Arena Reports 2/17 Ring of Honor in Philadelphia, Pa.: Morishima vs. Homicide, Aries vs. Claudio
Feb 18, 2007 - 4:38:00 PM
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Ring of Honor - Fifth Year Festival: Night 2
February 17th, 2007
Philadelphia, PA at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory
Report by Brian Streleckis, Torch VIP Member
This was the second in Ring of Honor's series of six shows over the next three weeks, celebrating their fifth anniversary. The armory was really packed tonight, with some members of the crowd left standing.
(1a) Pelle Primeau & Rhett Titus defeated Bobby Dempsey & ???. I just came in as this match started and didn't catch the name of Dempsey's partner. Dempsey and Primeau are both quite over. Pelle pinned Dempsey's partner with his running stunner into a rollup.
(2a) Shane Hagadorn defeated "Sugarfoot" Alex Payne to retain the Top of the Class Trophy. Hagadorn made Payne tap to his crossface.
(3a) Sara Del Rey (w/ Allison Danger) defeated Mitch Franklin. Del Rey got a big reaction when she came out. The smaller Franklin played the heel, but Del Rey would overpower him. The affectionately known "Death Rey" made Franklin submit to her Butterfly Lock, and then she slammed him to the mat afterwards.
15-minute delay, then Main Show:
(1) Nigel McGuinness defeated TJ Perkins. Short but solid. Perkins has wrestled in the past under a mask as Puma (TNA, ROH, PWG, even WSX), and he looked fairly good here. Nigel put his uppercuts and lariats to good use, but had trouble putting Perkins away, even with the Tower of London. Nigel ultimately won with the rebound lariat. This match should be on their web site soon for everyone to see.
(2) Austin Aries defeated Claudio Castagnoli. Pretty good, and quite different from their previous singles match on the 10/27 "Suffocation" show. Aries was selling the knee injury I heard he had in Manhattan, and Claudio got in a good deal of fun offense, including several uppercuts from different positions. Aries fought back, countered an attempted Riccola Bomb into a headscissors takedown, and won with the brainbuster/450 combo.
- Afterwards, Aries talked about Roderick Strong turning on him in Manhattan and joining forces with Davey Richards ("Or as I like to call him, Austin Aries Lite." - Aries). Aries called out Strong, but Jack Evans came out instead. He's friends with both and doesn't want them to fight. He suggested they talk things out over some yager bombs, a few rounds of Wii Bowling, and some Gears of War. Funny. Strong & Richards, the No Remorse Corps, walked out on the ramp. Strong turned down the challenge because he already has a match, said that he and Davey are going to take the top spots, and Evans is either with him or against him. Davey put the badmouth on Aries and Evans. Both are still kind of rough on the mic, but I like the possibilities with this team. After they left, Aries stated he's still going to war with them, and that Evans has a choice to make.
(3) BJ Whitmer, Colt Cabana & Daizee Haze defeated Jimmy Jacobs, Adam Pearce, & Lacey in an Intergender Street Fight. Five of the six people came dressed in street fight gear of sleeveless t-shirts and jeans; Jimmy came dressed as if he was going out clubbing. They brawled all over the building in the beginning in three pairs. Cabana and Pearce, and later Haze and Lacey wrestled right beneath me from my bleacher seat. Back in the ring, Whitmer got busted open by Jimmy's railroad spike. Sometime later, Cabana got tied up in duct tape and was jabbed in the chest by a high heel shoe. End came when Whitmer gave Jimmy an exploder off the top rope. Crazy match, and what I was able to see of it was fun stuff.
(4) Jay & Mark Briscoe defeated El Generico & Kevin Steen. This was the show-stealer, getting better and better as it went on. Crowd was really hot for it. Steen & Generico looked good, with Steen bringing out the brash personality I've seen from him in PWG, no lack of confidence. Generico (in a Tito Santana shirt) was very over and the Briscoes were even more so. Lots of big moves throughout, with many Briscoe doubleteams, Steen hitting some top rope sentons, and Generico flying through the bottom and middle turnbuckles from the floor to hit a Tornado DDT. Also some indy-riffic moments of guys getting powerbombed into the corner and onto the edge of the apron. Finish came from Jay and Mark hitting a simultaneous top rope legdrop and Shooting Star Press on Steen. Standing ovation, with chants for Steen and "Please Come Back."
(5) Samoa Joe defeated Jimmy Rave. Joe took it old school by coming out to the music he used first in ROH ("Another Body Murdered") and the crowd went crazy for him. The match was watchable, but not that memorable, so it was kind of a letdown in that respect. Very much "Joe's Greatest Hits" with him hitting a lot of his signature moves. Rave got on offense at times, concentrating on Joe's knee to build up the heel hook. Joe took it old school again by beating Rave with the Island Driver (Emerald Fusion). I was hoping for better, but then...
- Joe gave a hell of a speech after the match. He said he was born out west, but forged in Philadelphia. He said that Philadelphia was said to be the birthplace of hardcore wrestling, but corrected everyone when he said that it wasn't the birthplace of the style of hardcore wrestling, but of the hardcore wrestling fans. Fans who expected nothing less than excellence and wouldn't take what the bigger companies tried to feed them. Thank you Joe.
(6) Roderick Strong defeated Delirious to retain the FIP Heavyweight Title. Aries ran out after Strong before the match, but the students held him back. This match was a real shame, but not because of the guys having a bad match because they were on their way to a good one. Delirious in particular was on fire jawing with Strong and taking him to the mat. Things went south when Strong yanked Delirious off the top rope by his foot, Delirious took a huge fall to the canvas, and was knocked out cold. The ref put up the X sign briefly, but then Strong dragged Delirious to the floor and forced the ref to count him out (FIP Title matches now have 20 counts). Delirious managed to get back into the ring, but was very dazed. Strong did some moves on him for two-counts, but then took him to the floor again. He pulled off one of the guard rails, laid it on the floor, and powerbombed Delirious onto it. Strong got the count-out victory, and more refs and Gabe Sapolsky ran out to check on Delirious. Strong left, but then ran back out to beat down Delirious as he was being helped out. Aries chased him off. Scary stuff early, and also a little odd in incorporating a real situation into the match. I hope ROH puts on this match again.
(7) Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal (w/ Allison Danger) defeated Jack Evans & Shingo to retain the ROH World Tag Team Titles. Sydal came out sporting his newly won Open the Brae Gate Championship from Dragon Gate. Daniels is growing a beard and his hair out (and like that one boyfriend of Elaine's from Seinfeld who kept his head shaved, he's coming in bald). There was one botched spot and a couple that were almost botched, but this match was fun and got very heated towards the end. Lots of quick exchanges between Sydal and Evans, Shingo looked pretty good, Daniels was good, and both teams pulled out some doubleteam maneuvers (including Shingo & Evans hitting the Ode to Bulldogs/Skipping a Generation doubleteam). End came when Daniels gave Evans the Angel's Wings with Sydal coming off the top rope with for added impact. Pretty damn cool.
- Afterwards, Aries walked out as the champs left. Jack spoke some Japanese to Shingo and let him go to the back as well. Evans told Aries that he didn't want to pick sides in this feud. Aries respected his decision, and then said that since he led Generation Next to greatness, he's going to search for the next genration, "the diamonds in the rough," and lead a group of younger guys to greatness in his feud against the No Remorse Corps. Evans said that's fine, and since both Aries and Strong are going to have their own groups, he said that maybe he'll get a group of his own. I really like where this could be going.
(8) Takeshi Morishima defeated Homicide (w/ Julius Smokes) to win the ROH World Title. The result really surprised me, and almost everyone else, but the match itself was very good. Morishima attacked Homicide in the aisle way before official intros could happen, and there was a lot of brawling on the floor. Morishima was pretty awesome inside the ring, and Homicide fought back well. Something I didn't like was Julius Smokes blatantly getting involved, giving Morishima a clothesline outside the ring and attempthing to give him double clothesline inside. Morishima took him down then. Smokes also had some fun interactions with him, calling him "Japanese Jesus." Finishing sequence was backdrop driver, huge lariat, two-count, second backdrop driver... three count! Chants and streamers for the new champion.
- Afterwards, a couple students came into the ring to celebrate the victory, followed by the rest of the locker room. Morishima shoved the students down. BJ Whitmer, who will now face Morishima for the title in Dayton on Friday, was also in the ring, and Morishima got in his face too. Morishima left in a huff, going to the back through the rest of the locker room. Chants for Homicide to close the show.
- ROH returns to Philadelphia on Saturday, June 9th.
Overall: I don't want to set any opinions in stone, as the live experience has persuaded some of my opinions in the past, but coming out of this, I thought the show was very good. Definitely better than the last Philadelphia show from November ("The Bitter End"). I didn't see the title change coming at all and expected Homicide to hold it for much longer. That being said, I'm really intrigued by where the Morishima title reign goes from here. If they are able to have Morishima on more shows, this looks like they'll be continuing the feud started between Samoa Joe and NOAH, with either Homicide taking Joe's place, or the rolls being reversed with Morishima feuding with ROH. I know ROH will have a show in Japan co-promoted by NOAH in July, so I expect some interesting things to happen until then. Plenty of good action this night, especially the two tag matches and the main event, and I'm also really intrigued by the new factions starting up.
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