For an easy to navigate archive of my many ROH reviews, please visit RetROH Reviews!
Rex Plex – Elizabeth, New Jersey – September 11, 2004
My boy “Sugar” Shawn Price starts off the show backstage all excited about Mick Foley making his ROH debut tonight. He then turns his attention to Dunn & Marcos, who will not be competing tonight due to injury. Lacey and the rest of Special K show up to mock the Ring Crew Express. Dixie comes out and yells at them to be more serious because they need to end their losing streak.
Jimmy Bower and CM Punk are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Dixie vs. Jimmy Rave
Rave is the centerpiece, or Crown Jewel, of Prince Nana’s Embassy. Dixie takes Rave down to the mat. They trade holds back and forth as the pace quickens, but Rave slows it right back down with a hard clothesline. Rave takes control now, working Dixie over on the mat. Dixie fires back with a series of forearms but Rave catches him in a uranage suplex. Rave whips Dixie into the corner and charges in, but Dixie gets a boot up and hits a swinging DDT. Dixie hits a leg lariat but only gets two. Rave comes back with the not-yet-named Ghanarrhea for a two-count. Dixie comes back and tries a series of pinning combinations for two-counts. Nana gets on the microphone to encourage his Crown Jewel. It works, as Rave hits the running knee and then the Rave Clash to get the pin at 5:40. That was decent for an opener, and it was really fun to watch how over Rave was getting at this time.
After the match Nana gets on the microphone and tries to introduce the newest member of the Embassy, Mick Foley. When Foley doesn’t come out, Nana says he’ll bring him out later.
MATCH #2: Jay Lethal vs. Matt Stryker
If Stryker loses tonight, he loses his plane ticket to East Coast shows. If Lethal loses, he will be dropped from the roster. Stryker is the immediate aggressor, as Punk notes how East Coast fans hate Stryker and how he hates them right back. Lethal makes a brief comeback and Stryker cuts him off with a sort of superkick for a two-count. Stryker goes for the Death Valley Driver but Lethal counters into a gut wrench suplex for a near-fall. Lethal hits a back suplex for another two-count. He misses a dropkick and Stryker traps him in a jackknife pin for two. Stryker hits a leg lariat for two. Lethal comes back with a real lariat for a two-count of his own. Both men rise and trade chops. Lethal unloads with a flurry of them, and Stryker cuts him off with an eye poke. Stryker hits a big boot to take Lethal down and then locks on the Ankle Lock. Lethal counters it with an inside cradle for the win at 4:24. The crowd is absolutely vicious on Stryker. The match was pretty solid for that short amount of time.
MATCH #3: Six Man Mayhem – Ace Steel vs. Angeldust vs. Fast Eddie vs. Izzy vs. Kahagas vs. Trent Acid
Eddie and Angeldust start the match. It doesn’t take long for bodies to start flying all over the place and the referee loses control. When Eddie and Azrieal go to the floor, Kahagas and Steel take over for them. Kahagas brings Izzy in the ring and throws him at Steel, who catches him and powerbombs him. Eddie and Acid hit missile dropkicks on Kahagas and Steel, respectively. The two of them trade shots now and Acid wins that battle. Special K members turn on each other as Izzy knocks Angeldust to the floor. Izzy then hits a ridiculous dive to the floor on Steel, Angeldust, and Kahagas. Acid follows with an Asai Moonsault. Punk leaves the booth to go get ready for his upcoming match against Austin Aries. Finally Eddie completes the dive cycle with a twisting somersault off the top rope. The Special K guys are the first two back in the ring and they take it right to each other. Kahagas and Steel take their place and Kahagas hits him with the Osaka Street Cutter. Acid rolls to the floor and Steel comes in to hit a huge implant DDT on Kahagas for two. This one is getting tough to call. Eddie puts Angeldust on the top rope for the fallaway slam but Acid stops him and adds a reverse rana to it for a Tower of Doom. Izzy hits Acid with a reverse rana but Steel breaks up the cover. Steel and Izzy go up top and Steel hits a Super Spinal Shock. Kahagas hits the Here It Is Driver on Steel but Eddie breaks it up. Acid boots Kahagas in the face. Angeldust hits Eddie with a backbreaker. Acid grabs Angeldust and hits the Shovel Driver to get the win at 7:16. Six man mayhem matches are all roughly the same save a few notable exceptions.
MATCH #4: CM Punk vs. Austin Aries
They start off trading arm holds, with Punk taking the early advantage. Aries briefly fights back but Punk tenaciously hangs on to the arm. He tries to escape a headscissors with his dropkick but Punk had that move scouted and he goes right back to work on the arm. Finally Aries escapes the arm hold and hits a dropkick to the face, and then another one. Aries tries the IED but Punk moves out of the way. Punk rolls to the apron and Aries knocks him down. Aries dropkicks Punk into the barricade and then follows Punk to the floor. He kicks Punk in the ribs and throws him back in the ring. He tries the slingshot senton but Punk gets the knees up and goes right back to the arm. Punk dropkicks Aries to the floor and tries a slingshot dive but Aries moves and Punk crashes into the guardrail. Aries knocks Punk back to the floor again and follows him out with a twisting slingshot plancha. Back in the ring Aries hits a big elbow drop for a two-count. Aries goes to work on Punk’s ribs. He hits a Perfect-Plex for two. Punk tries to fight back but Aries cuts him off with a DDT for two. Aries hits an elevated stunner for another near-fall. Punk finally fights back with a missile dropkick of all things. They get back to their feet and Punk hits an enziguiri for two. Aries blocks a Shining Wizard and then Punk goes right back to the arm. He locks on a submission and Aries reaches the ropes. Aries fires back with a gutbuster. He then hits the Power Drive elbow, with his injured arm by the way. He hits a brainbuster but Punk kicks out at two. He goes up for the 450 but Punk cuts him off. Aries tries a sunset bomb but Punk rolls through and hits the Shining Wizard. Punk hits Welcome to Chicago and locks on a Fujiwara Armbar. Aries gets the ropes and moments later the referee takes a bump. Roderick Strong and Jack Evans of Generation Next come out to attack, and Ace Steel runs out to make the save. With Steel distracted by Strong and Evans, Alex Shelley comes out to interfere. From out of nowhere Steve Corino arrives to make the save. Aries gets distracted and Punk rolls him up for the pin at 18:55. A majority of that match was Punk working the arm, and then the finish was silly and the cameras didn’t even catch the pinfall.
Punk tells Generation Next they have to mess with his friends too. Then, Homicide (too injured to compete tonight) comes out with Julius Smokes. He goes on and on about how much he hates Steve Corino, and pretty much hates everything else too. Then he wants to shake Corino’s hand. Punk doesn’t want Corino to do it, and he doesn’t. Homicide throws a fit on the floor, throwing tables and chairs around ringside. I never really got into Corino versus Homicide.
MATCH #5: Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer vs. Slash Venom & Chicano
Venom and Chicano are Allison Danger’s handpicked team from Puerto Rico. Before the handshakes can be made, Danger gets on the mic to yell and distract Maff and Whitmer, allowing Venom and Chicano to attack them from behind. They all fight on the floor and chairs get involved. Punk rejoins the commentary team. Venom hits a triple jump dive to the floor to wipe out Maff. Back in the ring Chicano misses a Swanton and Whitmer hits an Exploder onto a chair to get the pin at 3:05. That was brief.
The real event takes place after the match, as Danger yells at her team for a while and then gets threatened by Maff and Whitmer. Then Mick Foley comes out and makes some self deprecating jokes. Foley calls Danger “moderately attractive” and then makes her get out of his ring. The Embassy of Prince Nana, Jimmy Rave, and the Outcast Killaz come out to welcome Foley into their group. Of course Foley isn’t joining the group, so Nana sends the Killaz after him. Nana gets punched out, and then Rave hits Foley with a low blow. The four-on-one beat down begins, and Generation Next comes out to make it eight-on-one. Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer come back to make the save and clear the ring. Foley cuts a promo about why he loves ROH and stuff, putting over the company big time.
MATCH #6: Bryan Danielson vs. Alex Shelley
They start with some chain wrestling and Shelley backs Danielson into the corner for a slap to the face. Bower notes that Shelley injured his arm during the Foley attack, so he’s coming into this match at a disadvantage. Danielson gives Shelley a receipt with a hard slap to the face. Danielson knocks Shelley down with a shoulderblock. Shelley comes back up and attacks Danielson’s arm with a hammerlock and Danielson escapes. They go back to chain wrestling and Danielson targets the leg. Shelley comes back with a monkey flip and then he starts wearing Danielson down, working on the neck and the leg. He knocks Danielson to the floor and follows him out to slam Danielson’s face on the apron. He hits a unique neckbreaker and then throws Danielson back in the ring. Shelley hits the Skull F*cker for a two-count. Danielson kicks his way out of the corner and goes back on offense. He works on Shelley’s arm with a variety of holds. He locks on Cattle Mutilation and Shelley reaches the ropes. He goes for the super back suplex and Shelley rolls through to a cover for two, and Danielson rolls through that and gets a two-count of his own. Danielson goes right back to the arm. Shelley avoids a forearm and hits a superkick. Both men are down. Shelley is first up and he tries a vertical suplex but he can’t connect due to his arm. Danielson tries Cattle Mutilation but Shelley blocks it and hits a backpack stunner for two. Shelley tries an Irish Whip but Danielson reverses it and catches Shelley in an Airplane Spin for a two-count. Danielson hits a diving headbutt but once again Shelley kicks out. Shelley avoids a forearm and grabs Danielson in the Shellshock! Danielson kicks out at two so Shelley locks on the Border City Stretch and Danielson gets to the ropes. Shelley goes right back to work on the neck. He tries a 2K1 Bomb but his arm is too injured. Danielson gets up to the second rope for a diving European Uppercut. He locks on Cattle Mutilation but Shelley counters it with the Border City Stretch! Danielson powers out of the Stretch and hits a vicious leg capture suplex. He then locks on the Cattle Mutilation and Shelley is forced to tap out at 19:19. That was a really good back and forth technical exhibition with a nice clean finish. They would go on to do even better in 2006.
MATCH #7: ROH Pure Title Match – John Walters vs. Nigel McGuinness
Walters has been the champion since 8.28.04, and this is his first defense. They begin with some chain and mat wrestling, mostly arm work. It’s amazing to see how different Nigel was at this time than he is now. They wrestle to a standoff and the fans show some love. Nigel goes after the neck with a cravat. Walters breaks that off with a hard forearm to the face. He hits a butterfly suplex for a two-count. He goes back to the arm. McGuinness uses the ropes to flip out of an armbar, and referee Todd Sinclair calls it a rope break. Walters comes back with a nasty electric chair drop for a two-count. He hits a backpack stunner and locks on a modified surfboard, then a camel clutch. Nigel tries to fight back but Walters counters with an inverted body scissors and Nigel uses his second rope break. Walters continues focusing on the arm with a seated Cobra Clutch. He pulls Nigel into a lariat and then goes right back to the hold. Nigel reverses it to a Crossface and Walters uses his first rope break. He hits Walters with a Divorce Court and then locks on That Arm Submission and Walters has to use his second rope break. He baits Walters into the Artful Dodger and then hits a European Uppercut and a Superkick for a two-count. He goes up top and Walters knocks him down and then hits a hurricanrana. Walters hits a devastating lariat for two. He goes up top and this time Nigel knocks him down. Nigel goes up top and Walters joins him to deliver a superplex. Walters goes for a not at all graceful looking splash off the top rope but Nigel moves out of the way. Nigel traps Walters in the Tower of London for a two-count. He goes back up top and Walters rolls to the floor to stand there and wait for Nigel to dive onto him. Back in the ring Walters hits three rolling Necktie Lungblowers and hangs on to the Necktie to force Nigel to give up at 16:10. Good first defense for Walters, and McGuinness put on a good showing as well. In fact it was so good he earned a full time roster spot soon after this. The rest is history.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. Doug Williams
Joe has been the champion since 3.22.03, and this is his twenty-fourth defense, the second against Williams, which was Joe’s first defense way back in April of 2003. This is a battle of future TNA X-Division Champions. Along with Alex Shelley and Jay Lethal that’ four future X-Division Champs on this show.
The Code of Honor is followed and both men take it right to each other with a series of strikes. Joe takes Williams down with a shoulderblock and Williams takes a powder. Back in the ring Williams tricks Joe into a body scissors. Joe breaks out with a forearm and a slap to the face. Williams goes after Joe’s ankle, which is smart strategy when dealing with a man bigger and stronger than you are. Joe breaks out of another hold, this time with a kick. He goes after the challenger’s arm, but Williams outwrestles Joe and goes back to the leg. Joe gets back to his feet and they engage in a test of strength. Williams takes Joe down for a two-count. He whips Joe into the corner and charges in, only to get met with the STJoe for two. Joe hits the Big Joe Combo for another near-fall. He continues to wear Williams down, and the action spills to the floor. Williams blocks the first Ole Kick attempt but Joe hits an enziguiri and then connects with the Ole Kick. Back in the ring Joe gets a two-count. Williams rolls to the apron and Joe hits him with an enziguiri that sends him to the floor. Joe goes for a dive but Williams cuts him off with a series of knees to the face and then a cross body block off the top rope for two. Williams hits a bunch of European Uppercuts but misses a knee and Joe powerslams him for two. Joe hits the powerbomb and tries to turn it into the STF but Williams counters it and takes Joe down with a flying knee. Williams goes up and hits the Bomb Scare but only gets two. He goes for the Chaos Theory but Joe blocks it, so Williams locks on a sleeper with a body scissors. Joe powers out of it and tries a Torture Rack but Williams just kind of falls out of it, and then Joe hits a hard clothesline for two. Williams tries a jumping something or other, but Joe catches him and hits the Muscle Buster and Williams kicks out! Moments later Joe levels Williams with another clothesline to get the pin at 17:53. Joe really dominated there, and I never thought Williams actually had a chance. Luckily both guys are good enough to still put on an entertaining match.
MATCH #9: Ultimate Endurance for the ROH Tag Team Titles – Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero vs. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer vs. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. The Carnage Crew
Reyes and Romero have been the champions since 8.7.04, and this is their second defense. The first fall is a Tap Out Match. Maff and Loc start the match. They go back and forth a bit until Strong blind tags himself on off Loc. Strong unleashes with a series of chops. Lovey tries to say Strong didn’t tag, but I saw it. Maff comes back with a bunch of his own chops, and Strong crawls over and tags DeVito. Whitmer tags in as well and DeVito hits those crossface forearms he does. He hits a Northern Lights suplex into the turnbuckles and Reyes tags himself in, much to DeVito’s chagrin. Reyes traps Whitmer in a triangle choke and Maff breaks it up. Strong tags Reyes, and he and Evans double-team Whitmer with a series of strikes. Everyone beats on Whitmer while Maff keeps coming in to rescue him. Finally Whitmer hits Loc with an exploder and then they both make tags. Maff goes nuts on everyone, causing a brawl on the floor. He hurls Evans from the ring to the floor on top of everybody. Back in the ring Loc traps Whitmer in a guillotine choke and Maff hits him with a chair. Loc has the audacity to shrug off a chair shot directly to the head. Fuck you Loc. Maff responds with another chair shot to the head. Reyes, Romero, Evans, and Strong are fighting on the floor while the Carnage Crew battles Maff and Whitmer in the ring. Maff and Whitmer trap DeVito’s legs on either side of the ring post and they both hit him with chairs right on the injured knees. Back in the ring Maff and Whitmer lock on a double Boston Crab and DeVito taps out at 10:16.
The second fall is a tag team scramble. Strong and Whitmer start it off and Strong hits a half nelson backbreaker. Maff comes in and hits Strong with a half nelson suplex. The champs come in to double team Maff. Everybody goes to the floor and Evans tries a dive but there’s no water in the pool. Back in the ring Maff hits Evans with the Burning Hammer to get the pin at 12:47.
The final fall is a straight up ROH Tag Team Title match. The champions attack right away and go to work on the worn down Maff and Whitmer. Romero takes Maff to the floor and works him over while Reyes wears Whitmer down inside the ring. Reyes hits three rolling German Suplexes and bridges on the last one for a two-count. The champs hit the Decapitation Knee Drop and Maff breaks up the cover. Romero hits Whitmer with a series of kicks and a vertical suplex. Apparently Maff takes Smokes out with a back drop on the floor but the camera doesn’t catch it. He gets in the ring only to hit a dive on Reyes on the floor. Meanwhile Whitmer rolls up Romero but only gets a two-count. Whitmer hits Romero with an Exploder but Romero kicks out. Both men get up and trade slaps. Whitmer takes off his knee and elbow pads. Romero avoids Whitmer and blasts him with a kick to the head and then a jumping knee to the face to get the pin and retain the titles at 19:23. The crowd was kind of deflated by that finish (luckily they had more in store for them). The match was nonstop action with a hot crowd most of the way.
The Pitbulls attack Maff and Whitmer after the match, and both the Embassy and Generation Next make their way out to join in on the attack. Mick Foley comes out and cleans house with a fire extinguisher, which Lovey thinks is a tribute to NYC Fireman, it being September 11 and all.
Tags: Doug Williams, glory by honor, Mick Foley, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe