ROH Fifth Year Festival: NYC
New York City, New York 2/16/07
This is the first show of the Fifth Year Festival, a set of six shows celebrating ROH's Fifth Year Anniversary. These shows will also host Samoa Joe's Farewell Tour. The first show is in New York City.
The show kicks off with Pelle Primeau, who basically issues an Open Challenge to anyone who wants to face him. Samoa Joe's music plays, but Takeshi Morishima comes out, and I guess he's Primeau's opponent.
1.) Pelle Primeau vs. Takeshi Morishima: DUD
Morishima hits the Back Drop Driver on Primeau and gets the quick pin. That's pretty much it. Essentially a squash match.
After the match, Morishima cuts a promo essentially calling out Samoa Joe, but Nigel McGuinness comes out to calm him down.
While they are heading to the back, Adam Pearce & Shane Hagadorn come out. They basically insult Primeau and beat him up a little bit, before Delirious comes out and we have our real first match of the night.
2.) Adam Pearce (with Shane Hagadorn) vs. Delirious: **1/2
These two recently started a feud. The match itself wasn't really anything special, but it was relatively solid. The finish of the match, where Pearce & Delirious went back & forth with some brass knuckles, was pretty good. Delirious picks up the win.
3.) Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger vs. Daizee Haze & Alexa Thatcher: *1/4
The announces bill this as a SHIMMER Showcase Match. Shortly into the match, Lacey comes out and starts fighting with Lacey (the two have been feuding). They brawl to the back, leaving Thatcher all alone, who quickly falls to Del Ray & Danger. There really wasn't much to this one, as it basically used for angle purposes.
4.) Four Way Fray - Shingo vs. Jimmy Jacobs (with Lacey) vs. Jack Evans vs. Xavier: ***1/2
This is a match apparently borrowed from FIP. It's basically a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match. Davey Richards was originally going to be in this one, but was pulled due to injury. Former ROH World Champion Xavier (the 2nd ROH World Champion) is the surprise replacement. This was a really entertaining match. All four men got to show off their stuff and the crowd was really into it. Xavier went out first, followed by Jimmy Jacobs. The final two were Shingo & Jack Evans (who at the time, were stable mates in Dragon Gate). Evans wins the match with the 630 Senton.
Between matches, Bobby Cruise announces that Takeshi Morishima will challenge the winner of the Homicide/Jimmy Rave match for the ROH World Title at the show in Philadelphia the next night. Samoa Joe interrupts things to a massive reaction. The fans chant "Please Don't Go" and we also got "Fuck TNA" Chants (Joe was leaving ROH to commit full time to TNA), but Joe tells them not to say that. He puts over ROH and it's fans, thanking them, before addressing Morishima's challenge. He says he's ready to go right now! This brings out Nigel McGuinness (who had been spending a good deal of time in Pro Wrestling NOAH over the last year), who tells Joe that it was Morishima who called out Joe, and this leads to a brawl between Joe & McGuinness.
5.) Tables Are Legal - BJ Whitmer vs. Brent Albright: ***3/4
Albright has made a splash in the months since his debut. He's been working as a "hired gun", doing people's dirty work for cash. He eventually got tangled up in the feuds Jimmy Jacobs was having with BJ Whitmer & Colt Cabana (siding with Jacobs & Lacey), leading to this match. I really enjoyed this one. It was a lot fun. Both guys went out there and just destroyed each other. I lost count of how many tables were broken. A ton of crazy spots in this one. Whitmer is eventually able to go the distance and defeat Albright.
6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal (with Allison Danger) vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong: ***1/4
Sydal comes into this match as Dragon Gate's Open The Brave Gate Champion. This is only the second title defense for Daniels & Sydal who, since winning the World Tag Team Titles in November of the previous year, haven't been able to defend them as much due to a combination of injuries & scheduling conflicts. Oddly enough, these two teams faced off at Gut Check in August of 2006, which saw Aries & Strong retain their titles. This is their rematch for the titles. You'd think that given the competitors involved, this would be fantastic. While it was a good match, it was actually a bit disappointing. It went about 20 minutes, but it just never felt like it went into that higher gear. Honestly found it hard to stay interested at times. Definitely a bit underwhelming. Eventually, Daniels & Sydal get the win & retain their titles.
Afterwords, as Aries & Strong get applause from the crowd for their efforts, Davey Richards makes his way out. He gets in the face of Austin Aries, and then out of nowhere, Roderick Strong nails Aries with a backbreaker. As they beat Aries down Strong takes the mic, saying that he won't be held back by Aries any longer. Richards then has his turn and names his team with Strong as The No Remorse Corps. Eventually Jack Evans comes out and chases Strong & Richards out of the ring. Aries takes the mic and runs down Strong, saying that he & Evans will fight back. Evans, however, has other ideas, saying he doesn't want to get between them, but promises to get to the bottom of the situation.
7.) The Briscoes vs. Nigel McGuinness & Colt Cabana: ***1/4
McGuinness & Cabana had a feud back in 2005, but now that Nigel is a face, he's teaming with Cabana (and it makes sense, as they both utilize the British Style). Here they are facing The Briscoes. A pretty solid match here. I'd say it was on par with the World Tag Team Title Match. Lots of solid action in this one. Cabana & McGuinness get the win, and they put over a commentary how they're a future threat in the Tag Team Division, but they really wouldn't team much after this. The wrong team definitely went over here.
While Cabana & McGuinness are celebrating their win, Samoa Joe comes out and he continues his brawl with McGuinness from earlier. This brings out Morishima, and his match with Joe was on!
8.) Takeshi Morishima vs. Samoa Joe: ****
I was always found this match an interesting one on paper, as Joe & Morishima are similar in a number of ways. This was a really good match. There was a lot of great action in here and I felt like these two worked well together. While it didn't have the atmosphere of the Joe/Kobashi encounter, and while Joe probably should have lost, seeing that Morishima went on to win the World Title the next night in Philadelphia, it was still a very good match. Joe gets the win when he chokes Morishima out.
9.) ROH World Title - Homicide (with Julius Smokes) vs. Jimmy Rave: ***3/4
Rave has been "rebuilt" in a sense since the breakup of The Embassy in 2006. He got a new submission finisher, The Heel Hook, and had been on a big winning streak. This was a pretty good main event. Some people might not like this as much, given the guys involved, but I thought it was very solid. Homicide did his usual stuff while Rave looked good as well. Good back & forth action, although it lost a little bit of steam at times, and I think the match wasn't quite as good because of it. Still, it was a very solid World Title Match. Homicide eventually puts Rave away with Da Cop Killa for the win, and retains his World Title.
This was a pretty solid showing from ROH. While the show started off a little slow with a squash, an ok opener, and a women's match that was used more to serve an angle, it picked up a little bit afterwords. The Four Way Fray and the Tables Are Legal Match were really exciting and got the crowd back into the show. The World Tag Team Title Match was a bit disappointing, but the angle afterwords did do a good job of making up for it. They did a good job of building up to the Joe/Morishima match well and I felt it delivered. Finally, the World Title Match, while not the match of the night, was a very good way to close the show. ROH started off it's Firth Year Celebration in a good way for sure.