Ring of Honor Final Battle December 28th, 2002

December 28, 2002

From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

We are shown a clip of CM Punk and Colt Cabana driving to the show with Ace Steel filming in the back. Cabana talks about all of the moves he is going to perform and about the different stewardesses on the planes then Punk gets out and tosses the keys at Cabana and yells at him for trying to double-cross him then tells Cabana that when he wins he will be flying while Cabana drives home. God, Punk was an awful character here. At least Cabana had some arrogant heel charisma but Punk was the pandering indy stereotype and by watching this, there was no way you would peg him as a future star.

Backstage, Gary Michael Cappetta is with Steve Corino. He talks up how he is going to build a stable of wrestlers as Corino takes offense to being called the “King of Old School” as the company that gave him the name put him $32,000 in debt then whines and cries about fans talking s--- about him on the internet and not helping him out when he was struggling. He puts over the fact that he wrestles for the Zero One promotion then gets interrupted by his sister, Allison Danger, then goes off on her for cutting into his time and leaves.

We see clips from the RoH TV show with Homicide defeating Jay Lethal.

CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana

The stipulation for this match is that the winner gets to be flown in by RoH while the loser will have to drive in from Chicago if they want to make the show. They go back and forth to start. Punk hits a slingshot senton then tries a ropewalk move but Cabana kicks him down. Cabana comes back with a clothesline then chops him against the ropes. Cabana mocks Punk by “flying” on his back then uses a surfboard to stretch him out. Cabana stays in control until Punk gets a sunset bomb for two. Cabana blocks a shining wizard attempt then hits a powerbomb for a nearfall. They trade blows before working a terrible spot in which Cabana comes off the top and Punk apparently snaps his neck off of the ropes. Punk flies out with a tope then gets cut off as Cabana takes him off with a reverse superplex for two. They go back up top and Punk takes Cabana off with an overheard suplex as both men are down. Punk catches Cabana with an airplane spin then gets two with a split-legged moonsault. Punk hits a knee smash in the corner but Cabana escapes from a Pepsi Plunge attempt and that leads to a sloppy sequence that ends with Punk hitting the shining wizard for two. Punk uses boot scrapes then they fight back on the top rope and that ends with Punk hitting the Pepsi Plunge for the win (9:24) **1/4.

Thoughts: Average match. Despite the stipulations, there was no drama in this match at all . It had a few nice moves and not a whole lot else. Neither of these guys seem like much at this point to be honest.

Homicide runs into the Backseat Boyz, who tells Homicide that they had nothing to do with Corino turning on him in their match as they hash it out and Homicide tells them to take care of Special K.

Cappetta welcomes Christopher Daniels to the ring, accompanied by Simply Luscious. Daniels says that he came to address the injustice that occurred at the last show when Alexis Laree attacked Luscious from behind then calls her out for having no honor. He then orders Laree to come out so they can settle it once and for all. Laree comes out and accepts the challenge to face Lucious on March 22nd, when RoH returns to the Murphy Rec Center. Laree wants a match now then Luscious attacks her from behind.

Simply Luscious vs. Alexis Laree

Laree ducks a punch and comes back with a spear. She slams Luscious off of the mat but Daniels takes her and hits the Last Rites and Luscious covers for the win (0:51) NR.

Thoughts: Filler to set up the following segment.

After the match, Corino interrupts and tells Daniels that it is not personal, just business, then more or less cuts the same promo he did earlier in the show. He furthers his point of yelling at the fans for not being there for him when ECW went bankrupt and he was poor before telling Daniels that he is putting the Prophecy on notice and says his group will take all of the RoH titles. Corino then tells Luscious that their relationship is over because he cannot have her tell Daniels his secrets. Corino now eggs on Daniels to throw the first punch and they tease coming to blows but Daniels leaves as he has to defend the Tag Team Titles tonight. Corino finishes by dissing the fans and they respond with a funny “You’re a Jobber” chant and that switches to an “Asshole” chant after he makes fun of them. Corino then calls out Homicide, referring to him as a “disrespectful young boy” and Homicide comes out as they brawl in the ring, with Homicide getting the best of him. Corino bails after Homicide pulled out a fork. Long segment too. It wasn’t bad or anything and the fans hated Corino, which provided a funny moment when a fan was flipping out on him as he headed up the aisle and Corino responded by yelling “get your teeth fixed, Leroy,” but by the end of the show you felt burned out. Looks like they are setting up a feud between the Prophecy and Corino’s soon-to-be assembled stable.

Another clip of RoH High Impact TV with Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan destroying Dunn & Marcos.

Da Hit Squad are backstage and yell about how they are the “two stiffest bastards in the game” as they call out Special K and the Backseat Boyz. Maff showed a lot of intensity here and it was good.

Scramble Match
Deranged & Angel Dust w/ Special K vs. Backseat Boyz vs. Da Hit Squad

Levy tries to sell the fact that the Da Hit Squad and Backseat Boyz are facing off as a dream match. Well, it’s not. Deranged tries to get an “LSD” chant started but that fails. Acid slaps Deranged after getting flipped off then shoves him in the corner. They then work a martial arts sequence that ends with Acid nailing Deranged in the face with a dropkick. Not bad at all, actually. Kashmere and Angel Dust trade armdrags and do a bunch of reversals that ends with Kashmere spearing him in midair. Mafia tags in and grabs Angel Dust and hits him with a Dragon Suplex. He puts Angel Dust in a tree-of-woe then suplexes Deranged right into him. The Backseat Boyz run in but Da Hit Squad does a few double team moves then powerbomb Kashmere right on top of his partner. That looked painful. Deranged and Angel Dust dropkick Da Hit Squad into each other then dive outside as everyone is down. Hydro (Jay Lethal) runs in but Mack powerbombs him outside onto the rest of Special K. The Backseat Boys use a running flip dive onto everyone. Mafia then takes everyone out with a tope as this is getting a bit silly. Back inside, the Backseat Boyz hit Deranged with a powerbomb/cutter combo then hit Angel Dust with the Dream Sequence. Deranged & Angel Dust beat on the Backseat Boyz for a bit then Mack tosses Deranged at his partner and Mafia hits them both with a German Suplex that looked like it almost killed Angel Dust. Mack goes up top and hits Angel Dust with a frog splash as Mafia had him in a figure four. Everyone then hits a bunch of crazy moves and that ends with Mafia attempting to hit Deranged with the Burning Hammer but Izzy, Yeyo, and Hydro run in and break it up then Angel Dust and Deranged roll him up for the win (10:22) **1/4.

Thoughts: Much like the opener, some cool moves but not much else and the end was too slow with the constant set-ups for the big dives coming off as ridiculous. The feud between Da Hit Squad and Special K continues.

More RoH TV Taping Highlights, this time with Jay Briscoe defeating Ace Steel

Best of Three Falls
RoH Tag Team Title Match
SAT’s vs. Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan (Champions)

First Fall

Morgan starts off the match by taking down Jose. He then slaps him across the face after a break then wins a test of strength. Morgan grabs a side headlock then Jose hits him with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a few armdrags as Morgan ducks outside. After some stalling, Daniels tags in and works a fast-paced sequence with Joel that ends in a stalemate. Joel chops down Daniels then catches him with an armdrag. The SAT’s use quick tags as they work over Daniels and get a few nearfalls as they work at a slower pace than usual and it is for the best in this match. Now they work over Morgan for a bit until Joel gets caught with a knee. Daniels tags but gets immediately backdropped as the SAT’s are hitting the Prophecy with all sorts of cool double-team moves. Morgan tosses out Joel then Daniels crotches Jose against the post and holds him so Morgan can hit him with a baseball slide. Morgan stretches out Jose then tags Daniels who nails him with a dropkick then tosses him outside where Morgan roughs him up. Back inside, Daniels hits a delayed vertical suplex then follows with an Arabian Press for two. The Prophecy continues to dominate Jose as the fans attempt to rally behind him as they use a lot of illegal double-team moves behind the referee’s back. Jose comes back with a tornado DDT as both men are down and he makes the tag to Joel, who goes wild on the Prophecy. He hits Daniels with a flying body press but gets dumped outside by Morgan then hit Jose with the Revelations (powerbomb/neckbreaker combo) to win the fall, despite Jose not being the legal man (14:00).

Second Fall

We have a new referee for this fall as the announcers tell us the previous ref split his pants. Morgan stretches out Joel then tags Daniels, who gets a nearfall with a suplex. The Prophecy continue to use illegal double-team moves then Daniels puts Joel in a cross armbreaker. They then no sell a double clothesline spot and slap each other until they both go down after a second double clothesline. Morgan runs in and knocks Jose off of the apron then grounds Joel. Daniels pokes Joel in the eye then covers for two. Joel fights off a double-team move then makes the tag to Jose. He hits a double dropkick and the SAT’s almost put him away with a DDT off of the shoulders. Daniels breaks up the fall and heads up top but the SAT’s cut him off then hit the Spanish Fly to win the fall (20:43).

Third Fall

Jose covers Daniels but Morgan breaks that up. The SAT’s clear house and almost put away Daniels with a DDT but Morgan breaks that up and hits Joel with the Golden Gate Swing and a Fisherman’s Buster but Jose breaks up the pin with a frog splash. Daniels tags and hits Jose with the Angel’s wings but Joel makes the save. Daniels hits Joel with a jawbreaker and a slam but misses the BME and gets hit with the Maximo Explosion. Joel puts Morgan on his shoulders as they try another DDT but Morgan catches Jose in midair with a spinebuster for two. Cool reversal spot. The match breaks down as Daniels hits Joel with the STO for two then puts him away with the Last Rites (24:47) **3/4.

Thoughts: Solid match but it was missing something and it appeared that the SAT’s were gassed near the end. The SAT’s started off fine wrestling at a slower-pace at the beginning but did not appear to have enough left in the tank at the end or the ability to connect with the crowd. This match did somewhat expose them as guys who could only do highspots too.

RoH TV highlights of Samoa Joe destroying the Outkast Killaz

Carnage Crew vs. The New Christopher St. Connection w/ Allison Danger

Buff E has been replaced by Guapo. The CSC piss off the Carnage Crew during the Code of Honor by licking and hugging them. The Carnage Crew suplex them around for a bit. This match is clipped as we jump to the CSC kissing the Carnage Crew, who then get disqualified for beating the s--- out of them with hubcaps. Maybe two minutes shown of this and just another attempt to put over the Carnage Crew as a team who only cares about inflicting pain.

Homicide is backstage and cuts a promo about how he is on probation and wants a better life for his kid as wrestling is all he has.  He then says he will show why he is the “King of Strong Style.” Good, passionate promo from Homicide.

Jody Fleisch vs. Amazing Red

These two go back and forth on the mat to start. Now they work a lucha sequence and that ends in a stalemate as the fans give them a standing applause. Fleisch chops Red but misses a corner splash and eats a kick in the face. Fleisch ducks outside and Red hits him with a flip dive. Back inside, Fleisch ducks a 718 attempt and hits him with an enziguiri. Red ducks out and Fleisch hits him with a springboard shooting star press. Back inside they fight up top and end up taking each other down with a one man Spanish Fly in a terribly contrived spot. Plus, Fleisch sat there forever on the top rope. Special K come down to ringside as Fleisch and Red trade punches. Red gets a nearfall with a facebuster of sorts but Fleisch comes back with a quebrada then heads up top but Red takes him off with a spinkick. Red goes up top for the Infrared but Special K pull Fleisch away. Fleisch then goes up top and hits the 720 DDT for the win (6:14) *1/4. After the match, Special K celebrates with Fleisch, who pulls them away from beating on Red, but only so he can dance. They beat on Red then call for the DJ to hit their music but The SAT’s, Divine Storm, JT Smith, and Da Hit Squad run in for the save. The Big Black Guy in the suit comes out and acts like he is helping Smith again but turns on him with a powerbomb and helps Special K. Fleisch then proclaims Special K as the future of RoH.

Thoughts: Short and unimpressive match. Fleisch was just not very good at all to be honest. If he performed three highspots, one of them would look good. They put over Special K here and apparently Fleisch is a new member. They certainly are making an attempt tonight to put over the stables.

RoH Championship Match
Xavier (Champion) vs. Paul London

Before the match, Xavier cuts a promo on the crowd about how they can call him whatever they want but he is the champion. Xavier jumps London as soon as he enters the ring. He then roughs him up in the corner as Levy talks about how everyone from the internet to the “sheet writers” hate Xavier and do not want to see him as champion. London fights back and hits a standing shooting star press. London hits a few armdrags then a hurricarana. Xavier ducks outside but is able to avoid a diving attack attempt then yells at the crowd. London knocks Xavier off of the apron a few times then avoids a monkey flip attempt and works a side headlock for a bit. Xavier runs into a forearm smash then gets nailed with a spinning heel kick. Xavier manages to block a headscissor attempt and drops London on his face then hits London with several knee smashes in the corner. Now they trade chops until Xavier uses a thumb to the eye. Xavier hits a double underhook suplex then targets the neck. London manages a rollup but Xavier goes right back on offense. He puts London in a bow-and-arrow lock then catches him with a knee to the gut. Gutwrench suplex gets two. London fights back with knee strikes but Xavier tosses him into the corner. London slips out of a powerbomb attempt but Xavier comes back with a German Suplex that gets two. Xavier then hits London with a necksnap then signals for the 450 splash but London cuts him off and tries a superplex onto the floor as the crowd starts a “please don’t die” chant. London gets dumped to the floor but is able to crotch Xavier. Londn hits an inverted atomic drop and follows with a dropkick that gets two. The crowd is booing every move that Xavier does and cheers everything London does. London powerbombs Xavier then tries the shooting star press but Xavier rolls outside. London then flies off of the top with a shooting star press, nearly killing himself in the process. Back inside, Xavier cuts off London but gets shoved off of the top. London tries the SSP but Xavier rolls out of the way and rolls him up for two. London comes back with a neckbreaker for two. Xavier dodges a charge and goes for the X-Breaker but London hits a DDT for a nearfall as Xavier’s foot was on the ropes. The ref counted to three but saw Xavier’s foot on the ropes as the fans chanted “b-------.” Xavier hits a pair of Cobra Clutch Suplexes then puts him away with the X-Breaker (17:05) ***1/2. All of the fans flip off Xavier as he heads up the aisle.

Thoughts: Good match. I give a lot of props to Xavier here as this was by far his best performance in RoH. He also looked a lot more comfortable in his role as the heel and did a fine job at that. London remains one of the top babyfaces in the promotion.

Backstage, Cappetta attempts to conduct an interview with Special K but they refuse to stop partying and dancing. Special K then messes around with Cappetta and he walks off. The huge black guy in the suit then prevents Da Hit Squad from entering the locker room and asks if they have a VIP pass. He shoves Mafia then tells introduces himself as “Slugger,” the security for Special K. Mafia and Slugger almost come to blows as Mack steps between them and walks off with Mafia.

Corino is sitting in the ring, wearing his ring gear. He was wearing a suit all night long. The crowd starts a “who booked this s---” chant. Corino says that you cannot book a main event in RoH without him then antagonizes the crowd some more until Homicide comes out. Corino jumps him with a fork as soon as he enters the ring then hits him with a few piledrivers as the rest of the contestants come out. Joe watches from ringside and then Low Ki comes out and checks on Homicide as the American Danielson and Joe are in each others faces while standing on the top rope. Rob Feinstein comes out and orders them to get Homicide out of the ring then names Corino as his replacement. Corino smirks after hearing that and looks quite confident.

#1 Contender’s Trophy Match
Steve Corino vs. Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson

Ki and Danielson start off the match by battling over a test of strength. They then take it to the mat as they go back and forth until Danielson tosses him. Ki starts kicking the leg of Danielson until he gets taken down then put in a giant swing. Joe tags himself in then elbows Danielson in the corner. Joe puts on a chinlock before switching to a front facelock. Danielson fights back and they spill outside, with Danielson sliding back inside and tagging Corino. Joe and Corino show each other respect then trade strikes. Joe takes him down with an enziguiri then hits him with more strikes. The crowd is really into Joe tonight, cheering everything he does. Joe flips of Ki as after they had some words then Joe goes back to beating on Corino. Suplex gets two then Corino ducks outside for a breather. Corino then calls someone in the crowd a “fag” after they harassed him then he takes down Joe but gets kicked to the floor. Ki tags himself in as Corino takes his time getting into the ring. Ki was pissed that Corino attacked Homicide. They go back to the mat as Corino works a side headlock. Ki kicks him in the face then drops an elbow for two. Danielson tags in as he viciously works over the neck of Ki. He catches him with a running knee strike then hits a slam. He drops a few elbows and covers but Corino breaks that up. Danielson tags Joe as he headbutts Ki down. Corino tags himself in and kicks Ki out to the floor. Corino roughs him up then chokes him out with his foot. Corino catches Ki with a leg lariat then works a cross armbreaker on the mat as the crowd rallies behind Ki, who comes back with a low dropkick then repeated kicks to Corino. Ki works a figure-four neck lock until Joe breaks it up. Corino then puts on a STF while he nails Ki with crossfaces. Joe tags and clotheslines Ki in the corner. Danielson makes the blind tag but gets kicked in the face by Ki, who was tossed by Joe. Corino tags and goes for the cover but that only gets two. Joe hits Danielson with an overhead suplex for two then applies a chinlock. Joe chops Danielson down then tags Ki, who hits a back suplex for two. Ki chops Danielson in the corner but comes back with a running forearm strike then a fallaway slam with a bridge that gets broken up by Corino. Danielson takes Ki down with an European Uppercut then tags Corino, who covers immediately for two then works over the arm and neck. Ki bridges out and chops away. He drills him with a boot to the face that gets two. Ki attempts the Dragon Clutch but Corino turns it around then hits a DDT. Corino hooks on an abdominal stretch then hammers away on the chest of Ki, who escapes and hits a kick. Danielson tags and attacks Corino briefly until he gets chopped. Joe tags and Danielson puts him in the Cattle Mutilation. Ki stands on top of Danielson until Corino takes him down. Joe tags Corino as he drops a knee on Danielson then targets the knee. Corino grapevines the leg as the crowd is all over him. Joe tags and works a single leg crab on Danielson while driving his knee into the back of his neck. Ki breaks that up with several kicks. Joe then chops Danielson and puts him in the Coquina Klutch. That gets broken up then Ki tags and  repeatedly tries to apply the Dragon Clutch but Danielson fights it off. Ki hits the Krush Rush then tries again for the Dragon Clutch but is able to hit him with a brainbuster after he escaped. Danielson comes back with a forearm and a rollup but gets drilled with a brainbuster as Danielson rolls outside. Ki follows him and hits a suplex as Danielson has been getting destroyed. Ki chops Danielson against the apron then finally rolls him inside and covers but Joe breaks that up. Joe tags and drops a knee onto Danielson. Corino runs in and clotheslines Danielson as Joe hit him with a German suplex then tags himself in and chops away as the crowd boos. He then puts on a chinlock to further piss off the fans but Ki breaks that up with a kick to the face. Corino and Joe work on Danielson for a minute. Danielson fights back with a forearm to Joe then finally makes the tag. Ki and Joe go back and forth until Joe chops him down. Joe and Corino work over Ki in the corner as Corino continues to jaw with the fans. Ki comes back with a running forearm smash then puts Corino in an Octopus Hold. They have a reversal sequence that ends with Ki hitting the Tidal Crush as both men are down. Corino tags Joe, who face-washes Ki as we are informed by Levy that there is just a few minutes left in the match. Corino puts Joe in a figure four but Ki and Danielson break that up with a double flying headbutt. Joe powerbombs Corino then puts him in a STF. He then takes Ki down with a dragon screw and applies a single leg crab. Danielson charges and Joe puts him in a STF until Ki breaks that up with a dropkick. Ki catches Corino with a springboard kick then Ki and Dragon kill each other with forearm smashes. DAnielson hits a roaring elbow for two then gets turned inside out with a lariat from Joe. Ki and Joe no-sell some shots then take off their tape as the crowd applauds. They have a stiff exchange of moves until Corino and Danielson break that up. Corino takes Ki off of the top with a T-Bone Suplex as it’s announced that two minutes are remaining in the match. Joe takes Corino off top with an Ace Crusher but Danielson breaks that up with another flying headbutt as everyone is down. Ki and Joe take down Corino and Danielson with enziguiris. The match has completely broken down as Danielson hits Corino with a Northern Lights Suplex over Ki as that gets easily broken up. Ki drops down and boots Danielson in the face then hits Joe with the Ki Krusher and puts Corino in the Dragon Sleeper as the ten second countdown begins. The bell sounds as it seems like Corino tapped but its announced a draw (45:00) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Long match that was missing something until the last ten minutes or so. It would have helped if they played up the time-limit stipulations at the beginning of the match. I guess they wanted to have a cliffhanger by going into 2003 without a #1 contender or they plan to have a 5-man title match because the ending made no sense otherwise. There was also some teasing of Joe being a potential member of Corino’s group.

Da Hit Squad rushes the locker room door along with the Amazing Red, JT Smith, SAT’s, and Divine Storm and tosses about Special K. Slugger is the only one left and he tells them all that they just made a huge mistake.

The Carnage Crew are backstage gloating about beating the s--- out of the CSC then talks about how their day jobs suck and have ugly wives but the one thing they give a damn about his violence and do not care if they win or lose. They then tell Da Hit Squad at the next show, they will take them out.

Low Ki looks into the camera and tells us that RoH gives him a platform to do what he loves. He then gives himself three goals for 2003: Hurt Xavier, destroy The Prophecy, and to reclaim the RoH Title.

Cappetta is with Corino and asks him about the first member of his stable. Corino says that the first member of his group was in fact the first member of the Prophecy, Simply Luscious. She comes out as Corino says next week, we will find out who the second member will be.

Final Thoughts: This show was more about setting up for 2003 than delivering a great in-ring product. There were some good matches here but the main focus was on Corino, who ws being positioned as a major heel in the company. They set up feuds for him against Homicide, Low Ki, and the Prophecy tonight. If you are not a fan of Corino, then this is not the show for you. They also put over Special K a lot here and London looked like a legitimate star as well. Another thing to note that Konnan was introduced at this show and reportedly booed out of the building. He was going to be wrestling at the next show. This was not featured on the DVD. This crowd was really tough on the heels, and it made it fun. Not the best show of the year but far from the worse and I give it a recommendation.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Sunday: WWF Houston Summit House Show 10/19/86
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 10/25/86
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Sabu, Volume 1
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/26/86
Saturday: RoH Revenge on the Prophecy 1/11/03