Ring of Honor returned to Long Island, N.Y., on Feb. 11, 2006. Unfortunately, about two feet of snow fell in New York that day, causing Homicide, Alex Shelley and Jay Lethal to leave early for a TNA PPV on Feb. 12. With Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles also all working the TNA PPV, none of them were on this show either. ROH officials, during the course of this show, also said snow caused Low Ki to miss the show as the explanation for why Low Ki vs. Roderick Strong never happened.
But, ROH did have one trick up its sleeve – the surprise return of CM Punk for one night only. If you are a big CM Punk fan, you might want to get this DVD, as he is on camera for the full final hour of this release.
* The DVD opened with Colt Cabana giving a backstage promo, saying how upset he was to take time to “cool off.” He listed important dates in his life. “On Dec. 17, I was almost murdered in the wrestling ring,” Cabana said of his altercation with Homicide. “He poured Drano down my throat.” Cabana said he will take on any Rottweiler he can tonight. He suddenly had a puzzled look on his face, as he looked at someone off-camera and said, “What are you doing here?” A voice (clearly CM Punk) said, “Turn the camera off; we need to talk.”
To the ring! Lighting in the crowd is darker than usual to hide the small the crowd. Commentary is Lenny Leonard & Jimmy (Gabe Sapolsky) Bower. The storyline is that Dave Prazak also couldn’t make it to the show because of the snow.
(1) Adam Pearce defeats Pelle Primeau & Mitch Franklin in 0:50. This was supposed to be Primeau vs. Franklin, but Pearce interrupted them before it started, and he called them ‘midgets.’ Pearce proclaimed that he “beat the crap out of Necro Butcher in Ohio.” Pelle called Pearce a “1970s blast from the past.” Pearce stomped on them and he nailed a piledriver on Primeau for a nearfall, but Franklin made the save. Pearce hit a frogsplash on both of them for a pin. He then jawed at Green Lantern Fan in the front row. Forgettable.
* The top 5 rankings zip by.
* Jimmy Rave & Prince Nana cut a backstage promo. Nana said he had a big surprise for American Dragon. Rave asked if he gets his title shot today, because Alex Shelley isn’t here. Nana said no.
* Back to the ring, Grim Reefer called out Colt Cabana. Out of the back came … CM Punk! The fans were all shocked to see him. Punk, who has black & green hair here, got on the mic and said he doesn’t have a lot of friends. “I have love for my family and friends. I love Colt Cabana.” Suddenly, Adam Pearce jumped Punk, and Cabana ran out to make the save.
Punk said that Colt has to snap out of his behavior, saying that even Colt’s mom called him, asking what’s wrong. “This has got to stop,” Punk said. Cabana told Punk to stay out of his business, because he was going to beat the sh— out of Grim Reefer. Punk said he brought his gear, and he’ll fight later tonight if someone gets in his business.
(2) Colt Cabana defeats Grim Reefer (w/Julius Smokes) at 8:16. Really just an extended squash. Reefer attacked Cabana from behind. Cabana hit a backbody drop and punches, and Reefer bailed to the floor. Smokes punched Cabana on the floor. Reefer hit a summersault off the top rope onto Cabana on the floor. Cabana slammed Reefer into the guardrail. Cabana is intense and serious; no smiles here. In the ring, Cabana hit several elbow drops for a nearfall at 4:00.
Cabana tried to rip out Reefer’s tongue! Cabana hit a buttbump. Reefer hit a back heel kick and both men were down. Reefer applied a Crippler Crossface, but Cabana escaped. Cabana hit a dropkick that sent Reefer to the floor. Reefer hit a second-rope DDT for a nearfall at 7:30. Cabana nailed a hard clothesline to score the pin. Eh.
(3) Ricky Reyes (w/Julius Smokes) defeats Kid Mikaze at 2:17. Reyes wore white pants; Mikaze wore white trunks. Reyes hit some kicks to the thigh. Mikaze fired back with a Shining Wizard and a Lungblower. Reyes hit a belly-to-belly suplex, a spine kick, and a sitdown powerbomb for a believable nearfall. Smokes hit Mikaze. In a neat spot, Mikaze turned a wheelbarrow attempt into a type of a forward roll hurricanrana. Reyes applied the Dragon Sleeper, and Mikaze tapped out.
(4) Nigel McGuiness defeats Austin Aries at 18:54 to retain the Pure Title. Very good match. The ref goes over the rules of a Pure title match (this has been edited off recent releases). They traded standing arm holds, and Nigel nailed a European Uppercut. Aries hit a Japanese armdrag, and he went back to work on Nigel’s left arm & wrist. Nigel was charged with his first rope break at 2:00. (Somehow, Lenny Leonard missed this rope break, as he was behind the rest of the match.)
Nigel tied up Aries’ legs and hit some crossface blows. Aries went for a basement dropkick out of a headscissorslock, but Nigel got his arms up to block it. Aries hit a left-arm clothesline, then a dive to the floor at 6:00. In the ring, Nigel hit a hard kick to the back, and he focused on Aries’ left arm, nailing a Divorce Court Armbreaker for a nearfall. The crowd alternated chats for both men. Aries used his first rope break at 9:30.
Nigel slammed Aries’ shoulder into the bottom turnbuckle, and Aries really sold an arm injury. Aries came back with a Saito Suplex and both men were down. Aries hit some spin kicks to Nigel’s chest, then a roaring forearm and a Power Drive elbowdrop. Aries hit a Finlay Roll and a frogsplash for a nearfall at 13:00. Nigel hit a clothesline as Aries was crotched on the top rope for a nearfall; Aries used his second rope break.
Nigel hit a running European in the corner for a nearfall, then the Tower of London/neckbreaker with feet on the ropes, and Aries used his final rope break at 15:30. Aries applied a head vice, and Nigel used his second rope break (although Leonard incorrectly said it was the first one.) Nigel hit another Tower of London for a nearfall. Nigel did the headstand in the corner, but Aries nailed a dropkick to Nigel’s face. Aries hit a brainbuster for a nearfall, and Nigel used his last rope break (and you can clearly hear the ring announcer say Nigel was out of rope breaks.) Aries hit a 450 Splash, but he was too injured to immediately make the cover. Nigel applied a keylock in the ropes; Aries grabbed the ropes, but it didn’t matter. Aries tapped out.
The crowd chanted “Thank you, Aries” after the match.
* Roderick Strong came out and said he’s now the No. 1 contender, and wants to know when he gets his title shot. B.J. Whitmer came out, and he said he’s sat back way too long and let people pass him up. He challenged Strong to a match, with the No. 1 contender slot on the line. Strong agrees to the match; Whitmer left. American Dragon then came out! “I’ve already beaten this punk twice,” Danielson said. They brawled in the ring. Suddenly, Prince Nana came out, and he badmouthed Long Island and the fans, and unveils the surprise challenger, Xavier!
(5) American Dragon Bryan Danielson defeats Xavier via DQ at 12:57. Good match. Xavier slapped Dragon and refused to shake hands. The commentators talked about how this is an unscripted format, and acknowledge that Xavier won his ROH World Title at the first ‘Unscripted’ show. In the ring, the wrestlers were in a knucklelock, and Dragon was in control. Dragon hit a plancha to the floor at 2:30, and Xavier stalled. Xavier applied a hammerlock and he focused on Dragon’s left arm. Dragon hit a nice dropkick to the face.
Xavier hit a springboard dropkick to the back, then a dive through the ropes on Danielson, causing Bower to yell, “Dangerrrrooooouss!” at 5:30. Back in the ring, Danielson looked angry, and they traded slaps, then stiff forearms, and Dragon nailed a European Uppercut to knock down Xavier. Dragon set up for a surfboard, but he instead stomped on the back of Xavier’s legs. They went to the floor, where they traded chops. Xavier tossed Dragon into a guardrail. In the ring, Dragon hit some more European Uppercuts, but he missed the Benoit flying headbutt.
Xavier hit some kicks to the thigh. Bower on commentary speculated when Xavier found out he would be getting this match; was it earlier today, or has he had time to prepare? Xavier applied a Cobra Clutch, and they traded chops. Dragon hit a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 11:00. Xavier hit a standing powerbomb for a nearfall.
Xavier hit a German Suplex, then a cross-armbreaker in the center of the ring! Xavier hit a “Kiss your X Goodbye”/Falcon Arrow for a nearfall, but he missed a 450 splash. Dragon nailed a roaring forearm, a German Suplex, and he applied the Cattle Mutilation/double armbar. Just as it appeared Xavier was going to tap out, Jimmy Rave hit the ring to cause the DQ.
CM Punk ran into the ring and he hit Rave. Pearce appeared again and a spinebuster on Punk. Rave hit a Shining Wizard on Dragon. Rave and Pearce shook hands and left. Punk got up and grabbed the mic (everyone gets mic time tonight!), and he made a challenge for the main event. Dragon agreed to team up and be Punk’s partner.
* In a backstage promo, recorded at “Dissension,” Jim Cornette said he “has a problem with anger management.” He lifted his lip to show off his missing tooth. He said there would be no hardcore matches in ROH. “You hardcore boys are pathetic,” Cornette said. He said CZW is a peep show, and he warned them to get ready for a war.
(6) Jimmy Yang defeats Jerrelle Clark and Azrieal and Jason Blade in a four-way at 13:58. Ok match. Clark and Azrieal started, with Clark hitting some nice armdrags and dropkicks; good quick action to start. Blade hit a missile dropkick on both Clark and Azrieal, and their heads collided. Blade hit a spinning DDT on Yang. Yang hit a belly-to-belly suplex, tossing Blade into the turnbuckle. Yang did a backflip off Blade’s chest, then he hit a superkick for a nearfall at 4:00. Yang hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall on Blade.
Azrieal entered and he hit some chops and a clothesline on Blade. Blade hit a springboard spin kick and a Blue Thunder bomb for a nearfall, then a powerslam. Clark tagged in, and he hit a nice series of kicks on Blade. Azrieal missed a doublestomp; that was ugly. Yang hit a good series of kicks on Blade for a nearfall. Clark hit a running Shooting Star Press on Yang for a nearfall. Clark went for a 630 Splash, but Yang got out of the way.
Blade hit a forward roll dive to the floor. Clark then nailed a springboard moonsault onto Blade on the floor! Clark hit a twisting Lionsault on Blade in the ring for a nearfall. Azrieal hit a doublestomp on Blade. Clark hit the “Last Train to Clarksville,” an overhead powerbomb (like a Razor’s Edge, but coming down more on the head), on Azrieal for a nearfall. Yang then hit the Yang Time/corkscrew press on Clark for the pin. Bower acknowledged that Azrieal may lose his roster spot because he wasn't getting wins.
(7) Roderick Strong defeats B.J. Whitmer at 20:11. A really good match, and it topped my expectations. The crowd was behind Strong, and Bower told us again that the snow forced Low Ki to miss the show. They opened with good reversals, as Bower talked about the headache of all the canceled flights. Whitmer hit a shoulder tackle; Strong hit some armdrags, and they traded chops. Strong took control with a plancha to the floor, and he tossed Whitmer into the railing. In the ring, Strong hit a butterfly suplex for a nearfall. Back on the floor, Strong hit some hard chops and a pair of Ole Kicks at 9:00.
Whitmer hit a twisting neckbreaker on the floor, and the crowd booed him! Whitmer stomped on the back of Whitmer’s neck, and he hit some chops and forearms on the floor. In the ring, Whitmer applied a Camel Clutch at 11:30, and he choked Strong in the ropes. Strong hit a twisting crossbody block for a nearfall. He went for a Stronghold/vertical Boston Crab, but Whitmer immediately got to the ropes. Whitmer hit a DDT for a nearfall, but he missed a frogsplash at 15:30. Strong hit some more hard chops and a nice dropkick for a nearfall, then a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall.
Whitmer hit some running Mafia Kicks to the side of the face, then a standing powerbomb for a nearfall. Strong came back with a top-rope superplex for a nearfall at 19:00. Whitmer nailed a decapitating clothesline for a nearfall. Strong hit his Gorilla Press Gutbuster over his knee, a Mafia Kick, then a “Gibson Driver”/butterfly powerbomb for the pin. Excellent action.
* A commercial for the return of the Briscoes is shown.
(8) CM Punk & American Dragon defeat Jimmy Rave & Adam Pearce at 29:02. Very good match, and my pick for best of the night. Clips of the Punk-Rave cage match, then Punk’s teary-eyed goodbye from August aired. Punk came out to the AFI song, and he wore yellow trunks, as the crowd chanted, “Welcome home!” The fans taunted Rave with gay chants, and “Die Jimmy Die!” Dragon and Pearce opened with an intense lockup, and Pearce hit a shoulder tackle. Bower speculated that Pearce was not in the Embassy, and this was two teams meeting out of circumstances. Dragon hit a nice dropkick, and Pearce bailed to a corner.
Punk entered at 3:30. Rave tagged in, stalled, then immediately tagged out, and the crowd chanted, “Rave is a pu---!” Punk grabbed Pearce’s arm and forced Pearce to tag in Rave! Punk gave Rave a suplex, and Dragon entered and hit a Benoit flying headbutt on Rave for a nearfall at 6:30. Pearce tagged in, but the faces beat him up too. Dragon hit a running forearm on Pearce, then a spine kick. Dragon set Pearce up for the surfboard, and Punk hit a dropkick on Pearce’s unprotected face!
Punk worked on Pearce’s left arm, then he pulled Rave to the floor and chopped him at 10:30. All four brawled on the floor, and Punk tossed Pearce into the guardrail. Dragon also tossed Pearce into the guardrail. Punk and Rave rolled into the ring, and Rave asked for forgiveness and pleaded for mercy; Dragon snuck up behind Rave and slapped him in the face! The faces were dominating until Pearce slammed Dragon over the guardrail, and Dragon clutched his throat at 15:00. The heels immediately began to work over Danielson.
Pearce hit a standing neckbreaker. The crowd is hot for this action. Rave hit a Doomsday Clothesline for a nearfall. Dragon hit some roaring forearms on Pearce, and they both went down. Punk made the hot tag and hit a Welcome to Chicago/tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Rave, then he dove to the floor on Pearce! Punk flipped Rave into the crowd. Dragon then hit a springboard flip dive, over the guardrail, onto Rave & Pearce in the crowd! Punk’s face showed he was shocked by the move, too!
In the ring, Punk applied an Anaconda Vice/neck & arm submission hold on Pearce at 23:00, but Rave made the save. Rave hit a top-rope superplex on Punk, and Pearce immediately followed up with a Frogsplash for a nearfall. Rave hit a DDT. Punk again applied the Anaconda Vice on Rave, but Rave reached the ropes at 26:00. Dragon put Pearce in the Cattle Mutilation. Rave nailed the Greetings from Ghana/Pedigree on Dragon! Pearce hit a spinebuster o Punk. Rave hit a Shining Wizard on Punk for a believable nearfall. Punk hit a hurricanrana on Pearce, and both men were down.
Dragon hit a missile dropkick on Rave, as Rave was setting up Punk for the Greetings from Ghana. Punk again put Rave in the Anaconda Vice, as Dragon fended off Pearce & Prince Nana, and Rave tapped out to the end the match.
* The crowd gave Punk a standing ovation, and Punk stood in the ring and soaked in the support. Dragon grabbed the mic and told people it was time to leave. “Don’t you people know there’s a snowstorm outside?” he said. Dragon acknowledged several wrestlers didn’t make it because of the snow, which drew some boos. Dragon put over Punk, and said that if Punk ever wants to leave the ‘entertainment business’ to return to wrestling, Dragon would give him a title shot. Dragon then left.
Punk called out a fan who called him a ‘sell out.’ Punk berated the fan, and I just found this hilarious, as the crowd chanted, “Get the f--- out!” at the fan. This 15-minute post-match stuff concluded with Punk running outside, just in his trunks, and making snow angels in the parking lot. No, seriously.
* One final promo, with Austin Aries working with students in the ROH training facility. Aries leaned into the camera, and said that he realizes he shouldn’t be upset at Matt Sydal for going for the tag titles. In an ominous voice, Aries said, “Every decision you make comes with consequences.”
Final thoughts: The DVD runs 2 hours, 59 minutes. I admit I didn’t have high expectations of this show, and the first half wasn’t really that good. However, the Punk stuff made this worthwhile. If you are a Punk fan, you’ll want to see this; if not, you might choose to skip this show. Between ring intros, the match, and the post-match stuff, Punk is on screen for a full hour to finish the event.
The main event is the best match. I really enjoyed Strong-Whitmer, and that narrowly beats out Nigel-Aries for second best. Seriously… if Strong and Aries weren’t at this show, I’m not sure what Gabe would have done. Total class by both men in deciding to stick around for this show.
This event felt like a really good Full Impact Pro show. Between Dragon, Punk, Strong, Rave and Jerrelle Clark all having major roles, the old school tactics of Rave and Pearce, this felt more like an FIP than an ROH show. That’s not all bad, either.
Xavier is welcome back at any time, in my opinion. I won’t miss Azrieal, though. The four-way wasn’t as crisp as other high-flying matches I’ve seen.
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