ROH 38 – ROH Reborn: Stage 2 – 24th April 2004

At the fantastic climax of Stage 1, we reached half time of the ROH Reborn weekend. The concept – giving birth to new stars, new storylines and new great matches thanks to the withdrawal of all the NWA-TNA talent. Stage 2 has been pimped as one of ROH’s best shows ever, and after the events of last night we’re fantastically set up for it. It’s a homecoming for the Second City Saints, and for one night only, CM Punk will be a babyface. Chicago’s own Punk and Cabana challenge the Briscoes for the Tag straps. Homicide snapped last night and went crazy after his match with Samoa Joe. He now faces the challenge of Bryan Danielson in Dragon’s second dream match of the weekend. Matt Stryker has the biggest match of his ROH career as he takes on Samoa Joe with the World title on the line…but will Joe even be in the arena tonight after getting a fireball thrown in his face last night. We’re in Chicago Ridge, IL. Hosts once again are Chris Lovey and CM Punk.

Top 5 Rankings –

  1. Matt Stryker

  2. Bryan Danielson

  3. Homicide

  4. BJ Whitmer

  5. John Walters

SAMOA JOE’S RING – Bryan Danielson is your host tonight since Joe hasn’t shown up at the Frontier Field House yet. Danielson attempts to demonstrate a wristlock, but his opponent for tonight, Homicide makes his way to the ring. Homicide demonstrates a wristlock…by forearming the kid in the face! That’s my favourite Homicide moment ever. It’s the battle of two of ROH’s most senior members of the roster tonight…should be interesting. This is one of Homicide’s best promos ever. He’s looking for Joe too.

Matt Stryker and Dave Prazak are chatting, and Nigel McGuinness thanks Stryker for the match yesterday and wishes him luck for his match tonight. Stryker says he’s only one DVD from winning the title, but also says he wants to work on Joe’s legs, since he’s never seen anyone do it before. Prazak confirms he’s not even here yet…

Becky Bayless appeals for Special K members to call her…Jack Evans walks into the picture and break dances.

Ace Steel and BJ Whitmer come out for their match, but Jay and Mark Briscoe jump Ace before the bell to send the Saints a message. SPI-ZIKE JAAAAAY DRILLEEEEEER! CM Punk and Colt Cabana arrive and we have ourselves a Main Event-hyping brawl. Punk cuts a pro-hometown promo and says the Saints will win the straps tonight. Jay and Mark pull him out then get an ASAI MOONSAULT from Cabana. They brawl to the back…and BJ Whitmer demands the referee start the match anyway.

Ace Steel vs BJ Whitmer

Once again this is Saints vs Prophecy. Whitmer defeated Colt Cabana in a disappointing match last night at Stage 1. That was impressive, as he gained the first victory in the feud for The Prophecy. It’d be even more impressive if tonight he could get a second consecutive win. Remember that no other member of The Prophecy has ventured to the Midwest with him. Steel is a hometown boy much like Punk and Cabana. Remember he’ll be hurting after the attack from the Briscoe brothers.

Whitmer goes right after Ace’s neck, given that the Spike Jay Driller weakened it. Ace goes to the floor but BJ just follows him out and tosses him into the railings. Swinging neckbreaker from Whitmer gets 2. To the rear chinlock, with the knee right in the neck to continue the punishment. Into a camel clutch, before he breaks it to club Steel in the neck. To the top rope, and Ace somehow manages to buy himself some time with a sunset flip powerbomb. Ace hits a dropkick then a slingshot splash for 2. Steel blocks a Wrist Clutch attempt and rolls out of it. Steel blocks it a second time and drills Whitmer with some stiff forearms…WRIST CLUTCH EXPLODER SCORES AT THE THIRD TIME OF ASKING! Whitmer wins at 06:09.

Rating - ** - I preferred this so much more to the Cabana-Whitmer match last night. This was shorter, but probably had twice as much actual wrestling in, plus the whole angle was a kickass way to build up to the Tag Title match. Hot way to start the show in my opinion.

BJ continues the assault after the match and TAGS Steel with a sick ass chair shot.

Delirious/Shawn Daivari vs Carnage Crew

Not your usual Crew team, as it’ll be Masada and Justin Credible in this match. Delirious is back after an impressive little performance in his match against Matt Sydal last night, whilst Daivari is making his debut here and now, as part of the Reborn weekend. Masada looked good in a Six Man Mayhem at Stage 1…Justin kinda sucked it up against John Walters, and I’d suggest his position with the company should be evaluated. How useful is a guy to a company that wants the best matches possible if he seems unable to put on a decent match?

Delirious and Credible start, and Delirious is certainly an odd little chap. Credible isn’t quite the man for him to demonstrate his swanky chain wrestling skills unfortunately, and he almost gets counted down after a trio of rolling vertical suplexes. Masada in and he plants Delirious with a spinebuster. Powerbomb/backbreaker combo from Credible and Masada. Masada clubs Daivari off the apron before Delirious knocks both Crew members to the floor. Daivari sends Masada into the rails then tags in to ‘where’s my slurpee’ chants. ‘You are racist’ – fans to the fans who were leading the slurpee chants. Delirious tagged back in and he stops Masada making a tag. Masada takes a running knee into the corner for 2. Daivari back in with a backbreaker, then a camel clutch. Somehow Masada muscles him up and drops him on his back, and we get tags to Credible and Delirious. Daivari tossed to the floor before Delirious takes a hiptoss backbreaker from the Crew. Justin goes to the top rope but gets crotched by Daivari. Daivari upstairs…MAGIC CARPET RIDE ON MASADA! THAT’S INCREDIBLE ON DAIVARI! Delirious takes a superkick…FISHERMANS CRADLEBREAKER ON DELIRIOUS! Masada takes the win at 08:09.

Rating - ** - That was actually pretty fun, and aside from Scramble Cage II, my favourite Justin Credible match in months. Nice solid tag work, followed by a sweet exchange for the finish. The Magic Carpet Ride is instantly my favourite finisher ever (frog splash…with a magic carpet to boot), and Masada’s fisherman cradlebreaker just looks brutal.

Chad Collyer vs John Walters

Walters beat Collyer at The Last Stand to qualify for the Pure Wrestling Title tournament held at the Second Anniversary Show. Collyer argued it was only because of the three rope break rule that was in effect during that match. Can be beat Walters now in a regular match?

Knucklelock after the first exchanges, and they’re pretty even in that as well until Collyer switches it to a side headlock. ‘Looks like he’s got scurvy’ – Punk on Walters. Armdrag from Walters, but neither man can get a hiptoss. Deathlock from Walters, then a series of European uppercuts. Collyer onto Walters shoulders for an electric chair throw. Dragon screw from Collyer, and he goes right for the Texas cloverleaf, but Walters makes the ropes before he can. Leglock from Collyer, as he continues to soften Walters up for the cloverleaf. Deathlock from Collyer now, which Walters has to break with headbutts. Shinbreaker into the figure 4, and this could force a tap from Walters. Walters finally escapes that, then blocks a dragon screw into a roll up for 2. GOKU RAKU DOUBLE KNEE BACKBREAKER…followed by a Goku Raku Russian legsweep for 2. Collyer escapes a Hurricane DDT attempt and almost wins it with a small package. Bridging German suplex gets Chad another 2. Tiger Driver from Walters…before he applies the Sharpshooter. It made Collyer tap at The Last Stand, but this time Walters can’t apply it properly because his knee is hurting him too much. Sunset flip attempt from Walters rolled through – TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Walters makes the ropes this time. Collyer gets the three count with a cloverleaf roll up at 12:38.

Rating - *** - Much better than The Last Stand, but I still don’t feel this is as good as these two could produce, so I’d love to see them go at it one more time. I liked the way Collyer worked the leg for his finish, even the way he used the bad knee to pin him for the win. Odd decision to put Collyer over Walters though, given the relatively part-time schedule Collyer works.

Nigel McGuinness vs Jimmy Rave vs Rocky Romero vs Austin Aries

Interesting four corner survival here, as none of these guys are established players in ROH. The last time we saw a fourway with this much new talent was back at Battle Lines Are Drawn with the NWA-Wildside Four Corner Survival and that was a lot of fun. McGuinness is looking to progress up the card after putting on solid matches whenever he’s come in. Rave’s career is floundering, as he’s been pretty much everybody’s job boy, and he needs to start winning matches. Romero debuted last night with his Havana Pitbull partner, Ricky Reyes, in a great match against the Briscoes. He didn’t win though, and he’d like one here. Reyes is at ringside with him. Austin Aries is one of the most highly rated young talents in the US, compared to AJ Styles by many people. He’s only been seen in ROH at Do Or Die II, and is making his main show debut here. He’s one to watch for the future.

Romero and McGuinness meaning it’s striking vs British chain wrestling. Nigel goes straight to the groin stretch he used against Stryker last night. Rocky returns the favour before we have a stand off. Nigel brings the chain wrestling until he gets KICKED in the leg. McGuinness tags out to Rave, and Romero outwrestles him to make a point to Nigel. Rave tags out to Aries who is WAY over in Chicago it seems. Rolling springboard reverse elbow from Aries, but Romero comes back by rolling Austin into a crossface. Rave in with Aries now, and he gets a big kick to the spine. McGuiness in with Rave and unsurprisingly Rave can’t get NEAR him. Nigel’s work gets a standing ovation there! Aries tags Nigel out and he goes hold for hold with Jimmy Rave once again. Austin headstands INTO a dropkick to the face to escape a headscissors from Rave. Romero grabs Rave and hangs the arm over the top rope. Swinging fishermans suplex from Aries gets 2. Austin goes right after the arm Romero just isolated. Rocky tags in now and continues the assault. Octopus stretch almost rips Rave’s arm off. Aries back in with a rolling hammerlock. Enzi kick from Rave and he tags out to McGuinness. HAMMERLOCK PEDIGREE…and Romero has to save before the three. McGuinness and Romero now…AND NIGEL SUPLEXES ROCKY ONTO ARIES! Rave sends Nigel out with a superkick but then gets a brainbuster from Austin Aries. FANTASTIC hurricanrana from Romero, before he goes to the jujigatame. Nigel in with an armbar DDT on Austin. He goes for his shortarm scissors variation again AND ROMERO KICKS HIM IN THE FACE! RAVE WITH THE CRAPPY WIZARD ON ARIES! STO backbreaker on Romero. Russian legweep into the Rings of Saturn from Aries to Rave, but Romero breaks that with a kick. Cross armbreaker on Rave…BROKEN WITH A TOP ROPE LEG DROP FROM ARIES! Armbar DDT from McGuinness to Rave…Rave taps to the shortarm scissors at 16:41.

Rating - **** - What a match, and one that will hopefully be a complete break out for Nigel McGuinness, as he completely stole the show with this performance. He took his excellent wrestling skills and went somewhere with them in this match, adding a few more high impact moves to his arsenal and using an injury he’d helped create to win the match. Aries didn’t get as much of a chance to shine as I’m sure many would’ve liked, but Romero and McGuiness truly looked wonderful. Even Jimmy Rave seemed to turn it up a notch here.

Romero and Reyes leave looking pissed off with another failure, but the other three stay and get deserved applause.

Bryan Danielson vs Homicide

This was billed as a battle of ROH’s two most senior members, and it’s hard to argue that claim. American Dragon main evented the first ever ROH show and has been putting on classics ever since. His phenomenal abilities have seen him spend more and more time in Japan, but wherever possible, he continues to appear in ROH, and he continues to be great. His three most recent performances have led to good matches against CM Punk (Reborn Stage 1), the Briscoes (Battle Lines Are Drawn) and Jay Briscoe (Final Battle 2003). Homicide, meanwhile, has also been with ROH since day one, but unlike Danielson, he’s been here pretty much full time ever since. We’ve watched him climb the ranks, become 2003 MVP with endless classics, and is now an absolute star. Last night he made his return to the company after a mysterious couple of months off, but he failed to win the World Title from Samoa Joe. That match ended in chaos as he threw a fireball in Joe’s face and went nuts, laying out referees, officials and anyone else he could find. Will his rage continue into the match tonight?

Homicide goes nuts before the match and throws the ring bell at fans chanting ‘Homocide’ at him. Dragon goes to an early cloverleaf, then an STF. Homicide headscissors out of a knucklelock, so Danielson drops him into a Boston crab which forces Cide to the ropes again. Homicide is pissed and he throws a chair into the ring, then starts throwing the time keepers table around. Indian deathlock from Danielson, then a MutaLock, rolled into a pin for 2. Headlock from Homicide, and they take in turns to grind forearms into each others faces. Full nelson with a toehold from Homicide. Goku Raku stretch from Dragon, but Homicide rolls through into one of his own. Homicide flies off the second rope with a knee to the back of the head. Neckbreaker follows that and gets 2. Slingshot guillotine sends Danielson throat-first into the bottom rope. Dragon gets thrown to the floor, but Homicide pisses off the fans by not going for the tope con hilo. Homicide grabs a chair and RAMS it into Danielson’s neck. RINGBELL TO THE NECK! He props Danielson up against the guardrail but Dragon ducks a punh. Homicide SMACKS the sheet metal rail, and Dragon goes right after the hand. RINGBELL OVER THE HAND! Back inside Homicide wants a time out, and offers Dragon some pot in exchange for one. Danielson boots Homicide in the face then puts him in an octopus deathlock…and he STRETCHES Homicide’s hand as well! Fujiwara armbar applied, and Dragon continues to wrench Homicide’s injured hand as he does it.

Homicide tries a chop but that hurts his hand far more than Danielson’s chest. Standing switches, before Homicide enzi kicks Dragon to the apron. A dropkick sends Danielson right to the floor for the TOPE CON HILO! Back in the ring, Homicide climbs to the top rope…DIVING HEADBUTT MISSES. Roaring elbow blocked, ace crusher attempt blocked…THIS time Dragon scores with a roaring elbow after snapping at Homicide’s hand again. Airplane spin into a front slam sets Dragon up nicely for the DIVING HEADBUTT! Danielson goes back to the top but this time gets crotched. He goes for a punch which hurts him…SUPER RANA SCORES! Danielson blocks a lariat attempt by forearming the hand…and simultaneous clotheslines send both men down. Homicide goes for another chop, which still doesn’t work and he takes a flurry of European uppercuts. Northern lights suplex with a bridge gets Danielson 2. Homicide rolls through a German suplex, but still almost gets rolled up. Yakuza kick from Homicide scores 2. Homicide climbs the ropes again, but gets met by Dragon for a SUPERPLEX! That did as much damage to Dragon as it did to Homicide due to his injured neck, and both men are down. PILEDRIVER FROM HOMICIDE….DRAGON KICKS OUT! Homicide goes for the STF, but he can’t lock his hands properly because of the hand injury – PSYCHOLOGAAAAAH! Dragon blocks another lariat – CATTLE MUTILATION! He can’t hold onto the bridge because of his injured neck…COP KILLA ATTEMPT ESCAPED! LOW BLOW FROM HOMICIDE…LARIAT SCORES! Homicide wins at 29:47.

Rating - ****1/2 – Well, with all of three shows gone, this is MOTY so far folks…absolutely awesome match, possibly Homicide’s best in ROH (and that’s saying something). Wonderful psychology throughout, as Homicide worked the neck in preparation for the STF or the Cop Killa…and some nice innovation from Dragon as he worked the hand. Homicide’s selling on the hand injury was near perfect, as he winced in pain from every chop and punch he threw, and even modified his STF to continue the selling on the injury. From the standpoint of Homicide’s character, it’s wonderful too. He does a great job showing us the “new Homicide”, from launching the ring bell at the fans before the match started to low blowing Dragon for the finish, he demonstrated the new evil side of his character well. Dragon is a fantastic talent, but to me, it is Homicide’s performance in this match, combining character development and near flawless wrestling, that is the real story. The only reason this didn’t get the full 5* whammy is because I wouldn’t feel right about awarding the full whack to a match full of such rule breaking (chair shots, ring bells, low blows etc). Easily one of my favourite ROH matches ever though.

INTERMISSION – Prazak is still with Stryker. He commiserates Rave, then gets wished luck by Jack Evans…why is Stryker suddenly so popular with the boys? Prazak tells Stryker that Joe still hasn’t arrived, and if he doesn’t turn up, Stryker will win the belt by forfeit. Chad Collyer, Stryker’s old rival, interrupts and rants like a lunatic. He says Stryker will have to hand the title to him if he wins the belt, since Collyer has beaten Stryker so many times in ROH. When did Chad Collyer become so hilarious? He’s bizarre!

Ricky Reyes vs Danny Daniels

Two guys that made their debuts (for Daniels, his main show debut) last night, and now face each other in one on one competition. Daniels looked ok, but nothing spectacularly special in the Six Man Mayhem, won by Alex Shelley last night. Can he impress more in singles competition? Reyes, meanwhile, looked really good alongside Rocky Romero (who’s at ringside with him) in the debut of the Havana Pitbulls. However, the Pitbulls are now 0-2 in their matches this weekend, with Romero losing the fourway earlier. Can Reyes salvage a win for the Pitbulls in their last chance at the Reborn weekend.

There’s something about Daniels that just looks…gay. STO takedown from Daniels allows him to work a headlock, after he took a couple of early kicks from Reyes. Daniels gets a couple of armdrags in which sends Ricky to the floor. Daniels looks to dive but Romero pulls him aside. He just misses a baseball slide but quickly hits a drop toehold on Reyes back in the ring. Swinging gutbuster scores, and Daniels is dominating Reyes right now. Double stomp senton gets 2. They trade forearms as we cut to Dave Prazak in the back telling us that Samoa Joe has just arrived in the building. I love the amount of build their giving the ROH Title match tonight. Swinging back suplex from Daniels gets 2. German suplex from Ricky Reyes. Daniels hits a piledriver out of nowhere for another 2 count. Daniels wants that electric chair Storm Cradle Driver tonight but Reyes escapes…and rolls it into a leglock. Daniels taps at 05:14 (shown).

Rating – DUD – They completely didn’t click, but it was kept short, and we got the interesting announcement that Joe has arrived. They’re making the Joe-Stryker match way more interesting than it should be…as such I won’t rag on this one too much. I’m sure both men are capable of better, so lets not dwell on it.

Dunn & Marcos vs Alex Shelley/Jimmy Jacobs vs Jack Evans/Matt Sydal vs Carnage Crew – Scramble Match

Stage 1 saw a Six Man Mayhem Match, whilst Stage 2 gets to see a Scramble Match, something which is becoming increasingly rare on ROH shows these days. They’ve packed this one with a lot of talent though, so I look forward to it. Dunn & Marcos are pissed off with the Carnage Crew after they beat the crap out of them yesterday. Both teams were involved in all the madness at the end of the show, as they tried to get at each other. Alex Shelley and Jimmy Jacobs are teaming together tonight, but they faced each other last night, and Shelley won the match by forcing Jacobs to tap to the Border City Stretch. He warned Jacobs in no uncertain terms that he was not to let him down and lose tonight. Evans was in the Six Man, and the chaos at the end as well…plus he acts like a dick so hopefully people want to dick on him. Matt Sydal beat Delirious in an impressive little showing. I thought he might be a nice fit in the spot-orientated matches ROH has to offer, and here’s his chance…DAMN it’s hot today by the way, I’m sweating unmercifully reviewing this tape.

Shelley and Marcos start, and unsurprisingly Shelley completely outwrestles Marcos. Toehold full nelson stretch from Shelley. Spinning heel kick from Shelley floors Marcos again, and he connects with a diving clothesline off the second rope before Dunn comes in. Shelley throws Dunn into a spear on Marcos, then puts an abdominal stretch on BOTH men! Sydal in with an enzi kick, and it breaks down to Christiano Ronaldo and Dunn. Sydal armdragged out and Loc comes in. Loc hits a jump swinging bulldog, then takes a missile dropkick from Jacobs. He takes Jacobs to the turnbuckles, which of course, never works. Jacobs dropkicks the knee then stomps on the hand which makes Loc HUSS! Back suplex from Loc before Jack Evans comes in. His head gets taken off with a clothesline from DeVito. Double corkscrew mule kick on both Crew members from Evans…BUT HE GETS HIS HEAD CROSSFACED OFF! I sense DeVito doesn’t like all the flippy floppy stylings of Eminem wannabe. Shortarm clotheslines for Evans, then a northern lights into the corner. Ring Crew Express in with the Crew, and they take the Splash mountain neckbreaker. Shelley and Jacobs in with chest punches, then a double Mafia kick on the Crew. Unprettier from Jacobs to DeVito…THEN A DOUBLE STOMP OFF THE TOP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!  Sydal in, and he gets stretched by Shelley and Jacobs, until Evans breaks that with a kick off the top. Pumphandle powerbomb from Sydal…FLIPPY FLOPPY SPLASH FROM EVANS GETS 2! Marcos spikes Evans with a DDT…CUTTHROAT BOMB FROM DUNN TO SYDAL! Electric chair senton on Sydal…STAAAAAGE DIIIIIIIIIIIVE! Except Dunn fell into the ring instead ha ha. Evans wants to dive but Loc stops him…THEN POWERBOMBS HIM INTO A MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Shelley and Loc go at it now, and Loc takes a neckbreaker over the knee. Shelley to the top rope FOR A CORKSCREW PLANCHA! Sydal goes upstairs….SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE FLOOR! DeVito is next AND HE HITS HIS MOONSAULT! Jack Evans is the only man left in the ring…CORKSCREW ARABIAN PRESS! Evans brings Jacobs back into the ring then goes to the top rope…but gets crotched by Jacobs. The Carnage Crew are back in – SPIKE PILEDRIVER ON JACOBS! Shelley saves before anyone can pin…630 SENTON FROM EVANS! Jack Evans wins his first ROH match at 12:48.

Rating - *** - Joins the Empire State Showdown as a candidate for best…Scramble…EVER! That rocked so hard, and as much as I despise his wigger act, Jack Evans is a marvellous talent. He needs to look after his body to make sure he’s not dead or crippled within 3 years, but if he can stay healthy, and get a little extra wrestling ability to go with his unparalleled high flying talents, he could be a fantastic pro-wrestler. I mildly preferred this to the great Six Man Mayhem from the night before, and that is saying something believe me. Disappointed Matt Sydal didn’t get to show what he could do a little more, but hey, he’s undefeated in ROH, and he hit a SWEET SSP to the floor, so it’s not all bad.

Alex Shelley is furious at Jacobs and gives him a right hand after the match before leaving to do his gay gay air gun thing some more.

Samoa Joe vs Matt Stryker – ROH World Title Match

Samoa Joe is gunning to become the first ROH champion ever to defend the belt on consecutive nights, and if he retains the belt here he’ll be successful. Problem is, he’s coming in battered, bruised, and with a burnt up face after his match with Homicide last night that went to a no-contest. For Matt Stryker, this is the culmination of well over a years work. He came in at Revenge On The Prophecy to open the show against Chad Collyer, and through a series of matches with Collyer, established himself on the card. Putting on more solid matches through the summer, he entered and won the Field Of Honor in December, and that promised him a plethora of opportunities and the chance to step up the card to main event level in ROH. And now this is it. He beat John Walters at At Our Best to win the #1 Contenders Trophy, and now has his title shot. He said earlier he may attack Joe’s legs to win with the Strykerlock…but then Joe is beaten up, Stryker may only need one Death Valley Driver to become new ROH World Champion. Don’t forget Joe only arrived at the building 20 minutes ago. Joe has the side of his face taped up, and I assume a make-up job underneath to sell the burn injuries.

Stryker rips the tape of Joe’s face early, and he has some purple/grey burn marks all over the right side of his face. Half crab from Joe, and he’s almost nonchalantly taking Stryker down for hold after hold. Stryker has to bail and re-evaluate. He comes back in and takes a couple of hard kicks, then gets Joe’s forearm ground into his face. STO SLAM DRILLS STRYKER INTO THE MAT! Chop/kick combo into the knee drop gets 2. Joe forces Stryker onto his ass in the corner for the BOOTSCRAPES. Rolling legsweep from Joe sends Stryker to the floor - ELBOW SUICIDA! Joe didn’t get all of that and landed damn hard on the floor. He goes for the Ole Ole Kick, but Stryker blocks and goes after Joe’s legs for the first time. Superkick knocks Stryker back down FOR THE OLE OLE KICK! Stryker gets taken into the aisleway FOR A SECOND OLE OLE KICK! Joe takes him back into the ring to work an abdominal stretch, and we are past the 10 minute mark with Stryker barely able to register any offence. Slaps from Joe, then a back suplex. The World Champion heads to the top rope – ROPE RUN BELLY TO BELLY FROM STRYKER! Stryker continues his plan of going after the legs…by stomping and kicking at Joe’s head then working a chinlock. Finally he does attack the legs by hanging Joe’s leg over the top rope then kicking at it. Joe fights back with a flurry of strikes and backs him into the opposite corner. Surfboard from Stryker since his attack on the knee had about as much success as all of Joe’s previous World title challengers. Legsweep DDT from Stryker gets 2. He lifts Joe to the top rope but has his belly to belly attempt blocked. He escapes a Musclebuster attempt, then dragon screws Joe’s off the top rope. Stryker goes for the anklelock, but Joe rolls out of it quickly. STRYKERLOCK! Joe battles to the ropes…E HONDA SLAPS UNLEASHED! He goes for knee strikes…AND TAKES THE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER!! JOE KICKS OUT BEFORE THE THREE! Joe rolls through a backslide attempt – LARIAT CONNECTS! More harsh slaps…but Stryker escapes the Choke and goes for a shinbreaker. Joe blocks…and puts Stryker into a triangle choke. Stryker taps at 18:57.

Rating - *** - It’s good, but it wasn’t the gripping, courageous underdog match Stryker needed to win back some of the fans he’s lost since December 2003. For long stretches of the match it was just Stryker getting his ass handed to him, and when he was on offence, he did nowhere near enough work on the legs to truly engage the fans in this match. Bar the DVD, this match lacked everything that made the Samoa Joe/Jay Briscoe matches so unique and special – the belief that there might be a shock upset. This is another chance for Stryker gone, as he still struggles to break 4*. This does join such matches as the AJ Styles match (Second Anniversary), the BJ Whitmer match (Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies) and the Tom Carter match (Do Or Die) as one of his best to date. Joe did a good job of hitting all his good stuff, but trying to portray a worn down, injured champion, and I imagine trying to compete with a heavy amount of make up on your face presents a real challenge.

CM Punk and Chris Lovey leave commentary, since Punk has to wrestle the main event, and Lovey is gonna make like Main Event Spectacles and “watch from the crowd”…damn, I hate no commentary. Samoa Joe demands to meet Homicide after the match.

Alex Shelley acts like a dick to Jimmy Jacobs backstage. Shelley says he doesn’t need Jacobs come May 22nd at Generation Next.

Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe vs CM Punk/Colt Cabana – ROH Tag Title Match

This is your main event, and what a huge night it is for the Saints. They come home to Chicago, and thanks to Bobby Heenan, they have this title shot. No real feud to speak of, until last night when they brawled with each other after the Samoa Joe/Homicide match. Indeed, Stage 1 closed with the Briscoes in the ring celebrating with Punk’s newest nemesis, Ricky Steamboat. That brought us to tonight when Jay and Mark assaulted Punk and Cabana’s fellow Second City Saint, Ace Steel, injuring his neck which led to his loss against BJ Whitmer. There was another brawl at the start of the night, and now we’re here with this match. What a turnaround for the Briscoes, as they closed Stage 1 as huge babyfaces, accepting the applause of the fans alongside Ricky Steamboat…to tonight, when they are HUGE heels…something truly special about this weekend.

Punk and Cabana get streamers and are in full on babyface mode. It’s Punk and Mark starting things off, and the crowd are psyched for this, it’s an incredible atmosphere, which, in fairness, comes off a lot better without commentary. Punk gives Briscoe a clean break because he’s a ‘big babyface’. Mark doesn’t return the favour. Punk drops Mark to his knees with a knucklelock (‘how do you like that, chickenf*cker’ – Punk to Mark), then we get a few nearfalls. Cabana tags in for the first time and goes at it with Jay to a huge ovation. He trips Jay over in true comic fashion and the applause gets even louder. Neck ringer from Colt before he hits a reverse elbow for a 2 count. Punk back in with a slingshot hilo into a backbreaker. Cabana back and even Punk joins in with the comedy as they drop a double elbow drop. Inverted crab from Cabana, with a camel clutch from Punk stretches Jay right out. Mark comes in and Punk atomic drops him into Jay’s nuts. Both Briscoes get put in a camel clutch, and the babyfaces are dominating the match right now. Double underhook backbreaker from Punk gets 2. Springboard dropkick off a blind tag from Mark finally brings the Briscoes back into the match. Cabana occupies the ref, allowing the Briscoes to double team Punk in their corner. Beautiful dropkick from Jay (seriously, almost AJ Styles beautiful) before he tags Mark back in. Double stomps into a knee drop, then an elbow drop for 2. Punk tries to fight back against both Briscoes, but Mark backs him back into the corner then tags Jay in so he can work a chinlock. Springboard kneedrop into a backbreaker from Mark Briscoe brings Cabana in to make the save.

Punk gets dropped in the corner for the double boot combo from the Briscoes, which gets applause even from the pro-Saints fans. Punk finally rolls through both Briscoes and tags in Cabana, who hits a quebrada press on both Briscoes for 2. He sends Jay and Mark into the corner, gives Mark the double knees, then Jay the kryptonite neckbreaker. Mark avoids the Doomsday Device, then avoids a baseball slide from Punk but it catches Jay on the outside. REVERSE HURRICANRANA ON COLT CABANA! Punk back in with a mulekick, then the legsweep DDT for 2 BEFORE JAY SAVES WITH A TOP ROPE LEG DROP! Sitout gourdbuster from Jay, followed by a DVD. Punk is lifted onto Jay’s shoulders…BUT HE COUNTERS THE SPRINGBOARD DOOMSDAY DEVICE BY POWERSLAMMING MARK! Cabana hurls Jay to the outside then lifts Mark up to Punk in the corner. Mark escapes a Pepsi Plunge attempt, and hits a top rope enzi kick on Punk. MAFIA KICK ON CABANA…LARIAT FROM PUNK! All four men are down, with Cabana and Mark being the first men up. Mark blocks the Colt 45…so gets a cradle double underhook powerbomb instead. Jay looks for the Jay Driller on Colt…AS MARK DROPS PUNK WITH SPRINGBOARD ACE CRUSHER. JAY DRILLER SCORES…BUT CABANA KICKS OUT!! Punk has to try and fight both Briscoes now, but he gets overwhelmed with chops in the corner. Punk lifted to the top rope…but Cabana crotches Mark Briscoe. PUNK THROWS JAY TO THE FLOOR…PEPSI PLUUUUUUUUNGE! MARK BRISCOE LANDS ON HIS HEAD…AND THE SAINTS ARE THE NEW TAG CHAMPIONS! 19:47 is your time.

Rating - **** - Total match of two halves, but the wild, spot-tastic last 10 minutes, combined with the incredible atmosphere of the whole match really do push this match into 4* territory. The first half of the match just seemed a little aimless to me. They weren’t so much wrestling as trading holds and listening to the fans. It was a great fan reaction no doubt, but to me that wasn’t an excuse to slack on workrate in the opening part of the match. Luckily the last 10 were crazy, with a sh*tload of fun innovations and double team work. The reaction to that Pepsi Plunge was amazing, and almost worth the price of the tape by itself. The Tag Titles haven’t meant as much in ROH as this ever, and won’t again for a long time.

BJ Whitmer hits the ring to spoil the Saints victory party on behalf of The Prophecy…helped out by the Briscoes…UNTIL ACE STEEL WALKS TO THE RING! (He looks SO much like HHH with jeans on)…HE TAKES WHITMER’S HEAD OFF WITH A STEEL CHAIR! The Briscoes bail and ‘Copa Cabana’ starts to play as the celebrations begin in earnest. This is DEFINITELY another one of those ROH moments you always remember…

Backstage later in the night, Samoa Joe and Homicide step into the men’s room for a fight. This is closed doors though…and the fight is underway.

Carnage Crew are happy for ROH and their Midwest debut, but still pissed off that they don’t know who crapped in their bags.

The fight is…still going on…either that or they’re having sex.

Punk tries to cut a serious promo…but he gets interrupted by the GOOD TIMES, GREAT MEMORIES celebration party! Cabana and Steel, with friends (and Becky Bayless) party around CM Punk, whether he likes it or not. They sing ‘We Are The Champions’ and everything…

The camera man finally enters the men’s room because it’s gone silent. Both men are on the floor in pools of their own blood (along with Samoa Joe doing an awesome dead body impression), and the camera man flees to get help.

Tape Rating - **** - Honestly one of the best ROH shows ever. By itself it’s spectacular, but you NEED to buy both Reborn shows. Together they form 6 hours of the most awesome wrestling you’ll ever see. This show had four legitimately great matches (the fourway, the Tag title match and the Danielson/Homicide MOTYC), so much solid wrestling, with only the 5 minute Reyes/Daniels match being anything other than solid at worst. Honestly, this is probably one of the top 3 best events ever…it’s THAT good. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough.

Top 3 Matches

3) Nigel McGuinness vs Jimmy Rave vs Rocky Romero vs Austin Aries (****)

2) CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (****)

1) Homicide vs Bryan Danielson (****1/2)


Top 5 Reborn Weekend Matches

5) Samoa Joe vs Homicide (*** - Stage 1)

4) Nigel McGuiness vs Jimmy Rave vs Rocky Romero vs Austin Aries (**** - Stage 2)

3) Bryan Danielson vs CM Punk (**** - Stage 1)

2) CM Punk/Colt Cabana vs Jay Briscoe/Mark Briscoe (**** - Stage 2)

1) Homicide vs Bryan Danielson (****1/2 – Stage 2)

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