Mike Reviews – ROH Wrestlerave (28th June 2003) – Part One

Welcome to another ROH Wednesday, as we tackle the next show from our 2003 retrospective in the form of Wrestlerave. We’ll split this into two parts again, so we’ll go on till intermission and then pick up the concluding part next week.

The event is emanating from Philly, PA on the 28th of June 2003

Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and Ray Murrow

We open up with a Low Ki promo, where he thanks the fans for sending him well wishes as he’s currently out with an injury that he suffered against Flash Barker in England at the ROH Vs FWA show. Low Ki challenges Barker to come over to ROH for a rematch, but Barker ended up retiring not too soon after this so that rematch never happened. Low Ki also targets Dan Maff, saying he’s next on his list, as is Julius Smokes if he keeps bringing the streets to ROH. Decent intense promo from Low Ki there.

Rob Feinstein is hanging out backstage, where Simply Luscious shows up. Feinstein tells her she isn’t booked because The Group lost on the last show.

Opening Match
Prince Nana and Jimmy Jact Cash Vs Dunn and Marcos

Nana came back on the last show and Cash won a match on the pre-show of that event, so Nana has brought him in as a tag partner tonight against the underdog tandem of Dunn and Marcos. Nana does some cheap heat promo work to start, which leads to Dunn and Marcos replying that they will rock the Heels like a hurricane.

The Heels mostly dominate this, which gives the babyfaces a chance to sell and they’re very good at doing that, so the match is watchable as a result. It’s pretty much bordering on a squash to be honest, with the babyfaces spending most of it getting battered. Eventually the babyfaces manage a flurry at the end though and Marcos pins Nana with a splash whilst also giving Cash a Shiranui.

WINNERS: DUNN & MARCOS
RATING: *1/2

This was okay for what it was, with the big crowd pleasing babyface win making it worthwhile

The Heels surprisingly shake hands following that, leading to the babyfaces celebrating amongst the crowd

Match Two
Alexis Laree Vs Sumie Sakai

This is probably one for the Joshi Boyz I’m guessing. Sakai was apparently trained by Jaguar Yokota and Lioness Asuka, who were both big stars in Japan so that’s not a bad pedigree to come from on her part. She does a load of arm drags and front dropkicks, so she’s clearly been trained in the Joshi style. Seriously, I honestly think every Joshi match I’ve ever seen has started the exact same way with one women running across the ring and dropkicking their opponent.

The action here is decent and the crowd mostly responds to it positively, so it has a decent atmosphere to go along with the fun action going on inside the ring. Sakai mostly controls things, with Laree wrestling more on the defensive and going for quick pins. I have no idea how high Sakai ranks in the pantheon of Joshi wrestlers, but she looks good here based on my meagre knowledge of the genre. She misses a moonsault off the top though and Laree pounces with a reverse DDT for three.

WINNER: ALEXIS LAREE
RATING: **

This was a bit on the short side but the wrestling was solid and the crowd liked it

We get the handshake and hug following that

Christopher Daniels, Allison Danger and Dan Maff cut a promo backstage. They brag about running The Group out of the company and then target ROH World Champ Samoa Joe. Dan Maff is getting a shot tonight as he pinned Joe on the previous show. Meanwhile, Daniels is tagging with Raven to go after CM Punk and Colt Cabana so he can nip the Second City Saints in the bud before they can challenge his Prophecy faction. The camera pans out to show that Raven is actually in the room with them and has a pretty gnarly looking ankle injury. Raven laughs off any idea that his ankle will be a problem tonight. This was a good segment, with Daniels bringing the goods on the mic.

Match Three
Tap Out Match
Chad Collyer Vs Matt Stryker

Collyer has twice made Stryker submit in singles matches, so Stryker is trying to finally win a one on one match with Collyer after previously defeating him in a multi-man match. Tom Carter was originally supposed to oppose Stryker here, but Carter’s wife is having a baby so he’s with her and Collyer has been inserted into it instead. “Lovey” on commentary goes on about how his kid won’t remember whether Carter was there or not, but he’s most likely there in order to support his wife through the ordeal that is birth more than to be there for his kid. Wrestling people not understanding real life stuff shouldn’t be too shocking though.

This one is a submission battle with both guys going at it on the mat, so if that doesn’t sound fun to you then you probably won’t enjoy this match. If you like watching guys trade holds and trying to wear the other down with submission attempts then there’s a chance you will enjoy this one, as the wrestling itself is done well and the crowd reacts well to it. Collyer is the more vicious of the two and rams Stryker’s legs into the ring post at one stage to establish him as the more heelish of the two. This gives Stryker a limb to sell as well and he does a good job at that.

I think the main critique you can throw this match’s way is that it never really feels like it kicks into a higher gear. The wrestling is done well and the crowd sticks with it, watching it almost like they are a Japanese crowd at points, but the match firmly remains in the “Good” category and never really threatens to be any better. Considering this is a lower mid-card bout that probably isn’t the worst thing though in all honesty. Stryker gets the Stryker-lock in at one stage but Collyer makes the ropes and the Texas Cloverleaf gives him a third singles win over Stryker.

WINNER: CHAD COLLYER
RATING: ***

Good match. It did feel like it was time for Stryker to win though

The announcers push that Stryker has now fallen out of the top rankings as a result of this.

Match Four
Special K (Deranged, Dixie and Izzy) Vs The Carnage Crew (Loc, DeVito and Justin Credible)

Credible debuted on the previous show and is now with The Carnage Crew because he’s a miserable jerk like they are. This one is all action and there are quite a few whiffed moves, mostly in the form of strikes. Credible looks the best of probably anyone and The Carnage Crew are over, so the match isn’t terrible, but it is pretty sloppy at points.

Things really do fall apart in the latter stages, with the match becoming a bit of the mess. They manage to keep the crowd invested with some big wacky dives to the outside from the Special K guys, which leads into Credible getting Dixie with the Tombstone back inside for three.

WINNERS: THE CARNAGE CREW
RATING: *

Sloppy as all heck but the crowd didn’t hate it at least

The Carnage Crew celebrate following that.

Match Five
ROH World Title
Champ: Samoa Joe Vs Dan Maff

Maff’s father had recently passed away and the crowd seems to be aware of it as they give him a nice reception for his entrance. This one falls firmly into the category of “big lads clobbering one another” so if that’s your jam then you’ll probably like this. Maff even busts out a dive to the floor at one stage. The match has great crowd heat as well, which really adds to everything. Maff does the big All Japan delayed sell from a German Suplex at one stage and lariats Joe down to a pop from the crowd.

It’s pretty impressive watching two guys as big as this work at such a comparative quick clips for guys their size. The heavy shots and head drops continue, with Maff getting a big back drop at one stage, but he’s delayed in making a cover meaning that Joe is able to kick out. Maff is noticeably slowing down a bit as the match wears on and his shots have a little bit less vinegar behind them as a result, but I can’t really blame him as they were motoring in that early stretch and have held nothing back.

Maff tries to put Joe away with a Burning Hammer, but Joe manages to slip out. The crowd was starting to buy that Maff might just hit the move for a second there though. Joe follows up pretty quickly with a Dragon Suplex for the pin fall victory after a good old fashioned slugfest war.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SAMOA JOE
RATING: ***1/4

Very good match there. Maff ran out of steam a bit in the closing stages but they had a fun big man collision and the crowd was digging it

Both men bow to one another following that in honour of Maff’s father. Maff then gets a standing-o before leaving.

And that’s intermission!

I’ll hopefully see you all next week for the concluding part as ROH Wednesdays continue!