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Ring of Honor On-Site Report (8/9/2003)
Posted by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins on Aug 10, 2003, 23:37
Ring of Honor On-Site Report (8/9/2003)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Ring of Honor may be the best wrestling promotion in North America right now, and they continue to expand. They made their Ohio debut in Dayton's Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum this past Saturday night in front of one of their largest crowds ever, and once again, they gave the large crowd more than their money's worth.
Before the doors opened, a few people were getting an idea of how far people traveled to get there. The average seemed to be about four hours, but one guy behind us said he drove 17 hours from Vermont to go to the show.
The building itself was sweltering. Every fan in the place was on, and sweat was still dripping off of everybody's bodies. Add that to there being one concession stand that was taking 20-30 minutes to get to, and you're in for one uncomfortable evening.
The show starts about 10 minutes late in an attempt to get the entire crowd into the building, and the staff even sets up another row of chairs on each side to try to fit everybody in. Reports say 500-700 were in attendance, and I'd guess they were low-balling that figure (there's usually about 300 chairs on the floor, and they had bleachers on three sides that were nearly packed as well).
At 7:39, ring announcer Jeff Gorman comes down to the ring...and he takes the ring bell back to the entranceway.
Four Team Scramble Match with a 20 minute time limit: Fast Eddie and Don Juan vs. The Carnage Crew (Loc and Masada) vs. The SAT vs. Special K (Brian XL and Deranged)
Scrambles that open the show are usually meant to warm up the crowd, but this crowd did not need warming up at all. Plenty of eye-popping, jaw-dropping spots, with Deranged especially taking some sicks bumps before somehow pinning Loc with a huracanrana at 9:05 for a huge upset. Excellent opener that one fan said was worth the 20 bucks by itself.
Special K continues to celebrate, and out comes Jim Cornette. An "IWA" chant breaks out, in reference to IWA Mid-South, Ohio Valley Wrestling's main competition in Louisville. Cornette eventually has to return to the entranceway to grab the microphone. "It's nice of you to splurge on that extra ten feet of cord." Cornette then insults Special K and the match itself, saying that these fans came to see wrestling and instead "It was like eight guys stuck their necks in a blender and set it to puree." "I look at you, and I start having flashbacks from drugs I haven't even taken yet." Cornette says he's here to manage the best team in Ring of Honor music, and they play the Midnight Express theme...and out come Dunn and Marcos to try to recruit Cornette's services. "Dunn and Marcos. Didn't you guys have a disco hit back in the 70s?" But no, that's not who Cornette's here to manage...he's here to manage Christopher Daniels and Danny Maff, who take Dunn and Marcos to the ring and beat the hell out of them, finishing them off with a Midnight Express-like Rocket Launcher. Cornette gets a few shots in with the tennis racket (breaking it on the first shot) before Daniels officially announces Cornette as the newest member of the Prophecy.
One fall with a 20 minute time limit to determine the number one contender to the HWA Heavyweight Title: Chet "The Jet" Joblonski (w/Brock Guffman) vs. Nigel McGuinness
Interesting to note that McGuinness, who has been a heel everytime I've seen him, is actually a face for the HWA. This was originally going to be the winner of this one against Chad Collyer for the HWA Title, but Collyer had a Japan commitment. Before the match, Guffman admits he'd usually insult McGuinness here, but both of these guys busted their asses to make it to this show. A completely different match from the first one, as they stick to mostly mat wrestling for the duration of this one. McGuinness eventually gets the pin with a sitdown cradle at 6:43, and even though they're enemies in the HWA, Chet and Nigel uphold the Code of Honor by shaking hands and hugging after the contest.
One fall with a 20 minute time limit: "The Future" Chris Sabin vs. "The Notorious 187" Homicide (w/Julius Smokes)
About an hour outside of Cincinnati, and Homicide's allegedly a face, so Smokes comes to the ring wearing a Tim Couch jersey. What exactly is his purpose out there? Unless it's to act like a moron, then I'm lost. The crowd was pretty split on this one, and Homicide impresses me more and more every time I see him, as he seems to incorporate more and more moves into his moveset. Homicide wins with the Cop Killer in 9:05. Not bad, although I'd have rather seen Sabin go over.
One fall with a 30 minute time limit: Alex Shelley and Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Second City Saints
I think I'm missing something with Jacobs' gimmick. He wears furry boots and says "huss" like John Nord as The Berzerker, but while The Berzerker will forever be in Wrestlecrap lore, Jacobs had most of the crowd doing it. Funny moment during the prematch handshake, as Cabana puts his hand out and goes "Huss?" Jacobs goes "Huss" and shakes his hand, then Cabana looks back in our second and goes "What the hell is 'huss' anyway?" Formulaic tag team match with Shelley being the face-in-peril, although Jacobs cusses the referee out in English fir refusing to break up a double team. Jacobs eventually tags in and all four men are in the ring, and the finish comes when Cabana pins Shelley after the Saints' finisher, a power bomb/reverse neckbreaker combination, in 11:19.
One fall with a 30 minute time limit: Matt Stryker vs. Justin Credible
A huge "EC-DUB" chant for Credible to start, as Dayton was a huge ECW area, packing Hara Arena on more than one occasion. Credible shoots me a dirty look during the "Justin Asshole" chant though. Cool moment early: Lockup, Stryker pushes Credible back to the corner, and when the referee tries to break them up, Credible claps his hand together and sells a "punch to the face". An ECW-Style brawl early, as they break through the guardrail, then brawl throughout the crowd. Side story: One guy next to me had missed the entire Second City Saints match buying food and placed it on the floor just as they broke the guardrail...and his food got crushed during the ensuing brawl. That has to suck hard. They finally reenter the ring and have a good match at that point. Credible audibly calls the balls to the post spot. That's Incredible only gets 1 (prompting a small "What the fuck" chant from our section). Stryker sets up a Death Valley driver, Credible rolls it into a crucifix, but Stryker maintains his grip, rolls through, and hits the DVD for the pin. Good stuff once they got in the ring. Rob Feinstein comes out to check on Credible, who's holding his neck, but Credible gets up in order to follow the Code of Honor with a handshale and hug.
Intermission time, and the SAT and The Amazing Red are signing autographs, but out comes the Prophecy for a beatdown. They focus on Red's knee after they eliminate the SAT. They leave, with Daniels shouting "We'll see you tonight Red", and a guy behind me says "Do we still get our autographs?" AJ Styles comes out to help Red to the back.
Showtime again, and they've finally found a cordless microphone for them to take to the ring.
Four Corners Survival Match with a 30 minute time limit: Slyk Wagner Brown (w/April Hunter) vs. Hotstuff Hernandez vs. "The Black Nature Boy" Scoot Andrews vs. Michael Shane
I want to know exactly what Scoot Andrews did to piss off the guy behind me, as when a handful of people tried to start a "Welcome back" chant, this guy yells "Don't come back", then screams "I fucking hate you, Scoot!" Scoot's looking back like "What the hell did I do?" Early on, Andrews and Brown hop to the floor to make sure Shane doesn't tag out. The match is slow early, but eventually they take to the floor, with one of the guys beside me bearly getting kicked in the face by a flying wrestler (I think it was Shane). Me: "Are you alright?" Him: "Hell yeah, that was fucking cool." Brown follows, then the 280-pound Hotstuff does his own dive out to the floor. Back in the ring, and Shane gets the pin on Andrews with a fisherman DDT 16:33. Doesn't calling it a Survival Match imply elimination rules? Hotstuff violates the Code of Honor by going to the back before the postmatch handshakes.
One fall with a 30 minute time limit for an invitation into the Field of Honor: Slim J vs. Jimmy Rave
Jeff Gorman claims this match has a "three minute" time limit. Decent match, as there's some mat wrestling but a lot of higher flying moves. Slim J goes for about 7 or 8 covers in a one minute stretch in an attempt to put Rave away. Rave wins by countering a satellite headscissors into a crippler crossface for the submission win (as the crowd chants "tap tap tap") at 8:16.
Jeff Gorman announces that Red will be unable to wrestle due to the attack at intermission, but AJ Styles will find a replacement partner to defend the tag team titles tonight.
One fall with a 60 minute time limit for the ROH World Championship: BJ Whitmer vs. Samoa Joe (champion)
When Samoa Joe wrestles, you expect a hard hitting affair, and this was no different, as both men used a lot of stiff kicks and chops in addition to their usual offense. The problem is that Joe is only now growing on a lot of fans as ROH Champion, and this was met with people going "THIS is a World Title Match?" Joe gets the pin at 12:20 to retain by trapping Whitmer's arm against his body and hitting a German suplex.
One fall with a 60 minute time limit for the ROH Tag Team Championship: "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels and Danny Maff (w/Allison Danger and Jim Cornette) vs. AJ Styles (champion) and ???
The Prophecy walk around the ring during their entrance. Cornette walks in front of me, and I flash him the Prophecy hand signal...and Cornette returns it and adds the Larry Zbyszko greeting thing. Jim fucking Cornette, one of the top five managers ever, acknowledged me! That is a markout moment! Styles comes to the ring by himself, and a few people start chanting for Low-Ki...but they get Homicide for a second appearance. Overheard: "I drove all the way here to see fucking Red wrestle, and not only do I not get that, but I have to see this guy again!" Ouch. Homicide winds up being face-in-peril, and a "We want Red" chant starts in our section. Styles looks over and says "His knee's hurt," and I said, "I know, but this is the best partner you can find?" Hey, I like Homicide, but he's already gone over once tonight. Pop of the match: Julius Smokes gets taken out by Homicide's suicide dive onto Maff. The finish comes after a ref bump (in ROH?). Cornette tosses the racket to Daniels, but overthrows it. The delay is enough for Styles to avoid a racket shot and take Daniels down with a Styles Clash onto the racket for the pin at 18:20. Solid main event, but if Red's hurt anyway, why not switch the titles? On top of that, Homicide was in the ring a good 12 minutes during this match and with no Red, this crowd was clamoring for AJ to work the bulk of the match, particularly with Homicide already wrestling once at that point.
Postmatch, Cornette shakes Homicide's hand, then shakes Styles' hand saying "You won. His fault (pointing at Daniels)." Daniels is all "Oh no you didn't" and they argue, with Daniels saying "You should have been there for me" and Cornette saying "I'm tired of the bullshit." Cornette then gets beats up by the Prophecy until Amazing Red and Samoa Joe make the save. Joe hands Cornette a microphone, and some fans chant "IWA"...and the entire crowd turns on them and drowns them out with an insanely loud ROH chant. Cornette then admits he was wrong...it's not about the Prophecy, it's about ROH. They gave everything they had, and the crowd responded in kind, so give yourselves a hand.
One hell of a show ends at 10:43. No return date announced, but how they can stay out of Dayton for long will be beyond me.
Holy shit, man. Who the hell knows if this will come off as well on tape as it did live, but live it was probably the best of the three ROH shows I've been to. That's without Red, without Low-Ki, and with two Homicide matches. Buy this tape when it becomes available!
I'll be back Thursday for SmackDown. Until then, send me some feedback.