ROH Joe vs Kobashi
TO GMC. Gary asks Joe what he thinks about facing Kenta Kobashi as clips of Joe's reign of destruction play. This is Joe's house. Where he dominates.
Claudio Castagnoli vs Colt Cabana
HEEEEEYYYY! Amazing that wearing a shitty suit and saying HEY is actually the most charisma Cesaro has shown in his career. A decade later, one of these guys is wrestling at Wrestlemanias, and the other makes his living on podcasts. This is Claudio's second try out match in ROH. Colt is recently back from a UK excursion and is happy to do his World of Sport stuff for a new crowd. He's actually doing more lucha stuff than UK style. After a few minutes of flashy fluff, Cesaro hits a big European uppercut to finally take control. At the time, Colt was in a heated feud with Homicide, and while they're being kept apart for this weekend, many of Homicide's "thug" friends are in the crowd to distract Colt. This eventually is too much for Colt, and Cesaro pins him with a Ricolla bomb in what was something of an upset.
Matt Sydal vs Azrieal vs Christopher Daniels
These two young brehs looking to keep the upset streak going. A lot of nifty spots, but not much in the way of story or flow, as you'd expect from a triple threat. Sydal eliminates Azrieal with a Spanish Fly. Daniels pinned Sydal with the Angel's Wings. This was definitely the Matt Sydal show, as every big spot in the match was a showcase for him to either do something crazy agile or show off his bumping skills.
TO THE BACK. James Gibson is in his last weekend with ROH before returning to WWE. He got to pick his opponents. One of them is his former Jung Dragon partner Jimmy Yang.
Sal Rinauro/Tony Mamaluke vs Jimmy Jacobs/BJ Whitmer ROH Tag Team Championships
Man, fuck Jimmy Jacbos. Fuck BJ Whitmer. Fuck FBI 3.0. How fucking small do you have to be when Tony Mamaluke looks twice your size? Jimmy spends much of the match as FIP, but please tell me why a dude his size is spearing guys out of the air? FBWhy hit Jimmy with a double Rubik's cube/two winged angel (?) two win the match. New champions. Fuck Jimmy Jacobs.
Jay Lethal vs Nigel McGuinness ROH Pure Championship
Fuck Nigel as well. That fucking iron. I also want to point out that Nigel basically has Charlotte Flair's entrance. Complete with the slide in the ring and slow "stare at my asshole" push up. Nigel cuts a local sports team cheap heat promo before the match. Nigel clearly had too much muscle on his frame at this point. He was built to be probably 30 pounds lighter. Much of the match is centered around Nigel using his technical skills to negate Lethal's speed and chops. The NYC crowd is very behind Jay, who had his break out match against Samoa Joe about 5 months prior in Manhattan. Nigel gets the win after using the god damn iron. Title retained. Pretty good match all things considered, especially with how my opinions of both men would be extremely negative in the upcoming years.
Jimmy Rave vs Roderick Strong
Probably the best thing ROH fans came up with was throwing toilet paper instead of streamers for Jimmy Rave. Man, I forgot all about this Embassy/Jade angle. She's literally a slave. Certainly wouldn't fly in a more modern setting. This is built a lot like most Strong matches: Chops and how to avoid them. Prince Nana creates a distraction that allows Jimmy to knock Roddy off the apron and control the match. Strong seems to pretty clearly get a concussion getting thrown into the guard rail, and then Jimmy repatedly bounces his head off of it right after. So, you know, that's nice. Rave stays working on the head/neck for the rest of the match. Roddy makes a come back with a series of chops, back breakers, and the sick kick. Despite Nana throwing a chair into the ring, Strong wins with a Liontamer. After the match, Nana and Rave force Jade to be an accomplice to murder. She gets fed up and hits them both in the yam bags. Strong challenges The Embassy to a steel cage warfare match when ROH returns to Manhattan in December.
Ricky Reyes vs Pelle Primeau
A squash for Reyes that goes under a minute in length.
James Gibson vs Jimmy Yang
Jung Dragons EXPLODE! Yang's ROH debut, and Jamie's last weekend. A lot of familiarity, as you'd expect. Then Jamie-San starts busting out some nifty lucha shit OUTTA NOWHERE. The neck becomes the focus of Jamie, while Yang just kind of does whatever he can without a ton of focus. Kind of a goofy finish of Yang kicking out of a high angle Gibson Driver, but then immediately tapping to a guillotine. Enjoyable match, not great, but enjoyable. Yang seemed a bit out of his depth.
Jack Evans vs Homicide
Well, this doesn't seem like a fair fight. Homicide randomly makes fun of John Cena in this. I guess because Jack Evans was doing a white rapperish gimmick? Jack Evans is a little ass dude, and he's significantly bigger than Homicide even with Homicide wearing lifts. Amazing how Gabe was able to make him seem like a legit bad ass, just like Heyman was able to do with 4'9 Taz. A dance battle breaks out. Probably a good thing Jack is made of rubber otherwise he'd have broken his back landing onthe guard rail after a dive. Jack surprisingly controls a lot of the first half of the match before Homicide starts beating his ass. I'd like to believe Jack was going for a moonsault piledriver that he fucked up. As Homicide was about to end the match, Colt Cabana showed up in the stands to RIPPITY RAP. "You and the Rottweilers play head games, I'll play them right back. I got pubes bigger than you on my ball sack." Then Colt got super serious, called Homicide by his SHOOT name, and called him a fucking joke and fucking pussy. Jack Evans wins with a roll up OUTTA NOWHERE. HOLY SHIT VLAD THE SUPER FAN SIGHTING!
Samoa Joe vs Kenta Kobashi
It's amazing how hot ROH was in 2005 that they could get a legitimate Japanese wrestling legend and headliner of the biggest company in Japan to fly over to the US for the first time (we're not counting his match in WLW that I'm sure he did as a favor to Harley Race because he was going to be in the States anyway) for a match in a company that had no TV or foothold outside of the North East. A few months prior, Kobashi was involved in selling out the Tokyo Dome for Destiny 2005. And ROH somehow got him to come have a match in a hotel ball room in NYC. Fascinating. #bigfightfeel. Joe disrespects Kobashi by slapping him in the face, and you know shit is about to get real after that. Kenta responds with one of the loudest chops you'll ever hear, and it doesn't even phase Joe. Joe is throwing out elbow suicidas and is all fired up. I didn't even notice there was no commentary for this until a few minutes in. What a wise choice. OH SHIT MISAWA CHINLOCK TRANSITIONED INTO THE STRETCH PLUM FROM JOE. What a dick lol. Also lol at how weak and ineffective Joe's chops look in comparison to Kobashi's. KAWADA KICKS! Lmao. It just pissed Kobashi off. I feel like Joe is about to bust out a Nodowa Otoshi just to be an asshole. Shout out to Kobashi for letting Joe physically dominate him for stretches of the match. He certainly didn't owe anything to ROH or Joe. LOOOOL at a chop sending Joe seated in a chair flying over the guardrail. Kobashi took control after a DDT on the floor. Jesus Christ when they get into the strike battle. Just laying it the fuck in. This is dope as fuck. A crowd hot enough to rival any 60K+ dome or stadium. Adds a ton to the match. TENRYU COMBO RUSH FROM JOE! What a fucking asshole, lol. Kobashi kicks out of the muscle buster, so I hope Joe gets to kick out of the burning hammer. The crowd has gone from fully supporting Kobashi to 70/30 being in favor of Joe, and back to fully supporting Kobashi over the course of this match. Visitors of this site will know I am loath to give credit to crowds, especially smarky asshole crowds, but their energy in this is tremendous. Joe kicking out of a sleeper suplex after a half nelson suplex is a legit HOLY SHIT moment. Then Joe fires ups and slaps the SHIT out of Kobashi, only to get murdered with spinnig back chops and a burning lariat to end the match. Tremendous.
TO THE BACK. Joe, basically half dead, put over ROH as the promotion that gives the fans what they demand. He gave it his all for the sport he loves.
Elsewhere, Kobashi also gave some words, although it was all in Japanese with no subtitles and he didn't really say much.
Joe vs Kobashi was SO DOPE. Kobashi could have easily half assed it like the NJPW guys do in ROH, but he went out there to have the best match he could have with the best guy on the roster in front of a new crowd and put on a classic. Awesome from start to finish, and whoever made the decision to leave the commentary out deserved a raise. As for the rest of the show, it ranged from not bad to pretty good, and it's really staggering how much more exciting and hot ROH shows were in 2005 compared to a decade later.
Almost everyone on this card would end up in WWE, TNA, or Lucha Underground at some point.