Recap – ROH: Road To The Title
Previously On Ring Of Honor…
At Round Robin Showndow: Low-Ki, American Dragon and Christopher Daniels, throughout the night, had their round-robin tournament. Daniels made Dragon tap, but tapped to Low-Ki, who in turn tapped to Dragon, leading Daniels to cut a promo saying that this settled nothing, and refused to wrestle unless the ROH Title is on the line (which is rather tricky since at the moment there wasn’t an ROH title). Additionally, Da Hit Squad squashed Prince Nana and “Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle, with the Christopher Street Connection running in for “the save” ultimately leading to a beat-down on Simply Luscious… again. Spanky gets a win over Jay Briscoe and the difficulties between Divine Storm (Chris Divine & Quiet Storm), The SAT (Joel & Jose Maximo) and Amazing Red and Brian XL after the Ultimate Elimination match at the last show lead to a 3-way tag between the 3 this time (in what is apparently another mindless spot-fest. ).
At A Night of Appreciation (for Eddie Guerrero): We learned the guy that HC Loc was talking to on the phone was fellow ECW Alum Tony DaVito. Da Hit Squad squashes the CSC again (with Luscious getting beat-down again). Jay Briscoe finally gets a win over ECW alum Tony Mamaluke. James Maritato debuts and beats Scoot Andrews and Xavier. AJ Styles debuts and gets beat by Low Ki. Loc and DaVito debut as the carnage crew and squash a couple of jobbers. Paul London makes his debut during the Texas Wrestling Acadamy gauntlet match between American Dragon, Spanky, Michael Shane, Paul London, and John Hope – which Spanky wins. For the main event, Eddie and Amazing Red beat the SAT – and after the match we get a quick Squash between Eddie and Brian XL (who Eddie nicknames Little Bow Wow), after Brian disrespects Eddie.
This leads us to ROH: Road To The Title – a tournament to determine who has a shot at being ROH Heavyweight Champion at the following event.
ROH: Road To The Title
Arena: Murphy Recreation Center
Alright, this show is going to be focused around a tournament to see who gets a shot at the ROH Championship at the next event. The tournament is bracket-style divided into 4 blocks, with 4 wrestlers per block. Whoever wins each block will advance to the final at the next event, where the 4 will square off in an 60 Minute Iron Man match to see who wins the title – the man who wins the most falls within the time limit wins the belt. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, on with the tournament.
Pre-Show: Back-stage, Low Ki’s trainer pumps him up for the tournament – not that it takes much, the very mention of Christopher Daniels Low Ki up big time. Ki says (addressing Daniels) that it is not over, and the title will be his.
Our Announce Team is Steve Corino and Donnie B.
Block C – Match 1: Biohazard vs. “American Dragon” Brian Danielson.
Biohazard is a new guy wearing a Sub-Zero face mask (but in black and green… which I guess makes it a Reptile face mask), and is another student of the Texas Wrestling Acadamy. Our referee is John Finnigan. Biohazard gets control early on. Flip-over face slam for 2. Biohazard keeps working over Dragon – Cradle Fisherman’s Suplex for 2. Dragon no-sells a series of chops and regains control . A lot of running moves by Dragon. Dragon hits a reverse vertical suplex and locks on the Cattle Mutilation for the submission.
Winner: American Dragon by submission with the Cattle Mutilation at 2:25.
Rating: ** – Good match, but there was some great ring chemistry between Dragon and Biohazard, and both guys got an even amount of offense, but it was short – which tends to be the problem with tournaments – the matches never take as long as you (the fan) would like. Donnie says that Biohazard will be back – which is good, as he was pretty good, and I’d like to see more of him.
Block A – Match 1: Brian “Spanky” Kendrick vs. Paul London
However short this is going to be, this’ll still be good match, and their first time squaring off in ROH. They start off with some chain mat wrestling, leading to Spanky getting a 1 on a pin attempt. They then go for a test of strength into an arm lock on London. London rolls through and eventually reverses the hold into an arm bar of his own, ultimately leading to some more quick chain-wrestling. London hits a leg-scissors that puts him back in control, and hits a series of quick arm-drags, capping a drop-kick, a whip into the ropes, and a spinning heel kick. Kendrick rolls to the outside. Spanky shoulder blocks London on his way into the ring and gets a belly-to-back suplex for 2. Running shoulder block for another 2. London regains control, goes for a monkey flip, but it gets reversed to a stomp to the mush. Spanky starts tuning up the band, and gives a sliding kick to London’s face for 2. Vertical suplex into a small package for 2. London breaks out of a corner splash into a… I have no idea what that’s called. London whips Spanky into the corner, Spanky reverses into a ‘rana. London regains control with a super-kick into Spanky (who is coming off the ropes), and we get our first “Holy Shit” chant of the night. London starts to go up top, Spanky tries to stop him 3 times. London goes for the shooting star press, but Spanky rolls out of the way. Spanky picks up London and goes for the Sliced Bread #2, but London catches him and crotches him on the top rope. Springboard back-brain kick from London knocks Spanky to the outside, and London goes for a somersault plancha. London sends Kendrick back in and hits a slingshot moonsault for 2. Spanky regains control, goes for a belly to back, blocked by London, and hits the double-arm chicken-wing facebuster for 2. London goes up top, but gets crotched. Spanky goes for an avalanche and botches it spectacularly, though Donnie and Steve do a good job covering. Spanky gets the cover but only gets 2. Spanky goes for a less ambitious brainbuster and drags London over to the ropes, goes up top but gets crotched with a super kick. Spanky goes for a moonsault, but ends up leaping over London, but lands on his feet. London goes for a kick, misses, gets spun by Kendrick, who hits the Sliced Bread #2 for 3.
Winner: Paul London by pinfall with the Sliced Bread #2 at 9:57.
Rating: ** – This could have been a 3 star match, but the spectacularly botched brainbuster (as well as a few other things) drops this down a star. Fortunately these two have better matches to come.
Block C – Match 2: “The Anarchist” Doug Williams vs. Jay Briscoe
Before Nigel McGuinness came from the UK to ROH, there was Doug Williams. Doug and Jay circle up, and we start with some chain wrestling, focusing on the arm. Donnie is clearly reading off cue cards here during part of his commentary.
Donnie: The English style is clearly lacking next to the US style, Japanese Style or Mexican style of pro wrestling.
Me: You’re lucky Chris “Watching the Dynamite Kid got me into wrestling” Benoit didn’t hear that line. Or, for that matter Bret “My brother in law was the British Bulldog, and Dynamite Kid and I were like this when I got in the business” Hart as well.
Williams brings Jay down, locks a knee-and-ankle-lock on Jay, forcing him to go to the ropes. Mark Briscoe comes out to watch his brother as Jay reverses a headlock into a head-scissors. Doug breaks out of the hold into a side-headlock. Jay breaks out, they do a few running chain holds, and then locks the headlock right back in. Doug gets taken down with a belly to back suplex, and then Jay goes for 2 chained vertical suplexes into a facebuster for 2. Doug reverses a whip in the corner and hits a series of jumping knees, then goes up top for a knee drop for 2. A few reversed holds between the two, and Jay hits a powerbomb for 2, followed by a top rope guillotine leg drop for another 2. Jay goes for the Jay Driller, but Doug counters it, so Jay goes for a double chicken-wing instead. Doug breaks out with an European uppercut (fitting), hits a few strikes, and then hits the Chaos Theory (a German suplex, rolls through it into another German suplex) for 3.
Winner: Doug Williams by pinfall with the Chaos Theory at 8:14
Rating: *** – Very nice. Williams and Briscoe did very well, and I’d love to see more of Williams in ROH (or anywhere else for that matter).
Block A – Match 2: “The Phoenix” Jody Fleisch vs. Johnny Storm
Apparently both these guys are from the UK, and both are high-flyers – Jody having wrestled in Michinoku Pro in Japan. They start off with some chained high flying and running moves. Applause from the audience. They’re apparently wrestled each other over 125 times over the past 3 years. Jody gets sent to the outside, Storm goes up top and hits a senton on Jody. Storm rolls back in and waits for Jody. Jody regains control and Storm gets sent outside. Storm dives under the ring and out the other side, and quickly rolls back in. Jody goes for a belly to back but blows the spot. Jody super-kicks Storm, and then gets clotheslined over the top. Storm starts to get to his feet only to get nailed by a springboard shooting start press. Cue “Holy Shit” chant #2. We get a few chained traded pinfalls, all 2-counts. Jody goes up top, goes for a moonsault, but Storm catches him and gives a release German suplex that flips Jody over and has him landing face first by the opposing turnbuckle. “Holy Shit” #3. Storm goes for the pin for 2. Jody goes for a Tornado DDT, but Storm reverses it. Storm goes for top-rope Frankensteiner for 2. Jody blows a front flip for 2… fuck it. It’s a mindless spot-fest, but unlike the spot fest from the last ROH event I recapped, it feels really sloppy. It’s kind of fun, but it’s still really sloppy feeling. Johnny Storm goes for a Frankensteiner, but Jody reverses it into a power-bomb for the 3.
Winner: Jody Fleisch by pinfall with a power-bomb at 7:01
Rating: ** – Could have gotten a higher rating, but this match felt sloppy as hell. Flair/Steamboat these guys ain’t.
Side Note: Donnie, please let Steve get a word or two in edgewise. Thank you.
After the match, Jody and Storm get a “Please Come Back” chant – which I do hope these guys do. The match was sloppy, but they really could do better. If felt like they could do much, much better. Meanwhile, back stage, the Christopher Street Connection is taking great amusement over Jerry Lynn eating a banana.
Block D – Match 1: Low Ki vs. Prince Nana
Nana previously disrespected Ki with a bitch slap, to which Ki responded with a forearm to the face which knocked him out. Nana sneak attacks Low Ki as soon as he enters the ring and starts working him over in the corner. Nana whips Ki in to the corner for a corner splash followed by a butt splash. He continues with a few stomps, and moves Kin in the corner for a few chops and another butt splash. Nana picks up Ki, Ki delivers a few right hands and stiff chops. But Nana works Ki into the corner and another ass splash. Ki regains control, delivers a massive series of chops. Nana whips Ki in the corner, hits a belly splash, goes for yet another ass splash and misses. Ki is up, and enziguri’s Nana’s soul right out of his body, and straight to Hell!!!!!!!. Ref John Finnigan calls for the bell, and Ki wins by KO.
Winner: Low Ki by referee stoppage (knockout) with the Raging Demon Enziguri (my name, not theirs) at 3:53.
Rating: ** – Not a great match, but the Enziguri of Doom gets it a star it wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. (For the record, the KO is a work, not a shoot. My initial reaction was that it was a shoot, and they do a great job of setting it up as being an legitimate injury, especially by Steve Corino, but I checked and apparently is a work.
After the match they carry Nana out of the ring. Backstage Lynn and Xavier talk music before Xavier goes out for the next match.
Block D – Match 2: Xavier vs. Amazing Red
Red’s apparently changed his entrance music to “It’s Going Down” by the X-Cutioners feat. Mike Shinoda. Xavier and Red lock up, and Xavier manhandles Red, literally tossing him from one turnbuckle to another (though, to be fair, it’s a small ring.) Red recovers, and hits a tornado DDT on Xavier. Xavier rolls to the outside, and Red hits a suicide senton on Xavier. Red sends Xavier back in the ring, and whips him into the corner for a nice plate of chops. Red goes to whip Xavier into the opposite corner, Xavier reverses. Red goes up top, Xavier goes to stop him, but gets a boot to the head (shoomp). Red goes for a corkscrew senton… or something, but Xavier catches him (or rather, saves the move from botching – as Red really would have missed the move) and then power-bombs Red in the middle of the ring. Xavier picks up red, sends him into the corner for some big knees, then drags him to the center of the ring for one last knee and a two-count. Xavier picks up Red and goes for a pumphandle slam but Red goes for a ‘rana – but Xavier does a hand stand, bounces off the ropes, and uses that momentum to a mule kick to the head. Red gets back up and regains some momentum, landing a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for 2. Red keeps working over Xavier but gets his offense reversed into a pumphandle facebuster 2. Xavier goes up for a 450 Splash but Red’s out of the way. Another Tornado DDT by Red on Xavier for 2. Red goes back up, Xavier catches him, goes for a Splash Mountain (crucifix powerbomb) but You Can’t Powerbomb Kidman Red as Red flips out and goes for a spinning heel kick to the head, and then another. Red goes up top.. Infrared and Red Star Press for 3!
Winner: The Amazing Red by pinfall with the Red Star Press at 4:22.
Rating: *** – Now that’s what I’m talking about. Why couldn’t we have gotten a match this good in the first half?
So, the Block D quarterfinals will be Low Ki vs. Amazing Red. Xavier goes backstage and gets chewed out by Daniels (sporting some nice red tinted shades, by the way) for losing to Red, because he was counting on Xavier to eliminate Low Ki, and he warns Red that he better take Low Ki out, and that’s “and that’s the prophecy, according to me!” Daniels’ catch phrase kicks Low Ki’s catch phrases ass. Daniels then mutters to himself that he doesn’t care who wins – he’ll take ’em out. Prior to the next match we get a brief bit of video from the last event, with Scoot Andrews challenging Daniels, and calling him a pedophile (classy… especially considering what happens with Rob Feinstein later).
Block B – Match 1: “The Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels
Daniels has changed his entrance music as well, to “Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. On his way to the ring he lets us know he runs this promotion, and never to forget it. He cuts a promo in the ring before the match, swearing that his goal is has read the prophecy, foretelling that he would bring about the end of Ring of Honor. He announces the formation of The Prophecy and that it’s first member is Simply Luscious (who I guess got tired of getting put through tables by Da Hit Squad).
Scoot rushes to the ring, and Daniels lays the boots to Scoot on his way in. Scoot gets an inverted powerbomb early on. Drop kick on Daniels for 2. Daniels counters with a knee into a neckbreaker. Daniels whips Scoot into the corner, hits a few rights, goes for a bulldog but gets countered into a STO for 2. Scoot goes for the Force Of Nature (pumphandle slam), but Daniels counters that into a STO, into a double underhook powerbomb by Scoot for 2. Scoot gets a… I don’t know what that move is. Scoot grabbed Daniels hands, crossed them over his neck and chest, and then slammed him back first into the mat. Anyway, it only got 2. Scoot rushes in, but gets caught in a STO, followed an uranage (which you might know as The Rock Bottom) and Daniels goes up for the Best Moonsault Ever
Winner: Christopher Daniels by pinfall with the Best Moonsault Ever at 2:28.
Rating: ** – Short, but okay.
After the match, Luscious very weakly slaps Scoot and tells him to take his best shot. Scoot, unlike Da Hit Squad, would never hit a woman, but Sumie Sakai would (Sumie Sakai is a woman’s wrestler from Japan and… well, if you’ve never seen Joshi Puroetsu before, it’s something completely different). Luscious gets worried… and who wouldn’t? Okay, Sakai’s not Megumi Kudo – though if it was Megumi Kudo, I’d say even Daniels would probably want to clear the ring.
Simply Luscious vs. Sumie Sakai
Anyway, we get a quick match between Sakai and Luscious. It starts really slow, but builds, and I’m kind of impressed with Luscious ring work once she gets up a head of steam. However, why am I not doing an in-depth recap of this match? Because we were about a minute in before I realized this wasn’t going to be a squash, and I couldn’t be arsed to rewind to the start of the match and start recording the information on this match. If I did, this would probably become a 3 part update. Sakai wins in about 3-4 minutes.** rating – it had potential, but the chemistry wasn’t quite there.
Block B – Match 2: AJ Styles vs. “The New F’n Show” Jerry Lynn
TNA was pretty new at this time, and still on the weekly pay-per-view stage. Lynn and Styles circle up and lock up. Chain wrestling between the two, starting on the arms, and working into aerial chain wresting leading to a round of applause. Lynn takes control, and works the neck and head Styles, and gets a clothesline for 1. Lynn locks Styles into a bow and arrow hold. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2 on Styles. Lynn gets styles in the corner and goes for a Tornado DDT, but Styles stops it, only to get hit with an Overhead suplex into the turnbuckle for 2. Lynn looks to go for an Airplane spin into a Cop Killer, but Styles breaks out after the spin and hits super-kick to the side of Lynn’s head for 2. Lynn and Styles each go for a suplex, each blocking the other, before Styles goes fuck-it and hits Lynn with a neckbreaker for 2. Lynn regains control and hits Styles with a front-face bulldog. Lynn goes for a DDT but Styles gets out. Styles hits an arm drop and then continues working Lynn’s arm to block that Cradle piledriver. Lynn gets a foot on the rope to break out of the hold. Styles gets whipped into the corner, flips over the ropes, goes for a shoulder-block on Lynn but Lynn evades it and hits Styles with a leg drop. Lynn goes for a suplex again, AJ Styles reverses it into a suplex but Lynn manages to land on his feet, only to have it reversed into a cutter. With Lynn now down, Styles continues working Lynn’s arm. Lynn whips Styles to the ropes, Styles bounces off the 2nd rope, flips over, and hits a reverse DDT on Lynn for 2. Styles goes for the Styles Clash (Belly to back inverted mat slam) but Lynn reverses it into a Power Bomb, Styles reverses into a kick, which Lynn reverses into enziguri. They then chain near-falls, finally capping with Lynn regaining control and getting a Tornado DDT for 2. Styles regains control, and hits a fireman’s carry backbreaker for 2. Styles goes up top, but Lynn stops him, and crotches him on the top rope. Lynn goes up to stop Styles, but gets shoved down and Styles hits the Spiral Tap (somersault corkscrew senton) but only for 2. Lynn hits a DDT, then hits a fireman’s carry slam for 2. Lynn signals for the Cradle Piledriver, but Styles reverses into the Styles Clash for 3.
Winner: A.J. Styles by pinfall with the Styles Clash at 15:32.
Rating: *** – Very good. These guys need to wrestle each other more often.
After the Match, Dunn and Marcos (dunno who they are) come in the ring and declare themselves ROH’s greatest tag team. To which Da Hit Squad take offense and run in and squash the poor schmucks. Nice to see them beating up somebody other then the Christopher Street Connection. We get a little clipping here, but I really don’t think we’re missing anything. Marcos gets hit with the Burning Hammer.
Steve Corino: He could have a broken neck – or worse, he could still be alive.
Me: You’re all heart Steve.
After that they declare themselves themselves number 1 tag team… we get clipping again and now Divine Storm is out to dispute their claim. Quiet Storm (cutting the first promo of his career) proceeds to heartily mock Da Hit Squad’s gimmick of being the hardest hitting tag team in RoH, proclaiming that they ain’t shit, and that Divine Storm is the top tag team. Now, that this point the SAT enters. Let it not be said that Da Hit Squad can’t take a hint – they realize where this is going, flip off both the SAT and Divine Storm, and each member both get double-teamed. After Da Hit Squad gets chucked out of the ring, Divine Storm and the SAT start working on each other. Why am I not calling this as a match, because according to the back of the box, we’ve got three more teams yet to get involved in this mess. Meanwhile all 3 teams are brawling on the outside, which means one of the high flyers is going to go up top in the ring, and take everyone else out (in this case being Joel Maximo).
With everyone out of the ring… *sigh* it’s time for the Christopher Street Connection (now managed by Allison Danger – Steve Corino’s real-life sister) to make their presence known. We then clip to the CSC making out in the ring, only to be stopped by the Natural Born Sinners. The Sinners take out the CSC and Danger (which makes Corino’s enthusiasm odd, actually), and Homicide hits both of the NBC with the Cop Killer – and the Carnage Crew finally make their presence known, with Loc getting some much needed payback on the Sinners (who they have not wrestled yet). Hit Squad rolls in and takes out the Carnage Crew, saving their traveling buddies, (the Sinners) and ultimately putting the Carnage Crew through a table. Da Hit Squad reiterates their claim to being the top tag team, to which Homicide responds “What the fuck is that” and respectfully (*snicker*) disagrees. The Sinners head backstage, irate, going past Low Ki who failed his Listen check and didn’t catch any of the exchange in the ring.
Block A – Match 3 (Quarterfinal): Brian “Spanky” Kendrick vs. “The Phoenix” Jody Fleisch
Some chain wrestling (both technical and aerial) between Spanky and Jody, ultimately leading to Spanky rolling to the outside. Spanky starts working the arm, but Jody breaks out, and gives Spanky a boot to the mush. Spanky rolls out side again. Jody goes for a springboard plancha, but Spanky grabs the top rope, crotching Jody. Spanky slingshot sentons back in. Spanky continues working over Jody, and goes for the Sliced Bread #2. Jody tries to crotch him on the top rope, but Spanky moves to the outside, only to get kicked off the apron. Jody goes to the top rope, and goes for a moonsault onto Spanky, but barely catches his him, but does catch his leg on the safety barrier. Jody rolls Spanky back in, and goes back up top goes for a shooting star press, but Spanky rolls out of the way and Jody lands on his feet. Jody gets an sunset flip for 2. Jody goes back up again for a 720 DDT, Spanky gets out of the way, and then gets a 2 count. Spanky gets the Sliced Bread #2 for 3.
Winner: Spanky by pinfall with the Sliced Bread #2 at 5:15.
Rating: ** – Quick, decent, with one blown spot (which was impressively recovered from).
Block C – Quarterfinal: “The Anarchist” Doug Williams vs. “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson”
Dragon and Williams lock up, and trade holds. Dragon rings Williams bell with an enziguri. The chain wrestling continues, with Williams ultimately locking Dragon’s legs in an modified deathlock, before Dragon rolls out and locks on a head scissors. Williams goes into a headlock which is then reversed into an anklelock by Dragon. Williams locks Dragon into what looks to be a reverse bow and arrow, into a body scissors on Dragon’s legs. Dragon gets broken free, only to get locked in an abdominal stretch. Dragon gets loose goes for a running cross body, only to get caught – literally, and hit with a backbreaker (which Williams then turns into a hold, and then turns back into a bow and arrow). Williams keeps working on Dragon’s back with an armlock suplex for 2, then locks him in a standing back bow & arrow, and rams Dragon repeatedly into the turnbuckle while keeping the hold locked on. Williams delivers a series of high knees to Dragon, while Corino dumps on the UK style of pro wrestling. Williams goes up for a frog splash, but Dragon hits him with a drop kick in mid air. Dragon locks on a toe-hold and Williams locks a toe hold of his own, and they both roll all the way out of the ring. Dragon rolls in, and Williams gets on the apron. Dragon goes to suplex Williams into the ring, but Williams reverses it into a suplex of his own. Williams and Dragon chain 1 counts. Chain speed wrestling to a swinging DDT on Dragon for 2. Williams and Dragon trade European Uppercuts, and Dragon hits a vertical suplex, goes up, and hits a Diving headbutt for 2. Williams hits the Chaos Theory, and Dragon kicks out at 2. Williams is thrown off by this, and Dragon takes advantage with a series of quick kicks to the cranium. Williams gets whipped to the corner, and Dragon hits a belly-to-back suplex for 2. Dragon goes for the Cattle Mutilation, but Williams bridges out of it, and hits an Ocean Cyclone suplex (think of it as the bastard child of the Belly to Back Suplex, and a vertical suplex) for 3.
Winner: Doug Williams by pinfall with an Ocean Cyclone suplex at 14:35
Rating: *** – At last, business is finally picking up.
Block D – Quarterfinal: Amazing Red vs. Low Ki
As the match starts, the fans are chanting “You Killed Nana” at Low Ki. After the hand shake Red cheap-shots Ki. They both trade kicks and start into some chain aerial moves, not really going for holds so much as trying to land strikes on each other. They go for a test of strength and Red gets backed into the corner, we get a series of trade near falls before going back for the strikes. Ki goes for a sweep, Red jumps it and hits the Red Star Press for 2. Red hits what I’d call a float-over jumping cutter for 2. Red goes for an frankensteiner, but You Can’t Powerbomb Kidman Frankensteiner Low Ki! Low Ki tosses him off and hits a back heel kick for 2. Ki goes for a black-flip kick in the corner, but Red hits a springboard drop-kick to stop it. Red gets whipped onto the ropes, and evades a kick by Low Ki. Red goes for a shoulder block, but gets hit with a boot to the chin. Ki tries to kick Red several more times, before finally landing a back heel kick that sends Red crashing into the guard rail – the same rail that Fleisch’s knees ran into. Ki chucks Red in the ring and pins Red for 2. Ki slams Red down spine first on the ring. Red finally gets some offense in with a Tornado DDT. Ki rolls to the apron, and Red drop kicks him off. Ki gets up using the apron for support, and the fans see where this is going and start moving out of the way. Red goes for a plancha, but Ki leaps to the apron and gets Red with a high knee. Ki signals for the Ki Crusher. Red reverses it into a roll-up for 2. Red goes for a frankensteiner, but You Can’t Powerbomb Kidman Frankensteiner Low Ki and Ki tries to turn it into a power-bomb… but You Can’t Powerbomb Kidman Red. Ki tries to turn Red around for… I guess… an Electric Chair drop, but it turns out You Can’t Apparently Can Powerbomb Frankensteiner Kidman Low Ki After All… but only if it’s a reverse frankensteiner. Red drags Low Ki away from the ropes and goes up top for the Infrared… and misses! Ki’s back up, Red goes for the reverse frankensteiner again, but he went to the well once too often. Ki hits the Ki Crusher into the turnbuckle, sending Red’s lifeless form to the outside. You bastard, you killed Red! Ki rolls out and sends Red back in. Ki goes back up top and goes for an Infrared of his own, but Red moved out of the way, and Ki rolls through… wait a minute, Red’s alive! Ki goes back up top, Red hits a spinning heel kick to Ki, but Ki manages to hang on. Red goes for the frankensteiner again, but Ki blocks it because… oh you know why. Super Ki Crusher! Low Ki makes the cover and it’s over.
Winner: Low Ki by pinfall with a Ki Crusher off the top rope at 11:17.
Rating: *** – Very well done. Why couldn’t the rest of the show been like this.
After the match, Brian XL runs in, and the audience starts a “Little Bow Wow” chant, and cuts an completely inaudible promo, before attacking the recovering Red from behind and delivers a beat down in the ring. The SAT runs in for the save, hitting Brian XL with the Spanish Fly (double backflip STO off the top rope). Oh, by the way…
Note to ROH front office: You might want to have Steve Corino refrain from referring to Brian XL as a “nappy-headed goof,” especially in the wake of remarks by Don Imus. Mind you, Imus had not yet made these remarks at the time this event was recorded – nonetheless, that’s something that I figured would be worth bring to your attention.
With that out of the way, we go to backstage where the Natural Born Sinners are incredulous over Da Hit Squad’s assertion of their status as top tag team in ROH. However, DHS will have to wait until after the Sinners take out the Carnage Crew (their words) in a Bunkhouse Brawl at the next event, in their first formal match.
Block B – Quarterfinal: AJ Styles vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels w/ Simply Luscious
Start: 2:25:23. Finish: 2:47:06
Styles and Daniels are both alums of the end of WCW, though they never wrestled each other there. By the way, did I mention that I that I love Daniels’ shades? After they put out Christopher Daniels T-Shirts, they really should have moved on to the shades.
Anyway, Daniels and Styles start with a long stretch (3 minutes straight) of fast chain wrestling. Before slowing it down… slightly, and continuing the chain-wrestling, with both Daniels and Styles working over each others arms and necks swapping holds, without particularly any pin attempts, but a lot of near falls and even offense. Styles finally gains a bit of control after another 5 minutes of chained holds, gets Daniels on the apron, and drop kicks him off. Styles hits a spinning pescado on Daniels. Styles rolls back into the ring. Daniels gets back on the apron, goes to suplex Daniels to the outside, Styles vaults over onto the apron and hits gets hit with a low blow. Daniels moves in, gets a running start and shoves Styles off the apron and into the safety rail, and the claret is flowing for Mr. Styles. Daniels firmly in control, working Styles over inside and outside of the ring.
Corino: The blood of AJ Styles is on Daniels’ hands, and it Daniels is clearly enjoying this! He has a grin on his face like a clown at a children’s birthday party!
Me: Steve, what clown did you hire? Pennywise?!
Flapjack by Daniels for 2. Daniels goes for a Lionsault, but nobody’s home. Daniels goes for a suplex, but Styles reverses into a brainbuster. Daniels rolls out of the ring. Daniels and Styles fight on the apron. Styles slaps Daniels halfway into the ring, leaving him balanced on the ropes… springboard guillotine leg drop by Styles for 2. STO into a modified sleeper by Daniels. Styles reverses it into a 2 count. Daniels balances across the top rope, leg drop for 2. Daniels hits a modified powerbomb for 2. Styles levels Daniels with a Lariat and hits a power slam for 2. Front face drop by Styles for 2. Daniels hit a STO, and then a rotating Powerbomb for 2. Daniels went for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Styles grabs the top rope and knocks Styles off. Crucifix Facebuster for 2. Styles goes for the Styles Clash, but Daniels rolls through for an ankle lock. Styles breaks out, and Daniels and Styles trade near-falls. Styles bounces off the ropes for the float over reverse DDT, but Daniels reverses for the Last Rites (rolling cutter) for 3.
Winner: Christopher Daniels by pinfall with the Last Rites at 22:43
Rating: **** – Beautiful match. Daniels and Styles pulled out all the stops here, with some excellent chain wrestling at the beginning, going almost the first 10 minutes match without even trying once for a near-fall. Magnificent.
Thus, the Final Four, who will wrestle in the finals for the ROH Championship at the next event are Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, Doug Williams, and Brian “Spanky” Kendrick. We clip for a bit, with Donnie B. in the ring with a couple announcements. The first is that… Christopher Daniels is going to grab the mike and interrupt the first announcement. Spanky comes out and tells Daniels to shut up and gives Daniels a shot to the mouth. Donnie B gets the mike back, and announces that they’ve got a TV deal on a local network. We clip again with the Final Four and John Finnegan going to unveil the ROH title. However, Daniels tries to steal the belt, ultimately leading to the Final Four getting into a brawl in the ring, and Finnegan rolls out of the ring, realizing that this is not a good place for a Ref right now. We end with Low Ki refusing to release a choke hold on Christopher Daniels. They ultimately carry Low Ki and Daniels, with the hold still applied, out of the ring.
After the event, Styles promotes a 3 way dance between himself and 2 other NWA-Wildside wrestlers. Rudy Boy Gonzalez goes looking for Luscious, and Spanky gloats with American Dragon, leading to a 2-out-of-3 falls match between the two at their event in Boston. Oh, and the Carnage Crew beat up a couple members of the ring crew to show what they’re going to do to the Natural Born Sinners… so who are the faces in this match again – or are they both heels?
Overall Rating: *** – A very, very meh undercard, redeemed by a stellar main event. The Quarterfinals overall were excellent. The undercard though could have been better… but that’s what you get with a tournament, I guess.