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8/25 ROH in St. Paul, Minn.: Dragon vs. McGuinness, Aries & Strong vs. Joe & Whitmer

Aug 28, 2006 - 5:14:00 PM

By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

ROH live event/DVD taping
August 25, 2006
St. Paul, Minn. at the Armory
Report by Chris Vetter, Torch contributor

For the first time in two and a half years, Ring of Honor held a show in the armory in St. Paul, Minn. The crowd was a legit 550 fans (which undoubtedly led to the return date slated for April 27.)

I purchased four ROH DVDs in the sale and the FIP 2006 DVD. To my surprise, that was the only FIP DVD for sale at the show. Also, only 1 IWC DVD was for sale, so I didn’t get to purchase the DVD I wanted. Definitely a bigger focus on the ROH products this time, with less DVDs from other promotions than I’ve ever seen.

The show started at 8 p.m. sharp!

(1) Mark & Jay Briscoe defeat Irish Airborne (Dave & Jake Crist) at 10:47.
Irish Airborne wore identical blue trunks, while the Briscoes wore shorts with Confederate flags on them. Jake and Mark started with some mat wrestling, and each hit a shoulder tackle. Mark hit a hard spine kick. Dave Crist hit a nice armdrag on Jay. Jay and Dave each hit a hurricanrana at 3:00. The Briscoes began to work over Jake Crist. Jay hit a kneedrop and a nice dropkick. Mark hit some hard chops on Jake. Jake came back with a nice DDT for a nearfall. Dave hit a Lionsault Press for a nearfall on Mark at 6:00.

Jay hit some chops and a European Uppercut on Dave Crist, then a snap suplex. The Briscoes hit their football-style double shoulder tackle, and they hit simultaneous chops on Dave. Jake made the hot tag at 9:00, and he hit a double missile dropkick, then a spin heel kick and a top-rope Shooting Star Press. Mark hit a springboard Doomsday Clothesline on Jake. Jay Briscoe hit a Death Valley Driver. Jay stretched Dave in a submission hold, and Dave tapped out. Wow, that was a really, really good opener.

* Jay Briscoe got on the mic and said they aren’t afraid of anyone in the locker room.

(2) Homicide defeats Jimmy Jacobs (w/Lacey) at 11:50.
Before the match began, the ROH lights lost power, so the overhead lights were turned in. To pass time, Jacobs took the mic and started serenading Lacey. No Julius tonight. Homicide refused to shake Jacobs’ hand, and he spit in it! The action immediately went to the floor, and Homicide hit a suplex onto a table! He tossed Jacobs into the guardrails repeatedly. In the ring, Homicide hit a spine kick and a shoulder block in the corner at 3:30. However, Homicide missed a second attempted shoulder block, and he re-injured his shoulder.

They fought on the floor, and Jacobs slammed Homicide’s arm into the guardrail. In the ring, Jacobs worked over the injured left arm, and he was in charge. Homicide hit a Flair Toss off the top turnbuckle, and he applied an STF at 7:00. Little crowd heat, though. Jacobs hit a top-rope spear, crashing into Homicide’s stomach. Homicide hit a butterfly suplex and some slaps to the face. Jacobs blocked Homicide’s Ace Crusher out of the corner, and Jacobs hit a top-rope senton splash. Homicide hit a second-rope superplex, then a Falcon Arrow slam for a nearfall at 10:00. Homicide went for a Copkillah, but Lacey hopped on the ring apron to distract him. Jacobs hit a pumphandle twisting neckbreaker for a believable nearfall. Cool move. Homicide nailed a hard lariat for the pin. Above average match, but somewhat of a squash.

* The Briscoes hit the ring after the match, and they nailed Homicide with the Spike Jay Driller!

(3) Christopher Daniels defeats Claudio Castagnoli at 12:33.
Good match. Claudio came to ringside with a metal briefcase. Claudio attacked Daniels before the bell, and he hit some European Uppercuts. The fans loudly chanted, “Fallen Angel!” as Claudio choked Daniels in the ropes. Daniels came back with a leg lariat, and he rammed Claudio’s head into all four turnbuckles, then he flipped Claudio to the floor. Daniels hit an Arabian Press to the floor at 2:30! Claudio dropped Daniels’ head on the ring apron. In the ring, Claudio hit some European Uppercuts, and he was annoyed with the fans for the way they mocked his “Heyyy!” chant.

In a fun spot, Claudio faked a delayed vertical suplex, dropping Daniels at 3. They fought back to the floor, where Claudio choked him on the guardrail. The lighting was suddenly fixed at 6:00, so the overhead house lights went out. They traded stiff forearms and European Uppercuts on the floor. In the ring, Claudio tossed Daniels up in the air, and he nailed him with a European Uppercut as he came down. Claudio applied a headlock on the mat, and the fans rallied back for Daniels. Daniels hit the STO Uranage, and both guys were down at 9:30.

Daniels hit a clothesline, an enziguri, and a moonsault press for a nearfall, then a Blue Thunder Bomb. Claudio hit the spin-around-the-back into a faceplant, then a top-rope elbowdrop for a nearfall. Daniels hit a uranage, but he missed the Best Moonsault Ever, and he landed on his feet. Daniels hit a Flatliner and he snapped on the Koji Clutch at 12:00, but Claudio reached the ropes. Claudio grabbed the briefcase at ringside, and he swung wildly at Daniels, but Daniels ducked it, grabbed Claudio and rolled him up for the pin.

(4) Colt Cabana & Davey Richards defeat Sal Rinauro & Jimmy Rave at 14:50.
No Prince Nana tonight, and he was missed. My first time seeing Richards live, and he really impressed me. A toilet paper shower for Rave, of course. Colt and Rave started, and Colt hit him with an extra roll of toilet paper. The fans were really getting under Rave’s skin! Wow, he’s an excellent heel. Colt hit a shoulder tackle, then a cool hurricanrana on Rave! Sal checked in, but Colt out-mat wrestled him too. Davey tagged in at 4:00, and he hit a kick to Sal’s thigh, then a hard kick to the arm out of a bridge position; the sound was so loud for this kick that the fans went nuts, and chanted, “That was awesome!”

Davey was in charge quickly, hitting a shoulder tackle on Sal, then a Mafia Kick on Rave, who was standing on the apron! Rave pulled Richards to the floor. Sal hit a plancha on Davey at 7:00, and the heels worked over Richards in the ring. Rave hit a stomp on the face and some kicks to the back. Sal hit a nice dropkick and a field goal kick, and the heels made several quick tags. Davey and Sal traded a nice series of blows, and Richards hit a Saito Suplex, and he made the hot tag to Colt at 11:30.

Colt hit a clothesline and some Dusty Elbows, then a Lionsault Press on both heels. He hit his flying buttbump on Sal. Rave spears Colt. Richards and Rave traded stiff forearms and slaps, and Richards hit the handspring-back-spin kick, then a German Suplex for a nearfall. Rave hit a nice basement dropkick on Richards for a nearfall at 14:00. Colt hit a top-rope crossbody block on Sal, then a neckbreaker over his knee on Rave. Colt bent Sal in half in a pendulum move, and Sal tapped out. Good action.

* The Briscoes appeared on the ramp, and they told Richards to stay out of their way. Richards called them rednecks, and he challenged them to a fight. The ROH students tried to keep them all separated, but Richards dove onto the Briscoes! The Briscoes and Davey & Colt fought into the crowd, and this was a quite believable looking brawl, and the crowd was HOT.


(5) Matt Sydal defeats Delirious at 16:21.
Excellent match. Delirious, as always, went crazy at the bell, and Sydal bailed out of the ring entirely. They traded mat holds and standing switches, and Sydal was frustrated with Delirious’ antics. Delirious hit a shoulder tackle; he stood over Sydal and screamed at him. Funny. They traded quick offensive moves and had a standoff. Delirious nailed a hot shot on the top rope at 4:30. Sydal hit a catapult missile dropkick into the ring for a nearfall. Cool spot! Delirious hit a cool Lungblower, and Sydal rolled to the ropes in pain. Delirious hit a back suplex, and he applied a Cobra Clutch. He screamed loudly as he rammed Sydal’s head into a turnbuckle.

Delirious nailed the Panic Attack/running knee at 8:00. Sydal came back with a crossbody block that sent Delirious to the floor. Delirious vanished, going under the ring, and reappearing from the other side. Sydal hit a running knee to the head in a corner, then he hit two enziguris and the Here It Is Driver/pumphandle sitdown powerbomb, for a nearfall. Sydal hit his nice modified Victory Roll. Sydal dove over the top rope onto Delirious on the floor at 11:00! Awesome. They traded blows in the ring, and Delirious placed Sydal’s feet on the top rope, and Delirious hit a neckbreaker!

They traded hard slaps, and Delirious snapped on the Cobra Stretch, but Sydal reached the ropes. Sydal went for a standing moonsault, but Delirious got his feet up into Sydal’s ribcage to block it! OUCH! However, seconds later, Sydal hit the standing moonsault for a believable nearfall at 14:00. Delirious hit a cool headscissors takedown, spiking the top of Sydal’s head on the mat, for a believable nearfall! Delirious applied the Cobra Stretch, then he nailed the Bizarro Driver/modified Future Shock, for a believable nearfall, and the crowd popped huge for the kickout. Sydal hit the top rope belly-to-belly suplex for the pin. WOW, that was great stuff.

Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries (photo by Wade Keller, PWTorch)

(6) Austin Aries & Roderick Strong defeat Samoa Joe & B.J. Whitmer at 20:00 even to retain the tag titles.
WOW, a great tag match, and my pick for match of the night. Aries’ injured ribs were heavily taped. Whitmer and Strong started with some armholds, as the fans chanted, “Welcome Home!” at Aries. Joe and Aries tagged in and traded some good mat wrestling. Joe avoided Aries’ basement dropkick, and Aries immediately avoided Joe’s back chop combo. (This was an excellent way of showing that these opponents are familiar with each other’s signature moves.) Whitmer hit some kicks to Aries taped ribs at 4:00. Aries hit some chops, but Whitmer planted a knee in the gun, and Aries was in pain.

Joe hit a headbutt to Aries’ stomach, and the challengers worked over Aries. Aries and Whitmer traded cops, and Aries hit the Power Drive Elbow, and he made the hot tag. Strong hit a leg lariat, then a dropkick on Whitmer for a nearfall at 7:00. Strong and Joe traded slaps! Aries hit an elbow drop on Whitmer, as Whitmer lain across Strong’s knees. The champs began to work over Whitmer, with Strong hitting some deafening chops on B.J.! OUCH. Whitmer hit a Release Exploder Suplex, and they were both down! Joe made the hot tag, and he hit a flying knee, then an enziguri on Strong. Joe hit the back chop & front kick & knee drop combo for a nearfall at 10:00. The challengers began to work over Strong. Joe hit a hard kick to the chest that sent Strong flying!

Whitmer hit a leg lariat, and he worked on Strong’s neck. Joe hit more hard chops. Strong came back with a back suplex on Joe, and he made the hot tag at 14:00. Aries hit a roaring elbow on Joe, then a plancha on B.J., then a senton into the ring on Joe, and he immediately dove back to the floor on B.J.!! Awesome quick sequence! Back in the ring, Aries hit two consecutive running dropkicks to Joe’s face in the corner. The champs hit a team backbreaker on Whitmer. Strong hit a chop as Aries hit a brainbuster on B.J. Joe hit an enziguri and a senton for a nearfall on Strong at 16:00. B.J. hit a clotheslin on Strong, and Joe hit a back suplex! Whitmer hit a German Suplex, then a Dragon Suplex, on Strong.

Strong hit a backbreaker on Whitmer. Aries hit a missile dropkick and Strong hit a powerbomb on Whitmer for a nearfall, but Joe made the save. Joe tried for a Musclebuster, but he was stopped. Whitmer and Aries fought on the ropes, and they both got suplexed to the floor! Strong hit some chops on Joe. Joe hit a powerslam for a nearfall. Strong hit a backbreaker over his knee on Joe at 19:00 for a nearfall. Joe applied the Kokita Clutch, but Strong stood up, flipped Joe up onto his shoulders, and Strong nailed the Gorilla Press Gutbuster over his knees! Strong nailed a hard boot and a powerbomb for the clean pin! WOW, great action.

(7) Nigel McGuinness vs. American Dragon Bryan Danielson went to a time limit draw at 60:00 in a best of three falls match.
Dragon had the ring announcer say that he would win in two straight falls. They traded slaps to the face and Dragon applied a headlock. They traded shoulder tackles, and Dragon went right back to the headlock at 6:30. Every time Nigel tried anything, Dragon managed to turn it into a headlock on the mat. The crowd jeered the action, chanting, “We love headlocks!,” and the crowd began popping for every headlock. Humorous. Dragon hit a back suplex at 10:00 for a nearfall, and then he hit a spine kick, and a knee drop. The fans hilariously popped as Danielson again applied a headlock.

Dragon went for a Crossface Chickenwing, but Nigel blocked it. On the floor, Nigel pulled Dragon’s arm into the ring post at 13:00. In the ring, Nigel slammed the injured left arm into the mat, and he applied a hammerlock. On the floor, Nigel slammed Dragon into the guardrail at 16:30. When he didn’t break an armbar in the ring, Nigel told the ref that “I have til 5!” Nigel tossed Dragon around the ring by his arm. Dragon hit a dropkick and a dive to the floor at 21:00, then a missile dropkick. Dragon hit a Benoit Flying Headbutt for a nearfall, and he applied a modified Crippler Crossface, but Nigel reached the ropes. Dragon hit a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 23:30. Nigel hit a short-arm clothesline for a believable nearfall, then a kick out of the headstand position. However, Dragon got a small package rollup for a pin at 25:28!

The match continued after a 30-second rest period, and Dragon stalled and applied another headlock. Nigel had a bloody nose, and he hit a kick to the back, then an inverted DDT. Dragon hit a European Uppercut and a chop, and the sweat was flying off these guys! Dragon hit a butterfly suplex for a nearfall, and he told the ref he “had til five” to break a hold. Nigel fired up, and the crowd rallied for him, as he hit a back suplex at 33:00. Dragon hit some slaps, and he set Nigel up for the Surfboard, but instead jumped on the back of his thighs. Dragon applied a Figure Four Leglock at 35:00, and he grabbed the ropes for leverage. Nigel hit a second-rope Electric Chair for a believable nearfall! Dragon hit a missile dropkick, but Nigel nailed his hard clothesline for a believable nearfall! Nigel then applied a hammerlock submission hold, and Dragon tapped out at 38:54!

The match continued, with Dragon tying up Nigel’s legs and cranking on his head. In a nice spot, Dragon told the ref to hold his arm, as Dragon popped his shoulder back into place at 41:30. Nigel applied the Cattle Mutilation (Dragon’s move!), but Danielson reached the ropes. Dragon hit a flying headbutt into Nigel as Nigel did a headstand in the corner. Dragon hit a top-rope back suplex for a nearfall, and he applied the Cattle Mutilation, but Nigel reached the ropes. The crowd rallied for both guys, as they traded slaps! They each applied sleepers. Dragon applied a single-leg crab, but Nigel reached the ropes at 46:00. They traded slaps, and Dragon hit a baseball slide dropkick to the floor. Dragon hit a springboard press into the crowd, diving over the guardrail, and like their April match, Nigel caught Dragon with a chairshot at 49:00!

In the ring, Nigel hit a hard clothesline for a believable nearfall as Dragon sat on the top rope, between turnbuckles. Dragon fought back with a Dragon Suplex for a believable nearfall. Dragon hit the Tower of London/rope-assisted stunner (Nigel’s move!) for a believable nearfall at 51:00. Dragon went for the Benoit Flying Headbutt, but Nigel blocked it. Nigel again applied the Cattle Mutilation, but Dragon reached the ropes. Nigel went for the Tower of London, but Dragon blocked it. Moments later Nigel hit the Tower of London for a believable nearfall at 52:30. Nigel went for the hard clothesline, but Dragon avoided it and applied the Cattle Mutilation! Nigel again reached the ropes.

Nigel hit a hard clothesline for a believable nearfall at 55:00. The crowd was fully behind Nigel now. They traded slaps, and both appeared out on their feet. Dragon hit a roaring forearm, and Nigel again applied the Cattle Mutilation. Nigel again hit the Tower of London, but he was slow to cover, and could only get a nearfall. Dragon locked Nigel’s arms and he began ramming repeated elbow shots to the head! However, Nigel powered out, and he turned the move on Dragon! Nigel fired 30 to 40 elbow shots to the head, when the bell suddenly went off at 60:00 even, and we had a time limit draw.

* The crowd gave them both a standing ovation. Dragon needed help to his feet, and he looked legitimately dizzy. After several minutes of getting help, and being given a bottle of water, Dragon took the mic and said, “Nigel McGuinness, you’ve been my toughest opponent.” Dragon then handed Nigel the Pure Title, saying it is being retired. “It belongs to the person who made it.” Nigel took the mic and said that Dragon is his toughest opponent. “That’s about as goddamn real as they come,” Nigel said of the match, as the show ended.

Final thoughts:
Show ended just minutes before midnight. The tag match was great, and that earned match of the night. Joe and Strong have been in matches against each other in ROH, but they’ve never had really long interactions. That changed tonight, as Joe and Strong had a hot, hot finish to this match, with Strong getting a clean, decisive victory. I can’t wait to see the singles match that will emerge from this encounter! Aries, despite an injured ribcage, wrestled without any signs of problems. Wow, he’s got guts.

The main event was not universally loved. I enjoyed it, but I’ve seen the prior matches (chairshot to the head as Dragon flew to the floor, etc.) and I saw how they built on prior matches. I really enjoyed it, and I liked it a lot more than the April match (and most ROH fans liked that April match more than I did.) The fans here were not ready to see such a slow start to the match; in fact, two guys to my left, in the front row, left half-way during the main event. I’ve read on the local MN message boards today that others left during this match, too. But, I do think diehard ROH fans will enjoy this match, especially if they saw (and liked!) the April match.

Third-best goes to another fun Delirious-Sydal match. I’ve seen them battle each other in several promotions, and they know each other’s moves well. Great action, and the crowd loved it. Delirious was just in MN less than two months ago, and he has quickly become a local favorite.

Fourth best went to the outstanding opener, as the Briscoes and Crists had an all-out sprint for nearly 11 minutes. The fans would have loved to see that one go longer!

The only match that was somewhat disappointing was Homicide vs. Jacobs. Jacobs is so good at taking crazy, scary bumps, I was surprised he didn’t take anything shocking or insane here. It was above average, but it wasn’t really memorable, either.

The crowd: Much credit has to be given to NIW promoter Andrew Scalze, who was handing out flyers in the spring at his shows, telling fans about this card. There were a LOT of local indy workers in the crowd, and virtually every ‘regular indy fan’ I’ve come to know in the Twin Cities. Scalze’ work locally is the difference between this show’s attendance being a success.

I love the ROH roster right now. Every wrestler I saw on this show is someone I look forward to seeing in the ring. This was an entertaining show. If you liked Nigel-Dragon from April, you definitely must pick up this show when it becomes available on DVD in three to five weeks.

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