November 9, 2002
From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA
The Prophecy is backstage as Daniels hypes up Xavier for his title match against Jay Briscoe. Simply Luscious warns Xavier not to lose again then Xavier cuts a rather bland promo on Briscoe. Seriously, what did RoH ever see in Xavier that made them want to give him the belt? Samoa Joe then interrupts Daniels at the end to reiterate the fact that he is paide by him to kick ass and that is it, so he will not compromise his integrity and will be agreeing to the Code of Honor. Donovan Morgan stood in the far left corner and did not say a word. They were certainly teasing tension between Joe and the Prophecy.
Match starts with a really fast-paced but sloppy sequence filled with mistimed moves. Red takes London off of the apron with the 718 then manages to hit a tornado DDT to London on the floor after his moonsault off of the got caught. London then swings Red into the guardrail. In the ring, London hits a delayed vertical suplex that gets two. Red comes back with a Red Star Press that gets two then takes him off of the top with a hurricarana that gets two. London then comes back and hits a powerbomb then gets the win with the Shooting Star Press. (5:44) *1/4.
Thoughts: Dragon looked like an absolute bad-ass in his return as London, tired after wrestling in two matches before this, could not keep up with Dragon on the mat. London was really fun to watch in RoH but his transitions and strikes all looked pretty rough at this point.
RoH Tag Team Title Match
Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan & Samoa Joe (Champions) vs. Low Ki & Doug Williams & Homicide
Yes, the tag titles are being defended in a six-man tag as the Prophecy has apparently chosen to do it this way. The Prophecy get attacked before the bell but are able to escape. Ki starts off for his team as the Prophecy keep tagging each other in as they tease further tension between Joe and Daniels. Ki takes down Morgan and puts on a cross armbreaker. These two go back and forth on the mat and that ends in a standoff. Joe and Williams tag and they also take it to the mat. All of the matwork has looked great by the way. Homicide and Daniels are in and they trade armdrags before Homicide completely botches a move that ends with him hitting a DDT. Homicide counters a tilt-a-whirl with an armdrag then hits an Exploder followed by a Yakuza kick. Ki tags and works a figure-four neck lock that Joe quickly breaks up. Daniels is caught in the wrong corner as the face team uses quick tags to keep him isolated. Levy notes that the Japanese press have dubbed Ki the next Dynamite Kid. Williams is in and puts Daniels in the Gory Special and then Morgan in a single leg crab at the same time but Joe breaks that up with a boot to the face. Joe is now the legal man and he destroys Williams. Morgan tags and gets two with a rana as Williams is now getting destroyed in the opposing corner. The Prophecy are now beating the crap out of Williams outside of the ring as Morgan and Joe take turns. Morgan stretches out Williams with a wacky submission hold that Williams reverses but Morgan grabs the ropes. Joe tags and hits a delayed vertical suplex that gets two. Daniels tags and hits the BME but that only gets two. Williams fights back against Morgan and Daniels and makes the tag to Homicide. He runs wild on the Prophecy and hits a top rope Ace Crusher on Daniels. The match breaks down as Williams then takes out Morgan with a plancha. Daniels comes out next with an Arabian Press and the trainwreck spot is capped by Joe hitting a twisting plancha onto everyone as the fans go crazy. In the ring, Joe repeatedly kicks Williams in the face then gets two with a Dragon Suplex. Williams escapes a piledriver attempt but Morgan attacks him and hits a back suplex. Homicide makes the save but Morgan hits the Golden Gate Swing on him. That only got two as Homicide comes back with a takedown then puts Morgan in the STF but Daniels makes the save with a splash off of the top. Daniels rolls through a top rope hurricarana from Homicide and gets two. Ki chops Daniels down then they counter each others finishers. Ki misses a Tidal Crush and Daniels takes him off the top and that gets two. Now they have a sequence in which everyone attempts their finisher and that ends with Morgan and Daniels hitting Ki with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. Williams hits the Chaos Theory on Daniels but Morgan breaks that up and hits the Golden Gate Swing. Homicide then hits him with a brainbsuter and hits Joe with a few clotheslines that cannot take him down. Joe fights out of the Cop Killa and folds him in half with a powerbomb that gets two. Joe then rolls over and puts Homicide in the Coquina Clutch and Homicide passes out as the Prophecy remains the champions (23:07) ***3/4. After the match, Joe checks on Homicide, pissing off the rest of the Prophecy in the process. The crowd gives Homicide a standing ovation when he gets up.
Thoughts: Really good match that was all action. The match seemed designed to get Homicide over and besides one slip up at the beginning, he did fine. The rule of letting the Prophecy defend the Tag Titles in a six-man because the belts themselves read “The Prophecy” is contrived but it didn’t matter as the match was fun.
Alexis Laree vs. Allison Danger w/ Mace
The story here is that Danger is attracted to Laree, who is grossed out by that. Danger attacks Laree from behind but Laree kicks her out of the ring. Laree then boots Mace off of the apron then takes them both out with a plancha. Danger attacks Laree from behind then back inside Danger hits a neckbreaker that gets two. Danger kisses Laree on the lips and gets on top of her but celebrates for too long and ends up getting speared then roughed up for a bit until Laree puts her away with an inverted DDT (3:21) 1/4*. After the match, Mace knocks down Laree then suplexes her as the referees run in to check on her.
Thoughts: This was not good at all. Looks like Laree will be feuding against Danger and the CSC by herself.
Ring Crew Express vs. Carnage Crew
The Carnage Crew beat the shit out of the Express with hubcaps and chairs. There are two other members of the Ring Crew besides Dunn & Marcos and they also get destroyed. They continue their assault until they put away Marcos with a spike piledriver (2:27) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Brief and more of a hardcore exhibition than an actual match. The Carnage Crew were getting pretty stale as the act of beating the shit out of these guys can only go on for so long until the fans have had enough.
JT Smith of ECW fame is now in the ring but gets interrupted by Joey Matthews, who announces that it is Special K party time as he appears high. Given his history, this might have been the actual case. He then messes around and taunts Smith, then the rest of Special K attack Smith as it is a 3-on-1 attack. Two guys dressed in shiny pants and wearing bandana’s make the save but the Giant Black Guy runs in and chokeslams them before shaking Smith’s hand. Whatever.
RoH Championship Match
Jay Briscoe vs. Xavier (Champion) w/ Simply Luscious
This is Xavier’s first title defense. He pie-faces Briscoe after the handshake. They take it to the mat as Briscoe gets the best of that. Xavier then works the leg and they continue to go back and forth. They trade chops and Briscoe goes for the Jaydriller but Xavier is able to escape and duck outside. Inside, they battle over a test of strength. Briscoe takes him down with an armdrag then a hurricarana. He dropkicks Xavier then spills outside after clotheslining Xavier to the floor. Xavier roughs up Jay then suplexes him on the floor. Xavier hits an elbow drop off of the apron then rams him into the post. In the ring, Luscious interferes behind the ref’s back and yanks out Briscoe as Xavier hits a double springboard moonsault that looked quite impressive. Xavier kicks a chair into Briscoe’s face, busting him open in the process. In the ring, Xavier continues to beat on Briscoe. He locks on a bridging submission as Briscoe’s face is covered in blood. Xavier hits a slam but misses a top rope elbow. Briscoe tries for the Jaydriller but Xavier counters that and slams him down. Briscoes escapes a superplex attempt then hits one of his own as both men are down. Briscoe comes back with a Death Valley Driver and tries for another Jaydriller but Xavier escapes. Xavier hits a Cobra Clutch suplex. Briscoe slips out of the X Breaker then powerbombs Xavier. He heads up top but Luscious slides in a chair to Xavier then crotches Briscoe on the top rope and Xavier hits him with a Super X Breaker for the win (20:48) ***1/4.
Thoughts: A lot slower-paced than the other matches on the card but still good. Xavier did a fine job in this style but still does not carry himself as a champion. Briscoe is extremely impressive, especially considering the fact that he is just a teenager. They also continued the feud between Jay and his brother Mark on commentary by stating that Mark prevented their parents from being here tonight.
#1 Contender’s Trophy Match
American Dragon vs. AJ Styles
They start off by going back and forth on the mat in an incredibly fast sequence that brings the crowd to their feet. Neither man can gain the upper hand until Dragon runs through AJ with a shoulderblock then works the neck. The matwork here is very crisp too. AJ comes back with a dropkick for a nearfall but Dragon sends a charging AJ to the floor with a drop toehold. Dragon then slides out and hammers away. Then, in an incredible spot, Dragon whips AJ towards the guardrail but AJ leaps over it then drills Dragon with a super kick as he charges over. AJ was the fucking man in 2002, busting out all sorts of crazy athletic moves. AJ rolls Dragon inside and gets two then hits a backbreaker/gutbuster combo. They trade Monkey Flips but still hold onto each others arms. Dragon then kicks AJ repeatedly in the arm and targets that for a while. They then trade chops until Dragon takes him down. Dragon wraps AJ’s arm over the rope then headbutts it repeatedly. He then knocks AJ to the corner with a European uppercut then he stomps his head several times. AJ counters a slam with a small package then a front facelock. AJ tries the Phenomenon but Dragon blocks that and hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Dragon destroys AJ with more European uppercuts as we now see Dragon bleeding from the eye. AJ comes back with a brainbuster as both men are down with the crowd really getting into the match. AJ puts Dragon in a neck hold and they fight over it as the referee calls for a stalemate and finally gets them to break the hold. AJ hits a neckbreaker for two. Dragon comes back with a German suplex for a nearfall then plants him with a DDT. Dragon climbs up top and hits the diving headbutt but still cannot put away AJ. The have an Irish whip sequence that ends with AJ catching Dragon with a spinning heel kick. AJ hits a German suplex then rolls through that and hits Dragon with a facebuster that gets two. AJ now heads up top but Dragon cuts him off and takes him off with a super back suplex that had AJ flip over in midair and land face-first as AJ looks dead. Dragon covers nonchalantly and AJ gets his foot on the rope. They then have a slap battle and take each other down with discus clotheslines. They are now chopping each other from their knees until Dragon backs AJ into the corner and unloads on him. AJ catches Dragon with an elbow then hits the Phenomenon for a nearfall. AJ then hits the Styles Clash but Dragon just kicks out at the last second. Dragon comes back with a Dragon Suplex then locks on the Cattle Mutilation. Dragon then turns it into a pinning combination but that only gets two. Dragon heads up top and AJ cuts him off. AJ goes up top and gets knocked off but cuts off Dragon again. He tries to set up Dragon for the Styles Clash but Dragon will not let go of the ropes so AJ keeps on ramming his head into the turnbuckle pad then finally hits him with a powerbomb. AJ then hits another powerbomb before he finally gets the win with the Styles Clash (22:30) ****3/4. The fans give them a standing ovation then Dragon presents AJ with the trophy. After Dragon leaves, the Prophecy runs in to beatdown AJ until Jay Briscoe then Dragon comes back to make the save. Joe was not with the Prophecy here.
Thoughts: Incredible match and easily a MOTYC. This might have been my favorite RoH match of 2002. Both of these guys are top-notch wrestlers who brought their A+ games tonight. And this also gave the #1 Contender’s Trophy at lot of credibility afterwards.
Steve Corino & Low Ki w/ Samoa Joe vs. Masato Tanaka & Shinjiro Ohtani
The crowd gives Tanaka a standing ovation. This is billed as a Zero-One/RoH special promotion match. Ki and Tanaka start things off and they trade off working the arm. Ki kicks Tanaka in the face from the ground. They work a fast-paced sequence that ends with Tanaka hitting a powerbomb. Ki hits a back suplex then works a surfboard. Ki now works an abdominal stretch Tanaka escapes and tags Ohtani, who knees Ki in the face after putting him in the tree-of-woe. Ohtani hits a pair of slams then gauges the eyes of Ki. Ohtani gets bit and Ki backs him into his corner and tags Corino. They go back and forth as Ohtani gains the upper hand. Ohtani tags Tanaka then drills Corino in the face with a dropkick as he was in a Camel Clutch. Tanaka puts Corino in a headlock. Corino escapes and tags Ki who boots Tanaka in the face then puts him in a triangle hold. Tanaka reverses it into a Camel Clutch and then tags Ohtani, who puts Ki in a rear naked choke. Ohtani stiffs Ki with chops but gets a taste of his own medicine and tags Corino, whose strikes were not as effective. Corino locks on a cross armbreaker that Ohtani escapes from and has Corino’s hand in his mouth, biting his finger. The crowd goes nuts as Ohtani sets up for his boot scrapes. Ohtani misses a kick in the corner and Corino hits him low. Ki tags in and gets Ohtani in the Hanging Dragon. Ohtani blocks a Ki Krusher attempt but Ki puts him in the Dragon Clutch that Tanaka immediately breaks up. Ohtani nails Ki with a spin kick then tags Tanaka. Ki comes back with a rolling Koppu Kick then gets two with the Tidal Crush. Ki charges at Tanaka again but ends up getting drilled with a spear. The match breaks down as Tanaka hits the Osaka Street Cutter then a frog splash that Ki kicks out at two. Ki comes back with a barrage of kicks and tags Corino. He catches Tanaka with a leg lariat then yells at the fans. Tanaka cahtces him with a short-arm clothesline. He gets caught with two consecutive tornado DDT’s but catches Ohtani with an Exploder then rolling suplexes. He hits the Old School Expulsion but Tanaka breaks up the pin. Corino gets two with a fisherman’s buster then orders Ki into the ring. He holds up Ohtani for him but accidentally eats a springboard kick. Ohtani then comes back with a missile dropkick on Corino before finishing him off with the Spiral Bomb (15:30) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Fun match. Corino seemed out of place in this match but did not drag it down or anything as Ki wrestled most of the time for his team. The crowd was really into both of the Japanese stars, who looked great. Ki wore different gear here as the commentators noted that he did this as this match was airing in Japan.
Da Hit Squad are backstage talking when a distraught Homicide comes up and says he is still pissed off over Corino fucking him over last month against the CZW guys. Homicide then takes off into the locker room and knocks down Corino as Da Hit Squad calm Homicide down.
Final Thoughts: Awesome show. A lot of good wrestling and minimal bullshit. Plus, they cut down a lot on the backstage segments, which were generally poor at this time and told the stories in the ring. Probably the best RoH show of 2002 and I give it a high recommendation.