Continuing the ROH doubleshot, I watched the 6th Anniversary Show.
The show opens with Julius Smokes giving Jigsaw and Ruckus a pep talk for their titleshot tonight. Thankfully, everyone has made it to this show.
The opener is Delirious vs. the Human Tornado. They play around a bit, doing some mighty fine comedy before the Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black) storm the ring for a no contest. This leads to an impromptu tag match with Tornado/Delirious against the AOTF. The match is a frenzied affair and an incredibly fun opener. Tornado adds a fresh dynamic, but I think this is the last time we'll see him for awhile. Jimmy Jacobs scores a win (FINALLY!) for the AOTF, using the End Time on Tornado.
Next is a terrific in-ring segment with Nigel McGuinness. Nigel threatens to not defend the title tonight on account of his health. He's just not certain he should risk injury prior to a PPV taping. The crowd, of course, is not enthralled with that idea. They chant, "YOU'RE A PUSSY!" Danielson comes out and agrees not hit Nigel in the head to make sure the match happens. Terrific stuff, setting up what's to come later.
Brent Albright vs. El Generico is next. This is a more traditional match with Generico getting utterly decimated by the power-house heel and then mounting a spirited comeback. Nothing wrong with this one, for sure. Albright gets the finish with repeated knees to the head, knocking Generico unconscious.
The Larry Sweeney Show for this DVD features some good promo-work from Sweeney, but ends with one of the most uncomfortable things I've seen. It's basically simulated rape and truthfully has no business in ROH. Less said the better. Next is Kevin Steen vs. Joey Matthews. This match is pretty meh as Joey just isn't hitting the stride he needs to in ROH. Steen wins, so who cares really?
Austin Aries vs. Go Shiozaki is next and it's a hell of a match. Lots of great back and forth action with both men just leaving it in the ring. They hit each other with all the big moves and eventually Aries FINALLY gets a win. Afterward, the AOTF try to recruit him again. Sunny makes her ROH return though and tries to recruit him herself. Aries opts for neither in favor of taking time to think it over.
Backstage, Becky Bayless interviews the NRC. Davey wants to get laid tonight, but Rocky says he needs to polish the belts instead. I'd reckon the NRC might regret treating Davey like a bitch at some point.
Next is the NRC (Rocky Romero/Davey Richards) vs. The Vulture Squad (Jigsaw/Ruckus) for the tag titles. Fun little tag match here as both teams feed so well off of each other. The NRC are perfect as stiff, douchebag bullies and the Vulture Squad are perfect as highflying babyfaces. Despite their best efforts, the Squad loses, but it takes Jigsaw receiving one hell of a beating for that to happen.
Next is Erick Stevens vs. Necro Butcher vs. Roderick Strong in a No DQ match for the FIP title. This match is just insane. So much violence and brutality in it. Tons of a chairshots to the head that in retrospect weren't good decisions. Lots of spots onto a chair. The finish is particularly insane as Roddy tries powerbombing Necro through a table, but it comes off more like a Pedigree. Then Roddy just tries powerbombing him and Necro lands awkwardly, but it's enough for Roddy to win.
The main event is Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson and it is every bit of a classic. Going in, Nigel has a mixed reaction of course and Bryan has opted not to strike Nigel in the head. So that's our set-up. Shortly into the match, Bryan drops Nigel with a belly-to-back suplex and Nigel's head bounces off the ring. Nigel gets huffy and storms out of the ring. The ref tries to convince him to get back in and the Nigel DECKS him! Understand that in ROH, this was completely unheard of. Sure, guys like Morishima have shoved the ref away or Homicide have attacked them, but this behavior is something you would NEVER see from the ROH Champ. And then ref DQs him! And THAT cements Nigel's epic heel turn. Nigel tries to escape, but the locker room has too much respect for the championship to let that happen. Kevin Steen, Austin Aries, Roddy Strong, and Delirious all refuse to let him leave the ringside area. Then, in what was at the time a completely unique moment and very rare occurrence - Cary Silken forces the match to be restarted. Nigel immediately blindsides Danielson and works the arm over for the duration of the match. Danielson mounts a comeback and gains a lot of momentum, coming close several times to putting Nigel away. There are multiple occasions where Danielson would normally go for elbows-to-the-head, but opts not to. Then in a moment of sheer booking brilliance, Nigel catches Danielson off-guard with a headbutt. Nigel strikes him a few more times with them and then nails a series of elbows to Danielson's head. Nigel finally finishes him off with the London Dungeon submission. Great fucking stuff, here. Five stars, for sure.
So as a follow-up to Eye of the Storm, this was a great DVD. Epic stuff top-to-bottom and one of the best ROH main events ever.
Match of the Day goes to Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness.
"Hogan is trying to get Yokozuna into WCW. Remember, he still has a win he needs to get back" - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter: December 08, 1997