Pennsylvania National Guard Armory – Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, February 17, 2007
Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Nigel McGuinness vs. TJ Perkins
They start with some chain wrestling and McGuinness goes after the arm. Perkins quickens the pace and dropkicks McGuinness to the floor and follows him out with a somersault senton off the apron. He tries to throw McGuinness back in the ring but the crafty Brit bounces off the bottom rope and delivers a big lariat. Back in the ring McGuiness wears Perkins down with a variety of strikes and then another vicious lariat. McGuinness goes for the Tower of London but Perkins fights him off and hits a frog cross body from the top rope for two. They trade some strikes now and Perkins fares surprisingly well. Perkins goes up top and this time McGuinness is able to bring him down with the Tower of London but that only gets two. McGuinness hits the Guns of Brixton but again only gets two. Perkins lands a hard kick to the head but McGuinness pops back with the Rebound Lariat to get the pin at 6:01. That was a rock solid opener that could have gone longer. It’s too bad Perkins could never stay in ROH long enough to get into anything meaningful.
MATCH #2: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Austin Aries
Aggressive chain wrestling is the starting point for these two long-time rivals. They trade some strikes and Castagnoli gets cocky so Aries makes him pay for it. Castagnoli brings the fight to the floor and continues jawing with the fans. Back in the ring Castagnoli keeps Aries on the mat and even chokes him with his necktie. Castagnoli goes for the Match Killer but Aries lands on his feet and hits a dropkick. Back to their feet both men trade strikes and Castagnoli goes for the eyes. That just angers Aries and he sends Castagnoli to the floor. Aries follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile and the crowd loves that. Back in the ring Aries hits the slingshot corkscrew press for two. Aries goes for the Brainbuster but Castagnoli blocks it and hits the Match Killer for two. Castagnoli hits a nice diving European Uppercut and then the Alpamare Water Slide for a near-fall. Aries avoids a charge in the corner and hits an IED for two. He goes up top and Castagnoli knocks him down and hits a European Uppercut. Castagnoli tries to bring him down with the Ricola Bomb but Aries counters with a headscissors. A series of reversals ends with Aries landing a kick to the head and the Brainbuster. Aries goes up top and hits the 450 Splash to get the pin at 9:02. I like how Leonard built up on commentary that Aries would have trouble hitting the Brainbuster or the 450 because of his ankle injury, but Aries hit both moves with little difficulty to get the win. Aside from that, this was a rather enjoyable back and forth contest and a good clash of styles.
MATCH #3: Street Fight – Adam Pearce, Jimmy Jacobs & Lacey vs. Colt Cabana, BJ Whitmer & Daizee Haze
The brawl starts in the aisle as these rivals can’t wait to tear into each other. Lacey and Haze take the fight into the ring while the men brawl on the floor. Jacobs and Whitmer fight each other while Pearce and Cabana do battle. Haze sends Lacey to the floor, and Pearce pokes Haze in the eyes just to be a dick. Cabana comes to the rescue and he fights Pearce in the ring while the women have taken it to the floor. Jacobs and Whitmer join the fight in the ring as things have been chaotic from the start. All six competitors are in the ring now, and team Whitmer is standing tall. Everyone heads back to the floor, and Whitmer sends Jacobs into the crowd for more abuse. Jacobs fights back and they take it to the ring while everyone else brawls on the outside. They do a split-screen to try and keep track of all the action. Jacobs gets a hold of his spike and uses it to bust Whitmer’s head open. He really unloads on Whitmer’s head, and Whitmer is a bloody mess. Jacobs goes for the Contra Code but Whitmer blocks it. Whitmer can’t follow up though and Jacobs hits a reverse rana! Pearce and Cabana make their way back in, but Whitmer and Pearce quickly take the fight to the floor. Lacey takes Haze out with an Implant DDT, and then she finds some duct tape. Jacobs duct tapes Cabana’s arms behind his back, and Jacobs drills Cabana in the throat with a high heeled shoe! He tries to Pillmanize Cabana’s throat but Whitmer comes to the rescue. Whitmer grabs Jacobs and brings him down with a super exploder to get the pin at 13:31. That was a suitably intense brawl for the nature of the feuds, and what’s really impressive is how it furthered both of Jacobs’ issues with Cabana and Whitmer. Good stuff here.
MATCH #4: Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. El Generico & Kevin Steen
Things immediately get heated and the Briscoes send Steen to the floor and double-team poor Generico. Steen pulls Mark to the floor and throws him into the barricade and then gets in the ring to battle Jay. After a brief back-and-forth exchange Jay clotheslines Steen over the ropes and they both tumble to the floor. Generico and Mark get in the ring to do battle now while Jay and Steen fight outside the ring. Mark decides to help his brother by wiping Steen out with a somersault dive over the ropes. Jay gets in the ring to face Generico while Mark throws Steen into the guardrail. Things calm down a little as the Briscoes isolate Generico and work him over. Generico is able to come back enough to tag Steen into the match. Now Steen and Generico isolate Jay. The hatred between these teams (particularly through Steen) is palpable, which is awesome because they have no pre-existing storyline so it makes the match that much more exciting. Generico allows Jay to make the tag and Mark is a redneck afire. Once again Generico is isolated from his partner and subject to a beating from #DemBoys. Mark tries to hit a springboard Ace Crusher but Generico is able to counter into one of his own (great spot) and both men are down. Tags are made and Steen drills Jay with a missile dropkick. Steen is a house afire, showing off everything he can do. The fight spills to the floor and Steen wipes out both Briscoes with a somersault senton from the top rope. Generico dives through the corner to hit Mark with a tornado DDT on the floor, which is awesome. Back in the ring Steen hits Jay with the Swanton but it only gets two. Steen hits the Pumphandle Neckbreaker but Jay kicks out again. He tries the Package Piledriver but Jay blocks it and the match breaks down with all four men fighting in the ring until they are all down. The Philadelphia crowd gets especially behind Generico. Mark and Generico go back to the apron while Jay and Steen do battle, knocking each other out. Once again hot tags are made and Generico and Mark do battle. Mark hits a Buckle Bomb and a half-nelson suplex for a two-count. Jay gets back in the ring to help with a double-team neckbreaker with gets two again. Steen and Jay go back to the floor and Steen powerbombs Jay right on the edge of the ring! Back to the ring Generico makes a tag and Steen takes Mark down and goes up top for a moonsault. Mark moves but Steen lands on his feet and Generico drills Mark with the running Yakuza Kick and then wipes out Jay with a dive. Steen hits Mark with a Frog Splash and Mark is somehow able to kick out. He goes for the Package Piledriver again but Mark slips out and hits the Cutthroat Driver. The Briscoes go up top and hit the combination guillotine legdrop and shooting star press to finally get the win at 18:03. Because of this match these two teams would wind up feuding for the better part of the rest of the year and resulted in some of the best, most brutal tag team matches in ROH history, including the first Ladder War. Steen and Generico totally earned their ROH stripes in this match and the crowd rewarded them.
MATCH #5: Samoa Joe vs. Jimmy Rave
Joe is aggressive in the early going, hoping to give the Philadelphia fans a good show in his last ROH appearance here. Rave tries to keep Joe off his feet, but every time he tries something Joe has a counter for him. Joe sends Rave to the floor and goes for a dive but Rave avoids it. Rave goes to the apron and Joe sweeps his legs out from under him. Joe picks Rave up in a powerbomb position and swings him into the guardrail. He follows with a pair of Ole Ole Kicks. Back in the ring Joe hits the Big Joe Combo for a two-count. The fight spills back to the apron and Rave is able to hit an STO to finally give himself a reprieve from Joe’s onslaught. Back in the ring Rave uses a variety of maneuvers to wear Joe down. Rave gets cocky and spits in Joe’s face, and that proves to be a mistake, as Joe comes back with the Big Joe Combo 2 for a two-count. Joe goes for the Face Wash but Rave avoids it and is able to target the ankle, which is perfect to setup his Heel Hook. Rave works over the leg, but Joe fires back with a snap powerslam for two. Joe follows with the powerbomb for two, and he turns it into the STF. Rave makes it to the ropes. He gets up and hits the move formerly known as Ghanarrhea and then executes From Dusk Till Dawn. Rave switches it up to the Heel Hook. Joe escapes and hits the STJoe. Rave tries to come back with the Pedigree but Joe counters it and hits the Island Driver to get the pin at 16:10. That was a perfectly solid and well worked match, with Rave going for his killer submission and Joe just able to outlast him because he’s awesome. I love Joe busting out the Island Driver for the finish.
MATCH #6: FIP Heavyweight Title Match – Roderick Strong vs. Delirious
Strong has been the Champion since 11.10.06, and this is his eighth defense. Delirious loses his mind at the sound of the bell, and Strong tries to beg off. The masked man beat Austin Aries at an FIP show to earn this title shot. They start with some chain wrestling and Delirious is just a step quicker in the early going. Strong fights back by going after the tassels on Delirious’ mask, and he tries to keep him grounded. It doesn’t last long and Delirious is right back on offense. Delirious goes up top and Strong sweeps his legs out from under him, and Delirious crashes hard to the mat. Strong covers him and gets two even though Delirious didn’t kick out, so there’s definitely something wrong here. I hate to see that happen. Strong drags Delirious to the floor and goes for a countout but Delirious crawls back into the ring. Not a good decision there. Strong hits a Gibson Driver for a two-count. He throws Delirious back to the floor and starts rearranging the barricades. Strong hits another Gibson Driver right on the barricade to get the countout win at 9:19. Delirious was clearly not in any shape to continue and they should have stopped the match for his own safety. This started off fine but went off the rails when Delirious got hurt and it got uncomfortable to watch after that.
MATCH #7: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Matt Sydal & Christopher Daniels vs. SHINGO & Jack Evans
Sydal (the Open the Brave Gate Champion) and Daniels have been the Champions since 11.25.06, and this is their third defense. Evans and Daniels start the match. Daniels tries to keep Evans grounded, and Evans frustrates Daniels with his agility. Tags are made and Sydal starts flying around, so SHINGO tags out. Evans and Sydal go back and forth at a rapid pace and Evans gets the advantage so he dances about it. That was foolish though, as he gives Sydal a chance to recover. The Champions take control and show off their own dance moves. Evans bails, making the tag to his powerhouse partner. The pendulum continues to swing back and forth as both teams try to maintain dominance. Daniels and Sydal are able to isolate SHINGO and keep him in their half of the ring. That goes for a little bit until Evans catches Daniels with an enziguiri from the apron, and SHINGO capitalizes by dropping Daniels’ neck on the top rope. Evans tags in and covers for two. He flies around and keeps Daniels on the mat. The challengers keep Daniels in a compromising position for quite some time, and it looks like new Tag Team Champions is not such a far-fetched idea. Finally Daniels is able to catch Evans with a huge clothesline, and that’s enough to make the tag. SHINGO gets a tag as well but Sydal is fresher and he’s a house afire. Sydal knocks SHINGO to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. Now the Champions are putting some offense together, but SHINGO brings Daniels to the floor and hurls him into the barricade. Evans makes the blind tag and SHINGO comes in battle Sydal and he hits him with a huge Buckle Bomb. SHINGO follows with a release powerbomb for two. Daniels tags in and the pace is quickening. He hits an STO and a quebrada for a near-fall. Daniels follows with a uranage slam and he goes for the BME but SHINGO avoids it. He goes for the Iconoclasm instead but Evans breaks that up. Things are getting out of hand, with action both in and out of the ring involving all four men. All four wrestlers end up in the ring and the challengers hit Ode to the Bulldogs but it only gets two! SHINGO kills Sydal dead with a Pumping Bomber and Evans covers for a two-count. Daniels hits SHINGO with the Angel’s Wings Evans and Sydal battle on the top rope, and Daniels comes to the rescue. The Champs hit Evans with an assisted Angel’s Wings and that’s finally enough to get the pin at 20:07. That pretty much flew by and was filled with tons of great action and hot near-falls. SHINGO and Evans made a great team, it’s too bad they didn’t do much together in Ring of Honor.
MATCH #8: ROH World Title Match – Homicide vs. Takeshi Morishima
Homicide has been the Champion since 12.23.06, and this is his fourth defense. He has Julius Smokes with him. Morishima is in no mood to wait and he attacks the Champion during his entrance and throws him around into the barricades. He hits a DDT on the floor, and chokes the Champion. They make it into the ring and Morishima continues to dominate. Homicide comes back with a tornado DDT that sends the challenger to the floor, and he follows him out with a Tope Con Hilo. Smokes makes sure to get as close to the action and suck as much of the attention away from the wrestlers and onto himself as he possibly can. Homicide is able to beat on Morishima around ringside a bit, and at one point he actually whips Morishima into a Smokes clothesline. That’s just ridiculous. They get back to the ring and Homicide stays on offense. For some reason Smokes gets in the ring and tries to help Homicide double-team the challenger, but Morishima shrugs them off and takes them both out with a simultaneous clothesline. Morishima executes the cartwheel forearm smash for two. The massive challenger keeps Homicide down with a variety of strikes and holds, wearing him out. After several minutes Homicide hits a desperation Ace Crusher for a two-count. Homicide hits a Lariat to the back of the neck and then a Lariat from the front and Morishima kicks out! Morishima hits a bodyslam and goes up top, but Smokes holds on to his leg. Homicide goes up and brings Morishima down with a superplex! He rolls over to cover but only gets two. Homicide goes back up top and leaps right into Morishima’s arms, and Morishima throws him right over his head. Morishima goes up and hits a huge missile dropkick that sends Homicide to the floor. Homicide fights back and hits a neckbreaker, and then goes up top to hit a senton bomb but only gets two. Morishima catches a charging Champion with a Boss Man Slam. Homicide comes back and puts on an STF. He releases the hold and goes up top to hit a hurricanrana. Homicide tries a Lariat but Morishima catches him and very clearly hits an exploder that Prazak calls the Back Drop Driver. Don’t believe Prazak’s lies. Morishima picks Homicide up and hits the Back Drop Driver (for real this time). He hits a big Lariat and Homicide kicks out at two. LAME. Morishima hits one more Back Drop Driver to get the pin at 15:42. I know ROH fans like Homicide and all, but this match should have been five minutes shorter and ended after one finisher. And Julius Smokes should never be allowed anywhere near a wrestling ring, ever. This was a solid brawl for the most part, but Homicide was just way too protected against the incoming monster heel.
Tags: Fifth Year Festival, Homicide, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe, Takeshi Morishima