It’s another trip to the past, as we continue wXw’s countdown of their best from 2005.

We’re moving a little earlier in 2005, as Andy Jackson runs through the match from May’s Full Force 3 – yep, it’s at the Turock in Essen once more. At this point, Hero was a bad guy, while Pain had a tombstone that turned into a submission in his arsenal – something Andy was a little excited about.

Alex Pain vs. Chris Hero
Hero gets into it with someone in the crowd before we start.

Pain keeps it simple early on as the pair trade wristlocks, before a toe hold from Pain (with some headbutting to the foot) seemed to hurt Pain more than it did Hero. A wristlock from Hero – who seemed to be still wearing his tracksuit jacket – tries to restrain Pain, but a Corning hold comes back as a counter before Hero went in for an armbar. Pain countered that with a side headlock takedown, which Hero couldn’t scoot free of, before he managed to get to his feet and shot Pain into the ropes. The resulting shoulder tackle was enough for Hero to take off his track jacket, but he couldn’t avoid running into some armdrags as Pain stayed on that arm.

Rolling with Hero to the mat as he tried to escape the hold, Pain keeps the armbar on, but eventually Hero broke free and began to put the boots to Pain. Smacking Pain’s arse sets up for a snapmare, but Pain hits a snap suplex… only for Hero to cut him off immediately with a low dropkick. A back senton from Hero crushes Pain, getting a delayed two-count before chops and a cravat took Pain into the ropes. Don Jakobi at ringside gets his licks in, punching Pain behind referee Tassilo Jung’s back, as Hero began to take the upper hand. A camel clutch torques Pain, but Hero relents and ends up running into some big boots before a running flip neckbreaker from Pain bought him some time.

Getting back to his feet, Pain chops Hero, then throws him with a back body drop, then scooped him up… but where Hero thought he was getting a tombstone, Pain instead hits a Gunnslinger for a two-count. Following up, Pain hits a springboard swandive headbutt for another two-count, before Hero escaped a tombstone and went for a backslide… only to mule kick Pain as the ref was distracted. Hero builds from there with an Alabama Slam for a very cocky two-count, before a forearm in the corner left Pain down for slingshot dropkick. The pair trade elbows from there, but Hero decks Pain with a rolling elbow before he took Pain into the ropes with a headbutt. More elbows send Hero sailing to the outside, with Pain following up with a moonsault to the floor.

However, Hero’s able to shrug that off and build back again, slamming Pain to the mat for a flying stomp that misses… allowing Pain to come back and finally land that side tombstone… then roll Hero into that submission, which was like a grounded full nelson. Except Don Jakobi’s again on the apron to distract, so Pain breaks the hold and goes to suplex him into the ring… only for Hero to chop Pain, then fling him with a release German suplex, before the flying stomp landed. After that, Hero Rolls the Dice on Pain, and that’s your lot! A cracking effort from Pain, who more than held his own against Hero – who needed those short cuts to scrape out the win.

Result: Chris Hero pinned Alex Pain in 22:04 (***½)