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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor
Ring of Honor returned to Braintree, Mass., on Jan. 26, 2007, for “Dedicated,” as this show was named for former ROH broadcaster & cameraman Doug Gentry, who unexpectedly died. The show opened with a 10-bell salute for Gentry.
As with the prior ROH show here, the crowd is perhaps 500 to 600, and the Boston area fans are lively now for Ring of Honor action. This venue is a basketball court. Lighting, camera work, and audio are good and on par with all the other recent ROH shows. On commentary is the usual tandem of Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard.
* Rebecca Bayless is back in ROH as an interviewer. Homicide came to the ring and held the ROH World Heavyweight title up in the air, and the crowd popped. Larry Sweeney came out! He told Homicide that Hero is warming up backstage for their match later on. Sweeney said that Homicide is “the most disgraceful champion in ROH history,” which of course, drew lots of boos! Hero jumped in the ring and attacked Homicide from behind. Hero hit a Mafia Kick. Sweeney & Hero stomped on Julius Smokes, too. Rocky Romero hit the ring, and Hero & Sweeney bailed! Fans chanted, “Welcome back!” However, Romero made it clear that he was unhappy with Homicide, as he asked why Homicide hadn’t called him in a year! Romero then called out Davey Richards for the first match of the show.
(1) Rocky Romero defeats Davey Richards at 18:50. An excellent way to kick off this show! Leonard on commentary said this was Romero’s first ROH match since December 2005! Wow, I didn’t realize he never wrestled here once in 2006! They had an intense lockup, and Romero snapped on a cross-armbreaker. Richards applied a single-leg crab. Romero applied an anklelock at 3:00. Romero hit some stiff kicks and a snap suplex, then a flying kneedrop to the chest. Richards came back with some right & left kicks on the floor and a Mafia Kick that sent Romero over the guardrail and into the fans! They traded more stiff, clubbing forearm shots on the floor, and the fans popped for this stiff action.
In the ring, Richards nailed a LOUD spine kick at 6:30, then some spin kicks to the chest and a snap suplex for a nearfall. Romero applied a nice mid-ring Octopus, but Richards made it to the ropes. They traded chops, and Richards dropped Romero gut-first on the top rope at 9:30. Romero missed a Missile Dropkick. Richards nailed a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall, and he applied a bodyscissorslock around the waist. Richards hit some more right & left kicks. Romero fought back with some open-hand paintbrush slaps to the face. Romero hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker at 12:00. Romero dove through the ropes, and they both crashed to the floor!
In the ring, Romero hit a German Suplex for a nearfall, then a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Richards tried to hit a running Liger Bomb, but Romero turned it into a so-so headscissors takedown. Richards countered with a powerbomb into the corner, then he hit the running Liger Bomb for a believable nearfall! Richards nailed a bodyslam on the floor at 15:30, so Romero hit one as well. Richards accidentally kicked the ring post. In the ring, Romero stomped on Richards injured ankle, and he hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip. Richards hit an enziguri with his good leg, and they were both down.
Richards tried to hit the DR Driver/butterfly piledriver, but Romero got a Victory Roll, and he turned it into an anklelock! Nice! Richards hit a DDT and he tied Romero up on the mat. Romero again applied an anklelock, and he wouldn’t let go! Richards tried valiantly to reach the ropes, but Romero kept the move locked on, until Richards finally tapped out. “What a match to kick off 2007!,” Prazak exclaimed!
* Jimmy (Gabe Sapolsky) Bower made a brief comment that the world lost a good man in Doug Gentry.
* In a brief backstage segment, Jimmy Rave talked about how everyone will tap to his new heelhook submission hold. Basic promo.
(2) Jack Evans defeats Eddie Edwards at 8:29. Good match. Edwards has his black hair in braids and he wore red pants. Evans got a huge pop, and fans chanted, “Welcome back!” Edwards tied up the left arm, and Evans hit a headscissors takedown. Edwards hit some chops in the corner. Evans hit a nice Londonsault dropkick and a cool springboard spin kick to the head at 2:30, and Edwards bailed. Evans followed to the floor, but Edwards nailed a powerbomb on Evans on the edge of the ring apron! OUCH! In the ring, Edwards was now in charge, and he applied a modified Camel Clutch, then he hit a snap suplex for a nearfall.
Evans fired back with a nice springboard 450 Splash to the floor at 5:30. Evans hit a twisting splash in the ring, then a running knee to the chest for a nearfall. Edwards countered with a nice missile dropkick and a flying kneestrike for a nearfall. Prazak said that Edwards is a daredevil. Edwards nailed a face-first Falcon Arrow slam. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Evans pushed Edwards to the mat. Evans then hit the awesome 630 Splash for the pin! Good action, although there was no doubt who would win this one.
(3) Delirious & Pelle Primeau defeat Adam Pearce & Shane Hagadorn at 11:16. Solid match, just a bit below average. Pelle wore blue trunks. Pearce had goggles on; that wasn’t explained. Hagadorn carried the ROH “Top of the Class” trophy. The heels of Pearce & Hagadorn jumped the faces. Delirious slammed Hagadorn into Pearce. Pelle hit basement dropkicks on the heels’ faces. The faces worked over Pearce’s left arm. Pelle got a Victory Roll-style headscissors takedown on Hagadorn at 4:00. Hagadorn countered with a clothesline on Pelle, and the heels worked over Primeau.
On the floor, Delirious whipped Pearce into a guardrail! In the ring, Pelle applied a cross-armbreaker, but Hagadorn reached the ropes. Hagadorn slammed Pelle’s head into the guardrail. Pearce hit a chokeslam on Pelle at 7:00. This is a basic beatdown on the diminutive Pelle, and it was a bit dull. Hagadorn hit a delayed vertical suplex, and the crowd rallied for Pelle. Hagadorn hit a modified Tombstone piledriver for a nearfall, but Delirious made the save. Hagadorn hit a backbreaker over his knee. Pearce hit an elevated elbow drop for a nearfall. Pelle hit a DDT on Pearce, and he finally made the hot tag to Delirious!
Delirious hit some elbow shots, an enziguri, and the short-arm clotheslines in the corner. Delirious nailed the BAM leaping lariat on Hagadorn and the Panic Attack/running knee on Pearce, then the Shadows Over Hell on Pearce, but the ref told Delirious that Pearce wasn’t the legal man. Pelle hit a doublestomp & senton combo on Hagadorn. Pelle went for a top-rope crossbody block on Pearce on the floor, but Adam caught him and threw Primeau into the crowd. However, in the ring, Delirious applied the Cobra Stretch on Hagadorn, and Hagadorn tapped out.
* The Briscoes cut a backstage promo, saying this would be their year. They said they just got back from Japan. Time to man up! Much like Jimmy Rave’s promo earlier, it looked like they were talking to someone off camera, as they didn’t look directly at the camera. This looked just a bit weird to me.
(4) Jimmy Jacobs & Brent Albright & Lacey defeat Colt Cabana & B.J. Whitmer & Daizee Haze in a mixed tag at 10:44. The heels (Lacey’s team) jumped the faces, and all six fought on the floor. The announcers explained that women and men can fight in this match. Colt whipped Albright into the guardrail, and the women traded chops. Whitmer and Jacobs jumped in the ring and they traded blows. ROH production brought back the “picture in picture” in one corner of the screen so fans can watch two brawls at the same time. Whitmer dove to the floor on Jacobs. Haze and Lacey now fought in the ring, with Haze hitting a Thesz Press and some punches to Lacey’s face. Lacey countered with an implant DDT for a nearfall at 3:00.
Albright hit a Russian Legsweep on Whitmer. “This kid has a screw loose,” Leonard said of Jacobs. Jacobs hit repeated doublestomps on Whitmer. Colt hit a Lionsault Press on Albright & Jacobs at 5:00, then he hit some Bionic punches on all three heels (including Lacey!) Colt hit his flying buttbumps in the corner on both Albright & Jacobs. Whitmer picked up Lacey and he teased he was going to hit an Exploder on her! Colt got a table. Jacobs hit a spear on Whitmer, saving Lacey from going through the table! Haze hit a Yakuza Kick on Lacey’s head! The faces all took turns beating up Jacobs in the ring.
Whitmer hit a powerbomb, tossing Jacobs into the corner! Haze hit a low blow kick on Jacobs! Albright jumped back in the ring, and he hit some chairshots on Colt & Jacobs, then he nailed a German Release Suplex on Haze at 9:30! Fans rightfully chanted, “Holy sh!t!” Meanwhile, Jacobs hit a Senton Splash off the top rope onto Haze, who was lying on a table in the ring! Lacey then made the cover to pin Haze. Good, inspired brawl, and the fans were hot for this action.
(5) Samoa Joe defeats Nigel McGuinness at 18:15. The crowd popped huge for Joe. They tied up, and Nigel slapped him in the face! Fans, of course, chanted, “Joe’s gonna kill you!” Joe hit some hard kicks to the torso, then a uranage. Leonard talked about how Joe has a problem with NOAH, but it’s not a feud between ROH and NOAH. Joe hit a field goal kick to the gut, then the back chop & front kick & knee drop combo. Joe hit a spinning enziguri for a nearfall at 3:00. Nigel went for the Rebound Lariat, but Joe avoided it and hit a chop. Joe then dove through the ropes, and they were both down.
Joe hit some jab punches on the floor, then two Ole Kicks on the floor at 6:00. Nigel hit a hard clothesline on the floor. In the ring, Nigel slammed Joe’s shoulder into the corner, and Nigel took over on offense, hitting some blows focused on the left shoulder, and Nigel applied a keylock with a nice bridge, putting pressure on the damaged shoulder. The crowd was HOT and SPLIT between these two! Joe finally hit an enziguri at 10:00, then a powerslam for a nearfall, and he applied a cross-armbreaker, but Nigel reached the ropes. Joe hit a standing powerbomb, turned the move into a Boston Crab, then into an STF, but Nigel reached the ropes.
Nigel hit the headstand mule kick for a nearfall, and he hit some European Uppercuts; Leonard noted that those were the first European Uppercuts of the match. Nigel nailed a running European Uppercut and a short-arm clothesline for a nearfall at 13:00. Joe couldn’t hit the Musclebuster. Nigel nailed a Superkick! Joe came back with a running boot. Nigel couldn’t hit the Rebound Lariat. Nigel hit a short-arm clothesline, and they were both down. Nigel hit the kick to the back & inverted DDT combo in the corner. Nigel hit a Tower of London/Ace Crusher out of the corner for a nearfall, but Joe reached the ropes. Nigel couldn’t hit a second Tower of London.
Joe applied a rear-naked choke, but Nigel leaned backward and got a nearfall! Nigel again went for a headstand in the corner, but this time, Joe caught him with a running boot to the face! Joe hit a Musclebuster for a believable nearfall at 16:30, and the crowd POPPED when Nigel kicked out! Joe looked shocked! Joe hit a running clothesline for a nearfall. Fans chanted, “Let’s go Nigel,” “Let’s go Joe!” Nigel hit some stiff forearms. Joe hit an enziguri, but he couldn’t hit a second Musclebuster. Joe applied a rear-naked choke in the center of the ring. Fans chanted, “Please don’t tap!” The referee checked Nigel, and the ref called for the bell; Nigel never actually tapped. Excellent match.
* Jimmy Rave jumped in the ring, and he put Joe in the Heel Hook/modified ankelock! Nigel tossed Rave to the floor. Joe and Nigel shook hands.
* An ad ran for the fifth anniversary celebration. This ad is just absolutely classy with some of the best moments in ROH history.
* It’s intermission time, and Rebecca Bayless interviewed Daizee & Colt & Whitmer backstage. Daizee had a HUGE bump growing on her forehead! Colt said that Jimmy Jacobs has “women issues,” and this time, Jacobs has crossed the line. “You’ve escalated it,” Cabana said.
(6) Jimmy Rave defeats Christopher Daniels (w/Allison Danger) and Shingo and Jason Blade in a four-way survival at 12:24. Good match. Full intros for all four wrestlers were shown. Shingo started against Blade, and Blade hit a nice dropkick and a hurricanrana, and Shingo immediately tagged out! Lenny Leonard mentioned that Daniels’ tagteam partner, Matt Sydal, is in Japan. Blade hit a nice tilt-a-whirl armdrag on Daniels. Daniels hit some armdrags on Blade. Rave entered at 2:30, and the crowd was slowly taunting Rave’s name. Daniels hit a leg lariat on Rave. Prazak questioned why Rave attacked Samoa Joe earlier.
Rave slowed Blade down with some headlocks. Shingo gave Blade a Flair Toss and a sitdown powerbomb for a nearfall at 5:30. Shingo applied a half-crab, and Blade screamed in pain. Rave hit a back suplex, and the heels of Rave & Shingo were in charge. Shingo hit a hard back elbow to the jaw. Blade hit a springboard crossbody block on both heels, and he made the hot tag. Daniels entered and hit some clotheslines, an STO uranage on Rave, and a Death Valley Driver on Shingo. Daniels nailed an Iconoclasm on Rave for a nearfall at 9:00, but he couldn’t hit the Angel’s Wings.
Shingo yanked Allison Danger into the ring, but Danger was able to hit a headscissors takedown on Shingo! Rave nailed a spear on Daniels for a nearfall. Daniels hit a uranage on Rave, but he missed the Best Moonsault Ever. Rave hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on Daniels. Blade hit a missile dropkick on Rave, then Blade hit a modified Blue Thunder Bomb on Shingo for a nearfall. Shingo nailed a clothesline and a pumphandle sitdown powerbomb on Blade for a believable nearfall, but Daniels made the save.
Daniels hit a crossbody block for a nearfall on Shingo. Shingo hit a TKO stunner for a nearfall on Daniels. Daniels hit a Flatliner, and he applied the Koji Clutch! However, Rave, who made the blind tag, jumped in the ring and he applied the Heel Hook/modified anklelock on Daniels! Daniels tapped out, and the crowd loudly booed him. Good match, and Blade held up his end of the match.
(7) Homicide (w/Julius Smokes) defeats Chris Hero (w/Larry Sweeney) at 18:37. Hero wore his black top & red pants. Fans LOUDLY chanted, “F--- you, Hero!,” then “Die, Hero die!” Hero immediately applied a bodyscissorslock. Prazak talked about this being a rematch from June. Homicide came back with some quick reversals, and Hero bailed, and the fans taunted him with a “pu$$y” chant. Hero applied a cravate in the ring at 3:30. Homicide hit a punch, and Hero bailed AGAIN, and the crowd really taunted him! Homicide hit some chops, a headscissors takedown, and a dropkick. Hero bailed again, but this time, Homicide followed him to the floor.
Homicide whipped Hero into the guardrail, and he bit Hero’s ear at 6:00, and he hit some headbutts. In the ring, Homicide tied Hero in a pretzel on the mat, then a guillotine legdrop on the apron, and he applied an STF, but Hero reached the ropes. Homicide hit a running knee in the corner at 9:00. Hero came back with his rolling senton for a nearfall. Homicide hit a second-rope crossbody block. Hero hit a neckbreaker for a nearfall and a powerslam for a nearfall at 13:00. Hero hit some kneelifts to the chest, and he celebrated, and the crowd booed him. The crowd was HOT and split for Hero.
Homicide hit a flying back elbow and a flip dive off the apron to the floor. In the ring, Homicide hit an Ace Crusher for a nearfall and the Eddie rolling suplexes. Hero hit a cravate slam off the ropes for a nearfall at 16:30. Homicide hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall, but he couldn’t hit the Copkillah. Hero hit an overhead flipping neckbreaker and a release suplex for a nearfall. Sweeney distracted the referee, and he threw the world title belt to Hero! Julius Smokes ran over and hit Sweeney. Meanwhile, Hero tried to hit Homicide with the belt, but Homicide ducked it. Homicide hit a Copkillah for the pin. Good match, but not as match as their first match.
* Homicide jawed about facing Samoa Joe the next night.
* Jack Evans backstage said that he is confused that ROH gold continues to elude him, but he said this would be his year.
(8) Jay & Mark Briscoe defeat Austin Aries & Roderick Strong in a best of three falls match, 2-0, at 25:13. Solid match, but they’ve had better. Jay is prettymuch bald today, while Mark has a crewcut, so they are easier to tell apart. The Briscoes wore black trunks and Confederate flag bandanas. Strong and Mark began with an intense lockup, and Lenny Leonard talked about their three prior matches. Aries entered and he kicked at Mark’s leg. Strong hit a LOUD chop. Aries escaped the headscissorslock and hit a basement dropkick. Jay and Strong traded chops! Aries hit a side suplex for a nearfall at 5:30 on Mark, and this was just a bit slow early. Jay hit a basement dropkick to Aries’ head, and he applied a Japanese Stranglehold.
Mark hit some headbutts and stiff forearms on Aries. Aries hit a back suplex, and he tagged in Strong. Strong his a nice butterfly suplex on Mark. Aries hit a corkscrew catapult senton for a nearfall. Mark hit a moonsault, and he made the hot tag to Jay at 9:00. Mark hit a flip dive to the floor on Aries. Mark hit a springboard elevated spin kick for a believable nearfall on Strong. Aries dove through the ropes, hitting a double clothesline on both Briscoes, and the Briscoes were down. In the ring, Strong hit a backbreaker on Jay and a delayed vertical suplex on Jay at 12:00. Aries hit a catapult senton and a running splash for a nearfall. Aries tied up Jay’s neck and bridged backward for pressure. The fans began chanting, “Let’s go Briscoes!”
Strong tied Jay in the ‘Rowboat’ position and pulled on Jay’s arms. Aries hit a powerdrive elbow for a nearfall at 15:30. Jay hit a Blockbuster-style neckbreaker on Strong. Mark made the hot tag, and he hit a springboard dropkick and some karate thrusts, then a top-rope gutwrench suplex and a springboard kneedrop on Strong for a nearfall! Strong hit a spinning sidewalk slam and a slingshot suplex. Aries hit a frogsplash for a nearfall. Jay nailed a running boot. Strong hit a second-rope Gorilla Press Gutbuster over his knees! Aries hit a clothesline for a believable nearfall at 19:30. Strong & Aries hit the chop & brainbuster combo. However, the Briscoes nailed the Spike JayDriller to pin Strong at 20:13!
The Briscoes hit a team neckbreaker on Strong and a team flapjack, then a Hi-lo kick & Legsweep move for a nearfall, but Aries made the save! Strong hit a half-nelson backbreaker, and he made the hot tag. Aries hit a missile dropkick at 22:30, then he nailed a Death Valley Driver on Mark on the ring apron! Aries hit a corkscrew catapult press. Strong hit a running boot and an Alabama Slam. Aries hit a 450 Splash for a nearfall on Mark, but Jay made the save. Aries hit a discus elbow. However, the Briscoes again hit the Spike JayDriller to pin Aries! The fans were shocked that the Briscoes won in two falls!
* Backstage, Homicide, Samoa Joe and Julius Smokes talked. Homicide said he wasn’t going to get f---ed over this time. “I’m not scared of you,” he told Joe.
Final thoughts: DVD runs 3 hours, 4 minutes. This show was solid. I enjoyed the matches, but at the same time, there wasn’t a ‘standout, must-see’ match on this card. Perhaps my biggest complaint is that I’ve seen most of these matches before in ROH. From the Briscoes vs. Aries & Strong to Joe vs. Nigel to Hero vs. Homicide… these are all matches that ROH has already featured. I think it’s a problem for the promotion, largely because it essentially holds four “pay-per-view quality” events each month.
I’ll give best match to Samoa Joe vs. Nigel McGuinness. No surprise really that Joe won, but the place went NUTS when Nigel kicked out of the Musclebuster. I thoroughly enjoyed the action.
I fully expect some people to say that I overrated Romero-Richards, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and to me, that was second best. It was stiff and good back-and-forth action, and I had no idea which one was going to win. (I seriously don’t remember results from shows three months ago. I try not to.) This match had a great realistic vibe to it.
I’ll give third-best match to the main event tag match. I think fans just assumed that the team of Aries & Strong were going to tie the score at one fall apiece that they didn’t pop for the Briscoes offense at the end of the match. The match was quite good, but it wasn’t as good as their excellent match in the United Kingdom last summer. Fourth best goes to Hero vs. Homicide, which was good, but not memorable either.
I know there is a growing love on the ROH board for Pelle, but I’m not feeling it. His tag match was down-right dull until Delirious got the hot tag and the action picked up.
This show earns a mild thumbs up. I enjoyed the action, but if you’ve seen the top few matches before, you can probably skip this one. Purchase this DVD at www.rohwrestling.com for $20.
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