homecoming

National Guard Armory – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dave Prazak and CM Punk are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Match – Azrieal vs. Spanky vs. Nigel McGuinness vs. Deranged

Deranged is accompanied by Lacey and Cheech. I love Spanky’s entrance music so hard. Former Special K teammates Deranged and Azrieal (formerly Angeldust) start it off. After a brief back and forth Deranged tags McGuinness by way of slapping his face. It doesn’t take long for McGuinness to get his receipt, as he gets preoccupied with Deranged on the outside rather than Azrieal in the ring. When the dust settles we wind up with Azrieal and Deranged in the ring again but I don’t recall seeing a tag. We cross the five-minute mark without Spanky or McGuinness officially getting in the ring yet. Speaking of, McGuinness low bridges the top rope to cause Deranged to crash to the floor. Back in the ring Spanky takes his turn abusing the Lacey’s Angel. McGuinness comes in and hits the Tower of London. Azrieal is still technically the legal man so he covers for two. Deranged is able to tag Spanky and get a much needed respite. Spanky hits Azrieal with a leg lariat and Azrieal responds with an enziguiri. Deranged tags back in and low blows Spanky to take control. He quickly tags Azrieal, who takes advantage of the worn down Spanky, focusing on the knee. McGuinness tags in and continues the leg work started by the other two competitors. Azrieal comes back in and Spanky is in all sorts of trouble here. Finally Spanky is able to grab Azrieal with an STO into the buckle and tags are made. McGuinness blasts Deranged with a lariat and then knocks Cheech off the apron. The battle spills to the floor and Azrieal wipes out Cheech and Deranged with a dive. Spanky follows suit, which is pretty impressive given all the work that was done on his leg. Come on dude, sell it. Back in the ring Spanky tags himself in and goes to work on Deranged. The referee loses control as Deranged is able to hit Azrieal with a solid Tornado DDT. McGuinness suplexes Spanky and then they do a Tower of Doom spot. Spanky hits McGuinness with a Superkick and Sliced Bread #2. Azrieal hits Spanky with a backbreaker. Deranged tries a springboard rana but Azrieal catches him. Spanky hits Azrieal with a Superkick and then hits Deranged with Sliced Bread #2 to get the big win at 16:09. That could have been a little shorter but overall the action was solid.
Rating: **¾

ROH Addresses Prince Nana

Gary Michael Cappetta is in the ring to address Prince Nana’s treatment of his footstool Jade Chung. He tells Nana that ROH officials have decreed that he may no longer physically abuse Chung in any way, or the entire Embassy will be fired. Nana decides to verbally abuse her instead. He gives her the opportunity to go back home to Thailand, but since conditions are so brutal there she decides to remain with the Embassy. Nana then calls out Killer Kruel, who brings a cloak with him to cover Chung, depriving the fans of seeing her body. Things get especially misogynistic as Nana asks Kruel for a leash and they put it on her. Nana got so much heat for this, it was awesome.

MATCH #2: ROH Tag Team Title Match – The Carnage Crew vs. BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs

Loc and Devito have been the champions since 7.9.05, and this is their second defense. They won it from Whitmer and Jacobs, so this is the former champions’ rematch. I really, truly despise the Carnage Crew as performers. The challengers attack before the bell and we’re underway on the floor. Jacobs and Loc battle on one side of the ring while Whitmer and Devito fight on the other. Whitmer tosses Loc in the ring and they slug it out. Referee Mike Kuehner isn’t even pretending to enforce the tagging rule in the opening minutes here. We settle in with the Carnage Crew working over Jacobs in their half of the ring. Punk’s constant mocking of Jacobs on commentary is pretty funny. Loc and Devito wear Jacobs down with their terrible looking offense as the crowd tries to HUSS Jacobs back to life. The champs go for a Doomsday Device but Jacobs turns it into a victory roll for two and then makes the tag. Whitmer is a house afire as the referee again loses control. Loc takes Whitmer down and hits him with a somersault senton off the top rope, and Devito follows with a moonsault off the top rope for a two-count. The Crew goes for the Carnage Driver but Jacobs breaks it up and hits Devito with a top rope rana. Jacobs then hits Loc with the Contra Code but it only gets two. Devito recovers and puts Jacobs up on the top rope but Whitmer comes to his partner’s aid. The challengers hit the Super Contra Code to get the pin and regain the titles at 9:23. The belts are back where they belong. That was about as good of a match as anyone could have gotten out of the Carnage Crew.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Six Man War – Low Ki, Homicide & Ricky Reyes vs. Samoa Joe, James Gibson & Jay Lethal

Joe is the current ROH Pure Champion. They waste no time getting the match underway. The babyfaces quickly dominate and throw the Rottweilers to the floor. Reyes and Joe are the first two back in the ring. They fight a bit before making tags to Gibson and Ki. Gibson tags out to Lethal, who is by far the least experienced man in this match. Ki wants nothing to do with Lethal so he tags Reyes. The good guys take control, working Reyes over in their corner. With some help from Homicide on the apron, Reyes takes control and tags Ki. Now the Rottweilers work on Gibson. Lethal gets a hot tag and Ki once again avoids him until he can take a cheap shot. After several minutes of heat on Lethal, Joe gets a hot tag and is a house afire. Gibson comes in and gets him some too. The referee loses control and it turns into a pier-six brawl. Lethal focuses on Ki, hitting him with a leg lariat and a missile dropkick. He goes for the Dragon Suplex but Homicide breaks it up. Homicide goes for the Cop Killa and Ki looks to add the double stomp but Gibson breaks that up. The babyfaces dump all three Rottweilers to the floor and follow them out with a triple dive! Back in the ring Gibson tries a Gibson Driver but Homicide avoids it. The referee gets distracted and a random thug hands Homicide a chain. Homicide hits a chain-assisted Lariat to get the pin on Gibson at 23:35. Everyone was rockin’ for that one, with very little resting and lots of hard hitting action from start to end. These guys didn’t mind working snug, that’s for sure.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #4: Alex Shelley & Mystery Partner vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong

Shelley cuts a quick promo, explaining that he has joined Prince Nana’s Embassy! That means Fast Eddie is his partner tonight. Jimmy Rave says that nice guys finish last as a way of welcoming Shelley to the Embassy. Nana then sends Rave to the back to prepare for his Street Fight with AJ Styles. Jimmy Bower joins Prazak in the announce booth as Punk is preparing for his World Title defense.

Aries and Eddie start the match. Nana distracts Aries but it doesn’t matter much, as Aries brushes Eddie off and makes the tag. Generation Next goes to work on Eddie, who is legally blind. Various Embassy members interfere from the outside of the ring to give Eddie the advantage. Strong fights back and lights up Eddie’s chest with chops, but he can’t quite make the tag. Eddie can though, and Shelley enters the match for the first time. Momentum swings back and forth and the Embassy isolates on Aries now. After some time Aries is able to make the hot tag and Strong is throwing out backbreakers for everyone. Shelley cuts Strong off with the Golden Gate Swing and Eddie follows with a Moonsault for a two-count. Strong tags Aries, who throws IED’s at both Shelley and Eddie, and gets a two-count on Shelley. The referee loses control as Strong dives to the floor to take out both Eddie and Killer Kruel. This distracts the referee long enough for Rave to sneak back in and assault Aries with a chair. That allows Shelley to score the pin at 12:54. Shelley was a great fit for the Embassy and this was an effective way to introduce him into the group.
Rating: ***

The Embassy continues the assault on Aries and Strong until AJ Styles comes out to make the save. He clears Shelley and Eddie out of the ring, and is ready to face Rave in the Street Fight!

MATCH #5: Street Fight – AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Rave

Rave beat Styles at Third Anniversary Celebration Part 2 in Dayton, and Styles came back with a win at Escape from New York in July, so this is a rubber match. They quickly take it to the floor and Styles is all over Rave. Styles drags Rave through the crowd and abuses him in front of the Philly faithful. Rave fights back and brings Styles back to ringside to whip him into the barricades. They make it back to the ring and Rave brings a chair. Rave hits the running knee to the face for a two-count. He tries the Rave Clash but that just makes Styles angry. A series of headbutts produces blood from Rave’s forehead. They fight to the apron and Styles takes Rave down with a belly-to-back suplex through the timekeeper’s table! #DANGEROUS! Back in the ring Styles goes for a Styles Clash on a steel chair but Rave backdrops him on the chair instead! Rave then stomps Styles’ face into the chair. Styles fights back and hits a brainbuster on the chair, and that draws out Killer Kruel and Fast Eddie of the Embassy. Impressively, Styles is able to fight them off and wipe them out with a dive to the floor. Jade Chung tries to interfere but Styles thwarts her, gently. Alex Shelley then comes out and hits Styles with the Shellshock. Rave follows with the Rave Clash to get the pin at 12:53. The hatred in this match and the feud as a whole seemed pretty legit, and the result was a pretty intense street fight.
Rating: ***½

The Embassy attacks Styles after the bell, and when Austin Aries and Roderick Strong come out to try and make the save they get beaten down as well. Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley, Fast Eddie, Prince Nana, and Jade Chung stand tall. When the babyfaces recover they all shake hands, perhaps to signal an alliance of sorts to battle their now common enemy.

MATCH #6: ROH World Title Match – CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels

Punk has been the champion since 6.18.05, and this is his fourth defense. Daniels is accompanied by Allison Danger. This feud actually stretches all the way back to Do or Die in Philadelphia on May 31, 2003. They open with some stalling, so we’re probably going to be here a while. When they finally do make contact they’re definitely not in a hurry to get anywhere. Daniels takes Punk to the mat and focuses on his arm and shoulder. Punk counters by utilizing the side headlock, which he used so famously against Samoa Joe about a year ago. Momentum shifts back and forth several times in the early going, but Daniels would likely be ahead on points as they reach the 20-minute mark. Daniels lands an Arabian Press and then locks on a Crossface. Punk gets to the ropes and rolls to the floor, but Daniels follows him right out and keeps working on the neck. Finally Punk is able to come back with a knee to the midsection. Punk now focuses on the midsection, keeping Daniels on the mat. They cross the half-hour mark with the champion in control. Daniels fights back with a flurry of offense including a quebrada, but he can’t put Punk away. He goes up to the top rope and Punk pushes him down to the floor to regain the advantage. The momentum continues swinging back and forth as both men are looking for the win. Daniels hits a Death Valley Driver but only gets two. Punk fights back with a missile dropkick but Daniels moves out of the way and the referee takes it instead. Daniels hits a Blue Thunder Bomb but there’s no referee. Punk comes back with the Pepsi Twist but the referee is still out. Daniels hits the Best Moonsault Ever and Todd Sinclair FINALLY makes his way out for the count but Punk is just barely able to kick out. They take it to the floor and trade shots. They take it up to the apron as we cross the 50-minute mark. Back in the ring Punk hits a superplex but it only gets two. Daniels is able to lock on the Koji Clutch and Punk reaches the ropes. Punk shrugs off a series of headbutts and hits a big boot for two. The pendulum swings back and forth as 55 minutes have gone by. Punk locks on the Anaconda Vise and Daniels makes the ropes. Unfortunately Punk is able to lock the hold right back on. Amazingly, Daniels is able to power back to his feet as we’re down to a minute remaining. Daniels is able to hit the Angels Wings but time suspiciously expires a few seconds before the 60:00 minute time limit. I dislike hour-draws that end with a guy pinning the other guy for a two-count, it’s just so played. The match was good, but it was painfully obvious they were going an hour and it looked like they were stretching a bit.
Rating: ***¼

After the match Punk punches Allison Danger for no real reason, and then fights off Daniels as well. James Gibson comes out to make the save. Punk recovers and lays out both Gibson and Daniels with the belt. The crowd chants for Joe and the man himself comes out and sends Punk running to the back.

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