Mike Reviews – ROH Beating The Odds (6th September 2003) – Part One

Welcome back to another ROH Wednesday!

The big match on this half of the show is going to be the continuation of the Special K and Carnage Crew feud, whilst the Main Event next week will be CM Punk Vs Raven in a cage.

The event is emanating from Wakefiled, MA on the 6th of September 2003

Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and Ray Murrow

CM Punk and Colt Cabana open us up with a promo, where he hypes up the match with Raven, saying he’ll have Raven’s bloods on his hands. It’s a really good promo, where Punk recaps the feud up till now, stressing the point that Raven has yet to actually pin Punk in this feud. Cabana pretends that he won’t tell a joke, but then cuts some anyway without even trying to and hypes up the Field of Honour.

Raven retorts with a promo of his own, where he threatens to kill Punk later before laughing maniacally.

AJ Styles gives Jimmy Rave a pep talk backstage.

Opening Match
Field of Honour – Block B
Colt Cabana (0-0) Vs Jimmy Rave (0-0)

The Field of Honour is a round robin tournament with two blocks. The winners of each block will advance to the finals. It’s a lot like New Japan’s G1 Climax tournament in that regard. Colt has strange gear on here, wearing a long sleeve shirt underneath a red singlet, looking a bit like Super Mario. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but this isn’t how Cabana usually dresses.

We get some footage of The Backseat Boyz arriving late before the show and getting into an argument with Rob Feinstein and Gabe Sapolsky as a result. Homicide and The Carnage Crew are hanging out signing autographs and that leads to Trent Acid and Homicide getting into an argument with one another as well about how disrespectful Acid is being. This leads to a pull apart brawl between the two. I appreciate them trying to make Trent Acid Vs Homicide a thing but I’m just not feeling it, especially when Homicide already has feuds going on with Steve Corino and Dan Maff.

It was weird that they inserted that into this match like that, as that’s something ROH doesn’t tend to do. This match is on the mat quite a bit and it’s good, with Cabana working in his usual comedy character work whilst Rave mostly plays it straight. The crowd gets into Cabana and enjoys his antics, even though he’s ostensibly the Heel in this match.

The crowd gets on Cabana’s nerves by shouting “TWO” after near falls, which he plays up to and manages to draw some Heel heat as a result. Cabana works Rave over with some basic holds like surfboards and bear hugs, which succeed in getting the crowd behind Rave so that he will make the comeback, which he eventually does following a running knee to the face.

Rave has worked well as a babyface here and Cabana has done a good job as a Heel. It’s not been a super-hot match or anything, but it’s been a good solid opener that has warmed the crowd up nicely and has featured some decent wrestling from both men. After some near falls and submission teases we eventually get the finish, as Cabana gets the Colt 45 for the three count.

WINNER: COLT CABANA (1-0)
RATING: ***

Good opener

AJ Styles gives Rave some advice following the match, working in the mentor role.

Cabana reveals that he was wearing the shirt because he has some kind skin condition and was wrestling against doctors’ orders. They should have mentioned that on commentary to be honest.

Match Two
Diablo Santiago w/ Oman Tortuga Vs Slyk Wagner Brown w/ April Hunter

Santiago and Tortuga are kind of the Heel equivalent of Dunn & Marcos, in that they are guys on the Ring Crew who very rarely win but keep coming back for more. Brown has a good look and is growing more and more into his role as a solid mid-card act. The Heels try it on with April Hunter before the match starts, which Brown doesn’t appreciate and he clobbers Tortuga as a result.

Brown is from the Boston area so he’s over with the crowd, and this match is designed with the aim of getting him over, as he gets to show off his hybrid high-flyer/powerhouse style. Santiago takes good bumps and sells well, so he works well in the role of being the warm body for Brown to beat up, and he gets some token offence as well so the match isn’t a total squash.

Santiago’s offence looks good when he’s given a chance and Brown does a decent job selling for it. This is a decent early half of the card match actually, with the crowd helping raise it up a bit due to how much they like Brown. He comes across as a big deal as a result and it works well as a showcase for him. Brown eventually picks up the win with a powerbomb after Santiago finally runs out of steam.

WINNER: SLYK WAGNER BROWN
RATING: **

Decent match, where Santiago got enough offence not to look like a goober before Brown polished him off to pop the crowd

Brown shakes hands with Santiago following that, with Santiago bleeding from the nose. Tortuga grabs the mic though to make a fool of himself by suggesting that Hunter is into him, which leads to her beating him up to pop the crowd further.

Match Three
Four Way Scramble Tag
Dunn & Marcos Vs Special K (Izzy and Dixie) Vs The SAT (Joel et Jose) Vs The Backseat Boyz (Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere)

Izzy and Dixie have other Special K members with them. This is your usual Scramble match, with no tags being needed as guys can come in once another leaves the ring and fast action being the order of the day, meaning minimal selling and lots of big moves and dives. Basically some people are going to hate this no matter how good it is because they don’t like this spotty style of wrestling, but if you’re willing to just sit back and enjoy the car crash then this could be up your alley.

As is to be expected with this match type, there are moments of sloppiness where moves don’t quite go as they should. In general though it’s high octane fun and every team gets a chance to do something to get themselves over. Some of the dives to the floor are pretty darn incredible, with a tonne of bodies at ringside to catch people meaning they guys doing the dives can really cut loose. The Backseats eventually pick up the win, which kind of had to happen if we’re going to take Acid seriously in this feud with Homicide.

WINNERS: THE BACKSEAT BOYZ
RATING: **1/2

Fun Scramble action, even though there were some sloppy moments where things didn’t quite land

The three babyface teams make nice with one another following that whilst Special K slink to the back.

Match Four
Field of Honour – Block A
John Walters (0-0) Vs Matt Stryker (0-0)

Stryker is probably one of the favourites in his Block, whilst Walters is still pretty new to ROH but is from the Boston area, so he has his fans amongst the Wakefield crowd. Both of these men are proficient on the mat, so we get a lot of technical grappling between the two of them and the crowd gets into it. It’s a good example of ROH mixing up the ring styles actually, as we’ve gone from a wild spot fest to a technical masterclass and the crowd has dug both matches. Variety really is the spice of life sometimes.

Stryker tries to weaken Walters’ leg so as to set up his Stryker Lock submission hold, and Walters does a good job of selling that. At one stage Walters manages to catch Stryker with a Back Cracker, but in the process he hurts his leg, meaning he isn’t able to follow up and giving Stryker a window to recover. Walters makes a bit of comeback following that, but then he choke slams Stryker onto his knee and hurts himself again as a result.

I like the idea of Walters getting some momentum going and then busting out a move he might usually do because he’s starting to feel good again, but his knee ends up not being as strong as he thought and it shunts him back to square one. They actually have the leg work play into the finish too, as Walters goes for some sort of powerbomb move but his leg gives out and Stryker lands on top for three.

WINNER: MATT STRYKER (1-0)
RATING: ***

Good wrestling with the leg work actually directly leading to the finish, meaning they weren’t just killing time with it

The crowd doesn’t like the local lad losing, but Walters grabs a mic and puts Stryker over before saying he will make sure he wins next time.

Rob Feinstein is hanging out at catering, where Homicide comes over to demand a match with Trent Acid tonight. Feinstein makes it happen.

Match Five
Special K (Angel Dust, Deranged and Hydro) Vs The Carnage Crew (Loc, DeVito and Credible)

I must say the Prong version of “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” is starting to overtake the Grinspoon version for me the more I listen to it. I always tended to listen to the Grinspoon version more in my younger days because that was the version Credible had when I first started watching ECW.

Credible gets the big crowd pop spot here by giving Angel Dust a slew of rolling vertical suplexes, which the crowd loves. This rivalry has a fun dynamic, with Special K being diminutive annoying bumping Heels and The Carnage Crew excelling at throwing them around, with the crowd loving them for doing it.

Things get a bit silly as Slugger ends up getting into the ring, even though he doesn’t appear to be an official entrant, and the referee just lets it go, making him look stupid in the process. That’s a shame as it’s taken me out of the match a bit. How hard would it have been to just stick some other Special K members on the apron so he could be distracted?

Sluggers attack leads to Loc being cut off for the heat segment, which he sells well at least. Loc ends up spiking Angel Dust with a scary looking piledriver move and then makes the hot tag to Credible, who runs wild and looks good in the process. Things breakdown following that, with The Carnage Crew destroying the Special K team with big moves.

Sluggers comes into the ring again, and the referee again doesn’t call for the bell as this is just getting ridiculous now. It’s a shame because the actual wrestling has been fine in this, but that sort of thing is unforgivable. Julius Smokes comes down to the ring to talk to Slugger and gets him to leave with him, leaving Special K without their muscle. Credible quickly takes it home following that with a Tombstone off the second rope.

WINNERS: THE CARNAGE CREW
RATING: *1/2

The stuff with Slugger ruined it for me, as having him come into the ring twice without it being a DQ stretched any semblance of being able to suspend my disbelief

DeVito destroys some of the Special K members with a chair following that and then it looks like Becky Bayless is going to get put through a table. To her credit she ends up taking a piledriver off the apron through a table, which is a pretty big bump and probably explains why she kept getting opportunities despite not really having much in the way of wrestling ability.

And with that it’s intermission, so we’ll pick things up next week when ROH Wednesdays continue!