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The Dames' Diatribe on Ring of Honor: The Era Of Honor Begins
Posted by The Dames on Nov 4, 2002, 07:31
Ring of Honor: The Era Of Honor Begins 2/23/02
Ring Of Honor.
In the past 8-10 months, this new promotion has gained notoriety quicker than any independent federation since ECW (aside from the nationally televised NWA-TNA). Attempting to fill the void left by ECW as well as provide wrestling fans with an alternative to WWE, RF Video owner Rob Feinstein created the Ring of Honor promotion which debuted in February 2002. Utilizing the top independent wrestling talent in the country, Ring of Honor is a promotion which stresses wrestling skill and talent instead of storylines, T&A and the antics we’ve all become accustomed to on Monday nights.
The buzz on this promotion is great, not solely for the shows themselves but the fact that they are difficult to track down. Unlike most indy shows and promotions, the videos are encrypted with a copy guard (Macrovision) which makes dubbing virtually impossible. Although bootlegs have been made, they are still of limited circulation. I, however, have master copies of the first three shows, which took place between February and April.
Seeing as how this is an introduction to the Ring of Honor promotion, for those of you familiar only with WWE and unfamiliar with ROH or indy wrestling in general, I have provided pictures of each competitor from the first show (with the exception of two guys). I’ll also try to explain some of the innovative moves that these guys use as best as I can. NWA-TNA fans will recognize some of the competitors on this tape as well.
ROH eminates from the Murphy Recreational Center in Philadelphia, PA (10 minutes from the ECW Arena). It’s basically a gym that has a capacity of about 400-500 people. ROH did their best to make the place look presentable with beautiful banners and a red and black ring to suit their promotions colors, although its still evident that its nothing more than a gym. How do I know this? That’s right....I was there! I was part of a group that took a bus down to Philly from Queens, NY for the debut show and sat in one of the first few rows.
Also, every year, the top 8 independent wrestlers in the US compete in a King of the Ring style single elimination tournament called the ECWA (East Coast Wrestling Association) Super 8. Many of the wrestlers at ROH have competed in the ECWA Super 8 over the years and it is considered a big honor (no pun intended) to even be part of the tournament, which is considered the Wrestlemania of the Indys. Previous competitors include Matt and Jeff Hardy, Simon Diamond, Crow Bar, Scotty 2 Hotty and Billy Kidman. I’ll include their ECWA Super 8 participation into the match backgrounds where applicable.
With that all said, its time to finally review the tape!
The tape starts off with a video montage of the competitors and you can already tell that RFVideo has put a LOT of time, money and effort to make this presentation look as top notch as possible. You just can’t find indy shows that look this good on tape, ESPECIALLY from RF Video. My only gripe about this video package is that they give away the ending angle, but you can’t tell if you haven’t seen it.
From there, we go to some events that took place before the actual show. Da Hit Squad (DHS from now on) are two Brooklyn bred tag team wrestlers named Mafia and Monsta Mack who tend to wrestle in the Northeast. Before the show, DHS decided to get on the bus containing the NYC fans as it was parked outside the arena to hype them up for the show. They decide to go all SMART MARK~! on us from the get go as when they walk up to the bus, they notice another wrestler already talking to the them and proclaim that they’re “stealing out heat, brother”. They muscle their way onto the bus and start cutting their promo about how ROH is “real, hard hitting pro wrestling” and how tonight you can “kiss sports entertainment’s ass goodbye!”. They drop a few names of the wrestlers on the card for the show, mistakenly name dropping AJ Styles, who never shows up. A few more minutes of razzle razzle and we go to the next segment...which is DHS greeting the fans that came on a trip from Boston. They make sure to drop the “Stiffest Playas In Da Game” catchphrase each time.
We FINALLY get to the program, where our announcers are Eric Gargulio of CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling) and former ECW World Champion, the “King of Old School” Steve Corino.
Immediately, The Christopher Street Connection, Buff-E and Mase, make their way to the ring with their valet, Allison Danger. The CSC’s gimmick is that they are two flaming homosexuals from Christopher Street, which is in Greenwich Village, NYC and they wear feather boas, skimpy shorts and rainbow elbow and knee pads. The announcers are immediately baffled as they aren’t scheduled on the card. As they walk around ringside, they antagonize the males in the crowd by sucking on the steel guardrails, coming onto them and even KISSING A MALE FAN ON THE LIPS! Well, the fan did it of his own volition...but still!
As Buff-E (the larger one) takes THE STICK~!, the announcers are already calling for their heads for being so overly GAY. “Faggot” chant from the crowd. Buff-E then states that this is NOT the Ring of Honor, but instead the “Ring of Homosexuals” and he begins MAKING OUT with Mase in the ring! As the crowd goes insane, Da Hit Squad run down to the ring and just start beating the gay out of them. Monsta Mack goes for a lariat, Mase ducks but Mack is able to hit a NICE overhead belly to belly suplex on him! Buff-E goes for a clothesline on Mafia, Mafia goes behind him and nails with a Head Dropping Release German Suplex! He landed RIGHT ON HIS HEAD, just like the puro wrestlers in Japan! The crowd is going CRAZY as Mase gets caught with a sitdown spinebuster and then a senton by DHS! “Hit Squad” chant by the crowd. Buff-E, back up after being dropped on his dome, is able to duck a clothesline by one DHS member, but EATS a hard stiff lariat by the other! Mafia signals to the crowd that he’s going to go for the Burning Hammer (Inverted Death Valley Driver) and he nails it on Mase to a HUGE pop! Out of nowhere, a ref shows up and counts the pinfall although it technically wasn’t a scheduled match.
While Mafia is laying a verbal smackdown on a downed Mase, Allison Danger comes in and is about to go for a low blow when she’s caught by Monsta. He irish whips her and goes for a clothesline but his partner pulls her away by the hair, stopping just short. They decide to do the old Dudley Boyz gimmick and put her through a table instead! Allison Danger doesn’t even seem to be making a real effort to get away, which somewhat ruins the effect. They set the table up in the ring....and then place Buff-E on the table! A HARD chop makes sure that he stays in place. That reminds me, the sound on the tape is a bit muffled, which lessens the effort of stiff chops and kicks as you can’t hear them as well as you should. DHS powerbomb her through Buff-E AND the table!
As the refs and officials go to the ring to check on the CSC, DHS takes the mic and basically cut the same promo they cut for the NYC and Boston crowd. ROH isn’t about gimmicks and stupid valets, etc. Kiss sports entertainment’s ass goodbye....I get it, I get it. I can understand why it was done for the live crowd, but we just finished watching about 10 minutes of their promos saying the exact same thing! They did do a good job of getting the crowd hot early and establishing ROH’s no stupid gimmicks principle. HI-larious moment though as Mafia has THE STICK~! and says “Philly!!! Dammit, it feels good to be back here” and he gets nothing but SILENCE.
We get our first backstage promo/skit as Jay Briscoe cuts a quick 5 second-er and then we cut to Red doing one of his own.
Jay Briscoe vs. Red
Match Background: Jay Briscoe (no relation to Jack or Gerald) usually wrestles as a member of a tag team, The Briscoe Brothers with his brother Mark. However, due to the age limits of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, Mark is unable to wrestle in ROH until he’s 18. That’s right, these guys are YOUNG. Red (now known as The Amazing Red) is a regular on NWA-TNA who just competed against AJ Styles for the X Division title this past week, the same man who defeated him in the semi-finals of the ECWA Super 8 earlier this year. He is one third of the SAT (Spanish Announce Team) with Jose and Joel Maximo. He’s the size equivalent of a Spike Dudley with about 10x the high flying ability. The Briscoes have wrestled the SAT’s many times across the country.
The Match: Jay Briscoe is accompanied to the ring by his brother Mark. Both men shake hands as well as Red and Mark. Red and Jay hook up with Red getting a go-behind and an amateur style takedown on the much larger Briscoe. That just didn’t look believable. Red gets a front face lock and Jay counters out with a hammerlock and ends up on top of Red for a one count. Red kips up and we hit the Indy Applause Stance already. For those of you who don’t know what that is...its when two wrestlers hit a quick series of moves, stand up and pose at each other in a fighting stance and end up receiving an appreciative applause from the crowd. This became popular after RVD and Jerry Lynn did it on various ECW PPV’s and has become a staple in most indy federations, although its now become a blatant attempt at getting a quick reaction at the start of a match. As the two men circle the ring, Gargulio makes a good point at how normally Jay is a tag wrestler, unlike Red who’s had a lot more experience in singles matches. Jay goes for a snap mare which Red flips out of and gets a leg sweep for a one count and they hit the Indy Applause Stance AGAIN. That is just overkill...it was only two moves! They lock up again and get some arm bars and hammerlocks on each other before Jay gets a shoulder tackle. Irish whip sequence ends with Red being thrown over the top rope to the floor! Jay Briscoe goes for a pescado on Red on the outside but misses! The slew of security, photographers and cameramen at ringside made for a really bad camera shot so we go wide....OMG~! DAMES SIGHTING~! Yes, that’s me at the bottom of your screen looking right at the camera. Back in the ring, Red gets a few punches on Briscoe but Jay comes back with a leg lariat on Red. Red comes back with a single leg flipping dropkick. Gargulio once again makes a good point as Briscoe is more of a mat wrestler and therefore, Red needs to try and avoid grappling with him. Jay extends the hand for a handshake and Red accepts, but gets nailed with a sucker punch. Come on Red, don’t you watch wrestling? Briscoe goes for an Irish whip but Red counters it with a spinning enziguiri kick to the back for two! Briscoe back up now, charges Red in the corner but EATS BOOT. Red goes for a Tornado DDT but gets tossed across the ring onto his feet. That doesn’t stop him from trying again as he hooks Briscoe and goes for another but Jay is too big and places him on the top rope. MEXICAN STRETCH BUSTER~! by Briscoe to a MONSTER POP! Picture someone going for a vertical suplex but hooking both legs first (like a Perfect Plex with both legs) and then dropping down to your knees while your opponent is in the air. That move just LOOKS vicious! Red does the “I’m dead” sell, with the eyes rolling into the back of his head as the crowd erupts into a “Holy Shit” chant and deservedly so. This only gets two though...pissing me off in the process. Briscoe heads to the top as Red is still lying on the ground. Jay comes off with a double axe handle attempt but is kicked in the midsection in midair by Red. Red gets a brainbuster for two! Red goes for an irish whip, but Briscoe is hanging onto the rope so Red kicks his hand HARD in a nice spot. A second attempt at an irish whip and Briscoe hasn’t learned his lesson yet so he gets a kick to the back of the head! A third kick is blocked by Briscoe who goes for a clothesline but ends up eating another kick to the face! As Red gets some momentum off the ropes, Briscoe hits him with a big boot! He signals for his finisher, the J-Driller (double underhook piledriver) but Red blocks it twice and back bodydrops him for a two count. However, Briscoe still has the arms hooked and when he kicks out, he puts Red back in position for it. He goes for it...but Red tries to block it with a hurancanrana! That’s blocked and Briscoe hooks the arms and hits a NASTY J-Driller on Red! HUGE pop by the crowd as well as a “Holy Shit” chant, but Red completely oversells the move with D’Von Dudley-like convulsions. Jay goes for the cover but Red’s foot is on the rope! Briscoe goes to the far right corner and gets on the top but gets crotched. Red climbs the other turnbuckle and leaps at Jay but Briscoe hits him with a clothesline for a mid air collision. The spot looked pretty bad as Red didn’t travel far and wouldn’t have hit Briscoe with anything anyway. Half nelson suplex on Red by Jay (a move William Regal has done to RVD a few times)! Briscoe jumps off the top with a Bubba Ray Dudley senton, but just like Bubba Tough, he misses it as Red moves out of the way. Red springs up like a cat, heads up to the top and hits the Infra-Red (twisting somersault legdrop) followed by the Red Star Press (Standing Shooting Star Press) for the pin and a standing ovation from the crowd. Following the match, both men embrace in the middle of the ring to crowd applause.
My Opinion: Great match to open up the card although I had a lot of issues with it. There were moments where Red overpowered Briscoe which never should have happened as Jay is a much larger man than the 130 pounder. Also, it seemed as if it was just a ton of spots thrown together, which I don’t mind, but Red kicked out of a LOT of big time moves that would put away anyone. It had a few blown spots, but it did its job of getting both guys out there in a competitive match that showed off their signature moves. *1/4.
We go to the back for a Low-Ki promo. The deep voiced former NWA-TNA X division champion doesn’t say much except for his phrase: “It’s not the size of the fighter but the size of the fight he will bring.....and all you can do is be ready”. It’s too long to sell T-shirts, that’s his problem with that one.
Another promo as we’re with the Natural Born Sinners, Homocide and Boogalou in a slummy neighborhood in Philly. Bad promo as Homocide talks about how they grew up poor and in the slums...but how he’s pissed that there’s nothing left of his old neighborhood except for a rubber chicken. Homocide has a huge smile on his face the whole time which completely kills any “pissed” vibe we’re supposed to be getting from it. I can’t help but laugh as Homocide looks at the camera with a huge smile on his face saying “Oh, I’m pissed....oh Man, I’m pissed”. He starts to get serious as he talks about bringing the street to ROH, but just can’t stop laughing.
ANOTHER promo as Xavier (a wrestler who looks like AC Slater of Saved by the Bell with The Rock’s haircut) gives a brief pep talk to “The Towel Boy”, Eric Tuttle of ECW fame. The Towel Boy is the young kid who would run around the ring wiping the ropes off with a towel while the crowd went “Whoa”. He’s looking for his big break in the wrestling business.
Scoot Andrews cuts a promo on why 2002 will be the year where he shines and that he’s going to kick it off against Xavier tonight.
Xavier vs. Scoot Andrews, “The Black Nature Boy”
Match Background: Xavier is another wrestler from the Northeast. He’s had some great matches with Low-Ki in 2001 including an awesome ladder match in the ICW promotion on June 30th, 2001. He lost to AJ Styles in the first round of the ECWA Super 8 this year. His finishers are the 450 splash and the X-breaker (hangmans neckbreaker with the opponents arm cradled). Scoot Andrews is also known as the “Black Nature Boy” and his finisher is the Force of Nature (a pumphandle Rikishi Driver). He was the runner up of the 2000 ECWA Super 8, losing to a man who is in tonight’s main event, Christopher Daniels.
The Match: As Xavier comes to the ring, the crowd gives him an “AC Slater” chant, which he receives constantly in most feds. Scoot Andrews theme music is a Techno remix of Thus Spake Zarathustra or Ric Flair’s theme. Both men shake hands and X gets a arm wringer reversed by Scott into a full nelson and then a hammerlock of his own. X reverses the hammerlock but Scoot armdrags him and then locks in an armbar in a beautiful display of transition. X gets up and monkey flips Scoot allowing him to lock on an armbar of his own. Both men exchange bodyslams and then kick each other off for the pin before getting....the Indy Applause Stance. Yes, this tends to happen ALL THE TIME at indy shows! X takes down Scoot who is able to escape and then take X down. X fights out and goes for a flying head scissors, but Scoot sits out and Xavier falls to the mat chest first in one of Scoot’s signature moves. BNB hits a nice dropkick for two. Butterfly suplex also gets two on X, followed by a leg lariat for a two count as well. HARD chops in the corner by Scoot get a “Woo” from the crowd as the announcers talk about Scoot’s study of Ric Flair and his style, which is why he is called the Black Nature Boy. Scoot sends X to the ropes, but puts his head down, allowing X to try the X-breaker but Scoot pushes him off first. Xavier goes for a backbody drop but Scoot almost lands on his HEAD in a scary moment. Xavier is irish whip into the corner and tries to jump over Scoot, but gets planted HARD with a Hardcore Holly Alabama Slam. Both men go chopping away and Xavier goes for a bulldog but Scoot NAILS him with a clothesline before he can get it off! He misses a Guillotine legdrop, allowing X to come back with some right hands and gets an elbow drop. Pretty funny spot as Scoot bumped off the last punch so when X bounced off the ropes, he gave him an elbow drop like The Rock. He then picks up Scoot to do the spot he intended...which was a HARD forearm smash off the ropes and it gets two. Hard forearms in the corner...much more visually compelling than the 10 punches in the corner every face uses. A belly to back suplex follows up some knee lifts in the corner by X. X goes for a sunset flip on Scoot and in a great spot, Scoot simply twists out, lifts X off the ground by pulling on his arm and then dropping him back down with a reverse DDT for a near fall. Scoot goes for an irish whip but X tries to come back with a roundhouse kick and misses...and with Scoot still holding onto the arm, he hits the Force of Nature on Xavier but he gets his foot on the rope! X falls to the outside, selling the neck VERY well. Scoot throws him back in the ring and gets a near fall in the middle. As Scoot argues with the ref on that two count, X gets a roll up for two. X back up gets a few punches to Scoot....but the pain in his neck is too much and Scoot just hits a clubbing blow to it sending Xavier back to the mat! Oh, I LOVE THAT. Scoot goes for a second Force of Nature, but X floats over and hits the X-breaker for the win! Post match, Scoot is upset at his loss but shakes Xavier’s hand anyway to a pop as Xavier STILL sells the neck.
My Opinion: These two men work very well together and I truly with they would have gotten more time. Xavier sold the neck like a champ and the psychology was tight from then on. However, two matches in a row where someone gets their foot on the rope after the finisher is applied just bothers me. I’d like to see a rematch with these two with about 10 more minutes given to them. *3/4
In the back, some wrestlers are running away as Homocide and Boogalou terrorize the locker room in their Michael Myers and Hannibal Lecter masks, respectively.
The Natural Born Sinners (Homocide & Boogalou) vs. The Boogie Knights (Mike Tobin *no beard* and Danny Drake *beard*)
Match Background: These men have wrestled each other in tag matches all over the East coast. That’s really...about it. Homocide and Boogalou are brawlers who CAN wrestle...and the Boogie Knights are either jobbers or comedic heels where ever they wrestle.
The Match: The Boogie Knights, who hail from the Bronx (yeah right), come out to the Karate Kid song “You’re The Best Around”, which always gets a pop. Homocide in Boogalou come out wearing orange prison jump suits as Boogalou brings his trusty chainsaw to the ring. It obviously has no chain though. Homocide has a New Jack vibe to him...his look and demeanor just scream New Jack, just with more wrestling skill and about 20 years younger. Boogalou and Drake start off as Boogalou gets a cross armbreaker to start. Drake tags in Tobin who also gets his arm worked by Boogalou who tags his partner back in. Boogalou drop toe holds Drake, gets a double underhook and rolls him over for a two count the same way Kurt Angle defeated John Cena in Cena’s debut match a few months ago. Homocide comes in...and hits a running big boot to Drake in the corner! He whips Drake into a T-bone Suplex but Tobin breaks up the count. HC Loc, the Extreme Official from ECW, is the ref for this match. Boogalou picks up Drake for a powerbomb as Homocide kneels down...and gets powerbombed ONTO Homocide’s knee! Boogalou clotheslines Drake over the top and goes out with him. He seats Drake down as Homocide comes through the middle ropes with a somersault Tope but MISSES and goes into the guardrail. He no sells it, tells the camera man that he’s OK and then both he and Boogalou get caught with a Tobin pescado. Homocide whips Tobin into the post. Very cool spot as Boogalou suplexes Drake and rolls him over as Homocide comes off the top with a double stomp to the gut! Homocide hits a stun gun on Drake and goes for another T-bone, but Drake reverses that into a reverse DDT! I think that’s his first move of the match. Drake gets a sit out spinebuster for two, tags in Tobin who comes in with a springboard swanton that only grazed Boogalou. Boogalou comes back with a brainbuster before making the tag to Homocide. Homocide becomes a HOUSE....EN.....FUEGO~! hitting a Yakuza kick on Drake, a Diamond Cutter on Tobin and tons of forearms to Drake! Boogalou and Homocide hit a NASTY half helson suplex/clotheslines combo on Drake that pops the crowd. They go for the RUBBER CHICKEN~! which they use to SMACK both Tobin and Drake in the face repeatedly! Those things just SOUND louder than chops! HC Loc immediately DQ’s them for their use of the prosthetic poultry. The Sinners argue with Loc and they end up attacking him from behind. Homocide whips out a spike, which he uses to “stab” Loc in the head. He digs in the spike with Loc buried in his chest....as Loc blades on the side of the camera. Nice visual as Homocide looks to dig it into his forehead as he SCREAMS for his LIFE. Next, Homocide ends the violence on the official with the COP KILLA~! aka The VERTEBREAKER~!!
My Opinion: This was basically a squash with a sprinkle of offense by The Boogie Knights, although Homocide and Boogalou got a chance to show the crowd their cool double team offense. *
In the back, we cut to Tobin and Drake with baseball bats making their escape from the arena.
We now cut to Buff-E and Mase in the back, contemplating whether or not they belong or not....until Buff-E sees Spanky bouncing around and decides that they DO belong.
Ultimate Aerial Elimination: The SAT’s vs. Brian XL vs. Chris Devine vs. Quiet Storm
Note: Storm is on the left of the pic, Devine is on the right.
Match Background: The SAT’s and Red have faced the 3 man team of Brian XL, Chris Devine and Quiet Storm all over the NorthEast, including a 40 minute match at CZW’s Cage of Death III. Former ECW Triple Crown Winner, Mikey Whipwreck, trained all of the competitors, with the exception of Brian XL.
The Match: Mikey Whipwreck is the ref for this match. He takes THE STICK~! and informs the crowd about how they are all his students except for XL, which he calls Lil’ Bow Wow and starts to egg him on by singing the Twix commercial. Hey, it was funny at the time OK! He then calls out Red to come on down and join his SAT teammates to even the score. Red makes it down to the ring as the two factions huddle. Quiet Storm and Joel (pronounced Joe-El) Maximo start it off with a few elaborate armdrags, headscissors and then Chris Devine comes in and almost blows an armdrag because he SUCKS!! Jose Maximo comes in and gets an armdrag on XL....who then comes back with an armdrag of his own. XL runs to the top and trips...but is able to catch his balance to get a nice ‘rana. Red and XL go at it until XL goes flying to the outside. THIS IS ALL VERY FAST. Quiet Storm comes in and gets an armdrag on Red before Jose Maximo comes off the top with a missile dropkick. EVERY OTHER WRESTLER in the match up gets a missile dropkick before Quiet Storm finishes it off with one of his own. Storm with a somersault Tope between the ropes onto everyone on the outside...and then EVERY OTHER WRESTLER hits a high risk move to the pile before Red comes off the top with a springboard somersault Tope Con Hilo! XL follows that one up with a moonsault to the outside! The guardrail has been disconnected at this point and they’re just spilling into the crowd. In the ring, Mikey is just getting the crowd hyped up. Red and XL are in the ring now...and XL is on Red’s shoulders. The Maximo’s pick up Red from the side for a SUPER Electric Chair Drop, but Storm and Devine come off the ropes and hit stereo neckbreakers on the Maximo’s and EVERYONE goes crashing down! “Holy Shit” indeed. Devine actually does something GOOD as he counters a lot of Joel’s offense and spins out of a flying head scissors to hit a side Russian leg sweep. XL takes over on Joel in the ring and hits a nice Northern Lights Suplex...withOUT the pin. He then stands on Joel and does a Standing Shooting Star Press onto him! Cross armbreaker on Joel, but this brings in all 6 men....and Joel puts on a Crippler Crossface on XL. Quiet Storm gets a Beniot-like hooking clothesline on Joel before hitting ROLLING NORTHERN LIGHTS~! Joel comes back with a leg sweep as powerbombs Jose onto him! Red then attempts to jump on Joel’s shoulders, but over shoots him and falls. They try again as Red is then powerbombed onto Quiet Storm. Devine comes in and the SAT’s give him one of their patented triple team moves. Devine is catapulted by Joel into a big boot by Red and as he falls back onto Joel, Jose legdrops him. Red with a camel clutch on Devine before Joel gets a dropkick to the face of Devine. Jose puts a Boston Crab on XL as Red legdrops him. Red gets a DDT on XL.....but XL comes back with a Code Red (Super Sunset Flip bomb) on Red for two! XL kicks Joel with a roundhouse but pays for going to the well once too often as Jose hits a Capture suplex on him! Devine, on the apron, punches Jose who staggers back into Red...and without looking, hooks a backslide for the pin. Red is eliminated! Storm takes out XL with a Spinal Shock (3.0 for your Mike Sanders fans) and XL is gone! Devine hits a full nelson into face plant that Chris Harvard uses these days on Joel Maximo for two. Devine goes to the top but Quiet Storm is whipped into that corner and he’s crotched. The Maximo’s climp up....SPANISH FLY~!! (Stereo Moonsaults while holding onto your opponent) on Devine! Joel goes for the pin on Devine as Storm gets a German Suplex on Jose for a double pin and its now down to Joel and Storm! Joel gets a German suplex for two, turns that into a Fujiwara armbar...into a cross armbreaker! Storm rolls over and transition into an STF! Quiet Storm goes for a discus forearm but its totally blown as Joel falls too early. DAMMIT JOEL! He calls for the Storm Cradle Driver....attempts it, but Joel escapes and hits a STIFF AS HELL Clothesline for dos! Joel hooks Storm in a Blue Thunder Driver for two! Storm is up and he’s PISSED!! He nails a few forearms....ducks a clothesline and gets the Storm Cradle Driver (Half Nelson into a Michinoku Driver) but Joel is just TOO FAT so he takes it more like a face plant for the pinfall. Quiet Storm hugs Joel after the match.
My Opinion: Wow. This match was WAYY too fast. I’ve had to hit the pause button at least 50 times during this match. It was extremely spotty and the psychology of the match was just non existent. The elimination of Red looked very cheesy as Jose didn’t see who he was pinning....are we supposed to buy that? Also, once Red was gone, why wouldn’t Storm and Devine keep XL around to keep the advantage? I’m VERY pleased that Quiet Storm got the pin as he’s a very underrated wrestler and I’d love to see more of him. **1/2
In the back, the Sinners kick the camera out of the locker room as they curse up a storm, due to being DQ’ed earlier.
Also in the back, Feinstein makes his on camera debut in ROH telling Prince Nana that he’s up next. Feinstein then goes downstairs and informs Tuttle that he’s finally getting his shot. He gets some inspirational words from some of the guys, including Steve Corino who tells him to “get yourself over”.
Prince Nana vs. The Towel Boy “Eric Tuttle”
Match Background: Prince Nana plays a hilarious “Coming To America” character. He wears a robe to the ring as well as a Jerry Lawler-esque crown claiming to be from Ghana. He is pretty damn funny on the mic too. Eric Tuttle....I’ve never seen him wrestle, but he is TINY.
The Match: The match starts as Tuttle threatens to break Nana in half! He then starts wiping the ropes....
He poses for the crowd and when he turns around sees a running BULL in Nana who clotheslines the hell out of him. Some NASTY HARD chops on Tuttle before getting a double underhook overhead suplex for the pin! He shakes the hand of an unconscious Tuttle before walking out.
My Opinion: Nothing more than a squash...and DAMMIT, no Nana mic work. DUD
In the back, Spanky is more preoccupied with his hair than winning a contact in ROH like the other three participants in the next match.
Spanky and Ikaika Loa vs. Michael Shane and Oz
Match Background: All four of these men trained in the Shawn Michaels Texas Wrestling Academy. Michael Shane competed in ECW briefly before it folded and Spanky lost in the semi finals of the ECWA Super 8 tournament to American Dragon. The other guys....I’ve never heard of ‘em.
The Match: Spanky DEFINITELY learned from Shawn Michaels as he dances out to Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle. He’s already showing more personality than any of the guys in this match, wrestling in some obnoxious polka dot MC hammer pants. The first man to get the pinfall gets a contract to wrestle with the ROH promotion. The match starts off with Oz and Spanky who exchange armbars and headlocks. Spanky plays to the crowd and pays for it with some clotheslines by Oz. Ikaika comes in and gets a T-bone by Oz. Michael Shane gets a NICE head scissors on Ikaika as Corino informs us that he is HBK’s cousin. I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten a WWE try out then. Spanky and Michael Shane have a staredown in the ring and lock up with a FURY. They exchange slaps, forearms and chops before they exchange some armdrags. Spanky can’t stop hopping around like a girl...literally. Irish whip sequence sees Shane powerslamming Spanky out of a leapfrog attempt for two. The announcers are playing it up as a deep rooted rivarly between Spanky and Michael Shane as they both refuse to tag out. Shane goes up top but Ikaika shoves him off and gets tagged in. Ikaika in the ring has bored me for the last few minutes. FINALLY, after boring me half to death, Spanky gets tagged in again and he and Shane go at it once again. Spanky gets a bow and arrow on Shane but his shoulders were down so he had to let the hold go. Both men clothesline each other...but Ikaika comes in and cuts off the tag to Oz. Does anyone have any coffee? Ikaika takes a bad bump off the top before Shane gets a missile dropkick on Loa. Oz comes in and Spanky goes FLYING with a high back body drop. Fishermans suplex by Oz gets a two. Ikaika comes in and gets thrown over the top, catching his NECK on the bottom rope in the process! UGLY scissors kick by Oz gets two. Shane comes SOARING in with a flying elbowdrop for two! Shane gets some chops on Ikaika...but the tables are turned and the big guy finally does something good! Some nice STIFF chops on Shane! Shane gets irish whipped into the corner.....and Spanky charges at him and moonsaults off his chest in the corner! He starts dancing in the ring but gets German suplexed for two. Shane and Oz doubleteam Ikaika, flapjack him and put on a submission onto him. Spanky saves him and goes for his finish, Sliced Bread #2 (Spike Dudley’s Acid Drop but with a moonsault at the top turnbuckle, reverse DDT’ing the opponent) but Oz pushes him into a Michael Shane superkick! Shane and Ikaika end up brawling to the outside leaving Spanky and Oz in the ring. Spanky gets Sliced Bread # 2 on Oz for the win! He starts celebrating by....gyrating. All of the wrestlers from the TWA that traveled with him, including his trainer, Rudy Boy Gonzalez come in to congratulate Spanky. Shane shakes Spankys hand and says some words to him....he’s letting him know that he’s not done with him yet.
My Opinion: Ikaika Loa bores me to death. Oz is nothing special. Michael Shane and Spanky both deserve the contract but I had Spanky pegged from the start as he’s more known in indy circles. The guy has got charisma, he can work and I’d like to see some more of him. **
ANOTHER backstage segment sees the participants of the 6 way elimination match all arguing amongst themselves. Mikey Whipwreck doesn’t like it one bit so he tells them that next month, it’ll be a 3 way dance... Devine & Storm vs. The SAT vs. Red and Brian XL. He gets Super Crazy to come in to translate as The SAT’s supposedly have some translation issues.
HC Loc is then shown on the phone talking to someone, complaining about the abuse at the hands of Homocide and Boogalou. He’s upset at the fact that he was asked to ref at ROH instead of wrestling....so he’s fed up with The Extreme Official gimmick. He’ll be bringing in someone soon to take care of Homocide and Boogalou....and then he throws his ref shirt away.
Eddy Guerrero vs. Super Crazy for the IWA Intercontinental Title
Match Background: This is during the time where Eddy Guerrero was fired from the then WWF due to personal problems. During a shoot interview with RF Video, he stated that he had two wrestlers he’s always wanted to wrestle....Rob Van Dam and Super Crazy of ECW. With RVD in the WWE, that wasn’t an option, at least not yet. So, RF decided to book Eddy with Super Crazy for ROH.
The Match: Eddy comes out to Santana’s “Smooth” to a BIG pop! HUGE “Eddie” chant! As the match starts....the crowd chants “Super Crazy”. Right before the bell rings, Eric Gargulio decides to just negate the hype for these two ever meeting for the first time by stating that they’ve wrestled each other in Puerto Rico. Super Crazy extends his hand but Eddy slaps him in the fact instead. They lock up and Eddy gets the advantage with a snap mare and does his infamous eye gouge with his feet to a pop! Eddy with a GORGEOUS suplex on Crazy before the exchange headlock takeovers. They trade punches and European uppercuts before Eddy gets a beautiful belly to back. Eddy is just SO damn good in the ring. Super Crazy comes back with some elaborate ass armdrags...including one off a dive off the top rope! He gets the Spanish 10 Count punches in the corner before Eddy bails to the outside. He goes for an Asia moonsault but Eddy pulls him off the apron. BRAINBUSTER on the OUTSIDE and Super Crazy is DEAD. No, forget it...he’s dead. Eddy gets his slingshot senton.....and Super Crazy gets out at two! Oh, now they want to piss me off! Fallaway Slam by Eddy! I’ve never seen him do that anywhere else. It looked a lot better than Scott Hall’s Contractually Obligated Fallaway Slam too. VERY cool spot as Super Crazy rolls around Eddy and with Eddy looking around as if to say “where’d he go?” he dropkicks Guerrero in the back of the head. Crazy gets a springboard 2nd rope moonsault for two and follows that up with a missile dropkick as well. Crazy back on top.....but Eddy ‘ranas him down! Eddy goes for a clothesline but Crazy gets a leg lariat for two. Eddy gets the BEST DAMN POWERBOMB~! for two. Why do I call it that? NO ONE...and I mean NO ONE has a powerbomb like Eddy Guerrero. Tilt a whirl backbreaker by Eddy....and ROLLING BRAINBUSTERS~!! He heads to the top for the Frogsplash...but Crazy rolls out of the way so Eddy rolls through as well! Eddy with a tilt a whirl, but Crazy rolls him up for the win! Crazy also wins the IWA IC title which seemed to be vacant.
My Opinion: You guys should all know Eddy’s work is very tight and solid. Every he does is crisp in the ring and he can’t help but make his opponents look good. Super Crazy really held his own and I enjoyed his presence, although I’ve been spoiled with Eddy’s latest opponents to give him the credit he truly deserves. Eddy did put over Crazy clean in the middle too...and you’ve got to respect that because famous talent like that won’t always do the job at indys. ***
As Crazy makes his way to the back, everyone congratulates him except for Christopher Daniels, who simply shakes his head.
We go to a quick Low-Ki promo where he says NOTHING of importance.
Low-Ki vs. American Dragon vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels
Match Background: I’ve been waiting to do this one for a LONG time. Low-Ki and American Dragon have been rivals for quite a while now. At the ECWA Super 8 tournament last year, Low-Ki defeated American Dragon to win the 2001 tournament. In a rematch with the legendary Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat” serving as the referee, American Dragon beat Low-Ki in a match that was considered THE indy match of the year for 2001. Their rivarly only intensified when they ended up winning the ECWA Tag Team Titles and defending it against The SAT’s until they couldn’t keep their personal differences aside. Christopher Daniels, the ECWA Super 8 2000 Tournament winner, has exchanged wins and losses with both men as well. Daniels has competed for both WCW and WWE in short stints. These three men are regarded as the top indy talent in the US today. Both Low-Ki and Christopher Daniels have competed in NWA-TNA and ‘Ki is a former X Division champion as well. This match is to determine who is the overall BEST.
The Match: American Dragon comes to the ring first...and he’s a dead ringer for an angry Danny from Tough Enough 2. Daniels is introduced last and his entrance is always a cool moment. His “Fallen Angel” gimmick fits VERY well with Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens” which he uses with his entrance. Three way lock up sees Dragon and ‘Ki kick Daniels legs before going to town on each others. Daniels tries to get in the middle of it and gets chopped by the both of them. Simply cool moment as they watch Daniels on the mat...and then turn to look at each other with pure animosity. Dragon and ‘Ki lock up with neither men getting an advantage before Daniels dropkicks them both. ‘Ki gets back up and BLASTS The Fallen Angel in the head with a kick but the distraction leaves him open for a forearm shot by Dragon that leaves him staggered. Daniels comes back with a palm strike to Dragon and everyone retreats...Indy Applause Stance....but this one was WORTH IT. “Low-Ki” chant by the crowd. Dragon and ‘Ki lock up again and Daniels once again splits them apart and takes them both out with shots to the face before Dragon retaliates with a forearm shiver. Its those little things that separates good wrestlers from great wrestlers..and every time American Dragon goes for an irish whip, he wrings the arm first to insure he’ll get it. The irish whip is reversed however and Daniels ducks, having Dragon run into a ‘Ki dropkick. NICE back body drop by Daniels as he takes care of Low-Ki. He tries to suplex Dragon, but he’s fighting it. He finally is able to overpower him....and suplexes him into the Tree of Woe! ‘Ki goes to dropkick the knee of Daniels, but he sidesteps him and he gets Dragon’s vulnerable chest instead! Irish whip by Daniels ends up in a Somersault kick by Low-Ki! 3-KICK COMBO~!!! Before he can get the last kick off, Dragon hooks ‘Ki by his arms from behind, trying to go for his AWESOME submission finisher, Cattle Mutilation (double underhook armbar with bridge), which he defeated ‘Ki with last July. This leaves his chest exposed and Daniels kicks him in the ribs. Daniels body slams both men and then slams one man onto the other. He then takes ‘Ki and throws him onto Dragon in a legdrop position! With Low-Ki face down....Daniels takes Dragon and puts him in a Boston Crab, ON TOP OF LOW-KI, allowing him to put ‘Ki in a camel clutch at the SAME TIME!! Dragon is able to power out with his legs and then kicks the left bicep of Daniels! Roundhouse kicks to the arm of Daniels by Dragon! While he’s working on Daniels, ‘Ki gets up...kicks Dragon in the face...and in one of the stiffest moments I’ve EVER seen, he kneels Dragon down and BLASTS HIM REPEATEDLY in the GOD DAMNED FACE going around in circles! Daniels takes the moment to nail ‘Ki and suplex him. Leg lariat by Daniels takes out ‘Ki for the moment. Gutwrench suplex on Dragon for two. Daniels and ‘Ki exchange chops before Dragon nails ‘Ki from behind. Chop-a-mania is running wild as he starts chopping both men until he takes out ‘Ki. He puts on a Reverse Indian Death Lock w/bridging double armbars on Daniels, but ‘Ki kicks one of Dragon’s legs out from under him. ‘Ki picks up him and Yakuza kicks him back down a few times, but Dragon still has the Indian Death Lock on Daniels and he’s feeling it too!!!! Ki goes for it again but Dragon blocks it, turns ‘Ki around and NORTHERN LIGHTS HIM while he still has the hold on Daniels! Not only was it a great visual, but it almost got the victory for Dragon. ‘Ki kicks out at two, but Dragon then turns Daniels over and gets a two on him. I LOVE THIS MATCH~! That’s right....that’s me, giving them a standing ovation! ‘Ki and Dragon keep trading chops and stiff ass elbow shots. Dragon works Daniels arm again but ‘Ki just NAILS Dragon in the back! Low-Ki with a snap mare and a STIFF ASS KICK~! to the back of Dragon.....but all it does is infuriate him! He’s up....and he’s PISSED!! Jesus, Dragon’s chest is BLEEDING FROM THE CHOPS! Dragon snap mares Low-Ki and gives him a taste of his own Stiff Ass Medicine right between the shoulder blades! Oh shit....’Ki is PISSED too! They both turn their head....Daniels, RUN!!! He gets snap mared...and BLASTED in the back by ‘Ki!! Dragon then shoves ‘Ki and yells “That’s not how you do it!!” and kicks Daniels even HARDER! ‘Ki pushes Dragon back and says “You do it like THIS!” and kicks Daniels again! I WEEP for Christopher Daniels and you should too! Dragon reiterates that you do it like THIS and kicks Daniels AGAIN!! OH MY GOD...Christopher Daniels’ back is full of welts! He’s on his knees now, begging off from both men. ‘Ki and Dragon blast him at the same time...one in the chest, the other in the back! They go for it again, but Daniels ducks and their legs smash into each other! ‘Ki and Dragon and down, Daniels is down and the crowd is going NUTS!! ‘Ki gets up and reaffirms my faith in his wrestling psychology by limping towards Dragon. ‘Ki chops Dragon again and I beg of you......STOP CHOPPING HIM! Daniels takes the moment to sneak up from behind and hit the Eye of the Hurricane on ‘Ki, then Dragon. He then puts the Elevated Crab on Low-Ki (NOT the Walls of Jericho...but the WCW Liontamer) before Dragon forearms him off Low-Ki. Dragon and ‘Ki try to suplex Daniels, but he is able to block it! He turns ‘Ki over for a neckbreaker, kicks Dragon over and does a combo neckbreaker/DDT on them! He goes for a double pin, but both men kick out! He then goes for ‘Ki but he’s up at two! He dives onto Dragon and he’s up at two! Daniels heads up to the top but gets caught by both men, who decide to inflict even MORE punishment to the chest with their vicious chops! He’s thrown off and then they hit a double Yakuza kick on Daniels. This gives Dragon the opportunity to blast ‘Ki in the face the way he did to him earlier! Daniels get a belly to belly on ‘Ki for two. Both men go after Daniels now with ‘Ki going for a flying head scissors, but Daniels tosses ‘Ki onto Dragon for a Tornado DDT! ‘Ki ducks a Daniels clothesline and hits a springboard KICK TO THE FACE! He crawls over for a pin, flipping over when he’s got a leg for two! ‘Ki places Dragon on the top for a Super belly to back, but he’s elbowed off. Daniels climbs on top from behind and puts on a top rope Abdominal Stretch! ‘Ki kicks Daniels in the back to break THAT up and puts on a top rope Dragon sleeper (Hanging Dragon)!! Daniels and ‘Ki fight for position now for a reverse DDT, allowing Dragon to hook ‘Ki’s arms from behind to go for Cattle Mutilation! He’s able to fight out and enziguri’s him into the waiting arms of Daniels who gives him a NICE spinning Blue Thunder Bomb! ‘Ki kicks Daniels into the corner and tries the Tidal Wave (cartwheel kick), but Daniels moves out of the way, palm strikes him and places him on the top rope! He goes for a superplex but gets thrown off. Dragon goes for a superplex on ‘Ki, but Daniels gets underneath Dragon and belly to back’s him off while ‘Ki gets superplexed ¾’s of the way across the damn ring!! “Holy Shit” indeed! STANDING ovation and deservedly so! Daniels gets up and goes after Dragon, but he ducks and gets him with a snap DDT takeover. DRAGON SUPLEX by Dragon broken up by ‘Ki! ‘Ki goes for the Ki’ Krusher but Dragon blocks it.....so ‘Ki puts on the Dragon Clutch! Daniels breaks that up so ‘Ki and Daniels go at it and Daniels hits a NICE STO! GORGEOUS Double Jump moonsault by Daniels broken up by Dragon! Dragon gets a few shots on Daniels...bounces off the ropes and gets turned inside out by a Daniels clothesline! ‘Ki kicks Daniels in the head as he’s getting up and The Fallen Angel staggers to the corner. Tidal Wave by Low-Ki! ‘Ki signals that its time for the ‘Ki Krusher but he’s forearmed to the outside by Dragon! American Dragon puts on Cattle Mutilation on Daniels!!! Low-Ki comes off the top with a PHOENIX SPLASH ONTO A BRIDGED AMERICAN DRAGON! DAMN! He takes Daniels up....’KI KRUSHER ’99!!!! ONE....TWO....THREE!!!
The crowd chants “Ring of Honor” as the three men get to their feet..and then “Match of The Year”. This Standing O has gone on for three minutes so far.
Dragon takes THE STICK~! “Low-Ki. You may have won this match, but you didn’t beat.....the American Dragon”. He challenges ‘Ki to a match at the next ROH. Before ‘Ki is able to respond, Daniels takes THE STICK~! away and pops the crowd with pro ROH comments. He then says “Low-Ki, American Dragon...all I’ve got to say is...YOU BOTH CAN GO TO HELL!” to a pop! “It took two of you bums to beat me, if this was a singles match, I would have beat you and I would have beat you. In fact, if I had to wrestle you both in singles matches on the same night, I could do it too!” ‘Ki takes THE STICK~! and says “For someone who just got beat, you sound pretty brave don’t you?”. He agrees to a Round Robin Tournament for the next ROH!
Low-Ki vs. Christopher Daniels, Christopher Daniels vs. American Dragon and American Dragon vs. Low-Ki!
‘Ki and Dragon shake hands and offer it to Daniels.....who walks away!!
My Opinion: This is without a doubt, one of my favorite matches of all time and the best triple threat match of all time. Best match I’ve ever seen live too. Before Angle and Benoit tore it up in the past few months, this was my pick for Match of the Year. Do what you have to, but GET THIS DAMN MATCH! It will make you instant fans of all three competitors as well as make you salivate for the next tape of the ROH promotion.
Originally, I wanted to give this match the elusive *****, however, after repeated viewing....all biases aside, I must be fair. Not everything was flawless and I’ll have to give it ****1/2. These men are world class workers and I am honored (no pun intended) to have been in the building for this match. I’m almost just as spent watching it on tape!
Before ROH signs off, there’s a promo by Eddy Guerrero. He puts over the promotion...and says how tonight just proves to him that he needs to be hungry...like the guys in ROH.
Highlight reel ends the video...but it BEGINS with the Christopher Street Connection kissing. Must you leave a bad taste in our mouths? Oohh, some nice slo-mo shots of certain moves. After the highlight reel ends, you see Daniels walking out of the arena in disgust....
Overall: For fans of great wrestling who want an alternative, Ring of Honor is definitely worth a look at. Although many of the workers don’t believe in “less is more”, its still not as spotty as most indy feds. The announcing was decent although they plugged RF like CRAZY, which is expected. So far, Ring of Honor has raised the bar pretty high with their first main event....whether or not they can maintain it, is up to them.
WWE fans....get with it!
I will be back soon with The Round Robin Challenge....
The Dames, Damian Gonzalez
Any questions, comments, fan mail, hate mail, etc, send it all to [email protected]
(Credit the various photos to Jim Quigley, Jim Ferrera of ROHwrestling.com and other various indy websites)
To read any of my weekly NWA-TNA reviews or my WWE PPV reviews....I refer you to The Archives.