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ROH: Supercard of Honor II; March 31, 2007
by Samoa Rowe

-This was night two of a double shot weekend in Detroit, Michigan during Wrestlemania 23 weekend. Our hosts for the evening are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

- The DVD opens with Jimmy Jacobs talking about his hatred of BJ Whitmer. He accuses Whitmer of walking out on him, and worrying about his career and legacy more than anything else. Jacobs says that tonight, in their steel cage match, he will be fighting for the greatest cause of all: love. Camera pans to the lovely Lacey, whom Jimmy has been obsessed with. Jacobs wants his innocence and purity back, and he will accomplish that by taking out Whitmer. "In my mind, you've already lost, big brother" claims Jacobs, which sends a chill running down my spine. Jacobs has developed into one of the best characters in all of wrestling, highlighted with this excellent promo.

-We are treated to highlights from last year's Supercard of Honor Dragon Gate match. Many considered that match to be the Match of the Year for 2006, so the stars of Dragon Gate are looking to repeat tonight.

-Jay Briscoe comes down to the ring to a monster pop. Last night in this same venue, Jay single handedly won back the ROH Tag Team Championship after his brother, Mark, botched a shooting star press to the floor and landed on his head. Jay says that Mark is recovering in the hospital and is looking forward to returning and having a great reign as tag champions. Jay is joined by former tag champs Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal. Daniels is heeling it up. The fans are chanting "Fallen Angel" to which Daniels cuts them off with "I know I'm here, shut the hell up and listen!" Daniels wants Jay to forfeit the tag titles to him and Sydal right now. Instead, Jay brings out his surprise partner, Delirious. If Sydal and Daniels can beat them, they can have a future shot at the titles.

Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal vs. Jay Briscoe and Delirious
Daniels set the tone for the match by hitting a cheap shot on Delirious as the bell rang. Jay ends up dumping Daniels to the floor, causing the Fallen Angel to consider leaving the match. For the record, Daniels is wearing that same face paint that can be seen every Thursday night on Impact. Daniels reconsiders and tags in Sydal, who demands Delirious. Those two have had one of the higher profile indy feuds as of late, which is always good to see, especially during a time when the wrestling world has been going through so much hard time. The match continues in a spotty, yet intense fashion, with a highlight being Jay Briscoe drop kicking Delirious into Sydal and Daniels, who were holding him at ringside. From there, Delirious becomes the face in peril for several minutes. Briscoe eventually cleans house, but Daniels hits a Death Valley Driver and goes for the Best Moonsault Ever, which is dodged. Delirious gets involved again, hitting the Panic Attack and Shadows Over Hell on Daniels, which still wasn't enough to put him away. After some chaos, Sydal is tagged in and misses the shooting star press. Delirious hits the chemical imbalance and pins Sydal at 18:08. Daniels and Sydal seem to be in a rut in their quest to reclaim tag team gold. Good opening match that probably didn't need to go as long as it did, but was enjoyable nonetheless, ***1/4.
Winners: Jay Briscoe and Delirious

-Backstage, BJ Whitmer cuts a short, to the point, promo against Jimmy Jacobs, which is probably the smart thing for a guy like Whitmer to do. Whitmer feels slighted that he chose Jacobs to be his partner back in the day and feels that by doing so he "created a monster." Therefore, Whitmer must take Jacobs out "because he has to." This promo helps to finish setting the stage for the big cage match war later tonight.

Yamato vs. Claudio Castagnoli
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Yamato, he is a Dragon Gate dojo graduate. In other words, he is the Dragon Gate equivalent of Pelle Primeau, except he's that much better because he got his start in Japan. Claudio dances his way into a handshake, which is accepted. The following match is enjoyable enough, with a cute spot involving the much shorter Yamato standing on the second ropes so he can match Claudio's height advantage. Yamato then turns up the heat with some chops, but gets dominated by a bicycle kick and running European uppercut from Castagnoli. Claudio slams Yamato for the win at 6:59. Solid match, I'd like to see how Yamato develops over the next couple of years, **.
Winner: Claudio Castagnoli

Erick Stevens vs. Mitch Franklin
Last night Erick Stevens made his ROH debut in this very building, only against Alex Payne (who, like Franklin, is a part of the ROH Wrestling Academy). "Erick's gonna kill you" chants fly, as Stevens immediately puts an end to Franklin's momentum, hits an ace crusher and doctor bomb, and pins the student at 0:40. This felt like the type of debut that WWE would give someone, as typically ROH fans are not impressed by a wrestler's apparent ability to squash someone, but more so by if they can actually have a good match. Stevens looked fine here, but we would have to wait to see what he could really do in ROH, DUD.
Winner: Erick Stevens

-Larry Sweeney has words for the crowd, as he makes his way to the ring. He lists some washed up celebrities (Pauly Shore, anyone?) whom he claims he and Chris Hero have been hanging out with. Sweeney then introduces the crowd to his client, Chris Hero, and "A-List Hollywood celebrity" Johnny Fairplay! That's right, Johnny Fairplay appeared in Ring of Honor, and VH1 cameras were there to tape it. Sweeney tries to interview Fairplay, but is distracted by fans chanting "You're not famous." Fairplay cuts a promo, stating that ROH fans suck. Well, some of them do, but that's a different story. Hero takes a turn with the mic and is angry that Nigel McGuinness robbed him of his chance to break Bruno Sammartino's neck last night at All Star Extravaganza III. They call out Nigel and the match is on!

Chris Hero vs. Nigel McGuinness
Prazak and Leonard can't get over the fact that Fairplay is in the building as the match begins. "This is worse than ICP" they proclaim. Nigel takes control of the match in the early going, but Hero uses his sly tactics (along with some stalling) to give himself the advantage. Sweeney and Fairplay interfere at several points, the most entertaining being when Nigel went for the Tower of London on Hero, and both men grabbed Nigel's ankles. Nigel then managed to hit the Tower of London a few moments later, but this time Sweeney and Fairplay both pulled the referee out of the ring. I have to admit, Fairplay is such a natural heel that he really worked well here, they should consider bringing him back in at some point. No joke. Anyhow, Fairplay got a bit too confident and found himself alone in the ring with Nigel, who hit a HARD lariat for a MONSTER roar of approval from the crowd. Nothing was going to stop Nigel at that point, so he hit Hero with a jaw breaker and called it a night at 9:41. The match was loads of fun, ***.
Winner: Nigel McGuinness

-FIP World Champion Roderick Strong and Davey Richards, better known as the No Remorse Corp, come down to the ring. Roderick takes a microphone, which inspires the fans to chant "Please don't talk." Strong promises that he is going to talk, even if he has to wait all night for the fans to shut up. The mic is handed to Davey Richards, who is doing very well in this NRC storyline. Richards introduces his partner for the next match, and newest member of the NRC, Rocky Romero! The fans are right though, Roderick shouldn't talk unless it's absolutely necessary.

Davey Richards and Rocky Romero vs. Naruki Doi and Jack Evans
Evans does some break dancing before the match, inspiring a "You got served" chant. Evans states "Davey is served every day of his life." which makes me laugh. Romero and Doi start the match off, and they end up having a chop-fest. Doi is a nice guy and offers a hand shake, but Romero just spits on him, further establishing himself as an NRC member. Evans gets involved, and finds himself being beaten on at ringside, with Richards mocking Evans by waving his bandana around and chortling "Yo, yo, yo." In another funny moment, Richards teases a stiff kick on Evans, but instead announces that the fans in attendance aren't good enough to see him kick someone. That was awful narrow minded of him, surely some of the DVD audience would be worthy. Anyhow, the match turns into a really excellent little spot-fest. Highlights include Doi setting up both Romero and Richards in the turnbuckles on top of each other so that Evans could double stomp both of them, and Doi holding Richards up so Evans could leap off of Richards and over the ropes onto Romero. The finish came when Richards was stuck in a tree of woe, and Evans drove his knees into his chest, then picking up the pin at around 15 minutes. Excellent spot-fest that also advanced the NRC angle, ***3/4.
Winners: Jack Evans and Naruki Doi

Brent Albright vs. Homicide
At last night's show, Jim Cornette made his return to ROH and paid off Albright to attack Homicide. Therefore, we get this match. Homicide wastes no time jumping Albright, though he is quickly clubbed down. Homicide hits a monkey flip and a spinning DDT. Before anything else can happen, Adam Pearce rushes in and attacks Homicide, bringing forth a disqualification at 1:24. Match was 1/2* by itself, but is part of a bigger picture.
Winner by DQ: Homicide

-Pearce and Albright keep the attack on Homicide, but Colt Cabana runs in to make the same. Cabana cuts a short promo stating that one year ago, his violent feud against Homicide ended. And when it did, Homicide showed him respect by shaking his hand. Therefore, Cabana wants to show Homicide respect now (also, Cabana is in the midst of a feud with Pearce, even being pinned by him in a four corners match last night after Pearce knocked him out with brass knuckles). Albright and Pearce aren't interested in this proposal and start leaving the building. Cabana and Homicide attack them and a brawl erupts. Pearce/Cabana and Homicide/Albright brawl through the crowd. After several minutes of intense brawling (involving a lot of broken chairs) they spill back into the ring, giving us...

Colt Cabana and Homicide vs. Brent Albright and Adam Pearce
The fight continues with Homicide and Cabana teaming up to hit double big back body drops on both Albright and Pearce. They keep the advantage until Shane Hagadorn runs in for interference. Hagadorn quickly becomes a non-factor when his hated enemy, Pelle Primeau, runs in and jumps him. Hagadorn and Primeau brawl at ringside. Meanwhile, the referee checks on Homicide, who had wiped out leaping over the ropes onto Albright. Jim Cornette runs in and makes his own attack, but Homicide cuts him off. Homicide ends up as the new face in peril, taking some abuse from both Albright and Pearce. Colt eventually tags in and cleans house, and with the ref distracted, Jim Cornette runs in and tries to spray mace into Cabana's eyes. Cabana dodges the mace, and Pearce gets an eye-full instead. Cabana quickly disposes of Cornette and pins Pearce at 8:50. This entire segment was wild, chaotic, and featured a real sense of urgency. The match itself was ***, but the entire segment, from the beginning of the initial Albright/Homicide match through the brawl and tag match was ****.
Winners: Colt Cabana and Homicide

-It's intermission time! Rebecca Bayless is backstage with Erick Stevens. She asks for his thoughts on his debut, and he mumbles some generic boasts about showing us what he can really do. They both leave, and we see Austin Aries watching on, looking impressed and nodding to himself happily. This foreshadows Aries choosing Stevens to be a part of the Resilience.

Steel Cage match: Jimmy Jacobs (with Lacey) vs. BJ Whitmer (with Daizee Haze)
The rules of the match state that when the participants ask for weapons, staff members will fetch some from out back and hand them to the workers through the cage door. It sounds a bit strange, but trust me, it'll work. The crowd knows this match is going to be insane, as the "Please don't die" chants start during Jacobs' entrance. Jacobs jumps Whitmer before he can even get into the cage and they have a brief ringside brawl. They spill into the cage, where a chop-fest follows. Whitmer dominates early, throwing Jacobs into the cage several times, before asking for a chair. Whitmer destroys Jacobs with the chair, knocking out one of Jacobs' teeth in the process. Jacobs recovers and asks for a weapon. He's handed a metal spike, but Whitmer also has a spike hidden in his boots. They both drive their spikes into each other's foreheads at once! Then it happens again... and again... and to the point where they are both repeatedly stabbing each other with the spikes! Both men are bleeding heavily in the early going. Jacobs picks up the advantage, and is so enraged, he stabs himself with the spike too. Whitmer manages to power bomb Jacobs into the cage one last time before Jimmy takes aim with a barbed wire baseball bat that was intended for Whitmer. Jacobs hits several barbed wire shots, busting Whitmer's back and arm open in the process! Jimmy takes a moment to chew on the barbed wire, and to lick Whitmer's blood off a spike, as the crowd chants "You sick fuck!" I would have to agree with them, Jimmy's obsession with Lacey has driven him insane! Jimmy goes nuts with the spike again, stabbing Whitmer with it repeatedly. He then sets the wired bat under Whitmer's head and connects with a chair shot!

Jacobs makes a mistake, as he went for a spear, but Whitmer moved and Jacobs went crashing into a chair set up in the turnbuckles. Whitmer dominates for a while, connecting with barbed wire bat shots. Whitmer is freaking pissed after that beating he took. Whitmer hits a brainbuster DDT on Jacobs onto a set up chair! They end up fighting on the turnbuckle, which results in Jacobs getting dropped head first onto the top rope. Jacobs soon reverses into a head scissors. Whitmer manages to reverse the Contra Code into an adrenaline spike. Lacey enters the cage to try and save Jimmy, but BJ gives her a piledriver for her trouble! BJ goes to the top of the cage and misses a frog splash! Jimmy capitalizes with the Contra Code, but only gets 2 in a cover. Jimmy finally notices that Lacey is out cold and this burns some fresh fury into him. Jimmy sets up a table and tries setting BJ up on it. Whitmer escapes, but Jacobs manages to set him up again. With a noticeably hurt knee, Jacobs goes to the top of the cage and hits a back splash on Whitmer through the table! This is enough for the win, as Jimmy gets the pin at 23:42! It's a damn shame that this match put Jacobs on the shelf, because this was his coming out party. This is the match that finished Jacobs' dark transformation as a character! And I don't want to ever hear anyone downplay Jacobs again because of his size, because it doesn't matter. Jacobs has what it takes to be a true wrestling star, look no further for proof than this excellent MOTYC, ****3/4.
Winner: Jimmy Jacobs

FIP World Heavyweight Championship: Roderick Strong (c) vs. Austin Aries
Strong and Aries have a tough act to follow, but I bet they are up to the task. The crowd is tired, and they can sense it, so the first ten minutes of the match feature some smart technical wrestling, that they crowd can enjoy in peace. Aries eventually decides to change the pace of the match by hitting the suicide dive on Strong. From there, the action picks up. Strong starts whipping out backbreakers and hits a fallaway slam from off the turnbuckle. Strong taunts the crowd with "Belly to back? Like that, don't you?" Maybe Strong should talk more after all. They fight on the top rope, with Aries slipping and falling onto a table at ringside. If the table hadn't been there, it would have looked like a legit slip, that was well done. They end up brawling at ringside, where Strong continues his new vicious streak of dismantling the steel barricade so he can slam his opponent onto it. Strong hits the Gibson Driver on Aries right onto the steel! I cringe, it looked painful. Strong waits in the ring for the 20 count to finish Aries, but Aries gets back just in time. Strong then finally dominates Aries with a series of moves too overwhelming to handle, being the big boot, the half nelson backbreaker, another Gibson Driver, and finally the Strong Hold. Aries passes out at 21:46. Aries left it all in the ring, ****.
Winner and still FIP World Champion: Roderick Strong

Dragon Gate rules: CIMA, Shingo, and Susuma Yokosuka vs. Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito, and Masaaki Mochizuki
I love how the Dragon Gate entrance music sounds like 90's video game music. That just goes to show how cool the Japanese can be. The Dragon Gate stars brought their own ring announcer with them, who does the introductions in Japanese, further setting the stage for this big match. CIMA is extremely over with this particular crowd, and kicks things off against Ryo Saito. They have a good little exchange of technical wrestling, ending in a couple of stalemate sequences. Shingo and Mochizuki tag in and have a very stiff sequence. I really like what Shingo and Mochizuki add to this match, as last year's Dragon Gate six man was all very small, light guys, and these two add some power and stiffness. Dragon Kid and Yokosuka enter the match (I shouldn't say "tag" as there are none in Dragon Gate rules). They have a spotty sequence together. So there, within the first ten minutes, we've had three little encounters between the two teams, with each encounter bringing a different style to the game. So far, this match rocks. From there, the "tags" begin to pick up a little bit, with Dragon Kid ultimately becoming the face in peril. The hard bumps and double team moves pile up, as Shingo and Yokosuka make sure that Saito and Mochizuki are unable to enter the ring and help out the much smaller Dragon Kid. Yokosuka, in particular, decides to focus his attacks on Dragon Kid's leg, adding some psychology to what was expected to be a shameless spot-fest. CIMA hits a single leg double stomp on Dragon Kid, with an assist from Shingo. CIMA then double stomps Saito and rolls across the ring from the opposite turnbuckle to drive his knees into the back of Dragon Kid's head! Mochizuki manages to enter the match and sends the stiff kicks flying left and right. He stiffs Shingo several times, which only fires him up. Shingo reverses an armbar into a power bomb. From here, the action hits a new high speed, as Saito and CIMA have a suplex-fest in the ring. Nearly everyone gathers around the turnbuckle at one point, but ends up just being Dragon Kid almost putting Yokosuka away with a chin breaker. Dragon Kid is then lifted up for the Doomsday device and nearly beaten. Bodies are flying everywhere as kicks are being thrown and men's head are hitting the canvas hard. CIMA goes coast to coast to take out Saito with a drop kick! The chaos ends when Yokosuka rolls through a Dragon-rana by Dragon Kid and covers him for the victory at around the 25 minute mark! This was simply awesome! The inclusion of Shingo and Mochizuki helped make this feel like a much more well rounded match than last year's six man at Supercard of Honor. I'm tempted to give this the full monty, but a few disorganized moments lead me to think a ****3/4 is more appropriate. Still, you owe it to yourself to see this!
Winners: Shingo, CIMA, and Yokosuka

-Backstage, Rebecca Bayless finds Jimmy Jacobs and Lacey together on the floor. Both look beaten and bruised, but are embracing each other as if their lives depended on it. Thus, ends the show.

Final Thoughts: Ring of Honor promised a huge show with Supercard of Honor II and they more than delivered. The Dragon Gate six man lived up to the hype set by the original, Jacobs took the next step into wrestling stardom, Strong showed he could play heel at a main event level, and we were treated to some wild tag team matches . Simply put, there wasn't a bad match to be found (just a squash, which I wouldn't label bad) and a crazy amount of **** matches. If you haven't followed Ring of Honor in a while and want to know why you should care, check this show out.

Heavily recommended.

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