Ring of Honor Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies August 16th, 2003

August 16, 2003

From Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

The show starts of zoomed in on Raven’s “Rust Never Sleeps” tattoo as he denies he attacked Lucy then questions whether or not the cage match stipulations are violent enough for when he faces CM Punk so he makes it a “Clockwork Orange House of Fun” match instead.

Punk interrupts Rob Feinstein, who was bragging about being “twelve inches” to the camera man as he talked about hitting on chicks. He yells at Feinstein for creating an unsafe work environment and demands to know what happened. The Outcast Killaz interrupt, with Punk calling them “Special K” as they cut a goofy promo as Tortuga tells him to relax and drink a beer as Punk responds by kicking both of their asses. Loving how they are building up the Punk/Raven feud to start the show.

Special K are backstage. Deranged then complains that there parties are too much like a “sausage fest” as the camera briefly shows Becky Bayless. He then says they need more girls then they all go on a voyage. They run into Alexis Laree, who rejects their advances and reminds them that RoH is about athleticism. Bayless then pushes her and wants her to dance as Laree questions if she is a wrestler then challenges here to a match. Bayless says it is not a good idea but the rest of the group tell her it will be fine as she smiles then dances.

Prince Nana comes out for his scheduled match against Oman Tortuga. Homicide then comes in the ring and demands that Steve Corino come out so he can kick his ass. Instead we get Corino’s friend, Guillotine LeGrande, who promises us that Corino is here and will kick his ass for insulting him. Homicide is all fired up here. He then turns around as Nana wants a match as the bell rings.

Prince Nana vs. Homicide

Nana surprises Homicide with an overhead suplex. He hits a few charging attacks in the corner then follows with a senton. Nana chops him all over the ring but Homicide tosses him outside then follows with a tope con hilo. The crowd is fully behind Homicide here. The action heads back inside where Homicide chops him a few times then hits a low dropkick. Nana escapes from the STF then hits a side slam. Nana heads up top but misses a senton then Homicide finally puts him in the STF for the win ( 3:03) 3/4*. After the match, Homicide once again calls out Corino as Feinstein comes out and reassures him that Corino is here and that he has a match as Homicide swears at him while the crowd chants “kick Rob’s ass.” Homicide then threatens Gary Michael Cappetta as he is just going completely mental, challenging anyone to stop him from getting Corino.

Thoughts: The match was nothing but it did a great job at hyping the Corino/Homicide feud.

The Carnage Crew are talking backstage as DeVito tells Loc how he missed the last show as he could not leave work and had to deal with his wife and kids. Loc talks about driving 10 hours to Dayton and how he took the pin due to Special K interfering as they talk about how they hate them then plug the scramble match while ripping on the fans at cheering for highspots. They are now setting up the Carnage Crew to feud with the other teams on the bottom of the totem pole. At least it is something.

Ring Crew Express vs. The Purists

Dunn and Walters start off the match. Walters stretches out Dunn then tags out as Mamaluke is now in as they jumped ahead a bit. Dunn hits a Gory Bomb and tags out as Marcos hits an enziguiri. The Ring Crew Express run wild then celebrate but pay the price then as Mamaluke puts Marcos on his shoulders, Walters takes him down with a lungblower and stretches him out then Mamaluke joins in as Marcos finally taps (2:34) 1/2*.

Thoughts: Quick little match to put over the Purists as a threat in the Tag Team division.

Danny Maff tells us that to advance in the future, you have to eliminate your past. He tells Low Ki how that he got bigger and faster and became an “indy wrestling wonder” but as that happened, he was held back watching from behind but now he grew up and his bigger and is now one of the biggest bad asses that RoH has to offer. Then after his daughter told him that Low Ki was her favorite wrestler, Maff said that he felt like “smacking the shit” out of her has he goes out of his mind while flipping out about Low Ki and how he will need to be killed in order to lose this match. I appreciate Maff trying to turn up the intensity here but this went on too long and was over exaggerated at times to the point where it came off as just plain goofy at times.

Field of Honor Qualifying Match
BJ Whitmer vs. Matt Stryker

The fans start dueling chants as both guys trade various holds. The chants get louder as Levy puts them over as Whitmer gets two with a leg lariat. Neither man can gain an advantage as they both spill out to the floor. Stryker then sends Whitmer into the guardrail then shortly after that takes him down with a dragon screw as Whitmer clutches his knee. Back inside, Stryker works on the injured knee. Whitmer is able to use his momentum to send Stryker to the floor then hobbles outside and hits a neckbreaker. They head back in as he kicks Stryker repeatedly to the back of the neck then stretches him out as Stryker just reaches the ropes. Snap suplex gets two. Whitmer applies a chinlock as he drives his knee into the neck. Stryker fights out but runs into an elbow then gets chopped in the corner. Whitmer places Stryker up top but gets taken off with a sunset powerbomb as both men are down. They get back up an trade chops until Stryker boots him down. They then trade suplexes for nearfalls as the crowd is really into this match. Stryker then hits a Death Valley Driver off of the top rope but that only gets two. Whitmer then cuts off Stryker from the top and hits a superplex for two. He tries for the Exploder 98 but Stryker escapes that and they end up elbowing each other before dropping to the mat. The ref starts a ten count but the bell rings at six as we learn the match is ruled a draw as it reached the fifteen minute time limit (15:00) **1/2. Gary Michael Cappetta then enters the ring and lets them know that due to the draw they are now out of the Field of Honor, despite deserving to be there then tells us that he has learned that they are both entered in the tournament based off of their performance tonight.

Thoughts: The company seems to be intent on putting these two over in the “Field of Honor” by having them both advance after wrestling in a time-limit draw. The match itself wasn’t bad but a lot of it felt like trasing holds just for the sake of doing so, while not really building into anything. Almost like a “highspot” match but instead of those moves they use mat holds. These two sold an elbow smash more than top rope suplexes, which is insane. It also didnt help that both of these guys were dull. At least Whitmer looked like somewhat of a star while Stryker was a goof with a unibrow.

Scramble Match
Dixie & Izzy w/ Special K vs. Carnage Crew vs. SAT’s vs. Backseat Boyz

Before the match, Acid chases away Special K  with a chair. The crowd is really into the Backseat Boyz. This starts off like every other scramble match where everyone take turns in the ring, getting in as many moves as possible. Nothing too impressive or horribly botched. Acid is the only one that resembles a star in this match by the way. Joel and Izzy then worked one of the more over choreographed sequences you will ever see and it looked like shit. The SAT’s hit Loc with a terribly botched double-team move then the match breaks down until the Backseat Boyz hit Izzy with the Dream Sequence. The Carnage Crew then run in and attack the Backseat Boyz as the match breaks down again, with the SAT’s hitting Izzy with a pendulum face buster. More fast-paced action occurs until the Carnage Crew hits Izzy with a spike piledriver but the rest of Special K run in and break up the pin in front of the ref, who does not ring the bell. The match continues as a big dive spot leads to Acid superplexing Special K flunky Cloudy to the floor, nearly killing each other in the process. The crowd chants “holy shit” as Lit tries a dive but Kashmere stops him but Dixie sneaks in, wearing a giant hat, and rolls up Kashmere for the win (9:19) *1/4. After the match, Special K starts a rave but that gets broken up as the DJ plays Alexis Laree’s theme music.

Thoughts: Ugh. Lots of bad looking moves and the Tag Scramble matches were way past the point of entertaining. I might have felt differently at the time but now these do not hold up well at all. Acid was the only wrestle worth a shit in the entire match.

Becky Bayless vs. Alexis Laree

Bayless fakes a fingernail after the handshake and that allows some of the Special K guys to attack Laree. Bayless then throws some forearm smashes that look horrible but Laree fights back. She hits a few kicks then some other girl from Special K jumps up on the apron to distract the ref but Laree dodges a few double-team attacks then hits Bayless with an inverted DDT for the win (2:32) DUD.

Thoughts: Luckily it was kept short. They seem to want to establish the women’s division around Laree and by the looks of things, will have a credible wrestle to face her at some point, likely brught in by Special K.

Before their match, Xavier tells Daniels that he won the RoH Title by himself, despite being the leader of the Prophecy. He then tells Daniels the best thing he can do is lay down as Daniels has had enough and reminds Xavier that he made the decision to have him be the champion. which was the only way he would have won the belt. He then tells Xavier that he doesn’t need to ask someone to lay down for him. They are certainly teasing a rift between these two Prophecy members.

#1 Contender’s Trophy Match
Xavier vs. “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels w/ Alison Danger

The winner of this match gets a title shot at the 9/20 Glory By Honor show. These two start on the mat as Xavier goes after the arm. The announcers put over the fact that Xavier has been out with a concussion for four months as he is in control of the match. Daniels grabs a headlock for a bit as this match is being wrestled scientifically at the start. Xavier comes back and works the arm as they keep a slow but steady pace as the announcers also let us know that Joe will not be defending the belt until the Glory By Honor show. Xavier punches Daniels in the face, who looks pissed. Danger even screams at Xavier about how they are both in the Prophecy. Daniels punches Xavier back and that triggers a shoving match. They square off then back off as they tried to trick each other into a handshake then both started punching each other. Daniels tosses Xavier onto the top rope then kicks him off as Daniels takes control of the match, to the delight of the fans. Xavier snaps Daniels neck off of the top rope then uses a baseball slide to send him into the guardrail. He then follows with a split-legged moonsault to the floor as he is in control of the match. Back inside, Xavier works the back and neck as the crowd chants “AC Slater.” He beats on Daniels in the corner as the announcers are trying way too hard to put him over. He was never at the level the company wanted to be and going overboard trying to sell him as a star just backfired. Daniels breaks up a sunset flip attempt then comes back with a basement dropkick. Gutbuster gets two. Xavier comes back with a stretch as Daniels escapes that then goes back to targeting the ribs of Xavier. Daniels locks on an abdominal stretch but Xavier escapes that and hits a facecrusher followed by an enziguiri that gets two. Daniels comes back with a spear as both men are down. They get up and go back-and-forth until Xavier yanks him off the top rope and clotheslines him down. They continue to go back and forth as neither man can gain the advantage. Xavier is able to hit a 450 splash, which looked great, but only gets two. Daniels escapes an X Breaker attempt that triggers a pinfall reversal sequence that ends with a double clothesline. They get up and fight over a backslide that Xavier wins but the ref breaks the count as he had his feet on the ropes. Xavier argues with the ref then Daniels sneaks up and gets a rollup while grabbing the tights for the win (22:25) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match. Slower-paced than a lot of other matches in the company but the psychology was solid. Xavier did fine but he didnt need to be a part of the RoH Title picture, especially after an unimpressive overall run as the champ.

Cappetta is backstage, looking to speak with Corino. CM Punk barges out of the locker room looking for Daniels then Cappetta attempts to interview Corino and his friend Guillotine LeGrande as they yell at Cappetta while denying that Corino is hurt.

4 Corners Survival Match
Slyk Wagner Brown w/ April Hunter vs. Jonny Storm vs. Hydro vs. Deranged

Deranged and Hydro start out as the attempt to recreate the finger poke incident between Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan but the pin attempt gets broken up. They turn their attention to Brown, who dumps them both to the floor. Storm runs in and gets clotheslined as Brown works the arm. Storm comes back and grabs a headlock as they work a so-so sequence that ends in a standoff. Deranged catches Brown with a springboard dropkick off of a blind tag. He follows with a satellite headscissors, that failed the first time, then a nearfall with a DDT. Brown catches Deranged with a press slam then follows with a standing moonsault for two. Storm clotheslines Deranged but runs into a spinning heel kick. Hydro tags as the Special K guys take turns beating on Storm. Brown tags and beats on Hydro and that leads to a wacky submission hold between all four guys. They have a dive sequence that ends with a tope con hilo from Brown, who then rolls Hydro inside. Hydro fights back and gets two with a clothesline. Top rope splash gets two. Deranged tags and says he isn’t fighting Brown so goes after Hydro and gets a few nearfalls. Storm tags in and hits a few sloppy moves on Deranged but cannot put him away. Brown cuts off Storm up top and hits a Dominator for two. Storm tries a top rope hurricarana but Brown blocks that and hits a catatonic slam for two. Brown goes up top but misses a shooting star press then Deranged tags himself in and ends up surprising Storm with an inverted hurricarana for the win (12:28) **.

Thoughts: Decent action at times but it was pretty meaningless as a whole. Brown appeared to be blown up at the end and did not impress. No one really stood out much to be honest but after this win and the scramble tag match, and the Laree stuff they seem to be building up Special K.

Punk runs down the crowd while running down Raven and Tommy Dreamer, then asks his “soldiers” in the crowd to throw up their “X” as the others in the crowd scream at him. Punk then promises that his match against Raven in Boston (Wakefield, MA) will be the bloodiest and most brutal we will ever see as the vocal minority start a “Raven’s gonna kill you” chant. Great mic work from Punk, who was knocking it out of the park week after week.

CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe

The announcers put over Punk coming back from his first tour of Japan and that he has an injured knee. Joe takes over the match to start as the announcers wonder who was behind the attack of Lucy. Levy predicts that one day CM Punk will be the RoH World Champion as he breaks up a test of strength with a kick to the gut then gets two with a rana. Joe brushes off a diving attack but Punk takes him down and works the arm. Joe comes back with an Exploder then sends Punk to the floor with a running kick as Punk is bleeding from the mouth. Joe chops the piss out of Punk then sets him up for the Ole Kick but Punk reverses it into a drop toehold in a nice spot. Punk chops Joe then mocks him as he tries the kick but Joe catches it and throws him into the guardrail. Joe finally connects with the Ole Kick then grabs a chair from a fan in the crowd as he sets him up for another Ole Kick on the other side of the ring. Punk is able to get up and run away from a third attempt then greets him with forearm smashes in the ring. Punk goes back to work on the arm but Joe catches him and slams his knee on the mat then immediately grapevines the leg. Joe stays on the attack as he puts Punk in the tree-of-woe. He works over the knee but Punk comes back then hits a slingshot senton as he goes back to targeting the arm, while selling his knee. They fight on the top rope as Joe wins that battle and goes back to targeting the knee. Both guys are down after going back-and-forth the Punk is up first and hits a Shining Wizard for two. They go back and forth again until Joe hits a Dragon Screw then makes Punk tap with a single leg crab (13:06) ***1/4. After the match, Daniels runs in and attacks Joe, hitting the Angels Wings. He then smiles at Punk, who is too hurt to stand up, then leaves the ring while shouting about being the next RoH World Champion. The ref then checks on Joe as Punk goes over and shakes his hand.

Thoughts: Good match, although it felt more like the beginning of a half-hour long match. The long ole kick spot might turn people off a bit as it did go on for a while but I thought it was fun. Punk’s psychology is also improving, something he attributed to working with Raven. This also left you wanting more between these two and with Daniels running in at the end and Punk hobbling over to make sure to shake Joe’s hand, it left a lot on intrigue.

Homicide vs. Steve Corino w/ Guillotine LeGrande

Corino’s entrance is complete with his own ring announcer, streamers, and his “young boys.” His introduction lasts forever as they name off all his titles, past and present, as Homicide is being warned by the referee to put down the chair he is playing with. They finally lockup after about five minutes of introductions then start brawling in the corner. Homicide grabs a leg lock then beats the piss out of Corino in the corner. They exchange chops then Homicide slaps Corino in the ear as he sells it like his ear drum is busted. He tries to walk away but is met by Julius Smokes and Slugger then Homicide drags him back towards the ring. Homicide stays on the attack but misses a diving headbutt then Corino hits a leg lariat. Corino beats on Homicide on the floor then gets his head rammed against the post as Homicide pulls barbed wire from underneath the ring and digs it into Corino’s arm. Shit, this is pretty graphic. Homicide then smashes Corino’s arm over the guardrail as it is covered in blood. Corino comes back with a lariat then takes the fight outside and busts open Homicide and digs his fingers into the cut as Homicide’s face his drenched in blood. Corino now digs the barbed wire into the cut as this is now a brutal bloodbath. Back inside, Corino gets two with a piledriver then pildrives him though a table from the apron as both men are down, with the crowd going mental. They finally head back into the ring as Corino chokes out Homicide then taunts the crowd. He charges but Homicide boots him then hits a tornado DDT. Homicide follows with a Shining Wizard that gets two as he is down on the mat while Corino ducks outside for a breather. Homicide finally gets up but misses a tope con hilo and slams into the guardrail, flipping into the crowd. My god. Corino picks up Homicide by the ears then rolls him inside but only gets two. Corino then puts Homicide in a sleeper but he was able to make the ropes. Homicide comes back with a big boot as both men are down, with the camera zooming in on the pool of blood that covers Homicide’s face. Corino cuts off Homicide as he climbed the top rope and hits a superplex that gets two. Corino hits a running forearm in the corner then climbs the top rope after blowing snot on the apron but Homicide cuts him off and hits a Super Ace Crusher but that only gets two, to the surprise of the crowd and Julius Smokes. Suplex gets two. Corino hits a Death Valley Bomb after a reversal sequence but still cannot get the win. Homicide comes back with a tombstone as that gets two with both guys hitting each other with everything they have then Homicide puts on the STF as the crowd is fully behind him. Homicide drags him back into the center of the ring and puts on the hold again then LeGrande gets up on the apron and tosses in the towel as the ref rings the bell, with Homicide declared the winner (23:39) ****1/4. After the match, several officials check on Corino then back off when Homicide stands over him and raises his arm.

Thoughts: Holy shit, this was a brutal bloodbath and the definition of a grudge match. Both these guys earned their paychecks here. The ending also left it so this feud can continue and I didnt mind it at all, although some might not appreciate it too much.

Dan Maff vs. Low Ki

Maff starts the match by attacking Ki from behind as he made his entrance. He roughs him up then they head into the ring where he chokes him out. Ki comes back with a low dropkick then hits a barrage of kicks and chops. Maff blocks a double underhook then puts Ki in a sleeper. Ki escapes and locks on a cross armbreaker. They now slap each other repeatedly until Ki kicks down Maff. Ki tries an Octopus Hold but Maff breaks the hold and hits a half-nelson suplex. Maff regains control of the match as he works over the shoulder, even biting it at times. Maff hammers away but Ki is trying to walk of the pain. Ki comes back with a springboard kick as both men are down then the ref rings the bell as Maff is not moving. They show about a dozen replays of the kick from a few different angles as Rob Feinstein checks on Maff (11:13) **.

Thoughts: Eh, didnt care for this too much. The match was dull and the “kick heard ’round the world” stuff came off really forced as well and just an attempt to protect Maff in anyway possible. You can debate as to whether or not Maff is someone who should have been protected as well.

Special K confront Alexis Laree as Becky Bayless tells her that they are all going to take things more seriously before leaving.

Daniels is backstage with Danger as he talks about how Maff took the stiffest kick in history and that is why he is the toughest wrestler in RoH. He then talks about how he is one step closer to the title and will deal with Xavier later as it was just a spat between family members. Punk interrupts and interrogates Daniels if he was the one who knocked out Lucy. Daniels tells him to worry about September 6th and his match against Raven. Punk is about to tell Daniels something then looks into the camera and decides to cut a promo on Raven. He tells him that he was his wrestling debut August 1997 and put the “X” on his hands to stand up to those who poisoned society and grew up in a broken home with an alcoholic father. Punk then tells Raven he will bring violence and blood and be careful what he wishes for because he will get it then rants some more before leaving as the camera shows a smirking then laughing Daniels while the show ends. Great way to end the show and again, they leave a lot of intrigue.

Final Thoughts: Another solid show. Make sure to seek out that Homicide/Corino match and they had a few other solid ones but more importantly, they are building solid storylines and putting together a solid top of the card. They made the Punk/Raven match seem like must-see stuff as that feud has been terrific. The Corino/Homicide feud is heating up and they are building up Daniels and Joe to something as well. The only minuses are that the scramble matches are getting tiresome (although that is probably more in retrospect on my part as the crowd still popped for this stuff) and the Tag Team Division is unstable at the top but luckily that will be changing soon.

Here is my schedule for the next several days

Tuesday: WWF Madison Square Garden 6/14/87
Thursday: Kayfabe Commentaries 1989 WCW Timeline as told by Jim Cornette
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 6/20/87
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/21/87