April 16, 2013
He may be known as CM Punk’s best friend, but Colt Cabana’s body of work in Ring of Honor over the years certainly speaks to what a unique and gifted performer Cabana is in his own right. A master of multiple wrestling styles, Cabana has taken on the best ROH has to offer throughout his two stints in the company.
Cabana’s debut match came against his best friend Punk in late 2002 at Night of the Butcher. On that night Cabana emerged victorious, but it wouldn’t be long before the two frenemies went from battling each other to teaming together. At Night of the Champions a few months later, Cabana joined forces with Raven while Punk enlisted the services of the man that trained both himself and Cabana, Ace Steel. Raven and Cabana got the win, but after the match Cabana turned on his partner and joined Punk and Steel to form The Second City Saints (since all three are from Chicago) faction.
Fast forward a year later, and the Saints were one of the top draws in ROH, especially as the company prepared to make their Chicago debut. Cabana and Punk received a shot at the ROH Tag Team Titles in the main event against Jay and Mark Briscoe. The Saints were able to capture the gold that night in front of a raucous crowd in a fantastic match. Cabana had another title opportunity in July at Death Before Dishonor 2 Part Two, but was unsuccessful in unseating Samoa Joe for the ROH World Championship.
The Saints found themselves mired in a feud with the upstart group Generation Next. After losing a match to Austin Aries at Scramble Cage Melee, Gen Next attacked Cabana and put him out of commission for several months. Cabana would make his triumphant return at All Star Extravaganza 2, but he didn’t come alone. First Cabana welcomed the legendary Bobby “The Brain” Heenan onto his show “Good Times Great Memories.” Later in the night, as Jim Cornette was lambasting Heenan for overshadowing him throughout his career, Roderick Strong and Jack Evans came out to back Cornette up. Heenan countered with Cabana and Jimmy Jacobs, aka The Western Michigan University Connection. Cabana and Jacobs sent the Gen Next duo away with their tail between their legs.
Cabana then refocused his energy on wrestling the ROH World Title from the man that injured him, Austin Aries. The two met in Aries’ first title defense at It All Begins, and Aries was able to sneak by with a win. Cabana wanted one more shot at the belt, and received it inside a steel cage a month later at Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 1. Once again Aries emerged victorious and held on to his title.
The summer of 2005 was a very active one for Cabana, as he tried unsuccessfully to take the ROH Pure Title from Samoa Joe at Death Before Dishonor III, and he wrestled his best friend CM Punk in Punk’s farewell match at Punk: The Final Chapter. Punk and Cabana wrestled one of the most emotional matches in ROH history, a two out of three falls match that Cabana was able to win.
Cabana also spent a good part of the summer feuding with Nigel McGuinness. It started out as a friendly rivalry between the two, and Cabana won their first match, a great contest at Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 2. The feud escalated over the summer months, and finally culminated in a “Soccer Riot” match at Night of the Grudges 2. Cabana triumphed that night, earning himself a shot at the ROH World Title the following week at Dragon Gate Invasion. Once again Cabana was unable to win the title, as James Gibson was just the better man that night.
Before taking on Gibson for the title, Cabana hosted an episode of “Good Times Great Memories” with Homicide, who is not known for his sense of humor. Cabana made what he thought was an innocuous comment that Homicide took offense to. This kicked off a months-long rivalry, the most heated and violent in Cabana’s career.
Cabana and Homicide first met at Glory By Honor IV, and Cabana won the match via disqualification. Other Rottweilers also picked up the fight. Low Ki returned to defeat Cabana at Buffalo Stampede, and Cabana rebounded with a win over B-Boy at This Means War. After the match with B-Boy, Homicide and Cabana engaged in a wild brawl throughout the building that ended with Homicide hitting an Ace Crusher through a table on the floor.
The feud raged on in Chicago, as the two were scheduled for a grudge match at Vendetta. However, the bout never really got underway, as the two couldn’t contain themselves to the ring and fought all over the building once again, resulting in a no-contest. Two weeks later at A Night of Tribute, Homicide earned a victory when he choked Cabana out with a coat hanger. Things got even more sadistic at Final Battle 2005. After Alex Shelley pinned Steve Corino, Homicide came out and attacked Corino and tried to pour Drano down his throat. Cabana made the save, but Julius Smokes and Homicide were able to overwhelm Cabana and pour the Drano down his throat. It was one of the vilest things ever seen in Ring of Honor.
Cabana craved revenge, and challenged Homicide to a Ghetto Street Fight at the Fourth Anniversary Show. Once again Homicide emerged victorious in a tremendous and brutal match. The feud had to end, and Cabana wanted to end it in Chicago, and what better way to do that than in a Chicago Street Fight in the main event of Better Than Our Best. It was the best match of the feud, and Cabana finally earned a hard-fought victory, showing everybody that he was more than just a comedy wrestler – he was tough as nails too. Cabana even earned Homicide’s respect that night.
Colt Cabana is one of the most unique performers in ROH history. He was often larger than his opponents, but rarely relied on overpowering anyone, instead using his impressive agility and nearly unparalleled mat skills to get the job done. The match selection kind of skims over Cabana’s early days and the tag team with CM Punk, but I do like the focus on the feud with Homicide, as it was very important in the evolution of Cabana’s character. With the last match from early 2006, the door is certainly open for a Volume Two. For now, you can purchase “Colt Cabana: Chicago’s Favorite Son” at the ROH Shop.
Tags: Austin Aries, Briscoes, cm punk, colt cabana, Homicide, James Gibson, Low Ki, ROH, Samoa Joe