LAKE GROVE, NY – Braving a blizzard and hazardous road conditions, the ROH faithful turned out for what was supposed to be a special event at Sports Plus in Lake Grove, NY. Upon arrival, many fans sat on their seats and pondered exactly what ROH could possibly do to top themselves and deliver the special event they had promised. Well, they didn’t have wait long, as after the first match, one of two major surprises was revealed.
After “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce destroyed Pelle Primeau and Mitch Franklin, he took a seat at ringside to watch the rest of the evening’s events unfold. As Primeau and Franklin were helped to the back, Julius Smokes and The Grim Reefer emerged from the curtain and immediately challenged “Classic” Colt Cabana to meet them in the center of the ring. The lights went out and “Copa Cabana” played over sound system, but suddenly changed as CM Punk made his ROH return.
The same, CM Punk that battled Raven in a series of bloody matches that kept ROH fans begging for more. The same CM Punk that duked it out with Jimmy Rave in a violent feud. The same CM Punk that brought controversy to the prestigious ROH Heavyweight Championship. The same CM Punk that ruled ROH with an iron fist.
Punk grabbed a mic and began addressing the ROH crowd that gave him a warm welcome home. Punk started to run down Smokes and Reefer, when Pearce jumped him from behind. Reefer decided to help Pearce, until “Classic” Colt Cabana came in for the save. Punk and Cabana showed unity, fending off the duo and sending them to recoup in the back. From there, Punk tried to talk some sense into Cabana, but nothing seemed to work, as Cabana told Punk that he flat out didn’t need him.
Punk’s night progressed, as later on in the evening, “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson was set to defend his ROH Heavyweight Championship against Prince Nana’s surprise number two, “The All Around Best” Xavier. As Danielson had him hooked for the Cattle Mutilation, Jimmy Rave attacked, laying out Danielson before Punk made the save. As all four men were duking it out, Pearce reappeared to once again attack Punk and Danielson.
After the beatdown, Punk and Danielson got to their feet, and under duress, agreed to team with one another in the Main Event against Pearce and Rave.
So it was set, Punk and Danielson vs. Pearce and Rave. The atmosphere was electric, the crowd was red hot and the match was an epic. From the back and forth brawling, to the use of the Doomsday Device, to the wicked dives through the ropes by Punk and the tope into the crowd from the top rope by Danielson, the match had a little bit of everything for the Long Island crowd that certainly appreciated it.
When all was said and done, it was Punk and Danielson with their hands raised high in the air. Punk took the mic and addressed his people before leaving ROH in memorable fashion. The man who helped to put ROH on the map showed that he hasn’t forgotten his roots and the people who built him up. He showed that deep down inside he is the same CM Punk.
Match One – Smash Bradley and Bobby Dempsey vs. Rick Titus and Keenan Quinn
Something you truly have to enjoy about Ring of Honor. It gives fans a chance to check out some up and comers and watch something as they get settled into their seats, while it gives the up and comers a chance to compete in front of a crowd. Bradley and Dempsey are two ROH students the fans are more familiar with, while Titus and Quinn were relatively new to the crowd. Nice showing, good match to get the crowd started.
Winners – Smash Bradley and Bobby Dempsey
Match Two – TOP OF THE CLASS TROPHY MATCH – Derek Dempsey (C) vs. Shane Hagadorn
Hagadorn is probably the most promising heel out of all the students as people just seem despise him. He has a certain aura about him that draws a reaction. Dempsey was all over him. Hagadorn got a few shots in, but was taken to the ground and placed in a unique submission that locked the arms and neck, forcing Hagadorn to submit.
Winner and STILL TOP OF THE CLASS TROPHY HOLDER – Derek Dempsey
Mitch Franklin and Pelle Primeau made their way to the ring to wrestle, but before they could get started, “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce made his presence felt, by interrupting them and cutting a promo on how nobody wanted to see them wrestle. Primeau stood his ground, talking back to Pearce, only to get cracked in the head with a vicious mic shot. This lead to…
Match One – HANDICAP MATCH – “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce vs. Mitch Franklin and Pelle Primeau
Big time squash here, as Franklin and Primeau were absolutely torn apart by Pearce. Pearce laid both men out in the center of the ring and came down with a huge Frog Splash for the three count.
Winner – “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce
Pearce grabbed the mic once again and told the crowd that he wasn’t leaving. He proceeded to grab a seat at ringside and kick back as Julius Smokes and The Grim Reefer made their way out to the ring. Smokes took the mic and laid down the gauntlet for “Classic” Colt Cabana, telling Cabana to make his way to the ring so Reefer could kick his ass. Copa Cabana began to play, but the music soon changed as CM Punk emerged from the curtain. He ran down Reefer and Smokes, before getting jumped from behind by Pearce. Reefer joined in on the attack, but “Classic” Colt Cabana made the save. Cabana and Punk fended them off, as Punk questioned Cabana about his situation with Homicide. Cabana told Punk that he didn’t need him and sent Punk away to the back. As Cabana turned to talk to the fans, he was jumped from behind by Reefer, which led to…
Match Two – “Classic” Colt Cabana vs. The Grim Reefer w/ Julius Smokes
First off, Julius Smokes is a tremendous manager, bottom line. Cabana showed a mean streak in this one, sending Reefer crashing into the guardrails on several occasions. Smokes made several attempts at hitting Cabana with a metal baseball bat he was carrying, however, Cabana fended him off. Cabana called Reefer “Homicide” throughout the match, to show that he was mentally preparing himself for “The Notorious 187.” Reefer showed some great agility, doing a springboard forward flip off the top rope onto Cabana. The match spilled back into the ring, with Cabana gaining the upper hand and finishing Reefer off with a lariat.
Winner – “Classic” Colt Cabana
Match Three – Ricky Reyes w/ Julius Smokes vs. Kid Mikaze
Mikaze got in a couple of kicks, but that was about it as Reyes dominated. Reyes choked Mikaze out and then motioned that he wanted a title shot.
Winner – Ricky Reyes
Match Four – ROH PURE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – Nigel McGuiness (C) vs. Austin Aries
Excellent wrestling, as this title proves to produce some of the best matches in ROH. Both men hit their finishers, with rope breaks taking away sure victories. The rules of a Pure Championship match are that you can only use three rope breaks before the ropes become inactive in a match. Both participants used up their three rope breaks, and that’s when things got even more interesting. Aries hit his trademark 450 Splash, but that wasn’t enough to put McGuiness away, instead it fired him up. McGuiness gathered his bearings, returned to his feet and came right back at Aries. He took Aries to the mat and locked his submission finish on tight. Aries went to grab the ropes, but he could not use them to break the hold, leaving him no alternative but to submit.
Winner and STILL ROH PURE CHAMPION – Nigel McGuiness
Roderick Strong made his way to the ring next to call out ROH Heavyweight Champion, “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Instead, he got BJ Whitmer. Whitmer and Strong exchanged words, before they were joined by Danielson. Danielson told Strong that he already beat him and he didn’t deserve a title shot. Strong and Whitmer agreed to fight for the No. One Contender spot later on in the show. Prince Nana came out next and told Danielson that he had a replacement for Alex Shelley… “The All Around Best” Xavier.
Match Five – ROH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (C) vs. “The All Around Best” Xavier w/ Prince Nana
Nana is another great manager, a huge asset to whoever’s corner he is in. Good match between the two, that saw Xavier missle dive through the ropes and crash into Danielson and the guardrails with a loud thud. Xavier attempted his 450 Splash, but Danielson moved out of the way, as Xavier reversed himself in midair. The two brought the mat game back into play, with Danielson locking on the Cattle Mutilation, only for Jimmy Rave to hit the ring and cause the Disqualification. CM Punk hit the ring to help, but he was once again jumped by Adam Pearce and laid out. As Punk got to his feet, he grabbed the mic and asked Danielson to be his partner against Pearce and Rave. Reluctantly Danielson agreed.
Winner and STILL ROH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION – “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson
Match Six – FOUR CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH – “Mr. 630” Jerelle Clarke vs. Jason Blade vs. Azrieal vs. Jimmy Yang
This was a high flying match through and through. At one point, Blade dove off the top rope and hit a missle drop kick on Clarke that sent him head first into Azrieal’s head, resulting in a scary moment during the match as the two heads collided. Both men rebounded and the match continued. All four men took their turns making dives to the floor, getting the crowd out of their seats. The match ended when Yang hit a version of the Willow in the Whisp.
Winner – Jimmy Yang
Match Seven – Number One Contender’s Match for the ROH Heavyweight Championship – Roderick Strong vs. BJ Whitmer
This was a solid back and forth match with a lot of mat based wrestling. Strong used a few backbreakers, while Whitmer displayed great power throughout. These guys have plenty of talent in them, it’s good that ROH has the roster they have, where it seems as though just about anybody is main event quality. Certainly speaks volumes of their product. Strong paid tribute to his friend James Gibson, by finishing Whitmer off with a Tiger Driver, instead calling it a Gibson Driver.
Winner and STILL NUMBER ONE CONTENDER TO THE ROH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – Roderick Strong
Match Eight – “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce and Jimmy Rave w/ Prince Nana vs. “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson and CM Punk
Great match to top off the show. A whole variety of styles were displayed — from classic tag team wrestling, to an all out brawl, these four men put it all on the line. Danielson even did a forward flip off the top rope and into the third or fourth row. There were several pinfall and submission attempts, with Nana even trying to get into the action, only to get knocked off the apron and to the floor. In the end, Punk locked Rave in the anaconda vice, while Danielson watched for anyone who tried to sneak into the ring.
Winners – “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson and CM Punk
After the match, Punk addressed the crowd and a few fans in particular, including one in particular that called him a “Sellout.” Punk berated the fan and then went to give in the mic before pulling it away and telling him that nobody cared what he had to say. Punk then ran around the ring shaking hands with all his fans before leaving Sports Plus.
ROH returns to Sports Plus on May 12.