Ring of Honor Wrath of the Racket August 9th, 2003

August 9, 2003

From the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, OH

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

The show starts with Lucy filming Ace Steel and Colt Cabana goofing around backstage as they compare the Field of Honor tournament to the film “Field of Dreams.” They then see Homicide and Julius Smokes play craps in the corner as Cabana plays the geeky white guy while asking them about the Field of Honor. Smokes tells him that its for the cream of the crop and that there is nothing worse than a “bitch-ass wigga.” A painfully unfunny comedy segment. These Cabana/Steel segments trying to find out what exactly the Field of Honor is went on throughout the entire show.

AJ Styles and Amazing Red are talking backstage. Red is really, really bad on interviews. Anyway, AJ tells the Prophecy that they do not respect them and to try and take away their belts. Red is trying to no-sell his injury by saying he is okay. AJ leaves as the SAT’s asks Red about his injury and he downplays that as well. Amateur hour stuff from these guys as AJ was a mediocre promo guy and Red was one of the worst I have ever seen.

Fast Eddie & Don Juan vs. Carnage Crew vs. Deranged & Hydro w/ Special K vs. SAT’s

Masada is replacing DeVito in the Carnage Crew tonight. Special K beats on Loc to start. Loc comes back with a Saito Suplex. Jose chops Eddie a bunch then hits him with a dropkick as the fans lightly applaud that sequence. Don Juan and Masada work a decent sequence that sees Juan bust out one of the most unique inverted atomic drops you will ever see. Hydro comes in and works with Joel, who looks even worse than usual as he can barely take any of the moves. Everyone trades high-impact moves now as some of it is sloppy but generally okay. The SAT’s then nearly drop Deranged but make up for it with a crazy double-team pendulum swing facebuster that looked like it killed the poor guy as the crowd is up on their feet. Jose blocks a spike piledriver attempt from the Carnage Crew then takes Masada off of the top rope with a hurricarana in another awful-looking spot. Hydro gets a nearfall off of a German Suplex but gets cut off on the top rope as the SAT’s hit him with the Spanish Fly. The TWA guys break up the pin then dive outside onto the SAT’s but in the ring, Dixie hooks the leg of Loc as Deranged hits a rana then has Dixie hold his hand for leverage during the pin as he scores the upset victory (9:04) **. After the match, Deranged looks into the camera and tells us that weed is good for us as Loc is swearing about the loss.

Thoughts: Fast-paced action that was hit or miss. The segment seemed to be designed towards a Special K/Carnage Crew feud so at least there was some point to this match.

Special K remains in the ring as they start a rave then Jim Cornette comes out with his tennis racket. The fans are going nuts for him. However, his microphone does not work so he had to head back near the ramp and used a mic that was plugged in as Cornette calls the guy an idiot before laying into Special K. He tells Special K that if he wants any shit out of them he will squeeze their head. He then runs down the scramble match and how it was like a blender as he welcomes what he calls a traditional tag team. The Midnight Express theme hits but out comes Dunn & Marcos, who do their schtick, then Cornette makes fun of them until they get ambushed by Christopher Daniels and Danny Maff. They drag Dunn & Marcos into the ring where Cornette tells them to hit the Rocket Launcher and they do. Cornette then whacks them with the racket as the fans mostly applaud. Daniels then grabs the mic to officially announce Cornette as a member of the Prophecy. So they have established why Cornette is here now. The segment was fine, if not a little lame.

BJ Whitmer cuts a promo about getting a title shot tonight against Samoa Joe and how he watched wrestling in Ohio with his dad growing up. This was pretty bad as Whitmer completely lacked the intensity to make this work. The verbiage was fine but Whitmer had no idea how to cut a promo.

Chet “The Jet” Jablonski w/ Brock Guffman vs. Nigel McGuiness

Winner of this match gets a shot at the HWA Heavyweight Title. Jablonski actually spent three years (05-08) in WWE Developmental and had a decent look. Guffman was a fat guy in a buttoned short sleeve shirt and a fleece vest. Quite the look. He told us that this is their time to shine and how they earned the right to be here in a passionate speech. Jablonski works the arm to start the match. He gets two off of a spinebuster as there was some miscommunication on that one. McGuiness comes back with some European Uppercuts but gets caught with a T-Bone suplex. They fight over a test of strength until McGuiness breaks that up with a Mexican armdrag. McGuiness now takes control as he targets the back then puts on the STF. Jablonski reaches the ropes then takes McGuiness down with a lariat but comes back and puts on the STF then a chinlock that Jablonski breaks up. He hits a Fisherman’s Northern Lights suplex that gets two then they trade pinfalls until Jablonski with an Emerald Frosion for two. Jablonski then misses a top rope senton as McGuiness rolls him up and uses a bridge to get the win (6:43) *3/4. After the match, both guys raise their hands in unison as the crowd applauds.

Thoughts: Neither guy really impressed all that much here. They kept it basic for the most part. The crowd was somewhat receptive to them but that could have been due to the fact they were in the local territory.

Chris Sabin vs. Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

The match starts as they trade moves on the mat. The pace picks up as Homicide hits a few armdrags after an Irish whip sequence then slows back down when he works the arm. Sabin then hits a few armdrags and a clothesline until they wind up in the corner during a lockup. Homicide headbutts Sabin down then hits monkey flips him out of the corner. Homicide is operating at half-speed tonight. Sabin fights back and hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Homicide is in control but Sabin avoids a baseball slide then pancakes Homicide on the mat. Shining Wizard gets two. Brainbuster gets two. Homicide comes back with a STF but Sabin hits a neckbreaker for two. He climbs up top but gets cut off then Homicide takes him down with a rana for two. Sabin rolls through a crossbody and hits a catatonic backbreaker for two. Homicide tries a Cop Killa after a reversal sequence but Sabin escapes then Homicide kicks him low and hits the move for the win (9:02) *3/4. After the match, Homicide calls Steve Corino a “pussy motherfucker.”

Thoughts: Really disappointing match. Homicide was going at half-speed here but later on in the show we will know why that was the case. And besides that, these guys lacked chemistry together in a major way.

Alex Shelley & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Ace Steel & Colt Cabana

Steel and Shelley go back and forth to start the match. Shelley is thoroughly outwrestling him here by the way. Jacobs tags and hits the bulldog as a few fans start the “Huss” chant. He hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors then gets two with a flying forearm. Steel lights up Jacobs with chops then tags Cabana, who hits a chop. Jacobs comes back with a dropkick then bites Cabana. Steel breaks up a pin attempt after a double team move. Steel makes a blind tag as Cabana distracts Shelley long enough for Steel to take him to the floor with a dropkick. Steel gets two with a slingshot suplex as Shelley is now getting destroyed by the Second City Saints, who are doing some solid tag wrestling. Shelley then takes them down with a neckbreaker/DDT combo before making the hot tag to Jacobs, who runs wild. Shelley gets up as he also goes nuts but gets dropped on his head after a nasty German suplex from Cabana. Jacobs takes Cabana down with a rana but Steel catches him up top and hits Jacobs with the Spinal Shock. Shelley tries a another neckbreaker but Steel breaks that up and the Saints put Shelley away with a neckbreaker/Colt .45 combo (11:18) **3/4. After the match the Saints dedicate the win to CM Punk.

Thoughts: Solid match. Shelley stood out the most here as he was by far the smoothest worker in the ring and could play the underdog babyface role well. This was to establish the Saints as a bit more than the goofballs part of Punk’s crew.

Matt Stryker vs. Justin Credible

Both guys butt heads before the match. Credible pretends that he got punched with a closed fist as he yells at the crowd to get some heat. Credible then cheapshots Stryker, who fights back, then bails. Its clear that they are trying to get Stryker over as a face here. Credible bullies the referee then goes up the ramp to speak on the mic as he swears at the fans and refuses to come back until he is shon respect but Stryker follows him through the curtain as they head into the ring. Both guys trade chops then Stryker sends him flying off of the apron with a forearm smash. Stryker whips him into the railing as he is far more aggressive than usual. They are brawling behind the bleachers as Stryker is getting the best of Credible until he gets tossed back over the guardrail. These two are beating on each other as Credible is busted open. Back in the ring, Credible tries to set up Stryker for a cheapshot but it fails. Credible blocks a Death Valley Driver attempt and sends Stryker back to the floor. He slams him down then taunts the crowd as he then rolls Stryker back inside. He puts him in a headlock as the crowd rallies behind Stryker as he fights out. He crotches Credible against the post then hammers away. Quebrada gets two. He tries a flying body press but Credible catches him with a super kick. Credible heads up top and hits a crossbody but Stryker rolls through and gets two. Credible escapes from a pair of DVD attempts and hits a tombstone but Stryker kicks out as Credible is in disbelief. He repeats the move but Stryker escapes then Credible counters another DVD attempt with a crucifix but Stryker rolls through that and finally hits the DVD for the win **1/2 (11:31).

Thoughts: Fun match. You would not notice it in the WWE as much but Credible really carried things here as far as working the crowd and getting them into the match. They were into Stryker here. The match itself was far from a masterpiece but it was enjoyable. And Credible did put over the guy, even if it was someone who probably was not worth pushing much.

Les Thatcher, replacing Gary Michael Cappetta tonight, interviews the Prophecy. Daniels promises AJ Styles & Amazing Red that their title reign will end tonight. Cornette tells us that he has been around a lot of the “next big things” and how he is in Ring of Honor for the Prophecy as he puts them over. Maff then orders Thatcher to leave as Cornette asks the Prophecy to see a tape of how Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson got the Tag Titles from the Rock & Roll Express in 1987 as he has an idea to use from that match tonight. They are going a bit too overboard with the Nostalgia act here. It was probably designed this way for the fanbase but to have a slapped-together tag team pretend to be like the Midnight Express was not going to work out all that well.

Steel and Cabana are backstage with their awful comedy routine trying to get the scoop on the “Field of Honor.” Even worse than them was Chris Sabin, who was terrible in his backstage role. He was almost as bad as Red at talking.

The Prophecy run out and ambush the Amazing Red and the SAT’s at the gimmick table. Cornette calls Red a “crippled midget” as the referees attend to him. Red is clutching his knee as he struggles to get helped to his feet. The fans start cheering for him as AJ arrives to help him out as well.

Four Corners Survival Match
Slyk Wagner Brown w/ April Hunter vs. Hotstuff Hernandez vs. “Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews vs. Michael Shane

Match starts with Hernandez no-selling Shane’s offense. He then beats on Shane for a minute and uses an impressive overhead throw. Shane hits him low then tags Andrews, who returns for the first time in a year. Brown tags in as he sports the blond hair. He botches a move then locks on an armbar. Hernandez tags and he chops Brown in the corner then crushes him with a slingshot splash for two. Andrews tags back in and works the arm of Brown as all three men take turns beating on him as the announcers talk up the Field of Honor, speculating that it might be a tournament. Shane has Andrews in a headlock as we are informed that the Amazing Red will be unable to compete tonight due to his injured knee. Hernandez catches Andrews off of the top then hits him with a spiral bomb. Brown gets two with a blockbuster then hooks on a reverse headscissors that triggers a wacky submission spot to pop the crowd. This match is lacking right now and needs to pick up. Hernandez brushes away a missile dropkick from Brown then slams his down as both men are down. They tag as Andrews and Shane trade punches that leads to a contrived car crash spot that Brown nearly ruined with his sloppiness. We are now alerted that AJ Styles will be able to choose a partner to replace Red tonight as this match has been a backdrop for the announcers to promote everything else in the company. Hernandez takes out everyone with his tope as the crowd goes nuts. In the ring, everyone trades big moves then Brown almost breaks his neck trying a shooting star press. He pulled a Brock Lesnar circa WrestleMania 19. The action picks up a bit then Shane hits Andrews with a Fisherman’s DDT for the win (16:34) **.

Thoughts: This went on for far too long. It was a throwaway match between 4 guys barely doing anything in the promotion. Brown did not impress in his debut and I have no idea why Shane got the win as they could at least have given it to Hernandez, who was over with the crowd.

Slim J vs. Jimmy Rave

Apparently, Slim is no longer part of Special K. That was not explained here though. We are informed that the winner of this will be invited into the mysterious Field of Honor. They start the match going back and forth. Rave flattens Slim with a clothesline but gets kicked low when he followed him out. Rave blocks a springboard attempt as they head back inside and trade a bunch of high impact moves without rhyme or reason. Slim hits a double underhook tornado piledriver and follows that with another creative slam but Rave comes back with a German suplex and a powerbomb as the crowd is not feeling this match. At all. Rave locks on a crossface off of a tilt-a-whirl as the crowd chants for Slim to tap and he does (8:57) *1/4.

Thoughts: Just a collection of moves here without a bit of psychology. Slim J was notable for grabbing his junk throughout the match. That was his gimmick. Rave gets to be the first person announced to the Field of Honor and seeing how he was low on the totem pole, it did not get you all excited for that.

RoH World Title Match
BJ Whitmer vs. Samoa Joe (Champion)

Whitmer is sporting a faceguard here due to a broken nose suffered at the hands of Homicide. Match starts with some back and forth stuff until Joe puts Whitmer in a single leg crab that he really stretches him out with. Joe wins a battle of strikes but Whitmer sends him down shortly after that. They slap each other then Whitmer tosses of the face guard where they continue their slap battle. Whitmer gets two with a back suplex then chops Joe in the corner. Joe comes back by planting Whitmer with a uranage then beats the crap of him. Joe follows Whitmer outside and roughs him up. Whitmer reverses an Irish whip that sends Joe into the guardrail then does it a few more times as the crowd approves. Joe chops Whitmer back then sets him up in the chair for the ole kick then does it again as the crowd also approves this. Back inside, Whitmer escapes from an Island Driver and comes back with a super kick. He heads up top and hits a flying forearm to the back of the head for two. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Whitmer tries and fails to put Joe away a few more times then Joe takes Whitmer down and knees him in the face a few times as he locks on the Coquina Clutch. Whitmer is able to reach the ropes then Joe comes back with a rolling cradle that draws an applause from the crowd. Whitmer then comes back with the Exploder 98 that dropped Joe right on his head but that only gets two. He hits the backdrop driver but Joe is able to kick out of that. Whitmer hits a pair of knee strikes but Joe comes back with an enziguiri. Joe then hits a few suplexes before getting the win with a straightjacket suplex (12:21) ***.

Thoughts: Good match but I don’t think anyone was buying Whitmer as a threat here. This match did help get him over a bit though.

Cabana and Steel are goofing around backstage as they run into Nigel McGuiness and make fun of Dunn & Marcos, who stand up for themselves. Cabana says he has to find Rob Feinstein to learn about the Field of Honor. Its getting tiresome watching these things.

RoH Tag Team Championship Match
Christopher Daniels & Danny Maff w/ Jim Cornette & Allison Danger vs. AJ Styles & Homicide w/ Julius Smokes

AJ and Homicide immediately go after their opponents. They then brawl all over ringside then AJ and Homicide pull the guardrails forward and fly out with dives as the crowd goes mental. Cornette & Danger get trapped in the ring as AJ and Homicide use the rowboat on them. The match settles down as AJ and Homicide take turns beating on Daniels. Maff tags in but does not fare to well as AJ catches him with a powerslam. Daniels is back in as AJ takes him down with a rana. Homicide is in and gets two with a T-Bone but Danger grabs his leg and that allows Maff to suplex him. Maff then knees Homicide several times but misses the cannonball as Homicide fights back but gets caught in the wrong corner as the Prophecy now takes control of the match, mixing in illegal tactics but not much in terms of double-team moves. Homicide tries to mount a comeback but Daniels takes him down and puts on the Koji Clutch as Maff prevents AJ from breaking up the hold but Homicide is able to stick his foot on the rope. They set up for the Rocket Launcher but took too long as Homicide was able to roll away then he tags AJ, who runs wild. AJ was great here. Maff catches AJ with a release German suplex. AJ comes back and tries the Phenomenon but they botched that badly so AJ ends up with an inverted DDT. Daniels attacks AJ as they go back and forth for a bit. AJ hits the Pele kick but Maff hits him with a facebuster of sorts then they hit the Rocket Launcher but Homicide breaks up the pin and runs wild. Maff and Smokes go at it on the floor then Homicide accidentally takes out Smokes with a tope. Back inside, Daniels hits Homicide with the Angels Wings but AJ breaks that up. Daniels shoves AJ into the ref then has Cornette toss him the racket but AJ boots Daniels and hits him with the Styles Clash on the racket as the ref gets up and counts to three (18:18) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Match was good and best of the night but it was missing something to make it more than that. Daniels and Maff also wrestled as two singles guys teaming up as opposed to an actual team as the only double-team move they did was the Rocket Launcher.

After the match, Cornette gets pissed off as he shakes hands with AJ and Homicide but blaming Daniels for the loss. Daniels and Cornette scream at each other until Daniels attacks him from behind. Maff then slams Cornette down as they both beat on him until Amazing Red limps in and takes them out with a tennis racket. Red becomes a victim of the numbers game until Samoa Joe runs in and clears the Prophecy from the ring. Cornette then raises the hands of Red and Joe as he grabs the mic with the fans chanting “RoH.” Cornette then says its not often he says this but he was wrong as he puts over Ring of Honor. They went from Cornette doing a nostalgia act to then putting over the company at the end. Yeah, that didnt work out all that well.

Homicide calls out Steve Corino in a pre-taped promo as Smokes does his routine during and afterwards.

Joe is in the locker room congratulating BJ Whitmer then tells him that he will sacrifice everything for this belt. He even said that Paul London sacrificed his career by facing him just before going up to the WWE and how Dan Maff faced him after burying his father but it wasn’t enough. He then asks who is the next to make the sacrifice and ends up questioning if CM Punk, Christopher Daniels, and Low Ki will have what it takes. Good, intense promo from Joe.

Steve Corino is then shown saying he did not think it could get lower than now. He says that we are all “smart” and “read the sheets” as he calls out those thinking that the riot was a work. This drags as Corino tells us that Japan matters more than Ring of Honor because they do not complain on the internet then tells Homicide he will be there to fight on August 16th and will even bring his kid in, the one that Homicide brought into the feud.

Cabana and Steel finally see Feinstein. They hang up his phone as Cabana asks about the Field of Honor as Feinstein angrily tells him that it is a tournament and that he is invited. Feinstein then leaves as Cabana declares that this is the greatest day before leaving then the camera drops as Lucy was attacked. The camera then shows a piece of paper that read “Trust Never Sleeps” before the show ends. The end would be followed up upon for future shows.

Final Thoughts: Even after expecting a let down from the fantastic “Death Before Dishonor” show, this show felt below expectations. The long running “Field of Honor” bit being revealed as a tournament was a waste seeing how it was assumed the whole time and the Cornette stuff was okay at first as a nostalgia act but him turning on the Prophecy and putting over RoH felt too forced and a lot of the matches were really just filler. And there were too many bad promos/backstage segments. Not much to recommend from this show.