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Michigan State Fairgrounds & Expo Center – Detroit, Michigan – March 30, 2007
Rebecca Bayless is amongst the rubes in the crowd asking them how far they came for the show. They came from some different places. I don’t see why this was included.
Next up is a video package for the Dragon Gate stars that are appearing tonight. Previous appearances included at Dragon Gate Invasion, Dragon Gate Challenge, Supercard of Honor, Better Than Our Best, International Challenge and Final Battle 2006. Returning to ROH tonight are CIMA, Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, Naruki Doi, and Shingo. Making their ROH debuts tonight are Masaaki Mochizuki, Susumu Yokosuka, and YAMATO.
MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Match – Adam Pearce vs. Chris Hero vs. Colt Cabana vs. Matt Sydal
Hero is accompanied by Larry Sweeney and Tank Toland. Pearce has Shane Hagadorn (with the Top of the Class Trophy) in his corner. Cabana and Sydal start, but before any contact is made Sydal tags Hero. The chain wrestling begins, and these are two of the best at it. Cabana and Hero engage in some shenanigans much to the delight of the crowd. Hero gets frustrated so he takes a powder. Back in the ring Hero tags Sydal back in. Sydal uses his quickness to disorient Cabana, and Pearce takes the opportunity to tag himself in. Pearce plants Sydal with a huge Chokeslam. He hits a powerslam for two. Pearce tags Hero and he continues the work on Sydal, keeping him grounded. Hero and Pearce work together as a team, which sure won’t last. Sydal is able to leap off Pearce’s back and hit Hero with a tornado DDT. He makes the hot tag and Cabana is a bayit afire. Cabana uses Sydal as a battering ram. The referee has lost control and all four men are in the ring. Cabana hits Pearce with a super hurricanrana and then pitches Hero to the floor. Sydal takes Hero out with a dive. Pearce hits Cabana with brass knuckles behind the referee’s back to get the pin at 11:15. That was a good, high-energy opener that effectively used the talents of all four men.
MATCH #2: Erick Stevens vs. Alex Payne
This is Stevens’ ROH debut. I think it’s Payne’s first main show match too. Stevens uses the pre-match handshake to pull Payne into a pop-up powerslam. He hits the Choo-Choo and the Doctor Bomb to get the win in short order at 0:23. That was a perfectly acceptable squash.
The Briscoes are outside the building getting fired up for their Tag Team Title rematch tonight against Shingo and Naruki Doi. They say 2007 is the year of the Briscoes. Man up!
MATCH #3: Davey Richards vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
Richards attacks right away and the fight is on. The kicks start flying right away, which is expected. Mochizuki takes Richards to the mat and uses a half crab. Richards reaches the ropes but Mochizuki doesn’t let up. They go to the floor and Mochizuki is dominating. Mochizuki misses a kick and connects with the ring post, injuring his leg. Back in the ring Richards goes to work. That goes for a few minutes and then Mochizuki remembers how badass he is and kicks his way back in control. Richards comes back with the Alarm Clock and a bridging German Suplex for a near-fall. He goes up top and tries the Shooting Star Press but Mochizuki gets the knees up. Mochizuki hits Twister but Richards kicks out! They trade some strikes and Richards catches a kick and executes a Dragon Screw leg whip. Richards puts on the Stretch Muffler and Mochizuki reaches the ropes. They continue to go back and forth, trying to out-man each other. Mochizuki drills Richards with a kick to the back of the head to score the pin at 10:41. That was an entertaining match between two guys with similar styles just unloading on each other. Good stuff.
The longest reigning WWE Champion of all time comes out and puts over Ring of Honor, and is appreciative for how they reached out to him and stuff. He puts over the wrestlers, but Larry Sweeney, Chris Hero, and Tank Toland come out to interrupt him. Sweeney puts Sammartino over, but says that the only reason he accomplished so much is that Hero was born 50 years too late. He then challenges Sammartino to arm wrestle Hero. Sammartino is not afraid. Even so he is at a three-on-one disadvantage, so Nigel McGuinness comes out to make the save. Sammartino decks Sweeney, sending Sweet N’ Sour Inc. scurrying to the locker room. That was fun.
Backstage – Christopher Daniels cuts a promo on Homicide, his opponent tonight. Daniels calls their match a battle of icons, and reminds everyone that he beat Samoa Joe at this time last year, so he can beat Homicide this year.
MATCH #4: Anything Goes Mixed Tag – BJ Whitmer & Daizee Haze vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Lacey
Whitmer and Haze rush the ring and the battle begins. The men fight in the ring while the women take it right to the floor. The spike gets involved right away, and Whitmer tries to take Jacobs’ head off but misses and the spike gets stuck in the top turnbuckle. Whitmer suplexes Jacobs to the floor and they both tumble out. Lacey and Haze take their war into the ring. Whitmer and Jacobs fight into the crowd. This goes on for a while and the crowd pops for the big moves or weapon shots. It’s very hard to tell what Jacobs and Whitmer are up to since they’re on the small part of the split screen. Finally Jacobs and Whitmer make their way back to ringside and Whitmer is dominating. Meanwhile Lacey hits Haze with an elevated neckbreaker for two. Jacobs gives Lacey a chair and she goes for the Implant DDT but Haze counters with a jackknife cradle for two. Haze hits the Heart Punch and goes for the Yakuza Kick but Lacey avoids it. The men get in the ring and they go to their infamous corner. Lacey knocks Whitmer down on his crotch. Haze takes care of Lacey so Jacobs takes Haze out with an ax handle from the second rope. Jacobs then drills Haze with a Spear so hard that she comes out of her shoes! Lacey then hits the Implant DDT to get the academic pin at 9:49. That was a pretty standard brawl albeit with an extremely memorable finish.
Lacey wants to reward Jacobs for all his hard work lately. The crowd chants “show your tits,” showing what an evolved group ROH fans are. Lacey gives Jacobs a nice hug and the crowd chants “dirty whore.” She promises a whole lot more if Jacobs beats Whitmer in the cage match tomorrow night.
Jack Evans is dressed up nicely for a change, because tonight is a big weekend for ROH. He says it’s an even bigger weekend for him personally. Evans goes over his history with Roderick Strong, and says that Strong has managed to piss him off.
MATCH #5: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Shingo & Naruki Doi vs. The Briscoes
Doi and Shingo have been the Champions since 3.3.07, and this is their second defense. Jay and Shingo start the match with some chain wrestling. Mark and Doi tag in and refuse to let the other gain an advantage. The Briscoes are able to take the first control and they focus on Doi. That doesn’t last long before Shingo gets a tag. The champions are back in control and Doi hits Dai Bosou. They continue to beat Mark down until some miscommunication allows him to come back and make the tag. Doi gets knocked to the floor and Mark goes for a Shooting Star Press and lands right on top of his head. That was one of the scarier bumps I’ve ever seen live – what is it about that building in Detroit? Jay continues fighting while his brother lays motionless on the floor. Gabe Sapolsky and paramedics come out to check on Mark, and Jay finally goes out to see how his brother is. Back in the ring Jay is fired up but Shingo quickly cuts him off. I’m surprised they’re continuing the match. Jimmy Bower enters the booth and gives an update on Mark’s condition, noting that he is not paralyzed but there is a lot of blood and he has at least a concussion. Bower also notes that Mark told his brother to get in the ring and win the Tag Team Titles. Back to the match, and the Champions are in control. Doi hits a Rydeen Bomb for two. Jay is a fighter though and he won’t stay down. Shingo tags in and hits a DDT and a back senton for two. He hits a superplex and Doi follows with a flying elbow for a two-count. The champions continue the double-teaming but Jay is able to duck a Shingo clothesline and Doi is out. Jay then hits Shingo with the Jay Driller to get the pin and regain the ROH World Tag Team Titles at 16:03. That was going along all well and good before the horrific bump. After the bump it was fine, but it was hard not to be concerned about Mark.
From out of nowhere the Motor City Machine Guns make their way out to the chants of “Welcome Back.” Chris Sabin says they are here out of respect, but also that Detroit is their backyard. Alex Shelley takes the mic and talks about the things that the Guns and the Briscoes have in common. He challenges the Briscoes to put the tag team titles on the line against the Guns on April 28 in Chicago. Jay agrees, and then the Guns attack him just to be dicks.
Backstage – Rebecca Bayless is talking about Mark Briscoe. Larry Sweeney comes in and interrupts her. Sweeney is furious about what Nigel McGuinness did to him tonight. Bayless says she will have an update on Mark a little bit later on.
MATCH #6: Pelle Primeau vs. YAMATO
They start with some chain wrestling as I try to wrap my head around how different YAMATO looks from what I’m used to. Primeau uses his high flying skills to keep YAMATO subdued in the early going. YAMATO catches Primeau with an exploder and then a Spear. He tries a German Suplex but Primeau counters into a cradle for two. Primeau tries a headscissors but YAMATO slams him down for a two-count. A series of reversals ends with YAMATO hitting a bridging German Suplex for the pin at 2:23. That was brisk but fun.
Larry Sweeney makes his way out with Brent Albright, and says that he hired Albright for the night to take on Nigel McGuinness. Sweeney calls Nigel out for the match, RIGHT NOW.
MATCH #7: Nigel McGuinness vs. Brent Albright
McGuinness attacks right away and Albright cuts him off with a big clothesline. Albright tries to follow up but McGuinness comes right back. McGuinness hits an early lariat for two. He gets distracted with the referee and Albright takes control. McGuinness fires back with a lariat, of course. He goes to work and tries the Tower of London but Albright fights it off. Albright tries a cross body block but McGuinness rolls through for a two-count. Back on their feet Albright nails McGuinness with a European Uppercut and a belly-to-belly suplex. Albright goes back up top and McGuinness tries another Tower of London, which Albright counters tot he Crowbar. McGuinness reaches the ropes. Albright continues to attack the arm and they trade some forearms. McGuinness goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat but Albright once again counters with the Crowbar. McGuinness reaches the ropes again. He is able to hit the Tower of London but Sweeney has the referee distracted. That gives Albright the chance to hit the 61Knee and a neckbreaker for two. McGuinness comes back with a superkick for two. Chris Hero comes out to distract McGuinness and Albright hits a half nelson suplex to get the pin at 11:36. Albright was really boring but McGuinness made this a passable match. These shows were just so long that sometimes matches like this that were added just to get more people on the card just dragged.
MATCH #8: Homicide vs. Christopher Daniels
Daniels attacks Homicide right away and starts slugging away at him. This is Daniels’ first match since he and Matt Sydal lost the ROH World Tag Team Titles to the Briscoes. They are scheduled for a rematch tomorrow night, but with Mark’s injury who knows how they’re going to handle that. Anyway, Homicide fights back with a sloppy headscissors that sends Daniels to the floor. Homicide follows Daniels out to continue the brawl. He goes for a piledriver but Daniels backdrops him and Homicide’s ankles break a piece off a table. Of course, Homicide sells that for all of five seconds before whipping Daniels into the guardrails repeatedly. Back in the ring Homicide stays in control. Daniels sidesteps a charging Homicide and sends him to the floor. He follows him out for some more punishment. They go back inside and I’m waiting for Homicide to fight back. Daniels is able to delay said comeback and teases the Best Moonsault Ever but decides not to give the fans want they want to see. Instead Daniels hits the Iconoclasm for two. Homicide comes back with the Ace Crusher. He hits a t-bone suplex and Daniels goes to the floor, so Homicide follows him out with the Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring Homicide hits a DDT for two. Homicide hits Three Amigos. He goes up top and hits a big elbow drop for two. Daniels comes back with a dropkick and the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count. He locks on the Koji Clutch and Homicide reaches the ropes. Daniels hits an STO and tries to use the ropes for leverage but referee Paul Turner catches him. They fight up on the top rope and Homicide hits a super Ace Crusher for a near-fall. Homicide lands the big Lariat but it only gets two. He goes for Da Cop Killa but Daniels reverses to the Angel’s Wings and Homicide kicks out! A series of reversals ends with Homicide trapping Daniels in a jackknife pin for the win at 15:00. That was okay back and fort stuff but the finish was lame and you could tell both guys were treading water with the impending PPV debut coming up and knowing TNA was going to pull them from ROH shows.
After the match Jim Cornette, Adam Pearce, and Shane Hagadorn make their way out to put a beating on Homicide. Didn’t this feud end? Homicide cleans house but doesn’t see Brent Albright coming. Albright traps Homicide in the Crowbar and Delirious and Colt Cabana run out to make the save.
MATCH #9: Jack Evans vs. Roderick Strong
They tear into each other right away, as this is their first time facing each other in Ring of Honor. Evans gets the upper hand so Strong takes a powder. Strong stalls a while and then makes his way back in the ring. He targets the arm and they take it down to the mat. Evans fights back with his incredible agility and lands a headscissors from the top rope to take control. He hits the first chop of the match and that just irritates Strong. Evans hits a flying elbow for two. Strong catches Evans in a handspring maneuver and slams him to the mat. Now Strong really tears into Evans, stretching him and abusing him in inhumane ways. Once again Evans fights back, as the momentum has shifted several times in the opening minutes of this match. Evans actually hits a standing 450 splash, which is just ridiculous. Strong responds with a backbreaker. They fight to the apron and Strong drops Evans with a slam. He didn’t even have to piledrive the man to get a pop. Back in the ring Strong covers for two. Evans fights back and sends Strong to the floor and after some flips and flops he hits a hurricanrana off the apron. Strong picks Evans up and drops him on the guardrail, and then hits a fallaway slam into the ring post. Strong throws Evans back inside and covers for two. He continues decimating Evans and bending him in unnatural ways. Evans tries fighting back but Strong is able to cut him off. Finally Evans comes back and hits the Sasuke Special. Back in the ring Evans hits a twisting splash off the second rope for two. Evans goes for a swinging DDT but Strong blocks it and sets him on the top rope. Strong pulls Evans into a backbreaker and then hits the torture rack backbreaker. Amazingly Evans kicks out of that. Evans fights back with kicks and hits the Ong Bak knees. He follows with a standing corkscrew body press for two. Strong heaves Evans onto the top turnbuckle and follows him up to hit a super fallaway slam for a near-fall. Evans tries a reverse rana and they can’t quite complete it, so they repeat the spot. Bummer. Evans goes up top but misses the 630. A series of reversals and pinning combinations ends without anyone able to score a pin. They fight up to the top rope and Evans knocks Strong down. Once again Evans misses the 630. Strong follows up with the Sick Kick and the Gibson Driver, and then locks on the Stronghold and Evans taps out at 21:42. These two have great chemistry as partners and that translates to them as opponents. Evans flying around and Strong throwing him around is always fun.
Backstage – Rebecca Bayless announces that Mark Briscoe is fully mobile but suffered a severe concussion. He will definitely not be competing tomorrow night at Supercard of Honor II.
MATCH #10: Austin Aries, Delirious, Claudio Castagnoli & Rocky Romero vs. CIMA, Susumu Yokosuka, Dragon Kid & Ryo Saito
Delirious and Saito start the match. Of course Delirious loses his mind at the bell and runs around the ring. Romero tags in to start the match proper. They go back and forth for a while and then tag Kid and Castagnoli. This should be a good match up; Castagnoli works great with smaller guys. Not much happens and then CIMA and Delirious tag in. They do some stuff and finally Yokosuka and Aries tag in, so everyone has been in the ring within the opening minutes. Aries gives everyone armdrags and they go to the floor, so he wipes them out with the Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries goes to work on CIMA. Momentum shifts over to the Dragon Gate side and they isolate Aries. After a few minutes Aries is able to hot tag Delirious. The ROH team uses some impressive teamwork to work on Kid, and that’s a smart pick for who to isolate on that team. After a few minutes of that Kid makes the tag to Yokosuka. Now it’s the Dragon Gate team’s turn to dominate. The referee loses control and all eight men are flying in and around the ring. People are hitting signature moves but no finishers yet, so they’re not quite in the Go Home stretch yet. The action continues to be rapid and the finisher parade begins. Finally in all the chaos CIMA is able to hit Delirious with Crossfire to get the pin at 27:54. Well that was just tons of fun to watch and never felt as long as it was. There were semblances of strategy and psychology from both teams that helped it become more than just a spot-fest. This was a fitting main event.
Backstage – Jimmy Jacobs cuts one of the best promos of his life, recapping his history with BJ Whitmer and talking about their steel cage match tomorrow night. It’s a remarkably effective promo and perfectly sets the stage for the cage.
Tags: All Star Extravaganza, Austin Aries, Cima, Delirious, Ring of Honor