The Liverpool Olympia – Liverpool, England, UK – Sunday, March 4, 2007
Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Colt Cabana vs. Delirious
I expect plenty of shenanigans in this one, and in fact they start right from the bell. It takes several minutes for any contact to be made. When they do finally touch they continue with the comedy chain wrestling, even involving the referee. I guess a lot of this is in reference to a British wrestler named Big Daddy, and I admit I have no idea who that is. But the live crowd seems to be eating it up, so that’s cool. They eventually do start some actual wrestling and Cabana seems to have the upper hand. Delirious won’t go down without a fight though and he’s able to trap Cabana in a schoolboy rollup to score the pin at 11:42. There wasn’t much for me to say about that, as these two did their shenanigans and then wrestled a decent little match. Nothing much to remember, but a fine way to open and a nice gesture to the UK fans.
MATCH #2: Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger vs. Jetta & Eden Black
Black and Jetta prove that wearing generic Indy Wrestler gear isn’t just something that dudes do. Jetta starts the match with Del Rey and they chain wrestle back and forth a bit. Del Rey unleashes a slap to the face, so Jetta bails out and lets Jetta give it a try. Danger tags in as well and they go right after each other. Black takes control and the home team is able to isolate Danger in their half of the ring. Eden puts on the Garden of Eden (triangle choke) and Del Rey comes in to break it up. Danger comes back and they roll out reversing each other’s inside cradles. Both women are dizzy and need a moment to recover. Del Rey and Black get tagged in and the referee loses control. Danger takes Black out with a hard knee strike to the head. Jetta pitches Danger to the floor and rolls Del Rey up for a near-fall. Del Rey is angry and grabs Jetta in the Royal Butterfly to get the pin at 6:29. This actually could have used some more time, but with a show that already tops three hours I guess something has to get cut short. This was solid formula stuff though, and I love the finish how Del Rey was just like “f this” and hit her big finish to get the win.
MATCH #3: Falls Count Anywhere Match – Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer
If you are to believe ROH Home Video, these two have been fighting since the end of last night’s show, which would make them fighting for over about 24 hours. I love it. They start the fight in the crowd, and the fans are clearly supporting BJ Whitmer in this feud. Jacobs takes cheap shots whenever he can, but Whitmer’s hatred propels him to fight back. The brawl goes all over the building, giving Liverpool an up close and personal look at this grudge match. They go up into the mezzanine and Jacobs cracks Whitmer with a fire extinguisher. Whitmer comes back and tosses Jacobs down the stairs a la Halftime Heat. He tries to powerbomb Jacobs over the balcony, and then straight up almost throws him over it instead. Crowd popped big for that. Jacobs escapes and goes up to a table to deliver a rana, getting another big pop from the crowd. He goes back up to the balcony and wipes Whitmer out with a cross body block that only gets a two-count! Looks like Jacobs cut open his leg somehow. Jacobs delivers a Cactus elbow off a row of chairs for another near-fall. After over six minutes of brawling they finally make their way to ringside. Jacobs is solidly in control and he accentuates it by pulling out the spike and driving it into Whitmer’s head. Whitmer is busted open. Jacobs hits him with the spike again, and then jams it into the top turnbuckle. He wipes Whitmer’s blood on himself, and even gets under Whitmer to allow him to bleed on him. That’s sick man. Jacobs hits Whitmer with the spike again and then goes for mounted punches in the corner. Whitmer flips out and goes for an electric chair drop but Jacobs jabs Whitmer with the spike again and then hits a reverse rana! Jacobs tries the Contra Code but Whitmer catches him and hits the Adrenaline Spike! Whitmer covers but only gets two! Both men get up and trade vicious chops. Whitmer sends Jacobs to the floor with a vicious forearm shot. He follows Jacobs out and they fight on the ramp. Whitmer hits a devastating Brainbuster and that’s enough to get the pin at 12:33. Wow, that was a hell of a brawl. I don’t remember that much, and it gets overshadowed by their cage match and other big moments, but this was brutal. The hatred felt totally real and both men looked like they would do anything to beat the other guy. They were creative in avoiding the ring, and then did some great spots when they finally got there. Underrated gem here.
MATCH #4: Matt Sydal vs. PAC
Sydal of course is still the Open the Brave Gate Champion, but this is a non-title match. Don’t worry though, PAC would go on to have a pretty great reign with that title a few years after this. Sydal takes PAC down with a headlock and PAC counters with a headscissors. Both men are moving very quickly in the opening moments. PAC is impressive but Sydal is able to stay one step ahead and the veteran slows the match down and keeps PAC on the mat. PAC is able to fight back but he tries a springboard headscissors and spikes himself on his head. They cover it well enough, with Sydal acting like he blocked it. PAC landed hard there. Sydal resumes control and goes for a top rope rana, but PAC escapes and Sydal lands on his groin. Cool spot. PAC unloads with a series of strikes and a dropkick. He kicks Sydal to the floor and follows him out with a beautiful corkscrew press. They head back inside and fight on the top rope. PAC knocks Sydal down, and then deliver an insane Phoenix Splash off the second rope for a two-count. Sydal reverses a whip and hits a ridiculous snap mare drier that spikes PAC right on his head. He follows with a standing moonsault for a near-fall. PAC catches Sydal in a rana with a cradle for two. The pace quickens with a series of reversals. PAC scores with a kick to the head and a Tiger Suplex for two. He goes to the second rope but Sydal brings him down with a rana. Sydal quickly goes up top and hits the Shooting Star Press to get the pin at 11:26. Man, what a display. Imagine how good this match would be today? But even in 2007 this was a really fun match. Given his move set you’d think that Sydal would be the ultimate babyface, but he really excels as a heel.
MATCH #5: Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
Jay and Mark were mad at each other for losing the belts so they decided to fight about it. That makes sense to me. Jay is dressed in black shorts while Mark is in white. This is their first singles match since 2003, so this feels like a pretty big deal. They take it to the mat and exchange holds. Things get heated and they trade slaps. Jay catches Mark with a clothesline and they both tumble to the floor. They fight on the floor and Jay bodyslams Mark hard on the wood floor. Mark reverses a whip and sends Jay crashing into the guardrail. He jumps up on the guardrail and hits a moonsault. The brothers trade strikes and Jay throws Mark into the guardrail. They fight up on the entrance ramp and Mark hits a vertical suplex. Back in the ring they continue trading moves and shrugging off each other’s attacks. Mark goes for the springboard Super Ace Crusher but Jay chops him out of the air. Mark perseveres and hits a slingshot double stomp instead. Jay fights back with a ridiculous DDT and both men are down. Back on their feet Jay takes control and starts pounding on his brother. Mark reverses a whip into the corner and runs in with a dropkick. He follows with an exploder suplex for two. Jay hits a stunner and a Mafia Kick for two. They trade slaps again and then upgrade to forearms. Mark tries a springboard move but Jay dropkicks him to the floor and follows him out with a somersault dive. Back in the ring Jay hits an awesome Frog Splash for two. Mark fights back with Redneck Kung Fu and this time connects on the springboard Super Ace Crusher for a near-fall. He keeps up the pressure, going for a superplex but Jay reverses it to a super gourdbuster! Jay follows with a Falcon Arrow for two. He levels Mark with a huge lariat for another two-count. Mark hits a couple of Saito Suplexes for a near-fall. He shoves referee Todd Sinclair down and then jumps off his back to try and take Jay down with a headscissors but both men crash hard to the floor. That looked nasty. Back in the ring Mark covers for two. Both men rise and trade blows. Jay then hits the Jay Driller! Both men are down and barely make it back to their feet by the count of nine. They trade punches again and knock each other out. Back on their feet Mark is able to hit the Cutthroat Driver! This time neither man answers the 10-count and the match is over at 27:04. Maybe that went on a little too long but it was unique in the sense that they really just wanted to fire each other back up to reclaim the tag team titles. Neither man needed to win to prove anything to the other, so the finish makes sense too. There was little selling, but in its own self-contained universe I really enjoyed this match.
MATCH #6: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – Naruki Doi & SHINGO vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong
Doi and SHINGO have been the Champions since 3.3.07, and this is their first defense. Richards and SHINGO start the match with some aggressive mat wrestling. Things quickly escalate and these two hard strikers are trading shots. SHINGO knocks Richards to the floor and looks like we’re competing under Dragon Gate Rules since Strong and Doi come right in and start going at each other. The challengers are able to take the first control on Doi, and they start taking him apart. The champions reverse the momentum but the action stays at the same swift pace. Neither team can keep control for very long, as both are very proficient teams with similar styles, so they’re able to counter plenty of each other’s attacks. The match has been going at a fast pace the entire time, but they kick it into an even higher gear and escalate from wrestling back and forth to throwing out big moves and strikes at each other. It’s been pretty tough to keep up with what they’re doing just watching it, let alone trying to type that fast. We get to the home stretch and Strong and SHINGO are fighting out on the floor, leaving Doi and Richards alone in the ring. Doi and Richards battle up on the top rope and Doi is able to position Richards into a Super Doi 555 to get the pin and retain the titles at 19:34. I could watch stuff like this all day. Doi and SHINGO make such a great team, and Strong and Richards are an ideal duo as well. These four did everything at high intensity, from the early headlock to the parade of finishers down the stretch. Plus I think no one expected the Japanese duo to leave the UK with the belts, so the result makes this both a pleasant surprise and a happy realization that Doi and SHINGO would have to be on upcoming shows to defend the belts.
MATCH #7: Fight Without Honor – Nigel McGuinness vs. Jimmy Rave
McGuinness’s right leg is taped up due to an injury he suffered last night against Samoa Joe. Rave tries stalling and avoiding McGuinness in the early going. He slaps McGuinness across the face and gets drilled with a Lariat for it and rolls to the floor. McGuinness follows him out and throws Rave into the barricades. He grabs a chair and takes it back to the ring but it backfires as Rave dropkicks it back into his knee. Rave viciously attacks the leg, which is smart strategy. Out on the floor Rave tries to slam McGuinness’s head into the ring post a la Unified, but McGuinness comes back and talks trash to Rave while he beats him up. McGuinness finds another barricade under the ring and slides it right into Rave’s chest. He sets the barricade between the ring apron and the real barricade, and flapjacks Rave on top of it, and then slingshots him face-first into the other side. Rave has been busted open. Back in the ring McGuinness goes for a straight chair shot but Rave blocks it. Rave hits the running knee to the face for two. He follows up with a running knee in the corner and then a neckbreaker for two. Rave hits a Spear for another two-count. McGuinness fights back and hits the short-arm Lariat for two. He goes for the Tower of London but Rave fights him off and hits a missile dropkick. McGuinness is able to connect on his next Tower of London and it gets a two-count. Rave hits the Lighting Spiral and the Pedigree but McGuinness kicks out! McGuinness blocks a tornado DDT and straddles Rave across the top rope to hit the big Lariat! Amazingly, Rave kicks out. They fight to the ring apron and Rave delivers an STO right on top of the barricade! Back in the ring Rave gets a two-count. Rave follows with a superkick and then charges at McGuinness, only to get backdropped right on top of the guardrail! McGuinness sets up a chair and hits the Tower of London on it! Unfortunately Rave kicks out of that, rendering the Tower of London completely meaningless. McGuinness tries the short-arm Lariat again but Rave ducks it and puts on the Heel Hook! As McGuinness fights his way out of it the referee gets accidentally bumped. McGuinness drags Rave to the apron and hits the Tower of London onto the barricade! That was nasty looking. Back in the ring a new referee is out to make the count but Rave actually kicks out. I call shenanigans. They trade slaps now and Rave hits a Spear but McGuinness bounces back with the Lariat for the pin at 21:17. That was sick and the hatred felt real. I wish they hadn’t killed the Tower of London so bad though.
MATCH #8: Samoa Joe vs. Homicide
Homicide is accompanied by Julius Smokes. Joe looks a little emotional since this is his last match in Ring of Honor. They start with some chain wrestling as Jimmy Bower checks in at the commentary booth to talk about Joe’s history in ROH. Bower also notes that Takeshi Morishima successfully defended the ROH World Title against KENTA in Japan, and will be back in April to defend the title. Joe hits a double underhook suplex and holds it for some reason, since Homicide’s shoulders are nowhere near the mat. Homicide sends Joe to the floor and teases the Tope Con Hilo. Joe would rather drink beer, which just annoys the Notorious 187. Back in the ring Homicide tries a cross body block but Joe casually avoids him. Tempers are flaring a little bit and Homicide is able to take control. After a few minutes Joe comes back with the Big Joe Combos. Yes, both of them. Joe delivers the Face Wash. He charges into the corner but Homicide avoids him and gets a sunset flip for two. Homicide hits a DDT off the second rope for another two-count. He goes up again for an elbow to the back of the head, which gets two. Homicide then hits a headscissors off the second rope. They go to the apron, where Homicide hits an Ace Crusher. Back in the ring Homicide covers for two. Joe comes back with the sunset flip and rolls Homicide around the ring, dizzying him before getting a two-count. He follows with a big lariat and both men are down. Back on their feet they trade punches. Homicide hits a chinbreaker but then runs into the snap powerslam for two. Joe hits a huge knee strike off the second rope for two. Homicide fights back but runs right into the STJoe. Joe goes up top but Smokes grabs his leg. Homicide is able to hit a superplex for a two-count. He follows with two neckbreakers and a piledriver for another near-fall. Joe comes back with the powerbomb and turns it into the STF. Homicide reaches the ropes. Joe goes for the Muscle Buster but Homicide blocks it and brings Joe down with a DDT for two. Homicide hits a Northern Lariat and an Ace Crusher for two. He goes to the second rope and Joe pulls him down and puts on the Choke! Smokes gets up on the top rope and Joe goes over to slam him down. Homicide grabs the ring bell and cracks Joe across the face with it! Joe kicks out! Homicide goes up top and Joe is able to grab him and hit the Muscle Buster! Smokes pulls referee Todd Sinclair to the floor. Joe takes offense and hurls Smokes into the barricade. He hits the Ole Kick and Smokes reveals himself as the worst seller ever in Ring of Honor, again. Joe sets up for another Ole Kick but Homicide cuts him off with a Tope Con Hilo! That’s a pretty great spot. Back in the ring Homicide hits the big lariat for two. They fight up on the top rope and Joe hits a Super Muscle Buster (a la Do or Die) for the pin at 22:59. I don’t mind Joe going over here, since Homicide was almost gone too and had already won and lost the ROH World Title. They certainly threw everything out there for Joe’s last match, and while it wasn’t a super memorable classic it was a lot of fun and a good Greatest Hits type match for Joe to go out on.
Tags: Fifth Year Festival, Homicide, Ring of Honor, Samoa Joe, shingo