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Tape Review: ROH, "Redemption," August 12, 2005 featuring Punk vs. Gibson vs. Joe vs. Daniels

Sep 24, 2005 - 9:40:00 PM

By Todd LeFurgey, Torch Contributor

Dayton, Ohio was the location for one of the most anticipated events in Ring of Honor history. CM Punk had been champion for over a month and everybody knew his run with ROH was ending this weekend. After two nights and two events, Punk would be departing ROH in order to live his dream of wrestling for WWE. The question was could Punk go the weekend retaining the title? Would he take the ROH belt to WWE with him? Or would one of his opponents in this night’s 4-way match for the ROH title reclaim the belt for the ROH faithful? The hot crowd (estimated at 800-900) was hoping they would see history tonight.

The tape opens with a James Gibson promo. Gibson admits that this is his fourth shot at being ROH champion and he is tired of losing. He claims that he will not drop the ball for the fourth time. With the exception of his asthmatic breathing, this is a good promo.

Promo #2 comes from Generation Next: Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, and their newest member Matt Sydel. G-Next is a perfect example of having all the wrestling talent in the world but next to zero personality. In ROH that’s okay, I guess, because the wrestling takes center stage. Aries does 90% of the talking in a very monotone robot-voice. Sydel does a little speaking and reminds me of Jason Bateman…in his Teen Wolf 2 years. Not good. Strong just looks at the camera while rubbing his hands together.

Yeah…it’s a good thing they can wrestle.

(1) Ace Steel defeats Delirious, Matt Stryker, and Sterlino Keenan in a four-corner survival match at 5:27. Delirious is one of my favorite up-and-coming wrestlers, His gimmick of being crazy and unpredictable works very well with live crowds. This is my first time watching Keenan. He is okay, I guess, but somebody should tell him that burgundy & baby-blue tights are NOT a good match. I’ve never been much of a fan of either Stryker or Steel and they don’t do anything in this match to make me change my mind. Steel hits a second-rope sit-out powerbomb on Delirious for the win. Okay match for an opener…but Delirious was the MVP making it appear better than it really was.

Christopher Daniels provides promo #3. He says that it has always been his destiny to become ROH champion and references the times he was screwed out of the title against Low-Ki and CM Punk (and also mentions him being “ripped” away from the promotion by TNA as he was on the verge of becoming champion). Daniels goes so far as to say that Samoa Joe and James Gibson are not even factors in the equation of tonight’s match. Very good promo.

(2) Colt Cabana pinned Spanky at 8:27. Never in a million years did I ever think that hearing Barry Manilow would ever be considered cool. I’ll give Colt Cabana this…he knows how to entertain a crowd. I’m looking forward to his eventual heel turn to see what else he can do.

This is an extremely entertaining comedy match with a couple of minutes of pre-match banter between both wrestlers and the crowd. The match finally gets really started with a flurry of arm bars, wrist locks, headlocks and hip tosses. They then do an old-school cris-cross between the ropes until Cabana kicks Spanky in the ass. Yeah…this certainly isn’t your normal ROH match. After another cris-cross between the ropes Cabana gives an atomic drop and a chop to Spanky’s butt leading to something I thought I’d never hear an announcer say:

“Basically, he’s working over the ass right now.”

Wait…there’s more…

“Colt Cabana studying a tape of Spanky. He has found that the ass is the weakness of Spanky.”


Anyhoo…the first real non-comical offense in the match takes place in the form of an awesome swinging DDT from Spanky off the ropes. Spanky hits a top-rope splash and tries for a pin only to get rolled-up by Cabana instead. After a kick-out, Cabana gets a 2 and-a-half count after a side-kick connects to Spanky’s head. You can tell that both wrestlers are very familiar with each other as the reversals and counters are fast and furious. So fast, in fact, that the final pin seemingly comes out of nowhere when Cabana rolls up Spanky into a bridge-pin combination. Great match in terms of entertainment. Crowd ate it up and I found myself laughing out loud at different points.

When the match concludes, Cabana leaves the ring and Spanky soaks in the cheers of the fans. “Cult of personality” hits the speakers and ROH champion CM Punk comes down to the ring. Spanky immediately grabs a microphone and challenges Punk to a match for the title. Punk then throws out one of the best lines of the night:

“Seeing as you’re the one that’s gonna be on Velocity and I’m gonna be on Monday Night Raw, I just don’t see you getting a shot at this belt.”

Ouch…the truth hurts sometimes.

Spanky then musters all of his anger and comes up with the insult to end all insults (he called CM Punk a “stinker”) and then leaves in a huff. That’s okay, because it gives Punk the opportunity to give a great heel promo about how he owns Ring of Honor and he is leaving with the championship belt tonight and taking it with him to WWE.

(3) ROH tag team champions Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer defeated Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer at 10:51. Whitmer and Jacobs start off with a paper-rock-scissors as a way to decide who is starting the match for their team. Apparently, Whitmer forgot that he was actually playing paper-rock-scissors-huss and that “huss” beats scissors.

NOTE: Can you see me? No? Well…I am rolling my eyes.

Jacobs begins the match by getting the upper hand against the team of McGuinness & Collyer with slaps and arm bars. Whitmer, aka Mr. Blah, then “blah’d” his way into the ring and I almost fall asleep. Thankfully, Jacobs tags back in and gets caught with a hot-shot by a mohawked Collyer (yes, since you asked…it looks stupid), which leads to McGuinness and Collyer taking over and double-teaming Jacobs.

Wait a second…is the team of Whitmer and Jacobs (i.e. Team Huss) the face team or is McGuinness and Collyer (I’ll just call them Team Bad F’in Hair) the face team? I ask only because Team Bad F’in Hair performs a number of double-team moves that send Jacobs into Mr. Blah multiple times…a tag team match specialty normally performed by the “good guys” onto the “bad guys.” Oh well…

The match quickly breaks down into an ECW-style match where all four competitors are fighting each other at the same time. McGuiness gives a sick, and I mean SICK, German suplex on Whitmer where he lands directly on his head.

Oh. My. God.

I rewind the tape and watch it again. Definitely a ‘holy sh*t’ moment. Before the crowd can really react and let the move sink in, McGuiness hits the Tower of London on Jacobs for a long 2-count. I blink and then Jacobs hits a Contra Code on Collyer for the win.

The double-team moves in the match were well-done but made the partially heel Team Bad F’in Hair look like dominant faces mounting a comeback. Ahh well. Entertaining match except for Mr. Blah.

Promo #5 comes from Samoa Joe. Short but effective.

(4) Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Matt Sydel) w/ Daizee Haze defeated The Embassy (Alex Shelley, Jimmy Rave, and Abyss) w/ Prince Nana at 16:59. Strong and Jacobs start things off by following the official ROH “How to start a match” rules with arm bars and wrist locks. Aries & Strong hit a “Hart Attack” clothesline at the two-minute mark. I remember the good ol’ days when that was a finisher. Oh well. I’ve said it before…Aries is the 2nd coming of Curt Hennig. He’s smooth as silk in the ring and a pleasure to watch.

Abyss hits the ring to face Sydel. Too bad for Sydel. Abyss hits a pancake move where Sydel literally goes ten feet up in the air before crashing down to the mat at 4:59, popping the crowd. After being triple-teamed, Abyss nearly loses his mask but soon takes over things. Sydel, being the newcomer, ends up playing the face-in-peril role as the Embassy take over the match. Surprisingly, Sydel tags out and in comes Aries…only to be taken advantage of by Abyss on the outside. Aries ends up playing the face-in-peril role for the next few minutes as the Embassy beats the crap out of him. The only time things look a little awkward is when Alex Shelley places the bearhug on Aries.

Wait a second…Alex Shelley put a bearhug on Aries?

Yeah…just before Rave put the bearhug on Aries.

WHAT? ? ?

Anyway, Aries oh-so-surprisingly breaks out and hot-tags Strong. Strong goes on a chop-fest and backbreaker streak that takes out both Rave and Shelley. Abyss, however, quickly puts an end to it. GenNext next decides to triple team Abyss and they end up looking like elementary kids picking on a 12th-grader (psssst…it’s because he’s so tall and they’re really short). At 15:30 Strong hooks Abyss up for a German suplex and gets assistance from both Aries and Sydel with dual-dropkicks that gets another pop from the crowd. Fifteen seconds later Sydel performs one of the best (okay…the only) standing moonsaults I have ever seen on Shelley (impressive). Strong hits the half-nelson backbreaker to set up the 450 splash by Aries for the win.

Abyss then jumps back in the ring and attacks Strong with a Torture-rack backbreaker drop and then hits two Black Hole slams on Aries and Sydel for a crowd pop. The Embassy poses before they exit the ring. Very entertaining match with Sydel really impressing.

After shilling for the Straight Shooting series, The Embassy does a quick promo backstage during intermission. NOTE: Let me just say that Prince Nana is one of my favorite characters in all of wrestling. The gimmick may be cheesy, but he plays the role so well you almost forget how cheesy the gimmick actually is.

(5) Low Ki and Jay Lethal fight to a no-contest at 15:51.

NOTE: Hey Low Ki…1997 called and LL Cool J wants his pants back. All the scowling in the world won’t stop you from looking like a dork.

Lethal starts things off by attacking Ki before the bell and the match quickly degenerates to the outside. This was a hard-hitting, stiff match from beginning to end. I can definitely see why this feud is on-going because it is a perfect way to elevate Lethal, who seems to be just a bit short of main event status. Personally, I think it’s because Lethal’s got zero personality…even in the ring. For someone like Aries or Joe, who aren’t the best talkers in the world, they more than make up for it in the ring. While Lethal can wrestle and is pretty good in the ring, nobody seems to care. May he and Whitmer can team up and do the “boring” gimmick that never worked for Lance Storm in a tag team together.

At around the 9:30 mark of the match both Ki and Lethal trade chops that reminds me of the Kobashi-Susaki match from July’s NOAH show. The crowd shows appreciation for the effort. To back up my “boring” thoughts, Lethal tries making Ki submit with a full nelson (well…he was trying to set up the Dragon suplex but the set-up was boring as hell and seems like a submission hold). Ki escapes and ends up giving Lethal a double foot-stomp from the top rope with Lethal tied up in the corner at 12:11. After trying for another Dragon suplex unsuccessfully (i.e. it was another full nelson rest-hold), Ki throws Lethal to the outside and goes for another double boot-stomp. At 13:39 Ki gives a double boot stomp to an outside table in a cool spot.

The match again goes into the crowd and both wrestlers beat the snot out of each other. Then Low Ki shoves the referee, who then decides to make the match a no-contest…to the extreme disappointment of the fans. Ki and Lethal quickly make their way back to the ring and continue battling until Matt Hardy makes the save. This, of course, leads into the next match.

(6) Matt Hardy pinned Homicide at 17:40. The crowd isn’t too harsh on Hardy at all at the beginning of the match. There may not have been a lot of boos but there were definitely loud Homicide chants. I lost track of what took place because I was so into the match. Sorry. I do remember the highlights, though.

Matt Hardy takes a somersault plancha through the ropes by Homicide at 7:15. Homicide hits a top-rope Benoit-like headbutt at 8:44. At 11:20 Homicide hits a swinging DDT off the ropes. Hardy puts a superplex on Homicide at the 12:00 mark. Hardy drops the leg from the second rope at 14:46 to a chorus of boos. Homicide hits a Northern lights suplex at 15:10. Hardy hits a “Splash Mountain” slam at 17:00. Hardy wins with a roll-up at 17:40.

Hardy put Homicide over pretty big, in my opinion. No, Homicide didn’t win…but that doesn’t matter to ROH fans. You can definitely still come out better than you went in without anyone even paying attention to wins and losses. Regardless of how some people think, wins and losses mean nothing and this match didn’t hurt Homicide in the slightest. Hardy could have easily took the “I’m hot sh*t WWE” approach and run the majority of the match. He didn’t. He played the face in peril most of the match even though he clearly wasn’t the face in the match. The crowd was hot and for every one Hardy supporter, there seemed to be two or three Homicide supporters. This was an excellent match and regardless of their feelings for him, ROH fans have to give Hardy credit for doing a great job with another great wrestler.

Now comes an ROH title match rewind that pretty much explained the entire back-story from Punk’s winning the belt to why everybody is involved in a 4-way match (with sappy music and everything!). Not top of the line production, but it delivered all it needed to.

(7) James Gibson defeated CM Punk, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe in a 4-way elimination match to win the ROH title at 50:35. Daniels gets a huge reception, as the crowd chants “Welcome Back” and “Fallen Angel” (very reminiscent of prior ROH shows over the previous month). Gibson and Joe both get very warm receptions, as well. It is very clear before introductions even took place who was gonna be the only heel in the match.

Punk and Gibson start off in a match you just knew is going to be special before it even begins. It starts with a headlock and a wristlock and nothing much changes until the next tag comes at the four minute mark with Daniels making his way in. Business picks up as they go through a flurry of arm drags, leg sweeps, arm lock reversals, and pin attempts that brings the crowd to their feet.

Daniels then tags in Joe while Gibson jumps off the ring apron, preventing Punk from tagging out. Punk then rolls across the ring and tries to tag in Daniels, but he jumps off the ring apron, too. Very entertaining and the crowd is super-hot and eating it up. Punk finally tags out to Daniels, who locks up with Joe at 9:15. Not much happens before Gibson tags in to face Joe.

Honestly, folks…not a whole helluva lot happens in the first twenty minutes or so. The primary story is that Punk runs away from everybody else but especially from Samoa Joe. This makes it seem as if Joe is primed to win in the end. It is a very interesting story here. Everything is a slow build but the crowd is into everything being done.

Gibson hits a plancha to the outside on Punk at the 29:00 mark. Christopher Daniels then hits a moonsault onto both men, which is quickly followed up by Samoa Joe performing a suicide dive through the ropes on all three men. Punk soon after lands a wicked chair shot to Gibson at 30:34, cutting him open in the process. Gibson does a fantastic selling job and it is made to look like he can’t continue, with the referees taking him to the back. This gives everybody time to rest while still giving the audience something to watch.

At this point everybody is sweating buckets as the building is super-hot. Punk kicks out of Daniels’ Best Moonsault Period at 36:56 and the crowd is holding their heads in disbelief. When it appears that Daniels is about to roll-up Joe and perform a bridge for better leverage, Joe turns it into his rear-naked choke and Daniels is the first wrestler eliminated at 41:04 (actually, Daniels makes it to the ropes but CM Punk pushes his foot off the ropes before the referee can see it and he has to tap out).

This leaves Punk vs. Joe alone to face each other. Both men are exhausted and sweating profusely. Daniels, however, is not done with Punk and he, along with Joe, begins to double-team him. Joe holds Punk for Daniels. Daniels goes for an enzeguri but misses Punk and nails Joe instead. Punk then rolls up Joe in a small-package at 42:07 for the win.

However…this is not the end…

With the crowd chants of “We want Gibson” ring throughout the building, James Gibson’s music hits at 44:05. He stumbles to the ring with referees trying to hold him back, but he continues forward. Gibson plays the best underdog I’ve seen in quite some time…very believable, indeed. Punk and Gibson then go at it and the crowd is now rabid for a title change. They get their wish at 50:35 when Gibson delivers an amazing Tiger Driver off of the top rope. The crowd goes absolutely insane. Spanky immediately comes out and congratulates his good friend and tag team partner. Then the locker room empties to congratulate him.

Spanky then brings the celebration to a screeching halt to tell everybody over the microphone that he is looking forward to his title shot.

As a “Match of the year” chant breaks out, Gibson takes the mic and thanks the fans, the wrestlers, and Ring of Honor for giving him a second chance at making a living. He tells the crowd that neither the cruiserweight title nor anything else he has done up to this point in his career compares to winning the ROH title. He and Punk then shake hands in the middle of the ring. Something very cool to close out the show is having the camera follow Gibson out back where he then hugs and is congratulated by both Samoa Joe and Punk. Great kayfabe-free moment.

Final thoughts: The show ran 2 hours, 58 minutes. A stellar second half of the show certainly made up for an average first half. The 4-way main event was certainly my favorite match although Hardy-Homicide was excellent, Cabana-Spanky was as entertaining as anything I’ve seen, and Generation Next-The Embassy was a great 6-man tag. None of the matches were bad…they just didn’t really stand out a whole lot.

I really enjoyed the show and I’d recommend this as a purchase simply for the four matches I listed above. Where there isn’t a bad match on the card (just filler), the tape certainly is worth the money. You can purchase this tape at Ring Of Honor for only $20.


If you have any opinions please feel free to give me a shout at Thanks for clicking the link that brought you here. L8R!

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