Welcome to another ROH Wednesday Everyone!
This time we’ve got the first part of Glory By Honour II, an event that got a lot of hype at the time due to the quality of some of the matches and the star power involved, with Terry Funk actually making an appearance next week. This week we’ve got Steve Corino Vs Raven, in a match I don’t think ever really happened in ECW despite them both passing through there. I think by the time they were actually booking Corino as a credible threat to the top guys Raven had already left to go to the WWF. They might have had some smaller matches back when Corino was doing his Jericho Light gimmick and managing Rhino, but it was pretty much just tags for them whilst they were still in the company together I think.
The event is emanating from Philly, PA on the 20th of September 2003
Calling the action are “Chris Lovey” and CM Punk
We open things up with a Colt Cabana backstage promo, where he hypes up his participation in a Four Corner Survival match later on. He wants to be in the Top Five ROH rankings, as well as debuting his own Talk Show “Good Times, Good Memories”. This was the usual fun wacky Cabana promo.
Dan Maff cuts a more subdued promo, wearing a neck brace that was given to him by Low K when Ki knocked him out at Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies. Maff not surprisingly targets Low Ki with his promo and wants some revenge. This was better than his promo on that show, as he didn’t go over the top with it. Maff also wishes Christopher Daniels luck in the Main Event.
This is the last night at the Murphy Rec venue that ROH held its first show at, so we get classic moments from the venue sprinkled throughout the event, starting with the Main Event of the first ever ROH show of Bryan Danielson Vs Low Ki Vs Christopher Daniels.
Field of Honour Block B
BJ Whitmer (0-0) Vs Jimmy Rave (0-1)
AJ Styles once again tries giving Jimmy Rave some advice prior to the match, suggesting he should work over the arm to set up his crossface finisher. The Field of Honour is a G1 Climax like tournament, with two blocks of four that are broken into a round robin format. Rave lost to Colt Cabana on the previous show, whilst Whitmer is yet to wrestle in the tournament. Punk is already being a jerk on commentary right from the off, calling both of these men two of the most underwhelming wrestlers in ROH and pretending that he doesn’t remember Whitmer pushing him to the limit in a tough match recently.
Whitmer mostly controls this one, using holds and strikes to keep Rave on the defensive. It’s good snug action and the crowd responds to it well. Rave does take Styles’ advice from earlier and targets the arm of Whitmer, showing that the advice didn’t fall on death ears at least. Rave gives Whitmer a Divorce Court onto the apron and then follows with a knee strike off the apron to gain control of the match. The first move didn’t look that good, but the knee looked great. Rave tries an arm bar back inside following that, but Whitmer is able to fight out of it.
We head into the closing stretch and the action continues to be good, with Punk also continuing to be really entertaining on commentary talking about how Whitmer is seconds away from quitting at all times. Whitmer ends up catching Rave with a big power bomb off the top rope, and thankfully that’s the finish as it would have been silly to keep going after that in the opener. I appreciate the restraint from both guys and the fact they took it home at the peak.
WINNER: BJ WHITMER (1-0)
Good solid opener there, with nice snug offence from both men and some sound psychology with Rave going after the arm and Whitmer catching him with a big move at the last gasp to pick up the win
Whitmer shows respect to Rave following the match and then cuts a backstage promo saying the Field of Honour is going to help him advance up the ranks in ROH.
Rave is all beaten up following the match, leading to AJ Styles coming over to give him some tough love over the defeat.
ROH World Champ Samoa Joe cuts a promo backstage, saying destiny means nothing when he’s the ROH Champ, and the only thing that’s destined is that Daniels will be another victim. Steve Corino comes over to talk to Joe following the promo. Corino implies that when he brought Joe in as a member of The Group the idea was that he’d be the Champ and Joe would just be the enforcer. That would appear to be a tease for a match between the two former stablemates down the line.
More Murphy Rec memories, this time Eddy Guerrero Vs Super Crazy from the first show.
We see Xavier warming up for his match backstage. Lollipop from NWA:TNA comes over to take a look at him.
Field of Honour Block A
Xavier (0-0) Vs John Walters (0-1)
This match is actually the beginning of a feud between these two that would really help with elevating Walters up the card whilst showing that Xavier did indeed have the chops to deliver good matches in the ring. Lollipop comes down to the ringside area before the match starts, leading to Allison Danger coming down as well. Xavier chooses Lollipop over Danger, essentially sticking the bird up to The Prophecy to go out on his own.
There is some really nice back and forth wrestling to start, with the idea being that both men are evenly matched, which essentially suggests that Walters is on the level of a former ROH Champ thus giving him a subtle rub. Xavier shockingly has some fans in the crowd despite being an absolute weapon of the highest order, leading to a brief duelling chant at one stage. Walters starts getting the better of things but gets caught with a belly to belly suplex to the floor.
Xavier follows with a big dive to the floor following that to firmly take control of the bout, leading to him working Walters over back inside for a bit. Walters sells that well and Xavier’s offence looks good for the most part. There is one notable botch where Xavier tries some kind of a moonsault by running off of Walters’ back first and it kind of goes awry, although he does his best to cover it. The crowd is generous though and doesn’t give him a hard time for it.
Walters catches Xavier with a Back Cracker for a double down, which leads to Walters making the comeback. We get some nice near falls with both men going for a variety of pinning combinations, leading to Walters getting the Hurricane DDT for a close two count. Xavier gets a very nice neck breaker for a near fall of his own. Xavier goes full Heel with the finish though, as he distracts the ref and then gets a low blow following by a pinning hold for the three count.
WINNER: XAVIER (1-0)
Walters grabs the mic post-match and gives Xavier a dressing down for cheating, saying next time he will teach Xavier all about respect.
Xavier cuts a backstage promo, saying he’ll happily face Walters whenever.
Christopher Daniels and Allison Danger have promo time backstage. Daniels says that it is destiny for him to become ROH World Champ and talks about the irony of him bringing Joe into ROH at the first Glory By Honour leading to them facing tonight on the second one. This was a really good promo from Daniels and it added to the feel of this match being a big deal. Following the promo, Steve Corino comes over and plays some mind games.
Another Murphy Rec memory, this time Bryan Danielson and Low Ki having a fantastic match at the first Round Robin Challenge event.
TJ Wilson Vs Ted Hart
Wilson would go on to be Tyson Kidd in WWE, whilst Hart would go to annihilate his own career due to a slew of terrible decisions both inside and outside the ring. Both of these guys wrestled in the Mat Rats promotion and would eventually be in a faction together in OVW before Hart botched things for himself again. I remember seeing Wilson for All-Star Wrestling here in the UK around this time and he was by far the best guy on the show.
This is a decent match, although the commentators spend most of it ignoring the action and talking about other things. It’s a good mixture of technical stuff and high-flying, and the crowd responds well to it. The stuff with the commentary is really annoying though, as it takes away from the match. It’s not like Punk in particular isn’t great when hyping up his match with Terry Funk later on, but this isn’t the right time for it.
There is a little bit of a lack of selling here, but the offence from both men looks good and the crowd likes it, so it does what it needs to. Hart eventually catches Wilson with a swinging DDT off the top and then follows with a Shooting Star Press for the three count and a pop from the crowd.
WINNER: TED HART
Good match that was sadly overshadowed by the commentary team completely ignoring it to further angles and hock DVD’s
We get the handshake following that, leading to Hart heading backstage and getting into an argument with Special K to set up a future match down the line.
Raven cuts a promo backstage, where he says that he’s picked Terry Funk as CM Punks opponent tonight, because Funk will teach Punk about intestinal fortitude. He then questions why Punk picked Corino as he’s never lost to Corino, so to make things interesting he wants a Raven’s Rules match later on.
Another Murphy Rec moment is Homicide and Boogalou against the Carnage Crew from July 2002.
Steve Corino w/ Veronica Stevens, Guillotine Le Grande and Bobby Cruise Vs Raven
As we saw in Corino’s previous appearance, he has Cruise here as his personal ring announcer, who does a long introduction to annoy the fans. The theme this time is all the people Corino has defeated, getting a mixture of different responses from the crowd depending on the names read out. Raven has no hair here due to losing it in NWA:TNA. Punk of course has a comment to make about that, but he takes some pot-shots at Corino for good measure too.
They tell a good story here of Raven trying to turn things into more of a brawl whilst Corino tries to stick and move so that he can make it more of a wrestling match. Corino does eventually manage to cut Raven off and works some heat, with Raven selling all of that well. What I like about this match is that it’s a lot more old school with the strong Heel/Face dynamic and it’s geared more to storytelling, with Raven selling big in order to eventually set up the big comeback.
It’s a good example of how ROH can mix up the match types, which is essential when you’re doing a show like this, as it’s very easy to burn the fans out if you give them the same match over and over, no matter how good the action itself is. Raven eventually manages to catch Corino with a super kick for the double down and then follows up with the usual great fiery comeback. Raven’s babyface work is genuinely excellent, even though he’s usually remembered for being a Heel.
Stevens tries getting involved to put a stop to that, with the distraction being long enough to allow Corino to go to a Cobra Clutch sleeper hold for the big submission tease. Raven manages to survive that and fights up to his feet before catching Corino with a Raven Effect OUTTA NOWHERE. This should be enough for three, but CM Punk breaks up the count, which is allowed because the match has no DQ’s, which allows Corino to get a super kick for the three count.
Another good match in a series of them
Corino is annoyed following the match that Punk ran down to help him, and he even slaps him for good measure. Corino and Raven shake hands following that, adding an interesting layer to Corino’s character, in that he’s clearly a Heel but also doesn’t seem to be one entirely without honour either.
Another Murphy Rec memory is Low Ki becoming the first ever ROH Champion at the Crowning A Champion show in July 2002.
Four Corner Survival
Chris Sabin Vs Colt Cabana Vs Matt Stryker Vs AJ Styles
This is your typical Four Corner match from ROH, with everyone getting a chance to get in the ring and do some stuff before things breakdown into everyone going for big moves in an attempt to win the match. One of the highlights is a very fun comedy spot from Cabana where he teases doing a TOPE SUICIDA, only to then climb through the ropes and hit a double axe handle off the apron instead. That actually got a pretty big pop from the crowd, and it was probably the safest move executed all evening.
There’s the odd moment where guys aren’t quite where they need to be, such as Stryker getting a big spinning wheel kick on Sabin but then also colliding with Styles on the way down in a rough looking spot, but in general the work is very good here and the match is a lot of fun as a result. Punk gets a good recurring gag of saying everyone in the match could win, if it weren’t for Colt Cabana also being in the match. I really like that, it’s very Bobby Heenan.
The only critique I can really throw this one’s way is that they perhaps go for a bit too long and it leads to the match losing a bit of heat from the crowd as a result, especially as it feels like we reach a point where they’re going to really kick in to the finishing stretch and we instead get something like five minutes of holds on Styles for a bit instead, which only takes the crowd back down again. We do get the quadruple submission spot at one stage, which leads to Styles fighting out to knock everyone down for the quadruple down so that they can go into the closing section for real.
The finishing stretch is done very well, with lots of big moves and all four guys going at it with one another, leading to some good near falls and last minute saves. They manage to heat the crowd up again quite well and they get into the action. Punk ends up being correct about Cabana’s chances, as he catches Stryker with The Colt 45 OUTTA NOWHERE and that’s enough for the three count and a pop from the crowd.
WINNER: COLT CABANA
Outside of being perhaps a bit too long, I thought this was a very good match and enjoyed it. The win also helped in elevating Cabana, which is a good thing considering he’s in the Field of Honour and could do with as much credibility as possible
And with that it’s intermission, so I think we’ll close off the review for now and pick things up next week for the conclusion when ROH Wednesdays continue!