Allied Forces

Montgomery County Fairgrounds – Dayton, Ohio – Friday, October 15, 2010

Dave Prazak and Kevin Kelly are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Mark Briscoe vs. Mike Mondo

This is Mondo’s second appearance, after dropping his debut match to Delirious in Louisville at The Bluegrass Brawl. They trade holds back and forth early on, and Mark takes it down to the mat. An armdrag duel goes to Mark, and Mondo takes a powder. Back in the ring Mondo unloads with forearms and chops to send Mark back into the corner. Mark comes back with a jawbreaker and a neckbreaker for two. A vertical suplex gets another two-count. Mondo comes back by trapping Mark between the top and middle rope and hitting a dropkick. He follows up with a running knee strike. He then uses his wrist tape for choking, which is not its intended use. Mark fights right back and charges but Mondo sidesteps him and Mark crashes to the floor. Mondo tries to capitalize but Mark is able to clothesline him to the floor from the apron! Mark tries an Asai Moonsault but Mondo sweeps his leg and then throws Mark into the barricade. Mondo follows with a somersault off the apron. Back in the ring Mondo gets a two-count and then locks on a chinlock. Mondo picks Mark up for a bodyslam and then goes up top but misses the diving headbutt. Mark unleashes his Redneck Kung Fu. He hits a spinning heel kick and then a running knee to the face to send Mondo to the floor. He follows him out with a somersault plancha. Back in the ring Mark goes up top and hits a moonsault for two. Mark goes right back up top but Mondo dropkicks him down. Mondo hits a hurricanrana off the top for two. Moments later Mark traps Mondo up on the top rope and hits the Iconoclasm for the win at 9:03. Goofy promo aside, Mondo is pretty solid, and Mark is underrated as a singles wrestler, so this was a pretty good opener.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Women of Honor – Daizee Haze vs. Lady JoJo

I did not realize when I read the results for this show that Lady JoJo is the former TNA Knockout Sojourner Bolt. They lock up and engage in some chain wrestling. JoJo scores the first knockdown with a shoulder tackle, and then Haze comes back with a couple of armdrags and a drop toehold into a reverse chinlock. Haze hits a snap mare a dropkick to the back. She then locks on a body scissors and squeezes the midsection, then turns it into a rolling cradle for two. JoJo takes a powder and is able to trap Haze on the apron before knocking her off and into the guardrail. She then slams Haze’s back into the ring apron a couple of times. Back in the ring JoJo continues working the back. Haze fights up and JoJo cuts her off, but Haze is tenacious. As the pace quickens Haze traps JoJo in a series of neckbreakers but then misses a charge in the corner. JoJo tries a charge of her own but runs into Haze’s boot. Haze then hits a missile dropkick for two. She goes for a German Suplex and JoJo breaks out of it, only to get drilled by a Heart Punch. Haze tries the Yakuza Kick but JoJo moves out of the way and hits a spinebuster for two. They trade some holds back and forth and this time Haze is able to land the German Suplex (with a rather ugly bridge, despite what Kevin Kelly says) to get the pin at 7:58. That was decent but I felt bad that they blew the finish.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Trial Series Match #1 – Andy “Right Leg” Ridge vs. Colt Cabana

Cabana promised shenanigans in his promo, so this might not work for me. He delivers on that promise early on, frustrating the rookie Ridge. In fact, Cabana makes everything Ridge does look completely ineffectual, and even slaps him across the face. Ridge comes back with a slap of his own, and Cabana’s feelings are hurt. The crowd chants “say you’re sorry.” Cabana then uses referee Todd Sinclair for some trickery, and then executes the Stop Sign Headlock. I dislike Stop Sign maneuvers in general, despite what Brad Garoon will try to tell you. Ridge finally lands a right leg kick, and Cabana responds with a Butt-Butt. Cabana continues to control the flow of the match, throwing Ridge to the floor. Ridge hits a springboard Ace Crusher out of nowhere and a couple of boots to the face for a sort of two-count. Cabana looks more annoyed than anything, especially as Ridge continues to kick away at him. Ridge hits the Orton Backbreaker for two. He goes up top and jumps right into a boot to the face. Cabana hits the Flying Apple and Flip Flop n Fly. He follows up with the Eye of the Storm and then locks on the Billy Goat’s Curse for the win at 8:32. I like how Cabana was forced to take Ridge seriously. It started off really annoying but as it went on this got much better. Cabana puts Ridge over before making his way to the back. The crowd appreciates both men.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: Kevin Steen & Steve Corino vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole

Steen is wearing El Generico’s mask, and a political sign saying “Vote Kevin Steen Magistrate Dist. 1.” He cuts a promo about the sign and talks trash about Dayton. Cole and Corino start the match. Corino backs the much smaller Cole in toe the corner and then issues a clean break. This is Cole’s main show debut, by the way. Corino dominates him early and doesn’t appear to be sweating the youngster. Cole makes him pay with an armdrag and then avoids Corino’s own attempt at one. Tags are made. Steen knocks O’Reilly down and blows snot on him, then slaps him in the face. He blows more snot so O’Reilly fights back with a kick to the head, his own snot, and then locks on a Cross Armbreaker. Steen wisely reaches the ropes and then tags out. Corino badmouths O’Reilly, and suffers a few kicks to the leg for it. O’Reilly then grabs a leg submission and Corino gets to the ropes. Cole tags in and they hit a double back elbow for a near-fall. O’Reilly is back in and he engages Corino in a strike battle. Steen kicks O’Reilly in the back from the ring apron, allowing Corino to land a knee to the gut and the Colby Shock. Steen tags in and kicks O’Reilly down in the corner. The veterans continue working O’Reilly over in their half of the ring. After several minutes of abuse O’Reilly gets a schoolboy rollup for two and then makes the hot tag to absolutely no reaction. Cole goes up top and hits Steen with a cross body block for two and then a jawbreaker. He keeps up the fast pace, sending Steen to the floor with a headscissors. Cole tries a dive but Steen catches him and hits a Fallaway Slam into the barricade. Corino picks Cole up and sends him back in the ring. Steen and Corino continue working Cole over, and then they do the stupid spot where Turner kicks Corino’s hands off the ropes in a sunset flip. I’ve straight refused to do that in a couple of matches I refereed. Corino and Steen get a little distracted by O’Reilly’s mentor Davey Richards watching in the distance. It doesn’t deter them from the goal though, as Corino locks on the abdominal stretch and accentuates it with a thumb to the ass. Of all my least favorite spots, I think that one takes the cake. O’Reilly gets fed up and goes up top for a simultaneous missile dropkick to take both men out. Tags are made and O’Reilly is on fire. Steen and Corino get knocked to the floor and Cole takes Corino out with a dive. Back in the ring O’Reilly hits Steen with a DDT for two. Corino gets back to the apron and blasts O’Reilly with a forearm, allowing Steen to hit an F-5 for two. Steen hits the pumphandle neckbreaker with an assist from Corino for two. Cole knocks Corino to the floor and goes after Steen on the top rope. Steen helpfully shouts “Kick Me” (not his first loud called spot of the match either). Sadly, Cole doesn’t kick him so Steen punches him in the face and then actually goes for a Merosault (!) but misses and takes a combination of kicks from Cole and O’Reilly, and then a hard O’Reilly clothesline for two. Corino comes back in and hits Cole with a lariat of his own. The referee has lost control. Steen grabs Cole with a kind of package powerbomb into the turnbuckles to get the pin at 19:26. Cole and O’Reilly looked good as a team there, but I don’t see why the match had to be that long; it felt drawn out for the sake of it. Also Steen was all over the place here, calling spots out loud like crazy and just seeming generally off.
Rating: **½

MATCH #5: Ricky Reyes vs. The Metal Master

No entrances here, which is highly disappointing because I love the Metal Master! They take it right down to the mat with some intense chain wrestling. I believe this is the first time Reyes has faced the Master in ROH. Nope, never before in ROH has he faced him. Prazak and Kelly talk more about the grudge between Homicide and Jim Cornette than the match going on right now. If they’re not paying attention why should I? They come back into it (as do I) with Reyes in control. Master comes back with a series of pinning combinations for two-counts. They trade strikes and Reyes hits a flying elbow but he doesn’t cover. Reyes throws Master to the floor and follows him out to deliver some kicks. He gets into it with a fan, and keeps jawing at him back in the ring. The idiot fan jumps the guardrail and Reyes knees him in the head and security immediately tackles him. Paul Turner holds Reyes back as Master recovers. Back in the ring they continue this boring match with a Reyes chinlock. Master powers up and they clonk heads together and both men are down. Back on their feet Master hits a sort of DDT, a dropkick, and a bridging German Suplex for two. Master hits a powerslam for another two-count. Reyes fights back and the crowd is not invested. Master comes back with a backslide for two. He gets another pinning combination for two, and Reyes slides it right into the Dragon Sleeper with a body scissors. Master turns it into a pin for two and breaks the hold. Reyes kicks Master to the apron, and Master comes back with a shoulder to the gut and then a missile dropkick. Master hits a Jackhammer for two. He goes back up top but misses a diving headbutt. Reyes doesn’t capitalize right away and Master gets an inside cradle for two. Master chops Reyes into the corner and for some reason the referee gets in between them, allowing Reyes to hit Master in the eyes. Reyes follows up with the spinning swinging neckbreaker to get the pin at 12:04. Was Dayton really demanding to see twelve minutes of Ricky Reyes versus the Metal Master? That was dreadfully dull.
Rating: *½

MATCH #6: Grudge Match – Jay Briscoe vs. Rhett Titus

They lock up and Jay forces Titus back into the corner. He breaks clean and then they take it down to the mat for an even exchange. Jay takes Titus down and locks on a front chancery. Titus powers up and backs Jay into the corner and piefaces him. Neither man can gain a clear advantage early on, as they trade holds and strikes back and forth. Jay is able to boot Titus in the face. Titus comes right back and they trade strikes. Jay wins that battle and tries a double stomp but Titus avoids it, twice. Titus blocks the Flatliner in the corner and the back of Jays head bounces off the turnbuckle. Now Titus takes control and starts wearing Jay down. Titus charges into the corner and Jay backdrops him to the floor, and then follows him out with a somersault dive! They battle on the floor and Titus is able to shove Jay into a ring post right on his shoulder. Titus then slams Jay’s shoulder into another ring post. Back in the ring Titus zeroes in on the injured shoulder. Titus tries the Super Sex Factor but can’t connect. Instead Jay grabs Titus and drops him face first on the top turnbuckle. Jay then hits a big clothesline and both men are down. They get up and trade strikes. Jay wins that battle with a superkick for two. Titus fights back but Jay flattens him with a spinebuster for another near-fall. Jay goes for the Jay Driller but Titus blocks it. Titus comes back with the Fame-Ass-Er for two. He goes up top and Jay meets him up there and tries a super rana, but Titus counters with a Snake Eyes. Titus hits a sitout inverted DDT but it only gets two. He tries a Zack Attack but Jay blocks it, so Titus counters that with a rolling prawn hold for two. Jay comes back with an O’Connor Roll for two, and Titus responds to that with a backslide for two. They continue going back and forth until Jay gets on the top rope. Unfortunately for Jay, Titus dropkicks him and Jay crashes through the timekeeper’s table! Back in the ring Titus only gets two. Titus locks on the Rings of Saturn, and rolls it into a crucifix for two. Jay fires up and once again they trade strikes, and Jay lands a big boot to the face and a superkick. He finishes Titus off with the Jay Driller at 18:11. I’m all for guys getting time to shine, but this was too long for Rhett Titus at this time. There was too much back and forth and not enough story to really get invested, but the fans seem to be taking to Titus so it was effective overall.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #7: Rottweiler vs. Pit Bull – Homicide vs. Kenny King

Homicide is announced at 187 pounds now. This is his first match in ROH since October 25, 2008, which was former booker Gape Sapolsky’s last night. King stalls at the outset, trying to get the crowd worked up. They taunt each other and then Homicide throws the first punch. King takes a powder and Homicide teases the Tope Con Hilo. Back in the ring they lock up fiercely, and Homicide backs King into the corner. King takes a cheap shot out of the corner, throws Homicide into the other corner, and follows him in with a clothesline. Homicide comes back and throws King to the floor and follows him out with an axe handle off the apron. He whips King into the barricade and pulls on his face. Then he suplexes King onto the barricade, which is on the floor. That’s a double whammy. Back in the ring Homicide goes for a handshake and this time King takes it, but the crafty Homicide pokes him in the eyes. Homicide hits a belly to belly suplex and then a jawbreaker. He hits the Face Wash for two. Then he locks on a Sharpshooter, for real. King reaches the ropes. Homicide looks for the Lariat but King grabs him in a hard spinebuster for two. King is in control stomping Homicide down in the corner. He hits a leg lariat for two. King continues to wear Homicide down, and then throws him to the floor and abuses him with the barricade signs. Back in the ring King tries to wear Homicide down with a chinlock, and then hits a powerslam for two. King goes for the springboard spinning legdrop, and it kind of hits but he also lands awkwardly on his leg. That was almost bad. King sets Homicide up on the top rope, and Homicide knocks him down and hits a shoulder tackle off the ropes. Homicide hits a monkey flip but King lands on his feet so Homicide hits the Three Amigos (ending with a gourdbuster) for two. King fights back with a chinbreaker. Homicide comes right back with a hot shot and then a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. He tries a tornado DDT but King pushes off and hits the shotgun knees. King tries the Pele but Homicide catches it and locks on the STF. Rhett Titus comes out to interfere, but it backfires and Homicide scores a schoolboy rollup for two. King comes right back though with a spinwheel kick for two. He signals for a Lariat but Homicide counters to the Cop Killa but King avoids that and turns it into a Sleeper. Homicide powers out of the sleeper and hits the Ace Crusher for the win at 16:37. That was brutally boring and Homicide didn’t seem particularly interested in making King look good.
Rating: **

Titus jumps in the ring and the All Night Express look to injure the Notorious 187. Jay Briscoe comes out to make the save with a chair. Homicide is not at all appreciative of Jay’s help, and he lets him know about it. The jobbers and students (same thing really) come out to separate them. Homicide gets on the mic and insults Jay’s dad on his way to the back.

MATCH #8: ROH World Tag Team Title Match – The Kings of Wrestling with Shane Hagadorn vs. Davey Richards & Christopher Daniels

The Kings of Wrestling have been the champions since 4.3.10 and this is their sixth defense. Richards and Daniels have never teamed together in ROH that I can remember, so I’m not sure how they got this title shot, but they are both former two-time champions (Richards with Rocky Romero and Eddie Edwards; Daniels with Donovan Morgan and Matt Sydal). Richards and Castagnoli start the match for their respective teams. It’s kind of amazing how much taller Castagnoli is. Before any contact is made both men make tags. Hero and Daniels commence the chain wrestling. Daniels hits a hiptoss and Hero backs off. Hero keeps trying leapfrogs but Daniels avoids four in a row and hits more hiptosses. Hero takes a powder, and Castagnoli interferes and suffers a hiptoss of his own. The Kings regroup on the floor. Back in the ring Richards and Castagnoli are set to square off. Richards goes right after the arm and tries a Cross Armbreaker. Castagnoli escapes and hits a brainbuster and then tags Hero. Richards fights right back at him with a series of kicks. That gives the challengers the advantage, and they seem to be working well together as a team. Hagadorn grabs Richards’ foot from the floor, allowing Hero to hit a powerslam for two. The Kings take control and go right to work on Richards. After several minutes of awesome offense from the Kings, Richards blasts Castagnoli in the face with a dropkick and makes the hot tag! Daniels is a house afire, fighting off both Kings simultaneously. He locks Castagnoli in the Koji Clutch and Hero breaks it up. The Kings come back with an assisted springboard European Uppercut for a two-count. Castagnoli hits another European Uppercut and Hero follows up with the Death Blow for two. Daniels comes back with an STO on Castagnoli and makes the tag. Richards immediately goes up top and hits a dual missile dropkick. Castagnoli takes a powder but Richards makes him pay with a baseball slide dropkick. Hero joins Castagnoli on the floor and Richards makes HIM pay with a suicide dive, also wiping Castagnoli out. Back in the ring Richards hits a series of kicks on Castagnoli for two. Richards then locks on the Ankle Lock and Castagnoli rolls through, sending Richards to the floor. Back in the ring Castagnoli hits the pop-up European Uppercut for two. Castagnoli tries a Ricola Bomb but Richards counters with a Code Red for two. Richards avoids a kick and Hero takes it instead, allowing Richards to roll up Castagnoli for a near-fall. He tries the handspring kick but Castagnoli catches him in the UFO! It only gets two though, much to Castagnoli’s shock. Daniels gets in the ring and executes the Big Wolf Combo with Richards for a two-count. Hero gets back in the ring and blasts Daniels with a boot to the face. Richards responds with a Saito Suplex, and then Castagnoli takes him out with a hard clothesline, and then Daniels hits Castagnoli with a Codebreaker. Whew, all four men are down. Back on their feet it’s Hero and Daniels as the legal men in the ring. Hero hits the Liger Bomb but Daniels kicks out at two when Richards breaks it up. The referee has lost control. Richards and Daniels double-team Castagnoli; but before they can put him away, Hero rejoins the fray and knocks Richards out with a Rolling Elbow, and then delivers one to Daniels as well. Amazingly, Daniels kicks out at two! Hero pulls down the elbow pad but can’t connect with the Death Blow. Daniels hits the Angels Wings but Castagnoli breaks up the cover. Richards locks Castagnoli in the Ankle Lock. Meanwhile Daniels hits Hero with a uranage. The Kings kick Daniels and Richards into each other, leading to some miscommunication. Hero hits Daniels again, causing Daniels to accidentally knock Richards to the floor. The Kings then hit Daniels with the KRS-One to get the pin at 25:16. That was a well executed and put together tag team match with really good action throughout.
Rating: ****

Daniels and Richards appear ready to battle each other, while Hero grabs a mic to taunt them. Hero says that this was their ninth successful title defense but I think his math is off. He says very little, and then Richards takes the mic to talk about how awesome he is and how he is going to win the ROH World Title. Daniels gets on the mic and puts Richards over, then gets tough about their match tomorrow night in Chicago Ridge. They stare each other down and Richards gets on the mic AGAIN to give the fans a blowjob.

BONUS DISC: CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe

MATCH #1: ROH World Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk, World Title Classic, Dayton, OH, 6.12.04

Joe has been the champion since 3.22.03 and this is his nineteenth defense. If you look closely, you can see Brad Garoon and me in the crowd. Punk is one half of the ROH Tag Team Champions along with Colt Cabana. This is in the weird ring with the purple ropes. Before the match can begin, Les Thatcher comes out to present Joe with a new ROH World Heavyweight Title belt. I think that belt made one appearance after this show. I wonder what the deal was with that; does anybody know?

Chris Lovey and Mark Nulty are on commentary. Lovey says that Punk earned this shot by pinning BJ Whitmer in a tag team match a couple of weeks ago at Generation Next in Philadelphia, which seems like a silly reason to get a World Title shot but here we are. This is Punk’s first shot at the title. They start off slowly, feeling each other out in the early going. Joe lands a solid kick and Punk takes a quick powder. Back in the ring they take it down to the mat and have an even exchange which the crowd appreciates. Punk starts grinding away with a headlock, taking Joe down to the mat. Joe fights back with a series of strikes but Punk weathers the storm and goes right back to the headlock. Once again Joe fights out and this time he slaps Punk across the face. Punk tries some shoulderblocks, and tricks Joe with a sucker punch. This fires Joe up and they trade holds back and forth, ending with Joe trying the Big Joe Combo but Punk avoiding it. They circle each other for a bit to stall. Joe attacks with a series of brutal strikes and Punk covers up. He continues wearing Punk down with strikes, but when he goes for the Face Wash Punk takes another breather on the floor. Punk jaws with some fans before making his way back to the ring. Joe continues taking the fight right to Punk, kicking him down in the corner once again. Punk tenaciously fights back and sticks with the headlock. This time Joe takes a powder and we’re around 15 minutes in.

Joe takes time out of his title defense to punk out a Punk fan and laugh about it. Punk comes to the floor and also punks out his own fan. Back in the ring Punk locks on a headlock and then turns it into a reverse chinlock. Joe powers out again and this time hits the Big Joe Combo for two. He hits a stalling vertical suplex for another two-count. Nulty references the “Spike Lee movie about Muhammad Ali,” but Michael Mann directed that, not Spike Lee. The match turns into a brawl and Punk takes it to the floor. That could backfire. That indeed proves to be the case, as Joe whips him around into the barricades. Punk comes back and tries his own Ole Kick but can’t hit it, so he runs back into the ring. The crowd is split down the middle in support of both men. Back in the ring they trade strikes and Joe once again wins that battle. Joe traps Punk in the Tree of Woe and then forearms him to the floor. He follows him out with an elbow suicida, much to the crowd’s delight. Joe goes for the Ole Kick but Punk stops it and goes up to the apron for a rana, but Joe catches him and swings him head-first into the barricade! Finally now Joe is able to hit the Ole Kick, and the champ appears well in control. Joe hits another Ole Kick as we creep towards the 30-minute mark.

Back in the ring Joe hits a hard sidewalk slam for a two-count. Joe continues to dominate, taking Punk down and connecting with the Face Wash. He locks on a headscissors, and Punk is able to escape but Joe is right in the ropes. Punk is able to come back with a springboard cross body block and a series of kicks to the face. The kicks only fire Joe up so Punk kicks him extra hard for a two-count. Punk hits a side Russian Legsweep, and then tries some kind of submission maneuver but has trouble putting it on. Joe fights out of the hold with a series of headbutts, and then locks on an abdominal stretch. He turns that into a cradle for two. Punk fights back and hits a solid knee drop to the head. He targets the head and neck, wearing the champion down. Punk mocks Joe and pays for it with a hard kick to the back. Joe follows that with a Saito Suplex and both men are down. Back on their feet Punk hits a roaring forearm for a close two-count. He hits more forearms and then locks on a sleeper. Every time Joe tries to escape Punk is able to lock it back in. Punk takes Joe to the mat but Joe powers his way up and hits a swank enziguiri. That gives Joe time to recover. The champ hits a backbreaker and then locks on a Walls of Samoa, and then turns it into a Samoan Crab. Punk has to reach the ropes. Joe unleashes kicks and hits a running knee to the face in the corner. He sets Punk up top but gets elbowed down to the canvas. Punk drops a sloppy elbow for a two-count. He then takes Joe up for a super back suplex! We’re about 45 minutes in now.

Joe comes back and hits a snap powerslam out of nowhere for two, and then locks on a Cross Armbreaker! Punk makes it to the ropes. Joe lands a couple of Kawada Kicks and goes for a powerbomb, but Punk counters with a sunset flip for two. Seconds later Joe hits the powerbomb and then turns it into the Samoan Crab. Joe turns that into the STF and Punk once again reaches the ropes. They quite clearly have a spot calling conversation in the corner, and Punk pops up and hits a running boot to the face. Punk hits a super hurricanrana but Joe kicks out at two! He follows up with a Mule Kick and the Pepsi Twist for another near-fall. Punk takes his elbow pad off and hits a couple of forearms, and Joe responds by throwing Punk up in the air and then executing the rolling cradle for two. Joe tries a lariat but Punk counters with a crucifix for two. On the second attempt Joe decapitates Punk with a clothesline but Punk kicks out at two! Punk fights back and hits the Shining Wizard but Joe kicks out at two! He goes to clothesline Joe and manages to miss even though Joe doesn’t duck, and then hits a low blow. Punk charges but Joe catches him and slams him knees-first into the canvas. Joe then locks on a half crab and Punk once again reaches the ropes. The champ sets up for a super Muscle Buster but Punk avoids it and counters with the Pepsi Plunge! Unfortunately for Punk he lands on his injured knees and rolls to the floor.

With less than five minutes to go Punk gets back in the ring and hits more forearms. They clothesline each other and both men are down. Nulty says he hasn’t seen a match go 60 minutes since the Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat series of the ‘90s. Wow, there’s just so much wrong with that statement. Punk hits another Shining Wizard and follows up with a vertical suplex. Joe comes right back with a dragon screw and both men are down. Back on their feet Joe takes Punk up top and hits a super sleeper drop (I guess?) and both men are down again with time winding down. They start exchanging slaps and Punk wins the battle with a DDT but can’t make the immediate cover. He finally gets it but Joe kicks out at two and the time limit expires at 59:56 (close enough). All these years later, it’s still a great match. It loses points for some blatant stalling and obvious spot calling, but all in all this is an exciting match and a harbinger of things to come.
Rating: ****½

The crowd chants “five more minutes,” and Homicide runs out to attack Joe with a steel chair. Dave Prazak tries to get a word with the Notorious 187 but gets punched in the mouth for his troubles. Homicide takes Joe’s new belt and destroys the timekeeper’s table. Homicide leaves and then Punk hands Joe the belt and puts him and the title over.

MATCH #2: ROH World Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk, Joe vs. Punk II, Chicago Ridge, IL, 10.16.04

Before the show, Punk was in the ring to cut a promo about tonight’s important rematch. Punk was actually a last minute replacement for Steve Corino. That’s a scary thought. He talks about how Chicago is his hometown and that gives him the advantage. He says he Will Win the ROH World Title tonight and end Joe’s reign. Brad and I were at this show too.

Joe has been the champion since 3.22.03 and this is his twenty-seventh defense. Jimmy Bauer and Mark Nulty are on commentary. Joe immediately asserts his power advantage so Punk takes it down to the mat and scores a quick near-fall with a crucifix. Punk locks on an early headlock, mirroring his strategy from last time. The sound on my DVD is all messed up; so I’m missing the commentary and the all the other sounds. While I get irritated with the sound, Joe takes Punk down to the mat with a hammerlock. Joe keeps Punk down on the mat and Punk counters by going right back to the headlock. At least the sound has been restored, as Punk continues to frustrate the World Champion. Joe gets angry and goes right after Punk, but Punk avoids him and gets a schoolboy rollup for a close two-count. The Champ takes a rare powder to compose himself as we cross 15 minutes.

Back in the ring they commence exchanging holds again, and then Joe unleashes some strikes. This time Punk fires back and gets his head kicked off for it. Now Punk takes a powder to try and collect himself. When he gets back in the ring Joe takes him right back down to the mat with a knuckle lock. Punk comes back and goes after the arm. He walks the ropes like the Undertaker and drops a leg on Joe’s arm. He also uses the headlock to keep Joe off balance, not knowing where he is going to be attacked. The spill through the ropes to the floor but Punk is able to maintain the headlock. Joe escapes it with a back suplex. Back in the ring Joe gets a two-count. Joe hits the Big Joe Combo for another two. He unleashes strikes in the corner and goes for the Face Wash but Punk rolls out of the way and whips Joe into the opposite corner. Punk follows Joe in with a running back elbow and then his own Face Wash. He goes up top and uses his knee to drive Joe’s face into the mat, which gets a two-count. Joe comes back and locks on a modified STF that stretches Punk in a very unnatural way. The hold is broken and we’re 30 minutes in.

Punk tries to come back with a springboard cross body but Joe avoids it. Joe hits a backbreaker and a stalling vertical suplex for two. He locks on a Boston Crab and Punk reaches the ropes. Punk tries fighting back but Joe keeps knocking him right back down. Finally Punk gets up to the top rope and hits a rana, sending Joe to the floor. Punk follows him out with a suicide dive, and then hits his own Ole Kick. He follows up with a second Ole Kick. Joe looks like he’s out. Punk goes to the apron to try another rana but Joe catches him and swings him into the guardrail. Joe goes for his own Ole Kick but Punk cuts him off and they exchange chops. A determined Joe wins that battle and this time nails the Ole Kick. Back in the ring Punk comes back with a headscissors to send Joe into the corner, but then he runs right into the STJoe. That gets a two-count for the champ. Joe knocks Punk back to the floor and follows him out with an elbow suicida. Bauer declares that this match will now speak for itself as they leave the booth to go watch the match in the crowd about 42 minutes in. As is custom, I will also break from play-by-play and meet you back here for the finish.

If you’re reading this I imagine that you already know that the time limit expires at 60:00 (really 59:58, but close enough). This was so much better than the already great first match, with less awkwardness and spot calling and more awesome. It never felt like they were stalling or going 60 just for the sake of it. It’s as close to a perfect match as can be, and it’s probably still the best in ROH history.
Rating: *****

After the match Punk challenges Joe to face him one more time but with no time limit. Joe comes back and says that this was Punk’s last chance and there will be no third match.

MATCH #3: ROH World Title Match, No Time Limit – Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk, All Star Extravaganza II, Elizabeth, NJ, 12.4.04

Of course Joe is a liar because here is the third match right here, and there is no time limit. Joe has been the champion since 3.22.03 and this is his twenty-ninth defense. Bauer and Nulty are on commentary again. Ricky Steamboat is at ringside watching on.

They are cautious early on, anticipating that they could be here for a while. Punk tries an early headlock but Joe is sick of that. Joe continually avoids the headlock and a frustrated Punk takes a powder. Back in the ring they challenge each other to chop contest and Punk wisely ducks and gets a quick backslide for two, and now Punk gets the headlock on. That was awesome. Punk viciously attacks Joe’s neck, wearing the champion down. Joe comes back with some chops and a headbutt. Nulty is a little too animated in his commentary here; it’s very distracting. Punk comes back with a springboard dropkick to the back for just a one-count. He tries to keep Joe grounded but that’s easier said than done. Joe tries the STJoe but Punk counters it and they trade pinning combinations. Punk goes right back to the headlock. Joe powers up and forces Punk into the corner, and then unleashes a series of strikes. Punk fights back with strikes and takes Joe right off his feet. Nulty is losing his mind here. Joe comes back with a series of knee strikes to the head. He blasts Punk with a kick to the face, sending him to the floor. Punk has been busted open. Back in the ring Joe wisely targets the cut on Punk’s head. Joe hits the Big Joe Combo for two. The champion is dominant here, keeping Punk down and working on his bloody head. Punk takes a quick powder and Joe waits for him. Joe is totally dominant here, cutting off a Punk comeback attempt and knocking him to the floor again. The champ follows him out with the elbow suicida.

Joe then nails Punk with the Ole Kick. He goes for another one but Punk cuts him off and goes up to the apron for a dropkick! Punk hangs Joe off the apron and hits a knee drop off the top rope, right to the back of the neck. Back in the ring Punk hits a high cross body block off the top rope for two. Punk tries to take Joe down with clotheslines and then sticks him with a tornado DDT for two. He goes for the Shining Wizard but Joe catches him with the snap powerslam for two. Joe then tries a Cross Armbreaker but Punk rolls that into a cradle for two. The champ hits the powerbomb and awkwardly turns it into the modified STF. Joe is doing awesome stuff like using the ropes and grabbing Punk’s hair because he’s desperate to retain the title. Punk comes back with the leg-hook DDT for two, and then locks on the Anaconda Vise (not called as such). Joe gets to the ropes. Punk hits the Pepsi Twist and follows up with a sick moonsault but Joe kicks out at two! Punk goes up top and Joe is actually able to hit him with a rana! Joe then hits a vicious lariat but Punk kicks out at two! He goes for a Samoan Drop but Punk knees his way out of it and hits a mule kick and the Shining Wizard! Joe kicks out at two! Punk tries another Pepsi Twist but Joe blocks it and locks on a sleeper! The referee thinks that Punk’s arm dropped for a third time, but Ricky Steamboat keeps the timekeeper from ringing the bell because Punk isn’t actually out yet. Punk tries to break it with two jawbreakers but Joe won’t let go! He tries the Bret Hart pin but Joe is able to kick out at two. Punk rolls out a series of flash pins but can’t keep Joe down. Joe tries a backdrop driver but Punk falls on top for two. Back on their feet they exchange forearms. Joe scoops Punk’s legs in the corner and puts his own on the ropes for leverage. The crowd boos, surprised at Joe’s lack of honor. Punk looks for the reverse Pepsi Plunge but Joe knocks him down and misses a splash. Joe’s knee made contact with Punk’s face though. Punk tries an O’Connor Roll but Joe rolls it into the Choke. Not satisfied with just that, Joe hits a German Suplex and a Dragon Suplex before really cinching in the Choke and Punk is out at 31:29.

I think the crowd was surprised since this match went about half the length of the other two. Outside of the small Steamboat involvement that was quite unnecessary this was an amazing match, playing off the other two matches and adding some new wrinkles. Both men looked like they were legit trying to beat the other guy, which is the ultimate goal in wrestling anyway, to make the audience believe. It’s not quite as good as Chicago but it’s really close.
Rating: ****¾

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