Mike Reviews – ROH Death Before Dishonour (19th July 2003) – Part One

Back with yet another ROH Wednesday!

This was actually a pretty darn big show for ROH crowd attendance wise due to them bringing in Jeff Hardy not that far removed from him leaving WWE earlier in 2003. There are also some big matches on the card featuring the likes of Raven, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Paul London, AJ Styles and Low Ki, so it’s a pretty stacked card.

The event is emanating from Elizabeth, New Jersey on the 19th of July 2003

Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and Ray Murrow

We open up with a CM Punk promo, where he dishes out some more angst over his drunken father and links it back to Raven. He talks about his dad nearly puking himself to death, and how he regrets saving his life. He says he won’t save Raven if a similar situation presents itself tonight. This was a darn good intense promo. Even Colt Cabana gets yelled at when he tries his usual comedy antics. Punk storms off and that allows Cabana to cut a promo of his own, all whilst making sure Punk can’t hear him. He’s going to put the ROH Title on his mantle next to his hopscotch trophy. Funny stuff as usual.

Intro video to rave music.

Speaking of rave music, Special K join us to start 30 minutes before the show is even supposed to begin to continue their rave from Wrestlerave three weeks ago. We watch some backstage promos whilst they rave.

Gary Michael Cappetta interviews ROH World Champ Samoa Joe, who defends his belt against Paul London tonight in London’s last ROH match. Joe says this may be a special moment for Paul, but this is his Title reign and the only special moment will be Joe retaining the belt.

Next up GMC tries to get some words from Homicide and Julius Smokes about Low Ki. Homicide says they won’t be feuding; they are just focusing on their own thing. GMC also stirs things between Homicide and Steve Corino, which leads to Homicide promising that he will face Corino one on one with none of his crew being at the show.

Back at the ring, Stephen Diangelis is trying to start the show but Special K won’t leave. The Christopher Street Connection interrupts things, because they want to turn this into a disco instead of a rave. That ends badly for them and they get beaten up. That’s the cue for Low Ki to join us instead, as he’d been battering Special K in an effort to teach them some respect prior to his shoulder injury. His shoulder seems to be healthy now and he enters the ring. Low Ki says he didn’t come here to see dancing but to see a fight. He gives Cloudy an almighty slap, and then chokes out Hi-Jinx. That just leaves Deranged, who low blows Low Ki to start a match

Opening Match
Deranged Vs Low Ki

Deranged actually gets to be on offence for a while here, with his high-flying and fast-paced stuff looking good, but the rest of his work being less impressive. Hey, he’s a spot monkey, not an all-around wrestler, so it makes sense. Low Ki sells quite a bit for him actually, and gives him quite a lot of offence; probably because he knows he’s going to eventually kill him. And indeed kill him Low Ki does, with some vicious kicks both on the mat and in the corner.

Deranged pin-balls and rag-dolls around for Low Ki now that he’s on the defensive, and he does a very convincing job of making it look like Low Ki is destroying him. Eventually the rest of Special K come down to help, which is explained because it’s not an official sanctioned match so the referee can’t call for a DQ. Slugger tries some kind of a bear hug, but Low Ki grabs him right in the baseball bat to put a stop to that and then destroys Deranged some more before finishing with a Dragon Clutch.

WINNER: LOW KI
RATING: **

This was an effective way of re-establishing Low Ki as a dangerous man whilst also giving Deranged some offence so it didn’t come across as a complete squash at the same time

Low Ki celebrates following that, walking over Deranged in the process.

Christopher Daniels is on the phone to Allison Danger whilst in Japan, using Koji Kanemoto’s phone. He wants Danger to recruit someone to The Prophecy, but we don’t learn who. He congratulates ROH on drawing so many fans to this show, but then takes the credit for it. He addresses the return of Low Ki, saying that Dan Maff is going to take Low Ki out down the line. Daniels says he’ll be asking for a Title shot at the ROH World Title when he gets back from Japan.

Coming Soon: The Field of Honour

Match Two
Jimmy Rave Vs Matt Stryker

We get a Bill Apter sighting as these two got at on the mat, with the wrestling being very nicely executed. I like me some technical wrestling, so this is right up my alley. Both men get themselves over with the crowd when they each get to suplex one of the other off the turnbuckle, which then leads to some chops being thrown. They’ve built this match well, with some nice stuff on the mat being followed up with some more high-impact moves and attacks as the bout has progressed. Rave tries to win it with a crossface, but Stryker survives and snaps off a Spicolli Driver for three.

WINNER: MATT STRYKER
RATING: ***1/4

Good match that built nicely. I also like how they didn’t do a super long finishing stretch either. We had a few big moves, Rave got the submission tease and then Stryker took it home. Nice and easy

We get the handshake following that.

Match Three
Weapons Are Legal
Texas Wrestling Academy (Hotstuff Hernandez, Fast Eddie, Don Juan and Rudy Boy Gonzalez) Vs The Carnage Crew (Loc, DeVito, Credible and Masada)

This one is a big wild brawl, with everyone fighting all over the place and weapons getting used liberally. I must commend ROH for having some variety in regards to the match types actually. It’s been a genuine Three Ring Circus thus far and it’s helped the show flow that every match has been a bit different. If you don’t like brawls then this one likely won’t be for you, but I quite like a good brawl when done well, and they do this one well for the most part.

Some of the big spots are pretty crazy, with Eddie getting German Suplexed off the top rope onto a chair by Masada at one stage, which is absolutely nuts. Thankfully no one seems to die, even though some of the guys seem to be actively trying to murder some of the others, such as when Loc clobbers Don Juan with a brutal chair shot to the back of the head. Seriously, why would you ever do that? Even in 2003 we knew that hitting someone in the back of the head with a metal chair was not a good thing to be doing.

Hernandez starts actively flinging his own partners at the Carnage Crew at one stage, before getting a big running dive out to the floor. It will always be impressive to see a big dude like Hernandez flying around like that. Credible seemingly disappears and they cover for it by saying that Rudy Boy left him bloody in the car park. TWA actually get to pick up the win, when Hernandez power bombs Masada through some chairs.

WINNERS: TEXAS WRESTLING ACADEMY
RATING: ***

I could have lived without all the unprotected shots/suplexes to the head and neck, because stuff that like a Christmas turkey, but I also can’t deny that it wasn’t an exciting match. Everyone was working hard and the crowd dug it

After that match it’s TO THE BACK for some ticket plugging

Match Four
The Outcast Killaz (Diablo Santiago and Oman Tortuga) Vs The Purists (Tony Mamaluke and John Walters)

Walters accidentally leaves Mamaluke hanging during their entrance in a funny bit that someone should probably make Maffew aware of. The crowd isn’t really that into this, but it’s a good match, with The Killaz actually getting a chance to do some nice double team moves so that it isn’t just a squash win for the new Purist team. As their name would suggest, The Purists are all about doing a more technical style, whilst The Killaz do more brawling.

The Purists do eventually get to try and turn The Killaz into Human Pretzels, with The Killaz selling it all well, but the crowd still doesn’t really care that much. The Killaz do get a bit of a flurry again in the closing stages, but Oman ends up in a wacky double team submission hold, which is legal for some reason, and The Purists win.

WINNERS: THE PURISTS
RATING: **

Not much crowd heat but I enjoyed the wrestling and I thought the Outcast Killaz gave a good account of themselves before it was time for them to do the J-O-B

We get the post-match handshake following that, although The Purists almost don’t do it at first. Dunn & Marcos then join us following that, to mock The Outcast Killaz, which is kind of a Heel move on their part. Former ROH Champ Xavier then comes down to the ring to beat them up. They sell it all well, but this was an odd segment. Kiss Your X Goodbye is a lot like Bianca Belair’s K-O-D finisher actually. Gary Michael Cappetta joins us for an in-ring promo with Xavier, where Xavier puts himself over and says he will be entering The Field of Honour Tournament, which will have 8 guys in it according to him.

Match Five
Tom Carter Vs Doug Williams

This is a battle between two of the top indie talents from the USA and UK, with Carter making a name for himself as Reckless Youth whilst Doug was a big deal over in Europe as the Champ of the FWA. The commentators push that neither guy has an issue with one another but they are both great wrestlers so they are going at it to see which of them is the better wrestler. What a novel concept that is!

They do some really good technical wrestling to open things up, with things getting gradually more aggressive as the bout progresses, as Doug starts throwing some kicks, stomps and upper cuts in order to weaken Carter. Carter replies by going after the arm with some nasty looking submission holds, with both men getting the right mix between selling that the moves hurt whilst still coming as across as stoic tough guys who are gritting their teeth through it.

It’s a good solid wrestling match, where they work it like an actual sporting contest and keep it believable looking, so if that sounds like something you’d enjoy then you’ll probably dig this. It might be a bit slow paced for some, but I enjoy this sort of wrestling and I think they build this match well, so it works for me. Doug throws a bunch of big knees at one stage, including one off the top, but Carter keeps managing to kick out.

Both men get some near falls and the match continues to escalate, although they don’t have the crowd perhaps as much as you would like. The crowd has responded quite a lot like a Japanese crowd during this one actually, watching intently and popping for the bigger moves. Carter tries to win it with a Frogsplash but Doug kicks out at two, before getting a buckle bomb. In a nice touch, Doug gets The Chaos Theory German Suplex, but his arm is still hurting from earlier so he can’t make the pin, which is a nice call back to the previous arm work. Carter quickly gets a roll up following that and that’s enough for the flash pin.

WINNER: TOM CARTER
RATING: ***1/4

Good match there, with sound psychology and solid wrestling, although it won’t be for everyone

We get the handshake and hug following that. We see that Allison Danger was hanging out backstage and she once again asks Tom Carter to join The Prophecy, but he refuses for now.

Match Six
#1 Contender Four Corner Survival
Colt Cabana Vs Dan Maff w/ Allison Danger Vs BJ Whitmer Vs Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

Cabana and Whitmer don’t like one another due to Whitmer having issues with CM Punk, whilst Maff and Homicide hate one another because they used to be friends but then Maff turned his back on ROH by joining up with The Prophecy. This is your usual Four Corner Survival match in ROH, with two guys going at it in the ring whilst two others wait on the apron for a tag, with the first fall winning it.

As I said in the last ROH review, these matches are usually always good but reviewing them has kind of become an exercise in writing the same thing. I enjoy them as matches but I’m kind of running out of things to say about them when it comes to match reviews outside of wrestler specific play by play calls. They pretty much all follow the same formula, with everyone getting in to do a bit with everyone else in the match before things break down into Finisher Madness™ with everyone getting a chance to win it.

The action is fun, with some good character work from the likes of Cabana and Maff thrown in as well, as Colt does his usual comedy stuff whilst Maff is a jerk who is trying to pick a fight with everyone because he’s the clear Heel of the bout. The crowd heat is pretty good too, which is a bonus, and all-in-all this is an entertaining scrap. The wildest spot is probably Maff attempting a TOPE SUICIDA and ending up in the front row as a result. Eventually everyone crashes and burns and Whitmer finishes Cabana with an Exploder Suplex off the top.

WINNER: BJ WHITMER
RATING: ***3/4

This was a darn entertaining bout, as it was basically all action after a certain point and the action was all kinds of fun

Whitmer celebrates with his trophy and he will now get a Title shot in Dayton, Ohion, which is basically a Home Game for him. Maff of course refuses to shake hands and even spits at Homicide at one stage, so that feud will continue.

Christopher Daniels is on the phone to Allison Danger and they talk about Xavier returning and not telling them. He then pretends he knew it was going to happen when his promo starts in a funny bit.

And I think we’ll end Part One there

We’ll finish things up next week when ROH Wednesdays continue!