Unlike other DVD Review posts on the internet, The Wrestling Times will not rate the matches from DVDs, especially those from house shows. To do so would be very egotistical on my part. Wrestling is all about getting pumped up or just having fun. So let’s have some fun with these DVD Reviews.
There have been thousands of feuds throughout the years of professional wrestling. Few iconic enough not only to withstand the test of time, but mark itself as the pinnacle of its decade. In the 50’s it was Buddy Rogers and Lou Thesz. Gorilla Monsoon and Bruno Sammartino in the 60’s. Jack Brisco and Dory Funk Jr in the 70’s. Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat in the 80’s. Then in 2004, in an up-and-coming independent promotion known as Ring of Honor, there was Samoa Joe and C.M. Punk.
ROH World Championship Match: [C] Samoa Joe vs. ROH Tag Team Champion C.M. Punk – World Title Classic in Dayton, Ohio – June 12, 2004
Before the match, Les Thatcher presented Samoa Joe with a new ROH World Championship belt. The belt received its “World” championship recognition after Joe defended the belt in London, England, Bad Schwalbach and Lennestadt, Germany. At this point, Samoa Joe reigned as ROH Champion for fourteen months, with none of his defenses going past the twenty-minute mark.
C.M. Punk, a tag team champion with Colt Cabana as The Second City Saints, outlasted the World Champion way past the twenty-minute mark in Dayton, Ohio. Sometime past Joe’s normal time, Punk dropped down to one knee and started mocking Joe’s signature taunts. This incensed Joe to drop Punk with a hard-hitting drop kick. Joe then continued to dominate the match with olé kicks, powerbombs transitioned into thigh-held single leg Boston crab, STF, or crossface. And whenever Punk appeared to trap Joe in the corner, the champion rushed him down with a sidewalk slam.
What made this match so great was the unbelievable arsenal of moves that these two competitors were dishing out. Punk covered Joe for plenty of near falls, with the Devil Lock DDT (hammerlock legsweep DDT), and the Pepsi Twist (Jumping hammerlock twisted into a short-range lariat) followed by a moonsault. This incredible match, which has to be seen to believe, resulted in a 60-minute time limit draw when neither Punk nor Joe could pin or cause the other to submit in the time limit.
As the crowd chanted five-more minutes, C.M. Punk acknowledged Joe as the reason why the ROH World Championship means so much, and why it is the most important belt in North America.
ROH World Championship Match: [C] Samoa Joe vs. C.M. Punk – Joe vs. Punk II in Chicago Ridge, Illinois – October 16, 2004
The rematch between Joe and Punk, aptly named Joe vs. Punk II, received a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It was the first match in North America to receive the five-star rating since the Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker in 1997.
Four months after the original, Joe vs. Punk II proved to be the Godfather II of wrestling rematches. The first match at World Title Classic was indeed a classic, but the sequel took place in Punk’s old stomping grounds in Chicago Ridge. Punk dared Joe in a prematch interview to try to pin or submit him in his hometown. Punk definitely brought the fight to Joe as he favored the side headlocks and the Anaconda Vice to tire out the champion, while Joe attempted to overpower Punk with devastating lariats, powerbombs, and thigh-held single (sometimes double) leg Boston crabs. Punk trapped Joe is several pinning predicaments that forced Joe to regroup outside of the ring, a first for the Samoan.
About forty-minutes into the match, the announcers, in respect of the competitors, decided to end the broadcast early in favor of letting the match speak for itself.
During the final moments of the match, much like when Shawn Michaels staggered to his knees to send one final slap across Undertaker’s face before he ended his career, C.M. Punk wildly pummeled Joe’s back with an array of punches, before Joe connected with a Muscle Buster. Regardless, Joe was unable to pin him in time resulting in another 60-minute time limit draw.
In a backstage interview, Punk affirmed that the next time they compete for the ROH World Title, he wants there to be no time limit because obviously they cannot be contained within 60-minutes. In a separate interview, Joe commended Punk for taking him to the limit, but Punk failed to get the job done in their rematch. Because the goal of the match, according to Joe, was to beat him, not to survive him.
ROH World Championship No-Time Limit Match: [C] Samoa Joe vs. C.M. Punk – All-Star Extravaganza 2 in Elizabeth, New Jersey – December 4, 2004
In the early going, Punk goads Joe to chop him across the chest. Provoking Joe after striking with a half-hearted chop, Punk used Joe’s momentum to go for a back slide. Then over balanced the Greco-Roman back drop with a hip toss into the Anaconda vice. Both men improved immensely, having studied the first two matches finding counters for the others’ moves, as evidence to Punk finding a counter to Joe’s sidewalk slam.
After backing Punk into the corner, Joe proceeded to insult his opponent with a series of open hand slaps. Offended, Punk slapped the taste out of Joe’s mouth followed by a series of forearms, causing Joe’s knees to buckle. Another first for Joe.
Enraged on possibly losing the title, Joe proceeded to Facewash Punk in the corner, attacking him repeatedly by rubbing the sole of his boot across his face. This was followed by a running big boot that lacerated the forehead of C.M. Punk, thus creating Joe’s golden opportunity to end the match, and limit Punk from going the hour.
Prior to the laceration, Punk was able to find counters but his blood loss caused him to walk into moves that he was able to counter earlier. Joe taking Punk to the outside drives him with an Olé Kick. Punk avoids a second attempt, but instead of going for a hurricanrana, as Joe is known to use the force of the swing to drive Punk’s body into the barricades, Punk opted for a missile drop kick sending the Samoan off his feet.
While back in the ring, Joe countered a powerbomb attempt from the top rope into a hurricanrana and followed through with a lariat. Punk still kicked out at two, forcing Joe to become more desperate.
Eventually locking in the rear naked choke, it appear Punk had passed out as he failed to lift his arm after three attempts. The referee called for the bell but Ricky Steamboat stopped the timekeeper after seeing Punk show signs of life.
They continued to fight with a winner finally being decided. As for who won the match, I implore you to watch these matches to find out.
After the match, Joe said the reason the ROH World Championship was the most important title in the world was because of wrestlers like Punk, who would do anything to take it. The importance of great challengers corresponds to Punk’s sentiment from the end of World Title Classic: the ROH World Championship is important because of champions like Joe.
And that’s the review on ROH presents: Samoa Joe vs. C.M. Punk Trilogy. If you enjoyed the rants please leave some feed back, and if you are interested in purchasing the DVD for yourself, it is currently available as a bonus disc to Allied Forces – Dayton, OH – 10/15/10 DVD. Follow this link: Allied Forces DVD.