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Thread: Re-watching Ring of Honor 2002-2007

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    Re-watching Ring of Honor 2002-2007

    After watching through all of 2003 ROH I want to start from the beginning and try to work all the way to the end of 2007, and watch all of ROH's golden age.


    Weíre where it all began, in Philadelphia, for THE ERA OF HONOR BEGINS, February 23rd, 2002. Da Hit Squad has a long segment pre-show hanging out with the fans who came down from New York.

    The very first segment of an ROH show starts off with the Christopher Street Connection and Allison Danger coming down to the ring, kissing fans and licking the edges of the barricades. The commentary freaks out over them being gay in public. Buffy gets on the mic and says that this is not longer Ring of Honor, but ďRing of Homosexuals.Ē Out comes Da Hit Squad and we have our very first ROH match, THE CHRISTOPHER STREET CONNECTION vs. DA HIT SQUAD. Yes, really. Itís a total squash, and as far as total squashes go, Da Hit Squad hit some high impact moves so itís kind of fun. Dan Maff finishes it with a Burning Hammer. Steve Corino proclaims that by squashing the Christopher Street Connection, Da Hit Squad have ďsaved professional wrestling.Ē I guess Iíll call it *3/4? Itís not worth rating since it was so short, but I feel like the first official ROH match has to have a rating, and for a squash it at least had high impact moves and a hot crowd. Da Hit Squad but Allison Danger through a table post-match. Well, ROH really was made to be a successor to ECW, and this was a very, very ECW segment.

    JAY BRISCOE vs. THE AMAZING RED is the first Ďrealí ROH match. This match isnít very polished, but they put in a lot of effort and the crowd is very, very appreciative of everything. Some nice looking moves here, especially Jayís Muscle Buster. Red ends up winning with a twisting legdrop off the top followed by his standing Shooting Star Press for a big pop. **3/4

    XAVIER vs. SCOOT ANDREWS is next. Less visually impressive than the previous match but a bit more polished. Solid match overall. Thereís a nasty botch where Xavier picks Andrews up and, I guess he tries to hit some kind of powerslam, but he just rotates Andrews and drops him right on the top of his head. Scoot hits a nice sit-out front piledriver but Xavier gets his foot on the ropes. Once heís back in the ring, Xavier is able to avoid the move for the second time and get the win with a Rick Rude style neckbreaker. **3/4

    THE BOOGIE KNIGHTS vs. THE NATURAL BORN SINNERs. The Natural Born Sinners are the team of Homicide and Boogalou. The referee is LOC, soon to be of the Carnage Crew. This is a total squash for the Sinners. The Boogie Knights get about three moves of offense. The Sinners take them apart and spend a lot of time doing it. They hit an awesome lariat/tiger suplex combo at the end. But then they bring out a rubber chicken and Homicide beats the Knights with the rubber chicken until Loc disqualifies them. The Sinners attack Loc post-match. **1/4

    QUIET STORM vs. CHRIS DIVINE vs. JOEL MAXIMO vs. JOSE MAXIMO vs. BRIAN XL vs. AMAZING RED in an elimination match. Mikey Whipwreck is the referee, all but Brian XL being his students. They start of with a nonstop run of spots. Ambitious, but lacking polish. Mostly entertaining though for this early portion. Once they settle down a little the match starts to drag, though there are some nice spots here and there, particularly Brian XL hitting a nasty Code Red on Red. Red gets eliminated first when Jose traps him in a backslide. Brian XL goes next from a Spinal Shock from Quiet Storm. The SAT hits Chris Divine with the Spanish Fly but while Joel covers Divine, Quiet Storm catches Jose in a German Suplex, both Divine and Jose getting eliminated at once. After some back and forth Quiet Storm takes it with a Storm Cradle Driver. **1/4

    PRINCE NANA vs. TOWEL BOY ERIC TUTTLE next. Total squash, Nana flattens Tuttle and ends it with a nice looking arm-trap suplex. *3/4

    MICHAEL SHANE and OZ vs. SPANKY and IKAIKA LOA. Competent but very basic match, despite a few botchy moments. They do end up having a pretty nice homestretch though. Michael Shane hits a beautiful top rope elbow drop. Oz hits a nice German Suplex on Spanky. Spank ends up winning with with the Sliced Bread #2 on Loa. **1/2

    SUPER CRAZY vs. EDDIE GUERRERO for Eddieís IWA Intercontinental Championship. Good, evenly worked match. Eddie hits a nice brainbuster on the floor and Crazy comes back with a cool dropkick sequence and a quebrada moonsault. Eddie hits two brainbusters in a row and goes for the Frog Splash, but Crazy moves out of the way and counters a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a small package for the win. ***

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. LOW KI vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS is our first ever Ring of Honor main event. This has been regarded as a classic since it happens and it definitely holds up. Great match, non stop action, all three guys constantly involved. Lots of creative spots and really hard hitting, especially between Low Ki and Danielson. Low Ki and Danielson work together a lot throughout the match, though itís really more through incidental spots than through conscious strategy. The crowd is absolutely on fire for the entire match. The iconic ending has Low Ki breaking up a Cattle Mutilation with a beautiful Phoenix Splash and finishing off Daniels with the Ki Crusher. Perfect match to begin ROH. Great athleticism, lots of nearfalls, all action, super hot crowd, lots of creativity and ambition in working the match. ****1/4

    The undercard is very, very unpolished. The ROH style is definitely present, but its present in its inception, and it would take about a year and a half before the wrestling started to look really polished up and down the show. Still, almost every match at least had its moments, and the crowd was really, really hot for everything all night and genuinely appreciative. The main event still holds up as a classic and a MOTYC quality match. The fact that itís ROHís first show and successfully set the tone for what was to come, itís worth the generous rating of 7/10.

  2. #2
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    That Phoenix Splash on the Cattle Mutilation was sick. I can't believe Bryan went for it. Makes Ki seems sadistic. Fantastic thing to see in wrestling.

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    World Champion Murphy's Avatar
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    I'll look forward to your take on 2006. God I loved it. Have almost the entire DVD collection from the year in my loft. One day, I might actually get round to re-watching them. The ROH/CZW feud, Danielson's epic title run, anything with Generation Next and whole load of greatness on the undercard. McGuinness, Aries, Strong, Richards, Hero, Sydal, Evans, Joe, Daniels, Styles etc etc. Epic roster, brilliant main storyline.

    In to 2007 was pretty great too.

  4. #4
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re still in Philadelphia for THE ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE, March 20th, 2003. After the three way main event last show, Low Ki challenged Daniels and Danielson to a round robin tournament on the second show, and here it is. The three men will each face each other throughout the night. This also happened to be the first ROH show I ever watched.

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. BRYAN DANIELSON starts us off. This is an awesome match. Good mat work to start off, and Danielson even locks in the Yes Lock. Danielson works Daniels over with headlocks, but when after he hits a beautiful dropkick and tries to follow it up with another headlock takeover, Daniels immediately hits a big back drop driver dropping Danielson on his head. Daniels works over the neck for the rest of the match and it’s great. Danielson’s selling is really good, and he’s awesome switching up in offense. When he can’t support Daniels’ weight in a vertical suplex, he hits a great snap double-underhook suplex instead to spare his neck; he can’t do a bridge for the Cattle Mutilation, so he tries a Rings of Saturn instead. Great back and forth with the intensity steadily rising, and also some nice chop exchanges. Eventually Daniels hits a big piledriver, then the Last Rites, and follows it up by wrenching back on a crossface for the submission win. Great opener. Daniels goes 1-0, Danielson 0-1. ****

    Prince Nana, Simply Luscious and Eric Tuttle come out and Nana cuts a rambling promo that’s mostly incomprehensible over the terrible early-ROH acoustics. Da Hit Squad have had enough so come attack them and we have PRINCE NANA and ERIC TUTTLE vs. DA HIT SQUAD. Solid squash. Maff hits a NASTY, Goldberg-level spear on Tuttle. They also hit a great looking wheelbarrow suplex-lariat combo and finish him off with a Burning Hammer. **. The Christopher Street Connection come out but Da Hit Squad throws poor Eric Tuttle over the top ropes onto them, almost killing him, giving Simply Luscious the same treatment afterward, though she doesn’t take quite as nasty a fall.

    JOEY MATTHEWS and CHRISTIAN YORK vs. CW ANDERSON and ELAX. Elax is a member of the ring crew, Anderson chose him as a partner to show he’s good enough to win with anyone. Decent enough match, nothing special. Anderson is in control for most of it. Elax actually hits a nice top rope dropkick. York and Matthews take out Elax and hit a double team elevated DDT on Anderson for the win. **

    JAMES MARITATO vs. XAVIER. Maritato is Little Guido/Nunzio, dropping the Italian stereotype gimmick and rebranding as a shoot style submission master. Decent enough match. Fast paced, lots of back and forth, not too long. Xavier ends up winning with a rollup. **1/4

    THE BOOGIE KNIGHTS vs. THE NATURAL BORN SINNERS in a rematch from last show. Very short, straightforward squash. Homicide hits a nasty double stomp. They finish it with their tiger suplex-lariat combo. **

    LOW KI vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS in our second tournament match. Low K dominates early on, hitting some nice stiff kicks and quickly cutting off any of Daniels’ attempts at offense. Daniels is able to hit some high impact moves but Low Ki comes back with a nice springboard kick. Daniels hits the Angels Wings but Low Ki kicks out, and soon after reverses a powerbomb attempt and is able to hit the Ki Crusher. Daniels goes for the Last Rites but Low Ki rolls through it and locks in the Dragon Clutch for the win. Good, quick competitive match. ***1/4. Low Ki is 1-0 and Daniels finishes 1-1. Post-match, Daniels again says that Low Ki beating him in his second match of the night means nothing, and that he won’t face Low Ki against unless the Ring of Honor Title is on the line, the first time such a title has been mentioned.

    PAUL LONDON vs. CHRIS MARVEL next. Paul London gets all the offense here, and then he hits an Asai moonsault but Marvel’s leg gives out while trying to catch him and twists and looks badly broken. Match is called off, London winning by stoppage. Not worth rating.

    SPANKY vs. JAY BRISCOE. The match starts off a bit dull with Spanky in control for most of it, although Jay does hit a nice slingshot Oklahoma roll. The match really picks up when Jay pushes Spanky into the ringpost, busting him open, and following it up with a nasty German suplex. Spanky is wearing the crimson mask for the rest of the match, which helps accentuate the transition as Jay goes on offense. Spanky hits a cool double springboard dive. Jay hits a nasty powerbomb back in the ring but Spanky is shortly after able to hit the Sliced Bread Number Two for the win. **3/4. Post-match, Mark takes Jay to task for developing a losing streak.

    There’s a great backstage vignette in Gabe’s offense with him looking at the ROH website on AOL on his 2002-era computer.

    CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM vs. AMAZING RED and BRIAN XL vs. THE SAT in an elimination match. These early ROH spotfests are often pretty rough but this is just about the worst I’ve seen. Lots of blown spots and uncoordinated exchanges. A couple good spots but very few, when normally even if the match is very unpolished to say the least, there are a decent number of nice individual spots thrown in. Divine Storm get eliminated when Red hits a standing SSP on Quiet Storm, and then Red gets pinned with a rollup to give the SAT the win. *1/4

    LOW KI vs. BRYAN DANIELSON in the final match of the tournament. This was considered by many the best ROH match ever during the first several years of the promotion, and it totally holds up. The first half of the match is all matwork and it’s some of the best matwork of all time. So tight and lots of struggle, every submission has to be fought for and looks good. They throw in plenty of stiff strikes also, and I really mean stiff. Nasty crossfaces from Danielson and Low Ki is hitting all kinds of stiff kicks and knee strikes from all kind of angles. Before they even hit one ‘regular’ wrestling move, this match feels epic and they’re both selling exhaustion. Once they start trading big moves, every one feels like a big deal. Low Ki hits a series of moves and is able to hit the Ki Crusher, but Danielson kicks out. He fights back hitting a big top rope back suplex that they both sell like death. He tries to hit another one but Low Ki fights back from the top rope and turns it around into a top rope Ki Crusher! Both guys are out and Danielson is able to slowly roll out of the ring to the floor. Low Ki has to slowly crawl over to roll him back in the ring to cover, but Danielson is able to get his foot on the rope. Now that’s how you allow a guy’s top rope finisher to not be the end of the match without killing the move. Low Ki hits Danielson with stiff kicks and chops and is about to finish it with the Tidal Wave kick, but Danielson catches him in mid-air, hits an awesome Regal-style leg-trap suplex, and floats right over in a Cattle Mutilation that he wrenches on until Low Ki passes out. Both men, along with Daniels, finish 1-1. ****1/2

    An all-time classic to end the show, a legit great opener also, and the Low Ki/Daniels match is very good, too. Other than that, it’s a characteristically weak and unpolished undercard. Still, most of the undercard matches were short, and they’re starting to get some storylines going so some at least felt like they served a purpose. The Round Robin tournament was a great was to organize the card and all three matches delivered. Good show overall, though uneven. 7/10

  5. #5
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    Spanky proved to be quite a bleeder that night...

    I didn't like the Round Robin matches much, although I would have trouble saying what was wrng with Ki/AmDrag...

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    i remember being really underwhelmed with dragon/low ki when i first saw the show after hearing hype about it, but that was in septemberish 2004 before i had even really gotten into any japanese wrestling other than what was on the benoit dvd, and i just couldn't appreciate the mat-based, borderline shootstyle work at that point. what was the real revelation on the re-watch that danielson/daniels, which never stuck out at me before but i loved this time.

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    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    I thought the matwork was a little too rare and the rest of the match a little too raw, but I might think a lot differently if I saw it today. I like their other matches from that era, but the ROH match stands way out, especially with Shamrock in the Steamboat position.

    Daniels/Danielson I thought was near perfect, but I wanted it to be longer and I hated Daniels for tapping out Danielson, but what can you say, he earned it.

    I never noticed that Ki/Daniels never really happened again. I guess Triple X in Tna put me to sleep on that...

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    edit: misread, thought you said it was danielson/ki that never happened again

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re back in Philadelphia for NIGHT OF APPRECIATION, April 27th, 2002. The show is named in tribute to Eddie Guerrero, who is having his last show with ROH, having already re-signed with WWE but finishing up his obligations on the indies.

    Pre-show, Loc welcomes Davito to ROH, and the Carnage Crew have arrived. They beat up some ring crew guys for fun. Brian XL has some conflict with his traveling partners Chris Divine and Quiet Storm.

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. THE CRISTOPHER STREET CONNECTION vs. PRINCE NANA and SIMPLY LUSCIOUS opens up. This is a big clusterfuck with all kinds of stuff going on. Both teams are able to get some offense on Da Hit Squad but they’re mostly in control, and end up killing everyone and hitting a Burning Hammer on Simply Luscious for the win. Post-match they put her through a table again. Fun enough squash and had a hot crowd. **

    JAY BRISCOE vs. TONY MAMALUKE next. Jay Briscoe is on a two-loss win streak and desperate for a win. Mamaluke is wearing the old ECW FBI tights and commentary talks up how James Maritato won’t be happy about that. This is another pretty unpolished match, as their chain wrestling and submission work isn’t too solid. They move on to trading moves and strikes and eventually Jay rolls through a backslide into a nice Jay Driller to pick up his first win. Crowd pops big for Jay’s win. The match was quick at least and had a significant ending. **. Mark still isn’t happy with Jay, because he still “almost lost.” Backstage, PAPA BRISCOE tries to mediate their conflict while James Maritato takes Mamaluke to task for trying to continue to FBI gimmick.

    CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM vs. CHRISTIAN YORK and JOEY MATTHEWS. These guys work hard and have a decent, fast paced match. While York is out on the floor, Brian XL runs in and hits him with a dive while the ref isn’t looking. Divine and Storm are mad at him for breaking the code of honor and yell at him to go backstage. Back in the ring they all trade some moves and Quiet Storm gets Joey Matthews in a leg submission for the win. **1/4

    XAVIER vs. JAMES MARITATO vs. SCOOT ANDREWS next. Xavier has beaten both men throughout the first two shows. The three-way spots are really botchy and awkward for the first half or so of the match, but it does improve a little bit. Andrews hits his sit-out piledriver on Xavier but Maritato breaks it up, and shortly later catches Xavier coming off the top rope in his Fujiawara armbar and gets the submission win. *3/4.

    LOW KI vs. AJ STYLES in Styles’ much-anticipated ROH debut. The match starts solid but a little bit underwhelming, until Low Ki turns the stiffness on and AJ returns it, and the match gets really good. They trade big moves and everything looks great. Styles hits one of his nicer looking springboard backflip DDTs, as well as an awesome DDT from a Dominator position. Low Ki hits a nasty powerbomb and follows it up by killing Styles with kicks. Both guys miss the Phoenix Splash and Spinal Tap respectively. Low Ki turns a Styles Clash attempt into a roll up in a sort of lame finish, but the last three-fourths of the match were really good. ***1/2

    THE CARNAGE CREW vs. DUNN AND MARCOS next in both teams’ debuts. Dunn and Marcos don’t have any kind of gimmick yet, they’re just generic jobbers and the ring announcer calls Marcos “Marcus.” Total squash. Carnage Crew win it with a powerbomb-neckbreaker combo and beat them up with hubcaps afterward. **

    DONOVAN MORGAN vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS. Morgan works the headlock for a while early on. They trade moves back and forth for a while and it’s alright. Morgan actually ends up winning with a spinning fisherman’s suplex. Big win for Morgan over Daniels. Kind of boring match honestly. **1/4. After the match Daniels gets on the mic and says that he won’t shake Morgan’s hand, because the Code of Honor is a farce, but he respects him because he beat him fair and square. He says if Morgan ever needs anything, he has his back.

    Next up in the Texas Wrestling Academy Gauntlet. They actually only show clips of the first match, Paul London vs. John Hope. London wins with the Shooting Star Press.

    PAUL LONDON vs. MICHAEL SHANE is the first full match of the gauntlet. It’s a very short match but a fun sprint while it lasts. They trade big moves until London misses a SSP and Shane follows it up with a top rope elbow drop for the win. **3/4

    MICHAEL SHANE vs. SPANKY next. They open with a chop exchange. Spanky rams Shane’s head into the ringpost and busts him open. Spanky works over the cut for a while until Shane is able to fight back with a nice twisting senton, following it up shortly after with a flip over the top rope. They trade moves and do a spot that’s cool in theory where Michael Shane goes for the top rope elbow drop, but gets dizzy and falls to the mat. Commentary sells it as due to the blood loss which is a cool idea, but the blade job wasn’t really enough to sell it. Shane is able to fight back with a superkick but Spanky soon hits Sliced Bread Number Two for the win. Pretty good match. **3/4

    SPANKY vs. BRYAN DANIELSON is the final of the gauntlet. The match starts out good with Spanky looking pretty impressive, hanging in there with Danielson with the stiff strikes and matwork. As the match goes on Spanky sort of starts to look exposed. There’s a couple minutes where he seems totally lost in control, so Danielson takes control and hits some nice big moves to get the match back on track. Spanky hits a Sliced Bread Number Two out of nowhere and Danielson takes it right on the back of his head, but is able to kick out. Danielson comes back with a big rolling elbow and Dragon Suplex for two counts. He goes for the top rope backdrop suplex but Spanky turns it into a Sliced Bread Number Two off the top rope for the win. Spanky getting a big push, adding a win over Danielson to his winning streak. ***

    Spanky gets on the mic post-match talking about the ROH title, which brings out just about everyone in the company saying they want it too. Low Ki comes out and announces a title tournament next show.

    EDDIE GUERRERO and AMAZING RED vs. THE SAT is our main event. The crowd pops huge for Eddie, who comes out wearing the WWE IC title. SAT are in control for most of the match. They work over Eddie, Red gets a hot tag, but shortly after Jose hits him with a nasty powerbomb and gets back in control. Eddie gets the hot tag for a big pop and is really aggressive once in the ring. The ending at least is great with Eddie launching Red into a top rope hurricanrana on Jose, Red follows it up with a dive on Joel, Eddie goes for a frogsplash but Joel moves out of the way, only for Eddie to catch him right in a sit-out powerbomb for the win. **1/2

    As the roster comes out the bid Eddie goodbye, BRIAN XL interrupts and challenges Eddie to a match. Eddie hits three suplexes and finally hits the Frog Splash to the delight of the crowd and pins him in twenty seconds. He then gets on the mic and gives a farewell speech.

    This was definitely the worst show I’ve seen on this rewatch so far. Low Ki/AJ was very good and the ending was nice feel good stuff, and they also advanced some storylines pretty well, but man was this undercard rough. 4.5/10

  10. #10
    Happy Fourth Of July.... Spudz Mackenzie's Avatar
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    The funniest bit of that whole Round Robin Challenge show was Guido/Nunzio/Maritado coming out for his match, and the literal second his toe steps through the curtain, some mutant yells "ECW!!!" loud enough to hear it from space.

    Also, wasn't the main event refereed by Ken Shamrock, or is that a different show?

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    yeah, danielson/low ki is main evented by shamrock.

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    Happy Fourth Of July.... Spudz Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tainted Eclipse View Post
    yeah, danielson/low ki is main evented by shamrock.
    Fun fact -- That was the first Ring of Honor show I ever watched.

    Hell of a way to start being a fan. Weirdly enough though, the entire undercard is a gigantic blank spot for me. Unless the DVD cut a lot of the underneath stuff down? I loved all three of the Round Robin matches and Spanky/Briscoe. Never would have imagined American Dragon being a big deal anywhere except a rec center in 2003. I thought Christopher Daniels had the biggest upside and the best potential for a major WWE run. Boy, I was wrong.

    Love these recaps bro, keep up the good work.

  13. #13
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudz Mackenzie View Post
    Fun fact -- That was the first Ring of Honor show I ever watched.

    Hell of a way to start being a fan. Weirdly enough though, the entire undercard is a gigantic blank spot for me. Unless the DVD cut a lot of the underneath stuff down? I loved all three of the Round Robin matches and Spanky/Briscoe. Never would have imagined American Dragon being a big deal anywhere except a rec center in 2003. I thought Christopher Daniels had the biggest upside and the best potential for a major WWE run. Boy, I was wrong.

    Love these recaps bro, keep up the good work.
    there was a distribution company or something that released some of ROH's early shows with a lot of the undercard edited down, they were sold in some stores unlike the ROH direct releases so you might have seen it from buying that. that's how i saw it first too.

  14. #14
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    Back in them days, it was said that if you wanted to be a wrestler, you couldn't just be a great in-ring performer, you had to have a gimmick... a personality... like Spanky

  15. #15
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re back in Philadelphia for ROAD TO THE TITLE, June 22nd, 2002. This show features of tournament with four four-man man blocks, two rounds each, with the four block winners advancing to a four-way hour-long ironman match for the ROH Title next show.

    BIOHAZARD vs. BRYAN DANIELSON starts us off. Quick, energetic match, good to start a tournament. Biohazard is in control early utilizing his size advantage, but ends up in over his head when he challenges Danielson to a strike exchange. Danielson gets the advantage, hits some strikes, then hits a reverse suplex into a Cattle Mutilation for the win. Danielson advances to the Block C finals. **1/2

    PAUL LONDON vs. SPANKY next. Good competitive match where pretty much everything looks really good. They start off with good, fast faced chain wrestling with some athletic dropkicks, armdrags and headsissors mixed in. Spanky does a particularly great looking hurricanrana. They start to trade bigger moves, neither man getting the advantage, until they botch some sort of spot off the top rope and London falls down on his head. Spanky tries to follow it up with a suplex but it looks like there was still some miscommunication and London sort of falls on his head again. Spanky goes for a moonsault but London avoids it, Spanky ducks a spinning heel kick and hits the Sliced Bread Number Two for the win. Fun early tournament match. Spank advanced to the Block B finals. ***1/4

    JAY BRISCOE vs. DOUG WILLIAMS. Commentary hypes up Williams as a big name in the UK. Williams show off his technical superiority and generally is in control for most of the match. Briscoe is able to hit a powerbomb and a top rope legdrop, but Williams responds with stiff European uppercuts and then hits his Chaos Theory, the rolling German suplex for the win. Big pop for the move. Solid, short tournament match. Williams advanced to the Block C finals where he’ll meet Bryan Danielson. **1/2. Mark Briscoe isn’t happy that Jay takes another loss.

    JONNY STORM vs. JODY FLEISCH next. Fun spotfest, good length for what they were doing. Lots of fast rope-running exchanges, a couple big dives, a roll-up trading sequence, and then they move on to a couple big moves. There are some awkward botches but nothing that detracts from the match too much. Jonny Storm hits a nice backward springboard hurricanrana from the second rope. Fleisch follows it up with his 720 DDT but Storm gets the ropebreak. Storm goes for the same hurricanrana but Fleisch turns it into a powerbomb for the win. Fleisch advances to the finals of Block B to face Spanky. ***

    PRINCE NANA vs. LOW KI next. Nana ambushes Low Ki as he gets into the ring and dominates for the first couple minutes, hitting some big ass strikes to the head. Low Ki dodges one and follows up with a NASTY jumping kick to the head. Nana is out and the ref calls the match as people come from the back to attend to Nana. Very short match with a big ending. Low Ki advances to the Block D finals. **

    XAVIER vs. AMAZING RED. This is a super fun sprint. Just big move after big move, but it’s really well put together and everything looks great. Xavier is actually pretty impressive with the power moves, tossing Red all the way across the ring to start off and later hitting a nasty powerbomb. Red’s big spots almost all come off without a hitch, which is certainly not always the case. Red hits a Trouble in Paradise style spin kick, follows with a big twisting senton off the top rope where he lands nasty on Xavier, and then a standing SSP for the win. Good stuff. Red advances to the Block D finals to face Low Ki. ***1/4. Backstage, Christopher Daniels is very disappointed in Xavier, who he hoped would take out Low Ki.

    CHRSTIPHER DANIELS vs. SCOOT ANDREWS next. Pre-match, Daniels gets on the mic and for the first time announcer that he’s putting together a group called The Prophecy to destroy Ring of Honor, and announced Simply Luscious as the first member. Andrews storms the ring and attacks Daniels to start the match. Andrews hits some moves and generally has the advantage, but Daniels catches him in the STO and hits the Triple Jump Moonsault for the win. Decent, fast match. Daniels advances to the Block A finals. **1/4

    After the match, Simply Luscious gets in Scoot Andrews’ face and dares him to hit her; Andrews says that The Black Nature Boy would never hit a woman, but introduces Sumie Sakai. So, SIMPLY LUSCIOUS vs. SUMIE SAKAI is an impromptu match. The match isn’t very good, but at least it’s short. Sumie wins with a moonsault. *1/2

    AJ STYLES vs. JERRY LYNN is our last match of round one. This is the longest match of the first round at around fifteen minutes. They work hard and have a solid enough match, but it’s not very exciting. AJ works the arm for a while and does hit some cool looking Dragon Screw-type moves on the arm. They trade moves for a while including a long roll-up sequence. Styles hits the Spiral Tap but Lynn kicks out. About a minute later Styles reverses a Cradle Piledriver attempt into the Styles Clash for the win. Styles advances to the Block A finals to take on Christopher Daniels. **1/2

    SPANKY vs. JODY FLEISCH in the finals of Block B. Good, quick, short match. Lots of counters and rope running and such. Fleisch hits a crazy springboard moonsault to the outside and takes out a barricade. He goes for the 720 DDT but Spanky avoids it, follows up with a roll-up for the nearfall and then hits the Sliced Bread Number Two for the win. Spanky advances to the ROH Title match next show. At only about five minutes this feels more like a short early-tournament match than one of the four finals, but I kind of like that in the sense that it’s unexpected, and it was a fun match. ***

    DOUG WILLIAMS vs. BRYAN DANIELSON in the finals of Block C. They work this as a face off between two technical masters, with Williams even having something of an advantage in the area which is usually Danielson’s advantage. Later into the match they have a good strike exchange and are really selling the exhaustion well. Doug Williams is able to hit the Chaos Theory, but Danielson kicks out! Once back on his feet, Danielson is able to hit two big kicks and a top rope back suplex. He tries to follow it up with the Cattle Mutilation but Williams powers out of it into a reverse suplex and rolls it over into a pin for the win. In something of an upset, Doug Williams advances to the ROH Title match. ***1/4

    AMAZING RED vs. LOW KI in the Block D finals. This is a legendary match for the first minute or so of action, and very deservedly so. They have an insane exchange martial arts movie style strike exchange sequence that puts to shame all the highly choreographed counter and reversal sequences you see in wrestling today. But even beyond that this match is outstanding. Just great spot after great spot, and not only are they spots, but they’re set up well, executed beautifully and they actually make it feel like a competitive fight. Low Ki is a killer with his strikes and Red is great getting his ass beat and occasionally hitting the big hope spot. Even when Low Ki whiffs a major spot, they’re actually able to recover it and turn it into something even better. Low Ki ends up getting the win with a Ki Crusher off the top rope. I especially like how Low Ki was himself laying on the mat for several seconds before he could crawl over and cover Red, but still got the win; another great way of putting over a top rope finisher. Classic match. Low Ki advances to the ROH Title match. ****1/4

    AJ STYLES vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS in the finals of Block A. They start off slow until while they’re fighting on the apron, Daniels hits a low blow on Styles and shoves him into the barricade, busting him open. Daniels works over the cut for a while before they starts trading big moves. They have a good home stretch with some nice counters, Daniels countering a Styles Clash into an ankle lock was an especially good spot; Styles also takes a nasty bump off an STO. Styles hits the springboard backflip into the reverse DDT attempt, but Daniels turns it around into a Last Rites for the win. Good main event. Longest match of the night and they worked it in a big match style. Christopher Daniels advances to the ROH Title match. ***1/2

    To close the show, Spanky, Doug Williams, Low Ki and Christopher Daniels gather in the ring to see the unveiling of the ROH Title belt.

    This was definitely the best ROH show of 2002 so far. We had a real classic in Red/Low Ki, a number of other good matches, and even the matches that weren’t all that good were part of a tournament, and I always love a tournament; and nothing was bad, most matches were at least short, fast paced, fun tournament matches. 8/10

  16. #16
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    What a stacked show. One dream match after another. Even Briscoe/Williams would one day be a main event calibre match.

  17. #17
    World Champion Murphy's Avatar
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    I sold that DVD on eBay about 3 months ago. Got £3.

  18. #18
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re in Philadelphia again for CROWNING A CHAMPION, July 27th, 2002.

    PRINCE NANA and JACOB LADDER vs. CHRISTIAN YORK and JOEY MATTHEWS stats us off. Nana and Ladder attack York and Matthews right at the bell and get in some offense. York and Matthews hit Nana with a double team enzighiri and Nana bails, leaving them to finish off Ladder with a sort of double team legdrop for the win. Nothing match. *1/2

    MICHAEL SHANE and BIOHAZARD vs. PAUL LONDON and DON JUAN, with the winner of the fall getting a contract with ROH. This match is sort of a mess. London smacks the floor hard on a dive and seems sort of out of it for a while. Shane pins Don Juan while London pins Biohazard at the same time, but the ref awards the match to Michael Shane. *3/4. Shane and London fight post-match. London misses an SSP and Shane misses an elbow drop before the rest of the TWA break them up.

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM next. These teams had words on the last show so they have heat. Divine actually hits some good power moves on the much larger members of Da Hit Squad, including a great looking spinebuster on Maff. Maff later squashes him with a frog splash off the top rope. Maff spears Quiet Storm out of the ring leaving Monsta Mack to counter a headsissors attempt by Divine into a powerbomb for the win. Decent enough match. **1/4

    JAY BRISCOE vs. JAMES MARITATO. Seems to take a while for these guys to get on the same page. Maritato has some pretty amusing selling of some big moves later in the match. Mark Briscoe walks out while Jay is in control. Jay gets distracted and Maritato hits the Kiss of Death for the win. Just not a very interesting match. **

    THE NATURAL BORN SINNERS vs. THE CARNAGE CREW in a Bunkhouse Brawl. The Sinners attacked Loc on the first show, so he’s called in Devito to get even. Finally, something good on this show! Really fun brawl. All four guys are busted open about a minute. STIFF chair shots all around. Homicide and Devito are the stars of this match, having an awesome brawl with each other on the outside. Devito puts some barbed wire over Homicide and hits him with a moonsault. Homicide comes back with his tope con hilo onto Loc and Boogalou wraps barbed wire around the mouth of Devito and pulls back for the submission win. Good garbage brawl. ***1/4

    AJ STYLES vs. DAVID YOUNG vs. ADAM JACOBS, elimination three way for AJ’s TNA X Division title. Decent spotfest, just move after move after move. Starts off well. David Young hits a nice Asai moonsault for his size. Styles eliminates Young with the Spiral Tap. Styles block a top rope hurricanrana attempt from Jacobs and hits the Styles Clash off the second rope for the win. **1/2

    LOW KI vs. SPANKY vs. DOUG WILLIAMS vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS in a four-way ironman match to crown the first ever ROH Champion. This match has a point system, where the man winning a fall gets two points and the man losing a fall loses one point. This is an ROH style four-way with two men legal at once. They open the match doing technical exchange with each other, Doug Williams having some particularly good exchanges with Low Ki, Spanky and Daniels in a row to start out. Daniels is constantly evading Low Ki, tagging out whenever they’re in the ring together and occasionally taunting him or hitting a cheap shot while he’s on the apron. Spanky and Williams start to work over Low Ki’s leg and Daniels finally starts tagging in with Low Ki in the ring, but only to go after his leg and quickly tag out. Spanky tags in Low Ki while Daniels is legal, Daniels quickly turns to try to tag out to Williams but Williams hops off the apron. Low Ki finally has Daniels in the ring and unloads with stiff strikes, but Daniels ducks one and hits a nasty chop block. Williams and Spanky get in the ring and the four trade some of their big moves back and forth for the first time. Low Ki goes for the Tidal Wave kick on Daniels but Daniels again counters it with a nice chop block and hits the Last Rites to score the first fall about twenty-five minutes in. Daniels is at 2 points, Low Ki at -1, Williams and Spanky at 0. The match slows down and does get a bit dull for a while after this. Low Ki is out on the floor recovering and the other three go back and forth. Williams hits the Chaos Theory on Spanky but Daniels breaks it up. Daniels gets Williams in the Koji Clutch and Low Ki reintroduces himself into the match by breaking it up with a double stomp. The match picks up again from here with Low Ki and Williams having a good exchange. Spanky sneakily tags Williams without Williams’ noticing. Williams goes for the Chaos Theory but Low Ki backflips out of it, right into a Dragon Clutch onto Spanky who was standing behind them! Low Ki wrenches back on it and Spanky taps. Nice spot. Low Ki gets the second fall at about forty minutes. Daniels is still at 2 points, Low Ki now at 1, Williams at 0 and Spanky at -1. The selling is good in the last minutes. All three guys go back and forth trying to get another fall. Spanky hits the Sliced Bread Numbers Two on Williams but Daniels breaks up the pin. While Daniels and Spanky are fighting, Low Ki capitalizes and hits the Phoenix Splash on Williams and gets the third fall at around fifty minutes. Low Ki is now at 3, Daniels at 2, Williams and Spanky both at -1. All four guys trade big moves back and forth toward the end. Spanky hits Williams with a dive over the top and Williams responds with a big DDT on the floor, leaving Low Ki and Daniels alone for the last couple minutes. They go back and forth and in the last minute Daniels catches Low Ki in his own Dragon Clutch. Low Ki struggles and teases a tap, bringing the crowd to their feet. As the last seconds count down, Low Ki flips Daniels over and hits him with his own Last Rites as time expires. Low Ki wins the match on points and becomes the first ever ROH Champion. Really good match. It stayed entertaining for almost the whole match, good sense of progression, some good moments. Never really super exciting but it kept the crowd’s attention and went by fast for an hour. ***3/4

    The main event was good, as was the Bunkhouse Brawl, and crowning the first ROH Champ is a big deal so the show has historical value. But man, much of the rest of the show was not good at all. Even though the matches were short it dragged. But still, more than a third of the show was the main event, which was good. 6/10 is about right overall.

  19. #19
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    18 years after ROH began and Homicide is still being congratulated for "garbage" brawling

  20. #20
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    i love good garbage brawling and wish it would come back. when was the last time we saw a good garbage style brawl in a major promotion? that one random multi-man tag match with tommy dreamer on RAW a few years ago?

  21. #21
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    Seth and Becky went all out on Corbin and Lacey Evans last year, but that was mostly those cheap singapore canes that break real easy.

    Nowadays the big "weapon" is a door set up on chairs instead of a table. It's quite garbage, no pun intended.

    In January Casanova Valentine pulled out a nail studded dildo on Homicide. Everyone should see what Homicide did to him for pulling that shit...

  22. #22
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    For the very first time we’re venturing outside of Philadelphia to Wakerfield, Massachusetts for HONOR INVADES BOSTON, August 24th, 2002. With around 500 fans in attendance, this is also ROH’s biggest crowd yet.

    AMAZING RED vs. QUIET STORM starts us off. This is a truly historic match. Not only is it the first ever ROH match outside of Philadelphia, but it is, as far as I know, the first ever attestation of the Canadian Destroyer, which Quiet Storm hits on Red. Fun enough match, more smooth than most of these lucha-inspired early ROH matches tend to be. Still pretty cooperative looking, but a decent, short opener. Red wins with the Infrared followed by the standing SSP. A very hot crowd reacting to everything helped this as well. **3/4.

    Post match, both men are attacked by SPECIAL K, making their first appearance in ROH as a group. The SAT and Chris Divine come out to save Red and Storm, leading to DIXIE, IZZY and BRIAN XL vs. THE SAT and CHRIS DIVINE. This is the first of the Special K scramble tags which would go on to be a mainstay of the ROH undercard for a long time to come. It would take them a couple months to really polish this kind of match, and this being the first it’s prone to the flaws these matches were full of for a while. Lots of sloppiness and botches, lots of over-ambitious spots that they don’t have the skill to pull off. Still, as usual, there are a number of visually impressive individual spots here. Izzy hits a beautiful springboard twisting shooting star press to the outside. After a series of big moves from the top rope the SAT win it with the Spanish Fly on Brian XL. Again, the crowd was really appreciative of everything and hot for the whole match. **1/4

    After the match, Chris Divine gets on the mic and says he wants to test himself and find out just how good he is – he asks Low Ki for an impromptu non-title match. Low Ki comes out and we have CHRIS DIVINE vs. LOW KI. Divine gets a couple chops off early on but Low Ki fires back with kicks, the Tidal Crush, and the Dragon Sleeper for the submission win in just under a minute. Not worth rating, but I like how it establishes a hierarchy with the ROH champ being clearly several levels above an undercard guy.

    DUNN AND MARCOS vs. THE CHRISTOPHER STREET CONNECTION next. CSC work pretty stiff on Dunn and Marcos, in between suggestively fondling them. Dunn and Marcos get a little bit of offense before getting cut off again, and CSC hits the Gay Basher on Dunn for the win. *3/4

    SCOOT ANDREWS vs. MIKE TOBIN next. Pretty much a competitive squash. Andrews is in control for a while, Tobin gets a bit of offense, and then Scoot finishes it with the pumphandle piledriver. *1/2

    Xavier comes out afterward and challenges Andrews to finally settle the sort of rivalry they’ve had since the first show. XAVIER vs. SCOOT ANDREWS. Quick match, they keep it entertaining enough by busting out some big offense. Xavier debuts his crazy dive where he jumps off the top rope into an asai moonsault to the outside. Back in the ring they go back and forth until Xavier hits a Razor’s Edge followed by the 450 splash for the win. **1/4

    MICHAEL SHANE vs. PAUL LONDON next. Since winning the ROH contract, Michael Shane has been cocky, acting like he’s above all his TWA comrades. This is the most London’s been showcased so far and he comes across really well, hitting a nice backflip dropkick and a really good tope. Shane pushes him off the top rope and he takes a wild bump to the outside, crashing down and breaking one of the barricades. They go back and forth in the ring for awhile until London hits a great looking asai front flip to the outside. Shane pretends to have a leg injury, playing off when London hit a dive on someone on one of the first shows and the guy ended up breaking his leg catching him. London rolls Shane into the ring but the ref backs him up. Rudy Boy Gonzalez checks on Shane and calls from the trainers to come out to assist him – but with everyone distracted, Shane grabs a small package on London for the sneaky win. Great heat for that ending. The match itself was pretty good, but the whole thing with the angle at the end did a lot of Shane and London as characters. **3/4. Simply Luscious comes out afterward with an offer from Christopher Daniels for Shane to join the Prophecy. But Shane superkicks her, then superkicks Rudy Boy, and hits a top rope elbow on London for good measure.

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. DONOVAN MORGAN next. Good, competitive technical match. They have a good technical exchange in the beginning and the match gets more and more hard hitting as it goes on. The big moves they bust out toward the end of the match all look good. Danielson kicks out of Morgan’s swinging fisherman’s buster and is soon later able to lock in the Cattle Mutilation, but the fifteen minute time limit expires! ROH’s first time limit draw. The crowd chants for five more minutes but they don’t get it. A clean win over Christopher Daniels and then a draw with Danielson, Morgan is getting put over really strong in his first two matches. ***1/4. Danielson goes for the post-match handshake, but Morgan hits him with the Angel’s Wings, being a member of the Prophecy now.

    THE CARNAGE CREW vs. DA HIT SQUAD in a Boston Massacre Match. A very fun garbage match, as you could expect from these guys. Barbed wire comes into play early and all guys bleed. Devito and Maff face off for much of the match and are really good together. The Carnage Crew drive Da Hit Squad out of the ring with chairs. DHS walks down the entrance way through the curtain to boos from the fans, but emerge carrying two plywood boards covered in barbed wire. They set them up in the ring corners and tease spots around them for a while before Monsta Mack is whipped into one. Shortly after, Maff spears Devito through the other in a nasty spoke, Maff really dives headfirst into the barbed wire. Maff works his way up and finds Loc to hit him with a Burning Hammer for the win. ***

    BIOHAZARD vs. DON JAUN next. Short match. The moves were executed decently enough, but the whole thing felt like two trainees having a practice match, which I guess it sort of was. *1/2

    MAVERICK WILD vs. ALEX ARION next. These are two local New England guys given a showcase by ROH. This starts off with a very, very, very slopping rollup exchange. The execution gets more competent as the match goes on, but it never really gets good. Arion ends up winning with a forward rollup. *1/2

    JAMES MARITATO and TONY MAMALUKE vs. THE NATURAL BORN SINNERS next. The Sinners actually work technical to match Maritato and Mamaluke for the whole match. There are some decent moments here but overall I found it boring and too long, but competently executed. Homicide pins Mamaluke with the Cop Killa. **

    MARK BRISCOE vs. JAY BRISCOE next. This has been building up for the whole year. Mark is still only seventeen so can’t wrestle in Pennsylvania; he’s been accompanying Jay to the ring but has been expressing his frustration with his brother’s losing streak. After walking out on Jay’s last match causing him to be distracted and lose, Jay challenged him to this match in Boston where Mark can legally wrestle. They start trading slaps right after the opening handshake and work a nice mat wrestling sequence. Mark does a really sweet amateur wrestling style move when Jay goes in for the leg, and Jay later hits some stiff crossfaces. They fight on the outside and Mark gets control, busting Jay open on the ringpost. Mark works over the cut for a while, and back in the ring hits an awesome spinning heel kick followed up by a great looking hurricanrana into mounted punches. Jay works over the right hand when he’s back in control – I really like that idea, working over the right hand of the guy who’s working your cut over with punches. Jay starts to work over Mark’s leg and Mark is really great selling it, working some good spots where it affects his ability to dive and hit springboard moves. The homestretch is really good, they hit their big moves really well and work some smart sequences. Very evenly matched and the selling is very good. They go back and forth teasing their finishing moves but Mark is able to evade the Jay Driller and hit the Cutthroat Driver for the upset win in his very first match. Really good match. These guys definitely distinguished themselves above everyone else on the midcard in ROH at this point. ***3/4

    LOW KI vs. AJ STYLES in the first ever defense of the ROH Title. These guys had a match on the third show with Low Ki winning in controversial fashion, with a roll-up that AJ arguably kicked out of right before the three count. They open up with really good match wrestling, very tight and competitive with some creative stuff. They mix in some stiff kicks and strikes. When they start trading bigger moves this is like a better version of their match earlier in the year, with a feeling more of a real competitive fight than just an exhibition of great looking moves, though the moves still do look great. Lots of stiff strikes and the selling is really good, they’re really able to make this feel like a match that does justice to being the first ever title defense. AJ hits a really nice jumping forearm to Low Ki who’s hung upside down in the corner. The ending is great with AJ unleashing a furious series of stiff strikes on Low Ki, whipping him off the ropes and goes for a hurricanarana, but Low Ki turns it into a brutal powerbomb. He tries to follow up with the Dragon Sleeper but AJ struggles with it, trying to counter it, but Low Ki ends up with AJ in the Ki Crusher position and hits it for the win and the first successful title defense. ***3/4

    This show really could have cut a lot of fat off of the undercard and been a lot better for it. Still, the undercard comes off better than it seems on paper because it flowed well enough, had a decent variety, and was in front of a very appreciative crowd. Still, a lot of it could have been done without. Still there were a couple good matches on the undercard, and the show ends on a very high note with two great matches. This show also got a lot of angles advanced. 7/10

  23. #23
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    Oh Michael Shane, shunning handshakes and dropping elbows for good measure, why couldn't mr. HIggenbottom get you a good job w/ WWE (where many men flounder)?

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    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re back in Philadelphia for UNSCRIPTED, September 21st, 2002. This show will feature an eight team tournament to crown the first ever ROH Tag Team Champions. Also on this show the commentary team that has been with us thus far of Steve Corino and Donny B is replaced with the team that will man the booth for a long time going forward, Gabe Sapolsky under the name Chris Lovey, and Ray Murrow.

    The show opens up with Paul London in the ring. He was schedule to compete in the tag tournament with Spanky as his partner, but Spanky was unable to make it to the show. He says Bryan Danielson will be his partner instead. Danielson comes out, but soon afterward does Michael Shane as well, who gets on the mic and badmouths London. Shane slaps London and London fights back, driving him out of the ring, and then ascends to the top rope and hits a wild shooting star press to the outside. The crowd goes nuts for that. London apologizes to Danielson, because he’s now skipping the tournament to challenge Michael Shane to a street fight. He tells Shane to bring whatever he wants, because he’s bringing this – and brings out a ladder from underneath the ring. He sets up the ladder and climbs to the top, taunting Shane. Crow is going crazy and chanting London’s name. Talk about getting over.

    THE SAT vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and DONOVAN MORGAN is the first match of the tag tournament. The SAT run wild at first but Daniels and Morgan slow it down by getting in control and working over Joel. Three men end up on the outside and Joel goes for a running dive, but gets tripped up by Simply Luscious. Some random woman I can’t identify comes out from the back and climbs up to the top rope to hit a moonsault onto Luscious and Daniels, then carries Luscious out to the back. Back in the ring the SAT get in control, setting up Daniels for a Spanish fly. Morgan pulls Jose off but Joel is still able to hit the move. Morgan breaks up the pin and throws Joel outside. Daniels hits Jose with an enzighiri and Morgan follows up with a sit-out pedigree type move for the win. Daniels and Morgan advance. Decent opening tag. **1/2

    JAMES MARITATO and TONY MAMALUKE vs. DICK TOGO and IKUTO HIDAKA in a tournament match. Maritato and Mamaluke are still in conflict over whether they should embrace or reject their old FBI roots. Maritato and Hidaka have a good opening sequence. Maritato does a lot of fun bumping throughout the match. Mamaluke hits a really great looking dragon screw on Hidaka. Unfortunately Togo isn’t in the match as much as I wish he were, but his stuff looks good whenever he is. All four men trade moves toward the end until Hidaka takes Maritato out and Togo hits Mamaluke with the pedigree followed by top rope senton for the win. Togo and Hidaka advance. ***

    Gary Michael Capetta comes out to interview Mamaluke and Maritato about their differences. The two end up arguing. Maritato challenges Mamaluke to a match at the next show, but Mamaluke says why wait. So we have TONY MAMALUKE vs. JAMES MARITATO. Match starts off quick with Mamaluke hitting a belly to belly suplex and going for a Russian legsweep off the apron, but Maritato holds onto the ropes and Mamaluke takes out the guardrail. Outside Maritato goes after Mamaluke with the ringbell, but Mamaluke drop toeholds him into it, busting him open. Maritato gets some offense back in the ring but Mamaluke hits him with a low blow and rolls him up. Maritato is able to grab the ropes but the ref is out of position and counts him down anyway, giving Mamaluke the cheap win. Very short match and they kept things moving. **1/4

    CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM vs. BRYAN DANIELSON and MIKE MODEST in the tag tournament. Modest is a gaijin from NOAH. Danielson does some technical wrestling with Divine and Storm to start off and the two do not turn in good performances. Danielson is able to work a nice sequence around an arm scissors with Divine though. Modest tags in and kills Divine with stiff forearms and the match gets better from here. Danielson and Storm have a decent strike exchange on the outside while Divine and Modest fight in the ring. Divine hits a great brainbuster and goes to the top rope, but Modest cuts him off and hits a bridging Fisherman’s Suplex from the top rope for the win. **1/2

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. THE NATURAL BORN SINNERS is the next scheduled match in the tournament, but the Carnage Crew attack Da Hit Squad on their way to the ring and lay them out with chair shots and hubcap shots. They had also attacked the Sinners in the back. The Carnage Crew are angry they’re not part of the tournament. The match can’t take place, so it’s ruled a no-contest with Danielson and Modest advancing to the finals automatically.

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and DONOVAN MORGAN vs. IKUTO HIDAKA and DICK TOGO in the semi-finals. Good match. They go back and forth for a while in the beginning until Daniels and Morgan isolate Hidaka. Hidaka comes back with a springboard DDT and tags in Togo and they all have a really good homestretch. Lots of big moves and nearfalls. Daniels hits the Angel’s Wings on Hidaka but he’s able to kick out. After some more spots, Danielson catches Hidaka with the STO near the ropes – close enough for Morgan who’s on the floor to hold down his legs allowing Daniels to get the cheap win off the STO. Daniels and Morgan advance. ***1/4

    ALEX ARION vs. DUNN next. Dunn in a singles match! This was supposed to be Dunn and Marcos vs. Arion and Nana, but Nana still can’t wrestle due to the concussion he got from Low Ki. Quick squash, Arion wins with a top rope splash. Not worth rating. Nana offers Arion the opportunity to be his servant post-match, but Arion superkicks him instead.

    LOW KI vs. XAVIER for the ROH Title. Xavier? Well, before the match at Crowning a Champion, Xavier asked Low Ki if he would give him a title shot if he won, and after Low Ki defended against AJ Styles on the last show, Xavier reiterated his challenge in the back. Xavier’s had a pretty solid record starting out, and has respected the Code of Honor, so Low Ki accepted his challenge. This match actually starts out pretty good as they trade very stiff chops, kicks and other assorted strikes. Eventually the match becomes very unfocused, and they go very long, so the match definitely deteriorates. But still, Low Ki busts out a super stiff kick or chop every now and then, so it stays interesting to some extent. About twenty minutes in, Christopher Daniels slowly and quietly walks down the entrance way. Xavier focuses his attack on Low Ki’s injured ankle, but misses a 450 Splash. With Xavier down, Low Ki notices Christopher Daniels. He walks up to Daniels to confront him, but Xavier comes from behind and takes his knee out with a chop block. Xavier and Daniels stare at each other for striking a post together. They’re in cahoots! Daniels sets a big concrete slab used to hold the ring barricades on top of Low Ki’s body and Xavier drives it into Low Ki’s ribs with a chair. Low Ki slowly, and I meanly slowly, crawls back into the ring while coughing up blood. Once he rolls his body under the ropes and into the ring, Xavier comes off the top with his 450 Splash – and wins! XAVIER is the new Ring of Honor Champion! The crowd is in stunned silence, a few booing, a few cheering. Simply Luscious and Donovan Morgan come out with an ROH banner and drape it over Low Ki’s lifeless body while Xavier poses over him with the ROH belt. Well, the match wasn’t good, and Xavier winning the title is an infamously strange move. But it sure is a big moment. **

    TAKAO OMORI vs. SONNY SIAKI next. Kind of a dull match. Probably well placed because the crowd was going to be distracted after that title change, so put on a match that’s really just extraneous to any of the angles going on without any full time ROH guys. Omori ends up winning with a piledriver variation. *1/2

    CM PUNK comes out to the ring, making his first appearance in ROH. The crowd chants his name as he’s already hot on the indies. Punk’s glad wrestling is back in Philadelphia and announces that he’s debuting in ROH in November. Colt Cabana comes out an announces he’s coming to ROH too.

    JAY BRISCOE vs. AMAZING RED in a rematch of the first official ROH match. In a pre-match interview Jay is DETERMINED not to lose in ROH anymore. Mark offers to manage Red, but Red superkicks him before heading out to the ring. The first half of this match is BAD. They do some mat wrestling, rope running exchanges and strike exchanges, and boy are they not on the same page. Bad, awkward looking stuff. The match gets a bit better when Red hits a tilt-a-whirl reverse DDT, but it’s still not very good. The match redeems itself at the very end though. Red hits a Code Red off the top rope and a standing SSP for a big nearfall. Crowd goes crazy for that. Red tries to follow it up with another Code Red but Jay blocks it, flips Red forward onto the back of his head, hits a nasty powerbomb and then a Jay Driller for the win. Really good ending but a really rough match before that. **. Post match Special K come in to attack Red, but the SAT come out to take out Special K, and hit Elax with the Spanish Fly.

    PAUL LONDON vs. MICHAEL SHANE in a Street Fight. London starts off hot but Michael Shane spears him while he’s trying to skin the cat in a cool spot. London gets a chair out from under the ring and Shane dives over the top rope and flips onto London holding the chair. They go back and forth with the big spots from here on out, both men bringing out ladders and hitting each other with them. London headsissors Shane through a table on the outside. It’s a fine enough spotfest for most of the match but it’s the last couple minutes that make this one of the legendary matches of Golden Age ROH. London hits a crazy move, running up a ladder leaning against the turnbuckle and hitting a flip off of it to the outside. Huge pop for that one and one of the spots that ROH would have on highlight videos and such for a long time to come. Back in the ring London tries to leapfrog off a ladder onto Shane but Shane catches him in a powerbomb in another great looking spot. London kicks out of Shane’s elbow and Shane kicks out of London’s Shooting Star Press. Shane hits an elbow off the top of a ladder but London kicks out again. Shane tries to ascend the ladder again but London knocks him off it with a kick, and then ascends up the rickety, twisted ladder himself as the crowd famously chants “please don’t die,” and comes off the top of it with a Shooting Star Press for the win. Crowd goes absolutely nuts for that finish and give both guys a long standing ovation post-match. In one night London went from a low-profile TWA guy on the undercard to maybe the hottest guy on the indies and established a crowd connection that made him arguably the most popular ROH wrestler until he signed with WWE next year. The match is a solid spotfest with some outstanding spots at the end, but the implications of this match make it special. ***3/4. Post match Shane pretends the shake London’s hand and congratulate him, but instead attacks him to big heat.

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and DONOVAN MORGAN vs. BRYAN DANIELSON and MIKE MODEST in the finals to crown the first ever ROH Tag Team Champions. Pretty good final. Daniels and Morgan work over Danielson in the beginning and go after his knee. Morgan gets the hot tag and all four guys trade some moves. Daniels hits a beautiful Arabian press; Danielson hits him with a tope right after but Danielson hurts his knee more off of it. Back in the ring the four guys trade more moves and nearfalls. Danielson sets Daniels up on the top for a back suplex, but Morgan grabs his leg, allowing Daniels to land on top of him. Danielson bridges out of the pin but he bridges right into position for Daniels to hit the Last Rites for the win. Daniels and Morgan are the first ever ROH tag champs. ***. Post match, Danielson and Morgan destroy the trophy presented to Daniels and Morgan. But The Prophecy, led by Christopher Daniels, still now control all the titles in Ring of Honor.

    One thing you can’t say about this show is that it was uneventful. This wasn’t a great show by any stretch of the imagination, but damn did a lot happen. XAVIER becomes ROH champion, the first tag champs are crowned in a tournament, London and Shane have one of the legendary matches of ROH history making London an instant star, CM Punk makes his first appearance, the commentary team that would be with us for a long time to come also debut. This show felt LONG, though it’s the same length as all the other shows so far. Not necessarily in a bad way, just the way the show is paced combined with all the stuff going on. 6/10

  25. #25
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    As junky as a lot of ROH cards had a tendency to be, this one seems indie as all get out. Modest and Morgan in the main event seems like something that was supposed to be memorable, but Xavier, London, and Shane totally stole the show. I honestly can't remember anything else on the show, even Dick Togo in ROH seems like a blur. Mamaluke vs Maritato on the undercard? Seems like all this was missing is Scoot Andrews. Where the hell was Scoot?

  26. #26
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    Scoot might be pretty much gone at this point. I think he just showed up once in an inconsequential undercard performance through all of 2003. Gabe on commentary kept pushing the “unscripted” title of the show because of all the problems they had getting the show together, which could explain the especially jankiness of this one.

  27. #27
    Happy Fourth Of July.... Spudz Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Bruce Prichard ruined Dick Togo for me.

    Not that Dickie's a bad wrestler. But ever since I heard Brother Brucie call him "Dick To Go", I can't help but have to laugh. Hard to take him seriously.

  28. #28
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    I don't think Togo takes himself that seriously either. Honestly I was scared as hell when he and the gang kept attacking TAKA (and I didn't really believe Bradshaw could save him). If Togo wanted, he could probably muscle his way to the top of any promotion. Dick To-go should be huge in the States...

  29. #29
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    Weíre still in Philadelphia for GLORY BY HONOR, October 5th, 2002. This is the first of any of the events that would go on to be ROHís yearly big shows and is being billed as the biggest ROH show yet, scheduled to feature the much-hyped debut of Samoa Joe, as well as Steve Corinoís in-ring debut.

    THE SAT vs. CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM vs. IZZY and DIXIE vs. HOMICIDE starts us off. Homicide is alone because his regular partner Boogalou got taken out last show. A usual opening scramble tag. Pretty good spotfest, less botches than normal for these kind of matches at this point. Non stop moves and spots. Good dive sequence featuring a wild corkscrew moonsault from Izzy. Homicide ends up hitting Izzy with the Cop Killa and then locking the STF on Dixie for the submission victory. Homicide wins the match by himself, setting him up for his transition to becoming one of the top singles wrestlers in the company. **3/4

    After the match, the Backsteat Boyz run in through the crowd! The crowd pops big as theyíre top stars in CZW. ROH and CZW have started promoting shows together, but Gabe says there isnít any talent exchange agreement, so this might be the only ROH vs. CZW match ever. The Backseats say they wanted to challenge the winner of this match but Homicide doesnít have a partner. Homicide says heíll team with anyone in the back willing to come out, and out comes Steve Corino. So we get THE BACKSEAT BOYZ vs. HOMICIDE and STEVE CORINO. Good match. No tags as itís somewhat being contested under CZW rules. Fast pace, lots of back and forth, non stop action. Homicide hits a beautiful tope con hilo on Trent. All four guys trade lots of moves and nearfalls. Corino hits Kashmere with a suplex off the top rope and Homicide follows it up with a headbutt off the top and covers him, but Corino pushes him off because he wants the pin for himself! Kashmere kicks out. Right after this, Kashmere ducks as Homicide goes for an elbow strike and he hits Corino by mistake! Corino responds with a superkick to Homicide and walks out, leaving him alone for the Backseat Boyz to hit the T Gimmick for the win. ***. The Homicide/Corino feud begins.

    CHRISTOPHER STREET CONNECTION and ALLISON DANGER vs. CHRISTIAN YORK, JOEY MATTHEWS and ALEXIS LAREE. Very gimmicky match but not really entertaining. Laree eventually gets some offense on the CSC but they are able to get back in control and hit her with the Gay Basher and let Allison pin her for the win. *1/4

    JAMES MARITATO vs. TONY MAMALUKE next. Maritato has a promo pre-match where he talks about his history with the FBI gimmick and how his career can only advance if he leaves it behind him. The match is for control of the FBI gimmick, if Mamaluke wins it continues, but if Maritato wins itís dead forever. This match is not good. The technical/mat wrestling stuff they start out with is bad, and as the match progresses it just stays dull with a lot of awkward spots. These guys just werenít on the same page at all. Mamaluke wins it with a superplex into a front guillotine. *1/2

    IKUTO HIDAKA vs. AMAZING RED. These guys have a good, fast paced match. Lots of high flying spots, some donít come off too well, but enough do for it to be good and have a nice competitive feel. The ending couple minutes are really good. They have a good roll up sequence. Red hits a really cool Code Red where he slingshots over the ropes into it. Hidaka goes for a powerbomb but Red turns it into a facebuster, hits the Infrared and his heel comes down right on Hidakaís face, immediately swelling it. Red following it up with the standing SPP for the win. ***1/4

    FAST EDDIE vs. DON JUAN for Eddieís EWA TV title from TWA. Unexpectedly good three or four minute sprint. Fast Eddie looks especially good with a nice spinning heel kick, German suplex and big Asai moonsault. Don Juan takes a big bump through the ropes to the outside. No downtime here as they just trade moves back and forth, but theyíre able to make it feel like a fast paced competitive match. Eddie wins with a backflip fall away slam off the second rope. **3/4

    After the match, Michael Shane and Biohazard come out to attack Eddie and Juan. Rudy Boy Gonzalez gets in the ring to back Shane and Biohazard off, but out comes Steve Corino. Corino had been badmouthing Rudy Boy on commentary all year, and now runs him down on the mic. Rudy grabs the mic and challenges him to a match, leading to STEVE CORINO vs. RUDY BOY GONZALEZ in a Texas Death match. Rudy Boy attacks Corino with the mic and Corino bleeds big right away. Rudy Boy is bleeding soon after as they fight on the floor. Good brawl with nice strikes and plenty of blood. Rudy Boy takes some nice bumps on the floor. Corino eventually gets Rudy Boy in the Cobra Clutch. Rudy Boyís hand falls three times and he then canít answer the 10 count under Texas Death Match rules, giving Corino the win. ***. Corino, Shane and Biohazard continue to attack him post-match, but Pula London comes out with a ladder to defend him. London sets up the ladder on the turnbuckle and again hits his run-up front flip to the outside on Shane and Biohazard. London takes a crazy bump, flying over the guardrails. Shane wants to get back at London, but Corino holds him back, saying the time isnít right.

    SAMOA JOE vs. LOW KI in a Fight Without Honor. Joe is coming in as The Prophecyís hired assassin to take out Low Ki. This is a brutal match, they just kill each other with chops and kicks. Joe hits Low Ki with just about the stiffest slaps youíve ever seen. They go toe to toe with the strikes all match, mixing in submissions and a couple big moves. Low Ki hits a great Tiger Suplex on Joe, and a nasty back suplex dropping him on his head later in the match. At the end Low Ki just unloads on Joe with kicks and clubbing strikes to the head until Joe collapses and Low Ki is able to cover him for the win. Great stiff match that debuts Joe in a big way. ***3/4. Even though Joe is with The Prophecy, Joe respects Low Ki so much after that fight that he shakes Low Kiís hand.

    JAY BRISCOE vs. XAVIER in a non-title match. They work even with the mat and technical wrestling for a while until Xavier gets into control. Briscoe comes back with a great looking Death Valley Driver, but missed a dive to the outside. The match is pretty average up to this point, but does get good toward the end as they trade some big moves. Xavier hits a big powerbomb and lifts Jay back up for another one, but Jay slips out and hits the Jay Driller to pin the ROH Champion! **3/4. Daniels and Samoa Joe come out and they and Xavier attack Jay until Low Ki and Doug Williams come to his recue.

    THE CARNAGE CREW vs. DA HIT SQUAD in a Street Fight. Really fun garbage brawl. Da Hit Squad come in through the crowd and come in the ring with a section of the barricade, attacking the Carnage Crew with it. Maff hits a HUGE tope onto the other three guys on the outside, taking out an entire side of barricades and a section of seating. They brawl throughout the crowd for the rest of the match, hitting each other with stiff chair shots and throwing each other through the seating. Devito hits an elbow drop off of a chair. DHS tease a powerbomb off an elevated stage through a table, but the Carnage Crew fight back and hit Maff with a spiked piledriver off the stage through the table for the win. ***1/4

    MICHAEL SHANE vs. PAUL LONDON vs. SPANKY in a three way elimination match. Decent enough match at first. They go back and forth with spots pretty evenly. Nothing too noteworthy. London hits Shane with an SSP off of Spankyís back in a pretty cool spot. Later London jumps over Shane off the top rope trying to his an SSP on Spanky, but Spanky moves and hits London with the Sliced Bread Number Two. Shane hits Spanky with a superkick and covers London to eliminate him himself. Crowd boos for Londonís elimination. With London out, Shane and Spanky really donít have much chemistry for a while and the crowd is pretty out of it. The crowd gets a bit more into it as the match goes on getting behind Spanky, and the match picks up a bit toward the end. Shane ends up winning with the superkick followed by the top rope elbow. This whole thing felt very long. **1/4

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. DOUG WILLIAMS is the main event. If Daniels wins, Williams can never shake hands in Ring of Honor again. They have a decent enough technical back and forth to start off. The match gets sort of bogged down for a while and not very interesting, but they do pick it up a bit toward the end. Daniels counters the Chaos Theory a bunch of times. Williams finally hits it up Daniels gets the ropes. Right after, Daniels trips Williams and covers him with his feet on the ropes for the cheap in. **3/4. Dick Togo, with crutches, and Jay Briscoe come out post-match to beat up Christopher Daniels.

    I really donít know why they decided to bill this as their biggest show yet. The ROH title isnít even defended, but the champion loses clean in a non-title match. The main event is a totally unremarkable thirteen minute Christopher Daniels vs. Doug Williams match. Low Ki vs. Joe is great and Joeís debut is a big deal, but thatís the only thing at all remarkable about this show. Maybe they just decided they wanted four big shows a year and they wanted one of them in October. 5/10.

  30. #30
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    Corino and Homicide were a team? I thought their beef was offstage and deep. Man, they hated eachother!

  31. #31
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re still in Philadelphia for ALL STAR EXTRAVAGANZA, November 9th, 2002. This show features Shinjiro Otani and Masato Tanaka from ZERO-1 in the main event, facing off against Corino and Low Ki. Corino and Homicide argue in the back about last show in the pre-show segment.

    SAT vs. DA HIT SQUAD vs. DIXIE and JOEY MATTHEWS vs. CHRIS DIVINE and QUIET STORM starts the show. The first couple minutes of this are kind of rough but this turns out to be a very fun match, definitely the best of these scramble tags so far. Da Hit Squad are a nice addition to the match, hitting big moves and taking some big bumps themselves. Maff actually sells quite a bit for Dixie. The match is fast paced and doesn’t go too long. Good string of big moves and spots mostly pulled off well. The SAT hit a cool double-team rolling German suplex spot on Dixie, and later end up hitting him with the Spanish Fly for the win. ***

    Christopher Daniels cuts a promo with The Prophecy backstage. Now that they have all the titles, no title match in Ring of Honor will take place under the Code of Honor. Samoa Joe lets him know that he’s part of the Prophecy because he’s getting paid by Daniels to take care of business, but he won’t compromise his integrity by breaking the Code of Honor.

    CM PUNK vs. MICHAEL SHANE in Punk’s debut match. This is the first match of a number one contender’s gauntlet. Punk is already very over with the crowd, being one of the bigger names on the indies outside ROH. They have a competently enough executed match but it’s not really all that exciting. Long and competitive and makes Punk look like a big deal right off the bat, though. Shane ends up reversing a roll up and grabbing the ropes for the cheap win to big heat from the crowd. **1/2

    PAUL LONDON vs. MICHAEL SHANE is the next match in the gauntlet. Shane throws London to the floor early on and throws him through a guardrail and hits a suplex on the floor. Back in the ring Shane continues to work over London. Shane hits a gutbuster on London and London sells it big, selling that he’s injured. This lowers Shane’s defenses and when he walks over to pick London back up, London springs up and hits a big DDT for the win. **1/2. Shane gets on the mic, outraged at what he calls a cheap win from London, telling London he refuses to shake his hand. Shane walks backward down the entrance way taunting London, but backs up into none other than TOMMY DREAMER. Big pop and ECW chants. Dreamer forces Shane back in the ring and says he won’t stand for Shane disrespecting the Philadelphia fans. Dreamer gives a long speech praising Ring of Honor. He says that maybe in a couple years WWE will try to take all the talent from ROH just like they did from ECW, but until that happens they should appreciate that they have something special. When Dreamer drops the mic, Shane hits London with a superkick, so Dreamer hits him with a Dreamer DDT to a big pop and raises London’s hand.

    AMAZING RED vs. PAUL LONDON is the next match in the gauntlet. They start off with a nice sequence ending up with Red hitting London with a spinning DDT on the floor. Back in the ring they do some more fun fast paced spots, including a big hurricanrana from Red with both guys standing on the top rope. London hits a sit-out slam followed by the SSP for the win. **3/4.

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. PAUL LONDON next in the gauntlet. Danielson dominates starting out, on the mat and also laying into London on the feet with nasty European uppercuts and chops. London fights back in the DDT and a couple big moves, and flips out of a top rope back suplex attempt to hit a Russian legsweep on Danielson off the second rope. He goes up for the SSP but Danielson cuts him off and hits a superplex. London is able to fight off a Dragon Suplex attempt with a roll-up, but a minute later Danielson hits the Dragon Suplex and follows it up with the Cattle Mutilation for the win. Good match. It was clear Danielson was carrying it, but London is noticeably improving. ***1/4. The finals of the gauntlet will take place later in the show, with Danielson and AJ Styles facing off for the Number One Contender’s Trophy.

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, DONOVAN MORGAN and SAMOA JOE vs. LOW KI, HOMICIDE and DOUG WILLIAMS for the ROH Tag Title. Yes, a six-man tag for the tag titles, held by Daniels and Morgan. It isn’t specified which two men would become champions if the other teams wins. Low Ki and Joe tease starting out the match after their legendary stiff-fest from the last show, but Daniels tags in to fuck with Low Ki. Joe doesn’t appreciate it, teasing more dissension between them. Joe and Low Ki actually never face off for the entire match. Good match, lots of action. Joe and Williams end up having a good opening sequence. Non-stop back and forth. Really good dive segment later in the match, ending with Joe coming over the top rope in a twisting dive. Everyone hits their finishers and big moves back in the ring for an extended homestretch. Joe and Homicide end up alone in the ring and go back and forth, but Joe blocks the Cop Killa, hits Homicide with a powerbomb, and turns him over to choke him out and keep the titles with the Prophecy. ***1/2. Joe shakes hands post-match, but to the chagrin of Daniels and Morgan.

    ALLISON DANGER vs. ALEXIS LAREE next. Gabe is extremely creepy and lecherous on commentary. Pretty much a squash. Danger gets some offense toward the end but Laree quickly wins with the reverse DDT. *. Mace from the Christopher Street Connection attacks Laree post-match.

    THE RING CREW vs. THE CARNAGE CREW. This is the Carnage Crew vs. about six ring crew guys. Total squash, not competitive at all. Short though. Carnage Crew pin Marcos with the second rope spiked piledriver. Not worth rating.

    XAVIER vs. JAY BRISCOE for the ROH Title. Xavier’s first title defense. Jay earned a shot by beating him clean in a non-title match last show. They gradually build the match by doing some even back and forth on the mat and with basic moves. Not bad but nothing noteworthy. The match picks up when Xavier throws Jay outside and hits his awesome Arabian press moonsault to the outside by jumping off the top rope. That move is definitely the coolest thing Xavier ever does. He kicks a chair into Jay’s face and Jay is busted open. Xavier works over Jay’s cut for a while. Jay comes back with some big moves. As the match wears on Jay is really good selling, even when he’s on offense, collapsing while trying to hit a Jay Driller, and only barely getting Xavier up for a powerbomb and collapsing himself as he slams him down. They trade their big moves for a while and Jay goes up for a moonsault, but Simply Luscious crotches him on the top rope. Xavier capitalizes with a hanging X-Breaker Rick Rude style neckbreaker for the win and a successful defense. ***.

    AJ STYLES vs. BRYAN DANIELSON for the Number One Contender’s Trophy. Classic match. They start off with an excellent scramble on the mat, one of the better ones you’ll see. The match it super hard-hitting throughout, uppercuts, chops, slaps. Danielson gets busted open hardway somewhere on his eyebrow and he’s not bleeding a ton, but it just looks nasty and makes the match feel even more hard-fought. They do an awesome test of strength spot, with Danielson hitting headbutts and AJ blocking one with an elbow out of the tie-up position. They do a good job teasing some of their bigger moves early on into the phase of the match where they’re starting to bust out the moves, and then paying them off in the final minutes. Danielson kicks out of a Styles Clash but comes back with a Dragon Suplex. He locks on a Cattle Mutilation and tries to turn it into a cradle in an awesome spot, but AJ kicks out. Danielson goes up top but AJ crotches him, snatches him off the top rope in position for the Styles Clash, rams his head into the turnbuckle and slams him on the mat a couple of times until Danielson is weakened enough for AJ to hit the second Styles Clash for the win. ****1/4

    STEVE CORINO and LOW KI vs. SHINJIRO OTANI and MASATO TANAKA is our main event. Crowd goes nuts for Otani. This is really the first time a really major Japanese star appears in ROH. Really fun match. Crowd loves everything Otani does, and goes crazy for his bootscrape spot. Otani and Tanaka take most of the match. Corino is good selling for then. Low K is surprisingly unremarkable throughout the match, though he does his a nice Tidal Crush kick. Corino makes a comeback and hits some big moves, but when holding up Tanaka for Low Ki to kick, Tanaka moves and Low Ki takes him out. Otani capitalizes with his springboard dropkick to Corino for a big pop, and follows up with a spinning powerbomb for the win. Really fun crowd-pleasing main event. ***1/4

    In the post-show segment, Homicide attacks Corino with his GHETTO FORK. Da Hit Squad freak out about him breaking his parole and hustle him out of the building. The big Homicide/Corino feud is underway!

    This is probably the second best show of the year. Strong if unremarkable undercard, a match of the year candidate in Danielson/Styles, and a really fun main event with a Otani’s appearance feeling like a big deal. 7.5/10

  32. #32
    What the fucks up Dennys! Nash Diesel's Avatar
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    I remember these days. I was still neck deep in wrestling magazines as Youtube wasn't a thing yet and I was poor as fuck so ordering tapes or anything like that was out of the question. I remember reading about Chris Hero, CM Punk, and Homicide wrestling for IWA Mid-South I think, doing some crazy ass TLC shit. I just remember being very interested in CM Punk because my initials were CM. I never even saw the guy, just read about him in the PWI 500 or some super small recap of indy events that PWI or whoever would cover.

    ROH....I felt like Kurt Cobain reading about the Sex Pistols and being a fan without ever hearing the music. I remember reading about ROH and not seeing a match until Morishima was the World champion but always a fan. Thank God for TNA, they had that working relationship with ROH so I was able to see Aries, Alex Shelley, Jay Lethal, and many others including mainstays in TNA like Styles and Daniels so I had an idea of what ROH was capable of.

    These early years are insane. I have some old shit on DVD, these "best of" type DVD's or Year 1, 2, 3, etc. Love it, especially the 2nd-3rd year stuff when like Joe was just getting to the top as well as Punk.

  33. #33
    Happy Fourth Of July.... Spudz Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Back in the day, the boards had a thread where people used to upload matches on Mega Upload and Rapidshare. Then WWE hit them with a C&D letter and everything was fucked for a while.

    That was largely the first place I ever saw any Ring of Honor.

  34. #34
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re out of Philadelphia for the second time, back in Wakefield, Massachusetts for SCRAMBLE MADNESS, November 16th, 2002.

    JAY BRISCOE and AMAZING RED vs. MARK BRISCOE and CHRISTOPHER DANIELS is our first match. Daniels is Mark’s mystery partner, and declares before the match that Mark is the newest member of the Prophecy. Jay protests but Mark attacks him from behind to start the match, ignoring the Code of Honor. All four guys go back and forth to start off until in a cool spot, Daniels bends through the ropes while Mark Irish whips read and backdrops him to the outside. Mark and Daniels work over Red for a long while. Red is able to hit a reverse DDT on Daniels, but after being worked over for so long, is so out of it he tries to tag in the wrong Briscoe! Mark comes in a hits him with a big powerbomb. Shortly later Red is able to hit Daniels with a hurricanrana and final make the hot tag to Jay. Jay runs wild on Daniels and Mark. Red tags back in and Jay clotheslines Mark over the top rope, and the two fight on the floor while Red hits Daniels with some big moves in the ring. Daniels is able to reverse one of Red’s moves into the Last Rites, though, for the win. Good opener. ***1/4

    ALEXIS LAREE vs. MACE next. Mace of Christopher Street Connection. Gabe informs us Buffy has left Mace because he’s found someone better. Very sad. Quick, not too entertaining comedy squash with Laree winning. *

    Steve Corino cuts a promo with a patch over his eye from Homicide’s fork attack. He says he hates the ROH fans, and Homicide will pay for what he did.

    XAVIER vs. JEREMY LOPEZ in a non-title match. Xavier is against a no-name guy in a non-title match because the Prophecy says the Boston fans don’t deserve to see a title match. This looks like it’s going to be an extended squash for Xavier, but after a while Lopez actually gets a run of offense and looks pretty decent. He hits a nice top rope dropkick and a tornado underhook DDT into a Tiger Drive. They trade some big moves and nearfalls before Xavier hits the X-Breaker followed by the 450 splash for the win. **1/2

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. TOMY MAMALUKE and MAT THOMPSON. Thompson is a super skinny, super tall rookie who Gabe says is in only his fourth or fifth match of his career. He’s legal briefly in the beginning and hits a nice springboard cross body, but otherwise is very, very obviously green. Most of the match after that is Da Hit Squad working over Mamaluke. Eventually the crowd starts to cheer and chant for Mamaluke to tag in Thompson. They pop big when he does, and Thompson hits a nice top rope springboard moonsault when he comes in. But other than that still seems very awkward. Mamaluke gets Maff in a guillotine choke but neither of them are legal. Monsta Mack hits Thompson with the Burning Hammer for the win. *1/2

    SAT, CHRIS DIVINE, QUIET STORM and AMAZING RED vs. DERANGED, IZZY, SLIM J, ANGEL DUST and JOEY MATTHEWS in what is being billed as the biggest scramble tag ever. This turns out to be a really fun match with a super hot crowd. These matches sort of always aspire to be an MPro multi-man tag, and this is definitely the closest they’ve gotten yet to really attaining that feel and quality. Lots of crowd-pleasing multi-man spots. Special K hit a wild five-man dive on all of their opponents. SAT and Quiet Storm hit top rope powerbombs on four of the Special K guys while Red hits a dive on Matthews over the top. Matthews then comes back in, low blows SAT and Quiet Storm, and the four Special K guys hit them all with top rope moonsaults. Crowd goes nuts for some big spots like all of the faces hitting Deranged with dropkicks while he’s in the tree of woe over and over again, and later in the match Joel killing Angel Dust with repeated powerboms. There are still some botches here, but much less noticable than usual as the match is worked at a very fast paced and something new is happening all the time. Red ends up winning it with an Infrared on Deranged (who is making his debut). The best of these matches they’ve done so far easily. ***1/2

    DUNN AND MARCOS vs. SAMOA JOE. Total squash. A pretty fun one, Joe dishes out a nice beating and Dunn and Marcos take it well. Joe pins Dunn with the Island Driver. **

    PAUL LONDON and RUDY BOY GONZALEZ vs. MICHAEL SHANE and BIOHAZARD in a Street Fight. These guys work hard but the match never really comes together. Rudy Boy putting Michael Shane in a tarantula is definitely the highlight of the match. They brawl around, Shane gets knocked off the top rope through a table, they do a couple very basic spots with a ladder. London lifts Biohazard up to Rudy Boy on the top rope and they hit him with a double top rope powerbomb for the win. **1/4

    THE CARNAGE CREW vs. FAST EDDIE, DON JUAN and ALEX ARION next. This is the first appearance of Masada as the third man of the Carnage Crew. With Hernandez replacing Arion, in 2003 these teams would have some awesome brawls, but this is much more of a standard wrestling match. It’s actually quite good, everything is executed well and the match flows well. Even though it’s mostly wrestling, Loc still hits Arion with a chair for a nearfall. Eddie does some nice high flying including a great asai moonsault on the outside and jumping off a kneeling Arion to hit Masada with a hurricanrana off the top. Carnage Crew ends up hitting Eddie with the second rope spike piledriver for the win. **3/4

    SAMOE JOE vs. HOMICIDE in Homicide’s first ROH singles match. Really good hard hitting match. Lots of stiff strikes throughout. Homicide going toe to toe with Joe like this and trading big strikes and moves really starts his singles push off right. There’s a great spot early on where Homicide tries to lock in the STF, but Joe crawls to the outside while Homicide hits him with crossfaces as Joe’s crawling out, and then with Joe still disoriented on the floor, Homicide comes out with the tope con hilo. They bust out some big moves back and forth. Some HUGE slap exchanges toward the end. Joe locks Homicide in the choke but Homicide is able to get to the ropes. Shortly later, Homicide reverses a lariat attempt by Joe into a rollup for the win. ***1/4

    AJ STYLES vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS for AJ’s Number One Contender Trophy. Daniels wants to win so he can just make sure Xavier never has to defend his title and it stays with the Prophecy. These guys have a very competently executed but not very entertaining match. Daniels takes the majority of the match. AJ comes back with an inverse DDT toward the end and then after a series of reversals ends up with Daniels in position for the Styles Clash and hits it for the win. **1/2. Xavier comes out post-match and they team up on Styles. Red and the SAT come out to even the odds. Styles hits Xavier with the Styles Clash. They’ll face off for the ROH Title next show.

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. DOUG WILLIAMS in a thirty minute Ironman match is our main event. Really great opening matwork for the first ten minutes or so. Very competitive and hard fought with lots of great little moments. Really cool spot where Williams has Danielson in a leg-split, and Danielson hits up, grabs Williams in a cravat and tosses him through the bottom ropes to the outside. They very gradually start to mix in some hard strikes and basic slams to progress the match. Williams locks in a really cool Gory Special variation. They start to trade bigger moves and after a long series of reversals, Danielson hits a Dragon Suplex for a near fall. With Williams still dazed, Danielson immediately hits a second Dragon Suplex for the first fall around 18 minutes in. Williams is able to block a third Dragon Suplex and a Cattle Mutilation attempt and hits Danielson with a slam, and follows it up a bit later with a nice suicide dive. Williams gets some offense in and they trade big moves, selling the fatigue really well. Williamson gets in control again and hits a Chaos Theory for the near fall. Williams unloads on Danielson with the clock running out, hitting another Chaos Theory but Danielson gets the ropes. Danielson survives a brainbuster and starts to fight back while laid out on the mat and on his knees. He’s able to hit a top rope back suplex with about a minute left. Williams it able to get a cradle for a nearfall and locks in a crossface. He wrenches on it but the clock expires and Danielson wins 1-0. This went by really fast for thirty minutes. Great technical match and a real hidden gem for early ROH. ****

    Good show overall. Good opener and great main event. Mostly good undercard. Decent undercard. 7/10

  35. #35
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    I don't remember any of this. I know I've heard of the Iron Man match, but I gotta see this one. I love old Briscoes. And the ISLAND DRIVER~!

  36. #36
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re back in Philadelphia for NIGHT OF THE BUTCHER, December 7th, 2002. The name is in honor of Abdullah the Butcher, who will appear in the main event.

    MICHAEL SHANE vs. JEREMY LOPEZ is our opener. These two have a profoundly boring match. It feels long and nothing at all noteworthy happens. It’s not bad in the sense of being poorly executed, having botches, etc., it’s just very boring. Shane wins with the top rope elbow. *1/2

    CM PUNK vs. COLT CABANA next. Early ROH CM Punk can be really, really unpolished, but he’s much smoother than normally for this stage of his career here, probably because they know each other so well. There’s a cool spot where Punk turns a powerbomb into a monkey flip. Punk surprisingly even hits a reverse hurricanrana, which wasn’t something that got hit all too often back in 2002, compared to now when you see it every other match in every promotion. The match goes a bit too long but is still good overall. Colt hits the Colt 45 and wins! Punk is starting off his ROH career on a losing streak. ***. Gary Michael Capetta comes out post-match and announces that next show Punk and Cabana will have a rematch, with an ROH contract on the line.

    PAUL LONDON vs. EZ MONEY in the first match of a four-man tournament taking place tonight for the Number One Contender’s Trophy, now vacant since AJ is challenging Xavier later. These guys have a pretty good back and forth match with lots of acrobatic stuff, though the crowd never seems too into it. London wins with the leg-trap DDT. **3/4

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. CHAD COLLYER in the second first round match of the number one contender’s tournament. Very technical match. A lethargic crowd holds it back a bit, as well as going a bit too long. But it’s still good. Lots of technical wrestling to start off, Danielson looking very good. Collyer hits a butterfly suplex and Danielson sells that he landed on his knee wrong. I do like spots where a guy sells a body part getting injured even if that part isn’t the ‘main focus’ of the move or spot that just happened. It’s the kind of injury that would actually happen in a real fight environment. Collyer works over the knee for a while. Danielson fights back and hits some of his big moves. Danielson survives Collyer’s Texas Cloverleaf and ends up hitting Collyer in the back of the head with a rolling elbow and follows it with a Dragon Suplex for the win. Danielson advances to face Paul London for the Number One Contender’s Trophy. ***1/4

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. SAT vs. AMAZING RED and JAY BRISCOE vs. JOEY MATTHEWS and DERANGED for the number one contendership for the tag titles. After a really good scramble match last show, this is more a return to early ROH scramble tag form – lots of botches, sloppiness, and going way too long. This match is almost 25 minutes. To its credit, this is definitely the match the crowd is most into of the night so far. Big spot of the match is Amazing Red superplexing Deranged off the top onto a pile of everyone else on the outside. The match does pick up toward the end. Red hits Joel Maximo with an F-5! Joel then comes back to hit him with rolling piledrivers. SAT end up winning with their gimmicky double team submission that’s a sort of Gory Special-camel clutch combination to two guys at once, locking it in on Matthews and Deranged for the submission and the win. **1/2

    JEFF STARR and SHOCKWAVE vs. QUIET STORM and CHRIS DIVINE. This is just about the most jobbery match-up on paper in ROH history. Pretty nothing of a match. Storm ends up killing Starr with the Storm Cradle Driver for the win. **. CW Anderson comes out and commentary treats it like a big deal, that he was fired and this is presented as a worked shoot. This was supposed to play into Corino’s stable that will be teased early in 2003, but never panned out. CW SHOOTS on Gabe! CW and Gabe scream at each other backstage and Gabe’s high pitched yelling is hilarious.

    BRYAN DANIELSON vs. PAUL LONDON for the Number One Contender’s Trophy. Their match a few shows ago saw Danielson dominate London, but here they’re evenly matched. They stand toe to toe with strike exchanges to start off. Danielson gets in control for a little bit but London fights back and they trade big moves. Danielson hits a big straightjacket suplex. There’s a really cool spot where they’re exchanging chops on their knees and London ducks one and turns it into a rollup. Danielson hits London with a big top rope back suplex for a nearfall and then locks in the Cattle Mutilation, but London gets to the ropes. Danielson puts London back up on the top rope for another back suplex, but London fights it off with elbows. Danielson keeps trying to run back up the ropes to pull off a big move, but London finally fights him off with forearms and headbutts. Danielson falls off the ropes right into position for London to hit the Shooting Star Press for the win. London is the number one contender. ***1/2

    XAVIER vs. AJ STYLES for the ROH Title. Styles attacks Xavier at the bell and hits the Styles Clash right away, but Simply Luscious puts Xavier’s foot on the ropes. Alexis Laree takes out Luscious for the rest of the match. Once Xavier gets back into the ring these two have a competitive, back and forth match, but something about it just doesn’t click. The crowd is really not into it at all. At one point they do a long roll-up sequence and the crowd is almost eerily silent. It’s still not a bad match, and they try hard. Styles hits a Styles Clash off the second rope but hurts his knee. It takes him a while to make the cover, and when he does Xavier again grabs the ropes for a two count. Back on their feet, Xavier kicks AJ’s knee out from under him. Xavier then crosses AJ’s legs in a figure four type position and turns it into a jackknife pin for the win. **3/4

    THE CARNAGE CREW vs. HOMICIDE and ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER in a Bunkhouse Brawl. Abdullah is extremely limited in mobility. He shuffles around ringside taking his fork the Loc’s forehead for the first several minutes of the match while Devito and Homicide fight in the ring off-camera. Eventually Abby starts to match up against Devito in the ring. Homicide goes through a table after missing a tope con hilo, the the Carange Crew double team Abby briefly before Homicide makes his comeback and ends up pinning Loc with the Cop Killer. Very dull match, but at least there was blood. *1/2

    Pretty mediocre show. The main event was bad, but other than that there wasn’t much bad. There were some good matches on the undercard, but nothing too noteworthy either way. 5.5/10

  37. #37
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re in Philadelphia once again for FINAL BATTLE 2002, December 28th, 2002. Our last show of the year.

    CM PUNK vs. COLT CABANA starts us off. The winner will get an ROH contract with flights and expenses paid for. The crowd is totally dead for this. This match is actually quite good for a while early on, they trade some pretty nice moves including a really cool spot from Punk where Cabana tries to slam him out off the corner but he turns it into a sunset flip, and Cabana hits a nice gutwrench powerbomb. As the match goes on it degenerates though, and they seem to lose focus and get sloppy. Punk ends up winning with the Pepsi Plunge. **1/2

    Homicide comes across the Backseat Boyz backstage, who are now with ROH as regulars. They make peace from the incident as Glory by Honor.

    Christopher Daniels and Simply Luscious come to the ring and complain about Alex Laree taking out Luscious last show. Laree comes out and we get SIMPLY LUSCIOUS vs. ALEXIS LAREE as an impromptu match. Laree dominates but Luscious distracts the ref while Daniels comes in a hits Laree with the Last Rites for Luscious to win. Not worth rating. Pretty lame segment. Then Steve Corino comes out to confront Daniels. Corino says that when ECW closed down he was broke and his career almost over, but he became a big star in ZERO-1. Now he’s putting a group together to fight The Prophecy and take over ROH for themselves. They’re going to take all the ROH titles from The Prophecy in order to do that. Daniels leaves the ring and Corino calls out HOMICIDE. Corino and Homicide brawl. Homicide brings out the fork but Corino bails.

    DA HIT SQUAD vs. BACKSEAT BOYZ vs. DERANGED and ANGEL DUST next. Fun match, a needed change of pace to the lethargic beginning of the show thus far. Deranged and Acid have a strike exchange that ends in a surprisingly cool spot where Deranged goes low for a leg sweep but Trent hits him in the face with a quick low dropkick. Big dive sequence with big dives from Deranged and Angel Dust, a big tope from Maff, and Monsta Mack powerbombing Hyrdo – Jay Lethal making his Special K debut – over the top rope to the outside on everyone else. Da Hit Squad and the Backseats go back and forth in the ring for a while. Da Hit Squad get the advantage and beat down Special K, including Monsta Mack hitting a double German suplex on both Angel Dust and Deranged at once, but the ref gets distracted and the rest of Special K interfere to attack Maff, allowing Deranged and Angel Dust to both roll him up for the win. ***

    CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and DONOVAN MORGAN vs SAT in a two out of three falls match for the ROH Tag Titles. These guys are really not on the same page early on; Morgan seems especially sloppy for a while. The match gets more polished a couple minutes in but it still doesn’t click. Daniels and Morgan isolate Jose and use their heelish tricks to stay in control. Joel gets the hot tag and hits a nice step-up crossbody during his comeback. Daniels dumps Joel outside and Daniels and Morgan hit a powerbomb-neckbreaker combo on Jose and pin him to win the first fall, even though he isn’t the legal man. Daniels and Morgan stay in control throughout the second fall. Joel makes the hot tag to Jose and they hit Daniels with the Spanish Fly for the second fall. In the third fall, Jose tries to lead off of a kneeling Joel to do a flip onto Daniels and Morgan on the outside, but he doesn’t get enough speed and ends up falling onto the apron. Everyone stands around for a while not knowing what to do. Back in the ring everyone hits their big moves for nearfalls until Daniels get Joel with a Last Rites for the win. These guys just had no chemistry at all. **1/4

    AMAZING RED vs. JODY FLEISCH next. Match starts out fun enough with an acrobatic exchange and some big dives. Then Special K wander down to the ring and wander around ringside. Kind of takes the crowd out of the match. Red and Fleisch exchange moves for a while. Special K pull Fleisch out of the way of an Infrared and Fleisch hits the 720 DDT for the win. Short match, around seven minutes. **1/4. Commentary sells this as a travesty as a match that should have been a classic is ruined by Fleisch joining Special K. SAT come down to help Red but Special K has the numbers. Da Hit Squad and JT Smith come down to even the odds but SLUGGA comes out through the crowd as Special K’s muscle and he and Special K beat everyone down. Pretty lame, doesn’t even get heat really, just apathy from the crowd. For a Final Battle this show sucks so far.

    XAVIER vs. PAUL LONDON for the ROH Title. Xavier cuts a brief, decent heel promo before the bell to get heat. He ambushes Paul London early on. London fights back and they go back and forth for a while. Solid enough match, but the crowd is really into booing Xavier and cheering London. Xavier is in control for a while and the crowd keeps booing him. London makes a comeback and hits an SSP to the outside. Back inside he misses his Shooting Star Press off the top and Xavier rolls him up for a nearfall. The crowd get really into the final minutes. London plays possum and surprises Xavier with his leg-hook DDT, for a three count!!! Big pop! But the ref notices Xavier’s foot on the ropes and doesn’t call for the bell. Crowd chants bullshit. Xavier locks in the Cobra Clutch. London kicks off the turnbuckle to turn it into a rollup, but Xavier rolls through and hits the Cobra Clutch Suplex. He follows it up with the X-Breaker for the win. Pretty good match. Crowd was really into London and wanted him to win and Xavier to lose, so this definitely had the best atmosphere for any match on the show so far. ***1/4

    STEVE CORINO vs. SAMOA JOE vs. LOW KI vs. BRYAN DANIELSON for the Number One Contender’s Trophy. Homicide was supposed to be in this match, but Corino takes him out and gets added to the match. The opening is really good with Danielson and Low Ki facing off and having a great, intense mat exchange reminiscent of their classic back in March. Joe and Corino trade some big strikes afterward with Joe coming out on top. The rest of the match just isn’t very good. It’s not too boring since guys are tagging in and out regularly so it never gets bogged down, but it’s just not really noteworthy. Everyone just trades moves with each other in a pretty mediocre match. There is one cool spot where Danielson has Joe in the Cattle Mutilation and Low Ki strikes to double stomp Danielson, but Danielson maintains the bridge. All four guys trade big moves as the last two minutes count down. Low Ki hits Joe with a Ki Crusher and locks Corino in the Dragon Clutch but the forty-five minute time limit expires a second before Corino taps out, ending the match in a time limit draw. ***

    Like at Glory by Honor, ROH kind of shits the bed on what’s supposed to be one of their big shows of the year. Pretty lackluster undercard and a lackluster main event. Xavier/London, the highlight of the show, wasn’t even that great of a match and was mostly carried by the crowd reaction toward the end. But other than that match, the crowd was really lethargic for the whole show. A rather ignoble end to ROH’s first year. 5/10

  38. #38
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    2002 ROH YEAR IN REVIEW

    Top 10 all around MVPs:

    1. LOW KI - Pushed as the top star in the promotion. Most protected guy. Lots of charisma, super intense presence, feels like a real main event star and a step above everyone else on the roster. Tons of great matches. Over with the crowd.

    2. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS - The lesser ring worker of the founding trio, but definitely feels like the top heel. The biggest angle in the company revolves around him. Still a good worker with lots of very good matches throughout the year. Strong promo.

    3. BRYAN DANIELSON - Even in 2002, it's obvious he's on a different level from everyone else in the ring. Of the top three, he's gotten the least push and feels like less of a star. In 2002 his charisma hasn't really developed yet, and he still feels like he lacks a personality. But he's the best wrestler in the promotion, had tons of great matches, and over with the crowd as a top guy.

    4. AJ STYLES - Great worker, good charisma, feels like a big star, over with the crowd. Lots of good matches. Doesn't feel like a main eventer on the level of the top three but after them, he's a step above everyone else on the roster for sure.

    5. AMAZING RED - Most over guy on the undercard. Very flawed as a wrestler but has had good matches and moments and the crowd likes him a lot.

    6. JAY BRISCOE - With Red, the other undercard guy who is decidedly below the main eventers in the pecking order, but shows a lot of promise. Is involved in a prominent angle with Mark. A number of good matches. Shows lot of promise and is reliably on almost every show.

    7. PAUL LONDON - It took him until Unscripted, but once he got over he got over big, and totally organically. In 2002 he's not the level of ring worker he'll end up being in 2003, but you can see him improving every show. Natural connection with the crowd.

    8. SAMOA JOE - Didn't come in until September, but made a big splash when he did. Thanks to his style, size and charisma, he already feels comfortable as a main eventer.

    9. XAVIER - Hey, they gave him the world title. He can get heat at least. He's doing the job they gave him to do and working hard.

    10. MICHAEL SHANE - Pushed as one of the top heels in the promotion. He'll peter out in 2003 and it's not like he's lighting the world on fire in 2002, but he's been booked prominently throughout the year.


    Top 10 matches of the year:
    1. Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson, Round Robin Challenge
    2. AJ Styles vs. Bryan Danielson, All Star Extravaganza
    3. Low Ki vs. Amazing Red, Road to the Title
    4. Low Ki vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Bryan Danielson, Era of Honor Begins
    5. Christopher Daniels vs. Bryan Danielson, Round Robin Challenge
    6. Bryan Danielson vs. Doug Williams, Scramble Madness
    7. Low Ki vs. Samoa Joe, Glory by Honor
    8. Paul London vs. Michael Shane, Unscripted
    9. Low Ki vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams, Crowning a Champion
    10. Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe, Honor Invades Boston


    Top 5 shows of the year:
    1. Road to the Title
    2. All Star Extravaganza
    3. Round Robin Challenge
    4. Scramble Madness
    5. Era of Honor Begins


    Reviews of the 2003 shows can be found in this thread: https://forums.rajah.com/showthread.php?t=154370

    Next, we move on to 2004.

  39. #39
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re into 2004 and in Wilmington, Ohio for THE BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN, January 10th, 2004. There’s an awesome pre-show segment where Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson compete over who can better apply submissions to two poor young boys in the ring. They stare each other down afterward. Even though they’ll be team players tonight to challenge the Briscoe Brothers for the tag belts, Danielson refuses to shake Joe’s hand – he’s not going to be shaking Joe’s hand until they face off in an ROH title match, and after he wins it.

    MATT STRYKER vs. ALEX SHELLEY is our opening match. This is contested under Pure Title rules, with the first Pure Division Champion set to be crowned at a tournament next month during the second anniversary show. The rules are: 20 count outside the ring, no closed punches, and each wrestler has a limit of three rope breaks, after which rope breaks will not break up a pinfall or submission. They start off with some mat work. Shelley instinctively breaks an arm scissors with a rope break and is frustrated when he realizes he lost one. He later uses his second to break up a pin attempt off of a powerslam. Stryker hits Shelley with a dragon screw off the second rope and works over the knee. Shelley comes back and works over Stryker’s neck. Shelley applies a guillotine choke in the ropes – the ref breaks it up, but controversially charges Stryker with one rope break for doing so. Shelley climbs to the top rope but his leg gives out and he falls over. Stryker puts him in the Stryker lock and he’s forced to use his last rope break. Stryker re-applies the Stryker lock and even though Shelley crawls to the ropes, he’s out of rope breaks and has no choice but to tap. Solid opener and a good introduction to the Pure Division rules. ***

    NIGEL MCGUINNESS vs. CODY HAWK for Nigel’s HWA title. Damn, this match was a pleasant surprise. They start out with some nice British style technical wrestling, Hawk really makes it feel rough as he keeps hitting Nigel with stiff kicks to the ribs whenever he has him in a wristlock. Nigel springboard backflips out of the wristlock and breaks it with a sweet spinning back below. They trade some stiff strikes including a nasty headbutt. On the floor Hawk actually pulls McGuinness’ head into the ringpost just like in the classic 2006 match vs. Bryan Danielson, busting Nigel open. Back in the ring Hawk hits him with a stiff headbutt right in the cut and Nigel is really bleeding now. Hawk unloads his moves on Nigel, with Nigel only able to fight back with intricate roll-up attempts. He finally trips Hawk with a drop toe-hold and rolls him up for the quick pinfall. Really good, stiff match. ***1/2

    Cabana and Ace Steel are having on Good Times Great Memories goofing around, but Punk storms in, pissed off. He tells them they need to be ready to fight the Prophecy tonight to get revenge for Lucy. Tracy Brooks is the new woman with the Second City Saints.

    CHRIS SABIN vs. JIMMY JACOBS next, with the winner getting a spot in the Pure Title tournament at the second anniversary show. There are a couple guys in the crowd who keep heckling and they are really starting to get intolerable. These guys have a mostly unremarkable match and forth match. Nothing really wrong with it. There’s a nice spot at the end where Sabin gets his knees up on a Jacbos senton attempt and Jacobs really lands on them bad. Sabin wins with a sort of sit-out Death Valley Driver from the top rope. Gabe gives it the DANGEROUS treatment but it really doesn’t look that impressive. **1/2

    JIMMY RAVE vs. TODD SEXTON vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN vs. RAINMAN. What a jobberish lineup. Rainman looks ridiculous, with an oversized Red attire and a big sports-jersey shirt that says RAINMAN on the back. The crowd “ironically” gets behind Rainman and cheers for his offense, which is pretty funny. This ends up being a pretty amusing match. A really nice springboard crossbody to the outside from Jimmy Rave, and everyone hits a nice dive in this match. Back in the ring they all trade big moves until Rave reverses a sunset flip from Sexton and hits the Shining Wizard for the win. **3/4. In the back, AJ Styles is proud of Jimmy Rave for finally winning a match. Styles says Rave in finally ready – for a match with him.

    AJ STYLES vs. HOMICIDE next. This match starts off really well. Every move and spot flows really well one into the next, and everything is executed really well. Styles works over Homicide’s ribs, including giving him a nasty kick while Homicide is on all fours. Homicide goes for the tope con hilo but flies over the guardrail. He’s lying on the floor looking like he’s dead. People come out from the back to check on him but he wants to continue. It’s clear his right shoulder is really hurting. They try their best to wrap up the match in a couple minutes. They hit some big moves and strikes. Styles goes for a hurricanrana, Homicide rolls through into a pin, but Styles turns it into the Styles Clash for the win. ***1/4

    CARNAGE CREW and DUNN AND MARCOS vs. JOEY MATTHEWS, DIXIE, SLIM J and HYDRO. This was a fun clusterfuck. Slim J hits Devito with a hard shoulderblock to the back off the ropes and Devito responds by stiffing the hell out of him. Lots of nice dives. Devito gets busted open by being drop toe holded into the edge of a chair and brawls around ringside. Carnage Crew are about to win it but ABYSS comes out! Abyss hits Devito with a backbreaker and Slim J pins him for the win. ***. Devito goes after Abyss post-match but Abyss hits him with the Black Hole Slam, then takes out Dunn and Marcos. Abyss is Special K’s new hired muscle.

    THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. SAMOA JOE and BRYAN DANIELSON for the ROH Tag Titles. Joe continues his quest to take the titles from the Briscoes. Danielson and Joe dominate each Briscoe early on with strikes and on the mat. Danielson is great stretching them out and hitting stiff uppercuts. The Briscoes are able to get a little bit of offense when they can pull off some double team trickery, but it’s all Danielson and Joe. Danielson busts out the airplane spin followed by the big headbutt. He tries a top rope back suplex on Mark but Jay comes in and they turn it into a Doomsday Device. Briscoes finally have the advantage, working over Danielson and not giving him any breathing room. Really good job emphasizing that the Briscoes have the advantage with teamwork, even though Danielson and Joe are a level above both of them individually. Danielson hits Jay with a big rolling below and Joe gets the hot tag and cleans house. Great home stretch. Briscoes try the Doomsday Device again but Danielson turns it into a rollup. He hits a Dragon Suplex on Jay but Mark breaks it up with a big double stop from the second rope. Joe throws Mark outside and takes him on a tour around ringside hitting Ole Ole kicks as Danielson and Jay fight in the ring. After a series of reversals Jay is able to hit the Jay Driller on Danielson! Joe tries to break up the pin but Mark is able to hold onto him to keep him from getting in the ring and the Briscoes retain. Awesome tag match. ***3/4

    CM PUNK, COLT CABANA and ACE STEEL vs. CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, DAN MAFF and BJ WHITMER is our main event. Last show, Whitmer was revealed as the newest member of The Prophecy, and responsible for taking out Lucy. Even though this is supposed to be some gang warfare, the match is very tame. Punk keeps heelishly avoiding Daniels. The crowd is way more behind The Prophecy, though if anything they’re being booked as the heels. The match is fine, just nothing special. Maff gets busted open on the ringpost and is worked over for a while. The Saints hit him with three moves off the top rope but he kicks out at one and hits a big lariat on Punk to comeback. He makes a hot take to Daniels. Everyone trades big moves and dives for a while and the match starts to heat up. Allison Danger and Tracy Brooks fight. Punk tries to break it up and Whitmer goes after him with a chair, but Punk ducks and Whitmer takes out the ref. Another ref calls off the match. The teams fight all around ringside and the Saints get he advantage. They take out The Prophecy and Punk hits Daniels with a Pepsi Plunge through a table. ***

    Good show to start off 2004. Almost every match was good and nothing was bad. Main event went really long and was underwhelming, but still a solidly good match. The tag title match was awesome and the story of Joe trying to take the tag titles from the Briscoes with different partners is cool. 7.5/10

  40. #40
    Main Eventer Horatio's Avatar
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    I wonder if that was the beginning of Homicide's neverending shoulder trouble. Must have been although I only vaguely remember that match. Styles Clash had to have hurt that night.

    Matt Stryker even being in the Pure title tourny seems sad now. It should have been he and Collyer all over again for the gimmick's sake.

  41. #41
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    he should've won it after styles had to vacate. or at least should've gotten john walters' reign.

  42. #42
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re in Baltimore for THE LAST STAND, January 29th, 2004. The event is so named as Joe is going to have his very last chance challenging the Briscoes for the ROH Tag Titles, teaming with Jerry Lynn.

    JOHN WALTERS vs. CHAD COLLYER to start. Three rope break rule is in effect. Kind of a boring match. Both guys instinctively waste their first rope break in the first few minutes. They got back and forth with technical stuff. There is one cool moment where Collyer hits a German Suplex and rolls it into a Gedo Clutch. Walters keeps going for the Sharpshooter and forces Collyer to use his last two ropebreaks. He then locks on a Boston Crab between the ring ropes and Collyer taps out. Cool ending using the rope break rules makes up for a match that was rather dull. **1/2

    CHRIS SABIN vs. SLYK WAGNER BROWN vs. JACK EVANS vs. HYDRO vs. CAPRICE COLEMAN vs. SONJAY DUTT. Fun clusterfuck. Sabin and Dutt have a nice, acrobatic exchange in the beginning. Huge dive segment with Evans doing a crazy flip. Lots of six-man spots and then everyone trades their moves until Sabin pins Hydro with a sit-out Death Valley Driver. ***

    Colt Cabana comes out and does an intentionally lame comedy routine. He calls out Dunn and Marcos and berates them. Maff and Whitmer attack Cabana. Dunn and Marcos try to save him but Maff and Whitmer kill them. This segment was very, very long and not good.

    JUSTIN CREDIBLE and LOC vs. BACKSEAT BOYZ vs. SPECIAL K in a No DQ three way. Pretty much all Special K members are treated as legal. The Carnage Crew and Backseats just beat up Special K all around ringside and in the ring. Special K get a couple offensive moves in now and again but this is mostly just a beating. Justin Credible and Loc hit Dixie with a spiked tombstone off the second rope. Special K pull Justin Credible outside, leaving Loc in the ring for the Backseats to hit with the T Gimmick to win. **1/4

    BJ WHITMER vs. DAN MAFF vs. XAVIER vs. MATT STRYKER for the Number One Contender’s Trophy. Whitmer and Maff work together as members of the Prophecy. Xavier and Maff have a nice chop exchange. Pretty average match. Maff, Xavier and Stryker hit consecutive to the outside on everyone else. Everyone trades their big moves. Maff accidently hits Whitmer with a forearm. Maff takes out Stryker with a lariat. Whitmer gets to his feet and hits Maff with a superkick for payback. Maff collapses on Stryker, Whitmer covers Stryker too and they both get a two count, and are declared the joint winners. **1/2. Maff and Whitmer have a heated argument backstage. Maff and Whitmer will face Joe in a three way match at the anniversary show for the title.

    ALEX SHELLEY vs. JIMMY JACOBS next. They do some pretty nice matwork to start off. The match kind of meanders for a while after that, though the crowd is pretty into both guys. Shelley hits a cool back suplex with Jacob’s leg hooked over his neck. Shelley gets his knees up for Jacobs’ senton and his the Shellshock followed by the arm hook crossface for the submission win. **1/2

    CM PUNK vs. HOMICIDE. Punk avoids Homicide heelishly, bailing to the outside. Then they go a bunch of mirror spots where they both do similar sequences of moves to the other, and then retreat to their respective corners. Punk still struggles in a technical wrestling match. They have a pretty good home stretch at least. Homicide catches Punk with an Ace Crusher and follows it with the Cop Killer for the win. **3/4. Maff and Whitmer come out and attack Cabana on the outside. They try to attack Punk but Homicide and Julius Smokes ward them off.

    THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. SAMOA JOE and JERRY LYNN. Jim Cornette is accompanying the Briscoes. Cornette heckles from ringside all match long. Match starts out with some basic back and forth. Mark interrupts Joe attempting an Ole Ole kick on Jay with a dive over the top in a pretty cool spot. Cornette distract Lynn allowing the Briscoes to get the advantage and work him over. Mark misses a Shooting Star Press allowing him to make the hot tag. Joe comes in and unloads on the Briscoes. Cornette distracts Joe allowing Jay to hit him with Cornette’s racket for a controversial three count where Joe kicks out right at three, but the ref still calls it as a Briscoe victory. **3/4. Joe hits the ref with the Island Driver. Joe’s furious backstage, but it doesn’t matter, his opportunities at the tag titles are through. Joe challenges Jay to a Cage Match for the ROH World Title at the Wrestlemania weekend show.

    This is a really weak show. There isn’t anything I’d really call bad, but not much that’s very good. Really feels like an ROH house show. 5/10

  43. #43
    too big to fail Tainted Eclipse's Avatar
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    We’re in Braintree, Massachusetts for the SECOND ANNIVERSARY SHOW, February 14th, 2004. Tonight will feature an eight man tournament to crown the first ever Pure Champion. Pure Title rules will only be in effect in the finals.

    CM PUNK vs. JOHN WALTERS in the first round of the tournament. Punk comes out to Christopher Daniels’ music disguised in Daniels’ entrance attire to mock the fans. He then cuts a pre-match heel promo. Actually gets the crowd really behind Walters, and they’re very into cheering him and booing Punk throughout the match, which helps it a lot. Match is a bit boring at first but gets better when they start to trade bigger moves. Punk hits a nice looking Michinoku Driver. Walters hits a nice cross body off the top. Walters hits the Hurricane DDT, but Punk gets his foot on the ropes. Walters tries it again, Punk slips out, Walters goes behind and rolls Punk up and bridges backward to secure the rollup, but Punk grabs Walters’ arms in a chickenwing and turns it into his own Tiger-Driver-style pin for the victory. Cool ending. Punk advances. ***1/4. Probably a pretty generous rating, but the crowd was really into the match and I really liked that ending.

    CHRIS SABIN vs. DOUG WILLIAMS in a first round match. They do some good matwork to start off, Williams looking really good and dominating. Williams works over Sabin’s neck. Sabin makes his comeback with his lightheavyweight style offense. He does a good job selling his neck during the comeback – he can’t lift Williams for a suplex, so turns it into a twist and shout style neckbreaker. Sabin hits his sit-out Death Valley Driver but Williams kicks out. Williams catches Sabin in the Chaos Theory for the win. Williams advances. Fun, quick match. ***1/4

    MATT STRYKER vs. JOSH DANIELS in a first round match. Josh Daniels’ ROH history is having had a shitty match with Steve Corino a couple months beforehand. The crowd tonight is so good they still give him a good response though. They have a nice, snug, competitive match. Really hard hitting. They have a great strike exchange, really stiff chops, forearms and uppercuts. They trade a couple months for nearfalls. Daniels tries to Irish whip Stryker but Stryker hangs onto the ropes. Daniels chops him over and over, trying to get the Irish whip, but Stryker holds on. Daniels decides to hit the ropes to come at Stryker but Stryker springs into action and trips him up, immediately locking in the Stryker Lock for the win. Stryker advances. Another really fun match. ***1/4

    AJ STYLES vs. JIMMY RAVE in the last first round match. For the last several months, Styles has taken Rave under his wing, dishing out tough love in response to each of Rave’s loses. They do some cool counters early on, Rave demonstrating that he has some of Styles’ signature moves and spots scouted. Styles still has the advantage though. Styles goes for his quebrada DDT but tweaks his knee on the landing. Rave is tentative about continuing, but Styles tells him to fight. So Rave goes right after the leg, attacking it and locking Styles in a leg lock. Styles gets to the ropes. Rave hits the ropes and comes at Styles, but Styles smashes him with a spinning lariat for the win. Styles advances, but his knee is compromised – and he’s facing Matt Stryker with the Stryker Lock next round. Another good first round match. ***1/4. Backstage Rave apologizes for targeting the leg, but Styles tells him he did what he was supposed to do.

    SPECIAL K vs. THE CARNAGE CREW in a Country Whipping Match. This is the three man Carnage Crew with Justin Credible, and it seems like pretty much every member of Spcial K is involved. Carnage Crew attack Special K with whips and they all brawl around ringside. Almost everyone bleeds. Devito absolutely kills Dixie, beating the hell out of him. Dixie bleeds big time, wearing the Crimson mask. Carnage Crew get the advantage in the ring but Cloudy of Special K walks down the entrance way with an unknown girl. Devito and Justin Credible immediately drop what they were doing and rush after them – it’s Devito’s daughter, seduced into the raver lifestyle! Loc is left in the ring and Special K attack him, hit him with moves off the top, and hit him with a piledriver off the apron through a table. They roll him back in the ring for the win. Really fun clusterfuck. ***

    Gary Michael Capetta is in the ring and calls out Julius Smokes for an interview. He wants to know where Homicide is, who has been out of communication with ROH since the end of the last show. Smokes says he doesn’t know either.

    CM PUNK vs. DOUG WILLAIMS in the second round. I would not have expected these guys to have good chemistry but they really do. Punk struggles with technical wrestling at this point in his career, but in this match his styles comes across more gritty and competitive than sloppy and awkward. Williams does a lot of cool technical wrestling to start off. Punk is able to get the advantage by luring him to the outside. He works over Williams for a while. Williams is able to hit a Chaos Theory out of nowhere but he’s taken too much damage to hit it properly with the bridge. Williams tries to follow up with a knee drop off the top rope but Punk moves. Punk works over the leg. He puts Williams in a tree of woe and attacks the leg. He runs at Williams looking for a shoulder block on Williams in the tree of woe position, but Williams lifts himself up, rolls off the turnbuckle right into position to hit a Chaos Theory. He can’t pull off the bridge with his knee, though, and lands his Punk above him and his shoulders on the mat – Punk lifts his shoulder up at two while Williams stays down, giving Punk the win. Punk is really putting in a great heel performance in this tournament. This kind of ending can sound lame on paper but it really works in practice here. Punk advances to the finals. ***1/2

    MATT STRYKER vs. AJ STYLES in the second round. They start off with some tentative exchange until AJ suddenly explodes and unloads offense on Stryker. AJ is great in this match, everything he does really has some extra pep in it. Styker becomes more and more heelish as the match goes on, complaining to the ref, jawing with the fans, taking shortcuts. During the homestretch he uses an eyepoke effectively as a big spot. Stryker gets in control working on AJ’s knee. They have a great home stretch with big moves and a lot of cool spots and counters. Stryker gets a big nearfall with the Gedo Clutch after avoiding AJ’s quebrada DDT, and a near submission with the Stryker lock. Really hard hitting the whole match. Stryker tries to run up to catch AJ on the top rope with a move, but AJ pushes him off, leaps down to the apron and comes off with a springboard 450 splash for the win. AJ advances to face CM Punk to crown the first Pure Champion. Really great match. ****

    THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. BACKSEAT BOYZ for the ROH Tag Titles. They pretty much go right to the homestretch. Pretty fun exchange of moves. Trent hits a really nice springboard DDT. Mark takes out Trent with a tornado DDT from the top rope through a table on the outside. Back inside they hit Kashmere with a spiked Jay Driller for the win. **3/4

    SAMOA JOE vs. LOW KI vs. BJ WHITMER vs. DAN MAFF for the ROH World Title. This is Low Ki’s first appearance since August 2003, when he legit knocked out Maff with a stiff springboard kick to the head. Low Ki and Joe tease a show off at the beginning but Maff tags himself in off of Low Ki. Maff and Whitmer work as a tag team throughout the match, each facing off against Joe and Low Ki. Joe hits a big elbow strike tope on Whitmer and they all fight outside for a bit. Somehow Joe gets a nasty cut on his hand and is bleeding everywhere. The ref tapes it up. Maff attacks Joe’s injured hand and he and Whitmer work over Joe for a while. Low Ki tags in unloads on Whitmer and Maff, hitting Maff with the same springboard kick that knocked him out in August. Maff sells it great. Low Ki goes for a Tidal Crush crush on Maff but Maff moves and Joe catches him with a stiff slap. Joe and Low Ki finally face off and have an brief, awesome strike exchange. Low Ki catches Maff in the Dragon Clutch while Joe has Whitmer in the Choke. They stare each other down with their opponents in their submissions, and break the submissions to go after each other. They trade two stiff kicks and face off against each other as the crowd goes crazy for more, but Maff out of nowhere tackles Low Ki out of the ring. Whitmer goes after Joe but Joe hits him with a urinage and locks on the Choke for the submission win. Really good title match with a good story and hot crowd. ***1/2

    CM PUNK vs. AJ STYLES in the finals to crown the first ROH Pure Champion. Pure Division rules are in effect, three rope break limit and a twenty count on the outside. In the first minutes Punk grabs the top rope to backflip out of a wrist clutch, but the ref calls it as a rope break. Controversial! While Punk is arguing with the ref, AJ rolls him up and lifts him into Styles Clash position, but reverses it into a leg lock forcing AJ to use his first rope break. They fight on the outside to get over the twenty count. Back inside AJ tries his kip-up hurricanrana but Punk turns it into a Boston Crab, forcing AJ to use his second rope break. Punk puts on another leg submission forcing AJ to use his third. AJ leaps onto Punk’s shoulders and Punk backs up into the ropes, AJ bends backward and turns it into a choke on the ropes. Ref breaks up the submission, but calls it as a rope break for Punk! Commentary gets over that Punk got screwed on that call. Punk grabs at the ropes in another submission and uses his last ropebreak. Punk puts AJ in a modified Texas Cloverleaf. AJ crawls to the ropes but he’s out of ropebreaks, so he has to climb up the ropes and kick Punk off. Punk goes for a Shining Wizard but AJ turns it into a Styles Clash, but Punk kicks out. Punk comes back with a big DDT and goes for the Pepsi Plunge, but AJ gets out, hits the Pele Kick, climps up the ropes and hits Punk with a second rope Styles Clash. Punk gets his foot on the ropes but it doesn’t matter, he’s out of rope breaks, controversially, so the ref counts three. In some ways the weakest of the tournament matches, but they made it interesting with the rope breaks. ***1/4. AJ Styles is the first ever Pure Champion, but not without controversy.

    This is the best show ROH has done so far. It just barely edges out Death Before Dishonor 2003, which felt bigger and more memorable, by being super consistently good. Add to that a tournament, which is always nice, a good, story-driven World Title match with Low Ki’s return, a four-star match in AJ/Stryker, and a hot crowd all night, and it’s the best ROH show ever up to this point. 9/10

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