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Ring of Honor: Sixth Anniversary Show
by Samoa Rowe

-Taped on February 23rd 2008, from the Manhattan Center in New York City.

-Rebecca Bayless gets a word from the Vulture Squad. Julius Smokes is rallying up the troops, but Ruckus and Jigsaw don’t look too sure of themselves. They take a moment to check out their “Booty Vulture” Mercedes Martinez, and Smokes spews some more gibberish.

-Our hosts for the evening are Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard.

Delirious vs. Human Tornado
Tornado is billed from “Hollywood, Alabama.” Cute. Delirious goes on his trademark insane rampage as the bell rings, to which Tornado responds with some dancing. Cue Tornado’s music, and we have a dance off! This even throws Delirious off his game plan. Flying shoulder takedown by Tornado, but the Age of the Fall rush into the ring and attack Tornado (who tried to pick up Lacey the previous night at Eye of the Storm). It wouldn’t be fair to rate this.
No contest

-Daizee Haze joins the fray, jumping Lacey to continue their never-ending feud. Jacobs and Black attack Delirious too, with the aide of their newest member, Zach Gowen. This transitions into a tag team match (surprise, surprise).

Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black vs. Human Tornado and Delirious
Tornado starts off against Black, but quickly tags in Delirious to pick up the early advantage. Belly to back suplex by Delirious, who then tags Tornado for a double axe handle. Scoops slam by Tornado and a standing moonsault for a cover for 2. Delirious tags and head butts the isolate Tyler Black. Delirious attempts high risk, is momentarily distracted by Jacobs, and leaps into Black’s arms. Black throws Delirious to ringside! Zach Gowen helps Black and Jacobs cheap shot Delirious, who is settling into the position of “face in peril.” Jacobs wants a cover, but settles for a leg scissors. Black tags and he and Jacobs hit a double clothesline and choke Delirious. Black catches Delirious by the boot and hit’s a clothesline. With Delirious trapped in a tree of woe, Black and Jacobs hit stereo drop-kicks. Gowen distracts and cheap shots Delirious, who would have spent his time better going for a tag. Delirious crawls through Jacobs’ legs and almost gets a tag, but comes up short. Enziguri by Delirious still isn’t enough, as Black tags and knocks Tornado off the apron. Black attempts a springboard cross body, but he flies right into a head butt from Delirious! That was really cool. Tornado gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Age of the Fall. Tornado dumps Black and Jacobs to the floor and dives over the ring post to lay them out! Delirious assists Tornado in destroying Black in the corner. Jacobs jumps Tornado and almost gets pinned for his trouble. Black attacks Delirious, drop-kicking him off the top rope to the floor. Black hit’s a running power bomb into the corner on Tornado, and leaves him for Jacobs, who traps him in his “end time” submission hold for the win at 9:54. Lively match, but nothing I’ll probably remember in the long run, ***.
Winners: Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black

-With Human Tornado and Delirious still in the ring, we are joined by ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness. They leave Nigel by himself, to cut a grumpy promo. Nigel is lashing out at these fans for being on his case months ago when he couldn’t defend the title at Final Battle due to his injuries. Nigel is worried about his head, because of the concussion he suffered the last time he was in this building. This prompts the “You’re gonna get your fucking head kicked in” chant. Nigel disagrees with the chant because he thinks it’s time for him to put his health first. Nigel then declares himself the human embodiment of Ring of Honor. Nigel teases not defending the belt due to the fans not caring about his health, which draws out an irate Bryan Danielson. Danielson puts over the ROH title and it’s history. Danielson then offers to not do any strikes to the head in their match tonight, if it means that Nigel finally defends the belt in New York City. Nigel is confused, by Danielson backs it up by saying he’s the best wrestler in the world and has a million ways to beat him. Great mic work by both men, I would show this to anyone who still likes to accuse Danielson of having no charisma.

Brent Albright (with Shane Hagadorn) vs. El Generico
This match is tying up an unfinished rivalry between the Hangm3n and Generico. They go through the usual opening match maneuvers, with Albright getting monkey flipped and dumped to ringside. Generico signals a top rope splash, but Albright pulls him out by the feet and swings him into the guard rail! AWESOME! Albright directs traffic to the ring and focuses on Generico’s back. Generico fights back with a drop-kick and corners Albright with chops and punches. Generico uses a rope assisted swinging DDT to make Albright retreat to ringside. Generico connects with a top rope dive. Generico even remembers to sell his back, which is just neat. Generico focuses on Albright’s head. Split legged moonsault by Generico gets a cover for 2. Albright blocks a heel kick and hit’s a nasty wheelbarrow suplex. Albright continues the assault on Generico’s back. The crowd chants “Jim Belushi” at Albright, which is pretty hilarious. Albright takes his frustrations out on Generico, pummeling him to ringside. Generico is tossed into the barricade, then Albright removes the padding and hit’s a suplex! Albright follows up by lifting Generico and driving him back-first into the ring post. Back to the ring and Albright gets a 2 count with a cover. Backbreaker and stretch by Albright, and Generico could be screwed. Generico saves himself with knees to the head. Hard Irish whip by Albright. Albright and Generico counter each other, with Generico finally hitting the Yakuza kick! Albright falls to the floor and is then victim to a moonsault off the ropes by Generico. Back to the ring, Generico connects with a top rope splash and gets a cover for 2.5. A slug fest erupts. Generico drives Albright to the mat for another close fall. Back breaker and power slam by Albright still isn’t enough to put Generico away. Albright catches Generico in a cross body attempt and hit’s a swinging back breaker! That STILL isn’t enough for the win! Albrights sets up a superplex, but it’s blocked. Generico counters with a sunset flip off the top and gets a cover for 2.5! Albright bounces back with a release German suplex, but gets nailed with another Yakuza kick. Albright blocks the brain buster and hit’s a half nelson suplex. Albright follows up with repeated knee strikes to the head and the referee calls for the bell at 13:01. I’d read that this match didn’t click, but I think those people were confused by the story driven portion of the match. Awesome match that made both men look like gold, ***½.
Winner: Brent Albright

The Larry Sweeney Show
Sweeney and Bobby Dempsey come to the ring for what appears to be Sweeney’s version of Piper’s Pit. The crowd annoys Sweeney wit h the “Bobby Dempsey” chants, and slaps him for the insult. Sweeney states that he’s the “best looking guy in a room full of guys. Not too many dates out there.” That is gold. I’ve noticed that the New York shows are low on female turnout, but there are usually a good number of women at the Boston events. Sweeney brings up that it’s Dempsey’s birthday, which prompts a “Happy birthday” chant. Sweeney’s guest turns out to be the returning Allison Danger, who we haven’t seen since the previous April, when Christopher Daniels quit the promotion. Danger is looking good too, I might add. They make the mistake of letting her talk though. Sweeney then accuses Danger of being a slut. Danger stands up for herself and takes credit for ROH’s women division. Danger turns to leave, and Sweeney cheap shots her with the microphone. Then comes the moment of controversy, as Sweeney tells Dempsey that “This is his moment” and it’s his chance to “become a man!” Sweeney encourages Dempsey to take advantage of the knocked out Danger, but he doesn’t want to. This is incredibly uncomfortable and crowd is giving Sweeney some legit heat. Sweeney throws Dempsey on Danger and forces him down with his foot. Sweeney announces his hostile takeover of ROH. In a nice touch, they run some credits. This segment drew some hardcore controversy on the internet and was almost cut from the DVD, but I’m glad they didn’t. It was tasteless, but they had to do something about all that face heat Sweeney was getting.

Joey Matthews vs. Kevin Steen
Steen makes fun of Matthews MNM “point and click” mannerism. Just for the record, Matthews is weating a black version of the coat he wore in the WWE as part of MNM. Matthews shakes hands with the referee and is reluctant to shake Steen’s. Matthews cheap shots Steen and gets a chop for good measure. They exchange slaps across the face. Dragon screw leg takedown by Steen, but Matthews uses the ropes to block the sharp shooter. Steen tries again but gets kicked off. Matthews blocks Steen with referee Todd Sinclair and shoves Steen to the floor. Matthews drives Steen into the guard rail. Matthews directs Steen to the ring for some clotheslines. Matthews attempts some covers, more so for mind games. Steen no sells Matthews’ punches and fires back with knife edge chops. Steen whips Matthews and runs into his boot. Some of the fans voice their boredom with the match as they block suplex attempts on the apron. Swinging Neckbreaker by Matthews gets a cover for 2. Matthews then works perhaps the longest chinlock spot I’ve ever seen in a ROH match that didn’t go 60 minutes. Matthews targets the eyes, but Steen gets to his feet to free himself. Steen fights back with a power bomb! They counter each other until Steen drops Matthews on his knee. Matthews blocks the package piledriver with a back body drop. Steen rolls through the body drop and attempts the sharp shooter. Matthews keeps trying to butterfly Steen’s arms, but Steen blocks and targets the hamstrings with some hard kicks. Steen blocks the enziguri and goes high risk. Matthews blocks the swanton bomb! Matthews hit’s a double arm DDT and gets a closer for 2.5. Steen rebounds with a super kick and goes high risk again. Matthews trips Steen on top. Matthews climbs up, but almost gets caught with a package piledriver. Steen rolls through the head scissors takedown off the top and locks in the sharp shooter! Matthews has no choice but to tap out at 11:08. Another really solid match that picked up in the second half, **¾. Anyone who still thinks that ROH is all about spot monkeys should put this show on.
Winner: Kevin Steen

-After the match, Matthews refuses to shake hands. Steen mocks Matthews with an over the top faux hissy fit. Steen blows kisses to some hecklers in the crowd and continues to be very amusing.

-Ring of Honor continues to make the mistake of giving Daizee Haze promo time backstage. She talks smack to Sara Del Rey. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but talking really isn’t one of the talented Haze’s strengths.

Go Shiozaki vs. Austin Aries
The crowd is hot for Shiozaki, who is making his NYC debut. I laugh as Aries totally blows off a fan who sticks his hand out for a slap during his entrance. That guy must’ve missed the memo that Aries was teasing a heel turn. The crowd entertains itself with dueling chants during a slow feeling out segment. The match restarts after some interesting chain wrestling. Greco-Roman knuckle lock transitions into an innovative stretch of counter wrestling. Aries traps Go’s head between his legs (wow, that sounds bad) but Aries breaks the hold willingly to avoid being chopped. Aries hits some over-hand chops and uses his speed to dodge Go’s offense, until running right into a NASTY chop. A single fan attempts a “Go’s going to kill you” chant, which suffers a hilarious death. Go continues to dominate with a head lock, but Aries targets the legs to escape. Aries targets the head, but Go no-sells the shots. Go shakes off some chops and destroys Aries’ chest with a razor sharp knife edge chop. Aries dodges a chop and fireman’s carries Go to the floor. Aries hit’s an elbow shot off the apron and drives Go back-first into the steel barricade. Aries seats Go at ringside and hit’s a running knee shot to the chest. Aries continues the nasty offense with a side Russian legsweep into the ring post! Aries hangs Go up on the apron for a knee drop off the apron! Aries directs traffic to the ring for a cover for 2. Aries targets the back and chest with stiff offense. Go rebounds with a drop toe hold into the ropes. Go leaps to the floor for a chop. Shoulder tackle off the top rope by Shiozaki. Hard chop and elbow blow gets Go a cover for 2. Chinlock by Go.

Aries frees himself from the chinlock only to find himself caught in a sleeper. Go breaks the hold for a series of hard chops to the chest and gets another cover for 2. Aries is hung up in a tree of woe, which makes it easier for chopping. Go charges, but Aries catches him for a chin breaker counter! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tree of woe blocked like that! Shiozaki retains control with knee strikes, and attempts a suplex on the outside apron. Aries counters and hit’s a belly to back suplex off the apron, to which Shiozaki awkwardly bounces off the side of the ring and hit’s the floor with a sickening thud! Aries follows up with a slick suicide dive, driving Shiozaki into the barricade! Aries slides Go into the ring and goes high risk with a missile drop-kick! That’s only enough for a cover for 2. They exchange forearm chops, but the shots become stiff. German suplex by Go bridges for a cover for only 2 again. Super kick and LAAAARIAT by Go only gets a cover for 2.5! Aries runs into a boot, but hit’s a series of drop-kicks on the cornered Shiozaki! Superplex attempt by Aries is blocked with a swinging slam off the top by Go! Shiozaki goes for the cover, but Aries gets the rope break. Moonsault by Go misses, and he finds himself trapped in the Horns of Aries! This would have been a believable finish, but Go gets the ropes. Aries goes high risk, but Go climbs up only to get knocked down. Aries soon gets caught in the orange crush for a cover for 2.5! Aries ducks a lariat, but Go is successful with a second try. Belly to back suplex Aries, followed with a combination of strikes. Brainbuster suplex by Aries gets 2. Horns of Aries again, but it transitions into a head lock/knee strikes combination. Aries tries to block a suplex with knee strikes, but Go hits it anyway! Close cover for 2.5 by Shiozaki! Crucifix bomb by Aries and the brain buster! Aries hit’s the 450 splash for the definitive win at 20:03! Hell of a match, as they didn’t hold back. Aries is on a roll with his in ring performances, ****.
Winner: Austin Aries

-Shiozaki leaves Aries to celebrate in the ring, but the lights go out. Jimmy Jacobs appears in the balcony with a microphone. The crowd hilariously chants “jump” at him. Jacobs has noticed the change in Aries’ attitude and attempts to recruit him into the Age of the Fall. Tyler Black appears on the opposite balcony and continues the recruitment. Lacey appears and makes it clear that they want him. They are interrupted by Tammy Sytch. She hits on Aries and offers her services. Aries says he’ll think about it and leaves. Lacey calls out Tammy, calling her a “filthy whore.” I have a hard time finding fault with Lacey’s side in this feud.

-INTERMISSION TIME! Rebecca Bayless is standing by with Rocky Romero and Roderick Strong of the No Remorse Corp. Bayless asks for their thoughts, but Strong shrugs her off. They’re interrupted by Davey Richards, who was off getting Strong’s FIP title belt cleaned for him. Richards then realizes he left his tag team belt at the hotel and panics. Romero and Richards talk crap to the Vulture Squad, who’s challenging them for the titles, and if the Squad loses than Jigsaw must remove his mask. Romero lends his tag belt to Richards, and they plan to party after the show.

SHIMMER Championship:
Sara Del Rey © vs. Daizee Haze

Daizee tries to use her speed to keep Sara off her game in the early going. Daizee takes down Sara and locks in a side headlock. Sara escapes, but Daizee gets the hold again. Sara shoves her off, but Daizee gets a side headlock takedown. Sara rolls into a pinning predicament and applies a head scissors. Daizee reverses into a pinning predicament, but Sara powers out. Head scissors takedown by Daizee. Daizee hits another head scissors takedown (off the top). Daizee goes high risk one too many times, as Sara grabs Daizee and slams her to the mat. Kick to the face by Del Rey gets a cover for 1. Power slam by Sara gets a cover for 2. Figure four head scissors by Del Rey. Daizee tries to wiggle to freedom, but Del Rey maintains the hold. Sara methodically beats down Daizee, utilizing the ropes in the process. Sara misses a corner kick and finds herself dumped to the floor. Daizee hit’s a flying cross body off the top to the floor! The action returns to the ring where Daizee hit’s a series of forearm shots. Sara reverses an Irish whip, and Daizee slips on the turnbuckles. Sara attempts a superplex, but gets pushed off. Missile drop-kick by The Haze! Sara blocks a suplex, but gets kicked into the corner. Sara blocks a monkey flip, but Daizee improvises with a face plant! Sara blocks another suplex, but Daizee manages to roll her up for a cover for 2.5. Heart punch by Haze and a German suplex almost gives Daizee the win! Sara blocks the Mind Trip, but Daizee gets a backslide pin for 2. Ax kick, Royal Butterfly, and power slam sequence gives the win to Sara at 8:31! Sara was absolutely dominating with that finish! Absolutely solid match, hindered only by a few sloppy moments from Daizee, **½.
Winner and still SHIMMER Champion: Sara Del Rey

ROH Tag Team Championship:
Davey Richards and Rocky Romero © vs. Ruckus and Jigsaw (with Julius Smokes and Mercedes Martinez)

As mentioned earlier, if the Vulture Squad fails to win this match, Smokes will force Jigsaw to remove his mask. Richards kicks the match off for his team against Jigsaw. They exchange moves and counter each other as you see in the opening moments in a lot of indy matches. Ruckus and Romero enter the match (and are allowed to do so without tags for some reason) and have a fun little spot sequence. The highlight is when Romero is caught in the ropes and Ruckus drop-kicks him. Romero is knocked to the floor, and Richards prevents a Jigsaw splash. The distraction allows Romero to hit a springboard missile drop-kick on the masked wonder. Richards continues the assault on Jigsaw, dropping him chest-first onto the guard rail. I guess tags count now, as Jigsaw becomes the established face in peril for a heat segment. Romero is impatient to see Jigsaw’s face as he tries to remove the mask. The NRC keep the tags coming, as Jigsaw is planted in a tree of woe. The referee misses Richards slapping Jigsaw in the groin. Richards sets up Jigsaw for a springboard knee strike by Romero. Romero argues with the referee, giving Jigsaw the chance for a quick roll-up. Richards tags and continues to keep Jigsaw isolated. Jigsaw dumps both NRC members to the floor and tags Ruckus. Ruckus wipes Romero and Richards out at ringside with an over the ropes splash. Ruckus flips around the ring to show off as he dominates Richards. Ruckus rolls Richards into position for a sit-out power bomb by Jigsaw. Ruckus hit’s a standing SSP and gets a cover for 2. Romero tags and does a bit better against Ruckus. Jigsaw tags and hit’s a top rope head scissors takedown on Romero. Jigsaw is soon tossed to the floor, as the NRC double team Ruckus with an off the ropes DDT! Jigsaw saves Ruckus from taking a pinfall, and there is no semblance of any rules enforcement. The NRC attempt to double team Jigsaw, but it’s blocked, leaving Romero in a tree of woe. Ruckus goes coast to coast with a drop-kick to the face of Rocky Romero! Romero recovers quickly, but gets hit with a Neckbreaker by Ruckus. Jigsaw and Richards tag, with Richards aggressively chopping and head butting the masked warrior. Richards is too fast for his own good and runs into a super kick! Jigsaw hits another super kick and goes high risk with a double stomp! Richards barely managed to kick out! Jigsaw hit’s the Jig n’ Tonic, but Romero makes the save. Ruckus jumps Romero, but gets pushed crashing off the top rope to the barricade. Romero and Jigsaw chop it out, but Jigsaw ends up hitting a big boot. Jigsaw attempts a suicide dive, but Romero kicks him across the chest. Jigsaw gets a painfully close near fall on Richards, but gets power bombed. Jigsaw somehow manages to kick out. Liger bomb by Richards is enough to put Jigsaw away at 11:15. This was mindless fun, ***.
Winners and still ROH Tag Team Champions: Rocky Romero and Davey Richards

-The Vulture Squad quickly exit the building. Jigsaw would end up being unmasked in the next video wire. The NRC celebrate their win, when Kevin Steen and El Generico suddenly appear in the crowd with a microphone. Steen reminisces back to Respect is Earned, when they challenged the Briscoes to a fight and a wild brawl erupted. Steen asks for history to repeat itself. Richards calls Steen “tons of fun” and reminds them that he and Romero are not the Briscoes. Richards calls Steen “fat boy” and accepts their challenge to a fight. Or so we think. Steen and Generico rush the ring, and the NRC scurry to safety. Romero laughs it up on the microphone, prompting Steen and Generico to chase them to the back. My hat goes off to Davey Richards, who’s learned how to talk.

FIP World Championship:
Roderick Strong © vs. Necro Butcher (with Lacey) vs. Erick Stevens

There are no disqualifications or count-outs in this match. Necro Butcher comes to the ring with a chair and hits himself with it repeatedly. I cringe when I stop to consider how many concussions Necro Butcher has undoubtedly suffered in his career. (editor's note: cry me a river. I've had 18!) Stevens jumps Strong during his entrance and they brawl. This is just days after Strong defeated Stevens for the FIP title by knocking him out. Stevens and Strong exchange chops. Necro jumps Stevens and tries to suffocate him with a plastic bag! Dat’s not cool. Necro directs Stevens to the ring and targets the face. Necro hit’s a side slam on Stevens onto a chair. Strong rejoins the match, lifting up Necro’s shirt for some chops. Strong suplexes Necro onto the chair (and then tosses it to the floor). Stevens is up and exchanges chops with Strong. The action spills to ringside, where Stevens drives Strong into the barricade and clotheslines him. Necro flips off the apron onto Stevens! Necro tears the metal ROH sign off the barricade and drops it on Stevens! Necro suplexes the steel onto Stevens, but then walks into an unprotected chair shot from Strong! Stevens tackles Strong into the barricade and they resume their wild brawl. Stevens sits Strong onto the barricade, but Necro jumps him before anything can come of it. Necro whips some chairs into the ring and finds the ring bell. Necro drives the bell into Erick Stevens and celebrates by ringing it! Stevens recovers for a suplex on Necro to the floor. Strong jumps Stevens, and chops the life out of him. Strong attempts a Gibson driver (on the floor) to Necro, but Necro blocks by head butting the crotch! Necro lifts Strong up by the crotch and leaves him for dead. Necro slides a chair across the ring into Stevens, and another into Strong, as they try to enter the ring. Strong finally catches Necro with a chop and strangely places Stevens in the ring with him. Necro is up and has set all three chairs side by side in the ring. Necro throws a chair into the gut of Erick Stevens! Bulldog onto the chair by Necro, but the cover is broken by Strong. Necro and Strong exchange forearm shots and chops. Strong grabs Necro by the beard and stomps on his bare feet! Strong slams Necro into a standing chair, but Stevens breaks up the cover. Stevens and Strong exchange chops. Necro hit’s a series of shots to Strong, eventually dropping him with an uppercut. Strong nails Necro in the head with a chair. Stevens hits an over head release German suplex on Strong, which sends a chair flying over the ropes (almost hitting Lacey). All three men are down!

The crowd chants “FIP” as all three men get back to their feet for a chop-fest. Stevens slams Strong and Necro’s heads together, which Necro no-sells. Necro fights both men off and chair slams Stevens. Stevens gets up a little too quickly from that nasty slam and exchanges chops with Necro. Necro punches Stevens square in the face. Stevens reverses an Irish whip and hit’s a back body drop. Stevens lariats Necro (and himself) out of the ring. Strong dives over the ropes onto both men on floor! Hard Irish whip into the barricade on Stevens by Strong. Strong pulls up some of the protective mats, but gets caught by Stevens, who slams him down hard. Necro wanders over with a chair and hits Stevens in the head (right where he’d been busted open by Strong the previous weekend). Necro has the steel sign in the ring and places it on Stevens for a senton. Necro gets a cover for 2.5. Stevens reverses an Irish whip and hit’s a corner splash. Necro suffers a chair shot to the gut, and Stevens follows up with a running chair shot to the face. Necro grabs a chair and throws it at Stevens’ knees. Necro hit’s a DVD on Stevens onto an open chair! Strong prevents a pinfall and throws a chair across Necro’s back. Strong places a chair and hit’s a half nelson back breaker onto the chair! Strong pulls Necro onto the table at ringside and hits some sort of botched Gibson driver, that managed to look cool anyway. Strong drags Necro into the ring for a real Gibson driver and picks up the win at 16:13! This match had all sorts of awesome, crazy action, that was hurt by a few mess ups late in the match, ***¾.
Winner and still FIP World Champion: Roderick Strong

-Some students help Erick Stevens to the back. Necro is left in the ring, where he’s greeted with a “Thank you, Necro” chant. Lacey tells the crowd to shut up. I’m glad someone remembers that we’re not supposed to like the Age of the Fall.

-We get a nice video package highlighting the significant moments in the six year history of Ring of Honor. We see a lot of big moments since the last anniversary, including Takeshi Morishima winning the World title, Samoa Joe and Colt Cabana saying goodbye, Christopher Daniels shoving Allison Danger, ROH‘s debut in Japan, the Jimmy Jacobs/Lacey saga, the Danielson‘s many rivalries, the return of Austin Aries, the Briscoes winning the tag titles, and Nigel winning and defending the World title.

ROH World Championship:
Nigel McGuinness © vs. Bryan Danielson

This crowd is solidly behind Danielson for this one. Nigel had heat on him for backing out of a big title defense at Final Battle due to injury (an injury which took place entertaining this same NYC crowd, I might add) and Nigel has used this resentment to fuel a pretty spectacular heel turn. The bell rings and they don’t waste any time exchanging wrist locks. Danielson breaks the hold and drop-kicks Nigel’s knee. Greco-Roman knuckle lock leads to Nigel kicking Danielson’s arms away. Danielson counters and stretches the legs. Danielson takes his time setting up a bow and arrow, and I’m annoyed to see Nigel making no effort whatsoever for the easy rope break. Danielson tries to force the shoulders down, but transitions into a Japanese strangle hold. Nigel counters by whipping Danielson over his shoulder and applies a strangle hold of his own. Danielson ducks a lariat attempt and the match restarts. Nigel hit’s a shoulder tackle and a side headlock takedown. Danielson counters into a head scissors. Danielson traps Nigel’s head in his legs and stretches the leg, transitioning into a half Boston crab until a rope break. The match restarts again, this time with Nigel in control with some European uppercuts. Danielson reverses a whip, Nigel head stands in the corner, and Danielson drop-kicks him to the floor. Suicide dive by Danielson connects. Nigel rolls back to the ring as Danielson goes high risk, connecting with a missile drop-kick. Danielson blocks a suplex and hit’s a belly to back suplex of his own. Nigel’s head hit the mat hard, so he teases to follow up on his promise from earlier to leave. Nigel argues with referee Paul Turner over the attack to his head and when things don’t go his way he slugs Turner out. Turner disqualifies Nigel, and the match appears to be over. Nigel takes a mic and says “There’s your world title match” and then makes his way out…

… however, Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Delirious, and Kevin Steen appear on the stage. They aren’t letting Nigel go anywhere! Nigel rolls back into the ring, where Danielson has been waiting for him. The match is ordered to continue, as referee Todd Sinclair shows up. Nigel is furious aggressively drives Danielson shoulder-first into the turnbuckles. A “fuck you, Nigel” chant breaks out, as Nigel works over the arm and kicks Danielson’s leg out from under him. Nigel wipes his arm across Danielson’s face while yelling at the fans. Danielson gets to his feet, but Nigel kicks him back down and chokes him with his boot. Running European uppercut to the corner by Nigel. Nigel continues to destroy Danielson’s arm, slamming it into the ring post, all the while taking time to mock the crowd’s “USA” chants. The assault on Danielson’s arm and then shoulders continues. Danielson eventually blocks an uppercut and hit’s a big kick! Danielson is on fire, driving his knee into Nigel’s gut. Nigel is kicked off the apron to ringside. Nigel blocks a suplex over the ropes by suplexing Danielson to the floor! Running European uppercut by Nigel sends Danielson crashing back into the barricade. Danielson reverses a whip, and Nigel hit’s the barricade hard. Nigel attempts a lariat, and Danielson back-drops him into the crowd! Danielson hit’s a springboard dive onto Nigel in the crowd!

Danielson had a clean landing and high fives a fan to celebrate. Danielson dumps Nigel into the ring and goes high risk again. Nigel blocks the flying Danielson, but gets locked in a triangle choke! Nigel escapes and hit’s a LAAAARIAT! This prompts a “same old shit” chant from those ever so witty fans. Nigel is slow to make a cover and only gets 2. Nigel plants Danielson on the top rope for the Tower of London, but it’s blocked. Danielson body scissors Nigel over the ropes to ringside. Danielson attempts a suicide dive, Nigel blocks it with an uppercut and hit’s the Tower of London off the apron to the floor! Nigel’s eye has been busted open (the hard way, I’d assume). Nigel directs Danielson into the ring, but is again slow making his cover. Nigel steals Cattle Mutilation! Danielson rolls on top of Nigel for a cover for 2. Danielson ducks a lariat, attempts a knee strikes, but lands on the ropes! Nigel lariats Danielson off the ropes! Nigel hit’s the Tower of London again, but Danielson somehow kicks out! Nigel stretches the arm he had been working over earlier, and Danielson teases tapping before making it to the ropes. Nigel goes back to the arm lock, but Danielson counters into a quick roll-up for a painfully close near fall. Danielson ducks a lariat and hit’s the Chaos Theory German suplex! They exchange shots until Nigel hit’s a cheap shot to the throat. Danielson side steps Nigel and plants him on the top rope. Danielson attempts a belly to back superplex and connects! Danielson is too slow making the cover and only gets 2. Danielson applies Cattle Mutilation and this should be over! Nigel waves his arms frantically, but doesn’t tap. Danielson considers hitting the MMA shots, but remembers his vow not to attack the head. Instead, he repeatedly nails Nigel in the ribs and applies a hard arm bar! Nigel almost taps, but finds himself stuck in a triangle choke! I don’t remember the last time I saw this many false submission finishers in a match. Much to the crowd’s anger, Nigel keeps surviving. Danielson uses a series of body shots, until he’s caught off guard with a hard head butt! Wait a minute, Nigel just used his head! That BASTARD! Nigel targets the previously injured eye of Danielson with a head-butt. Nigel is really heeling it up here! Nigel unleashes a hard lariat and uses Danielson’s elbows to the head trick! Nigel hits another shot to the eye for good measure and goes back to the arm lock. Danielson is declared knocked out, giving Nigel the win at 31:40! This was an amazing heel performance by Nigel, as he completely took advantage of Danielson’s honor. ****½.
Winner and still ROH World Champion: Nigel McGuinness

Final Thoughts: Aside from celebrating the anniversary of the company, this show was all about getting Nigel’s main event heel character off the ground and they succeeded with flying colors. A wonderful story-driven match capped off a show full of good to great matches. When the worst match of the night is a mere **½, we have an easy recommendation on our hands.

Big thumbs up.

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