Philadelphia, PA – 7.15.2006
Cage of Death
Team ROH (Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce, Ace Steel, & A Mystery Partner) vs. Team CZW (Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb, & Mystery Partner)
I lieu of play by play, I’m going to recap the backstory of this feud.
Since Ring of Honor’s first show of 2006, they and Combat Zone Wrestling have been at war. It started out simple enough with Bryan Danielson defending the ROH title successfully against CZW stalwart Chris Hero. From there, things got wild and turned into a giant company vs. company battle. Throughout the months, CZW invaders would come to ROH shows looking to start fights and cause chaos. Eventually, sanctioned matches between the two sides occurred, mostly in ROH, though ROH wrestlers did make sporadic appearances on CZW shows during the time period.
While CZW had ROH’s number in the majority of the matches, one ROH star stood above the pack as the one guy who could handle and defeat CZW’s guys: Homicide. At the same time, Homicide was getting fed up with Ring of Honor feeling that they had done him wrong too many times. In June, referee Todd Sinclair stopped his ROH World title match with Bryan Danielson when he felt Homicide could not continue. Homicide saw that as a slight. He then would get a match with Nigel McGuinness for the Pure Championship where he got counted out (thanks to Nigel stalling and forcing Homicide to be far away from the ring). Those two events frustrated Homicide enough that he quit the company. This was a serious problem for ROH, because they knew they needed Homicide if they wanted to be successful in the Cage of Death match. Dave Prazak even flew out to Florida during an FIP weekend to ask Homicide what would convince him to come back to ROH. Homicide says he would consider returning if Jim Cornette (acting ROH commissioner) would grant him three wishes. The day of the show, Bryan Danielson ended up convincing Cornette to make him the fifth man on the ROH team since he A) has never lost to a CZW wrestler and B) is the ROH World champion. That explanation, along with there being no guarantee Homicide was around, is reason enough for Cornette to grant Danielson the fifth and final spot on team ROH.
Then comes the match itself. The Cage of Death works like War Games; the match starts with one member of each team. Every few minutes a member from one of the teams comes to join the match. ROH won the coin flip, so they will get a new team mate first. The match can only end when all members of both teams have entered the cage. The big question here is who the fifth CZW teammate is. Is it Homicide? If not, will we see him during the match?
Samoa Joe and Claudio Castagnoli start. Joe is able to whoop on Claudio for awhile and BJ Whitmer joins him. Chris Hero comes out to turn the tide in his and Claudio’s favor. Bryan Danielson enters next and tells Samoa Joe to go for the Muscle Buster on Hero. As he is doing so, Bryan clips Joe’s knee! Jim Cornette is flipping out as Danielson hits Joe’s knee with a chair. It turns out Danielson only wanted in this match so he could injure Joe. The reason he wanted to do this is because Joe has a shot at his ROH title in a few weeks. He does not care about the ROH vs. CZW feud. He only cares that he holds onto his title. Danielson leaves, and Joe is too injured to compete any further, so this leaves Whitmer alone with Hero, Claudio, and now Nate Webb.
Ace Steel, Adam Pearce, and Butcher join the fray. Then it’s time for Chris Hero to introduce CZW’s final teammate. Steel wipes him out with a trashcan, but Hero is able to recover and fight back to make the announcement. Hero decide to put aside his personal hatred for this man in order to get help for this match. The fifth teammate is none other than Eddie Kingston. Before I continue, I need to point out that I thought this was silly and a bad hiccup at the end of this feud. This feud was a Ring of Honor feud. CZW by and large ignored most of this feud (save for a few shows) and the issue was not at the crux of any of their major storylines. The Hero/Kingston feud was 100% CZW and many of the fans in attendance for this match seemingly had no clue who Kingston was. I know when I first watched this show I did not. Even if every fan knew who Kingston was, introducing him into the feud at the very end is just poor planning.
At this point, the match was 5 on 3 with ROH looking totally hopeless. Just as Hero and Kingston begin to argue, Homicide’s music hits. He breaks a wooden board over Kingston’s head and hands out ghetto forks to all of his teammates. This is turning point in which the ROH team takes control. While CZW is able to get the upper hand again for a moment or two, the majority of the post-Homicide portion of the match is the ROH team standing tall. Everyone gets wiped out on the floor except for Homicide and Nate Webb. Homicide is able to hit the Cop Killa onto Webb through a barbed wire board to pick up the victory for Team ROH at 40:36.
It’s a shame the Danielson/Joe angle (which was so great) took place that early in the match, because it left a huge chunk of time where it was just the CZW team beating the crap out of Whitmer, Pearce and Steel. Once Homicide came in though things were groovy. This was an absolute, total war. These guys beat the living hell out of one another to fight for the side they firmly stood on. This not only was an incredible ending to the feud but helped set up a lot of what was to come in the future. If this match was not the all out war it ended up being, ROH fans would not revere the ROH/CZW feud as one of the best in the company’s history. If you have not seen this match, do so by all costs. This is easily one of my favorite Ring of Honor matches ever. ****1/4