Mike Reviews – ROH Tradition Continues (16th October 2003) – Concluding Part

We’re back with the concluding part of this show, as ROH Wednesdays continue!

This week we’ve got Samoa Joe Vs Jay Briscoe and a Raven Vs Justin Credible match to look forward to amongst others.

The event is emanating from Glen Burnie, Maryland on the 16th of October 2003

Calling the action are Chris Lovey/Jimmy Bower/Gabe Sapolsky (Delete where appropriate), Ray Murrow and CM Punk

Gary Michael Capetta is backstage with The Backseat Boyz, who lost the ROH Tag Titles back in part one. They are understandably despondent over the result and don’t really feel like talking.

Special K is having a rave backstage and are disrespecting the belts they just won.

Match Seven
Field of Honour – Block B
Jimmy Rave (0-2-0) Vs Dan Maff (0-0-0) w/ Allison Danger

I actually wrote this a while back but I’m putting in a quick edit to just once again say RIP Jimmy Rave. His final few years seemed super rough and I hope he’s found some peace now.

Rave has already lost to Cabana and Whitmer so he’s essentially fighting for pride here. Maff had to have some of his matches delayed due to a neck injury suffered against Low Ki, but he’s back now. Maff takes a lot of this in the early going but Rave holds on and manages to get himself into the match with a running knee off the apron. Maff sells that his neck is bad following that, but he’s playing possum and pops up with a Burning Hammer attempt.

Rave manages to slip out of that, but then walks into a lariat straight after and continues to get worked over. Rave sells all of that really well and keeps making sporadic attempts at a comeback, including a crossface submission hold at one stage. Maff manages to power out of that though and gets the Burning Hammer for three.

WINNER: DAN MAFF (1-0-0)
RATING: **1/2

This told a good story and featured some good selling from Rave

Maff kicks Rave out of the ring following the match, just to be a jerk.

Rave is selling backstage following that. AJ Styles comes over and lambasts him for not listening to him, giving him more tough love.

Maff says Cabana and Whitmer are next before lays down a challenge to Low Ki.

Dan McDevitt from Maryland Championship Wrestling joins us in the ring to put ROH over. ROH will apparently be holding the Shane Shamrock Cup in January when they return to the venue in honour of an MCW wrestler of the same name.

Match Eight
Justin Credible Vs Raven

Both of these guys were in ECW of course and wrestled a few times there, with Raven even putting Credible over a few times. Raven shines on Credible to start, with Credible bumping around well to make Raven look good. Sadly the commentators ignore all of it to advance the story, which is that Steve Corino has fingered Christopher Daniels as the one who attacked Lucy. Also, on the next show it’s Steve Corino Vs CM Punk.

Credible manages to cut Raven off and starts working over his leg, ramming it into the ring post and whatnot. Raven sells that well, whilst Credible’s stuff looks good and he slips nicely into his traditional Heel role. The commentators continue to ignore the match though, which gets really annoying as they’re working a decent match here and the crowd is getting into it. Raven eventually makes his usual great fired up comeback, getting a bulldog for two, leading into some more near falls.

Credible ends up accidentally catching the ref with a super kick, which means there is no one to count when Raven has a pin straight after. With the ref down, Credible clocks Raven right in his Flamingo’s and brings a chair into the ring. It’s not a metal folding chair though and more a standard seat for the timekeeper. Raven ends up drop-toe-holding Credible onto it though and snaps off a last gasp DDT for the three count.

WINNER: RAVEN
RATING: **3/4

Decent match between two experienced guys that was ruined somewhat by the commentary team completely ignoring it

Punk storms off from commentary following the match, annoyed that Raven won.

Semi-Main
Four Corner Survival
Xavier Vs Mark Briscoe Vs John Walters Vs Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

Xavier cheated Walters out of a win on the previous show, so Walters is looking to get even with him tonight. Meanwhile, Homicide is looking to get back in the ROH Title hunt with a big win here. This is your standard four corner survival match from this period, with everyone coming in to do a little bit and the wrestling mostly being good. Xavier focuses on being a Heel by slapping Homicide around and running away from Walters, whilst Mark is more of a tweener and fulfils whatever role is required of him at different points in the match.

Mark and Walters do a nice section together at one stage, with smooth technical wrestling and counters that the crowd appreciates. Mark is kind of the star of the match for me, as he does good wrestling with all three of his opponents and they all give him quite a bit, which makes him look like he belongs on their level. Everyone enters a good performance for the most part though in fairness, with Walters stepping up and showing what he can do as well, whilst Xavier and Homicide show off why they have been regularly pushed guys in the singles realm for a while now.

Walters puts both Mark and Xavier in a submission hold at the same time at one point, which the crowd appreciates, and Homicide has to break it up in order to save the match for himself. Things eventually descend into Finisher Madness™, where everyone comes into hit a big move and grab a near fall. It’s what usually in these four corner survival bouts and the action is mostly good, although there is a notable botch where Walters tries to slam Mark and Homicide off the top and loses his grip, making it look like he didn’t really do anything.

We do finally get Xavier and Walters going at it, with both men trading chops to get across how much they don’t like one another. I’m a real sucker for this feud, so I enjoy seeing them go at it, and they’re smart enough to still leave plenty on the table by having Homicide break things up before they really get into it. We of course get a series of dives (because ROH) and the crowd loves that, especially when Xavier does a crazy springboard moonsault onto everyone. Walters looks to finally have Xavier pinned with a Hurricane DDT, but Homicide breaks it up to deny Walters his revenge.

The near falls come thick and fast, with Xavier getting a wild powerbomb into a piledriver sequence on Mark for two that gets a big pop from the crowd. I’m almost disappointed that wasn’t the finish. Homicide actually gets Mark with the Brain Breaker/Kudoh Driver, but Walters breaks up the count at the very last minute and gets a second rope Dominator on Homicide. Xavier breaks that up at two though and cheats to beat Walters once again by poking him in the eyes and then hitting a pumphandle facebuster for three.

WINNER: XAVIER
RATING: ***3/4

I’m an absolute sucker for this Xavier/Walters feud, as they just keep having Walters get screwed every time and it just makes you want to see him get his revenge more and more, which I’m sure he eventually will. The match itself was really good, with all four guys getting a chance to shine and a genuinely great closing stretch that had the fans in raptures

Jim Cornette cuts a backstage promo, saying he’ll be at the show on the 1st of November, where he’ll be in the corner of Samoa Joe.

Main Event
ROH World Title
Champ: Samoa Joe Vs Jay Briscoe

Briscoe won a previous Four Corner match that had Joe in it in order to earn himself a Title shot. Joe works Jay over quite a bit in the early going, with the idea being that he’s trying to punish Jay for showing him up. Jay sells that well and eventually manages to fight back, taking Joe to the outside of the ring and flinging him into the metal railings to take a chunk out of his life bar. The crowd seems to be behind Jay as well, most likely because he is a clear underdog in this one being that he’s mostly been a tag guy recently and Joe has been so dominant as Champion.

Joe fights back with his Ole Kicks into those same railings though and then goes to a Step-over Toe-hold Face-lock back inside the ring, which leads to Jay making the ropes after a good submission tease. I’ve enjoyed the story they’ve been telling in this one with Joe being a surly World Champ trying to break down the younger challenger whilst Jay is the gutsy younger wrestler trying to prove he belongs in this spot. The wrestling has been very good too, with both men executing their offence well and doing a good job selling, bumping and feeding.

Jay gets a handful of near falls on Joe to show he’s got a chance to win, with a Spicolli Driver in particular causing the crowd to bite on the two count. Jay can’t manage to get the Jay Driller though, leaving something on the table if he’s to get further Title shots, although he does get to make some big kick outs of his own, including one from a vicious Dragon Suplex from Joe. Jay even gets to kick out of the Island Driver (Emerald Frosion/Dreamer Driver), which Joe does the big shocked sell job for to put Jay over. A stiff lariat follows though and Jay isn’t getting out of that one.

WINNER: SAMOA JOE
RATING: ***3/4

Great match there, with Jay getting some big near falls and kicking out of some big moves to show that he deserved to be in the slot as challenger, whilst Joe got to weather the storm and get a battling win to make himself look like a deserving Champion. Jay also didn’t get his big MDK move on Joe either, so you can always build a rematch around that

Joe decides to embrace the fact the crowd doesn’t like him tonight by beating up Mark as well when Mark gets in his face following the match.

Christopher Daniels has sent in a promo. He puts Samoa Joe over for being able to beat him in their previous match, but also notes how close he was to defeating Joe for the belt. He also targets Steve Corino, comparing him to snake, and CM Punk, stating that he didn’t do anything to Lucy as he was too busy dealing with other things. This was a good long promo from Daniels that covered a lot of topics and kept multiple stories cooking.

John Walters cuts a backstage promo to continue his feud with Xavier. Walters doesn’t have a tonne of charisma, but he was believable here as a honourable wrestler who was sick of Xavier’s antics.

A dejected Johnny Kashmere seemingly walks out on Trent Acid.

Xavier retorts to Walters’ promo, saying a win is a win. He’s happy to do a tag match with Walters and Mamaluke, in a battle of pure wrestling.

The Briscoe’s threaten Samoa Joe.

In Conclusion

This one started slow but it ended up being a strong show when all was said and done, with three matches approaching the 4* range by my watch. I also enjoyed the progression of a lot of the storylines and I’m interested to see where things go next.

Recommended show!