Ring of Honor rolled into one of their biggest and most energetic markets on the circuits, the home of internet journalist and wrestling super-fan, Dr. Keith Lipinski, CHICAGO! This was the fourth event of the Fifth Year Festival and the last to take place on U.S. soil as ROH would be heading to the UK for the final to events of the series.
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brent Albright: Claudio Castagnoli was the first to hit the ring, yelling "shut the hell up!" at any fan who dared to shout "HEY!" in his face. He was up against the "Gun for Hire" Brent Albright, who Castagnoli immediately suspected was on the payroll of "Sweet & Sour" Larry Sweeney. Claudio tried to fight fire with fire by offering Albright double what Sweeney was paying him to go after Larry Sweeney himself! It didn't take long for Sweeney to make his way to the ring and admitted that he had put a contract out on the head of Double C. Sweeney reminded Albright that they had a contract and warned him not to breach the contract or risk legal action. Albright said he didn't like Sweeney's tone, but he is a man of his word and he will do his job but in the future, he (Albright) calls the shots. The match finally began and two of ROH's largest competitors fought valiantly until Larry Sweeney interfered and helped his "Hired Gun" secure victory ( 7 / 10 ).
MsChif & Serena Deeb vs. Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger: SHIMMER Women Athlete's took the stage as MsChif and OVW star Serena Deeb went up against Allison Danger and Sara Del Rey, collectively known as the Dangerous Angels. I don't know what she did, but Serena has somehow improved in the looks department, not that she was ugly before - she just looks better now (listen up, WWE). Whenever I see the combination of Danger and Del Rey I am struck by the fantasy of seeing them wrestle the Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyoi Tateno & Itsuki Yamazaki) of the 1980s. It was fairly obvious who was going to get pinned in this match. Serena was pinned by Del Rey after a Royal Butterfly Suplex ( 7 / 10 ).
They did a taped promo of Colt Cabana at his hotel looking out the window at the snow falling on his hometown. Cabana talked about the life lesson's he has learned from a lot of good people and said that Jimmy Jacobs was so emotionally wrecked. Cabana said he would have been happy to help Jacobs grow and become a better wrestler and a better person, but he made the decision to listen to Lacey instead. Cabana said whenever ROH comes to Chicago his friends and family come to see him wrestle but he doesn't care where they are he will finish Jimmy Jacobs off in their Windy City Death Match tonight. Be prepared for pain, be prepared to BLEED!
Four Corner Survival - Shingo vs. Trik Davis vs. C.J. Otis vs. Matt Cross: At the end of the previous DVD, Austin Aries was shown talking to a group of mystery wrestlers whom he considered prospects to join his new faction. At the beginning of this DVD the three wrestlers were revealed as Matt Cross, C.J. Otis, and Trik Davis. So basically those three guys were fighting for a spot in Austin Aries' new group. Shingo was the odd-man-out, so I falsely assumed he would win the match. However, it was the always impressive "Iron" Matt Cross (aka M-Dogg20) who walked away with the victory after a Shooting Star Leg-drop (which looked more like a Shooting Star Double-stomp to the FACE) on C.J. Otis ( 5 / 10 ). After the match, Matt Cross accepted Austin Aries' invitation to be his tag team partner later that night against the No Remorse Corps, who hit the ring and attacked both men, but were quickly eliminated by the Cross-Aries combination. Too make matters worse for the No Remorse Corps, Delirious jumped the rail and chased Roderick Strong (who was caught off guard and yelled "oh shit!") through the crowd.
Jimmy Rave vs. B.J. Whitmer: In wrestling, so often the art of the wrestling heel is totally lost, buried in the egotistical desire to be "cool." One of the many admirable factors that makes the Ring of Honor product so superior is that the heels are genuine heels who the fans genuinely LOVE to HATE. Jimmy Rave is a prime example of that; the fans love to boo and heckle him, and Rave gladly eggs them on by snubbing them or glaring at them. Both of these guys have been around ROH a long time and have not engaged in any kind of feud. It was a good ol' fashioned fight to a finish that ended somewhat anti-climatically with a Jimmy Rave scoring a cheap pinfall with his feet on the ropes for leverage ( 7.5 / 10 ). Jimmy Rave should have won with the Heel-hook submission.
ROH World Tag Team Titles - Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal w/Allison Danger vs. The Briscoe Brothers: Allison Danger has a long butt or a short skirt - either way she looks good from behind. Now that that's out of the way, the ROH World Tag Team titles were on the line against perhaps the greatest tag team in ROH history, Mark and Jay Briscoe. Daniels and Sydal were extremely successful at the last double-shot weekend with victories over two different top-notch tag teams, but on this night their luck finally ran out and the Briscoes captured their fourth ROH World Tag Team title ( 9 / 10 ). This was a really awesome match except Mark Briscoe kinda screwed up the finish when he lost his balance on the top rope - but who cares about that!
From one extreme to another, backstage interviewer Rebecca Bayless (who I believe brings nothing to the ROH product except and overwhelming appreciation for the fast forward button) interviewed Lacey and Jimmy Jacobs about the Windy City Death Match with Colt Cabana later. Lacey was all smiles when it came to Jimmy Jacobs doing her dirty work tonight and promised to make it "worth his while." Jimmy was eager to "kill" Cabana so he could cash in his reward and be with the love of his life.
Grudge Match - Austin Aries & Matt Cross vs. Roderick Strong & Davey Richards: Austin Aries is still building his yet to be named new faction, while the No Remorse Corps still has a lot of room to grow. Matt Cross was probably wondering what he has gotten himself into when he accepted the invitation to get involved in the bitter Aries-Strong feud. Cross performed a crazy spring-board dive to the outside and landed half on the guard rail and half in the front row. Austin Aries won the match inside the ring but some post-match footage revealed that Cross had suffered some nasty cuts on the back of his leg and on his back courtesy of the steel sheets used for the barricade. Ouch ( 8.5 / 10 )! Matt Cross was helped backstage by Austin Aries, where the No Remorse Corps attacked both of them and then callously power-bombed the bloodied and battered Cross on a flattened guard rail. Double Ouch! Delirious showed up again and chased Strong and Richards away from the scene once again.
Windy City Death Match - Colt Cabana vs. Jimmy Jacobs: It's scary to think of what could possibly happen before this match is all said and done. Considering the history between Jacobs/Lacey and Cabana, and their tendency to pull out all the stops in high profile grudge matches, it was obvious we were in for a brutal performance. Colt Cabana was literally carrying the flag for the city of Chicago as he made his entrance. It didn't take long for a barefoot Lacey to get involved in the match but thankfully Daizee Haze ran down and took Lacey out of the match and chased her through the curtain, leaving the two wrestlers to fight with no more distractions. Colt Cabana introduced a 10-foot ladder into the match. Jimmy Jacobs was the first to get busted open, with repeated elbows to the forehead by Cabana, who pulled out a pair of scissors out of his elbow pad! Jacobs tried to pull the railroad spike out of his boot, but couldn't find it. Cabana was two steps ahead of Jacobs, and had somehow taken possession of the spike already. Cabana used the Spike to further rip Jacobs' forehead apart. The brutality escalated from there, as Colt Cabana also ended up busted open and sporting a proverbial crimson mask. The flag of Chicago came into play and also became covered in blood, which caused the Chicago audience to growl out loud. "The Gun For Hire" Brent Albright made an appearance to help Jimmy Jacobs, but B.J. Whitmer came out to counter his interference. When the dust settled, Colt Cabana found a hammer under the ring and also grabbed the spike resulting in the more than appropriate "You Sick F*ck!" chant from the crowd. Cabana hammered the spike into Jacobs' head, which should have killed Jacobs, but hell, let's just expose pro-wrestling as fake. The match continued and both men, especially Cabana, lost a ton of blood. The barefoot Lacey returned and prevented Cabana from finishing Jacobs off and allowed Jacobs to jump off of a ladder out of the ring putting Cabana through a table on the floor - INSANE! Lacey was all smiles and extremely happy with what she had just seen, but the subsequent pinfall attempt was thwarted by Cabana's natural determination. Jacobs went for a spear through a table but Cabana avoided it, sending Jacobs through the table. Lacey jumped in trying to use her high heel as a weapon but Cabana took her out immediately. Cabana nailed Jacobs with a Colt 45, and then nailed Lacey with a Colt 45, and pinned both of them at the same time to put a bloody exclamation mark on one of the biggest feuds in ROH history ( 9.5 / 10 ).
Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuinness vs. Samoa Joe & Homicide: Pro Wrestling NOAH was represented by Nigel McGuinness and ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima in a match against ROH Legends Homicide and Samoa Joe, who was making his final ROH appearance in the United States. Joe's introduction turned very emotional as the fans showered him with the highest praise. Joe began to cry, but tried his best to keep his focus and badass mentality. When Joe's name was finally announced, he was given the full streamer treatment from the fans and he just about lost it. The match started good but the action didn't pick up until Samoa Joe tagged in with Takeshi Morishima already in the match. Samoa Joe actually hit a Muscle-buster on the larger Morishima. Nigel McGuinness hit Samoa Joe with a Lariat and pinned him in the middle of the ring, which didn't set well with the Chicago fan-base. Great match, but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know ( 8.5 / 10 ). After the match, Nigel McGuinness praised Samoa Joe for his contributions to Ring of Honor but used his victory over Joe as leverage to ask Takeshi Morishima for a shot at the ROH World title.
After the match, Samoa Joe gave perhaps the most heartfelt farewell speech since going on his "farewell tour." Joe stood in the middle of the ring, surrounded by the entire ROH roster, as the fans chanted "F*ck TNA!" and "ROH! ROH!" Joe said that the ROH fans have just as much passion as the ROH wrestlers. Joe thanked the fans for appreciating the wrestlers who perform in an ROH ring. The fans chanted "Please Don't Go!" as Joe talked about his five years in Ring of Honor and how everybody in the company wanted to be the very best. Joe's speech was a great way to say good-bye to the promotion that helped make him the superstar that he is today.
Final Thoughts: This was a fantastic show with a lot of great matches. Ring of Honor definitely gives pro-wrestling fans a good show every time. If ROH ever comes to your town be sure to go and check it out live. Joe will be missed but ROH has proven many times that they will always find a way to survive.
If you would like to purchase this or any other ROH DVD, please check out ROHwrestling.com ---- if you need some convincing, you can check out streaming video of various ROH matches for free at www.ROHVideos.com