The final review in our series has been hailed by some as one of the greatest shows in Ring of Honor history. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen. It is significant for a couple of reasons though. Most importantly it is the final show for Colt Cabana who had been a part of Ring of Honor since the days at the Murphy Rec Center. Colt is one of my all time favorites, so it is nice to see him get a proper sendoff. It is also the second look that RoH fans get at the Chikara wrestlers this time in the form of a six man mayhem. This is also a rare instance of a battle between top stars in Pro Wrestling NOAH and Dragon Gate as Shingo challenges for the Ring of Honor world championship. Lastly it is a the final show for many Ring of Honor stars. Just who? Read on to find out.
For a non-spoiler review of this show, scroll down to the Summary section. We recognize some of you want traditional wrestling reviews and some prefer to remain spoiler free, so we here at Pulse Wrestling are offering you the best of both worlds. Remember, from now on, if you want spoiler free reviews, just scroll down to Summary.
You can read about the other shows in this series starting with my review of All Star Extravaganza 3, Steve Murray’s take on Supercard of Honor 2, the inimitable Grut’s opinions on This Means War 2, Chris Sicoli’s views on Fighting Spirit, and in the penultimate review Pulse Glazer gave his thoughts on The Battle of St. Paul.
The show starts with Becky Bayless outside the venue to give a brief introduction to the fans. Thank you, Becky.
Then we get a promo from Jimmy Jacobs. Jimmy talks about what he went through to put BJ Whitmer behind him. He talks about the scars. He says that he will have the physical scars for the rest of his life, but more importantly he was changed emotionally. He talks about how he turned down the chance for one night of lust with Lacey because he did everything he did for a year. He shows off the part of his tooth that was knocked out and the scars on his knee. He talks about how all animals have sex, but he is a human and he can love.
This promo went on a bit long, but it made the point and continued one of my favorite angles in recent memory.
Six Man Mayhem: Gran Akuma vs. Delirious vs. Jigsaw vs. Hallowicked vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Pelle Primeau
Akuma, Hallowicked, and Jigsaw are all graduates of the Chikara Wrestlefactory. Mike Quackenbush is their trainer. All four of these men have been on the radar of RoH fans for a while, and this was part of their first chance to shine. This match is contested on essentially lucha libre rules, which is really the best environment for the Chikara stars.
In typical fashion Delirious flip out at the sounding of the bell, somehow that never gets old to me. Akuma and Pelle start and go through a sequence of armdrags. Akuma is also one of the most strike heavy wrestlers in Chikara and he puts those kicks to good use early on. Mike Quackenbush enters and Delirious greets him by quacking. Quack locks in a unique submission on Pelle who gets out of the ring to exchange with Hallowicked as soon as possible. Hallowicked and Quack run through a lucha sequence which is like nothing seen on a Ring of Honor show prior to this. Quack is replaced by Jigsaw which sets up a battle of the top Chikara students. Delirious eventually makes his way into the match to bring the crowd to their feet. After some fast action, Delirious and Hallowicked have a debate not unlike the great verbal matches between Stephen Douglas and Abe Lincoln. At this point the match breaks down and we get dives to the outside and more fast exchanges. The action at this point is to fast to call as all six men exchange their signature moves. Delirious gets Gran Akuma alone and hits the Chemical Imbalance 2 (a flipping sit down tombstone) for the victory.
Winner: Delirious over Gran Akuma via Chemical Imbalance 2; ***1/2
The Chikara stars get a please come back chant after the match which is much deserved. This match ranks as one of my favorite six man mayhem matches. The biggest standout in the match was Mike Quackenbush, but Jigsaw and Hallowicked were not far behind.
Best Times, Best Memories
We get a recap of some of the great moments in Colt’s career. The first is a conversation between CM Punk and Cabana in a car from “Night of the Butcher.Ã¢â‚¬Â Colt brags about his win against Punk at the previous show, much to the chagrin of the Punker.
Erick Stevens vs. Christopher Daniels
If memory serves this is the first real singles test for Erick Stevens as he takes on RoH mainstay Christopher Daniels. The Fallen Angel is sporting a full beard and a bit of make-up around his eye, and Allison Danger is dressed up as a sexy evil nurse. Stevens and Daniels jaw a bit at the handshake. The match starts out with a feeling out process, and the early story is Stevens showing his strength against Daniels. Stevens uses that strength to get an early advantage.
Daniels takes a shortcut on the outside to gain the advantage over Stevens. The Fallen Angel then goes to work on Mr. Choo Choo outside the ring and hits him with a gordbuster onto a chair. Stevens as a result is cut open on his midsection, which creates a bullseye for Daniels. Daniels continues to work over the midsection to weaken the much larger Stevens. A suplex reversal is enough for Stevens to regain control. Stevens goes right back to work with the power offense and has the crowd solidly behind him when he goes for the Choo Choo corner avalanche. Showing Stevens popularity, he gets the better end of a dueling chant with the RoH icon, Daniels.
Christopher Daniels takes advantage of Stevens youthful exuberance and goes back to work on the midsection, but Stevens reverses a top rope cross body into a running TKO. Man, I love that move. Stevens tries to lock in a doctor bomb, but Daniels avoids it as time expires.
Time Limit Draw; ***
This was an excellent match to show that Erick Stevens has arrived. Daniels played his role as a veteran to excellent effect, because well he is a veteran. This match told its story well, and Stevens comes out looking like a stud which segues nicely into the next segment.
Stevens gets on the mic and asks for five more minutes to finish the match properly. Daniels of course says no. When has that ever worked? The Fallen Angel gets especially cocky and asks Stevens to “vacate the premisesÃ¢â‚¬Â because he has something to say. Daniels proceeds to run down Ring of Honor and the role he has been relegated to since returning in the summer of 2005. He is inspired in his rhetoric makes an excellent case for his reduced role in the company before he eventually quits. This was Daniels best work in Ring of Honor in a long time, too bad he had to leave.
Best Times, Best Memories
This one is Colt Cabana interrupting a super serious promo by CM Punk after winning the tag champs for a silly victory celebration.
Four Corner Survival: Homicide vs. Brent Albright vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Rave
The match starts with Homicide and Jimmy Rave going at each other fast and furious. The main issues here are Homicide and Brent Albright who have been feuding for the past few weeks, and Brent Albright and BJ Whitmer who have issues dating back to the Jimmy Jacobs feud. Homicide is in the ring with Whitmer and hits the three amigos vertical suplex series. Rave is able to sneak in to go to work on the weakened Homicide after Whitmer was able to get the advantage.
Homicide is the focal point of this match, for reasons which I will address later. He not only gets in most of the offense, but takes most of the punishment including a powerbomb swing into the guard rail on the outside by Brent Albright. Rave locks in the heel hook on Homicide, but Albright breaks it up to put Rave in the crowbar. Whitmer breaks that up to try a super exploder on Rave. Rave blocks it and Homicide goes up to attack but almost gets locked in a super pedigree. Homicide reverses it into a super chinbreaker, and Albright goes back to work on Homicide.
Homicide and Whitmer ended up having the best exchange in the match while the other two were out of commission on the outside. Whitmer hits a German suplex, a Dragon Suplex, and a powerbomb on Homicide, but he is unable to get the three. Brent Albright interjects himself and hits a half nelson head-droptacular suplex on Whitmer for the three count.
Winner: Brent Albright over BJ Whitmer via half-nelson suplex; **1/2
This was fun, but never really had a lot of direction. It did succeed in furthering the rivalry/feud between Albright and Whitmer. It also was part of the Whitmer losing streak storyline that was brewing most of the summer. The match, however, is significant for being Homicide’s last wrestling appearance in Ring of Honor as the Pay per View announcement forced TNA to take all of their contracted talent off of the show.
Best Times, Best Memories
The third career highlight of Colt’s is when he came within a hair’s breadth of winning the RoH world title in a cage match against Austin Aries from the Third Anniversary shows.
The Briscoes then cut their most intelligible promo yet hyping the forthcoming match against the Murder City Machine Guns.
Austin Aries vs. Rocky Romero
This is of course a battle between the Resilience and the No Remorse Corps. Rocky Romero starts off the match in a very cocky manner. Aries has none of it and goes after Romero very aggressively. Aries sends Romero to the outside and hits him with the heat seeking missile. Aries attempts some of his signature offense, but Romero counters and does his azucar dance. He then goes to work on Aries with a series of kicks and suplexes. Romero focuses on the neck of Aries by locking in the octopus stretch. Aries tries to fight back, but Romero is able to cut him off.
Rocky continues his assault as he systematically picks apart the former Ring of Honor world champion. This is the best Romero has looked in a long time in an RoH ring. Romero laughs off a “chicken legsÃ¢â‚¬Â chant from the crowd to continue kicking Aries. Austin gets put out on the apron and is able to hit some clotheslines to regain the advantage. He hits his signature twisting body press and hands free queparda but neither are enough for a three count. Romero regains control and locks in a cross-arm breaker, but Aries makes the rope. Romero eventually gets Aries on the top for the Diablo armbar, which is one of my favorite moves in wrestling period. No matter what Romero does, though he cannot get a pinfall or a tapout. Out of nowhere Aries hits a brainbuster and the 450 splash for the win.
Winner: Austin Aries via 450 splash; ***1/2
This was an excellent match. Romero played his role to perfection, and Aries was his usual awesome self. This would also be Aries last match in Ring of Honor for a while as he was still a contracted talent for TNA.
After the match Roderick Strong tried to attack Aries, but Delirious made the save.
Best Times, Best Memories
Here we have the opening stages of the “soccer riotÃ¢â‚¬Â match that ended the feud between Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuinness. Basically everything was legal in this match.
Ring of Honor World Championship Match: Shingo vs. Takeshi Morishima Ã‚Â©
While Morishima makes his entrance Shingo holds up a Dragon Gate banner. As I stated before, this match is significant as it is a battle between wrestlers from two major companies in Japan. Shingo is one of the first wrestlers to be able to match strength with Morishima. Shingo takes the early advantage, which is another thing Morishima had not been used to as champion. Shingo uses a lot of his signature moves to try and upend the champ. It only lasts for so long though as Morishima shrugs off some ships and hits Shingo with a big ass to the face to go on the offensive. Morishima uses his size to put the hurt on Shingo outside the ring.
The two Japanese stars engage in a very stiff forearm exchange, but Morishima eventually gets the better of Shingo with a vicious lariat. Ã¢â‚¬ËœShima puts all of his 290 pounds on the back of Shingo via a camel clutch, but Shingo is able to reach the ropes. Morishima knocks Shingo off his feet and tells the ref to count the Dragon Gate star out. Shingo makes his feet, and Morishima misses a charge which allows Shingo to try a suplex, but to no avail. Shingo does everything within his strength to gain and advantage and is able to muster enough power to suplex the behemoth. Morishima rolls to the apron, Shingo follows and is almost met with a backdrop driver, but counters it into a DDT on the apron and follows up with a Death Valley driver on the floor.
Action returns to the ring and Shingo hits Morishima with a backdrop driver! It is not enough for the three though. A tenacious palm strike gives the advantage back to the champ. Takeshi continues his attack and goes to the top rope, but Shingo meets him there and hits a huge superplex. It has no effect on Morishima, neither does a lariat. Shingo is however able to get the big man up for the last falconry (sit out Death Valley driver), but it only gets two. Another huge lariat still cannot get the win. Morishima counters with a lariat of his own. An uranage suplex and another lariat are not enough to get the three for the champ. Shingo reverses a backdrop driver tries a powerbomb, but it gets reversed into a sitdown splash. Yet another huge lariat gets two, and finally a backdrop driver puts Shingo down for the count. Wow.
Winner and still champion: Takeshi Morishima; ****1/4
This was an awesome exhibition of two guys going balls out at each other. It is too bad that this was Shingo’s last stand in RoH, because he came out of this match looking like a hero.
Best Times, Best Memories
Here we have Cabana’s world title shot against James Gibson in Buffalo, another great match.
Becky Bayless in the back and she interviews the Murder City Machine Guns and they threaten to take the tag team championship from the Briscoes. It was short and to the point.
“SugarfootÃ¢â‚¬Â Alex Payne vs.
Bobby Dempsey Tank Tolland
During the ring introduction for this student exhibition Tank Toland comes out and runs down Dempsey and Payne saying they are not men. Tolland is pretty funny on the mic making fun of the students. Tolland then offers to make Dempsey into his project and turn that “chunk into hunk.Ã¢â‚¬Â He then decimates Sugarfoot in the ring.
Winner: Tank Tolland via one armed spinebuster; *
This was important for setting up hilarious vignettes to come with Tolland and the rest of Sweet and Sour Inc. tormenting Bobby Dempsey.
Best Times, Best Memories
This is not exactly a highlight, but it shows Colt’s toughness when he would not lay down to Homicide at the Fourth Anniversary Show. It culminated with him swallowing draino. This was a turning point in Colt’s character, but not his happiest moment.
Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans
Jack enters the ring with a purpose to meet Roderick Strong in a rematch from the first show in this series of reviews, All Star Extravaganza 3. Jack takes the early advantage with a flurry of kicks and his general quickness. Roderick regains control with his vicious chops. Jack is able to counter with a double stomp into a standing moonsault. He then hits an impressive diving dropkick from the ring to the outside. Jack’s advantage is not long lasting as Roderick is able to get the upperhand during a brawl on the floor. Roderick then goes to work on Jack’s back, ramming him into the ringpost and dropping him over the top of the barricade. Roderick ties him up on the ring post and continues his beating.
When they get back in the ring Jack tries to fight back, but he cannot get the advantage. Jack is able to take control for a moment after a springboard flipping elbow, he tries a handspring elbow in the corner, but that is countered to end Jack’s comeback. Roderick proves how stretchy Gumby I mean Jack is by locking him into a compromising submission hold. It is not enough to garner a tapout victory.
This is a lot more slowly paced than their other matches. Roderick is a lot more deliberate and methodical in his attack and Evans is not able to truly fight back. Jack uses his standard high impact offense to gain control, but nothing lasts for long. Roderick ends Jack’s second comeback by flipping Evans over the hitting his head on the apron. Strong then picks him up and hits a back suplex on the apron. It is still not enough to get the win. Roderick tries for a superplex, but Jack reverses it into a tree of woe double knees. Like all of Jack’s comebacks, it ends before it can get real momentum. Jack is able to reach the ropes after a Boston Crab, but while the ref is admonishing Roderick for holding onto the hold for too long, Romero, who was in Roderick’s corner, kicked Evans in the head. A crucifix cutter later, and that is all she wrote.
Winner: Roderick Strong via crucifix cutter; ***
Like I said this was the most deliberate of their matches, and it told a good story of Roderick being able to stop all of Evans high impact offense. The finish with Romero interfering was a bit unnecessary, but the match was still enjoyable.
After the match Roderick and Rocky try to add insult to injury on Evans, or really they try to add injury to injury, but Delirious makes the save.
Best Times, Best Memories
The penultimate highlight is Colt coming oh so close to beating Bryan Danielson in a two out of three fall match from Gutcheck.
Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship: Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin vs. Jay and Mark Briscoe Ã‚Â©
This match is of course born out of the altercation after All Star Extravaganza 3, and is the main selling point of the DVD. They start with a show of respect and the opening pairing is Mark and Chris Sabin. The early stages are very cautious, but it does not take long for a fast paced exchange between Mark and Chris. Mark gets the advantage and Sabin goes running to his partner for consolation. Shelley then tags in to face of with Jay. Shelley uses his technical prowess to counter Jay’s intensity. Shelley takes a vicious spill to the outside, and as a result trades off with his partner. Sabin’s high speed attack gains the advantage for the Murder City Machine Guns. @LX is not able to keep Jay isolated and the Briscoes hit one of their trademark double team flurries.
Jay Briscoe just seems to have Shelley’s number in the early stages of the match. This results in Shelley being isolated by the Briscoes. Mark tags in with a springboard double stomp but Shelley is able to hold on to the ropes to avoid the three count. Shelley tries to counter with an enziguri, but it is dodged. A second attempt connects and Shelley is able to tag out to Sabin who comes in with a flurry of offense to regain control for the Machine Guns. Sabin has Mark in the corner, and rather than attacking him, he spits on his hands and rubs them across Mark’s face. That redneck is none too pleased. Sabin is able to tag out to Shelley so they can maintain their advantage. Shelley and Sabin start to show their cocky attitude via Shelley blowing snot on the fallen Briscoe. Shelley hits a lionsault for two and poses in the style of Y2J himself. This is almost enough of an opening to get a tag for Mark, but Shelley wisely cuts him off. He tags his partner in and they double team the toothless Delawarean.
Mark is able to capitalize on a charge by Sabin in order to tag out to a fresh big brother Jay. Jay is a house afire and goes to work on Sabin. Shelley tries to save his partner but Jay is able to handle both men. Mark returns to the ring and they hit a sky high slam on Shelley. Mark sets up Sabin for their double team crucifix cutter, but Shelley breaks it up. Sabin is able to regain control and sets mark up in the corner for an elevated rude awakening neckbreaker. Shelley follows up with a basement dropkick and then another from Sabin. The Murder City Machine Guns hit stereo dives to the floor and all four men are down. The Machine Guns maintain their advantage and lock both Briscoes in their signature submissions: Sabin locks Jay in a Texas Cloverleaf, and Shelley locks in the Border City Stretch. It is not enough for a submission though.
The Briscoes regain control after a huge yakuza boot by Jay and a twisting splash from Mark. Jay locks in a stretch plum to wear down Sabin. Shelley is quick to enter and break it up. It is not enough to retake control, and Sabin falls victim to more Briscoe double teams. Sabin gains a breather after a Enziguri DDT combo on both Briscoes. He is able to make the tag to Shelley who goes to work on the Briscoes. The Briscoes are able to regain control after some redneck kung fu from Mark. He tries a uranage, but Shelley is able to block it once, and armdrag out of it the second time. Sabin is not so lucky and gets hit with a uranage by Mark. The Briscoes hit their double team crucifix cutter but it only gets two.
The Delaware boys try to hit the springboard doomsday device, but Sabin reverses out of it with a clothesline and reverse rana. The assisted sliced bread number two from the Murder City Machine Guns is not enough. Neither is a legdrop/splash combination off the top. Jay makes the blind tag to Mark, hits a cactus clothesline and Mark follows with a dive to the outside. Jay is back in the ring with Shelley and attempts the Jay Driller, but Alex is able to escape only to be hit with the military press DVD. Mark comes in with a shooting star press showing his complete lack of fear, and Sabin is barely able to break up the pin and extend the match. Mark crotches Sabin on the ropes and tries for a top rope cutthroat driver. The Machine Guns hit a top rope doomsday dropkick and Shelley hits the air raid crash, but it cannot keep Mark down. He tries the Shellshock, and Jay is able to break it up. Shelley tries to it the sliced bread number 2, but Mark reverses it into the cutthroat driver, Shelley just manages to kick out. Mark sets him up again for a cutthroat driver and this time Jay comes off the top rope with a legdrop to assist and score the victory.
Winners and still Champions: Jay and Mark Briscoe; ****1/2
This was a great game of tag team one-up-manship, or is it two-upmanship. Either way, this is an awesome match. Some of the kick-outs are a bit unbelievable, but it does not take away from the enjoyment of the match. This is easily one of the best tag team matches in Ring of Honor in a long time, and has yet to be topped for tag team match of the year in terms of no gimmick matches. As is a running thread with this show, even though it was a one time appearance this was also the last RoH show for both Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin who show their respect for the Briscoes by putting the belts on them.
Best Times, Best Memories
The final installment of Cabana career highlights is Jacobs winning his feud against Jimmy Jacobs during the Fifth Year Festival.
Romero and Roderick are in the back talking about how they beat down Aries and Evans. Roderick then focuses on Delirious being a constant thorn in his side.
Colt Cabana’s Farewell Match: Colt Cabana vs. Adam Pearce
Adam Pearce was selected as the final opponent for Colt as they are both Chicago natives and Pearce was a role model for Cabana early on in his career. They have had good chemistry in their other encounters, so this should be a good match. Cabana is accompanied by Kidd Russell who does a live version of his theme song. Colt is met by a shower of streamers and chants of “Thank you, Colt!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Colt is 0-3 in his farewell tour at this point but is looking to go out a winner. Pearce attacks Colt at the bell, but Colt ties up Pearce in the see of streamers that littered the ring. Pearce tries to walk out on Cabana’s farewell match and addresses the crowd. He uses some old school heel taunts to bring the crowd into the match even moreso, but Cabana will not let Pearce walk out.
They get back in the ring and begin the match in earnest. Cabana uses his mix of European style and comedy to take the early advantage on Pearce. Scrap Iron challenges Cabana to a test of strength. Colt taunts him by putting up the opposite hand much to the chagrin of Pearce. Shane Hagadorn, Pearce’s manservant, interjects himself to give his patron the advantage. Pearce locks in a submission, and Colt escapes in a very cheeky manner. Hagadorn threatens Colt with a chair, but Colt wrests it away from him and rather than retaliate, Cabana hits the apron and turns up the ham as he oversells the fact that he was hit by the chair. Hagadorn is then ejected. In the midst of all the confusion Colt is able to roll up Pearce, but it only gets two.
They fight into the corner and Pearce unstraps Cabana’s boot in order to gain a cheap advantage. In an obscure reference, Pearce goes under the ring and grabs a bottle of Gold Bond medicated poweder. Pearce, Cabana, CM Punk, and Dave Prazak were members of the Gold Bond Mafia back in the day. Pearce is unable to use the powder, but Colt is and heads back into the ring to hit a series of elbows, a windup punch, an asai moonsault and a boogie-woogie strut. Scrap Iron is able to counter with a spinebuster though. He follows up with a figure four leglock; it is not enough to draw a concession from Colt. The Classic one is able to roll it over, and eventually rolls to the ropes.
Cabana attempts the flying asshole, but Pearce counters it into a German suplex. Pearce then goes skyward for a huge guillotine legdrop. It only gets two, and Cabana “Colts up.Ã¢â‚¬Â Cabana hits a series of jabs, the bionic elbow, a flying asshole in the corner then locks in the “Billy Goat’s CurseÃ¢â‚¬Â reverse crab for the tapout victory.
Winner: “ClassicÃ¢â‚¬Â Colt Cabana via Billy Goat’s Curse; ***
This was a fun match and a fitting send off to one of the most entertaining wrestlers in RoH history.
Cabana gets on the mic after the match and puts over Adam Pearce. Pearce however disrespects Colt by refusing to shake his hand and spitting in his face. Cabana is not one to let one jerk get him down, he brings his parents into the ring and the lockerroom empties as he cuts an emotional promo about his career and promises to return one day to win the Ring of Honor world title.
Is this the best show in Ring of Honor history? No, it really isn’t. Is it one of the best shows this year? Yes, it absolutely is. The tag team match is an absolute classic. There is also an awesome World title defense, and a bunch of other fun and entertaining matches. It is well worth your time to pick up.
The Inside Pulse
Six Man Mayhem: Delirious vs. Gran Akuma vs. Mike Quackenbush vs. Jigsaw vs. Hallowicked vs. Pelle Primeau – ***1/2 – A really fun spotfest with super talented wrestler.
Christopher Daniels vs. Erick Stevens – *** – A great story of youth vs. experience followed by an excellent promo from Daniels.
Four Corner Survival: Brent Albright vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Homicide vs. Jimmy Rave – **1/2 – This is an alright match, but gets overshadowed by the rest of the show.
Rocky Romero vs. Austin Aries – ***1/2 – This was surprisingly good as both men were at the top of their game.
RoH World Title: Takeshi Morishima vs. Shingo – ****1/4 – This was a great exhibition of two men just going after each other and holding nothing back.
Tank Tolland vs. Alex Payne – * – It was what it was, and it was a squash.
Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans – *** – Their most deliberately paced match. Not their best, but still entertaining.
RoH Tag Team Championship – ****1/2 – This is a classic tag team match and the reason to see the show.
Colt’s Farewell: Colt Cabana vs. Adam Pearce – *** – A fun match, and more importantly a nice sendoff.