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ROH: Joe vs. Punk II - October 16 2004
by SamoaRowe

It is high time I try reviewing a Ring of Honor show. I doubt my usual play by play style of recapping matches will work with the fast paced ROH style, so this review may be a little rough around the edges.

The show opens with CM Punk hanging out in the ring before the show. Punk talks about his first match against Samoa Joe, which went to a 60 minute draw. Punk is optimistic that since they are in his home town of Chicago Ridge, IL, he will prevail tonight. Punk reminisces about his past fights from high school (and after seeing that year book photo of him that surfaced online, I can see why) and how some kids came to his house to beat him up.

Elsewhere, Generation Next (Alex Shelley, Roderick Strong, and Jack Evans) is hanging out. Alex Shelley talks some crap about Ricky Steamboat. Shelley is pissed that Steamboat caused them to lose to the Second City Saints. But tonight, Shelley has Jimmy Jacobs in an 'I quit' match. Evans and Strong will be taking on Homicide and Rocky Romero. Evans then cuts a nerdy white boy promo and does some break dancing.

Davey Andrews vs. TJ Dalton
These two men tie up and are immediately attacked by the Carnage Crew for the no contest finish at 0.13. This makes for an obvious DUD.
No contest

Loc takes the microphone and cuts a promo against Mick Foley and his 'ring of hardcore.' He believes that there would be no hardcore in ROH if not for him and Devito. Devito takes the mic and talks some trash against BJ Whitmer and Dan Maff. I really freaking hate the Carnage Crew, and this promo was particularly bad.

Jay Lethal vs. Delirious
The match starts off lively enough with Delirious and Lethal reversing several moves until Delirious unleashes some furious strikes. That action is mainly stalemate, though Lethal manages to sneak some near falls in. Lethal hits a snap suplex and gains the upper hand, but is soon caught in a sit-down power bomb. Delirious rakes Lethal's face, but gets a rope break. They trade some shots and Lethal gets a big leg lariat. Lethal keeps the upper hand with a back suplex and another near fall. They head to the top rope, Delirious blocks a superplex and hits a hurrancarana. They exchange strikes again for a bit. Delirious falls out of the ring, and narrowly avoids a baseball slide. They brawl and Lethal gets sent flying into the guard rail. Delirious attempts an off the top move, but Lethal cuts him off and Delirious hits a unique slingshot move in the ropes. Delirious then cannonballs off the ropes. The action backs in the ring, and Lethal dodges an off the ropes splash and hits a huge clothesline. Lethal remains in control, but Delirious blocks the dragon suplex and hits a drop kick. Lethal blocks Delirious and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Lethal goes up top for a head butt, but Delirious counters this into an ace crusher. Delirious goes top rope again and gets a very near fall which the crowd chants 'bullshit' to. Delirious gets a running forearm and gets yet another near fall in. Lethal gets back up, grabs Delirious by the mask and finally hits the dragon suplex for the victory at 8:15. This was a good (official) opener, with some good spots by both men, **3/4.
Winner: Jay Lethal

Backstage, Samoa Joe talks about his first match against Punk. Punk might think that being in his hometown gives him an advantage, but Joe reminds Punk that he failed in their last encounter and he will fail again tonight.

Tracy Brooks vs. Daizee Haze This is apparently the first women's match on a main ROH show since Alexis Laree took off for WWE land. Good tie up to start things off, Brooks gets a fireman's carry. They do a little chain wrestling, with Haze getting the upper hand. They go through a series of pinfall combinations. The match restarts as the crowd is politely into this match. They go for a test of strength which leads to a cover attempt by Brooks and a monkey flip by Haze. They go through another pinfall combination. Brooks hits a knee and gets a near fall. Brooks hits some impressive chops. Haze fights back with some strikes of her own and a clothesline into a cover. Daze goes high risk and hits a missile drop kick. Haze almost gets the pinfall. Brooks reverses a couple of stunner attempts but Haze succeeds on her third attempt. Brooks no sells and hits a lariat for the win at 3:42. This was a very good women's match (far better than the average dreck on WWE television) but was way too short, *1/4.
Winner: Tracy Brooks

Four Corner Survival: Angel Dust vs. Trent Acid vs. Matt Sydal vs. Josh Daniels
This match is a sad testament to the downfall of Trent Acid, as his every move in this match suggests that he really just doesn't give a damn. Daniels and Angel Dust start things off with a basic stalemate sequence. The match restarts with Angel Dust goofing around with the referee. Daniels hits a couple nice chops but another stalemate sequence sets in. This thrilling battle ends with Daniels tagging in Sydal. Sydal gets a side head lock in which the crowd responds with a 'We want Acid' chant. Angel Dust works a side head lock of his own. Sydal gets out, but is soon the victim of a few sick back breakers. Acid tags himself in and charges at Matt Sydal. Acid tosses Sydal up top, but Sydal slips to the floor. The ref lets Josh Daniels take Sydal's place in the ring. Acid is tossed out, to which Sydal hits a double stomp on Daniels while landing on Acid in the process. That was pretty cool. Angel Dust joins the fray with a moonsault on all three men. Acid is up first and tosses everyone back into the ring, where Daniels goes on a chopping spree. Acid attacks everyone in range and slams Daniels down for a near fall. Angel Dust tags himself in, snap mares Daniels, hits some stiff kicks, but Daniels takes control anyway. Dust soon hits a double stomp off the ropes on the neck of Josh Daniels. Sydal is tagged in and almost hits a shooting star press. All hell breaks loose with all four men in the ring. Acid thought he had the win, but Daniels pinned Angel Dust with a German suplex at 6:34. This was your typical lower card spot fest, though Matt Sydal provided some fun spots and Daniels provided some fun stiffness, *1/2.
Winner: Josh Daniels

Acid is really pissed about this loss, as he was attempting to be the king of multiple man matches. He shakes Daniels' hand anyway.

Up next, Ricky Steamboat leads Nigel McGuinness and Chad Collyer to the ring. Steamboat is representing pure wrestling. Mick Foley comes out next with BJ Whitmer and Dan Maff, as they are representing hardcore wrestling. Of course, when I think about hardcore wrestling, these are not the two men I think of, but Whitmer has gone on to have some really good hardcore matches in the midst of the CZW feud of 2006.

Steamboat and Foley are left alone in the ring for a dueling microphones segment. Steamboat does not feel that his guys are better than Foley's, but he feels the pure style is better than the hardcore style. Steamboat plays the 'garbage wrestling' card, which earns him some heat from the crowd. Foley rags on Steamboat for actually saying something entertaining. Foley gets his cheap hometown pop in while mentioning Steamboat's NWA title victory over Ric Flair in 1989 (the crowd boos at the mention of Flair). Foley puts Steamboat over as being perhaps the greatest pure wrestler of all time. Foley turns this around into saying that he might as well say that Steamboat is the greatest soft-core porn actor of all time because it just isn't the real deal. Foley asks Steamboat how much longer he plans on riding on the coat tails of a 'washed up loser like Ric Flair' which earns a monster pop. Steamboat takes offense and tells Foley that he is nothing like Ric Flair. Foley takes his opportunity to make fun of Flair some more, comparing him to Barbara Bush in drag. I wonder if Flair, Triple H, and company ever saw this segment, because I don't think they would've found this funny. The banter goes back and forth a bit longer, which is worth the price of admission alone.

Nigel McGuinness and Chad Collyer (with Ricky Steamboat) vs. BJ Whitmer and Dan Maff (with Mick Foley)
The match finally starts and it is a shame that it will likely not be anywhere nearly as entertaining as the Steamboat/Foley promo segment. Nigel and Whitmer start things off with some chain wrestling. Its good stuff as Nigel hits a beautiful arm drag and the chain wrestling continues. Collyer is tagged in and works on the arm of BJ Whitmer. Dan Maff is tagged in and he puts Collyer into a side head lock. Collyer reverses the head lock, takes Maff down, and applies a front face lock. This is solid, if unspectacular. Maff tries to mount an offense, but takes a monkey flip and Collyer retakes control. Nigel is tagged in and works the arm. Maff hits an ugly power slam, but Collyer gets a tag and retakes control. Collyer applies yet another wrist lock, Maff fights out and goes for a power slam, but foolishly walks into Nigel's corner, who tags himself in. The action picks up a bit, as Maff drops Nigel with an elbow and tags in Whitmer. Nigel takes control with a deep arm drag and tags in Collyer for a double team. Meanwhile, the Carnage Crew are back to annoy me and attack Foley. In the ring, all four men are now brawling, as the Carnage Crew are involved, and the ref calls for the double DQ at 4:45. Total bullshit, *.
No contest

Ricky Steamboat is outraged over the interference and calls the Carnage Crew 'dickheads.' Steamboat unleashes his fury on the Carnage Crew and chases them out of the ring with a chair. Foley suggests that the match restart under hardcore rules.

Ring of Hardcore: Nigel McGuinness and Chad Collyer vs. BJ Whitmer and Dan Maff (with Mick Foley)
Nigel and Whitmer start things off again, with them sticking to plain wrestling for the early going. Collyer tries getting involved with an off the ropes elbow, but misses. All hell breaks loose as Dan Maff gets involved and the brawl takes to ringside. Foley gets involved, attacking Nigel McGuinness with a microphone. Maff and Collyer are meanwhile brawling in the crowd. Maff throws a garbage bin at Collyer, thus proving Steamboat right. Maff tosses Collyer back to ringside, where Foley gets a chair shot in. Maff then smacks Collyer over the head with someone's drink. Elsewhere, Nigel takes a sick chair shot from Whitmer. The brawl continues, as the match turns into a sort of handicap match as Foley keeps hitting Collyer when given the chance. Maff soon sits Collyer onto a table at ringside and chokes him. Nigel and Whitmer are back in the ring, and Maff joins them for a double team. Collyer recovers and runs in for the save and the brawl continues. Whitmer hits an exploder suplex on Collyer right onto a chair. Steamboat returns and is furious at what he is seeing. He tells Nigel to use his wrestling skills, and Nigel follows suit, engaging Whitmer in a chain wrestling sequence. Nigel ends up getting the victory over Whitmer in a pinning combination, ending round two of this encounter at 5:33. The crowd is displeased and chants 'bullshit' yet again, and I would have to agree. This was awkward and not a good representation for the talent involved, *.
Winners: Nigel McGuinness and Chad Collyer

It's intermission time already! Backstage, Trent Acid is slumped in a corner, looking like he hasn't showered in months. Acid feels like an outcast and looks distraught, as if his drug dealer is late or something.

Carnage Crew vs. TJ Dalton and Davey Andrews
Just what I wanted, more Carnage Crew! The action starts with Dalton and Andrews taking the fight to the Crew, hitting double drop kicks and then double teaming Devito. They hit a double flap jack on Loc. The double team ends when Loc sets Dalton up for the Doomsday Device. Devito is pissed and dominates Dalton, the newly established legal man. Loc is tagged in and hits an elbow drop. Devito tags back in and hits some stiff Crossface strikes. Loc tags in and the Crew double teams Andrews. Dalton tags in and tries to mount an offense. Andrews is quickly tagged back in and cleans house on the Crew. The comeback is short lived as he eats a Carnage-plex. Dalton tries to make the save and eats the Splash Mountain neckbreaker (as the commentators call it). The Crew finish things with the Carnage-plex on Andrews, which looked brutal. That was enough for the win at 4:22. This was a complete squash, as Andrews and Dalton only got token offense in, *. If this was EWR, Sophie would note that the Carnage Crew were used too much, and the crowd got tired of seeing them.
Winners: The Carnage Crew

Loc cuts another promo after the match, which I am just delighted to hear.

Homicide and Rocky Romero vs. Roderick Strong and Jack Evans
Yes, this is a heel vs. heel match up, not that it really matters to a ROH crowd. A two on two brawl kicks things off, as Romero and Strong go to the floor, leaving Evans and Homicide in the ring. Evans hits a moonsault kick and then a suicide dive on Homicide. Strong and Romero are in the ring next. I'm not sure who the legal men are supposed to be at this point, until Romero tags in Homicide, answering my question. Things slow down as Homicide takes control of Strong, choking him in the corner and hitting some chops. Romero is tagged in for a double team, establishing Strong as the de facto face in peril. Homicide tags in and hits a double foot stomp. Homicide follows up with a northern lights suplex into a pin attempt, and tags Romero in. Romero looks good with his hard hitting offense, but Strong fires back with a vicious knife edge chop. This doesn't mount to anything, as Romero maintains control and keeps making frequent tags with Homicide. Strong finally pushes Homicide into Evan's corner, allowing Evans to tag himself in. Evans gets the upper hand and tags in Strong for some double team moves. Evans hits a lovely 450 off of Strong for a near fall on Homicide. After some double teaming, things slow down to Strong vs. Homicide. Evans is tagged in for a flying cross body on Homicide, but soon suffers a slingshot DDT. Romero is tagged in and slaps the taste out of the mouth of Jack Evans. Romero gets the cobra clutch locked on Evans, but Strong breaks it up with a chop to the back. Homicide is tagged in, and he and Romero both choke Evans with their boots. Homicide and Romero make frequent tags, isolating Evans and brutalizing him with some hard offense. Evans is more or less murdered during this sequence, finally being tossed over the ropes onto Strong. Homicide then rips off the metal ROH sign from the barricade and throws it at Strong. Back in the ring, Homicide continues the assault on Evans.

The tide turns when Homicide misses a diving head butt, and Strong is finally tagged in. Strong destroys Homicide with a personalized back breaker. Romero charges in, but Strong catches him and holds him over his shoulders. Evans then moonsaults off of Romero onto Homicide while Strong crushes Romero's back in a truly awesome spot! Strong covers Homicide, who somehow kicks out of this one. Homicide then hits a blind low blow, rakes Strong's back, and sets him up for Romero to hit an off the ropes bull dog. Romero gets a close near fall on Strong, who is clearly frustrated now. Evans gets tagged and springboards onto Romero. All hell breaks loose with all four men in the ring. Homicide hits a piledriver on Strong, ending his momentum. Strong sets Evans up on the top rope but gets pushed down. Evans is knocked down by a charging Homicide. Homicide hits a double underhook suplex off the top, power bombs Evans, and sets him up for a cover attempt by Romero. Strong breaks the near fall. It doesn't matter, as Homicide destroys Evans with a lariat, and the referee finally realizes that Evans is not the legal man. Homicide and Romero continue the double team assault on Strong, who keeps kicking out of pinfall situations. Strong fights both of them off, hits a double knee shot to Homicide's gut, and plants Romero with an ace crusher. Homicide hits a lariat on Strong while Evans hits a 630 splash on Romero for the victory at 17:47. I lost track of who the legal men were supposed to be several minutes ago. The match should have ended with Evans' moonsault off of Romero, as everything after that felt anticlimactic. The selling was very spotty as well, though some great spots and hard offense give this match some points, ***.
Winners: Roderick Strong and Jack Evans

After the match, Homicide puts Generation Next over on the microphone. Homicide wants to shake their hands, which of course turns into an attack. Homicide plants Evans with the Cop Killa. This only earns Homicide and Romero a face pop, of course. This continues, even as Homicide tells the fans he hates them all and asks them to kiss their Puerto Rican asses.

'I Quit' match: Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Shelley slaps Jacobs to start things off and spears him. Shelley slams Jacobs into the ring post, but Jacobs is too pissed off to sell it. Jacobs fires back with some stiff shots. Shelley dumps him to ringside, but Jacobs trips Shelley on the apron. Jacobs hits a hurrancarana off the apron. Jacobs almost botches another hurrancarana off the apron, but saves the spot. Shelley recovers and grabs some chairs. He drives Jacobs into a chair by the throat. Jacobs counters and goes for a sliced bread #2 off the guard rail, but Shelley counters and throws him into the steel. Shelley then hits a side Russian legsweep on Jacobs into the barricade. Shelley DDT's Jacobs onto the apron and then continues using the barricade as a weapon. Shelley plants Jacobs on the apron for a sick double stomp on the head. The action spills back into the ring. Shelley uses his knees to drive Jacobs' skull into a chair, a move which is apparently called the 'Skull Fucker.' Jacobs soon counters a suplex with a neckbreaker. Jacobs gets some chair shots on Shelley and wraps it around his neck for a choking spot. With Shelley's head trapped in the chair, Jacob adds a half Boston crab, but Shelley refuses to quit. Jacobs had a spike wrapped in his boot. Shelley blocks the spike and hits a super kick. Shelley drives the spike into the skull of Jimmy Jacobs and plays to the crowd for some Jericho-esque heat. Shelley proceeds to carve Jacobs' skull with the spike. Shelley sets up a chair, but Jacobs fights back with strikes. Shelley counters a sliced bread attempt with a sick piledriver onto the chair! That looked like it hurt. Jacobs still won't quit. Shelley fetches a kendo stick from under the ring as well as some duck tape. Shelley tapes Jacobs to the turnbuckle as a fan shouts 'Would TNA ever let you do something like this?'

With Jacobs trapped to the turnbuckle, Shelley cracks the kendo stick across the back! Instead of quitting, Jacobs only yells 'Huss!' and manages to low blow Shelly while still trapped. Jacobs pulls another spike out of his furry boots and frees himself from the duck tape. Jacobs charges at Shelley with the spike but takes another kendo stick shot. Jacobs manages to grab the stick and nails Shelley with it. Jacobs uses the stick in a camel clutch, but Shelley won't quit. Jacobs goes for a senton, but Shelley moves. Shelley takes the spike in one hand and the kendo stick in the other and takes turns hitting Jacobs with both weapons. Shelley puts Jacobs in a border city stretch, giving Jacobs a perfectly good reason to quit. Jacobs teases passing out, but fights out. Jacobs plants Shelley's skull to the mat, and sets him up for the senton, hitting the move this time around. Jacobs nails Shelley with the kendo stick again and puts him into the border city stretch himself. Shelley counters with a shot to the eyes. Shelley is hurt, giving Jacobs a chance to set up some chairs, making a mini table out of it. Shelley counters Jacobs and hits a suplex right onto the chairs! Shelley puts Jacobs back into the border city stretch, who finally calls it quits at 16:48! This was an absolutely brutal grudge match, which featured some satisfying violence. Jacobs came off as a perfect sympathetic babyface, with Shelley being the aggressive and sadistic villain, ***3/4.
Winner: Alex Shelley

After the match, Shelley takes a microphone and talks some crap. He refuses to continue if he hears another fan yell 'huss' which of course brings on the 'huss' chants. Shelley is not through with Jacobs, and Roderick Strong joins Shelley in beating down Jacobs. Ricky Steamboat runs in for the save! The Generation Next members flee the ring, but the fucking Carnage Crew run in for a beat down on Steamboat. Not again. Foley, Whitmer, and Maff run in for the save. Foley rubs it in that Steamboat was saved by hardcore wrestling. Well, he was also under attack from hardcore wrestlers. That is like being thanked for putting out a fire that he started.

ROH World Championship: Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk
This match is going to be a long one, so I'm going to start a new paragraph every ten minutes. CM Punk comes out to a hero's welcome. There are some funny looking fans in Chicago, just thought I'd mention that. The fans chant 'new champ' as Joe's music hits the airwaves. Joe gets quite a good reaction as well, considering he is up against a hometown guy. Punk and Joe shake hands as the bell rings.

They tie up and Joe pushes Punk to the mat. They circle each other again, clearly pacing themselves. They take a break to soak in the dueling chants from the crowd. They tie up again and Joe pushes Punk down yet again. They tie up a third time, Punk drop toe holds Joe, and gets a sneaky near fall in the early going. The match restarts with a side head lock by Joe on Punk. Punk reverses the hold. Joe wrenches Punk's wrist and drops him to the mat. Punk rolls back to his feet, but still caught in the wrist lock. Punk counters with a fireman's carry and backs into the corner. The match restarts with another lockup. Joe pushes Punk into the corner and cleanly breaks. There is so much good sportsmanship here, I don't know if I can handle it! Joe reverses a hammerlock and forces Punk to the mat. Joe falls away on the hammerlock, punishing the wrist. Punk reverses the hammerlock, but Joe reverses that as well. They have another clean break in the corner, and the match restarts yet again. Joe and Punk tease a test of strength, but Joe gets a kick in. They grasp hands again, and the action picks up, resulting with Joe getting a camel clutch on Punk. Punk escapes and gets a side head lock. Joe fights out of the hold, and misses a chop. Punk puts Joe right back into the side head lock. Joe reverses with a head scissors. Punk frees his head, and trades shots with Joe. Punk escapes a reverse full nelson and goes back to the headlock. Joe tries to mount a comeback, but it is right back to the side headlock. Joe rolls Punk onto his shoulders, but Punk doesn't break the hold. They get to a vertical position and get into the ropes, and Punk breaks the hold. Joe thrusts his shoulders, snapmares Punk, but Punk sneakily traps Joe in the front headlock. Punk transitions this into another side headlock on the mat.

Ten minutes are down, only fifty left. The side headlock continues, Joe pushes Punk into the corner. Joe unleashes some chops, obviously pissed about all those headlocks. Typically, Punk hits a hip toss and puts Joe back into a side headlock. Joe tries to break the hold in the corner, but Punk kicks off the turnbuckle, keeping the side headlock on. Joe hits a back suplex, but Punk refuses to let go of the headlock! Punk is wrestling a cautious match, and doesn't want to take any big risks thus far. Joe pushes Punk off into the ropes and they collide in the middle of the ring. Punk bounces off the ropes right back into Joe. Joe refuses to budge and pie faces Punk. Punk goes for a cheap shot, but Joe strikes away and hits an arm drag. Punk comes back with an arm drag of his own and they go through a series of fast faced striking until Punk gets a very close near fall! Joe flees to ringside for a breather. Joe takes his sweet time returning to the ring and the match restarts again. They lock up, and Punk goes behind Joe for a reverse waistlock take down. A fan starts chanting 'boring' but is quickly told to 'shut up.' They reverse submission hold attempts, and Joe is forced to break. Joe slaps Punk on the back before separating. They lockup again and Joe catches Punk off guard with some head butts. Joe unleashes some open hand slaps, but Punk fires back with a series of strikes. This ends when Joe catches Punk in the head with his boot. Punk falls out of the ring for a breather. Punk takes a minute before reentering the ring so the match can restart. Joe goes for some strikes, but Punk wants a lockup. Joe forces Punk down with a knucklelock. Punk gets his feet around Joe's neck, but his shoulders are down for a couple of near falls. Punk counters with a monkey flip, but is soon trapped in a knucklelock again. Punk flips around to break the hold and knocks Joe down. Punk gets an arm drag for a cover attempt. Punk hits a drop kick to the head as the twenty minute mark passes.

Punk and Joe take turns chopping each other in the corner. Punk then takes Joe to the mat with a hammerlock. The regain a vertical position, and Punk continues to work Joe's wrist. A fan criticizes the match, and Punk reminds him where the exit is. That was awesome. Punk climbs the turnbuckle and leaps off the ropes with a leg drop on Joe's arm! Punk rolls Joe into a rear chinlock. This transitions into a hammerlock, which Joe counters with some elbow shots. Joe is unable to mount a comeback, as Punk rolls him into another armlock. It is surprising how Joe has been dominated for the majority of this match thus far. Punk hits a drop kick to the arm he was working over, and Joe appears to be in trouble. Punk wrenches the wrist, but Joe tries to fight back with some strong forearm shots. Joe finally knocks Punk off his feet. Joe snapmares Punk and chops his back. Joe goes for the kick to the chest, but Joe grabs the leg and rolls Joe into a rear chinlock. They get back to their feet and Punk keeps favoring the side headlock. Joe pushes them both through the ropes to the floor, but Punk won't let go of the headlock. Joe responds by dropping Punk to the floor with a back suplex! Punk appears to be dead. Joe takes too long getting Punk into the ring, and only gets a two count on a cover attempt. Joe once again goes for his kick to the chest, but Punk blocks it again. This time Joe fights Punk with a shot to the back and drops his knee. Joe strikes Punk into the corner, and drops him off his feet. Joe washes his boot on Punk's face, but Punk flees in time to miss a running boot. Punk corners Joe and hits a running elbow. Punk washes his boot on Joe's face and hits a running boot of his own! Punk goes for the cover, but it's only two. Punk sets up Joe in the corner and drives his knee into the back. Punk goes for another cover, but Joe got a foot in the ropes. Punk tries another cover, but Joe is far from defeated. Joe blocks a kick and grabs the leg, dropping Punk. Joe goes for an STF, but has to improvise a different submission attempt. Joe stretches Punk in half, but Punk doesn't tap!

The match hits the halfway point, and the action picks up. Punk goes for a crossbody off the ropes, but Joe casually walks out of the way. I always enjoy that spot. Joe hits a vicious backbreaker. Joe sets Punk up in a long vertical suplex. Joe goes for the cover, but it isn't even enough for a two count. Punk comes back with some chops. Punk dodges a legsweep and drop kicks Joe in the head. Joe then hits the legsweep for real, and Punk is dead again. Joe traps Punk in a full Boston crab. Punk desperately tries to get to the ropes, but Joe sits all the way back on the crab! Punk luckily gets to the ropes. Joe violently whips Punk into the turnbuckles as hard as he could. Joe follows up with a series of kicks to the face. Punk responds with a slap. They then exchange strong shots, but Joe drops Punk with a beautiful uppercut. Joe goes for a cover and then drives Punk back into the turnbuckles. Punk is still evidently dead, as this portion of the match has slowed down quite a bit. Joe washes his boot on Punk's face and hits the running boot to the face! Joe takes a moment to intimidate the referee, who kept breaking the corner attack, giving Punk a chance to get back to his feet and mount some offense. Joe casually drops Punk with a head butt, and goes for the cover again. It is worth mentioning that Punk has a black eye by this point. With Punk in a daze, Joe continues to drive his elbow and forearm. Punk is sent into the turnbuckle again, but gets a boot to Joe's face and then a hurrancarana! Joe falls out of the ring, and Punk throws himself through the ropes with a suicide dive! Punk is newly reenergized and sets Joe up for the 'ole, ole' kicks and manages to connect! Punk sets Joe up for another round of 'ole, ole' kicks and succeeds! Joe appears to be out of it! Punk goes for a hurrancarana off the apron, but Joe grabs him in mid-air and swings him into the barricade! Joe furiously sets Punk up for the 'ole' kicks, but Punk cuts him off!

Forty minutes down, and Punk and Joe are exchanging chops at ringside! Joe sets Punk up for the 'ole' kicks again and nails him in the head! They make their way back to the ring, and Joe is in charge now. Punk head scissors Joe into the corner. Punk goes for a splash, but Joe hits a vicious one handed spine buster. Joe goes for the cover, but Punk gets out of it. The crowd is loudly supporting Punk by this point. The dueling chants come back. Punk is knocked to ringside and Joe hits a flying forearm suicide dive through the ropes! Both men are down. The commentators are calling it a night to go 'join the fans in the crowd.' The last 18 minutes of this match will have no commentary, which can only be a positive thing. Joe and Punk are back up on the apron. Joe DDTs Punk onto the apron. The fans are having a clap-fest to Punk's music in support of the hometown hero. Joe returns to the ring, and waits for Punk to reach the apron. Joe tries to suplex Punk into the ring, but Punk reverses and hits a drop kick. Joe spears Punk to the mat and gets a near fall. Joe hits a scoop slam and goes to the top rope. Joe misses a flying head butt! Both men are on their knees and exchange shots. Joe takes control, but Punk responds with a kick to the face. Punk hits Joe in the head with the back of his boot several times, but then runs into a powerslam! Joe gets a near fall and then puts Punk into a wristlock! Punk barely manages to roll into the ropes! Punk reverses a power bomb and gets a big boot into a near fall! The atmosphere in the building is pure electricity by now. Punk plants Joe on the turnbuckle for a neckbreaker and then another near fall. Punk calls for the Pepsi Plunge, but Joe throws Punk off. Punk hits a huge tornado DDT and gets the closest of near falls I think I have ever seen! Joe barely kicked out! Punk desperately tries to get Joe to tap out as the 50 minute mark approaches.

There are only ten minutes left before the sixty minute time limit! Joe fights a suplex, goes for one of his own, but Punk counters. Joe drops Punk to the mat and almost gets the victory. Joe press slams Punk into a gut buster. Joe hits a sick suplex and gets another close fall. Punk does some chain wrestling to sweep Joe off his feet into another close fall of his own! The tension in the building is unbelievably intense at this point. Joe then gets a big power bomb in, and transitions into the STF! If I did not already know the finish to this match, I would've been fooled by many of these false finishes. Punk is trapped in the STF for a good stretch of time before finally getting to the ropes. Joe goes for a full nelson, but Punk stomps on Joe's foot. Punk directs a drop kick at Joe's knee and runs into a sunset flip for a severe near fall. Punk gets a shining wizard and the crowd thought he had it again with the near fall! Punk hits a big clothesline and a moonsault, but Joe kicks out of another cover attempt. Most of the fans are standing. Punk tries to lift Joe, but Joe snaps and hits several open handed slaps. They go through a chain wrestling sequence until Punk locks himself on Joe's back with a reverse chinlock! This is one of the few times I would ever believe that hold as a finisher. Joe escapes the hold with a suplex, but Punk is back on his feet immediately and they take each other down with running clotheslines. The clap-fest from the audience is back in full force, there are less than three minutes left! Punk climbs the turnbuckle, and Joe comes after him, maybe wanting a muscle buster. Punk pulls Joe up the turnbuckle with him. Punk wants the Pepsi Plunge. Joe fights out and punches the hell out of Punk. Punk fires away with some forearms of his own and goes for the Plunge again, but Joe butts him out. Joe then hits a big superplex on Punk off the top! The crowd is not pleased with that particular turn of events. There is less than a minute left now, and Joe is in charge. Joe sets Punk up for the Muscle Buster, but Punk fights his way to freedom. Still on the turnbuckle, Joe climbs up and Punk goes for the Pepsi Plunge, but Joe counters into another suplexplex! As they hit the mat, the time limit expires at 60:00! This match is a draw! This finish earns some huge heat from the crowd, as well as 'five more minutes' chants. This match was incredible as the action and conflict built and built and built until exploding in the final twenty minutes. The sequence on the top where Punk kept going for the Pepsi Plunge is among the most dramatic moments of any wrestling match I have ever seen. Put your prejudices aside, this match is a classic, *****. No contest

After the match, CM Punk grasps the ROH belt and gazes at it. He hands it back to Joe and they have a far less sportsmanlike handshake than they did when the match began. Joe celebrates the match as his music plays, even though he did not win the match.

We then clips to a backstage CM Punk promo. Punk wants another shot at Joe, this time in a no time limit match. That match will decide who the king of ROH is.

Next is a clip of Joe. Joe says that Punk could not get the job done on his second attempt. His job was to beat Joe, not to survive him. Joe says it was a good effort, but it will be his last one.

Final Thoughts: The undercard was pretty underwhelming, but the Jacobs/Shelley match saved this event from being a one match show. If I saw the Carnage Crew one more time I was going to snap and go on a killing spree. The main event is more than enough reason to add this show to your video library, as you really owe it to yourself to see it.

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