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

Welcome back to another ROH Wednesday!

Today we’ve got CM Punk and Raven in a cage, along with Trent Acid Vs Homicide and a four corners match with Samoa Joe.

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

Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and Ray Murrow

Gary Michael Cappetta is backstage during intermission, where he tells us that both Low Ki and The Amazing Red are injured, leading to a gauntlet match at the next show for the ROH Tag Titles. Mark and Jay Briscoe come in to say that they will be taking things more seriously going forward. Mark has a match with BJ Whitmer and Jay is in the four corners match. The SAT come over to complain about The Briscoes working over Reds knee, and they correctly explain that they were just doing what they needed to do in order to win the match.

Match Six
Mark Briscoe Vs BJ Whitmer

Whitmer is presented as the favourite here due to having more singles reps recently whilst Mark has mostly been in the tag division. Whitmer controls the majority of the bout, targeting the back and mid-section of Mark throughout the match. Whitmer almost comes across as kind of heelish here actually, whilst Mark mostly sells. Mark does a good job selling and it’s a solid match, with Whitmer’s offence looking good and the crowd getting into it.

Mark eventually manages to catch Whitmer with a desperation kick to get him back into the match, which he follows up with a suplex on the floor and then a big Shooting Star Press from the top rope down to Whitmer on the outside. That looked absolutely wild and it got a great reaction from the crowd. Mark is now fully back in the match following that and he flings Whitmer into the railings around ringside to ram that home.

The closing stretch is done well, with both men hitting some big moves for near falls and the crowd continuing to be into the action. They maybe miss the peak a little bit, but it’s a match with a Briscoe brother in it, so that can happen sometimes. They end up going with the surprise ending, as Mark catches Whitmer with an Exploder off the top and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: MARK BRISCOE
RATING: ***1/4

Very good match there

Rob Feinstein is backstage, where he talks about Lucy getting attacked by an unknown assailant back in August. He asks for fans to send in any information if they can help with the enquiries.

Match Seven
Trent Acid w/ Johnny Kashmere Vs Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

Before this one can start, we get another Raven promo, where he again reiterates that he’s going to kill Punk later. I still feel like most of this feud has happened off screen and they’re trying to create something that isn’t really there. It certainly doesn’t feel like this big heated feud that the commentators are pushing it as. There may have been stuff that has happened in other companies but that’s more telling us than showing us.

This one is similar to their previous match as they mostly brawl, with the referee being told to relax the rules a bit so that they settle their issue. It’s pretty sloppy in places, with a lot of wild out of control bumps outside of the ring. They’re going for the chaotic feel and they certainly achieve that, although I’m actually worried that they are going to legitimately hurt one another at points due to how out of control it gets. There’s rough looking bumps and seemingly some live rounds getting thrown at points for good measure.

Acid ends up bleeding from the eye at one stage, which is either an impressive blade job or a legit hardway as a direct result of Homicide kicking him so hard in the face. Acid low blows Homicide at one stage, but he at least distracts the referee first. Julius Smokes gets angry about that and argues with the ref, allowing Acid to get some kind of wacky face buster move off the top onto a chair for a near fall.

Hey, at least they’re doing the whole distract the referee thing correctly in this one. Things start getting sillier after that though, with both men booting one another in the face with Yakuza Kicks over and over, only for both men to no sell it or kick out of the resulting pin attempts at one. The crowd does get into it at least, but the difference between the really good intense hate filled brawl that Homicide had with Steve Corino on the last show with this chaotic messy fight here are pretty glaring.

Homicide keeps going to a step-over toe-hold face-lock following that sequence, but Acid manages to keep making the ropes to break it, leading to him clobbering Homicide square in the face with an elbow shot. Homicide’s nose starts bleeding following that, as I ponder that this whole pro-wrestling thing is supposed to be a work and that two guys hitting one another like this kind of defeats the purpose of the whole endeavour.

Hitting someone hard in a safe place I can get, hurting one another for real by hitting them full force in unsafe places just strikes me as missing the point of this whole wrestling thing. We get some chicanery from Kashmere and Smokes on the outside, leading to some near falls back inside. Homicide returns the favour with a low blow on Acid, with the referee again missing it at least, and the Brain Breaker follows for the three count.

WINNER: HOMICIDE
RATING: **

This feud is going to lead to someone having their career ended due to clumsiness if they’re allowed to keep wrestling one another

We get the hand shake following that, which hopefully means the hatchet has been buried and I don’t have to see this one again.

Christopher Daniels and Allison Danger have some promo time backstage at an ECWA show, where he currently holds their Title. He’s going to win the ROH World Title on the next show as well, because it’s his destiny and Samoa Joe is not going to stop him from doing it.

Semi-Main
Four Corner Survival
Chris Sabin Vs Jay Briscoe Vs AJ Styles Vs ROH World Champ Samoa Joe

The Title isn’t on the line here but one of these three guys could set themselves up as a possible challenger going forward if they are able to defeat Joe. Putting Joe in a non-Title match makes sense to be honest as the match with Daniels is the big one and it’s unlikely that Joe is going to drop the belt before that so you might as well make this non-Title so that there is some doubt as to what the result might be.

Styles Vs Joe is the paring a lot of the crowd want to see here, so they tease fully delivering it for the majority of the match. This is your standard Four Corner match, with each guy getting a chance to come in and do something before things breakdown into Finisher Madness™ in the closing stages, where everyone comes in to hit a big move and get some near falls. These matches are generally entertaining because there’s usually something going on at all-times, and when you have a good selection of guys in there the wrestling is usually always fun.

There’s an added spice to this one where Joe can actively take someone out of contention by defeating them here, as they won’t be able to challenge him for the remainder of his reign. The main story of the match here is that Jay is the least experienced guy in the match, so the other three guys mostly work him over, with him selling that all well. It also breaks the regular formula a little bit, with it essentially becoming three people working heat on one man, which doesn’t always happen in these.

Styles and Joe do finally get to do a bit together and it’s good stuff. Styles, Joe and Sabin all fight outside the ring, which allows Jay to show that he’s still alive by diving out onto all of them after spending the most of the match getting clobbered by everyone. The action gets really good in the closing stages, with lots of hot moves and some good near falls. Sabin is probably the smoothest of all four guys, but he’s also kind of the most forgettable one too.

That’s kind of been a recurring theme for Sabin in this ROH run though, as he regularly enters crisp performances but he’s not really developing much of an emotional reaction, whilst Jay by comparison has gotten pretty over with the crowd here due to his impressive sell job and the story they’ve told of him essentially being the whipping boy for the three other guys. It’s kind of reflected in the finish too, as Styles and Joe both crash and burn, leaving Jay to hit Sabin with the J-Driller for the three count.

WINNER: JAY BRISCOE
RATING: ***3/4

The wrestling was really good and they told a good story on top of it with Jay being tough enough to survive getting worked over pretty much 3 on 1 for large portions of the bout only to then gut it out and pick up the big victory

The crowd pops big for Jay’s win, as they’ve elevated both Briscoes well on this show and Jay will now get a future Title shot at either Samoa Joe or Christopher Daniels. It’s actually really clever booking, as Jay didn’t pin Joe here so it can keep you guessing that Daniels might win the Title match because Jay would work as a challenger for either man. If he’d pinned Joe then it would kind of suggest that Joe was going to beat Daniels, as otherwise why would they have Jay Briscoe pin Samoa Joe if it wasn’t going to lead to rematch for the belt. This way they can easily switch to Jay Vs Daniels as Jay’s Title shot wasn’t reliant on actually defeating Joe personally in order to earn it.

We get clips from a Q&A session whilst the ring crew set up the cage. The Carnage Crew and Special K brawl again and Special K gets the better of it this time to keep that feud cooking.

Main Event
Cage Match
CM Punk Vs Raven

These guys have been feuding for months and this would seem to be the blow off. There are weapons in the cage as well, as was the style at the time. Punk is quickly bleeding as a result of a number of weapon shots from Raven, and he takes some big bumps into the cage for good measure. It does feel oddly edited together though, like some of the match has been cut out. It’s either that or they’re really rushing it. It could be that it took a while to set up the cage and that’s caused them to try and sprint through this.

Raven ends up bleeding as well and gets handcuffed to the cage, leading to Punk firing off a slew of unanswered punches and weapon shots. Raven ends up making a pretty darned great comeback with one arm whilst cuffed to the cage though, which really shouldn’t have worked but Raven is such a great fiery babyface that he made it worked. Colt Cabana is at ringside and almost helps Punk win by swinging the cage door into Raven’s face, but Raven kicks out.

We get some more near falls off that, but the crowd doesn’t really react that much to them even though I personally thought they were executed pretty well. Raven ends up chairing both Punk and Cabana, although they looked pretty safe, and a table gets involved. Punk ends up going through the table after the two brawl atop the cage, which leads to a near fall for Raven. Raven DDT’s Punk through another table though, and that’s FINALY enough for three.

WINNER: RAVEN
RATING: ***

This was really rushed but it had the requisite blood and weapon shots you’d expect from the heated feud that these two have had. The crowd didn’t really seem to like it, but I thought that the near fall game was strong and they told as good a story as they could given the time constraints

The lights go out following the match and Raven ends up crucified on a giant red x. Well now he knows how the X-Division Title feels I guess. That was a bit silly to be honest, as they could have just crucified him to the cage and gotten the same effect. This was a good way to keep the feud going even though Raven finally got a win, but the execution could have been done a bit better.

Samoa Joe cuts a promo on both Christopher Daniels and Jay Briscoe

In Conclusion

Not a great show but there were some good matches sprinkled in there. Glory By Honour II is the next show up and I think that’s probably going to be the better overall show, so it might be worth just watching that one instead

Mildly recommended show