Sports & Entertainment Center – Long Island, New York – Saturday, September 17, 2005
Jimmy Bower (for the first match only), Lenny Leonard, and Dave Prazak are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Fight Without Honor – Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki
The show starts with Lethal in the ring, and he challenges Low Ki to come out and fight him. Julius Smokes comes out instead and challenges Lethal to agree to reinstate Low Ki if Ki beats him tonight. But Lethal doesn’t have hiring and firing power. Lethal agrees to the stipulation and Ki attacks him from behind.
Obviously Ki has the early advantage but Lethal weathers the storm and makes the comeback. Lethal hits a back body drop, a bodyslam, and an elbow drop for two. He unloads a couple of chops and Ki is in pain. A belly-to-back suplex gets another near-fall for Lethal. They spill to the floor and Lethal has to run Smokes off. Back in the ring Ki comes back with some chops of his own. Ki hits an inverted atomic drop and then dropkicks Lethal to the apron. He joins Lethal there and they trade chops. Ki wins that battle and follows up with a body slam on the floor. He rams Lethal into the barricade and pulls up the mats at ringside for another bodyslam. He sets up a table against the guardrail and goes for the Ki Krusher but Lethal avoids it and tries the Lethal Injection. Ki avoids that and dropkicks Lethal into the table and then slams his head into it. Lethal is busted open now. Ki uses the broken table to further open the cut. Back in the ring Ki is just dismantling Lethal here, actually finger painting on a table with Lethal’s own blood. He tries the Warrior’s Way but misses and Lethal hits a leg lariat off the ropes. Lethal is still hurt but he hits a gut wrench suplex and the running vertical suplex. He hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He goes for the Lethal Injection and Smokes gets on the apron to distract him. Ki tries to hit Lethal with a chair but Lethal takes it away from him, only for Ki to dropkick it right back in his face for a two-count. With Lethal down and out, Ki goes up to the top rope for a double stomp and Lethal kicks out! Ki then blitzes Lethal’s midsection with a steel chair. He sets the chair on Lethal’s midsection and hits another double stomp, and that’s enough for the pin at 16:22. I was never either guy’s biggest fan but they had good chemistry together and this was a good, hate-filled match. I’m not sure why Lethal didn’t go over here to end the feud, but whatever. Ki offers Lethal his hand and then tells him to f*ck off instead.
MATCH #2: Austin Aries vs. Azrieal
This was between Aries’ reign as ROH World Champion and his run as Tag Team Champion with Roderick Strong. Aries pretty much controls the early going, though Azrieal gets an early flurry, showing off his speed and agility. Azrieal hits a slingshot senton for a two-count. Aries comes back with a Death Valley Neckbreaker over the knee and then goes to work on the neck. For some reason Lacey is up by the entrance taking notes. Aries actually uses the Torture Rack and then turns it into a Finlay Roll. He hits an elbow drop for a two-count. Azrieal fights out of a chinlock and hits a belly-to-back suplex. He unleashes a flurry of offense but can’t put the former ROH World Champion away. He hits a springboard clothesline for another two-count. He hits a double stomp to the back of the head but Aries once again kicks out. Aries comes back and hits the IED for a two-count. He goes for the brainbuster but Azrieal reverses it to a DDT. Azrieal tries another double stomp but Aries avoids it and drop toeholds Azrieal into the bottom turnbuckle. Aries follows up with the kick to the head, brainbuster, and then the 450 Splash to get the pin at 11:18. That was competent but not the least bit exciting.
MATCH #3: ROH Pure Title Match – Nigel McGuinness vs. Roderick Strong
McGuinness has been the champion since 8.27.05 and this is his first defense. He’s really over as a heel at this point, and gets lots of heat for requesting that the fans respect referee Todd Sinclair, and then stealing Bret Hart’s catchphrase. I’m not sure what Strong did to earn a Pure Title shot. In fact, they did that a lot – just gave Pure Title shots for no reason. I guess pinning Matt Hardy counted for something.
They start with some chain wrestling, and Nigel effectively blocks Strong’s first chop attempt. Nigel takes Strong down with a headlock. Strong escapes it with a backbreaker. Nigel responds with the headstand mule kick, which I always thought was kind of a stupid move, so Nigel should really try it in TNA, I bet it would get over. The champ goes back to the headlock and Strong uses his first rope break. This makes Strong angry and he goes after Nigel in the corner, but the champ weathers the storm and takes Strong right back down with a headlock. Strong fights his way up again and then uses his second rope break. What a maroon. Strong hits a lungblower and a series of chops. He hits a big dropkick for a two-count. He hits a big boot but Nigel uses the momentum to hit the Jawbreaker Lariat for at two-count. Nigel tries the headstand again but this time Strong boots him in the gut for a two-count. Strong hits another backbreaker and then goes for the Stronghold but Nigel uses his first rope break. He takes Nigel up for a superplex, which gets a two-count. He hits a gutbuster and Nigel hangs on to the ropes. Sinclair tries to pull Strong off and while his back is turned to him, Nigel pokes Strong in the eyes. Strong responds with a closed fist, and while Sinclair is telling the announcer about the warning Strong just received and once again has his back turned, Nigel punches Strong square in the mouth. Nigel follows up with the Tower of London for a successful first title defense at 12:15. As is the case with a lot of earlier ROH matches, these two would go on to do better, but this was a fun midcard match between two guys clearly on the rise.
MATCH #4: Colt Cabana vs. Homicide
Cabana messes with Homicide and Julius Smokes in the early going. It seems more like stalling than anything else. Finally Homicide gets in the ring and takes it right to the plucky babyface. Homicide is mad at Cabana for saying a word he shouldn’t have said, so he fights him angrily. Cabana comes back and quickens the pace with his unorthodox offense. Smokes does what he does best by taking attention away from the wrestlers in the ring. Homicide grabs Cabana’s singlet and hurls him to the floor. He distracts the referee so smokes can take cheap shots on the floor. Smokes throws Cabana back in the ring. Homicide quickly dropkicks Cabana back to the floor and then follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Homicide hits a tornado DDT for a two-count. He goes up top for a diving headbutt and Cabana moves out of the way. They get to their feet and Cabana hits a vertical suplex. Cabana goes to the second rope for an elbow drop but Homicide moves out of the way. Homicide hits an exploder for two. Cabana fights up with right hands and an elbow to the head. He hits a running lariat and Homicide begs off, asking for a time out. Cabana doesn’t give it to him, but Homicide is still able to counter with an Ace Crusher. Homicide goes to the floor and grabs a steel chair and tries to hit Cabana with it but he moves. Cabana hits a capture suplex for two and then goes for the Colt 45. Smokes gets up on the top rope and distracts Cabana, and gets slammed down to the mat for his troubles. As soon as Cabana turns around, Homicide throws the chair into his face for the disqualification at 14:30. That was a solid match on its own, but as a bigger piece of the feud it’s a great beginning.
Homicide and Smokes continue to beat Cabana up, and the rest of the Rottweilers, including Low Ki, come out to join them. Samoa Joe comes out to make the save, and he and Cabana chase Homicide and Smokes to the back. Ki calls out Joe but gets Jay Lethal instead. Lethal wants to fight Ki again!
MATCH #5: Jay Lethal vs. Low Ki
Prazak calls it “Fight Without Honor Part Two” so I assume this is under FWH rules. The crowd is going crazy as these two take it to each other with ferocity. They fight in and out of the ring and Lethal is in control. He hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. He kicks Ki in the spine and that just makes him angry. Ki gets to his feet and slaps Lethal HARD across the face and then delivers his own kick to the spine. Lethal responds in kind, getting back to his feet and engaging Ki in a chop war. He wins that battle and hits a superkick but Ki kicks out at two. Lethal bodyslams Ki and goes up for the diving headbutt but there’s no water in the pool. Back on their feet Ki hits the shotgun dropkick for a two-count and then locks on a Dragon Sleeper. Lethal fights out and goes for the Lethal Injection but Smokes gets up on the apron to distract him. Joe takes care of Smokes, kicking the crap out of him just for funsies. Meanwhile Ki hits a vicious Warrior’s Way as Homicide and Ricky Reyes come out to fight Joe. Lethal kicks out at two. He ducks a clothesline and tries the Lethal Injection, but Ki escapes. Ki goes for the springboard spin kick but Lethal catches him and finally hits the Lethal Injection! Cabana is back to help Samoa Joe as Ki kicks out at two. Lethal goes for the Lethal Injection again but Ki uses momentum to break the hold and send Lethal to the floor. Ki goes to the top rope but Cabana whips Homicide into the ring post and Ki falls down on his groin! Lethal gets back in the ring and delivers a Super Lethal Injection to finally defeat Low Ki at 9:20. I actually liked that match even more than their first one tonight. I love the chaos on the floor, I love the finish, and I actually love that feud.
MATCH #6: Davey Andrews vs. Eric Matlock
Andrews is trying to impress people with his little black towel and his little black skull cap and his little black t-shirt and his little black trunks and his little black knee pads and his little black boots. He came from the ROH Academy and pretty much tried to work the style Davey Richards would wind up getting over with. I have no idea who Eric Matlock is. They wrestle aggressively on the mat to start. Matlock hits a shoulderblock and then a vertical suplex. Andrews comes back and tries a springboard missile dropkick but Matlock avoids it and gets the Courtesy Flush for a two-count. Matlock drops an elbow for another two-count. Andrews comes back with a release German Suplex and then the Eye of the Hurricane. He finishes Matlock with the Death Stretch (Stretch Plum) at 2:28. I don’t care for Davey Andrews.
MATCH #7: Four Corner Survival – Adam Pearce vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Samoa Joe vs. Ricky Reyes
This is Pearce’s ROH debut. Whitmer is one half of the Tag Team Champions here, but his partner Jimmy Jacobs isn’t even booked on this show. Why wouldn’t you want a tag team title match on one of your biggest shows? There is obvious heat between Joe and Reyes from the Ki/Lethal match.
Whitmer and Reyes start the match. They take it down to the mat and exchange holds, wrestling to a standoff. Whitmer tags Joe and Reyes tags Pearce so we’re back to a fresh start. Pearce incessantly jaws with the fans, preventing any contact from being made. Finally he engages Joe in a test of strength. Pearce takes Joe down and winds up getting kicked in the ball sack. He takes a breather on the floor and then gets back in the ring and yells at Joe, so Joe slaps the taste of his mouth. Pearce pokes Joe in the eyes and then chokes him on the second rope. A belly to belly suplex only gets a one-count. Pearce locks on a Camel Clutch and breaks it for a forearm. He hits a vertical suplex for another one-count. Pearce manipulates the referee and uses some dirty tactics to maintain the advantage. Joe makes the comeback with an enziguiri and both men are down. Back on their feet Joe takes control and hits the Big Joe Combo for two. Pearce fights back and tags Reyes, and they work together on Joe. Reyes covers and only gets two. He hits a solid knee drop and then stomps away at Joe. Pearce tags back in as Lacey is taking notes up by the entrance. He goes up to the second rope for a fist drop which gets a two-count. Whitmer is getting antsy to get in the ring. Reyes and Pearce are working on Joe’s knee. Finally Joe sweeps Pearce’s legs out from under him and hits a senton to the back. Pearce tags Reyes and Joe finally tags Whitmer. But it’s not a tag match. Either way Whitmer is on fire and Joe actually tags himself back in on Reyes. Whitmer tries a charge but Joe catches him with the STO. Reyes grabs Joe with a DDT, and then Whitmer hits Reyes with an exploder. Pearce hits Whitmer with a piledriver, and then Joe levels Pearce with a lariat. All four men are down now. Everyone gets up and Whitmer battles Joe while Reyes battles Pearce. The referee has completely lost control. Reyes clotheslines Pearce to the floor, and then Joe catches Reyes with the Muscle Buster. Joe waits for Whitmer to get up and hits him with a series of slaps. He takes Whitmer down and hits a series of knee strikes to the head. Whitmer fires back but Joe grabs him in the Choke and Whitmer is out at 18:39. The last few minutes were fun, but leading up to that was a boring tag match between partners that didn’t make sense.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – James Gibson vs. Bryan Danielson
Gibson has been the champion since 8.12.05 and this is his fifth defense. Danielson is making his first ROH appearance since losing a title match to then-champion Austin Aries in Chicago at Nowhere to Run. He debuts “The Final Countdown” as his entrance music to make his big return. Jimmy Bower replaces Lenny Leonard on commentary for this match.
They start off cautiously, since I believe this is the first ever one-on-one match between these two. They trade arm holds, and Danielson breaks one and tries the dropkick but Gibson avoids it. Neither man can get a sustained advantage. When they wrestle into the ropes we get a clean break and then they shake hands again. Good sportsmanship is hard to find. They trade more holds and Danielson connects with a dropkick and a knee drop. He tries an early Cattle Mutilation but Gibson gets to the ropes and rolls to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring they engage in a test of strength and exchange slams while still locked together. Danielson breaks it up and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a bodyslam. He hits another knee drop and then grinds his knee into Gibson’s face. He locks on a headlock and Gibson powers out. Gibson hits a back suplex for a two-count. He works Danielson over and tries an abdominal stretch but Danielson hip tosses his way out of it and forearms Gibson to the apron. They battle on the apron and Gibson suplexes Danielson to the floor. Gibson follows Danielson out with a flying knee to the face off the apron. He hits a chop to the chest and then whips Danielson into the barricade. Back in the ring Gibson stays in control, working on the midsection and ribcage area. Gibson hits a backbreaker for two and then locks on a submission hold. He aggressively works Danielson over, showing how much he wants to retain the ROH World Title. Danielson fights back and flips over Gibson in the corner and hits a spin kick to the face. Now the challenger is in control, hitting a slingshot suplex for a two-count. Danielson utilizes the airplane spin and then goes up for the diving headbutt but he misses it. Gibson gets a rolling prawn hold for two, and then locks on the front guillotine choke. Danielson suplexes his way out and both men are down. Gibson tries a sunset flip but Danielson Earthquakes him and then hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. Danielson then victory rolls Gibson to the floor and skins the cat back in. He then follows Gibson out with a suicide dive. He works Gibson over on the floor, and then back in the ring he hits a double dropkick right to the arm. He viciously attacks the arm until Gibson comes back with a Samoan Drop. Both men are down and when they rise Danielson hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Danielson then immediately goes back to the arm. Gibson is able to reverse it into the Texas Cloverleaf! That was awesome. Danielson reaches the ropes. Danielson tries a Tombstone Piledriver but Gibson reverses it into a Tombstone of his own! Gibson goes up top and hits a guillotine legdrop but Danielson kicks out at two! He then locks Danielson in the front guillotine choke. Danielson breaks it and sets Gibson on the top rope, but Gibson pops right out with a tornado DDT and the Tiger Driver but Danielson kicks out again! Gibson hits a couple of knees to the side of the head, and it wakes Danielson up! Danielson catches Gibson coming off the ropes with a roaring forearm. He hits the Dragon Suplex but Gibson barely kicks out. He then locks Gibson in Cattle Mutilation! Gibson powers out, but Danielson hits him with a Tiger Suplex and Gibson kicks out again! Gibson kicks out of the hold and into a cover (a la Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII) but Danielson kicks out. Danielson goes for Cattle Mutilation and Gibson fights it off, but Danielson turns it into a Crossface Chicken Wing and hooks on the body scissors, and Gibson is forced to tap the title away at 32:24. That match was awesome in just about every way. It never felt that long, they both had strategies that they used effectively throughout the match, and the crowd was with them the whole way. It was just one of those matches that clicked from the beginning. It’s too bad we never got to see a rematch.
MATCH #9: Anything Goes Finishers Match – AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave
The first person to hit the Styles/Rave Clash wins the match, and the loser can never use the move again. Mick Foley comes out with Styles to even the odds. Styles is the current TNA X-Division Champion, but obviously the title is not on the line here.
Rave attacks before the bell and Styles quickly fights back. Both guys are wearing red gear, which seems like if it’s not a wrestler faux pas it should be. Styles takes control, whipping Rave all over the ring and then throwing him to the floor. Foley neutralizes Nana while Styles hits a slingshot dive on Rave. Back in the ring Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Rave avoids it and takes a powder. Styles hits a baseball slide to Rave’s face. He goes outside and whips Rave into the barricades. Back in the ring Rave fires back with punches to the face. Styles throws Rave into the air and hits a couple of elbows. The X-champ is dominating here. An unidentified assailant jumps into the ring to try and help Rave but he gets KILLED with a lariat by Styles. That slight distraction though allows Rave to take control. Rave hits a reverse suplex as Foley gets on the mic and asks the crowd to chant “Jimmy Likes Balls.” They oblige him of course. Rave stays focused though, and takes Styles to the floor to throw him into the barricades. They fight up to the entrance ramp and Rave goes for the Rave Clash but Styles backdrops his way out of it. Styles charges but Rave sidesteps him and rams him into the ring post. Back in the ring Rave stays in control until Styles hits the kip-up rana. Rave comes back with a low blow and Ghanarrhea. He goes outside the ring and brings a table in. He sets Styles against the table and hits the running knee strike. They fight over a suplex and Rave wins that battle. They fight on the ropes and the apron, and end up suplexing each other through a table on the floor. Back in the ring Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Rave blocks it and hits the running knee strike again. Rave sets up a chair but Styles reverses the momentum and suplexes Rave on the chair. Styles sets up another table and a bunch of Nana’s Weapons of Masked Destruction come out and Foley fights them off with a chair. The distraction allows Rave to hit Styles with a clothesline. Rave takes Styles up to the top rope, but Styles counters him and hits Rave with the Styles Clash through the table to get the win at 18:39, but I didn’t hear a closing bell (or an opening one for that matter). Even though that was the blowoff, that somehow lacked the spark some of their earlier matches did. It was an effective blowoff though, so points for that.
Tags: AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, glory by honor, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe