Arena Reports 3/4 ROH in Liverpool, U.K.: Samoa Joe's final scheduled match for ROH, post-match speech
Mar 6, 2007 - 9:05:00 AM
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Ring of Honor
March 4, 2007
Report by Jon McKay, Torch VIP Member
When I reached the Olympia, the line wrapped all the way around the corner of the building. The line was moving much faster this time though and people were being let in much sooner as opposed to last night.
Nigel McGuinness and Allison Danger were signing autographs at a table to the left of the merchandise stand. Next to him was a table with Dragon Gate officials and Shingo (rocking mullet, but lacking facial hair). They were selling Dragon Gate posters, programs, and T-shirts. Bobby Cruise was also signing autographs for a mere 2 pounds ($4). I told him how he was worth much more and he got a good laugh out of it and commented that he didn't want to take a bunch back on the airplane.
I got a moment to speak with Syd who was running merchandise. I was trying to get an autograph with Nigel, but I had run out of money and by the time I was going to have ROH charge my credit card, Nigel was walking to the back with his significant other (note that she was also there for the Fanfest and the Q & A with Nigel). He offered to chase him down for me in the back, but I politely refused and thanked him for the offer. I am going to the 1st ever King of Europe Cup at the Liverpool Olympia in April so I told him I would just get him then. He asked if I was sure and I said yeah and thanked him for sending him over again for the shows in April. Honestly, Syd was a hell of a guy and business man. He took the time to give me a hand and help me out even though I refused, but the offer alone surprised me. Ring of Honor really went to great lengths to make sure everyone left happy and they accomplished this.
Syd also remarked about how he read some books on Japanese culture prior to visiting the country for some shows last year so he didn't disrespect anyone. Along with Gabe, ROH has some classy top brass. In all honesty, it is not surprising that they have come this far if you have ever met Syd or Gabe. After talking to some Brits, they remarked about how Gabe seemed tense last year, but he was calm and cool this year. Hey, branching out to a new market in a foreign country will do that for a guy.
The show started at 6 PM. Prior to the start, Jacobs and Whitmer went brawling through the crowd by the entrance ramp to set up their falls count anywhere match later in the night.
(1) Delirious defeated Colt Cabana. An obvious choice for an opener as Delirious and Colt Cabana put on a comedic masterpiece. Colt Cabana came out dressed up with a top hat and matching sleeveless jacket. He also had a plastic baby with him. He picked up a fan at ringside and dragged him over the guard rail and carried him a little ways. He then picked up a baby and got a nice pop. Apparently, this was some British inside joke regarding fans of World of Sport and British Legend "Big Daddy". Cabana would then dress Delirious in his attire while he crouched in the corner waiting for the bell to ring. Regardless, the bell rang and Delirious was scared at first and then called him out on it. Delirious stole the baby and threw it back at Colt and he missed catching it which prompted some great chants as well. There were numerous spots that featured Referee Sinclair being involved in well orchestrated spots of hilarity. Delirious got his eye raked by Cabana and thought Sinclair was Cabana and tried to pin him twice. Sinclair kicked out at 2 both times unfortunately. Delirious then felt him up from behind and played with his "pecs" and belly. Good stuff. Colt also kept going for the mask of Delirious and choked him with the braids form his mask, but the crowd booed. Cabana answered with an "alright, sorry". Cabana also called out his mom during the match…then asking if Delirious even had a mom. The crowd booed Cabana heavily and a "say you're sorry" chant broke out. Delirious eventually won with a roll up as Colt was in disbelief. Great way to open the show and the Brits are all about Cabana over here. They only really botched one move, but it was a comedic match so not a big deal-entertaining stuff.
(2) "The Dangerous Angels" Sara Del Ray & Allison Danger defeated Jetta & Eden Black. Another American tried to start a "U.S.A chant" which the fans didn't take too, but Danger tried to keep going. Ironically, "The Dangerous Angels" played the faces and the fans were really behind them. The U.K. girls did not get much love from the crowd, but Jetta seemed to be fairly green and very few knew who they were. Don't get me wrong, they have talent but just need some more time in the ring to really reach the level of Danger and even Del Ray. Jetta is good on the mic though and really shines there. Eden Black on the other hand looked very promising. She did some nice moves such as running off the ropes with a dropkick into the face and doing a spinning small package combo around the ring. Danger was fairly over, but Del Ray is the best female wrestler out of this bunch. Del Ray won with her finisher-the cradle suplex. Del Ray really looked good this weekend in the ring. She would be a good addition to a depleted WWE female roster. The 4 embraced in the ring which was a nice thing to see.
(3) B.J. Whitmer defeated Jimmy Jacobs. This match started right after the SHIMMER match as they were brawling through the crowd (again) and up the ramp into the lower balcony. Whitmer dragged Jimmy down the long tables that were up in the balcony. Jimmy tried to escape and keep going up the steps and Whitmer followed. The crowd chanted "We can't see shit" to which the balcony responded with "Whitmer's winning". They came back down the steps and Whitmer tossed Jacobs over a balcony, but Jimmy held on while dangling to the floor and raked the eyes of Whitmer to climb back up and take a sigh of relief. Whitmer countered by tossing Jacobs down the steps of the Balcony to the floor. Jacobs regained the upperhand with a body slam on the floor and jumped off the balcony to the floor to nail Whitmer. They continued by the merchandise stand and Jimmy hit Whitmer with a trashcan. Jimmy ran off some steps and did an elbow to the floor on Whitmer. They got back in the ring and Jimmy pulled out a screwdriver and nailed Whitmer with it to bust him open. It was great because it was not the usual "face sits and heel grinds it into his forehead" type stuff, Jacobs actually ran and nailed him in the forehead with it multiple times to bust Whitmer open. Really made it look a lot more devastating so way to go Jimmy for doing the little things. Jimmy then wiped the blood on his chest, face, and even got under Whitmer while he was trying to get up so the blood would drip all over his face. Whitmer regained the upper hand and took it outside onto the ramp way. Jimmy did a clever spot when he ran at Whitmer and jumped to grab the entrance structure and kick Whitmer back. Whitmer eventually gave Jimmy a brain exploder on the ramp for the win and stood triumphant while the refs checked on Jimmy. Really good stuff from both men.
(4) Matt Sydal (open the brave gate champion) defeated PAC. Another strong showing from PAC as he came to impress. PAC really comes and gives you everything he has got. A great testament to him since he is a young guy (he's only 20 if you can believe that). Reminds me a lot of Jay Lethal in the mold of a talented young guy that will be a big name years down the line. Sydal played heel and this was much more appropriate tonight against the home town hero. PAC did his signature corkscrew plancha to the outside, but Sydal won with a shooting star press. Another very good match that gave PAC a nice rub.
(5) Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe fought to a Double KO. The fans chanted "Let's go Briscoe" and "fuck him up Briscoe" and Jay looked back with a "man, we're brothers, what the hell" type face. The Briscoes really did a nice story in this one. It was more of a testing each other out at first until Jay became the aggressor and Mark would respond with a "oh, so that's how it is gonna be". Really enjoyable story here. They took it to the outside as Mark hit a vicious clothesline that took him and his brother over the top. They brawled around ringside. They took it back in the ring and Mark did a hunicanranna type maneuver to his brother who was on the apron to the floor after jumping off Sinclair's back. Back in the ring and a Jay Driller left both men exhausted. They got up at 8 to progress to the double KO finish and Mark hit the cut throat driver for the double KO finish. Some people booed the finish but most applauded. An incredible match. Really unfortunate that some people booed the finish. It was obvious that the point of this match was not to have a winner, but to have each give everything they had and then some and still end up without a winner so they were back on the same page after they both stepped it up.
(6) Shingo & Naruki Doi retained the ROH World Tag Titles by defeating Roderick Strong & Davey Richards in a dragon gate style match. The crowd started chanting "Daaaaaaavey" and "Roddddderick" for the FIP duo. Shingo came out with a Japanese flag tied around his waist. Shingo and Doi were immensely over. They could simply do no wrong in the eyes of the crowd after last night. A chant od "Dragon Gate" began and ended the match. ROH really should ride Shingo and Doi for a while with the tag belts. They really stabilize the division after a time of confusion with Sydal and Daniels winning them from Hero and Castagnoli. It would have been nice to see the kings of wrestling hold them for a long time as they probably would have if not for the problem with Castagnoli and WWE. Regardless, Shingo and Doi effectively draw on the emotion of the crowd unlike any other duo I have ever seen. It's that dragon gate style that really makes you live and die on every fall along with unique double team moves. Doi did a senton bomb on Richards with Shingo stretching him out in the ropes. Shingo also did the Razor's Edge type maneuver where he holds them up and then flings his opponent to the mat after spinning around. Doi played possum at the end and put his knees up when Richards did a shooting star. He then used that opening to get the Doi 555 from the top rope for the win. Make sure you go out of your way to see a Dragon Gate match if you have never seen one before. Another great match.
(7) Nigel McGuinness defeated Jimmy Rave in a Fight without Honor. Nigel wore a blue and white brace on his upper right thigh after the events of last night with Joe. The crowd sang to his theme music "London Bridge is falling down". Very few people popped for Rave when he got the heel hook submission on. Gabe is really doing everything in his power to get Rave over. It might be forced, but Rave won the crowd over tonight. Fabulous way to begin the match though as Nigel got a chair and Rave kicked it into his injured thigh to gain the upperhand. It is the little things in wrestling that tell a story. He kept softening it for the eventual heel hook submission. Nigel was rolled back into the ring but pushed off the bottom rope to come back with a massive lariat on Rave. A guardrail was set up and wedged between the ring and the guard rail around the ring. Nigel got rammed into it head first a couple times, but managed to flapjack Rave onto it when he rushed him. The crowd chanted "Super, Super Nigel McGuinnnnnnesss" and even a clap scheme with "England!" shouted at the end of it. Nigel got tossed into a guard rail but eventually returned the favor by body back dropping Rave over the ropes and into the guard rail. The guard rail was then turned over and Rave was given the tower of London onto it face first. Rave would get the heel hook submission in and the crowd chanted "please don't tap". A chair was set up and Nigel gave him the Tower of London on the chair. Rave kicked out of that even and Nigel killed him with a lariat to end it.
More great stuff from these two where Rave really got a nice ovation afterwards and a "thank you jimmy" chant. Even if you are not a Rave fan you will appreciate the effort he gave.
(8) Samoa Joe defeated Homocide (w/Julius Smokes). They shook hands to begin. This match had more of a light hearted tone to it at first. Chain wrestling to start and Joe avoided a somersault dive from Homocide as he went to get a pint form the bar. I hope it was not Carlsberg. Homocide called him out and asked "Joe, are you drinkin?". Joe came back and Homocide went into full heel mode. Smokes was all over the place and entertaining as ever as he got into it with a fan for "fuck you smokes" as he responded with "eat my ass". Joe got the choke on Homocide and Smokes helped save his man after offering words of encouragement by going to the top rope. Joe hurled him off and Homocide hit Joe with the ring bell. He got a great shot on Joe too as you really heard the thud. Joe finally hit a muscle buster and Smkoes pulled the ref out prior to the 3 count. Joe gave Smokes the Ole kick on the outside. Fans chanted for one more and Joe obliged. But Homocide hit the somersault dive on Joe midway to save Smokes. Great spot from Homocide that got the crowd chanting "187" and got Homocide dancing in classic Eddie Guerrero fashion. Joe eventually won with the muscle buster from the top rope. Fans chanted "he's a legend" and "we will miss you". Eventually Joe told the crowd "alright, you got some great chants, I'll give you that". The locker room came out on the entrance ramp and Joe thanked the fans while reading from a speech Gabe had given him earlier that he had written on his wrist tape. Funny, cheesy stuff that put Gabe over as the creative genius. Joe talked about how they used to call him the Samoan submission machine, but that this is pro wrestling. He also mentioned how no one gave the company a chance but now, 5 years later, they are in Liverpool, England. He kissed the ROH letters on the canvas and exited.
This report will not do the show justice. This card is up there with the "Unified" and "Glory By Honor Night 2" shows of last year as easily one of the must haves of the year and I have seen them both. The crowd was incredible all night and really made the wrestlers go above and beyond and the wrestlers delivered in a big way. While the first show in Liverpool was good, this one is far superior as every match builds to the next as you think "there is no way they can top the next match" but they actually manage too. The booking was smart and a classic example of booking 101. Both Liverpool shows are good, but this is the card that they really built too from the night before so it was an end of sorts to the 5th year festival and another chapter in ROH. Furthermore, the 1st show in Liverpool has a lot of stuff on the undercard that you will have probably seen already in the States-even in person for that matter. So, any reports from Brits about the first show will be exaggerated to a certain extent because they only get 2 shows a year. Regardless, you would do well by picking up this DVD. This is the kind of DVD that defines ROH and will turn all your friends that love WWE or TNA into ROH fans.
Thanks for reading.
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