RING OF HONOR PHILADELPHIA, PA LIVE REPORT INCLUDING PERHAPS THE MOST UNIQUE ENDING TO A SHOW EVER
by Mike Johnson
It was the most unique, different, and weird ending to a show in the history of professional wrestling, but we'll get there in a bit. Ring of Honor returned to the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday 6/28.
In "Showcase matches", Hydro defeated Angeldust in a Battle of Special K members (good match), The Christopher Street Connection defeated the Outkast Killahs (entertaining comedy match), and a member of Homicide's crew defeated Lit of Special K.
Full results of the main show saw:
*The show opened with a 10 bell count to Danny Maff's father, who passed away several days ago after a long battle with illness. The crowd chanted "Maff" afterwards. They announced Tom Carter and Mikey Whipwreck would not be appearing and announced there would be several lineup changes.
*The Ring Crew Express, Dunn and Marcos defeated Prince Nana and Jimmy Jack Cash in 4:26. Idea here was Nana was looking for a tag team partner. Nana got pinned and walked out on Cash. Fine opener. Cash has a good look but doesn't click here. It was Dunn and Marcos' first win in the promotion.
*Alexis Laree pinned Sumie Sakai in a good match in 5:04. Sakai worked a bit of a heelish style here including a bit where she was had Laree locked in a hold and was pulling her hair with one hand, and when the ref would hit the 4 count, would switch hands to stop the DQ call. Much better than Sakai's showing here a year ago, and the best women's match the promotion has had yet.
*Chad Collyer forced Matt Stryker to tap out with the Texas Cloverleaf in a Tapout match in 18:25. You can't fault any of the submission based work here, but it was way too hot to watch and enjoy that style of match. Collyer was substituting for Tom Carter. Collyer looked solid, but as of yet, hasn't seemed to click with the ROH fans. After the match, Stryker was trying to shake hands but Collyer kept playing to the crowd. Gary Michael Cappetta came to the ring to question it, and Collyer asked Stryker how it felt to be have been made to tap by him for the 50th time. He told Stryker when they had their rematch on 7/19 in Elizabeth, New Jersey (already planned and announced before the lineup change tonight), he was going to make it a little harder on himself as he'd only be able to beat Stryker via pinfall. Stryker made the same declaration. Solid match.
*The Carnage Crew and Justin Credible defeated Izzy, Dixie, and Deranged. Great six man tag. Crew was supposed to work Dixie and Whipwreck. They said that since Special K brought out their crew, they had someone to watch their back. Out came Credible to his ECW music and he got another standing ovation, just like in Boston. He bowed before the crowd. Really, really, really good six man tag with the crowd totally into it. Credible hit That's Incredible for the pinfall on Dixie. This is well worth going out of your way to see.
*ROH champion Samoa Joe pinned Danny Maff. Maff got a standing ovation coming out from the fans as a showing of respect. They did a lot of power spots, with Maff teasing hitting the Burning Hammer at one point. Joe and Maff brawled on the floor with Joe hitting his charging kick into the guardrails twice. Joe tried for his choke several times but Maff was able to counter it. He finally got the pin with a belly to back suplex in 10:40. Good match. Maff was made here as a player as he went toe to toe with Joe, who everyone buys as a legit tough guy. Joe showed respect to Maff before leaving. Maff got another standing ovation and gestured thanks to the crowd. Given the circumstances, the fact he worked is just amazing and commands respect, but the fact that he worked so hard and had a good match has to be an impressive achievement.
*BJ Whitmer won a Four Way Match, defeating Tony Mamaluke, Jimmy Jacobs, and Alex Shelley. Jacobs has furry boots and "Huss" on his tights and got over as the crowd chanted "Huss." Whitmer showed a lot of fire here and is on his way to connecting with the fans. Entertaining.
*In a no DQ match, CM Punk and Colt Cabana with Lucy (Daffney) defeated Raven and Christopher Daniels (with Alison Danger) in 12:12. Real good no DQ tag. Punk was bleeding another gusher. Daniels bled as well. Crowd was really into Daniels as a face as they've been wanting to cheer him forever but he was in the heel role. Punk got another pin on Raven and then choked him out with a chain for a long time while Cabana made Daniels watch as Punk screamed, "This is you Daniels." Punk fell out of the ring and was screaming into the camera, "You can't stop me!" A truly psychotic moment. Raven, coughing from being choked out, challenged Punk to a dog collar match on 7/19. Raven deserves a lot of credit for making Punk a player here as, with the exception of one bout, this has been a really good feud. Alison Danger probably did the best work of her career here at ringside.
*NWA champion AJ Styles pinned NWA TNA X-Division champion Chris Sabin with the Styles Clash. A very good match, albeit it a little short. The crowd seemed to expect a longer match. Styles has blonde highlights in his hair and came out to "Space Mountain" as it was the first NWA title defense in Philadelphia since 1993. After the match, Styles said that he was going to bring respect back to the belt. He said that the belt has a lot of history mentioning Lou Thesz and Ric Flair, and said that ECW was cool, and the Philadelphia fans made it cool. He said that the belt was thrown in the trash in 1994 and asked the fans if the belt was trash. A good part of the crowd yelled "No." Styles said that he asked the fans to show the belt the respect it deserved, and said he wanted them to respect the belt as much as he respects them. Crowd popped huge. In one speech, ROH did more to get the NWA title over than NWA TNA has done in one year of running PPVs weekly.
*Trent Acid pinned Homicide in a "Fight Without Honor" with Tables and Ladders Legal. Acid was wearing braids in his hair as a way to mock Homicide. In a good show of detail from the promotion, they removed the ROH banner from the ring as it "wasn't sanctioned." Acid did an Asai Moonsault from the ropes to the floor, catching his legs on the guard rail and opening a gash on his legs. Johnny Kashmere interfered at one point, which led to Julius Smokes brawling with him to the back. A ladder came into play including Acid and Homicide battling atop it while it was bridged between the railing and the apron with Acid hitting a DDT. Like their match in CZW, they traded a lot of Yakuza Kicks. Acid rolled up Homicide for the clean pin. Homicide's crew including Low Ki (who was backstage all night), Monsta Mack, and Smokes came out to check on Homicide.
As Homicide and Acid went to shake hands, the lights went out. Homicide was carried off by his crew as Special K's theme music began. As their rave music played, they laid out the Backseat Boyz. The lights came back on and they put the Backseats through a table from the top rope and began dancing with dozens of members of Special K in the ring, including tons of hot women. Special K declared the "rave was on" as techno song after song played while ring announcer Stephen DeAngelis declared the show was over. The Special K crew continued to rave in the ring and eventually went into the four sides of the crowd and began dancing with the fans. They eventually all migrated to one side and began dancing with a large segment of fans as song after song played. As all this went on, the ROH ring crew (Including Dunn and Marcos) was breaking down the ring and seats. ROH's sound guy Urial began making announcements like he was a DJ at a rave (which coincidently, he is in real life). After a good 15-25 minutes of raving, Special K conga line danced their way around the ring and backstage. Colt Cabana somehow showed up in the middle of all this for the conga line too. It was the most unique, funny, "what the hell is this" ending ever to a professional wrestling show.
It was a far cry from the ROH reputation of straight wrestling, but it was damned entertaining. In the earlier days of the promotion, there was a deserved stigma that fans came to this snooty, aristocratic atmosphere to see spots and act like they were at a scientific dissertation. In recent months, the influx of characters getting over and the production upgrades have changed the shape of the promotion, and it's evolving into quite a unique entity. This ending was the most dramatic proof of that yet...and the most fun. The fans who stayed for the whole spectacle were having the time of their life.
Notes: It was way too hot in the building, which the promotion knew would be the case going in and tried to book a fast paced show in order to keep the fans from sweltering all night....Tom Carter missed the show as his wife went into labor the night before....No word on Mikey Whipwreck....A number of the workers had armbands for Maff's father on their arm....The Sandman was backstage. There is absolutely no interest in bringing him in....The promotion returns to Philadelphia on 9/20.
ROH Wrestlerave can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.