Arena Reports 4/27 ROH in St. Paul, Minn.: Vetter's detailed live report of Aries-Morishima
Apr 29, 2007 - 1:12:00 PM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor
Ring of Honor returned to the armory in St. Paul, Minn., on Friday, April 27, 2007. The crowd is a legit 450-500, and is the biggest crowd of the three ROH shows here, as many fans stood against the walls the entire show.
This is a huge venue, but they PACKED all the seats in very close to each other at ringside. As expected, lots of local wrestlers are in the building. (And I’m saddened that none of them got a dark match spot.) I picked up four ROH DVDs and a bargain bin IWC DVD. The “pre-show main event” (which is funny, because it was the only match!) began at about 7:30.
(A) Ernie Osiris & Bobby Dempsey & Alex “Sugarfoot” Payne defeat Billy Roc & Dingo & Ash at 8:13. Flat out, the best students match I’ve seen yet. Yes, as a joke, they did announce Dingo as “the Dingo Warrior,” and he wore green pants, and his hair is an odd yellowish-blonde; certainly not a natural color. I’ve seen a lot of Roc in IWA-MS, and he’s solid. Ash has wrestled about 6 matches for NIW in MN & WI, and he’s skinny with black hair and a Mohawk.
The first minute was some very basic tie-ups. Roc hit some quick armdrags on Osiris. Dempsey clobbered Roc, and the ROH students briefly worked Roc over. Ash made the hot tag, and he chopped Payne. Payne choked Ash. The crowd was really hot! Ash hit an enziguri on Osiris at 5:00, then a hard clothesline. Dempsey applied a bearhug on Ash. Ash nailed a superkick on Dempsey, and they were both down. Dingo made the hot tag, but he missed a moonsault.
Ash nailed a double missile dropkick, and he traded stiff clubbing forearms with Payne. Payne nailed a running double knees in the corner. In a nice finishing sequence, Payne nailed a top-rope suplex on Ash, and Osiris immediately came off another turnbuckle with a frogsplash on Ash for the pin.
The show began at 8 p.m. sharp!
(1) Lacey (w/Jimmy Jacobs) & Rain (the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew) defeat Sara Del Ray & Allison Danger at 9:33. Excellent women’s match; I heard several fans near me say it’s the best woman’s match they had ever seen live. Danger & Del Ray came out to a 30 Seconds to Mars song (off the first CD), and they wore similar red, white & blue outfits. The MHWC wore identical red two-piece outfits, and Jacobs hobbled on crutches. Although most fans know these two are legitimately from the Twin Cities, they drew great heat. Rain and Danger started with some standing reversals. Danger & Del Ray hit a double shoulder tackle on Rain, and the crowd was HOT!
Del Ray tied up Lacey in a knot, and she got a nearfall; Lacey jumped in to break up the hold. Lacey & Rain hit a double Japanese armdrag. Del Ray fired back with a crossbody block on the heels at 3:00. Lacey and Danger traded hard slaps, and that got a huge pop! Danger hit her Curb Kick on the bottom rope on Lacey. Rain hit some punches and a loud chop in the ring, as Jacobs checked on Lacey’s condition on the floor. Rain hit a basement dropkick to Danger’s face for a nearfall! Rain tied up Danger’s legs, but Allison made it to the ropes. The heels each hit some chops, and Rain nailed a LOUD spine kick for a nearfall! Lacey then also hit a hard spine kick for a nearfall at 6:00, then she hit a bulldog.
Rain went for the Raindrop/inverted DDT, but Danger blocked it, and she made the hot tag to Del Ray. Sara nailed a Mafia Kick on Rain, and she shoved Lacey to the floor. Del Ray then hit a gutwrench suplex on Rain for a nearfall. Del Ray hit a series of Mafia kicks on Rain! All four ladies fought in the ring, and the heels hit a Lungblower to Del Ray’s chest, then immediately one to her back! Cool sequence! In an AWESOME spot, Del Ray picked up both Lacey & Rain in a double butterfly lock! Rain hit another Lungblower. Danger went for a move, but Jacobs tripped her! This momentary distraction allowed Lacey to hit her implant DDT on Danger for the win. Very good match, and the crowd was hot right away.
* A fan in the front row, right in front of me, gave Lacey a dollar bill. She ripped it up and threw it back in his face!
(2) Michael Elgin vs. Rhett Titus went to a no-finish at 1:43. Rhett is apparently the new Rick “the Model” Martel, or for you younger kids, um, Mark Jindrak. Rhett strutted to the ring in a Flair-style robe and he carried a mirror. Elgin, with his partner Ash, has wrestled in MN a few times before. As you’ve probably already read, he looks a LOT like Rhino, as he’s thick with long black hair and he wore a black singlet. This was announced as a “Do or Die” match.
Titus nailed a NICE dropkick, and he celebrated the move. However, he missed a goofy windup guillotine legdrop. Elgin nailed a powerslam. Suddenly, Jimmy Rave hit the ring to a RIDICULOUSLY HUGE POP, and he nailed a Saito Suplex on Rhett, then he applied the Heel Hook/modified anklelock! Dave Prazak came to ringside and asked Rave why he’s here. Rave said that sitting at home “has pi$$ed me off.” Rave then said he would make an example out of Elgin.
(3) Jimmy Rave defeats Michael Elgin at 2:49. I can’t explain the fan support for Rave! The crowd loudly chanted, “Let’s go, Jimmy!” Rave hit some chops, but Elgin fired back with his own chops. They traded shoulder tackles with neither man budging. Rave pulled Elgin to the mat by his hair, and Rave nailed a stomp on his face! Elgin hit a catapult flying elbow. Several fans chanted for Elgin to hit a “Gore.” Rave, however, nailed the spear, drawing another ridiculously huge pop. Elgin hit a nice German Suplex with a bridge. Rave hit a basement dropkick on the knee, then a Dragonscrew Legwhip, and he applied the Heel Hook, and Elgin tapped out.
(4) Shingo defeats B.J. Whitmer at 10:01. Excellent match, and I REALLY wish this had gone longer! Fans started alternating chants as the wrestlers had an intense lockup. They traded shoulder tackles with neither man budging. Whitmer nailed a spin heel kick and a Spinebuster for a nearfall. They traded stiff forearms. Shingo hit a gutbuster over his knee and a senton for a nearfall at 2:30. Shingo hit a kneedrop on Whitmer’s head, and he applied a modified Camel Clutch. Shing nailed a Spinebuster, then a half-crab into an STF. Whitmer hit a basement dropkick on the knee, and he flew through the ropes to the floor at 5:00!
They fought on the floor, and Whitmer hit an Exploder on the floor, drawing a huge pop. In the ring, Whitmer hit a Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall. Shingo hit a gutwrench suplex and a powerbomb, then a HARD clothesline for a believable nearfall, and he hit his Bloodfall/modified Death Valley Driver for a believable nearfall at 8:00. Whitmer hit a German Suplex for a nearfall and a top-rope Exploder suplex, and a hard clothesline for a nearfall! However, Whitmer couldn’t hit the Wrist-Clutch Exploder. They hit several double clotheslines with neither man going down! Shingo hit a DVD into a faceplant for the pin. Wow, that was hard hitting action!
(5) The Briscoes defeat Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw and Gran Akuma & Hallowicked and Pelle Primeau & Mitch Franklin at 16:33. I really wish this match had gone a bit longer too, (and a late-match injury may have cut it short.) This is an elimination match. The first fall is “tapout only.” The crowd gave Quack a nice pop on his way to the ring. Mark smiled on the way to ringside, showing off his missing teeth. In the ring, Jay rubbed the top of Pelle & Franklin’s head in a condescending manner, showing how short those two are. Speaking of Franklin, his character is now a goofy kid who is clueless about what he’s doing – he didn’t understand that he has to tag in, and he didn’t understand the first fall is tapout only.
The match began with Jigsaw vs. Pelle, and Jigsaw immediately hit a Gory Special. Quackenbush tagged in to a nice pop, and he immediately tied up Pelle on the mat. Quack hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a gutbuster. Pelle got in some mat holds too, finishing with a cross-armbreaker on Quack! Franklin faced Hallowicked at 4:00, and they traded armdrags, and Franklin went for the pin (again, confused by the rules. This is humorous, though.) Jay entered and he NAILED a Mafia Kick on Franklin for a nice pop. The Briscoes hit their football double shoulder tackle on Pelle. Jay hit a Death Valley Driver on Franklin, but Pelle made the save. The Briscoes flipped Pelle HIGH up in the air, and Pelle CRASHED hard on the mat. One of the Briscoes applied the Stretch Plum submission hold on Mitch, and Mitch tapped out at 6:34!
The next fall is a “Scramble,” meaning all three teams are in at the same time with no tags needed. Jigsaw hit a headscissors takedown on Hallowicked, and Jigsaw dove over the top rope onto the Briscoes! In the ring, Quackenbush out-wrestled both Hallowicked and Akuma (who FINALLY got into this match!) The Briscoes beat up Jigsaw on the floor! Akuma nailed some spine kicks in the ring and his Yoshi Tonic/Code Red/sudden swinging sunset flip. Akuma hit a nice array of kicks! In the ring, the Briscoes hit a double Japanese Armdrag on Hallowicked, and the Briscoes hit a nice series of legdrops and doublestomps. Hallowicked came back with a (D-Lo) Sky-hi powerbomb. Akuma missed a moonsault. Akuma hit some kicks on Mark. However, the Briscoes hit an elevated guillotine legdrop on Hallowicked, and Jay scored the pin on Hallowicked at 10:20.
So, it’s now just Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush in a regular match. The Briscoes beat up Jigsaw, with Mark hitting some LOUD chops! Mark hit a catapult doublestomp for a nearfall, and they continued to work over Jigsaw. Jigsaw nailed a Superkick, and he made the hot tag to Quackenbush at 13:30. Quack hit a top-rope hurricanrana. Jigsaw hit a double missile dropkick! However, he must have hit the back of his head on the landing, as he immediately turned to the ref and talked to him through his mask. The Briscoes hit Jigsaw (lightly) on his back, and Jigsaw rolled to the floor. The pace was off for a second as the wrestlers had to make an audible on the finish. The Briscoes hit a hi-lo leg lariat & Legsweep combo on Quackenbush, as Jigsaw struggled to his feet on the floor, obviously dazed. The Briscoes then hit a springboard Doomsday clothesline on Quack for the pin.
* Quack and others checked on Jigsaw, and Quack loosened the back of Jigsaw’s mask to help get him some air.
(6) Brent Albright & Adam Pearce (w/Shane Hagadorn) defeat Homicide & Colt Cabana at 13:35. This was an “anything goes” match. The heels jumped the faces. The crowd loudly cheered “Colt Cabana!” Homicide gave Pearce a Flair Toss off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Homicide hit a top-rope elbow drop on Pearce. All four are fighting – no tags needed. Homicide hit the tope con helo/dive through the ropes! In a funny spot, Colt went to the top rope, decided against it, went down to the apron, and dove onto the heels! The crowd mockingly chanted, “Holy sh!t!” Funny. Homicide hit some punches on Pearce right in front of me on the floor. At 3:00, they brawled over the guardrails and into the crowd. I couldn’t see anything, but I know some garbage cans were being used as weapons.
Homicide brawled with Pearce, and Albright brawled with Cabana in two separate fights on the floor. Hagadorn went to interject and help Pearce, but Homicide gave Hagadorn a hard bodyslam on the concrete floor! OUCH! All four eventually made it back to ringside, and the crowd was hot! Albright hit an accidental chairshot on Pearce’s head at 8:00. Homicide hit a frogsplash on Hagadorn on a table on the floor, drawing a pop. The four wrestlers finally re-entered the ring and brawled, as the fans chanted, “This is awesome!” The faces hit double missile dropkicks. Homicide hit an Ace Crusher on Pearce. The faces hit double (Dusty) Bionic Elbows on Albright. Colt hit his flying buttbump in the corner on Pearce. Homicide immediately followed with a running knee in the corner on Brent! However, Hagadorn hit a low blow on Colt.
Homicide tried, but he couldn’t hit the Copkillah. Albright applied the Crowbar/Fujiwara armbar on Homicide, but Cabana made the save at 10:30. All the fans were on their feet now. Albright his his 619-style swinging knee in the ropes, then he hit a swinging neckbreaker on Colt. Homicide got a table. Pearce hit a top-rope guillotine legdrop for a nearfall on Colt. Hagadorn grabbed a portion of the metal guardrail, and the put that in the ring, so it was leaning in a corner! Bear picked up Homicide and he whipped Homicide into the guardrail in the ring! Cabana went for the Colt 45/backbreaker over the shoulder, but he couldn’t get it! Albright nailed a half-nelson suplex out of nowhere to pin Colt! The fans loudly booed the finish. Good energetic brawl.
* The heels went to leave, but Homicide was able to grab Hagadorn and pull him into the ring, and neither Pearce nor Albright tried to retrieve Hagadorn! Homicide hit the Copkillah! OUCH! Fans chanted, “Thank you Colt!” Colt helped Hagadorn to his feet, but then Cabana hit the Colt 45 on Shane to make the fans happy.
* Long, long intermission.
(7) Rocky Romero defeats Jack Evans and Delirious and Erick Stevens at 15:27. This is Steven’s MN debut, and he is MUCH bigger and thicker than his four opponents in this match. Delirious, as always, went crazy at the bell, and he cleared the ring. Delirious jawed with Romero. No one wanted to start against the bigger Stevens! Stevens and Delirious eventually tied up, and Stevens picked up Delirious and set him down on the top turnbuckle. This move angered Delirious, who launched into a gibberish tirade. Delirious tried calling some spots. They each flexed, and Delirious called for a test of strength! This was good humor to open the second half of the show. Delirious hit a clothesline with no effect, and the move hurt his own arm! Delirious then hit the BAM leaping lariat at 4:40, but he couldn’t get Stevens up for a bodyslam.
Stevens hit a powerslam. Romero entered and hit a LOUD running kick to Delirious’ chest! Evans entered and he tried to put Stevens in a sleeper, but Erick just shrugged him off. Romero made a blind tag and he hit a flying knee on Evans and some chops. Romero suddenly had to face Stevens at 7:30, and Romero couldn’t find anyone to tag out to! Stevens nailed a decapitating clothesline and a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on Romero, and Rocky rolled to the floor. Delirious & Evans tossed Romero back in the ring! Stevens hit some LOUD chops on Romero, and the three faces beat up on Rocky.
Evans hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall, but Delirious & Stevens broke up the pin. Stevens hit a clothesline on Delirious and a senton on Evans for a nearfall. Stevens hit a chokeslam powerbomb on Evans and a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall, then he gave Evans a German Suplex over the ropes and to the floor! Romero hit a Victory Roll into an anklelock on Stevens. Delirious hit a missile dropkick to Romero’s back, and Delirious hit the Shadows Over Hell backsplash on Stevens & Romero at 12:30.
Delirious hit the Panic Attack/running knee in the corner on Romero. Stevens hit a powerbomb on Delirious, throwing him onto Romero in the corner! Stevens then hit a powerslam on Evans for a nearfall. Delirious hit a top-rope flip dive to the floor on Stevens, leaving just Romero vs. Evans in the ring. Romero hit a butterfly suplex, and a Tajiri-style spin kick to the head to pin Evans! Fans chanted, “Rocky sucks!” Delirious poured a bottle of water onto Evans to revive him. Good four-way.
(8) Roderick Strong defeats Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) via countout at 23:33 to retain the FIP title. It was made clear in the ring introductions that this match has countout rules – so clearly made I felt right then that I knew the finish of the match! Danger wore her black cheerleader outfit. Daniels wore purple trunks, and this is the “TNA Daniels” look. In the opening seconds, Strong hit a hiptoss and he did some pushups, showing off his new arrogant persona. Daniels hit some quick armdrags and Strong bailed and stalled. Daniels kept Strong grounded with some headlocks, and some slow-but-intense reversals. Daniels hit an Arabian Press for a nearfall at 5:30, then he went right back to the headlock – it was obvious this match was going longer than the others today.
An unruly fan in the front row started jawing with Danger. Daniels hit a hurricanrana. Strong hit a Mafia Kick on the apron, and they both fell to the floor, and they fought on the floor. Strong whipped Daniels into the guardrail; Strong ducked in the ring to break the ref’s count. Strong hit a loud chop against the guardrail and a backbreaker over the guardrail at 8:00! Daniels was able to crawl back into the ring. Strong hit a bodyslam, an elbow drop and some Steiner pushup! (Believe me, he was definitely imitating Steiner!) Strong couldn’t hit the Slingshot Suplex. Strong hit a back suplex, and he tied up Daniels on the mat, but Daniels reached the ropes. Strong applied a cool, unique tie-up in the ropes and he hit some more chops! Strong nailed a butterfly suplex at 12:30 for a nearfall.
Daniels hit an STO uranage, and they were both down, and the crowd fired up. Daniels hit some jabs, a leg lariat, and he was energized! Daniels hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall, then an Arabian Press to the floor at 15:00! In the ring, Daniels hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Strong hit a backbreaker over his knee. Fans chanted, “Fallen Angel!” Strong nailed a second-rope Samoan Drop, tossing Daniels across the ring! Daniels countered with another STO uranage, and he went for the Best Moonsault Ever, but he missed and landed on his feet. Strong then hit a gutwrench backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 17:30.
Strong hit a second-rope flying boot for a nearfall, and he applied a Boston Crab, as fans chanted, “Please don’t tap!” Daniels reached the ropes. Daniels hit the Flatliner and he applied the Koji Clutch, but Strong reached the ropes at 19:30. They fought on the floor and up the ramp. In the ring, Strong hit some more chops. Daniels hit a clothesline that sent both to the floor. Strong hit a backbreaker onto the ring post! Daniels hit a backbody drop onto a piece of guardrail on the floor, out of my viewpoint. Apparently, Daniels got stuck in the guardrail somehow, as Strong rolled into the ring, but Daniels could not, and Strong won via countout. Good match – somewhat slow early, but intense with a nice buildup.
(9) Takeshi Morishima defeats Austin Aries at 15:04. Very good match, and best of the show. Aries was announced as being “proudly trained here” in Minnesota. My first time seeing Morishima (again, I picked up all four Feb. DVDs at the show), and he must be a legit 6’2” or 6’3”. Aries hit some punches; Morishima swatted the smaller Aries away. Aries hit some stiff forearms, but they had little effect. Aries hit a running dropkick, but it didn’t take Morishima down! Aries hit some kicks on the knees and a clothesline, finally sending Morishima to the mat for a big pop! Morishima quickly countered with a flying mid-ring buttbump!
Morishima hit a running Mafia Kick that barely grazed Aries, who fell to the floor at 2:00. In the ring, Morishim hit some stiff kicks to Aries’ chest. Morishima hit a doublestomp on the chest and some loud chops, and he dominated early. The crowd alternated chants for both men. Morishima whipped Aries into the guardrail on the floor at 5:30. In the ring, Takeshi hit a HARD Field Goal kick, and he applied a neck vice, as the crowd rallied for Aries. Morishima hit a running buttsplash on Aries as Aries was sitting on the mat! Aries boxed Takeshi’s ear’s repeatedly, and Aries low-bridged the top rope, and Morishima tumbled to the floor. Aries then dove through the ropes, NAILING Morishima on the floor at 9:00!
However, Morishima again whipped Aries into the guardrail to regain control. Morishima hit some running buttbumps on the floor, much like Samoa Joe does the Ole kick. Aries hit a catapult corkscrew press into the ring, and Aries immediately followed with a Lionsault for a nearfall. Morishima hit a sidewalk slam for a nearfall. Morishima then hit a cartwheel-into-a-Stinger Splash! Morishima climbed to the top rope, but he missed a missile dropkick! Aries immediately dove onto Morishima and applied a Rings of Saturn/double armbar! Fans chanted for Morishima to tap out, but Takeshi reached the ropes.
Morishima hit a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Aries hit a crucifix takedown and a roaring elbow for a clothesline. Morishima hit a decapitating clothesline, and he tried to hit a buttsplash down onto Aries, but Aries rolled out of the way. Aries hit a BRAINBUSTER for a big pop! Aries hit a 450 Splash for a BELIEVABLE nearfall at 14:00, as the ref counted to three, but the ref immediately pointed out that Takeshi’s foot was on the ropes. Morishima hit a second-rope Saito Suplex and a clothesline for a believable nearfall! Aries got to his feet, but Morishima hit another Saito Suplex for the pin. Excellent match, as the crowd rallied behind Aries in this awesome “David vs. Goliath” battle.
Final thoughts: The show ended at 11:08. The main event topped everything here, as the crowd treated Aries like a hometown hero and rallied behind him. Morishima was impressive. The finishing moments were awesome, as the fans went NUTS for the brainbuster and the 450.
I’ll give second-best match to Daniels vs. Strong, although I know there is NOT unanimous agreement on that. Some thought it was a bit too slow and methodical, and others disliked the finish, especially since it seemed so obvious that it was the finish before the match began. I LOVED the stiffness and back-and-forth action of Shingo-Whitmer, and that earned third-best. The Cabana match earns fourth-best, just ahead of the four-way. I didn’t mind the Cabana loss, especially because he got to hit the Colt 45 and celebrate with the fans going into intermission.
I felt really bad for Jigsaw, who had an otherwise excellent debut until his injury. You can really tell how much Quack cares for his students in the manner he cared for Jigsaw after the match. I think all four Chikara guys did a great job, and they definitely deserve more ROH matches down the road. I say this about any elimination match – I was really pleased to see that no one tried to break up any eliminations in this match (except for teammates). It never makes any sense to save someone who isn’t on your team.
Outside of the one annoying fan in the Daniels-Strong match, this crowd was extremely well behaved and hot for everything. I think this show will come off looking good & energetic on DVD.
This was a good show. I liked the August event better, but I really liked that this was a vastly different roster from the last show here, too. Unfortunately, I asked Cary Silkin as I was leaving if they would be back, and he said they would not.
This show gets a solid thumbs up. There are no must-see matches, but there is nothing below average at all, either. This DVD will likely be available for purchase in about six weeks at www.rohwrestling.com for $20.
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