ON THE ROAD: ROH “Do or Die IV” & Third Anniversary Day 1 (02/19/05)
LACEY~! becomes the ANDERSON~! you most want to put the BLAST ON~! EBESSAN! Hardcore Icon! AUSTIN ARIES! Blows up real good! RING CREW EXPRESS! Station! BRYAN DANIELSON! American Werewolf in Elizabeth! PRINCE NANA! Is considered GENIUS~! in France! Your REXPLEX MEMORIAL EDITION of the ROH 2/19/05 Road Report!
RD : Rev Ray Duffy “I’ve got ups! WAKKAWAKKAWAKKA!”
PP : Pogo Pete Stein “CHICKEN! Fight like a robot!”
RD : Pete called me up on like Wednesday about hitting this show. Originally, we both kind of hoped to go the Chikara triple shot, but with them being out in the middle of nowhere and not having access to a car sort of put the kaibosh on that. Since Billy Ken Kid and Ebessan were both booked for ROH, I figured if I wanted to see them, this would be my chance. Let me preface this by pointing out that as usual, I was lazy in starting this and it was a very long ass day since we did the Showcase and the main show, which is about 7 hours of wrestling and about 20 matches.
PP : A pox on Quack’s first-born for holding a tournament like that in the middle of Bumblefuck Pennsylvania. Nevertheless the prospects of live Ebessan were more than enough to get me to go.
RD : We set up camp in one of the bleachers with Johnny Sorrow and his wife. Pete proclaims her to be like most of the wives on the board : infinitely cooler than the person their married to. We checked out the merch tables. I will say this, the Prince Nana Embassy shirt is awesome because it has his face on Ghana currency on the back.
PP: Marsha is the coolest and would fit quite nicely with the rest of the DVDVR Wives’ Club as she is a million times cooler than the poster she married. ROH has a ton of puro merch from the Big Three, and I would’ve jumped all over the Kojima “Peanuts” shirt if they weren’t asking $45 for it. I settle for the new masked wrestler magazine (score!) and gird myself for a loooooong day of the wrestling.
MATCH 1: ALLISON DANGER vs. LACEY
RD : This was kind of eh. Lacey started doing a bunch of arm work in this. She did a neat arm whip move and then started to bust out a bunch of stuff where she had Danger in a hammerlock and dropped her on her arm, like a side suplex and some other things. I made a guess that maybe Lacey was an Anderson, but she didn’t really have the receding hairline. Some of the strikes looked off, including one where someone was rearing back for a punch and like hooked their arm in the top rope before staring their punch. This started to look like it was falling apart when they took it home. I’m forgetting what the finish was, but I remember there being a DDT that looked like the only thing that hit the mat was Danger’s hair. Lacey won. Shaky match, but Lacey’s arm work was a lot of fun.
PP: Dynamic was kind of weird for this as Alison’s a heel in ROH but was playing face here while Lacey played heel, so there wasn’t a ton of heat. Lacey had some cool stuff working her over.
MATCH 2: THE HEARTBREAK EXPRESS (Phil & Sean Davis) vs. THE CHRISTOPHER ST CONNECTION (Mace & BUFF E) w/ Ariel
RD : Heartbreak Express are from Full Impact Pro in Florida. Unfortunately, the FIP site doesn’t actually list what their names are and we couldn’t make out their names from the announcements. They both wear pink and purple. One is short and really fat. Like the was the love child of Playboy Buddy Rose and Super Porky. He also kind of sounded like Cartman on the mic. He’s got “You’re Just Jealous” on the back of trunks, though quite frankly he could have had a few chapters of War and Peace on there too. Mostly comedy. Buff E yelled out “OH MY GOD YOU’RE HUGE” when the fat one put him in a headlock. They did a spot where the Express are whipped together and one falls out of the corner into the other’s groin, followed by the CSC joining in on the action. Mace was face in peril for a bit and made the hot tag to Buff E, who hit a double chickenchoker slam on the Express before the CSC hit the Gaybasher on the skinny one.
PP: Not sure if these are the same guys who worked the WWE tapings as the Heartbreakers… regardless, the gimmick is stupendous and I could totally see them doing this gimmick on Heat. The fat guy in particular (who I proclaimed the illegitimate lovechild of Rusty Brooks and Futoshi Miwa) was shockingly good, even busting out an MDII on Mace at one point. The “YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS” gear is tremendous… if he was in Japan he could’ve put his entire Mook listing on his ass. CSC go over but the ‘Breaks should be brought back at some point. It should be noted that most of the showcase seemed to be built around ROH vs FIP with lots of “interpromotional” matches.
MATCH 3: CHEECH (w/ Cloudy) vs. VORDELL WALKER
RD : Vordell was using music which had samples from Pac Man in it which made the geek in me mark out. I think Pete said it was “Game Over” by Lil Flip. This was kind of short and kind of on the squash side, but Vordell looked really good in this. He threw some nice strikes and got a huge pop when he launched Cheech with a release german. Vordell also did a neat move where he had Cheech set up for like a face eraser and kicked him in the chest as he was going down and then hit a wheelbarrow suplex follow up out of it. Vordell ended up winning with a complex move that was like a press slam into a rock bottom type move to score the pin. Vordell looked really good in this and even got a “Please come back” chant.
PP: Ray is the most unhip man on the planet as he thought “Game Over” was some new-fangled remix of “Pac-Man Fever.”
RD: Sorry, I let my subscription to the Source expire.
PP: This was the Vordell Walker Show as he took about 80% and looked really good with a ton of hot moves. Cheech had a couple of cool spots as well but was really just there to bump like a freakazoid for Vordell’s stuff. Fun squash.
MATCH 4: SHANE HAGADORN/MATT TURNER vs. JERK JACKSON/SCOTT CARDINAL
RD : This was the battle of the ROH trainees against two guys I’ve never seen before. Of course, ROH doesn’t have their site with results. And they don’t seem to have a photo gallery of their roster. And I don’t think that any of the guys obeyed the indy law that says if you’re a rookie you should wear a shirt or tights with big bold letters of what your name is on them. I don’t know who the ROH trainees are or the names of their opponents, though one had Infamous on his tights and the other had a Punisher style skull on his. This was kind of there. The unknown guys in red looked the better of the two teams in the ring, including hitting some nice double teams. The red team hit a nice move which was like a double knee face breaker/face eraser combo into a wheelbarrow suplex on the lesser of the two students and the better of the ROH students ended up hitting a roll up for the win.
PP: I can’t tell the trainees apart without names, but the Johnny Kashmere-looking one did NOT have a good night as he almost killed himself going up for a vertical suplex at one point and didn’t even appear to know how to run the ropes properly. Seriously, very stiff and forced every time he got whipped to the ropes, which really stood out against the rest of the show, and not in a good way. The wrong team went over here.
MATCH 5: DAVEY ANDREWS/ANTHONY FRANCO (w/ CM Punk) vs. RICKY LANDELL/ ALEX LAW (w/ Steve Corino)
RD : Rival Schools explode. I can only figure out who Landell and Law are due to them getting the Corino special announcer intro and the fact that Landell has his name written on his jacket. This was ok. I’m not sure which of the ROH students is which, but one is a bit more muscular than the other one and his stuff looked better. Law looked the better of his team and hit some nasty looking knees and strikes during this. The better of the two ROH students seemed to be setting up a mock spot of Corino as he yelled out a bunch of stuff in Japanese and trying to hit either an underhook suplex or DDT, but it looked like he blew the spot.
PP: “CORINO BAKA! D-D-T!” *polite applause* The best part of this was the interaction between Corino and Punk as Corino makes the “Are you SHITTING me, Pyle?” face to Punk who laughs and begs off.
RD: Law ended up scoring the pin with a running knee to the face of someone who was sitting on the mat.
PP: Law is probably the best of the trainees as his strikes looked very crisp and he and Landell were flashing some personality. Best ticket-seller match ever.
MATCH 6: EL GENERICO vs. ARIK CANNON vs. FAST EDDIE VEGAS (w/ Dave Prazak) vs. JOSH DANIELS
RD : Generico came out to a pretty big pop. Prazak announced that Eddie was part of his FIP stable, Dave Prazak Associates and also mentioned his last name of Vegas, which he hasn’t used in ROH as far as I know. He now has poker chips on his tights. Prazak said that nothing hurts more than DP. Prazak looks amazingly sleazy with the blonde hair. I think Pete jokingly said he looks like Corinocito. Generico made a good impression in this, working the crowd really well. He did a bunch of comedy spots, a bunch of them revolving around him taking stiff chops from Daniels and not being able to answer back with as stiff shots. This resulted in him stomping on someone’s toe instead of continuing the exchange. I think he also covered a blown spot where there was a clothesline attempt that he was supposed to duck, but he bumped for anyway, so he rolled out to the floor and patted his chest like he was happy he had avoided it. This was my first time seeing Cannon and I’m not sure if the 4 way lay out is the best place to showcase his move set. Vegas was working kind of cocky heelish in this. The finish had Vegas hit his moonsault fall away slam move (Dan Barry’s Irish Car Bomb/the move D’Lo Brown was using from time to time) on Cannon. I was kind of surprised he was able to do it as Cannon’s on the beefy side.
PP: You can see how the CZW/JAPW exposure has been a boon to the Montreal crew as Generico was over like a mofo the second “Ole!” hit. This got a lot of time and was a nice showcase for all four guys… Eddie in particular got a lot of time and looked really good, but this was really Generico’s match as he got the lion’s share of the heat and had a great outing.
MATCH 7: “MR WRESTLING” KEVIN STEEN vs. B-BOY
RD : This was probably the match of the showcase card. Both guys got pretty good reactions from the crowd. Steen wrestled without his t-shirt this time. Steen teased the package piledriver a few times. He also hit his big moonsault too. B-Boy got in his big double boots to the face with the guy in the corner spot. I think this is the match where two guys were fighting on the apron and B-Boy gave Steen a reverse DDT on the ring apron. Steen hit his package piledriver, but was kind of out of it to cover. In the mean time, B-Boy had rolled out to the floor. Steen did a good job of when he recovered noticing B-Boy was gone and being really upset when he realized he had to drag him back into the ring to attempt the pin. Of course, by the time he actually got him back in the ring, B-Boy recovered enough to kick out. I forget what the exact finishing sequence was, but B-Boy eventually hit I think a swinging DDT and followed it up with the Shining Wizard to score the pin.
MATCH 8: ANTONIO BANKS vs. HOMICIDE (w/ Rocky Romero) – FIP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
RD : Banks came out first and did a little mic work. It seemed like he was trying to cut a babyface promo to try to get himself over and also point out that he also had street cred so he was used to dealing with guys like Homicide, but it just didn’t get over really at all. The crowd was really dead for this, it wasn’t really a terrible match, it was more sort of there. Homicide did a lot of selling and Banks got a bunch of stuff in. He had some nice elbows but it was really just sort of there. It was really like the crowd was waiting for something to go wrong so they could crap on the match which they sort of did when there was an ugly looking bump on a suplex attempt. Homicide eventually got the win after hitting a few lariats. Post match, CM Punk ran in and jumped Homicide and stole the FIP belt. I guess that’s payback for putting him on the mechanical bull.
PP: Banks was ice-cold to everyone coming out… and his promo didn’t really help his cause either. Perfectly fine old-school promo for the Deep South, but not the kind of promo you want to cut up here if you’re trying to make an impact right away. I wasn’t feeling Banks so I bailed out for the facilities after the bell and missed most of the match as a result. I will say that the FIP Title is a great looking belt… Punk must agree, as he runs in after the match, beats down Homicide and jacks the title.
RD : This brought an end to the afternoon show. We trekked over to the IKEA cafeteria to have dinner, along with probably half the crowd and some of the ROH staff. I ended up having oven roasted chicken which was surprisingly not horrible and didn’t give me food poisoning and enjoyed some fine lingonberry juice.
PP: 10-piece Swedish meatball dinner with fries, Sprite/lingonberry juice mix and toffee candy torte thingy with no ill after-effects for $5.28. I love the Ikea. We head back to the Plex and Ray hits the video games while I go watch some of the indoor soccer games being played. Nothing says “high comedy” like Cerveza Aguila sponsoring a U-12 soccer team. Later on Colt Cabana makes me lose it as he’s bopping around in a Doug Collins Basketball Campt-shirt.
RD : We head back to the Rexplex to kill some time but nothing really of note happens. Their arcade wasn’t as good as I remembered from two or three years ago. I was tempted to beat up little kids on the thing they had set up which was similar to the American Gladiators jousting event, but opted to read Pete’s Japanese Mask magazine instead. When we got into the arena again, the cage was set up as I think someone said they saw Evans and Devito testing out the cage for the scramble cage later in the evening. Ebessan ended up coming out to sign autographs and I got everyone at his table to dork out when they saw the Ken the Box/DVDVR shirt. The great part was watching the girl who was at the table with him doing the swinging branch dance. I tried to explain that one of the guys he fought the night before did the shirt for as as he faced Shirley Doe in the Chikara tourney. I ended up picking up a DVD from him and got him to sign this year’s roster puro mag. DVD turned out to have a bunch of BAPESTA matches and included Ebestan Hansen v. Fuchi.
PP: We get back over to our seats with Johnny and Marsha and I scout ahead for the Osaka boys’ table. Ebessan is so nice it hurts, plus he speaks fluent English so there’s no language barrier.
Ebessan: “Buy my DVD! Very very funny!”
Me: “I’ll come back.”
Ebessan: “I wait!”
I go roaring back to our seats and herd Ray over there so they can get a load of the Ken shirt. And they react EXACTLY like every Japanese crowd you’ve ever seen when someone hits a big move in a match. Ebessan, his GF, Jimmy Suzuki, two other guys at table: “WOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” One thing leads to another and before you know it, Ray has his DVD, I have his towel, we’re going to hook Ebessan up with a Ken shirt, and it’s all good. A grand time is had by all.
RD : The show opened up with the locker room heading out to the ring. Initially I was trying to figure out who had died, but fortunately it was a weekend without someone in wrestling dying. CM Punk was given the mic and gave a thank you speech from the wrestlers to the fans who had supported them through the highs and lows of the past year. They also promised to make 2005 a better year. This is followed up with a big build up of music followed by Corino, his trainees and his announcer coming to the ring. Corino takes the mic from the announcer and calls out Roderick Strong to face him. This leads to….
MATCH 1: STEVE CORINO (w/Alex Law & Ricky Landell & Announcer) vs. RODERICK STRONG
RD : Corino was wearing his Z-1 white American flag gear. He was all banged up as it looked like his hand/thumb was in a cast. Strong hits the ring and they pretty much go right at it. Strong spent part of the match working on one of Corino’s knees before he started going to his usual backbreaker based offense. I think at one point the ref got bumped or distracted and Law and Landell did a run in to hit a few moves before bailing out of the ring again. Corino eventually murderlizes Strong with a lariat, and it was a pretty nasty one too to score the pin. Post match Corino does some mic work and says how 5 years ago, he was the guy who was running around making a name for himself by beating up all the broken down veterans and now the tables are turned on him with a young guy coming after him as the broken down veteran. He compliments Strong on his skills and asks him to shake his hand, but Strong I think flips him off and bails out of the ring instead. I think Landell and Law threw streamers either during the impromptu ring intros or after Corino had won the match.
PP: Corino’s Z1-USA gear is fabulous. He hits the ring and eschews his usual freaked-out intro, calling Strong out right away and it’s on like Donkey Kong. For some reason I got confused and thought Strong had won this before remembering that Law/Landell ran in and cost Strong the victory. Of course, that makes the booking all screwy as you have the babyface needing outside help to beat the nominal heel.
MATCH 2: JIMMY RAVE (w/Prince Nana & The Outkast Killaz & John Walters) vs. JAY LETHAL
RD : Nana comes out first with Rave and the OK. Oman and Diablo are dressed in black shirts and pants so they sort of look like the nise Basham Brothers. Johnny brought up that Nana apparently does standup. I try to come up with scenarios for Nana’s act, like him as an observational comedian : “Did you ever notice that the women in East Ghana walk like this… but the women in West Ghana…”. Pete suggests that Nana actually be a prop comic. Nana ends up bringing out John Walters too. Walters has new music and a new gear and robes and some sort of head dress thing. He’s sort of growing in his beard, so with the outfit he kind of looks like Muhammad Hassan. Fuck all the people who are hating on Lethal working against Jimmy Rave. I’ve seen this match up twice now and both times the matches have been good. Both guys chopped the shit out of each other. Rave busted out some tricked out move that was sort of a russian leg sweep where he used his arm to grab and pull Lethal’s leg. Rave took and an extremely crazy and high bump on a back body drop. I could have swore Rave’s foot almost hit the lighting fixture over the ring. Finish had Rave trying to hit the Rave Clash and Jay twisting and rolling through Rave’s legs and coming up behind him to hit a dragon suplex and score the win. Another fun match between these too. Post match, Nana got on the mic and I think said something about “Is this how you treat a young African American” in reference to what happened to Rave. Nana said something about it being the champion’s choice on when he wanted to defend his title, so of course, he decided to take his match now.
PP: We were distracted early as we kept on figuring out what kind of shtick Nana would doing when he works stand-up. “GhanaWest Africa’s number-one high energy prop comic!” With Nana as the mouthpiece and the OCKs in dress slacks and black shirts, the Embassy is the greatest JBL Cabinet ever. Nana does some micwork and brings out Walters in full native outfit to a huge pop. As colorless as Walters is, that gimmick works for five in the personality department and this has to be the most heat he’s ever gotten. Another fun match between the two, and shockingly hot given that Helen Keller could see the end result to this one. Jay goes over and Nana is freaking hysterical as he rants about how “this is no way to treat a young black man!” Walters then gets on the mic, says something in Ghanaian and translates it for us ignorant Americans as “I want the match NOW!”
MATCH 3: JAY LETHAL vs. JOHN WALTERS
RD : I’m not particularly fond of Walters work in the past, but I didn’t hate this match. Of course, I don’t remember a whole lot of it either, but it was still pretty fun. Pete noted it seemed like Jay was starting to run out of steam towards the end of this. Since this was the Pure Title match, they had the limited number of breaks. Eventually got had both used them up. I forget if Jay hit the diving DDT in this or the Rave match. Finish was Walters catching Jay in his cross arm lung blower move (basically, he stands behind the guy with their arm cross and falls on his back driving his knees into the guy’s back when they fall to the mat). Walters chained 3 of these together and then got the pin… while holding the ropes since it was legal for him to do it.
PP: Walters going over was a HUGE surprise to me and pretty much everyone else in the crowd since it was Jay’s backyard and he’s been getting the big push as of late. That said, I had no beef with the match or the finish as they did a dandy job of protecting him. We were also figuring on Rave a beatdown from the Embassy which didn’t happen either.
MATCH 4 : BILLY KEN KID vs. EBESSAN
RD: Both got a pretty good reaction coming out, Ebessan especially. They worked comedy spots, but it wasn’t really a full blown comedy match like Ebessan and Kuishinbo Kamen would work. Early on Ebessan tries to flip out of an armbar but of course, only worsens his situation by doing it. He asks the ref for help and then tries to bribe him. It should be noted that they jacked some Flair spots with Ebessan doing the flop and BKK doing the strut, though Pete debates it being closer to a Double J/Fargo strut. I think this was my first time seeing BKK aside from some heavily chopped up footage from the Osaka Hurricane show from a few years ago. He looked pretty good in this. BKK ended up going over with the 450. An OK match, I was kind of expecting a little more wackiness in this match, but that was saved up for later.
PP: This was the perfect match to follow all the heat/emotion of the previous bout. Ebessan has the crowd in stitches right away as BKK slaps the armbar on: “OUCH!” He continues in this vein for awhile, trying to bribe the ref to help him out (“How much? I pay you!”) and the crowd is basically eating out of his hand by the time this sequence wraps up. Funny that a Japanese guy connects better with the fans than all but a handful of native Americans on the entire show. BKK looks really sharp here, hitting this tricked out springboard flip dive to the floor. He also flashes a ton of personality too which surprised me, particularly after he chops Ebessan down in the corner and hits the Fargo Strut with this huge grin as he soaks in the crowd reaction. I could go for more BKK matches after seeing his work here.
MATCH 5: JIMMY JACOBS vs. ALEX SHELLEY
RD : This is the first time for me seeing really anything substantial between of these two. I think I might have seen one Jacobs match before and maybe seen Shelley in some TNA 5 minute match. Jacobs got in the HUSS!ing headlock early in the match. In the middle he hit a spear… well, in his case, maybe more like a dart. He tried to give one to Shelley while he was on the ropes and ended up taking the tope to nowhere. At one point Jacobs got Shelley in a crossface type move which I guessing is Shelley’s BorderCity Stretch, but Shelley was able to rope break. Yeah, this was at the point where we were starting to say that this has been one long ass day. Shelley ended up catching Jacobs in the BorderCity Stretch to score the win. Post match, Shelley got the mic and said that he and Jacobs had a long history with each other since a promoter “Let’s call him Ian R… wait that’s too obvious, I. Rotten” had started signing them in matches against each other. He said since he got booted from Generation Next that he had to start to make up for all the things he had done and since he had the most history with Jacobs, he wanted Jacobs to be the first one to shake his hand. Jacobs ended up kicking Shelley in the stomach and gave him the Slice Bread No 2 before leaving.
PP: First off, you haven’t lived till you’ve heard 1000 people singing along with “The Touch” as Jacobs comes out. STAN BUSH LIIIIIVES! Shelley shockingly wins the battle of the ring gear as he has his name spelled out in a ransom notice-style font. If Jacibs had worn the PURPLE moon boots he would’ve won this in a walk. A group of guys to our right make me lose it as they start chanting “Huss” ala the “CHARGE!” song you hear at baseball games. “Da da da daaaa da daaaaa! HUSS!” Shelley goes over and tries to make up with Jacobs, who’s too busy jawing away with a fan in the front row (who would be getting under the skin of many a worker as the night dragged on). Jacobs snaps out of it long enough to tease making up with Shelley, only to lay him out with the Contra Code and walk out. A lot of people were describing this as a heel turn, which I don’t buy as he seemed to get over bigger as a face once he Coded Shelley.
MATCH 6: SPANKY vs. CM PUNK
RD : This was the point that Johnny disappeared to go find his wife since Punk is one of the few wrestlers she actually likes and she had taken off to the bar/night club that’s in the Rexplex. I think the stipulations of the match was that the winner became number one contender or something. Ummm.. stuff happened in this match. Spanky I think worked over Punk’s knee for a bit. I’m drawing a blank. Spanky hits the Sliced Bread No 2 off the ropes to get the win. Post match, Prince Nana and the Outkast Killaz come out. Nana congratulates Spanky on his big win. He says that since he’s a winner, unlike CM Punk, he’s invited to party with the Embassy after the show. Spanky says “Thanks, but no thanks” and ends up leaving the ring. As Nana gets pissed and Punk is laughing at him, Nana starts trading barbs with him. It eventually comes to fisticuffs with Punk running off Nana and stealing his crown. And I think putting it on upside down. Punk tells Nana that the Embassy is nothing compared to the SecondCity Saints. Punk also ends up spitting his gum at some guy in the crowd and basically calls him out as apparently he talks shit at the wrestlers or something at multiple shows. It may have been the save guy that Jacobs threatened at one point too. Some other guy in crowd got spat at by someone during the night who was sitting in the front row.
PP: That *splat* you heard was Ray and I hitting the wall as this was Match 14 on the night and I felt like I should be waiting for the F Train at the Grand Ave. stop in Queens outside the Elk’s Lodge. Nothing against Punk or Spanky, but we were mentally brain-dead at this point and spent most of the match talking with the Sorrows and Sabre Mike. Postmatch with the fan was the most memorable part of this to me as Punk really went to town on the guy (who was actually around the corner from the guy Jacobs had problems with), talking about how it’s guys like him who make it hard on the other fans after the workers talked earlier about how much they cared for them. For some reason Punk gets an s-load of heel heat from certain sections of fans in ROH, but he was 100% face with the crowd by the time this wrapped up.
MATCH 7: THE HAVANA PITBULLS (Rocky Romero & Ricky Reyes) (w/ Julius Smokes) vs. DAN MAFF/BJ WHITMER – ROH TAG TEAM TITLES
RD : There was an added stipulation if Maff and Whitmer didn’t win the titles, they had to split up. Another match I’m really drawing a blank on stuff happening in. Something happens which leaves Reyes in the ring alone with Maff, I think the Pitbulls might have hit each other or Smokes by mistake. Maff hits Reyes with the Burning Hammer to win the belts. At this point, they have the prom queen Allison Danger come out. Allison claims since she owns Maff and Whitmer, they can’t sign for title matches. She pulls out a contract and claims that it was a non-title match. Smokes tries to take the belts back but ends up getting a beating/thrown out of the ring for his troubles. Maff freaks out and grabs her and tells her to rip up the contract. She doesn’t do it fast enough so she ends up taking an exploder from Whitmer… she might have taken the Burning Hammer too. So, Whitmer and Maff are the tag champs… I think. And the real solution to all their problems with Danger could have just be solved months ago if they had just beat her up or something.
RD : At this point they announced that the Inoki office and NWA would be bringing a one night super Jrs tournament to the next Elizabeth show with the winner getting to compete in this years NJPW Best of the Super Jr’s tourney.
PP: And in an ASTOUNDING coincidence, said tourney just happens to be the week before the Super 8. I call shenanigans.
RD : Up next was Mick Foley. Foley came out to talk his angle with Joe. He pointed out how well the angle in Boston had gotten over since he came out to a pop and not boos. Foley does know the way to get a cheap heel pop and that’s just to mention Triple H or put him over as a great wrestler in any way. That’s sure to get a boo as mentioning the city’s name is to get a cheer. Joe came out and Foley explained how there had been a change of plans in who the mystery opponent would be. Earlier in the day we were rattling around who Foley would have had, names thrown out by us were Al Snow, Test and maybe Mikey Whipwreck. Foley says that he planned to bring out a former WWE tag team and Hardcore champion and close personal friend of Stacy Keibler and bring out Test. But he realized that Test hadn’t wrestled in a while do to an injury. He said that he though about then saying that he had another former Tag and hardcore champion who was also a close personal friend of Stacy Keibler and that then he would fight Joe, but he realized that he wasn’t in shape to do it. He said that instead he found a promising prospect, who he was sure Vince McMahon would be drooling over when he introduced him and brought out Vordell Walker.
PP: Personally I was expecting Tommy Dreamer to be the mystery guy, especially since it isn’t like he’s on the active roster anymore and I could’ve seen him doing a one-shot like this. Then again it might’ve been a little too obvious.
MATCH 8: SAMOA JOE vs. VORDELL WALKER
RD : Wow, talk about being put in an awkward position. After having a strong showing in the showcase, a relative unknown is pulled out to have to face the former champion. This was kind of fun but really short. Vordell’s stuff looked good, especially his kicks and strikes. Joe hit his big knees and went for the choke early, but Vordell was able to rope break out. Vordell ended up charging Joe and Joe put him away in with the choke. They had him escape Joe’s finish once, but it was really too short to do him any good if they’re going to bring Vordell back.
PP: Vordell got a pretty weak reaction coming out given that he was one of the standout guys on the afternoon showcase, but then a good portion of the evening crowd probably wouldn’t have gone to the afternoon show, being less freakish than we are when it comes to America’s Favorite Sport. Vordell looks good whipping out most of the stuff he used against Cheech earlier, but Joe eventually puts him away with the choke.
RD : Post match, Foley gets on the mic again and says that he was afraid something like that would happen. He then informs Joe that he did have someone else lined up. Foley said that there was a new hardcore legend and that he was passing the torch to them. Foley pointed out that he wasn’t wearing his usual red and black flannel and Wanted Dead shirt because he had passed them on… to Ebetus Jack.
PP: “‘Abyss Jack?’ Abyss is the mystery guy? OK, this could wor-HOLY SHIT!!!”
MATCH 9: SAMOA JOE vs. EBETUS JACK
RD: When Foley initially said it, we were having a problem figuring out what the first part of what he said was. Initially I thought he said “Abyss Jack”, but I was shocked and amazed at what I saw. Out came Ebessan in Foley’s t-shirt and flannel, now sporting a wig and beard. The whole crowd lost it. It was fucking awesome. In fact, the only thing that would have been better was if Ebessan was missing part of his giant ear and the look would have been totally complete. To top it off, Ebessan wrestles like Foley. Doing the Foley style forearm punches and the corner running knee at blinding Foley rates of speed. He also threw in liberal doses of “Bang! Bang!” poses. Foley interfered a couple times, including throwing in pointers on the proper way to throw his punches. Ebessan sets up for the hipbuster from the top turnbuckle and gets the crowd to clap along, but then thinks better of it. He stands on the bottom buckle, gets the crowd to clap along… maybe the apron would be better. Crowd claps along…. well, maybe the floor. Claps, elbow drop on the floor, huge pop. You know, if they want to make Joe the face through all of this… this wasn’t the match to do, because the crowd was hugely behind Ebessan. Joe looked like he was having a hard time keeping a straight face during this. At one point, Ebessan gets Socko.. or maybe it was Osako, I forget if it was his own or if Foley threw it to him or if Foley went for the Claw but dropped it. But Ebetus goes for the Mandible Claw… only to have Joe start biting on his hand. Eventually Joe hits the Muscle Buster to score the win and I think he and Foley fight to the back. Ebetus Jack was worth the price of admission to both shows. I was almost crying laughing from it. One million billion stars. I don’t care what the other angle was going to be, I doubt it would have topped this.
PP: So “Born To Be Wild” hits and out comes Ebessan in full Cactus gimmick, complete with “Ebeto” beard. To say the crowd goes batshit is the understatement of the year as this gets the most UNREAL reaction I’ve heard in a long time. Joe is suitably bemused/enraged and starts going to town on Ebetus, who sells the beating by staggering around making drunken “BANG BANG” poses. Mick is laughing his ass off throughout and even Joe is laughing at one point as Mick tries to teach Ebetus how to throw the punches. Mick takes out Joe on the floor and cheerleads as Ebetus sets up for the hipbuster from the middle turnbuckle… no wait, let’s try the bottom turnbuckle… maybe the apron? No?… how about the floor? YES! He hits the elbow and a huge “HOLY SHIT!” chant erupts from the crowd for your new God of wrestling. Mick eventually hits the ring and they double-team Joe for awhile until he somehow tosses Mick and hits the Muscle Buster on Ebetus for the pin. If Ebetus had done the “BANG BANG” pose flat on his back after taking the Buster I would’ve named my first-born for him. Joe and Mick go after each other one more time postmatch until Austin Aries comes out and waylays Joe with something. Joe walks out with Aries and announces that they’re going to “get Brian Gewertz on the phone,” which finally leads to that heel reaction they’d been begging for. Actually, I think EVERYONE in this was a heel as the crowd turned on Joe for beating up Ebessan, Aries got heat for jumping Joe, and Mick got heat for leaving with Aries. And when the smoke clears, the biggest babyface for this deal is the Japanese guy who lost clean twice in a row and probably isn’t coming back anytime soon. As Ray said, Ebessan totally made everyone’s night and this report can’t possibly do justice for how hysterically funny this was. A million billion stars.
MATCH 10: HOMICIDE (w/Rocky Romero) vs. “AMERICAN DRAGON” BRYAN DANIELSON – Taped Fist Match
RD: Dragon is growing a beard. Pete says it’s the greatest playoff beard ever. I think it more looks like when Cliff Clavin and everyone else decided to grow beards on Cheers… “AH! WOLFMAN!” This was the second match in their series. I wasn’t too jazzed by this. I think they used the gimmick pretty well. I mean, they threw plenty of punches, a lot which looked nasty, but I’m not sure if it’s a really a stip that lives up so well in this time of chair shots and weapon shots. They decided to brawl in the crowd so we ended up missing a lot of this. Then they brawled over by us… to which I wished they were back at the other side of the arena. Eventually it gets back in the ring. Danielson ends up blading, I think from Homicide using the fork on him. Danielson did throw a lot of punches to Homicide’s back to get him in the la tapatia. He also attempted the airplane spin, but seemed to run out of gas due to the bleeding. The finish to this was kind of bad. Smokes runs out and wraps I think a chain around Homicide’s fist and tapes it on, or attempts to. Homicide decks Dragon and gets the win. We follow this with an intermission to set up for the cage main events. It should be noted that the Ring Crew Express totally live the gimmick as they were out helping construct the cage.
PP: AD with the full-on playoff beard sooooo looks like a Seattle Thunderbird defenseman in Game 7 of the Western Hockey League finals. This was really intense, although I agree with Ray that the taped fist stip doesn’t really hold up too well anymore. Then again maybe they wanted an old-time stip to match Danielson’s look. They start out in the crowd right away and after a couple of minutes I get a pretty good “WE CAN”T SEE SHIT” chant going… well, they must’ve heard us because about 10 seconds later it turns into 300 people around us yelling “AHHH CRAP!” at once as Homicide and AD go barreling into our section whaling away on each other. Finish was okay to me although I don’t buy the idea of having to distract the ref for the finish in a no-DQ match.
Intermission hits and I will note that Ebessan’s merch is basically sold out by the time the cage is up.
MATCH 11: COLT CABANA vs. AUSTIN ARIES – ROH Heavyweight Title in a Steel Cage
RD : At the start of the match, I was kind of not feeling the hate for this cage match. The again, Cabana circling the ring to “Copa Cabana” while wearing a satin blue jacket with a big smiley face on the back will sort of do that. This was pretty good. They did some nice teases of escapes with the other guy running and cutting them off and tying them up so they couldn’t crawl out the door. Cabana bled first after taking a bunch of shots into the cage. They did a few big teases on the top of the cage with I think them teasing a german while standing on the middle of the ropes while someone was holding the top of the cage. Eventually Colt got mad and starting dishing out some punishment. I think he hit a really great lariat during this. Finish was kind of neat as Colt has Aries beaten down and goes for the over the top escape. As he’s climbing over and about to drop down, Aries gets up and signals for them to open the door and more or less does a tope con hilo to nowhere out the door to beat Colt to the floor. A pretty good match though this was also starting to feel the effects of the very long day I was having coming to fruition.
PP: You can see the push for Aries as he now has one of the big intros they reserve for a handful of guys in the company. In his case it’s a strobe light/smoke show to the Marilyn Manson “Personal Jesus” cover. Not exactly being a religious follower of ROH’s angles, I wasn’t sure what exactly had transpired between Aries and Colt that would require their first match to be a cage match. Then again, I grew up on the MSG Formula where you need at least two other matches before graduating to the cage. That said, this got pretty good and heated after the feeling out portion to start things off. They did some neato spots like Colt suplexing Aries into the cage a bunch of times. Finish was pretty great and all sorts of nutty as Aries runs halfway across the ring and does a blind tope atomico through the door to the floor just as Colt was about to climb down. Very well done, especially since Aries could’ve easily killed his momentum hitting the door or ropes and inadvertently thrown Colt the title.
MATCH 12: GENERATION NEXT (Jack Evans & Roderick Strong) vs. SPECIAL K (Izzy & Deranged) vs. THE CARNAGE CREW (Devito & Loc) vs. DIXIE/AZRIEAL vs. THE RING CREW EXPRESS (Dunn & Marcos)
RD : This started with the great excitement of the ring crew trying to figure out how to put the platforms on correctly on the top of the cage. They also removed the cage door for this match as I don’t think they could close it and half the platform up in the corner. The stipulations added to the match was that the winners got like 10 times the pay and winning team had to leave or not wrestle as a team for like 60 or 90 days. GeNext started out with Izzy and Deranged. Izzy took a really crazy bump where Strong just picked him up like for a press slam and just threw him out of the ring through the door. This ended up going out to the floor at some point and Strong got hurt, though since they were brawling around, I missed how and when it happened. I saw Strong go out to the floor and it was sort of the last we saw of him until I told Pete “hey, someone’s missing.” The Carnage Crew were the next in. They did some spot where Deranged got hung upside down on the cage after something, I think Loc or Devito giving him a vertical suplex into the cage and Deranged’s pants leg sort of getting snagged on the top of the cage. Dixie and Azriel were next in. I forget if Azriel is now going by that name or by Angel Dust since he and Dixie are now out of Special K I think. Ring Crew Express were the last guys in and they did their entrance into the cage by both climbing up on platforms and doing more or less stage dives onto two piles of people. Big spots off the top included Devito hitting a moonsault, Azriel crotching I think Evans on the ring ropes and doing a double stomp off the top onto his head and Izzy doing a 450 big dive to the floor. I’m drawing a blank if Evans got to hit something. For some reason I think he was teasing a spot and Devito was the one who knocked him down or stopped him to set up his moonsault. Finish was the crew throwing a table in the ring. It seemed like they were trying to set up a piledriver off the top through a table. While trying to set this up one of the RCE, someone attacked Loc and laid him out on the table as the other RCE member saved his partner. They ended up doing their throw the little one off the big one’s shoulders senton from the top of the cage. They didn’t have full extension, but fuck, I’m not making fun of them because I’d rather see them get the spot in safely than trying to over do it. They went for the pin, though it looked like someone got their signals crossed as they only counted two on Loc and then they just went for the cover again and got the three. RCE win the match and the Carnage Crew is out for like 1 show or something.
RD : By this time, it was after midnight and we were able to beg Mike Johnson to give us a ride on his bus back to the city, so in return, if you feel like taking a bus trip to wrestling, Mike’s trips gets the AOK from me. It was a pretty good show, but in most cases, 7 hours of wrestling gets to be a bit much on you. I’m glad I went if only to see Ebetus Jack. That was worth the price of admission alone.
PP: Sweet sassy molassy was this more time than any sane person should spend in Elizabeth, NJ… which appears to be a moot point now that they’re administering last rites to the Rexplex. This was a pretty good show which promptly became THE GREATEST SHOW EVER once Ebetus Jack came out. MKJ is a king among men for letting us hitch a ride; really, the only thing missing was the Ebetus Q&A on the bus afterwards.