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Inman Sports Club – Edison, NJ – Saturday, February 25, 2006
Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.
The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeat Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze and Sal Rinauro & Tony Mamaluke in a Three-Way Tag Team Match at 6:46. Originally this was supposed to just be Kid & Mikaze against Rinauro & Mamaluke, but the Briscoe Brothers make their big return and crash the party! This is the first match for Jay and Mark since August 7, 2004, and the crowd is juiced to see them. The Briscoes dominate from the get-go, but for some reason they don’t finish anyone off and let the other two teams do battle for a short bit. When the brothers get their chance to get back in the ring they don’t waste it, destroying everyone and finishing off Blade with a combination Cutthroat Driver/Guillotine Legdrop. It’s funny that moments before the finish referee Paul Turner wouldn’t count a fall for Blade since he wasn’t legal, but then he counted a fall on Blade. Nice job. At any rate this was an effective way to reintroduce the Briscoes, but I would have had it be even squashier.
Adam Pearce defeats Azrieal, Claudio Castagnoli, and Jay Fury in Four Corner Survival Match at 11:20. Much like the opener there’s no shortage of action here with four men in the contest. Nothing much of note happens but it certainly isn’t boring. The finish comes with Castagnoli battling Pearce on the top rope as Fury hits Azrieal with the Jaytrix. Castagnoli comes down and tries to take Fury out, but he ends up crashing to the floor, and Fury follows him out with a dive. That gives Pearce the chance to hit Azrieal with a Superfly Splash to get the pin. Nothing worth going out of your way for there, but a fine use of 11 minutes.
Samoa Joe defeats Jay Lethal at 14:21. This is a mentor v student matchup, and a heated one at that. Joe starts off as the aggressor but Lethal is able to cut him off and slow down the pace. They split the match pretty evenly, with both men getting in plenty of offense on the other, trying to wear their opponent down for a knockout blow. After an intense back and forth battle, Joe is able to trap Lethal in the Muscle Buster, which is enough to get the pin and send Lethal more or less out of ROH for the next five years. These two had good chemistry and this was a solid, hard-hitting, and entertaining matchup.
BJ Whitmer and Christopher Daniels (w/ Allison Danger & Lacey) wrestled to a no-contest at around 5:00. These former Prophecy teammates waste no time tearing into each other and brawling at a brisk pace. Daniels knocks Whitmer to the floor and follows him out to administer some abuse. They both use chairs against each other and fight into the crowd. While they fight out of the ring, the CZW roster invades and tries to take over. This brings out the ROH locker room to fight them off, leaving the Whitmer/Daniels match as a no-contest. Obviously this match had other goals than being a killer match, and it accomplished those goals very nicely, as the crowd went banana for the ROH vs. CZW conflict.
After the smoke has cleared, the Briscoes attack ROH Tag Team Champions Austin Aries and Roderick Strong, just to be dicks. Then after that conflict subsides, Colt Cabana and Homicide come rushing out to get their Ghetto Fight underway!
Homicide (w/ Julius Smokes) defeats Colt Cabana in a Ghetto Fight at 18:56. The fight starts in the aisle and Cabana is all fired up, throwing Homicide into the barricades and into the crowd. Cabana throws Homicide back over the guardrail and into the ring, and when referee Todd Sinclair gets in the ring he calls for the bell again to officially start the match. They continue to fight on the floor and Cabana is the first one busted open. Homicide controls for a bit but Cabana is able to come back with a butt-butt. They fight back and forth a bit, but Homicide seems to have the edge. Smokes throws a coat hanger in the ring and Homicide chokes Cabana with it! Cabana won’t give up but the referee calls for the bell out of fear for his safety. But wait! Cabana gets on the microphone and says that Homicide will have to fucking kill him to end this fight. Homicide obliges and the fight is back on! Cabana fights valiantly but Homicide continues the abuse. Ricky Reyes comes out, and together the Rottweilers tie Cabana to the top turnbuckle. Homicide throws a chair right in Cabana’s face. He does it again and Sinclair stops the match for a second time. Amazingly, Cabana still won’t give up, and challenges Homicide to continue the fight! Cabana fights off both Homicide and Smokes. He takes Homicide to the apron for a piledriver but Smokes dumps rubbing alcohol on him. Homicide then hits a piledriver off the apron through a table and this time the match is over for real. That was an awesome fight and it did a lot to bring the feud to a boiling point. It made Cabana look like a guy who wouldn’t give up and made Homicide look like a totally sadistic monster who would stop at nothing to maim his rival. I loved this feud and this match perfectly encapsulated everything good about it and was a brilliant piece of booking.
ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson defeats Jimmy Rave (w/ Prince Nana) at 32:05 to retain the title. Danielson has been the Champion since 9.17.05, and this is his twelfth defense. Both men aggressively chain wrestle in the early going, with Rave making a surprisingly good showing against The Best in the World. Rave has many answers for Danielson’s varied, aggressive attacks, but soon falls prey to the overwhelming run of greatness Danielson was on. Danielson is working a fast pace tonight, so Rave tries to slow him down every chance he gets. Both men work in a variety of their signature spots, and Danielson is able to bust Rave’s mouth open. The Champ hits the belly-to-back superplex and then locks on Cattle Mutilation. He turns that into a Tiger Suplex and Nana pulls the referee out of the ring at the count of two! An enraged Danielson takes Nana out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Rave hits Ghanarrhea and the running knee to the face for a near-fall. Danielson fights off the Pedigree and destroys Rave with a forearm shot and a Regalplex for two. He finally knocks Rave out with the forearm smashes to the face to retain the title. Overlooked match of Danielson’s title reign for sure, as Rave more than brought it here. They kept up a brisk pace for over 30 minutes and worked each other over with intensity and purpose.
Ricky Reyes (w/ Julius Smokes) defeats Jack Evans at 7:57. This is a curious choice for the semi-main event slot. Both men are aggressive in the early going, both trying for a good showing for themselves and their respective factions. Reyes tries to keep the high-flying Evans grounded, using strikes and suplexes and such. Evans, as he is known to do, knocks Reyes to the floor and goes for a springboard flipping senton and Reyes isn’t there to catch him, causing a sickening landing. How Evans didn’t break his neck on that I have no idea. That’s about as bad a bump as the one Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer would have about a month after this. Seriously, how is Evans not crippled from that? Back in the ring Reyes delivers powerbombs to further weaken Evans’ already injured neck. Reyes puts Evans away with a Rope-hung DDT and then a vicious Dragon Sleeper. I’m still in shock over that bump Evans took. The match aside from that wasn’t all that good, and its card placement is questionable.
ROH Tag Team Champions Generation Next (Austin Aries & Roderick Strong) defeat AJ Styles & Matt Sydal) at 23:11 to retain the titles. Aries and Strong have been the Champions since 12.17.05, and this is their third defense. Strong and Sydal start the match. They wrestle to a standoff so Styles comes in and tries his hand at wrestling Strong. Neither man gets anywhere so Aries tags in. Aries and Styles go back and forth and things get heated pretty quickly. Both teams battle back and forth, trying to isolate one of their opposing team members. Midway through the match the challengers are firmly in control and they have Strong cut off from his partner. Eventually Strong gets tired of that and starts throwing out chops. The referee has lost all control. The Champs hit Styles with the Hart Attack and then go after Sydal. Strong hits a huge gutbuster and Aries follows with the Brainbuster. Styles breaks up the pin. Action is coming from all over the ring. Aries puts Sydal on the top rope but Styles suplexes Aries down. Sydal follows down with the Shooting Star Press but Aries gets his foot on the bottom rope. Styles goes for the Styles Clash on Aries but Strong breaks that up with the Sick Kick! Sydal goes for the Here It Is Driver on Strong but Aries breaks that up. Strong hits Sydal with a half-nelson backbreaker and Aries follows with the 450 Splash to get the pin and retain. These four certainly went all out and had the crowd with them. The finishing sequence was pretty awesome.
Three of the eight matches here reach four stars or higher and that’s a great percentage to work with. Also, the CZW angle progressed, the Briscoes returned, and Jack Evans almost broke his neck. In other words, it’s just one of many great shows ROH produced in 2006.
Tags: AJ Styles, Anniversary Show, Austin Aries, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe