Monday Night Raw – February 3, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 3, 2003
Location: MCI Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s always cool to have a show from my birthday. We’re coming up on No Way Out and that means HHH needs a challenger for the World Title. That will be set up tonight as Scott Steiner faces Chris Jericho in a #1 contenders match. Given that Steiner won at the Royal Rumble and JR immediately talked about there being NO WAY OUT, this shouldn’t be too complicated. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – January 30, 2003

Date: January 30, 2003
Location: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re getting closer to No Way Out and the big story is the return of Hulk Hogan, who showed up last week and punched out Vince McMahon. Other than that we have the far less important story of Brock Lesnar chasing Kurt Angle and the Smackdown World Title. You know, that secondary issue. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – January 27, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 27, 2003
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Eric Bischoff’s time to fix Raw continues to count down but he has a secret weapon: magazine interviews! Yeah that was his big announcement last week: Steve Austin can tell his side of the story in Raw Magazine. I’m going to assume that it leads to an on-screen return but at least it gives us something to talk about other than HHH vs. Scott Steiner, which is still going for some reason as well. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – January 23, 2003

Date: January 23, 2003
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re past the Royal Rumble and it’s all hands on deck towards Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle for the World Title. Lesnar won the Royal Rumble and Angle successfully defended his title in a masterpiece against Chris Benoit, leaving the two of them as the undisputed top names on the show. Let’s get to it.

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Royal Rumble 2003

Royal Rumble 2003
Date: January 19, 2003
Location: Fleet Center, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 15,338
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is a really odd entry in the series as the namesake match is being treated as secondary to almost everything else. Really, coming into this show, there’s a good argument to be made that Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie is being treated as a bigger deal than the Rumble itself. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – January 16, 2003

Date: January 16, 2003
Location: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re at the go home show for the Royal Rumble and you wouldn’t really know based on the TV they’ve been building towards it. The Rumble itself has taken a huge backseat to almost everything else, including tonight when a good chunk of the focus is likely to be focused on Al Wilson’s death. Let’s get to it.

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Raw 10th Anniversary Special

Raw 10th Anniversary
Date: January 14, 2003
Location: The World, New York City, New York
Hosts: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This is a very different kind of show as there are no new matches on it and probably no angle advancement, but rather a two hour long history package on the history of Monday Night Raw. In other words, this could range anywhere from a lot of fun to the biggest disaster since Rob Bartlett. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – January 13, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 13, 2003
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home Raw before Sunday’s Royal Rumble and hopefully we actually hear a few more names for the Rumble itself. However, we’re lucky enough to get more of HHH vs. Scott Steiner without having them actually doing anything physical. Throw in more of Bischoff as McMahon and the show could manage to set new standards for horrible. Above all else though, Vince McMahon is here tonight and that makes for some drama. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – January 9, 2003

Date: January 9, 2003
Location: Tuscon Convention Center, Tuscon, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re getting closer to the Royal Rumble and tonight we’ll be finding out the fifteen Smackdown names in the match. Other than that though, we’re still building to Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle for Angle’s Smackdown World Title. It’s hard to say how they’ll build to that but given the show we’re on, I have a feeling tag matches are in store. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – January 6, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 6, 2003
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s a new year and somehow we’re stuck with Scott Steiner vs. HHH for the Raw World Title because HHH needs to make it clear that he has the best body in the world. Well the world of wrestling that is. Other than that we have Booker T. and Goldust as the Tag Team Champions, but far more importantly D’Lo Brown being held back by the man. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – January 2, 2003

Date: January 2, 2003
Location: Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s time for a new year with a special live show. The big deal tonight is the wedding between Al Wilson and Dawn Marie, which should hopefully be a big step towards finally ending this stupid storyline. The thing won’t go away and unfortunately it’s going towards another Torrie vs. Dawn match. Let’s get to it.

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Ring of Honor Glory By Honor II September 20th, 2003

September 20, 2003

From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA

Your hosts are Chris Levy and CM Punk

Colt Cabana is shown hyping up the 4-man match tonight that includes AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, and Matt Stryker. He states that a win would put him in the “Top 5 Rankings.” They are now having Cabana take things seriously, well more than before.

Dan Maff is shown at home sitting in a chair wearing a neck brace. He talks about facing the Carnage Crew at the first Glory By Honor show and how they both hated each other and at Glory By Honor II, he is still full of hate because of Low Ki injuring him as he has to sit home with a pinched nerve and effects from post-concussion syndrome. He then tells Christopher Daniels that he will beat Samoa Joe for the RoH World Title as he is everything you look for in a leader as he wants Daniels to bring the title back home to the Prophecy. He then pulls out a flip phone as he tells us that Alison Danger will keep him updated all night and he will also give ups updates throughout the show. Maff did okay here but some of the overacting was painful.

We get the first of many memories from the Murphy Rec Center. This is the last show that ever took place here. I am not going to list them all here as they happen because this DVD is almost five hours long due to stuff like this.

Field of Honor
Block B
Jimmy Rave vs. BJ Whitmer

The match starts back and forth as Punk tells us the Field of Honor is not important because he is not in it while telling us Whitmer and Rave are both underwhelming. Whitmer busts out a Saito suplex for two as Levy tells us the winner of this tournament will see their career skyrocket. That was not the case. The crowd chants for Whitmer as he clotheslines Rave for two as Punk continues to rag on both guys, particularly Whitmer. Brainbuster gets two. Whitmer misses a charge as Rave now briefly takes control of the match until Whitmer comes back with a Dragon Suplex. They have a slugfest that Rave wins with a running forearm smash. Rave then hits a DDT on Whitmer on the apron then hits a shining wizard off of the apron. Back inside, Rave hits a hurricarana off of the top rope then works a cross armbreaker. Whitmer breaks free and kicks Rave in the back. Whitmer then hits some soft forearm smashes but Rave comes back with a Cobra Clutch suplex. Rave works the arm then sets Whitmer up top and tries something but Whitmer fights back and hits him with a top rope powerbomb for the win (9:24) **. That finisher was really dangerous. The crowd cheers for both guys.

Thoughts: It got a bit better at the end but the match was dull and it had zero heat. Punk on commentary was the only real highlight. In fact, Punk’s commentary as a whole was one of the few highlights here.

Whitmer is shown out back as he tells us Rave is a tough kid that will make it in “this business” and how the Field of Honor is the start of his rise to the top of RoH. They were trying to push Whitmer here but besides a decent look, he didnt have much else.

AJ Styles questions Rave as to why he had to get fancy at put Whitmer on the top rope instead of working the arm. They are still going with AJ acting as Rave’s mentor.

Samoa Joe talks about destiny and names the others who failed to take the RoH World Title away from him as he questions Daniels if he has what it takes of will he be another victim. After the promo ends, Steve Corino comes in and talks about CM Punk putting him in a match with Raven tonight. Joe said that Punk is “anti-social” and rough around the edges as Corino tells Joe the original plan was for him to be champ and Joe the enforcer as Corino wishes him luck.

Xavier is shown working out wearing nothing but a pair of shorts as Lollipop is checking him out. Looked like the opening scene of a porno film. For those who are unaware, Lollipop was one of the cage dancers that TNA featured during their weekly PPV era.

Field of Honor
Block A
John Walters vs. Xavier

Lollipop is now checking out Xavier at ringside then Alison Danger comes out as well but Xavier tells her to go back to the locker room. The match starts with both guys trading stuff and it came off quite choreographed. The crowd starts a dueling chant as Punk questions if half of Philadelphia is gay because they are not cheering for Lollipop. Xavier sends Walters to the floor with a belly-to-belly suplex then follows him with a 450 as the crowd applauds. Punk makes fun of Levy for liking “New Kids on the Block” then goes back to ragging on Whitmer as Xavier tries some acrobatic stuff that didn’t work as planned. Walters blocks the Cobra Clutch then cuts off Xavier up top and hits him with a lungblower as both men are down. Walters hits a rolling spear that looked odd then they engage in a pinfall reversal sequence. Walters hits the Hurricane DDT for a nearfall. Xavier comes back with a reverse neckbreaker but Walters hits him with a backbreaker shortly after that. Walters picks him up but Xavier kicks him low then rolls him up for the win (10:44) **. Xavier immediately leaves without shaking hands then Walters calls him out and promises he will find out what respects means next time they face off.

Thoughts: They did some nice moves but there was nothing resembling an actual match here, which seems counterproductive for a tournament designed to celebrate traditional wrestling.

The camera follows Xavier backstage as he cannot believe that Walters had the audacity to call him out and that he can fight him anytime, any place.

Christopher Daniels is with Alison Danger as he talks about bringing Joe into Ring of Honor and how a lot of twists and turns have happened since, like him laying out Joe after his first title defense. He then promises to win the title as the promo ends with Corino cutting in and tells Daniels that he is #1 and to go win the world title. Long-winded promo from Daniels and the stuff with Corino comes off confusing more than intriguing.

TJ Wilson vs. Teddy Hart

TJ Wilson is currently Tyson Kidd in the WWE. Hart, who was a couple of weeks removed from a tremendous performance at TNA’s 2003 Super X Cup, got a decent reaction from the crowd. Match starts with both guys squaring off before getting into a slap fight. Neither guy can get the advantage as the keep on ending their sequences with a standoff. Wilson sends Hart into the corner then follows with a big boot that wasn’t even close before choking him out. Hart then takes Wilson down with a drop toehold then works the leg as the crowd applauds. Punk talks about facing Terry Funk tonight as this match is not impressing. Wilson drops Hart on his head with a full nelson suplex as that gets two. Hart comes back and works the leg but Wilson reaches the ropes. Punk continues to talk about Funk as Wilson hits a springboard dropkick then places Hart up top and hits the Lambeau Leap move that Mr. Kennedy used for a nearfall. Hart comes back with an inverted floating DDT then heads up top and hits a swinging DDT to set up for the shooting star press that gets the win (7:42) 3/4*. The fans chat for Teddy after the match. As he heads backstage, Hart blows off Special K’s offer to party after they tell him he is not a high flyer.

Thoughts: Terrible match. I have no clue what they were trying to do for the first six minutes of the match. Hart, fresh off of an incredible performance at the TNA Super X Cup just a few weeks prior, did nothing here except for a shooting star press.

Raven is backstage and talks about selecting Terry Funk as CM Punk’s opponent tonight so he can teach discipline, respect, and intestinal fortitude. Raven then said he is unsure why Punk picked Raven as he has beaten him everytime they face and makes the match “Raven’s Rules.”

Raven’s Rules
Steve Corino w/ Veronica Stevens & Guillotine LeGrande vs. Raven

Stevens is the former Simply Luscious for those wondering. Corino’s ring announcer lists off all the people Corino has beaten over the years in one of the more grandiose ring introductions you will ever see. Although having him stop for a drink of water halfway through was pretty funny. Match starts off with a lot of stalling. Corino hits a few shoulderblocks but Raven fights back and hits a suplex. Corino gets his foot up on a charge then catches Raven with a back elbow smash. Corino chokes out Raven in the corner then they trade chops until Corino gets a thumb in the eye. Suplex gets two. Corino wedges a chair in the corner then whips Raven into it as he spills out to the floor. Corino gets in some weak shots on Raven outside then connects with a flying forearm. Raven ducks a lariat and comes back with a super kick as both men are down. Raven is up first and hits a few clotheslines and a kneelift. Raven gets two with a bulldog as Punk is screaming about how the referee is not doing their job. Raven sets up a chair as he sends Corino into it with a drop toehold but Stevens breaks up the pin. Raven corners Stevens then spanks Stevens as he drapes her over his knee so Punk leaves the booth. Corino puts Raven in the Cobra Clutch in the middle of the ring. Raven is able to get up and ram Corino into the corner then hits the Raven Effect but Punk pulls the referee out of the ring. Raven chases him around but runs into a super kick from Corino, who covers and gets the pin (13:08) **. After the match, Corino & Punk beat on Raven until Corino tells him he doesn’t need his help and slaps Punk across the face. They get into each other’s faces as Punk eventually leaves.

Thoughts: The “Raven’s Rules” stipulation was not needed for the match and the only purpose it served was for the screw job finish, which could have done in a number of other ways. This was wrestled like a mid 80’s WWF house show match, which I guess is why the call Corino “The King of Old School.”

Chris Sabin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Matt Stryker vs. AJ Styles

Punk is back in the booth and asks if he missed anything. The crowd is really into Cabana. Match starts off slow with lots of stalling and feeling each other out. Cabana and Sabin go back and forth until Cabana knocks him off the apron. Cabana then teases a dive but stops before the ropes and ends up hitting a double axe handle from the apron. Back inside, Sabin nearly kills AJ by landing on his head after a spinning heel kick then Cabana missed a top rope splash as everyone rolled out of the way. AJ tags himself in and keeps trying to hit Sabin with a Styles Clash but fails then hits him in the face with a basement dropkick. AJ comes back with a dropkick of his own after a fast Irish whip sequence as Levy notes that Punk will face AJ at the next show. Sabin gets beat on for a while by everyone then Cabana spits at AJ, who responds by throwing his gum at him. Sabin gets placed up top but is able to take Cabana off with a neckbreaker as both men are down. Stryker and AJ tag but AJ goes after Cabana. Sabin hits AJ with an enziguiri then hits some sort of swinging slam as the match finally settles down between the two legal men. Stryker and AJ go back-and-forth then Cabana tags in and stretches out AJ while Punk cant get over the fact that AJ threw his gum like a sissy. AJ is now the one who is in trouble as we learn that Cabana and Sabin will face each other in a Field of Honor match next show. AJ then comes back with a double Phenomenon on Stryker and Sabin as the match breaks down again. Everyone trades moves at a decent pace, including an awesome reverse hurricarana on Cabana courtesy of Sabin. Stryker suplexes AJ but gets grabbed by Cabana. Sabin charges at them but Cabana backdrops him then hits the Colt 45 on Stryker for the win (18:55) **1/2.

Thoughts: The match was formulaic and disappointing considering the competitors. Cabana winning was a bit of a surprise I suppose but that’s all I took away from this match.

Maff is talking to Alison Danger about the show. He tells her to talk to Rob Feinstein about something that he is upset about.

Gary Michael Capetta is with Colt Cabana, who says he has something special planned. However, CM Punk interrupts to talk about Steve Corino briefly then switches topics to Raven and Terry Funk and asks Cabana how it feels to get cut off, as Cabana says it feels weird.

RoH Tag Team Title Gauntlet Match

Carnage Crew & Justin Credible vs. Angel Dust & Deranged & Hydro

For some reason, this match starts off with a six-man “grudge” match due to the strap attack by Special K on these guys from Beating the Odds. However, the winning team will have to reduce to two members. The Special Guys jump the Carnage Crew to start. The Carnage Crew then take control as they beat the shit out Angel Dust. Becky Bayless distracts Credible and after kissing her and Levy making a bunch of whore comments at Becky, Angel Dust takes him off of the apron. Hydro tags as Special K regains control while Levy goes through his usual schtick about Special K spending their parents money on drugs. Deranged puts Credible in a chinlock in what feels like an eternity. Credible finally breaks free as he tags Loc while the crowd is silent. Loc cleans house as the Carnage Crew try to get the crowd going but they seemed burned out. They set up Angel Dust for the spike piledriver but the Special K flunkies run in to break it up. The Carnage Crew then use straps as Deranged gets whacked in the face as the ref rings the bell for the DQ as we learn that the Carnage Crew have been disqualified, despite Special K using blatant outside interference (9:06). This sucked.

Deranged & Hydro vs. Briscoe Brothers 

The Briscoes take control early. Deranged hits a few hurricaranas on Jay but Mark tags and pancakes him. Hydro is in and clotheslines Mark after a fast-paced sequence. Mark then places Hydro up top and hits a springboard Ace Crusher. Deranged runs in and hits a Code Red as this is essentially under scramble rules. Jay tags and hits Hydro with the Jay Driller for the pin as Mark attempted to make it a spike but overshot his springboard dive (11:52). Brief but decent action at least.

Briscoe Brothers vs. Dunn & Marcos

Marcos hits the Sliced Bread #2 as he celebrates but Mark hits him with a springboard dropkick and shortly after that the Briscoes put Dunn away with a springboard Doomsday Device (13:34). Total squash.

Briscoe Brothers vs. Izzy & Dixie

The Briscoes immediately beat on Izzy and Dixie. They focus on Dixie as Levy tells us the winner of this fall will go up against the Backseat Boyz for the title. Dixie rakes the eyes of Mark then tags Izzy as Punk leaves the booth after Levy brought up Lucy and after that Ray Murrow finally enters. Mark comes back with a crossbody as both men are down. Izzy tags but Mark rolls away and makes the tag. Jay runs wild then Mark hits Izzy with a moonsault but Dixie breaks up the pin and the Special K guys pull Jay out of the ring then distract the ref as that allows Izzy to hit Mark with a Blockbuster for the pin (18:50). The ending was a mess but most of it actually resembled a wrestling match at the very least.

Izzy & Dixie vs. Backseat Boyz

The Backseat Boyz pounce on Izzy & Dixie as they hit all sorts of double-team moves. Kashmere takes out Special K with a dive on the outside. Acid tries to dive out but Dixie stops him and flings him off the top in a really pathetic looking spot. Kashmere comes back in and they hit the Dream Sequence but Izzy manages to hit Kashmere with a springboard senton at the end. Acid and Izzy work a fast but sloppy sequence that ends with Izzy hitting an inverted hurricarana for a nearfall. Kashmere gets hit with a double team move then Izzy takes Acid off of the top with a rana. They then signal for the T Gimmick as they try to hit it on Acid but Kashmere spears them both then the Backseat Boyz hit Izzy with the T Gimmick for the win and the Tag Team Titles (22:42) 1/2*. After the match, Dixie breaks up the celebration then takes out the Backseat Boyz with a weak-looking dive to the floor as Special K are beating on the Backseat Boyz but the Briscoes come out for the save then Teddy Hart comes out and hits an insane springboard corkscrew quebrada onto Special K then heads inside to raise the hands of the Backseat Boyz.

Thoughts: I personally couldnt think of a better way to match the Tag Team Titles seem less important than RoH did with this monstrosity of a match. The whole thing was filled with awful action and the end was filled with zero doubt or drama as to who would win. Joke teams like the Special K guys and Ring Crew Express showed the lack of depth and how those teams were essentially unable to even work an actual tag match. I dont know who Dixie was blowing to get his spot on the roster because he was by far the worst in the match. And he was treated as one of the top guys in the Special K stable. The Backseat Boyz did not even look impressive in winning the belts and who do they feud with now? Special K? The Briscoes are the best team but they would seemingly want revenge on Special K, who fucked them over. Not only was the match shit but they dont even have a good tag feud to run with now.

Homicide, who is in Japan, cuts a promo on Low Ki, telling him that he forgot where he came from and that he even trained him so he could be the superstar that he is today. He then tells Ki to come find him in the “projects” as he is pissed for Ki telling him not to bring in “thugs” into Ring of Honor. He then tells Samoa Joe to be ready and will beat his punk-ass, just like he will do to Ki. Now, both Maff and Homicide are looking to go after Ki.

Alexis Laree comes out to cheers as streamers come down from the ceiling. Gary Michael Cappetta wishes her luck as she just signed a Developmental Deal with the WWE. The fans chant “please don’t go” as she looks emotional but Special K’s music interrupts then Joey Matthews, who was in rehab the announcers tell us, comes out and hugs her then clotheslines her down as its revealed he is back with Special K. The Special K guys hold up Alexis as Joey grabs a chair. Slugger comes down and Joey gives him the chair as Hydro tells him to hit Alexis but he gets slapped down as the Special K guys are scared shitless as they leave the ring, dropping Laree to the mat. Julius Smokes runs in and lays out Hijinx as he now have a match between Laree and Hijinx.

Alexis Laree vs. Hijinx

Hijinx wants no part of Alexis, who takes him down with a flying headscissors and a rana as Smokes, who is now the ref apparently, counts to two. Hijinx knocks her down then hits a backbreaker but misses a senton off of the middle rope then after a reversal sequence, Alexis gets the win with a DDT (1:15) 1/4*. After the match, Slugger raises Alexis on her shoulder as the fans applaud.

Thoughts: No idea what the stuff with Smokes and the Rottweilers were about but it was a nice sendoff for Laree.

We get a promo from Jim Cornette, who tells us he is back in Ring of Honor after the Prophecy attacked him at Wrath of the Racket. He tells them that he is back in town. Okay then.

Punk comes out for his match against Terry Funk as he tells us Funk retired for the first time in 1983 and that he could shit on his career and family all night long if he wants but its all been done before. He says that Funk keeps on coming back because he is a “drunk, pilled-up, schizophrenic, multi-personality dickhead.” Punk then says that RoH put him in with a guy who has to take pills to get up in the morning and that he will finally dismantle Punk forever, which is repeats several times. Punk’s mic work has been the only highlight of the show at this point.

CM Punk vs. Terry Funk

The crowd goes nuts for Funk. Match starts with Punk slapping Funk after they shook hands. Funk backs Punk into then corner and breaks cleanly. After an armdrag by Funk, they roll around on the mat and end up outside as Punk retreats. Back in the ring, Punk takes down Funk and grabs a chinlock. Funk reverses it and works a hammerlock on the mat. Funk hits a neckbreaker then follows Punk outside but gets beaten on then Punk grabs the mic and declares this a hardcore match. Funk then roughs him up as they go back inside, where Funk punches him down. They then trade chops outside of the ring but that stops when Punk gets whipped into the guardrail. Funk hits Punk with a chair across the back. Punk then smashes Funks head off of the table then whacks him with the chair as Funk challenges Punk to hit him harder. Punk fires away at Fun, who is caught between the ropes, but Funk fights back and ends up suplexing Punk from the apron and through a table. Funk repeatedly slams Punk’s head on the table then heads back inside and goes for a moonsault but Punk rolls away as both men are down. Funk sells the knee like a champ then Punk goes right on the attack as he targets the knee as Funk calls him a “prick” and a “bastard.” Funk comes back with a stunner but is still in too much pain to follow up with anything as Punk brings him into the middle of the ring and works the leg before putting on the figure four as Punk taunts him. Levy tells us that the referee was warned before the match to not let anything dangerous happen to Funk, who now reverses the hold. Funk rolls outside and has trouble standing as Punk follows him up and rolls Funk back into the ring. Punk then grabs a chair and whacks the injured knee repeatedly then puts on the figure four again as Funk reaches the ropes but Punk pulls him back into the center of the ring to try it again. Funk fights back and eventually puts Punk in the spinning toe hold but Punk takes him down as Punk puts the figure four back on as Levy wants the ref to call the match in order to protect Funk, who reaches the ropes. Punk tries to yank Funk away from the ropes then puts the hold back on and refuses to break the hold as the ref calls for the bell as Funk wins by DQ (15:48) **1/2. Punk still refuses to break the hold as Colt Cabana comes down to tell Punk to break the hold, only to put it on himself and doesnt stop until Raven runs them off. However, Tommy Dreamer stops Cabana in the aisle as they bring him back in the ring as Funk hits him with a stunner. Funk, Dreamer, and Raven all shake hands together as the crowd applauds.

Thoughts: This match was about as good as it could have been but the Dreamer stuff felt all like deja vu and the Raven/Punk feud in general has lost a lot of steam.

RoH World Title
Christopher Daniels w/ Alison Danger vs. Samoa Joe (Champion)

Joe starts the match by drilling Daniels with a kick that almost got the win. Joe continues to rough up Daniels, who eventually comes back with a leg lariat. Daniels gets two with an Arabian Press but Joe knocks him down with a spinning backhand. Joe then destroys Daniels in the corner as the announcers list off all the title defenses Joe has had as he puts Daniels in a Boston Crab. Danger comes in as Joe goes for a face wash but Daniels knocks him to the floor and follows with another Arabian Press. He grabs a chair and sits down Joe as he tries an Ole kick but Joe cuts him off then hits one on Daniels. Joe hits the move again then they head inside where Joe hits the rolling cradle. Daniels comes back with a German suplex as both men are down. Daniels charges but Joe catches him with a powerslam for a nearfall. Daniels then blocks a kick and hits a pair of enziguiris. Daniels fires away then hits a Samoan drop. The crowd is into Daniels here. Daniels then hits a STO then follows with the Best Moonsault Ever but Joe is able to kick out at two. Joe comes back with an STO of his own then knees Daniels in the head. Joe gets a few nearfalls then catches a breather but Daniels comes back with the Koji Clutch but Joe is able to reach the ropes. Daniels gets two with a Blue Thunder Driver. He then places Joe up top and tries a superplex but Joe blocks the move. Daniels is able to take him off with a hurricarana then hits the Angels Wings and covers but Joe kicks out. However, the timekeeper rang the bell as Daniels is in disbelief. Daniels tries for the Last Rites but Joe reverses and takes him down with the Coquina Clutch. Daniels finally makes the ropes but Joe connects with an enziguiri then gets the win with the Island Driver (15:02) ***3/4. The announcers then talk about who will ever be able to beat Joe. Daniels gets a standing ovation once he makes it back up to his feet.

Thoughts: Really good match but not a classic like the announcers made this out to be or anything like that. After the win, Joe now needs someone to feud with.

Maff is shown again as he tells Daniels that he had the match won and everyone knew it too before telling us that he will win the Field of Honor. His final comment is for Low Ki as he tells him that he is a “self-righteous, egotistical son of a bitch” and that he will be back and it will having nothing to do with winning a match as he promises to hurt him as he rips off his neck brace. Good, intense promo from Maff this time but he isnt someone who is worth all this promo time to begin with f you ask me.

Backstage, the Carnage Crew are talking about how they are disrespected every day in their lives before they warn Special K that they will kick their ass.

The Backseat Boyz gloat over the fact that they have won the RoH Tag Team Titles then tell is that they are the best tag team in the world. They then tell us they are going down to Atlantic City to get some hookers, room service, and shrimp.

Colt Cabana is now hosting his own talk show in the Murphy Rec Center hallway as his first guest is Julius Smokes, who is flanked by the Rottweilers. Cabana tries a “the man” joke then asks Smokes introduces us to . Smokes then tells us the Rottweiler Express is coming. A sad attempt at comedy by Colt Cabana.

Final Thoughts: A really disappointing show. It was more dull than horrible I suppose but that is the best I can say about the show as a whole. Besides the main event and Punk, everything else was either forgettable or awful. They are lacking in compelling feuds and the tag team division is complete shit at the moment. They might as well have just put the Briscoes vs. Backseat Boyz for the titles and built off of that because the other teams should be nowhere near a title belt. Also, the Field of Honor stuff has been a major disappointment so far. No one is looking like a breakout star from being a part of this tournament. One of the weaker shows RoH offered in 2003.

Ring of Honor Beating the Odds September 6th, 2003

September 6, 2003

From the Charbonneau Field House in Wakefield, MA

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

The show starts with CM Punk, alongside Colt Cabana, cuts a promo on Raven. He says that he wants Raven to remember how he is a failure and that he began wrestling so he could get his mission across. He ends by saying he will taken Raven out for good then walks away as Cabana is shown. Cabana says that he is not going to say something funny or talk about how Dunn & Marcos’s mothers wanted to be his groupies as he is serious and going to make a name for himself in the Field of Honor.

Raven is shown backstage telling us the world his filled with kings and queens and heaven and hell. He then informs us that for Punk, heaven is not an option as he welcomes him to his Clockwork Orange House of Fun. Raven then promises to “kill” Punk then finishes off this promo with a maniacal laugh.

Field of Honor Qualifying Match
Block B
Jimmy Rave vs. Colt Cabana

Lively crowd tonight. Cabana starts the match by stalling in the corner. Both guys trade arm wringers as the announcers put over the tournament and the “pure wrestling” aspect. We are now shown footage from before the show of the Backseat Boyz at the gimmick table harassing Gabe Sapolsky and Rob Feinstein then yelling at fans to get out of their way until they run into Julius Smokes and Homicide, who yells at them for being late. The argue as the Carnage Crew are laughing in the background then a brawl breaks out. Homicide then tells Feinstein to stop being a “pussy” and fine those “faggot-ass niggas.” We are finally back to the action as Rave takes down Cabana with an armdrag, with the announcers putting down the Backseat Boyz for unprofessionalism. Cabana challenges Rave to knock him down with a shoulder tackle then trips him up as the crowd applauds. Cabana whips Rave into the corner then puts him in a surfboard as we hear that all of the Field of Honor competitors will have cameras on them in the back at all times. Cabana hits a backdrop and gets two off of that. Rave tries to fight back with chops but keeps getting cut off. Cabana gets two off of a gutwrench powerbomb then catches him in a bearhug a few times. Rave connects with an enziguiri for two but Cabana comes back with a leg drop. Cabana misses a top rope twisting senton as Rave follows up with a shining wizard as both men are down. Rave hits a floating DDT for two then catches him with an armbar off of a springboard. Cabana takes control with a modified version of his Colt 45 then targets the back for a bit. Rave ends up putting Cabana in a crossface but Cabana powers out and hits the Colt 45 for the win (13:06) **.

Thoughts: Not much of a match. It did get better at the end though. The main focus was on Homicide and Acid as their feud is not going away. The secondary focus was on Cabana as his win keeps him going in the tournament as they story with him is that he wants to prove himself as a wrestler and stop acting like a goofball.

Backstage, AJ Styles tells Rave he lost because he went for the arm instead of the neck then gives him some advice. Styles appears to be the mentor for Rave.

Colt is shown as he says he is honor as the doctors and his family and friends told him not to wrestle tonight but he did as he is going to the top.

Diablo Santiago w/ Oman Tortuga vs. Slyk Wagner Brown w/ April Hunter

Before the match, the Outkast Killaz corner Hunter but Brown flipped into the ring to scare them off. Match starts with Santiago jumping Brown from behind. Santtiago kept taunting the crowd as that allowed Brown to hit him with a missile dropkick. Brown then hit a press slam and followed that with a standing moonsault. Santiago goes outside as Brown sends him into the guardrail with a baseball slide. Back inside, Santiago works over the back of Brown then they fuck up a super kick spot that missed by a mile but Brown sold anyway. Santiago gets two with a bridging slam but misses a diving headbutt as both men are down. Brown wins a slugfest then hits some sort of half-assed Thesz Press for two. Catatonic slam gets two. Santiago comes back with another bridging suplex as he is now bleeding from his nose. Brown almost botches a float over then catches Santiago with a sitout powerbomb for the win (4:19) 1/4*. After the match, Tortuga tells Brown they are not down and that Hunter was checking him out all match. Tortuga then Hunter to come with him then gets attacked in a sequence to show off Hunter, who was probably bigger than Tortuga anyway.

Thoughts: This match sucked. The point was to get Brown and Hunter over but Brown was a bad wrestler and did a ton of flips in the match for some reason. Hunter got over a bit for beating on the Outkast Killaz as they seem to be building up to a match between the four.

Scramble Match
Dunn & Marcos vs. Izzy & Dixie w/ Special K vs. SAT’s vs. Backseat Boyz

We are informed that Homicide & Julius Smokes are “tearing” up the locker room due to the Backseat Boyz being here tonight. This starts off the same as every other scramble match with guys pairing off and going at rapid speed. One cool move was when Joel countered a tarantula from Izzy with an Alabama Slam. Less blown spots than usual here too. Izzy busts out a few cool hurricaranas here as well. Dunn & Marcos hit a nice version of the Demolition Decapitation on Dixie for two. The match breaks down with the SAT’s botching a double-team move as they are incapable of having a match without at least one. The announcers talk about the Tag Team Title situation due to the Amazing Red’s injury and how Gary Michael Capetta will address that later tonight. THe match breaks down again as Kashmere takes out almost everyone with a senton. In the ring, Joel and Izzy take turns kicking each other then climb up top where Joel takes Izzy off with a Spanish Fly to the floor on top of everyone, drawing a “holy shit” chant form the crowd. They head back inside as the action breaks down again until Acid hits Joel with a high knee for the win (8:44) **1/4.

Thoughts: These tag scramble matches were really tiresome. The only team worth a shit was the Backseat Boyz as the others were probably incapable of wrestling an actual tag match. Despite all of that, this was more cool moves and less botched spots than usual, making it a bit entertaining at least.

Field of Honor
Block A
Matt Stryker vs. John Walters

Both guys feel each other out to start. They battle over a test-of-strength then trade moves until Walters stretches out Stryker in the ropes. Stryker takes a breather then re-enters as he takes down Walters and works a front facelock. They end in a stalemate as the crowd applauds then Walters works the arm. Stryker takes him down with a dragon screw and works the leg briefly before putting on the Stryker Lock. Walters is able to make it to the ropes then Stryker goes back to working the leg. Walters knee gives out as he was Irish whipped into the ropes then Stryker grapevines the leg. Stryker is unable to put Walters away then gets caught with a lungblower as Walters continues to sell his leg. Walters is up first and eventually hits his Hurricane DDT for a nearfall. Stryker comes back with rolling German Suplexes then takes him down and tries to work the leg but Walters crawled over to the ropes. Walters comes back with a La Magistral then lifts him up for a  chokeslam and drops him across his knee for a backbreaker. They have a reversal sequence that ends with Stryker getting a nearfall with a German suplex. Walters tries to hit Stryker with a powerbomb but his leg gave out as Stryker fell on top of him for the win (12:38) **3/4. After the match, Walters grabs the mic and tells us that he has been wrestling in the area for three years and talks about having pride and wanting to win before shaking Stryker’s hand.

Thoughts: Above-average match but I still dont really care about either one of these guys. Walters selling of the leg was questionable at times and his promo after the match was extremely long-winded. Stryker is a fine technical wrestler but had no personality or even a decent look and would be best served in a jobber role.

Homicide interrupts Feinstein as he is eating wanting to fight Trent Acid tonight, even giving up his title shot. Feinstein tells him he can make it happen.

Hydro & Deranged & Angel Dust vs. Carnage Crew & Justin Credible

The Special Guys are freaking out over the fact they have to fight these guys. Match starts with Loc getting the best of Hydro as the announcers put over the Homicide vs. Trent Acid match that will take place later tonight. Credible works over Angel Dust then kisses Becky Bayless as the announcers crack jokes about her being a whore. He then hits Angel Dust with several rolling suplexes as the crowd goes nuts. Deranged and DeVito are now in the ring as Deranged hits him low then hammers away in the corner. DeVito fights back and takes him down with a dropkick. Outside, Special K yell at Slugga and order him into the ring. He heads in as Loc slaps him in the face then chops away. Loc hits him low but gets caught with a reverse chokeslam as Angel Dust runs in and grabs a headlock. The Special K guys are now beating on Loc and that goes on for a bit until he hits Angel Dust with a backdrop driver then tags Credible, who runs wild. The match breaks down as all three Special K get whipped into each other. Carnage Crew hits Deranged with a Splash Mountain/Neckbreaker combo but Slugger makes the save on the pin attempt as the match breaks down again. Slugger holds up the Carnage Crew for Angel Dust and Hydro, who accidentally hit him with missile dropkicks that Slugger did not even know how to sell correctly. Credible takes Slugga down with a super kick then grabs Bayless and pulls her onto the apron after she tried to trip him but Deranged breaks that up then hits Credible with a spin kick for two. The match breaks down again as all we hear is Julius Smokes yelling at Slugga, asking him to follow him as he agrees with both guys heading to the back. Hydro and Angel dust take out the Carnage Crew with dives, leaving Deranged and Credible in the ring. They battle up top where Credible takes him off with a tombstone piledriver from the middle rope and gets the win (15:32) *1/2. After the match, DeVito destroys Hijinx with a chair then they drag Bayless into the ring for the spike piledriver but Credible prevents them as he asks for the tables as the Carnage Crew put her through the table from the apron with the spike piledriver. DeVito can barely walk after the move.

Thoughts: This feud looks like it will continue but this match really fell apart the last couple of minutes. It turned into a disaster. DeVito seemed to hurt himself putting Bayless through the table but still managed to really protect her with the move. Slugga has now apparently joined up with Smokes and Homicide as Special K is without their muscle.

Gary Michael Cappetta is backstage with some updates. He tells us that Low Ki has fractured his jaw during a recent tour of Japan and will be out indefinitely. Also, the Amazing Red will be out as he is undergoing surgery for an ACL injury as the Ring of Honor will have a Tag Team Gauntlet Series that will begin next show at Glory By Honor II when new Tag Team Champions will be crowned. He then brings out the Briscoe Brothers as Mark tells us that they are young and unsure what they want to do with their lives but now they want to win the Tag Team Titles. Cappetta tells us that Mark will face BJ Whitmer tonight and that Jay will take part in the four-way match, with the winner getting a title shot. After that, the SAT’s ask the Briscoes why they hurt Red, thinking that they were boys. The Briscoes tell them they were just trying to win the match. Christ, that was an awkward exchange. Jay improved by leaps and bounds in his promo skills while the other three have not.

Mark Briscoe vs. BJ Whitmer

The crowd chants for Briscoe as Whitmer has him in a headlock. Briscoe comes back with a spinning heel kick then grounds Whitmer as the announcers put over how much of an upset it would be if Briscoe won this match. Briscoe gets a nearfall with a crossbody but Whitmer fights back. He hits a gutbuster that gets two then works a surfboard. The announcers are trying way too hard to put Whitmer over by pretending that he has had all sorts of incredible matches. Well, you can say that many other guys in this company too. Whitmer beats on Briscoe outside of the ring as he targets the ribs. Back inside, Whitmer gets another nearfall with a gutbuster. He locks on an abdominal stretch but Briscoe counters with a hip toss. Whitmer goes back on offense after Briscoe missed an elbow drop as he continues to target the ribs. Whitmer sends Briscoe to the floor with a hiptoss but Briscoe is able to cut him off on a dive to the outside. Briscoe suplexes Whitmer onto the floor then flies out with a shooting star press as the crowd starts a “holy shit” chant. Briscoe repeatedly whips Whitmer into the guardrail then heads back inside, hitting a springboard dropkick for two. Briscoe then catches him with a uranage after a reversal sequence but that only gets two. Whitmer comes back with a superplex but that is not enough to get the win. Dragon suplex gets two. Briscoe comes back with an exploder for a nearfall. Whitmer then hits an exploder of his own after a reversal sequence but that is not enough for the win. They now battle up top where Briscoe takes him off with a belly-to-belly that looked really sloppy but it was enough for the win (13:50) **3/4.

Thoughts: Another match that was above-average but hurt again by a lack of psychology as they kept on hitting a ton of big moves then ended it with something that looked less painful than most of what they were doing to each other. The ending was also anti-climatic, which is a bad sign as you cannot build to a finish in a match that lasted almost fourteen years long. Still, Briscoe was just a teenager and was wrestling at a level far above most with the same experience. I also felt that the announcers gave away the finish with how they constantly talked up Whitmer and how much of an upset it would be if Briscoe won.

Feinstein is backstage asking the fans if they have any information about the attack on Lucy at the “Wrath of the Racket” show. If you do, send it to the company website.

Trent Acid w/ Johnny Kashmere vs. Homicide w/ Julius Smokes 

Before the match begins the camera cuts to Raven in the locker room, who is breathing heavily, as he tells Punk he will kill him. We are back to the action as these two go back and forth at a quick pace. Acid cuts off Homicide with a kick on a dive attempt then suplexes him onto the floor. Acid pulls the guardrail forward and asks the fans to move back then takes out Homicide with a quebrada. They go back and forth again then Homicide tosses Acid into the guardrail as he was in midair and holy shit did that look like it hurt. He places Acid on a chair then flies out and hits him with a tope con hilo. The action heads back into the ring as Homicide destroys Acid in the corner. He sends Acid to the floor with a running knee smash as they play up that Acid has an eye injury as he is bleeding. A dazed Acid heads back inside where Homicide goes back on offense. Acid is able to come back with a missile dropkick then hits a flurry of moves but remains dazed. Homicide hits a T-Bone suplex for a nearfall but Acid comes back with a low blow then brings a chair inside as the ref is tied up with Smokes. Acid takes him off of the top with a Backseat Driver as Homicide’s head whacks the edge of the chair. Ouch! Now they trade Yakuza kicks until Acid knocks him down but that only gets one as they go at it again until both men are down as the crowd goes nuts. Homicide blocks a kick then takes Acid down with a Dragon Screw before locking on the STF. Acid makes the ropes but Homicide puts the hold back on as Acid once again is able to make it to the ropes. Acid knocks Homicide down with a forearm smash as his nose is pouring blood. Acid waits up top but Homicide knocks him down then hits a Super Ace Crusher for two as Kashmere interrupts the pin. Smokes chases him around until Acid takes him out. Acid catches Homicide with another Yakuza kick as he was chasing Kashmere but that is not enough to put him away. Homicide breaks up a sleeper with a low blow then is able to hit the Cop Killa after failing previously and that is enough for the win (15:00) ***1/2. After the match, everyone shakes hands as the fans start an “R-O-H” chant.

Thoughts: Wild match. These two beat the crap out of each other and earned their paychecks with this performance. The next logical step is to have the rubber match to their feud. Acid looked like someone who could have been a star but drugs ruined that among other things.

Christopher Daniels is shown with Allison Danger talking about destiny. This is shot in black-and-white. Danger is holding up the ECWA Title. Daniels says that his goal has always been to be the Ring of Honor champion but he will not be here tonight as he is defending the ECWA title. Daniels closes by telling Samoa Joe that he is the only thing standing in his way and says that at “Glory By Honor II” he will fulfill his destiny by winning the title. I’ll say it before and I will say it again, the Fallen Angel gimmick held Daniels back. It came off too corny for someone positioned near the top of the card.

Four Corners Survival Match
Chris Sabin vs. Jay Briscoe vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

The rules for this are as follows: Winner gets a title shot in the future. However, if Joe wins, the loser will not get a title match as long as Joe is the champion. Sabin and Briscoe start off the match as they work a decent little sequence that ends in a standoff. AJ and Joe tag in as now the NWA-TNA and RoH champs are in the ring but Sabin tags himself in and tries to attack AJ but fails. Sabin tags Joe, who starts kicking Joe. AJ then bails and tags Briscoe, who gets knocked down a few times. AJ tags back in as Briscoe catches him with a powerslam as all four guys keep tagging in and out until the match breaks down until everyone ends up in a standoff. That looked far to contrived and the crowd didnt care at all. Joe and Briscoe take turns beating on Sabin for a bit until he comes back with a catatonic backbreaker. Joe tags and puts Briscoe in a Boston Crab that looked painful as AJ breaks up the move. Now we are at the point where the guys all break up submission holds so they can have a chance to win a title shot. Briscoe is taking a beating here as he is getting put in all sorts of submission holds. He rolls away from a splash attempt by Sabin and finally makes the tag as AJ clotheslines Sabin to the floor. Joe takes him outside with an enziguiri then hits him with the ole kick. He tries it again but Sabin spears Joe then gets drilled with a super kick by AJ. All three guys outside brawl until Briscoe takes them out with a senton. In the ring, Briscoe chops Joe in the corner. Joe plants a charging Briscoe with an uranage. Joe follows with a powerbomb then locks on an STF but Briscoe reaches the ropes. AJ is in and messes up the Phenomenon but still gets two. The match breaks down as Sabin hits the Future Shock for two then Briscoe hits him with a Splash Mountain. Joe uses a rolling cradle on Briscoe that AJ breaks up at two. AJ botches a springboard move but salvages it somewhat by making it a leg drop. AJ then hits Sabin with a Styles Clash after a reversal sequence but Joe breaks it up then everyone takes turns kicking each other as the match has broked down again. AJ and Joe hit Sabin with a double enziguiri then Briscoe swoops in and hits Sabin with the Jaydriller and gets the win as the other two were unable to break up the pin (21:15) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match but nothing to write home about or anything. Briscoe winning was a surprise as they put over both of them strongly on this show. With the news of the new Tag Team Champions being crowned next show, it seems like they have put the Briscoes and Backseat Boyz at the top tier of teams.

Cappetta is with Justin Credible as they are fielding questions from the crowd. Some clown asks him if “Bret really fucked Sunny” then Credible said that he did then follows that he is just telling them what they want to hear.  After that, Special K jumps him from behind until the Carnage Crew make the save but they also end up getting beat down.  We can see the crew put together the cage as this is happening.

Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match
CM Punk vs. Raven

They fight over a lockup as Cabana is now ringside. Raven whacks Punk with a trashcan then chokes him out with a chain as Punk is already busted open and now wearing a crimson mask as Raven is ramming him into the cage. Punk is able to now send Raven into the cage as he now takes control of the match. Punk whacks Raven with a shovel then opens him up some more with punches to the forehead. He now uses the garbage can as the announcers tell us that Punk and Raven will pick opponents for each other as Raven has selected Terry Funk to face Punk at “Glory By Honor II” as Punk selected Steve Corino for Raven, who comes back with a DDT as Cabana breaks that up by tossing a chair at him. Raven runs over to him but gets the door slammed in his face. Punk comes back with a DDT but that just gets two. Raven whacks Punk with a chair a few times but is unable to put him away. He sets up a table but Punk hits him low and lays him across the table then heads to the top of the cage. Raven gets up and meets him there as they trade punches until Punk gets tossed off and through the table. Raven climbs down and but Punk is just able to kick out. Raven then hits a super kick then sets him on the top rope as he puts Punk through the table with the Raven Effect and gets the win (11:45) ***1/2. After the match, the lights go out and when they turn back on Raven is shown tied-up to a giant “X” with barbed-wire draped over his neck as Cabana is also in the ring. Punk grabs the mic and that while Raven had won this battle he will not win the war. Punk then leaves as the referees

Thoughts: Good match. These guys bled all over the place and the hype delivered for the most part, although you would have expected this match to last longer. With Raven winning the battle and Punk getting his heat back, this feud will continue. Punk looks like more of a star after each show. His character was awesome.

Joe talks about Daniels talking about his destiny of winning the RoH title as he talks about always being the bully and never the underdog as Daniels’ destiny is to get choked out and dropped on his head by him. He closes by saying that he is “pro wrestling.”

Final Thoughts: Solid show. Some of the undercard was garbage but the main storylines are going strong and they appear to be doing more with the tag division than scramble matches with the announcement that new champions will be crowned. Punk/Raven remains the hottest feud but they built up the Briscoes, Homicide, and the Backseat Boyz tonight. The Field of Honor hasnt really impressed all that much to be honest with Cabana the central part of that storyline. All in all, the promotion has more positives and negatives at the moment and I look forward to each show.

Ring of Honor Wrath of the Racket August 9th, 2003

August 9, 2003

From the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, OH

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

The show starts with Lucy filming Ace Steel and Colt Cabana goofing around backstage as they compare the Field of Honor tournament to the film “Field of Dreams.” They then see Homicide and Julius Smokes play craps in the corner as Cabana plays the geeky white guy while asking them about the Field of Honor. Smokes tells him that its for the cream of the crop and that there is nothing worse than a “bitch-ass wigga.” A painfully unfunny comedy segment. These Cabana/Steel segments trying to find out what exactly the Field of Honor is went on throughout the entire show.

AJ Styles and Amazing Red are talking backstage. Red is really, really bad on interviews. Anyway, AJ tells the Prophecy that they do not respect them and to try and take away their belts. Red is trying to no-sell his injury by saying he is okay. AJ leaves as the SAT’s asks Red about his injury and he downplays that as well. Amateur hour stuff from these guys as AJ was a mediocre promo guy and Red was one of the worst I have ever seen.

Fast Eddie & Don Juan vs. Carnage Crew vs. Deranged & Hydro w/ Special K vs. SAT’s

Masada is replacing DeVito in the Carnage Crew tonight. Special K beats on Loc to start. Loc comes back with a Saito Suplex. Jose chops Eddie a bunch then hits him with a dropkick as the fans lightly applaud that sequence. Don Juan and Masada work a decent sequence that sees Juan bust out one of the most unique inverted atomic drops you will ever see. Hydro comes in and works with Joel, who looks even worse than usual as he can barely take any of the moves. Everyone trades high-impact moves now as some of it is sloppy but generally okay. The SAT’s then nearly drop Deranged but make up for it with a crazy double-team pendulum swing facebuster that looked like it killed the poor guy as the crowd is up on their feet. Jose blocks a spike piledriver attempt from the Carnage Crew then takes Masada off of the top rope with a hurricarana in another awful-looking spot. Hydro gets a nearfall off of a German Suplex but gets cut off on the top rope as the SAT’s hit him with the Spanish Fly. The TWA guys break up the pin then dive outside onto the SAT’s but in the ring, Dixie hooks the leg of Loc as Deranged hits a rana then has Dixie hold his hand for leverage during the pin as he scores the upset victory (9:04) **. After the match, Deranged looks into the camera and tells us that weed is good for us as Loc is swearing about the loss.

Thoughts: Fast-paced action that was hit or miss. The segment seemed to be designed towards a Special K/Carnage Crew feud so at least there was some point to this match.

Special K remains in the ring as they start a rave then Jim Cornette comes out with his tennis racket. The fans are going nuts for him. However, his microphone does not work so he had to head back near the ramp and used a mic that was plugged in as Cornette calls the guy an idiot before laying into Special K. He tells Special K that if he wants any shit out of them he will squeeze their head. He then runs down the scramble match and how it was like a blender as he welcomes what he calls a traditional tag team. The Midnight Express theme hits but out comes Dunn & Marcos, who do their schtick, then Cornette makes fun of them until they get ambushed by Christopher Daniels and Danny Maff. They drag Dunn & Marcos into the ring where Cornette tells them to hit the Rocket Launcher and they do. Cornette then whacks them with the racket as the fans mostly applaud. Daniels then grabs the mic to officially announce Cornette as a member of the Prophecy. So they have established why Cornette is here now. The segment was fine, if not a little lame.

BJ Whitmer cuts a promo about getting a title shot tonight against Samoa Joe and how he watched wrestling in Ohio with his dad growing up. This was pretty bad as Whitmer completely lacked the intensity to make this work. The verbiage was fine but Whitmer had no idea how to cut a promo.

Chet “The Jet” Jablonski w/ Brock Guffman vs. Nigel McGuiness

Winner of this match gets a shot at the HWA Heavyweight Title. Jablonski actually spent three years (05-08) in WWE Developmental and had a decent look. Guffman was a fat guy in a buttoned short sleeve shirt and a fleece vest. Quite the look. He told us that this is their time to shine and how they earned the right to be here in a passionate speech. Jablonski works the arm to start the match. He gets two off of a spinebuster as there was some miscommunication on that one. McGuiness comes back with some European Uppercuts but gets caught with a T-Bone suplex. They fight over a test of strength until McGuiness breaks that up with a Mexican armdrag. McGuiness now takes control as he targets the back then puts on the STF. Jablonski reaches the ropes then takes McGuiness down with a lariat but comes back and puts on the STF then a chinlock that Jablonski breaks up. He hits a Fisherman’s Northern Lights suplex that gets two then they trade pinfalls until Jablonski with an Emerald Frosion for two. Jablonski then misses a top rope senton as McGuiness rolls him up and uses a bridge to get the win (6:43) *3/4. After the match, both guys raise their hands in unison as the crowd applauds.

Thoughts: Neither guy really impressed all that much here. They kept it basic for the most part. The crowd was somewhat receptive to them but that could have been due to the fact they were in the local territory.

Chris Sabin vs. Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

The match starts as they trade moves on the mat. The pace picks up as Homicide hits a few armdrags after an Irish whip sequence then slows back down when he works the arm. Sabin then hits a few armdrags and a clothesline until they wind up in the corner during a lockup. Homicide headbutts Sabin down then hits monkey flips him out of the corner. Homicide is operating at half-speed tonight. Sabin fights back and hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Homicide is in control but Sabin avoids a baseball slide then pancakes Homicide on the mat. Shining Wizard gets two. Brainbuster gets two. Homicide comes back with a STF but Sabin hits a neckbreaker for two. He climbs up top but gets cut off then Homicide takes him down with a rana for two. Sabin rolls through a crossbody and hits a catatonic backbreaker for two. Homicide tries a Cop Killa after a reversal sequence but Sabin escapes then Homicide kicks him low and hits the move for the win (9:02) *3/4. After the match, Homicide calls Steve Corino a “pussy motherfucker.”

Thoughts: Really disappointing match. Homicide was going at half-speed here but later on in the show we will know why that was the case. And besides that, these guys lacked chemistry together in a major way.

Alex Shelley & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Ace Steel & Colt Cabana

Steel and Shelley go back and forth to start the match. Shelley is thoroughly outwrestling him here by the way. Jacobs tags and hits the bulldog as a few fans start the “Huss” chant. He hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors then gets two with a flying forearm. Steel lights up Jacobs with chops then tags Cabana, who hits a chop. Jacobs comes back with a dropkick then bites Cabana. Steel breaks up a pin attempt after a double team move. Steel makes a blind tag as Cabana distracts Shelley long enough for Steel to take him to the floor with a dropkick. Steel gets two with a slingshot suplex as Shelley is now getting destroyed by the Second City Saints, who are doing some solid tag wrestling. Shelley then takes them down with a neckbreaker/DDT combo before making the hot tag to Jacobs, who runs wild. Shelley gets up as he also goes nuts but gets dropped on his head after a nasty German suplex from Cabana. Jacobs takes Cabana down with a rana but Steel catches him up top and hits Jacobs with the Spinal Shock. Shelley tries a another neckbreaker but Steel breaks that up and the Saints put Shelley away with a neckbreaker/Colt .45 combo (11:18) **3/4. After the match the Saints dedicate the win to CM Punk.

Thoughts: Solid match. Shelley stood out the most here as he was by far the smoothest worker in the ring and could play the underdog babyface role well. This was to establish the Saints as a bit more than the goofballs part of Punk’s crew.

Matt Stryker vs. Justin Credible

Both guys butt heads before the match. Credible pretends that he got punched with a closed fist as he yells at the crowd to get some heat. Credible then cheapshots Stryker, who fights back, then bails. Its clear that they are trying to get Stryker over as a face here. Credible bullies the referee then goes up the ramp to speak on the mic as he swears at the fans and refuses to come back until he is shon respect but Stryker follows him through the curtain as they head into the ring. Both guys trade chops then Stryker sends him flying off of the apron with a forearm smash. Stryker whips him into the railing as he is far more aggressive than usual. They are brawling behind the bleachers as Stryker is getting the best of Credible until he gets tossed back over the guardrail. These two are beating on each other as Credible is busted open. Back in the ring, Credible tries to set up Stryker for a cheapshot but it fails. Credible blocks a Death Valley Driver attempt and sends Stryker back to the floor. He slams him down then taunts the crowd as he then rolls Stryker back inside. He puts him in a headlock as the crowd rallies behind Stryker as he fights out. He crotches Credible against the post then hammers away. Quebrada gets two. He tries a flying body press but Credible catches him with a super kick. Credible heads up top and hits a crossbody but Stryker rolls through and gets two. Credible escapes from a pair of DVD attempts and hits a tombstone but Stryker kicks out as Credible is in disbelief. He repeats the move but Stryker escapes then Credible counters another DVD attempt with a crucifix but Stryker rolls through that and finally hits the DVD for the win **1/2 (11:31).

Thoughts: Fun match. You would not notice it in the WWE as much but Credible really carried things here as far as working the crowd and getting them into the match. They were into Stryker here. The match itself was far from a masterpiece but it was enjoyable. And Credible did put over the guy, even if it was someone who probably was not worth pushing much.

Les Thatcher, replacing Gary Michael Cappetta tonight, interviews the Prophecy. Daniels promises AJ Styles & Amazing Red that their title reign will end tonight. Cornette tells us that he has been around a lot of the “next big things” and how he is in Ring of Honor for the Prophecy as he puts them over. Maff then orders Thatcher to leave as Cornette asks the Prophecy to see a tape of how Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson got the Tag Titles from the Rock & Roll Express in 1987 as he has an idea to use from that match tonight. They are going a bit too overboard with the Nostalgia act here. It was probably designed this way for the fanbase but to have a slapped-together tag team pretend to be like the Midnight Express was not going to work out all that well.

Steel and Cabana are backstage with their awful comedy routine trying to get the scoop on the “Field of Honor.” Even worse than them was Chris Sabin, who was terrible in his backstage role. He was almost as bad as Red at talking.

The Prophecy run out and ambush the Amazing Red and the SAT’s at the gimmick table. Cornette calls Red a “crippled midget” as the referees attend to him. Red is clutching his knee as he struggles to get helped to his feet. The fans start cheering for him as AJ arrives to help him out as well.

Four Corners Survival Match
Slyk Wagner Brown w/ April Hunter vs. Hotstuff Hernandez vs. “Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews vs. Michael Shane

Match starts with Hernandez no-selling Shane’s offense. He then beats on Shane for a minute and uses an impressive overhead throw. Shane hits him low then tags Andrews, who returns for the first time in a year. Brown tags in as he sports the blond hair. He botches a move then locks on an armbar. Hernandez tags and he chops Brown in the corner then crushes him with a slingshot splash for two. Andrews tags back in and works the arm of Brown as all three men take turns beating on him as the announcers talk up the Field of Honor, speculating that it might be a tournament. Shane has Andrews in a headlock as we are informed that the Amazing Red will be unable to compete tonight due to his injured knee. Hernandez catches Andrews off of the top then hits him with a spiral bomb. Brown gets two with a blockbuster then hooks on a reverse headscissors that triggers a wacky submission spot to pop the crowd. This match is lacking right now and needs to pick up. Hernandez brushes away a missile dropkick from Brown then slams his down as both men are down. They tag as Andrews and Shane trade punches that leads to a contrived car crash spot that Brown nearly ruined with his sloppiness. We are now alerted that AJ Styles will be able to choose a partner to replace Red tonight as this match has been a backdrop for the announcers to promote everything else in the company. Hernandez takes out everyone with his tope as the crowd goes nuts. In the ring, everyone trades big moves then Brown almost breaks his neck trying a shooting star press. He pulled a Brock Lesnar circa WrestleMania 19. The action picks up a bit then Shane hits Andrews with a Fisherman’s DDT for the win (16:34) **.

Thoughts: This went on for far too long. It was a throwaway match between 4 guys barely doing anything in the promotion. Brown did not impress in his debut and I have no idea why Shane got the win as they could at least have given it to Hernandez, who was over with the crowd.

Slim J vs. Jimmy Rave

Apparently, Slim is no longer part of Special K. That was not explained here though. We are informed that the winner of this will be invited into the mysterious Field of Honor. They start the match going back and forth. Rave flattens Slim with a clothesline but gets kicked low when he followed him out. Rave blocks a springboard attempt as they head back inside and trade a bunch of high impact moves without rhyme or reason. Slim hits a double underhook tornado piledriver and follows that with another creative slam but Rave comes back with a German suplex and a powerbomb as the crowd is not feeling this match. At all. Rave locks on a crossface off of a tilt-a-whirl as the crowd chants for Slim to tap and he does (8:57) *1/4.

Thoughts: Just a collection of moves here without a bit of psychology. Slim J was notable for grabbing his junk throughout the match. That was his gimmick. Rave gets to be the first person announced to the Field of Honor and seeing how he was low on the totem pole, it did not get you all excited for that.

RoH World Title Match
BJ Whitmer vs. Samoa Joe (Champion)

Whitmer is sporting a faceguard here due to a broken nose suffered at the hands of Homicide. Match starts with some back and forth stuff until Joe puts Whitmer in a single leg crab that he really stretches him out with. Joe wins a battle of strikes but Whitmer sends him down shortly after that. They slap each other then Whitmer tosses of the face guard where they continue their slap battle. Whitmer gets two with a back suplex then chops Joe in the corner. Joe comes back by planting Whitmer with a uranage then beats the crap of him. Joe follows Whitmer outside and roughs him up. Whitmer reverses an Irish whip that sends Joe into the guardrail then does it a few more times as the crowd approves. Joe chops Whitmer back then sets him up in the chair for the ole kick then does it again as the crowd also approves this. Back inside, Whitmer escapes from an Island Driver and comes back with a super kick. He heads up top and hits a flying forearm to the back of the head for two. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Whitmer tries and fails to put Joe away a few more times then Joe takes Whitmer down and knees him in the face a few times as he locks on the Coquina Clutch. Whitmer is able to reach the ropes then Joe comes back with a rolling cradle that draws an applause from the crowd. Whitmer then comes back with the Exploder 98 that dropped Joe right on his head but that only gets two. He hits the backdrop driver but Joe is able to kick out of that. Whitmer hits a pair of knee strikes but Joe comes back with an enziguiri. Joe then hits a few suplexes before getting the win with a straightjacket suplex (12:21) ***.

Thoughts: Good match but I don’t think anyone was buying Whitmer as a threat here. This match did help get him over a bit though.

Cabana and Steel are goofing around backstage as they run into Nigel McGuiness and make fun of Dunn & Marcos, who stand up for themselves. Cabana says he has to find Rob Feinstein to learn about the Field of Honor. Its getting tiresome watching these things.

RoH Tag Team Championship Match
Christopher Daniels & Danny Maff w/ Jim Cornette & Allison Danger vs. AJ Styles & Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

AJ and Homicide immediately go after their opponents. They then brawl all over ringside then AJ and Homicide pull the guardrails forward and fly out with dives as the crowd goes mental. Cornette & Danger get trapped in the ring as AJ and Homicide use the rowboat on them. The match settles down as AJ and Homicide take turns beating on Daniels. Maff tags in but does not fare to well as AJ catches him with a powerslam. Daniels is back in as AJ takes him down with a rana. Homicide is in and gets two with a T-Bone but Danger grabs his leg and that allows Maff to suplex him. Maff then knees Homicide several times but misses the cannonball as Homicide fights back but gets caught in the wrong corner as the Prophecy now takes control of the match, mixing in illegal tactics but not much in terms of double-team moves. Homicide tries to mount a comeback but Daniels takes him down and puts on the Koji Clutch as Maff prevents AJ from breaking up the hold but Homicide is able to stick his foot on the rope. They set up for the Rocket Launcher but took too long as Homicide was able to roll away then he tags AJ, who runs wild. AJ was great here. Maff catches AJ with a release German suplex. AJ comes back and tries the Phenomenon but they botched that badly so AJ ends up with an inverted DDT. Daniels attacks AJ as they go back and forth for a bit. AJ hits the Pele kick but Maff hits him with a facebuster of sorts then they hit the Rocket Launcher but Homicide breaks up the pin and runs wild. Maff and Smokes go at it on the floor then Homicide accidentally takes out Smokes with a tope. Back inside, Daniels hits Homicide with the Angels Wings but AJ breaks that up. Daniels shoves AJ into the ref then has Cornette toss him the racket but AJ boots Daniels and hits him with the Styles Clash on the racket as the ref gets up and counts to three (18:18) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Match was good and best of the night but it was missing something to make it more than that. Daniels and Maff also wrestled as two singles guys teaming up as opposed to an actual team as the only double-team move they did was the Rocket Launcher.

After the match, Cornette gets pissed off as he shakes hands with AJ and Homicide but blaming Daniels for the loss. Daniels and Cornette scream at each other until Daniels attacks him from behind. Maff then slams Cornette down as they both beat on him until Amazing Red limps in and takes them out with a tennis racket. Red becomes a victim of the numbers game until Samoa Joe runs in and clears the Prophecy from the ring. Cornette then raises the hands of Red and Joe as he grabs the mic with the fans chanting “RoH.” Cornette then says its not often he says this but he was wrong as he puts over Ring of Honor. They went from Cornette doing a nostalgia act to then putting over the company at the end. Yeah, that didnt work out all that well.

Homicide calls out Steve Corino in a pre-taped promo as Smokes does his routine during and afterwards.

Joe is in the locker room congratulating BJ Whitmer then tells him that he will sacrifice everything for this belt. He even said that Paul London sacrificed his career by facing him just before going up to the WWE and how Dan Maff faced him after burying his father but it wasn’t enough. He then asks who is the next to make the sacrifice and ends up questioning if CM Punk, Christopher Daniels, and Low Ki will have what it takes. Good, intense promo from Joe.

Steve Corino is then shown saying he did not think it could get lower than now. He says that we are all “smart” and “read the sheets” as he calls out those thinking that the riot was a work. This drags as Corino tells us that Japan matters more than Ring of Honor because they do not complain on the internet then tells Homicide he will be there to fight on August 16th and will even bring his kid in, the one that Homicide brought into the feud.

Cabana and Steel finally see Feinstein. They hang up his phone as Cabana asks about the Field of Honor as Feinstein angrily tells him that it is a tournament and that he is invited. Feinstein then leaves as Cabana declares that this is the greatest day before leaving then the camera drops as Lucy was attacked. The camera then shows a piece of paper that read “Trust Never Sleeps” before the show ends. The end would be followed up upon for future shows.

Final Thoughts: Even after expecting a let down from the fantastic “Death Before Dishonor” show, this show felt below expectations. The long running “Field of Honor” bit being revealed as a tournament was a waste seeing how it was assumed the whole time and the Cornette stuff was okay at first as a nostalgia act but him turning on the Prophecy and putting over RoH felt too forced and a lot of the matches were really just filler. And there were too many bad promos/backstage segments. Not much to recommend from this show.

Ring of Honor Wrestlerave June 28th, 2003

June 28, 2003

From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

Show starts with Low Ki cutting a promo with his arm in a sling as he thanks the fans for their support as he recovers from his injury. He then calls out Danny Maff for joining the Prophecy and says that they will never have a place in RoH, much like Julius Smokes as the streets do not belong in Ring of Honor. Ki then says that Samoa Joe proved to be a fighting champion and how the one-year anniversary of their first match is coming up soon and he will be returning to the ring in August then yanks of his sling and tells Joe all he can do is be ready. Decent promo from Ki here.

Rob Feinstein cuts an intentionally corny promo then gets asked about the “promo schedule” by someone off camera when Simply Luscious interrupts. Feinstein points out how The Group lost two weeks ago and has disbanded so wants to know why she is here as Corino, Shane, and CW Anderson are all out of the company. Luscious said she is ready to work as Feinstein said she can sell programs as Luscious then cuts a terrible promo about how we have not seen the last of The Group and that Corino will come back to cause trouble. This telegraphs a Corino return but the segment itself was not too good.

Dunn & Marcos vs. Prince Nana & Jimmy Jact Cash

Before the match, Nana insults the crowd as he calls Cash one of the best wrestlers on the Independent scene today. Marcos then grabs the mic to say their catchphrases but get attacked from behind. Cash knocks down Marcos before destroying him in the corner. Cash then hits a flying back elbow smash for two then goes over to Dunn and calls him a “bitch” but turns around and gets hit with a Northern Lights suplex. Both men tag out as Nana catches Dunn with a lariat before hitting a few running charges in the corner. Cash tags and comes off of the top with a leg drop then hits a spinebuster but Dunn is able to come back with a Gory Bomb as both men are down then tag out as Dunn & Marcos take care of Nana. Dunn puts Marcos on his shoulders and tosses him off with a senton onto Nana but Cash breaks that up but after that, Dunn assists Marcos with a Sliced Bread #2 and ends up splashing onto Nana in the process then gets the win as Dunn & Marcos have won their first match (4:18) 3/4*. After the match, Dunn & Marcos celebrate to a solid reaction from the crowd.

Thoughts: Match was nothing but it was cool to see Dunn & Marcos actually win. Their celebration afterwards was fun.

Alexis Laree vs. Sumie Sakai

Match starts with the girls trading moves. Sakai’s screams are quite grating. Sakai then hits a pair of missile dropkicks before putting Laree in a bow-and-arrow lock. Sakai then puts on a Camel’s Clutch as the match has slowed down. Laree fights out and hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors but gets caught with a knee. They have a sloppy pinfall reversal sequence then follow that with a much better one as they are rolling all over the ring with the ref unable to even make a count due to how fast they were going. That pumps up the crowd then Sakai gets two with a back suplex. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Sakai slams her down the goes up top but misses a moonsault then Laree hits her with an inverted DDT for the win (5:02) **1/4. After the match, Laree raises the arm of Sakai and they hug each other.

Thoughts: Decent action here and easily the best women’s match in the company to date. Even still, the company has no semblance of a women’s division but as the show went on it seemed like they were trying to establish one.

The Prophecy are backstage as Daniels says that they finally got rid of The Group but are not going to rest and that their mission is to retain the RoH Championship as Danny Maff will be taking on Samoa Joe for the belt tonight. Maff tells Joe that he beat him once and will do it again. Daniels then said that he will team with Raven tonight to face the Second City Saints as Raven is shown sitting on the ground. Daniels asks Raven if he is okay with his messed up ankle as the camera zooms in with Raven just smiling into the camera.

Tap Out Match
Chad Collyer vs. Matt Stryker

Collyer is taking the place of Tom Carter, who we are told missed the show as his wife was about to give birth. Crowd is silent to start as the guys trade holds. Hell, they didnt even applaud the standoff. A few guys start a “Let’s go Stryker” chant as Collyer has him grounded on the mat. Stryker now takes control as he has Collyer in a crossface of sorts. Collyer comes back and pus Stryker in a painful looking hold that pops the crowd but cannot maintain it and they end up back on their feet. Collyer takes Stryker back down and stretches him out in order to soften him up for the Texas Cloverleaf, the move that has made Stryker tap twice. Stryker comes back and grounds Collyer with a hammerlock. Collyer fights out then knees Stryker in the face before roughing him up as Levy shits on the WWE for the “Boring” angle with Lance Storm. Stryker ends up escaping from a Fujiwara armbar and is able to put Collyer in his own finisher. Collyer is able to reach the ropes and ducks outside then yanks down Stryker and starts roughing him up, even ramming his leg against the ring post. Collyer attacks the leg with Stryker trying to fight back. Collyer locks on a Figure Four that Stryker is able to reverse as both men are now limping around then start to trade chops. Stryker is able to put Collyer in the ankle lock in the middle of the ring as the crowd chants “tap.” Collyer fights out and Stryker puts him back in the hold then Collyer trips him up and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf but Stryker reaches the ropes. Stryker then puts on the Stryker Lock but Collyer reaches the ropes as the crowd boos. Collyer floats over on a suplex attempt from the apron then blocks an enziguiri as he takes down Stryker with a Dragon Screw then is able to put Stryker back in the Cloverleaf as Stryker has no choice but to tap (18:20) **1/2.

Thoughts: The “pure wrestling” matches were too dull for my tastes. Also, it wasn’t even all that psychologically involved as they just did submission holds for the sake of doing them, making it too contrived. Plus, both guys bore the shit out of me. Never did get why they were high on Stryker at this point. He should have been a Velocity jobber for the WWE.

Izzy & Dixie & Deranged w/ Special K vs. Carnage Crew & Justin Credible

Before the match, the Carnage Crew introduce Justin Credible as a surprise partner, despite the fact he joined them at the last show. He gets a good pop from the crowd and a loud “welcome back” chant too. After some stalling by Special K, the match begins with Credible taking down Deranged. Credible beats on him but Deranged comes back with a hurricarana and a spin kick that has the rest of Special K going crazy. Loc tags in and beats on Dixie until he gets hit with a tornado DDT. DeVito tags and he beats on Izzy and they work an awful sequence that takes the crowd out of the match. Izzy fights out of the opposing corner as Special K are wrestling as the faces here then makes the hot tag to Deranged. Loc tags and folds Deranged in half with a Saito Suplex. DeVito then destroys him with crossfaces as Levy a lot of awful jokes on commentary. Credible tags back in and chops Deranged in the corner. DeVito misses a moonsault as Deranged makes the hot tag to Dixie, who runs wild. His offense looked bad here. The fans are silent as Special K are the faces in this match, despite being heels. As soon as I say that Special K gets the crowd going with a dive sequence capped off by Izzy getting crazy height on his move. Back in the ring, the Carnage Crew are in control until Dixie fights them off. He potatoed Loc badly on a moonsault kick and has had a terrible match as a whole. Credible takes him out with a super kick then hits the That’s Incredible (Tombstone) for the win (9:13) *3/4.

Thoughts: This was entertaining at times but some of this was bad and Dixie flat-out sucked in this match. Nothing he did looked good and he managed to single-handedly dragged down the match. And Special K playing faces for the match made no sense to the crowd but would play into the end of the show.

RoH World Title Match
Danny Maff vs. Samoa Joe

They let us know that Maff’s father just passed away the day prior as Maff gets a ton of cheers from the crowd. Maff attacks Joe before the bell. Joe ducks outside where Maff takes him out with a tope. Back inside they exchange strikes with Joe winning that battle then he shoves Maff into the guardrail but misses the ole kick but is able to catch him with a big boot off of a charge. He then hits the ole kick as the crowd goes nuts and want to see it one more time so Joe does it and it looked brutal. Joe tosses Maff into the guardrail before hitting him with a chair. Brutal stuff so far. The action heads back into the ring as Joe hits a butterfly suplex before stretching him out. Joe kicks Maff a few times then hits a German Suplex but Maff pops right up and hits a clothesline as the crowd is fully behind him. Maff beats on Joe in the corner then hits him with a cannonball and follows that with a heel kick. Lariat gets two. Joe puts Maff in the choke but it gets countered with a back suplex as both men are down. Maff finally crawls on top of Joe but is only able to get two. Maff charges but Joe flattens him with an uranage. Joe gets two with a powerbomb then locks on a STF but Maff is able to reach the ropes. Joe charges as Maff returns the favor and catches him with an uranage. He then has Joe up for the Burning Hammer but Joe escapes and hits an enziguiri before getting the win with a Dragon Suplex (10:37) ***1/4. After the match, both guys bow in front of each other on the mat as the crowd applauds. Joe then leaves as Maff is in the ring soaking up the applause from the crowd, who are going crazy for him.

Thoughts: Good hard-hitting match and a nice moment for Maff as the fans really let him know that they felt sorry about the passing of his father. I’m not the biggest Maff fan in the world but he has improved since the company began.

Gary Michael Cappetta is with Homicide and Julius Smokes as he asks Homicide about his match without honor tonight against Trent Acid. This is the result of Acid attacking Homicide at the Do or Die Show that took place one month prior. Cappetta then asks Smokes about Low Ki’s comments about him costing Homicide the title as he goes off on a tirade about him. They were using the beef between Ki/Smokes to enhance Homicide’s storyline and I was fine with that, especially with Ki being injured.

Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Tony Mamaluke

This is the RoH debut of both Shelley and Jacobs, who is only 19 years old here. He starts off the match with Mamaluke as they go back and forth on the mat. Levy alerts us that Cappetta is trying to arrange an interview with both Julius Smokes and Low Ki. Jacobs tags and has a test of strength with Mamaluke and from that they have a pinfall reversal sequence. Jacobs reaches the ropes quickly after Mamaluke put him in an armbar as the crowd chants “let’s go huss” at Jacobs,  referencing his furry boots. Shelley tags and works a nice sequence with Jacobs. Shelley is the more impressive out of the two. Whitmer tags and hits both guys with an Exploder but Mamaluke also tags and works the leg. Mamaluke then locks on a Camel Clutch but that gets reversed. Shelley tags himself in and beats on Mamaluke. Jacobs tags as the crowd goes nuts with a “huss” chant then he gets booted to the floor by Whitmer. Lots of quick tags as the action stays steady. Shelley shoves Mamaluke off of the top rope but gets tripped by Whitmer then Jacobs knocks Whitmer off of the apron and tries a hurricarana off of the top rope but Shelley counters and alley oops Jacobs into the turnbuckle from the top in a move that I have never seen before. The pace picks as we get several nearfalls that get broken up and the action is all good. Whitmer then takes the advantage as he overpowers everyone before putting away Jacobs with an Exploder just before Shelley tapped to Mamaluke’s hold (14:34) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Very good match that was all action. Shelley in particular stood out as he showed a lot of personality and did a fine job in the ring. Jacobs was a fan favorite and also did a fine job in the ring as well. Mamaluke is just a guy added to provide some name value but it was Whitmer who was the focus of the match.

No DQ Match
Colt Cabana & CM Punk w/ Lucy vs. Raven & Christopher Daniels w/ Allison Danger

Punk gets on the mic after being chased from the ring as he runs down Raven and the fans. He enters with Cabana and they both get clotheslined to the floor. Back inside, the Second City Saints are getting double-teamed as Raven & Daniels put them in the row boat spot. Raven sets up a chair but Punk blocks a drop toehold. However, Daniels whacks him with the chair. Punk then is able to return the favor as he is now busted open. Punk and Cabana then open up Daniels, who tries to fight back. Punk is wearing a crimson mask at this point. The Second City Saints maintain control as the crowd chants “Raven’s Bitch” at Punk before he locks on a crossface. Cabana stretches out Daniels as despite a “No DQ” stipulation, it is not tornado rules and you must tag in and out. Daniels has Cabana in a submission but Punk breaks that up with a leg drop from the top rope. Daniels fights back and hits Cabana with an inverted DDT then makes the tag to Raven, who runs wild. Cabana knocks down the ref then gets caught with a Raven Effect. The girls are fighting in the ring now then Cabana super kicks Danger out of the ring. Everyone then trades finishers until Punk hits Raven with a chain then chokes him out. He starts whipping Raven with the chain then covers him as the ref crawls over and counts to three (13:47) *1/2. After the match, Punk chokes out Raven with the chain some more as he is covered in blood. After the Second City Saints leave, Raven is slowly helped to his feet then he grabs the mic and tells Punk that their will have to be retribution for what he did and that they will have to settle this once and for all next show in a Dog Collar Match. Raven is coughing and selling the beating quite well here.

Thoughts: First off, this match sucked. Despite the no DQ stipulations, you still had to tag into the match. That is idiotic to say the least. And the actual wrestling was disjointed at the beginning and far too slow-paced overall. However, it was what took place after the match that was memorable.

Punk and Cabana are backstage as Punk looks into the camera to tell Raven that the reason he hates him is because when he was a kid and his dad can home smelling like beer and grew up not thinking it was strange for someone to drink all day long and says how he acted just like Raven. He then yells at Raven and said the reason he is coming after him is because he had everything handed too him but flushed it down for booze and pills then tells him that he will fight him on July 19th and promises to end his time in RoH. Tremendous promo from Punk and quite possibly his best ever. My recap does not do this justice so I included it below:

NWA-TNA Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Sabin vs. AJ Styles

Sabin is the X Division Champion here but that title is not on the line. Match starts on the mat with both guys going back and forth. AJ goes for a Styles Clash but Sabin quickly escapes. AJ then snaps Sabin’s neck off of the top rope from the apron. Sabin catches AJ with a baseball slide then from that sends AJ into the guardrail with a hurricarana. Back inside, Sabin gets two with a flying clothesline then locks on a crossface. AJ escapes then hits a neckbreaker from a vertical suplex position that looked painful. Brainbuster gets two. Powerslam gets two. Both men then attempt to hit each other with an enziguiri at the same time and are now down. They get up and trade chops for a bit until Sabin hits a release German Suplex for two. Sabin tries a catatonic but AJ reverses it into a crucifix in a cool spot that gets two. Sabin is able to come back with a catatonic backbreaker then climbs up top and goes for a rana but AJ rolls through then hits a Styles Clash for the win (10:05) ***1/4. AJ then grabs the mic as they play Ric Flair’s entrance music as AJ talks about how a few years ago this belt was thrown in the trash but that he will respect the title as much as he does the fans, who cheer loudly and chant his name.

Thoughts: Good match that had the chance to become great if given several more minutes. This was all about establishing the NWA-TNA title as the two companies were exchanging talents at the time and the crowd was super into AJ too.

Cappetta catches up with Ki and tells him that Smokes wants to meet up with him after the show. Ki seems reluctant.

Fight Without Honor
Trent Acid vs. Homicide

Acid’s entrance is devoted to mocking Homicide. He then attacks Homicide before the match and takes him out with a quebrada. They head into the ring where Homicide fights back and suplexes him around. He then sets up a ladder in the corner and sends Acid crashing into it with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Homicide grabs a chair and sets it up on the floor. He chokes out Acid then places him on the chair and heads back in the ring so he could run out and hit a flying body press. Homicide bridges the ladder across the ring apron and guardrail then Acid gets backdropped and lands on the ladder feet first as they are both now standing on it where Acid DDT’s Homicide. Back inside, Acid throws a chair at Homicide’s face than rings around his head. He then bridges the ladder across two chairs and hits Homicide with a Blue Thunder Driver. Homicide is eventually able to fight back with a baseball slide then hits Acid with a brainbuster onto the chair. Johnny Kashmere runs into the ring and he and Acid with Homicide with the T Gimmick. Smokes then attacks Kashmere as they brawl all the way backstage. Acid gets two with the Backseat Driver as the fans chant for Homicide, who comes back with an Ace Crusher. Northern Lights Bomb gets two. He then sets up a table outside of the ring as a dueling chant breaks out. In the ring, Acid sets up a table and places Homicide up top but Homicide then takes Acid off of the top and through the table outside of the ring with an Ace Crusher in an insane spot that has the crowd going crazy. Homicide gets up and rolls Acid in the ring but can only get two. Homicide plays to the crowd then they trade Yakuza kicks that sees Acid getting a nearfall. Acid then sets up a ladder in the ring. He slams Homicide and climbs up top but Homicide gets up and pushes the ladder over as Acid dumps outside and hits the guardrail. Homicide limps outside and lays Acid across of the ladder then flies outside but crashes on a tope con hilo as Acid was able to roll away. Acid rolls Homicide back inside but only gets two. They trade strikes and more Yakuza kicks. Acid rolls through a Cop Killer attempt then gets a reverse rollup that he messed up and got the pin (19:42) ***3/4.

Thoughts: These two guys went all out and really put their bodies on the line and it made for a fantastic match. The ending looked rough but everything else was awesome and it should have made Acid into more of a star with this win but that did not happen and drugs definitely played a part in that.

After the match the lights go out as Special K’s music hits. They are beating up everyone in the ring but we can barely see as the lights are still out and the strobe lights are going. The lights come back on as Izzy and Dixie put the Backseat Boys through a table. Special K celebrates as we have learned that Homicide was carried to the back. All of the girls in the ring are making out with each other as Deranged grabs the mic as we now have a giant rave taking place in the ring.

Jim Cornette is cutting a promo with the OVW banner in the background. He talks about how he has seen the next big things throughout his career then says that he has heard RoH might be the next big thing and that he would make an impact at the August 9th show in Dayton, OH.

Back to the ring as the rave continues as the camera focuses on the girls who hang with Special K.

We then get a promo from the Carnage Crew as they hype their match against the guys from TWA. Loc then cuts a really good promo about how he worked in ECW doing all sorts of menial tasks but the company shut down before he got his chance to shine. Both guys excelled in their roles.

We are shown more of the rave as Colt Cabana has joined the “Special K Sluts.” Great.

Samoa Joe cuts a promo on his next opponent, Paul London, and how he should listened to his fans and not die by reconsidering his match. This was London’s final RoH match before leaving for the WWE.

Cappetta hears screaming behind a closed door and goes to see what it but it turns out to be Benny from the Bronx screaming a Lit from Special K. Bronx was an indy guy from the Northeast who was nothing special at all.

Final Thoughts: Despite the overly long Special K rave at the end, I thought this was a solid show. Although no memorable matches, the main event was good and the reaction to Maff’s match was nice to see. More importantly, they did some angle advancement with Punk/Raven, Homicide, and established AJ Styles as a major player. Plus the addition of new talent (Shelley and Jacobs) made this an enjoyable show.