Bryan Danielson vs. Jay Briscoe - 6
It's funny looking back at these two guys when they were just midcarders, considering how big both of these guys are now. Match started with some really solid chain wrestling. Both guys worked really snug in their holds - this shouldn't come as a surprise with Danielson. Danielson's European uppercuts were just beautiful, but Jay hung in with them and fed Danielson some stiff shots of his own. Match got a standing ovation after the bell, which was well deserved -- just a really pure and great exhibition.
John Walters vs. Xavier (Fight without Honor) - 5
Match got started quickly outside of the ring. Xavier was bumping around like a monkey after downing a dozen energy drinks. The stiff knees by Xavier were really nice and snug. Something I was happy to see was after Xavier kneed Walters with the chair, he sold his own knees -- a nice touch... but then dropped the knee again and didn't sell it, but then hit Walters with a dropkick and sold the knee -- my head hurts. They introduced a ladder and draped it over the top rope. Walters hit a wheelbarrow slam which got a huge pop and a great sell by Xavier. Xavier's Arabian moonsault onto Walters lying on the ladder got the biggest pop of the night -- this has been a pretty spotty match. I would've liked to have seen more facial selling on the part of Walters, but he did take some sick bumps. There were just so many spots in this match. I understand it was a street fight, but it would've been nice to get a little downtime to build up to the spots instead of just spot after spot after spot (give me a break, I'm a psychology mark).
Matt Stryker vs. BJ Whitmer - 4
Gabe stated that BJ was wrestling with a 100 degree fever and bone chips in his elbow and Stryker was wrestling after dislocating his shoulder the night prior. That’s pretty awesome if that’s true. I like Stryker and would like to see more of him -- his selling and technical ability are really solid. BJ pretty sound in the ring, too, although I think that Stryker is the better of the two. Good knee psych by Stryker, noting that BJ had a knee brace on. Match had a real exhibition feel to it and was pretty good, although I think it went about five minutes too long.
Mark Briscoe vs.Samoa Joe - 7
Joe started beating the ever living shit out of Mark to start the match. Mark was a good punching bag for Joe in the beginning. He was super skinny back then. Mark was stiff with Joe, too, especially with his kicks and lariats. Great intensity show by Joe as always. It’s like once the fans start getting behind him, he gets more and more intense as the match elevates. It’s really cool to watch. One of the best sells I’ve seen by Mark came when Joe hit him with a headbutt -- Mark just collapsed and his whole body was shaking. It was quite the spectacle. Very good use of bringing the audience up and down between stiff shots and spots and submissions. During a choke hold by Joe, Mark seriously looked like he was losing consciousness -- great fucking selling. Great match.
CM Punk & Colt Cabana vs. Tomiaoki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto - 6
Wasn’t sure what to expect going into this match. One comedy wrestler, one straight edge superstar, one deathmatch legend, and one current AJPW star. Interesting. Liked seeing Honma and Punk tie up -- two of my favorites. Match had a weird, frenetic energy to it. A very unique feel that left me wondering what was going to happen next and where exactly this match was going. I really liked the chop exchange between Punk and Honma, too. Really loved Punk’s staggery leg selling. One of the sickest Pepsi-plunges I’ve ever seen when Honma landed right on his head~! DANGEROUUUUUS~!
AJ Styles vs. Kaz Hayashi - 6
Can you say ‘Dream Match’?! Great fucking chop/forearm sequence between these two. You have got to see the intensity in their faces during this. Loved how back and forth this was. Both guys got an equal amount of offense in. Hayashi’s transition between the crucifix pin and cross face was beautiful. Really nice suplexes on the part of Hayashi, too. AJ’s selling here was really good here as well. I really wished that the Whitmer/Stryker match would’ve been five minutes less and this would’ve been five more. It would’ve been great to have a nice sprint at the end.
Homicide vs. Satoshi Kojima - 5
Homicide looked really fired up for this match... as was I. I love these two. Koj is super-over with the Philly crowd. Koj’s facials in the chop sequence were really great -- brought a new definition to the term ‘grimace.’ Funny moment when Kojima was being warned by the ref for not breaking an illegal hold, saying, “I’m Japanese, Goddammit.” Moving on, Homicide is great because of his reckless abandon - his dives to the outside are so insane. A pretty fun match that saw Koj going over with a lariat.
Christopher Daniels & Dan Maff vs. The Great Muta & Arashi - 7
Final match of the night. Crowd is super hot for Muta. It was really cool to see Daniels and Muta tie it up -- not really a match I’ve ever thought about, but it would be awesome to see the two of them in a singles. Arashi just manhandled Maff and Daniels with his sumo style pummelings. Muta is just great because of the methodical way he picks apart his opponents -- this match was no different. I was laughing my ass off when Maff was freaking out on the apron as Muta went for the moonsault -- he was literally tying himself up in the ropes. Daniels tied up Muta in a really awesome Koji clutch - it just looked really beautiful. Great finishing sequence seeing Daniels miss the BME and Muta hitting a great Shining Wizard. Fun!
A really good event. I felt that the second half of the show was a bit more rushed than it should’ve been. I would’ve liked to have seen the Japanese matches go longer. Overall, a recommended ROH show.