RING OF HONOR IN LEXINGTON, MA RESULTS INCLUDING THREE TITLE CHANGES AND A BIG ANGLE WITH RICKY STEAMBOAT
by Mike Johnson
Ring of Honor debuted at the Lexington National Armory on Saturday 5/15, drawing about 500 fans for the promotion's third-ever "Round Robin Challenge." That crowd was a good turnout for the promotion considering they had a venue change and there has been much less of a buzz surrounding the company as of late.
The show featured the return of early ROH standout Spanky, the build to Homicide's 5/22 challenge of Samoa Joe for the ROH championship, three title changes, and in perhaps the most newsworthy event of the show, Ricky Steamboat becoming the most physically involved at a wrestling show to date since suffering his career ending back injury in 1994.
The complete results of the show saw:
*In the first Round Robin Challenge bout, Danny Maff & BJ Whitmer defeated CM Punk and Colt Cabana to win the ROH Tag Team championships after Whitmer hit Cabana with his finisher, an Exploder for the pin. Allison Danger looked smoking hot. Punk and Cabana tried to walk out of the match but Ricky Steamboat, who in storyline has some power to oversee matches, stopped them in the aisle and forced them back to the ring. Punk and Cabana attacked Steamboat in the ring after the match. They brought a table in (it broke when they tossed it in) and placed it in the corner, running him into it twice. They didn't get the reaction or visual they wanted, so a second table was brought in. Steamboat was placed on it. Punk went for a top rope legdrop, but as he jumped, the table collapsed. He still hit the move and put Steamboat through the rest of the table. The other officials hit the ring and Steamboat was helped out. They couldn't do anything to control the tables but their lack of assistance hindered the angle, which ROH management knew and wasn't happy with. The match was solid.
*Alex Shelley pinned Matt Stryker. The storyline is they are having a Best of Three Match series but Shelley, being arrogant, only signed for two matches because that's all he needs to win.
The Carnage Crew & Dunn and Marcos defeated Prince Nana & Josh Daniels & The Outkast Killahs.
*ROH champion Samoa Joe defeated the Havana Pitbulls' Ricky Reyes, who came out with Homicide and Julius Smokes. The storyline is Reyes turned off the lights at ROH's Minnesota event during Joe vs. Homicide to set up Homicide throwing a fireball. The Havana Pitbulls are the newest Rottweilers, a faction that was originally going to be Homicide's crew but stalled right out of the gate. Joe looked to be slowed considerably, possibly from his match the night before with Low Ki at USA Pro. They beat the crap out of each other, with Joe striking with a slap so hard the entire building winced. The crowd didn't seem to know who Reyes was, which makes sense since he's never worked in the Boston market.
*CM Punk and Colt Cabana came out to cut a promo, bragging about sending Ricky Steamboat to the hospital and declaring that they would defeat the Briscoes for the belts if they held them later in the night. In the second Round Robin Challenge bout, Mark and Jay Briscoe defeated Dan Maff and BJ Whitmer to win the ROH Tag Team championships when Mark cradled Maff from behind. Briscoes looked good. Mark mistimed a flip off the ropes and nearly killed himself crashing down on his head. That was scary.
*Josh Daniels pinned Special K's Dixie with a Fisherman's Buster. Angeldust was wearing a neck brace to sell his Scramble Cage II piledriver. Ox Baker showed up at ringside with Special K as well.
*Hometown boy John Walters defeated Trent Acid, Roderick Strong, Special K's Izzy, Special K's Hydro, and Masada in a "Six Man Mayhem Match" after pinning Izzy following a Top Rope Hurricane DDT. This was just an insane collection of spots and crazy moves. Walters really got over with the Boston crowd here. Everyone looked great here.
*Homicide pinned the returning Spanky with a lariat. At one point, Spanky hit Sliced Bread #2 on the floor. Spanky had the pin but Smokes pulled the referee out. What happened to the Code of Honor? The early portion of their bout was similar to their match in WORLD-1. Lots of two counts. Samoa Joe came out to confront Homicide and was laid out. Homicide declared that he was going to be the next ROH champion when they face off on 5/22. Good match.
*CM Punk and Colt Cabana defeated Jay and Mark Briscoe to regain the ROH Tag Team championships after Cabana pinned Mark Briscoe with a top rope frog splash. They did the "pull the referee out during the 2 count" bit here too, which seemed weird as it was done twice in a row on the same show. They continued to brawl after the finish with everyone doing dives. When Punk was left in the ring, Ricky Steamboat hit the ring and went nose to nose with Punk. They exchanged chops and Steamboat went to the top and hit his old finisher, the flying bodypress. The place went nuts, with the show ending with Steamboat's theme music playing as he saluted the fans. If Steamboat isn't going to have a return match, ROH has done a good job of sure making it seem like it's going to happen. This was a nice sendoff moment to close the show.
Notes: The Round Robin Challenge ended in a three-way tie with each team attaining one victory....They announced an August return to the Boston market featuring Doug Williams....Bobby Cruise worked as ring announcer as regular ROH announcer Stephen DeAngelis missed the show due to a family commitment....The heat and humidity in the building was insanely stifling.....The live crowd was into everything on the show....ROH returns to Philadelphia at the National Guard Armory with ROH champion Samoa Joe vs. Homicide and ROH Tag Team champions CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer with Ricky Steamboat as the special referee on 5/22.
ROH Round Robin Challenge III can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.