DVDs - VGames - Books Tape review: ROH, “Sign of Dishonor,” July 8, 2005
Sep 8, 2005 - 3:00:00 PM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor
Ring of Honor completed an incredible six-show stretch through May & June 2005 that ended with CM Punk winning the ROH title and turning heel. This show, “Sign of Dishonor,” occurred on July 8, 2005, in Long Island, N.Y., and it's the first event after Punk won the title. It’s a good show, but it has a vibe of “the first Raw after a PPV,” in that this show seems to be more about moving along existing storylines and establishing new ones, rather than the conclusion to major stories.
Most ROH tapes open with a backstage segment. This tape actually has none. The tape opens with CM Punk walking to the ring, wearing a nice suit, and sporting black hair with blue/purple streaks. Punk grabbed the mic and told a story of how he, Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles were all told by TNA officials they couldn’t work for ROH. The other three bowed to TNA demands; only Punk had the guts to stand up to them. Punk is frustrated with us fans who have ignored him when he has been the backbone of ROH. Good promo.
Punk pulled out his WWE contract, which was tucked in his jacket. He has Shane Hagadorn hold the ROH title belt, and Punk signed his contract on top of the ROH title. James Gibson ran in the ring and attacked Hagadorn. Punk headed up the ramp, but Christopher Daniels attacked him. Very good opening segment, which went about 15 minutes.
Our announcers, Gabe “Jimmy Bower” Sapolsky and Dave Prazak said Punk talked so much that there is no time on this tape for anyone else to get in a promo!
(1) Jay Lethal & Dixie defeat Sean & Phil Davis (the Heartbreak Express) at 3:05. Blah. Really bad. Sean Davis removed his robe to reveal his heavy frame, and the crowd booed. Lethal and Sean started. We have a weird glitch at 1:20, where the screen goes funny for a second. (This was intentional). Sean Davis hit a butt splash in the corner on Dixie and a sitdown powerbomb.
The screen goes funny again, and this time we see Matt Hardy’s eyes. We come back, and there clearly has been a big edit in the match. Lethal hit a Dragon Suplex on Phil Davis for the pin. Short, but not good at all.
(2) Roderick Strong defeats Azrieal at 11:28. Good match. They opened with arm holds. Azrieal took control early with a headscissors takedown and a back suplex for a nearfall. They traded hard chops, and brawled to the floor at 3:00. Strong worked over his back, nailing a backbreaker over his knee and a top-rope superplex for a nearfall.
Strong went for another superplex, but Azrieal stopped Strong and crotched him on the top rope. Azrieal took over again with a forward roll dive to the floor at 8:00. Azrieal went for a hurricanrana, but Strong caught him and nailed him with another backbreaker. Azrieal hit a sloppy Buff Blockbuster, and both were down.
Azrieal hit some spine kicks, then a dropkick to Strong’s face. Strong came back with several backbreakers, and he put Azrieal in a Boston Crab, with his knee in Azrieal’s lower back, forcing the tapout. I enjoyed this match.
After the match, Alex Shelley attacked Strong and hit him with the Shellshock/sudden spinning faceplant.
(3) Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer defeat Cheech & Deranged (w/Lacey & Cloudy) at 11:21. Deranged jumped Whitmer. Whitmer immediately hit a hard decapitating clothesline, and he powerbombed Jacobs onto Deranged for a nearfall. Jacobs hit a basement dropkick in Deranged’s face. Lacey distracted the ref, allowing Cheech to get in a cheap shot.
The heels took turns working over Jacobs extensively. In one funny spot, Deranged ran the ropes several times, only to stop and put Jacobs in a sleeper. Jacobs finally tagged in Whitmer at 8:30, who hit a Northern Lights suplex on Deranged. Jacobs speared Cheech in mid air.
Whitmer hit a running powerbomb on Deranged for a believable nearfall; seriously I thought it was over here. Deranged came back with a nice Reverse Rana on Whitmer. Deranged hit a Doomsday Diamond Cutter on Jacobs for a believable nearfall. However, Jacobs hit Deranged with a Doomsday Rana for the pin. The last few minutes really picked up.
Jimmy Bower narrates a segment, telling us that the Outcast Killaz just quit the Embassy, and they offered to take Jade Chung with them, but Jade chose to stay with Prince Nana. (Clearly, this show ran a bit long, so this was trimmed to just a few seconds in length.)
(4) A.J. Styles defeats Jimmy Rave (w/Prince Nana & Jade Chung & Killer Mike Kruel) at 16:40. Good match. Styles hit a back suplex immediately, and Rave bailed to the floor. They brawled on the floor. Back in the ring, Styles hit a back body drop and several stiff forearms. Styles hit three backbreakers over his knee and is just overall dominating this match.
Styles hit a nice spin heel kick at 4:30 and a vertical suplex. Rave hit a baseball slide dropkick, and he took control as they fought on the floor. The crowd got a loud “Let’s go A.J.,” chant going. Nana hit Styles. Rave threw a lot of punches and choked Styles. They traded hard chops at 11:30. A.J. hit a pumphandle gutbuster over his knee.
Styles went for the Phenomenon, but Rave blocked it, and he hit a Shining Wizard for a nearfall. Styles hit a springboard shouldertackle for a nearfall at 15:00. Nana tripped Styles, and Rave speared Styles for a nearfall. Out of nowhere, Styles rolled up Rave for the pin. The announcers made a point of saying neither man could hit the Rave Clash/Styles Clash on each other. After the match, Rave tried to suffocate Styles with a plastic bag. I liked this match.
(5) Nigel McGuinness defeats Vordell Walker at 3:33. This match obviously also was heavily clipped. Lenny Leonard joined Prazak on commentary, and from what I heard, I really liked Leonard’s work. These two opened with some basic standing switches, when the camera suddenly cut to Matt Hardy cutting a promo, who mentioned his ROH debut is coming.
We went back to the match, where Nigel hit a decapitating clothesline and a kick to the face. Vordell came back with a German Suplex for a nearfall and a Diamond Cutter for another nearfall. Nigel placed Vordell’s feet on the ropes, and he hit an Ace Crusher for the pin. Alright for the time given.
(6) Austin Aries defeats Samoa Joe and Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) and James Gibson in a four-way one-fall match at 25:46. Best match of the show; this was long enough that everyone got extensive time to interact with the other opponents. Bower is back on commentary.
Aries and Gibson start with basic armholds, and Aries hit a shoulder tackle and a springboard back elbow. Homicide and Joe got in at 5:00. The crowd chanted “Joe,” so Homicide bailed to the floor. Joe hit Aries with several hard headbutts. Gibson got in and nailed several guillotine legdrops on Aries. The announcers talked about the “star power” in this four-way. On the floor, Smokes hit Gibson. Gibson suplexed Homicide onto a table, set up on the floor, at 11:30.
Joe entered and hit a back chop/front kick/knee drop combo on Gibson. Everyone is taking turns working over Gibson. Gibson fought back with a Northern Lights suplex on Homicide for a nearfall at 15:30. Joe hit a powerslam on Homicide for a nearfall, then a facewash. Homicide hit Gibson with an Ace Crusher. Gibson hit Aries with a nice swinging neckbreaker at 18:30. Joe got in and loudly chopped everyone.
Homicide hit a tope con helo on Joe, and he landed in the crowd. Aries dove onto Homicide. The crowd is really hot now. Gibson hit a forward roll dive off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Joe entered the ring, only to hit a twisting plancha onto his three opponents. The crowd chanted, “This is awesome!”
All four brawled on the floor. Homicide blindsided Joe with a shoulder tackle as Joe went for a running Ole Kick. Back in the ring, Gibson hit Joe with a German Suplex and a front guillotine choke. Gibson & Aries worked together to suplex Joe. Homicide hit Joe with a hard clothesline, but Gibson and Homicide brawled to the floor. Aries climbed the ropes and hit a 450 Splash on Joe for the pin. Excellent match, with a good slow build that kept getting hotter.
Shelley attacked Aries after the match.
(7) Christopher Daniels defeats Colt Cabana at 23:02. Good match; longer than I expected. The crowd is cheering heartily for both men. Cabana is goofing around early, offering a handshake to Daniels, who repeatedly turns him down. Daniels got frustrated, and yelled at Cabana to get serious. Colt went to mat wrestling early, tying up Daniels arms.
Daniels came back with kicks and kneelifts to the stomach, then a field goal kick to the midsection. Daniels hit a gutbuster over his knee, then a nice Arabian Press for a nearfall at 11:30. Punk came to ringside! Daniels is briefly distracted by him. Colt and Daniels brawl at ringside, and it’s clear that Colt does NOT want Punk to interfere in his match.
Daniels hit an STO Uranage, and both men were down at 16:30. Daniels hit several stiff clubbing forearms and an enziguri, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Colt came back with punches and European Uppercuts, then a moonsault press. Daniels hit a Blue Thunder spinning powerbomb at 20:00.
Colt hit a nice Missile Dropkick for a believable nearfall. Daniels came back with a Flatliner/reverse Russian Legsweep. Punk jumped up on the ring apron and distracted Daniels. Punk pulled out a chain, but he accidentally hit Cabana! Daniels then hit the double-jump moonsault on Cabana for the pin.
Daniels wants to fight Punk RIGHT NOW, but Punk said no. He forced Daniels to head to the back, or he would leave with the ROH title! Punk challenged Low Ki, American Dragon, then the Briscoes. Their music played, but no one came out. Finally, Mick Foley came out, and he insulted how Punk looks. Foley said Punk must defend the title and do “what is best for business.” He then added, “There’s only one way you can be champ forever, and unfortunately, Gabe Sapolsky doesn’t have a daughter you can marry.” ZING!!
Punk came back with a comeback for Foley, saying “Your not in JBL’s league.” Punk finally agreed to a match, saying he wanted Jay Lethal, because Lethal pinned him at the 3/12 “Back to Basics” show.
(8) CM Punk defeats Jay Lethal at 20:57 to retain the ROH World Title. Lethal hit a Dragon Suplex IMMEDIATELY, and Punk rolled to the floor. Lethal is in charge early, with chops, a dive onto Punk, and a nice Snap Suplex in the ring. Punk came back with a spin heel kick, and he worked over Lethal’s back. Punk hit a standing neckbreaker. Lethal hit a Crucifix Takedown for a nearfall at 10:00.
Lethal missed a Benoit Flying Headbutt. Punk goes to work on the back of Lethal’s neck. Joe came out at 13:30 to cheer on Lethal, and the crowd really came alive here; it suddenly felt like a title change was possible! Lethal hit a seond-rope flying heel kick. Punk came back with a Welcome to Chicago spinning backbreaker for a nearfall. Lethal hit a Fisherman’s Suplex, and this time, he connected on the Benoit Flying Headbutt for a believable nearfall at 17:30.
The crowd is loudly chanting, “Lethal!” Punk hit a Shining Wizard for a believable nearfall. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice, but Lethal reached the ropes. Lethal came back with a series of chops and punches. Punk picked up Lethal and he hit the Musclebuster! Punk then applied the Rear-naked choke, and Lethal submitted. Very good match that really picked up when Joe came to ringside.
Punk wound up hitting Foley & Joe, and Gibson made the save. Foley grabbed the mic and he said that Punk would have to now defend his title the next night in Manhattan!
Final thoughts: Tape runs 3 hours even. Two matches were trimmed, but most of the entrances in other matches were kept. As bad as the Heartbreak Express looked, that match could have been trimmed even more. Highlights were the four-way, Punk-Lethal and Styles-Rave.
My biggest concern here is the absolute burial of Vordell Walker in under four minutes; has Gabe soured on him already? People who really like backstage promos might be disappointed that there aren’t any here (other than the brief Matt Hardy statement). It felt like the crowd was initially disappointed in the choice of Jay Lethal, and they didn’t care early in the match, but they really picked up interest as the match progressed.
I stand by what I wrote earlier – this felt like “the first Raw after a PPV.” It is a transition show. But it’s a good show, with plenty of good matches.
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