suicidal when Lethal is announced as Punk’s opponent. Suicide isn’t funny; acting suicidal because of your disdain for a wrestler is.

Wrestler Of The Night: No one really stood out as special tonight except for one man, who turned everyone into believers during his title match as well as providing a great match and playing his underdog role awesomely, Jay Lethal.

Match Of The Night: It’s close between the importance of the main event and the better wrestled match of the night, which is the Four Corner Survival, but this category is just about the best match on the show so I have to go with James Gibson vs. Homicide vs. Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe.

The Inside Pulse
The total running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes, and there’s about one-and-a-half hours that’s really good and some of it worth going out of your way to see. The first half of the show gave off a big feeling of ‘good but not great or special’. However, the second half picked up in a big way with the four corner, and everything after (meaning matches and promos) was both really good in quality and actually signifigant to storylines and feuds. The real unfortunte part is that the show was mainly used as filler to set up tomorrow night’s show, along with a few other upcoming show’s. I mean, when two of the matches are used as nothing more than air time for a debuting wrestler when it could have easily only been done during one match, it makes the show feel less important. Two great matches, two good matches, and two good promos make this show worth getting, but considering all of the other filler junk involved which totally proves that the first night of a double shot is less important than the second night. Not a must buy unless you’re a big CM Punk fan, but if you’re thinking about purchasing it, than do it. If you’re completely uninterested, skip it. Simple enough.

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