Morristown, New Jersey â€“ 6.18.05
Good Times, Great Memories
We open up with Good Times, Great Memories, hosted by Colt Cabana. He says he is sad tonight because it is CM Punkâ€™s last match ever in ROH. But the good news is that he finally made time for Punk to appear on GTGM. Sadly Punk is nowhere to be found.
Cut to outside the arena where Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Jack Evans are preparing for their respective matches tonight. Aries promises that Punk will not win the ROH World Title from him tonight.
Paul Londonâ€™s Farewell
Next is footage from Paul Londonâ€™s farewell speech, which happened at the original Death Before Dishonor on 7.19.03 after losing a ROH World Title match to Samoa Joe.
Jimmy Bower and Dave Prazak are on commentary.
MATCH #1: ROH Tag Team Title Match â€“ BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Embassy
The Embassy is represented by Jimmy Rave and Fast Eddie. They are of course accompanied by Prince Nana, Mike Kruel, the Outcast Killaz, and their footstool Jade Chung. Nana cuts a promo just to make sure the crowd will boo him out of the building tonight. I love Nana. Whitmer and Jacobs have been the champions since 4.2.05, and this is their fourth defense. The Jimmies start the match and Jacobs gets the first advantage by going after the arm. Rave runs Jacobs into the corner and tries to mount some offense, but Jacobs tricks Rave into HUSSING instead. Jacobs gets another armdrag and locks on the armbar again. Whitmer tags in and continues the arm work. The champs tag again and they CLUBBER Rave. Moments later Rave slams Jacobs down to the mat by his hair and makes the tag. Eddie and Rave now work Jacobs over in their corner. That doesnâ€™t last too long before Jacobs makes the tag to Whitmer. The biggest man in the match throws forearms on both challengers. Nana tries to trip Whitmer, giving Rave the chance to hit a Northern Lariat. Now the Embassy works over Whitmer. They knock Whitmer to the floor and Kruel takes some cheap shots. Whitmer catches Eddie running in with an exploder suplex. Both men make tags, but it is Jacobs that is the House Afire. Jacobs pulls off a springboard forearm; good for him. Eddie pulls Jacobs to the floor while Whitmer and Rave battle in the ring. Rave hits Ghanarrhea and a running knee strike but Jacobs breaks up the cover with a senton off the top rope. Eddie and Jacobs get tagged and they trade punches. The tag champs go for the Doomsday Hurricanrana but Eddie blocks it and hits a leg cradle Russian Legsweep on Whitmer. Eddie then hits Jacobs with the Moonsault Fallaway Slam but Whitmer breaks up the cover. Rave runs off the ropes and gets absolutely clobbered with a lariat by Whitmer. Eddie goes after Whitmer and gets put up on the shoulders, and Jacobs is in position to hit the Doomsday Rana and the champs retain at 10:03. That was a solid tag match that would have benefitted if the teams were given any issue but the belts to fight over. There was just no sizzle to the match because Jacobs and Whitmer were never given a feud or any real reason to get behind them other than â€œHeâ€™s Big! Heâ€™s Small!â€ Thatâ€™s really a shame.
CM Punk Memory #1
This is Jimmy Bower and CM Punk himself commentating over some of his biggest moments in the company. The first memory is of Punkâ€™s debut promo with Colt Cabana at Unscripted on 9.21.02.
We cut back to Cabana on the Good Times, Great Memories set, still waiting for Punk. He mocks Nigel McGuinness for not winning the Pure Title last week, and says that he will win the title himself tonight.
AJ Styles says he is making his return to ROH tonight, and this time itâ€™s for good. He says heâ€™s coming after Jimmy Rave specifically. He wants Rave to stop stealing his moves.
CM Punk Memory #2
This is highlights of Punkâ€™s feud with Raven. Their first match was at Expect the Unexpected on 3.15.03. They also had a Dog Collar match at Death Before Dishonor on 7.19.03.
MATCH #2: Anything Goes â€“ Carnage Crew vs. Dunn & Marcos
The Carnage Crew is Loc and DeVito. Dunn & Marcos charge the ring as Prazak introduces CM Punk on color commentary one last time. It doesnâ€™t take long for the Ring Crew Express to bring garbage cans into the ring. They take it to the floor as DeVito and Dunn are already busted open. Back in the ring Loc suplexes Marcos on two trash cans. DeVito dumps Jack Daniels into Dunnâ€™s open wound. This is just a brawl all over the place with little rhyme or reason. Loc finds some rope under the ring and chokes Marcos with it. Dunn sets up a table, and then gets back dropped through it from the ring pretty quickly. That leaves Marcos alone with the Crew. They hit a Super Splash Mountain / Neckbreaker combination through a table to get the pin at 8:36. If you like matches where guys mindlessly hit each other with stuff and bleed, have fun with this one. For those of us with a brain, take a pass.
They show a clip of Lacey defeating Cindy Rogers on this show. Then they cut to Lacey backstage where she tries to get her â€œtop businesswoman who hates every manâ€ character over. She yells at some guy in a car and at someone in the ROH office for checking her out. Then she goes to the ROH School to work out and all the guys ogle her. Shane Hagadorn is the most vocal of them, so Lacey challenges him to a match, slapping him across the face. They get in the ring and have a little exhibition. They do some basic stuff and then Lacey gets him in a Cross Armbreaker and he taps out. This is not a bad character but it was just played way too over the top.
CM Punk Memory #3
This is clips from Punkâ€™s match with Homicide at Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II on 4.26.03. This was their first ever match and Punk says it was his breakout match in ROH.
MATCH #3: ROH Pure Title Match â€“ Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana
Joe has been the champion since 5.7.05, and this is his third defense. Cabana immediately tricks the champion into using one of his rope breaks off the handshake. Joe is extremely angry, which could be good for Cabana if he can outmaneuver Joe, or bad for Cabana if he gets his ass handed to him. Bothe men regroup and start some chain wrestling. Cabana seems to be one step ahead of the Pure Champion here. They engage in a test of strength and they take it back down to the mat. Cabana once again escapes Joeâ€™s hold, frustrating the champ. Finally Joe has enough and cracks Cabana in the jaw with a straight right hand, which costs Joe his second rope break. Cabana tries some open hand strikes but Joe brushes them off and locks on a Cross Armbreaker and Cabana has to use his first rope break. Joe continues working on the arm. He knocks Cabana to the floor and goes for a dive through the ropes but Cabana counters with a sunset flip for two and then rolls that into an STF and Joe is forced to use his third rope break. Back on their feet Joe hits a powerbomb (sort of) but cabana rolls through and hits a quebrada for two. Cabana hits a Butt-Butt in the corner and a leaping lariat for two. Joe comes back with a real powerbomb and then rolls it over to a Crossface and Cabana uses his second rope break. The champ goes for the Muscle Buster but Cabana fights it off and hits a missile dropkick for two. Joe hits a leaping enziguiri. He tries another Muscle Buster but Cabana avoids it but runs into a snap powerslam. Joe locks on a Cross Armbreaker and Cabana taps out at 14:07. That was an interesting clash of styles and they did some creative spots.
Backstage, James Gibson cuts a promo about Homicide, who he apparently lost a match to recently. He looks like he has something gross in his nose. That was a pretty bush league promo.
CM Punk Memory #4
This memory is from Empire State Showdown on 10.25.03. Punk takes a few jabs at Corino but admits that itâ€™s all in good fun.
We go back to backstage, where Jay Lethal is talking angrily about Low Ki. Jay Lethal promos used to be a hot topic of conversation around my house at this time. I miss those days.
MATCH #4: AJ Styles vs. Prince Nanaâ€™s Secret Weapon
This is Stylesâ€™ first match in ROH since the anniversary show in February in Dayton. Prince Nana comes out with Jade Chung, Killer Kruel, and the Outcast Killaz. Styles wanted to face Jimmy Rave, but Nana wouldnâ€™t let that happen. Before Nana can introduce the mystery opponent, Allison Danger comes out, which causes that pot-stirrer Gary Michael Cappetta to come out. She announces that Christopher Daniels will return on July 8 in Long Island. She wants Nana to destroy AJ Styles tonight. Nana then introduces the mystery opponent â€“ Petey Williams!
Styles is the NWA World Champion at this point. They take it down to the mat and trade holds and reversals. Both men show off their impressive athleticism as they exchange maneuvers. Williams ends up on top with a wristlock. Styles escapes that and after a battle on the apron he hits a dropkick to the chest. He hits a backbreaker, a bodyslam and a couple of knee drops for two. He hits the pop-up headscissors for two. He dumps Williams to the floor and tries a sunset bomb to the floor but Williams blocks it with a legdrop. Williams hits a slingshot rana to the floor and he takes control. Back in the ring Williams works Styles over for a bit until Styles comes back with a couple of punches. Styles hits a roundhouse kick and a big clothesline. He hits the pumphandle gutbuster, and then sort of hits the flipping inverted DDT for two. He tries the suplex into a neckbreaker but Williams reverses it to a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. Williams tries the Canadian Destroyer but Styles rolls through and tries the Styles Clash, which gets reversed to a DDT for two. Styles is able to maneuver Williams to the apron and hits a Pele kick. He tries to suplex Williams back inside, but Williams blocks it and tries a super Canadian Destroyer. Styles backdrops Williams down to the mat and then goes up and misses the Spiral Tap. Both men are down. They struggle to their feet and trade rollups for two. Williams locks on the Sharpshooter but Styles reverses it to a cradle for two. Williams tries the Canadian Destroyer again but Styles reverses to the Styles Clash and thatâ€™s enough to get the win at 16:36. That was solid, but with Peteyâ€™s appearance being a one-off and Styles being the NWA Champion the result was a completely forgone conclusion. Still, they made the most of it.
After the match Prince Nana is irate. He tells Jade Chung to get in the ring and slap the hell out of Styles. Of course rather than feel bad for Chung, Styles gets in her face. Styles then goes after Nana, allowing Chung to hit him with a low blow. Jimmy Rave then comes down to hit Styles with the Rave Clash.
Itâ€™s intermission time, and Gary Michael Cappetta is with the ROH Tag Team Champions. Jacobs wonders why Whitmer gets to do all the cool stuff and all the talking, but when he gets the chance to talk he blows it. Whitmer says theyâ€™re going to be champions for a long time.
CM Punk Memory #5
We start with a clip from The Battle Lines Are Drawn on 1.10.04, when Punk injured Christopher Daniels and took him out for about a year and a half. Next up is Reborn Stage Two on 4.24.04 when Punk and Cabana won the ROH Tag Team Titles from the Briscoe Brothers. Brad and I were at both of those shows.
Cut to Colt Cabana in the rafters, once again waiting for CM Punk to show up on Good Times, Great Memories. He promises to have Punk on his show by the end of the night.
MATCH #5: Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Laceyâ€™s Angels
Izzy and Deranged are representing Laceyâ€™s Angels tonight. I love their music. They are accompanied by Lacey, Cheech, and Cloudy. Winner of this match presumably gets a shot at the Tag Team Titles. Evans and Deranged start the match. They trade dance moves and Evans doesnâ€™t take too kindly to that, hitting a low blow and sending Deranged to the floor with a headscissors. Evans dances in the ring, so Deranged takes the opportunity to sneak back in the ring and kick Evans in the nuts. Deranged canâ€™t sustain the offense as Evans trips him up and makes the tag. Strong goes to work on the arm, taking Deranged down to the mat. Deranged escapes and makes a quick tag to Izzy, who also gets beaten up by the strongest man in the match. Laceyâ€™s Angels canâ€™t get untracked here as they try to regroup on the floor. Strong is out there with them, and Evans wipes everyone out with a somersault dive over the ropes. Back in the ring Gen Next continues to be in control until Izzy comes back with a springboard tornado DDT. Now Laceyâ€™s Angels go to work on Evans in their corner. They hit a springboard Doomsday Ace Crusher for a two-count. Evans comes back with a quebrada on both men and everyone is down. Strong gets tagged in and he is on fire. The match breaks down to a big brawl. Evans hits Deranged with a reverse hurricanrana. Izzy comes in and hits Evans with a Blue Thunder Piledriver for two. That should be a finisher. Both members of Gen Next are on the floor on opposite sides, so the Angels hit stereo dives to wipe both of them out. Back in the ring Strong hits Deranged with a knee and then sets him up in the corner. Strong powerbomb flips Evans onto Deranged with a double stomp for a two-count. They hits Skipping a Generation but Cloudy pulls the referee to the floor. Evans goes up top but Izzy and Deranged knock him down and join him up there for a flipping Splash Mountain to get the pin at 12:33. Where was Roderick Strong to break that up? The match turned out to be pretty good for a heel versus heel tag team match, and the result was a bit of an upset.
CM Punk Memory #6
This is a clip of Punk rescuing Ricky â€œthe Dragonâ€ Steamboat from an attack by Generation Next at Reborn Completion.
MATCH #6: Four Corner Survival â€“ Azrieal vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Homicide vs. James Gibson
Bower has come back to commentary to replace Punk, who has gone to get ready for his World Title shot later on. Homicide and Azrieal start the match. Bower tries to put Azrieal over as the breakout star of 2005. Yeah, right after Vordell Walker. The issue in this match is between Homicide and Gibson; McGuinness and Azrieal are peripheral. Homicide refuses to fight Gibson initially, which of course is smart. McGuinness spends about five seconds in the ring with Homicide before tagging out to Azrieal. Gibson gets tagged back in and Homicide teases locking up with him, but then tags out to McGuinness. They engage in some chain wrestling, taking it to the mat. Gibson goes after the arm and is able to control his much taller opponent. McGuinness comes back with a back elbow and a series of European Uppercuts. Homicide tags in because he thinks Gibson is weakened, but he thought wrong! Prazak completely buried Azrieal on commentary, calling him by far the weakest link in the match. Gibson works Homicide over a bit, and then Homicide stumbles over to make the tag to the Weakest Link. Gibson makes the tag to McGuinness, who starts throwing headbutts to the midsection. McGuinness locks on an arm and neck submission, and then slams Azrieal down for two. He hits a short-arm lariat for two. My, times would eventually change, no? Azrieal comes back with a flapjack and McGuinness tags Homicide. They go back and forth a bit, as you can see Gibson itching to get in the ring. McGuinness blind tags himself in and hits Azrieal with a superkick. The match breaks down to a brawl and the referee loses control. They do a Tower of Doom spot, probably because they have to. Azrieal now works on McGuinness, who comes back with the headstand into the Tower of London, but Homicide breaks that up. The referee has decided that he does not care about tags or legal men. Gibson hits Azrieal with a German Suplex with a bridge, and Homicide breaks it up by kicking Gibson square in the nuts. Everyone is hitting moves on everyone as the action is moving pretty quickly. Homicide sends McGuinness to the floor and hits the Tope Con Hilo. Gibson follows Homicide out with a slingshot dive. Azrieal then wipes all three of them out with a moonsault. Homicide and McGuinness are the first two in the ring. Azrieal and Gibson make their way back in as well. Homicide tries the Cop Killa on Gibson but McGuinness breaks it up and pitches Homicide to the floor. McGuinness then hits Gibson with the Tower of London (not yet called as such) for the win at 20:28. That was insanely long for the great amount of nothing that happened. They did a decent job putting heat on Gibson versus Homicide, but it just took forever and a day to get there.
CM Punk Memory #7
Now we recap the epic Samoa Joe versus CM Punk World Title trilogy. Brad and I were at the World Title Classic (Dayton) and Joe vs. Punk II (Chicago Ridge) shows. The funny thing about JvP2 is that it was originally scheduled to be Joe versus Steve Corino and Punk versus Alex Shelley, but Zero-One called Corino away at the last minute and they replaced it with a second 60-minute draw. Man, Gabe Sapolsky just had a knack for dealing with adversity. They ended the series with a no time-limit match at All-Star Extravaganza II in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
MATCH #7: Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal
They start off immediately throwing hands in a vicious slugfest. Lethal hits the first big move with a springboard dropkick that sends Ki to the floor. Back in the ring Lethal hits a snap suplex for two. Lethal hits a backbreaker for another two-count. Another suplex gets two again. Lethal seems to be having problems with his previously injured neck. Even so he hits a leg lariat for two, as Julius Smokes rolls his aluminum baseball bat into the ring, but nothing comes of it. Ki comes back with a hard dropkick to the face for two. Now Ki takes control, working over Lethalâ€™s injured neck. Ki sends Lethal to the floor and Smokes takes some cheap shots. Lethal comes back briefly and tries the Dragon Suplex but Ki blocks it and slams Lethal down to the mat by his hair for a two-count. Ki continues to control the match, but Lethal does sneak in a series of sunset flips for two-counts. The vicious Rottweiler sets up for the Warriorâ€™s Way but Lethal pulls him off the top rope down to the mat as the crowd chants are dueling. Lethal gets his second wind and takes the fight to Ki. He hits an atomic drop, a gutbuster, and a gut wrench suplex for a two-count. He hits a neckbreaker for another two-count. Lethal tries the running vertical suplex but Ki slips out and hits a leapfrog double stomp. Thatâ€™s awesome. Ki tries a Ki Krusher but Lethal reverses to a small package for two. Once again Lethal tries the running suplex but Lethal avoids it and hits the shotgun dropkick for a two-count. Ki goes up for a Super Ki Krusher but Lethal fights it off and hits a diving headbutt for a near-fall. Smokes gets on the apron to distract the referee and gives Ki the bat. Ki tries to hit Lethal with the bat, but Lethal ducks and hits the Dragon Suplex! Smokes dives in the ring to break up the pin and the match is over at 15:12. For some reason the referee calls the match a no-contest rather than a DQ win for Lethal, which seems logical. Smokes tries to piledrive Lethal, but Lethal avoids it and tries the Dragon Suplex. Homicide comes out to save Smokes and Ki. The match was way better than I remember it, with great intensity and hatred permeating the match. This is kind of a forgotten feud but it certainly did a lot for Lethal.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match â€“ Austin Aries vs. CM Punk
Punk has tears in his eyes as he makes his way down to the ring for his last ever ROH match. The crowd is grateful for all Punkâ€™s contributions to ROH. Aries has been the champion since 12.26.04, and this is his eighteenth defense. They start off slowly with some chain wrestling. Punk targets Ariesâ€™ injured neck right away. Aries comes back and works the headlock. Punk responds with a headscissors. Aries headstands his way out of it but Punk dropkicks him right back down and locks on a headlock. Punk tenaciously holds on to the headlock despite Ariesâ€™ best efforts. The challenger has counters for everything the champion throws at him. Punk knocks Aries to the floor with a Chris Jericho dropkick and then wipes him out with a Tope Suicida. The fight migrates to the apron and Aries finally gets an advantage with a Death Valley Driver right on the edge of the ring. Finally the champion takes control and works Punk over around ringside. Punk reverses a whip into the barricade. He takes a few moments to regroup, allowing Aries to pull him face-first into the barricade. The champ resumes control. Aries is also working on the neck. They finally make it back to the ring, where Aries hits a twisting body press and a quebrada for two. The crowd is really getting into it now, doing the â€œboo / yayâ€ thing. Aries works Punk over, feeding off the booing of the crowd. He exposes the turnbuckle and whips Punk into it. He goes for another whip but Punk reverses it and Aries take it chest-first, and then Punk hits a Northern Lariat. Both men are down for the count. Back on their feet Punk takes the advantage, much to the delight of the crowd. Punk hits Welcome to Chicago Motherfucker for two. He goes up top for a flying cross body block that gets another two-count. He goes for the Pepsi Twist but Aries blocks it and hits a lariat for two. Aries hits a piledriver for two. The crowd is heavily invested in Punk winning the title. Aries hits the Finlay Roll and goes up for the 450. Punk stops him and slams him down to the mat. He slams Aries down again and hits the Shining Wizard for two! The crowd wants to see Punk execute the Pepsi Plunge but Aries blocks it and hits the Super Brainbuster DANGEROUS but Punk kicks out! Aries goes up for the 450 but gets stopped. Punk looks for the inverted Pepsi Plunge but Aries fights it off. Aries then executes his own Pepsi Plunge, but Punk kicks out at one! The crowd super happy but they get pissed when Aries knocks Punk down with a roaring elbow and a kick to the head. Aries goes up and hits the 450 but Punk rolls it into the Anaconda Vise and Aries has to reach the ropes! The champ tries a crucifix bomb but Punk reverses to a TKO. Punk hits the Shining Wizard and then the inverted Pepsi Plunge to get the pin and the title at 30:28! The match went by fast and had a very infectious crowd heat. The no-selling was a blatantly obvious and took the match down a little bit, but for sheer emotion this one is hard to beat.
Aries hands the belt over and congratulates the new champion. The crowd shows Aries some love too as he makes his way to the back. What follows is the single greatest promo and angle in the history of Ring of Honor. Punk cuts an amazing promo about how the fans are stupid for having followed him, and that he used them just to capture the ROH World Title on his way out. Some super smarks are still cheering for Punkâ€™s vitriol filled rant against them, but the people who are not jerks boo Punk like they should. Punk says heâ€™s taking the title with him, and that no one can stop him. Then from out of nowhere, Christopher Daniels enters the ring! Punk doesnâ€™t see him right away, and when he turns around the crowd goes nuts. They jaw at each other briefly and then the brawl is on. The crowd chants â€œring the bell.â€ Daniels goes for the Best Moonsault Ever and Punk rolls out of the way. The returning Daniels challenges Punk to put the belt on the line right now, WrestleMania IX style. If Punk wasnâ€™t staying around until August, imagine how hot Daniels winning the title right here would have been. But since Punk was staying a little longer it was obviously the right call to put the belt on him. Anyway, Punk turns down Danielsâ€™s challenge and scurries out of the arena. Daniels then proceeds to cut a promo about the reasons he left ROH back in 2004. He goes on for a little while, which of course isnâ€™t quite as exciting as Punk.
Backstage Generation Next is in disarray. Aries has just lost the title, and Evans thinks he needs to disappear for a while because he keeps dropping falls.
Elsewhere the Ring Crew Express is taking the ring down and they challenge the Carnage Crew again. Theyâ€™ll be once bitten, twice shy, if Dunn and Marcos have anything to say about it.
One more time we go back to Good Times, Great Memories, as Cabana thinks Punk is still going to show up. He looks depressed when he realizes Punk did what he did.
They show ads for the ROH merchandise store and the ROH Wrestling School.
The last feature was taped a few days after the show. Austin Aries is reflecting on losing the ROH World Title to CM Punk. He says he had over 20 title defenses, but ROHâ€™s official history only shows 16. He says he will not take any time off, and that Generation Next will be back better than ever, essentially.
BONUS MATCH: CM Punk vs. James Gibson, FIP Florida Rumble, 12.17.04
First they show footage of the Florida Rumble match that set up this singles encounter. Punk attacks Gibson as he enters the ring and goes to work on him. Gibson comes back and attacks Punkâ€™s shoulder. Punk pulls Gibson into the turnbuckle to get a breather. Now Punk has control, targeting the neck and back. He hits a neckbreaker on Gibson for two. He locks on a headscissors. Gibson escapes and gets a quick pinning combination for two, but Punk knocks him right back down. Moments later Gibson escapes a rear chinlock and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Gibson hits a swinging neckbreaker and now both men are down. Back on their feet Gibson has gotten his second wind. He hits a knee to the side of the head for a two-count. Punk comes back with Welcome to Chicago for two. He hits a clothesline for another near-fall, and then locks on a cross armbreaker. Gibson cleverly turns that into a Texas Cloverleaf. Punk reaches the ropes to force a break. He rolls to the apron and drops Gibsonâ€™s neck across the top rope. He tries to jump off the second rope for a flying something, but Gibson catches him with a Cross Armbreaker of his own. Punk escapes but Gibson is able to roll him for the quick pin at 11:28. That didnâ€™t have a lot of rhyme or reason to it but it was fun.
The Pulse: The main event and post-match angle more than make this a show worth watching, as I think it kicks off the greatest long-term angle in the history of the company. If anyone was wondering why Punk got noticed by WWE, this would be the show to watch (also the â€œPunk Memoriesâ€ was a nice touch). The undercard has a couple of solid matches on it, but for the most part this is a one match show â€“ but that one match is worth it.